Duty Session 616: Minecart Goblin Edition
Those pesky goblins are proving to be a threat once more, this time within the Eastal region. Growing in numbers within a labyrinthian cave network, they need to be dealt with by taking out the various goblin lieutenants that guide them. Unfortunately, there's far too much ground to cover on foot. Fortunately, there is a minecart system that runs through most of the tunnels.
Rec. Party: 3+
To that end, Yuuki waits at the entrance to the mine. Eager to get to it (she has alterior motives here!) she was pretty early. So she's already:
-Looked at the map of the caverns on display numerous times-and completely forgotten every detail a moment later.
-Picked out the minecart she plans to us and already customised it by drawing some pirate skulls on either side and some flames on the front.
-Had some lunch, courtesy of Asuna <3
-Already soloed the dungeon. Or so she claims. Believe this one if you will~
?But now that people have finally gathered here, Yuuki coughs to get their attention, "Greetings, might adventurers! Something something world at peril. Yada yada evil goblin menace. Okay, all done. Everyone pick a minecart and let's get this show on the tracks! Just not that cart. That one's mine."
"It's the one to the left. No, no, your other left, dear."
Asuna's chims are always a thing. The start of every duty is the same! She's just incapable of /not/ making sure to repeat everything she already said and wrote down.
"Just have Yui show you. She knows which one it is. And yes, there's plenty of milk and if you just use a little bit of fire it'll be great. The oven is all setup. Just keep an eye on it. About 45 minutes. Yes. The crust will be golden brown. I know! Sorry. I will make it up to you. I'll see you tonight. Gotta run or Yuuki will probably run off and solo the whole thing!"
And that's the end of the chim. Asuna also needs to do her proper duty. She has a reputation to uphold. But what cosplay to use? The Flash navigates her inventory with a most thoughtful expression.
"Ah, this one!"
A bit of relic fun and with perfect timing she is suddenly dressed as Utena. And even sporting the pink hair and brilliant, sapphire eyes. She takes a moment to look herself over, nodding in satisfaction.
"Alright, Yuuki! It's stabbers night out!"
She looks at the carts and hops on one. How did she decide? It's close to Yuuki. Which is in the 'splash zone', admittedly, but she likes to stay close to her friend. All the better to get hauled into trouble!
Approaching the entrance to the mine, Kirito is wearing his full black ensemble, coat and all. His arms are crossed over his chest, gloves firmly on his hands and his swords on his back, sheathed and awaiting their time to be used. He keeps his full attention on Yuuki with a kind smile on his face, tilting hishead.
"Well, I'veh ad stranger briefings. So we have to clear the goblins out of this mine and we're taking the fun way down? I can do that."
His eyes turn towards Souiro. "Soujiro Seta." He knows of him, but can't recall if they've physically met. "Good to meet you." He turns his eyes towards Asuna then.
A long, steady silence as he looks at Yui do her thing and cook. He smiles softly as he watches, before his eyes lift to Asuna. "Hey Asuna."
"Hello! So a minecart really?"
"I should bring Orcbalg here later." Goblins and an actual advenure! There is no escape slayer of goblins. She nods in agreemewnt to Soujiro.
"Aye it does!"
She'll hop into one making sure she's ready to go!
Soon enough the party is off and carting into the tunnels. Thankfully they're lit by torches so it's not too difficult to see. Shout out to the Dungeon Lighters guild for their tireless efforts! They're the true unsung heroes.
As the party rides along on their track, they notice ahead that several more tracks curve in from secondary tunnels to merge or run parallel with their own. And as they begin to pass by these tunnels, minecarts filled with goblins start to rush out of them. Looks like this cart adventure is already off to a rapid start!
Proving to have greater speed than the party's own, it won't be long before the goblin carts catch up, their weapons at the ready! Yuuki grins in anticipation, "Hah, that's cute! They think they're chasing us! What do we say to that, troupe!?" Yuuki raises her sword in preparation!
