Wave of Calamity: 2
The second Wave of Calamity has appeared upon the land of the Holy Empire Westelande. Well away from its main holdings, the army isn't mobilizing any significant force at this time - but they are paying Adventurers through the Hunters Guild to investigate what is going on - on the horizon.
The skies grow dark. The clouds churn. It's coming.
| ,.-'''-., |
The clock has ticked down. |/ \|
The Hourglass's sand has reached the | \ / |
bottom. | \ / |
| \ / |
The Purple-and-Blue clouds continue to | ) ( |
swirl overhead. | / ' \ |
| /.:::.\ |
The scope has shrunken to lure | /.:::::.\ |
Adventurers and Hunters towards the |/.:::::::.\|
dangerous eye of the storm. |\:::::::::/|
| '--___--' |
The Hunters Guild has been payed a significant amount of money by the Holy Empire Westelande in order to fund a counter-charge against the enemies, with a few Peko-Knights standing ready on a higher dune, observing the matter.
The desert sands do not feel that hot beneath peoples' feet. The weather in the Yamato region is fairly consistent. And while heat can not so easily escape the sand, the winter is only just dying down in favor of spring, and the sands still have that 'cool' feel to them. It's only the sun that feels hotter against it all. The mullen sand making it harder to get around.
Multiple squads of the New World Alliance have gathered at the front lines, with partial pockets of the Olympus Alliance here to aid. A few Santlions at the periphery of the region are being dealt with to create a free battle arena amidst the multiple dunes of the region.
There's a nervous energy in the air. Some people talk about praying to a Goddess statue in order to try and weaken whatever is coming. But there have been no signs that the strange swirls in the sky that cast this strange 'purple' color over everyone's vision have gotten any easier. The Holy Empire Westelande has guaranteed there are no notable villages in the region people need to be concerned about.
The last piece of sand comes down.
Then, a small reflection of something in the distance, akin to a mirror, right before the sands begin to quake! And then, almost like an enormous whirlpool, the sand begins to drain in towards the center, while enormous white teeth rise up towards the surface, easily the size of a car each. The sand then spews up, as an enormous worm rises up from the sands. Certainly nowhere near the size of a Leviathan, but enormous and dangerous in its own way!
But she's not here for that today of course, she can discuss those later. She's looking in the distance through her spyglass, wondering what's going to happen this time. She can see the giant whirlpools, as she she removes her eyes from the spyglass, she can see the worms sliding out of them "I don't think those are part of the natural fauna, even if they fit. I believe we found our target this time."
She closes the spyglass together and sets it aside in her inventory (game inventories are very practical), as she hops off the rooftop she was observing from, nodding to her friends gathered. To whom she's vastly grateful for her rescue. She still has much to do to amend though. "Fighting on sand is probably not going to be easy like this. Anyone got a plan?"
"If that thing has spice," he says, decisively, "We want it. It'll go /great/ with the beef that dropped off the Minotaur...!"
Perhaps now is not the best time to be thinking with one's stomach, but then he also suggests: "Fire spells might be able to glass the surface of the sand dunes, but I don't know how long that kind of footing is going to last when there's a giant sandworm thrashing around. Might still be worth a try though."
"Yep. Don't slip!"
An excellent plan. Yuuki is definitely quite the tactical thinker. Still, Yuuki seems confident in her answer as she observes the large worm rising up out of the sands in the distance. As she does so, she whistles, "That's a big wormy boy. We're probably going to be hacking at him for a while. Though I wonder what kind of attacks it might have other than crushing us."
The Imp draws her sword, saying excitedly, "Well, there's only one way to find out!"
Yuuki turns to face the others here, raising her sword, "Let's go show Mister Worm who's boss!" It is. Clearly. But Yuuki isn't deterred as she turns around and starts running towards the boss. Though she does wonder out loud, "I wonder if we'll get to ride it if we beat it?"
As the sand trickles, she stands with her hand on her sword, obviously fighting down some anxiety. These events were still strange and unpredictable, and there was no doubt in her mind that it wouldn't be a band of Orcs attacking, this time.
"Some of us might be able to make more solid platforms of rock." She nods to Prophylaxis' idea, "But my worry is that thing just using anything we make into a weapon against us." Glass and stone being shot at them ... hrm.
She raises her sword in answer to Yuuki, seeming to share her enthusiasm, giving a huzzah in answer.
It happened after clearing Aincrad's floor one boss... An hourglass somewhere started counting down and a lot of orcs appeared. Now with the second floor boss cleared and another hourglass beginning a countdown, it just can't be a coincidence.
Regardless of how linked the events may or may not be, Amalthea is here; the old Paladin drums her fingers on the hilt of her sheathed blade as she eyes the rising of the giant worm from the sands.
Before she looks at Prophylaxis from the corner of her eye.
"He who controls the spice, controls the universe, eh?" She muses, before striding forward to the fore of the group, shield at the ready.
"Alright, kids, I guess the spice must flow."
There's something big and dangerous in the sands, and BlackRose is one of the many who's here to try to take it out. Of course, there are others here too, and she's willing to work together with them in order to take this thing down. It's not going to be easy, but nothing in life is ever easy.
Checking a few things in her menu, BlackRose holds her sword tightly with one hand and looks around from side to side, eyes narrowed a little. She looks to Mikage and says, "You bring up a very good point, we're going to have to be careful about that."
"Yeah, but which spice?" she asks. "Ginger? Cinnamon? Nutmeg? I could use some cinnamon..." No, she is -not- drooling. Really she's not. "Mmm. Apple pie...."
She pauses for a moment, watching the giant worm. Then: "Water. Isn't that how they got the spice? Drowning the things?" A moment later, she then adds, "Oh, and it'd help stabilize footing, too."
She would nod to Mikage about this and wonders if the mage who hired them the last time would be involved in this somehow, it wouldn't shock her. Had that mage not had a Lander tag? She'd have thought her an Adventurer.
"As I said last time Amalthea we need a thumper or two very badly."
With that she's going to make reayd to move in. She looks to Miyako for a moment.
"Dune, it's a really good sci-fi series but I don't know how popular it was in Japan. Spice was an elmented used to let people do the math for FTL jumps and other mind powers."
It's a rare event dealing with the problem of a rare boss of some sort? These sort of things tend to be a bar above the usual challenges, and that is more than enough reason for Vertina to get in on the action! The Salamander martial artist was all revving to get on with the deal. "So any idea what's actually going to co--"
Cue the shaking, and the sucking of sand into a pit that would make any antlion jealous. She quickly kippups back a few paces to not risk getting caught up in the sudden current of particulate flowing into the vortex. Until it erupts upward and outward, followed by the rumbling of the monsterous creature emerging from the depths of whatever hot hell lies beneath the sandy reaches.
Vertina pauses and cranes her head back to look up at the elongated terror now looming over the desert. And then glances aside at Gwen's pop culture commentary. ".... So they got high for science?"
Mizuki's wearing the light, billowy desert outfit over her ninja outfit. Now she looks like some kind of... desert/snow ninja with the flashy red scarf that all cool ninjas wear. She's not sure what to expect, and then... THE WORM emerges, and everyone starts talking about Dune. Mizuki rolls her eyes. "Didn't a worm have to be *drowned* to produce the spice? Where will we get enough water for one this big? Maybe you can make it with water skills..."
And then Yuuki runs towards the boss, and Mizuki chases after. "Yuuki, wait! We need tanks to draw aggro first!"
The purple tinge to the air draws Proteus' attention to the sky, the shrinking weather effect that seems to point to the center of the event. It's something of an annoying situation, really, as she has no method to really attempt to interact with the weather usefully in her position at the moment.
"Mental note: Figure out weather." She mutters to herself... And her eyes glance at the sudden glimmer in the distance. A mirage, or something more? Proteus ponders this for a moment as she falls back, expecting Something to happen.
Something happens. The massive whirlpool of sand almost sucks her right in and ends her inquiry before she has the chance to do anything. She stumbles away, clawing and grasping at sand and shoveling herself away from the erupting massive sandworm, looking back over her shoulder at it with a grimace.
"A massive non-standard spawn in the area. Was this supposed to be a world boss or..." Proteus continues to mumble to herself. She is quickly faced with several choices on how to deal with this. Most people will do the sensible thing and stab the giant worm or whatever.
Proteus might not be sensible. With a flick of her hand, she calls up a menu and as she looks back in the direction that glimmer came from she performs a series of gesture inputs: ( * #
A moment later, an Arcane Eye appears, Proteus trying to look in the direction of the disturbance to see if there might be any substance to that distant sign amidst the massive battle.
The gnoll were fang stands ready, looking out over the sands, watching as they stop falling, when the last one reaches the bottom of the hour glass. "Are we going to have to deal with this every time we take down a boss in the tower? Because if so this is going to be a huge pain in the ass for the next ninety eight floors." He mutters, more to himself than anything else. It's time to get serious about this, and face down the massive sand worm. That's a bit big for him to take by himself.
It would appear that miss Akumeiji is looking up at the skies for a moment with her spyglass, as if she were looking for something in specific, before her attention falls back to the Sandworm, points to it, and then talks something over with her colleagues - well out of earshot of the Adventurers.
The enormous worm continues to climb up, trembling and shaking on its way up in its enormity... then begins to sway towards one direction... away from the Adventurers.
