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/qst/ - Quests

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>Overgrowth Edition

The coastal town of Diamond Shoals, a popular tourist destination in the summer but otherwise relatively sleepy in the off-season. Occasionally though, there is some supernatural activity abound which is usually seen to by a few strange denizens of the town. For as unnatural as this activity might be though, it usually goes unnoticed by most everyone else. Usually.

You've seen your fair share though and are starting to think you picked the wrong town to live in.
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The requirements have been met for multiple characters, so two are available for play. Owen, the ex-track star supermart worker or Lee, the Jill-of-all-trades waitress.

>Please select your character!
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>The continuation of an ongoing quest, with previous iterations available here;

>the Jill-of-all-trades waitress.
Rolled 1 (1d2)


One and one, will make a roll to see who gets picked. 1 for Owen, 2 for Lee.
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You are Owen, a 20-year-old newcomer to the town of Diamond Shoals, and cart pusher of the Mega World Mart. Today isn't a workday however and after a usual morning routine you threw on your running clothes and then some, as it's starting to get a little cold out now, later in the year. Your first Fall in town, Winter before long, but a ways still to go before your first full year.

At any rate you make a good pace along the sand, choosing the beach for today. The cold sea breeze with the incoming surf, a stark contrast to the midday sun. Maybe not the best conditions for running, but you like the mild shock of it for the time being, and if it gets to be too much the woods are just across the reedy dunes. Another benefit of course to the cooling weather, means less people, less tourists and so less people out on the beach. Well, not completely devoid but you could probably go tens of minutes at a time or more without seeing anyone.

Maybe when you're a bit farther out from town though, for now you can see just a small group gathering a little ways ahead. You'd think it to be a single family if it weren't for two cars, and... is that Joshua? Still out surfing this time of year? Not surfing at this very moment, mind, he's sort of near the group but he's got his board with him and he's wearing trunks.

>You're not about to just elbow your way in among the small group of people, but perhaps you could get a passing glance and listen as approach and potentially go by.
>See what's up from Joshua, you recognize him at least and he's removed from the rest.
>Just keep on by, it's none of your business.
>>Just keep on by, it's none of your business.
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Like with... well, most things that come in and out of your life, and certainly everything that goes on in town, you would have a hard time caring any less about the little gathering on the beach. It doesn't involve running, so it won't involve you.

"That's Owen!" you'd expect folks to say of your disinterest, and best to keep it that way.

Not even a passing curiosity, and in order to avoid the gathering altogether, you take a short detour inland to eliminate the risk of being noticed or called over entirely. Slowing to a jog then as you leave the shoreline behind and reach the dunes, you have a little worry as you climb to the top of one such dune. Looking across the reedy sea of grassy sand, you see the waves of wind across the green expanse and recall some bad memories. Of getting lost within, and the gem monster stalking it... it's been some time and the monster long gone, but you still always feel a little nervous when approaching the reedy sea.

Feeling a stronger gust of wind behind though, you watch the trickle of sand from beneath your feet and down the dune, ever so gently towards the grasses below. You set aside any misgivings about monsters or getting lost... but it wouldn't make for the best running. Right, don't want sand in your shoes! Any more than you'd have normally, at least.

>Just to prove there's nothing wrong, you'll go on and trek right through the grasses, you don't care!
>Maybe a little more precarious footing, but just keep to the crests of the outermost dunes. Simpler that way, less grass, underbrush and even debris to get in the way.
>You know, the lighthouse road isn't that much farther ahead. You're headed in that direction anyway, a short run through some grass is worth the rest of the way on flat road. Or next to it.
>>Maybe a little more precarious footing, but just keep to the crests of the outermost dunes. Simpler that way, less grass, underbrush and even debris to get in the way.
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Will be running things, but it'll be a bit intermittent due to some busy-ness besides.


If there's a chance to avoid trudging through a patch of the reedy sea, then you'll take it. A quick trek through to the road beyond is appealing, but you're fine just keeping to the dunes. And the outermost ones at that, that border the beach more or less. A little difficult as you try to run along, and not a path you'd ever normally take due to the uneven terrain and chance to slip, slide or fall. Ah, nothing really dangerous about it, but you don't want to land face first in the sand if you can help if. It is fairly chillier even this little bit higher up though, caught between winds from both sides of the dunes.

You haven't long to ponder the matter though, as before long you near the lighthouse grounds, the old light itself having come into view near enough the moment you climbed up the first dune (though a fair distance away for sure). On the approach now you can make out the actual proper grass, kept lawn of the grounds and even the smaller buildings. The lighthouse itself of course dominates the view however, it's two-tone color pattern spiraling up the tower from the...

Oh wait, hold on a minute... green?

Well that's unexpected, and you do a double take; a significant portion of the lighthouse, the bottom half easily, is a vibrant green color. Weird that you didn't notice it sooner, but then your mind wasn't really on it and with the familiar sight of the grounds, it must have just blended in. What an odd choice to repaint you think at first, but the closer you get to it, the less you want to be.

"Woah-ho-hokay, that's moving! Yeah I'm not going to..."

Rustling in the wind it looks like, a leafy mass of plants entangling the tower, sprouted up from the ground all around. So thick and overgrown that it looked like a solid green at a distance, but it becomes clear to you now. It would actually be pretty nice looking, if it hadn't seemingly sprung up overnight (or at least since the last time you were here), and if it was tended to. As-is, it takes you more than a few moments to locate where the entrance to the tower is supposed to be and it's far too overgrown for anyone to get in or out. Not that the old light ever gets used, but have to question if any of this is intentional... or if anyone knows.

