Duty Session 484: Escort Quest: Artificial Stupidity
A Lander stands just at the exit of town with a familiar quest marker being offered. Apparently, they need to travel to a nearby location which requires traversing through rough terrain, filled with monsters. So, they have reached out to brave Adventurers to help guide them on their way!
It's just a simple escort mission. What could go wrong?
Rec. Party: 4+
World Rewards: None
Haru should play more video games to know the true pain of such a thing. The Hunter's Guild request says to meet just outside of town to meet with the (un)fortunate soul that needs escorting. The white haired human is already there, talking to the excited and anxious personage. "It shouldn't be too far," they explain, "I need to deliver an offering to the shrine."
Haru motions his hand and says, "We could just deliver it for you so you don't have to be esco--" but he is cut off. You fool! The quest dialog must continue! "It's just... that there are rumors of monsters along the way," he says wringing his hands sheepishly, "So, thats where you come in, right?" Cue uncertain and nervous laughter. Haru turns his head to the Lander, then to the side where they are looking, then back to the Lander. A hand waves over their face. No eye contact. "Uh huh," says the man with a monocle as he leans back. This is totally normal.
She's got zero gaming experience, so no preconceptions as to what to expect from the dreaded 'Escort Quest' other than from the terror and annoyance that it's spoken of by other adventurers. Which she takes with a large grain of salt because kids today.
As Haru deals with the quest giver, Goldenblade overhears enough to know what type of quest this is. "Don't bother arguing," she calls to Haru. "He either can't hear you or doesn't care."
Well, it's good to stretch one's legs every so often.
"It's fine," the doctor says to Haru. "Just let it ride. We'll escort him to safety and then get paid. Easy."
Fukaziroh has never been one to let a silly little thing like a broken arm stop her from doing her duty, or Duty as the case may be. The little Sylph shows up, not slowed down at all from having her arm bound up in a sling. It's just an escort quest after all! She needs feet for that, not her arms. And her feet are working just fine thanks! At least she's no longer shivering constantly... THAT was annoyingly distracting, and something she'd just had to see to as soon as possible.
"Wait, monsters?" Fuka asks, seemingly surprised. And possibly worried? No, not worried. Distressed perhaps. "Ah well, monsters shouldn't be a problem!" she armwaves. The one unbound arm, naturally.
Escort Quests are something that Curtana is quite familiar with, since he honestly likes taking on these sort of jobs. Sure, they're quite difficult, annoying and may be less rewarding, the thanks he often gets from those he aids are a big part of the award to him. But this Lander's actions are a bit baffling, even to him.
Seeing Fukaziroh's arm in a sling is a shock for him, and Curtana hurries over. "Geeze, you too?...wait, I should have expected you would have been involved in that too, honestly." He offers the Sylph a pale pink potion and gives her a wink. "Thankfully I managed to cook up just the thing a few days ago, for all your limp limb cures."
Well, maybe it'll help her get some decent sleep tonight. And at least there aren't any gods-damned screeching gnolls.
So the Spriggan has acquired a peko somewhere, and sits on its back, reins looped loosely around her wrists as she plays her guitar.
The Gordons boldly did advance, The Frasiers fought wi' sword and lance
The Grahams, they made the heids tae dance
Upon the haughs o' Cromdale.
And on she goes in that vein. It's a bloody-minded bit of verse, crowing about an ancient Scots victory over the English.
The loyal Stewarts, and Montrose, bravely set upon their foes
Laid them low wi' hieland blows, laid them low at Cromdale
Of twenty thousand Cromwell's men, a thousand fled tae Aberdeen
The rest of them lie on the plain....
Upon the haughs o' Cromdale.
She moves on from there, her next song just as bloody-minded, as she waits for the group to move out.
Nevertheless, Kotono's come along to see what's going on since, well why not?
Well, for one, the girl is still lacking sleep as is evident by the bags under her eyes and her grumpy demeanor. Nevertheless, she's doing the best she can to keep going.
As Kotono arrives with the others, she stops to do a few jumping jacks to keep her blood flowing. Yet it's obvious they're sloppy and not very good. "I may never sleep again..."
And with the Lander starting their escort march, the party is off. The group travels for a time. The path follows the main, well-traveled roads. Nothing difficult about this YET.Just because the roads are well traveled does not mean that there is not danger around. You can run into lions, tigers, and bears out there. After a time, those who are keen-eyed would spot what looks to be a flock of birds gathered along the roadway.
