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/qst/ - Quests

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Welcome back one and all into a new chapter of our adventure!

Previous Threads

Twitter for schedule updates

Perks and spells for our main character (Updated)

Characters met by Arawn. (Updated)


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.

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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Here's a summary of important things and recent events.

Recent Happenings.

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. Daiyu believes your geas to be gone because you haven't done anything suspicious after your strange episode of sleepwalking.

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 protection. She has been disowned by her adoptive family, the Jucunda, as a result of wanting a fair end for her duel.

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.

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

Your fateful encounter with Lady White resulted in a strange contract being established, something magical that is much more sorcery than genuine agreement. It built a connection -a bridge- inside of your soul. You don't know anything else.

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

Gardy, Embodiment of Protection, has been revealed as the person to have protected your soul from erosion inside the Demonic Throne. He has given you his body and, ultimately, was entirely responsible for your continued existence until you exited the Throne.
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Evening of Day 11.

Inside Sieglinde grand comfortable room, you were sitting in a daze, surrounded by friends and empty plates, doing your best to resist invasive feelings of fatigues brought by the evaporation of Everblues. The ritual of communion had taken a toll out of you, Gardy metamorphosis and subsequent anchoring inside your entire being had well and truly needed Elina and Vilma help, Belphegor stash and, surprisingly, Daiyu skillful manipulation of Corruption to create proper physical weight in Gardy soul. His body was naturally immune to Corruption infectious degeneracy, allowing for the Demon Lord confusing (but undoubtedly important) activity to be accomplished without worries.

''I might... need time to process what happened.'' There hadn't been many conversations once you fully informed the girls about your morning drama, Sieglinde sat beside you with your second flank occupied by a silent Elina. Teruko had opened a well-maintained tome from her personal collection (she had her entire library moved into a nearby room a few days ago) and was reading it alongside Belphegor and Vilma, you'd have likely joined them because she was researching the great elven hero of summoning, Darm, but you had to sagely sit and do nothing because of Daiyu admittedly intense scrutiny.

Thankfully she wasn't hostile, you've gotten sensitive to her mood after that episode with the geas.

''Embodiment of Protection...'' Said the Demon Lord, her gaze of green was so intense your skin erupted in goosebumps.

''You were right all along, you know?'' You leaned toward Elina and she blinked in surprise.

''Huh?'' She asked in genuine confusion, needing only a few more seconds to realize your implication; the original intent of her interaction with the Throne was to call forth Gardy. ''I...I don't think it's was all that important...Not anymore anyhow, with everything that happened.'' She snuck a glance at Sieglinde who seemed to grow very uncomfortable.

Elina little stunt was likely done without Daiyu knowledge. Good thing her ladyship was far too deep in thoughts to notice.

''Rather I'd like to know why you accepted a contract with a shady fox.'' This change of subject felt like a counter pinch in your guts, it took what remained of your pride and no small amount of stubbornness to avoid wincing.

''I...have no excuses.'' You thought plenty about how to wiggle out of this admittedly immense gaffe but you preferred simpler honesty that, hopefully, won't become a sore topic. Unlike what the golden butterfly told you, it didn't seem like Lady White was a particularly sensitive topic despite her apparent sins against Daiyu family. You decided to avoid breaching that topic, it'll be something to do once you gauge the Jawahir family a little better.
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''No need to brood about what happened, Arawn is a trusting man. She dangled a bait about his past while pretending to share a common history, I might probably do the same if I was stuck without memories.'' The fact Sieglinde so readily leaped at your defense was heartening but it -did- tug at your pride.

It gave you an uncomfortable impression that you were the messy little brother stuck in deep trouble in need of his older sister.

''Bloody letter likely had a trick...'' Growled the princess. Ama little show of correspondence was the first thing Sieglinde fetched after your group came back here, sending Daiyu and Teruko into reasonable anger, and while it proved an interesting piece of this puzzle nobody could sense or tell anything unusual about it.

Belphegor had insisted to have it examined with alchemy and that was the extent of that thing, neither Daiyu nor Sieglinde remembered any kind of interaction with Lady White in their past; how she discovered the importance of Lisbeth name is a mystery.

''Hm, we'll find out in due time... or not all.'' Daiyu spoke gently, making her chair creak from her moving weight as she stood on her feet. ''Fixation on enigmas will have us walk in circles and get into conflicts out of frustration, I'd rather concentrate on an actual important topic.'' With hands on her hips and a friendly glare sent your way, you immediately understood her meaning. ''Arawn loyalty is unquestionable; it doesn't discount his potential danger.''

''Break this oath and I will chase you to the world end.'' Those had been the words of the Demon Lord when you swore loyalty upon Sieglinde head, out of everyone she was by far the most proactive person in keeping people safe... yet she was willing to take a chance with you.

That didn't mean she was going to be gentle.

''I cannot guess how events will unfold once I lose consciousness.'' You straightened your back, this discussion felt like breaching a little taboo: it was a thought shared by everyone (besides Hao) and none had been willing to step into it. '' The last thing I want is harming anybody in their sleep, I'll leave myself to whatever preemptive measures you think suits me best.'' Your trailed your eyes toward everyone. ''None should be afraid of speaking.''

Gardy was gone, his presence retreating into an unknown depth of your shared mind as he, too, needed rest because of the ritual.

''I got an idea what's being implied here.'' Sieglinde words an unusual slur as she spoke quicker than usual. ''I'm not about to put a friend under house arrest under my own roof, mom! He's one with the Embodiment of Protection, that ought to be more than enough security!''

''Enough insurance to continue sleeping with him?'' Sieglinde reaction was a noise like choking on a piece of bread and Belphegor loudly guffawed, soon imitated by Hao who seemingly caught the goat hilarity.
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''That one was easy mom, far too easy! You know that's not happening!'' Redness had fully blossomed on Sieglinde cheeks as she stomped a foot in her taller kin direction.

''You're still sharing the same bed.'' Continued the Demon Lord, oozing satisfied smugness. ''Not that I'm imposing.'' A chuckle snuck past her mask as Sieglinde was fully immersed into pouting mode, arms crossed on her belly, upturned chin and flicking tail... even Elina had trouble swallowing her laughs. ''I'm thinking our man can make such a decision, he understands his situation better than anybody else.'' Her change of topic was swift indeed, her attention was back on you, head and hip wings flapping in synch.

''I got a few outside locks we can bring down to secure ya inside a room, yer gonna have to pound that door for a maid to unlock ya if your guts start twisting in the night tho.'' Belphegor spoke from the second table.

''You don't need to force yourself like that.'' Sieglinde added, her humor already softening into genuine gentleness. Elina golden presence was silent on the chair beside you, green-blue eyes resolutely staring at you, she wasn't going to support any options.

>Lady White malediction doesn't need you to change your daily life in any way.

>Better safe than sorry, perhaps you should spend a few nights somewhere secure... Who knows how Ama will mess with you?

>Free choice
>Better safe than sorry, perhaps you should spend a few nights somewhere secure... Who knows how Ama will mess with you?
Better go with this option for now, at least until we have a better idea how great of a hold White has over our us.
>Better safe than sorry, perhaps you should spend a few nights somewhere secure... Who knows how Ama will mess with you?

I think we shold spend some nights isolated from the girls, just in case.

Ideally, this will only be temporary, until we figure out a waty to wrestle back control of our mind away from Lady White's grasp.
...Y'know, I wonder.

Do the equivalents of security cameras exist? If we could get something to record our activity at night, as uncomfortable an idea as that is, it'd help us find out if White can control our body without our knowledge.

It does exist. They're called "Maids".

Surveillance is part of their duty :3c
The closest thing would be getting a golem in your room to watch. No cameras.
Good enough, I say! Doesn't even have to be a very big golem either. Not that I know what the minimum size for a working golem is.
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Only golems available in the academy are the combat drones brought by Belphegor out of Zipangu. 2 meters tall, thick creatures of solid stone she has taken to name Bob and Bobby. Your room is a tight fit but it can accommodate one... Though it won't be comfortable for anybody involved.
Third option, mamono restraint .
All the excuse we need to learn how to make our own golems!

...Wait dangit, that's gonna need a trip to Zipangu isn't it?
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''I'd rather not gamble.'' Sieglinde cute pout worsened into a frown. ''Once I understand her ploy better, I'll make sure we can return to our routine.'' The princess emotions changed from anger to resolution and a long sigh escaped her as she turned away from her mother to you.

''There's no end to bend over and changes things so much because of that woman.'' It seems Sieglinde didn't like sudden alterations to her banal days. ''However, you won't be able to sleep easy with that doubt huh?'' You answered her question with a silent nod. ''Alright, you've got a room, we'll make sure you're no menace.''

''Okay, now that it's settled there's another subject to breach, it's also important.'' Daiyu tone increased in strength, she marked a pause to observe everyone, even marking a nod at dutiful Priscilla who had already spoken with a maid about a potential lock.

''We've been a little hush-hush about it but I'm sure all of you knows about the upcoming Suppression mission, yes?''

''Aye, tis only logical for we brought grim news indeed. Such a diseased patch of land...'' Teruko grimaced. ''Apology, do continue.''

Daiyu wasn't disturbed, quite the contrary Teruko comment brought a smile to her lips: was she liking the irony of being allowed to resume as the Demon Lord?

''Before I get into it, my second born Martha was away on assignment inside the elven forest to contact and create a liaison with the Overlord realm. It went successfully, though I can't say we know much about that particular individual, she's open enough to be willing in participating in our venture... but there's been a recent snag, one frustrating enough that she sent a messenger this morning requesting my help.''

Sieglinde previous emotional display was gone, replaced by a dutiful mask.

''It seems she was on assignment for that Overlord to repatriate more than a thousand escaped Mamono slaves... Ah, thank you dear.'' Daiyu stopped to nod at a maid (a cute canine girl who immediately blushed) and unfurled a long map brought by the maiden in frills.

''Here.'' She pointed on Kreszenz eastern edge near the chain of Everpeaks bordering Galehot. ''That's roughly where they are, it seems an unknown noble in Galehot is sympathetic to Mamonos and arranged for the girls escapes, only for them to be caught by the family who previously bought them... except they ran into the very queen of Kreszenz who was waiting with a host of five hundred soldiers, seemingly waiting for the girls.''

'Overlord asked my sister to go there swiftly because Martha had a few items to help with shapeshifting, not sure how that lady managed to find out about the slaves.'' Sieglinde added, glaring at the map.

''Not important.'' Daiyu coldly answered, eyeing the approaching small crowd. Even Hao had thrown away distraction to listen, Teruko gentle voice flawlessly translating everything.
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''Galehot is widely known in the Allied Kingdoms as the central trading place of monstrous because it is the only legal place to do so; they employ them in mines to keep their kingdom's economy afloat. Kreszenz, on the other hand, readily accept Mamonos as citizens as long as they labor for the crown or join the army for a stretch of time. It's a much better deal than it sounds.'' Daiyu was quick to point out as you opened your mouth in protest.

''Queen Valda Swanhil Wilhelmina is the only overt sympathetic crown in the entire kingdoms, if she had taken the slaves and absorbed them inside her domain, I'd consider that mission accomplished. Which is likely what they are trying to do right now, Martha letter explained that Valda and a lady duke of Galehot had been locked in talks for days... but that's not why she asked for my help.'' Daiyu cleared her throat, pointing deeper into the realm of Galehot. ''A detachment of the Inquisition, three hundred or so, are on their way to bring an end to this situation by likely ruling in favor of Galehot or bringing the entire lot with them and that'll be the end of it.''

''So that duchess is stalling?'' You asked, feeling a little whiplash. All that business with Lady White, Gardy, Vilma duel... now, this. The world never stops turning.

''Likely, Valda is known as an economic genius throughout the realms but that only attracted the ires of its immediate neighbors, I believe them petty enough to lose a thousand workers if it meant a figurative slap in Valda face.''

''Our job is to free those girls before those inquisitors arrive, they're about two or three days away so I'll set out with my mom tomorrow morning.'' Sieglinde announced and Daiyu nodded, leaning away from the map.

''Mamonos aren't in open war with humanity anymore, normally these situations are dealt with amongst the realms but this number... it's more than a thousand monsters.'' Daiyu shook her head, flapping her wings and directed a brief glance at you. ''I'm not letting this go. Would any of you darlings retainers of my girl like to accompany us?''

''Oh! Oh!'' Belphegor and Hao jumped in synch, the taller lizard easily dwarfing the goat.

''I need you to remain here and oversee the city, Belphy.'' Daiyu's remark earned a low growl from the goat but she obliged without complaint.

''Suppose tis mine role to stay now.'' Teruko shared the Supreme short one demeanor but tried to pass it as grace by rubbing her protruding stomach.

This is a whole lot to take in...

>Anything to ask? (Free)

>Insist on coming, you don't need to know more about this mess.

>You'd better remain here. As an elf, your very existence could... create many consequences.
>You'd better remain here. As an elf, your very existence could... create many consequences.
This mess is tangled enough that us showing up makes matters unnecessarily worse. If there's a way to mask our race/identity reliably aside from us wearing a mask or a face-covering helmet I might be swayed.
>Insist on coming, you don't need to know more about this mess.

I think we want to go~ Letting things happen out of screen deprives Arawn of experience and adventures. We can't always gain all of our powers by staying put and training.
>If there's a way to mask our race/identity reliably aside from us wearing a mask or a face-covering helmet I might be swayed.

There are a few tricks. Daiyu and Sieglinde have a few items that'd help mask your face, essentially a hood + amulet combo to completely obscure your face.

Belphegor also has a few helmets she's been tinkering with, all of them easily head covering.

Finally, there's some golden mask to put over your face, nobles suffering from leprosy use it so anyone seeing it will know to give you space.
This is the perfect chance to ask deeper questions about all of this so don't feel shy. Otherwise, I'd like to wait a little more for a tiebreaker since it'll be an important trip.
Insist on going. Ask about the inquisition and the Queen's economic and mamono policies.
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>Finally, there's some golden mask to put over your face, nobles suffering from leprosy use it so anyone seeing it will know to give you space.
Oh Insert, you've given us a perfect excuse to cosplay Darkest Dungeon's Leper in-quest.
Magically altering our face/body to really sell the leprosy aspect might be detectable, tough. Better have a full mask. We could have bandages covering our face under the mask, to prepare for the possibility of the mask getting knocked off.
That's the idea. Arawn is naturally broad and tall, too

Time to write up a few details.
>The image I hastily got from the internet was way too small

Oh yeah, supporting these questions. Depending on our cover story we should also ask how we should carry ourselves - what are the procedures of these talks, are there any social faux-pas we should know to avoid...
'What exactly is the Inquisition? How would they operate in this situation?'' It was a good thing everyone understood your situation because such obvious questions earned no looks of surprise or disbelief. Hao stood in similar confusion, eager to learn.

