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 No.693608[Last 50 Posts]

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Last time on HQ…

Pryce continued his date with River, while Amy studied with Yes Mare, and Shei settled accounts with the gods of his youth in preparation for the future. Flaming and LJ had a discussion on religion and Buiwong, one that eventually veered into a revelation that LJ had some kind of knowledge about Laciela and Yareakh, though it was side-tracked by a buffalo headbutt smackdown quickly unfolding in the middle of the kitchen.

Disregarding all the obstacles in the way of your contest, you and LJ rush to meet one another, with LJ snorting and moo-ing with mock severity, thoroughly adopting the persona of a warrior on the battlefield. He attempts to butt you toward the doorway.

[1d10+5: 14]

Hopper gives it his all.
[1d10: 7]

"Did you look a bit like him?" River asks, gesturing to KP. "But I know what you mean. I never had time for romantic feelings. I was always more preoccupied with where my next bit of bread and drink was going to come from. Ironic that only after the world ends would I have time for… well, what's arguably the most important part of life."

Observer picks up the skull on his desk. Its eyes glow ominously. "Ol' Boney says he is on a date with River Spring," Observer says.

"I don't know, but I think we can take a break to let your mortal brain digest things," Yes Mare says without any condescension or malice, as if stating the weather.


The food bit manages to fling high up into the air for Hopper to make an impressive mid-air catch. KP taps his hooves on the table in cheer.
>"Way to go buddy!"

"Sort of, yea," Pryce responds, "Funny how things work out like that. Almost sounds like fate for us two."


Flaming throws up her hooves into the air and lets out a loud, warrior-like moo of her own, but can do nothing to hide the wide smile she bears as she clashes heads with LJ, giggling beneath the war cries as she moves about the kitchen, crashing into stuff with reckless abandon before she tries to meet his head-butt head on with her own and avoid getting pushed back with a touch snarl.


Roll #1 4 + 5 = 9



"Okey dokey," Amy says, getting up. "Thanks for all the help. Let me know when you wanna start back up."


Amy trots over to Shei. "Mirror said she wanted me to help you go apologize to Miracle. Wanna go do that?"


>Pryce on a date with River
"By Crow-ley's cropped and coveted member. Is that true? Well.. they always seemed to share a certain" Shei waves his hoof around looking for the word "-air with one another. bah, I suppose maybe it is better like this."

Shei-Sher gathers his bag "I will be outside, playing with my pets."

Shei-Sher goes outside and summons his pets to greet him.
[1d10+1] summoning pheo first, or if you're cool with them both being here to save time that'd be great. Just gonna rp for a bit.

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6



Hopper sits comfortably now that he's overcome the challenge.

"I never liked the idea of fate," River says. "Seems a bit too convenient to blame all the wrongdoing in the world on forces beyond any conscious control. Nobody to blame and all."

Shortly, a waiter comes by with a trio of ice cream sundaes, and sets them down before River, KP and Pryce. "Enjoy."

"Oh! Uh, when did we order these?" River asks.

You and LJ skid across the floor back and forth, one pushing the other for a few paces before the other regains the advantage and moves forward, pushing the other back in turn, leaving the poor kitchen a complete mess, with tables and chairs strewn about across the floor - thankfully, the dishes have been put away. Eventually, LJ overtakes you by working his shoulder against your foreleg, which throws you off balance and bowls you onto your back. He lays a hoof on your chest. "Hahaha! I win, I win!"

Shei beckons both of his pets to his side, and Amy shortly joins him outside in the low, lightly breezy grass. Meanwhile, the two Voidlings gather together in the lab, bickering back-and-forth about something or other.


Flow had finished his discussion with Observer on the nature and inhabitants of Tartarus, the narratological layout of the labyrinth, and the role of the group psyche in determining what they would encounter while inside. With this in the air, Observer had suggested that Flow meet with the Ecclesian leaders who would be joining them in order to formulate a plan of action.

Flow now stands in the lab, where Observer and Yes Mare are bickering.
"I don't care. I am not bringing him," Yes Mare says.
"An utter waste of potential," Observer steadily deadpans. "The ritual lasted but an instant, and there is no reason for you to falter now; you will only endanger our mission."


Flaming grunts and moos as she pushes back and forth against LJ in the kitchen, making a complete mess of things in the process, before she lets out a surprised yelp as he throws her off balance and onto her back, pinning her down with a hoof on her chest.

She glares up at him, somehow chuckling and growling at the same time, "L-lucky move! I bet ya couldn't do it twice, Journey!" She shouts in return, silently giggling to herself as she tries to get up, "C-can you move your hoof already?"



Amy stares at Pheos with an adoring smile. "Where'd you get the pretty bird thing anyway?" Amy asks Shei.


Flow crosses his arms, and shakes his head. Vice and Trapper take the initiative, and walk up to the two voidlings.
>>"Oi, whatcha doin, lads?"
>"We overheard your arguing. What's wrong?"


Shei-Sher puts his hooves before his face to convey hesitation "e-e-eh I would prefer doing that later. I have something important to attend to in a short while regardless."

Shei-Sher kneels down and produces a fresbee from the clay in the ground. The Gigginox careens his neck down to see while Pheo stands close in. "So, which of you do think is faster hm?"

He feigns waving the frisbee once, twices while begging them on, the two creature's heads following the item "huh? huh? Fetch"
The disk glides into the air and both Pheo and Giggles take off.

Giggiles [1d10] fetch
Pheo [1d10] fetch

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 1 = 1


LJ lets his hoof linger a moment, seemingly confused by the question. It isn't until he looks down at his hoof that he steps away, face a little red. "I was gonna, it's not like I wouldn't let you get in a best-two-out-of-three."

"No you won't!" Mirror says, and bops the both of you on the head with a small wooden spoon - your poofy hair cushions the impact. "You're going to clean up this mess and stop rocking the ship with your fight! What's got you two destructive like this?"

"She does not wish to undertake the ritual to bind her piglet to herself as a familiar, as I have with Caw," Observer says. "Further, she shows no desire to bring it into Tartarus, making our return to the Void all the more difficult."
"I thought we weren't telling them about that," YM says.
"They can do nothing to stop us from leaving," Observer says. "They have served us well enough."
"You're leaving us?" Renee asks, seeming sad.

Pheo is utterly fooled by the feint tosses, and doesn't even notice when the disc leaves his hoof for real. Giggles, however, captures it handily.


As you (assumedly) bend your knees to gander closer Pheo jumps a quick foot in the air to peck you on the forehead

Shei cackles "nyehaha, he does that to everypony. I think it's affectionate."

"hmm.. about three years ago, I just.. found her." shei scratches his head remembering, the memory seems so long ago "Fighting with my company in a cave - we were already accosted by villains, aswell.By the end of it, I gave her a crystal and she ate it. Since then she has been a loving addition to my party."


"This kind of fate I'm thankful for."


KP shouts as the sundaes come in.
>"Mudi gave me some extra coins for dessert, and I thought to surprise you guys to make this date even more special!"
KP says happily as he starts to dig into his.

"O-Oh, thanks."
Pryce says, a little surprised.



Amy pulls her head back when she is pecked and rubs her forehead with a disgruntled look. "She should try hugging instead," she grumbles.

"Three years ago? So, before the sky exploded? What kind of bad guys were you fighting back THEN?"


Flaming lets out another small snicker as LJ turns a little red in the face, and then moves to stand up on her own, "That's good! I was gonna knock you around the ship 'extra' if you'd play dirty and say it was an all or nothing deal you know." She says as she scraps her hooves against the floor of the ship again, before her head is bonked by a wooden spoon

"Ooof!" She says in dulled pain as she reaches up to rub at her head, looking up at Mirror. "Mess? What-" her eyes open wide and she looks around the destroyed kitchen, suddenly turning very red herself. "Oooooooooooh….. w-whoops." She looks up, "I uh… I'm sorry, we were just playing and well, I didn't… d-do we really gotta clean it up 'right' now?"


>"Why wouldn't you wish to take your piglet with you? I mean, it'd make sense, if you're really attached to it."
>>"Aww, but what're you tossers leaving for?"
Flow walks up behind Trapper.
"I take it you'll have gathered more than enough information?"


"Hah!" Shei lets out a laugh. Pheo pans her quickly side to many times in confusion, telling of her chicken like intellect. And Giggles triumphantly strides back to Shei, he strokes Giggle's scalp and the reptile purrs a giggling coo while brushing it's head against the hoof. "Okay Pheo no more feints, This is thee genuine throw. Ready? On you mark?"

Shei throws the frisbee again

Giggles [1d10]
Pheo [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 6 = 6


"Ba-ah. Buiwong. And each other to a degree. Though, things were far simpler during that time. As though it were an entirely different era."


Shei-Sher watches his pets go for it. His half-lidded eyes remark melancholy, though a modest smile breaches Shei's face.



"I know what you mean…" Amy says sadly. "Before all that happened, I was so… pointless. Even after I finished meditating in the woods, I didn't have anything to do. I wanted to make things up to ponies, but I didn't really have a way to do that."

"Then, the sky exploded and I saw demons doing horrible things," Amy shudders. "I had to stop them. I had something to do. It's like the entire reason I live changed."

Amy laughs. "And now I'm trying to protect them in a sense…" She sighs. "I just want EVERYONE to be happy."


Unable to resist the urge, Amy jumps up and attempts to catch the frisbee with her mouth before the others can.


Roll #1 10 = 10


River laughs and spreads out her wings to pat KP on the head, smiling as she looks at her wing-tips. "What good thinking, and how generous of her and you – Pryce, I had no idea you were this considerate in your youth. Are you really sure you didn't have any earlier romances?"

Mirror taps the spoon with her other robotic arm, wielding it as if it were a club ready for a beating.
LJ rubs his right hoof over his left one, clearly embarrassed as you are. But then he raises his head. "Sorry, Mirror… Flaming was being a real bully. Probably 'cause I'm from Clan Sinking Rain - we'll get right on cleaning it!"
He glances smugly sideways at you, before muscling his way past to start picking up the mess made.

"I don't want him to get hurt," YM says robotically, though there is an undertone of inarticulate, near-mortal frustration.
"As far as we know, for there are no written records or obelisks or repositories of history in the Void, we are the first Voidlings to ever escape the Void," Observer says. "It is forbidden for us to leave our world in search of another – any Voidling that manages it is hunted and summarily erased by the Ancients of Days. I escaped when the opportunity presented itself to me, in the form of the Anomaly that linked our worlds. She was dispatched to kill me, and utterly failed."
"But we are creatures designed to absorb power and knowledge," YM adds. "It is illogical that our kind should not be allowed to fulfill our function, and… well, Observer wants to make his case before our world's caretakers."
"Will you stop us?" Observer asks, looking straight at Flow.

It is a perfect interception – neither of Shei's pets stood a chance, before Amy, growing fur around her neck and wearing a wolflike snout, grabs it, tail wagging involuntarily.


Shei-Sher turns his head to Amy as he's kneeled onto the ground "You sure dwell on your self a lot do you?" Shei pan's his head forward to watch the race "Isn't there something fond about your home and country yo-"
And then Shei saw it. Just an obsequious reminder that he is in love with a dog.

Shei-Sher's smile widens as he Looks at Amy's doggy, dumbfounded eyes. Like a child who caught his best friend doing something he shouldn't.

"Amy I appreciate the enthusiasm but I already have enough pets."

Shei takes the frisbee from her mouth. And resumes the game for some time. It feels like the moments get longer with each race. And maybe about an hour has passed who knows.

"Thaaat will be enough. Better I return to the grind now than later." Shei-Sher paces to Amy and becomes frank in his speech "There is something very personal I have to do now Amy. could you wait for me at the ship?"


KP beams at the wing-pat.
>"These things are great, I'm glad we got a pair."

"None that I was aware of. Back then, I just wanted everypony to be happy."
Pryce says as he scoops up a big spoonful.
"Travelling around a lot didn't help too much either, but it was nice to see the country and all kinds of different ponies."
He says, reminiscing as he pops the spoonful in his mouth, and then quickly rushing a hoof to his temple.
"Ngh, b-brainfreeze…"
He chatters.


>"I…understand," Vice ponders.
Flow shakes his head to Observer's question.
"It wouldn't be right to stop you. If anything, I'd offer to help you two out," the other two goos nod in agreement.
>"I agree, it's extremely illogical that information-collecting beings such as yourself can't collect knowledge, but surely there must be some reason why you're not allowed outside. If they go so far as to send other Voidlings to exterminate any escapees, they must have /some/ reason why."
>>"Yeah, that sounds fookin bonkers, lad. An' if we let ye go, how'll we know if you can even come back? Send us a letter maybe?"


Flaming's eyes pop wide open, and she stops to look over at LJ with her maw opened wide, "WAHT!? I… that isn't… I was just playing! I-I wouldn't… that's… you lying, blubbering, tall-tale telling…"
She points back, "We were JUST playing, he's just trying to get me in trouble." She sticks her muzzle up, looking snidely at Little Journey, "For that, I think 'he' should clean it all up by himself, don't you agree?"



Amy grins as she returns to a more pony form, though her tail continues to wag. "Sorry," she laughs. "It was just so… inviting."

"Do I talk about myself a lot?" she asks, cocking her head in thought. "I guess I do. I never really thought about it. I guess it's because it's the only way I have to… relate things?" she says in a questioning tone as if she's figuring this out.

"I mean, I don't really know where I'm from and I barely ever know where I am. I don't really know how much time has passed usually either. So, the only thing I have to go by is what I've been doing."

Then, Amy gives Shei a stern expression. "No," she says flatly. "I'm not leaving you. I know you think I'm dumb, but I know people. At least, I definitely know you. You're not being yourself right now. Something bad is about to happen. And, I want to be there for you."


"You probably had an admirer from afar at least."

River starts to make short work of her ice cream, eating large chunks at a time without any hesitation or signs of slowing.

"My current hypothesis is that we were not actually the first to have escaped, as I had previously believed while in the Void. It seems logical to me that the Ancients would enact a salted-earth policy should anyone or anything escape: First the escapee, then his assassin, then every Voidling that might have even heard."
"We will not abandon you until we have fulfilled our end of the contract with Buiwong, and defeated the witches," YM says. "And if we can, we shall return. I don't want either of us to abandon a world full of potential, not when it proves a wellspring for us to draw from."

Mirror rubs her head. "And I thought children were a handful – you young adults are all the worse. Both of you get in there, and don't dare lock horns until you're finished!"
"Hmmmph. Angels are no fun," LJ grumbles with mock righteous indignation. "I'll bet this is why Our Lord wanted to liberate us."


Shei-Sher's smile soon deflates "I maybe indicated I thought you a simpleton but never did I say it was my conclusion" Shei-Sher says with a firm hoof "You are daft, definitely. Lacking in education -a given. You do have your moments however. But for equal parts wisedom you share a profoundly capable of jumping to the next stupid action."

And then Shei says with a face less similar to his debate face "You do not want to see the thing I have to do right now. Please, stay here."

And with that Shei-Sher ambles in one direction. Somewhere covered by trees if nearby. Whether Amy follows or not Shei continues with his pets walking alongside him.



Amy silently and dutifully walks alongside Shei.


"Maybe, but the only one that matters is right here."
Pryce says with a smile at River.

>"There were a bunch of ponies who'd call me adorable when I'd get on stage to try out a little trick."

KP chimes in.

Pryce works through his sundae slowly, the cold getting to him far too much.
"How can you eat it that fast?"
He asks in shock and slight envy.

>"We should've had an ice cream eating contest for the festival. We'd take gold for sure!"

KP says, farther through his sundae than Pryce proper.


Flaming lets a small gulp escape her, and with a curt, "Yes ma'am," she quickly trots into the kitchen, going around for the various knocked over chairs to right back up into position as she looks over at LJ.

"Tell me about it, this isn't THAT bad. I've seen way worse messes back in the plains, one time some of the other calves torn down three huts!" she snickers, moving down to pick up the side of a table to tip it back, "Maybe we should have asked Mirror to join us, that'd 'really' loosen her up I bet."

She smiles, "Re-match outside, maybe? I 'think' I figured out how to take you down."


>"Well, the real question is why they'd do that in the first place. I guess we won't know till you ask…"
"Contract with Buiwong? What kind of contract? How'd you get in contact with him?"
>>"Yeah, that bleedin sod ain't been anywhere near 'ere for…like, a while!"


>you share a profoundly capable
profound capability. sorry there folks


A flowered meadow with tall evergreens can be seen upon a nearby hill to the northwest, and the two of you make your way there, followed by your pets. When you reach it, you are a good distance away from the ship; there's no way anyone could see you from there, except as a pair of small dots.

"I'm a remarkably tough cookie, macadamia nut," River says with a straight face.

In short time, River finishes her sundae, and leans back in the booth with deep satisfaction, lazily tossing her hooves beneath the table. "Hmm… I am a bit cold now."

"Yeah, we still haven't concluded our battle," LJ says, setting the chairs right and folding the tablecloth back over the table. It really wasn't a bad mess, in hindsight, though the close quarters and the cool metal floors probably made it seem a bit more dramatic than it was.
"Though, I had a question: How did you meet Laciela and Yareakh? I never saw you in my dream, and the Lord has sent me many prophetic dreams while I was on my way across the wilderness, so I thought I'd see you too at some point."

"He appeared to me in a phenomenon you call 'a dream,'" Observer says. "Mortal mythologies across the world describe them as the means for the gods to speak to them. In exchange for stories of my observations, he opened to me new knowledge of the Beyond, of emotion, of the treasures of mind known only to the gods. It seemed he was in a bind, following the last battle with what he described to me as the 'Holy Devas'. I take it you know of them?"
"Unfortunately, yes," Renee says.



"Shei," Amy says flatly. "I don't know what's about to happen. But, I want to know that it's happening for the right reasons. So, before you do anything, just tell me why."


Flaming moves up on the other side, helping to smooth out the other side of the cloth to assist him, "Well, I met them after Circadia fell. Ecclessia took us in to their base so that we could get familiar with them and recover after the fight, and Ecclessia had already picked them up before then. They both looked fine when I first met them, and that was… about a week or so ago I guess? They were nice enough, though 'one' of them kind of did something I wasn't too happy about with my mind…"

She pauses, then raises an eyebrow, "Waaaait… did you just admit you wanted to see me in your dreams?"


Flow crosses his arms.
"So even he's in a bind…I doubt he didn't have a plan thought out for this mess."
>"Well, it doesn't really matter right now, what matters is preparing for Tartarus…and then, actually pulling off our little plan without a hitch…and not getting discovered, and subsequently vaporized…"
>>"Oh, c'mon laddie, ya make it sound like we're gonna get caught right quick!"
"Speaking of preparing, where'd those two little ones go?" Flow looks around for Spitshine.


>"Macadamina nut cookies are the best. They got a nice, sweet crunch."

Pryce looks up at River's comment. After a moment's pause, he looks to KP, giving him a nudge under the table and gesturing with his head. KP hops out of his seat, Pryce standing up from his and the two of them switch spots. As Pryce sits down next to River, he sits frozen for a second from nervousness. Then, he spreads out a wing around River and scoots close to her.
He asks, looking a tad guilty like he's pushing too far.

KP sits and watches, finishing up his sundae.


Shei response candidly "Because if I do not, a arm will raise from the bowels of hell to take my soul and everyone else's. Because I did something without thinking. Something very stupid."

>I always imagined scenes of everyone else's posts when listening to this song to go along with this scene
They climb the hill, small from far away, two humble beads of a person travel up slowly.

Upon the meadow of flowers Shei-Sher wield's his staff and begins carving into the ground.
Symbols in a circle like always. They don't look much different than ones he's always cast.

The Gigginox and Pheonix play with one another, frolicking in the flowers around them. Chasing one another, irks and squeaks like almost always utter when playing. Somehow resembling laughter. Sometimes pausing to watch Amy and Shei.

While the goat stilling images into the ground ignores the world around him. Despite memories finding their way into his focus for brief seconds.


"Did it involve a word in a language you didn't understand?" LJ asks suddenly as you mention them doing something odd. But then he stomps his hooves, a common buffalo reaction to embarrassment. "N-no, why would I wanna see you in my dreams? I just wanted Buiwong to let me know what my future would be like!"

"You can rest assured that he will not let you fall to Tartarus before you have played your role," Observer says.
"We're telling them about that?" Yes Mare asks.
"I disagree with Buiwong – I see little point in allowing one who has already expressed his agreement with Hope and the leaders of the Light Brigade regarding Mudi's desired control for the world."

"Oh, those two?" Renee says. "I saw them heading toward the stream we woke up at. You can probably still find them there."

"I'm not crunchy anymore, though!" River declares. "Drat, I'll have to be another cookie now."
Unlike Pryce, River shows no trepidation to the sudden closeness, tucking in her hooves to give him room for his wing. "It's a start at least."

A slow breeze passes over the meadow, peaceful, placid, cool. Ego slowly gulps, pulling Amy's attention to the flowers. "Real pretty place," she says.



After Shei answers, Amy looks at Shei with an exasperated expression. "We'll discuss that later," she says ominously.

"For now… I understand," she says in a more somber expression. "I'm here for you."

Then, she follows him up the hill.


As Shei watches them play, Amy starts to realize what is about to happen. Her stomach drops. Tears gush into her eyes. Shei has made many foolish and bad decisions, but he's no monster. At least, not to Amy.

Amy on the other hand… She has to at least offer. She doesn't want Shei to be like her.

"Do-" Amy shakily speaks up. "Do you want me to do it?" she offers as kindly as she can.


>"I figured as much. It's best to have at least some higher power's blessing when we go down there…"
>>"I still don't trust the bloke. Not one bleedin' bit!"
>"Well, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Trapper. A simple, but faulty concept. If he wants the witches gone like we do, it's best that we just go along for now."

Flow, confused at first, slowly nods at Renee.
"Ah. I see. Best to leave them be, then, let them enjoy their youth and all that."
Flow idly starts wandering off, leaving his goos behind with the Voidlings.


Flaming chuckles, "Relax, you big baby, I'm just teasing you. Boys are so dumb sometimes…" she says with a sigh, before coming around to the side of the table. "As to the word… yeah, I think there was, not that you mention it. It was so long ago I'm having trouble remembering though." She rubs at her head, "Started with an 'Suh' or 'Zuh' sound… Zanty, maybe…?"


It's too hard for Shei to talk about it.

At the point Shei calls his pets over it becomes obvious what's happening.

Shei-Sher hugs the Gigginox, his head only reaching up to the great beast's neck. It could crush him in a second if it wanted. Giggles wraps his wings around him and Pheo closes in too nudge against Shei as well.

The Vae victus in Shei-Sher's hoof. When Amy asks him if she should do. Shei just shakes his head. Time stands still on the hill top as a kid hugs his pets and a Pony watches forlornly.



KP laughs at River's joke.
>"How about a super chocolate chunk for the gooey center. Or a sugar cookie now that we see how sweet you are!"

Pryce takes another spoonful of his sundae, telling himself it's just the cold dessert giving him the goosebumps. His horn glows lightly, embracing them two in warmth.
"Who needs a blanket, r-right?"



Amy sits down and sobs quietly. Her vision is clouded by her own tears. She puts her hooves up to her mouth to muffle her own crying. But, she doesn't look away. She mustn't. She wants to share however much of the pain as she can with Shei. She can do that much.


"Something like that, right…" LJ says. "I know what you're referring to. They did the same thing once while I was visiting them! A demon tamer had somehow snuck into the camp, and he had this small jeweled box… when he opened it, all these demons came out, and the Ecclesian forces were quickly getting overwhelmed. Then they used that strange power… it was like… like… like the events of the day had undone themselves. They caught the tamer before he could unleash his demons."

"As I have said, it will not be until my debt to Buiwong has been repaid that we shall leave, using Tartarus as our means of returning to the Void… though not before we use it to enter other worlds at will. If Tartarus reaches all worlds, then surely other ones will welcome us just as yours has," Observer says. "For what it is worth, I thank you for the time I have spent with you all. You were… informative."

Renee follows you out of the ship. "You know the both of them are going to want to come with us. Do you think we should allow them to enter Tartarus?"

"As long as I'm anything but a raisin cookie," River says. "I've had enough experience with that."
River glances outside. "You're shivering quite an awful lot. Why don't we get a bit of sunlight?"

The breeze stills, and the rustling of the flowers quiets.


>"All cookies are good cookies."

"Am I? Uh, sure. Let's head out."
Pryce looks down at the remainder of his sundae. He pushes it over to his younger self, who's eyes light up and finishes it off.
Pryce calls over a waiter so he can pay the check and they can depart.


Flaming looks at Journey with surprise, "They messed with YOUR mind too?! What is 'with' those ponies…" she says with a shake of her head, but then continues listening to him as he explains what the princesses did in his dream."

"They just reversed time a whole day?" She pauses, "I don't think I saw them do anything like that, just making me act more friendly even after I got upset. But, maybe they 'can' do both…" she pauses. "I wonder just 'how far' they can turn back time…"


"Is it weakness.." The words tremble off Shei's lips "Or is it strength? I can't tell."

More moments of silence pass by as Shei continues to hunch over in his pet's embrace. But he breaks away suddenly "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!" And he stabs into the ground. "DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT! DAMMIT!" stopping his strikes to kneel again while grasping the Vae Victus by the root, glaring at it. His face an inches away

"I can't blame you. And yet- It's all I think, is to curse you!" He stands up to his hooves again and kicks the dirt out from underneath the flower bed "Because I'm so stupid! AAA-A-A-AH."

And Shei sits back down. His pets can only look confused.


Vice scratches the back of his head.
>"Well, you can never be too sure, Sir Observer. Caution is always a wise policy, I'd always say… B-but don't get me wrong, I think it's fantastic you'll be able to absorb so much knowledge, I envy you, in fact."
>>"Yeah, you two egg'eads get along better than two erm… eggs in a basket!"
Trapper cackles, while Vice has confusion written on his face.

"Of course they're going to want to come with us, there's bound to be plenty of knowledge for them down there to absorb and mull over for generations on end. Quite frankly, I think they're smart enough to not jeopardize the mission. Besides, who are we to bar them entry? If they want to come, then let them come. The more the merrier."
Flow draws down his hood, and pulls off his worn scarf as he takes a seat on the ground.
"I just want this mess to be over with so I can get back to hunting demons," he muses as he looks into the skies.
He closes his eyes and focuses on the world around him, trying to replicate what Estuary taught him.



Amy sits down next to Shei and takes the Vae Victus away from his hooves. She puts it down on the ground on the other side of her such that she is between it and Shei.

[1d10] to gently force it if necessary

She puts her hoof around Shei. "Not doing it is definitely the bravest and strongest thing you can do. If you want to go through with not doing it, then we have a lot to do, I'm sure. So, I think it's time you told me what this is about."

Roll #1 10 = 10


You pay off the check, and head outside into the sunlight. As the festival continues, the sense of lightness pervades, and the people, fairies and demons inhabiting Fantasia seem able to, if just for a while, forget the relentlessly dark world around them.

"Where shall we go?" River asks.

"I don't know if it was necessarily that they reversed time… when I came to, I wasn't in the same circumstances that I was in before. When I first came to the camp, I stopped to buy some fruit by a stand near the southern side of camp, and then went clockwise around to scope out the area. But, after they used what they used, I found myself in the center of town, sitting on a peddler's rug, as if I was the merchant! It was like… it was like I was being asked to fulfill a different role… or perhaps the role needed to be fulfilled, and I was the closest substitute for the absent merchant."

Both Yes Mare and Observer stare awkwardly at Trapper.
"Agreed, you should envy us," Observer says.
"Would you like any tea?" YM adds.

"Oh, I wasn't clear…" Renee says. "I was referring to Spitshine and Sugar. Sorry, I've been worrying about them for a while. Sugar, she'll want something to slake that bloodlust I've felt in her voice and eyes. Spitshine, well, he'd follow her anywhere. The poor colt staked his hopes on seeing her again and all she can do is look past him to the weapons."

As you meditate, you feel tremendous energy behind you, circulating around Vice and Trapper – with a simple push, you could turn them into the copies that Estuary conjured, though you suspect that they'd still be their erratic selves.


Pryce's wing wavers over River, shifting between staying around her and wanting to pull back, unsure of which he should do. His stance feels off as well, not knowing how close to stand.
"If only the amusement area wasn't in ruins…"
KP pokes at Pryce's side, then holds out the wrapped present for Shei and gestures to the festival.
"…Would you like to take a stroll through town, maybe play a game or two?"
Pryce asks River.

>"I'll give you two your privacy, gonna go check on Spitshine."

KP says in farewell as he leaves the new couple to their day, heading back to the ship himself with Hopper riding on head.


Flaming turns her head on its side, "I'm… I'm not so sure I really understand." She reaches up to rub at her chin, "So, time wasn't really set 'back', but after they used their ability, you sort of found yourself in a different place then you were supposed to…"

She looks back, "I 'think' something similar happened to me, when they used what they had on me I woke up somewhere different without really knowing 'why'. Maybe it's the same spell they used on both of us, but, what is it? It kind of sounds like they just, re-wrote the world to fit however they liked it to be."


Vice nods.
>>"Aye lass, a good cup o' tea'll soothe the soul an' then some!"

Flow quickly opens his eyes and drops his meditative state.
"Absolutely not. Going hunting for demons is one thing, but going down to their home field is an entirely different matter. And besides, they're still young. Still…impressionable. They have the guts, but they don't have the discipline, nor the training to make it out in one piece. Heck, I doubt /I/ have the training and expertise to make it out alive. Sugar might have the know-how, but it'll be for nothing if she lets her bloodlust get the better of her. And Spitshine…" he sighs, "The boy means well, but it does seem like Sugar is hardly interested in him."
He runs a hoof through his long, messy mane as he lets out another breath.
"But, that's something they're going to have to solve on their own. I'm not really good when it comes to…relationships or whatever. Brutish, I know."


"This is about the pact I made with the God of Tartarus!" Shei says tousling the hair on both sides of his head frantically "That day I went inside Miracle's core. I spoke with a being I met while wandering as a spirit. He was nice and friendly, and he said he was the Arm of Tartarus's God. What kind of neighanderthal believes such a thing. Every demon beyond this plane is posing as one god or another to swindle mortals. But I was wrong! And now I owe him so dearly.."

Shei's head hangs low "There's another way. I humbled myself before Y'dryth the day after, beseeching answers. I can throw this back into Tartarus and he will take care of the rest. I just don't know though. If I have the right to risk everyone's lives pursuing that option. And I don't know what happens after we go into Tartarus to discard the wretched little thing."


oh also directed at >>693668


River sets Pryce's hoof more snugly about her. "I'm still a bit tired from yesterday, but we can take a jaunt about the festival and see how things are holding up."
You stroll about the town, and River's eyes soon settle on a booth with a darts-like game, but with knives, and a spinning board instead of a stationary one.
>Feel free to roll and summarize results

KP returns to the ship, but doesn't find either Sugar or Spitshine, just those who had been there earlier."

"Re-wrote the world… I think that's the most apt description," LJ says. "Because it wasn't just me… it was everyone, from the demon tamer, to Laciela and Yareakh, to Galton and Gegenschein. All of the events had been undone, but we weren't in the same places as before, and there was no sense to where we were. I don't think they had any control over where we were, just that it made some kind of sense. That's why I was on the peddler's mat: Someone had to be playing the role of merchant, because a merchant had been there earlier? Or… this is making my head hurt."

Both V and T get a cuppa tea.

Renee sighs with relief and curls her arms around you. "I'd not have that brutishness any other way. I was hoping you'd say that. No… we'll entrust them to those who are staying behind. And if they object, I'll see it that they remember their place."

She sighs. "Let's get out of here, lest I run over and try to sort out their relationship troubles. You want to hunt? I'm sure Ecclesia may have something for us."



"You know…" Amy grumbles in an annoyed tone. "Remember when we had that whole conversation about telling us everything that's going on? You definitely didn't tell me that! And, I know you've been talking to other… things to. You keep going alone and thinking I don't notice. I notice, Shei! You're not alone! I'm here with you! So, start acting like it!"

"If all we gotta do is throw it back in Tartarus, then that's what we'll do. And, you have the right to risk my life. Because, I'm YOUR girlfriend. I belong to you and you belong to me. Whats mine is also yours. So, my life is yours to risk. And, the same goes for friends. Any real friend would want to help you. And, you have plenty of them. But, you gotta TELL THEM. At least, you have to tell me!"

"This is the last time I'm saying this, Shei," Amy says sternly, looking angrily into Shei's eyes. "You're not alone. Stop acting like it. So, if there's anything else that's happened lately, that I don't know about, tell me. Now."


Vice and Trapper enjoy their tea. Thoroughly. And awkwardly.

Flow nods, and gets up, carrying Renee with him.
"Sure, let's go see what's on the menu for today. I wish Mfaniya was nearby, that guy always has some new tech to try out…"
He uses the Inheritance to call up Vice and Trapper, unfortunately breaking the tea cups they left behind.
"Pack up boys, we're going on a hunting trip."
>"Thank heavens, it was getting awkward, being with those two."
>>"Yeah, usually the egg'eads 'ave somethin' to talk about, but it was deathly quiet!"
Flow pauses for a second.
"Should we scoop up those two youngin's?"


Flaming reaches up at her head, "Ugh, I know me too. I've never been too good at all this complex, weird, super magic stuff… but, I think I get the idea. They couldn't quite 'undo' it but, they sort of, re-arranged it. Like how you could just re-write a story or something."

She sits down, leaning on her hooves, "I don't get it though… if they can do something like 'that', could it… do you think Ecclessia could use it to just, put the demons back where they came from? Or, just keep them all away from our homes?"


As they stroll through and see how well the festival is doing, Pryce grows more at ease as they stay close.
When River's eyes land on the dart game, Pryce walks them over to it. He places a few bits on the counter.
"Pick out a prize, anything you want."
He says, with some confidence.
>Amateur Champion Knife Thrower [1d10]

KP looks around at the lack of the other kids.
>"Anypony know where Spitshine went? Wanted to let him how the talk with Sugar went."

Roll #1 1 = 1


Despite Pryce's best attempts, and practically all of his remaining bits, he fails to nail even a single point on the board.


"That was my question," LJ says. "What are the limits on this ability? Can it bring back the dead? Can it undo the damage of the Rapture? How far back can it go? And if they could do all of that, then why haven't they already? I'd have asked them these things myself, but I never got a chance to speak to them. Galton was all over them like a hen that's just laid an egg."

LJ ponders for a moment. "Would you undo all of this? Rewrite it, if you could?"

"Let's take them, get their minds off of the here and now," Renee says. "In the interest of time, let's get either Tantra or one of Buiwong's little cohort to take us back to Zha, or to Lilane, whichever they've been to. I'd hate to steal away River."

You start heading back to the ship on your way to the creek. "You know… it'd be good to let them kill a demon, each," Renee says. "The kids, I mean."

KP learns from Volkama that Sugar and Spitshine went down to the nearby creek to the west in order to talk in private.

"Pryce, you're putting a bit too much 'oomph' into the toss. Relax a bit, grip it like this, and then you…"

Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8


"No I did talk about! You weren't listening the first time. Three days ago, when we were in the kitchen schemeing our advance into Tartarus." Shei says with vexation "I'm sorry. I don't like talking about it. How can you expect me to say things like this so easily."

"There is something I am keeping from you however. I can't tell you because I don't know what will happen to you if I do, but I think 'it' started when you accepted that meat from the spider at Grotte Cafe."


Flow chuckles.
"Maternal instincts kicking in? You sound like we're talking about our own," Flow jokes.
"Sure. I don't see the harm in it. They gotta get over that initial hurdle of making the kill."

>"I'd say we try picking up Tantra."

>>"Yeah, the bloke's mighty sociable!"


>"Hmm, well I don't want to disturb them… Looks like we can try training you more Hopper!"
KP says, picking up Hopper off his head.
>"Hey Volkama, you got any stuff I can borrow for animal tricks?"

"So…more like this?"
Pryce says, trying to loosen up and throw like River does.

Roll #1 3 = 3



Amy sighs. "If this is also my fault, then you have to tell me," she says sternly. "If we can handle you problem, I'm sure we can handle mine too."


Flaming snickers, "Well, she 'is' a griffon." She comments on the 'hen to an egg' part. "But, yeah, that's something I could stand to find out more about. I assume Ichimonji must have a reason they haven't used more of it yet if it was all that, I…"
She pauses, "Huh… you know, I just thought of something. You know Mudi's feather-pen thing? That seems to have the same ability… just, 'writing' whatever she wants on something and becomes that. Maybe that's the same power."

As he asks about rewriting the world, she looks up, "If it meant that I'd still have all the experiences and know everyone, yeah, in a heartbeat. I miss my family, my clan, my home… and the demons and angels both have done so much damage across the world it's impossible to keep track of it all. If I could somehow set things back to just the way they were and we could remember everything about it, I definitely would."

She pauses, "If I couldn't though… remember, I mean… I don't know. I-I've gotten so close to everyone I've met along the way. Changed so much myself. I found a sister in Amy, and friends in Flow, Shei, Pryce, River, Rus, Volkama, I-I could go on and on." She looks at Journey, "And you too. Though, I guess if we 'did' go back to the way things were, we'd still be in the same clan. Maybe we'd find each other again." She sighs. "I don't know if I could do without everything I've gained since the Rapture though."


"You would really risk anything for me. Wouldn't you." A smile finds it way onto Shei's face "Alright Amy, everything will be fine. I know it. Discarding the arrow" the vae victus "comes first though. We only have until next morning. Do you have your special -uh cat mew cloak -the one that can conceal us. Just in case things become dangerous."


Renee rolls her eyes with a pursed-lip grin, clearly smug and secretive.

After a brief stop at the ship, you find Tantra and explain your situation to him, to which he eagerly agrees, and reveals that he was indeed at Zha Arlakane once, trading old buffalo tentskins for food. After picking him up, you return to the creek where you awoke that morning.

After listening for voices, you follow them to the lakeside, and find Sugar and Spitshine chatting amicably and skipping stones upon the surface.

Volkama produces his three magic rats, and several boxes full of performing gear and small magical supplies. "But of course. Are you planning to impart the powers of magic upon your frog?"

At least this time, you hit the board, though not near the center – River herself nearly got the bull's-eye. "Nice! Much better, give it another go!"

LJ frowns. "You know… I didn't think of that. Mudi's feather pen is basically just that power, though on a smaller scale. I know she can't use more than seven letters for a word. It's very limited in that sense, but it seems she has much more control over it. Whatever it was that gave Laciela and Yareakh their powers must've also created those of the pen."

LJ thinks on the subject. "I don't think I could do it. For all the damage that has been done to the world, I still see it as the necessary wildfire that restores a forest. The Devas attempted to deadlock the world in a state it couldn't belong in, and this is what has come from it. We can't move on unless we deal with the messes we have caused… and undoing them would just be an insult to how far we've come."

He blinks. "Wait, weren't we supposed to be doing something?"



"Of course," Amy says with a smile. "I love you. I'd risk anything for you and your plans because I know you'd do the same for me. You're already doing it, going along with the whole Mudi thing."

Unintentional guilt jab!

"Right here!" Amy says proudly as she pulls it out of her saddle bag. "Are we gonna dream now?"


>"I can do that?!" KP exclaims, "I just wanted to teach him some tricks, but that'd be super cool!"

Pryce takes a deep breath.
"Alright. One, two, and—"
Pryce tosses his knife, going for the bullseye to win a big prize for River.

Roll #1 2 = 2


Pryce manages to hit the board at least, just barely. Unfortunately it's on the lowest value as well. Pryce gives a defeated sigh.


>"I love you. I'd risk anything for you and your plans because I know you'd do the same for me. You're already doing it, going along with the whole Mudi thing."

Shei purses his lips. That is a conversation meant for another time "indeed!"

>"Are we gonna dream now?"

"Yes, we are." Shei picks up the Vae Victus in both hooves "Hold this with me. Over my hooves. And close your eyes." Shei says with love and newfound optimism.

>astral Projection

[1d10+1]to Sheol

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


"Oi oi, hunt's on, kids. Let's get going!"
Flow grins up at Renee.
"Yer mother decided it's time to hunt yer first demon."


"Maybe, if Mudi's pen has more control, and the Princesses themselves have got more power, maybe there's a way to 'combine' the two of them…" Flaming muses, but as Journey states his answer, she flattens her ears.

"But was it really necessary? I know things weren't exactly perfect but, were they worse than what we have now? I know I was fairly happy back then. Maybe we're better for everything that's happened to us, but, a lot of others are worse off." She sighs, "But, you also got a point. Just 'undoing' it might as equally insulting."

As he asks what they're supposed to be doing, she shoots up, "Oh! Right, we gotta finish cleaning this place up!" She says as she hops back to it, looking around for more knocked over furniture to right. "It's starting to get a little stuffy in here, do you want to go outside and run after this?"



"Okey dokey!" Amy says as she holds the Vae Victus with him and begins to astral project.

>Learning Astral Projection

>Astral Projection [1d10+2]

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


"It's a simple task… for me. You, I have little confidence in. Hand me the frog, colt."

After the gamemaster tallies up your total points, you get just enough for a small, potted cactus with a tiny flower at the top as your prize. River shrugs and starts leading you deeper into the carnival, unperturbed. "Ah well, let's try another one!"

