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 No.721253[Last 50 Posts]

Last time on HolyQuest…

Trapped in Regina's realm of illusions, housed within the infinite Library of the Sacrosanct, the party had no choice but to play along with her malevolent games. Her primary method of testing and provoking the party consisted of trapping them within various stories recorded on scrolls. She abducted their allies under their very noses, replacing some with Replicas made in their image, and forced them to participate as actors within each story. Volkama played the role of Hodgson, a mad warlock attempting to unearth an ancient power, the Earthvein, for his own use. Rus Tea was transformed into a savage, mindless lamia, and made to endure the trials of a snake temple built among the branches of ancient, towering trees in the Onuma Swamp of the Starchart Plains.

After freeing Rus Tea from Regina's mind-altering magic, they were about halfway through the story of Cobraskin. In order to advance, they would need to complete the tale or else find some way of sufficiently disrupting the story, as in Earthvein.

Meanwhile, Flow and KP, exiled temporarily from Lilane after Flow's episode of Magatsuhi Overxposure, had to return to Fantasia. The city, once crushed under Orcus' maniacal, mechanical subjugation, had become a respectable fortress under the guidance of Easy Doesit. The city-state was sealed off by a high wall of stone and metal, armed by many guards: Ecclesians, Zha Arlakanians, Fairies, and refugees still able and willing to fight. There were still difficulties with farming and other food production, the threats of overpopulation and the mind-corrupted refugees that had been dumped there by the Treibheanna, but things seemed to be turning around, for now.

Flow and KP retired to one of many inns, populated with day laborers retiring from the heat of the late afternoon sun, and got some food, finding that they were quite hungry after all they'd done that day. Though Flow had gotten back his memories and sense of self, Renee still wanted to conduct a thorough examination of his mental and physical faculties to see if any side effects of the Overexposure still lingered.


Smacking his lips after the sip, Hopper climbs back down, looking between you and the little bowl of bugs. He doesn't seem bothered by the fact that he can't share, and then devours the rest.

"Do you share emotions and all that?" Spitshine asks. "Or what about dreams? If one learns a skill, can the other use it too?"


Sugar stirs her bowl of borscht, looking into the small chunks of beetroot, carrots and potatoes swirling around in it. She seems lost in it for a moment before looking up at you. Her expression is grave, her eyes dull with some kind of quiet, rolling storm, a turmoil that cannot be expressed. "How… how long do we have to be with you?" she asks.


The movement tiles hold no threat to you, their magic pulsing but unable to move you, owing to your protective barrier. Your fire-serpent blocks the rest of the darts, sling-stones and even spearheads that launch out from hidden panels in the walls, and from below, and so forth. Enduring much abuse, the serpent-shield manages to last until you finally reach the other end of the room, before it finally starts to fall apart, glowing faintly yellow. From studying the scroll, you realize that it is about to explode. You can use it or simply dispel it at that point.


>"Don't spoil it! I want to go in with as little knowledge as possible!" Volkama says.
>"Pfft. And you were scolding me for my libertine tastes in dress," Rus Tea mocks.

>Pryce, Flaming, Shei

Moving as a team, you and your allies follow behind Pryce as he slowly tanks his way through the traps. It's slow going, but between the shield, the aura, and the antimagic barriers, the room's traps hold no power over you, and you manage to make it through without any damage… or so you thought.

Along the way, as Flaming tries to help clear out some of the invisible walls, she ends up pouring too much of her Spirit into the spell, and she feels a dreadful sense of vertigo and dizziness as it starts to backlash against her. The Pallisade barrier contributes some to stopping the backlash's effects, however. All it results in is that all of her hair stands up on end, turning her into a puff ball.

Unfortunatey, the same happens to all of you too, as you are linked by the black threads. You are all turned into puff balls. Except Rus Tea, of course, as she is mostly scales at this point, aside from her hair. She quickly starts to comb it back down, stifling a derisive laugh at your plight.


KP looks up in thought, wondering if there is any connection.
"Hmmmmm…. I know we don't share emotions, cause the big guy was bummed for a while and I wasn't. I don't know what we're connected in, but I do know there is something. The way Mr. Ruby talked after he used his clone spell made it sound like I had a connection he was gonna use for blackmail if we didn't save him properly or something."


Spitshine has to pause and think about it for a moment, but then taps his hoof on the table. "Oh, right! If you're hurt, the full Pryce is hurt too. You'd better stay out of harm's way."
River points her fork at Spitshine. "I hope you're not implying I'd ever let any of you foals be in danger in the first place."
Spitshine picks up his knife and clacks it lightly against the fork. "Chill out, doc! We're still alive and well and we survived Vitral, didn't we? We're more than capable of surviving whatever comes after this in Tartarus, just as well."


"Oh, is that what he was planning? Heh, Ruby would've needed a better plan than that, the big guy has been through a lot worse than whatever injury I'd get."

KP picks up one of the spoons on the table, clacking it into the crossed utensils.
"Yea, and we just got past that whole demon ambush earlier too without a scratch We'll be safe from anything!"
He pauses in thought.
"Hmm, I wonder if there are any other connections besides that one now."


Spitshine and River both clash their utensils against one another's and yours, vying to pin the other two bits of silverware at the bottom and remain on top.
Sister Renee looks over with wry amusement at your battle, though Spitshine and River both seem to be taking it quite seriously.
"I've studied a bit of magical theory as part of my training as a nun of the Union," Renee begins. "If you have lasted this long after being split from Pryce, then you are a true clone, a Doppelganger, and not merely a copy. You are spiritually linked, and you are both sustained by one another's spiritual substance."


KP starts to clash in the battle, using his spoon's curvature to his advantage to throw aside their forks and knifes. Though he's taking it much more lightheartedly than River and Spitshine.
"We're spiritually linked? So does that mean we do share dreams and stuff?"
KP questions Renee, intrigued as the topic is going over his head, and his focus taken away from the cutlery war.


At first your spoon manages to wrestle to the top, but River and Spitshine refuse to let you win so easily, intensifying their jukes, weaves and feints.

"That's correct," Renee says. "One needs a soul to use magic, and you can clearly use Pryce's cantrips, which I presume he learned as a lad. "If you were a mere copy, you wouldn't have any of Pryce's soul, and thus wouldn't have access to that, nor to his dreams or memories. Not only have you demonstrated all of the above, you've also lasted for a long time. Had you vanished after Calque fell unconscious, you'd have been classified as a Spirit-Clone. But you didn't – that means you are a truly separate, but linked entity – in other words, a Doppelganger.

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


"So I could do all those bigger spells and things he's learned since if I practice enough? Or read his mind if I focus hard?"
KP questions, very much intrigued now as Renee talks of linked souls, not paying much attention at all to the clashing as he flails his spoon around.

Roll #1 8 - 1 = 7


"No, you're both your own entities," Renee continues. "Your soul is the same as his soul from when he was your age. You have the same dispositions, inclinations, talents and so on, but everything he obtained as he became older, you cannot access. If you were to go on the same path he took, you would probably find learning his skills to be about as easy or difficult as he did – but you would also be able to learn skills other than what he did."

Somehow, your spoon comes out on top, pinning both River's and Spitshine's silverware underneath it. They both struggle to get free, but you somehow managed to get them stuck.


"So… It's almost like I can see what we would've ended up like if he didn't become a knight then."
KP mutters in thought, reflecting on this concept deeper than he usually takes things. Until he looks to see that he managed to get River and Spitshne's utensils stuck, at which he hops up in his seat in triumph.
"Haha! I won, I won!"


Hopper cries out with victorious ecstacy, to the annoyance and amusement of various laborers in the packed inn. The chatter and bustle of the inn quickly resumes as people get back to their boisterous and bawdy talk.
"You could try that, but you'd probably still have the same Calling as him," Renee continues. "It's just in your nature to want to both help and entertain."
Spitshine and River bow lightly, conceding defeat, and wipe off their utensils before they get back to eating.
Pucchini and Catcher play about on the table a little, chasing each other around the empty plates and bowls that your table's members have set aside.


KP picks up Hopper, holding him in celebration over the win.
"Yea, I always wanted to help ponies. Being a knight was just one way to do that though, so now I can try something new. Or try to be the best magician, making everypony happy and keeping up morale through the land!"
He says, posing triumphantly on the table a moment before hopping back down into his seat. He sets Hopper back down, letting him finish his food and play with the other animals as he finishes up his own food.


After his victory cry, Hopper crawls down your arm down to the shoulder, then hops back onto the top of your head for easy riding. Quite a few onlookers take notice of you climbing onto the table. A few applaud, while others chuckle and speculate that someone at your table might have let you have some of their Wizard's Wine.
River smiles. "It's not a shock to see how Pryce was as a young lad. Quite a different way of life than what I had when I was his age. Do you think you'll be a stage magician when this is all over, or keep on fighting alongside us?"


"Of course I'll keep travelling with you guys," KP says as if he's stating the obvious, "You're all my second family. But, I don't think I'll be doing any fighting. Probably would be the best if the big guy get's hurt twice. Besides, I'd like to focus on the magician work. You guys can secure an area and then I'll throw a show!"


Your bravado and hopeful talk brings a smile to River, but shortly after, her expression becomes wistful, contemplative. Spitshine seems to notice this, not looking too hopeful himself.


KP tilts his head as both River and Spitshine's expressions drop.
"What's wrong?


Flaming sticks close behind Pryce the entire way through the trap, using her unweaving magic to reveal whatever walls she can while the others press onwards.

However, after expending much of her spirit, upon reaching the end, she starts to heave, feeling exhausted before the magical backlash of the room seems to shoot back at her. "What the-"

Is all Flaming can manage to get off as her hair all stands up on end, turning her into an extremely fluffy buffalo as she lets out a squeal of dismay. "ACH!" She looks around, the fluffy hair practically covering up both her eyes. "W-what happened?! Who turned out the lights?!"

She ruffles around her fur, reaching up to pull it out of the way, then looking down at her extremely fluffy state as she growls angrily. "W-what happened?! Hey! S-stop laughing Rus, this isn't funny!"


"Yes, I know what you are thinking. But Crow-ley's work is not comparable to those shameless romance novels I see you simpering away at the late hours in the eve over." Shei throws the comment at Rus Tea like a bag of potatoes. She might recollect Shei-Sher being up all hours of the night, every night, and having paid her disapproving glances at her and her reading habits when passing through the barracks late at night to gather work materials.

With rigor and passion Shei conducts his lecture "Were I a younger kid now I'd turn my nose up at the thought, but these books are the sardonic, voluptuous body of the thelematic work. Embracing mortality as a source of it's own divinity, Thelema does not shun sexuality but incorporates the sensual nature of mortalkind into its work with brazen reverence. Devas confound them, ask you to break your back kneeling, feverishly flagellating yourself for harboring such romantic motes in our souls. Nigh, the angel could not be a Thelemite as he has stripped himself of sex. The Demon could not wield our Star, for he would become drunk of his own narcissism. But Liber Vegis in it's salacious mewling beckons the simple wizard to walk the thin wire bridge to our side of the cliff. Master his serpent, and walk as a king on this earth. In timultuous rigor, he holds his scepter. In an utter celebration of mortalkind's potential to conquer the stars. And you can read more about that in Chapter 4 Vii 'The Bull Who Tore Sabuul's Night Sky.' "

Shei-Sher follows closely along the rest of the party. He looks all around himself once becoming a buff ball "Ba-ah- Look at me. I could apply for Citizenship in Zha"



Pryce dispels his serpent shield, finding no need to let it explode and ruin the rest of the temple.

Pryce stops at the end of the room as his coat puffs up from Flaming's spell feedback. Fortunately his robe gives most of the cotton ball look covered, aside from his head and mane. He looks down in surprise, taking a moment to smooth his fur back out with his telekinesis.
"Well… at least it wasn't anything harmful."
He comments.


>"If you have no appreciation for the genre, blame it on your own bad taste," Rus Tea scoffs dismissively. "I care nothing if you miss out."
>"Yes, yes, I am familiar with this all," Volkama says. "Copies of most of his manuscripts are popular reading in mage's circles across the continent. It's only the unpublished works which continue to elude me. As for myself, I've notes for a compilation of my own. A reply to Crow-ley's works, if you will. I know our relationship has not always been cordial, but you of all people are deserving of an advance review copy."

After taking a moment to smooth yourselves out following Flaming's utterly amateurish and truly embarrassing failure, you find that you have reached the far end of the puzzle room. A few careful pokes in the open space around you shows that there are no further traps nor invisible walls laying about to trip you up. Now, there is nothing between you and the set of double doors on the far side of the room. These undoubtedly lead to the stairway that will take you to the third, and final level of the massive treehouse-temple.
>Rus prepares her weapons, rolling her shoulders and neck to ready herself, while Volkama's demon-horn issues black sparks as he focuses his mind for whatever may lie ahead.


Once all fixed up and clear of traps, Pryce approaches the the final set of doors, pushing them open and proceeding to the final floor of the temple.


The large double doors communicate the notion that this may be the entrance to the final level of Regina's dungeon. He thinks to himself well that was quick and is careful not to say it out load in case Regina might think to extend their sentence to this story.

Shei waits placidly for someone to open the door.

Shei faces his palm to Volkama "Save your notes. I sent out Onion to procure some very special items for me this morning. In the night I will be making contact with the God of Thelema himself, and you may personally hand him a copy yourself and indulge in whatever insane fancies the young god has dreamt up in his plane. All sincerity due, I am bubbling with excitement for it all."


Flaming grunts, "Yeah, easy for you to say. I can barely see how silly you look underneath all those robes…"

Flaming growls as she puts her hair back down, not ENTIRELY sure why a sudden urge of angry annoyance washed over her as she felt like someone was indirectly mocking her faux-pas, but after matting it down she lets out a huff. "Okay, NOT letting that happen again." She says resolutely before marching on.

As they head into the third level, she looks around, tensing up as she sees Rus already prepping herself for battle. "You guys sense something? IT just looks like an empty room to me."
[1d10] Perception checking

Roll #1 7 = 7


"You're a fluff ball" Shei-Sher lightly pats your body's fluff "We now qualify for citizenship in Zha Arlakane."


Flaming's foul mood is actually slightly tempered when Shei comments on them passing for sheep. She snorts,
"T-that's not funny. I'm not NEARLY as fluffy as Dania was, give me a break! I bet I'm still not even as fluffy as Journey."


"You have to admit, looking silly is something to take over setting off those traps again."


>"Hmph! So soon? He shall have to wait until I have edited and illustrated my work – I've had dreadful little time to even put my pen to the page with all our recent adventures. Perfection cannot be rushed."

You proceed up the staircase, finding this one to be much taller than the one before. Snakeskins mark the walls, hung up in a ritualistic fashion, a deliberate pattern of religious significance. Many are marked with myriad runes drawn in a dark, murky substance, and you can only guess at their meaning. Like those outside, some resemble dreadful fangs, or predatory slit eyes, and still others resemble serpents killing their prey in various ways – some constricting, others poisoning, some even devouring whole.

Your skin instinctually crawls at the sight of the hanged skins as you proceed up the stairs, your hair on end as you climb this seemingly interminable flight. Mosses and lichen grow in the interior walls, and the occasional branch, blooming with deep blue flowers that reek a strong, nearly overpowering nectar, smelling so sweet as to be grotesque, almost nauseating and venomous.

Your heads begin to swim at their scent, and to make matters worse, the temperature and humidity both rise with each step. Paradoxically, the higher you climb, the more humid and hot it gets, and your fur clings to your bodies, damp with sweat. You begin to grow thirsty as you climb higher and higher.


At long last, the dreadful ascent finally comes to a close, as at the staircase's last winding ends in another set of doors. Panting and miserable, Rus and Volkama are the first to the doors, shoving them open. The doors open into a much larger room than before, and in fact, it's not accurate to call it a room at all.

You are in a massive, open-air arena of sorts. The walls all around you are about ten feet in height, and above that is all treeline, both from the great trees that hold up this treehouse, and the trees surrounding it. Above you is a criss-crossing canopy of branches, thick with vines and bulbous blue flowers with their intoxicating scent. It is a dizzying canvas of green and blue shades, matched against the dark backdrop of the starry sky.

At the very top of the treeline, you see what appears to be a great serpent's skull, hanging open with its face pointing at you. There appears to be some kind of structure build into its massive mouth, and inside, you see the glint of some kind of ritualistic setup in there, a shrine of sorts. It looks like that must be the goal.

The buffalo's natural dread of serpents is even stronger than the pony's or the goat's, as buffalo, forced into the Highlands as they are, are far more likely to encounter snakes. Though you can see no snakes around you right now, an instinctual fear wells up in your stomach, causing your heart to pound out of rhythm. Something is nearby…


Flow smiles as understandingly as he can, and looks down into the table, almost as if he’s looking straight through it.
“Ye shouldn’t worry about how much time is left luv. You should worry about enjoying your time in the present. Live in the moment, and enjoy what time you have, rather than worry about what time you might not.”


River props her head up on a hoof as she leans on the table. "It… just occurred to me how precious little time we have left to be like this. When you said family, I thought of everyone who will be going into Tartarus, and those–"
Looking suddenly at Sugar and Spitshine out of the corner of her eye, she clears her throat.

Flow notices that River's wearing a similar expression to his now. It is clear that the same troubles that wear down on Sugar's mind are on her's as well.
Sugar doesn't seem assuaged by Flow's answer, and anxiety and stress start to swirl in her eyes. "Wh– what's that supposed to mean? C-c'mon," she says, laughing nervously. "You can give me a straight answer. D-don't be like the others, alright? I can take a hard answer… there's no reason to try to hide it."
She points accusingly at River, the tip of her hoof almost imperceptibly shaking. "What was she saying just now? Why do you both look that way?"


Flow chuckles and shakes his head.
“Listen luv. Things are already getting mucked up on the surface. No doubt about it, we’re gonna be facing some tough customers.”
He pauses for a moment to see if what he says sinks in with Sugar.


Pryce climbs, growing more defensive as they pass the array of skins and murals, the last trial feeling more and more dangerous with each passing sign. And even for a fire mage, the heat starts to grow beyond his comfort zone, but he still marches upwards undeterred, his knight training having prepared him for worse instances than this.

He steps into the arena, feeling a slight relief with the open air, but coughing as his deep breath is choked by the overbearing sweet nectar, leaving the uncomfortable and worn venture from the hike without reprieve. He glances around the makeshift coliseum, not seeing anything of immediate danger, and settles his eyes on the skull and shrine. He raises a hoof to step forward, but pauses to slip off his bracelet. This area feels heavy in an ambush waiting to happen, his magic flares in preparation out of his bracelet as he conjures a kusarigama to defend himself from any serpents that try to strike.
>Conjure Weapon [Fire, Single Great, DC5] [1d10+1]

And then he proceeds forward to the shrine.

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


KP is silent for a short moment after River speaks. He looks over as Sugar also question the same, but with more worry.
"Well, that's just more reason to make this last few days all the more special, right?"
He says to the group with a big smile.
"And then we'll have all the days after once this is all done with."


>Flight [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


Flaming grumbles as she finishes flattening out her fur. "I GUESS, yeah, but… doesn't mean I have to like it."

As Shorty looks up at all the snake-skins and hanging jaws, looking poised to bite, hung around the staircase, Flaming's pace slows, causing her to stick very close to Pryce as an instinctual fear generations old starts to take over her. "I really hope this story doesn't last too much longer… I may not have mentioned this earlier but, I REALLY don't like snakes." She pauses, smiling lightly at Rus, "Hehe… uh, except you."

As they finally begin to reach the top, Flaming actually feels quite at home in the high temperature, high humidity surroundings, though the unease caused by the multitude of snakes around her gives her no small amount of dread, and combined with the sticky air starts to make her struggle to keep her composure.

As they open the final set of doors and burst into the large, open-air arena above, she looks above towards the canopy, grateful for just a little more fresh-air as she sniffs around the sides of the massive room. "Woah…. I-I don't think I saw this from outside, it's huge! How could something this big be on the top?!" She looks up ahead towards the giant hanging mouth of the serpent, and snorts as she sees the shrine.
"I think I see where we're supposed to go… but everyone look around. We're not alone here. I know it, I can feel it in my gut."
[1d10] Sensing for another presence

Roll #1 4 = 4


"You should at least have perfunctory discussion with him. Share your thoughts while we visit. Alie can be very personable" Shei lets his petname for his ex-Master slip.

Once they enter the arena like area with the massive Snake skull hanging over them Shei-Sher believes the time is right for some air conditioning.
Shei-Sher waves his staff upward as moisture and swirls around it. The air becomes much colder and the humidity turns into a visible mist

>Staff of the Cloudsmith: Roll to change the weather in the local area to rainy, cloudy, stormy, or clear. Can store one weather pattern that is not on this list in its orb for future use

[1d10+1] Cloudy/misty

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

[1d10+3] to make the air frigid

Shei-Sher then follows along with Pryce toward the Shrine

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11


[1d10+1] Climbing

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


shei flies after Pryce

[1d10+1] flying roll

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


>"What an amusing name you have for him," Volkama says. "Pray tell, did he have one to call you in turn?"

>Rus's forked tongue darts out at you, brushing against your arm and sending a wicked chill shooting up your spine.

Your kusarigama brims with fire, deadly sharp and sturdy and glowing with strength.

Pryce spreads his wings, taking flight into the towering canopy of trees above you, making his way to the skull hanging from the highest tree at the center. The dense layers of interweaving branches make for a claustrophobic flight, and he is forced to fly in complex patterns to avoid the thick curtains of foliage blocking the way up. The air's temperature starts to drop in response to Shei's spell, but it goes down slowly, as whatever's causing this humidity is very strong, or perhaps stubborn would be a more applicable word.

As Flaming and Shei start to follow him, a sudden, sharp sense of dread stabs into them, and they instinctively dive back, and not a moment too soon. A massive shape darts out from the dense treeline, stabbing out toward Pryce! It is the head of some kind of strange serpent, colossa and camouflage greenl, easily the size of a dragon's. Mouth wide open, it bites down on Pryce, grabbing and smacking him into a nearby branch in a surprise strike, knocking the sense and breath from his body.

>Pryce loses 1 Wound

As Pryce plummets from the monster's mouth, the serpent retracts its head, blending back into the treeline. As it does, you notice something strangely familiar about the shape of the head, though you cannot quite place it.

Volkama tries to catch Pryce in a protective bubble. [1d10+4]
Meanwhile, Rus clings to the tree's base, peering up to try to find a clear path around the giant snake. [1d10]

Roll #1 7 + 4 = 11 / Roll #2 10 = 10


Sugar looks like she doesn't want to understand.
"That's… that's Ecclesia's responsibility. Not mine. What's worth saving up here that we should have to remain behind? You're– we're going to need all the help we can come by in Tartarus."

Now Spitshine grows nervous as Sugar's words break the relaxing tavern atmosphere. "…Yes. When we all get back from Tartarus, right?"
"Th-that's too far away to think about," Spitshine says to try to deflect. "Why bother thinking too far ahead? Your fur will just go gray with worry."
"How can I not worry when you're all talking like this?" Sugar asks. "Just… tell me we're not going to split apart."


>Correction: EVERYONE loses 1 Wound because of Black Threads


before flying up with Pryce Shei-Sher says with his eyes toward the ground "He sometimes called me a deli-dodger. Obviously in reference to how I could have easily inherited a life of being sandwich meat." He follows up the Treeline with Pryce, thus ending that line of dialogue.

Mid-Air Shei-Sher unfurls his switcane and Swings long to Lasso the Snake before its head can fully retract.
>highground bonus +2

[1d10+2] Lasso Snake

Time shifts uneasily along the serrated chain links of Shei-Sher's weapon
>Can I Borrow This?: Instant; Recharge 3; Ranged; On success, you steal 1 of the target's chances to act next turn, completely stunning them if they can only take 1 action per turn. Next turn, you can use this stolen action in addition to your normal ones.

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4


H/W Update

"The snakes must love you! Because you are so hot blooded" rim-shot


When Rus's tongue darts out at her, Shorty lets out a sharp squeal, jumping back and glaring at Rus angrily. "O-okay, I changed my mind, including you now." She says poutily.

Flaming watches as Pryce spreads his wings out and flies around the branches of the tree-tops, snorting as she starts to climb up after him. "Show off." She sighs in relief at Shei's magic lowering the temperature, turning to say, "Aw, I kind of liked it steamy."

When she's about ready to climb, Flaming's eyes go wide, and with a sudden instinct to retreat immediately shoots back away from the tree branches as she watches the massive serpent shoot out from the branches. "WOAH! That was too close…"

As it twists and bites down onto Pryce's body as he nears the shrine, Flaming lets out a sharp yell, "PRYCE! Okay, now I know what it is I was feeling earlier!" She shoots towards it, ready to fight before it darts back behind the cover of the tree tops. "HEY! Come back out here you coward!"

She turns towards the others, "Okay, go get Pryce and then make for the shrine! I'll draw its attention towards me and away from you so you can do whatever needs to be done! Volkama, you know the story!"
She lights her horns alit with blue flame, drawing on aggravation and intimidation to coerce the snake into attacking her.
>Activating Offering onto the Mountain


>H/W: 10/4
>Kusarigama: Fire Element; Single + Great Tags; +2 Modifier

Pryce keeps his kusarigama tight, wrapping the chain around his hoof and holding the scythe, keeping it ready to swing at a moment's notice.
He flies up towards the shrine, ducking and curving around the branches, a bit difficult for him as he's not quite used to such dexterous maneuvers with his wings. The concentration needing to make his way through the thick foliage leaves him unable to notice the snake lunging at him, only becoming aware as the fangs sink into his chest. His eyes widen at the wound, unable to guard himself as he's thrown into a branch like a toy. He grabs onto it, holding on as he gasps for air to refill his lungs, which is not pleasant from the smells and lingering heat.
The cooling air helps him gather himself quickly, eyes darting around at where the snake went, unable to recall even how big it was.
("I should've been on higher guard, I knew there going to be something else here.")
Pryce pulls himself onto the branch, giving himself solid hoofing as his horn glows white to cleanse anything that may have been in that bite.
>Mantra of Purity [1d10]
Afterwards, he hums a song, trying to hide himself from the snake's sight to avoid any further ambushes and playing it at it's own game.
>Limerick of Desert Mist [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 7 = 7


Flow takes a deep breath and leans back.
"Listen lass. We'll have our own problems down there, but you shan't be worryin about us."
He gives her a reassuring pat on the back.
"Leave Tartarus to us, lass… We're the ones who have to handle this mess anyways…"


KP turns in his seat towards Sugar.
"Even if we do, we'll always have a connection still. The big guy hasn't seen his family in years, but I know they're still ok. You can feel this sort of thing, and no matter how long apart you guys are, you will all come back together one day."
He says, though afterwards he's unsure if it helped.
"…I, uh, guess what I'm trying to say is that you gotta trust in your friends and family that they're not going to leave you alone, even if they do have to go away for a bit."


>Rus merely smirks with delight.

>"It's never too late; if you ever contemplate a career change, I can help," Volkama says before you fly up.

Your switchcane's whip hooks 'round the serpent's head, and it pulls against you to try to break free for a few moments. Suddenly, a gleam flashes in its eyes, and it stops pulling away, evidently considering now a change in tactic since it cannot get away.

>As Volkama's spell arcs toward Pryce, a protective bubble appears not just around him, but around all of you as well. Volkama blinks with surprise, but doesn't let it slow him down as he starts to spread his wings and fly up through the branches.
>"The back! Circle around to the other side!" Rus calls out as she starts to climb up the tree.

Flaming activates her power, but as she does, blue flames circle about the heads of every member of the party, not just around her. In the same moment, she realizes the danger and potential of the Black Threads. This is confirmed once more when Pryce's Mantra spreads not just around him, but around the rest of you as well, refreshing you slightly. Finally, when Pryce uses his Songspinning technique, all of you turn ghostly and translucent, nearly invisible to the naked eye.

>Offering on the Mountain applies to everyone

>Mantra of Purity applies to everyone
>Bubble applies to everyone
>Limerick of Desert Mist applies to everyone

The snake pauses, huge slit eyes gazing unblinkingly at the spaces you all just inhabited and seemingly disappeared from as well. Its tongue darts out from its hungry mouth as it makes a low hissing noise.

[1d10+2] Trying to smell the party

Now that you have a moment of peace, that strange familiarity comes back to you, gnawing at the back of your mind as you are able to get a better look at the serpent's oddly-shaped face.

>Volkama and Rus, on the other hand, seem more concerned with trying to get away from the snake, flying and climbing discreetly toward the skull towering at the top.

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12


Sugar pauses as you try to assuage her, staring down at the bowl before her. The dark red liquid murkily reflects her face, dark and distorted on the shimmering surface. It's a long time she's there, contemplating all of this.
"…Everyone's leaving again, aren't they? Even if I try to talk you out of it, you're going to leave, just like last time."
Spitshine is once again at a loss for words, biting his lip impotently.
"N-not everyone," Renee says. "And even if some of us have to go for a time, we will assuredly be reunited."
"Why can't I believe you?" Sugar asks flatly, but there is no fight in her words. "…Have you decided? I mean, on who will leave, and who will stay up here?"


Pryce eases as his magic works successfully, but it is short lived as magic flows over everypony in the party. One by one as he sees each get affected not only by his song, but by Volkama's and Flaming's magics as well, Pryce realizes deeply they're all linked from their attempt to prevent Regina's theft. He can't see anypony anymore, so he can only assume they're going for the shrine. He stands on his branch, seeing hte snake bound by Shei's chain, and goes to act as the distraction. Pryce sings another song, this time out loud to attempt to draw attention to himself as well as protect him further.
>Hymn of the Cedar Tree Shrine [1d10]
Once he finishes, he loosens his kusarigama around his foreleg, and tosses the weighted end at the snake to draw it's ire.
"Over here serpent!"
He shouts, before the odd familiarity clicks in.
[This can't be another of our friends, can it?]
>Strike [Fire, Crits 8+, Crit Fails 2-, DC5] [1d10+2]

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11


Flaming looks on as not only does her magic spread to the others, but every one else's as well, looking around in confusion as everyone turns invisible.
"I-I can't believe I forgot about the threads! They transfer EVERYTHING, don't they?!"

She panics, before looking up towards the snake in confusion.
"Huh… though, maybe that's not such a bad thing, it can't see any of us now." As it 'sniffs' the air with her tongue, her hair stands up on end, looking around for a way to distract it while the others attempt to either lasso it or sneak to the shrine.

She runs towards the nearest wall of the arena, bashing her head into it to create a disturbance that will draw its attention
[1d10+3] All or Nothing, crashing this wall to get the snake's attention

Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13


Flow grins.
"Aye, more or less, lass."
He tries to reassure her with a pat on the back.
"We'll do our damnest down there… We know the score and how to settle it, so that's what we'll do."


Shei-Sher lets himself be pulled by the Snakes Wreaving against the chain. Flying along with the momentum.

"Sir Etac, you realize you could kill your pet deviljho doing that." Shei-Sher says without any evidence that it is infact Pryce's pet.

The snake finally stops for a moment. And Shei-Sher takes the moment to chant indescribable whispers as he draws signs into the air with one hoof.
>Can I Borrow This?: Instant; Recharge 3; Ranged; On success, you steal 1 of the target's chances to act next turn, completely stunning them if they can only take 1 action per turn. Next turn, you can use this stolen action in addition to your normal ones.
[1d10+1] stealing action from Snek

Shei-Sher tightens the chains hold along the Snake's head. The chains making wrapping noises as they fasten. A sign in dim blue light appears along the Snake's head.
>GABBY'S SEAL: Turns a living enemy into an walking corpse. For all intents and purposes this target now counts as Undead and a corpse. This effect ends if someone removes the seal from their body.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4


"…I'm not going, if that helps any."
Is all KP can find to say, for once unsure of how to help cheer somepony up.


>Identify [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


You can't tell how much your words are comforting Sugar. Though her face is stoic, you can sense that it is being weakly forced, and ineffectively so. The result is that her expression is now devoid of emotion, flat and gray.
She slowly stands, leaving most of her meal uneaten. "Can you promise that you'll tell me who is and isn't going by the end of the day? I just… need to know as soon as I can. I'm… I'm sure you'll be back. You'll all be back."

She begins to make her way to the exit. Renee tries to reach out to her. "Sugar? Where are you–"
"A walk," Sugar says curtly.


>Serpent's rolls are at a penalty due to the invisibility

Your chanted spell absorbs a stream of energy from the colossal serpent, but your sampling of its power reveals a deep wellspring within it, full of highly potent magical energy. Cryptic, runic lines run along its surface, reminding you of those that appeared around "Hodgson" during the previous story; it must be empowered by an outside source.
>1 of 4 actions stolen

The serpent's colossal head turns toward your position, as you make a raucous crashing sound some distance away near the base of the arena. Its eyes fixate on your position, and though you are positive you are invisible, as the snake hisses audibly, you feel that its sickly yellow eyes are fixated right on you.

Rather than strike you with its head, you see its body, camouflaged well against the deep green foliage of the tree and vines, appear to sink into the tree itself. There's a shifting and a shimmering in the wood of the tree, spreading down toward the wood that composes that platform on which you stand, in a curving, snakelike pattern.

Suddenly, the serpent's tail emerges from the platform, as if rising up from the surface of a body of water, and swipes at the wall, blindingly sweeping across the area to try to hit you!


Though your weapon strikes true, the scythe's blade does not hook deeply into the serpent's head, but at the very least it manages to hook on securely. The snake hisses again as you sing out loud, its cry now reaching an echoing volume as it shrieks with anger at the strike. Turning upward, the snake lunges up at you, mouth stretched wide as it strikes at your position.


Volkama and Rus continue to flee toward the shrine at the top, though the snake's violent thrashings make their progress slow.

The serpent's head, you realize, looks like a pony's – a mare's, to be precise, and two strange lumps near its midsection strike you as reminiscent of wings! It's someone you know, but you cannot exactly place it.

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #2 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #3 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #4 10 = 10 / Roll #5 5 = 5


Flaming looks up as she seems to grab the creature's attention, glad to be able to divide and conquer the massive serpent (even if it sends her nerves into over-drive, instinctual fears long ingrained into her bones telling her to duck and run at the sight of the snake). As the others stick their scythes into its skull or blasts it with magic, she lets out a whoop of joy, but as the tail starts to come at her, swiping across the whole of the arena, she lets out a worried "Uh-oh" as she runs to try and avoid its swipe, leaping up and over the tail trying to dodge
[1d10+1] First action to dodge
[1d10+5] All or Nothing, attacking the tail of the serpent

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 2 + 5 = 7


>Weapon gains +1 from crit last round
>Kusarigama: Fire Element; Single + Great Tags; +3 Modifier

Pryce glares up as the serpent lunges at him again. Prepared this time, he stands stoic, not moving from his spot to stay as a lure for the snake so his friends can continue on without hassle. He sings a third time, looking up at the snake's eyes as he conjures another serpent of flames to coil around and shield himself.
>The Scroll of Seneh, the Wildfire Aegis [Automatic]
The vague impression of the snake clicks into him. He doesn't know who it is yet, but it is another of their allies.
("Every creature we'll see in these stories must be one of them…")
A feeling of energy flows through his body from the threads. He isn't sure what it comes from, but Pryce takes advantage of it, horn glowing bright as he tries to strip away Regina's magic on their transformed ally to return her to her senses.
>Unweave [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


The flaming snake forms a protective coil around Pryce, hardening it's body to block the oncoming bite of the massive serpent charging down on the alicorn.
>Hunker Down [Auto]


Where the Snake's head crashes Shei-Sher follows close by holding fast to his switch-cane. Shei tugs it tighter along the snakes neck. As he rides, he reels the snake in. Again concentrating on lining a seal on the snake with his mind.
>GABBY'S SEAL: Turns a living enemy into an walking corpse. For all intents and purposes this target now counts as Undead and a corpse. This effect ends if someone removes the seal from their body.

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


KP watches on as Sugar stands up from the table. He's worried, having already talked to her the day before. He looks from Renee, to River, to Spitshine.
"Should we follow her?"
He asks, genuinely unsure of how to handle this situation.


Shei-Sher chants a few more words below a whisper, yet to the snake and him they feel as though they reverberate the room.
>CONTROL+1: Spell, attempts to take control of a hostile or neutral undead. More powerful undead may require a higher minimum roll. Also used to take control of a larger undead at recharge 2.

[1d10+2] To subdue

The metal chains run cold, freezing the air surrounding the Snake's head
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11


Flow takes a deep breath and holds Renee’s shoulder.
“Let her cool off love. She needs time to think.”
He sits back down and picks his glass of water up, and stares into its reflection.


Dizzied by the heat and foul sweet smell of the flowers, you are unable to unweave the magic empowering the serpent. Just as its massive jaws nearly clamp down on you, the shield takes the hit, spreading fire all around it, which barely even singes the snake's mighty scales. You are only narrowly able to avoid the snake's strike this way.

Undeterred by the flames, the snake spits out the shield and thrashes its head, trying to knock you out of the sky still.

You weave around the strike, but once you do, a massive rumbling rings out above you, and a shower of shattered trees, splinters and heavy branches falls down from above you. You dive, and though the debris falls upon you, the bubble takes the damage, popping and letting you escape unscathed.

>Everyone's protective Bubble also pops as a result of Flaming's taking too much damage from the critical failure

You attempt to subdue the snake with your magic, but as you touch your mind to its, you feel an incredible will housed in the serpent's mind, an indomitable, almost cruel and single-minded fixation, unwavering even in the face of powerful magic meant to tame it. The serpent attempts to throw you off by biting wildly at the space you occupy, swinging at you and Pryce in a flurry of screaming hisses and poisonous fangs!


Desperately attempting to avoid all this, Volkama and Rus continue to climb. Now and again, they cannot help but look with curiosity at the monster, afflicted by the nagging sensation of familiarity.


Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #3 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #4 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #5 7, 8 = 15


The mood is dampened by Sugar's absence. Spitshine's face is conflicted as he watches Sugar go. "I thought she'd understand… even I knew there was little chance you'd let me go with you. Someone small as me, can barely hold a knife? Heh… what place do I have alongside you in Tartarus? Damn it, what's so hard for her to accept?"
Renee takes Flow's hoof, sighing with worry. "I'm sure everyone will."
"All the more reason for us to savor every last one of these final moments," River says, downing her drink.
Hopper crawls off of KP's head and hops over to Spitshine, leaning his head against Spitshine's arm. He softly smiles and pats the frog's head.


Flaming lets out a sigh of relief as she manages to zip around the snake's tail, and then looks up ahead as her bubble (casted by Volkama) protects her from the myriad of fallen debris she neglected to take into account. She shouts in gratitude, "Thanks Volkama, I-"

her congrats is paused, however, as she hears the bubbles tart to 'pop' from around the others. "Wait… HEY! Do these threads transfer damage too?! Like, if one of us gets seriously hurt, we ALL get hurt?! I-I thought I just heard more than one bubble pop just now!"

She jumps into its path as it bites at Shei and Pryce, shoving her head into the side of its oddly shaped face to throw it off balance while Volkama and Rus continue to climb. "Just a bit longer, theyr'e almost there!"

[1d10+5] All or Nothing against the snake's head

Roll #1 8 + 5 = 13


"Oh No. This Might be Chorazin!" Shei-Sher says as he heaves his chain, both riding and wrestling with the snake. With a free hoof Shei-Sher begins waving his cloudsmith staff. Freezing the airs and forming snowflakes all around them.
[1d10+1] summoning a blizzard

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

[1d10+3] to make it a hell of a snowday

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 5 + 3 = 8


Pryce stares up into the snakes maw as the shield blocks the hit, that primal fear locking up his legs at for once seeing the attack head on instead of the ambushes he's been assaulted with up to now. He manages to find his nerve, taking a few steps back as the serpent is occupied with the shield and giving him a moment's break. Seeing the bubble around him pop, his horn glows white as he quickly heals everypony from the earlier ambush and any lingering issues from the traps.
>Commandment of Balance [Auto]

As the serpent thrashes wildly at him and Shei, his snake shield flies back and coils before him to fend off the fangs as best it can, spraying a shower of embers back at it to hopefully fend it off and focus it solely on himself.
>Brushfire [1d10+1]

>"It's hard to see friends leave…"
KP says, knowing how devastating that can feel from the memories before the Rapture. He looks out the door, and then quickly hops up to trot after her.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7


keep forgetting to update H/W
I believe this is where it is


Flow sighs in a mixture of relief and sorrow as the mood sours.
"Ah…I suppose it's now or never…"
Flow reaches into the pocket of his coat for the Inheritance, and cradles it in his hooves.


"Shei! Take me off of these threads! Let me focus the snakes attention while the rest of you deal with the story!"
Pryce instructs to the goat.


Swinging away in a merciless fury, the colossal serpent clamps down on Pryce, swinging him around like a blunt object and clamping down on him, smashing him into Shei as well, bludgeoning the both and crushing Pryce's body at the midriff, leaving it a sickly blue and purple color as things inside get clamped down by immense pressure. A severe pain racks all of your bodies, nearly blinding you with white hot pain, but Pryce then releases a powerful healing spell, restoring some of that immense agony.

>You all lose 4 wounds, but regain 3. Shei is 8/4 because of how the Wound system prevents you from falling below 0/1 from any given attack once per battle.

The snake releases Pryce, flinging him some distance away onto a branch, where he is left out of breath after the attack. While Pryce's shield distracts the snake with a column of fire directed at its head, Shei's magic reduces the temperature of the treetop arena, bringing it down at least to a mild chill, down from the sweltering heat it was at earlier. Flaming then leaps up through the tree's branches, then lands on a thick branch, poses for a colossal jump, and rockets into the sky, bashing her skull on the bottom of the snake's mouth, knocking it back a good distance.

The serpent begins to slow, gradually growing weaker. It moves sluggishly, its injuries starting to pile up, dulled further by the lowering temperature. But then as it glares at you all, you realize that you have all become visible again.

>Volkama and Rus have nearly made their way to the top of the tree, when Volkama gasps. "Vortigern! It's Vortigern!" he shouts.

Turning toward him, the serpent hisses loudly, and slams the tree with its tail.


Roll #1 2 + 4 = 6


[1d10+1] Jumping roll

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


Renee stays beside you, supporting you by the shoulder. "It was bound to be this way. That doesn't make it an easier, though, does it? KP was right… it's like a family splitting into two."

She looks at the Inheritance, and steels herself, trying to become stoic again. "Ready to test yourself?"

You and Spitshine, now carefully carrying Hopper in the crook of his arm, chase after Sugar as she heads down the cobblestone-covered street of Fantasia. The late afternoon sky is a dim orange glow, and tiny pinpricks of starlight shine down from above. She walks along on the curb, trying to keep her balance as she walks on the narrow line of stone.


Flaming cries out in agony as the serpent chomps down, HARD, on Pryce's body, lurching to the side as though the fangs suddenly pierced her own flesh. She struggles to stand up
"Y-yep… that answers that… I-I think we need to reconsider these black threads, guys!" She shouts out as she leaps up through the branches, jumping from tree to tree in the canopy like a professional athlete before managing to score a solid blow against the side of the snakes mouth, letting out a massive cry as she feels bone crack beneath her skull's impact.

She tries to jump off the side of the snake towards its back, running along the length of the snake trying to get to its mid-section in the center of the trees. "You're hiding most of your body from us… what happens if I attack you right in the middle, huh?!"

[1d10+5] All or Nothing, attacking the spine of the serpent after leaping off the head.
[1d10+1] Further athletic roll if required.

Roll #1 8 + 5 = 13 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9


Flow nods.
"Aye…I was expecting this sooner or later, love…"
He turns to face Renee and places his forehead on hers, holding the Inheritance in both hooves.
"Aye. I'm ready."


The pain is too much, for a moment Shei-She presumes himself dead but then they are back. Bewildering how just a second ago Shei felt he had been broken into pieces.

"If you have a plan, you're welcome to try." Shei-Sher picks up Pryce's black thread in his hoof, the thread nearly imperceptible. And then Shei cuts it with the cleft of his hoof.
[disabled black threads for Pryce]

Shei-Sher then rises back into the air and reaches his hoof out to the snake in a motion like he was splitting its head in two. Shei begins driving a wedge between the snake's mind.

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12


>H/W: 10/4

Pryce would yell out in pain, but the crushing pressure on his torso forces all the air out of his lungs before he can react, and keeps anymore from coming in to project that pain. He tumbles on the branch like a ragdoll, clinging to it only from how he hangs over the wood. His vision is blurred, the world around him hazy even after his healing spell.
He glances up at the snake, his horn sparking white as he tries again to unweave the magic on the serpent, the only thing he can do now as he's in no condition to move.
>Unweave [1d10]

KP trots after Sugar, spotting her on the streets as she walks on the curb. With no consideration for her balance and with no notice, KP runs up to her and gives her a hug.
>"You're not alone in this. We'll always be there for you."

Roll #1 3 = 3


Shei snaps his hoof in response to Volkama "I had my money on Chorazin."


Though you are healed, the pain is searing, ringing through your head and leaving your vision blurry, and so you are unable to concentrate on your spell.

Though Shei pours immense magical energy into the snake's mind, he is only able to restrain its beastly will for a few seconds, holding it still enough for Flaming to get a hit in on its middle as it attacks the tree. Flaming's impact causes the snake to recoil and barely brush against the central tree holding up the platform on which the arena stands. Though the whole arena rocks from the impact, the snake is much more unsteady now. The serpent's body grows translucent for a moment, and inside its head, you can see a pony shape; for a brief moment, you see Vortigern, her eyes screwed up with pain.

Then, colossal magical lines, glowing and runic, spread all around its body, filling it with a kind of second wind. The serpent's eyes are aglow, and its mouth stretches open again as it screeches and hisses for vengeance. It raises its head, then dives for the tree. Instead of striking it, though, the serpent's body seems to meld with the tree, diving into it as if the tree were a body of water.


>"Run! Run!" Rus shouts as she and Volkama make a break for the last stretch of the shrine. [2d10]

Roll #1 8, 1 + 4 = 13 / Roll #2 7, 7 = 14


As you try to hug Sugar, she makes an uncomfortable groan, worming out of the hug with a frown. "Shut up. Don't give me platitudes like the adults were a moment ago."
Spitshine takes your shoulder. "Maybe now's not the best time for that. Why don't we just… I don't know…"
"Can we just walk?" Sugar asks, her expression still trying to remain flat.

Renee leads you north and west, crossing the river that runs through Fantasia's streets. After crossing through many winding streets, you arrive in a large flat training yard, nearby a barracks and armory. The yard is mostly empty by this point, with just a few groups of ponies running drills, overseen by members of the Light Brigade.

After searching around a bit, Renee finds a corner of the training yard where a large storage shed is. Inside, she finds a few training dummies, made of straw and covered with tacky costumes made to resemble demons. She sets a few up in the yard, forming a semicircle around you.

