Duty Session 86: Is It Wrong to Pick Up Slimes in a Dungeon?

There are plenty of places in Alne that seem to have been left abandoned up until recently. The influx of Adventurers and Landers have caused empty areas of the city to become occupied in quick order. As the city is surrounded by water, it is also particularly prone to infestations of slimes. Landers are reporting that they are having trouble getting water into some areas of the city. They are asking for Adventurers who might be brave enough to face the sewers and waterways beneath the city to clear out some of the slimes in order to help get the water flowing again.

Difficulty:    Moderate
Rec. Party:    3+
Rewards:       3
World Rewards: Increases in clean water availability in Alne.

Alne is a place of many mysteries. On the one hand, it was reportedly established only a few years ago and has relatively few inhabitants. On the other, the lights are always on when they need to be, empty homes are filled with food even when nobody is there to eat, and the whole place is located right up against the Aincrad Labyrinth, as if someone had intended for interested parties to use it as a base of operations going forward.

It is also, as it happens, where the Scale Emblem Alliance has set up its primary headquarters. A place that has... intermittent fresh water supply, thanks to an infestation of a particularly squishy variety of monster.

The slime infestation needs to be dealt with. Water must be available. It's just unsanitary otherwise! The people need to be able to bathe without fear of accidentally having a SLIME BATH! Not only are such things hazardous, they are also... Potentially embarassing, in more ways than one.

And so, a certain relative newcomer to the city of Alne has put up a notice at the local Hunter's HQ. It reads:

Are YOU tired of drinking cupfuls of slime with your breakfast every morning? Do you dread the prospect of even washing your hands!? Come with me, fellows! Let us restore HYGIENE to Alne and banish the ooze that even now threatens to bubble up from between its cobbles!!

The message is signed 'Prophylaxis', is listed with an address where the expedition is to begin, and stamped with the same symbol that some veteran MMO players might recognize as having previously appeared on certain Auction House potions.

The individual responsible is waiting near a well at one edge of town. He is a... devious-looking sort, the kind of person who you might expect to show up in a fantasy anime to shove a vial of poison down a poor test subject's throat. His hair is scruffy, long and purple. His bright red eyes are ringed with dark semicircles. His teeth are... Pointy. And there are a pair of floppy ears hanging down the back of their head.

This must be the so-called Prophylaxis. He seems to be... reading a book. The front cover is emblazoned with an adorable, cerulean-blue slime with a bright, friendly grin on its blobby face.

Shiruba was prepping to head back to the Dominion when she passed the Hunter HQ and noticed the posting. Huh, slimes. She hasn't seen much of those yet, could be interesting. She was an explorer of unusual monsters as much as she was the world and the lore after all.

A glance up at the sky to remind herself what time it was. The next trade ship wouldn't leave the port town until tomorrow anyways, so she had plenty of time to go do Adventurer type things and help some other new folk out.

And that is how you get one wolfgirl cait sith strolling up to the meeting point. Almost immeadiately she takes note of the book more than the person, leaning over a little to peer at the cover. "Someone is studying up beforehand I see."

Oh no, a gnoll approaches! Nah, nevermind, it's just Dareshetani, the dire hyena werefang hunter who's been out and about trying to make himself useful wherever he can find opportunities. Dare has taken to carrying a canteen around lately so that he can fill it up while he's out in the field, because he can't trust the water in the town proper. It only took one mouthful of slime to turn him off THAT forever.

"Hi there, you Prophylaxis?" he calls out as he strolls up to the well. "Not sure how well arrows work on slimes, but I came to help with the ooze issue if I can. I'm Dare." Which anyone could find out by inspecting him of course, but he's trying to be friendly.

Having seen the notice in the Hunters Guild Zorin decided this was a worth cause to aid, perhaps even noble. This was especially the case after having suffered some slime contamination himself earlier that day. Okay, maybe it was fairly self serving. That slime was no fun first thing in the morning. Something needed to be done!

Walking to the meeting point Zorin was fully equipped in a suite of heavy armor with a large kite shield slung over his back. See that there was already a group gathering he approached them as he inspected them for their names, and after spotting Prophylaxis he nods slightly and approaches the rest of the way.

"Hey there Prophylaxis, I saw your notice. Hope you have room for another to deal with the slime issue?" He then looks around at the others and gives a slight bow of greeting, "I'm Ryusei Ito, but I generally go by Zorin since that is what shows up when people inspect me. Looking forward to working with you all."

    Amalthea doesn't always return to the Scale Emblem headquarters. Long forays into the dangerous wilds, solo questing has her off and out for long periods of time... But it really is great to have a place to come back to sometimes.
    It would be nicer if the water supply was a little more reliable though, and dealing with the occasional slime in her cup has led the old adventurer to become a little paranoid, always carrying a weapon in one hand while drinking her water with the other.
    Well, seeing that notice in the Hunter's headquarters was enough.
    The clank and rattle of heavier armor heralds the old Paladin's approach as she arrives at the appointed meeting spot.
    "We're all here to kill slimes eh?" Amalthea muses, adjusting the heavy shield in her grasp before resting her hand on the pommel of the blade at her hip. "Count me in. The name's Amelia; though most call me Amalthea." She gives for those that don't know her. For those that do know her, like Shiruba and Zorin, she gives a warm and familiar smile.

