Boats have gone missing in fishing villages in the Holy Empire of Westlande, and adventurers have been asked to look into their disappearances. In particular, one village on the northeastern side of the continent has been being plagued, to the point where some of the villagers have begun to grow superstitious and are considering abandoning their village to migrate to a new location. They're hesitant though, because this area has been particularly fertile for their fishermen, so they're attempting to get adventurer help.
A small fishing village on the eastern side of the Holy Empire of Westlande. A normally hot and horrid place to be, this small village was set up nearby a lake that gave a relative relief from the normally unpleasant lands that dominate the Holy Empire. Really the time in the fishing village had seemed too short, as they took rather good care of the adventurers while they visited -- or at least as good as they could with their ability to fish effectively cut off by superstition and fear of their last boats being destroyed.
Even with those fears, they /were/ willing to give up one of their boats for the adventurers to go out on and investigate the disappearances. Which is where the adventuring party was today, left to do their investigations. Now, the boat that /had/ been given away for the adventurers used was... well. It floated! But it was clearly one that hadn't been used in a while, probably so that if the adventurers failed they wouldn't lose /too/ much. And even though it wasn't used in a wile, it was fairly functional. It didn't have any niceties though. It was a sailboat. It had a top and bottom deck and could comfortably fit about ten people on it. It came with meager supplies, since this would hopefully be a short trip just to investigate.
The seas seemed relatively calm today, so hopefully there wouldn't be much issue with getting out and investigating and getting back home safe. ...The question was if it would stay that way, of course. The sea can be unpredictable, after all. But going out to open ocean hopefully shouldn't be needed. And that's where the gathered party is now, preparing to set off and gathering themselves for the actual quest.
"Ahoy ready to go?"
Setsuna had only recently lost the tournament and well he was a little peeved. Yes he acted like a good sport and shook hands and all that but now , now he had drank his potions and wanted to hit something , or maybe set something on fire. So of course he joined the first adventuring party he came across, and ended up on a boat. He is pretty sure this is not what he signed up for. As he watches the water he turns towards Vertina, " Why couldn't we use our boat at least? I think that one has cannons. "
There's nothing particularly /wrong/ with the boat on a cursory glance. It just clearly was the one that nobody was using right now. It didn't have any holes in it, and its sail seemed functional and good. It did however only have the most basic of equipment which is... questionable. If they need something, it seems they'll have to provide it themselves, as the fishing village seems to be suffering (just a bit) from the loss of their two biggest boats and was afraid to provide more than they already have.
Really, they could have brought their own boat. It might have been a good idea, even! Especially since this group ended up slightly less mixed of a pick-up group for the party. But hey. It's too late now, right? Also, Yuuki may or may not already be on the boat. Either waiting, or maybe napping or... who knows what. After some basic checks, the boat checks out as a good, functional boat and is relatively ready to ship out unless the party has anything to do in the village before they do.
Setsuna sighs and pulls out some food from his inventory, the raw kinda that may or may not be meant for a growing Cerberus. Tying a little bit of fishing string to it he tosses it into the water. " Ok bait is dropped, we just have to wait for whatever it is to go after it. " It was all a matter of waiting, just like any form of hunting.
He'll take as much food as they'll give us, even menu food is better than starving, plus water. And a bit of spare driftwood for emergencies if they haven't invented life preservers here yet. No signalling mirrors, because there's no one to signal, though it occurs to him belatedly that this might be a short enough jaunt that flying might have been a good plan to have in backup. Too late now.
"Ugh, I thought I was done with boats for a while..." After spending another week floating back to Yamato in time for the tournament, Yuuki hadn't planned on jumping on another boat for a while. But here she is, once more on the sea. Bobbing up and down. Up and down. Up and down.
Yuuki leans against some railing, staring out onto the ocean, looking for something interest. Anything interesting. She mumbles quietly, "Never a giant monster fish when you need one..."
