Duty Session 105: Escort Quest: Artificial Stupidity
A Lander stands just at the exit of town with a familiar quest marker being offered. Apparently, they need to travel to a nearby location which requires traversing through rough terrain, filled with monsters. So, they have reached out to brave Adventurers to help guide them on their way!
It's just a simple escort mission. What could go wrong?
Rec. Party: 4+
World Rewards: None
Well, with all the stuff going on it was probably almost time for Giganpor to move to his next assignment in his training smithing duties. Supposedly, it was across from an escort quest's destination, or so he had heard!
That had lead him to seeking out said escort quest, and looking for others to join in on it. Once he makes his way over, he smiles and gives a wave. "Anyone recruiting for this?"
Giganpor is noticeably in his armor, and carrying instead of a usual sword or hammer a nice big axe on a stick. That's the best way to describe it. Or at least a pretty big great axe. Take your pick.
"I'm not entirely sure I'd describe escort duty as 'fun' but hopefully we'll learn something about the world regardless." Mizuki chimes in. For now she's wearing the desert outfit, which is a lot like a slightly looser, white version of her ninja outfit but with a seperate hood to cover her head and face, and with footwraps for her were fang feet. To Prophy, she responds, "Maybe we'll do most of our actual traveling around dawn and dusk when it won't be as hot?"
She looks at those assembled, hugging Wisteria. "So how have all you guys been, anyway?"
"I have been looking for you, Giganpor."
She grins for a moment more as she seems to be getting her own gear ready. The smith is clad in battle gear looking like she walked out of some warring states era anime. "So here we go again on another convoy."
Giganpor blinks, then looks down at Miho. "Hm? Oh... huh. Thought you'd be taller with the smithing thing." He blinks a few times, then shrugs, "But yes, looks like you finally caught up to me. Not that I'll be around long. The Tradesmen's next smith I'm supposed to be with is supposedly near the end of this escort quest."
He looks over at Wisteria at the question of being ready and smiles, "Sure. Not a lot to it. And it's on the way, after all."
At one point Mizuki asks, "...If there's a shrine this way, shouldn't there be a marked path or something?"
Sure enough, later they're lost. Mizuki sighs, even though she can see Wisteria is happy to do cartography, like Jazz, and doesn't protest. She turns around. "I'll be back." and then uses an earth Wave Arte to make a sort of stone sled just beg enough to stand on, which rides back the way they came. She'll just have to use her enhanced were fang senses to try and pick up the trail's scent at the last couple of landmarks...
Giganpor, meanwhile, begins to search for the path. He's taller, and can obviously do searching for roads/paths there. Which he starts to look for.
The giant of a red-head turns back, "Hey, don't go too far! We don't have mini maps or something, you know!"
Meanwhile, he begins to look for a path, road, or the like to indicate where they are. At least a tree or something.
"A few days ago I was freezing my butt off in the middle of a blizzard, and now I'm cooking under the desert sun! Why can't adventures happen in a nice temperate forest or a bamboo grove, or on a mountain covered in cherry blossoms or something...?" And now they're lost! Prophylaxis gives their would-be guide a withering look and breathes a long, sun-parched sigh.
"Hold on a sec," he says, pressing his hands into the burning sands. It looks as though he's having a moment of heat-dizziness, but then the earth begins to rumble and a pillar of stone abruptly shoots out of the ground. The sun casts a long shadow from it. Prophylaxis stands inside it, then gestures vaguely in the direction that the shadow is pointing. "That way's west. That means north, east and west should be easy enough to figure out. From that we should probably know which way we aught to be heading, right?
"You look good in that!"
She looks to their client and smiles.
"Don't worry we have experience in doing things like this before, at least I have." 5R
She honest and she looks ready as she gets ready to head out. Her tail is swaying as she goes, she seems pretty happy. She looks at Giganpor.
"Judge me not by my size. I have a job offer for you, which we need to talk about later it might help you get some more notice aside from paying well."
Tail swishing as she goes.
It takes time as they move on but Miho just has no experience with pathfinding on her own, she has some idea about the basics, but she never really got tossed out in the woods before she ended up in this world.
"All right you seem to have a better idea than I do, I need a damn compass is what I need."
Wisteria looks around as they reach a forest in the foothills of the desert mountains. Who expects that? No one it's like the Spanish Inquisition. "OOh hey see Monsters! Told you!" again she's WAY too happy about monsters. "Lets see if we can't get past them without them eating anyone." she says licking her lips and folding her parosol she won't need that in this forest it seems.
Eventually others manage to find their way back on track and... a forest? "There's very few forests out here..." At least now she's got a general idea where they are again. For all the good it does. It doesn't take a genius to spot the indicator of monsters lurking about. She clenches her fists, ready to fight as usual. Until it's pointed out they should avoid them with the escortee being... well... an escortee. "Uuuuugh. Why are there monsters when I don't get to punch them? Not fair."
She skulks behind Wisteria, being what counts for her as quiet. But still not necessarily sneaky. She's a monk, not a ninja!
Giganpor looks over at Vertina, "Something like that."
He looks back out, frowning at the monster indicators. "Right... well... guess I can make this harder for them."