"Oh," the Lander says with a nervous laugh, "they are just birds! Go, get out of here! Shoo!" He says with arms flailing outwards in classic herd-a-bird fashion. It does not get the desired result. They all do the slow head turn towards the Lander. Oh no! A murder of crows!
The birbs take wing. They begin to circle around the Lander, diving and pecking at him. The Lander shouts, "Ow, Ow, Ow. OW! Bad birds! Bad!" as he raises his hands to attempt to shield his face.
"This is why you should care! You need to care more!" Haru yells at the bird brained Lander with enough FUS RO DAH in his voice to summon wind to distrub ze birbs.
Unfortunately, that doesn't turn out as practical as it sounded, because while the big bird can certainly handle the smaller birds, there is the fact that there is now a big bird flying around as well as the small birds, which probably isn't doing much good for the Lander's nerves.
Trouble with birds-- is that they're critically weak to lightning.
This is the rule. Flying creatures die to thunderbolts. And as it so happens, the doctor's Stormsong Staff is /very/ good at hurling bolts of lightning. And so he does! And so several birds die all together.
No, Kotono isn't afraid of the crows at all. It's just the way they swarm together in a murder (as well as the fact that's such a lousy term) and their cawing noises really aggravate a Spriggan who needs sleep badly. And when a Spriggan is annoyed, you better watch out!
Bringing up her spellrunes, Kotono conjures together a spell of air. "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow you all away!" She yells angrily before shooting forth a magical blast of air at the murder of crows. "Go back to your nests!"
Well, the fox went out on a chilly night,
prayed for the moon to give him light
He had many a mile to go that night
Before he reached the town-o, town-o, town-o,
Many a mile to go that night, before he reached the town-o
Well he ran till he came to a great big pen
Where the ducks and the geese were kept therein
He said "A coupla you are gonna grease my chin,
Before I leave this town-o, town-o, town-o,
A couple a' you are gonna grease my chin, before I leave this town-o."
Is it the song about a hungry fox? Or is it the scampering scarecrow? Or the big bad wolfspriggan? One way or another, no more birds!
Fuka peers at the pink potion dubiously, but the look is one of form only. She's honestly rather trusting and Will is both an ally and has proven himself. "I didn't know you did potions too. But then, it's a pink one. My aunt loves the pink ones." she claims, and downs the vial in a manner that suggests she's had a certain amount of quaffing experience, whether from college in the real world or from long hours adventuring.
The nice thing about magic; Fuka's health had been fully restored from her injury and only the debuff remained. a good curative tailored for that debuff is pretty much instant. Her arm was not so much physically damaged by that point as rendered ineffective, so she should be fine for fighting now! She pushes the sling off, whirling and brandishing the arm and then abruptly collapsing with a howl of pain! Then abruptly she stops, looked up, and grins. "Just kiddin'! Thanks Will, we don't have nearly enough people in the game willing to play doctor! I mean, play as doctors!" she claims with a smirk, looking at Proph. "Went hunting some undead. One of them kiiiiinda broke my arm, and a ghost touched me entirely inappropriately, but I'm fine now!" she explains. Well, mostly fine. She still has nightmares about everyone else potentially falling to their deaths, but she's not complaining about what's only in her head.
Fuka seems upbeat (but when isn't she?) as the group proceeds with the escort quest. The murderous crows earn a look and an abrupt "Oh hey, that's like magpies!" even though they're a different corvid entirely. Magpies being rather distinctly different indeed. Fuka is pretty darn good at air magic but for some reason she just stands there and waves her arms at the crows instead. "I'm a scarecrow! I'm a scarecrow!" she bellows, trying to drive them off. Perhaps she's just glorifying in the freedom to actually wave her arms... or maybe she actually thinks this might work. Fortunately for her there are others who have the idea of using much more effective forms of crow diversion! Either way she'll likely claim they were scared off by her scarecrow impersonation. Who can claim it wasn't effective, after all?
A flock of normal birds, not even monsterous ones at that. How could this pose a threat for someone armed with a sword? Well, by somehow taunting them all while making a fool of themselves at the same time. Frowning, Curtana chants under his breath and holds both his hands out. Small pockets of swirling air form around the Lander, catching several birds in their magical grasp. The birds would then be shot back down the road suddenly as if fired from slingshots, out of sight. "Well that was just plain rude of them."