"Amalthea... like the last unicorn? I used to love that movie," Dare remarks amicably. "Nice to meet you all." He unslings his short bow from his back and fits an arrow to the string, holding it loosely at the ready. Having learned a bit of a lesson from his last quest, he waits this time to let the paladin enter first, reminding himself that he is not a tank.

"Wh--" The Cait Sith with the book suddenly jolts when Shiruba breaks him out of his academic reverie. "Ah! Yes, just doing a little bit of light reading before we brave the depths. 'Know your enemy,' right?" Prophylaxis chuckles and stows the handbook away. Having an open book in a slime-infested sewer is a good way to ruin quality paper. "That's right, I am Prophylaxis, though you can feel free to call me Akira if you'd like! Thanks for responding so promptly. I've had it about up to my eyeballs with these slimes...!"

Practicing alchemy is just *not* possible when every other bucket of water is at risk of containing a wiggly, jiggly ooze!!

Also, showering has been difficult.

With each of the new faces, Prophylaxis nods in greeting. "It looks like we've got a pretty decent party here, too. I'll stick to the middle of the pack if you all don't mind. I might not be as squishy as a slime, but it's not like I'm covered in heavy armor or anything!"

That's the job of the tank. To stand between the mage and the things that eat mages.

"Come on," he says as he moves toward the lip of the well. "It looks like we just need to drop down from here and we'll be close to a pretty sizable slime colony. Careful, the rope's a little slippery."

But for a bunch of brave adventurers, it's nothing particularly difficult to traverse! Especially since there aren't even any slimes yet. "Hup," Prophylaxis grunts and dismounts, landing in a pool of knee-high water at the bottom of the well. He grimaces at the sudden dampness-- but such is life when hunting slimes. At least it's not raw sewage. But...

There's a stink in the air. The Magus' nose wrankles as he whips up a simple Light spell and reveals...

"Why--" There's... There's rotting food. Just, a pile of rotting food and other waste piled up in the corner of the well. The well that is SUPPOSED to be for FRESH WATER. "Why are they just *chucking food* into the well!? Who thought this was a good idea!? I--"


Something... something oozes out from a distinctly chicken-shaped carcass. It's green and shiny and squishy and there are even more popping out of similar crevasses nearby. "They're..." Prophylaxis turns almost as green as the slimes themselves as a wiggly little friend full of a partially dissolved hambone sloshes happily through the water nearby. "They're digesting the piled-up refuse! I- I might be sick. Why would things ever be allowed to get this bad...!"

There are more of them coming, too. From down nearby tunnels, clusters of green slimes spring and blorb through the muck. They're all... ignoring the Adventurers, more or less. Really they seem more interested in the rotting pile of waste-food than things that might be able to kill them. "Let's... Let's leave them to that," Prophylaxis mutters, "Or maybe we should capture a few and see if they're excreting any toxins? Ugh, I can't believe we *drink* from this water...!"

    "The movie was fine and fair. The screenplay was by the author, himself, no less." Amalthea concedes to Dareshetani. "But the book was just magical." She replies before making her way down the well.
    Sliding one handed down the rope and landing with a small splash at the bottom, the old adventurer wrinkles her nose at the sight- and scent of rotting food.
    "Well that's comforting." She mutters. "We're really going to have to do something abotu Landers hucking their refuse down the well." Considered before her eyes fall on the grody sight of little slimers absorbing the trash.
    "Alright let's get on with it then." She says, drawing her blade from the scabbard and starting to hack away at the larger of the things to start clearing a path.

"I don't know," Shiruba replies to Dare. "My arrows are magic, so it usually doesn't matter on puncturing alone." Then waves cheerfully to Amalthea, greeting her with her nickname for the older adventurer. "Obachan Tanku! We're in good hands now."

She isn't a tank but she is a scout so she's not afraid to be one of the first to grab the rope and shimmy down. To be confronted by a room full of bouncing bobbling blobs of pink. "It's like the bounce house ballpit from hell," she murmurs to no one in particular. "Probably because refrigeration isn't a thing here," she adds to Prophy's question about why. "So throw it out when it spoils."

She doesn't reach for her bow yet, instead crouching down and taking a running start into the room of slimes. She darts and hops and weaves to avoid getting hit, and at the very end even ducks down into a slide to get under a bouncing one to reach the other end.

Zorin grins at Amalthea, "Amelie, always nice to have another familiar front liner in the group!" Then turning to the wiry hyena were fang, Dareshetani, Zorin replies, "Likewise." Continuing to look around at the others closely Zorin couldn't help but internally nod and thinks, "(For an impromptu group, this is better than I would have expected.)"

After the party climbs down into the well Zorin unslings his kite shield and with a practiced gesture a heavily weighted mace-like scepter appears in his other hand. The red ruby on the top of the scepter sparkles slightly, almost as if there is a flame within.

