Duty Session 82: Obligatory Rat Cellar

In each of the starting cities, there are at least a couple of poor merchant landers who have developed mysterious rat problems. This is clearly bad for business! A worried looking Lander stands outside their shop, rubbing their hands together, looking anxious, flagging down any passing Adventurer they can find to help.

Difficulty:    Easy
Rec. Party:    3+
Rewards:       3
World Rewards: None

Dun Loireag - The Highland City

There has been a posting made at the Hunter's Guild.


We need to help out Lander friends and associates. Join me in taking care of some of the troubles that this world generates for them for our benefit. All participants will get a free Bento Lunch.

    -Signed- Hifumi

*Instructions for meeting up in one of the market squares and a time around noon to get started are listed*
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Free food!? Yuuki is there!

    As long as its real food and not soggy cracker food. In which case she's probably still there, cause quest. But she just won't be eating. It's hard to go back to that stuff after having real taste again.

    As such Yuuki shows up a little bit early to the instructed location, jogging down the street to as she waves to anyone waiting there. Probably others who have responded to the same request from the Hunter's Guild.

    Yuuki stops and grins, "So! What kinds of troubles are we going to beat up today?"
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

You post free real food as a reward, you're gonna get a Shiruba. That is just the way these things work.

That it was posted by someone she knows has a project in the works relative to her interests is icing on the cake though. The wolfgirl arrives practically on the heels of the designated time, literally bright eyed and bushy tailed (because she has both). "Yeah, I'm all raring to go on more questing now that the big looming threat is dealt with. Time for more fun adventuring~"
Shin Heno
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

     It's probably a little insulting that Shin shows up munching on a baked potato. He likely doesn't *mean* to be insulting - the good-humored smile and bounce in his step, combined with that almost *elemental* 'I'm A Protagonist' aura that the windswept brown hair, glasses, and scarf radiate implies that he's that sort of ditzy not-quite-there person who bumbles into plot hooks you find in any anime - but it probably comes off as a bit insulting when you're there for free food.

     Still, he's from Plant Hwyden. He gets all the food he wants.

     Shin offers a two-fingered salute as he finishes off the potato. "Hi! I'm Shin Heno."

     "I'm a Hero of Justice."

     That's not a class.

     "So we're killing rats, huh! I've had some practice at that!" Shin rolls his shoulders. "I'm still a newbie, so please take care of me!"
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Miyako is always up for lending a hand to people in need, especially working with such good friends. And with the promise of a good meal along with it. Rats are not her most favorite of creatures, but, well. "Hey, neighbor," she calls, waving cheerily to Yuuki. "Up for a fun little fight?" Fun. What a word for it.

    Still, she's here! And ready to go! "Did somebody say free food?"
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

Food? Payment in food? That had Gwen there with bells on, not even thinking about costumes or glamour for once. It was also a good thing to her, to help get a restaurant up and going? That would be a very big thing she suspects and she's hot on the heels of Shiruba as the towering Sylph looks like she's in a good mood.

She looks at Shiruba for a moment and just grins. She also looks to Shin for a moment and tilts her head for a moment.

"So this is what you look like."

She's not bothered by his RPing

"Rodents of Unusual size can be a pain and sometimes there are armoured ones to deal with nests like this."
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Hifumi is sitting on the edge of a fountain waiting. It's easy enough to find who you're looking for, given inspect to get names. He lifts a hand to wave "Hey guys, you here to help out the Landers with me?" he asks with a wide smile. He stands up and brushes his hands on his pants. "We're gonna help one of my neighbors with a rat problem she's having so, you know what that means. Drudging through some strange and complicated cellar that won't be the same next week." he chuckles.

    He nods to Shin "After the wave we're all newbs, regardless of how many hours we've got in... world." he says. Oddly enough he seems to hesitate a bit before choosing world. Like he's actively avoiding the G word. "Bento's for everyone who joins in yes." he answers the food question, he gets it a lot. "They're simple right now because my kitchen isn't finished. I'm working with the merchant council to get my place setup and get my kitchen furnished." he says "So for now I'm still cooking over dragon fire in a hibatchi I had one of the black smiths knock up for me."
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    "I'm gonna be late I'm gonna be late I'm gonna be late!!"

    A bit further down the block, another figure runs hurriedly through, at first, the streets. ANd then along railings, streetsigns, and the lower rooftops, leaping from surface to surface in an effort to save time with but a flutter of golden fabric trailing behind him marking his motions.

    And just as Hifumi is going through his explanations, that same golden shine of unusual fabric flickers above, attached to a dark-skinned young man sweeping down from above, landing down onto the top of a lamp post with an energetic call of "I'M HEEEEERE!"

    ...Only. Be it because of some gathered condensation making the tip of the pose slippery or Atif himself horribly misjudging the motion required, he slips, sending him into an uncontrolled flip through the air.


    And plummeting down onto the curb.

Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Hifumi pulls out small boxes wrapped in cloth for each Adventurer. He hands them out. "Eat now or later, whichever, I haven't run into anything that would make me lose my lunch while dealing with rats... not like the slimes." he says shaking his head. "Come on let us get started." he heads into a General goods store. "I'm back, as I said I've brought some adventurers to help take care of the rat issue."

    He heads back to a partly sunken door leading down. "Just remember... this is the artifact city... gods only know what is in the underground." he chuckles leading down into the musty smelling cellar.