It almost looks like its skin is trembling... more and more... until it becomes obvious that this is not skin. While raised in the air, people can see thick 'chunks' clattering down from it, almost like large slabs of rocks. One by one...
Its absolutely enormous body draws out from the sand in its entirety, and comes down with a massive quake that sends the enormous waves of sand sailing away in enormous sandstorm like waves. The waves of sand sail over people, amidst the simultaneous sound that follows this up. The loud chittering.
"GRAAAAAH!" One of the vanguard cries out, and some of the leaders keeping track of the party window notice the HP of one of the vanguards immediately drop from 100 to 0, and the shattering of this lower level DPS member. Amidst the waves of sand and debris, some of them spot it. The shadows moving in the midst of it all.
Enormous many-legged beetles coming their way, low to the ground, almost seeming to swim in the sand, jumping up at the last moment and swarming people!
While the enormous worm seems to be moving away from the Adventurers? Away from the main cities. Deeper into the wastelands.
Even over the sand, she can run toward it. It's as she approaches she hears the chittering... likely the secondary target they need to be weary of "Oh no, it's not alone!" She rushes toward them, choosing to trim down the numbers if she can, so to protect the other people from the swarm. Losing too many would be detrimental to any counter attack after all. "I'll cut a path through!"
She charges, taking her swords out and slashing left and right at the beetles, a flurry of slices to cut down the numbers, and the beetles, into pieces.
But even as the beetles begin launching towards them Proteus leaps, aiming her jump to rebound off of one, and then another, using them as living stepping stones as she Marios her way towards the worm itself and leaps. As she does so, her hand is already carving another series of shapes into a menu: ^ S O
The air twists around her and the seething wind blasts her upwards at an angle in an ersatz double-jump, propelling her... right towards the back of the worm. "Come on come on come on..." She hisses, trying to aim her descent towards a shifting, dangerously epehemeral point. But one cannot have reward without risk...
One of the beetles launches at him immediately, and he manages to block the thing with the flat of his blade, holding the weapon between it's mandibles to keep it from biting him, "Watch those adds!" He yells out, trying to be helpful to those around him, as he holds the blade with his left hand and delivers several hammer-like punches to the beetle's armored skull, until it shatters. He quickly wheels around to try to help the others in the ambush.
Just watching the worm rise from the desert is... Almost majestic in a way. At least before it comes back down and sends sand everywhere.
Amalthea doesn't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.
And then comes the familiar sound of chittering... And then someone dies.
Amalthea's attention is drawn off the worm and farther down, to the waves of sand- and the monstrous beetles headed right for everyone.
Briefly, very briefly, the old tank has PTSD Horror Memories of freshly hatched scarabs crawling all over her.
It's a horrorterror thought that she quickly shakes away with a shudder as she quickly draws her blade.
"We've just got a ton of adds, people!" She calls out, storming forward and starts hacking at the big beetly beetles with aplomb as she tries to taunt and pull aggro from as many of them as she can towards her.
The spice must wait.
The worm rises up... and THINGS drop off, Mizuki's not sure what, but perhaps some kind of adds? And then a giant wave comes... She drops into a low stance, waiting... and then activates Stone Catapult at the last split-second, flinging herself over the wave! ...And from above, the horde of THINGS swimming in the sand are clearly visible, if not exactly what they are! "LOOK OOOOUT! SWIMMERS IN THE SAND!" she calls, as she falls down among the beetles and immediately STONE CATAPULTS again as one turns towards her. "Why are they never close enough together for fireballs..." she mutters as she sails through the air again, drawing a dagger before landing atop one of the beetles, digging her off-hand and foot claws into it, and then stabbing a dagger into its neck and then trying to slice and tear THROUGH the beetle's neck with all of her were fang might, a kiai shout coming out as more of a ROAR!
"Whaaaaat? I can't hear you!" This is Yuuki's response to Mizuki as she runs towards the boss, the sands beginning to roar in waves and beetles chattering amidst the fast moving ground.
A shadow falls over Yuuki and she looks up, seeing a large wave of sand cresting over her. She smiles.
Yuuki sweeps her sword to the side, the blade beginning to glow. Just as the wave of sand crashes down, Yuuki stabs her sword up towards it.
For a few moments, nothing... Then Yuuki bursts out of the top of the mass of rolling sand. She arcs through the air, before coming down and landing on the slope. Maintaining her balance, she begins to surf down the other side, heading towards the giant worm.
But the beetle adds have other ideas as they begin to burst out of the liquid sand to try and strike Yuuki. But as each one bursts away, Yuuki alters her course, sliding around them and lashing out with her sword in a counterattack as she weaves between them.
Once the debris clear, there is already adds heading their way. "Okay, let's take care of the adds so the tanks can get aggro on the boss!" She runs forward, sword kept low, aiming it towards one of the beetles. At first, the blow clanks off of the shell, but then she spins for a second strike which seems to get underneath, making a sick sound as it finds flesh.
This was a REALLY long way for Arashi to be out on shard patrol, but here the were-shire is, wandering along desert and dunes to try and see if this long trip was worth her time. One glow, two, no shards, but at least there was evidence it wasn't a worthless adventure out here. That was before she could hear ... something. Something big. Huge. Colossal even! She had heard bits and pieces coming across her mostly muted chimlink, but as she crests one dune and sees the breaching of one utterly massive sandworm. "Oh. That's what they're all talking about," she muses idly. Don't misunderstand, the stare on her face is one of terror, but this is the game. Tis is the world. "Well then, I guess we all have some work to do.." she decides before starting down the dune, making a beeline for the massive beast, busted blade and unbroken blade brought up. A flash step comes, trying to put her on top of the damn thing. Then the weapons start slicing, trying to come down on its hide. She'll probably call out on the chimlink but, well, there was a huge beast to try and deal with.
"Watch yourself, and Mizuki? They fought smarter last time too! They are adapting."
She notes before she takes off in a dash heading after the massive Sandworm as it moves away from anything major? That makes Gwen wonder about things related to last time. She'll be closing in as she tears across the sands trying to get in range to attack, once she's close enough she'll start chanting a spell.
Trying to turn the earth against the worm as she closes.
Without wasting time to smirk or even make a one-liner, BlackRose goes after the beetles with her sword. "Too bad we don't have any bug spray, but this is more fun anyway!"
"You know," she remarks to Blackrose, "What they call a party like ours? A RAID!"
(There is most definitely not a brief illusion of a cartoon bug getting sprayed and flipping over with a skull and crossbones over it. Really there isn't.)
What Miyako's spell -actually- does is just send out a heavy jet of water at the worm, aimed right down its throat, like a firehose. "Eat this!"
Like CERTAIN PEOPLE charging at a fleeing worm and right into a swarm of angry beetles!!
"Kkh...!" Prophylaxis' complaint is strangled in his throat as he vaults and just *barely* clears the snapping claws of one sandbug. The sandworm is running away... Fleeing? Or is it just going to try to soften them up with an endless wave of adds before coming back in to finish the job? He whispers a curse and narrowly evades being smothered by a crashing sandwave, too.
The curse is only, as it turns out, /partly/ because he was almost a Prophylaxis Pancake.
It's also because every poison spell needs to have a little bit of curse attached to it. Even the finest patina of ill-will makes inflicting a target with poison feel just that little bit more 'right.' Prophylaxis gestures at the running worm with the head of his staff and roars, "SNAKEBITE!"
At first, nothing seems to happen... But then thorny, purple vines suddenly lance up out of the wasteland and stab into the worm's slimy flesh! "You're not going anywhere, big guy! Come back and take your medicine!"
The a blast of sand washes over Seliana in a wave, it picks her petite figure and she is flung backwards, landing in the sand and sliding. After the sudden sand shockwave passes she slowly climbs to her feet and watches as the chaos of battle begins.
Watching the adventurers move forward to press the attack she then sees one of the familiar adventurers shoot up over the attacking beetles as if thrust into the sky, Proteus. Watching the imp sale through the air for a time, Seliana's eye begin to swirl with new, but dull colors. Purple. Black. Green. Blue. Yellow. They shift in a chaotic dance, and then a pillar of earth launches her into the air towards the worm. Her black dress fluttering as she sails, and at the same time dark brown orbs appear around her and then turn into earth spikes that seem to shoot forward towards her destination, the worm.
As she's hopping crests of rolling sand waves she's got a view of the worm as it's... actually going in the opposite direction? Why is tha -- Oh, it spawned a bunch of additional combatants. That's well and good, but being she's got some ranged options she can take advantage of to try and keep the worm from withdrawing freely. Vertina scoots down the back of the last sand wave, forming a ball of flame as she does so, that she bumps from foot to foot and then a knee to get into the air in front of her. Slams the left foot into the ground, claws giving her some extra traction and she pivots on it, whipping her other leg off the ground with the spin.
"PYRO STRIKER!" Her foot slams into the fireball, sending it screaming through the air like a shooting star at the massive worm's retreating form!
Snakebite! Prophylaxis gives chase to the worm while beetles try to snag at his feet. The various thorns gripping at the Sandworm and if he keeps his spell attached, he could very well ski over the sand while doing so. Though he may have to flick a bit to the left and right, as enormous stone shards rise up from the ground in a wave towards the worm, as Seliana sends them out towards the Worm, aiming to stab into that underbelly and slow it down - and a fireball kicked like a soccer ball follows soon after, sent sailing over his head by Vertina. The rocks break into its body, and do not seem to slow it very much. That HP bar on the other hand, definitely affected!
