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/qst/ - Quests

Welcome back one and all into a new chapter of our adventure, it is a very important day indeed for one of your companions...

Previous Threads - http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Lots%20of%20Dialogues

Twitter for schedule updates - https://twitter.com/TaleOfMonsters

Perks and spells for our main character https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FFJHeWTu21_OktfrfYkJQhpV5HQw4PtFKav_QoMYjQY/edit?usp=sharing

People Arawn met.


The path to restoring your memories might not be so clear-cut anymore; the Blood and Zipangu rituals could still become your solutions, albeit with possible complications because of recent revelation about the Throne.

Sieglinde is preparing a suppression of the undead forest, scheduled to happen around day 16. You'll have to resolve your own stance on this - she's preparing to involve people who've taken your ancestral lands for themselves.

Someone put a geas on you, resulting in making a Rune of Passage inside Daiyu back door! You've thankfully managed to convince the Demon Lord of your innocence in exchange for making a binding oath. How you deal with this remains to be seen.

Side activities
Your two unused privileges from gambling with Elina and Sieglinde remain available.

Further activities decided in the thread will be noted here.
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Day 08

Challengers gatehouses were sad things, spartan cubic rooms with a single chair led into a large gate barring the way forward up a sandy slope and one metallic door strapped on a wall led into the arena innards. A mighty two hundred strong crowds filled all inches of the small coliseum seats, monstrous women upon monstrous women were visible through the awkward angles of the archway.

''This many people underground get pretty hot.'' One amongst three spokes, a heavenly woman with a glowing golden halo floating above her head of corn-colored hair and wings of dark red that looked sinister inside the fresh obscurity of this room.

''It's part of the atmosphere, girls love their fight.'' The single male responded, bringing a hand toward his forehead to rub out beads of sweats despite the surrounding shades. His was a broad frame with a strong presence. Chiseled jaw and manly features destroyed ideas of fragility projected by his pointed elven ears.

''Still, a crowd like that is kinda excessive.'' The angel retorted, hands on her hips, glaring at the feminine spectators a few meters above, brouhaha brought by hundreds of filled seats mingled into an unintelligible mess of noises.

''It's fine... I-I... You g-guys are watching from a close spot.'' Quiet words were spoken by an uneven tone of fragility coming out of a short girl of purple skin and equally unusual eyes; the lich was sitting on the only chair, holding onto a smooth brown staff upon which a bell attachment jiggled softly and her robe, made of thick dark blue, showed the obvious reinforcement of some hidden armor underneath. One more little gift to increase her chances...

''Elenor definitely has some allies.'' The angel grumbled. ''That arbiter inspecting your equipment was such a humongous cunt, she'd have confiscated your powder without Sieglinde stepping in.''

''Yeah...'' The man agreed, crossing his arms over his chest while his small companion lowered her head silently. ''She's been hard at work, suppose this was one more step to achieve victory despite her arrogance, not above trying some petty trick.''

''I-it's fine.'' Vilma interrupted her friends by standing up. ''You guys... y-you-you... um s-should g-'' It wasn't an overflow of nervosity that brought her sentence to an end but a suddenly audible scratching noise coming out of the gate heralded its movements. Metal squares retracted downward in a slow, deliberate manner to instill a form of spectacle. Echoes of announcements trickled into the somber basement, something about a ''retainer to her majesty'' made it certain this duel wasn't going to solely be a grudge match.

''Crap that's way too soon!'' Elina wings flapped with her frustration. ''Siggy aint even back! We oughta be cheering together!''

''It's fine...'' A tiny smile came to rest on the awkward short necromancer who flipped her hood above her head in one smooth motion, she had no traces of sweat despite the uncomfortable heat.
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'Give her hell, Vilma.'' Arawn voice was firm as he faced his much shorter friend with a flushed face and, perhaps a little flustered, gave the tiny magician a thumb up.

''Yeah...'' Vilma wasn't one to instill confidence. Her frame was barely above a teenager, even her staff was taller and it trembled with her steps yet the gloved hands gripping it firmly showed each tinkle of bells was entirely voluntary. ''I'm...'' She didn't hesitate. ''...going to win.''

Making her way up the sandy stairs brought back images of her frigid homeland. Gut-wrenching fear twisting her stomach before coming up to a bloodthirsty crowd wasn't an entirely new experience despite this different context, Vilma remained thankful to have kept her hood above her head after emerging out of that hiding hole, it's protective gate already lazily ascending after passing through. Inside remained the haloing projection of her best friend giving one last encouragement accompanying by the manly elf, both their voices thoroughly trampled by all the brouhaha yet their distinctive tones brought a lifting, yet crushing, feeling inside Vilma's chest.

''Haha! Here comes our challenger!'' A booming voice overhead had her crane her neck upward where a harpy, a rather gallant one with blue plumages, garbed with a skirt, pant, and a shirt, spoke with a voice reinforced by an amulet glowing around her neck. ''A lich who isn't even sweating, a necromancer! Someone like that oughta be showing a few tricks to keep us entertained, at least if our ancestors don't tear her apart. A few of them oughta be hovering around the arena as we speak so don't be throwing things in there...''

Passive aggressive mockeries droned into background sounds for the lone standing girl whose staff shook with surprising energy, it's bell was one engraved with runes made out of a strange substance of copper-looking metal. Of course, there was no way for anybody to hear anything and Vilma eyes made a silent quest for two certain areas.

First was the third row of seats on the left flank where friends and... (her hand tightening around her bag at this thought) family had taken temporary residence. White-haired, foreign Teruko sat with her maidenly scaly bodyguard who had climbed on the seat to cheer loudly while flailing her arms, Hao was making such a commotion that it easily overshadowed Arawn and Elina clumsy arrival, many spectators threw a scornful glances at the tribal girl who, Vilma keenly learned yesterday, was no simple-minded maiden.

She could barely hear the lizard warrior broken speech through the crowd excitement yet every spirited syllable she managed to understand almost brought tears to her eyes.
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The second place of interest was a seat of honor carved into the rock to offer a perfect view of this battleground. There her majesty (liege, Vilma grimly corrected) sat with her firstborn (also liege) and supreme Belphegor. It remained a heartwarming sight despite Sieglinde visible grumpiness at being forced away from her friends yet Vilma composure almost melted into the sands after seeing Daiyu gentle wave directed at her as if she knew exactly when they'd make eye contacts despite the immense pressures of two hundred stares.

Further below was another important figure. General Zazawu, leader of the Red Guard, savior of Throne Town, guardian of monsters and apolitical juggernaut - literally. Three meters of pure brawn stood on legs taller than her own body with two pairs of massive arms wrapped above one another on a long chest garbed in ceremonial armor, his physique took another literal approach to monstrosity because his venerable age had him predate Daiyu reign by several eras; his face reminded Vilma of a rodent, albeit one metamorphosed into predatory danger with thick, strong features evolved into a natural armor and a carnivorous jaw that made it obvious he was no inoffensive herbivore.

Two titans stood inside this crude arena, Vilma made sure to keep her stare firmly on the ground after examining the general who, thankfully, didn't cross eyes with her, she had almost forgotten to keep ringing her bell.

''That won't do...'' She murmured, barely able to understand her own whisper. Such a crowd inevitably gathered and created spirits, herding them was half of her preparations.

Brief galvanization amongst spectators revealed the second act of this opening stage. Taking her time to ascend, Elenor presented a sight that motivated a chain of applauses as, unlike gloomy Vilma, her appearance and gait could almost befit a true champion. A protective breastplate covered her chest, a half-cape of red floated behind her with her hair styled into a long ponytail, the succubus arms and legs were covered in gray leather that managed to be tasteful and practical.

Basking in this entirely unearned popularity - no way could a simple ''ace'' of the summoning academy earn such admirations - roused a dangerous feeling of angered jealousy for Vilma. Such bombast arrogance without saying a word, yet still Elenor legs stood firm and she was proud of herself. Ugly envy germinated like cancer inside the lich as she observed her foe who didn't even grace her with a greeting, something combatants ought to do despite being embroiled in a bitter feud.
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''Shit, stop...'' Vilma murmured, bringing a hand toward her precious bag dangling around her neck and, in one jerky motion, she broke the delicate chain keeping it closed. Nervousness twisted her guts and she had to fight this urge to stand dumbly under this collective attention, instead, her sight sought a certain group in the crowd, the excited lizard girl of maidenly disposition making it a blessing to find them; Arawn and Elina were back and not too soon for, upon witnessing her dear mentor wave, Vilma understood that now was the most important moment of this struggle.

Ignoring the harpy magically enhanced nonsenses was easy; mentally blocking birdbrained droning was a trained skill of hers. Elenor glowering under all of this unearned attention made a perfect opportunity.

Summoning was often described as an ''architect'' branch of magic because it demanded preparations to show it's effectiveness. Necromancy, easily considered an unknown craft because of blatant repression, demanded twice the work with needs of hard-to-acquire materials to truly shine even with a natural talent to employ it. Being born a lich was a third of the work, herding nearby spirits with the bell was another portion and last...

When Vilma unceremoniously dumped the bag contents on her face and embraced Focus, an astonished murmur spread across the crowds, almost sounding like the ocean waves of her frigid homeland.

''Whoa, already now!? Combatants have to-!''

Whatever protest came out of the harpy droned into background noises, quickly trampled by a worrying surge of sounds from ethereal presences. Countless emotions, numberless morsels of souls dwelled inside this corpse powder. With Vilma possessing a natural affinity with the deads - her natural magic as a lich- it resulted in...

''Give it back! Drink again, eat your marrows! Walk, I have to see my son! I have to walk, I need to speak, stop eating me! Where's the light? Give me back my eyes! Legs have been gnawed, the emperor can't see me...''

Wailings of envious damned screamed around her and she responded by shaking her staff vigorously, creating a cacophony of chimes under Elenor confused stare.

Vilma grinned, finding sadistic joy with all these screams around her being led away by her staff. ''Preparations complete.'' Her murmur was like chanting madness, tasting the powdery flesh and bones marking her body, gathering souls inside herself like a bottomless hole in the ocean.

From the world ether came the first wave, an assault of ravenous, animalistic emotions driven so thoroughly demented with envy of livings they're wills manifested in reality without effort from the living nexus of necromantic energy. Will-o-wisps raced for the tall demoness, crackling in ravenous blue flames that were nothing more than hunger made manifest. Five, ten, fifteen... Balls after balls were launched out of Vilma body, aiming for her foe without hesitation.
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Being caught so thoroughly off-guard demanded quick reactions, Elenor made use of her own magical gifts by conjuring a pair of shields, forged through a combination of molten slags, tempered spirits, and her native flaming nature. Her physical prowess was undeniable, Elenor batted away spirits after spirits with her protections and used the wings spreading from her hips as additional protective tools. She jumped, retreated and hopped away from this assault despite the creatures inherent seeking natures; some inevitably collided with her body, eroding the spotless polished gray steel, leaving worrying acidic marks that couldn't manage to eat through metal. Thankfully every contact dissolved these dangerous frenzied balls, breaking apart the consistency of their souls.

''Kuuh! So angry and bitter you have to launch a sneaky strike before we could even honor her majesty!?'' The demoness barked between strikes - her announcer had already flown off - and she weathered Vilma entire onslaught without visible damages.

A strange phenomenon was happening around the small lich who didn't bother to grace this foe with a response. She was swinging her staff sideways to maximize the bell momentum... Arms, stretchy limbs of deathly pallor mingled with bones and sands, erupted out of the arena ground to wrap around Vilma legs. Movements around the small lich showed emerging shambling humanoids; people, undeniably, who were denied tombs rose for their mistress bell.

''So that was a distraction, maybe this is too...'' Elenor growled, her senses were fully alert now. Bony warriors didn't wait to make their way toward her. One, two, three, four... an increasing number of skeletons - with hands angled like claws - dug themselves out of their illusionary tombs while Vilma prepared something else. Arms after arms came out of the soil to grip her legs and hips, slowly progressing upward as if trying to hug her entire body.

''Fine, I guess it'll be over if I get close.'' This wasn't the first time Elenor had felt this strong feeling of gut-twisting fear. Pure raw danger was projected by the necromancer machinations, beliefs of inherent superiority were to be thoroughly discarded. ''...my title isn't for show, I'll have you apologize for insulting my mom!'' Her only choice was to face this onslaught, she launched to meet this murderous gang with fiery temper lighting righteous anger, easily dominating natural fear.

Level-headedness was a trial and a virtue when surrounded by screaming, envious deads; giving bodies and powers to deadly grudges was a tool that left its mark. Each second assaulted Vilma senses in ways that'd often bring reminders of childhood warnings from her grumpy mentor who'd always warn against applying necromancy for battle.

It was a terribly ugly thing that he always described as dangerous for everyone.
''I'll show them, it's not... wrong.'' Vilma grunted through clenched teeth, feeling her arms tire from her swings. With most of her body now acting as an anchor for hundreds of entities - all of them had more than enough time to germinate inside the twenty corpses she collected - a look to her opponent made her understood that things were ramping up.

''Damn it I'd have hoped...'' Elenor wasn't a hopeless moron, she silently finished. Her title as an ace wasn't for show; yesterday, Daiyu gift of intelligence about this woman proved invaluable. Vilma understood things were about to be very dangerous when the blond demoness hugged herself after the skeletons (nothing more than vessels for more maddened deads) had been reduced by half, her effort to fight a group hadn't gone as planned because those beastly deads still understood the inherent value of acting as a pack.

One of mankind many instinctive traits to take advantage of.

Silhouettes of flames - three of them- emerged out of Elenor, ghostly shapes without traits save for being an exact replica of the woman curvaceous body, their emergence went without fanfares but their effects were immediate. They rushed for their bony foes with practiced ease, moving with skills and training, conjuring weapons of fires mid-movement to cut and incinerates enemies whose poor attempt at encirclement broke apart. One skeleton was decapitated, another bashed with a shield then set alight as magical flames caught on fleshless limbs, a third was kicked and burnt... the only silver lining was that Elenor was at least forced to eliminate this threat.

This is Transposition, the act of cultivating summons. It worked by gathering spirits or souls and molding them into a greater whole that is subsequently made to replicate its host skills. Simple to explain, plain in concept yet so damn hard to pull off effectively because it demands excellence in difficult skills. Elenor mastery was a single little trick, all of these simulacra were fiery warriors that couldn't replicate proper magical spells, they could only rely on instinctive ones. Yet... what a trick it was; it took ten seconds for Vilma summons to be dealt with.

