Hungry Like a Wolfgarm
A wolfgarm infestation has been plaguing the fourth floor of the tower for the last few months and the hunter guild is finally able to end up an investigator to investigate the best path to start finalizing the formal quest. Due to the danger of this investigation the Hunter's guild has requested the one who initially put in the request for the hunter guild to accept this quest to provide protection for the investigator. So now Setsuna is quickly trying to gather a motley band of misfits together to escort the investigator through the Wolfgarm's territory on the fourth floor.
OOC: This will be ran like a duty, challenges, rolls, 3 card limit. All that fun stuff. Any questions feel free to ask.
At the edge of Rovia, a simple gathering spot has been designated with a sign and everything. This sign reads :
"By the request of the mayor, all adventurers are asked to slay the wolfgarms in the nearby forest. If you die while slaying said wolfgarms we in Rovia are in no way responsible and ask that you do not come to us seeking recompense for your death. We at Rovia are also not responsible for any maiming, broken bones, or all in all any discomfort you may experience. By attempting to slay any wolfgarm your agreement to this disclaimer is acknowledged. We here at Rovia thank you for your valiant effort.
P.S. Do not feed the whale!"
Underneath the adventurer agreement is a wooden arrow with the word 'FOREST' written on it in freshly dried paint and is definitely pointing towards a near by forest.
Standing infront of this sign is a bureaucrat, you can tell by the posture and glasses and well just the bureaucratic aura about him as he hmms heavily at the sign and makes note of something in a small journal. Mumbling to himself he speaks, "Jumping ahead aren't we?"
Setsuna sighs heavily as he watches the inspector and shakes his head. He is not sure how this happened, how he ended up being the one escorting this ? this? guy. There is a loud groan before he speaks up, "The rest of them better show up soon or?" He trails off for a moment and then looks at the inspector, " we will just have to put this off for another day."
Fukaziroh is, naturally, quite probably the most reliable person ever to grace the Aincrad Tower. In her own mind at least. Still she tries, and she's in the Tower area to help out a bunch of people she feels the need to help. A quick trip up through cleared floors is no problem, and she doesn't mind the effort.
Cresting a rise, she waves cheerfully and bounces towards the meeting point. When she sees the sign she reads it and begins laughing. "Maiming and broken bones are my specialty!" she boasts. "As well as explosions and discomfort! Why, I'd just love to demonstrate to whoever wrote this disclaimer!" she grins wickedly. "Also what whale?"
"Looks like we're finally getting around to killing these wolf-things, huh?" Prophylaxis asks, siiiiiiipping his roasted bean soup. "Good, I'm glad. The fewer threats we need to deal with in the tower, the better." IE, the more work Prophylaxis can sweep off his desk.
Setsuna sighs relief as he is happy more people showed and as he looks at the doctor and then at the investigator and then at the doctor he can't help but imagine a resemblence. Then there is a coughing sound of someone clearing their throat as the Investigator speaks up, " I am glad to see so many able body adventurers have came all this way to insure my protection. I just want to say thank you everyone. Now just to be clear here I am going to be following behind shouting suggestions on how to handle the situation. It is highly important that you follow my suggestions for my notes. Also if you fail to follow my directions three times then I will immediately have us turn back. " Setsuna is already feeling that headache come on. With a heavy sigh Setsuna adds, " We should just get going before someone forgets about that last rule," and without another word the necromancer heads towards the forest.
The forest is thick and rather large, the den of the wolfgarms could be anywhere. The adventurers will have to figure out where they are going or else they could be wandering the forest for hours. Fortunately the wolfgarms don?t take time to clean up their droppings or their footprints, anyone who spent enough time looking could probably find some signs of the monsters. Of course one could also always try to negotiate with one of the nearby farm houses or a passerby for directions through the forest. The inspector even says," Perhaps some searching around to find a path, or if someone has a good sense for tracking, of course if someone is willing to humble themselves they could ask for directions."
Searching Vs 8
(Trained) Tracking vs 6
Negotiation vs 8
Only to find that he has forgotten two things. One: This is a forest, and thus has an abundance of roots to trip over. Two: He's still drinking that cup of coffee.
And so the doctor /immediately/ trips over a floor hazard and falls face-first into the ground. Somehow, he manages to save his coffee, but at the cost of his dignity...