Then they come across the poporings, green slimes bouncing around. As more and more appear Zorin moves to the front of the group Shield raised. Stepping carefully forward he starts to bash his scepter or shield against slimes to move them out of the party's way.

At first it seemed to be working, Zorin was able to progress through and clear a bit of path, but then as more poporings continue to emerge they start to flank around, and suddenly what was a careful advance has turned into Zorin becoming surrounded. Having overextended and become slightly separated from the others, the slimes jump at his legs. After a grunt and another bashed slime Zorin calls out, "I underestimated just how many of these slimes there were! This place is infested!" His face then forms a grim line as he continues to fight off the enclosing slimes.

"Gross," Dare agrees as he splooshes down in turn. And hyenas are scavengers by nature, so that's saying something coming from him. "Why would you dump food waste in the town's water supply? Otherwise, I could... kind of see the usefulness of a slime cleanup crew?"

"Watch yourself!" he cries out suddenly as he sees one of the bouncing slime creatures on a vector straight for the mage, and thwocks an arrow into it to deflect.

"Well... I'm not getting that back," he observes with a nosewrinkle as the ooze sinks beneath the refuse.

"I don't mind that they're throwing their garbage out," Prophylaxis answers with the kind of whining groan that only a true neat freak could ever give voice to. "It's that they're throwing it into the well. The well! People drink from the well! They could at least get someone to pick up their trash and dump it outside the city, or just build an incinerator or *something!*"

Ranting about how super gross this whole situation is might be somewhat counter-productive when there are slimes to dodge. Akira is so caught up in his own utter revulsion that he nearly trips on a particularly poorly placed slime. (In the following instant, said slime becomes the point at the bottom of a slimy, green question mark.) He catches himself before he tumbles head-over-heels into the water, but not before one of the other slimes decides that he looks like a pretty good meal after all... And hops right for his face--

Only to get shot clean by a well-placed arrow. "Thanks!" Pro flashes Dare a quick thumbs up before staggering to his feet. Zorin, meanwhile, did the Tank Thing and decided to try to pull the entire group before the healer (do they... do they have a healer??) has a chance to catch up. "Zorin," Pro calls, a mote of flame flickering to life atop a fingertip. "Watch your head!"

He sends the little candlelight sailing toward the clustering slimes... Where it promptly goes *boom* and gives the tank a bit of breathing room.

The others... Do not need saving. Shiruba takes advantage of the fact that the ground here is *extremely* slimy and neatly darts underneath one of the hungry trash-devourers as it sails through the space her torso should have been. Amalthea, being somewhat closer to the group, has a much easier job of not being flanked as she cuts a swath through the monsters...

And leads them all to (relative) safety.

"Everyone..." Prophylaxis pants, catching his breath, "Everyone alright? We're... we're going to have to talk to the Landers. I can't help but think this whole infestation problem is self-inflicted."

    "Always good to be working with you, Zorin." Amalthea replies casually to the heavily armored younger man as she chops a path through the poporings. And once everyone is through into the deeper depths of the well system, a new problem makes itself apparent.
    Larger slimes, more vicious and actively seeking out prey. Hunter Slimes, as they are called by other adventurers, sometimes. It causes a momentary stall as Amalthea holds up a clenched fist, signalling for the group to halt.
    "Scatter." She suggests. "Shiruba, Dare, can you two herd them into a single lane to come right to us? It'll make things easier for Zorin and I if they're coming at us in a single line and not swarming us from all sides." She says sheathing her sword and taking to a knee as she produces a torch. "Zorin, I'm trusting you with the front line for this one, Prophylaxis and I will back you up." The old Paladin says as she readies flint and steel to light her impromptu flame weapon.

"I'm fine," Dare reports, shaking some goop off his feet as he steps up onto the drier stone footing available. Thank goodness he decided to take on this watery challenge barefoot, else it would be an absolute mess trying to clean his boots. This is gross but it's easier to bathe than to launder out slime.

"Sure thing," he confirms to the old paladin's suggestion. "I'll take right, you go left?" He glances to Shiruba for confirmation before splitting off. His claws click on the weathered stone as he moves to intercept one of the hostile slimes, firing an arrow not directly at it this time, but angled to bounce off the floor and make it dodge the other way. Hopefully right into the party's line of fire. "Hey-yah!" he shouts at the same time, going for the intimidation play.

As Prophylaxis calls out Zorin has time to brace himself as he crouches down and raises his shield. A moment later a burst of fire flows over and around him, deflected by the shield, to clear out the slimes surrounding him. Climbing to his feet, only slightly smoking he grins over at Prophylaxis, "Thanks for the assist!"

At one time, a dungeon run like this would have been just fun. Now though, this was everyday life. It was Zorin's new career. Climbing the tower to return home. His true home in the real world. That was the only real goal. So much time had already past, what was happening in the real world? It just fueled Zorin's resolve.

As they continue through the dungeon the ground becomes much drier. Now on alert and not wanting to underestimate the situation again Zorin scans the area, and that's when they spot the large Hunter Slimes coming and Amalthea starts to give commands.

