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/qst/ - Quests


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFQoEP3d3pI

"I just... don't want to eat anymore."

The god of brutality shed another tear and as it fell to the ground he instantly regained his composure as he stared at the burned and mutilated corpses littering the ground. As he mourned that peculiar tear drop began moving on its own and zig-zagged on the ground until it reached the roaring flames. When they touched the meager little fire exploded into a raging inferno that seemed to consume all it came in contact with.

Flesh, bone, metal and even stone seemed like it was flammable as they were eaten away by the fires.
You stared in horror as the walls and the ceiling began to smolder and crack around you.
The destruction was so intense it even managed to make you forget about the living deity in front of you.

Looking back at Arken Razak you saw him staring deep into your soul.
The sensation of a gods gaze may have been familiar to you but your friends... Well they were an entirely different matter.
Szikra and Beatrice could not do anything other than frantically breathing over and over again as the intense eyes of Razak were burning a hole in their soul.

He pointed at you before raising his hand at the door behind you.
"You should leave. Soon nothing shall remain of this place."

Though you are much more collected than your companions you are still scared shitless by his mere presence.
A drop of sweat sizzles on your cheek as it evaporates.
"And show my back to you?"

"I don't want there to be any more suffering...
Just leave and let me take care of the dead."

You hesitated, not knowing how to process all of this. But luckily you didn't have to as Beatrice, ignorant to the horrors of the cosmos unlike Szikra and You, gathered herself and charged the creature.
"I WILL NOT DIE WITHOUT A FIGHT! FOR THE EMPIRE!"

Fight or flight might be a useful response in a crisis situation but in this case it was quite a dumb move.
She raised her rapier with remarkable speed and pointed it at Razaks eye. The steel shattered like glass before it even reached the godly flesh. Beatrice simply gasped in shock.

Razak didn't even bother to look at her as he responded.
"Brave...
Now sleep brave one."
Beatrice's eyes fell like they were made of lead.
Before she could fell to the ground however she slowed down and floated in the air, soon enough Szikra followed suit.
"Take them and leave. Before you join these poor souls."

>Take the girls
>Thank Razak and leave
>Tell him that if he's really sorry then he should help you
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3083738
>Other?
>"And what will become of you after I leave?"
At the very least, it seems Razak isn't about to bring the boss' dream to fruition, but leaving a god to wander the world doesn't seem like it won't have consequences.
>>
>>3083738
>Take the girls
>Thank Razak and leave
But before we're fully gone >>3083745
>>
>>3083738
>>Take the girls
>>Thank Razak and leave
>>
>>3083745
Gotcha

>writing
>>
"And what will become of you after I leave?"
You ask the terrifying god with as much respect as you could muster in your fear.

"I will return from whence I came.
This world already has one too many gods..."
With that Razak turned around and with a swipe of his hand opened a portal into the radiant cosmos. The familiar rainbow colored chaos seemed so alien now that you see it with your real eyes and not those of your mind.
"And if you see my brother... Thank him for letting me set this straight."

Razak then stepped through the thin veil and his human form, along with his red suit, disappeared into a blood colored fog.
Realizing that there is nothing else for you to do you rushed to scoop up the girls and ran out of the blazing inferno that Razak created. Ascending the flight of stairs you met with Mezegis who was more than a little confused.

"Oy mate! What happened down there? And why does every strand of hair on my body standing up?"

"NO TIME TO EXPLAIN!"
You shouted at him and quickly handed over the unconscious body of Beatrice for him to carry.
"We need to get out of here! The whole place is about to collapse!"

"Collapse? What the hell are y-"
And just as he was about to say that the ground under your feet cracked and from the orange crevices fire and brimstone began spewing forth.
"HOLY SHIT!"

You turned to the other gang members and shouted at them.
"WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! AN ORDER?! MOVE IT! MOVE IT!"

In a fit of mass hysteria everyone began running out of the place at top speed.
It took only about ten minutes for you to come out of the tunnel you used to enter with the flames slowly catching up to you.
One of Mezegis' goons looked at the inferno and sighed with relief.

"Phew... At least the water is gonna stop it."
He said as the fire began spreading on the surface of the water as they poured out of the outflow pipe.
"What... the... fuck?"

"Did you do this Zsold?"
Mezegis asked you.

"No.
They did."
>>
The mad dash out of the tunnels below left you all exhausted and the march back to the crib of Mezegis took you much longer than actually getting out of that death trap. On the way you even saw several fire fighters rushing to quell the aethereal flames that Razak left behind. But you couldn't really care much about that.

After getting back you allowed the girls to rest and seated yourself in a pile of pillows, feeling the weight of the battle upon you. Mezegis meanwhile gathered one of his 'apothecaries' to take a look at the two girls.
He stared as the physician shook his head.

"They don't appear to have sustained any injuries."

"Then what happened to them?"

"Best guess? Magic. But can't tell what kind."

"What did these fucking culters do?
Eh, Zsold?"

You didn't answer the question and instead rubbed the bridge of your nose in your frustration.
"Just get me something stiff to drink already!"

"That bad, huh?"
Your friend snapped his fingers and one of his concubines quickly brought a bottle of cognac for you.
Tossing the glass she brought with it aside you chugged the full bottle instead.

With a loud gasp after the deep drink you reached into your pocket and tossed the bag Mezegis gave to you previously.
"Here. You can have it back."

He looked at the satchel with profound confusion.
"You feeling alright mate? How come you didn't touch it?
This is primo stuff, I tell you."

"I'm trying to kick it."
You dodged the question, not mentioning the fact that the things you are seeing nowadays is far stronger than any junk he could sell you.

Just as you finished that train of thought Szikra and Beatrice started awakening from their forced slumber.
They both groaned and grabbed their heads as they were beset by horrible headaches.
"Did... that just happen?"
Beatrice asked you.

"I'm afraid yes."

"...Shit."

"Waitwaitwait!
What? What am I missing?"
Mezegis asked you.

>Tell him
>You don't need to know
>Just Culter stuff. (lie)
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3083896
>"You don't need to know. Trust me, you'll sleep a lot more soundly not knowing. But if you really want to know, ask me again and I'll tell you."
>>
>>3083896
>>Tell him
He helped. He asked to know, now he gets to wether he truly wants to or not
>>
>>3083896
I'll back >>3083910
Give him an out.
>>
Roger roger

>writing
>>
Looking sharply at Mezegis you gave him your answer.
"You don't need to know. Trust me, you'll sleep a lot more soundly not knowing. But if you really want to know, ask me again and I'll tell you."

He paused for a moment as he was stroking his chin.
"That bad, huh? Very well... lay it on me."

Sighing after a deep breath you shook your head.
"Very well. Just don't forget that you asked for it.
Those... madmen... wanted to summon the god of brutality into this world...
And they succeeded."

Mezegis then covered his mouth with his hand.
He dared not to speak as he was pacing back and forth around the room.
Finally he stopped and looked at you with a somewhat worried expression on his face.
"Did they succeed?"
You nod.
"Fuck..."

Finally Beatrice and Szikra stepped up to you.
"But... how did we survive?"

"It knocked you out. Then... left."

This befuddled everyone present.
"W-Why?"

"I... don't know.
It seemed... tired of being a god.
Guess he doesn't want crazed maniacs worshipping it."

"So it... successfully entered out realm and then... fucked off?"
Mezegis asked and you nodded yet again.
"Then we got lucky! We got fucking LUCKY!
Shit... I need something to take the edge off!"

With that he opened the little bag you tossed for him previously and proceeded to snort the little ball of junk.
As his mind got lost in a drug fueled bliss Beatrice sat down next to you as she was still rubbing her forehead.
"Look... I just wanted to thank you... for taking us out of there.
And for everything else."

Looking into her eyes you began pointing on her.
"Paid like heroes!"

She let out a pained chuckle.
"After all this... you'll get more than that.
But first we'll have to explain all of this to my superiors. I'm sure they would want an explanation for all this chaos.
I'd... appreciate if you both came. It'd be easier to make a case with you present."

>Fine
>I don't need that in my life. Just bring us a chest of gold
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3084003
>>Fine
>>
Hmmmm... not gonna wait for any longer so I guess I'll take this.

>writing
>>
Not seeing much of a reason to refuse her you agreed to follow Beatrice.
"Fine... just give us a few minutes to recover first."

"Of course. I think I'll need that as well.
Wolf... may I use one of your bathtubs?"

"When you ask so nicely Captain?"
Mezegis snapped his fingers and one of his aides escorted Beatrice to the bathrooms.

As she went ahead and freshened herself you and Szikra laid back and took a nice long rest on the pillows. Until Beatrice returned you attempted to recover your stamina by patting Zanas head who crawled up to you.
"Hurt?"

"No. Just tired."

"Tai-red...
Zultma."

It took the elf a while before she returned to you. Judging by her sunken eyes and her ragged look she must've spent all this time sitting in the tub staring out of her head. You can't really blame her. If you didn't have your little friend to take off the edge you might be in a similar position, drained and depleted of emotion.
"Are you ready?"

Springing up you responded.
"Yeah."

"How are you-"
She pauses.
"Have you seen this before?"

"Once.
Though smaller in scale you don't get too affected the second time.
So we got lucky."

Szikra meanwhile picked something, probably some flesh from under her nails.
"Yeah... doesn't mean I enjoy getting into shit like this...
Though at this rate we'll be certified demon hunters in a year."

Beatrice shook her head.
"Look what the world has come to that such a thing would be a profession.
Come now. I'm sure they are expecting us. They just don't know it yet."
>>
The road to the Guards stronghold was an interesting one to say the least.
As you expected the city was in disarray with both soldiers and firefighters running around like headless chickens, unsure about what was going on. Though the quakes have stopped smoke and fire was still spewing from a select few outflow pipes.
Naturally the citizens were quite scared about the potential dangers. But that did not concern you.

The soldiers standing guard outside did not give you much trouble with Beatrice on your side and you managed to stroll in like a shining beacon of confidence in a sea of chaos. Leading you to the upper levels where the officers had their posts she made you wait outside as she called the necessary people together and gave them a quick rundown of what the hell transpired right under their nose.

After they called you in to testify you confirmed what Beatrice said and explained to them in detail the severity of the situation.
Naturally you omitted the part about the syndicate having connections with high ranking members of the guard. But even with that you did not see any of them being relieved over that little fact.
Once you were done with your testimony they brought in some "experts" who made sure you weren't lying.

This meant that you got tested with a rare magical device which could supposedly tell if you were telling the truth or not.
You aren't sure how true that was but it gave back a positive result which terrified the guards and made you very happy.

Once the dust has settled and the guards stopped arguing amongst themselves they asked you, and Beatrice oddly enough, to wait outside while they discussed things with each other and while they notified her majesty the empress about this. You spent the better part of the day sitting around the barracks as these damn guards remained unable to come to a conclusion.

