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  1. - Top - End - #271
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Reinholdt's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street]

    It is an unfortunate reality that when attacks occur, like the demonic attack orchestrated by Sapphira and the memory attack by the knowledge elementals, casualties occur. Often unsung, untold deaths to unfortunate NPCs whose existence are forgotten. These recent attacks have certainly bloated the number of dead in the streets.

    And also untold is the story of the cleanup crews that go around and pick up these corpses. Bag them. Put them in a truck and haul them to the morgue for processing. It's not a pretty job. It's not a fun job. It pays moderately well, all things considered.

    In the aftermath of those recent altercations, one such truck was parked near a particularly gruesome scene. Someone received the memory of a double agent and everything just went downhill from there. So again, a truck was sent to pick up these bodies.

    These workers, however, are different. They are dressed in drab manual labor city mandated clothing, certainly. But the clothes are ill fitting. There's blood on the collar of more than one. Steve's name tag is completely upside down. And their faces are decayed. Some of their features even replaced with hissing mechanical contraptions that presumably serve as a replacement. These mecha-zombies aren't the normal city workers. Pretty sure Steve didn't look like that two hours ago. Yet they are collecting the bodies all the same.

    There's one last manual laborer who stands out. For far too many reasons. For starters, she isn't actually doing any manual labor at all. She's glancing around as if on lookout. Plus, she's the only non-mecha zombie here. Rather, she's a catgirl with a cybernetic eyepatch that has three glowing dots in a triangle. Finally, she's holding a black parasol overhead, which to be fair, it is a little hot out.

    Still, this catgirl is on the lookout for city officials that might stop her current activities, not passing girls.

    [BDD Sans Thread]

    "Talking is a very useful skill." He's glad someone else is pretty good at it. Talking your way out of trouble just feels satisfying.

    No response to knocking! Rein's halfway into reaching for his lockpicking set when Venus explains the situation a little further. "Well, alright. Go ahead." He steps out of the way, expecting her to need the door. But Venus does not. He blinks a few times and by the time she opens the door, has recovered. "Ah. Umm... yes. Of course." He gathers her clothes and passes it through the doorway to her, his face red, but politely turned away.

    Once she's redressed and Rein's allowed in, he clears his throat and focuses on June. Who does look very similar face wise. No wonder they became close 'sisters'. It's almost uncanny, but it might be a Nexus thing where there's someone out there who looks just like you. "Really sorry for waking you up and bothering you, but it's an emergency."
    Last edited by Reinholdt; 2021-06-15 at 11:30 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Magtok View Post
    Gods, Reinholdt was right, a hundred percent right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supagoof View Post
    Tale as old as thread
    And you find yourself dead
    Reinholdt was the Beast
    Quote Originally Posted by Philistine View Post
    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  2. - Top - End - #272
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street]

    It is a sad reality of this city that catastrophes are commonplace. Too many people with too many energies too close together.
    She spends more time helping with the aftermath of more of these situations than most, let alone people who look her age.
    Little girls do not belong in disaster zones or crime scenes. And yet, Karaglen often finds herself in them anyway. Eager to help. Heartbroken when she's too late.

    Today it looks like she's too late.

    A young, half-drow girl pauses a short distance away from the body collection and observes the scene. She's learned to not rush into these things recklessly, lest there still be an active danger component to be avoided. It's hard to help someone if you just get blown up too, after all.
    It doesn't take long to see this is a mostly posthumous scene, which takes away most of the tension and replaces it with simple sadness. She always wonders why these things must happen, how the more powerful elements of the city haven't put their heads together to correct the problem.

    Karaglen shoulders her bag of inks a little more steadily before trotting over to the body collectors. This isn't an unusual activity for her either. Sometimes she attends these to see if there's anyone she recognizes, to make notes to visit any family they may have had, or pets. Sometimes plants.
    "Um, excuse me! Hello!"
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  3. - Top - End - #273
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    bc56's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    Heresy Fighters

    When Gold turns to throw the sword, Purple sees her chance. She activates the cutting torch and slams into Gold from behind, using the torch on the mad warrior's backplate.
    She says just three words.
    "Ignorance. Is. Bliss."

    Necropolis of Kysimax

    The skeleton does match Venus's pace and extend outward to follow her, and is caught off guard when she swiftly changes direction. She ends up within his reach, but he manages to get out of the way of her weapon, but remains awkwardly close. Venus has an opportunity to press her advantage now.
    Awesome avatar (Kothar, paladin of Tlacua) by Linkele!

    Quote Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.i.46
    'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind.
    My Nexus characters

  4. - Top - End - #274
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Reinholdt's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street]

    A sad tragedy. Though, at least these mecha-zombie workers seem to lack the basic empathy needed to mourn the unfortunate souls they are harvesting. It makes them more efficient at their job. All they're able to give in response to Karaglen is a mournful groan, however. It ironically appears fitting despite the lack of emotion invested in this.

    It does, at least, catch the attention of Raven Ebondark, however. The catgirl glances left and right surreptitiously, wondering for a second if they've been caught and this is a trap. Seeing no authorities telling them to stop their activities, she relaxes just a little and steps over to Karaglen, stopping a few feet short as if behind some invisible crime scene barrier.

    "Yes?" Raven asks. She looks uncomfortable, but that's because these clothes are awful and she hates them. She much prefers appearing regal than this... peasant look. Ugh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Magtok View Post
    Gods, Reinholdt was right, a hundred percent right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supagoof View Post
    Tale as old as thread
    And you find yourself dead
    Reinholdt was the Beast
    Quote Originally Posted by Philistine View Post
    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  5. - Top - End - #275
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Rebonack's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [Moondoe Cafe]

    "G'nichi, many of them came from humble origins. It didn't take years of training. It only took an ardent heart and a desire to do good in the world,"
    Nala says, smiling at G'nichi reassuringly. "They obeyed the call and made their oaths. Some already had years of martial training, yes. But many didn't. Strength of arm can help a paladin, certainly. But strength of conviction is the most important part."