"Sounds good. I have the center." And with that Zorin moves front and center, banging his scepter against his shield to try draw the slimes attention. Then as an afterthought Zorin begins to mutter a prayer to the Burning One under his breath. It appears to be somewhat lengthy and a red glow begins to form around his shield ominously. That is until one of the quick Hunter Slimes smashes into him and pushes him back a foot with a grunt. Concentration now broken his spell fizzles and instead he starts to swing at the approaching slimes.

Shiruba pauses so shake some slime off from her slide maneuver. "Not intentionally, but you might be right."

The group ventures into the next chamber, and almost immeadiately upon entering the wolfgirl stops, ears snapping upright and her tail bristling. Her voice in contrast drops into a hoarse whisper. "We're not alone..." In a flash she draws her bow, notchs an arrow and puts her heightened senses to use listening for where the Hunter Slimes will come from the side tunnels. She nods to Amalthea when she suggests herding them together, and stalks off to to the life side as Dare will take the opposite.

As soon as the slimes blorp into the main room the Hunters become the hunted. Shiruba fires the arrow she had readied. It might be part of how she got the nickname of 'Howling Storm' as it emits a sharp shriek as cooling air swirls around it. It hits a slime on the edge of the pack dead on, releasing the magic in it to send ice crackling off to the sides of it. It's an effective barrier to keep slimes from straying off, as they risk their slime freezing if they touch the ice for too long.

"Don't worry about it," Prophylaxis calls back as Zorin is liberated from a slimy fate. "I couldn't just abandon you to being slime food, could I?"

Besides, Prophylaxis recognizes that voice. He'd be a pretty awful Alliance-mate if he *didn't* provide emergency assistance in a dire situation, right?

Dare isn't the only one glad to be on relatively dry land. Pro might not be barefoot in here (because that's a real nice way to get an infection don't you know) but he /is/ wearing a pair of light sandals. Getting those waterlogged isn't nearly as much trouble as, for instance, a pair of travelling boots.

He's still glad to be on dry land, though. At least now he doesn't have to worry about tripping over and soaking his everything in slime.

Speaking of.

"Looks like they're out for blood. I wonder what they eat down here? Maybe the rats, or maybe something else...?" Do slimes eat slimes? Is there a slime food chain, with scavenger slimes at the very bottom? Somehow, 'person' fits into said chain well enough that it seems like the party finds itself on the menu.

"Right. Gather them all together. I'll do what DPS have done best for generations...!" The Magus lifts his staff high. Sparks of firelight like glowing embers swirl around the very tip before gathering into a sizable sphere of pyromantic power. "Other than dying, that is. Here we go! Incinerate my foes and leave no shadow!"


Fireball needs no description. Fireball sails into the herded up hunter-slimes and explodes. Fireball does 10d6 fire damage to everything in range.

    It's a plan that is executed swiftly and successfully.
    Shiruba and Dareshetani split off right and left and their arrows do well to herd the Hunter Slimes down a single lane into an utter killbox.
    Amalthea lets Prophylaxis lead off, fireball sailing over her and Zorin and slamming into the first slimes that come down the hall. Whatever the slimes eat down here and whether or not 'adventurers' fall into that isn't going to be answered tonight, as the first line of slimes ot come into view are incinerated instantly. Amalthea lights her torch on that signal and brandishes it like a fiery club; lunging in while Zorin holds the front, her torch and his scepter battering, sundering, and setting slimes smoldering until the hunters have all been hunted.
    "Right, that went well!" The old Paladin says warmly. "Shall we be on, then?"

Okay, so there are types of slimes that are indeed hostile. Or at the very least predatory. Shiruba will keep that in mind as the group moves on. Tactics and skill have won the day once more.

The knowledge may prove to be useful as the adventuring party makes their way farther into the sewers and come to a chamber full of slimes. With mage hats. In various colors. Colors that may be related to what kind of magic they're trying to pop off as they drift about the cleaner water. That could be hazardous, they don't seem to have a lot of control over themselves, being slimes.

Shiruba's attention instead turns to the side though, and she nudges the Magus. "Hey, Prophy." She points him towards the runes on the wall. "Let's check those out!" The wolfgirl scoots off in that direction. "This might take a little time to decipher. Keep them occupied!"

The rest of the group is left to do as they see fit about the magic slimes while the magus and hunter-mage go to mage things.

"Holy crap," the were-hyena barks laughter as the fireball rips right down the center. "That was awesome." And the remaining slimes seem to be mopped up super easily after that. He stoops to retrive his spent arrow, and tosses a jaunty salute to the incineration crew as he lets the tanks move ahead again. If they can just keep shooting fireballs like that, this should be an easy quest.

Or... they'll run into a bunch of magical slimes. "Gotcha," he affirms to Shiruba. Engage distraction mode, give the magic types a chance to decipher this. He can handle that. "Hey, over here, slime-brains!" he shouts, dipping into his Air magic pool to activate a movement buff. He launches himself from the entrance of the chamber nearly all the way across it in a single leap, and makes a rude noise before charging through the slime pack again, trying to draw them away from the mages. "I bet I'm delicious!"