"Why is this taking so long?!"
Szikra shouted in anger.

"Don't be too harsh on them."
Beatrice tried to calm her down.
"After all, they just found out about the existence and destruction of the largest crime ring in the Empires history...
Not to mention the business regarding the cultists."

"I know but... ARGH!"

After roughly half the day has passed they FINALLY called you back in.
Though they looked much more organized than before the guards were still quite obviously in a state of disarray after hearing all that you had to say.

"We were still wandering about something..."
They spoke up.
"You, adventurers, you claim they attempted to summon... something.
Before we discuss the matter of your payments we must know... Did they succeed?
Did anything come through? Is the Empire still in danger?"

>Tell them
>Say they didn't (lie)
>Claim that you killed everything inside and that's all that matters
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3084235
>>Tell them
>>
Give them a half truth, "You have nothing to fear, the culters' ritual failed." Not exactly true not exactly false
>>
>>3084235
>Their attempted summoning backfired. That's what caused the fire in the pit.
Don't give ANYONE of these people the idea that they might be able to summon a God. They'll try the same against their enemies.
>>
>>3084300
>>3084272
Okay, I like these

>writing

But still, summoning a god is not something the Empire would try since it's a crime punishable by death. The traitors on the other hand...
>>
"Their ritual backfired. Hard. That's what caused the fire spreading through the old sewers now.
The same thing that consumed everything down there."

You told them a half truth without going into detail. It's best that they don't know about Arken Razak at all.
They seem to believe you, or at least think what you are saying is plausible. So much so that they don't bother to check if you are saying the truth or not.

"That's all we wanted, thank you.
Captain Beatrice..."

"Yes Commander?"

"You go to Captain Thomas with the adventurers.
He'll handle you from this point onwards. Now if you'll excuse us we've wasted enough time as is."

"Pardon my interruption Commander but... doesn't the situation warrant further discussion?!
I mean... it is our responsibility that an environment that could produce such a horrid thing even exists!"

"It does, that's true.
But we've spent almost the entire day arguing with one another, and frankly we are all tired of it.
And even so... by your own admission this case is now closed so we can take our time deciding how to proceed from here.
Now... be on your way and go to Thomas! This is an order!"

"Y-Yes Commander..."
Beatrice bit her lips and bowed saluted for her superiors before leading you outside.
As she was marching in front of you the sound of her stomping was quite audible.

"Is it normal for them to treat you so dismissively?"
You ask her.
"After all, you just proved that you were right all along."

"No...
I also thought their attitudes would change after I showed them the truth.
But I didn't think it'd be for the worse! Damn them!"

You nervously followed the angry elf through the hallways of the barracks until you came to a quite peculiar room with a gilded name plate on the front that appears to have been scraped off recently.
Now it reads: "Captain Thomas"
The previous text is illegible.
>>
And this is where I'll have to ask for some dice rolls!

3d10 as always and it'll be a best of 4 this time.
DC: 15, no crit
>>
Rolled 7, 8, 2 = 17 (3d10)

>>
>>3084390
Okay, sanity check passed!
And on the first roll too
>>
Rolled 4, 8, 9 = 21 (3d10)

>>3084375
>>
Rolled 5, 3, 2 = 10 (3d10)

>>3084375
>>
Rolled 6, 9, 10 = 25 (3d10)

>>3084375
>>
She opened the door to the office and was greeted by a very calming voice.
"Ah, Captain Beatrice. I was expecting you.
Please do come in. You too adventurers."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjY5b6wdm8Q

Upon entering and laying your eyes upon the officer sitting in his chair your heart felt like it stopped for a moment, only to start up beating harder than you thought possible. Before your eyes visions of violence, rage and hatred flashed one after another. Your rising bloodlust felt like it was going out of control until you bit down on your own tongue as hard as you could.
It wasn't enough to completely chew through the soft tissue but enough to draw blood.
And the pain gave you enough focus to keep it together.

"Captain Thomas...
These two are the adventurers who are responsible for putting a stop to the culter activity in the city."

"So I've heard. And so did Her Majesty.
In fact she was so impressed by your service to the country that she decided to reward you handsomely despite technically being mercenaries."

This 'Thomas' spoke well and was well mannered. But it was all a facade. Minor queues in his tone betrayed his feelings.
He looked down on you. A lot.

"Well that's mighty kind of her!"
Szikra spoke up.
"And she'd better, considering we just saved the city."

"Let's... not get carried away.
Your achievement was great and it shall be rewarded as such.
Here... This small chest contains exactly twenty gold pieces-"
He lifted the cover of the container for you to see before shutting it and sliding it over his desk.
"It's all yours."

Szikra skipped forward and greedily wrapped her hands around the box.
"Thank yooou!"

The captain then looked at you.
"Your friend... he doesn't talk much, does he?"

Szikra looked at you and saw that something was off so she began lying through her teeth.
"Oh he doesn't talk much. More of a man of action than anything."

"I see. But you do seem familiar...
Oh I know! Must be that fine armor! I remember seeing it in a blacksmiths shop!"

"Yeah, that must be it!
Now if you'll excuse us we'll-"

"Just hold on a moment!
There is still one matter we must discuss..."
Thomas spoke to Szikra and then turned his attention to Beatrice.
"Captain Beatrice Gold. For your involvement in this recent incident and in light of your previous service to Her Majesties royal guard... You are hereby... discharged...
Report to the armory and forfeit your equipment immediately! Afterwards you'll have exactly one hour to pack up your belongings and leave this place! Forever!
Any material possessions left here shall be confiscated and declared 'Property of the state'. I hope I made myself very clear on that one."
>>
Beatrice was struggling to find words capable of expressing her emotions.
Rage and confusion began to cloud her minds as she attempted to speak up, in between fits of uncontrollable gagging.

"W-WHAT DO YOU MEAN?!"

*sigh*
"I was hoping I wouldn't have to explain this.
But I see you decided to be difficult. Very well! I shall now list your crimes one by one. But before I do, I'd like to remind you that the only reason you aren't getting court-martialed is because of your pristine record..."
'Thomas' then cleared his throat as he pulled out a long parchment which he began to read out loud.
"Collaborating with criminal organizations, conducting investigations without a permit, the employment of mercenaries to perform the work of the guard-"

"HEY! We are adventurers!"

"Really? Then did she employ you through the guild? If so, where is the contract to prove it?"
There was no response coming from Szikra.
"I thought so... Now then, where were we?
Foregoing due process and therefore breaking Her Majesties decrees several times over the course of said investigations and several hundred silvers worth of property damage. Not to mention all the injuries from all the mayhem YOU are responsible for."

"But I-"

"If you're asking me you should be sent to the gallows for your crime but apparently the higher ups took your otherwise flawless record into consideration. So by all accounts, you should be grateful you only get this much... former captain Beatrice!"

The elf was fuming with rage, causing reason to abandon her.
She was struggling to find anything to grasp but she was out of options.
Despair began to overwhelm her.

>Let's go Szikra. We're done here.
>Pull her away before she does something she'd regret.
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3084522
I'm a little confused here. Is Thomas one of our brothers? If not why are we so pissed at him?
>>
>>3084536
bingo
>>
>>3084522
>>Pull her away before she does something she'd regret.
>>
>>3084542
I'm guessing there's no way to get away with killing him here is there?
>>
>>3084522
>Pull her away before she does something she'd regret.
Much as it'd be interesting to leave her here on the off chance she decided to run Thomas through, it doesn't seem a strong likelihood. And Thomas deserves worse than that anyway.
>>
>>3084522
>Pull her away before she does something she'd regret.
Don't say a damn word. Enough shit's been thrown around today.
>>
Obvious vote is obvious

>writing

>>3084564
Well unless you are willing to make the entire Empire go after you, no
>>
You put a hand on the shoulder of Beatrice who didn't seem to notice a thing, she was so absorbed by her rage.
As you dragged her away she kept shouting obscenities at 'Thomas' who simply ignored her, lit a wooden pipe and began smoking in front of her. He even waved as you dragged to poor girl through the door.

Szikra, a bit confused by this, followed you and closed the door behind her.
"Well it was nice seeing you Captain! Have a pleasant day!"
And as she shut it she muttered this.
"Hope you choke on that you arsehole."

After managing to pull Beatrice away she calmed down a bit, at least enough to follow through her orders and forfeited her weapon and armor. Unlike her peers the quartermaster was much more kind and sympathetic towards her which only managed to rub more salt into her already aching wounds.

Once the procedure was done she didn't even bother going to her office since it was so spartan it contained nothing that was her own. Storming off through the front gate, ignoring all the soldiers that actually came to salute her she headed straight for the nearest bar. And you, deciding that it's not the best idea to leave her alone with her demons like that followed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4PABl-OUKg

Upon entry you saw her chugging down an entire bottle of wine on her own, smashing the glass on the table and angrily demanding another one from the owner, all the while cursing at the top of her lungs.
"Son of a bitch! Who does he think he IS?!
I gave them everything! Years of my life, all my dedication and energy!
I fought, bled and sweated... I did it all for the people... For my country...
I did everything by the book... And now I lost it all!" *sob*

Her rage and hatred quickly turned into despair and sorrow as she began crying her eyes out on the dirty bartable.
You couldn't blame her, after all you wanted to do the same. But seeing her act this way made you realize what you mustn't do. So you stared at her, feeling your heart sink deeper and deeper into your chest as you did.
"Do you... think we should help her?"

Not answering, instead you took a deep breath and walked up and sat beside her.
"Why? Why me? Why is it always me?!
What am I going to do now? Gods... How am I going to support mom and dad?!"
>>
Her voice cracks and you raise your arm to pat her on the shoulder.
She looks up at you the tears disappear stop flowing and you see malice surface through them once more.
Raising her hands she reaches for your throat and wraps her fingers around it.

"IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!
If you didn't exist this wouldn't have happened!"

Despite her trying to choke the life out of you, you still managed to speak up.
Looking into her eyes you did not falter.
"You're right."
She let out a gasp.
"But... you did nothing wrong.
You acted because no-one else would. Remember why you stepped out of line.
And remember who you really should be angry at!"

Just as you were starting to feel woozy her fingers loose strength and she lets go of you.
Looking down at her own hands she buries her face in them and begins bawling her eyes out. All the while you are patting her on the back.

Finally after a couple of minutes she manages to somewhat recollect herself and straightens herself before she reaches for her fresh bottle of red wine.
"Thank you... I... I needed that."

As she attempted to chug alcohol once more you stopped the bottle from tilting upward and warned her that she should be more careful. For a moment she considers what you said and decides to follow your advice, setting the bottle down.
"Beatrice... Are you feeling better?"

"I... don't know."

"Can I ask a question from you."

"I... guess?"