    The cleric leans forward a bit.

    "What is your conviction, G'nichi? You took up a weapon. Why? What are you fighting for?"

    Nala thinks she knows.

    But she wants to hear it from her friend.

    He has ALWAYS had the making of a paladin.

    He just needed to believe in himself and believe that Bahamut can see him through.


    [A Street]

    But a few blocks back.

    See, the focus here isn't Karalgen or the street cleaning.

    Certainly not.

    It's the child talking wishes with the small white cat/fox.

    A nearby man-hole cover rattles ominously. That's the only warning before a shotgun-blast of inky black barbed tendrils explodes out of the sewers toward the bench, sending the hundred plus pound metal disk spinning through the air like a coinflip. Heads is impaling. Tails is also impaling. The attack is indiscriminate. It is likely aiming for the small white animal, but anything unfortunate enough to be near the creature is likely to be perforated as well. For the reprehensible creature these limbs belong to collateral damage is just a nice bonus.

    As soon as the inky limbs are touched by the sunlight they begin to sizzle and smoke, giving off a scent of rotting flesh and burning rubber.
    Last edited by Rebonack; 2021-06-16 at 12:32 AM.
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    The Eternal Game Nightmære Stuff
    It doesn't matter whether you win or lose, just how awesome you look doing it.

  6. - Top - End - #276
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street]

    Karaglen doesn't recognize this particular lady, which isn't inherently weird. There are a lot of people in Inside.
    She's pretty good with faces though, so next time she can be more personal. People always like it when you remember them; it's an easy gesture to show that someone cares and sometimes that's what it takes to turn a bad day into an okay day.

    So despite her own personal bad feelings, Kara puts on a friendly smile and politely holds out her hand, across that little gap between her Raven. Some official people like handshakes.
    "Hi! My name is Karaglen, I help out around here. Errands, healy stuff, shiny figurines."
    Regardless of whether the handshake actually happened or not, something like a little iridescent, mother-of-pearl rose sprouts from between Kara's fingers and is presented to Raven (as a gift). Seems to be made of some weird crystal, by the time it's no longer growing.
    "Do you mind if I, um...take a look around? If I recognize someone, I thought their families should...know."

    Her friendly smile shows a little bit of the heartbreak she feels at the concept, but she's trying real hard to keep it professional.

    As of yet, she has not observed the questionable-living-status of the other workers.

    ****

    Further down the street...

    A little girl barely registers what is happening before a horror from below takes away not only her opportunity for wishes, but any opportunities ever again.
    It's quick, at least. She was small, far beneath the stature of one who could feasibly take a strike from such a horror.

    The cat next her is similarly struck through, tendrils tearing straight through its unresisting form. There is no blood or cries of pain. There isn't much of a reaction at all.
    Its jeweled eyes stare down at the corpse next to it rather impassively. Were it capable of expression, there would be an indication of dissatisfaction. The expressionless continues even as its tail stops swishing and life vacates its ruined form.

    Another cat-fox observes from a nearby restaurant's rooftop, tail swishing idly in the breeze.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  7. - Top - End - #277
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Rebonack's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street]

    For the span of a few heartbeats the tendrils go slack, smoking in the cheerful noon-day sun like a fish slowly desiccating in the sand.

    Then with great violence they're yanked back, taking the corpse and a not inconsiderable portion of the now ruined bench with them. Carcass and seat alike vanish down the manhole just in time for the cover to crash into the grass nearby, sticking into the damp earth at an angle. Aside from the shattered bench and gashes in the asphalt there's little indication of what just happened. Not a drop of blood was spilled. The bleak, black cold from between the stars saw to that. From out of the darkness comes an awful crunching, grinding, squelching noise.

    Followed by silence.

    A pregnant pause.

    And finally a hissing, bubbling voice.

    "Hear me, Collector, and know this: You seek to stoke this guttering flame, but I will not allow it. The Deep Dark shall return. You can not stop inevitability."

    This is, very likely, not the first time this has happened. Whatever this creature is, it has been interfering with contract making.

    How troublesome.
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    The Eternal Game Nightmære Stuff
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  8. - Top - End - #278
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Reinholdt's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street]

    There is some hesitation on Raven's part, like she'd rather not. But she does end up one foot forward, shaking Karaglen's hand. Her own hands are not completely soft, but definitely softer than one would expect from a body collector.

    "Raven. Raven Ebondark." She glances around again, but still no ambushes. She even takes the strange gift. It's remarkably beautiful and she simply can't refuse. "Th-thank you..." She says in the tone of a confused person who does not receive very many, if any gifts.

    Ah, but the question to look around sparks a reaction. "Ah! Uh, no. Sorry. Can't do. Umm... they've already all been identified and their families have all been notified." Raven gives a reassuring smile as she bodily steps to the left to get physically between Karaglen and the victims.

    This seems... highly implausible.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Magtok View Post
    Gods, Reinholdt was right, a hundred percent right.
    Spoiler
    Show
    -Nyahahaha~
    Quote Originally Posted by Supagoof View Post
    Tale as old as thread
    And you find yourself dead
    Reinholdt was the Beast
    Quote Originally Posted by Philistine View Post
    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  9. - Top - End - #279
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [Arkham Street - attic of an abandoned manor]

    Somewhere, inside an old and rotting mansion, a smuggler's mirror has been left to gather dust. Who put it there? No-one present knows. No-one is present, for that matter.

    That's about to change.

    All of a sudden, the surface of the mirror changes. Light peeks out of it. Through it, a ship can be seen, and two faces peering through it - one human, one mechanical. For a moment, they discuss something, and then the mechanical face move aside, so the human can step into the mirror.

