Its that time. What time? Duty time. The Hunter's Guild has a series of requests out and Shoujiro is all too happy to pick a few up when in town. Spinner's End may be well and cleared, but there is always an opportunity to delve deeper. The samurai makes his way down into the mines, donning his traditional red armor over his clothes. A smile on his face as he heads onwards to go tackle some training through the depths of a deep, dark dungeon. Classical good time setup.
Schneider is here to hunt spiders, because spiders need squashing. Or incinerating as the case may be. Also, he's kind of between projects, stymied and needing a mental break to re-orient and maybe work out a new plan forward. Nothing good is easy, as the pundits say. But it's kind of easy if your problem is too much gasoline or an excess of flammable rags around Scale Emblem Alliance. So, here he is, ready to take on Spinner's End and incinerate some spiders. And get XP, of course. He likes the XP.
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Erufu had seen the job, she needed more money and materials given the sate of the world. So here the elf was eager to join and go on a little side adventure. What's the worse that could go wrong here? Right what could go wrong. She has her bow at the ready as she looks over to Schneider for a moment then to Soujiro for a moment.
"This should be fun! Its strange to find this almost relaxing compared to dealing iwth the Palace Landers."
The party starts where other parties have left off: the boss room. Unlike the other parts of the mine, the walls are finely hewn with strange patterns etched into them. There is a large mural that looks to show a variety of different arachnid creatures. It almost looks as if there are figures bowing before them in worship. At the center of the chamber there is a slightly raised dias. A circular platform sits upon this dias with carved runes that appear along the edge of the circle. It does not seem to resemble any known language in Yamato yet these same runes appear throughout the room in various fashions.
There might be clues to the runes in those words on the walls, but the teleporter seems to also respond to sound as well as magical energies being channeled into it.
A puzzle room? Souji takes a look around. There are other people that get their chance to shine when it comes to this sort of stuff. He takes the opportunity to look over the runes in the walls and give a bit of magical energy to them to watch the reactions. It is like a game of Simon Says only they didn't get the sequence to repeat back yet. "Taking out monsters is always fun," Soujiro agrees with the sort of warmth that comes from a man that genuinely enjoys the game aspect of the game. Like slashing spiders to bits.
Schneider knows this puzzle pretty well by now, and works it correctly on the first try. "Been here a few times before," he admits. "It's never exactly the same, but there don't appear to be many variations," he explains his quick solution.
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Erufu is in a good mood at the moment she would look over the teleporter she pauses for a moment and will start singing to see if some of the runes here might react to her song. There's also a glow from under her clothing taking on the form of some sort of rune. When she finishes she'll note
"It can be..."
She trails off a bit but will refocus pretty quickly.
Either by dumb luck or by dumber luck, Soujiro ends up keying in part of the glyph sequence on his side of the room. Schneider is already familiar enough with the meta of the puzzle to blast through it and Erufu's Song resonates with the remaining glyphage.
The portal activates with grinding stone sounds to herald's its new state. Very Stargate SG-1. A blue glow surrounds the party before they emerge in a dark chamber that is lit by a few sputtering torches that are held in web encased sconces. A feeling of moisture hangs in the air. The sound of trickling water from somewhere deeper in the darkness is heard.
Wandering further from the entryway, the tunnel continues until it stops at a dead end. There, at the end of the hallway, is a strange statue. Carved into stone is a being that looks vaguely humanoid, though much of the features are covered by robes. Rather than a human face it has long pincers, a series of glossy eyes, and monstrous plating. A thin, clawed hand is extended from the statue. It points towards an altar set before it. It appears that to to continue further that the Adventurers will have to offer up some sort of sacrifice.
Offer up a sacrifice? Souji isn't a man who needs to announce his ever thought, if he has any of them at all. The kind eyes and warm smile look makes him appear a touch vapid in the brains department. Still he walks around with the sort of effortless confidence that befits a person that does not overthink a situation. He takes out one of the loot drops he got from hunting a boar, which is the big ole meat on a bone, and places it on the altar. Look, if an ancient creature wants a snack, Souji isn't going to judge.
Schneider knows what is generally meant as a sacrifice. Traditionally, some small, unfortunate animal. Sadly, he has zero skill in hunting, nor does he know about valuable minerals or plants that may be in the area. He does have one trick, though, and he will cast the spell on himself and wait patiently. The spell, it's incantation done quietly, repaints the landscape without him in it. And this is what lets him, just barely, to get the jump on an animal that might be acceptable to the statue. "Hope this works," he says wryly, fading in with a jarring suddenness.
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Erufu is quick to go through the gate to see where it leads here. There are bound to be spiders she gets that much, but how many? What kings and most of all. How big will the spiders be? Once she heads on he way with the party she'll find out sooner or later. She will pause at the odd stone stature for a moment. She too will take some of a recent kill from when she was hunting and offer it up.