The birds lay on the ground at the end of it. Murdered birds. The Lander raises his hands high over his head, "I did it!" Sure you did, pal. And... he gone. Off along whatever path he thinks is the way to the end of this quest.
The party finds themselves on the edge of what appears to be an old wood forest after a time of additional travel with the world's most loveable(?) Lander. Mist lingers in the trees and the canopy only lets flicking glimpses of light reach the forest floor. The path seems overgrown with underbrush and fallen branches. What is worse is that the forest shows signs of nearby monsters. Claw marks are visible against the tree trunks in places. The Lander, seems oblivious to this danger. Not even the nervous laughter that indicates 'Oh no, Im in danger!'. They just keep walking as if nothing was wrong. Nothing at all.
"What a pleasant set of woods!" they say, tripping over a rock in the path the size of a snail and going face first into the dirt like an athlete tackled them from behind. It makes quite the noise. "Ow. Haha. Oops! Im so clumsy today!" he flails on the ground, making him look like helpless prey on the ground.
The monsters will easily sense the party with the Lander's antics. Those with natural monsterious abilities may be able to traverse safely and provide a reason for the forest monsters to think twice. Everyone else? They may need to find a way to keep the hapless Lander from giving away thier position and starting endless random encounters.
Haru looks at this Lander like 'I cant. I just can't even.' "Eve," the Summoner calls out as a black cat steps out from his shadow. The Dark Sprite looks up at him with red eyes, expecting a command. It then slowly lowers to see the misfit that is the Lander. Oh hell no! Eve starts walking away. No way is she getting caught up in this. Haru quickly reaches out and holds the cat by the scruff, "Oh no you don't!" Reeoww! Hiss! "Tenebris. Cadit. Lunae Lumen. Oriri. Occultare." he chants, getting a death glare from Eve. Fine. Dark mist covers the party, coating them in edgelord levels of darkness that is, actually, rather pleasant as the woods are lit up by moonlight now for them to see. Anything else that enters gets hit with a nasty visibility debuff.
All the same she pulls a Spell Fletcher arrow from her quiver, knocks it into her bow, and fires it off into the woods seemingly at random. Only not so random, as there is a flash of shadows between the trees as she blinds a group of potential attackers before they actually see the group.
She ducks into the shadows, then, and proceeds on ahead of the Lander, who with tripping over acorns is not making good time, and when monsters come our way to ambush him, she will ambush /them/. The ninja guard trick seems to be working so far, and with the party's help, they can put down the monsters that would threaten the Lander.
And now the Lander is going and drawing attention to them. Figures, this type of escort quest would have someone who's careless and just lacking in common sense. Now they've gone and drawn attention to the group. Kotono would give the Lander a scolding, but she knows this is not the time or place, as there are monsters coming.
Even in her groggy and grumpy state, Kotono still knows sometimes it's best to remain hidden instead of fighting. She takes cover behind a few trees and only moves when it's safe to do so. She even manages to suppress a yawn or two while doing so.
"What do you mean YOU fended them off?" Fuka demands of the Lander. "Clearly it was my scarecrow impersonation that ... uh... murdered them all." she adds, peering around dubiously. "Okay fine then, you can have the credit." she agrees, making the 'you' generic enough that anyone can take that credit. She's little if not magnanimous.
Of course not everyone is as charitable to NPCs as Fuka. "Oh come on this is fun!" she cheerfully replies to the Goldenblade's complaint and the lander's ineptitude. Fuka is, of course, a long time gamer and well experienced in the ways of escort quests. It's entirely traditional for such a quest NPC to be annoyingly helpless and to always travel faster than a walk and slower than a run. This is, in fact, bringing back fond memories!
She tries to summon some darkness to shadow the lander and hide him from the enemies, but she's overshadowed by the spriggans and other powerful casters. Literally overshadowed that is. She shrugs, and assists by happily helping to murder any monsters that manage to stumble through the various concealments and find them.
The Lander takes a tumble into the muck and raises quite a fuss while doing so, which causes one of Curtana's eyes to twitch. He's starting to get flashbacks to another escort quest involving wagons, and it's only been a hour at most! Doing his best to assist with the planned ambush, the Pooka heads for a tree and climbs upwards, near the falled Lander. His plan is to strike from above while protecting their charge...if only the falling leaves and clacking of his heavy armor isn't giving him away.