Now despite being a world class samurai, Souji is like a big kid when it comes to excitement. The minecart is more like a Disney ride to him. "It does look like they think they can pursue us," Souji says as a nearby rowdy cart rolls next too his. "Sorry, you are not friend. You are foe," he says with a sparkly smile as he kicks the cart... right off the track and into a wall. Stronk samurai. Stronkurai? Cartoon explosion and poof in a skull deathcloud.
Chased by goblins? That's a new take. Speaking of new things, Asuna is going to try to use ranged attacks. It's weird, right? It's effect is weird, too. She doesn't hit a thing. Well, except the cavern wall. Let's just say she's laying down suppressive fire! Very uh, suppressive.
"So.. admittedly I need to get way better with a bow." Also one of the goblins hit her back. Grrr. There will be payback for this. Oh yes. Payback.
"Sorry Yuuki, I'll make sure to do better as we get in. You know, kicking off the rust!"
Ehhhehehehe. She better improve.
Kirito hops into a mine cart and they are carting off into the tunnels! As they ride along the track, several more curve around and goblins start to chase after them in a high-octane pursuit! "You know, this one is pretty new!" Kirito calls out to the party as he stands up and he throws a rock for one of the rails, attempting to lodge the stone and cause some goblins to flip.
Mission failed: he missed!
"Well, that was my plan!"
He turns his eyes to Soujiro and he smiles softly to him. "I hope so too."
Only to find the cart empty. It blinks in confusion. Only for a sword to tap it on its shoulder. It turns around to see Yuuki standing on the edges of its own cart. She waves at it with a grin, "Hihi!" She stabs!
Jumping back to her own cart, Yuuki turns to see how the others are faring...
... And facepalms. "So much for mighty adventurers..." But she then pumps a fist, "Not to worry though! It's just a rough start. We'll be fiiiiiiiiine." Right? Right!? Hahahahaha!?!?
The chase does not go well. While the party is able to deal with a couple of their pursuers, for the most part the goblins manage to keep pace and get some good hits in. Until finally their tracks curve off and away again, giving the party a reprieve.
The current tunnel opens up into a wide cavern from which a dozen or so other tunnels connect into. Each one has its own minecart track. All of these tracks meet in the center in a confusing mess of twisting tracks, switches, double backs, rejoinings and turntables. The party may find getting deeper into goblin territory to be somewhat troublesome.
Some might recall the map way back at the entrance to the caverns (certainly not Yuuki!). Others might know standard practices for minecart track layouts that will shed some light (certainly not Yuuki!). Or perhaps there are other ways to find the right way forward? (One can only hope!)
So yes, that last time it didn't work well, but hey, it can only get better, right! At least for others. For Asuna, not so much. But hey, she's not the best at some of this stuff. It's just how it goes, right?
But, little known fact, she's really good at things that are not tracking related. And so she provides nothing useful. She does shrug and give a guilty grin at Yuuki.
"So if you had mentioned this was going to be about chasing things down and spelunking I'd have brought a whole other kit! I'm also totally useless at these things. I hope we get to hit something up close and personal soon!"
She looks to the others and adds, "Besides, everyone is doing great! I'll... umm. I'll contribute shortly. Or worst case, I have an inventory full of food."
"It was fun!"
She notes to Yuuki before she adds.
"Look out for side passage ways as well they do love to ambush. They are not bright but they are not fools either, after all."
She will now poause for a moment and start to look at the ground and grins.
Kirito returns Soujiro's thumbs up. "Eyes up, swordsman." He grins at him, before he turns his attention right back forward. "That we can do without causing a cave in? Unlikely!" Kirito cvalls to him, before he nods to Lauren. "Good move!"
Kirito draws his sword, gliding his hand alongside of it. "Focus your blade...there is more you can do with a weapon than slay." Kirito mutters to himself and he narrows his eyes forward toward an opening. "There!"
He is looking at the exact same spot as Erufu and he swings his sword in a perfect stab, as if attempting to literally slash out a new path.
