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Sir Pent slithers off of your arm and crawls over to Sparkler, and bumps his head against her arm until she relents and gives him a pat. Sir Pent soon bites off an old scale, one already on its way to falling off, and holds it out to her. Curious, Sparkler takes it, and after some deliberation, starts to mash it in a pestle while her healing takes its effect.

*Click click* the beetle continues, patiently awaiting your questions with its forelegs folded up together in a professional posture.

Your shark senses tell you there's something worth taking in this room… but it might be a nap.

Juniper flings herself into the pool outside the room, and Cycle follows suit. Juniper then climbs out and steps through the doorway with no issue.

"Looks like the Mechpriests would have had to purify themselves with a ritual bath before entering here," Juniper says. "But for our purposes, just stepping into the pool is enough to enter one of these kinds of chambers, I suppose."

"Yeah…" Chiu mutters, but she does not sound very sure.
230 posts omitted. Click reply to view.


Cloud follows the group, eye and ears on alert as they enter the jungle again.
>Navigation [1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


Willows device was going to be on the larger side, being something of a shoulder mounted cannon instead of a small one. Given it's energy needs it did make sense. Two Tons meanwhile was his eyes.

[1d10+1] Navigation

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3


>Navigation: [1d10+1]
Alder's both relieved that their smaller group might be less likely to spot, and worried that their smaller group might be easier to roll over!

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


>Sun Cannon
>Ranged, Great
>Damage Type: Light
>Effect: Recharge 3: Attack Target(s) from Range with Light Attribute Damage. If the number of Targets is less than 3, then those Targets have their Attribute Relationship to Light Damage reduced by 1 stage until dispelled.
>Duration: Until dispelled

Cycle Kick runs alongside Cerulean at the head of the group – though, it's Sir Pent who is really doing the leading. Whenever Sir Pent turns his head one direction or another, he sticks his body out, like a pointer hound, to indicate the proper direction to go. Alder keeps an eye on Sir Pent, and hiss-whispers the changes in direction to the rest of the group whenever Sir Pent updates the proper trajectory.

As Cloud keeps Schnitzel on the line, feeding him periodic updates of your journey, you can hear ominous tidings in the background. Metal grinding, creaking… a low shh-shh, shh-shh of great swaths of cloth rubbing together…

The afternoon light is losing its luster…

Droplet subtly pushes ahead of Cycle Kick, forcing him and Cerulean to increase their pace so as to not lose him!

>roll for travel time; the better the results, the more light you'll have on arrival.



Don't know if I get my bonus for travel time, but I'll just put it in.


Roll #1 7 = 7


>tfw I said I would put it in, then I didn't


>[1d10] Fast time!

Roll #1 3 = 3


Cloud picks up his pace as the sun starts to descend. Despite being a bat this is a night he doesn't want to be out in.
>Speed [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


Cerulean notices the increase of pace, so she increases her's as well! Though she might be treating it more as a race than anything.


Roll #1 1 = 1


Willow shouldered the weapon and began to hustle with Two Tons to save daylight.


Roll #1 10 = 10


>But it was not fast time!


As you push along to keep up with Droplet's quiet mixture of impatience and worry, you notice something – this is easier than it was about a month, no, even a week ago. Those of you who awakened to your Auras on Semetyer Island heard from Master Cangrejo and Brewhaha that Aura enhanced one's physical capabilities, but until now, the improvements had been so slight as to not be noticeable… but now, it's as if you had suddenly taken stairs two at a time, instead of just one at a time, that's the kind of climb even your more mundane physical abilities have taken.

However, as you contemplate this, Cerulean drops like a rock. While trying to dash through a bush, she failed to notice an eroded ditch that the bushes concealed, and stepped where she should have leapt. She falls about ten feet, and by the time she rolls to a stop, her hind legs are coated in scrapes and sores, feeling the soreness in her tail and leg bones just as much as upon the skin.

>Cerulean loses 1 Wound and has her max Wounds reduced by 1 until the end of the next sequence

Two Tons stops, however, and helps Cerulean up, propping her upon his shoulders given their similar heights, and you are able to get moving again.


