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/qst/ - Quests

My eyes are closed, but I can't sleep.

This morning marks the sixth in a series of restless nights.

"Ant, you can relax," says Jet. His voice crumbles the thin veil of sleep you pretended to wear. "It's cloudy, so everyone's slowly pulling themselves out of the slump."

"Jet, how long have I been in bed?"

"A few hours into the day."

"That's a long time to spend choosing not to work."

"I thought you were giving everyone the day off to pair up?"

"I need to prepare more, and I told you I wanted to start meeting with Natrolite."

"Mm, I guess that's true. And hey, if your gut says to stay in bed, then, you know."


"Anyway, I'll get off your case. I just came by to say that pretty much everyone's gotten into pairs." He starts to walk out, but stops midway through the door. "Oh, I almost forgot! I ran into Goshenite, I think he and Gyro are still working out their pairings. You should talk to them both."

"Thanks Jet. I'll get up soon."

"Always an uphill battle. See you."

I don't want to get up. Unwilling to convince yourself to move, you pull a pillow over your head. I should, but I can't pull myself out of the bed. To finally conquer the bed, it takes one foot on the floor, then the other. After the arduous task of waking, you're out to the hall. The morning fog has persisted this far into the day, unusual for this time of year. Recently, it's become your routine to head to the library after a brief meeting with Jet, and to you there's no reason that today should be different.

"Natrolite? Are you here?" you say, as you walk into the messy clutter of papers and bindings. It seems he thinks otherwise. Natrolite is normally found right here, either organizing or reading from a freshly organized stack. Leaving his beloved archives in this state isn't like him, but then again today had promised to bring danger. Everyone's on edge, even being older than you he would surely feel that same anxiety. As you are leaving, you bump into Paraiba.

"Oh, sorry Ant..."

"Paraiba, you're alone?"

"Tourma is sleeping, it's making me drowsy too." A couple seconds pass, "Sorry, it's hard to think. We couldn't sleep, so we said we'd do today in shifts." He leans past your shoulder to see into the battered room. "Where's..."

"I was just about to go looking."

"Hn, okay. I'm sure whatever you need is more important. I'll get started on cleaning up."

"Alright, thanks Paraiba."

Finding him wasn't the greatest challenge, but building the courage to interrupt him is. Natrolite is sat across a small wooden table from Kongo-Sensei, in front of both are full cups of steaming tea. It's a ritual they've shared since before you can remember, and usually in times of Natrolite's emotional distress. The last time was just after Almandine left, and before that...

"Ant, did you need something?"

"N-Natrolite, I...!"

>Interrupt them, it's important to establish routine
>Back out, one day won't hurt
Time for autism
>Interrupt them, it's important to establish routine
>Interrupt them
Closed to interrupt. Thank you for your patience.
What do we have here?
Can someone point me to where the last chapter is? I missed the end of it and I'm blindly looking around on Wasoru
Son of a gun, I forgot to link previous threads last time too. I'm a mess.

The words get caught in your throat, but you push them out. There's work to be done. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but it's important that we start meeting as soon as possible every morning. I know it's been off and on so far, but..."

"It's alright, Ant. Sensei, we'll resume later, is that okay?"

"Yes, let's, I am eager to hear your concerns." he replies.

"Looks like my schedule just freed up, what do you need?"

"I wanted to go up to the observatory. I'd like to get a more accurate idea of today's weather."

"And I thought it would be something hard. All the better it's quick, so I can come back sooner." He leads the way upward through the highest portions of the school. On the highest floor, a wooden lattice spans the back side, and the front by carved arched windows. The roof has a domed portion of lattice as well, the perfect place for Natrolite to take his forecast. As you ascend past the square entrance on the floor, a gust nearly blows you over.

"Ah--! Always forget that."

"You should come up here more often, I like this wind. It's kind of calming. Kind of strong, I like that too."

You drop to the floor, one knee to your chest, the other extended over the ground. Even still, it's hard to keep steady against the unpredictable gusts. And yet, Natrolite stands without difficulty, staring out to the south through the flat windows.