Yuuki looks over to the others, "Do we even know what we're looking for? Maybe the other fishers just got sick of fishing and floated off to the next town for some excitement. It's what I would do."
"Well this is going to be either a very quiet or a very loud day for us."
She looks at Yuuki.
"If we have to deal with Tentacles or something made of goo I'm going to be very unhappy myself."
Really, just wrapping some fishing string around some meat and tossing it into the water was an /amazing/ idea. Except that there's... absolutely nothing biting. In fact there's a weird lack of things biting on such an easy target, and all that happens from the fishing attempt is that there is now some very soggy(Though salted!) meat.
It's fine though. Probably. Once they get out of the port it's... well. It's a boat. Most things on the boat take a while, even with Vertina's abilities making it so that movement is a bit faster than the natural breeze in the area. That said, there's... a strange lack of what one would normally expect. No sea birds, no fish, in fact there hasn't even been the expected attack that one might expect traveling on the ocean like would regularly happen right about no--
Oh wait. There's something! What looks almost like... a boat floating on the ocean? It's pure black though. And doesn't seem to have any sort of sail or mast or even any sort of oars. What /was/ pretty obvious is that it seemed to be following them. And it was starting to catch up. Also... did the hull of the boat in the distance just move? Are those teeth???
Yuuki stares out across the ocean. Staaaaare.
Yuuki huhs, "I wonder if there's an edge to the ocean... Or if it wraps around to the other side."
No time to contemplate whether the world is flat or not, they have company! The big black... Thing... Is spotted. And it has teeth! Yuuki calls out, "Mob hooooo!" It's probably a mob. That or someone has some weird boat design issues.
Yuuki draws her sword!
She needs to work on some ranged attacks...
"When it eventually eats us, make sure to avoid the teeth!"
Setsuna watches the black boat with teeth approach and as he watches he considers the best approach. " We could always make sure it comes this way with using water to shift the current. " Setsuna doesn't have his pet with him so he will have to settle for all his other dark spells, though seeing Yuuki's choice of weaapon he raises a brow, " Have you considered throwing knives, like swords but you throw them. "
"I think it just found us get ready!"
Miho is already getting up and readying her bow as whatever this thing is? Is coming for them and she intend to give it a warm welcome the moment it's in range.
Schneider is the best bait. Or, wait, no, just 'a boat for whatever is making boats disappear'. As Schneider starts to tick through his active spells for an opening volley, the 'boat' continues to move closer. And as it gets closer it becomes obvious. That's not a boat at all. That's a fully functional battlestation! ... I mean it's a bunch of ants linked together! ...Possibly over a boat? It's hard to tell for the moment. Maybe a boat will be revealed after the party burns away some of the swarming army around it?
As the party prepares for combat, it starts to become obvious that the boat is more or less just the part that's /above/ the water. And below there is a much more spread out and massive mass of ants that is floating in the water, the outter layer of ants moving their legs in unison to move the boat, while inner ants wait to relieve their sisters. Mostly the way they discover this is that the edge of the marine colony bumps into the side of their boat. And movement suddenly comes to a lurching halt with a mass of chittering clicks.
And the boat is starting to move closer. Forming 'cannons' out of ants on the side. Launching several ant boarders (unnecessarily, almost like the ants are mimicking sea combat for whatever reason) out of the cannons. Mostly by sending them flying with a burst of earth magic that sends the giant ants flying towards the deck of their boat, landing rather roughly on the deck, causing their boat to rock wildly! Time to fight for your survival, brave adventurers! Before the antonballs cause your ship to capsize or cause major damage with their impacts!
Or at least that was the plan.
The thing hits harder than expected, and despite the kick the Salamander thuds back down onto the deck of the small boat. "That looked so much cooler in my head," she wheezes. Climbs back onto her feet. "Well two can play at that ga--ack!" She has to cut her attempt to charge up one of her ki attacks short as the ants make a real nuciance of themselves!