    An instant later, the ancient floorboards of the attic creak as they suddenly have to carry hundred kilos of muscle and bone once again.

    The man who stepped through the mirror portal feels his surroundings and carefully stands straight, trying to not hit his head on the ceiling or anything of the sort - he is quite tall and has no idea what this place is or whether it was built to accommodate people as large as him. His dark eyes squint as he tries to see in the darkness. He considers casting a fiery spell to light his way, but decides against it - the building appears wooden and there's quite a bit of dust in the air, he might accidentally burn down the entire structure if he brought out an open flame.

    "Hello? Is anyone here?", he calls out, though he's fairly certain no-one will hear - no-one alive at least. Some sixth sense at the back of his head is screaming a warning, as if this whole building and everything outside it is infested with ghosts and other restless spirits. He's been here for barely a minute, and he already misses the open air and sunlight of the open seas. Slowly, he wanders through the attic, trying to find a window or stairs down.

  10. - Top - End - #280
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zefir's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    Quote Originally Posted by 5a Violista View Post
    [Searching for Jo]

    It's good to know that Fade can keep his cool even when carrying a half-succubus half-elf.

    Carmen manages to still look back at the jaguar, up until...
    When Fade says there's something wrong, Carmen glances away to look at the place.
    There's not enough time to look at it more:

    She quickly realizes that she messed up: "Oh no! I looked away!" she says as quickly as she can. "Get ready!"

    The jaguar only takes a moment to get ready, and sprints towards them. Once it gets close enough, it leaps with its claws out, mouth wide open, and psychic power building up in it.
    [Searching for Jo]

    Well she can try her half elf stuff, but Fade is very emotionless so he does things other would hesitate.

    Having two fronts to look out is rather troublesome, but unless something comes from the outpost he can deal with the enemy in the back. Fade dashes backwards into the Jaguars direction, whenit leaps he dashes again and draws his sword. In his dash he turns and aims with the sword for the mouth, trying hitting it with the flat side and hopefully interrupting it's channel. If that works he whispers a special word so the blade will be wreathed in lightning.
    Grammer is my declared deadly enemy!
    Avatar by Ceika

    Let's PLay's in German Take a Look at Bravely Default.

    Nexus Characters: LINK

  11. - Top - End - #281
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deathkeeper's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebonack View Post
    [Moondoe Cafe]

    "G'nichi, many of them came from humble origins. It didn't take years of training. It only took an ardent heart and a desire to do good in the world,"
    Nala says, smiling at G'nichi reassuringly. "They obeyed the call and made their oaths. Some already had years of martial training, yes. But many didn't. Strength of arm can help a paladin, certainly. But strength of conviction is the most important part."

    The cleric leans forward a bit.

    "What is your conviction, G'nichi? You took up a weapon. Why? What are you fighting for?"

    Nala thinks she knows.

    But she wants to hear it from her friend.

    He has ALWAYS had the making of a paladin.

    He just needed to believe in himself and believe that Bahamut can see him through.
    Moondoe Cafe

    G'nichi looks at Nala with an odd expression. Well, odd for him. Namely for once he looks entirely serious and not fidgeting like mad in her presence. "Because it's the right thing to do. Because I have been handed power and I owe it to those that have not to use it responsibly. And because the Nexus is an insane enough place to sometimes need a little help with justice." He says all of it with true conviction.
    And sure it's a little also because he idolizes people like Paladin Exin but there's nothing wrong with having role models, is there?
    Spako Highclaws by Ceika.

    [Sorry Boss, but as always, I get the last word.]

  12. - Top - End - #282
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street - Corpse Collection]

    Disappointment presents itself on the girl's face.
    "Oh, okay."
    Being friendly and young isn't always a pass to getting what you want, sadly. By and large, Karaglen is understanding of the boundaries others impose, especially when they're in an official capacity.
    Raven can still have the crystal flower though.

    That being said, she's pretty sure something is awry here. Uncle Yurioc always stresses to examine feelings like that, noting that such instincts are sometimes the only warning we get before something terrible happens.

    Something in the air? Of course there's something in the air, a bunch of people died here.
    Signs of hostility? Not...really?
    Raven is acting a little awkward, but to be fair, a little girl did just walk up to her and ask to see a bunch of corpses.

    Karaglen leans over very slightly to peer past Raven, the pupils on her eyes narrowing into draconic slits. She can't body-block the entire scene, for better or worse.
    "Hey, some of your friends look kinda...sick...?"
    No, they look dead. Something else that isn't always a bad thing here, sometimes people just have unfortunate post-life situations.
    Sometimes it's pretty bad though.

    And she's pretty sure the official crews don't employ necromancers.

    [A Street - Cat-Hating Sewer Monsters]

    Regrettable, losing a body like that.
    Something probably should be done about this situation. It's imposing an unnecessary degree of inefficiency over the process.

    Swish. Swish. Swish.
    The rooftop cat's tail flicks to and fro, perhaps contemplating the words of the sewer voice. Perhaps contemplating something else entirely.
    Jewel-like eyes stare unblinkingly down for just a moment longer, before the whole creature gives a performative stretch and begins trotting off along the rooftop. At some point it passes behind a chimney and disappears entirely.

    ....

    Several blocks away, the cat is lounging inside the open lunch-box of a young gnome-girl, as she eats a sandwich.
    A few moments in, the girl stops chewing on her sandwich staring at the cat with a frown.
    "Well I'm not hungry anymore, thanks. Where is it?"
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  13. - Top - End - #283
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Reinholdt's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street - Corpse Collection]

    Raven holds the crystal flower pretty daintily. Kind of like her frame. She's not particularly large or imposing and attempting to block the scene from view is really only accomplished by holding her parasol at an angle. Even then, it's really just not very effective.

