Duty Session 89: Goblin Scouts in the Field

A porcelain quest has been offered to the Hunters Guild. There's reports of Goblin Scouts in the Eastal Free League region, close to the ruins of a place called 'Shibuya'. The region is largely open fields, with a lot of tall weeds. But there's old roads in the region that still carry some people who go to that region to gather some special herbs that can't be found anywhere else. The request requires the disposal of these goblins.

Difficulty:    Moderate
Rec. Party:    3+
Rewards:       1
World Rewards: None

    Wisteria is as she often is, found in the Hunters Guild office picking up a quest. Cause exploring the world and poking at it's weak points is just her plan. She tags the goblin scouting issue and then sets about trying to put together a team. She's in human form just standing out front of the Guild and asking random Adventurers. "Hey wana go kill goblins? It'll be fun... good loot? Uhm... For the people? Look I wana see if they spawn anything weird comoooon."

Goldenblade is here at the guild because she was told that quests are a thing, but she's not really clear on how it all works. She has the vague idea that it's not like stories with just one hero, though, so she will call out as Wisteria looks for companions, "I'll join you, if you'll have me. I'm new to the game, and trying to learn."

Let's be honest, Dare is an easy recruit for these kinds of random jaunts. "Sure," he agrees readily when accosted by the white-haired girl. "I'm up for finding weird spawns. Just lemme drop off these monster parts with the Guild and I'll be right back out!" He has an inventory full of meat and tail feathers and other random crap.

"Did someone say goblins?" comes from beneath a hood as the figure sidles up next to human-Wisteria. The dark cloak actually covers Kauchemar properly when she's in her smaller human form. "I have some.. experience with those foul little scamps." Not the duty specifically, but her guild has dealt with goblin issues recently.

Then regards Goldenblade for a moment. Shoulders shrug beneath the cloak. "We all had to start somewhere."

    Miyako is, quite plainly, /bored/. She's been spending most days traveling around getting to know people and relearning the lay of the land, and it's been fun, and all, but she needs a change of pace. "Hey, hey, pardon me, 'squeeze me, coming through," she says as she edges her way through the crowd of adventurers looking for quests, pausing when she spots familiar faces.

    "Oh, hey," she says with a grin. "Looks like I'm just in time."

    Mizuki smiles as she walks in and sees Wisteria. "Somehow, I haven't actually done the goblin quest yet." She replies.

    Goldenblade not knowing how to play is a concern. "What classes do you have, again?"

    Miyako also gets a smile. "Hey, good to see you again!"

Wisteria nods her head "Yah, before the black wave I just came here to chat with my friend. I mean... I knew how to work DIVE thanks to being a deus but." she shrugs her shoulders. "Now I'm with the Scale and I do this basically every day. Grind, and explore, and uhm... Mizuki-chi what's it called when you try to help other people get levels?" she asks the feline like she just expected her to be there.

Goldenblade is definitely starting, her gear looks brand new, or at least it doesn't show signs of extended combat. She looks to Kauchemar, Miyako, Mizuki, and Dareshetani, then back to Wisteria. To Mizuki, she uhms, checks her character sheet through the UI, and confidently replies, "Blade Dancer." So, Twin Blade/Blademaster. She hrms to Wisteria, a blank look on her face, and says, "Well, I probably need help getting levels."

Dare returns from turning in his fetch quest items and selling off his junk inventory in time to overhear the question himself. "Poweleveling? Or just, I dunno, grouping up, seeing as we all got set to level 1 by the Wave anyway." His own gear is a bit piecemeal, showing some wear in some bits, others clearly recently purchased. Largely though he's just wearing leather armor with some fur bits to guard against the cold. Plus his own fur, since... come to think of it has anyone ever seen him NOT in his were form?

Anyway, "Ready when you guys are!" he announces cheerfully.

    "Carry?" Mizuki offers as a possible term. She looks over Goldenblade. "Dual-wielding katanas, huh? Be ready to use one of them to block sometimes, have you practiced that?"

    She circles Goldenblade. "You're basically DPS -- blademaster gives you the versatility to block attacks a bit better, use earth-elemental skills and ranged weapons, and forge weapons. Ideally, you'll want to wait for our tank to pull aggro -- err, get the monster's attention -- then you attack it from behind or something! But, if you have to take a hit or defend yourself, or accidentally draw the monster's ire, you're a little better-equipped than, say, a ninja to do that in a pinch."

"We all have our reasons. These things need to be done." The cloaked figure is being mysterious, but some of the people here may recognize the lute-style instrument she pulls out of her inventory. "Experience farming?.. Or that, yes. Carry." she answers Wisteria's question with a soft chuckle. She plucks a few strings, and then adjusts one of the tuning pins at the top. "Let us be on our way and not keep the... hmmm..." she tilts her head a little, causing some locks of midnight hair to spill out of the hood. "I would call them vermin but that would be insulting to rats."

"Although a ninja can just poof into stealth and let the monster peel off on the hunter," Dare quips teasingly.

    Mizuki nods to Dare. "When stealth works, yes. There may be some monsters and some environments where it's not really an option."

    Miyako shrugs. "Rats aren't all that impressive to begin with," she answers Kauchemar. "Don't worry about insulting them with comparisons to goblins. Or most other mobs."

    She hmms a moment and looks to Goldenblade. "Blade-dancer, hmm? I almost went blade-singer myself, but I wanted more zorch. So I flipped a coin, ended up Druid."

"I'm a Howling Arrow," Dare volunteers. "Because it sounded awesome. But I'm mostly ranged DPS with some utility stuff from my Bard subclass."

"Muse." Bard + Summoner, since everyone else is explaining their class combinations and titles Kauchemar joins in. "I disrupt and distract the foe through music, magic and monsters alike."

    Wisteria taps her nose when Dare chimes in "That's it powerleveling. You know the folks like you who haven't really be working to go up and like me were new to the game when the black wave hit." she says to Golden. "Ooh Mizuki-chi." she says and glomphugs the girl, and takes up her proper place, being propped up by the other girl, with her chin atop her head. "Soo I'm Wisteria, or Wist I guess people have been shortening it to." she says "I'm a Shadow, that's Enchanter/Blademaster, I specialize in enchanted weapons and elemental sword arts, with defensive and buffing wave arts." she offers. "Shall we get going?" she says offering out the party requests.