Reika moves across the sand, into the sandstorm, bringing her sword out. The beetles are difficult to hit, but they do not have a lot of HP. That is, a single one doesn't. But she'll notice that each time she cuts into a beetle, another two seem to take their place in an attempt to bite at her legs or try and pincer her. Not a moment later, Kaydon rushes in to try and help her with the adds, slamming that hammer-punch into its shell and crushing it. There's a splat of green goo - some kind of effect - before it bursts into pixels like all other monsters do.
Amalthea joins in to the fray, stepping into a new wave of beetles and swings their blade with a series of swings, cutting a few more of the things down! She is about to miss one, when Mizuki comes sailing down from the sky, and slices that blade into the beetle in the midst of landing and protecting her flank. Mikage joins in on this trio of melee duelists, cutting into a few more beetles and forming a protective 'spine' for them.
Goldenblade is assisted by a series of New World Alliance members in the continued front lines against the beetles. Ripping them apart one at a time, clearing them with their blades. She's soon joined by BlackRose, who swings that massive blade and carves a twosome of them in one fell sweep.
The Worm continues to go. Multiple beetles popping up on its back, moving to defend it against the ones that have latched on... only for the worm to suddenly go into a notable roll all of the sudden, crushing the beetles, and threatening to death-spin anyone who doesn't move quickly enough! Better not to be a fall guy here, as various pieces form dangerous obstructions mid-spin!
The sandstorm in the meantime is largely settled - aside from the massive /wake/ of sand following the worm's propelled movement towards the opposite direction of where they'd been. Away from the main roads and large poles that denote them in the deserts. The beetles do not appear to change tactics much at first. Swarming people, forming up in large groups...
Until suddenly, people become aware that the beetles have slightly different colors...
As a foursome of far /LARGER/ beetles rise out of the sands, and suddenly begin to spit this vile green acidic flame towards their front ranks. The Tanks moving to the front to intercept these enormous flames - almost as if they are trying to cut off the Adventurers' approach!
From the depths of hell, she stabbed at the worm! Success! At least the unbroken blade sank deep, drawing back with proof of the deed. "HA! Damn worm!" she calls out happily, about to repeat the gesture when the massive beast starts to roll. "Oh, oh no. That's a problem!" is the rather obvious statement that might be heard from way up on top of the beast. At least the thing is huge so she gets to it, running to keep up on top of the thing. "I didn't sign up for log rolling or barrel rolling or whatever kind of rolling this is!" she protests, trying to keep up.
Once she has her pace set, though, she's going to start slashing on the run, down slash, step, down slash, step, down slash, step, carving a series of hits along the way. "I hope there's a lot of other people down there or this is going to take -forever-!"
Mikage's hand slides over her sword, channeling energy which causes the weapon to glow faintly yellow, matching the color of the sand. It causes the round around her to begin to tremble, sand pouring off of rocks as pillars of it shoot up out of the ground. One lifts her up slowly, giving her better positioning rather than the loose sand.
Another trembles beneath the closest of the beetles launching it up into the air. It gives her a momentary opportunity, sweeping out with her sword and slicing at the insects legs as it tries to right itself in the air.
For every beetle she cuts down it's like another pops up to replace them. Amalthea curses as one nearly gets in at her flank, ready for the oncoming sensation of blunted pain that... Never comes, when Mizuki comes down on the beetle and shanks it in the neck.
In the next instant, Amalthea is fighting back-to-back-to-back with Mizuki and Mikage, and then four more, massive, beetles arise.
Shifting her weight she brings her shield up and braces. "--Behind me, now!" Called out as she weathers through the acid flame, gritting her teeth as she flips her sword in her grasp.
Holding her weapon by the blade, she trudges forward through the sand, shield still up and fending off the corrosive flames until she gets within melee range--
And then starts WAILING ON ONE OF THE FIRE BREATHING BEETLES LIKE IT STOLE SOMETHING FROM HER, beating on it with the blunt crossguard and pommel, cracking through chiting while cussing up a storm.
The beetles are an issue but she has faith in the tanks handling that horde of adds.
The blade engulfts itself with wind, and creates a localized tornado within the group of beetles as he finishes his swing. He drives through them, slashing several times as he does so, probably getting himself coated in every more green goo in the process but it's okay, because that'll wash off. He hopes. Better not be acidic.
She decides to turn her attention on the giant worm instead. "Sorry, but I want a REAL challenge!" She turns to go after the giant worm, grinning. "The bigger they are, the harder they fall!" She says as she goes in with a swift slash of her sword.
The initial wave of sand from the worm's crash has passed, Yuuki finally reaching the bottom of the slope she had found herself in. She takes a moment to breathe and check things out. Though she does wave happily to Prophylaxis. See? She's fine~
Yuuki turns her attention to the giant worm nearby. Maybe she can jump onto it and-The worm starts to roll, threatening to crush everyone currently on it. Mmmmm, yeah, maybe later.
Thankfully new targets show themselves in the form of larger BEETLES. Yuuki's eyes sparkle as she runs towards one of them. They begin spitting lobs of green flames around the battlefield. But Yuuki stays one step ahead by means of making them really fast steps, zigzag running between the points on the ground she expects those blobs to hit.
Finally Yuuki closes in on one, her sword suddenly bursts into flames. She dives feet first into the sand just as she reaches her target, trying to slide under the larger creature and drag her sword along its underside along the way before popping back onto her feet on the other side.
Then as Seliana stands up, arms crossed, the sands begin to move of themselves, propelling her forward at a rapid pace, like she is being carried by a wave of the sands themselves. Her long granite grey hair streaming backwards at her speed increases. She quickly overtakes and continues forward out in front of the worm towards the apparent tents and destination of the worm itself.
Swirls of smoke and ash whaif in the air, winding together long enough for her Airstep across like stones in a pond, striding over the shaking ground and plethora of other attacks to get closer to the monsterous sandworm. The last cloud is extra big and bouncing to give herself some additional spring to her leap off of it and launch herself at the behemoth beast.
Kicks and balls of flame are great, but they're not the only thing the Salamander martial artist can do. As she leaps off her airstep Vertina clenches both her hands together and swings down to bring a fierce hammer blow upon the sandworm with her descent!
"How about a bit of shock to clam you down then!!" She lets out, her swords charging with electrical energies, that she unleashes through the air around her, hoping to remove whole pockets of them at a time "THUNDER FURY!"
The others seem to be handling the worm at least, if only keeping it busy and away from the people. If they can remove one main threat so they can focus on the other, it'd be nice. Fortunately they are a big group of adventurers today.
Almost on cue, the worm attempts to roll. Proteus immediately works to follow the movement but it's too quick. She gestures, reflexively, once more: > S
And her speed is suddenly augmented as she splashes out on a Waterslide, skidding along the side of the sandworm in a soaking trail while she continues to search for the thing that got her attention.
"Keep up the good work, all!" she shouts, "We're making progress!" She keeps recasting the waterjet to slash at the worm with it, finger flying as she writes and re-writes the runes. "Hit 'em hard!"
Man, this game is good at making you feel like a badass! Mizuki lands on her feet after the beetle bursts into polygons under her, looking pleased with herself and looking for her next target... when the worm slamming into the ground in the distance makes her look away, and not see the giant beetles rising until it's too late... she looks back just in time to see the acid and tries to use air magic to dodge out of the way, but it's not enough! Thank goodness for reduced pain; her complaint of 'Augh, it burns!' is one more of annoyance than genuine distress. She turns back to the large beetles in revenge, taking a breath and then spitting a fireball at them, hoping to catch some other beetles in the AoE!
Trick question. It's not what Prophylaxis is doing, it's what Prophylaxis is trying not to do: die.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA--" Screams the voice of a doctor who clearly had no idea that he was about to get taken for a ride on a sandworm like he was some kind of waterskiier except his feet are the skis and the worm is the boat and also has *NO BRAKES.* "--Fffffffuuhhhhhh--" The worm does a barrel roll! THIS IS BAD. This is bad for many reasons, chief among them that Prophylaxis is presently still strung along to the side of the worm, and by simply rolling, the beast sends him flying right into the lower lip of the cloud layer like a human catapult-stone. His screams doppler into the sky as he's launched, and his vines streeeeetch tight as if they were rubberbands...!
The's a flash of golden light. The vines snap back, tension finally releasing as they recoil. Prophylaxis is still screaming, but there's now a meaning to his screaming. There are actual words coming out of his mouth: "-eeeeeeEEEEENGTH OOOOF EAAAAAARRRRTH!"
Pro's arm is drawn back. His body shines with an aura of tellurian might. He yells as he comes down, a humanoid meteor, and...
Clotheslines his arm into the worm's throat (that is, the bit of body close to its head) on his way down...!!!
This might pose a problem in a few moments, but for now he feels *really cool.*
Gwen jumps onto the worm moments later at the center of that X and brings her blade down, causing a shockwave-detonation around it and searing a large cut into the worm. From her vantage-point she can see as Seliana sails /past/ the worm using her magics in an attempt to race forward to the position that Reika had mentioned. Carrying her out of range of the Worm and across a tall sand-dune looking formation.