    It seems water has gotten in and the damp is everywhere. The smell of moss and mould and earth permeates the air. "I'm not seeing the rats... so we'll have to dig through this to find out where they're getting in from... careful I don't really like the smell of this."
Shin Heno
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

     Atif hits the ground. Shin watches him hit the ground. After a moment, Shin offers Atif a hand up with a broad smile. "Be careful. This world can really hurt." He, also, says *world*, not *game*. The scars on the back of his knuckles are especially prominent as he pulls Atif to his feet.

     "Although I totally get the impulse, right? You're in a fantasy world. You gotta live like you mean it!" He laughs and scratches the back of his head. "Like I said, I'm Shin Heno. I'm a Hero of Justice."

     Still not a class, Shin.

     They head down into the moss and mold and earth. Shin rolls his arms.

     "Alright, well!" He hops once, then twice, on the balls of his feet. "Let's get on with it!"


     He just sort of starts pulling stuff away. No big dramatic motion or anything. Just shovelling stuff aside.

     At least he's a lot stronger than that slight frame would suggest!
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

Gwen says "I have no issues giant rates are our oldest of enemies along with slimes."

Thank god it is not another slime run, really. She's so glad it's not another slime run. She looks to Hifumi

"Yeah busted back down to noob. It's a real pain, to be honest."

The motivation of food in payment. She looks Atif over and smirks.

"Welcome been wondering where you were... and umm do you need a hand getting up?"

She asks looking at the man who just faceplanted into the curb. However, that resolve Gwen won't mention what happened after Atif is back on his feet.

Later in the dungeon she'll pause for a moment "Ick..." Gwen will then put her back into it as much like Shin she'll star pushing things out of the way through some of the vines will get the business end of her sword.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Yuuki waves with a smile as more people show up to participate in the quest. As Miyako addresses her, Yuuki grins, "You know it! I'm always up for a fun fight. Little or not! Especially with food as a reward. It's nice to have tasty food again."

    And then Gwen mentions an armored rat, "Oh! Oh! I hope we run into an armored rat this time. I haven't seen that one yet. In the times I've done this quest, I've only seen Fatrat."

    Hifumi begins explaining some stuff. But just as he finishes, they are interupted by a sudden plummeting Atif. Yuuki blinks for a moment, then lets out a brief laugh, "Nice landing! Ten out of ten!" She grins, "You okay down there?"

    It's time to get on with the quest though! The party make their way into, surprise surprise, a cellar! Yuuki begins to make her way through it, cautioning the others, "Be careful. It can be a bit dark in here and you can-ow!" Yuuki suddenly cries out in mild pain as she accidentally slams her leg into the side of a box. She mutters quietly under her breath as she keeps moving on.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

Shiruba steps into the cellar, and immeadiately grabs a hand over her nose at the stank mustiness. "Gaaaugh!" Sometimes having heightened animal senses is a pain in the tail. "I almost miss the cobwebs. -Almost-." Spiders are still ickier than rats. But mold and mildew in a damp cellar smells worse than any of that.

"Hup!" She hops up onto of one of the stacks of forgotten crates to get a better look at the cellar and knock some overgrown vines out of the way.... Except when she goes to jump off again her foot slips on some of the wet moss, and she ends up taking a tumble instead. "OH SH--" The *thud* of landing cuts off her intended curse.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Miyako has decided to just bull on ahead as well, following Yuuki's lead. She pauses, looking at the moldy boxes, then shakes her head and tries - carefully - to find a 'safe' place to push on them to get them out of the way. It is not easy to get a grip, and she ends up overbalancing, sending the box flying to crash heavily onto the floor as she stumbles into someone else.

    "Sorry! Sorry!" she cries, waving her hands frantically as she looks up from where she landed on her rear. "I'm ok! Only bruised my pride!"
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Atif, having been reduced to lying face-down on the curb for a moment, is happy to take Shin's hand for assistance. And he flashes a wide smile as he responds to both Gwen and Yuuki with, "I'm okay!" Well, apparently the tumble (and the bit of scraping over his face) didn't do much to hurt his cheer at least.

    Once on his feet proper, he sweeps the golden scarf back over his shoulder and gives a (metaphorically) glowning thumb-up. "All good! I'm Atif! Nice to meet you."

    Fast forward to the basement!

    Atif ducks down inside just shortly behind the others, and winces a bit when he hears someone yelp out in pain. "Are you okay, there?" He asks of Yuuki, specifically, in what may well be a deliberate echo of her reaction to his tumble back at the market while he pushes various boxes and vines aside. "I'm already out of all potions for pain and injury... Sorry."
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Hifumi looks around and then he starts making some motions with his hands drawing runes in the air and then says "Tigerlilly come." in a sparkle of magic a tiger cub made of lilly flowers and leaves and twigs appears by his foot. "Alright little guy, time to earn some fish meal huhm?" he says "See if you can't find out where the rats went."

    Everyone sets to trying to get things moved around to let them find the exit for the room. There just doesn't seem to be a place for them to make progress. The little plant tiger is digging around, everyone is doing their best moving stuff away from walls. Hifumi looks a bit grumpy "There's always a wall or hanging moss or something blocking the way." He says and leans a bit dejectedly against the cleanest bit of wall he can find to let his summon do it's job.