Then he brings the axe up and swings it around, a clear summoning-like circle dropping down over him as he shifts into Were-Fang form. He doesn't get larger, but does get bulkier. And grows a mane, not to mention feline features.
Planting the butt of the axe handle in the ground, he takes a breath, then lets out a very, very lion-like roar. A challenging one at that. King of the Jungle one. Seriously, who wants to mess with something that can roar like that?
It's definitely meant to scare off predators, though, which is what he's aiming at as he looks at the others afterwards, "Stick close, please. I don't know if that scared them all off." He picks up the axe in hand, moving along and making sure to stick by the Lander in case of monster attack.
He's quite a bit more relaxed by the time the party navigates out of the desert and into the nearby woods. "Wow, you'd think the game heard me complaining or something--"
There are monster tracks, apparently. He wouldn't know. He's a wizard, damnit, not a tracker. Giganpor roars like some kind of lion-man who is definitely not destined to die in an emotional moment that triggers the start of an apocalyptic depression in a young waif who had grown close to him. Prophylaxis shrugs and...
Casts a certain spell that fills the gaps between the trees in translucent, purple brambles. "There. At least we'll have some forewarning in case they've still got any ideas about attacking. I hope."
"There's a /forest/ in the desert?!" Mizuki is surprised to see this. She doesn't remember the maps she glanced at before the apocalypse that well.
Sharp feline eyes spot the signs of monster activity. "Hey uh... maybe you should slow down a little?" she urges the lander, then her tail goes all bushy as the escortee loudly crashes to the ground. She holds a finger up in front of her muzzle, "Sssh!" She goes one further than the other were fangs, opting to just PICK UP the lander in a princess carry and stealthily move through the woods in the middle of the group.
"I don't like the look of this either." She'll make ready to inerpose herself between the lander an any harm that might come their way or at least that's her plan.
When the come upon the cave she smiles "Oooh Spelunking!" she doesn't even care this makes no damn sense for a pilgrimage to a temple. Caves are COOL.
There's a beat as the doctor seems to realize... something.
"...Are we /sure/ we're not just... still lost?"
The Salamander clenches her fists, igniting something of a fiery aura around them. Holds one up like a torche above her head. "This is handy, but we probably shouldn't linger. Monsters might get the same idea of taking shelter down here."
Mizuki doesn't even notice the cave is dark at first. The lander saying such is, in fact, her only clue as to why he's just walked into a rock. She sighs, a bit annoyed with this NPC even if the problem is one her fellow adventurers would have trouble with just as much.
She puts a hand on the Lander's shoulder to guide him and starts slowly breathing out a tiny puff of flame to provide enough light to see his immediate surroundings by, stopping him when she has to stop and breathe in.
Eventually they reach so far in the cave that even she can't see without light. "If people have been to the shrine before, why didn't you bring a torch...?
Giganpor sighs as he stays in his were fang form, then raises his hand to call out, "Auris, come forth. Fairy Healing."
At Giganpor's command, a summoning circle appears that sounds out a bird made of light. The bird flies over, healing the Lander and anyone else it needs to before shedding light as it stays circling above everyone's heads.
Giganpor scratches the mane on his head, then looks at the Lander. "You're lost, aren't you?" The giant lion-man looks annoyed at that.
"Humm light? I can do that. Forge hammer spark!"
She'll generate a flame somehow as she triggers one of her abilies and it hovers there which it will at least give them some decent amount of light as it hovers at her shoulder.
"We should be all right and spelunking you think we'd not do some at some point my friend?"
She laughs it's clearly she's actually enjoying this whole trip.
After the cave lets out into the oasis hills with short scrubgrass at least they're on an established path heading to the water. However When the Lander sits down and starts griping about food she rolls her eyes and shifts back into her human form opening up her parasol. This is the first time she doesn't seem excited about something but this is just... anoying.
All the same she wanders over to the available water and stares at it for a few moments with one hand drawn back. Bears do it like this all the time, how hard can it be? Something swims by, and she thrusts her hand in!
... Having overlooked that her hands are still alite with flames from the cave. *FFFFFSSSSSSH* "SUNNOVA--!" Vertina stumbles back and falls on her butt after getting a face full of instant steam.
Shaking his head, Giganpor starts to look around, slowly moving to hunt.
Just one problem. He's in armor. Slightly noisy armor. He starts to look around slowly, but eventually manages to just scare some birds, a few cluckcluck, and one wild boar away rather than kill anything.
Prophylaxis frowns and produces... a handful of trail mix produced by some enterprising craftsmen back in town. "It's not much and kind of tastes like cardboard," he says with a shrug, "But it'll at least buy some time."
Why is there now a *plain* around them? They were in a desert! Then a forest!! Then a cave!!! Does 'distance' and 'geography' hold no meaning in this twisted game!?
Mizuki ooohs with interest at the magic flashlights. "You just need a parabolic mirror like a real flashlight, and these would be really good!" And then her ears flatten when Vertina picks up the nickname. /It's spreading/.
And then Prophy corrupts it and she stops and turns and points at him. "No. Too far! I am not a vegetable!" She's not actually mad yet, but this needs to stop before it actually gets intolerable.
