Tick, tock, tick, tockThe clock continues its endless procession down the line of minutes as you stare out the second story window. You scribble some chickenscratch in your notebook, trying to keep it hidden from your teacher the best possible.Tick, tock, tick, tockLet's face it. Detention sucks donkey balls. Your teacher is probably busy grinding a stiffie up against the underside of his desk, staring at his laptop with all the intensity of someone watching a surgery being performed on their dog. You gently prod at your fingertips with your sharpened pencil, and then splay your hand out and start thumping the tip of the pencil against the paper.Tick, tock, tick, tock"I've got all my fingers, the knife goes chop chop chop..." You mutter to yourself, leaving dot after dot of graphite spots on the paper.Tick, tock, tick, tock"MISterrrr LEE!" You hear, a horrific, shrieking grate that causes you to ram the tip of your pencil right into the side of your thumb. You don't stab yourself particularly hard, but you do rip a narrow little chunk of skin out from the inside of your thumb, starting a steady trickle of blood and a sharp, searing pain that makes you grit your teeth.Tick, tock, tick, tock"Yeah?" You ask, slowly turning your head up to face him, trying to ignore the growing puddle of blood soaking into your notebook."Just what do you think you're doing with that pencil?" Mr. Harway says, staring daggers into you. That's how detention is here - no fun allowed, only staring silently. You can see a vein twitching, pulsating against his forehead.Tick, tock, tick, tockYou can almost hear it.No, that's your own heartbeat. You feel your stomach beginning to drop.Tick, tock, tick, tock"Just... tapping it around. Can I get a band-aid, Mr. Harway? I nicked myself pretty bad." You answer, quiet, looking down. His eyes glance downwards, and his breathing gets heavier.Tick, tock, tick, tock"You... what?" He asks, sounding dazed."I nicked myself. With my pencil. Do you have a band-aid?" You ask again, starting to slowly scoot your chair backwards. Mr. Harway's neck twitches, and then jerks sideways with a sickening crunch. "Jesus christ!"Tick, tock, tick, tock"You... what? You what? You what?" He gurgles, his neck cracking the other way, his face contorting in some sort of hideous rage. You scoot backwards out of your chair, slipping your backpack on and clutching your pencil with your bloodied hand.Tick, tock, tick, tock"Mr. Harway? I-I think I'm going to get going now." You tell him as his voice trails off into a broken record repetition of itself. You should... probably get a nurse. Your teacher is having a seizure. You should get a nurse, right?
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tockMr. Harway's head cranks 180 degrees, one of his arms swatting his computer completely off the desk, seeming to dislocate from its shoulder joint, flapping by his side uselessly. You take a couple of steps backwards, pushing yourself into the back edge of the room."You... You... You..." He rumbles, climbing over top of his desk. He stumbles over himself, bloody foam spilling out from his mouth, splattering on the floor. You have now officially reached the point of "scared shitless".Tick, tockHe lunges forward, jumping off his desk like a fucking psychopath, cracking his skull immediately against the closest desk to him. You take a single ginger step to the right, trying to get closer to the sole door, and he twists upwards, his entire body now a choir of awful sounds as it twists and bulges out of place.Tick, tockYou grab your pencil tighter, almost threatening to snap it. At this point, the pain in your bloodied hand is worn away over that dull roar in your head. Some long-buried instinct screaming at you to get closer to him, an instinct you are trying to suppress.He screams, as something stretches out his back from inside.TickHis clothes cling tightly to it, warping and twitching into scales and feathers as his pores distend, his body hunched over one of the front row desks while his back swells like a pregnant woman's stomach.TockTwo sickle-blade spikes, looking more like bone than anything else, rip out of his back, before being joined by several dozen more, a black, feathery membrane forming between them. His throat bulges outwards like a turkey's gobbler, his tie seeming to fuse with his sweaty skin.TickHis limbs twist and stretch out, forming into elongated, bird-like talons, bent at awkward angles, clinging to the desk. His hair elongates and fuses into several scaly spikes, while his eyes fill with white, lips pursing outwards into some kind of drooling, toothed beak. "Youuuu...!" Whatever it is says, squealing and crowing. It takes up two desk's worth of space, standing on top of them, staring you down with black sclera, white, narrow pupils. Standing directly between you, in the corner, and the door, in the other corner.Something in your chest tells you that you are not having a nightmare.>Make a break for it.>Try to talk to the thing that used to be your teacher.>Threaten it with the pencil.>Fling shit at it so you can run.>FREE OPTION.
>>4473814(Jesus christ I did not mean to write this much.)
>>4473814>Make a break for it.NOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENOPENOPE
>>4473814You must nope with all the energy.
>>4473814>Make a break for it.
>>4473854Tick tock tick tock rick rollSuddenly, you don't hear a thing anymore. Everything's filled with the pulsating, rhythmic march of your heartbeat. That heartbeat.Again.Tick tock tick tock"Well", you surprise yourself saying. "We might as well get that rhythmic pulse going through my tiny asshole...", you smile "...preparing for the cock incoming".
>>4473814>Fling shit at it so you can run.It's between us and the door. Throw our notebook at its face and try to get by while it's flailing at it.
>>4473854>>4473835>>4473829Blood rushing to your core, your limbs feel cold, tingly, and you bolt. There's a loud SNAP and you feel a searing pain across your shoulder blades, only able to stumble forward and look on helplessly as the creature's tongue retracts into its mouth.Its bulbous neck twitches and creaks as it points its head towards you. "Yyyyyouuuu...!" It groans - you shove a desk between it and your line of sight and roll forward. There's another loud SNAP, this time accompanied by the sound of splintering wood, with the thing's tongue shooting out like a bullet and punching straight through the desk, leaving a deep gouge in the floor.You can't hide. It climbs over the scattered, disorganized desks, reeling its tongue back into its mouth. Some kind of sticky, greyish fluid drips from the tip of its tongue as the appendage coils up like a spring.SNAPThe world grinds to a halt. You see the tongue shooting towards you, your body pumping full of adrenaline.You duck down and it shoots over your head. Your arms move on their own, on some unknowable combat impulse you've never felt before. You grab the tongue before it can return to the creature's mouth and stab it. Once, twice, three times, like ramming your pencil into a thick steak. The creature squeals and hisses, trying to reel its tongue back in, but you just keep adding new holes to the collection.Then, screaming murder, it bites down, and the tongue comes loose, writhing impotently in your hands. You stumble backwards, slamming your head against one of the desks, stars blooming in your vision.The creature that was your teacher hisses and gurgles, a spray of red blood and grey, thin oil emerging from its severed tongue from both ends. Your muscles ache and your heartbeat is struggling to keep up with the energy you so desperately need for it. Your shoulders feel stiff and heavy, failing to articulate in the ways you need to hoist yourself up by your arms, so you stumble forward on your knees and scoop yourself up with your face and meager abdominal muscles.The creature screams, climbing towards you. It's not directly in your way now, just off to the side.>Run! Run! Run!>Throw a book at it to daze it.>Go for the stab, it's lost its weapon!>FREE OPTION
>>4474428(Adding a tripcode because I'm about to hop computers.)
>>4474428>Run! Run! Run!We got lucky, but I still don't think we can beat it. There's a difference between grabbing a vulnerable part that it's exposed and getting in close and trying to stab it to death. This is still a pencil we're wielding, that's not going to get through the scales. Also, it has talons. Yeah, definitely not something to close with.
>RUNreminds me of percy jackson
>>4474552Not an intentional parallel but I can definitely see where I might've subconsciously snipped some. Hope you're enjoying the ride at least.>>4474502The monster scrambles over desks as you shove them out of the way, diving and ducking while it reaches out with one abominably long limb and takes a swipe at your head. It hisses, slurring and lisping as its broken tongue slowly knits itself together, bits of flapping muscle and leaking blood congealing into a blunted, flat tip.You don't waste time trying to fight back. You just duck, roll, scramble, fall, flail, roll again. Your brain thrums on overdrive, all pistons firing, while your shoulders continue to stiffen. You stop trying to swing your arms at all, you just duck and slam your face into the door.You grab the handle with your teeth and bow your body sharply downwards just as the creature crashes over top of you, its running tackle combined with the opening door causing it to rip off its hinges and slam into the hallway. Dazed, reeling, it stumbles backwards, and you run, down the hallway, as fast as your legs can carry you. Oh, how you wish you worked harder in P.E."Help! Anyone!" You yell, passing by students but not bothering to slow down. You look at them, you look at the teacher rounding the corner, and their eyes glaze over as they look at you. Their faces twitch. You make eye contact with someone, and then their eyes unfocus, going right to looking through you. "Help!" You yell in someone's face, and they don't even flinch."Mistterrrrrr LEEEEEEE" You hear, screaming from around the corner behind you, and then the awful sound of talon-nails on linoleum.>Hide in a classroom, call the police.>Run. You need to get out of here and in public.>Look for anything you can use - there's a fire extinguisher nearby, right? One of those emergency defibrillators?>FREE OPTION
>>4474818>Look for anything you can use - there's a fire extinguisher nearby, right? One of those emergency defibrillators?
>>4474818>Look for anything you can use - there's a fire extinguisher nearby, right? One of those emergency defibrillators?>FREE OPTION>Makes sure to keep moving and make as much distance as we can while we search. >Head in the direction of the cafeteria's kitchen, if we can't find a weapon along the way we can at least be sure to get a knife there. Okay, either the monster has some sort of dream logic aura that makes people ignore it and its prey, or we've done that thing where we've slipped into a parallel universe that can observe our world but not interact with it. Either way, we probably can't escape it or find help, we're going to have to find something to fight it with.
>>4475127>>4475035>>4474833You run and run, your shoulders locking up more and more as you do, a feeling of icy chill starting to leak into the rest of your back and upper arms. Whatever this thing did when it hit you, you don't like the feeling of it.You round a corner and down the stairs, grabbing hold of the railing to steady yourself as you try your best not to tumble heels-over-ass down a flight or two. You look, left, right, up, down, trying to find something, anything you can use, steadily making your way towards the cafeteria.You see one. You yank it off the wall, trying your best to read the instructions while keeping your feet moving. You hear a wordless, enraged scream behind you, and the thing scrambles down the stairs, hopping over the railing and crashing down in front of you.You point the fire extinguisher towards it, twisting the pin and ripping it out.Speak.>Stop!>Get away!>FREE PHRASE
>>4475166>FUCK YOU, ASSHOLEbrain it with the extinguisher
>>4475217Made me laugh, ngl>>4475226>>4475227"Get away!" you yell, slamming on the trigger with your blood-smeared hand. There's a loud CRAK that fills the air, and the fire extinguisher recoils like a shotgun, almost kicking itself entirely out of your hand, shooting you backwards with an incredibly disproportionate amount of force, like a rocket. You slam your heels onto the ground, keeping the trigger depressed as the fire extinguisher rockets you away, leaving a cloud of steadily dissipating foam scattered in the air like mist.You keep the fire extinguisher held tight but let go of the trigger, letting you skid to a halt. You take only the barest moment to catch your breath, and then notice the angry monster charging back at you. Pulling the trigger again only produces a meager spray of flame-smothering foam, no rocket-like effect like before, so you just grab the nozzle and book it into the cafeteria, vaulting over lunch tables the best you can.You've made good distance on whatever it is that your teacher turned into, but it's not wasting any time trying to catch up. As you tumble into the kitchen, fire extinguisher in tow, you notice it smashing through the doors, looking around, sniffing the air. "LeeeeeEEEEEeeeeee!" It squeals, looking for you.>Hide in one of the cupboards.>Look for whatever's heaviest around to smash it with.>Grab the biggest, meanest looking knife you can find.>Try to speak again. (Also submit a phrase)>FREE OPTION
>>4475245(Oh, that's lame that it does that with the greentexting)
>>4475245>Grab the biggest, meanest looking knife you can find.Hmm. So it was obvious that we were going to have some sort of magic power related to what we say, but I'm not sure what it is exactly. I would have expected "Get away" to just force the monster back, but instead it enhanced the fire extinguisher to rocket us to get away from the monster. Maybe our power can't make things happen on its own and has to have an intermediary, altering other actions to have the desired effect instead of doing it itself. If I'm right, then we should definitely get a knife. Saying "die" while stabbing should help penetrate the scales and maybe guide us to a vital organ.
>>4475287>>4475420No time to hide, no real way to run except out another exit and back into the hallways. You look around and grab the biggest, meanest looking knife you can find - a sharp looking chef's knife, and scrape it twice against the metallic edge of one of the tables to get the creature's attention. It's not the flat kind, either, a big pointed tip like this is just perfect for getting under all those hard, black scales.It cracks its neck violently as it looks towards you, wings flapping, aiding it in a stunning leap, charging headfirst towards you from the air!You wrench your arm into place, knife pointed, and clench your teeth. Your brain races. Everything inside of you feels like it's collecting inside your bloodied hand, in the knife's grip.All you need to do is speak.>FREE PHRASE
Rolled 1 (1d3)>>4475611>>4475681>>4476029Apologies for the delay, was busy coding most of the evening
Apologies again for the delay, I am very good at procrastinating.>>4476623>>4475611You grit your teeth together, running forward, thrusting your stiffening arms upwards and outwards. "Die!" you yell, aiming for a soft looking spot, the creature's buzzing wattle, and jerking your torso up to jam the knife upwards with as much force as you can muster.You strike the creature in the throat and rip downwards, tearing open a long gash in its neck and chest - at least, until your knife gets caught on scale and sternum and gets wrenched painfully out of your hands. You bite your tongue and try to resist the urge to scream as something hard and rigid grinds against your shoulder joints. For a second, you get the aching, fleeting feeling of them about to be ripped from their sockets entirely, as the monster lands on one of the metal tables and whips back around to face you.It doesn't even seem fazed. Already, it's slowly starting to get back up, letting its mostly-reformed tongue loll out of its crooked beak. It hisses from a punctured throat, air leaking from it like a balloon, but it barely seems to notice, even as it pours a steady fountain of blood onto the polished, recently-cleaned table surface.You don't even know if you did anything. You didn't feel any of that same sensation that you did with the fire extinguisher, the way it kicked, the way you could feel something moving through it. You told it to die and yet here the creature is, stubbornly refusing.You can't move your arms anymore. Your shoulder joints have stopped responding entirely, and now your upper arms have gone too, leaving you only with the ability to bend your elbows. Running without being able to use your arms is surprisingly difficult, and you feel your body getting heavier with every passing second from the top down.You trip on your shoelaces, and go ass-over-head. Your elbows don't respond to your strongest urging, locking up underneath you, and when you look down and against the tile, you can see why.Against all odds and logic, your arms are turning to stone. And not just your arms, but the rest of your back too - you can feel it, creeping down your spine, into your lungs, a sudden, sharp pain spiking its way through your chest. You try to yell, but noise doesn't come easily, more of a strangled gasp as a crooked claw wraps itself around your midsection.You get flipped over, helplessly, like an egg in a cast iron. Drool and blood drip over you in equal measure, spiked sensations ripping their way through your torso.This is it. You shut your eyes.This is it.At least you tried.
