Duty Session 439: Zombie Jamboree
While those who had controlled the undead hordes of Ninetails are now sealed, at least temporarily, there are still many that roam the lands, creating a menace to the people of the Kingdom. Rylen Corvus of Crescent Moon has worked with the Merchant Blades and the Peko Army to commission a Hunter's Guild quest to help thin some of these numbers.
Rec. Party: 3+
World Rewards: Reduce the number of roving undead in the Ninetails Dominion.
The streets seem to be littered with abandoned belongings, as if the people who fled from here had little time to gather them all before they were forced to evacuate. Some buildings show significant signs of damage, as if a few had stayed behind in order to try and protect their homes, only to have their sturdy walls toppled by the forces of the undead.
Shenmi walks through the ruins, taking notice of the events. "Monsters did this...", Shenmi comments.
It took the Uncrowned some time before trusting both the Yamato Adventurers and especially the Yamato Landers enough to take part in the missions of the Hunters' Guild, and at first they would likely take part to them only between themselves. It appears that of late something is changing, though, and a few particularly brave Uncrowned have started joining groups that also involve Adventurers from Yamato. Porcelain quests, mind you, given their low level and how dangerous dying would be for them, but still, today is one of those days where such an event can be witnessed.
In the Ninetales Dominion for reasons related to the recent invasion by the Palace Landers, Fukaziroh was directed to a quest put up from the local hunters guild as a way to prove herself to the people of the nation. It seemed a good idea at the time, appealing both to Fuka's sense of gameplay and her willingness to help. She's a little surprised to see Shenmi also here, but then surely he is just as interested in earning a little goodwill, or possibly even just being willing to help. She'd confronted him when they first set out together, with narrowed and suspicious eyes. "I don't have any reason to trust you." she pointed out. Then broke out into a broadly sunny smile. "So let's make one! Danger! Adventure! Helping out desperate people!" she claims, clearly having decided to turn the suspicion into a joke. Or maybe she's actually sincerely weird. Who knows?
Also checking out the ruins now, Fuka alternates between skipping or zooming along and pausing to check things carefully, rushing so as to waste little time in mere travel. "Looks like undead." she agrees. "Well, not literally looks like undead, not enough bones and rotting flesh. But the senseless destruction and brute force seems right."
At the far edge of the village, there is an ancient cemetery that must have served as a place of rest and remembrance for many generations. It is built in a typical Japanese-style, with monuments for individuals or family groups rather than individual graves. Many of these have fallen to ill-repair with the loss of life in the village. There are claw marks across some, and others are destroyed, leaving little idea of who might have once been honored there.
The undead at the edge of town seem to be weaker than you might initially expect, perhaps those who were not strong enough to attack buildings and seek out the prey within. Slow, shambling zombies move between the rows of monuments, giving unearthly groans. They seem to not even notice the Adventurers at first, so it sets them up nicely for a sneak attack.
"Undead, indeed...", Shenmi comments as the undead approach.
The overly-silly Sylph, making up for her size by being entirely larger than life, continues to seem sunny and enthusiastic about the prospect of facing literal death and destruction. And pleased by the flowery offering too, naturally. She enjoys being appreciated as much as pretty much anything!
When she spots a group of low-level undead she cheerfully unlimbers her axe. "This should be easy!" she observes. Which is one of those statements the gods just *love* to punish for the hubris. Not bothering to sneak, expecting Shenmi to be good at magic (duh) to cover her, she advances to press her claim. "Gonna AXE you to stop attacking!" she cries, rushing out to get herself all gored up. Probably doing a rather terrible job but dishing out somewhat more damage than she takes.
He grabs for his mantle, and pulls a hand up to wrap it all around himself, ready to toss it away with a showy gesture, and reval that nothing is underneath, the mantle fluttering to the ground in front of an astounded audience.
Well, were it not for the little detail that his hand grabs thin air. "What? How-" He slaps his forehead. "Agh! I still haven't gotten used to having sold the mantle to cross over to Yamato! Force of habit!"
There goes some HP.
There is a distinct sound of something like music that draws the attention of the Adventurers, leading them down one of the partially destroyed streets of the village. As they draw closer, it looks to be from a set of hanging wind chimes that have drawn the attention of a more powerful zombie creature.