"Hmhmhm, well of course!" Prophylaxis would be adjusting his glasses right now, if he wore them. They'd be sparkling in spite of the relative lack of light. "There's nothing quite like a good Fireball to clear a room! Nahahahaha!"


You know, if there were slimes that weren't trying to eat them, or if they were at least in a more *controlled* infestation, they'd be... kind of cute, actually? "Those slimes..." Prophylaxis murmurs as they enter the chamber of WIZARD SLIMES. "They're... They're wearing tiny little hats...!"

You can almost *hear* the mage's heart skip a beat for a second there. Can you bring yourself to destroy these adorable little magislimes, Prophylaxis!? Is your heart truly nothing more than a withered prune...!?

"Huh--" Shiruba gives him a poke. There are runes to be deciphered! "Oh. Oh, right! We'll take care of this! Might be some kind of anti-slime spell or something." Or maybe a slime-charm spell? That'd be... that'd be nice. Maybe.

Or maybe it's just really creative graffiti? Like some Lander architect that built this place scribbled 'Halfdan Was Here' in some ancient language, or something.

Nodding to Shiruba and she goes to inspect the runes with Prophylaxis, "Roger that. Leave it to us!" And then turns to grin at Amalthea, "Looks like we are going to be the wall against a bunch of chaotic magic slimes today!" Then growing more serious as he looks at the situation, "I will hold this direction if you want to take that one." He points at the directions with his scepter.

Then moving into position to protect the more scholarly party members he starts to mumble a pray to the Burning One again. This time he is relatively uninterrupted for the few seconds it takes, despite the random spells being flung into the ceiling and walls haphazardly by the magical slimes in the area. As the spell completes it is as if Zorin's shield starts on fire, but then extends out in each direction turning into an enlarged flaming projection. As various spells impact they splash against the flaming projection harmlessly away from those behind.

    "... Why are they wearing hats?"
    This is the first thing that comes to Amalthea's mind as the group progresses. She is answered by a jet of water to the face that causes her HP to take a hit, and after that her shield is UP. "Right." She replies to her fellow front-liner, taking position at Zorin's suggestion. "I'll hold down this side."
    A few more splashes of water, some fire, and a bolt of lightning against her shield later and the old paladin does her duty of soaking damage, before she gets just a little fed up.
    "The hats don't make it okay." She decides; cute as they are, the slimes are growing on her nerves.
    This is when she spies a chain on the wall nearby.
    Reaching over one-handed while she keeps her shield up with the other, she yanks on it.
    Somewhere, deeper in the sewers, a floodgate opens, re-directing a portion of the magi-slimes to go down a separate path away from the group as they're swept up in a new current.
    "Huh. Handy chain that was."

Magic makes them dangerous but the mage slimes aren't immeadiately or directly hostile to the party. At least not until something draws their attention, like the hyena man shouting and running off in another direction. Several of the magic slimes turn and shoot their little spells after him, but his own magic has made him too fast for them to accurately hit.

Then Zorin makes something big and bright with his fire shield trick. Several of the mage slimes turn and stare at it, mismerized by the display of magicks beyond their simple random spell tossing. That keeps them occupied long enough for Amalthea to find something you would expect in a dungeon sewer -- drainage control. The water starts to flow out as drains open deeper within, sweeping most of the lightweight slimes up in the current.

Shiruba was expecting the runes to be some kind of enchantment to dampen the slimes' magic, so it leaves her puzzled for a moment when it's not. She rubs her chin, squinting a little. "Wait a minute, this isn't a counterspell, it's instructions to--" Her ears flick up at the draining sounds and she looks over her shoulder "--unlock the floodgate. But you already found that."

She shrugs, and hustles back to rejoin the group. "Oh well, success is still success!"

Dare is starting to regret the decision to go bootsless, as the water starts to get gross again. He does his best to step around the worst pockets, but he has to hotfoot it (literally) past some spots in order to find a safe-ish place to stand.

The increasing patches of oily sheen give him a pretty good idea of what they're likely to be facing next, but nevertheless he utters a soft, "Whoa," once he actually spots the source of the corruption. "Okay, no fire magic in this room I think, guys. I'm gonna try to give us a defensive buff - we got some water or earth magic to throw at this thing to snuff it out?"

He takes a deep a breath as he dares in the fuming air, stows his bow and starts slapping a fist into his hand to generate a bit of a beat as he begins chanting the first anti-fire song that comes to mind.

"They called him a hero, in the land of the free / But he wouldn't shake my hand boy, he disappointed me / So I got out my shortbow, and I blew him away / That critter was a bad buy, and I had to make him pay..."

"Put out the fire - put out the fire - put out the fire!"

Shiruba comes up behind Dare as he starts to sing, squinting at the red slimey thing stirring up flames on the oily water. "No, but." She steps around the yeena as she nocks another arrow in her bow. As she does electrical sparks crackle along the shaft and up and down the string. "If you guys can put it out, I can stop it from restarting them."