    And of course that's when the wall collapses, burying the chloromancer in stone and powdered morter, his hitpoints sinking a fair ammount and his foot just sort of sticking out of a pile of stone. Of course there is a hidden corridor there is always a hidden corridor. This one seems to be filled with ancient artifact traps, it's a wonder the rats haven't set them all off by now. Or maybe they reset themselves? Who knows in a city like Dun Loireag.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Miyako may well have ever so slight /issues/ when it comes to mold and mildew. She pauses to take out a handkerchief, wet it down from a canteen, and wipe her hands thoroughly... then discard the handkerchief, before continuing on.

    The first sight of the hallway ahead leaves her to pause, however. "Oh, goody. Time to Indiana Jones it, everyone!" She lowers a pair of goggles onto her head and peers out across the hall, then starts to somewhat slowly and deliberately walk down along its length, picking her path with care.
Shin Heno
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

     Well, that worked.

     It's unorthodox, but it worked!

     Shin pushes some of the stuff off Hifumi on his way into the passageway. It's the little things you do for people, or something like that. His hands go behind his head as he makes his way forward, probably winding up near the front of the party - he's obviously a meleer of some kind. He has no weapons equipped...so very likely a Godhand of some variety.

     It helps that he's really good at evading traps.

     Like really good.

     Like 'catch an incoming arrow when he hits a pressure plate' good.

     Like 'grab a pair of guillotine blades out of swing to let other people pass' good.

     Like 'catching a blade as it pops up from the floor' good.

     He doesn't really say anything about it, either. He just moves through the passageway, catching, avoiding, or intercepting incoming attacks for the party at his usual speed, walking straight past Miyako without an apparent care in the world.

     Yeah he's not being careful.

     He evidently doesn't neeed to be.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

"You and me both," Shiruba quips at the remark about wounded pride, and once she's on her feet she dusts some mildew off herself.

Then her ears snap upright at the sound of a wall giving away. "I didn't do it!" Glances over her shoulder. "... Oh. Good job, you found the exit." The wolfgirl trots over, and leans to peak through the revealed opening. ".. This is too cleanly put together to be just sewers." Sure enough, there's little notches in the walls, cleverly hidden in the slots between the masonry stones, for impliments of hurting to come out. "I guess this is what you get when you build on the ruins of an acient civilization no one understands."

She shrugs, doing some calculations based on the placement of notches and crevices.... and watchs as Heno just walks in and intercepts everything like it was no care in the world. "... Damn he's good."

The wolfgirl darts into the corridor to follow, using her own calculations and seeing what Shin sprung to weave her way through without much issue, zigging and zagging around trip plates and spike holes.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    "It's okay. I'm sure that box was like, boss level or something. But I can manage!" Yuuki flashes a grin at Atif. Before their path forward is uncovered, in a somewhat hilarious manner.

    Some of the best discoveries in history have been accidents! So don't feel too boad, Hifumi.

    Yuuki steps around the partially buried Hifumi, saying as she goes past, "Good work!"

    They come out into a corridor. Yuuki hmmms as she wonders if this is trap-corridor or locked-door-corridor. According to Miyako, who is apparently better at spotting things, it's trap-corridor! Yuuki watches as Miyako carefuly makes her way through the traps, while Shin and Shiruba manage to handle or avoid the resulting weapons sent at them. Once they are to the other side, Yuuki applauds before it comes to her turn.

    The imp lowers her body just a bit. Then WHOOOOSH! She dashes forward through the corridor down a straight line. Fast enough that by the time the fired traps actually get to the location she had been in when she triggered them, she's no longer there. She skids to a halt at the other side with a grin, "Phew. That was quite a rush!"
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

When the wall collapses she will make sure no one is hurt before she ends up going on the head and there a trap she's run into them before, sure but this is not the same place and what she thought she knew? She was wrong painfully wrong or she would be painfully wong as there's a click of not just one but two traps being set off at once. She doesn't have time to react when Shin intercepts both of the traps and just deals with them. She's left rather surprised and is at a loss for words for the moment.

She seem to be the only one who has had major problems here andshe'sjust going to be gladit was her.
R "Shin? Thank you." She wonders what is going to be next down here...
Shin Heno
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

     Shin laughs. "This world is an amazing place where even someone like me can do something like this." He holds up two of the arrows between his fingers. Again, the scarred knuckles are especially prominent. "It's great, isn't it? Even somebody like me can be a hero."

     He turns around and walks backwards, giving Shiruba a look at his broad smile. "I'm glad I can be a Hero for you guys."

     Then he turns back around and catches an incoming chain. "Don't worry about it!" Comes the cheerful reply to Gwen.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Hifumi finaly manages to extract himself fully from the pile of rocks. Tigerlilly running up to nuzzle at his ankle. "Yah I'm glad I'm okay too little guy, why don't you go back it looks like this one might be a job for Snakeroot." he says as he works his way to the start of the traps. His fingers move through the complex rune gestures before he calls "Snakeroot come out." A large serpent made of twisted roots, covered in pointed green leaf 'scales' with small white flowers for eyes and thorns for fangs appears in a cascade of earth magic.

    He watches as everyone makes it through more or less unscathed and follows after, walking in the snakes track as it flicks it's adorable stamen tongue out and slides around the triggers. Then just before the end he stumbles and has to put a hand out. The brick in the wall slides in... really what ARE the odds? A large slab sliding in the ceiling plants the man on his face again under a pile of dirt and gravel. "Why.... is that... even a trap?" he asks as he lays there.

