The name's Holly Stone. I'm a witch.I've just fought my way through a whole bunch of crazy mole men thanks to the power of Soviet weaponry, magically-enhanced scrap-metal for armor, and a really, really scary dog, but their boss managed to blow up my kneecap before I sent a metal spike through his throat.Ffffffuck, this hurts.Still, it seems I've cleared out the last of their resistance, which only leaves the part where I gotta rescue the missing young lady somewhere in here. Fortunately, there's only one place left for her to be.I just hope there isn't someone else waiting to explode my *other* kneecap.-----Quest Twitter: https://twitter.com/UrbanShazamFirst thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/30121329/Second thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/30196141Third thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/30354918/Fourth thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/30507008-----
[1/2]As I limp along, using the walls for support, I make sure to reload both pistol and rifle. I've no desire to run dry again like last time. Pistol in my main hand, rifle held awkwardly in my off, I slog my way through the last unexplored tunnel. The hellhound plods behind me, hot breath nipping at my heels.This passage, like some of the others before it, has more bits of scrap sticking out of the walls, making progress much more difficult than it needs to be. The spikes twitch as I pass them by, and I give them a leery glance as I hurry onward.“There'd better be something good here,” I grumble, trying to take my mind off the searing agony that is my kneecap.When I reach the end of the tunnel, it turns out I needn't have bothered. Every last inch of this chamber is covered in jagged pieces of metal, walls and floor and ceiling, and the only light illuminating it comes from the massive centerpiece; a large, glowing, crystal pillar is dead-center in the room, blue light washing over everything. Pressure bears down in my mind, like water pushing in on glass walls straining to hold together, and I can very faintly make out whispers from many voices.Most importantly, of course, is the young woman lying in an insensate heap at the pillar's base.I squint at her.Ah. Dark hair, dark eyes, general familiar features.Client. Right.
>>30677428[2/2]A glance over my shoulder reveals the hound sitting at the mouth of the tunnel, burning eyes staring intently at the crystal. Can't say I blame him for not wanting to cut himself up walking around in here."Here goes," I mutter, pushing past my misgivings. When I take another step forward, the pressure building in my head intensifies, and the voices pick up accordingly, albeit still unintelligible. I pause, biting down on my lip, but after a moment passes without my brain melting, I advance once again.When my foot touches ground, the pressure in my head explodes, and as my knees buckle, words ram into my brain with jack-hammer force.*OUTSIDER**MURDERER**HERETIC*The crystal pulses red with every word, stealing the breath from my lungs as I battle the urge to run.*LEAVE*I grimace as the metal all slithers around, tendrils of scrap rising up and quivering at my general direction. -----[X] Push through the pressure, grab the girl, and get out.[X] Hold on, hold on, it can talk? Back off a bit, try to communicate.[X] Whatever this thing is, it sure as hell isn't up to good.
>>30677483>[X] Hold on, hold on, it can talk? Back off a bit, try to communicate.
>>30677483Aaaand I forgot to expand on that last vote option. >[X] Whatever this thing is, it sure as hell isn't up to good. I'm sure I can figure out a way to destroy it.
Well, if there aren't gonna be any other takers, I'll just get to writing right now.
>>30677712haha, I have all the power!
I backpedal a little, to the point where the pressure isn't quite so bad. It's still like someone's pushing down on my head, but it's not brain-melting anymore.“I'm just here for the girl,” I say, noting with unease how the scrap tendrils are all pointing at me. “Let me take her and you'll never see me again.”*LEAVE *I stymy a growl of frustration. “Look, what do you want?*RECOMPENSE*“For- for your people?” *YES*All right, it's not immediately trying to skewer me. I might be able to work with this. “What kind of payment do you want?”*LIFE*With that, metal tendrils wrap around the woman at the pillar's base, pulling her closer to the crystal. I suck in a breath through my teeth in dismay. Lacking many better options, I reach down and grab a spike. Pouring just the tiniest bit of my will into it, I send a pulse throughout the scrap network; the monolith before me lights up red once again, and I wrench the spike to the side, forcing my magic on it. It pushes back, metal sliding up my hand and coating it, scraping with every inch.*RELEASE ME*“You're not getting the girl,” I say, through grit teeth, forcing as much conviction into my voice as I can muster. “Let her go.”The metal pauses its ascent for a moment.*TRADE*I blink. “Trade?”*TRADE LIFE*I cast a glance over my shoulder, at the hound patiently observing the goings-on.-----[X] Offer the hound up; hopefully I can bug out of here with the girl before the monolith twigs to what I just gave it.[X] No deal, buddy. It's time I go on the assault.
