LAST TIME, ON DRAGON SLAYER QUESTYour name is Noah Lee - straight C+ student, scrawny runt, and lover of old ballroom dance vinyls. After a chance encounter during detention, you discovered that you possess the mystical "Type O-alpha" blood-type, which marks you as...Monster bait. No cool powers. No "chosen one" status. But apparently, if you bleed around the wrong people, they will explode into gigantic, reality-warping monsters known as "Dragons" and immediately try to kill you. Silver lining! Surviving a Dragon attack gave you magic powers - "Alchemy", the ability to enforce your intent on the world and reshape matter and energy.After a fraught encounter with your teacher, who burst into a Dragon and attempted to kill you, you were saved by Kendra Shields (call her Ken), a gruff, battle-worn two-star Slayer for the Fraternal Order Of Dragon Slayers (FOODS), and became her apprentice in order to learn enough so that you could defend yourself from Dragons.After an exceptionally strange weekend where you a: Almost got killed by a Three-star Dragon, b: Met with anti-FOODS urban ninjas from an organization named Pandora, c: Discussed your feelings and also cuddled a cute girl named Rebecca George, she of esoteric music tastes, d: Discovered that the Vatican has a black ops Dragon-slaying organization named l ordine dei cavalieri di San Benedetto di Norcia, or, The Order of Knights of Saint Benedict of Nursia,e: Ate Chinese food with your mom and discovered that your dad was a drug dealer named Valentino D'Angelo (who walked out on her, you're still kind of processing that one)and, finally,f: Were delivered a forbidden tome of "human transmutation" techniques that you are absolutely certain you should not have, as human transmutation is against FOODS's rules (although Pandora has no issue with it),you finally got back into the routine of school, actually doing your homework and studying for once. Of course, you couldn't resist the table of contents of the photocopied binder labeled "Human Transmutation and its Uses, both Medicinal and Martial", apparently from the 1400s, and took a little dip into what the ancients thought about medical alchemy and bloodbinding. Curiously, despite (or perhaps because of) being written ostensibly centuries ago, the book has made zero mentions of Dragons.After that, it was back to the scholarly grind, where you discovered strange readings in your goosebumps - some kind of fine-tuned sense that evidently you possess fairly strongly that feels like static in the air when someone is performing alchemy around you. After doing some more investigation, you discovered it was coming from the girl's locker room, and decided to come back in the evening with Ken when it was dark.
>>4605195Ken ended up taking the front of the line, using her alchemy to pick locks for you so you could save your strength - while she didn't think it was draconic activity, you convinced her that it was important enough that it was at least worth checking out. The alchemical energy in the air was immense, more than enough for even Ken to feel, and as you got close enough, apparently it was enough to brick your cellphones, hopefully temporarily.Deciding to come in from the side, the two of you entered the boy's locker room in search of a peephole (as distressing as the thought is), or some other way that you could conduct reconnaissance. After opening up the lockers for you with a pretty masterful display of lockpicking alchemy, you did, in fact, end up discovering a peephole - and discovering that, on the other side, is a strange rectangular device tied to a diesel generator that's been modified in some way to suck up blood from blood bags into plastic tubing.And it seemed to be slowly extruding a human being. A single blue eye looked at you, and you immediately backed off, telling Ken about the occurrence. Angrily, she informed you that the people on the other side of the wall appeared to be creating a homunculus, a highly illegal and ancient practice that apparently had all the knowledge of which burnt centuries ago.Curious, that.
>>4605196>>4602785>>4602819>"Go, leave, get help sort of big deal?" [Cautious]>"Do you think these alchemists are my age? Like, why else do this in a high school locker room?""Go leave, get help sort of big deal?" You ask, deciding that perhaps if they're smart enough to make a person they're also smart enough to be dangerous. Ken rubbed her chin."Ideally, yes, but the problem is that if they've hooked up a diesel generator to the process they might have enough energy to make a homunculus in a single night. By the time we leave and come back, or help arrives, they might've progressed far enough for it to be troublesome." Ken mused, rubbing her chin thoughtfully, her face curled up into an angry scowl. "The most anyone knows about making homunculi from hearsay is that the process was supposedly highly involved and required a lot of materials. Living materials, hence its outlawing. If you could find a way to involve modern technology in the design, I... I don't think that's good news.""Right." You say, folding your arms up and leaning against one of the lockers. The static in the air is rubbing you entirely the wrong way, making you feel twitchy, on edge, like you're being watched, or grabbed, even. "Do you think these alchemists are my age? Like, why else do this in a high school locker room?""Probably. If I was a professional and was trying to manufacture homunculi, I'd want to do it somewhere with no foot traffic whatsoever. Abandoned warehouse, my basement, a rental storage unit. Something like that. But where would you find out how to even do this?" Ken answered, leaning on her sledgehammer. She screws her face up and lets out a moderately disgusted sigh. "And how would they have become alchemists in the first place? If they were attacked by Dragons, they'd probably be on our radar, and if they weren't, how'd they become inoculated?"PICK ONE>Suggest that it might be Pandora.>Suggest some shadowy third (fourth?) party.>Suggest a rogue element of FOODS.>Free Option.PICK ANOTHER ONE>"I don't want to stick around with something like this without backup. There's at least two alchemists, and at least one forming homunculus, POTENTIALLY more, you don't like those odds. [Cautious]>"No place like here and now. Let's come up with a plan and cut this off at the head." Even if they've printed at least one homunculus, the evidence suggests they're newbies at best, like you, and you have Ken as your x-factor. If homunculi are really dangerous, you need to cut this off before it escalates, NOW.[Brave]>Free Option.