''She's the one who killed you all!'' The lich growled through a clenched jaw, tasting sterile powder of bodies left to rot for an entire year. ''Come on out, feed on me, I've got a banquet of grudges to carry straight into her body, eat, eat and consume!'' Seven meters separated her from this squad of champions, Elenor understood this chance to close in.

A maddened bell clanged on and on... seven meters became five, the air around Vilma swirled with fell energy, patches of purple smokes flowed out of her body in continuous momentum. Five meters became three, clones of fire crackled with momentum, filled with vitality, the succubus sheer magical power projected a stuffing aura of stifling heat as if standing next to a campfire.... then madness erupted inside the arena.
Fogy shapes, dread aberrations, pieces of souls and envious deads rushed forward in carnivorous roars of empty echoes, ghost-like things had been created inside this sick miasma and Elenor charge was forced on the defense. She reacted well against this phenomenon, vaporous creatures immune to irons weren't so resistant to fire and her summons created a protective triangle around their mistress, shields-to-shields, waving their weapons like torches, setting ghosts alight and even causing a few of them to outright bursts in painfully loud small explosions.

''I'll end it... This damn...gng!'' Vilma wasn't used to pain. These arms hugging her body had grown restless, putrid digits mingled with bony claws to scratch at her skin; it had taken them a while to work through the chainmail, now she directly the maddened envy of those chaotic creatures. Lines after lines were carved into her pale purple flesh, releasing an increasing flow of blood that her... no, these spirits relished. The pain wasn't an eruption, it was a slow spread of never-ending agony that'd often strike fear in her heart.

The price to pay for practicing necromancy without a proper catalyst.

''Rise all of ye gorged of my blood! Rise! Show this world how you died, seek that vessel - your sacrifice - and walk anew! Vengence, rage oh all of ye damned, lost souls whose body was left to rot, denied all blessings! Rage! Rage!'' Enraged spits flew with her screams. Vilma body wafted this dark purple smoke like a poisoned chimney that'd often come together into semi-sentient faces who'd give onlookers hungry smiles, eliciting many uncomfortable murmurs in the enthralled gallery.

''Bones and ghosts will yield nothing, damnable daughter of Nigil!'' Elenor retort was a yelling triumph, painting a picture of heroism: here stood a mighty warrior of flames purging restless deads and literal souls with a squad of devoted followers, yet the battle wasn't progressing. More and more entities poured out of Vilma body, bells clung ceaselessly despite the lich having long since dropped her staff after her arms came to be imprisoned by those crawling limbs. The fight had devolved into attrition, Elenor squad was barely managing to inch forward against this ceaseless assaults and, were circumstances a little different, perhaps Vilma would have tried to find victory this way, a slow, methodical crushing...

No, she had been plotting something else. A savage spell, a way to assure victory and honor her liege, show her beloved friends - family- their efforts weren't for naught, to show all of these damnable Mamonos she was no stain on her beloved group reputation. Fear had twisted her guts from the moment she came up with this new magical technique... suffering had thankfully dulled hesitations and as Elenor threw a sword toward her yet again, Vilma understood this woman had likely a few tricks up her sleeves.
'I can't...'' A particularly nasty sting when a claw almost dug into her spine made the lich hesitate. She was using her essence as an anchor of souls, it was taking a toll, maybe... a battle of endurance wouldn't end well. ''...I'll show you.'' She growled, shaky arms traveling toward her chest whilst her captor's hands tense in renewed vigor, sending new waves of agony throughout her body as those claws tore enough skins to utterly ruin her body in scars.

A price she was willing to pay.

''Two months, I came here after...being thrown away by my master, only...only...'' Sojourning inside this fortress had been a nightmarish experience before Teruko protective shadow and Elina brightness cast their defensive umbrella on her. Vilma remembered everything, from small jabs at her pride to violent ambushes in the school, some ladies even invited themselves in her room, taking off with her money yet... things wound up worse after that damn woman decided to become a blight.

Vilma was a naturally rancorous girl, grudges flowed in her blood and all those slights had piled, piled and piled for many days. This led to an idea, a possibility that awakened ambitious payback; necromancy was a magic of negativity and emotions...

Vilma felt it on her face, power from within mingling with corruption to accommodate her body for her unreasonable wish of death. Quickly did she feel her jaw change, crackles of bones and twisting teeth opened her mouth into a dislocated round maw where hundreds of angry spirits - all of them rebelling against their death, mingled with Vilma's acrimony right when Elenor managed to extricate herself from these endless shadows by leaving behind two of her summons to act as distractions.

''Die...die...'' She murmured, chanting in gurgling whispers, often breaking in yelps when she felt more claws dig into her flesh. Wails echoed throughout the arena, screams and desperate cries, voices with an ephemeral chance to express their agony flowed out of Vilma's deformed mouth. Purple smoke gathered, Elenor still had to fight these endless souls, being vomited out of that surreal cloud.

Like a proper necromancer, Vilma had amassed death. Breaking apart sparks of cognizance to extricate raw animosity, her body had become a nexus for life antithesis. Magic, souls and wills combined for a unique creation; a howl of unlife, a reproduction of old tales about a woman wail killing people where they stood.

Vilma didn't care for bystanders, all of these Mamonos shared responsibility for her agony! So what if a few end up ill or worse? Elenor will lose, she'll gain victory under the careful gazes of three Supreme Monsters!

''No.'' Something foreign rang in her head, cutting through endless screams with foreign clarity. ''I will uphold my oath, even against your wishes.''
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Then... small pillars emerged out of columns erected on a few spots of the arena walls. Constructed from a slick silvery metal, these object manifested magical disposition when they glowered in sudden energy an unleashed a burst of power that manifested into lines of platinum that proceeded to cover the entire dueling ground into a bright bubble of might. None too soon, for the entire underground shook from the lich unleashed might.


45 minutes later.

Your first experience of a panicking crowd was an interesting one, mostly because gallant women managed to avoid a general stampede by warning onlookers to exit in an orderly fashion. It had taken you a while to regain your wits after witnessing such an incredibly unreasonable display of manifest negativity, all those...things emerging out of Vilma were deeply wrong, eliciting gut-twisting fears and strong chills all over your body as Elenor fought against these deadly horrors.

After that strange protective bubble - an alchemical addition created by Belphegor long go - encompassed the dueling grounds, you and the girls opted to protect Teruko from a few excited people a little too eager with getting out. You still spotted (everyone else must have, too) the distinctive colossal form of Zazawu literally jumping in there before making your way below, the spirited professor ordering her maid to push a path through this crowd...

Resulting in your current situation. The angel and pregnant lizardgirl burst inside Vilma room, chased out the nurses, then told you and Hao to wait outside until they ''took care of things''. For thirty minutes you sat twiddling your thumbs with Hao beside you, seeing bursts of green and white light filtering under the door at uneven intervals and a muffled, spirited discussion filtered through with all intention of continuing for another hour.

''Au...'' Hao spoke, she had kept a deathly silent once the protective sphere had been conjured inside the dueling grounds. She hadn't left your side for a moment, rising a temptation to slide your arm around her shoulders. ''Did... Has, she, our... lost?''
An obvious question that had nonetheless been ravaging her with unease, those honest green eyes of hers followed her forlorn expression as she couldn't keep a firm stare.

''I don't know.'' You answered plainly, doing your best to keep a level voice and swallow your anger. The way Hao winced was heartbreaking; she cheered loudly and often enough to make up for your entire group twice over and she so wholeheartedly believed in Vilma... the way she glared at the closed door hinted at many tumultuous emotions.

Belphegor, Daiyu and Sieglinde were also nowhere to be seen, perhaps dealing with some kind of fallout after this admittedly unforeseen event. Who could have guessed that Vilma would have endangered everyone here? That duel wasn't a grudge match, it had changed into an outright fight for survival. Vilma dominated that battle, forcing Elenor into a constant defensive but did it truly matter? How did things end? The only ones who could answer were the combatants and general Zazawu...

That promise you made with Buddy felt hollow now, wasn't he supposed to show up and help out Vilma?

Hao kept interlocking her fingers together and releasing them, elbows resting on nervously shaking knees that made her pretty shoes clacked constantly on the stone floor.

>Set out for the other infirmary. Staying here is a dead end until your companions remember you and the maid exist, getting some answers out of Elenor is a good use of your time.

>See if you can find Mimiru or that blue bastard, you remember seeing them before the fight, maybe they've stayed...

>Remain here until things start changing. What exactly can you do anyway? Nothing.

>Free Choice
>Free Choice: look for guards who can tell us what happened, and what’s going to happen to Vilma now
Welp, looks like Vilma screwed things up.
Since I've gone and dumped a whole lot of text I'll wait 20 or so minutes for another vote before proceeding with this one.
Hooo boy. That could have gone a bit better.
Support. If this fails we can try Eleanor.
That WAS quite a wall. Took a fair bit to read and understand all that.
Yeah, I wanted to see if I could do all the build-up proper justice. Things aren't so bad. I hope it wasn't painful to read, otherwise, I'll stick with smaller texts in the future.
Jesus, I didn't know Vilma would be willing to go THAT far. Everyone literally got to hear the banshee scream! Hope she survived the experience relatively intact I don't mind girls having a few scars.

It wasn't painful, just took a bit to get through.

>that spoiler
You say that, but I know you...
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Realization struck you like lightning bolt when you recalled a rather suspect lack of guards during all of this excitement and, afterward, you didn't see anybody linger around this spot of the arena. With renewed vigor brought by rekindled purpose, you jumped on your feet and Hao imitated your gesture despite being thoroughly caught off guard.

''Let's get some answers.'' You said, unable to fully conceal a rising aggression.

Welcoming the distraction despite fully knowing she won't be understanding anything at length, the warrior maid shadowed your steps as you venture inside the stone corridor light up by many alchemical lamps. The place had two exits but only one led toward actual progress, going further west would have you emerged into that somber cage.

Thankfully you happened upon a pair of women almost immediately after opening the door, familiar faces in fact. One was the lady snake that always kept a vigil in the Jawahir entrance and the other was a guard of canine traits you often saw lingering in the garden. Both were standing into a large hall that acted as nexus for the entire underground semi-complex of this arena

''O-oh? Hi!'' The reptile woman waved a scaly hand your way. You burst out of that corridor without giving a damn about the protesting squeak of its closed metal door, making for a grating echo.

''Hey, have you guys heard anything?'' Your own greeting was a nod, you were far too impatient for politeness. Your words (and the act of stepping away from the doorway to let Hao stand beside you) made both women, who seemed to share some form of closeness, hesitate with an almost sisterly grimace.

''Not many details really, nobody got hurt because of that shield.'' The dog-eared woman answered.

''Zazawu jumped right in there...'' The lamia responded, scratching the large bed of scales under her chin. ''...words is, Elenor won.''
Gods dammit.

''He found your friend on the ground, too stunned to stand while Elenor was still on her feet, able to defend herself.'' Her lizard tail curled upward then flattened itself on a nearby wall as her entire lower body tensed, increasing her size by a few inches. ''Nothing official yet! Only words coming from somebody who supposedly heard him mutter this conclusion...''

''Any words about Sieg... I mean, about our lieges?''

''I think they are on the arena grounds... At least, our lordship is.'' The canine-woman bushy tail whipped the air. ''...If you of all people don't know bout Sieglinde then we don't either. We're here to keep things calm, not that it matters anymore so... hey, if you see any of our superiors, think you can inform them we've been doing fuck all for almost an hour?''

''I'll keep it in mind.'' You turned at Hao who beamed an honest smile at the guards, you'll do your best to inform her on the way... at least for now she's in a good mood again.

>Make your way into the arena and talk with Daiyu.
>See if you can find Sieglinde, your only choice is to ask around at this point.
>Go into Elenor side of the arena, there might be more people there.
>Go back the way you came and visit Vilma. You've gotten enough info, if she lost...
>Free Choice
>See if you can find Sieglinde, your only choice is to ask around at this point.
Now where could Sieg be at a time like this?
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Lack of answer about Sieglinde location was incredibly odd, one would think she'd be running to see her friend and retainer after this... fight. ''Right.'' You rubbed a few beads of sweat out of your forehead; perhaps those two got stuck in a similar situation after being posted in this empty place.

Turning to Hao, she tilted her head and snapped her scaly tail in acknowledgment. ''Let's go find Sieglinde.'' You announced, making your friend nod vigorously.

First step was to venture for the spectating seats where the alchemical protective bubble was still active. It firmly encompassed the entire dueling ground, feeding power from four pillars strategically built into big columns of rocks on four spots of this circle. They hummed with might, pure energy somehow managed to cause a few shakes in the rocks and rumble in your guts, there was probably enough power in there to stop a rampaging Demon Lord.

Not that you'd want to put such an observation to the test.

Getting information the redhead was thankfully not too difficult. Many people still lingered, from a few instructors to curious students and guards from the throne altar had been deployed here and there, inspecting empty seats, none of them impeding progress with the few people remaining aside from blocking entrance in the underground complex.

''Aye folks saw her leading them lemmings about for sure.'' A tall lady-spider garbed in steel answered your query, making you rather queasy. She was an obvious looking superior that people eventually told you about.

''She went after a kid actually, a cute little blonde lass, kinda looking like that pretty angel you hang out with.''

Mimiru, Sieglinde went after Mimiru?

''Still with her?'' You asked and the large woman shook her head, causing no end of metallic clicks.

''Sent her maid with the kid, Siggy promptly came back and went into the victor corner.'' The commander pointed with her chin for the westward half of the arena. ''Still there last I saw, ain't keeping tabs on her ladyship anyhow, she's free to do what she wants ya know?''

''Of course, also that pair of guards watching over Vilma might want an update, they've been stuck in the dark for almost an hour.''

Her white eyebrows upward. ''Ooh, right. Yeah, kinda forgot. The crisis is long gone so they oughta take it easy, gonna send a runner...''

Like that, you left this helpful military insect Mamono alone. Hao looked at you with a bright smile, happily content with following your every step without words.

>Go into Elenor corner of the arena, if Siggy is still there, you'll bump into her.

>Rethread your paths and see how Vilma is doing, it's been more than long enough.

>You might still be able to see her highness Daiyu if you make a quick jog for the dueling grounds
Forgot to add the usual
>Free Choice
>>Go into Elenor corner of the arena, if Siggy is still there, you'll bump into her.
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''Careful in there.'' Stepping into the archway leading into the bowels of the arena had one of the guards throw you this rather ominous warning and, feeling rather tense, you exchanged a cautious glance with your foreign friend who gently patted you on the back and descended the stairs beside you.