"Clouds are moving northeast. From here I can see two different fronts, one is moving northwest, the other directly north give or take. The northward front is stronger and lower altitude than the other, so there might be a bit of lift. If there's any sun out today, and that's a big if since that would require the front to heat up significantly before late afternoon, ninety five to five it will be over the southern coast."

"And the other five?"

"The opposite. Rapid cooling, the whole front could drop and the northeastern one could clear out. Guessing from the shapes and currents I see right now, sun would break over the chord shore in about three hours. That's really unlikely, though."

"Southern coast, chord shore."

"Southern coast and chord shore. Oh, actually..." He jogs back and forth between the front and back sides of the observatory. "That's odd. I'm not sure I've ever seen that." He waves you over to the large curved opening at the back. "You see it?"

"It's all just sky." Another gust, you grab on to the lattice to keep steady. "C'mon, hurry up, I'm not looking to get pieced back together today!"

"Way over to the northeast, those clouds. That kind doesn't usually form without something big and tall underneath it. That one's just over the ocean."

"Is it Lunarians?"

"Maybe, but I'm sure there's some explanation I'm missing."

"Would it be too much to ask you to keep an eye on it?"

"Are you kidding? A cloud formation under conditions that I've never seen, happening just" he pauses to look out again, "twenty miles off the island, you'd have to tie me up not to."
Wind howls through the wooden beams. The quartz of the school vibrates calmly with the tone. Your body vibrates harder, being that you're still clutched to the lattice.

"Natrolite, I'm guessing you want to head to the northeast portion of the island to get a better view, I should go with you, in case it's dangerous."

"I really doubt it's Lunarians, and it's much more likely that the southern coast will be the only place they show up, if they do at all. If you're worried about me, I'll take Tourmaline and Paraiba."

"I don't think you can, they're taking shifts sleeping today."

"Uvarovite and Malaya then. My point is that the southern shore is the most dangerous place today, that's where you should be."

"Still, I'd rather someone experienced be out there with you."

"I'll tell you what, if it turns out to be a trick, I'll get someone to ring the bell, would that make you feel better?"

You slink off the window, brushing off the splinters and dust. "Not really, but it'll do." As you descend to the floors below, hoping to escape the onslaught of breezy spring air, a final gust pulls back on your hair, lifting it from your shoulders. You turn to try and catch the ends, not wanting it to disrupt the style, a last vestige of Lignite by which you pay respect. Windflowers, swept up by the currents into the open observatory; there are probably thirty or forty braided-- or tangled, you can't quite tell the difference-- into your hair. It blows out of your vision, and Natrolite stands with a knowing grin on his face. You lunge forward, but he's already trotting past you. The criminal escapes.

"Quit touching my hair!"

At the end of a fruitless chase, you are left alone once again in the empty halls of the school.

You'd swear they were all hiding.


Ah, I guess not. "Hn?" It's Cuprite.

"Do you think... It's safe to go out?"

"What? I mean, so long as the sun isn't out. I just talked with Natrolite, he says we're probably in the clear, but it might get sunny around the southern coast. What do you need outside?"

"I make a new bouquet to put in Kyanite's room every day. He usually likes them."

"Why not just go with him if you're worried, I would've sworn you two would pair up when I announced it."

"We did, but he refuses to leave his room until his artistic inspiration is ignited."

"I can't tell if it's worse that he does that, or that he's tricked you into genuinely catering to it. You're too pure hearted."

"Ah~ thank you!"

Okay. "Anyway, stay clear of there, and you'll be fine. If you need anything I'll be on the southern coast later when Natrolite said there's risk of sunlight, I think he said about three hours." Cuprite hugs you and wanders off, getting distracted by the occasional bug on his way outside.

That reminds me, that story about Citrine from when I was younger, I wonder how he's doing... Goshe and Gyro too.

>Look for Citrine
>Look for Goshenite and Gyrolite
>>Look for Citrine
>Look for Goshe and Gyro
>Look for Citrine
Vote closed to Citrine
It's probably my imagination, but I feel like Citrine might do something crazy on his own. I don't think Gyro really has the guts to be out there.