>>4476878"Let's go!" You hear, roared from somewhere out of your periphery. There's a loud squealing noise, like a set of fireworks going off, getting closer and closer.And then, light explodes behind your clenched-shut eyes. No... in front of them? There's a loud, wet sound, like a book being swung into someone's stomach. A loud, sharp POP! and the air filling with smoke. You let your eyes creak open just enough to see bright sparks and drifting ashes twirl their way down onto you. "Demolish!" you hear yelled from somewhere above you, and the head of a sledgehammer comes swinging into your periphery, knocking away the monster with enough force to visibly crack its skin."That's gonna buy us some time. Drink this." The voice says, still outside of your vision. Something about the situation tells you to expect some sort of foul tasting medicine, or some kind of thick, mystic potion, but instead the familiar taste of blue flavored Gatorade (albeit a bit sharper than what you're used to) haplessly spills itself down your throat and over your lips. "Rehydrate." they say, smearing something wet and sticky on your throat and then pressing their hand against it.It doesn't take long before the pain subsides, and you feel all the mobility slowly returning to your limbs, your bodily greedily soaking up sports drink until all that's left is a lingering stiffness in your joints. You scuttle back onto your ass, watching the creature reel back from its concussion, before a couple of finger snaps draw your attention."Kid. Run or hide. We can talk later, once the venom's out of your system." She says, sternly staring daggers at you. "Go!">Run>Hide>Fight>FREE OPTION
Man, if only there was an austitc info dump on the magic system of this quest
>>4476893Okay, I the command has to be given directly to the tool being used, it's not just the magic needing a medium to work through. So "die" didn't work, instead what we should have said was "stab". My mistake.>Run
>>4476893>HideLike a lil bitch ;_;
>>4477097>>4476909Right now, the magic lady has told you to run or hide, and for the strangest reason you can't find yourself disagreeing with her assessment (she's right). You're not in much of a condition to fight, so you dive for cover underneath one of the lunch tables and watch instead."Alright, big boy. You wanna play?" She asks, dropping the head of her sledgehammer down onto the ground. She pulls a small zipper on her free hand's glove down, pulling open the thumb part, and then bites down on the tip of her finger. You can't help but wince, watching, transfixed, as she rips open the tip of her thumb, smearing blood along the handle of her sledgehammer."Heavier." she says, gripping the handle firmly and pressing downwards with both hands. The tip of the sledgehammer immediately sinks into the ground, into the tile and linoleum. Then, straining for effort, she yanks it out of the floor, the hammer's head having grown to at least twice its size, coated in white, metallic struts anchoring it to the handle. "Let's go, big boy!" She yells, popping her thumb in her mouth for a moment before zipping the glove back up.The monster seems just as transfixed as you are, although it might just be severely concussed, if it has anything like a brain left in its head. Bits and pieces of scale keep falling out, and its wings twitch and flap spasmodically, unsure of their position in the air.Then, it charges.The ensuing fight is not particularly spectacular.She takes two steps backwards, goading it to step into the newly created hole in the floor. When it does so, losing just a bit of its footing on the rough surface beneath, she swings hard, right across the creature's face, using the momentum to suddenly jerk her body downwards and smash the creature's head into the linoleum. The creature feebly hisses through a completely broken, mangled maw, as she bends down to face it. Pulling two small little cylinders out of her pocket, she takes a deep breath and blows on them, causing the wicks to ignite.Then, she stuffs the fireworks into the monster's mouth, squeezes it closed with her hand, and proceeds to knee it in the chin until it swallows.There's a moment of silence before you hear the pops, causing the monster to convulse, its eyes to bulge. Then, as one final coup de grace, the woman puts her hammer right between the creature's shoulderblades, one boot on the head, and then jumps and stomps.You hear the creature's spine crunch cleanly underneath, and it stops moving.The woman sighs, wiping sweat from her brow, and sets her hammer's head back in the ground, letting go of it to look for you again. "Is it safe to come out?" You ask, quietly. Your voice echoes around the empty lunchroom."Yeah. Outensie." She responds, turning to face you and reaching down to help pull you out from underneath the table. "Let's get moving. Cleanup will be here soon enough, and I really just don't like them."
>>4477513"What... What the hell was that?" You ask, staring, still stunned, at the creature's corpse. Bits of scale and feather start falling from it, turning into dust as they hit the ground and scattering in the air conditioned wind. You can't help but gawk."Walk and talk, kid, keep moving. You don't wanna be covered in blood and in public when the venom wears off." She replies. "Walk and talk."PICK THREE>What was that monster?>Who are you?>Am I dreaming?>How did you do that?>Who is "cleanup?">FREE QUESTION
>>4477521>FREE QUESTIONNobody saw me, why didn't anyone try to help me?
>>4477521>>4477534thisplus>Who are you?>How did you do that?
>>4477521>What was that monster?>Who are you?>FREE QUESTION>Why didn't anyone notice anything? You said something about venom wearing off, are they all drugged?
>>4477521>What was that monster?>Who are you?>Why didn't anyone notice anything? You said something about venom wearing off, are they all drugged?She'll exposition dump about the magic stuff later, let's get the important bits out of the way.
>>4477534>>4477542>>4477544>>4477559"Who are you?" You ask, the two of you powerwalking at as much of a pace as you can manage out of the school and past the few remaining students and staff. You make your way out onto the sidewalk, where a motorcycle is waiting, kickstand down. Bright red, with darker, rust colored streaks painted across it at seemingly random locations.Unzipping her glove's thumb, she wipes the last bits of blood on the side of her bike and then zips it back up. "Ken Shields. Two-star member of the Fraternal Order of Dragon Slayers. Get on."You look around sheepishly, clutching your own bloodied hand. "I'm bleeding.""Yeah, you'll get used to it. Get on." Ken replies."Won't I have to hold onto you?" You respond, taking a couple of steps forward anyway."Yeah. Like I said, you'll get used to it. Get on!" She says, starting to lose a little bit of her patience. You don't feel like now is a good time to be saying no to the crazy lady with a magic hammer that saved your life, considering that a: she can probably kill you just as easily, b: you sort of owe her a little, c: your curiosity is dying to know what a dragon is. Like, besides what you know they are from stories."Dragons? Is that what that monster was?" You ask, climbing onto the back of her motorcycle and putting your arms around her waist to hold on, squeezed tightly into the seat."One-star Cockatrice type. You probably woke it up with your blood." She says, clarifying absolutely nothing. She revs her bike twice, makes sure her hammer is strapped securely to her back, and hits the kickstand with her heel before starting to move."That... doesn't answer anything." You reply, confused, tired, and sore. You lean your face in against her back quietly. Wind starts whistling past you two as you drive quickly off from the unfamiliar suburb streets you know and into corners of your hometown you've never been to before."Muffle." She says quietly, tapping the side of her motorcycle. "Dragons are bioalchemical entities that lay latent in the human population until they are triggered by the scent of type O-alpha blood." She says, the humming in her chest that you can feel through her back indicating nothing more than a normal level of volume, even as her voice dominates the sound around you, even over the wind. She leans her head down and continues to drive, and her answer seems more like a recitation of a textbook entry than anything else."Why didn't anyone notice anything? You said something about venom wearing off, was everyone drugged?" You ask, scooting a little closer to cling against her."Firstly, if I feel you popping a stiffie, I'm slicing your dick off when we're done driving." She says, before even answering your question. You immediately scoot back a couple of centimeters. You listen and shut your eyes, letting the wind blow past you, cooling off your skin.
>>4477760"It's Dragon venom. You've got the real stuff, I've got some artificial, and they've got a lot. It makes it impossible for non-inoculated individuals to notice you or your personal effects. Brain just skips through." Ken answers, this time a little less rehearsed than her previous textbook answer. "Now that you've been hit, you'll be able to see through it if someone around you gets it. That's how it works.""Right. That makes sense, I guess." You respond."Does it?" Ken replies, sounding genuinely surprised."No." You admit."Just try to get some rest. Your arms are probably gonna lock up again soon anyway." Ken says, leaning further forward."What? I thought you fixed that!""No, just tamped it down. Relax. Shut your eyes, kid." She responds. She's not wrong, either - you can feel your shoulders slowly starting to stiffen back up. "Even though we killed the Dragon, you're still going to die if we don't get it treated, and normal doctors do not have the facilities necessary for that."You sigh, resigned to the sequence of events about to befall you.-----Quick dinner break before update part 3.
>>4477786No problem OP, but this is why people recommend you write the whole update first then post it all at once. (If you're writing it in the post box, btw, stop doing that-- you're going to lose an update or five. Use a word processor.)
>>4477799Yeah, it's much easier to take a full update and chop it into blocks suitable for posting than to try to do it post by post.
>>4477799Duly noted, also, nice dubs>>4477786You wake up, slowly testing the flexibility of your shoulders as you bend back and forth, stretching and yawning and opening your eyes to face an unfamiliar ceiling. A man snaps his fingers a couple of times until you crane your neck to see him come into view, wincing in pain. You can feel bandages and gauze wrapped around your upper arms and shoulders, holding you tight in a medical embrace. "Good. You're awake. I took some blood samples while you were out, and you're definitely type O-a. Have you ever had bleeding problems before?"You raise an eyebrow, shuffling back onto your pillow to get a better angle. He taps a remote and lifts the bed's back up to help. "What do you mean by "bleeding problems"?""Mostly looking for a history of uncontrollable bleeds. When you get a cut, it doesn't stop quick unless you slap a bandaid over it. Something like that." He asks."Not that I know of? I... don't really bleed regularly enough to know." You respond. "What's going on? Where's Ken?""Kendra? Eating dinner. She needs food too." The man replies, standing up and cracking all of his knuckles in sequence as he talks. "We're in the infirmary at your local FOODS chapter. You have been recently resuscitated after an attack from a One-star Cockatrice type. Your first, right?""First cocka-whatever?" You snip back sarcastically. "No, I ride 'em all the time."He snatches a clipboard off a nearby table and scribbles something down without looking. "Right, figured. Here is the deal. You can see Dragons now, like everyone else here. You also have type O-a blood, which makes you natural Dragon bait. We don't have the resources to give every fresh O-a a bodyguard. Or anyone, really." He explains, laughing at his own little joke. "Not even me. Your options are to go back home and try to live your life pretending none of this has happened before you have another slip and get eaten, or we can teach you some self defense.""Is that a euphemism for "getting press-ganged into whatever this weird organization is"?" You ask back.He laughs, hard. You feel like you should be feeling mocked, condescended to, but you don't actually get that feeling off of him. It sounds like he actually thought that was funny. "No, teaching people self-defense against Dragons is one of our community services. The fewer O-as that get eaten, the easier our job is. We can't force you to do anything. You've got free will, don't you?"He chuckles again. "It would be nice to have another member, though.">This is all happening so fast - can I go home and think about it or something?>When do we start, Sensei? [Snippy]>Alright, well, when do we start? [Sincere]>I've got some questions before I commit to anything. [Ask three]>Can you get Ken? I liked talking to her more.>Am I dreaming? I have no idea what's going on. Am I secretly dying and hallucinating this all?>FREE OPTION
>>4477840>When do we start, Sensei? [Snippy]>Can you get Ken? I liked talking to her more.where's our motorcycle waifu :(
>>4477840>Alright, well, when do we start? [Sincere]If this is our life now, better to know how to handle the risks than not. I've got some questions, but they'll probably be answered over the course of any "Dragons and You: Your Guide to Surviving Spontaneous Monster Attacks" seminar.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>4477843>>4477882
>>4478008>>4477882"If this is my life now, it's better I know how to handle the risks than never use a knife again. I've got some questions, but they'll probably be answered over the course of my "Dragons and You: Your Guide to Surviving Spontaneous Monster Attacks" seminar. When do we start?" You ask, reaching for your backpack so you can pull your phone out and check what time is it.You remember now that your backpack is still in your classroom. Ah, shit.You remember again that your parental figure is probably going to wonder where you are. Ah, fuck. "Ah, fuck."The doctor checks his own phone for the time after watching you scrabble for a second. "It's about 5:30 PM. Worried about the parents?""Parent." You correct him. "Right. Just tell him you were out with friends. I can get someone to pretend to be your new friends' dad driving you home. People still do that, right? It's been a while since I've been 14.""17." You correct him again."Yeah, that." He says, grinning. "We'll figure it out."Wouldn't be the first time you were out late. You hop up and out of the bed, wincing at your shoulders. "Rick Hyde." The doctor introduces himself, reaching a hand out for you to shake. "One-star hunter. Slayer. Whatever.""Noah Lee." You reply. "Uh. High school junior?""Works for me. Pleasure to meet you, Noah." He says, leading you out the infirmary and down a row of hallways. The place isn't abandoned by any means, but it's not exactly bustling, either. "I'm not the authorized tour guide so I'll just give you a little lowdown. This used to be a community center. Now it isn't. We have a deal with the local municipal government. Dragon corpses in exchange for rent.""Were those the cleanup crew Ken mentioned?" You ask, as he walks you through and gestures to the various signs and labels. Kitchen, dormitories, common area, lockers. Dr. Hyde nods. "Spooks, yeah. Technically, we exist off the teat of the government. I think somewhere in the police budget? Not sure."You nod along, quietly, as he leads you to a door labeled "Gym" and proceeds to open it for you. You see Ken, along with a couple of other people, working hard with some exercise equipment. Ken in particular is going at one of those tiny punching bag with lightning speed, although she misses every couple swings as it bounces out of her fist reach."Oi! Kendra, dahling! Shrimpy here specifically requested you!" Dr. Hyde yells from all the way across the gym. About half of the people proceed to turn to stare at you, while you try to cover your face in embarrassment, watching Dr. Hyde's shit eating grin multiply in magnitude as Ken stomps her way over."Oh, did he now?" She asks, brushing hair out of her face."Yeah. By name, too!" He replies.Ken's one visible eye flicks to you, then to Dr. Hyde, towering about a foot over her and a foot and a couple of inches over you. She proceeds to slam her fist into his crotch. He crumples, squealing like a deflating balloon.