The creature has one decayed hand wrapped around a now empty bottle of alcohol, the other keeps making a steady *thunk* of sound on an empty wooden container. It seems to be drawn both by the alcohol, based on the presence of so many empty bottles, and by the sound of the nearby wind chimes.
Maybe Fuka's beginning to regret her boldness and charging in... nah. Regret isn't really her style. She doesn't regret Shenmi's similar failure to sneak. These things happen, and they have no real problem dispatching the zombies. Still, being covered by red pixels in the opening stages of a mission might be a little suboptimal and she figures, especially with the rather poor depth they have in duoing this mission - not to mention that Shenmi would have to retreat if too wounded rather than risking a major doom upon death... yeah, a little caution might be in order.
Her attention is drawn by the zombie's attention being paid to those wind chimes. Idly she wonders if perhaps they could use that. "I'm going to try to distract it." she says in a quiet whisper. Quiet for her at least. Chanting softly she calls upon the wind, stirring up a breeze to make the wind chimes chime even more, and she gestures to Shenmi to join her in attempting to sneak past.
Sadly, the chiming of her chain mail armor bits *also* draw attention. "Ah crap. Right, FIRE AND VIOLENCE!" she cries out instead. "Quick quick, chop chop!"
Mana is depleted, and soon it turns out that the effort is eating into Shenmi's HP. "It'ss too strong, let's move on!", Shenmi calls, and dashes for the next challenge. "See, this is we Uncrowned need so much training here in Yamato..." Pant. "Not used to such monsters..." Pant. "Not allowed to train properly..." Pant.
As the party moves further into the village, there seem to be more difficult foes waiting for them. They manage to clear through a number of lower level zombies and skeletons along the way. Meaning that they've made significant progress towards clearing the village.
However, what they might not have expected is the grotesque creature awaiting them as they turn onto the next street. A massive looking undead creature is hunched over, seemingly eating what looks to be the remains of some poor animal. There is a shuddering sort of motion as the monster hears them, turning in their direction.
That is when they see the full horror of the creature. There is a strange, small, secondary zombie hanging out of one side of the monster's stomach, it's eyes staring outward and hands grasping like some eerie baby. Gobs of bloody looking meat drip
down the decayed chest as it starts to move towards them, making a strange gurgling sound.
While the fight against the misbehaving zombie is unnecessary and a drain on mana and health, it's not actually a necessary fight! She agrees, turning to run. It costs her a bit more health, but she's able to pull away and they escape. Good, strategic, but not exactly optimal strategy. Fuka looks sheepish as she regards Shenmi, but she's still smiling and willing to go on. Besides she's pretty tough, and still has reserves to draw upon should the challenge ramp up.
Speaking of ramping up, Fuka pauses as she sees the massive zombie. And then the secondary zombie belly baby. "Okay, ew." she drawls. "Yeeeah I'm not touching that, not even with an axe." she claims, clearly disgusted. Her chant is all but unnoticeable, fast, and rather effectively done as she subtle-casts one of her newer treasures, directing a globe of fire and light into the zombaby and zomparent. "I know that spell's supposed to be used for signalling when there's trouble but THAT IS TROUBLE!" she insists.
What Shenmi does is injecting, no, pumping raw power into Fukaziroh's spell, still letting her control the flow of the mana. Thanks to this additional boost, the combined power of the two succeeds in shattering the monster. Finally!
Shenmi exhales with a grin, hands on his hips. "Well, we finally did it, it would seem! All that running away practice we've had up to now really paid off!"
As they delve deeper into the village, it becomes clear that there is one central building that must have been the home of a noble of some sort. It makes an easy landmark for them to head toward, visible through the damaged buildings that surround them.
However, before they get that far, they see something unusual. There are strings between the buildings which once contained festival decorations, but now there are strange wrappings dangling from them. The wrappings grow more and more frequent until they find the source.
A mummy is standing right there, on the high wire, balanced on one leg as if this were some sort of strange acrobatic performance. It seems to be using the location as a place to scout. Spotting the Adventurers, it does a backflip, flings itself down from the high wire, and then lands in front of them in a 'hero pose'. Then, showing skeletal teeth the zombie begins shambling towards them.
Cooperation is good! One of Fuka's goals for the mission was to promote cross-cultural understanding, and having someone in tune with her intent and able to aid her spellcasting so effectively makes her start to consider that that part of the mission may be a success. Even if they're running away when they should fight and fight when they should run away. They're doing good, and for that matter creating good bonds of trust, effectiveness... maybe even the start of friendship.
