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File 155993935327.png - (609.16KB , 700x600 , title.png )
935060 No. 935060 ID: 395c02

Existence.
Expand all images
>>
No. 935061 ID: 395c02
File 155993937068.png - (494.19KB , 700x600 , 1.png )
935061

I don't know what to write.

I want to tell everyone your story. I want them to know what you mean to me. I want you to be remembered.

I want you to matter.

But every time I try, I mess up and have to start over.

Maybe I'm just not good enough.

>>
No. 935062 ID: 395c02
File 155993938566.png - (690.75KB , 700x600 , 2.png )
935062

What would you say, if you were still here? If you could see what beautiful things you made. Would you be happy? Sad?

Would you, even now, say you were only doing what was expected of you?

I don't know.

But nobody will know your story if I don't do this. Even if I'm not good enough, I have to try. I'll start over, one last time, and finish this. Even if I mess up. Even if it's bad.

Because you do matter. You matter to me.

>>
No. 935063 ID: 395c02
File 155993940047.gif - (1.82MB , 700x600 , 3.gif )
935063

I miss you.
>>
No. 935064 ID: 395c02


Youtube version: https://youtu.be/PFy588emWdo
>>
No. 935065 ID: 395c02
File 155993943423.gif - (658.43KB , 900x600 , 4.gif )
935065

A wishbe is a majestic insect said to be filled with Shaia's eternal love. One need only consume it to see their deepest desires made manifest.

It is the purest form of Her teachings. The natural order of the universe: we consume to create. We create so others may consume.

No.

Existence can't be boiled down into such a simple idea.

Life isn't about the masterpiece. The ultimate creation. It's about failing, about learning. We're flawed. Our creations are flawed. It's those flaws that bind us together. In our mistakes do we find kinship.

What I want can't be granted by a wishbe. It isn't something anyone can cling to selfishly as theirs and theirs alone.

It can't be created. It can't be consumed. We only find it by seeking it out ourselves.
>>
No. 935066 ID: 395c02
File 155993945108.gif - (5.29MB , 900x600 , 5.gif )
935066

>>
No. 935067 ID: 395c02
File 155993947781.png - (308.07KB , 900x600 , 6.png )
935067

"Uh... Kliss? Not to complain, but I kinda gave you that so you could eat it."

"Be free, little bug! Explore All the rocks and dirt and other boring stuff in this underground prison!"

"Sweety, you really don't need to be so dramatic. And stop calling our town a prison."

"But look, Mama! It's so happy, getting to follow its heart!"

"Can bugs be happy? Like, is that a thing?"

"Food can't be happy, dear."

"Food makes me happy."

"Hshss~ Why can't you be more like Tyrsis and enjoy the simple pleasures in life?"

"I'm not a simple slissa!"

"Yeah! Kliss is a difficult slissa!"

"Okay I know you're trying to have my back, big guy, but sometimes you really don't have to help."

"Speep! But helping you is what I do best!"

I raise a claw to protest, but every time I hear that adorable 'ssspeep' noise he makes, I lack the will to challenge him.

"You're such a good boy, Tyrsis. Now come here, sweety. I gotta give you your present."

"Okay!"

"I think she means me, since it's my hatchday?"

"Sorry, I got excited about being a good boy."
>>
No. 935068 ID: 395c02
File 155993949110.png - (527.62KB , 900x600 , 7.png )
935068

Huh? Mom's necklace...?

"Ah, the stories this could tell."

"Mama, you're not..."

"I am. It's yours now. Just as my mother to me, and her mother to her, I'm passing it down to you. This necklace symbolizes Shaia's devotion, a love that spans generations."

"But... it means so much to you."

"And it means even more to me in your hands. I'm proud of you, Kliss. You've grown into a fine slissa."

"I've really become a grown-up, huh? Does this mean I can go to the outside world!?"

"Oh, Kliss..."
>>
No. 935069 ID: 395c02
File 155993950251.png - (390.00KB , 900x600 , 8.png )
935069

"You're just like your father."

"Mama..."

"Hss. You probably don't want to stay here watching your mama get emotional. Go on, have one of your little adventures. Remember to be home in 80 glimmers."

"That's four hours in ketza-time!"

"Yes, thank you Tyrsis."

80 glimmers is a good chunk of time. But what to do with it?



I should...

:sq_optbubble_left:A: ...Hang out with Mama. :sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: ...Go explore with Tyrsis. :sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: ...Embrace this feeling of deja vu. :sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: ...Visit Shaia's Temple with Mama and Tyrsis. :sq_optbubble_right:

Choosing things is hard. That's why I always choose twice! First, I choose my FAVORITE CHOICE. I'm really proud of my favorite choice so I always SHOUT IT IN CAPITALS.

Then, I pick my SECOND FAVORITE CHOICE. I'm less sure about this one, so I say it in small normal letters.

Let's apply this amazing decision-making technique to this very choice!
>>
No. 935070 ID: 6ce86d

>>935069
Ad
>>
No. 935071 ID: 0fae41

Ad.
>>
No. 935077 ID: d6f490

C and D!
>>
No. 935079 ID: 8d23f0

>>935069
B go dig a hole for tyrsis to speep in. d, you could go on a naked speeping mission in the temple!
>>
No. 935087 ID: ad51b8

Ac/Dc.... wait that's not right

>A
>d
there we go
>>
No. 935090 ID: 4e280e

>>935069
Cd
>>
No. 935091 ID: 04ca3e
935091

Cb
Deja vu? Wonder what that could be from.
>>
No. 935094 ID: f2320a

>>935069
C and D
>>
No. 935106 ID: f724dc

Bd
What better way to honor this necklace than to learn more about what it means?
>>
No. 935119 ID: 094652

CA
>>
No. 935121 ID: a9af05

>>935067
Wow, how rude! Your boyfriend gave you that bug as a present and you just threw it away! You pretty much just told him that you hate his present!

>>935069
C

d

>>
No. 935123 ID: ecd116

first choice 'C' so you can Embrace the feeling, you might even remember a memory about how & why you are getting a sense of deja vu somehow from it if you are lucky,

then after that if you have time do choice 'd' so you can hang out with the others as you go to the temple together. who knows they may even like adventures as much as you do.
>>
No. 935151 ID: bdd217

C,b
>>
No. 935152 ID: f2320a

>>935094
C and d
>>
No. 935155 ID: 91ee5f

>>935069
C , d
>>
No. 935163 ID: 0cbbb1

C, b
>>
No. 935173 ID: c3f16e

C, indifferent to the others tbh.

Also, check your Milk Stat:3.
>>
No. 935397 ID: 9c293c

god damn that intro and animation are great
B, C
>>
No. 935436 ID: 3121a1

B,D
Exploration, go!
>>
No. 935438 ID: 758ff3

B or C
>>
No. 935461 ID: 88a935

C, B
>>
No. 935506 ID: 68d861

B, c
>>
No. 935587 ID: 261cee

D, b
>>
No. 935593 ID: 75ea94

B,C
>>
No. 935710 ID: 395c02
File 156048610489.png - (399.64KB , 900x600 , 9-3.png )
935710

Huh...

There's something really familiar about all this.

Like I've been here before.

Why is that...?
>>
No. 935711 ID: 395c02
File 156048610889.png - (342.83KB , 900x600 , 10-2.png )
935711

Could it be because I've been making the same three choices every wake for the past ten cycles?

"Mama, I'm tired of doing the same things every wake! I don't want to go on 'little adventures'! I want to go on the adventure! I've seen everything there is to see in Saryssa!"

"Oh shush, there's no way you've seen everything here. Our town's full of wonderful places to explore!"
>>
No. 935712 ID: 395c02
File 156048611157.png - (344.35KB , 900x600 , 11.png )
935712

"Like the capitol building!"

"Ooh! There's a lot of lore in there!"

"Yes, we've been through it all. Three times."
>>
No. 935713 ID: 395c02
File 156048611434.png - (345.34KB , 900x600 , 12.png )
935713

"What about Nyssil's Costume Parlor? There's so many cute outfits you could wear! Oh, maybe you can dress Tyrsis up as that one ketza actor! You know, the one in that play?"

"Might want to narrow it down. There's like 50 ketza plays.

"I think I know which one she means. The Ketza Prince And The Scandalous Slissa. that outfit looks kind of silly, though..."

"Yeah, that's the one! Remember? Ah, the forbidden love between two species..."

"It's :sq_heart:romantic:sq_heartr:, I know. Even if it couldn't happen in real life."

"I mean, it could..."

"The show's totally specist, anyway."

"That's most ketza plays."
>>
No. 935714 ID: 395c02
File 156048611724.png - (411.80KB , 900x600 , 13.png )
935714

"You could visit 'The Outside World!'

"Now we're talking!"

"That very nice restaurant that offers a taste of the world outside Shaia's Embrace!"

"Oh. That. It's nothing but crayon drawings, Mama. Not quite the real thing, is it?"

"I like their grub! Their other food's good, too."
>>
No. 935715 ID: 395c02
File 156048612024.png - (609.48KB , 900x600 , 14.png )
935715

"Um... How about the Water Reservoir? The water's for drinking, not swimming. Or the Reservoir Pond? That water is for swimming! But not drinking."

"I think you have those backwards, and even if you didn't it's boring! I've been to all these places many times already!"

"Okay, Fine. There's one other place, one no slissa has seen in generations. It's kind of dangerous, though."

"Oh no!"

"Oh yes! Tell me, tell me!"
>>
No. 935716 ID: 395c02
File 156048612473.png - (518.66KB , 900x600 , 15-2.png )
935716

"Shisae Point."

The site of the Great Slissa Hero who first stood against the ketzas...

"Hss... Mama, that's like, the most popular attraction in town. And another place I've been to."

"Yes, but you and everyone else take the new path to get to it. But that was built later. I'm talking about exploring the old path."

"Oh, really...?"

"oh no you got that look in your eyes again"

"The old path was sealed off by the ketzas, which is adorable when you think about it."

"It is...?"

"You've been around us long enough to know this, big guy. You can't seal something away from slissas. We'll just dig through or around it! But wouldn't someone have done this already, Mama?"

"The new path is really convenient."

Hmm. On one claw, Mama might be trying to trick me into digging again, hoping I'll find some 'passion for digging' deep down in my heart.

On the other... if she's right, that 'old path' could contain some remains from the old war, undisturbed for generations. There could be much to see and learn.

I see two PATHS I could take. Obviously one path is exploring this delicious morsel my mother so kindly offered me. The other is standing firm, letting Mama know I'll accept nothing less than my dream. Then again, doing this could be a way to prove myself? But I'd be giving in and... Hsss! PATH decisions are so tough!

I'll need to be more strategic with my decision-making. Maybe I'll use my PRIMARY CHOICE to pick something from the PATH I like better, and save my SECONDARY CHOICE for something in the other PATH, just in case.



I'll...

:SQ_pathl:Path of the uncovered ruins...:SQ_pathR:
:sq_optbubble_left:A: ...Explore the ruins alone.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: ...Explore the ruins with Tyrsis.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: ...Explore the ruins with Mama and Tyrsis.:sq_optbubble_right:

:SQ_pathl:Path of the heart's dream...:SQ_pathR:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: ...Make plans to sneak away.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:E: ...Try to convince Mama to let me go.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:F: ...Offer a way to prove myself.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 935717 ID: 0fae41

A/f.
>>
No. 935725 ID: b1b4f3

>>935716
C! f.
>>
No. 935730 ID: cb22c8

C/f. Either way, we should be able to show your mom that you're not a helpless kid.
>>
No. 935732 ID: 094652

CD
>>
No. 935733 ID: 90f3c0

Db
>>
No. 935737 ID: 2df440

Primary B/Secondary E
>>
No. 935740 ID: d4d69a

C f

Maybe we can convince Mama to come with us to the surface! Who the fuck am I kidding. Ofc we can't convince her, but still we should try!
>>
No. 935741 ID: 1d29df

C
b
>>
No. 935746 ID: 8d23f0

>>935716
C,d. digging is pretty fun even if you don't want to do it for a living
>>
No. 935755 ID: 506f96

B,f
>>
No. 935767 ID: 9c293c

D, b
>>
No. 935770 ID: bdd217

>>935716
B f
>>
No. 935828 ID: 3121a1

D, c
>>
No. 935839 ID: 75ea94

D,B
>>
No. 935868 ID: 83bf07

>>935716
Bf
B4 you go on your grand adventure, give your mom another shot.
>>
No. 935977 ID: 758ff3

C, d
>>
No. 935991 ID: 4e280e

>>935716
B,c
>>
No. 936031 ID: 68550e

D and c
>>
No. 936032 ID: a9af05

>>935716
Primary C

Secondary F

>>
No. 936034 ID: 91ee5f

>>935713
>Ah, the forbidden love between two species..."
>Even if it couldn't happen in real life.
What do you mean it couldn’t happen in real life? Tyrsis is a ketza with slissa horns! Isn’t he proof that it could happen in real life?

>>935716
Primary C

Secondary F

>>
No. 936232 ID: 88a935

C, D
>>
No. 936979 ID: 395c02
File 156132112969.png - (446.62KB , 900x600 , 16.png )
936979

"All right, I'm sold!"

"I'm surprised."


"What's with that look!?"

"What look? This is my surprised face."


"Most surprised faces don't look like that!"

"Oh? Then what do they look like?"


"Like this!"
>>
No. 936980 ID: 395c02
File 156132113271.png - (453.05KB , 900x600 , 17.png )
936980

"...."

"Kliss--"

Tyrsis finds a way to sigh and speep at the same time.

"I know that face! That's the 'Kliss is my bestest friend ever but boy am I glad nobody else is around right now' face!" wait why am i excited about this


"It's a look I'm quite familiar with."


"Just what are you saying, Mama!?"

"Oh, nothing. Just picturing how it'd look on your eventual hot slissa boy life-mate~"

And now she's making her 'Teasing my daughter is pretty fun, actually' face. I much prefer things go the other way!

>Maybe we can convince Mama to come with us to the surface!
Five years ago I would have said it's a long-shot, and a year ago I'd go so far as to say 'impossible'. But now?

Still unlikely.

But there is a chance if I'm persuasive enough! Nothing's set in stone and rock, even if past experience might imply otherwise.

>What do you mean [a slissa/ketza couple] couldn’t happen in real life? Tyrsis is a ketza with slissa horns! Isn’t he proof that it could happen in real life?
Either Tyrsis didn't notice my gaff, or he's too polite to clear his throat. I'm hoping it's the former.

It gets easy to forget Tyrsis isn't the same species as us. He may look ketza-ish, but his accent and demeanor are very much 'slissa'. After so many cycles you stop noticing the differences.


Until moments like these happen. Augh, poor guy...
>>
No. 936981 ID: 395c02
File 156132113608.png - (434.36KB , 900x600 , 18.png )
936981

"But we can worry about slissa romance later. Up for some adventure?"


"Yes, but... okay, let's get to the point. What's the catch?"


"Catch?" Mama asks, trying and somewhat failing to sound innocent.


"We both know you don't want me to leave Shaia's Embrace and explore the world. Why encourage me now?"

"Because I love and support you?"
>>
No. 936982 ID: 395c02
File 156132114026.png - (361.61KB , 900x600 , 19.png )
936982

"I'm not lying this time!!!"


"Hss~ Is that so? Then you won't mind coming with us~"


"what's this 'us' talk why are you assuming-- oh who am i kidding of course i'm coming too."

"Y-you two don't need an old lady like me slowing you down! You two kids-- sorry! --grown adults can take care of yourselves! Go have fun, and I'll wait for you at home!"


"Yes, you could wait for us at home..."
>>
No. 936983 ID: 395c02
File 156132114306.png - (387.46KB , 900x600 , 20.png )
936983

"...And I could tell a certain handsome slissa that you have a :sq_heart:huge crush:sq_heartr: on-- ah! tail on face!"


"I'm gonna stay far away from this conversation."


"...Fine. I'll come too."


"Then it's settled! Lead the way!"
>>
No. 936984 ID: 395c02
File 156132114797.png - (392.88KB , 900x600 , 21.png )
936984

My name is Klissa-of-Saryssa. Child of Kyra and Isthyr. Generation 62 of my family.

My father sought to explore the world outside Shaia's embrace, to experience all that She was and all that was She. To feel her Warmth on his scales and witness the gigantic bodies of water spoken of in ketza lore.

Though he is gone, the burning flame of destiny passed down to me. I'll see all there is to see, and to learn why he vanished so long ago.

Some dared to believe the Great Beast got him, but that monster is surely long dead (if it ever existed at all).

Not that it matters. My father showed no fear, and neither will I.
>>
No. 936985 ID: 395c02
File 156132115039.gif - (54.27KB , 900x600 , 22.gif )
936985

Exploring the Old Path makes for a good trial run before I set out for real. There's little to worry about so close to home, making this a good opportunity to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Heath, food, and water are ever important. Tyrsis, being part ketza, has Shaia's Love inside him. Focusing that Love lets him produce intense heat or cold.

I don't know if Tyrsis will join me on my ultimate adventure, but I'm going to be optimistic and think of him as a permanent party member. Mama, for now, is just tagging along.

Since I may find some new friends in my travels (even if only from Shaia's Embrace), I think it only fitting that I come up with a name for my adventuring party.


:SQ_pathL:Please name Kliss's party.:SQ_pathR:
>>
No. 936986 ID: 9c293c

The Seekers!
>>
No. 936988 ID: ad51b8

>>936979
is he looking at your butt?

>Please name Kliss's party
The B-Team

you know B as in birthday, since it's your birthday.
>>
No. 936991 ID: 36980e

>>936985
Coolest Dudes
Also, add a "Coolness" meter to the party screen.
>>
No. 936994 ID: 64bd5d

Shaia's Curiosity
>>
No. 936995 ID: 0fae41

Team Rockcrusher!
>>
No. 937010 ID: 8d23f0

>>936985
The Cone-heads!
>>
No. 937011 ID: 297ccf

The Adventuring Expeditioneers!
It rides the line between obvious and over the top!
>>
No. 937031 ID: 02ad28

>>936986
I like this one, nice and simple.
>>
No. 937032 ID: 8d4593

Two dead kids and a widow
>>
No. 937036 ID: 094652

The WeeBeeSeeks! (The Wishbe Seekers)
>>
No. 937044 ID: cb22c8

>>936986
Why not "The Sun-Seekers", really wear your motivations on your sleeve? You've... heard of the sun, right?
>>
No. 937049 ID: 91ee5f

>>936980
>Just picturing how it'd look on your eventual hot slissa boy life-mate~
Tyrsis is right there! You’re gonna embarrass him if you keep talking about him like that!

>>936984
>Some dared to believe the Great Beast got him, but that monster is surely long dead (if it ever existed at all).
Well, if the stories are true, then when the Great Beast got too fat to follow the ketzas down here, it got stuck at the surface entrance and was unable to get unstuck, which resulted in it starving to death.

So there’s most likely nothing to worry about.

>>936985
>team name
Gurren Lagann

Because this is pretty much how Gurren Lagann gets started.

>>936988
>is he looking at your butt?
Yes, he is.
>>
No. 937067 ID: caf1de

the fuck squad
>>
No. 937083 ID: 864e49

This IS pretty much how Gurren Lagann starts.
Team Dai-Gurren.
>>
No. 937113 ID: a9af05

>>936988
>is he looking at your butt?
That's exactly what he's doing.

>>937083
Yes, do this!
>>
No. 937169 ID: caf1de

>>937083
oh yeah!
>>
No. 937351 ID: 3121a1

Wayfinders!

>>936986
But I'm partial to this also.
>>
No. 937381 ID: ecd116

>>937351
>>936986
>>937044

or even 'the way-finding Seekers of sol/the sun' if you want to combined it into one team name or at least shorten it to just 'way-finding Seekers'.

((if that allow & ok to do that, then again if we have to pick the three separate choices by themselves alongside the others names I will gladly stand by that choice in what the others pick as well))
>>
No. 937740 ID: 4b08a5

>>937083
This one!
>>
No. 937746 ID: 395c02
File 156191818538.png - (330.54KB , 900x600 , 22.png )
937746

The ketzas told of a shining ball of light atop an infinite ceiling. They claimed it to be Shaia herself, but knowledge of her story renders that theory impossible. Over time the slissas came to call it 'Sha', borrowing the Ketza word for 'goddess'.

Could we be 'The Sha-seekers'? No, that doesn't sound quite right. We're not after the light, but the world it illuminates.

Shaia's world...

Maybe we could call ourselves 'The Seekers of Shaia', or shorten it to simply 'The Seekers'.

Hmm...

:sq_optbubble_left:X: ...'The Seekers of Shaia' is a fine name.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:Y: ...'The Seekers' is nice and simple.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 937747 ID: 395c02
File 156191818930.png - (312.00KB , 900x600 , 23.png )
937747

After a short walk we arrive at the rock Mama mentioned. A gentle scraping reveals it to be as weak as any other.

"See? Told you I wasn't lying!"

"Huh. You'd think someone would have dug through it by now, if only to grab any valuables."

"Apparently everything of value was taken long before the rock was put in place."

"If you're telling the truth... Mama, why do you know about this place? You've never been interested in stuff like this."

"I'm not, but he very much was."

Father...

"Hard to imagine he wouldn't have dug through this."

"Much like you, he never liked to take the obvious path in life. He insisted on finding another way in."

"And he succeeded, I presume. Why don't we go the way he did?"

"Oh, I'm much too old for that arduous path. Besides, Tyrsis wouldn't fit through some of the tunnels we-- he navigated."

"I'm kind of curious what's in there. Maybe some relics from the war? I'd love to see it first-hand!"

"First Mama and now you? Is it opposite day or something?

"Think of it as our hatchday present!"

"Just don't let this one fly away."

"Eheh... So, I assume I have to do the digging?"

"My claws aren't really built for it."

"And mine aren't what they used to be."

Right.
>>
No. 937748 ID: 395c02
File 156191819215.png - (249.50KB , 900x600 , 24.png )
937748

I get to work. As expected, the ketzas greatly underestimated us when putting this here.

In the silence that follows, I can almost feel something swirling in the back of my head. Thoughts? Feelings? The necklace weighs heavily on my neck, almost as though it were filled with an unreachable desire. If such a thing were even possible.

>is [Tyrsis] looking at your butt?
That's not quite what I meant by 'desire'.

>Tyrsis is right there [as an eventual life-mate]!
....

I never did like these quiet moments of introspection.

Tyrsis is a very dear and loyal friend. Loyal enough to destroy himself following me to the end of Shaia's world. I couldn't bear the thought of hurting him, or forcing him to live the kind of life I want to live.

He'll surely join me as I venture towards the surface world. Along the way, we'll pass by the ketza realm. Once there, I hope to use my great powers of matchmaking to find the perfect life-mate for him. Someone who can give him the life he deserves.

Only then can I leave Shaia's Embrace without regret. To do otherwise only invites pain.

....

My claws finally break through to the other side.
>>
No. 937749 ID: 395c02
File 156191819644.png - (341.88KB , 900x600 , 25.png )
937749

Whoa...


:sq_optbubble_left:What should I do?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 937750 ID: 0fae41

Y.
Nibble on the spikes to see if they're edible.
>>
No. 937755 ID: b1b4f3

Y.

What's with all the spikes? Those aren't natural.
First, make sure the entrance you dug reaches a spot clear of spikes.
Second, tell the others the tunnel's done.

What kind of life does Tyrsis want to live? Why would following you destroy him?
>>
No. 937758 ID: 541b8b

>>937749
ooh, so many things!
Is that spike pit in the middle of the room deep or just dark? have a look around and see where the different paths lead, get a closer look at that banner and ...is that a slissa skeleton?
>>
No. 937760 ID: 3a3c64

Y
Dig up a crystal, and either show it off to your friend and your mother, or use it as a flashlight
>>
No. 937761 ID: 8d23f0

>>937749
pick up the skeleton head and make it talk at tyrsis because that would be funny.
Y
>>
No. 937770 ID: a9af05

>>937746
Y

>>937748
>Find Tyrsis a life-mate.
What makes you think he would want anyone other than you? What makes you think you're forcing him to follow you? He could be very willing to come with you.

