Duty Session 468: For Whom the Bell Gnolls
Recently, there has been a shift in the behavior of the gnolls who dwell within the forests close to the newbie leveling areas. They had always been a threat, but it seems as if they have started to change their tactics as a result of Adventurer activity in the area. They no longer strike only at night, meaning that the forests are now a dangerous place, even during the daylight hours. With a number of both Lander and Adventurer deaths attributed to the gnolls, the Hunters Guild has put out a call to thin out their numbers, in the hopes it might return gnoll activity back to normal levels.
Rec. Party: 3+
World Rewards: Reduce gnoll activity in new player leveling areas.
The silver haired Artificer is out by the meeting point in the grasslands. The grass in this location isn't parciularly green. It is dulled. Yellowed. Gravestones that mark an Adventurer death within the last 24 hours dot the location. He is looking over the grave sites for familiar names. Repeating names. He rises from kneeling to standing, brushing off the grass from his denim jeans, "like hunger itself, it always returns." A hand stretches skywards to stretch, "they just don't gnoll when to quit," he adds with somber levity.
A certain NINJA CAT heard that gnolls were starting trouble, and has sought out a party to help... fortunately, she found one already looking for a group! Clad in a midnight-purple gi with a long, flowing red scarf, she winces at the sight of all the tombstones. "It really killed this many...?"
She holds a hand to her chest. "...You know... I remember, the first time -- after the Apocalypse, I mean -- that I traveled to the root town from Alne. I ran into Hagar. He nearly... And back then, we didn't know what happened if we died..."
"I hope we can stop them from terrorizing the weaker players... No one should have to feel that way..."
She's dressed all in dark forest colors, greens and browns, with her hair worn up, and a hood pulled over her head. No weapons or armor, those who know her know that she doesn't need them, and she stands ready to kick some gnolls in the teeth.
Wake is here. She heard the news, heard the bad things happening, and decided that her role requires she be active. As close to all-engrossing as the war is (and helping a few friends with strange moods), the world has yet more demands. She will meet them.
"Gnolls are ugly creatures. As a servant of The Beautiful One, it is time I did my part in preventing further loss. If they are in the service of demons, then our enmity runs yet deeper." She has done her usual curtsey and introduction. It's custom, even if everyone knows her name and role. Calling herself a Priestess of The Beautiful One is a new title, though, and her garb is strange.
Curtana's dressed in his usual shining breastplate, shield already slung on his left hand that's resting on his hilt. He glances around at the gravestones, not recognizing any names himself, but annoyed that there's any at all here. "I'm more than willing to help out just because they're killing Adventurers and Landers alike, but demon worshippers as well? These furry muts need to go."
Mizuki sighs. "Demon-worshippers? The last ones already had necromancers and undead... what kind of strange powers?"
And then... Baroness Wake! Mizuki's ears twitch, and she turns around as Wake introduces herself. She starts to bow a little in return then awkwardly transitions to a curtsey mid-bow. And then awkwardly realizes she doesn't have a skirt in this outfit so she just has to mime it. "One of these days you have to tell me more about your, ah, faith. Thanks for the other day."
Amongst blood both thick and dry lays a number of trinkets laid out: a doll, a dagger, a hammer, a flute, a pipe, nails, and a number of notable effects that look like Adventurer inventory. Even those without a magical attunement can hear the dull hum of the energy here. A racial or zonal buff of some sort is in place through this horrific ritual. Perhaps through their ingenuity the current Adventurers can find a means to disrupt it.
"No one should feel that say," Haru says as he lifts up the doll, hands coated in blood that drips from his fingertips. A sort of static in his head that reaches a crescendo before he clicks mentally back into place and puts the doll slowly back down. "I missed a fair deal of the early days, maybe you can tell me about it sometime, Mizuki." The Artificer shifts, walking around his its a brand new Escape Room and he needs to take stock of the puzzle. "Yes, demonically empowered," he asides to both Yeowang and Wake in their assessments, "Shiruba is right to keep this threat under investigation. Or," a manufactured smile to Wake, "root it out completely." There is a dutiful nod to Curtana, "Quite. Its bad enough the Palace Landers are at our necks, we have this threat at our backs." A hand gestures to the ritual site, "we should get to it. This one looks particularly tricky."