Goldenblade nods slowly to Mizuki. She seems to have grasped a bit of that. "Hit from behind, don't go in first, right." Well, she can only pick up a bit at a time, the fine details will have to come later. She peers at Miyako, and asks, "Zorch? I ... don't think I know what that is?" She nods to Dareshetani, she understands what an arrow is, at least, and a ranged something. Dee-pee-ess? So some kind of archer. Muse actually makes a bit of sense, and she nods about disrupting and distracting. "So you shout 'look over there' and when they do, I punch them in the face. With the sword,' she adds. It's still a thing she's getting used to. She nods to Wisteria about getting going. "May as well see how this all works," she says.

Dare opens his interface and accepts the party invite, giggling softly. "Punch them in the face with a sword, I like that." A beat. "From behind, no less."

"Punching things tends to work in some manner, if that's what you excel at." Kauchemar pauses in returning her instrument to open her interface menu and accept the request, then dismisses it once more. "Yes, let's get this show on the road." As the group departs she returns to her idle strumming, providing a bit of travel music and getting peoples' spirits upbeat in the adventuring mood.

No need to sing, it's not a song with lyrics. But now you can say you've heard 'Axel F' played on a medieval string instrument.

    Mizuki gives Goldenblade a thumbs-up. "Now you're getting it! I assume 'zorch' is offensive magic. As a Ninja I get alll the zorch! Except light-based." She joins the party. "Lead the way, Wis! I'll scout from the shadows."

    "Magic in general, actually," Miyako clarifies, "But yes, I do like to be able to stand back and lob blasts at the baddies as much as I do getting in and getting my hands dirty." She smiles lightly. "There are, after all, some things I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole." Her naginata may not be ten feet long, but it's a fair chunk of that...

    Wisteria leads the way out following the directions she was given. By the Hunters Guild. Out into the plains and down a dirt road. "Okay from here on out we're hunting goblins." she says hand on katana hilt as she starts cautiously into the tall grass. A fair bit into the grass there is a loud *SNAP* and Wisteria manage not to end up in a pit thanks to a quick cast and a bounce off of a glowing air rune she manages to get a foot on before going in. "Well...it looks like it's time to go into trap avoidance mode." she says.

    Mizuki's ears perk up at the sudden snap. "Traps in the tall grass? Ugh... at least it makes SENSE, unlike the Landers trapping their own basements... where's a lawnmower when you need one? Follow me... carefully... unless I step in a trap, of course..."

    But she doesn't, as she starts carefully making her way through, sharp were fang senses locating traps. "Careful, watch for the trap there..." she points. "And there." She points. "And--" *SNAP* "--YOW!"

Kauchemar stops playing at the sound of a trap going off, stowing her instrument. "Huh. -These- goblins actually bothered to set their traps. I guess it's time to stop pussy footing around...." There's a flash in her eyes beneath the hood, which is then yanked back with the rest of her cloak as she transforms into her full Nightmare Were Fang form. "And pony foot instead!" Cuz hooves and what not. She dashes into the long grass, intend on just running through faster than anything can catch her.

It.. doesn't quite work entirely. She succeeds in jumping over a pit, and avoiding a few snares... but then trips on a stray rock that may or may not been intentionally place there and tumbles forward, disappearing under the tall grass.


Kauchemar eventually stumbles out the other end of the long grass field, multiple hunting traps clamped onto her hooves and tail and skirt and cloak and even one on her horn despite it being rather short. That last one is the first one she grabs to pry open and remove. "... Well at least none of them exploded," she mutters as she throws the trap over her shoulder and back into the field.

    Miyako sighs softly as she notices Wisteria getting caught by the trap. "Oh wonderful. /Smart/ Goblins. At least they're not Kobolds." She shakes her head and slows so she can focus her attention on the ground, watching for further traps.

    In the back of her mind, she flashes back to a classic movie scene. 'I found one!' 'What kind is it?' 'The kind that blows up, how the heck do I know?'

    And on she goes, slowly and carefully. Of course, that means it's almost inevitable that she actually run into one. "Crap!" she mutters, throwing herself flat as a spear launches straight through the space she was just occupying. "Oh, grief," she mutters. She gets to her feet, dusting herself off, glad that she -can- do that so easily now.

Goldenblade acks as she finds herself surrounded by traps. The goblins must have left them to keep out adventurers. "Did these not used to be here?" she wonders, because she's heard a lot has changed in game recently. Otherwise we would have been looking and not just walked p on them. Or at least that's what she'd like to think. She looks for a clear route as free of traps as she can find, and the ones she can't avoid, she'll leap and twist to avoid, which she manages to do with a healthy dose of luck and good planning. She actually handsprings over a trap after diving clear of a sweeping stake, and she lands on her feet, panting. "Well, now," she says in surprise. "I haven't been able to do /that/ in -years-."

"Clever girl," Dare mutters bemusedly, sidling up to the pit's edge to see how it was constructed. "These are the most intelligent vermin I've encountered yet, if they're setting traps for us. Watch for the flanking attacks." He kneels for a moment in the grass, pondering. "I can track living things well enough but spotting tripwires and pitfalls isn't one of my class skills. I DO have pretty good evasion though, so I can try going ahead and you all can step where I step? Assuming I manage not to fall in..."

He waits though, giving the MiMi's a chance to scout ahead first... and it seems the rest of the party sets off most of the traps for him anyway. With a rueful chuckle, he makes his way cautiously across the field, spotting a couple of wires just at the last second but managing to trip through them rather into them.

    Wisteria looks at the field and the antics. Then with a soft sigh she starts a shuffle run, her sword snaping out to deflect incoming projectiles while dancing over trip wires and then finishes the impressive run shifting to werebun form and leaping over a pit that was left in Kauchemar's wake of destruction. "See wasn't so hard."

