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File: 1659658239173.jpg (Spoiler Image, 175.26 KB, 1024x1024, Moon.jpg)

 No.761609

>Iron King Ischyros, the Far Seeker, sets down the fourth and final Report of the Agatecastle Investigation, and sips the coffee Sister Root had set before him. They are the only ones to occupy the conference room on this Cycle.

>Mabin, High Director of the Lux Deorum, is uncharacteristically absent.


>"Sister," Ischyros says, keen to take his mind off anything other than his confidant's absence. "Make a note about this Concord program. It desperately needs some security updates. I mean, have you read this Report? Seems just about everyone's exploiting it one way or another."


>"Yes, sire," the Sister says. She casts another glance at the conference room's sealed and enchanted door. "…Th-this Report was late in coming, I note. Do you think Mabin's absence may be–"


>Before she can finish that sentence, the door flies open. With quick and long strides, a lanky white Diamond Dog, his clothing ruffled and stained by dried blood, enters the room. Sister Root gasps, fishing for the medical supplies she always carries in her saddlebag.


>"You must forgive my tardiness, your Majesty," High Director Mabin says as he takes a seat, taking care to not let the dried blood flake off as he fishes his cigarettes from his coat pocket. "I had an unexpected rendezvous with a certain Noble and spent the past hours in a most gripping discussion."


>Iron King Ischyros scoffs. "Surely we have known each other long enough that you do not need to hide your personal affairs behind euphemisms!" he says. "Truly, it seems the missus was–"


>"No, no," Mabin interrupts. "I speak plainly, but allow me to be even clearer. The Noble who accosted me was none other than Lady Offbeaten Path, of House Titanite."

 No.761610

>>761609
The others keep silent as they help the soldiers get to the safety of the arcade, following Firmgold's direction for an indirect, winding route. However, they exchange glances of doubt, conveying they caught it too – this hope the battle has engendered is nothing but deceit.

 No.761611

>>761610
Lost continued to hunt for anything of value

{Previous roll was a 10}

 No.761612

>>761610
And I'm here too.

 No.761613

>>761610
Once we are across the arcade, I will whisper "we should make a dash for it."

 No.761614

>>761611
Unfortunately, it seems there is naught much among the battlefield worth taking.

>Deadweight

Thinking it over, you reason that staging battles like this would have little purpose, other than to convince the Iron Souls unwittingly caught up in them that the floating machines are their allies. The one who controls them seems to want the Ironcastle forces on their side, and is more than willing to sacrifice a few security bots, and possibly even able-bodied Iron soldiers, to achieve that.

>>761612
>>761613
>>761611
>Deadweight

"I agree," Huitlapan says. "We have yet two Floors to breach before we reach the Necromancer's lair. Let Vissei take commmand of healing the injured while we forge on."
"I too am in agreement," Cautaa says. "We've done what we can here."
"There's a stairway downward not too far from here," Xu says. "I'm ready to head out if you all are."

 No.761615

>>761614
"I suppose if we must…" Lost seemed more keen to keep in large number.

 No.761616

>>761614
>>761615
"Let's forge ahead."

 No.761617

>>761614
Deadweight mutters, "I think those floating machines were trying to win our favor."

When the party discusses moving on, Deadweight nods in agreement.

 No.761618

>>761614
"Every new step will take us to completion of this objective, and we should not tarry."
I will go with the group down

 No.761619

>>761618
>>761617
>>761616
>>761615
Xu nods, pulling up the map on her semi-bricked Comp. "Hope Sapphire didn't go through my Pictures folder…"
>"I did, and you should be ashamed," Sapphire types.
"Shit!" Xu hisses.
>"How the hell can you find anything when it's so disorganized!?" Sapphire scolds.
"That's the idea!" Xu says. "If somebody steals my Comp I need to buy as much time as I can before they find– we have a quest to get to!"

Xu leads the way north towards a downward-leading stairway station. As you approach the stairway, it looks to be in relatively good repair, and no hostiles are nearby… but the lights in the stair-tower are dim, and flickering.

 No.761620

>>761619
"Are you the type to send unsolicited memes Xu?" Lost asked as she began to try and slip into the shadows for the umpteenth time.

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.761621

>>761619
I'll shine my suit light down it.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.761622

>>761619
Deadweight blushes slightly overhearing the mention of Xu's Pictures folder.

Deadweight follows Xu to the stairway section and squints down the stairway. Looks deceptively safe.

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.761623

>>761619
I will use Spellbreaker pointed to just about everything before us prior to descending [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.761624

>>761620
"They're funny! Nobody else posts in that channel because they're all waiting to see what I post!" Xu insists.
"There are only so many puns one can make on Prench cuisine," Huitlapan says. "Perhaps it is better if you branch out somewhat?"
"Es-car-go-to-hell," Xu says.
"You posted that one last week," Cautaa says.
Xu sighs like her career's been ended.