>>937749
Widen the tunnel so Mama and Tyrsis can come look at all of this.
>>
No. 937774 ID: 83bf07

>>937749
Make sure your path is clear. Warn the others that this place has been sealed off for a long time. Watch where you step.
>>
No. 937785 ID: 58b4f3

>>937746
Y

>>937749
Widen the path. And make sure it's extra wide for Tyrsis and his extra wide butt!
>>
No. 937801 ID: ad51b8

Y
is, is that a body over there? Next to the glowing crystal on the right that's on the ground floor. What happened here?
>>
No. 937805 ID: 91ee5f

>>937746
Y

>>937749
Tell mom and Tyrsis what you found.

>>937785
Rude.
>>
No. 937829 ID: 176a63

Y

Oh no! A slissa's skeleton? How could that have happened?
>>
No. 937838 ID: 0fae41

>>937829
They're reptiles, aren't they? They shed those every so often.
>>
No. 937862 ID: 094652

Y

You're rich! Stake your claim!

Check the skeleton, though. See if you can analyze the cause of death.
>>
No. 937866 ID: caf1de

go say hi to dad
>>
No. 937994 ID: 948104

What's that sign above the skeleton say? "Z'U3A`"?
>>
No. 938429 ID: 4b08a5

>>937749
Y

Could those 'spikes' be some kind of crystal or plant? Looking back at previous images, many of them have similar 'spike' formations. If this is a natural occurrence, I would like to know what these 'spikes' are actually called.
>>
No. 938839 ID: 395c02
File 156287998029.png - (227.35KB , 900x600 , 26.png )
938839

'The Seekers' is a fine name, and there is plenty to be sought here. I should be mindful of the time, though. I don't want to keep Mama up too late, nor do I want to worry Tyrsis's dad. I'll keep an eye on the glimmering crystals so I don't lose track of how much time's left.

>What's with all the spikes? Those aren't natural.
The tsiki spikes surround Saryssa and litter the general region. They're not quite rocks, though I'd also hesitate to call them plants. They do grow and spread, and if not tended to they can infest the area.

Since they get more sparse as you venture away from Saryssa, many believe they're related to the war. Casualties were highest here, as this was where the slissas made their final futile stand against their oppressors. Could they be Shaia's sorrow made manifest?

>Nibble on the spikes to see if they're edible.
They really aren't.

>Widen the tunnel so Mama and Tyrsis can come look at all of this.
I really shouldn't need to. Even Tyrsis can probably...

>Widen the path. And make sure it's extra wide for Tyrsis and his extra wide butt!
...I mean, his butt isn't that wide...

....
>>
No. 938840 ID: 395c02
File 156287998506.png - (386.73KB , 900x600 , 27.png )
938840

"Man, that was one roomy tunnel. Did you have to widen it so much?"

"What can I say? I just uh, enjoy digging?"

:SQ_kyrastoked: "Really!?"

"Uh... hey look! Stuff!"

"Kliss..."

"Your butt is fine!"

:SQ_tyrsisnotsure:
>>
No. 938841 ID: 395c02
File 156287998886.png - (345.17KB , 900x600 , 28.png )
938841

>Is that spike pit in the middle of the room deep or just dark?
Looks like a dried pond. The stalactites give strong evidence to there being water here in the past.

"I never thought I'd see this place again," Mama says.

"Was it really creepy last time, too?"

"Yeah..."

"Are you cold, miss Kyra? I could use Shaia's Love to..."

"No, I'm okay dear. Actually, maybe I'll use your fluff to stay warm."

"Sure."

While Mama clings to her security-fluff, I explore further ahead. I'm not surprised to see them acting apprehensive, but I can't let myself be overcome with fear! My father was never afraid, and neither will I be!
>>
No. 938842 ID: 395c02
File 156288000444.gif - (5.81MB , 900x600 , 29.gif )
938842

>is, is that a body over there?
>Oh no! A slissa's skeleton?
....
>>
No. 938843 ID: 395c02
File 156288002380.gif - (227.57KB , 900x600 , 30.gif )
938843

"Haha wow that sure is a skeleton!"

:SQ_kyrateehee: :SQ_tyrsisnotsure: "...."

"Haha... W-why don't you tell me your thoughts, big guy?"

"Uh... Well, it's definitely a ketza skeleton, since there's no horns. Maybe a casualty of the war?"

"Hard to imagine there were any ketza casualties, with how one-sided the history books claim the war was."

"Maybe they exaggerated? Shaia's Love isn't that powerful, and the slissas were fighting for their lives. It makes sense the ketzas would take some losses."

"He came to the same conclusion. But why just this one ketza? Where are the slissa bodies?

"Maybe the slissas cleaned up their own dead, but left this ketza here out of spite."

"Wouldn't the smell be enough to change their mind about that?"

"Spite can be a powerful thing..."

I examine the area around the skeleton, but don't find anything of note. I half expected it to be clinging to a letter or a trinket of some kind, but any such things would have been looted long ago.

Maybe we'll find more answers as we explore.
>>
No. 938844 ID: 395c02
File 156288003554.png - (316.33KB , 900x600 , 31.png )
938844

We take a closer look at the old worn down sign. It says...

...?

"I can't read it."

"We couldn't, either. We assumed it was something the ketzas put up."

"No, that's not their writing. This is the Old Script."

"You mentioned this before. Slissas used to write different than they do now?"

"Yeah. Over time language can evolve such that you'd hardly recognize its origin."

"Can you... read it?"

"Maybe? Let's see... G.. E.. ah. Gemune.

"What?" "What?"

"Accounting for sound changes, I think it says..."
>>
No. 938845 ID: 395c02
File 156288003921.png - (277.81KB , 900x600 , 32.png )
938845

"Remember."

Ominous.


:sq_optbubble_left:A: We should take a look at the decrepit buildings.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Let's look around for more writing.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Best we just continue down the path.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 938846 ID: 0fae41

A/b.
>>
No. 938847 ID: 8d23f0

>>938845
C
>>
No. 938848 ID: 2df440

A/B, but carefully
>>
No. 938849 ID: ad51b8

A: We should take a look at the decrepit buildings.
>>
No. 938850 ID: b1b4f3

The skeleton has a hole in the bottom of the jaw. Is that the wound that killed it?

A, b.
>>
No. 938851 ID: a9af05

>>938845
A , b
>>
No. 938852 ID: 094652

>>938843
In a warzone, anyone can die. No exceptions.
1) Someone got a lucky hit
2) Assassinated by another ketza
3) Died from stress-related health issues
4) Cave-in
5) Misfire
6) Smoke inhalation
7) Accidentally left behind, all Slissas too dead to dig them out

Take the skeleton with you. You can turn it in for autopsy and burial and get a finder's fee. A
>>
No. 938873 ID: 330920

B/a
There's a story here, one that didn't make it into popular tellings.

>>938843 >>938845
Aww, there's something kind of sad about both of these.
A body simply left to be taken by time and a sign asking the reader to remember left forgotten. Would it be a little weird to bury the bones? It feels weird just leaving them there though.
>>
No. 938880 ID: 2efb25

A, b
>>
No. 938881 ID: 91ee5f

>>938840
>"Your butt is fine!"
Kliss, you fool! You just flirted with Tyrsis by telling him that he has a fine butt! Now he’s going to think that you like him!

>>938841
>My father was never afraid, and neither will I be!
That probably not true. Your father was probably very afraid, but he kept going anyways. That’s how being brave works, you keep going, even if you’re afraid.

So it’s ok to be scared, just don’t let your fear stop you!

.....but, uh, do you think there’s enough of Tyrsis and his security-fluff for both you and your mom?

>>938845
A , b
>>
No. 938901 ID: 83bf07

B, a

Did you know Tyrsis had a handle on the old tongue?
>>
No. 939037 ID: 758ff3

B, c
>>
No. 939051 ID: df0650

>>938845
B/a
>>
No. 939064 ID: 375461

Another thought on the ketza is perhaps he got stuck here. Without a slissa companion to make one, he may have starved trying to find an exit.
>>
No. 939374 ID: a902cd

See what's further beyond the sign, C.
>>
No. 939783 ID: 395c02
File 156367371615.png - (344.15KB , 900x600 , 33.png )
939783

>Kliss, you fool! You just flirted with Tyrsis by telling him that he has a fine butt! Now he’s going to think that you like him!
He wouldn't-- It's fine. It's fine! Once I find him a wonderful life-mate he'll forget all about that stuff!

>Your father was probably very afraid, but he kept going anyways. That’s how being brave works, you keep going, even if you’re afraid.
That's right. No matter how scared I get, I must always move forward.

>Would it be a little weird to bury the bones? It feels weird just leaving them there though.
I worry they'll crumble the moment I touch them. I offer a silent prayer, asking Shaia to watch over them in the next life.

>The skeleton has a hole in the bottom of the jaw. Is that the wound that killed it?
It's hard to say. Do ketza skeletons normally have that hole? If it is a wound, it's very likely a fatal one.

Poor guy...
>>
No. 939784 ID: 395c02
File 156367371981.png - (356.14KB , 900x600 , 34.png )
939784

>Did you know Tyrsis had a handle on the old tongue?
He loves reading about stuff like that, but I wouldn't call him fluent. Hopefully he can puzzle out any writing we find.

"The tsiki spikes really did a number on these buildings," I say.

"Yeah. This is pretty much why we have clearers. And right now I'm really thankful for them.

"That was my job when I was young. Damn things always gave me the creeps."

"You never told me you were a clearer! What was it like!"

"Creepy."

That makes sense.

"Let's be careful. We do not want to get poked here."

Our scales protect us a bit from tsiki spikes, but people do sometimes get hurt. They can make you very sick if you don't get to a care ward in time, though they don't tend to be fatal.

"I can't believe you roped me into this," Mama mutters with a snort.

"This was your idea!" I say with a snort retort.

"But you're the one who..."

"Who...? Come on Mama, you can finish the sentence! I believe in you!"

"The one who enjoys this stuff! I'd rather be at home where it's safe and warm. You understand me, right Tyrsis?"

"Please don't drag me into this I don't know whose side I'm on."

Spoken like a true hybrid.

"Exploring isn't my thing so much, but I'm really curious about this whole area."

"Then let's keep looking around! Mama will just have to deal with being the person whose idea this was!"

"I'm never having ideas again."


We walk past a few buildings. Most of them are rendered inaccessible by the spikes, but I notice one that isn't as badly damaged as the others. With some coaxing, I get my companions to follow me inside.
>>
No. 939785 ID: 395c02
File 156367372273.png - (292.93KB , 900x600 , 35.png )
939785

This place looks to be a childcare center, an unfortunate victim of tsiki spikes and time. There are damaged toys and glowgems scattered about, implying this building was abandoned in a hurry.

I see two doorways, one leading upstairs and another heading to what is likely a restroom area. On the right a rock blocks access to a likely cooling area, but I might be able to dig my way in with time.

I see a painting that fell to the ground in the back.

It's hard to see upstairs, but I think there's a resting area, possibly more?

That's all I can tell from here.


:sq_optbubble_left:A: Take charge and explore further. What do I do/look at?:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Let Tyrsis lead. He's the loremaster!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Leave.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 939786 ID: 0fae41

A. Investigate the fallen signboard and deflated beanbags.
>>
No. 939788 ID: b1b4f3

>>939785
B! a: check the painting. what's that horn thing on the left?
>>
No. 939790 ID: 2df440

A. Look at the toy in the center, I hope it’s not foreshadowing!
>>
No. 939791 ID: b1b4f3

...wait how did that doll get impaled? Are the tips of the spikes so sharp that the doll's weight was enough pressure to puncture it?
>>
No. 939795 ID: 094652

B) Collect anything valuable and move on from this dreary place.
>>
No. 939797 ID: a9af05

>>939785
>glowgems
Are those valuable? Do any of you guys want to gather them up?

>a restroom area
Does anyone need to go? You might as well use it, since it's right there. It would also be helpful becuase if anyone sees anything really scary, they won't have to worry about getting the pee scared out of them, if they already went in the restroom!

>What do?
A: Dig through that rock blocking the cooling area!
>>
No. 939799 ID: 32a875

>>939785
B, and lets start by investigating that painting
>>
No. 939802 ID: c571e8

Rescue those poor stuffed animals.
>>
No. 939807 ID: 91ee5f

>>939783
>He wouldn't-- It's fine. It's fine! Once I find him a wonderful life-mate he'll forget all about that stuff!
That won’t work if he wants you to be his life-mate.

>>939785
A: Dig out that rock!

>>939791
It’s either that or when these spikes show up, the sprout out of the ground fast enough to impale things.
>>
No. 939815 ID: 864e49

A - Take horn, take wheel toy, take rope ball thing, look at painting, be disturbed at similarities between you and impaled toy.
>>
No. 939829 ID: 68550e

B, oh no the plush.
>>
No. 939877 ID: 83bf07

>>939785
A, b
Check out that painting. Lament the loss of these perfectly good and cute toys.
>>
No. 940012 ID: 9c293c

That's a really tall tsiki spike. A, b
Look at the painting.
>>
No. 940176 ID: 8f6858

A, b
Take a look at that plush? How did it get impaled? Also try digging through to the cooling area.
>>
No. 940189 ID: 3121a1

Share some confidence with Tyrsis! B
>>
No. 940209 ID: cb22c8

Is that a leash? What would you keep on a leash around here? And yeah save the toys.
>>
No. 940212 ID: 8d4593

Anyone else notice the number near he top of the frame counting down?
>>
No. 940214 ID: 91ee5f

>>940212
That was explained right here: >>938839 . Kliss said, “I don't want to keep Mama up too late, nor do I want to worry Tyrsis's dad. I'll keep an eye on the glimmering crystals so I don't lose track of how much time's left.“

It’s basically a count down of how much longer we can keep exploring before we have to go home.
>>
No. 940874 ID: 395c02
File 156445536637.png - (274.06KB , 900x600 , 36.png )
940874

I notice a stuffed toy in the middle of the room, victim of a tsiki spike. Poor thing.

...Hm.

"How do you two think that doll got there?"

"A tsiki spike grew right through it, looks like."

"I think I see what Kliss is implying. The spikes grow too slowly; It'd have been pushed to the side."

"Yeah. Someone or something put it there. "

"Maybe it was a mother overcome with frustration at her child's life-choices. She reached a breaking point and acted out against this poor toy!"

"Mama..."

"What? I'm just offering ideas!"

"I got your back So! I wonder if a ketza did this? A spiteful move in response to how this battle ultimately turned out, maybe?"

"Huh? Oh! Yes, but would a ketza be this much of a jerk?"

"Remember what sparked the war in the first place?"

"Yeah, true..."

"Ooooor it was the thing I said!"

"Sorry, Kliss."

"It's okay buddy you tried.

"What are you two...?"

"Mama, are you saying you're gonna stab my toys the moment I leave?"

"I'll keep them safe for you!"

"I can always count on you, my friend."

"Oh for Shaia's-- I'm not going to do that! Do you really trust me that little!?"

"...."

"That one time was an accident! I apologized a million times!"

"...Hey look, something else to explore!"

"Not sure what worries me more, these caves or your barely-contained drama.

"When I said you should be more assertive, this isn't quite what I meant."

"You said assertiveness was all or nothing!"

Damn, he has me there.
>>
No. 940875 ID: 395c02
File 156445537118.png - (399.39KB , 900x600 , 37.png )
940875

I examine the fallen painting.

This must be the person who ran the youth center, and the children under his watch. Imagine the struggle of getting youths to sit still long enough to be painted!

Everyone depicted is long gone, making this a somber piece of a dark time in our history. Did they survive the war? What lives did they go on to lead? The answers are likely lost to all of time.

Shaia, please watch over them, wherever they are.
>>
No. 940876 ID: 395c02
File 156445537455.png - (192.61KB , 900x600 , 38.png )
940876

I check out the assortment of toys.

Oh, I remember this one! You put the strap around your tail, then try to catch the ball with your mouth. We'd always get so dizzy playing with these.

"Oh. That thing."

"Yeah! We had so much fun with one of these!"

"Maybe you did. It'd always fall off my tail.

"That never stopped you from chasing your tail anyway."

"It knows what it did."

Mama picks up another toy-- a soft horn you'd strap to your head to headbutt others with.

"Ah, this brings me back."

"You had one of these growing up?"

"Everyone would pick on me for being a runt, but when I'd wear one of these, I'd become the terror of the playground. Before long, they were the ones getting picked on! Hshshss~!"

"I knew you took after me!"

"Other way around, dear."

There's some pads for napping on, and a little roller toy modeled after... someone? Maybe a celebrity of the time.

I look to the others hoping for more fun banter, but they just shrug at me. Not much to say about this one, I guess.
>>
No. 940877 ID: 395c02
File 156445537840.png - (315.78KB , 900x600 , 39.png )
940877

I didn't see much to explore upstairs from here, but I could check it out anyway. There's also a path likely leading to a restroom, and I see another path which might have lead to a cooler room? There's a rock in the way, so I'd have to spend some time digging through to explore.

I better not stick around too long, so let's just explore one more area.


What do I do?


:sq_optbubble_left:A: Investigate upstairs. There might be something hidden.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Check out the 'restroom'.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Dig through to the possible cooler room.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: We've seen enough. Let's move on.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 940878 ID: 0fae41

A/c.
>>
No. 940880 ID: b1b4f3

Let's check out the COOL ROOM
C, a.
>>
No. 940892 ID: 1c55a8

B,c
>>
No. 940894 ID: e7848c

C,a
We're here to explore. Explore we shall!
>>
No. 940895 ID: 91ee5f

>>940877
C , a
>>
No. 940899 ID: 094652

C, and collect the glowshards! You can use them as breadcrumbs. Or sell them.
>>
No. 940909 ID: 736b7e

C, b
>>
No. 940956 ID: 9c293c

B, a
>>
No. 940975 ID: b99069

>>940877
C/a
>>
No. 940983 ID: 2df440

A/C!
>>
No. 941037 ID: cb22c8

A/c, the trail going up is a bit conspicuous, and there looked like there was a bookshelf up there which if we're lucky might still have something on it.
>>
No. 941091 ID: 3121a1

Maybe something's underneath the stuff you saw upstairs? A, c
>>
No. 941502 ID: 758ff3

C, b
>>
No. 941958 ID: 395c02
File 156538624781.png - (354.41KB , 900x600 , 40.png )
941958

I dig through the rock blocking the cooling room. Shouldn't take too long.

>...collect the glowshards! You can use them as breadcrumbs. Or sell them.
I don't think they'll be needed here. This place was made for everyday use, so there shouldn't be any complicated branching paths to worry about.

Still, it's something to keep in the back of my mind for when I ready myself for the real thing.

Also nobody would buy these.

"This is going to smell so bad."

"Probably not. It's been so long that the food's probably fossilized."

"Fossilized food? Hsss! I'm gonna be sick."

"Don't worry, miss Kyra! Odors are the least of our worries!"

"That's not better!"

"It'll be fine, Mama! The zombies would probably eat you last!"

"What."

"I said I'm through! Come take a look!"
>>
No. 941959 ID: 395c02
File 156538625269.png - (276.92KB , 900x600 , 41-alt.png )
941959

This place doesn't look so bad, all told. The water troughs are empty and the evaporator sponges are long-gone, but the storage pots and boxes are still holding together. There's a heavy musk in the air, more a product of time than of rotting. That's not to say it's very... pleasant.

"Can someone swap noses with me? Mine's busted."

"This is the smell of exploration! Of knowledge yet to be gained!"

"It's the smell of I want to go home."

Tyrsis examines the large stone container in the center of the room.

"Nothing but bones in here."

"That tunnel back there tells me this room wasn't blocked off to protect the food."

"Tell me you're not-- of course we're going in there why am I even asking at this point."

"I haven't decided yet!"

"She's going to drag us in there and we're going to get lost."

"Mama doesn't need your help, big guy."

"Keeping up with you is a two-person... hey, is that writing?"
>>
No. 941960 ID: 395c02
File 156538625665.png - (220.35KB , 800x600 , 42.png )
941960

"Those random scribbles probably do say something! Can you read it?"

"Uuuuhh... 'se catse beot eyre ne... abredwain... cine arodnes.'"

:SQ_klissconfused: :SQ_kyraconfused:

"...Right. It says the ketza... uh... something... won't... hmm. I don't know most of these words."

"It's probably saying 'screw you, ketzas!'

"So they left a message taunting the ketzas and dug a path to freedom. We did it, team! We solved the mystery! Now let's go back on the main path and..."

"...."

"...It was worth a shot."

"If we are heading back, it could be worth it to check out some of these other containers, just in case there's some deep lore randomly hidden in one of them."

"Would someone really write a message and leave it in a random box so some strangers generations in the future would happen upon it and learn a bunch of mundane facts about their life?"

"Kliss, I've seen your bedroom."

"They must know my story."

"The very true story of how you solved every relationship problem in town before leaving."

"This is why I stopped reading you my diary entries."

"Aww, they were so cute, though! Like the time you..."

What's that? Ignore Mama and make a decision? Good idea, me!

I should put that in my diary later.


:SQ_pathL: A: Let's look around a bit then head back to the main path. :SQ_pathR:

:SQ_pathL: B: Through the tunnel! :SQ_pathR:
>>
No. 941962 ID: b1b4f3

>>941960
B obviously. Nobody's been in here! You're the first! THE FIRST!
>>
No. 941964 ID: 2df440

B! We need to find the Deep Lore!
>>
No. 941966 ID: 0fae41

B. Are you sure they didn't mean "the ketzas will never take me alive"?
>>
No. 941972 ID: 736b7e

B
>>
No. 941978 ID: ad51b8

B
to run away from mama's stories!
>>
No. 942013 ID: a9af05

>>941960
B
>>
No. 942043 ID: 9c293c

I hope those aren't slissa bones...
B
>>
No. 942056 ID: c7bc82

B!
>>
No. 942135 ID: 9d63bd

Adventure never stops! B!
>>
No. 942447 ID: 3121a1

Press on! B
>>
No. 942878 ID: 395c02
File 156609385613.png - (435.35KB , 900x600 , 43.png )
942878

>Nobody's been in here! You're the first! THE FIRST!
Consider me one sold slissa!

My companions reluctantly join me as we see where this tunnel leads. I thought the tunnel would head downward, but instead we seem to be climbing up.

>Are you sure they didn't mean "the ketzas will never take me alive"?
That's very possible! Since the ketzas can't dig through rock, it makes perfect sense for it to be a declaration meant for other slissas to see.

Or maybe they wrote the message for their own satisfaction.

>to run away from mama's stories!
Aww, but she tries her best to tell good stories!

"This reminds me of the time your father dragged me down a different tunnel. We got to the end and had to turn around and come back."

She tries.

"Oof! Not a lot of room, is there?"

"You poor thing! Need me to widen things a bit?"

"We'd be here all night if you did that. I... I'll be fine."

A full-sized ketza would struggle to fit through here, even if they didn't find tunnel travel beneath their station. Thankfully Tyrsis is able to manage, just.

...Which is odd. Shouldn't this tunnel just barely fit a single slissa? For the moment I'll just count my blessings.

"Oh! looks like it opens up ahead!"

"Thank goodness."
>>
No. 942879 ID: 395c02
File 156609385905.png - (196.18KB , 900x600 , 44.png )
942879

Whoa...
>>
No. 942880 ID: 395c02
File 156609386256.png - (210.77KB , 900x600 , 45.png )
942880

What a view!

Below me I see the Shisae Memorial, at the end of the New Path. In front of the statue of Shisae standing up to a ketza is a plaque commemorating the event.

Further down is the graveyard where casualties of the final battle lie in peace. Seeing them both from up here, it all looks so small. It's easy to forget how big the battle really was.

Generations ago another slissa took in similar view under a wildly different context. How did they feel, seeing what they saw? What would they say if they could see it now? The ruins behind me, the clean and glimmering area below. The suffering and struggles they bore, reduced to a single statue.