She'll also spot BlackRose foot-stooling a few beetles before arriving to the worm in this constant tiring chase, slamming her blade into it and finding footing through this means. Vertiana lands right next to her, bringing her hammer down on BlackRose's sword and driving it deeper into the worm - causing it to screetch at a high frequency, before that blade comes out again.
Proteus rushes further up along the worm, getting a better and better vantage point. The worm is enormous, and luckily she's managing to avoid getting thrown off. From her vantage point, she can see a bit over the hill that Seliana seems to be rushing towards. There seem to be almost... colorful flags just at the edge over the hill. But the thing she seeks, she's not caught on yet - with multiple beetles seemingly blocking her path and catching her INSPECT readout instead of the thing she wants. Seliana just manages to reach the point where she's seeing a bit more than that, cresting across the hill.
Prophylaxis misses his flight-path a bit. He doesn't get as close to the 'tip' of the monster as Proteus and Seliana, but he does land right into the middle with his meteor-clothesline punch! The thing's skin seems to almost explode!
Behind her, a searing spray of water carves a series of beetles away - as Miyako manages to protect Proteus on their way up along the worm's body. Further behind...
A large corps of beetles is suddenly sent into the air between the magic used by Mikage and Kaydon. Mikage begins to cut between the enemies that are still coming down, and Kaydon joining in to this strange dance between the two of them. Constantly tracing short paths towards the beetles closest to hitting the ground and ripping them apart.
Amalthea forms a shield for the two as they continue on their strange knock-up-and-slash combination attack, halting the acidic flames of one of the enormous beetles. A few other members of the New World Alliance join in as she manages to get close to it - with some assistance from a few landers closer to the back. Multiple balls of fire sailing over her to burn the beetle while she manages to carve it apart and drop its HP
Goldenblade is at her flank, dealing with another series of the smaller beetles, keeping them away from a mage team that can't risk getting swarmed by them. Just before she might get toasted by one of the larger beetles however, Yuuki jumps in and slams it with her blazing saber - deflecting the jet of flame and carving along its underbelly - forming a fierce red line along its body, before it detonates into pixels once more.
A quick Thunder Fury of Reika protects Yuuki from further beetles swarming her for a moment, causing them to almost pop like popcorn - as she seems to superheat them, before they explode into shards of light. With Mizuki taking advantage of some of the stunned beetles to center the circle of their fireball, and cause a huge detonation of fire magic right in their midsts!
Then... just as the worm looks like it's going to breach the hill, there's an enormous series of detonations. Sand is being blown every direction as it gets that much closer, blasting against its underbelly with enough force that it gets /deflected/ towards the side and arches its body against the hill. The worm then immediately starts trying to dive into the sand - with enough of a 'swath' being burrowed that those holding on are actually okay as they are brought into a literal enormous cave system below, right before the worm tries to resurface beneath the back line and starts forming an enormous whirlpool...
Trying to eat those who are trying to deal with the beetles, while the people that were holding onto it have to DPS DOWN the Sandworm before it succeeds - with the beetles trying to grab onto anyone they can so they don't get dragged along into the gaping maw!
Her face remains impassive as she crests the dune, her dull multicolored eyes looking down at a number of tents with colorful standards, which mean nothing to her, and several pekos that are also in the camp. In front of one of the large tents she spots a familiar looking red haired individual, but she cannot quite place him. She continues forward with her spell enhanced movement.
On the other hand, if she can't find it in time, the mystery might remain unsolved. She can't know either way. The battle team seems to be doing exceptionally well in this regard, really, so Proteus trusts them to handle what they do best while the Imp continues to try to bounce and slide through and amongst the beetles in search of that mysterious thing that she glimpsed... It has to be around here somewhere.
Of course the worm begins to burrow at that moment. With a yell, Proteus grips onto the thick skin of the worm and holds on, managing to emerge into the caverns... While the existence of these things are an issue of their own, Proteus still has something to deal with. Namely, a horde of beetles trying to eat her. Again, her hand flicks as she works on getting a response: < K O
The Flame Shield erupts around her, sizzling and crisping the beetles as they try to chomp onto her, the efficient magical barrier resolving much of the problem as she works on trying to find her target...
The man takes the weapon of his, not minding the fact he's taking the strike, then he draws the weapon with a slide while he tries to pull it against the worm, finding purchase.
However, what happens next is not what she expects. "This... does not look good." Of course the boss would have some kind of special mechanic when it hits half health, because that's exactly how MMOs work. As the sand begins to pull them inwards, one of the beetles latches onto her leg, cutting in deep with pincers. "Ow. Get off!"
Mikage loses her footing slightly, taking a moment to rest her hand over the flat of her blade, blue magic flowing through the lines etched into the surface. She grips the handle, then plunges it down into the sand with a shout of effort. Like before, the ground trembles, but this time, instead of pillars of earth shooting up from below, the ground seems to almost... bubble. Then, a massive geyser of water shoots skyward, knocking the beetle off of her leg, sending it tumbling towards the center.
More cuts, more slashes, more damage, MORE DEEPS! Apparently Arashi has been dual, even triple tech'ing without even realizing it. If she can see Merek and Gwen, the two would get an acknowledgement of a sort of half salute half wave before the worm decides it wants to get back underground, "AUGH! Going down!" she barks before jamming both swords in and holding on for dear life. She is indeed riding the mighty moon worm, now.
Up, down, all around, all Arashi can really do is hang on while the worm dives into the backline. "Aw are you kidding me!?" she may be a solo player but she knows party and raid positioning on some level. Sadly as a solo player she isn't really listening when Merek calls out. One good thing, one bad thing.
She's clearly had it up to here (Neck) with the beast though. "Okay, enough is enough!" she calls as she puts away her normal blade. Her broken one, short as it is, is still far into the worm's hide. She takes a firm hold of the weapon and then pulls, pulls, and pulls some more. Not to bring the blade out, but to drag it along the worm's body, trying to make a LONG slash along it's hide. "STOP FIGHTING YOU STUPID WORM!" It probably isn't going to be a gut ripper, but damage is damage!
Mizuki pump a fist in victory as the fireball catches the beetles, and then goes back to meleeing one of the ones around her, trying to flank with Amalthea and the others. She weaves in and out, and jumps over it, and stabs and all that, until suddenly, the ground shifts under her... into a giant antlion pit! She tries to jump, but her feet are sinking into the sand... she sheaths her dagger and makes the hand signs to activate the STONESKIN ninpo, the sand sliding over her body and engulfing her in protective rock that doesn't hinder her movement at all! Which is a good thing, as a beetle chooses just then to try and chow down on her arm, but is unable to break the rock. "You want to eat ME? Careful, I give indigestion!" One arm already in its mouth, she punches her other arm in alongside it, and then uses that were fang strength to pull the mandibles apart, trying to break them!
"Thanks," BlackRose says to Merek. "Let's finish this thing!" With that, BlackRose continues to wield her her sword, this time with a bit more force than usual. "We've got this!"
Yuuki finds herself surrounded! Is this the end of our heroine? Naaaah. Reika to the rescue! Yuuki gives her a grin and thumbs up for the save, before turning to look and see what the giant worm is doing.
It's scared off by some explosions. Who created explosions? How did they create explosions? Why did they create explosions? Whatever the reason, it spooked the worm, forcing it underground. Huh. Yuuki wonders what happened to those on the side of it...
But soon she has more pressing concerns as she notices the sand beneath her feet starting to swirl inwards towards a single point. At the center of which, Yuuki can see giant worm teeth starting to poke out! Yuuki blinks, "Ohhhh, that would be bad..."
Yuuki turns, sheathing her sword as she starts running counter to the swirling whirlpool of sand. At first it doesn't look like she's going to make it! But she pushes herself, chanting at herself to keep it up, "Must go faster! Must go faster! Must go-oh crap!"
One of the remaining larger beetles launches itself at Yuuki, trying to latch onto her and drag her down. Yuuki meets the beetle with her open hands, briefly stalled in her run. She struggles with it in the sand as the whirlpool drags her down and down.
But with a burst of effort, Yuuki finally lifts the large BEETLE.
And proceeds to throw it down into the waiting mouth of the worm.
Free of the obstacle, Yuuki pulls herself up out of the shifting sands and starts running again, slowly rising away from being wormfood.
He manages to free himself, and also keep himself from being pulled into the whirlpool. But now he's surrounded. Though in his mind that just simplifies things. Reaching behind his back, he pulls the shield that he keeps there to bear, but instead of using it for defenses, he hurls the thing like a certain famous superhero, bouncing it off of several beetles before it flies back to him, reaching up to grab it with a hand before it sails past him. And maybe use it for defense afterwards.
The green energy surges over helping to protect her from the assault for now but the cooldown on that won't let her use it again anytime soon.
She'll then lash out with her sword again trying to hack and slash into the hulking thing as she hangs on for dear life.
"THIS ISN'T AS COOL AS I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE!"
Dealing with the big beetle, Amalthea pauses briefly to wipe at her brow.
"I was an accountant." She replies quite simply to Mikage; as though that answered everything.
But then things go straight to hell.
The worm vanishes under the earth... Only to form a violent whirlpool of sand in the back ranks.