This girl is a godsend.

You emerged into a replica of the eastern hall, albeit with much better lightning because of additional lamps put on the ground and forgotten, a few doors were open to reveal bored-looking personnel shifting through old equipment, however as you delve deeper you heard traces of conversations echoing your way.

''Don't get your hopes up.'' A woman was facing an open corridor on the furthest wall leading deeper into the entrail of this surprisingly large complex. She was showing obvious monstrous disposition, a parge of large deformed scaled hands bestowed a dangerously lethal grip on this lean woman, her body was clad in too many layers of kimonos to identify any other obvious trait.

Well, aside from a generous cleavage you could see even from her profile and a snake wrapped around her neck that seemed to exit right out of her crotch.

Better not ask uncomfortable questions.

''Not budging until I can at least ask, been far too long since I got pumped up watching a bout. Cmon lass, don't be so boring'' This rebuttal came from a voice of such deep guttural rawness that it stopped you and Hao right in your track, whoever was speaking with that lizard-maiden was still perfectly hidden by the angle of the walls, yet it projected such an immense presence...

''You're stuck, don't pretend otherwise you fat bastard.'' The lady answered, forked tongue peeking out.

Hao gently shook you out of your awe by clapping your shoulder, this noise immediately attracted the attention of this nameless Mamono, revealing eyes of yellow-green that were, honestly, extremely attractive.

''Oh ho? Visitors? This... power of nature asked and the lady soundlessly nodded.

Psyching yourself up, you approached the woman and waved. ''Hello, my name's Arawn...'' It was a good thing you stopped instead of rounding the corner because blocking the path was an absolutely massive monster.
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General Zazawu was looking positively mortified, on his knees and still big enough to rub his head on the stone roof. His mountainous frame encompassed nearly all the space of this opening that led into the infirmary and duelist cage, all four of his arms rubbed with the walls beside him, his bulky frame made it impossible for him to take a comfortable spot to rest.

Should have employed dwarves I swear, gods above I want to scratch my leg... Bahu anyhow so you're Arawn huh? Pointy lad?''

''I...Yes...'' Beside you, Hao was staring in open-mouthed wonder, even going into an awed ''Waaaahu'' that sent Zazawu into an amused chuckled that, with his shaking body, peeled off morsels of stones out of the walls.

''Don't be kowtowing or bending the knees or something like that I swear'' He interrupts your movement, his strange protective mandible somehow tightening. ''I oughta be bowing to an elf but... well actually, I already am!'' He chuckled to himself.

''I'm... sorry for your predicament, good sir.'' You fought the urge to rub the back of your neck. ''Have you seen Sieglinde anywhere?''

''Yes, she managed to sneak into Elenor infirmary before big guy here got himself stuck like a moron.'' The lady snake answered softly. ''Name's Melvina.'' She didn't move for a handshake so you didn't impose.

''Hush, I can squeeze out whenever I can. Especially if someone got business with my lass, your friend with that lich yeah?'' Slowly but surely you were getting used to that voice that shook your bones.

''Indeed, I'm... trying to figure out what happened and what's happening now.'' You didn't have anything to hide, your words brought a pensive emotion on the giant face who nodded and carelessly rubbed one of his protective mandibles on the roof, causing a noticeable line into the stone.

This guy is a walking siege engine.

''I can make ya both squeeze through, no worries.''

>Take his offer to find Sieglinde quickly.

>Stay here instead and ask him about the duel, what he saw when he jumped in there... and if Vilma truly lost.

>Chit chat with that general instead, Belphegor and Sieglinde have been meeting him often. What's his story?

>Free Choice
>Stay here instead and ask him about the duel, what he saw when he jumped in there... and if Vilma truly lost

Seems like we fucked up asking that soul ghost of us to help Vilma.
She might have gotten lucky and permanently crippled elanor.
>Stay here instead and ask him about the duel, what he saw when he jumped in there... and if Vilma truly lost.
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Zazawu was the most important witness of this duel, his insane jump into a deathtrap had been witnessed by many, many people and that inevitably made him into an arbiter. If what you heard from the guards was true... Now's the perfect time to confirm it.

''Hao!'' The maid suddenly spoke, pointing to herself. ''I'm Hao!''

''Zazawu!'' The large monsters answered, his massive maw twisting into a smile and then... his voice spoke a smooth, flowery language that caught Hao so thoroughly off guard, her entire body twitched in astonishment, causing the maiden serpents eyebrows to raise in concern.

''Is my Zennist that rusty? Sorry lass.'' Zazawu spoke softly (as much as he could anyhow). You returned Hao favor by tapping her on the shoulder to extract her out of that awe induced stupor.

''General? Could I ask you a few questions?'' Your imposition had you under the eyes of both venerable monsters. ''It's about my friend Vilma, the necromancer, is it true that she lost?''

Zazawu shining eyes of corn-colored yellow showed a warm expression of empathy, his massive eyebrows frowned into a briefly uncomfortable expression as he began to mull over something.

''You've been silent about it.'' The serpent lady beside you asked the behemoth. ''Why not speak up?''

''You jump to conclusions a little too fast, Melvi'' The giant responded, causing a dangerous low hiss to emerge out of the lady-snake mouth which showed a distinctive pair of fangs.

Lady with a short fuse having a pair of venomous fangs, got it.

Thankfully the giant didn't care, in fact, his friend displeasure sent him into a laughing fit that scarred the walls again.

''Yeah, I can tell you about it. I didn't see a clear winner, only a girl on the ground trying to get up and the little blond stuck in an awed trance, the kind of things that happen when something unbelievable happens.'' Zazawu craned his neck upward and broke eye contacts to let out a long sigh through his nose. ''Fights like those don't really handle inconclusive endings well, so you could say Elenor won. That'd be my conclusion if I were to judge it.''
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''I... see'' You tried your best to internalize your feelings but your face couldn't keep a grimace under this harsh reality. If Vilma lost, those wagers... What'll become of her future here?

''I can't be convinced there's a winner anyhow.'' Zazawu suddenly spoke, his stance had changed observe you carefully, as if he were some towering grandpa trying to console his grandkid. His massive frame wasn't creating any instinctive fear anymore. ''Something really weird happened inside that arena. See, necromancy without a catalyst ain't too dangerous as long as you pace yourself but that girl... She went all out, channeling horrors and molding deads to her well like Tartar underlings. Magic straight outta the Great Crusade that was''

Delicately prying an arm off the walls, Zazawu held a long claw before him.

''I ain't sure what she was trying to do but our little deadly lass inevitably lost control of her flocks causes that always happen without an artifact, bell ain't enough. I jumped in there to save her, I knew there wouldn't be much time before she gets torn apart but when I did...'' Zazawu stopped, curling his massive finger back into his fist while his big eyes shone in excitement. ''A strange figure of metal was killing everything that came close to your friend. It was like a golem, a creature straight outta Belph laboratory sliced, bashed or straight up exploded ghosts with pure, methodic violence. Aint never seen something like that before, I swear...''

''That undead had a sentient summon!?'' Melvina spoke in a barely contained whisper.

''Sssh! Hush! Don't go screaming that, the poor gal has more than enough trouble as it is!'' For all of Zazawu good will, his naturally heavy voice made it impossible to avoid being overheard, not that you'll begrudge his heart. He's a good giant of a guy.

Buddy did manifest himself in the end. His promise to keep Vilma safe was rather... You couldn't quite place it into words, it felt rather selfish of him not to help but perhaps she hadn't wanted any in the first place.
''Was her necromancy really going to kill her?'' You asked the giant, wanting to change subjects and distract them before they ask you about this manifestation.

''Magic rarely has true certainty, lad. My opinion is from experience but I've been proven wrong often. Undead, liches especially, tend to have a natural affinity with necromancy so it's entirely possible she knew what she was doing... but I reckon it's also possible she bit off more than she could chew.

Your eyes wandered toward Hao you threw you a mournful look. She didn't quite understand, but evidently managed to pick apart enough conversations to know it was about Vilma.

''Thank you, mysir.'' At least you had precious answers now. Buddy had killed off all of Vilma's summons to protect her, the guy did keep his word.

''Friends of Siggy and Belph are mine too. Anything, anytime lad.'' Zazawu curled a massive thumb toward you and Hao imitated the gesture with forced enthusiasm, Melvina nodded silently, not trying to pursue any conversations.

>Ask anything else? (Specify)

>Get back to Vilma, it's been a while. Maybe Sieglinde found another way out, too. You've been chatting with Zazawu for a little while.

>Make your way past the titanic general, it might be time for a face to face with Elenor... or at least find the redhead.

Gonna continue tomorrow. How are you guys handling this developpement?
So even after all the help she received, Vilma still found a way to screw things up and waste all that effort.
>Make your way past the titanic general, it might be time for a face to face with Elenor... or at least find the redhead.
We should find Sieglinde and find out what's going to be done to Vilma. Not only did she lose, she allowed her undead to nearly attack the bystanders.
>>Get back to Vilma, it's been a while. Maybe Sieglinde found another way out, too. You've been chatting with Zazawu for a little while.

winning vilma would have been nice but whatever, she certainly put the fear of god into elenor.
Hopefully seeing vilma pull off crusade class spells at her will get that cunt and all the other monster girls off vilmas case.
I'm not worried about consequences to vilma for going all out but i don't know maybe we should be.
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It wasn't wasted, you'll find out soon enough. You guys took a bit of a roundabout way with finding out how things ended but tomorrow will provide a few more answers.
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Ask him if he thinks Sieg found another way out. If he thinks yes head back to Vilma. If not we make our way past him.

Your 'Murrican players probably won't be able to contribute much tomorrow. They'll be busy drinking, grilling, and blowing up small chunks of their country.
I know that, I didn't expect too much activity today because of my huge chunk of text but I'm happy to have been proven wrong.

I hope you guys aren't too irritated about this result, avoid making hasty conclusions. That's the best advice I can give.
>Get back to Vilma, it's been a while. Maybe Sieglinde found another way out, too. You've been chatting with Zazawu for a little while.
We have some answers, Sieg will get back on her own - she knows the layout of the place far beter than we do after all.
Eh, I'm not irritated. While it's true that I'd have liked for Vilma to outright win the duel, making a show of power like that is no doubt going to make some Mamonos rethink their opinion of her. For better or for worse.
I'm more interested in seeing what Eleanor thinks about the duel ending like that (altough it's not time-pressing). Will she be content with it? Hell, optimistically thinking she might demand a rematch for proper closure.
'Thank you for your time, general. Do you think it'd be possible that Sieglinde took another route to reach the other side of the arena?''

''Aye, aye'' Zazawu rubbed his chin with the back of his hand, crouching lower to avoid marking the roof again. ''Likely cut through the dueling ground, place is safe now with her majesty and Belph inspecting it. Say, lad.''

As you turned around and returned Melvina silent farewell wave, Zazawu good-natured smile had you stop for one last moment. ''If ya see that blonde lass, think you can give her the message I'd like to speak with her?

''If I run into her.'' You responded wit ha nod, doing your best to avoid an outright agreement with this massive man and he seemed to have gotten the message. He waved you goodbye and back into the long and large corridor you went, with a dark scaled maid lagging behind.

''You okay Hao?'' You asked as rumbles throughout the complex revealed Zazawu attempts at movings.

''Mmhm!'' She nodded at your prompts, casting one last glance toward the behemoth roaring in laughter, then ran beside you and kept your quick pace.


Making your way back toward Vilma quarters was uneventful, this near-crisis was being handled with surprising relaxation amongst guards and students. While you've no idea how things are looking topside, Mamonos are a surprising bunch when it came to dealing with this unexpected development.

You half expected people to start chanting for the lich head yet you didn't overhear any insults, people, in general, seemed glad to have witnessed something so unusual. You also noticed the guards you had a brief conversation with playing a game of cards, things really were going back to normal.
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Opening the door for Vilma lonely corridor, you immediately spotted the elusive redhead. She was standing beside the lich door, her back to you, deformed arms resting on her hips, deadly tail swinging sideways in evident irritation.

''Grrr...'' Beside you, Hao let out this low, dangerous animalistic snarl and you immediately understood why.

Elenor was here, sitting on one of the chairs you and the maid previously used. With elbows on her knees, leaning forward to hold her chin with two hands, the demoness seemed... sedated or maybe so thoroughly lost in thought she barely registered your presence, Hao antipathy washed off her without a single acknowledgment.

''Oh, hi.'' Sieglinde had heard too, and turned around to face you and the maid who managed to refrain from spitting on the floor. Instead, Hao contented herself with crossing her arms on her belly and pout. ''Things aren't so bad.'' The Lilim said, eyeing the maid cautiously while forcing an awkward smile. ''Do you know how's Vilma doing?''

''Haven't had a chance to enter yet.'' You left Hao side carefully, cautiously walking toward the princess and but decided to stop getting closer to Elenor. ''Been looking for you, I know you tried to look for Mimiru.''

''Yeah, it wasn't what she expected that's for sure, she's in good hands.'' Priscilla was a dutiful woman.

''Right...'' Your gaze drifted for Elenor who acknowledged you with a nod.

>Open a conversation by passing along Zazawu message to her.

>Bluntly ask why this woman is here.

>Ignore her and ask Sieglinde about the fallout of this duel

>Knock on your friend room and impose yourself, you can speak details later, you'd like to know how she's doing.

>Free Choice
>Open a conversation by passing along Zazawu message to her.
We may not like her, and Elenor may be a bitch but I see no need to actively antagonize her out of the blue.
>Open a conversation by passing along Zazawu message to her.
''Elenor.'' Both demonesses twitched under your tone. ''Zazawu would like you to meet with him.''

''Oh?'' Sieglinde was the first to respond and the way her face blossomed into a mischievous smile managed to cool your mood. It was always a good sight to see her like that. ''Now that's interesting. Big guy likes to keep thing simple, that's as official a summon as you'll ever get. I'm sure he'd have extended Vilma the same courtesy if she hadn't pledged herself to me.''

Elenor had straightened her back after your delivery, her closed expression opening into honest surprise. You didn't want to admit it, but she looked rather good with her wings folded over her hands, both resting on her knees. ''That's... I...'' She didn't say anything else.

''We snuck out of her place.'' Sieglinde took a forward step to close distances between you two. ''Those big friends of hers made a fantastic distraction, we've been having an important chat.''

''Yes, I'm...'' Elenor cleared her throat, this sudden diminutive - if not outright vulnerable- side of this woman you came to honestly despise was giving you a whole lot of mixed feelings. ''I'm not sure how to process everything that happened.''