"Alright, let's start with a few warmups!" Renee says. "Give me some stretches and lunges, then when you're ready, have a swing at the dummies here."


Flaming grins as her impact seems to deal no small amount of pain to the center of the snake, struggling to keep her balance as she feels the entire snake stare to shake and wobble from the attacks its being dealt. As Shei's magic affects the beast and turns it translucent, she gasps as she looks to its head, staring at the sight of Vortigern.

"VORTIGERN?! DAMN IT!" She curses, shaking her head, "I should have know, why didn't I figure it out… this snake is another one of our friends! I'm NOT letting it get away!" She shouts resolutely to the others, determined to free Vortigern from its skull. She runs back up towards the head of the snake, letting loose another headbutt, though this time instead of intent to smash and break skin/bone, she releases a massive burst of Unweaving magic into the head of the snake, trying to free Vortigern.

[1d10] Unweave
[1d10+1] Athletics check (if required)

"Who cares who it is?! Just free her!"

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8


Flow awkwardly stands in place after Renee orders him to get to work. He’s unsure just how to stretch in the first place, and whatever grace a goo can have is utterly lost on him.
After a couple more unorthodox stretches, he rears back a hoof to strike the dummy.

Roll #1 5 = 5


Shei-Sher releases his switch-cane's grip from the Vortigern Snek and immediately flies right into the wall.
>-Jhana of Malleable Flesh: Spell, Recharge 2(minus 1): You can escape from any physical binding or grapple by moving yourself freely through space in a radius of three meters in any direction. During this time, you are considered intangible for the purposes of moving through physical obstructions, unless said obstruction is larger than your three meter radius. This ability naturally has DC - 2 and stacks with other bonuses.

With a hoof steeped in Vortigern's mind Shei-Sher scrambles her thoughts, her perception of time becoming warbled.
>Can I Borrow This?: Instant; Recharge 3(minus 1); Ranged; On success, you steal 1 of the target's chances to act next turn, completely stunning them if they can only take 1 action per turn. Next turn, you can use this stolen action in addition to your normal ones.

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


[1d10] Insight!

Roll #1 2 = 2



Roll #1 5 = 5


Pryce looks down as the serpent tries to flee into the tree. He can't shout out, can't move. He tries to unweave the magic again, trying desperately to free his friend.
>Unweave [1d10]
>Insight [1d10]

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


"…But I wasn't. I meant that, I'm not going anywhere."
KP says, looking back at Spitshine as he tries to be rational. He releases Sugar, walking along side as she just wants to walk.


As before, your movements are clumsy and awkward, not fluid or full of strength as they normally are. It isn't until you strike the dummy that the full depth of the problems begin to manifest before you. Your punch is weak, lifeless.

Renee's expression doesn't change, intently studying you. "…Try some grappling now."

"I get it, alright?" Sugar says with exasperation. "I get it, I get it, I get it. I just don't want to think about anyone else leaving right now, alright!?"
After her outburst, her expression is flat, but the cracks are beginning to show. Her lip is curled, her chin shaking. After glaring at you a moment, she turns away again. Spitshine turns to you silently, motioning for you to keep your distance, but he looks regretful for doing it.
Hopper croaks softly.

You walk along with Sugar in silence as she glumly walks along the curb. Many passerby glance your way, but avoid your gaze, for the most part, passing by you in a stream of people.


The both of you are racked with a strong headache as Shei's spell backfires against him, scrambling his own thoughts due to an overextension of his Spirit.
>You both lose 1 wound
>"Would you get it right!?" Rus Tea angrily shouts out.
Shei then melds with the wall just as he sees the serpent diving into the tree. Flaming's spell just misses the serpent, shaving a few of the scales off as the spell grazes its body.

Suddenly, after diving into the tree, the serpent's head slams out of it, arcing out of it near the top and diving in and out, coiling around it to shake it, rather than try to damage all of you. Volkama and Rus are chucked off of the tree, shouting as they fall from the tree, as are Flaming and Pryce.

>roll to regain your balance or take severe damage due to the landing

[1d10+2] Volkama
[1d10] Rus

It is true that you saw Vortigern in the serpent's head when its body turned translucent just now, but something… doesn't quite add up to you. It's nothing in particular, it's just a feeling right now, but an undeniable feeling nonetheless.
Oh, it's probably nothing. Don't worry about it.

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #2 9 = 9


Flaming growls in pain as she feels her head ringing, reaching up to grab at it as she tries to keep her balance on top of the snake. "GRaagh… seriously, who's idea was this stupid black thread anyhow?!" She shouts, completely forgetting the many BENEFITS of it she's had since then but focusing purely on the bad for right now.

She looks down in fear as she begins to fall towards the ground once being shaken from the snake's head, rolling around trying to minimize the falling damage,
"Okay, Pryce! You focus on unweaving Vortigern out of that thing, I'll use my spheres to boost your power. Together, we can get her out of that thing!"
Her horns start to glow a bright, vibrant white over the party
[1d10+1] Rolling for landing
>Activating Commandment of Harmony!

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


"Sorry!" Shei's muffled shout comes from behind a wall.

Shei-Sher drives his hoof forward and behind wenching out the barriers between Vortigern's mind

As he does Shei-Sher stirs time in Vortigern's thoughts again.

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


KP frowns at having made the situation worse. He let's them walk ahead a bit, following behind the two a good number of paces back, his head hung a little low at failing to improve the situation and only making it worse.

Pryce falls from the tree, his body wracked in pain as he's moved after the crushing injury. He can't move well to grab onto any branches, quickly instead try to spread his wings enough to stop his descent.
>Flight [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


As he falls, he tries again to peel away the magic. Through his pain, he tries to picture the snakeskin shedding off to free Vortigern, hoping visualization helps as Fairy Castel instructed to Flaming.
>Unweaving [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


You land perfectly, rolling and transitioning back into a smooth fighting stance just under where the snake emerges from the tree last. It's completely over you, unable to strike you with either its head or tail, its weak point completely unguarded!
>Next action will autocrit

Pryce recovers in midair, but Volkama falls into him, and the two end up slamming into the wall where Shei melded himself, which cuts off Shei's focus and prevents his spells from affecting the serpent's stubborn mind. At the same time, Rus falls into Flaming's mane, coiling herself around her shoulders.

>Pryce loses 1 Wound

Beaten, tired and fed up, the serpent turns and glares at Pryce and Volkama, eyes glowing with malice. It reels back, coiling itself up, and then springs at them, mouth unhinged with a terrible hiss as gruesome poison drips from its mouth!


Volkama tries to cover Pryce with another Bubble!

Roll #1 8, 6 + 2 = 16 / Roll #2 1 + 4 = 5


>H/W: 10/3]

Pryce yelps in pain as Volkama rams into him, leaving them in a pile on the tree. He glances up at the serpent as it rears back and dives for them again. A flash of terror runs through Pryce's eyes, his body too injured to have focused clearly on any spell since the last atttack. His snake shield floats up and coils before Pryce, trying it's best to shield him from the attack, it's flaming scales glowing bright to take the blow as best as possible.
>Assigning shield to Pryce
>Hunker Down [Auto]

His horn glows white, reflexively sending out a pulse of healing magic over the arena in response to the oncoming fangs.
>Commandment of Balance [Auto]


As Flaming manages to roll to her hooves in a clean, expert landing, she looks up with amazement, astounded by her own agility. "Huh… I-I didn't think I'd make it that cleanly. I must be getting better at falling, for better or worse…"

As Rus manages to fall onto her and wraps around her neck, she looks up at Vortigern's snake, noticing she's in a perfect blind spot as her horns activate. "There! It won't see me coming from there, now's my chance!" She says to Rus, rushing forward as she prepares her Unweaving spell for hopefully the last time. "How close did you get to the shrine, did you see anything?!"

[1d10] Unweaving, Autocrits!

Roll #1 7 = 7


"…I'm sorry," Sugar says after a long while, pausing at the corner of an intersection. "I shouldn't have yelled."
The street she's paused on is just outside one of Fantasia's inner walls, surrounding a heavily-guarded district you haven't been to before. You see children and young mothers of various races heading into the walls for the night, passing by a set of secured and guarded high gates. It easily looks like one of the more sheltered districts in Fantasia, by far. Sugar's gaze lingers upon it.
"I get it," Spitshine says. "Hell, it'd be weird if you didn't have a reaction. I mean… whoever goes in there– we should be realistic, shouldn't we? You know, prepare ourselves."


Shei-Sher can practically view afterimages in his minds eye of Pryce Volkama confronting the serpent in front of the wall he is housed behind. Shei continues sliding his pysche deeper into Vortigern's mind, placing anchors and applying stress.

Again Shei-Sher disturbs Vortigern's mental processes
>Can I Borrow This?: Instant; Recharge 3(minus 1); Ranged; On success, you steal 1 of the target's chances to act next turn, completely stunning them if they can only take 1 action per turn. Next turn, you can use this stolen action in addition to your normal ones.

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #2 5 = 5


[1d10] perception

Roll #1 5 = 5


"No… I understand. I know what it's like to have friends go away, or go down a path like this. I was just saying what Iwould've liked to hear…"
KP says, still a little saddened.
"…We can't worry about that. We need to treat these last days we have as if they're just going on vacation," He says, almost like he's in denial at first, "We all need to be in our best minds, whether we're going in there or not. Nopony going down there can be worried or distracted about what may happen."


>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


Your shield blocks the damage, showing cracks and breaks in its surface as the serpent's strike wears it down to its last legs, glowing faintly for the ensuing blast. Fire erupts from it on all sides, scorching the serpent's mouth and head repeatedly and scoring serious damage on its form.
>Roll Hakarmell
Meanwhile, you heal your party's remaining injuries, restoring your vitality and energy and chasing away the last of the physical pain from the atrocious wounds you suffered earlier.

>"The Cobraskin is in there!" Rus Tea says. "If we obtain it, the story is done, am I correct? Launch me up there, while the serpent is down here!"

Volkama is unable to avoid the snake's strike in time, and is caught up in its jaws next, screaming aloud in pain as the monster clenches him in its jaws. Shei and Flaming, both still connected to him, feel the searing pain crush them and burn them from within, that is, until Pryce heals them, undoing the awful injuries the monster inflicts.

>Shei, Flaming, Volkama and Rus lost 2 wounds but regained 3, for a total of +1

As Flaming unleashes her Unweaving spell, it directly collides with the Serpent's head, causing its form to become translucent once more. Inside, you see Vortigern again, and as she rises to her hooves, still full of fight even after all the spells you have launched to disrupt her focus and attention, you hear not only the serpent make a hiss, but her make a hiss as well.

Make a free insight/memory roll. That is, unless you already remember the key point here.

>1 of 2 actions stolen

Sluggishly, the serpent sweeps at the party with its tail. [1d10+4]
Desperately, Volkama makes a break for the shrine-skull. [1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 4 = 7 / Roll #2 1 + 2 = 3


The snake shield glows and pulses, opening it's mouth in a hiss as it explodes in flames.
>Hakarmell [1d10]

Pryce slowly rises as his shield takes the bite, his torso feeling better, though still a bit bruised looking. He looks up at the serpent as Flaming's Unweaving strikes the snake and reveals Vortigern inside.
"We can see her inside? But how?"
Pryce mutters aloud, deciding not to spend time on wondering as his horn glows to pull apart the magic more.
>Unweaving [1d10]

He looks to Volkama, casting a quick flash of white magic to cleanse any poison that may have lingered.
>Mantra of Purity [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 2 = 2 / Roll #3 3 = 3


"It's not a vacation," Sugar says grimly. "We shouldn't treat it like that. We need… we need…"
She cannot finish the sentence. She begins to look down.
"We need to accept that they might not come out… but hope that they do," Spitshine softly offers. "All of us need to."


Shei-Sher continues disrupting and bending Vortigern's mind to his will



A cockatrice is burped into reality, on the snake side of the wall.
>A Vision of Thralls: Twice per combat; Instant;

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #3 9 = 9


"Alright!" Flaming shouts as Rus-Tea tells her the plan, "I'll throw you up there, then I'll finish saving Vortigern down here!"

Flaming grunts as she feels Volkama's pain, but relief as Pryce's healing magic covers the difference as she sighs in relief. "Alright… first, UP…" Flaming shouts as she starts spinning around in a circle, "You…." before tossing back her head with terrific force, acting like a trebuchet for launching Rus-Tea back up towards the shrine. "Go!"
>Commandment of Harmony still in effect on these as well

With that done, she turns her attention back to the snake, feeling the magic swell up in her brooch as she focuses her Spirit outwards, into the creature, "Come on Vortigern! Listen to my voice, come out of there! We're down here, we need you!"
[1d10] Unweaving
[1d10] Insight

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


"I didn't mean it literally…"
KP retorts.
"You didn't see him, but the big guy was in a bad place for a while. You can't dwell on the bad stuff."


You badly miscalculate the timing on your throw, realizing it too late as you stumble around dizzily. Rus falls from your horns a short distance away from you, hitting the ground with a bump. She curls herself up and then simply glares at you silently.

It is within that silent, withering glare that you suddenly remember something significant. Vortigern cannot speak – it is more accurate to say that she does not have a voice. Words, shouts, even her very breath, none of it makes a sound. You learned early on that she sacrificed her voice to Buiwong, and so she cannot make any sound with it. But the Vortigern you just saw made a distinct hissing noise, on top of all the hissing and screeching the serpent did earlier.

The combination of Hakarmell's fiery eruption and the Unweaving spell meet the serpent head-on, causing its swing to sweep wide, annihilating dozens of tree branches behind you and creating a shower of wood and vines, filling the air with the flowers' thick odor again. Volkama, unfortunately, gets buried by this falling debris, but isn't hurt too badly.

Shei finds it almost impossible to break into Vortigern's mind, held secure by an indomitable will. However, his antimagic blast, combined with Pryce's and Flaming's Unweaving spells and the Hakarmell explosion, finally cause the serpent's body to dissolve, bursting away into a rapidly-dissipating thick steam. After a period of dissolution, all that remains is a serpent's skeleton, and Vortigern, laying prone within the space where its head was. She gets up, and leans back into a sitting position, rubbing her head with confusion.


>Jhana of Malleable Flesh: Spell, Recharge 2(minus 1)
cautiously Shei phases through the wall again to see if the battle is over. He ambles over to Vortigern and touches her with the end of a black thread.

"You'll be needing this"
>black threads

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3


Pryce looks on as the serpent sweeps back, rearing from the combined attacks as it dissolves away and leaves only Vortigern left. He sighs as the fight is finally over, horn lighting as he helps pull apart the debris that buries Volkama, and then approaches Vortigern. His horn lights in a white glow as he helps relieve any injuries that may have gotten through.
>Prayer for Deliverance [1d10+1]
"Are you alright Vortigern?"

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


As her toss goes MUCH shorter than she had anticipated, Flaming looks down and winces at Rus, cringing as she reaches back to rub her horns. "Oh… uh… S-sorry. I'm used to hitting things, not, you know, tossing them. You okay?"

As the magic seems to work though, Flaming's eyes widen with realization as she thinks back to all the noises the 'snake' Vortigern has made. She looks down to the collapsing form as Vortigern is returned to them, but looks at her with a wary eye that is difficult to hide when she goes running up to check up on her same as Pryce.

"Voritgern! I'm so glad we found you, I'm sorry if we hurt you in anyway during all that!" She lets out a sigh of relief, "A-are you hurt? How are you feeling, what do you remember?"


[1d10] Persuasion!

Roll #1 10 = 10


As you come over and help Vortigern stand, she groans, accepting Pryce's healing eagerly. "You all… you look strangely normal."
Glancing at the serpent's skeleton, she groans. "So I must've been seeing the inverse, then, hmm? You all looked like snakes of a sort to me. Colossal, ugly things like the heads of a hydra. Gods, your injuries! I should be the one apologizing. Here, let me bandage those–"

She begins to dig around in her pack for medical supplies, but Rus Tea and Volkama turn and stare at her in disbelief and confusion.



Last time on HolyQuest…

Steeling themselves for the final confrontation, the Saviors of Mariposa ascended the stairs in the serpentine treehouse temple, which would bring them to the third and final floor. The sweltering humidity grew as they climbed the interminable steps, and a venomously sweet odor hung in the air – the result of nightshade-like bulbs choking the tree's tower and poking in through gaps in the tower's walls.

Just when the smell and heat seemed likely to sicken them, they reached the final level, an outdoor arena like the coliseums of antiquity, centered around the very top part of the central tree's branches. Upon the highest tip of the tree hung a massive serpent's skull, and within it lay a primitive, eldritch shrine. Flying and climbing up to it at first seemed a simple task, but they quickly learned it was guarded by an immense and jealous serpent. The serpent's green and brown scales camouflaged effortlessly among the many branches, and could even submerge its body into the tree and the wooden architecture of the arena as if it were diving into water, making it an extremely dangerous enemy.

After an arduous and near-deadly battle, they subdued the serpent by overwhelming it with magic, and its body dissolved into steam, revealing a familiar face and body – it was Vortigern! But within Regina's illusory world, nothing was truly certain…


In Fantasia, the mood once again turned dreadful. During dinner, Sugar questioned Flow and KP, and confirmed what she had apparently suspected for a while – not every one of the Saviors would be entering Tartarus. She, Spitshine and others would, like it or not, be forced to remain on the surface, powerless to help those who would join Mudi, Gegenschein and their armies within Tartarus' eternal abyss. Distraught, Sugar left the restaurant, followed at a distance by KP and Sugar.

Flow, now left alone with Renee, went with her to a training yard near one of the many makeshift barracks on the western side of Fantasia, across the town's river. There, practicing his strength against some training dummies, began to feel the extent to which his episode of Magatsuhi Overexposure had weakened him. Basic punches and kicks now felt like a challenge, and his whole body felt slow and sluggish. The full extent of the damage was yet to be discovered, but even now, an awful weakness had crept into his body.


>Flaming, Pryce, Shei
As you come over and help Vortigern stand, she groans, accepting Pryce's healing eagerly. "You all… you look strangely normal."
Glancing at the serpent's skeleton, she groans. "So I must've been seeing the inverse, then, hmm? You all looked like snakes of a sort to me. Colossal, ugly things like the heads of a hydra. Gods, your injuries! I should be the one apologizing. Here, let me bandage those–"

She begins to dig around in her pack for medical supplies, but Rus Tea and Volkama turn and stare at her in disbelief and confusion.


As before, your movements are clumsy and awkward, not fluid or full of strength as they normally are. It isn't until you strike the dummy that the full depth of the problems begin to manifest before you. Your punch is weak, lifeless.

Renee's expression doesn't change, intently studying you. "…Try some grappling now."


Spitshine looks at you, then flicks his head westward, and starts to head down the street. Sugar is reluctant to leave, continuing to stare at the heavily-guarded shelter for mothers and children. Spitshine slows his pace, but tries to keep moving, looking to you for help.
Without moving her eyes, Sugar begins to speak. "What happened to your older self?"




The bleak, primal shock of dread is the only certainty in your mind as you toss and turn, your body racked with conflicting impulses, as in a nightmare.

Run. Hide.

All is dark about you, but you know you are being hunted, crashing through dark, wooded gorges and insect-ridden marshy basins, with nothing and nobody to accompany you besides that eternal, shifting feeling of dread. Cold pricklings stab into the base of your neck, filling your blood with ice. Monstrous images dart about in your mind. A thousand faces chase behind you, predatory and gleeful, glimmering with rows of yellow teeth and tongues that wag and drip a vile-smelling pus. No matter where you run or hide, whether you hibernate to restore your wounds or hunt to regain your full power as a Heretic, their slings and arrows and swords carve and batter your flesh, weakening you to a bloody scrap.

But still you run.

A sole comfort: matter how long you run, your energy remains. A feral demon – a wolf – such as yourself is not bound by the fetters of mortality. Even when your limbs feel like jelly and burn with exhaustion, you can keep running. Even when your hooves are bloody and torn, you can still–


A moment of quiet strikes you in the foggy vale through which you run. You look down in a moment of clarity. Do you have hooves or paws? The thick fog blankets the vale, obscuring your sight. But you know this to be a flight of fancy. You are a wolf demon, trapped within Tartarus by the Sons of God, led by the damnable Princess Vinland. You have always been a wolf, as far as you can remember. You have nothing else. Not even a name. You always knew who you were, and so you had no need of a name. Only your hunter's instincts, and the hunger that kept you going, kept you stalking and tearing and devouring.

But something about the murky vale seems to throw that into question.



Amy - Ego? - Who are either of those names? Whoever looks down at her own paws to verify that they are there.


Your body is a silhouette, hidden by an intense darkness that obscures what the fog could not. As you gaze down at your shadowy limbs, the only thing that you can make out is that they are your own, and yet not. They are hooves, and yet are paws. Both realities you can see, even feel, overlapping and intermingling, yet also distinct, and not there at all. Real and fictional.

But strangeness like this, you realize, you have come to expect. When your imprisonment in Tartarus began, you joined the ranks of the Umbrals: Beings scorned by the light. Tartarus' darkness did not just obscure sight, but every one of the physical, mental and spiritual senses, and even one's very Reason. Confusion of the body and mind is a commonplace affliction in this land of shadow. One's very self would be shrouded, starved of the light that made sense of the world, and eventually lost under a miasma of fear and paranoia of Umbrals stronger than you.

Tartarus, the House of Death… Demons, monsters, mortals – it didn't matter what you were, so long as you were condemned by the Sons of God, you were cast here into this infinite chasm.

You remember now, being cursed and bound by the power of Princess Vinland, the Dread of Evil, the Bane of Sinners, the Wrath of God… She had many such titles like that, each more eager to loquaciously describe how she had come to save the mortal world, wielding God's power in full might, a divine hurricane sent to purify the scourge of demonkind.

Yes, that's right… a memory wells up to the surface of your mind. You had been one of many feral demons, a hunter of renown. Though your form was of a wolf, your mind was keener, eyes sharper, body more mighty and durable than any mere animal. You hunted as you pleased, feasting on whatever struck your fancy at that moment. Your life on the surface was glorious and unbounded, unfettered by any limits. So long as you had it in your power, you took whatever your appetites craved, however carnal or base – Hell, even when you had no reason to do it! Whenever you simply wanted to kill, you killed! Now that's power, isn't it!? Now that's glory, isn't it!?

These memories of what life once was bring a clarity to your mind, chasing away those strange thoughts. You look down again, seeing your paws, just as they always were. You're emaciated and thin, having had nothing of substance to eat for – was it days or weeks now? Months?

Incredible hunger aches your stomach, sharpening your senses. And then, you smell something skittering nearby. Rat? No… a rabbit? You can't tell, besides that it is meat – who knows what kind of twisted mammal Tartarus may have created. It's somewhere ahead, in the growth before you.



[1d10] to sneak up and pounce

Roll #1 1 = 1


Creeping through the undergrowth, you follow the scent of flesh and blood through the dark, clinging to it to keep your mind free of the Gloom – wait, Gloom? No… as details and clarity return to your mind, you recall that that is the word for Tartarus' overpowering, all-devouring shadow.

Unfortunately, that recollection distracts you for just a moment, and you feel a twig snap underfoot. A shadow jolts in front of you, and you look up to see a bipedal creature standing just ahead. It is shaped like a rabbit, but stands at four feet, and is clothed in tattered rags. Its eyes gleam with intelligence, but that has not mattered before. You have eaten of his kind, a race of sapient beasts, who call themselves Vellus, or the Wild Ones.

The Vellus stands before you, hunched and weak, eyes agape with fear. He can see the hunger in your eyes, but a pool of blood underneath him helps you to see that he is lame in the foot.

An easy target.



[1d10] to bite his legs

Roll #1 4 = 4


You leap and chomp down upon his leg, throwing him onto his back, and he yelps in pain, but his cry is empty, his voice weak. You get a glimpse of his eyes, faintly glowing in the dark, and his expression is twisted, conflicted – half fearful and clinging to life, and half miserable, racked with defeat and despair. He has likely been here for a while. It was only a matter of time before his second death.
[i]With the last of his strength, he weakly slashes at your face with his claws.


Roll #1 1 = 1


Flaming turns to look at Vortigern, her anger at this blatant attempt to fool them once again with another Replica simmering for a bit before she takes a deep breath, stopping to look at Rus and Volkama with a visual signal, a light flick of her ears, before turning back to 'Vortigern'.

"T-that's alright, Pryce's magic will be able to fix us up. You should save your strength, you've just been through a LOT. Just sit down and take a minute to recuperate." She turns to Rus and Volkama, looking up at the shrine.

"Its guardian has been defeated, I'm guessing it's safe now to take another crack at the shrine?"



Dodging the attack is second nature. But, one should not allow such an insult to go unpunished.

[1d10] to bite his head and finish him

Roll #1 4 = 4


With a single bite, you clamp down upon his neck, cleanly crushing his windpipe in a single blow. Weakness takes over his body as he paws desperately at your face, but his struggles soon cease, and his arm falls limp. "At last…" he mumbles.


With your kill still fresh and warm beneath you, you notice something fall from his other hand, which had been clutched desperately close to his chest. It is a small crystal ball, but with a start, you recognize what it contains inside.

Within the crystal ball resides a carved statuette of the Palace of God, a stone labyrinth built by the Sons of God atop the entrance to Tartarus. You recognize it from your memories of being captured en masse and being carried via railway to the Palace. You know it to be one of the key artifacts that the Sons carry with them. By focusing on it, its enchantment enhances their will, opening a pathway within Tartarus' corridors that will lead them back to the Great Seal. Moreover, a special blessing that Vinland put upon them enables them to OPEN the Great Seal!

A flash sparks in your mind. You can use it to escape. In fact, this may be your ONLY opportunity to escape.



Pryce pauses as Vortigern speaks to them.
"…You can't talk."
He says in wary shock.

KP trots slowly along, hopping up on the curb to balance along it as Sugar was to keep their group moving at Spitshine's lead.
>"When the Rapture happened, he had to fight some of his friends. In the clash, he went out, and when he came to a few months later and heard they died, he took it hard. …He blamed himself. He dwelled on it for a long time, that he wasn't strong enough, that he should've found another way… It clouded his head from most other things, it wasn't until the other day with all that Mariposa stuff that he manged to get past it."



Without a moment's hesitation, she takes the crystal ball in her mouth and heads tot he gates of Tartarus.

Or at least, the direction she thinks the gates are… [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


Shei-Sher shakes his head and begins snipping the black thread attached to Vortigern. "Our Vortigern was incapable of speech. There was a cure on her tongue as I recall."

Shei looks up from his kneeled position and rests his face on his palm "So Regina is not omniscient inside her own dimension. It is only information that she sees from us that are captured. Is that accurate?"

"Are you partitions of Mudi's magic? Or servitors with your own will?"
[1d10] interrogation roll

Roll #1 4 = 4



You get the feeling that you probably just misremembered that part. It seems to you that she's just figuratively quiet, not literally mute. Not everyone has a lot to say, don't you know? Don't force your opinions about what constitutes proper behavior onto others! It's rude.

Vortigern looks at you silently with an inquisitive expression. A question mark appears over her head, further throwing into question whether you just heard things or not.

>Rus and Volkama look at you with knowing, skeptical stares. Standing a little behind "Vortigern," they point at you, then at the ground, signaling for you to stay there. "Yes… I do believe it should," Volkama says. "After all, that's how the story went," he says a little louder, looking up at the sky.
>Together, Volkama and Rus start to shimmy up the tree, both exhausted from earlier but still determined to get a move on.


Regina.. not mudi


Shei-Sher ignores the fleeting thoughts of etiquette in his head. "You realize I can easily dispel you.. And I can make it quite painful and slow of a process if I really wished. Though if you are content with staying in character this time, I will take it as evidence you do not truly have a will of your own."

[1d10] interrogation roll

Roll #1 4 = 4


Flow grumbles as his weak strike makes contact, and sighs. He crouches low, and pounces at the dummy, arms aimed to knock it off its post.

Roll #1 3 = 3


The hunger that gripped you up until a moment ago rapidly dimishes, partially sated by the fresh blood of the slain rabbit Vellus, and partly by the dream, the hope of freedom. The crystal ball's magic energy empowers your body, speeding your steps and bringing clarity to your mind. The stale dead winds of Tartarus even seem to freshen as you run, making your paw-steps as fleet as the wind.

The world becomes blurry as you run, but the light emanating from the crystal ball remains a constant source of clarity. The ground changes beneath you even as the world remains shadowy, and soon you can feel the soft sponginess of some kind of root underneath you.

You run and run, and soon your body feels a startling vertigo, as if you were running uphill – no, not just that, running up a wall, and all the powers of gravity are pulling you downward. You continue to run, and suddenly, you become conscious of shapes running alongside you. Other Umbrals of every stripe – demons, mortals, even monsters. Suddenly, you feel a huge surge of energy in the distance ahead, and see a brilliant pinprick of light, as bright and far-off as a star.

Suddenly, you realize it: Someone opened the Great Seal of Tartarus! This is your chance! Everyone's chance! You can escape! It is open at last!

Wait… something's off. Why do you feel that you have thought such things before? Why does this feel like deja vu?

You feel as though someone is running beside you. Not an Umbral, but someone else. Someone… more. Someone familiar, and yet new.


Pryce's eyes narow, glaring down at Vortigern.
"Don't play coy. I know what I heard, you spoke."


Flaming, looking at Pryce nervously, turns to look back at Vortigern
"Pryce is right, you shouldn't even speak right now. You need to save every ounce of strength you have." she says, putting a hoof to Vortigern's muzzle as she turns to look towards Pryce, flicking her ears again so as to try and send him the signal to play along.

She turns back to Volkama and Rus, nodding as they begin their ascent. "Then go ahead and finish the story, then we can move on to the next one and find more of our friends."


>Interrogation [1d10]

Pryce looks at Flamng as she signals to him, but it falls on deaf ears. By his expression, he's not taking a friend being faked again lightly.

Roll #1 9 = 9



She slows briefly to figure out this odd sensation. Why does she feel this deja vu? Does this new figure explain things? She looks around to find them.


Sugar walks behind you, balancing slowly along the curb as she half-heartedly follows Spitshine's lead. Spitshine keeps his pace steady, and himself decides to balance on the curb as he leads you throw Fantasia's streets.
"How… how'd he manage to 'get past it'?" Sugar asks, her voice low and lifeless.

This time, something strange happens. You jolt forward with more force than you had planned, and with an intent that is not yours, you grapple the dummy, knocking it off balance and throwing it down, putting it into an expert pin. Only after it is done do you feel something further, some kind of strange memory of a vision that you now had… some kind of out of body experience that was so fast you could only feel it as a memory.

Renee looks at you, baffled. "…What was THAT?"


>"Well, he's not completely past it. I know he still thinks about it, but he's not letting it consume him anymore."
KP pauses a moment.
>"It was all of you guys. A new group of friends, a new family that helped him have something more to focus on and to protect."



"AWRIGHT AWRIGHT!" "Vortigern" exclaims, throwing up her hooves. "You don't need to do all that, I know the curtain call when I hear it. You win, you win. I was just sent in here to spice things up."

Nobody likes when the fourth wall is broken, you know.

"Shuuuuut up!" Repligern shouts upward at the feeling you all just had right now. "So what if I acknowledge when I've been beaten!? I thought this mare was all about being a warrior, and all that? Shouldn't warriors go out with a little dignity?"

Actually, it turns out that her story is a little more complex, if my… adviser is to be believed.

Repligern shrugs. "I'm interpreting things a little differently. It's up to the actor to really make the character come alive!"

She then turns to the rest of you. "Did you guys grab those keys at the beginning? I was supposed to give you something if you beat me."


Flaming groans as she looks at Pryce, "I was TRYING to go along with it so that we could somehow trick Regina later on, Pryce! Everyone knew she wasn't real but Regina didn't know that we didn't know!"

She stops to look at Repligern, raising an eyebrow as she yells SHUUUUUUT UP towards… something. "Uh… a-are you still just talking to Pryce or…. you're talking to Regina, aren't you?"

As she asks about the keys, Flaming blinks.


Shei-Sher's head turns back a look behind him in recollection of if they saw keys in the beginning "No.. we didn't. and you are welcome to stay with us as long as you do not cause mischief. In truth, I do not take much joy in dispelling Regina's clones. If there is no effort to deceive us I have no genuine reason to do so."


Flow stands confused, and looks back at Renee.
“What was what? I…don’t remember what I just saw.”
He looks at the dummy that was toppled over to see if anything else happened.



The mysterious figure beside you is but a shade of a quadruped, yet not a pony. Looking at their face, you feel something like… like recognition, maybe…? Or familiarity? No… some kind of… some kind of… some kind of…

A pony, and yet not. A demon, and yet not. A wolf…? Who… who is she? Whoever she is, she runs beside you, keeping pace evenly. Her paces match your own, even threatening to overtake you. You realize now that you do not have the crystal ball in your mouth. Now, she has it… and what is that about her shoulders?

A dress…?

The feeling like deja vu starts to overwhelm you. The mysterious person seems to get closer to you as you run, and time seems to fluctuate. You run and run up the road, and the mysterious person holds you back, forcibly slowing your pace. Umbrals flood around you in their pursuit of the light glimmering beyond, and they overtake you, blocking your view of the light in a shroud of demonic bodies.

In time, you come close to the tremendous light. The opening of the seal towers before you like a mountain. Countless Umbrals are before you, but this is your chance to flee! You slip through the crowd in your eagerness, only to see as you come to the front that they are stopped.

Two silhouettes stand at the opened seal: The first, you recognize now as Princess Wineberry. You have never seen her before… but you know her face. You REMEMBER her face.

Next to her, a two-headed hound, dozens of meters tall, stands, its head lowered and snarling. You know this hound, you recognize the wound on his neck, where a third head once was. You remember that he let you go, but none of that happened yet.

They are the only two forces standing between you and your freedom. The Umbrals charge for the exit, snarling and swearing their vengeance upon the world that cast them out.

Princess Wineberry raises her spear… and the mysterious figure pulls you backward.

With a start, as the person touches you, you realize what happens next. You can recognize which Umbrals are about to be slaughtered. You know the path you must weave to get to that tremendous light, the light of the outside world.



Roll #1 5 = 5


"I've had enough of her tricks. I'm not going to put up with any further deception from this witch."
Pryce states sternly.

"Where's the real Vortigern? Why is Regina toying with us with you copies?"
Pryce begins to interrogate further at the Repligern.
>Interrogation [1d10]

He pauses for a moment.
"Keys? Do you mean the scrolls to get into these stories?"

Roll #1 1 = 1


"I have to admit I hadn't caught on to that hehe" Shei chuckles with some chagrin "Maybe you should wink at us next time. Or a little nudge? Though I can't say I see any use to playing the fool. And we now know Regina's dummies have a will of their own. That is very important."



She follows her inexplicable knowledge and dodges everything, running for freedom. [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


Sugar falls silent behind you, but you hear some small sound escape her nose. It's a bit like a scoff, but shaped by a smile. You heard many sounds like it when you were a traveling entertainer and had just used some corny or silly trick to get a laugh out of a grumpy audience goer.

Spitshine's path leads you onto the western side of Fantasia. You cross over the great river running through the city, and eventually reach a pasture of green, filled with oaks and yews and willows and grassy fields and a pond. It is a public park and garden, and to the south you see a court for games, now converted into a training yard of sorts. Spitshine leads you a dirt road running around the park's exterior, stopping to breathe the smell of grass.

The dummy is now coated in slime all about, even though you're sure you only grabbed it with your two forehooves. If you had to analyze it, it looks as though you had grabbed it all over, but you recall nothing like that. A faint memory of the vision lingers just beyond your sight, teasingly lying in wait… a memory of power, a sharp contrast to your present weakness.

Renee is lost for words for only a second, then taps another dummy and backs up. "I didn't say you could sit there and think about it! You've got drills to run! Up and at 'em! Don't stop until you've taken them all out!" she shouts, imitating a drillmaster.


Flow focuses on the new dummy, and charges once more at it, this time aiming to shoulder it down.

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


"Come on, I can't tell ya that," Repligern says. "Then I really would disappear! I only have the authority to spoil my own arc of the game. Anything else wouldn't be fair to all the others."

ALL the others?

"Crap!" Repligern exclaims, throwing her hooves over her mouth. "Okay, no more questions! I really would rather I stay alive 'til the end here."

You get the feeling you shouldn't think too hard about whatever it is this Replica is yelling at whenever it's not talking to the rest of you.

"I'm NOT an 'it'," Repligern huffs, then floats upward and claps with her forehooves.


In a puff of smoke, an ornate wooden chest appears, with an emerald-covered lock and a golden trim around its edges. "Hooray! You win, you win!" Repligern says. "Good job! I'm really proud of you. You guys really do deserve to be called Saviors with intellects as big as yours! You earned it, so open up and enjoy!"


"I realize you're angry, Pryce, so am I… but we saw what happened last time we pushed Regina too far. I want to teach her a lesson too but we need to be smart about how we do things from now on. Even if that means playing dumb."

Flaming glowers at Shei, "Well I couldn't make it THAT obvious, obviously! Then Regina might notice."

Flaming huffs and looks over at Repligern. "Well whatever you are, we don't really like anyone impersonating our friends. Not that you had much choice I guess but, it still makes us mad."

She looks at the chest, reaching over to lift up the lid, "Well, what did she give us?"


The next moments wave by you, as if in a blur, a recalled memory, or perhaps a dream, unfolding in real time. Wineberry leaps into battle, creating so much force with her steps that they create small explosions, and obliterates countless Umbrals to your left and right… As you run, you clear a path through the debris and slain bodies with a blast of fire from your maw… A group of knights rides forward on chariots of gold, their bodies burning with a brilliant divine fire, as they prepare to make themselves into Sacrifices…

Yes… you know all of this. You remember all of this, dimly, but you remember it, and something about the mysterious figure's presence keeps the memories steadily coming along.

The battlefield erupts in a haze of fire, smoke, bodies and blades as the knights throw themselves at the two warriors in a battle they have no chance of winning. You duck under fire and shockwaves as you charge forth into the light through the chaos spewing all around you. Suddenly, your blood runs cold as the two-headed hound, in the frenzy of battle, charges around you, scattering the crowd of Umbrals.

In an instant, the hound locks eyes with you, its paw raised to crush you flat. Yet, something changes in its gaze. He looks at the mysterious figure, then at you. Recognition flashes in the hound's eyes. Recognition… and heartbreak.

It sets its paw down to the side, allowing you to pass as it turns to attack someone else. You turn and run…

The light of the surface world, that which you had all but forgotten, touches your face and warms your body. You run into the light, as do many other demons, breaching the boundary of the Great Seal and returning to the world you had been cast out of so long ago.

As you pass the Great Seal, a sense of lightness overwhelms you. You stand in a dark cave, somewhere deep in the earth, yet the darkness of the cave is nothing in comparison to the Gloom of Tartarus. You can clearly see within the dark, and see the stone path leading upward to light, upward to freedom. Dozens of soldiers, wearing the armor and heraldry of the Sons of God, lay dead or unconscious on the steps, defeated by the stream of Umbrals that pour out of Tartarus.


"Wait just one tick!" Shei-Sher shuffles around his bag and takes out a couple scrolls he had spread his aura over before in the Temple


"I already have the keys!" Shei-Sher says with a dumb and joyous sense accomplishment. "Well as I was saying you are more than welcome to join us for the while. We are no strangers to the whole doppleganger scenario. Sir Etac I should say, has a younger clone of himself included in our family. So we are aware how such a thing can be a tad maddening."


KP smiles as he hears that trademark crack in a tough pony's exterior.

KP trots along with the duo as the near and circle the park.
>"This place is nice, isn't it?"
He says simply as they enjoy the fresh air and the smell of the outdoors to move on to a lighter tone.

Pryce's gaze narrows further, but he relents in a sigh.
"Fine, I'll hold my tongue. But once this story is over you're telling everything you can."
He states.

"I know, but that was breaking the story. I'm fine to play along with those tricks, but betraying our trust with these copies is not something I will take lightly."

Pryce is taken aback at the small fanfare Religern makes over the chest conjuring. He looks over to Shei as he announces he has the keys, and simply waits as the goat unlocks it.


"Apologies all around! It is not such a big a misstep. Next time. The very next time I will keep my mouth shut."


Shei-Sher opens the chest with the emerald key



With the soldiers dead and the worst of the defenses behind her, she can take in no longer. She turns to the mysterious figure that runs with her.

"Who are you?" she asks in an annoyed tone. As she asks the words, an odd feeling comes over her. As if she knows perfectly well who she is addressing. As if the one she doesn't know is herself.

After she asks the question, another one comes out of her mouth, practically involuntarily. "Who am I?"


This time, something clearly flashes before your eyes, even if only for a split second. A moment of overwhelming power erupts from within you, and you feel your arm split into multiple. It looks like a time-lapse, almost, with each frame of your arm being its own entity. Three such arms solidify as you charge into the dummy and knock it clean across the training yard with a loud crash as it smashes into pieces on the far wall. Many of the trainees run toward it in shock as they investigate the sight. Others gripe about having to repair it, and still others look at you with shock.

Renee tilts her head. "…I thought you were feeling weak?"

Suddenly, Spitshine slaps you across the chest with his tail, and takes off at a full gallop across the grass to the southwest, running faster than you've ever seen him go before. "You're it!" he shouts after putting a great distance between you.

Sugar, baffled, looks at you for a moment, and then runs northwest through the park, bounding with each step at a springing sprint.

[1d10] Spitshine
[1d10] Sugar

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


Using the emerald key, Shei pops open the chest, and the key puffs into smoke soon afterward, disappearing. Inside, on top of a cushion of velvet, you see a magic-looking hooded cloak, made of snakeskin, cool to the touch and with a velvet lining on the inside. The cloak is sleek and fitting, and the hood resembles the hood of a cobra. There are even flaps you can extend or fold back in if you want the hood to just resemble a generic snake's head.

You can all sense a clear magic power radiating from it, potent and well-made. Clearly, and even I say this without bragging, it is a work of art and expert craftsponyship.

Repligern starts to back off while you examine the cloak's contents.


Alas, the mysterious figure is no longer beside you, but something of her presence lingers in the air. A trail of that presence, nearly imperceptible, leads upward toward those stairs that lead into the light. You cannot see past the light, and you sense that there is more beyond there than you can know… something more than what you can prepare for. It is a sense of awaiting, as if a way and a purpose has been laid out.


Shei-Sher picks up the cloak like its a new sweater from ambercrawly & finch "Oh, well that is cute." He pinches it by the shoulders and holds out for everyone to look "I think I'll giftwrap it for Amy."

[1d10+1] appraise

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


Shei-Sher looks skyward and shouts "Thank you Regina! She will adore it."



She steps into the light with a sense of grim purpose, despite not knowing why.


Flaming sighs. "Whatever… what's done is done. Maybe now that the truth is out we can get her to tell us whatever she can now that she's not needing to play a role."

Flaming looks inside the chest with intrigue, staring at the leather-snake cloak with interest as she watches Shei hold it up and look at it. "It looks creepy…. th-the entire thing is made of snake skin, and it even has a snake head on top! Who would want to wear that?" She turns to look at Shei, "What's it do?"

As Repligern starts backing off, Flaming looks at her. "Hold on… I have a couple of questions for you, you're not going away just yet."


Flow blinks as soon as he sees his arm split apart into multiple arms. He too, stares at the dummy’s collapsed form, and the gears in his head begin to turn.
He closes his eyes this time and focuses on the Inheritance.
“Renee, be a doll and grab another one,” he asks politely, and with a newfound confidence.


It takes a second for it to click to KP.
He stammers as Spitshine sprints off in a flash.
>"I'll have you know I'm a master at this!"
He boasts defensively. His eyes turning to Sugar for a moment, wondering if tag-backs are in play. Deciding to play it safe, he chases after hte filly to take advantage of that split-second confusion she had (as he himself did), to quickly shed his title of 'It'.

Pryce looks into the chest, gazing at the snakeskin cloak. The idea is a bit unsettling after all the banners and such they've seen, but he does recall treasure hunting was part of their mission they came to this city to do in the first place.
"Is there one of these in every story?"
He asks Repligern, taking a step closer to the chest to try and decipher what magic he feels radiating from it.
>Identify [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 9 = 9


You chase after Sugar, and she darts back and forth, using a deer's instinctual dodging patterns to try to shake you off. But you persist, and manage to tap her ankle during one of her attempted weaves. Panting, she trots to a halt, swiveling her head around to find Spitshine. Spotting him near a fountain, she bolts after him, while he lags a little to let her catch up.

[1d10] Sugar
[1d10-1] Spitshine

Renee quickly sets up another dummy, and backs up to give you a wide berth of space. But suddenly, you are struck with a wave of weariness and exhaustion, the same felt after that Magatsuhi was propelled from your body and soul. It's strange, random, unpredictable.

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 9 - 1 = 8


KP quickly skids on his hooves after the successful tag, turning around to get some distance. Once he has a fair bit, he trots after the two to see how the game goes, and to make it more fun. He's not gonna be one of those ponies who just hides the whole time.


You'll have to do a little more research to discern the circumstances in which it was made, its country and mythos of origin, and so on. Perhaps later you shall time for it, when the stories are all done.
>Serpentskin Cloak
>While worn, the Cloak stores half of all damage and negative effects that the user suffers while worn, and the wearer suffers the other half of all damage and negative effects they would normally receive while worn. As an Instant action, the wearer can roll to inflict ALL stored damage and negative effects onto another target by touching the hem of the cloak to that target. This causes the Cloak to lose all stored damage and negative effects on success, but the Cloak does NOT lose the stored effects on failure, including critical failure.

You discern the above as well, but while Shei has trouble, you have a much easier time discerning more of its history by examining its magical signature.
>Serpentskin Cloak
>A cloak originating in the Onuma region of Circadia. Many swamplanders resisted the efforts of the Dream Crown to integrate them into their dominion, fighting back against Circadia's armies using guerilla tactics and special swamp magic to deter their imperial troops. One such group of these dissident swamplanders were the Serpentskins, a group approximating a rough equivalent of a knightly order for the tribal swamplanders. These Serpentskins formed magic Bounds with trained snakes, undergoing special magic ceremonies that gave their bodies the properties of those snakes, like venomous fangs and heightened ability to sneak. Serpentskins would also collect the shed skin of colossal serpents, fashioning armor and weapons from them that could be enchanted with extremely potent magic.

Repligern pauses, glaring at you with impatience. "There were six stories and four keys, right? That was intentional, giving us a little leeway in case you didn't choose certain stories or found a way out before getting to experience all of it. So if you want to get the full experience, you have to play along and be a good sport, got it!? I may not have been in that story, but I was very disappointed at how you acted during the Earthvein! Just because you don't like a story doesn't give you reason to act all childish and try to ruin the fun for everyone else!"


Flaming turns her head, "And how exactly would you know what happened in the Earthvein? Did Regina have you watching it at the same time she was? Where is she, what is her hideout like?"

She pauses, "…what happened to the other Amy after the cave fell in?"