This simple utterance encompasses all of Amalthea's feelings as the sandy earth churns beneath her feet, a beetle tries to latch onto her- only to meet the sharp end of her sword as she breaks into a full on sprint--...
TOWARDS THE WORM'S GAPING MAW.
Leaping for all she's worth, the old Paladin raises her sword as she sails into its open mouth.
"Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering worm; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the sword!"
He is a doctor.
This is /not/ the first time Prophylaxis has been arm-deep in meat. It is, however, the first time he's done that while simultaneously riding an angry sandworm.
He's nearly thrown free when explosions suddenly rock the beast's underbelly. His arm wrenches painfully at his shoulder as the monster screams and twists through the air. It's a crucial lapse in concentration that has him choose a protective wind-shield to defend against the sandworm's descent into the dunes. Air is, to little surprise, a rather ineffective barrier. When the worm emerges, his skin is rubbed raw and his labcoat are in tatters. Grains of sand sting at his eyes and grit finds its way into every crevasse.
His arm... is still stuck in the worm.
"Ugh... Damnit, this is a bad idea, but..." Prophylaxis focuses. Casting magic is a strange and unfamiliar sensation even now, but he's got enough of a handle on it to even specify which hand he wants to be summoning a projectile into. In this case, he's conjuring his magic... with the hand still buried in the worm.
"...I've kind of always wanted to say it for real," he admits to himself as he conjures the power of FIREBALL, "This hand of mine..."
He feels the spell discharge and allows himself a little bit of a smirk, "Is BURNING RED!"
After spiking the sword harder the Salamander pulls back so it can be retrieved. But there's no time to discuss farthering the tactical tagteaming because explosions go off, causing the worm to rear up and away from the source of the booming blast. "Whoa!" As the surface they're standing on quickly becomes near vertical she yelps, grabbing onto whatever bit of worm body she can with clawed hands to keep from falling off the thrashing undulations, and then the monster dives forward to tear into the ground. Vertina grits her teeth, thus getting them full of grit as the sandworm burrows into a tunnel and grinding them along for the ride. But the worm isn't the problem as it bulldozes into the cavern below.
It's a chunk of protrudent rock that whips through the sand with the worm's speed, catching Vertina across the arm and side and knocking her grip loose. She tumbles violently down the length of creature before she manages to get her feet down and claws into the flesh to catch herself again, and not be entirely entombed in the sands above. By the time the sandworm is in the cavern she's snarling appropriately to her somewhat dragonic appearance, despite the red gashes of injury along her side.
"That's it..." When the beast stops surging around as much Vertina gets to her feet, a flaming essense igniting around her. "NOW I'M MAD!" She throws her arms back, releasing the flames from her hands like small jets for some extra boost so she can run back -up- the length of the sandworm, blonde pigtails rippling behind her like tiny fires of their own. She's getting as close to the head as she can before she jumps forward, and kicks one flame-cloaked foot into its flesh.
And uses that kick to push up and flip herself forward, twist and bring the other still flaming foot down in a much harder crescent axe kick, BOOT TO THE HEAD style.
But that was only the calm before the storm. That giant worm is a sore loser it seems, and trying to suck everything down with it! She loses her footing with the sudden tremor, and while she tries to get out of it, one of the beetle hit her roughly on the way down. Reika gacks in reaction, and then jumps unto an incoming beetle, jumping out of it as quickly as she can "Worm dinner, no thanks!"
It seems Thunder moves work decently well against these beetles, so she keeps charging at them. This time, she unleases a ball of electricity around her, using the fact these bettles are getting eaten up, if she paralyses them they won't be able to escape. "SHOCK!"
And then she spots Amalthea leaping at the worm's mouth. (The thought that immediately passes through her mind is most definitely not safe for ETO's ESRB rating.) "Oh no you fraggin' well don't," she says aloud, and even as her wings flick at the air to guide her safely to the ground, she repeats her spell one more time, aiming the jet of water directly -under- Amalthea, to soften up her landing zone.
./~ Oh, rock on, Rockall, you'll never fall, to sandworm's greedy hands...
A moment later with precision timing, a portion of the cave wall erupts next to the shape, slamming out in a rocky pillar topped with a wide-splayed hand in a massive palm strike. Proteus lunges immediately after, trying to intercept the shape on the way to the floor of the caves as she abandons the worm to the tender mercies of the ravening adventurers.
This might also be important.
"I knew I count count on you Adventurers to show up and not let it get this close." The redhead remarks with a bold smile. "Figure those army bastards would not evacuate this place though." He adds, as he opens his coffer and starts looking through an /impressive/ collection of weapons for something to use in this situation, before deciding on a set of 'balls' he throws into the sands as beetles come their way, choking them out and causing the beetles to freeze mid-way, spasm... then stop moving. He then points at their battle lines outside.
Goldenblade assists the mages on the backlines, bringing the beetles down that get too close. It's rough to constantly have to fight the growing whirlpool of sand however. The grain is really hard to get a good step into, and one has to constantly stay on the move. It's especially difficult for some of the Tanks to not get sucked in. A few jets of water rip beetles off of Mikage, who is soon joined by Mizuki, grabbing those mandibles and snapping them! The two of them have a moment to work together to take out more of the smaller sand-swimming beetles - which keep chittering at them in anger, while trying to get away from the inner parts of the Sandworm!
Yuuki, clearly not one to be shown up by the likes of Mizuki, manages to lift one of the beetles, and throws it into its maw, showing to everyone that she may have a small frame, but she is no weakling! Kaydon in the meantime pretends to be one of those American Superheroes from that popular 2012 movie that came out, and manages to shield-boomerang a few of the beetles near Yuuki. Only to watch as Amalthea speeds past them and... dives INTO the sandworm - carving her way downwards along its teeth-ridden insides! Miyako tries to halt her with her waterjet... damaging the inside of its maw, but just barely missing Amalthea.
Reika uses her smarts to paralyze the various beetles getting too clsoe to Goldenblade - causing them to suddenly be affected by the PARALYSIS effect, and falling almost lifeless looking down into the sandworm.
But then there's this sudden tremmor. As if something just happened below. A shaking, a thrashing...
Merek remains attached to the worm, much like most of those who stuck close to the battle party. Blades and magic have kept people well rooted onto the worm, and he's soon joined by others charging forward - striking together with BlackRose to chunk a thick piece of flesh off of it! Which detonates in its usual shards of light. Slamming his blade into the worm's massive body, as it begins to thrash, trying to get the assailants off of its body. Arashi manages to avoid getting crushed by this particular maneuver, dragging their blade along its body and ripping further ribbons of red along its body, and lowering the third of its four healthbars.
Gwen suddenly sails past them, in the midst of the Anchor Howl dragging her along, carving across the worm as it accosts her allies below the worm! She sails right past Prophylaxis like that, right as a large red light suddenly bursts within the worm... then grows orange... then white as the detonation forms further and further...
A huge chunk bursts off of the worm, creating a HOLE that no doubt will come in handy later! But also leaving Prophylaxis with the status effect: 'Smelly', as he's assailed by the various parts before they explode into light. Vertina jumps past him and even manages to footstool on Gwen's head for a moment on her way up. Though she doesn't make it as high as Proteus, her axe-kick still stings rather fiercely as it slams into the side of the worm, causing it to shake for a moment!
Just in time to see the sudden burst of stone coming from near the side of the worm, slamming not into its side, but across a series of beetles... and then.
A feminine shriek, as a woman falls down from the worm, before landing almost /too/ perfectly on one foot, bringing one one fan forward, one to the back, and glancing up towards the female that had dislodged her. She stows the mirror into the large sleeve she has. Were Mikage on the underside, no doubt she'd recognize the black haired Japanese looking woman in what looks like some kind of combat kimono. She then bows to him before turning, spinning and immediately sending two enormous walls of fire straight up to Proteus to try and cut off his path from getting to her, and a third towards the other Adventurers!
An immediate INSPECT reveals something odd though. Castle Icon, I Icon... /and/ the Wing Icon. As well as a name.
< Glass > Written in English rather than in Japanese. Her rating seems to be RED. Not black, not impossible, but definitely a difficult battle.
"You're a rather unusual Hero." She calls out to Proteus. "You're the second now to spot me like that."
This is suddenly when the worm's movements breach. It wriggles... and launches up! The people who were dealing with the beetles suddenly /swallowed whole/ into the worm as it sails into the air and seeks to land with enough force onto the ground to crush them all within it. Not to mention all the sharp teeth they have to avoid within. Luckily, they've gotten rid of basically all of the beetles.
Down below, within the caves, people are now having to deal with a woman wearing her Kimono robes, wielding her fans as magical weapons.
She takes up only one of her short swords, and closing her eyes, she focuses on her inner senses to find the weak spot from within. It's like a meditation where she can feel the energies around herself. And when she finds the source, she lunges right at it, stabbing deep "HEARTSEEKER!" Whether it's the heart or not doesn't matter in this case, she's aiming for a spot that will hurt the most.
Carved like a turkey, Arashi feels a sense of pride as she looks back, sees the long crimson ribbon she left behind, but with so much else going on, the were fang darts off and away, trying to avoid what comes next, and for everyone, that was trying to deal with the worm who just... shot straight up and out of the cavern?!