Setsuna has an ant on his arm. He had tried to run away and dodge the ant, but he is on a boat, a small boat, with other people. There isn't a lot of manuevering room, unless someone was to use the others as a spring board. Thats ok Setsuna knows how to handle this, he summons more to the boat, now it has skeletons on it to which means there is less room to manuever. Charging forward the skeletons do there best to cut the ants in two. Meanwhile Setsuna pulls the ant on his arm off and throws it in to the water, "So the queen has started to make a move. "
Schneider casts, "Tai-to-ro! Blow this enemy away!" He points and shouts, "ANTHEM!" and a fairly basic fire attack slams into one of the ants, immolating it. He looks around for the next nearest threat. "This certainly explains why fishing has been poor. They must eat /everything/."
It's ants! Water ants? Oceants? Fishants? Or would it be Antfish? Whatever, it's ants!
"Woah!" Yuuki ducks under an antonball.
"Hey now!" Yuuki jumps to the side to avoid a second one.
"Watch it!" Yuuki jumps as another goes rushing underneath her. She lands on the deck again, only to spot a fourth blasting through the air towards her!
Yuuki brings her blade to bear, the dark metal of the weapon seeming to shimmer a bit in the sunlight. She then whips the sword around in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it strike! It cuts through the fourth antonball, causing it to shatter into pixels before it can hit the deck.
Yuuki grins in success, "Hah! Take that!" She then looks around to find the deck swarming with all the ants that actually made it through, "Oh, hello boys." She also notices that some have started chewing on the boat, "H-Hey! Stop that! We need it to not drown!"
It goes flying away hopefully she'll be able to score a hit on something good...
The thing about kicking the Cantonballs was a great idea, really. It would have worked, too! Except that Vertina had flown face-first into a particularly /energetic/ Cantonball and ended up kicking right into its mandibles due to poor luck. The ant, being an ant, reflexively bit down on her leg, dealing a hefty amount of damage!
And it didn't end there, because ants were starting to swarm the deck as well. AoE attacks would likely do well against this swarm of ants. Something that Setsuna... more or less does! In that he summons more things to fight the ants! They do a pretty decent job of it, too! Cleaving ants relatively easily left and right.
Meanwhile, Schneider's tactical genius(Luck?) puts him in just the right place and just the right time to DODGE!!! Which is important. Because it means his health bar is doing pretty okay still. And his fire attacks are burning ants just fine as well, leaving nothing but a few flaming pixels behind. And even spreading it a little to the other ants, which are mysteriously dry in spite of being in the water. Poor programming maybe?
Ducking and weaving, Yuuki manages to slip around and avoid the worst of the cantonballs so that she can instead counter the cantonballs with a bit of stabbing and slicing! Their deck was almost becoming managable, especially with the help of the mildly injured Miho with her burst shot attack.
Their boat rocks heavily under the ant's assault, and the party is forced to recover their footing occasionally, though it's managable for now. And their boat is holding under the pressure of the assault. Meanwhile, the other 'boat' was approaching rapidly. Is it...? Yes. Yes it is. It's at RAMMING SPEEDS, the ants propelling it swimming almost frantically to bring their main boat to the fishing boat the players are on. And hit with a heavy impact and ants almost 'flowing' over the deck from said impact.
Soon? It was dark. Because the boat was just eaten by the other boat. Well. Kind of. There is in fact a boat in the center of the anty mass! It's floating somewhere above the player's boat right now. And ants are falling from above like some sort of antcicle towards the deck of their ship, these particular ants having massive pincer-like mandibles, aimed to spear and snap shut on players and boat alike with their impacts!
It got dark all of a sudden... "Hey! Who turned out the lights?" The adventurers and their ship have been swallowed up by the boant! Yuuki looks around at the inside of the ant swarm, "This is one weiiiiird encounter. Oh well!"