>Supsicious, but nothing you can't get to the bottom of! Rip and tear some, what you can manage.
>You'd rather not get tangled up in things, so to speak, if you don't have to. Probably worth checking if anyone is inside though... but uh, how exactly?
>Better yet, is anyone home? Give the keeper's house a check, ring the doorbell.
Call the gems and let them know about the suspicious event.

Call how, do you want to physically try and call for them, or seek the use of a phone?
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It could very well be nothing, or even if it is gem-related it could be harmless, but you feel obligated to let them know of it at least. After that, the issue is in their hands. Seeking then to avoid contact with the leafy mass about the tower, you figure to call on the gems first. And who knows, maybe it's just a simple matter they can handle with ease so you wouldn't need to get your hands dirty.

Without anyone around though, you can only assume they're in the keeper's house. Someone always tends to be, or the vault beneath even but you can't get into that on your own, so the house it is. Having learned from Lee of how to get in through the back door (and where a spare key is kept), you cross the grounds and pace around the house, keeping an eye out for anyone else along the way. At least Sarah is home it seems, the lights in her room on from what you can see.

"Hello? It's Owen, anyone home?"

Announcing yourself upon entering the kitchen via the back door, you lean into a few doorways here and there to check the ground floor. No signs of anyone having been here, lights off and nothing left lying around. Just a small mess in the kitchen and the closet beneath the stairs in disarray, all signs pointing again, to Sarah. You hesitate on the idea of heading upstairs then from past experience, but if all you need to do is just let her know of the situation, then it wouldn't take but a moment.

So a quick struggle to shut the messy closet with brooms and what else fallen out, but the sound of something heavy coming down the stairs cuts short your attempt to go up, before it was ever a chance. You have a feeling of who it is even, so that's some help against the usual alarm of the initial sight of her. It does nothing for the discomfort that comes after though.

"The other one isn't here... it's just you this time? Of the two of you, I'd have thought you knew well enough to stay outside.

The imposing figure of the big blue gem darkens the hallway even further, what with the only light coming from the windows in the other rooms. Standing with a hand on the banister and taking up much of the hallway, you feel uneasy with only your breathing to hear between the two of you amid a pause as she expects a response. You're a bit too confused though to offer a reaction, who's the other one? Lee, if you had to guess.

"Maybe I wasn't clear enough, you're only human after all."

Rather abruptly she moves for you, aiming to catch you with a sudden grab. By her size, she doesn't have to get that close even to reach you, something which definitely catches you off guard.

>Don't resist. You suppose you are intruding even if it is over an important matter.
>You're getting annoyed by the confusion of who's allowed in the house when different gems are in it. Rebuke her and try to get a clear answer.
>[Owen] Make a dodge. Evade her if you have to, if she's set on catching you.
>>Don't resist. You suppose you are intruding even if it is over an important matter.
All you have to do is inform of the event, you can do that as she carries you outside.
>>Don't resist. You suppose you are intruding even if it is over an important matter.
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She's a bit of a mystery to you, Chalcedony, having only interacted with her a few times in passing. It seems like a good idea then not to act like you have a leg to stand on here, or to give her a real reason to get rid of you by avoiding her. The fast approach she makes though does startle you however, something of that size to so suddenly loom over you. She slows upon getting close enough though, possibly surprised that you didn't actually flee. Definitely surprised, when she comes to rest a large hand on your shoulder and you don't struggle against it.

"You're the fast one, aren't you?"


Craning your head up to look at her in the dim light, you try to search for some meaning in her face, her eyes, but end up with only discomfort. By what standards (or control) the gems seem to have about their appearance, the big blue one is definitely the worst. Sol by contrast appears pretty much perfectly human except for her color, but Chalcedony only vaguely resembles what could be considered "humanoid"; the most basic requirements met, and little if anything else. Almost more like a mannequin than a... well, gem lady.

"That's right, but not so fast this time."

Her hand large enough to grip much of your upper left torso, you feel on edge already, but panic creeps in as the hand moves from your shoulder to your neck. No struggle, but instincts kick in when her grip begins to tighten and you bring your hands up to hers to try and stop it. A sense of malicious curiosity seems to leave her at your unspoken protest, and finally she eases up to just a firm grip. Still around your neck though, and with a tug she pulls you around as turns to move for the front door. There's no fighting it on your part, not as if you could, but it's hard not to scramble a little as she drags you back through the hallway kicking at the floor with your feet in an attempt to keep upright.

"Now that wasn't so difficult, was it? And tell the other one as well, unless you're invited in by someone I don't want you humans inside."

"Blagh!" you cough, with your neck now let go by her but still with a firm hand to your back as she stands you by the open front door, beside her, "It wasn't for no reason though, I wanted make sure you... all knew about the lighthouse."

"What about the... as she leans over to be able to see out the front door, actually pushing down on you with her body in the process, "...did Sarah do that? She came by earlier for a coat, talking about the lighthouse."

You can't imagine how Sarah could encourage plants to overgrow half of the tower, but a worrisome thought if she's involved, or inside.
>Chalcedony seems to be the only other person, let alone gem around. She might be all the help you can get.
>You'd rather not involve her any more than you have, but could she direct you to one of the other gems perhaps, if she knows where they are?
>This seems as good a reason as any to check her room for sure now, whether she's up there or if there's any clues what she was up to.
>>You'd rather not involve her any more than you have, but could she direct you to one of the other gems perhaps, if she knows where they are?
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For as little as you know her, you're not sure if having Chalcedony's help is worth it. Besides, if you're not mistaken she never goes outside, or isn't allowed.