Fuka studies the stuffed shirt Investigator as he says they're here for him. "Pompous much?" she grumbles. "Y'know, IF you decide to turn back, you might want to be sure the rest of us want to! It would suck to be here alone, I bet!" she grins. Hey, what's the worst that could happen if they fail to follow orders? Not that Fuka expects or intends to fail, but ... well, it'd be a shame to not speculate!
Fuka's own aptitudes lend to both talking with others (stuffed shirts notwithstanding) and to racing around looking for things. Seeing Uta's handling talking with others, she decides to do the latter, having some success finding suitable trails!
Exiting ten or fifteen minutes later with a packed lunch and directions, he returns to the group. "Hey," he calls. "They said to go this way, and then turn south here, and then ..." But there's a kind of a map, so that can assist us.
The Landers at the nearby farm barely crack the door open, only one eye peeking out at this mysterious stranger who came disturbing, uninvited.
"Uta Furore, Adventurer. I might need your help locating the Wolfgarms-"
"Sorry, we don't have time for that at the moment," the Lander cuts her off. "We have an emergency on our hands, and can't waste time chatting."
The only reason the door isn't slammed in Uta's face is her lightning-fast reflexes at jamming her staff into the crack. "Wait! Give me one last chance! If I solve your problem, will you tell me?"
"I doubt you can help us."
"Ok, what is it? If I can't help, I promise I will go away and leave you alone."
That eye behind the crack turns from annoyed to merely diffident.
"Our basement is infested with slimes..."
It is that sort of misplaced confidence that has Haru going to the farmhouses. He always wanted to moonlight as a detective in one of those novels. His outfit is even psuedo Victorian enough to make it work. The Artificer dusts off his blue jacket and starts in on Mr. Cracket and his deaf wife, Ms. Cracket. Directions, dear farmers. No, not DEER farmers. I don't see DEER here, do you?
The inspector looks at Fukaziroh, " As a prestigious investigator of the Hunter's guild I can only imagine what would befall the adventurers that let such a valuable person like myself get hurt." Setsuna sighs again and the inspector looks at him, " Are you ok ? You have been doing that a lot." The necromancer just gives the inspector a smile, "Oh yeah just fine I will look for a path." Setsuna will do anything to get away from the inspector and seems to not really be looking that hard. Meanwhile Uta and Schneider both get a good amount of directions, and a trio of slimes, and Fukaziroh zeros in on the trail. Together they manage to find the path.
Whether by intention or just dumb luck, a pair of wolfgarms were noticed to be out. Probably some form of scouts looking for food. Either way they have noticed the group just yet. As they sniff around and occasionally nip at each other for the other?s attention a branch falls and startles them. It appears the scouts are a bit skittish. With large enough theatrics it seems possible that you could absolutely scare these two right back home with their tails between their legs. Mister inspector speaks up, " I think we need to scare them. I am sure with such well prepared adventurers you brought proper equipment to scare off monsters. Fireworks? Perhaps some thunder wands? Maybe one of you can turn into a giant monster and scare them. I have heard you adventurers can do such things."
Fire vs 9
Air vs 8
(Trained) Transformation vs 7
The salamander scruffs a foot across the forest floor to scrap up a small ball of dirt. Which she kicks back and forth briefly to get it worked up, though not as big as she usually does for this technique. This time going more for a hackysack in size. Which she flicks off the ground, and then kicks with such force it ignites in flames as she sends it arcing over the spiked mutts. Where it explodes, very much like a firework, bright and loud but not immeadiately physically threatening. Considering canines tend to not like firecrackers in general, that should be enough.
That earns another grumble from Fukaziroh but she has to reluctantly concede the point. Not only would her pride suffer from a failure to protect this guy, her rep would suffer as well. Fortunately she's a professional and can work with anyone, doing so without the slightest visible sign of discomfort!
That means she gives the Investigator a smile worthy of Haru. Yes, that smile. It's really handy when you're looking to inspire a certain uncertain reaction!
Fortunately she's at least more than minimally competent when it comes to dealing with monsters! She cracks her knuckles, then starts chanting storm runewords. She's not looking to bring lightning down on the forest and set it ablaze or anything, just a little crackling lightning to do bursts of noise and fury. Just as the inspector ordered. See, she CAN play nice!