>>4478076"Would you be surprised to hear he tries that a lot?" She asks you, watching him writhe on the ground coolly."No." You reply."Traitor! Judas! Nasty man!" Dr. Hyde squeals, his voice having gone an octave up or two."He's wearing a cup, don't worry about him." Ken replies, tapping him with her foot. Once she mentions it, he frowns and proceeds to un-crumple himself, voice returning to normal."You're no fun.""No, I'm not."You just kind of watch, a little shell-shocked, until Ken taps you on the forehead twice. While she has your attention, you catch Dr. Hyde slipping out of the room in your periphery. Thankfully, at this point, everyone else has gone back to not paying attention to the disruption your intrusion has caused."I can teach you, if you really want. Every Slayer above two-stars is qualified to, but I know he was joking about you asking for me specifically." She says, bending her knees slightly so she's just a bit closer to eye level with you. "But there's also people here better at that than I am. Your call, kid.">Please, call me Noah. When can we start? [Smartass]>You crushed that cock-a-whatsit like it was a roach. I know who I'd want to teach me giant monster self defense classes. [Flattery]>Well, what are my other options? [Neutral]>FREE OPTION
>>4478077I've decided, apropos of nothing in particular, indicating moods for pre-genned responses would be neat.
>>4478077>Well, what are my other options? [Neutral]>FREE OPTION>"I mean, I don't even know what I'd be trained in, yet. Dr. Hyde didn't really explain it beyond 'self defense', which could mean a lot of things. What does that cover?"I don't feel a need to either piss her off or butter up to her yet, let's just get some details first.
>>4478093+1This is a very promising quest, OP. Please don't ditch it after one thread like every other promising quest I read.
>>4478103I have very bad ADHD but I'm also in love with this setting so I'm going to try VERY hard not to flake
>>4478110I hope you keep at it. I'm quite enjoying it.
>>4478103>>4478093"Well, what are my other options? I mean, I don't even know what I'd be trained in, yet. Dr. Hyde didn't really explain it beyond 'self-defense', which could mean a lot of things. What does that cover?" You ask, trying to fold your arms so you can look nonchalant. You do not know if you pull it off."Beyond physical conditioning, since you look like a twig that I could snap in half, no offense, you need to learn alchemy and weapon-based combat skills. A good diet helps, but we have cheats for that." She replies, kneeling down into a squat and kicking one leg out so she can start stretching while she talks. "How good are your science grades, kid?""Uh, they're okay? Solid C's, I guess." You say. "Why?""C's get degrees, but A's make you not get violently killed by Dragons. You're doing, what, Earth sciences right now?" She responds. You think that's her idea of a joke, but her face doesn't really change much, so you can't tell."Chemistry." You respond."Oh, great. That's probably the best class you could be taking right now. The best alchemists I know are all great chemists. Or... passable chemists, at least. A couple of them are right behind me. Your options are "anyone in this room who feels like training you", and, point in your favor, I've already seen you instinctively perform alchemy in the wild.">Can you introduce me to someone who's good at alchemy? [Neutral]>Can you introduce me to someone strong? [Neutral]>Can you introduce me to someone with good weapon skills? [Neutral]>I think you'd probably be my best option right now [Neutral]>FREE OPTION
>>4478135>I think you'd probably be my best option right now [Neutral];)))))
>>4478135>I think you'd probably be my best option right now [Neutral]Yeah, until we know the setting and circumstances well enough to know what to specialize in, let's go with a generalist.
>>4478135>I think you'd probably be my best option right now [Neutral]Let’s figure out what we’re good at, besides getting petrified.
>>4478182>>4478152>>4478137"I think you'd probably be my best option right now." You respond. She shrugs her shoulders and starts walking away, gesturing for you to follow her."Fair enough. You already got the shit beaten out of you today so I'm gonna put a kibbosh on the working out." She says, leading you over to her speed bag, a set of exercise equipment already laid out near it - dumbbells, an exercise mat, her hammer, some other odds and ends."I didn't get that beaten up. It just hit me once!" You reply, a little exasperated."That's not what Dr. Hyde said about your rotator cuffs." She replies, shrugging. "Took one across the back and then almost had your arms ripped out."Oh. Yeah. That did happen. You deflate slightly. "Are you scared of your own blood?" Ken asks.You look down at your own bandaged hand. "Not really. It's just sort of a thing that leaks out of me, and if I lose too much, I die.""Good attitude to have." She says, pulling out a small medical looking doohickey and presenting it to you. "Practical demo. They make stuff like this for diabetics. Put it against your thumb and hit the button to prick your finger."You follow her instructions, quietly and carefully, trying not to wrench your hand back at the sudden, sharp sensation on your thumb. You get to watch as droplets of blood bead up to the surface, while she reclaims her little stabby needle thing from your other hand."Those dumbbells are made of cast iron." She says, pointing down to her equipment. "Pick one up, smear your blood on it, grab it tight, and speak. Think about what you know about iron, cast iron, stuff that you're certain of, and then speak the reaction to the world." She says. You're a little baffled by her instructions, but pick up one of the three pound weights anyway, rubbing your bleeding thumb against one of the weights. "I'll clean it up later, don't worry.">FREE PHRASE
>>4478319Cold? Heavy? Kills faeries?
>>4478321>>4478327"Um..." You stammer, a little confused, squeezing the dumbbell. You think about everything you know about iron - it's cold, it's heavy, it kills faeries good, and then you think about what you saw with Ken and the head of her hammer, and you grab it tight and say, with only a moderate amount of conviction, "Heavier!".The dumbbell proceeds to slip out of your hands, landing on the floor with a thump, leaving a small dent. For a couple of seconds, the floor tries to fold itself onto it, in imitation of Ken's prior technique, but then it stops. Ken laughs - why, you're not sure. "Sorry, it's all a little abstract until you start understanding it better." She says. "Alchemy is changing things from one form to a different form. Breath into fire," well, that explains the fireworks trick she pulled, you think to yourself, "Tile into, uh, hammer stuff, muscle into stone. There's no slinging around magic lasers. Try again with that in mind."You try your best to wrap your head around it, but don't make a lot of progress. You don't exactly know what's heavier than iron, that's sort of the end-point for where your heaviness scale is at, so instead you focus on a different thought.Metal gets cold, right? Metal gets really cold. So you can... transform this iron into... colder... iron? You grab it with both hands, make sure to press your thumb into it, take a deep breath, and think about refrigerating one of the pans at home."Colder."You let out a startled yelp as you feel the cast iron suddenly dropping in temperature in your hands! It takes less than a second or two before you see droplets starting to condense on the top of the dumbbell, and once they start actually crystallizing, you drop the dumbbell again in mild panic. Don't need any dumbbells frozen to your hands!The second it leaves your hands and thumps on the ground (this time, without much of an indent), you can see the freezing condensate immediately begin to revert back to liquid form, beading and dripping off. "Could I always do this?" You ask, somewhat amazed."No, not at all. You have to have been infected with Dragon venom before you can, but outside of that, there's really no requirement. What did you think about?" Ken asks, leaning against the stand for her speed bag."Well... Whenever you put a pan in the fridge it gets really cold when you pull it out, right? Because metal conducts heat, that's why you use cast iron pans to cook." You reply. She cracks a tiny little smile and nods."Wanna give it another go?">Is there some sort of more... theory-based lecture you could give me first? [Cautious]>Can you explain to me how you did some of the stuff you did? [Curious]>Yeah, let's give it another shot! [Confident] (Free Phrase)
>>4478340>>Is there some sort of more... theory-based lecture you could give me first? [Cautious]because I know how fun writing technical exposition dumps are opee :^)
>>4478340>Is there some sort of more... theory-based lecture you could give me first? [Cautious]
>>4478414>>4478343"This is all kind of hard to figure out... is there some sort of more, uh, theory based lecture you could give me first, before I freeze my hand to anything?" You ask, squatting down and cautiously examining the dumbbell. You give it a couple of testing pokes - it's absolutely back to normal temperature, just a little bit wetter from condensation.Ken sighs quietly, tapping two fingers to her temples in an apparent sign to remember a lecture she was once given. "Right. So, imagine I'm drawing with my fingers." She starts, pointing to the air in front of you. You trace her fingertips as she sketches out a pentagram. "There's five elements to performing alchemy."You bend your knees back from a squat into a stand and watch her run through the memories in her head. "One:" She points to the top of the star. "A reagent. This is what you're going to be performing alchemy on.""Two: The connector. This is the connection between you and the object - we use our blood and our breath.""Three: The intent. This is your desire to enforce your will upon the alchemical field.""Four: The knowledge. This is your ability to understand the principles of your transmutation.""Five: The observation. You need to be actively aware of all of your reagents."She claps her hands together, and then twists one of them at the palm until they're folded against each other neatly. "With all five, you can enforce your will upon the alchemical field, which responds by providing the energy or matter required to temporarily sustain your transmutation. Once you lose your connection to the object, whatever you've changed will "rubberband" back into its original form. Normally, this happens by losing your grip on it, so wear gloves." She recites, her tone of voice audibly changed from her normal, conversational interactions. "Make sense?">I think I've got it. [Neutral]>Can you explain (Free Option) to me more? [Neutral]>I ain't getting it. [Snarky]
>>4478719>Can you explain (Free Option) to me more? [Neutral]>"Does alchemy take anything from the user? Like if I do too much, will it harm me because I'm drawing too much energy or something like that?"
>>4478948>>4478824"Does alchemy take anything from the user? Like, if I do it too much, will it harm me because I'm drawing too much energy or something like that?" You ask, glancing back and forth between Ken and the wet dumbbell on the ground as it dries off."Yeah, it takes calories. The more energy or mass you're drawing to or from the alchemical field, the more calories you consume. Don't starve to death, kid." She explains."That's it? Just calories?" You reply, folding your arms and raising an eyebrow. "How has this not revolutionized the world by now?"Ken smirks. "The rubberband effect is a killer and the governments of the world have, for the most part, agreed to keep it classified." She curls her lip up and blows air into her face, puffing some of her bangs out of place, then back into place. "I have the feeling that having to explain to the world "Hey, everyone can do magic, but you have to get attacked by a monster that can erase you from everyone's memories if it kills you." would open up a can of worms that nobody wants to open up. But, outside of that, the more practical consideration is the rubberband effect. Can't make a big fancy nuclear reactor with alchemy if you need someone to hold onto it 24/7, and you need to keep them constantly fed.""...Right." You reply, taking it all in.>Can you do some demonstrations for me? I think it'd be easier to see it in action from an expert. [Flatter]>I think I'm ready to give it another shot. [Confident] (Free Phrase)>FREE OPTION
>>4479178Additional Option>...Wait, what's this about erasing people from memories? [Worried]
>>4479178>I think I'm ready to give it another shot. [Confident] (Free Phrase)>SharpNoah appears to like sharp things, if him playing five finger fillet means anything. He should be able to comprehend reforging the metal into a knife. Sharper, thinner, the weight redistributed for better balance. A nice, simple mechanical transformation that doesn't do anything weird with physical properties. Just reshaping a thing.
>>4479178>I think I'm ready to give it another shot. [Confident] (Free Phrase)“Magnetize.” I want to say “shocking,” but we should see if we can get some protective gear before we electrocute ourself.Also ask her about that memory thing while we figure this out, not necessarily worried, but it’s good to know the details about all this stuff.
>>4479192"I think I'm ready to give it another shot." You say, reaching down to pick up the dumbbell again. At this point, your thumb is almost sealed up, but there's enough still-sticky blood on it that you can just wipe it on the head once more and then grab on tight."Right. Let's see what you got." Ken says, folding her arms over her chest. You squeeze it tight, but tighter at the bottom. Square shoulders, legs steady. You take a deep breath."Sharp!" You yell, feeling like you're giving off a Kiai. This time, you feel something in the air, some sort of pressure in between your ears, and you squeeze. You've seen a knife before. Metal is metal, iron is iron. All you're doing is changing the shape.It feels like your hands are stuck in molasses, sinking into the soft material. Your left hand squeezes the bottom of the dumbbell, while your right hand presses down from the top, and the metal squishes and morphs at your touch. It's like molding clay, but the clay knows what you want it to be.You can also feel the very real sensation of what's left of your lunch draining out of your stomach. It doesn't feel exactly like that, but she wasn't lying about how it sucks up the energy from you, your finger and wrist muscles starting to ache from strain despite not doing anything particularly strenuous."Hah!" You exhale, just to get it out of your system, drawing out a full butcher's knife from the dumbbell. Ken nods with acknowledgement while you examine it's heft, a significant chunk of the weight having evaporated. Without having changed the material, you imagine it's probably a pretty awful knife - you don't think you've ever seen a knife made out of cast iron before - but it is a knife, with enough of an edge that you don't want to test it."Very well done!" Ken says, sounding genuinely impressed. You can't help but sheepishly grin.-----You spend a good hour and a half after that practicing alchemical principles with Ken, including turning the dumbbell into a big magnet, which almost ends with one of your fingers getting pinched off, but you thankfully near-miss it. By the time you start paying attention to the clock again, you've realized that the sun has started to go down, and you should probably be getting home.Thankfully, Ken offers to drive you.Ken Shields now likes you!Pick a skill to level up! Leveling up alchemical skills will provide you with more default options for relevant phrasing, as well as generally making the relevant alchemy faster and more efficient.>Level up Forge Alchemy>Level up Thermal Alchemy
>>4479424(Forge Alchemy is the practice of using alchemy to reshape metal and transmute metals into other metals.)(Thermal Alchemy is the practice of using alchemy to manipulate temperatures and generate fire.)