"No I don't think Sarah did that, which is why I was inside, looking for help. Where are the others? Gems, I mean."

She seems to make sense of the matter at hand, and eases up on trying to force you out. You wouldn't imagine she's any more welcoming of your presence, but you're no longer just some trespasser.

"Sunstone has gone to the settlement for the day. Last I saw Topaz however, she went down to the vault. Probably still down there, she always is."

Well you're not about to run back to town and try to find Sol wherever she may be, but if another gem is here then that's the best you can hope for. You figure then to head back around to the cellar then and down to the vault, but Chalcedony stops you short before you exit the front door, grabbing you by the entire upper arm.

"Wait... I'll take you, you won't be able to get in otherwise."

It takes a moment to recall but she's right, apparently only gems could interact with the vault. In the time it takes you to remember that though, the big blue gem also was going over something in her head it seems. Considering, of whether to go outside. When you finally pull against her grip in a prompt to follow, finally she ducks down again to try and fit through the doorway.


"...and you are saying they are growing all over the lighthouse? I must see this for myself, I will be up shortly!"

It took her some getting used to being outside for the first time in... you're not sure, but not long after Chalcedony led you to the vault door and with some interacting, began communicating with another being assumedly within. Unaware of the situation, but curious by the sound of things. The big blue gem just waits with you after, some minutes till the vault door opens and the other... gem emerges. At least you think it's a gem, with an overall light blue-ish hue, but you've never seen one so small in stature. She's maybe smaller even than Sarah, herself just a kid. As such you get some impressions of the new gem, which are probably very wrong considering how little you understand gems.

"Thank you Chalcedony, I will free you of your human-sitting responsibilities. Hurry now then Owen, I want to see the... my, you are much larger up close! Were you always this big? I really ought to get out more often and meet some more humans."

The little gem paces rather quickly past you towards the steps out of the cellar, but stops short just a few feet past. Backing up, she pauses for a moment to get a better impression of you, before looking up and obviously impressed.

>Sorry, do I know you?
>Or you can just get to know me better... wait, that came out wrong.
>How many more gems are hiding around here? You always thought it was just the three.
>I am Owen. Nod* I play football for the local high school. A pleasure Ma'am. May I ask your name?

State our "Cut", "Purpose", and a polite and formal tone.

Showing respect has worked well so far.
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Her emergence and approach of you is rather sudden, that you're a little caught off guard. She seems familiar with you by name, but you can't recall ever having seen her before. Her small size is notable enough that you're sure you'd remember if you had.

"That's right, I'm Owen." you nod, though it seems kneeling down to her level would do better, "I... like to run. A pleasure Ma'am. May I ask your name?"

When all else fails, be respectful! That's always served you well with these gem folks, sort of. The little one though seems confused by your response at first, giving way to a pang of realization.

"Of course, we have not met in person! At least not you and I, though you may recall I designed one of the rooms for your aptitude test... the rotating box?" at that she reaches up with her little hands to take one of yours between them, "Well Owen, it is nice to meet you finally, properly! I am Topaz, Blue Topaz if you want to be precise, but you can call me either."

A clear interest in you, as well as her finding the situation rather amusing. But no time for that, as she has your hand now, and hurries along. You get the distinct feeling of holding hands with a little kid, and can only imagine the look to an outsider. It would seem you're not total strangers though, in the full sense. You do remember the little exam Sol gave you and Sarah together to see if you could handle basic gem activity. The last room, the cube, now that you think about it you do seem to recall someone saying it was created by a Topaz individual. Well here she is at any rate, but it's hard not to be surprised at never having seen her before for as long as you've been helping out the gems.


The three of you stand outside observing the lighthouse, in order from tallest to shortest. Probably pure coincidence. Chalcedony doesn't seem that invested however, beyond a passing curiosity and so says her goodbyes and that she'll be inside the house if she's needed. Notably, she also apologizes for her treatment of you earlier, and says to try knocking next time. You're not sure if that's some sort of permission, or if it extends to Lee as well, but there are bigger matters at hand currently.

"Look at that, see that part of the blue spiral on the tower a ways up? When I got here, I'm sure the plants hadn't grown that high."

"Then it must be growing, even now. That would explain how it spread so much in just a day, and not even a full day yet... and Chalcedony believes Sarah could be inside? Do you have any ideas then on what to do?"

"I was going to ask you that, actually."

At least you don't have to worry about getting close to the tower, if there is anything to be worried about in the first place; for as much as the plants have grown upward across the exterior of the lighthouse, they've hardly grown outwards from the base. Whatever is causing them to grow, is focused in only one direction.
>Try removing some of the vines? Don't just rip everything down in one go, but see if that's possible at least.
>Gaining entry is probably the best course of action. To know if Sarah is inside for sure, and you'd only have to remove the overgrowth around the entry door to the tower.
>Are the things stable enough to climb? Does Topaz have any skills which might help with that?
>>Gaining entry is probably the best course of action. To know if Sarah is inside for sure, and you'd only have to remove the overgrowth around the entry door to the tower.
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The lighthouse ending up completely overgrown is something indeed, but it's not really something you need to concern yourself with. If a friend needs help though, you can't just ignore that! At any rate, it would be a big help in how to approach the situation, to know where Sarah is (or isn't, in this case).