If Cloud wasn't anxious of being jumped, he'd probably find his natural improvement to be great, and a way to skip some workouts. Though as of now the rush to get to the Round is making him not focus on that aspect as much.

When Cerulean suddenly tumbles and falls down, Cloud stops momentarily.
"Are you okay?" He asks with concern, though Two Tons is already up on the save. He then gets back to running once they're set.


"Ah, hmm- I certainly do not feel as if I was in such good shape prior to this. Hiking was never a strong suit of mine… how utterly bizarre." Alder remarks, before shrugging. "I suppose it is the Aura, then?"

Alder lets out a quiet squawk as his friend takes a tumble, and tries to help her to her hooves.

"G-Goodness. Cerulean, do try to be somewhat careful- I do not wish to lose a friend to a tumble and a cliff!"



Sir Pent continues to be snek.


"Owww! Yeah, I'm fine," Cerulean says to Cloud as she keeps up as best she can while being aided. She gives a bit of a grin and chuckle before she speaks again.
"Though for our next big adventure, can it be underwater? I don't have to worry about falling when I'm swimming."


Willow paused and also offered to help Two Tons with Cerulean.


Were it not for Two Tons's robotic strength, Cerulean's injury would surely have hindered your progress – but as the two get used to each other's walking stride, and as Cerulean gets a bit of her wind back, you are able to make up for lost time and head for the camp.

Around an hour before sun-serpent-set, you get another call from Schnitzel.

>"Okay, stop moving," he directs.

Droplet and Colobok frown in confusion, their hooves practically sparking as they skid to a stop. The lack of movement in this dense jungle clearly sets them on edge, but Schnitzel is silent.

>"One second…"

"Explai–" Droplet tries to say, before he leaps aside. The earth below him suddenly collapses, and Schnitzel pokes his head out from a hole. His large diamond dog paws are filthy with dirt from recent digging.

"Nishishi," Schnitzel laughs, putting aside two Caller Conches. "Dang, and I almost had you."

"Why two Conches?" Colobok asks, suddenly curious.

"Sir Diamantaire helped me find you, so I had to keep you and him on separate conches so as not to spoil the surprise. My rotten luck that he detected the assassin. Our camp's underground. If you'll follow…"

Schnitzel then looks at Two Tons and Cerulean, and frowns. "Hmm. Back to excavation, then."

He ducks his head back down and keeps digging in order to make the tunnels wide enough for them to enter. Droplet rolls his eyes, and awaits his turn to enter the tunnel.


Willow pulled out his destabalizer sphere and debated using it to help but instead opted to just wait and take up rear guard duty, letting everyone else get through before he tailed them in, cannon at the ready.


Cloud jumps back as Schnitzel burrows up from the ground ,startled.
"You got a whole camp underground?" He questions. Cloud's a little concerned about getting into close corners, but seeing that there's no way the automatons could fit in there, it's the safest place to be, and Cloud quickly heads in.


"Looks like me and you are gonna have to wait a bit, big guy," Cerulean says, giving Two Tons a friendly pat on the back.
"Thanks for helping, by the way. That ditch came out of nowhere!"



Sir Pent leaps onto Schnitzel when he appears, showing who his favorite is.


"Ahh, Schnitzel!" He chirps a little, jumping about a foot in the air from the suddenness of his appearance. He'll wait with the others for the tunnel to be expanded, flapping his wings a little bit and murmuring "Ahh… I do not like underground, but I will make do. Let us just hurry, yes?"


Schnitzel yelps when Sir Pent leaps onto him, much to Droplet's amusement. Schnitzel regains his composure, however, and puts Sir Pent to work moving small rocks loosened by the tunnel expansions. Sir Pent manages to find a few tasty grubs and other insects for his efforts.


At the end of a winding tunnel, you find yourselves in a mostly underground room, with a few holes leading to the surface to allow in light and fresh air. There are only two other occupants: Make Believe, who is busy making some simple decorations for the cave walls out of rocks and homemade paint, and Sir Diamantaire. The latter is laying against the wall, just a tan crystal. The storm of sand that usually surrounds him has gone inert, and lays around him, like a sandcastle that has been blown away. A caller conch sits next to him.