As soon as the wave of exhaustion washes over Flow, he nearly buckles his legs, but remains standing. He keeps his eyes shut and keeps his focus on the Inheritance.
>Parting of Waters
>2 copies

While he might not have enough arms now, Flow relies on the randomness of this new ability, and reaches for every weapon in his arsenal, praying that his arms will pick up what's left.

Roll #1 9 = 9


"I acted along with the story just fine! It was Shei that went off the path with it."
Pryce retorts in defense.

"Interesting, a robe enchanted by ponies to fend off Circadia's forces. …Regina is rewarding us with real objects?"
Pryce questions Repligern.


The light overtakes you as you proceed into it, washing over you with such brilliance that the dreadful weight of the Gloom flows away from you, and you are baptized into an incredible lightness, free of any burdens…

But if only it could have lasted.

Time blurs.


The surface, as you find, has changed in the centuries you have been imprisoned. The surface world was once a world dominated by demons, covered for miles upon miles by thousands of kingdoms, duchies, provinces and even entire empires ruled by demonkind. Mortals were their eternal cattle, subject to demons' every whim, and given a comfortable place in society… at the very bottom. They had no will of their own, but had every need provided for, every desire tranquilized.

But now, that world is a wasteland.

The sky burns with the smoke and ash of toppled demon thrones. Even without the inspiration and support of Princess Vinland, countless mortal armies, organized into demon hunting orders, carry out acts of mass murder and terrorism, striking at the hearts of demon kingdoms, overthrowing their former rulers by the day. No matter what demon armies rise to meet them, no matter how overwhelming the odds are against the mortals, somehow they prevail, using guereilla tactics and atrocious weapons, weapons previously banned under demon treaties, to unleash ghoulish acts of violence and cruelty against the former rulers of the world. Demons cry out to their gods, every one, by name… but not a one seems to respond.

Over the years, the tides turn. Mortals, once on the defensive, finally turn to the offensive, capturing demons en masse and shipping them to Tartarus. Those who survive are driven into the wastelands and forests of old, places so ancient and dangerous that not even the bravest of mortals are willing to chase them. There, they fade into obscurity, becoming figures of legend and myth, spoken about only in whispers around a campfire. Over time, the last vestiges of demon power fade, even from memory. Over the course of a thousand years, the world completely changes into a shape that everyone thought was unthinkable.

During all of this, you remain in hiding. At times you run with packs, at times alone. During periods of great mortal persecution, you are forced to Hibernate, a process which a demon can use to sleep, hide their presence, and recover from almost any wound. For some decades, you return to waking, hunting during periods of demonic resistance, but every time you are forced to return to Hibernation after sustaining grave injuries. It was a plan that worked, even if it was undignified.

At least, it used to work.

Again you run, bleeding, hunted. Your body is weak, deathly so, much of your power bound and captured by the wounds you sustained from the hunters' weapons. What were their names? You overheard something… the Apostles. That's what it was. Something like that. Woozily, you limp through the wooded basin, panting and weak, barely able to stand.

A shout. The hunters are behind you, somewhere… and getting closer.


Spitshine and Sugar zip around the park, Spitshine quickly realizing he has to take Sugar seriously, as she clearly plans to. They bolt and run, darting across the grass, but eventually, she jukes him, faking him out to cross his path. She whacks his shoulder, and he grinds to a halt, kicking up much grass. He stops to catch his breath, and both stop and laugh as the adrenaline dies down.

You conjure two copies of yourself, and then charge forward, knocking down the dummy with your weapons. It falls a few feet forward, but not the dramatic distance that the previous one did. Strangely now, the extra arms don't appear, but you feel as if they can – as if they should. Renee blinks, setting up a new dummy. "C-come on, recruit! Are you even trying!? You'll be a disgrace to this unit if you can't master that power!"

The weakness grows worse… almost getting unbearable.



She looks for a place to hide. Anywhere. Anything. She has to survive. She has to get away.


Shei-Sher snortles and rolls his eyes at Pryce. Shei-Sher thinks to himself how Pryce is suddenly more enthusiastic about the stories now.

"Being rude is that last thing I'd become of myself after being gifted something so nice but this whole charade is a little childish isn't it? You are playing games with mine and my friends lives after all. And Regina" Shei-Sher looks skyward "The only reason I am playing along with this is because I want to be a friend to you. I think you are someone that could really use one." Shei turns his sight on Vortigern again.

"In respect to her character, I have not seen anything yet that is far outside our capabilities. So my appreciation to Regina for not actually trying to kill us."

Shei-Sher passes the Serpertskin Cloak to Pryce "Here. It will better suit you for now. After all you should be a pincushion by now." Shei sniggers "And be sure to share it with Flaming."


Flow grits his teeth and absorbs his clones so he can be at full power. He reaches his arms out for his weapons once more, aiming to see if the arms will materialize.

Roll #1 10 = 10



Forgot to roll: [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


KP trots up to the two of the as they stop for breath, chuckling along with them.
>"Wow Spits, when'd you get so fast? And Sugar too!"

Pryce takes the cloak in his telekinesis.
"Alright, if you say so. Do you know what it does?"



Roll #1 5 = 5


[1d10] Rolling for Interrogation

Roll #1 1 = 1


Your body, little more than a collection of bones and wasting skin, stumbles along, leaving a clear trail of blood and ichor through the bushes. Legs and teeth are broken, ribs crushed, muscles screaming with pain and misery. Darkness surrounds you, obscuring your sight, and then your smell, and hearing. The dark, the lonely dark seeps into your mind, clouding your very Reason, and your spiritual and mental senses, too. Somehow, it occurs to you that in all your years in this incarnation, you have never come this close to death… and this feeling of death, looming over you at every turn, is so dreadful and so cold as to be reminiscent of your days in Tartarus, come again from the dead to haunt you.


That presence…

How many years had it been…

Since you last felt it?

Centuries have past, and yet you still recognize it, even in the encroaching gloom. The presence leads you onward through the undergrowth, giving you a modicum of strength and clarity. You hear a sound up ahead, in the direction the presence lures you.

It is the sound of a foal crying.

In the bushes ahead, through your blood-soaked vision, you see a swaddle of cloth, soaked with tears. Two symbols have been embroidered into the swaddling wrap, and though you have never cared for the writings of mortals, you recognize it from the talismans often favored by demon hunters.

"DEVIL CHILD," it reads.

In the cloth, you see a small amethyst crystal foal, crying her eyes out.


Shei-Sher scratches an itch on the lid of his eye while explaining "The cloak stores harm inflicted onto the wearer. Not entirely, but approximately any damage is halved." Shei wears the cloak by the shoulder and bonks his own head with his hammerstaff. And after giving back the cloak to Pryce, Shei touches Pryce with the hem of the cloak to illustrate his next point.

"This intended harm upon the wearer can be reflected onto another by touching them with the hem of the cloak."



She saw the infant before her and sneered. She said she would use any hiding spot, but this is not what she had in mind. It was enough that she had to demote herself time and time again to heal and survive in this horrible world.

She would have looked around for anything else, but there was not enough vision left in her to see. Besides, that presence, that feeling lead her hear. Though it pained her to debase herself further - to take the form of an infant mortal - she had no option left. She WOULD survive. She WOULD grow stronger again. And, no mortal, demon, god, or otherwise would keep her form having her fun. If this is what it took, then this is what she would do.

[1d10] to possess the infant

Roll #1 10 = 10


For an instant, all pain and weakness fade, and indeed, even all unnecessary senses diminish from your mind, leaving you with a total field of nirvana, of nothingness. Pure clarity.

From your shoulders, two additional arms appear on either side, resulting in a total of six. Briefly, two heads appear on either side as well, each gripping a weapon in their teeth. Only your central head is without a weapon.

All at once, with perfect, supernatural control of each weapon, you bring all of them down upon your target.

The moment fades, and you are standing in the training yard again. The onlookers from before are aghast, shocked, and speechless. The training dummy you attacked is no more. Renee sits on the ground nearby, her mouth agape. But that's not what catches your attention the most.

It's someone standing behind you.

"Guess being with you guys has taught me a thing or two, I guess!" Spitshine laughs between gulps of breath.
"I was always this gifted," Sugar says, trying to play it cool, but can't suppress her smile. She pauses, then taps Spitshine on the shoulder. "You're it."
"Aw, what!?" Spitshine exclaims, looking at her run away.
He then glances at you. "You've got three seconds."


Repligern floats in the air, folding her arms with her tongue poked out. "I'm sure you can figure it out without me feeding you the answer on a spoon."

"We were all under the impression you were in charge of your little group!" Repligern retorts. "You have to keep your unruly members under control don't you?"

"It's only fair! After all, you've come all this way for a treasure hunt. It wouldn't be fun, nor would you come back, if you didn't get anything really good from the Queen-Mother's lair."

"Don't get comfortable!" Repligern says. "Just because I'm one of the nicer ones doesn't mean the rest will be. After all, remember what Regina said just a few short pages ago…"

You're dead.


Flow holds The End in his right hoof, still in shock after the absolute clarity and divineness of what he just saw. He closes his eyes and rests The End back in its scabbard before he turns to see just who appeared before them.


KP snickers as Sugar plays it off, then quickly runs off after tapping Spitshine.
>"Three seconds? Good luck catching me with that much of a lead."
KP taunts, quickly galloping off towards the pond.

Pryce looks down at Repligern, silent for a moment.
"…Not even a god could keep that goat reined in."
He says as a fact.

As she comments on the treasure being fair, mentioning their trip as well as coming back, Pryce is conflicted. They're being rewarded but toyed with, Regina even knows their mission and wants them to visit again.
He walks around to the other side of the tree, out of sight as he removes his robe and puts on the Serpentskin Cloak, moving his belongings from his old pockets to the cloak's pockets, as well as moving his Honor of the Star-Blessed Watch over too. He steps back out into sight in his new attire, feeling that at the very least, wearing the gift might by some good tidings enough with Regina to make the rest of this adventure less of an ordeal. He folds up his robe, tucking that away as well.
"Well, I suppose it's good enough."

Roll #1 5 = 5


Yes, of course! A soul fusion! It's the only way, you realize. Your wounds are too grave, to both your body and soul. Devouring her wouldn't do. But a fusion would restore you if successful, and even boost your power, if only by a little. And upon a soul such as hers, a soul of a child, it should be–


A spike of cold dread stabs into your mind the moment that you attempt to dive into the child's soul and fuse with her. In the astral expanse, the space in which one's soul resides, the child's soul is a towering amethyst flame, composed in a horrifying shape: The Mark of the Crone. A constellation of a hanged witch, her body riddled with spears and burnt, but still she lives, her head high and mouth full of blasphemies. This foal was born under that sign, and her soul is all the proof you need. It brims with untapped power, a horrifying power that, in your weakened and bound state, dwarfs your own. This girl could easily become a Witch if she were given the chance. Her soul is an untapped well of monstrous potential.

And your soul is trapped in here with hers.

You feel your soul-form seizing up. The Devil's Instinct is acting up within you – the impulse to fight, flee or submit that every demon feels when they sense a power that far outstrips their own.

But something is… off. The presence, you can feel it beside the child's soul, but now that presence is distant, like that of an observer. And you can feel emotions coming from the soul. The child is scared, true, but not malevolent. The soul's very energy threatens to overwhelm you, but there is a gentle curiosity, almost naivete, in it.


Flaming looks to Shei as he explains the cloak's abilities, pausing as she contemplates its effect. "Huh… so, it's like you turn into a sponge that soaks up attacks from your enemies, and then dishes it all out at once when you want? That… actually sounds pretty useful."

Flaming grrowls, sticking her tongue back out at Repligern in return. "MMMMMM! Well who asked you, anyways!" She barks, forgetting that, in fact, she did.

"You're probably right, we WILL figure it out on our own."

She lets out a huff, turning back up towards where the shrine is located. "Volkama, Rus! Any luck up there?"


Behind you, a familiar face waits. A young pony, seeming to be about your age, spectral, made of orange goo. A conical bamboo hat rests on his head, shading his eyes, and he wears a comfortable yukata and sash. Nine swords wait at his hip.

"Yo," the memory of Sir Estuary says, raising his hoof.

Spitshine starts to jog after you after honoring the full three seconds as he said. At least he's honest! You run past some flower gardens and a few fountains as you run away from him, able to get a better look at the park's fuller beauty.


Roll #1 3 = 3


Shei-Sher simply frowns in response.


Pryce takes a step back as he feels a slight bump on his head from the touch.
"So it reflect what's done to you, but at your decision. That would've been nice to have from the start of this story."


>You hear a voice cry out from above. Volkama's to be precise.
>"You will look absolutely dashing for your sweetheart!" he shouts down, leaning on a branch at the top of the tree with Rus Tea.
>"Indeed!" Rus concurs. "One would think that a snake like me would think it in poor taste, but it is at once cute and gallant upon you!"

"You did, dumb-dumb!" Repligern taunts with a high, mocking laugh.

Up in the tree, Rus and Volkama wave at you, pointing to the shrine.
>"It's here!" Rus says. "Volkama verified that if I were to take the snakeskin that awaits me here and proceed out of the temple, it shall be the proper end of the tale. Or tail, as it were. I didn't want to risk kicking you out while you were having fun with that chest. Are you ready to be done with the story now?"
>"Yes, yes, let's move on!" Volkama says.
>"I'm asking them!"



At first, she resides on the edges of the soul space in terror at what she's done. Even if the soul does not have ill will, it would just take a moment's though to erase her. And, all would be lost. She can't have that, she must survive. She must gain power.

Power. So much power in this soul. And, it doesn't want to hurt her. How foolish. If she can use this to her advantage, the greatest boon any demon could ever hope for. No matter how long it takes, no matter what she has to do, she will have power.

Slowly and cautiously, she comes closer to the other soul. She can feel she does not have the reigns to this body - at least not permanently. But, she can guide it. And, when its needed - or when she wants some fun - she can take direct control. She can corrupt this soul. And, in so doing, make it her own.

But, she can't help but feel curiosity. Why does this power do nothing to her? What is this feeling she feels between them? She can't help but be drawn closer to the soul. And, after a time that even she is unaware of, she… embraces it.


"I am ready." Shei shrugs and smiles, tired from the fight they withstood.


Flaming pauses, realizing her blunder as she shouts back at Repligern, "W-well if I knew you'd give such a dumb answer, I never would have. So it's like I never did, hah!"

Flaming looks at the cloak, then nods her head. "I think we've gotten everything we can out of it! Pryce, go up there and give the cloak to Rus so we can finish the story by having our 'heroine' slither out with it. Then we'll have completed the story!"


KP stops for a moment to see and sniff the flowers, with all the chaos going on they really do pass over the smaller things to be appreciated. They never take time to stop and smell the roses. He looks back at Spitshine, then quickly trots off again, making this a nice jog through the park as the kids chase each other.

Pryce is a bit flustered as he hears Volkama and Rus call out on his appearance.
"…Th-Thank you!"

"I think she means there's a snakeskin up there she's been waiting to take."
Pryce comments to Flaming. He turns his head up to the treetop.
"Go ahead! We're all finished here!"

Pryce looks to Repligern.
"Are you going to vanish when the story is over, or will you follow us like that Amy clone did?"

Roll #1 4 - 1 = 3


Flow stands in disbelief for the briefest of moments, and grins.
“Ah…it’s good to see you again, lad.”
He bows out of respect.


And the soul embraces you.

Slowly, it is as though the soul picks you up in two hooves, encompassing you fully in a warm embrace. Yet there is an unquestionable dominance in its grasp. It is fully in control the moment in which it picks you up. With a gesture, with a mere whim, it could obliterate you.

And yet, it does not. Its embrace is the embodiment of gentleness. Your senses slowly fade, one by one, bit by bit, but not in the cold horror by which Tartarus oppresses its captives. Rather, it is the fading calm of sleep that embraces you now. Like the sleep that follows after being wrapped in a blanket or a careful hug. You feel, even, that the soul – no, the foal herself, is petting you.

One of the last things that you see is the mysterious figure, standing behind you and the soul. It is only now, a thousand years after you first met, that you can make out her face. And it is that of a strange person, who seems at once to be both a pony and a wolf, her face marked with a beautiful, winding tattoo that curls like the vines of a flower. She wears, albeit awkwardly and askew, a beautiful faded dress, black and red, like the gown of a dancer. Looks like she's not accustomed to wearing clothing, or perhaps she just doesn't like it.

And you recognize her immediately.

But… who is that in the distance behind her?


Before you can get an answer to that final question, you are overtaken by darkness, all senses fading into the peace of soft, dreamless sleep.


You get a chance to enjoy the flowers, well kept and maintained. Beyond them lies an earthy-smelling public garden, where you see various rows of herbs and vegetables being grown under the supervision of a team of shamans of various races, chiefly buffalo, their hooves and tails covered in green and mud. You tarry almost a bit too long, but dodge away from Spitshine as he chases you, laughing.

[1d10] Spitshine continues running
[1d10] Mystery roll

"I was wondering what this wonky feeling was," the young samurai says, bowing in return. He knocks back his hat onto his shoulders. He rolls them and his neck. "I was feeling so stiff, so awkward, like I couldn't even walk in my own body. Reminded me of when I was a colt and getting my first growth spurts. I was all gangly and bumping into things. Looks like you got into a spot of trouble, didn't you?"

He then looks at the destroyed dummies scattered across the yard. "Hmm… so that's what happened."

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 7 = 7


Flow grins and scratches the back of his head.
"Aye, some rather unpleasant events happened, and…well, I had lost myself for a moment…"
He looks lost for a second before he looks back at the young Estuary.
"Wait, does that mean that core…was yours?" he wonders aloud.



Amy suddenly jolts awake. She looks around wherever she is with a sort of frantic demeanor. But, she isn't looking to her surroundings. She doesn't give where she is a single thought. She is looking for someone.

She feels as if there should be someone there, but she can't see them. It's at that point she notices the tears in her eyes. They cloud her vision almost entirely. They run down her cheeks and soak her fur.

She wipes away the tears, unsure when they got there in the first place.


For once, Repligern does seem a little bothered by the thought. But she forces it down with a shrug. "Dunno. I am just a facsimile after all. Not even a Spirit-Clone nor a Doppelganger. Maybe I'll put on some makeup and come back as another one of your team. Maybe not. We'll just have to find out."

Once you confirm that you are ready, Rus Tea picks up a small sheaf of shed skin from the shrine within the serpent's skeletal head at the very top of the tree, donning it like a robe or shawl per Volkama's instructions. He then floats down with her from the treetop, presenting her to the party and ordering you all to bow, claiming that it's part of the story. Though you are thoroughly unfamiliar with snake coming-of-age ceremonies, you notice that there is a certain grandeur to how Rus looks now. If you were a snake of this tribe, you imagine that you might feel very proud of her now.

With all of that done, as the party heads back to the doors that you entered this arena through, you notice now that they open to darkness, not to the stairwell you took to get here. Recognizing this as being of the same kind that you took to enter this story, you proceed through it.

After walking through the dark, you are back in the Lotus Temple's central room, with Rus Tea and Volkama, safe and unharmed, beside you. Things seem to have changed slightly since you last left, but you can't quite put your hoof-tips on it. Something in the air, it seems like.


Shei-Sher holds up the Last Job Scroll to the party. His face beaming with a smile, pleading we do it next.


"Ooooh…. huh. LOTS of snake-skins in this place. And lots of snakes, too." She shudders, "I REALLY will be glad to be away from all the snakes."

She looks at Rus, "I wonder if she'll change back after we go back…"

Flaming looks up at Volkama as she dons the little piece of snake-skin that acts as her robe, looking her ascend the tree to the very top before falling to them. When asked to bow, Flaming smiles, graciously playing along with this part of the story not only out of respect for the story itself, but because coming down from the tip of the tree Rus DOES feel pretty inspiring… for a snake.

After she finishes bowing, she escorts Rus the Snake-Minos to the bottom of the tmeple, keeping a vigilant eye out for any more attackers as though she were her anointed bodyguard. When they reach the dark opening of the entrance, she braves through it, looking around the original Lotus Temple room as she lets out a sigh of relief. "Well, that's one story completed! That was, kind of fun, all things considered… Which one should we go to next?"

Flaming looks to Shei-Sher, smirking. "Oookay, that seems like a good choice! Let's do it."


You are in a moderately-sized study room that looks to have been converted into a bedroom of sorts. Well-lit by candlelight, the room is stocked with many bookshelves that stretch all the way to the high ceiling, and there are stacks of books and scrolls on the rug-covered floor too. A few ornate beds have been brought in, but you are laying a long couch, with a nice blanket and many pillows. All the furniture, silverware and drapery looks like it was brought in from an aristocrat's manor.

Before you on a mahogany desk wits a modest meal, turkey and gravy, rich with herbs, steamed vegetables, plum wine and truffles, too. A bowl of ice cream with fudge and a block of sponge cake sits on the other side of the meal. As the dream fades, it is only now that you realize how immensely hungry you are.


>"Don't laugh yet, you still gotta catch me first!"
KP taunts back, sprinting off and away from the colt deeper into the park.

Pryce looks guilty as if he crossed a line as Repligern looks bothered.
"Before, whatever might happen then when this story ends. Can you answer one last question?"
Pryce asks, his voice softer now compared to the earlier interrogations, as if he's talking to the real Vortigern now.
"Is Zjetya here, in Regina's domain?"
>Diplomacy [1d10]

Pryce bows as Volkama brings the triumphant Rus Snake down from the shrine.
He turns and walks as the party leaves through the doors, now expanses to darkness to lead out of the story and back the library.

Pryce blinks as they reappear back in the Lotus Temple. He quickly turns to Rus Tea and Volkama, relieved as they're still there.
"How are you feeling now Rus?"
He asks, now that they have left and she should be normal again.

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



"Oooh!" Amy says excitedly as she spots the food. Now completely distracted, she hops off the couch. Though, doing so immediately hurts her. Not nearly as much as one might expect after falling down an infinite staircase. But, it's a small reminder of her own foolishness. She winces a little bit, then slowly and carefully heads over to the food.

"Thank you," Amy says loudly to whoever may be listening. "It looks amazing!"

She then proceeds to dig in, starting with the turkey.


Sir Estuary nods, lazily scratching his chest through his yukata. "Yeah, yeah, looks that way. Goo pony cores don't just fall out of the sky. What I think mighta happened," he begins, walking over to help up Renee. "Is, when the Magatsuhi was expelled from your soul, my emblem there got caught in the crossfire," he says with a gesture to the Inheritance. "After all, it's not just another soul that can be affected by Magatushi. Objects and places can be, too. So when they tried to put you back together, they might have scooped up some of me by mistake. That part of me got put back into you, and so now you feel like you can't control your own body, like you're having to learn how to fight and move all over again, right?"

You put up a valiant effort to remain far from Spitshine's grasp, but in the end, he tackles you to the grass, and he manages to get you both to roll around a bit so that the impact doesn't hurt. Just as he pins you, Sugar body-slams him from above, resulting in a dogpile. Despite all this horseplay and roughhousing, the fun of it all keeps it from hurting, and Sugar and Spitshine can't help but laugh like fools as they lay there, tired and covered in grass.

Repligern hums and twiddles her hooves, contemplating if she should answer. "The Queen-Mother, the Beldam and Madam of the Covern of Wacachan, does not allow any mischief or evil in her domain unless she has a purpose for it. That includes in Threecoins. That's what I'll tell you."


Without any objection Shei-Sher goes ahead and pastes the scroll One Last Job onto a door.


"Aye, that's exactly how I'm feelin…"
He lifts his arms up awkwardly, and sighs.
"So what, we gotta work together even more now, eh? First it was advice, now yer quite literally my crutch," he adds with a shy chuckle.


>Rus Tea hisses and flicks the back of your head with her snake tongue during the whole ride back, just to tease you good-naturedly and to make the most of her lamia form. She gets off once she gets back to the Lotus Temple and her form returns to normal so that she doesn't squish you.

>Although she's still got her Ecclesian jacket, it is open, and her rather revealing lamia dancer's garb is still visible. Volkama averts his eyes, being a faithful husband to his dear Deriva. Rus examines her body, nodding with satisfaction. "I'm surprised she let me go."
>"There seems to be an undercurrent of fairness to this Witches' game," Volkama says. "That's twice now she had an opportunity to grab me, or any of you, but she did not."
>"Speaking of which, we ought to heal ourselves before we go on, ought we not?"


Shei-Sher steps into the conversation circle "My threads still twine our souls together. If Regina wished to take one of us, she would have to take us all." Shei-Sher has been making a deliberate effort not to look at Rus-Tea "Rus-Tea do you mind -erm. Zipping your jacket."


As you get a better assessment of yourself and your surroundings, you realize that your head has been bandaged and given a wrap composed of magical ice and a cloth wrap, which slides to the ground after you hop out of the makeshift bed. Shortly after you start to chow down, a Witch enters, dressed in a western phhysician's black robe and medic's hat. Despite her un-Witchly garb, you can tell she's a Witch by the drawing-like outline that surrounds her body and the general appearance of being a drawing. She approaches you slowly, wisely showing wariness around a wolf and her food. "Good evening. Do you know your name, and where you are from?" she asks, keeping a little distance from the food.


Flaming suffers through Rus-Tea's extremely mean and unnecessary treatment throughout the ride back, though every time she does she finds Shorty scooting along a LOT faster than she was previously with some nervous mewling.

Flaming looks up at Rus-Tea as it's revealed she gets to keep her dancer's garb, smiling, "Hey, she let you keep it! That's pretty nice of her, I think it looks even prettier on the real you." She looks at the tassels swaying, pausing. "Hmmm… think she has more?"

"Anyways…" she looks to Volkama, "We were thinking that might just be because of the 'Unweaving' magic we cast on you earlier though, right? I think that's still our best bet for protecting us."

She looks to Pryce as they mention healing, feeling some nasty wounds still inflicted from the last couple of scenarios. "Hrrm… yeah, I think you're right. Pryce, would you mind…?"


KP is caught by surprise as Spitshine tackles into him, tumbling and rolling through the grass. And again when Sugar comes from nowhere for a pinning body-slam on top of them.
KP just laughs loudly at the dogpile, any sort of bad or sad feeling gone now from all the fun, chuckling along in the late hours of the day.

Pryce looks defeated as the answers says nothing. But, a smile smile does rise, and he nods his head.
"Thank you."
He says in gratitude.

Pryce turns his head away.
"The Replica Vortigern did mention something about us 'coming back'. Despite all the… downsides," Pryce says, picking his words carefully to be safe, "If we do play along, we get rewarded. As much as it upsets me we can't do anything directly, following the path is our best bet."

Pryce nods his head, horn glowing white as it pulses out a wave of soothing a magic across the room.
"That should fix any lingering injuries from the battle."
>Commandment of Balance [Auto]



Amy looks up at the witch with a thoughtful expression. But, she doesn't stop eating. She considers the question for probably a longer time than the witch meant for the question to be considered.

She probably just wanted to confirm that Amy still has her memories after the bump on her head. And, Amy probably knew that somewhere in her mind. But, after the experience she just went through, she finds her mind wandering.

"Do you?" Amy responds to the witch at last. "I gave myself a name once. And then I… gave my self another name…" she says slowly realizing how silly sounds though her words are 100% accurate.


Shei gives Pryce a knowing smirk "You want more treasures."


"I don't care about the treasures. I'm after the quickest way that'll get our friends back."


Estuary looks up at the setting sun. "Not quite. There is precious little time, but if I put my back into it, we just might be able to sort you out before the end. You may still be a little strange after we're done, but if you're any good, perhaps I might even be able to pass on that to you."

After a little while, Spitshine and Sugar roll off of you, laying in the grass and staring up at the clouds, turned pleasant, fruity shades of red and orange by the setting sun. Sugar hums, contemplating the clouds. "I never knew it could rain without a weather-factory or pegasus or griffon team coming to make clouds."
"They say that in areas where people control the weather manually, the weather no longer functions naturally," Spitshine says. "So when they stop controlling the weather, it eventually goes back to normal."
"I… think they look nice this way, not manufactured. They look natural. They look real."


KP sprawls his hoofs out across the grass, staring at the sky.
>"Watching the skies when my family would travel from town to town was always fun. It was neat to see how each different place arranged them, or if they did anything special. I wonder how they look when nopony makes them by hoof."
He comments, then suddenly pointing his hoof up to one cloud off to the east in the distance.
>"Like that one! It looks like fish!"


>"What's the matter, disciple of Crow-ley?" Rus challenges. "I thought something like this would have been routine, forgettable even for someone of your caliber."

>"Let us find you something more modest," Rus Tea says. "But moreover, I find you look quite nice in that poncho I stole for you from the ruined clothier's shop."

Pryce heals everyone with a quick round of Aspect power, restoring your injuries and fatigue from the massive battle you waged with the Vortigern-serpent. What he cannot fix, however, is the hunger you feel as a result of having gone through all these trials. Despite this, Volkama and Rus Tea look ready for the next trial.
>"At your command," Rus says.
>"Shei, Pryce, perhaps you should link up again," Volkama advises. "Not having Pryce connected to the black threads could leave him open to abduction."


"Yes, let's hurry on through these trials."
Pryce says, ready to enter the next story.

Pryce thinks a moment s Volkama advises on the thread for safety.
"She could've abducted me when we left the Cobraskin if she was inclined. …I think I'll be safe, the Replica mentions they perceived me as the leader, and I don't think Regina would take me away under that idea."


"Hmm… either your condition is much worse than we thought, or you're going through an awkward phase… maybe you're even going through a second magic awakening!"

Excited, she scribbles a few things onto a pad of paper with a self-writing quill pen, then starts to head for the door, but stops herself. "You'll find all your things in the main hall, just outside. We did look through them, full disclosure, just in case you brought anything dangerous, but we didn't take anything. Even though some of the Sisters were REALLY eyeing that broomstick you had. Oh, and last thing: If you want anything, there's a bell on that lamp-stand by the couch. Give it a ring and we'll come running."

With a light bow, the Witch then leaves you to your meal.

>Section paused, feel free to reply if desired



Amy shrugs. "Thanks for the food!" she calls out to the witch, then digs into the ice cream.


Flow raises an eyebrow.
"If you say so, lad…"
He takes a deep breath.
"Then there's no time to waste. I'd like to get started as soon as we can."


Flaming looks down at the poncho she currently wears, smiling as she compliments her look. "Thanks… I think this looks pretty too. But, remember: we didn't STEAL it. We treasure-hunted it. There's a BIG difference."

She puffs out her cheeks. "I think I'd look pretty good in your outfit too."

As Pryce heals everyone, Flaming lets out a sigh of relief at her wounds being mended, before feeling her stomach start to growl hungrily as she sits back on her rear.

"Thanks Pryce… but man, what a trip… I don't think we've eaten since we left the air-ship. I hope there's some food in the next trial." She turns to the others as the recommend the Black Threads.
"I think that's a good idea, but… are we sure? I wasn't aware it means we take EVERYTHING like damage too."


"Whenever anyone in the royal family had a birthday, the weather teams in the Birdcage would always make special shapes and do tricks and designs in the clouds," Sugar reminisces. She winces slightly at the mention of the Birdcage, but smiles still, fondly.
Spitshine scoffs at your cloud-reading. "You'd be a bad nephelomancer! A fish? Get outta down, that's obviously an older model of airship."
Sugar squints at the cloud in question. "Looks like a flail to me, actually."

Sir Estuary's Memory scoffs. "This isn't a god-from-the-machine treatment, mind you. If you're not able to keep up, it's entirely possible I could leave you a puddle of mush, or at the skill level of a beginner. I'll need you pushing 100 percent for every second you can manage it."

He unhooks his swords, placing them off to the side of the training yard. He motions for you to do the same, then squats into a fighter's stance. Exhaustion pounds away at your body and at the back of your head. Sensing this, Renee runs off to the resting area, canteens in hoof.

Estuary's Memory raises a hoof in challenge. "Now then… are you ready to dance?"

>section paused, feel free to reply if desired


Shei-Sher has always shared scruples with the Union church in spite of his Thelematic upbringing. Sheer cliffs grind against one another upon a deeply seated fault in Shei-Sher's ethics.

Shei-Sher bares to look at Rus-Tea "I. Am Not. A Degenerate." Shei reaches over and zips up Rus-Tea's jacket for her.


>"Now there's the kiss of death," Volkama says, rolling his eyes. "Very well! But forgive me if I zap you while testing for any Repryces we might encounter."

>Rus Tea clicks her tongue twice, making finger guns at you. "Of course, how could I forget? We hunt treasure, demons, and now witches. What an eventful and profitable career! If only I weren't a full-time Ecclesian."

>Rus grunts, and zips her jacket down halfway to keep the… scandalous parts on display after Shei tries and fails to induce some modesty in her.

I swear, you people are truly without restraint or cohesion.

Now fully healed and as ready as you can be, you proceed through the door again, entering the third story. But without the aid of one schooled in the story, as it was with the Cobraskin, will you be able to prevail? Who shall you find within? Replicas, or your allies? I am simply dying to find out. Perhaps you shall see very, very soon…

>Paused, post if desired


>"Cooool! Heartholme used to arrange the clouds in neat ways, but those were mostly in the shapes of the gods and other important ponies for their days."

KP tilts his head to Spitshine as he scoffs.
>"Oh yea, mister expert? What's that one then?"
KP points off to a new cloud.
>"That one is clearly a frog, no doubt about it."


[1d10+1] Shei puts the black thread back on Pryce

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3


Last time on MY Quest…

The – what did you call them? Saviors? Oh, all right – The Saviors took a brief respite after defeating the colossal snake guarding the skull-shrine at the top of the serpent temple, collecting their thoughts and healing their wounds. In a stroke of sheer luck, Flaming duped the Replica of Vortigern into speaking, revealing right away that she was not the real Vortigern, who had sacrificed her voice to Buiwong, rendering herself incapable of speech.

Repligern made peace with the party by giving up the ghost pretty quickly, and the treasure – a powerful Serpentskin Cloak – probably didn't hurt either. After she vaguely answered a few questions, Repligern then encouraged them to move on. Rus Tea and Volkama then completed the story by retrieving an old snakeskin from the skull-shrine. Rus draped it about herself as a shawl, got the party to bow to her, and then the party proceeded out of the temple.

With that, the world of the Cobraskin faded away, returning them to the Lotus Temple. Something felt different about the Temple when they returned to it, but for reasons I can't possibly be bothered to fathom, they didn't bother to check out why. Why do I even point these things out? Oh well.

They then took up the scroll everyone had been dying to see: One Last Job, the tale of a thief whose life and many debts to powerful demons had finally caught up with him. Seeking immortality, he tried to steal the incorrupt heart of a saint to regain his youth. How that one will end, they would have to find out.


File: 1564362690478.png (235.06 KB, 500x470, 1563832177814.png)

Last time on HolyQuest…

After supper at one of Fantasia's many working-class inns, Flow and KP split off from one another.

Flow went with Renee to go test his physical abilities post-Magatsuhi Overexposure. His movements were weak and awkward, slow and alien. That is, somehow, until he tried to attack the training dummies. It was inconsistent and infrequent, but in brief, split-second moments, Flow was able to tap into amazing strength, annihilating two of the dummies without being able to perceive how and why. After a few failed attempts to invoke that power again, he finally called upon it once more, and as he did, he glimpsed a vision of two extra pairs of arms coming forth from his body, and two heads appearing on either side of his own. With these extra limbs and demonic visage, he was able to command every one of his weapons for a single instant, striking with all his power.

It was after this vision that a familiar face appeared. Sir Estuary's Memory, the remnant of his power who dwelled in the Inheritance, came forth, and offered a hypothesis as to what happened to Flow. The process of reconstructing Flow must have rearranged some of Estuary's Memory into him, giving him a body not fully his, and thus, not one he could easily control. While he was trying to learn how to move all over again, he was also able to invoke, in uncontrollable fits and starts, some of the power Estuary commanded in his own youth.

Meanwhile, KP went after Sugar and Spitshine, where the three kids had a talk about the future of their group, knowing that most of the adults would enter Tartarus and leave them behind for their own safety. Before the talk could get too grim, Spitshine led them to a park, where he distracted KP and Sugar with a surprise game of tag, which ended after a few rounds and led to them looking at some clouds for fun.


Though the turkey was livened with spices and dripping with sauces, and the wine rich and invigorating, the ice cream is probably the best part, cold and fresh, biting and crisp, and the fudge dripping is piping hot, blending well with the cool of the ice cream. There are even chips of ice cream and mint in there too.

Alas, it is gone all too soon, leaving only the sponge cake and the rest of the empty plates.


>"Now there's the kiss of death," Volkama says, rolling his eyes. "Very well! But forgive me if I zap you while testing for any Repryces we might encounter."


>Rus Tea clicks her tongue twice, making finger guns at you. "Of course, how could I forget? We hunt treasure, demons, and now witches. What an eventful and profitable career! If only I weren't a full-time Ecclesian."

>Pryce, Flaming, Shei

>Rus grunts, and zips her jacket down halfway to keep the… scandalous parts on display after Shei tries and fails to induce some modesty in her.

I swear, you people are truly without restraint or cohesion.

Now fully healed and as ready as you can be, you proceed through the door again, entering the third story.

Darkness envelops you, as it did in the past two times. The wooden floors beneath you vanish, replaced at first with an intangible void, but then this in turn is replaced by the feeling of soft, recently-trod dirt, like a road, lined occasionally with pockets of grass and the occasional pebble. You begin to hear the wheels of wagons, and the trampling of many hooves around you.

But what is most striking is the shimmering about your clothes. Your clothes at this point appear to be rippling like water, becoming translucent and murky, indistinct, and even shifting in color and size.

>It's even happening to Volkama and Rus, much to their surprise and cautious glares.

Describe your new look.


Sir Estuary's Memory scoffs. "This isn't a god-from-the-machine treatment, mind you. If you're not able to keep up, it's entirely possible I could leave you a puddle of mush, or at the skill level of a beginner. I'll need you pushing 100 percent for every second you can manage it."

He unhooks his swords, placing them off to the side of the training yard. He motions for you to do the same, then squats into a fighter's stance. Exhaustion pounds away at your body and at the back of your head. Sensing this, Renee runs off to the resting area, canteens in hoof.

Estuary's Memory raises a hoof in challenge. "Now then… are you ready to dance?"


"What'd those look like?" Sugar asks.

Spitshine squints at the cloud you're pointing at with an artist's critical eye. He (gently) plucks Hopper off of your head where he sits, holding him up for comparison. Hopper too looks up at the cloud.

"Hmmmmm… maybe like some kind of king toad or something, but a frog? I'm not buying it," Spitshine scoffs.

Hopper croaks in protest. Seems he disagrees.


Flow nods in agreement, and piles his weapons on the side of the yard as well.
“Aye lad. Let’s get this started.”
He crouches into a low, awkward stance, full of exploitable openings. Flow rolls one of his arms as he prepares to make his move, then places a hoof on his chest.
>Inheritance of the Brother



Amy eats the ice cream sloppily, like a dog frantically eating something she loves. But, she wastes none of it. She licks it all off of her own face once it is gone. Even the melted remains get licked up meticulously and ravenously.

Once it's all gone, she sighs. Then, she much more slowly moves on to the sponge cake.


Estuary's Memory simply stands there, waiting, his hoof held aloft in half a gesture of prayer. You summon Vice without any interruption from him. The onlookers from the training yard start to back away, finding shelter behind nearby corners or props in the yard, unable to look away but also sensing what is to come.


File: 1564364117768.jpg (50.45 KB, 748x527, samoorai.jpg)

After passing through the darkness a third time, Flaming looks down as her clothes become shimmering, and transcluent, reshaping themselves into the form of plated armor that wraps around her entire body, only tuffs of her fluffy fur sticking out the side as she's even given a helm with her new ensemble.

Further equipped with two curved swords at her sides, Flaming looks down at her stunning new appearance, turning about in a circle. "W-what? What happened to my clothes?"


As Vice emerges from behind Flow, he takes a more learned stance, and keeps his head high.
>”Sir Estuary… so it was your core after all…” Vice muses.
While unaffected by Flow’s handicap, Vice still recalls what happened in his hazy dream, and it’s obvious it still lingers with the clone, as even his usually focused demenor is wracked with unease.
Nevertheless, both of the goos ready up, and charge in, aiming to grab hold of Estuary.
1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 12 ]
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 3 ]

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #2 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #4 2 + 1 = 3



>Kusarigama: Fire Element; Single + Great Tags; +3 Modifier

"I'll be fine. If any replicas of me arise, we'll see them in the stories and know they're fakes right away."
Pryce assures Volkama before they enter the story.

Pryce stands steady as the world morphs around him, the wooden temple turning into the outdoors, looking like any other field.
Before he can assess their surrounds he looks down as his newly acquired snakeskin cloak begins to shimmer and warp around him, lengthening and covering his body in full as it morphs into a kamishimo, while still retaining it's snakeskin pattern and appearance.
"I see Regina cares strongly for theming in these stories…"
Pryce comments in an uncomfortable tone as his outfit was warped around him.

KP lifts Hopper out of Spitshine's hooves, holding the frog up triumphantly next to the cloud (from his point of view).
>"You heard the frog Spits, it's practically a mirror. And Hopper is an expert in what frogs look like."


File: 1564365697632.jpg (135.1 KB, 680x1024, shinto monk.jpg)

Shei-Sher's appearance is transformed to that of a Monk established in the form of Shinto. His dome hat is made from a dark jungle wood with a faint red hue. His monk robe is dark draping low to the ground. The colored part is a bright teal green dotted with squares inscribed with the flower of life pattern. Socks, his silver anklet, and two teethed sandals are worn beneath his hooves. Shei-Sher holds his staff beside him which clinks with four brass rings hung along the hammer.



The sponge cake… what can be said about the sponge cake? It does its job, I suppose. Neither spectacular nor bad, not too sugary or tasty it is the cooldown of the meal, balanced between extremes. And just like that, it is gone, leaving you neither satisfied nor wanting more.

Outside, you hear the chattering of witches, muffled by the nearly soundproof study-room.

>Rus Tea, whose Ecclesian leather jacket has melded into a dark, padded kimono with an open front, looks down and snorts with approval at your new armor. "Like in the previous story, it seems we need appropriate garb to blend in with the characters."
>Volkama, wearing a pilgrim's tattered robe and carrying a seven-ringed mendicant's staff, nods. "And because Rus was the only character in the last story, besides the Replica of Vortigern, only she was transformed."


The darkness fades about you, and you indeed find yourselves in a field deep in a valley, tucked at the feet of a great mountain laying before you. Sheer rock walls surround the grassy fields, but even they at their height are no comparison to the mountain lying before you. Rocky and sprawling, it towers up to the skies, and gently melting snow covers it in a fine layer. The snow is orange-red from the setting sun, and pink and purple with flowering sakura trees. Paper windmills stick up out of the snow on either side of the awkward, stony road.

Looking about, you see you are in a company of pilgrims, surrounded on all sides by a caravan made of mostly deer wearing robes like Pryce's and Volkama's, mostly poor and weathered looking folk. Many have carts and wagons, on which they carry the sick, old and dying. The cohort is quiet, and the only sound they make is of their steps.

Near the top of the mountain, you see a pagoda, surrounded by a monastery of bamboo and stone, ancient and looming amid the trees and snow.


Hopper croaks smugly, while Pucchini and Katcher run around in the grass, chasing each other without any care for the clouds or their shape or symbolism.
Spitshine just laughs. "Close enough, then, I'll accept that. So do you and the big guy have any experience making clouds yourselves, being alicorns?"

>Going by the red and green at the bottom of the post, not the 12 and 3

Estuary exhales, his eyes shut and appearing to be at peace as you and Vice charge in.

"Body of Water," he solemnly intones, as if breathing out a prayer.

As you and Vice lunge out to grab him, you grab him about the waist and arms, but in that instant, the goo of his body melds, becoming the same color as your own. Like a bucket of water poured into a lake, it becomes part of your body and splits off from his, and he dissolves into a simple puddle at your hooves.

But before you can even process this, your danger-sense spikes with a sudden signal that you need to move right this instant!

1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 7 ]
1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 4 ]

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #2 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #3 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #4 5 + 2 = 7



With nothing else to do, Amy follows the sound of the witches talking.


Flaming looks down at her new attire as she turns and takes stock of the others new designs, their robes / conical hates and armor as she smiles from beneath her helmet, lifting it up slightly to look at the others. "I like the helmet part a lot… but all these clothes are so GOOFY!" She chuckles, looking down at her armor-plates as she gives them a rattling shake, before looking up at the sprawling mountain fields. "Sure is pretty out here though."

She turns to look at the caravan they are part of, looking towards the deers with a curious look. "Huh… does anyone know this story? It looks like we're part of a big herd, moving to who knows where."


"No argument. The garbs are pleasing." Shei's face looks as though he feels quite cozy in his new robes. "Seems this story takes place in the Jibyan Isles. I was here once before as a smaller kid. Except during then the elements were much harsher for a vagabond and the constable frequently tried to throw me into the ocean."

Shei-Sher walks behind Pryce and sticks a black thread on him "no you don't.."
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 8 ] black threads

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7


File: 1564367889829.jpg (Spoiler Image, 414.46 KB, 1281x1064, example 1.jpg)

Stepping outside of the study, you exit through a rather spartan stone hallway, one decidedly without any of the amenities or decorations that you had in your study just now. At the other end of that hall lies another door, which you pass through.

Almost immediately, you are struck by the sheer height of the room, the complexity and the strange logic that runs parallel to all common sense in terms of structure and physics. You are, it seems, in a library full of witches, judging by the bookshelves and reference volumes and display cases of scrolls and old codices, but most of the structure seems to be of a magical nature. Witches of various races and styles of dress walk along sideways staircases, or roll carts full of books down ramps that curve like mobius strips from one platform to another. Other platforms simply float in the air, supported by nothing, and other witches stand on the ceiling, upside down, but showing no signs of discomfort.

Beyond that, the room is towering and wide, stretching on past what you can see in a mass of bookshelves and cases full of artifacts, wands, crystal balls, and skulls and other cursed-looking things. It is like the shaft of a tower too, continuing high into the sky.


Sensing another opporitunity to test his meddle once more, Flow concentrates on himself and Vice.
The two goos both try to hop back once their respective grapples go right through Estuary.
>Visions of Grandeur
1d10[ 1d10 = 9 ]
F: 1d10[ 1d10 = 4 ]
V: 1d10[ 1d10 = 1 ]

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 4 = 4 / Roll #3 7 = 7 / Roll #4 1 = 1 / Roll #5 5 = 5 / Roll #6 10 = 10


Pryce looks up the valley walls that surround them, the warm environment around then and the caravan they found themselves in part of. For now, he walks along with the deer to keep with the story, while looking for any familiar faces in these story creations.
>Perception 1d10[ 1d10 = 10 ]

"This story was about a thief, wasn't it? Volkama, are you familiar with this one too?"
Pryce asks.