And again, I forget a vote option! Although it's more a general thing, write-ins are always acceptable.
>>30678067Gah! Sorry I'm late SHAZAM![X] No deal, buddy. It's time I go on the assault.Minus a kneecap, I don't like our chances of hobbling out safely with someone else and no protection.
>>30678126If I could make a suggestion? The next /qtg/ should be up soon since it's about to 404, so maybe you should shill a bit? It's great that you're running, but it feels kind of lonely here.
>>30678146S'cool, I'm just happy you're here.>>30678217If it'll breathe more life into this, I don't see why I shouldn't.Anyway, calling it here.
>>30678067>[X] No deal buddy, I take care of my people.I don't want a fight, but I'm not seeing a way to talk Holly out of this one.
>>30678067>[X] No deal, buddy. It's time I go on the assault.First voter who no longer has all the power reporting back for duty.Will have to leave again for about an hour though :(
[1/2]I frown at the dog, and slightly jerk my head at the monolith. It seems to get the hint, baring its teeth.That handled, I glare at the giant crystal, sincerely hoping that what I'm about to do is gonna work. “No deal.”It pulses red again, but before it can do anything, I push as much power as I can muster into the spike, willing the metal barring my path to stand aside. The spikes around me shake and twitch, but they clear a path ahead nonetheless.“Get her!” I say, imposing my magic onto the monolith. The hound leaps past me, paying no heed to the metal tearing up its feet on the way to the girl. I try to force the tendrils encircling her to pull back, but so close to the monolith, they're reduced to simply twitching impotently. I've bigger problems, like the spikes flying towards me, to worry too much about that right now. I'm forced to manually halt any spike growing too close, which, with a network this large, is a lot like juggling chainsaws with one hand. With this many coming at me, I can't hold them all on my own, so I push a small circle of metal apart, exposing the dirt beneath, and slam my other hand into it.If you're ever planning on trying to work a bunch of magic with an AK in one hand and a pistol in the other, take my advice and don't, because it's a real pain in the ass. Still, I manage to touch a few fingers to the dirt, and with another push of magic, a few sets of earthen hands rise up to grapple with the spikes heading my way. I'm sweating now; pushing my will against the monolith would be hard on a good day, but my focus is undermined by my shattered knee.
>>30678990[2/2]*FOOLISH* Psychic pressure slams into my head once again, and it's all I can manage to not fall over as my ears ring like a bomb just went off. My vision's going blurry as the mental assault continues, invisible force clamping around my head like a steel vise.*RETRIBUTION*The hound starts worrying away at the tendrils around my target, tearing through the metal so quickly its teeth might as well be a circular saw. Spikes creep towards it, even as more try to come at me. Several pierce through the shield provided by the dirt hands, and I gulp as they grow closer.-----[X] Ah, shit, this is gonna hurt. I can shield myself from deadly stabs while still protecting the hound, but some of the other spikes are guaranteed to hit me.[X] The hound's a tough beastie, but if I keep getting hurt, I can't keep the magic coming, and then we're all boned. Direct all power towards protecting myself.[X] It's gonna be hard, but I have to try and cover the both of us. I'm reasonably confident I can pull it off. Probably.[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>30679019>[X] It's gonna be hard, but I have to try and cover the both of us. I'm reasonably confident I can pull it off. Probably.we can do this
>>30679019>[X] It's gonna be hard, but I have to try and cover the both of us. I'm reasonably confident I can pull it off. Probably.If our defenses start failing though let a few near the hound go through.
>>30679019>[X] It's gonna be hard, but I have to try and cover the both of us. I'm reasonably confident I can pull it off. Probably.Let's hope we don't die!
>>30679019>[X] The hound's a tough beastie, but if I keep getting hurt, I can't keep the magic coming, and then we're all boned. Direct all power towards protecting myself.