GLOSSARY OF TERMShttps://pastebin.com/ipHuwpgLCHARACTER LISTINGhttps://pastebin.com/qy7AyCCtLISTING ON SUPTGhttp://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Dragon%20Slayer%20QuestYour upvotes are greatly appreciated.
>>4605197>Suggest a rogue element of FOODS.>"I don't want to stick around with something like this without backup. There's at least two alchemists, and at least one forming homunculus, POTENTIALLY more, you don't like those odds. [Cautious]
>>4605197>Free Option.>"Probably not worth speculating until we know more. For now we should focus on making sure that homunculus doesn't become a threat.">"I don't want to stick around with something like this without backup. There's at least two alchemists, and at least one forming homunculus, POTENTIALLY more, you don't like those odds. [Cautious]>Free Option.>"I'll head back to the entrance, see if my phone works again away from the locker room. Actually, trade phones with me, I don't have anyone from FOODS' number other than Hyde's. You keep watch, and if something happens while I'm away try to make some noise while you smash it.">Trade phones and passwords with her, get details on who at FOODS to call. Then head back and try to call them. Afterwards, return and help her keep watch, with the option to move in if things look bad and help is still on the way.Trading phones instead of just taking her phone in case a fight takes her away from the interference zone and she needs to call for help.
>>4605197>I have no idea how inoculation works, so I'm staying out of that rabbit hole.support >>4605256
>>4605256"Probably not worth speculating until we know more. For now, we should focus on making sure that the homunculus doesn't become a threat." You say, starting to head towards the exit of the boy's locker room. Ken follows closely behind while you talk, listening closely both to you and for any nearby noise."I don't want to stick around with something like this without backup. There's at least two alchemists, and at least one forming homunculus, potentially more, I don't like those odds. I'll head back to the entrance, see if my phone works away from the locker room." You say. Ken nudges you a little bit."Actually, trade phones with me. You don't have anyone's number besides mine and Hyde's. I'll keep watch, and if something happens I'll try to make some noise." Ken suggests. You look down at your phone (still bricked) and shrug, handing it to her, while she hands hers to you. "7535." She says."1114" You reply, and she sighs."Really?""It's harder to brute force than 1113!" You respond, feeling a little bit slighted. "Who should I call?""At this hour? Jimmy Greene. Under Jimmy. Please do not backread." Ken answers, trying and failing to turn your phone on. "If something starts going wrong, we both run, okay?""Yeah. I don't wanna be here any longer than I have to." You say. She white knuckles her sledgehammer with both hands and lets you slip by her. You don't bother running down the hall - you just walk, occasionally peeking back until the hallway curves her out of sight.Alright, need to get cell signal. You guess being indoors is probably not at all helpful for that, so you head for the immediate nearest exit, near the football field and track, moving with some hustle but not quite running yet. You have a feeling that outright dashing means the "stealth" part of the "stealth mission" is over.You make it to the doors to the parking lot outside with no incident other than the static gently fading from "incomprehensible skin-noise" to "firm annoyance". From inside, it's not hard to unlock the outside door - bafflingly, this one doesn't use a key but a latch. You just click it and step outside.You take a couple of steps out into the cold air and feel a considerable weight off your shoulders, letting go of the gym door and letting it swing shut behind you. "Oi."Oh, fuck.
>>4606638You turn your head slowly, hand squeezing your honing steel as tightly as it can, to find a girl smoking on a desk that was apparently dragged outside, literally inches from you. How did you not notice the smell? "How the hell did you get inside? Actually, don't answer that. You should just get out of here. And, uh, if you saw anything, no you didn't.">"Alright, message got. I'm gone." Get out of view and call for backup. [Sly]>"What are you even doing out here? I just came in to steal some test answers, man." [Bluff]>Brandish the weapon. This person looks distinctly inexperienced and unintimidating. "If I did see something, you should probably tell me what I saw. Otherwise, I might get the wrong impression and tell the Alchemy Cops you're up to no good." [Threatening]>Free Option.