Pryce looks back as Shei goes to stick him with a thread.
"Shei, I said no. We're already in the story, so we have no need to spread damage any further if we get in a fight."
He retorts, horn glow as he tries to repel the thread.
>Resist 1d10[ 1d10 = 2 ]

KP lays back on the grass, setting Hopper down to let him run with the other pets, or do whatever he pleases.
>"Nah, he only became an alicorn less than a year ago or so, hard to tell the time. He's never made any clouds before I came about, and he never tried to conjure one as a kid. My sister was pretty alright at it though. When we'd set up camp she'd take care of the weather over our little show area, keeping it nice and clear! Or occasionally cloudy or whatever an act needed to build the suspense."

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 8 = 8 / Roll #3 4 = 4 / Roll #4 4 = 4



"Ew…" Amy comments as she looks around. "Books…"

However, she is amused by the 'architecture of this place. She giggles as she looks at the mobius strip path from different angles. She then proceeds to try to find stairs to get up to the fun places.

1d10[ 1d10 = 6 ] to find stairs!

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


>"No – it isn't one that often crossed our shelves in the Hypnogogium," Volkama says. "Communication between east and west were difficult, slow and infrequent, owing to the harsh climate of the midlands between the two ends of Huoli. Some days I think back on it and I'm surprised that you Accorsians managed to traverse that horrid wasteland during your flight from the demons."

It is not until you hear yourselves talking a few times that you suddenly realize as well that you don't recognize the very langauge that you speak. Yet at the same time, you cannot help but speak it. Every word you try to say in the King's Equish comes out as that strange language. Yet you have no trouble understanding it, either.

>Setting aside the language psuedo-barrier, Rus points up at the pagoda. "That must be our destination. Amy's Replica told us earlier that this story was about a thief trying to steal a relic of a saint to gain immortality. Where else would it be besides a monastery such as that?"

>"That would explain these sickly pilgrims too," Volkama whispers, gesturing with his staff at the sick and weak who accompany you up the steps toward the pagoda.


Up the steps of the pagoda you go, accompanied by the pilgrims and their wards carried about on the carts, wheelbarrows and carriages. Most of them, you notice, are actually deer. A look around shows that not a single one of them are ponies. Shei, from his experience, knows that this is of course because deer are the dominant race on Jibayin.

As you wind up the uneven and rocky mountain road that curls around the mountainside, old and weather-beaten torii begin to line the road, adding another splash of red to the setting-sun colors all about. Further and further up you go, and the air seems to grow thin after a while, making the trek more tiring than what it would ordinarily be. Just as your legs start to grow weak, though, the path curves once more about the rocky hills, and you see the pagoda and monastery at last, nestled between high rocks on all sides.

The monastery is quite the sight, the size of a castle at the least, made of four main buildings situated at the corners of the rocky clearing, and connected by four major hallways, it seems. The pagoda, five stories high and as wide as the monastery itself, is situated in the back, connected by a long outdoor hall of its own.

The front gates of the monastery, towering over you, remain closed, much to the worry of the weather-beaten and road-weary pilgrims.


Hopper squeaks and starts to hop around nearby, finding some mud amid the grass to soak himself in while the other pets chase each other around.

Sugar and Spitshine roll onto their stomachs, interested in KP's tale. "I've only heard little snippets about your family, come to think of it," Spitshine says. "Probably a far cry from mine, huh?"
"Were they a big family?" Sugar asks.

The sense of danger interrupts your focus, and you are forced to hop back as two razor-thin blades of water flick out of the puddle at you and Vice. It nearly nicks you before you escape it, but Vice's face is sliced off, though he can barely remain standing.

>Vice 2/1

The puddle of water slowly draws nearer to you, and Estuary Memory's head slowly forms out of it. One of his hooves is raised, curving like a knife's blade. He slowly approaches, half-formed, before he melts back into the puddle again.

"Mountain of Knives," the puddle intones.

1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 10 ]
1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 5 ]

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #3 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #4 3 + 2 = 5


You head up a nearby flight of stairs that runs completely vertically and perpendicular with the floor, finding that the moment your hoof sets down upon the first stair, walking onto the next is simple work, as if gravity simply decided that there was nothing wrong with you walking straight up the wall.

This you learn is the principle for most of the strange architecture of the towering library, made of glimmering emerald-colored stone with lines of jade running through it. Many such architectural oddities also catch your eye as you wander about, like circular halls and curving ramps leading from one level to another. One could very easily be lost in this mind-bending realm, and you come to know this first-hand when you get a few turns past where you originally started, and lose track of how many levels you came up from here.

By a stroke of luck, though, you seem to be in a rare "plain" area, a small square outcropping of emerald stone with nothing but a desk at it. At that desk sits a female jackal, only vaguely resembling a diamond dog. She has on a white toga, and is measuring various minerals on scales and recording the results in a book. She looks your way with a tilted head, then smiles. "May I help you?"


Flaming looks down at her throat, rubbing at her mouth as she tries to stop herself from speaking in this bizarre foreign language. "W-what's wrong with our voices? I don't recognize this tongue! And yet… I do? I can understand everything that's being said but I don't know… gah, this is too confusing to think on right now…"

She turns towards towards the pagoda, following along with the caravan as she follows them up the winding rocky road that leads up the mountain. She takes a deep breath , enjoying the scenery and the fresh air as she moves. When they get in sight of the monastery, she looks up at it in awe, before moving over to one of the odd deer they're accompanying.

"Hey uh… this may sound weird but, I'm feeling groggy. Can you tell me what we're going up there for again?" She asks the deer, trying to get a feel for the story.


Shei sighs a brow beat bleat "Very well Pryce, but we aren't looking for you if you get lost."

>Highlander: passive; You naturally adapted to the conditions of mountainous areas. Cold damage is reduced by 1 (minimum of 1 damage). Rolls affected by Goatcraft are automatically successful in mountainous terrain. Your attacks made from high ground receive a +1 bonus.

Shei-Sher has no problem whatsoever with the mountain climate. In fact he feels right at home in these conditions. The thin air causes a little nostalgia for his high alttitude tower in Mr'uthgar.

Once arriving at the closed gates Shei-Sher informs the party. "As I observed during my brief life on the isles. Jibyan are severely adherent to etiquette and caustic about foreigners. So whatever you do, try not to be out of fashion. Unless that is you are dressed with some indication of status. Which means - I can do this."

Shei-Sher takes Flaming's hoof in his hoof and gestures for the rest of the party (except Pryce) To follow him through the gate.

>Jhana of Malleable Flesh: Spell, Recharge 2(minus 1): You can escape from any physical binding or grapple by moving yourself freely through space in a radius of three meters in any direction. During this time, you are considered intangible for the purposes of moving through physical obstructions, unless said obstruction is larger than your three meter radius. This ability naturally has DC - 2 and stacks with other bonuses.

>Passive: You can contort your body into any shape with ease; this reduces the DC of Helplessness Recovery by 1
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 4 ]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6


Flow and Vice both rear back while he forms himself, and both realize the same thing.
Instead of trying to dodge, they both go in to strike Estuary.
1d10+3[ 1d10+3 = 5 ]
1d10[ 1d10 = 5 ]

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #2 3 + 3 = 6 / Roll #3 4 = 4 / Roll #4 5 = 5


"Right.. We are speaking Jibayin. Regina does like to dress us for the part doesn't she."


"So we're on our own, aside from the summary the replica Amy gave."
Pryce mutters in thought.
"I wouldn't know how it went. I wasn't there for those days, unfortunately."
He comments on the Accorsian travels.

Pryce pauses after speaking as his words come out in a foreign tongue, yet fully known to his ears. While it is convenient, it only leaves a grim taste in his mouth and the capability of Regina.

"I wonder, is the thief hidden among us then."
Pryce comments as Rus mentions the story's summary.

Pryce marches along with the caravan, finding the journey to be quite exhausting. Similar to the others, it almost seems to be a test of endurance to reach the story proper. As the finally come upon the monastery, Pryce keeps an eye out for the thief of the story, their appearance most likely to soon.
As the deer grow worried at the closed gate, Pryce approaches and knocks.

"I won't get lost."
Pryce says simply.

>"Probably not as far as you think, Spits."
Is all KP says, rolling over to face the duo.
>"It was… I guess a big family to most ponies. There was my mom, my dad, my two older brothers, and my older sister. We travelled all over Accorsia, putting on big shows for everypony to watch and spread joy all around!"


Flaming looks towards Shei with a raised eyebrow. "Even when I dont' understand every word you're saying, somehow you manage to STILL make words that don't make any sense to me. But what you're saying is, blend in?"

As he takes her hoof in his, she looks towards the gate to the monastery. "You seem to know a lot about this place. Did you study some of it with Crowler?"


>"Another illusion, I presume," Volkama says. "Nothing worth losing your head over. Regina surely spares no expense for setting the mood and tone faithfully to her stories."

As you look over at one of the deer, you find that it is actually a buck, when at first glance you would have guessed he was a doe. His head grows no horns, and his body is woefully thin under his yukata, all skin and bones, malnourished and thin. "Avṛha, the Saint's Pure Heart," he whispers, his voice raw and dry. "Just a look will comfort us. A touch, heal us."
"A taste of it…" one of the pilgrims mumbles, but the first pilgrim taps his chest, hissing for silence.
"They won't let us in if you talk like that."

>"…Then how did you get to this end of the continent, easterner?" Volkama presses.

Shei takes Flaming, Rus and Volkama and, thanks to the binding with the Black Threads, manages to phase through the front gates with the power he obtained from Calque's white spellbook. This elicits gasps and shock from the crowd of weak pilgrims, exhausted though they are. "Boddhisattva! Enlightened one!" they exclaim at the sudden display of magic.

On the other side, Shei and the others nearly bump into a group of armed monks, five in all, all of them tall and wide-horned deer, many of them armored and wielding naginata. The leader of the monks takes one look at your group, then gestures for one of the other guards to get the door. Said guard heads to the door, removing the door bar and opening it up for the other pilgrims to enter.

While that goes on, the leader of the monks, standing at a stark three times your size, looks down at your small group with a scrutinizing eye. Though his gaze is fierce, his demeanor is gentle. "Welcome, travelers. I trust I can guess why you have come. The Plague is without mercy or distinction for rich or pauper, adult or child, buck or doe. Those of you who do not have a persistent cough may enter with me."



Amy stares at the receptionist with a confused expression for a moment. "Hello," Amy says slowly. She realizes she doesn't know what she's doing or why she's here.

"Where am I?" she asked slowly.


"The Saint's Pure Heart…" she looks at his malnourished body, frowning in pity as she looks around at all the others sick in the carts being carried.

"Ooh… I see. These deer are sick, and there's something in that temple that might cure them. I hope it works." She looks around at them all, before looking down at herself. "Huh… we're not sick though. Are we supposed to be bodyguards?"

As Shei takes her through the door itself, Flaming lets out a gasp as she moves through solid wood/stone, breathing heavily after coming out the other side, looking back. "W-woah… so that's what that feels like." She turns towards the monks that they bump into on the other side, and lowers her head graciously, making it clear she's not here to start any fights and shows reverence.

She looks up at the leader, "We, thank you for your hospitality, Clan Leader. Sorry for the unusual way we entered. May I ask your name?"


Spitshine tilts his head. "Why do you say that?"
Sugar's small tail starts to wag about as she hears more, though her expression is back to being its stoic self. "Well don't leave us in suspense. What were their names? What'd they do? Were you popular? How many places did you see?"

You and Vice both strike Estuary's Memory square in the chest, knocking him a short distance back, but in a single flowing motion, almost like a dance, he takes control of the momentum generated by your punch, transferring it through his body until it circulates back up into his hoof that is curved like a knife.

Continuing that single motion, Estuary's Memory cuts into you, and the motion is so smooth that it is like a wave falls upon you in the ocean. Vice narrowly avoids another strike, remaining standing for now.

>You lose 5 Hits and 1 Wound

Estuary slithers back around behind you, following through on his slithering move. "Not bad… you're direct. You also don't run your mouth in a fight like a certain someone else."

Turning his back, he starts to slither over slowly to where his swords wait.


hoo boy, Shei-Sher recognizes that word -boddhisattva- Shei-Sher decides to ride the tide. The goat clasps his hooves together and bows before the monk Leader in greeting. "I come from a distant shrine to the north, to beseech the spirits of this land to aid in expelling the corruption which chokes jibyan." Shei speaks soft and gentle. Mimicking the same body language and reticence of the monks before him.


The receptionist puts a feather on the other scale, opposite the many shiny rocks she studies. The scale balances out until the feather and the rocks are roughly even. This excites the jackal to a degree words cannot express, and her tail wags quickly.

"This is the Library of the Sacrosanct. This is where Queen-Mother Regina has made her new laboratory, now that we have left behind the Coven. We who follow her are the Sisters of the Coven. Technically, those ungrateful Witches who have fled to the western half of Threecoins are Sisters, too. Even if they don't like it. We brought you here after you had that episode on the lower levels. Your friends are currently in the Narratorium."


Left behind the OLD Coven*



"Are they safe?" Amy asks with concern.


"It's… a long story."
Pryce says, not wanting to get into the details, and also picking up that they should be speaking within the tones of the story.

Pryce stands back, watching as the others all phase through the door as if it wasn't even real. Before he can question it, the door opens for him and the deer, Pryce waiting to be the last to enter, to let the exhausted deer into sanctuary first.

Pryce turns to the leader of the monks, glancing up at how large he is, wondering if this is of the story or if the deer of this region truly do grow this big. He bows his head.
"Thank you for welcoming us."
He says, raising his head.
"Those of us able can wait. The weary and worn should have first priority."

>"Cause I know your family loves you just as much as mine did me! Everything else doesn't matter too much in the end."
KP says.

He looks to Sugar, smirking a bit.
>"Alright, alright. I was trying to build some suspense first. Let's see, I'll start with my dad, Hat Trick. He was the ringmaster of the whole show, able to do all kinds of tricks you could think of! He always made sure the show was fun for everypony, since it was the audience that was the real important part of it all. And with him was my mom, Joyous Sight. She was an illusionist, able to make all kinds of images and stuff that were practically real. They usually would work together on stage most of the time, but sometimes they'd go solo, especially on big nights."
KP hops up on his hooves, excited as he introduces all of his family.
>"My biggest brother was Clear Head. He could read your mind, tell what you were thinking, hypnotize you, and he was an earth pony too! He was amazing! And then Feather Flourish, my sister, could do all these tricks with her wings! She could move cards around through her feathers like they were teleporting, slip around coins or paper, it's like she had two extra hooves off her back! And then my other brother who was the youngest besides me, Curved Cross, he didn't even need magic to do his tricks! He was a contis— corto—… uh, he could bend himself all around, and could do all that acrobatic stuff!"
KP then does a pose.
>"And then there was me! Conjurer extraordinaire!"
He holds it for a few seconds, then relaxes back down to the ground, sitting.
>"Whenever we went somewhere, we always got a big crowd, so I think we were popular. Didn't visit the same place to often, so I never got to hear how well ponies thought of us after we left. But there were always really happy, cheering and clapping and everything! And we traveled all over, all the time, but to smaller towns and villages. My dad said everyone should be happy, so we tried to go to the places that weren't too well known on the maps or stuff, since they'd could use a show more."


"His name is Crowley -And no. A long time ago my former master had sent away from home to make something of myself. He told me to discover Thelema, he could do no more work with me until I became my own man. Along my quest to brave the wilderness he threw me to I happened upon a port in a city of minotaurs and goat called Manyirongdi. I joined a fishing crew as a swabby to earn a wage. When we arrived at Jibyan they told me a fee was required for lodging back to Manyirongdi -but I was absolutely broke and I wouldn't be compensated until the captain was paid by his fishing company once we rounded back to Manyirondi. So they deserted me here. From Torrent(month) to Reverie(month) I lived in Jibyan as a vagabond until I found my way back. They were the longest, most cruel months of my life." Shei faintly forlorn about the entire experience.


>Volkama grunts. "I understand."

"I don't care who or what you are," the buck half-says, half-sighs. He weakly tilts his head to a rickshaw cart that he carries behind him. Someone or something is carried upon it in a bed of straw, obscured by a blanket. "My hooves are full. Bother someone else. Please."

"Edoba," the leader of the monks says, returning your bow. "What is yours, warrior?"


Edoba, the leader, scoffs at Shei's cover story. "A dangerous thing to admit, northerner. Haven't you heard? Instead of signposts, priests' skulls line the road in the middle country. Shamans, priests, onmyoji, not a one is spared from the hysteria. Those who converse with spirits are to blame, in the thoughts of the most hysterical, of those who have lost the most from the Plague."

He looks over at the sickly pilgrims who you now realize are looking at you with suspicion. "Not all have the strength to act out that paranoia, though."

>"All the more proof that we will not be a burden, our most honored host," Rus Tea says, bowing her head.

Edoba grunts. "There is no need for such assurances. We have already you in, have we not?"

>"I trust you would not have done the same if we were barbarians," Volkama says.

With a laugh, Edoba turns and gestures toward the central corridor on the northern side of the monastery complex, which has a bamboo door in its front. "You would be surprised at a monk's hospitality, mendicant. Come in from the cold, we will set out what we can for supper."

With an appreciative nod, the other guards help usher in the sick and weak, leading them toward the central hall's bamboo doors.


The jackal continues jotting down the results of this bizarre feather and scale examination in her ledger, but her tail-wagging slows as you start to ask about your friends.

She sets down her quill pen, and the pen gets up and puts itself away. "…I'll put it to you like this. They were, but now? I don't think any of us could guess. One of them acted out and tried to destroy the world that Regina created in the Narratorium. It completely threw off the scenario that the Queen-Mother set up in there for them to play with. We heard the Queen-Mother's ranting and the shaking from all the way down here afterward. So… I don't know what else to tell you."


We have already let you in, have we not?"*


"You were just deserted in this Jibyan place?! That must have been hard…" She says in pity. "But, I admire what your former master tried to do. The herd is important to the clan, but there are stories of warriors in Climbing Fire who, in order to become men, set out on their own journey to accomplish a great deed or find something of worth to bring back to the tribe, and though some perished, others returned the greater for it. It sounds like it worked out well for you Shei, I had no idea you were given such a mature test at a young age."

Flaming smiles up at Edoba, "I am called Flaming Short-" she pauses, looking at the swords she's acquired as part of her costume. "-swords. An honor to meet you, Edoba."

As Shei tells him their cover story, she tries to help add to its sincerity, "Be that as it may, Edoba, though spirits are the cause of this we hope spirits will also be the cure. At any rate, we thank you for your hospitality. Before we speak of supper, however, I was wondering if we could speak of an arrangement to let our fellow travelers see the Pure Saint's Heart so they may be cured?"


Spitshine just rolls his eyes. "And how do you 'know' that?"

Sugar's eyes glimmer even as she tries to keep her straight face. "…wow."


Beneath Shei-Sher's thin mask is a goat sweating to the beat of his heart. despite this, Shei keeps a cool appearance and responds to the priest with quiet pride, appearing to be above the notice for the suspicious glares at him. "I need not hear it, a buck can recognize his own kohai hung from roads where cherry blossoms spring. If there is a blight spirit I have not seen him. The anger of kami I do not hear. Only the wheezes of sons and mothers, my country drawing its last breathe is all my senses detect. And yet they do not deserve it, Regardless of Hysterical Thoughts. If my work is not welcome at this shrine, I respect such. My deepest appreciations however for a night's stay."

1d10[ 1d10 = 9 ] persuade sentiments toward the crowd and monks.

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 5 = 5


Pryce bows his head as Edoba offers food for the caravan. In aid of the guards, Pryce helps escort the deer to the central hall, helping those who need it.

>"Cause I know family. My siblings and I were all adopted, but it felt like we were always together from the start. So even with all the stuff going on, I know yours loves you too."

KP looks over at Sugar, a bit of a prideful smile coming to his face.
>"I know. They were amazing."
He says with fond remembrance.



"Oh… That might have been me. I kinda didn't like being trapped. I think it's sort of a result of my… past…"

Amy shakes her head. "Anyway how did I get here?"


"It has been 6 years.. The closest thing I had to a father is now a god, the closest thing to a mother died trying to become one, as Buiwong's servant. And my home an irreparable demonic parody of its former glory." Shei draws a deep breath "I can't exactly say I am glad it happened. But I am grateful I met Amy. That is invaluable. A prerequisite to becoming a master of Thelema is learning the meaning of love, bearing great responsibilites, walking as a king on the earth even if you have no kingdom. A true king does not need one but the holy kingdom inside his heart. I have yet to cross the spiritual wilderness, my last quest in becoming a true Thelemite. And Crow-ley refuses to do dealings with me as an equal without being a Master myself. So I suppose in a way I was always meant to enter Tartarus -one of the planes that qualify as a spiritual wilderness. I think of the irony sometimes and blow up laughing in the middle of the night."


"All of you were adopted?" Sugar asks. "B-but why? Could they not…"

She then winces. "S-sorry, I shouldn't ask something like that."

Spitshine, though, falls into silence as you bring up familial bonds. "Would it have killed him to just state that flat out if that was the case? All my dad and I ever talked about was business. Slave roundups, captures, auctions… never got to just sit with him and just… be, you know? Him and Sundae."


File: 1564375952940.gif (1.72 KB, 379x379, example 2.gif)

Edoba shakes his head. "I am afraid they will have to see the Heart one at a time, in isolation with our monastery's guards. This monastery has been the subject of many attempted burglaries in the past months, as part of the panic about the Plague. While common burglars would not ordinarily be a serious concern, it was just last night that we discovered the calling card of the Kunochi. Come."

Edoba takes a detour, briefly leading you across the monastery's central courtyard eastward, until he brings you to a large stele in the midst of a combed sand garden, an ivory pillar with an ancient illustration of a monk casting a serpentine sea-demon into a whirlpool raging in the ocean. However, the pillar is now marred with a large symbol, a simple character etched into the ivory face.

"The Kunoichi infiltrated the monastery, right under our noses, and vandalized the memorial stele. She will attempt to be off with the Pure Heart of Avrha soon… possibly even tonight."

>"I am surprised you let us in, then," Volkama says.

Edoba simply smiles, his eyes growing narrow. "I am told I am too trusting in these times, yes."

"Far be it from us to refuse hospitality to wandering strangers of good will," Edoba says. "We have not much, but what we have is yours as much as it is ours. We ask only that you keep your weapons sheathed, and do not leave the sight of our guards."

He gestures again at the defiled stele. "I do not need to reiterate why."

As Edoba points out the defiled stele, you notice distinctive remnants of pink threads lingering in the vandalized graffiti, translucent and faintly magical, and recognize them as belonging only to one possible party member.

The central hall is a wide and long corridor, with a fire pit dug in the center, and filled with old charcoal and logs. Embers dance in the firepit and many cushions surround it. Animal furs have been turned into makeshift insulation at the corners of the room and at the bases of the walls. The guards, with your help and Rus Tea's, start guiding the pilgrims to the cushions by the fire. Those who are more sick are taken westward, to what looks like an infirmary.

"No, no, not you," the jackal says. "I'm not sure who this might be, but I heard something about a goat? Specifically, making goat curry with paprika and garlic and onion and chickpeas and buttered naan on the side. It was a very precise rant that I heard. I suppose you might know who that 'goat' might be?"

In response to your second question, the jackal raises her paw. "Regina called me and some of the other Sisters up to fish you out shortly after that all happened. She split up your party into small groups and separated them into different areas of the Narratorium. You, though, she couldn't find a use for while you were unconscious. But she did seem interested in what you were doing. Your tattoos were all aglow, and you were twitching and barking up a storm while you were asleep. I do that all the time when I dream about chasing rabbits and Lagos, though, so I don't know what she was so interested in."


Flaming's hair stands up on end, feeling a certain 'lightness' in her bag. Whether it just be her mind playing tricks on her due to the unfamiliar weight of her armor, or just an over-reaction, Flaming moves a hoof to her bag, opening it up to check on the sleeping dragon within…


Suddenly a red reptilian noodle flies out of your bag, circling around your head. After a few seconds of this, you get a good look at it. It's a red dragon, serpentine, wingless and with a head like a lion's, scrabbling frantically and making desperate snorts of fire as it swims through the air. It seems to be having a lot of trouble flying, as it dips and rises over and over without a very good grasp of its movement.

>"Spark!?" Volkama exclaims.




KP is silent for a moment, but in deep thought, not in offense or shock at her question. He comes out of it after Sugar winces.
>"Oh, no, don't feel bad. To be honest, I never really questioned it myself. I overheard my Dad telling the orphanage matron about how he say a bit of himself in me with how I was trying to mimic his show I saw. I never thought on it when I was with them, then when I got to the church and started my studies, I just never felt it was important ask since we were a family already."
He pauses for a moment, tilting his head in thought.
>"Maybe when I see them again…"

He looks over to Spitshine as he starts to be glum. KP frowns, but goes back into a reassuring smile.
>"Do you wanna talk about your family? I never heard much about yours either, since we're on the topic."

Pryce glances over the marked stele as they take their detour. A little bit of concern comes to his mind as his snake attire on seeing the illustration of a monk casting away a serpent demon. But that is short lived when he sees the threads, knowing which of their friends they'll be encountering here, though he wonders now if that saint will be another.

Pryce leads the pilgrims to the hall, helping them get to the fire for warmth after the arduous hike.
"You have an wonderful monastery here."
Pryce says in awe as they pass through and see the architecture and beauty of the place.



Amy stares at the jackal with a confused expression for a moment, then shakes her head. She looks back at the receptionist. "She knows what's happening to me? Could I please see her? I have a lot of questions. I also need to apologize for the way I acted, anyway."


Flaming frowns, reaching over to put a hoof on his shoulders. "I'm… sorry. I didn't mean to bring that up. But I think if they could all see you now, they'd be proud." As he speaks of the spiritual kingdom, she smiles. "I think you may be right on that. I think there is an importance to having a home, a 'kingdom'… but I've been learning the clan isn't a place so much as a people."

She knocks her head against his. "Well, from where I'm standing, you're already sounding like a Master."

As Edoba mentions that they'll need to see the Heart only one at a time, Flaming frowns, but nods her head in understanding. "I understand: you don't want such a precious item to be at risk. It's regrettable given how many are out there… one at a time will be slow… but I won't try and force you into doing it any different."

She follows him across the courtyard, turning in shock towards the grafitti on the pillar. "What sort of coward would deface a holy symbol like this and just run off?! This Kunoichi, you said her name was? I'll find her an-"

She pauses, looking at the graffiti a second longer, her eyes starting to recognize the pattern. "Wait… I know these symbols, I think…"

As the swirling, slithering serpent shoots out of the bag, Flaming looks on at it in shock at the creature, "S-spark?! What happened to you?!" She tries chasing him, jumping up into the air to grab his long, noodle-ly body before he hurts himself. "S-slow down, you don't know what you're doing. What happened, you're all stretched out!"
1d10[ 1d10 = 2 ] To catch spark

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


Shei-Sher smiles "Thank you. You would like my Master. His strength is immediately recognized. An impenetrable soul but still a very bombastic man. Was a bit like Volkama, except not insane, he just only acted insane. Confounding, the sanity could be flipped like a switch when so convenienced him."

Shei pauses a moment in thought "Does this mean you are on a quest too? To realize yourself as a bull. I mean.. you are away from your tribe."


"I'd like to get to know him better. What I saw at Hearthome was not really a lot to go off of. He sounds strong, and if he's anything like you, I think I'll learn to tolerate his insanity… eventually." She snickers, "You're STILL pretty crazy."

As he asks her if she's on a quest, Flaming frowns, "Well… I guess NOW I am, but, that's not the reason I really left. Least, not at the time… we were fleeing. The demons were coming into our plains after the Firmament broke and, we just ran away. I couldn't stand it, just running away like cowards while our home was being burnt around us. I ran back to try and fight them off by myself if no one else would but, I quickly learned how over my horns I was and ran away. I lost track of my tribe after that, I have no idea where they went. I searched as far as Zha Arlakane and found nothing, though Journey's told me he knows where all the tribes have gone to since."


"I'm not- I have done some eccentric things, but they were all done with aspiring goodness!"

"I am sorry to hear about your tribe. God's graces they made it out of Accorsia. Good of Journey give you peace. He's good buffalo, Journey. He would be a good match for you, considering how close you both seem these days."


Flaming smiles, "Shei, just under an hour ago you tried to suck in an entire world's worth of magic into you to fire it all straight through the library just to kill Regina. I think I'm allowed to say you're a LITTLE crazy. That's not always a bad thing, though."

Flaming bows her head, "Thank you… I KNOW they made it though, Climbing Fire's wouldn't go down that easily. I would really like to visit them, before we entered Tartarus but, I don't think we have that sort of time." As Shei mentions Journey, however, Flaming freezes up a little, blush permeating her fur. "Uh… y-yeah, he's a really good guy. I hope he's okay… I-I'm not sure what you mean on 'match' though…"


"Not to kill her, just destroy her library. And I could have totally achieved such a feat hadn't Pryce got in the way!"

>not sure what you mean on 'match' though…"

"Ah -an error I suppose. I thought I sensed something more between you two. More to the point you really should pay them a visit. You have Buiwong's dark corridor's make use of them. I know I will be seeing the rest of my people before we leave. I'll make sure they have everything they need before Tartarus comes for us all."


Last time, on my quest…

The Saviors ventured into the third scroll, One Last Job, from the Jibayin Isles. The story, according to the Amy Replica's synopsis, was about an old master thief whose debts had finally caught up with him. Seeking immortality, he attempted to break into a mountain monastery and steal the incorrupt heart of a saint, so that its purified blood might grant him the eternal youth he so desperately sought. Of course, as a masterful storyteller, I spared no expense to ensure that the retelling would be truly wonderful. Our so-called 'Saviors' were equipped with appropriate outfits from the era and region of Jibayin in which the story takes place, and they were given the gift of the Jibayin language, just for that authentic touch.

Upon reaching the monastery that this master thief would break into, the Saviors met the leader of the monks, who allowed them and their entourage of weary pilgrims to enter. A plague had been sweeping the land, and these pilgrims sought Avrha, the Pure Heart, in search of a cure, believing in the healing power of saints' relics. There, the Saviors saw a calling card, left by the master thief herself: A pictographic character, the symbol for "Kunoichi."


Meanwhile, back in Fantasia's central park, KP, Sugar, Spitshine and their pets found some peace and quiet in the grass, playing, looking at clouds, and talking about their lives. KP had just told the other two of his adopted family, and suggested to a skeptical Spitshine that his family might not be so different than his own.


Now, though, the jackal's enthusiasm starts to wane. Her tail pauses, and she puts her paws together. "N-now? I don't know if I was clear before, but she's in a dreadful mood after the goat and the rest of your companions tried to destroy the Library. That rant I described just now? She was talking about your allies, I'm pretty sure. Y-you might want to wait it out. At least until she's killed them and calmed down."

"Yes, the Kunoichi always leaves a symbol like this before she strikes," Edoba explains. "If not this exact character, then a symbol like it. Usually, it's either Takara or Nageku – the titles of her two accomplices. It's a challenge of sorts, a mocking notice that she aims to take what is most valuable from her victim, and that the victim ought to at least put up an entertaining resistance.

"But this shall be the last time that she leaves this calling card," he adds with a small smile as his eyes become more narrow.

Snorting and wheezing, Spark tumbles about aimlessly in the air, until he spirals backward and splats onto your face. Trying to regain his balance, he scratches and scrabbles with his claws across your cheeks and nose. Not hard enough to draw blood, but certainty enough to sting.

>Volkama, taking great care, encases Spark in a small bubble, which pulls him away from your face before he can do any more damage.

"Ah! Are you a dragon-keeper?" one of the monks asks with a more reverent tone now.

Edoba accompanies you and the other guards as you help to escort the weary pilgrims within. Most are covered with snow, and many carry old weather-beaten rickshaws and carriages which contain other deer too weak and sickly to move, as well as whatever meager boxes and bags they brought.

"You are too kind, warrior. This monastery is nothing compared to our Ancestral Shrine," Edoba says. "If you are to complement us on anything, let it be on our hospitality."

He rings a bell that hangs from one of his antlers, and two of the monks head to the eastern doors.

The central hall is cold and narrow, lit by blue candlelight from blue beeswax candles, and a fire that burns in a firepit dug in the center of the hall. Sliding doors line either end of the hall to the east and west, and to the north and south. The northern one, leading to the Pagoda, is held in place with a heavy lock.


Sugar falls silent, contemplating your words. Her expression is troubled.

Spitshine wrings his hooves in the grass, pulling up small stalks as foals in every World are wont to do. He focuses on his task, not looking up to meet your gaze. "…What's there to talk about? You guys basically kidnapped me after Gorgonzola and I failed to ambush you. And… I mean, you've already seen how Dad reacted."

Your mind goes back to the times when Pryce met Banana Splitz in Circadia, and when he went to find him in Vitral, just before Metatron blanketed the city-state in ash and feathers.



"Well, isn't that the best time to make an apology?" Amy says with a naive smile. "When it's still hurting them?"

1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 12 ] Mantra of Equality
>DC-3 due to Compassion

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7


>Kusarigama: Fire Element; Single + Great Tags; +3 Modifier

"Raising a sanctuary like this is nothing to dismiss easily either."
Pryce responds with a small laugh, the humbleness of the monks helping to ease the stress this library has build up on him.

Pryce's horn glows as he removes and then evaporates away the snow from the pilgrims, both to help keep the monastery clean and to keep the cold off the pilgrims after their long journey. He glances ahead at the locked door to the north.
"What is back there?"

KP frowns as Spitshine describes him joining as kidnapping. Then he flashes back to that meeting when Pryce tracked Splitz down, and how they appeared as a normal family, despite everything else going on.
>"What were they like before all that, when there wasn't all that… business going on."
He asks, phrasing the question to be more neutral to nt bring up any negativity about the slaving job.


"This Kunoichi, has anyone ever seen her? Even just a snippet? These symbols, they're very familiar to me, but I don't want to get too ahead of myself… at any rate, I promise we won't let her take your treasure, the pilgrims here need it. Can you show us where it's being kept?"

As Spark spirals right into her face, she grumbles, wincing and yelping as she feels her face scratched by his tiny claws and she struggles to reach up and grab her frantic, mis-shapen noodle dragon before Volkama successfully pulls him away. "Huff… thanks, Volkama… Spark, it's alright!" She beseeches her tiny drake. "Just calm down, relax…" she reaches into the bubble, scratching at his head gently.

She turns to the monk, blushing, "Uh… yeah, I guess you can call me that, I'm sorry are dragons allowed in the temple?"


1d10[ 1d10 = 5 ] Rolling Persuasion

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 7 = 7


1d10[ 1d10 = 5 ] Rolling insight (DC 4)

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


Shei-Sher shares good air with the head monk as he travels beside him. Once inside the temple Shei-Sher divides from the party to the fire pit at the center of the temple. As he warms himself he subtly releases his aura to find a hint of both the Kunoichi's and the Saint of Pure Heart's possible location without any of the other monks noticing his aura is released

1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 7 ] releases aura
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 2 ] subtlety roll on releasing aura

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #3 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #4 6 + 1 = 7


Nervous though the jackal may clearly be at the thought of confronting an angry Regina, something about your charm and logic seem to get through to her. She drums her paws on the table for a little while, before shrugging. "Uh… yeah, I guess it'd be better to go and talk to her BEFORE she kills them, huh? Our only necromancer who knew the resurrection spell retired years ago."

She takes a moment to tidy up her desk, putting away the stones, feather and scale into little wooden boxes which she stows away in the desk's drawers. "I'll show you the way, but we'll still have to wander through the library for a while. She's been a bit… bored lately, I'm afraid. When she's not running experiments on the Dove Orchids and Replicas, she's been trying to amuse herself by rearranging the library using an old spellbook on geomancy she discovered.

"In other words, her section of the Library has become less like a library and more like a dungeon now. We may need to navigate a maze or two, and we'll also require the ability to levitate or fly. Do you know any spells like that, Sister?"

"Beyond there lies the path to the Kokoro Pagoda," Edoba explains. "Within, lies the Avrha, the Saint's Pure Heart."

Some of the pilgrims look up from the fire, murmuring with hope and dulled excitement. Edoba shakes his head. "I am sorry, but so long as we have reason to believe the Kunoichi will strike, we must keep it locked. When we are ready, we shall allow those who have the most muted symptoms of the Plague to approach the Pure Heart, one at a time."

Edoba clears his throat as you spread aura through the central hall. "Please, I ask that you keep your magic to a minimum. Tell me or another monk if you must use it. Our shinobi must keep free of distractions so they can detect when the Kunoichi's qi approaches the monastery."

>not quite high enough
"With her skill in jutsu, she is a master of disguise," Edoba explains, leading your group toward the central hall to get warm. "Even the Imperial Inspector, who has come close to capturing her many times, cannot recognize her when she does not allow it."

He gestures to the locked door on the north side of the hall. "That is the way to the Kokoro Pagoda where the Heart is kept, but you may not see it until we have made our preparations. Please, rest from your journey first."


After you start to pet him, Spark gets a better look at your face. Snorting, his tail wags and he flicks your hoof with his forked tongue, finally calming down.

"But of course! We would be dreadfully remiss to deny a dragon-keeper hospitality! We need all the good luck we can get here, and red dragons in particular are a blessing to whoever crosses their path– sorry, you surely know all this already, honored guest."

It occurs to you that this monk probably isn't the only one to gush over a dragon and the good luck they bring. Perhaps this might give you an edge in getting closer to the Kokoro Pagoda.

The servants Edoba signaled earlier come back from the eastern room, bearing trays with full of tea, rice cakes, sake, bread, honey and milk. The meal is meager, but the bread, tea and rice cakes are warm and smell soothingly of herbs.

>The servants start to serve your group, but Rus and Volkama look suspicious of the food. They take it, but look to the pilgrims instead of eating right away. The pilgrims who have the strength to eat show no hesitation, and begin their meal.

"Please, eat as much as you please. We have little, but what we have is yours," Edoba says.


"There was never a time when they weren't like that," Spitshine begins bitterly. "Slaving was always dad's job. And before dad killed granddad, it was his job too. Pretty much the only thing I ever knew. I knew how to size up a person at a glance, get a good estimate on what we'd be able to sell them for. I watched out for posture, limps, stature, keenness in the eyes, all that stuff. Dad always drilled it into me that you had to know who was going to fight and who was going to submit when you tried to catch 'em."

He scoffs. "Looks like Gorgonzola and I badly misjudged you guys."


"My apologies Monk Edoba.."
Shei-Sher stays behind by the firepit. He kneels down to retrieve the kitty cat astral stealth cloak from his bag. Shei wraps himself in the blanket seeming as though to save his warmth.

Once Shei-Sher stands up he effortlessly steps out of his body
>ASTRAL PROJECTION: spell; you project your spirit, leaving your physical body behind as you send yourself to a distant location. While projecting, your body is unconscious and immobile, and you are unaware of anything that happens to it unless you are in its vicinity. Your spirit is intangible and invisible, but can still be detected by magic or other spirits, and it cannot manipulate or pass through physical objects. Wherever your spirit travels, you can hear and see everything around you in the physical world. Returning to your physical body is automatic.

1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 11 ]

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


"I understand…" she nods, "So she could well be any one of us and no one would even know it. That's very tricky to deal with… I know we'll need to see it in order to protect it but I won't force anything. We'll gain your trust first… for now, I think rest would be good."

When Spark finally calms down, she smiles, looking at him with a calm expression as she lifts him out of the bubble and lets him coil around her armor's neck/helm piece to rest. "There we go, it's all right…" she turns to look at the monk, turning up an eyebrow. "Good… luck?" She asks, a little unsure of what he means. "Spark is good luck?"

Flaming turns to look at the very generous platters with a voracious glare, having not had much to eat since they entered the Library. "Thank you very much! She shouts graciously but quickly as she stomps towards the rice-cakes, taking some to mix with honey as she starts to stuff her muzzle full. "Oh… w-wait," she swallows, "I don't know if I should be eating this… everyone out there is still hungry."



Amy lets out a snicker. "The necromancer retired?"

Then, she screws her face up in thought. "Oh! I guess this will help!" Amy says as she unlatches the broom from the saddlebag strap on her side. "You must have one too, right?"

1d10[ 1d10 = 7 ] to fly like a pro!

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


You feel Edoba giving your body a skeptical look, but after a few tense moments, his paranoid gaze passes over to the other pilgrims. Emaciated and weak though they are, he continues to analyze them with obvious suspicion.

You project your spirit outward, leaving behind your body.

Spark coils around your neck, able to do so since he is much longer in this form. Like a scarf, he hangs from your neck and holds himself in place by biting on to the end of his tail, as dragons are wont to do when sleeping.

The dragon-enthusiast monk gasps, clearly admiring Spark's adorable pose. "Of course! All serpentine dragons are good luck to those who see them. Dragon-keepers, who are blessed with a dragon's favor, are a blessing to any house they stay in for the night… did you not know this? Oh… perhaps things are different in the north? Here in the south, the master of a house would get down on his knees if he saw a dragon-keeper traveling along the road, and humbly beseech the dragon-keeper to stay there and give the house his blessing."

>Seeing the pilgrims dig in to the meal, Rus ventures a cautious taste of the bread, and her eyes light up with surprise. She continues eating, enjoying herself as she dips it in her tea like a barbarian. Volkama follows suit shortly afterward, sampling the sake and a rice cake himself. Much like Rus, he seems to find the food adequate, munching away with a thankful nod to the servants, who bow and step back to the corners of the room.

"Yeah, she complained that we were working her to the bone, digging up various skeletons of monsters and animals to turn into undead familiars for guarding our Coven. It didn't help that the hours were murder. You always had the graveyard shift, if you were working with the Familiars."

She pauses. "If I had to listen to puns every day for years, then so do you, Sister."

"Ooh!" she says, admiring your broomstick. "Not quite. Where I am from, we prefer these."

She reaches into her bag and withdraws a small rug, and unrolls it. You see some cushions woven into the very fabric of the colorful and patterned rug. She touches the corners and mumbles an incantation, and the carpet starts to float. Curling up on the rug, it floats alongside your broomstick.

As you and the jackal float upward, she tilts her head. "Did I ever get your name, Sister?"


Flaming looks down at the content Spark as he coils around her like a scarf, reaching up to scratch his head one more time, before looking to the monk, smiling widely, "Woah… I-I mean, er, yeah, hehe… t-things are a bit different where I'm from. In my lands, dragons are revered, deified. It sounds like it's the same for the most part down here, though… I really am blessed to have Spark." She says, looking down at him with a wide smile.

"Wait… do all the monks here feel this way? Including Edoba?"

As she converses with the monk, she notices as the pilgrims begin to eat their fill, and unable to ignore her growling belly any longer, the sa-moo-rai digs back right into the rice-cakes, over-flowing piece by piece with honey and downing it with milk. She takes one whiff of the sake though, and nearly retches, pushing aside. "Err… what's THAT drink called?"


Pryce bows his head at hearing that the saint is locked up until the threat of the thief is gone.
"I understand. If there is anything I can do to assist, I will gladly give to repay your hospitality."

Pryce sits with the others, waiting as the others do to let the pilgrims have first pick of the food. Once the pilgrims have their plates, Pryce takes a simple small portion of bread and milk.

KP stills frowns as Spitshine can only bring up negativity about his dad.
>"Well…. What about the rest of your family? How about your mom, or did you have any siblings?"
He asks, hoping to maybe get some happy memories.


Don't read my words!


Amy has a veritable giggle fit as the receptionist talks about the necromancer. Which probably doesn't help her flying.

"My name is Amy, by the way. Amy Thest. I'd hug you if we weren't flying. What's your name? Why do you keep calling me Sister? I only have one sister, as far as I'm aware. Her name is Flaming Shorthorns. But, don't call her short. Well, she's not actually my sister. We're teeeechnically just really good friends. But, neither of us have family left. So, we're sisters. It's really nice. I've never had…"

She just continues to rant, not actually allowing the jackal to answer her questions.


>The food is meager, but upon tasting it, you do find that it is real, and tangible. Rus and Volkama both eat slowly, so as not to disturb the other pilgrims who are taking most of it, weak with hunger after their long journeys.

Meanwhile, more deer come from the western door. They are covered with the white gowns of medics, and have many satchels and potions dangling from belts on their waists. Those pilgrims who are coughing and have boils and skin discolorations from the Plague, the medics take to the western room. Some of the healthier pilgrims go with them, faces twisted with worry.


"I never really knew my mom," Spitshine says. "She was gone by the time I was five, according to dad. But…"

He lowers his voice and leans in. "Part of what drew me to your group was that Amy looked a lot like her… or at least, what I remember of her. And then, seeing how Amy cared for everyone, that… kind of reminded me of mom, too."

He leans back. "Well, Journey told me that Sundae is doing well. The mare that dad married after mom died is apparently nice enough, I guess. It's been a while since I've seen Sundae, come to think of it. We were never that close. We got along just well enough to not get into major fights."


Shei-Sher flies up into the air, a couple meters above the height of the padogas and expands his aura again to feel for only the presence of kunoichi.


1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 8 ]

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


Pryce watches on as the medics help escort the pilgrims off to be treated. He feels concern as well, hoping they are able to be mended.

KP smiles as Spitshine has some better memories of the rest of his family, the talk lighting up a bit.
("I'm sorry to hear that. But, if Amy reminded you of her, she must have been a wonderful pony.")
KP whispers back.

>"Not getting into big fights means you're pretty close. Was it just you and Sundae, or did you have any older siblings?"


perception roll
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 10 ]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3


"My name's Yadala," the jackal says, occasionally cutting in by simply speaking over you, with the experienced voice of someone who grew up with dozens of siblings. "I'm a Canos. If you were wondering, that is. And I call you Sister because all of us who have the Mark are Sisters, even if we haven't all become Witches. I'm guessing you're not, right? Unless you grew up in a Coven I never heard of."


As you continue to wobbly fly upward, you start to see strange decorations above you. On outcroppings of stone that jut out from the walls of the tower shaft, many beautiful chandelier-like objects hang. These appear to be hollow crystals, jade, emerald, amethyst, sapphire and ruby, hung up with rings of gold and silver and platinum. Within the crystalline chandeliers, you see various models of towns, castle-cities, even flying fortresses and colossal airships, and fantastical forests and mountains too. Miniature people and livestock populate these hollow crystal-worlds, autonomously going about their lives.

The higher you go, the more you feel a kind of thrilling in the air, like tiny sparks dancing across your skin. In fact, you can even see little multicolored sparks, taking the form of rainbow fractals, dancing across your skin and Yadala's. The fractals pass off you harmlessly, occasionally tickling you or taking various amusing shapes like fireworks.

Yadala leads you up through the tower, passing by many openings, sealed by doors, in the tower shaft walls that lead elsewhere. She eventually stops at an opening like a doorway in the north face of the tower. It has a door that has no handle, except a strange glyph upon it. Yadala taps her paw to the door, mumbling an incantation, and the door opens into a hallway, lit by blue candlelight. "After you," she says.