"Scare then," he grumbles, and then shouts, "GUNZENRO!", just the one syllable, and a gout of fire leaps out towards the wolfgarms. It doesn't scorch them, but it damned well gets their attention. And warms them up, he put it /very close/ over their heads, and they definitely felt it.
Still full of coffee, mind.
"You want us to scare them off? I suppose if that's what it takes to get them to retreat to their leader..." With a wiggle of his magic staff, Prophylaxis conjures a tiny mote of distorted air that he nudges toward the wandering Wolfgarm scouts.
It explodes, because of course it does, in a roaring <boom> of sound and fury. "Were these creatures here all along, or are they recent additions, I wonder...?"
Now, after her foray into the farmers' house (and coming back with three slimes, whom she promptly named Rock, Paper, and Scissors), and after sharing her directions with the rest of the party, she turn towards Haru again and, as if none of that had happened in the meantime, she resumes the dialogue from earlier: "I don't know much about the whale myself. I've heard that it's glitched, that some people fought it during one of Aincrad's Floor Pushes, and it made people forget something. Maybe you can ask someone in Scale Emblem? They might know more." She looks up and taps her lips, "In fact, I think I'd like to know more myself..."
The instruction about scaring the Wolfgarms is given, and Uta doesn't wait. She intones an erratic tune; bright cyan helical tendrils spin around the handle of her staff, coalesce into the gem, which glows the same color, then saturates to a blinding white, and just as the final upwards scale is about to hit the high C-
*CRACKLE*! A bolt of lightning is empowered by that last note, shooting towards the creatures.
The need to scare the woofs is met with contemplation. Haru closes his eyes and thinks with a chin rub. "Scare them?" he says as he opens his eyes. Lacking the bloodlust of an average adventurer, not killing things sounds easier. That is until he gets a good look at one with a set of distracting firebolts in their general direction. "I'm struggling to understand how these are a key part of the area's ecosystem that wouldn't be better suited full crispy instead of partially crispy," he says as a bolt fires off to a wolf's yelp.
To Uta, Haru had almost forgot about the whale and whale pun. "Whale, we can fin out together one day, for shore." Anything to help distract from the great slime massacre of yore.
Fire and lightning , very very frightening. It was quite a scene. The inspector would answer Schneider but well it appears he too is cowering behind a tree. Setsuna does understand the logic though, "Its like the doctor said if we can scare them back home we find them all not just a couple of stragglers.." With that Setsuna conjures a flame onto one of the wolfgarm's tail. Rather cruel trick actually but it appears to work.
Whatever the adventurers did, it was enough to scare the poor scouts and what they lack in courage they absolutely make up for in speed. It will absolutely be a test of endurance and speed to keep up with the two, and the underbrush of the forest. The best approach might actually be to split up, let one or two people worry about keeping up while the others do what they need to do to keep the scouts moving till they get back to their den. The inspector shouts, "Quick after them. Don't let them escape. Run run as fast as you can you slow fools."
Evasion vs 10
Physical vs 10
Earth vs 9
Fuka gives an incredulous, and offended, look back at the investigator. Slow? She's fine with being called a fool. Enjoys it, in fact. But slow?? Nevertheless she takes off after the wolfdogthingies, charging and howling and making an absolutely huge racket with her armor and everything.
Bit awkward, really. She makes so much noise that it doesn't much matter how fast she is. She just isn't effective at trailing the beasts and they easily evade her. Not to mention her clankery in a forest is a bit too much blunt trauma, as she ends up reeling as she clips one tree after another.
"Eat something... nice? Oh, yes, I ate crow!" Fuka notes to Haru. Smile. "Yummy yummy! Now can we murder something that deserves it?"
Or at least, he causes massive overgrowth of certain ground-dwelling vines that writhe and hound the fleeing wolfgarms like a nest of too many snakes. If Prophylaxis knows anything about dog-shaped animals, it's that they have a /powerful/ fear instinct towards anything vaguely snake-shaped.
The tendency of said vines to twine around their fleeing forms to arrest their forward momentum is a happy bonus.