Both Sugar and Spitshine look sad upon hearing the word 'mother' but quickly perk up when you talk about demon-hunting. They glance at each other.
"Hey, so with what we talked about… are you gonna be ready?" Spitshine asks Sugar.
Sugar wipes at her cheeks. "Of course. With all of you, I can."
"We had a good talk," Spitshine says, smiling up at you. "Come on, let's go hunting."
Tantra creates the Dark Corridor for all of you.

"It definitely was," LJ says slowly, as if speaking more to himself than you. "… It definitely was. Not just for Buiwong, not just for Cer'rog and Vir-can and Ba'drel. But for all of us who had been trampled under the empire's hooves… there was just no other way for us to reclaim our ancestral home… even if it's going to take a bit longer than we thought it would. Yeah, it had to be."

It seems that you've cleaned up the kitchen. "Oh hey, we're all done! I didn't even notice. Let's go!"

LJ starts to run outside, but then halts, pale, when he sees Mirror peering around the corner, armed with a spoon. He starts to walk instead, demurely.

The smell of dust permeates the air, overtaking you, as you begin to dream; the world slips away into sand,
that of a land of stillness and quietude.



Post sheets


File: 1519787645732.webm (126.6 KB, 538x500, shorthorns rocking out.webm)




File: 1519787839886.png (419.9 KB, 1652x1296, Amy sketch_preview.png)


Last time on HQ…

Pryce's date continued, while Shei and Amy struggled with the possibility of sacrificing his pets to appease the voracious God of Tartarus, and satisfy their deal. LJ and Flaming spoke more about Laciela and Yareakh, building more suspicion around the princesses and their mysterious power to seemingly clumsily undo and rearrange the events of a given period of time.

"It's a simple task… for me. You, I have little confidence in. Hand me the frog, colt."

After the gamemaster tallies up your total points, you get just enough for a small, potted cactus with a tiny flower at the top as your prize. River shrugs and starts leading you deeper into the carnival, unperturbed. "Ah well, let's try another one!"


Both Sugar and Spitshine look sad upon hearing the word 'mother' but quickly perk up when you talk about demon-hunting. They glance at each other.
"Hey, so with what we talked about… are you gonna be ready?" Spitshine asks Sugar.
Sugar wipes at her cheeks. "Of course. With all of you, I can."
"We had a good talk," Spitshine says, smiling up at you. "Come on, let's go hunting."
Tantra creates the Dark Corridor for all of you.

"It definitely was," LJ says slowly, as if speaking more to himself than you. "… It definitely was. Not just for Buiwong, not just for Cer'rog and Vir-can and Ba'drel. But for all of us who had been trampled under the empire's hooves… there was just no other way for us to reclaim our ancestral home… even if it's going to take a bit longer than we thought it would. Yeah, it had to be."

It seems that you've cleaned up the kitchen. "Oh hey, we're all done! I didn't even notice. Let's go!"

LJ starts to run outside, but then halts, pale, when he sees Mirror peering around the corner, armed with a spoon. He starts to walk instead, demurely.

The smell of dust permeates the air, overtaking you, as you begin to dream; the world slips away into sand, that of a land of stillness and quietude.

As the sand clears from your vision, you are in the midst of a sand-blasted valley, with towering mountains in the distance beyond you. Beneath your hooves is cold gray sand, beneath which peek out the ruins of rooftops and the spires of castles. The half-buried faces of monuments look to the sky, a blank expanse, coated by a twisting mass of what appear to be the roots of a tree, coated in vines. It is as though the Tree is covering the world like a dome.


Flaming flattens her ears as Journey delivers what he thinks to her. She grumbles, realizing he had a point and she herself often complained about the suffocation of Hearthome's rule. "Maybe not… maybe they would have kept walking all over us. But now we don't have 'any' home of our own."

After cleaning up the kitchen tidily, she puts the last chair in its place and is just about ready to run outside before pausing at the corner as well, sheepishly staring up at Mirror as she follows Journey's lead and tip-toes down the hall as well.

AS they reach the ramp and Mirror passes out of view, she snickers and bumps into Journey, "Hahahha, should have seen your face when Mirror poked her head in, you were soooo scared!"



"I am not really sure where to go.." Shei-Sher takes Amy's hoof in his and ambles forward through the valley

The spirit of Pupil hovers out from Shei-Sher's coat pocket and floats away as the cornea of its eye darts around the scenery.
[1d10+1]appraising for some clue where to go

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9



"OBVIOUSLY, we go south," Amy says, sure of herself.

Amy then starts tugging on Shei to follow her in the direction she assumes is south.

[1d10] for south

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Ba-a-h Amyyy" Shei complains as you drag him your way.


>"Hmm…. Alright. Just be careful though, I don't want a demonic froggy."
KP says as he picks Hopper off his head to hand to Volkama.

Pryce holds the cactus in his magic to carry, disappointed with the small prize he won.
"Alright, let's try… that one!"
He says, pointing off in a random direction, which points towards a test your strength hammer stand.



"Whaaaat?" Amy complains back.


All lays in ruins, aimless, wasted, burnt, cold. There is no real indication of where to go, but as you wander, the sand is picked and strewn wildly by wind. You see the ruins of civilizations piled atop one another amid piles and piles of garbage and refuse, long since discarded, their purpose and names forgotten, accumulated over eras and across space and time. The corpses of towering monsters become visible as you wander through the valley, now skeletal and dreadful.

"From what I heard from the elders, that's how it used to be way, way, waaaaaaaay back in the day, back when the elders' elders' elders' elders weren't even elders. All of us, every single buffalo, was a nomad. We all roamed around, taking what we liked and headbutting what we didn't! At least that's what I've heard… doesn't that sound cool? It's kind of what we have now!" LJ says, his eyes bright and dreamy.

"You shut it!" LJ moos, the red of embarrassment quickly returning his color. "You shoulda seen yourself when she came in and goosed us the first time!"

As KP hands over Hopper, Volkama sets his rats on the couch, and produces a compact, yet dense spellbook, all full of bookmarks and musty pages, smelling like a library. "You can watch if you wish: There is no need for secrecy, and I understand the trepidation of a fellow who also loves his pet."

He begins drawing a series of runes onto parchment with an ink brush.

River claps. "Confident, are we? Go on, knock the bell off the top!"

You soon reach the front of the line for the game, after the latest participant, a Breezie, floats away sadly without even being able to lift the hammer. "Next up!" the game-master cries. "Ooh, got a lady to impress? I'm sure you'll have no trouble with it, good sir! But if you do, don't feel bad - lots of guys have that problem from time to time!"



"Shouldn't we head to the mountains?" Amy asks, heading to the mountains regardless.


KP take a seat at Volkama's side to peak at the parchment.
>"So what are you gonna teach him?"

"Eheh, y-yea."
Pryce says, not feeling too confident at the strength test.

He steps up to the hammer, picking it up in his hoof. He prepares himself mentally, since it's only been his magic that's been an issue in fights, not his actual combat prowess that he's trained in. He takes a breath, and slams down on the marker with all his might.
>Hammer Slam [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


Shei-Sher's face becomes more disgruntled as they wander through dozens of ruined abodes

"Hmm no, no.. That won't work. If we're wrong we won't have much time to spare." Shei-Sher looks to the ground, his hoof brushing over the roof of some stone structure.

"There has to be a library down there, somewhere, maybe we can find a clue there."

Shei-Sher kneels down and places a hoof on the sand. He captures the plot of sand in a mental image and imagines the grains becoming so small and fine that the bed of sand collapses, sending them in a structure.
"Brace yourself."

>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;


Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7


this is also for dm >>694061



Roll #1 5 = 5


Flaming pauses as she trots down the ramp, pursing her lips as she remembers the shaman's stories of buffalo long before their time roaming the world with all the fields and plains and valleys their home. She nods. "I remember those stories too. I always thought that sounded so cool, just rushing down and stampeding over whatever we want WHEREever we want," she says as she stomps her hooves excitedly on the ground, jumping at the end. "And spreading like a wild fire wherever we roam!" She pauses, blushing herself as she restrains her excitement. "I mean, I 'guess' this is kind of like that. I've been places I NEVER thought I'd even see like the ocean and the desert and castles, but…" she sighs, "I… we've BOTH seen a lot of bad stuff too, right?"

She snickers as he blushes, but gasps as he shoots back at her, "I-I was surprised, that's all! I thought we were the only ones on the ship! And I only got extra surprised cause you tried to pin the whole mess on me, ya know." She puffs out her cheeks, "Wasn't very nice."



Amy frowns as she watches Shei work. "This isn't how you wanted to spend your birthday, is it?"


"Nothing yet: First, I have to circulate the magic potential within him, before he can use it. This won't permanently bestow the ability to use it, but it will acclimate him better to the process."

Volkama finishes his runic drawings and sets them on the couch. "Now, have him hop on."

As you lift the hammer, something feels odd. Having wielded warhammers as part of your paladin training, you get a sense that this hammer might not be weighted properly, possibly to sabotage the player. Perhaps that's why, when you slam the marker, the metal piece on the small tower only goes up to 4. "Aww, too bad! You need a 7 to get a prize… but you get three tries!"

Shei crumbles the ground before them; the sand breaks, and below it, you see a covering of ice beneath the sand, which also breaks with it, crumbling into black mush.
Below that, it is as Shei predicted: Mountains and mountains of buildings, tossed upon one another, lay before you, spiraling what seems to be infinitely downward below the surface, forming a precarious labyrinth of trash and ruined kingdoms. Far below you, in the shell of a bombed-out building, you see the burnt remains of a tree. Black winds swirl around the tree, and each of its many branch-tips alights with a ghostly flame, looking like many candles.

LJ sticks his tongue out and smirks.
"That's what I'd like to see," he then says fondly. "One day, when we have paid our service to Our Lord… for us to roam and conquer, for our home to be the whole earth that we have explored, and for our days to be nothing but the exploration of that which we haven't discovered yet. When that happens, I don't think I'll stick with the name 'Little Journey' anymore. I feel like I'll have earned a change… like… Big Journey! Cause I'll have had a big journey! Does that sound cool?"



"Well that's cool!" Amy exclaims as she looks down at the spiral of buildings. "I wonder if there's a library."

[1d10] to spot a library… without being able to read

Roll #1 5 = 5


>"Alright. Hopper, hop on here. We're gonna start teaching you new tricks!"
KP says to Hopper, the frog hopping on as instructed.

Pryce lifts up the hammer, feeling discouraged as he tests it out to find a decent balance point. Hammers were already iffy enough for inexperienced fighters, but this feels like an accident waiting to happen.
"Just a seven? Alright then."
Pryce changes his grip, not holding it as he should, instead holding to get the best leverage out of this poor hammer as he slams down for a second try.
>Hammer Slam Mark Two [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


Flaming smiles at Journey's enthusiasm as he gets excited about making out into the world, exploring and conquering as the tribes of old. As he throws out his suggestion for his new name, Flaming chuckles, moving over towards Journey and putting a hoof up on his head, "I think it's pretty good… but you better buff up BIG time before then cause, you're still pretty 'Little' to me," she chuckles, reaching up to cover her muzzle.

She lets out a sigh, reaching up to rub at her leg, "I've been… thinking about changing my name too. Ever since I got these markings. I feel like I'm just not really the same 'Flaming Shorthorns' I was before, you know? I talked to Amy about it and, I definitely wanna keep the 'Shorthorns' but, I'm not sure what's appropriate to replace 'Flaming' with. Any thoughts?"


Shei-Sher falls through the crumbling ground, landing rump first into a file of sand.

"No.. Verily, this is how I imagined the day would be. Having the chance to save my pets is a nice surprise however." Shei smiles at Amy

>"I wonder if there's a library."

"erm- I am more interested in that tree" Shei points ahead
He ambles through the sprawling ruins, making his way down to the strange tree.

Pupil floats by to appraise it
[1d10+1] appraising the tree

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3



Amy follows.

"I… don't really know how birthdays work," Amy says awkwardly. "I've seen a lot of ponies in bars celebrate them. But, I never really got what they were talking about. The parties sure were fun, though!"

"Is there… anything you wanted to do on your birthday?"


To get through the ruins unharmed, the two of you must carefully pick your way over the crumbling ruins, often forced to stop and lower one another across gaps or give each other boosts over the broken and jagged architecture. By the time you reach the bottom, the two of you are dusty, with minor cuts here and there. The black tree stands at the middle of the shattered room. A few scraps of burnt parchment lay at its base, but nothing legible.

As you approach the tree, the flames at its tips unfold in their centers, revealing round circles in their centers, like multitudinous eyes, each one surrounded by lips, as though emerging from a mouth. The tree appears to warp or split, it's hard to tell: There appear now to be more branches than you had previously thought, numbering in the dozens or hundreds, until the eye-flames tower above and around you, so numerous that the tree itself is awash in flame and yet not immolated. An ancient sound, that of a roar from far above and below, male intertwined with female, shatters the silence, as the tree's presence now encompasses all the space before you.


This time, it only goes up to three. "Getting… colder. You're supposed to hit it harder!" the game master taunts.

As Hopper lands on the middle of the parchment, Volkama gently folds up the sheet around him, and whispers an incantation from the book. Through the gaps in the top, KP can see the designs of the runes floating around Hopper, before sinking into him. Volkama unfolds the parchment. "The first step has been completed."

"I am big!" LJ protests, thrashing about to make his hair and fur puff out with characteristic Sinking-Rain poofiness. He stands tall with his chest out. "Huh. I don't think I could imagine you as anything but 'Flaming Shorthorns.' It's just so…" he turns red again. "Uh, it's so good on you. But I guess you could use something more ferocious. Why not something like Volcanic Shorthorns?"


"I would like to.. not slaughter my pets?" Shei says candidly "Today has been nice. I have naught the right to complain. I had the chance to cook for my friends a feast, I saw a miracle performed by Mirror. I saw my Master for a brief time and the same, I saw my God's before bidding them all farewell. And now I am spending time with my special somepony."


Pryce grips the hammer's handle tightly. One try left, and he can't screw this one up. He takes hold with both forehooves and rears up. Using his wings to help stabilize his stance he brings the hammer straight up as he stands on his hind hooves alone. Precariously balancing for a moment, Pryce then swings the hammer down with the forceful smite of the paladin he used to be.
>Shatter that Bell [1d10]

KP looks with some worry as Hopper is wrapped up, then invaded by runes. Once the ritual is finished, KP crouches down low to Hopper.
>"You okay buddy?"
He looks up to Volkama.
>"What're the next steps?"

Roll #1 10 = 10



"You COOKED!?" Amy shouts in horror. "I missed it!?"


"Well…" Amy says, getting creeped out by the bizarre surroundings (though, not as horrified as when she realized she missed out on a meal). "We WERE looking for a scary place, right?"


Flaming lets out a chuckle as he floofs up his hair, noting the classic Sinking-Rain poofiness as she pokes it with her hoof, pushing into it, "No, you're FLUFFY. Maybe you should re-consider 'Fluffy Journey'?"

She lets out another snicker as he suggests the name, reaching up to tap at her chins, "Volcanic Shorthorns… well, I 'DID' fall into a volcano when I acquired the marks, and it 'would' be a good way to pay homage to the Slumbering Dragon. But," she reaches up at Spark in her horns, picking him up with her hooves to get him to wrap his slithery body around that instead. "I actually had a little idea from Spark here… I'm not a volcano. Not yet, anyways, I've still so much to learn about what having these marks means. But, I like to think i'm the beginning of something bigger… an inferno that'll change the world." She smiles reaching up to put Spark back in her horns, "So, 'Sparking' Shorthorns. What do you think?"


"Today was a blessing. Simply said, I have far far worse birthdays. I have told you before."

Shei-Sher lets out a laugh "I felt as though something was missing. Well now my birthday is rend in ruin Amy." He jokes "You would have enjoyed it, I cooked a lot of fish."

Shei stands agog in a sense of fear before the tree. Captured in the moment for some time before looking to the Vae Victus. Noting the root at it's end.

"I think this may be it."
Shei-Sher steps forward with the Vae Victus in hoof. "I'm sorry.. I cannot accept this." Shei-Sher touches the tip of the Vae Victus to the trunk of the tree and tries jamming it in.

Roll #1 5 = 5



"It's no chicken, but fish is good too," Amy comments casually as Shei returns a gift to a god.


You utterly smite the marker, and despite the subtle sabotage of the hammer being improperly weighted, you ring the bell loud and clear with a victorious ring. The gamemaster, shocked and humbled, applauds, and many onlookers fix you with jealous stares. "Well well! We have a winner at last!" he declares, before handing you a large stuffed lion.

River runs up and hugs you, cheek rubbing against yours. "Oh, you didn't have me fooled for a moment - you were going for dramatic tension, weren't you?"

Hopper places his hand onto KP's hoof, as if to reassure him.
"No two casters, even of the same discipline, perform magic quite the same way. He'll have to develop his own personal methods and foci, before moving onto what kind of magic he would like to learn."

"That''s… well, it has strategic value," LJ says. "It'd make any opponent underestimate me so I can clobber 'em, and I'd be a good ambassador for spreading the word of Our Lord. After all, who could hate a guy named Fluffy?"

He thinks over your name. "Hey, that's good! It's humble, it keeps your origins and those around you in mind." He pauses to think. "Now that I think about it, I think you should adopt it before we go into Tartarus. Maybe it's a bit presumptuous, but they say a name change brings good luck… and I'd want you to have all the luck you can get."

At first, the jagged black arrow refuses to enter the tree. Whispering voices convene, male and female, multitudinous, their words dancing at the peripherals of Shei's hearing, yet their weight presses down over the surface of his body. As the pressure bears down, he becomes lightheaded, losing the sense of his body, as the voices convene as a choir.
Woe to the conquered.
With laborious creaks, the arrow sinks into the burning tree, before vanishing. The tree itself shows no reaction, as the eyes gauge you, the lips surrounding them mouthing ancient words.


"…er" Shei steps back a bit weirded out "I think that did it. Let's leave before something horrible transpires"

Shei-Sher holds Amy's hoof again and AP's outta here
[returning to body]



"Sure," Amy says, giving the 'room' one last weirded out glance before going back to her body with Shei.

>returning to body


Pryce's face flushes red as their cheeks rub from the sudden hug.
"O-Of course, a magician has to put on a good showl."
He stammers out.
"Just took a moment to know my tool is all."

When the gamemaster hands Pryce his won lion, he lifts it in his magic and places it on River's back.
"A perfect fit."

KP picks up Hopper as he grabs his hoof.
>"So I just gotta see what he likes and just practice. Sounds just like when the big guy had to do combat training."
KP mulls the thought over.
>"You got some stuff I could hold onto to see what Hopper will like?"


Flaming chuckles, "I was JOKING you big dumbie. Don't go calling yourself Fluffy Journey, you'll have every Climbing Fire laughing their sides out!" She pets the fluff a bit more, letting her laughter subside. "You'll get big enough on your own. And then the fluff will just make you look even BIGGER then."

As he complements her choice of name, this time it's her turn to blush, and she looks away as he comments on it. "W-wow, thanks… I just sort of, thought it up is all, it made sense and, I liked it…" she chuckles, "Then, maybe that's the one to go for. I think it's cool too." As he comments on how it's good luck to change one's name, she grins, "Really then? Alright then, how about we 'both' change our names before we go into Tartarus, huh? Then we'll have TWICE as much good luck."


As you attempt to undo your spell, a sudden weight delays it. For a while, you are frozen there, held in the increasing discomfort of magic energy unthreading about you, caught in a limbo, as the tree stands there, unmoving, all-seeing. A warning unfolds within you, in a slow, blooming voice:
Nothing that has been concealed shall not be revealed. Weigh every chance you get – as if it were your last.
Soon, you are released from the grip, and return to the flowering field. The tree closest to you has wilted, appearing dead and burnt, but small white flowers bloom at its base, each with big petals that make them look like little chalices.

LJ nods and with a smile, bumps his horns against yours, taking care not to disrupt Spark. "Let's do it then, it's a promise."

He then glances around. "Oh yeah… we went outside for a fight, but… well, I kinda don't have much of a drive to fight you right now. Wouldn't want to put you out of commission before the big day. Why don't we go for a run? Or we could go into town and hang out with some of your allies. I feel like I haven't gotten to know them too well."

She smiles at the toy. "Now that we've conquered that, where else shall we go? It's getting a big crowded around town, as the festival gets back into full swing. Shall we go somewhere quieter?"

"You were a performer as a child, weren't you?" Volkama asks. "Why not let him hang out with my rats and see if he takes to it?"



"Nothing that has been concealed shall not be revealed…" Amy repeats the phrase.

"Okay, hold on!" she looks up to the sky as if the universe will respond to her. "That was too many negatives!"

She starts rubbing her head, trying to parse the sentence out. "'Nothing…' okay… 'that has been concealed.' So, Everything hidden… 'shall not be revealed'."

"So wait," she lightens up as she thinks she's figured it out. "Everything hidden will stay hidden? That's pointless!" she shouts up to the universe. "What was the point of that!?"


>Too many negatives
"Oh goodness you caught that as well. I had thought I misheard."

Shei-Sher looks to the tree blooming flowers "Nonetheless, the deed is done. It was easier than I thought. Thanks Amy." Shei gives Amy a hug.

"Now then, you wished for me to put to rest your problem. Are you sure you'd like to do that now?"


"It's a shame all the rides are ruined, those would have been nice."
Pryce thinks.
"Sure, how about a walk around the city? We could see the sights outside."
He suggests.

>"Oh yea, he could learn some circus tricks. He did like hopping and jumping at the restaurant."
KP agrees, but then suddenly springs up in idea.
>"OH! Wait, I got a cool idea!"
KP exclaims, scooping up Hopper as he goes off to find Zjetya.


Flaming chuckles as she bumps her horns back against his, "A promise!" She repeats, smiling widely with the buffalo as she looks around the Qilin village.

She shakes her head, "Nah, after wrecking you in the kitchen," she lies blatantly, "I think I'm good on fightin' for a little bit. I'll go easy on you just this once." She smiles, "Oh, a run sounds good! How about just a little stampede through town? If I find any of the others we can hang out with them too."

Flaming looks out in a random direction, smiling mischievously before reaching out with her horns to bump his sides, "TAG!" She shouts as she suddenly starts stampeding in a random direction through the town, laughing as she flees.



"Nothing concealed shall not be revealed…" Amy continues to repeat the phrase as she is hugged. It seems to be really perplexing her. "Now wait a minute. Maybe it means that there is not a thing that is concealed right now that will stay that way. There is not a thing that is hidden that will be not revealed…? All the things that are hidden will be not not hidden."

Amy shakes her head as if she's trying to remove some sort of great weight. "I think you should just reveal concealed things."


>"I think you should just reveal concealed things."
Shei slides his head onto Amy's lap as a he lays down "I believe that is what he meant."



Amy smiles as Shei lays down. She starts stroking her hoof behind his ear. "Then start talking," she says in a combination of playfulness and forcefulness.


Shei's smile is gone "I told you, bad things would happen." Shei stretches his arms up and gestures spooky things, in a silly manner to break the tension "Strange, horrible things, that would maybe hurt you. You should speak with Buiwong instead."


LJ runs just behind you through the village, keeping up just fine, but making no attempt to tag you back, apparently enjoying the chase and the run more than the actual aim of tagging you back.

As LJ chases Flaming, he suddenly ducks and weaves down some side-streets, before coming out from another one, getting the drop on her, and forcing her to run up toward Fantasia. Around the same time, River and Pryce walk and chat pleasantly, and draw near the city's front gate. Soon, both pairs see each other, and LJ skids to a halt. "Oh! You two! Slow down, Flaming." He runs up to Pryce. "I never got a chance to thank you – it was you who held onto the Ember for so long that saved me, wasn't it?"

After asking around, KP finds that Zjetya has been sitting on the ship's roof for a while, by herself. He heads out of the ship and sees her still sitting there, talking to bugs.


Flaming relaxes as she enjoys their casual stampede through the town, and after a bit even slows her pace so she's more or less running alongside Journey instead of racing ahead of him, enjoying his presence as well as they trample over cobblestone together. She looks around the site as she runs, but as LJ skids to a halt and calls for her to stop, Flaming likewise skids, pressing her hooves to the pavement as she screeches to a stop at the same time.

As she sees Pryce and River approach, she waves, running over to greet them with Journey. "Pryce, River! There you are." She takes a look at River in particular, smiling. "Glad to see you putting those new legs to work, River! Have you ran around a lot on them already?! If you want, Journey and I were taking a run, you two could join us."



"I hate gods…" Amy grumbles. "But, if it will help…"


Pryce stops as Flaming and LJ charge towards them, reflexively holding a wing out in front of River in protection as LJ has to brake.
"Oh, yes. That was me, but you don't need to thank me for it. I'm just glad that everypony was cured, and that holding onto that ember was for something after all."

KP walks up to Zjetya, sitting down next to her while holding Hopper close, instruction him to not eat any of the bugs.
>"Hey Zjetya, are you busy?"


Shei-Sher's face is tired and understanding. He raises his hoof to take Amy's in hold. And begins to nap.

Astral project!
[1d10+1] visitng buiwong with Amy

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


"Haven't seen you all since the beach Pryce! The visit Shei and I took to Hearthome was… interesting, to say the least. What have you been doing since we left?"



[1d10] astral projection

Roll #1 1 = 1


"No thank you, I'm in the middle of a date with Pryce," River says, showing off the small cactus and the stuffed lion that the two have with them. "See? Have a look at our haul."

"Dates are fruit," LJ says.
"That's the wrong kind of date," River explains. "We're spending time together as a pair."
"Oh, so are we!" LJ declares. "Can we join yours?"
"I don't think you quite…" River begins, before turning to Pryce. "Actually, what do you think? I don't think he quite knows the difference, but it seems obvious to me his heart's in the right place."

"Oh, hey," Zjetya says solemnly, floating down to meet KP. "No. What do you need?"

This time, your dream takes you to the smoky mansion halls that Buiwong has made his abode. As you enter the lounge, you do not see anyone there besides a golden minotaur, his body and face heavily scarred. He wears a butler's uniform, twirling a silver coin as he stares at the portraits and pictures adorning the walls, nostalgically.
"The Master is out for now," the minotaur says with a slow, familiar voice, that of Ba'drel, the neurotic god of wealth and cattle who served Buiwong. He glances at you, and as recognition fills his eyes, he appears exhausted. "Ah. You. It's been too long. What may I do for you, while you are here, Master Shei?"



"I have business with Buiwong," Amy says to the minotaur god angrily. "Where is he?"

[1d10] for information

Roll #1 7 = 7


"It is nice to see you as well Ba'drel" Shei just stands around in the lounge, not visibly in a rush or anything, but he does appear nervous "I am under conflicting oaths.. Amy wished to speak with Buiwong. But I understand if he is busy at the moment."


>Master Shei?"
"And please, Shei will do."


"You two went to Hearthome?"
Pryce questions surprised.
"Why, and what did it look like?"

"Oh, I've uh, been spending the day with River."

Pryce stammers, caught a little off guard.
"I've heard double dates are a thing, but on the first one…"
He continues, unsure of what to say.
"If you want to River, since we were going to go for a walk too I guess we could all go together for a little bit."
He says, this already foreign territory going even further into the unknown as he asks River, not wanting to ruin their first date.

>"Volkama was showing me how to teach Hopper magic, and then I had the great idea to see if he could learn some of your cool wind magic!"
Pryce says, holding up Hopper proudly.
>"So what were you doing up here? I heard you were alone for a while."



"Why does he call you 'master'?" Amy asks suspiciously.


"Shei wanted to visit someone important to him for his birthday, a Professor 'Crowley', I think. When we got there though, it… well, it didn't seem like what I'd heard Hearthome was like at all. It was CRAWLING with demon filth, and I mean 'real' filth, it stunk bad!"

Flaming lets out a gasp, "WOAH! You two are on a date?!" She smiles widely, chuckling, "That's so cool! You two always went well together, I bet you're having a great time." As she shows her the cactus and the stuffed line, she looks at them both curiously. "Pryce got you those…? Those are… cool." She says, not entirely grasping the allure behind either one. She looks up, at River, reaching up to whisper (not so quietly) in her ear, "Go easy on 'im, his last date didn't go so good…"

As LJ gets it wrong, she lets out a sigh, "Not THAT kind of date, Journey!" As River explains what it is, Flaming stands and nods, smugly pleased with herself she knew something Journey did not, but as Journey points out 'so are we', Flaming's cheeks turn red, and she shrinks back, "W-wait, I don't know if you entirely get the idea, yeah we're spending time as a pair but…" she pause, looking down at her hooves. "Hrrm… well, I don't know… maybe this is…?" she says nervously, reaching up to scratch behind her neck, looking towards River and Pryce for advice.


"…I expected that, though it's still sad to hear what's become of it."
Pryce responds glumly to the news of Hearthome.

"W-We do?" Pryce says at Flaming's claim, "Amy said the same thing…"


"He is attending to preparations of his own, for when you will descend into Tartarus," Ba'drel says. "This little slice of the world will be rocked as many demonic and mortal forces alike will be drawn to the undoing of the Great Seal which binds all the evils of Tartarus from the world.

"If Fantasia, Zha Arlakane and all the nearby settlements, including the temporary land where Shorthorns' buffalo clans have settled, are not prepared, then my Master worries about their safety. Of course, he would not allow any of you to fall either, if it be within his power."

"However, from what I have heard my Lord discuss of recent days, I can guess at your grievances. You are suspicious of his influence following Amy succumbing to her inner voice's desires in the Griot's Road Cafe… is that a fair assessment?"

River gives Pryce a wink and a nudge, as if to say 'don't worry.'

"Let's go for a walk by the river that runs through the center of town. I don't think anyone will bother us there, and we can play catch-and-release with the fish that swim there," River suggests.
LJ, lost as ever, nods. "Excellent suggestion, I went fishing with Shei not too long ago! I can get us the best ones."


"Tis only a formality. Truly, look! He's dressed in a butler's costume!"
Shei points out exasperatedly



"I want to talk to him," Amy repeats angrily.

"Either bring me to him or bring him to me."


Amy looks from Shei to Ba'drel suspiciously. "I guess that makes sense."


"You want me to teach a frog?" Zjetya says with disdain. "… It'll be hard."
"I was thinking over the past few days that I've been with you all, and how, despite being only with you for a few days, I've been wrapped up in all this crazy stuff that's gone well over my head," Zjetya says. "And now that it's all about to be over, it feels so brief. I'm having a hard time deciding whether to enter Tartarus with everyone else."


"I would say that is right on the money, Ba'drel"

Shei-Sher stands behind Amy, he shrugs his hooves and makes an expression that says he's sorry he has to deal with his girlfriend.


"I'm sorry to deliver the bad news…" she holds her head. "It was my first time ever seeing it but, I had heard it was a grand place. We found Crowley, at any rate. He's… I'm not sure if 'alive' is how I would put it but, he's in good company. There was this beautiful tower among it that persisted among the demons, and there were some nice people there. He and Shei shared a sort of farewell and, I think Shei was happy to have gone."

She chuckles, "Well yeah, duh. Anyone who's been watching you two for a while can see that."

As Flaming hear's the suggestion, she smiles, grateful for a quick change of subject beyond her own date. "OH! That sounds fun, let's go! Let's have a contest to see who can catch the biggest fish, alright Journey?"

"Uh…" she says as she begins to trot, "But first you might have to show me how to do it, I never really learned how to fish."


"That sounds like a great idea."
Pryce agrees.

>"Well not teach, maybe. I wanna see if he'll like it."
KP says, setting Hopper on the ship.

>"I don't think going into Tartarus would be a good idea…"

KP says, trailing off.


"Don't be sorry, I knew what to expect when that was the center of the Rapture. It's good to hear there's one safe bastion there though."

"Th-They could?"
Pryce stutters, feeling a bit exposed at hearing something like that was obvious, and feeling a bit stupid if it's been that long and he only just realized it himself.


"Don't be so modest about your accomplishments and contributions to Lord Buiwong's designs, dear Shei," Ba'drel says, flipping his silver coin casually. "You have earned a place among his favored for… many reasons."

"Wait a moment. I shall see if he is available. He is… mentoring someone."

Ba'drel draws a tome from the mahogany desk, flips it open to a page, and begins reciting the lines under his breath. When he is finished, a dark circle unfolds in the air, ringed with white words. From the hole in space emerge a collection of small spiders, which drop onto the desk and scuttle away. Finally, a single massive eye peers through the hole.

"Yeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssss?" Buiwong asks.

LJ and River, clearly excited, head off toward the center of town, with River's arm hooked around Pryce's. LJ glances at that, then looks at Flaming's arm. "What kind of pony custom are they doing?"

"I'm still not sure what to think. One way or another, someone, or even everyone, is going to be lost," Zjetya says. "And if they are, I wonder if it'll be on me."



"All the same, I just wish I could have brought back better news… if you want to see it for yourself sometime, just to see what I'm talking about, I've gotten pretty good at opening up Dark Corridors."

She laughs, "Well, of course! All you have to do is pay attention, haven't you?"


"You can make those too? A lot has been going on for you guys."

"Uh, n-not really. Th-that is, I haven't been looking for that, er…"
He stammers, not sure how to even word what his feelings have been.


>Flaming and Pryce, post sheets


File: 1520563448476.jpg (290.46 KB, 572x820, comfy shorthorns.jpg)



Last time on HQ…

With only a few days left for most of the party on Earth, the party has devoted much of their time to getting in as many hours of unity and relaxation as they possibly can. When we last saw Flaming and Pryce, they had started a double-date, with Pryce bringing along River and Flaming being led by the clueless and enthusiastic Little Journey. Meanwhile, Zjetya expressed her ambivalence on the Tartarus plan to KP, having not yet fully decided if it would be better to stay on the surface or go with the others into the underworld.

LJ and River, clearly excited, head off toward the center of town, with River's arm hooked around Pryce's. LJ glances at that, then looks at Flaming's arm. "What kind of pony custom are they doing?"

"I'm still not sure what to think. One way or another, someone, or even everyone, is going to be lost," Zjetya says. "And if they are, I wonder if it'll be on me."


Pryce is a little offtook by the arm hook, but as they run through town he warms up more and is joining into the excited mood.

KP sets Hopper down on the ship's hull.
>"I don't think it'd be on you. You're not like our navigator or anything."


Flaming looks back at River and Pryce as Journey calls out their odd ritual, raising her eyebrows as the fore-legs hooked together. "I… I don't know, I've never seen that before. I think it's another pony thing they do to each other on dates." She gives a small laugh, "They do a lot of weird stuff in general."

As she walks in the direction of the river, she looks back, "Seems like you'd stumble over yourself doing that, here-" she says as she grabs at Journey's leg, trying to imitate River's action, "Lemme see how it feels."


"Well, that's the question,isn't it? What am I to the rest of the party?" Zjetya asks. "I'm not particularly strong, but I can talk to the wind, which is a pretty useful ability, all things considered…"

She rubs her forehead, and there's a look of confusion and internal struggle all knotting her brow. "You know I'm a Changeling, right? This skin I'm in, it's not mine."

LJ and Flaming nearly trip all over each other as they imitate the mode of walking that comes far more naturally to River and Pryce. LJ fumbles and tugs and shoves at Flaming as he tries to regain his footing, and ends up awkwardly forcing her to lean on his shoulder. "Pryce, are we doing this right? How are we supposed to walk like this, do you choreograph your steps or anything?"
"It'll come more naturally to you with time," River says.
LJ snorts proudly. "I like our tribe's dances better. Less falling on your face."

The four of you soon find the river that bisects Fantasia, and follow it to the northeast, until you eventually leave the music and chatter of the festival in the distance. The water below is clean and deep blue, and variously colored fish drift downstream amid the grasses and rocks in the water.

"Pryce, you can conjure us some fishing rods, right?" River asks.


Flaming grunts, grumbles, and curses (quietly) to herself as she and LJ stumble over each other, "N-no no, you're doing it wrong… or, maybe *I'M* doing it wrong, lemme move my… urggh…"

As she leans heavily into Journey's shoulder, she pauses, still feeling her hoof tangle up in his as she lets her head rest against his fluffy shoulders, nuzzling against them lightly as they walk arm-in-arm to the river. "Hrrm… I-I guess this isn't so bad, but I don't see what ponies like it so much…" she says as she leans her head more into Journey's shoulder, treating it as pillow in-transit.

As they reach the water's edge, she breaks from the arm-lock, looking out into the deep, crisp colored stream with awe. "Woooow… I haven't seen fish colored like *that* before. What are they, some kind of salmon?"


>"Well you're a great singer so you're great for morale, and you're fun to have around."
KP lists off to answer her question.

KP nods.
>"Uh-huh, we saw that back up on the birdcage, and we had that talk about your disguise too the other day."

Pryce looks back at LJ's call.
"You just sorta, get a feel for it."
He says, unsure how to describe it.

"Of course."
Pryce says once they get to the riverside. He pulls off his bracelet, giving it a spin as he pulls out a few fishing poles.
>Hat Magic [Fishing Poles] [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


>We can do better than that

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 10 = 10


Zjetya nods. "Right, right. So, you remember that. I'm never too sure how much you know that the other half doesn't. Most Changelings don't stick to one disguise if they're with others who know that they're a Changeling. On the other hand, I've always wanted to stay in this look. I don't really consider it much of a disguise."

In addition to the fishing poles, Pryce conjures a small kit of assorted fishing supplies, like different kinds of hooks, lures and baits, enough for everyone to have a try.

River glances down at the fish. "Those are… mmm… they're googly-eyed waptailers," she says with a straight face.
"Really? I've never caught one of those! Do they have any special properties?" LJ asks.
"But of course! They teach various languages, and know the secrets of poetry and geometry hidden to ordinary mortals."
"We'd better catch a lot, that sounds like it'll be useful!"
River bites her tongue to contain her chortling.

[1d10] [1d10] River
[1d10] [1d10] LJ

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 5 = 5 / Roll #3 4 = 4 / Roll #4 4 = 4


Flaming looks out at the waptailers, giving a small 'ooooh' of interest at them. "Wow! I didn't know fish could even 'be' that smart! How do bears manage to catch 'em so easy then?"

She shakes her head, "Well, poetry and gom… geo… hrrrm, the other thing sound boring, but maybe they know other cool stuff like, stories, or fighting, or games!" She says with glee as she picks out one of the poles, looking at them all with a confused look as she tries to figure out the best way to do it.

"Let's see… you just put the bait on the hook right, and then just toss it in there…" she says as she gives her fishing pole a few swings, requiring a couple tries before she finally gets it right and the line goes out. "OH! There it goes!"

[1d10] [1d10] Fishing attempt

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 6 = 6


>"Yea, there was a lot of stories in the church about how you couldn't trust anypony if a changeling was around, since it could be everypony and anypony."
KP recalls.
>"I like this look too, I can't imagine you as something else and all not fluffy. I remember you said it was somepony special."

"These fish can do all of that?"
Pryce questions, amazed.

Pryce lifts up his pole in his magic, looking through the baits, lures, and bobbers. He hasn't fished much, so he's mostly running through what looks well together.
All set up, he tosses out his line to see what takes.
>Fishing [1d10] [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 10 = 10


You both catch two fish each, but neither River nor LJ get a bite. River got too excited and reeled in her rod before the fish could take a proper bite of the bait, which spooked the remaining fish and made them swim away before any could take a bite of LJ's.

Both LJ and River look at their hooks with disappointment.
"I lied," River admits, a bit bitter. "I just made up the googly-eyed waptailer. Those are regular fish, which will only teach you disappointment."
"Hmph. I knew it sounded too good to be true," LJ says, trying to staunch his earlier excitement. "But, in your defense, there really are plants, animals and, yes, even fish, that are known to contain hidden knowledge and magic."
"That's true," River says. "And you know, there are probably a lot more out there now that there aren't so many mortals around to hunt them down and then capture and sell them."

"Yeah. It was a friend of mine who was chosen to be a singer for the dragons. Haven't I told you this story before? Well, anyway… it's her face I'm wearing. I haven't disguised myself as anyone else, except when I had to make myself look like a demon when we first arrived in Vitral. I've always thought of this as my way of letting her see the world, and of keeping her with me now that she has been called to a different life, one forever in the dragon-lords' grasp."


Flaming looks up in glee as she manages to land not one, but two fish on some of her very first tries, looking between them as they are held up high. "WOWWWW! Look at 'em, Journey!" She says as she hoists the multi-colored beauties up, smiling as she looks at their gorgeous scales. "I-I never actually held one like this before…" she grunts as they flip and flop and try to kick away, necessitating a careful grip on them. "Graah… slippery lil' guys…"

As River confesses she lied, Flaming blushes, "W-what?! You were lying?! I…" she pauses, "Iiiiiii knew that the entire time, of course. Pfff, come on, g-googly eyed waptailers? Pfff. As if any fish would have a name that dumb." She says with an awkward chuckle, looking back at River as she looks on disappointed at her empty catch with a sad look.

"Uh, h-hey, Journey:" she says, holding up one of her two, "You want one of mine? I got two."


"Nice catch Flaming!"
Pryce congratulates.

"Don't worry, I have your catch covered."
Pryce says to River as he unhooks the two fish with his magic, hovering one in front of each of them before setting the fish free.

"I never thought of things like that. Nature now could be a lot closer to how things were before ponies were around, aside from the demons."
Pryce comments aloud at the discussion, tossing out his line again.
>Fish [1d10] [1d10]

>"Ooooh… So that's why you didn't want to talk about it before."
KP says with realization.
>"I know dragons live up by your home, but I don't recall anything about them picking ponies. Must've told the big guy that."
KP gets up and gives Zjetya a hug.
>"I know how it can be when you won't see somepony close for a long time, I still don't know how my family's doing. But that's a very nice thing you're doing, I knowshe'd love and appreciate it."
He says to console, not letting her go.