And there is going to be a next time. Undead are not known for being particularly forgiving. They will hunt their prey until they are satisfied. All that there is to do is to destroy them before they destroy you.
The birds are dispersed! On, now, to... a monster-infested forest. The doctor stares after the NPC as they traipse innocently into the yawning mouth of peril. He breathes a long sigh before conjuring an illusory shroud over the party. It should at least help disguise their true positions, if nothing else. "Come along," Prophylaxis says, "I don't think they're slowing down for anything."
Down from the green farmlands, and from their loved ones
Marched husbands and brothers and fathers and songs
There's a fine roll of honor, where the maypole once stood
And the ladies go dancing, at Whitsun
There's a straight row of houses, in these latter days
All covering the downs where the sheep used to graze
There's a field of red poppies, a gift from the Queen
But the ladies remember, at Whitsun
And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun.
For a time, her song weaves enough of a shadow-spell to conceal her and anyone hear her as the group makes their progress. Eventually the song comes to an end, though, and... oh dear, did she mis-time that? Perhaps it's a good thing that she's not the only one casting concealments.
Shiruba's shot disables one of the encounters before it starts at all. The forward formation with GB allows the party to keep ahead of any monster agro, quickly dispatching before they would take this special Lander out and force the group to redo the quest or abandon it. Kotono stays well out of sight, reducing the overall awareness footprint of the party as a whole. Helpful to balance out Curt, who is particularly loud during the advance.
The show must go on! The Adventurers and their Lander companion(?) continue on to a cave. This cave seems to run beneath a more dangerous part of the landscape. The cold drip of water sounds from rock formations, dropping into clear pools. There is no light here, making it nearly impossible without some sort of illumination.
"It's really dark," the Lander comments, walking forward like he knows where he is going. Fun fact: he doesn't. //THUNK// That one sounded extra crunchy. "Ow," his hands reach out, realizing that he had walked into one of the strange rock formations. "Maybe we could use some light?"
Haru points a finger upwards as if he is going to say something. Mouth opens. Mouth closes. Obvious fact is obvious. "Yes, being able to see does avoid hazards." Though people that know Haru know how he feels about the Light domain of magic. Also how he feels about Earth. The Artificer puts his hand against a rock wall, enchanting it so that the minerals begin to glow with sparkly mineral lights that make the cave look extra 'glow'y.
And now into a cave? "What does he need in here?" she demands of the world at large. But it's dark, so into the darkness, she will bring light. Or Fire, anyhow, raising one sword over her head like a torch, with the flames flickering along the blade. Now able to see pretty well, the Lander will hopefully walk into walls less often.
"It wasn't that white." Fuka observes to Proph in a sort of parody of thoughtfulness. "More a dark translucent smoky... uh, kinda grey? But yeah, pain in the a.... arm! Gonna have some serious words with that thing when we meet again, and by words I mean Frank's gonna do the talking!" she claims, reaching up to pat the hilt of her back-sheathed two-handed blade affectionately.
She frowns at Miyako's callous statement. "Failing a quest is okay. Abandoning some poor guy to die is *not* gonna happen." she states somewhat grimly. Sure, Miyako may not be serious... but Fuka considers Lander abuse to be tantamount to kicking a puppy, no matter how foolish they are. It's one of those things she doesn't have a sense of humour for.
Fortunately the group carries on, and are honestly in no real danger of failing the quest or getting the poor fool lander killed. Fuka draws her blade as the Lander calls for light, channeling some air mana into the hilt and sending an arc of electricity shimmering into it. A charge that she can hole there thanks to the blade's enchantments and her own mastery of that art.
Unfortunately, the cave... does not seem to be dark enough for the doctor to spend much effort in trying to light anything up at all. In fact, he seems positively distracted. Perhaps he's considering topics of a more... wightly persuasion? "Wight, not white. Wights are a kind of undead that can drain life-force from living things by touch. Nasty things. Wonder if I can't figure out some kind of countermeasures for the next time...?" By the time he realizes the gravity of the lighting situation, the others have largely found solutions on their own. Oh well, no harm done!
Leave it to Kotono to light the way.