I've given the vote window plenty of time, so I'm just gonna close it here and get to writing.
>>30679019>Tendrils are metal>Metal is a mineral>Minerals come out of the earth>Geomancy that shit
>>30679342You should cut it to ten minutes or so.
Forgot to check for this, oh well. Good luck with the thread. Sleep calls...
[Votes next post]Even as more spikes come at me and the hound, and more pressure pounds at my mind, I clench my teeth hard enough I fear they'll crack, and push all my effort into blocking everything coming at us. I'd love to just redirect all these spikes back to the source, but I've got enough on my hands as it is. Besides, I'm not sure how much damage it'd to the monolith, since there aren't any vital spots that I can see.*STOP*“Oh, shut up!” I say, glaring deeply at the monolith. It can just go fuck itself, far as I'm concerned.Apparently, I offended it, judging by how more and more needle-thin shard of metal are coming my way. I drop a bunch in their tracks, growling as more go at the hound. Speaking of which, it tears through the last of the bindings around the woman, gets its teeth around her shirt, and starts dragging her back my way. With all the tendrils coming at the two of us, I'm forced to let a few spikes through to the dog, but it snaps at the offending bits of metal, rending them apart with every bite. Its pace is slowed by doing this, of course, but it's a damn sight better than me getting a bunch of impromptu piercings.“Go faster, for the love of God,” I grind out. The hound shoots me a distinctly unamused glare, but it continues dragging its prize onward. The tension bearing down on me feels like I'm trying to hold a car in place with just my head, now. Rivulets of sweat drip down my forehead, and I'm forced to blink away some that get in my eyes.*STOP*“Said shaddup, you assclown,” I hiss, muscles burning as I hold everything back.The hound plods past me, and I give it a few moments to gain ground before I start carefully drawing back, now focusing my efforts entirely on defending myself. Once it's in the tunnel proper, I'm forced to consider an escape plan.*STOP*I don't bother with a retort this time.-----
>>30679794[X] Screw protection, it's time to hobble for my life. Dangerous, yes, but I've got a speed advantage on these things, even with my knee as it is.[X] I have not come this far to get skewered now. Maintain an organized retreat; it'll be slow, but it's a lot safer. The only question is if I can hold out long enough to escape in the first place.[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>30679812>[X] I have not come this far to get skewered now. Maintain an organized retreat; it'll be slow, but it's a lot safer. The only question is if I can hold out long enough to escape in the first place.Holy shit, I really wish we could ride on the hellhound's back or something.By the way, since Hell or wherever these demons come from is a very real place, is it certain whether God and Heaven exist in the setting?
>>30679812>Just make the monolith sink into the ground. Ain't nobody got time for this.
>>30679812>[X] I have not come this far to get skewered now. Maintain an organized retreat; it'll be slow, but it's a lot safer. The only question is if I can hold out long enough to escape in the first place.LIMP AWAY
>>30679812>[X] Screw protection, it's time to hobble for my life. Dangerous, yes, but I've got a speed advantage on these things, even with my knee as it is.Are we still wearing the makeshift metal armour? Maybe it'll help us not be killed, right?
>>30679812[X] I have not come this far to be skewered now!We need to grow that he'll hound an extra head so it can carry us in addition to the mark next time.
>>30679943More like A bullet proof vest and armored hat, right?
>>30679983It's a metal breastplate and helmet, I thought.
>>30679866>God and HeavenThat's a complicated subject. God, if he does exist, is a very hands-off type, content to let the Church handle earthly affairs, which they're very, very good at.There are rumored sightings of more angelic types, of course, although whether they're true or not is another thing entirely. Granted, with what you've seen already, it's not exactly a massive leap to assume that divine intervention is quite possible.>>30679943It's still on, no worries. It'll likely deflect any spikes that hit it.>>30679983>>30680021Metal breastplate, an armguard, and an armored hat, to be specific.Anyway, time to write!