    She sheaths her katana and then looks up like Indiana exiting the first trap temple only to find himself surrounded by Hovitos. "Well...that's disapointing." she says "Nah... it's fight TIME!" she says grinning widely, showing of those ragged shark like razor fangs in disordly rows that explain how a Bunbun were is even possible. She's a caerbannog.

The instant the goblins are spotted, Dare drops to one knee and unslings his bow. "Step on up to the shooting gallery and win a prize," he drawls, swiftly nocking an arrow and letting fly. It whizzes into the chest of one of the lead goblins with a wet thunk, causing it to explode into glowing pixels almost before the others monsters are even aware of it! The hunter immediately grabs for another arrow from his quiver, angling his shortbow slightly to take aim at the next in his sights. This one manages to get a crappy wooden shield up to deflect the shot at the last moment, but stumbles and falls down, leaving those behind it wide open.

Goldenblade seems to have the hang of this, and her reticence to kill mobs (which aren't real people she's been told) has faded by now, so both blades slide out, and she leaps into the fray, twirling like a ballerina, though with three feet of razor-sharp steel in either hand, the dance is a bit more of a final waltz. Or it would be, but it seems she's been a bit overconfident and the first goblin that parries a blade stops her mid-twirl, and then she's backed up, and at something of a loss. "Uh. How do I do the thing, again?" she asks nervously, backpedalling very fast.

    "Ahh, good, a proper fight." Miyako grins and gives her naginata a twirl, a disk of shadows forming where it passes. "Hope your life insurance is paid up!" She grounds the butt of the weapon, and the disk fragments into a dozen shards, each of them shooting forth, pairs of them each swooping about to impale a goblin from either side. "Do give my regards to your maker."

Dare spots Goldenblade having a bit of difficulty and without hesitation sends another arrow whizzing past to take out the goblin menacing her. "No worries Gold, I gotcha!"

    Mizuki yowls as she keeps stepping in traps and limps after, unless someone heals her. When they see the goblins, if noone already healed her, she rezzes and chugs a healing potion. "Let's do this." SHe swaps from her jacket to a ninja gi, midnight purple with purple belt and a long, bright red scarf, draws a dagger, and charges into the fray. "Don't worry too much about these guys, they're mooks!" She shouts encouragingly to those new to combat, while demonstrating exactly what she means, pouncing a goblin, digging her claws into it with one hand while slitting its throat with the other, then leaping to another, disembowling it with her hindclaws and running towards the next, swiping once with claw then following up with a stab, and on to the next one... Like the doomslayer chaining glory kills but a ninja catgirl instead.

    Man, if there was blood instead of glowing polygons she would be such a mess right now...

Kauchemar pulls off the rest of the traps, even as goblins move in to try and surround the group. Probably waiting nearby for the sound of the traps to go off and pick off the wounded, seeing how poorly geared they are themselves. Which brings a wicked little smile to her lips that shows her viper fangs as she pulls her instrument back from inventory. "I think it's time for a little turnabout~" She doesn't quite start to play though instead making a deep and firm chant.

"Treguna! Mekoides! Trecorum satis dee!"
The traps she pulled off herself click-a-clack on the ground as dark magic swirls around them. As they're animated by the bardic summoners magics they reload themselves and then spring forward, aiming to clamp onto the possibly the very goblins that once set them as Kauchemar does start to play herself a song.

"o/~ Substitutionary Locomotion... Mystic power that's far beyond the wildest notion!
It's so weird, so feared, yet wonderful to see! Substitutionary Locomotion come to me! o/~" The Nightmare preying on a fear of their own trickery being turned against them!

    Wisteria does the samurai shuffle right at the goblins. Her sword snapping out in a clean iaitsu strike. A red line going diagonally through a goblin. The tip glowing with dark energy sends an arc of black light through two more. She grins that unsettling caerbannog grin when the 'bloodbath' is complete.

     "Ahh..a good match gets the heart thumping... I should host a tourney... I wonder how many people would come?" she asks "Bet we could christen Tolbana, that would introduce more people to the tower." she says thinking aloud as she walks backwards further into the woods. The sound of armor makes her stop and turn. "Well... that's not good... can't let him keep leveling up." she says "Or we'll have some crap to deal with later." she says dropping into her starting form hand on hilt.

Kauchemar ends her musical event with a cackle of dark delight as several of the goblins are driven off by the animated traps. Though even with the combination of music and magic putting that many objects into motion is a bit taxing of the reserves. If she keeps that up she's not going to have much mana left for the boss or whatever else might come up.

Or a lone goblin warrior that's actually advanced to the point of wearing armor and getting more decent weapons. Which actually gets her to tilt her head a moment. "Interesting... some monsters don't follow the basic automation anymore it seems."

She dismisses her instrument again, instead pulling the whip from her hip and uncoiling it with a crack in the air. "You're not going anywhere, buster." She snaps the whip again, and lashes it out to grab the armored goblin around the neck while digging in her hooves to anchor herself. True to form she's going more for disrupt and disable, and leaving the heavy hitting to others. "Drop his ass hard and fast!"

"Now there's a big boy," Dare agrees, his eyebrows climbing up a bit. This one may take more than one shot. Or... well, all of them working together, frankly, from what his Inspect window is showing him. He draws his bow, taking extra careful aim this time, eyes narrowing on what he perceives to be a gap in the creature's armor, just under the ribcage. He exhales slowly and releases the bowstring... and the arrow glances off the goblin's mail-covered side as it happens to turn just slightly.

"Crap," Dare mutters under his breath and draws again, giving himself a few more seconds this time to line up his aim, even as the goblin looks in his direction and lets out an angry yell. This time the bolt sticks in the joint of its knee, not a fatal strike by any means but severely hampering its mobility as it cries out and stumbles in pain.

Goldenblade makes a mental note. Mooks can be a threat, do not treat the game like it's ... just a game. OK. She gives Dareshetani a thumbs-up, breathing a sigh of relief as he nails the goblin threatening her. Just her luck to face the band's elite warriors. That /must/ have been it, the other goblins all went down like chumps. The next one they see looks tougher than the others, and it's got armor besides. It is clearly a goblin of consequence. The term mini-boss is not in her vocabulary, but it will be after this.