"Rooting it out is pretty much necessary so it doesn't become a problem the way the undead army did in Ninetails," she says, echoing Shiruba's stated motivation. She looks around the site, but she's seen a few like this before when hunting gnolls, and she has an idea of what to look for in a clue. "So," she says, and will explain what she's seeing and how it's worked before. So, she's able to take apart a bit of the ritual safely, the way she remembers it done last time, which is lucky more than anything. But luck is a talent, too.
The altar, the remains, the doll. She eyes it for a time as Haru examines it. Clearly it has a strong impact. "No child should fall to darkness," she murmurs. Light flows around in her as she speaks, and her cape-a gift from Pela-flutters in its own wind.
Sadly, as devoted as she is to her new cause, she has yet to master the skill. Try as she might, there is no answer, no clarity. The tears that fall as she imagines the child who once played with that doll go unanswered.
The ground is red with dried blood?! "Wait... Adventurers don't bleed, so... what is this blood from?"
She nods to Haru. "Missed? What, did you run and hide somewhere or something? ...That came out wrong. I mean, I can understand if you... we all came to this from different backgrounds. Honestly, at first I figured I may as well have fun will waiting for the admins to fix it. When I woke up on the second day, though..."
She trails off. "...Well, I'd like to say that when heroes were needed I answered the call -- and the only person I knew on the server was one of the ones stranded in Ezzo, so I *did* want to help him, but... There might have been other reasons I had the energy and spirit and willpower to actually do that. We shouldn't all have to be adventurers, all the time."
She looks over the ritual, but can't make sense of the significance. "These objects clearly have purpose... if we remove some we disrupt whatever this is, right?"
His eyes dart around at the items lying on the face of the altar and a hard look grows on Curtana's face before he nods towards Haru. "Right. The Palace Landers isn't something i'm sure I can help with, but gnolls I can help defend against." Which is easier said than done. Curtana's used to having the enemy come to him, not having to search for them through a sea of green. His eyes flicker back and forth from item to item on the altar, and something seems to click. "Whatever happened here...either it's already happened or it's gearing up to. This place is making my teeth tingle."
Mizuki's last comment has Curtana quickly shaking his head. "It could, but it could also set it off early or change it completely. Best to leave it alone for now..."
"I don't disagree," Haru says to Yeowang as his hand draws back from the 'snap' of the ritual site rejecting them, "but resources are finite and everyone is at the epicenter of their own story that may not include the big picture like gnoll, undead, or foreign threats." The hand lowers to his side, "so it is with gratitude that those that do, do." A deep breath and an exhale, nodding to Wake's gesture of the child's fate. "Just so, and we owe it to them not to dwell or tarry."
Haru responds to Mizuki on the path onward, "I didn't answer the call, then. It takes all kinds of people to build a world and not all of it is done with a sword or a spell. I spent my time crafting." He squints his one available blue eye at the distance to make sure they are on the right path. "And I don't regret it. It gives me a perspective that people that run headlong into danger don't have." He asides to Curtana on that as he combines the topics diplomatically, "it takes all kinds. Not having to worry about a gnoll at my back is very helpful, indeed. If you get a chance, talk to Shiruba some. She is all in on burning them to the ground." Haru is starting to feel that way too, judging by the clenched fist.
The path deeper into the forest shows increased gnollish activity. Branches have been sharpened into spikes that stick out in every direction to harry an advance. Smears of blood coat the nearby trees. Ropes dangle from the foilage. Things have been trapped here. Then the laughter starts, cackling like a hyena. The maniac laughter echoes around the party making it hard to tell exactly where it comes from. It is the sound of thier quarry. The Artificer takes a moment to take stock of where it originates from, but sounds in the woods can be tricksy.