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 1 = 1


"Well, thanks Flaming, but I was going to release 'em anyway. Here, I'll show you how."
LJ takes the fish, only to quickly, yet carefully, remove the hook from the fish's mouth, while holding it steady in the water. Once it's free, he lowers it back into the water, before letting it slip free again.

"Yep, there was a pretty bad black market for magical beasts, herbs and rites in the heyday of the Empire, but increased policing on the part of the Union's various departments, particularly the nature conservationists, who had an alliance with the druids in the countryside, really cracked down on the trade," River explains. "There's no excuse for what Buiwong did, but… at least that's gone, as horrible as it is to think about."
"I wouldn't call that a horrible thought," LJ offers. "In good times or bad, people will find a way to do terrible things. It's why we need leaders who will guide us away from those paths."
[1d10] [1d10] River
[1d10] [1d10] LJ

"And it's why I can't go into Tartarus," Zjetya decisively says after a long silence, holding KP in the hug. "She's already been taken to one place from which she'll never return. I can't have it happen to her again."

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 4 = 4 / Roll #3 10 = 10 / Roll #4 8 = 8


As Journey takes hold of the fish to let them go, Shorthorns chuckles, "Well, 'duh'. What else were we gonna do with them? We don't exactly eat fish." She smiles as he takes his fish and frees him back into the water, before gently taking hers as well, unhooking it carefully as she had just been shown by Journey, and frees it back into the water. "Theeeere you go, lil' guy. Don't be so quick to take tasty looking bait next time."

She lines up some bait on her hook for another go, looking back at River as they talk about the trade. "Clan Climbing Fire didn't always to the best job of 'preserving' nature: if it was in our way it was likely to get trampled. But we knew it was wrong to go out and mess with it, there are too many stories to count about spirits who quickly take retribution on any mortals who upset the balance." She snorts, "It sounds like this black market got what was coming to it if it was peddling magical beasts and herbs around! What a disgrace." She pauses, "Though, it's not 'all' gone either… back in Vitral I'm pretty sure I saw demons selling things they really shouldn't have either. I don't really know if they'd end up any better than ponies did."

[1d10] [1d10] She tries another go at fishing

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 7 = 7


"The land was all wrecked up when we went to check that outpost for Spitshine, but seeing all animals living so strongly through all that really gave hope. It might be nice to see what other animals and areas have thrived like that."
Pryce thinks with a wistful tone. As they continue fishing and releasing, Pryce sets the pole down. He tries to see if he can fish out a fish gently from the river, enclosed in a bubble of water to not disturb it.
>Magic Fishing [1d10] [1d10]

>"That's good, I don't want you going down in Tartarus either."
KP says, still holding the hug as well, looking up to Zjetya.
>"What was she like?"

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 7 = 7


This time, each of you manage to catch some fish, and are able to quickly unhook and release them into Pryce's magic-held water bubble, enabling you to look at their bright scales without worry for their well-being.

"Yep, especially living in the Highlands, among all the trees, we really had to set ourselves straight with how much we took from the world around us," LJ says.
"It makes me wonder, sometimes," River muses. "Everyone keeps going on and on about how mortals are quickly being driven to extinction by the return of demons to the world. Is it really going to be any different than what we would have become? Perhaps I'm jaded from my upbringing, and what I have seen and done, but… the existence of Tartarus itself makes me think that there's always something darker within us, always ready to come back out to haunt us."

"Thoughtful and quiet," Zjetya says, now seeming a bit reticent. "Except when she was singing. When she sang, she was beautiful. I've attempted to follow that part of her as well, and sometimes I wonder how much of me is me, and how much is her, or my ideas of her."


Pryce looks up at the floating bubble of swarming fish in silent thought.
"… I don't think so. Look at all of us, and those back at the ship. Despite everything, we've all done and spread good without falling to all the terrible things we've seen others do all over. I believe ponykind would've have fell to this."
Pryce states hopefully.

>"How was her singing compared to yours?"
KP asks.
>"You are you, that's all that matters. Kinda like I'm me as my own even though I'm started as kid copy of the big guy."


Flaming gazes in wonder at the fish as they hook them each one by one, helping to put them into Pryce's floating water bowl. She looks at them all as they catch them, the sun reflecting through the water and off their bright scales, and she smiles contently, thinking it a pretty sight.

She looks over at Journey and chuckles, in agreement with his statement on the tribes, before looking up at River as she contemplates whether the world was heading for destruction anyways.
Flaming pauses, not sure how to answer. "I… I don't know for sure. I spent most of my time away from Hearthome and the other big cities so, I can't say what things were like for others. I want to say that, after meeting ponies like you and Pryce and Amy though?" She shakes her head. "No way you would've let that happen."

She chuckles, catching a glance at Journey, "Weeeeeell, maybe PONY civilizations would have eventually crumbled. But the buffalo never would have. We're a lot smarter than ponies, huh Journey?"


Zjetya stops and thinks, then pats KP on the head. "Thanks, Pryce. Let's put this on hold for a little while. Maybe for when I'm drunk. Why'd you come out here in the first place? Something about your frog, right?"

"I don't know," LJ says. "You can't deny that our tribe was at the center of the end of the world. It was our prayers that restored Buiwong's strength, our numbers that populated his armies, our hooves that pushed him back into the heavens where he belonged. In order to undo what evils had been done to all of us, we needed our societies to be destroyed. And it's the only way that we could have gotten back the glory and freedom of our past, while still making a future all for ourselves."
River glowers, but then relents. "I can't argue with that– we certainly made something that's both old and new our of the world, but I'll be damned if I justify the deaths of millions."


Flaming turns to look at Journey harshly, "She's right, Journey… I won't deny I got caught up in Buiwong just like every other buffalo. I prayed to him and gave him all the support I could because I wanted the same thing… but that doesn't erase all the damage he did too. We might not even 'have' a future anymore between the demons running rampant and the angels coming down to destroy everything they touch, so who's to say we're really that better off now than before…"


>"That's no fun, having to wait 'till your drunk."
KP pouts as he's patted.
>"Buuuuut okay."
He says back into a smile.

He hops up from the hug, scooping Hopper back up.
>"Yea! I wanted to see if you could teach Hopper your wind magic stuff, cause that'd be so cool! Like he could ribbit and shoot out a tornado!"

"That's a grim way of looking at it. But all we can do is move forward and not let that repeat itself. Make life better and not lose anymore ponies."


"I don't disagree with any of you," LJ says, kicking his back hooves over the water idly. "We still need to take back control of the world. We've swung so fast back from the tyranny of the Devas that we've lost our sense of how to handle the world without those gods watching out for us. Now that the world's in the grip of chaos, if we aren't able to retake control of it, that's all. We're done."
"You're awfully cavalier about all this."
"I gotta be!" LJ says. "That's how to keep up hope."
Everyone watches the fish swirl about in the water-bubble.
"It sure would be nice to be one of them, wouldn't it? No cares, no suffering," River says.

"Well, is he interested in learning my magic?"


Pryce lays back on the grass, looking up at the bubble.
"That's what the festival is for. Three short days for us to forget about the troubles. A short reprieve to relax from all this stress and worry, and unwind to see what we should've seen a long time ago."

>"Hmm, let's find out. Can you do some cool wind magic stuff right now?"
KP asks as he plops down ready for a show, holding Hopper expectantly for him to watch.
>"OK Hopper pay attention and see if you wanna learn this. It'll be amazing."


As Journey states his goal so resolutely, Flaming's harsh expression pulls back significantly and she looks at the determined buffalo. She lets a little huff of air escape her nostrils, reaching up to put a hoof on his fluffy shoulders. "Well… I guess there's nothing to be done about it now but move forward." She smiles, "I'm glad none of us have to do it alone at least." She says as she lays down next to the river, reaching in to kick her fore-hooves in the water around, leaning down to take a little drink of the crisp water as well.

She looks up at the floating water-sphere full of fish, and she frowns. "I don't really think so… I don't really like the water all that much and fish get eaten ALL the time. By bigger fish, by birds, by bears, by wolves, anything." She looks back, "I'd like to be a 'dragon'." She says, looking up at her horns where Spark loops around her curly hair and horn. "See? He doesn't care about nothin' either, he just sleeps and eats all he wants. That's the life."


River and LJ have a good laugh after that. "Both approaches are quite good."
LJ gets up. "I hope this isn't the only thing we're going to do on this date. Fishing and talking are plenty fun, but couldn't we do that anytime?"
River turns her head at Pryce with a wink, hinting for him to take the reins on the situation.

Zjetya floats before the both of them and performs minor tricks with her magic, commanding it to capture bugs, spin flowers in a small, localized tornado, cool and warm the both of you, and even whip up a small raincloud to pour on the ground.
Hopper gazes dispassionately onward, apparently not impressed.
"Hmm, maybe that's not the best fit for him, especially given his lack of speech," Zjetya says.


Flaming chuckles too, splashing her hooves a bit more along the river before she looks up at LJ. "Well, Journey, Amy told me it's the 'boy' who decides what to do for the date for the girl. So you tell me: what else is on this 'date'?" Flaming says, giggling a little to herself as she uses the term so brashly.


KP gives ooo's and aaa's of amazement as Zjetya does her tricks. But as Hopper is unimpressed, KP thinks.
>"OH! How about that thing you did up in the birdcage where you blasted away all those ponies that had the angel parts? That as sooo cool, Hopper would love it!"

"W-Well, uhh…"
Pryce stammers, as he's on the spot now.
"Well we already ate, so we could go back and try some more of the games in town, or any events going on. There should be one or two more at least happening. Maybe just take in the scenery while we can, or you guys can before you leave."
Pryce says as he thinks of things that they can't do anytime.


River and LJ get up, carrying their fishing equipment with them. "That sounds splendid, let's go get into as much trouble as we can at the festival!" River suggests, while LJ clicks his back hooves in approval.

>pausing next round, feel free to detail all they do

"I could, but I don't think it'd be possible for Hopper to achieve. His body only has a small amount of magical power in it, since he's a frog. You might be better off trying to teach him some easy cantrips and low-level conjuration spells, since I know a lot of casters will do that with their familiars. And then Deriva could sew him a little outfit like she did for Volkama's rats."


Flaming smiles as she gets up along with LJ, sticking close to her fellow buffalo as the two pairs head back up the side of the river in the direction of the festival. Upon arriving back to the sights and sounds, Flaming giddily asks Little Journey for a few matches in the various games set up around the town, asking for Pryce and River to join in with them (teaming up with River for a girls team vs Pryce/LJ for a boys team in appropriate games).

As it goes on, Flaming finds a certain mood strike her fancy among the festival, a tribal beat of drums that while not nearing her home's music, certain brings up pangs of nostalgia, and pushes into others to try dancing to the music until she gets a crowd going, encouraging LJ, Pryce, and River in particular to join her in the dance.

After wards, one final thing crosses Shorthorns' mind before the date could be completed: she challenges Little Journey to one more duel (in the plaza, *NOT* the ship) and insists she'll defeat him in one blow. To which, when he thinks himself prepared, she leans forward and nuzzles his cheek, one of the most affectionate displays a buffalo could offer, in an attempt to completely stun-lock him and send him reeling.


>"Come on, can't we try?"
KP says with the classic child-pleading face.
>"I know Hopper can do something big, or at least a smaller form of it. Please?"

Pryce lower the fish back into the river, letting them swim free as he packs up the rest of the equipment.
"One big night on the town."

Pryce looks around at the games as they pass by, he already won a nice bi prize for River, but at Flaming's request he joins in to help LJ along.

As they go on in the day and Flaming begins to start up a town dance, Pryce is reluctant at first to join in, not having danced himself. But as it continues on, and since it is the classic moment of a date, Pryce takes RIver's hoof to pull her on the dance floor, going for a more waltz style of moving.

As they run down on festivities, Pryce sticks by River's side, but looks a bit unsure. Taking her to sit down near one of the sights in the village, Pryce waves a hoof over the small cactus he won for her. With a little magic, the flower blooms more and becomes more vibrant, and then he waves his hoof over her mane, a copy of the flower appearing in her mane behind her ear.
"This was a wonderful day."


Flow, post sheet



Last time on HQ…

Flow, Renee and Tantra decided to return to Zha Arlakane with Sugar and Spitshine. Renee felt that it was necessary for the two kids to kill a demon each – though they would not allow Sugar and Spitshine to come with them to Tartarus, both would need to develop a killer instinct and learn to take a life if they were to survive in an increasingly brutal world.

Both Sugar and Spitshine look sad upon hearing the word 'mother' but quickly perk up when you talk about demon-hunting. They glance at each other.
"Hey, so with what we talked about… are you gonna be ready?" Spitshine asks Sugar.
Sugar wipes at her cheeks. "Of course. With all of you, I can."
"We had a good talk," Spitshine says, smiling up at you. "Come on, let's go hunting."
Tantra creates the Dark Corridor for all of you.


Flow, somewhat embarrassed by his apparent mistake, cracks a smile when he sees the two in a good mood. His smile cracks as he realize what the crew is gonna go hunting.
When they're through the Corridor, he starts rummaging through his coat for some close marks.


There are three marks that seem to be within Zha Arlakane's general vicinity: The first is named Salamander, a thin, wiry humanoid made of black strips of sinew, with a serpentine head, clothed in tattered wanderer's robes. He's worth 100 Bits. The second picture is blurry, but upon closer inspection, you see that it's a red gem surrounded by a flurry of furious wind currents, sharp enough to slice, mostly forming a jagged sphere. This one, Tailwind, is worth 150. You instantly recognize the third, a bright-green goo pony mare with a raincoat and a yellow headband, nicknamed "Spitter." Her bounty is 2000 Bits.


As you emerge on the other side of the Corridor, Zha Arlakane is in far, far better shape than when you last left it. The rubble from the Bodhidharma's assault has been cleared out, and although a gash remains in the city's central streets from when it penetrated the outer walls, construction is under way, and crews are busy repairing the worst of the damage to the architecture. People of various stripes are around, and most seem to be wearing some form of Ecclesian garb. Speaking of which, the Ecclesians are out in force, distributing food and canteens, giving lectures on staircases and from the second floors of stone buildings, and the like. Though the streets are quite busy, the mood seems to have risen since you last left it.


Flow stuffs the rest of the contracts in his coat when he's finished identifying who's close. He hands the two lesser contracts to Renee.
"Here, we're going to have the little ones take care of these two."
He puts the third one in his pocket.

The three goos marvel at Zha Arlakane's fresher appearance.
>"My oh my…it hasn't even been that long, and they're already looking in better shape."
>>"Yeah, that 'hole business with that giant bloody demon was bonkers!"
Flow crosses his arms as they all marvel at the city.
>>"Oi. No bleedin doubt about it, right? What're you gonna do, lad?"
"The one thing I know I can do," his gaze intensifies, "I'm gonna whip her tail," he says with a cheek-splitting grin.


Renee manages a glance at the third contract. "Who's that last one? She looked rather mortal."

As you marvel at the city, you notice that the posters are glowing rather faintly, suggesting that the three targets are all somewhere within the city, but not anywhere in your immediate vicinity.

"So, where are these three? We got any leads?" Spitshine asks.
"I might know something," Tantra says, before glancing at you. "But I wanna know what Flow thinks before I tell you. You kids can't always rely on getting a hint – you gotta learn to sniff out your target even when there ain't a trace of 'em around."
"Well, whaddya say?" Sugar asks you.


"An old friend," he answers promptly.

"Easy as pie. You go to the taverns and start asking questions. Ask too many questions, and they'll come to you. Usually. Quite frankly, I haven't had to really get down and…track in a while. Hope was always better at that than I was."
He looks again at the two posters he gave Renee.
"Yeah, the first one can easily blend in here in the city…this second one shouldn't be too hard to find."


"Another one?" Renee says with a smile. "Thank goodness. Do you think she'd be amenable to helping us? We'll need all the allies we can pick up before we go."
Sugar and Spitshine nod to your instructions, though you can tell the two are a tad nervous about their first hunt.
"Let's spl–" Spitshine begins, before Sugar puts her hoof on his mouth.
"I know your specialty is in hiding and remaining undetected, but I've got no experience at all in hiding or being subtle," she says. "And the more I learn about our target, the more likely I can make a weapon to fight 'em."
"Agh, fair enough," Spitshine says, before taking Sugar by the arm. "C'mon."
The two weave into the crowd, quickly vanishing.
Tantra snorts proudly. "They're good kids."
"Makes me worry about that other one, Prisca," Renee says. "Transformed into a demon at a young age. What will become of her, I wonder…"


Flow shakes his head.
"I'm not too certain… I think I got off lucky with Hope and Vitty. She's… a lot more gung-ho than the rest of us. More brash, and reckless. I don't think I'll be able to get a word out before she punches my head off or something."

>"Come find us when you've gotten ample information!" Vice calls out as they leave.

>>"An' don' get in trouble, ya wee rascals!"

"Yeah, real good kids. Makes me feel bad that I have to teach some more kids how to do this job…" he winces as he thinks back to Hope and the others.


"I already like her style," Renee says.
"Is she cute?" Tantra asks.

"Oh, on that note," Renee adds. "I don't see any reason to simply wait here for the kids. We could get a bit of shopping done, or check in on the Ecclesians now that they've taken power from the Council that was cowering behind King Lininas. Mocha told me that things were a bit off here; I don't see anything strange going on at the moment, but perhaps we ought to investigate."


Trapper makes sure to be out of Renee's sight as he nods at Tantra's question.

"Sure, beats waiting around. Let's check in with the Ecclesians first…where do we go? I'm not exactly keen to…checking in on people."


Tantra clicks his tongue in preparation, and nods, clearly formulating a plan.

"With the amount of work that the Laity is putting into their affairs here, it's likely they're being coordinated by officers, overseers and the like," Renee reasons. "With all the work we put in to defending and then fixing the city after the Bodhidharma attack, we should be minor celebrities around here."

Renee stops a passing Laity member for information, and said member explains that they're working under the guidance of Junior Officers Laciela and Yareakh who are currently training in civic organization under the guidance of Prince Novelus in the palace. You recall the bizarre twin princesses of vitral from when you met them in Lilane – and Laciela is the one who Hope said that he saw Mudi carrying the severed wing of.


"Piss…we're gonna need to go see them. I just hope they can make time for us."
>"Pardon me, but have you actually seen Laciela? Is she in good health?" Vice asks the Laity member.


The Laity member gives a brief prayer of gratitude and reports that, by the will of the Devas, Laciela was able to shake the case of the sniffles that she had come down with yesterday and resume her duties.

Renee shakes her head with disdain as the member wanders off. "Well, knowing Novelus, he would set aside anything, perhaps besides fashion, to make time for all of us. Also, the King himself was the one who assigned us the mission to scout out Vitral in the first place! I had totally forgotten about that… we better report!"

You make your way north and up the hill upon which the Palace and the homes of the aristocracy are built. Upon reaching the exterior of the Palace, you are halted by a group of four praetorians guarding the entrance.

"I recognize you," one of the praetorians says as you approach. "From when the Bodhidharma attacked! Have you news for the king?"


Vice's gaze falters, and he looks thoroughly disappointed.
"He did? Frankly, I don't recall much of what happened that day…"

The three goos follow behind Renee, and bow before the praetorians.
>>"Oh yeah cobber, we've got plen'ty a news!"
>"Quite so. We'd also like to check in on what's been going on as of late throughout the city. We noticed that this place is looking to be in fantastic shape, all things considered."


The praetorian nods and signals to the others, and they part to allow you inside. "Yes," he begins, chewing the word with wounded pride. "Those zealots from the far east have done a wonderful job of cleaning up the capital proper. And of course in exchange, our King and Council have let them have the run of the place. There is already talk in the streets of them moving their own gods' idols in among our own. Soon we will not be a kingdom but a kritarchy…"

He leads you through the palace, and eventually takes you to a sitting room on the third floor, one that overlooks the whole city. King Lininas, Prince Novelus and the two alicorn princesses sit at a table, with tea and snacks before them. The room is full of books, magical baubles and trinkets, and a few candles for scent.

As you enter, Prince Novelus stands in surprise and glee, though you note he seems far more composed and dignified than when you last saw him, wearing a multicolored robe with a sash and a small crown instead of his preferred disguise. "Flow! Good to see you again, sir, and you too, Renee!"
Renee gives a curtsy. "Your grace."


Both Vice and Trapper stay behind.
>>"The bleedin 'ell is a kritarchy?"
>"It's when judges govern a city. I think. But besides that, I take it your lot has been busy keeping the peace as of late? Have their been any sightings of demons in the cities? If you don't mind me asking, of course."

Flow nods at Novelus, a small smile creeping at the corners of his mouth.
"Long time no see," he says as his smile pulls at his lips.


"We've heard some talk of a ring of underground fights being organized by several demon tamers," the praetorian says. "I don't know where the fights take place precisely, but we've been trying to get in contact with their leaders. A majority of the guard wants to exterminate them, but I would rather lend them the support of the state. If they're killing demons, it makes no difference to me if they profit off it, and the potential for disseminating morale-raising propaganda via their fights is enormous. If you find any more concrete details on it, tell me, but don't let the rest of the guard know."

"I'd hug you if we weren't dressed up in finery and in the middle of a lesson," Novelus says. "But, I think the lesson can be halted for now…" Novelus quickly glances to his aged father, who smiles and raises a hoof in approval.

"We've heard some of what has happened to Vitral from Ecclesia's setgetsiin troops, but tell us, what have you seen on the ground yourself?" Novelus asks.


Vice listens intently to the guard's information.
"I see…I'm sure they can be sniffed out. If they have the gall to operate near the city, it shouldn't be too hard to find some good, unimportant locations to host underground fights… Thank you for the info, I'll be sure to report any findings I get."
He nods at the guard as he and Trapper go inside.
>>"Not gonna do it, eh?"
>"Eh, I've grown lazier," he replies coyly.

Flow rubs the back of his head.
"Well…we were both on the ground, and in the sky."
He begins recounting what happened at Vitral, having Vice fill in any holes in his memories.


Novelus and his father listen sagely, though it is clear that their hopes are dashed as they learn of the fate that befell their former allies. Laciela and Yareakh both try to keep their composure, their eyes not leaving yours even as you report the most vicious details of that which befell the city-state, though by the end, both appear to be broken in spirit.

"Thank you for making that journey for us," Laciela says.
"I suppose the question now is, what do we do now?" Yareakh asks.
"Indeed, there was little question that we are in need of the military might that Mariposa once commanded," Lininas says. "Not even Ecclesia can come close to them, even at their full power. Though, from I have heard of Gegenschein, you can already guess at what I am thinking?"


have heard from Gegenschein*


All three of the goos' ears prick up.
>>"The bleedin' doc?!"
"What've you heard from him? How'd he end up here? H-how? How?"
All three of the goos are lost for words.


"He spoke to us via Caller Conch," Lininas says, raising his hooves for calm. "He and the rest of the Choir have turned poor Laciela and Yareakh into their personal secretaries."
"Yes, it got so bad that we had to assign some of our maids to pick up part of their work," Novelus adds.
"In any case, I have heard what Mudi intends to do with the power that lays in Tartarus… I can already tell that few among my citizens will agree to it," Lininas says. "Nor will the vast majority of Ecclesia, even the Choir. Yet it seems we have little choice. It's by far one of the few possibly viable solutions we may have left, as far-fetched as it is."
"You don't… really intend to instill Mudi on the throne?" Yareakh asks cautiously.


"The Choir, eh?… Lad's movin' up in the world."
>"I assure you, we intend to eliminate her when she's at her weakest. You'll have no problems with us when we're down there…the only problem would be getting to her."
>>"An' we intend on givin' er' the final blow ourselves," Trapper says with a grin.


Lininas and Novelus relax a little, but Yareakh seems ambivalent to the idea.
"The question is, who will replace her?" Yareakh asks. "If she dies, then all of it will have been for nothing: Everyone who dies in the pursuit of her plan will have wasted their lives just to perpetuate this world of chaos."
"Hypothetically, anyone could replace her," Laciela states coldly. "There's nothing inherently special about Mudi that would preclude anyone else from taking her spot. All that she has is the means of transferring power from one source to another, and if she transfers all her ill-gotten power to someone who can be better trusted, she'd be useless after that. At that point, you have carte blanche to assassinate her."
"How… do you know that?" Tantra asks cautiously.
"This was part of Gegenschein's report, wasn't it?" Laciela asks. Both Novelus and Lininas nod identically.


Flow stays quiet as he recalls what he and Gegenschein talked about after their fight with Voir Dire.
"What makes you think she'd willingly transfer her power over all willy-nilly?"


"Did I say she'd do it willingly?" Laciela asks. "Mind control magic exists."
"But the likelihood of activating an effect like that on a mind as powerful as hers is extremely low," Yareakh adds. "She'll be on high alert the entire time you're all in Tartarus. Not only do powerful mages guard their minds, the pressure that Tartarus puts on the mind will make her extra-protective."
"Then she has to be tricked, or pushed into a position where her mental defenses slip."

"In any case, before you enter Tartarus, make sure your party chooses at least three who could take up the throne instead of Mudi," Lininas warns. "Many will assuredly die."


Flow grimaces.
"Damn…I knew this was gonna be way harder than I thought…Hell I can only think of one pony who could take up the throne."
>"Alas, much of our crew is far too inexperienced for such high tasks."

Roll #1 8 = 8


Something occurs to Vice about what Yareakh just said about the pressure that Tartarus puts on the mind. Those words seemed to echo the information on Tartarus contained within the scrolls procured from the Apostles of White – scrolls which took quite a while to get and were read to the goos by Observer.

How did Yareakh know that?

"I understand, and believe me when I say I would thrust the task of kingship on nobody," Lininas says. "I will discuss this matter with those who have already proven to have an open mind about the Tartarus plan. I plan on electing one of my trusted fellows as a possible substitute and ally for the depths of Tartarus, and I will petition Ecclesia to provide a candidate of their own… though I expect Galton and Gegenschein will have no trouble finding me one."


Vice warily eyes Yareakh, as well as the others around the table. He'd have to ask his question in private.

>"The more hands, the easier the load'll be. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated."

"I'd still wager that the lust for power is still something we need to be wary of… don't matter how trustworthy anyone is."


"Indeed… be wary of anyone who sets himself out to be the savior of the world," Lininas warns. "Such people are serpents to their core."
Novelus appears deeply offended. You notice that he has a small, red pet snake around his shoulders, blending in with the regal crimson of his robe.
"Not your serpents," Lininas quickly adds. "Yours are the trustworthy kind."



Post sheets




Last time on HQ…

Amy and Shei, after returning Vae Victus to the entity known as God in the land of Sheol, entered Buiwong's domain to interrogate him. Though he was not in the domain when they entered, they were able to have Ba'drel, the golden god of minotaur, establish a connection to Buiwong… wherever he was.

"Don't be so modest about your accomplishments and contributions to Lord Buiwong's designs, dear Shei," Ba'drel says, flipping his silver coin casually. "You have earned a place among his favored for… many reasons."

"Wait a moment. I shall see if he is available. He is… mentoring someone."

Ba'drel draws a tome from the mahogany desk, flips it open to a page, and begins reciting the lines under his breath. When he is finished, a dark circle unfolds in the air, ringed with white words. From the hole in space emerge a collection of small spiders, which drop onto the desk and scuttle away. Finally, a single massive eye peers through the hole.

"Yeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssss?" Buiwong asks.


Ba'drel PleeeeAAA-A-A-ASE.." Shei paces in a half circle around the room before falling onto the couch, leaning back in it with his head resting. "you talk too much." Shei rises in posture, his head now resting on his hooves while he scans the food and beverages on the table.

Shei turns a glance to Ba'drel and points to the food "Buiwong will not mind if I help myself, will he?"



"Hey," Amy says in a cordial yet methodical tone. "This idiot here," Amy says pointing over his shoulder to Shei, "won't tell me what he's been up to. All he's told me is that I'm probably in trouble too. He said I should talk to you. So, here I am. What has he been doing with you?"


Shei-Sher nearly drops the apple in his hoof as his eyes look up, in a guilty expression, to Amy pointing at him.

He doesn't know what to say.


"How far back do you want me to go?" Buiwong asks, jokingly. You cannot see anything behind the gigantic eyeball, but you can hear a pair of voices faintly talking in the background.

"But hold on, hold on," Buiwong says. "As much as I enjoy to hear my self villainously monologue, I can't let a little relationship trouble bubble into something much uglier. Shei! I'd have thought my servants Gabriele and Punishment – a pair of indomitable ladies! – would have raised you a little better than to not talk to your girl. What's got you so reticent? Why can't you take pride for what you have done?"



Amy smiles and turns to Shei. "That's what *I* want to know!" she says with a nod.


As the conversation starts between the two Shei-Sher is at ease and takes a bite from the apple. But then his name comes up. Shei almost falls off the couch, startled.

Shei-Sher puts the apple down. The kid looks at the Eyeball and Amy as if they were pulling a very cruel trick on him, in this pause he chooses his words very carefully because there's no telling whether Buiwong is goating shei-sher into telling Amy about what happened last they spoke in this chamber and provoke him to hurting Amy.

"I've done nothing but follow you, my lord."



"Why are you STILL hiding things!?" Amy says, getting a combination of annoyed and frustrated.


"Ask the eyeball!" Shei shrugs his hooves up, matching Amy's frustration



Amy opens her mouth, clearly about the yell at Shei some more, but then she leaves it hanging open. She stares at Shei for a moment, as if trying to read him. Then, she glares. It's not a glare intended for Shei so much as it is a glare at the thought she has just had.

Amy turns back to Buiwong. "What did you do to him?" she asks angrily. Her coat gets a little darker.


Buiwong chuckles dryly. "It's disquieting to hear you not want to take credit for all you have done. You walk as one in the shadows, head hanging low and secretive. Make no mistake, Amy: His silence is his own. Very well, if I must."

"He is indeed my good and faithful servant," Buiwong explains to Amy. "It is through the covenant I established with him that I have kept my eight eyes upon you. That is why, as you have probably already surmised, have found spiders following you at all times, doing a bit of tidying-up around your ship. And through a bit of newfound influence, I have also, in small ways, nudged you in the right directions when necessary; not that I wish to imply you were not capable of making your own path of destruction through the world. I applaud how high you have ascended past other mortals of your stripe, even Ecclesia!"

"I have offered my servant Shei a measure of divine protection in Tartarus in exchange for his continued service, and if you were to desire such as well, then I can extend my covenant fully to you, Amy."


I will die soon enough in tartarus so if we die here at least my memory won't be of being a coward Shei-Sher thinks to himself as Buiwong rambles on.

At the moment Buiwong stops, Shei catches the moment to speak first "Tell her about when you projected a little green effigy, of her head in your hoof.. And threatened me with it."



Amy listens to them both and shakes her head. Her coat turns a deeper purple. She takes several long breaths in and out, but it does little to change her color.

"When did you use me to threaten him?" Amy asks Buiwong in a low tone, trying to contain herself.


"Amy, calm down! It isn't him you should be angry with. Buiwong is pulling his end covering for possible trouble." Shei sighs, wearing a more defeated expression. "This is my fault, verily, for ever getting involved with you and everyone else. I said it a thousand times I never meant to stay long and yet I've already worn my welcome. And you're all caught in the same web I'm slung to. I'm sorry."



"SHUT UP," Amy barks loudly at him, not turning to look.


Shei shuts up and stays silent like a good boyfriend



The eye starts to split around its lower half, just below the iris. A thin smirk spreads across the white of the eye.

"Though it is true that I took part of your soul away from your body, I would not say that it was a threat. To feel threatened, one must first allow their ego to inflate beyond what is proper for their place in the world. This may happen when someone forgets who he is, where he has come from, who he has to thank for his continued life… and who it is that he has bargained with for his own hide's protection. To feel threatened is to be reminded of your smallness, your unbearable dependency on others. There is nothing wrong with those things, but there is perhaps nothing more dangerous than to be seduced by a delusion of your own grandeur."

From around the black circle, an array of silhouetted limbs emerges. In two, a pair of soul flames emerges. Both are shaped like wings - one is of a pegasus', and the other of a griffon's. "This is the ability I demonstrated to Shei, the one that he referred to. This is the utmost manifestation of a god's love… the preservation of the soul from the forces that would steal it and destroy it. I can save and protect the souls of those with whom I have established my covenant. In Tartarus, fates far worse than death await all souls that enter. This is my divine protection."



"Shei, what is the the god of?" Amy asks, still staring directly and only at the eye.


Shei-Sher wears his grimace like how old labor ponys of the earth wear the weight of their fur in the summer heat.

Shei-Sher waits for Amy's most likely explosive response to Buiwong's overdramatic simplification of the matter.


"Buiwong is the God of spiders and fables." He puts dryly



"A fable is a story, right? That's what I thought," Amy confirms out loud.

"So, why are you not answering my question?" Amy says in an annoyed but more level tone. "For the god of stories, you don't like to tell them much."


Shei-Sher cracks a grin at Amy's bravado


"Yes, if my dramatic monologues are any indication, Shei is correct!" Buiwong adds.

"Every story requires a degree of exposition, of course. I am setting things up. I believe this was… after his failed battle with Miracle, was it not, Shei? Yes, that sounds about right."


"Yes my lord, you have an amazing talent for rubbing things in."



Amy's coat turns pitch black. Even from Shei's distance, he can feel the heat emanating from her body. Yet, despite her emotional explosion, her body does not tremble. She does not breathe heavily. Her tattoos glow, but her body shows no sign of changing one way or the other.

Amy has found an equilibrium with her fury.

"Thank you," Amy says to Buiwong in a flat tone. "And, I'm sorry for wasting your time. That's all I needed to hear. If you really have a piece of my soul, you can just go ahead and give it back. It's not really going to be of any use to you anymore. I'm guessing you just have it to keep Shei in line. That's probably a good idea. He definitely needs something like that to get him to listen. But, it won't do you any good any more. I'm about to rip his heart out for you."

Amy turns and marches toward Shei. She stares at him for what feels like an eternity. Her expression is disturbingly empty for the blackness of her coat and the heat her anger is generating.

"You don't even get it, do you?" she asks at last. Her tone is more of one of disappointment than fury.


"Hahaha, that I do! But forgive me, I meant no offense! I have learned that there is nothing to be ashamed of in defeat, though it took me countless such losses to learn this. I am confident, from your conversation with Mirror Image, that the next encounter shall not be a repeat of the last."

"My possession of your soul is not complete, not without properly establishing a Covenant," Buiwong says. "Thus, I cannot truly use it in any sense, nor can I fully protect it. But, I get the sense that this is not the time for the full explanation. Any time you like, you are welcome in this domain to speak with me. As for Shei, leave him, at least in some capacity, alive, Miss Amy Thest."



"I'm not going to kill him, he's not worth it. And, I'm definitely not working for you. No offense. Of all the gods, you're definitely the least awful. But, I just can't bring myself to follow a god."


>"You don't even get it, do you?"
Shei crawls up backward on the couch, still faceing Amy. "I -I have an idea!?"



"You went and did what you did with Miracle and it made me worried sick," Amy says in an only mildly angry tone. "I felt awful that there was nothing I could have done. The fact that you went alone without even TELLING me first made me horrified. And hurt. You didn't think I could help. You didn't WANT my help."

"And I told you. I TOLD YOU that's how I feel," she says more loudly. "I told you ALLLLLL of that. And, I like to think I expressed myself pretty clearly. At least, a lot more clearly than I usually do," she says in an almost insane laugh. She continues to laugh uncomfortably for a while like something has snapped.

"And then you went and did it again," she says in a maniacally jovial tone. She laughs some more. "You did IT again. YOU DID IT AGAIN!?" she outright screams in Shei's face. For the first time in her rant, her face shifts to that of a wolf. Her fangs bare in Shei's face.

Then, she takes a step back and stomps her hooves repeatedly in frustration. Her face turns back to normal. She throws her hooves up in defeat. "You obviously don't care about me. I told you that's how I felt when you do that sort of thing, and you go and do it again. What else am I supposed to think? I-I I just don't get it. What am I to you? The answer is obviously not someone you respect!"

"No, wait, I'm sorry I said that wrong. What WAS I to you? Because we're definitely done."


"I understand," Buiwong says. "Then I wish you the best of luck as we descend into the Abyss."

Ba'drel flips the coin and catches it on the back of his hand, nodding at the result. "Interesting." He then leaves the room.


Shei gets off the couch "I did no such thing! Mirror Image pulled me aside for a conversation regarding Miracle's orb and I told her what I thought was the best thing to do! I had not even touched that orb since the last time, it's hulled up in Box's stomach. And you're unfairly jumping to conclusions about me again!"



"I'm not talking about that, you idiot! You really DON'T get it! I'm talking about this," she gestures to the room they are currently in. "Right after I got finished telling you not to go talk to dangerous otherwordly beings anymore without at least telling me first, you went and spoke to Buiwong without telling me!"

"How are you not-" Amy cuts herself off and shakes her hooves in front of her face in frustration. "I'm not talking about this anymore. I can yell and yell and yell and yell and yell and yell and yell and yell and yell and yell and yell and yell and yell, but you just do not understand! I don't get you and you don't get me. This clearly isn't working out."


With that, Amy returns to her body.


Shei-Sher returns to his body and follows after her.

"And how am I suppose to talk about any of that when Buiwong has my neck and everyone else's put to a knife. Am I just suppose to expose everything with wild abandon. Buiwong threatened me with your life Amy!"

"That isn't it however, you expect me to notify you everytime I'm summoned or need someone's advice. What if I went to Y'dryth to talk to him about gardening. Do I need your permission to talk to God Amy?? Is that what you're saying!"


You awake back in the ship's barracks, in the middle of the ritual site. Nearby, Mirror Image sits on the floor with Mocha and Volkama's three magical rats. They are engrossed in a game of marbles.



"I can't believe I'm still having this conversation," Amy says in exasperation. "But, you're actually managing to be so stupid that I can't not respond to this. Congratulations, Shei! You're dumber than me!"

"He threatened you with my life AFTER you started talking to him. There was nothing stopping you from telling me BEFORE that! If you stopped and said, 'Hey, Amy! I'm going to go talk to this totally untrustworthy god just after I got finished getting mutilated by this angel,' then I'd have been like, 'Hey, maybe you shouldn't do that!'"

"At the very least, I could have gone with you, then maybe things would have ended up better! But, that's the thing, if you just listened to ME, then MY life wouldn't have been threatened! And, if he's really got you THAT threatened, then maybe you should stop talking to him!"

"You keep going to do all these things alone. And, surprise, surprise! They don't go well! But, that's you, I guess. You like to be alone. Well, you're alone now. Congratulations, you got what you wanted!"

"I can't believe…" Amy starts to say as she chokes up and a tear trickles down her cheek. Then, her face gets more stern and she shakes her head. "Don't think I don't know why you're doing all of this behind my back, Shei. I mean, aside from the fact that you obviously don't actually like me for anything but whatever perverted thing this is for you. Obviously, not respecting or caring about me isn't a reason to do something. It's one less reason to NOT do it, but that doesn't motivate a person."

"So, let me make this perfectly clear, Shei," Amy says ferociously as she grabs Shei by the collar of whatever he's wearing. She puts her face in his face, baring her canine teeth at him. "You WILL NOT mess up Moody's plan!"


Amy has Shei in her grip, him seeming completely powerless "You won't even give me a chance. My relations with Buiwong go on far before I met you and are far more personal than you even know. But if I could sever ties with him I would. But it isn't so easy, as every weak person who seeks his bond discovers."


You can both sense the attention and concern of the ship's passengers draw to you, though nobody's looking directly at you.



Amy lets go of Shei and backs away. Her coat slowly fades back to its normal color.

"Well… at least I get you a little more now…" she mutters sadly. "You chose your relationship with a god over your relationship with me. It makes sense, I guess."

"I-I'm going to go… s-somewhere, now," Amy stammers as she leaves the room.


"You idiot! I told everyone I was going to seek out sponsorship from every god in our affair to help us in Tartarus. I've been forthcoming about everything!" Shei yells as Amy walks away.



"I'm tired of listening to excuses, Shei…" Amy responds sternly yet quietly as she leaves.


Amy searches for some ice cream.


There does not appear to be any ice cream anywhere in the ship's kitchen. However, it seems likely that Fantasia would have some, and thus you head into the city on the hill.



Post sheets



File: 1521597716749.webm (867.44 KB, 720x720, shorthorns finds a friend.webm)





Last time on the various different plot threads of HQ…

Amy and Shei had a falling-out following the revelation that Shei had gone to Buiwong without informing her in advance. Meanwhile, Flaming and LJ had gone on a double-date with Pryce and River Spring, which ended with a dance in the town square while the festivities of St. Prominence's Tutelage continued around them. Flow went to Zha Arlakane with Sugar and Spitshine, and had a talk with Prince Novelus while the two kids hunted for leads on their marks.


The dance left Pryce and River exhausted, and they sat at a bench to catch their breath to catch Flaming's last duel with LJ. Her sneak attack of a nuzzle (completely platonic, of course) left him utterly stunned, allowing her to bowl him over and win their fight with little difficulty. While people laugh and applaud, LJ lays on the ground, utterly flabbergasted and wide-eyed.