And a gift shop.

....

I'd like to get down there, but it's a steep, tsiki-spike-filled drop from here. The path does continue forward, at least.
>>
No. 942881 ID: 395c02
File 156609386855.png - (364.22KB , 900x600 , 46.png )
942881

Not wanting to dampen the mood, I smile at my companions.

"Well! Shall we continue?"

"Uhhh..."

"Are you crazy?? Why am I asking when I know the answer? Look, we can't walk on that tiny path!"

Oh. I hadn't even noticed-- the path ahead gets very thin, surrounded on each side by a long and deadly fall into the spikes below. Beyond it is another cave that looks to open up into a... place? Hard to see from here.

Still, it's plenty wide enough for a slissa to walk on. What's Mama worried about?

"It's not that oh right Tyrsis."

"Yeah. That's uh. I'm not gonna be able to do that."

"Huh? Oh! Yes! Think of poor Tyrsis!"

"It's okay! I can just wait here and rest a bit while you check out that tunnel!"

"why can't you help me out for once I'll uh. Keep Tyrsis company! You know how lonely he gets."

"I'll be f-- oh." Tyrsis must have noticed Mama's expression.


:SQ_pathL:The path of moving forward:SQ_pathR:
I must see what's at the end of this tunnel!

:sq_optbubble_left:A: Forge on alone, just long enough to see the room at the end of the tunnel.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Convince Mama to join me.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Convince both to join me, supporting Tyrsis so he doesn't fall.:sq_optbubble_right:

:SQ_pathL:The path of risks untaken:SQ_pathR:
That is a pretty long drop...

:sq_optbubble_left:D: Head back.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 942883 ID: 0fae41

C/a. If it gets too hard to walk upright, just crawl along on your stomach Tyrsis. Like the slissa do!
>>
No. 942884 ID: b1b4f3

>>942881
A seems fine. It's a short trip. If something is especially interesting you can come get them.
>>
No. 942885 ID: 17c2ee

E. Tell Mama to go on ahead while YOU keep Tyrsis company.
>>
No. 942889 ID: 05e505

>>942881
A - it's awesome they've come along but there's not much point making either come along right now.
You can do some solo exploring, even if it's just for a couple moments.
>>
No. 942892 ID: 094652

E) Dig a path DOWN towards the gift shop. If anything bad happens, you now have a shortcut back to civilization.
>>
No. 942895 ID: e7848c

>>942881
A,d
Forging forward sometimes requires you to go solo. But this is not farewell. You'll be back, with stories!
>>
No. 942901 ID: 312a22

A,d Let's not make them walk the scary dangerous path if they don't want to.
>>
No. 942909 ID: 9246e9

>>942895
This
>>
No. 942912 ID: 1c8cb2

Tell Tyrsis to just flap his arms around like a giant chicken if he thinks he's about to fall.

If that's not enough to convince him, well, we've come all this way already...
A,d
>>
No. 942937 ID: ad51b8

can you just dug a little into the cliff to give Trysis more room so he doesn't have to worry about falling off?
>>
No. 942987 ID: 9c293c

C, a

Maybe you can give Tyrsis support as you ride upon his back so he doesn't feel too scared by himself.
>>
No. 943492 ID: 3121a1

C
>>
No. 943495 ID: 91ee5f

>>942881
A , d
>>
No. 943502 ID: 395c02
File 156667646954.png - (291.55KB , 900x600 , 47.png )
943502

"Alright, you two can wait here while I see where this path leads."

:SQ_tyrsisshocked: :SQ_kyrashocked: "Really!?"

"Of course! I'm not gonna make you do something you don't wanna do, and I especially don't want to put Tyr in danger!"

"Sis."

"What?"

:SQ_tyrsisnotsure: "Nevermind."

"Please be careful."

"You're not gonna try and stop me?"

"Like I ever could. Just please try to think of your poor mother before doing anything crazy. More crazy than what you're about to do."

"I'll go nice and slow, okay? There's no rush."

"But the time limit..."

"...Is very forgiving. We'll be fine!"
>>
No. 943503 ID: 395c02
File 156667647236.png - (155.19KB , 900x600 , 48.png )
943503

It's one thing to say you'll cross a thin path high above the ground below, it's another to actually do it.

Eh. Being scared of things is Tyrsis's job. I'll just make sure I don't look dow-- I had one job. Time to distract myself by thinking about anything else!

This trip's been pretty fun so far, all told. My plan for exploring the outside world was to leave Mama at home and find Tyrsis a life-mate. But part of me wonders if... I dunno, maybe they could come with me? Tyrsis has Shaia's Love, which could be handy if I ran into something threatening. I swear that ability is magic.

And Mama... Well, I feel like there's a small part of her that doesn't buy into her own hype. It wasn't that hard to convince her to come with us, considering the uphill battles I normally climb getting her to do things. That means this trip could be less about me and more about convincing herself she doesn't want this life. But if she ends up enjoying herself...

Well, nothing's set in rock and stone, right?

I'm not going to make them join me, but what I can do is make sure they enjoy themselves on this venture! To that end, I hope I find something cool ahead to show them...
>>
No. 943504 ID: 395c02
File 156667647503.png - (296.44KB , 900x600 , 49.png )
943504

Ask unto Shaia and you shall receive!

Or something like that whatever doesn't matter look at all this cool stuff. I was seriously half-expecting an empty room!

Looks like our slissa friend carved out quite a bunker for themselves. The tablets and map give the impression they used this as a kind of staging area. There's slits in the walls that look out to the terrain below. Were they planning something? Did they view the climactic battle from above, or was this long before?

There's a necklace, maybe an heirloom like my own. There's some claw marks nearby...

My eyes are drawn to some maps on the table. What could they reveal?

I see several tablets in that old language. Tyrsis could reveal their intent, or at least try to.

There's a sleeping pad with another slissa doll. Was there more than one slissa here? Kidssas aren't generally capable of making a room like this, leading me to assume the caretaker fled here with some of the children. Did they all have to share one bed...?

More empty pots, implying they at least brought some food with them.

And... two holes? One might have been for uh, waste. The other... a tunnel? It curves down at a kinda harsh angle.


:SQ_pathL: The path downward :SQ_pathR:
:sq_optbubble_left:A: See where this path leads.:sq_optbubble_right:


:SQ_pathL: The path back to companions :SQ_pathR:
I shouldn't dawdle here while Mama and Tyrsis wait for me. I'd rather not put any of this stuff in my mouth, so a lot of it would have to be awkwardly held while I wobble on hind-legs. Now then-- what should I bring back?

:sq_optbubble_left:B: The necklace. Very easy to carry around my neck.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: The maps. They could reveal more paths to explore!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: The tablets. There's a whole bunch of lore in them.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:E: The doll. Uh, I guess I could give it to Tyrsis or Mama? It's in decent shape, all told.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 943506 ID: 0fae41

A/b&c. You must equip the necklace! We must reconnect with our kin! Really, I don't see wy you couldn't carry that around your neck while you hold the maps in your mouth. You could even fit a third thing in one claw if you were sure of your footing...
>>
No. 943508 ID: b1b4f3

>>943504
>harsh angle
There's a chance you'd slip down and not be able to get back up...

D, c.
You can come back here again for the maps or to explore down the mystery tunnel, perhaps by digging it out into a gentler slope.
>>
No. 943510 ID: 864e49

Throw doll down tunnel.
B Equip necklace.
D/C Take tablets and if you can maps too.
>>
No. 943511 ID: ad51b8

A
b/d
>>
No. 943512 ID: dbf437

B, C, and D if you can. I really think we should take the maps because they look like maps of the outside world.
>>
No. 943513 ID: 83bf07

>>943504
B,c
Easiest to move without risking yourself.
>>
No. 943514 ID: 91ee5f

>>943504
B , c

Those are the easiest to carry.
>>
No. 943517 ID: a9af05

>>943504
B/c

Do not go down that hole, you might not be able to climb back up!
>>
No. 943533 ID: 2df440

Wait, why don’t you start taking the maps, necklace, and tablets back to Tyrsis and momma (make multiple trips if needed)?
>>
No. 943552 ID: 3121a1

A, D otherwise. Gotta get Tyrsis up on his language skill!
>>
No. 943579 ID: 58b4f3

>>943504
>What do?
B/c

>Follow path?
Yeah, sure, go follow the path. Then when you're unable to get back up, both Tyrsis and your mom will get worried and try to cross the narrow path to come check on you. That's when Tyrsis will lose his balance and start falling. Your mom will bravely try to catch him, but Tyrsis and his extra wide butt will be too heavy for her and she'll end up falling with him. They'll both fall to their doom and it'll be all your fault because you went down a path you couldn't come back from!

If you don't want that to happen, then don't follow that path.
>>
No. 943581 ID: 1c8cb2

B,c
We have plenty of time! Let's just bring all the stuff back to mama and then continue down the path.
>>
No. 943593 ID: c3f16e

>>943504
We really should loot everything. We can take more than one trip. After we loot it, we can go down the path.
>>
No. 943635 ID: 9c293c

Maps eh? Doesn't look like anything from underground unless it's some big cavern oasis. C, d
>>
No. 943784 ID: adb0d6

D, Gotta read the lore.
>>
No. 944336 ID: 395c02
File 156764995195.png - (321.88KB , 900x600 , 50.png )
944336

>Really, I don't see why you couldn't carry that around your neck while you hold the maps in your mouth.
I really don't want to put generations-old objects in my mouth.

>Multiple trips
Not a bad plan! Since there's no way I'm putting gross stuff in my mouth, I'll wear the necklace and use my arms to carry one thing at a time.

I need to be careful. We can't walk on our hind legs as well as those fluffballs-- I mean ketzas. And Tyrsis.

Guess I'll start with... the tablets! Tyrsis can work on them while I get the other stuff!
>>
No. 944337 ID: 395c02
File 156764995496.png - (139.15KB , 900x600 , 51.png )
944337

Hss... yep, this is awkward. Slowly and cautiously. No reason to rush.

....

....

Oh no!
>>
No. 944338 ID: 395c02
File 156764995813.png - (368.87KB , 900x600 , 52.png )
944338

I made it!

Why was that an 'oh no' situation?

"Whoa! You found stuff!"

"I found so much stuff!"

"Did you find my heart? You know, after it jumped out of my chest when I saw you walking that path on hind legs?"

"Yeah-- I'll have to go back for it."

:sq_kyrashocked: "What!?"

:sq_tyrsisshocked: "How!?"

"I'm kidding! Gosh, you two. There's some more stuff I want to grab."

"You're... going back...? Oh, I need to lie down."

"Do I have to be the pillow again?"
>>
No. 944339 ID: 395c02
File 156764996253.png - (296.53KB , 900x600 , 53.png )
944339

Whew.

How about we just make the two trips? My legs really don't like me doing this. The map and tablets were the big things to grab, anyway.

And this necklace! I wonder who this was? Maybe they have descendents who still live...
>>
No. 944340 ID: 395c02
File 156764997153.gif - (3.55MB , 900x600 , 54.gif )
944340

>>
No. 944341 ID: 395c02
File 156764999621.png - (243.86KB , 900x600 , 55.png )
944341

Hssaahh!

Why'd I try to be greedy!?

...I can't...

...Hold on...

"Kliss! Just hang on! I'm coming to get you!"

"Tyrsis--"


:SQ_pathL:A: "--Help me!":SQ_pathR:
:SQ_pathL:B: "--Stay back!":SQ_pathR:
>>
No. 944342 ID: d0db1f

OH NO TYRSIS SAVE ME

A
>>
No. 944343 ID: 0efe8e

Wow, what a... Cliffhanger
>>
No. 944344 ID: e7c7d3

B

Try to grab onto a nearby spike.
>>
No. 944345 ID: 0fae41

B. Fly, you fools!
>>
No. 944347 ID: 736b7e

B, Tyrsis is big and could further collapse the path.
>>
No. 944351 ID: e7848c

The structural integrity of the ground cannot be verified right now. B. You have hiking spikes, use them. Dig your front claws into the ground right in front of you and push back, any little bit you can gain is closer to safety. Just a little bit at a time until you can get enough leverage to use your back legs to pull you up. Do not panic.
>>
No. 944352 ID: e6f10c

B. If the path is weak enough to break under just your weight, then it's likely it'll break under both your weight and Tyrsis', especially if he runs to you. Make sure you make this clear to him (and your mom) after you yell for him to stay back.

Be very slow and deliberate in your movements to right yourself, since sudden movements likely will break the pathway more. Tip your head back and keep it there to lock your necklace in place against your horns. Plant your claws in the rock face well apart to spread the load and slowly push yourself back up, winkling your legs and tail back over the path.
>>
No. 944382 ID: c3f16e

Very B
>>
No. 944383 ID: a9af05

>>944341
Whoever told Kliss to take multiple trips to get everything, shame on you. She's in this situation because you got greedy.

>What do?
B

It's great that Tyrsis wants to help, but you've gotta tell him to stay back! The bridge will collapse if he tries to help! Say the same thing to your mom, so that she also stays back!

Of course, your mom isn't going to listen because she's your mom and wants to save her baby girl, so she's going to come over anyways.

Who knows? Maybe her small size and light weight will let her come help you, without breaking the bridge some more?
>>
No. 944384 ID: 094652

B and DIG FOR YOUR LIFE! DIG THE WALL DIG THE WALL DIG THE WALL! Make a literal niche!
>>
No. 945057 ID: 395c02
File 156846978919.png - (264.05KB , 900x600 , 56.png )
945057

"Stay back! I'll be fine!"

"But...!"

"Both of you, just... give me a second!"

"...."

>Tip your head back and keep it there to lock your necklace in place against your horns
Ah--! I have to make sure I don't drop it!

>Try to grab onto a nearby spike.
It might just barely be in reach. Okay... I only get one shot at this.

I start to reach out towards it...
>>
No. 945058 ID: 395c02
File 156846979303.png - (493.03KB , 900x600 , 57.png )
945058

"Kliss! Don't move! Stay calm and do exactly as I say!"

"Mama...?"

"Dig your claws into the cliff behind you!"

"R-right!"
>>
No. 945059 ID: 395c02
File 156846979668.png - (268.98KB , 900x600 , 58.png )
945059

Don't panic. Don't panic.

Okay...

I carefully bury my claws into the ground behind me. My legs feel like they're about to fall off!

"Good! Now push yourself up-- carefully! Use your claws as leverage and keep climbing. Don't stop until your legs and tail can get you the rest of the way!"

How does...? No time for that! I need to concentrate.

With slow and careful motions I move myself upwards, until I'm finally back on the path.

"Good job! But don't rest yet! You need to crawl over here where it's safe!"

Crawling is about the extent of what I can do. My legs have no desire to support my weight right now.
>>
No. 945060 ID: 395c02
File 156846979901.png - (337.99KB , 900x600 , 59.png )
945060

"Thank Shaia you're safe! I was so scared..."

"Oh, Kliss... I'm so glad you listened to me for once."

"Mama..."

"You can't keep taking these kinds of risks! Eventually the time will come when I won't be around to save you."

"And... I can't do this. Not again."


How should I respond?
>>
No. 945061 ID: 583a60

Just hug everyone for now while you recover.
>>
No. 945063 ID: 015bf2

>>945060
Meekly start to say "okay".

Then take a deep breath, grab your mother's shoulders, look her in the eyes and say, louder, "Thank you," then hug her back. Gesture for Tyrsis to join the hug-pile. Be silent for a short while, then sigh.

Tell her you were stupid, but... was there even a better way? Like, could you have dug a safer path? Spotted how crumbly the ledge was somehow? Just crawled the whole way from the beginning? You don't want to take super crazy risks - you don't want to make anyone afraid for you! - but you don't want to give up on adventure, even if it means risks. And sometimes it pays. Just look at the stuff you found! And there was a further path up there!

But that fall was... dangerous and scary. And mom saved you like a badass - where'd she learn that trick? - and has been super helpful so far, even in just telling you of this place, so maybe, if she wants, she can be there for you a little longer and come along on a few more of your adventures, uh, or just give some adventuring advice to start you off other than 'don't'. You'll listen a little better, you promise.

And... you think it's time to head back to examine your findings.
>>
No. 945070 ID: b1b4f3

>>945060
Well at least we got some stuff out of it. Look at the stuff.
>>
No. 945072 ID: 83bf07

>>945060
Hugs time? Hugs time. Thank your mom. She made the the right call. Steady yourself. It's a long way back.
>>
No. 945081 ID: 91ee5f

>>945060
That’s enough excitement. It’s time for us to go back.
>>
No. 945091 ID: 58b4f3

>>945060
Look on the bright side, at least this isn't some sort of cliché where your mom saves you and then she ends up falling to her death! Because if that happened, you would've become traumatized and you'd give up trying to go to the surface! Which would've been sad, since it too your mother dying to get you to give up on that!

So it's a good thing that didn't happen!

>What do?
Go home.
>>
No. 945706 ID: a48264

Give hugs and contemplate just how fragile your life is and how you almost died the cave you called boring and how you're planning to leave it for an adventure in the much more dangerous outside world with nobody to save you when you inevitably get into another life-or-death situation oh god oh fuck what were you thinking ask the others what they want to do next. They might want to spend the rest of the day doing something more relaxing after that incident, but at least you won't be leaving empty-handed.
>>
No. 945711 ID: ad51b8

whelp that was fun, let's head home and grab something to eat.
>>
No. 946406 ID: 9c293c

"...Thanks and sorry, Mom."
>>
No. 947029 ID: 30b39a
File 157094435788.png - (317.66KB , 900x600 , 60.png )
947029

>Tell her you were stupid...
The words don't come.

>could you have dug a safer path?

>Spotted how crumbly the ledge was somehow?

>Just crawled the whole way from the beginning?

>contemplate just how fragile your life is

....
>>
No. 947030 ID: 30b39a
File 157094436034.png - (314.09KB , 900x600 , 61.png )
947030

"Thanks, Mama. I'm sorry."

"What...?"
>>
No. 947031 ID: 30b39a
File 157094436207.png - (361.98KB , 900x600 , 62.png )
947031

"Come on, Tyrsis. Let's go home."

"Kliss!"
>>
No. 947032 ID: 30b39a
File 157094436554.png - (362.50KB , 900x600 , 63.png )
947032

The trip back to my house is quiet and uneventful. We each take turns cleaning the dirt off our scales, me waiting to go last. I spend some time staring at my own reflection before returning to the main room. It looks like Mama went to bed already.


"At least we didn't come back empty-handed."

"Yeah."

"Wanna check out the cool things you found?"

"Sure."
>>
No. 947033 ID: 30b39a
File 157094436786.png - (329.36KB , 900x600 , 64.png )
947033

"It'll take me a while to figure out what the tablets say."

"That's fine. There's no real rush."

"Well, uh... what do you think's on them? Probably someone's raunchy diary! Or-- or a love letter to some would-be mate!"

"Considering where I found them, they probably contain stuff about the ketza army."

"Oh, ah, yes... That's probably it."

....

"It wasn't your fault, you know."

"Yeah it was. I should have been more careful. Maybe Mama's..."

"You wouldn't forgive me if I let you finish that thought."

"...."

"Don't let what happened get to you. Everything turned out fine, and now you know better for next time."

"Tyrsis, stop. You don't have to try and save my feelings, okay? I know you two think I'm crazy for wanting to do this. I'm sure today removed all doubt."

"But you still want to do it."

"I-- maybe. I don't know. Why aren't you, I dunno, using this to talk me out of it?"

"The thought of losing you terrifies me."

"...."

"But the thought of seeing you spend your life being miserable scares me more."

"Stop-- yell at me! Tell me I'm being stupid! Tell me this whole thing is stupid!"

"You're tired and stressed. Let's sleep on it and come back with cooler heads, okay? I'll see you next Wake."


He begins to leave.

....
>>
No. 947034 ID: 30b39a
File 157094437015.png - (365.74KB , 900x600 , 65.png )
947034

"Tyrsis?"

"Hm?"


What do I say?
>>
No. 947035 ID: 19fdd8

>>947034
Ask him to spend the night. Cuddle platonically.
>>
No. 947036 ID: afdebc

>>947034
Get flustered and insult him.
>>
No. 947037 ID: 0fae41

"Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game."
>>
No. 947038 ID: b1b4f3

>>947034
Ask him if he has feelings for you.
>>
No. 947040 ID: 2df440

HUG HIM, YOU FOOL
>>
No. 947041 ID: a64bfa

Thank him. He's been a hell of a friend. Hug him if you're up for it.... Cry if you need too.
>>
No. 947043 ID: 76349d

"Thanks. For saying that. And for being you."
>>
No. 947045 ID: a9af05

>>947038
>>947040
Both of these!
>>
No. 947060 ID: 91ee5f

>>947033
>"The thought of losing you terrifies me."
>"But the thought of seeing you spend your life being miserable scares me more."
Aw, Tyrsis cares about you! He’ll be a good life-mate for you, Kliss!

>>947038
>>947040
Yes.
>>
No. 947103 ID: feecd8

>>947038
>>947040
The obvious correct thing to do right now.
>>
No. 947545 ID: 9c293c

Sorry for kind of dragging you around with me today.
>>
No. 949379 ID: 30b39a
File 157361358857.png - (362.17KB , 900x600 , 66.png )
949379

>Ask him to spend the night. Cuddle platonically.
>Get flustered and insult him.
>Ask him if he has feelings for you.
>Sorry for kind of dragging you around with me today.
>HUG HIM, YOU FOOL
>"Thanks. For saying that. And for being you."

....

"Good sleep, Tyrsis."
>>
No. 949380 ID: 30b39a
File 157361359008.png - (317.37KB , 900x600 , 67.png )
949380

"...Good sleep, Kliss."
>>
No. 949381 ID: 30b39a
File 157361359344.png - (229.34KB , 900x600 , 68.png )
949381

>Aw, Tyrsis cares about you! He’ll be a good life-mate for you, Kliss!
Like I said...
>>
No. 949382 ID: 30b39a
File 157361359644.png - (241.46KB , 900x600 , 69.png )
949382

...I can't bear the thought of hurting him.
>>
No. 949383 ID: 30b39a
File 157361359922.png - (365.97KB , 900x600 , 70.png )
949383

On the next wake, I find myself... alone.

....

I should take a walk. Clear my... everything.

See my hometown one last time.

I need a clear mind and a steady heart before saying what needs to be said to Mama and Tyrsis.

I look at a map of Saryssa, hoping to at least figure out where I'm heading.
>>
No. 949384 ID: 30b39a
File 157361360331.png - (540.58KB , 900x600 , 71.png )
949384

The town of Saryssa is the deepest town in Shaia's Embrace, which is inconvenient if you have aspirations of seeing the outside world. On the left is a front view of the town, with the back shown on the bottom-right. Top-right is where we sit in Shaia's Embrace.

It's also a reminder of what needs to happen for me to escape this place. I'll need to pass through the Joint Capital, the Ketzas, and the Path of the Beast to make it out...

But I'll worry about that later. For now, my options for taking a stroll are as follows:


:sq_optbubble_left:A: The Gov and Commercial Tier, where the capital, stores, church of Shaia, and nursery lie.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Residential Tier, where Tyrsis and I live. I worry about running into him...:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Wealthy Tier, where the well-off make their homes.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: The Reservoir Pond. Maybe a nice swim will clear my mind.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:E: The Ranch Area, where food and bugs are grown. :sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:F: Shisae Point (the normal way), the place I wasn't able to make it to last wake.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 949385 ID: 0fae41

B/e.
>>
No. 949386 ID: 2f854d

F, we should see what we missed last time
>>
No. 949388 ID: b1b4f3

>>949382
Try to decide what to do based on love, not fear.
>>949384
F, e
>>
No. 949392 ID: e4f414

>>949384
B/d
Adventurers know the risks, and still go. You can't let fear rule you. You're going to face it head on.
>>
No. 949394 ID: 094652

C - Spend some time in the wealthy tier. It might be a long time before you return home, may as well visit the part you've never been to...
>>
No. 949395 ID: 91ee5f

>>949381
>Like I said...
>>949382
>...I can't bear the thought of hurting him.
It’s too late for that. You’re already hurting him by wanting to go to the surface and leave him behind.