>Whose office was that?
>How long has he been a captain?
>What do you know about 'Thomas'?
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3084787
>>How long has he been a captain?
>>
>>3084787
>>What do you know about 'Thomas'?
>>
>>3084787
>What do you know about 'Thomas'?
>Think you can get out on your own two legs after a few more?

I'm thinking she needs more time to get away from the pain, but it also doesn't hurt to ask what she knows about "Tommy".
>>
>writing
>>
"Think you can get out on your own legs after a few more?"
You look at her as you shake the bottle.

She let out a pained smile.
"Yeah. But that might change if you buy me a few rounds.
I'm broke after all."

"That could be arranged."

Sharing a couple drinks with Beatrice you attempted to guide her along the path of self loathing. She has an amazing constitution for a woman but your resistance to inebriation is much more impressive. A few drinks in but still in the zone where she could recall things from the past you attempted to ask a few questions from her, now that they won't sting as much.

"So what can you tell me about this 'Thomas'?
Like how long has he been a captain for example?"

"I don't know... Never paid too much attention to him as a man.
Always seemed so... average, unassuming.
So... I'd say probably a few months.
Maybe even a few years."

"Shot in the dark... Was it around the same time Captain Julien was kicked out?"

She paused for a moment.
"Yeaaaa... that's right. He even got his old office!
How did you-"

"Yeah, what are you getting at Zsold?"
Szikra asked you who also joined your little drinking game.

"Well that explains a lot.
Beatrice... I think we might've found one of those corrupt guards you were looking for."

"Thomas?! He's a weasel sure but...
What makes you say that?"

"Because that's how he operates. Julian was court-martialed because of an old war crime barely anyone knew or cared about. 'Thomas' must've dug that up and presented it to the right people who did care!
After he was removed from the scene he must've wormed his way in. Probably through some contact of his.
And I'm willing to bet that it was he who worked together with the Boss and his syndicate. The whole thing fits him like a glove..."

"Who is this man?"

"Oh no..."
Szikra spoke up as comprehension slowly dawned on her.

"Thomas is not his real name.
Must've changed it so nobody would recognize it.
His name is Kazan. And he's my older brother."
>>
Beatrice looked like she was just about ready to kill you in that moment but you swiftly ended that.
"Whether you believe it or not, you do not hate him as much as I do. Not by a long shot.
But let me continue... Why were we praised and paid but you were punished?
Because we fucked with his business... But you were the only one he could punish for it."

"Then why not just kill us?"
Szikra asked.

"He's not dumb. If we managed to take out an entire organization he wouldn't get rid of us that easily.
So in the short time that he had this is the only thing he could accomplish, ruining Beatrice.
And that's just how he likes it... He doesn't fight you, he doesn't kill you, he makes you suffer.
And he typically achieves that with just talking. He controls others through debt and secrets, manipulates others into doing things beneficial to him. That's Kazan."

Beatrice then smashes her knuckles together in anger.
"THEN WE FIND HIM AND GUT HIM WHERE HE STANDS!
LET'S SEE HIM PUT UP A FIGHT THERE!"

But you just shook your head.
"I'm afraid that's not an option.
We don't know where he lives, what he does in his free time or anything else other than that he's a captain.
And time is not on our side. Just because he couldn't get us killed yet doesn't mean he won't try.
The longer we stay in the city the more we have to worry about someone cutting our throats in our sleep."

Szikra then looks at you.
"Are you fine with that Zsold?
I mean after all-"

"I am not dumb Szikra. I know when I have to retreat.
And now it's running time."
You then let out a vicious grin.
"Besides... I already got what I wanted! I know where he is!"

Beatrice then slammed her mug against the table as she gritted her teeth.
"Zsold is right. You should get out while you still can... let things die out... and return to rip the bastards guts out!"

>You should come with us. Now that you have nothing keeping you here
>Finally, a voice of reason!
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3084981
>>You should come with us. Now that you have nothing keeping you here
>>
>>3084981
Backing >>3084998 more allies always helps.
>>
New party member it is.

>writing
>>
>>3084981
>You should come with us. Now that you have nothing keeping you here, and we can find better pay than what you might get as one of the Guard.

Remember guys, what's kept her in the Guard was BECAUSE of sending money to her folks.
>>
"And I think you should come with us. Now that you have nothing to keep you here.
Plus the pay is good. If you are willing to put your life on the line."

"...Okay."

Szikra looks up from her mug with widened eyes.
"Well that was easy!"

"It's as you said. I have nothing left to fight for in this city.
I still love the empire and their citizens but I can't help them if they don't want me to.
And you two seem like just folk, certainly the most upstanding ones I've seen in recent years.
So I shall tag along and see how you do things. If I like it I'll consider staying for... longer."

"If you liked what you saw down there then you'll like what we have to offer.
Welcome to the crew Beatrice.
Any objections Szikra?"

She shook her head.
"She can fight. That works for me."

Upon hearing that you leaned in close to her and began whispering in her ear.
"I thought you can't stand her!"

"That was before she got fucked over harder than the Boss!"

"Then it is decided. Do you have any business you'd like to attend to before we take our leave?"

"Already?!"
She asked you.

"Personally, I had enough of the city. And after I got all the answers I could for my questions the only thing keeping me here was the job. Now that that's over it's high time for us to get out of here.
Especially now that Kazan is out to get us.
Do you have any objection to that?"

"Just... one."

"Oh?"

You heard her out and agreed with Szikra that it's an acceptable request. And with that settled you all made your way back to the Sleeping Wolf. Upon entering you were greeted by the magnificent presence of Mezegis once more.
"Welcome back friends! And lady Captain! How did your chance meeting with the stalwart protectors of the empire go?"

"Mezegis..."
Beatrice stepped forward.

"My, my, my. What have we here?"

"I feel like I should've said this long ago but...
Thank you. You did a great service to the city. Despite being a criminal."

"Well you are quite welcome my sweet Captain! I just hope that this pleasantry won't get in the way of our little cat and mouse games!"

"I'm certain it won't.
Because there won't be more games."

"Huh?!"

"I'm leaving Mezegis. I was discharged from the guard.
So you'll have to find yourself a new foil I'm afraid."

"Oh... oh...
W-well captain I'm sure I'll manage! A great genius like myself won't have trouble attracting talented and very capable people to himself! AHAHAHAHA!"

As the two of them were busy having their little exchange you went up to Zana and lead her out by the hand.
"Say goodbye to the nice man, Zana."

"Bye."
>>
With things said and done all three of you made your way out of the Sleeping Wolf and onto the streets.
You visited the old home of Beatrice where she packed up her stuff and finally left her old life behind.
Szikra took a quick look at her stuff and laughed.

"You had a spare rapier at home?"

"Of course.
We couldn't take ours home."

After settling everything you all took to the streets and decided to finally leave Weistgardist behind.
Beatrice looked back as she stepped through the borders of the city with a certain longing but you reassured her that you'll be back. Sooner or later.

And as you settled down after a decent amount of traveling you overheard Szikra talking to your new comrade.
"Okay, so I hope you're ready because this is the best part of life on the road!
Zsolds cooking! It is to die for!
That and his ma-
...
Actually, I'd better not say a thing. You don't need to know about that.
Just remember that if he offers to touch you in ANY way you refuse."

"I... did not realize Zsold was so lecherous..."

"He isn't. He's about as cold as the mountain peaks! But he might offer you a massage to help you.
DON'T under ANY circumstances accept!"

"B-But why?"

"I can NOT say!"

As the two of them were chatting away like a couple of old hags at the village market you sat at the edge of the camp and stared up into the sky while you were scratching Zanas ear. Your mind was constantly drawn towards your brother.
After all this time you've found him. This made you happy.
So happy in fact that you barely noticed when a rather odd looking owl landed before you.

As you looked at it you felt a certain heat rising in your chest and realized that the brooch you got from Rosette was the one acting up. Looking at the owl you saw it carrying a letter bound to its leg.
Taking it you read through it carefully.

"My dearest Knight.
Despite my efforts to forget about you as the days turned into nights and the nights turned into days I couldn't help but constantly remind myself of you. No matter how hard I try I remember that fateful night with the greatest clarity.
So please, forgive the foolishness of this maidens heart and entertain her fantasies if it pleases you!

How have you been? I trust these treacherous roads treat you well.
Me, I've been stuck in the dreadfully boring world of nobility. 'Tis silly I know, but I never felt as alive as the day you rescued me. Is this foolishness Ser Knight? Or perhaps the cravings of a maidens heart?
Could you perhaps share your exciting tales with me? I'd love to hear more from you.

With love: Rosette."

Not hesitating for too long you took out a quill and a slip of paper from your pack and began writing a response immediately.
"Dear Rosette-"
>>
Aaaand that's as far as I can go with todays thread I'm afraid.
SInce I'll have to wake up early tomorrow.

I'll try to squeeze in some omakes over the course of the week so expect that.

And finally, stay safe until we meet again!
>>
>>3085318
Thanks for the run Spooks! Always like seeing the omakes through the week as well.
>>
What's good you fucks?
I'm back and I'll get to writing one of the omakes right now.

Sadly I won't be able to do more than that until Thursday.
So... enjoy this little intermission with Lowan and the gang in the meantime
>>
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Omake #1: The Artisan

Sitting out in the garden of her mansion Lady Nico was spending her afternoon relaxing after a long day of working on the spinning-wheel. As she was laying back with her eyes closed in her wooden chair she had both her hands submerged in bowls of room temperature water. Though this was not a particularly lavish relaxation method, right now it felt like heaven to her aching hands.

She was so lost in the sensation in fact that she barely even realized the creeping presence of one of her new 'guards'.
"E-Erm... Lady Nico...
What are you doing?"

Opening one of her eyes she looked at the brunette mage girl and let out a soft sigh.
"Oh it's just you Sonya...
Not much. Just trying to relax."

"I-Is that water?"

"Hmmm? Oh yes. It's really refreshing.
A shame that I have to change it soon since it's getting lukewarm...
Heeeey! You are an elemental mage, right? Could you help me out?"

"H-Help you out my lady?"

"Yes! Could you be a dear and cool these off for me?"

"I-I-I don't know if I can-"

"Nonsense! Can you make fire?"

"Y-Yes?"

"Then it's easy. Just stretch out your hands."

"L-Like this?"

"Uh-huh! Now... instead of increasing the temperature, lower it.
Sloooowly..."

Sonya groaned as she was exerting herself as much as she could. She was certain she could do it, after all Nico was right when she said it's not a difficult thing to pull off. But she hasn't done it before AND she has to make sure she doesn't freeze Lady Clemantis outright. Moaning as she focused she felt the energy leave her hands and saw frost forming on the surface of the bowl.

"Ohhhh gods yes!
MmmmmmMMM!
Good girl. Thank you!"

"I... I did it!"