With exasperation, you run around the school for traces of his characteristic angry stomping, none. In the main hall again, you spot Goshe leaving the same way as Cuprite, carrying a basket. A bit preoccupied, you leave him be.

Citrine, Citrine... Citrine would probably be... "Found you!" You burst around a corner, finger extended, but the only one standing there is Jacinth. He stares crosseyed at your finger, hanging just above the tip of his nose, then looks at you.

"Were you looking for me? Wait, did I do something wrong?" He starts getting flustered, looking for a place to set down the stack of papers he's holding. "I-if it's about the swords, I know it was a while ago but I kind of hoped you wouldn't notice that I messed up carving one and put a new piece on to cover it up and--"

"No! You're okay, I thought you were Citrine. Also, that's what you're supposed to do when you chip the edge, why would-- Nevermind, just don't worry about it."

"Y-yes sir! Thank you very much sir!"

Yikes. Somewhere new before I give this kid trauma. Maybe by the... "Found you!"

"Hey Ant, what's up?"

"Epidote...?" He's laid back on Opal's table. The sheet you just yanked off him floats down over your own face. His torso is cracked from hip to shoulder, right along his primary cleavage, and his left arm is missing. "What happened?"

"This clumsy little brat fell off the roof." says Opal, butting you away from the table and carrying a newly repaired arm.

"It was awesome!"

Opal raises the detached arm over his head. "It's not 'awesome!', you know how much time I've spent putting you back together after your stunts when I could be napping, you little--"

"Not now, have either of you seen Citrine?"

"Hn?" He lowers the arm. "No, but Gyrolite came by a little earlier looking for him too. Asked to use some resin."

"I've seen him," says Epidote. "Up on the roof."

"He was on the roof?" You ask.

"No, that's where I saw him from. Duh."

"Opal, you have my permission." Opal raises the arm again, ready to bring it down.

"Ah--! No no, I mean I saw him going south. It was really early."

"Do it." Epidote's head rings like a bell as Opal hits him with his own elbow.

"Ow! What was that for?"

"Testing integrity of the repair," he says.

"Also, it's 'it was really early' sir."

"Right, jeez... Sir, whatever." Epidote rubs his head with his right arm.

"Now if you hold still, I'll actually put your arm back on."

As he's working, a tumbling sound can be heard from above, and is soon accompanied by a shout growing in volume. The shouting, and anatase, a blur of black and gold, drop down past Opal's window, and a muffled shattering against the grass outside stops them both. Opal takes the arm, so close to its home shoulder, and smacks Epidote again.
It sounds like he's out in the water, and Gyro's with him. That's good, so long as neither is alone in the areas Natrolite mentioned. Maybe I was wrong about Gyro, too. In any case, I should start keeping watch at the coast. You stare up at the high ceiling of the school's first floor. The mildew has steadily creeped down the pillars since early winter, it certainly doesn't help that you've disrupted the entire school's cleaning schedule, but it can't be neglected forever. The whole school is like that. Windflowers and Sandai petals are scattered over its floors, spiderwebs that can weather the strong winds cling to windows and corners. Any spot that can get dusty has done so, it's really quite a sad state.

"So you did get up."

"I did." You turn around to meet Jet. He reaches down and picks up some of the petals, tossing them out of the window one at a time.

"Not too tired now?" He asks.

"No, I got moving, I'm all set now. I met with Natrolite, he told me we might still get some sunlight today along the southern coast. Right now he's gone northeast with Malaya and Uvaro. Cuprite and Goshe are off somewhere to the east, Epidote and Anatase are freshly down from the roof," Jet momentarily chuckles at your remark, one that sounds saddeningly close to that of Lignite's, "and Citrine and Gyro seem to be in the ocean doing something. I don't think anyone else is outside or planning to go out, so I was just about to come find you."

"We're thinking in the same ways, then. I came to ask if you would patrol with me."

"We could patrol, but there's still some time left before I was told there would be any danger of the clouds breaking. I'd like to be on the beach at that time, but I was actually going to ask if you wanted to clean."