''You won.'' You stated plainly. ''If controversies arise because of this result, Zazawu said he'll judge in your favor. Nobody else was better placed to witness a winner.''

''No, no... that's not what happened.'' Elenor grimaced, shutting her mouth close to observe you with a strangely magnetic stare, you found it difficult to look away. ''Vilma was dominating me throughout the fight.''

That... was true, the lich had been overwhelming, forcing her foe into a constant state of defenses. ''But she lost in the end, maybe entirely because of her own mistakes.'' Saying this tugged a painful string in your heart, it was a good thing Vilma door was firmly closed.

''That's not how things ended.'' Elenor shook her head again, long hair trailing over her face as it snuck past her tall horns. ''I've... I nearly died back there. That spell she was doing, how long had she been preparing it? Vilma put everything inside of it, it was raw anger, pure negativity made manifest... it was a scream of pure death that resonated in my soul.'' Her eyes narrowed into a frown, briefly pausing in thought. She wasn't giving an impression showing a traumatic experience, yet... It was as if all traces of arrogance had evaporated.
''Next came a beam, I knew it was my death yet... someone came to my rescue, it wasn't Zazawu.'' She shook her head as you attempted to place a word, Sieglinde calm expression revealed she had already heard all of this before. ''It was somehow an alchemical man made of magic. gold, red, coppery all at once... he interposed himself between me and her banshee wail then proceeded to defend your friend when Zazawu landed. It was somehow unscathed, with enough strength to end our bout alone.''

What...? Did Buddy deny Vilma final attack before saving her life from those rampaging undead?

''I didn't win. I could pretend I did, that's what my...'' A noticeable wince came to her face. ''Benefactor wanted, I'm glad her highness came so I could actually be honest for once.'' Sieglinde nodded in response.

''This duel took place under the gazes of four Supremes, but more than that... our ancestors were also silent witnesses. My mother was watching me fight, I know she did.'' Elenor brought a hand between her breasts, the shine in her eyes positively enthralling. ''I know we had... our difference. In fact, I've been nurturing nothing but hatred for Vilma for what she said about my mom and you too, sir, for associating with her.''

Such honest candidness was really taking you off guard; mixed feelings couldn't accurately describe your mixture of opposed emotions melding into a mess anymore.

''But I at least wanted this fight of ours to end this damnable feud. It's tiring, I don't like it, I don't want it, I... I wanted to make my mom proud, I wanted Vilma to come at me with everything she had.''

She did, going so far above expectation that Vilma nearly killed innocents in her rage, bloodlust and wish to accomplish everybody expectation.

''Is that why you plotted for an arbiter to confiscate her powder?'' You weren't charmed by her attitude but you could at least change into a more diplomatic tone.

''That wasn't me!'' Elenor voice found a pitch between scream and conversation that immediately shut up any other retorts. ''That wasn't me...'' She repeated. ''...I don't like these tricks.''

>''Then explain your attitude with Vilma before this fight. You've gone and made her life enough of an agony that she tried to kill you before 200 witnesses.'' (Perhaps you can give her the benefit of the doubt. This once.)

>''Do you intend to support Vilma, then? Somehow decide that you lost, despite this result being everything you wanted?'' (That can't be true, right?)

>''What exactly do you intend to do with Vilma, Sieglinde?'' (Change the subject.)

>Free Choice
>''Then explain your attitude with Vilma before this fight. You've gone and made her life enough of an agony that she tried to kill you before 200 witnesses.'' (Perhaps you can give her the benefit of the doubt. This once.)
Might as well have her explain herself, methinks.
>''Then explain your attitude with Vilma before this fight. You've gone and made her life enough of an agony that she tried to kill you AND 200 witnesses.'' (Perhaps you can give her the benefit of the doubt. This once.)
Don't let Vilma off of the hook here. Just because she's our friend doesn't mean we should simply overlook her intention and action taken to commit mass murder.

This wasn't Buddy stopping her from casting the spell that would have killed all those people unrelated to bullying Vilma, this was Buddy getting in the way of the bullet that Vilma had already fired with the full intention of killing bystanders.
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''Then explain your attitude with Vilma before this fight. You've gone and made her life enough of an agony that she tried to kill you and 200 witnesses.'' Your phrasing brought a noticeable scowl on the redhead face and you shouldered her stare while swallowing your discomfort. Belphegor went and erected defenses to protect these bystanders, Vilma was clearly a danger.

Elenor rolled a strand of hair around her finger, indifferent to your implication of so many deaths. ''I've been a student here long before Teruko arrival. At first, I didn't really want to be under her tutelage, my own work was progressing well enough. That was until her accomplishments were made common knowledge.'' A sigh escaped her and she nervously put her hands on her knees. ''People came to know she possessed a sentient to summon, and with her own wish to become a tutor, well... I wished to have her instruct me so I could excel even more. If she refused, I thought I could prove myself to her somehow.''

''Up until Elina and Vilma came?'' You asked, narrowing your eyes. Sieglinde own stare wasn't any warmer and, of course, Hao watched this entire conversation like a hawk.

''Had I been allowed to make my own decisions, I'd have accepted my losses... no, I'd have continued to try and impress Teruko, maybe ask her students what made them special, maybe... ask for advice.''

''That'd have been a much better way to go about it.'' Sieglinde commented and it visibly stung Elenor feeling as she showed an obvious grimace of regret.

''I was adopted into the Jucunda minor noble family at my birth.'' She looked away, hands balling into fists. ''My adoptive mother always imposed a strict demand of successes on me, my coming into this academy and subsequent summoning training was all because of her constant pushing and refusal to accept failures and any other opinions but her own.'' Elenor took a long intake of breath through her nose and let it go slowly. ''She's the one who wanted me to become Teruko student, perhaps even more than I did. It'd be good prestige for us to have the summoning ace apprenticing under the academy most famous instructor, she who single-handedly invented Internalization... and she also wanted me to report on most of Teruko activities.''

You and Sieglinde shared an identic frown of suspicion.
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''I bought into it. It'd be an important step to have my old name recognized, to eventually clear the name of my true mother... So I thought about convincing Teruko to break academy rules and accept three students but I was to produce results quickly without ''shaking'' things too much.'' She shook her fist at that particular word.

''Leading to your tries of making Vilma drop out?'' You asked, yet Elenor shook her head.

''No, that... strategy was put into place once Teruko two students were officialized, I think that woman might have had a hand with some sort of dealing with the academy.''

A likely explanation, Teruko delays despite doing things legally was extremely suspicious. It is little wonder that she took things into her own hands.

''She told me to convince the lich to leave.'' Elenor leaned back, closing her eyes, gently tapping her head on the wall. ''Rest is history.''

''Really, even that kidnapping?'' Those were Sieglinde words, she faced Elenor with raw accusatory enmity, tail swishing dangerously. The blond didn't open her eyes, she likely understood the Lilim attitude through her voice.

''I'm a student, your highness.'' Elenor spoke plainly. ''I'm good, but that doesn't mean I have influence outside these walls. I don't have employees, I don't really have anybody loyal to me...'' Her teeth visibly dug into her lower lips as she interrupted herself. ''...My family -amongst many others- have dealings with the Javed. My benefactor told me they knew best how to take care of their own since undead always needs to lean on others for survival, so she tasked me with bringing Vilma outside.''

''And Belphegor luckily interrupted your march.'' The princess finished, pinching her chin with oversized fingers.

''Yeah...'' And then, you sorta jumped into the picture.

Slowly but surely, you're getting a clearer picture of this entire situation. Both girls got embroiled in people machinations, politics decided to insert itself into students lives, resulting... in nearly 200 deaths.

>''What do you think Sieglinde?''

>''Winning this duel means you've accomplished your objective, right? Vilma will have to stop being Teruko student. Why throw this chance away?''

>Free choice
>''Winning this duel means you've accomplished your objective, right? Vilma will have to stop being Teruko student. Why throw this chance away?''
>''What do you think Sieglinde?''
Rolled 2 (1d2)


I don't think we have another player present, so I'll break the tie.
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''What do you think, Sieglinde?'' You asked the princess, whose expression showed a pouty frown.

''That I can't organize my thoughts.'' A little laugh escaped her and she relaxed her stance, obviously trying her best to force some tension away. ''I think you could help us a good deal with putting a final end with this mess. Elenor if you were to... perhaps explain your actions to my mother...''

''You mean for the Jucunda to face the wrath of your kin?'' Elenor voice had dropped in volumes while Sieglinde tried her best to smile, only to come off as adorably awkward.

''Actually, you might give us a perfect reason to make another visit into the Javed household. Have your mother and that vampire explain themselves... after all, for people outside the academy walls planning to kidnap a student - who are all protected by my dear mother for as long as they are here - means they've been naughty indeed.''

By that same logic, wouldn't Vilma actions inside Daiyu domain be an insult on her honor?

''I'd have to speak against my adopted family, won't I?'' Elenor asked, tightening lips betraying nervousness. ''I'll be disowned.'' She shook her head, wincing while replacing the same strand of hair behind her horn constantly. '' I can't... afford that. Living with them is hell, especially because of that damnable shew unending expectations, but I don't have any other choices. I've many steps to climb...''

This is when Sieglinde showed a wicked grin, red eyes glinting maliciously. ''You do have one, Arawn message is a much bigger blessing than you think.'' Clearly enjoyed your shared disbelief, Sieglinde hmph'd in calculated smugness and spoke with putting one of her big hands on her collarbone.

''Zazawu is a simple guy. He wants to recruit you into his army because your talents impressed him and he's willing to take a chance with you. His unit doesn't really deserve to be called an army since he refers to all of his soldiers as daughters. He fully assumes his role to support his large family when they need it.'' Sieglinde leaned forward and you tried your best to keep your attention on the level instead of following her curves. ''Supreme Monsters influence function with territories but Zazawu rejected the politic of Supremes, his protection extend to his daughters. If I'm right... He'll likely finance the rest of your studies.''

''I-In exchange...'' Sweat visibly traveled on the blond demoness face, sparkles of hopes brought a shine inside her blood-colored eyes.

''For joining his crew. He tends to try his best with help his people achieve their dreams while doing his duty as protector of Throne Town.''
Hope, plain hope for a way out was spread on Elenor face and she directed her gaze to her knees, thinking about new scenarios and pieces that could further her ambition. You had to wonder if Sieglinde was actually speaking the truth, she looked at you with a satisfied smile, possessing all the contentment of someone delivering a piece of good news...

No, it's better to believe in her. She likely knows that giant well.

In this silence, the door to Vilma room opened from the inside without a noise. Midway from stepping out was Teruko who immediately stopped her stride, staring incredulously at the group only for her mood to worsen upon witnessing Elenor presence. Not even Hao happy chirps managed to douse this enmity. Your angle allowed you to investigate the infirmary, Elina shining presence projected a strong golden luminosity, she was sitting facing an occupied bed inside this gloomy place without windows.

''How is she?'' Sieglinde had forgotten all about her good mood.

Teruko put a hand on her stomach, eyeing all of you cautiously. ''Unconscious.'' She stated, grimacing. ''Overcast didn't claim her, thusly has she wished for her throat to be slit upon falling asleep.'' Teruko huffed, small hand tightening firmly around the door handle. ''Dishonored us all for failing to meet expectations, insulted ours existences by getting carried away by her feelings, all of us efforts mean nothing because she lost.''

Pure rage smoldered inside the pregnant woman with such intensity that she had to stop herself and collect some form of serenity, else become a danger for her growing child. ''As if ourselves spent all this time helping her by imposing victorious demands.'' Elenor rubbed her face uncomfortably, trying her best to appear invisible. ''You two better be gentle when she wakes up, she's taking this loss so hard mineself has grown afraid she might kill herself.'' Teruko sighed, quickly shaking her head. ''Pah, dramatizing never ye mind. Vilma was probably delirious because of the pain.''

Maybe, if you had gone in there sooner, you might have caught a glimpse of your friend agony.

''Some liege I am, missing her when she needed me most.'' Sieglinde growled.

''You must have had a good reason.'' Teruko voice was an obvious warning her words better rang true.

>Ask what's to become of Vilma. You've dodged this issue for a while... now that Sieglinde is here, you can get a proper answer.

>Try and have people relax. Emotions are running high, all of these women are angry and stressed, nobody died, nobody was seriously hurt.

>Free Choice
Oh I forgot another choice.

>Go inside and let these women talk with each other, perhaps Elina could use your company.
>Ask what's to become of Vilma. You've dodged this issue for a while... now that Sieglinde is here, you can get a proper answer.
I'll wait a little longer for another possible vote, this is likely to be my last answer for today. Vilma troubles are reaching closures soon...
>Ask what's to become of Vilma. You've dodged this issue for a while... now that Sieglinde is here, you can get a proper answer.
Might as well get this out of the way.

We're going to have to give Vilma a stern reminder that her death won't help. No need to chew her out, she's doing herself.

Gotta hit the hay myself, thanks for running Insert!
>Go inside and let these women talk with each other, perhaps Elina could use your company

Vilma needs comfort
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''What's to happen to Vilma now?'' It took courage to run headlong into the elephant in the room instead of pointing it out, Sieglinde and Teruko observed you with mixed disbelief, even Elina swirled her torso to observe the conversation.

''Blunt. Mineself can almost envy mysir talent.'' A tiny smile rested on the scaled woman face who finally acknowledged Hao with a wave.

''That remains to be decided.'' Sieglinde stated, drifted her gaze at the sitting blonde. ''You're the one who has to make a decision here, Elenor. I'd like to know in advance to avoid making useless preparations, still, it's up to you.''

The demoness looked down, keeping her stare planted firmly on the ground while Teruko observed in silent confusion.

''Hold on, that's not everything I want to know. There's... I want to understand what's to happen to Vilma because of her spell.'' Your insistence was met by a pair of silent, almost accusatory stares but you pressed on. ''She almost killed 200 people, that can't be swept under the rug.''

''Was that truly her intention?'' Sieglinde responded firmly, dangerous bladed tail rubbing itself on the wall in many long, ominous scratches.

''Does it matter? Belphegor had to activate a shield, everyone knows they were in danger, her spell channeled raw animosity. She was about to unleash it without minding collateral damages.'' You didn't know how to process this event. Vilma was your friend, she had every right with being mad at people for the way she's been treated these past months (that episode in the market likely worsened things) but to become a menace for so many people...

''Wouldn't be a first.'' Teruko muttered and now it was your time to be dubious.