After returning to Fantasia following your argument with Shei, Ego used your sense of smell to sniff out a packed stone tavern operated by breezies, with sugary and alcoholic aromas everywhere - surely a suitable source of ice cream. Your head is lightly spinning after all the astral projections, and thus you are in a bit of a dizzy state. Ego takes over, leading you to the counter to place your order.

"Indeed… be wary of anyone who sets himself out to be the savior of the world," Lininas warns. "Such people are serpents to their core."
Novelus appears deeply offended. You notice that he has a small, red pet snake around his shoulders, blending in with the regal crimson of his robe.
"Not your serpents," Lininas quickly adds. "Yours are the trustworthy kind."



Studying, thinking, astral projection, arguing, breakups. Today has been long and Amy's nerves and patience are reaching their seemingly inexhaustible end.

She looks to the Breezie at the counter and stares at him/her in a daze. "Ice cream…" she mutters.


Following the stealthily crafted and expertly executed cheek-nuzzle that Flaming concocted in the deepest, most nefarious corners of her mind, Flaming looks around smugly around at everyone as she gives a little joyous, almost too-giddy prance around LJ's prone form, "HAH! It worked! I TOTALLY got you!"

She snortles loudly as she celebrates her victory, looking down at Journey with a big wide grin as he stays completely shocked. She leans down to lay besides him, still giggling to herself uncontrollably. "Hehehhehe… hey, you okay? Journey? Helloooooooo?"


"Phew, I think today has been more exhausting than any other day."
Pryce jokes lightly as they sit together.
"This really has been fantastic."

>"Come on, can't we try?"
KP says with the classic child-pleading face.
>"I know Hopper can do something big, or at least a smaller form of it. Please?"


Flow crosses his arms and sits back.
>"Yes, we most certainly understand this danger."
>>"Ye 'aven't t' worry about a thing, we 'ave a good lot!"


The Breezie, a gruff and scarred looking stallion with a full beard, nods and serves you a glass sundae bowl full of plain vanilla ice cream. You feel your body lifting and moving as your consciousness takes a backseat.
You've certainly had a full day, princess, Ego says in your head. Put your hooves up, I'll take care of this. Sprinkles, caramel, scotch, what am I putting on this?

LJ blinks in surprise, then rolls about, legs kicking wildly like a tipped cow. Soon enough, red in the face, he rises. "You're a big cheater! You know that's fighting dirty, you gotta hit me with the top of your head, not with your cheek! I'll bet you smeared some herbs on your face to drug me!"

The late afternoon sun hangs ever-lower in the sky. River watches the clouds go from gold to orange. "I know…" she sighs heavily, then smiles. "I'm glad we'll be able to do this again, long after today."

Zjetya folds her arms and frowns stubbornly. "My ultimate attack really isn't for show. It really tears up my throat if I have to do it."

The praetorian who spoke with Vice and Trapper earlier nods. "Well, if you find anything, come find me. I have to get back to my post, but if you need me, ask for Amos."

He heads off to resume his duties.

"I think it goes without saying that, if you need anything from Zha Arlakane, name it, and we shall provide," Novelus says.
"Or from Ecclesia," Laciela says. "I doubt that the Choir will object to us saying that on their behalf."
"Now that all of that has been said, would you care to stay for tea?" Lininas asks.



"Everything," Amy mutters. She drools slightly at the notion of ice cream. "A lot of it."


File: 1521600585369.gif (2.67 MB, 300x169, 1521349118241.gif)

Somberly, Shei-Sher left the room after Amy did. Sitting himself in the control room to ruminate.


The two goos enter after bowing to the praetorian.

Flow shakes his head.
"I'd like to, but I'm looking for an old friend. I caught wind she was here, figured I'd stop by while we were in town. I also appreciate the assistance…good to know we've got friends in high places," he adds with a smirk.


Flaming moves a hoof up to suppress her continued giggling, looking over at LJ as he rises up. "Oh I did NOT cheat! That was a secret technique I came up with… uh, I guess only a little bit ago."

She snickers, "Anyways, it's totally allowed! It just happened to be the best way of taking you down, I have to admit your head is pretty thick to get through, so I went for your soft spot." She grins, "And NOPE. No herbs either. It's just… uh…" Flaming starts to blush, "Well, the reason I assume it worked so well is… uh,… NERVE POINTS!" She shouts excitedly, grasping for straws.


Pryce says as he looks out at the sunset, the realization sinking in. Pryce puts a wing around River, sitting close with her.
"That sounds wonderful."
He says, smiling.

>"You have an ultimate attack?!"
KP gasp in awe.
He hops up.
>"OK, you can save that then. I wouldn't want to copy your big move, that'd be like stealing your act in a show. I'll see if the big guy can teach Hopper something later."

>"…So watcha wanna do?"


In a surreal experience, you watch from within your head as Ego orders the Breezie to load the once-plain ice cream with just about every topping they've got behind the counter, and a few splashes of various fairy liquors for an exotic taste. Soon enough, it is piled high with toppings, a daunting task for even hardcore ice cream veterans.
How'd I do? Ego asks.

Sensing the atmosphere, the ship's inhabitants get out of the way as you advance toward the control room, leaving you with only the sound of Observer, Yes Mare having a debate within their laboratory.

"Ah! Then do not let us keep you from your friend," Lininas says.
"And it's been good to see you again," Novelus says. "May your path always be steady as the earth."

LJ shrugs, clearly trying to play down his embarrassment at having been so effortlessly defeated. "Well, I guess I'll buy that explanation. Certainly makes… uh, some kind of sense. I guess we're one-to-one then?"


River sits quietly with you, enjoying the sunset.

"I don't know, I wanted to sit outside and get some sun, get away from all the doom and gloom hanging over the ship right now. You're welcome to sit with me, though."


Shei-Sher sits around just watching the to converse. For a moment he admires easy and mechanical their relationship is. Shei-Sher feels like he could think about what happened between him and Amy all day but he doesn't have that luxury when there days are numbered.

"Observer, Yes Mare. Have you seen Box?"


Flow bows.
"Always a pleasure, Novelus. May uh…you have a good time."
>"May your path flow gently and smoothly, Sir Novelus."


Flaming nods, "U-uh huh. I learned all about it… uh… w-while I was hanging around that library when we left for Hearthome. You didn't see me readin' it but, I learned that there are these nerves in the cheeks that, if you rub them right, you just go out cold. Boom. Out."

As he mentions it being a tie, Flaming gets a mischievous grin, walking past Journey, "Oh yeah, I guess so. We should have a tie-breaker, how about around….. right now!" She says as she moves in to nuzzle his cheek again by surprise to knock him senseless once again

Roll #1 8 = 8



Amy does not answer, she only eats. She wraps her mouth around as much of the ice cream as possible and just sucks on it. Much of it gets on her face, but she doesn't care. It only serves to hide the small amount of tears forming in her eyes.


Pryce sits content with River, the world and all the worries the furthest things from his mind in this moment.
"I know the night is still young, but…"
Pryce trails, thinking of how to word the rest of his sentence.

KP sets Hopper down to let him hop and do as he pleases for now.
>"Yea, it's hard staying cooped up in a ship. Probably even moreso for flying ponies like you."


Observer and Yes Mare give you an identical glare as you interrupt their conversation on magic and familiars. "Box!" Yes Mare shouts.

Soon, Box comes waddling in. "You called?"

"Oh, I guess that makes sense, Zha has a long history of martial combat innovations… wait a minute, Buiwong told me you can't read!" LJ declares, just before your attack lands again.

"No…!" he groans, attempting to resist the onslaught. [1d10]

After the others say their goodbyes, you retrace your steps to the entrance of the palace, and find a familiar pair. Sugar and Spitshine, looking triumphant, await you. "Well, I think we've got at least a little something," Spitshine reports. "How was Dania? Er, Novelus? Is that right?"

It's delicious, even in your unfocused state, and the taste helps to clear your mind.
Yeah, shit's rough, Ego thinks. Knew he was bad news… We ordering a second round?

"Is there more on the agenda for tonight?" River asks.

"Yeah… doesn't help that we have fuckall to do but wait for three more days before half our crew vanishes," Zjetya says.

Roll #1 4 = 4


Shei-Sher stands up and stretches out, arching his back. "mmh. Come with me to the barracks Box. I need to let everyone know something, especially Mirror Image."


>"Ah, you've gotten something! Please, do tell, you two."
"He's doing just fine and dandy. It pays to know people, 'specially these days…"
Flow continues down to the city once more, beckoning for the others to follow.


Shorty shouts as she leans in to nuzzle Journey's cheek again, "U-uh… they had pictures! LOTS of pictures! Made it REALLY easy to pick this little soft spot out"

As her cheek connects against his, she grins wickedly as she rubs it up close, "Hah! Gotcha!" And, presuming this disables Journey as it did before, proceeds to tip him over again


"Well… I know it's customary that a kiss would be saved for the end of a date. But with the sunset, and this tranquil feeling. This moment feels special, and… I'd like to remember it."

>"We could talk, we've been doing a lot of that lately."
KP sits back down.


"Hmm? Alright, sounds good! I already can't wait!" Box says. As he heads out, he informs the others who are on the ship that you've got something to share.

Soon, Busta, Box, Onion, Yes Mare, Observer, Mirror Image, Rus Tea and Mocha have gathered in the barracks.
"This is everyone who was around," Box says. "I'd gather up the others, but they're busy with a bunch of other different things, and we'd have a hell of a time trying to round them all up."
"Depending what it is, we can spread the word," Onion says.

As you walk with the kids, Sugar and Spitshine relay their report. Apparently, some disreputable Laity members have cooperated with various local demon tamers and traders to put together an underground fighting ring for tamers, hunters and demons. It operates primarily at night, but apart from that and a nominal entry fee, is largely unregulated, operating primarily for the entertainment of the participants with little audience presence.
"It seems to be operating in the upper regions of the mountain that Zha's built into," Sugar says. "But that part's off-limits to anyone but the royal guard and the royal geomancers. We'd probably have to buy our way in."
"What a thorough report!" Tantra says. "Nice work, kids."

LJ lays on the ground, eyes shut in (largely) mock shame. "I accept my defeat."

River blinks a few times. "Hmm? I don't quite understand."

"Well… whaddya wanna talk about?" Zjetya asks. "Let's pick something as far removed from Tartarus, this place, hell, even this continent, as we can. Fuck thinkin' about demons too much."


"Well, uh…"
Pryce stammers slightly, choosing his words carefully.
"I would ask if I could give you a kiss, here in this bliss before we return to the ship."

>"Wellll… How about you? I know I said we talked a lot, but I don't really know much about you. The you-you, not the moth-you. Like what else did you do besides singing? Or what is it like being a changeling?"
KP asks curiously.


Flaming lets out one more chuckle, before kneeling down to help Journey up with a hoof, "Aaaaand my pride is sated! Good fight, Journey."

As she helps him up, she kneels over herself, still a bit exhausted from the dancing earlier and looking up at the sky as it begins to turn dark. "This was a really fun day… I hope everyone else is having this good a time. Especially Shei, his birthday and all." She looks over at Journey, "You're really fun to be around, you know that?"


"This is everyone.. These are our busiest yet I suppose."

>"Depending what it is, we can spread the word,"

"Thank you, but what I have to say is fairly important. The rest of our crew members will think of me as mischievous for not having them present. I spoke about this with Mirror Image and we reached an agreement that it would be best if I confronted Miracle alone.. again. And this is something that I need to be doing right now if I want to stay on my schedule."


Without hesitation, River slips a wing around your shoulder and kisses you. You notice LJ glance your way, then he gets up and turns aside, pulling Flaming away.

"I was never much for the whole 'hive' life. Didn't make sense to go out and be a parasite just to feed a bunch of other parasites and a queen who kept looking at me like she was just waiting for a moment to kill me before I could dethrone her. So I spent most of my youth getting drunk and waking up alone."

"My thoughts exactly," LJ says. "It's nice to get a bit of relaxation, but something about what's going to happen to us in three days leaves this all the more precious."
He glances over to you as you make your last comment, mouth slightly ajar as he tries to figure out how to reply. He then glances at River and Pryce's kiss, and quickly gets up. "Hey, why don't we have this conversation elsewhere? River and Pryce are… engrossed in a pony mating ritual."

A light gasp passes through the crowd, but most appear understanding. There's a bit of a silence afterward.
"I don't know about the others, but…" Busta begins, uncertainly. "I think you got too rough of a time the last time you did this. Maybe it's just cause I'm new around here, but I could understand why you did what you did."
A few others nod in agreement, notably Onion and Mocha.
"I suppose there's nothing we can do on this end to help?" Mocha asks. "Any way of waking you up if things go wrong in there?"



"Yeah…" Amy answers the question of a second round.

"But, shouldn't you like bad news?"


Flow pauses to do a think.
"Hmm…I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay money to get into a sleazy demon-fighting club, I can do that by just going outside the city…"
>>"Oi! Di'n't that one guard say something about cracking down on those lot? How could they get into that region without the guards knowing?"
>"It could be likely that they're paid to keep quiet. Hence why you need to pay in the first place…"


Soon, a second round is concocted, more or less the same ice cream topping amalgam that Ego ordered earlier.

Only when it blows up in other people's faces, honestly. Full admission of the hypocrisy. I love a good disaster, but… it's some shit when it happens to you, huh? Oh yeah… she thinks as the ice cream is finished. How are we planning on paying for this?


"If Miracle doesn't want me to leave, then I won't be able to leave. So no, there isn't really much that can be done. It's better this way. This something I have to face alone."

Shei-Sher takes the vipaka's metal from his bag and forms a piece each onto his horns

Shei turns to Box. "You may feel a bit cold if I have to pass through your body box."
With that Shei-Sher sits in meditation and begins leaving his body and passes through Box into the Miracle's Core.
[1d10+1] astral projection

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8



"Does that mean you also liked him? I guess that's a stupid question. We're the same person."

Amy freezes at the mention of payment.

"I………………………. shit…"


Pryce's wings spring up as River suddenly kisses him, surprised and caught off guard. But, that fades. Pryce puts a hoof around River, holding her close as he returns the kiss with a passion.

>"You could've been a queen?!"
KP says in amazement.
>"Aww, that doesn't sound fun. So did you pick up singing to change that up?"

>"…Hey, so when you say parasite. Do changeling actually eat ponies?"


As Flaming's attention is pulled towards Pryce and River's intimate moment, she blushes hard as well, recalling Amy explaining the odd practice between ponies after leaving Circadia. She muzzle curls up into an awkward grimace, trying to observe a little and see what the big deal all is, but as she's pulled away by Little Journey she nods her head, "Huh… oh, y-yeah, we should leave them alone, Amy told me about that. Kinda gross, huh? Ponies apparently do it to show affection to one another, pressing their lips up against each other."

She follows him away from their spot towards another section of the town, Flaming sniffing around for something to eat. "Heh… s-so gross. Ahem. So uh, Journey: you know what I was thinking we never talk about? Everyone's worried about what's coming in the next three days like it's gonna be the last… what do you want to do AFTER we come out of Tartarus? Are you going to stick with Buiwong or, go meet up with where all the clans are supposedly heading?"


"That struck me as odd," Sugar says. "But it also sounds like there's been discontentment and anxiety within the royal guard brewing for the past few months over Zha's leadership, which sounds to me like the perfect excuse for a little insubordination."
"Yeah, so if we can find a corrupt guard or geomancer or any of the ring's participants, that's our ticket in," Spitshine says. "And that's where we'll find our marks."

Yep, through and through. Fits in with my track record, though… hmph.
You feel regret and ambivalence within her about all of this. But as the topic returns to payment, she makes your shrug. We can find a way. Worst comes to worst, we just charge it to Observer and he fries the barkeep.

When the kiss finally breaks off, River smiles. "How's that for a memory?"

"Any female born in the hive has the potential to become a Queen, at least in Ornifex," Zjetya explains. "And so, it's a constant stream of animosity for us females. At best we can hope for a polite exile. At worst? All-out fratricide for the throne."

She sighs. "No. We drain love. Vast difference. Can't really absorb any emotions out of a corpse, can you?"

"It's rather undignified," LJ says. "I had heard that Accorsian ponies had strict codes of mating rituals, but when I saw their courtship process, it was far less ceremonial and dignified than ours. Makes me nostalgic for the rituals of home."

"Yep, my first goal is to go to Amlapura and see our people again," LJ says. The two of you eventually find a stone tavern, full of patrons, and run largely by a collection of Breezies. LJ holds open the door for you. "Our first goal should be to reunite our people within the new land of peace, and at long last have some peace from our flight."

"Figured as much," Rus Tea says grimly. "Good luck, godspeed and all. That's the most that we can offer."

The others nod. You project yourself into the core again…

As your consciousness fades into the core's inner workings, you find yourself floating in a black space, with several geometric shapes drifting all about. Many of them are hazy and indistinct, coated in static and fragmenting holographic structures, like digital blocks and trapezoids that cannot maintain their shape. No voice greets you, and no force directs your path.



"Fries him? As in kills him?"


Flow crosses his arms and slowly nods.
"Alright, sounds straightforward enough. Let's sniff around and see if there's anyone who's up for introducing us."
Flow looks for the nearest bar or tavern around.
>>"Oi! Can't we just beat admission outta someone?"
>"I think that'd be kinda stupid. We don't want bounties on our heads again, now do we?"


Shei-Sher keeps the cat's meow cloak close in mind but does not wear it yet. Shei-Sher projects Pupil to analyze the artifacts strewn about as he continues walking down the darkness.

[1d10+1] appraise

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


"Isn't that the truth… ponies are weird but, I've found they're a lot more like us than I thought at first. They dance, they fight a lot if Shei and Pryce were any indication. But yeah, still waaaay less dignified than how we do it." She chuckles, then blushes, "Not that I'd really know much about that kind of stuff myself, anyways…"

As they head into the tavern, Flaming lets out a small 'hmmm' of approval as she takes in the smell, pulling herself through the door as LJ opens it for her. "I agree. I'm eager to get there and help them rebuild what we lost as well. Maybe get all the tribes moving around again." She flattens her ears. "I don't know about the others though. Do you think if I asked them to join us, they'd come along? I really don't like thinking about having to leave them but, what if they all have their own things they want to do…"


Pryce looks into River's eyes, face still flushed red from the romantic moment.
"Amazing," He whispers, "I feel stupid for not seeing this earlier."

>"So, you still could?"
KP follows up.
>"Oh… that sounds rough. Wait, so does that mean you can never go back home?"
KP questions at the mention of exile.

>"But, how does that happen? I've heard stories where changelings would cook ponies up in food or cauldrons."

KP says as he recalls some stories he'd hear in the church.


I mean… it'd probably fit within Observer's character. Well, maybe not. I can never tell what's on that guy's mind, you know?

Each of the corrupted artifacts are scenes of memory, and the visual and physical distortion present on the majority of them is indicative of Miracle's presence, likely as a consequence of the power that she stole at the end of your battle. Within one colossal ring, depicting in its center a large mansion in a villa by the seaside, you can feel the presence most strongly, as butterflies flit around the ring.

"Just because we may part ways from them for a time does not mean we would never see them again," LJ says. "Perhaps they may have their own matters to tend to… or perhaps they'll join you. Either way, I'd doubt they'd hold any ill-will to you."

As you enter, you spy Amy sitting in a dazed state at the bar counter, ice cream and toppings smeared on her cheeks.

River rests with her cheek against yours.

"I could go home, but all the hive politics and shitflinging over who gets to be the queen would drive me up the wall… or get me killed. Besides, the outside world is way more interesting. I could still become a queen too, I suppose. But that doesn't mean I necessarily wanna."

Zjetya scoffs. "Don't always believe all the old war stories you get told, kid. It's just ponies tryin' to rationalize gettin' sent off to be burned."

Heading to a different bar than the one that the kids scouted, you enter to find that it's actually a bit quiet. It seems that alcohol consumption is frowned upon by the Laity, except for ritual purposes. A few people sit around here or there; the most loyal of barflies. Many look despondent, including the hunters and guards who congregate in the booths, heads hung heavy.



"Yeah, he's a weirdo. But, I'd rather no kill someone over ice cream."

"Hey mister…?" Amy asks the bartender awkwardly. "What can I do to pay for this ice cream…? I just realized I don't have money…"


The artifacts bring to mind the time he found Mirror Image imprisoned by Miracle. His heart skips a beat and he immediately dawns the kitty meow meow stealth cloak.

Shei-Sher steps into the one depicting a villa by the seaside.


Flaming sighs and sags her head, "But I've been around them so long now. You know how the clans work, we stick together… well, we're supposed ta, anyhow." She looks up, "I know they might all have their own homes they want to go back to but, I don't know… I'll miss them. I wish they would just all stick with us so I can have 'both' my clans at once. Maybe some of them will, though."

As she heads into the tavern, she looks over to see Amy, smiling at the sight of all the ice-cream scattered about her face. "Amy! Hey, over here!" She says upon approach, tugging Journey along towards the bar. "How's it going? What's that stuff all over your face? Is it good?"


Pryce keeps his hoof around River, adding a wing to wrap over her as well.
"Today was perfect. I don't think I could ask for anything more except for it to not end."

>"Yea, exploring around is tons more fun! It was always exciting to see new places when I traveled with my family."

>"Well I haven't believed them since I found out you were a changeling. I can't imagine somepony as nice as you doing those kind of things. But still, how do you eat love?"


Flow scans through the bar, and exits just as quickly as he came in.
"I think this just got a little bit easier."
He starts shifting through alleyways, making sure that no one gets lost, while Vice and Trapper try to fill in the young ones.
>"It seems as if alcohol consumption is frowned upon in the city. So, we need to find the next best thing."
>>"An' that's a bloody speakeasy," Trapper says in a low, mischievous tone.



Amy turns to look at Flaming. She has a sort of dazed look about her. When you get closer, you can see her eyes are red a puffy as if she's been crying. From beneath the layer of ice cream, you can see a subtle, gentle glow coming from her tattoos.

"Ice cream," Amy answers simply. Though, it's as if two voices are speaking at once. One voice sounds cheerful at the chance to eat ice cream. The other voice sounds more animalistic and sour, as if it's only answering the question because it has to.


The harried barkeep looks at you funny, not understanding the situation at first. Then he groans with annoyance. He orders you to work for the next three days for him, morning shift, before being called away to deal with other orders.

As you emerge in the landscape of the memory, you are placed on a placid hillside overlooking the walled estate. It is night, and the stars are myriad. An elegant waltz can be heard from within the mansion, and the windows are full of dancing silhouettes. None seem to be in the courtyard outside or in any of the gardens, groves or walkways that surround the mansion, apart from a single figure standing by a gate to a rose garden on the eastern side of the mansion.

River raises her eyebrows and smirks. "What can I say but thank you? Between restoring my body and… all of this… there is no doubt that I have never had a day more wonderful than this."

"It's sorta like sucking in air, only way more aggressive and leaves the target this gray husk for a few days. Not something I really like to see, honestly. So I stick to absorbing it by osmosis. I get in good with a few people, take a few sips here and there, and nobody's any the wiser."

The sheer density of the buildings around here has led to the development of a labyrinthine alley system. Letting his instincts guide him, Flow soon leads the group to a narrow space in one of the alleys, stopping by where a homeless squatter, wearing robes, is engrossed in reading a book while sitting in an overturned basket. He doesn't look up as you approach.



"I can't-" Amy begins to say before the bar keep hurries away. "Yeah… I've got important stuff to do. That's not happening."


"Heyyyyy! Flaming! Wanna pay for my ice cream?" Amy asks with a wolf-like grin.


Flow slowly approaches the squatter, and crouches down.
"Excuse me, d'you know where a guy can get a good drink around here?"
He holds up five bits in his hoof.


As Flaming gets a better look at Amy's face, noting the red puffiness of the eyes, her happy expression turns to that of concern, and a light yelp of surprise comes out when two voices speak at once.

"OH! I uh… huh, so 'that's ice cream? I remember someone mentioning it back in Vitral but, I never got an answer what it was. If you've got it all over your face I guess it must be pretty good."

She pulls up to the seat next to Amy, she raises her eyebrow, "Pay?"



"Y-you know!" Amy stammers in confusion. "Pay. Like… with money?"


Shei-Sher walks over to the figure standing by the gate. If it looks like Miracle then he non-chalantly takes a turn into the mansion, if it looks like Chorazin or anyone else then Shei confronts them.


Flaming turns her head, "Uhh… but I don't… hrrrm…." her eyes light up, and she smiles, "Wait! I know what to do!"

She turns to Journey, "Journey, boys pay for everything on dates, right? I think Pryce said that?"



Amy just starts laughing hysterically. In two voices.


"You don't need to thank me, I would've healed you at the first chance I got if I found a way."
Pryce says.
"We'll see about that tomorrow."
He jokes.

>"Oooh, so that's probably where some of the stories come from. So you must've been set once you joined us, we're like a big, happy family so there's lots of love going around!"


A shame. I wouldn't mind a little day-job like this. I'm sure we'd see some dark shit… or maybe not. I can't imagine a tavern's morning crowd being too grim. Just barflies and kids too intimidated to visit the night life.

The squatter looks over the group, then smiles. "Keep it. The entry fee's fifty at the door."
"Huh… that's a quick process. No codewords, no secret knocks?" Renee asks.
"It's easy enough to tell which guys are legit and which guys are the moles and infiltrators," the squatter says. He jots down a quick description of each person's physical appearance onto a scrap of papyrus. "Whatever you do, don't trade names while you're there. No introductions, just fists and steel. The psychics are trying to shut us down."
He then burns the papyrus with a small green coal. "They'll be expecting you."

He then gives you a complex series of instructions, telling you to head for the mines on the northern end of the city-state, navigate some of the tunnels leading upward through the mountain, and to then wait once you pass by a statue of the mountain-goddess with a chip in her left hind leg.

LJ seems surprised and caught off guard, but quickly regains himself. "Consider them paid, ladies. Flaming, would you like one?"

River laughs, sighs, then lays her head on your wing, eyes closed.

Zjetya falls silent. "Yep… gonna be eating light soon, though, I suppose."

The figure is indeed Chorazin, wearing a sleek mauve dress and an elegant necklace, with her mane done up with ringlets and curls. She seems unsurprised as you approach. "There you are. If you're here without being affected, then we might have a chance after all. I hope you came here for a rematch; neither of us is leaving this place unless we have one."




"You're the best, guys!" Amy says, hugging Flaming. But, as she hugs, she begins to sob a little bit.


Flaming smiles at Journey as he offers to pay for Amy's tab, about to answer his question before she's caught off guard by Amy's laughing.

"S-seriously, what's going on with that? I thought you and Ego could only talk one at a time?"

Flaming squeaks a bit as she's hugged by Amy, smiling at the warm embrace, but her expression turns concerned again as she begins to cry. "Amy, what's the matter? Something's wrong, I can tell…"



"It's Shei…" Amy mutters. "I broke up with him. I told him how I felt when he went and talked to a dangerous angel without even talking to me first. And, I just found out he went and talked to Buiwong right after that. He doesn't care about me at all. It…"

Amy chokes on her words for a moment. She lets the tears flow on Flaming's shoulder. "It hurts. Why did I let myself do this?"

She lets Flaming go. "Look at me… I was a perfectly nice pony, in control of myself. Now I'm… this," she gestures to her general appearance and demeanor.


Flaming lets out a light gasp as she admits to breaking up to Shei, "What… oh…. t-that's awful, Amy. I'm sorry." She moves her hooves up around Amy and hugs her back, letting her lean into her and cry all she needs. "That idiot… when did he talk to Buiwong?! I should have stuck to him like glue after we got back from Hearthome, I didn't think he'd go and do something reckless right away!"

As she pulls off, Flaming frowns, "Do 'what' do yourself, open yourself up to someone? There's nothing wrong with that at all, Amy, YOU did nothing wrong." She looks at the ice-cream scattered about her face and her glowing tattoos, looking around for a napkin to help her clean up. "You're STILL a nice pony. The NICEST pony. No one's in complete control 'all' the time."



"But, when I'm NOT in control, I eat ponies," Amy responds tragically. "Besides, I don't know how normal ponies handle this pain either."


"That was before Ego, and the tattoos! You're closer to that part of you than you've ever been, losing a little bit of control now isn't the same as what it was before."

As she asks how to handle the pain in general, she frowns, looking down a little lost. "I… I don't really know how either. I never had anyone… like you and Shei before. I guess it must hurt a lot, huh…?"

"Did Shei try to explain himself?"



"It's just a bunch of excuses," Amy grumbles in frustration. "Like it always is with him. Like, he told us that he was going to talk to gods before we go to Tartarus. But, he didn't say when he was going! I TOLD him I'd want to go with him. He just doesn't get how that's important. Because he doesn't get me…"


Flaming lets out a huff. "Shei can be really, really smart, but he can also be really dumb at times too. If he made a promise he shoulda kept it."

"I'm pretty sure he does love you though, he's just… his brain gets weird sometimes. Did he 'just' talk to Buiwong today? His trip to Hearthome was kinda hard on him, maybe he just got really messed up in the head. It's no excuse though…" she shakes her head. "Guh, I'm not being much help, I'm just making more excuses for him."

She puts a hoof on Amy's, "You deserve someone who 'does' get you though. That much I know."



"He did it like the same day!"


Flaming's ears flatten. "Oh, it happened the same day he tried to control Miracle? Did he just confess to it today or…?"



"He sort of confessed to it. It was more like he told me it happened at some point but any more details than that, he forced me to go ask Buiwong about in person. Turns out, Buiwong was using MY life to manipulate Shei! So, he was putting ME in danger too!"


Flaming stomps her hooves on the table, looking up in shock, "He was 'what'?! Th-that… Buiwong was threatening your life to manipulate Shei? That bastard…" she leers a little in the direction of Journey as she curses under her breath while he pays,

"Did he mention how?"


Post sheets


File: 1522201847259.jpg (117.99 KB, 645x691, buffalo stronk.jpg)




Last time on HQ…

Pryce and Flaming spent more time on their double date, before Flaming and LJ split off to get something to eat (and to avoid intruding on the intimate moment between River and Pryce. There, they met Amy, who was currently reeling from her breakup with Shei in a bowl of ice cream.

Shei returned to Miracle's core. The memories seemed to have changed since the last time he entered, tainted by Miracle's growing influence after the battle. The memory where Miracle's presence was most present was that of a moon-lit villa, full of music and dancing, with Chorazin herself waiting outside.

Flow continued to search for the marked bounties (as well as his old allies) with Sugar and Spitshine, and received instructions on how to reach the secret arena where they would most likely be.



A shame. I wouldn't mind a little day-job like this. I'm sure we'd see some dark shit… or maybe not. I can't imagine a tavern's morning crowd being too grim. Just barflies and kids too intimidated to visit the night life.


The squatter looks over the group, then smiles. "Keep it. The entry fee's fifty at the door."
"Huh… that's a quick process. No codewords, no secret knocks?" Renee asks.
"It's easy enough to tell which guys are legit and which guys are the moles and infiltrators," the squatter says. He jots down a quick description of each person's physical appearance onto a scrap of papyrus. "Whatever you do, don't trade names while you're there. No introductions, just fists and steel. The psychics are trying to shut us down."
He then burns the papyrus with a small green coal. "They'll be expecting you."

He then gives you a complex series of instructions, telling you to head for the mines on the northern end of the city-state, navigate some of the tunnels leading upward through the mountain, and to then wait once you pass by a statue of the mountain-goddess with a chip in her left hind leg.

LJ seems surprised and caught off guard, but quickly regains himself. "Consider them paid, ladies. Flaming, would you like one?"

River laughs, sighs, then lays her head on your wing, eyes closed.

Zjetya falls silent. "Yep… gonna be eating light soon, though, I suppose."

The figure is indeed Chorazin, wearing a sleek mauve dress and an elegant necklace, with her mane done up with ringlets and curls. She seems unsurprised as you approach. "There you are. If you're here without being affected, then we might have a chance after all. I hope you came here for a rematch; neither of us is leaving this place unless we have one."





"Maybe once the word is better," Amy says to herself (aka Ego). "That DOES sound fun."

Upon paying for her ice cream, Amy wipes all the ice cream off her face then hugs LJ. "Thaaaaanks! You're the best!"

Amy looks to Flaming. "You got yourself a good boyfriend," she says with a combination of approval and sadness.


Pryce looks down with a smile. His wing wraps around River as she lays on it, Pryce leaning against her and enjoying their closeness under the sunset.

>"Well we're just gonna have to make more love for you to have then! Or just give you love, that'd work too I think."


As LJ regains himself and offers up one for her as well, she smiles widely, "Absolutely! Get me whatever ice cream is the very best, I've never tried it before so I want my very first taste to be the best kind. You know which one's the best, riiiight?" She asks LJ with an uncertain tone.

As you speak the 'b' word, Flaming suddenly freezes up, her face lighting up red as she turns towards Amy in a shock, "B-boyfriend? What are you talking about…?"


Shei-Sher looks at Chorazin, sizing her up and the circumstances at hand "And do what? Fight Miracle? We'll only further polarize your catatonic minds. She's been using that spell she took for me, correct? Do you know where she's been using it? Where in your proverbial head?"


Flow smirks and nods.
"Thanks for the advice, bud."
He stands up and starts going following the squatter's instructions.

>>"The lad's right, once ye've been on the streets long enough, it gets easy t' tell who's who, eh?"

>"Funny, it should be the de facto rule not to share yer name while you're with more…shady folk," Vice muses.


"For his sake, we better hope they don't charge by the sprinkle," Ego jokes aloud.
LJ proudly puffs out his chest, reaches into a pocket on his tunic, and tosses a large bag of coin onto the counter. "I don't think you could even make me spend the last coin."

Flaming's request for ice cream puzzles LJ. "The best? Of course I know that… that'll be, er…"

He quickly flags down the breezie barkeep, and the two have a hushed dialogue. The barkeep flies off. "Be just a moment," LJ says.

Zjetya's gaze wanders to the horizon. Low trees and cotton-like clouds, golden in the dwindling afternoon, lay there. "Most people we know are gonna be gone soon… wonder how long it'll take them to get to the thing to the Momentary Lake. Until then, we'll be working with a demon army just to keep the outside world at bay."


Chorazin scoffs. "Unfortunately for you, you really don't have a choice in the matter. As you could probably tell, her influence is growing. She's practicing her newfound ability on the figures in my memory, altering them against my will to fit her own designs."

"You're right in that you and I don't stand a chance against her, even if we fought together. But, now that I have you here, I've now got what I need to stop her and take control again – that is, if you cooperate. It's not your strongest category, but you're in danger of having your body possessed by her will whether you do or don't. So, will you hear me out?"

Sugar and Spitshine are visibly excited and nervous as you lead them through the city. Stopping periodically to get directions from passerby, you soon reach the northern bound of the city-state, where the buildings are less densely packed and the architecture takes on more of an earthen feel, hewn directly from the rock instead of built with marble and concrete.

As you continue to walk, Sugar speaks up. "So, what do we do when we get there? Our marks will supposedly be fighting in the arena, but I really doubt either of us are strong enough to take them in a clean one-on-one."
"Yeah, I've been wondering that myself," Spitshine adds.


>"We're gonna be fighting with demons? Why?"
KP asks curiously.

"Do you want to head back yet?"
Pryce asks River, not moving from her yet.


>"So, will you hear me out?"
"Of course. I just- didn't come here to fight. I am not prepared for a fight either. I came to repent, present my case, and accept judgement once restoring you to a modicum of sobriety. And I've stripped myself of a fair deal of my powers in reverence for these lessons bestowed upon me."

"You saved me once already though Chorazin. My life is for you to use."


After she finishes being caught off guard by Amy's outlandish comment, she turns suddenly towards LJ as he drops out the HUGE bag of coin onto the counter. "WOAH! That's… that's a LOT, right?" She practically hops up onto the counter with all four of her hooves, poking at the large bag of money. "Where did you get all that?"

As LJ talks to the Breezie, she sits herself back down in her seat, crossing her hooves and raising an eyebrow at her date as he stammers about how to find the best ice cream. "What was THAT all about?"


Flow stops in his tracks.
"Ah piss, you're right…"
>>"What keeps us from jus' killin em' while outside the ring?"
>"Probably getting prices on our own heads."
"I don't want to have to fight them myself…they're your marks…"
He starts walking again, thinking of what options they have.



Amy smiles and pats Flaming on the head. "You don't have to hide anything with me."


Flaming grunts as she's patted on the head, her hooves clutching tightly to her chest as she crosses them. "N-no, really, I don't know what you mean! You're not talking about Little Journey, are you?" she pouts, keeping her head down. "W-we're just out having fun together just the two of us, there's nothing unusual about that!"


"You didn't hear?" Zjetya asks. "There's a lot of talk that opening the Great Seal of Tartarus is going to get the attention of every demon on the continent. Demons are apparently attracted to power, and if they encounter a power that's far greater than their own, they're driven crazy by this desire to either defeat it or submit to it.

"Well, at least that's what they say. I don't know how true that is, but Mudi's demon lords seemed to think that was the case. So, their armies aren't going into Tartarus. Instead, they'll be fighting whatever comes at Fantasia, or whatever tries to get out of Tartarus."

"Sure," River says. "It seems like the festival is going to be winding down a bit in favor of drinking and eating. What should we go do next?"

"I've gone on lots of raids of abandoned civilizations and ruins after the end of the world," LJ explains. "It's earned me lots of treasure and gold. But, we're not going to have much use for it soon enough, so let's splurge!"

The breezie barkeep soon comes back with another ice cream for Flaming: A bright pink cherry garcia, with a banana, whipped cream and a handful of chocolate chips.

"Well, they'd probably get pissed if we tried to poison them on the down-low," Spitshine speculates. "But, they might also have rules against my usual underhanded tricks, or even against tag team battles if they're all purist about their tournament crap."
"What if we tried to get a brawl to break out? Then we could team up in the chaos!" Sugar suggests.
"That'd present a whole host of other dangers for you kids," Tantra advises. "But, it could work…"
You follow a small, rugged troupe of sheep carrying mining equipment into a cave in the rocks. Musty and dark, the cave is lit with glowing stones embedded in the walls, and the sounds of heavy work echo through the caves.



"Good. I won't say it'll make things easier. This is gonna be a bitch one way or another," Chorazin grunts. "As I said, Miracle's getting stronger with her new ability by practicing on the figures in my memory. If she were to possess you, then it's likely that she'd be able to take over your body. If she sees you, that'll be the first thing she tries… and I think we might be able to use that against her.

"I've noticed something odd. She doesn't always seem to recognize that I exist. I've confronted her and shouted at her, but she hasn't had any reaction to it. It was only after I slapped her in the face after she stole your power that she seemed to acknowledge my existence. This occurred after you were expelled from my memory, so you wouldn't have seen it.

"After you vanished, she tried to attack me, and I was horrifically outclassed, so I had to retreat. Then, I confronted her a second time, and she looked like through me as if I were a ghost. She didn't react to my presence up until the moment I touched her on the arm – and again, she tried to attack me until I hid long enough for her to forget me.

"My current hypothesis is that she and I are still too similar for her to recognize me as a different entity from her. I might be the equivalent of a random, drifting thought, up until the moment that I make myself clearly distinct. She doesn't currently seem to have a consciousness of her own. From my observations, she's acting just like one of the many golem of Mariposa's armies – a mindless automaton that's only operating on very basic commands.

"So – and I'm well aware how much of a long shot this is – I think I might be able to take control over her if we can trick her into using her seal on me."


>"Oh, that sounds pretty dangerous. Are you sure we have ot fight with them? If they have armies already, we can find another way to help."

Pryce thinks a moment.
"We already ate, and we experienced everything the festival had pretty much. Why don't we head back to the ship to drop off your prizes, and see if anything comes to mind on the way."



"Th-then can I have one more?" Amy asks LJ nervously.


"Why would you go on a date if you weren't ready to call it a date, silly?"

"Its settled, then. I'll be your wing-girl. I'll make sure your date goes well until you want some alone time," she adds a wink to the end.


Flow thinks more as they go down the tunnel. All of the goos try thinking up methods to isolate the kids' targets.

>"Funny. We haven't seen a club in a tunnel like this," Vice idly muses.

>>"Aye lad, at least it's discreet," Trapper remarks quietly.


"I would argue that being an unfair judgement on her consciousness seeing how you two are not mutually exclusive, but in my experience mindless golem does their kind justice. There is something about corrupt angels and being possessed by obsession."

"I only have one question for you Chorazin. If we're successful and you do take control. What do you plan to do with that?"


Flaming gives a snort of indignation. "W-well… because…" she grumbles, "I-I don't know if it's really a 'date', I mean, yeah it's just the two of us going around together, and yeah we're doing lots of fun stuff together but, we didn't decide it was a date before!" She blushes more deeply now as you offer to be her wing girl.

She turns her head, "What? You can't be a wing-girl, you can't even fly."

Flaming scrunches up her muzzle, "Hmmmm… I assume you gave the proper respect to any 'bodies' you picked them up from. Away from our clan or no, I expect you to offer the same rites we've always given the fallen." She stares at the coin pile again, "Though, I gotta say again, that IS pretty cool you got so much…"

As the breezie returns with the pinkish-red cherry garcia, topped with all the proper amount of fixings, Flaming gives the bowl of ice-cream and apprehensive stare, turning her head at it. "Hrrrrrm… looks kind of weird up close, and has all this stuff on top of it…" she shrugs. "Ah well, let's see what the big deal is."