How, you might ask? The Spell Fletcher takes aim with her charged arrow, waiting for an opening between the fiery sparks before firing. The electricity crackling around the arrow proves to be no joke as it sinks into the red jelly, and the sparks cause it to spasm and wobble (moreso than usual for a slime) uncontrollably from the jolts crackling in its body. Those Thunder Fury arrows have this nice effect of disrupting the target's abilities, hopefully preventing it from igniting any more of the oily water on fire.

Continuing to trudge through the waters Zorin eyes the oily sheen of the water, and then starts to see the occasional patch of oil burning. The flames casting the sewer in an orange glow, that seems to become brighter as they proceed. "Not often you see the water burning.." Zorin mutters.

And then they come face to face with a very large red slime that is literally on fire. Frowning as he surveys the area Zorin and responds to Dare, "I'm much more attuned to fire myself then other elements. I will do what I can though!" as he moves forward regardless.

"(I can't just tank this head on.. I need options..)" Zorin considers as he wades through the water. Then he pauses as he looks down. With a shrug he starts to swing his mace-like scepter in a large circle picking up speed. On each rotation it dips into the water and scoops it to fling water in a spray at the slime as he moves away trying to draw aggro. As his windmilling maneuver picks up speed there is a near continues spray of water being flung at the large slime.

    Moving on the water just gets nastier and nastier doesn't it? Oily now? Amalthea's boots are going to need a good cleaning after this.
    "Is it just me or is it getting a bit hotter down here?" She does ask. But then the party finds the source.
    "Oh." ... "... Oh." The old Paladin murmurs as the red slime blub blubs aggressively.
    Though her shield rises, briefly, very briefly, Amelia Theodore is left paused. She can't just run up and hit it with her sword like she solves most of her problems. And she can't set it on fire like how she solves the rest of the problems her sword can't.
    The old Paladin furrows her brow before she spots something out of the corner of her eye.
    It's another chain.
    Reaching for it, the old adventurer gives it a yank...
    Somewhere... Deep in the sewers... Another floodgate opens.
    The result isn't apparent for a few seconds though. It starts as a whisper. Then a burble. Then a soft roar of rushing water and a LOT of 'blub-blub!'s as the magi-slimes are re-directed into the room, beginning to shoot off ice, water, and lightning spells at the red slime as they swirl by and off down another water channel as fast as they came.
    "... Right, then."

The slimes and their hats... They were too adorable. Too adorable to hurt. At least now they've been swept away-- hopefully to somewhere beyond the sewer system. How could anyone hurt something that has a tiny wizard hat perched atop its head? If it's not trying to kill you too, then it's simply impossible--

"Oh, yes, it was just the control instructions for the sluice," Pro agrees with a wizardly nod, "Too bad, I was hoping it was some kind of forbidden magic or something like that. Fufufufu."

Nobody needs to know about this weakness to behatted critters. Nobody.

Fortunately, the next stretch of tunnels quickly has Prophylaxis remembering why these things really badly need to go. "Is this..." He murmurs, dipping a handkerchief in a particularly large puddle of oily film. Tentatively, he wafts the fumes emanating from the cloth and confirms, "It... almost smells like gasoline? Are the slimes breaking down the organic compounds into volatile fuel elements? If we could contain such a specimen and harvest its excretions, we could make fuel and chemical reagents for days...!"

If, that is, they *can* capture such a specimen, and it doesn't first light them all on fire.

Such as the horrible red *thing* awaiting them in the cistern.

"Guh. I had to open my big mouth. There's no way we're going to be able to contain something like that with the equipment we've got! And if we can't use fire, then..."

Dareshetani begins to sing, and Prophylaxis cuts him a quick smirk. "I suppose it's time... To Rock."

"Foundations of the world rise by my call," Prophylaxis gestures, as the ground underneath the party begins to shift and quake. "And bury my foes! EARTH PILLAR!" Akira gestures and clenches a fist! A veritable jackhammer of stone shoots up from underneath the big slime goes to slam it into the ceiling--


"Wait. Were those the wizard slimes just now...? Did- did anyone catch one?"

Against this kind of teamwork, that hideous flaming slime didn't stand a chance. Dare has been practicing his musical magical channelling, and can actually feel it having some affect this time, dampening down the fiery potential in the air and making it a bit easier to breathe.

Zorin draws the creatures's attention admirably with his splashing, and as it rotates to focus a renewed belch of flame in his direction, Shiruba lands a direct hit with her thunder arrow, interrupting its would-be attack as it wobbles unsteadily and tries to recover. But Prophylaxis SMASHES it against the ceiling with a pillar of stone, quickly putting an end to any sort of recovery.

And then, as the slime starts to drip and ooze back down the pillar, in comes Amalthea with the coup de grace. Dare's singing notches up an octave in surprise as he feels the water swirl around his feet and come rushing in, and a grand wave of clean water and miscellaneous slimes extinguishes that fiery boi for good. It even seems to clear out some of the nastiness in the cistern. "...good idea," he croaks out, once surprise relaxes its grip on his throat.