'She didn't come to fight in order to kill 200 people. While bystanders were endangered, Vilma intention wasn't to put them at risk: I will not listen to anyone claiming otherwise because it's a damnable lie.'' Sieglinde voice had a distinctive edge of anger to it and you bore the full brunt, her glare was fierce, a passionate stare revealing of her affection for the little lich.

''Perhaps she got carried away and people can criticise her for that, necromancy is an inherently corruptive magic and I'm sure that, after today, people are going to be afraid of it even more... but the end result is that nobody got hurt.'' Sieglinde cleared her throat, voice breaking here and there because of thirst. She tried to hide her gaffe by running a big hand through her curly locks. ''Nobody got hurt. Mamonos understand that fight between Supremes can be dangerous for observers, it is the role of those hosting these duels to make certain proper precautions are taken.''
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''This wasn't a fight between Supremes.'' You replied, would Mamonos truly take this so casually? People had to be evacuated!

''Almost was.'' Sieglinde answered. ''These fights are almost sacred for Mamonos, Arawn. It's not entirely unusual for combatants to suddenly go far beyond expectation when they have to defend something important. People got scared, words will spread, but they'll calm down and treat this like business as usual.''

''Is that... so? Are Mamonos truly so casual?''

''Nobody got hurt'' Sieglinde answer was beyond firm, her tone was trampling any chances at retorts, she put emphasis on her sentence by stepping forward, uncurling an index in front of her lips. ''Nobody will be in any future duels''

''Us all grew complacent.'' Teruko spoke afterward. ''Gathering mine students ingredients instilled a sense of security, even ours training had us underestimate Elenor.'' The mention of her name had the blonde tighten her mouth, she was keeping a rigid -almost ashamed- stare on the ground. ''Tis mine own judgemental failure above all, channeling so much necromancy without catalyst induce an inevitable degeneracy of minds, doubly so with ours... little secret weapon. Vilma eagerness to please us all had her overestimate herself.''

''She put some serious fear in people, that's about it. What matters is how to handle this inconclusive end.'' Sieglinde ended, nodding at the professor.

Perhaps... you were afraid for nothing, or maybe these monsters are taking this far too casually. for Vilma to have become such a menace to bystanders is hard to stomach, none of the girls seem to share this hesitation of yours.

Sieglinde said that nobody got hurt, perhaps that was it for Mamonos. The worst didn't happen, those hosting this fight took proper precautions, the girls who battled each other fought hard enough to become a menace they needed protection from and that was admirable.

Never mind those ghosts whispering Vilma's violent wishes for all of them to wither, being consumed by maddened deads full of envy. There was no hiding that, even if Sieglinde intended to shield her new retainer...

Monsters fight often. Perhaps you're suffering a bit of culture shock. You ought to make up your mind about Vilma.

>Forgive her for attempting to murder so many people. It was... a mistake, one that's hard to swallow but, as Teruko said, she's feeling enough agonizing remorse to make sure something like that never happens again. Overcast is also another penance, her body paid for this spell. Painfully so.

>Becoming a menace for so many people isn't something you can bring yourself to forgive. Try as you might, Vilma... she's not someone you can trust as much anymore. (This will have Arawn distance himself from Vilma.)

Ending here for tonight. This is an important long ranging decision for our protagonist, so I'll wait for a good amount of votes before settling it.

Proper continuation is going to happen tomorrow.
I say we forgive her. Buddy stepped in to save her in both body and spirit for I don't think she could have psychologically withstood the fact she killed tons of innocents in a necromancy induced berserker rage. It'd be the ultimate failure and shame for her. She's fundamentally a good girl, just one you really ought not to bully if you know what's good for you.

Besides, we may have an atrocity or two in our currently unknown past. If we can't forgive a narrowly avoided one how can we expect the girls to forgive one that was actually carried out in some form or another?
>Becoming a menace for so many people isn't something you can bring yourself to forgive. Try as you might, Vilma... she's not someone you can trust as much anymore. (This will have Arawn distance himself from Vilma.)
>Forgive her for attempting to murder so many people. It was... a mistake, one that's hard to swallow but, as Teruko said, she's feeling enough agonizing remorse to make sure something like that never happens again. Overcast is also another penance, her body paid for this spell. Painfully so.
>Forgive her for attempting to murder so many people. It was... a mistake, one that's hard to swallow but, as Teruko said, she's feeling enough agonizing remorse to make sure something like that never happens again. Overcast is also another penance, her body paid for this spell. Painfully so.

We players have the advantage of knowing what exactly was going through Vilma's mind at the time, her casual disregard for the lives of bystanders so long as she won.
Not a lapse of knowing consequences or not properly thinking out who could get hurt, but an intentional decision to get them hurt or killed.

But since Arawn doesn't know that, Teruko's explanation of Vilma becoming overwhelmed by the corruptive influence of her necromancy will have to suffice.
You can actually act on what's written above to influence your vote. Her decision to disregard people live was influenced by necromancy, if I failed to show it during the duel then it's my incompetence showing through here.

Teruko statement is true, Vilma channeled so many dead people that it neutered her morality then she proceeded to add her grudges with theirs into one deadly mixture of negativity.
I'd actually say that Teruko hit the nail on the head in this regard. Vilma bit off more than she could chew because we underestimated both Elenor's summoning skills (and her own desperation due to fear of failing her "benefactor" amplifying them) and Vilma's own earnest desire to win because of how much she valued our efforts despite her misconception of us being so nice to her because of a bet on her victory (i.e. she doubted her greatest hope, that we truly just wanted to help her because we actually liked and valued her as a friend).

We're dealing with very broken people here. Both Elenor and Vilma will need a lot of effort to "fix" as it were. Effort I hope the cast is willing to expend.

It was pretty obvious to me. The more she pulled the more the danger of weaponized necromancy was made apparent. Her mentor warned against it for good reason. Sadly, we subconsciously pushed her into doing it.

It was against her conscious goals too. She dreams of a world where necromancy isn't viewed as blasphemous or evil. After literally manifesting the cry of the banshee like she did? Yeah, not helping matters on that front. She wouldn't have done that if she was in control of herself.
>>Forgive her for attempting to murder so many people. It was... a mistake, one that's hard to swallow but, as Teruko said, she's feeling enough agonizing remorse to make sure something like that never happens again. Overcast is also another penance, her body paid for this spell. Painfully so.
Vilma will be kicking herself about this for a good long while, to put it lightly.

I'm rather curious why Vilma didn't try to acquire a proper Necromancy catalyst. During the duel she even acknowledged that it would help! Maybe she'd have to make it from scratch, and thusly simply didn't have enough time to make it in time for the bout with Elenor?
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It'd be hasty to cut off the girl from your thoughts. She came close - so damn close - to commit something unforgivable. This group of yours became tightknit really quickly throughout your week of renewed existence, if you decided to stop supporting anybody wholeheartedly, it might completely shatter this precious dynamic after a few months of erosions.

Perhaps you're just trying to find an outlet for this anger, this damnable frustration at Vilma's defeat. Teruko words held truths: success in the forest made everyone complacent, underestimated Elenor skills and will... Yeah, you ought to avoid making a hasty decision, your feelings are bottling up dangerously.

''Elenor, what do you want to do now?''

The long silence had stretched awkwardly after you couldn't find any proper retort for the princess, Teruko obvious irritation was difficult to witness as she made her hostility obvious by directing her stare at the blond.

''I'm impressed, your highness.'' Elenor timidly raised her eyes and found the courage to force a smile under her idolized teacher silent accusations. ''You really care about her, all of you do....'' She tried to squeeze a look toward Vilma but Elina approach, heralding by increasingly bright golden hue, she stopped trying. ''...I would like to meet with general Zazawu. After that, I'll do what's fair. I won't dishonor my ancestors, they watched this fight... I won't insult them. Never.''

She'd want safety, a way to confirm a possible way out before truly committing with going against her family wishes.

''That so?'' Teruko said, confusion clearly shown on her features. ''Important events truly unfolded outside closed doors.''
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An echoing slam resonated from the west where a familiar pair of old demons casually strode side by side, Belphegor warped, animalistic hand stretched above her horned head and she waved for everyone. Elenor choked on her spit at this sight, erupting into a coughing fit.

Seeing Daiyu awakened a tiny twinkle of dread, this morning business with the rune, that geas and interrogation was a whole new slew of problems you'd have to deal with but, for now, she made no signs of further distrust and beamed at you peacefully when your eyes crossed.

''Then let's set out.'' Sieglinde announced, only greeting her mother approach with a dismissive nod, which had her and Belphegor tilt their head.

''Going somewhere?'' Asked the lord of demons.

''Yeah, putting an end to this drama. Don't worry, we'll do this right.'' It was rather strange to see Sieglinde so obviously pushing her mother away but, perhaps it was inevitable. The Demon Lord showing too much favoritism wouldn't look good, people might believe she strong-armed Elenor into this decision.

Though same could be said with Sieglinde... having only one of them is better than both.

''Mmh...'' Daiyu eyes briefly lingered toward Elenor who straightened under this casual inquisitiveness, she even attempted a military salute, going ''Your majesty!'' that extracted a casual chuckle out of the green haired lord.

''Would her majesty be kind enough to bear mine student weight as we make our way toward thine illustrious homestead?'' Teruko managed to force an honest smile and Daiyu head wings flapped in amusement.

''Sure, it'll be fun forcing you to watch over me and Belphegor enjoying a few drinks.'' That brought a pout on the pale lizardwoman face.

''I'll tag along.'' Elina had managed to squeeze out of the room during this nonchalant discussion between the older women and firmly planted her feet beside Sieglinde. Something violent was nestling inside her, her body language translated evident rage as she kept her hands balled into fists and she'd often glare at nothing, radiating enough transparent fury that it easily intimidated Elenor into total obedience, likely happy to not become a target of this ire.

>Accompany Elina, Sieglinde and Elenor to meet with Zazawu. It's time to bring an end with this damn feud between your lich friend and the demoness.

>Go back home with the other girls, it'd be nice to rest... (Sloth)

>Free choice
>Accompany Elina, Sieglinde and Elenor to meet with Zazawu. It's time to bring an end with this damn feud between your lich friend and the demoness.
We'll rest when there are no more loose ends that we know of.
>Accompany Elina, Sieglinde and Elenor to meet with Zazawu. It's time to bring an end with this damn feud between your lich friend and the demoness.
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It was at a deliberately slow pace that your group exited and headed outside, both demons gave an abridged version of her story and reasoning for Elina who didn't seem to register much of anything, the angel responded with absent-minded nods but, thankfully, she didn't throw murderous glares at Elenor.

Emerging out of the eastern subterranean complex revealed the protective bubble cast on the arena had been completely dispelled, leaving no trace of dangers or disturbances. Most guards had also moved onto better things. A sprinkle of their numbers remained alongside curious onlookers as general Zazawu massive frame was seen on the other side of the arena, having successfully extricated himself out of that hole and now enjoyed a seat with Melvina sitting on his shoulder.

''Damnation there you are!'' Sieglinde didn't even have time to open her mouth that a shrill voice likely gathered everyone attention. ''Why'd you lie and sent your burly friends after me? You weren't wounded and you clearly didn't need rest.''

Sitting on the row of seats directly above the opening of this exit and now holding onto the protective railing with both hands, you recognized this woman as the short-haired demoness you spotted a few time here and there. A closer look revealed a kind of beauty only possessed by demonic agelessness or, at least, a good replica as her trait wounds up into a tasteful wizened adulthood that, unfortunately, was spoiled by a constant frown. A few steps behind her were the burly frames of the minotaur twins looking nonplussed, but happy enough to see their friend again to attempt a quiet wave.

''Dearest Mother.'' Elenor tone came out awkward and broken and she cleared her throat out of a clear need to water.

''Business with princess Sieglinde?'' Continued the woman, finding a spot between arrogance and decorum that still managed to come out disrespectful. ''Please, it's about time to officialize your victory. Whatever it is you need to do can wait until later, perhaps this evening? Come up here and let's be done with this place.''
''Supreme Zazawu summoned your daughter.'' Sieglinde responded with calculated neutrality. ''We have decided to accompany this combatant as a witness to his offer unless he insists on something personal of course.''

''You speak as if he suddenly decided to insert himself into Supreme politics, why would her majesty daughter be needed? I'm sure he can wait for a few hours-''

''Plug that broom up your ass some more and get the fuck out of here, shrew, we've got better things to do than wasting time listening to you. We're going to meet a big guy, tag along or go poison other people lives.''

A sudden snort from one of the bull-woman shattered what would have been a stunned silence, contrary to expectations the noblewoman wasn't staring in dumb open-mouthed astonishment. Her blue-eyed narrowed dangerously and she glared in murderous intent at the angel below whose halo glowered brighter under this silent threat.

''Elina.'' Sieglinde was doing her best to avoid laughing. ''Another such comment and you'll wait in the tower.''

''Duly noted.'' The angel didn't remove her eyes from the standing demoness for a second. It was like watching a pair of lions, both far too proud to back down.

''You'll let this dishonor on your house stand, Elenor?'' The maiden almost spat, tearing her gaze away to accuse her daughter.

''We... have something much more important to do.'' That's when the woman understood something was amiss. ''Let's go meet him.'' And like that, Elenor mustered courage and pride to actually be the first to step away and finish walking upstairs, whereupon she waved at the massive rodent-like general.

Like that, in this awkward atmosphere, three more people followed, albeit at a distance significant enough to treat your band like leppers, allowing a few more moments to speak amongst yourselves.

>''Is that how you handle politics, Elina?'' (Disapprove of her comment)

>''Will Elina in trouble because of that?'' (Inquire, such an outright insult is... a bad thing right?)

>''Remind me not to piss you off.'' (Try to joke a little, lighten the mood. She cut out the fat with a butcher cleaver.)

>Free Choice
>Free Choice
>"Is there a way she can be a problem?"
Let's give Elina some more time to cool off.
>Free Choice “Can the Lady become a problem, now that things are getting personal?”
I’m disappointed that Elaina didn’t have more emotional discipline beaten into her. But Arawn probably wouldn’t disagree with Elina’s outburst, even if he’d be annoyed at her bringing more unnecessary strife that will keep him from lazing about.
You insult your opponent AFTER there’s nothing they can do to fuck up your plans, Elina, not when you’re about to apply your master stroke.
Might take me a little longer to post, I've got a write a fair bit. Considers the voting closed.
After checking the first thread, I'm wondering if Angels are naturally emotional since their emotions affect their very physiology.

Also I had somehow forgotten just how large your introduction was Insert, holy crap. It's impressive really.
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''Is there a way she can be a problem?'' You whispered, disliking the idea of being overheard.