''In broad term, think of them as the elite of the church armed branch. An anti-demon force with the duty of rooting our heresy, thankfully they're authority has considerably lessened in recent years, they still wield considerable influence and are usually trusted to handle dilemmas concerning Mamonos in the realms.'' Sieglinde explained, waiting for Teruko translation. ''Problem is, there are several sects with wildly different views concerning Mamono treatment, worst amongst them being the Closed Fist; these guys are almost straight out of Eliaures by having something close to an extermination policy. If this the coming group...'' Sieglinde red eyes narrowed dangerously, big sharp fingers tapping on the table, questing for her mother's gaze. Daiyu nodded silently. ''...There'll be blood. Hope for a moderate sect, it'll be better to go in and out quickly overall.''

You had to swallow a rise of dread. You've run into danger once, yes, but it was against zombies and unknown horrors, not shedding the blood of men. ''Wouldn't the Inquisition accuse Kreszenz queen of heresy because of her disposition?''

''They tried.'' Daiyu answered, repressing a laugh. ''She invited several inquisitorial parties to inspect her Mamono districts and working camps, all the moderate voices were suitably convinced of the women piety. You see, Mamonos by and large worship their ancestors, that doesn't discount doing the same for Mother Earth and Father Sky; these set of beliefs have become almost entwined after two hundred years. Priests are always gladdened by an increasing flock, the great father teach vigilance without extremism.''

''I'd have told them to get fucked to boot.'' Added the Demon Lord, face turning into an aggressive grin. ''Priests likely need it.''

You had feared inquisitors could actually burn a queen alive, accusations of ''heresy'' weren't all-encompassing thankfully, but things could easily end up grim...

''How does this queen treat monsters? You seem to hold her in high regards.''

''Valda is a quiet one but she got guts.'' Daiyu grinned, marking a pause to observe the map. ''Her first step to rejuvenate her country failing economy was to outlaw usury, seize the assets of merchants employing it and made money lending directly controlled by her crown even if it meant stepping on her vassals. That provided enough funds to invest in long-term gains.''

You almost gaped in silence. ''How in the world did she dodge open rebellion? How about all the enemies she bankrupted?''

''I miiiight have given her a little nudge called paid-for mercenaries and competent guards...'' Daiyu wings flapped with her amusement.

''Deruella is really good.'' Added Sieglinde, who seemed to share a laugh with Hao.
''Ey, who do you think went out there giving -yeah giving- farms proper alchemical renewal machines?'' Belphegor clopped near the much taller demon lord, clawed hands on her hip and thin furred tail swinging sideways. ''Gave Kreszenz a tap we did.'' She turned to you, all smiles, giving the scaled women a few proud winks. Poor Teruko was working overtime translating quickly. ''Doesn't change the fact lady queen has steel for blood and did a whole lot better than anybody expected.''

''Getting off topic.'' Deruella coughed, almost managing to put her hand atop the lady goat head but Belphegor was quick enough to escape before getting touched. ''Valda treatment of Mamono wasn't part of any agreements, she treats monsters ethically, allowing them to gain proper citizenship -in her domain- after ten years of services as soldiers or workers of the crown. An offer that extends for all direct members of the Mamono family and, of course, the girls are paid for their work and earn time to remain at home.''

''What she's done is to optimize the time needed to work in relation with seasons while giving workers an actual salary alongside bonuses for putting in work or showing an impressive feat of arms. Sometime Mamonos get scouted for the Rangers of the Watch too.'' Sieglinde spoke from memory as if giving a lecture. ''Combine that with an encyclopedic knowledge of commodities, interest rate and general trading outside her realm, the merchant guild wasn't able to stop Kreszenz growth.''

''Getting off topic again.'' Daiyu cleared her throat.

''It was... educational. Sound like quite a woman.'' Mother and daughter liked her enough to throw this little avalanche of deeds almost without thought. ''It'd like to accompany you.'' You announced firmly, earning many grim stares. ''I'd have to put on a disguise, right?''

''That's for the best, I think it'd be beneficial for you to witness lands outside Throne Town.'' The princess smile was quiet, a happy shine in her eyes revealed that she was gladdened about your decision. ''You'd be acting as my retainer, perhaps someone I'd like around to give me advice. Not too far from the truth, yeah?'' Sieglinde tilted her head, imitating her aunt by giving you a wink.

Awkward, yet cute. Her Highness isn't skilled at looking relaxed but that's charming, too.
''We'll figure out a proper disguise in the morning. Go to bed early and all of our preparation will work out wonderfully.'' Daiyu added.

It was in this moment that Elina rose to her feet, glowing halo casting its gorgeous light. ''I've never visited the Allied Kingdoms, unlike Arawn I can't hide but I'd still like to come... if that's no major blunder.''

''Definitely.'' Daiyu and Sieglinde responded in synch, stunned them both. their tails curled almost similarly until the mother stepped away.

''Human always held a certain reverence for angels, having you stand with me and my mother would project a very strong impression; one that ought to stun and awe in ways that a Demon Lord cannot.'' Sieglinde brought her hand into her hair, giving it a small woosh. ''Words will get around, people will know that you hang out with demons on a political term... that's okay?''

''Totally. I'm not good with politicking, economic or all that country running stuff but I do not mind bluffing, nothing like giving a hand to a friend right?'' Elina winked and the demonic princess nodded with a grin.

''Thank, Elina.''

>There's more you'd like to know (Free)
>You should get ready to barricade yourself for tonight.

Got one more little update before closing tonight, I'll wait to answer more questions before getting to writing that.
I think we should ask something like "In case during this expedition, I happen to somehow bump into Lady White or one of her alies, how should I proceed? Do I attack, do I run to inform you? Any advice?"

Arawn might still be paranoid she will make new moves on him hile he's out there in the middle of action.
I'm getting a tad more tired than I believed. I'll wrap up tonight with one more post, further answers can wait for tomorrow. Got one more decision I need from you guys, so I'll get right on that.
Support. Maybe ask how we should act if we notice White trying to screw with us through mental fuckery during this outing.

I'd have liked to ask about the Overlord of the Elven forest but that's not too important for now - it can wait.
With the big discussion wrapping up, maids came and went busily, offering a few last treats before beds while night baths were being prepared, your own taking place inside its own big bathroom of course.

Being the only man can get lonely. One look on the bed revealed Vilma being so thoroughly concentrated on her summoning book that she might have completely missed this entire discussion.

''Oh! Oh!'' A shrill voice caught into the last second talks between demons, angel and yourself. Hao voice resonated throughout the room and her feet echoed when she burst into a sudden run, Teruko surprised yelp made for another startling noise. ''Come! I want to come too! Help! I have to, I need to!'' Hao excitement had her boldly reach for Daiyu and Sieglinde hand, the Demon Lord almost visibly melted into a surge of motherly love.

''Hao? Calm down.'' Elina had enough presence of mind to reign this excited tribal warrior, Hao dutifully obeyed and stood still but kept gripping the royal hands.

''Have to help! Please I... Hao can be good, Hao can stand and do nothing but have to see... People to help, yes?'' Teruko huffs and puffs in the background had her arrive near her maid but the professor remained silent, letting this girl who never asked anything out from anybody imposing herself for the very first time.

''This isn't going to a battle or a mission of bloodshed but a negotiation.'' Sieglinde tone was firm and Teruko, despite her breathing, continued to act as dutiful interpreter.

''Yes... I know. Heroic, still heroic! Knightly!'' Hao's face lit up in purposeful joy. ''Like Heroes, the thirteen... doing good deeds with no rewards, yes? Yes! Honor! Helping slaves is honorable, I... Hao wants to see, please? Promise to do duty, true duty!'' She punched her chest with surprising strength, making for a loud thud.

''If the worst happens...'' Elina added quietly. ''...Hao would be extremely helpful. She's a little excitable but she's no idiot.''

Sieglinde gaze silently trailed for Teruko who took in a large gulp of air and coughed.

''Mineself shall duly enforce the importance of thine task and make Hao understand whom companies she's to stand with for such tense negotiations. Bring her along, girl has learned about knights recently and adore concepts of honor.''

Hao's wide green eyes weren't projecting a supplicant look of doll-like puppy quest of consent, her stare was calm and confident and while her grip on Daiyu's and Sieglinde was betraying nervousness, her silent confident seriousness reminded you this seemingly childish girl survived on her own for three night inside an undead forest that wanted her dead and had ambitions of her own.

Hao would be extremely handy in case things turn sour, you've seen her fight.

>Support her coming, she might single-handedly allow all of you to relax too.

>Refuse, the language barrier is too much, if she were to witness abuses without anyone nearby, she might do something drastic.

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>"In case during this expedition, I happen to somehow bump into Lady White or one of her alies, how should I proceed? Do I attack, do I run to inform you? Any advice?"

This question doesn't need a long text to answer.

Any and all hints, influence, whiff or otherwise presence of Lady White is to be reported immediately even if you can't do anything about it.

If Daiyu and Sieglinde are indisposed, then stay with your friends; it'd be best not to entertain Lady White on duty, see if you could make a deal with her to influence you during ''off days'' if you get desperate because of her influence.

These are the advice of your friends.
>Support her coming, she might single-handedly allow all of you to relax too.

Hao will be good to have with us.

Plus it is a good experience for her!


It is good advice~
>Support her coming, she might single-handedly allow all of you to relax too.
Sure, why not. Hao is a powerhouse should fighting break out.

We should be able to talk some patience into her if she does try to do something rash - though I do hope she's not TOO taken by tales of heroes and honor.

Gotta hit the sack. Thanks for running Insert!
Thank for playing, we'll continue tomorrow.
Totally forgot to put that important tidbit.
Take Hao along. Make sure Teruko tells her not to cause a diplomatic incident. A thousand lives may be at stake here.
>Support her coming, she might single-handedly allow all of you to relax too.
So if I'm reading all this correctly Eliaures and the Closed Fist Inquisitorial sect are full "Suffer not the monstergirl to live", Daiyu's family are big fans of Kresznez and its queen in particular, said queen basically took down all the greedy merchants enslaving/exploiting her people through usury and went full benevolent capitalism, and Galehot and the nobles there love them some monstergirl slaves and ain't happy that over a thousand of them are on the cusp of attaining freedom.

That about right?
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All of that was brewing in the background and came to the surface without notice so Martha asked mommy for help.

Smart move on her part. I'm too tired to rework the lyrics to fit monstergirls instead of space aliens right now but that version of this song is what would be going through my head right now in regards to Eliaures and the Closed Fist.
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Eliaures was founded after a war against the monstrous Pharaoh while that sect predates the rise of monstergirls.

Old habits die hard and all that.
Morning of Day 12

Soft knockings on your wooden door awakened you inside a thoroughly dark room, instilling a sense of time as you groggily remembered that it was the sign of early morning. Loud metallic clicks and clacks revealed a maid hard at work removing the lock of this chamber turned cell.

Turning your lamp on revealed that your lonely room wasn't messier than usual, aside from bedsheets being in a sorry state because of incessant turnings. Fear of Lady White influence and stress about today sudden importance made sleep a genuine difficult quest.

''Hey buddy, anything happens?'' You murmured, preferring speaking out loud instead of doing so in your mind. It felt organic.

Gardy presence stirred, an uncomfortable cold spot behind your neck heralding his interaction. ''Nothing.''. His voice was moderate, likely minding the fact you just woke up. ''I was vigilant, Lady White didn't make herself known.''

Your sigh of relief combined with Priscilla getting through the lock and opening the door with much more grace than Elina unannounced slammings. ''Mysir is already up? Our liege request your presence, are you healthy?''

A little cold but at least she didn't make you jump.

''Fit as a fiddle, let's go.''


This morning wasn't a relaxed one. One look toward the balcony revealed a barely lit sky yet everyone was up and about, breakfast being prepared alongside maids tirelessly bringing in equipment (you did have enough presence of mind to bring your gauntlet) and clothes.

All the girls were still wearing casual dress, the kind thrown together messily after waking up as inventories were being examined with mind still slowed from recent awakening.

''A-Arawn?'' Vilma short stature made her a sneaky, she was the first to walk up at you.

''I'm good.'' You answered, giving in to a brotherly urge to pat her messy hair. ''Gotta get into it right away huh?''

''Yeah-yeah... Be-b...be careful.'' Her gaze reluctantly left your own to observe what you were looking at. Hao was hefting her massive forge axe...thing in a calculated empty spot of Sieglinde room (the maids had pushed a few tables out of the way) and it seemed she was going to wear brand new armor because pieces of metals -painted black- had been fetched from an armory you've yet to see. Teruko was sitting nearby, lazily eating a bowl of cereal, looking thoroughly displeased and grumpy because of all the noises.

''All's fine?'' Vilma's stance changed into a straighter one when Daiyu stapped close, causing the Demon Lord to give her head a pat. You're not the only one feeling protective.

''Yeah, now's the time to get ready.''

''Quite. Three hours to prepare and we'll be a few countries away, do think about your disguise.''

''Where's Belph?'' She made up her tiny presence with noises yet the goatly brunette was nowhere in sight.
''Fetching a few things.'' Daiyu looked at the exit. ''A few Flashers bombs in case we get ambushed, those things are inconspicuous so it'll be a little insurance. We'll be walking into diplomatic talks uninvited so I've got to strike a little balance of civility with Sieglinde.''

''How should I act? I know it's risky with my elven status, I'm a little out of my depth.'' You rubbed the back of your neck, a gentle weight in there revealed Gardy paying attention to everything.

''We can worry about that a little later, Sieglinde trust you, Elina and Hao and thusly will I do the same. You could try inspecting the slave camp once we get there if you don't like the idea of sitting around listening to diplomatic bickerings; your opinion is likely to hold some weight since you'll stand as a retainer of my daughter.''

''Right, half-planning, half improvisation?'' Daiyu nodded, pinching her chin, emotions changing into genuine amusements.

''Best laid plans rarely work themselves out, I figure it's better to keep a broader idea of our objective and adapt. It's why having friends working together is so important...'' She paused, head wings flapping. ''Let's get you clothed now.''

>Here is what type of equipment and disguise you feel to be worth it. You'll have to act the part so it's important to keep your clothing in ming.

Go in heavy armor without weapons (gauntlet aside, of course), all of your steps will be clicking around and you'll share Hao disposition as a bodyguard. Should be intimidating, you're a fairly tall and broad guy.

Don luxurious, noble clothing to appear as a man of high status - it's not exactly a lie.

Be a little more casual, equip medium armors without anything obvious. Nobody will be able to get an idea of who you are at a glance.