    Certainly not effective enough. Raven clears her throat and pretends to glance back at one of the corpse collectors. Did this little girl's eyes change? Maybe it was a weird trick of the light.

    "Oh yes. Ah, umm, terrible thing. A sickness elemental flew through. That's why all these people are dead. Really this place is dangerous to hang around. You might catch something. Young girls should go home quick and wash their hands." To be fair, Raven Ebondark is pretty young herself. She looks just out of high school! A little young for this job, honestly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Magtok View Post
    Gods, Reinholdt was right, a hundred percent right.
    Spoiler
    Show
    -Nyahahaha~
    Quote Originally Posted by Supagoof View Post
    Tale as old as thread
    And you find yourself dead
    Reinholdt was the Beast
    Quote Originally Posted by Philistine View Post
    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  14. - Top - End - #284
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Recaiden's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [Perfectly Normal Walk]
    Quote Originally Posted by 5a Violista View Post
    Oh!
    Okay. That makes sense, then.
    June glances over at the serpent. Of course it's doing that. It's reasonable that it would do that.

    "Oh. In that case, yeah, I guess I do have a message, then," he says, trying to not be intimidated. "Stop hurting people and stop taking people against their will. If you keep on hurting people, eventually it will come back around on you, when one of the people you hurt decides that's enough."

    He glances at the serpent again.
    Honestly, that's a little intimidating. But you won't get him to admit that aloud.
    The voice laughs a silent laugh, a mix of delight and contempt.
    And along with it, the serpents laugh their hissing laughter, and even the mutant laughs in its choking voice.
    Well spoken, individual human that you are. But, no.
    Since the day I hatched I have been doomed to die by the blade. If I were to live a peaceful life, hurting none of you, still my brothers would track me down and kill me, and celebrate their good fortune that I was so weak. I will hurt whoever and take whatever I need to so as to survive.
    Stop me, if you have the strength. In this world, we can do nothing else.

    The serpent comes closer, and will start coiling around June if he doesn't do anything about it. But it's being less than serious about it.

    Heresy Fighters
    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    When Gold turns to throw the sword, Purple sees her chance. She activates the cutting torch and slams into Gold from behind, using the torch on the mad warrior's backplate.
    She says just three words.
    "Ignorance. Is. Bliss."
    Gold barely moves from the impact, much more solid than they look. But a patch of their armor twists and cracks under the heat, smoke rising from the edges of the plates.
    "To resort to a saying at a time like this! You are beyond my help."
    They spin around, swinging a gauntleted fist towards Purple. Neither of them is harmless just because they don't have swords!
    Last edited by Recaiden; 2021-06-16 at 10:45 AM.
    ~Inner Circle~
    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    He takes normality and reason and turns them UP TO 11!
    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Recaiden, stop using your mastery of the English language to confuse the issue.
    Echidna by Serpentine

  15. - Top - End - #285
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Rebonack's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [Moondoe Cafe]

    "And that is exactly the heart a paladin should have," Nala concludes. "You don't need to think of that station as some unobtainable ideal. Bahamut has blessed you with this fortune, I'm sure, so that you can be the sort of hero you always looked up to."

    Nala believes in you, G'nichi.

    Can you believe in yourself?


    [A Street - Cat-Hating Sewer Monsters]

    Maybe the sewer monster doesn't hate cats.

    Maybe it just hates the fact that the universe contains interesting things rather than a completely homogenized expanse of low energy photons.

    Either way, it has been following the cat around and murdering anyone it tries to make a contract with. Very troublesome.

    But horrible tentacle monsters can't just go around killing little girls without anyone noticing. It's only a matter of time before someone calls the cops. And given the description of the monster in question goofy hippo diviners aren't the sort of officer you want to send. No, you want to send someone who can deal with problems like these.

    Or.

    In this case?

    Somepony.

    Red Velvet arrives at the scene of the crime wearing her prim Intersection uniform and hat. She's a wiry, athletic looking unicorn with a color pallet that matches her namesake treat. Off white coat, brownish red mane and tail. Like all of the little ponies of Midnight Park there's a subtly predatory air about her.

    Pacing around the ruined bench, she traces a hoof along the frosty gashes in the metal and wood. Her quarry was in and out quickly. Understandable. Operating in direct sunlight is not pleasant for a nightshade. What could have driven such a monster to attack the living in broad daylight? SOMETHING must be provoking it. There hasn't been any real pattern to the attacks, apart from the victims all being young girls.

    It makes Red's blood boil.

    She finds creatures that prey on children particularly and uniquely detestable. When news of the attacks had come in she was quick to volunteer. Not only due to her experience in fiend hunting but to slack her thirst for righteous vengeance. Likely the monster has slaved the children as shadows. She may yet be able to free them...

    "Oh thank goodness you're here, office!" calls out the owner of the laundromat across the way. "It was terrible!"

    Red Velvet stands alert and poised, striking a pose of effortless grace. "Please, darling, call me Red. Now, tell me everything your remember."
    Warning! Random Encounter™ detected!
    The Eternal Game Nightmære Stuff
    It doesn't matter whether you win or lose, just how awesome you look doing it.

  16. - Top - End - #286
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deathkeeper's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    Moondoe Cafe

    "I will think upon your words, Nala. And uh, possibly inquire about when those ceremonies are done." He gives her more of a smile now, emboldened by her confidence.
    "But surely you know that it is considered poor form to talk shop on a date? I haven't had time to even ask you how your week has been." he chides her wryly.
    Spako Highclaws by Ceika.

    [Sorry Boss, but as always, I get the last word.]

  17. - Top - End - #287
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    5a Violista's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [BDD Sans Thread]

    If Venus bothered to pay attention and knew Rein was okay with picking locks, she would have spared herself the embarrassment and just let him do that. That's what she gets for not paying attention.

    Venus stands by, smoothing out her dress.