I very briefly consider trying to just drop the monolith deep into the earth, but swiftly dismiss that as a pipe-dream. Even if I could weaken the ground below it, I'd be exposing myself to all the spikes in the interim, and I don't think I could manage to sink it before getting the iron maiden treatment. So, instead, I carefully back up, keeping my grip on the spike as long as possible, stopping as many of the incoming shards as I possible can. When I can't fall back any more without releasing my current control rod, I break loose, backpeddling a few extra feet before I grab another spike and bend the incoming ones to a halt.I repeat this process a few times before I'm at the mouth of the tunnel, and then I really do turn and run, or at least limp, for my life, stowing my pistol in the process. A wall-spike juts out at me, but I twist aside and grab it, bending the spear down and grinding more incoming ones to a halt. The further I go, the more the pressure in my head lightens, and soon enough I'm able to think a touch more clearly, even if I am pretty dizzy. Soon enough, I break out into the main room on this floor, and while the hound is nowhere to be seen. I fairly hurl myself into the center of the room anyway, far away from any protrusions on the walls, and take the chance to catch my breath. My leg burns as if I'd been applying napalm directly to the kneecap, my lungs are similarly on fire, and my saliva tastes almost metallic. A quick check reveals it's not blood, so I guess I'm just really winded. That's the thing about pushing yourself with magic; it's just as demanding as any physical exertion, if not more-so.-----[X] I've got a few moments to rest before I keep moving. Once I catch my breath, I'll be more confident that I can hold these spikes back.[X] What if more spears are burrowing through the dirt right now? The last thing I want is for a spike-trap to burst from right below me. Gotta keep moving.[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>30680310>[X] I've got a few moments to rest before I keep moving. Once I catch my breath, I'll be more confident that I can hold these spikes back.Sometimes you have to know when to rest. I like our odds of doing that safely here.
>>30680310>[X] [WRITE-IN]make a makeshift leg brace with magic metal then limp out of there fast
>>30680310>[X]Gotta keep moving! Don't want someone to off or kidnap the mark out of our hellhound's jaws!
>>30680369That's kind of like resting. Supporting!
>>30680369>>30680438We're nearly at the point of burning out our magic, and you want to use magic for basic utility instead of saving it for defense? Really?
>>30680462if it makes us run faster than yes
>>30680310>[X] I've got a few moments to rest before I keep moving. Once I catch my breath, I'll be more confident that I can hold these spikes back.
>>30680462In all fairness, a good brace will help speed you up, and protect your exploded kneecap from being skewered, which would be so painful Holly would drop on the spot.Anyway, considering it's been a little more than ten minutes, I'm calling it here.
>>30680520ending the thread or ending the vote?
>>30681184I hear ya. Dovie might be new here though...
>>30681211Evidently just as stupid as the rest.
[1/2]I don't go so far as to sit down, but I allow myself the luxuries of doubling over and catching my breath. I time myself, and after a solid half a minute without anything jumping out to impale me, I start to relax just a little. The metal around me is growing more agitated , but as long as I'm here, I'll be safe enough to work a bit more magic.Considering how my exploded kneecap is being generally terrible, an idea pops into my head. I crouch, setting my rifle aside before I place my metal-plated arm near my gunshot leg. I gently touch my other hand to the armor, willing it onward. It slithers down my arm, onto my leg, and soon enough I've got myself a nice leg-brace. I'm no doctor, but I'm reasonably sure that it'll hold up just fine. With my leg in serviceable condition, I grab my rifle, rise up, and head for the stairs up. For every upside, there's an inevitable downside; the spikes near the hole are shaking violently, and the moment I close in, they all shoot out at me. A hasty step back gets me out of immediate impalement range, leaving the bristling phalanx to block my way onward. I tentatively reach out and grab one, wrenching it down, focusing power into the rest of the spikes one-by-one. I go about it fairly quickly, but it still takes me a good minute to safely clear the way. I force my way through, ascending the stairs quick as I dare, and I'm incredibly thankful there aren't any more metal bits in this particular stairwell.The armory is about the same as it was before, albeit with some more spikes that weren't there before. I make my way past them and start up the next staircase, feeling surprisingly good about this whole endeavor. With any luck, I'll be out without further incident.
>>30681184>>30681235No need to be rude, guy.