    The door at the end of the hall is oddly enough unlocked and untrapped... who does that?

    The door leads down another corridor, this one u ntrapped, however the sound of squeeks and scrabbling claws increases until they reach a large domed chamber. This is filled wall to wall in knee deep swarming hungry rats.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Apparently, Atif takes Yuuki's claim entirely at face value. Either that or he's perfectly happy to play along with it.

    "Right! It's alright, we'll come back for it later!" He tells her thus with a gleam in his eye and an encouraging fist-pumping motion in the air. "When we're better equipped for that boss type!"

    Thankfully, he's quick on his feet along with everyone else while they duck and weave their way through the traps. Because of course most folk here would end up choosing the most direct way through, huh?
Shin Heno
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

     Again, Shin takes the time to just sort of knock some of the stuff off Hifumi on the way past. "You should really be more careful," he says cheerfully.

     The open door is suspicious, but again, Shin has that kind of I'm-A-Shonen-Protagonist good-natured attitude that you expect out of somebody with that combination of wind-tousled hair, white scarf, glasses, and grin. He just goes on through.

     The grin does not fade when faced with the wall of rats.

     He does, however, squat down, grab a rat off the ground, and stare at it as it wriggles in his hand. "I really hope that there's more interesting stuff than you later, little guy. The world's gonna be pretty boring if it's nothing but wall-to-wall rats. No offense."

     The rat does not respond.

     Shin does not have tame or capture animal.

     Shin does just sort of pitch the rat back into the morass, though, and then use the old standby-

     He just lights a torch and tosses it into the horde, and then carries on.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

"Yeah, be the hero you want to be! Whole world of possibilities!" Shiruba has decided she rather likes Shin and how into it he's getting, following him out of the trap corridor...

And into the massive rat swarm chamber. Her tail and the hair down the back of her neck bristle like hackles as she snarls, bearing tiny fangs. "Best way to get through here is just clear the way fast" She glances over her shoulder to her friend. "Gwen! Give me some fire." Then turns back forward, making a few quick arcane gestures. "Might of the Earth, hold back, hold up, hold firm!" Then slams her palms to the ground in a rare display of using actual sorcereous Wave Arte and not her enchanter arrows. Glyphs briefly flash around her hands, followed by the sound of creaking shifting stone as several barriers of rock rise from the floor and spread, pushing back several clusters of rats and penning them in.

Perfectly targetable pockets for people to drop Fire or such into to kill them before they can climb over the minature mountains.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    "Wow, almost made it through that one in one piece! Keep at it, you'll get there!" Yuuki gives Hifumi a thumbs up to try and keep his cheer at high levels.

    They then proceed onwards, finding the sounds of rats growing ever louder. They come out into the large chamber, finding that large group of the bitey scratchy critters.

    Yuuki's eyes sparkle at the sight, "Heeeee. It's rat killing time!" Yuuki draws her sword and proceeds to rush forward into the group. She ducks and slashes and weaves and cuts and jumps and stabs her way through the large collection of mobs. Yuuki takes some glances swipes and bites, but hardly enough to put a dent in her HP bar.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

Gwen grins a bit back at Shin, and will move ahead trying to take point again and she looks to Hifumi.

"Old defences against monsters I would think. Don't want to have something like say goblins nesting under a city, think what hell that would be."

She notes before they end up in a room with a whole lot of rats she'll look to Atif and Yukki for a moment grinning.

"Yeah there's a dungeon I need to hit up once I hit level ten myself..." 5R
Oh go rats, so many rats there is only one response to this many rats, fire, she starts chanting and the fire bolts start flying.

"You don't have to ask Shiruba! BY FIRE BE PURGED!" She lets off a few more bursts of flames.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    "Makes sense," Miyako muses, agreeing with Gwen. "Why they would connect to tunnels like these at all, now, that's another question." She shrugs. "Sometimes I guess life just wants you to make fried rat... at least we can serve it to the cats."

    She takes a moment to inscribe a few runes in the air with a fingertip, not even bothering with her weapon for this one. A hole in the earth suddenly falls out from under a huge patch of rats, sending dozens, maybe hundreds, of them squealing as they fall... and before they can start to climb out, the walls slam together, squashing them all. "Personally, I wouldn't touch them with a ten-foot pole."
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    "Everyone's a hero of their own story," declares Atif on the way through, with a bright, glowing smile of his own. "Come on. Let's be ours!"

    He does pause, briefly, when presented with a tunnel full of rats. Almost literally full of rats. "...I'm... going to guess that's not part of the 'defenses'," he observes, before looking down at one of his hands. His fingers clutch into a fist, open again, and tighten once more.

    And a bright flame wreathes up around the fist.

    "I don't like the idea of killing a bunch of tiny wildlife..." he murmurs quietly, possibly just to himself. "But doesn't look like there's much in the way of other options."

    His other hand is wreathed, suddenly, in flame as well, followed shortly by his feet and shins -- though they don't seem to burn at his clothes down there at all. Magical flames. Of course.

    "Shine bright through it all!"