    June waves in dismissal and grunts, trying to say 'nah, it's fine. I wasn't that tired anyway'. Her face betrays her, though, since she looks pretty tired. She rolls out of bed (still with the pillow) and then onto the floor, and closes her eyes again. "It's okay. I like waking up. Best part of the morning." June starts to yawn and then presses her face against the pillow so that the yawn is not quite as visible or obvious.


    Venus decides to start explaining: "Ran into some kind of thing that does stuff to your memories when you look at it. But I think it did more than --"
    June interrupts.
    "Oh, I ran into one of those, too, while I was out jogging. Gave me some of the memories of some dead chick who secretly had the hots for her older sister. And a massive headache, but it eventually passed." She sits up with her knees curled up, but still leans against the pillow in her arms. It's too bright, she doesn't want to see anything. "Also met an arsonist who threw gas at it. Reminded me of you," she tells Venus. She pauses, then says, "Your flowers are different." Venus pulls her own hair in front of her to look at it, but then June clarifies: "No, not those ones. The other ones, the ones only I can see. Um...y'know."

    Venus cups her hand to help carry her voice and whispers at Rein, "She can kinda-not-exactly see people's souls."


    And so, June says, "Okay, tell me," she says. Then, she quickly points at Venus and adds, "Not you. Your thoughts might be compromised again." Then, she tries (and fails) to snap and points at Rein. "What was going on, what do you think happened, what does she think happened-" she yawns again, "-and...um...it's too early to be thinking this much...um...anything else you think is important. And anything you want me to do because I'm not thinking straight right now and it'll be easier if you just tell me so I don't have to figure it out myself." Whoops, she started rambling.



    [Necropolis of Kysimax]

    Venus, of course, tries to press her advantage. This close, she feels like she can dictate whether or not the skeleton is capable of using his weapon. She darts closer again, and twists her body so her non-sword-hand is now the closest to the skeleton.

    She reaches up, trying to wrap her arm around and pin the skeleton's sword arm against her own shoulder.
    She had planned on saying some witty banter right now, but...can't think of anything witty. "Didn't expect that, did you?" she says instead.

    Afterwards, she slides her own sword between them, keeping the length of the blade in a position where it could cut the skeleton's neck...if swords actually worked against skeletons. She doesn't swing it, though. She finally noticed, during the skeleton's barrage of attacks earlier, that on occasion he was stopping the attacks before actually hitting her, so she decides to do the same courtesy by not actually swinging the sword.



    [Searching for Jo]


    Carmen tries to think what she could do that could possibly help.
    She can't help with the jaguar.
    So, realizing that Fade might be worried about something appearing from the outpost, she says, "I'll watch the fort!"
    Fortunately, nothing comes from the outpost.


    The jaguar gets hit with the flat side of the sword and is knocked down. Its attack is interrupted, and so is its psychic energy charge. It makes a whimpering noise, but gets back up: it's pretty hungry, actually, after all that following so it's not going to just give up easily.

    The jaguar stays outside of Fade's sword range, cautious of the lightning, and circling around and trying to find another moment to attack.
    It growls.
    It starts building up psychic energy again, while keeping its distance.



    [A Street - Cat-Hating Sewer Monsters]

    Harley, a magical girl who has been hunting heresy elementals all morning, decides she's only going to look for one or two more. Her soul gem's already pretty blackened (after fighting all morning, plus not having a chance to hunt witches during her pregnancy) but she doesn't really seem that worried. It just means that's the limit to her magic, probably.

    She's also blindfolded.
    And wearing an outfit that looks like it would fit on a regular witch (not the kind she normally hunts).

    While tapping on her sword to echolocate, she thinks she found another heresy elemental thing. It has tentacle stuff, similar to some of them, and it felt...well, not exactly the same, but she was more used to other things. Unfortunately, she was still busy fighting another one not far

    She lands nearby, and suddenly smells the blood of the murdered child.
    Harley frowns.
    None of these other elementals have actually tried to kill innocent bystanders, so far.
    She taps on her sword a couple more times, trying to figure out where everything is. Whatever was here before...appears to no longer be here.
    Harley dares to peek out from under her blindfold. . .good, there's none of those spirits around intrusively giving people memories.

    Then, she actually sees the murdered child. How awful: hurting children is one of the worst things ever. Forget going after a couple more of those heresy elementals, finding and killing the creature that murdered a child is much more important. If only she had finished up the previous fight faster, she would have been here sooner.
    And she sees the pony investigating the area.
    The magical girl Harley creeps closer, trying to overhear the pony and the witness. Any clues in finding the murdering creature will save a lot of time.
    Last edited by 5a Violista; 2021-06-16 at 11:57 AM.
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  18. - Top - End - #288
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Rebonack's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [Moondoe Cafe]

    Okay.

    Now?

    It's Nala's turn to look a little bashful.

    She laughs, rubbing at the back of her head.

    "Would you believe me if I told you I've never been on a date before?" she replies a little lamely.

    Honestly she isn't sure what the rules are.

    "Oh, m-my week? I mostly just tend to the temple and search out quests for Bahamut's champions,"
    Nala admits. "I... took a nice walk through a garden yesterday? The spring flowers were pretty. There were some pleasant equestrians tending to the flower beds."


    [A Street - Cat-Hating Sewer Monsters]

    Nope!

    Doesn't look like there are any heresy elementals around here.

    Just a pony talking to the owner of a laundromat.

    "The little girl had been sitting out there on the bench," the woman says, gesturing at the ruined bench. "She was out there for quite a while? I was about to go out and make sure she was alright when those terrible black arms came out of the sewer and grabbed her."

    The woman didn't have an angle to see that the poor child had been impaled by a bunch of barbed spikes. Probably for the best.

    So far this isn't anything new for Red. The last few locations had similar stories.

    "Did you notice anything else, darling? Anything else unusual about the girl? What she was doing?" Red Velvet asks.