Also, not to triple post, but probably going to be the last update for tonight, and I've got another busy IRL day tomorrow so consider this a teeny break before we get properly introduced to the parental unit.I hope you are all enjoying so far!>>4479414I did see this and I will try to get a way to work it in later.
>>4479424>Level up Forge AlchemyI think Forge Alchemy will probably be more immediately useful. >>4479442Good night, Richard. Sleep well, and I hope your tomorrow isn't too hectic. I'm enjoying this quest, and look forward to seeing where it goes.
>>4479424>Level up Forge Alchemy
>>4479424>Level up Thermal Alchemy
>>4479794>>4479763>>4479518You have advanced to Forge Alchemy level 1!-----"Noah!" Your mom yells, tugging you into her arms with a tight, back-breaking hug once you swing the front door open. Her expression - concern, anger, fear, delight, puffy red eyes evidencing what was likely a sustained hour of crying. She squeezes you a little tighter, and then bonks you on the head. "You should know by now that you need to call me if you're going to be out late! I was worried sick about you, young man!"You look down at the ground, hands tucked in your pockets. Your home, sweet home, is modest - a rowhouse, brick, occupied by two. Hua Lee, and Noah Lee. Flowers in vases litter the narrow space, an air-freshener plugin tickling your nose, lights dim, carpets musty. You shuffle your shoes off. "Well, I'm home, aren't I?" You reply quietly.She ruffles your hair. "Just stay safe, okay? What were you even out for? You know I would pick you up if you called. And where's your backpack?"You wince slightly, pulling out of your mom's arms. "'Forgot it at school." You mumble."Forgot it at-" She sputters, pinching the bridge of her nose. "How do you forget your backpack?""I just forgot, okay?" You reply, trying not to snap at her. "Just forgot it."She bends down to look at you in the eyes, reaching out to grab your chin, gently tilting it up and down. "Look, if you're going out and getting high off marijuana or whatever, just do it safely and let me know who you're with and when you'll be back home, okay? Promise?">"I'm actually going out and picking fights with random dangerous individuals." [Snarky]>"I promise. Can I go upstairs now?" [Impatient]>"Sure thing, mom. Are you holding up okay?" Try to put on a happy face. [Kind]>FREE OPTION>Explain the situation to her, for real. [???]
>>4481244>start undressing in front of her
>>4481244>"Sure thing, mom. Are you holding up okay?" Try to put on a happy face. [Kind]
>>4481244>"I promise. Can I go upstairs now?" [Impatient Teenager]
Apologies for the delay, I had to talk with my lawyer today about unrelated stuff so it ended up being a lot busier than expected, shit's just been popping off, left right and center.I should be mostly free tomorrow - I don't anticipate getting wrapped up in stuff.>>4482026>>4481596"Sure thing, mom. Are you holding up okay?" You ask, giving her a winning sympathy smile and patting her forearm with your uninjured hand. You want to re-assure her, not freak her out some more (even though you've never seen your mom lose her composure in your entire thus-far-fairly-short life), so shoving a freshly bandaged arm in her face would probably be detrimental to the not-freaking-her-out aspect of things.For a moment, you consider explaining the situation to her, but shake the thought away. No. If you ever come clean on it, it won't be now, that's for damn sure."Yeah, I'm fine. I'm gonna try and get some R&R in, maybe catch up before book club next week. Try not to get into any more trouble tonight, okay?" She asks, gently brushing your hand away before putting her own on your shoulder, fixing her glasses with the other one, looking right into your soul. For a second, you're convinced that she can somehow see right through you, see the lying inside of you, see the magic and oddity that now is apparently an uncontrollable part of you.Then, she blinks, and the feeling of being pierced by an arrow disappears. You two part ways, and you trudge yourself up the stairs to your small bedroom, flopping yourself onto your bed. Narrow, mostly comfortable about 90% of the time even though your leg usually ends up hanging off, this bed has been your great friend for a very long time.What is in your room?>Super Sentai Paraphernalia [Immature] [Boisterous]>Punk Rock Posters [Impatient] [Snarky]>Worldwide Wrestling Merch [Theatrical] [Confident]>Old Valuable Vinyls [Cautious] [Flatterer]You stare upwards at the ceiling for several seconds, just watching the tiny little fan rotate overhead, occasionally blowing the tiniest wisps of air past your head. Occasionally, you feel the need to wipe some sweat off with your sleeve, before deciding to dress down and take a shower. Maybe that would soothe some of your aches.You take some time examining yourself in the mirror as you let the water get warm. Particularly, your back - it looks like the Dragon's attack has left a gnarly little line going right across your back from shoulder to shoulder, although it's mostly healed, you imagine thanks to the alchemical courtesies of Dr. Hyde and Ken. Maybe some other nurses or doctors, you didn't make many friends today, although two is higher than your normal success rate. Maybe you did, in fact, make some friends.You ignore the way the water stings as it washes over your back. You clean up, towel off, in fresh clothes, and flop down on the bed.>Go out and find some trouble. [Confident]>Get ready for bed [Cautious]>FREE OPTION
>>4482990>Old Valuable Vinyls [Cautious] [Flatterer]>Get ready for bed [Cautious]
>>4482990>Old Valuable Vinyls [Cautious] [Flatterer]>Get ready for bed [Cautious]We had a busy day. Got attacked by a monster, learned that some humans spontaneously mutate into terrifying abominations under the right circumstances, learned about and learned how to perform magic...let's just get some sleep. We'll need it.
>>4483356>>4483075You examine your record collection, running your hand over it carefully - saving up chore money and odd job money from around the neighborhood, you've spent everything you have in accumulating this. Rare, somewhat valuable, and exceptionally special to you. You pull one out of its sleeve and put it on your record player before passing out to its dulcet tones.-----The next day at school feels overwhelmingly mundane. You have a substitute teacher in your class, a kindly old lady that you're pretty sure also used to substitute teach for you back in middle school, but your memory of back then is fuzzy as all hell. Your backpack is exactly where you left it, albeit with little blood speckles on the straps.Nobody questions a thing. There's no signs of any conflict, or any dragon corpses, or anything. Nobody notices... except your sole friend.Honestly, you're not sure how you and Josh became friends. He's popular, he's naturally gifted, he plays football, he has a girlfriend. The only thing you two have in common is that you're both not the brightest bulbs - but not the dimmest, either.After school is over for the day, the typical hour or so you'd loiter around and hang out while waiting for your mother to come pick you up, he approaches you. You haven't had classes together this marking period, although your electives will put you in at least one of the same classes in a couple of months."I heard you skipped out on detention yesterday. How'd you pull that?" He asks, leaning forward, arms folded but face all eagerness, like an excited dog. Before you've even started saying anything, he's already invested in what you've got to say.You think that's your favorite thing about him.>Explain the true situation. [???]>Make up an obviously false tale about jumping out the window or something. [Flatterer]>Come up with a kind of plausible explanation. [Kind]>Try to change the subject. [Cautious]
>Wait, How did you hear about that? Considering what Ken said, Josh should have no memory of it like everyone else, or know what a dragon is on account of having been bitten by one. It's pretty reasonable to be suspicious, since we KNOW that dragons imitate people.
>>4483704Yeah, supporting >>4483732. We were dosed up with dragon venom for most of the afternoon, no one should have been able to remember our existence for long enough to notice we weren't in detention. Unless we were meant to be in detention for a REALLY long time.Also, do dragons imitate people, or do they subvert people? Does a dragon know it's a dragon before it transforms, or is there some sort of sleeper personality in charge?
>>4483797>>4483732"Wait, how did you hear about that?" You ask, confused, wrinkling your brow. You lean against the wall, looking just slightly off to the side of Josh's head."I mean, I was here waiting for you to come out after practice just kind of chilling on my phone, and you never showed up." He says, pulling out a bag of convenience store candy and handing it to you. "Some dudes in suits started escorting people out so I hung around to watch but they told me to head home. I asked them where you were, since you were supposed to come out of detention at 5, and they said you had already left. So you skipped out, right?"You stare at him, a little concerned, and a little suspicious, accepting the snacks. It is a habit you've gotten into - on the rare occasions in which you leave school late, he usually is waiting for you since he does sports and almost always needs to stay after anyway. But some scared, lizard part of your head is warning you that something is wrong. But that might just be you being paranoid, now that you know that there are monsters out there. Josh has been your friend for years, if he was a blood-triggered monster surely you would've gotten a scrape and made him monster out by now?>Believe him. It's a little odd but you trust your friend, and his story adds up with what you know. [Trusting]>Try to press him for further details. [Suspicious]>Try to slyly make yourself bleed so, if he is a monster, he will proceed to explode into a monster. [Sly]>FREE OPTION
>>4484102Yeah that makes sense. Lizard brain begone, we should go with [Trusting] our friends
>>4484244You banish away the little piece of you telling you that your (practically) only friend is secretly a monster trying to kill you or a mage already in on the secret. The thought strikes you as a little absurd - if he wanted to eat you, there would've been plenty of opportunities to do so already, and if he was already part of FOODS or something, well, you'd eventually encounter him in the field and not need to make the situation right now weird.You hand the bag back to him after claiming your usual haul - a bag of gushers and some kit kats, to make your teeth hurt in that good way, and immediately begin tearing in. "Yeah, I just sort of skipped out. No practice on Wednesdays, right?" You ask, mentally counting out the days of the week in your head until you arrive at today, which you are reasonably certain is Wednesday."Nope. Wish I could though. But, hey, it's not all bad news - wanna hear something fuckin' super?"You lean in a little closer now - he's got the goods, now he's the one with your attention. Whenever something "fuckin' super" is up for discussion, it's usually something you'd want to listen to. "Yeah?"He wiggles his arms a little. "The 'rents are leaving town for a business trip or something. House is open for the weekend. You thinking what I'm thinking?"You rub your chin. You think you have a pretty good idea what he's thinking."I think I have a pretty good idea of what you're thinking, but why don't you lay it on me anyway, just to make sure?" You ask, glad that he's dropped the lead on you skipping out on detention."Well... Obviously, I'm gonna invite a bunch of my friends over. And you can come, because you're my friend. I know this cute little mousey girl from geometry, I think she'd be just your type." He answers. Ah. He's trying to set you up again. "Whaddya say, up for it? New year, new you, broheim. Let's put that good foot forward on a Friday night?""Tell you what, ask me again tomorrow. I might have plans, actually, for once." You reply smugly."You? Plans? I just straight up do not believe you, man.""Believe it." You say, before immediately bursting into laughter after catching yourself unintentionally saying a goofy anime catchphrase from your youth. Josh laughs along with you, and all is well in the world.Until you hear a motorcycle in the distance, rapidly approaching. Ah, fuck. Your heart drops a tiny bit - you feel like normally, you'd be excited by Ken showing up, but right now, interrupting this conversation, it feels almost unwelcome. At least she has the good sense to dress like a normal person, in an unflattering racing suit with a jacket tied around her waist. At least she's wearing a helmet this time. Josh looks at you, looks at her, looks at you again, and shrugs. The stony front steps of the school cause her booted footsteps to echo quietly as she trots, incredibly unsubtly, right up to you. "Hey. Pipsqueak. Ready to go?"
>>4484428Josh raises an eyebrow, turning his head to you. "You holding out on me, bro, is that why you're not gonna be free Friday?"You sigh, pinching the bridge of your nose. "No, no, I promise I do want to meet this chick, it's just that, y'know, life... and shit.". You feel like you sound thoroughly unconvincing. "It's not her!""I'm right here, kid. You don't need to speak about me like I ain't." Ken replies, giving you a (noticeably gentle) swat on the head. Josh immediately pivots to face her, almost as if he's sizing her up for a fight, and then reaches his hand out, in that smooth, lizard-brain-calculated way he does before he's about to do something instinctively sort of smart. It's a procedure of his you recognize, and it hasn't failed him yet."Josh Masters. You got a problem here with my bud?" He asks. Somehow, against all odds, this gets Ken to shake his hand, although you can feel tension in the grip of each palm to each other - the kind of tension from two people deciding whether or not they want to beat the tar out of each other."No. Would you rather I did?" Ken retorts."I'd rather know what exactly it is you're getting up to at a place like this, biker chick. Aren't you a little old to be hanging around a high school?" Josh asks. You feel your heart begin to plummet in your gut, not enough moxie in your balls to reach out and interrupt the conversation currently falling out of the sky like a broken plane. And yet, you could stab a Dragon with a pencil yesterday. Where's your grip?Ken scoffs. "I'm nineteen, and I happened to go here, once upon a time." She replies. Her voice is so blunt and monotone-aggro all the time that you genuinely cannot tell if she's lying - although then again, your lie detectors have never been the sharpest.And they're still shaking hands. Mutually sizing each other up. "Come to lurk around your old haunt, grandma?" Josh asks. Your face blanches."I'm here to pick up Pipsqueak.""Oh yeah? What for?" He asks.You feel your voice finally return to your cracked throat, and you know whatever you're about to say is going to come out just as cracked, squeaking like a dead mouse getting toddled on.>"She's my cousin. We've gotta take care of some family business." [Lie]>"She's my personal trainer. I-I got one recently so I could start doing sports and shit, but I... guess I forgot I had an appointment today. Sorry, man." [Mostly Lie]>"She's going to take me to her secret lair to teach me magic and then we're going to hunt Dragons all over the place." [Sarcastic Confession]>"We're going out on a date." [Impulsively Cause a Catastrophe]>FREE OPTION
>>4484429>"She's my personal trainer. I-I got one recently so I could start doing sports and shit, but I... guess I forgot I had an appointment today. Sorry, man." [Mostly Lie]
>>4484429It's PT day. Trying to get some bulk on, you know how it is, brometheus.