As the party continues to press forward they enter into a large domed chamber with ankle high clear water. The stone walls hold ancient and partially decays torches which have not seen use in quite awhile, and tunnels lead of in several directions. As Zorin looks around he questions, "This almost looks as if it is part of some old ruins.. What purpose could a room like have in a sewer?"

As the party approaches the center of the room a cold chill wind begins to blows through, and then suddenly the torches alight with ethereal green flames and the waters begin to ripple as steady streams of slime starts to flow into the room, picking up speed until there is a growing vortex of an eery green glowing slime. The slime begins to form out of the vortex.

A fishy face starts to appear and even slimey arms extend out from the slime. Large fishy eyes rotate and stare out at the adventurers and the mouth opens in a silent scream. Then almost as if in response small faces of various humanoid races seem to stretch out from the main body, appearing as if they are also screaming, before they then get pulled in once more. All in a silent slime fashion with only the faintest of bloops.

With the slime now fully gathered it turns its attention to the adventurers.

Well, that's horrifying. Confidence boosted, however, by his previous attempt to utilize his <Song> skill, Dare grins a little crazily on facing this new challenge. Damn, but he loves this world sometimes. He begins chanting rhythmically again as he takes out his bow and takes aim.

"It's early morning, the sun comes out / Last night was shaking and pretty loud / My cat is purring, it scratches my skin / So what is wrong with another sin?"

"The bitch is hungry, she needs to tell / so give her inches and feed her well / More days to come, new places to go / I've got to leave, it's time for a show--"

"HERE I AM!" he cries with a feral glee as he draws and looses arrows rapidfire into the giant, impossible to miss target. "Rock you like a hurricane!"

Shiruba just stares as the wave of wayward magi-slimes washes through the chamber channel, putting out fires and sweeping away the remains of the flaming pudding with them as the waters swirl off into the unknown depths of the sewer. "This is why you don't mess with Grandma," she murmurs under her breath in awe.

Then shakes it off. Onward to adventure! To wonder!

... To slimey fish-faced ghosts, apparently. Shiruba shudders as her gaze falls upon it forming from the sludge and filth, standing her hackles on end. "That is SICK and WRONG," she blurts out, trying to recompose herself and focus. They got this far, they can do this, if they keep supporting each other.
The bard doing their thing helps smooth her nerves back down so she can concentrate. The wolfgirl will definately let the tanks take the front on this one though, partially crouching at the back line to brace herself as she pulls one of the glyphed arrows with the orange fins from her quiver and loads it in her bow.

Draw... And the glyphs start to slowly fade one by one down the shaft...

Breath... Waits for the hideous horror to open it's mouth open again...

And Release! Shiruba shoots the elementally infused arrow straight into the gaping maw! Just as it disappears down the gooey gullet the last glyph fades out... which turns out to be some kind of cryptographic timer as the arrow detonates, exploding with the fury of the Fireball spell it was inbued with and burning at the ecto-creep from within.

    Moving on, Amalthea rubs at her scarred eye in mild disbelief. That's twice now that yanking on a random chain has worked to great effect. But as the group continues onward, her brow furrows at the ruined structures.
    "This seems... Oddly out of place." She muses. Before something she should have expected occurs.
    It's another slime.
    But something about this one's eerie silence and many-faced blubbing sends a brief shudder through the old woman. But she steels herself regardless, drawing her blade from the scabbard as she stands forward, taking to the lead of the group as Dare begins to sing this battle's new themesong.


    Suffused with a bright glow as she announces her skill, she slams the crossguard and pommel of her sword against her shield tauntingly, trying to get the beast's attention. And it would do well to focus on her. Because so long as she has Anchor Howl active, if if targets anyone other than her, it will be punished with swift, brutal, reprisal in the form of harsh penalties and damage.

"It's pretty creepy if you ask me," Prophylaxis murmurs as they move from the now-extinguished cistern into a chamber that seems less like part of a sewage system and more... "Like we just stepped into some kind of ancient ritual site. Or maybe some kind of temple to a dark god of some--"

A chill runs down Prophylaxis' spine. His ears shoot straight up and shiver from base all the way up to tip. Having ears that are a little bit beasty is still something he hasn't gotten used to-- let alone having ones so expressive. But that's beyond even the most minimal of issues. Slimes are gathering into the central pool as ghastly eldritch light ignites within ruined sconces. "What is this," Prophylaxis asks of nobody in particular, "Why is this *here!?*"

The monster takes shape, not merely from the forms of the gathered slimes but apparently from the very ectoplasm of trapped human souls. "This... No! Father Dagon! Is that what this is!? Damn, hold on!"

Tendrils sweep out from the ancient beast, snaking out to drag tasty adventurers into a piscine maw. Prophylaxis yells and strikes the base of his staff into the earth and a sudden burst of wind blasts outward, flowing around each of the assembled party members... And hardens into a protective shield. "If it pulls you under, you've got a minute or so of breathable air! If this thing is controlling the slimes, it has to go-- before it decides to send them out to raid the surface!"

Not that he's going to be of much help at the moment. Prophylaxis is busy trying to maintain five different protective air shields simultaneously-- no mean feat!