The meat offered by Souji displeases the ancient statue. The (very little) durability left in the item plummets before it shatters into game-like fragments of light. "It does not like boar," Souji says up to the statue as if making a mental note for the next time he runs into spiders. Just kidding, he is no strategist, he will forget that kind of nuance next time he shows up, probably. Meanwhile the statue is a big fan of Schneider's dire squirrel he caught. Maybe because it is more lively? Is peckish for squirrel today? Who knows?! Its made even less sense when Erufu offers up a fresh cluckcluck. "Or it is a picky eater?" quirks Souji. Or, secretly, there is an RNG table of things it will accept and each time it rolls for limitless replayability! In the end the statue finds the offering acceptable and wordlessly permits them passage onward.
The party continues on the great spidey deeplands as the tunnels appear more roughly carved the further they travel into the depths of the mine. There are scratch marks in some places as if something huge had scraped the stone as it passed through. Eventually the way opens up into a taller chamber. Being taller does not make the party's travel any easier. In fact, the entire room appears to be made up of spider webbing that stretches high up into the air and down into the chasm below. Though the weavers of this mess of webs are not immediately visible, they obviously live somewhere within the strands. The difficulty is trying to find a way across the threads without alerting the spiders to their presence.
Souji is more at home with these sorts of hazards. This is a matter of balance and grace. The samurai moves with careful, almost dancelike, movements around the corridor to avoid the threads. Its pleasant to watch, though best watch out for those strands that can get stuck on the thick red samurai plates he has on.
Schneider's strategy for the spiderwebs appears to be to get as tangled as he possibly can and tear through or get stuck on as many as possible. Spiders come down to check on the commotion in the webs from time to time, which is at least a distraction for Schneider as he gets to incinerate another batch before pulling and tearing through another five or ten feet of it and drawing more inquisative and flammable spiders. He'd be in real trouble if the spiders were asbestos, but that much of his luck holds.
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"It could be the quality of the meat ot the cut? I would not know." She's not sure and it's best not to press the issue right? She will move on happy they are ending up going deeper. The elf ear twitch a little bit something is't quite right she looks at the threads and humms she sees a path she can use and she'll just gracefully almost dance across the web without a care in the world.
Graceful Souji is graceful. Each step could very well be part of a well structured motion around trip lasers in some cross fantasy spy flick staring ETO Samurai Souji Seta. CoStaring his beautiful dance partner: Elf. Even the spiders are clapping with some of their hands. No, thats not clapping, thats them looking at Schneider as they begin to approach the disturbances in their little corridor snare. Fortunately the party gets through the area before they reach out for a spidey snack.
The ground starts to become thicker with spider webbing the further the Adventurers delve into the depths of the dungeon. The way continues to descend downwards to a set of spiral stairs which lets out into a truly horrifying sight.
A strange underground jungle has formed here by some miracle of dark magic. Strange plants glow with errie, purple and green leaves. Pools of black sludge seem to burble up at times, bubbles rising from them and popping with an acidic hiss and acrid stench. Spiders move amongst the leaves, each nearly the size of a human being themselves. They stop to drink from the fetid pools, as if they were lacing their pincers with poison. They, too, have an unearthly glow to them. It is as if the taint of this place has become one with their spideyness. If you get bitten, it could give you superpowers. Or make you super dead. Time to find out which it is as the spiders sense the adventurers as the odd ducks out in this environment. Fangs are bared, many legs springing them forward to pounce.
The human samurai of Elder Tale eld steps towards the front of the formation as an offensive tank should. His katanas are still in their sayas, safely sheathed. At the last moment, the iai fighter draws his katana at the pounding spider. It is just a white flash in a clean arc that sends the first one to a pixelated grave. The second is drawn in similar fashion to another pouncer. Alas, there are dozens more to contend with before the trio can press on. More XP and loot though!
Schneider's attempt to support the party is stymied by an effort to conserve his mana, and he casts a few low damage spells expecting them to be enough as the spiders get closer. "Fiery Power Blast of the Damned!" he casts, and a few are injured, but not many, and not enough, and they keep coming, overrunning him and forcing him to burn a hell of a lot more mana than he planned on spending to get his backside out of a dilemma.
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The party goes deeper and deeper and soon comes strange jungle plant. She does not like this nor the strange sludge she'll keep on her guard about those and she'll then start chanting. Using earh magic to try and dilute horrible pools, or even better? Burry them for good.
The twin katana dance of Souji puts on display where he excells: martial combat. The look in his blue eyes is that of flow and focus when you are really into a rhythm. Once he has found it, he doesn't let go until swaths of screeching spiders are cut down by his blades for those that dare close the gap to try to melee the party. The mid and back lines get arcane assault by Schneider, though its one of those frustrating game things where you soften up two thirds of the kills and someone else finishes them off. Better mana than health, though, it looks like those things carry with them a nasty debuff. Erufu uses the Earth itself to slow their approach as they have to find more distant pools to coat their chompers on, giving a much more managable pace across the three of them. Victory is a matter of endurance before they are all defeated and they can move on.
The environment begins to grow more and more strange, the walls glowing faintly with an eerie green color. Drops of acid seem to hiss from the ceiling, falling onto the unwary who dare pass further into this tainted place. At first it seems like the party is heading for a dead end. In true game form, the wall lifts as if it senses their arrival. The enemy: A Wal-Mart greeter. No. A Wall Spider named Marty. About the size of a quarter and giving them the eye. All the eyes.