>>4484429>"She's going to take me to her secret lair to teach me magic and then we're going to hunt Dragons all over the place." [Sarcastic Confession]
>>4484429>FREE OPTION>"I started volunteering at a community center. Kendra's one of the trainers there, getting me up to speed."The best lies are the ones that contain no falsehoods.
>>4484735second this one.
>>4484735>>4484753>>4484805Instead of one of your first ideas, the thing that comes out of your throat feels like a smoothly concocted cough syrup made to help the truth go down easily. No need to lie at all. Just omit the right information, and... "I started volunteering at a community center. Kendra's one of the trainers there, getting me up to speed." You say, your voice cracking on Ken's name. Josh nods quietly, shutting his eyes like he's a frog swallowing something, squinting hard for a moment, before he opens them again."Ken, pipsqueak. Only my mom gets to call me Kendra. And legal officials." She says, as Josh lets go of her hand, bringing it down to his side. She follows suit.Then, he immediately jabs a finger into her forehead. "Pleasure to meet you, Ken. Don't do my boy dirty, alright?"She bounces her head back a bit in response, chuckling. "I won't, kid. Now, let's get moving. Time's a wasting." She thumps her hand on your middle back, causing you to wince."Catch you later, Josh?" You ask, hoping he's accepted your lie-by-omission pill. He nods in understanding."Catch you later, broheim. You get those volunteer hours, chicks dig that."How you became friends with this person is utterly beyond you.-----"You came to pick me up at school?" You ask, incredulously, and honestly, a little mad. Wind whistles by your hair, thoroughly mussing it while you hold on for dear life, butt scooted back awkwardly an inch or two to leave a respectful gap between you and Ken."One, I never got your phone number. Two. I figured you'd be around, and I was right. Three. We've got a Dragon on the loose, and you happened to be on the way - I'd haul you off those front steps if I needed to." She explains, having muffled the engine and the wind surrounding her so her voice could be heard more clearly."You stopped to pick me up when there is a memory-eating murder monster on the loose?" You ask, even more incredulous, and a little angry."Relax, it's being mostly handled, it's just jumpy and they need the backup pinning it down. I figured you might as well get to watch and get some on-the-job experience.">Right, well... Let's fuck its shit up, then! [Confident]>This strikes me as dangerously irresponsible. What if the person it was going after got hurt or killed? [Chastising]>Alright, tell me everything you know about the Dragon. I need to be informed if I'm gonna get involved, right? [Curious]>FREE OPTION
>>4484904>Alright, tell me everything you know about the Dragon. I need to be informed if I'm gonna get involved, right? [Curious]
>>4484904[curious] makes sense, but we should also ask Ken about dragons hiding in society and the like.
>>4484904>Alright, tell me everything you know about the Dragon. I need to be informed if I'm gonna get involved, right? [Curious]Even if we're just observing and aren't intended to get an up-close encounter, better to know what it can do so we can avoid any ranged attacks or auras or whatever.
>>4485231>>4484966>>4484909>>4484911"Alright, tell me everything we know about the Dragon. I need to be informed if I'm gonna get involved, right?" You ask, squeezing Ken a little harder as she mutters to her motorcycle, taking dangerous, hairpin turns with a startling amount of mobility and agility."Right. It's a One-star Orthrus type, completely different style than the Cockatrice type you fought. Multiple heads, independently acting tail, traditional style venom." She explains, diving and ducking between cars. When she hits a light, she pulls out a small canister-like device from her pocket, rolls up pants of one of her suit legs as quick as she can, and presses it against her calf, wincing slightly, before passing it to you. "Venom up. Don't wanna be watched fighting an invisible monster.""Well, hold on, how exactly do you categorize these things? I know what a cockatrice is, but what's an orthrus?" You ask, examining the device. It looks suspiciously like an epipen - in fact, you're not convinced that it isn't a modified one. You take a deep breath and jab it into your thigh, like you've seen done in a movie somewhere, feeling the venom flood your system without much of a second thought. The pain is sharp for a split second before subsiding into a warm feeling, and from there, disappearing. You pass it back and she pockets the epipen again."Not a what, a who. Orthrus is a two-headed dog from Greek mythology," Ken starts,"Like Cerberus?""Yeah, brothers with Cerberus. Cerberus types have abnormal-style venoms. Ettin types lack independent tails. Hekaton types lack independent tails and have abnormal style venoms. There's a whole textbook." Ken replies, gently rubbing her calf at the next light. You just keep your hands held tightly to her, holding on for dear life."And is this... Well, uh. Question. That I've been meaning to ask. Do people know they're a Dragon?" You ask, pressing your face against Ken's back to fix your bangs."One-stars? No. A One-star manifests and then remains stuck in Dragon form until they can partake in enough type O-a blood, wherupon they become a Two-star. Two-stars can kind of switch back and forth but not all the way and don't have great control - think werewolves. Three-stars is when they can start turning back to human fully." Ken elaborates."And if they eat you... people forget about you?" You ask, concerned."Yeah." Ken replies, quietly, solemnly. "We're almost there.">Alright, so what's the tactic for this sort of Dragon? [Focused]>What about Four-stars and Five-stars? [Curious]>Remain quiet and just watch and be aware. [Cautious]>FREE OPTION
>>4485404>Alright, so what's the tactic for this sort of Dragon? [Focused]Okay, so someone who's never transformed yet doesn't know, but it's possible for very strong dragons to hide as humans. So be very worried around any confirmed dragons, they're way out of our league. Good to know.
>>4485489"Alright, so what's the tactic for this sort of Dragon?" You ask, putting away the things left unsaid for later."Multi-headed types have excellent perception, especially with independent tails. Don't let it corner you. If it gets out of our hands, try to wall it off with whatever's nearby. Grow, build, taller, good words. Got it?" She explains."Got it."You can tell when you're getting close to the action from a sort of odd not-smell in the air, causing something in your brain to start tripping. Some kind of feeling that you feel like you'd feel if you were a deer about to get struck by a car. Ken pulls her sledgehammer off from its storage space on her motorcycle, slings it over her back, and puts the kickstand down.City park in autumn, bathed in yellows and oranges and light greens. Leaves that are going to start disappearing in a month, falling onto the ground in uneven piles."Buzz!" You hear, an unfamiliar voice in the familiar tinge of alchemy. The air around you begins to vibrate, just faintly, intensifying for a moment only as you watch a figure backstep out of the way of combat, trailed quickly thereafter by what you can easily recognize now as a Dragon. The person, small, somewhat frail looking until you catch a glimpse of their arm muscles, almost waifish, rings a bell tauntingly towards the Dragon, the beast angrily charging and gnashing at him. The slayer looks a little tired, out of breath, stopping for a moment before bouncing out of the way with impressive height and distance at the next attack.The Dragon, on the other hand, is nowhere near as waifish. It's thick, almost bloated, waddling forward on two large, curved hands, its body coated in a layer of thick, sharp red scales. There are a couple of gouges and bruises across more exposed levels of skin, and it's breathing, but not particularly belabored by its injuries. Four heads, each one looking a bit like an upside-down dog with its ears sewn against its nose and fur replaced with narrow scales, gnash with long necks towards the slayer, while a long, whip-like tail slashes deep cuts into the dirt.
>>4485628"Let's go, move fast, shoot forward!" Ken says, not giving you another look as she pulls some fireworks from her pocket, wipes a bloody thumb against them, and begins using their vastly enhanced propulsive force to fly. You know for a fact that this is what happened the first time Ken and you met, but seeing it in action is significantly different than just hearing it out in the distance. Before she gets within striking range of the Dragon, she lets go, curling forward into a roll as her two little 20 dollar rockets barrel into their target, losing their prodigious speed but not any of the momentum, bursting into sparks on impact. "Mound!" She yells loud enough for you to hear, slamming her hammer into the ground and kicking up a steadily growing pile of dirt, independently growing, accumulating grass and soil, grinding the head of her hammer into it.From where you are, a couple hundred feet away, you can't hear them talking, only watch the gesticulation, and see lips moving. Ken lets out a loud yelp, drawing the Dragon's attention, while the other slayer seems to flit off, presumably to help the Dragon's original intended target.>Get into a better vantage point and observe. [Cautious]>Go to try and find and help the Dragon's target so the other slayer can spend the time fighting. [Kind]>Get in the thick of it with Ken. [Reckless]>Try to consider a method of attacking from a distance. (Free Option/Phrase) [Clever]>FREE OPTION/PHRASE
We should probably hold back until it looks like Ken can't handle it herself. It's not like we have any medical training to help out the target, or even know why they need help.
>>4485630>Get into a better vantage point and observe. [Cautious]
>>4485630>Go to try and find and help the Dragon's target so the other slayer can spend the time fighting. [Kind]
>>4485947>>4485777Nice trips.You decide that, with your very limited experience, you should just follow the instructions that you were told to - hang back and watch. You find a nearby tree hanging low to the ground that you quickly scramble up and into - even with such a short climb, your limbs are filled with a dull roar. God, you really need to get in better shape.The fight is mundane, yet spectacular. Nothing like the one punch, two punch, hit the floor fights you're used to seeing - the Dragon has ferocious, whip-quick dexterity but its motions overall are slow and plodding, unable to carry its own weight particularly well. Somehow, it makes the person holding a rapidly-lengthening sledgehammer look like the more nimble party. The wooden handle continues to grow in both directions, sprouting a fine layer of twigs and branches that start wrapping around Ken's hands to brace her. She shouts something, you think "Crack!", and swings, clearly putting in a lot of effort to whip the sledgehammer around like a whip.It's effort that pays off, though. The sight is somewhat gruesome, but a horizontal swipe knocks the rightmost head into the next head... and the next, and the next, splitting the struck head in half, top and bottom. The creature's lower jaw hangs off, clearly broken, as Ken bounces back several feet.You watch the other slayer bounding through the park with exceptional strides, your gaze eventually catching on a small, curled up figure with long black hair huddled under a bench. Much more than that from this distance, you can't really tell - your eyes are good, but they aren't telescopes.The Dragon lets out a loud, buzzing growl, whipping out and narrowly missing a good, solid hit on Ken. Instead, it just slices her hand open and cuts her sledgehammer in half. You're worried, for a split second of a moment, your heart jumping up, but she grits her teeth, grabs the cut end and immediately regrows it to its original length with her new supply of blood before cramming the other half into the ground. She points it down like a lever and it proceeds to grow and fork itself into sharp, pointed thorns and spikes, pressing at the Dragon, keeping it held at bay while she does something to her cut hand. When she lets go, she does so with a running start, letting the barrier of pointed wood start retracting itself back into the broken handle.The creature rocks back and forth slightly, dazed, bleeding, reeling, jaw still broken but slowly starting to knit itself back together.>Stay put, keep watching. She's a professional, she's got this. [Cautious]>Get closer so you can be on standby in case something bad happens to Ken. [Clever]>Go and help out the other two. [Kind]>Try and provide a long-distance distraction to give Ken an upper hand.. Maybe try yelling really loud [Brave]>FREE OPTION/PHRASE
>>4486312>Get closer so you can be on standby in case something bad happens to Ken. [Clever]
>>4486318You get closer so that you can be on standby in case something bad happens, hopping off the tree branch, stiffness in your ankles causing them to pop as you land on the ground.Ken hops back and forth, deftly weaving in and out of range, repeatedly raining down yelling-paired hammer blows. You get behind a bush and watch from a closer angle."Crack!" "Demolish!" "Crush!" "Shatter!", her words all come out to emphasize each hammer blow, breaking heads into smaller pieces. Each shout is as ferocious as the last, repeatedly shrinking the hammer's handle as it comes down, which seems to make it swing way faster. She's a blur of wood, blood, and whatever the tip of a sledgehammer is made of, smashing the Dragon into small bits.Once it's all done, the Dragon thoroughly flattened, she leans on her sledgehammer, letting it rapidly shrink back to its original length, and proceeds to flop onto the ground, ragged.Oh.The calories. Right.Oh shit.Well, thankfully the Dragon's dead. You peek in the distance and see the other slayer still tending to the girl's wounds.By the time you look back, the Dragon has begun twitching. Its heads are mangled, bits of brain hanging out onto the ground in a distressingly meaty display... but its tail, almost pencil-lead thin with a thick, knife-like tip, is slowly raising up.Aiming right for Ken.>Run! As fast as you can manage, get her out of range however you can! [Brave]>Run! As fast as you can, give it something else to skewer! She can heal you, you can't heal her! [Reckless]>Project your voice! Shouldn't be hard to go loud - distract the dying Dragon and get the attention of the other Slayer! [Cautious]>FREE OPTION/PHRASE
>>4486925>Grab some dirt off the ground>Dirt is like sand, and sandstorms are a bitch for sight>STORM, try to localize it just in the dragon's body to throw off its aim
>>4486925>Run! As fast as you can, give it something else to skewer! She can heal you, you can't heal her! [Reckless]This young man shall be a boy of calculated risks.Unfortunetly as was stated before, he's not the best at math.