After a quick shudder at the form of this slime the party reacts quickly with the older tank, Amalthea, moving out to face the ghostly slime head on, her gold trimmed armour sparkly in the flickering green light. Shield outstretched she shout her Arte, "ANCHOR HOWL!" The fishy slime's face turns towards her, followed quickly by an outstretched hand which then shoots forward in an slimey spray which splashes against Amalthea's shield pushing her back.

Also moving in to support Amalthea, Zorin mutters a words under his breath and points his scepter at Amalthea, a beam of light streaking out to empower her against the onslaught, as another jet of slime from the boss's other appendage rockets towards both Amalthea and Zorin.

Prophylaxis quickly reacting slams his staff down and barriers of wind surround each of the party members, deflecting one of the blows from Zorin before he can reorient himself. While at the same time Dareshetani finishes his song and leaves a steady stream of arrows that seem to blast chunks of slime off the boss.

Things seem to be going well until a green flames around the chamber go out and the light begins to gather in the center of the fishes mouth. A powerful charged attack is coming! Or it would have if Shiruba had not landed one of her enchanted arrows directly in the slime's mouth, exploding and splattering the slime's head all across the chamber, dropping its health to zero. The rest of the slime tumbles to the watery ground and slowly spreads out until it bursts apart in motes of light.

    There's a soft grunt as Amalthea's shield takes the brunt of the blow. If this were the real world, her arm would be going numb from the impact, but thankfully pain here isn't what it used to be as she weathers the impact, boots digging twin trenches and furrows in the floor as she staves off the attack, with Zorin's support and they hold its attention while the others punch.
    And, thankfully, with Prophylaxis' shields in place, when the damned thing dies for real, the old Paladin isn't splattered in dead slime as a result. Breathing a slow sigh through her teeth, she sheathes her blade.
    That's when she sees is. In the corner of her eye...
    Another chain.
    "... I wonder what would happen if I pull this one..." She muses, reaching out for it. Before something, deep within herself, tells her that some things are best left untouched and she decides against it.
    "Nah. I'll probably dump an even bigger, nastier, Slimethulhu on us or something, if I did." She muses and lowers her hand.

Shiruba knew it was coming and she still cringes and ducks when the monster explodes from the combination of techniques and fireball arrows. Thank goodness people had magic shields and literal shields up so they don't get drowned in slimes.

"I wouldn't, Obachan," she quickly chimes in. "We've seen several duties end with access points to additional events we're not high enough level to access yet. That chain could open something we're not capable of handling ye--oooh" True to cait sith form she's distracted by something shiny in the slightly less mucky water and goes to fish (AUGH) it out. "--Hey, there's a bunch of tokens or coins or such on the bottom. Maybe we should grab some and get out of here."

Honestly, thank heavens for shield magic. Prophylaxis may be wearing the fantasy equivalent of a labcoat, but that doesn't mean he's about to go around splashing literal eldritch ghost slime all over it! That's probably a good way to get an infection... Of ghosts. Ghost infection. POSSESSION. It's not something he wants to deal with in the slightest.

"I liked Cthugha better anyway," the mage mutters as his shield dissolves in the wake of the Ectopudding's slimy deluge. The last of the monster disperses into so many winking motes of light and leaves behind... A handful of coins.

Is that what they came down here for? Just a few gold coins...!?

Prophylaxis's expression draws into a line as he hops down into what used to be a horrifying Elder Slime... And lifts one of the strange coins into the light. "...Strange. These feel... magical, somehow? I guess we've got ourselves some magic coins...!" He nods at Shiruba, then looks to the others...

"Well done, everyone! It looks like today's adventure has ended in victory!! Now it's time for our next battle..." He clenches a fist, eyes burning with determination...! "Getting the Landers to stop throwing ROTTING TRASH into the WATER SUPPLY...!"

The air shield that Prophylaxis placed on him having expended all its energy on absorbing one of the powerful attacks from the boss, Zorin's face is unfortunately unshielded when Shiruba's arrow explodes. Splashed with some of the slimy remains Zorin starts to curse and sputter, quickly scraping it off his face. "Ugh! Some even got down into my armour!" And squelching noises can now be heard as he moves around.

With a grimace on his face and slime dripping from his hair he surveys the area once more, each of the party members seem to be alive and well. Mission accomplished. Probably? At least enough for today!

On hearing the Shiruba talking with Amalthea he quickly looks over and eyes widen as he sees the older tank reaching out for another pull chain, and quickly sighs in relief as Shiruba talks her out of it. "I think we should quit while we are ahead" and then a few slurping steps later, "I really need to get back and cleaned off. Still, great work! We took out that boss just in the nick of time." He then goes to pick up one of the coins that appeared as loot.

Turning to Prophylaxis he can't help but agree, "I think that must be the root cause of this problem. This will continue forever unless we can solve the root cause." He shakes his head a bit sadly. You think it would be common sense, but this was another world in more than one way.

    Amalthea plucks up a coin, but purses her lips.
    She can't help but stare forlornly at the unpulled chain.
    What cthonic secrets might it hold?
    She may never know.