She advances warily this time, approaching the stray armored goblin, and she'll launch a couple feints until Kauchemar graps him with her whip, and then he takes an arrow to the knee, then she's all offense, blades flashing as she slashes it down, ducking any counterattacks that come her way.

    The bloodbath is over, and Wisteria's is one of MANY fangy were grins. Mizuki strikes a pose and dramatically sheaths her dagger.

    "A fighting tournament would be cool... I really need to get in more practice duels here." She holds her hands out, palms-up, and extends her claws. "Fighting is so fun... I wonder if we should be worried about whether living in such a violent world is affecting us mentally? Ah well, I guess we can't help it..."

    Her ears perk up and rotate at the same sound, and she turns to look at it. "Pfeh, not as cute as Armored Rat. Alright newbies, time for practice!" And then she disappears into the trees.

    After waiting for the fight to begin, suddenly a thin line of bright orange light sweeps across the armored goblin, flames erupting in its wake; then it sweeps back across the other way, its source: Mizuki, cheering the party on from a tree branch! "Yeeeah! That's how we do it! Good job, team!"

Seeing the hero goblin suitably maimed and with Goldenblade all over it, Dare lowers his bow and grins in satisfaction. He's even at ease enough to weigh in on the tournament notion. "Dunno how I'd feel about duelling someone," he admits. "I've never been great at PvP, preferred the PvPvE kinda aspect to it, building defenses and all. I'd enter a sharpshooting competition though." A beat. "And lose, of course," he clarifies with one of those weird ululating heyna laughs. "But it could be fun."

"I'd at least give people a challenging opponent to figure out how to deal with," Kauchemar chimes in, even as she twists to pull the whip tighter as the armored goblin tries to struggle free from all the attacks.

    Miyako hmms to herself, and considers just how best to deal with the creature. Then she gets an idea. "Hey, Goldie!" she calls out. "Watch this!"

    She lifts one hand, inscribing glowing runes in the air with her fingertip... and when she finishes, "Twin Darkness!" she calls out... and the set of runes splits into two duplicates as it arcs through the air... each set wrapping around one of Goldenblade's swords to sheathe it with gleaming shadow.

Wisteria seeing the team come together. She scribes some runes in the air and with a smile adds "Fierceness of Earth." A cascade of earthen energy climbs Golden, filling her limbs with massive strength. Leading to one of her final cuts going clear through the Goblin's armor dropping it's hipoints to zero and leading the explosion of white pixelated death.

    "Good job Golden." she says with a wide grin. "Lets see where all these Goblins are coming in from." she says "Should be a monster lair around here somewhere given how many we've seen." she offers up.

Kauchemar grins as people put buffs on Golden and pulls her whip free just before the newbie delivers the final crushing blow. "You're getting the hang of this!... With help, of course. But we all need a little help sometimes." There's some of that Muse inspiration coming through. Sort of.

Now they need to find the source of this infestation... Which the Nightmare isn't really prepped for. "Sorry, if I'd known there was going to be so much nature in the way I would of packed a Hunter Slime."

"You're not wrong," Dare agrees, first lifting his head high to sniff the air, then dropping down, nearly to all fours to examine the tracks in the tall grass. Whether he's agreeing with Wisteria of Kauchemar is up for debate. "I think they came from this direction," he indicates, head still down with his eyes focused on the ground, as he points with his bow. Carefully he noses forward, following the hints of bent blades, scattered pebbles and crushed detritus left over from the previous fall. It's slow going but it ought to eventually get them close enough to spot something more obvious in the way of goblin-signs.

Goldenblade makes extra-quick work of the goblin mini-boss with Miyako's magic on her blades, and she seems to have a bit of her confidence back. She gives Kauchemar a thumbs-up and a grin. That did feel pretty butch. The confidence is perhaps misplaced, though, as our next task sems to be actually finding the lair. She has no talent for that sort of searching and tracking, but she can work out where the bodies lying, and from there, see which way he came from.

No, she can't, really, all she can do is look around for likely hidey holes. She'll follow the others, pointing out if they've missed anything, or places to look and check, and is hopefully at least generally helpful. "Hey, what's that there?" "Did you check under the rock?" So helpful.

    Mizuki already cheered and congratulated, so now she drops out of the tree next to the team. "Man, there really should be a quest marker or something just leading us to the goblins' lair on the minimap. Who designed this quest?"

    She looks around, sighs, and climbs back into the tree. "/Packed/ a hunter slime? You have a pet one? What's it do?"

    Dare points a direction, and Mizuki leaps through the trees, eventually stopping to sniff the air. "I smell goblin... this way!"

    Miyako hmms softly and pauses to follow the armored goblin's tracks back, pausing to examine a bush with several broken twigs, picking out a few other traces here and there. "Probably those hills," she muses, looking up at a series of small rises in the distance. "Best place for a cave."

"No, but I could summon one if I had the proper magics prepared," Kauchemar replies to Mizuki. "It's a predatory subspecies of slime with some animal-like traits." Like senses for hunting and tracking.

She pauses, hmming while the others search. "Though making a companion of one wouldn't be a bad idea..."

    Wisteria walks along with everyone her long ears perked up... but really when you're tracking rather than following, sharp hearing is less an advantage and more a distraction really. When they find the cave, it's goblins and their boss all waiting in ambush. Stupid little jerks. The first arrow flies in "Alright, lets see if my new sword is as good on Bosses as it has been on grunts." she draws her katana with its dark light dancing along the edge.

Goldenblade will rush the goblin archer, dashing suddenly left, suddenly right, spoiling his aim but drawing his fire as she barrels towards him. Her boots dig up turf with each change of direction, and she wishes for a moment someone had invented cleats here. But she'd selected /that/ skill, and her evasion is turned up to eleven, as her kids would say, and the goblin can't hit her at all as she gets right up in its face. Hopefully that distraction has allowed her allies to get into position.