At the Inspector's orders, Uta dashes forward, each step stomped onto the ground. Ripples propagate, the Earth itself wobbling under the constant impact. "Behold, as I impede their movement! They can't be going too far under such unsteady terrain-*BONK*"
It would appear that shaking the ground so much caused a branch to fall from above, and guess whose noggin was there to absorb the hit?
For Uta, the advancing Artificer holds both hands up in a 'please, not me' format, "I'll stop the shallow puns. Just a few more to tide me over. Sea? All done."
It didn't really take an inspector shouting at the party to know to take off running, however due to the terrain some of them don't manage to keep up. That's good though as all those who couldn't keep up get the pleasure of keeping the inspector company and leading him to catch up with the rest of the party. Setsuna seems to be almost running ahead of the Wolfgarm scouts and whether that is because he is doing everything to keep up with them or to put distance between himself and the inspector. The snake shaped vines repair the damage of the steam train that is Fukaziroh and still continues to chase the Wolfgarm until the Wolfgarm dash down into a whole in the ground.
The two scouts finally run in to their den, which is really nothing more than a hole in the ground it seems. No wonder no one else has managed to find it, it?s practically invisible. As the group enters the den, they find that it is much deeper then it initially appears. Easily able to stand up completely and even move around a bit in case combat occurs. There is one obvious problem though the moment the group moves away from the entrance, there is no light in here. Not even glow moss. The wolfgarm must have some ability to see even in the dark to be able to navigate down here. The adventurers will have to figure out how to light their way and navigate through the tunnels before danger finds them. The inspector begins to shout and complain, "Oh this is not good, quick someone light a torch, shine some light. I also hope someone is keeping track of where we are or else it is going to be a mess. "
Fire vs 9
Cartography vs 7
Light vs 7
Fuka snerks at the puns. While she loves using the supremely wrong word in a conversation as the ultimate form of wordplay, there's nothing wrong with a bad pun in general. Not in her opinion. And she's not about to discourage truly awful punnery by pretending she didn't find it hilarious! "Quit your mocking, bird!" she calls.
Fortunately in all the chaos, the company manages to actually drive the wolfdogs to their den. Fuka looks around in confusion, then begins a chant. THEN the inspector pipes up with his instructions.
A gleam of light erupts from the head of Fuka's axe, which she's now carrying up high. "Shining some light." she agrees with a shake of her head. How obvious can you get? It's almost enough to kill her mood. Almost.
People ask for light, and Uta complies by intoning a breezy aria, threaded tendrils of light are woven on the handle of her staff, they once again focus into the gem, which Uta gazes into, to ensure just the correct level of illumination-
The whole area explodes in a single, instant flare of light which subsides immediately
*AUGH!*, Uta yelps a blinded Uta, her hands darting to her eyes over the noise of her staff clattering to the ground. "THAT WAS THE SONG FOR -FLASH-, NOT PILLAR OF LIGHT! MY EYES!"
...But that's what fire magic is for!
As the group all scrambles to produce light they find that it is really hard when someone is shouting at you in the dark. Setsuna himself summons a single skeleton and takes out lamp fire and immolates the skeleton. "Yeah yeah it won't last long but until then this guy should help see." This of course only adds to the light provided from the others and with enough light they are able to continue down deeper into the Wolfgarm den. The inspector looking very nervous at just how free spirited everyone is with fire.
Speaking of danger, they have managed somehow to find it. Standing in an empty cavern, which seems to open up to be quite spacious is a single wolfgarm. This wolfgarm is bigger than others, more savage looking, even has a scar across one of his eyes. This monster has seen a lot of battles and has earned the title of ?Alpha?. In fact it earned this title so well that the name of the creature is literally ?Alpha Wolfgarm? The way the Alpha keeps backing up makes it seem that it doesn?t feel too confident winning the fight it could run if the fight goes south. The best thing to do in this situation is to engage the Alpha and burn him down while cutting off any attempt to escape, else who knows what may happen. The inspector points and says, "Thats the alpha quick kill it. Make sure it doesn't escape."
Magical vs 10 And
Melee vs 10 And
Capture Monster vs 9
Prophylaxis is literally on fire when he enters what seems to be the Boss Arena. This is entirely because he needs to keep his coffee nice and toasty, and also because this particular spell is a potent magical buff. And thus does the doctor spend this phase of the fight spamming simple firebolt spells that do /disproportionately/ large amounts of damage.