Still, with it hopefully dealt with, and this new target brought before them, Arashi can only wonder who this is. Glass? Red? Hrm. That may be a problem, but with everyone else here? She thinks they have a chance. "There's more than just her you'll have to deal with!" Arashi barks before bringing up both blades to bear. "And that is a point you're about to regret making!" Three hard strikes follow. She is clearly bringing everything she has to bear against this 'Glass'.
Leaping into the gaping maw of the giant gnashing sandworm?
Probably not a good idea.
But as a jet of water sprouts up from beneath her, the old Paladin unhooks her shield from her arm.
Planting her feet on the back of her shield, she RIDES Miyako's water jet, surfing it all the way down as the great worm's teeth tear into her in passing, gutting her health.
Her HP is in the red as she hacks and slashes on her way down, grunting as she can't seem to find anything vital to hit... Yet.
It's hard to see where everyone else is, but right now, there is only one target that matters, the sandworm. "Looks like we need to make an opening." She sheaths her sword, extending one hand out and channeling magical energies until what forms there is a bow made entirely out of light. It takes a few seconds to solidify before she reaches back, drawing an arrow and nocking it into place.
"Please let this work." She whispers, taking a deep breath, and then drawing the string back, firing the arrow straight into the fleshy insides of the sandworm, hoping that it makes an exit out to the other side. Otherwise, this could get very tricky very fast.
The man looks to Arashi, Vertina, and BlackRose, then to anyone else on the party which he notes. "I will keep fighting to keep them back. We need to make sure everyone weill be safe." The man looks from that hood while he begins to charge, swiveling in with that flurry of arrows.
Anything she might have said is suddenly interrupted in a wave of flame, and Proteus shrieks as she plummets to the floor of the cave in a meteoric streak, hitting the ground roughly. She grunts, rolling as she smoulders there and damage flares lighting up all over her body... But she drags herself back to her feet. "Not the best landing, but I suppose one good turn deserves another." She says to Glass, her head tilting slightly. "I wasn't sure what that was. Using a mirage... A Relic to hide yourself, I assume? It was pretty good. I almost thought that was just a random heat shimmer. Still... am I a Hero? I wonder..."
Her hands flick out, and menus appear around her as she smiles. "I'm not really interested in battling you, but if you insist, I can provide." Suddenly, her hands weave in the air: ( U ( U ( U
Over and over she repeats the motions, and her magic bar suddenly plummets as a salvo of Arcane Shots appear and shower Glass in a barrage of blasts. "I'm more interested in talking, honestly." There's a little smirk despite the significant damage to her HP meter. "But we'll play this out if you insist."
A quick INSPECT reveals the red haired man is a Lander named Adlet Mayer, and he immediately acts by using some kind of grappling gun, sending a rope towards Seliana. She grabs on and pulls herself forward closer to the man so she can ask a question, "Why is the giant worm coming straight here? What is so important?" her toneless voice making it sound nearly that of statement. She turns her head to look over towards the tents, her eyes draining of color momentarily before returning to their dull red, and she turns back to blink a few times at Adlet her face impassive.
Yuuki runs. And runs. And runs. She's almost out! She's almost escaped the whirlpool of sand!
The worm finally breaches, quickly rising up. The sudden terrain falling out beneath her throws Yuuki's balance off. She cries out in surprise as she falls. And falls. And falls. Right into the worm's waiting mouth.
Plummeting down, Yuuki can't help but notice all the teeth inside this thing... And that she's about to be impaled on one! Yuuki draws her sword.
And just as she's about to meet her temporary end against that sharp tooth, she swings her blade, imagining that tooth rushing towards her as an enemy attack. Yuuki's momentum is altered by the impact of the one weapon and one chewing tool. She's pushed towards the side of the worm's interior, at which point Yuuki plants her feet against it and starts running DOWN. She weaves her way through the collection of teeth as she runs, her blade beginning to glow. She then stabs it down into the worm's inside, her Gut Ripper sword arte activating as she pulls the blade along while she continues to run. All the while hoping she'll have some way to get out the other end!
BlackRose is not up for negotiating right now. Nor is Glass it seems.
Using her sword to protect herself, BlackRose attempts to fight back as best as she can. "I can't stand interlopers, so I suggest you just back off now!"
There's only one way that igniting a fireball inside a living thing *ever* works out. Prophylaxis' mouth and eyes snap shut JUST IN TIME to avoid getting a FACEFUL of worm-goo as he's blasted clear and covered in well-roasted viscera.
"I," Prophylaxis concludes, still laying prone on the sandcave floor, "Badly need a bath."
Though honestly, this is still basically par for the course. The number of times that Prophylaxis has been splattered with unfortunate and foul-smelling fluids in the course of his career is... Probably best left unnamed. But this *still* takes the cake for the grossest he's ever felt. At least the viscera dissolves into light before it can leave too many stains.
And then... Something changes.
Another player shows up. Someone he doesn't recognize. Prophylaxis squints and Inspects the lady in the black kimono, only to discover...
A castle, an I, /and/ a Wing? "Glass...? How is that even possible? Lander with an Adventurer icon? That's not--" A wave of flame washes towards him. Prophylaxis grunts and sweeps his still-glowing arm through the blaze, hurling his own a curtain of fire into Glass'. The two conflagrations meet and sizzle out, and Prophylaxis follows up with a left-handed gesture aimed to flash-freeze the fan-dancer where she stands. "What are you doing?! We're trying to murder a sandworm here, if you haven't noticed! Or is that why you're here...?"
Don't worry, she's not running from the fight. She is running for the wall of the cavern now that the worm has surged upwards to the surface again. Takes a leaping stride to plant her feet against the rocks and sprint up the wall a bit before kicking off to get higher than the flame walls the woman made.
But the maneuver is also a part of the Salamander's counterattack, as her leap enables her to drive one of her feet into the rocky protrusions of the cave ceiling to knock one loose with Earth magic. She pushes off from the rubble and then twists mid-air to drive her foot into it and use the same mystic Earth forces to kick the rock chunk at the mysterious Glass.
"What the bloody blue hell?!"
She will bring up her shield intercept the fire as it dances about her shield and Gwen makes use of her tanking abilities there's a glow and she comes out of the fire unarmed.
"So were you behind this?! You a Lander? A Monster? An Adventurer either way you got to get through me."
She starts chanting a spell as she does so making ready to close to melee in a moment.
"The hearts of men are black with corruption and must needs be cleansed! HOLY!"
She'll set off the spell trying to catch Glass in a holy explosion of sorts.
He misses wide, his blade sailing off into the distance. He'll probably need to make a new one after that! Doubtful he'll find it in this sand pit. Assuming he even survives the worm landing.
And now there's a wall of fire roaring towards her. Miyako aborts her waterjet to put up a quick all-around shield, but she's just starting the last rune as the wave reaches her. When it passes, swathes of red cover her arms and one even stretches across her face. "Hey!" she yells. "That STINGS!"
(Actually, it itches. A lot.)
"So you wanna play it that way, eh? Allright then!" Miyako's finger traces a much shorter rune sequence, this time. "I'd ask for your phone number," she comments to distract the woman, "But I don't think that's much use here." And just as she's about to finish the spell, her free hand... pokes at her menu. "Here, this ought to do instead." And she clicks on 'invite friend'... is that even /possible/? Well, the woman -does- have a player icon, so... maybe?
Regardless of whether the invite works or not, the electrical bolt that follows it is at least something resembling On Target.
Mizuki helps break a beetle's mandibles, and Yuuki one-ups her by THROWING a beetle! Wow. Who knew she was so strong?
And then... the worm is swallowing them! And her feet are still stuck... Mizuki hurriedly makes the handsigns for the waterslide ninpo, which sort of works! Wet sand starts to carry her, but not enough... when the worm swallows them all, though, at least it's enough to help her move around teeth and debris inside!
Honestly, this is KIND of concerning. Shouldn't being in the worm kill them? She thought monsters didn't even HAVE insides, just red light... oh well, there's no time to figure it out now. Better attack like crazy before she lands in a pool of stomach acid or whatever! She takes a deep breath, concentrates that fire, and spits it further inside the worm, where it explodes into a big fireball, hopefully damaging something important!
In the meantime, inside of the worm...
Reika is on her way down into the maw, brings up her short swords. Then, finding a soft spot in the walls of its maw, she stabs down. Barely avoiding some of the razor-sharp gnashing teeth as they close down on her team, ripping a red line on her way down and illuminating the insides of its body. Amalthea is not so lucky on the matter of teeth, while her waterspray cuts some of them apart and causes them to implant into the insides of its maw. Right past Amalthea, she suddenly sees as fierce lance of light rushing down into the worm.
It impacts deeper in... and detonates, blasting an enormous sized hole into the worm and creating a way out for people! A second hole - across from the one Prophylaxis made earlier - and chunking its health. Goldenblade uses the light left by the wake of Mikage's attack to cut and carve further into the worm, slicing pieces of its body apart. Yuuki follows the arrow down, carving with her blade all along the way, avoiding further teeth in her way. Mizuki soon follows her cuts up with a searing fireball, chunking pieces of flesh out.
The Sandworm is almost dead, but it's hanging on to a shred of life. Falling down... about to crush people inside of they don't get to either Prophylaxis or Mikage's created exits and finish off the Sandworm from outside!