>Free Choice.

>Finally you have to choose between two important disguises to mask your identity.

One of Martha very first magical item is a special hooded cloak that will completely mask your face from the outside. You'll look spooky as hell, almost a walking ghost, but it can easily be considered foolproof. And it's comfortable.

Don a leper mask. You'll have to act the part; not much talking, grumpy, gruff and people are likely to be rude but it'll make for an effective disguise.
>Don luxurious, noble clothing to appear as a man of high status - it's not exactly a lie.

>One of Martha very first magical item is a special hooded cloak that will completely mask your face from the outside. You'll look spooky as hell, almost a walking ghost, but it can easily be considered foolproof. And it's comfortable.
Waited a little longer for another vote, I'll go with this one unless someone else posts within 10 minutes.
>Be a little more casual, equip medium armors without anything obvious. Nobody will be able to get an idea of who you are at a glance.
>Don a leper mask. You'll have to act the part; not much talking, grumpy, gruff and people are likely to be rude but it'll make for an effective disguise.

The hood, I feel, would be a bit too easy to make fall off our head. Mask sounds a bit more secure.
Rolled 2 (1d2)


Let's break the tie.
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Priscilla became your only companion as you left your friends company, Daiyu head maid was dutifully pushing a wheeled cart holding clothes and armor,s a mixture of hard leather and half-plates combined to create an old-fashioned adventuring uniform that'd combine well enough with the mask to project an aura of someone having dealt with their disease for a long time.

''Be quick now, I'll help you get into these.'' Priscilla spoke neutrally, tapping a protective wrist cover.

''You'll huh... stay here as I change?'' While you won't be stripped naked, having a woman observing you was still uncomfortable.

''Not my first time witnessing a gentleman body.'' A rare smile cracked the maid usual visage of indifference. ''A little muscles would truly help you mysir, you'll have a long day so I'll make sure your mask is placed properly.''

Your disguise consisted of a combination of half-plates for the torso, small steel shoulder pads, one banal gauntlet of steel to match your Magitek one, reinforced boots, kneepads and waist armor that doubled as a solid miscellaneous belt to hold onto various objects, one of them being various medicinal vials that were simple disinfecting creams with a strong odor in order to help your disguise credibility.

The mask itself was a gilded one without pretenses of luxury. Calling it a helmet would be fitting because it enshrined your entire head into a casket of gold, masking your face in a visage without defining trait with openings for eyes, nostril, and mouth. Two solid clamps on the side of your face kept this thin metal closed, your pointed ears were thankfully small enough to avoid being crushed uncomfortably.

''It's... tight.'' Your voice sounded differently, an illusion perhaps?

''Uniform make the man, you'll easily fool anybody mysir.'' Priscilla smile looked cruel now. ''It was surprisingly easy, there's absolutely no need for modifications.''
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Your return earned many comments about revenants and walking deads from Elina and Vilma. The angel was lucky enough to be clothed in an efficient uniform: halo and wings were more than enough to awe people of the Allied Kingdoms. Daiyu and Sieglinde had also ditched casual attire to wear no-nonsense clothing of solid leather and fur; presence alone will reveal their noble heritage.

Hao, on the other hand, was downright impressive. Garbed in a full on a mixture of plate and chainmail, only body joints enjoyed liberty of flexibility alongside an open faced square helmet that managed to give a demonic image because of her forward horns. Her jet black tail gave the impression of a moving shadow as it swung with her good mood, her massive axe finished this unreasonable display of might.

Bodyguard of the Demon Lord indeed.

By now enough time had passed for the entire group (maids aside) to have moved into the grand empty room of the Throne. Backpacks of supplies had been thrown on yours and Hao shoulders, Belphegor device was added to your waist and a feeling of dread gripped your heart as you were getting away from home for the second time, you had no clue what could be happening with Lady White now... but you insisted on coming. This land, the human realms, was undoubtedly tied to your past.

''Martha gave us a little stone that holds a memory of her current place.'' Sieglinde was pinching a small piece of shiny obsidian between her sharp fingers. ''Should be safe and quiet, mom can make the return portal so... we'll be back in one or two days.''

Belphegor, Teruko, and Vilma were to stay behind, each of them gave your group a hearty wave and... a portal erupted into the world, causing this eerie impression of breaking through reality glass.

>Writing the continuation, I'm posting this now to give you guys a little something to read and confirm your items.

Your Equipement
Leper Mask (disguise)
Medium Armor.
Magitek Gauntlet
Flasher (alchemical bomb doing what its name suggest)
Medicine (harmless disinfectant. Strong smell.)
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Portals were surreals and quick experiences. While closed doors masked their room, one could still gain some hints about the nature of their destination by smell or different temperature but portals were, literally, an exercise of walking in blind and being baffled by a total change in scenery.

Gone was the big room of marble and its tepid warmth of an enclosed area with many people, fresh air from the outside coupled with soft chanting birds revealed this foray to have emerged into nature.

The sun wasn't so low in this corner of the world, the portal had opened into a large grove without enough trees to completely conceal your group arrival, one look westward revealed a deserted paved road traveling alongside a flowing river, further away into the horizon was the high chain of Everpeaks.

''Told ya.'' A voice, unfamiliar, acclaimed your arrival. ''Mom's reliable, can't go doing everything yourself.''

Having stepped forward first alongside Hao in case of an ambush, a plain looking tall brunette faced you with a wide smirk, hazel eyes traveling behind you to settle on the pair of demons. Beside her a smaller girl of dirty boyish blond hair (about Vilma size) peered silently, cautious and a little bit afraid, yet undaunted.

''Martha?'' Sieglinde asked, rounding your flank. Daiyu turned around to take care of the portal; it made an awkward zipping sound and disappear. The noise was dwarfed by Hao loud metallic clanging as she slammed her gauntlet on her helmet by saluting the second princess.

''One and only, got interesting company huh?'' Her eyes trailed for you, Hao and Elina. ''False Leper, a warrior, an angel. Only asked for mom and here come the cavalry?''

''You've presented a hurried and delicate situation, having friends to explore new perspectives with this problem should be beneficial.'' Sieglinde had stepped closer to this foreign pair, Daiyu wasn't perturbed by having her daughter take leadership, she opted to keep a vigil for spies.

''Nothing like subtlety but hey, ain't blaming for nothing.'' The brunette waved, planting a farm tap on Sieglinde shoulder then pinching and the amulet of copper dangling from her neck. ''Me and the gal here got a measure of the old shapeshifting going on.''

''Yes, huh... hi, your ladyship.'' The little blond spoke swiftly yet managed to keep a straight, proud back.

''This'll be the Overlord in the flesh.''

''Martha!'' The girl made a muffled scream, clapping her hands on her mouth. ''Don't be so casual about this, damn it!'' This second sound flowed awkwardly through her flesh.

''I know you got the whole subterfuge thing going on but I ain't gonna be lying to my kin.'' Martha replied, trying to ruffle the small girl hair but she deftly dodged the hand. ''I'm wondering if it's a good idea to keep up the disguise now.''
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''Pardon?'' Replied the girl, this bickering was strangely heartening. ''After all the trouble Tui went to modify my body? You honestly think it's wise? Showing myself amongst mankind?''

''Demon Lord is here, Overlord standing beside her would send one hell of a message dontcha think?'' Martha snapped her fingers, pointing at her mother.

''That's...'' The little human girl dull blue eyes observed your silent trio, quickly concentrating on Daiyu imposing self as she approached, heralded by trampled undergrowths.

''Strong first impression matters. Words will spread no matter what happens, my aim is to save a thousand Mamonos; if this could be accomplished together, I'd love it. Mankind always forgets that Monsters have more than a single leader, if your aim is the same then we ought to cooperate.'' So said the Demon Lord and with a sharp sound of stomping, she turned for you, Elina and Hao, motioning an inviting beckon as your trio watched in silence.

''Come now, friends of my daughters and mine too! Speak your mind, no need to put up a barrier and keep up appearance... yet.''

''You really like being dramatic huh?'' Sieglinde commented, a grin threatening to sneak onto her face. ''It'll be fine for the Overlord to stand beside the Demon Lord and her family, though it could always be useful to have you as someone inconspicuous... it's true our objective is to save the slaves, not make a grand diplomatic entrance.''

''Hey, I'm not trying to impose. I don't know the state of the Allied Kingdom well enough so I'd rather not say something stupid.'' Elina spoke her mind, face flushed by all the attention.

''Be honest! Be bold!'' Hao opinion was delivered with a fearless grin and a thumb up.

This is rather fast but you might as well add your opinion.

>The Overlord should stand honestly beside the Demonlord. She'll likely be assisting all diplomatic talks directly, it'll make a strong message.

>This strange little blond seems to be the kind of leader that isn't afraid to rub dirt on herself. she went and put on this effective human disguise, it shouldn't be wasted. She could help you and Hao investigate things discreetly while the other girls have all the attention.

>Free Choice.

And another choice

Should you introduce yourself honestly to this apparently little leader?

>This strange little blond seems to be the kind of leader that isn't afraid to rub dirt on herself. she went and put on this effective human disguise, it shouldn't be wasted. She could help you and Hao investigate things discreetly while the other girls have all the attention.

>This strange little blond seems to be the kind of leader that isn't afraid to rub dirt on herself. she went and put on this effective human disguise, it shouldn't be wasted. She could help you and Hao investigate things discreetly while the other girls have all the attention.

I'm more comfortable introducing ourselves after we've gotten a better understanding of her character and when we don't have a brewing diplomatic incident to deal with.
We've got one agreement, I'll wait a little longer on the second one. Maybe 15 minutes.
Be honest on both options.
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''I think it'd be wiser to avoid intimidating our opposition too much.'' The shady look of that pleasant-looking girl wasn't giving an impression of someone leading a nation and that was likely her intention with this shapeshifting disguise. ''Kreszenz queen is there, the Demon Lord presence will create a big wave. If another leader is added... perhaps the duchess will overreact.''

''I don't know much about that woman, not even her family.'' The small woman spoke, keeping a straightened spine. ''Glory isn't my aim, making sure these girls end up safe is what I want. I don't think showing myself would be wise, bringing these Mamonos in my realm will mean traversing Galehot or Fiacre. I wouldn't do it unless they are properly escorted, those damn realms are treacherous so... keeping the queen authority strong is our better option.''

''If Valda can keep them, it'll be a win.'' Sieglinde commented and the shapeshifted Overlord nodded.

''Martha convinced me to avoid using a... stronger approach.'' The girl cleared her throat, looking up to Daiyu and Sieglinde. ''My original intention was to bring my best agents, sneak a few portal amulets, inform the slaves to prepare them for an escape and then... boom, into the forest we go.''

''You've no need to worry, I'll make them understand the freedoms of these girls is no questions.'' Daiyu words were delivered with deadly chillness and a terrifying smile.

''Alright, little lady will keep her disguise.'' Martha pinched her small amulet, trailing her hazel eyes on your group. ''Ditching mine, it'll probably make a better impression to have two Lilims overtly standing beside the Demon Lord. Not that I'll pretend to do any dealings.'' She winked at her older sister. ''I suck at politic, buddying with sis friends is better and I'm sick of this damn thing.''

With a yank, Martha broke the chain of her amulet and pocketed the stone, this broke the apparent equilibrium of her shapeshifting. Her skin, previously a fair peach slowly changed into blue like droplets of inks falling into clear water. Sounds of tearing clothes revealed the addition of new appendage bursting out of her back, specifically the area behind her waist causing the demoness to yelp in surprise as a pair of thick, massive wings ruined pants and shirt. ''Crap, forgot about that!'' Martha whined, holding onto her now ruined clothes, long hair of previous clear brown changing into thick dark blue, finally, horns protruded out of her temples to continue into a deadly skyward spiral.

''Aaah...'' Sieglinde sighed. Her little sister also sported a nice thin spaded tail like her mother and those eyes had you momentarily transfixed, mask thankfully concealing your expression. Bright golden pupils swimming in a sea of darkness - same as Deruella if you change red into gold. ''I've got some clothing, let's get you into something before you flash your ass. There's a man with us.''
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''Cmon sis you don't have to be so rude about this, I don't do this whole changing body thing often!'' Hao was openly giggling while Elina smiled awkwardly.

''They really are sisters...'' The lady Overlord murmured as Sieglinde roped Hao's help since she was one of the two backpack carriers, you shouldered most of the provisions. ''...Alright, I think that'll work. Sorry for this late introduction and that I'm not speaking with an honest face.'' The little blond put a palm above her throat, giving your group a light bow after the siblings disappeared behind a few trees.

''My name is Gwendolyn, Overlord of Monsters in these kingdoms.''

''Call me Elina, here to give a hand.'' The angel answered first, tapping her chest with a fist. Daiyu simply nodded, it was more than obvious she needed no words.

''I'm Arawn.'' Your voice came out gruff through that mask and the girl frowned. ''Arawn Loukanos.'' You decided to be honest and Gwendolyn loudly gasped.

''Louka...Arawn Loukanos?'' Her pale eyebrows shot upward and she began to rapidly lick her lips, catching her emotions, reigning them in then clearing her throat.

''I'm not here to make any waves.'' You continued, of course, someone ruling inside the elven forest would have heard of you. Her expression almost felt like a kind of genuinely personal recollection.

''I-I see I... I heard about you.'' Gwen brought a hand behind her neck and, apparently catching herself mid-gesture, promptly straightened her spine. ''An elf, the elven prince with the Demon Lord...'' She murmured, gaze drifting toward Daiyu.

''Arawn's a friend.'' Elina spoke with a little too much force in her voice. ''Mine and Sieglinde buddy, he's wearing a disguise now but honestly, our aim in this task is to provide any support we can.''
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''I suppose revealing the prince existence could be considered a... safety net to handle the worst-case scenario.'' Gwen blinked and shook her head, apparently thinking out loud. ''Ah, sorry. This mess has me kinda nervous, these Mamonos came out of nowhere so I didn't have any time to prepare.''

''It's fine.'' It was difficult to smile with this metal thing. ''Having another good head is a boon, let's help these girls.''

''Yeah.'' Gwen firmly nodded. ''Yeah, that's what I wanna do. Maybe I could be a part of your entourage... I know which sect is coming, it's the Closed Fist.'' She pointed at her single earing, a purely banal ring of dirty gold. ''I have a very reliable agent keeping track of their progress, guys out there ran into some kind of disagreement but they've unfortunately worked it all out so they should be here by tomorrow. I also believe I could pass myself as an assistant to mister Leper or lady knight, it should work as an adequate cover...''

''You'll need better clothing.'' Daiyu announced, stepping forward and suddenly putting her hand on top of the little leader head, causing her to grow so stiff the poor girl forgot to breathe. ''Come with me, we'll see what we can do with Sieglinde.''