"Because I would suggest we introduce some fire to the situation, and then..."

"I'm going to try and get in through the door, can you help with that?"

"That is good too!"

Without going back to the house, or the cellar for supplies the immediate choices are limited. You're not completely out of options though, as you do have your multitool (with fold-out knife) as always, and with a flash of blue light Topaz draws from her gem an appropriately sized set of nunchucks. Weird, you wouldn't have expected that, but whatever.

"Are those going to be able to do anything against plants? They're blunt..."

"Right, yes. Give me that!"

Before you have a chance to react, she snatches the knife from you and fastens it to one of the nunchucks with a "borrowed' shoelace. Together then, you approach the base of the tower as she winds back with an arm, to swing at and cut the vines overgrowing the entrance.

"Ah, no. Look at that, it's growing right back."

"Do you want to give it a try then? Your arms are longer, maybe you can swing better."

With some hesitation you accept the offered gem weapon, and give it a few practice swings. Unfortunately you end up stabbing yourself, so decide to just grab the knife end and use it directly as... a knife. Topaz's attempts didn't amount to much as the plants just grew back and then some, but as you make a significant effort to slash at them while she pulls away what she can from standing behind your legs, a much more drastic response is seen as those vines and stems unharmed begin to gather. At first just to try and swat the two of you away, but as your effort continues the defense becomes stronger. Vines now actually gripping onto you and thorny protrusions lashing out.

"Oh dear... try cutting lower around just one area, closer to my height!"

A tough, and frantic business but eventually a hole small enough for Topaz is made, through which she pushes open the door to the inside and then jumps through. Reaching back then, she grabs ahold and pulls you inside with a strength much greater than her size would suggest. Ripping you through and dragging many vines with, she quickly slams the entrance door shut to keep out anything from growing inside.

>Check yourself over, see if you're injured. A short breather as well, after that struggle would be nice.
>Ask if she has any idea what the deal with the overgrowth is, and why it reacted that way?
>Compliments around for that bit of effort, then start checking around. Start searching the lighthouse interior.
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Just a heads up, this will probably be my last response of the night. Will resume tomorrow though as usual from here.

>Thanks all for playing!
>>Ask if she has any idea what the deal with the overgrowth is, and why it reacted that way?
>>Ask if she has any idea what the deal with the overgrowth is, and why it reacted that way?
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A tad more dangerous than you'd initially thought, if the plants entangling the lighthouse can be so hostile then you'd want a better idea of what you're up against if possible. You've no idea for sure, but Topaz seems on top of things, if you guess at her job being to mind the vault.

"Uaagh, well that was weird. You wouldn't happen to know what the deal is with all that... stuff outside, how it started attacking us?"

"I have not had the chance to study any of this sort of plant life before, but it doesn't seem at all natural. If it is anything like- watch outt!"

Startled by her sudden outburst, you don't have much time to react as she rushes to jump on top of you, pounding away at your arm with her little fists. You think it an unprovoked attack at first, but in the light catch a glimpse of something writhing across the surface of your jacket sleeve. It takes some effort for sure but she manages to pull free some still clinging and still living vines from you, from more places than just your arm as well, but eventually she's got a hold of all of them. Drawing them out between her hands, she holds the teeming mass out for you to cut with the knife.

"I was thinking though, do these seem familiar to you? You remember, a similar encounter?"

For sure it's difficult with the stress of the present situation, but you jog your memory for anything like this... of course, the vine giant! About a month ago, you all went on that journey to the overgrown gem complex in the giant forest, running afoul of many vicious plants there. Eerily similar to the overgrowth outside the more you think about it.

"How though?! All of that happened in the Golden State, on the other side of the country. We're on the East Coast here, you can't get any farther away."

"Have you had any trouble with the things you brought back? That jade box you took?"

"What? Oh that, no I've just been using it to hold my keys and stuff. It's just sitting on a counter back home, no trouble so far."

Topaz seems convinced then, of something brought back from the giant forest being the cause. That seems more likely than just a coincidence, but it's not like anyone brought back any plants or anything. At any rate you give back her weapon to which she returns your multitool and shoelaces, and together you make a move for the old staircase. You can't help but dwell on her bringing up the jade box though, that you brought back. Not the box itself, but that she mentioned it in the first place, and how she would even know about it when she didn't come along on that quest to the giant forest...
>There might still be some dangers ahead, so best to figure out how to proceed. She's a gem so a good deal tougher than you, have her go in front.
>See if you can't find something in here to better arm, and protect yourselves with.
>[Owen] You're probably fast enough to rush on ahead and scout out for any threats while avoiding what you come across.
>>See if you can't find something in here to better arm, and protect yourselves with.
>>See if you can't find something in here to better arm, and protect yourselves with.
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Your eyes follow the old spiral staircase up the inside of the lighthouse as far as it leads, till the next floor above. Trying to guess at what waits above, it dawns upon you that despite living in Diamond Shoals for nearing half a year now and having come to help the gems on a semi-regular basis, you've never actually been up inside the lighthouse. Well, this seems as good a chance as any. First thing's first though, you don't want to get ambushed by something from above on your way up.

"Hey Topaz real quick, can we get some better equipment than what we have right now?"

"I suppose there are some things in the garage that could prove useful, but I am not sure it is a good idea to try and get out the way we came in... oh, you mean from in here! Of course, that makes sense. Humans are quite fragile after all, we would not want you to suffer a ruptured spleen."