"I should hope so!" the dragon-crazy monk exclaims. "Brother Edoba may be stern and frugal and grave, but even he shouldn't be so cynical and faithless as to deny the blessing of a dragon. Go on and show him to Edoba. You would probably raise his spirits if he saw it."

Spark warms you up almost immediately, his body being like a little portable heater.

The monk then turns, tapping his naginata-staff in the snow. "I'd better get back to my post. I'll be at the gate. If you see the Kunoichi, tell me or the shinobi immediately. The shinobi are perched on all the rooftops."

>"Sake!" Rus declares, pouring you some. "It was a rare delicacy in Manyirongdi, but a delicacy all the same. The Jibayin merchants made quite the profit whenever they brought casks and crates of it to our shores."

Amidst all the snow and the various presences, you cannot detect the Kunoichi or any of the other two supposed accomplices she might have with her.

In fact, you feel positively alone up there.


see Flaming's response in


another Astral projection roll
PLUS subtlety roll

1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 10 ]
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 5 ]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #2 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #4 10 + 1 = 11


I mean phase aura roll


"Well, actually…" Spitshine says. "I'm… not so sure. I overheard some talk from some of the slavers one time. They said I really took after 'that other kid,' but when I asked, they just played dumb. I tried to ask my dad, but he just said they were talking shop, talking about slaves. I even tried to break into his office once, just because I couldn't stop thinking about it. I thought that if there was a slave colt we captured that I took after, there'd be something in the ledger about it. But I couldn't ever find anything like that…

"All I know is that my dad always said that I'd leave him, and that Sundae would leave him too. Just like he left his father when he was young. We're wanderers. It's in our blood… so maybe there was another someone before me who left my dad."

He then scoffs. "I'm probably talking crazy, connecting a whole bunch of dots that don't connect, right?"


Flaming smiles up at the monk, bowing her head (slowly, so as not to disturb Spark too much), "Thank you for tell me all of this, sir. I will see him after we've rested, I'm hopeful you're right and this will earn a bit more of his trust."

She turns back to the dishes at hand, resolving to eat and regain her strength before speaking to Edoba with renewed vigor.

As Rus pours her up some sake, she takes another whiff of it, "Guh… it smells really bad. But, I guess I'll give it a try…" she takes a sip, her eyes already listing as she starts teetering side to side, the heavyweight buff turning into a light-weight one as the alcohol quickly takes effect as it has before.

"Blegh… itsh, not so bad… tastes weird but, makes me feel goodsh…"


"Do you know what this Kunoichi looks like, or anything that could indicate them?"
Pryce asks before the monk leaves, so he can be aware of what to look for aside the strings.

KP thinks for a moment.
>"It doesn't sound too crazy. I don't know too much about these kind of businesses, but maybe he didn't want there to be much knowledge if he had another kid who ran off. Or maybe if he was all about that wandering, he wanted you to leave on your own terms and not to chase after a mystery sibling."
KP suggests.



"The… mark?" Amy asks, confused. "I feel like I know what you're talking about… But, I don't know why. Maybe it's an Ego memory?" she asks more herself than Yadala. She cocks her head, trying to conjure up a memory. But, only a vague feeling of knowing comes to her mind.

She shakes her head. "What mark?"

Amy giggles as the little sparks tickle her.

When they reach the top and the door opens, she gives Yadala a little bow. "Thank you," she says with a kind smile.

1d10[ 1d10 = 10 ] to make her feel bad if she's deceiving me. And, don't forget Compassion.

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


Spitshine tilts his head, as if he didn't think about it like that. "Oh… wouldn't that mean he's looking out for me? That doesn't really sound like him."

"He looked after you long enough to teach you some stuff though, right?" Sugar asks. "Like all that stuff about sizing people up. He wouldn't have done that if he didn't care about your safety."

Spitshine falls silent, watching Hopper digging about in the mud.


>"Yea, like Sugar said. He taught you a pretty helpful skill, especially if you were gonna go off on your own if he said you're all wanderers. It may not have been like how most families go, but he had his own way of looking out for you."
KP says with a smile.



Suddenly, as you try to scan again for the Kunoichi, your aura barely registers a sudden presence behind you, appearing without any warning – no sound, no pressure, nor even a magical signature. That's the last thought you process before you are kicked with incredible force downward, blinding pain screaming into your back, like the scratch of massive talons. You feel yourself rocket toward the ground, flying toward the rooftop of the hallway, and in the next instant, you wake back up in your own body, feeling hot blood touching the back of your torn robe.

>-2 Wounds

>Volkama suddenly looks over, and scoots closer to you, lowering his head and speaking behind his sake cup. "You're bleeding. What happened?"

So far, the other monks and pilgrims haven't taken notice of you.

You feel quite warm as the sake spreads through your stomach. You can't be sure, but you seem to catch Rus pouring tea into your sake cup and setting that before you.
>"Perhaps it would be best if I had made you eat more before pouring that."

For some reason, though, you are filled with incredible confidence. You feel absolutely certain that Edoba will see the error of his ways now, especially with Spark at your side.

"The Kunoichi is a master of disguise, as I have said," Edoba says. "But, I know that every time the Imperial Inspector nearly caught her, it was because of one of her two companions. Takara, the Treasure-Chest, and Nageku, the Mourning-Sword. They cannot disguise themselves or their qi with ninjutsu, and so are the weakest link in the Kunoichi's plans."

He lowers his voice and leans in. "If you see either of them – a pegasus with a katana, or a very small pony with a treasure chest on his back – then tell me."

"The Mark of the Crone. You were born under that star-sign, I can tell," Yadala says. "Astrology is just one of many branches of divination, which is my specialty in magic. All of us were born under that Mark, too. Well… ALMOST everyone in the Coven was."

Yadala accompanies you down the hallway, floating upon her magic carpet. The stone corridor is darker than the tower-shaft outside, lit only by those blue beeswax candles. You hear the occasional skittering of some clawed creature upon the rocks, the sniffling and chittering of some kind of insect or a strange mammal, even.

The hallway ends in a T-intersection, with two doors on either side of the juncture. Both doors are made of mahogany, and have no door handle, but the same glyph as the one on the first door. There is also some glyphic writing on either door which differs from one another.


Spitshine rolls around in the grass a little, and Hopper manages to make a little puddle from digging around in the mud. Hopper settles into the puddle, appearing to relax and luxuriate in the cool water.

"…I… did you ever hear from dad again after what happened to Vitral? He was in the Cozy Vimana, according to Journey… that was pretty close to ground zero, wasn't it?"


Shei-Sher maintains his poise, with extreme effort he hides the fact he just had the wind knocked out of him 30 meters from the air

"I was projecting my spirit. The kunoichi are most definitely present."

Shei-Sher quietly ambles over to Pryce and touches the blood on his back and shows it to Pryce to indicate he's been wounded "A cursory touch up would be most appreciated.

After Pryce heals Shei-Sher he sits down inside a crowd and projects his spirit again
>astral projection
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 11 ]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9



"Mark of the Crone?" Amy asks, cocking her head. "Is that like, some kind of bird?"

When they approach the two new doors, Amy walks up to the right one and starts poking the glyphs. Not being able to read anyway, she doesn't even bother trying.

1d10[ 1d10 = 9 ] to poke to victory!

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



1d100[ 1d100 = 57 ]

Roll #1 44 = 44 / Roll #2 11 = 11


Flaming chuckles as she feels the boundless confidence swell up from the minuscule amount of hard drink, pouring up more into her cup as she catches Rus pouring in tea with it, "Hesh… whatcha doing? That'll just *hic* water it down…" she says with a stern tone. She takes it after she pours the tea into it, shaking her head, "Aaaah… I don'ts need food… in fact…" she snorts, reaching up to smack her cheeks with her hooves, "I don't need full at all, I'm food! I'm a dragon keeper, darn it, and… *hic*… I'm gonna have another chat with that deer. Watch me, we'll be in the Kokoro Pagoda before dessert!"

She turns on her armored heels, wobbling her way looking around for Edoba
1d10[ 1d10 = 3 ] Search

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


"The Treasure-Chest and Mourning-Sword?"
Pryce repeats, finding the names odd. But as Edoba describes them, the treasure chest one becomes clear. He nods his head.
"I will inform you immediately if I spot either one of them."

Pryce looks down at She as he turns and is bleeding down his back.
("What happen to you?!")
Pryce exclaims in a hush, worried but also expecting the goat to have done something stupid. His horn glows white, sending out a small pulse of soothing magic to close up the wound.
>Commandment of Balance [Auto]

>"When the big guy talked to him to tell him about the angel stuff, Splitz was pretty confident and not too worried. He took out this lock thing and said it'd all go back in threefold. …I'm pretty sure he got away, if he was that calm about the whole thing."
KP says, trying to recall that event.


"The kunoichi, they hit me while I was astral projecting."


"No, no, you're thinking about the Crane. That's a different star-sign. Good omen for pegasi, griffons and vola. Er, that's not relevant. The Mark of the Crone is a sign occurring at the end of the year. Those born under it are said to be cursed, bringing misfortune to all those around them. Wells go dry, crops wither and turn rotten on the vine, and droughts destroy the countryside, leaving the villages uninhabited. The child is known to be the cause of these curses. They may demonstrate abnormal magical powers, powers that even they cannot control. Or they may have unearthly urges, hunger for flesh and blood, or even for torture and suffering. In many parts of the world, when a child is born under that sign…"

She pauses, her cheer disappearing for a moment. Her face is grave, and she sighs. "…but, sometimes, people cannot bear to bring themselves to do that. They will take the child and seek out a Witch. It was our Coven, the Coven of Wacachan, that is, that took many of these children in."

Her face brightens again. "That's what happened to me, as a matter of fact. Regina herself found me floating in a reed basket upon the Yawning River in the Country of Red Thunder, and took me in to live with the girls I would come to know as my Sisters."

After you poke about the door, you feel a certain energy flow out from you, and the door opens without resistance. "You're good at magic!" Yadala exclaims. "I didn't even teach you the incantation for that."

In the room beyond, you see a curving room with windows on the southern side that look out into the tower, filling the room with light. A few witches lounge about in soft reclining chairs, getting haircuts or having their hair washed by other witches. In the center of the room stands a tall griffoness, wielding multiple pairs of scissors of various sizes on one claw.

"You there," she says, immediately pointing to you. "You need haircut. Sit. I cut."

"Oh crap," Yadala mutters. "Of course we'd have to get this room."

No sooner than Pryce heals him does Shei pass out again, projecting his spirit away from his body and heading back up to the roof. Edoba looks over, narrowing his eyes. "…I'm wagering that was the shinobi, actually."

But Edoba is soon distracted by Flaming drunkenly wandering over to him. He seems gravely concerned. "Oh dear. Is everything alright, young miss?"

After returning to the rooftop, you see a raven griffon perched on the roof, wearing a cloak of owls' feathers. Fresh blood glows hot and red upon his talons, which are clothed in rags. He scans the environment with spectrally glowing eyes. Based on what you know of Jibayin, you'd have to guess that this was a shinobi. You recall hearing the monks talk about them guarding the monastery.


("They're here? Already? Do you know where?")
Pryce asks Shei in hushed whisper.

Pryce quickly catches Shei, setting him down gently as he projects again. He looks up at Edoba.
"The shinobi? So one of the kunoichi's assistants is here?"


"Yeah, alright," Spitshine says. "So, when the others go into Tartarus, do you think we can go find him? I have some… well, I don't have it all figured out, actually, but I do want to talk to him again. That's why I slipped away from everyone back in Circadia. To try to find him. It's a good thing though. Back then I don't know what I'd have said to him. But now, after all of this, everything we've been through together, seen and done, I'm starting to get an idea."


"No, the Shinobi are our specialized guards, sent from the Imperial Capital," Edoba says, shaking his head. "We managed to receive a detachment after the last time that the Kunoichi struck across the land. The Kunoichi's only assistants are Takara and Nageku, the Treasure-Chest and Mourning-Sword."


>"Of course! I mean, I feel like we'll probably run into him, since we seem to have seen him or his crew like, three times already."
KP says with a big grin.

He turns in the grass to Sugar.
>"Wanna talk about your family?"
He asks, since they're all opening up.

Pryce looks concerned as Edoba explains the shinbi are just guards, and Shei projected off again calling them to kunoichi.
"…I apologize for my friend's foolishness, and any trouble he causes."


"Well that explains that." Shei-Sher decides to fly out in the other direction this time. He instead covers a lap around the edge of the monastery while producing his aura.
>Phase Aura
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 7 ]

1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 9 ]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #4 6 + 1 = 7


Flaming wanders over to Edoba, shaking her head (and possibly disturbing Spark) in the process of answering Edoba, "N-no… noshings wrong. Yet!" She barks, wobbling over to one side, "I… I got someting to say to you!" She hiccups once more, trying to shake her head clear again as she points towards Spark, situated comfortably as her scarf, "I'm a dragon-keeper… Spark here trusts me and I trusth him, which means you can trusht me too because his being her is a shign of g-good luck."

As Shei falls over, Edoba pointing out that was probably the shinobi, Flaming stomps her hooves, "She's here?! Alright… t-then I'm definitely not her if she jusht spiked shomeone's drink. I need to shtop her before she gets to the Heart, so lemme into the Pagoda so I can bonk her into next shentury…"
1d10[ 1d10 = 2 ] Drunken but passionate convincing!

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 6 = 6



Amy frowns as Yadala speaks. She doesn't say a word, just listens with a grim expression. "Unearthly urges… Hunger for flesh and blood…" Amy mutters. "When I found out I had a demon in me, I figured that was the reason. Turns out, it was just me…?"

Amy shakes her head and gives a smile. "But, that's still good news. My whole life, I figured that I killed my parents. Now, I know they probably just didn't want me. I'm glad you told me this."

"I did magic?" Amy asks as Yadala praises her. "I guess I kind of just have a knack for it. Whenever Shei thinks I can't do some easy spell, I like to surprise him by doing it anyway," Amy laughs.

Then, she looks to the griffon and says in a friendly, jovial tone, "No thanks. I like my hair how it is. I'm really digging this wolf-look that's been growing in."

1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 9 ] Mantra of Equality with Compassion

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6


"I told him to stop his use of magic, and he keeps using it," Edoba hisses. "Never mind the grave insult he is dealing to me and my monks. For his sake, you'd better stop him. The shinobi might answer to me, but if they fly off the handle, thinking that he might be in league with the Kunoichi, or better yet, the Kunoichi herself in disguise, and… well, there will not be enough left of him to give a burial to."

Edoba is clearly in a bad mood, and as the pilgrims look up at Flaming as she talks about the Kunoichi, his mood only gets worse. "Not so loud, not in front of them!"

He then stops and considers what Flaming said, examining the Spark hanging from around her neck. "…Not even the Kunoichi could get a dragon to listen to her. Perhaps you might be what we'd need after all… are you sure you can ensure the Heart's safety? I need to start taking these pilgrims in to see the Heart soon, lest they get antsy and start to pressure my monks and I. They have come all this way in search of salvation from the Plague. Turning them away now could risk a riot."

You make a lap of the monastery, but still you find nothing of note, apart from what you see of the shinobi. In total, you note four of the shinobi, in addition to the four monks who stand guard over the monastery. None of them strike you as being in disguise of any sort. In short, none of them are the kunoichi, in all likelihood.

"I did not ask opinion. I am stating fact that you need haircut," the griffoness says. "I will keep your look. Spruce you up. Make you even more wolfy than you are now, wolfy. Look! I even have brush and comb!"

She holds up a brush and comb with her other hand. In her defence, they do look rather nice. A look in her eye suggests she seems more keen on giving you a haircut than she's letting on.

Yadala starts inching around the room toward the door on the other side. "Don't think I not notice you. You need haircut too!" the griffoness calls.


Spitshine smiles. "Then it's settled."

Sugar pauses a while, then shakes her head.

"Are you sure? I mean we all just–"

"I said I DON'T want to," Sugar says, casting her eyes off to the side.

Spitshine winces, and Hopper looks up with worry. "A-alright."



Upon seeing the brush, Amy's tail starts wagging. "Okay!" she says enthusiastically. She hops in a sat and waits expectantly for head brushies.


Pryce sighs, looking over to Volkama.
"Do you know of a way we can pull him back, or to speak to him?"
He asks, unable to contact Shei himself while he's projected out.

Pryce looks over as Edoba seems to grow more reasonable as Flaming talks to him, albeit poorly pronounced.
"I have seen no greater defender than her."
Pryce says to Flaming's benefit as Edoba asks if safety is assured.


KP says with a nod of his head calmly, getting the feeling from earlier that he shouldn't push the topic any further for now. He falls back to lie on the grass, looking up at the sky.
>"So what do you guys wanna do now?"


Flaming hiccups again, reaching up to cover her muzzle, "Whoopsh… shorry, f-forgot they weren't shupposed to hear that…"

As he takes notice of Spark, her confidence returns, the samurai buffalo standing proudly in her armor, "Exactly! Spark here trusts me, and from whatsh I hear, YOU can trusht Spark." She smiles down at him, reaching up to rub her hoof down his spines lightly. "He'sh a good friend…"

"But, yesh, absolutely… I KNOW we can keep the Heart safe, we're the best there ish!" She hiccups, shaking her head, "Plush, I don't think you need to worry about the Kunoichi hershelf either… I think she'sh my shister."


frustrated and confused of how his aura can't detect anyone, Shei-Sher flies his spirit to the front of the monastery where the Kunoichi left their calling card.

Once there Shei-Sher begins moving through forms of qi gong as he accesses the memory of the calling card. To see where the kunoichi may have gone to next
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 6 ] qi working

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


The griffoness guides you to a chair and leans it back, and you can feel a basin with a comfortable velvet headrest for you. The griffoness turns on a spigot, and warm water flows from the tap onto your head. She opens a few potion bottles with colorful concoctions inside, and starts to mix a concoction which she starts to rub into your fur. The other witches chit-chat around you, but now most of the conversation, in little quiet snippets, is about you. They're curious, but are looking at you as an outsider to be gossiped about.

Working efficiently, the griffoness washes out the sweet-smelling shampoo, dries your hair with a towel, and starts to trim lightly, keeping the overall feral look. She also trims a little from your neck and shoulders, and anywhere else where your fur might just be a tad too long.

Then comes the brushing and combing. The griffoness is thorough and vigorous, but not too harsh. "So who are you, anyway? What brings you here. You not a sister I recognize. You from another Coven?"

"We're here to see Regina," Yadala says, as another barber Witch takes her to a chair to get her hair dampened.

"Ah, you on quest, then? Finding your way alright?" the griffoness asks.

>"Break the spell upon him. Didn't Fairy Castle teach you a spell to help with that?" Volkama whispers. "He severed his ties to the rest of us some time ago. He must have, otherwise we'd all have astrally projected. You can Unweave his spell without affecting the rest of us!"

You tap into the memory of the vandalized stele, where the Kunoichi reportedly left her insignia.

In your vision, you see a translucent hooded figure in the dead of night, crouched around the stele, out of sight of the Shinobi. The spell helps her to elude even their enchanted vision, and you aren't able to get a good look at her face. Once she is done vandalizing the ivory monument with her pink wires, she smirks and spreads her wings through holes in her cloak, and you see that her wings are translucent, buglike, changeling wings. She flies over the front gate, leaving the monastery and passing by the shinobi without them ever noticing her.

And you realize that that must be the key.

Edoba seems torn for a moment, but keeps looking at Spark for assurance. With a steadying sigh, he produces a key from his robe, and goes to the lock on the northern door in the hall. Two guards help him to pull back the sliding doors, revealing a flagstone pathway toward the mighty pagoda on the other side. The pathway is quite long, flanked on either side by zen gardens.

"Then come with me," he says to you two, and then turns to the pilgrims.

"Those of you well enough to stand, come with me. Form a line, and you must follow my every word before I allow you to see the Heart. You will see it one at a time. I am sorry, but we cannot trust blindly with the Kunoichi around."

The pilgrims' hopes rise, and they start to get up, putting aside their empty plates.


Sugar takes a moment or two to calm down, and looks at Pucchini and Katcher, who are still full of energy and spazzing out on the grass to chase each other and have fun. "Why don't we do something for the pets? We don't really have anything for them to play with, and it's not like they can do much at their current sizes."


"Oh, I wasn't sure if that would cause any issues since he's disconnected from his body."
Pryce admits, looking back to Shei's body, horn glowing to attempt to pull the goat back before he draws the ire of the shinobi.
>Unweave [Shei] 1d10[ 1d10 = 9 ]

As Edoba opens the door, eased by the sight of the dragon, Pryce stands and follows the monk. He stands at the ready as a knight would, ready to defend and protect as he follows him along the pathway.

>"And we just got some bits for helping get all those herbs! We could get them all kinds of toys!"
KP says, rolling back up to sit as he shouts out his idea.

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


Flaming nods, reaching over to grab three-four more rice-cakes riddled with honey (her appetite suddenly returning to her), munching them along the while with the occasionally offered piece to the snoozing Spark. The food sobers her up a little bit, though now in place of her drunken bravado she finds a bit of a headache has set in. "Owww… why is my head pounding? I felt amazing a few minutes ago…"

She stumbles a bit part way behind Edoba, but keeps pace behind him as he leads the way to the Heart, shaking the remaining drunkiness out of her head as she pressures herself into staying awake. "Alright… we got this." She says to herself. "It has to be here, anyways… she'll listen to me."



"My name's Amy. Amy Thest," Amy says happily as she gets her head brushed. "It's nice to meet you! What's your name?"

Before the barber can answer, Amy goes on - the brushies invigorate her. "I'm not from around here. But, apparently I've been born under the same sign as you guys or something? Also, I'm half demon. But, it's cool. We're mixing pretty well."

"Well, I guess that's kinda a lie. I just had some weird dreams that I need to figure out. That's kinda half the reason I want to talk to Regina. She seems like she'd know stuff. Plus, I need to apologize for being rude to her before. And for my friends being rude to her…"

"But, this place is confusing! How did we end up here? I thought we were gonna find Regina's room!"


Shei-Sher returns to his body

"You knock?" Shei asks as he wakes up from projecting.


"Oh, good, you returned on your own. I was just preparing to force you back after Edoba warned the shinobi would not be merciful if they attacked you again."


"Uhuh.. Pryce it just occurred to me that Wireframe is a changeling.. And in this story she is still a changeling. And Edoba seems quite strict about not letting me shine my aura in the monastery."


"Halaq," the griffoness says as the brushes all over you, relaxing your body and working out a few sore spots from the battles fought earlier in the day. Much like Yadala earlier, Halaq has no trouble cutting in to get in her words. She listens patiently, brushing out your paws and even your tail. She then takes out a wand from a nearby rack on the chair, then twirls it. Hot air blows from the tip, drying off your mane and fur and overall feeling quite pleasant in the otherwise crisp cool dungeon.

Next comes the combing, which she uses to get your fur back to that feral look while also providing you with such a pleasant scratch that your leg starts shaking uncontrollably. "Regina has been restless as of late. Bored. Aimless. She is also, unfortunately for you and me, big fan of dungeons. You know dungeons? They are a natural phenomenon, they say. Caves are carved by some kind of underground wyrm, and some magical force populates them with monsters, plantlife, and even architecture. Regina apparently thought it would be interesting if she arranged the Library to be like a dungeon. Anyone who wants to get to her room must now navigate the dungeon. Solve block puzzles, fight monsters. Get lost. Ask for help. Cry. Usual dungeon things."

She holds up a mirror to you. "How is look?"

Somehow, Halaq managed to blend feral with clean, wild with well-trimmed. Yadala is also getting a quality haircut, looking much more orderly than she was earlier.

>Rus Tea pours Flaming another diluted shot of sake, much to Volkama's displeasure, but he says nothing.

Edoba leads your group across the pathway, and the towering pagoda, five stories in all, looms above you. After crossing the long courtyard, Edoba stops and unlocks the front double-doors of the pagoda as well, pushing them open.


Before you, the pagoda's first floor, about as wide as deep as the monastery itself, lays open. It is a simple layout, divided into rings demarcated by rings of wooden pillars. They are built around a golden statue of a monk sitting cross-legged in prayer. Dozens of smaller monk statues surround him. Behind them lies the staircase to the next level.

>"You think it's Edoba in disguise?" Rus asks in a whisper.


Hopper looks up, wide eyed with intrigue. Sugar and Spitshine whistle and flag down their pets, picking them both up.
"…So where do we go?" Sugar asks.
"Huh… I actually have no idea where we'd get something like that."


Pryce leans in close to Shei.
("Are you say Edoba is Wireframe in disguise? But why would she do that but not steal the heart her character seeks, raising alert and playing around like normal?")
Pryce questions, though it then occurs to him that their main goal is to find and restore their friends, not to play it safe in the stories.
("… Can you control your aura to expose her without her noticing?")

Pryce follows along, waiting as the first door is unlocked for the pagoda. He looks forward to the golden statue, and the smaller ones around them.
"I can see why you would keep this pagoda protected, even aside from the Saint."
Pryce comments to Edoba.

KP picks up Hopper, not minding the wet mud the frog is covered in.
>"Let's look around the stores. I'm sure there's one that'd have something."
KP says, leading the trio into the main part of the town.



"It's great! I love it!" Amy says with her tail wagging. "Thank you!"

She gives Halaq a hug.

"So," she says as she lets go. "If I'm suppose to ask for help, then where do we go from here?"


>1d100[ 1d100 = 37 ]

Roll #1 81 = 81 / Roll #2 40 = 40


Flaming takes the shot readily, the soothing tea mixed with the inebriating sake in an interesting mix that puts her in a more confident yet controlled state of mind, her inhibitions loosened but maintaining her faculties more than before.

As the doors push open, Flaming strides confidently into the pagoda, looking around the rings and pillars that make up the tower. While Shei and Pryce plot behind her, she keeps Edoba's attention.

"It's a beautiful place. Hopefully nothing else happens to it while we're keeping the Heart safe. I'm guessing it's on one of the higher levels? How many floors is this thing, exactly?"


>"You think it's Edoba in disguise?" Rus asks in a whisper.
"Possibly. The only way to find out would be to confront Edoba. Worst possibility is I am kicked out of the monastary."

"No.. I do not think I could. Wireframe could be waiting for everyone's guard to be down. For the perfect opportunity. She could escort the pilgrims one by one to their avhra, find their flaw in security and commit the crime while framing a pilgrim."

Before they can travel any further Shei-Sher confronts Edoba, speaking inside his monkly persona "Edoba. The leader of the kunoichi is a shapeshifter. One with many forms. Quite adept at hiding their qi. My aura reveals the truth in things, deshrouds the hidden as common a northern monk and yet you have been very strict upon illumination. I ask that you put suspicions to rest and let me cover you with my aura. No harm can come to those aligned with harmonous flow of qi"


1d10[ 1d10 = 5 ] PERCEPTION

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


>Perception 1d10[ 1d10 = 1 ]

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


("So we'll need to reveal her before we reach Avhra then. …I hope this Saint is not another of our friends as well.")


perception roll
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 9 ]

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


You note a few of the pilgrims going back toward the western building of the monastery, flanked by two of the monks. Shortly after, they come back, carrying the sick on rickshaws. Edoba looks toward them with a scowl. "What did I say about only taking the healthy?"
"Please," one of the pilgrims begs. "Have mercy on them. They need to see the Heart as quickly as they can! If the Heart can truly heal anything, as the stories go, it should have no trouble saving them without infecting the others!"

"I'm afraid it's one of the last places in the country where such beauty has been preserved," Edoba explains. "So many others have blamed the priesthood for failing to drive out the Plague. Priests' skulls line the roads in those parts, and their temples lie in burnt ruins."

Turning toward Shei, Edoba grimly nods. "Do what you must. I have nothing to hide, but let us keep moving. Should we dally, these pilgrims will likely just storm the stairs themselves. I'll need your help keeping them in one at a time. I alone shall accompany them into the final chamber, which awaits us on the fifth floor."

Not stopping, he continues to usher the party toward the staircase, proceeding up to the second level.

Halaq returns the hug with no fuss. "Take the door here," she says pointing to the door on the other side of the room, across from where you entered. "I am not so sure what lies beyond. She may have changed it in recent days. I have not been up there. But I know what always gives the Witches trouble is the Breezies who live in the gardens, always warping them to this floor or that randomly if they don't like them. Be prepared to have an offering for them. Something a child would like perhaps. They are rather childish.

Soon enough, Yadala's haircut finishes, leaving her looking sharp. She turns to head for the door, but Halaq shakes her head and clicks her tongue. "You must pay," she says to Halaq, before looking your way. "You, free of charge."

"Whaaaaat?" Yadala protests.

"She is new. You are not."



Hopper takes up residence upon your shoulder once more, keeping the mud and damp where it can be washed off easily. Chatting away about their pets, Sugar and Spitshine accompany you as you all cut through the park to get back to the road.

But after a little while of walking back toward the flagstone path, you hear a rustling in the grasses before you. Sugar and Spitshine instinctively tense up, and just as they do…


From a particularly high stretch of grass pops out a very long catlike monster, with a lengthy striped body, but with reptillian scales along its abdomen and legs. A serpentine tongue flicks out of its mouth, and its golden eyes have sharp slits within them. The cat prowls around, getting closer to you, and the two kids back up nervously.



Last time on HolyQuest…

KP, Spitshine and Sugar reminisced on the past together, and spoke at various lengths on their families, except for Sugar, who seemed quite opposed to sharing her background with the first two. That aside, Spitshine resolved to seek out his father and sister once more once the Tartarus expedition had begun. Banana Splitz's whereabouts were currently unknown and his fate uncertain, given that he was near ground zero of Metatron's attack against Vitral, but Spitshine was resolved to see him again, all the same.

Meanwhile, Flow once more encountered the Memory of Sir Estuary, an apparition residing within the Inheritance of the Brother. The Memory, who had previously appeared to Flow before to impart knowledge and techniques, had returned once more to aid Flow's recovery after being taken apart and rearranged during the Magatsuhi Overexposure incident. If all went well during this spar, then one of Estuary's strongest techniques could become Flow's by night's end.


Hopper takes up residence upon your shoulder once more, keeping the mud and damp where it can be washed off easily. Chatting away about their pets, Sugar and Spitshine accompany you as you all cut through the park to get back to the road.

But after a little while of walking back toward the flagstone path, you hear a rustling in the grasses before you. Sugar and Spitshine instinctively tense up, and just as they do…


From a particularly high stretch of grass pops out a very long catlike monster, with a lengthy striped body, but with reptillian scales along its abdomen and legs. A serpentine tongue flicks out of its mouth, and its golden eyes have sharp slits within them. The cat prowls around, getting closer to you, and the two kids back up nervously.


You and Vice both strike Estuary's Memory square in the chest, knocking him a short distance back, but in a single flowing motion, almost like a dance, he takes control of the momentum generated by your punch, transferring it through his body until it circulates back up into his hoof that is curved like a knife.

Continuing that single motion, Estuary's Memory cuts into you, and the motion is so smooth that it is like a wave falls upon you in the ocean. Vice narrowly avoids another strike, remaining standing for now.

>You lose 5 Hits and 1 Wound

Estuary slithers back around behind you, following through on his slithering move. "Not bad… you're direct. You also don't run your mouth in a fight like a certain someone else."

Turning his back, he starts to slither over slowly to where his swords wait.


Last time, on MY Quest…

The story of One Last Job went as follows: A plague gripped the Isle of Jibayin, decimating the population, annihilating crops and livestock, and even poisoning the very earth itself, leaving much land inhospitable. The local religion's priesthood, consisting mainly of monks, shamans and spiritmasters endeavored to find cures, but each and every solution either failed or made matters somehow worse. In the northern regions, the nation's hysteria had grown so fierce that the priesthood were now being blamed for the plague's very existence, and priests were hunted and killed by vigilante mobs, armed by local warlords seeking to gain power during this period of national weakness.

In the south, where our story takes place, panic has not yet taken ahold of the people. Social order and trust in the priesthood still remains shakily intact. Our heroes, the "Saviors of Mariposa," as my guest tells me they are called, have escorted a group of deer pilgrims to the Kokoro Pagoda, where the incorrupt heart of a Saint is enshrined. The pilgrims hope that Avhra, the Saint's Pure Heart, will be able to cure those in their company who are suffering from the plague.

But, there is a problem: Edoba, the head monk of the monastery, knows that a master thief, known as the Kunoichi, and her two companions, Takara the Treasure-Chest and Nageku the Mourning-Sword, are targeting the Heart. Edoba believes that the Kunoichi will strike that very night, and the party convinced him to let them help guard it and hopefully apprehend the Kunoichi. Together, they now enter the Kokoro Pagoda, on high alert for when the thief shall arrive.


>For Amy only
After enduring restless dreams of Ego's life before she fused with baby Amy, Amy woke up in one of the Library of the Sacrosanct's inner sanctums, a plate full of food laying before her. She ate to recover her strength and chase away the last of her concussion's headache, then headed outward, finding the sanctum to be a confusing world of complicated geometry and architecture. Staircases ran verticaly up walls, entire floors and balconies hung upside-down with their own gravity, and halls and walkways twisted and zig-zagged to and fro in the magic-infused space.

After searching a while, she met a jackal by the name of Yadala, whom Amy convinced to guide her to Regina's laboratory. They flew up via broomstick and magic carpet through the complex sanctum, passing by many witches and magical decorations along the way.

During their travel, Yadala explained a bit about the Mark of the Crone, the cursed star-sign under witch Amy was born. The sign gifted all who were born under it (who were mostly girls) with incredible magical potential, but also caused misfortune and unexplainable magical phenomena to follow in their wake. Many children born under that sign were abused, exiled or worse. This was likely the reason that Ego found Amy abandoned in the wilderness. If Ego had not found her, it is possible that the Coven of Wacachan would have eventually sought her out and taken her back to be trained as a Witch.

Later, as Amy and Yadala explored the upper floors of the sanctum, they entered a hair salon in a dungeon-like setting, where Halaq, an eagle griffoness, forcibly offered her a haircut. She looked very nice by the end of it. But now it was time to move on.


You note a few of the pilgrims going back toward the western building of the monastery, flanked by two of the monks. Shortly after, they come back, carrying the sick on rickshaws. Edoba looks toward them with a scowl. "What did I say about only taking the healthy?"
"Please," one of the pilgrims begs. "Have mercy on them. They need to see the Heart as quickly as they can! If the Heart can truly heal anything, as the stories go, it should have no trouble saving them without infecting the others!"


"I'm afraid it's one of the last places in the country where such beauty has been preserved," Edoba explains. "So many others have blamed the priesthood for failing to drive out the Plague. Priests' skulls line the roads in those parts, and their temples lie in burnt ruins."

>Flaming, Shei, Pryce

Turning toward Shei, Edoba grimly nods. "Do what you must. I have nothing to hide, but let us keep moving. Should we dally, these pilgrims will likely just storm the stairs themselves. I'll need your help keeping them in one at a time. I alone shall accompany them into the final chamber, which awaits us on the fifth floor."

Not stopping, he continues to usher the party toward the staircase, proceeding up to the second level.


Halaq returns the hug with no fuss. "Take the door here," she says pointing to the door on the other side of the room, across from where you entered. "I am not so sure what lies beyond. She may have changed it in recent days. I have not been up there. But I know what always gives the Witches trouble is the Breezies who live in the gardens, always warping them to this floor or that randomly if they don't like them. Be prepared to have an offering for them. Something a child would like perhaps. They are rather childish.

Soon enough, Yadala's haircut finishes, leaving her looking sharp. She turns to head for the door, but Halaq shakes her head and clicks her tongue. "You must pay," she says to Halaq, before looking your way. "You, free of charge."

"Whaaaaat?" Yadala protests.

"She is new. You are not."



"Thanks, Squadala, you're the best," Amy says with a happy wave before going through the next door.

"Hmm… Something kids would like…" she ponders out loud. "Well, kids like music, right? Of course they do! I do! So, why wouldn't kids!?"

Amy reaches into her saddlebag and pulls out Lumpet and starts to practice.

1d10[ 1d10 = 5 ] to practice

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


As Flaming turns to see the sick being led in on the rickshaws, she turns to Edoba, bowing her head. "Please, Edoba, what they say is true… some of our patients need the cure as soon as they can. I promise I'll take all responsibility for them if you grant us this. We shall let them in one at a time as you wish, but let the sickly enter first."

She insists, moving her way towards the stair-case and keeping a sharp eye out for any trouble.
1d10[ 1d10 = 7 ] Perception

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



'1d10' navigation

Roll #1 7 = 7


Shei-Sher steps forward, he is a bit thrown off not sensing any hesitation from Edoba. "Forgive me Edoba, for my disrespect towards the monastary. I only wish to protect the Heart."

Shei-Sher expands his aura to not only engulf Edoba but also everyone beside and behind him. that includes the refugees and any monks within a five meter radius.
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 6 ] exposing changelings

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3



Roll #1 4 = 4


>Kusarigama: Fire Element; Single + Great Tags; +3 Modifier

"It is a shame that panic falls on those who devoted their life to aid the moment it falters."
Pryce says somberly.

Pryce follows Edoba up to the second level of the pagoda, waiting to see if Shei's plan works.

KP strolls with the group as they walk and chat towards a potential pet shop. He looks over as the grass rustles, calm unlike Sugar and Spitshine. But that changes as the reptilian feline leaps out and prowls towards them. KP grabs Hopper off his shoulder, holding his frog tightly as he now backs up slowly. He is terrified, but the lingering memories from Pryce keep him in a semi-steady form, keeping himself between the creature and Sugar and Spitshine.


Yadala tilts her head at your very unique interpretation of her name, then looks around the room. "Uh, okay… I'll just pretend you said that right. Let's see… how shall I pay for this?"

Noticing that the other barber witches have left quite a bit of hair on the floor, Yadala taps her amulet, shaped like a sun with an eye inside. A wind stirs within the room, sweeping up all the hair and dust, which it then deposits in an unused bucket sitting in the corner. Halaq nods with approval. "Very well, this payment is satisfactory. Castwell! Amy, Squadala, be off now."

Yadala scrunches up her snout and accompanies you into the stone hall that proceeds from the doorway. Like before, it is lit by blue candles, giving a magical glow to the area. Yadala's ears fall flat as you practice with Lumpet, but even you can tell that your performance is not quite its best. You produce mostly tuneless tooting, without much rhyme or rhythm.

It doesn't help that a small maze awaits you as you proceed through the hallway, full of twists and turns that are thankfully far more conventional and logical than the nonsensical geometry in the preceding areas. Like a conventional dungeon, it is mostly only left and right turns that you must take. Yadala follows your lead, and after several turns and curves, you get a sense that you are making a decent headway into the dungeon.

Finally, the twists and turns come to a halt, and you find yourself at the base of a staircase, which leads upward to another ornate door, much like the last few. Only this door appears to have grass growing at its base. On the other side, you hear the sound of water flowing and very tiny instruments, mostly winds and strings, being played.

Edoba grunts with hesitation, casting suspicious glances over your entourage, but shakes his head. "No, no, you are right. I am letting my fears cloud my judgment. Forgive me."


Flaming notices that the pilgrim carrying a rickshaw yoked upon their shoulders is having the most trouble. Their ward is laying under a blanket, weakly coughing every few seconds with labored breathing. The pilgrim, however, continues to struggle upward, eyes hung low as they climb up the stairs that are very much an obstacle to wheeled vehicles. The other pilgrims stay away from this one, covering their mouths with rags and looking on with fear of the infection.

Shei notices nothing amiss when his aura passes over the crowd of pilgrims. Their qi appears to be normal, apart from the anxiety which causes their qi to waver and shake.

Edoba and the monks lead you upward through the pagoda's floors, each of them richly adorned with tapestries depicting the many layers of Hell, and Pure Lands awaiting those attaining enlightenment. Several minor saints' icons hang among them, surrounded by shrines full of offerings and airy wind chimes that create soft music as you pass by them. In this way, you clear the second and third floors.

After you reach the fourth floor, decorated with depictions of souls in a kind of purgatory or limbo, Edoba stops your group. The stairs to the fifth floor await just behind him.

"We may go no further as a group," he states bluntly, turning to the crowd of pilgrims. "From here, the sick shall be escorted up to the fifth floor one at a time, where you will be able to see the Pure Heart."

The pilgrims murmur uncertainly.


Spitshine and Sugar back up along with you, but the reptilian-cat creeps closer, sniffing at the two of you while its serpentine forked tongue flits in and out, a kind of acidic drool dripping from its long and jagged fangs. Spitshine looks at Sugar, then darts ahead of you, trying to surprise the creature by kicking up some dirt and grass into its face!


The creature recoils, stunned with surprise.

'1d10' attempted dodge

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 10 = 10



Amy plays Lumpet (hopefully better) at the door. That should get it to open, right? 1d10[ 1d10 = 1 ] to open door with beautiful music

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 2 = 2


Pryce walks along, glancing at his surroundings for any sign of the thieves. As they reach the fourth floor, Pryce looks on ahead to the final flight of stairs.
"One at a time is the safest way, and the most certain so you each have your proper time with Avhra."
Pryce says to the pilgrims to assure their worries. He then turns to Edoba.
"Edoba, with the threat on the heart, I suggest that further precaution is taken. There should be at least one more guard going with you to see the heart, as I doubt the thieves would flee back down here if they make an attempt on it."
>Persuasion '1d10'

KP worries as the creature drips acid from its maw, fear at what it could do running through his mind. It's only when Spitshine bolts forward does rational thought come back to him. Seeing him go for a blinding attack, KP tilts his head down, pointing his horn at the creature as he tries to make some sparks to help distract it as well.
>Sparks '1d10'

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


The door opens up to your slightly better playing now, and within, you find a room that seems to contain a small cross-section of a forest grotto. The walls teem with creeping vines and flowers, and the walls are hewn from rock. Light is provided by glowing white and green and blue mushrooms, and the ground is push with soft grasses and mud. There is even a small streaming running through the ground, flanked by flowers, clover, honeysuckle and white lilies.

The occupants are a group of many breezies, wearing light airy dresses and witch hats. About 30 in number, they are gathered mainly around many small tables made of flowers and long leaves. Small cauldrons, no bigger than teacups, dot the room, full of fine-smelling stews and dips. The breezie-witches are in the middle of eating and feasting on dishes contained in coin-sized plates and thimble bowls, while other witches strum at harps and whistle through flutes and bassoons and clarinets.

As you enter with lumpet, many take notice of you and the strange, foreign instrument – not a single one of their ensemble plays a brass instrument. Quite a few chatter with intrigue.

"And who is this new Witchling who enters our midst?" one of the breezies asks. "What does she want?"


Flaming shakes her head. "You've nothing to apologize for. You are simply protecting something precious to you, there is no shame in considering its safety. And, if it DID get taken, many more would suffer, so as far as I'm concerned you're okay."

Flaming turns to look at the pilgrim struggling with his rickshaw, turning her head to move up to his side and assist him by placing her powerful body besides his, taking part of the weight. "Here, let me help." she insists as they make their way upwards.

As they enter the fourth floor of the Pagoda, she stops with the group and looks to Edoba. She nods, turning to those carrying the sick. "Can the sick be safely carried on one's back? If so, I'll volunteer for carrying them in."


Shei-Sher scratches his chin, perplexed by the circumstances. He bows to Edoba and follows them to the fourth floor.

Shei-Sher whispers into Pryce's ear as they climb the stairs "This is bad, we haven't found a trace of wireframe's presence yet and night approaches. If this story ends in her failure.. well I imagine they do not reserve prison cells for such people in these lands."


'1d10' Persuasion!

Roll #1 2 = 2



"Aawww," Amy can't help but gush over the adorable sight of all the breezies. Especially with their little witch hats.

"Well, I WAS just here to pass through, but I can't pass up a chance to play with you guys! You're all so cute. And your home is so pretty! And your music sounds so good!"

>Mantra of Equality with compassion to make friends '1d10+2'

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9


("Changelings are subterfuges. If she's playing a thief, we aren't going to find her presence until she acts, so we'll need to be ready to jump at any moment.")


("And then what? Catch her? What happens after then. Are we going to fight the entire monastery to save her life?")


The pilgrim with the rickshaw double-takes when you start to help him, and nods his gratitude. "Thank you. It's my sister," he wheezes out between weak breaths. "Her condition… we've traveled the mountains for weeks to get to Kokoro. She won't eat anymore… I don't think she may last the night. Can you help me to the fifth floor?"

He looks at you with dim, pleading eyes.

Edoba considers your proposals, pausing to stare at the crowd of anxious pilgrims. He chews the end of one hoof uncertainly as he looks at the infirm. "…I am sorry, but no. You must stay down here. I'll need you to keep the pilgrims calm until we can get all of them to the Heart one at a time. We will be taking them out through the back exit once we are done, so as to avoid the risk of re-contamination after they have seen the Heart."

He leans in, lowering his voice. "Please. I don't wish to risk a riot. Things may be holding together in the southern kingdoms, but if the Pure Heart does not work, I am almost certain this crowd will grow restless and anxious. They've heard the rumors about the priests in the north. If they get desperate, they may turn against me and my monks just as the northerners did."

One of the larger breezies, who looks like a jeweled beetle, a rainbow collage of glossy chitin, floats forward, wielding a wand as a conductor's baton, and it is easy to see she must be in charge. She has the largest hat, to boot. Zipping around you and Lumpet, she studies you both studiously. With a wave of her wand, a glossary of instruments appears before her. "Hmm… She has never encountered such a horn. The Musies have little need of metallurgy in their Mugical arts. The reeds and the trees and the leaves provide the Musies with every kind of music they need. But the new one's horn, according to the book, is in the key of B-flat. Very well. The new one may sight-read from the clarinets."

The conductress gestures to the clarinet section, ten strong, with little floating music-books before them. They bring over an extra one for you."

Yadala steps forward. "Err, sorry, we're in a bit of a hurry, actually. We're trying to get to Regina–"

"And the new ones will never reach Regina if they know no manners," the conductress interrupts. "The Musies allowed the new ones to enter. It is the new ones' turn to be courteous back."


The creature darts back, but still gets quite a bit of dirt in its eyes, hissing with pain. But as you try to help by blasting it with sparks, the creature suddenly darts forward, butting you with its head to knock you to the ground. The creature steps all over you, sniffing and snorting and flicking your face with its tongue, which is sharp and stinging. Spitshine curses and tries to shove the monster away.

1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 5 ]

In the distance, you hear some panicked shouting, and someone calling out a name. "Fluffs! Fluffs!" the voice shouts.

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4



"Thanks!" Amy says with an excited nod. She then proceeds to bound happily over to where the others are playing. Of course, her usual bounding may seem a little uncomfortably violent to something as small as a breezie.

Amy squints at the page, recognizing the symbols from Onion's teachings. Hopefully, she does a good job. Gotta give the brass section good representation.