"You sure did!
I don't know why you are so surprised though.
You're talented!"

"A-Am I?
I... I guess I had good teachers..."

This line from Sonya managed to tick off Nico and she finally graced the girl by looking at her with both eyes.
"Why are you so nervous? I just said you are talented and instead of thanking me you just say "Oh it's the others that are good". How come you don't have an ounce of confidence in your abilities?"

"I-I'm not that good my lady...
I struggle performing simple spells and I have a hard time learning any new ones..."

"Learning?!
Oh dear..."
Nico then withdrew her hands and shook the moisture off of them.
"It seems that you've been mislead dear.
That's okay, I'll teach you how to use magic properly..."
>>
Despite Sonyas protest Nico practically dragged her away. It also didn't help much that she had absolutely no idea WHERE the nice lady was taking her. But apparently it was a very important place as they passed by at least a dozen guards until they reached a rather ornate looking door which Nico promptly opened up.

When she looked inside Sonya immediately understood why there was such an excessive amount of guards stationed there.
Inside the room was the biggest hoard of precious materials, gold, silver and jewels the size of her knuckles, each cut and polished to perfection, all neatly organized and separated in massive baskets.
She was sure that if she could have just one, not a whole basket, just a single piece of jewelry she'd be set for life.
And all of it was just sitting there.

Nico spun around, causing her skirt to rise up as she showcased the room.
"Well? Pretty impressive isn't it?"

Sonya couldn't make a proper response with her mouth hanging open so she gave her a dumb nod.
Seeing this Nico dipped her hand in one of the baskets containing nothing but rubies and took out a handful of them.
The red jewels flowed between her fingertips like they were water.

"This... is my workshop."

"Y-Your... what?"

"Here. I'll show you."
Grabbing a basket full of nice, stained glass panes she went over to the spinning wheel in the corner and sat down.
"This... is where the magic happens.
Now watch closely!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFQoEP3d3pI

Taking a piece of glass out of the basket the lady began to sing and the thick slab began turning into a thin thread between her fingers. Sonya has never seen anything quite like it. The song not only seemed to enchant the material rolled around in her hand but to the little mage girl it looked like the world itself was being filled with new colors as she kept going.
She was so enamored by this craft that bordered on art that she didn't even realize that the entirety of the glass was gone and it has been spun into a spool.

Only the end of the song managed to snap her back into reality, at which point she began clapping uncontrollably.
"Ooooooooh!"

Nico bowed a few times, taking in the praise of the girl.
"Thank you! Thank you! You were a great audience! Ufufufu!
It sure feels nice for someone to compliment me after all this time!"

"H-How did you do that?!"
Sonya then realized how informal she just was and began profusely apologizing to the noble lady.
"I-I'm sorry my lady!"

"Sheesh. It's okay! Cut it out already!
*ahem*
But as for your question. It's simple. Abstract magic.
The manipulation of the forces we don't yet understand.
I can't explain it any better than this but I can tell you one thing: I did not learn this from anyone!"
>>
"W-What do you mean Nico?"

"It's simple.
You see magic as something that's taught. Like reading or writing, a skill you go to school to master or have someone explain it to you. It's neither. Magic is art. Aether is paint and the world around us is the canvas.
I created this art on my own and became the first and only one to use it.
So instead of following in the footsteps of others let your imagination run wild and carve your own path!"

Sonya looked down at the ground as her entire world view was shattered in but a moment.
Then as she forgot her place she reached out and grabbed hold of Nicos hands.
"Thank you Lady Nico! I understand!"

"O-Oh my... You are very welcome!
But I told you not to call me-"

"No! Lady Nico is one worthy of respect!
I wouldn't dare to call you anything less!
So please! Allow me to honor you! My lady!"

Nicos eyes smiled and she pulled the little girls hat over her eyes.
"Very well, I'll allow it!
Now... if you'd be so kind and cool my hands a bit, I have a gift to give you.
A... reminder of this lesson if you will."

Sonya nodded and got to relieving Nicos aching hands before the noble lady returned to her work.
Grabbing the freshly altered glass she got to crafting. Using the tools at her disposal she began making a tunic out of the glass thread.

"P-Please my lady, you don't need to do this!
Not for me anyway!"

"Nonsense! You deserve a reward and besides, what's one more piece of clothing after a couple hundreds!"

Before long the tunic was done and as the rays of the lightwell hit it the clothing radiated with innumerable colors.
Sonya couldn't help but stare at its aethereal beauty.
"Pretty little thing, isn't it?
It's funny actually, originally I used clear glass to make threads... until I realized that you could see through any piece of cloth made out of them. Oh well, I guess this was a very happy little accident.
Here. It's yours."

"T-Thank you my lady, I'll make sure to cherish it!
If I'll ever have a wedding I'll surely wear this."

"What?
Oh nononono.
This is not a wedding dress! I want this to protect you in battle!
So make sure to wear it all the time!"

"B-But... it's glass..."

Nico then wagged her finger in front of the girl in a coy manner.
"It sure is. But trust me on this one.
Take it to that boyfriend of yours. Lowan, was it?
Have him try and cut it apart! And after he gives up, tell them that they can get one as well!"

"T-Thank you my lady!"

"Oh it's nothing.
Just make sure to cool my drinks and my water if I ask you to!
Now off you go!"

Omake #1: THE END
>>
>>3089175
>You see magic as something that's taught. Like reading or writing, a skill you go to school to master or have someone explain it to you. It's neither. Magic is art. Aether is paint and the world around us is the canvas.
>I created this art on my own and became the first and only one to use it.
>So instead of following in the footsteps of others let your imagination run wild and carve your own path!"
Ohshit.exe
>>
Guess what?
I managed to conclude my business in a timely manner and managed to get back home!
Meaning I can do an omake today as well!
>>
Omake #2: The wolfs respite

A nice glass of hard liquor, a big pile of prime quality junk and half a dozen of the most beautiful women of the empire seeking every whim of his. That is how Mezegis imagines a perfect afternoon.
But as one of his most enchanting bedfellows traces her finger over his exposed chest he feels... bored.
A profound emptiness has taken hold within his heart and no matter what he tries he can't seem to fill the void this time.

"What's wrong handsome? Tired already?
But this will be only the third round."

*sigh*
"Not this time girls.
I don't feel like it. Y'all can dress up and leave early.
As usual you can take whatever you want from the piles. I won't judge."

A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.
While the girls have nothing against going five times with THE man of the city, it's nice to get a break every now and then.

Standing up as his, for a lack of a better word, slaves left Mezegis walked to his private chambers which were off limits even to his most trusted men. He liked the girls. No, more than that. He loved them.
Though they had little freedom to speak of they were taken care of. Mezegis fed them, dressed them, bought each on a nice, cozy little house in one of the better districts and generally was ready to do almost anything for them.
In a way they lived much better lives than most people in the Empire. And really, just how much freedom do the "proper" citizens have? They wake up each morning, toil away at a job they probably hate just so they could continue living and return home where they are at the mercy of the ruling body.

Freedom is just a grand illusion, or so did he think.

After closing the door behind him he lit the candles in the room and pulled the curtains in. It was time to shut things out.
But he did not go for the bed, oh no. Activating a hidden mechanism he opened up the secret compartment of the room and entered.

Inside he found a singular, little pillar holding up a basin full of water. At the sides of the glorified bowl were two handprints carved into the fine marble. A powerful magical artifact this was.
>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob9F1lsULIA

After he placed both hands on the object the water began to ripple and rise in front of his eyes.
Taking the shape of a mirror the water appeared to solidify in front of Mezegis and a dark figure whose features couldn't be made out appeared in it. It spoke up, demanding who disturbed them at such an hour.

"Wolf 15 reporting."

Groaning the figure shifted and with a growing annoyance in their voice demanded why he didn't bother to report for so long.

"Nothing to report, Central."

The answer piqued the interest of 'Central' and they asked what caused that to change.

"The situation within Weistgardist has been resolved.
As of today the organization is no more, its members all dead or fled the Empire.
What's more... I, Wolf 15 am responsible for it."

There was no response coming from the other side for several nerve wrecking moments.
Then, like a bolt from the blue, the hand of Central struck a hard surface, creating a large, booming sound.
If the room wasn't soundproof someone definitely would've heard it.
Mad beyond description the shadowy figure demanded to know what sort of brain-rot Wolf 15 suffered to disobey such direct orders.

"I'm afraid it was necessary Central. We've made a miscalculation."

The figure paused and ordered Mezegis to explain.

"The leader of the syndicate was found to be a culter, a devoted follower of the god of butchery, Arken Razak.
Most of their assets were funneled into a ritual meant to make contact with a god.
In light of this information I made the decision to end the organization immediately."

Central fell silent. Sitting back in his chair they let out a pained curse before regaining his composure.
They asked Mezegis whether they succeeded.

The sly wolf gave him a half truth.
"Yes... but we luckily managed to banish the cosmic predator back where it came from.
As far as we know the world is not at risk anymore."

The figure congratulated Wolf 15 on his efforts and assured him that this report will reach the higher echelons of command.
He can expect a promotion in the near future as well as any amount of reinforcements and supplies he needs for his continued operation. In addition to that they also gave Mezegis an order to proceed with the original plan and keep a watch over the activity inside Weistgardist.

As the connection broke Mezegis finally settled down on his bed and closed the secret door.
He's lucky they believed his story, as wild as it may be. They would never buy him or anyone for that matter banishing a living, breathing god. But this was good enough.

With a new and possibly massive supply drop he can continue distributing junk in the Empire as long as he pleases.
He could even take over the entire criminal underworld. He won't, but he could.
Let the weaklings and the fools fight over that vacuum.
He'll be perfectly happy sitting this one out. Controlling things from the shadows.
Out of sight, out of mind.
>>
Finally he took out his personal stash of goodies and snorted some good old demons blood.
Tonight, he celebrates!

"Heh... Hehehe.
Looks like every time we cross paths I get a promotion Zsold.
You really are my lucky charm!"

As he felt himself slipping into the radiant cosmos he wondered what he'd do next.
In the end he resigned himself to doing nothing. He just enjoyed his current life way too much.

Omake #2: THE END
>>
Omake #3: The shadow over the grave

Two figures wearing robes that conceal their bodies completely are marching through a particularly swampy area, trying to stay out of sight as much as possible, searching for battlefields. In most cases the winning side makes sure to clean up after the enemy has been driven away but after particularly long and exhausting engagements they often "forget" about this precaution.

They are looking for one such fight.

The church has been high on their heels for a while now and they are in desperate need for some "supplies".
And they are in luck. As they trudge through the swamps they come across a battlefield teeming with corpses.
By the looks of it one side must've been utterly wiped out and the victors are busy hiding from the rain.
Now's their chance.

"Shall we Master?"
The taller asked the smaller one.