Oddly specific, but you're on the same page it seems. Really, there isn't much in here to begin with but you both take to looking anyway. The lighthouse isn't in operation anymore and the grounds just serve as a historical site, but you'd kind of expected that there might at least be some old junk lying around. Likely in the past the place was cleaned up and organized by one of the gems, or even some humans. Without breaking into too much though, you do manage to find some pretty thick old worker's gloves and a welding mask oddly enough.

Your attention is sharply drawn though to the sound of metal bending and tearing, as Topaz after focusing rather intently on it, ripped free one of the metal steps from the staircase.

"Look, I found this! You can use it for... things!"

Trading the welding helmet for the chunk of metal stair, it can probably work as a crude shield. And so after she struggles to fit the helmet over her hair and head, the two of you begin the ascent up the old staircase, skipping the first missing step. Topaz needs some amount of help along the way though, both because of her much shorter legs and also because she can't see anything through the helmet. She also speaks more about potential health risks you face while holding onto one of your legs for guidance up, but your attention is focused on any potential ambush. That, and the mixed sound of your footsteps on the metal and the occasional strong wind outside.

"...and though I am not a licensed doctor by human standards, I feel confident I could replace a missing kidney. I understand you only need one, however-"

"Hold up, do you hear that?"

"What?! What is it, I cannot see anything!" as she crashes against your leg.

Difficult to tell at first, but you definitely heard someone talking on the next floor up. Quieted now though, after the little outburst between you two, and from your plodding up the stairs.
>Hey, that's probably Sarah. Call out to her, see how she's doing.
>If it was her, she was talking with someone but who? Suspicious, find out for yourself.
>It's a trap! Make a cautious advance just before the next floor, then jump up ready for an attack.
>>If it was her, she was talking with someone but who? Suspicious, find out for yourself.
>Make a cautious advance
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Rather than rushing to the next floor for a possible trap, you whisper to Topaz and keep it slow and careful. Better yet, less pairs of feet and you've got sneakers on, so you figure to just pick her up and carry her the rest of the way. Last thing you want is to have to make a speedy retreat and end up falling over and down the stairs from her clinging to your leg, though it only further presses the weird feeling of carrying a little kid as she hangs onto you to be sure.

"Do not drop me!"

"I'm not going to drop you."

Your whispering falls quiet as you traipse up the last few steps, hefting the chunk of metal stair in front of you with your free arm. And well to do, as you're immediately met with several hits and loud clanging against the metal from thrown objects. Some rocks, random bits of junk and an old gaff hook which might have ruined your day without the "shield". It's definitely Sarah though, but no sign of anyone else.

"What is it?! What does it look like?!" Topaz panics, trying and failing to see through the welding mask.

"Don't worry, it's... hey Sarah, thought you were in trouble, so here we are."

The little girl remains suspicious as she peers out from behind a couple of boxes, but once you lower the chunk of stair and show yourselves clearly, she emerges a little more. Kneeling to try and set Topaz down, Sarah instead rushes forward to hug the both of you, clearly shaken by the day so far. After letting go, she tries to help Topaz get the welding helmet off and greet each other properly, giving you the chance to stand up again and look around for anyone else.

"Hey Sarah, who were you... talking with before we came up?"

"Huh? Oh, Bentley! Sorry 'bout throwin' stuff at you's, I thinked you's a monster like the other." she answers, clearly feeling guilty about attacking you and looking a little upset.

Bentley though... ah right, the coconut imaginary friend she's had for awhile now. All the more reminds you of the trip to the giant forest, where the coconut was also brought along and like the rest of you was attacked by the plants there. Maybe a bit too friendly on Sarah's behalf though, if she's to the point of talking with it now.

>Try and figure out what's going on, why was Sarah in here to begin with?
>Actually, before any of that, see how she's doing. If it's been rough for you getting in here against the overgrowth, then it's probably worse for a kid.
>That can wait, the most important thing right now is getting out of here... but how?
>Try and figure out what's going on, why was Sarah in here to begin with?
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Naturally you want to get out of here but it's probably for the best to figure out at least if there's an obvious cause for the overgrowth. If it's something simple then perhaps you can deal with it in one go.

"You didn't have anything to do with this though, right Sarah? I mean, why were you in here in the first place?"

"No I didn't do it!" she responds, distressed "I sees the plants growin' this mornin' and wants to see why. They's nice at first but when I's get close with Bentley they's start tryin' to get us, and don't let us out! After that we runs up here to hide."

So for some reason or other the overgrowth sprung up just today as far as you can tell, the cause unclear but the coconut agitated it? Why the focus on the lighthouse you can't tell, but there's obviously something going on with Bentley. You recall the plant monsters back in the giant forest kind of focused on the coconut, given all the other similarities to that outing it seems like a clear connection. Maybe something was brought back from there, by someone unawares even?

"That is very fascinating I am sure..." Topaz speaks up, "...but I think we should move higher up." and with a little hand points to the window. You hadn't really noticed the dimming of the light outside thanks to the old service bulbs, but a closer look and you can see the window is completely overgrown now since arriving on this floor. Seems like the plants are intent on growing ever higher, or getting to the lot of you, whichever comes first.

From the sight of this, Sarah is clearly bothered and worried rushes to grab Bentley and hurry up the spiral stairs to the next level, her feet sounding quick footsteps on the metal. Topaz hurries a little ways up after to try and stop her, but waits after, looking in expectation for you to follow. You're a bit lost in thought though, piecing some information together; for as fervent as the overgrowth seems at enveloping the tower, it hasn't been strong enough to break inside... yet.