>>4606640>"What are you even doing out here? I just came in to steal some test answers, man." [Bluff]Half want to throw in some cheesy line about her smoking
>>4606640>"Alright, message got. I'm gone." Get out of view and call for backup. [Sly]Real great operational security you have here. But hey, I'm not going to complain.
>>4606640>>"Sure, guess the school roof is out for possible dating spots." Get out of view and call for backup. [Sly]
>>4606704>>4607576"Sure, guess the school roof is out for possible dating sights." You say, shrugging your shoulders. The girl sighs and jabs her cigarette towards you."Just get out. And if your boyfriend knows what's good for you, you two won't come to school on Friday." She says, and that gets your hair standing on end. You try not to let it visibly bother you too much as you start walking your way through the parking lot.Don't look back.Don't look back.Don't look back.When you're fairly certain that you're out of sight enough, starting to reach the light layer of trees (more of a natural fence than anything else) surrounding the school, you whip Ken's phone out. 7535. Text messages, you don't snoop, you just go in and enter Jimmy. Jimmy Greene.noah/<Hi, Mr. Greene. I'm a trainee under Ken. We have a problem.>It takes about a minute for him to respond.jimmy/<This is Jimmy, what's your pleasure?>jimmy/<Kidding. Noah, right?>noah/<Has Ken mentioned me?>jimmy/<A couple of times. What's the sitch?>noah/<Homunculuses being made at this address>You send him the address.jimmy/<Homunculi. That being said, no need to tell me more. I'm on the case.>jimmy/<How fast do you need me?>noah/<Now, ideally. Ken has my phone. Our signal is fucked up near the place. Can strong enough alchemy do that?>jimmy/<Not by itself. I'll grab my hog and be right over.>noah/<I know I literally just met you but please never phrase it that way again.>jimmy/<Right on, kid. Hog out.>You don't bother responding, half because you can't think of a good response, half because you hear the crunching of dry autumn grass near you. Under the trees, it's impossible to make out details."Burn.", the girl says, and the rapidly forming fireball in her hand proceeds to illuminate the issue. "Uber taking a while, kid?"She's wearing a glove, some kind of silk glove, by the look at it, and it is completely on fire. No cigarette visible. If you had to guess, it got used up in whatever alchemy she's doing that's preventing her from getting burnt by the fist-sized fireball in her hand. The area around you is wooded enough that you do not feel comfortable letting her let that loose. Your hand lingers on your honing steel.>"Whoa, hey, easy now. It's on its way. Please do not kill me." [Groveling]>If the fireball is a burning cigarette, it probably won't fly very well. Who wants to bet you're a faster shot lengthening metal than she is flinging cigarettes? [Aggressive]>"How are you doing that with your hand?" Play as dumb as possible. [Sly]>Free Option.
>>4607602>"What the fuck!?" Just run. Cavalry's been called. [Cowardly]
>>4607602>"How are you doing that with your hand?" Play as dumb as possible. [Sly]
>>4607602>"How are you doing that with your hand?" Play as dumb as possible. [Sly]Maybe add a dash of wide eyed amazement to really sell it.
>>4607602>If the fireball is a burning cigarette, it probably won't fly very well. Who wants to bet you're a faster shot lengthening metal than she is flinging cigarettes? [Aggressive]There's no way we're getting out of this without a fight. If we have to fight, I want to make the first move.
>>4607647>>4607680>>4607690>>4608579Going to roll between these in the morning unless a tie gets breaken, had a long, anxiety-inducing friday - relatives in DC are basically under lockdown right now. Headache's too bad to write at 3, sorry readers.
>>4608639Sorry to hear that, Richard, I can't even imagine what it's like living in DC right now. I hope your relatives get through the next few weeks cleanly and safely. I hope your headache feels better, too.
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>4607680>>4607690
Apologies for the delay.>>4607647>>4607680You let your eyes go wide in amazement - not that hard to fake, considering you've never seen anyone make fire out of nothing before. At least, not anyone that wasn't a Dragon, so this is still pretty impressive. The mind reels quietly at the possibilities for you to examine later. "How are you doing that with your hand?" You ask, trying to sound as dopey as possible - it's not very difficult.The girl narrows her gaze a little bit and clenches her hand, causing the fire to grow in intensity and brightness. "It's magic. Very dangerous, real magic. You shouldn't be here this late at night, and I don't want to have to hurt you, so I'm going to march you all the way to the sidewalk down the hill and wait for your uber to arrive, 'kay?" She says, clearly trying her best to sound and look menacing. It's not super effective, because she's about five inches shorter than you, but her hand is actively on fire. "If you have a problem with that..." She squeezes her hand into a fist, a jet of white-hot fire belching out for a moment before it settles into a yellowish, steady sphere. "Let's get it out of the way now.">"What's happening on Friday?" Get her on the back foot. [Assertive]>"Alright, sure." Jimmy's going to arrive, see you, and hopefully the problem will get solved. No need to start a fight. [Cautious]>"No, I don't think I will." Hand stab time. [Aggressive]>Free Option.