''A...ah?'' Daiyu gentle shoving was akin to an irresistible force, her strength was one of an invasive, experimented mother and the short woman yielded before she could understand what was happening, leaving you and Elina together.

''You know...'' The angel said, turning to face you. ''This honestly wasn't how I pictured our first meeting with an Overlord of monsters.''

''Hell, nobody would ever believe us if we spoke about how comfortable it is to be around the Demon Lord of all people.'' You answered, chuckling. ''The Jawahir family impose their relaxed paces on everybody.''

''Think that duchess will swallow her tongue?'' Replied the angel, her tone changing into mindful moderation as Hao wild laughs echoed across the trees.

''If I can't see her reaction for myself, you'd better tell me. That's the kind of meeting people pay good money to see.''

>You have a few hours of walking before reaching your destination.

Would you like to speak to someone in particular?

>Ask Gwen about her country, explain it in broad terms? Ask something personal? (Free)

>Speak with Martha, have her look at your Magitek Gauntlet? Or perhaps something a little more personal?


We can also skip for the camp, you'll have a chance to strategize and affirm your role before committing.

We'll continue tomorrow.
>Speak with Martha about the Gauntlet
Better leave the personal stuff until after we've gotten the political stuff dealt with, I think.

>I know which sect is coming, it's the Closed Fist
...Well shit, things might very well get bloody. Good thing we brought Hao.
Sorry if my writing isn't up to its usual standard. I'm a tad out of the loop healthwise this weekend, hopefully, I'll get better tomorrow.
>Ask Gwen about her country, explain it in broad terms
>Ask her how Prince Arawn Loukanos came up in her country's history
>Ask Gwen about her country, explain it in broad terms? Ask something personal? (Free)

She seemed to be fairly shocked about Arawn, and she had said she heard about him. I don't immediately have much to ask her, BUT she did seem to have a lot of questions for us.

If it's anything we can answer, I say we do so and make some chit-chat with her so that she gets used to our presence.

As for Martha, if our Gauntlet is visible, we don't really need to walk up to her like "Yo, stranger, look at this cool thing I got".

We can just have it visible for now, and if it piques her curiosity, I am guessing she might ask us about it herself.

If not, we can always talk to her about Belph later.
So we are the Leper from Darkest Dungeon now? Cool. Secondly, of course it'd be the Closed Fist genocide faction coming to kill every monstergirl dead. Great. I bet bad fluffy made sure it was them somehow. Nightmares are but only one of many ways for her to "play" with us. Daiyu too. I mean we're merely her "favorite" toy, girl has to have more than just us.

As for who to talk to. We have questions for Gwen, and she has questions for us I'd bet. Offer a trade. She asks us a few questions, then we get to ask her a few. Get to know each other, shoot the shit. Maybe she'll tell us who this "Tui" she mentioned is if we can get her to warm up to us. Golden Butterfly told us to find someone whose name started with that. It can't be that easy but hey, hopes and dreams folks, hopes and dreams.
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How could your fluffed Overlord somehow influence inquisitorial inner politic and allow the bad sect to continue?
Like I've said before, poor souls doomed to further her ends because contracts. Them and the potential worst case scenario of her being a quasi-Demon King who can make quasi-Dark Lords. Of course she'd like to keep em' around. Girl apparently dislikes Daiyu and her dreams of peace, love, and brotherhood. Or is it sisterhood with her?

Anyway, whatever fucks with that plan and/or displeases Daiyu and us is good in the eyes of bad fluffy. Genocidal maniacs going around annihilating any monstergirl they come across are bad for Daiyu and, because of our love of monstergirls, bad for us. Thus, she makes sure they stay around and keep killing for her continued amusement and our continued suffering (which amuses her greatly).
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''Can't see nothing yet but we'll get there soon. Road follows the mountains, we'll walk around a hill then get into sight range of the camp.'' Martha explained as your group set out at a brisk pace, the general mood of your company was slowly changing into resolved seriousness despite the shenanigans of ten minutes ago.

''Last few moments to take it easy before needing to act arrogant and mean...'' Daiyu sighed, tail whipping the air. ''...Once this is over I'm thinking of baking an apology cake, you're already invited, doll.'' She directed her gaze at small Gwendolyn who blinked in surprised and was momentarily reduced to incoherent mumbles.

There weren't any clothes short enough for her and it seemed the Jawahir family had quite a bit of fun before breaking the new.

''Since we'll be too busy to chat soon, could I take a moment to impose myself a little bit, Gwendolyn?'' You'd have smiled if the mask wasn't so tight, the way she snapped at attention was surprisingly adorable because of her shortness. ''I'd like to know more about your country, how exactly did a sovereign nation came to be inside the elven forest? How are you handling the human kingdoms?''

''They don't know for sure about us, tens of thousands of Mamonos dwelling inside elv... your lands seems to remain a popular rumor throughout the realms, though monsters have long been known to escape in there and survive.'' These two words ''your lands'' made you feel immensely awkward. ''I'd be a fool to assume that ignorance extends to kings and inquisitors, they haven't made any obvious moves yet but we've had a few weird happening here and there... last month especially, a group of foreign marauders entered my lands despite the church laws. My folks took care of them before they began raiding and there hasn't been any ramification but I'd wager it was a probing act to prove our existence.''

''That's why you were entertaining the idea of actually showing yourself?'' Elina asked, earning a spirited nod from the little leader.

''Yeah, it'll have to happen eventually and I can't exactly plan it out since timing is important. I'd rather keep things quiet though, I... didn't expect the Demon Lord to come.'' She stared at Daiyu back, who wasn't acknowledging anything now. Both daughters walked beside her and Hao occupied a lonely spot some distance to your left because her axe took space.

''How exactly did a free country of Mamonos manages to survive out there?'' It was perhaps one of the most important questions that troubled your mind when you learned about monsters making their own little civilization inside your ancestral land.
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''Mixture of necessity, luck and being at the right place in the right time.'' Gwendolyn stare was an unwavering statue, she'd be genuinely charismatic if she wasn't wearing such a plain face. ''Five years ago, a civil war inside the Pharaoh realm came to a close, the rebels ended up losing and their lot, in all their tens of thousands, would have likely been put to the sword, enslaved or exiled.'' Gwendolyn grimaced, rubbing the back of her neck. ''It'll take a while to explain all the details but a friend of mine she's... strong. Very strong. She managed to spirit away these Mamonos into the elven forest and from there, things organically grew into a small isolated country since all the original dwellers were easily absorbed with this sudden influx of war veterans.''

''I'd be more accurate to call us a collection of city-states instead of a country.'' She finished, looking down awkwardly, perhaps dissatisfied with her own explanation.

''You knew about all of that?'' Sieglinde asked her younger sister, who shrugged in response.

''Gwen explained it better when we shared her favorite spicy food.'' A wry grin came to her face when the little human twitched. '' A whole lot of stuff happened when we were busy taming Throne Town again, sound plenty crazy that two people helped so many folks but think of it as the rebels helping themselves after getting a vital pat on the back.''

''Yeah.'' Gwen agreed, already recovered and nodded vigorously. ''That's a way better explanation.''

Interesting. Thousands of Mamonos rebelled in a far-off country and were somehow whisked away into the land of your people, somehow going right under the nose of nearby kingdoms?

Portals. Had to be.

''Say, Gwen you have any questions you want to ask?'' You decided to give her the initiative on this discussion and she seems taken aback, opening her mouth silently to observe your masked face.

''You're not a leper right?'' She asked and Elina openly scoffed.

''No, no I'm fine. Healthy, don't worry.'' Her question was delivered with such a serious face, it made her concern genuinely endearing.

''I don't... have much to ask.'' Gwendolyn's eyes observed the company and briefly settled on the road, an oncoming bifurcation will have you turn westward: you could already see a particularly tall hill.

''Just... how are you doing Arawn?'' The false blond asked, giving a surprisingly endearing smile. ''Yeah, that's all I wanna know before we get busy.''

What a heartening question. You've got your troubles to handle but life could be so much worse...

>Speak honestly and reveal your amnesia but also mentions your friends and time in Throne Town, Gwen seems interested in you personally, you should respect that and be open.

>Be vague. You're fine and resolved for this coming trial, that's what matters most.

>Be reassuring. We're not going to demand our lands back or try to wield our royalty around to bull our way into her confederation's internal affairs. Though access to the original royal palace and library would be welcome.
Speak honestly and reveal your amnesia but also mentions your friends and time in Throne Town, Gwen seems interested in you personally, you should respect that and be open.

...It's probably just me, but I'm getting "we knew Gwendolyn in the past" vibes from what little we've spoken with her.

Agreed on this. Mentioning our Amnesia and that we are working on recovering our memories also could be nice.

We could say that after this is all done and nothing too urgent is going on, we'd like to visit what is left of Luminaris to see if our memories become clearer.

Like, asking if it'd be okay to visit sometime.
Though, I have the feeeling she won't say no, asking if she's okay with it, or if she has any conditions/requests for it is better than just demanding full access to the palace.
Can't we do both? If we can, let's do both.
Yeah, it work.
Perhaps we could ask Gwen about the condition of the Elven lands later down the line? I rather doubt Luminaris remained pristine after going through an event that is referred to as a 'catastrophe'.
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''The Jawahir family has treated me excellently.'' Having to harbor a mask meant voice alone was to be your sole mean of showing gratitude. ''Hao also enjoyed similar hospitality, demons are fantastic hosts.'' Hearing her name made the mentioned girl snap at attention and extend a metal thumb up at you.

''Although there are a few things I need to resolve.'' Gwendolyn had anticipated the discussion to close and a few surprised glances from Elina and Sieglinde revealed they had deduced your intention.

''I've lost all memories of my past aside from my name, I've no proof of my lineage but I won't let that drag me down.'' The blue demonette let out a soft whistle after hearing this sentence. ''My time in Throne Town has become precious indeed, I couldn't ask for better friends. I was given time, allowed to make my own choices, discover and learn obvious things without being misled or mistreated.'' Someone amongst the three demons coughed and you smiled despite the mask tight fit. ''I don't have any intention of bullying my way into your internal affairs, Gwen; once time allow I'd love to witness the state of Luminaris and hopefully access the library.''

''I...see I...'' Gwendolyn mumbled, thoroughly overwhelmed by your gentle honestly. ''It'll... it could be difficult to walk into Luminaris but I'd love to help once-''

''Hold!'' Daiyu interrupted firmly, hefting a fist beside her and everyone immediately stopped. Your group was walking along the flank of the big hill now, your discussions with Gwendolyn had you far too absorbed to take notice of the world around you. There was a small forest not too far to your west where rows upon rows of pitched tents spread far enough to disappear into nearby Everpeaks.

Likely this was one of the two forces encampment.

Clopping echoes ahead revealed a pair of cavaliers making quick headways toward your group, both of them garbed in some kind of armored uniform that combined plates similar to yours with scales undershirts and a blue tabard with the emblem of a sword and shield proudly displayed on its center. Both were also armed with long spears - not quite lances- they made enough of an advance to stop at speaking distances. One of them bore a face-concealing helmet while the other was an older mustached gentleman you'd place in his forties.

'Whoso goes trodding inside the queen's domain? Travelers will need to wait until her royal majesty needs...'' The man stopped as realization dawned on him about the nature of your group.
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''So you're knights of Kreszenz hm? I don't quite remember your chapter.'' Daiyu idly answered and waved dismissively at the mounted man as he reopened his mouth. ''Don't play dumb. No simple Mamono would go casually walking into any sovereign lands of mankind, it just so happen that I'm your better and I stand amongst much more important people than you.'' She let out an exaggerated sigh. ''A thousand of my extended kins are being treated miserly, I'm going to rub my nose into this business without advance notice so run along and announce my coming, it should take 10 more minutes on foot right?''

They didn't need further motivations, both men tapped their steed and directed them toward your destination, taking off in a gallop.

''Asses on fire'' Martha commented. ''Lady White kidnap naughty kids who disobey their parents but the Demon Lord remains the terror of adults huh?'' She spoke the taboo name without a care in the world.

''Let's hope they don't answer with a cavalry charge.'' Her sister answered, glaring at the spot where the men disappeared after rounding the hill.

''Mh, now's the time to have a little discussion of our own.'' Daiyu faced the group, pinching her chin and flapping those adorable headwings. ''Elina shall accompany my daughters and myself and be introduced as our guest when people ask questions.''

''I won't be saying anything.'' Replied the angel, long red appendages having deployed fully in case of aggression.

''That's fine, looking haughty and dismissive goes in line with how human sees angels, most folks and knights are bound to have a few doubts instead of directly assuming were attempting regicide.''

''That leaves me and Hao, right?'' The tribal girl had grown serious too, she didn't make her usual happy chirp after hearing her name.

''Indeed.'' This time Sieglinde spoke. ''Were likely to be hosted by queen Valda but afterward... you could be free to walk at your leisure and investigate the camps or stay with us and witness what kind of excuses that duchess will try to pull now.''

''I'll look into the slaves, I think seeing how they are doing is going to matter.'' Gwendolyn firmly stated, she wasn't someone that could be ordered around.

>You need to commit your time to one activity.

>Accompany the royals and angels in their ''diplomatic'' talks with that duchess.

>Go with Gwendolyn and Hao into those slave camps (or anywhere else, really). You might be able to find something that'd help out, Mamonos slaves should be willing to open up with your group.

>Go with Gwendolyn and Hao into those slave camps (or anywhere else, really). You might be able to find something that'd help out, Mamonos slaves should be willing to open up with your group.
>Go with Gwendolyn and Hao into those slave camps (or anywhere else, really). You might be able to find something that'd help out, Mamonos slaves should be willing to open up with your group.

I am a bit paranoid of something bad happening while the duchess stalls.

If a surprise attack is launched on the enslaved Mamonos or on Gwen while everyone lse is distracted, we will happen to be there and not let the attackers get away with their plans!

Plus, we want to witness ourselves how they have been treated. If they have undergone torture or violence, Daiyu and the others will know immediately.

Whomever stays with the duchess and the demons, we ask them to tell us how things went afterwards.

Also, let's ask Hao what she wants to do. I think she'd enjoy better to come with us, but it's still up to her in the end.
Whatever purpose you guys decide on, I'll likely have to call it here today. Got a fair chunk of text to write: arrival at the camp, Valda, duchess, getting a feel for the humans around... Since I'm a little on the tired side this evening, I'd rather not exhaust myself too much and continue tomorrow at around 5 pm.

That is alright, thanks for the good work tonight, as well! :D
>Also, let's ask Hao what she wants to do. I think she'd enjoy better to come with us, but it's still up to her in the end.