''Who, Elina?'' Sieglinde asked, briefly stopping her stride to look at you over her shoulder.

''No, that woman. What's her name anyway?''

''Eveline...'' Elenor answered, tightening her jaw as Zazawu frame inevitably came closer and closer.

''I hope so.'' Sieglinde smirked. ''Her honor was stained, she's perfectly in her right to demand a duel out of Elina but that doesn't give her any right to impose herself in Zazawu business. He's a gentle giant... unless you prod the wrong thing.''

''It's also an opportunity to bury a hatchet.'' The angel words were low, smooth and controlled. She finally graced Elenor with a gaze, her emotions were calculated, firmly bottled up to prevent undue hostility. ''If you do as you say then... I'll be willing to forgive.''

''I...thank you, mam.'' Elenor tightened her hands into fists. ''I've wanted to spar with you for a long while if... if after today you'll allow it...''

''Give me a few days to cool off, it's all on you from here on out.''

It felt like a small victory to arrive within shouting distance to Zazawu, his massive frame and honest face welcomed every arrival with four open arms and an open-mouthed grin while his silent friend slides off his back without remark, stepping away from his flank after a second of disappearance.

Already here? Well now, I might owe you a little favor in return my good lad. Still doing well, Sieglinde? Real happy about your invitation today'' Zazawu managed to refrain himself from patting your and Sieglinde heads, his hands alone almost rivaled the size of your upper body. His gaze quickly shifted behind you in silent interrogation as he spotted Eveline, she forced the pair of twins to stand a fair distance away but the girls were already inching closer.

''Thank you, general.'' Sieglinde answered, forced at an awkward upward angle, so tall was the man. ''You could say we're all curious about your offer, if of course, it isn't personal.''

''Yes, I happen to be Eveline Jucunda.'' The demoness wedged himself in the conversation, earning a set of raised eyebrows from the massive commander. ''Elenor is my daughter, it is important that I stand as a witness though such needs don't extend to...''

''Ayyy is fine, fine!'' His rumbling voice added came out even stronger as he carelessly waved these concerns away with one of his massive hands. ''Aint no need for secrets, more's merrier here. Only want to ask a little something of ya lass.'' A fatherly twinkle shone in his big yellow eyes as he directed his attention at Elenor who had moved a muscle, to the point of having you wonder if she had forgotten how to breathe.
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''Ya see this fight of yours impressed me and my numbers have dwindled of late since of few of my daughters had to recently go take care of their families. Since that girl, Vilma, is Sieglinde retainer I've been wanting to ask ye if you'd like to join the Red Guard.'' Elenor held her long shirt tight enough to whiten her knuckles and this produced a strangely peaceful expression to settle on Melvina face who's been silently lurking nearby.

''My! She caught your eyes, mysir?'' Eveline clapped her hands together in greedy glee, showing a practiced smile of polite happiness as the large rodent-like face of Zazawu turned to her in displeased confusion. ''Elenor would be delighted! Though she still has about a year of study left to do I'm sure she-''

''Let her speak.'' Zazawu interruption was spoken in a very unique sound, a sudden low hiss that flowed out of him like a mountainous wind hinting at further dangers.

''Of...yes.'' Eveline cleared her throat, flawlessly shouldering the behemoth displeasure without weakness. She turned at her adoptive daughter wit ha beaming grin, full of pride, all but glowering in victory... an expression that reminded you of Elenor entrance in the arena.

''I-I...'' Closing her eyes and taking a large breath, Elenor steeled herself. ''I'd be honored, your grace.'' This brought an awkward expression on the large man face whose protective mandibles twitched up and down in clear embarrassment. ''I don't exactly know what it entails but...if my skills could be of use...''

''You won't have to change your life right now, you're still a student.'' Melvina answered, idly gesturing for her massive boss. ''In exchange for your skills and a pledge to join the Red Guard, we'll be helping you out with any of your problems, be they financial or personal. All you'll need to do is come forward and talk with Zazawu, myself or any other lieutenants and we'll discuss things as adults. As for your duties, we can speak about that later: what's important for you is to continue your studies and training. We can give you some pointers for that, too. Were casual people, nobody can read minds so you'll need to help yourself before we can do anything.''
The lady-snake winked and her forked tongue stuck out in tandem with the large snake wrapped around her neck.

It sounded like an excellent deal. Zazawu was interested in recruiting Vilma, if she hadn't become Sieglinde retainer, would you have tried to have her come under this general protection? It's... a likely thought isn't it?

''I...Words fails-''
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''Oh no they don't my dear, this is an excellent opportunity. Your future is bright.'' Both soldiers exchanged an exasperated glance as they observed the demoness, clearly used with this kind of posturing. ''Why, with today's victory you'll be under this academy most talented teacher! Coming days aren't going to be easy and I'm sure you could use well-earned rest but I'm sure...'' Eveline continued this droning for a few more sentences until noticing nobody was actually listening to her.

Now was the moment of truth. Tensions spread between you and the girls, Sieglinde bitting her lips firmly while staring at Elenor, then settled her gaze on you to find an ounce of strength and faith. Elina feet were heard on the stony ground as she took two steps, closing the distance with the blonde demoness whose wings twitched under the angel intense gaze. ''It's on you.'' She spoke firmly and Zazawu immediately understood something important was going on, his expression of relaxed satisfaction tightened into resolved curiosity while his second-in-command was staring right at you... perhaps because you were an elf?

''Yeah.'' Elenor nodded, trailing her eyes for Sieglinde then seeking yours before looking past you, where echoing clomps made the twins closeness impossible to hide anymore.

''I'm honored beyond words mysir Zazawu but I-''

''You're not thinking of refusing, darling?'' Eveline voice was a low, hissing warning and Elenor shook her head.

''No. Becoming a member of the Red Guard - making a name for myself - is exactly what I've always wanted to do. However...'' Elenor cleared her throat and her mother stepped closer.

''However nothing! Dear, stop this drama and thank mysir bottomless generosity.'' The demoness waved with her wings at the behemoth.

''Eveline, please.'' Her daughter firmly shook her head. ''I will not... walk forward while dishonoring my ancestors, my mother was watching me fight. I know it.''

''I -am- your mother!'' The blonde growled back, stomping her way toward Elenor who fearlessly stood her ground. She came close to slapping the girl right there but redirected her gesture to grab Elenor hand. ''You need to cool your head, I won't have you-''

One forward thunderous step was taken, a low whistle spread throughout the arena and a lucky glance at Melvina revealed her big hands covering her ears, so you decided to spare Elina some agony and put your palms beside her head, she tried to pry you off in surprised embarrassment but...

''LET HER SPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAK'' A voice of thunder echoed inside the underground arena, sending nearby people on the ground in fear as the stones around the massive four-armed monstrous male shook. it had taken all of your resolves to avoid bucking your knees, Sieglinde had swiftly grabbed Elenor shoulders to spare the demoness such a fate and Eveline somehow managed to stay on her feet through sheer force of will... and understood to obey this massive ancient man.
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''Please continue.'' His tone was back to its usual gentle projection of might and Sieglinde tapped Elenor back, all this while Elina forgot to close her mouth.

''I..Mysir.'' It was difficult for her to find a good cadence but she eventually mustered her courage. ''I do not want the erroneous belief that I've won this fight to spread. I... I hope my winning isn't why I am being scouted. I... I didn't win.'' She shook her win, keeping her stare far away from the giant who rubbed his maw thoughtfully. ''Vilma dominated me, all I could do was survive and that ending...'' She winced. ''...My mother watched me fight. I will not walk knowing I've disappointed her, she always told me to build foundations through honest means.''

''A good woman.'' Zazawu answered, a cute blush began to spread on the pretty blond face... Wait, did you really think that? Gods dammit, you could barely breathe the same air a few days ago! ''Surviving alone is worthy of praise. That necromantic lass was strong, really, really strong''

''I didn't win.'' Elenor firmly countered then bashfully looked at Elina. ''M-maybe I didn't lose either...'' She added and you almost laughed. Yeah, that was the pride you've come to know. ''...no I suppose I lost. Her spell was the end of me.''

''Yes, it IS the end of you.'' Eveline snarled shaking a fist in her daughter direction. ''Absolutely useless from beginning to end, I'm done with you.'' And like that -likely fleeing Zazawu scowl- the noblewoman concealed her flight at a brisk pace.

''Whoa, you lost?'' One of the twins invited herself, loud clomping behind you making you afraid about possible trampling.

''Always next time!'' The other bull-woman shouted. ''You gave one hell of a show, hanging on like that!''

Slivers of crystallines water glistening out of the ace summoners red eyes who immediately tried to conceal them by rubbing them away. ''Yeah...'' She breathed in. ''...I lost.''

Zazawu and Melvina observed in silent approval and you felt tensions leaving the girls. This entire mess was finally over with, sure there are bigger issues at hands but... at least Vilma will find some peace after waking up.

>Free Choice
(If you have any questions for Zazawu or Elenor, now's the time to ask)

The day isn't over but at least you've earned some rest. What will you do now that things have been resolved?

>Wait until Vilma wakes up. She'll need to see friendly faces. (Skip until evening)

>Make some research, nobody wants to do some training, you could use the distraction... (Specify)

>Just laze about. (Sloth)

>Free choice

Vilma arc is ending very soon indeed...
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Oh yeah, I forgot another character choice.

With how things have turned out, are you willing to forgive Elenor previous actions?

I'll take as many votes as I can get for this one, as it's not immediate.
Ask Elenor if, just like that, her ties to House Jucunda are severed.

>Laze about. Indulge in our Sloth.

Yes, we can forgive Elenor as she did the right thing and was under the control of a most domineering "mother" who saw her more as a political pawn than an actual daughter.

Also, why can't we just laze about in Vilma's room until she wakes up? One can be lazy almost anywhere, so why not there and kill two birds with one stone?
>Also, why can't we just laze about in Vilma's room until she wakes up? One can be lazy almost anywhere, so why not there and kill two birds with one stone?

That work too, brain is overheating a little after all that writing. I'll stick with answering ic questions like >>2706705 asked, so my coming updates are going to be on the short side. Scene shift will happen tomorrow.
Supporting >>2706705 and >>2706718, lazing about in a smart way is the best way to laze about.
Prideful though she may be, Elenor has a good heart beating in her chest.

We ought to find some time to train at some point. All this drama hasn't given us time to focus on our needs. Besides, we can't always be hovering around the girls.
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''It was rather casual, are your ties with House Jucunda severed, just like that?'' You waited a moment before speaking, enough for that choking tension to leave Elina and Sieglinde shoulders; both looked much more relaxed, the angel even had her natural smile and none of it soured as she observed Elenor containing her emotions.

''Been wondering that myself, you're still a student.'' Melvina echoed, looking up to her boss who harbored a thoughtfully grim expression.

''I've always been held on a tightrope because my mother benefited from the Jucunda, they were her benefactor.'' Elenor sniffed, stepping away from her bull friends who eyed you, then your companions, with confused wariness, one obvious question floating in their heads. Those two had wholesome hearts, after all, they could have easily dropped Elenor right there as she announced her loss.

''Ah, that...'' Sieglinde growled. ''Benefactor System as we call it is a way for major noble houses to have certain individuals come under their influences without considering them full members of their households. Minor houses have been quick to copy that practice.''

Ah, perhaps that's why Vilma became Mimiru legal benefactor? Did it work in a similar way? You preferred to keep that question to yourself, it'd be something to discuss in private.

''Normally, I'd be considered a full member because of my mother own station as a benefactor but she... the Jucunda have a few males, so they wanted someone of their blood, however, my mom loved another man.'' One of the twins big hands gently tapped her shoulder. ''So instead I was adopted entirely because of her majesty laws; my mother was weak by the time she gives birth to me and she made sure to make officials know of her current health... they forced the Jucunda to adopt me, since it's their role as benefactors to help their protégé.'' She cleared her throat, blinking in realization.

''That... huh, wasn't your question.'' She cleared her throat again and then, out of nowhere, Melvina snuck near the blonde and gave her a leathery gourd.

''Eveline is the Jucunda matriarch, her mother died two years ago.'' Elina answered after finally refreshing her throat and thanking the lady-snake. ''If I'm out, I'm out. No other questions, I'm healthy and capable, so that'll be that. Name stricken off the records for dishonoring my host, I'll grow infamous.''

She ended grimly, distracting herself with another gulp of water.

>Free choice (Anything else to ask?)
>Just laze about. (Sloth)

Arawn isn't Jesus, he's just forgiving all these hos left and right
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I think I'll end here tonight. I gotta pace myself since I intend to continue tomorrow.
Eh, so she's on her way to becoming a nicer, less murder and betrayal happy magic summoner Lu Bu. There are worse things that could have happened.

Speaking of which, if she's out of that house than she's now officially homeless. Does acceptance into the red guard include room and board as a benefit?
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Sorta, Zazawu will finance her needs. He literally saw his new recruit being thrown out in the streets, you can expect her to be in good hands.

Describing Elenor a murder, betrayal happy is perplexing though, she's arrogant and a bit prone to anger. She's no Lu Bu either
You're right about the murder part, but I do believe she *is* about to backstab House Jucunda pretty hardcore by spilling the beans to Sieg and the Demon Lord. Then again, if you're no longer a member of the house, is it really a betrayal?

Hope Zazawu springs for some security on where she crashes tonight. Eveline sounds like a ruthless Harkonnen-tier asshole. I fear she'll think nothing of scheduling an "accident" for Elenor to protect house secrets.
>Then again, if you're no longer a member of the house, is it really a betrayal?

Now you're thinking.

>Hope Zazawu springs for some security on where she crashes tonight.

Melvina might become a regular sight in the school for the near future. Recruitment isn't in the Red Guard isn't a halfway measure: Zazawu and his aide are immortal, they got all the time in the word to strengthen their army.

And well he is being recruited for the Suppression, Sieglinde will help out with all the details so you can focus on Vilma and, of course, yourself.
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The arena was quickly emptying itself now that Zazawu awesome display had managed to utterly shatter the previous tranquil atmosphere and as Elenor small life story led to silences (something she felt rather bashful about because her cheeks supported a constant blush) a feeling a lethargy spread right into your bones.

It was only two in the afternoon but you've had one hell of a packed day already. A morning spent interrogated by the Demon Lord was quite the adrenaline rush and then Vilma struggle, that fight in of itself brought excitement, rage, and sadness into an exhausting emotional maelstrom and then... you did whatever you could to salvage things or, at least, learn what was to happen.