Aiming for the mages? Oh no, that's not cool. Dare may be ranged DPS by default but he starts forward, intending to Flashstep through the zone of fire and draw it away from the casters. He stops, though, when Goldenblade flashes past him first and takes care of that problem very nicely. "Gotta go fast!" he shouts, laughing, and plants himself instead to return fire at the enemy archers. His shortbow isn't really the best at this range, but with Gold running interference his job is made much easier. After putting an arrow through one of the goblin's ears, and another whizzing past in a very near headshot miss, the rest have to duck and cover, and suddenly Mr Skilled Goblin Ranger doesn't have his backup.

    Suddenly, goblin boss! "Tch. You missed!" Mizuki charges in an evasive zig-zag, and pounces one of the adds, tearing into it with tooth and claw and growling angrily when it stabs her in return. Her ears rotate back as she hears Wis charging the boss. Now's her chance! She piles on from behind, drawing her daggers for a leaping double stab and raking at the boss's back with her hindclaws! Hopefully they can pile on enough damage to end this fight before she's dogpiled by goblin adds!

A whinney of surprise escapes the Nightmare as an arrow whizzes right past her head. "Dirty little vermin," she hisses afterwards, pointed tongue flicking between fangs much like a snake's would briefly. But then she composes herself, and the sinister smirk returns as she once more pulls out her instrument. "Time for the show stopper." If they want to aim at mages, she'll give them something to aim at alright.

She starts to play, but it's not to actually whip up any magic. It's just a jaunty, earwormy beat that's easy for her to move along to. She is quite literally dancing away from the Goblin Ranger's shots as she moves with the rhythm. Which also gets her right up in the sights of his supporters, to were she can lean over into one's face and nickers.

"Mahna mahna."

She then twirls and dances away, continuing the routine with the song to draw their attention, their ire, and annoyance... but evade their attacks.

With hearty additional "MAHNA MAHNA!"s every time she eludes an attack with one of her elaborate dance movements.

    Once Kauchemar starts that, Mizuki makes sure to sing playful "Doot dooooo do do doo!" between the nightmare's words.

    Of course, it's Miyako who pulls the aggro by, y'know, /trying to cast a spell/. She's halfway through one of her shadow-dart rune-clusters when the first arrows come her way. Or maybe they're just missing Mizuki or someone else. In either case, she's too focused on the spell to get out of the way like she normally would.

    "Blast your eyes!" she cries out as her spell is shattered. "Fine. I'll do this the hard way." She grabs her naginata and charges straight at the boss goblin, leaping into the air to come down on it from above.

    And to get swatted across the clearing like a mildly annoying fly for her trouble. She slams into a tree at high velocity and slumps to the ground at its foot. "Well, -damn-," she mutters as she picks herself up, brushing forest debris from her clothes, seeming not to notice the large red pixelated area around her back where she'd struck the tree. "Ow."

    Golden rushes in ala Leroy, and Dareshetani starts laying down cover fire. Mizuki-chi dodges through and makes for the epic backstab. Then Kauchemar has gone muppets and yah that has distractions all around. Wisteria grins a feral grin, all razor fangs and promised malice. Then she charges in using Golden for cover, and her new enchanted blade slashes out, no sword art, no magic spells, the blade leaves a red mark, and a dark flash leaves the goblin boss stunned and drooling. She passes by him and goes to work on his entourage leaving the stunned boss to the mercy of the party as she clears out the adds. A few more black flashes indicate her sword procing and it makes her laugh happily amid the digitized carnage.

Goldenblade finds the song vaguely familiar, his kids would watch the show sometimes, but he can't place it. But they come to a clearing, and with a chance to rest. She will look around, and sink down, leaning back on her elbows and breathing out a heavy sigh. "This is a bit harder than I was expecting," she admits. "But easier, too, in a way. There's no way I could have done this outside the game. Hey, do we have a minute?" she wonders, pulling a waterskin from her pack and taking a few deep swallows.

    Mizuki tears into the boss while it's stunned, adding fire to injury and roasting it with her breath point-blank! Once that's done, she holds her daggers in the air in victory! "YEAH!" Then twirls and sheaths them, nodding to Goldenblade. "Yeah, right? being a cat ninja rules!"

    More quietly, she adds, "Also, being physically in our prime and not out of shape, to boot."

    When she sees Goldenblade taking a drink, she opens her inventory, looks at something for a long moment, then shakes her head. As she starts scrolling through it, though, she sees something else and makes a little gasp. She's forgotten about that!

    Mizuki rezzes a wrapped bento box and walks up to Wisteria. "Hey, Wis? It's a bit late, since clearing Floor 1 was so long ago, but... I want you to have this." She holds it out, smiling.

Kauchemar infuriates the enemy ranks. It's one of the things she's found she is very capable of doing, with or without magic. By the time she's done with her little act, the goblins are dealt with.

The equine were fang plops down at the rest point with the others. "Looks like it." She sets her lute aside, and wraps her hands around a shin to pull up that leg into a flex. "Yeah. Though to be honest, I was a master at dance rhythm games, and even then I couldn't move like -this- in a normal human body."

    Wisteria smiles and heads over to Mizuki-chi and gives her a heavy bunny hug. "What's that?" she asks taking the offered object looking it over.

"Seems so..." Dare replies to Goldenblade, frowning slightly as he looks about. He'd been expecting a loot shower and quest completion after that last fight, and the indication that there's still another battle ahead is... troubling. "Yeah," he relates, "I can't shoot OR sing in the old world either. And I know this may be a shock but I'm also not a beastman," he grins. And there's his fangs for the group's complete set.

As safe as this area seems to be, he's unwilling to relax his guard entirely, and merely squats on his haunches to take a swig from his own waterskin, his eyes still darting around the perimeter of the clearing.

"This is so weird. There don't seem to be any more mobs around. Do we have to go back to the Guild to finish the quest?"

    Mizuki blinks. "...It's food. Real food. Real Japanese food. There's this chef guy who gives out food to anyone who helps him... when he gave me this, I knew you'd appreciate it more than me." It is indeed the bento box given after the slime duty, saved in her inventory all this time! Omurice with meat bits.