Hao want's to see all the people suffering because that's honorable, she'll insist to accompany you and Gwen of course.

In that case, assumming we end up going there, we will be Gwendolyn, Hao and Arawn, protecting/investigating the slaves. I think that's a pretty good party!

I am curious how strong Gwen actually is. She IS an overlord, so my guess is that she won't be weak.

With a bit of luck, we won't have to find out in this expedition, but at any rate, we should try and make sure Hao and Gwen stay safe!
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>I am curious how strong Gwen actually is.

She's shapeshifted into a plain looking peasant girl so it's impossible to get a feel for her actual strength or race.

She said earlier that she has someone competent keeping tabs on the inquisition force, they'll be here tomorrow.

Which has me remember.

Current Time: Late Morning
So, basically, we have around 24 hours (give or take) to resolve this issue before the inquisition arrives and goes exterminatus on the slaves. Well, assuming they don't learn of Daiyu's presence here. Things actually get far worse if that happens.

Question, assuming racial abilities are a thing, would using them or any other kind of monster magic destroy the disguise?
>Question, assuming racial abilities are a thing, would using them or any other kind of monster magic destroy the disguise?

Highly dependent on the races. Succubus can reasonably use their innate abilities while keeping the ruse but, generally, other races can't be so subtle.

Though there are no big obvious ''race skills'' like you'd find in a rpg, certain races of Mamonos can do things others cannot or are born naturally attuned to a specific type of magic (like Vilma wielding necromancy naturally).
Probably gonna be running late today, I'll still attempt to post. If it ends up too late, we'll just continue tomorrow earlier than usual.
Thread will resume tomorrow, sorry about that. Had a writing block yesterday, I'm not as quick as I want to be.

And since this adventure could have been skipped I needed to plan it all out much more carefully. Now that it is done I can write with confidence.

I myself will head to bed soon, so I don't know if I'll get the chance to participate tonight.

If there is a session, I hope you have fun and don't get Arawn killed !
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Nothing bad will or can happen. Honest. How could anybody harm your super strong party?
>How could anybody harm your super strong party?
Assuming we stick with our party all the time. And the Dice Gods are very, very fickle...

Hm. Would be safe to assume that the Inquisitorial force en-route is ill-equipped now that there are... what - 4 Supreme Monsters involved?
Yep, Daiyu has always been known to operate like this throughout the Allied Kingdoms: a total wildcard but a fairly reasonable, the Inquisitors might not have any news of your group until they actually get here.

Though there's no telling what's going to happen if you're still around once they reach the camp, there's a fairly big number of them.
"Harm" is a relative term. Kill us? Probably not. Hopefully not. Really hoping we don't die and that our demonic best buddies don't get poisoned or something (court intrigue's a bitch).

Honestly though, I can think of a great many ways this shit can go a few country's borders south and I know you've thought of one of em' and can't wait to unleash it upon us.

I doubt they're ill equipped. Probably headed by an Inquisitor lord and his entourage. They're ready for a full blown genocide I'd bet. Stacking bodies of poor innocent waifus as we would stack chords of firewood...

God I hope we can wrap this up before they get there.
Why not wait until they get here so you can see the force of these Closed Fist fellows?
That's like asking a hardcore cultist decked out in symbols and devotions to chaos to just sit idly by and await the arrival of the Ordo Hereticus to his temple with open arms, tea, cookies, and his favorite demonic tome in the hopes of spreading the good word of Chaos to what must be otherwise swell fellows.

A funny situation to think about, if you have a dark sense of humor like I do.
>our demonic best buddies don't get poisoned or something (court intrigue's a bitch).
Have a little faith Anon, The Jawahir's have several lifetimes under their belts. They won't fall to any old cloak-and-dagger plot.

>God I hope we can wrap this up before they get there.
Same, the farther we can stay from the Inquisitorial force the better. The Duchess from Galehot is the main problem - if she's even half-way competent she has several ways she can stall for even more time. Hopefully we manage find something that can be used against her.

I'd rather not experience the Inquisitorial recipe for Roast Elf first-hand, thank you very much.
>And since this adventure could have been skipped I needed to plan it all out much more carefully. Now that it is done I can write with confidence.
What happens if we derail your plans?
You won't.

I'll adapt! And likely enjoy the following suffering because derailing surely leads to Bad Times.
>And likely enjoy the following suffering because derailing surely leads to Bad Times.
y tho
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There have never been any rails in the first place. In this case ''derailing'' would mean something like walking away, you wouldn't do something so irresponsible right?
>In this case ''derailing'' would mean something like walking away, you wouldn't do something so irresponsible right?
Now that you mention it...
Best Majikoi
>"Harm" is a relative term. Kill us? Probably not. Hopefully not. Really hoping we don't die and that our demonic best buddies don't get poisoned or something (court intrigue's a bitch).

Agreed. They won't succeed if they aim for Daiyu's life, but a lot of harm can be done indirectly.

For exampleIf the inquisition/duchess is aware that the demon lords are here, there is ONE(1) way things could get really ugly.

1. Duchess somehow arrangees the poisoning/murder of the queen of Kreszenz while she's stalling.

2. Demon Lord and her friends get blamed for the death of the queen.

3. Inquisition more than happy to have this as a excuse to start crusading aganist demons and monsters again.

In fact, I worry that even if we didn't come, the plan might have been to have this happen and pin the blame on the poor monster slaves that the queen was trying to protect.
Thank god those are all easy ideas, I got worse that I'm not sharing he'll use them if I do. Doubt Kreszenz queen would fall to poison or assassination attempts as well. She survived deposing greedy evil merchant lords. Those fuckers are clever as hell, surviving their intrigues is a testament to her competence and well honed paranoia. Girl's essentially good guy Capitalist Stalin given the current info. I'm already a fan.

And never worry about us suffering. INH will find a way to make it happen. We come, we stay, either way, bad things will happen to us and the girls. Pray for good dice rolls, we'll need em'.

Let's pray you're right. Hopefully this queen won't be caught off-guard.
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''So it shall be.'' Your decision brought the makeshift strategy meeting to a final end and Daiyu gave her long straight hair a familiar flurry. ''Round the hill we stride, all of you are retainers to Sieglinde now.''

Your group pace, previously relaxed, quickened into a brisker walk that had you and Hao metallic parts audibly clicks as you followed the paved country road wide enough to accommodate horse carts. There was an increase of activity inside the only camp you could see and further horsemen galloped at a measured pace to be mindful of the uneven terrain; the sudden arrival of the Demon Lord wasn't an easy burden.

Navigating around the hill, had you lay eyes on an unusual sight of tents pitched along the river length, numerous -hundreds- of white flapping habitats spreading like a microcosm of civilization where many people came and went. Further up was a barrier of wood rapidly constructed from the nearby forest where tents colored in vibrant blues had been erected near the river shore.

Hooves echoed throughout the areas as a few more horsemen came and went, a group of three -one of them being the mustached gentleman- were pushing their brown mounts toward your group, this time without spears.

''Her majesty extend greeting on the one true sovereign of Mamonos.'' One of the men announced, all three wearing the exact same tabard and armor. ''It is her wish to have you escorted around the camp so as to host you and yours as true daughters of Mother Earth.''

''Blessing of healths onto your liege.'' Daiyu waved in return. ''We'll follow the road and enter her majesty domain as guests.''

''Very well!'' Apparently satisfied, all three turned their mouth and galloped into loud, clapping echoes.

''Not sure if I should pity these guys or laugh.'' Martha idly commented. ''Gotta say, didn't expect Valda would immediately take on the Host Burden, wouldn't those guys normally dismount and escort us?''

''I believe Valda informed them we can take care of ourselves.'' Sieglinde answered, glaring ahead. ''We shouldn't speak for now, we'll have to walk right through the slave camp.''

''Guess that lady duke can't be breathing the same air.'' Martha still needed to add this last little comment.

People had begun to amass along the road, undeniably roused by all the moving soldiers, a few of which weaved around the tents to stands and offer a modicum of security, yet none of the Mamonos seemed to have enough energy or will to care about Daiyu arrival.

Olds, young, parents, orphans, wounded, sicks and far too few healthy women peered at the group; murmurs combined into an incoherent brouhaha while ahead, from your destination, a horn blew to announce noble arrival even if none of your group projected any such auras. Daiyu, Sieglinde, and Martha were all garbed in firm leathers without hints of feminity, Elina was surprisingly the only one in graceful clothing.
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You began to notice a similar pattern with the slaves. At first, you thought your eyes were being deceived because of all the tents but as more and more onlookers approached, you overheard words in an unknown dialect, all these women had a majority of white hair and red eyes but, most striking of all, was the fact all of them sported ears horns of various lengths, showed solid tails descending their waists and spotted scales on fair skins to complete a familiar sight.

''Teruko would have flipped out...'' Elina murmured, keeping her face down to mask her astonishment. ''...She never went into details about her exodus but she mentioned that most of her people were taken advantage of soon after arriving inside the Allied Kingdoms.''

Ahead of the group, the three royal demons remained rigid, their unusual hair colors almost giving illusions of a deadly rainbow. On your right was Gwen doing her best to appear invisible and beside her... Hao walked rigidly, all the metallic clicks of her armor added with yours in creating an impression of eminence for this single-minded walk. Her face betrayed no emotions and that, in of itself, was worrying. Her open-faced helmet hid nothing of those dark scales on her face, nose, chin, and neck. Added with her lightly forked lizard tail and that made her ancestry obvious enough to be pointed out by some of the younger Mamonos.

It took a genuine effort to swallow your empathy and keep yourself from putting a friendly hand on her shoulder.

Once the road began to thin, Mamonos gave way to soldiers. Men and a few women were standing straight with the kind of hasty rigidness that revealed a minute-long preparation to attempt with giving proper honor for such important guests. Reaching a smaller hill before the shore had you walk through a well-guarded entrance of the hastily created wooden wall, the road had long since changed into a dirt and a grander tent occupied an unreasonable amount of space, your mind imagined it as a leadership nexus for an entire army.

Outside, flanked by yet more grizzled knights was a group of definitive noble births.

Your eyes first laid upon a man of your height and thinner build, semi-long brown hair fell neatly around his face, dark hazel eyes inspected your friends in a careful mental measurement of hidden threats. His face possessed a familiar ageless trait that shrouded his entire self in a strange sense of maturity that made it impossible to get a proper bearing for his potential lifetime, a pair of swords on his waist (one being noticeably shorter) made it obvious this was a man of action despite the nobles clothing and his well rounded ears was proof he was no kindred of yours.
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Beside him was none other than Valda, her quiet charisma was one that needed to be experienced to understand. Two heads shorter than her husband, she still possessed far more presence; silky garments of blue with golden embroidery created an elegant image of luxury while her naturally pale skin and red eyes seemed to pierce into your soul. Hair of gold, more corn blond than actual gild, was tied into a neat ponytail. A folded fan firmly clutched in her palm was her only accessory.

There was also another pair flanking the queen, one that had Daiyu loudly proclaim in joy. ''My! Had I only known your entire family was here, Valda, I'd have brought my youngest!''

A smaller girl had been standing in locked silence, looking so endearingly similar to her parents you had to give a wry grin despite your mask. Long hair of vivacious gold fell down her back with the exact tint of her mother, the general angles of her traits were clearly inherited from her father and that fearsomely defiant gaze of green revealed a unique will of energetic youth, you'd place her around sixteen years old. The girl held onto her long white dress to give a curtsy. ''Your arrival honors us, liege lord of Mamonos.'' Said the princess firmly, her tone a cheery chirp. ''Dealing with monsters means preparing for a storm: it was true last year with the arrival of these refugees and so it is today with their story coming to a close.''

''Aaw now, I'm only a busybody with overwhelming maternal feelings, that's all.'' Daiyu responded at the princess with a wide, good-hearted grin that slowly managed to dispell the awkwardness of your impromptu arrival.

The last person to stand with Kreszenz royalty was a maid standing so dutifully silent you wondered if she might be one of Priscilla kin. Standing equal in length with the man, even sporting a similar hairstyle, this woman was a person of alabaster. White hair, white skin, mostly white uniform, her sharp red eyes possessed a similar strength to Valda's. With legs and arms clad in long ivory covering, she wasn't giving any clear ideas about her purpose at a glance.

Nonetheless, she followed her little liege and offered a similar curtsy. ''Health to your house.'' Her tone was grave and face thoroughly emotionless.

These three soon introduced themselves. Waltier Swanhil Wilhelmina, prince of Kreszenz, an outlander who married Valda despite creating a scandal. Anaïs Swanhil Wilhelmina was the obvious pretty little blond, who for some reason made a point to affirm being nineteen years of age and finally came the austere pale maid. Hildegarde, bodyguard of Kreszenz princess and that was the extent of her introduction.
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''Anaïs will be able to help your retainers with anything they need.'' Valda palmed her folded fan, speaking after your group finished introducing themselves. ''Duchess Gremory De Montillet retreated for her camp after learning about your arrival, liege-lord, in order to adequately prepare for your arrival, thusly I request for us to sojourn inside my pavilion, I'd love to hear your perspective.'' Valda pointed at the open blue tent, that became the signal for your group separation, demons and angel peeled off to accompany queen Valda and her husband.

Things felt... awkward. Nearby soldiers were giving your trio nervous glances with Hao catching no end of attention because of that unreasonable axe, it was a wonder they allowed her in close proximity to their liege.

''Aaw man, being left out suck.'' Anaïs was openly pouting, glaring at the open tent.

''Princess, please use proper languages...'' Hildegarde's eyes peeled a little wider, making her charge grin wryly. Anaïs put her hands behind her back and leaned forward, examining you with a little more attention.

''You need anything, mister Arawn?'' She asked you. ''You've got nice eyes, you're not in pain?''

''I'm...'' You tried your best to aggravate your voice. ''...fine today, your highness.'' Keeping up this ruse wasn't going to be easy but at least you managed to convince the princess who promptly straightened her spine and diverted her attention toward Gwen and Hao.

Her small hands clapped together excitedly. ''We should probably clear grounds less we begin troubling Gremory's air once she decides to come.'' She beckoned for the river. ''Maybe we could catch a fish!''

You exchanged a glance with Gwen who silently peered toward the camp. ''Maybe someone should stay with her as an excuse?'' The Overlord whispered and you briefly examined Hao, who, honestly, was so stoned faced that you had no idea if she was genuinely angry or taking her role far too seriously.

>Accompany Anaïs for the river bank, perhaps you'll be able to find a chance to sneak out and investigate the slaves.

>Insist (politely) on wanting to go into the camps. Daiyu has a reputation for being direct, perhaps it can be your advantage here.