1d10[ 1d10 = 9 ] for beautiful Lumpet playing!

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


The Conductress floats back to her stand, and taps her wand against the book for attention. "Back to the top! One, two, three and–!"


What begins is a more rowdy jig than one might expect from small ladies like them, but the jig is energetic nonetheless, with parts for fiddle, clarinet, tambourine, drums, hurdy-gurdy and so on. Though Lumpet is no clarinet, you manage to play the part well, controlling your volume so you don't blow away any of the Musies by accident. The witches who float by the tables and feast away start to sing along to the instrumentation. Some, more drunk than the rest, begin to dance with the others, carrying drinks held in open acorns as they hop and twirl atop the tables while the others are still eating!

Yadala awkwardly grooves in the background. '1d10'

As the first play goes off without a hitch, the Conductress raises her hoof twice, which you know from Onion's teachings is the sign for a repeat! Roll again!

Roll #1 8 = 8


Pryce states.

Pryce is silent for a moment as Edoba refuses, but he hasn't given up yet.
("I understand. But, at least let me protect the pilgrims on the other side. If the thieves do strike, somepony will need to keep both groups from getting panicked, and we cannot do that if all of us are here.")
Pryce proposes.
>Persuasion '1d10'

KP falls back, quickly cradling his forelegs over Hopper to keep his frog protected. He tries to crawl back on his back away from the creature, though it is difficult as it stands over him, stinging his face with it's tongue. He shuts his eyes, hoping Spitshine will deal with the creature as he's pinned beneath it.
>"H-Help! Help!"
KP shouts towards the voice in the distance, hoping it's a grownup who can help them with this creature.

Roll #1 4 = 4


Flaming frowns as he mentions its his sister, nodding her head, "I'm so sorry… I know what it's like to worry about a sister, if that's any help. I hope she gets what she needs, and don't worry: I will do whatever I can to get her to the top."

She turns to Edoba as he considers their proposals, and her frown deepens when he refuses her proposal. She turns to the pilgrim's sickly sister, and then nods her head. "It is your decision, Edoba. I won't tell you how best to keep the heart safe. But this sick deer can hardly move at all. She can't go in alone, it's impossible. You will at least help carry her in right? Or allow her brother to accompany her?"

'1d10' Suggestion

Roll #1 6 = 6


Shei-Sher nudges Pryce, Flaming, Volkama, and Rus-Tea to follow him into one corner of the room for a group discussion.

Shei-Sher waits for Edoba to leave with one of the refugees to the Saint of Pure Heart. The Shei speaks to his friends in whispers ("I fear for our comrade's lives. If this story ends with their capture it could mean their death. Alternatively, it could also mean we'll be fighting against the entire monastary to save them. I had hoped to detect them somehow, get to wireframe first and snap her out of this illusion but that's proving useless. What if instead we were to create the ideal scenario for Wireframe to steal the Saint's heart. We could source a commotion with the refugees fears and doubts. Once there is a riot, the monks will be too occupied to protect the heart.")


1d10[ 1d10 = 10 ] PErception

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


>Perception '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9



Roll #1 8 = 8


("We still need to confront and cleanse her, and the others too. We can't just let them run off with the Heart.")



Amy gets into the groove of the song and bops up and down as she plays. Though, she may start playing a little overboard and getting too loud.

'1d10' to play good

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Why?" Shei looks at you like you said something dumb "…this is an illusion Pryce. Nothing here is actually transpiring you realize? Right?"


>"But which one is Wireframe?" Rus asks. "We're still without clues as to her identity."
>"It doesn't matter. The thieves will reveal themselves if we set up the ideal heist as Shei suggested," Volkama adds.

Something in Edoba's expression darkens, as if all his patience had, for an instant, dried up, and something within began to slip. But it is gone in the next instant, as quickly as it had appeared.

"…Very well," he whispers to Flaming. He looks at the pilgrim with the rickshaw which holds his sister under a blanket. "Help those two up the stairs, and then my monks and I will take it from there. I will allow them to see the Heart together."

Straightening himself out, Edoba begins to climb the stairs, then looks back at Flaming and the rickshaw pilgrim with impatience. The rickshaw pilgrim, hope returning to his eyes, starts to struggle to the staircase by himself, but his legs are wobbling with weakness.

"Come along now," Edoba says, a little flatly. "Don't dally."

Somewhere toward the end, something possesses you, and you begin to riff off the themes and motifs you've heard so far, turning your segment into a wild solo that, despite its unexpected presence, blends with the jig amazingly well. The Conductress and the other Musies look on in shock, but the Conductress keeps conducting, ensuring that the rest of the band can keep up with you. Many of the feasting witches whoop and whistle, shouting out praises for your riffing.

Finally, when your solo starts to wrap up, the Conductress, practically dancing herself, gets the whole band whipped up into a controlled frenzy, bringing the tune in for one last rowdy, leaping repeat, which goes off without a hitch, filling the whole feasting crowd with bursting glee. She cuts the band off after the final note, and a second of silence follows. Then, wave after wave of applause and cheers from the partygoers. The Conductress turns to the crowd, and they all bow.

After that, the band start to set their instruments down on their clover chairs, and start to head to the tables to get their food. The Conductress flits over, zooming around with with admiration. "This new one has more skill than the Conductress expected! Who is the new one, the Conductress wonders, and how may the Conductress help her?"


The reptilian cat licks you for a little while longer, but Spitshine shoves it into the grass, where it rolls about in shock for a little while. It manages to hop to its feet, and Spitshine prepares himself for a second strike, but before another blow can be struck, another colt, looking oddly like Sansebas – a crystal pony of a blue complexion and a golden mane – runs forward. He's wearing a hooded wizard's robe.

"Fluffs! Bad Fluffs!" he cries out, carrying a leash and collar, which he slips onto the reptile. He tries to pull it away, but the reptilian cat flops to the ground, disobediently trying to resist the pulls. "I'm so sorry! You aren't hurt, are you?"

Spitshine just growls with annoyance, not taking his eyes off the reptilian cat.


"Then we are in agreement then. Do what you can inside the fifth floor Flaming, we will stirr the crowd from here."


As Shei taps her discreetly, Flaming takes one look back towards Edoba before following him to the corner. As he speaks of Wireframe though, Flaming shakes her head, "W-wait, Wireframe? She's here? Where, I haven't seen her yet! I thought the Kunoichi was Amy, the markings outside look like her tattoos, don't they?" She pauses, "Well… since Wireframe is a Changeling that really means she could be ANYONE here, right?"

Flaming smiles widely as Edoba's look of frustration resolves itself, bowing her head. "Thank you, Edoba. I know they appreciate it more than they could ever express." She turns to the others, nodding as she points the way up the stairs, coming over to help them carry the blanket. "Thank you again!"

She turns to the deer, nodding. "You get to go in with her. But behave yourself, alright? Do what EVER Edoba and the monks tell you to do, we have already asked them for so much and we do not want to ruin this for the others." As she notices his legs wobbling with weakness, she takes a deep breath, letting her horns glow a bright white over him.
"You can do it. You don't have far to go. Use the strength I know you have to help your sister."
>Commandment of Harmony to give him the extra boost needed to get up the flight.


"If we let the story end with them running off, what if we can't get them back?"

Pryce watches as Edoba allows Flaming to follow along upstairs with the two sickly deer. Though, the monk's expressions is hard to read. Pryce can't place if he has truly lost patience for a moment, or if there's something deeper going on.

Pryce stands aside and waits as the monks head up the stairs, though then feels a stinging sensation streaking across his face. He takes a step back, giving his head a shake in confusion at the sensation that lingers. He's at a loss for what happened, was it Wireframe, or is he starting to grow impatient himself and feeling pre-guilt over not acting in time. Glancing to make sure the monks have passed, or he's not being paid attention to, he hums a song, trying his best to get through this burning on his face.
>Limerick of Desert Mist '1d10'

Once KP feels the creature has been knocked away, he quickly springs up and takes a few steps away from it to regather himself. He looks to the approaching colt, who simply re-leashes the creature like a pet.
>"I-I'm fine," KP says, though his eyes are a bit watery from the pain, "Why did you let something like that run off!"
KP accuses, then pauses.
>"Hey, you look familiar…"

Roll #1 4 = 4



"My name is Amy Thest," Amy says with a gleeful grin. "Happy to meet you! Like I said, I'm just passing through on my way to talk to Regina. This looked fun, so I figure why not, right? I'm so happy you enjoyed it."

"If you think my playing was good enough to do something for me, then just gimme a hug," Amy says practically greedily. "Usually, I'd just hug without permission. But… I don't wanna hurt someone so small. And, a breezie hug sounds like just about the cutest thing ever!"


"The pink strings Flaming.. Those are Wireframe's strings. It's her weapon of choice."
>Wireframe is a Changeling that really means she could be ANYONE here, right?"
"She could! But I would have sensed her presence by now. And you saw me use my aura. She is not anyone here."

"We let the earthvein end erroneously and we were able to retrieve Volkama. I think we will be fine."

Shei-Sher sits down with volkama beside some refugees and begins speaking just above a whisper, enough for one other refugee to hear the discussion taking place between monks.

("A shame that girl.. Edoba says nothing can be done for her. She's to be taken out back and put out of her misery.. These southern monks are quite industrious caging everyone in here. From the looks -only a few will truly see the Saint of Pure Heart.")

1d10[ 1d10 = 4 ] rolling to inspire fear in refugees beside us

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 4 = 4


"That's because we saved him before it was over."


>Rus Tea and Volkama both look like they want to go with you, but a look from Edoba freezes them in place, then they back away, nodding at you.

The pilgrim offers you a weak smile but nothing more, leaning on you as he ascends the staircase with you. Edoba turns and, with his monks, leads you up the stairs to the fifth floor. The rickshaw rattles, and the figure under the blanket coughs and wheezes as the rickshaw bumps its way up the steps.

Unlike the previous floors, the fifth floor is more simple. It does not have elaborate paintings and decorations, but it is much darker, being without any windows or openings, in contrast to the other floors. It is lit only by torch sconces in the corners of the room. There are a number of statues in the room, depicting guardian beasts. But unlike guardian beast statues you have seen before, these ones look more like demons.

Edoba pauses once he reaches the top of the stairs. Before you lays a simple doorway. Edoba turns your way. "That will be all, warrior. Please, return to the oth–"

Suddenly, the rickshaw pilgrim falls against you, coughing and hacking and beating his chest. He looks up at Edoba, clinging to you unexpectedly.

Roll perception.

"Please, sir –" the pilgrim begins to beg. "Would it be too much for a little assistance to the door? It would shame me dearly to sully your robes with my sickness. Please, allow the warrior to help me. Her magic may be all that sustains me now."

Edoba starts to back up, but looks frustrated again. "How many times must I say it? Only at a time in the Heart-Chamber! You won't see the Heart if this keeps up. There are other pilgrims who obediently follow my word waiting below while you delay them!"

Pryce's spell succeeds, and he fades from view.

The Conductress, without hesitation, flies forward and gives you a big hug. Despite her small size, you feel as though your whole body were wrapped in a hug. You feel an air pressure about you, warm and gentle, that seems to be the cause.

"The deed is done," the Conductress says as she floats back. She then looks you over. "This one wants to see Regina? Well, I am afraid she will have much trouble, going through this way. Depending on the Queen-Mother's whims, it may take this one minutes or days to navigate the dungeon's depths. But the Conductress feels as though she has gotten the better end of the bargain, trading a performance that good for a hug. So, to balance this deal out…"

The Conductress guides you over past the eating-tables, and whistles along the way. A few Musies follow her. She eventually takes you toward the back of the room, where you see a Breezie-ring: A circle of small toadstools poking up out of the grass. The Conductress tells the other Musies of your goal, and they nod, and start to wave their wands over the toadstools, sprinkling sparkling dust from pouches onto them.

Yadala quickly runs over, ooh-ing with interest. The Conductor then waves her wand at the circle. "It should be ready now. But be careful when you speak to the Queen-Mother. She despises interruptions. Castwell, dear Amy Thest."

>"Don't be so sure," Volkama says. "You know that Changelings are keen at disguising and hiding. Are you sure your investigation was thorough enough?"

Some of the pilgrims look over at your muttering, but don't seem convinced. Others talk among themselves, while still others tend to their wards.


Hopper crawls up to your face, inspecting the spots where the creature licked you with its bladelike tongue. His slimy body soothes the impact points.

The hooded colt nods. "You probably met my dad. I'm Tian, son of Sansebas. S-sorry about Fluffs though. He gets restless when we're practicing magic."
"Oh!" Spitshine says, quickly snapping out of his angry glare. "I've heard of this… don't tell me. Oh… what's the word for it? It's… Beast-Mastery, right?"
"Yeah! That's one of the names for it, anyway," Tian says. "Though I haven't yet formed a Bond with Fluffs here yet."



Amy can't help but giggle with happiness when she receives the hug.

Amy watches with fascination as they enchant a ring of toadstools. "What's this do?" Amy asks curiously.


Pryce slowly follows after Edoba and Flaming, waiting a few steps behind as to keep himself hidden by his spell.

>"Thanks Hopper."
KP says as Hopper helps sooth the injured licked spots.

>"Beast-Mastery? What's that?"

KP asks the two of them, not having heard the term before.
>"And what's that?"
He asks, pointing at Fluffs.
KP also looks around to see if Sugar is still nearby or if she ran off when the creature pounced.


"The Breezie-rings serve as gateways to a number of places for those with the knowledge and mastery to manipulate them properly – even to other planes of reality," the Conductress explains. "The Musies have aligned and prepared this one for the Amy Thest. The Amy Thest can use this to reach the Queen-Mother's personal garden, and when she is done, the Amy Thest may come back this way via the Breezie-ring."



"Aww, you guys are the best," Amy says adoringly as she gives the Conductress a pat on the head. '1d10' for head pats

Then, she steps into the ring and says, "Squadala! We are off!"

Roll #1 2 = 2


Shei-Sher allows some time to pass before taking out a small booklet sized journal from his bag to read. He begins writing in it about the fictitious journey of his monk persona, and when no one is around he begins writing a seal in a blank page. With a non-chalant touch of his hoof. Shei-Sher dabs crow blood around the corners of the page and laps another page over it. Shei releases a steady stream of magic to make the crow blood dry and adhesive.

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

'1d10+3' to bind the seal with a blank page over it so if found noone would suspect Shei-Sher

Shei-Sher cuts the two pages silently with a razor and while putting the journal away in his page keeps the page folded small in his hoof.

Shei waits for the right moment before dropping the seal inside a refugee's cloak
>GABBY'S SEAL: Turns a living enemy into an walking corpse. For all intents and purposes this target now counts as Undead and a corpse. This effect ends if someone removes the seal from their body.

Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11


Flaming's eyes open wide with realization. "Oooooooh… SHOOT. You're right! I don't know how I didn't realize that, Wireframe might just be Kunoichi!"

She looks around, "You're sure you can detect her? Even in disguise?"

Flaming smiles at the pilgrim as she helps him up the stair-case, doing her best to keep her strength up enough for both him and her as they approach the final gateway to the Heart. As they reach the top, she gives her attention to Edoba, before the pilgrim suddenly buckles besides you, opening her eyes wide as she sees him collapse.
1d10[ 1d10 = 9 ]Perception

She holds onto him, looking at him, feeling great pity in her heart as she looks at him. She looks up at the monk, taking in a deep breath, turning to face the pilgrim.
"Have strength, pilgrim. You do not have far to go. Think of your sister: think of how she's depending on you right this moment. Think of the others who will be in need of your help after you are cured. You have the strength, even in the throes of this sickness you can fight. So fight. I know you can do it."
>Mantra of Recovery: giving the Pilgrim the strength to stand even if he falls
"My magic will not leave you even as you go through those doors. Just have faith, both in it and in yourself. Face your final stretch with a mighty howl!"

She turns to Edoba, pointing her head towards the Pilgrim to deliver a hint that if she cannot join him inside the chamber, she would expect him to step up if needed.

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 6 = 6


'1d10' Perception

Roll #1 10 = 10


>Perception '1d10'

Roll #1 3 = 3


In that moment, as he clings to you, you realize it: He is faking his symptoms.

The pilgrim sighs with disappointment as you encourage him to go on by himself, but he stands, stretching himself up, and heads past Edoba to the doors. Edoba, after another frustrated look at you, puts his hoof on the rickshaw, holding it up as the pilgrim walks to the doors. The doors open, revealing a pitch-black chamber beyond. As Edoba and the pilgrim enter the chamber, the two monks who stand guard at the door step in to follow them.

It is at the point that they turn that Flaming notices the glint of daggers tucked into their belts. No ordinary daggers do they seem to be, but jagged, wicked looking. It doesn't take much of a magic sense to pick up on the evil, ominous aura that they contain – the kind that weapons pick up when they've been used for evil many times over.

Nobody notices any of what you've done, besides Rus and Volkama.
>"What shall we do?" Rus whispers, leaning in.

Though the Conductress may have been fine with the hug, the head pat puts a little dent in her witch hat, and she takes it off with a huff and props it back up.

Yadala hops into the Breezie Ring with you, and with a low annoyed growl, she raises her paw. "You keep saying my name wrong, it's pronounced–

A flash of light and a whooshing of air cut her off as the Breezie Ring's magic takes effect. The area around you vanishes into the light, and colors and sensations wash over you like waves in the ocean, at once disorienting and beautiful.

After a while, the light fades, and you and Yadala are in another grand garden, one that puts to shame the one you were in earlier. You are in the midst of a vast grove, full of plants both small and gargantuan. Flowering bushes gather by your hooves, while fruit-bearing trees lean over you from above. Most of the colors are red and orange, with the occasional patch of Dove Orchids. You realize it is quite similar to the garden you saw all the way outside of the Library.

It's not clear where you ought to go from here. The garden is vast on all sides, and seems to stretch on for quite some distance. A dirt path lies before you, heading both north and south as it runs through the grove.


"You know how Summoners call forth a monster or a spirit to serve them, then they dismiss it once they're all done?" Tian begins. "A Beast-Master does sort of the same thing, but with only a single monster. It's a more specialized form of Summoning. You can't access any monsters except those with which you've made a Bond, but you have a more in-depth relationship with your monster."
"Dad kept a Spirit-Master on board to help deal with any magic users we caught while searching for slaves to sell," Spitshine explains. "Spirit-Mastery's sort of the same thing, but with a Spirit that you have a Pact with, rather than a monster with a Bond."

Sugar waits some distance behind you, silently watching Tian and Fluffs. It occurs to you that she did nothing while you were being attacked.

Tian pats Fluffs' head. "He's a Geckat. My dad got his egg from a trader called Camelzotz about a month back. I've tried to tame him, but every now and again we have an episode like this. Sorry about that. Is there anything I can do to make up for it?"



Amy immediately follows the dirt path north. They've been going up a tower, and north is up, right?

'1d10' for north being up!

"What were you saying before we teleported, Squadalah?" Amy asks as she trots along the path, taking in the scenery.

Roll #1 8 = 8


Shei-Sher looks to Rus-Tea and thinks for a moment while keeping his eyes on the person he planted the seal on. Shei speaks to her in a whisper ("keep yourself near that woman, but not too close. Keep one pony a distance away from her. We will wait until she naturally comes back to the person she has been closest with here. Then I will have her say somethng about finding bodies in the monastary. When you see that she is finished speaking approach her and the person she is talking to and mention that you had seen a large bone in the fire pit in the monastary. You thought nothing of it, but bring their minds to the northern monk who had been watching the fireplace the moment they arrived there.")

Shei-Sher waits for the pony to get close to a love one and then evokes the seal
>CONTROL+1: Spell, attempts to take control of a hostile or neutral undead. More powerful undead may require a higher minimum roll. Also used to take control of a larger undead at recharge 2.

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


AS Flaming observes the pilgrim up close, her eyes open wide, looking at him as he steps up into the chamber, her head filling with possibilities as she quickly darts between him, and the newly suspicious monks that follow Edoba into the chamber. She starts sweating up a storm, mind racing as she tries to decide what to do, what the right course of action is.

She moves to follow within, shouting at the top of her lung, "Wait! Edoba!" She cries, trying to keep the group from entering in too far as she keeps a close eye on both monks and the pilgrim faking his illness.
1d10[ 1d10 = 5 ] Perception
"I… I think your two guards should stay out here instead."

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


Pryce follows up the stairs as Edoba and the monks enter, trailing just far enough behind to not be seen. While they enter the chamber, Pryce remains outside to glance around the area outside of the chamber, to see ways in and out of this floor, as well as if anything is hidden.
>Perception '1d10'

>"So it's like having a pet, but better?"
KP questions, trying to follow along.
>"You can have Spirits for pets?"
He questions to Spitshine, surprised at hearing of a Spirit-Master.

>"Oh hey, we've met Camelzotz too!"

KP looks at Fluffs, still a bit wary, but relieved it wasn't a wild monster. As Tians asks if there's anything he can do, KP thinks a moment.
>"Do you know any place in town that sells pet toys?"

He looks over at Sugar as she remains far back.
>"Hey! It's all fine now!"
He shouts over to her.

Roll #1 7 = 7


File: 1565325841494.jpg (2.16 MB, 1600x1200, 1556673730728.jpg)

Yadala opens her mouth, but sighs. "…Just that I like my new nickname."

It is for quite a while that you navigate the grove, but you notice something shortly after you start traversing the dirt path. There is precious little sound in the garden. High stone walls can be seen on the distant horizons between trees, and the roof is open to let in the sun and wind and elements, but there is no chatter of birds or woodland mammals or even insects. You, Yadala and the myriad plants are the only signs of life.


After what feels like a long time, you spy some houses and huts made of toadstools and some even carved into the sides of great trees, but you see nobody within them, even though they are replete with furniture and all the necessities of home living. In fact, you come across practically a whole village of such houses, but all are empty.

Yadala leaps with surprise when she spies a bit of movement from the corner of her eye, but it turns out to be a featureless figure, like a mobile mannequin. The mannequin has witches' clothing on, and it tends to some of the flowers nearby, moving in a very stiff robotic fashion. It shows no sign of noticing your presence, or any other signs of intelligence. Any attempts to communicate with it or interrupt its routine prove fruitless, met with no response.

You see a few more like it, some distance up the dirt road which continues north out of town. These doll-like automata simply run through automatic processes, tending to various plants or performing facsimiles of household activities, such as cleaning laundry or chopping wood. Yadala stays close to you, clearly unnerved.


Edoba looks back at Flaming, but offers no response. He nods at the two monks beside him, and they pause, turning back to face the two of you. They stand in front of the doorway, blocking your view. But Pryce, who is off to the side, hidden with his spell, can see that in the chamber beyond, bare except for a shrine at the back, there is a deep dark red stain on the floor. The pilgrim reacts to the sight of the blood, but in a way that seems quite surprising. Instead of a grimace or a look of fear, the pilgrim simply smirks.

The doors shut behind Edoba. The monks both glare at you, silently telling you to get back down to the fourth floor.

>Rus rubs her hands together, then as you instructed, moves into position. Volkama looks your way, eyebrow raised to ask what he might do to help.

>Your roll succeeded, feel free to act out the scene and assume Rus complies.


"Only if you're skilled enough to tame them," Spitshine answers.

Sugar approaches, but doesn't take her eye of Tian or Fluffs, which drastically intimidates the young colt. He tries to get over it by looking back to you. "Actually, my dad's shop does. It has a few things for just about every kind of Summoner. If you're not busy, I can show you the way. He normally closes in about an hour, but he might be willing to stay open a little while if I explain the situation."

Tian turns back toward town, and tugs on the reluctant Fluffs, who lays sprawled across the ground as cats are wont to do when equipped with a collar and leash.



Amy grins at Yadala's response without looking directly at her, still taking in the scenery. "I have no idea what you mean," she says coyly.

Later, as they encounter the "living" mannequins, Amy frowns. "They're like angels," she says with a bit of a grimace. "I don't like angels…"

Amy continues north along the road. Though, she is no longer trotting.


The Deer Shei affixed the seal to appears quite pale as she sits near loved one(s). After somebody tries to comfort her she speaks up "There were two bodies… A mother and her child…" She bites her lip while gripping her robes tight "In the compost heap. I saw it but didn't want to believe and just hearing that monk speak- it can't true- It can't." Shei speaks hushed down, as to only address the people next to her. Her voice is choked as if she is about to swell up with tears. She stops speaking. Rus-Tea's signal to step in.


Flaming looks to the two monks after the door closes, her glare turning to one of steely determination as she eyes their jagged, evil looking daggers once again, letting out a sigh.

"Alright… I'm not one to beat around the bush. I can't afford to do that with so many sick anyways. I go right that bush to get to where I need to be. So I'm going to be straight: you two AREN'T with this order. Which means you're probably with the Kunoichi. Where is she?"
1d10[ 1d10 = 10 ] Intimidation.

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


"W-were you doing that on purpose!?" Yadala exclaims, pointing accusingly at you. But, the presence of the strange mannequins causes her to drop the issue and follow along closely beside you.

A little while after passing through the village, you notice something further about the grove. The grass blades do not rustle, nor do the leaves fall from their branches, despite the colors being red and orange and brown. Nor do you see any leaves laying on the path, or any other signs of changing seasons or the natural entropy that one might see in a forest. It is as though the forest were crystallized in its present form, unchanging, unmoving.

A little while after passing through the village, you reach the crest of a hill, overlooking a small valley. Immediately you see a colossal figure laying in the valley: A massive sphinx, as tall as a castle or church, and about the same length, and with the head of a pony. She is clothed in a dark gown, her hair flowing long and down along the sides and back, with an amulet shaped like the sun intertwined with the moon. She sits before a rounded lake, and within the surface of the lake, you see the events befalling the rest of your party, as seen from a bird's eye view. Different areas within the lake, separated by circles of rocks, show the scene from different angles, and different characters. The sphinx is surrounded by a magic circle, and a number of immobile mannequins lay beside her. Quite a few look like your allies, although they are clearly mannequins and not the real people.

A series of different-sided dice lay in front of the sphinx, as do a curling, snake-shaped staff.


Pryce's eyes widen as he sees the stain on the floor. While they have admitted it is a heart that the pilgrim's are there to see, a saint's heart in a shrine would not leave an unclean mess in such a manner. He doesn't have much time left in his shroud, so he steps off to the side of the shrine behind the guard monks. His horn glows lightly as he tries to open the doors, hoping the confusion might give him a few seconds to slip on by.
>Telekinesis '1d10'

>"Wow, the pony your dad kept around must've been skilled."

>"Really? He owns a whole shop around this stuff?! Yea let's head on over!"

KP says, excited at the idea of a summoner store, appearing to have forgotten all about the attack.

Roll #1 9 = 9


'1d10' acting roll

Roll #1 2 = 2


At the moment that Flaming confronts the monks, the two look at each other, before stepping forward, clearly intending not to answer her but to forcibly remove her from the room. But, the moment that they leave the door, Pryce slides it open with magic, revealing the blood-stained room. Inside, Edoba stands behind the rickshaw pilgrim with his knife drawn. The pilgrim takes no notice, and is bowing before the shrine, whose central figure is a sealed glass box, covered with a velvet cloth. The pilgrim's rickshaw sits beside him, and Edoba creeps up toward the pilgrim, reaching for his shoulder, knife raised to strike!

The two guards, shocked by the sudden opening of the door, don't make any attempt to apprehend Flaming or Pryce.

>Rus, raising her head with alarm, looks over at the possessed doe. "You know, I did spy a bone in the fire pit earlier. Thought it was just a log at first, or perhaps just some animal offal… though there was a monk who was watching the fire keenly earlier."
Some of the crowd look unconvinced, and baffled by the talk, even as alarming as the content may be.
>Volkama mutters a curse and approaches. "Y-you can't be serious… I wasn't the only one? But you know, those corpses…" He lowers his voice to a stage whisper. "They didn't have the symptoms of the plague. They wouldn't have died from it. There's no way they could have."

1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 10 ] Rus and Volkama act it up

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



Amy quietly walks up next to the sphinx and sits down beside her. She passively observes the game with a simple smile on her face.


File: 1565328364174.jpg (303.2 KB, 794x1000, 1547325395438.jpg)

Tian tugs gently on Fluffs until the Geckat finally gives in and decides to plod along, sneaking glances at you all the while. Sugar just glares at it, but Spitshine seems a lot more interested, chatting occasionally about how these Masters do combat with their specialized partner.

Eventually, Tian leads you back through town, to the southern end of the market district, which is incidentally near where most of the celebrations for St. Providence's Tutelage took place.


He leads you to a homely-looking shop made of brick and mortar, packed full of magical oddities. Crystal balls, grimoires, satchels, potions, runestones and statuettes of fantastical monsters and various towers and castles. Behind the counter, nose deep in a book, sits Sansebas, who looks up with recognition once you enter. "Tian! Back so soon?"

"Things didn't go so well, pop."

"Are you at least learning from what goes wrong?" Sansebas asks.

"Yeah, pop, but this time I kind of got some other people involved," he says, gesturing at your group.


Flaming looks on at the open door as it parts suddenly, and all of her attention is brought to Edoba as he raises a knife ready to stab the pilgrim. Flaming is in shock at first, not sure of what could be possessing Edoba to do this, and all the more unsure if she should stop him or not given he was faking his injuries, but at her core, the samoorai knows a knife in the back is no way to fight anyone. MUCH less for a noble monk. She charges through the door, ready to full on tackle Edoba,

"Stop right there!" She shouts at the head monk, jumping up to knock the blade from his hoof by ramming her helmed head into it
1d10+3[ 1d10+3 = 6 ] All or Nothing

Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11 / Roll #2 7 + 3 = 10


Pryce looks into the shine in shock as Edoba raises the dagger, poised to strike at the bowing pilgrim. Pryce, his song of invisibility ending, steps into the shrine as his horn glows bright to pull the dagger from Edoba without a word to catch the mon kby surprise.
>Telekinesis grab '1d10'

KP steps inside the shop, looking around with wide eyes, setting Hopper on his head so the frog can see the wares freely as well.
>"Yea! We heard you have all kinds of cool pet stuff!"
He says excitedly as he looks around and picks up all kinds of various objects as a kid would.

Roll #1 8 = 8


Shei-Sher looks at the debacle, feigning curiosity. He tries to appear somewhat disinterested.

He controls the deer to begin crying and covering her mouth.
And then Shei-Sher dispells her entire being. Intended to appear as though she spontaneously died.
>SPELLBREAKER: recharge 2 (minus 1), spell, ranged; nullify a spell or magic effect
>wondering if talent bonus applies sense I'm in control of the deer

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5



I look over at you, gesturing to the visions dancing upon the lake. Within, you see the story that I have put your allies into nearing a dramatic turning point, and what very well may be the climax. You can see Flaming and Pryce in one circle of the lake, and Shei, Volkama and Rus Tea in another. The action is concentrated around Pryce and Flaming, who are charging into battle. I reach for the dice, and scoop them up into my paw. I give them a good shake then toss them clattering across a stretch of nice even dirt nearby.

"Would you care to be in the next one?" I ask. "I've already set up the players and props for this adventure. It would be awkward to change them out mid-play."


Flaming knocks the dagger from Edoba's grasp, eliciting a shout of surprise from the monk, and Pryce steals it away. A dark weight settles into his hoof as he takes the knife, and he can feel the cold dread of its evil presence as he takes ahold of it.

Edoba turns and snarls, wasting no time as he starts charging a spell with his horns. Many dark points start accumulating around his horns.

'1d10+3' Storm Bolt

The two monks charge in, daggers drawn as they lunge for Flaming and Pryce from behind, but from underneath the rickshaw, two figures spring up. The first appears to be a treasure chest with legs, and the second is a hooded pegasus mare in a slender and short kimono, with a wakizashi at her side.

'1d10+2' Monk 1 attacks Flaming with Backstab
'1d10+2' Monk 2 attacks Pryce with Sleep Serum

The treasure chest's lid pops open, and a long slim tongue pokes out, holding a massive pistol!

'1d10+1' Marksman Shot on Monk 1

The pegasus mare slashes at Monk 2!

'1d10+4' Shatter on Monk 2

The pilgrim finishes praying in front of the shrine, then with a smile, gets up and runs for the box, snatching it up with pink wires that flow from his hoof.

Most of the nearby people start to turn away from the awful acting, simply deciding that the four are hysterical with paranoia. It's not until the doe just drops dead out of nowhere that you get their attention. Both Rus and Volkama leap back with genuine surprise.

"The Plague!" one of the bystanders shouts with alarm, "It got her!"

A commotion starts to rise among the pilgrims, who start backing away from one another, especially from the sickly, shouting and arguing with confusion.

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #3 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #4 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #5 5 + 4 = 9


Hopper croaks with contentment, seeming to enjoy the atmosphere of the summoner's shop more than anything else. You pick up on some incense in the air that might be the cause. Sansebas comes out from around the corner as you start to handle the more delicate figurines, and gently removes them from your grasp in such a way that doesn't feel demeaning… somehow.

"I certainly do, but if you please, I don't really want to have to charge you for anything you don't want to buy. A lot of it is quite delicate," Sansebas says. He tousles Tian's hair. "Was there something you were looking for in particular?"

Tian starts to head for the back with Fluffs, and shortly afterward you hear some rustling with jars and tins and barrels as he fishes for food.


Underneath the blanket on the rickshaw*


'1d10' Huge

As Edoba charges up his magic and the monks attack with their knives, Flaming turns about, looking about for her best avenue for attack before the figures spring up from beneath the sheat. As the treasure chest shoots out, Flaming's eyes open wide, IMMEDIATELY recognizing Box in his new role, but keeps her muzzle shut, not looking to break the immersion yet. She concentrates on Edoba first, planning to knock him out cold as she drives her kabuto-helm into his antler, locking horns

"Okay, I want answers: a real monk would never stab a unsuspecting person in the back like a coward! So who are you really?!"
'1d10+3' All or Nothing on Edoba

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 2 + 3 = 5


Pryce feels the dark aura from teh dagger as he holds it in his hoof. A momentary flash goes through his head as he wonders if this knife corrupted Edoba, or maybe it's a trick of Regina's. But the showy flash of the figures springing up break his mind from that, as well as the monks charging in to retaliate on their intrusion.
Pryce tucks the dagger in his cloak, and with a tug of telekinesis pulls the serpentskin's hood over his head.
[I hope you're as protective as Shei said]
He thinks, turning as the pilgrim that was about to be stabbed makes a run for the box.
"Flaming, get the other two and calls the others! I'll go after Kunoichi!"
He shouts to the buffalo, horn glowing white as he sees the monk's pile towards her to give her time to stall.
>Prayer for Deliverance [Flaming] '1d10+1'
He turns, pulling his Kusarigama from his cloak as it glows bright, swinging the chain out to the pilgrim to tie around them to hold them in place.
>Chain [Fire, DC5+, CritFails 2-, Crits 9+] '1d10+3'
"You're not going anywhere thief!"

KP looks up as Sansebas plucks the figurines from his hooves, though he doesn't feel insulted or demeaned in the slightest.
>"Well we were looking for toys for our pets, but then Tian told us about that cool Beast-Mastery stuff, so I wanna try something with that!"

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #2 7 + 3 = 10



Amy chuckles lightly. "You're so nice," she responds with a smile up at Regina. "Of course I wouldn't want to mess up a game at it's most exciting! Of course, I'd like to play later. But, I think we shouldn't spend too much more time here. We have somewhere important to be…"

Then, Amy looks down at the lake again and frowns. "I hope it goes this well. I hope we can win like in a fantastic story. I-" Amy starts tearing up. She is surprised to see her own tears.

"I-I'm sorry," she stammers as she wipes her eyes. She looks back up at Regina. "I think there's something wrong with me. My head's not quite right. I guess there ARE two of me in there," she laughs weakly.

"I think that's why I reacted so badly to your game before. I really AM sorry about that. A part of me is so scared of being trapped. I've been trapped for so long. Trapped inside my own head. Trapped inside Tartarus. I don't like being held against my will. It freaked me out. I-if you just asked first-" Amy cuts herself off.

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to tell you what to do. I know you probably don't like that either."

Amy looks back at the game. "It really IS a nice game, though. They ARE having fun, right?"

'1d10' with compassion to subtly get Regina to open up and maybe be less forceful about things

Roll #1 4 = 4


Shei-Sher unravels his robe and walks towards the fallen doe. He begins carefully wrapping his robe to cover the entirety of the dead doe's body and looks to Volkama "Come now, we must burn the body before it can spread. Now help me lift."

'1d10' to inspire fear and outrage

Roll #1 4 = 4


Sansebas laughs, but in a very fatherly way, that, much like the earlier removal of the delicate figures from your grasp, isn't condescending. He examines Hopper for a moment. "A frog is a classic choice, but not very common these days. Everyone wants the Bond with the strongest monster they can come across, not considering if they can care for it well. So, tell me, what can you and your frog do already? And what would you want to do as his Beast-Master?"

>Pause, reply if desired


Edoba dodges your charges, kicking you in the side as you approach, and Monk 1 stabs into the back of your armor between the layered plates, but still you remain standing.

>Flaming 1/7

"What a trusting soul," Edoba growls. "You misunderstand. The Heart can heal all wounds and afflictions as the stories say, but everything, even miracles, has its price. Blood for blood. Health for health. Life for life. I do what I must! If some who have come to this hall must perish so that the others may live, then so be it… I'll gladly sacrifice them!"

Monk 2 stabs you with a poisoned dagger, leaving you feeling slightly woozy, but you feel power flow into the Snakeskin Cloak, and the cloak crawls with a slithering presence.

>Pryce 7/6

>3 Hits and half-sleep serum effects* stored in the Cloak
>-1 to your next turn's rolls*

You fling your chain around the pilgrim, but shortly after, you hear a popping sound and a puff of smoke obscures the pilgrim. In their place appears a log, and another figure appears a short distance nearby. It's a changeling mare with a glasgow smile, wearing a rather revealing kimono much like the pegasus with the wakizashi, and a black bodysuit underneath that only covers down to her thighs and forearms. With a grin, the changeling sticks her tongue out, and darts for the door, leaving behind a trail of pink wire that flows from her horn and the holes in her legs.


"THE HEART!" Edoba snarls. "Don't let her leave with the Heart!"

Monks 1 and 2 chase after the Kunoichi, but the Mourning-Blade cuts down Monk 2 swiftly. Edoba turns and fires his dark magic at the Mourning-Blade, which knocks her against the far wall.

Edoba charges up more magic, firing it at the Kunoichi.

'1d10+3' Magic Bolt

The Treasure-Chest reloads his pistol after his missed shot, firing again at Monk 1

'1d10+1' Repeating Fire

Monk 1 tries to stab Flaming again


As you and Volkama pick up the corpse, you hear an awful commotion coming from above, lots of clattering and shouting and violence, and much running too. The monks on the fourth floor approach the crowd to try to calm them down, but seeing you handle the body only makes things worse. Shouting starts to overlap among them, and there is quite a bit of shoving, arguing and panic boiling up as fear of the Plague only gets worse.

I simply observe you for a time, taking in all aspects of your anxiety, your fears, your sadness. I roll the dice once more, as that is my role in this. The scene continues as battle breaks out, your allies fighting against my Replicas, and against those allies of yours I picked to fill other roles. I reflect on what I have said and done to them til now.

Fun? Since when was that ever a concern? I want results. I want data. I want to know what they will resort to. What they are capable of. How they can face her when pushed against a wall.

Still… earlier, I…

"I certainly think they are. They seemed to like the treasure they got earlier. Oh, once this is all done, I can put together a treasure hunt too. Something with less violence. The violence is always the most tricky part. So many factors to take care of. So little precious time to analyze all the pieces when they are in motion."

>Pause, reply if desired

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #4 10 + 2 = 12


Last time, on my Quest…

The story of One Last Job finally reached its climax, when Edoba allowed one of the pilgrims, a sickly buck who had been carrying his dying sister on a rickshaw to the monastery and all the way up through the pagoda, into the Heart-Chamber. Edoba had attempted to only allow the pilgrim in by himself, and with a quick stolen glance, Flaming and Pryce found out why. Just as the doors were to be sealed, Edoba attempted to stab the pilgrim from behind with a wicked-looking ritual dagger while the pilgrim prayed before Avhra, the Saint's Pure Heart. Flaming and Pryce quickly intervened, starting a battle on the fifth floor, while Shei, having had his suspicions of Edoba for a while, started a panic among the remaining pilgrims by causing one of them to seemingly drop dead.

As things started to heat up, the sickly pilgrim revealed himself to be no buck at all, but rather the changeling Kunoichi! And, from underneath the blanket upon "his" rickshaw sprang up a living treasure chest with legs, and a pegasus mare with a short kimono and a wakizashi – they were none other than the Treasure-Chest and Mourning-Blade. The Kunoichi and her thieves had infiltrated the building not as burglars, but as simple beggars and pilgrims hiding among the greater group.


Meanwhile, KP met Tian, son of Sansebas, when Tian's pet gecko-bobcat (a Geckat) pounced on him, Spitshine and Sugar. In hindsight, the attack wasn't so dangerous, since the cat seemed more interested in play than anything else, but nonetheless, Tian was highly apologetic, and reined in Fluffs as soon as he showed up. A short conversation revealed that Sansebas ran a summoner's shop in Fantasia. It wasn't exactly what Spitshine, Sugar and KP had wanted earlier, but it was a fortuitous meeting anyway. They went over to Sansebas' shop, a cozy cottage of magical wares that had a focus on Beast-Mastery magic, a subcategory of Summoning that focused on forming a Bond between the Summoner and a single monster, instead of freely summoning any monster like the other categories.

Because Sansebas was already acquainted with the Saviors from helping with the immediate fallout of Metatron's attack after they escaped to Fantasia via Dark Corridor, he was more than happy to help KP get his start with Beast-Mastery.


Journeying through my tower in the Library of the Sacrosanct, Amy met the Musies, a group of Breezies who channeled their Witchcraft and magical trickery through music. She got through for a song – quite literally, that is. She got on their good side just by playing a bawdy bit of tavern-music. I don't understand why these Witches don't understand the first thing about security, letting themselves be so easily courted. We've got an image to keep! But, I digress.

It was those Musies who, in exchange for the music for their little feast, or whatever, allowed Amy to use their Breezie-ring to teleport right into my domain, the garden I have atop the Library's highest tower. What shall come of our meeting is yet to be seen…


Edoba dodges your charges, kicking you in the side as you approach, and Monk 1 stabs into the back of your armor between the layered plates, but still you remain standing.

>Flaming 1/7

"What a trusting soul," Edoba growls. "You misunderstand. The Heart can heal all wounds and afflictions as the stories say, but everything, even miracles, has its price. Blood for blood. Health for health. Life for life. I do what I must! If some who have come to this hall must perish so that the others may live, then so be it… I'll gladly sacrifice them!"

>Pryce, Flaming

Monk 2 stabs you with a poisoned dagger, leaving you feeling slightly woozy, but you feel power flow into the Snakeskin Cloak, and the cloak crawls with a slithering presence.

>Pryce 7/6

>3 Hits and half-sleep serum effects* stored in the Cloak
>-1 to your next turn's rolls*

You fling your chain around the pilgrim, but shortly after, you hear a popping sound and a puff of smoke obscures the pilgrim. In their place appears a log, and another figure appears a short distance nearby. It's a changeling mare with a glasgow smile, wearing a rather revealing kimono much like the pegasus with the wakizashi, and a black bodysuit underneath that only covers down to her thighs and forearms. With a grin, the changeling sticks her tongue out, and darts for the door, leaving behind a trail of pink wire that flows from her horn and the holes in her legs.

1d10+2: 7

"THE HEART!" Edoba snarls. "Don't let her leave with the Heart!"

Monks 1 and 2 chase after the Kunoichi, but the Mourning-Blade cuts down Monk 2 swiftly. Edoba turns and fires his dark magic at the Mourning-Blade, which knocks her against the far wall.

Edoba charges up more magic, firing it at the Kunoichi.

1d10+3: 11 Magic Bolt

The Treasure-Chest reloads his pistol after his missed shot, firing again at Monk 1

1d10+1: 5 Repeating Fire

Monk 1 tries to stab Flaming again

1d10+2: 12 Basic attack


As you and Volkama pick up the corpse, you hear an awful commotion coming from above, lots of clattering and shouting and violence, and much running too. The monks on the fourth floor approach the crowd to try to calm them down, but seeing you handle the body only makes things worse. Shouting starts to overlap among them, and there is quite a bit of shoving, arguing and panic boiling up as fear of the Plague only gets worse.


I simply observe you for a time, taking in all aspects of your anxiety, your fears, your sadness. I roll the dice once more, as that is my role in this. The scene continues as battle breaks out, your allies fighting against my Replicas, and against those allies of yours I picked to fill other roles. I reflect on what I have said and done to them til now.

Fun? Since when was that ever a concern? I want results. I want data. I want to know what they will resort to. What they are capable of. How they can face her when pushed against a wall.
[i]Still… earlier, I…

"I certainly think they are. They seemed to like the treasure they got earlier. Oh, once this is all done, I can put together a treasure hunt too. Something with less violence. The violence is always the most tricky part. So many factors to take care of. So little precious time to analyze all the pieces when they are in motion."


Sansebas laughs, but in a very fatherly way, that, much like the earlier removal of the delicate figures from your grasp, isn't condescending. He examines Hopper for a moment. "A frog is a classic choice, but not very common these days. Everyone wants the Bond with the strongest monster they can come across, not considering if they can care for it well. So, tell me, what can you and your frog do already? And what would you want to do as his Beast-Master?"


You and Vice both strike Estuary's Memory square in the chest, knocking him a short distance back, but in a single flowing motion, almost like a dance, he takes control of the momentum generated by your punch, transferring it through his body until it circulates back up into his hoof that is curved like a knife.

Continuing that single motion, Estuary's Memory cuts into you, and the motion is so smooth that it is like a wave falls upon you in the ocean. Vice narrowly avoids another strike, remaining standing for now.

>You lose 5 Hits and 1 Wound

Estuary slithers back around behind you, following through on his slithering move. "Not bad… you're direct. You also don't run your mouth in a fight like a certain someone else."

Turning his back, he starts to slither over slowly to where his swords wait.


>Kusarigama: Fire Element; Single + Great Tags; +3 Modifier
>Snakeskin Cloak: 3 Hits, -1 to rolls next turn
>H/W: 7/6

Pryce pulls his chain back in surprise at the puff of smoke, scanning around for where Wireframe vanished too. He spots her with the Heart, though averts his gaze as she's dressed as Rus was before. He spreads his wings to dart after her, though does go slow enough to let her get past the door to gain some distance from Edoba.
"You're not going anywhere Kunoichi!"
Pryce calls out as he flies after her.
>Flight '1d10-1'
In his dash, he hums his song of protection to prepare for the chase.
>Hymn of the Cedar-Tree Shrine '1d10-1'

>"Yea, we already have a deviljho and some other pets. They're cool, but Hopper is really great!"
KP picks up Hopper and sets him on a nearby counter.
>"He knows one magic trick so far, watch!"
KP says, handing a bit to Hopper so he can do his coin trick that Zjetya taught him.