"So tired, I want to sleep..." The Spriggan laments as she brings up her spellrunes and chants a spell of light. This brings some illumination to the room.
"Sooner we get out of here, the sooner I can... wait, no... I can't sleep..." She grumbles to herself. "Maybe I need some coffee?"
Always suck, always suck
Escort quests they always suck
And none more shall I own
Miyako growls under her breath as the light fades and the client just. can't. keep. his. damn. face. out. of. trouble.
Miyako looks over at Fuka, and shrugs helplessly. "Could be worse," she muses. "Can't think of how, though."
She considers for a moment, then picks a new song to help her on her way. And maybe conjure something to help them see.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it - FRACK!
And with the snapping of a guitar string, her attempt to conjure light to see by is DENIED.
What sort of route could possibly be safe enough to go through a pitch black cave?! "I'm with Fuka on this one. Even if I had to carry him the rest of the way, I wouldn't leave anyone behind." Even as it gets impossible to see one another, Curtana can only shake his head at this complete foolishness. It takes their leader(?) walking into solid rock for light to be shed. But when Curtana goes to call forth an orb of gleaming light, it seems pale and gives little illumination compared to the efforts of the other Adventurers. "Ow...bit my tongue near the end there."
At least there's an explanation as to why the spell was miscast. Or an excuse.
The party exits the cave and finds themselves on the plains. It seems as if it should be a smooth journey from here. There are no monsters in the vast distance they can see. There are no dangers at all with only a straight path ahead of them. No one would expect the true danger comes from...
... the Lander! "I don't think I can go on," the Lander says dramatically. He walks to the side of the road and promptly sits down. "It hurts," they whine. Perhaps a journey's worth of running into obstacles or tripping over things has left them with some kind of lingering injury. "Maybe we should rest," he asks, helpfully, to the party of noble Adventurers. Clearly they won't be able to go on without dealing with the injuries, somehow.
"Maybe," Haru begins, "the path to your shrine shouldn't involve a monster forest or a cave. Hmmmm?" The Lander just whines back at him. A deep breath. He looks to Goldenblade and is really starting to consider Darwinism as the viable option. No. There are more creative ways, "You know, I have just the herbs for this. Picked them myself." The Lander perks up, right as Haru stuffs them down his throat the way he does with so many people in Weird Moods. Although with Weird Moods its generally cookies, not lord knows what Haru picked up. Probably not anything lethal. Haru's no murderer... right?
How it works nowadays, though, is something she can't help with, so she takes five and looks around for monsters. If waiting here gets us ambushed, at least she won't be takeb by surprise.
Besides, she has a guitar to restring and retune. That's far more important. To her, at least.
And all is, once again, good with the world.
"Maybe if they didn't trip over every other thing..."
Only to come up with a fizzle.
"Should've known better than to try for two in a row," She grumbles as she tries to salvage what she can of the situation. "Once I get these nightmares dealt with I'm gonna sleep a whole week!"
Injuries such as the self-inflicted wounds on the Lander can be healed, and as he collapses in protest, Curtana is already figuring out which spells out of his limited magical capabilities would be effective here. He chants for several moments before casting a wide-area healing spell, as he is sure that the Lander isn't the only one with injuries. "Ola Repth!"
Fuka grins gremlin-like up at Prophylaxis. She knew he meant wight, not white, but it was funny damn it! "Countermeasures would be nice. Though it didn't drain us by touch. More like... forced us to remember really shitty things. If it was feeding, it fed on our negative emotions, I assume. Guarding against THAT would be even better!" the little Sylph suggests. She's not sure Proph could do that, but maybe he knows someone who can? Or maybe it'll give him some ideas. Fuka's perfectly willing to ask for help from those who are older and wiser! Though admittedly it's the wiser that she's really going to defer to. Age doesn't count for a whole lot to her.
Given Fuka's inability to treat her own arm debuff it might be a surprise to some that she's actually skilled in healing. Magical healing, that is, as she calls upon runewords of light and mending to weave a simple slow regeneration spell. He's not all that hurt to be sure, not that she's analyzed him... but the only way she knows to medically analyze someone is to boop them on the nose. And to this date she's not good enough to diagnose more than missing limbs. A simple regen spell isn't too taxing on her mana however, and light is bound to be a relatively pleasant experience, as opposed to having one's mouth stuffed with... is that roadside grass? Well okay, Fuka's no herbalist either. She can't tell grass from medicinal pot. Oh well, probably won't hurt him at least! Even if he chokes on it, the group's medical attentions should suffice.