>>4486925And if that's not going to work with the connection thing>Run! As fast as you can, give it something else to skewer! She can heal you, you can't heal her! [Reckless]>WALL, turn the dirt in front of her into a barrier
>>4486925>Run! As fast as you can manage, get her out of range however you can! [Brave]
>>4486925>Run! As fast as you can manage, get her out of range however you can! [Brave]>FREE OPTION/PHRASE>"GROW WALL", directed at the ground between her and it.She did say to try to block it off if it got out of hand.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>4487830>>4487532>>4487153>>4487151Brave or reckless? Let's let the dice figure it out
>>4487830>>4487532You bolt. Your legs aren't great, but they carry you as you pry aside some of the fresh bandages on your hand and prepare to do something stupid. You flex your hand and think about walls, bricks made of mud and dirt, ditches dug to stop a fire.Then, you bite down on your hand and prise out a chunk of skin with your teeth, leaving a sticky copper taste on your tongue. You guess that's something you'll have to get used to. You flick your hand down, splattering droplets onto your shoes, and focus.Running through a park. Jumping. Moving."Faster!" you yell, and the world responds in kind. Your next footfall hits the ground and propels you forward like you've got rockets strapped to your feet, shoving you a couple inches higher into the air than you're used to. You almost fall down, tumbling into a roll, and then your next step has a lot more sureness and weight behind it.You have just seconds to spare. The world feels slow around you, air stuck against your skin as you charge forward. She gets closer, closer.You jump between her and the darting tail, your shoulder bashing into the ground as you smear a trail of blood into the dirt and grass."Grow wall wall wall wall wall!" You shriek, your voice breaking as the ground erupts under you. You position your body between the tail and her just so it has something else it'd have to go through.Mud bricks. Moss. Grass. They stack up, and you cross your arms over your chest and curl up just to give it more to pierce through.ScccccrapeYou stare downwards at the last hateful gasp of the Dragon pressed between two of your ribs, watching as it slowly reels back like a fishing hook. It gets stuck on the last of the five walls you summoned up, and then drops, dangling by its tail, out of effort - dead.Blood spurts once from your new wound before turning into a steady leak. It's not a deep cut, you don't think, it didn't go all the way through you. Maybe a couple of centimeters, but it's still probably one of the deeper cuts you've experienced in your life. The walls quickly begin degrading when you let go of the effort to keep them sustained, dragging the Dragon's tail into the ground with them.But you're still bleeding - and for that matter, so is Ken, with a gnarly looking but shallow cut curling around her left arm.>You've seen enough movies to know how to tie a tourniquet, right? No, probably not - you should at least rip up your shirt into bandages and tie that around the cuts to staunch the bleeding.>Try to get the attention of the other slayer so they can treat the two of you.>Try to wake Ken up.>Try to heal your wound yourself with alchemy (Free Phrase) >FREE OPTION/PHRASE
>>4487973Eh, we'll be fine, not like we're good at healing anyway.>Try to get the attention of the other slayer so they can treat the two of you.
>>4487973>Try to get the attention of the other slayer so they can treat the two of you.
>>4488128>>4488076>>4488018Even with a shallow wound, you still got stabbed in the chest, and the leaking blood combined with the five walls you summoned has you feeling woozy and seeing stars already.Thankfully, you're no fool. Ample bleeding means ample blood, which means ample material to perform alchemy with. You think you're getting the hang of this alchemy thing - it's not so hard, isn't it? You smear blood across your neck."Louder, louder!" until even your hoarsest whisper is a deafening roar. You feel your throat buzzing, your mouth amplifying your words as they emerge. You turn your head towards the other slayer, and manage to eke out a "Ken's hurt! Quick!" at full volume, before passing out.-----"Stupid kid." You hear from somewhere up above you, a sore, dull ache in your ribs coming forward to the surface. Dr. Hyde, the other slayer, and Ken are all sitting, apparently patiently waiting for you to regain consciousness. Your brain does a couple of convolutions, and you immediately start looking for your backpack."Don't worry. I texted your mom while pretending to be you and told her you'd be out for a bit." Dr. Hyde explains with a grin as you start reaching for your backpack on a nearby table. You... are not sure how you feel about that, much less the fact that they'd have to get past your password for it. Clearly, your face is incapable of hiding your emotions right now, because Dr. Hyde picks up on it immediately. "You were asleep, I used your thumb. Sorry. Invasive. I just figured I should since you had your backpack with you this time and we didn't know when you were going to wake up.""Right, whatever." You respond, turning your head to face Ken and propping yourself on your pillows. Her face is contorted into a strange mixture of emotions that you find nearly impossible to place in any one coordinate or another."That was a real boneheaded move, pipsqueak. Should'a just let it hit me.">What, and risk losing my teacher? Don't be stupid, who'd show me how to do cool hammer tricks if you died? [Snarky]>Well, I don't think I could even if I wanted to. I was moving before I was even really thinking about it. [Reckless]>I'm just glad you're okay, don't worry about me so much. You're the expert here, remember? [Kind]>FREE OPTION
>>4488555>No promises there, I was moving before I was even really thinking about it. [Reckless]
>>4488555>I'm just glad you're okay, don't worry about me so much. You're the expert here, remember? [Kind]
>>4488555>Well, I don't think I could even if I wanted to. I was moving before I was even really thinking about it. [Reckless]
>>4489061>>4488681"No promises there. I was moving before I was even really thinking about it." You say, cracking a grin. Dr. Hyde clutches at his knees, silently laughing in your periphery, while Ken pinches the bridge of her nose."Whatever. I'll see you in the gym." Ken says, disappearing out the door."Sorry about that..." The other slayer says, bowing politely in apology. She seems very opposite to Ken - tall, demure, long haired, and one of the things that immediately strikes you is whatever it is that are clipped to both of her ears... hearing aids? "She gets kind of testy when she feels like she's being pitied. Abigail Eriksdotter." She introduces, reaching a hand out to yours. You grab it with your newly cleaned and rebandaged hand and give it a firm shake. "Two-star slayer.""Noah Lee. High school junior." You reply."Not inducted yet? Could've fooled me." She replies, taking a couple of steps back and leaning on a chair. Dr. Hyde chuckles a bit, helping pull out your IV and bandage up the hole left."Am I just that good?" You reply, causing Dr. Hyde to burst into laughter before getting shushed by Abigail glaring at him."Well... You've definitely got a natural affinity for alchemy. I can't think of any people as..." She thinks for a second, curling her lips in consideration, "untrained as you capable of making that many dirt walls that fast!""How did you know how many walls I made when you were all the way over... Oh yeah! How is the person we had to save doing?" You ask, distracting yourself with your own thoughts."Oh, she's fine, she's a room over. Another nurse is tending to her. Anyway, Ken told me! She didn't exactly pass out, you know.""Huh?""Just because you collapse from exhaustion doesn't mean you pass out! Most people actually just get stuck when they run out of energy for alchemy. It exhausts the limbs. But you were able to dump pneuma in so quickly!""What, so I'm like some kind of chosen one?" You ask, snorting a little bit at the thought. That makes Abigail laugh - its a warm, soft laugh that makes your chest feel nice to listen to."Absolutely not. You still don't look like you could swing something heavy without snapping yourself in half. Some people are just born with natural aptitudes. Some slayers are really great at the swinging weapons part and had to work really hard at the "alchemy" part." She says, flicking her head backwards over her shoulder, apparently gesturing towards Ken, you'd imagine. "And some people are good at both but come with other deficiencies." She taps her hearing aids, and then winces slightly. "This is reality, there are no "Chosen Ones", there's-"Dr. Hyde claps his hands together, interrupting the conversation. "Great! If you two are cool getting to know each other, I'd like to take care of the patient one room over now."
>>4489493>Ask Dr. Hyde if you can peek your head in to see the other patient. [Curious]>Keep talking with Abigail - gee, Bill, how come your mom lets you have two dragon slayer trainers? [Kind]>Cut the conversation short with Abigail so you can have some time training with Ken and/or trying to make sure she's not pissed at you. [Brave]>FREE OPTION
>>4489493>Keep talking with Abigail - gee, Bill, how come your mom lets you have two dragon slayer trainers? [Kind]
>>4489495>Keep talking with Abigail - gee, Bill, how come your mom lets you have two dragon slayer trainers? [Kind]So pneuma, that's the technical term for the energy you invest through alchemy? Makes sense that people who call what they're doing alchemy wouldn't be content to just say "energy".
>>4489536>>4489525>>4489515"So, pneuma, is that the technical term for the energy you invest through alchemy?" You ask Abigail as the two of you idly walk through the community center, taking a look around. For the most part, it looks like any other community center you've been to - there's classrooms, small square lockers, the big-ass gym, a playground in the back. Most of the rooms have been converted into various staging centers for Dragon slayer-ly things. You even see a straight up server room somewhere, although not a very big one. You can hear the fans running through the door!"Well, not... really? Like yeah it consumes calories like any sort of exercise, but pneuma is a little more than just the energy you burn. It's sort of like... an expression of your force of will?" Abigail tries to explain, clearly fumbling for words."Your intent?" You ask."Yeah! Your intent. Some people aren't very committed and they can't dump a lot of pneuma into their alchemy. This can be useful because it means you don't burn out as quickly, but it also means you can't do any snap alchemy like you pulled off. People with a lot of intent can just dump all their pneuma in, like overclocking a computer!""Right, I think I get it... Sort of like..."-----You spend a little more time talking with Abigail before you get a text from your mom, requesting you kindly come home soon. "Man, I don't envy you." Abigail teases, poking you in the forehead gently. "I remember when I had to listen to my parents while trying to fight Dragons. Not fun.">Yeah, well... I still haven't really considered if I want to like... DO this do this. The whole FOODS thing. [Cautious]>Well, I should probably start learning how to manage the two, then, eh? What sort of stuff do I need before I'm an Official Dragon Slayer? [Eager]>FREE OPTION
>>4489808>About that. Anything I can do to keep my mom dragon-free? I'm not against staying away from her, but I don't like the idea of coming home one day to see her infected by some accident I had nothing to do with. [Cautious][Kind]
>>4489808Supporting >>4489901Because if dragons react to people with a certain blood type, then we probably inherited this from one of our parents. It might be a recessive trait, or inherit differently since it's magic genetics, but still worth investigating.
Probably no update today, if I do one it'll probably be very late, just to keep you, uh, updated. Love Mondays.
>>4490243>>4489901"About that... Anything I can do to keep my mom dragon-free? I'm not against staying away from her, but I don't like the idea of coming home one day to see her infected by some accident I had nothing to do with. And I have to wonder if I inherited this from her somehow...?" You ask, as Abigail leads you to the exit.She looks at you, slightly confused, before providing some of her clarity to the situation. "No, Dragons aren't a thing you can get infected by. Unfortunately, they're just born with it. If your mom was a Dragon she probably would've killed you years ago." She explains, shoving her hands into her pockets awkwardly. "And our blood type doesn't work by normal inheritance rules. All of the old alchemical dynasties work via adoption, because our blood type is just spontaneous in the population. Genealogists in the larger International FOODS have been at this for decades. Does that answer your questions?"By now, the two of you have managed to walk to the nearby bus stop. Thankfully, you've got a phone that can tell you bus routes, and Abigail passes you a small wad of bills as bus fare when she notices you staring at the stop. The phone schedule says the next bus will be here in about three minutes, so that'd be enough time for one more question if you have it.>Can you tell me about <...> (Free Option)>No, I think I'm good. Thank you, though.
>>4491282>Can you tell me about <...> (Free Option)So I can refill on calories and maybe eat some liver to replenish blood, but how do you get back Pneuma? Sit on a couch with a bowl of ice cream listening to Beethoven?
>>4491302>>4491321Probably misinterpreting this but it sounds more like Pneuma is a static stat, like... Intellect or something. Seems like it's a rating for how many calories you can dump into a single Alchemical transmutation.That's my theory-crafting atm anyway.
>>4491321>>4491302"So I can refill on calories and maybe eat some liver to replenish blood, but how do you get back Pneuma? Sit on a couch with a bowl of ice cream listening to Beethoven?" You ask, taking a seat down on the bench at the bus stop. Abigail doesn't sit with you, just leaning against the bus stop itself."Well, you should always take time for ice cream and Beethoven, but no, it's not so much of a thing you deplete. That being said, like all "muscles", it is a thing you can train, develop more of, and get a more fine-grain control over it. Try doing some really, really small changes. Learn some control. I don't think making your reservoirs any bigger is going to do you a whole ton of good right now." She explains, smiling. "Plus you're, what, 16?""17.""Right. You've got a lot of an earlier start than most of us 'cept Ken. Plenty of time to grow." She says, with a prize-winning smile. Right on cue, the bus begins to pull up. You say your goodbyes, hop on, and trudge all the way to the back of the bus.20 minutes down, then hopping off and getting on the 38 for another 10 minutes. That's fine.-----
>>4492111Click.When you entered the bus, there weren't many people there. The bus driver, a couiple of old ladies, and a hooded person in the back, sitting quietly, playing with their phone with clumsy fingers. You sat in the back too - not the very back row, but in that whole back section of bus.Now, the unmistakable sound of a gun being racked sets your blood alight. You feel something press at your seat from behind. You didn't even notice them moving.They take a deep inhale. "Little man." They hiss. Why do you smell so... delicious?"Their voice is... wrong. Gurgling, hissing. Like their vocal cords got burnt out ages ago. There is something unmistakable wrong with this person.>You had a big meal and you're full of spices. [Snarky]>You've got the right kind of blood and they're smelling it. [Honest]>Free Option/Phrase
>>4492112*"Why do you smell so... delicious?"
>>4492112>You've got the right kind of blood and they're smelling it. [Honest]
>>4492112>>You've got the right kind of blood and they're smelling it. [Honest]
>>4492112>You've got the right kind of blood and they're smelling it. [Honest]Tempted to do a write-in response of "Sir! I am a minor!", but they've got a gun so let's not be frivolous.