And also sipping what's left of his coffee. Mm, coffee.
"There's some wisdom in that." Fuka agrees with Haru, as he goes from game references to philosophy. "Of course fumbling around in the dark can bring happiness too, in the right company!" she adds brightly. This, of course, is not the right company, as evidenced by her calling on light magic beaming out from the axe hefted on her shoulder.
Seeing the ?Alpha?, Fuka hefts that axe and brings it forward. "You don't even have to axe twice, mr. big shot!" she cries out, charging forward to bring the pain. And the pun.
It took a single swipe of the creature's massive paws to send Uta slamming against the wall as well, large gashes glowing red across her whole front.
The Alpha Wolfgarm leaps in to start attacking those who dare come in to his den. How dare these insolent whelps. Letting out a massive howl he leaps into combat, and finds a bag of mixed results. Some of the intruders are to easy avoid and he even sends one into the wall with his paw. The others well, they are throwing the red flower around and one even bathes in it before sending it all flying at him. This is not what he woke up for this morning. The final blow is that one with the axe, it's just to much, Alpha is out yo. Turning to run the alpha finds that another one of the interlopers has somehow collapsed the tunnels just by touching the entrances. It's like the rocks literally rotted till they fell.
Having trapped the Alpha, by some way or another the battle continues to wage on until he lets out a howl for help. What do you expect comes running out of the tunnels? A hoard of wolfgarms? Nope, instead it is a pair of cute little puppies who have rushed in to protect their leader. Very adorable, that is until the puppies begin to rapidly shift to a pair of wolfgarm Shamans, standing on two legs and stepping in to even the fight out. One of the Shamans is rapidly trying to heal their Alpha while the other is lashing out with dark magic. As for the Alpha, he seems to have changed tactics, now using hit and run tactics from the shadows, focusing on the person with the lowest HP, ignoring any attempt to get his attention. A lot of moving parts and a lot of chances for error but should the group survive, they will have one hell of a story. As for there escort, he has mysteriously vanished.
Melee vs 10
Ranged vs 10
Shield vs 10
Having recovered from her previous gaffed moment Vertina takes stock of this new situation, and scowls as she blows some smoke between her lips. "Is that how you want to play, huh?" With a growl she clenches her fist, causing it to ignite in flames. Flames that only get bigger and brighter as she winds back with her arm, and then hurtles herself forward towards the Alpha once more. "Then let's see you heal this! RAGNAROK'S WISDOM!" A massive flaming right hook is swung at the Alpha, not only intending to do more damage than the Shaman can heal quickly, but to also knock the Alpha away from the healer to make it harder to do so should the beast somehow survive the beatdown.
Okay, when tiny little wolf pups come out to defend the alpha, Fuka is immediately filled with regret. "I didn't know the Alpha was a mommy!" she wails, though her tone is truly more one of bemusement than sorrow. When the shamans grow and rise to their hind legs however, she knocks her axe head against one bracer, causing a loud CLANG. "Okay that's more like it! Uta, take notes! And I don't mean that literally!"
So saying, Fuka leaps into the fray, using her vambraces more than her axe. The axe is the threat, the heavy bracers the shield. Anything trying to get under her bracers to get at her is met with the axe itself... a thorny and aggravating situation indeed! She fights boldly, aggressively defensive, and right in the face of the foes to deny them easy opportunity to cast.
With the aegis of his magic cape deflecting what attacks come his way, he is able to burn down the wolfgarms pretty damned hard, and with the team, it looks like we have this. He smiles. *glint* "Take that!"
...Conjures a barrier of hardened, burning crystal /around/ its originally tiny form. The thing strains against the force field as it grows, crushing bone and tearing muscle before the shield finally fails. Still, it did its job well, and Prophylaxis soon pivots to more conventional offense and defense, summoning defensive barriers and hurling burning bolts at the lurking Alpha to offset its incoming healing.
Those vambraces shatters as if they were made of crystal, and Uta, once again, is sent flying, and impacts, upside-down, against the opposite wall with a loud THUD. She slowlsy slides behind a rock, gets up, and groggily moans, "There is so much I still need to learn..."