Which is why he’s probably going to try and come with you. He can’t bear the thought of you being hurt and alone on the surface.

>>949384
B/d
>>
No. 949416 ID: a9af05

>>949382
>...I can't bear the thought of hurting him.
If you didn't want to hurt him, then you shouldn't have thrown away that wishbe he gave you as a present. He must've been absolutely crushed when you didn't eat it!

Although, you've gotta admit, he does a really good job of hiding his pain.

>>949384
B/d

>I worry about running into him...
Facing your fears is what being an adventurer is all about.
>>
No. 949681 ID: 30b39a
File 157395693554.png - (458.87KB , 900x600 , 72.png )
949681

>It’s too late for that. You’re already hurting him by wanting to go to the surface and leave him behind.
That's why it's so complicated!

>Which is why he’s probably going to try and come with you.
Yeah I know!

>Try to decide what to do based on love, not fear.
I'd love for a way we could both be happy!

>If you didn't want to hurt him, then you shouldn't have thrown away that wishbe he gave you as a present. He must've been absolutely crushed when you didn't eat it!
He wasn't...
>>
No. 949682 ID: 30b39a
File 157395693883.png - (463.37KB , 900x600 , 73.png )
949682

I don't know.

It's not like I'm trying to be selfish. If I was, I'd be halfway towards the Path of the Beast by now.

And it's because I care about Tyrsis that I don't want to leave him alone-- nor do I want to force him to live a life he doesn't want. And he said he'd be equally miserable if I made that same sacrifice for his sake.

I'm not saying I'd turn him down if he offered to come with me, but I'd need to know it's because he really wants to. Not because he...

...Feels something I can't reciprocate.

That near-miss last wake was a harsh reminder of the dangers I'll face. If I had fallen from that path...

If I did meet the same fate my father did...

What would...

....

Okay yeah taking that walk now.
>>
No. 949683 ID: 30b39a
File 157395694173.png - (425.70KB , 900x600 , 74.png )
949683

Don't feel like going super far. It's a bit risky, but I'd rather stay on my home tier.

As I walk, I see other slissas venturing to wherever they spend their waking glimmers. The same scene a thousand times over.

For most of my life I felt bad for them being stuck in this boring place, but in this moment... I envy them.

I did whatever I could to make their lives brighter, more exciting. I even sparked some historic relationships!

But in the end, what did I change? They still see the same tsiki spikes, the same rocks and dirt.

There has to be more than this. Shaia must have created us to serve some greater purpose.

Maybe I can help Tyrsis understand that. Maybe there's a spark in him that can yet be lit. Then we could...
>>
No. 949684 ID: 30b39a
File 157395694338.png - (362.24KB , 900x600 , 75.png )
949684

"Have you heard, miss?"

"Sssuh!?"

"The Grand Mayor's rationing certain things due to supply issues from Zhe Zhin!"

"Oh dear! But why are you telling a random stranger about that?"
>>
No. 949685 ID: 30b39a
File 157395694677.png - (471.75KB , 900x600 , 76.png )
949685

"Three gems for a paper!"

"Is that one of the things being rationed?"

"Yes!"


Right. Well, I hadn't made it all that far, so I could run back and grab some money...

:sq_optbubble_left:A: "Sure, let's see what all the fuss is about.":sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: "No thanks, I've plenty on my plate already.":sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Maybe I can get some free information out of this guy...:sq_optbubble_right:

If I did want to go for my third idea, I should think about what TACTIC to use...
>>
No. 949686 ID: 0fae41

B/c: 'Why should I buy a newspaper when I can get this info off a random kid in the street?"
>>
No. 949690 ID: e7c7d3

A: Be the informed citizen.
>>
No. 949692 ID: 230dfd

A! We need more plot hooks information!
>>
No. 949693 ID: 094652

A) He's like a mini-you!
>>
No. 949697 ID: a9af05

>>949685
A/b
>>
No. 949705 ID: e7848c

I guess you could take your mind off your problems and onto someone else's problems.

A
>>
No. 949706 ID: 015bf2

>>949685
Nothing quite like A distraction to take your mind off your worries!
>>
No. 949760 ID: b1b4f3

>>949682
>Feels something I can't reciprocate.
You only like him as a friend?
>>
No. 949873 ID: adb0d6

Pay paperboy slissa! Lets see some news.
>>
No. 950022 ID: 30b39a
File 157430622707.png - (155.63KB , 900x600 , 77.png )
950022

>You only like [Tyrsis] as a friend?
Much more than a friend. He's my companion, as dear to me as Mama.

Even if it's not romantic, that still has to count for something, right?

>[This child is] like a mini-you!
He's a pretty cute kid. I resist the urge to pat his head, since I wouldn't want to belittle a big boy who's doing such a good job.

>I guess you could take your mind off your problems and onto someone else's problems.
It's this thinking that keeps the local paper in business!

"All right, I'll take one. Give me a moment to get some gems."

"Hurray!!!"

Aww, he's so excited wagging his little tail.
>>
No. 950023 ID: 30b39a
File 157430623039.png - (235.57KB , 900x600 , 78.png )
950023

I hand him three gems and forget I wasn't supposed to pat his head. He squeaks with delight and I can't help but smile a little.

"Thanks so much, miss!!!"

He waves happily and runs off, probably to show his mama what a good job he did. I think I'm feeling a little better now.

Let's ruin that by checking the news!
>>
No. 950024 ID: 30b39a
File 157430623486.png - (366.91KB , 900x600 , 79.png )
950024

Saryssa Gazette

Supply lines in crises!!!

More on page 12!


I flip through several ads for horn polishers and creams promising to make my scales glisten in the dim purple light emitted by our glowgems. This is a good use of our now-limited supply of paper!

Here we go.


King Tian III has issued an advisory stating there may be supply issues coming from the city of Zhe Zhin, where a lot of our plant-based supplies are imported from.

"Biuban Zhu Chi," he said, speaking the traditional ketza language. It roughly translates to 'Things are a bit inconvenient right now."

His speech continues, saying the Royal Goods Authority are working on the problem. He insists the problem should be resolved in the coming wakes, but advises everyone to plan for interruptions in those exports. Things like paper and coldbox evaporator pads might be in short supply for a while. Other goods will continue to flow as normal.

He gave very few details, as is expected when dealing with the secretive nature of their underground plant-growing techniques.

The Grand Mayor of Saryssa has informed us of an intent to ration those goods until the supply lines return to normal. He's graciously granted an exception to the Saryssa Gazette so we can continue to bring you the latest news.


Yep.

Let's see what else is in here...


Tomorrow's weather: Calm and cave-like.

Why do we have this section? Next.


Prince Xiuan's finally found his life-mate!

A chance encounter at the royal pond has lead him to the love of his life, he says. The name of the betrothed is being withheld until the day of the joining ceremony, but King Tian III made a short speech remarking that it's purely coincidental that he specifically hired this person to come to the pond and talk to his son. He claims it has nothing to do with how long Prince Xiuan has gone without a life-mate.

This paper chooses not to remark on the king spending longer on denying this than on the very serious supply crises, nor will we comment on how it's only a rumor because he specifically mentioned it. Emphasis ours.


Ketzas sure are something.

Not seeing anything else that's all that interesting. Apparently there's a play coming to our town soon?

Oh, but what's this...?
>>
No. 950025 ID: 30b39a
File 157430623624.png - (364.78KB , 900x600 , 80.png )
950025

Don't miss the Shaia's Embrace grand caravan! The Lyskrr transport service is teaming up with the Rongao Yushun company to bring you a tour of the entire cave-system we share with our ketza friends! From Saryssa[i] to the [i]Path of the Beast and back! The tour is expected to take 20 wakes so be sure to pack everything you need!

There's still plenty of seats as of this writing, and the asking price is only 20 gems per person!

The caravan leaves on the 23rd wake of the growing season. Don't miss out!


....
>>
No. 950026 ID: 30b39a
File 157430623885.png - (308.80KB , 900x600 , 81.png )
950026

That's three wakes from now.

That caravan would give me a direct path to the outside world. I can't pass this up.

My chest feels warm. It can't be coincidence! This has to be a sign from Shaia herself! Fate itself intervened to ensure I would meet my destiny!

No, don't be crazy. This is coincidence. A wonderful, amazing coincidence.

Last wake reminded me how dangerous the world is. One wrong move could mean death. My plans could ultimately fail.

My impromptu speech to the wishbe flashes in my mind; Life is about failing, about learning.

Learning is how we grow. In our mistakes we find...
>>
No. 950027 ID: 30b39a
File 157430624169.png - (391.99KB , 900x600 , 82.png )
950027

...Kinship.


>_
>>
No. 950028 ID: b1b4f3

>>950022
>not romantic
You don't find him attractive?

>>950027
I wonder how she learned how to recover after a dangle like that, hmm? You should have a chat with her later to find out how you can better prepare yourself for your adventures.
>>
No. 950030 ID: 094652

You can't pass this opportunity up. A month of trading goods and digging up gems, visiting the whole colony, should get you out of this funk.

Ask Tysis if he wants to go, but you can't bog yourself down on other peoples' angst.
>>
No. 950034 ID: 91ee5f

>>950027
And from kinship, something more romantic has a chance to form. Which is apparently how your mom and dad met each other and fell in love.

How else do you think your mom knew how to safely direct you so you could climb back up? She learned from your father. Perhaps you can convince her to teach you some more things she learned from your father to help you on your adventure?
>>
No. 950037 ID: 83bf07

Go to them.
>>
No. 950049 ID: adb0d6

All the more reason to admit you can't do much on your own! That's why you gotta let them have your back if they're willing.

Definitely worth taking a look around shops to prepare at some point until then.
>>
No. 950070 ID: 3fd119

If you leave, you might not see your family for years. You might not even return. You should try to learn as much from them as you can. Tyrsis seems to be pretty well-educated, and your mama seems like she's got a lot more life experience than you knew. Try to spend enough time with them to get some more stories to remember them by, since it might be your last chance.
>>
No. 950341 ID: 30b39a
File 157464917396.png - (294.63KB , 900x600 , 83.png )
950341

>And from kinship, something more romantic has a chance to form.
Not quite the epiphany I was going for.

>You don't find him attractive?
That's not-- We're not the same species! Okay we sort of are but that's also not important right now!

>How else do you think your mom knew how to safely direct you so you could climb back up? She learned from your father.
There we go!
>>
No. 950342 ID: 30b39a
File 157464917508.png - (450.17KB , 900x600 , 84.png )
950342

Now then. Mom knew what to do because she learned from my father. Maybe she remembered him talking about his adventures, but the confident way she instructed me can only come from experience! She joined him! She had to have!

>All the more reason to admit you can't do much on your own!
Rather than convince her I know what I'm doing, I need only show her that I'm willing to take things seriously. That there's more to gain in teaching me than talking me out of it.

That she, too, once felt the call of adventure.

>You can't pass this opportunity up. A month of trading goods and digging up gems, visiting the whole colony, should get you out of this funk.
That's right. I can't let one admittedly dangerous mistake keep me from at least trying to see this through.
>>
No. 950343 ID: 30b39a
File 157464917861.png - (389.21KB , 900x600 , 85.png )
950343

And for that, this caravan is the key. It's a round trip, right? I could bring Tyrsis with me, figure out our... stuff, and there's a direct path back home if we end up needing it.

I don't think Mama would be willing to come, but I can still spend this time learning from her and making sure there's no hard feelings between us.

But for now, I know what I need to do.
>>
No. 950344 ID: 30b39a
File 157464918177.png - (338.84KB , 900x600 , 86.png )
950344

A feeling. A thought. Guiding me. Showing me the way.

>Go to them.

Yes. I must...


"Oh!"
>>
No. 950345 ID: 30b39a
File 157464918462.png - (522.43KB , 900x600 , 87.png )
950345

"Um."

"H-hello.

!!!!


:sq_optbubble_left:A: "Let's talk about our complicated relationship that may or may not be romantic???":sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 950346 ID: 30b39a
File 157464918757.png - (379.38KB , 900x600 , 88.png )
950346

That's seriously the first thing I come up with!? I'm not ready to talk to him at all, much less about that!

Hsss I don't know if I need to apologize or what! I forgot to figure that out! I was distracted by the news!

And now this is getting really awkward and I really really need to really say something and all I can think to say is 'really'!

Really!

:sq_optbubble_left:B: "Tyrsis! Look! Caravan!":sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: "Sorry about last night...":sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: "Thanks for last night...":sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:E: "Are you okay?":sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 950347 ID: 0fae41

C/e. Alternatively, you could make him a cool hat with your parchment ration.
>>
No. 950348 ID: bef60d

>>950346
C, but you need to prepare for A later, mentally. That problem isn't going away on it's own.
>>
No. 950349 ID: cdabe3

>>950348
Yes, this.
>>
No. 950351 ID: 49a777

Never C! Apologies are usually less accepted than appreciation; focus on the positive. Go with B (trust me, I've made the mistake of doing otherwise).
>>
No. 950352 ID: b1b4f3

>>950346
B!
a
>>
No. 950353 ID: cdabe3

>> That's not-- We're not the same species! Okay we sort of are but that's also not important right now!

Hey wait, yeah, Tyrsis is half slissa, isn’t he...? Doesn’t that mean that slissas and ketzas can love? Then species doesn’t really matter so much!
>>
No. 950356 ID: 2202fb

A
b
>>
No. 950357 ID: a9af05

>>950342
>She joined him! She had to have!
Or maybe your mom was the adventurous one and your dad joined her?

>>950345
>>950346
A , b
>>
No. 950359 ID: 12b116

B
>>
No. 950360 ID: 83bf07

>>950346
D, e
We'll hit the ground running!
>>
No. 950376 ID: 49a777

>>950351
I realized I put B, evidently I forgot the order of the alphabet. I meant D, the letter that comes after C. So while B needs to happen eventually, my vote is for D.
>>
No. 950377 ID: 736b7e

A, B
>>
No. 950384 ID: 56076d

B!
>>
No. 950411 ID: 3fd119

D, b... Right! Spending time with your friends and not making it weird!
>>
No. 950414 ID: 2d058d

D! thank him
>>
No. 950418 ID: 91ee5f

D/a
>>
No. 950419 ID: 475d85

BE yourself.
>>
No. 950553 ID: 4ef7b2

C or E!
>>
No. 951347 ID: 30b39a
File 157594407917.png - (376.71KB , 900x600 , 89.png )
951347

>Or maybe your mom was the adventurous one and your dad joined her?
That makes no sense at all! Dad was the more adventurous one-- he's the one that left home never to return!

Unless she stayed behind because of...

No, this isn't the time for that.


I don't know if I want to thank Tyrsis or apologize, but I do know I don't want to wallow in what happened. For both our sakes, the best move is to move forward with my usual optimism. It might cheer him up, too.

Okay.
>>
No. 951348 ID: 30b39a
File 157594408270.png - (385.24KB , 900x600 , 90.png )
951348

"Hey... you! Buddy!"

I'm so good at playing it cool it's not even funny. And by that I mean please send help.

"Hi...! Um, are you okay? You made a lot of concerning faces just now."

"Oh that was I was just uh hey look at this!"
>>
No. 951349 ID: 30b39a
File 157594408610.png - (407.43KB , 900x600 , 91.png )
951349

"That is in fact a newspaper!"

"Come on man, you know what I meant."

"I dunno... you might have to spell it out for me."

"C A R A V A N!"

"It goes all the way to the Path of the Beast!"

"Huh. Through the Ketzas and everything."

"Yeah, I guess! And it's a round trip, too! You know, in case I... um..."


"Change your mind? I think we both know that's not happening."

:sq_klissnotsure: "...."

"Do you remember when we visited the Unified Capital when we were little?"

"Huh? Uh... kind of?"
>>
No. 951351 ID: 30b39a


Youtube version: https://youtu.be/AUA9FiY8ibc
>>
No. 951352 ID: 30b39a
File 157594430695.gif - (32.22KB , 900x600 , 92.gif )
951352

In many ways this is just pushing the issue down the road, but for now I'll take it.



Now then...

:sq_optbubble_left:A: "Let's go find Mom.":sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: "You hungry?":sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: "We should visit Shisae Point (the normal way) and symbolically finish our cave adventure!":sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 951353 ID: 0fae41

C/b!
>>
No. 951354 ID: b1b4f3

>>951352
B, c.
Hmm, wouldn't it be best to have Mom with you when yo visit Sishae Point to symbolically finish the adventure?
>>
No. 951355 ID: e7c7d3

Bee
>>
No. 951356 ID: 91ee5f

>>951352
B/a

It’s important to eat! Make sure you’ve got money!

And don’t forget that you said you wanted to go find your Mom to see if you could get her to tell you some adventuring tips!
>>
No. 951359 ID: 094652

Dude, you never got your brain trauma healed? That could ruin you in the long-term.

A/B but go to a supply district. You want to buy safe food from a cheap source, since you're going to wolf it all down for sustenance.
>>
No. 951361 ID: 7634bf

I think A, B, and C are the best choices.

Yes, all of them.
>>
No. 951369 ID: 83bf07

B, c!
>>
No. 951371 ID: 2aa5f0

B
>>
No. 951402 ID: a9af05

>>951352
B , a

Eating is important and you wanted to talk to your mother for adventuring tips. Why not combine these options and go somewhere with Tyrsis and your Mom to get something to eat?

Alternatively, if you don't bring your Mom, you and Tyrsis will be able to have a date somewhere together.
>>
No. 951403 ID: 0c9a8e

>>951352
C, a.
>>
No. 951494 ID: adb0d6

A, or B
>>
No. 951928 ID: 30b39a
File 157682535229.png - (564.40KB , 900x600 , 93.png )
951928

Tyrsis happily accepts my offer for a quick meal, and we find ourselves at one of our usual eateries. I know this stuff goes straight to my thighs, but it's cheap and delicious and that's really hard to argue against!

I'm usually the one to initiate conversation, but this time Tyrsis preempts me.

"So I looked into those tablets we found."

"Oh? You took them home with you?"

"You didn't notice? But yeah, I was really curious what they said."

""I was a little distracted. So! What's on them? Was it a :sq_heart:raunchy diary:sq_heartr: like you guessed!?"

"Spehehee. No, no. But it wasn't exactly boring military information, either."

"Ooh, the plot thickens!"

"According to the first tablet, the caretaker of the nursery we explored was trying to funnel families to a secret location, presumably to start a new life outside the reach of the ketzas."

"So there's a hidden slissa community out there!?"

"The tablet cuts off, but I seriously doubt it."

"How can you say no if the tablet cut off without saying?"

"That's the thing. The second tablet you found mentions orders from the council itself. Orders to cancel all plans and send 'the signal'."

"Sounds ominous."

"Yeah."

"A shame I lost those maps. They might have given us some more clues."

"I'm not so sure they'd have helped much, considering how the tablet ends. Roughly translated, the final sentence reads: 'protect the necklace wearer'."
>>
No. 951929 ID: 30b39a
File 157682535643.png - (564.67KB , 900x600 , 94.png )
951929

*Slrrrrp.* "Huh."

"Yeah! What the hell, right?"

"Maybe it's referring to the necklace I found! It had a picture of a young female slissa, didn't it?"

"A counselor's daughter, maybe?"

"But why would they be here of all places?"

"I mean, there was literally a war going on. Our little podunk town probably felt like a safe place to hide the children, until suddenly it wasn't."

Hmm. It's a long-shot, but...
>>
No. 951930 ID: 30b39a
File 157682535986.png - (390.27KB , 900x600 , 95.png )
951930

"What if it meant my necklace? That'd make me the great great great ...uh... great great great..."

"You really don't need to count on your claws, Kliss."

"...Great granddaughter of a councilor!

"Your necklace was handed down through multiple generations..."

"Wait, really? You're going with me on this? Aha! I knew I was meant for something greater!"

"Oh yeah! You should totally show the councilors your necklace so they realize how important you are and put you in charge."

"That's a great idea!"

:SQ_tyrsisokay:

"Anyway. I do have another reason I want to join the caravan."

"Really!? What could be more important than spending time with Councilor Kliss!?"

:SQ_tyrsisokay:

"That's right-- nothing!"

:SQ_tyrsisokay:

"Okay I'll stop just quit looking at me like that please I'm dying."

:SQ_tyrsishappy: "Kay."

"That's not better..."

"But yeah. I want to try and figure out what the tablets are talking about, and the best place to do that is the Grand Library at the Unified Capital. In there are tons of tombs, both slissa and ketza in nature."

"The ketzas can write!?"

"Claw paintings can be informative."

"So you have your own reasons for coming too. And here I was thinking you just wanted more of our amazing banter."

"That's reason three."


As we finish our meals, I briefly wonder if there's anything else I should discuss with Tyrsis. He's a font of knowledge when it comes to history and lore, should my curiosity need sating. I could also talk to him about other things, if I so desire.


What should I bring up?
>>
No. 951933 ID: 19fdd8

Your thighs look great!
>>
No. 951934 ID: 83bf07

The reminder of how thankful you are for his companionship. An adventurer doesn't have to be lonely. He's going to spare you from that.
>>
No. 951935 ID: 094652

Talk about the latest pickaxes and bags. You want to come home rich and victorious.
>>
No. 951937 ID: b1b4f3

>>951930
>history and lore
Well I assume you've long since asked him what the surface was like before the Beast showed up.
What about the history of magic? Who were the greatest Ketza mages?
How was magic discovered?
>>
No. 951938 ID: 2aa5f0

ask him what, if anything, does he know about your neckless. Doubt he'll know anything you don't but who knows maybe he'll surprise you.
>>
No. 951939 ID: 91ee5f

>>951928
>I know this stuff goes straight to my thighs, but it's cheap and delicious and that's really hard to argue against!
What are you talking about? There’s nothing wrong with your thighs.

>>951930
Wait, if reason 1 is to go to the Grand Library and reason 3 is wanting more of your amazing banter, then what’s reason 2?

>What should I bring up?
Your romantic feelings for him.

Ask him who taught him how to use his magic?
>>
No. 951942 ID: b6341b

>>951934
This
>>951933
Also this, teehee
>>
No. 951944 ID: 736b7e

Is that blue slissa listening to your conversation..?
>>
No. 952025 ID: feecd8

>>951928
>this stuff goes straight to my thighs
Why are you saying that like it's a bad thing? Because it's not a bad thing. Everyone knows thicc thighs save lives! They might even save your life during your adventures!

>>951930
>What to talk about?
Ask if you guys should order dessert?

Or just ask him about his magic.
>>
No. 952918 ID: 30b39a
File 157836161129.png - (474.68KB , 900x600 , 96.png )
952918

>Your thighs look great!
I dunno, I think I need a second opinion.

A grin forms on my face as I turn to my faithful companion. "You don't think my thighs are too big, right Tyrsis?"

"W-Why are you asking me that!?"

Oh, look! He's getting all puffy!

"Just making sure this food isn't turning me into a blob."

"Your thighs are great! I mean fine! I mean-- You shouldn't worry about that."

:sq_klisscited: "Thanks, buddy!"

:sq_tyrsisnotsure: "...."

He's so cute when he puffs up like that! Don't know why I don't tease him more often!

>[Ask about] your romantic feelings for him.
Oh yeah, that's why.
>>
No. 952919 ID: 30b39a
File 157836161386.png - (473.81KB , 900x600 , 97.png )
952919

"Hsshss~ Okay, okay, I'm sorry."

"It's fine. L-Let's talk about something else."

"Sure thing, buddy. There's a few things I've been meaning to ask about."

"Okay, great! What's up?"

"So the surface... it's really bright and green, right?"

"So the stories say! The life up there is completely different versus what we see down here, and there's a whole lot of plants."

"Hard to even imagine. The only 'plant' I've ever seen is the one in your room."

"The ones that grow down here are much different than the ones above. Those plants grow and grow, sometimes hiding the light of Shaia itself."

"That'll be fun to see! How's yours doing, anyway?"