Elenor change of heart was difficult to process, could you consider it luck? Rendering the duel invalid meant discarding those wager, Vilma could continue her studies unimpeded and of course, the demoness paid a dear price, shattering the status quo to actually steer events in your undead friend favor.

Considering this luck was insulting Elenor resolve. How could anyone know her valid desperation? Her wish for a fair fight? Your relationship has been hostile from the start, growing even worse through hints of subterfuge imposed by that shrew of a noblewoman...

A hatchet was buried this afternoon, that's what matters.

You found a polite excuse to exit the premise with Elina in tow, earning a set of well-wishes from the behemoth and his serpentine aid while Sieglinde decided to stay behind to ''handle logistics'' with Elenor sudden penniless situation; while interesting, you really wanted to be away from it all.

''I was wrong about her.'' Elina breathlessly whispered as you crossed the threshold of the arena and into the large empty stairs. ''Her love of fame isn't twisted... it's a valid thing.''

You couldn't find a proper retort so instead, you opted to silently stare at her and nod solemnly.

''I wish life was simple and I could easily hate people who deserve it.'' She grumbled.

''Eveline make a good focus.'' Your answer brought a satisfied chuckle out of the red-winged woman and she kept a constant, cruel smile on her face during the rest of your silent trip.
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''Lazing about'' was an odd concept for these constantly busy ladies yet you found out quickly that you weren't the only one suffering from a bout of hebetude, making for an absolutely wonderful afternoon of nothingness.

Vilma was resting on Sieglinde massive bed, her expression one of sweaty agony revealing a total lack restful sleep. She had passed out in literal mind melting agony, changed by the maids into a nice soft dark blue gown and put inside this loft until she'd awake on her own.

Teruko busied herself with helping Priscilla cooking, actually teaching the dutiful maid a few things about making sweets, her tail often swished sideway as she enjoyed the glass-wearing human uncomfortable gratitude. Daiyu was also here, likely hiding out of the public eye or simply trusting her daughter to handle things, passing time by reading a thick tome about runes she'd often complain about being thoroughly boring. Belphegor came and went out of her lab a few time, bringing small capsule of metals she'd bring to a maid-in-waiting who'd quickly take off toward the altar lower floors after acquiring this precious good, once done she silently plopped on the bed and waited in relaxation. Elina was the only one who couldn't relax, she announced that she'd be going to fly, she took off for the balcony before you worked enough nerve to try and interpose yourself.

And then there was you. Part of you wanted to make some research about elves or the Allied Kingdoms, however... claiming Sieglinde big, comfortable chair for yourself led into sleep sneaking up on you and you gladly let it all happen, allowing yourself a small indulgence amidst these women who, like you, were recovering from this emotional high.

There was... an almost palpable sense of security - of peace- lingering here, nobody needed to speak, only staying in each other silent companies was energizing in of itself.
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''Hey, hey big guy our gal is waking up.'' Belphegor gentle prodding (and poking of your face, talk about rude) brought you out of a satisfying dreamless sleep a few minutes before the Hour of Lullaby, the large open balcony revealed a dreamy sight of a crouching sun that had you rise to your feet and cracks awkward bones.

Elina and Sieglinde had returned during your nap, both standing near the groaning lich with Teruko beside them. Daiyu was still sitting near the table, sipping fuming tea, you quickly got up and jogged to reach your friends.

Vilma eyes opened slowly, soundlessly, little gaps and growl heralding consciousness that settled in without fanfare, her shiny amethysts eyes shone it's usual luster, albeit filled with a kind of tiredness that her long sleep hadn't fixed a bit. ''Ayuh?'' She croaked.

''Hey, still with us?'' Elina was the first to speak while Teruko soundlessly put a hand on the lich leg.

''Ah?'' Vilma was far too bemused to answer, her gaze trailed Sieglinde loft with familiar realization, then flowed toward you and everyone else, briefly changing into abject horror upon witnessing Belphegor and Daiyu silent acknowledgment.

A sudden flap of heavy fibers almost resonated throughout the room when Vilma turned around and hid under the many blankets of the demonic princess bed. ''Shoory!'' Her muffled slurry voice barely exiting this stuffy position. ''I'll leave tonight!'' This time, you heard her clearly and understood the distinctive edge of panicked agony possessing every fiber of her being, in fact, her covered curled frame was even trembling.

Teruko soundlessly clapped a palm over her mouth, expression stuck between feeling thoroughly charmed and genuinely heartbroken while Elina and Sieglinde were at a complete loss, each of them mentally asking themselves how to handle this without worsening Vilma shaky mental health.

>Try shooing people outside, perhaps Vilma would be more comfortable without everyone else here.

>Casually sit on the bed beside her and affirm that everything is fine. You've helped her as a group, you and the girls oughta talk to her as one too.

>Stay silent, see how the girls handle it.

>Free Choice
>Try shooing people outside, perhaps Vilma would be more comfortable without everyone else here.
>Casually sit on the bed beside her and affirm that everything is fine. You've helped her as a group, you and the girls oughta talk to her as one too.
Rolled 1 (1d2)

If we get a proper tiebreaker 10 minutes after my roll I'll go with it
>Casually sit on the bed beside her and affirm that everything is fine. You've helped her as a group, you and the girls oughta talk to her as one too.

Not sure what the right play here is but I'll go with my instincts.

>Casually sit on the bed beside her and affirm that everything is fine. You've helped her as a group, you and the girls oughta talk to her as one too

Wanna talk to her alone but it seems dickish to kick them all out
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A noticeable twitch spread throughout Vilma body when your weight gently sank the mattress near her position, your gaze travel toward everyone else, meeting with mixtures of distresses, fear, compassion, interest... and concern, everyone felt for the lich agony. ''You don't have to go anywhere, Vilma.'' You speak firmly, retraining your temptation to put a hand on her curled position but wisely decided to stay put. ''Nobody's mad, were all concerned about your health.''

''Indeed.'' Sieglinde echoed, shuffling air telling of her usual habit. ''I'm not so callous as to be throwing my new retainers away because of one lost duel.''

''I lost!'' Her desperate squeak interrupted Teruko attempt to speak. It was a mournful voice of broken agony, so very similar to her display of overwhelmed rage, twisted into a different context no less passionate. ''I'm a mess! I'm worthless, I can't do anything at all! I...I brought dishonor to the Jawahir household, I've insulted my teacher teachings and put a stain on her reputation...''

''Darling doll, how often did you hear mineself speaking of mine reputation as anything but a burden?'' Teruko wedged herself closer, interruption her student tirade then nodded at Sieglinde.

''Yeah.'' The redhead spoke, awkward face revealing her momentary loss of words. ''If you're afraid for my own reputation - don't.'' She put a strong emphasis there, interrupting Vilma squeaking protest. ''You've shown your might already, it... might not have had the effect you wanted, but you didn't do anything unforgivable.''


''We never asked victory.'' This time Elina imposed herself, adding a strong flap of wings as if to try announcing her presence. ''Only for you to fight and you did. Take a few breath Vilma, if we were mad... do you honestly think we'd have waited for you to wake? Even her majesty is here because she cares, we all do.''

''Her ma...'' Vilma weak tone slurred into muffled incomprehension and you detached your eyes from her pitiful frame to watch the Demon Lord and her goatly friend and ended up having to repress a laugh despite the sad atmosphere of Vilma sadness. Daiyu was looking at this scene with the kind of charmed enthrallment of a maiden in love, not simply enjoying or being proud of her daughter for caring, but so thoroughly enjoying it that it might as well look to be one of her life greatest pleasures.

''I...I can't... I tried to... you... I tried to kill people.'' Vilma somehow managed to curl up even more, the way her voice came out even fainter made you wonder if she was hugging her knees. ''I failed.'' She continued. ''Completely. Utterly. Failed. I... I don't, I can't..'' A tiny sob escaped her but, perhaps encouraged by her childish barrier of sheets, she managed to choke it down and mumble incomprehensible curses of self-loathing.
>Douse her with a cold bucket of reality. Tell her everything that happened after her fight, that she didn't kill anybody despite wanting to. This should take a while to explain, enough for her to calm down and connects dots.

>Remind her of her attitude, her own wish before the duel, what led to it. Yes, there was a few misconceptions there, but it wasn't a waste because of this result.

>Perhaps the girls have a better solution. Don't attempt anything, you're not the most skilled orator.

>Free Choice
>Douse her with a cold bucket of reality. Tell her everything that happened after her fight, that she didn't kill anybody despite wanting to. This should take a while to explain, enough for her to calm down and connects dots.
I'm not sure what to do but
>Hug the sad away
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''Vilma, Elenor has decided to relinquish today's result and insist on her own defeat.'' Vilma entire existence is brought to a complete standstill by your sentence, even her audible, struggling breathing stop. It is a stifling, choking silence that immediately brings worries but you forge on, speaking about everything that happened after the duel in greater details.

It was a perfect opportunity to inform everybody of these important events, Elenor actions are worthy of praises, enough to earn forgiveness. By the time you're done, the Hour of Lullaby is in full swing and nobody utter a word aside from Hao's sudden arrival who, sharp enough to read the mood, immediately dropped into a stalking stance and inched herself toward the bed in low, agonizingly slow steps that at least managed to stay silent.

...where the hell had she been?

''That's...'' Seems like your decision was right, Vilma emotions had found an iota of equilibrium. ''...That's...''

''How things stand.'' Sieglinde spoke firmly. ''You understand your mistake, we understand ours. You've no intention of harming two-hundred bystanders, right?'' The redhead asked cheekily.

''Of course not! I... I... I'm... I do have a grudge against most students here.'' Her voice dropped in strength, almost coming out as a squeak buried in sheets and her tiny frame slithered like a serpent under the bedsheets as she finally stretched her body. ''I don't like them, I don't... I'm angry at them all for their remarks, their jeers, staring a-and... for what happened in the market. Treating me like a damn leper.'' A loud sniff interrupted her. ''I wouldn't wish death on them, I wanted to change people minds...''

''You did that's for sure.'' Elina spoke with a guffaw. ''You'll have to work harder to do it properly, but you've shown that you're no easy doll to mishandle at their leisure.''

''Quite!'' Out of nowhere, Daiyu firm voice sounded much closer as she somehow snuck her way next to you while Hao was already crawling on the bed. Her interruption had Vilma stiffen so hard that you worried the poor girl would pull a muscle. ''Take a little refreshment from this glass my dear and why not come outside to enjoy this Hour of Lullaby?''

The tall green-haired matron was holding onto a transparent glass full of applejuice, the nearby girls rolled their eyes at this admittedly... old-fashioned treatment. Yet it successfully brought the lich out of her cavern of sheets, she rose like a serpent, slowly shedding off layers after layers to reveal a spotless skin of purple, clad into a tasteful gown.

''Haha!'' Hao pounced like a feline.

''Aguwa!? Hraaao!?'' Vilma protest ended in strangled gargle as the excited tomboy burying the much shorter necromancer face into her bosom.

''Good!'' Chirped the black lizard, leaving the Demon Lord with a fake pout as she held onto her gift in pretend frustration.
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>Agree with the Demon Lord. Going outside, being casual, showing Vilma that nothing will change despite today events is perhaps the best thing to do.

>Steal Daiyu drink and see if you can convince the girls to pile into one big hug. Ghosts can wait, why not spoil the lich for this evening?

>Free Choice


Ending early tonight. Vilma character arc will find its end in this thread, highly likely to be tomorrow so I want to be at full strength to write properly.

If you want to ask her some personal question, do it in a free choice. I'll answer it all ic before a scene shift.
>Steal Daiyu drink and see if you can convince the girls to pile into one big hug. Ghosts can wait, why not spoil the lich for this evening?
>Steal Daiyu drink and see if you can convince the girls to pile into one big hug. Ghosts can wait, why not spoil the lich for this evening?
Screw it, hugs for everyone!
>Agree with the Demon Lord. Going outside, being casual, showing Vilma that nothing will change despite today events is perhaps the best thing to do.
Can't we all just give her a big group hug and then go outside and enjoy the hour of lullaby? I mean, nothing says we can't do both things.

Though I'll say that if it's a binary I vote hug. Vilma needs one, she's always in need of one it seems. Poor girl needs hugs! She's the most hugable character right now. Hao gets this much to my enjoyment.
Hugging implied taking it easy in the loft. I can alter things to going outside, it won't be difficult.
Hehehe. Then let us lead her outside and then ambush her with hugs from all directions from all present characters!

This girl has known only negativity and horror for most of her entire existence. It's about time she got a universally positive experience. Give her a hug everyone!
''H-Hao you...'' Vilma finally managed to extract her face out of the maiden chest but further protest gargles into incomprehensive puffs as the cheery warrior squeezed the lich lower back and silenced her again.

That's when you leaned at the standing Demon Lord dreamily observing this display of friendly affection and somehow snuck the glass right out of her hands.

''I say!?'' She exclaimed, nearly grabbing your wrist but forced to stop when you downed that wonderful refreshment in one gulp. Daiyu rested ehr hands on her hips, squaring you with a bellicose glare.

''Pile on!'' You announced, handing her the glass casually and, in all her magnanimity, she picks it up in a slow dangerous mutter that perhaps implied bad things in your future.

''Hell yeah!'' Belphegor, having retraced Hao steps on the bed, launched herself on the scaly tribal back, earning a set of protesting squeaks and grunts. ''Aint no time for sads here!''

''Ah! Move, you oaf of an elf!'' Elina bluntly pushed you away, eyes sparkling in amusement and taking your intended space, plopping right beside Vilma who could only gurgle in agony. The span of those magnificent red wings run the entire length of Hao's and Belphegor back while her second one flopped on the ground.

''Oi, rude!'' You complained, but rather than succumbing to your urge to plop atop her, you instead reached for Sieglinde.

''Mweh?'' She squeaked and yielded to your insistence.

''Get in there!'' You managed to maneuver on your previous seat by smoothly pushing her down while getting up and under her yelps (almost smacking you in the face with that deadly leathery forked tail) you plopped her right on top of Elina, earning yet more grunts of agony.

Before you could move or even turn, a pair of hands firmly gripped your shoulders. ''Shall we?'' Daiyu whispered, warm breath tickling your ears while the pile of bodies wriggled like a living being.

She didn't leave you any time for wittiness. Maneuvering your body to avoid crushing Elina wing, she plopped you headfirst onto her daughter shoulder blade, filling your nose with a soft, sweet smell or alluring feminity as you had to force your face through those curled red curls, earning a sharp ''Eeeek!?' from the princess and a loud thwack followed, her mother somehow flawlessly stopping a tailwhip directed at your skull.