Fortunately, light regen is a sustained spell Fuka can cast without focussing further on it, because Kotono's statement gets a reaction from the sylph. "You too huh? I'll feel so much better when we end that white wight." she claims.
The herbs Shiruba hands to Proph are of more useful. They have actual medicinal properties. Things that can be turned to and administered as medicine, as the Doc does. It is well supplimented by the healing spell coming from Curt and the regeneration from Fuka, which perks the Lander right up in no time.
The Lander seems to perk right back up as if spring loaded. "Thanks!" And away he goes, arms swinging in jolly good cooperation. It seems as if it is only a short journey to the shring from here. The location seems to be old, bue enough travelers must come this way that it is not completely overgrown. There is an image of a woman, carrying chains, her head lowered.
"We're here!" exclaims the Lander with all the excitement of a child running out of a car after a long road trip. They try to rush forward only to be stopped when a series of strange hooded beings step out from behind the statue. Bent and twisted in unnatural ways, these demonic creatures loom. Horns stick out from miscolored faces, twisted expressions showing decayed teeth. Long taloned hands swipe out towards the Adventurers, moving at unnatural speeds. "Ahh! Hags!" the Lander shrieks, flailing as he runs in terror. 2oS
"The Beautiful One," quirks Haru, taking note of the woman in chains. Quite rude to call her a hag. No. Actual Hags. "Back here," he calls to the Lander, trying to herd him BEHIND all of the capable Adventurers. As the Hags close distance, he draws a hand up to shoot up Earth from the ground in jutting walls to stop or harry the advance in an attempt to buy the Lander some time while the party mobilizes.
So she's in the middle of tuning it when the cry of 'Hags!' rings out. She doesn't look up. Doesn't step aside. Just keeps working on Her Preciousness. With obvious results, as a hag brushing by her on its way to their -real- target knocks her from her mount.
"Graaaaaacgggghhh!!!" she yells, eloquently, as she tumbles to the ground, clutching her guitar and rolling to try to protect it from the impact - at a significant cost to her own HP bar.
Blades out, she'll wade into the fight with the hags, slashing and stabbing, blades flaming like she means business. The party is more than capable of taking out these hags, she's not sure if they're monsters or just old women, or somehow old women that have turned into monsters. Her wife was never like that! Which is just as well, she'd have been sad if she'd had to stab her wife. When the Lander beseeches the Beautiful one for a reward on her behalf, she feels a bit bad about complaining. But if it ended all right it's ok, right?
Despite being tired and in need of a lot of sleep (or coffee) Kotono manages to keep the Hags from causing more trouble than they're worth.
"We've come this far, we're not gonna let you stop us!" The Spriggan yells.
The annoucement of 'Hags!' as they near the shrine as Curtana narrowing his eyes at these foul creatures that foul this monument to the Beautiful One. They certainly don't seem to enjoy being called hags, it seems, and the creatures are reaching out for their Lander leader. Not on his watch!
While Haru raises a wall of earth, Curtana goes for a more simplier approach and sticks close to the panicing Lander. As the hag that had sent Miyako flying nears him, Curtana swings his kite shield wide, striking the hag straight in it's misshapened face and sending it flying into the earth wall. Such was the force from the strike that it bounces off towards the hedge knight, stops it cold with another slam of his shield. "A good shield is more than just defense, you know!"
Kind of ironic to find hags at a shrine of the Beautiful One. That's probably the point, to whoever set up this quest. Irony and an annoying NPC. Fuka's still reasonably convinced this whole thing is game code, not the actual need of an individual. Or rather, a set of rather annoyingly useless individuals would be set up to have this personal need to go on this pilgrimage at various times and annoy some adventurers along the way. This game's code is complex enough to add personality and individuality to the people within, and Fuka's enough of a gamer and animal lover to have a soft spot for the dumb and the helpless.
Fuka, already holding her new blade, leaps forward to lay about with broad sweeping power strikes. She wields her lightning-shaped blade like it's an axe, cleaving and chopping more than slashing the monsters. Which works out pretty good, considering the sword's weight is rather high for a sword. In weaker hands than Fuka's it wouldn't be nearly so effective, but this weapon was custom-forged for her.