>"Uh… I'm not sure. I only just heard of this Beast-Master stuff. What can they do?"

Roll #1 6 - 1 = 5 / Roll #2 2 - 1 = 1


Hopper starts breathing a little faster when you put him on the counter. Everyone looks at him with expectant gazes, and he looks between them all very uncertainly. He looks down at the coin, and…


Roll #1 9 = 9



"Important things usually ARE tricky," Amy nods.

"Like what we're about to do… I'm guessing you already know? You seem like you know everything. Do… do you think it's a good idea?"


"What?!" Flaming shouts out in shock as Edoba explains the nature of the Heart, "It… it requires a sacrifice?! When were you going to tell them!?" She shouts angrily, backing off as her armor clatters. "Those deer out there… they came in here expecting a miracle!"

As the changeling mare 'poofs' out of the chains, Flaming pauses to herself, looking around the pegasus, chest, and changeling they're confronted with. "Think we found more than just a few of our friends…"

"Pryce! You get Wir… er, Kunoichi! I'll handle Edoba!"
She shouts, running towards Edoba to knock him out with a precise blow from her helmed horns to his antlers
1d10+3[ 1d10+3 = 12 ] All or Nothing!
1d10[ 1d10 = 1 ] Mantra of Recovery, aimed at Monk 1

Roll #1 2 + 3 = 5 / Roll #2 5 + 3 = 8 / Roll #3 7 = 7 / Roll #4 7 = 7


Picks up the the body with Volkama, before moving anywhere Shei tilts his head at Volkama, turning his eyes to the body and then to the two guards. Shei lightly swings the body's weight to convey the message and slowly nods to Volkama to see if he gets what he's saying.

Then Shei-Sher says, as if he lets it slip out within earshot of the refugees "If they don't make it quieter upstairs, we'll have a riot on our hooves."
'1d10' to cause hysteria

Roll #1 3 = 3


I smile, twirling dice between my claws, while battle unfolds before you in the reflection of the lake. "You would be surprised. I don't know everything. I only know what I know. There was once a time when I indeed attempted to uncover knowledge vastly beyond my grasp, beyond the grasp of any being, Witch, mortal, or otherwise. Thankfully, I failed – but that is a story for some other time. I find it a relief, actually. There's a challenge to not knowing everything. It gives me room to experiment, to build a more convincing Replicant from what I scried out and what I must piece together through guesswork. If I were to know everything, there would be no point to my games. No point to my laboratory here. No point to any of this.

I pause.

"But, I do know the Witch you are working with – and I know the other Witches she's working with, too. And if I know them, then I have a pretty good idea of what lies before you. Tell me, before I talk your ear off: What do YOU think lies ahead of you?"

I throw the next dice as the scene in the waters below continues to unfold.

"And a miracle they shall have!" Edoba argues. "Those I cannot save, I will not. Those I can, I shall, no matter the cost."

He grins. "Of course, the physician must heal himself before he can tend to the sick. I expose myself to the plague by bringing in the sick here. My monks and I will need to be healed first – and my shinobi too. How many came here? Sixteen, seventeen pilgrims? So, the last few… oh, three or four pilgrims… at least I shall save them too."


Edoba side-steps Flaming and fires his magic at the Kunoichi, but his stream of dark bolts is intercepted by the pink wires, tearing them into little dark shreds which fade away on the winds. Flaming is then stabbed in the side, falling to the ground. But she catches herself on one knee, shakily getting back up after stealing some health from one of the monks.

>Flaming 2/6

The Kunoichi bolts down the stairs to the fourth floor, with Pryce, exhausted though he is, hot on her tail. The pilgrims around Shei gasp with surprise seeing her fly down the stairs, and the tense air that Shei created with the doe's fake "death" starts to hit a fever pitch. The pilgrims gasp and shout, backing away from the staircases.

The Kunoichi smirks, looking back over her shoulder at Pryce. Pink wires start to fly from her horn, spreading throughout the room.


Edoba turns his eyes to the ceiling, and fires several black orbs from his horns at it.

>Spell Resonance

Upstairs, you hear the screams of Monks 1 and 2, as well as gunfire and the swings of a wakizashi.

>Volkama and Rus look at Shei, shaking their heads with disappointment. "No point in keeping up the charade now, is there?" Rus asks.

>Volkama turns to the Kunoichi, charging up his Bubble spell.


Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #2 4 + 4 = 8


Hopper sticks his hand under the coin, flipping it up into the air. He makes a domineering croak, and in a pop of light, the coin winks out of existence. Hopper appears greatly relieved when it does, and the audience offers him light applause. Tian starts passing around apple slices for everyone.

"To answer your question, it depends on the Master and his Beast," Sansebas says. "Some support each other equally, while in other relationships, the Master takes on a supportive role, while the Beast does most of the fighting, or vice versa. Of course, it's not limited to just combat. The general rule is that Beast-Mastery amplifies what the Beast and Master are already gifted at and capable of doing, or things that they might have natural aptitude for but aren't necessarily trained in. If either party learns new abilities, it's limited to one party learning skills within the other's forte.

"So, to be more specific, note how your Hopper was able to make that coin disappear. Frogs don't normally do coin tricks, do they? But you and your older counterpart are normally stage magicians. So, those kinds of tricks would fall in your domain, and thus Hopper here learned it. I imagine that you or Pryce already taught him that trick?"


"ba-a-ah! fair enough!" As soon as Volkama loses grip to charge his bubble spell the body to charge his bubble, Shei swings the the body round, out of Volkama's hooves, with enough inertia Shei lets go to throw the dead body at the kunoichi, hopefully taking her off balance.


Roll #1 5 = 5


"Next time we do something like this, remind me of how horrible we are at acting." Shei says aloud to Rus and Volkama.


Flow decides to take the initiative after being sliced, and motions at Vice, who nods.
The goo clone charges after Estuary, while Flow goes for his own weapons, as well as placing a hoof on the Inheritance to bring Trapper out.
1d10[ 1d10 = 2 ]

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



Amy lets out a long sigh. "I wish I DID know everything right now… I have no idea what's going to happen. So many people want so many things. And, so many people don't want us to win. I mean, I know the plan isn't perfect, but it's the best plan anyone has! I know Shei is probably going to do something bad. But, I know it will probably be good…"

Amy groans. "Everything's so hard and complicated! I wish we had some perfect answer! I wish we could just turn all the demons back to normal! Then, there'd be no problems!"

"But then, what would happen to me?" Amy goes on, rubbing her head in frustrated thought. "I'm still not totally whole. If we fixed demons, where would the other half of me go? If I mix completely, what would happen to me then?"

Amy groans again. "It's all so hard!"


Flaming lets out a gasp of pain as she's stabbed in the side, her horns glowing a white hue as she absorbs vitality from one of the other monks, catching herself as she falls to the side. She leers up at Edoba, growling angrily, "You… you JERK! They come flocking to you for aide, you know the price, and you would keep it from them? Worse, sucker them into taking your cure only to sacrifice them and save your own hide?! They deserve the truth!"

As he prepares to launch his magic towards the ceiling, she charges at him, aiming for his gut so as to throw his aim off.

>Aiming Charge at Edoba
>All or Nothing

Roll #1 2 + 5 = 7


Pryce zips down after the Kunoichi, gliding close behind as he chases the fleeing changeling. As she spreads out her wires when they reach the fourth floor, Pryce flings out the blade of his Kusarigama to weave through them and hook around her.
"Nice try, but I know all your tricks."
>Hook [Fire, DC5, Crits 9+, CritFails 2-] '1d10+3'

KP stomps his hooves in applause as Hopper poofs the bit away.
>"See, told you he was amazing!"
KP says as he scoops Hopper up and places him back on his head. When Tian passes around apple slices, KP takes one in his telekinesis to munch on, and one for Hopper as well.

>"Well, it was actually Zjetya who taught it too him. She has this other cool trick that I thought it'd be amazing for Hopper, but I guess he'll need to train more for that."

He thinks on the details of Beast-mastery a moment.
>"So Hopper will be able to pick up all kinds of tricks and stuff? That'd be great! We could be a magic duo!"
He says with excitement.

Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10


'1d10' Dodge!

Roll #1 4 = 4


>Dodge '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8


>Goatcraft: passive; Min -1 for all climbing and agility rolls, and can use anything as food, including non-food items

'1d10' dodge

Roll #1 2 = 2


>"Speak for yourself!" Rus laughs. "I thought I sold it very well, I was just given a shoddy script!"

Edoba simply stomps onto your back, knocking you to the ground. Bile and air explode from your mouth, and you feel pain shoot up through your body, spewing from the impact site. Another shock follows the impact, greatly amplifying the damage after the fact. A magical energy that is not Edoba's spreads through you, gripping and dancing on your nerve endings.

>Flaming 0/4

Edoba looks around at the shocked pilgrims, clicking his tongue now that the battle has come down to the fourth floor into the eyes of the public. "There's no reasoning with the unbelievers. I am a humble slave of the Heart! I am the Blood of the Saint! Away with you, thief!"

"Thief! Thief!" the pilgrims start to shout in confusion, readily believing whatever they hear in the panic.

The Kunoichi bolts for the staircase, but Edoba's magic blast causes much of the fourth floor's ceiling to collapse from above, showering timbers, splinters and clouds of dust onto the floor. You are sprayed with debris, and Rus and Volkama leap from the impact site, but you see a thin, thread-like line of dark energy flowing toward them, heading from where Flaming lays. The moment that the dark energy hits them, Rus and Volkama roar with pain, and are knocked into the walls with a dangerous-sounding crunch.

The Kunoichi attempts to dive through before the exit is sealed, but Pryce catches her, and Volkama's bubble seals around her, further limiting her movements.

>Flaming 0/3

>Shei 2/4

Edoba's horns start to smoke and shimmer with a malevolent aura, and he stands at a distance from the Kunoichi. "Ahahahaha… a bit disappointing to see the fabled Kunoichi stoop so low as to blaspheme against the very Saints. What a crude heist attempt, too. Has the Plague taken your health, as well?"

The Kunoichi smirks, wrinkling her nose. "No, no, I was just feeling a little under the weather. I think I have a cold, not the Plague. Thought I'd get a little pick-me-up from my local temple apothecaries, but I got lost along the way. Sorry for all the trouble. Think you could point me in the right direction?"

I raise my head to the sky, glancing up at the clouds. I recall my days of nephalomancy, when I could divine the future from their patterns and movements. They mean nothing to me now. I traded that power away a long while ago.

"Your agony is caused by your assumption that there is *a* single, miraculous solution. But in this world, even before it ended, those who went looking for miracles only courted disaster. There will never be one single, wholly good answer. Every major event, every great change that has ever taken place, has come with a heap of bad costs to it. For every kingdom that achieves peace, many lies had to be sacrificed. Many dreams had to be dashed. Many, many, many, many lights all had to be snuffed out. Many people didn't get what they wanted.

"But those who acted, those who had the conviction to destroy others so that their dreams may survive, were right. They were the ones who won, in the end. They didn't always know what would happen, but embraced the path to victory anyway."


You recover your weapons, while Estuary's Memory only picks up a single one of his own swords, a plain looking katana in a dragon-print sheath. He lazily slides it through his body, letting it rest at his hip. When Vice lungs forward to grab him, Estuary's Memory splits himself in half like an amoeba, and both halves cut Vice into pieces with their tails.

Reforming himself a moment later, Estuary puts his hoof on his one sword, the other six laying behind him. You note that one of them is the Schlangenschwert – it must be some kind of magical copy, or a remnant, perhaps, from when he wielded it in his youth.

Hopper croaks again, and you feel a weight in your pocket as the Bit drops back into your coinpurse. He then nibbles on the apple, grunting contentedly with the other pets as they eat.

"Zjetya taught him that? She was the mothpony with your group, right?" Sansebas asks. "I never got too acquainted with her directly, but I've heard a little of her from all those tales about what you Saviors accomplished. But still, that's odd that she imparted the trick instead of either of you. Is she already a Beast-Master?"

"Not that I know of," Sugar says. "All I know is she can sing really well."

"I wonder…" Sansebas muses, trailing off into thought.

Tian coughs awkwardly while his father gets lost in the details. "He does that sometimes," he whispers. "Just yank on his coattails or something."



"I mean, I know I can't make everything good for everyone. But, I can try! And, I think I can convince a lot of people that what I want is good."

"But… right now, I'm not even convinced that what I want is good."


"Indecision is the doorway to death."

I look down at you again, head tilted. "Perhaps I'm being too abstract. Sorry. I'm not very good at on-the-spot counseling. Illusions are about spectacle, distraction – a semblance of something real. Something to dazzle, distract. But that's not what you need right now, is it, Witchling? Why don't we try to simplify this. What is it that you want, if you had the power that Mudi is after?"


Flaming looks on in shock as she misses Edoba by a wide margin, before feeling herself hit the floor hard with a hoof pressed to her back, her air knocked from her lungs as she lets out a cry of pain

She looks up angrily at Edoba as he mocks her, growling, "You won't get away with this… I'll tell everyone the truth!"

Then, as the ceiling collapses, Flaming lets out another cry as the rubble pours down on top of her, burying her in debris as she tries to crawl her way out of it
'1d10' Getting out of the rubble

Roll #1 1 = 1



"I just want everyone to get along. Anyone who doesn't get along can come talk to me. And, I can maybe get them to see things my way. I could make friends with everyone!"

1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 8 ] Mantra of Equality with compassion to inspire into believing Amy is right

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 8 + 2 = 10


Flow grimaces and hoists his own Schlangenschwert onto his shoulder. As he charges forwards, Trapper pops out from behind Flow and looses an arrow from The End at Estuary.
Flow tries anticipating Estuary’s next move, and decides to attack as The End’s arrow approaches its target.
1d10[ 1d10 = 10 ]
1d10[ 1d10 = 3 ]
1d10[ 1d10 = 4 ]

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 5 = 5 / Roll #3 8 = 8 / Roll #4 2 = 2 / Roll #5 3 = 3 / Roll #6 6 = 6


Shei-Sher throws the debris off of himself and non-chalantly steps over behind Edoba which the hammer of his staff raised. In one fell swoop Shei-Sher delivers a concussive blow, knocking Edoba out cold for a while.

>SPELLBREAKER: recharge 2 (minus 1), spell, ranged; nullify a spell or magic effect

'1d10' to incapacitate Edoba's form

Roll #1 3 = 3


As his chain hooks around Wireframe, Pryce is relieved the chase didn't last long, or leave the tower. However, the collapse of the ceiling causes him to panic, flapping his wings to avoid the falling debris around him. When the dust settles, he is glad to see Wireframe still there, and now bubbled by Volkama to leave her stationary for a bit. Though, he still leaves his chain round her as well for added measure.
With the chase done, Pryce turns to see Flaming crumpled on the ground and the others either blasted away or piled in the debris. He glares at Edoba, stepping in front of the trapped Kunoichi.
"That's enough Edoba, she's bound now. And no more of your sacrifices will be happening."
Pryce states sternly, his horn glowing white before a pulse of healing magic emanates out through the ruined top of the tower over the party,and the pilgrims.
>Commandment of Balance [Auto]

>"Yup, that's her! I know she's traveled a bit so I guess it's just something she picked up."
KP answers.
>"I don't think she's a Beast-Master. She can talk to some animals though."

>"Yea she's an amazing singer. Oh hey! Maybe she has some of that song magic too!"

He says as Sugar comments on what she knows.

When Tian interjects, KP follows the advice and gives a little tug on Sansebas's robe.
>"What do you wonder?"




I twirl the dice between my claws. "Not everyone's vision of the future is compatible. The masses may be willing to swallow whatever paradigm is handed down to them from above by the elite, but those with power – those who, in every era and every place, we call the 'elite,' almost never have visions of the future which mesh well with others, especially not with the weak. Every way of life is imposed by the powerful upon the weak, regardless of their consent or opinion. Those who have the power to challenge it will do so. Maybe the paradigm that comes about afterward will be some kind of synthesis, and leave both parties secretly dissatisfied, even if they pretend to agree to some kind of compromise. But in most cases, the losers lay dead or are crushed at the bottom, beneath the heels of the powerful."

I laugh. "Or maybe I misunderstood you. With mass hypnosis, or a mass illusion, perhaps you really could get everyone to play nice with you. Actually, that's a very good idea. I take back what I said about you being an idiot. I could help you create that illusion, that simulacrum of a world. You could give them an illusion to fight against, when in reality they'll all be happy in the nice peaceful world in which everyone is friends."

I look down with interest at the lake and its images, playing with the surface with my tail. "Ooh, don't look away now. Things are going to get interesting down there, at last."

Edoba stomps deeper onto Flaming's back, sending more of the shooting pain spiraling outward through her body. Screams tearing from the incapacitated Rus and Volkama tell you that the Black Threads are transmitting the damage to them as well. A moment later, Pryce's healing spell covers the room, energizing the party and healing their last wounds.

Edoba leaps back, allowing Flaming to get up, and dodging Shei's swing entirely. The pilgrims murmur with confusion and uncertainty, while the Kunoichi sits tight. Edoba looks around, but smirks, unfazed. "Good, good. I'm so happy that we got that all sorted out, then. Now, we can get back to the treatments, unabated. Go on! Take the Kunoichi! I'm sure the Imperial Inspector will give you such a bounty that your grandchildren's grandchildren won't be able to spend it all."

>roll perception


Sansebas blinks, coming back to reality. "Oh, I was just uncertain if there was some kind of connection between those two – Zjetya and Pryce, that is. Passing on magic to a mundane creature is very hard unless you have a strong connection to it. Wizards can pass things on to their Familiars, and Beast-Masters onto their Beasts, but that's only because of their close connection to the Beast."

"I'm lost. What're you saying?"

"I'm saying that this Zjetya may be close enough to Pryce to bridge that gap and pass on her magic to Hopper just as well as he could," Sansebas says.

In a flash, Estuary's Memory draws the katana, and its blade is elusive, nearly transparent, except in brief shimmers of the light. With his draw of the blade, he cuts the arrow down, catching your strike on his shoulder. He then attempts to counter with his own, bringing the sword up in a diagonal slash!

1d10+5[ 1d10+5 = 10 ]

Roll #1 6 + 5 = 11 / Roll #2 2 + 5 = 7


Shei-Sher says aloud inquring to the entire party, a bit lost.
"What do we do now? How does this story end?"

"Volkama, can you let loose a small hole in wireframe's bubble so I can dispell Regina's illusion. Also, if we have to keep fighting I will take off your black threads. They're not doing us much good here."

If Volkama does open small hole for Shei, Shei pokes the rod end of his staff through the hole. Jabbing the kunoichi's forehead.
'1d10' to dispell Regina's mindtricks on Wireframe

Roll #1 1 = 1


>H/W: 10/6

When Edoba stomps on Flaming again, Pryce hums his song of protection, giving the majority of the party protection when this situation likely worsens.
>Hymn of the Cedar-Tree Shrine '1d10'

"No you won't Edoba. You will not be sacrificing any pilgrims here. A saint's heart does not require life to be given for bless the sick."
Pryce accuses the deer, not budging from his spot.
>Perception '1d10'

He then turns to the Kunoichi, still trapped in bubble and chain. His horn glows as he tries to pull apart the shroud Regina has placed on her mind.
>Unweaving '1d10'

>"Oh, is that all? Of course they're close."
KP says casually.
>"So, if two ponies share a bond then they can share magic? Hmm… So if I make this Beast-Master bond, then the big guy would sorta have it too with Hopper?"

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 6 = 6 / Roll #3 7 = 7


Flaming lets out another roar of agony as Edoba stomps on her back once more, quivering in pain as she feels her entire nervous system howling at her to stay down. She finds herself barely able to breathe before Pryce's healing magic washes over her once again, giving her the strength to rise up.

She turns and looks towards Edoba, fury in her eyes as she snorts, her armor clacking beneath her as she re-positions herself for another attack.
"This isn't about the money!" She shouts at the top of her lungs, charging him again.
'1d10+5' All or Nothing
'1d10' Perception

Roll #1 2 + 5 = 7 / Roll #2 8 = 8


*corrected health


just fucking kill me
perception roll
1d10+1[ 1d10+1 = 6 ]

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



"No," Amy shakes her head as she watches the game. "No illusions. That ruins everything. It has to be real."

"I think YOU misunderstood me. But, I can't blame you. From what I hear, you never really got to have many friends. That's really sad. I hope I can help fix that."

"Friends, true friends, understand each other. They accept each other's differences, even if they aren't exactly what they want. They let each other have what they want, and - if they are true friends - they're happy about it. It might not be what they wanted originally, but with friends, that's okay."

"If I can make everyone my friend and make everyone friends with each other, then we can fix everything. I don't know what it would look like. But, I know it would work. That's the only way friendship can work."

"So, the real question is how I make everyone my friend. It obviously won't be easy. But, it'll be a lot easier if we can get everyone to stop killing each other."

"I can tell you this, though. I don't think this game will end how you expect. You think everyone just gets what they want through force. But, I know my friends will surprise you," Amy says with a grin.



'1d10+2' Mantra of Equality with compassion

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9


As soon as Estuary puts strain on Flow’s weapon, he lets go and reaches down with his offhand to draw out the wakizashi from the set he just got rather than follow through with Schlangenschwert.
1d10[ 1d10 = 10 ]
Trapper curses under his breath and tries loosing another arrow, although he doesn’t aim to strike, but merely to see what Estuary’s katana looks like once more.
1d10[ 1d10 = 4 ]

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 3 = 3 / Roll #3 9 = 9 / Roll #4 8 = 8


>Gasping and panting, Rus rises. "Either with the Kunoichi's successful capture, her death, or her victory, I surmise. We've got her now, we just need to get her out of his monastery!"

Pryce's hymn carries from Flaming to Rus and Volkama, imbuing them all with an iron-clad defensive radiance, which they can clearly feel. As Flaming charges in again, Edoba raises his hoof to stop her in her tracks. "Then you're free to leave! Unless, that is, you want to offer yourselves to the Heart!? We always accept any offerings from the faithful!"

Edoba then gasps, shocked when Flaming doesn't fall. His hoof shakes as it strikes her radiant barrier, barely even slowing her down.

>Flaming 6/4

In the brief moment that this buys, Pryce and Shei turn their attention to the Kunoichi, who is currently sitting still, in a meditative posture, humming flippantly, without any apparent attempts to worm herself free. She smirks when Shei and Pryce approach, but before she can make a smart remark, Pryce and Shei hit her with their antimagic spells, and she starts to waver, blinking with confusion.


…am I?" she asks, her eyes cloudy as her mind drifts between the two personae.


Suddenly, however, you hear a great bang from above! It catches Shei off guard, but Flaming and Pryce are prepared for it. More of the ceiling collapses, and the Treasure-Chest and Mourning-Blade fall from directly above, having just broken the rest of the fifth floor's paneling to dive down from above. The two dead bodies of Monks 1 and 2 fall down with them.

The Kunoichi looks up with confusion, while the Mourning-Blade puts her hoof on her wakizashi.

>"Vorti…?" the Kunoichi mumbles.

The Mourning-Blade says nothing, her eyes shooting wide open as she draws her sword with a flash!

1d10+4[ 1d10+4 = 12 ]
1d10+4[ 1d10+4 = 13 ]

>roll dodge. Flaming and Pryce get +1 to the roll

"You wound me," I say. "What an insult to my profession. Illusions are my favorite."

I listen to every word with a small frown. What a petty way of thinking. Did I really read her wrong? A fixation on friendship. Does she not understand what lays ahead of her? We are Witches. The path of conquest is the only one that we can take. Everyone else has scorned us, closed their doors.

We would die if it were not for our striving. Our willingness to destroy.

"I just have a question, little Witchling. Suppose someone rejects your friendship under all circumstances. No matter how much you persuade, how much you cajole, how much you barter. No matter what, they will torch what you love, whether in life or death, so long as they have the Power to act. Suppose they have the power and the will to crush all that you hold dear and want for the world.

"What then?"

Roll #1 3 + 4 = 7 / Roll #2 4 + 4 = 8 / Roll #3 8 + 4 = 12 / Roll #4 8 + 4 = 12


Sansebas smiles and rolls his eyes. "I think you're underestimating just HOW close they have to be for Zjetya to do this. It's nothing that, say, any of Pryce's friends could do."

He tilts his head. "You're his younger brother, right? I don't see why he would get the benefits if you were to become a Beast-Master."

Sugar shakes her head. "No, he's Pryce. KP isn't just a nickname. It's a long story."

"Sister Renee called him a Doppelganger, if that tells you anything," Spitshine adds.

"A Doppelganger?" Sansebas asks. "Yes… In that case, it should work like that. He'd just need to practice with it. Though, I don't think anything Hopper could manage would be very useful for combat." He looks at Hopper. "Sorry."

Hopper grunts, unfazed.

Your strike rings true, cutting into his chest, but it doesn't slow him down at all. But something strange happens next. The sword passes through you harmlessly, but it knocks Der Schlangenschwert, the wakizashi, and the Inheritance right out of your body. It doesn't do any apparent damage to them, but scatters them across the ground. Trapper vanishes the moment the stone memento leaves your goo, and The End drops to the ground.

Clutching his chest, Estuary slithers back, smirking as he perches the sword on his shoulder. He then darts forward again, holding up one hoof as if in a sign of prayer.

"Boiling Cauldron."

1d10+4[ 1d10+4 = 12 ]

Roll #1 6 + 4 = 10 / Roll #2 7 + 4 = 11



Amy pauses, contemplating her past actions. She would be lying if she said she'd stick to her convictions no matter what.

"I HAVE killed," Amy nodded as if to confirm it to Regina as much as herself. "Sometimes, people die. But, those deaths are failures. I wasn't strong enough to stop them without killing them. If I had the strength I wanted, I wouldn't kill them. I'd take their power away. I'd make it so that - even if they wanted to be mean - they couldn't. I WILL fight to make sure the people I like and love don't get hurt. I won't let them do what they want."

Then, Amy smiles and looks up at Regina. "But, I think you're doubting both friendship and me if you think there's anyone in this world whose mind I can't change."

'1d10+2' Mantra of Equality with compassion

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10


"Nopony else is being offered from here on out!"
Pryce retorts to Edoba.

Pryce looks down as Wireframe's mind slowly returns to lucidity, however the sudden drop of Box and Vortigern nearly catch him off guard. Seeing Vortigern's hoof drop to her blade, Pryce quickly steps back, horn flashing quickly to try and stop her.
"Wait, hold on!"
He quickly says as the sword swings at him.
>Unweaving [Vortigern] '1d10'
>Dodge '1d10+1'

KP chuckles.
>"Nah, I think I understand just enough."

>"Yea, it's kinda long. You can ask Mister Ru— uh, Cowl… Calque, for details if you want."

KP gives for a bit of a explanation.

>"That's fine. I don't think we'd use Hopper for fighting anyways. He'll be our perfect stage show mascot!"

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4


I grin again, tapping my claws against the cool grass. "So that's your Craft. They say every Witch, even a Witchling, her potential untrained and unrealized, has her Craft. What a terrifying power yours is."


Flaming watches as the protective barrier envelops her, giving her the strength to stay stalwart against Edoba's trained and mighty hoof as she charges him down, struggling against him as she pushes on through.

"I'm not leaving unless I know these pilgrims know what they're getting into! If they want to give up their lives of their own choosing, then that's one thing, but you were going to stab them in the back without them knowing?! That's sick!"

"Either you're going to tell them EXACTLY what price the Heart demands, or I will! Anyone willing to pay it can stay after that."
'1d10+5' Pushing through with All or nothing
'1d10' Mantra of Recovery

As Treasure And Mourning fall through the floor, she is only momentarily distracted as she tries to push through Edoba, but notices the sword draw of Mourning Blade…
'1d10+1' Dodging !

Roll #1 4 + 5 = 9 / Roll #2 2 = 2 / Roll #3 6 + 1 = 7


Shei-Sher is caught off guard when the other kunoichi crash into the scene. He looks a little dumbfounded and then carries on with jabbing Wireframe in the face frantically with the butt of his staff


1d10[ 1d10 = 2 ]

Also dodge roll
1d10[ 1d10 = 6 ]

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



Amy laughs. "I don't think I like that. It makes friendship sound so… evil. Or pointless. Like I'm forcing people to be my friends."

"Hmm…" Amy taps her hoof-paw to her chin. "I guess my craft could be less so about making people my friend and more about making it FUN to be my friend. So, people just want to do it."

Amy shakes her head. "This is silly. There's no way I have some super friendship power or something! I'm not even sure I'm a witch!"


>I lied, use this OST for the scene.
Flaming's words stir panic and confusion among the pilgrims, who start to look at Edoba with suspicion. He starts charging up more malevolent energy around his horns. "I have an alternative! We'll only sacrifice you and your comrades, then every pilgrim here can end their story happily!"

But before he can attack Flaming, the Mourning-Blade draws her sword, and thin currents of air, thin as a sword's blade, rip all through the room. Everything is still for an instant, but then thin cuts start to appear through the floor. In the next instant, the floor collapses, cut apart by the Mourning-Blade's swings!

Pryce gets cut by a stray swing, losing 1 wound.

>As everyone starts to fall, Shei hits Wireframe with his staff, and she snarls, her voice and demeanor returning to normal. "Would you quit that, fuckface!? I'll string you up by your wings if you keep that up, Shei! Hey, why am I chained up?"

The Mourning-Blade attempts to slash through Pryce's spell, but fails, and starts to free-fall, her expression lost in a daze. In fact, everyone starts falling, and the pilgrims start to shriek. Edoba, still full of spirit, uses his dark magic to grab at various pilgrims, launching them at you.

'3d10+3' Pryce, Flaming, Shei respectively

The Treasure-Chest looks over at the confused Mourning Blade. In the midst of his free-fall, he lights up a cigarette and starts chewing on the wrong end. He doesn't seem bothered by this. He simply points his gun at the next floor, the third floor, and unleashes a powerful shot!


Roll to get a decent landing and not be hit by debris. DC is 8 because of the size of each floor.

"That's not what I'm talking about. I was referring to what you said earlier. The fact that you wouldn't kill your enemies. You'd take away their power. You would keep them from 'being mean' to you. You would strip them of the ability to even oppose you. That's far and beyond killing someone. For a warrior to kill his foe in battle is to honor that foe, to respect his commitment to battle and his willingness to fight, even die, for his goals.

"But stripping away your enemy's ability to even fight you is worse than killing them. No, that's not quite right. You wouldn't be killing their Body. You'd be killing their Spirit. They say you shouldn't fear the one who can hurt your Body, but not your Spirit, but that you should fear the One who can throw your Body and Spirit both into Hell. Well, that's you."

I lean closer.

"I think I might like you, Witchling."

Roll #1 3, 4, 9 + 3 = 19 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8


Sansebas turns to Tian. "You heard the stallion. Let's quit dilly-dallying and see if we can find something for him."

He looks back at you, while Tian starts to poke around the shop. "Feel free to look around for anything else you might like. It might take a while. It's important to get the proper materials for each individual spellcaster. A wand might suffice for some, and a staff for others. Oh, but I'll be here all day if you let me keep yapping."

While Sansebas looks, Sugar and Spitshine start poking around too.


Rus and Volkama's rolls


Roll #1 4, 7 = 11



Amy screws her face up in thought. "Thanks, but I don't think I actually HAVE that power. I mean, not as literally as you're saying anyway. I just meant I'd beat them up."

Then, Amy lightens up. "But, do you think there's some way for me to get that power!?"


Flaming growls at Edoba as he proclaims they can pay the price instead. "Or maybe YOU can be the ones to do it, ever think of that?!"

However, as they fight, Flaming looks up in surprise as the wind ripple all around them, the slicing wind cutting through the floor with ease as she looks over at Mourning Blade with amazement mid free-fall
"Wh-what was that?! Did you… did she just slice through the whole floor?!"

As they fall, Flaming looks on in astonishment as Edoba starts grabbing helpless pilgrims to throw at them. She growls angrily, snorting smoke from her nostrils.
"Now you use them as ammo?! You really don't have ANY shame!"

'1d10+1' Flaming attempts to grab at some of the pilgrims, grabbing them safely so they do not get injured in the fight.
'1d10+1' Landing properly

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


"Because you're the fuckface, that needs stringing up. You and your dumbass crew of parlor vixens. If I have to drag your asses out of this stupid flipping story, by the hems of your slutty ninja garbs!"

Shei-Sher calls back to Volkama "Volkama, you can release Wireframe's shield now! Also, I need you over here posthaste please!"

Once the bubble is off Shei-Sher crouches down to undo Wireframe's chains "I am absolutely finished with Regina's games. Listen Wireframe, in this story you're the leader of a group of thieves called the kunoichi. Box and -uuh the kimono ninja there are your pals. So I need you to call them over here and keep a pipe down their throats because I don't have time to smack sense into all of you. I am going to tie a magic thread to all of you and after then you are going to run off with the Saint's Heart you stole. Run as far away from here as you can so the story can end do you understand?"


landing roll
1d10[ 1d10 = 3 ]

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


>H/W: 10/5
>Snakeskin Cloak: 3 Hits, 1 Wound, -1 to rolls next turn

Pryce stumbles back after he's struck by the swing, feeling his cloak crawl across his body again from the damage it intakes. Then as the floor breaks under him, he quickly spreads his wings to try and slow his descent.
>Landing '1d10'

"Wireframe, open that box you have now!"
Pryce shouts to the changelings as she returns to clarity.
"Sorry about that, we had to make sure you got cured first!"
Pryce apologizes, pulling his kusarigama off from her with his magic.

Seeing Vortigern start to return from her hazed mind, Pryce turns his attention to Box, horn glowing as he tries to cleanse him as well.
>Unweaving [Box] '1d10'

>"So I gotta find something I'd like then?"
KP asks, looking around the shop while seeing if Hopper spots anything he'd might like as well. He looks for things that might be water related, to be more fitting for his little frog.

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


"'Is there a way for me to get that power?' she asks. What a silly question! Why, you and your group walked all the way through Threecoins' northern district to the Library with the Witch-tutor of that very power. Well, at least, that Witch can help you reach the door to the Kindling – the power which lies beyond mere magic, that lies beyond the Aspects of Life, Death, Light and Dark. She can take you to the door, but you must unlock and open it yourself."

I look down at the lake, my tail swishing about with impatience and excitement. "Oh… I hope they wrap this up soon."

You catch one of the pilgrims who flies your way, keeping them from hurting either you or themselves from the impact, and land among the shower of debris, only getting lightly pelted by the debris.

>Flaming 5/4

>Wireframe then looks down at her extremely provocative outfit. "Oh! No, that makes quite a lot of sense."
>She hits the ground with a hard impact which destroys Volkama's bubble, and groans as she shakes off the stiffness of the chains and from the landing. Gripping the box, she nods. "J-just give me a minute and I'll get going…"

The pilgrim Edoba flung smashes into you, and you rocket into the wall, landing at a horrible angle which bends your neck dangerously far back and crunches your face against a brass statue.

>Shei 0/2

Limping badly, Volkama darts over to help you up.


After the Treasure-Chest fires the shot, you blast him with antimagic, and he falls to the ground, held loosely by the confused Vortigern/Mourning Blade.
>Box then shakes his head, waving his gun around wildly in the process. "Hi Pryce! How are you?"

To answer that, you hit the ground badly, shock flying up through your legs and setting your nerves on fire.
>Pryce 3/5, 7 Hits stored

But no sooner than your landing does something worse happen. Box/Treasure Chest had fired his gun while falling, and the projectile was not a bullet, but a small, slow-moving missile that faintly glows. As it hits the ground, it flashes again, then explodes, ripping apart the third floor in a wave of fire and shards of wood. The conflagration is huge, sending pilgrims scattering and ripping through much of the floor, threatening another collapse!

>roll dodge, DC 8

Roll #1 5 = 5



Amy's tail starts wagging. "Really!? Then, I have to talk to her about it after this!"

Then, something nags at the back of Amy's brain. "But… It doesn't feel right. I think my mind is too split to be able to use a power like that right now. I need to finish this first," Amy says, pointing to her tattoos.

Then, Amy looks back at the game. "You… wouldn't let them die, would you?" she asks with concern.


>KP '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5


While poking around the shop, you see a small staff on a rack, about six or seven inches tall. It appears to be a leafy twig, with a small clear-blue crystal at the top. But you see the crystal moving around, changing shape. It is no crystal, you realize, but a droplet of water that retains its shape through some kind of magic.

Hopper croaks with awe.


Flaming shouts back towards Wireframe as she catches herself aware of her skimpy kunoichi garb, "I don't know what the big deal is, I think your outfit is really cool! Also, welcome back Wireframe."

Flaming lets out a sigh of relief as she catches the pilgrim, putting him down gently as she looks back at Edoba after landing safely, growling as she makes ready for another round of combat. "You're going to pay for that, deer-ly."

However, as she looks back at the slow moving missile fired by Box, her eyes widen as it explodes with terrific force, howling as the pilgrims are sent flying by the explosion. "B-BoX?! What did you do!"

She tries to dodge out of the path of the explosion '1d10+1'
And simultaneously tries to grab as many of the pilgrims out of the explosion's path as she can '1d10+1'
"That's it! EVERY ONE who isn't fighting for their lives, OUT!"

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


I trace the tattoo with the tip of my claw. "And complete it, you will. But I can't do that. I'm not the right type of Being."

I look over at the lake. "If they died from this, then it's guaranteed they'd die in Tartarus. I'd do whatever it took to complete my observations, gather my data."


>H/W: 3/5
>Snakeskin Cloak: 10 Hits, 1 Wound, -1 to rolls next turn

"No, don't run off! They have guards out there just waiting to attack you guys. We need to get all collected before leaving this tower!"
Pryce says quickly as Wireframe says she'll get moving.

Pryce lands on the ground, pain rocketing up his legs, the threat of Edoba against his friends hte only thing keeping him standing at this point.
"F-Fine, ngh…. J-Just worry about the others and that deer."
Pryce responds, pointing to Edoba. Menawhile, his horn glows again as he tries to finish clearing Vortigern's mind.
>Unweaving [Vortigern] '1d10'
Looking over at Shei as well, his horn glows white to help restore Shei's energy and give him added protection.
>Prayer for Deliverance [Shei] '1d10+1'

Pryce looks up as the missile flashes, ripping through yet another floor. His legs are stiff from the last impact, moving them an insurmountable task. He spreads his wings, flapping them had to hopefully give himself some distance, or at least catch his fall.
>Dodge '1d10'

KP looks up at the staff, the crystal shining and morphing before him.
He says in awe, grabbing the staff off the rack and giving it a few twirls.

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #3 7 = 7


'1d10' get up from helpless

"erm, nevermind.. Wireframe.." shei groans weakly as he gets up "you can leave. But we are going to need The other two to stay so we can deal with this bastard monk."

At seeing the sign of an explosion about to occur Shei-Sher braces himself "Not again."

'1d10' dodging

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 9 = 9


>rolls for volkama, rus, pilgrims, and edoba


Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 2 = 2 / Roll #3 8 = 8 / Roll #4 5 + 2 = 7



Amy pensively touches her face where Regina touched it. "I guess I need a demon, huh? As a witch, you must know where I can find one to help me, right?"

Turning her attention back to the game, Amy frowns. "Well, that's not totally fair. I'll be with them in Tartarus too. I'd definitely have helped him in this situation. Can I maybe send him a heal?" Amy asks politely.

1d10+2[ 1d10+2 = 9 ] Mantra of Equality with compassion

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7


>"Well, I wasn't complainin'," Wireframe says. "I think I'll get a lot of use out of this. Just, later maybe."

The explosion shakes the tower and practically destroys most of the third floor, shattering the elaborate decorations and statues that adorned it. You fall from above again, but Shei and Volkama are the only ones to escape mostly unharmed. However, the thin black lines connecting Rus, Flaming and Volkama share their pain, as Flaming is badly burned by the explosion and pelted with debris. Rus lunges forward and grabs her right as the explosion passes over them, shielding Flaming from most of the damage.

>Rus, Flaming and Volkama lose 2 wounds

After you fall to the second floor, you see that much of the pagoda has been damaged. Wood and stone fall from the upper levels like a storm. The whole structure creaks from the chaos of the battle, and many pilgrims now lay dead, their Replica bodies bloodless but inert, like broken dolls.

Amid the destruction and the chaos, you cannot see Edoba. Wherever he may have gone is a mystery. Vortigern/Mourning-Blade lays prone among the debris, stunned and dazed.

>Wireframe shakes her head at Pryce and Shei. "Do I go or not!? What do you want me to do with this stupid box, dipshits?"

>"ME!?" Box asks.
>Wireframe just glares at him.

"No. My Adviser brought me a very interesting book after you left the first time to get your friends. I did a little reading on the markings you now wear. Every one who wore those markings in order to bring about a harmonious Soul Fusion within themselves, and to serve as intercessors between demons and mortals, needed the blessings of three Beings.

'A Demon to weave the first part,
'A Mortal to extend the thread.
'A God to sew it on the heart,
"And so the two souls shall be wed.'

To get to this point, you obviously already had the help of a demon and a mortal."

I tap your nose. "Ah-ah-ah. You said you'd sit this one out."


As you twirl the staff, the water droplet detaches, and expands to about the size of a crystal ball. Hopper hops off your head and pokes his head into the water ball, then swims inside. He looks content, in a rare moment when he doesn't look sagely grumpy.



Amy laughs, though there is a nervous tinge to it. She watches Shei with concern. "I guess I deserve that for messing with your game the way I did…"

She stares at the game, but her mind is on what Regina said. "A god…" she contemplates out loud. "I don't know how I'll manage that… Maybe I SHOULD just learn that power draining thing first…"

Amy holds her head and groans. "Everything just feels hard and wrong!"


"Oh, well, if you're in need of a god, there are plenty of those lying around these days. Most won't be of any use to you now, actually. Most are dead. Many are dying, the hollowed-out husks of majesty and grandeur, carved away by the mass deaths or abductions of their followers. Many are forgotten entirely. In fact, I have one somewhere around here who may be of some help, if he or she isn't too busy still reading that book."


Pryce lands on the second floor, shaken and sore, but at least nothing further damaged. He looks around the debris, the pilgrims lying lifeless around the ruined pagoda. Even though they were creations, seeing the sick and innocent having succumbed to a fate gnaws at the back of his mind.
"Open the box," Pryce instructs to Wireframe in a strict, flat tone, "If the heart is exposed, Edoba will have to show himself."

Pryce walks over to Vortigern, lifting her from the debris and setting her down gently with the group. His horn glows white, sending out a curative pulse over everypony after the rapid succession of plummets.
>Commandment of Balance [Auto]

While everypony recovers, Pryce pulls the dagger out of his cloak that he stole from Edoba, looking it over to see if there's anything special about it.

KP panics, quickly grabbing the orb in his telekinesis. He floats it down to eye-level as Hopper manages to hop inside it, finding the staff even more intriguing.
>"Can I pick this?"
He asks Sansebas.



Amy can't help but laugh at the comment at first. Though, as she goes on, she starts seeming concerned.

"W-wait, there's a god around HERE? Huh?"


Flaming groans in pain after the explosion, looking around in confusion as the searing flames nearly took her out of commission to the point where she lost track of her surroundings until Rus pulled her out. She shakes her head, looking around as she spots Rus, barely finding the strength to stand. She coughs, shaking off pieces of her torched Samoorai armor

"Cough, cough… t-thanks Rus, I think I was almost a goner." She looks around at the various slain pilgrims, her eyes saddening. "…is… I know they're just Replicas but, this… is this hurting anyone else to look at? They felt so real."

She looks over between Wireframe and Box, and then her eyes turn to 'Mourning-Blade' who lays unconscious. She follows Pryce as he caries Vortigern away, charging up her magic to help unweave the magic affecting her.
"Edoba… that coward must have fled. I've not wanted to bash someone's head this badly since… since I can't remember."

'1d10' Unweaving magic

Roll #1 9 = 9


Shei-Sher lowers himself down from a beam and unceremoniously falls into a pile of wood chips. He gets up and looks around him

"Err… Yeah.. I think we should just leave.. Before the local authorities arrive." But first Shei-Sher crotches down over a large pile of debris and dead bodies at the center of the padoga, and with a match he blows on it produce a large plume of fire. Which sets aflame to a large section of the padoga.
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

"Let's get the fuck out of here." Shei-Sher now begins stepping out and around all the rubble to leave the area. He does so swiftly as the fire begins to spread.

Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8


"We could have avoided it," Pryce answers, not glancing back at the bodies, "But Edoba… he used them to attack us, to attack the 'Kunoichi'. He wasn't a guardian, he was a selfish manipulator."


>"Edoba… that coward must have fled. I've not wanted to bash someone's head this badly since… since I can't remember."
"He's probably dead. Under all the rubble. And none of these people are real. None of this is real. I feel as though I've said this already."


"I *know* that Shei! It just… feels real, doesn't it? They were all so sick and…" she grumbles. "J-just forget it. You have a hard time treating REAL people like they're real, I don't know why I'd expect you to treat fakes like they're real."
"Edoba was a jerk, but he was strong… REALLY strong. I don't think he's dead yet. I really hope not, anyways… I have more than a few things to teach him before he does."


"We have the Heart. He's not gone yet, he'll try to get it back soon enough."


Shei-Sher forgets for a moment he set the padoga on fire and steps across a section to argue with Flaming "Now what is that suppose to mean! I treat people with all due consequence. Just about everything I am doing with my life is a sacrifice for every yokel with a rosary hanging from their god forsaken living room. I'm just tired of Regina's dumb little illusions is all. She's the one that doesn't treat people like they're real. We're just more dollies to break in her scrambled dreams."


"You'd be surprised who and what turns up in a library. Though, if what the god told me is to be believed, you probably wouldn't be surprised. If you are interested, head across from the lake to the east. Follow the gated path until you reach the shrine I made for him or her."

She looks down at the lake. "Oh, but you might miss the final confrontation – looks like they're about to face the last challenge!"

Nothing about the dagger itself seems particularly special. On its surface, it's just a material dagger. Only, simply from looking at it you can tell it has been used for great evil – it has an ominous aura coming off of it. It feels as though it weighs many times what it should, bogged down by the memories of what it has done.

>Vortigern snaps awake once you heal her, and as she looks around, blinking in confusion, she looks aghast at the serious damage you all have suffered. She then double-takes at her outfit, but simply draws her wings over herself in an attempt at modesty.

As Shei sets the rest of the pagoda aflame, those remaining pilgrims bolt for the stairs. Even the other monks start to flee, abandoning Edoba and the rest of you for their own safety.
>Obeying Pryce with a nervous grunt, Wireframe opens up the mahogany chest containing the Saint's Pure Heart. Inside, on a velvet cushion, you can see a still heart, immaculately preserved, and vivacious despite having no blood within. A golden light seems to radiate from it, but there is a kind of prickliness and sickness to it. It is as though underneath that light lay the sickly, corrupted blood of all those Edoba had killed to keep him and his monks safe.