And like that concerts of protest, pleads, whines, grunts, and general misery melded into spirited noises of squabbles that left the only tow standing women -Teruko and Priscilla- into moved laugther.

''Let's...'' It was difficult to speak after a few minutes of all these pretty women touching almost everywhere but you somehow managed to squeeze a throaty moan of a dialogue. ''Let's go outside and enjoy what's left of Lullaby! Girls, come on!''

''Why, that'd be right fun!'' Teruko pounced on the idea, scaled tail swinging sideways. ''There's not much left you lot! come, come on now! Don't make me summons a few hands!''
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Her insistence won over the general confusions and laughter, bodies after bodies hefted themselves away, finally allowing Vilma some much-needed air and freshness. ''Hao, come one!'' The pale lizard clapped her hand together and her tribal charge stuck her tongue at her in defiance and reluctantly left a sweaty lich side.

''Theft of drinks and ideas mh?'' The Demon Lord glared at you mischievously, whisper almost coming unheard when her daughter loudly cleared her throat in the background, swooshing the spot of hair you've put your face into.

''Here, my dear.'' Daiyu actually sat on the bed, back facing the lich.

''Y-you majes...?''

''I'll support you.'' The tall green haired mother announced firmly. ''Don't pretend you are well enough to do so, Overcast is not so easy to endure.''


''Come on, we'll miss our fun.'' Daiyu interrupted Vilma's squeaky protest. Under everyone stares, the lich couldn't say anything, her limbs trembled weakly as she slowly moved to reach Daiyu, making it obvious that she was in no state to actually walk a long stretch of road, let alone descend 4 stories of stairs.

With urgent preparations mid almost within a minute, your group set out outside, full of happy casual chatters under a background of comfortable wind and quiet sobs emanating from Daiyu direction, her majesty opting to close your group march.


The hour of Lullaby was always a peaceful sight. This moment of time -right between evening and night- colored your world in orange scarlets of beautiful, invasive proportion. Stopping in the garden that had Vilma eat a part of your soul, the group congregated around a table where Priscilla led out beverages and dry snacks lifted off Sieglinde loft. Nobody outside a few guards was present and, slowly, a genuine smile came to rest on Vilma features.

''It was a good fight.'' Sieglinde spoke as the conversation drifted into this subject. ''Don't forget -what- motivated you to do it in the first place, you showed me some great things.''

''Y-yeah...'' Vilma timidly licked her lips, slowly but surely regaining energy. ''...I...I'm not sure what t-to...''

''Ourselves learned much today, darling.'' Teruko rubbed her stomach, clacking her fingers on the table. ''I've seen thine weakness for mineself. Do expect mineself change thine studies.''

''Haha...'' That brought an awkward wince on the weak little undead. ''...sorry I... I never channeled so much before so...''

''Hey, it's fine.'' Elina spoke after her friend voice trailed into silence. ''Mistakes happen, now we know and... you might want to speak with Elenor.''

And so the conversation continued in this peaceful, comfortable atmosphere where branches of trees swayed from ocean wind carried from the east...

>Peel off the group and try to find Buddy. It'd be... nice to see him in this atmosphere.

>Remain here and ask a few questions. (Specify. I can take multiples)

>Stay silents and simply bask in this peaceful evening.

>Free Choice.
>Peel off the group and try to find Buddy. It'd be... nice to see him in this atmosphere.
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Finding an opening wasn't difficult, it was willing yourself away from leaving these girls that became a trial as, minutes after minutes, your mind drifted toward a heartwarming reality. You have a place you belong in. Such a casual phrase yet it was something that lingered at the core of most of your fears.

''Don't get sentimental now.'' You muttered to yourself, venturing into the moving trees, rethreading a known path that led into a known spot; that picturesque little area between two oaks where Vilma snacked on your essence and you met this strange being.

''Hey, Buddy, you here?'' You asked, voice drifting into silent nature. ''Shouldn't have any interference now right? Spirits are sleeping.'' You decided to embrace Focus, filling your body with a familiar, addicting sensation of power. You were no summoner, of course, you couldn't conjure something dwelling inside of you... however, your practices with the girls did yield a certain trick.

Permission. Such a simple thing to allow Vilma and Teruko interaction with your magic and the lich subsequent soul consumption but showing such inoffensiveness wasn't so easily done. You allowed yourself to be guardless, imagining that creature of steel entering an open gate that led into the picnic table occupied by all of your precious friends.

...You felt a stir, not in your body, not even your mind yet a strange unexplainable impression almost ignited feelings of self-preservation. ''You're there, huh?'' You whispered, feeling a little smug about it. There wasn't any manifestation yet but perhaps you could communicate...

>''Thank for helping out Vilma.''

>''Can I do anything to help you out, Buddy? I owe you big time.''

>Free Choice.
Merge both choices. "Thank you for helping out Vilma. Is there anything I can do to help you out Buddy? I owe you one."
>''Can I do anything to help you out, Buddy? I owe you big time.''
''Thank for what you did earlier, running into Vilma spell like that...'' You shook your head, preferring to leave such possibilities into silence. It didn't happen and that's what matters.

Flowing wind was your only response, leaving you to wonder if, perhaps, Buddy has come and gone with the ephemeral presence of an exhale of air. Trying to leave yourself so open, peaceful and gentle was... difficult.

''Can I help you out, Buddy? I owe you big time.'' You asked, peering into a nearby oak, it's many branches loudly sawing with the vigorous wind. You felt this strange sensation again of... something beyond body and mind, impressions and ideas bubbled into warm emotions. Your instincts naturally rebelled, imposing an uncomfortable feeling of being watched into your senses.

Like a surge of inspiration, an image was piece into your mind slowly. It was something you saw mere minutes ago: the entire group of women sitting together, enjoying each other company, eating and drinking in casual peace. Their mingled voices came together in this chattering noises of happy chatters. Belphegor, Daiyu, Elina, Sieglinde, Hao, Teruko, Vilma even Priscilla peacefully together. This image... no, this memory felt vivid, igniting sparks of passions that almost roared into a roaring inferno.

''Buddy?'' You asked your invisible fellow. What... did he mean?

''Wanting to invite your friend?'' Behind you came soft footsteps trampling long blades of grasses and fallen leaves. Elina characteristic wing flaps followed her walking, stopping mere feets before you.

''Mh, something like that.'' His presence was gone, perhaps you had naturally raised your guard with Elina interference or the mysterious creature of steel had delivered his message and left satisfied.

''Can't reach him?'' She asked you, placed a hand above her ear to control her flailing golden hair.

''I think I did. Have I worried you?'' She smiles at your words, a peaceful, broad grin that brought souvenirs of your first day in this academy.
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''You aren't as subtle as you thought.'' She answered, relaxing her lips into neutral comfort. ''Been wanting a little chat alone...'' Restlessness come making her dodge your eyes.

''Oh?'' Your remark has her react with a wing flap, her halo brightens, hinting at bottled emotions hidden under this veil of awkwardness.

''I want to say sorry.'' Elina faces you after mustering her courage. Planting those blue-greenish eyes into you. ''When you came out of the Throne, I believed you were Gardy. No matter you said, I kept believing it, fooling myself into thinking you were the key to heal my mentor and... that you were a little bit like me.''

''Elina?'' She hadn't shown a hint of this at all, though... it is true she was a radiance of excited positiveness during your first day, she mellowed out rather quickly, in fact, she went into enough of an opposite direction to worry you.

''That's how I was treating you for a while Arawn.'' She scoffed, losing some composures, taking a backward step to observe the group hidden by trees. ''That's why I came here at all, even taking advantage of Sieglinde goodwill. What happened with Vilma today...'' Her gorgeous eyes narrow, flashes of anger come and go. ''...They're all good people. Sieglinde went and immediately tried to fix things, you got up and also salvaged the situation.''

''Come on Elina, you also care about our emotional little necromancer. You were there at the worst moments of her agony.'' A broad grin spread on your face, she was strangely beautiful in this sunlight, stiff, regretful yet resolute.

''Yeah...'' Her voice squeaked to silence and she took one tiny step closer. ''I wanted to clear some air I suppose. We talked yesterday too, I'll try to come forward with everyone else to, it's just...'' Elina hand came to rub the back of her neck and she closed an eye, a redness settled on her cheeks that was no trick of the crouching sun.

''I'm scared of reaching out. Dunno how Sieglinde is doing it.''

>''Perhaps you can tell me what you meant by being like you? How's that for a start at reaching out?''

>''There's something you want to do, isn't it?''

>Free Choice
"There's something you'd like to do, isn't there?"
>''There's something you want to do, isn't it?''
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''There's something you'd like to do, right?'' You asked her straight on and her gaze drifts for the nearby oaken vegetations, one hand on her hip while the other lazily swayed down her flank and those wings open up fully, spreading into a gorgeous horizon of feathery hypnotic redness.

''Yeah.'' Her words are firms. ''I do.'' Now she looks are you square in the eyes and speak.

''I'm going to stop being Teruko student.'' It's difficult to grimace but you managed to do it. Elina resolution is beyond reproach, she speaks with clear, courageous eyes. ''And I'm going to return to Zipangu.'' Now that cause your heart to leap and it takes all of your pride to swallow your panic, you content yourself with crossing your arms on your chest.

''Elina...'' You've got to voice disapproval there. How will Vilma handle it?

''Sorry...'' There is a guilty smile and her angelic face as she looked away bashfully. ''Wanted to see how you'd react. It kinda... warmed my heart.''

You can only stay bemused.

''I want to return to Zipangu so I can tell them all face-to-face I'm planning to make my stay here permanent.'' There's no hesitation in her voice, her composure remains solid, there is something inside her in this moment... a combination of emotions that make her breathtakingly beautiful. ''I'm not abandoning Hadraniel and while I'll stop trying to be a summoner, I'm sure I'll be able to find something else to do here.'' She continues, staying still and wonderfully stable. ''So... yeah, I know Sieglinde is preparing something important so maybe I could squeeze a day or two to return over there and say farewell.''
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Elina clears her throat as morsels of poises peel off to reveal magnificent layers of bashfulness. ''I'll tell everyone... tomorrow.'' Her voice ends in a gurgle but, shaking her head, the angel takes a tiny forward step. ''D'you think you could come?'' She quickly moistens dry lips with her tongue. ''I dunno when it'll be but, hey, it's something right?''

You... certainly do have business in Zipangu. Such a trip isn't exactly convenient. You have your training, your memories, this strange business with the rune of Passage and this geas that happened this morning.

It'll be possible to plan this outing alongside Sieglinde Suppression preparations and... you wouldn't have to commit to a ritual right away.

''You don't have to answer right now.'' Elina takes a backward step, wings curling around her flanks as she pivots in place, actually lifting a foot to slide like a dancer. ''Thank for your time, let's go back alright?''

Something catches your eyes, for a moment you mistake swaying movements amongst nearby trees as a natural motion brought by the cool ocean winds but it's something else. A golden luster gently floats above Elina halo, a gorgeous aureate butterfly travel a lonely path, flapping long wings of glittering gilds. It disappears without causing sounds of imposing its presence, somehow... poofing without trace into a piece of bark.

''Come on, girls are gonna fetch you soon!'' Elina stops her stride to wave at you, beckoning your presence...

Future days can wait.

>A Tale of Monsters 14 - End.

There's going to be plenty of free times in the next few days and, as I said at the end of the intro, things are going to be fairly open. Having you guys decide on what to do (training, investigating, talking, dating...) could be beneficial in making smooth progress, but there's no pressure.

Oh yeah, you guys achieved Best End with Vilma arc. Good job.
Thanks for running dude, glad to hear we got the best end.

Though we still have one last thing to try before we can have Elina give up completely on summoning. Like that one anon said, maybe she's already doing a version of it with her armor and weapon and doesn't even realize it.

And does that golden butterfly mean what I think it means?
What do you think it means, anon?
>I forgot to /qst/ and missed a session
>The session was absolutely heartwarming and wholesome
All is right.

Okay, a trip to Zipangu could go hand-in-hand with training. Correct me if I'm wrong, bu Souls are a big thing there, no? We could pick up a lot of knowledge we could use to improve our Magics. Other than that I want to train up our physical fighting skills, namely learning how to kick properly.

Any timeframe for the next session?
That we've somehow gotten the attention, hopefully in a positive way, of a certain goddess.
Yeah, Zipangu can be considered the capital of soul manipulation.

>Any timeframe for the next session?

Thinking around Wednesday or Tuesday. I need to rest a little after this marathon and plan a bit.

Enough time has passed for your existence to become a known factor now.
>Dat spoiler
I am simultaneously terrified and intriqued.

We should hit the library at some point - we shouldn't ignore the 'Godling' thing too long.
Y'know, assuming we CAN find much about it here. Worth the shot I say.
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It's a good thing you weren't alone to get these hints in the throne.

I'll try to remember writing a summary of important info/things that happened so far and post it before archiving the thread. Could always help you guys, though living in fear of things to come... well, I won't stop you from doing anything.
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Here's a summary of important things and recent events, I might post it at the beginning of my next threads. Feel free to correct me on a few things I might have missed.

Recent Happenings.

The girls duel ended inconclusively, in cultural term this translate into all wagers being void.

Elenor has been recruited into the Red Guard, thereby gaining Zazawu influence. She has been disowned by her adoptive family, the Jucunda, as a result of wanting a fair end for this fight.

Elenor revealed an interesting development. She was tasked by her adoptive mother to make Vilma life miserable shortly after the lich arrival at the academy. It is suspicious timing because it coincides with Teruko troubles when the administration left her languishing for an entire month; the stretch of time Vilma suffered the worst. From there, things proceeded into the story you know with their feud, culminating with a second suspicious order. Eveline tasked Elenor to bring Vilma out of the academy walls.

What Daiyu and Sieglinde will do with this information remains to be seen.

Finally, Elina intends to make a brief sojourn in Zipangu when it'll be convenient.

Important information about your origin.

The Demonic Throne is a maelstrom of Corruption that erodes people of their individualities, making survival extremely unlikely for anybody with a soul as they'll be reduced to little more than starving spirits. How you survived is a mystery.

The Demon Lord isn't the only one who can interact with the Demonic Throne. People have been known to survive short exposures with it.

There's been a significant gap of twenty years in Daiyu reign where guarding the Throne wasn't a priority.

Daiyu acknowledged the possibility that you could have been dwelling inside that pillar before she came into power.

Elina spoke of students sharing a dream about a ''protector'' after she came to the academy two months ago.

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