"Ah! That's right!" Yuuki turns in her cart to look at Erufu, "I find stabbing them works wonders. But I'm always interested to learn if there are any other tips and tricks to fighting mobs!" Yuuki nods along as Erufu explains, "I see, I see. Ambushes, huh? It's cool. We're in minecarts on tracks! Let them try and ambush us!" Totally no foreshadowing here. Nope.
Yuuki ends up riding in circles several times, having no idea where to go. Until finally she's able to get herself onto a track that follows after Soujiro. She breathes a sigh of relief, before giving him a grin, "Big brother Soujiro is so helpful!" Yuuki gives him a thumbs up.
Yuuki then waves her hand at Asuna, waving off the downer comments, "It's fine! It's fine! And food is good! Maybe we should find somewhere coming up to make a stop and have a snack?"
As the party's carts continue onwards, the sound of running water can be heard echoing through the tunnel. Soon enough the track ahead crosses another, larger tunnel. One that has a somewhat fast river rushing through it. The track goes down into the water and then up out on the other side. It's probably not too deep, right?
It turns out the carts float pretty well! Lifted off the tracks, they begin to float down the river. Yuuki is not worried at all! Hahahaha... Still, this isn't too bad, right?
Dark shadows start to loom within the river around the carts as they float down it. It turns out the river isn't empty! Large, apparently carnivorous, fish with some rather equally large teeth begin jumping out of the water to try and take bites out of the party! How can this get any worse!?
Is that a waterfall!?
Sure enough, the river soon ends in a sudden drop. Although thankfully, there are some tracks running along beneath the waterfall for the carts to land on. Assuming the party can survive the bitey bitey fish long enough to get to that point!
"Aww, aren't you just the cutest things!"
Asuna doesn't mind the horrible fish. She seems to have a way of appropriately leveraging meat from her inventory and physical 'attitude adjustment' to get several of the beasties under her control.
"I wish I had a container with water in it, I'd totally bring a couple of these home! Yui loves monsters!"
But for now, she'll have to settle for keeping them from biting into her.
"This is more like it, Yuuki! More monster fun, please!"
"Soujiro, aren't these the cutest fish?"
Asuna doesn't need glasses, she just has a very different view of cute when it comes to monsters.
Kirito calls to Asuna with a frown, the horrible fish trying to /eat them/ containing much of his attention at the moment. He turns his attention towards Soujiro then, great attidue to have!
Though as numerous obstacles come into play, Kirito manages to successfully wrestle the card! Somehow, he manages to expand his skill to his cart itself, managing to cause himself and his cart to briefly vanish out of sight before he's consumed by a hungry fish and reappearing on the track.
A sharp drift of his cart and Kirito manages to get onto the wrap-around rail to avoid falling to what would no doubt be a LOT of falling damage.
Even with all the thrashing about, Souji makes the time to stop, look at the cute fish, and gives a big thumbs up even while his O2 meter is dropping from the suffocating river-snake-eel-monster. He has had plenty of /training/ from being attacked by his fans to know when his air supply will give out!
"I don't find these things cute... and ..."
She looks to Soujiro for a moment she nods once at him. Bring it on indeed...
Yuuki is jumping around inside and on top of her cart as it floats down the river, doing her best to avoid the jumping bitey-fish, "Hyup! Woah! Watch it! Close one!" She's in the middle of a handstand on the cart's edge when she replies to Asuna, "They're kinda cute... I guess... In a Iwannagnawyourfaceoff kinda way..."
It's then that Yuuki notices the very large drop up (relative to her upside-down head) just ahead, "Oh dear..."
Yuuki's cart falls out beneath her. She falls after it a moment later. The cart lands on a track and Yuuki crashes into it face first.
Righting herself, Yuuki groans, "Who builds a minecart track beneath a waterfall?"
"Whoever it is... Thank you!"
The tracks continue along. It's rather quiet...
Basic wooden fortifications built into either side of the tunnel walls begin to show up! It seems that the party is really starting to get into goblin territory now!
As the party passes through, crossbow-equipped goblins begin to filter out of holes in the walls to take up positions on said fortifications. Crossbow bolts begin to assault the party from both sides! They'll need to either survive them, or pre-emptively deal with the archers before they do too much damage.