>Insist (politely) on wanting to go into the camps. Daiyu has a reputation for being direct, perhaps it can be your advantage here.
Let's see how Hao is doing, girl has a poker face that would make a statue jealous.
>Let's see how Hao is doing, girl has a poker face that would make a statue jealous.
Like Gardy?
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Aren't you clever?
Yes, although I'm not certain calling Gardy a statue is entirely accurate. Nor am I certain if Gardy is capable of jealousy.

Is there any way we could incite a staring contest between the two?
>Accompany Anaïs for the river bank, perhaps you'll be able to find a chance to sneak out and investigate the slaves.

We can check on the slaves's condition afterwards, I'd rather not let this girlie wander on her own.

>Let's see how Hao is doing, girl has a poker face that would make a statue jealous.

While accompanying her, we should make sure Hao is okay, so agreed with this.

Also, We could take this chance to ask Anais about: 1. the slaves. 2. Lady Gremory.
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Already began writing with the other action, but I can wait and redo if other anons wants in.
Well, if we could have a quick chat with Hao before leaving for the river I'd be fine. Is Hao going to stay and wait for Daiyu due to the bodyguard role?
No, this choice is mostly in relations with time. The river is an opportunity for a little relaxation while the other is obviously going straight into what you have to do, speaking with Hao can happen either way.
Oooh okay, well in that case I'm willing to change to accompanying Anaïs.
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''Lead on, your highness.'' You answer the princess and she nodded with great vigor, giving you an impish smile before turning around, pointing at an obvious leading into rocky grounds.

''I'm not sure if we'll get anything now that I think about it, we've been here a while and I'm preeeetty sure the guys fished out most stuff.'' Anaïs kept a measured pace, often waiting and turning to observe your trio. Gwendolyn wasn't much of a social type and Hao... Poking her arm had her blink in surprise as if awakening from a long reverie, already stopping your little company before it could set out.

''You okay?'' You whispered and she blinked once more, this time confused.

''Yeah!'' She proclaimed, tapping her chest - making for one loud thunk- then hefted her bix axe on her shoulder a little more comfortably. ''Fine!'' A smile was back on her pretty face and she left your side to wave at Kreszenz princess and her bodyguard and attempt to give Gwen a hug but the little peasant was nimble enough to dodge a painful squeeze.

If Hao was forcing to be cheerful, she was doing a good job. ''Everything okay?'' Asked Anaïs when you came back, Hao seemingly acknowledging Hildegarde for the very first time and she gave the pale woman a wolfish grin.

''Yes.'' You growled out, restraining the urge to toy with your mask. ''I... we have questions, about the camps.''

''Sure, sure!'' The little blond turned around, leading you near the flowing river, the length of one little slope had you under the careful gaze of armored men with bows keeping vigil from this and the opposite side.

You still had enough space to speak without being overheard.

''I kinda wanna see some spearfishing but there's nothing there at all.'' Anaïs had already trotted toward the water and held up her dress to gaze into it, it was a fairly strong current.

''Oh, you're strong!'' Hao suddenly proclaimed, firmly staring at the maid who had closed her eyes in response and ignored your impressionable friend.

''Totally is!'' It wasn't a statement Anaïs would ignore, she came back in a light jogging to stand beside her bodyguard who was now making a clear effort to appear aloof. ''Hildy is though like, beat my dad unarmed strong. You strong too?''
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Hao responded by slowly holding out her axe in a single hand... and let it drop loudly, crashing headfirst into stone, making for a cavernous boom that sent all the men on alert and all the others who witnessed this absurd display into growling blessings for Mother Earth.

That, at least, had been enough to make Hildegarde reopen her eyes.

''Totally, totally!'' Hao giggled, turning to wave at a few archers... or perhaps you should call them rangers, going back into their post.

''Ah, please forgive our friend she's a bit um... excitable.'' Gwen interlocked her fingers together, trying her best to give a polite smile but it came out as awkward and ashamed.

''It's fine, how about having a duel? Friendly competitions are the best thing to build bonds!'' This girl is going to make all your carefully crafted day spin wildly out of control.

''Milady, it is my belief that dueling our guests make us poor host.'' Hildegarde tone was ice and firm, more than enough to make Hao back down yet the much tinier blond devilish grin could accurately make her resemble an imp.

A particularly beautiful one.

''Gotcha.'' Announced the princess with suitably triumphant pride and Hildegarde eyebrows knitted together in a flash of irritation... only to relax after a realization dawned on her.

''Indeed.'' spoke the austere maid with a much more relaxed expression, a newfound smile managed to give her a gentle flower radiance.

What an endearing exchange, however one look at the sun revealed that it was resting on its zenith.

It is now noon

>Keep this good mood going, perhaps you'd like to know their history?

>Ask about the slaves, they are the reason of your arrival. Can't waste more time... (Feel free to ask anything specific)

>Inquire about countess Gremory, what's her angle in all this? (Specific questions speed things up)

>Ask about both (Could take a while.)


Everything you do consume time, remember that.
>Ask about the slaves, they are the reason of your arrival. Can't waste more time... (Feel free to ask anything specific)

Is the plan to linger in the river as we chat? If we are done here, we could keep this conversation going while returning to where the slaves are.
>Is the plan to linger in the river as we chat?
Yeah, it is. Anaïs doesn't really know what you're up to so she's trying to be a good host.
>Ask about the slaves, they are the reason of your arrival. Can't waste more time... (Feel free to ask anything specific)

Then, besides of asking about the slaves, I vote that we manifest interest for going to check on them.

We can also explain that when we heard about the current situation we panicked a little and came in a rush to help.
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''Your Highness, I...'' Woops, you almost launched into an attempt of eloquence here. ''...would like to know about the slaves.''

You didn't know if it's this particular angle with the sun shining down but Anaïs seems to briefly glitter as she peered at you seriously.
''Yeah, sorry I get distracted easily.'' Your gruff voice had ended this momentary episode of gentle teasing, Hildegarde had straightened her stance and even Hao grew docile after your mention of slaves.

''I'm sure you already the whole story so I'll speak about what I saw personally.'' The small girl put her hands behind her back, you didn't know the entire thing but recent information matters more than history here.

''We've been trying to give shelters to these Mamonos for a few days, the poor lot are honestly in a sorry state. A third of them are injured, we've been having diseases breaking out here and there, others are dying from infections and all of them, even the kids, are exhausted. There's this look in their eyes... It's like they've given up, they can't even get angry.'' Anaïs grimaced, growing silent by bitting her bottom lip.

''Milady tried to rouse some spirits by galvanizing the crowd once Gremory forces arrived but...'' Hildegarde stopped speaking, observing her charge carefully. ''Your mother wasn't happy about that.''

''Pfeh, whatever. Not like I could get through with so few of them understanding Commons.'' She finished her sentenced with a disgusting hmph, only to concentrate her gaze at Hao.

''Are there healers helping them?'' Gwen is the one to speak, making the royal blonde blink in surprise as if she forgot the plain-faced peasant. ''I saw people in white robes walking around the tents during our arrival.''

Really? You completely missed it!

''Yeah, yeah. Alms Givers, they're part of mother army. Skilled herbalists, alchemist, doctor... having an angel spreading holy would help out a whole lot.'' The way she winked was an obvious silent way to say ''You get it?''

''Yet you fear an epidemic despite these skilled healers?'' Gwen asked dryly and it stung Anaïs enough for her to grimace.

''They're packed, they've been working in mines for the better part of a year, honestly, they need to rest...'' She muttered, rolling a long strand of hair around her index.

If these Mamonos are doing so badly, how will they even escape the Inquisition?

''I'd like your blessing, your majesty.'' You force a cough, beckoning Hao closer who effortlessly shouldered her axe. ''It is our wish to inspect the tents.''

''Heck yeah, I'm coming to!'' Anaïs bounced on her feet, clapping her hands together.

''Milady!'' Hildegarde protested immediately.
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''You'll guard me'' retorted the short princess. ''Look Gremory hasn't arrived yet, this is our perfect chance to sneak out since this place isn't locked down yet. Daiyu's friends... I mean her lordship servants have someone who can actually speak with those girls, Hild!'' Having apparently witnessed Hao many gestures, Anaïs gave your black scaled friend a thumb up that was swiftly returned.

''Translation could be difficult.'' You cleared your throat, you're coming a little too worldly here. ''My friend... Hao, isn't fluent yet.''

''Hao has to help.'' Perhaps she misunderstood something but this small sentence was delivered with calm surety, she was giving you this look of courageous self-determination that was genuinely endearing. ''Leave axe here.'' She suddenly announced, this time actually putting it on the ground. ''Too scary. Teruko people, dragons... not yet broken.''

''Yeah, I wouldn't call them broken, maybe our arrival jolted something.'' Gwen continued. ''I'm not against you accompanying us, your highness.'' This remark created a pointed grimace on Hildegarde. ''if you obey your bodyguard, what I'm wondering is what we should try to inspect...''

''We can think about it on the way!'' Anaïs gripped her dress and began jogging, Hildegarde already abandoned any ideas of preventing her. ''A little run will do us good! Clock's ticking!''

>How do you wish to inspect the slaves? There is 1300 of them.

Everyone together, going tents by tents? (Time-consuming but the security will be flawless and you'll have everyone heads together.)

Or separate into groups? Cover more ground... (Strategize on who should do what here.)
>Everyone together
Hm, I'll likely leave it here for tonight and continue tomorrow. This is a fairly important decision for how to spend your time.
>Everyone Together

Rule number one of adventuring. Never split the party. Rule 2: You do *not* split the party Rule 3: see rules 1 and 2 and *Always Remember to Not Split the Party!* Besides, there's only one Hao and to be effective the other team would have to find someone else in the camp whose bilingual and only Hao could expedite that search.

Also, please tell me Hao isn't just leaving that Axe out in the open for any wandering murderhobo to come and pick up. She could at least try to hide it or bury it into a boulder or something, anything but just leaving it there begging to be stolen.

Finally, the princess is adorable, I like the cut of her jib. We must protect her smile. And I think I remember who/what Hildegarde is. Truly, someone you'd wanna take with you into the Darkest Dungeon if memory serves.
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>Also, please tell me Hao isn't just leaving that Axe out in the open for any wandering murderhobo to come and pick up

Kiiiiinda doing just that but hey, it's inside queen Valda no-go area and all the men already saw how damn heavy it is, going to need a serious dose of magic or soul reinforcement to lift it. She's not particularly attached to objects as you've seen.

You might be remembering correctly. Anaïs is a good girl.
So only Valda's men have access to it as they are guarding the area to ensure nobody else gets in there. Ok, larceny chances are low then. Phew. And while not being attached to material things is good, one should get very attached to Artifact-tier magical items! You can't just go and get another one of those things Hao. Maybe you should remember that next time you think about leaving the magical axe out in the open!

Awesome. She could have been Gardy's waifu. Maybe she still could be. Man, romance is gonna get weird since we fused with him. Bestest buddy deserves a waifu, but there's only the one body. Wait, does this mean whoever we waifu gets 2 husbandos for the price of one? Would a girl fall for Arwan, or for Gardy? Gah! So many complications...
Gardy is a very handoff type of guy, you don't have to worry about anything with him on the romance front.

Although trying to find him a girlfriend could be the hardest thing to do in the quest.
Is she jealous?

>Yes, although I'm not certain calling Gardy a statue is entirely accurate. Nor am I certain if Gardy is capable of jealousy.
He certainly was one and acting like it during the dream deal.
>Is there any way we could incite a staring contest between the two?
Gotta make it a competition, you see.

>Gardy is a very handoff type of guy, you don't have to worry about anything with him on the romance front.
Is it because his hands turn into blades? Then merged with us, seemingly more subservient?
>Although trying to find him a girlfriend could be the hardest thing to do in the quest.
We don't do things because they're easy, but because we must!
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>Is it because his hands turn into blades?
Machines can shapeshift too!
>Then merged with us, seemingly more subservient?
He's not exactly subservient, a battle of will for dominance of the body would be a nasty affair but he could potentially win. Gardy is Gardy, that's the only way I can put it.

Also here's a pic of Anaïs father because yeah, bishonen totally needs to be here too! You can tell which genes really took hold.
>Everyone together

Is my vote, too. Will we just walk around and listen to people, or is the plan to actually interview the slaves to ask them how things are going?
Separate into 2 groups.
The royal and her maid with Hao look for any community leader types or anyone who seems to be in charge among the slaves.

Arawn and Gwen check out the injured and sick.
Sneaking out of Valda headquarter with the crown princess of all people was simply impossible. A fair chunk of the queen army was posted directly outside the barricade, making for many eyes that immediately recognized Kreszenz heir and her dutiful bodyguard. ''I had a disguise prepared too...'' Anaïs whined after assuring one more veteran that she'd be sake in your company and knew what she was doing, even Hildegarde had to weight in her favor a few times.

''It's endearing.'' Gwen whispered to you as your odd group set out again, road changing from dirt to stone. ''Like she's everybody daughter.''

These men-at-arms weren't doing their duty entirely out of obligations; there was genuine love in their cares, pushing them to risk annoying the crown princess until she repeated herself enough for her intentions to be widely known amongst all 200 guarding knights.

Getting past this unforeseen obstacle took some time but you eventually ended up where you wanted, the sea of white tents housing numerous foreign scaled Mamonos.

''We had to separate the sicks from everyone else to avoid anything from breaking out.'' Anaïs pointed at a peculiar enclosure near the river separated by wooden barricade after leading your group away from the paved road. You immediately caught the attention of many white ladies with the healthiest setting out to spread words of your arrival whilst men -all of them soldiers- made quick bows at their liege sudden appearance.

Then, before you could properly get some bearings, a horn loudly announced something happening deeper up the road. ''Bleh, that's her.'' Anaïs growled, even Hildegarde looked momentarily displeased. ''Gremory doesn't trust men in her personal retinue when its come with dealing with Monsters, sure took her sweet time coming back. Let's go deeper in.'' The little blond waved for the sea of tents.

Echoes of measured stomps heralded the duchess arrival, this causes a small wave of activity amongst the slaves with everyone closest to the road fleeing into other people tents.

''Yeah let's not waste time with that foe.'' You murmured, tapping Hao shoulder who was glaring at an approaching procession. ''Help us out with Teruko folk.''

''Yeah!'' A metallic clang resounded as she punched a fist into her open, steel covered palm.

Inspecting the slaves proved rather awkward because of your numbers: ideas of splitting up were briefly entertained but having a single interpreter made prospects of independent searching awkward, in the end, your group stopped tents by tents, circling them like oppressive thugs.