"Clean? That's unlike you. Although, I suppose we're not in usual circumstances. You still haven't even gone back to living in your cave."

"Yeah well, just look around. The place is a mess."

"That's true, but I don't think anyone's particularly bothered by it. We've got bigger problems."

"Doesn't looking at it make you angry? It's like we're ignoring our responsibilities just because we're facing different challenges."

"I guess I can see that. I don't know if I feel angry, but I know what you mean. It's up to you, I'll help you clean up if you want, or we can leave for patrol early. Honestly, I would've thought you'd opt to keep watch, you're all high strung about that kind of thing."

"I'm not high strung! Mm, anyway I think we should..."

>Stay and clean
>Patrol the beaches early
>Stay and clean
>Stay and clean
>Patrol early
Who cares about cobwebs now? We know what is going to happen from the last thread so it's advantageous if we are there early.

I wasn't there then to comment of it sadly, but man, last thread was a wild ride.
I'm leaving the vote open until I wake up, no point in closing now when I won't be able to write until then.

I hope it didn't feel too rushed. A lot of things needed to happen in chapter three and unfortunately the slowed pace I've had recently made things heat up really quickly near the end. I also ended up dedicating the last quarter of the chapter or so entirely to slug, because I felt Esculentus and her brother were very important to the story.
>I hope it didn't feel too rushed.
The only sections I think we went by too fast is the capture of Citrine and the true situation in the cave. It came entirely as a surprise to me that Esculentus hadn't trusted Gyrolite all this time and had secretly mothered an entire generation of slugs with her brother, but maybe that was the point. That she had kept it hidden this well and that we felt the same feeling as Gyrolite.
The rest of the chapter was fine, I enjoyed it.
>Patrol Early
Closed to patrol early.
"...Just go ahead now. You're right, we've got bigger problems than some ordinary clutter."

Jet opens his hand outside the window and allows the rest of the round pinkish petals to float away. He watches as they are picked up by the wind, somewhat fixated, but he pulls back after a few seconds. He smiles and nods, and you leave for the southern coast.

The beach seems wider than usual, a consequence perhaps of the anxiety of guarding it. "When did you say the sun might come out?"

"It was three hours an hour ago. Two now."

"That's a lot of time to kill."

"I told you that earlier!"

"T-that's fine! There's no harm in being on patrol in advance, besides, I did actually want some time away from the school to talk." Without you realizing, he stops, looking west as you keep walking. "It's about Lignite."

Now you stop, completely caught off guard. "Lignite?" You turn heel, "Jet, do you--"

"I don't remember. Sensei told me about it, a couple days ago now."

"Oh, I didn't know... I thought he'd say something if he ever did."

"I asked him not to." He half heartedly laughs, "Really it came as a bit of a shock, but I could tell it had some real gravity. I wanted to bring it up face to face. I know he was important to you."

"That's..." Unwittingly, your hand tightens. "Yeah, he was. Did he tell you about, you know, how it happened?"

"Mm. At first I thought it was just some elaborate joke, but what he told me really made sense. I always thought I'd been born at the chord shore like everyone else, but the idea that I was Lignite..."

A wave crashes against the sand, riding up to your shoes.

"You weren't."


"Your body was, but you and Lignite, you're different personalities. After it happened... After I burned him, he wasn't there anymore. Any inclusions that even survived got so hot that any memories or parts of his mind they had were wiped clean. It's not like you were him but can't remember, you're someone new that took his empty body."

"You don't have to put it that way, I'm not a thief or anything!"

"I know. I mean, now I know."

"So there was a time that you didn't?"

"The moment you wandered out of that room, I thought you were him, back by some insane stroke of luck."

"And then you found out I was just me."

"I ran up to you, and I was so excited. 'Lignite, you're okay!' I said. You stared at me, you couldn't even understand the words I was saying. I knew something wasn't right. It was your eyes: they were the same as his, but they looked at me in a different way. You have his face, but..." Another wave pushes up onto the shore, leaving its wet trail in the beach. The permeating sound of the ocean is nothing if not persistent, eroding your reservation. "I hated you, like I blamed you for what happened, but I don't think you really ever learned that. I had already begun distancing myself from everyone, including you. Especially you."
Jet looks like he wants to say something back, but his attention is elsewhere.