    While he isn't able to direct to any kind of distance away from himself, when he goes flipping into the mass of rats and turning himself into a wide, spinning motions, all that seems to make up for it, as a brilliant, wide spiral of fire is formed up around him, tracing the motions of both his arms and legs, burning through his own lane of dangerous rodents.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Hifumi works his way out of the dirt and gravel with Snakeroots assistance. He gets up to his feet and dusts himself off. Then he heads into the room of rats. "Snakeroot... snack time." he says and the vegan viper prooves that HE is no vegan as he dives happily into the rat swarm. Biting with poison fangs, crushing like a constrictor, and swallowing rats whole. You can't spell slaughter without laughter.. and Snakeroot would be laughing if plants could make sound.

    The other party members using blade and spell, kill many the rat, and many a rat lamented that day of fire and stone in the depths of Dun Loiraeg. Almost out... almost there... and then he steps on a rat and falls into one of the few clusters of rats left. The biting and scratching dropping his hitpoints further until someone's fire spell leaves him in a cloud of white pixels of disolving rats, his hair smoking. "Not... my... day.." he says as he works his way back to his feet. At least he wasn't burried in dirt... just rats... and fire...

    Following the next corridor, which seems oddly free of rats, the party finds themselves passing scraps of cloth in a rainbow of colors. The cloth fragments grow more and more numerous until they enter chamber where it's like a dragons hord of quilt scraps. And they've met their smaug... a twisted rat covered in spikes and with poison breath? It seems REALLY miffed people are walking on it's fabric collection... it's like indruding into a sewing room mid project... the combat is ON.
Shin Heno
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

     "It's really not," Shin says to Hifumi happily. At Atif, he just sort of side-eyes, but he doesn't say anything, nor does that irrepressible smile disappear. He turns around to walk backwards again. "Do you really think so?" He asks finally, "Or is that just something you're saying?"

     His eyes open. There's something there that wasn't there before as he stares at Atif. "Do you really believe those words?"

     "Or are they something people say to make yourself feel better about the world we left behind?"

     And then he turns back around again and puts his hands behind his head once more, walking along the corridor.

     When they meet the spiked rat, Shin steps forward.

     "I've been waiting for this." He's got a huge grin on his face, practically bouncing on his heels. Some kind of weird stone item appears in his hand - there's a bright red jewel in the center. He slaps it against his waist.

     Stone bands extend around his waist. It's some kind of belt.

     Shin takes a stance as the rats come charging. His right hand is at five-o'clock; his left hand is up at eleven. His left hand rotates down to seven; his right hand rotates up to one.


     His right hand snaps down across the strange stone belt. It slams shut. The red jewel lights up.

                        0 01 0
                      1 /----\ 0
                     0 /      \ 0
   ARMOR BEETLE    ====|  /\  |====  CODE: ALGOL
DEFENSE OF DESTINY ====|  \/  |====    COMPILE
                     0 \      / 1
                      1 \----/ 1
                        0 10 0

     Shin disappears into a constellation of lights. In fact, it's a very specific constellation - the constellation Perseus. The belt...

     The belt forms a very specific star.

     What emerges from the light is not Shin anymore.

     It's tall, and armored in glossy black chitin. A yellow mandible-crest sits over blood-red, bulbous, empty bug eyes. A tattered blood-red scarf hides whatever mouth may be beneath. Mandible-blades emerge from the back of legs and the side of arms.

     The insect-man raises a finger in a lazy stance.

     "Masked Ranger, Algol."

     "The Demon Star will light your way to Hell."

     'Algol' is a flurry of motion. He surges forward, fists whirling against the rat, feet kicking, blades slashing. Everything about 'Algol' is a storm of destruction, hammering the rat over and over and over, occupying its time for others to come in and smash it. When he gets a chance, he jumps back.

     His hand snaps against the side of the belt.

     "CODE: THORN."

     'Algol' leans back. Green light flows from the belt down his leg, circuit-board patterns etched along beetle-black armor. He takes a running start, shooting past blades and minions. He leaps.

     He flips.

     He hits the ceiling.

     'Algol' comes down with both feet onto the rat's head. There's an eruption of thorns around the monster, straight up through the beast's body, pinning it to the ground.

     'Algol' lands on the other side in the classic hero pose - one hand on the ground, one knee on the ground, his bulbous eyes glowing red.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Yuuki pulls her blade out of a quickly vanishing rat, one of the last. She chuckles, "Well, that was a bit of a workout! Gotta keep that weight slider from getting too high."

    Yuuki turns around to see how the others are doing, giving a nod in approval as she seems them handling the rest of the rats. Except Hifumi. Who is on the ground. Again. Yuuki lets out a brief, joyous laugh, "You must really like it down there!" She smiles, "Don't worry about it. I'm sure you're pretty good at other stuff, right?"

    Moving on, Yuuki recalls that they should about be coming to the point of the boss fight. If the pattern of her previous times through this quest fits. And sure enough, there's a dark rat sitting atop a pile of cloth scraps. Yuuki grins in anticipation, "Well, at least you aren't Fatrat! He was starting to vex me."

    Yuuki sweeps her sword out to the side and begins to change the dark rat...

    ... Only for her to lose her balance as her boot slips on a scrap of cloth. She regains her footing for a moment, only to step on more cloth scraps. She falls into a pile of them, sending them flying into the air and drifting away. Yuuki cries out in frustration, "Grrrrr! Who put all this crap here!?"
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

Between her rock barricades and Gwen's fire the duo have a cleared path through the chamber of rat hell. Once they're passed it all Shiruba turns to give her taller friend a high five (she learned the gesture from her in the first place). "Teamwork still works!"