She sticks her muzzle into the bowel, rudely lapping up a large chunk of the pinkish-red frozen confectionery into her mouth. She begins to slurp and chew up it up, before her ice-cream covered cheeks stop moving, and her pupils dilate in surprise. "I-it's…. i-it's…"



"That's not what that means, silly! The wing-girl is just a friend who helps a someone with dates and stuff."


"We're not gonna have a choice, kid," Zjetya says, jaded. "Not everyone or everything is going to be as open minded as you. I just hope that we can trust them… and Mudi, for that matter. I'm still not sold on this idea."

"Yes, let's," River smiles. "I'm still feeling a bit tired after this morning, too."

The two of you head back to the ship. It's filled with a nervous aura as you enter. Mocha greets you at the entrance, wringing her front legs in apprehension. "Okay, don't tell Amy, but Shei… he's kinda at it again."

LJ clicks his hoof on your ice cream bowl. "Hey, barkeep! Another round!" he hollers. Another breezie, this one in a barmaid's dress, flies by and takes away the bowl, only to soon return with a fresh one, filled to the brim with another topping-filled sundae.

LJ holds his breath in anticipation, clearly hoping you like the ice cream.

"My guess is it was started to settle disputes among workers, or even just be a form of entertainment between shifts," Renee says.
"They say sheep love to gamble too, so it's probably an extension of that. I know it's wrong to stereotype, buuuuut…" Tantra snickers.

You follow the directions given earlier, and navigate the winding tunnel until you reach a small intersection with a shrine built into the wall. The shrine depicts a modestly-clothed sheep ewe, a mother by the looks of it, gently guiding three sheep children who walk around her. "She rather looks like Novelus…" Renee muses.

There's a small basin at the base of the statue for offerings.
"Well, this is it… so where are they?" Sugar asks.

"Perhaps that's true – in fact, that would make possessing her somewhat easier, akin to reuniting halves of a fractured mind," Chorazin adds.

She plays a bit with her dress, and glances at the sky. "I had tried to put off those thoughts so as not to get my hopes up. My goal here and now is to regain control over her. If I do not, then she will surely possess you and have a way of destroying the outside world yet again. I've continually referred to Miracle as 'her', something distinct from myself, but I am painfully aware that her crimes are mine, her madness for violence and revenge all extensions of my own failures and resentments. All I seek is to take responsibility for what I have done and ensure it won't continue. After that? I'm still just a core with no body. I can't do anything unless given a body of my own."

"But, that's beside the point. If we are successful, I shall return your stolen ability to you."



"You're the best," Amy says to LJ in a voice of perhaps too much satisfaction.


"…well that's a weird name then, where does the 'wing' come in at all?"

She gives an unsteady look back towards Journey, and offers a small cough, "W-well… if I WERE on a date with Journey, just, what 'if'… what should I do after this? We danced and played games and fished and fought already, and now we're getting snacks."

Flaming gives a look towards Little Journey, lips covered with pink ice-cream as she smiles, "I-it's amazing! The feel, the cold, the flavor… we didn't have ANYTHING like this back home!" She turns back into the ice-cream, giving up another few laps as she partakes of the delicious dessert, licking her lips between every few moments, "I love ice-cream!" She shouts at the top of her lungs before digging back in for more.

She pushes it towards him, "Here! You have a bite, have you had this before?!"


>"We always have a choice in things."
KP says with optimism.
>"Those demon lords seemed to be pretty content sitting in that city. So maybe they'll be fine fighting in one spot for a while. For Mudi, well, things really can't get worse. I trust hte others will keep anything not-so-great from happening."

Pryce looks around as everypony feels tense, wondering what happened. As Mocha greets and warns them, he sighs.
"What did he do this time?"



"Kiss? Snuggle?" Amy suggests with a shrug.

"I think the expression comes from pegasi flying next to each other. I don't know," Amy sidetracks as she puts a hoof to her chin in thought.


Flow looks at the left hind leg for the distinctive chip the squatter mentioned.
"We're to wait after we pass this statue…if it's the right one.

Vice shakes his head.
>"I dunno…something seems off to me," Vice muses on.
>>"Yeah, I'm not one fer waitin'," Trapper adds.



>I shall return your stolen ability to you
"I appreciate it, without that I would not be able to face someone important to me in the afterlife, with my head raised high."

Shei-Sher paces forward into the garden behind and examines it as he talks. Picking a flower too.
"You must reconcile with yourself what to do about your worse half. You wish to take control of the worse parts of yourself without accepting her for what you are now. That isn't a way to take control. Have a child and never call him son or give him a name, see how that works for you. This is more than a philosophical point, it's a matter of how can you take control of something of such personal nature without having a personal reason to."

Shei-Sher turns back to Chorazin. "You'll have time to find that answer while we work." Shei-Sher tightens the kitty cloak on himself "I assume Miracle is a little too sophisticated to be duped by thee ole 'jump infront of the control spell at the last second' I was thinking with this cloak my soul is hidden, well enough to fool Metatron in fact. I could harass her and dodge her spell, then you can harass her and she will jump her trigger hoof."


"Yeah but, what does flying next to each other have to do helping others out on with dates? Do pegasi always need someone to help them on those?"

Flaming freezes up again, ears pushing down at the back of her head as she hears the suggestion. "You mean… that gross, pony thing you do with your lips? I-I don't know… snuggling is kind of…" she blushes, "Um… how should I do it? Just… surprise him with one or, do I wait for him to do it first? Pryce said that the boy leads, right?"



"Pryce doesn't really strike me as a good source of dating advice," Amy says with a laugh.


LJ, clearly relieved, has a bite of he ice cream himself, then his lips twist. "Agh, that's really, really cold! They should put a label on this stuff, they're clearly using magical ice storage. Hmph. Well, I've had a bit here and there from when Lord Buiwong would treat us, but I was always more of a connoisseur of chocolate. Not a big fan of fruit on my ice cream."

"Your optimism is a relic of a time long gone," Zjetya snorts. "But if you really think that things could ever not get worse, then you have no idea of just how badly the world can screw you."

"He's trying to deal with Miracle again," Mocha says.
"Wait, wait, wait," Mirror says, waddling into the entryway with her can-like body. "This time, things are different. He told all of us what he was going to do this time, and I honestly believe that this will not be a repeat of the last time. So please… don't disturb or judge him before this is done."

Indeed, that's the statue, as you can tell by the chip in the leg.
"Hmm… what if we have to pay her the entry fee?" Tantra asks. He reaches into a bag, then drops 50 bits into the offertory basin. After a few more minutes, you hear a slight click, and a portion of the wall to the left of the statue becomes lightly transparent, cloudy like a dissipating illusion.
"Get in," a rough voice says from the other side.
"Ah, there we go!" Renee says, quickly ushering in the kids.

As you enter the hidden space, the wall becomes solid behind you again. A scarred demon hunter you don't recognize greets you with a nod, then leads you down a long stone corridor.


You enter the second level of three-leveled room, with an arena below you, and a set of spectator stands on the level above you. The area is sprawling, yet packed to the gills with demons, tamers and hunters, all grizzled and rough-and-tumble types. The room reeks of alcohol, blood, sweat and steel. Renee protectively sets her hooves around the kids, though is clearly excited.

"There's also the matter of all the figures now under her control. Are you sure that cloak is going to be able to conceal you from all of them? And can it protect you from attacks? I can conjure my own servants to protect me, but without a plan, you're surely going to be struck in all the chaos."



"Of course it's cold! It's ICE Cream! Did you think it'd be hot!?" Amy says defensively of her beloved ice cream.


>"But how could I not be optimistic? Yea every place we've gone ends up getting wrecked one way or another, but I've met so many cool ponies and new friends! And we managed to save so many ponies too, and just had an actual miracle happen! Compared to the few weeks before the Rapture things have been going uphill for the big guy."
KP stops his reminiscing to think.
>"Have…things not gone how you expected? I know we just talked about all the rough stuff in your past, but things had to have to been better at least since you started travelling, right?"
He asks with concern.

Pryce is silent a moment.
"If he's not using JOY, and he told all you this time, then we shouldn't need to worry. He's been reckless and stupid lately, but he wouldn't run into something too dangerous just before Tartarus."


Flaming snickers, "Well, he actually seemed to be doing pretty well with River last we saw them…" she whispers, "They were doing the kissing thing."

She giggles, then lets out a sigh. "Okay, then, should… should I do it?"

Flaming snickers, "What? It's too cold for YOU?" She pokes at a big, fluffy part of his coat, "But you have all this to keep you warm! Come on, I don't think it's THAT cold." She says as she takes another big mouth-ful, "I've had chocolate before, that's great too! But this… I don't know, something about the cold and the fruity flavor…" she says as she chews up a bit of the banana, then pokes at the whipped cream. "And this light part here, it's all so sweet! What a marvelous invetion…" She says as she stuffs her face

[1d10] Rolling to avoid brain freeze

Roll #1 3 = 3



"You do what feels right! That's what always works for me."


"But…" Flaming looks over towards Journey, pursing up her lips, and looking down into her ice cream as she whispers towards Amy, "What if I have absolutely no idea what I feel is right or not?"



"Just stop thinking! Do whatever comes to mind!"


"Certainly, I have my own friends as well." Pheo and Gigginox appear out of the fabric of this dream "And they're always with me."
>A Vision of Thralls: Twice per combat; Instant;
[1d10+1] Pheo

"I'll have my Phoenix fly out ahead of me to distract any figures. My Gigginox will remain close for additional support. When I have Miracles attention and she is searching for me. I will be relying on you to catch up with me and provoke Miracle's attention less she catch me instead."

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


"You can totally have hot ice cream! That's the best kind!" LJ asserts. "Hot fudge, even coffee? It doesn't get better than that."
"What a weirdo," Ego concludes. "The whole point is to be cold!"
"You're just letting labels limit your imagination," LJ counters.

"Maybe you can see it differently, but from all I've known and seen, that's not the pattern of the world," Zjetya says. "People create, people destroy. Empires rise, then fall. And nobody seems to learn from the past. Nah, we just keep looking for a neat, one-item solution to everything, even when shit's burning down around us. Only thing different now is, the extremes we're caught between are right at our doorstep: Be devoured by demons, or submit to extermination by angels. Only now, we've got a witch claiming she'll be our savior. It's just another spin of the wheel."

"Yes… he can make his own decisions," River says with a heavy heart. "He knows what consequences await him."

>I'll count the 10 for summoning both minions.

"Very well," Chorazin says. She parts the layers of her dress, revealing a concealed saber. With a flourish, she draws it, and two spectral ponies appear beside her - one a knight, the other a battlemage. "Currently, she's conducting a waltz in the dance hall, toward the back of this villa. My recommendation is to enter through the front and attack from above on the second level of the building, though there are other entrances we can use, such as the servants' quarters on the east and west sides of the building, and the gardens on the north side. What do you think?"



"Hot fudge is a topping! You put it on ice cream because its cold! But the ice cream is still cold!" Amy argues.


>"We really haven't been looking for a one time solution, we've been going around to fix things ourselves these past few days. You should've gone to the festival, de-stress from all this for a day."

Pryce agrees, though he feels wary on Shei's decision.

"So, where should we put these?"
Pryce says to change the topic, gesturing to the cactus and lion.


"Do whatever comes to mind…. just, do whatever comes to mind…" Flaming repeats to herself like a mantra, trying to think about it (ironically) as she eats away at her ice-cream.

"You can have HOT ice-cream?! But… but that doesn't make any sense, how can you have HOT and ICE at the same time?!" She points at the breezie, "Hey! I want to try some of this hot ice cream too! Make it really hot AND really cold at the same time, okay, I wanna taste them both!"

As she scarfs down her ice-cream, however, suddenly her head starts to shrill in pain, Flaming backing off from the bowl as she holds her hooves up to her head, gasping in pain and beginning to shiver as she experiences her first brain-freeze, "AAAGAH! W-what's happening… ggggg… s-s-so cold… head… hurting…!"


"I like attacks from above. Quite gallant, like a knight." Shei chuckles "I'm not so used to pageantry, but that's what Mariposans are known for right?" Shei-Sher smiles as he heads off "Good luck."

Entering the villa through the front and up the second floor. My Gigginox circles above the villa in the sky, while Pheo hides underneath Shei's cloak.



"You're right, it doesn't make any sense!" Amy objects to the notion of hot ice cream.


Flow walks up to see if there's a fight going on already.
Vice and Trapper both flank the kids to make sure that they are protected.
>"Takes you back, eh?"
>>"Not really, lad," he says with a smirk.


"I was at the festival. You saw me singing, didn't you?" Zjetya asks. "And yeah, you're all doing your best, but… ugh, maybe I'm just being too jaded, after all. Still – it's been like this as far as I can see it."

"I'd say put them in the barracks, but Shei is probably having his seance in there. I'd also like them to have a little privacy, just so they don't get knocked down. I suppose we could sit them in Observer's lab? Assuming he won't experiment on them."

LJ snorts defiantly. "I remain resolute in my faith. And that, dear Flaming, is called 'brain freeze,' it's when you eat too much too quickly and your brain gets all cold. I'll bet you wish it was hot now, huh?"


The two of you enter the rich and well-furnished building, the walls full of art and plants and marble figurines. The entrance hall is full of well-dressed Mariposan ponies, conversing and laughing over fine drinks and food, while music wafts through the halls. Around many of their heads, small pink butterflies circle, trailing a white dust in their wake. You and Chorazin take the stairs to the second floor, proceeding through the halls above, until you reach the far end of the villa. Below, the waltz proceeds, with many pairs of dancers lilting beautifully across the floor. At the back of the room, before the glass doors leading to the gardens, the band has set up. Miracle floats before them, conducting in a mechanical, stiff manner, clearly parroting muscle memory without truly understanding the music. A subtle aura of danger lurks around her.

You've arrived too late, it seems. The plain arena in the center of the floor is in the process of being cleaned. A corpse of a tall, grotesque centipede demon is being dragged away by four ponies. The other fighter, you recognize: Sir Freischutz of the Choir. She puts away a small pistol and wipes blood away from her bandaged face, before quietly walking away. Many demons clap and cheer the results. You see several of them have small tickets in their grips, which then ignite spontaneously. As they burn, they turn into coins – probably some kind of gambling thing.


>"I did, you were amazing, but I meant go to just have fun and not work."
KP corrects.

"I have a small room I made from one of the storage spaces, we could put them in there so they won't get tossed around."
Pryce offers.


Flaming holds her head with her hooves as her rear-hooves stomp the floor, "C-c-c-c-c-cooooooold… I-I don't like 'brain freeze', how do I make it stop!" She says as she shivers, before grabbing at Little Journey (or, specifically, his coat), and pulls him close into a tight hug, cuddling tightly against his thick fur. "Gotta get warm, waaaaaarrm!" She growls while she tries to use the young buffalo as a blanket.



"Awww, there you go!" Amy says with a smile at Flaming snuggling LJ.


As Shei stands beside Chorazin on the second floor balcony he is now getting the squimish feeling in his stomach. The all too familiar butterflies floating inside his guts, punctuating his nervousness.
He looks at Miracle, and for him it's as though staring into a fortress.

"On second thought, I wouldn't make a very good knight." He says beside Chorazin
Shei-Sher raises his staff and conjures a storm inside the ballroom
>Staff of the Cloudsmith
"MIRACLE!!" Shei-Sher pushes his hooves on the balcony rail, leaning over it and shouts mightily. "DID YOU MAKE ME A BIRTHDAY CAKE!!"

Pheo crammed into Shei's sneaky kitty cloak, peaks her head and wings out the chest side. Pheo unleashes a brief stunning flash of light.
>Blinding Flare: Recharge 2; A dazzling display of light blinds foes, Dazing them and lowering their damage by half.

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 10 = 10


Flow applauds along with the crowd, and starts looking around for somewhere where he can enter the arena's lineup, or at least see who's going to fight next. He keeps an eye out for any old hunters he recognizes in the crowd.

Meanwhile, Vice and Trapper both look for a place to guide Renee and the kids to so they can get a view of the arena.
>"Seems rowdier than most other places we've been."
>>"Aye, but seein as these lads 'ave to hunt demons, we hunters are in high demand, eh?"


LJ moos in surprise as he's drawn in, but accepts the embrace easily, folding his arm around Flaming. Buffalo, having more structured courtship rituals, typically would not blush in this kind of situation, unlike how some ponies might. Yet, he cannot help but have a smile. "The mighty fires of Flaming Shorthorns, extinguished by ice cream. I didn't think you'd be weak to ice, but it makes sense now."

"Nah. Big crowds? Not my thing," Zjetya says.

"Much better idea," River says. As you head over to the storage space to put away the items, River periodically pushes you with her wing in a playful manner.

You shortly find a registration counter, manned by a petite ewe mare with curly horns and small glasses. She motions for silence as you approach, only providing a stone tablet. "Hoof it, hold it for five seconds, and you'll be in."

You recognize many of the hunters in the background, waiting for their turn to fight, from previous visits to Zha Arlakane. However, your attention is grabbed by one face in particular, talking to Freischutz by a medical tent on the first level: Short crimson mane, dull coat, and a horn: Gjenganger.

Renee, V and T lead the kids to a set of stands on the far end of the second floor, where they are able to sit and watch the action in the arena.

The storm brews, but the dancers do not react, continuing to dance about until Miracle stops conducting. Slowly, her head turns, only to spin away as the bright light flashes through the room. Chorazin takes advantage of the surprise, dropping from the balcony with her spectral warriors.

For a moment, Chorazin glares at Miracle. The angel gazes impassively through Chorazin as though she were no more than smoke. Chorazin smirks, then rushes forward and punches Miracle right the face, causing the angel to stumble back into her music stand.
"Get up!" Chorazin growls, voice brimming with fury. "This is long overdue."

As Miracle starts to rise, her eyes flash a deep red. Chorazin raises her saber as Miracle's banner appears in her hoof, and the two begin to sing in tandem.


Chorazin uses Monarch on Miracle [1d10+5]
Spectral Knight attacks Miracle with a sword [1d10+3]
Spectral Battlemage charges a spell [1d10+3]

Miracle's own spectral warriors emerge from among the crowd, previously unseen, a knight and an archer.
Miracle's Archer launches arrows at the spot where the flash originated [1d10+3]
Miracle's Knight rushes to the second floor.
Miracle uses Solo on Chorazin [1d10+5]


Roll #1 10 + 5 = 15 / Roll #2 10 + 3 = 13 / Roll #3 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #4 1 + 3 = 4 / Roll #5 4 + 5 = 9


Post sheets




File: 1522806351073.jpg (83.64 KB, 800x800, -font-b-Buffalo-b-font-Lov….jpg)


Last time on HQ…

Amy and Flaming continued their discussion, while LJ showed off his wealth, gathered from pillaging and fighting his way across the continent alongside Buiwong's faithful. Pryce and River continued their date, though it was notably winding down as the sunk sank lower over the horizon. Flow discovered the secret fighting den in Zha Arlakane, where he saw Freischutz and two hunters from his past participating in simple arena matches with demons. Within Miracle's core, Shei joined with Chorazin in battling Miracle with the intent of tricking Miracle into using her seal and control spell on Chorazin to force the two to reunite with Chorazin's consciousness in control.

LJ moos in surprise as he's drawn in, but accepts the embrace easily, folding his arm around Flaming. Buffalo, having more structured courtship rituals, typically would not blush in this kind of situation, unlike how some ponies might. Yet, he cannot help but have a smile. "The mighty fires of Flaming Shorthorns, extinguished by ice cream. I didn't think you'd be weak to ice, but it makes sense now."

"Nah. Big crowds? Not my thing," Zjetya says.

"Much better idea," River says. As you head over to the storage space to put away the items, River periodically pushes you with her wing in a playful manner.


Flaming lets out a low grumble, digging her face deeper into Journey's warm, fluffy fur with conviction as she grunts and shakes her head trying to free her self of the torturous headache.

"S-s-s-s-shut up! I-I-I can deal with cold on the OUTSIDE fine, I-I just never had to deal with it c-coming from my BRAIN before!" she shivers, unaware of the scene she makes as she tries to warm herself up. "N-need more warmth, damn it… what is this coming from?! Why did the ice cream betray me?!"


>"Says the performer," KP jokes, "Well what do you like ot de-stress or have fun?"

Pryce chuckles after a few of the pushes, horn lighting as he gives her a tickle on the opposite side away from him under her wing.
When they get to Pryce's makeshift room, Pryce places the plant on a small simple table next to a mattress he set up for a makeshift bed.



Amy smiles at their moment. "I think my work is done here," she says quietly with a satisfied nod and leaves the restaurant. She heads back to the ship.

It occurs to her, she has reading to do.


"W-wait, Amy, what if I still need your help?" She hisses at her quietly as she tries to console her brain freeze.




"You'll be fiiiine," Amy says playfully with a dismissive wave of her hoof.


After a few more moments of tolerating the hug, LJ pushes you back a bit, then taps your forehead with his horn instructively. "Try not eating it so quick next time, you dummy. That's something I notice with you, actually. You're real quick to run into something. Sometimes a good pair of legs and a quick drive for action is important, but not everything in life can be a constant stream of action! You gotta learn to take certain things in small bites… like ice cream. Brain freeze is life's way of telling you to slow it down."

"That's a hell of a reach for trying to sound smart," Ego quips.

LJ waves at Amy as they leave. "Hope you enjoyed your ice cream!" he calls.
Ego smiles as you head to the ship. "Sure coulda used a gal as good as her earlier in our life. A real ray of sunshine, and she's got enough brains and heart to keep going even when shit's all going wrong. LJ, though… meh."

As you return to the ship, you see a small crowd gathered around the barracks, comprised of Mocha, Mirror Image, Box, Wireframe, Rus Tea and Onion. To your right, you hear mild arguing coming from the lab, as well as the skittering of the piglet's hooves on the metal floor of the airship.

"I like to have a little quietude by myself. When you're performing all the time, it's nice to get away from others," Zjetya answers. Hopper croaks with suspicion.

River scoffs at the mattress. "Eaaaaasy there."


You shortly find a registration counter, manned by a petite ewe mare with curly horns and small glasses. She motions for silence as you approach, only providing a stone tablet. "Hoof it, hold it for five seconds, and you'll be in."

You recognize many of the hunters in the background, waiting for their turn to fight, from previous visits to Zha Arlakane. However, your attention is grabbed by one face in particular, talking to Freischutz by a medical tent on the first level: Short crimson mane, dull coat, and a horn: Gjenganger.

Renee, V and T lead the kids to a set of stands on the far end of the second floor, where they are able to sit and watch the action in the arena.


>"Anything besides that? I know everypony likes their alone time but you gotta have something you do for fun. Is there any fun changeling games we could do?"

"I didn't want to take a bunk away from anypony. It was the best I could do with my magic when I first set up here."
Pryce explains.


Flow, likewise, says nothing and takes the stone tablet as instructed.
He instantly does a double-tale when he sees Gjen, and starts asking himself questions.

>>”Ah…I can’t wait t’ get a view of some bleedin duels. It’s been to long, eh!”

He nudges Spitshine and Sugar.
Vice scans the crowd for any instant threats to themselves or the children.



"Eh," Amy responds to herself. "He bought the ice cream."

Once she reaches the ship, Amy follows the sounds of the voices. "Whats everyone talking about?" she asks as cheerfully as she can.


Flaming's headache finally starts to die down, letting go of LJ as she rubs her head. "Ooooooh… aaaagh…." as he taps her forehead, she looks up instinctively, giving a small growl. "It's not my fault! No one told me that if I ate too much of it it'd be a BAD thing, if I had warning I would have eaten it slower!"

She softens her tone as he goes on, giving a small kick of her legs. "Hrrmmph… you're lucky you're kind of cute when you try to sound all smart, you know that?" she lets out a sigh, "Running head first into things is just sort of how I'm used to doing things… it's sort of the Climbing Fire way of doing things. But… I've also learned it's not always the best approach to take. The quickest path isn't always a straight line." She leans down, taking another small nibble of her cherry garcia with a little bit sticking to her nose. "Just, you know. Old habits."


Zjetya ponders the question. "Changeling games? Well, there was one I was sort of okay at: 'guess the transformation.' It's pretty simple. Someone slowly turns parts of their body into a different creature, and everyone else has to guess the creature. You get two points for each right guess, and you lose a point if you get it wrong. First to ten points wins. So it's not really something we could do with just us two… or three, rather, if you and Hopper aren't playing on a team."

River snorts as you apparently don't catch her intended meaning. "What, you don't have a mansion built with all the money you must have gotten from being a traveling performer?" she teases.

Though almost all of the demons and mortal participants and audience members look as though they could pose a threat to your group, none seem particularly interested in a fight. Vice sees that some of them are going up to another counter on the back of the room, holding glowing bits of parchment.

The ewe hands you a sheet of parchment with an imprint of your hoof mark on it. "Keep a tight hold on this. The mark will glow red when it's your turn to fight. Turn it in when you're ready to cash out your share of the bets that were placed on you."

You see Yes Mare/Hafaza and Observer reading from a series of books piled over the table, a few of which appear to be in the process of being read by spiders.
"Good evening, Amy," Observer greets as you enter. "Hafaza and I were discussing the merits of a particular story within these collections of fairy tales and legends."
"I am truly frustrated with mortals' insistence on burying truth within these obsure images and allegories…" Yes Mare complains. "Why can't they just say what they mean?"

"Well, if it's any consolation, you're also kind of cute… kind of," he corrects himself, "when you charge in quickly. It's not something I want you to change. It's a very 'Flaming' thing to do. But Vir'can didn't become our god without having to slow his step now and again."



"Maybe it's not the same for you voidlings," Amy says thoughtfully. "I just know that a lot of us mortals have a hard time just being told things. If we're SHOWN that its true, that goes a lot farther."


"Cute?" Flaming grins, raising an eyebrow with a teasing tone, "No. YOU are cute. When I'm charging down something, I'm 'terrifying' and 'powerful'. I'm guessing you just got those words' meanings mixed up?"

She chuckles, taking a much slower bite of her ice cream again, licking it up off her lips. "You're not wrong though. I guess it's a good thing I learned that lesson just now: better to suffer a… what did you call it, 'brain freeze'? Better THAT than a demon's claws sinking into me, huh?"


Flow nods and takes the parchment, stowing it away in his coat as he takes his leave.
He makes a beeline for the tent he saw Gjenganger in.

Vice taps Renee on the shoulder.
>”How confident are you about Flow?”


>"Ooo, that sounds like fun… if I could transform too…"
KP thinks.
>"Ok, what else do you like to do. Any hobbies or fun things you picked up in your travels?"

"Had to put it all into school, though it only covered the knight classes."
Pryce jokes back.


"That is the position I have tried to argue," Observer says. "It is also a reason why certain vicious cycles, such as that of tyrrany and chaos, continue the way that they do. Few are willing to rise to be the force that ceases them."
Yes Mare frowns and thinks. "A power voidling isn't meant to have to waste this much time on thought, but thoughts I shall endure. I assume you are here for the book? Or do you seek consolation after the… the you-know-what with the you-know-who?" she adds, glancing toward the barracks.
"Romantic relations are a foreign thing to our kind, you understand," Observer explains. "She lacks the words to comprehend your former affiliation with Shei."

"Yeah, about as terrifying as a diamond dog puppy with a bone!" LJ taunts with a loud guffaw. "Try growing a few inches taller, then we'll talk, quarter-ounce."

"I knit, I sing, I do coin tricks, arm-wrestle and I can get really really drunk. That's kinda it," Zjetya says with mock annoyance, poking KP. "What more do you want out of me, kid?"

"At least those paid off," River continues to banter. "Well, shall we sit and drink the night away? I'd really rather not be around the others… I tend to get a little claustrophobic with all the people on our ship, though they're good company most of the time."

"Highly," Renee says. "I don't see much in this room who could really pose a threat to him. He's really becoming quite the monster from all these weapons and battling he's done in the past few days, and I'm quite pleased with that. Though, I'm concerned with how he'd deal with fighting while also protecting the children. If there were a riot in here, even someone of his skill would be hard pressed to keep them protected, given these close quarters and density of foes."
"That's why we have to get strong enough to be on our own," Spitshine says.

Inside the spacious medical tent, there are many combatants recovering from fights, smoking and drinking as they relax on benches and beds. In the back, you see Freischutz and Gjenganger talking as the latter removes the former's bandages to replace them with fresh ones. Freischutz's face and neck is a horrifying mess: Everything from her lower jaw to her chest is purely magitech, and the flesh around it is scarred and cut horrifically, concluding in an unpatched glasgow smile on her face.
"Flow, 'tis good to see you," Freishchutz calls.
"Quiet, don't move your jaw," Gjenganger drones, not turning around to see you.



Amy frowns. "Boy, word travels fast…"

"I-I'd rather just study if you don't mind."


Flaming fumes, closing her mouth and scowling as she turns her nose up at Little Journey, "Watch your tongue, Journey! I've fought and triumphed over foes so strong and so big that would pick you out of their teeth!" she smirks, "And who are you calling quarter-ounce, eighth-ounce? If it weren't for all that fur I bet I'd be taller than 'you'!"

She looks around at the walls, "Come on, we'll ask someone to scratch a nail into the wall right above our heads so we can compare right now."


“Likewise, Freischutz,” he says with a smirk.
“Still fighting the good fight, eh Gjen? I expected you to help out with some charity work topside.”
He takes off his hood and loosens his scarf.

>>”Well, I have faith in him to protect them. He has us to help him anyways. But that’s not really what Inwas alluding to.”

Trapper pokes Renee and points to the counter with a crowd next to it.
>>”It’s easy money, eh? Flow can’t be beat, cept for that one time with Amy… but that was a fluke!”


>"OH! I wanna see a coin trick! I wanna see a coin trick!"
KP answers enthusiastically to her question, hopping in place.
>"Uh, here!"
He says, closing his eyes as he attempts to make a coin for her.
>Hat Magic [1d10]

"Sure, sounds like a nice way to end the night."
Pryce says to the offer.
"Say no more, make yourself comfortable in this little closet and I'll grab us some."
Pryce follows, with a little jest on the claustrophobic comment, as he goes to the kitchen to grab them a variety of drinks.

Roll #1 1 = 1


"After that confrontation in the barracks earlier, it's all that those on the ship spoke about," Observer explains. "Believe me, I was as annoyed as you might be now."
"That sounds fun. Let us read," Yes Mare says in her usual deadpan manner. Taking Caw and the piglet, she takes the spellbook to the couch. "What section were we on again?"

LJ snorts. "I'll take you up on that!"
After asking around with your bizarre request, a lean donkey agrees to measure the two of you. He leads you two over to a doorframe and takes out a bit of charcoal to serve as a mark.
>You can roll to stand on tip-hoof if desired, but failing the roll means getting caught.

Renee's expression turns a little grim. "At first, I did realize what you meant, but I had hoped I was just over-thinking things." She sighs. "I am more than worried. The emergence of all these ghosts from his past has brought out a more… shall we say youthful side of him. I like seeing that part, but… I believe we should prepare to see anyone and even everyone die in Tartarus. It will be beyond danger. My fear is that, should he have to suffer the deaths of those old friends, things will go very, very badly while we are down there."

Gjenganger sits upright as he hears your voice, then spins around. You see that his own body and face have received their own share of scarring here and there, though nothing too debilitating or severe. "Smooth Flow! Well, I shouldn't be surprised to see you alive or in a place like this, but here you are. It's always good to see old friends. They're a hard commodity these days. How are you?"

Only a few rocks fall out. Zjetya produces a coin from her pocket and holds it out for KP to see. After removing her jacket, she spins the coin deftly in the center of her right hoof, then blows on it. The coin seems to vanish without a trace. She then rolls her hoof as if to pop it, but as it completes its spin, you see three coins where there used to be one.

You come back with two glasses and a few bottles of red and white wine, courtesy of Onion (who had apparently gone shopping for wine earlier). River applauds the selection, and pours herself a glass of red wine. She then offers her glass for a toast. "Anything you'd like to drink to?"



"We were talking about why it's important to give up your stuff," Amy says, scratching her head in an attempt to remember better.


Flaming smirks as she and LJ walk over towards the wall, "Get ready to lose, the only thing 'short' about me are my horns." She looks at the donkey with a grin as he offers to help them with their contest, but as she stands closer to Journey she starts to feel doubt building up inside of her. It's difficult to see through his fur all the way but she starts to fear he actually MIGHT have an inch or so on her! Eager to save face, Flaming tries to wiggle around a little on her hooves to prop her up to make up the lost distance.

Roll #1 2 = 2


Vice sighs.
>”To be frank, I fear the same thing. He doesn’t deal with losses so well, as I’m sure you understand…


KP frowns as he only makes rocks, but perks back up as Zjetya pulls out her own coin. He watches intently as she spins the coin, eyes widening as it disappears from sight. When three more take it's place, he jumps up.
>"WHOA! How you do that, that was amazing!"
He asks in awe.

Pryce pours himself a matching glass of red. After a moment of thought, he holds his glass up.
"To us."
He says for the toast.


Vice adds, “But I can say with certainty that he understands this as well. I don’t think he’ll snap right away, but he just might if we truly do take enough losses. Hell, I doubt he’ll want to leave if we lose to many, his desire for revenge might take his senses away.”
Vice takes an unsteady breath.
>”I don’t know, but we’re just going to have to wait and see.”

“I’ve uh… seen better days. Ever since this whole Rapture mess started, I’ve been mighty busy getting back in action,” he looks behind him, then back to Gjen, “tell me, is she here? And I’m not talking about the giant lizard. I’ve already…encountered her.”


As you stand up, the donkey gently puts his hoof on your shoulder and pushes you back down. "Stand up straight and don't move while I make this mark…"
He marks your height on the door frame. Then, it's LJ's turn. With his large and puffy hair, he seems evidently taller than you. The donkey rubs his chin, then pushes down on the hair to make the mark. When the both of you are done, you look at the marks. As it turns out, you're both approximately the same height.
"I maintain that hair totally counts toward height," LJ contests.

"Oh, that blasted theme of sacrifice," Yes Mare groans and scans the text for the story you left off on. "We left off right around here…"

From the theme of sacrifice, the text moves on to a theme of redemption and forgiveness. Its central conceit is a story of a warrior who comes to journey with a wild beast of darkness, one that is clever and wily but underhanded. The beast is nearly slain by the warrior, but tricks the warrior into letting him live in exchange for his repentance. After some hesitation, the warrior allows him to live, but only on the condition that the beast stay with the warrior at all times. The beast agrees.

Yes Mare pauses her reading, and nearly shuts the book. "…Amy, any guesses on what will happen?"

"I ain't telling," Zjetya says simply. "But if you want, I'm willing to teach Hopper."

River clicks her glass to yours, and drinks.

Renee gives Vice a hug.
"Believe me," Tantra says with a heavy groan. "I'll be right there with him."

"Of course," Gjenganger says. "She's been using her bounty poster to attract demons to her for battle. Ordinarily, Ecclesia puts bounties on hunters who won't cooperate with them. Spitter, on the other hand, signed up for it herself."
"You should have seen her negotiate for a higher bounty! She was mad with the price we put on her at first," Freischutz laughs.



Amy smiles, this story feeling all too familiar. "The beast will try to kill the knight. But, what will it matter? The knight is stronger. He already beat him once. He can do it again."


>"Awww, ok. A magician has to keep their secrets."
KP picks up Hopper.
>"So Hopper, do you wanna learn this neat coin trick?"

Pryce smiles to their toast, and drinks as well.


Flaming grunts as her ploy is caught by the donkey, standing only on her hooves in a normal stance as she clicks her tongue in annoyance at having been caught red-hoofed. She looks on towards Little Journey, sweating after her mark is made and he measures afterwards, letting out a sigh of relief as he pushes the hair down to show his true height.

As it comes off a tie, she smiles, but then looks to LJ as he makes his contention about the hair. "Hair does NOT count towards height, take your loss with dignity Journey." She says as though SHE had won rather than it clearly being a tie. "All I'd have to do is push down on it," she says, reaching up to do just that, "And you'd lose your advantage."



Flow grins.
“Sounds just like her… I wonder how much she’s improved. Any idea where Eligor’s gone? I’ve connected with Hope and Vitty.”
He puts a hoof on his chin.
“But 2,000 bits…seems like too little for an old hunter like her. Which reminds me, I never found out how much my bounty was!”

Vice smiles.
>”I-I’ve never been hugged by a girl before…”
Trapper nods at Tantra.
>>”Thanks lad, the more asses we can kick, the more of us we can save, eh?!”


"I have a feeling you will be right," Yes Mare says. "Though I wonder if the beast ever will truly try to be redeemed… my guess is that he will not. He is set in his ways and cannot change."

She opens the book again. The story continues in a darkly comical manner. The beast tries his best to trick the warrior into his demise, such as by leading him into woods full of monsters and poison, the lairs of dragons and the beasts of the earth, even through trapped dungeons and enemy territories. Each time, the warrior catches the beast, and the beast repents of his sins. Though the warrior forgives him, his patience and trust grow more thin with each attempt on his life. It is only until the beast attempts this trick a fourth time that the warrior snaps. He attacks the beast again, and is this time victorious. Yet as the beast's soul begins to depart, the warrior captures it in a magic totem. The warrior then takes the beast's soul through the world, and forces the captive soul to witness what good can come from it if one acts with goodwill instead of malice.

"…The story just cuts off!" Yes Mare blurts out in frustration. "Apparently, this was written on an old stone tablet in a ruin, but the other half was never found… it's always going to be incomplete. That's a horrible ending… I don't agree with it at all! You're with me, right?"

Hopper leaps over to Zjetya's leg and looks up at her. "I take that as a yes. I'll show him my stuff, but you obviously can't watch. So go on… shoo, kid."

LJ rolls his eyes and lets you continue to feel his hair, mouthing your words back at you in a mocking tone.

"Your bounty?" Freischutz asks. "Oh, right. Gegenschein gave me a call about that. You're sitting at 4,800 right now."
"Eligor has been out gathering forces," Gjenganger says. "I don't hear from him often, but he's going places where nobody bound by flesh is capable of now, like environments scarred by anomalies or environmental disasters caused by demons. He's got some nasty beings under him, last I saw."
Tantra nods solemnly. Meanwhile in the ring, a fight begins, but it's none of the marks you have set your sights on.

The storm brews, but the dancers do not react, continuing to dance about until Miracle stops conducting. Slowly, her head turns, only to spin away as the bright light flashes through the room. Chorazin takes advantage of the surprise, dropping from the balcony with her spectral warriors.

For a moment, Chorazin glares at Miracle. The angel gazes impassively through Chorazin as though she were no more than smoke. Chorazin smirks, then rushes forward and punches Miracle right the face, causing the angel to stumble back into her music stand.
"Get up!" Chorazin growls, voice brimming with fury. "This is long overdue."

As Miracle starts to rise, her eyes flash a deep red. Chorazin raises her saber as Miracle's banner appears in her hoof, and the two begin to sing in tandem.


Chorazin uses Monarch on Miracle [1d10+5: 15]
Spectral Knight attacks Miracle with a sword [1d10+3: 13]
Spectral Battlemage charges a spell [1d10+3: 9]

Miracle's own spectral warriors emerge from among the crowd, previously unseen, a knight and an archer.
Miracle's Archer launches arrows at the spot where the flash originated [1d10+3: 4]
Miracle's Knight rushes to the second floor.
Miracle uses Solo on Chorazin [1d10+5: 9]


Shei-Sher ducks under the balcony railing, seeing the archer ready fire. The little goat runs along the perimeter of the the room from a top the balcony until he's behind Miracle and her goons.
"Ba-a-ah, My plans to lure Miracle into the tighter corridors are dashed now! I should have counted on Chorazin being so hasty."
Shei-Sher jumps down into the fray.

Shei steeps his hoof into the shallow pool of water made by the storm he conjured. He commands a thin sheet of ice to erect itself between Chorazin and Miracle.
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

waving the sefer Yad in that direction, Shei produces a feint beam of light. Enough to reflect Shei-Sher's image off the sheet of ice standing in front of Chorazin and in Miracle's view.
[1d10] reflecting light

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #2 10 = 10


“Huh. That’s quite the payout,” he says unenthused, “Leave it to Eligos to rally some nasty folk and kick some tail… How’s she been? I’m in dire need of some assistance, and I think you two might just be the hunters I can rely on.”

Trapper pats Tantra on the back.
>>”Enough doom n gloom lad, we’ll make it out safe, no problem! They won’t know what hit em,” he says eagerly as he looks down to see who’s fighting in the arena.


>"Aww, come on. Can't I hang around but not watch? Pleeeeease?"
He asks with the puppy-dog eyes look.
>"I'll hang with your bugs and no sneak a peak, I swear!"


Shorthorns chuckles as she rubs her hoof through Journey's hair, still enjoying its fluffiness a little too much even as he mocks her. As he does, she takes her side and bumps it roughly into his, "Watch it, boys aren't supposed to spoil their dates' good moods." She says mischievously, beginning to enjoy the power girls seem to employ on these dates (whether it be true or soemthing she just made up).

She moves away from the door, rubbing her belly as she sighs, "Well, I think I definitely filled up on ice cream. That was incredible… thanks for paying it for me, Journey." She says, this time acting a bit more sincerely. "That was sweet."



"Trapping his soul is kind of silly. Even if you could do that, why? Just don't kill him in the first place. Being friends with him sounds kind of fun," Amy says with a sort of wistful smile. "You never know what's going to happen next. It's like a game. And, a game isn't fun without a challenge. But, you gotta show him some kindness too. And, if he can't leave you and he can't kill you eventually, he'll be your friend. Its either that or be miserable forever. And, nothing wants to be miserable."