The actual trail of where gnolls have been is not hard to follow, at least at first, and Yeowang leads the way confidently. But as the forest gets deeper, and more gruesome, with distant laughing in all directions, it becomes less of a trail and more of things in all directions that -might- be where we ought to go. But she's a Shadowfist, with the tracking and hunting skills built in, and trained, in the game. This is one of the few things she's had to step up to in the game, the fighting, the organization and project work, she's done in RL, but she's had to work out how the game leaves clues and what to look for to verify the passage of monsters and animals through various parts of terrain. Looking carefully over the ground, she finally finds a trail that seems more like someone going someplace and not just dancing around flinging entrails all around. "This way," she says.
Wake follows, oddly quiet. Even when the laughter of the gnoll rings out. She calmly seeks the source in the trees. With Yeowang guiding them closer, Wake picks out a better idea of the location.
"And now.. this way," she says calmly.
She does not hurry. Far better to ensure nothing is missed, then race ahead into a trap. Notably, she holds no weapon ready, relying on her much more dangerous companions to deal with a surprise threat. Or a bit of both.
Mizuki frowns as Curtana mentions the Palace Landers... it is such a big problem, and even as an adventurer, she doesn't know how to solve it either...
Neither does she know how to solve this, apparently! She tries to move one of the ritual items, but they're locked in place. "Our own story, huh?" She follows. "...Do you ever kind of feel like... we're the background characters in an anime? And the people who like... were involved in Fragment, and their friend who got stuck in the game before, like... they're more involved in the plot? Are they the main characters?"
She pats Haru's shoulder when he says he didn't answer the call. "Yeah. It takes all kinds. Some of us could use... more perspectives."
Laughter. Mizuki's ears perk, rotate. "There!" she points, and then scrambles up a tree to try and move into ambush.
Thankfully, Mizuki helps to draw him out of the rest of those thoughts, and he gives a small smile towards her. "Honestly thought about that before. The way I see it, everyone is a background character of someone else's story, seemingly there to fill up background space. It's also up to us if we want a bit more screen time and truly become a part of those stories."
The deep throaty laughter of the gnolls echo out through the quiet woods, and Curtana strains his ears to try to make sense of where it was coming from. Be it the shape of the trees or some sort of magic at work, he doesn't seem able to find the source. Thankfully, he's not alone out here. Getting his shield ready and up, Curtana turns in the direction Mizuki pointed out and prepares himself for the potential battle ahead.
"Sometimes, Mizuki," Haru admits on the topic of being a background character and to the pat on the shoulder. He shares Curtana's line of thinking about it, "I like to think we have more agency than a background mob, but the world is delicate. Sometimes you have to float in the river. Sometimes you /are/ the river. Otherwise you end up with a flood..." there may have been more to that nature analogy, but the woods have other things planned.
Travel banter is cut short by the sound of war cries amongst the trees. Enemies are close by. The hunt has slowed to the engagement of the enemy. It is not a gnoll that appears first, but a series of large rabid hyenas wearing spiked collars. They sniff. They search. They paw at the ground and growl into the darkness. Behind the mob of beasts is a gnoll. It stalks out wearing leather armor and wileding a huge, wicked looking bow made out of a stranged gnarled wood. There is a cackling howl as a hyena spots the party, causing the others to join in with a manic charge. They keep a melee barrier between the gnoll and tha party, whom uses that wicked weapon to snipe from a distance.
She frowns as the hyenas rush in to attack, but when their gnoll handler appears, it's understandabe. She kicks the furry attackers hard to keep them at bay, but even if she kicks them hard enough to drain their HP and kill them, there are more, and fighting /them/ isn't going to help. But with the wall of hyenas, she has no way to engage the handler directly. But of course a Shadowfist is trained in the bow, and she will pull hers from inventory. It's the starter bow, and she only seems to have the standard arrows today, it seems like this skill is /not/ one of the ones she's worked at or possessed before joining the game. Her accuracy, at this range, is not sufficent to hit the handler driving the hyenas onto us, and whle she kicks them away, she can accomplish little.
Mizuki is expecting a gnoll hunting party. But there's just one? With a pack of hyenas. Which could be a problem, but...
They're animals. She's part animal. This world gets more realistic every day... and animals don't want to fight to the death, right?
Mizuki drops out of the trees almost right on top of the hyenas and ROARS. It's a roar that says, I'M the big one here, I'M the strong one, do you really want to fight??