Antcicles begin to rain down on them from above! Yuuki is forced to dive away multiple times, rolling away from the falling ants moments before they hit the deck. As the ant numbers begin to rise, Yuuki realizes that they need to be dealt with before their combined mass causes the boat to capsize. Or sink!
The dodgeimp goes to work, starting to dart around the dark. With pinpoint accuracy she drives the point of her sword into the growing number of ants, trying to cull them before the ship becomes overwhelmed!
One day Setsuna would learn to walk on water and stand on single leafs floating on the water. However today is different, instead today as he surrounds himself in a black aura of magical energy , he simply avoids being eaten by leaping to the nearest sswimming ant, and then another and then another. In the end this was kinda easier then avoiding a giant sword blade that you couldn't see. As he runs along the ants in the water he slashes the air sending waves of dark energy to claw away at the ants.
Her fellow Scales (and the other Salamander) probably know this is a good time to duck. Because when Vertina stops drinking, she lifts her head and emits a bellowing BELCH that would be worthy of any dragon. Especially since this one is blasting a billowing blaze of alcohol-fueled flame breath into the falling horde!
Yes. It's a weird encounter. Regardless, Yuuki does manage to nimbly evade the attacking ants, which mostly just bounce off of the deck when they hit. Or get immediately attacked before they cause major damage to the ship. Like when the dodgeimp gets to work, darting around and driving her point into the ants that this is not /their/ boant to take over.
MAGIC SHIELD! A poor ant runs face-first into Schneider's magic shield, deflected and sent flying off almost comically as its pincers snap shut, followed by almost immediately being incinerated by the followup attack from Schneider, along with several of its other antcicle attackers!
As Setsuna muses over possible future ninja-like acts, one of the antcicles comes closer. And closer. And then! ... An aura of black magic sends him off jumping from ant-head to ant-head, 'running' on water and sending black blades of energy through their ranks, causing some of the ants to die and have to immediately be replaced by another ant, the delicate balance of this floating colony beginning to disintegrate as its members are eliminated, the engulfing mass starting to tighten around them. Either that or they're starting to work on their capture of their prey.
Mid-battle refreshment happens! Delicious delicious fiery refreshment! ... ... ... Oh. Wait. That's not refreshment. And the ants almost seem to have a moment of realization of that. Before, well. There was now a salamander breathing fire. A massive, massive breath of fire. And unlike the game, this one is /not/ fun for the ants. Nope. Instead, they're very much crispy critters now, and possibly could make a good snack.
More ant snacks are made rather handily by Miho, whose flaming blade cuts through as many of them as she can. Getting them pre-prepared for the later ant feast! Okay maybe not any sort of ant feast. There was, however, a sudden shift in the ants after this attack. The ants shift. The aura of the area changes. And...
The darkness is suddenly replaced by a sudden mass of writhing, red eyes. Staring directly at the adventurers. And all of the ants open their mouths, and unleash a deluge. Green, viscous fluids begin to be shot towards the boat and the adventurers, the moment it impacts anything (even the drops from the ants on the ship), there was a sharp *hiss* as the acidic attack is unleashed towards them. And Phase Two of the battle begins.
You would think a boat would be difficult to engage in evasive tactics on, but fighting in constrained space is something many martial artists train specifically for, and Vertina is no different. She sidesteps several of the barf bombs, quickly moving towards Miho as she does. Starts to empower some ki to help... but then has to yank her hand away before she can to avoid another noxious globe. "HEY I'M TRYING TO BE NICE OVER HERE BACK OFF!"
He forms a sword of raw fire, slashing at the ants closest to him, lopping off bits and exploding a few of them into sparkly pixels. They keep coming, but he takes more down, he's not making this easy.