>Follow the gem and half-gem upstairs, perhaps to the top floor if you have to. You'll need to come up with a plan together.
>No, escape is the most important thing. If nothing else you have to get Sarah out of here, so return to the ground floor and prepare for a struggle to get outside again.
>Maybe you could try... distracting the overgrowth, if such a thing is possible? Have Topaz take Sarah to the bottom, while you keep Bentley with you and try to draw the focus of the plant growth to you.
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Just a heads up, this will probably be my last response of the night. Will try to resume tomorrow but it will probably be later than usual

>Thanks all for playing!
>>Follow the gem and half-gem upstairs, perhaps to the top floor if you have to. You'll need to come up with a plan together.
>>Follow the gem and half-gem upstairs, perhaps to the top floor if you have to. You'll need to come up with a plan together.
Another heads up, will be running tonight just later than usual as said >>1987949 here. Just a post to re-confirm.
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A lot later than usual apparently, apologies. One post for now but will try to continue at the usual time for today (Sunday).


You have some ideas on a possible escape, but now is not the time for working them out on your own. You have to keep together if you want to get out of this together, and so after one more look out the window trying to see past the coursing plants, you continue on after Topaz and Sarah farther up the inside of the lighthouse. The echoing sound of footsteps on the metal stairs, as the three of you approach the uppermost floor of the interior, before Topaz waits to stop you just before reaching it.

"A moment, Owen." she asks, speaking low and looking back a few times to make sure Sarah has gone on ahead, "I must ask if you have considered discarding the coconut? I know that Sarah has some strange bond with it, but if the plants are as drawn to it as well then it may be better to dispose of the thing. I hope you can make that decision if Sarah cannot."

"The thing has a name, and that strange bond is friendship."

The thought of just tossing Bentley aside the moment things get difficult is unwelcome to say the least. Not that you care all that much, but you suppose Bentley is a friend enough by now and if it means something to Sarah... you push past Topaz, an expression of confusion clear on her as if to ask why you care so much, it's just a coconut.

At any rate you catch up to Sarah then on the top level of the lighthouse, an actual room now rather than just portions of floor at different intervals along the staircase ascent. Although it's dominated by some large machinery, the room is still partially furnished and even some sparse decorations. It's still the interior of the tower though, a final small set of stairs leading to actual beacon above, and the outside. Sarah leans on a chair with Bentley in hand to peer out one of the windows up here, and by the time Topaz clamors up to join the rest of you, you're also wondering how much longer till the plants catch up outside and where else you have left to go.

"Alright, we need to figure a way to get out of here. I thought about maybe cutting our way back out downstairs but I'm not sure how safe that is, especially if Bentley seems to agitate the plants even more than usual... so let's try and figure out something together, what can we come up with? What do we have?"

You come to lean on an old table or covering in the center of the room (positioned over some machine embedded in the floor underneath), while Sarah drags her chair over to sit at it with Bently rested on the table top, and Topaz struggles to climb and settles for holding herself up at the table edge on her arms while her legs dangle below.
>Try to expand on one of your ideas and see what they think. You can't come up with much else, but it might work regardless.
>See if Sarah, Topaz or even Bentley have an idea of their own on how to escape.
>[Player Idea] Maybe if you think hard enough, and quick, you can come up with something else? {Specify.}
>>[Player Idea] Maybe if you think hard enough, and quick, you can come up with something else? {Specify.}
This is a port town, there should be ropes everywhere. Find one and repel down the side of the lighthouse.

A few ideas bounce around in your head, but one inspiring new thought shows promise. Maybe overstepping the other two as the team leader-ish role, a disconcerting notion to you, but it could be the answer you're looking for.

"Wait I just realized, we're in a port town. We can just gather up a bunch of rope and get down that way."

"Eh... not a port town really, not like Dauphine or Barnell. But there's a whole lotta' rope!"

Sarah seems pretty enthusiastic right away with your idea, probably the appeal of getting to climb down and from the outside no less. Grabbing Bentley and hopping off the chair she wastes no time in rushing around to gather whatever rope she can, even going back down a level or two to get more. You plan to do the same, but notice Topaz still hanging there and watching you, waiting for a chance to speak her mind.

"What? It's a better plan than fighting our way back out. If you've got an idea we can go with it instead."

"There is nothing wrong with your plan, but last I checked this lighthouse was still the tallest one in this country. It is over two-hundred feet tall, even if there is enough rope... are you going to be able to cope with the descent?"

You're not exactly sure what she means by that, so just ask her to help with the team effort for now. It doesn't take long them to gather more than enough rope by Topaz's measure, at least for one length down and then some. Together you climb the last staircase then to the top of the lighthouse, emerging just beneath the beacon itself and onto an exterior balcony, met with a cold blast of sea breeze. The sudden chill, and sight of the rest of Cape Hattrask below and the ocean beyond stretching to the horizon, comes as a bit of a shock to you. Sarah is ecstatic at the sight and begins a loop around the circular balcony while Topaz examines the edge railing and over to start tying rope, but you're already weak in the knees and feeling your heart rate rise.

"Is everything alright, Owen?" Topaz asks, aware of your difficulty without looking back from her tying work, "It is a good idea all things considered. The overhang from the edge of the balcony should be more than enough distance from rest of the tower exterior, and the plants covering it."

You're now quite sure what she meant before, about you being able to cope with the climb down. How Topaz knows about your fear of heights though, again confuses you since you've never spent time together before this. Now isn't the time to figure it out though, and taking a deep breath, you make the struggle to step out onto the balcony and approach the edge. Shaking like a leaf all the way, but that's just from the cold, for sure!