She moves her hand as if to scratch her head, but something is off. She blinks, focuses, and looks at her forearms, only to see them cut short, two discs of glowing red light ending her limbs at the wrist.
"AAAH! AAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAH!", she panics, but after a few seconds, she steadies herself. "Okay, okay, cool down." She grimaces. "Yes, it hurts like heck, but it's a thing that happens all the time. You've-" She grimaces again. "-You've fixed this kind of thing a gajillion times. Just find the original bits-" She looks around, and sure enough, there are her hands in the middle of the battlefield, with a corresponding red disc at the wrist, still clutching her fallen staff. "There we go!", she exclaims, darting over.
She lowers herself on one knee... and... frowns.
"...okay, how do I pick them up now? Hm." Over the pangs of pain, a lightbulb finally goes off. "Oh, I can menu-fix this, I think!" She touches one hand with the tip of one foot, flicks one glowing forearm-stub...
...and nothing happens. Other stub. Nothing.
The flicking is repeated, faster, more frantic. Without effect.
In barely controlled panic, Uta pales, and turns around to whimper, "...Doctor... I might need your help..."
The adventurers go all out on the shamans and the alpha. One doesn't even get to transform and just becomes a broken mass of Wolfgarm something due to the barrier of Prophylaxis. Meanwhile Schneider and Vertina quickly burn down the other shaman leaving the Alpha all by himself. Of course this means Fukaziroh and Setsuna are chasing down the Alpha taking advantage of Haru's debuff slowing the Alpha down. The alpha falls down dead and turns to pixels with his comrades. It is about this time the inspector steps back into the room, " Well this was absolutely worthy of our time. I will make my recommendations for this area, though it would be better if we had more...experienced adventurers to challenge ..." The investigator doesn't get to finish as a Wolfgarm leaps from the shadows towards the inspector only for Setsuna to throw his dagger into the surprise Wolfgarm freezing it in the air. The investigator is speechless and adds, "Oh right well. I will be heading out first." Quickly turning around he runs out , hiding the wet spot on his pants. Setsuna will be busy a moment longer to properly secure the Woflgarm but the overall danger is over, except for perhaps emergency surgery needed for Uta.
As the fight ends and Fuka takes in the sight of Uta freaking out, she comes over. Glancing at Proph, she's more than confident the healer can handle this but she pushes her way in first. "Let me diagnose this." she says, reaching out to put a comforting and diagnostic hand on Uta.
"Uta, you're missing your hands." she says solemnly.
The doctor reaches into his inventory and draws forth a single syringe full of luminescent red fluid. He plunges the needle into Uta's arm and holds the stump to her severed wrist.
It doesn't take long for the former to begin to fuse back together with the latter, as the doctor stitches together the bits still lagging behind. "Hold still while I do the other side, now. This'll only take a second."
She stares for a moment, her eyes wander around while she keeps otherwise absolutely still, and once she's done, she whistles. "Fuka, your diagnosis is a perfect match for what my HUD says about my own status! How... how did you know? Did you train in Pharmacy?"
Uta grimaces as her hands are re-attached, but it might actually be due to all the puns being flung around rather than the procedure itself, "Your puns are getting no thumbs up from me. But I am stoic, and I will not simply throw my hands in the air and walk away."
She rubs her wrists lightly after the procedure, careful not to damage Prophylaxis's work, to ensure that everything is fine. "Thanks Doctor, once again, I owe you one. Yes, I... uh... am learning how to parry blows as opposed to merely avoid them. Still..." She sniffs, and cranes her neck. "Shouldn't we diagnose that poor Inspector? I suspect he might be suffering of some sort of bladder dysfunction..."
Setsuna finishes binding up the wolfgarm with some vines and looks back over at Uta. " I've got to hand it to you Uta, you certainly are willing to try out new things." With a grin he summons a pack of skeleton minions to carry the Wolfgarm out of the cave. " So shall we get the hell out of here?"
"Just remember, Uta." Fuka advises sagely. "You need a strong shield to block with. Otherwise you're just going to feed your foes. We'll work on your magic barriers, and it was definitely a good try so don't feel bad it didn't work out. You'll know better next time and you know what they say, forewarned is foredisarmed!"