Setsuna leaves behind a mirror image that is completely safe and moves himself directly into the acid. Fortunately for Setsuna there is a magical shield protecting him, otherwise it would have been a very ugly sight as acid burns are always a bit gruesome. There may be in fact a bit of a look of annoyance as he gets saved, but that is probably just the necromancer being annoyed at ants. In fact Setsuna seems to reeach out and take some of flame of the shield and turns it black. " Yes that should be enough. " With his corrupted flame he raises it into the air and throws it at the mass of ant.
Oh! It's raining~
Oh god, it's raining acid!!!
Acid begins to splash down on the adventurers and their boat, causing the situation to reach even new heights of ohgodwhydoIkeepgettingonboats.
Yuuki finds herself threatened with being melted by acid. She needs to think quickly! What should she do... What should she do... ARG! This is too hard! Yuuki decides to just do what she normally does. She raises her sword!
Yuuki starts spinning her sword above her with both hands as the acid rains down. It splashes against the spinning blade. Surely this is a bad idea? Surely the acid will just eat through the sword too?
You underestimate the power of the Absolute Sword!
Resisting the acidic effects and thus taking no damage, the spinning swords keeps the acid away from its owner, until the assault is finally over and Yuuki can breathe a sigh of relief.
Turning her attention back to attacking, Yuuki sweeps her sword out to her side to activate her Sword Arte. It forms a dark wind around her blade, which quickly rushes up to engulf the imp entirely. Taking a step back, she suddenly darts forward at high speed towards the boat's edge. She leaps, planting a foot on the railing and jumping off!
Yuuki jumps towards the mass of ants, before landing on one of them. She then starts to run from one to the next, rising upwards as she slices and dices at high speed, cutting into various ants as she runs over and around them.
Yep. Foul ichor indeed. Which strangely didn't seem to do too much toe the boat, in spite of being, you know. Acid. Maybe it was more poisonous than acidic? Who knows. Regardless, the sturdy boat was showing off how well constructed it was even if it was unused right now normally. In response to Vertina's yelling... she just gets a mass of chittering in response. Also more acid bombs. Death to the adventurers! Also... something of note was that there was now a boat floating a mere ten feet above the player's boat right now.
The loss of ants is starting to get dangerous it seems! And it's getting even more dangerous as the attacks continue. Blades of raw fire cutting through ants and exploding them into loot and sparkles. And others are starting to fall around them, though in a less attack way. No. In a 'the enemy boat is starting to dissolve.'
As the corrupted flame bursts into the mass of ant, there is now a sight of sunlight once more, the sky above visible for a good few moments. Until it's covered again.
Even as Yuuki blocks the oncoming acid attack with her swords. And she continues the assault further from the resisted acidic effects... that black mass of imp leaping towards the mass of ants. And she cuts straight through the group of ants, causing parts of dissolving ant to fall around her in an almost beautiful rain of body parts and monster particles. A sudden groan of ship and a screeching of ants and... suddenly? The roof is literally falling down upon the adventurers.
Which is lucky for one specific adventurer. Miho, that is. As the wave from the other boat crashing down atop their own sends a wave of force that pushes her towards the shore! ... ... ... Okay maybe that isn't lucky. Possibly. At least, for the others.
Setsuna attempts to disappear into a shadow and come out unscathed, instead he takes ants with him and comes out a chew toy and it stings so much that when he tries to still kill a few of them it is more like something is throwing spoons insteads of daggers. Someone's ego may end a bit bruised after today , to be beaten up by ants, truly a low point.
Something something about the best defense being an overwhelming offense.
Again Vertina launches into motion, moving with such speed and dexterity it leaves afterimages in her wake as she jumps and rebounds off the sail for some extra momentum. Followed by the glorious blaze igniting around her, and the thing many were waiting all night to hear.
Vertina twists to bring the spinning uppercut slamming into the falling remains like a volcanic eruption, aimed at the rough center of what remained of it to break the ant cluster apart so they're easier to finally finish off.