By the time you approach the railing of the edge and lurch forward to grip onto the metal for dear life, Sarah comes around from her loop of the balcony to join the two of you.

"We goin' down now? Oooh thas' a long way!"
>You know if you just let her go down on her own, Sol would have your head. Sarah should go with Topaz, it'll be the safest for her.
>Honestly, Sarah is the best climber you know. As irresponsible as it may be to let her go on her own, you're going to need Topaz's help the most.
>Best just to go with the safest, if slowest option. See if Topaz can't just lower you each down individually.
>>You know if you just let her go down on her own, Sol would have your head. Sarah should go with Topaz, it'll be the safest for her.
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As much as you might come to regret it, you can't in good conscience allow Sarah to climb down the rope on her own. If you fall well then that's that but if she fell, even though Topaz by all accounts is truly in charge, you'd still feel responsible. The difficult part is breaking it to her.

"What?! No fair, I can do it my own! I's better at climbin' than both you's!"

"I know you're a better climber, but please just go with Topaz. Here, I'll even take Bentley so it's just two and two for all of us."

Your compliment does well to make her less upset, and finally she accepts after handing the coconut to you. She still grumbles a little as Topaz ties the both of them together for extra safety, though it does look rather humorous and reminds you of two girls in a three-legged race of sorts. Topaz seems to know what she's doing though and it's not just a matter of dropping the rope over the side and sliding down; with use of your knife and great strength from her, she spent several minutes already cutting up and tying the extra rope into things like basic harnesses and hand loops, things like that. It leaves a lot to be desired of course without proper equipment, but it's the best you can hope for in a pinch.

And last but not least the gem also demonstrates a trick, sort of wrapping the rope beneath you around a leg and drawing it between both feet while descending, apparently a trick used by human soldiers among others. Though... you've no clue how she knows that. So with all that said and done, Topaz braces against the railing and gets a pretty complex hold of the rope going (assumedly just in case it were to come undone) and even Sarah helps, the both of them looking to you now.

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"Oh wh-what... me f-first? Ugh, fine..."

After all your talk, you can't really weasel your way out of it now. Thankfully, you get some help in the form of climbing onto the railing and freezing stiff from fear with Topaz pushing you without warning. You try not to scream and panic too much as you grip for dear life at the ropes looped around your hands (in turn tied from your harness and around the main rope) and trying to employ that trick you were shown. Fortunately the harness and your erratic swinging does most of the work, but you're still dropping faster than you'd like.

"Alrightalrightalright Bentley..." you stammer aloud to the coconut but mostly for your own benefit, "...j-just a couple hundred feet down and- DON'T LOOK DOWN... r-right right, just keeeep ahold of things and we'll be on th-the ground in no time!"

You do your best to follow your own advice and just focus on something else while doing everything in your power to maintain control of the rope in your descent. You quickly come to settle on the tower then, as it's the biggest and closest thing to you and a stable visual anchor. For the most part it's actually quite helpful, at least until you "catch up" to the extent of the overgrowth up the tower as you get lower. The creeping mass of plants makes it a lot less pleasant to watch, but better that you were as you quickly notice your proximity quickly noticed by them or something akin. Your mind races in a panic as you see the mass of overgrowth on the side of the lighthouse closest to you, starting to draw away and pull off of the tower surface in order to try and reach out to you. The reason, you can quickly guess as you see the writhing green leaning closer and closer off the tower side and in your direction, is Bentley nestled in an arm.

A quick look up as well, rather than down, and you can see the underside of the balcony and top of the tower above. You're probably only about a hundred feet down, if that.

>It's a risk, but try and drop faster to avoid being ensnared.
>That's more than you can handle, you'll take your chances so try to slow or stop even and repel the overgrowth.
>Scream... call for help from above, or anyone!
>>It's a risk, but try and drop faster to avoid being ensnared.
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Maybe it's the height, maybe it's the sight of a mass of writhing plants reaching out towards you, but you lose your cool. Struggling over what to do, you end up just defaulting to what you'd been doing so far but with the added urgency of fear. The attempt to continue descending down the rope doesn't go over as well as hoped, as the overgrowth farther down the side of the tower simply continues to grow out at you the lower you get. Faster and faster you go, trying to escape the threat till you lose track of your own speed.

"Oh shi- ghooff!"

Before you know it, through the overgrowth you notice the big base of the lighthouse suddenly extending out from the rest of the tower, and even in your panicked tunnel vision you become aware of the ground rushing up to meet you. Too late, as the best attempts to slow or stop in your sudden realization are clumsy at best and don't amount to much. A sharp, dulling shock through your body as you hit the ground hard. Everything flashes white and there's nothing but a ringing in your ears as your clarity slips away.


"*w*n! C*n y** h**r m* *w*n?!"

You're not sure how long, but a creeping ache in your body reminds it that you're still alive for however much longer. With the building intensity of the pain bringing you closer to consciousness, the sensation is met with sound. Muffled and unintelligible, but a voice you're familiar with calling to you in the dark. No matter how you try, you can't really make sense of it until it sounds like a yelling right in your ear, and hazily you open your eyes to an unclear blur and vague shapes.

"Please don't die Owen!" Sarah begs and cries while shaking your side.

"Eugh... I'm not dead. Not yet anyway."