But the Master extended his hand and stopped his companion.
"Wait!"
They both lowered themselves and focused on one particular area.
A large, pink biped could be seen walking over the bodies littering the ground, its lanky arms and legs often get caught up in them.
"We should go..."
The Master said.

"But why?"

"Open your eyes. You see those bull like horns?
It's pretty obvious what that thing is, isn't it?"

"M-My word... An Iron Eater!
S-Shouldn't we do something about it?"

"No... It beat us here.
Let's get out of here before all hell breaks loose.
If we're lucky it'll be too busy destroying the winning army to notice us."

The larger figure let out an uncomfortable whimper.
It did not sit well with him to leave such a monster to rampage freely. But the Master was right, this is beyond their capabilities. They'd better run if they don't want getting caught up in the monsters rampage.
>>
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After a treacherous little march they managed to get out of the swampy woods and found themselves tangled up in a rather awkward situation. A small carriage was held up by a group of highwaymen. The bandits were VERY agitated as their first hit in ages was a poor peasant who didn't have anything valuable on him.
They were arguing about what they'd do with the poor sods.

Some wanted to kill him, others wanted to kill him and rape his daughter and only a very small minority wanted to let them go. Clearly they were not going to have a great time in a couple of minutes.
But luckily for them, they had something the duo were looking for: A way out.

Casually strolling out of a bush the young master alerted the bandits to his presence and as they turned to face him began taunting the bastards.
"Alright you whoresons. Either fuck off or lay down your weapons and nobody will die.
Resist and this is going to be a lot messier for me. So please don't."

"Who the fuck is this brat?!"
One of the more belligerent ones shouted.
"Doesn't matter, let's just gut 'im and be-"

But as he spoke he quickly found the blade of a massive scythe curving behind his neck as he saw the boy dash towards him like a bolt of lightning. In his eyes the highwayman saw only death.

"Messy it is."
The boy spoke and pulled his weapon back, decapitating the bandit with one swing.
As he snatched the now lifeless bodypart out of the air he spun it around on his finger and taunted the rest.
"Okay... Who's next?"

Those who remained looked at each other before one ambitious one ran towards the murderous boy.
The man was built like a brick shithouse and raised his fist to beat the boys head into a fine paste.
But as he was so absorbed by the prospect of killing he failed to notice the much, much taller fellow walking over to him with his bandaged arm extended.

The bandit struck with all of his might and then screamed at the top of his lungs as his fingers were liquefied as he connected with the open palm of the tall fellow. He looked at his now bloody stump before looking up at the towering figure.
"I'm so sorry..."
The tall man said.

"Stop screwin' around Markus and end him!"

"As you wish Master."

Grabbing the bloody forearm of the bandit with one hand Markus the lich in hiding raised his other arm and gently prodded the mans chest with all five of his fingers. His push wasn't sudden or forceful but with so much force behind him even that little motion was enough to cause his boney fingertips to dig into the mans chest.
As his victim howled like a banshee he found the liches arm actually coming out of his back before he vomited blood and felt his soul slip out of his body.
>>
Seeing one of their mates decapitated and another one brutally executed like that rid the men of their remaining bravery and they all decided to run for it in a fit of panic instead of challenging the two strangers.

The old man and his daughter embraced each other, preparing for the worst, before the young boy approached them.
"Relax old man, not here to hurt ye."

"Y-You aren't?!"

"Nah."

"Oh thank the stars! You have our gratitude adventurer!"

"I'm no adventurer and you can shove your gratitude.
Where are you headed?"

"E-Erm... To Gerbera. A small town near Weistgardist, the capital of the Empire."

"Good... Good good.
That'll do. Say, you wouldn't mind us jumping on board for saving ya, roight?"

"N-No! Of course not!
Please, hop on! It's the least we could do-"

"Ye, ye... You are grateful an' all that.
MARKUS! Come 'ere quick!"
The boy then turned back to the man he just saved.
"But ya better slap those horses real good.
In about a few minutes something much worse than us is gonna come out of these woods and I'd like to be as far away from here as possible!"

Omake #3: THE END
>>
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Omake #4: Consequences

In a darkened forest and atop a black hill, three figures stand above a sea of horrors. The middle one, with eyes like green gemstones looks down upon his subjects. As he makes sure that his underlings do not step out of line his quadruped compatriot spoke up.

"They are getting ROWDY down there!"

"What unfortunate timing."
The green eyed one spoke up.

"..."

"Yeah... The golden boy is high on our tail.
We'd better go down there and knock some sense into them if we want to move more than an ants dick!"

"..."

"WHAT?! Since when?!
Great... you caught that?"

"Aye...
Looks like one of the mad ones are also on the move.
That... complicates things."
As the massive demon stood up the armrest of his stone chair shatters in his palm.
"I'll get them in line. Get ready to move out."

"Erm... you might wanna wait a moment!"

His bestial companion pointed up as a rather scared and tired looking crow flew ever closer to them.
The black feathered beast panted and screamed in exhaustion as it attempted to land but rather ungracefully it crashed on the ground. It stood up with its red eyes, heaving and gagging.

"S-Sorry-caw!
J-Just give me a minute. I'm gonna throw up my lungs first!"
*pant* *pant*

The leader of the pack turned around and looked at the crow with great annoyance.
"Speak."

Raising one feather in an attempt to silence his boss the crow kept on panting.
"Oh god... Oh god...
It hurts... So bad!"

"SPEAK YOU HALFWIT!
WHAT'S SO IMPORTANT THAT YOU CAME TO US WHEN WE DIDN'T ASK FOR YOU?!"

"I came... from Weistgardist-caw!
It's terrible-caw! TERRIBLE!
The next shipment of aether-"

This finally got the attention of the alpha.
Kneeling down beside the small 'bird' it looked deep into its eyes.
Aether is like nectar for his kind, if his underlings don't get it they'll become even harder to control.
"Speak."

"It's gona! All gone-caw!"

"What do you mean? What happened to the cult?!"

"T-They were wiped out-caw! Every last one of them!"

"So... they were found out.
Great.
I'm beginning to feel quite foolish for ever giving a chance to these mortals..."

"I told you that nothing good comes of the betrayers!
But noooooo! 'Let's not judge the sons for the sins of their fathers!'
What bullshit! They are not good for anything but eatin'!"

The leader closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"I'm not going to justify that...
But I'm beginning to agree."
>>
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"E-Erm..."
The crow interrupted them again.

The other demons looked, each ready to spew fire from their eyes they were so furious.
"Don't tell me... there's more..."

"C-Caw."
The crow swallowed hard.
"There is... The one responsible for it...
Were the same humans who thwarted Julian, the ones that killed one of our kind-caw!"

Then... there was silence.
All of them looked down on the ground and shut their eyes.
"..."

"Yeah... you know what needs to be done."

The leader straightened his back, crossed his arms and spread his wings.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDs0TWddraA

"Yes.
Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence.
Three times... is a death sentence!"

Omake #4: THE END
>>
2 Hours until I resume
>>
"Dear Rosette..."

Your letter started and remained like this for quite a while. Gawking at the piece of parchment you struggled to come up with anything to write about. And even when you did manage to phrase a proper response for the noble lady you had a difficult time actually writing it all down. Although you could read and technically write you had much less experience with the latter so what you ended up with resembled more like the scratches children do in the sand as they pretend to write rather than a proper response to a letter.

The end result was so embarrassing in fact that you were tempted to crumple it up and toss the whole thing into the fire.
But as you were contemplating that a curious figure snuck up on you and popped up over your shoulder.
"Whatcha doin'?"

Szikra asked and you practically jumped up as she came out of nowhere.
Hiding the letter as much as you could you attempted to answer her.
"N-Nothing!"

"Come on, lemme see!"
She tried reaching over and under you but with your superior reach you managed to keep the response out of her grubby little hands.

"FUCK... OFF!"
You push her off and hide the letter in your pack.
"What do you want?"

"FOOD!"

You can not help but look as contemptuous as humanly possible. But you manage to get a grip on yourself by taking a deep breath.
*sigh*
"Fine."

Walking up to the fire you managed to scramble together a quick if a bit simplistic meal consisting of sliced potatoes fried on pork fat and seasoned generously. As a side you gave each of the girls a slice of bread and some smoked pork belly.
Once they had their plates Szikra began devouring her dinner and Beatrice followed suit shortly afterwards.
She took one bit out of the greasy potatoes before she had to pause.

"Oh... Oh my! This is astounding!
I don't think I've ever tasted something like this!
It reminds me of moms cooking but more flavorful!
What is your secret?"

"There is none.
I use simple, cheap ingredients and heavily season them.
And the fat is needed for energy if you live on the road. Just make sure you get plenty of exercise in or it'll slow you down."

"Iths ghreat ishn't it?"

"Szikra... don't speak with your mouth full."

"Shorry!"
Following her apology she swallowed everything at once.
"Seconds please!"

"Already?
Fine..."
>>
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Once everyone was fed and satisfied you found yourself stuck in a stupor from your full stomach.
Beatrice in particular seems to be particularly blissful as she didn't have a chance to taste your cooking before.
"That was... amazing."
She muttered.
"I didn't know eating could be so pleasurable."

"Hmph... You are welcome."

"But... how do you move like this?"

"You don't. That's why we typically eat twice a day."

"Speaking of which..."
Szikra chimed in.
"Hey Zsold, since we got this buttload of money from the last job... What do you say about buying some horses?
I'm tired of walking around everywhere and we could save sooo much time!"

"No..."

"But-"

"I said no. I don't like horses."

At this Beatrice raised an eyebrow.
"Really? Why?"

"They are expensive to buy and feed regularly...
And I also don't like the idea of relying on something I don't have control over.
If you ride a horse you are at its mercy. If it gets scared or agitated it will throw you off. If not there is a good chance for it to get killed... I also don't know how to ride one."

Szikra pouted at this.
"Sounds like to me you are just embarrassed about not knowing how to ride one.
But it doesn't matter. Just think of how much time we could save with them!
We'd cut travel time between jobs down, meaning we get more money quicker! It's an investment!"

>...Fine
>I said no. But I'll agree to a cart
>I don't care! No horses!
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3095413
>I said no. But I'll agree to a cart
I feel they're way more useful.
>>
>>3095413
>"An investment only works if you can keep it to maturity. Knowing the kind of messes we usually get into..."
>"...Beatrice, what do you think?"
>>
Okay then.
>writing
>>
"An investment only works if you can keep it to maturity. Knowing the kind of messes we usually get into..."
You turn to the side.
"Beatrice, what do you think?"

"M-Me?
But I don't have any money to speak of! It shouldn't be my decision."

"You are part of the group now.
Your opinion is worth just as much as ours."