Arashi quickly jumps into the battle with Glass, maneuvering with his multi-strike attack. His blows are pretty un-erring, yet the woman touches her fan to his blade each time, avoiding each strike. Softly parrying them out of the way, each touch met with a wake of flame from her fans. She's about to light his face on fire when Merek steps in and fires an arrow, disrupting the move momentarily as she spins out of the way as if carried like a leaf on the wind. Spinning beautifully back into the deeper parts of the cave.
Only for Proteus to manage to catch her at the end of her spin, that salvo of Arcane Shots causing her to have to constantly dance and move out of the way, until finally, a few of them impact upon her body, dipping her HP a little bit. "Of course we must battle, Hero - no need to be shy about your Title." She answers mysteriously, touching her fan to her lips, smiling at the lady Adventurer. "Talk will not help this situation."
BlackRose intercedes any further attempts at talk, rushing in and swinging her blade down towards her and instead finding her blade touched by her fan and then brought to the ground as if it just weighted a whole lot more! She gives Prophylaxis a mysterious little grin at his inquiry, not so quick to answer him, and instead sending her flames down to the ground, almost as if she was expecting his act. As if she'd... read him and divined his next act, before the ice meets flame and melts.
Her head moves, following the movement of Vertina, leaping from the walls and stone, aiming to counter her and bringing her heavy hit towards her. It slams into her fans, forcing Glass back a few steps, before she retaliates with a jet of flame from the tip of her suddenly snapped-shut fan. Gwen luckily interupts the attack with a quick application of the snap-attack Holy and deflects the initial flame counter, blowing Glass back a little.
She glances at Miyako as they attempt to... flirt? "How awkward." She declares, but does seem startled for a moment. Confused with something appearing in front of her? She motions her hand in confusion, and Miyako gets an automated reply: <FRIEND REQUEST DENIED>.
Glass then glances up towards the worm for a moment as it comes down onto the cave. Behind her, the entire cave suddenly falls apart as the enormous worm crushes the ground. A jet of debris jet forwards, and she rushes in forwards. She taps the tip of her fan against Arashi's chin and then fires flame up towards his nose, before stepping in in a fluid move between BlackRose and Merek - making it so that Merek can't fire his bow without risking hitting BlackRose, and sends a 'wall' of fire out towards the both of them as her fans snap open again.
She then spins up into the air and sends a flaming claw-like move towards the doctor and Vertina, before landing close to Proteus and attempting to kick her towards the wall. "I expected better from this World's Heroes." She declares purposefully, before darting down close along the ground towards Miyako and snap-kicking mid-jump to try and plant their head to the ground, before spinning and sending another wall of flame towards Gwen. Snapping attack after attack towards her enemies.
Oh. Glass is one of those kind. The sort that duck, weave, dodge, and just make you feel completely worthless in the process of doing so. Each bit of fire that lands against Arashi's fur and hide just remind her even more of this bias she has. "Oh I hate you sorta jerks," the dire-shire snarls, taking a two handed grip on their full blade. The broken one has gone against her back. "Duck, weave, insult the whole time, don't make me laugh! The only reason you're so full of snark is because we just haven't shown you what we can do. LET ME FIX THAT!"
In spite of the flame that has landed, and then the one landing against her face, the were fang presses forward, sword brought high, the flat of the blade turned to face Glass. "Do. Not. #@$&. WITH. ME!" she roars before bringing down a blow that would likely have even made that worm shudder if it had felt it. Arashi's furious. Typically not a good thing for people across from her. If this bludgeoning blow can't put Glass down, at least it may slow them enough to let the others get some good hits in.
Her eyes lock on Amalthea, and in that split second, she makes a decision. She cannot let someone that bad-ass be crushed. Instead, her eyes flash white, a sign of an impending transformation as she shifts in mid-motion. Horns extend from her forehead, a tail appears behind her, and wings extend from her back as she makes a leap towards the tank, "Get down!"
The next instant, Amalthea has a very monstrous looking young woman pinning her down, her skin hardening slightly into stone as she braces against the impact of the worm falling. Mikage lets out an 'oof' in a voice that is slightly deeper in her shifted form. Her HP drops, but not enough to be fatal, yet. The Were Fang grunts. "You don't tell anyone what I am, I don't tell anyone I saved your ass. Deal?"
As soon as the weight lifts from her, the girl shifts back, leaving only Amalthea any the wiser to her true Were Fang form. "Come on, let's get out of here." She murmurs, back to her normal voice.
Then, she starts to carve her way through the monster, trying to get back to the 'exit' that she'd created earlier. Sweeping her sword in front of her and letting it dig into gross, squishy sandworm flesh.
Hero? She ain't one so far as she's aware and there is little time to think about that as the fight with Glass is getting to be pretty darn intense. She does notices her holy spell worked, so she makes note of that for later. For the moment she's got some other plans to deal with Glass whomever she is and she's glad she's managed to intercept whatever Glass was abou8t to cast. However, things are not over yet far from it.
"Though you know if you'd rather stop fighting, I bet I could make you some wonderful outfits! It would honestly be better."
Damn it Gwen now is not the time for fashion or is she trying to distract Glass? It may be both who knows with her save maybe Shiruba.
She's also keeping an eye on party HPs and in some places it's looking back notably for Amalthea. She has to deal with this Glass /now/, she'll end up taking a hit with the wall of flames. It hurts her HP burns down but she's not out of the fight just yet, far from it. She'll charge though singed burned and try to land a hell of a hammer strike on Glass.
Had this been a few months ago? Gwen used to be Level capped and dearly missed Grand Cross right now, she missed it so /much/.
Wait Heroes? Could Glass be after the Heroes of the Land?
Yuuki is cutting her way through the worm's interior when she notices the 'side' that she's running down is starting to level off. She decides she better get out of there before it crashes down and she's crushed inside!
Pulling her sword free, Yuuki makes a beeline for the light at the end of the worm-gut-tunnel. Just as the worm is about to hit the ground, Yuuki jumps, planting a foot on one of its interior teeth, before leaping off that. She lands against another tooth, this time on the other side, directly opposite of the opening. She then leaps one more time!
The large sandworm crashes down. Yuuki comes soaring out of a hole in its side at the last moment, hitting the desert ground in a roll, before jumping to her feet and stumbling to a stop amidst the cloud of sand thrown up by the falling creature.
After the sand settles, Yuuki lets out a huge sigh of relief, dusting off her hand as she says, "Well. That was a hell of a ride!"
Yuuki turns to face the now beached worm, which appears to be on its last legs... If it had any.
Yuuki grabs her sword once more, casually walking up to the worm as she says, "Alright, big guy. Time for you to go to the big apple in the sky." Yuuki stops next to the worm, sweeping her sword out to her side. It begins to glow, before she unleashes a pair of strong slices.
Turning back to look up at Adlet she blinks once and then lets go of the rope, falling backwards down into the pit. As she falls downward head first she look towards the fighting figures. She watches them casually a moment until she identifies one figure she recognizes, Proteus, and watches as she launches an attack against another adventurer, someone wearing a kimono.
Without further consideration color once again bleeds into Seliana's eyes, dull dark tones, and they merge and swirl in a miasmic fashion as motes of light being to appear around her, this time blue in color. They turn into sharp needles of ice and launch towards the kimono wearing adventurer, Glass, as quickly as the form resulting in a rain of projectiles to the unknown adventurer.
Did... did that do anything? it's hard to tell. They're still in freefall. Mizuki ninpos up some air magic to push her out the nearest hole before the worm hits the ground. As she passes through the hole and sees she has seconds to spare, she digs her teeth and claws into the red light and then pulls free with all her might as she flings herself free of the worm, then twists her body to land on her feet, like any cat! She looks pleased with herself like a cat too, tail twitching. Landing to see... wait, are the other people fighting a human? "Who is THAT??"
And now, all of a sudden, the witch is bouncing about punching and kicking people. Well. Time to get moving.
Miyako ducks aside, about to throw herself into a roll down the side of a dune as Glass approaches her, but she isn't quite quick enough. She's interrupted by a kick that leaves her tumbling down the dune /anyway/, just with a ringing in her head and her HP in the red.
"Oh come on come ON, what've you got against heroes anyway, lady?" The stubborn little idiot decides to try again, and pokes at the still-visible menu: 'Invite Friend'.
"Whoever, whatever you are, you're going to wish you'd stayed on the sideline!"
Legs kick hard off the ground to send Vertina dashing at the mysterious woman. Just as Glass goes through her string of attacks and sends flaming slashes through the air at her. Vertina puts those soccer skills to use though as she slams a foot to the ground and kicks herself sideways to spin out of the way of the magic attack.
As soon as she's passed it and both feet reconnect with the ground Vertina readjusts for the new angle towards Glass and slings herself forward again. Her entire body moves with the motion, a leaping twist to hurtle one of her strong legs in Glass's direction with blinding force!
Quickly scanning around whiel bracing for impact, she spots one of the holes the others left behind before. It might be a little tight... and bloody probably, but beggars can't be choosers, better than a trip at the church at any rate. She's been there, done that, no thanks.
She calls out to the others nearby "Follow me, there's a hole there!" As she glides toward it, and scrunches herself up some to fit through the hole. It might not be necessary, but better than getting stuck somewhere.