"Uh, Jet?"

"Yeah sorry, I heard, it's just that there's something..."

"You can say it."

"No I mean, there's something on the beach."

"Oh," you turn to face behind you. Sure enough, there's a purplish dot a decent way down the coastline. "You're right." The both of you start toward it. Once you're closer you can make out its identity.

"The jellies are back!" Shouts Jet. "I've missed these little things." He picks up the beached jellyfish and gives it a squishy hug. "The ocean is so boring without you."

Again you turn, facing back east. What you see is worrisome. "Hey Jet, you're planning on putting them back in the water right?"

"Them?" He says. "Yeah, I guess. They don't like the beach much, they just get stuck up here."

"Then we should probably get started."

"What are you-- Oh. Oh!"

Easily twenty more jellyfish have scattered themselves across the sand, with more being dropped every tide.

"I shouldn't really be touching these, do you have an extra pair of gloves?" You ask. If you simply being near the Lunarians is enough to make them sick, who knows what touching these harmless things will do.

"Just use mine, I don't really need them."

Idle chit chat fills the spaces between dumping the creatures back in the water, but every time one goes in, another five will emerge. Soon though, that pace slows and yours quickens. Without too much in the way of time spent, most of the jellyfish are returned to the sea.

"So how did it happen?"


"Lignite. You said it was like you blamed me, but you didn't. That's because you felt responsible, right? So how did it happen? I'll start talking in his voice if you don't tell me."

"No, don't, I-it's not like I was hiding it, or didn't want you to know. If anything, you deserve to know more than anyone. It's just hard to figure out how to say it." Two more splashes sound as you each drop another fish. "When I lost control over my temperature, you know the story right?"

"I do."

"Good, I'm getting sick of telling it. Anyway, it was at that point that I started being a real danger to anyone around me. Even the school was being damaged by the rapid and extreme temperature changes. That's when I made my home in the cave, which until this winter had been where I spent all my time. For awhile, they all came and visited. We pretended like everything was the same, but I knew they were putting themselves at risk every time they did. Eventually I asked them to stop, at least until I could better keep it under control, since every day I was in there made it more dangerous for others. But, there was someone who wasn't affected by the heat. I relied on Sensei for information, interaction, everything. I only spoke with him for a very long time, years. And so, I told him that I'd been having nightmares. I still remember them really clearly."
"I would dream that I got so hot I would melt the rock beneath me, and I would sink down to the center of the Earth. I think he must have told the others, because one night Lignite came while I was sleeping. I think he understood how dangerous that was, especially for him, but I don't think he cared. Lignite was the kind who always had some plan, and he was really good at tricking you into doing the right thing. He was also really kind. He was older than Natrolite, but I don't know by how much. Either way, he became kind of like a mentor for me, what I tried to be for Cryolite. I guess he just didn't want to see me sad anymore, so he tried to comfort me and ease the nightmares. That gamble didn't pay off for him, because all it took was a single unfortunate spark. The cave was filled with that flammable gas, and my body was hot from panic during the dream, something happened, and I woke up to a blaze inside my home, and Lignite being charred by the fire."

"Do you know what started it?"

"No. I always assumed it was some piece of rock that got dislodged from the roof of the cave, or something like that. The only one who would know is..."

"Right. So what did you do next?"

"Ran both of our burning bodies back to the school in the dead of night. We were brighter than the moon, and I was screaming for help, but it was too late. That was the first time I ever ignited, and I slept much longer than this second time. I slept for about four years while my inclusions recovered from the damage. When I woke up I had regained control over my temperature. I think it was seven or eight years after that you were born, and another hundred or so until Almandine was."

"So then, I've only got one question left. If my body, if Lignite's body lost everything, how come yours didn't? Why didn't Lignite's inclusions stay as Lignite, but you stayed you? To be honest, I'm starting to feel a bit guilty about being here. Like I really am a thief." You don't know if he even notices, but dark black oil tears are forming around his eyes.