With an enemy in sight, Wake would be expected to draw a weapon. Instead, she draws in a breath, lets it out in something like a soft hum. It's something a singer might do to warm up.
Considering her vulnerability one might think she'd linger in the back, where it's safer. Yet she marches forward, her eyes unflinching and focused on the gnoll.
Her voice rises, at first like a song, gentle and building power.
"Before the judgment of the Goddess... you.. will... FALL!"
With that last word, something strange happens. It's more than loud. It shreds the air as every bit of righteous anger in Wake's heart surges forward, rending the target savagely.
The gnolls would, of course, have hyenas as their loyal attack hounds. They are the most obvious threat, but not the brains of the operation. That would be the Huntmaster staying safely behind his pack. "Well then...I think we should take the brains of this operation out." Mumbling words of power softly and reaching out with his senses, Curtana starts forming a bead of pure blinding light to hover in front of him. With an effort of will, he directs the bead to hurtle at the huntmaster as an arrow of light!
...that just happens to blast through the tree right next to the huntmaster. "...right. Need to work on my aim..."
To the conversation at large, Wake says softly, "We all make our own way. We all lead, whenever we are seen. I have my eyes open, and I will not leave any of my people in darkness. Wherever there is ugliness, when others would steal the dreams of others, I -and those who heed my call- will go."
"I like to think our Alliance is making gradual improvements to decide and organize," Haru says, "we had a good turn out in several of our operations in the last few weeks. The next Op I'll put more fire into getting people to commit to action. Its time we retook the Alliance towns we lost." There is a wink of the blue eye. Or a blink. The man has one visible eye it can go either way. He takes a mana potion out from his belt and kicks it back, regaining some of the lost mana that his passive regeneration won't cover if they are getting into the thick of gnoll territory. Gulp gulp ahhh. "Wake is great at inspiring people," he motions back to the Baroness, "maybe she should give our Alliance tips on how to get people to give a fuck. The battle at Eas was majestically executed on the defensive side. Compared to the Carmina Port assault? Night and day." He pauses for Wake's soft commentary, "see? That is what inspires people to make someone else's vision /their/ vision. Its its own kind of magic."
The woods have become more aware of their activity. It is as if the trees and shadows themselves lend to the furry form of gnolls. Yet these gnolls seem wary of coming anywhere close to the party. They seem like the lower level gnolls, the ones that should be in the starter zone for starting adventurers and they know they are outclassed. They know not to engage. That honor is left for the general of the gnoll armies. One steps out from the shadow as if it was onced formed by it. The gnoll's muzzle sticks out from beneath a tattered hood. Bottles clink as it steps forward with a curved staff in one clawed hand. It gives the party a wicked look as the gnoll's muzzle curves into a ferral grin. Potions are quickly plucked from within the creature's robes and thrown with gleeful malice towards the Adventurers. The alchemy is varied, producing sizzling acid, crude explosions, or plumes of noxious gas that choke out breath in the area.
Yeowang has no fear of gnolls in a fight, and even ones that have more potions than Prophylaxis do not worry her. She'll step up to him, almost in his face, dodging and weaving almost hypnotically, and those familiar with certain esoteric martial arts will recognize the Fist of Flowing Water, where the user flows around the attacker like water, striking and flowing away from any counterstrike. She seems to have an almost preternatural insight in where the gnoll will attack, or move to, and a very acute sense of where it is at any moment. Then, suddenly, the potions gnoll shifts his attacks and Yeowang takes a potion bottle right in the face, and she's blinded and choking and suddenly in a very bad place. She bounds backwards, coughing, pulling a cloth from her pack to try to clear the potion and glass from her face. That was wildly inconvenient.
Another enemy, this one different. Still, no need to draw a weapon. The enemy has provided everything she requires. A hand is raised, water artes called upon, and with a blast like a geyser the Baroness not only pounds the enemy directly, but aims her attack such that several of those potions are returned to sender.
In the battle, she speaks calmly. "It is good to hear that the New World Alliance is finding its feet. The loss of Shibuya caused a great deal of harm." She pours her efforts into yet more water attacks.