>>761620
>>761621
>>761622
>>761623
As you take some tentative steps into the stairwell, Firmgold's instincts warn her, and she takes aim, and blasts into the air before her. Her intuition is proved as keen as ever. Her magic bolt collides with a heretofore unseen rippling in the space before you, similar in appearance to heat shimmers, but much, much more difficult to see.

Now with something to look out for, Conflagration and Deadweight see that the corridor is full of the shimmerings. Each one is about 2-3 feet wide, and 4-5 tall. They are not so numerous that you could not descend the stairwell with some care, but if you were to sally forth without looking for them, at least one of you would surely collide with one, and experience whatever effects it may beget.

 No.761625

>>761624
I pick up a loose bolt from the floor and toss it at a shimmering field with my telekinesis.

 No.761626

>>761624
>>761625
Deadweight waits to see what the field does to the bolt.

 No.761627

>>761624
"Ah, perhaps it's a good thing that these creatures are not entirely magical. Hold fast as I find some… way to alert others who will pass through this way-"
I turn to look at everyone
"If we don't take the time to rid the staircase of these fiends. Neither choice is ideal, but I wish to save others from what we discovered."
I will then pull out my utility knife and start etching a warning triangle ahead of the staircase

 No.761628

>>761627
"Good thinking," Deadweight says to Firmgold.

 No.761629

>>761628
"Thank you, Miss Deadweight."

 No.761630

>>761628
>>761627
>>761626
>>761625
The bolt disappears, as does the shimmering, the second the two connect. Your allies fall silent, Xu and Huitlapan's ears twitching as they attempt to listen for another sound, some indication of its true effect… but none comes.

"No residue, so unlikely to be a disintegration," Huitlapan observes. "Perhaps shrinking… or teleportation?"
"Any idea where?" Xu asks.
"Nowhere any of us would like to be," Huitlapan concludes.

 No.761631

>>761624
Lost began to shoot some very basic memes into the channel if sher had access to it as she didn't wish to make Xu self conscious.

 No.761632

>>761629
Deadweight smirks and does the cool upwards nod at her.

>>761630
Deadweight tosses another piece of debris at where the shimmering was. If nothing happens to it, she gathers a bunch of debris in her wing and scatters it down the stairwell.

 No.761633

>>761630
I chuck another bolt through the area where the shimmering was. If it doesn't also disappear I'll proceed a few steps, chuck another, and repeat the process all the way down the staircase.

 No.761634

>>761633
>>761632
I will watch as Conflagration and Deadweight move down the stairs, and then do my best to etch that path in my warning
>>761630
then put my dulled knife away and follow the group as they cautiously trail down the stairs.
[1d10] my artcraft

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.761635

>>761630
Lost remains sneaky and watching as she dind't want to vanish.

 No.761636

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.761637

[1d10] tosser

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.761638

>>761635
The others stop and check what you post… and a hail of disappointed glances fall upon you. The icons of the others' accounts all change to "Busy."

>>761634
>>761633
>>761632
>>761631
>>761637
You proceed down the stairwell, judiciously stopping to dispel the shimmerings with tossed debris… but after a few successes, one very small one suddenly appears. It happens just as Firmgold's hoof nearly settles onto a step below. But then, the shimmering disappears, and in its place, left behind by no discernable source besides the shimmering, is a banana peel, just under Firmgold's boot.

Firmgold goes tumbling into the aether, and Conflagration and Deadweight desperately pick up the pace, throwing as much debris as they can to protect Firmgold from colliding with the shimmerings. Your three allies join in as well. In the frenzy to protect Firmgold, some shots miss, bounce off railings, and then bounce off of foreheads, lightly injuring poor Conflagration.

>Conflagration 3/5


Soon enough, Firmgold comes to a halt – by slamming into the door at the bottom of the steps. The door is closed, but electrical displays near it indicate that it is unlocked.

>Firmgold 0/4

 No.761639

>>761638
"A banana peel? Diabolical."
I help Firmgold up.

 No.761640

>>761638
Deadweight sweats as she tries to dispel the shimmerings ahead of Firmgold. Once they reach the bottom, Deadweight silently sighs in relief and tends to Firmgold and Conflagration's injuries, with medical kits if necessary.

 No.761641

>>761638
Lost winced and began to try and find something a bit more timely.

Puros being caught doing cat things. She hoped that would help.