"Jet, if you two could meet, I don't think he'd want anybody else to have inherited his body. You would make him really proud." This changes the expression on his face, but a tear escapes anyway. He wipes it away.

"Oh, sorry. That was just... Kind of sudden." He wipes away one more. "You were saying?"

"Well, about the inclusions, it's probably the same reason I can remember him but none of the others can. We didn't figure this out until much later, after Opal became our resident doctor and Cider our mineralogist, but my body emits two different poisons. One is that flammable gas. It's not harmful to us, mostly, but the other kind slowly kills inclusions over time, and makes things I touch do the same. Spend enough time around me, and you'll forget things. That's why I don't normally sleep in the school, even though I can keep the hot spells under control."
Jet's gaze falls beyond you again. "Okay, well this time I swear it's only one more question."


"What was that?"

Yet again, you follow his direction. He's pointing toward the chord shore, but you don't see anything. "What was what?"

"It looked like a jellyfish."

"Could it have been a jellyfish?"

"Different though! Bigger."

"Bigger jelly?"

"Okay maybe. It's gone now, so maybe it threw itself back. You want to check it out?"

>Yes, no harm in it
>Let's deal with the jellies that can't throw themselves back first
>Let's deal with the jellies that can't throw themselves back first
>Let's deal with the jellies that can't throw themselves back first
Closed to deal
"We should finish with these ones first."

"Good point."

Although there are few jellyfish remaining, and that they've stopped surfacing so frequently, these last ones are always far apart, and require a good deal of walking between them. On the positive, this gives Jet plenty of time to contemplate. As hard as it is for you to remember Lignite, you can't help but sorry that Jet found out so suddenly. If he's very upset, he's hiding it well, but still.

"I've been thinking," he says, pausing to hoist one of the creatures. "If I have Lignite's body, then I'm still, well, even if the structure's a bit different, Jet is a flammable material."

"Woah, let's take a step back, that kind of thinking'll drive you crazy. You'll just get stuck on 'what if's and won't be able to think about anything else."

"It's just 'cause, you know we're kind of partnered. I thought you would want to."

"I guess it would be good to have plans, but I'm just worried that too much is getting piled on too fast. You only first learned about it what, the other day? Let's give it some time for it to sink in, for both of us."

"Yeah, you're right."

"Hey, it's at least something, so I'll tell you that I've been suppressing my heat around you ever since you were born. We'll figure something out."

"Oh, I guess I should be flattered? Anyway, thank--" Jet is interrupted by the rhythmic booming of the bell. You lock eyes, and he asks "has it been three hours?"

You look at the sun's position. "That and about five minutes." You both break for the school at your highest speeds. Iolite is at the top, pushing the bell back and forth.

"Iolite, what's going on!?" You shout.

"Stay right there, you'll see in a second!"

"What!? Just say--" A gust of wind and a flash of yellow pass by you at a ridiculous speed.

"I can't figure out how to stop him! Aquamarine tried, but he just broke!"

"Okay, we'll think of something! Go back inside and get Sensei."

"Alright!" Iolite jumps down and runs in. Some pieces of Aquamarine are still among the grass.

They're not just scattered, they're really scattered. How hard is this kid? "Jet, can you go start picking up Aquamarine's fragments? I've got an idea."

"Uh, sure. I'll just trust you got this."

You wait for him to run past again, and cross into the school. Iolite and Sensei meet you in the main hall.

"It was good someone rang the bell, I had begun to meditate. Iolite has told me that we have a new gem, and that he is a bit restless."

"Yeah, that's a good way to describe it. He’s running circles around the school, way too fast for us to keep up."

"I can see that outside. He is very fast. Already running on his first day, he must be very talented, too."

"Aquamarine already broke himself trying to slow him down, can you do something?"