On to the next room! Which is covered in scraps of material. "What is this? Some kind of pac--" She doesn't even get to finish the terrible joke before the horder rodent emerges from the pile, already pissed off people have intruded in the room. "--Hey, no fair! I didn't get to the punchline. Bad packrat!" There, she still got to say it at least.

In one smooth motion she's drawn her bow and nocked an arrow in it, runic script along the shaft shimmering in dark shades of purple. She takes aim for the monstrous rodent's face and fires. A few purple sparks arc along the arrow's length as it shoots through the air, only to 'explode' in a big ball of blackness in the rat's face to disorient it with the sudden sensory deprivation. "Hit him while he's still in the dark!"
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    When Atif passes by Hifumi, he guides a hand to giving an encouraging pat to his back (after letting the flame extinguish!) before offering a hand if he happens to need it. "Don't worry about it," he tells him in turn. "You're still on your feet. We all have it rough every now and then. What matters is how we go forward, right?"

    Once the party makes their way into the chamber with a giant hoarder rat, Atif's... jaw drops a bit. "D-...does that rat think it's a dragon...?" He murmurs with a few blinks of his eyes before turning a more wide-eyed look at Yuuki. "What's a Fatrat?!"

    He takes in a steadying breath when everyone engages into the fray. He doesn't so much charge in, however, as he extends his hands outwards. The golden scarf seems to glow incandescently, and the glow spreads through the the bared portions of his own skin.

    "Everyone-- go! Shine like the sun and light up your world!"

    A flash of light, and a golden glow overtakes his figure briefly. Despite the observed brightness, it doesn't actually blind -- but it does spread warmth through the room, and seemingly give a faint glow to everyone around him. Healing lost hitpoints from the previous rooms and invigorating the party with a constant flow of energy.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

So things are going fairly well for the moment, then comes the strange lair and the rat she sees fabric so much fabric.

"This is such a waste ... of good material..."

Then she sees the rat. One can almost see the flames in her eyes burning as she stares down the rat. Shin and Atif exchange makes her think a little bit, she says nothing even as the rather epic transformation goes on she feels like she's seen something almost akin to it before but right now she's starting to gather up fabrics? Why She's got not her blade out but a needle and she's rapidly feeding the cloth she grabs into the crafting system and produces a lasso made out o the rat very own cloth which she'll use to catch it around the head just a moment after Algol makes his attack.


She stars trying to pull it tight intent to strangle the rat.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Miyako relaxes a bit as she reaches clear, untrapped, un-rat-infested space for a brief time. Too brief. Well, she knew it couldn't last. At least this means it's almost done. She hopes.

    "Ah," she muses as she spots the giant spikey rat. "Somebody's been borrowing art from Gee-Dub, I see."

    She doesn't bother to approach the beast as some do, simply moving to the side of the doorway to make room for others. Inscribing runes on the air once again, she watches the rat-beast a she prepares her spell.

    "Of all the trees that grow so fair, the forest to adorn, greater are none beneath the sun, than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn."

    As her spell completes, tree-roots grow down from the ceiling at an incredibly rapid pace, to seize upon the beast and wrap it tight and begin to _squeeeeeze_....
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    The chef and his now fatter vegan snake make their way into the room of cloth and spike rat. "Alright... go back Snakeroot... gona need all my concentration for this." he says and it seems he's going to do something similar to Gwen, he's gathering cloth stitching it and feeding it into the crafting system. Then the battle starts in earnest atop the cloth pile, there's the carging of one hinshen hero, the explosion of darkness, then the lasso Gwen was faster than him at creating. He gets that rush of healing energy, and it's a good thing it seems, as when the roots pull the rat off its 'throne' is the instant that Hifumi tugs just a bit too hard on a stubborn scrap.

    Even as the rat is torn from it's feet by roots and strangled into glowing pixels, the whole pile of cloth shifts. An avalanche of quilting materials slides down and flops over burrying the man yet again... it seems his lot in life is to be under some crushing weight.

    The sounds of a guitar being played pick up and seem to echo down a corridor exposed by the avalanche. As Hifumi starts working his way free, spitting string and pushing scrap cloth off his head. His hitpoints noticiably lower but he didn't die, he had that light regen to thank for that.

    The party follows the guitar strains and find a bedroom...? With a Spriggan bard playing the music. There are a trio of little non-mutated horror rats, just kind of bopping along to the music. Perhaps it's the lack of cage that explains their lack of rage... or it's just bardic magic.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Yuuki is finally able to extract herself from the pile of cloth she had found herself in. And she is greeted by the sight of the boss shattering into a cloud of sparkles. Yuuki lets out an audible 'Awwwww' as she doesn't get an opportunity to wail on the boss. But she doesn't seem too distraught. She got some good rat killing in earlier, after all.

    Yuuki sheathes her sword at this point, moving to catch up to the group. Careful to place her footing appropriately, having learned her lesson. However, her pointed ears perk up at the sound of the music. She ohhhhhs quietly, "Not good..."

    The group soon enter the bedroom, finding the Spriggan woman playing some music. Yuuki laughs a little awkwardly, saying, "Uhhh... Hello, nice bard lady! Pleasedon'tsicyourratsonusoranything. We're just here to, um, clean the place up a bit!" More awkward laughing.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

n     Miyako skids to a stop as she hears music coming from the room ahead... walks slowly in, automatically stepping aside to make room for those behind her... and... it's like looking into a mirror. "Ho now. Whatever have we here?" she murmurs, just audible enough to be heard. "So that's the way of it."