This is not good. This is not good at all.
Shield surfing rapidly losing momentum as she hacks and slashes all the way down, Amalthea looks back just in time to duck under the bright lance of light that goes sailing by her and-- creates a new opening. But by this time, she's ground to a dead halt.
"Sod this...!" She grunts, breaking into a sprint. ... But her armor is heavy. She won't make it out of the worm in time. Hustling as she may be, she's not fast enough.
She's going to be crushed.
"Ah hell... Ariel please don't be trapped in this game with gram..." Muttered as she braces for the crushing force that will surely be her end.
Only for a massive clatter of armor as she's forced down, one hand covering her head as...
Mikage pounces her down and soaks the worst of it.
"..." There's a beat of pause and a breath before she nods.
"To my grave." Is all she says as she pushes up to her feet and hurls herself out of the freshly opened exit wound and rolls into a heap on the sands.
It's not her best ladnding. It's not graceful in the least.
But she's still alive, even if her head is splitting and her blood is pumping fiercely.
"... I need a drink. Does anyone else need a drink? Drinks are on me." She says laying her face down in the sand. Oh people are fighting a person over there. Good luck. Amalthea is tapped out.
But once she recovers, she goes back on the offensive again. "Just give up already!" She says, carefully wielding her sword. "You aren't going to win!"
But this person... "You'd be surprised. Still, if fighting is the only thing you'll accept, that's what you'll get." For all her bold talk, however, Glass ends up right in her face, moving fast. Too fast. Her hand twitches, trying to summon up a shield... but there's no luck. A moment later, that foot crashes into her chest with an unpleasant-sounding CRUNCH, and Proteus goes flying, slamming into the back wall and bouncing off to crumpled on one knee, seething red all over her chest. "Gggh..."
She shakes her head. "Yeah, well, I expect more from me too. A pity you didn't show up a month ago, you might have gotten a better welcome." She drags herself back to her feet as alerts go off around her, warning her of low HP... And she turns away. "Maybe I'll have a better display for you next time we meet." At that, Proteus leaves the area, leaving the mysterious woman to the others. She's taken too much damage, she can't stay... And she's not dying for this. Not under these circumstances.
And if it keeps up, his goose could very well be cooked. The enemy is agile, her movements are graceful and her dance accompanies every attack. If they can restrain her, then would her magic falter as well? Prophylaxis murmurs a spell quietly. He feels it wind to completion, then darts out from cover, finds his target, and yells: "THORN BIND!"
The 'Hostage' here is the lady in black. Spectral vines surge suddenly from a dozen surfaces. They lash out at her, looking to ensnare Glass' limbs in the tight grasp of the viney tendrils...! "Hold still! If you really must kill us, let's at least try to come to terms first!!"
He rushes back towards it, after running the hell out of the way from being crushed by the thing. Somehow he manages to make it.
"It's time to end this!" He calls out, leaping up into the air, in order to throw himself down onto the top of the worm, his blade coming to bear again, as he tries to drive the blade through the worm with all the force that he can manage, perhaps driving himself all the way through the worm and into the ground below it.
Mizuki joins in on the carving of the massive squirming worm, which has become nothing but a wall of HP now, trying to roll on its side to crush people. But the Adventurers have grown wise to its patterns!
Arashi indeed shows that she is /not/ to be messed with. Bursting through the flame, the Were Fang reaches her, blade coming down. Glass aims to bring her fan in the way, but she doesn't manage to deflect it. Instead, the blade carves along her shoulder, and leaves a fierce red mark and a chunk of HP. The woman lets out a scream in /pain/ as it hits, grasping her shoulder. Red light bleeding down for a few moments before it begins to fade. "So you've got some fight in you after all." She seems happy with this, not for herself though. Almost like she is glad for /Arashi/ being strong enough for this.
Glass seems confused at Gwen's correction, but seems to ignore it in favor of getting out of the way of the ice shards coming down from the ground, quickly sending a gout of flame up to Seliana as she comes down. "More of you?" She asks, then to Merek and just shakes her head; No. "No matter, all of you must be defeated." She declares, before moving in towards Miyako in an attempt to continue her assault... the friend window not showing up this time. But Gwen does step in the way, being the dedicated tank she is. The hammer intercepting the move, which she manages to quickly backstep away from.
She glances to BlackRose, "You really think you are a Level where you can beat me? No matter." She glances up again towards where the sandworm is, and is about to say something, when Vertina jumps into the fray. Her kick connects, twists, slams into the side of Glass... another solid hit, sending her towards a wall - only to be caught into the midst of Prophylaxis' Thorn Bind Hostage - snaring her to the ground and halting further movement from her. She's still got a lot of HP going for her, but they have her temporarily trapped!
Above, Kaydon carves apart the enormous worm along with the others. With everyone carving at it, it finally detonates! Shards of light scattering everywhere. Then, even as Proteus walks away - she can hear it. Everyone else can. This sound akin to 'glass breaking'. Something near the woman's sleeves. Where she'd put the mirror earlier.
"I will see you during the next Wave of Calamity, Heroes." Glass offers the Adventurers, right before there's a series of rings glowing around her that some people would recognize as the same sigils of a Chaos Gate based teleportation... before she disappears from in the midst of that Thorn Bind Hostage. Prophylaxis getting a message that the target is too far away.
Followed by everyone getting a big logo stuffed in their face.
<< CONGRATULATIONS >>
And a chime that something has appeared in their inventories.
And then the only thing she could see was a debuff message that she had been stunned.
There is distinct satisfaction in feeling her kick connect solid with the woman despite Glass's efforts at defense, knocking her back into the thorns conjured by the Good Country Doctor. Now they've got her! Vertina draws a fist, ki light energy consolidating in a visible krackle around the clenched digits. "Maybe if you just backed down instead of acting like -- huh?" Glass says something ominously taunting, and glowing runes appear near her. "HEY THAT'S NOT FAIR!"
Vertina lunges, swings.... and the charged fist only smashes into the wall up the cave after passing through the empty space the woman had occupied. "Dammit!" the salamander swears, having to put a foot against rock and push to pry her fist free. "If there is -one thing- I hate in this or any world, it's the griefing trolls!"
.... Oh, did the Event complete? If it wasn't for the blantant display she might of not noticed in her flaring temper. But seeing the prize of their hard work takes the edge off the weird mystery woman getting away. "Good job, guys. Despite the weird turn it took."
Yuuki blinks. Since when did worms have metal innards? But the source soon becomes obvious as Mikage and Amalthea comes crawling out of the worm's interior. Yuuki blinks again, before grinning and asking, "Oh hey, fancy seeing you guys here."
Some more wailing on the worm and avoiding its rolls later and it finally vanishes, ending the so-called Wave of Calamity.
Yuuki falls back, flopping onto the sandy ground, letting out a sigh of satisfaction, "Phew! That was great! I hope the next one is just as fun! Maybe I'll have to help them clear some of those floors if it's true that it summons more events like that."
That. Was. Satisfying. The bite of the blow, the yelp, and seeing the rest of the group tear into Glass? Yeah. Good stuff. The blow did what she wanted it to do, and now? Victory. A bleep from the UI shows the spice card, what it can be used for, which brings a short lived smile. Mostly because the one she was hunting some resources for doesn't need it now? ... Mph. Whatever.
After offering a bit of water to whoever needs it, Arashi, (who probably seemed a bit over prepared for just a trip to take care of the calamity wave) sets back out on their 'patrol', broken blade in hand. No real farewells are exchanged with the dark-colred were fang. Seems she has her own little quest to continue working on. She's actually not even headed for Breg Epona. Given the direction she's headed off in? She's probably headed for Kogushi instead. Odd? Only if you don't know what she's up to. And most don't.
"Right... okay. now to get out of this desert before I sunburn all to heck. Healing potion, healing potion, where'd I put my healing potions...."
She then clasps her hands together. "So who's ready for the hike to the capital? Anyone want to race?"
... Why the hell is she so -excited- about the long trip? Even for a Salamander....
Golden rings lens open around the mysterious assailaint. Prophylaxis' eyes widen subtly. "That SFX-- it couldn't be..." But it is. The rings move, and Glass disappears with a tell-tale soundbyte. "A Chaos Gate warp!? Damnit...!"
The target is out of range. Thorn Bind Hostage fails, and Prophylaxis swears a with language that's just a little stronger than a simple 'damnit.' Even the chime of victory isn't able to dispel the sheer sense of wrongness he feels about... everything that just went down. "What... /was/ she? How do you get to be both a Lander *and* an Adventurer...?"
"Wait ... did she just use a Chaos Gate?! What the hell?!"
She's got loot sure, she'll look at it later, for the moment.
"I have no idea but I have someone to talk to later, I think about this. I'm going to go find her I had other matters to speak with her as well."
If she finds anyone in need of help she'll toss them a basic healing potion or lend them a hand but it's clear Gwen's up to something.
She sighs again. "Yes, that -did- look like a Chaos Gate, which means they probably -are- working... somehow." She hrms, considering the possibilities. "Okay..."
She crosses her arms, cupping the right elbow in the left hand, tapping the fingers of her right against her chin as she thinks. "The question is how did she activate it from here... I didn't see anything that looked like a menu gesture...."