    Wisteria squeezes Mizuki. "Thank you so much Mizuki-chi!" she says brightly and squeezes harder before inventorying the lunch to eat once they get back and turn in the quest. After the party takes a break she nods "Time for the long boring walk back." She announces and starts said journey, shifting back to human form once they're on the road. The tall albnio girl looking pleased as punch with her new sword. "Did you see how well it works Mizuki-chi?" she asks patting the hilt happily.

Goldenblade nods to Dareshetani, chuckles. "I'm a bricklayer in real life," she admits. "But also 75 years old. Doing all this is just flat out amazing. My kids were going to join me on the weekend, but I imagine they didn't log on, knowing what happened." She says to him, "I got a completion thing that came up and then faded out, I think we're done." She nods to Mizuki, "Ah, yeah, I went there, it was my first food with taste since I've been in game, it was amazing. I can make a bit, myself, but it's not very good."

She will follow the others back, of course, she doesn't want to get stranded out here, though she does scan around warily for any goblins who maybe are looking for a bit of revenge.

Kauchemar laughs a bit at the conversation. Once she's stretched her legs to make sure they don't get sore after all that dancing (as odd as having to consider that in Elder Tale is still), she nods a bit. "This was a quest directly from the Hunter's Guild so that's probably the case, Dare." Followed by a soft huh at Golden's story. "That's probably for the best... I'm sure there's plenty of kids stuck here and uncertain what to do as it is."

She grabs her lute and gets back onto her hooves. "Well, at least we can make it a little less boring." She'll play something to help keep people motivated to trek back to town.

    Her back slowly healing, Miyako rejoins the rest with a smile already on her lips. "Well that was fun," she announces. "Good to see we managed to beat the monsters once again, hey?" She has to smile when Goldenblade announces her true age. "You're not the only one who's having fun just moving around here... probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Damn sorry about the kids, though."

"Seventy-five? Wow, that's awesome that, well, at least you were gonna TRY to meet up with your kids here," Dare trails off a bit. "I mean it sucks that they didn't make it. I mean -- that you got stuck here without them," he amends awkwardly. Not everyone is as happy as he is to be living in a video game. He decides to shut his mouth before he makes it weirder.

He does tap out a beat on his little hand drum to go along with Kauchemar's walking music though.

    Mizuki hugs Wis back at the squeeze! "Yeah, that was pretty cool! I'm surprised this boss is vulnerable to status effects. Maybe enchanted weapons bypass the usual immunity somehow? We'll have to research this, but..."

    She puts an arm around Wis. "You may have found something game-breaking!"

    She walks along with the others. Giggling when Daresh says he's not really a beastman. "I got to shoot a few times, but I wasn't really great. I could sing though! But o/~ not in these registeeeeers o/~ Well, I guess in falsetto..."

    She looks to Goldenblade. "Seventy-five? Wow. I knew you said you were old but I figured fifties, maybe sixties..." She looks around as they walk through simulated nature. "Yeah. This IS all amazing. I hated outdoorsy stuff out there... well. I guess it was cool sometimes, but... I had no friends growing up so sports weren't much fun, and the only camping trips I went on were with my family. Mom and Dad weren't into games, and we couldn't bring much in the way of videogames back then anyway. Batteries just didn't last long. So it was just like, oh, hey, here's forced seperation from your internet friends and all the fun stuff you like. Also, mosquitos! And getting dirty and sweaty. Camping is 95% all that stuff, and maybe 5% 'Ooh, look at nature's beauty, feel that cool breeze', etc. I guess it'd have been better if I had friends."

    She smiles at the group. "Like in here! We're all on an adventure together! And THAT makes the outdoors fun! Also, mosquitos can't get through my fur! Suck it, mosquitos! Or rather, don't suck it! Because it's winter and too cold for you! Ha!"

Kauchemar grins as Dare joins in with providing some light travel music. You get more than one Bard together and this is what happens. "I do miss the nightclub DJ circuit... But there is more than enough going on here to entertain and occupy myself with. If I really want to liven up some nightlife I just go play at one of the taverns for a few hours until the drunks pass out." She laughs a bit more, and gives her hips a little extra sway to swish her tail. "Well, if we're still stuck here by summer time, at least I've got a built in flyswatter."

    Wisteria laughs "Could just be he's a goblin." she says with a snort "I mean... goblin... boss or no boss right?" she grins, the grin is much less intimidating but no less fierce without all the razor fangs. "Well Obaasan you are learning, and thanks or coming to help with all the butt kicking." she says with a warm laugh and a squeeze around Golden's shoulders.

Dare laughs as Mizuki chatters on. "Yeah, get wrecked mosquitoes!" he calls out to the non-existant bugs. "My parents also weren't into gaming, but at least they never made me go camping either. I was one of those kids who'd stay locked up all summer with a book and be perfectly happy. Well, not one book. But you know. The library was five miles away and I used to ride my bike there a few times a week..." he trails off with a strange little nostalgic smile. One of the good memories, there.

"I haven't even seen most of my family in over a year. They're all still back in the States. Used to doing all my socializing online, you know?"

Goldenblade shrugs to Miyako about her kids. "It's not that I don't want to see them, but I'd hate to have them trapped here, too. They have lives, at least. More than me, just retired and waiting to die. So it's just as well they're not here." She adds to Dareshetani, "They've got their own lives anyhow, they don't need to be doting on me." Anyhow, seeing granddad as a young woman would probably be very strange to them. She hrms to Mizuki, "Didn't I say before? Yeah..."

As to the unpleasantness of camping, she sighs, "I liked camping, personally. It's not just seeing the outdoors, you get to ... well, I guess the kids don't do much. I did most of the cooking and campmaking, though, so it was a feeling of accomplishment for doing that, and he kids helped out where they could. And then you're ready for if an earthquake takes out power for a week." She laughs at being called granny by Wisteria, and says, "Thank you for allowing me to come with you, I definitely learned a lot."