"Getting pretty big! We can check on it if you'd like."

"It has been a while since I came over. Oh-- have you seen Mama?"

"She wasn't at your house?"

"She was gone when I woke up. Probably running... errands."

:sq_tyrsisokay: "You think she's visiting her 'secret boyfriend she totally has', don't you."

:sq_klissed: "Maybe~"

Tyrsis lets out a long, speep-filled sigh.

"Any other questions before we do what you're implying we do?"

"Oh, yeah I guess. Um...
>>
No. 952920 ID: 30b39a
File 157836161718.png - (372.47KB , 900x600 , 98.png )
952920

"Do you happen to have any random knowledge about my necklace?"

"Kind of. I was bored one day and looked into your past relatives."

"You read about my family tree for fun?"

"Why not? Sadly, the public record doesn't go back more than a few generations. But there's mention of your great great great grandslissa wearing a 'family heirloom' that I'd wager is that very necklace."

"It's that old? But it looks so shiny and new!"

"Your family probably fixes it up whenever it starts showing its age. That gem might not even be the original, for all we know."

"Oh, I guess that follows."
>>
No. 952921 ID: 30b39a
File 157836162081.png - (434.82KB , 900x600 , 99.png )
952921

"What else... So you know how you can use Shaia's Love?"

"Yeah?"

"Is there a history to that? Beyond the old tale of our creation, I mean."

"From creation to now, all ketzas have been blessed with 'Shaia's Love'.

"Were there any really powerful ketzas that could wield it to great effect?"

"Who knows? If the knowledge exists somewhere, it's not in our slissa library."

"Oh, I guess it wouldn't be. Hey-- something to look up when we reach the capital or ketza lands!"

"I'm going to read so many books."

"Hshss~ By the way I'm really glad you're coming along. My journey no longer looks to be a lonely one."

"Yes, um, well, I'm still not sure my 'journey' goes past The Path of the Beast, but..."

Oh, right...

"...So! Should we order dessert?"

"Sure. We should also probably figure out what we're doing today, unless you really do mean for us to spy on your mother again."

>Ask him who taught him how to use his magic?
I better not. If it's not something they know from birth, it'd mean his ketza mother taught him how to use it and that's... a bit of a sore subject.

>Is that blue slissa listening to your conversation..?
If she was, she stopped when we started talking about history.


Anyway, it sounds like Tyrsis wants me to decide what we're doing today.

:sq_optbubble_left:A: We could head to Tyrsis's house to see the plant.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: We could go check out the caravan and find out what we need.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: We could shop for supplies. I'd been saving up for this!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: We could try to find Mama.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 952923 ID: b1b4f3

>>952921
B,C, then if there's time A.
>>
No. 952929 ID: 0a8215

>>952923
Seconded
>>
No. 952931 ID: 2aa5f0

>>952923
sounds good to me
>>
No. 952936 ID: dee4cb

>>952923
Yes
look for mama’s boyfriend on the way :P
>>
No. 952961 ID: 83bf07

>>952921
A, b
>>
No. 953004 ID: 75ea94

A,B
>>
No. 953006 ID: 91ee5f

>>952921
>dessert
So what are you guys gonna order?

>What do?
A , b
>>
No. 953027 ID: 92aaf8

D, b
>>
No. 953056 ID: 736b7e

B, C
>>
No. 953059 ID: 3fd119

A, d. What someone's house looks like says a lot about them! Maybe he's got something fun there!
>>
No. 953061 ID: 2e7792

A, b
>>
No. 953163 ID: c3e059

A , b
>>
No. 953314 ID: 30b39a
File 157889847351.png - (416.65KB , 900x600 , 100.png )
953314

>look for mama’s boyfriend on the way :P
Sadly we don't run into any slissa boy hot enough to be mama's life-mate, either currently or potentially, on our way to where the caravan's being set up.

As we approach, I can't help but notice the juxtaposition of the rustic wagons with the high-class glowgems shining upon them. This stark contrast really stands out, especially compared to the low-cost purple that lights most of Saryssa.

I kinda like it!

The area's a bit emptier than I'd expect, but we're a few wakes early so I guess that makes sense.

"Is this really the right caravan? Looks like it's meant for the rich."

"Yeah. Apparently they've been running this route for 12 seasons."

"Oh, really?"

"Mmhmm. But they only run once per four seasons, so this is their third time doing this."

"How'd I not hear about them before now!?"

"How often do you read the paper?"

"Every time mama brought it home! Unless I forgot or had something better to do!"

"And you never noticed she'd occasionally 'forget' to do so?"

"*Hsss!* That-- I can't believe mama kept this from me!"

...Wait.

Tyrsis halts and puffs up, possibly having realized what I just realized.

"Wait, you knew about this and didn't tell me!?"

"Your mother's really scary when she's mad, okay!?"

Before I continue, I notice the blue slissa who looks to be the person to talk to for signing up. She notices us and waves.

I whisper, "We'll discuss your wicked betrayal later."

:sq_tyrsisnotsure:
>>
No. 953315 ID: 30b39a
File 157889847535.png - (309.44KB , 900x600 , 101.png )
953315

"Oh! Hello there! Are you interested in joining the caravan?"

"Maybe! So uh, how does this all work?"

"It's very simple! You just give me the name of everyone intending to board, and I'll give you one or more tickets you can use to board once we're about to be underway. You'll also get a pamphlet with the schedule and any supplies you need. It's 500 gems per person, which includes food and sleeping arrangements."

1000 gems for the two of us, huh? Not exactly cheap, but it's not like my money will have much use once I leave Shaia's Embrace. Taking the trip on foot would be slow and harrowing, and would still have costs related to supplies. For the convenience and comfort, I'd say this is well worth it!

Let's see... I have 6367 gems saved up, so this is totally doable.

"Two, please! One for me and one for my friend!"

"Your friend...?"
>>
No. 953316 ID: 30b39a
File 157889847894.png - (703.77KB , 900x600 , 102.png )
953316

"My dear fluffy companion, yes."

"*hss... We, uh, this isn't a ride for, ah, wouldn't a ketza have their own way back home? They don't really need our services..."

Tyrsis begins to look uncomfortable as I realize that this slissa might be specist!


:SQ_pathL:A: Call out this speciesism!:SQ_pathR:
:SQ_pathL:B: Calmly explain Tyrsis' unique situation.:SQ_pathR:

What do I say?
>>
No. 953317 ID: 0fae41

B. His home is here.
>>
No. 953319 ID: cdabe3

B

As satisfying as calling it out would be, it most likely wouldn’t accomplish anything right now! The company won’t simply change its policy because you yelled at a clerk, and she might not even believe in the policy anyways. Explain the situation instead.
>>
No. 953324 ID: 75ea94

B

his home is here, and he's only half ketza
and if they refuse to let him on, take the foot route.
>>
No. 953328 ID: 2aa5f0

B

kindness first... then you go for the throat.
>>
No. 953331 ID: 736b7e

B
>>
No. 953334 ID: 83bf07

>>953316
B. Tyrsis is a saint of a fluffsa. His home is here more than with the ketzas.
>>
No. 953356 ID: 12b116

B

He can ride on top with the luggage
>>
No. 953357 ID: 015bf2

>>953316
B. What's gotten her concerned? Customers should be customers, right? You know Tyrsis is a little bigger than their usual, but surely the caravan can be accommodating. He can't use Ketza methods because, well, he's not a full ketza, after all. Or rather, you haven't looked into using ketza methods. And either way, travelling each on your own would just, eh, be boring, y'know? Traveling with others is where it's at!

Anyway, isn't she here to sell a unique, wonderful, practically once-in-a-lifetime experience for anyone with the gems to pay? Don't go bringing down the experience already, lady! You've got a grand adventure to sell!

Also, didn't the newspaper advertise the caravan costing 20 gems? Even if that was 20 times 20 days for the full round trip, that's 400 gems. So... where's the 100 extra come in?
>>
No. 953502 ID: 3fd119

B, that said you should probably not mention the half-slissa thing and just say that he was raised by slissas. I'm not sure if prejudiced slissas will appreciate interspecies relationships.
>>
No. 953667 ID: a98242

B, no need to start anything unsavory.
>>
No. 954601 ID: 30b39a
File 158015804919.png - (369.45KB , 900x600 , 103.png )
954601

Though it'd be really satisfying to go on a tangent, I don't want to risk being denied outright. Also I don't like being mean to people!

>...that said you should probably not mention the half-slissa thing and just say that he was raised by slissas
Tyrsis shouldn't be ashamed of what he is, but in this case... I'll at least try to downplay it a bit.

>Tyrsis is a saint of a fluffsa. His home is here more than with the ketzas.
I calmly explain Tyrsis's unique situation, that this is his home-town and that he's spent his life around slissas. Surely she notices his lack of the air of superiority that permeates those big fluffy boys?

Even if he tried to board a Ketza transport (not that they even come out this far), he would be denied because of his slissa accent. They'd see him as 'tainted'. But surely we, as slissas, are able to see past his exterior to the kindred heart within. His body may be fluffy, but in mind and soul he is truly one of us.

I mentally wince as I realize how flowery my speech must have sounded, but I maintain my determined expression.

She looks him over, then glances at me.

"Well, I... There's technically no rule against ketzas. It just, ah, it's never come up before. And I was um, caught off guard. And he does seem nicer than... I mean. Maybe there's a way to show he's really one of us...?"

:sq_klissyay: "Show her your slissa sound, Tyrsis!"

:sq_tyrsisokay: "You know what happens when I try to do that."

:sq_klissyay: "Yeah!~! Show the nice lady what happens!"

Tyrsis mumbles, "If you were anyone else..."

I continue to smile with all the charm I can muster. Yes, make a cute sound for your best friend!

He clears his throat.
>>
No. 954602 ID: 30b39a
File 158015805176.png - (438.63KB , 900x600 , 104.png )
954602

"*Ssssss....peep!"

"Oh, gosh! He really tries his best!"

"I know, right!? Isn't it just the cutest!?"

"A ketza would consider it 'beneath' them to mimic us, but... he really is one of us!"

"Yeah, like I've been saying!"

"Forgive my earlier rudeness. Here, it's 1000 gems for the two of you-- I'll explain the situation to the others, so don't worry about it."

Hurray! We avoided a hike in price or being denied outright!

>Also, didn't the newspaper advertise the caravan costing 20 gems?
I move to hand her the gems, then remember the ad's claims.

"Um, not to push my luck, but didn't the ad say it was 20 gems?"

"Didn't read the fine print, did you?"

"I was too excited!"

She chuckles. "Yeah, that happens a lot. Were it up to me our ads would be more up-front, but such is the way of things in Shaia's Embrace. It's actually 20 gems per wake, with the round trip taking just under a third of a season to complete."

"Darn... but wouldn't that still be like, 400 or 420 gems?"

"Taxes."

"Double Darn."

And with that, we have the tickets! There's no going back now. Onwards and upwards, to the world the ketzas left behind so long ago.

I only have two wakes to get everything ready, so I need to start paying much more attention to the time and make sure I don't waste any of it.
>>
No. 954603 ID: 30b39a
File 158015805466.png - (349.78KB , 900x600 , 105.png )
954603

All glowgems shimmer slightly, getting brighter and dimmer on a continuing cycle. We call these cycles 'glimmers' and use them to tell the time.

Our method of time-keeping used to be really cool, but the ketzas forced my ancestors to standardize everything based on the ketza 'day'. Naturally we refused to use their words, adopting similar words in our language instead. Thus, a 'wake' is the same as a ketza 'day'. Thanks, ketzas.

There's 480 glimmers per wake. To avoid making everyone stare at gems while counting, a bell marks half of each wake by tolling once every 40 glimmers before going silent for the other 240. In total it rings seven times.

For what I'm trying to accomplish the important bells are the 1st, 5th, and 7th. Most shops and services are open after the 1st, and they close after the 5th. Once the 7th bell tolls, I'll get no more reminders and will have to count glimmers.

I can do so fairly well for a little while (I had to do so during our cave adventure!), but the further I go the more I'll be guessing. It's generally best to try and be home shortly after the 7th bell, though I could stay out if something really needs doing.


Now that I explained all that to myself for some reason, time to decide what to do next.

:sq_optbubble_left:A: To the COMMERCIAL TIER! Time to shop!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Let's visit Tyrsis's house to meet his dad one last time!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Time to say goodbye to the slissa hero at SHISAE POINT!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: To the ranch! Tyrsis loves petting the plessara.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:E: To the library! Maybe we can learn something about the places we're going to see?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 954606 ID: 736b7e

B, D
>>
No. 954609 ID: b1b4f3

>>954603
B, a.
>>
No. 954610 ID: c56385

>>954603
A,e
PREPARATION
>>
No. 954615 ID: 0fae41

I get timekeeping is important when you can't see the sun but it sounds like this counting system has driven more than one slissa mad and/or insomniac.
E/d.
>>
No. 954619 ID: 2aa5f0

E, b
>>
No. 954621 ID: 12b116

D/B/E
We need to pet something
>>
No. 954639 ID: a9af05

>>954603
B , a
>>
No. 954780 ID: 75ea94

B/A
>>
No. 955534 ID: 30b39a
File 158093482857.png - (502.33KB , 900x600 , 106.png )
955534

>I get timekeeping is important when you can't see the sun but it sounds like this counting system has driven more than one slissa mad and/or insomniac.
There's a reason most tribes didn't bother keeping track of time after the work period! One of the very few legitimately useful things the ketzas did was come up with a mechanical way to keep track of time.

Before long we find ourselves at Tyrsis's house, maybe the only house in Saryssa where you'll find a few ketza trinkets and artifacts. An attempt to give Tyrsis a taste of ketza culture, maybe?

"Right, so I guess you want to see how my plant's doing?"

"Of course! It's like the one unique thing in this whole town!"

"There's plenty of other things unique to Saryssa!"

"Got any examples aside from yourself?"

"I... uh... man, I hate when you call my bluff like that."

He loves it.
>>
No. 955535 ID: 30b39a
File 158093483169.png - (466.39KB , 900x600 , 107.png )
955535

"Goodness! It's really grown!"

"Yeah! It's one of the only types of plant that can be grown within Shaia's Embrace, and it's been content to do just that."

"I guess we've grown a lot too, huh? One of us more than the other."

"I-I'm not that much bigger than you!"

"You're a giant with a giant plant!"

"Kliss--!"

"Hsshsshss~"

Remembering the journey ahead of us, a question springs to mind.

"Think you'll bring it with us? On the caravan, I mean."

"It should be fine until I get back, as long as Dad keeps watering it."


:SQ_pathL:Muse that he should bring it...:SQ_pathR:
:sq_optbubble_left:A: ...In case he decides to join you past The Path of the Beast.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: ...Because it might get lonely!:sq_optbubble_right:

:SQ_pathL:Agree that the plant should remain here...:SQ_pathR:
:sq_optbubble_left:C:...As something for his dad to remember him by.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D:...Since he won't be gone all that long.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:E:...Without specifying a reason.:sq_optbubble_right:

:SQ_hint: Your PRIMARY VOTE determines the PATH you choose. Your SECONDARY VOTE can still be used to pick a second option in that path (if more than 2 choices), or as a means to have some say even if your chosen PATH loses the vote.
>>
No. 955536 ID: b1b4f3

>>955535
E, d.
Even if both of you do go exploring the surface, you're gonna come back someday. In fact it makes sense for your first trip up there to be relatively short, so you can come back down and get more supplies with a better idea of what you need. A scouting expedition!
>>
No. 955537 ID: d5d714

>>955535
E,b
Play it safe. Don't pressure any decision.
>>
No. 955539 ID: 0fae41

D/b. Are the leaves edible by any chance?
>>
No. 955541 ID: 2aa5f0

B
>>
No. 955543 ID: cdabe3

primary D, secondary A
>>
No. 955644 ID: 736b7e

C, d
>>
No. 955815 ID: 3fd119

E, b, we really should leave it to be his decision entirely. If he comes along it'll be something for people here to remember him by... oh. If you two both decide to leave the caves, how will you say goodbye to your families?
>>
No. 955816 ID: 91ee5f

>>955535
E , d

>>955536
I agree with this. Your first trip to the surface will be short since you’re just gonna look around.

Once you get a better idea of what’s up there, you’ll come back for more supplies so that you can take longer trips to the surface.
>>
No. 955823 ID: 6e6f32

C
B
>>
No. 955896 ID: 5fc3a0

B
You absolutely need to take that plant as a caravan snackaroo. It can't be lonely if it's part of you.
>>
No. 955999 ID: 30b39a
File 158146705237.png - (547.48KB , 900x600 , 108.png )
955999

>You absolutely need to take that plant as a caravan snackaroo. It can't be lonely if it's part of you.
We don't eat plants; we eat the things that eat plants!

"So you're not keen on bringing it, then?"

"It'd be really awkward to pack it up. I mean, I could, but I don't see the point. Besides, it looks happy where it is."

It does look happy. I think. Maybe.

>Even if both of you do go exploring the surface, you're gonna come back someday.
That's very true. The plant's lived this long, so we'd surely see it again.

>In fact it makes sense for your first trip up there to be relatively short, so you can come back down and get more supplies with a better idea of what you need. A scouting expedition!
Hmm. It'd be a lot of backtracking, but I guess it's nothing compared to the amount of walking ahead of me.

>If you two both decide to leave the caves, how will you say goodbye to your families?
Maybe it'd put their minds at ease if they saw us successfully handle ourselves out there, if for just a short while. Tyrsis might be more willing to go along with that, too.

All right, let's try that. I'll pack a little more lightly, and I'll talk to Tyrsis and Mama about it when I next get them both in the same room.

We admire the plant a little longer...

"It really is peaceful, huh? Thanks for letting me see it."

"You're always welcome to hang out with Acquair. I bet it appreciates the company."

"Oh my gods-- you named your plant?"

He puffs up with embarrassment.

"S-so what if I did!?"

"Nothing! I won't comment on how adorable that is!"

"Thanks."

"Wait."

"Hsshsshss~"

I wave good-bye to Acquair as we head back out to tackle the next task.
>>
No. 956000 ID: 30b39a
File 158146705920.png - (554.46KB , 900x600 , 109.png )
956000

Oh!

"Hey, kids."

"Hello, Mr. Lyskir!"

"Hi, Dad."

"Hsshss~ You two aren't getting into trouble, are you?"

"Not this time, sir!"

"That's good to-- this time!?"

"You don't have to act that surprised, Dad."

"Don't listen to him, sir! We're perfect angels!"

"Hsshsshss~"

"<Extremely deadpan speep.>"

It's been a while since I've spoken to Tyrsis's father! Longer still since the last time I tried to create some :sq_heart:romance:sq_heartr: between him and Mama.

....

Not that I'm saying I should do that now or anything.

Ahem.


:sq_optbubble_left:What should I converse about?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 956002 ID: 736b7e

Talk about the caravan and your trip plans and how important hugs are.
>>
No. 956003 ID: 2aa5f0

start off small with small talk, ask what he's been up to lately.
>>
No. 956004 ID: 0fae41

What's that he's holding behind his back?
>>
No. 956013 ID: 7d7ce0

>>956000
Reminisce about the stuff on the shelves and pictures on the wall!
>>
No. 956015 ID: b1b4f3

>>956004
I think he's missing most of his arm.

>>956000
Ask how he's been. Tell him you and Tyrsis are going on a trip!
>>
No. 956035 ID: 9ec91b

>>956013
Do this!
>>
No. 956037 ID: 094652

Be practical. Ask about mining and survival tips! Actually what is his job?
>>
No. 956784 ID: 30b39a
File 158215233855.png - (415.51KB , 900x600 , 110.png )
956784

>What's that he's holding behind his back?
He lost his foreleg in a digging accident. They're very rare (we're good at what we do), but they do happen. He doesn't like to talk about it, so I can only guess at what exactly went down. Probably a cave-in?

>Actually what is his job?
He's retired, living on a combination of the Digger's Pension and the money he held onto from being mated with a well-to-do ketza.

He's never said why she left, but darker parts of my mind wonder if she lost interest in him the moment he got injured.

Only a ketza would be so petty.

....

I shouldn't think like that. Even if she's a giant b-- Kliss you need to be nice.

Sorry. A bit sensitive about it after seeing how insecure her actions made poor Tyrsis.
>>
No. 956785 ID: 30b39a
File 158215234140.png - (382.97KB , 900x600 , 111.png )
956785

>Reminisce about the stuff on the shelves and pictures on the wall!
Lyskir of Shin-Chenshi, a slissa from the settlement nearest to the capital and the only slissa town to keep its ketza-given name. He didn't change his name to Saryssa when coming here, something that's pretty rare to see.

He commissioned several pictures showcasing moments in his and Tyrsis's life. They both look so happy! I can tell Lyskir loves his son very much.

Inside the cabinet lie several trophies that Tyrsis won over the seasons. Oh! That's the one he got by winning the spelling contest! And that one's from when he won the Race Around Saryssa! From what Mama tells me, it took some doing to stop the officials from disqualifying him for 'being the wrong species'.

Nothing in the rules say you can't be part slissa.

Tyrsis is pretty fast for someone so big! I used to love riding on his shoulders while he ran, before we got a bit... too old for that.

There's also a couple of journals Lyskir kept, detailing some of the adventures he had in his youth. A pretty fun read!

Anyway, time to make with the conversation. I better put on my best 'I'm not shipping you with anyone this time I promise' face.
>>
No. 956786 ID: 30b39a
File 158215234421.png - (433.82KB , 900x600 , 112.png )
956786

"So! Run into any cute-- I mean how have you been!?"

"Oh, pretty good! I ran into your mother at the costume shop earlier. We had a lovely talk!"

Hsssnnnnn... No! No shipping!

"Oh really? Did you kiss-- I mean what platonic things did you two talk about!?"

Tyrsis gives me the look he always gives me when this happens.


"Oh, you know, how we're both getting older, and how it'd be nice to have someone to share our golden seasons with..."

:sq_heart::sq_heart::sq_heart:Oh goodness~!:sq_heartr::sq_heartr::sq_heartr:

....

"You're messing with me."

"Hsshsshss~! Sorry-- your mother insisted I say that if I ran into you!"

Mama!!!!!

....

Does this mean she's not still upset? Or is this her revenge?

"Anyway! I hear you're still planning on doing some exploring, huh?"

"Yes! Tyrsis and I are going to ride a caravan that travels across all of Shaia's Embrace!"

"Kliss! I didn't even get a chance to ask permission!"

"How can he say no to a face as cute as yours? Quick do the face."

"No."

"Hsshss~ She's got me there. It might do you some good to see the other settlements!"

His reaction is a bit... underwhelming. Did Mama imply that we were only riding the caravan to The Path of the Beast and back? Maybe she still thinks she can talk me out of my grand adventure?


:sq_optbubble_left:A: Time to correct him by explaining my plan to leave Shaia's Embrace.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Maybe now's the time to talk about my plans for the shorter 'test' trip?:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: I better let it be for now and not waste time. We can talk to him about our actual plans once I'm sure I have everything ready.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 956788 ID: 0fae41

A/c. Maybe he's still messing with you.
>>
No. 956796 ID: e7c7d3

Let's go with B
>>
No. 956798 ID: 094652

B but with hints of A; your plan is to take a tour and try to build a career on the way. If you can't, you'll come back quick and get back to regular digging.
>>
No. 956799 ID: 2aa5f0

B

he might have some advice.
>>
No. 956801 ID: b1b4f3

>>956786
B.
>>
No. 956802 ID: cdabe3

B
>>
No. 956803 ID: 91ee5f

>>956786
B
>>
No. 956810 ID: 3fd119

A: I think we need to be honest with our intent about something like this. At some point we're going to leave for real, and I think everyone should be ready for that when the time comes.
>>
No. 956832 ID: fa2754

>>956786
B,c
Just slip it in real casually. Like 'oh you know, might just poke our heads out and see what it's like. Real in and out kinda thing.'
>>
No. 957293 ID: 30b39a
File 158263089350.png - (337.80KB , 900x600 , 113.png )
957293

I'll play it off as no big deal, because it really shouldn't be.