>>4609374>"Alright, sure." Jimmy's going to arrive, see you, and hopefully the problem will get solved. No need to start a fight. [Cautious]>Talk while walking>"What's happening on Friday? Blowing up the school?" Get her on the back foot. [Assertive]
>>4609374Supporting >>4609393. I kind of want to try to take her by surprise by convincing her to drop the fire to avoid drawing attention, but I guess having Jimmy around for when we attack would be better for us. Actually, the longer she keeps it burning the better for us, make her waste a ton of pneuma keeping the fire going. Plus going "Oh, hey, Jimmy, this is one of the alchemists I was telling you about" and suddenly stabbing her would be pretty funny.
>>4609374>>"Alright, sure." Jimmy's going to arrive, see you, and hopefully the problem will get solved. No need to start a fight. [Cautious]>>Talk while walking>>"What's happening on Friday? Blowing up the school?" Get her on the back foot. [Assertive]
>>4609890>>4609650>>4609393"Alright, sure, that's fine." You reply, holding one hand up almost dismissively. "Have you considered signing up for the talent show? You'd probably kill it there."The girl laughed, waving you along with her burning hand. The air isn't cold enough yet to condense breath into clouds, yet her breathing is visibly labored, condensing in front of her into puffs of visible droplets. "Yeah, yeah. I'll do that." She says, taking you from the long walk away from the gym side of things and towards the sidewalk where parents often picked up their kids and occasionally late busses dropped people off when they were too lazy to pull into the parking lot."What's happening on Friday? Blowing up the school?" You ask, intending to get her on the back foot. You're not sure how she hasn't noticed your honing steel yet, but you keep it hidden near your leg. You're not using much to keep it sharp, she's keeping an entire fire both burning and not injuring her. She's absolutely using more pneuma than you by any calculations, so you're not concerned about her being an actual fight by the time Jimmy gets here."No, we're going to attempt to kill a teacher in public and there's a chance they'll turn into a giant monster. Don't want any collateral damage."Well, that makes your heart do a weird little convolution. The two of you reach the sidewalk a couple minutes later - you can't think of any really effective response to what she's said besides "Oh, that's cool.". You can't contact Ken, trying to text Jimmy would be suspicious, this girl could be lying, or working on incorrect information, or a Pandora recruit, or something entirely different, but "A person turning into a giant monster" is a fairly distinct mental image that sets the hairs on the back of your neck straight up, even without the alchemical fuzz in the air.>"And how can you be so sure of that? I've never seen anyone turn into a giant monster before." [Prying]>"Is that some sort of really weird way of saying "I'm going to blow up the school but to kill a specific person"?" [Snarky]>"Are you okay?" [Concerned]>"What are you, some kind of anti-monster secret cop?" [Sly]>"Giant monster? Like... Like a Dragon or like a xenomorph?" Try to poke for how much she knows. [Clever]>Free Option.
>>4610119>"I happen to not hate some of these teachers, is it anyone people would miss?" [Prying]
>>4610119>Free Option.>"So are you killing this teacher because they can turn into a giant monster or in spite of it? Is it like putting down a dangerous animal, or did they do something to deserve it and the transformation is just an obstacle?"
>>4610119>"What are you, some kind of anti-monster secret cop?" [Sly]
>>4610160You fold one arm over your chest, grabbing your other one. For a moment, you consider folding your arms entirely, but then that would probably flash your weapon, which is a bad idea. "So are you killing this teacher because they can turn into a giant monster or in spite of it?""Come again?" She asks, her eyes flickering between you and the road."Is it like putting down a dangerous animal, or did they do something to deserve it and the transformation is just an obstacle?" You ask, and she winces in some kind of emotional pain."Yeah. We'd want to kill them even if it wasn't for the monster thing. Maybe the monster thing is why they're bad, I don't fucking know." They exhale, flames flickering slightly. The more they talk, the less concentration they seem to be able to maintain. She shrugs her shoulders. "What's it to you?"You hear a motorcycle in the distance, just barely. She doesn't seem to have noticed, her attention divided between too many things.>"Just curious to see if this is anyone I would miss." Cavalry's here. [Calm]>"Well, I gotta know if this is someone who deserves it or not. What'd he do?" Press the issue. [Assertive]>Free Option.