"Hmmm...
Then I propose an alternative.
Getting some mounts would be beneficial but plain old horses might not be the way to go.
I say we should get a carriage instead. That way we'd only need two horses and we'd have more space to pack our gear."

"Like a traveling caravan?"

"Yes. Albeit with only one cart.
But who's to say we won't have more in the future?"

You ponder on the option for a moment.
"That I can agree to.
As long as I don't have to ride one of those beasts."

"I knew it!"
Szikra grumbled.

But Beatrice quickly cut her off.
"Then it's decided.
Unless you think object Lady Grimen."

"Nope.
As long as my delicate feet can get some rest, I'll be fine."

"If you need a massage you could just ask-"

"NO!"

But after the deal was sealed and everyone readied themselves for bed you secluded yourself into a corner of the camp where your only companion was Zana. You got to admit that you've grown used to sleeping beside her, the extra warmth of her body definitely makes sleeping a lot easier in the cold nights.
Sadly, not even her presence could ward off the nightmares.
And just as it so happens, todays was much worse than the usual.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzWsLaolyLw

"What's up BUDDY?!"

"You..."

"Aw come now! Aren't you happy to see a friendly face after witnessing all that shit? HHHHHHHHHahahahahahaha!"
Ciel had a hearty chuckle as he forced himself into your dreams. Wiping away a tear he had from laughing so hard he leaned in closer to you and sized you up.
"Or are you angry at me for that big ol' mishap even though I had nothing to do with it?"
>>
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"You could've... I don't know, WARN me about that?!"

"Hmmmmm... nope, wasn't possible.
After all, watching your reactions to stuff is half the fun for me! The other is watching you wreck it!
Now imagine if I just went ahead and spoiled it all for you right off the bat! It'd flippin' suck dude!
And remember the contract! It only says that I have to give you pointers. So no legal issues either!"

"Great... Then you are useless."

"Useless? Just remind me, who pointed you in the right direction again? HMMMMMMM?
If it wasn't for me you wouldn't have your new looks, your new little tooth-pick nor that hot piece of chocolate ASS!
Speaking of which, you'll eat that right?"

"What?!"

"Ah, of course not. I'm way ahead of myself. And I'm also rambling, so let me get back to the matter at hand.
I actually came to congratulate you. You did a SWELL job! I haven't seen my brother so happy in centuries!
Actually, I haven't seen him in centuries. Period.
It was good catching up with Razak! One of my siblings that I don't actually hate. Poor guy."

"Wait... You KNEW he was coming here?!"

"Who do you think let him in?
Do you believe any ol' schmuck could just waltz in on my turf just like that?
Pfffffffft! As IF!
Nah. Razak came because he felt all the ruckus going on and I was feeling generous enough to help him.
The poor boy made some bad dietary choices and now he has to live with the consequences..."

"Bad choices?"

"Hmmmm? Oh yeah.
Back when we were but just wee little, minor reality warpers he had the smart idea of choosing Brutality as his sphere of influence, seeing how you boys are so good at it. He thought he was so clever about picking such a fine source of food...
Really regretted it later though. Being tied to a concept can mess you up, especially if you feel everything related to it.
At first he was fine, even enjoyed the banquet.
But when the mortals caught wind of there being a god who rewarded brutality...
Well, I'm sure you can imagine if you were capable of some horrific shit on your own what transpired when you guys had something else to drive you as well..."

"So Razak broke..."

"That's an understatement.
He grew to dislike feeding itself. Now he only eats what few scraps are enough to sustain him.
Sometimes he even fasts just so he wouldn't feel the screams in his head. Still... could be worse I suppose."

>Great. So I helped out your brother. How about some reward for my efforts?
>What could be worse than that?
>If this was such a big issue then why didn't you do something about it?!
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3095543
>What could be worse than that?
>>
Just the one?
Okay then...

>writing
>>
>>3095625
I'm working this weekend but I'm checking in when I can.
>>
"You're saying there is a worse fate for a god?"

"Only one. So Razak can't even be the best at being miserable.
Tell me... what is worse than the act of eating causing you pain?"
You shrug.
"Starvation."

"So like a man drowning watching another die of thirst?"

"Precisely."
For but a somber moment Ciel seemed to get calm, sorrowful, sad even. His voice no longer carried that same energy it usually does, nor does it have the weight that could shake worlds. Since the time you met him, this was the one instance where he almost seemed... human.
"Imagine it like this... you are alone in the world. There are plenty of people around you but you feel like you are in solitude.
Everywhere you look you see people eating but they do not even acknowledge your existence.
Meanwhile you are there, balancing on the fine line between death and an agonizing life. All because the food that you could eat... does not exist. At least not in any real amount."

"So... subsiding only on breadcrumbs?"

"Almost.
But more like having to beg for others just so they'd let you in their home so you could lick the ass sweat off their chair for nourishment! There is one being like that.
So small, so inconsequential that most people don't even realize they still live."

"Sounds pathetic."

"Yes... a very fitting description.
An Arken so weak, so pathetic that while literally all my other siblings hate each other so much that they are willing to tear each others throats out for the most meager of territories, they actually signed an agreement...
A contract which states that they all MUST allow entry for this one sibling of ours. Just so that they could scrape together whatever scraps they can, otherwise they might die."

Ciel then pauses. Though his form is still incomprehensible and ever changing you can still feel his pain from his voice alone. Realizing this you decided to go in for the kill.
"Sounds like you care about them. Whoever they are."

"I... do.
It's perhaps the only thing I don't make a joke out of.
I could. But I don't want to.
They are my only sibling that I actually give a shit about.
I like Razak and a few others... but I wouldn't lift a finger for them.
They however... I might reconsider my stance."

You let out a cocky smile.
"You know, for an all powerful being you sure look quite vulnerable now.
Perhaps we aren't so different after all."

"Don't push it human."
>>
"Buuuut anyway!
You helped out my bro in cleaning up some mess and as such I think you've earned enough good boy points for me to throw a bone at you!"

"Don't you meant 'to'?"

"No..."
*ahem*
"I suggest you start gritting your teeth now.
And don't stop.
You'll know when you can."

"That's... not really reassuring. Nor clear."

"Doesn't matter.
I think it'll be educational for you bub.
Buh-bye!"

As the god of laughter waved you off you felt your consciousness plunged back into its fleshy confines. Waking up with a loud gasp like usual you look around to see the first rays of light that came with the morning.
It takes you a few moments to gather yourself, all the while you question whether or not this is really happening to you or your mind is simply falling apart at the seams. But you shake that thought off. If anything then your ordeals with the Boss proved that you are not insane. Or at least not yet.

Standing up you headed for the last embers of yesterdays fire and began heating up your cool hands.
While you're busy mending your limbs you see Beatrice struggling to get up.
"Mmmmmmm... what time is it?"

"Dawn.
Did you sleep well?"

"No. I couldn't get a wink.
Sleeping on the ground is... weird."

"You'll get used to it."

"YAAAAAWN!
If you say so...
So, what's the plan for today?"

"Pretty much the usual. We'll keep going until we find a village with a suitable job... Or a cart for sale in this case."

"That's uh... significantly less stimulating than I thought."

"You'll start appreciating it soon.
Constant fighting can get pretty dull.
But speaking of which... we haven't had a good sparring in a while.
Szikra! Are you up?"

"Mmmmmmm... leave me alone..."

"Apparently not.
Then it's just you and me."

>I want to get used to fighting with you.
>Care to join me for a friendly duel? (Work on your swordsmanship)
>I'll study some magic. You can practice on your own.
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3095776
>>I want to get used to fighting with you.
Always need to make sure teamwork is good, then personal skills.
>>
>>3095776
>I want to get used to fighting with you.
>>
Hmmmm...
Teamwork it is.
If we keep this up Zsold and his cronies will start doing Ginyu Force poses mid battle at this rate

And please roll 3d10s
Best of 3.
No DC this time, higher means it's simply better

Also
>writing
>>
Rolled 8, 2, 7 = 17 (3d10)

>>3095895
>If we keep this up Zsold and his cronies will start doing Ginyu Force poses mid battle at this rate
If only.
>>
Rolled 6, 9, 5 = 20 (3d10)

>>3095895
>>
Rolled 3, 2, 3 = 8 (3d10)

No roll eh?
I'll do it then
>>
You call Beatrice over and move a few paces away from the camp so you won't disturb the others.

"Okay... this should do.
Now then Beatrice, let's see what you got."

Nodding in acknowledgement she draws her rapier and assumes her regular stance.
"What did you have in mind?
Just fight each other?"

"Not exactly...
I saw you fight down there. You were fast, precise.
But I need to know more. If we are to fight side by side we need to know every move of each other, as well as how we think.
Do you get me?"

She furrows her brows.
"So... you actually want to learn how to fight together?"

"Yes. Is that a problem?"

"N-No. It's just that I've never really done that before.
This should be an interesting change."

Drawing your weapon you touch swords with Beatrice before taking a step back and readying your blade.
"Just remember. Fight like you always do but make sure your moves are not lethal.
And don't push yourself too hard. We are not here to expand our limits but to feel out everything about each other."

She nodded and with that your spar has officially begun with Beatrice taking the lead.
Taking a step forward she thrust her rapier straight into your face which you had to immediately parry or risk getting a hole punctured into your cheek. You almost wanted to tell her to hold back because she clearly didn't get it the first time.
But that's when it hit you. This IS her holding back.

Realizing that you needed to fight seriously just to keep up with her you began fighting back as if your life was on the line.
Fighting uninhibited you attempted to use the one thing you had the advantage in: Strength.
Though she clearly had a much more refined fighting style it struggled when it had to deal with power attacks.

Dodging and weaving from left to right you jerked your head around frantically as Beatrice attempted to skewer you.
Sometimes your reaction time was either too long or your movements were simply too slow, resulting in you getting a few cuts on your face. It was at this moment that you began to grasp how dangerous she really is.
One or two little scratches like these were nothing, but should they hit a vital part they'd do more than simply inconvenience you.

As she was poking and slashing away with her thin blade however she also had a taste of your abilities soon enough.
Biding your time you waited for either an opening in her guard or a mistake from her to exploit.
When the opportunity presented itself you smashed down at her hard with your more traditional longsword.
But credit where credit is due, she did not even attempt to contest you in such cases, instead opting to dodge such attacks when she couldn't simply parry them.
>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-rj8HVW3PQ

Keeping one hand behind her back and one hand wrapped tightly around the handle of her blade Beatrice kept poking away at you in an attempt to bleed you out. Meanwhile you kept on pushing forward despite your mounting cuts as you knew that this is the only way for you to fight this time.

One step after another, left after right you pushed and like the ebb and flow of the waters Beatrice backed away.
This kept going until you started to feel... something.
Every breath, every tiny motion of hers felt controlled, intentional. But never rigid.
She was not the dancer that Szikra was. If anything her fighting instincts have been dulled, tempered by years of ruthless exercise. Her fighting technique was one built upon rules, forms and tactics.