>>30681242[2/2]Naturally, the next step I take, a bevy of skewers leap from both walls, damn near catching me in a double-team as I fairly jump up the next few steps. That doesn't do my kneecap any favors, but the adrenaline rush from nearly getting Indiana-Jones'd is enough to carry me up the rest of the way, charging onward even as more keep coming out of the walls. I bodily hurl myself through the hole at the top, only to land at the feet of the hound casually waiting for me, my mark stirring at his feet. She stares blankly up at me for a few moment, and I scowl back, not in any mood to try and sugar-coat my feelings.“You- you look terrible,” She manages to force out, looking at my bloody leg with dull horror.I roll my eyes as I pull myself back up. “No shit. Come on, up you go, we gotta keep moving.”“Where are we?” She asks, looking around with clear confusion.“Mole men's base, now come on, up, up!” The metal around us goes deathly still, and then, all at once, they sharply retract into the wall.An absolutely gigantic spear bursts from the floor a few moments later, easily as thick as I am, and it rockets toward me with grim intent. I hurl myself aside, dimly note the burning agony of jostling my leg as the metal passes over me, and pull myself back up as it comes around for another go.I glance back at the stunned girl and my somewhat loyal hound.-----[X] Maybe you guys should run? I got this.[X] No, nope, nah, I am so done with all this, RUN AWAY.[X] [WRITE-IN]
>>30681270>[X] No, nope, nah, I am so done with all this, RUN AWAY.
Sorry about the delay there, something came up on my end.>>30681153I'll probably be ending the thread after I write out the results of the next vote. Or, if I really don't feel up for it, I'll just end it once I've tallied votes and continue from that point in the next thread.>>30681184>>30681235Fellas, fellas, we're all friends here, right? Let's play nice.>>30681252Like this guy! I like this guy.
>>30681270>[X] Maybe you guys should run? I got this.We can handle this. Holly rocks, no fucking monolith or whatever is gonna do her in.
>>30681270>[X] No, nope, nah, I am so done with all this, RUN AWAY. with everyone else
>>30681270[x] [WRITE-IN] Something that big is probably using a lot of magic juice. I bet if I managed to get my earthbending on it I could ride the fuck out of here on it.
>>30681270[X] [WRITE-IN]"Guys, it's time to get the fuck out of here!"
>>30681360[X] No, nope, nah, I am so done with all this, RUN AWAY.Ya, that's enough fighting for us. We... we're done for today. Let's just get the hell out now.
>>30681360Or at least futz up its magical tracking or propulsion or whatever - stop it from turning us into a shazam-kabob and leg it as fast as we can with a blown out kneecap!
>>30681270>[X] Maybe you guys should run? I got this.
And it looks like RUN AWAY has taken this vote! Unfortunately, I'm crashing really hard here, so I think it's best if I called it a night. I'll try to resume next Monday, if at all possible. Q&A is open, although I probably won't stick around to answer much this time. If you leave a question, though, I'll try to answer it when the next thread starts! Finally, sorry for this session being relatively short compared to the others, but even four hours is a pretty good run, don'cha think? I'm glad you all decided to stop in and read this, and I hope you had fun.
>>30681486Ok, thanks for running!
>>30681486Definitely had fun, thank you for running! Don't forget to archive.
>>30681486No worries OP. thanks for running and get some well earned rest!
>>30681530No problem!>>30681549IT IS DONE>>30681577And I'm damn well gonna enjoy it, too!
>>30681486Thanks for running, and sorry I wasn't able to vote except to RUN LIKE FUCKYou characterize well!
WARNING: The following writefagging is not canon unless Shazam accepts it. I've just been following this quest and wanted to do something________________________________________Weekday afternoons are usually pretty boring. A lot of my clients tend to find me at night, when they want something done really quickly and are willing to pay to make it right. Sure, there're plenty of people who think what I do is a sham - let them think that. I'll just sit here and spy on their every waking moment. Blackmail isn't something I'm fond of, but I suppose it pays the rent when things get tight.*ting~ling~*Well. This might just get interesting. The kid who just walked into the shop either is trying way too hard to make people think she's a witch, or she doesn't value her privacy any. White blouse, frilly black skirt, a wand clearly visible in her coat pocket - the only thing she was missing was the pointy black hat; hers was a bit shorter than what you'd expect."Name please, and what do you need?" Most people didn't give that question a second thought, and I had to give the pipsqueak a little credit when she opened her mouth and shut it before actually telling me anything. Having a person's name, spoken from their own mouth, gives a magician a lot of ammo to screw with you - not as much as blood, but easily enough to make their life miserable.She may be green, but damn if she isn't learning fast. She slides a business card towards me, along with a rather cute pentacle charm on a plastic lanyard.