>>4611453>>"Just curious to see if this is anyone I would miss." Cavalry's here. [Calm]
>>4611453>"Well, I gotta know if this is someone who deserves it or not. What'd he do?" Press the issue. [Assertive]The bike is still far away and might not even be Jimmy. Don't ruin it.
>>4611453>"So what, are you guys are priests exorcising the cursed, or ninjas executing a guy?"This doesn't seem like FOODS MO, from what we know. Might be interesting to probe for connection to the other alchemy houses we know using the scrapyard guy's terms.
>>4611453>Free Option.>"I've never talked to a wizard monster-hunter before, is it that weird to be curious?"
>>4611453>>"Well, I gotta know if this is someone who deserves it or not. What'd he do?" Press the issue. [Assertive]Also with some >>4611647
Completely blanked and forgot to update for tonight and now it's 5 AM feelsbadman.png Will try to update when I wake up, apologies readers.
>>4612317>>4611647>>4611466"Well, I gotta know if this is someone who deserves it or not. What'd he do?" You ask, watching the headlights of a motorcycle round the dip in the road and start to pull in close. "I've never talked to a wizard monster-hunter before, is it that weird to be curious?"She laughs, a little grimly. "Let's just say he's a little handsy with the Track & Field team." She says, and that's all she says, nudging you with an elbow. Your twitchy reflexes almost impale her right there - gotta get a grip on that. "Ride's here, man. Get out of here and remember to go get sick on Friday."You don't move, watching a blonde man with a fur-lined jacket throw the kickstand down on his bike and step towards the two of you, one hand in the pocket. "You the kid?" He asks to you, blithely ignoring the person whose hand's on fire. The girl nudges you again."Get outta here, man!" She grunts through grit teeth. The other person flicks their gaze towards her and pulls out a small, narrow little thing from his pocket. He flicks out a rust-encrusted switchblade, and you feel a gust of air rush past you, before the recognizable sound of about a meter of grass getting shaved off the ground, picked up into the wind, and tossed into your face startles you back to earth. You nod at him."You, lass. Stop with the fire or I'm cutting your hand off." The man says, gesturing his switchblade towards her. She growls in frustration, and you see her body tense up. You look at who you presume is Jimmy - his voice is rough, alcohol-stained, cigarette scorched, lightly city-like. He looks absolutely prepared to cut her hand off.>Hold her back. You don't want this on your conscience. Pin her if you have to. [Empathetic]>Let what's about to happen happen. [Blase]>Extend your honing steel in front of her so she doesn't move any further. "You're outgunned, miss. Please, just put the fire out." [Calm]>Free Option.
>>4613420>"Seems like she's a vigilante roped into something bigger.">Let what's about to happen happen. [Blase]I'm prepared to heal her stump in front of Jimmy, if we can convince her to stand down after.
>>4613420>Let what's about to happen happen. [Blase]
>>4613420>Let what's about to happen happen. [Blase]Great quest, by the way. I can only regret not finding it earlier.
>>4613612Thank you, that means a lot to me :)
>>4613420>Hold her back. You don't want this on your conscience. Pin her if you have to. [Empathetic]
>>4613420>>Let what's about to happen happen. [Blase]"Look, you've been burning pneuma with that cig for the last five minutes. You can't take us, so let's just talk it out."
>>4613420>Hold her back. You don't want this on your conscience. Pin her if you have to. [Empathetic]>>Free Option.>"Miss, please. You've clearly spent a lot of pneuma maintaining that fireball. And my friend here is a professional dragon-slayer, even fresh you'd have a very tough fight on your hands. Please just extinguish your flame, so that we can all talk this over like reasonable people instead of one or more of us getting stabbed?"
>>4613661>>4613612>>4613505>>4613441You shrug your shoulders. The man flicks his switchblade again and there's a loud rush of wind, and a spray of blood, as several dozen slashes make their way across the girl's clothes, severing the straps of her backpack, shredding her burning glove off of her hand. She's startled enough that she lets go of the fire and it flares up, landing on her skin, scorching her a little bit, judging by the way she reacts. The man takes two steps forward, retracting his knife, and flicks it again, carving several dozen new cuts in various non-vital locations - along her legs, the tops of her forearms, every single one seeming to avoid any major arteries or veins. A gash appears over the bridge of her nose, spurting out a small spray of blood onto the man's face. "I don't think you want me to cut you a third time." The girl falls backwards onto her ass, letting out a loud wail of pain as gravel gets driven into fresh cuts. The man sighs and reaches into his pocket, pulling out a small vial of some kind. He pops it open, and a burning, acrid, clean scent fills the air, dumping it onto his switchblade. He gives it one last flick, scattering droplets of what you now recognize is rubbing alcohol into the air, whereupon they quickly burst into a cold, swirling mist around her. Her wails increase in pitch as she writhes against the ground, the sting of disinfectant in freshly opened cuts. "Are we done here, lass?"She curls up into a ball on the ground and starts shaking back and forth, her cuts having mostly closed up, presumably from whatever the man just did with the rubbing alcohol.>Tell Jimmy to go on ahead, he'll feel the pneuma in the air. When he's out of sight, heal her and then follow behind. You have a feeling she's not gonna try to come back after you. [Sly]>This is cruel. Bend down and properly close those cuts up. Just thinking about the social ostracizion she might get now with poorly-healed cut wounds all over the outside of her limbs makes your skin crawl. [Caring]>"Right. Let's go." [Brusque]>Free Option.