>>4492237Made me chuckle.>>4492163>>4492130"It's because I've got the right kind of blood and you're smelling it." You respond, quietly. You think, for a moment, about trying to be cheeky with the person, but they have a gun and you do not. Even with the food provided at the FOODS building, you're still tired, sore, and recovering from a stab wound. You can hear the person licking their lips. Their voice is too hoarse and wet for you to adequately determine their gender, and you weren't paying enough attention to them to remember how they were shaped underneath their hoodie, if you could see at all. "That's what I think too, little man." You feel their gun press a little harder into the seat through its material. They lean in close and sniff your neck.What they say next makes your blood go icy in your veins. "You smell different. You should know. Why... Why can't she see me anymore? I want to know.">Who? I need more detail. [Curious]>I think you're a Dragon. Most people can't notice you anymore. Something's wrong with your biology. [Honest]>I... I think you have a condition. It makes people unable to notice you. I can try to help you if you let me live. [White Lie]>Why aren't you attacking me right now? Are you hungry? [Reckless]>Free Option/Phrase
>>4492252>I think you're a Dragon. Most people can't notice you anymore. Something's wrong with your biology. [Honest]
>>4492252>Most people can't notice you anymore. The only ones who can will smell like me. Some kinda genetic mutation.I want to avoid dropping the Dragon name until he's calmed down and doesn't think we're bullshitting.>Having a hard time remembering specifics with a gun behind my back. [Snarky]
>>4492252>Free Option/Phrase>"It's part of your...condition. Your body's producing this weird chemical that makes people unable to notice you. I'm immune, got something to do with my rare blood type. I've heard that people can be inoculated to get immunity, but I don't know the details."
>>4492334>>4492290Gonna merge these two for similarity."It's part of your... condition. Your body's producing a weird chemical that makes people unable to notice you, and the only people that are immune are people with a rare blood type, like me. I've heard people can be inoculated to get immunity, but I don't know the details."You try so, so hard not to let your voice crack as you speak to what is probably a Dragon holding you hostage."Hmm." They say, gently draping a hand around your neck. Their fingers are far too big, too thick, too heavy, too rough. They were more like lumps of meat. "In-noc-u-late... That's a medical term... I can vaccinate her..."They squeeze your throat, just a bit, their right hand still pressing a gun into the back of the chair. "Nobody would notice if I shot you." They muse quietly, while you try to remain ramrod still. They sniff you again, and growl quietly, the air next to your ear rumbling. "My blood... tells me to kill you. It's cold. It screams. You and I... are opposites."Their hand squeezes a harder, and you gasp for breath. "You're choking me..." You quietly whisper, sucking air through your teeth, and they loosen their grip."In-noc-u-late... You have been useful, small man. You can call me Saint." They say, more speaking at you than with you. Their fingers tense, but they don't squeeze again, even though you can feel a restrained tension at the bottoms of their fingers, where they connect to the palm. Resisting the urge to choke. "Name. Title. Whatever.">Noah. [Cautious]>Noah Lee. [Honest]>You can call me "Sinner", then. [Snarky]>Make a fake name up. [Liar]>Free Option/Phrase
>>4492378>Noah. [Cautious]Five bucks says their real name is George, and we get some role reversal with Saint George being the Dragon.
>>4492427>>4492422>>4492385"Noah." You reply, not clarifying if that's your actual name or if it's just something Saint can call you. Either way, they don't ask for further clarification, only keeping their stiff hand clutched to your throat."Noah. Do you remember... your childhood?" Saint asks, quietly, their voice rumbling against your back."Kind of?""So you remember how it was... when you woke up one day... and you could remember. The first day you could remember." Saint hisses in response."I... don't think I remember the exact day, no." You reply, quietly."The teachers, they taught me... when you are... gestating... you have all knowledge of the Earth and Heavens, and when you are born... the Angels press on your lip... right here." Saint explains, breathlessly rolling into what seems like some sort of dangerous non-sequitur to you, as they press their index finger to that little indent between the two sides of your upper lip, right below your nose. "So I wonder... why have I forgotten again...?"They let go of your neck and you feel the gun retract from the seat. "I tasted someone that tastes the way you smell. I... regret. But I... will not stop." They say, as the bus begins to squeal to a halt, two stops before your next one. Saint stands up, looming over you, and you can finally notice, as they step in front of you, just how wrong their proportions are. For someone with hands the size of theirs, you would expect something like a gorilla, but they look more like a gibbon than anything else, easily two meters tall with arms that are too long by a couple of hand-lengths. Their arms begin to bend and creak, membranous spines emerging from their fingers and elbows, rough, blue skin merging with their dark navy hoodie.They turn to you and you can see the smallest fragments of their face underneath their hoodie. A cleft lip above each canine, canine teeth that have magnified themselves, overhanging into their narrow lips even as they grin. The rest of their teeth are pointed, maybe even serrated, with thick, protruding gums, almost dark black to match their deep indigo skin. You're sure what used to be a nose is now two deep, narrow slits, and for a second, you think you can see a flash of an eye beneath the hoodie, before Saint reaches up and adjusts it to hide more of their face. "I look forward to seeing you again... Noah." They say, going outside of everyone's notice as the bus comes to a halt. "I won't stop... You shouldn't, too.">I won't, Saint. [Brave]>I look forward to seeing you again, too. [Curious]>Fair warning: If you hurt someone, I might have to stop you. [Judicious]>I hope she can see you again, Saint. [Kind]>Free Option/Phrase
>>4492465>I hope you don't hurt the people you care about
>>4492465>I hope she can see you again, Saint. [Kind]
>>4492465>I won't, Saint. [Brave]
Rolled 2 (1d3)>>4492513>>4492877>>4493101Switching computers again, hoping I keep the ID somehow.
>>4493262 It won't.
>>4493275It did, somehow.
>>4493279 P.F.M., as they say in the programming world.
Apologies for the delay - I infodumped on a friend and we had a long and productive conversation about The Setting. Might need to make a retcon at some point but unsure of the best approach - instory retcon or just telling you the new detail outright. I'll figure something out.That, and ADHD.>>4492877"I hope she can see you again, Saint." You reply, just loud enough for them to hear. If they acknowledge your response in any way, you don't see it. Instead, they prise the front doors of the bus open as it comes to a halt, their arms finally completing the transformation into two massive wings, and take to the air. By the time your heartbeat has returned to its normal speed and velocity, they're gone entirely.Nobody on the bus seems to react to the sight except for you.-----When you get home, your mom provides you with some food. She doesn't ask much about where you were at, because she never does so long as you let her know that you're out, which "you" did.The fact that you very nearly avoided death doesn't really hit you in any way. Sure, your brain recognizes it, rationally, but it refuses to make you feel any particular way about it.So instead, you stare at the ceiling, listening to crackly old music, until you fall asleep.Saint now likes you...?The rest of the week passes by in a bit of a blur of motion. Your teacher, the one that turned into a Dragon and then got killed, turned out to have a quite a rap sheet that got announced on the nightly news - nothing illegal, but a history of financially abusing his wife and kids. Rumor has it he got fired and moved states. Your substitute becomes a permanent teacher.Over the week, did we... >Tell someone at FOODS about Saint? [Bonus Scene]>Hide Saint's existence?Over the week, did we...>Try to ingratiate ourselves with the new substitute teacher, crack out of our shell a little bit? [Bonus Scene]>Focus on working out and training with the people at FOODS?
>>4493911>Tell someone at FOODS about Saint? [Bonus Scene]>Focus on working out and training with the people at FOOGains, man, GAINZ
>>4493911>Tell someone at FOODS about Saint? [Bonus Scene]Either it's possible to get treatment for type 2 dragonification, and this will help Saint, or it isn't possible and Saint will inevitably do something awful, and this will help the woman that's forgotten them.>Focus on working out and training with the people at FOODS?If we're going to have random Dragons come up to us on the bus and ask us why we smell tasty, we might as well have some ability to defend ourselves.
>>4494232>>4493929"Saint, huh...? Definitely an odd one."Dr. Hyde and Ken both look back and forth between each other and you as you describe the situation that unfolded on the bus the other day. "Odd? How?" You ask, leaning into a chair, happy to have a day at FOODS where you're not recovering from some kind of injury."Well, the fact that he didn't try to eat you immediately is odd. It's not like he couldn't have just bitten you and removed you from everyone's notice and then made a bloodbath in the back seats. Why would he want to even talk to you?" Ken asks, rubbing her chin. Dr Hyde looks thoughtfully at the ceiling."I mean, it's not inconceivable that a two-star would try to reclaim their past life. In fact, I'd say it's more frequent than not trying, but the relative peacefulness that he went about with it is strange." Dr. Hyde concludes."We'll put out a warning for him and tell everyone to keep watch." Ken says, sitting herself down into her chair."Really strange..."-----Over the course of your training at FOODS, you can feel yourself starting to get marginally stronger. At the very least, you can do 10 more pushups in a row before getting tired than you could before, which is progress!You're also beginning to understand alchemy a little bit better than you were before. As it turns out, Ken is a pretty good teacher! Who know?
>>4495196It's weird how little life changes even when you're training under a monster hunter fighting invisible monsters every so often. You wake up, you eat breakfast, you go to school. You stay out late training, you go home, you eat dinner, you go to sleep. Occasionally you hang around with Josh. And then, Friday. You text your mom during lunch, asking her if you can stay over at Josh's for the night - you get the feeling you'll be crashing there, as you have so many times before, but this time with the added social pressure of having people around. People that you will nominally have to impress. That's always your least favorite thing, impressing people.By the time you arrive at Josh's house, the party has already started in earnest. Music plays through some kind of surround sound system, which is nothing particularly new to you - you've known Josh's parents have been loaded for years. There's already people, none of whom you recognize except in the most vaguest sense as people that you've maybe seen before, somewhere, in school, in the hallway, never paying them more than a passing glance. Individuals who blend into your crowd much like you doubtlessly blend into theirs.You already feel uncomfortable. "Glad to see you could make it!" Josh announces loudly to be heard over the music, slapping you on the back from behind. It's not as if this is one of those vaunted teen movie parties - all things considered, it's fairly modest, but it's also far more people than you've ever dealt with in a social function before. A small, indeed, mousey looking girl nervously plays with the edges of her jacket, while looking at you with a neutral enough expression that, outside of her body language, you'd have trouble guessing what she's thinking of. "Noah, Rebecca, Rebecca, Noah. You two make nice. I'm gonna go grab a beer!" Josh says, disappearing into the crowd before you can get a word in edgewise.Rebecca sort of stares at you, more or less equal in height to you. The glasses make her eyes look huge, which you guess might be appealing to someone, but right now it just feels like she's awkwardly gazing into the depths of your soul. You have no idea how to talk to girls in non-combat related contexts, it seems.>Wait for her to make the first move. [Shy]>"Hey. Noah. Pleasure to meet you." Reach out for a handshake. The simple option. [Cautious]>Compliment her appearance. [Kind]>Ask her if you want to hang out on the porch or something, it's REALLY loud in here, isn't it? [Gentle]>"Hey, I'm Noah. I fight Dragons." - spin a sarcastic sounding tale to draw her attention. [Snarky]>"So, uh, what sort of music do you like?" Try to connect to her on the thing that you care about a lot. [Nerdy]>Free Option
>>4495199>>"So, uh, what sort of music do you like?" Try to connect to her on the thing that you care about a lot. [Nerdy]2real
>>4495199>Ask her if you want to hang out on the porch or something, it's REALLY loud in here, isn't it? [Gentle]>"So, uh, what sort of music do you like?" Try to connect to her on the thing that you care about a lot. [Nerdy]If we're going to spill spaghetti might as well do it in private
>>4495199>Ask her if you want to hang out on the porch or something, it's REALLY loud in here, isn't it? [Gentle]>"So, uh, what sort of music do you like?" Try to connect to her on the thing that you care about a lot. [Nerdy]Girls like guys that are passionate
>>4495199>Ask her if you want to hang out on the porch or something, it's REALLY loud in here, isn't it? [Gentle]>"So, uh, what sort of music do you like?" Try to connect to her on the thing that you care about a lot. [Nerdy]
>>4495460>>4495446>>4495348>>4495306"Hey, do you, uh, wanna go out on the porch? I think it's too loud in here. Not a fan." You tell her, after a couple moments filled with precipitous silence, despite the noise surrounding the two of you on all sides."What?" She replies."I said, do you want to go out on the porch? I think it's too loud in here." You repeat, this time a little louder than before. She looks at you, looks uncomfortably at the crowd of other teenagers far too young to be handling this many beer cans, and nods silently. You don't grab her hand or anything like that - you just lead her through the crowd, along the edges of rooms to avoid bumping into as many people as possible, and out onto the porch.You're not the only people out here, of course, but most of the action is inside, especially this early in the night. A couple of faceless masses that you might've seen at some point in school scuttle about, using the quieter atmosphere to talk without forcing their voices as much. Their conversations almost immediately fade into impermanent background noise.There's another couple of moments of empty, loud silence. She reaches into her pocket, fumbles for something, and then decides against whatever it was she was pulling out and lets her hands come to rest on the deck railing, staring outwards into the tangled, evenly-portioned jungle of evening suburbia. You follow suit shortly thereafter."So, uh, what sort of music do you like?" You ask, quietly but loud enough to be heard. She looks at you and silently raises an eyebrow."I don't think you want to know the answer to that question." She says. This is the first time you think you've really been able to hear her voice, and it's... different. Low and throaty and hoarse, not quite the voice you expected out of someone looking the way she does."No, really! I collect old ballroom vinyls and even enjoy them sometimes-" That gets a chuckle out of her, you note, "-so I'm sure whatever you like won't startle me."She chuckles again, staring at the ground. "How do we do this, should I just rattle off some names and you tell me if you've heard of them or not?"You shrug. "Yeah. Sure. We can take turns. Want me to go first?""Sure."