"I think it'll be lots of fun! Maybe we'll even spend a few wakes outside!"

Tyrsis shoots me a look of surprise, but keeps his mouth shut.

"Oh? Did they finally finish it?"

I have no idea what he's talking about, but I'll play along and see what happens.

"I mean, it's worth checking out, right?"

"Oh, absolutely! Just make sure the ketzas are fine with you going first. They can be pretty anal about... pretty much everything."

The first rule of improvising is always say yes! Or something!

"Of course!"

"Okay, I have no idea what either of you are talking about.

That makes two of us.

"When I spent time at the Ketza capital, there were murmurs about them working on some big project that'd allow folks to see the outside world without risking the return of the Great Beast."

"Is that... safe?"

"On one claw, we're talking about ketza engineering. On the other, the Great Beast hasn't appeared in any of our lifetimes and is probably long-dead."

Tyrsis gives me the "What the heck did you get me into" look. I reply with my "Come oooon trust meeee" face.

"Don't worry, sir. I'll make sure it's safe before taking Tyrsis anywhere!"

"That's all I ask."

If only Mama could be so reasonable.


The three of us chit chat for a bit before Tyrsis and I leave to tackle the rest of the wake's tasks. That went pretty well!
>>
No. 957294 ID: 30b39a
File 158263089787.png - (513.08KB , 900x600 , 114.png )
957294

"Sooo I don't remember agreeing to go outside."

"I know, but I figured I'd get his permission just in case. Besides, this just a test trip!"

"Test what?"

"The problem was dealing with the idea of leaving for a multi-season adventure, right? Even I admit there's a lot of sacrifice and risk involved."

"We did have a whole 'thing' about that, yes."

"So why don't we table that for now and do something simple? We stay near the exit, camp outside for five or ten wakes, then return. It'd give us both a better idea of what we're getting into, and an easy way out if it's too much for us."

"So it'd just be for a little while?"

"Yep!"

"So it'd just be ten wakes. And we'd be alone. Together."

"That's the hope!"

He swallows hard for some reason.

"W-Well. That um. That does sound much more reasonable, especially if the ketzas made a safe little area."

"Obviously I'd rather go further out, but for this test run we can go ahead and play it safe."

"Maybe we can go a little further out if we need privacy-- I mean if we want peace and quiet! Because of all the noisy ketzas!"

"Are you okay?"

"So! What's next!?"

Guess he's a bit nervous about spending so much time around ketzas. yep

Still, he agreed to my plan! If I'm patient and take it one step at a time, maybe he can be convinced to join me on the bigger adventure! This is the best idea I've had since the last one!
>>
No. 957295 ID: 30b39a
File 158263090063.png - (349.75KB , 900x600 , 115.png )
957295

My thoughts are interrupted by the tolling of the second bell. That's right, I need to stay focused on the preparations.


What's next?

:sq_optbubble_left:A: Shopping for gear!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Getting the right outfits!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Doing some research!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: We have unfinished business on the Old Path to Shisae Point...:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 957296 ID: e7c7d3

A) Gotta be prepared.
>>
No. 957302 ID: 33056f

D/c. ‘Safe’ little area? Those ketzas spend so long thinking whether they could, that they never stop to think whether they should!
>>
No. 957321 ID: fa2754

>>957295
A/c quick, while he's still in your boat, get some shopping done. Just basic general thanks for now. Once you do more research you can get more specialized gear.
>>
No. 957322 ID: 2f59f0

A, c
>>
No. 957326 ID: 91ee5f

>>957295
A/c
>>
No. 957333 ID: b1b4f3

>>957295
A, c.
>>
No. 957340 ID: 2aa5f0

C, a

figure out what we need to buy before buying I think.
>>
No. 957367 ID: 094652

C, A. Make sure you know the Caravan route and where to go if you miss the caravan at a stop.
>>
No. 957368 ID: a9af05

>>957295
A , c
>>
No. 957386 ID: 3fd119

C, a. See if you can find out what exactly this safe space is, anyway. I can imagine that the ketzas would be anxious to go back outside, if they're not originally from underground.
>>
No. 959040 ID: 30b39a
File 158431976808.png - (397.66KB , 900x600 , 116.png )
959040

"Okay! Time to start actually preparing for this thing!"

"Oh? For a second there I thought you were gonna put it off until the last second."

"I don't do that for anything important!"

"So that group project we had last season..."

"Like I said!"

"Right."

Since I'm planning a shorter trip (for now), I can probably hold off on emptying my savings on supplies. Probably won't need a cart, either-- filling my backpack should be good enough.

I can return again later if I want to play it safe and have Tyrsis fill a backpack too.
>>
No. 959041 ID: 30b39a
File 158431977187.png - (494.37KB , 900x600 , 117.png )
959041

We head to the shops and take stock of their inventory. My research gave me a basic idea of what the outside world requires. Shelter is much more important up there than down here, for one.

"How much stuff should we bring? If the ketzas have something set up, they'll probably have most of what we need."

"Maybe, but it's still a multi-wake trip just to get there from here, and who knows how much the ketzas overcharge for stuff? Probably a lot."

"Probably. But they might also have things we won't find here, what with you being the only slissa in existence that actually wants to head up there."

"I doubt I'm the only slissa who wants to see the outside world! Just the only one brave enough to go for it."

"...Yeah, that's still a market of one person."

"Two people! And I'm not counting out being able to convince Mama to come too!"

"I stand corrected! Three people is definitely enough to make it worth carrying topside camping equipment."

"If I pretend you're not being sarcastic then it sounds like you're agreeing with me! Thanks, buddy!"

:sq_tyrsisokay:
>>
No. 959042 ID: 30b39a
File 158431977396.png - (30.35KB , 900x600 , 118.png )
959042

Now then! I have 5367 gems to spend, and a backpack to fill!

:sq_hint: Kliss's backpack can hold 20 spaces worth of items. The inventory will automatically sort (thanks Tyrsis!), so there's no need to worry about how things fit together.

:sq_hint: Compile a list of things to buy, or vote for someone else's entry! Kliss can buy any amount of any item, so long as she doesn't exceed 20 total spaces.

:SQ_ration: Food Ration: 3 spaces. 85 gems. Long-lasting food meant for long digs. Offers 10 meals.
:SQ_water: Water Canteen: 4 spaces, 50 gems. Stores water. Lasts several days, depending on rationing.
:SQ_flint: Flint: 1 space, 10 gems. Strike to create sparks and hopefully a fire.
:SQ_rope: Rope: 2 spaces, 50 gems. Good for tying things or people.
:SQ_cloth: Bundle of Cloth: 3 spaces, 40 gems. Made from ketza-grown plants. Useful in many ways.
:SQ_sewingkit: Sewing Kit: 2 spaces, 20 gems. Used with cloth to make bags, clothing, and other things.
:SQ_knife: Knife: 2 spaces, 30 gems. Useful to cut things.
:SQ_lantern: 4 spaces, 100 gems. Portable glow-gem for lighting your path.
:SQ_sleepbag: Sleeping bag: 10 spaces, 110 gems. A comfortable place to sleep during long digs.
:SQ_hammer: Hammer: 3 spaces, 50 gems. Useful for hitting things.
:SQ_pickaxe: Pickaxe: 8 spaces, 200 gems. Makes digging through rock easier.
:SQ_firstaid: First Aid Kit: 4 spaces, 80 gems. Can deal with minor wounds.
:SQ_triage: Triage Kit: 5 spaces, 130 gems. Used for broken bones or severe wounds.
:SQ_pen: Writing Pen: 1 space (holds up to 5 pens), 10 gems. Used to write!
:SQ_notebook: Notebook: 1 space, 25 gems. Made through a secretive ketza process. Can be written in.
:SQ_goggles: Mining Goggles: 3 spaces unless worn, 65 gems. Protects the eyes while digging.

I should keep in mind the short nature of our trip, and that we may get more chances to shop later.
>>
No. 959043 ID: 094652

>>959041
Those masks look familiar...
Buy what you need, but don't overspend. Get Tyrsis a bag that he's comfortable with.

>>959042
Buy Tyrsis a bag and start packing:
:SQ_ration: X 3
:SQ_water: X 2
:SQ_rope: X 1
:SQ_cloth: X 1
:SQ_sewingkit: X 1
:SQ_knife: X 1
:SQ_pickaxe: X 1
:SQ_firstaid: X 1
:SQ_pen: X 1
:SQ_notebook: X 1
>>
No. 959044 ID: b1b4f3

>>959042
>clothing
What's that?

Not much is gonna fit in 20 slots. Food and water is basically required since you don't know how easily you can forage up there, so that 7 slots gone.
Triage Kit is insurance to make sure nobody fucking dies, so that's another 5. You can go without the first aid kit because you should be able to get back home before minor injuries get too bad.
What can we do with 8 slots?
How about: knife, hammer. The knife and hammer are for taking samples from the environment.
Writing pen and notebook, unless you already have that sort of thing for your travel journal. Get two pens so you have a backup in case you drop one.

1 space left. We don't need flint since Tyrsis can just make fire, so leave it empty.
That should cover stuff that looks the most useful here. Shelter-related items seem more likely to be available at the ketza shop. Also we can probably get a first aid kit there too, since presumably we'll have more room then.
>>
No. 959045 ID: e17ac9

Get a large flint, it’ll last a long time. But keep in mind you need more than a flint to start a fire. You need something very hard to strike to flint against, such as an Iron or the spine of a knife, and you need something highly flammable, such as paper, light cloth, frayed rope, etc. because the sparks off the flint aren’t hot enough to catch wood on fire by themselves.

You should definitely invest in a knife, a high quality one. What kind of knives do they sell? For survival purposes you’ll want something weighty and sharp, but not too large for finer tasks. I’d suggest a clip-point blade about five inches long, with a handle of checkered hardwood that fits snugly in your hand. Get a good, oiled leather sheath for it as well: that baby needs to be kept dry.

Aside from that get a Canteen, some Rope, a First-aid kit, a Notebook and Pen, and a really loud Whistle. That whistle is really important for calling help if you get in trouble.
>>
No. 959047 ID: 0fae41

:SQ_knife: X 8
:SQ_sewingkit: X 2
Knife claws: Never leave home without them!
>>
No. 959067 ID: fa2754

>>959044
This is solid for Kliss's pack.

Lets get one for Tyrsis.
Sleeping bag, food ration, water canteen, knife and notebook. He can borrow one of your pens.
>>
No. 959069 ID: 864e49

>>959042
:SQ_ration: Food Ration: 3 spaces. 85 gems.
:SQ_water: Water Canteen: 4 spaces, 50 gems.
:SQ_rope: Rope: 2 spaces, 50 gems.
:SQ_knife: Knife: 2 spaces, 30 gems.
:SQ_hammer: Hammer: 3 spaces, 50 gems.
:SQ_firstaid: First Aid Kit: 4 spaces, 80 gems.
:SQ_pen: Writing Pen: 1 space, 10 gems.
:SQ_notebook: Notebook: 1 space, 25 gems
:SQ_goggles: Mining Goggles: The googles stay on, 65 gems.

Space: 20 Cost: 445 gems

Also get Tyrsis a bag.
>>
No. 959070 ID: 015bf2

>>959069
This un's pretty good.
>>
No. 961481 ID: b099e2

>>959069
I vote for this one, mostly. Add a glow-gem and have Tyris carry the first aid kit instead.

Definitely get Tyrsis a bag, because 1 unit each of food & water rations will last you, what, 5 days max if you're only doing 1 meal per person per day? If you wanna be out there for up to 10 wakes, you need AT LEAST 1 more food ration unit. And that's not taking into account the food you'll need on the trip from here to there...but you can restock before leaving the caves if you need to

So, buy Tyrsis a bag and give him 2 more food rations and 2 more water canteens - that's 14 spaces and food/water for 10~15 days. Give him your first aid kit, and you take the glow-gem, and that should do it. (If you get separated, he can make his own light and you can't.)

So to summarize:

KLISS'S BAG:
:SQ_ration: x1
:SQ_water: x1
:SQ_rope: x1
:SQ_knife: x1
:SQ_hammer: x1
:SQ_lantern: x1
:SQ_pen: x1
:SQ_notebook: x1
:SQ_goggles: x1 but worn, not packed

TYRSIS'S BAG:
:SQ_ration: x2
:SQ_water: x2
:SQ_firstaid: x1
>>
No. 963566 ID: 80591c
File 158783622154.png - (30.17KB , 900x600 , 119.png )
963566

I do my best to fill my pack with useful stuff while deciding to keep track of WHAT WE'RE WEARING as well as what's in our packs.

...Hsss! There's not enough room to hold everything I want to bring!

"I should pray to Shaia for more inventory space."

"Uh... you know I can carry things too, right?"

"Oh! Duh! I'll get you a backpack too!"

"Well, you could... or I could go home and get mine since it's free."

"Right! Yes! Why didn't I think of that!?"

"Because you're so excited to be doing this that you forgot half the things you know?"

"I wouldn't say half..."

"At least half," he says while patting me on the head.

:sq_klissnotsure: "Y-yes well, could you please end this humiliation and go get it?"

:sq_tyrsishappy: "Speehee~ I'll be back in a few moments."

And off he goes, looking all puffy and pleased with himself. Don't think I'm letting you get away with this, mister!
>>
No. 963567 ID: 80591c
File 158783622550.png - (356.33KB , 900x600 , 120.png )
963567

"I'm back! This one is more my size, and can hold a lot more stuff."

Nevermind I forgive him completely.

"Oh Tyrsis, I could kiss you!"

"Ehehe... I um, I should probably put stuff in here, huh?"

Looks like his backpack can hold 35 slots, bringing our total to 55! That's much better than the 20 I thought I had!

Rather than fill it to bursting, I add some vital equipment and leave the rest for anything we find in shops along the way. The ketzas in particular might have things better suited for camping in the outside world.

Let's see....
>>
No. 963568 ID: 80591c
File 158783622707.png - (30.54KB , 900x600 , 121.png )
963568

In total, that brings us up to about 30 meals of food. At two meals a day, it's 15 wakes of food. We can choose to ration it to one meal a day to double that to 30, but there's no reason to do that on this short trip.

As for water, each canteen normally lasts about 8 wakes, if my research is correct. That brings us to 16 wakes of water. Again, we can half our consumption to allow up to 32 wakes if needed, but that shouldn't come up as we'll probably only spend 10 or so wakes outside.

I can add to this as we visit other towns, of course. But for now, this seems like a good starting point!

And of course, I can't forget the most important thing.
>>
No. 963569 ID: 80591c
File 158783623046.png - (293.96KB , 900x600 , 122.png )
963569

Proper headgear! Never leave home without it!

"Mining goggles? Uh, you think that'll come up?"

"It's not like I'm not going to explore stuff on the way to the Path of the Beast! There will probably be digging involved!"

He grabs a pair and lifts them to his face before realizing they're far too small.

"I'll just... leave the digging to you."

"Of course! You'll be providing the light!"

"That's me, the light boy."

Tyrsis is such a good light boy.

Now then. I spent 845 gems, leaving me with 4,532 gems. Doing pretty well on funds! I should be able to buy a cart and fill it with supplies once it's time to do this for real.
>>
No. 963570 ID: 80591c
File 158783623422.png - (291.47KB , 900x600 , 123.png )
963570

The third bell hasn't rung yet.

There's plenty of time left, so maybe I should try to relax? But if I get it all done now, I won't have any of it hanging over my head. Either way, there's not much of a rush.


:sq_optbubble_left:A: Let's explore the town!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Let's go for a swim!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Let's do some research!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: I should go home and check on Mama, actually.:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 963571 ID: 0fae41

C/b.
>>
No. 963574 ID: fa2754

>>963570
B, c
You said relax, let's relax!
>>
No. 963577 ID: e7c7d3

B/d
>>
No. 963586 ID: d9ebbf

B)
Lets’s get to swimming!
>>
No. 963588 ID: b099e2

A/c

Do some exploring, visit some libraries, learn some things.
>>
No. 963589 ID: 015bf2

D, b.
>>
No. 963618 ID: b1b4f3

>>963570
C/b.
>>
No. 963621 ID: 91ee5f

>>963570
C/b
>>
No. 963625 ID: 736b7e

D, C
>>
No. 963686 ID: cdabe3

B/d
>>
No. 963688 ID: 2aa5f0

B
>>
No. 963744 ID: 9c48ac

Bd
>>
No. 963815 ID: 864e49

>>963566
>or I could go home and get mine since it's free.
We where just at his house and he knew we were going shopping so he forgot it as well, he just remembered it first.

>>963570
A/d
>>
No. 964094 ID: a9af05

C/b
>>
No. 964745 ID: 3fd119

B/d Slissa beach episode!
>>
No. 966928 ID: 0e0a3c

C/b
>>
No. 969758 ID: e7a33c
File 159225050174.png - (538.55KB , 900x600 , 124.png )
969758

Since we've made so much progress already, I think we earned ourselves a little break. I put my cool goggles away as we approach the Reservoir Pond. Don't want them getting wet!

"You sure this isn't the Water Reservoir?"

"Absolutely! This is very much the pond for swimming, not drinking!"

"And not the pond for drinking, not swimming? Don't want to think about how many get that backwards..."

"Dunno why anyone would! Now come on, let's swim together for once! I won't take no for an answer!"

"This again?"

"Come on, buddy! This might be your last chance to enjoy the crisp cool water that people swim in and absolutely do not drink!"
>>
No. 969759 ID: e7a33c
File 159225050564.png - (475.28KB , 900x600 , 125.png )
969759

"...."

"To the right pool, then?"

"T..."

"To the right pool."
>>
No. 969760 ID: e7a33c
File 159225050857.png - (282.04KB , 900x600 , 126.png )
969760

Now that Tyrsis passed my test of knowing which body of water is which, we approach the actual Reservoir Pond and are met with a friendly face.

"Oh! Hey, you two!"

It's Hyrssi! She's a friend we made during our schooling. Been a few glimmers since we last hung out together.

Going for a swim? Water's great!"

"Definitely!"

"Nah."

"Aww, come on Tyrsy, for me?"

"I'm good. I can't dry off in seconds like you two, remember."

"Then I'll help dry you off after we're done!"

"What, by blowing on me?"

"With a towel, silly."

"Yeah, still too much of a hassle. I already had to bathe a bunch of dirt off my feathers last wake."

"What if I throw in a :sq_heart:kiss:sq_heartr:?"

"That'd just make me more wet."

....

Hmm?

Oh, yeah I already tried shipping these two. Hyrssi was game, but Tyrsis only saw her as a friend. For some reason he really empathized with her though, almost like he knew what she was going through. Weird.

Still, maybe I can sweeten the deal for the sake of getting this large fluffy boy to swim with us?

"What if I gave you something?"

Well that's not going to work. Time to start preparing plan B-- Wait, is he actually considering it? He pauses for a long time while looking my way.

"...Like what?"

I didn't expect to get this far. Quick, I gotta think of something to offer Tyrsis in exchange for swimming with us!

:sq_optbubble_left:What should I say?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 969761 ID: b1b4f3

>>969760
A kiss, of course.
>>
No. 969762 ID: cdabe3

>>969761
Of course!
>>
No. 969767 ID: 465a14

A kiss, what else?
>>
No. 969768 ID: 2aa5f0

>>969760
a favor to be called in later.

Could be fun.
>>
No. 969774 ID: e7848c

>>969760
Why, a KISS of course
Kindness In Slissa Secret
all slissas will be secretly kind to him in their own special way.

Or, you know, he gets one hand holding moment of his choice
>>
No. 969776 ID: b34040

A kiss!
>>
No. 969779 ID: 0fae41

A shove!
Push him in.
>>
No. 969782 ID: a9af05

>>969760
Give him a kiss!
>>
No. 969834 ID: 864e49

>>969760
Blow job
>>
No. 969839 ID: 36784c

>>969760
>I didn't expect to get this far. Quick, I gotta think of something to offer Tyrsis in exchange for swimming with us!
Offer to give him a kiss!
>>
No. 969840 ID: dbd72b

>For some reason he really empathized with her though, almost like he knew what she was going through. Weird.

O_O duuuude....

I know you're gonna wimp out, but just for that I'm jumping on the kiss wagon.
>>
No. 969888 ID: 736b7e

Kiss is good
>>
No. 969932 ID: 3fd119

If the kiss that everyone else is suggesting seems too weird to just get him to go swimming, you could always offer to be the one to dry him off after.
>>
No. 969945 ID: 674ee6

A blow job would be a funny proposition, but it doesn't strike me as your friend group's sense of humor, so a kiss would be more fitting, especially since Hyrssi already brought it up. I mean, what's he gonna do, take you up on your offer?
When you inevitably chicken out though, a no holds barred favor seems like a decent backup plan, with free towel assistance if you really want to sweeten the deal.

And if he's clever, he could just use that favor for a kiss at a later date.
>>
No. 969961 ID: 969209

That all you got guys? Here, lemme get creative.

"Love."

...Because she'll set him up with somebody.

Except, they'll get to the surface where there will be just her to set him up with...
>>
No. 969968 ID: 094652

You'll let him watch you kiss Hyrssi! Well, if she's onboard.
>>
No. 970031 ID: f3f534

>>969760
Give him a kiss!
>>
No. 970034 ID: 5d9d6a

>>969760
Hyrssi and you will dry him off afterwards, of course!
>>
No. 970047 ID: b099e2

>>969768
Seconding this one. An owed favor has potential!
>>
No. 970073 ID: afb3ad
File 159260088535.png - (467.58KB , 900x600 , 127.png )
970073

>A kiss, of course.
What--

>Why, a KISS of course
But--

>Give him a kiss!
I just went over this earlier!

>Kiss is good
We can't-- I can't--

>Offer to give him a kiss!
HssSSssSsSs!!!!

>A kiss!
Enough! Think of something else!

>A shove!
That's not better!

>"Love."
Of course! I could renew my promise to find him the perfect mate!

>I know you're gonna wimp out...
!!!
>>
No. 970074 ID: afb3ad
File 159260088736.png - (484.71KB , 900x600 , 128.png )
970074

"A kiss!" I blurt out without thinking.

"Speep!? W-what?"

"If you swim with us, I... I'll give you a kiss!"

"Oh Kliss, honey, it's not gonna work if you offer the exact same thing; Especially since he already turned it down."
>>
No. 970075 ID: afb3ad
File 159260089121.png - (447.88KB , 900x600 , 129.png )
970075

:SQ_tyrsishappy: "Wow this water's nice and warm. Feels great!"

:SQ_klissshocked:

:SQ_NPC_orangeslissashocked:

:SQ_tyrsispleased: "What'cha waiting for, Kliss? You wanted to go swim, didn't you?"

:SQ_klissconfused: "Probably shouldn't be surprised by any of this. It's not like I'm heavily in denial this t-- nevermind. Incoming Rock-Dive!!!"

:SQ_soundeffectL:Splish!:SQ_soundeffectR:
>>
No. 970076 ID: afb3ad
File 159260089323.png - (395.51KB , 900x600 , 130.png )
970076

"Girl, you got water all over me!"

"You were wet long before I dove in!" I say as I splash her playfully.

"Hsshss! Oh yeah? Take this!" She says, forcing some water my way!

"Hahaha! Hey!"

"You started it!"

"And I'll finish it! Come here!"

"Haha--aaah! No fair! I wasn't ready!"

"Not gonna lie."

"I love everything about this exchange."


If Tyrsis thinks I'm gonna let him float there watching us have fun, he's got another thing coming!