>>4614960>Tell Jimmy to go on ahead, he'll feel the pneuma in the air.>Have a chat with the girl. Heal the face for free, bargain healing for more info. Hell, give her your number if she's still up for non-magical vigilante-ing on the teacher.
>>4614960>Tell Jimmy to go on ahead, he'll feel the pneuma in the air. When he's out of sight, heal her and then follow behind. You have a feeling she's not gonna try to come back after you. [Sly]This only makes me regret not being here for the weapon training choice even more. The simple knife can be great with skill.
>>4614960Supporting >>4614971but with the addition of >Tell Jimmy that last we saw, Ken was in the boy's locker room, observing.Because even if he can feel the pneuma, it will make it easier for them to meet up.
>>4614960>>4614971>>4615118Support both of these.
>>4614971>>4614988>>4615002>>4615041"Go on ahead, I'll clean up here. You'll be able to feel it in the air, near the gym. Trust me." You say. The man looks at you funny, raises an eyebrow, and shrugs, hopping back on his motorcycle. He kicks his kickstand back up, gives it a couple of revs, and spurts a cloud of messy dust towards the two of you as he drives further up the road, closer to the school.Good that he does. You don't want a FOODS agent seeing you do this - you get the feeling their conception of "medical alchemy" revolves more around alchemically enhanced medicine, and not, well, what you're about to do.You reach down, gently grabbing for her face. She winces, but doesn't move, presumably in fear for what you're about to do, but you just press your mostly-dry thumb to her face enough to wipe the scab off, making sure you don't make direct blood contact, and say "Coagulate.". You feel the blood getting sucked out of you, into her, a sudden, burning tingle running up your arm and making you clench your teeth together in pain.Something about this feels terribly off. For a fleeting moment, you can feel, in a way that's not quite touch or sight or smell, every pathway of her body, the location of every invisible cell, the blood churning through her veins. You try not to squeeze her face. Her cuts all go from open and actively leaking smears of red onto the ground into rapidly coagulating, blood at the surface thickening up. For a moment, you get a fleeting mental image of just how easy it would be to kill this person in front of you - just congeal the blood in her veins until her body gives up. It's not an urge by any means, you don't feel like you're about to go full Mr. Hyde (sorry, Doc), but an intrusive thought, more akin to the feeling you get when you stare out into the distance on a high place. That you could just jump off, and it would take so little.You press your thumb to her face and think of a few magic words. "Surgery." You say, the image of a plastic surgeon working a perfect stitch, not leaving a single scar behind as he seals wounds and reconstructs around injuries, enters your brain. The cuts on her face all close up with a loud, ringing hiss, and you feel the same burning pain shooting up your alchemy arm - maybe even stronger.You pull away and shake your hand loose, trying to get the pins and needles out of it. "I've healed your face. The worst I can see is a very, very light line across your nose, everything else looks fine.""W-what was that?" She asks, staring up at you, tearful and shaken. "That burnt...""Alchemy." You answer, quietly. She reaches up, gently feeling her face for cuts that aren't there anymore, outside of a small, scarred up ridge across the bridge of her nose.