As they proceed and spot the next threat, Fuka ooohs appreciatively at the high wire performance. "You should recruit this one to join your show!" she suggests playfully as it sticks the landing and strikes a pose. "It even did a three point landing! Seriously you can't pay for entertainment this good!" she says in outright approval.
"SIGNAL FLARE!" Fuka abruptly cries out, sending out the same spell again as she'd prepared before. Having held the mindset of her previous spell, Fuka doesn't even need to chant again, just send a steady stream of fire and light mana into the spell construct and point at her target. The spell flares out once again, and this time the fire aspect of the spell is very much on point. The mummy, after all, is covered in flammable wrappings. Besides, she's pretty good at bringing the heat. Not her strongest element, but sometimes it's just fun to set things on fire.
As the mummy burns, she turns back to Shenmi. "Oh wait, were you going to actually recruit it? Sorry, got carried away!" she grins, entirely unrepenetant.
"Worry not about that, I only do stage magic. It's not my job to hire other acts." With a smirk and a bit of a laugh he adds, "Heck, I've even switched to busking as opposed to stage performance these days. Gotta adapt to the changing market conditions."
At last, they seem to reach the other end of town. Here, a large building that would likely be considered a 'mansion' by Lander standards, lies in a state of disrepair. There is a significant amount of damage here, just as there was throughout the rest of the city.
As they approach the building, that is when the party seems to enter aggro range of something they can't even see. Not at first. Then, swooping down from the sky is a man in a very stylistic vampire outfit. It is complete with a high collar and red cape. It looks like something out of a children's cartoon rather than something actually frightening.
"You have caused me a great deal of trouble. Now you shall join my village of the damned." The monster then leaps towards them, slashing out with claws and biting with vampiric teeth.
Fuka continues grinning, and even skips along as the duo proceeds through the village. Banter is fun, as is adventure! And it's even more fun to go around with someone with a good sense of humour... or at least with a sense of humour close enough to hers that she enjoys it, which is not necessarily to say it's good.
Seeing the vampiric master of this place, Fuka is inextricably reminded of a recent conflict with a different vampire. A shame Haru's not here to tease over this, but she'll make do. And probably talk to him later and exaggerate the story for amusement. But first she has to survive this! Becoming undead isn't her plan to be sure.
"Don't worry, your troubles are soon to be over!" shouts Fuka gleefully, breaking into a fresh chant. Fire, fire, more fire. Yes, this is indeed the life! She doesn't bother shaping the spell into a focussed weapon, just draining her mana into shooting out more and broader and hotter flames. The master revealed itself, and being dumb enough to clarify that it IS the master, with her previous experience of vampiric masters, she knows that turning this idiot to ash is the way to end the rest of the curse. Yes, light is also an option, but she enjoys fire. Light is more of a pacifist option, one she's not entirely suited to temperamentally. "Seriously what's with all the vampires around here? Or should I say vamPYRES?" she cackles.
"Why... why have you abandoned us, my Queen?" The cry is given from the Vampire Mayor as his health bars drain. Despite being a powerful enemy on his own, the boss monster lacks the back up support they might have had before the undead were sealed in Ninetails. Utilizing the weak points they are able to drive the vampire back until he begins to flee.
It is not soon enough. A couple of last attacks are enough to burst the vampire into pixels, leaving behind a handful of vampire fangs and little more than some glittering pixel vampire dust.
"Well, dang. Glittering vampires," Shenmi frowns. "The worst kind."
He kneels down to observe the two vampire fangs that have been dropped. "Hmmm. Interesting...", he says, reaching into the breast pocket of his tuxedo, and pulling out a white handkerchief to collect one of them with. "At least it's not novelty vampire false teeth..."
He gets up again, removes his hat, and bows to Fuka, "Excellent teamwork, my Lady. It has been a pleasure to cooperate with you on wanton destruction and mass murder."
Fuka's smile falters just a hint as mention is made of wanton destruction and mass murder, but she presses on, taking the comment in the light manner it was most likely intended. "Can it really be considered murder if we're destroying sparkly vampires? I'd think that's just a public service." she claims, scooping up her own reward with no particular respect given towards the cleanliness or ickiness of handling a vampire's fang. "Seriously. These guys bite. And they suck. They're like, the WORST." she adds, grin turning back up to at least an 8, maybe 9.