The scaled women weren't opening up easily, mostly because the majority were thoroughly exhausted. The healthiest ones were up and about trying to help their communities and often made excuses to avoid speaking too long so that left tired, kids, wounded and pregnant refugees dwelling in the tents, waiting for time to pass.
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This was a grim pattern, these slaves counted an overwhelming amount of thin little-scaled kids and mothers-to-be without any signs of elderly or leaders, a reality that was soon uncovered because of Hao dutiful translations.

What few leaderships amongst the slaves that remained had been unfortunately killed during their escape of Gremory mines, how they ended up inside Valda country and subsequent security was a wonder. Many of them spoke about being guided by strange golden lights -even gilded butterflies- whilst others dreamt about a river leading to big fields of high-grass reminiscent of these Mamono homelands.

This was a subject most of them were eager to tell, referring their presence here as nothing short of a miracle.

''Golden lights, butterflies, dreams of security...'' After exiting your twelfth tent where a mother with two kids wished you good health, Anaïs spoke in complete seriousness. ''...All signs of Mother Earth. It is believed that she'll always do her best to give a little tap on people shoulders when they need it most.''

''Your mother took on the Host Burden after finding them.'' Hildegarde continued, gazing toward a busy spot in the camp. ''I believe our men feel similar responsibility.'' It was undeniable that Valda soldiers were the only reason that prevented this aura of misery from devolving into a choking atmosphere of despair. Healthy meat stews and vegetables were readily handed to anyone hungry alongside gourds of fresh waters while the soldiers also took the burden of maintaining latrines, many tried clumsy communications and a few played flutes for gathered children. ''Perhaps we should spread words about this, these Mamonos might have received Mother Earth blessing...'' The bodyguard maid didn't say more.

In term of applicable knowledge, you didn't have much. Tales of their time in Gremory mines and estates was suitably nightmarish for what you'd suspect of slaves treated as sub-human labor. Forced to endure horrible hours of back-breaking toils, the kingdom of the mountains did not provide food or water easily and that was used as a way to incentivize healthy young Mamonos to work for their family shares. Mothers took on the burden of their daughters, young adults did their best to help their parents, with a widespread tragedy of elderly women committing suicide to give some amount of succor for their exhausted progeny.

Hao also refused to elaborate on a few nuances when pregnants Mamonos spoke frankly and that, in of itself, was all the answers you needed.

''There might be something incriminating if we keep speaking with them.'' Gwen spoke, her hands balling into angry fists. ''Daylight is fleeting if-''
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A child stepped up to the group. Roughly sized above your knees, this miniature scaly Mamono possessed of such utter terror that you were genuinely stunned, readily falling tears and babbling quiet words followed before anybody could get their bearings...

... besides Hao who calmly knelt down to own knee and removed her helmet. She spoke a few quiet words that were likely something similar to ''take a breath, calm down'' and like that, the white scaled kid managed to speak coherently.

''Her mother is suffering.'' Announced your tribal friend. ''Wants us to go.'' The kid had taken Hao hand, speaking a few words in a foreign dialect that made your friend mouth tighten.

''Alms Giver should...'' Anaïs widened her eyes when Hao threw her a sharp glare, but this intimidation only lasted a second. ''They will help. All of them wear white robes and long diagonal red sashes.''

''I...Hao should go.'' The lizard child pointed for a tent standing inside that sea of white. ''It is honorable, justice yes?''

''Perhaps going to see would make the slaves trust us more...'' Gwen added, nervously fingering her hands. ''I've been thinking we should go into the enclosures of the sicks.''

>You shouldn't waste time. Motion for an Alms Giver to accompany the child and tend to her mother. (Where or what should you investigate next?)

>Go with the child, it might cost you a few minutes... but how can you call yourself a man if you ignore such a heartfelt plea?

>Free choice.

It is now Early Afternoon
>Go with the child, it might cost you a few minutes... but how can you call yourself a man if you ignore such a heartfelt plea?

Going with the children means the Alms Giver won't come? Either way, we want to see the mom's condition ourselves.

And, golden colors, butterflies and dreams. These are signs of Mother Earth. Was it already hinted to us that Mother Earth is the person who helped us against Lady White along with Gardy?

I had that feeliing, but I forget if it was told to us already, or if I was guessing it based on previous quests' memories.
>Going with the children means the Alms Giver won't come?
That wasn't what I was trying to imply, only that your group will be investigating there, Hildegarde knows first-aid so if the situation is truly beyond you, fetching a healer is perfectly doable.

>Was it already hinted to us that Mother Earth is the person who helped us against Lady White along with Gardy?
Who knows? It was probably memories of Siegfried adventure coming back to you, I've been vague about who that butterfly could be.
>Go with the child, it might cost you a few minutes... but how can you call yourself a man if you ignore such a heartfelt plea?
I don't think Arawn has a heart hardened enough to ignore a child asking for help. Not yet at least.

We could have Gwen or Hildegarde find Alms Givers once we get to the tent, if the mother's condition is critical.
Seem we've hit autosage. Oh well, I still plan on going, time to help a crying little girl.
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''Let's go.'' Your tone didn't carry its breathless gruffness. ''Hao, tell her to guide us.'' Something about this entire situation, this camp, these abuses, this injustice made you angry. You constantly had to close your hands into tight fists to prevent your limbs from trembling, now that someone asked for help... Your entire being rebelled at the idea of giving her the cold shoulder. You stepped forward and put a hand on your tribal friend shoulder, shaking it so she'd feel it through the shoulder pad.

Everyone else followed without complaints, the child quickly weaved around the tents with despairing adrenaline, a pace so quick nobody had the breath to hail any healers.

''Here!'' The kid spoke in accented Common and nearly jumped into the tent, followed by Hao's loud concert of noisy metal.

Inside was a single white scaled Mamono missing a side horn. An acrid smell had fully settled from a combination of regurgitations and incontinences, bandages around a shoulder wound had come undone, revealing an ugly gash of reddened black, some veins around the opening seemed to have grown purple and blood slowly flowed into a ruined sheet.

''Mother's mercy!'' Gwen was the first to speak. ''I'm fetching a mender.''

''Stop!'' The crown princess suddenly bellowed.

''Anaïs, your highness, I'm not going to wait and let someone agonize here!'' Gwen was only minding her tone because Hao was hugging the crying monster girl.

''I said wait.'' The princess responded firmly and advanced toward the dying mother, extending a hand behind her, fully expecting her dutiful maid to have followed. ''The knife, Hild.''

The woman of alabaster took out a dagger neatly put into a nondescript leather scabbard and a roll of bandage from the front pocket of her apron. ''Please do not spread news of what milady is going to do.'' She spoke to your group, the princess disregarding all distraction by grabbing the silver blade. Anaïs fearlessly carved a practiced line on her hand and hovered her limb near the Mamono.


Gardy will manifest itself like a slap on your face, so sudden that you couldn't prevent yourself from twitching in surprise.
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''This child blood is cursed.'' Said the Embodiment before you could ask anything. ''It attracts souls and horrors, it is vitality made palpable: like your magic, but physical. Souls born from surrounding misery will flow into that woman and be vanquished by her weakened will then consumed, strengthening her soul which in turn strengthen the body. With a healer caring hand, the young mother will recover.''

As Gardy explained, Anaïs let out a fine line of blood into the open wound of the Mamono and promptly retreated, stepping near her maid who already began cleaning her wound with such precise timing that it was undeniably born from countless practice. ''She'll start to regain strength.'' The princess looked at Hao with a bashful smile who did her best to translate, by now the kid had stopped crying and already seemed on the verge of falling asleep, her sight entirely concealed by Hao tall, metal covered self. ''We still need an Alms Giver.''

''H-hold... Hold!'' Hao voice resonated dryly, preventing anyone else from moving. ''She... little one here says...'' Clearing her throat, the tribal would-be dragon couldn't contain a spark of rage, her eyes of soft green showed brewing volcanic anger that had nowhere to go. ''Two hours ago, woman healer came... inspected mother wound and then she became like this.'' She couldn't point at the ailing lizard-woman but it was more than enough to understand.

Anaïs was reduced into silence and astonished stare.

''Poison.'' Hildegarde spoke for her liege. ''Everyone of these healers are employed under a strict oath of generosity where my queen oblige them to offer aid to anyone, regardless of creed, race or wealth. If the little one words are true... no, there is no if.'' The young kid had already passed out, having cried herself into exhaustion.

''A filthy, conniving little bitch of a betrayer is poisoning our guests, no wonder ills women keep piling up.'' Anaïs was a portrait of animosity. She began tearing into her bandaged hand, nails ripping up the cloth as her entire small body trembled with enough rage to instill a small amount of fear. Hildegarde silently took out more bandages and set to work making a new one once Anaïs calmed down.

''They still need a new tent and a healer's eyes. A male one.'' She growled. ''This is worse than I thought...''

Gwen looked up to you, her plain-faced showed a fierce will blossoming within and her face opened into a wide, sadistic grin. ''Alright, how should we handle that now?''

>How should you proceed? (Will offer choices later if you guys are stumped)
It's too bad the child is asleep, we can't ask her for a description of this 'healer'. My bet is that such a healer is working on the orders of Gremory herself.

The worst is, we don't know if this woman is the only case of poisoning. We don't know if there is only one treacherous healer, either.

First of all, the queen and Daiyu should be informed of this immediately.

Second, other nearby monsters that might be feeling suddenly sick must be examined and interviewed in case a shady healer came visit hours prior.

Also, just in case, I'd suggest peeking out of the tent to see if there is anyone suspicious observing us. I bet the culprit behind this will want to know if the poison did it's job as intended. Time to try and catch them red-handed.

These are all some suggestions I came up with I will go with these/ either of these for now, but I will also await to see if InsertNameHere offers any more interesting choices.
Hooo boy. So either one or several healers have been bribed or the Duchess has sneaked some of her own people into the Alms Giver's ranks. Worst case is that the Duchess has nothing to do with this.
Going straight to the monarchs without proof is not an option - not while they're still talking with the Duchess.

...Perhaps a trap can be set? Ask the slave about anyone of their number with similar symptoms as the mother Anaïs just helped - perhaps someone can describe the healer/healers.
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A little bit of strategizing with characters will be a nice way to close today's updates.
Yep, we'll need to ask what Hildegarde and the Princess think - they're ones who know how the Alms Givers operate.

If we do end up deciding on informing Daiyu and Valda about this, it MUST be discreet. Galehot's Duchess must not be allowed to catch onto this, not so soon.
Ask the girls what they think we should do. We must plan carefully and quickly.
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The next few minutes were busy indeed. Gwen fetched a male healer who, upon seeing the ailing Mamono, immediately demanded nearby slaves and soldiers to clean the area while a family volunteered to watch over the kid. Anaïs ordered him to not send that poor woman away and like that, the area burst into activity as words of what happened spread, many Mamonos having already grown curious because of the chase the little girl sent you into.

She had unconsciously reinforced her body with her own soul out of sheer desperation, there would be no waking the little one for information.

''That's a vital piece...'' Gwen said once you properly regrouped into a lonelier spot in that sea of tents.

''Yeah...'' Anaïs wasn't so enthused, she kept fingering her new bandages. At your side, Hao observed any and all Alms Giver with a wolfish stare of predatory intent held back by common sense.

''Ought we inform our lieges?'' You asked, your gruff voice coming out awkward through the mask.

''I'd like to.'' Anaïs responded. ''Mother and Father would... find this very dire, I'm not certain what they'll do but it could help in their talks.''

''Hao is needed with us to continue translation.'' Said the girl you met just today. She spoke with assured confidence, staring at your friend and giving her a thumb up when their stares crossed, earning an honest smile from your tribal friend. ''The Demon Lord will listen to me or Arawn if we request an audience, although we've got no proof about our claims, it should help put them on better guards... I don't like it. All we know is that a female Alms Giver is going around poisoning slaves, it wouldn't be enough to make an upset in their negotiations, could even give Gremory ammo to call Valda incompetent. Either way, one of us will be gone from the investigation.''

''It still an idea so let's keep it in mind.'' You decide to change the topic and earned nods of agreements for your effort.

''It took two hours for symptoms to worsen.'' You continued, rubbing your throat, feeling an itch on your face that wouldn't go away. ''Our culprit is likely moving from tents to tents as we speak, following the trail of sudden illness is only a waste of time. Barring luck and catching her red-handed, we won't gain much grounds.''

''Agreed.'' Gwen continued, her stance had become one of deep reflexion. ''Perhaps those recently admitted into that quarantine camp could describe who came to heal them before being going inside...''

''It'd be difficult to finish that puzzle swiftly, our culprit will have free reign of the camp in the meantime.'' Hildegarde commented, standing rigid with eyes closed.

''How do the Alms Giver operate?'' You ask, the girls blinked in surprise at your sudden invasion of their conversation.
''Mostly independently, the healers need to understand herbs and alchemy to produce adequate medicine so they have their own supplies and quartermasters.'' Anaïs responded. ''They have enough authority in the army to demand nearby soldiers help them in treating people, outside of that they... are trusted to operate for the good of all.'' She cleared her throat, grimacing. ''It was their idea to make a quarantine, the Alms Giver concern themselves about public health despite being part of mother's army.''

''It wouldn't be difficult impersonating one.'' Gwen concluded.

''It... would be cause enough for war.'' Anaïs statement was grave, nervousness had her finger her bandaged hand. ''You see, Mother had the entire order blessed by the church, any Alms Giver is to provide health to anyone: it is an oath taken under the watchful eye of Mother Earth with many a priest present, execution is the least of your worries if someone pretends themselves a doctor. It's outright heresy for parts of the Inquisitions.''

''Clearly, the risk is worth the result.'' Gwendolyn continued casually and Anaïs could only silently nod despite her earnest wish for a different reality. ''Since they are still subservient to your mother's authority I assume we could walk into their headquarters and how they're planning this entire operation...''

''I suspect that wouldn't help us find the traitor.'' Hildegarde countered and Gwen could only nod grimly.

''Short of manually interrogating all females menders... How should we go about this?'' Asked the Overlord and that brought everyone into silence.

''I...'' Hao tone managed to find this rare combination of gentle firmness. She faced your thinking group with a strangely resolute smile, dark plated hand atop her heart. ''Can Hao speak?''

''No need for permission.'' You immediately responded and her features hardened into this rare expression of kind resolution that appeared earlier today in her begging to accompany you. She truly did possess strong charisma.

''Inform the slaves, say all of we discovered.'' She wettened her lips. ''Lady poisoner out there, tell them to watch out, inform us of suspicious ones... be ready, be vigilant. Words, language shield yes?''