>>4616075"It wasn't pleasant for me, either. Sorry about my partner - I'm an undercover cop for the Alchemy Police." You fib, trying not to smile. "Deep cover. Can you tell me everything you know about where you and your friends learned this?"She looks at you and laughs. "Man, you're a really short cop.""Thanks. That's great to hear." You try not to sound too beat up about it.She coughs twice, clearly thinking about coughing into her inner elbow, but then second-guessing that decision. "It started with Jason, that's my older brother, he - he knew about the teacher. And we were just all so angry about it and we already tried telling the normal cops but nobody told us anything, and Jason knows where Dad's gun is but we're both big pussies and we knew we'd go to jail if we fucked it up. Had to be perfect."Man, this is incredible - kind of a rush, even. You just give her a little prod and she's spilling everything. "Yeah? Then... someone else found out? You got a binder full of papers?""Yeah, how'd you guess?" She asks, and then answers her own question. "Oh, wait, you guys are probably tracking a bunch of cases."Great that she'll come up with excuses for you! "Something like that. Continue?""Yeah, Jason's friend, Violet. She told us about some dude that gave her this little tablet, like a medicine tablet, and when she ate it she could do magic? But only for a couple of hours. And this dude also gave her, like, a binder full of instructions and a supply of tablets and then peaced out? And there was, like, a lot in the binder. Super gross shit. But then it was like "here's how you make an assassin using magic" and we're like "great! problem solved". So. Uh. That's what we're doing."You nod as sagely as you can accomplish. She looks up at you fearfully. "Am I going to go to magic jail?"You pat her on the head with your free hand. "No, I don't think so." You lie. Well, not quite, more just you don't know if Magic Jail is a thing that exists? "But we're probably going to have to stop whatever you're making. Don't worry, though, we believe you about the giant monster thing. We'll deal with that appropriately."She looks up at you, fearful and wondrous. "Um. Okay. Can you fix me now, please, Officer?"You take a deep breath and reach your hand onto the top of her head, letting your bleeding thumb press against the space between her eyebrows. "Yeah. Hold still, this is gonna suck."And it does. Immensely. Your entire body is on fire, but your arm feels like it's being dipped in magma and your thumb feels like the surface of the sun. Her eyes roll up into her head as your blood disperses into her body, shaking and rocking as two invocations of "Surgery." are enough to completely seal up every wound like it was never there in the first place. When you pull your hand away, it feels like a lingering imprint of her body plan, top to bottom, is embedded somewhere in your head.
>>4616077>Alright, time to bounce. Let her do whatever. Out of your hands now, can't waste time trying to convince her to leave. [Reckless]>"You should probably get out of here. Might get messy real fast, don't want you getting caught in the crossfire when I just patched you up." [Kind]>Free Option.
>>4616077>"You should probably get out of here. Might get messy real fast, don't want you getting caught in the crossfire when I just patched you up." [Kind]
>>4616077Plus Free Option:>"This "magic" burns your life force. Seems like that dude neglected to warn you."
>>4616077balls to the wall>"This "magic" burns your life force. Seems like that dude neglected to warn you.">So I'm gonna see if I can get Jason and Violet to quit it. Is there anyone else in there? I don't think my buddy is going to be friendly with anyone handing out actual magic pills.
>>4616085>>4616086>>4616135Yeah this sounds about right for us.
>>4616135"Magic burns your life force - something this dude might've neglected to warn you and your friends about." You say, wiping your hands free of dust and gravel."Like, years of your life?" She asks, incredulously. You decide to just roll with her misconception. Technically, calories are life force."Something like that. You ever seen an old wizard in real life?" You ask, adjusting your clothes and grabbing hold of your honing steel again. When you let go of it, the tip reverted to its flat, blunt state, but that was easily fixed."I've never seen a wizard, period." She responds, making a confused face at you."...Alright, fair enough. I'm gonna see if I can get Jason and Violet to quit it. Is there anyone else in there? I don't think my buddy is gonna be friendly with anyone handing out magic pills." You ask, taking a couple of deep breaths to steady yourself and your rapidly churning heart."No, it was, it was just like some dude in the park. One meeting and then gone. There might be the, uh, hom... Homo..." She struggles for pronunciation."Homunculus." You finish. "Yeah. We'll deal with that. You should probably get out of here, it might get messy real fast. Don't want you getting caught in the crossfire after I just patched you up." You tell her."Uh, yes sir!" She replies awkwardly. It's interesting how much her demeanor has changed, and you're unsure if it's gratitude from healing her or the impression that you are an actual cop working her beat, but she seems far more cooperative than she was not minutes ago when she was preparing to try and burn Jimmy to death. She turns around and sits on the curb. "I am gonna... go find Jason's car and hide in it.""Sure, that works. Suit yourself." You say, starting to walk off. You don't have time to babysit her - you walk back into the field of tingles, before breaking out into a steady jog up the hill. Back to the gym door entrance, which has been propped open by a rock. For a second, you fear the worst as you step back inside to that headache-inducing alchemical haze, but you find the scent of gasoline and Ken and the man awaiting you, ducked behind some lockers."Oh, great to see ya, kid. Took ya long enough." He says, rolling his eyes."Sorry, I was interrogating her." You say, and he perks up. Ken gestures between the two of you."Jimmy, Noah. Noah, Jimmy. Because I doubt he would've introduced himself.""There was no time!" Jimmy whisper-yells, waving an unsprung switchblade around wildly. "Anyway, do tell, yeah?"