"But they should not lose faith. Our enemy has made a horrible mistake. To cast themselve as villains in a world meant to glorify heroes.. is suicide."
After the initial fight, Mizuki looks to the Baroness. "Fighting for beauty and everyone's dreams, huh? You sound like a magical girl..." and the way she says it, sounds like a good thing. Then at the talk of Alliances, but to no one in particular, she mutters, "Alliances... I have to help everyone who still wants to go home. They're counting on me... But, I don't think we all have to leave. We can have a life here too..."
But then gnolls practically ooze out of the woods. "I didn't realize there were so many...!" Now she feels a bit silly for roaring and giving away their location... She spews flame from her mouth to keep them at bay, but then one particular gnoll steps forward, splashing noxious potions all over the place. But there's one direction they aren't: Up!
Mizuki squats down and then LEAPS, a pillar of stone forming under her and chucking her high into the air! She's already forming seals with her hands to activate flashstep, using one of the jumps for extra height but waiting a split second to use the others to course-correct for dodge attempts as she plumets down towards the gnoll general:
"Frost on my skin, mirror the ice in my veins! Ozocubu's Hulk Hands!"
That is: NOT the name of the spell, but it was the part before that mattered for the incant: A sheen of ice starts to grow on her body, but then it all goes to her hands, all the mass of a full suit of armor becoming a pair of oversized gauntlets instead! It's mass she didn't have when she went up, so that's just bonus kinetic energy as she comes down and tries to slam the gauntlets down on the gnoll's head! "HISATSU! METEOOOOR SPIKE!"
They appeared to have found a larger host of gnolls, but lower leveled ones that would have given a proper challenge to fresh Adventurers, not slaughter them outright. The general coming forward to face them in combat is likely responsible for a few deaths, however. Curtana almost charges forward at first, but the slew of potions from the gnoll general are impressive in number and effects.
Having to stay back is annoying the knight to no end, but he tries his luck with another Wave Arte. Calling up words of power again, Curtana attempts to call up a localized windstorm that would hurl the bottles flying back towards the alchemist. Unfortunately, the wind he called up was mild at best and only manages to redirect a bottle towards a nearby tree. "Right...I really need to see about practicing magic a bit more in the future. This is just sad."
"There are scarce reasons to go back," Haru notes to Mizuki's earlier comment, "to have lunch with Fuka at the Crossing in a cafe, to see how my mother is holding up, and..." These things are normally supposed to come in threes. "I'll get back to you on the third. I am a New Worlder. This is home now." He crunches a pixel of the gnoll beneath his boot a bit too melodramatically. "Power makes people think they can get away with a lot," Haru tells Wake without directly facing her, "and there is no doubt they are casting themselves as the heroes of this story. History has a tendancy to write itself that way. However," he looks to Wake, "they /have/ made a mistake in robbing people's free will and narrative aside, it can not and will not stand." The Artificer seems more tense than usual. A little amped up? A little stabby stab stabbero? "I think that speaks well enough of conviction, eh, Yeowang?" he says, generating a manufactured smile in response to if he plans to lose faith or inclination.
There is a subtle shift in the feeling that surrounds the group as they advance. Even the hordes of lower level gnolls seem to fall quiet other than a few small yips, and laughs that seem to still as soon as they are sounded. The Adventurers soon find that the edge of the path they are on leads to a wide clearing. Lamps are lit at the edges. There is a huge mark burned into the ground. These all point to this place being the boss chamber before the Adventurers even set foot into the clearing.
The rising of heat is new. The temperature burns up from the symbol on the ground as a creature seems to materialize before their eyes. It is a massive gnoll sporting large, demonic horns that curl back fom his forehead. A draconic tail slams into the ground behind him making the ground tremble. With a roar the monster's eyes glow red, which seems to echo the red glow from the rune beneath them. The demonic gnoll stomps forward, claws swinging out with lightning fast attacks that harbor enough ferocity to rend through armor with terrifying ease.