    The woman looks thoughtful for a moment. Then a look of realization. "Oh! She was talking with someone. I think it was a little white cat?"

    Ah. Now, that might be something. One of the other witnesses mentioned an odd white cat nearby, too. A coincidence? Or something more?
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  19. - Top - End - #289
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    Moondoe Cafe

    G'nichi cannot believe what he is hearing! Is the parish so cursed that they cannot appreciate the beauty of Sister Nala?
    Maybe they're just too old to be asking out beautiful young women. That is a concern when the temple-goers are so heavily populated by draconic folk. They all tend to live a long time.
    "Well, tending the temple is certainly a virtue but I don't know if it counts as a hobby. Have you been watching any shows?" he asks conversationally. Surely she has interests besides her duties. After all even he managed to do that.
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  20. - Top - End - #290
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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    Delmah Phor

    "Drow are religious, their priests have magic from their gods. Or maybe just one, I've not really spoken to a drow before." Then she turns to the drow priestesses. "I'll cover it if you need to do anything." She unfastens her satchel to make it easier to get some money out if she needs to.

    She'd also appreciate it if Rose didn't eat all her locusts. She was enjoying those, it's not often she gets to eat insects in human-shape.

    Arkham Street Attic

    The attic is old and dusty, filled with other pieces of old furniture. Light is streaming in through a small window at the far end, in the peak of the roof. The light is tinted green by the thick growth of ivy across the cracked glass. The floor is old, and given Frigate's sturdy build of stone and metal there's little chance of it supporting his weight. There's an old chest nearby, old wood with thick brass banding and a tarnished silver key in the lock. A moth-eaten taxidermied bugbear lies on the floor, fallen from its pedestal and gripping a rusty sword and woodworm-afflicted shield. An iron lattice gate is propped up in front of a battered old wardrobe, which has also been tied shut with an old length of rope. A dressmaker's model wears a bloodstained long white dress, a broken knife sticking from the mannequin's heart-area. There's a ladder lying near a hatch in the floor on the far side, opposite the window.
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  21. - Top - End - #291
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street - Corpse Collection]

    Karaglen frowns and reaches into her bag, pulling out a small notepad.
    She flicks through a couple pages of her local notes and doesn't see anything about sicknesses being on the rise. Unless the "sickness elemental" was spontaneously dropped into this area, there should have been a few other incidents of plague stuff, right?

    That's sad, coupled with the awkwardness and unfamiliarity, it seems an awful lot like Raven is lying to her.
    Kara does try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and true, she errs pretty hard on the side of naive, but she's not stupid. More of Uncle Yurioc's advice comes to mind and she has to consider how much danger she's in at the moment.
    Is Raven the danger? Is Raven in danger and just trying to warn her away?

    A well-meaning test. A small half-truth.

    "Oh no, I definitely need to go through the bodies then...I'm with the Temple of Bahamut. I might not look it, but I'm an official healer!"
    Was.
    "I need to clean the area before it spreads past here, then I should probably alert the other temples that this may pop up...um, here, give me your hand again and I can clean you out first."

    The little girl holds her hand out again, as that mother-of-pearl substance seems to slide down her arm and cover her skin.
    It's not a threatening gesture, she looks like earnest.

    And it really isn't a true trap. If there is a sickness going around, Kara can help.
    If there isn't...well, Raven is probably going to make more excuses and that would be sad.

    [A Street - Cat-Hating Sewer Monsters]

    One of the laundromat customers (who had spent crucial seconds folding clothes instead of looking out the window), happens to be walking by as Velvet interrogates the owner.
    "Aw, don't listen to her. That little girl was by herself the whole time, chatting up a storm with her imaginary friend. Right shame this happened though...right shame..."
    They don't have much more to offer, beyond how much of a shame they thought it was.
    That and the girl seems to have been by herself when she showed up some time ago, looking a bit angry about something.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  22. - Top - End - #292
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    5a Violista's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street – Cat-Hating Sewer Monster]

    While listening in, Harley looks over at the blood splatter pattern, trying to deduce what happened, exactly, and what attacked. Tentaclelike black arms. The color is actually a good thing to know, so she can find it better. The shape of the splatter suggests an attack from over there...

    White cat...there's a dozen things it could be.
    Wait, white cat that not everybody can see. That narrows it down to...three things? With the tie to a child, some of the options are more likely than others.
    So...
    Ghost cat, haunting the girl. That would make the black thing also a ghost or spirit. But, wait, Harley verified earlier that the tentacle thing reflected sound, so this seems unlikely. And if this were the case, the second witness would have mentioned the killer was invisible.
    Second option. As she witch-hunts, she sometimes ends up saving a little girl who is in well over her head; sometimes they mention a white cat. But Harley can't see a way to tie this to the black thing...
    Third option, some kind of fairy. Definitely could be easily tied to black tentacle thing and white cat that's only sometimes seen.

    She gets a little closer again.
    Last edited by 5a Violista; 2021-06-16 at 05:31 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #293
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    Quote Originally Posted by Earl of Purple View Post
    Arkham Street Attic

    The attic is old and dusty, filled with other pieces of old furniture. Light is streaming in through a small window at the far end, in the peak of the roof. The light is tinted green by the thick growth of ivy across the cracked glass. The floor is old, and given Frigate's sturdy build of stone and metal there's little chance of it supporting his weight. There's an old chest nearby, old wood with thick brass banding and a tarnished silver key in the lock. A moth-eaten taxidermied bugbear lies on the floor, fallen from its pedestal and gripping a rusty sword and woodworm-afflicted shield. An iron lattice gate is propped up in front of a battered old wardrobe, which has also been tied shut with an old length of rope. A dressmaker's model wears a bloodstained long white dress, a broken knife sticking from the mannequin's heart-area. There's a ladder lying near a hatch in the floor on the far side, opposite the window.
    The man notices the window first and makes his way to it. He peers through the ivy, trying to catch a glimpse of the outside world before returning his attention to the room he's in.