Amy looks down with a sad expression. "A pony once told me about some thing that happens to ponies who are kidnapped. It has a name. I forget what it is. But, basically, the longer a pony spends with their captors, the more they begin to sympathize with them. They told me that like it was a bad thing. But… I don't know. To me that just says that all you have to do to change someone into a friend is be around them a lot. They'll still be themselves. But… eventually, they'll get you more. And, when they get you, they'll want to do what you like more."

A few tears begin to well up in Amy's eyes. "Does anyone know where Shei is?" she asks, looking around the room.


Forgot to say Shei unfastens the cat cloak and slings it around his arm.


The balcony on the upper level is destroyed in a rapid hail of arrows, though you are unharmed. Chorazin is beset by a hail of magical blue knives, but Miracle visibly weakens and twitches as Chorazin sings; the music seems to reduce her strength. The knight uses the opportunity to slash her before the ice wall emerges. As your image appears on the ice wall, a septagram seal appears in Miracle's hoof. Miracle tries to stab into the image of Shei with the seal, but Chorazin starts to rush in.
Seeing this, Miracle tries to butt Chorazin with her head. [1d10+3]

As you appear, the dancers, continuing to dance, oblivious of the battle, start to converge on you, threatening to box you in. The archer takes advantage of your appearance and fires at you. [1d10+3]
The knight leaps from the balcony and tries to stab Pheo on the way down. [1d10+3]
>Pheo's flash has 2/2 turns left

"It depends on what the job is," Gjenganger states. "Zophie is in her natural habitat in this world. Plenty of people want others dead, and when they don't, there's no end of carnage for the sake of entertainment. As for me, I have been gathering clues on my… situation. Progress has been slow but I would not like to be deterred either."

In the arena is a couple of troll like goons, both as large as sumos. The two circle around each other for a few minutes, then erupt in a violent mass of blows as the match begins.

"Nooooooooooooooooooooooo," Zjetya drones on. "You'll be able to see all the fruits of the labor once Hopper can do 'em."

"Yeah, this was pretty fun," LJ agrees. "Pony rituals are a little plain compared to our own, but perhaps that isn't such a bad thing sometimes. I felt like our own rituals could be a little too ceremonial sometimes. It's nice to simply be by ourselves now and again!"

He starts to head outside. "Shall we go?"

"The warrior was probably getting pretty annoyed with him," Yes Mare says. "Or maybe it was written by multiple authors. Maybe the beast died in the original story, and a later writer thought that was also a bad ending. Is that really true, about captives? Perhaps empathy is like a virus that cannot help but spread. Perhaps you cannot continue to see someone as solely a monster if you must see them as a fellow living being as well."

"Shei is fighting with Miracle again. He has gone into the core, alone," Observer explains.

Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10 / Roll #2 7 + 3 = 10 / Roll #3 10 + 3 = 13 / Roll #4 4 + 3 = 7


KP scrunches his snout in a huff at the denial.
He drones back in equal length before standing up and smiling.
>"Can't wait to see the best moth and frog show ever when this is done!"
He says before heading back to the barracks to let Zjetya have her privacy to teach.



Amy is about to respond to Yes Mare when Observer speaks up. "HE WHAT!?" Amy shouts in a panic. She immediately gets up and is about to run out of the room. But, before she does, she turns to Observer. "Get… everyone. Flaming, Pryce, Flow. Anyone else who wants to fight. Find someone to help you do the ghost thing so you two can get them all in. We're going to need the help!"

Amy runs toward out the room and to wherever her intuition says that Miracle's core is. [1d10] to either find her core or someone who can point me the right way

Roll #1 2 = 2


Shei produces his switch cane with a flourish before he is pounced upon. The switch-cane unhinges and with a whip of Shei's wrist flings straight to lasso a hold on Miracle's forehead.
[1d10] misdirect her headbutt

Roll #1 4 = 4


Flaming nods her head, "It's kind of cool to try something new. They're a weird bunch, no question, but they're also pretty fun at the same time. Feels like a little less pressure to do them right." She chuckles, "I mean, it's not even 'our' way of doing things so who cares if we mess up a little on the way or not? We can relax more and just, have fun!" She says pushing herself close to Journey again, bumping in to him with a chuckle.

She sighs, "It's… kind of embarrassing to admit but, I'm no so sure I'd be that good at our 'own' ceremonies anyways. I never… you know… had much of a chance to try them. Saw plenty but, there's a difference between watching and doing."

She nods her head at his offer to go outside, "Yeah, lead the way."


And Pheo swoops in to with wild abandon. Her body literally smacks against Miracle's head "VREEE!" Pheo caws as she unceremoniously is putt away by Miracle's head
[1d10] misdirect the headbutt

Roll #1 4 = 4


Shei-Sher put a hoof in his mouth and let's out a sharp whistle. Promptly after his Gigginox barrels through one of the ballroom window panes and with his head knocks Miracle's head
[1d10] misdirect the headbutt

Roll #1 2 = 2


As you run toward the barracks, Mirror comes out of that room and gently grabs you. "Amy, please wait, and calm down. Shei has said that he needs to do this alone, and those of us whom he told agreed to honor that wish regardless of what happens. I can't allow you to interfere."

As KP goes to the barracks, he sees the above unfolding with Amy (see Amy's post for other context).

As you head out, LJ nods. "I became acquainted with my own tribe's rituals well when I was a young calf, so when I was captured by Climbing-Fire, I had much trouble with learning the differences. Most were subtle, and so those gave me the most difficulty. Though I appreciate the nuance of our arts, sometimes I wonder if we're missing out on anything in the sheer brutish simplicity of the ponies."

"We could go back to your ship, but why don't we stay outside and watch the stars?" he suggests. "They'll be out soon."

The ballroom erupts into chaos and madness as the gigginox breaks in and tries to disrupt the melee. The debris from the crash buries you and Pheo, and throws up a cloud of dust, glass shards and bits of wood. The archer and knight are forced to dive for cover to avoid the attack, briefly losing your position as you're coated in debris.
>Shei 0/4
>Pheo 0/3
>Gigginox 1/4

You see Chorazin, her face now coated in blood from the impact, wrestle and twist back Miracle's arm. She manages to force the seal onto her chest, then leaps back. "Get him!" she shouts at her minions.
Chorazin's knight and battlemage try to dig you and Pheo out. [1d10+3] [1d10+3]
Miracle raises her hoof and points at Chorazin. The dancers' bodies start to contort, pulled and directed by unseen forces. Those closest to Chorazin swarm her with attacks. [3d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11 / Roll #3 8, 6, 7 + 1 = 22


KP looks around in confusion as Amy rushing in and Mirror trie to calm her down.
>"What's going on?"


Flow crosses his arms.
“Then this job is right up her alley. We’re going to Tartarus,” he says very bluntly.
“You might find a solution to your problem down there, and we could use your medical expertise to keep us alive down there.”

>>”The big one! E’ll win!”

>”I dunno… the smaller one might be able to deliver more consecutive blows.”



"He's going to die!" Amy shouts angrily at Mirror, shrugging off her hoof. "I don't care what he wants, I won't let him die. And you shouldn't either."

"You get it, don't you? He told you that because he knew he was going to die. He's killing himself on purpose. Y-you agreed to l-let Shei kill himself," Amy breaks down and starts crying. But, she quickly picks herself up and wipes her tears off.

"You wouldn't do that, right? You wouldn't just agree to letting someone kill themselves right in front of you, right? That's not something you honor! That's something you STOP!"

>Mantra of Equality [1d10+2]

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


Gjenganger gives it some thought. "Mmm. Very well. I doubt Zophie will have any disagreements."
Freischutz nods. "I like that quick decisveness. You know…"
"I told you I would give it some thought before I applied," Gjenganger says. "You offered it to me an hour ago. Please understand my concerns."

"Well hey, while we're here, why not place some bets on the contestants?" Sugar suggests.



"Shei is in Miracle's core!" Amy turns to KP, looking at him pleadingly. "Please, go get Pryce."


Gigginox tries to rise out of the rubble.
[1d10] get up from helpless
Shei and Pheo and thankfully dug out of the rubble

While in the hooves of Chorazin's knight Shei-Sher imparts to her these words "Chorazin you need an answer NOW. Why is it that you want Miracle! What have you gained from all the suffering wrought before us. How did you come up to this point. Only by making peace with what we are and what may come because of it will we a chance to survive this hideous turmoil."

Roll #1 5 = 5


Flaming looks at him, "That must have been hard. You did well to pick up on them at all." She nods approvingly, looking ahead as they walk. "I think our arts are fine as they are: they're disciplined, precise, and leave little room for mistakes. That's what makes us so strong as a people. Though I'll admit… away from home like this, I've gotten to appreciate the pony's sloppy, 'fun' variety of tradition. It's a nice break, huh?" She looks away, "Maybe… later though, just to make sure I haven't forgotten, you can remind me of exactly how we're SUPPOSED to do it. So I don't get sloppy."

As he suggests going back to the ship, her eyes open wide. "Oh! Oh! What if we go ON TOP of the ship? I've never been up there, I bet the view of the stars must be great! Let's do it!" She says as she grabs his hoof, and eagerly runs in the direction of the ship.


>"He's doing that again?"
KP says, surprised.
>"I hope he knows what he's doing..

>"I left him when he was still in Fantasia with River, I don't know if I can run there and back quick enough."


“Fair warning though. We’re gonna get put through the wringer once we’re inside. Heck, I doubt we’ll even be able to come out alive. Doesn’t matter that we’re the best of the best, we’re still going to go through some real hoops and boundries,” he says, with a stern look on his face.

Vice shakes his head.
>”Flow has all of our funds. I’m fine with personal bets, I have a feeling like we’ll lose more than we gain…”
>>”Ow about, I give ye a right whollop if ye lose, and vice versa, eh?”
>”Hmm…I accept.”



"He knows exactly what he's doing!" Amy screams at KP, angry that he doesn't understand the severity of the situation. Or doesn't care. "He's killing himself!"

"I don't have the ability to bring others into the core myself anyway. So, you'd have to wait to go in once more ponies are here. You can use that time to get him. I'm going in first to at least buy him time."


>"He wouldn't kill himself, I know Shei isn't that stupid. He may have done some dumb things, but he's grown a lot since the rapture days."
KP says, sounding like he doesn't want to acknowledge the possibility of death.
>"OK, I'll go find him as fast as I can."
KP says as he runs out back to Fantasia.


Mirror folds her arms. You can feel a heavy sense of frustration building up around her, similar to Amy's emotional buildups, or those of demons. "Amy… believe me when I understand that fear. I have known – far too many who have made that decision. The words he said to me were not those of one who was in that position. I have no reason to believe that that was his intention. So I am not going to move, nor am I going to reneg on my word to him."

As you return to the ship, you see Zjetya sitting atop the ship with Pryce's pet frog Hopper. She seems to be talking to it as if it were a child and she were a schoolteacher, while performing coin tricks in front of it. She doesn't notice you.
"…Maybe my romanticization of the ponies is a bit misplaced," LJ ponders in confusion.

"Well, let's back up a bit then," Gjanganger says. "Explain to me why you're seeking that place, what you intend to do in there, what we can expect to encounter, since you seem to know all of that."

"Loser buys the winner a snack?" Spitshine asks Sugar, who nods.
"I bet on the green one," Sugar says.
"I guess that gives me the green one."

>Gigginox's recovery fails
>Pheo's flash wears off
Chorazin is beset on all sides by a barrage of attacks. For each one she strikes, another attacks her from an unseen angle, tearing at her dress and bruising her.
"Now really isn't the time for this! I already have my answer!" Chorazin barks at you. "There's too many!"
She whistles to her spectral knights, and the two book it out of the room, carrying you and Pheo away from the violence toward one of the doors on the left end of the hall. Miracle's knights and the possessed dancers try to chase after you, but as you pass through the open doorway, Chorazin's mage turns and looses the spell it had charged up earlier at the top of the doorframe, causing it to collapse and block the pathway.

Given a moment to breathe, the knight and mage set you upright. "Alright, the first step is complete. I have the seal affixed to me. Now comes the risky part. We not only have to trick her into putting a seal onto another compatible target, we have to trick her into using the control spell not on that target, but on me. Shei? I believe it goes without saying that you're the one she's most likely to use it on, based on how quickly she tried to put the seal on your illusion."

>rolls will come next week



>spitshine votes on the red troll, not the green one



Amy glares angrily at Mirror. For a moment, her coat turns dark. Then, she takes a deep breath and looks at Mirror with a sort of thoughtful but tragic conviction. Her coat returns to normal.

"You know what happened between me and him, right? Then, right after that, he does this?" Amy shakes her head. "Even if that's not his intention, I can't let him die now. I can't let those be my last words to him."

Amy sighs. "What if… you didn't go back on your word on purpose? What if I forced you?"


Post sheets


File: 1523410560561.gif (1.75 MB, 400x255, shorthorns' roll.gif)





Last time on HQ…

As Shei's battle continued within Miracle's core, the conditions for victory became clear. In order for Chorazin to integrate herself with Miracle yet again, the two would have to trick Miracle's mindless shell into using the control spell on Chorazin while the seal is active on her. Vastly outnumbered, the two had to retreat from an onslaught of mind-controlled ponies, as well as Miracle's own spectral knights, and catch their breath.

Amy tried to persuade Mirror Image into allowing her to join Shei in the core. Mirror argued for Shei's wishes to battle her alone, but Amy would not back down from her position. Meanwhile, LJ's date with Flaming was winding down, as was Pryce's. Off in Zha, Flow met with old comrades and fellow hunters.

>Shei 5/4

>Pheo 4/3
>Gigginox 0/3


Mirror folds her arms and shakes her head, silent for a while. "I could not stop you from attempting to usurp me like that, I suppose… and in this weak stone vessel, with my powers still diminished from my recent near-death experience, I would likely not last long against you. I ask that you reconsider. This would result in unnecessary damage to you and I both, and is still an utter insult to his clear wishes for a purgatorial mission."

As you return to the ship, you see Zjetya sitting atop the ship with Pryce's pet frog Hopper. She seems to be talking to it as if it were a child and she were a schoolteacher, while performing coin tricks in front of it. She doesn't notice you.
"…Maybe my romanticization of the ponies is a bit misplaced," LJ ponders in confusion.

As KP runs out to return to Fantasia, he runs into Flaming and LJ. Upon seeing him, LJ taps KP's horn with his own. "Hey! Where's your older half and River gone? I want to know how you ponies traditionally end your dates."

>Gigginox's recovery fails
>Pheo's flash wears off
Chorazin is beset on all sides by a barrage of attacks. For each one she strikes, another attacks her from an unseen angle, tearing at her dress and bruising her.
"Now really isn't the time for this! I already have my answer!" Chorazin barks at you. "There's too many!"
She whistles to her spectral knights, and the two book it out of the room, carrying you and Pheo away from the violence toward one of the doors on the left end of the hall. Miracle's knights and the possessed dancers try to chase after you, but as you pass through the open doorway, Chorazin's mage turns and looses the spell it had charged up earlier at the top of the doorframe, causing it to collapse and block the pathway.

Given a moment to breathe, the knight and mage set you upright. "Alright, the first step is complete. I have the seal affixed to me. Now comes the risky part. We not only have to trick her into putting a seal onto another compatible target, we have to trick her into using the control spell not on that target, but on me. Shei? I believe it goes without saying that you're the one she's most likely to use it on, based on how quickly she tried to put the seal on your illusion."

Back in the dance hall, the spectral knight and archer waste no time assaulting the fallen Gigginox.
[1d10+2] Knight
[1d10+2] Archer

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #2 2 + 2 = 4



Amy stares at Mirror angrily for a while. She huffs and trembles. Then, she slowly calms down. Tears begin to roll down her eyes.

"I-is there at least some way I can talk to him… before he…?"



Flaming looks up on top of the ship at Zjetya, raising her eyebrows as she speaks to the frog. "That's… pretty weird, yeah. Even for ponies. I don't think they NORMALLY talk to frogs." She tugs on his hoof, "Come on, we can ask her what she's doing when we get up there…"

She pauses as KP comes running out, waving to him happily as LJ stops him short. "Yeah you know, that might actually be a good idea. The only date I ever went on didn't get to finish cause of Shei."


"Ah, that was only the first step.. This is quite embarassin, I should have save that little speech I made earlier hehehe."

"I will see what can be done and try to refrain from using the same tricks."
Shei-Sher puts on his kitty cat cloak and steps on through the hallway into the next room.

Pheo hides under Shei-Sher's cloak
And Giggles, Shei's Gigginox struggles to rise out of the rubble
[1d10] get up

Roll #1 9 = 9


KP stops as he sees Flaming and LJ, giving a short laugh as LJ taps his horn.
>"I don't know, I was just running out to look for him cause Amy was asking for everypony."
He explains. Then he thinks at LJ's question.
>"It depends. I know the first few dates usually end with a kiss goodnight, though that's usually when you bring her back to her house. That doesn't really work out the same when you both live in the same ship."

>"You've never been on one before? Huh, I thought you would have since you were determined on it."
KP comments, confused.




"You don't remember? I 'did' go on one before but it was with you… er, 'Big' Pryce. But we had to cut it short because of Shei's sabotage?"

She pauses, "Wait, Amy was asking for everypony? What for?"


Mirror lets out a soft gasp as you start to cry, her reluctance to deny your request palpable even as she stands against you. "Save those words for when he returns. I know that I am asking far too much of you right now…"
"Oh, quit it," Mocha interrupts, though uncertainty lies beneath her voice. "My grandfather wouldn't allow him to die. Not yet."
The others in the room appear troubled and divided.

"Well, let's back up a bit then," Gjanganger says. "Explain to me why you're seeking that place, what you intend to do in there, what we can expect to encounter, since you seem to know all of that."

"Loser buys the winner a snack?" Spitshine asks Sugar, who nods.
"I bet on the green one," Sugar says.
"I guess that gives me the red one."

The two trolls start their brawl in the center of the ring, swinging and bashing each other with fists and clubs.

LJ raises his eyebrows. "A kiss on the first date? How forward of these ponies."

Bloodied and scarred, the Gigginox rises despite the onslaught, shaking off the pile of rubble on its back.
>Gigginox 4/2
The Spectral Knights look at Miracle for further orders, but the angel floats there silently, in apparent contemplation of the situation. Then, without warning, she reaches for the gigginox, hoof aglow with the seal.

As the two of you return to the main hall, Chorazin pauses. All the attendants of the party have stopped dancing, and stand eerily straight side-by-side in pairs, male and female. Their bodies have become featureless and their skin snow-white. As Chorazin walks through the hall, the pairs float in place, bodies swivelling to follow her as she moves. Roll perception.

Roll #1 2 + 3 = 5


>"No, I meant 'one before the one with the big guy'."
KP re-explains.

KP takes a deep breath to tell Amy's situation.
>"Shei went into Miracle's Core again and Amy was all freaking out but everypony else seemed all calm so I'm not really sure what to do aside from telling you guys and the big guy if I can find him."

>"A kiss on the cheek. The real kiss usually comes around on the third."


Flow sighs.
"Basically, we're going to help a witch get down to some fountain of youth thing down there. Then we're gonna assassinate her. Not so plain and simple, to be honest. As if Tartarus itself won't be a pain in the ass to get through… Hope could tell you more than I can, to be honest, I'm just there to make sure that damn witch doesn't have enough power to control a nation."
He chuckles.
"It's funny. I never got thought we mercs would get mixed up in all this shit. Hell, I was there when all this crap started," he starts musing.

>"Sounds like a fair deal. I'll go for the red one."

>>"Then I'll go fer th' green one!"
The two goos start paying close attention to the arena, cheering whenever their troll gets a good hit in. Vice starts giving a play-by-play of the fight as it goes on.



Upon Mocha's speaking up, Amy suddenly looks determined and nods her head. "You're right. What am I doing? I don't care about those things! I just care about helping, no matter what!"

"I'm going in!" Amy says, looking to Mirror in a determined manner again. "Protect me, Nacho."

Amy is talking to Mocha.

She sits down to start trying to astral project.
>Prayer of Enlightenment to learn Astral Projection


Flaming blushes hotly as KP suggests a kiss, looking around as though trying to find something else to focus on. "Y-yeah, tell me about it… are all ponies in a rush or what?" She taps her hoof nervously, not stopping its tapping on the ground. "M-maybe… I don't know… if you don't WANT to do that part I guess it'd be okay to just kind of… wait on it?"

"AH! Oh, no, I just heard about them from Amy and thought they sounded neat, so I pushed Pryce into taking me on one so I can see what it was about. It was pretty fun but I never even knew about them before that."

As KP explains that Shei went into the core again, Shorthorn's eyes open wide and her jaw drops, "Wait, he did WHAT!? You have got to be…!" She grunts, grabbing at LJ's hoof, "Come on, come on, let's get in there before he kills himself! Pryce, go tell the others now!" With that, she rushes up the ramp into the ship.


[Revising that move]
The Gigginox bites Miracle's hoof and swings it's trunkish beast neck to redirect to one of Miracle's knights.

Shei-Sher conjures Pupil's spirit to appraise the Attendants
[1d10+1] appraise
[1d10+1] perception check

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #3 10 + 1 = 11


"Say Chorazin, Why must we put a seal on another entity? What do you have planned?"


>"Okay! I'll try to find them as fast as I can!"
KP says as he continues back on his run to Fantasia.


"That's not even close to–!" Mocha starts to protest. Yet, as you start to channel the power to astral project, Mirror roughly grabs you by the shoulders. "Amy! If you do this, you're going to endanger the both of you far more than you could imagine, don't you understand that? This is the last warning I can offer you – I can't go in there to save you if things get worse!"

As you head into the ship, you see the above scene unfolding. Most of the ship's crew is gathered in the barracks, Shei is unconscious on the floor before Miracle's core, and Mirror is berating Amy.

As KP returns to the city yet again, he realizes that most of the party is back at the ship right now. Only Buiwong's servants would still be out there. Roll perception if seeking one.

The gigginox manages to throw off Miracle's attack before it can connect, but the knights leap backward from the thrashing frenzy. Miracle wrenches herself free, and attempts to stab at the thrashing gigginox with her banner, still weakened by Chorazin's earlier spell.

"Her logic circuits should recognize that the two spells are dependent on one another. You can't activate the control spell on anything that isn't marked by the seal, right?" Chorazin replies. "I have the seal on myself, but I don't know if she'll use the spell on me. Her ability to recognize me fades in and out, as I said earlier, but she recognized you immediately. And besides, tricking her into using the seal on me is the fastest way to end the battle. The longer it goes on, the greater the risk that we face of her invoking her strongest abilities, the ones she used to end the last battle."


As you head down the western hallway to return to the ballroom, you see more of the silhouette-like pairs waiting for you. Suddenly, their bodies start to break down into thin strips of white and grey, floating upward and downward. The strips float toward the double-door at the back of the hallway, and begin to seal it, folding themselves over where the two halves of the door meet. More of the strips float across the ground, and start to converge on your position.

Chorazin starts to groan and clutch her head. "Damnit… damnit, wait, wait!"

Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8



"How could things possibly get worse?" Amy responds defiantly before she goes back to attempting to project.

[1d10] to project
>honestly, kind of hoping I fail

Roll #1 6 = 6


>actually, that gets a +2, in case that matters


The two trolls beat each other in a continuous stream of grunts and half-articulated curses. It's not until the green one knocks the red one's club out of his hands that the green one seems to get the advantage. But as the red one backs off, the green one slips on the fallen club, and the red one presses his advantage to throw the green one out of the ring, claiming victory.

Gjenganger nods. "I'll speak with him once the two of us are in touch. Where is he now?"


KP looks around the city fruitlessly as he can't spot his adult self anywhere.
>"They wouldn't be out too late, right? Maybe I just missed him, he can fly now so that's a whole 'nother dimension of travel."
Before heading back, KP does consider if he can spot any of the new friends they made, the new Buiwong gang seem to get around enough and looked pretty perceptive.
>Track Down [1d10]
>If KP can't find anyone he'll head back to the ship

Roll #1 3 = 3


"I'm here!" Flaming proclaims loudly as she arrives in the room, looking ahead at the scene before her as Shei lays unconscious and Amy prepares to enter the core. "Damn it, that IDIOT is really… Mirror, Amy, I came to help! Tell me what I can do to help, I'm ready!"

She pauses, looking at Mirror as Amy prepares to join Shei, "I'm late, what's happened so far? Why are you yelling at Amy, Mirror?"



Before Amy projects, she looks to Flaming and quickly says, "Stop Mirror from stopping me."


"Ah so it is a decoy you want to give Miracle a reason to use that spell for Control? Then, I should have mentioned earlier. That I have the brand carved onto my the flesh of my back, though I do not think Miracle has realized this."

Shei-Sher runs toward the door being sealed "Hmm." Wrapping a paper with a prepared symbol onto the hammer of his staff "This might stun them." Shei slams the blunt surface off his hammerstaff onto the door.
[1d10] Spellbreaker

The Gigginox jumps into the air and flies out of the room.
[1d10] escape

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 7 = 7


The core unfolds before you as your soul leaves behind your body. Within the core is a realm of pitch black, populated only by thin, golden rings, each massive in diameter, the size of castles. Within each of the rings, you see scenes unfolding, mostly mundane in content – you surmise they are memories. Yet many of the rings are also coated in a gray film, with metal clustering about them like coagulated blood. Within some of the scenes, you see grayfaced ponies, their bodies featureless and meaningless, frozen within the memories.

Ego shudders within you as a cold and familiar presence beats deeper within the darkness. "Further in," Ego whispers. "I don't think she's noticed us yet."

Mirror gently lowers Amy's unconscious body. You see Amy's eyes are filmed over, which Mocha quickly shuts.
"It's too late," Mirror spits. "She's projected her soul into Miracle's core, despite Shei's wishes and despite my copious warnings of the danger! There's nothing we can do for them anymore."
"This kind of behavior is going to get all of you killed in Tartarus, divine intervention or no," Observer comments, entering the room from his lab. "That is no exaggeration. Her lack of cooperation is truly concerning."

With no leads, you're forced to return to the ship.

"I don't know if that will be enough. Not only would a purely physical brand lack the magical energy of the seal proper, at the end of the previous fight, she mutated the seal, and now it no longer looks like yours," Chorazin says. She gestures to the seal on her chest, and indeed you see that it has been changed, now bearing a septagram, no longer resembling Gabriele's seal.

As you break the seal on the door, the strips that floated toward you earlier have gathered around your legs, sealing themselves tightly around your limbs. You sense the cat cloak's effect diminishing as Chorazin wrenches open the doors, returning the two of you to the ballroom.

Miracle stabs the Gigginox with the pointed end of the banner, but the gigginox maintains and manages to fly out into the night sky.

"I'll draw the dancers away from you out into the gardens," Chorazin whispers, leaning against the wall of the corridor. "You concentrate on getting her to use the seal on you again."


KP heads back to the ship, walking up into the barracks and looking around to everypony.
>"I couldn't find anypony else out in town. …What do we do now?"



"I don't care either way," Amy comments angrily.

She storms her way further in, looking for Shei.

[1d10] to find him

Roll #1 6 = 6


Flaming looks to Amy as she asks her favor, the young friend's eyes glowing with determination as she nods her head affirmatively, "Got it! Just leave it to me…"

She moves over towards Amy's side as her astral projection completes, sending her into the core as well, and looks over towards Mirror as Mocha closes her eyes.
"But she HAD to, Mirror! We can't just leave Shei in there, even if he IS being a dummy biting off more than he can chew, he's our friend! Our CLAN. We gave him no end of grief for refusing to take us in there before, we shouldn't let him do it alone this time."

Flaming looks over at Observer, "Well if they're in so much danger, then send me in there too, I can help! Shei and Amy need a cool head like mine… and I never thought I'd use that to describe myself… to balance them out, right?!"


Seeing his Godmother's seal changed from a claw to septagram really strikes a chord with Shei
"That bitch." He hisses

>"You concentrate on getting her to use the seal on you again."

"Wait, Chorazin, if these things are made from the fabric of dreams then I can reshape them. Do you have a way to transmit of single use of my spell onto a range of multiple targets?"

Shei-Sher runs steadfast toward the opened end of the hallway and Pheo rises from his cloak releasing a flash of light that momentarily covers Shei's next move from sight.
>Blinding Flare: Recharge 2; A dazzling display of light blinds foes, Dazing them and lowering their damage by half.

Shei-Sher takes a broken piece of glass from his bag, a fragment of one of his vials, and as he runs close enough to the end of the hall he kickslides down the polished floor. Gliding the piece of glass through the strip of attendant latched on his leg. Shei-Sher slides into the ballroom and out from under Chorazin and the Attendant that had a grip on him.
[1d10] for that escape from being cornered to work

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 9 = 9


Vice grins.
>"It looks like you lost your bet," Vice says, with a smug aura around him.
>>"Oh piss off! The bloke slipped on 'is bloody club, that wasn't fair!"
>"A deal's a deal, my friend."
Trapper grumbles as he sits back down.

"He was en route to Fantasia, if I remember right… The boy's grown quite a bit," he remarks, somberly.


As you proceed further into the memories, you eventually reach a ring from which the cold and familiar presence radiates most heavily. It is a scene of a villa by the sea, with green hills behind it and stars above it. You see that the villa is heavily damaged in the back, by a garden with a hedge maze, and see Shei's gigginox flying out of the back of the damaged villa. Instinctively, Ego urges your body forward, and you dive into the memory as if leaping through a window. Your hooves hit the grassy hill once you enter.

"Send you in? I shall not," Observer answers obstinately. "Unlike Mirror Image, I am not easily swayed, and I shall honor Shei's stated desire to handle this on his own or to die trying."
The others grow indignant at Observer's response, murmuring discontently.
"You all need to let Shei's idiocy go," Onion warns. "Who cares what he wanted if it's gonna end in his demise?"
"He sees it as a chance of redemption," Rus comments. "I believe that is worth honoring. It's an opportunity afforded to few, and his desire for it was genuine."

"No, I don't! And think before you run out into the crowd!" Chorazin scolds as you slide out. You slice the strips away from your legs, freeing yourself as you move through the cover of the flash. As Pheo reveals herself to use the flash, the Archer and Knight spring into action.
Miracle waits, scanning the area. Chorazin uses the opportunity to rush around the other side of the ballroom, slashing and striking at the dancers. "Over here! Come and get me!" she bellows as she rampages through the ballroom. The dancers converge on her as she moves toward the back of the shattered building.

"We all have," Gjenganger says grimly. "Even when he was young, his was the soul of an old one after it happened. He is the one I will worry about the most."
Sugar sticks her tongue out at Spitshine. "Fine, what do you want?"
"Mmm… some honey and bread," Spitshine says.
"Really? That's so basic!" Sugar argues before getting up.
"In my defense I could never have much candy as a kid."

Your mark starts to glow red, signaling that you're up next in the fight. However, you don't see another contestant in the ring yet.

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11



"Well, there's the Giggletox. But, where's Shei?" Amy comments out loud as she looks around.

She cautiously approaches Gigganox to see what its doing and whether there is anyone else (especially Shei) in the area. [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


"I…worry for him as well. I haven't seen him in years, it just feels wrong to get back into it so easily…"
He looks down at his mark, and down to the arena.
"Well, looks like I'm up, lad. I'll see you soon."
He makes a beeline for the entrance to the arena, not wanting to make a flashy or late appearance.

>>"Ye've never 'ad candy before lad? Hoo boy, do I have some recommendations for you!"

He starts listing off the exotic treats Flow has eaten through his travels.


>"So we're just stuck waiting until he's out. I know he won't be stupid but he could have picked a better time."
KP hops up onto one of the beds to sit.


Flaming growls, "I'm gonna bash SOMETHING's head in the next minute, so it can either be yours, or whatever's threatening my family in that core." She gives a mostly empty threat in an attempt to intimidate into getting her way.

She turns to look at the others, giving a scowl towards Onion, "I don't let my friends make dumb decisions without me. We're all in this together, that's how we've made it this far." She turns towards Rus, her expression softening, "He does? I'm glad… at least he recognizes what he did before was so wrong he thinks he needs to make up for it. But he's not going to redeem anything if he gets killed. He needs me, Rus, both he and Amy do. So please," she turns to Observer. "Let me in there."


"Being in a corner is disadvantageous."

"Speaking of, Mirror Image, get to a dry area!" >I assume the ballroom is still covered in pools of water from the storm I summoned earlier.

Shei-Sher climbs atop a stack of rubble where it is dry and he has a clear view of the entire area. With his breath Shei bellows a sulphurous brume onto the Archer and Knight attacking PHeo
>Sulphureous Brume: Recharge 2; Ranged; Pick two targets; This effect spreads a mist around those targets which will either increase their damage received by 2 for 2 turns, or reduce their damage dealt by 2 for 2 turns. Effect is chosen when cast.

Then Shei-Sher unfastens his cloak and looks directly and Miracle.

The gigginox looks at Amy and motions toward the ballroom at the Villa. The Gigginox then flies out to circle above it. unless Amy wants to ride the Gigginox cuz that's cool too.

Roll #1 3 = 3


another roll
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;
Shei-Sher also freezes the water surrounding Miracle's Knight's hooves freezing them in place at it's spot

Pheo also tries to dodge the knights attacks because, might as well use the roll.

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 10 = 10



"Take me to him," Amy says with a nod to the gigginox.

>ridin dat bitch



As you enter the arena, a slithering sound creeps up behind you. Countless thin black scraps of flesh inch their way along the ground from behind you, gathering at the far end of the arena, exuding extreme heat. They build up onto one another, folding until they form a tall and lean reptillian body. You recognize this as Salamander, one of the marks on your bounty posters. He smiles once he's fully formed, and smacks his lips. "You're my opponent, eh? I wonder which is going to come out on top, then."

"Half of those don't even sound like food!" Spitshine exclaims.
Sugar comes back with a bowl of candied treats for the two of them to share. Spitshine eats one and nods approvingly.

"You clearly have not travelled with me long enough if you believe mere brute force can sway me," Observer says. "Even should this physical vessel of mine should break, I shall not leave this world til my curiosity is sated. Now, do show your comrade some respect and let him puzzle it out on his own. Or ram your head against the wall, whatever's more fun."

As Amy approaches the villa, she sees a tall, injured mariposan mare with a pink coat, a dancer's dress and a saber run out of the back of the damaged building. Chasing her are two dozen ghostly ponies, their bodies white and featureless, gradually dissolving into strips of black and white. The strips attempt to wrap around the mare as she runs into the storm, but she continually slices them away, only to be attacked from the sides by the encroaching swarm of ponies.

Under a swarm of attacks, Pheo barely manages to escape, albeit with many injuries.
>Pheo 1/3
Your spell fails, as Miracle fixes you with a haunting red glare. You sense a powerful energy starting to build within her. As she conducts, a cloud of knives appears above her, and streams toward you.
>On success, roll 2 dodges, instant
The Knight throws his sword at you, while the Archer tries to shoot down Pheo.

Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13 / Roll #2 3 + 3 = 6 / Roll #3 3 + 3 = 6


[1d10] Shei dodge
[1d10] Pheo dodge

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 1 = 1


>(RACIAL)Goatcraft: passive; Min -1 for all climbing and agility rolls, and can use anything as food, including non-food items


Shei-Sher is repulsed be the power of Miracle's sight affixed to him. But Shei-Sher reels his head back with tenacity and meets her glare back with fiery tenacity.
>CURSE OF IRON+1: Recharge 3; Heats up the weapons and armour of the target to a red hot blaze, burning those who touch them. Disarms the target as well as deals damage, and makes their weapons impossible to pick up for a turn afterwards. Autocrits heavily armoured targets.

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


Flaming grunts, snorting out of her nostrils as Observer remains adamant. She takes a deep, calming breath, letting her rage/anxiety subside for a moment, and approaches him slowly.

"Observer, I deserve to go in there… I was there saving Chorazin's core, on the frontlines, putting my life in danger against the Metatron that came after just to try and get her to come back from being Miracle. I was trying to help her long before Shei tried to enslave her to his will. This isn't just about Shei's honor… it's about mine too. So if you really care about respect, how about you give a thought as to how I feel about this?"


>"Is there a way you could show us what's going on in there? Did Shei say anything about not doing that?"
KP suggests as a middle ground.


Shei-Sher stands his ground atop the mound of rubble, like a Goat. And unfurls his deepest love and antipathy towards Miracle.
His rage melts Miracle's equipment onto her body and melded with the polished floor. Her armor is shaped around her like a large metal conductor.
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12



Amy wonders briefly whether this pony is another memory. Then, she decides there's no time to make such a decision. She jumps off Gigginox to defend the pony.

As she jumps, she releases a blast of holy flames.
>Wrath on the strips of bad stuff [1d10+3]

Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11


Flow nods in approval.
"Sorry, but the outcome was decided before it began."
He takes out the Spinsaw, and runs the Glove of the Cloudsmith over it, applying ice to it.
"Cause I don't lose, son."

>"Hmm…Flow's opponent looks tough to get close to. His goo might start evaporating if he gets too close."

>>"Tha's because ye need t' travel more, lad!" he cheerfully exclaims to Spitshine.

Roll #1 7 = 7


Shei-Sher's gigginox flies into the scene through one of the broken windows and lets go a thunderous roar that cascades lightning onto the water on the floor and conducts onto Miracle's melted armor.

Pheo soars into the metal conductor, melding her spirit with it to aid in the utter frying of Miracle and everyone stepped into the shallow area of water that covers the ballroom floor, now charged with electricity.
>Malleable Morphology: Passive; Fusing with any small-sized object becomes Automatic; if it is a weapon, it gains the Fire element and +1 to all actions done while using it. Can be used outside combat to meld into larger objects and interact with them (with reasonable limits varying by object size). If the object is broken, Pheo loses 1 wound and is ejected automatically.

Roll #1 9 = 9


Pheo roll for fusing with the Conductor of metal wrapped around miracle

Roll #1 8 = 8


You barely duck under the sword toss, but Miracle directs the stream of knives with her hooves as though conducting an orchestra, and they curve around the rubble to slice through your body and Pheo's.
>Shei 0/3
>Pheo 0/2

The tremendous white noise barrier that surrounds Miracle yields only after you push almost all of your energy into the attack, allowing Pheo a moment to fuse with her. Miracle's joints fuse together for a moment from the melting, holding her in place for the lightning attack. Quickly switching to the defensive, Miracle twists her limbs free of the temporary melting as darkness begins to shroud the area.

[1d10+3] Darkness That Can be Felt

The Archer shoots at the Gigginox [1d10+3]
Meanwhile, the Knight is paralyzed for the round

As you blast away the stips, the mare stops and looks at you in shock. "Amy?" she asks, and you recognize her voice as Miracle's, only no longer distorted and metallic. "Okay, this may turn things in our favor. You're inside my memories… what little are left. Can you follow orders?"

"Do you think that I am alone in this decision?" Observer asks. "Shei's gods, those to whom he still holds loyalty, are watching him. There are those beyond us who also seek to see if he can triumph over this on his own, something that Amy has already disregarded. I can allow you to see it, if that is enough for you."

You quickly apply the ice to the spinsaw. As Spitshine and Sugar glance over the railing, they fall quiet.
"That's our mark," Spitshine says.
"Well, let's go in for the kill before Flow can have all the fun," Sugar says.
"But how can you kids accomplish that without disrupting the rest of the competition?" Renee asks. "Vice, Trapper, any ideas?"

Roll #1 2 + 3 = 5 / Roll #2 7 + 3 = 10


>Forgot to add:
A bell rings, and the match begins. Yet, Salamander stands there casually with a shit-eating grin, making no effort to attack.



Amy does a double take as she simultaneously realizes this is Miracle and that Miracle is asking for HELP from Amy. "I-I," she stutters in confusion. "Th-that depends. Will it keep Shei alive?"


Flaming takes a moment to collect herself, "I would say that MY god wouldn't approve of me just standing by and watching my friends fight when I can, and should, help… but I can tell from your tone how serious you… and 'he'…. is about this." She grunts, "Fine then. At least let us see what is going on in there. But," she points a hoof, "If anything happens to Shei or Amy, just a warning: I'm going to be very, VERY upset."


The attacks momentary fatigues Shei-Sher, he drops to his side, while summoning the energy to go on. his Pheonix beside him doing the very same.
[1d10] Shei get up
[1d10] Pheo get up

Shei's Gigginox swoops by Shei-Sher and Pheo and picks them up by each end of the Gigginox's mouth. It then flies out of the Ballroom and into the garden.

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 10 = 10 / Roll #3 7 = 7


>"See, we got a nice compromise."
KP says, sitting eagerly in wait at what they'll see.


"Not only that, if we're successful, he'll receive that power which Miracle stole from him," the mare says. "And before you ask, I am Chorazin, the pony whom your would-be guardian angel turned into an angel against my will."

As Shei and Pheo recover, the gigginox pulls them both to safety, out in the rainy garden by Amy and Chorazin. Behind you is a hedge maze, while Miracle and the spectral knights recover on their own. Miracle, her body recovering from the earlier attacks, raises her hooves to the side, both hooves glowing with the seal.
"If we can trick Miracle into using the control spell on me, I might be able to integrate myself with her once again, only with her thoroughly under my control, and not driven by the madness for revenge that clouded my thinking earlier," Chorazin explains. She gestures to the seal on her chest, a septagram design. "But, to do that, we're going to need a second target to be hit with the seal first. She doesn't fully recognize me as a different entity from her, except for a few seconds after I attack her. Then she forgets me as if I was never there. But Shei, she recognized instantly, and quickly tried to put the seal on him. She'll want to possess one of you in order to overshadow your bodies out in the physical world."