"Ah, /another/ one of -these- fellows," Yeowang says, eying the situation critically. "Another one trying to summon their demon god, but coming up short," she explains, stepping up into the fight again. "He's just got some minor servant fiend of some kind." A faceful of potion certainly doesn't touch her courage. Or, it seems, instill any caution into her plans. On the other hand, she seems to have this demonic gnoll /entirely/ figured out, stepping up to him, punching with her left, punching with her right, and when he shifts to take her left again, she gives him the right instead, without pulling it back, just leaning into it, and between being unready for it, and the power she's put behind it, the gnoll stumbles back. She doesn't relent, though, and the gnoll seems to be made out of punching bag for all the resistance it puts up, spinning kick chaining into punch to the jaw, then s spinning back kick, it looks like that one surprise punch crushed any sort of resistance or will to live at all. Yeowang obliges that. If you don't want to live, you don't need to, and she'll punch him brutally until that's accomplished.
And with each step, they head deeper into the woods and towards whatever must leads these gnolls. The footsteps into the clearing seems to have been the trigger needed to call forth the demonic gnoll from wherever he may have been waiting. The massive beast, clearly stronger and taller than the rest, shakes the earth with his passage. This is a creature who has rejected who he once was, and gained great power for it.
Yet the presence of such a beast just washes over Curtana. In fact, his shoulders loosen and he stands up a bit taller against such a powerful creature. Something like this...this is what the knight lives for. Yeowang takes the lead and delivers a crippling series of blows that already sets the demon beast on the defensive. Shame that won't be enough to save it from the Adventurer's wrath.
Curtana charges forward, resting his right hand on the hilt of his longsword, the blade he hasn't drawn at all this day. Taking a deep breath, he channels that energy through his body, sending up sparks of light and energy down his arm and into the blade. The knight doesn't draw that blade until he's right up against the demon, before pulling the blade diagonally upwards. A blinding wave of energy flows from the blade, cutting through corrupted flesh easily.
"Clestical Hamon Overdrive!"
Mizuki jumps and cheers (with an ice-gauntleted fist in the air) after the mini-boss shatters! The low-level gnolls had best make themselves scarce afterwards, Mizuki goes after any she can see that aren't running, with dagger and tooth and claw.
Scarce reasons to go back. This is home now. Mizuki nods somberly. "I know what you mean, but... knowing how that feels, I kind of understand better now what the people who want to leave are *missing*. They feel the same way about out there... And if I wouldn't want to..." a frown briefly crosses her face, "to go back, to be, trapped, out there... I've got to help those who feel trapped here, right? If the situation were reversed, I'd want someone to help me..."
And then: "Well, THIS just screams boss room. I half expect the gate to slam down behind me and the music to start..." She makes a downward gesture, "Chit-chit-chit-chit!" then hums the first few seconds of a Megaman boss theme. "Hmm. I wonder if there's a way to charge up an attack outside, then step in and release something with more power than you'd normally get to charge during a boss battle..."
They step in. "A fucking DRAGON gnoll?! A dragon DEMON gnoll?! What the he--GAH!" She leaps back slightly too late, getting grazed by a claw swipe and narrowly avoiding far worse. "Alright... one of you is a tank, right? I just need its attention off me for a moment!"
She keeps her distance, throwing kunai and ice spells until, finally, she gets a chance to sneak around behind it. She drops into the stance for a sworde arte: Edge of Shadow! She leaps at the gnoll's back, sword arte moving her arms with superhuman speed as she slices with daggers and rakes with her hindclaws, even biting if she gets a chance!
After a big attack gains aggro, it's lather, rinse, repeat, right? Although, the high size and speed of this thing gives Mizuki some close calls...
Having emptied out every bit of mp she has, Wake is left to face the end boss with just her fists. Granted, an assassin is a weapon, but it's a boss fight.
Waiting for an opening, she lets the others attack first in the hopes that the gnoll will be slowed down or stunned. When the right time comes, she jumps forward and punches.. nothing but a burst of pixels. Clearly she waited too long.
The boss is dead. Glass cracking, pixelated deadzo. That part over there? Thats its arm. It is also dead. The boss room is painted in bloody pixels before they evaporate into the great beyond. The party hit the boss so hard it overflowed into the next time the boss gets summoned.