Although Yuuki's cry of, 'Hey! No fair!' at the goblins superior ranged position is probably not immediately effective at either.
"...Well that at least cleaned us off!"
She's all clean very wet but clean she'll tap her menu in a moment to dry off. Still as she hears about yuuki's crying of no fair? She's concerned given Yuuki's rep as a fighter she also will just wrap her cloak about her and seemingly vanish. There is no elf here no elf at all!
"I know, I can't give them to Yui," replies Asuna, grinning at Kirito. "Like I said, I don't have the right cage for them! And I really would need to setup a proper aquarium first, too. Hm. Maybe inch thing glass. I bet Haru could help me figure that kind of thing out!"
She can miss a point when she wants to! But now, on to the next thing. Which is... ohhhh...
"RUNNING THE GAUNTLET, SOUJI! WE ARE RUNNING THE GAUNTLET!!"
She's excited. It's like a movie!!
She doesn't attack or hide. No way. She's going to get up and block arrows. Sometimes with a buckler, sometimes with a sudden use of air artes. And finally, straddling her cart with a huge grin, she just catches an arrow with her bare hand.
"Being a samurai is the BEST! Isn't this amazing, Yuuki? We have goblins trying to KILL US WITH ARROWS! It's an ambush!!" She spends a lot of time around big brother Soujiro. Good attitudes are contagious!
Kirito remarks to him with a big smile on his face. Though it would appear the ride is over! Now they have crossbow-wielding goblins to deal with.
"Always new things."
THey are assaulted from both sides! Though instead of fighting them, Kirito takes the path of least resistance. His steps are like the shadow itself as a sphere of darkness surrounds him and he begins to move.
No bolt strikes him.
"Wouldn't know!" Kirito remarks to Asuna about being a Samurai. Though he seems to chuckle about her aquarium.
Mutter mutter. The goblins are too far away for Yuuki to go after. And they're being annoying with their crossbow bolts!
And then Soujiro issues his challenge.
Yuuki jumps up, planting her feet on the top sides of her cart, "Challenge accepted!" Yuuki points towards the goblins as she rushes past them, "You wanna shoot me!? Then shoot me!"
Several goblins look at each other out of confusion, before one aims at Yuuki and fires. The bolt rushes towards her!
And Yuuki's sword moves! It knocks the bolt off course, rushing past Yuuki's head. Yuuki grins at the the goblin archers, raising her free hand and giving them the ancient hand gesture of 'Bring it!'
The goblins look at each other again, before this time they all fire at her. The volley of bolts rushes towards Yuuki!
And Yuuki's sword glows! Activating her sword arte, Yuuki is a flurry of movement. So fast that it's almost like there's two of her deflecting the bolts away and preventing them from striking her!
Finally the carts move on past the fortifications, Yuuki turning back towards the goblins atop them. She pulls her eyelid down and sticks out her tongue, "Bleeeeeeeeh!"
Truly the most humble and elegant of champions.
The minecart track the party is on finally comes to an end. It stops right outside a large set of wooden doors. Yuuki jumps out of hers and stretches for a moment, "Phew! That was quite a journey."
Yuuki then stops for a moment and listens, "Hey? Do you guys hear that?" A bubbling sound can be heard coming from within, along with a rather nose-wrinkling odor.
Passing through the doors, the party finds themselves in a large open room. Several wooden platforms, connected by rope bridges, are suspended above a single bubbling pool of an amber-coloured liquid. On the platforms around the edge of the room are a number of distilleries pumping out liquids into the pool below.
Meanwhile the platforms in the center have a collection of chairs and tables, many occupied by rowdy goblins drinking from wooden mugs containing the same amber liquid. It seems this is some kind of goblin brewery! The drinking goblins soon take notice of the party and begin banging their mugs against the table, shouting something.
A set of doors on the opposite side of the brewery open and a rather large, blubbery goblin comes wobbling out. Numerous belts are wrapped around its ample body, each holding collections of vials containing differently coloured liquids. This goblin looks to be the one in charge of the brewery, possibly an alchemist of some kind. And most likely one of the goblin lieutenants. The vials contain various concoctions designed to buff itself and poison its enemies. This alchemist goblin appears to be a considerable threat as it gulps down one of its buffing potions.