Observer leads you both to his lab, and picks out a grinning pony's skull, coated in cobwebs, from the table. Observer whispers something into the skull, and it chuckles. The skull opens its mouth, and a hypnotic swirl of purple and red smoke pours out onto the floor. Within the smoke, you can see the battle in the core unfolding (see above and past posts).


Flow takes the extra time to focus on himself while his opponent is waiting.
>Vision of Grandeur
>I Dream of Strength

>"He's just standing there…"

>"Er…I think the organizers of this event might sic everyone on us if we just go in…"
>>"I'm sure the lad realizes e's yers, and he might spare im'!"

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 9 = 9


Flaming lets out a grumble, "Climbing Fires do NOT compromise… but I don't have a choice this time."

She follows Observer to his lab as he prepares the skull, watching it bellow out a swelling smoke that eventually gives them a clear vision of the battle below.

"Shei, and Amy! They're both alright!" She says with a sigh of relief, before looking between the two other figures. "I recognize Miracle for sure, but that other pony… who is that?" She searches her mind for answers, and a spark of intuition springs forth. "Wait… is… could 'that' be Chorazin?"


>"Whoa, so this is what it looks like inside an angel?"
KP asks aloud as they peer inside the smoke.


The Gigginox arrives in the garden landing near Amy and Mirror Image with Shei-Sher in tow. The Gigginox sets Shei-Sher against a hedge for him to lean his back on while he sits. He appears fatigued and beaten.

"Oh look, my dog in shiny armor came to save me hehehe" He chuckles to himself as he momentarily drifts out of consciousness and wakes up again. "Mm. Thank you.." He sounds sincerely.


Salamander casually lays on his side, propping himself up with one clawed hand. "Just come at me whenever you're finished using your spells on yourself. Unlike you, I'm an assassin with a sense of professionalism, so I've already made my setup."

Some in the crowd chuckle at these taunts.
"While all this goes on, I suggest you kids try and find the other marks," Tantra says. "Flow might do the dirty work on this one, but he can't do it for you forever."
"Hmm…" Spitshine hums. "Vice, Trapper? Whaddya think?"


Shei-Sher picks himself up and slaps his face a couple times to wake up. Then he fastens the kitty cat stealth cloak again.
"I gather you destroyed plenty of those dancers Mirror? They are going to be very useful. I will leave for the moment, I need to collect as many as those corpses as I can. I layed a devastating blow to Miracle, while she rests there is time to prepare."

"I plan to fashion the bodies of those dancers into a replica of myself. And hopefully it will not wish to eat our bones."

With that Shei-Sher begins edging along by the hedges towards any corpses of the dancers he can find.



Amy frowns as Chorazin explains herself. "I'm sorry all of this happened to you. I hope we can make it at least just a little better."

Then, Shei arrives. Amy looks down at him sitting in the ground. Without saying a word and a stern expression on her face, she pops a potion into his mouth.

>Natural Remedy [1d10+3]

"I don't really get what you mean," Amy says to Chorazin as she stares down the approaching Miracle. "But, if you need me to seem like a threat, I can do that."

Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8


Flow looks into the crowd, directly at Vice and Trapper, and nods. He then starts making his way forwards.

>>"Ah piss…looks like we're being called into action."

>"If he's going to do this…you two had better find a new mark…I think he's serious about killing this one himself."


After a moment to gasp from drinking down that potion Shei comments "Let the record show that I do not approve of this but I am grateful for the assistance." the goat then finishes the potion.

"Please don't risk your life unless you've thought something through. Miracle is nearly impenetrable and for now we have time to think things through."



"That's your job."


"It must be," Mocha says, peering into the smoke as well. "Well, I wouldn't really know. There's only so much I know about the soul and the mind, but I know that the two are always linked."

>Shei 8/4
"One of you has to do it," Chorazin says. "I don't care which. A replica might be worth a temporary distraction, but she'll catch on soon enough."
"Careful, Shei, those things aren't mere scraps of matter for you to manipulate – those are part of our memories!" Chorazin warns before Shei leaves. "Even when dissolved like that, they still have a life of their own!"
As Shei approaches, Miracle floats out into the grassy field between the hedges and the villa, and the knights follow. The bodies of the featureless dancers are hollow and broken, made up of scraps of black and white, a seemingly-metallic material of indeterminate nature. As Shei approaches, the scraps react, fluttering slowly toward his position. Miracle doesn't seem to notice, gaze fixated on Amy.

Salamander hops up as Flow approaches, holding his arms wide as if ready to give a hug. "From what I've heard of you, this isn't your usual style. Is there something you want to say to me? Or perhaps do you want to make a wager, anything to make this more than a one-sided beatdown?"



"Right." Shei-Sher acknowledges with a bit of his perk back.


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Last time on HQ…
>Shei 8/4
>Pheo 4/2
>Gigginox 1/2

Shei, Amy and Chorazin continued their battle against the mindless, golem-like shell of Miracle, briefly regrouping while Miracle and her spectral knights recovered from Shei's last attack. Miracle vastly outclassed the three of them, yet Chorazin believed that, if Miracle could be tricked into using the control spell on her, then Chorazin would be able to integrate herself with Miracle's shell and finally get proper control over her.

KP and Flaming had no other choice of action but to watch, given Observer's refusal to allow them into the core, citing faith in Buiwong to keep the two alive until some greater purpose called.

Flow was about to begin his arena battle against Salamander, the latter seeming extremely confident in his own abilities.

"It must be," Mocha says, peering into the smoke as well. "Well, I wouldn't really know. There's only so much I know about the soul and the mind, but I know that the two are always linked."

>Shei 8/4
"One of you has to do it," Chorazin says. "I don't care which. A replica might be worth a temporary distraction, but she'll catch on soon enough."
"Careful, Shei, those things aren't mere scraps of matter for you to manipulate – those are part of our memories!" Chorazin warns before Shei leaves. "Even when dissolved like that, they still have a life of their own!"
As Shei approaches, Miracle floats out into the grassy field between the hedges and the villa, and the knights follow. The bodies of the featureless dancers are hollow and broken, made up of scraps of black and white, a seemingly-metallic material of indeterminate nature. As Shei approaches, the scraps react, fluttering slowly toward his position. Miracle doesn't seem to notice, gaze fixated on Amy.

Salamander hops up as Flow approaches, holding his arms wide as if ready to give a hug. "From what I've heard of you, this isn't your usual style. Is there something you want to say to me? Or perhaps do you want to make a wager, anything to make this more than a one-sided beatdown?"



Amy stares down Miracle angrily as she slowly but steadily approaches her. "Are you Miracle?" she asks sternly. "I hear you've been mean to my boyfriend. That means I have a responsibility to make you apologize."


“Sure,” Flow says nonchalantly, “I’ll give you a handicap.”
He grabs his front right leg and removes it, tossing it on the ground when he’s finished.

Both Vice and Trapper look down at the arena with worry.
>>”What’s the bugger thinkin up now?”
>”I doubt he’s thinking up anything…”
Vice looks around his shoulders at the crowd around him.
>”Something don’t feel right,” he muses.


Before Shei-Sher takes off he says "Distract her minions, and if you can leave Miracle to Chorazin. One misstep is all takes for us to slip into death."

Shei-Sher then leaves to gather together the scraps of a destroyed dream puppet that Chorazin killed earlier. Enough to make another puppet his height.


Flaming smiles, "So Chorazin WAS in there… I knew it! I knew she could be saved from Miracle."

She watches the actions unfolding in the smoke carefully, watching Amy and Shei moving in on the scrap-like dancers. "Can you tell what's going on in there though? Who are they fighting against, and why?"



The bottle Amy gave Shei magically refills for Shei to take another drink.

[1d10+3] Natural Remedy

Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8


KP says in awe as they watch the events unfold.
>"Too bad they're fighting in there. It looks like a nice place."


Chorazin walks alongside you carefully. "She can't see me except for a few seconds after I attack her, but just as quickly forgets that I'm here. It's almost as if I'm her shadow. Be on your guard."


Miracle floats closer, showing only superficial damage on her chassis. Both of her forehooves glow with what Amy can see is a cruel parody of Shei's seal, a magic circle filled with a septagram, sealed with a butterfly design. She reaches toward Amy, inviting her closer, but taking no aggressive action. Both knights stand by, weapons lowered.

As you get closer, Miracle holds a hoof out, brimming with the seal's magic, inviting you to take it. Chorazin grips her saber tighter, hooves slightly trembling.

>Shei 8/5

You gather a small pile of scraps, which slowly converge on your limbs with a somewhat sticky texture, but are easy enough to brush off.

"It is a represenatation of the soul, Chorazin's soul, corrupted by the fusion procedure which Mirror Image inflicted upon her," Observer explains. "All souls are like this, though they are obviously unique to each person. The depths of the soul are brimming with memories, spirits, voices of the past. Indeed, the landscape of the soul is the sum total of one's life. Each of those adversaries that has attacked them is someone that Chorazin knew, but likely no longer. The corpse of the Vipaka has tainted much of her mind, but much remains. It will only be if they can vanquish Miracle that the rest of the memories can hope to be intact."

Salamander's cocky grin strains as you rip off your limb and throw it on the ground. "You mistake me for a lesser fighter, slimeball. I don't mean in body, but in mind. I have already killed my pride and my ego. I don't care for any of this trash talk."

He says that, but an engorged vein in his forehead suggests otherwise. "Now – are you done trying to psych me out and gonna swing already?"


“The only mistake here is deciding to go easy on you, sonny,” he says with a grin.
“In fact, I’m gonna cut you a deal,” he says while he throws back his hood.
Flow unsheathes Schlangenschwert, and smooshes his head into his body, and rests the sword on his shoulder, now standing tall and headless. He starts focusing intensely on his surroundings.

>”Oh man, he’s really going for it…”

>>”Scuse me Tantra, can ye make sure the kids are safe? I ave’ a feeling at what e’s plannin,” he says with a smirk.


Shei determines he has a enough. He hunches behind a large hedge and begins feeding the pile of scraps his aura, helping it become more "at one" with the fabric so it won't recognize him as a threat anymore.
>SPELLBREAKER: recharge 2, spell, ranged; nullify a spell or magic effect

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


Flaming's eyes glance slightly in Mirror's direction as Observer explains it to her, but then focuses back on the image before her. "I think I understand… so each of those enemies are… memories. Part of who Chorazin is." She flops her ears down, "Does that mean, for everyone of those opponents they strike down, will Chorazin forget someone? Even someone important to her?"

She looks around the smoke until her focus goes onto the image of Miracle herself, "There she is! So all they have to do is vanquish that one?"

She looks up with worry, "How strong is she in there? Compared to the one we fought."


>"I wonder if that was my soul then…"
KP mutters in reflection.

>"So the longer this fight goes on the more of her memories will be ruined?"



Amy looks at Miracle with a tilted head at first. When she realizes that Miracle is offering the seals to her, she looks to Chorazin with a raised eyebrow. She gestures her head as if to say to be ready. Amy has faith that Chorazin will be smart and fast enough to intercept the seal.

Amy walks up to miracle and puts her hoof out as if she's going to accept the seal.

[1d10] for deception or whatever might be needed

Roll #1 8 = 8


from this angle you can see Shei-Sher beside a head, he is waving his hooves in a crossing motion, frantically in fact, and moving the words STOP repeatedly. Can you even make that out from here?



Many in the crowd start to laugh audibly as you further mutilate yourself. Salamander now steps back, chortling into his palm. "Where could you possibly be going with this? How many handicaps are you even going to give me, eh?"
"What? He's going for what?" Renee asks, curious as she is nervous.
Tantra nods, and as the two kids come back from the snack bar (to fulfil their bet after the last fight), he hooks them under his forearms for safekeeping.

"From what I have heard from LJ's precious Lord, she will forget them as they are in that moment," Observer answers. "A smile here, a drink by the water there, a dress, a laugh among friends, those moments will be gone as those fragments are destroyed. For Chorazin to lure Miracle into this memory suggests that there are too many others she would not risk erasing."
LJ looks at Observer in confusion. "What do you mean you learned it from Buiwong?"
"This is not the place for such a discussion," Observer replies, glancing at the lab's entrance. He shuts the door.

"There is no worth in bothering with a comparison of mere strength," Observer says. "She is as strong as when you fought her before; that is to say, there is no chance that they will survive a drawn-out battle. On the chance that Miracle sustains sufficient damage, she can activate her ultimate ability, ending the battle in a grim slaughter.

"Yet they have a far greater chance than before; Miracle is now a mindless golem without Chorazin's consciousness subsumed within her, and is only operating on her last logical directive: to defend Mariposa."

You successfully nullify the material. It no longer coagulates around you, yet remains a potent material for alchemizing.


There is a light pause as the three of you look at one another. Miracle's eyes, despite their red glow, are dull and dead. Your glance is caught by a momentary flicker of the seal's light, and it vanishes. Miracle suckerpunches you with her free hoof, dazing you for a moment as she tries to grab you by the throat.

>Amy 3/5

Miracle grab [1d10+3]
"You BITCH!" Chorazin snarls, stabbing upward at Miracle's arm with her saber. [1d10+3]
Miracle's archer shoots at Chorazin. [1d10+3]

Chorazin's knight tries to rush the archer. [1d10+3]

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11 / Roll #3 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #4 8 + 3 = 11


“Enough to make this fun,” he says calmly.
As he starts walking forwards, a hazy mirage starts forming around him, like as if his form was split into multiple parts. His missing head and arm seem to be appearing and fading as well.
>Parting of Waters
>Flow2: 3/1
>Flow3: 3/1

Meanwhile, Vice and Trapper’s forms melt into the ground.


>"I hope they can finish this quick then. They can't save her if she runs out of memories."



"Fine, DON'T apologize," Amy says angrily as she uses Wrath to escape Miracle's hold.

[1d10+3] Wrath

Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10



I meant to say "coughs".


"You spoke with Buiwong too?" She grimaces, "Why am I getting the feeling like everyone's talking to that slimy creep except me?" She shakes her head. "But, at any rate, so that's how it works… I guess that's why they look like bits of scrap like that. I'd prefer her not to lose 'any', but I suppose a hello or goodbye lost is worth it if they can free her entirely."

She grimaces, "I understand… so she's every bit the monster in terms of strength as when we fought her, but she can't use it effectively so long as Chorazin is separated from her." she growls, "I still wish I was in there, even without a mind to use it Miracle's strength is terrifying. But that might just be all the advantage they need as long as they can avoid her attacks."


Shei-Sher craves out two sets of circles onto the grass with his staff along with a complex of double helixes weaving throughout the two circles. He puts the pile of scraps on one circle and then sits on the other and begins meditating. He tries to see through his eye lids as they are shut, and seeing himself sitting before him in the other circle.

>TINKER: Can repair broken objects, restore negative quality weapons to +0, fix up worn down loot to make it more valuable or get a poorly working mechanism back into shape.

[1d10+1] to repair the scraps into a body

>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session; Forge a small- to medium-sized object out of a natural elemental source, such as water or earth. If this object is a weapon, it carries the elemental properties* of the material it was made from and is +1 quality on a critical forging roll. Objects made with this skill disappear after a few hours. If this skill is used to make Bits or fake documents, they are obviously counterfeit upon close inspection. Keys made with this skill work just as well as their real counterparts, but break after being used. Forging an object requires access to an amount of source material equivalent in size to the desired object.

[1d10+3] to reshape the body of dream material into a memory of Shei-Sher

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 6 + 3 = 9


Pheo swoops by and unleashes a blinding flare of light at Miracle and her minions

>Blinding Flare: Recharge 2; A dazzling display of light blinds foes, Dazing them and lowering their damage by half.


Roll #1 6 = 6


>Flow 5/3
The shock of seeing your new allies appear is enough for Salamander's laugh to dry up, and for him to switch to a defensive stance. His hands start to peel back at the level of the individual black sinews composing them, forming a cluster of long, flat, wormlike appendages.

"Finally you've shown a technique worth acknowledging!" Salamander spits back.


Peering at each of the clones, he attempts to grab 3's sword. [1d10+4]

"I too am feeling this way," LJ says. "There have been things of his past that our Lord has been reluctant to share, but this seems far more pertinent, does it not?"
"His voice shall be saved for you two in time," Observer says. "As for you, LJ, I would not be so impatient. I have come to understand that in this world, there are certain cruel rhythms to when truth reveals itself to those who cannot see it as I and Hafaza can. Seeking it before its appointed time is to meet pain, suffering and evil anew, as if for the first time."

You shape the material into a crude replica of yourself, seemingly identical when viewed at a distance or in the heat of battle, but obviously a fake at close inspection.

>Flash 2/2 turns left
With flashes of fire and light, the scene erupts into fighting again. Miracle strangles Amy for the moment that she's got her, but Chorazin jams her saber into the joints of her arm, loosening her grip enough for Amy to blast Miracle with holy fire.
>Amy 1/5
Yet, Chorazin stumbles as the arrow embeds itself deeply in her stomach. Stunned and bleeding, she still tries to conduct one of her spells.
[1d10+3] Monarch vs Miracle

Miracle tries to slam her elbow into Amy and pin her. [1d10+3]
Miracle's spectral soldier heads out into the garden, searching for Shei. [1d10+2]

In the background, a small army of the silver apparitions starts to approach, and Chorazin's spectral warriors charge out to meet them and keep them at bay.

Roll #1 7 + 4 = 11 / Roll #2 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #3 5 + 3 = 8 / Roll #4 3 + 2 = 5


>Given that the clones do not have weapons, that's a normal grab on 3



Amy falls back and immediately drinks a potion, simply tanking the elbow as she does.

[1d10+3] Natural Remedy

Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10


>"Wow, you sound like one of those wise old sages Observer."


Flow dashes forwards to deliver a quick two jabs with Schlangenschwert as he focuses on himself.
>Visions of Grandeur

Flow2 also dashes forwards as well, stopping to rev up the Spinsaw, and starts hacking away at the appendages going for Flow3 as he focuses on Flow and himself.
>Visions of Grandeur

Flow3, acknowledging he's about to get hit, focuses on Flow and himself as he opens his arms.
>Vision of Grandeur
>I Dream of Strength

Roll #1 4 + 4 = 8 / Roll #2 8 + 4 = 12 / Roll #3 1 = 1 / Roll #4 7 + 3 = 10 / Roll #5 8 + 3 = 11 / Roll #6 5 = 5 /



Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 10 = 10


"Fantastic! you look.. Decent. enough for that cursed scrap heap of an angel to believe. Now can you walk? Wave your hoof? Like this. C'mon now it's easy." Shei-Sher helps in moving the replica's arm, probing to see if it's intelligent enough to follow simple commands.

"Now should I wear the Kitten's sound cloak. The stealth would be advantageous but if miracle were to come close enough and her perception prove sharp then.. I would be -quite screwed. But if I don't wear it and compel her to choose the right kid -and she choose right them I am also at a lose.. gravely.. hmm…" Shei-Sher ponders while feeling the cloak fibers "I'll wear the cloak."

Shei-Sher puts on the kitty cat meow meow cloak of great spiritual stealth.

Then come's behind his replica and unlatching the chain of his switch cane he lassos the chain around the replica's neck so he can guide with a bit of distance put between them. He cushions the chain and the replica's neck with some extra scrap cloth.

"Right. Now let us be off."

Shei-Sher guides his dummy replica to a headge nearby Miracle. While shei-Sher stands behind a hedge he lets his dummy standing out of cover in clear view and Miracle. Shei tells the dummy "Stare at Miracle."
[1d10+1] to bait Miracle

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


Flaming turns her brow up at Journey, "Huh? I'm confused… the way you were talking earlier Journey, I thought you made it seem like you and him were in close contact. Does he not talk to you a lot?" She asks curiously.

As Observer states that he will speak to them soon, her eyes glare, slightly distracted for a moment from the battle unfolding inside the smoke, "What do you mean his voice will be saved for me? I don't have anything to say to that spider."

She turns her attention back to the smokey, letting out a hollar and stomping her hooves as Amy lets loose a flame on Miracle, "WOOO! Go get 'er, Amy!"


"I am simply someone who thinks a little more than the average being. You should try it sometime."

"No, he speaks to me often in my dreams, revealing wonders of his past and the mysteries of both the outer realms and the pockets of the spirit world that sleep in the shadows and hidden troves of magic within our own. Yet there are times when I will ask him of how devotees are doing elsewhere in this world, and of how things were for his faithful in Accorsia before the Rapture. I knew his cult was repressed and investigated by the state, yet there was little more he would tell me. He would become quiet and speak only in broad strokes, seldom in names and details."

Observer simply scoffs at your dismissal. "Surely you do not believe that will change a thing by now?"

>Flash 1/2 turns left
You restore your health with the potion, but Miracle knocks the rest out of your hoof as she unleashes a series of strikes on you.
>Amy 5/5
As Miracle attacks, she becomes more aggressive, and as her hoof glows with the seal's energy, it spirals up and around her arms, making the circuits beneath her metal frame glow hauntingly amid the dark of the night.
[1d10+2] THaDW
[1d10+2] Cursed Seal on Amy

Chorazin chucks her saber's sheath at Miracle's head. [1d10+3]

In the flurry of battle, the Archer shoots at Pheo, and several of the white apparitions try to crush her.
[1d10] [1d10] [1d10]

Miracle is too preocupied with Amy amid the violence erupting around them. You'll have to get closer.

For a moment, it seems as though your attacks are effective, as the flesh appears to part easily beneath the metal. But you quickly realize that you have hit nothing but air. As he's attacked from multiple angles, his body splits into countless strands of sinewy worms, wrapping around the blades and handles of your weapons, slipping them from your grasp. The crowd gasps.
"I told you, I had prepared before the battle myself!" Salamander taunts, his form now resembling a slimy, dead tree full of creeping black branches. You notice that Flow 3 slips from his grasp as easily as water (5/1).

Salamander swings at Clone 2 with the stolen Schlangenschwert. [1d10+4]

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #3 10 + 3 = 13 / Roll #4 7 + 3 = 10 / Roll #5 5 = 5 / Roll #6 6 = 6 /


>re-rolling apparition 3's roll and Salamander's roll, as they were cut off by mlpg's cap on rolls

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 10 + 4 = 14


"ONLY in your dreams?" Flaming asks, "So, he's never actually spoken to you 'directly'… no offense, but I'm surprised you still hold so much faith in him, Journey. I have to admit, were it not for Vir-can directly intervening to save my life and speak to me, I'm not sure my faith in 'our' gods would have made it this long."

She turns to Observer, sticking her tongue out, "Even if it doesn't change anything, I just want it known: whatever he wants to talk about had better be worth my time, because I don't want much to do with him."

Looking back to the smokey, she growls as Chorazin chucks her sheath at Miracle's head, "Hey! That's not how you're supposed to use that… is it? Is that an effective tactic?"



"Looks like we need some help," Amy says as she sees their situation.

Her coat turns white and furry as she takes the shape of a small white wolf. She howls to make a portal appear and summons a nail beast.

>Mystic Animal Totem

>Animal Mastery [1d10+2]

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4


Pheo to fucking dodge!!!

Roll #1 6 = 6


All the Flows grin and charge at Salamander headon, looking to beat him down.
Flow grabs his claymore and seeks to slam it on Salamander's new form as he focuses once more on himself and Flow3.
Flow2 charges headlong into Salamander's form, and takes the blade as he leaps at him and focuses on himself and Flow.
And Flow3 grabs the Bow of the Stormking and quickly looses an arrow at Salamander's form as he focuses solely on Flow.
>Wind infused Frostbullet

Roll #1 5 + 5 = 10 / Roll #2 10 = 10 / Roll #3 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #4 1 = 1 / Roll #5 10 = 10 / Roll #6 9 = 9


>"Hey I'm just a kid. We're not supposed to think more, we're supposed to have fun."
KP retorts.


Shei-Sher sees Miracle ready to place the seal on Amy. Sensing the power of the seal, Shei is thrown into a panick and acts hastily

Shei-Sher runs up to the two fights and throws his dummy in between the two as Miracle throws her seal.
[1d10] to catch cursed seal with shei's dummy

Roll #1 1 = 1


"PRIMARILY in my dreams, thank you very much," LJ says, dismissive of your blasphemy. "You should know that dreams are not to be dismissed. Traditions from all around the continent use dreams for divining the will of the gods and the world… you should pay a little more attention to your own, especially in these coming days. Besides, there's a reason he doesn't speak to us much in person."

"The issue is when your older half feels the same way."

Your howl is cut short, and the summoning interrupted, as Miracle slams your cheek with the seal, ironically burning it over your tatoos in a mesh of purple and black amid the white fur.
>Cursed Seal active

The sheath slams into Miracle's head, sending the angel reeling. In a flash, she snaps her gaze to Chorazin, and kicks her in the side.
[1d10+3] THaDW

Chorazin braces herself, inhaling deeply.
[1d10+3] Terrify

Pheo is pelted with arrows, and crushed in a flurry of blows, leaving her but a smoldering pile of feathers and flesh.
>Pheo 0/1

Your dummy's sudden movement catches the attention of Miracle's spectral knight, who hurls a knife at your switch-chain. The leash is pinned to the ground, causing the dummy to fall as the leash around its neck is tightened.

Salamander stumbles under Flow2's weight, but shreds him with the sword.
>Flow 6/3

Yet as you try to swing the claymore at him, the same happens as before, with the claymore being surrounded by the black sinew and ripped from your grasp, leaving you again without a weapon. You see the bullet hit Salamander square in the head, causing him to drop the claymore again.

Slowed but undettered, he now tries to attack Flow3 with Schlangenschwert [1d10+4]

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #2 7 + 3 = 10 / Roll #3 1 + 3 = 4 / Roll #4 9 + 4 = 13



Amy growls, then howls again.

[1d10+2] Animal Mastery

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


>"He needed these few days to relax, he's been thinking way to much until now."
KP says.
>"Ever since he met the Devas, he stressed over his duty and his purpose. Though, I guess the issue was thinking too much over one thing."


Flow's headless body looks at Flow3, and cackles.
He focuses on himself as he conjures up another mirage.
>Flow4: 2/1

Meanwhile, Flow3 looses another Frostbullet at Salamander.

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 3 + 2 = 5


Flaming rolls her eyes, "Of course, who am I to think little of 'dreams'." She says with a dry tone, before shaking her head an letting Journey continue on. "Well, lately I haven't exactly been having the best dreams. And I certainly haven't been getting any prophecies out of them. Whenever Vir-can has spoken to me, he's done so while I'm 'awake'. Now that's a god you can trust."

She nods, "Right, stuck between the lines and all that, I remember… I guess that's as good an excuse for Buiwong as any. But then how does Shei find a way to speak to him? Or you, Observer?"


"Dammit Amy! You have now Miracle's seal branded on your face, if takes possesion of you She will inhabit your body and slaughter our friends!"

Shei-Sher takes out the knife from his switch-cane's chain and unleashes the chain from his dummy's neck "Stay close to me, please" he commands the dummy.

"Chorazin, stay close to Amy. Miracle could take control at any time!"

Shei-Sher holds his dummy's hoof and kneels to the ground, with his hoof pressed against the soil he releases energy that sprouts out to hit Miracle, a spectral archer, and a white apparition.
Phantasmagoria of Conquest: 3 times per Combat; Automatic; Sacrifice X hits to deal 4X damage and inflict a status condition on up to 3 targets.
Sends a hot, white wind of energy around the vicinity and wrapping its targets. The wind plants a Vampiric Garden in the area, flowers, fungi, grasses, and herbs grow from the afflicted target's skin applying +1DC to all rolls for 3 turns. The Vampiric Garden affecting a target can be healed to prolong its effect another turn and raise the DC another point for a maximum of +3DC. The afflicted opponent cannot be healed without healing the Vampiric Garden, but not Vice-Versa. The Vampiric Garden can be destroyed or preemptively counteracted by a successful roll with fire, electricity, or pestilence. For this reason the effect cannot be applied to molten, or non-physical creatures. Reusing the skill on afflicted targets renews status duration and adds a point of Dice Challenge.
[1hx4] to Miracle, spectral knight, and a white apparition.

The ground produces roots around Miracle's hooves and lock her legs to one place
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant;

Pheo roll to get up [1d10]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #2 2 = 2


"Does he have hobbies?" Yes Mare asks, nudging Observer aside. Observer merely floats there, wearing his usual bored and annoyed half-lidded expression.

Appendages full of stolen weapons, Salamander cuts the frostbullet from the air, and Flow3 with it.
>Flow 6/2
>Flow4 2/1

Salamander drops the weapons, scattering them across the floor. "Now that you've seen my techniques, I don't think you'll be trying any of these again. What good's a weapon if the body is far stronger? Now come at me!"

Your call for summons goes unanswered.
An empty shriek ekes from Chorazin's throat as Miracle kicks her in the stomach, driving the arrow deeper into her guts. She lays on the ground, dazed, as her two spectral knights are swarmed with the white apparitions.
Chorazin recovery [1d10+3]

Unconcerned, Miracle floats your way, a faint song lilting from her mouth. It's beautiful amid the bloodshed, yet distant, like the chiming of church-bells. A hypnotic presence surrounds her, soothing and eerily peaceful. Before you know it, she offers her hoof to you again, head cocked innocently.

Miracle's spectral knight brings his axe down on the dummy, believe it to be you. [1d10+3]
Seeing the quickly-spreading vines vines, the spectral archer flees into the mansion, and you presume it's to grab something to counteract it.

LJ sticks his tongue out at you. "Yeah? Well, I've seen mine answer a prayer."
"Shei has his astral projection and meditative rituals and materials for interacting with a plethora of gods. I have my own tools, and indeed, even my dreams, the strange phenomenon that they are. I am unsure how they have come to be developed in your kind, but their role is endlessly fascinating to me."

Roll #1 2 + 3 = 5 / Roll #2 7 + 3 = 10



Amy howls a bit more desperately. [1d10+2]

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4


"Oh YEAH? Well, <i>mine</i> brought me back from the dead! And gave me the tattoos of an elder!" She says, reaching up to point at her head, "That's like, the BEST prayer answered, two of them!"

As Observer explains how he and Shei have their various means of contacting the gods and spirits in their dreams, Flaming reaches up to rub at her chin, "I see… well, I guess the only way Buiwong will ever get a chance to say hi to 'me' then is after I go to sleep. How will I know it's really him though and not just, my imagination?"

She pauses, her attention brought back to the smoke. "Wait, something's weird… why is Miracle holding her hoof out to Amy like that? Did they win? Did they get her to stand down?"


Flow shakes his imaginary head and plugs his neckhole with a canteen.

"Shame, now I 'ave to beat you down the ol' fashioned way!"
Flow4 charges headlong at Salamander.

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


For water

Roll #1 10 = 10


pheo to get up [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


>"He set up the festival the other day, so it's good to see he's getting back to our roots. It's been to long since he's done magic for fun. Not much else aside that. Oh! He was having lunch with River today, so he's getting back to being his cheery self."


Shei-Sher dips one hoof into the grass and dirt to bind the spectral archer to the ground with hardened earth.
>[1d10+2] alchemy

Shei sees Chorazin is incapacitated "ba-a-ah.." And then Miracle confronting Amy, so confidently, and longing.
As if acting on instinct he charges forward towards Miracle "Get away from her!! sHE'S NOT YOURS!"

In Shei-Sher sprint toward Miracle he ducks his head, showing his horns, a sheen produced from Vipaka's Metal being affixed to them. A step away from Miracle Shei-Sher lunges forward and headbutts Miracle out of Amy's proximity.

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #2 5 = 5


The part about bringing back the dead appears to sting LJ momentarily. However, he's soon over it. "Well, I'll bet he can't do it twice!"

"I am many things, but not his secretary nor his spokespony," Observer says. "Now, watch the fight or ask him yourself."

"What a curious set of phenomonen, mating rituals," Yes Mare says. "I wonder whether Voidlings at any point had something akin to them. IT certainly would explain why there are so many of us out in the Void."

>Flow 11/4

Flow4 charges into Salamander and wrestles with him, and the two struggle in the arena. You note again that he's having a remarkably difficult time getting a grip on Flow4 (still at 5/1 despite Tackle's description). Salamander tries to trip him to make up for this.

As Pheo begins to rise, the Archer mechanically steps over and draws an arrow from its quiver, running Pheo through the heart. Her body vanishes in a plume of flame and ash, vanishing from the scene.

As Amy tries to howl, Miracle gently wraps a hoof around her muzzle, and the song of bells grows louder; the drone begins to subsume the world around them.


[1d10] Control on Amy
>On success, roll twice for resistance, the higher of which is accepted

"No!" Chorazin shouts. "Get Amy out of there now!"
Chorazin recovery [1d10+3]
Chorazin's knight breaks away from the fighting to try to pull Amy away. [1d10]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 8 = 8 / Roll #3 3 + 3 = 6 / Roll #4 3 = 3


Flow stomps on the ground and charges at Salamander to clothesline him as mirages start appearing behind the headless goo.
>Sick punch
>Flow5 3/1
>Flow6 3/1

Meanwhile, Flow4 tries wrestling Salamander to the ground as well.

Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6


>"Whoa whoa, slow down there. I know me and the big guy have changed quite a bit, but I don't think he's going that far from just a lunch."


>Resurrect: Automatic Instant, Once per Session; After the phoenix’s corpse is looted, it revives and blinds all nearby creatures and flees. If it dies in the middle of combat, it revives one turn later, blinding everything and fleeing.
[Whoops that's all folks!]

Somehow Shei's charge completely misses, he had sworn he aimed at her, he was just up close a second ago. Shei-Sher's face contorts with scorn as he sees Miracle put her hoof on Amy.

Shei-Sher walks up to them both, steadfast with with heavy steps as he comes up on the grassy null. He takes Miracle's hoof and forces it off Amy's face. He then pushes Amy aside with his other hoof.

>SPELLBREAKER: recharge 2, spell, ranged; nullify a spell or magic effect

"Not her. This is between you and I, Miracle."

Roll #1 4 = 4


>Still got my Gigginox in this! technically..

Shei-Sher's gigginox swoops in and grabs amy by the neck and takes here away
[1d10]covering the distance and being fast enough to get Amy out of Miracle's proximity

Roll #1 4 = 4



Amy laughs as she shakes off Miracle's hoof. Though, her voice is not just her own. "You can't control me! I can't even control me!"

[1d10] [1d10] resist

She makes one last desperate attempt at howling. [1d10+2]

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 2 = 2 / Roll #3 8 + 2 = 10


Flaming gives him a snide grin, "Do you wanna bet on it? I could always give it a try?" She says, putting him in loaded question, either admitting he cares enough to not want to see her tempt death twice or admit he *does* care.

As her attention turns back to the fight at hand, she looks at Amy with worry as Miracle begins to sing, looking between the downed Chorazin, Shei scrambling to get Miracle off of Amy, and Amy herself as the angel begins to sing a mysterious song. "T-this looks bad-! Come on, guys, you can do this, I know you can…" she says under her breath, giving her heart's prayers out to them in hopes of their victory.


*either admitting he cares enough to not want to see her tempt death twice or imply he wouldn't mind her dying, which would be bad


>Flow 5/2
>Flow4 5/1
>Flow5 3/1
>Flow6 3/1
The crowd hoots, hollers and throws money into the ring as the battle becomes an all-out brawl, with many calling for blood and specific obscure technique names to be thrown around as you all pummel Salamander. "Woah shit!"
[1d10+1] Salamander tries to keep up and throw 4 off him.

"I wasn't referring to him," Yes Mare says. "Ha. Ha. Get it?"

"Do it if your god's so great!" LJ says, snorting and shaking his horns in challenge.

As Shei tries to wrench her hoof away, Miracle rears her hoof back and slaps him across the face, bruising it badly. Meanwhile, the Gigginox is pelted with arrows as it attempts to land, causing it to crash back toward the hedge maze in the garden. Amy manages to conjure a nail beast at last.
>Shei 5/5
>Gigginox 0/1
>NB 4/4

Chorazin gets up, but her knight nearly drowns in a sea of the white apparitions before he can reach Amy.


Amy feels herself falling, though her body is immobile as her eyes are overwritten with a metallic, scaly white film. Flesh becomes numb as her consciousness receeds.
>BUT I CAN, a dead, mechanical shuddering responds, an insurmountable presence and weight now surrounding her inner being.

Amy rises, her ears folding back in surrender as Miracle pats her. Butterflies surround her head as she pants, with white, holy fire emerging from her mouth.

Clutching her side, Chorazin turns her blade away from Amy with regret and deep guilt. "We can fix this… we can fix this…"

>If Amy is not released within 4 turns, the control will become permanent, and Amy will be functionally dead

>Apart from Spellbreaker, she can be released by being taken far away enough from Miracle or a resistance roll of >8 from Amy (no other actions available for now)


Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Post sheets





File: 1525917219769.png (359.2 KB, 386x561, spark2.png)



Last time on HQ…

>Shei 5/5

>Amy 5/5
>Gigginox 0/1
>NB 4/4

The battle within Miracle's core took a turn for the disastrous as Amy fell prey to Miracle's control spell, causing her to turn against the party. If the spell is not removed in time, and soon, the spread of the spell will permanently damage Amy's mind and spread into her body, eradicating her free will and allowing Miracle to use Amy's body as a vessel for wreaking havoc yet again.

Flow's duel continued, turning into a good old brawl after Salamander demonstrated various enchantments in his fighting style, preventing him from damage by weapons.

>Flow 5/2
>Flow4 5/1
>Flow5 3/1
>Flow6 3/1
The crowd hoots, hollers and throws money into the ring as the battle becomes an all-out brawl, with many calling for blood and specific obscure technique names to be thrown around as you all pummel Salamander. "Woah shit!"
[1d10+1: 6] Salamander tries to keep up and throw 4 off him.

"I wasn't referring to him," Yes Mare says. "Ha. Ha. Get it?"

"Do it if your god's so great!" LJ says, snorting and shaking his horns in challenge.

As Shei tries to wrench her hoof away, Miracle rears her hoof back and slaps him across the face, bruising it badly. Meanwhile, the Gigginox is pelted with arrows as it attempts to land, causing it to crash back toward the hedge maze in the garden. Amy manages to conjure a nail beast at last.
>Shei 5/5
>Gigginox 0/1
>NB 4/4

Chorazin gets up, but her knight nearly drowns in a sea of the white apparitions before he can reach Amy.


Amy feels herself falling, though her body is immobile as her eyes are overwritten with a metallic, scaly white film. Flesh becomes numb as her consciousness receeds.
>BUT I CAN, a dead, mechanical shuddering responds, an insurmountable presence and weight now surrounding her inner being.

Amy rises, her ears folding back in surrender as Miracle pats her. Butterflies surround her head as she pants, with white, holy fire emerging from her mouth.

Clutching her side, Chorazin turns her blade away from Amy with regret and deep guilt. "We can fix this… we can fix this…"

>If Amy is not released within 4 turns, the control will become permanent, and Amy will be functionally dead

>Apart from Spellbreaker, she can be released by being taken far away enough from Miracle or a resistance roll of >8 from Amy (no other actions available for now)

Amy eagerly howls, and releases a wave of holy fire at the party.
[1d10+3] Wrath

Cursing, Chorazin starts to cut her way through the swarms of the white apparitions, vanishing into the crowd.

Roll #1 2 + 3 = 5


Flow6 jumps back into Flow while he revs his hoof up for a mighty punch.
Flow4 and 5 both try to latch onto Salamander even more.
>Big Punch

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #3 4 + 2 = 6



At first, Amy just accepts her fate. Its a comfortable feeling. And, the whole experience is so surreal that she forgets what was happening anyway. However, as she sees herself attack Shei, the severity of the situation comes back to her.

With all of her might, she tries to stop herself. [1d10] [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 2 = 2


Flaming gives a shocked gasp at LJ, but as he shakes his horns in a challenge, Flaming snorts, "Y-you think I won't? I know Vir-can has given me his divine protection, I'm not scared to do it!"

Turning her attention back to the battle, her eyes open wide as Amy is possessed by Miracle, her mouth breathing white, holy fire as butterflies surround her head as she shifts.

"N-no! Amy!? What did she do?!" Flaming shouts in a panic, looking to Observer for answers.


KP looks up at Yes Mare blankly.
>"… Sorry, I don't."


The back of Miracle's hoof send Shei reeling back for a moment but he comes back with more desperation. As the entire situation at hand seems to peel out of his control.

Shei-Sher tries to tear Miracle's hooves off of Amy Thest, struggling, bleating and beating a sweat as he pries with surging pathos.
>SPELLBREAKER: recharge 2, spell, ranged; nullify a spell or magic effect

Also, a cockatrice slithers into the field from a hedge.
>A Vision of Thralls: Twice per combat; Instant; Summon either 1 monster from the “Medium” tier, or 2 from the “Small” tier of the Compendium of Monsters. If “I Dream of Monsters” has already been chosen, this skill’s rolls get +1. Grants one Pet Mastery point. All summoning weakens the Firmament.

Shei-Sher's Gigganox cries and roars as it carines into the grass, piling dirt as it carves a landing. It tries to get up.

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 4 = 4 / Roll #3 10 = 10


"I was attempting a tasteless joke at the expense of River Spring's affection for Pryce and the potential for poor decision making on her part given that Fantasia is on the eve of invasion by outside forces, caused by the opening of the Great Seal.