As you enter, the crystal that is Sir Diamantaire glows slightly.

"Right then, glad youse made it," he says in his usual deep drawl. "This is all of you?"

"That should be our question," Splendid asks. "You all really went this far into enemy territory with just yourselves?"

Make Believe approaches Two Tons and Willow, holding out a pair of translucent, glowing pink spheres in his hoof.

"It's the only way we could have, being a scouting party," Diamantaire says. "Boss Kukulcan said he had confidence in you to catch up and help with the actual raid."



Sir Pent does his job then settles into Schnitzel's clothes.


"Pspspspspspsps…" Droplet whispers, scratching the earth nearby to entire Sir Pent near.


The mechanical equine beamed "I always love to help a friend."

Willow eyed the orbs curiously through his spectacles "And what are we to do with these exactly?"


"This is all of us, yes- this place is, well… b-better than I would have expected, at least." Alder remarks, looking around a little… the decorations and holes seem to help him relax a little.


Cloud looks around the little room they reach, seeing their group is basically all there is.
"So… is this to camp out, or are we digging our way to the Round?"


"This place is neat! Its like those sea caves with all the tunnels and stuff! Just without the water, though!" Cerulean tries to stand on her own, putting weight on the injured leg a bit and testing how much weight she can put before it gets to be too much.



Sir Pent will not be swayed with such half-hearted attempts.


He continues to hold them out to you.

"Oh, right," Splendid says. "He's a psychic, and a mute. But, to hear him, you need to accept those."

Droplet lays his front half on the ground and raises his hind half, imitating a dog's play stance. Schnitzel scoots away, appearing unnerved and unsure whether the gesture is meant for him or for you.

"Dat's more or less what we came to figure out," Diamantaire says.

"Right," Schnitzel says. "As we discussed previously, the Round is a real hub of activity these days… well, more like these nights. It appears to be where the Metal Men are experimenting with ways to hide from the sun-serpent's light. We haven't ventured too far into the Round yet, but we're learning some rather interesting things.

"Bee Holder caught us up on one thing in particular that you guys came across… that god of money, right?" Schnitzel continues. "Well, we don't know for sure, but after hearing that story, we think there might be something similar going on here. If that's the case, that would explain some of the things we've seen and heard, and would partly explain why they're so slow with that hardened gunk armor that protects them from sunlight."


"Something similar going on here… so, this is the influence of some god, former or current? Perhaps I am a little confused, I apologize. How much of these gunk-covered Metal Men have you seen?"


"Do you they found a god there to make that armor, but it's just slow to remember how to do it?"


He nodded and looked it over for a moment before finally accepting the orb.

Two Tons took it with far less reluctance though one wondered if his mechanical mind could be talked to.


Cerulean just sits and listens, a bit distracted with her injured leg at the moment.



Sir Pent pokes his head up in confusion, cocking it to one side.


He produces a bribe from his coat… a fish stick.

But, there is no tartar sauce.

You can tell that even with medical attention, it's going to twinge like a motherpuffer for quite awhile. It could prove a grave weakness if you have to do any fighting anytime soon.

Willow's orb disappears as he touches it, but Two Tons's doesn't.

Oh… a youthful male voice says in your heads. Right! Whoops, sorry Tons, I forgot I already gave you one after you woke up on Kukulcan's ship. Well anyway, my name's Make Believe. Nice to meet you! You guys are our new crewmates, right?

"We've seen plenty being built in the arena around nighttime, but not a lot leaving," Schnitzel says. "That's because – they're destroying themselves. To be more precise…

"During the night, these things emerge from the Metal Men's suits. They're the ones who knit together more of the Metal Men, and who make the hardened gunk armor. It definitely seems like a work in progress. We've seen prototype Metal Men engaging what looks like sparring. Different sorts of tests, or so we think. The sparring seems to happen around dawn, which would suggest they want to experiment with just a little bit of sunlight to see how well their creations hold up.