"Do something? That you think you must may be the mistake he made. The new one will tire when the day is gone."
Then, the bell rang again. Jet comes running inside, carrying an armful of Aquamarine pieces, hastily placing them in a nearby bowl. "It's Natrolite, he says there's trouble!" He runs back out, followed closely by yourself, Sensei, and Iolite. Natrolite comes down from the bell, relaying information as he leads you back northeast.

"Lunarians, you were right to be paranoid. The clouds just vanished, and there was a sunspot. Malaya and Uvaro are still there. It's much smaller than what you fought, maybe fifteen archers in total?"

"That's something, at least."

"Let us hope you have trained them well enough to fend for themselves until we arrive."

In preparation for a fight, you begin heating up, wary of where Jet is ahead of you. Even if it's small, it has to be treated seriously. Natrolite, in front, crests a small hill, and stops at the peak. When you join him, you understand why he stopped: Malaya and Uvarovite are happily skipping back this way, waving when they see you.

"Don't worry about us," shouts Uvarovite, as the two are making their way toward you.

"We gave 'em what they came for!"

Within the minute, they've met you and joined in walking back to the school.

"So how was your first fight?"

"There was some trouble. Malaya, you remember? When that one archer..."

"Uvaro's embarrassed to say it. I let my guard down and one of 'em almost got me, but he jumped in and hit the arrow away." He grabs Uvarovite's shoulder and pulls him in to a side hug. "I would've been some Lunie's necklace right now!"

"It sounds like you two are already working like a team."

Back at the school, you find Goshenite and Cuprite inside with a basket full of tied bouquets.
"You were attacked too!?"

"The clouds just up and disappeared, then this sunspot was just up there. We didn't have time to get back here before they started attacking."

"I was so lucky Goshenite came, imagine if he hadn't been there."

"What do you mean 'if I hadn't been there?' You went wild on them, I only got two or three."

"It was so scary, I just closed my eyes and started swinging. If you weren't there I wouldn't have been able to move at all..."

"You're the real scary one." Goshe turns his attention to you. "Ant, you said we were attacked too, what's been happening?"

"Natrolite, Malaya, and Uvaro were all attacked in the northeast, you two directly east, and for some reason, as you probably noticed the new yellow gem is currently digging a moat around the school."

"I did see that. It's weird, because we have to learn to run. Do you think..."

"Gyrolite and Citrine? Last I figured, the were out in the water, but it's possible they came back at the chord shore. I'm worried something happened too, so we should check both places."

"I agree," says Jet. "You all stick together. Ant and I will take one location, and you the other."

"A good idea. Where will you two go?" asks Sensei.

>Search the water
>Search the chord shore
>Search the water
>Search the water
>Search the chord shore
Closed to water.
"Let's take the water. If there's still danger of another attack here, I'd prefer if Sensei were close by."

"Natrolite, if it's okay can you stay and keep an eye on speedy out there, let everyone know what's happening?" Asks Goshenite.

"To be honest, I'm relieved you're asking. Yes, I'll do that with pleasure."

"Oh if you're staying, can you give these to Kyanite? We worked extra hard to get them today." Cuprite gives him the basket full of flowers. "Thank you! Be sure to tell him where we are in a dramatic way."

Everyone has again been split into three groups, although now by circumstance rather than by plan. Yourself and Jet wave temporary goodbyes to the others, and head for Opal's work station. Epidote is still on the table, but Opal must have judged Anatase's fractures to be less serious, as Opal is currently having him assist with Epidote's repair. Opal allows you use of the resin, cautioning you against using too much and complaining about how many 'friggin rocks apparently need to go in the water recently'. From the beach, it's plain to see the jellyfish have started to readjust to the island's tides. Only one or two have been washed ashore at all, and are promptly taken back by the water without your intervention. The ocean will be lit up again tonight, hopefully everyone will be there to enjoy it.

From beneath, the surface of the water looks as though it were a swirling storm, bending the light whichever way. Pillars collapse to the floor, cutting into the sediment; the lights are giants to the sand.

"I don't see any sign of them, Ant. There aren't any footprints. Are you sure they came down here?"

"Almost positive. There was resin missing when we got ours, and Epidote saw Citrine head here earlier."