The wall opens into a boss chamber which looks suspeciously like the onme they had left in the mines above. However, the coloration of this room is more unearthly. The strange etchings on the wall all glow with that eerie, acid green color. Standing in the center of the chamber is a massive spider which seems to be an unusual shade of white. Flickers of blue seem to move across the creature's entire body.
The spider sees the party. Marty is back there, pointing out 'these are the guys, boss', and the boss spider shifts from underling to aggressors. As soon as the fight is initiated, it /blinks/ out of existance only to reappear halfway across the chamber. If it was a statue it'd be weeping, but this is no angel, it is a Phase Spider. It has a very dangerous teleportation ability and is using it to full advantage. The Adventurers had best be wary if they don't want to be caught unware by its attacks.
Katanas already out, Souji imbues them with a white glow once more. It doesn't /exactly/ match the phase spider, being of a more holy and arcane origin, but it has a similar color. His stance lowers preparing himself for the creature to appear so that he can vault into action. He does, getting in fast, fierce combos to exchange blows and push emnity/hate/agro onto the creature to try to keep it focused on the tanky Samurai. Boss fights, he lives for these things. Also dies, but thats a nuance that all front liners contend with.
Schneider grimaces at big white glowy wierd spiders, and says, "OK, no fooling around here." And so he hauls out what, for an exploder wizard, are the big guns. "Deep Doomsday," he chants, and dark forces grow. "To the spirits of land and air, bound by the pact, fulfill your obligation now." Those who can sense such things feel the power growing, a dark power, and Schneider shouts, "MEGADETH!"
The explosion is colossal, and intense, and the spider loses one of it's health bars almost entirely to it. It's a very intense spell, and the flames persist, though in any event Schneider keeps pouring the flame on, higher and deeper, for as long as he needs to. Rune Knights use mana weirdly, it seems, as they're technically a hybrid class.
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Erufu has so far been impressed by both Soujiro and SChneider so far and they keep it up through this part of the dungeon. Then come the final bit or so she htinks. Whil she could have magi she has another idea she's figured out the pattern after a moment and few uses of it. She will shout warning to her companions the moment she's figured it out.
Souji does a good job of keep the focus on him from the attacks, the phase spider leaping out from the air to land down on him as both katanas cross to block the attack. He deflects one of the many glass-like and equally sharp legs of the creature while keeping an opening for the rest of the party to bring the pain. On the topic of pain, the samurai takes a fair amount of it during the fight. Once Erufu figures out the phase pattern, Souji quickly adapts and is able to keep the pressure off a lot easier. The same is true with Schneider and the MEGADETH explosions. You know you are doing killer DPS when the tank has to work his booty off to hold onto the agro.
Little by little, the Adventurers are able to whittle down the health of the Phase spider. One health bar goes down. Then a second goes down. At the very end, with the last shred of its health remaining, the creature turns and tries to flee, clawing at the wall. No escape. No mercy. Schneider's attack blasts it into itty bitty boss bits that cause it to burst in the satisfying array of light. Where the spider had been standing the wall crumbles away and reveals a barrier of light.
More adventure? No. The three are unable to pass through at this point. An error message pops up letting them know there is a level requirement that they do not meet. However they do get the token small treasure chest left behind by the boss spider. Once opened it contains crystals, one for each member, which look as if they share the creature's unusual phase properties.
Loot. Souji goes to his inventory and takes a potion, popping it after the boss battle. "Thats a nice haul," the human says, kneeling down and claiming his crystal. He looks like he has only gotten started with his day, though. How could he call it after such a good run? There will be field monsters getting wailed on tonight, for sure!
Schneider smiles as the big boss's pixels fade out, and the smoke clears. "Ah, yeah," he sats to Soujiro Seta, "We need to do something else to get past the barrier. I forget whether we needed higher level, or to do some other thing." He's not a gamer, this is way too much to keep straight. But he could map out a basketball tournament chart and eyeball your victory chances right away. It's all in where your strength and experience lie. Also, being able to get your fireballs up to several thousand degrees.
Soujiro Seta is a gamer through and through. "Locked behind an event trigger or level condition," the samurai says. He says it in the tone that isn't saying its true but what he belives is true. He puts his hands to the light barrier and smiles warmly, "Either way, not getting to that other side today. Know of anyone that has made it past before?" The idea of 'first' doesnt /leap/ through his head, but its in the gamer blood to be a bit competitive. He puts his crystal away, loot to be used another day.
Schneider shakes his head about anyone having made it through before. "If they had, the barrier would be down, like it was for us to start this mission. This was a follow on to a lower level mission that we beat some time back."
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It's quite a good fihg but in the end they take it out and the elf seem quite pleased. Shje will shoulde rhe bow as she moes o grab her share of the loot.
"I'd say it was a pretty run so far. It seems we are not strong enough to breach it yet. The previous part of this cave network was warded shut as well."