:sq_optbubble_left:A: Challenge him to a breath-holding contest!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Splash him!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Challenge him to catch your tail, a common game among slissas!:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: Join forces with Hyrssi in a game of Catch The Ketza! What were the rules, again?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 970078 ID: e7848c

>>970076
D,c
He wants this so bad, he's got to earn it. And while he's already started that process, that doesn't mean it has to be easy for him.
>>
No. 970079 ID: dcbdbe

>>970078
Hshshshshshs do this, speep!
>>
No. 970080 ID: 8fab7a

>>970076
C,b

Might want to tuck your medallion somewhere a bit less conspicuous. Y'know. Just in case.
>>
No. 970081 ID: 736b7e

D,c

The rules are that the ketza gets hugged.
>>
No. 970082 ID: 0fae41

D/c.
>>
No. 970083 ID: b13dfe

C, d
>>
No. 970086 ID: 4f51b2

>>970076
A
>>
No. 970088 ID: 860299

A/c
>>
No. 970089 ID: b099e2

B/c

i mean you GOTTA splash him, otherwise what's even the point
>>
No. 971010 ID: 00d3f1
File 159351081978.png - (262.36KB , 900x600 , 131.png )
971010

The third bell tolls.

"Okay, big guy. Think you can catch my tail?"

"Uh... probably not? I swim way slower than you."

"Come on, Tyrsy! It'll be fun!"

"Wanting to do something doesn't empower me with the ability to actually pull it off."

"It does if you want it hard enough!"

"Okay, fine. Ready or not, I'm about to do a thing!"
>>
No. 971011 ID: 00d3f1
File 159351082215.png - (304.39KB , 900x600 , 132.png )
971011

The odds are really stacked against him, but I can't help but root for the guy.

Sometimes the things we want feel so far away. Goals no easier to grasp than the light shed by a glowgem. From silly games of tag to a desire to see the world above, life is full of things we want and our efforts to reach them.

Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes we want to give up.

But Tyrsis is someone who has always pushed forward, even if all he can do is move a step at a time. He's never quit, no matter how bad things seem. Not now, not last wake, not ever.

I admire that about him.


Wait, was he always that close-- "Hah!"
>>
No. 971012 ID: 00d3f1
File 159351082693.png - (379.67KB , 900x600 , 133.png )
971012

"Gotcha!"

!!!

"Oh, girl! You let yourself get distracted!"

"Ssss! H-how are you lifting me up this high!?"

"We're still in the shallow end, remember?"

"Shallow to you, maybe! Okay-- you win! Put me down already!"

"Spehehee~ Okay, okay.

"Thank you. Now it's my turn to get you!"

"What!?"

"Not if I get him first!"

We continue playing around and enjoying ourselves, barely even noticing the fourth bell when it tolls. Has it been that long already? I guess we really needed this after the stress of yesterday.

The town of Saryssa is dull and boring, but that doesn't mean there aren't things I'll miss. I've always enjoyed this pond, and I hope I'm not wanting for them up above. I'll miss my friends, too.

And Mama...

I better check up on her.
>>
No. 971013 ID: 00d3f1
File 159351083020.png - (334.07KB , 900x600 , 134.png )
971013

But not before giving Tyrsis his reward.

I mean, I did agree...

Tyrsis seems to be in high spirits (from his victory, of course) as we gather our things and bid our friend goodbye.

As we make our way to the house, I think about what exactly I should say to Mama. I want to ask her why she knew what to do, but I also want to reassure her that I won't take such big risks once I reach the outside world.

Soon we reach our destination, and I decide to just say whatever comes to mind. I tell Tyrsis to wait a moment, and head inside...
>>
No. 971014 ID: 00d3f1
File 159351083497.png - (407.84KB , 900x600 , 135.png )
971014

...Only to head back out a moment later.

"She's not there."

"That's odd."

"You're telling me. Is she avoiding me...?"

"Maybe she decided to spend some time with her friend."

"Even if she did, she would have come back to check up on me!"

"You're an adult now, remember? Maybe she's giving you a chance to run free."

"After what happened last wake? I dunno, I'm getting kinda worried."

"Let's go find her, then. You two still need to talk and hug and all that stuff."

"That's the foregone conclusion, yeah."

Yeah...
>>
No. 971015 ID: 00d3f1
File 159351083848.png - (291.37KB , 900x600 , 136.png )
971015

There's only a handful of places she would go. But where to check first?

:sq_optbubble_left:A: The Graveyard. Maybe thinking about what we saw?:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Her friend's house. Probably needed someone to talk to.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:C:The Shaia worship center. Maybe she's feeling spiritual?:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D:The Old Path to Shishae Point. But why would she go back there alone?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 971020 ID: 0fae41

The old path/a. Perhaps she's installing new safety features.
>>
No. 971043 ID: b099e2

A/d (old path)
>>
No. 971048 ID: fa2754

>>971015
C,a
Check with friends first. They'll lead you in a more precise direction if they know.
>>
No. 971097 ID: e7c7d3

B/d
>>
No. 971138 ID: 2aa5f0

B
d
>>
No. 971339 ID: cc54c6

D, c
>>
No. 971340 ID: 2fb707

>>971048
do this
>>
No. 971341 ID: 75ea94

C
D
Maybe try to find a little gift for her on the way, you know like a rock with a cute face painted on it, that could cheer her up!
>>
No. 971344 ID: 736b7e

A, C
>>
No. 971457 ID: afb3ad
File 159388289966.png - (326.75KB , 900x600 , 137.png )
971457

We make our way to the Temple of Shaia, thinking that Mama may be seeking her love and guidance.

No expense is spared making this place, with pillars made of a special mix of limestone and marble adorning a room lit by high quality glowgems. Tendrils are carved into the walls extending from a statue of Shaia, a tribute to her far-reaching creative might.

Doesn't look like Mama's here, but I find myself drawn to the statue. Since I'm here anyway, maybe I can offer a silent prayer.
>>
No. 971458 ID: afb3ad
File 159388290208.png - (481.98KB , 900x600 , 138.png )
971458

Shaia, I want to see your world. I want to witness all you've created, to bathe in your warmth. I want to accomplish so much, to show that I can do what no other person ever has.

But I'm just a single slissa. There's nothing special about me. I don't have Shaia's Love.

Am I doing the right thing? Or am I just being selfish, putting my desires above the feelings of those who care about me most? What would you have done if you stood here in my place?

Whatever happens, please watch over Mama and Tyrsis. They deserve to live happy, peaceful lives.

"Hmph!"
>>
No. 971459 ID: afb3ad
File 159388290470.png - (376.60KB , 900x600 , 139.png )
971459

My prayer is interrupted by a disgruntled slissa muttering aloud.

"Got nothin' to say, as always. What's the damned point of praying? It's not like you ever answer. Where were you during the war? Where are you now? What makes the ketzas so damn special that you bless them and not us?"

He seems to wait for an answer that doesn't come.

He sort of has a point. The texts say Shaia gave 'all that she was' to spread her love. One way to interpret that is that she sacrificed herself, dying so that the world could be filled with life.

Another way to look at it is that we're all part of her, and by praying we tap into that piece of Shaia inside ourselves.

There are likely other interpretations, but there's no way to know which is right. :sq_optbubble_left:What do I believe...?:sq_optbubble_right:

Tyrsis looks like he wants to say something.

:sq_optbubble_left:What should I say or do?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 971462 ID: fa2754

>>971459
Finish your prayer as fast as you can. Touch the statue. As you leave, tell that guy you hope he finds peace.
>>
No. 971465 ID: 736b7e

Maybe the life in the world was partially already there and Shaia added to it in hopes of improving it.

Let Tyrsis choose if he's going to say anything and support him if he does.
>>
No. 971466 ID: b099e2

You're agnostic, you don't know what to believe.
You sometimes find yourself wondering if Shaia was even real at all, or if the reason slissas don't have Shaia's Love is because Shaia didn't make slissas. Religion is mostly a philosophical exercise for you, not a guiding belief system.
>>
No. 971467 ID: 465a14

Creator definitely existed and made things, but past that... who knows? Maybe slissa magic is just more subtle.
>>
No. 971473 ID: cdabe3

>>971467
Yeah, probably this. Ask tyrsis what’s on his mind!
>>
No. 971501 ID: 094652

"Maybe the point is that the statue of Shaia is just a statue, but through it you're doing the same thing that generations of your ancestors have done before you."
>That sounds stupid
"Then do something else. Nobody's forcing you to pray... are they?"
>>
No. 971597 ID: 365ffb

You're a humani... <i>slissaist</i>. You believe that gods could be cool, sure, maybe they died, maybe they're helping, but the more important thing is that <i>everybody</i> should be kind and nice!
>>
No. 971671 ID: afb3ad
File 159416047879.png - (384.24KB , 900x600 , 140.png )
971671

"Life is better when we do things we enjoy."

"What? You talking to me?"

"You don't have to waste your time here if you don't see the point of praying. It's not like Shaia's here to comment, right?"

"None of your business what I do."

He glares at Tyrsis. "Definitely not the business of ketza scum."

I'm taken aback. Other slissas don't always treat Tyrsis great, but none have ever acted openly hostile like this.

Tyrsis looks to me, seeming to also struggle comprehending what just happened.

"But ketzas are one of Shaia's--"

"Shaia this, Shaia that! Always the same with people in this back-cave town. Try living in the capital a while, see how much you love ketzas after that. If Shaia exists, she has a damn lot to answer for."

I can think of nothing further to say, so I decide to leave him to his grumbling. For his part, he seems happy enough to let the conversation end there.

Are things really so bad at the capital?

In the awkward silence that follows, I look back to the statue.

....

The bitter slissa's words hang in my mind. Why do we pray to someone who never answers?

It's something I've done all my life because I was raised to do so, but I've had my moments of doubt-- of wondering if everything told to me was actually true.
>>
No. 971672 ID: afb3ad
File 159416048167.png - (352.98KB , 900x600 , 141.png )
971672

"What do you think, Tyrsis?"

"Huh? What?"

"There's no way to know if the stories about Shaia are true, is there?"

"Uhhh... I mean, one thing that's been pretty consistent over the generations is the idea of Shaia and Creation. Hell of a long time to stick with something made up."

Ah, right. Tyrsis of all people would know all about the history of the story of Shaia. I think back to some of the things he's told me over the seasons.

"But it's not like the stories all say the same stuff, right? I remember you mentioning some of them say completely different things."

"Yeah. There's a lot of stories that conflict with others, and a fair amount that seem mostly to serve the people writing them."

"Even if we assume Shaia existed, could there be fundamental aspects that we've gotten wrong? What if she only created some of the life on our world?"

"I mean, that much is consistent in every version of the story. There was nothing, then there was Shaia."

"But if no life existed before Shaia, how could anyone know for sure? It's not like someone was there writing things down as they happened."

"I... hmm. Well, it's hard to otherwise explain Shaia's Love. Being able to conjure heat and cold out of nothingness sure feels like a blessing."

"A blessing only given to the ketzas."

"Well, that's one thing I know I don't fully agree with. I think slissas have Shaia's Love, it's just more subtle."

"I can't even get a candle to light. And I tried really hard that one time!"

"More like... take the glowgems. They've been here for all of time, giving slissas sight where they'd otherwise be running around blind. That's kinda what I mean by slissas having a version of Shaia's Love."

"Hmm. Maybe. We take them for granted, but things would be a lot harder without them for sure. But it's not like the ketzas can't use them too. They don't really feel like they were 'for' slissas."

"Remember that ketzas originally lived in the outside world, where glowgems don't seem to exist."

"Yeah, but they got a giant ball of light shining on everything! If not for the Great Beast, there's no way they'd choose glowgems over that."

"Still not sure why she created the Great Beast in the first place, honestly."

"See? It makes much more sense if the Great Beast was a creature that existed before Shaia showed up. There's no way she'd make something that massacred her creations like that!"

Tyrsis stares at the statue wordlessly, likely mulling over my Very Good Point.

But it's not like I think Shaia didn't exist. It's just... I don't know for sure. Nobody does. Maybe life did exist before her. Maybe we existed before her. That'd explain how we were able to write down her story, and why we don't have Shaia's Love (unless we're really gonna count the glowgems).

It's one of many things I hope to learn more about as I explore the world above.

For now, though, the story of Shaia contains a lot of important lessons about camaraderie. The idea that we are all loved, and should treat each other well. Regardless of what's true and what isn't, that's a philosophy worth following.

I motion to Tyrsis for us to leave. I tell the grumpy stranger that I hope he finds peace, but he seems to ignore me.
>>
No. 971673 ID: afb3ad
File 159416048458.png - (387.66KB , 900x600 , 142.png )
971673

As we walk around thinking about the next steps, I happen to notice a familiar looking slissa. It's Mama's friend! She might know something about where Mama ran off to!

...But should I just walk up and ask? If Mama's still upset, her friend would likely want to help give her time to recover. She'd probably try to distract me, or lead me astray. But it's no good for Mama to stew on what happened. We need to talk about it!

Granted, there's a chance she'd just tell me... But she could also just waste a lot of time. She's really chatty!

With that in mind, maybe I should try to quietly follow her while she heads to her destination. If Mama's staying with her, she could lead right to her.

Since she tends to be pretty chatty, I could be walking into a huge time sink with no payoff. She might not even know where Mama is. Maybe I should ignore her and continue looking on my own?


:sq_pathL:Path of confrontation...:sq_pathR:
She's my best chance to get a lead!
:sq_optbubble_left:A: Walk up and ask about Mama.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Sneak behind her to see where she's going.:sq_optbubble_right:

:sq_pathL:Path of the search...:sq_pathR:
If she doesn't know, it could be a better use of time to keep looking since she's so talkative. That would mean ruling out her place as an option, naturally. In which case...
:sq_optbubble_left:C: The graveyard. Is she at Dad's symbolic grave?:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:D: The old path. Mama wanted me to explore it. Why?:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:E: Back home to look for clues. Maybe she left a note?:sq_optbubble_right:

:sq_hint: PATHS are major branches in the direction of the story. When voting, your PRIMARY VOTE selects which PATH you choose. It's recommended (but not required) to use your SECONDARY VOTE for an option in the other path, so you can have a say even if your chosen PATH doesn't win.
>>
No. 971674 ID: 0fae41

C/b. What's her name, anyway?
>>
No. 971676 ID: 365ffb

AC! Talk to her and go right out front: you're stressed and you really need to find her. Look worried, maybe?
>>
No. 971679 ID: cdabe3

C/a

Hmmm, maybe shaia created the beast, and it was peaceful but became corrupted somehow?
>>
No. 971685 ID: 7ed0fe

Primary C, secondary B. After nearly losing you last wake, she might be unable to stop thinking about the last time she lost a loved one. Maybe she's visiting his grave to put her thoughts to rest?
>>
No. 971715 ID: dce46f

C/A
>>
No. 971829 ID: b099e2

D/a
>>
No. 971830 ID: 36784c

>>971673
C/a
>>
No. 971842 ID: 3fd119

D/c; It was really weird that she suddenly decided to take you on an adventure.
>>
No. 971844 ID: 736b7e

A, c
>>
No. 971845 ID: fa2754

>>971673
A, c.
It doesn't need to be a big confrontation. Just call out to her and straight ask her if she's seen your mom around. If she doesn't know, just keep on going and check the next destination. Your dad's symbolic grave.
>>
No. 971846 ID: 094652

D/A - What's your sneak skill level?
>>
No. 971947 ID: afb3ad
File 159450178591.png - (408.08KB , 900x600 , 143.png )
971947

The War Memorial Graveyard.

Stretching into infinity, it is home to generations of slissas that have lost their lives. First from the ketzas, then from time itself. Each grave has a story to tell. Each marks a generation of pain, joy, and loss.

Though we still add to it, it remains a memorial to how far we've come.

My father's body doesn't lay here; He never returned from his journey outside. But a grave exists nonetheless, another marker of a lost life.

I never saw a reason to come here. I don't want to talk to a marker of an empty space, I want to talk to my father's true resting place, if I ever manage to find it. But Mama visits often, and I should at least see the grave with her before I leave.

As we approach the symbolic marker of my father's resting place, I let out an audible gasp.
>>
No. 971948 ID: afb3ad
File 159450179542.png - (485.73KB , 900x600 , 144.png )
971948

The fifth bell tolls.

Atop the granite lie many letters, some showing incredible signs of age. They all share the same handwriting: Mama's. All addressed to Isthyr, my father.


"I... did not expect to see this."

"She used to talk about how she sometimes wrote to Papa, but I thought it was more... symbolic."

"Well, we probably shouldn't read them. Wouldn't be right."

"Yeah... but I'm going to skim the one on top, just in case it points us in the right direction."

"Uh..."

"Unless you want to keep running around aimlessly, I mean."

"Hey, she's your mother. I'm not gonna judge."

Sorry, Mama, but I'm worried about you!
>>
No. 971949 ID: afb3ad
File 159450180083.png - (396.47KB , 900x600 , 145.png )
971949

Isthyr,

Kliss comes of age today. I've gone over what I'll say so many times in my head. I want to beg her to stay here. To find love, give us grandkids, and enjoy a life of peace.

But she's too much like you. You're right, she wouldn't be happy here. If she tried to stay, she'd end up like you, spending many unhappy years lamenting the dream she never got to live. We had so much fun exploring Shaia's Embrace, I just wish that was enough for you. I wish...

I wish a lot of things. But don't worry, I'll keep my promise. I'll try to lead her to our spot, and if I can't do that, I'll figure something out. I'll make sure she sees the message you left for her.

You'd be so proud of her.



....

Mama, why didn't you just tell me you wanted to show me something? If I knew that, maybe I wouldn't have gone off-path. I wouldn't have--

Wait.

The Old Path.
>>
No. 971950 ID: afb3ad
File 159450180392.png - (347.83KB , 900x600 , 146.png )
971950

She didn't.


:SQ_pathL:A: Go after her alone. This is a matter between mother and child. Tyrsis will go get help, just in case.:SQ_pathR:

:SQ_pathL:B: Go after her with Tyrsis. The three of you are practically family.:SQ_pathR:
>>
No. 971952 ID: 0fae41

B. And watch both of your footings!
>>
No. 971954 ID: 736b7e

B
>>
No. 971955 ID: 465a14

>>971950
B!
>>
No. 971956 ID: b1b4f3

>>971950
B, because he was there the first time. But also, don't worry too much. She has no reason to go along the dangerous part of that place.
>>
No. 971959 ID: c5c951

>>971950
C.
Go now. If he follows, he follows. If not, that's okay too.
>>
No. 971964 ID: 7ed0fe

B. It's always good to have a buddy to watch your back in case things go wrong again
>>
No. 971966 ID: 470289

A.
>>
No. 971969 ID: cdabe3

B
>>
No. 971972 ID: 75ea94

B
>>
No. 971975 ID: b099e2

A. It's between you and Mama.
>>
No. 972013 ID: ae9bd9

>>971950
A. While this isn't something so serious as being between you and her. She could be hurt and it would be better to be safe than sorry. Tyrsis should go get help while you can try to find her as soon as you can.
>>
No. 972052 ID: 094652

B - You need an extra pair of hands in case something... happens.
>>
No. 972097 ID: 3fd119

B. You really are in this together. He should see whatever she has to show you, too.
>>
No. 972389 ID: 663062
File 159484055033.png - (362.19KB , 900x600 , 147.png )
972389

"Tyrsis! I know where she is!"

"You do? Just like that?"

"I mean, I'm pretty sure! The letter said Papa put something for me at the end of the Old Path!"

"So that's why she insisted we go there."

"I think so, yeah. But after what happened, Mama probably assumed I wouldn't want to try again. She has to have gone there hoping to bring it back with her!"

"Her? Alone? That doesn't sound like something she'd do."

"But it does! She knew what to do when I nearly fell, and that's something you only learn from experience! She probably explored Shaia's Embrace with my father!"

"I mean, most of the books that teach about cave expansion go pretty in-depth about-- no, you're right. It's the best lead we've got. But if she's hurt... maybe I should get help?"

"No, we should both go so we can back each other up if something goes wrong. Besides, we started exploring together, we should finish together."

"My instincts tell me not to go, but... if it'll help your mother, I'm in. Besides, I'm curious what else the Old Path can teach us."

"Hopefully a lot, but let's focus on Mama first! Come on, let's finish our first exploration as The Seekers!"
>>
No. 972390 ID: 663062
File 159484055396.png - (316.46KB , 900x600 , 148.png )
972390

As we retrace our steps, I mentally plot out the areas we've seen. We explored a room torn apart by tsiki spikes, with decrepit buildings and a skeleton I'm not going to think very hard about.

Inside one of the buildings we found nursery, long since abandoned. Exploring further, we found a secret path which lead upwards and outward to an outcropping overlooking Shisae Point and the War Memorial Graveyard.

The thin pathway there is where my last adventure came to an early end.

But this time, we're sticking to the main path. We don't have time to explore every nook and cranny!

We continue down a winding path, wondering if it was dug by someone who drank booze instead of water. Before long, the path expands outward, revealing something I'd never seen in all my seasons of life.
>>
No. 972391 ID: 663062
File 159484055659.png - (348.09KB , 900x600 , 149.png )
972391

"What... what is that thing?"

"I... I have no idea. I've never read about anything like this. It almost looks like a plant."

"A plant? But it doesn't look anything like Acquair! But if they're similar... what if you tried Shaia's Love?"

"I'm not burning my plant! Besides, it looks more like the ones I've seen in several ketza books. Maybe those used to make paper?"

"But why would a paper plant be here? Unless... is this why the path was blocked off? Is this what my father wanted to show me?"

"Maybe? But your mother isn't here, and she talked about this like it'd be a longer trip. Which means... oh no."

"We're going to have to get past this thing."

"Not only did I know you were going there, I helped you get there. I'm so bad at keeping us out of danger."

"Exactly! That's why I bring you along!"


:sq_tyrsisokay: :sq_klissyay:


If nothing else, Tyrsis helps keep my spirits up. I wouldn't make it very far if I let myself get overcome with worry...

Now then. This uh, 'plant'. There's just enough room for us to squeeze past it, but we can't do so without touching it. It shines a white light, illuminating a room otherwise devoid of glowgems.

I can't help but notice that the tsiki spikes fall away as they approach, with none at all growing next to the shining curiosity. Are they somehow afraid of it? Can tsiki spikes even feel fear?


:sq_optbubble_left:What should we do?:sq_optbubble_right:

:sq_hint: You can suggest actions for Tyrsis as well.
>>
No. 972392 ID: 736b7e

Maybe try to break off a tsiki spike and poke it with it? Tsiki spikes don't normally have problems growing near light, do they? You mentioned burning it but that could be a bad idea for a number of reasons. If it's safe enough to approach, dig a small opening around it for you and Tyrsis to comfortably fit through.
>>
No. 972397 ID: 365ffb

Is there a way you could safely break off a spike and slowly advance to see if you could push it away safely is an option?
>>
No. 972416 ID: 0fb3be

If you try crawling over the gap, just slowly approach it if you need to immediately hop back.
>>
No. 972418 ID: b1b4f3

Mom went this way, so... there must be a safe way past.
Check the room on the right. If there's no other way past, then it must be safe to touch?

Tyrsis: translate those signs.
>>
No. 972421 ID: cdabe3

>>972418
This!
>>
No. 972482 ID: 3fd119

I'd be a little worried to try digging past, if this thing's burrowed its way through the cave walls. The area might be less stable than it looks. Look around, can you actually see any evidence that anyone's been in here recently, like footprints or disturbed dust? You probably shouldn't just climb over that thing under the assumption that your mom did it.

If the spikes are "avoiding" it, that means it's probably around the same age as them. For something that huge to still be glowing so brightly after such a long time, it has to either have a dangerous amount of energy stored inside it, or be drawing strength from somewhere.
>>
No. 972524 ID: fa2754

>>972391
Tyrsis, can you read anything here? With haste if you can.
Kliss, make your way closer. Touch nothing. Find a path can Tyrsis can navigate though without touching anything either. Watch your necklace. It can dangle and touch the plant if you're not careful.
>>
No. 972903 ID: b099e2

First, check for footprints. Make sure your mom actually came this way. That should also tell you whether she went past the plant or through that door over on the right.

Then, follow the footprints. If they do lead past the plant, definitely try poking it with a tsiki spike before touching it yourself. Just because your mom managed to slip past it doesn't mean it's safe to touch.
>>
No. 972904 ID: 19fdd8

>>972391
Maybe it'll move if you hug it enough.
>>
No. 972939 ID: 663062
File 159536844290.png - (448.00KB , 900x600 , 150.png )
972939

"We should be very careful about what we touch."