    "Camping was a big thing for my family when I was little... we went all over the place. Mostly by boat..." She grins. "Nothing quite like being at sea. There's just something special about gliding over the waves, powered by nothing but the wind in your sails..."

    Mizuki nods to Dare. "My house had a lot of books in it. I never did read all of them, but I liked genre fiction the best anyway. Man, it's crazy, but over my childhood I read the whole encyclopedia? And then the Library of Alexandria became a thing... and then it wasn't, and now we need encyclopedias again. What a crazy time we live in... I mean, aside from the whole trapped-in-a-videogame thing."

    She hangs her head when Goldenblade says 'waiting to die', but listens to the others speak before replying. "...I did go on one camping trip with my friends, as an adult, a few years ago. It was pretty alright, and we did camping stuff... but also, D&D 4th Edition had just come out and we read the new core books for the first time. Also a friend had just lent me Megaman ZX Advent and played a fair bit of it around the campfire... Because of that, later I went back and found all the Mega Man Zero games. I'd assumed they weren't good because of how dumb Zero's design looked in SvC Chaos..."


    She looks at Goldenblade, more seriously. "...You were really waiting to die? There was nothing more you wanted to do?"

Kauchemar winces a little at the 'waiting to die' comment. Did old people really get to be that bad? "Well at least for now you don't have to worry about that. So enjoy the chance at a second life, right? More than enough new experiences to be had in this world."

"God, I miss Alexandria," Dare agrees emphatically. "I... can't say I ever read the encyclopedia recreationally though. I was more a sci-fi and fantasy nerd. I think I had about every Star Trek novel ever, thanks to this great little used bookstore near my house..."

He doesn't really weigh in on the death thing, probably for reasons of his own, but he does add in a subdued voice, "That's how I'm looking at this. Chance to live life like I wish I could've back in the other world."

    Wisteria smiles "We always went to osen." she shrugs "Like we'd go to Kyoto, or to see shrines and castles and then stay at an osen and hang out in yukata and play pingpong or board games." she shrugs "Dad loved kendo too, that's how I got started, and so we'd go places that were important to the Shogunate erra and the Megi restoration." she licks her lips. Who'd really take the bunbun girlwith all her sword violence as a history buff?

Goldenblade nods to Mizuki, no angst or depression, but she says, "Oh, I'd lived a full life, have no fear. My grandkids were almost in college, and there wasn't anything we needed to do. The kids and grandkids were happy to see us, but they had their own lives and concerns, too. Waiting to die isn't a bad thing, you get done doing things eventually. I was tired and just getting around took all I had some days." She nods to Kauchemar, "That's more or less what my son said. Play this game, you'll feel young again, and be able to do things without all the aches and pains. And they were right, and I definitely -am- enjoying things. Getting stuck here's a bit inconvenient, I guess, but it's a net positive for me." She nods to Wisteria, "My oldest did martial arts tournaments, but I never did it, myself."

"My parents were always busy with work. I did most stuff with my older and younger sisters." Conversation helps pass the time on the trip to town along with the light music so Kauchemar is providing a bit of both now. One more pleasant topics. She may be a dread horse but that doesn't mean she want to talk about death and such so casually. "They're the ones that actually got me into other music activities like dancing."

    Wisteria nods "I'm glad you're having such a good time of it Obaasan." she whistles along with Kauchemar's music. "I'm still going home just as fast as I can." she smiles "But I'll help you as long as I'm still here." she says brightly and bounces along headding back to town and eventually to the Hunter's Guild were everyone gets paid.

    "But what about the future! Don't you wanna see it? Hell, even BEFORE it turned out that we have... THIS in 2013... You're 75, so you... were born around world war two, grew up in the 60s, and saw... color television, videogames, and personal computers become a thing! And the internet! And now Altimit and, y'know, fully immersive VR!"

    She holds her hands up in the air. "You saw people go to the moon! And we're gonna go back someday, and then to Mars and then to the stars! Don't you want to see that? And whatever other cool stuff happens that we can't even imagine, like, y'know, THIS!"

    "...Well okay, I guess a lot of stories lately imagined exactly this but you get my point." She makes a fist. "If this game is giving you a reason to live again, then I hope you don't have to go back! We should make contact with the real world again and find out what happened to us, but that doesn't mean everyone has to leave... You've got grandkids, but don't you wanna see great grandkids?"

    Then she holds her hands to the sides of her face. "God. I had, like, no plan. I never thought about getting /old/. But maybe... maybe I could just come back in here when I get old?"

    She glances aside to Wisteria. "The onsen was really a place to hang out, huh? I know we went a few weeks back and talked, but that was more because I hadn't had a hot shower or bath in weeks than as a hangout spot. It just seems... weird, to an American, to say 'hey friends let's go bathe together'..."

Dareshetani, also American, looks up again from his thoughts (and the light tap-tapping he's kept up on his drum), and deadpans, "Yes. Yes it does." Then he laughs lightly. "But hey, if we can be furries and elves and stuff here, and, you know, do magic? Some of the Japanese conventions don't seem so weird by comparison."

Goldenblade chuckles again at being called granny, and says, "Well, you will see more of me, I expect." She smiles to Mizuki, and says, "Oh, trust me, the future is an endless stream of wonders. But no one lives forever, so I'm not under any illusions there. Someday it will be my time. I'll definitely enjoy life as long as I can, to be sure. But the end of days comes to everyone eventually." Something she's thought about at some length, it seems, and has come to terms with. But she senses it's a tender subject for some and will drop it.

She laughs about onsens, and says, "The toughest part of the onsen here is to remember to go into the women's side. I feel like I'm peeping."

    "No plan is pretty much the embodiment of my life, Mizuki. Sometimes I felt like I was just stumbling from one disaster to the next, doing my best to enjoy the bits in between." Miyako chuckles softly, arching a brow briefly at Goldenblade's revelation. "I think... I think at this point it just doesn't matter. People are /people/, if we get all paranoid about who we -used- to be we'll never be able to get anywhere with who we are -now-."