"Shibuya. Seeker's Landing. The Queen herself," Haru says to Yeowang, expanding out the scope of conviction. "We have the means and the support to liberate all three and we will in time." There is a pause as he already has this reward so the UNIQUE flag keeps him from grabbing it. There is plenty of experience and the general reduction of gnoll threat which was the bigger point. "But the 'cat herding' brings out the worst of my pretentious qualities among others. I'd just as soon call this a resounding victory that we can celebrate with a drink like Adventurers that just commited to and delivered a noteworthy reduction in the gnollish threat." For now. "We can talk about the existential dread, lofty ambition, or just simple things for a while to cool off."
With the enemy defeated, Wake can relax. Though, honestly, it shows no change in her posture or actions. How scared can she be expected to be in this group? They have the kind of firepower you generally bring to a raid, after all. That it calls into focus how little combat power she has only confirms the importance of her own path.
"My biggest contribution to the war is to be redemption. At least, if I do not fail to live up to the blessings I have been given," she explains softly. She turns her attention to the others, head canting ever so slightly to the side as she considers each of them in turn.
"You have all fought bravely. I haven't seen such skill since the old days, before the 'dream that was' was removed from our grasp. And that is saying something."
Wake turns to Haru and curtseys to him. "Thank you, my friend, for drawing my attention to this place. Clearly there is much work to be done here. I will not forget it. For now, though, my best service to you and your Alliance is to seek an audience with a Queen and remind her that she is a good and noble woman."
The gnoll boss practically EXPLODES. "YEAH!" It felt good to have a battle go that well! Enthusiastic hugs are freely offered to all.
After Mizuki settles down, she gives Wake a curious look. "Blessings? Dream that was?" She tilts her head to one side. "Just because we're in a videogame doesn't mean you have to tak like a videogame character, you don't have to be cryptic... Although, I guess if you want to be..."
She gives the Baroness a concerned look. "Seek an audience with the Queen... do you mean you think you can *talk* the people in charge of the Palace Lands out of using mind control on everyone?! That's suicide!"
Curtana frowns as Yeowang takes his leave with the demon slain but doesn't try to call the man back. "Hmmm...can't please everyone, after all."
Mizuki was kinda calling Wake out, sure, but it could also apply to Curt as well. Blushing softly, he rubs the back of his neck with his right hand. "I apologize about that too. Just...well, think about it this way. You tend to pick up bits of culture the longer you spent time interacting with that culture, right? Considering we spend a lot of time with Landers..." Curtana trails off and leaves it unspoken, but hopefully the message gets across.
Baroness Wake seems to be giving that advice casually, but such a task wouldn't be casual in the undertaking. "That basically is suicide. Honestly, we need a way to disrupt those Crowns on a large scale, but I don't know the first thing about enchanting. I think we just have to keep hoping someone finds a way soon."
Haru takes out a blue potion and tosses it to Curtana after the first is downed, "Alchemical blend. Has a bit of a kick to it." He looks to where Yeo left and asides Curt's thoughts, "Yeowang runs a bank. It in her stripes to be critical and impatient on a return. Being 'pleased' isnt something she leans into anymore than we lean into falling face foward into the ground." He scratches the back of his head. Why is he defending Yeo? "I know a lot about enchanting, a lot about crowns, and a lot about politics. I'm no Wake, but if there is a way to peacefully end this and return a possibly good woman back to her senses? Well." He takes a deep breath, "I don't like the stakes, but Wake would be the person that could pull it off, if anyone could in all of Yamato."
"Apologies. The dream before is what most call the real world. Though I don't like the insinuation that what we experience and do now is somehow less valid or important than what we did before. So I use that term. They are both valid, both as real as real can be," explains Wake to Mizuki.
A pause and she thinks. "The Blessing I have is what others call Legend. The Beautiful One recognized my dedication and responded. Now I am able to enhance the acts of others, so that when they fail, sometimes they end up succeeding."
Finally, she smiles warmly, "It may be suicide, but I have met Laira. I know a measure of her heart. I am called to save and redeem her. If she were to die, it would be a horrible loss. She is a good queen. She loves her people. I must try."