    Her fingers flicker over the menu, and her naginata vanishes into inventory, replaced by her own guitar. "Shall we sing together?"

    ./~ I'm a cat, I'm a cat, I'm a Glasgow cat, and me name is Sam the Skull
    ./~ I've got claws on me paws like a crocodile's jaws, an' a heid like a farmer's bull
    ./~ I'm no the kind o' cat tae sit doon on a mat, nor the kind that ye gi' a hug
    ./~ I'm th' kind o' cat that strangles rats, and e'en the occasional dog.

    Yeah. Deliberately the kind of song designed to annoy the frick out of a rat-puppeteer. She carries on singing the rest of the song, deftly stepping aside should any attacks come her way, doing her best to make things worse.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    After the giant rat has been reduced to dissipating pixels, Atif's quickly moving to Himufe, helping pull bits of cloth piled up on him away with a "Oh sheesh are you okay?" And once the other man is back on his feet again, the young, dark-skinned man gives an encouraging squeeze to his shoulder with a still-glowing hand (and returning some more hp in the process). "Always forward, yeah?"

    In the bedchamber, Atif's eyes light up a bit from the sight of the spriggan playing for the rats. It's an impressive sight, even if he does realize she's probably to blame for this whole mess. Still.

    With Miyako's guitar out, he pumps his fists and quietly chimes out an encouraging, "Yeah, go, go!"

    Only for him to freeze up and balk from the song that she ended up choosing.

    After a moment, he steps riiiight up to Miyako and... snaps his fingers around the neck of the guitar to force the strings into place and muffle the sound that was already set to reverbating. "Excuse our friend, she's been practicing that song all day! Hah..." He calls to the spriggan herself before turning a desperate look to Miyako, mouthing out two simple words: "Please" and "no"
Shin Heno
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

     'Algol' does not change back. This time, he does not push aside the stuff Hifumi has found himself wound up in. This time, he is eerily quiet, a tall, red-eyed, beetle-black armor Hero of Justice making his way down the corridor to the sound of the music. There's something different about him now, something more focused, more...confident, more powerful. Shin seemed to be more of a free spirit, somebody repeating 'a Hero of Justice' like it's an ideal; 'Algol' is exactly what one might imagine from a Hero of Justice, a thing born from someone's ideals and made manifest here and now. 'Algol' walks with purpose, with *meaning*.

     He also isn't especially talkative now.

     They round into the Bard's room. Other people play their songs, spin their words, cast their spells. 'Algol' just stands off to the side, silent, until there's nothing but either the stunned silence of the bard or the bard's music growing louder to drown out everyone else.

     His hand flicks on the belt.

     The belt sings out.

                                CODE: ALGOL!                                

     'Algol' doesn't actually move. He doesn't take any offensive stance whatsoever.

     Probably because of the music emitting from the belt.

     It's got that sort of retro, old-school feel to it. There's no singing - no *voice* attached - but the music is loud and strong, the kind of thing you'd get from a Theme Music Power-Up in a seventies anime, the kind of thing that plays just before a finishing move. It's the kind of thing you expect to be accompanied by a final blow.

     *Now* 'Algol' starts walking forward, the music raging around him, the lights of the belt glowing a bloodthirsty red. His hands snap against the belt's outside.

     The belt sings out again.

                               CODE: BREAKER!                              

     Red light streams down 'Algol's foot. It paints the room in the bloody red of the Demon Star, casting ominous shadows on the wall. He's still just walking forward, but the implicit threat is now very, very clear.

     Shin might've been the negotiating type.

     'Algol' seems like the 'punish those who do harm to others' type.

     And those glowing red eyes are impossible to read.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

Once the horrid horder rat is dead the room is quiet. Quiet enough that Shiruba's wolf ears can pick up the sound of something farther into the sewers. "Huh..." She tracks it, and upon getting closer after leaving the fabric room she can tell it's music. ".. Don't tell me..."

Sure enough, it's some kind of... oh, that's not a flute. Nevermind. Still, music controlled rats.

Shiruba stops, then leans a little to the other side as Miyako starts to play something purposely annoying. "Ugh. Need a more direct approach." She loads an arrow and fires it right at the rat lady's feet. It causes a sudden tremor as it hits stone, enough to throw off even the most determined of musicians from completely focusing on their music.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Miyako's fingers keep strumming, even continuing the chord sequence, but her jaws clamp shut at Atif's urging. She glares at him for a moment, then puffs out her cheeks and lets out her breath. "Mou... I just wanted to sing /with/ someone."
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

Gwen tosse rope into her inventory, and will grab some of the fabric she thinks she might be able to salvage. It may end up being vendor fodder but who knows. Then the sound of music and a guitar and she pauses not having expected to hear such down here she makes sure everyone is okay she pushes onward toward the sound she sees the Spriggan woman for a moment and looks over her for a moment. She then realizes.

"All right you, enough with the rats it's causing the townsfolk a whole lot of trouble."

She starts chanting an earth spell to try and break up the rats but Gwen ends up fumbling the chant and the ability just fizzles out. Sometimes these things just don't work out and Gwen now looks to Atif and Miyako.

"What's wrong with letting Miyako sing?"