>>4496290You start with the big ones that you can list off your head. "Ray Anthony Orchestra.""Nope. The Dillinger Escape Plan.""Can't say I have. Herbie Hancock.""Maybe? Not sure. Daughters.""That's it? Not "Daughters of such-and-such"?""Nope. Just Daughters.""Nope. Duke Ellington.""That sounds like a jazz name. Is he a jazzy dude?""You could say that.""Never heard of him. Merzbow.""Maybe? What genre?""Uh... N-Noise... rock. Noise rock.""Not something I can say I've looked into very much. Sorry. Louis Armstrong?""Oh yeah, I've definitely heard of him. No idea what he did, but the name sounds familiar." She sighs and turns her head just slightly away. "Death Grips?""Oh! The "Guillotine" dude, right?" You ask. She turns to you and smiles."Yeah, and his posse.""Right. I can't say I've listened to them for long but I've definitely heard that song. Uh... Frank Sinatra?"She laughs a little bit, which makes you happy. "Who hasn't heard of Frank Sinatra?""You'd be surprised!" You say, and she laughs a little harder."Yeah, I would be! You're right about that!" She says, taking the time to stop for a second and think. "Okay... I would be surprised if you would but... Have you heard of The Caretaker?"You shake your head. "Uh-uh."Already, she's pulling her phone out. "I get the feeling it'd be up both our mutual aisles. Want to give it a spin?" She asks, pulling a pair of wired earbuds out from one of her other jacket pockets. You see a little glimmer of... something in her eyes. You don't know what, but you think it's the good kind of glimmer, and you think you're already making a good impression. No reason to decline."Yeah. Sure."<BGM: https://youtu.be/8uchRhrAy-8 >One earbud per person. You gently sweep your head from side to side as the music plays, despite the occasional crackles and pops. She stands there, quietly tapping her feet to the tempo, leaning against the railing, staring outwards into the trees.You lose track of time a little bit. You can tell, of course, that there's no real crackling and popping with her headphones, that the impermanence there, the broken sound, is baked into the noise, but it still startles you a bit every time it happens, until it fades into the background too.Her eyes are a little shimmery, with the way the porch lights cast on her. Each abrupt cut makes you jump a little bit while she remains unfazed. She turns to you, you turn to her a little bit, and there's nobody else around. She flicks her head away and smiles."Man, old music like this really makes me want to slow dance." She says, wry and sly. "Too bad we're not in a ballroom.">"Who says you need a ballroom?" [Brave]>"I mean, there's space underneath the porch that nobody hangs around in. If you want to be really away from the crowd we could enjoy this music down there." [Cautious]>"Too bad. Maybe whenever the next school dance comes around?" [Teasing]>Free Option
>>4496293>>"Who says you need a ballroom?" [Brave]>>"I mean, there's space underneath the porch that nobody hangs around in. If you want to be really away from the crowd we could enjoy this music down there." [CautiousSomeones totally gonna see, but who cares?
>>4496293>"Who says you need a ballroom?" [Brave]We don't want to isolate the girl too much now. Might come off as creepy.
Had to drive the city over to grab my computer from the shop, but at least it's repaired now, hopefully! Apologies for the spate of late updates.>>4496710>>4496419"Who says you need a ballroom? There's some space underneath the porch that nobody hangs around in." You offer, looking back at her with a weak smile. "If you really want to be away from the crowd, we could enjoy the music down there."She looks at you, slightly incredulously, and then laughs quietly. "Sure." She replies, and then follows you down the porch stairs. You grab a hold of the railing posts at the end and swing yourself around, a maneuver you've practiced and perfected over the years of accidentally injuring yourself at Josh's house. Underneath the porch, there's no light, just the lingering stripes of the light around you from the rest of the house, the suburbs. You can't really see her face that well, but you don't feel like you need to.She moves first, ballroom static pumped into your ears quietly, and puts her hands on your hips. You can feel her body temperature through your clothes, feeling someone's heartbeat, although you're not sure if its yours or hers. You obligingly return the favor by putting your hands on her shoulders.You dance. It's not a waltz or a tango or anything particularly interesting - the two of you rock back and forth while slowly orbiting each other like binary stars. Her eyes are kept normally facing downwards, until the occasions in which she has to adjust her glasses. Even more rarely, those occasions intersect with the moments where the light bounces off her face, revealing a flushed, tight-lipped countenance.It seems like she wants to say something. The air feels still and cold.>Say nothing, just soak in the silence with her. [Shy]>"Something on your mind?" Let go, for a moment, in case you're making her uncomfortable. [Kind]>"Cat got your tongue?" [Teasing]>Free Option
>>4497973>Say nothing, just soak in the silence with her. [Shy]
>>4497973>"Something on your mind?" Let go, for a moment, in case you're making her uncomfortable. [Kind]
>>4498379>>4498324>>4497984You don't say anything. You just soak in the quiet, wordless silence, accompanied only by crackling music, slowly deteriorating as the playlist continues. She twirls around you, you twirl around her, a slow moving vortex.Eventually, she gets tired of waiting, and speaks up. She doesn't move her head from looking down at your feet, she just speaks, and her voice pierces through the silence like a knife through paper."Noah, right?""Yeah.""Wanna make out?"You are immediately confused. Your mind suddenly pumps the breaks and for a second you almost stumble over your own feet and fall, but you quickly regain your footing and get back into the continuous swirling motion. Your brain proceeds to summon a scattershot ADHD clusterfuck of ideas.>Uh [???]>Who, me? [???]>I [???]>Like, have sex? [???]>Uh [???]>Is she asking me to kiss her? [???]>Is she [???]>Uh [???]>What? [???]>I have to go to the bathroom [???]>No habla englais [???]>Huh? [???]>Say yes, idiot! [???]>Is this a prank? Where's the camera? [???]>Okay, what's the catch? [???]>Why are you thinking about this so much? [???]>Maybe get a beer first. [???]>No! Don't do that. [???]> [???]> [???]> What? [Confused]At some point, you realize you stopped moving, and when you finally notice her staring at you, she bursts into laughter. "What's the hold-up, Armstrong? Don't tell me you're as old fashioned as your music taste." She says, gently putting a hand on your cheek. You realize that you missed your chance to run with a thought, but frankly, you think most of the thoughts your brain fed you probably would not have been great for the situation. "Do we need to go on three dates and have at least one maddeningly tense handholding session at the drive-in before you'll let me get to first base?" She teases, bopping you on the nose with her finger. You can feel your body heating up - or rather, you can feel now, with the numbness having finally left you, that you've been blushing like mad for the past minute or so and you are just realizing it. Somehow, this feels more daunting than fighting dangerous venomous monsters.The air is cold and still.>Don't say anything, just go for it! [Brave]>She clearly likes a little forwardness. Go for it... with passion! [Reckless]>She seems to like teasing you. Maybe give her a shy nod and let her take the lead. [Shy]>Apologize and decline - the mood's just not right, and this is all so sudden... [Cautious]>Counter-tease her and then go for it if the mood feels good. [Snarky]>Free Option.
>>4499422>Don't say anything, just go for it! [Brave]Now here's hoping she's not both A) the sort to bite her partner's lip when kissing and B) a latent dragon. If she winds up turning into a dragon mid-makeout session because she nicked Noah's lip and drew some blood, it's going to cause so much trauma for him.
>>4499422>She clearly likes a little forwardness. Go for it... with passion! [Reckless]Brave and Reckless seem to be the same option but Reckless seems to imply at least some form of steady escalation before he starts sticking his tongue down her throat so let's go with that.
>>4499422>Don't say anything, just go for it! [Brave]Time for either Noah has a great day or Noah has a terrible day
>>4499477You just described his whole week>>4499422>Don't say anything, just go for it! [Brave]
>>4499422>>She clearly likes a little forwardness. Go for it... with passion! [Reckless]inb4 we have to fight her
>>4499477>>4499561>>4499473You don't give her a reply, or at least, not a verbalized one. Instead, you lean in, first with your head, and then your whole body, trying not to bowl her over but aimed squarely for her lips. She tilts her face so that you avoid gently bonking against her nose and cranes her neck enough that you can get a little peck in, before pulling away, crinkling her nose in amused delight."Oh, I'm gonna have to teach you to do better than that, Armstrong." She says, grinning, as she tangles her free hand in your hair and wrenches you close with the hand still on your hip. You let out a little yelp as you come dangerously close to her, the tips of your noses touching. "Gotta put a little force into it. You got me?"You nod sheepishly, feeling slightly emasculated for the tiniest fraction of a second before she pulls you flush against her. She grabs your hands, puts one on her hip, dragging another against her scalp, and then hugs you closer. "Go for it." She whispers, and you pull her this time, pressing her against you while you lurch forward.A surge of confidence wells in you, and you move the hand around her hip so that it's wrapped around her back, and your hand down from her head to around her shoulders, and, feeling a little wry, you give her a good ol' dip, bending her back to the point where one of her feet flicks off the ground, and you feel a rumbling noise in her chest that you imagine is a pleased one.-----"Oh, here you are!" Josh yells, knocking on the wood of the patio steps as he swings around the railing and underneath the patio. Thankfully, there's nothing to be interrupting - the sudden transition a couple of minutes ago from crackly, crinkly ballroom music to harsh static spooked you enough that it killed the mood, and now, slightly sweaty, with adrenaline-tired muscles, the two of you are just sitting against the siding of the house, leaning on each other, listening to the start of the first album again, basking in the glow of the vaunted "first base". "You two getting along?"She turns to you and laughs, a pure, clean laugh, nothing teasing behind it. Her face crinkles up in such a pleasant way when she does, eyes squeezing tightly shut. She doesn't give Josh any answer, only sighing wistfully and leaning on you a little more."Uh. Yeah, I think so." You reply, smiling a thin, narrow smile. "Why, what's up? Don't tell me your parents are coming back early.""Nah, I would've went looking for you way earlier than that. Did you not hear the thunder? Should probably get inside before you two get soaked." Josh answers, completely befuddling you in the process."Uh. What thunder?" Rebecca asks, glancing at you, while you glance right back. "P-plus, bad weather makes my joints hurt... are you sure it's not something wrong with your speaker system?"
>>4500510"No, dude, it's like... either thunder or someone's popping fireworks in September. And Labor Day was, like, last week, so I'm doubtful about the fireworks." Josh says, gesticulating wildly and excitedly as he talks about something as mundane as potential weather.But when he says fireworks, your heart skips a couple beats and your breath does a weird hitch that you're not sure you hid well. "Oh, uh, I guess we were too distracted to notice, sorry. How far away did the storm sound?" You ask, feeling your fingertips starting to go cold.Josh rubs his chin in thought. "Uh... Not very? I don't know, I'm not a weatherman. Closer than downtown, further than next door? That-a-way." He answers, pointing towards the house siding the two of you are leaning on, with the obvious implication that it was coming from towards the front of the house.>"I guess we better get inside then, if it's gonna rain?" Prepare to bounce so you can confirm your suspicions. [Calm]>"I guess we better get inside then, if it's gonna rain?" It's not your problem. Whoever's fighting what, IF that's what's happening, you're sure they can handle it. You're not Superman, you're an amateur that would likely only get in the way. [Calm]>"Well, I don't mind getting soaked if it rains. It's nice and quiet out here, anyway." Keep watch outside and really listen for it this time. If whatever's happening (if something's happening) comes closer to the party, you want to be ready to stop it. In the meanwhile, you can enjoy the company of a lovely girl who took your first kiss. [Prepared]>Free Option.
>>4500512>"Well, I don't mind getting soaked if it rains. It's nice and quiet out here, anyway." Keep watch outside and really listen for it this time. If whatever's happening (if something's happening) comes closer to the party, you want to be ready to stop it. In the meanwhile, you can enjoy the company of a lovely girl who took your first kiss. [Prepared]>Free Option.>Be prepared to call someone from FOODS if it turns out to be a dragon. We did get Ken's number after last time, right?
>>4500512>"Might be a blackout. Maybe get a flashlight before we party in the dark.">"I know someone in the neighborhood, lemme call em up." Check with someone from FOODS
>>4500512>"I guess we better get inside then, if it's gonna rain?" Prepare to bounce so you can confirm your suspicions. [Calm]>go to the bathroom/a side room, make a call to FOODS just in case. Might be just paranoia, but better safe than sorry.
Sorry, fellas. Probably no update tonight. A friend of mine is in the ICU and may need to get a limb amputated so my brain is... not on questing and probably won't be until I know they're okay. Hope you're all enjoying nevertheless.
>>4501391Hope they pull through man.
>>4501391jesus. Take your time dude. Also wouldn't be bad to close this thread and make a new one anyway.
>>4501391Oh dear. I'm so sorry to hear that, Richard. Take whatever time you need, and I hope your friend pulls through with minimum complications.
>>4501391What the fuckThank you for informing us OP
Thank you for all the well wishes, everyone!That being said I do think this is a good time to start thread #2, so I'll probably do that at some point tonight or tomorrow morning. Is there any sort of obvious protocol I'm forgetting before ending this thread?
>>4503780Just remember to archive this one
>>4503780Just archive this thread on suptg if you feel like it, or I can do it if you prefer.
>>4503788>>4504104Requesting an archive now, having trouble thinking of a nice punchy 140 character description. Any thoughts?
>>4504156If you haven't completed the request yet how about: A day in detention for Noah takes a turn for the dangerous when he discovers Dragons are real and he can see them. Fights, mysterious encounters and school life ensue.Should be short enough and will probably work, but I'm not sure is great or anything.
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4473813/New thread coming when I'm home from some errands.
Also, here's a v1 on some Orthrus art that got started before I changed the tail.
>>4504501>>4504516Nice! Looking forward to new session OP.
>>4504501 Whoops, the description I gave was too long. Sorry.
well, just accidentally lost half my 6000 character OP for the next thread. Cool.