 No.761642

>>761638
>>761639
I thank Conflagration for helping me up, but turn down the medical kit offered by Deadweight.
>>761640
"Thank you Miss Deadweight, however I ache all over and if I don't know the extend of my injuries then I cannot place where medical application would help the most."
>Name: Apparent Invincibility
I will run my tongue around my mouth to make sure no teeth were knocked loose, and then stand behind the group to stretch and lean as I try to figure out where I'm most hurt.

 No.761643

>>761642
In your social image, you are definitely most hurt.

And between your shoulder blades. That absolutely smarts. You probably don't have any cracked vertebrae, probably just some bruising, but it wouldn't hurt to have a medical examination just to be sure.

>>761641
>>761640
>>761639
>>761642
While you assist Lost, Conflagration and Firmgold get over their recent misfortunes, Cautaa, Xu an d Huitlapan take up positions by the door. After preparing themselves for whatever might lie ahead in ambush… they open it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcJk8FstIw0

Before you is a scene straight from the Orchards of Ironcastle. Grass grows from below, shoots poking through the flagstones of the roads and sidewalks, even scattering them in some cases. Trees and vines are overtaking nearby buildings and disrupting trolley lightlanes, and they stretch high in the distance, in colors varied and rich. You appear to be in the midst of a public park – this place was verdant even before this sudden growth.

"Floor 5…" Cautaa says. "This is where we are to meet the forward teams and receive the spies' reports, is it not?"
"Right," Huitlapan says. "We should look out for signals from the other teams."

There is a sidewalk to the north, and a fountain to the south. All around you are high-growing and dense trees, leaving little walkable space. You can't get through to the east, and behind you, to the west, is the stairwell.

 No.761644

>>761643
"Okay, it's likely between my shoulder blades and my spine.."
Entering the orchard, I will look on the ground for signs of activity.
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.761645

>>761643
Lost steels herself after the pain of rejection and moves along, remaining the groups stealthed eyes and ears.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.761646

>>761643
I'll check out the fountain.
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.761647

>>761642
"Mhm," Deadweight hums with a nod, putting away the med kit.

>>761643
Deadweight keeps her eyes peeled for anything sus.

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.761648

>>761644
>>761645
>>761646
>>761647
As you prepare to explore this strange and overgrown floor, you keep your heads on a swivel to maximize your situational awareness – and out of all the possible combinations of blindspot overlaps, the worst possible circumstances arise…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwxTZaa3NgI

You all collide heads.

>all lose 1 Wound


As you sit there, dazed in your newfound headaches, you hear distant echoes… the faintest of rumblings… behemoths walk about here.

 No.761649

>>761648
Lost yelped and winced back in pain as she rubbed her head.

 No.761650

>>761648
I sit and hold my head
"This isn't good, the furthest we've gone and the most damage we've all taken is from each other's misfortunes… How long have we been at this?"
I will check to see if the clock on my magicomp is working

 No.761651

>>761648
Deadweight grumbles as she rubs her head. She stops when she hears something nearby. She hides in a nearby bush and tries to ascertain the behemoths' location.

 No.761652

>Perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.761653

>>761648
Can I tell where they are?
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.761654

>>761650
Things are still all good there. It is about 1600 hours.

>>761649
>>761650
>>761651
>>761653
Listening carefully, you discern that they are quite far from you, and distantly apart… four… maybe five, in number.

"There aren't any within our vicinity, at least?" Huitlapan asks.
"None that I could hear," Cautaa confirms, and Xu nods in agreement.
"Should be safe enough to poke around a bit here," Xu adds.

 No.761655

>>761654
"I could try and peek on them while I'm still in the shadows if it helps?"

 No.761656

>>761654
Determining the coast is clear, Deadweight emerges from the bush, says, "I'm gonna walk down sidewalk," and walks down the sidewalk to the north, keeping her eyes peeled.

 No.761657

>>761656
"I will follow."
>>761654
[1d10] Perception as I ride Steadfast

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.761658

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.761659

>>761655
>>761654

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.761660

>>761654
I follow along and keep my eyes peeled.
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.761661

>>761657
>>761658
>>761659
>>761660
Just before Firmgold, elevated on Steadfast's back, can get whacked by a low-hanging branch, Deadweight flies in and catches it, moving it aside so Firmgold can pass.

However, before they advance too far, Lost notices something, now that the branch has been parted: A camp, occupied by Iron Souls. Between the branches, you can see a group of four leaders – an Elemen, a Hippogriff, a Caprinos, and the Knight-Brother Mountain himself – sitting in a group, with their teams huddled about them. They are discussing something in low voices, and members of their groups are taking watch nearby. Perhaps owing to the serendipitous nature of your discovery, they haven't seen you yet.

 No.761662

>>761661
>>761660
>>761658
>>761657

Lost quickly messages the others on Concord

>Camp ahead, shall we move to join them?



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