The party will have to fight it. However, every now and then during the fight it will wander over to its distilleries to refill its vials. Perhaps if the party can find a way to turn the alchemist's concoctions against it the fight will be easier?
"Well lets bring this to an end!"
She'll liune up a shot with her bow and let it fly before she gets on the move once more. She does not like combin and she'll just start raining shots on the goblin before them. Yes this one needs to die and take what it knows /with/ it.
"Ohhh, neat! It's a BAR FIGHT! All my fans talk about how important bar fights are to adventure stories!" Where is all that energy coming from? Sparkle power. Asuna has light artes and is solar powered, clearly.
She has way too much fun here. The good girl can be just plain disruptive. She jumps from table to table, kicking drinks at the goblins, then running across their heads to leap skyward and let fall intense blasts of water. No filthy drink, this, but good, pure water blasts.
"Time for you sober up, stinky!"
Admittedly that's not a great put down, but in her defense, she spends most of her time with a six-year-old and her little friends. And every insult looks better when backed-up by a lot of damage.
But Asuna has time to enjoy the fight beyond just hitting the boss. She gets in more than a few laughs as Soujiro turns the goblin's poison back on its maker. And it's impossible for her to not stop and enjoy Erufu demonstrating what archery is supposed to look like.
"Someday, Erufu, I want you to teach me how to shoot better. I'm sick of missing my target!"
Kirito draws his swords, two strange-looking blades at his sides as he starts walking forward. His eyes narrowed and gleeful with that glint in black eyes. He steps into Soujiro's side. "Bet so." He smirks softly. "You focus on sending the poison back, I'll light it on fire."
Because if video game logic taught him anything? Poison gas is flammable.
Forming an x with his swords, he leaps into the air and swings his blades as they light with furious blaze! "Splash zone!"
Yuuki confidently walks across a rope bridge towards the waiting Alchemist Goblin. She raises her sword to point towards the large creature, "Be warned! Your days are numbered."
She then crouches in preparation to attack and grins, "And that number is zero!" Yuuki launches herself forward!
The boss battle plays out over a few phases. Debuffs are a bit of a problem for the group as they don't have anyone well versed in fending them off. But they manage to overcome them through sheer persistence!
Soujiro's frequent return volleys of the Alchemist Goblin's own concoctions cause it to have to waste time countering its own debuffs with buffs, providing good opportunities for others to strike.
Erufu's shots are well placed, often striking weak points like the knees, which slows the Alchemist Goblin down and prevents it from easily refilling its vial supply.
Asuna is of course piling on the damage, especially to the poor goblin bystanders who are far weaker than their big boss (but they do have numbers).
Kirito's super extensive video game experience is right on the money, the Alchemist Goblin proving to be quite a bit more flammable than most. Though the party could probably do without the stench of partially roasted goblin.
Lauren's catapult rain dirt down on the boss, knocking it around quite a bit on its unsteady feet. A few times it falls over, requiring some time to get back up during which people are free to wail on it.
Meanwhile Yuuki is just doing her usual thing of stabby stabby slashy slashy. Though as she goes in for a strike, her headband briefly glows with a barely perceptible light. Her sword slices through several vials worn by the Alchemist Goblin. Their contents are relatively harmless to him on their own. But as they mix together, it turns out the result is rather explosive, the boss briefly disappearing in a blast.
Finally, Lauren is able to get the last hit in that brings the boss's HP down to zero, a cannonball of dirt right to the noggin. The big blubbery boozer slowly falls backwards and slams down on the platform. A few moments pass and it then explodes into a shower of pixels.
The remaining goblins stare on in slowly dawning despair, before crying out and making a run for it.
Yuuki phews, leaning against her sword for a moment to catch her breath. She then grins at everyone, "Nice job, all! I definitely think we've deserved some snacks once we get out again."
"Speaking of... Does anyone remember the way out?"