''You mean revealing that a woman Alms Giver is actually a poisoner for the Mamonos?'' Gwen expression was a comical neverending change between frowning and widening of her eyes. ''They'll lash out against the menders for sure!''
''No.'' Hao calmly shook her head and tapped her heart. Clack. Clack. ''Teruko folks know red sashes are good, knows men in armor are good. One bad apple...''

''Perhaps if I were to inform soldiers to keep watch for any suspicious women healers, we'd get more eyes.'' Anaïs had a familiar glint in her gaze, one that reminded you of Belphegor piecing together puzzles of Magitek.

''There is a big chance our traitor will understand were on to her.'' Hildegarde expression a taut line of tension.

''Could lead to mistakes... or them slipping away. It's a gamble.'' You replied, keeping your stare locked on Hao peaceful self.

''Dragons deserves to know, deserve to defend themselves.'' Hao affirmed with measured voice.

How wrongs you were to ever think of this tribal girl childish or slow of mind.

''It's... another solution.'' Gwen wasn't carried away by the momentum of Hao's words. ''Whatever we choose to do, we won't have time to try anything else.''

The sun was slowly but steadily traveling toward the horizon...

It is Late Afternoon.

>Inspect the quarantine and talk with sick Mamonos in order to hopefully identify the betrayer.

>Seperate into groups, you'll cover much more grounds - time is against you. (Who does what? You'll need to say what it is you want to be done.)

>Employ Hao idea. Reveal the treachery of that single Alms Giver to the slaves, let the new spread. The language barrier is your shield. Perhaps, if they report to you enough, you'll get lucky...

And another thing... Should you inform Daiyu and Valda? (Y/N)

In case of yes, who should go?
>Anaïs and Hildegarde (bodyguard will not leave the princess under any circumstances.)
Actually, I might have been too hasty with this time... I'll need to think about it, my tired mind can't think so much now.

I'll try to continue tomorrow but mental fatigue is piling up. If I can't run, I'll close the thread. This is a fairly important moment where the entire party will coordinate their efforts on a given plan, so you guys gotta think it through.
>Employ Hao idea. Reveal the treachery of that single Alms Giver to the slaves, let the new spread. The language barrier is your shield. Perhaps, if they report to you enough, you'll get lucky...

My bet is, whoever is tasked with poisoning the slaves is under orders to do so. So itt would be hard for them to justify to their liege "I gave up on the mission because everyone seemed suspicious" , so them running away and going into hiding is unlikely. Them commiting a mistake is more likely.

Also, if the little girl was suspicious of the healer that "treated" her mother, as we inform people of a possible poisoner, it could be that there are already other slaves that are suspicious of someone. Maybe as the news spread, someone will say "I saw a healer that none of us recognized, wandering around", or something like that.

>Inform Daiyuu and Valda. Arawn goes.

I propose, we go ourselves. With a bit of luck, we will catch a glimpse of the debating and we might even get to see how Gremory is put to shame, or even help putting her to shame.

...I fear we could get ambushed on our way to inform the news, though.

My initial reaction when I learned about the poisoner was that it could have been Gremory herself, disguised as a nurse, doing the poisoning in person. Then I thought back about it, and it seemed a really dumb idea. X3
I don't dare make such an important vote given how late it is for me - I'll have to sleep on this.

>I propose, we go ourselves.
I disagree - Arawn's appearance is too distinct with his Leper mask. We'll be very likely to be noticed by the wrong eyes, which is why Hao, Anaïs and Hildegarde should also stay put.
Gwendolyn on the other hand, is very unassuming with very little presence. She's most likely to pass unnoticed.
>I don't dare make such an important vote given how late it is for me - I'll have to sleep on this.
What if we killed all the slaves before the inquisition can?
How fast can you kill, my man?
Damn, gonna have to sleep on this one as well. Though I am starting to lean towards Hao's idea

Fucking bitch poisoning people, taking advantage of their trust in order to kill them horribly in a way that ensures it's not easy to trace back to her... I'd be doomguy mad about that. When we find her (and after we've gotten all the info we can out of her of course), we will rip and tear her guts!

We're not gonna kill innocents dude. I doubt Gardy would let us anyway. Instant battle of wills if we did that.

On a tangent, I was thinking about Hildegarde and something clicked in my head. Assuming I'm correct about her, I got one question. In her full power mode, do her eyes turn blue? Because going through it in my head, she's pretty much fantasy version of that.
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Nope they do not. Who is it that you are thinking of?
You know exactly who I'm thinking about. Well, I hope at least. I'll make it easy for ya. Long blue hair, super strong, has a thing for Triple Gatling guns, anti-army laser array buster attack, fights inter-dimensional horrors. If that doesn't ring a bell I can always post a pic. I got several. She's good waifu material.
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Ah, now I get it. The girl who single-handedly sparked my love or robo-women, Hildegarde isn't fantasy KOS-MOS because... of reasons I won't divulge. I'm actually surprised you're associating them.
Humanoid female weapon system designed to combat horrors from beyond our dimension. You don't see those very often. The last part is key. Tons of powerful and wonderful robogirls out there, but few that fight that type of enemy.

Also, good taste in robo waifu. She was best girl in that series hands down.
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>Humanoid female weapon system designed to combat horrors from beyond our dimension.

A theme dear to my heart. I've repurposed many things from the failures of my various quests

I'm glad to give you guys seem to have taken to Kreszenz pair. Only good things are to happen after all[/spolier]
Well y'know what they say, never let what you create go to waste.

And yes, I do like the pair a lot. The princess especially. Though I do fear for her. Her blood has vitality, it's what horrors, blood mages, and vampires crave! You'd need something protecting her, something powerful, something that never sleeps (or at least, doesn't need to).

Like Gardy said, cursed blood. Sounds awesome, really isn't.
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And she lives next door to the Swamp! Fortune is a cruel mistress.
Heh, now I see why the soldiers are so concerned for her. It goes beyond her just being a wonderful person. They likely don't know the exact details (hence why Hildegarde told us to keep quiet), they just know that swamp horrors want her and are drawn to her.

Don't need much more than that. The minds of the horrors are ineffable. To try to grasp them is to go mad if you're successful. The evil monsters want to take away/kill the wonderful princess. They ain't gonna let that happen even if it kills em' (which it probably has more than a few).
>Employ Hao idea. Reveal the treachery of that single Alms Giver to the slaves, let the new spread. The language barrier is your shield. Perhaps, if they report to you enough, you'll get lucky...
>Inspect the quarantine and talk with sick Mamonos in order to hopefully identify the betrayer.
These don't seem like they're mutually exclusive. Ask them to not attempt vigilante justice as well, they aren't in any state to do so.

She would have the best training in manners for interrupting a meeting. Hao is our translator. Anais and Hildegarde would be hard to convince to leave since this is their home this is happening in. Our mask may allow us to keep watch without our opponent realising that we're staring right at them, like looking to the side with shades.
I guess Gwen would do alright? Actually, could two people go deliver these news, rather than just one?

I am still worried about letting Gwen scamper around the slave camp alone with a poisoner or more being all stealthy around the area.
Combining both options could be difficult because the camp with the ills is quarantined, so any monsters trying to find you could be turned. Anaïs could convince the healers to back off there, but having slaves coming and going is bound to look a tad suspicious.

Still, combining them is possible yes.

>Actually, could two people go deliver these news, rather than just one?


Also, I'll close the thread here. continuation will happen around Wednesday/Thursday next week. Gotta let my brain rest up a little, so you guys are free to deliberate longer.
Another possibility. Does the princess or Hilde have anything like a Royal Signet ring or anything else that's would signal to anyone in her faction "This person speaks on behalf of/has been temporarily bequeathed the authority of Anaïs/Hildegarde. Treat them as you would if she was here herself backing up everything they say including orders?" Because that opens up either another way to send word or a way to grant insurance to whomever we send out.

Also, a side question ya probably can't answer, but how often does princess bleed to save others? Rereading this, it seems like she does that on the regular. And Hilde is totally covered up save for her head thanks to long white gloves and socks/pantyhose so that furthers my suspicions in regards to her being a humanoid weapons platform. That or the princess has a thing for that get up.

Though it could also aid in detecting blood as when princess bleeds in an unplanned way it would be bad. Horrors and spirits are like starving sharks and are just waiting for a chance to get some of that. It's like electrolytes, it's what they crave.

Then I think Gwen and Arawn should go as quick as possible, leaving Hao in company of the sick slaves. She can do recon by herself and then come report to us, and she can als odefend them if things turn awry. On the other hand, we can try to defend Gwen.
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>Does the princess or Hilde have anything like a Royal Signet ring or anything else that's would signal to anyone in her faction "This person speaks on behalf of/has been temporarily bequeathed the authority of Anaïs/Hildegarde. Treat them as you would if she was here herself backing up everything they say including orders?" Because that opens up either another way to send word or a way to grant insurance to whomever we send out.

Something like that can only be given by the queen, Anaïs remains the heir despite her influence.

>Also, a side question ya probably can't answer, but how often does princess bleed to save others?

I can't provide any obvious answer here but there are a few rumors circulating around that Anaïs seems skilled in medicine: bleeding on people wound is a little too farfetched for most people to believe (especially since it's an accusation of blood magic). The princess is also incredibly popular with the soldiers, so if people have been privy to this knowledge, they've kept their tongue.

>And Hilde is totally covered up save for her head thanks to long white gloves and socks/pantyhose so that furthers my suspicions in regards to her being a humanoid weapons platform. That or the princess has a thing for that get up.

She totally does.

>Though it could also aid in detecting blood as when princess bleeds in an unplanned way it would be bad. Horrors and spirits are like starving sharks and are just waiting for a chance to get some of that. It's like electrolytes, it's what they crave.

Let's just say Kreszenz royalty are an interesting lot.

That's possible. I'll wait for more anons to weight their opinions before proceeding with a final check-up.
>Employ Hao idea. Reveal the treachery of that single Alms Giver to the slaves, let the new spread. The language barrier is your shield. Perhaps, if they report to you enough, you'll get lucky...

>Should you inform Daiyu and Valda?

>Who should go?

She's currently a nondescript human, and her moving away will be less noticeable than us, the obvious leper with the easily spotted and remembered mask.

If our aim is to not alert the poisoner to our awareness of her presence, then we shouldn't have one of the two easily recognized and remembered members of the Demon Lord's daughter's retinue do anything suspicious.
Seem like we have three to employ Hao idea while two wants to send Gwendolyn to inform your allies.
What worries me about using Hao's idea is the potential vigilantism - while there won't be lynching mobs due to the condition of the slaves, there most likely are some younger Mamonos healthy enough to get very angry and distrusting of the Alms Givers... though I can't come up with a better alternative.

I can support sending Gwendolyn to inform the Queen and Daiyu. While I understand the potential of her getting ambushed, I think it's unlikely... and Arawn going with Gwen would undermine the point of sending Gwen by attracting attention to her.
Rolled 7 + 10 (1d20 + 10)

Putting Hao's plan into motion and sending Gwendolyn back seems to be the popular opinion, we can close the thread on that.
That was supposed to be -10. Now that you guys have absolutely nothing to worry about, feel free to ask any questions!
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>that roll

I am become scared. So very scared. Who/what was that roll for? I know you won't tell me, but hey, worth a shot.
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A roll, you saw a roll? I don't see anything, it doesn't seem important anyway.
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You just had to make that roll NOW of all times, didn't you?! *sob* Waiting for next week's thread is going to be nerve-wrecking.
I can't do this often so I'll fully embrace this tension.
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Gif attached is how I imagine your overall mood to be right now.
The worst part is we don't know if that roll was a good or a bad thing because we don't know who the roll was for. If we knew we could guess what's gonna happen.

Sadly, we don't know, and you won't tell us because that fact is letting you REJOICE harder than usual. I can think of several ways the roll was meant for either bad people or for someone on our team. Not knowing what's about to happen is a torture all its own.
Thread archived, I'll continue lurking so if there's any questions, I'll answer.
Huh, I actually just thought of one. How does Leprosy work here and what are the specifics of what/how lepers function in society? Illnesses seem to have both a physical and ethereal connotation to them.

It's as if both the miasma and germ theory of sickness had something profoundly right. There are microbes and such that do what we know them to do in our world, but then magic, spirits, eldritch horrors, and other fantasy stuff complicates that enough for the lines get a bit blurry. Y'know, Chicken or Egg questions. Is the miasma caused by the germs or do the germs generate/cause miasma?
Sickness function much like our world in the majority of cases, people are generally more resistant because of soul interaction with the body. However, Leprosy is a rare disease in current days because of widespread proper hygiene and that nobles folks have access to competent alchemist/healer but there are still a few unlucky sorts. For their roles in society... Anyone suffering from Leprosis will remain isolated if he's a noble or taken care of by the church if it's a lowborn. Someone like Arawn, going out and accomplishing duties, is out of the norm.

Most known incurable diseases are a dissonance between Soul and Body that manifest into handicaps or, for your ruse, an unlucky case of Leprosy. Because of that, there are lots of unique diseases specific to ToM settings while stuff like cancers or tumors can be cured by Holy and/or alchemy.

One peculiar Demon Lord used diseases to fight mankind, so they've adapted quite well with handling epidemics.
One final question I just thought of. The Alms Givers, how organized are they? Were they suddenly put upon and thus haven't gotten the bureaucratic element organized or were they ready for this and thus had the whole record keeping and documentation apparatus ready to go?

If the later our little poisoner has a paper trail leading back to her. Nobody thought to look into it because nobody thought someone in the organization would do something like this. Hence how she's been getting away with murder despite this.

Sadly, if we run to the leaders right away, rat the fucker out, then start deep diving into the archives with their record keepers it'd instantly clue them in and they'd bug out ASAP. Depriving us of the satisfaction of bringing them to justice. If we do catch her though, and the records are there, open and shut case.
>Were they suddenly put upon and thus haven't gotten the bureaucratic element organized

That one, they found the slaves a few days ago and the queen didn't expect to linger around so the healers didn't establish a proper headquarter.
Awwww crapbaskets. Well, thanks for answering. Can't wait for the next thread.
Oh, I've got a question myself!

How is a mage's nature determined? is it hereditary in any way? I fail to remember if this was touched upon way back at the first few threads.
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It's a case of both. Mor mankind, genetic lottery cause many mages to be born from previously entirely mundane bloodline but a few lucky families have managed to keep their magical ancestry going with various amount of success.

Mamonos are almost entirely based on their species. Succubus/Demons like Sieglinde and Martha have no magical potential but make up for it with Corruption and Liches like vilma are always attuned to necromancy.

However, Teruko and Hao species are very closely tied with humanity so a few of them are born with a magical gift without any prior causes to explain why.

To keep it simple, the magical gift may or may not be hereditary based on the mage in question, they essentially need to get a kid and find out if the child is gifted later.

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