    The chest is the next thing he notices. Specifically because of the key - why has it been left in the lock? The man moves to and crouch next to the chest, testing the lid to see if it is open. If not, he carefully turns the key, afraid it might break, trying to unlock the chest and see what's inside.

  24. - Top - End - #294
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Reinholdt's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [BDD Sans Thread]

    "I'm sure you do..." Reinholdt says skeptically. He doesn't believe June because her face is still pressed into the pillow AND he hates waking up too. Waking up wasn't the worst, but it was still pretty bad. He prefers sleeping in cat form just because it's much easier to wake up when he is. Can do it suddenly, unlike his humanoid form where he's more like June.

    "Wait, wait. What passed? The headache or the memories?" Because if the memories fade, that would be great news!

    He too starts to look at Venus' external flowers, not realizing he should be looking at Venus' soul flowers. A novice mistake really. A brief run of terror flows through him too. See, he's never quite had the question answered as to whether clones like him have souls. And both answers are equally bad for him.

    Fortunately June doesn't seem currently interested in kinda-not-exactly seeing Rein's maybe soul. "Ahh, I wish I could tell you more, but I was blindfolded the whole time. All I know is that I met Venus, she said her name was Venus, we encountered a memory elemental thing. I think Venus started hitting her head against the wall. But she was pretty quiet. And then afterwords she said she wasn't ok. I asked her her name in case it had changed, but she said she had many and needed your help to confirm which ones she had before. She also lives in a church, is tied to the land, has cultists worshipping her and converting others, worked in sports biomechanics, has a human and centaur form, and got mugged underground." This is the extent of what Rein knows. Maybe something stands out as being wrong. But a lot of Venus' suffering during the incident itself was internal so it's hard to relay.

    [A Street - Corpse Collection]

    Raven tilts her head a little as the girl pulls out a notebook. Is this girl... fact-checking Raven? What? She's not really sure what else the notebook could signify in this context. It doesn't look like an address book or an art collection.

    The one eye'd catgirl frowns at Karaglen and stares suspiciously at the hand that's being offered. She can't take that offer. It looked like a trap. And even if it isn't a trap, it would immediately dispel Raven's lie and make things worse. Raven's own instinct says this is wrong. For starters, a girl this young being an official healer.

    Raven glances at the rose in her hand. Or a girl this young being able to create this rose. This... girl wasn't just a passer-by. She was a Nexus girl. A danger.

    There's an obvious step backwards. "Sorry, you'll need to go to our corporate office first and fill out the paperwork that will let us work with your temple. We're not allowed to accept unsolicited help under any circumstances, especially from religious affiliates."

    By this point, the majority of the bodies have been loaded onto the truck. Raven's cybernetic eye glows red for a brief second and Karaglen can hear the truck's engine start. Generally you finish the job completely before starting the engine. The driver there seems to be missing some of his jaw, but it's been replaced with a thick metal jaw that's barely holding onto the decayed skin.
    Last edited by Reinholdt; 2021-06-16 at 10:00 PM.
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    Gods, Reinholdt was right, a hundred percent right.
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    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  25. - Top - End - #295
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Rebonack's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [Moondoe Cafe]

    Nala and G'nichi are having a nice time.

    If G'nichi weren't cursed with an exciting life, this is likely what they would have continued having.

    But, sadly, excitement has to happen.

    A bunch of cultists in spooky red robes, cowls, and masks!

    Surprise!

    The surprise is violence.

    "Take them all! Alive if you are able. Their blood must feed the Dead Goddess!" the cult leader in the back thunders. The other five cultists spread out, three armed and armored and two already waving their hands to weave spellwork. A wave of lethargy settles over the cafe, causing a fair number of guests to pass out on the spot. The rest begin panicking! Since G'nichi and Nala are on the back patio they're well out of range of the initial spell.

    "Cultists of Tiamat,"
    Nala snarls, reaching for her mace to-

    Oh.

    Whoops.

    She doesn't have her mace. Or armor. Or shield. Because she's on a date.


    [A Street - Cat-Hating Sewer Monsters]

    There are no blood splatters.

    There are, however, a few chunks of frozen blood scattered nearby. Not much. But a little. Should Harley touch the ruined bench she'll find that it's still deathly cold and frost has formed on it thanks to the humid late spring air. By all accounts these things should have warmed up already but they have not. Probably some sort of spooky, icky magic at work.

    Red Velvet, meanwhile, considers this new information.

    "Mm, yes. Similar reports at the other dreadful incidents, too. Some witnesses reported the white cat, others heartily denied it,"
    Red Velvet says, writing down some notes on a pad hovering in her magical grip. "All children. All girls. All in some state of distress. At least one witness spotting the cat at each scene. I dare say a pattern begins to emerge. Thank you, both, for your time."

    Then?

    Red Velvet turns and trots away from the laundromat just in time to spot Harley peering at the bench. This is ALWAYS a problem. Adventurers just don't know how to leave well enough alone.

    "Miss, do please refrain from touching anything. This is a crime scene."
    Warning! Random Encounter™ detected!
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  26. - Top - End - #296
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    bc56's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    Heresy Fighters

    "No, you are beyond mine!" Purple ducks under the swinging fist and attempts to jab the cutting torch into Gold's armpit. Using a sword restricted her to a fighting style she was unfamiliar with. But brawling with bare knuckles and improvised weapons? She knows that well.