Each motion was a conscious decision, making her feel less like a dancer and more like a performer who was capable of doing one thing the same way every single time. It was both her greatest strength and weakness.
But there was something else to her. Something that did not allow her to succumb to this fault.
And you had to make sure that it was there and not just in your imagination.

So you went for a bold move, a gut instinct, perhaps even stupidity.
The next time she thrust her rapier forward you jumped to one side, completely leaving yourself open.
However before she could capitalize on that you did the unthinkable and reached for her sword.
Your hand wrapped around the sharp blade and you squeezed it hard. If it manages to budge even an inch you could easily loose your fingers to this.

She let out a surprised gasp as her blade got stuck.
But the shock only lasted for the briefest of moments before she focused herself once more.
Her mind raced and after only a bit of hesitation... she let go of her sword.

In a spectacular display her body became like a blur as she twisted her entire body around in a manner you've never seen before. She crouched down with one leg extended, spun around her Y-axis and punched you with her two clenched fists simultaneously, sending a shockwave into you which reverberated through your entire body and caused you to fall to your knees.

As you dropped both blades and reached uncontrollably for your stomach you felt woozy.
Seeing you in such a condition Beatrice quickly stepped up to you.
"Oh god! I'm so sorr-"
But she cut herself off as something alerted her and she jumped back before you sprung up in an attempt to punch her back.

After doing a backflip with a handstand she stared at you dumbfounded.
"I've never seen someone withstand that."

"And I've never seen reflexes like that-"
As you spoke up you felt your gut wrench and immediately fell back down.
This time for good.
>>
Realizing that this time you are not faking it Beatrice actually rushed to you and attempted to help.
"Try to relax and breathe!
It'll fade away soon."
She then took a closer look and her expression soured.
"So you just managed to bear it for a moment...
That's still quite an accomplishment."

"That's not it...
I think my scar just opened up."

"Let me see..."
Gold then began undoing the straps of your armor and took off your chest plate, however when she saw what laid underneath she reeled back with a gasp and dropped your plate on the ground.
"Oh my god!"

When you looked down you saw about 50% of your chest being painted red, your clothes soaked completely with the crimson fluid. After a closer examination you saw that luckily the wound that went from your left shoulder all the way to your right hip didn't open completely, otherwise your insides would be on the outside right about now. But given how massive the it is, even opening up just a bit managed to cause quite a leakage.

"I-I'll get the bandages!"

After rushing off for the medicinal supplies she began dressing your wound carefully.
Getting a close look at your body she spoke up uncontrollably.
"What are these wounds?! Never in all my career have I seen such severe...
One cut... through the chest. One scar on the left shoulder, deep too...
Several smaller ones..."

>Tell her it's something that comes with the job
>Ask her how did she do all that during the fight
>Ask her if she has any wounds of her own
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3096166
>Try to mend some of the damage magically
>Ask her how did she do all that during the fight
>>
>>3096206
Going with this
>>
>>3096166
>>Tell her it's something that comes with the job
>>
>>3096206
Wins

>writing

Oh and if you are gonna use blood magic then please roll another 3d10
DC: 10, Crit: 24
>>
Rolled 10, 10, 6 = 26 (3d10)

>>3096264
crit fail incoming
>>
Rolled 8, 8, 6 = 22 (3d10)

>>3096264
>>
>>3096276
Getting GHQ flashbacks right about now
>>
Rolled 1, 6, 5 = 12 (3d10)

>>3096264
well not much point in rolling, but might as well just in case
>>
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As Beatrice was applying rows upon rows of bandages soaked in various medicinal extracts you also did your part by reaching down and applying some blood magic on your wounds in an effort to reclose them.
But this was a trivial task so in the meantime you decided to have a little chat with the elf.

"That... thing during the fight.
How did you do that?"

"Erm... did what?"

"How could you move like that?
And... how could you do it so fast?"

"Oh!
You... don't know?"
Responding to her question you shook your head.
"Well... then I suppose I could tell you. Even though it's not something we usually talk about..."

Letting go of your wound for a second she reached up and pointed at her ear.
"It's this."
Cocking your head to the side you gave her an odd look.
"Let me explain...
Us elven folk are Nex, like the Gierig. Though our mutations are much less... drastic, we still have them.
In our case it's the ears."

"How can better hearing allow you to move like that?
Do you hear my movements?"

"N-No...
It's uh-"
She began scratching her cheek.
"We are attuned to aether this way. Our ears changed into these new organs which allow us to receive... something.
It's hard to describe. But it's related to the aether inside a person in some way. When a person thinks of certain things the aether inside them changes. You surely noticed it when you fight, how your aggression can make you stronger.
Well... there are two ways to use this:
First, there is the civilians, merchants, diplomats, the like. They can train to detect very minor changes in a person so they feel when someone is lying.
And then there is the warrior way, my way. I honed my ability to detect changes as fast as possible.
So when you changed from defense to offense, when you tried to do a sneak attack I felt you wanting to do it a split second before you did..."

"So you can... see the future?"

"N-No...
It's not that amazing.
I guess I can just feel how a person feels at any moment and I can prepare myself.
But it really is just a split second thing. I can't foresee anything.
And if I'm not focused enough I don't feel a thing."
>>
"I see...
Now I think I get how you fight. And more importantly, why you fight like that.
It's a style born to facilitate your natural talent, one that focuses on absolute concentration."

She nods.
"And I also managed to figure you out Zsold...
You are talented. But what makes you a terrifying fighter is your fearless nature and recklessness."

You pause for a moment.
"So... for the best result I think we'd need to do things like this:
I am at my best in the heat of battle, you are at your best when you are fighting one on one.
Then I'd need to occupy the crowd until you manage to pick them off one at a time."

"It's not the most optimal way of doing it but it might be the most efficient..."

"No! I think that can work.
Szikra and I can work in tandem like that.
We can definitely buy you time in a fight."

"If you say so...
By the way, when we were fighting I sensed something else coming from you..."

"Oh really?
What is it?"
You responded while attempting to look as calm as possible.
If she detected Ciels mark on you then you might as well be dead.

"I felt... something strange when we fought.
As if I got... swept up by the heat of the moment.
But when it happened it almost felt like... like I felt what you were doing.
I've never experienced anything like that."

You scratch your head, struggling to come up with an answer that'd satisfy her.
"I've... not felt something like that. But perhaps that's because we stopped so suddenly.
Truth be told I'm not certain what it is either, I only know that it happened between Szikra and I...
We had some sort of connection between us. I've not been able to replicate it since."

"I see."
Beatrice began to get lost in thought, as if something managed to completely absorb her but she quickly shook it off.
"Let's forget about that for now and let me finish bandaging y-
...
Where is the wound?!"

You looked down and felt a chill run down your spine when you saw the wound completely closed.
Not only that but it looked like the scar actually healed in what little time it took you to converse.
But even though it managed to shock you, your surprise was nothing compared to the fascination of Beatrice.
She leaned in closer and touched your skin with her delicate fingers. She traced along the freshly closed flesh and wondered just how could a freshly torn open injury be fixed so quickly.

As she was leaning in so close you got a good, long look at her elongated, twitching ears.

>Touch
>Don't touch
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3096481
>>Touch
>>
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>>3096481
against my better judgement:
>Touch
>>
>>3096481
>Don't touch
Zsold knows what purpose they serve in battle; they are of no further concern.

Y-yep.
>>
Y'all know what you did

>writing
>>
You wanted to make her stop, you wanted her skin to part from yours as it was making you increasingly more uncomfortable.
Seeing women, naked even, was nothing for you. If need be you could even sell yourself and your... services should the need arise. But something as simple as an affectionate touch was enough to drive you crazy.
Perhaps it was the deprivation of such joys at a young age, perhaps the lack of emotional connection to another human being for so long.

However... right now... you chose not to speak up.
Like an animal with a piece of meat dangled in front of it you were enticed by something alluring, irresistible.
It twitched curiously, as if beckoning you.

You couldn't help yourself and reached out for it.
It was about how you imagined it, the texture, the feel. After all it was still an ear, albeit more of it than usual.
Only two things set it apart. The skin, like the finest silk. Smooth and tender, a pleasure to touch!
And the sound that accompanied it.

"Eeep!"
A little yelp unlike any you've heard before.

When you worked in a brothel as a masseur you heard the moans, the lamentations of women. Little more than soft screams born of desire and lust. Carnal and almost abhorrent. But this?
It was a strange but infatuating mixture of childlike innocence and a mature womans surprise. But not an unpleasant one.

She reached upwards until your hands touched. She was blabbering something but half of it you couldn't make out and the other half was obscured by her mewling.
"S-Stop! T-That's really, really-"

Though she protested her fingers sought to get entwined with yours and urged you to continue.
Whatever sensation she's feeling right now must be driving her crazy.
This contrast however was enough to stop you.

Letting go of her you almost immediately regretted even touching her and fully expected her to be outraged.
But no such thing came. After she got back to her senses she cleared her throat and said this.
*ahem*
"That uh... I must ask you not to do that again.
That's a very sensitive part of my body and-"

"Sorry..."

"...
No problem."
>>
Ciel is laughing at us, i can already hear it.
>>
As you had this little exchange however you heard someone else walking up to you.
"I was laying there, trying to get some sleep when all of a sudden I heard sex noises...
What did you do?"

"Why do you assume it was me?"
You ask her.

"Oh please!"
*sniff* *sniff*
"God it smells like it too!"

"Very funny."
You speak as you stand up and start putting back your armor.
"How about you use your mouth for something else?
Come, I'll make breakfast."

After whipping up a quick meal to the gang you packed up your little camp and headed towards the nearest village you could make out on the map. The settlement was apparently one centered around farming and the production of livestock to be transported to Weistgardist. Government funded and controlled but still inhabited by people who live there on their own accord.

"We'll most likely find a cart around here."

"And horses?"

"That too... if we can pay them enough."

In there you found nothing but peasants toiling away only for the imperial guard to take it all away.
But apparently they are taken care of in exchange, provided with homes, protection, food and even money.
A pretty sweet deal soured only by the fact that they have very strict rules and regulations to follow.
And should the harvest end up worse than expected they get some pretty serious cuts from their support.
The more you see of the Easts rigid system and layers upon layers of rules the more you start to hate it. Though that might just be your already existing hatred speaking.

At the very least you won't have to spend much time here since finding someone who'd be willing to sell a cart for you was rather easy as the folks around here seem to like having a bit of extra revenue outside the one they get from the empire.
And since they get supplied with new equipment should anything break they have a few spares lying here and there.
They even went so far as to ask you what exactly you had in mind because they have a wide variety of them.