He pulls out the big guns, and those who know him know to duck when he casts, "Kaizard, aruzard, kisk! Hansay Glossik! Unleash total destruction! Sage of Hades use the seven keys to open the gates of Hell!" The dark misma grows, and though he takes another hit as he shouts out the final syllables, calling, "HALLOWEEN!" There is a pause, and then as the martians say, a terrible kaboom.
Though it's poorly aimed, it's none the less potent enough to immolate bugs a plenty, dying to the horrible, evil flames.
Yuuki probably picked a bad time to go ant surfing. As the collection of ants seem to fall apart, leaving her little in the way of places to stand. There's a surprised yelp from the imp, before she falls out of the air to land on the adventurers' boat once more.
Yuuki groans quietly, picking her face up off the hard wooden floorboards. A large red mark covers most of it, signifying the source of the damage that just knocked Yuuki's HP bar down a fair bit. But it's okay, there's more where that came from.
It seems like they've managed to free the fishing boat from its ant overlords and just need to clean up after the rest. Yuuki advances on the nearest ant, swinging her sword towards it.
How is that possible!?
Yuuki's headband shimmers just ever so slightly, barely perceptible.
Yuuki's errant swing cuts through some rigging. It frees up one of the sail booms. At the same time the wind suddenly shifts direction, the sail catching it and causing the boom to go swinging at high speed, smashing into several ants all at once and knocking them into the ocean!
In Setsuna's defense, these ants are acting /strangely/ well organized for ants, to be honest. Normally even mobs that are normally considered a 'colony' just tend to aggro together, not form BOATS and go SAILING you know? A bit of an odd day all around really. Luckily he has allies.
Like Vertina, who is defending and also attacking at the same time with overwhelming offence. In the form of a giant, spinning, burning uppercut. That explodes like a volcanic eruption straight into the middle of the falling ants, causing a chain reaction of weirdly... exploding ants? They aren't causing damage though. Just seeming to almost spontaneously combust into ant particles.
Which is only supported by the followup attack from Schneider, HAlloween unleashing a terrible explosion, immolating the ants further with horrible, evil flames. There's only a few left holding the 'boat' together... though honestly it's more of a raft now, and a few hiding out on the boat they'd surrounded and were using to help them sail around the coast and gather food.
Speaking of those few hiding out on the boat... well. As Yuuki is doing her wild ride of luck and cutting and missing only for it to hit the rigging. Which frees one of the sail booms. Which swings out, hitting some ants. Which causes a barrel to roll overboard right onto the ant raft. An errant spark from the Helloween attack falls down, hits the barrel. And the barrel suddenly EXPLODES, destroying the remains of the ant raft. All in a rube goldberg effect that the ant's player isn't creative enough to properly describe. And then... they are left with two damaged, but servicable boats.
And a Miho drifting off in the vague direction of the shore. They should probably go get her. But at the very least the encounter is over, and the party gets their experience and... oh. The loot mostly fell into the water. Well... they get experience! And probably some reward from the quest when they return to town.
Also, upon checking the boat that the ants had been 'sailing'... they would find a rather large amount of food stores in various states of decay, as well various supplies that almost look like the ants were preparing for something, and not just eating everything they caught...
Yuuki blinks as her missed attack proceeds to cause a series of events that send several ants into the water and some exploding things. After a few moments of confused staring, she shrugs, content that the ants have been dealt with!
Yuuki sheathes her sword, then dusts off her hands, "All in a days work for us Adventurers! I'm sure the locals will be happy. Good work, Vertina! You too, Schneider, Setsuna and Miho!" Yuuki gives a thumbs up to the others.
Then pauses, "Miho?" She looks around.
"Has anyone seen Miho?"
Setsuna sets himself in the corner of the boat and nods his head, " Yeah we should get back and let our respective places know what happened. If the hive is acting up again..." Setsuna trails off as he considers the ants stealing something like Olympus's ironside and shrudders. " Should also let villages with ports know what happened. "