    Necropolis of Kysimax

    Sufficiently pinned, the skeleton struggles to get free, but can't bring his sword to bear. He seems to notice Venus not beheading him when she has the chance. Just like that, he stops struggling. He seems to be waiting to see what Venus will do.
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  27. - Top - End - #297
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [Delmah Phor]

    "The Spider Queen, Lolth, is the supreme goddess of the drow. All worship her, and respect her." The older priestess declares. It wasn't exactly true. There were a few other gods and goddesses in the drow pantheon, but none were as popular or as powerful as Lolth. She wasn't about to admit that there might be cults to Eilistraee about too, the one goodly goddess on the pantheon.

    The younger acolyte looks over Eun. "I don't see much to worry about then. Has she eaten recently? Had enough water?" She digs in her satchel and pulls out a small clay vial. She uncorks it and wafts it under Eun's nose. Smelling salts, apparently. Or something similar.

    "A donation to the temple would not be amiss." She adds. "but if this works, it's not like it's a spell or anything. Perhaps you could buy a small sacrifice as thanks?"

    The older priestess smirks. Foreigners buying sacrifices to Lolth. That was something. But worship was different here in the Nexus.
    ~Amor Vincit Omnia~
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  28. - Top - End - #298
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Ironsmith's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [Delmah Phor]

    Eun wrinkles her nose in disgust as she starts to come around, her eyes opening slowly. Well, until she gets a glance of the drow wkaing her up, that is. She lets out a little gasp and backpedals, though thankfully Vlad is there to keep her reaction from being too extreme and therefore embarrassing.

    Miranda frowns. She had a bit of a conflict of interest with supporting the temple to Lolth, especially given what Eun had told her about them. It would be difficult enough for her to tithe an Earth god that wasn't her own, much less an alien one and even less so one she had reason to believe was actively malicious.

    She also didn't like the idea of having to rely on Jack to pay them. She reaches into her pocket and produces a few unmarked gold coins, reasoning that she could at least pay the acolyte personally and reward good manners. "Here you go." She says, giving the woman slightly more than might otherwise be considered reasonable. "That's for you." Not Lolth, not the temple, you, she seemed to be implying.

    Rose had returned the bag of locusts to Jack, significantly lighter than it used to be. She gives her a sheepish smile, knowing she had overindulged and feeling just a little guilty about it.
    Last edited by Ironsmith; 2021-06-17 at 06:48 AM.
    Who're you? ...Don't matter.

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    Here's to us.
    Who's like us?
    Damn few,
    and they're aaall dead.


    *gushes unintelligibly over our cat, Sunshine*

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  29. - Top - End - #299
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    [A Street - Corpse Collection]

    Karaglen puts in a lot of effort to keep up with the goings ons in the areas she services. She has some notes about missing girls, a rash of color changing pets, a block of people who speak backwards, a few impending childbirths, one birthday party soon, a weird sinkhole, a personal note to check up on that zombie-dragon-girl, and a frequently scratched out but rewritten note to visit a temple of Bahamut, on and on it goes.

    She's good with faces and names, by memory. Keeping up with Nexus events is a lot harder.
    It looks like she just stepped into a new one and not of the flavor she prefers to deal with. This seems Potentially Dangerous and she's not really well suited to things like that.
    Physically she is, sure, being one of Zee's children, but violence really, really isn't to her taste. It's the blight that keeps the Nexus down from the utopia it could be.

    The girl lowers her iridescent hand to her side and sighs.
    "You seem nice, Raven. Why are you lying? Do you need help? I know some really cool people who can help you with pretty much anything."

    Raven's probably going to run for it, with the bodies. That seems pretty not-great.
    Maybe she can just follow them and let her mom know where they go?

    [A Street – Cat-Hating Sewer Monster]

    There is a whistling noise for a brief moment, soon replaced by the sound of impact and crackling electricity as something not-unlike a purple Kirby warpstar impacts the ground next to that manhole.

    In a haze of crackling electricty, there is a tiny figure in a vibrant purple ballerina-style dress wielding a three-foot-long paintbrush like a spear stands to her feet.
    "And the triumphant hero arrives! Don't worry everyone, your monster problems are a thing of the past."

    It would appear to be a magical gnome-girl.
    She definitely left electrical charring marks all over Velvet's crime scene.

    [Moondoe Cafe]

    Speaking of magical girls and violence...

    The moment the cultists make their appearance in the restaurant, a bright pink, opaque bubble springs up around G'nichi.
    Aw, darn. I was really rooting for you, G'nichi! You were sort of doing okay!

    That bubble collapses around G'nichi's form like a vacuum-seal, breaking apart around his face and hands to re-expose them to the world.
    Everywhere else it molds itself around his garmets, before bursting apart into a dainty explosion of pink ribbons and frills hanging from almost every surface on him. An enormous bow blooms across the back of his head, with trailing ends billowing away from him like a long scarf.

    In his hand, a long staff appears, topped with a giant ruby heart on one end ringed with rotating circles of gold, spiraling down most of the handle.
    Everything about this look seems slightly different than his last experience, but it is still unmistakably the same weapon.

    Time to kick some butt and show off your hero skills!
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  30. - Top - End - #300
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deathkeeper's Avatar

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    Default Re: Inside 72: Halfway to a Gross

    Moondoe Cafe

    Nala will probably notice the distinctly annoyed look G'nichi sports during this entire sequence.
    "I have no idea how you and those swords are from the same place. Just lose the outfit when we're done, I chose my nice things specifically for today!" he hisses before stepping out before the cultists with his rod.
    "Your Goddess does not want the blood of her children spilled for her sake. Return to your places or you'll have to be prepared to be bludgeoned until Intersection arrives." he announces, tapping the end of the staff against his hand menacingly.

    What's with the outfit anyway? I'm pretty sure I don't need it to swing you around. And you know no one takes me seriously when I'm wearing it. I'm not a little girl. And it would only look even less intimidating if I was. he mentally grumbles at the rod.
    Spako Highclaws by Ceika.

    [Sorry Boss, but as always, I get the last word.]

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