And then it's time to rest for food. "You didn't bring anything?" She offers him some flavorless rations, but apparently those won't do. Nearly everyone else opts to try fishing in the oasis; Mizuki also would prefer fish, but until Gwen invents swimsuits water means either wet clothes or nudity and even if you can't really see anything with her fur that just turns out awkward for everyone involved; so she heads out into the desert to hunt, chasing some rabbits and lizards and such but unable to catch them and finally returning empty handed. "Sorry. We'll just have to move on..."
Giganpor unfortunately wasn't really equipped to deal with harpies. Even his summons didn't have that sort of range! And none of them sang! So... yeah. He's now pretty unsure what to do.
So he raises his voice and tries roaring at them, only to stop a bit as he coughs... hacks... and up comes what looks like a hairball.
That has him staring, then looking at the others, "I got no clue where that came from. Seriously."
The tall albino girl stalks along the path until they see the temple with it's harpy infestation and the remains of apparent bardic attempts to deal with them. "Well crap..." she says sighing. "Anyone bring a slide wistle or something?"
Forgoing any of the trickering the Salamander just rushes in with fists swinging. "PERCUSSION!"
It doesn't matter if its ineffective against the bird-women, she needs to vent from how annoying and obnoxious this quest chain has been!
There are harpies in the sky and a hungry Lander on the ground. At least they've finally reached the shrine in one piece, but...
If the Lander is going to be able to perform their rituals in peace, these creatures are going to have to go. And if he can perform a CULINARY MIRACLE, then even better...!
"It's time for some FRIED CHICKEN," Prophylaxis declares as he opens a hand into the sky. "Come forth on incendiary winds! By my command, rise like the morning sun, o' incarnation of destruction! FIREBALL!" The incantation was not necessary. At the Magus' command, a sphere of roiling, screaming heat ignites in the sky, aimed perfectly to set the lot of the winged rats alight!
There's only one problem with Prophylaxis' plan.
He doesn't have the Cooking skill...!
"I guess we need to use music? Slide whistle? Please. Why slide whistle, when you can..." she turns to the harpies and belts out, "SIIIIIIIIING!" She walks by the broken instrument pile, picking up a broken harp and strumming it, more like percussion than a melodic instrument given its state.
"Oh when you happen," *strum* "upon a harpy, don't despair." *strum strum*
"Just remember," *strum* "this song and I'm with you there!" *strum strum*
"They can't do anything to ya, if you sing a little tune-a," and then, seeing which way her companions are going about this, slides into a death metal shout while strumming the broken instrument wildly while smoke and fire pour from her mouth, "and MAKE THE SMELL OF CHICKEN FILL THE AIIIIIIR!"
She turns around and FLINGS the piece of junk at a harpy, following it up with fire blasts!
"The castle of black metal is rising in the sky, It's super robot Mazinger Z, Its invincible power is protecting us, Justice in my heart, pilder on, Flying high iron fist! Rocket Punch!, It is now, got it now, Breast Fire!, Magin go Mazin go Mazinger Z!"
She keeps going though her pitch is a bit off for this she does not stop.
"The castle of black metal is breaking the mountain, It's super robot Mazinger Z, The anger of justice is for everyone, Praying for the peace, pilder on,Shoot it, hit it! Missile Punch! It is now, got it now, Rust Hurricane!, Magin go Mazin go, Mazinger Z!"
It doesn't work so well for distracting the harpies...
"Oh, phew." The Lander gives a sigh of relief as they walk forward. Out of one of their pockets, they pull out a carved war horn, laying it before the statue and bowing their head. "Please, goddess. These brave souls deserve a token of your blessing. Gift them with your courage."
Wistera smiles again opening her parasol and putting it on her shoulder. "Hey at least most of the trip was fun... and we weren't lost after all." she says with a laugh, giving Mizuki a hug from behind. "Good work on startling them into the air Mizukichi."
Giganpor, following the others, grumbles a little as he makes it to the shrine. "Well, this is a bust... I should probably get going. Definitely not close to that town I was told."
He looks pretty annoyed by that, even as he looks at the small marks and hums as he picks one up. "Isn't this one of the three goddesses from the lore?"
"I'm glad you made it shall we get you back to town?" She tries to not think about the harpies as the job seems to be done. Well save getting their client to town.
Mizuki smiles and bows to the group and then is hugged, tail twitching happily. And the lander... actually gets them a gift? "Huh..." so the NPC isn't a complete nitwit after all.
She blinks at Giganpor. "Three goddesses from the lore?"
And then, a more concerning realization: "Wait, how are you getting home?"
And the Lander can finally get to their object of worship! Prophylaxis nods slowly at the sword-bearing statue, "That's another, then. Three goddesses... Well, from what I remember, this one is all about combat and the struggle of battle, so in that sense... I guess being out in the middle of nowhere and forcing adherents to risk their lives makes sense?"
There are temples out in the middle of the goddamn mountains in Japan, after all. This isn't /exactly/ out of place.
"Well, regardless, good job everyone. Even if we are still... kind of stranded out here?"