"Beat me to saying it. Thought I wouldn't get it out before you ran up and gave that white thing a giant hug or something."

"I'm not that crazy, Tyrsis!"

"Nice to see you acting sensible."

"Now then. I'm gonna poke it with a tsiki spike!"

"Aaand back to your old self already."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You really need me to answer that?"

"You could at least humor me a little!"

"I could."

"...."

"But I won't."

Sigh.

Either way, we can't sit here doing nothing. If Mama's in danger, I need to save her. Despite Tyrsis' sass, I rip off a piece of tsiki spike and bring it near the glowing plant-thing.
>>
No. 972940 ID: 663062
File 159536844576.png - (424.98KB , 900x600 , 151.png )
972940

As I draw the spike closer, it starts to feel warm. The closer I get, the harder it becomes to make progress, as if some invisible force is pushing them apart. I consider using more force to make them touch, but ultimately decide it best if I follow my own advice and show a bit of caution.

I notice that there's no force pushing back on me directly, just the tsiki spike. Still, I should at least look around before experimenting too much.

"Why'd you stop short? Did reason finally get to you?"

"Oh, nothing like that. That thing's pushing against tsiki spikes somehow?"

"Is that what that is?"

"What?"

"Don't you feel it? It's like something is pushing against me slightly."

"I don't feel anything.

"I guess Shaia's Embrace really does contain unsolved mysteries, then."

"Wanna go hug the 'plant' and solve one?"

"I do not."

"You and your 'reason'. Well, what about the signs? Do they say anything interesting?"

"One says 'scoppa ssi arping'. Probably mentioning some kind of gift shop. The other says 'brimla baeldor'. Path of the hero, maybe?"

"That's kinda interesting! Just not that helpful to us. Let's take a look inside the building. Maybe there's another secret path?"
>>
No. 972941 ID: 663062
File 159536844935.png - (303.20KB , 900x600 , 152.png )
972941

This must be the 'gift shop' mentioned by the sign.

The tsiki spikes have not been kind to this place. Various dolls and mini-statues reveal that even in generations past, Shisae Point had a healthy dose of merchandising.

Rather than waste time considering which momento to take with me, I instead focus on the path near the back of the room.

"There! Could she have gone up there?"

"If only there was a way to know for sure which way she went."

"What about footprints? Do any of them look recent? What about back at the 'plant'?"

"It's hard to tell how old any of the prints are, thanks to the lack of erosion."

"What?"

"The caves are a lot drier here than near the ponds, so the only signs of time passing are the damage caused by tsiki spikes and hungry insects. It's hard to tell if there's any prints with more signs of decay than the others."

"Why is there decay, anyway? Why would Shaia make that part of her world? If she did make the world..."

"Well, the world was already here when she showed up. Likely she wanted to preserve the natural order of things."

"The natural order of things... Look, we can discuss that later. Is there any way we can infer which way Mama went?"

"We can puzzle it out. For one thing, your mother never brought up the 'plant'. Maybe she didn't think it was worth mentioning?"

"Or she intended to talk about it once we got here."

"There's also the fact that the plant doesn't seem to affect slissas the same way it affects me and the spikes."

"Could it be related to Shaia's Love? Man, now I wish we figured out that thing about if slissas have a tiny bit of it or not."

"Well, can you make a flame?"

"Hsss...! Uh... Nope."

"The effect would probably be unnoticable, then. With that in mind, we could just split up and try both paths."

Hmm...


:SQ_pathL: Path of the plant... :SQ_pathR:
Mama likely meant for us to stay on the main path. Looking at the prints, there is one set that seems to avoid all the tsiki spikes. I think. Maybe.
:sq_optbubble_left:A: Dig a path around the plant, so Tyrsis can hopefully come with.:sq_optbubble_right:
:sq_optbubble_left:B: Crawl through the hole and send Tyrsis the other way. Have him hold my stuff, to be safe.:sq_optbubble_right:

:SQ_pathL: Path of the ascent... :SQ_pathR:
There's no way Mama threw herself at a spooky plant, even in the company of my father! Heck, maybe he dug the second path himself out of what used to be a closet. It'd have certainly put Mama at ease.
:sq_optbubble_left:C: Go through the store path with Tyrsis.:sq_optbubble_right:

Also...
:sq_optbubble_left:This 'plant' might mark my first discovery! What should I name it?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 972942 ID: 0fae41

B/c. Name it Steve.
>>
No. 972943 ID: cdabe3

Primary A, secondary c

Name the plant, uh
uhhhhhhh

“The Big, Glowy Plant Thing”
>>
No. 972944 ID: b1b4f3

The plant pushed against the spikes but not you. I think it's safe.
A.

Name the plant the Glowstalk.
>>
No. 972947 ID: a9af05

>>972941
A

>>972944
>Glowstalk
This
>>
No. 972948 ID: b1b4f3

Ah, Tyrsis should check how close he can get before he's uncomfortable. Also he should walk around to the side where you plan to dig, to make sure there isn't more of it hidden there.
Come to think of it, you should scout a little bit past the plant to see if there's more behind it, so that you don't waste time digging around it only to find a second obstruction.
>>
No. 972949 ID: 736b7e

B, C

Also supporting "Glowstalk"
>>
No. 972955 ID: 365ffb

A c

name it the Door to Plantomile
>>
No. 972963 ID: b099e2

B/c

The plant seems to repel those with Shaia's Love, so let's call it Shaia's Scorn.
>>
No. 972974 ID: 7f1230

>>972963
backing this name
>>
No. 973027 ID: fa2754

>>972941
B, c "Nishalm"
>>
No. 973030 ID: 3fd119

A, and Glowstalk sounds like a good, simple name.
>>
No. 973091 ID: 663062
File 159564108674.png - (257.75KB , 900x600 , 153.png )
973091

Since it seems to be safe for me, I carefully approach the hole the glowing plant thing is partially blocking and take a peak...

"What do you see with your tiny adorable slissa eyes?"

"My what?"

"What's in there?"

"Uh, the path continues forward as you'd expect, but instead of tsiki spikes everywhere there's more glowing plant-things? Wait-- in the back near the wall..."

"What is it?"

'It's a glowgem, but some of the glowing plants have wrapped around it."

"Huh. Maybe they're attracted to light?"

"That's the thing. It's not glowing."

"What!?"

"It's completely dim!

Glowgems shine eternally, from the beginning of time to now. There's only one real explanation for this one being devoid of light.

"The glowing plant absorbed its light, maybe? Hmm. I think that makes sense, actually."

"How the heck does any of this make sense!?"

"Well, the plant doesn't affect you, but kinda affects me. One possible explanation is that this stuff was made to be an anti-ketza weapon, or at least a barrier."

"I'm not sure the slissas were capable of making something like this. And if we did, we'd have written it down somewhere!"

"True, but remember what we were talking about before? This and the glowgems might be what the slissas got instead of Shaia's Love. A silent protector of sorts."

"I guess, but this doesn't feel like 'love' so much. Shaia's scorn, maybe. Hey, we should call it that!"

"We could, but... as explorers, I think we should stick to simpler names, just so we can keep track of what's what."

"You're counting yourself as an explorer, I see."

"Being afraid of the outside world doesn't mean I don't enjoy finding new things."

Nice to see him coming around.

"Well, what should we call these things, then?"

"Let's see. Since it's so plant-like, how about 'glowstalk'?

"Works for me!"

"So we're gonna crawl on through?"

I dunno. I was thinking of digging a path for you, but if glowstalks litter the place I'm not sure you can come with me."

"I think I'll be fine. I feel a push from these things, but it's not all that bad."

"You sure? If Shaia or whoever made these to be an anti-ketza weapon, there's no telling what'd happen if you accidentally touched one."

"Yeah. They push against me, so the only way I'd touch one is if I were trying to."
>>
No. 973092 ID: 663062
File 159564108911.png - (341.84KB , 900x600 , 154.png )
973092

"Besides, it's not like I'm a real ketza."
>>
No. 973093 ID: 663062
File 159564109371.png - (286.67KB , 900x600 , 155.png )
973093

I get to digging.

....

"You shouldn't say things like that."

"It's true, isn't it? I'm only half ketza."

"Doesn't mean you should think you're a fake or something."

"Sorry, I just misspoke."

"You're an explorer and part of The Seekers. That makes you worth a thousand ketzas."

"Is that good?"

"It's like forty slissas."

"Holy shit."

"Yeah. So no feeling inferior or anything, okay?"

"But forty slissas is so many..."

"And that's just in general! To me you're worth a hundred slissas, which is more ketzas than currently exists!"

"Hehe... thanks, Kliss."

Thankfully, Tyrsis is able to make his way through my side path without issue. We continue forward carefully, doing our best to keep some distance between us and the various glowstalks.

Before long, the path once again opens up.
>>
No. 973094 ID: 663062
File 159564109771.png - (409.23KB , 900x600 , 156.png )
973094

Whoa.

A winding path upwards, marked by several signs that likely tell the story of the war and Shisae the hero. The glowstalks have ravaged the place, much as tsiki spikes destroyed the rooms before. One way or another, time has taken its toll on this place.

Every glowgem in is as dim as the one we saw earlier, sucked dry of the luminosity they once shed.

Near the top I notice a gap in the path, a spot probably destroyed by the nearby glowstalk.

Was it really okay to bring Tyrsis with me?

"It's a shame we're not wishbes."

"Uh... why's that?"

"Cause then we could just fly up there."

"But then I couldn't be a hundred slissas."

"Darn, you're right! Guess we'll have to figure something else out."

Getting Tyrsis most of the way up there shouldn't be too bad, as long as we're careful not to repeat what happened last time. That gap near the top could be trouble, though. Normally we'd have no choice but to spend a lot of time digging a way around it...
>>
No. 973095 ID: 663062
File 159564110059.png - (7.22KB , 900x600 , 157.png )
973095

...But that's why we bought the stuff we did, right? Let's see...

:SQ_ration: 3 food rations
:SQ_water: 2 water canteens
:SQ_rope: 1 rope
:SQ_cloth: 1 bundle of cloth
:SQ_sewingkit: 1 sewing kit
:SQ_knife: 1 knife
:SQ_hammer: 1 hammer
:SQ_firstaid: 1 first aid kit
:SQ_triage: 1 triage kit
:SQ_pen: 1 pen
:SQ_notebook: 1 notebook
:SQ_goggles: 1 pair of goggles (currently put away)


:sq_optbubble_left:What should we do?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 973099 ID: b1b4f3

This looks like a job for rope! You can go up, and tie the rope to something so he can climb up too. Or you could pull him up if you're stronk enuff.
>>
No. 973100 ID: 193edf

>>973092
feels
"Well, yes. You're a real Tysis. You don't have to be exactly like them or do what they say or believe what they demand you believe."

>What do
Take samples of the plant for further study. Look at how it shines, it's even brighter than glowgems and it might even be capable of auto-photosynthesis!

Also, do not let the plants near your glowgem stash or they'll literally drain the currency out of your money.
>>
No. 973107 ID: 736b7e

Not a whole lot in your kit to make getting over that gap easier but you wouldn't need to dig a hole large enough for Tyrsis if you can tie off the rope at the top. Depending on how long the rope is you might even consider tying it off along the way for Tyrsis to hold onto while you ascend, so no glowstalk pushy-weirdness easily knocks him off.
>>
No. 973109 ID: b099e2

The gap doesn't look too bad, I think you can probably climb through it. If you do that, then you can tie the rope to that big glowstalk by the door and throw it to Tyrsis over on the other path.
>>
No. 973127 ID: 36784c

>>973091
>"My what?"
He said your eyes are adorable! That means that he thinks you’re adorable!

>>973093
>Thankfully, Tyrsis is able to make his way through my side path without issue.
Good, you remembered to dig the path extra wide for Tyrsis and his extra wide butt!

>>973099
Do this.
>>
No. 973134 ID: 0fae41

Stab the root that blocks the path, try to cut your way through. If only we had brought enough for knife hands...
>>
No. 973138 ID: fa2754

>>973094
Rope and anchor! Progress as best as you can. Depending on how much push Tyrsis feels, you might need to tie yourselves together. When it comes to the gap, have him be your anchor while you scale down and back up on the other side. Use the knife, hammer and your body weight to anchor for him while he scales it.
>>
No. 973327 ID: 3fd119

So if Tyrsis is directly above a glowstalk, will he land on it and touch it, or will he start flying? This seems like important and forbidden knowledge. Maybe you could ride your flying friend to safety!
>>
No. 973446 ID: 663062
File 159597965426.png - (388.46KB , 900x600 , 158.png )
973446

>So if Tyrsis is directly above a glowstalk, will he land on it and touch it, or will he start flying? This seems like important and forbidden knowledge
"I have the best idea! I'll take this rope--"

"No."

"What do you mean 'no'!?"

"Whatever you're planning is probably horribly dangerous and involves me in some way, so no."

"It's a crime how well you know me."

"It really isn't."

"Maybe it should be!"

"Gonna join the council and make it a law, then?"

"I would, but that'd get in the way of exploring stuff."

>Rope and anchor!
"Wait! I have a less dangerous idea this time probably!"

"I'll be the judge of that."

"I'll tie us together and try to climb up the other side. That way you can catch me if I fall."

"This is the less dangerous idea?"

"Believe it or not, yes. Once I get to the other side, I'll use my tools to fashion an anchor so you can safely climb to me."

"'Safely' is a very, very strong word."

"Do you have any better ideas? We can't abandon Mama!"

"Spee... Ugh. Fine. Fine! I'll go along with this insane plan, but only because we need to save your mother."

"I'll make it up to you somehow, I promise!"

"We'll worry about that later. Let's... let's just do this insane thing we're about to do."

I finish tying the rope around myself, then help Tyrsis get secured.
>>
No. 973447 ID: 663062
File 159597965708.png - (250.47KB , 900x600 , 159.png )
973447

I climb down without too much issue, then get to work climbing up the other side.

The rocks in this part of the cave are fairly soft, allowing me to dig my claws into the walls for a better grip. Nearby are signs of other slissas doing similar. Maybe left by Mama, or even my father long ago?

I spend some extra time digging extra large climbing holes for Tyrsis to grip onto. This slows me down, but better safe than sorry.

In the distance, I think I hear the 6th bell toll. There's only one left before I'm on my own for keeping track of time. My mind begins to wander as I try to focus on the climb...

>Good, you remembered to dig the path extra wide for Tyrsis and his extra wide butt!
I always work extra hard for Tyrsis's butt.

Wait that came out wrong.

Focus, Kliss.

>He said your eyes are adorable! That means that he thinks you’re adorable!
That's not how you focus!

Look, of course he thinks that. Not everyone can win the 'adorable tiny slissa' award like I did in my early years of schooling!

Though it's strange that everyone else won too. I guess we were just an especially cute class!

Thankfully I don't need to think about it any further as I reach the top of the other side.
>>
No. 973448 ID: 663062
File 159597966072.png - (326.52KB , 900x600 , 160.png )
973448

I use my claws to dig a short tunnel and run the rope through it, tying the end to my hammer and knife so they can act as an anchor.

I don't trust them to do the job alone, so I'll also be pulling with all my might to keep as much tension off them as possible while Tyrsis does his climb.

"Okay! Come on over!" I shout.

"This is still crazy!" He shouts back.

"Just go slowly and carefully, and use the holes I left for you!"

He slowly makes his way down as I dig my claws into the rock, ready to do everything I can to save the big fluffy boy should he run into trouble.

So far so good as he manages to climb down without issue. I keep close watch on him as he starts to climb up the other side, ready to react to anything.

I soon notice the glowstalks pushing against his feathers.

"Are you okay down there? You're not getting pushed too hard, are you?"

"Trying to focus!"

"Sss! Sorry!"

"I'm fine! Getting pushed some, but it's not that bad! Silent time now!"

At any moment I expect disaster, and I try very hard not to jinx it by thinking about it. Wait, this doesn't count, does it?
>>
No. 973449 ID: 663062
File 159597966440.png - (239.92KB , 900x600 , 161.png )
973449

In the end, it didn't.

"You did it! I'm so proud of you!"

"Can't... believe... huff... you want to do this stuff... on purpose..."

"Well, yeah! Don't you feel alive right now?"

"I..."

"Still catching your breath?"

"My brain isn't willing to accept my answer so I'm just not going to say it."

"I knew it! The spark of exploration's in you too!"

"Let's not go that far. I'm just really glad to not be dead right now."

"No ketza would have been willing to do that, not for a slissa. See? You're better than a 'real' ketza!"

"Come on, the ketzas aren't that cowardly. Uh, I think."

I consider objecting, but he's just been through a lot.

"Anyway... thanks."

We rest a bit to recover from our ordeal. I undo my Tyrsis-saving contraption and place the items back in my backpack. That trip to the store has already proven valuable!

...Wait.

"Mama originally wanted us to come this way, right?"

"I mean, probably?"

"How the heck was she hoping to get past this part?"

"...."

"You know, she might have gone the other way earlier."

"We chose the wrong path!? I guess it was a 50/50 shot."

"I mean, we can't know without taking both paths, but it's definitely possible we made things harder on ourselves than... you know what, I'm gonna not think about that and focus on still being alive."

"Probably for the best, buddy."

My thoughts turn to Mama. If she's been in here since last wake, then every moment counts. I consider nudging Tyrsis to continue forward, but he's exhausted. We can't help anyone if either of us collapses.

Still, this will likely be our last chance to rest.


:sq_optbubble_left:Is there anything I should discuss with Tyrsis before we continue?:sq_optbubble_right:
>>
No. 973450 ID: 736b7e

Like every opportunity with Tyrsis, you should hug him. Also contemplate discussing your definitely very real feelings for him!

Maybe question why he follows you so steadily on adventures like these.
>>
No. 973455 ID: cdabe3

>>973450
yes do this :3
>>
No. 973457 ID: b1b4f3

So what do the signs all say?
>>
No. 973462 ID: b099e2

Maybe you guys should rest a bit and have a serious conversation about your long-term plans. You want to go to the surface world and explore it. He's said he's coming with you, but that means leaving behind everyone & everything he knows and possibly never seeing them again. Has he considered that? I mean, really considered it? Does he understand what he'd be giving up to follow you out there?

You guys are gonna have to confront this dilemma eventually. You might as well talk about it now.
>>
No. 973481 ID: fa2754

>>973462
Give him a head pat for being such a good boy. Thank him for being the friend you've always needed. Perhaps you can scout ahead while he catches his breath? Just to see how much further this path leads.
>>
No. 973485 ID: bac822

>>973462
This says it better than I could. If he's following you this far, he'll probably want to follow you all the way. Tyrsis needs to be sure that's what he really wants, so he won't regret it later.
>>
No. 973497 ID: a9af05

>>973447
>Wait that came out wrong.
Did it? Because I think it came out exactly the way you meant for it to come out.

>>973449
Ask him if he knows what the sign says.
>>
No. 973742 ID: 663062
File 159649105580.png - (349.30KB , 900x600 , 162.png )
973742

"You know..."

"Hmm?"

"I wasn't just saying that in the heat of the moment. I really am proud of you."

"Oh, um... thanks. That means a lot coming from you."

"I can remember a time when you'd never agree to come with me, not even for the short test trip we're planning. You've really grown up.”

"I guess both of us had to grow up eventually, huh?"

"But even though we're using this trip to figure things out, I can't help but think about the long term. What happens if you come with me for the real thing. What happens if you... don't."

"It'll be a while before we need to cross that tunnel."

"Yeah, but it doesn't stop me worrying about it. I don't want you to end up sad and alone, nor do I want you spending multiple seasons doing something you hate. Especially something so dangerous."

"I understand that, but it's not like I'd be alone if I stayed behind. I still have my dad, and a few friends I've been meaning to get back in touch with."

"I guess. But you know me; I couldn't leave without making sure you had someone to keep you company. Someone to share... certain feelings with."

"What, were you secretly planning to find me a life-mate along the way or something?"

"What? That's silly! That's a silly thing you said."

"Doesn't make it less true."

I smush his fluffy face.

"SsSsss I'm trying to have a serious discussion, you goofball!"

"Shorry."

"And if you do decide to join me... It has to be because you want to. Not because you feel like you owe it to me, or because you have feelings for me."

Wait did I just say the quiet part loud?
>>
No. 973743 ID: 663062
File 159649105981.png - (323.05KB , 900x600 , 163.png )
973743

"Haha what?? That's silly! That's a silly thing you said."

"That doesn't make it less true."

"Guess I deserved that."

"You did. But I'm serious-- we're talking about leaving behind everyone and everything you know and love. We're talking about the chance of never coming back."

"I know. I know that. Why do you think it's been so hard to give you an answer? You're very important to me. You're kinda the reason I'm still here. You kept me going when things got hard."

I wince slightly as painful memories start to resurface.

"But this is about more than my um, feelings. I agreed to the test-run because I don't want to live my life knowing I missed out on the adventure of a lifetime because I was scared. Without at least trying."

"Wait, a part of you wants to go?"

"It's a chance to put pen to paper and publish our findings for all to see. I might not have your zeal for exploring the unknown, but I've always enjoyed learning new things and solving mysteries."

Can't deny how handy his knowledge has been while exploring these caves.

"For me, this trip is about learning if my thirst for knowledge is enough that I'm willing to take the risk of going on a longer voyage. It's about showing that I can hit my head and not cry. After that, if it turns out exploring's not for me, I'll wish you well and head home. Either way, I won't have any regrets."

"I'm glad to hear that. Really glad. In that case, I won't try to set you up with a lovely ketza after all."

"Yeah, I'm good. Besides, I'd never get used to being the small one."

We share a laugh, a boulder of weight lifted from both our backs. I give him a slissa hug and let him rest a little longer.

"Okay, I think I'm ready to keep going."

"Ah, good. Let's get moving, then."

Tyrsis lifts himself up and I start leading the way, before pausing to look back at him.

"Hey, Tyrsis?"

"Yeah?"

"Whatever you decide, I want you to know that when we make it to the end and I'm seeing the outside world for the first time..."
>>
No. 973744 ID: 663062
File 159649106384.png - (336.94KB , 900x600 , 164.png )
973744

"...I'm glad you'll be there with me."

There's no way to know how we'll feel about the long journey until we have firsthand experience of what it's like in the world above. Until then, I don't want to risk making our goodbye that much more painful.

But at the very least, I can rest easy knowing that if Tyrsis chooses to stay behind, he'll be okay.

And if it does choose to come with me...

Well, we can explore that tunnel when we get there.

For now, this is enough.


We continue on, feeling confident in our ability to handle what comes next.
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No. 973745 ID: 663062
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973745

That confidence would prove short-lived.

"Mama!"

"Kliss? Kliss! By Shaia's love, am I glad to see you!"

"Starting with the important questions: Why are you up there and why is a tunnel-grub here!?"

"See the break in the path over there?"

"On the right?"

"This guy burrowed out from under me, causing the path to collapse! He got really aggressive, so I scrambled up here hoping he'd calm down and leave."

"You sat there this whole time!?"

"I haven't been here that long. I spent most of the wake at my friend's place!"

Welp.

"Not to alarm you, but I'm pretty sure the tunnel-grub can reach you from there. You should get somewhere safer!"

"That's the thing. I think he's scared of the white stuff!"

I examine the room. The tsiki spikes make a return, though once again they seem unwilling to get close to the glowstalks. I could try to fashion one into a weapon, but I don't fancy my chances against an angry tunnel-grub.

Why's it so angry, anyway? They're generally passive and easily frightened.

...Hmm.


:sq_optbubble_left:What do I do?:sq_optbubble_right:
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No. 973748 ID: b1b4f3

>>973745
Investigate! Keep the glowstalks between you and the grub, and look around a little.
Could it be protecting a nest? What do grub nests look like?
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No. 973754 ID: 62e4df

>>973748
A nest seems likely, but there's also the possibility it's injured. Can you check it for injuries without getting close?
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No. 973756 ID: 2aa5f0

could be hungry, what do they normally eat?
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No.