The girl is relieved that you're awake, but her resultant hug produces a fair amount of pain and a panicked apology from her. You ask to see what's going on, but hear Topaz say that you can't be moved, becoming aware of the small gem's presence by her examining your legs. Thoughts start to fall into place as you try to remember what happened, and the rapid onset of panic when you realize how dire things could be if she's checking your legs after the fall. You can't help but jolt up or try to at least, to make sure for yourself that everything is alright, a fear of what it could mean if your ability to run is impacted. Topaz has to try her best though to keep you down, keep you still and reaffirm what she said.

"No, do not move! Human bodies are fragile, and after such a fall... you could make it worse."

>Hope for the best, but expect the worst. Ask what happened at least, after you hit the ground of course.
>Your panic is justified! No one can tell you better than your own body how badly it's injured, so get up and move to see for yourself.
>Did Bentley at least survive the fall?
>>Did Bentley at least survive the fall?
Later than usual, but a post nonetheless!


Though you've only just come to, your mind is already racing with thoughts and worries. Understandable concern over your own wellbeing, but here you are alive at least after the fall. Your mind comes to settle on a pertinent concern, for one whom might not be so lucky.

"Alright, I'll keep still... or whatever you need me to do. But what about... is Bentley ok?"

"I don't care 'bout the coconut!" Sarah shouts tearfully, as you see her lift Bentley (in good condition thankfully) and toss him aside across the grass, "I want you to be ok!"

Well that's a little disconcerting considering you risked your neck for him, as you follow the coconut coming to rest on the lawn with your eyes before looking back. It's hard not to see Sarah as just a kid, she is after all, but she can be more mature than you give her credit for. It's nice at least though, to know that you're cared about. Compared to what your'e used to, people just caring about what you can do and how well, it's a... different feeling.

"Yeah, I'll be ok... right Topaz?"

"I told Sarah to use that phone device in the house for help, her uncle is on his way here. It would be better for the human doctors to see to you, I think."

That's not a yes or a no towards any serious harm, but if she wants you to go to the clinic then you won't argue there. You wonder if it wouldn't have been better though to call an ambulance instead, but suddenly wonder if Diamond Shoals even has an ambulance... it has to, right? But then, it doesn't have a proper hospital either. Probably if anything, whatever there might be is borrowed from Dauphine.

"Her... your uncle? Not 911 or something?"

"Don't think's is' a good idea for the police to come here."

Sarah raises a good point, as you try not to get up or anything but can still see from the corner of your eyes the lighthouse, and still see the overgrowth covering much of it. You're reminded of a past reluctance to avoid the authorities and gem related things crossing paths, so decide to leave it at that.

>You appreciate their care and concern, but it's nothing really! Nothing you can't walk off at least.
>Fine, you'll go to the clinic, but at least you want to get an idea for yourself how bad it might be.
>How far away is Sarah's uncle? If it's a bother, then tell him he doesn't need to. No point in someone coming all the way out here when you can just rely on one of your own friends for that.
>Have the gems scan Bentley at a later date to determine why the plants like him so damn much.
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It's not too much longer till the help arrives. During that time you're at least helped to sit up and get a feel for things better, coming to notice that a rather thick patch of grass seemed to have sprung up where you hit the ground, perhaps to dampen the fall. You don't get a chance to ponder that though, as the arrival of Sarah's uncle is impossible to miss.

"Pretty good time, right? Dropped my tour group off at the mini-golf place before coming over!"

Hearing it before you see it, a familiar voice blares out over the external speaker system on the bus-boat that you've seen around town. Pulling up to the point of rolling across the lawn quite close to you all, the lumbering vehicle trundles to a stop with a hiss of the brakes. That voice though, where do you know it from?

"Oh right... Sarah's last name is Cosmos."

A look at the named logo and decorations on the side of the bus-boat and you can place the voice; the local late-night radio host. Keith Cosmos, anyone who's anyone tunes in at night to listen to the Cosmos. Although you don't personally own a radio, most everyone you've asked is a fan. An older fellow himself, he seems pretty easygoing and dressed to match (with "Hawaiian" being the most prominent theme) as he gets off the bus-boat and is immediately met by Sarah rushing over to give a quick hug before dragging him over to you. A small detail but one that you notice more as they get closer, how much darker skinned Sarah is, probably something inherited from her mother then.

"Haven't seen you in a long while Topaz, I take it Amber's away? Ah, so this is the Owen I've heard so much about! My niece isn't giving you too much trouble, is she?"

Probably out of habit, he goes to grab you by your arm and pull you to your feet to shake your hand, but is immediately chastised by the gem for being so sudden and rough with you in your present condition. In a bit of a panic he reacts by easing up significantly, without just letting go entirely.

"Right! Right, sorry! The name's Keith, good to meet you." he settles instead for a restrained pat on the back, "From what I hear, you're quite the runner? Well let's get you over to the clinic, you'll be back on your feet in no time!"

Much more carefully this time, both he and Topaz help you to your feet with him supporting. Even though you feel confident in being able to walk on your own, you're in a lot of pain and not sure how severe your injuries might be so just accept the help as Keith leads you to the bus-boat. Sarah climbs aboard first to try and make sure everything is alright and there's cleared space for you, but before you go you do remember one last thing.

"Oh hey, Topaz? I think it would be a good idea if you checked out Bentley? You know, took a... closer look?"

You have to whisper aside to the gem so Sarah doesn't catch on, but it seems Topaz is on the same page as you, curious herself about the coconut.
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>Credits Roll


I think that's a good place to end things for now. Thanks to everyone for playing, hope you enjoyed it!

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