The moment that you open the case, you hear a crunch of rubble. On the other side of the second floor room, you see Edoba, charred and bruised, made dark by the shadow of the fire and the lack of other light sources. His horns are a constellation of grim, black energy, swirling stars of malevolence. He simply glares at you, wide eyed.

>Vortigern raises her sword, and Box and Rus raise their guns. Volkama protectively stands in front of Shei and Flaming.


"Let's see," Sansebas says, examining the staff. Hopper floats out again, looking rather pleased after the dip. Sansebas sticks the staff into the water, and the orb shrinks back down to a droplet's size, re-attaching to the tip of the staff. Sansebas hands the staff to Hopper, who takes it without any hesitation. "I think we may have a match," Sansebas concludes. "That will just be fifty Bits."

Meanwhile, Spitshine and Sugar finish collecting a few toys for their pets to play with, mostly stuffed rabbits and little wooden discs and balls for playing catch.



Amy nods with a smile. "I AM having fun with you. I wouldn't want to miss this just to go talk to some stuffy god."


Flaming snorts. "Do you? From what I've seen, half the time you see people you meet as science experiments more than people. Chorazin, even Amy sometimes. You're not as bad as Regina is, I'll give you that, but if YOU had her kind of power you're telling me you wouldn't even think of doing something like this with it? You get into real trouble without it as is."
"That's right! We have the Heart, so he'll need to come back sooner or later… but, what do we do with it?"

As Vortigern snaps back to her senses, Flaming grins widely, moving up to take off her helmet to get a better look at her. "Vortigern! Thank goodness you're back, we were worried." As she closes her wings around herself in embarrassment, Flaming scowls. "Oh, not you too. Why does everyone hate these outfits? They're really nice!" She moves forward, moving her wings aside. "I'd wear something like that, easy."

Flaming looks down at the heart as they open up the chest, feeling sick to her stomach as she looks at it.
"To think something so great would have such a cost attached to it… I'm not opposed to having to pay a price for a miracle. Nothing's free. But the pilgrims at least deserved to KNOW they had to make that choice."

As Edoba crawls out of the wreckage, despite her injuries, burns, and ruined armor, Flaming turns to him with an angry glare, already prepared for another round despite the pain. "Grrrrr….. you! You ready for another round then?!"


I poke your nose again, which considering our vast differences in size, bowls you over onto your back. For some reason this makes you want me to scratch you. "Flattery will not make me give you any of my many magical relics, you know."



Amy giggles and stays on her back. Then, she cocks her head. "You have magical relics?"


Pryce stares down at the dagger. From the aura he assumed something was important about it, but the only thing this blade carries is the innocent blood of countless who have come to seek salvation. He sets the dagger on the ground, leaving it be for now.

As Vortigern awakes and makes no noise, Pryce is relieved to see it is the real her this time. As she draws her wings over herself, Pryce turns away to give her that respect. He pulls off his bracelet, attempting to conjure a more respectable outfit as he did with Rus before for Vortigern.
>Hat Magic [Outfit] '1d10'

With the heart revealed, Pryce looks inside the box, seeing the radiant heart worthy of the tales they heard, but tainted by the use of those who kept it. Before any thoughts of what to do with it come to him, he turns to the rubble rising of Edoba, as beaten as they are and horns glowing as dark as his deeds. Pryce's horn lights for his weapon as the others do, but then it dims.
Pryce takes the box from Wireframe, and picks up the sacrificial dagger Edoba used. To show Edoba the folly of his choices, Pryce runs the dagger across his hoof, giving a portion of his blood willingly to the heart for those who remain.

KP says, pulling out 50 bits for the staff.
>"We're gonna be the best team Hopper! So, is there anything else I need for this Beast-Mastery stuff?"
He asks Sansebas.

Roll #1 2 = 2


"No! I would do something useful with my time! I would develop cures and use my expertise to pioneer a curriculumn for wizards around me. I would use my knowledge to further the cause of equinekind, not toil uselessly in a gigantic playroom. And you knew what my aims were to achieve with Chorazin. I wanted to find a cure for people turned into demons and angels. And I don't know what Amy has been telling you but I do everything I can to salvage the reciprocity between me and my friends. In spite of being another spider in Buiwong's web, I made my covenant with him out of necessity and heritage. I do what I can to protect my loved ones from it but that also means a degree of secrecy. It's something that Amy and I compromise on and it is really none of your business."

Shei doesn't pay any mind to Edoba having risen from the rubble


Sansebas puts the coins away in a locked box behind the counter. "As for you, you're going to need a grimoire to help you study all of this. It'll also help with practice. Tian?"

"On it, dad," Tian says, heading into the back. You hear the sounds of a mobile ladder, like what you might find in a library, wheeling about. Sansebas rings up the toys for Sugar and Spitshine while you wait.

A little while afterward, Tian comes back with a small grimoire, with a medieval illumination of a wizard pony riding upon a gigantic, armored mole. The wizard is wielding a staff and sword. "The Beginner's Monster Diary," Tian says. "A common grimoire to start off any apprentice Beast-Master. I'll also get you a Memory Bestiary, too."


"Oh, plenty! I was going to use them as an incentive for your little party to play along with my illusions. So far, they've only collected one, though. They're very direct. Not so much interested in hunting for treasure. They've seemed more interested in just getting to the end. Perhaps it was the fact that I kidnapped most of your allies, hypnotized them and gave them new identities to serve as my pawns. Just a hunch."

>Only husband see, Vortigern mouths. She then suggestively winks and gestures to her rear with the tip of her wing.

Just a single drop of the blood that Pryce offers the Heart serves to energize you, causing some of your more severe wounds to vanish almost instantly.

>Everyone regains full Hits and 1 Wound each.

"Another round…?" Edoba asks, almost absentmindedly, his head held at an angle. A malevolent energy accumulates around him, swirling and churning with a poisonous odor and texture, almost as if were ready to congeal like blood.

"No… I think we've quite established where we stand on all this. There's not much more to dispute about."

The malevolent aura reaches a violent fever pitch, swirling about like storm winds, threatening to bring down the pagoda even before the fire. The fire catches onto it, burning like how fire burns oil, and starts spreading all about the room on the black winds.

"I'm just ready for you to disappear."

Suddenly, dozens and dozens of black orbs manifest about him, far more than the ones that were just about his horns. All your allies turn white with dread.




"You still jumped right into Chorazin's core without even telling anyone about it! You saw something shiny and dangerous and you just, hopped right in, other's opinions didn't matter…." she grunts, shaking her head.
"I… look, I didn't mean to start a fight. I don't know what you and Amy do… besides the gross stuff… without me knowing and, as long as you never ever hurt her, that's fine. I just think what happened here… even if they aren't real? It's horrible. Look around you, can't you see that?"


"Fine fine, it is still a story based on real events. It is sad to know this all transpired more or less somewhere in jibyan."


Last time, on HolyQuest…

While Flow dueled the Memory of Sir Estuary, KP, Sugar and Spitshine learned about Beast Mastery, a specialized school of Summoning magic, from Sansebas and his son Tian. Sansebas explained the basics of the concept of "Bonding," whereby a beast and a spellcaster forge a relationship and magical link that allows them to learn skills from one another and help one another more efficiently in all applications of magic. Sansebas was puzzled by something, however. Hopper had learned the coin trick from Zjetya, even though he wasn't her pet. Sansebas speculated that this had some implications for how close Zjetya and Pryce were, not knowing of the problems that were brewing on that front, all the way in Threecoins…


Last time, on MY Quest…

At last, the Kunoichi and her two allies revealed themselves, but of COURSE someone had to go and ruin the fun by breaking the spells and charms I used to keep their illusory personalities and abilities in place. Edoba's psychological state continuously degraded as the party exposed him and his scheme to the pilgrims who sought a miracle at the Kokoro Pagoda. An incredible battle raged between him and the party, destroying most of the pagoda in the process. And now, with Vortigern, Wireframe and Box having regained their senses, the stage was set for the final confrontation to begin.


"Oh, plenty! I was going to use them as an incentive for your little party to play along with my illusions. So far, they've only collected one, though. They're very direct. Not so much interested in hunting for treasure. They've seemed more interested in just getting to the end. Perhaps it was the fact that I kidnapped most of your allies, hypnotized them and gave them new identities to serve as my pawns. Just a hunch."


>Only husband see, Vortigern mouths. She then suggestively winks and gestures to her rear with the tip of her wing.

>Flaming, Pryce, Shei

Just a single drop of the blood that Pryce offers the Heart serves to energize you, causing some of your more severe wounds to vanish almost instantly.

>Everyone regains full Hits and 1 Wound each.

"Another round…?" Edoba asks, almost absentmindedly, his head held at an angle. A malevolent energy accumulates around him, swirling and churning with a poisonous odor and texture, almost as if were ready to congeal like blood.

"No… I think we've quite established where we stand on all this. There's not much more to dispute about."

The malevolent aura reaches a violent fever pitch, swirling about like storm winds, threatening to bring down the pagoda even before the fire. The fire catches onto it, burning like how fire burns oil, and starts spreading all about the room on the black winds.

"I'm just ready for you to disappear."

Suddenly, dozens and dozens of black orbs manifest about him, far more than the ones that were just about his horns. All your allies turn white with dread.



Sansebas puts the coins away in a locked box behind the counter. "As for you, you're going to need a grimoire to help you study all of this. It'll also help with practice. Tian?"

"On it, dad," Tian says, heading into the back. You hear the sounds of a mobile ladder, like what you might find in a library, wheeling about. Sansebas rings up the toys for Sugar and Spitshine while you wait.

A little while afterward, Tian comes back with a small grimoire, with a medieval illumination of a wizard pony riding upon a gigantic, armored mole. The wizard is wielding a staff and sword. "The Beginner's Monster Diary," Tian says. "A common grimoire to start off any apprentice Beast-Master. I'll also get you a Memory Bestiary, too."


>Kusarigama: Fire Element; Single + Great Tags; +3 Modifier
>Snakeskin Cloak: 10 Hits, 1 Wound, -1 to rolls next turn
>H/W: 10/6

Pryce's eyes widen in panic as Edoba begins to charge up an immense amount of magic, something far more than he can block alone. His horn glows, quickly trying to intercept Edoba's own magic by unweaving the magic on his horns to stop his casting.
>Unweaving [1d10]

In his focus, Pryce hums his song of protection on Flaming, shielding hr, Volkama, and Rus at least to prepare if he can't dispel the orbs in time.
>Hymn of the Cedar-Tree Shrine [Flaming] [1d10]

KP picks up the book in his telekinesis, giving an 'ooo' of awe at seeing the old-style illustration.
>"A Memory Bestiary? What stuff does that cover?"
He asks with curiosity. Upon seeing Sugar and Spitshine pick out some toys for their pets, KP realizes he almost forget the same. He looks around for any froggy accessories for Hopper, as well as peeking around for anything for Lockjaw, to not leave him out of the fun.

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 1 = 1



"Yeah, it's harder to get into a game when you're forced to play it. If you give them time and ask them if they want to play again later, I bet they'd say yes. Then, they'd be way more into it! I know I would!"



Roll #1 2 = 2


>KP [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


I look again at the scenes unfolding in the lake, twirling dice between my claws absently. This has been going on a while, hasn't it? Surely by now I have enough data. I want to see the results in action. More than enough spares lying around down there. Could make do if this batch falls through again.

"Hmm. That red and yellow one, Pryce was it? He certainly gave me an earful when I pulled the big twist on him. Threatened to kill me, in fact. If it weren't for that, I'd suggest giving them a break. Though, letting that happen would be an easy way of slipping you back in. Otherwise, I was going to truss you up as a princess or stuff you into a treasure chest and hide you in the next story."


"It is a special bestiary, one that can record details on beasts you have faced yourself, seen in the wild, or have heard stories about from others. The more details that you or the story-teller can recall, the more detailed the entry. And, with a little magic, you can conjure an illusory image of the monster in the entry, and fight it again," Sansebas explains. "Of course, the illusory image fades away once you defeat it. You couldn't skin it afterward for a pelt, or field dress it, or take any treasure it had when it was alive."

Among the many items on display, you see some small knitted costumes of wizards, priests, butlers, warriors, and so on, that might be able to fit Hopper if they were tailored. There's also a large aquarium and some carved logs to go with it, on display. As for Lockjaw, you see some knotted lengths of rope that, so long as he remains shrunk, could be a good chew toy. There's also a small cart with a tiny yoke that you could probably rig up to him as a novelty way of carrying small items to and fro across the ship.



Amy giggles at the thought of popping out of a treasure chest that Shei opens while she's dressed as a princess.

"Sounds romantic and fun!" she says excitedly.


There is a dreadful silence following the cessation of Flaming and Shei's argueing. Shei soon directs his attention what everyone is stareing at. Edoba at the focal of the scene, Shei-Sher watches silently, equally pale faced, wondering if he is going to make a move or if they should take the initiative.

The black orbs rise ahead of Edoba and driven by calculated anxiety Shei-Sher runs straight ahead, assuming the orbs can't turn sharp enough to hit him if he is inside Edoba's close range.

A sprint and leap across the rubble, Shei-Sher lands on a rubbish platform beside Edoba, where befitting Shei's monk persona Shei unleashes two concise blow qigong form. Many hushed whispers emanate from his strikes. Craming themselves illogically into the Cosmic Script to disrupt the flow of time.

>Can I Borrow This?: Instant; Recharge 3(minus 1); Ranged; On success, you steal 1 of the target's chances to act next turn, completely stunning them if they can only take 1 action per turn. Next turn, you can use this stolen action in addition to your normal ones.


In another concise motion Shei-Sher throws his arms forward to pinch the nerves inside Edoba's shoulders.
>SPELLBREAKER: recharge 2 (minus 1), spell, ranged; nullify a spell or magic effect

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


As Vortigern mouths out her message, Flaming turns her head, somewhat confused. "Only husband… why should only your husband see?"

As Edoba rises from the rubble of the pagoda around them, and prepares several black orbs to make the party 'disappear' as he threatens, Flaming glares, planting her hooves and looking dead on at the deer as she grits her teeth.

"Funny you should say that, I was JUST thinking the same thing about you!" She cries defiantly, charging him head on while keeping a careful eye on the balls, heeding her comrades looks of concern.
[1d10+5] Charge, All or Nothing on Edoba

Roll #1 3 + 5 = 8


I snort, amused by your easy agreement. "I would dress you myself, but you might put up a fight. My Adviser told me that you don't do very well with clothing."

I gesture to a stone structure laying just north of the lake, hidden slightly behind the treeline. "You can find a number of dresses and props out there. Take what you like, I can replace anything."

>roll perception again

Edoba falls forward and to the side after the strike, at first seemingly defeated from so effortless and deft a blow. But a second later, his eyes slither your way, and a grin streaks across his face. Undeterred by your change in position, the dark orbs jolt downward to strike you.

'3d10+3' Magic Bolt

Under the immense pressure of the malevolent qi flowing unrestricted from Edoba, both of your spells falter. While Edoba faces off against Shei, more bolts fly toward you.

'3d10+3' MB

>Explain later! Vortigern mouths, shaking her head and keeping her glare upon Edoba. A dreadful storm of black bolts fly toward you and the rest of the party, and Vortigern prepares herself to chop through what she can.

'3d10+3' MB

'1d10+4' Vortigern tries to cut down the bolts!
'1d10+1' Box shoots down what he can!
'1d10+4' Volkama prepares a Bubble for Flaming!

Roll #1 5, 2, 8 + 3 = 18 / Roll #2 9, 6, 6 + 3 = 24 / Roll #3 2, 10, 2 + 3 = 17 / Roll #4 10 + 4 = 14 / Roll #5 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #6 6 + 4 = 10



"Thanks!" Amy says with a smile. She bounces happily over to the stone structure to pick out a dress.


Flaming tries to dodge as many of the bolts as come her way as possible, getting in closer as bits of her charred and ruined samoorai armor start to fall apart at the sides in her charge. She tries to flank him from the side, drawing his attention towards her so as to take pressure off the others

>Offering upon the Mountain to draw aggro, automatic

"Hey! Did the pagado hit you a little too hard when it fell down?! You haven't even gotten close to hitting me yet!"


Shei-Sher doubles down on his close range approach and steps close enough to occupy the same space Edoba's body occupies.

>Jhana of Malleable Flesh: Spell, Recharge 2(minus 1): You can escape from any physical binding or grapple by moving yourself freely through space in a radius of three meters in any direction. During this time, you are considered intangible for the purposes of moving through physical obstructions, unless said obstruction is larger than your three meter radius. This ability naturally has DC - 2 and stacks with other bonuses.


Whilst occupying the same space Edoba does, Shei-Sher's body warps and dissapates complimentary to the immediate area of Edoba's aura. Eyes closed and clairvoyance, Shei attempts to dodge the orbs by a bizarre dance.
>instant dodge roll

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


KP's eyes fill with awe at hearing the details of the special bestiary.
>"So it fills itself out, and it tracks everything?! Do I have to fight the creatures, can I make them do tricks instead?"
He asks, expectations growing.

Glancing over the supplies, KP immediately draws to the aquarium, a perfect place for the lilythrone to sit and Hopper to have a little home. He also looks over the costumes, picking up one of the wizards ones and holding it up to Hopper to see how he looks.
>"Do you want a cool magician costume buddy?"
He also looks over the ropes and cart as possibilities for Lockjaw, imagining the little deviljho giving the other pets rides around the ship.
>"How much for all of this stuff?"
KP asks, gesturing wide over all the objects and his beast mastery equipment.

Pryce shakes his head as his magic fails to form, not expecting the dense pressure from Edoba's own spells. When he fires a barrage of bolts at him and his friends, Pryce looks between the two, unsure who to shield. With how close Shei is, Pryce darts forward, knowing the goat can't have time to react to such a point blank blow, placing a hoof on Shei as he shields them from the magic.
>Palisade [Shei & Self] [1d10]

While close, Pryce grabs his robe with his magic, pushing his sleeve against the seer to inflict the stored damage the snakeskin has held.
>Serpent Bite [10 Hits, 1 Wound, -1 to rolls next turn] [1d10]

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


Sansebas blinks. "… I don't see why you couldn't jury-rig that. It is a spell under your control after all. You'd just have to be careful to keep it under control."

Hopper takes the wizard hat, but scorns at the robe. Looks like the inside is made of some kind of cloth. With a slimy body like his, he'd probably do better with a sleeker material that won't soak up his slime.

Sansebas consults a book at the desk, tallying up the totals for all that you have picked out. "That's going to be 300 Bits altogether."


>A maelstrom of red feathers flies about the shattered pagoda as Vortigern takes flight. Each wingbeat creates explosive force as she zooms about, cutting bolts into two halves which zoom off course and annihilate more of the walls and floor. In doing this, she targets the largest bolts, the ones that would surely do the most damage, and more than likely spared each of you from serious injury.
>Box also shoots down one or two, but he can't possibly match the level of protection that Vortigern managed with her sword.

>Shei takes 4 Hits!

>Pryce takes 8 Hits!
>Flaming takes 0 Hits!

>A bubble appears around Flaming, but at the same time, your eyes glimpse the remains of Vortigern's wakizashi. The blade crumbles into pieces, most of it already eaten away from striking the magic bolts without an anti-magic field of its own to mitigate the damage to the steel.

Edoba snarls, beyond the point of coherence. He raises his hoof to call down more bolts, but the snarl he wears twists into a grin, and suddenly you notice him glancing at the swirling black Qi that has caught fire. He begins to twist and crane his neck, and the swirling Qi, centered on him, starts to move along with his movements, mimicking their flow and carrying the fire with it. The current of black Qi and fire sweep your way, a burning curtain big enough to encompass the room!

'1d10+3' Firestorm, targeting all 4.

Vortigern attempts to dodge. '1d10+4'
Rus Tea grabs Box to cover him. '1d10+2'
Box pokes his gun out under Rus' arm at Edoba. '1d10+1'

You phase into Edoba, much to his shock, and the two of you turn into some horrid two-headed deer-goat abomination. Disgusting, strange feelings take root in your body from the neck down, a feeling of being at once wooden and flesh, alive and non-living. In an attempt to sever you, the black bolts pelt you from above, but a few miss due to your much smaller target now.

Edoba gasps as Pryce runs forward, sealing them all in a barrier of antimagic. Black bolts and the burning Qi dissipate upon touching the glowing white barrier, and Edoba has little time to react before the Snakeskin Cloak strikes him. As the sleeve makes contact, the scales morph into a green and black snake's head, biting him in the neck to transfer the damage.

He reaches up to punch Shei in the throat!


Then Edoba snarls, strength waning after a long battle, and then bolts for the far wall of the second floor. You see that portions of the wall have collapsed from the magic bolts that Vortigern cut down, and there's an opening big enough for him to run through. It's not hard to surmise that he's going to try to throw himself out of the hole to take Shei down with him.

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #2 7 + 4 = 11 / Roll #3 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #4 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #5 3 + 2 = 5


You circumvent the lake along the grassy road surrounding it, passing through the treeline and coming up to a large cottage that has a high gate surrounding it. The gate is unlocked, and past that lies a garden. The cottage looks to have been built for a giant, and considering Regina's size… no… fullness… no… stature, let's go with stature. Considering her stature, it's obvious it was built for her.

The cottage consists of a single main room on the ground floor, looking like the inside of a workshop of a dollmaker. Many Replica bodies hang on racks or are propped up on a massive table sitting before a stool. Shelves flank the table, full of craftspony tools for fine-tuning and trimming the body. A great chest lies to the right of the table, and inside, you see neatly folded outfits of many styles. There are peasants' and laborers' garbs lying in the same heaps as the robes and cowls of monks, and across from those is a stack of nobles' finery – dresses, wigs, stockings, curved shoes, and so on.




Roll #1 1 = 1



Amy looks for the most expensive looking dress she can find! '1d10' for expensive dress!

'1d10' for perception

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


>"Alright! I could do so much with this book then!"

As Hopper disregards the robe, KP chuckle, letting him keep the hat.
>"We can ask Volkama for help on the outfit. He made ones for all his mice after all."

As Sansebas says the price will be 300, he frowns, looking into his coin bag.
>"Uhh…. Ok let's take away the cart. How much is it now?"

>H/W: 6/6
>Snakeskin Cloak: 4 Hits

Pryce pushes his way through the bolts flying about, getting close as he gets his cloak to unleash and bite down on Edoba. As he runs with Shei with intent to take him down with him, Pryce unloops his kusarigama, swinging the weighted end out and around Edoba's legs to wrap and tie them together, keeping the deer from fleeing.
"It's over Edoba! You're not going anywhere!"
>Leg Chain [1d10+3]

Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13


You hop onto a stool to reach the chest's contents, but luckily for you, it's not long before you rifle through enough piles to uncover a purple princess' gown. It's not too frilly, and is short enough for you to walk relatively comfortably. Folded up within the gown are a set of sparkly stockings and slippers with only very slight heels.

It is at this point that you realize Yadala is no longer with you. In fact, you can't recall her ever piping up during your talk earlier, nor even seeing her. As possibilities occur to you, you realize you hear voices coming from upstairs. A spiral staircase lays near the back of the cottage.


Sansebas looks down at the cart and your coinpurse with a frown. As if sensing your disappointment, he drums a hoof on the counter. "…How much do you have on you?"


Shei-Sher's winces and utters echoing groans as his body unnaturely moves between Edoba's flesh, a transmutational abomination. Until the pull to reject Shei from Edoba's body becomes to severe. The chains from Shei's switch-cane shoot skyward as it unhinges. Anticipating the ejection from Edoba's body, Shei-Sher swings the chain to wrap around Edoba's body. Moving with momentum Shei-Sher pulls Edoba down onto the ground to pin him in chain wraps.
[1d10] lasso Edoba

As Edoba is pulled to the Ground with Shei-Sher, the goat finds time to bind Edoba's hooves with the wooden or stone foundation of the padoga.

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

[1d10+2] to further immobolize Edoba.

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6


Notably, Shei-Sher had caught sight of Vortigern in the air, winged and dragon like. He asked himself if she has done that before but had no time to comment within the hysteria.


KP holds up his bag to show.
>"Only 200…"
He says, a bit bummed.

Roll #1 9 = 9



Amy does her best to put the dress on correctly. For the most part, she does it right. However, everything is slightly disheveled and uneven. Also, she puts the wrong slippers on the wrong hooves.

When she hears the voices, her ears perk up, and she heads upstairs.


Health update


As the sweeping storm of fire is sent out against them, Flaming frowns, disturbed by Edobas sickly grin and the manner in which his orbs cause Vortigerns weapon to vanish into nothing.

"I'm starting to wonder if there is even any Edoba left in there… why dont you make this easier and just GIVE UP?"

She shouts as she dives over the flames to strike with her helmet
[1d10+5] AoN

Roll #1 7 + 5 = 12


As you climb to the upper floor of the cottage, you see Yadala standing alone in the center of the room, looking up with silent shock. Many Replica are propped up all around the massive craftsroom, posed in various ways and in various situations – studying in a library, answering questions in an academic lecture, battling with knives and staves, tending to clay flowers in a model garden. Like the featureless Replicas you saw earlier, who were tending the gardens outside, these ones are repeating semi-autonomous routines, simple actions taking no more than three to five seconds before they loop, like wind-up dolls.

What has stolen Yadala's focus is a Replica sitting on a stone cube, obscured partly behind a lamp. It is a Replica of Yadala, sitting at a desk, weighing various stones in a scale, against a feather. At the end of her routine, her tail wags excitedly, just as it did when you saw Yadala earlier.

The pain of the forced binding is too much for Shei to concentrate through, and Edoba sprints nearly toward the opening. Shei can feel his legs and Edoba's tense for the final leap, but Pryce's chain hooks around them both at the last second, tying up Edoba's rear legs to keep him from escaping. Pryce reels in Edoba, who tries to claw his way back toward the opening, but to no avail.

Flaming, charging through the fire-wave, strikes him with her helm, causing him to gag in pain. She too feels a strong burning sensation as the fire-wave from earlier passes over Volkama. The bubble pops, absorbing the damage she would have taken.

Edoba flops onto his back, and as he does, his teeth flash in a grim smirk. Laughing, he points up at the ceiling.

Above, you can see that the fire from his Qi attack has spread all across the second floor's walls and ceiling, licking upwards to consume the wrecked building above you. The structural damage from before only makes the fire's spread even easier and faster. With a blood-chilling creak and a groan, the pagoda's upper levels start to shake and waver, swaying from side to side from the intensity of the battle.

"Yes, perhaps this HAS gone on too long, hasn't it?" Edoba asks mockingly. "My monks dead, my Pagoda destroyed, the Heart stolen. Why don't we bring this farce to a close and bring the whole theater down with it!"

The burning Qi radiates outward, the flame leaping upward through the destroyed tower to bring it down as soon as possible!


Roll #1 4, 1, 3 + 3 = 11


Sansebas drums his hooves on the counter thoughtfully. "You're not that far off from being able to afford it all, but you know I can't just give these away for free. Well, you're a conjurer, are you not? Perhaps you can make something to cover the costs of that last hundred you're short."



"Hey, that's pretty well made!" Amy admires the craftsmanship of the Yadala's replica as she walks up next to her.

Then, she looks at Yadala with a concerned expression. "What's got you so down?"


"How long has this been here?" Yadala asks. "I was only just doing this recently… and I hardly ever see Regina, let alone talk to her. But it's doing just what I was! There, that's jade, and emerald and sapphire and ruby. Those were the gems I was testing on my scale. How would she know I was doing this? Is that supposed to be a copy of me? Or…"

She gulps, leaving her question uncompleted, but obvious.


Flaming grins as she manages to put a solid blow on Edoba, the flames of his Qi attack listing over her coat and armor, singing both slightly as she bounces back from it, hopping along the side preparing for another assault as Shei forcibly merges himself with the deer. She winces at the disturbing sight, but as he prepares another attack to take down the rest of the tower, Flaming shouts at the top of her lungs,

"Everything that's happened is a result of your actions, Edoba! You betrayed the trust of those who needed you, and now you've let your pride and rage consume you! But we… ALL of us… are going to end your suffering, here and now! So says I, Flaming Shortswords, the protector of the helpless!" Flaming screams, leaping up to intercept the blast itself and divert its course away from the tower
[1d10+1] Trying to knock the flaming qi off course with a head-butt

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


Shei-Sher turns his attention to the collapsing ceiling, burning and flying with ash. Shei-Sher sits down and begins meditating just beside his friends.

>Dark Corridor; instant: Conjure a corridor that takes to somewhere you've been to previously. Results may vary with longer distance between target locations.

Above everyone a dark corridor leading to the bottom of a river Shei-Sher had gone to the last time he used it opens up. Timultuous volumes of Water begins blasting out of the portal, diluging the area, flooding the padoga, and breaking the fall of the ceiling.

Roll #1 7 = 7



But, whether the obvious is actually obvious to Amy is obviously not obvious. She shrugs. "She's obviously watching everyone. She's a big sphinx with a pretty magic pool of water. And, besides, she obviously likes to watch and learn as much about everyone as she can. I guess the replicas are just what she's learned."

"Now, I'm gonna go be a part of the game," Amy says excitedly. "I'm gonna be a princess! You wanna watch!?"

But, before Yadala can answer, Amy turns and bounds down the stairs and out to where Regina is.


Pryce frowns as Edoba mocks them, hearing the sound of the tower threatening to fall at any moment now.
"…He's right. This has gone on too long. EVERYPONY! Let's get out of this tower!"
Pryce instructs to the group, as he pulls up Edoba in his chains and leads the way to the first floor and out of the tower.
>Evacuate? [1d10]

>"Well, yea. But My stuff doesn't last for too long. Besides, I can always come back later! I'll be fine without the cart."
KP says, his disappointment almost non-existent now.

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Could she have really made one so detailed in such a short period of time? It didn't take us that long to get up here, and– where are you going!?" she complains, scurrying down after you as you bounce your way back down to the lakeside.

Once you come back to my side, I smile, leaning down to adjust your outfit a little with my claws. I take a brush from a bag laying near me, a very small one, and start to comb out the imperfections in your design, until you are the very image of a perfect doll. "Now, we just need to think of your story."
"U-uh, Regin–"

Yadala falls silent as my gaze passes over her. "I… I found something in there that I want to talk about. That Replica. The one of me… is it…"

I raise my eyebrow in annoyed impatience.

Flaming leaps and surges through the Qi-blast's epicenter, dispelling a great portion of it and causing it to fall away into embers on all sides. Some of the fire still manages to spread around, augmenting the burning caused when his burning Qi spread earlier via the fire-wave attacks. But, Shei opens another Dark Corridor, pouring in a great flow of water from above. The water careens into the room, dampening many fires upon the floor and soaking the occupants. Smoke fills the air, and your allies cough, crouching low. Wireframe chops sections of cloth from tapestries nearby, and your allies grab them, soak them in water and hold them to their mouths like masks.

With Edoba's fire trounced, the building's creaking slows, but continues. Still, from the way it sways and creaks, it's certain that it might fall down with any passing second.

As Pryce starts to lead the charge out, he makes the mistake of picking up Edoba. With a commanding glare, Edoba's black Qi starts spreading outward from his head. Pryce and Shei are unaffected, but the weight of the Qi starts to bear down upon all those outside of Pryce's palisade, slowing their movements with a crushing weight. All fall to their knees, struggling to keep moving.

'2d10+3' Edoba's Qi Pressure

'1d10+4' Vortigern tries to escape!
'1d10+2' Rus tries to escape!
'1d10+1' Box tries to escape!
'1d10+2' Volkama tries to escape!
'1d10+1' Wireframe tries to escape!

Roll #1 9, 7 + 3 = 19 / Roll #2 8 + 4 = 12 / Roll #3 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #4 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #5 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #6 5 + 1 = 6


Sansebas shrugs. "Are you sure? If not that, I guess I could let you work for it. 100 Bits sounds like a fair day's wages. It's about what I give Tian here."

He reaches down and tousles Tian's hair.



"Squadala wants to know if you made her. Or are controlling her? Both seem silly to me," Amy finishes Yadala's question for her. Though, she does it practically absent-mindedly. Her thoughts are clearly more on what her story should be.

[1d10+2] Mantra of Equality with compassion to get the truth

"Oh, they're like saving someone from a burning building right now, right? I could be one of the one's they're saving! Like their princess or something!"

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11


Shei-Sher gets up from meditating, after the water has come above his legs

Shei walks over to Pryce "Pryce I need you to throw Edoba into that pool of water" Shei-Sher point over to a dented crevice or a collapsed stairway, where water could accumulate with depth.

"I'm gonna freeze myself with Edoba, come and get me after the Padoga falls down alright."


"What?! Shei are you crazy, this tower is on fire your ice can't last through that!"


"So then tear down the padoga once you are out. We don't have much time. I will keep the water running out of my dark corridor in the meanwhile. Have Flaming close my portal once you're ready to retrieve me."


I look down at Yadala. "Not right now. We will discuss this in a moment – the finale is upon us."

I look down at your dress, then at the story unfolding. "Yours is more of a mainland clothing style. It doesn't really match the aesthetic of the island in which the story takes place. I'd have to change your dress out slightly for consistency's sake. Still want to hop in?"


Flaming grunts as she manages to divert the flame, and looking up into the sky as Shei's water stars pouring down all around them, she thinks for a moment that the tower can be saved. She hears Pryce's advice to evacuate, however, and grunts, nodding her head in agreement. "Alright… if he lives through this, we'll finish it outside!"

She quickly runs towards the exit as Edoba's qi starts to exert pressure on them, causing her to drop to a knee due to the gravity but pressing onwards.
"Not… stopping us… THAT… easily!"
Shorthorn's horns glow with a golden light, inspiring everyone around her to press forth through the pressure
>Commandment of Harmony activate!


Pryce looks back as Edoba spreads his energy outward and uses it to crush down the party. He grows tired and infuriated with how determined this deer is to take out everypony, even while pulling him to safety as well.
"I'm leaving you behind Shei, I'm not going to leave anypony behind here!"
Pryce shouts, at the combined body, turning his glare at Edoba.
"And you're going to stop right now!"
Pryce declares to Edoba, his horn sparking crimson as he channels his magic around Edoba's head, cutting off hte flow of his Qi and trying to contain it onto the deer alone.
>Telekinesis [Block Qi] [1d10]

>"Yea I'm sure. I got some toys already, a cart was just a fun little bonus."

Roll #1 6 = 6



Amy shrugs. "Change whatever you want. As long as someone opens a treasure chest and I pop out, I'm happy. It'll be totally funny!"

After that, she turns to Yadala and puts a hoof-paw on her shoulder. "Don't worry, Squadala. You're my friend now. No matter what you find out, that won't change."


[1d10+1] Flaming's escape attempt

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


Shei-Sher takes notice of what Pryce is trying to do. A little crestfallen, knowing Pryce isn't aware Qi does not behave in a way that can be easily contained.

"You're taking a steep gamble. With my way you would only risk losing one friend." Shei says with stoic disapproval. Shei-Sher touches Pryce's horn with his hoof enchanting it with a logical frame of magical suggestion.
[1d10+1] qi working to improve Pryce's chances of success

The promptly, Shei-Sher evacuates with everyone else.
[1d10+1] escape roll

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11


"As long as someone opens a treasure chest, you say?" I ask, hiding my smirk behind my paw. "Very well. You asked for it."

Chanting and waving my paws over the water, I clear a portion of the scying-pool, turning it a misty white circle in the midst of the visions. "Dive right in."

Yadala twiddles her paws around me. I simply gaze down at her, regarding her coldly.



Without a second thought, Amy dives into the lake.


Between Shei and Pryce's power, Edoba's overpowering black Qi starts shrinking back toward him, returning all that pressure and weight onto his own body. Just before the pain becomes unbearable for Shei, Edoba releases it, and the rest of the party, staggering from the sudden release, bolt for the stairs. They are aided by a wave of golden energy from Flaming, her own beneficial Qi giving them a burst of vitality and speed as they run for the door. Even when Rus is struck from above with falling debris, she doesn't slow, carrying Wireframe and Box under her arms to make sure they don't fall behind.

>Flaming and Volkama lose 1 wound from the black threads due to Rus

As you sprint from the Pagoda's front door, you hear a dreadful rumbling, thunderous and roaring as the pagoda crumbles underneath the severe damage it's sustained. Your allies don't stop until you're all back underneath the protective cover of the monastery's hall, and look back. The Pagoda crumbles vertically, wood and metal flying everywhere in a burning heap, collapsing into the snowy mountainside. Wood and cloth fly everywhere as the mighty structure is brought low by the chaotic battle.

Your allies stop and catch their breath, weakly panting from the strain of the battle. But this is strangely cut off by Box. Box starts to make muffled groans. He jumps and rattles, trying to speak, but his lid is sealed shut by a lock.


Sansebas examines the rest of the goods, consulting the pricing catalog. "…Carry the one, minus the cart… alright, I'll let you have the rest of that for 200, you little bargain-hunter. Now, ever you find yourself in need of some pocket change, come on by. We're always in need of extra help around here."

"Yeah, we've been busy lately. Lots of demon tamers coming in when the Ecclesian guards aren't looking," Tian says. "The tamers try to use our Summoning equipment to help with controlling demons, but that's just a completely different level of difficulty."


Suddenly, as the waters pass over you, you feel yourself falling into nothingness, all sensation and perceptions fading away as you tumble into a black void. But this feeling of emptiness and senselessness doesn't last long. It unceremoniously comes to a halt as you feel yourself falling onto a wooden surface, completely without light. You hear various objects clattering and rolling around nearby.


Shei-Sher's eyes linger to Box and then to the rest of the party. "Sorry for burning down the Padoga." Shei-Sher felt he should have just gotten that apology out of the way.


Pryce keeps his concentration, force Edoba's energy back onto him until it breaks, freeing his friends from it's crushing weight. Once everypony can move freely, Pryce runs with his allies, carrying Edoba along with him as they bolt back into the main hall.
Once into safety, Pryce sets Edoba down gently, stopping to breath now that everything has finished. As Box suddenly starts to rattle as he's unable to speak, Pryce turns to the mimic.
"Wha— Box, is this part of the character you played?"
He asks, stepping over to check the lock on his lid.

"It wasn't you entirely. Seeing how the others acted when they were in character, this tower might've been doomed to fall."

KP smiles as all the rest comes to a perfect price, dumping out all his bits on the counter for the exchange.
>"Thanks a ton Sansebas! And yea, this seems like a cool place to hang out!"

>"Hmm, yea that doesn't sound fitting at all. Demons aren't animals, they're like a whole different thing."

He comments as Tian mentions the trouble. He then looks over to Spitshine and Sugar.
>"What'd you guys get?"


Flaming exerts her positive qi outwards as she focuses all her physical power into her horns, dashing for the exit as the pagod begins to collapse all around them. "Everyone hurry, it could fall any moment now!"

As they finally make it outside, Flaming finally takes a moment to look behind her, staring at the mighty tower she had admired so greatly upon first arriving crashing down to the ground below, a small part of her heart aching for the idea of hope it represented as it splinters and burns into debris littering the monastery.

Flaming pauses for a moment, convinced that Edoba might actually be gone, before taking a moment to sit, lowering her head in a motion of respect, even if she's dubious the one to have fallen is deserving of it.
"…rest in peace, Edoba."


"Right now, right this very second. The Edoba featured in this story is giving birth to millions of fire ants every day so they can eat his flesh and die around him in the valley of Gehenna, for thousands of years until the administration of hell consider him a candidate for reincarnation. That is the punishment for blood sacrifice so I hear."


The lock sealing Box's mouth appears to be made of jade. He flails and trots in place, raising his arms with distress as he desperately attempts to pry himself open, to no avail.
>"The keys, the keys!" Wireframe says. "Get a key and open him up already!"
>"Which one? Who had them last?" Rus asks.
>Vortigern removes a pin from her hair and attempts to pick the lock, but to no avail. She then raises the butt of her sword, apparently willing to bash the lock off, but Box raises his hooves desperately to beg her not to.
>Volkama's horn glows with a black energy, evidently willing to try something similar with magic, but Box raises his hooves to stop him too.

"I'm right here," Edoba says, still a two-headed abomination with Shei. "But I guess I can appreciate the sentiment."


"I got a chew toy for Pucchini," Sugar says, holding up a yellow stuffed hobgoblin. He looks like a freak.
"And there was this on sale," Spitshine says, carrying what looks like a climbing-post for cats. Katcher swings by his tail from one of the top branches.

"Well, we don't just cater to Beast-Masters, even if that's our specialty," Tian says. "We carry stock for a variety of different types of Summoners and Summoning magic. But demon taming is just such a strange matter, with its own rules and logic. Even stuff we carry isn't much help for getting them under control, and the Ecclesians have already confiscated what little materials we had that would have been more helpful."

Sansebas winces, clearing his throat meaningfully. "What did I say about telling others that?"


As Edoba speaks to her, Flaming looks to her side in a fright, witnessing the fused abomination Shei had become with him earlier still intact. She lets out a screech, staggering backwards as she falls on her rump,
"SHEI! You're still mixed with him?! I-I thought you would drop him before the tower fell, you brought him out here?!"

Flaming blushes, "Uh… I-I don't remember, I think Pryce did last I checked when we were in the Cobraskin story?"


"They keys? Oh, right, those chests that the false Vortigern mentioned," Pryce looks over to Shei, still inside Edoba, "Shei, get out of there and unlock Box, or toss me the jade key."

But then Pryce pauses, looking over to Wireframe.
"…How did you know about those?"

>"Whoa, those are so cool!"
KP says on the toys they bought.
>"Our pets are gonna have so much fun!"

>"Wow, so you got all kinds of stuff for making things?"

As Sansebas scolds Tian, KP waves his hoof.
>"Your secret is safe with me. I've seen a few tamers before so I know how that's a odd field."


"No, I phased him from my body a few moments before our escape"

"Right, right, leave it to me." Shei-Sher takes a jade key out from his bag and opens Box's mouth with it.



The exact moment the lock of Box's mouth opens, Box bursts open, and Amy comes leaping out. She lands on Shei. She's wearing some royal looking dress and slippers, though the dress is disheveled and put on wrong and the slippers are on the wrong paw-hooves.

"You saved me!" she shouts dramatically as if she's a part of a play. "Here's a kiss as thanks!"

She then proceeds to kiss Shei passionately.


>"I was still with you guys when Shei turned those scrolls into the keys," Wireframe says. "That was before I – and it looks like a bunch of other people – got abducted. Don't get your dick in a twist, I'm not one of those Replicas. Besides, is it that hard to figure out? Jade lock, jade key. Remember, I was a thief for Buiwong before joining all of you.

Box shrieks and coughs as Amy comes flying out of his mouth, falling over after she's out. She is dressed like a traditional hime of Jibayin, wearing an elegant and long kimono, her hair done up in a very long style, her bangs neatly pressed just above her eyes, and with a wolf-shaped pin running through the back to keep things in place.
>"You're alright!" Wireframe gasps.
>"Where's the rest of the party?" Rus asks.
>"Do you have any treasure with you?" Volkama asks.
>Vortigern gruffly nods hello.


Pucchini jumps up and snatches the hobgoblin toy from Sugar's hoof, running around the shop with it. She laughs. "Guess he was waiting a while for something like that."
Spitshine smirks. "You should smile more often."
Sugar quickly forces herself to stop smiling, but can't hide the curl at the corner of her mouth.

"Of course!" Sansebas says. "I'd be remiss to miss out on such a market. People are desperate to get their hooves on any kind of magic that might help them survive one more day out here, even those who have no magical aptitude whatsoever."


As Edoba rests along side the party, Flaming takes a moment to look aside to Pryce, the one who carried him out.
"You took him out with us?! Why?"

As Amy comes jumping out of the box, dressed in a traditional hime garb, Flaming looks up with surprise and relief, bits of her torched and broken samoorai armor clattering as she jumps up immediately in brighter spirits.

"AMY!?" She tackles her full on, wrapping her hooves around her AND Shei (despite her trying to kiss him). "You're okay!!!!"


"I said I wasn't going to leave anypony behind. Even if he is a false creation of a story, he deserves to atone for what he did."

Pryce is a bit off-put by Wireframe's language.
"How can we be sure? The last replica was pretty insistent despite speaking as Vortigern."
Pryce says, though not as harshly as he did on Repligern, more with concern over being betrayed by another friend being a fake.

Pryce takes a step back as Amy suddenly bursts out of Box.
"A-Amy?! Where did you come from?"
He asks in shock, before connecting that she hasn't been mentally altered like the others who've played a role have.
"Have you seen the others?"

Pryce steps over to help Box up after Amy is free from his insides.
"I assume this means the story is over then if we received a chest? Or is there a step we're missing?"

KP chuckles as Sugar hides her smile after Spitshine's comment.

>"Yea, though you should be careful. You don't want ponies getting hurt trying to use your stuff out there."

He says to Sansebas.


Shei-Sher falls over gladly taking Amy weight as he hits the floor. He laughs, enjoying Amy's kiss, just as much ecstatic to her back "Well then, I don't care what anyone has to say. This prize is all mine."

"you beautiful Amy, did Regina give you the dress?"


also directed at you >>722704



"Shortyhorns!" Amy objects childishly. "You're ruining my character!"


Amy unwraps herself from the tangle of a hug and dusts off her kimono to look at it. "Yeah, but it's not the one I picked out," Amy answers. "I guess this one fits the story better or something?"

"The hair I got done on my way here, though! A nice witch did it for free!"


"Of course I'm fine!" Amy objects to Wireframe's gasp. "I've had longer falls than that!"


Then, she looks to Rus and Pryce and cocks her head. "Who's missing? I didn't see anyone else on my way to Regina."


"You met Regina?!"
Pryce questions in disbelief, before answering her question.
"Assuming no one here is a fake, we're missing Chorazin, Tantra, Little Journey, and Lockjaw from when they were stolen in these stories. We also haven't seen any sign of Zjetya since the trail went cold outside the library."


>"We could ask them something only they would know," Volkama suggests. "Replica Amy was a devout reader, while our Amy is totally illiterate. Repligern could speak and nearly chatted our ears off. Our Vortigern is a mute."
>Wireframe shrugs. "Fire away. What do you think I wouldn't know if I was a Replica?"

Your allies look around to take stock.
>"We're missing Tantra, LJ and Zjetya still, right?" Wireframe asks.

>"The other story didn't end until we left the area of the tale," Rus says. "And besides, the Replica of Vortigern didn't give us the chest until we exposed her for a fake. I don't think we get the treasure unless we go out of our way to explore for it."
>"Something tells me we're not going to get to keep this," Volkama says, gesturing to the Pure Heart.


>Forgot one
"And Volkama's mice."


"That's why we have the no-refunds policy," Sa