"However… as of late, we've seen this ruby-colored whisp floating around the arena just before the sparring starts. It's definitely afraid of the Metal Men, because it vanishes quick whenever they spot it. But when it's not running away, it seems to be… almost interfering with the sparring. The sparring combatants start to glow red here and there, and suddenly, their strikes get way more intense and powerful than they had intended. Or, even when they're just shuffling around, they glow red, then start moving way too fast, and crash into a wall, or even tear themselves apart with a normal movement.

"This breaks the newly constructed ones, and even breaks up the hardened gunk armor. Unfortunately, they seem to be learning from this, and spending more time and effort into making a small number of really strong Metal Men, instead of the full-blown armies they were trying to build before."

"So…" Splendid says. "You think this ruby whisp might be some kind of god?"

"Based on what I heard of your guys's side of things, it's not implausible," Schnitzel says.

This might be the longest he's gone without telling a compulsive lie… progress!


"To be perfectly fair I have not decided which crew to belong to. Though I do skew towards whichever one Cloud is on as he helped me a great deal in finding my friend." He said looking to Two Tons who seemed intent on just trying to put another ball into himself.

"My name is Willow Wisp by the way."



Sir Pent slithers toward the fish stick.

[1d10] to nab it with snake speed

Roll #1 6 = 6


[1d10] Mystery

Roll #1 1 = 1


"That's good to hear, that something out here is able to deal with them somewhat easily," Cloud says in relief at the sound of an ally. but, he thinks over the mental image of the metal men tearing themselves apart from its effect.
"But, uh… what if when we go to rescue the others it does that stuff to us too?"


"Ruby wisp?" Cerulean thinks for a moment about that detail intensely, even with her leg hurting. She looks at Torpedo a moment and her thoughts seem to focus a bit more together.
"What if that ruby wisp is something with the obsidian things? Cause when I was in the Skull Temple, they all had these…red things in them. Like a ruby red color!"


"Hmm… interesting. Do you think we could talk to it, or interfere with it somehow? It does sound skittish…"


Nothing at all happens when Tons touches the translucent aura sphere, so Make Believe puts it away.

Nice to meet you… whoa… do you like… make stuff outta Aura?

He's not looking into your eyes, but rather your equipment. This young colt seems pretty perceptive… yet, his eyes are dull and without shine, darkened by something unspoken.

You snatch the fish stick, but Droplet snatches something in turn… a headpat!

The fish stick is a bit dry…

A ruby whisp, enchanting or cursing those within her domai…


W-Willow? Make Believe asks. You find that you have slumped a bit forward, and can't remember the past few seconds, as if you'd been daydreaming deeply.

Here, you look exhausted, Make Believe says, and offers you a waterskin.

That's what we were thinking, Make Believe says, turning aside from Willow. It's obviously no ally of the Metal Men, so if we can make contact, and it turns out it's intelligent, we could probably broker some kind of alliance.

"And with the Captain potentially being held here, we've got little time to waste," Schnitzel adds with a grimace. "We have just enough light to try to sneak into wherever the ruby whisp might be hiding now… if we're fast and fan out, we could find it – or maybe even where they're keeping the Captain."



"Yes I can make gadgest with Anima." I have this solar light cannon and my destabalizer sphere. That breaks molecular bonds and makes things break into a sand like quality…." He trailed off before he collapsed.

Willow looked around as his eyes felt so heavy. He took the waterskin as Two Tons was quickly beside him "Dubya?"


"Goodness! Mister Willow, are you well?" Alder asks, hurrying over to try and help ease the kirin back up to his hooves.



Sir Pent searches slithers into the dirt to look for signs of a hiding place.

[1d10+3] for searching

Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10



"If we only have a little lite, we should move quick then," Cloud says, anxious over the idea of going right into the enemy base right away, though more worried about what would happen to their allies if they held off.

"…Got anything spare lying around to craft something up real quick?"


Willow shivered and looked around a bit confused "I… I don't know."

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