>Go for quality
>No need to get crazy, just get something that works
>The only criteria is that it has to be cheap
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3096692
>>No need to get crazy, just get something that works
>>
>No need to get crazy, just get something that works
>>
>writing
>>
In the end you settled for one that was functioning well but nothing too special, nor garbage.
The old farmers price was still a bit outlandish. One gold and fifty silver for a carriage and two horses to pull it.
A robbery by your accounts, however he insisted that the two animals were of a 'pure bloodline' or some other nonsense.
Up until now you didn't realize that now animals had nobility as well.

But begrudgingly you paid the man his dues and began reining in the horses wit Szikra when you felt a tap on your shoulder.
"Zs-Zsold?"

"Not now Beatrice, I'm almost done."

"ZSOLD!
LOOK!"
She grabbed your hand and turned it around.

Your eyes opened wide and you could only mutter this.
"What the fuck?!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLNXO6hZsVU

Black spots dotted the sky where Beatrice was pointing. Numerous, menacing and getting closer.
You strained your eyes to see just what the hell was going on but the only thing you could make out was the shaking elf beside you. When one of the forms began moving erratically around you started to comprehend just what was going on.
"Szikra... finish the reins and let's get the HELL out of here!"

She nodded and got back to work.
Meanwhile Beatrice grabbed hold of your arm and didn't let you budge an inch.
"Zsold! We can't leave!
T-Those things are coming straight for us!
These people-"

"WE'LL ONLY DIE WITH THEM IF WE STAY!"

She hesitated and looked back. For a moment she wanted to chastise you, curse you, anything to convince you to stay.
But when she saw the figures drawing closer she felt a cold shiver going down her spine.
"Y-Yes! Let's leave!"

When Szikra was done the horses were getting agitated. If you didn't get up right now you risk them just running off without you. You helped up Zana and Beatrice before jumping onboard.
"OKAY SZIKRA! DO IT!"

With a quick crack of her whip the girl let loose the terrified horses and they began dragging the carriage.
As you were leaving the town you saw the people going inside, barring the doors, the windows and praying for whatever higher power they believed in. Anything to save them from the demons.
>>
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You prepared yourself for the upcoming slaughter, you were ready to watch and to shield the eyes of Zana and Beatrice when the slaughter would begin. But to your shock that was not necessary.
Bypassing the defenseless town the dozens of flying demons headed straight for you.

"SZIKRA! GO FASTER!"

"I'M TRYING!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmYijVr_HYw

As the girl urged the horses again and again she quickly found the beasts to stop on their own volition and start standing on their hind legs as something scared them. Within moments the ground beneath the cart began to crack and with great force even more infernal beasts burst out. Surrounded by a small army of gnashing teeth and snapping claws the horses were going mad with fear. That was the moment when you realized how bad things got.

Demons kept on arriving from the ground, by the roads and flying around in circles above your heads.
You were completely surrounded with no way out. Every one of you raised your weapons and prepared for the worst.
But nothing came.

The demons waited.

After several agonizing moments you saw the crowd in front of you parting to give way for three shadows that were about to land in front of you. One, shaped like a dog, crawling on all four with fangs like knives and claws like hooks. One was tall and looked almost like a human wearing a monks robe, its features completely obscured by the shroud.
And the last one, a literal devil with a pair of horns sprouting from its forehead, wings like a bat and legs to match.
Its piercing emerald eyes felt like they were about to burn a hole into your very soul.

"So..."
It spoke up.
"You are the thorns in my side...
I've come to pluck you out."

The words echoed in your mind as a wave of sheer murderous intent hit you.
This monster wielded powers so terrible to behold that the previously rabid horses froze in place, unable to move despite the demon not doing anything other than letting its murderous intent seep into its surroundings.
You looked around and realized that you can not run from here, not without great risk and even greater losses.

>Tell him he's mistaken
>Charge it. Maybe the power of surprise will be enough
>Try to run for it
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3096842
>Tell him he's mistaken
We can't run, and fighting would be suicide. The only thing left is to try to talk our way out.
>>
>>3096871
Well, this whole thing is fucked. We've killed a demon before but this many? yeah it's time to break out the persuasion checks.
>>
Well...
If you really want to bullshit your way through I suppose we can have you do a persuasion check.

3d10
Best of 3
DC: 27, no crit

>writing
>>
Rolled 9, 5, 10 = 24 (3d10)

>>3096907
Is it bullshit if Zsold legitimately has no idea why these demons are after them? He wouldn't have any way of knowing that Julian or the culters were part of their schemes; the only inkling that he might have of why he's apparently pissed them off is that one demon he and Szikra killed way back when.
>>
Rolled 6, 2, 8 = 16 (3d10)

>>3096907
We're so fucked
>>
Rolled 5, 10, 1 = 16 (3d10)

>>
>>3096920
Yes it would be.
Obviously he knows that something he did probably pissed these guys off.

The answer would either be the most MASSIVE bluff in history or the panicked response of a man about to shit himself out of fear

Also
>writing
>>
"Y-You have the wrong guy..."
Trying to do something, ANYTHING to delay the inevitable you muttered the only thing you could come up with.
Hoping, PRAYING that they'd actually believe it.
And for a second it looked like they may have bought it.

Until the green eyed monstrosity that the others seemingly obeyed raised its arm, upon which a red eyed crow was resting.
"Is this them?"

"Yes-caw!"

"You said there was two of them."

"C-CAW! The elf was with them! She hired them to clean up those humans!
Now she's traveling with them!"

The hulking beast turned back towards you and began sizing you up.
"Makes no difference."

With that the big demon dismissed the bird and it flew up to the rest before transforming into a beast similarly horrific to the others and about ten times its previous size.
"AT LAST! FREEDOM!
I DON'T HAVE TO BE A FUCKING CROW ANYMORE!"

Spreading its arms around the demon finally addressed you and your group after managing to completely ignore it.
"Now then mortals. You've proved yourselves to be more than a mere annoyance and as such I will kill you.
But in recognition of your feats... I'll give you a chance.
The three of us will fight you, at the same time, one-on-one. The rest will just watch and make sure you don't run away.
If you win... You are free to go. These reprobates won't even try to stop you."

"And we are supposed to believe that?!"
You demand the beast.

"I control these maggots through force.
Your actions attacked me personally. If I don't deal with you myself, I'll look weak.
Compared to that death would be preferable. So rest assured, I will keep my word.
Not like it actually matters anything.
Lother, Krik! Go!"

"Fffffuck yesss, let's kill something already!"

"..."
>>
The beast walking on all four headed for Szikra while the hooded one approached Beatrice, leaving the leader all for you.
Drawing your C-steel sword you prepared for the coming of the demon and allowed yourself an optimistic smile.
"Come beast. I've slain one of your kind before!"

"You've killed one of my kind who slept for hundreds of years.
A weak maggot who had to rely on shapeshifting to get by."
Following that the creature disappeared from sight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV26zIE0130

You blinked and your eyes traced the surrounding area in search of the enemy but found nothing.
Before you could turn however to look more thoroughly you felt a deep, dull pain flowing through you as the demons arm was driven into your chest with the power of an explosion. Your metal armor rang as you were sent flying backwards like a rag doll.

Falling on the ground you bounced once before rolling several feet until you stopped.
Slamming your sword in the ground you used it to help yourself up.
Panting and terrified you looked at the demon that remained where it struck you.
Wiping some dust off its face with a thumb it continued.

"Don't compare me to his ilk."

Raising your sword you wanted to assume your guard stance but found your arms shaking, as if they were made out of jelly. You feel a familiar fear taking hold of you. One you hoped never to experience again.
The fear of facing a demon.

>Go all out! It's the only way!
>Close quarters isn't working, use blood magic!
>Calm down, focus. And strike that thing!
>Other? (write-in)
>>
>>3097044
>Calm down, focus. And strike that thing!

Maybe it's just me but the power levels and time of this quest are kinda jarring to me. Like we should stand absolutely no chance here. We've done almost no training of our magic, clearly have no chance of running, and are definitely outclassed in physical respects. The only way we win here is some shonen bullshit like the last time this happened. The whole thing comes off as a Saturday morning cartoon version of dark souls.
>>
>>3097068
Ugh phone posting. Tone, not time.
>>
>>3097044
>Calm down, focus. And strike that thing!
>>
Okay, I'm not gonna wait for a third vote.
Getting real tired over here.

Please roll 3d10's.
Best of 3
DC: 23 Crit: 27

>writing

Also
>>3097068
You're not wrong.
But keep in mind that I had to toss out a lot of stuff over the course of the quest.
For starters I originally didn't count on Bloodmage being the chosen class... and there were at least two more figures you could've recruited.
>>
Rolled 9, 3, 3 = 15 (3d10)

>>3097105
Well here's hoping we pass.
>>
Rolled 4, 10, 1 = 15 (3d10)

>>3097105
>>
Rolled 9, 3, 1 = 13 (3d10)

Okay, time's up.
QM rolling
>>
The only thing you needed to do is calm down and focus. Just like Beatrice if you manage to sharpen your mind to a knifes edge you might just be able to predict him. When you were stationary you made it easier for him so you raised your sword and prepared yourself. Anticipating the incoming counter attack.
If it comes from the right you'll use your sword, if it comes from the left it'll be blood magic that stops him.

But as you moved ever closer you realized that you were anticipating a strike that wasn't coming.
The demon just stood there with crossed arms, practically inviting you to strike him.

"If that's the case... then HAVE SOME!
HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"

Raising your blade you prepared a downward chop with your sword. Demon or not, the C-steel will cut through his skull like butter. It raised its hand in an attempt to block but so be it. You'll chop off his arm before cutting him in half!
And just as you brought down your weapon in an effort to lay waste to your enemy, you saw the demons flesh part before your blade... and it promptly closed around it.

"Aaaaah?"

You saw the demons flesh part. That is true. But it didn't part because of your blade.
The meat gave way and then wrapped tightly around the flat side of the sword, stopping it dead in its tracks.
Looking down at you, unflinching, uncaring.

"I didn't say I won't use it."
He said before kicking your side, breaking your left arm in the process.
>>
Aaaand that's about all I had in me for today.
I'm practically dead at this point.

I hope you enjoyed the session. And I hope to see you goys next week.
In the meantime, if you have any requests then feel free to lay 'em on me.

Take care until next week
>>
O-kay! I'm finally feeling not dead once more.
So...
No requests or questions?
A'ight.

I'm thinking about doing one omake sometime during the week anyway.
Buuut that's about it. Only one.
Which might help clarify some stuff, maybe not.
We'll see
>>
>>3098255
How did the demons track us so easily? I'm sure it's some magic/ability but that whole thing went from 0 to 60 real fast.
>>
>>3098395
The crow was their scout.
It knew how you looked like, what you smelled, sounded and felt like.
And since demons have shape shifting powers, it could easily track you by growing an appropriate organ



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