As she fights exuberantly, she throws a cheery thumbs up to the adventurers focussing on defense. She appreciates good shielding, certainly, and is more than happy to see her training of Shiruba pay off. Besides, with their defense she can focus on going all out in violence mode, and she does love violence mode!
Besides, her aunt is a devotee of the Beautiful One. Helping to cleanse a shrine to the goddess keeps Fuka happy almost as much as the violence does. Fuka herself is more of a fan of the Blind One, appropriately enough the Goddess of Adventurers, but accepts all three... within the confines of the game at least.
And indeed, there are hags squatting behind the Beautiful One's statue.
"You know," the doctor muses, mustering a quick DEFENSE UP spell to slap on the rest of the party. "It's kind of twisted, isn't it? Having a bunch of hags hiding out behind a statue to the Beautiful One. It's like... it's kind of right on the nose, isn't it?"
Unfortunately, hags can tear right through most spells, so the doctor's defense buff isn't... /particularly/ effective here, but it's fine! He's more interested in hurling magic missiles at their faces.
...Which also doesn't help much, because hags have magic resistance.
But it's something at least!
"Oh, phew," the Lander gives a sigh of relief as they walk forward. Out of one of their poackets, they pull out a few rice plants which have been bound together. They lay the bundle together before the statue and bow their head, "Please, goddess, these brave souls deserve a token of your blessing. Gift them with your guidance."
At first nothing happens at all. At least nothing noticible happens. Though perhaps in the minutes or hours that follow, each Adventurer would find a small token in their inventory bearing the symbol of the goddess. How did that get there?
Haru, in the present, looks to the Lander and his prayer, "That was thoughtful of you." See? Everything works out in the end. A fun way to let off a little steam in an escort adventure. He doesn't want to tempt the fates further than already have been and the words are enough, although later on he will find the token. "You /are/ going to be able to get back safely, right?" he wonders as the quest shows as complete. It will be fine. Probably. He looks back to the continued conversation on the Ash Wight, but he doesn't have anything on it he wants to add. There is some recon to help track it down and its all too early to say if that is even possible given the sort of trail it does or does not leave. "There is a lot to unpack here," the Artificer says, and it is difficult to say if he is being serious about that, "which calls for a drink. Or three." Or more. Either way, Haru isn't planning on staying too long. He does linger enough to go to the shrine, bow his head, and offer a prayer. Of the three Goddesses, it is the one he is closest to, though he likes all three for different reasons.
Fuka pants happily as her murder spree comes to an end in a spray of pixels and fleeing foes. This might actually seem rather scary to anyone who doesn't realize play is one of Fuka's big motivator, and that she's not actually bloodthirsty when it comes to anything other than monsters of the most obviously unsavoury nature. But then, probably everyone here knows that truth about her at least. Probably.
She nods to Proph's observation. "Was just thinking that!" she claims in a tone so insincere anyone could be forgiven for accusing her of lying. "Hey, I'm always up for a little after-mission celebration!" she adds sunnily at Haru's suggestion. "Or two. Or three!" she adds playfully.
So when she's approached with a blessing, she demurrs. "I didn't do anything to earn this," she insists. But it's not about what -she- thinks she's earned, it would seem. In the end she sighs, and accepts, and just stands away to pluck at her guitar strings and rub at her eyes.
"Ko-chan? You okay, hon?"
A look towards Kotono has the knight frowning, and he walks over and murmurs quietly. "If you really do need a bit of sleep, I suggest having someone you trust watch over you while you sleep. I have heard that does help some of those if they are awakened before the nightmares get too severe." This is the best he can do, it seems. And it is fustrating.
Fuka has her own problems with those nightmares, and so she actually has some insights into the effect. Given her own skill set, she even has insights into the remedy. "That's a good idea, Will!" she says. "And Yakko there has a beautiful voice. I bet if you get her to ... sing to you in bed... you'll sleep really well! Or, you know, at least spend a lot of quality time in bed. And of course by singing to you in bed I mean singing you to sleep, naturally!" she says, the smirk letting on that she meant nothing of the sort, clearly.
"Well, I didn't get paid for this by the game, so if someone wants to buy me a drink, I'll call it even, or something?" Yeah, that's the ticket. Get paid in booze!