>>30683311"So, Ms. Stone..." I say with a ghost of a smile on my face, admiring the trinket she brought with her. "What brings you to my business?" The young woman's blue eyes looked away, as if she was wondering if I was going to eat her soul.I'll admit, the thought did cross my mind."I...I have a client, she needs me to find someone close to her but my normal scrying method is getting blocked. I heard you were the person to talk to about Looking for things."Looking over the pentacle, there's an obvious residue of magic that this girl either couldn't figure out, or wasn't able to even detect. Immediately I knew something was up, but exactly what would need a bit of poking. "A client, you said." I'm not going to give her any bullshit here - if she's pretending, then she's a con artist who's way over her head. If she actually is a witch then she ought to be able to take a little bitchy accusation. "This is a scrying medallion. Lets you see what someone's up to from anywhere as long as they're wearing it. Don't even need a drop of magic in your blood to be able to do it." The witch seems to get bug-eyed at this - and it's not hard to imagine why. "Now get out of my store before whoever you're hiding from decides to make a mess o-""It's not mine! It's my client's! She..." The girl interrupts my ultimatum and I can almost see her tearing up. As if that'll work on me. "Her boyfriend's been abusing her for the past four months. She hired me to knock some sense into him."...That changes things a bit.
>>30683493"Look me in the eye and say that again." I lock my gaze with this girl's own as she repeats what she said. Being able to discern lies when talking with people is an incredibly handy skill to have as a shopkeeper, and even more handy when dealing with things this absurd."My client is being abused by her boyfriend and wants to hire me for payback. she gave me a few hairs she pulled out...but the scrying's going nowhere."...Well, shit. She's actually not bullshitting me. I'm not really sure how this little kid is supposed to put the screws to someone who's battering women for a living, but that's her problem."So...what the hell do you want me to do about it?" For her sob story, Ms. Stone has really not said anything about how coming to me would be another other than a waste of my time."Every contact I've been able to ask says that blocking a scrying would require specialized equipment. Equipment that...well, you'd be in the business of selling." And there it is. Little Miss Stone can't find her mark so she wants to use me to do it. "So...d'you thin-""If you want to traipse around all my sales records, the answer is no. The people who would shield themselves from scrying have damn good reasons for needing it, and their privacy is something that I have to respect if I'm to have any remaining." She's done her homework, a surprise for most clients of mine. Probably still has to do it at school, if her size is any indicator of how old she is."I'm not trying to go on some wi-" Stone cuts herself off again; no doubt she was about to say "witch hunt" before realizing exactly who she was talking to. "I just need to find one person who the rest of us would be better off without. And you're the person who knows what I need."
>>30683721Maybe I am getting soft in my old age. Three centuries goes by quicker than it used to, I guess."I can't let you log on to my computer and just look around for names. I have a reputation to protect. Now I am going to use the bathroom for exactly two minutes. I don't want to see hair nor hide of you when I'm done."I don't bother watching the look on the girl's face as I head towards the back of the store. If she's smart, she'll know what she has to do. If she's not smart, then sucks to be her. You don't grow this old without being smarter than 90% of the people you meet. It's the first rule of magic, after all: always be the smartest one in the room.1:58...1:59...2:00.Sure enough, when I came back out, the shop was still again. No blubbering little girls, no overly-emotional teenagers bugging me for things that don't exist, and most of all no customers.Maybe I'll have to take a look at the Senator's house tomorrow night, see if he's up to anything I can use. With a sigh, I notice that the old desktop I use has its monitor turned off. Switching it back on reveals a photocopy of a receipt for one scryproofing ward, and an address to install it at....Maybe this Holly Stone girl is worth keeping an eye on, if I need help in the future.[END INTERLUDE](Unauthorized writefag note: This story is supposed to be set a couple months/years in the past, when Holly was new to being a witch for hire. Hope I didn't step on too many toes!)