"Then where did they go?"

Not wanting to admit that you're a bit lost as to the answer, you keep looking around. Aside from the jellyfish troding the currents, the place is completely still. The waves hardly have any force behind them either. If they really were here, any sign they were shouldn't be washed away yet.

There's just nothing.

And just nothing there continues to be, until you stand in just the right spot and catch a glint off a nearby rock. Unsure at first, thinking it might only be a trick of light, you approach it, but it's not a trick.

"Hey Jet, I found it!"

"Found what!?" He shouts back from across the area. You beckon him over, and let him see for himself. "A handprint, they did come down!"

"That, and I think I know where they went."


"I wanted to be sure Citrine went in the water first, but now I'll bet you anything those two went that way."

"Why, what's that way?"

"Come with me, I'll show you. It's far, so we've gotta run if we want to get back before dark."
Prior to today, Jet had been the fastest runner out of all of you, Citrine a close second. Underwater though, you have some tricks you can pull. By flash heating some of the water behind you above its boiling point, you can create lots of small bubbles. They'll expand outward, pushing you forward, and collapse back to liquid when you're already gone. This allows you to keep pace with Jet.

"A long time ago, Citrine ran away. He felt responsible for something that happened to me, and felt like him being around would just cause me harm, because he was irresponsible. Lignite found him and brought him back. He told me where Citrine went and how to get there, in case that happened again."

"So you think Citrine and Gyrolite just up and ran off? That doesn't sound like either of them to me."

"No, I don't think so. Citrine goes out there sometimes, when he needs time alone to think. Don't you ever wonder where he gets off to when he just disappears for a day?"

"Come to think of it, yeah. I always thought he was out slacking."

"In a way, I guess."

The further into the sea you go, the more it becomes clear how wide it really is, but that wideness is something that eases worry for you. The water is the world here, there may as well not be a sky. Above, there may be any kind of terrible storm, but here the most you would feel of it would be the slight tug from the foot of a wave. Not to mention, water is the best shelter from your poison, it's natural to feel comfortable here where nobody else can be hurt by it.

It's an hour of running before you've made real progress, but neither you nor Jet have tired any. Something comes into view, but it isn't the cliff Lignite told you about. It's a black dot on the horizon, growing bigger as you approach it. It's too far to make out clearly, but it has some distinct characteristics.

"Jet, do you..."

"Yeah, I see it. It kind of looks like that one I saw on the beach."

"You think it's the same one?"

"I don't know. It's a different color."

"Maybe we'll catch up to it."
Every push forward brings you closer to where you intend to go, and the black thing seems to be heading the same way. Not much longer, and the edge is in view. You've caught up a decent amount to the creature, but still not enough to get a good look at it. It has some fish like properties, but it dives over the precipice before you can draw any more conclusions. Soon you arrive at the edge too. This is the first time you've seen it, the huge sprawling expanse of grey sediment hundreds of feet below.

"That's... Look at it, how can it be so big?" Jet squats down to steady himself against the awe. Being cautious of the time left in the day, you have to stop yourself from doing the same. A couple tugs on his shoulder, and he manages to pull his eyes away from the sight. "You don't think they went down, do you? To that?"

"If they did, there's probably not much we could do to find them. They were definitely here though. Look just ahead, on the edge."

Like the rock just off the shore, resin sits along the edge, marking where Citrine and Gyrolite sat.

"Oh, you're right. I could go down and look for more, see if they really did go. I don't think I'd have any problem getting back up. Maybe you could come with, or walk the edge, check for more clues. What do you think?"

>Continue exploring this area, taking risks is necessary in these kinds of situations
>Return, best not to risk any precious time when days are still short
We already know there is no chance they will find Gyro, so that begs the question, what is the purpose of searching? Either it's a waste of time, or a way to learn something different like a skill or interesting knowledge, but with the added risk. Let's:
>Continue exploring this area, taking risks is necessary in these kinds of situations
I want to know what will happen.

vote closed to continue
Updates will resume in a new thread on Friday. Apologies for the sudden absence.
Alright my man.

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