    Wisteria "It's more that you hang out in the ryokan attached to the osen." she says "But real hot springs are just something we do... or going to the wine baths or coffee bath at the water park? Didn't you ever go to a water park? They're so good." she says laughing even as they get paid putting her coins away. "Back home I have kendo, and Angelic Layer, and my family." she says "That's prety much it, my plan was around Kendo." she says with a shrug. "So now my plan is around finding the way back." she smiles "Everyone's plans change."

Kauchemar laughs again at Goldenblades remark about which part of the onsen to go in. "I spent so much time going to things with my sisters I never really notice the difference... I guess you could say they taught me how to be a girl very well!", she replies, and gives a little more shake in her stride for a moment to go with it. "Himari would maybe be jealous of how nimbly I move now though." She chuckles a bit more. "Miyako is right though. Who we are here is what matters right now."

    Mizuki flatly, "If we can be furries and elves here this is a different kind of convention." Beat. "I love it! Adventurecon 24/7, starting January 1st, 2013! Lasting until... who knows! Not the worst place to get trapped..."

    No one lives forever? "Oooh, what if we DO now, though? Like... if we're really not in our bodies anymore, why wouldn't we? There's no... body to break down, no cancer, no telomeres to run out of, no organs to wear out... Sorry. I don't mean to sound dismissive, coming to terms with death sounds..." She looks away and gets quiet, "...super hard. And depressing." She looks back to Goldenblade. "But maybe there's another silver lining to getting trapped here..."

    As for the other thing... She replies somberly, "When I went it was only Wis there and I just tried to avoid seeing anything." She scratches her head. "I suppose sooner or later more awkward situations will come up. Is the situation we're in now any different from lesbians though? What do THEY do?"

    Beat. "...Probably feel incredibly awkward."

    Mizuki looks at Wis. "Wine bath? Coffee bath? I guess it's /not/ what I'm picturing right now, because even as much as they love coffee back home I don't think anyone goes /that/ far."

    She looks at Kauchemar. "You're /another/ one? Holy cow, we're everywhere! We just keep coming out of the woodwork! I thought I was gonna have almost noone to talk to about this stuff."

    Mizuki adds, rather more somberly: "...I thought when people found out, most folks would think I was weird..."

    Wisteria squooshes Mizuki. "You're just Mizuki-chi, and Golden is Obaasan, and Kauchemar is a scary horse lady." she says with a giggle. She drapes herself on Mizuki again now that they're not walking. Ahh privilages of the tall!

Goldenblade laughs and nods at being who we are now. "Who can say what we are now, I guess? Maybe we /are/ immortal. That'd be convenient. If there's no way to log out, we won't ever find out, I expect. But I think that detail's probably not important, either. She chuckles at finding out she's not the only crossplayer, and admits, "It wasn't even my plan. I was just admiring the avatars and then suddenly it selected the one I was looking at and moved me to the next stage." She hadn't noticed the timer, clearly.

    Miyako nods and reaches up to clap Wisteria on the shoulder. "Very true indeed, neighbor. Very true indeed. And frankly, while I may miss some things about the -life- I left behind... most certainly -not- the body." She grins and twirls around on one foot, hops up and down, and tilts back her head to look up at the sky. "I feel like I'm finally -free-."

Kauchemar just grins and winks at Mizuki understandingly. And nods in agreement with Miyako's statements. "There's things I miss. Like more modern equipment!" A short wickering laugh. "But I've been finding ways to use magic and summoner abilities to make up for it."

Dare chuckles. "My life was boring and I definitely don't miss my body. I was blind, asthmatic and had bad knees. Here I can do pretty much anything I want, /and/ look awesome doing it," he gives his head a little whimsical primadonna toss, making his messy reddish mane flop over to the other side of his neck and stick up in bedhead manner in different places. Then places his pinky finger/claw to his lips and puckers them into a little 'o' in his best glamor pose.

    Miyako too? "I KNEW it!" Mizuki replies. "No, uh, no offense, just seemed statistically likely given geeky interests."

    Although, then she looks solemn again as Miyako talks about finally being free. "Ah, you're... I'm happy for you, but I'm... Hrm..." She crosses her arms as she tries to arrange thoughts. "I'd have said, 'a guy', but I guess that doesn't really matter so much or I'd be rather unhappy with this body. But it's not like I feel like a girl's the real me, I'm just me. Augh, I made this confusing again."

    She turns and points to Dare with both hands. "Yes! Good for you!"

    Wisteria smiles "Well I'm going home it's a long way to go if we dont' find a shortcut. Beyond that." he shrugs "I duno. I like it here, I like hanging out with Mizuki-chi and I like going on quests and I like trying to find my way home... it's exciting." she sighs and shrugs "But I still want to be home."

Goldenblade nods to Dareshetani, "Looks like a few of us are physically much better off here." She shrugs, "Lots of places can be home. It's all what you make of it. But as for me, I think I want to sleep, whether it's home or an inn or wherever." She yawns.

    "I make it a practice," Miyako says, "Not to interfere with those who -want- to go home... but, well. Someone has to address the possibility that we -won't-." She shrugs. "So, division of labor." She swipes a hand across the menu, and the naginata disappears, replaced by her well-loved guitar. "'s why I don't sing songs about going home," she adds, picking out a familiar John Denver tune on the strings. "Just makes people sad."

"Sleep sounds good," Dare agrees. "Gotta rest up if we're gonna tackle that Floor Two boss." Hey, he may want to stay here but that doesn't mean he won't try to help others get home. "Thanks for the group, guys. And the chat!"

    "S'not like it really matters that much anyway..." Mizuki rambles, "What do people see first when they look at this body, a girl or a cat? S'not like I've got much emphasizing the former..." She briefly holds her hands up to but out from her chest.

    To Goldenblade she asides, "Sleep anywhere! Another advantage of being a cat!"

    Then back to muttering, "That's why I don't use human form much. There's no cat, only... Mmh."

    She turns around and hugs Wis, closing her eyes and resting her head against the taller caerbannog. "You just see Mizuki-chi. Boy or girl doesn't matter."

    Wisteria nods her head "Yup." she says. "Just one Mizuki-chi." she squeezes happily