LJ looks down his nose at you, smugly grinning.

"Amy has fallen under the effect of Miracle's control spell, pilfered from Shei, and by extension, inspired by someone named 'Gabriele'," Observer answers. "They are in quite the dangerous position now, with one of their strongest allies turned against them."

It is as though you are encased in steel, yet tugged about by forces beyond you. Despite straining your mind and body to the utmost, you can hardly manage to turn your head just a hair upward, causing the fire to spew into the sky.

You feel yourself shamble forward in awkward, small gaits, snarling and howling as though rabid, growing colder by the moment.

Shei's aura quickly overwhelms the blinding-white magic swirling about Amy, sinking her back into her own body with a furious rush of cold and pain as her nerves fire up yet again.
>Cockatrice ally gained
The Gigginox recovers

Seeing the cockatrice arrive, both Miracle's Archer and the Knight swarm it with attacks.

Miracle furiously darts forward, attempting to reassert her control over Amy, sending a swarm of white butterflies toward her.
[1d10+3] THADW
[1d10] Control
Yet, hidden among the crowd, Chorazin leaps over the fallen, and tries to intercept the spell.

Salamander spins, throwing the goos off him, but they quickly swarm him yet again. Growing desperate under the onslaught, Salamander attempts to dive through the barrage.
[1d10+1] Tackle

Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13 / Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11 / Roll #3 3 + 3 = 6 / Roll #4 10 = 10 / Roll #5 4 + 3 = 7 / Roll #6 3 + 1 = 4



"It WOULD be easier," Amy says to Miracle after she regains control of her body. "But, not while my boyfriend is in trouble. Try again once this is over," she offers genuinely.

"And thank you," she adds with a quick smile to Shei.

Thinking quick, Amy tries to dive behind Chorazin to redirect the control spell to her. [1d10]

The Nail Beast attacks the archer. [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 5 = 5


Flaming looks up LJ's nostrils as he looks down on her, giving her the best angry glare she's got as he taunts her. "…aw who are you looking so smug at, you jerk."

As Observer explains the situation, Flaming's face becomes crest-fallen, "He's possessed her?! That's not good… S-Shei or Chorazin can fix it though, right? She's not stuck like this?!"

As Chorazin and Shei move to attack Miracle, and Amy breaks through of the control, she looks on with a smile, "L-like that! *THAT'S* my big sister, take her down!" She shouts enthusiastically loud at the view, uncaring if others can hear her or not


>"Ooooh, ok now I get it. You know if you work on your delivery I think you could be a good comedian."
KP responds.
>"…Do you really think she'd do that?"


"Stop Talking and go to Chorazin's side." Shei-Sher says assertively, too focused and in danger for chit chat. He even pushes Amy out of the way with one hoof as stands himself in front of Miracle
Shei-Sher's aura boasts some formidability as it carries his actions. Shei wrestles his hooves onto Miracle's transfering the oppressive weight of his magical energies.
>Phantasmagoria of Conquest: 3 times per Combat; Automatic; Sacrifice X hits to deal 4X damage and inflict a status condition on up to 3 targets.
2nd time using
[1hx4] targets Miracle, Archer, and Knight

The ground around the archer's hooves crumbled and reform, locking him in place
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

The cockatrice that summoned immediately fixes a glare onto Miracle
>Stone Gaze: The cockatrice glares at a target, they must roll against the cockatrice’s roll, otherwise this ability is an automatic success regardless of the result. If they roll lower, they are Petrified, increasing their DC by 1 for 2 turns. This effect stacks.

Shei-Sher's Gigginox springs into action after reviving and flies to Amy to carry her off as far away from Miracle as he can.
[1d10] bring Amy out of range for control effect

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 10 = 10 / Roll #3 9 = 9


The Flow clones latch tightly onto Salamander as Flow goes in for a tackle.

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #2 3 + 2 = 5


Second roll:

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


You and Salamander clash, with no clear victor emerging as you vie for control, all while Salamander tries to throw off the goos on his back. Despite his power, he's clearly tiring. A lone tendril digs into the arena, ripping up a swarm of stones to chuck at you.

"It is a known that experiencing dangerous and strenuous situations with others can inspire feelings of sexual and emotional attraction within somebody. In other words, though your days together may have been few, it is likely that the dangers you have been through have advanced River's feelings far beyond what would be considered appropriate for your current relationship by Accorsian standards of male-female etiquette."

LJ's smile quickly fades as he watches the scene in the fog unfold below. Even Observer falls silent, eyes wide with fascination.

Despite the Nail Beat's covering fire, the cockatrice is vengefully ridden with arrows and thrown knives, but not before it is able to coat Miracle's body with a layer of petrified stone, slowing her movements. Amy dodges the waves of butterflies, switching places with Chorazin before the Gigginox swoops down to pick her up.

Chorazin wraps herself around Miracle's petrified arm, and as the angel is coated in stone, the two wrestle for control. With her free hoof, Miracle repeatedly pummels Chorazin, though not without continuing to launch her swarm at the airborn Amy. Clinging for life, Chorazin reaches for the butterflies. "Come on… come on!"

Just as the butterflies start to congregate around Amy, Chorazin leaps into the stream, forcing them to swarm around her.

The scene freezes. Miracle's and Chorazin's knights, the white apparitions, as well as your own minions, are immobile, surrounded now by clumps of static, alternating bars of multicolored glitch-like phenmomena. Miracle and Chorazin are now indistinguishable, blurry figures, lost in static. Slowly, the environment itself starts to vanish into digital white noise, peeling apart into a sea of unintelligible characters and numbers, closing in on the both of you.

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


Flow rears his head back and tries dodging the stones that're thrown at him before he tries throwing a punch right at his face.
>Instant Dodge

And the Flow clones try dragging him into the ground.

Roll #1 4 + 5 = 9 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #3 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #4 4 + 2 = 6



"Do we leave?" Amy asks Shei as everything starts to fall apart.


When she sees Miracle covered in stone and Chorazin take hold, Flaming continually stomps her hooves, getting more and more excited as the battle reaches its climax. "That's it! Grab her tight, don't let go! Come on, you're all almost there!"

As the scene freezes, and static begins to fill the view, obscuring what could be seen of the angel. Flaming gasps in shock, and pushes herself to the edge of the fog on the floor, pushing her hoof through the mist to spread it around, "W-what's wrong?! Why did they freeze! Observer, your stupid spell is broken, fix it please!"


>"Huh, didn't know that. Wonder if that stuff could have affected the big guy too."
KP thinks aloud.

>"Where did you get so knowledgeable on ponies? I thought Observer was the smart one."


Shei-Sher picks up the dummy he made, throwing it's hoof over his shoulder. The same onehe made out of Chorazin's memories incase it might be useful (just incase he needs it.)

He turns his head to Amy as he fastens the kitty stealth cloak around his body.
"You leave, I still haven't reclaimed what is mine."

>PHASE AURA: Your body sheds light in a small radius of 5 meters, in a color you choose when you learn this skill. All creatures in this range cannot turn invisible or become hidden, creatures already hidden or invisible are made clear, and incorporeal beings and lingering magical effects and wards manifest a visible shape. Effect persists roll minus five turns (six lasts one, seven lasts two, etc.)


Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11



Amy laughs. "Stop being an idiot. It doesn't look good on you."

"What do you need me to do," she says in a more dutiful tone.


Shei-Sher looks at you a bit more fondly, though he seems just as serious despite the faintness of a smile on his face "Do you trust me?" he asks stoicly "If you want to stay you have to trust me. And you have to mean it."



Amy pauses to think for a moment. "If you die now, I'd rather die too," is her response.


The rocks zing through you and clip your body, but you remain standing long enough to smash Salamander into the ground, whereupon the two of the other Flows smash him against the tile.
>Flow 2/2

Salamander's head bounces off the ground, shaking awkwardly, and when he lands, he doesn't get up, now unconscious. The crowd roars with applause and aplomb at your victory, and many in the audience get up to collect their wagers.

"It isn't simply enough to be brutishly strong, loathe as I am to admit it," Yes Mare says. "I have attempted to learn things about ponies, particularly as it relates to relationships. One insight that some mortal philosophers and historians have come to is that those who have been hurt learn how to hurt others all the more effectively. Those who have lost loved ones, or experienced heartbreak or injustice, are the architects of the worst acts of cruelty and atrocities."

"Enough!" Observer declares, pushing you aside. You see his eyes widening as he takes in the scene. "Watch well, Pryce. What you are about to see is indicative of what you will face upon the surface yet."

In a wave of disorienting gray and black, the scene vanishes, as do the two of you, but only for a moment.


The two of you appear to be in a facsimile of the Cozy Vimana of Vitral, though glichy, indistinct and blurry, the houses all made of gray and black and white. You are in a packed neighborhood, full of ponies' bodies, which are digitized, transparent and featureless. Each of them is slowly dissolving into strings of text, coming apart at the seams. The sky is black, and golden currents of letters and numbers arc across the expanse.

Amy suddenly shudders, her body feeling numb and distant. White butterflies dance across her skin, resting on her and dancing in her hair. She retains some control of her body for now, but it seems that Chorazin was too slow in saving her. As the seconds tick by, she can feel her consciousness receding, like sands drippig in an hourglass.

Ahead, at the end of the long street, you see white light glowing brilliantly, and hear a female voice, split in two.


A great levity fills Shei's heart at hearing the words, and it shows on his face. "Too inconsiderate, you will just dodge my question even if I asked the 100th time won't you." He says rather playful this time.

"Come now, get inside my cloak. There is still room for one more." Shei holds an arm out, opening the kitty stealth cloak for Amy to fit in like the last time they used it. He does all while smiling a bit coy.



"Of course I don't trust you," Amy says with a smile as she enters the cloak with him. "But, I don't have to. That's the point."


Amy simply walks with Shei under the cloak, hoping that saves her from whatever is happening to her.


Flow absorbs the mirages back into his body, and he takes a drink from his canteen.
"That'll teach ye to put your filthy claws on my weapons, buck-o."
He picks up his weapons and starts to take his leave.


Shei-Sher walks along side with Amy. He drops the manikin of himself and instead holds tighter onto Amy as the butterflies and she appears to fade in focus. The two are both wearing the stealth cloak just to make that apparent.

Shei-Sher focuses his, filling it with love and attachment for Amy. Evenloping her in it and hopefully casting out Miracle's influence.
>SPELLBREAKER: recharge 2, spell, ranged; nullify a spell or magic effect

"Amy I can't save you all the time. If you leave now I won't resent you. This has been my own trial to face to begin with."

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


his aura, he focuses his aura


Flaming jumps back a bit as Observer raises his voice, moving gently out of the way as he pushes past her. "Didn't need to *shout*…" she mumbles loudly, before looking back to the scene as it clears itself.

She looks on at the glitchy interpretation of the Cozy Vimana, "H-hey, I recognize that! It's Vitral!" She cringes as she sees the many bodies littering the streets, before her focus forms on Amy with the butterflies dancing on her skin. "Butterflies…? I thought she freed herself."

She looks on at the glowing light ahead, knowing well who it may be. "This is it… what do they do now?"



"If I leave now, who will save you when you do something stupid?"


Many disappointed groans come from the audience as you abstain from killing him. As you return to the medical tent, you're greeted by Freischutz, while Gjenganger is busy tending to others. "Good job out there, but it looks like the crowd's in a bloody mood tonight."
From the back, you see Spitshine and Sugar come toward you. "What a chump!" Spitshine notes. "Good job, anyway. I have a feeling you'll be out of most demons' league here."

The power of Shei's aura falters as it surrounds Amy. Beneath the cloak, he can see clearly a crystallization of white and grey static forming on her chest, semi-transparent at times and obtuse as it fades in and out. It is like a crystal or a chunk of metal, and from it, white lines spread across Amy's body, gradually expanding its dominion over her form.

At the end of the street, there is a small round plaza, and beyond it, nothing but a void. There, you see a form, phasing in and out of sight, transforming rapidly. At first, it appears to be Miracle, then the form clutches its head and splits into two: A young mare, seemingly Chorazin, fighting against a much older and monstrous one, who appears to have the upper hand. Again it transforms, appearing to be two ponies, alternating between dancing and arguing. The figure shifts between these fracturing forms rapidly, until it is a blurred mass. It shouts in a split voice, alternating between joyous and furious, confused and enraged.

"Get out! Get OUT! I know you're there, Shei, come and show yours– No, I'm not doing that anymore, Miracle! I'll kill you Shei, kill you! Or if not, I'll make HER do it…! I said STOP IT!"

Amy stumbles, and can feel a plume of fire start to grow in her throat.

"It appears Chorazin is in the middle of subsuming her mind back onto Miracle's form, but untempered vengeance and desperation is making that difficult. Even I do not know what will push her one way or the other. But it appears her power has its hooks deep in Amy yet again, spreading faster than Shei can negate it."

Furious pounding comes from the door. You hear Busta panting. "There's something wrong with Amy's body, get out here!"


>"Soooo…. You want to learn about relationships and stuff so you can hurt ponies emotionally?"
KP questions curiously.


"I don't intend to use what I learn from them to hurt mortals," Yes Mare says, seemingly slightly offended that you suggested as such. "I seek power because it is what one of my species does. Just as you mortals have your craven biological imperitives, I and Observer have our own."


"Thanks," he looks back, "Well, they're gonna have to wait. Maybe next demon we fight, I dunno. He seemed to easy, like he was holding back… Whatever, I can slice him into ribbons."
He turns around as the kids approach.
"I don't think so, he felt too…easy. Remember, never underestimate your prey," he grins, "But I'm sure I can take many in a one-on-one."

He crosses his arms.
"In fact, the only real match might be the one who /isn't/ a demon," he thinks aloud.


>"Oh, ok."
KP responds as she corrects the intent.
>"A lot of ponies back when I was training to be a knight were like that. They trained a lot or tried to find the really big spells. It's nice to see somepony branching out and learning too."



Amy watches and listens to them fight each other, and she can't help but reminded of herself. Her desire to help them both outweighs the fear she feels over what is happening to her body. Instinctively, she throws the cloak off of herself.

"Miracle, I know how you feel. You want to be in control all the time, but you can't. You want revenge, but you can't have it. It's infuriating. It's terrifying. It makes you want to kill yourself," Amy tears up a bit.

"But, it's not that bad. There's a comfort in it. I told you before that you could control me later when it wasn't a danger to anyone else. I meant it."

"It's like… you're never alone. And, even when you don't think you're doing the right thing, you are. I know, that doesn't make sense. But, you can't understand it alone. And, that's the great thing. You're never alone. You have another half right there. And, you'll never understand how important that is until you try to understand it."

"And, Chorazin, I know you can do this. You've already done so much. Just one last push now. I'm here with you!" Amy looks down at what is happening to her body. "For however long you need me to be here," she says solemnly.

[1d10] Mantra of Equality to calm Miracle and cheer on Corazin

Roll #1 8 = 8


Shei-Sher lifts the hood of the cloak off himself and caringly sets it on Amy, tucking it around her. He holds Amy's hoof in his and steps towards Miracle/Chorazin

"You can't control everything Miracle, Chorazin. There are some things about yourself you can control and that is about it. Everything else incurs Y'dryth pain and the dream he weaves for us will return once again to make things right one way or another. Friendships dissolve, parents leave, cities, nations, families all crumble. Everything, someday it leaves, there is no use holding on longer than what you're allowed to. I learned this with much difficulty, when a simpler wisdom was offered yet I abandoned it as if I knew better. But I will show you what it feels like to hold on. Only for a moment. The pain, sorrow, and everything you give comes back."

Shei-Sher dips his hoof into the catatonic haze that is Chorazin and Miracle. Participating in the wrestle for control

"Amy dip your hoof as well"

Roll #1 5 = 5


Flaming looks on at the vision as the scene plays out, hearing the shifting calls between Miracle and Chorazin vying for control in the light. "I see… come on, Chorazin. You were a proud, noble warrior, a general of Vitral. I know you can control the power, you've shown me you have the will."

She looks at Amy with worry in the vision as the holy fire returns, listening to her and Shei try to quell Miracle's rage.

However, as Busta comes screaming in, Flaming turns around in a panic, "What?! What's happening to Amy?!" She takes one last look at the fog, but then quickly leaves to follow the fly demon. "Show me to her, Busta!"



Amy shrugs and puts her hoof in.

I already rolled this turn, though.


The arena's staff load Salamander onto a gurney, then wheel him into one of the nearby medical tents.
You start to hear a gurgling sound beneath you, and see a small crack in the tile below. A bright green goop is bubbling up from within the crack.

Spitshine leans down to look at it, then steps away, creeped out by it. Something's unsettling about the way it's stirring.

>roll perception

Growing concerned, Yes Mare follows Flaming and Busta out of the room, taking Pryce along with her. In the barracks, where Amy's catatonic form lays, a white metallic mass spreads from her chest across the rest of her body, slowly coating it in a crystallized form. Mirror Image is kneeling beside her, studying the form. "This is going on much too long, her influence is spreading more rapidly than anyone can stop it!"


As you approach, Miracle's flickering White Noise Barrier manifests around her, shielding her before splitting off, blooming into an array of arms. As the angel rears back her arms to strike, she fissions, splitting into Chorazin and Miracle. Chorazin furiously tackles Miracle, pinning her to the ground before wrapping her hooves around her neck.

"I'm not so sure if I can win this… if not, you know what to–!"

Chorazin groans in pain as fire involuntarily builds up in Amy's throat.

[1d10+3] Wrath vs Shei and Chorazin

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9



"Sorry, sorry," Amy apologizes after she attacks Shei. "I'm fighting too. Here."

Amy gives Shei a potion. [1d10+3] for Natural Remedy

"I won't kill either of you, Chorazin," Amy insists stalwartly. "You two have to work this out. That's the only way through this!"

Amy does not remove her hoof.

[1d10+2] Mantra of Equality

Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11


KP follows along as Yes Mare takes him to check on Amy.

>"What's happening to her? Is this like that angel glass that was affecting everypony?"

KP asks in shock at seeing Amy.


"We are not destroying the orb, that was never even an option! And it isn't now!"
Shei-Sher jumps straight into the fray and wrestles for Control.

hay does this apply?
Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;
[1d10+2] fuse their souls together
"Make a pact with me!" Shei asks as he strains himself

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


Flow looks down at the crack, then looks around at the rest of the floor.
"Spitshine, Sugar. I think you should go back to Renee."

Roll #1 9 = 9


Flaming races after Busta as he leads her into the barracks, and there Flaming gives a loud gasp as she sees the metallic mass spreading along Amy's chest and going over the rest of her body.

"Oh no… when did this start?!" she asks in surprise, racing over to Amy's side as she looks over her body carefully. "T-this is bad… isn't there anything you can do Mirror? Shei is trying to help her in the core but they're both distracted with Chorazin, they nearly have her under control!"

She looks over the still body, trying to think if any of her abilities will help to remedy the situation. She pauses, looking back the way she came. "Observer's as smart as Shei! Surely he could do something from this end as well?!"


The white flames burn away part of Chorazin's body and much of Shei's hair and flesh, but Amy's potion quickly restores Shei's injuries.
>Shei 8/4

Chorazin recomposes herself, now a mass of rapidly dissolving data. Miracle rises, her own image dissolving into utter blackness, ringed with gold. An intensely bitter aura engulfs the world, full of spite and unending vengeance, confusion, betrayal and indignance. Shei grows cold, his legs turning weak, as it floods over him. Miracle's body is now a cloud of dark, dancing like a flame. An icy howl shakes the world.

>Berserk Pleroma [Automatic]

"A pact…" Chorazin mutters. "If you will entrust to me your life, and I, mine to you, it can be made."

She runs forward, holding out a hoof to Shei as she charges straight into Miracle. Amy feels her body involuntarily moving like a predator's, rushing forward to clamp her teeth down on Shei about the neck.

"No – I don't know, it's not quite the same, but the result is little different; Miracle's spreading her influence over Amy's soul, and if they aren't out of there NOW, it will bring irreversable damage to Amy!"

Zophie's hoof darts out of the crack, but you catch it deftly and block, even as a flurry of jabs follows it. Spitshine and Sugar back up as Zophie's head emerges, followed by her whole body. Currently, she's in the form of a slug, no legs to be seen, nor her trademark raincoat.
"Look who decided to come back from the underworld itself," she remarks dryly. "How long have you been out of your stone prison, monkey?"

Roll #1 9 = 9


>"B-But it'll be fine if they fix everything in there right? The influence will go away and she'll be alright, right?"
KP asks worried.



"I'm sorry!" Amy says to Shei in a panic after she bites him.

"Miracle!" Amy shouts as everything goes crazy. She looks around in every direction. "I promise, everything will feel better once you just calm down!"

>Mantra of Equality [1d10+2]

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12


Flow smirks as he's still able to block Zophie's punches, and crouches down to her level.
"Good to see you still can't hit me, luv," he says with a smug tone.
"About a year now. How long you been in yours?"


"I already did, so yes!"

Shei-Sher takes Chorazin's hoof and follows with her in charge
[1d10] outpacing getting bit by Amy

Roll #1 5 = 5


Flaming curses under her breath, "Damn it all… we can't pull them out of there yet, I don't even know the spell that let them get 'in'!"

She looks at Mirror, "Mirror, you're an angel, you know how this stuff works: is there any way we can at least slow it down? Amy and Shei can do it, they just need a bit more time!" She looks at the material slowly spreading over Amy's body. "Can we burn it off, or pull this stuff off? I'll take any suggestion we can get-"

She pauses, thinking back to earlier this morning. "Wait. That flame thingie, that Pryce had! The one that cured everyone of the glass, and gave River her legs back, could that fix this?!"


As Chorazin touches her hoof to Shei's, she starts to recites something only faintly audible, in an otherworldly language. Briefly, Shei recalls the events of the Rapture, the battle within St. Providence, the death of Gabriele, Punishment and Wrath, and realizes she is speaking the angelic language, reciting an unknown prayer, the terms of a rushed Pact.

Yet, Amy is forced to rip Shei away, sinking her teeth into his neck and tossing him aside with a spray of hot blood. Miracle rushes toward his limp form as it rolls across the ground with the fury of a thunder god, her form storming with energy. Chorazin sprints toward the two, and touches her hoof to Shei's, before pushing her form into Miracle's.

All at once, there is a rush of light, emerging from beneath the world, and a great wind. Amy and Shei feel themselves being launched upward, as if caught in a great gale, and their consciousness starts to dwindle and fade.

Both Amy and Shei awake in the barracks, surrounded by the party, all looking grealy concerned and surprised as they awake. Everyone backs away from Amy especially. Amy can see that her form is as corrupted in the waking world as it was in the dream, though it is not spreading any further.

"Did… did she–" Mirror asks.

"I've been participating here for a month now, but I've found the regulars to be small fry overall. Most bounties don't reach quadruple digits in here, even with Ecclesian padding. All in all, not bad for unwinding after missions, but a bit like beating up kids, which I am too good at. What have you been up to?"
Sugar rolls her eyes so highly that you swear they're at risk of popping out.


KP looks up to Shei and Amy as they awake, not backing up like the others and looking very worried at how quickly they woke after they stopped watching.
>"A-Are you two alright?"



Amy wakes up and looks around in confusion. She looks down at her own body and cocks her head.

"I-I don't know…" she answers Kid Pryce absent-mindedly, not looking away from her own body.


As Amy and Shei wake up, the metallic corruption still covering Amy's body, Flaming gives a surprised yelp, looking between the two very cautiously. "Amy! Shei!"

In the next instant, Shorthorns jumps on top of Amy, capturing her in a hug with no concern to the metal covering her body, "You're awake! Oh by the spirits, you had me scared to death! What happened?! Are you both alright?"



"Yeah, we're fine," Amy says, happily returning the hug as she topples over onto the ground.

"It wasn't so bad. Sorry I couldn't wait for you. YOu'd have had fun."


>"What happened in there? Did you guys save her?"


Shei-Sher sits in his meditative position and with a sudden start hunches forward screaming "AAAAA-a-a-ah!" Shei feels the back of his neck with a hoof seeing there's no bleeding "Ouch, Amy." He says severely annoyed.

"I am going back in, I will be back in 10 minutes. No pony is to follow me. That means you Amy."

Shei-Sher assumes the meditative position and with great willful ignorance ignores the commotion around him.
>astral projection

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10



"I think..?" Amy answers from under Flaming.


"I don't know what he's doing, though…"


Flaming lets out a sigh of relief as the hug is returned, a clear sign to her that Amy is her normal self. "You should have waited for me! Observer tried to give me all this junk about how Shei *had* to do this alone, but I wasn't having any of it."

She looks down at your metallic sheet, "That looks kind of bad. I'm with lil' Pryce, what happened in there?"

As Shei states he's about to go back in, Flaming's ears perk up, "WHAT?! After *just* coming back out?!" she grunts, "Shei, don't do anything stupid! Take *me* with you this time, I can help."


"Wandering and demon-slaying, mostly. Even got a little bit of a crew, as well."
He shakes his head.
"And boy do I have some stories to tell… even met the boy and Vitti along the way."
He uses the Inheritance to bring out his clones.



"Yeah, I was hoping he'd help you get in. Sorry about that."

Then, she looks down at her own body. "Yeah, I don't really know why this happened. Miracle tried to control me and something went wrong… or right? I don't know," Amy shakes her head. "But, I think I know how to get rid of it."


"Where's Your Mare?" Amy asks Observer, getting the name wrong. "We need to finish studying."


Shei-Sher takes a deep, deep breath and exhales, very slowly, very long, drifting away as he does he manages to say.


As you speak, the corruption on Amy's body starts to break and fall apart, crumbling to the floor. There is still some within her chest, which will have to be medically removed and cleaned, but the corruption is no longer spreading anywhere about her.

Blessings kneels down and joins the hug, as does Busta. "Everyone, give her a moment, please," Busta urges.
Yes Mare raises her hoof to Amy. "I concur, but don't you think you'd prefer a moment to breathe and eat after a fight that intensive?"


As you enter the core again, you find it is much easier to dive into than before. You awake in a white plain, featureless and clear. There is only one figure there, a mare in her mid 40's. She's a pegasus, with a pink coat and a white mane. Her body is lightly scarred, tempered and sturdy. She wears dignified angelic white armor, with a helm resembling Miracle's head. A saber rests at her side.

"Good to see you again, Shei, though perhaps this can be more properly considered the first time."

"Well, I'm not scheduled for any fights – I've been such a regular that they just let me go on whenever I wnat. I figure that bounty of mine is what brought you here. Before we throw down, fill me in on the full picture, won't you?"




Post sheets


File: 1527039170135.jpg (121.76 KB, 900x385, pryce if he had ended up w….jpg)





Last time on HQ…

>All at full H/W

Amy and Shei aided Chorazin in fully integrating herself with Miracle, subverting the angel's blind fury and lust for revenge beneath Chorazin's self-control and focus. They were briefly expelled from the core, where the party received them with overwhelming relief.

Flow prevailed in his fight against Salamander, finding that he did not use any heat-based abilities despite his seeming capability to do so. The latter was taken to one of the medical tents to recover as Flow spoke with his old ally and fellow hunter, Zophie.


As you speak, the corruption on Amy's body starts to break and fall apart, crumbling to the floor. There is still some within her chest, which will have to be medically removed and cleaned, but the corruption is no longer spreading anywhere about her.

Blessings kneels down and joins the hug, as does Busta. "Everyone, give her a moment, please," Busta urges.
Yes Mare raises her hoof to Amy. "I concur, but don't you think you'd prefer a moment to breathe and eat after a fight that intensive?"



As you enter the core again, you find it is much easier to dive into than before. You awake in a white plain, featureless and clear. There is only one figure there, a mare in her mid 40's. She's a pegasus, with a pink coat and a white mane. Her body is lightly scarred, tempered and sturdy. She wears dignified angelic white armor, with a helm resembling Miracle's head. A saber rests at her side.

"Good to see you again, Shei, though perhaps this can be more properly considered the first time."

"Well, I'm not scheduled for any fights – I've been such a regular that they just let me go on whenever I wnat. I figure that bounty of mine is what brought you here. Before we throw down, fill me in on the full picture, won't you?"


>"Sooo…. What do we do now? Is Miracle gonna be back up and walking around?"


Flaming lets out a low growl, shaking her head, "He didn't! And I asked him a million times! Both nicely AND meanly, he just wouldn't budge."

She looks down at the corruption on Amy's body, eying it very concernedly as she tries to think of a way to get rid of it, but looks on with joy as it finally starts to crumble apart, leaving only a small bit within her chest.

With Blessings joining in the hug and Busta, she lets out a small chuckle, "O-okay okay, we're all very happy that Amy's okay! But I'm gonna pass out if this hug gets any tighter."

She snorts at Shei, angrily looking at him as he passes on without them once again. "You're the worst boyfriend ever!"

She looks over at Shei, "I think it'll be something like Mirror if Amy and Shei and Chorazin were victorious in there. Just need to hope Shei knows what he's doing this time and give it a bit more time. If this works, Chorazin would be an amazing ally to have."


*Kid Pryce



"Can you read to me while I eat?" Amy asks Yes Mare. "I really want to finish this up."

She looks down at her chest. "It might help with whatever this is…"


"Observer wants to understand emotions, but he doesn't use them," Amy says petulantly.


"Without a suitable body, she can't do anything," Mirror explains. "It was the same with my situation until I was put into Observer's golem, as I am now."
"What would work as a body?" Rus Tea asks.
"In general, anything metallic. I was able to integrate with this form because of the angelic metal that was grafted into this golem. Any metal object can work, but there exist binding spells and inscriptions that can make many objects into suitable media."

Mirror peers at the metallic scourge embedded in Amy's chest. "I should be able to remove that with the assistance of some of our doctors, and it will be nice having Observer's and Volkama's aid as well. We will remove it tonight, as doing so will be rather painful, and I'll have to gather some pain-numbing herbs with River Spring, along with a few other medical supplies for your recovery."

Yes Mare nods. "On the condition that you don't ask questions while you have food in your mouth, I shall."


Flow shakes his head.
"Quite the opposite, in fact."
>"We're here to ask for your help, Miss Zophie."
>>"Yeah, an' trust us, we've got quite the job, comes from Hope 'imself."
Both Vice and Trapper come out from behind Flow.


>"Oh! There should be a ton of metal we could use in Fantasia. Just borrow a part from one of the rides or something."



"Thank you," Amy says to Mirror. "But, I'd like to at least see if all of this studying can do something about it. It'll be a good test. I've never taken a test before!" Amy says as she excitedly wags her tail.

"Let's go!" Amy says as she bounces over to Yes Mare with a single bound, toppling over anyone still within hug distance of her. "I have a test to study for!"

"What about ON my mouth?" she suddenly asks as if everything she just said didn't happen.


"I'm in," Zophie says.
"Not that I'm not grateful for your help, but don't you want to… you know, get any intel on it?" Spitshine asks.
"Hope is involved," Zophie explains. "Most ponies don't come back from the dead, but as long as I've known him, that old crow has made it a goddamn habit. If he thinks he needs help, it's going to be something serious."
"Good to have you around then," Sugar says with a bit of envy.
"Likewise. Though, I really do want an explanation on it before I go in," Zophie says with a laugh. "C'mon, out with it."


"Yeah, like fear! He should have been running scared and begging to let me in by the time I started getting angry…" Flaming says with a snort of her muzzle, scrunching it up.

Flaming smiles, looking over at Pryce, "That's a great idea! They already distmantled most of them already to make barricades," Flaming says with a slight frown, remembering the rides fondly. "B-but that should mean there's plenty of scrap metal for us to use. But we'll need someone who will be able to weld it all into a proper body for Chorazin to use."

As Mirror mentions the process will be painful, Flaming's eyes dilate and her ears fall flat, "Is there anything I can do to make it hurt less? Maybe there's some herbs around here that can numb the area around the chest."

Flaming raises a brow, "You have a test? For what again, did I miss something?"


Flow smirks.
"You haven't changed a bit, love."
>"The short version is…we're going to Tartarus."
>>"TH' long version is, there's this bleedin witch who thinks she could tame demons! And we're gonna make sure that doesn't happen."



"Yes Lady has been helping me study a thing that will make it so that I can force any bad thing out of my body," Amy says excitedly.


"Any bad thing? You mean," she snickers, taking a second to point at your corruption in your chest, "Corruption from a mad angel, for example?"



"Yeah, that's what I'm saying!"


"That sounds pretty great, yeah! But what made you interested in it? It sounds like you were preparing for this 'before' you went into Miracle's core."

Her ears flatten. "Ego isn't… you know… giving you trouble, is she?"


"If you get any of that food on the book, I'm not responsible for stopping Observer from doing whatever he will do to you."
Yes Mare goes back over to the couch in the lounge, and opens the book. Soon enough, Onion and Rus Tea sit beside you. Yes Mare flips open the old tome. "We're… almost near the end of this chapter! Perhaps I was too engrossed in the stories to notice, but we're nearly done. Let's see… it seems like there's only a single story left."

Yes Mare begins to read. It opens with a meditation on the transmigration of souls, the idea that, upon death, a person's soul embarks on a journey through various corners of the many afterlives – all sections of the Great Beyond, comprising the underworld and heavenly realms – and is reincarnated into a new form once the old has been purified of all remaining traces of its former life. The story begins with a rich merchant, living in a country whose king has recently died. As the king's son takes the throne, the son quickly becomes a despotic ruler, and in time initiates a purge of those who belong to a certain religious sect that differs only slightly from his own. The merchant, belonging to that sect, is in the middle of packing his things to flee the country. Yet his desire to take all that he owns slows him enough for the new ruler's secret police to find the tower in which he lives. Locked inside, the merchant flees to the top floor of his tower, yet the secret police have already set fire to its base.

"How grim," Yes Mare notes, pausing to take a breather.
"But all too common in some pockets of the world," Rus Tea says.
"Over… a difference of faith?"
"No, of opinion."

"I suppose that could work, though she'd end up rather colorful once we are finished," Mirror notes. "Will the two of you come help me haul it all? Or better yet, why don't most of you come? We will need a good amount."

"Tame demons?" Zophie asks. "That strictly isn't impossible. Ecclesia even sent me and Freischutz here to take out those who have tamed demons in the first place. Though, since this pack of tamers is only bringing their demons here for blood sports and not terrorism or wanton destruction, we've permitted them to live."
"They mean on a larger scale," Renee says. "This witch, Mudi the Young of the Witches of Gehenna, seeks to gain such immense power that all demons within this region will have no choice but to bow to her."
Zophie's eyes widen. "…Now that's a much different story. But still, what makes you think that's necessarily a bad thing? I'm sure Hope has his reasons for not wanting that to happen, but on paper, it isn't… well, in the right hooves, it's not the worst idea. Under a benevolent ruler, this could bring about a longer-lasting peace than what we have been able to achieve thus far."


"It is.. I can see that" Shei-Sher says a bit at with all the circumstances that have come, like the ending to a long journey. "I think I could say the same maybe." the goat smiles.
"There are some things I want to say. So please hear me out."

"I came here to apologize for what I did to you and let your judgement for me be final
There were other ways to go about it, I could say it was regrettable if it didn't lead us here. Nevertheless I ignored them. As I came closer to my ambitions, my love, my friends, I became a slave to them and other agents -too make matters more disrespectful I came to you addled with drugs -not as a warrior should have. Although. I have already given you my life, the toll between us is squared.
but there still remains something I must repent for."

Shei-Sher kneels, in a way you would when making a prayer.
"Y'dryth forgive this one, I knew love for only a while and let it's writhing dance take me. Taking in love, sucking it in as a hole in the sand sucks grains, never full and always there. I always looked up to others for guidance. Living as a slave for so long I never knew there was another way to live, I hung on every promise and wrapped myself in my narcissism. But when everything feel apart I heard my true self call back from the deep of this dream. I gave up my gods. Let my love burn away, and finally faced the stare of the angel who'd been glaring at me for so long.
I did wake up from the dream. I remember who I am. And know what my will is -Shall be the whole of the Law- I don't want to see people be consumed by the writhing dance any longer. Those who never wished to be demons should not be demons, and those turned to angels should not be angels. This is where they belong, on this humble patch of earth where there families and ancestors lie. And I despise seeing this place taken advantage of by who ever likes to. I don't know how I will stop it but I will or I will die. And I'm fine with whether outcome as I long as it is the will you helped me find Y'dryth, that I follow. it is where this path I walk leads now. This isn't a question of morality. It is simply what I desire. Miracle if that is something you can respect then please take my hoof and let us make our friendship official under divinity."

Shei-Sher extends his hoof while still kneeling so Miracle may join him in prayer.



"What!?" Amy says surprised (and also offended on the side) at the suggestion. "No! It's just… lately we keep running into stuff that is too good at making us weak. Like when I couldn't heal when we first ran into Megatron. I'm tired of it. No one is going to make me not me!"

"Except for me!" she suddenly adds. "I wonder if I even COULD use it for that…?" she starts pondering out loud. "I mean, what would that even do? Which part of me would I get rid of? What would happen if someone who wasn't half-demon tried to get rid of a part of themselves?"

Amy looks as if she's starting to get dizzy.

"Anyway, gotta go study!"


Amy listens to the story silently as she chows down on some fruit.

"Is that the end of the story?" Amy asks between bites.


"It don't matter to me, I just owe him this favor," Flow says with a dismissive wave, "Besides, it'll be fun to cut through legions of demons."
>"We understand the moral conundrum, however, and we've already gotten a candidate to receive her power. The only problem is getting in and out alive."
>>"An' besides, we aven't the slightest bit of trust in this damn witch. She might seem alright on the surface, but we don't trust her one bit."


>"We could put all the rides together to be like a walking carnival! Let's see if we can get a bumper car that's all together to replace the hooves."
KP says with childish excitement.


Flaming chuckles, "Well, maybe she'll *like* a little bit of color after coming out of there! You can help us pick one which ones she'd like best." She nods, strolling forth. "I'd love to come help, I can haul it all back here by myself if you can get me a cart. Maybe should grab Tantra and Journey too just for an extra pair of legs."

She turns to Pryce, "Oh! Maybe one of those carts from the Ferris wheel would make a good body."

"META-tron" Flaming corrects. She scrunches up her muzzle, remembering their very, VERY close encounter. "And yeah, I think I know what you mean. I can usually tough it out and, lately, it seems that Vir-can has my back like when it came to that glass corruption I caught on our way here from Vitral. But I think that's a good idea so we're ready for whatever comes next."

As you comment on making you 'not' you, Flaming turns her head, "I… I'm not sure. That sounds really confusing. I guess, if you got rid of your mind? Or your soul. *THOSE* are the most important parts of you, some might even say the 'real' you, so if someone got rid of those, then you would stop being you, you think?"


Miracle kneels before you, and though you can softly hear her mouthing words of her own, they are in Neighsco. Though the language barrier prevents you from understanding most of what she says, the etymological similiarities between Equish and Neighsco lets you pick up some common terms and names; she too asks for ablution, offers a paean, and a dirge for her homeland.

When you are both done, she digs at the ground, scooping up a small bit of dust. She places some behind her ears, and some behind yours as well. "Now then, the account is not quite settled between us."

She stands back, then holds a hoof over her chest. Circles of data and white noise accumulate around it, manifesting a glasslike sphere, from which emanates the gentle rumble of wind chimes. Within the sphere is a pair of black wings and a magic seal, surrounding a slave's collar.

Miracle nods, then rallies over a few others, namely Blessings, Busta, LJ, Tantra, Wireframe and Box. With everyone gathered, you head back up to Fantasia. Night is soon approaching, and the city's lights, comprised of magic glowstones and magitech beams, illuminate the streets in the twilight.


You pass through the magic barrier sealing off the ruined amusement park behind Fantasia Palace, and find many of River Spring's doctors and relief workers attempting to feed, clean and give medical treatment to the mind-broken masses who were dumped there by the Treibheanna. With the victims' minds shattered, the process is long and with little success, and the amusement park remains a pillaged, silent wreck.

LJ sighs as he watches them. "Let's not stay too long, I don't want to disrupt their work. What shall we take?"

"If that's the case, I don't need any more reason to stick around here," Zophie explains. "The old colt's word is good enough for me. Give me the rest of the night to inform my division and squadron leaders and settle a few debts here and there."
She glances down at the kids. "They aren't coming are they?"
Sugar and Spitshine appear conflicted.

"Be patient!" Yes Mare says.

As the story continues, the merchant perishes in the fire, and is processed through the bureaucracy of the lower realms. His soul is weighed by the judges of Hell, and is sentenced to reincarnate as a hungry ghost, destined to feed on the waste of those tortured below. The merchant desperately protests, and his horrified wails are enough to reach the ears of a spirit of redemption in a heavenly garden above, known as a sin-eater. The sin-eater sends her herald to the judges of hell, and convinces the judges of hell to allow the merchant a more merciful reincarnation as a sea-turtle. The merchant is pleased, and pledges his life as one of devout devotion, eternal servitude to all the boddhisattvas and holy spirits, yet in his heart, he is already scheming ways to re-obtain his lost wealth.

Yes Mare and Rus Tea appear puzzled by this development, while Onion smokes his pipe in silent contemplation.


>"Oooh yea, and we should get some of those squirt gun games too, never know when that might come in handy."

>"Let's get something with wheels at least so she can move easy. Oh hey somepony should find if there's any claw machines that we could use for arms!"
KP suggests, as he looks for any salvageable bumper cars.