She looks back to the Bard and rises to her full stature waiting to see what happens next ready for more trouble.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

Shiruba ... slaps a palm over her face when it all turns out to be some misguided bid for attention from the young girl. "Oh for the love of..."

It turns to a brief pinch of the bridge of her nose, then a slow exhale. She can relate to the feeling of not having any friends, so it's kind of hard to stay mad at the girl. But the infestations, intended or not, are still a problem to the shops and traders above.

"Maybe someone teach her a song that won't send every rat in the sewers into a frenzy..."
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    The party follows the music, and then it's earth quakes and seinen TV over music, and provocative lyrics... and things are just... too much. The Spriggan girl falls on her butt on the bed. "All I wanted was some new friends." she isn't quite whineing but the childish tone is of someone who definately isn't mature. "You're all mean!" she shouts at the party and picks up one of the rats who was previously mesmerized by her song. "You'll still be my friend, right Mr. Rat?" the rat bites her and scampers off into the tunnels leaving the girl. She droops her head and starts bawling.

    Hifumi walks over and places a hand on the girl's head. "Hey now, controling them isn't the same as being friends." he says and pulls a flask from his inventory. "Here, drink this it'll make you feel better." he says leaving the girl to drink it and let others do as they will. He picks up her guitar. "We'll take her to Himawari-San the merchant who posted the original request." He says. The potion will put the girl to sleep in a little while and tastes like creme de mint.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Miyako sighs, and slides her guitar around behind her back as she walks closer to the other spriggan. "Hey," she murmurs, softly, gently, as she squats down next to the crying girl. "It's okay. I know how it hurts to be alone."

    She doesn't bring up the complaints about the rats, or how poor a choice of companion they can be. She just reaches out to the girl. "I'd be glad to be your friend," she offers. "Will you sing with me?" She waits a moment, then starts to sing, her voice soft, clear, almost crooning.

    ./~ Oh come, by the hills, to the land where fancy is free
    ./~ And stand where the peaks meet the sky, and the lochs meet the sea
    ./~ Where the rivers run clear, and the bracken is gold in the sun
    ./~ And the cares of tomorrow can wait, til this day is done.

    She keeps singing, holding the girl if she's allowed, and singing until it's clear the girl is asleep. "Be careful with the guitar," she whispers to Hifumi. "Don't bang it against stuff." She knows quite well that musicians can be VERY touchy about other people handling their instruments.
Shin Heno
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

     'Algol' just stands there for a tense thirty seconds, red eyes casting an ominous pallor across the room.

     Then he snaps the belt closed.

     The Armor Beetle form flakes away, leaving Shin behind. Shin's demeanor flips back in an instant; he's grinning, his hands behind his head, one foot against the ground.

     He doesn't say anything about the NPC. He just walks over, takes an instrument, and walks off. He does, however, turn around for a brief moment.


     The grin shifts to a smile. His eyes, half-lidded, stare over the rims of his glasses. "I'm glad I could be your Hero for a while."

     And then he turns around, waves, and heads out.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    "I know, I know," Atif whispers to Miyako before he releases the strings on her guitar. "But consider what--" He doesn't have time to finish the words before booming sounds, arrows and earth tremors actively halt the spriggan girl's music. And Atif's shoulders slump.

    "...I was going to try diplomacy..."

    He looks all the more crestfallen when the girl is reduced to near-sobbing. He goes to step up towards Hifumi and the girl, but... when he notices Miyako making way there, too, he halts himself and allows her to take the lead.

    He's content to listen, and watch. And smile, while the soothing music plays.

    "Hey," he calls softly to Miyako once the smaller Spiggan has fallen asleep. His smile might not be as overly-cheerful and wide as it was when he first got to the marketplace, but it's... warmer, now. Sincere. "That was very good. Your music is really bright. Thank you for making her feel better."

    The girl might be an NPC, but apparently her well-being is important to him, too regardless.
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Annnnnnd there it is.

    It's not quite the same response that Yuuki got the last time she went through this. Owing to the variability of the questlines. But it's still just as awkward as she rubs the back of her head.

    But as Miyako mentions how it hurts to be alone, that seems to hit Yuuki pretty hard. Who goes eerily still and silent for several moments.

    But then Hifumi comes to the rescue, offering to help the Lander get back to the merchant. That's a good outcome, right? Yuuki cheers up again, grinning at the bard, "Yeah! We'll get you back to people and you can make lots of new people-friends!"

    Soon enough the bard falls asleep. Yuuki eyes the flask that Hifumi had handed to the woman, before eyeing Hifumi himself, "I'm not sure I want to know why you have some knockout juice with you..."
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

Gwen looks to the kid as her rage calms down and just something about this bard crying she sigh and will follow Hifumi's lead and head over to the Bard for a moment.
     "There's no need to keep fighting and that sounds like the best. She looks over to the girl for a moment.

"Look shall we go."

Then she passes out from the drink and she looks at Hifumi for a moment and will move to help carry the girl out. They can't leave her down here like this though Gwen would pause to inspect the girl.

"Lets get going."
Dun Loireag - The Highland City

    Miyako sighs softly, and gathers up the girl, still singing softly, cradling her carefully in her arms as the group makes its way out.

    "Sorry," she mouths to Atif. "Thanks for stopping me... I just... have a thing about rats." And about loneliness, judging from her reactions. "I hope she feels better when she wakes up."