>>4617185"Right." You start, kneeling down in the shadowiest corner you can find after kicking the rock away and letting the gym hallway doors snap shut. "They're building a homunculus to kill a teacher so they don't go to jail for killing him personally. The teacher, as far as I can gather, is abusing members of the Track & Field team. Couldn't tell if sexually or not. She's under the impression the teacher will "explode into a giant monster", not sure where she figured that out from. Two kids inside, Jason, brother, Violet, Jason's friend. Violet met a dude in a park who gave her some pills that let her do "magic" and a binder explaining human transmutation."Jimmy rubs his chin with the back end of his switchblade. "What a conundrum. This is, like, a dozen different questions to unravel. D'you think the teacher is a three star that they found out about somehow? Otherwise this would mean they somehow know in advance that he has a dragon gene - no idea how they'd get that info, considering it's something we're still working on."Ken interjects. "I think our first priority should be to bust up the homunculus and detain them. We can play 20 questions later.""No reason we can't walk in there with a smile! I doubt they have a gun or anything." Jimmy replies."No, actually, the sister mentioned that Jason has access to their parents' gun, but was afraid to use it because he doesn't want to go to jail." You cut in."Ah, America." Jimmy sighs.>"Ken's right. We need to bust up this operation ASAP." [Forward]>"I have a feeling they won't be as cooperative if we take a roughhanded approach. I'm their age, Ken looks like a twelve year old, let's wander in and scope the situation out." [Sly]>"You guys have got authority. We know they're, at the very least, scared of the police. Let's step in, flash our badges, and try to peacefully get as much info as we can before going smashy-smashy." [Thoughtful]>Free Option.
>>4617186>>"Ken's right. We need to bust up this operation ASAP." [Forward]We can tell Jason where his sister is, but those homunculus are going.
>>4617186>"You guys have got authority. We know they're, at the very least, scared of the police. Let's step in, flash our badges, and try to peacefully get as much info as we can before going smashy-smashy." [Thoughtful]
>>4617186>>"You guys have got authority. We know they're, at the very least, scared of the police. Let's step in, flash our badges, and try to peacefully get as much info as we can before going smashy-smashy." [Thoughtful]
>>4617186>"You guys have got authority. We know they're, at the very least, scared of the police. Let's step in, flash our badges, and try to peacefully get as much info as we can before going smashy-smashy." [Thoughtful]>Free Option.>"I'm gonna play good cop. These guys are in over their heads, not malicious. I think if someone shows them some sympathy on the topic of killing monsters they'll fold more easily."
No update tonight, sorry folks - I'm feeling wicked nauseous, think from a bad hot dog, and I'm going to just try to sleep it off. Apologies.
>>4618989Feel better man.
>>4618989Still not feeling well, may have gotten an actual stomach virus. Not enough energy to write the bighuge update you all deserve. Will try to do a couple of double-update days to make up for it, probably tomorrow.
>>4620189I'm sorry to hear that, Richard. Get some rest, and I hope you feel better come morning.
>>4617468>>4617273>>4617266"You guys have authority. We know that, at the very least, they're scared of the police. Let's step in, flash our badges, and try to get as much info as we can, peacefully, before going smashy smashy." You suggest.Jimmy looks at you funny for a moment. "We have badges?" Ken shoots him the glare-equivalent of nudging someone in the ribs. "Kidding, kidding.""I'm gonna play good cop if we need it. I think these guys are in over their heads, not malicious. If someone shows them some sympathy on the topic of killing monsters they'll fold more easily." You follow up, inducing a nod from Ken."That makes sense. I don't think they quite realize the size of the mess they are stepping in - this is just how they need to extract their justice, if what you told us is right." Ken says, getting up, giving her limbs a good stretch and a crack.There's no door to the girl's locker room - just a couple of narrow little corridors curved and coiled around each other to prevent anyone from peeking their head around without being noticed. So, getting in unnoticed isn't very possible. Jimmy takes point, knife folded behind his hand with a magician's sort of touch and dexterity, walking in first."Strewth!" You hear him yell, and there's a gunshot (so much louder than the movies) busting into the brick of the little corridor, and then a very frightened sounding male voice."If you move another inch I'm capping you." He says. You don't get a look at the attacker, too afraid to move and get Jimmy shot."Right, well, I'm not going to beat around the bush. I'm with the Fraternal Order Of Dragon Slayers, I'm going to reach into my chest pocket thing and pull out a little badge, it's official and everything, you can run the numbers if you want. We cool? Can I do that?" Jimmy asks. You laugh inwardly a little bit, amused at how much better his de-escalation skills are compared to every school security guard you've met."Yeah. Go ahead." The boy, who you assume is Jason, says. You hear the rummaging of cloth, the clicking open of some kind of container or somesorts. "Is anyone else with you?""Yeah. Two more magic cops in the corridor. Can they come in without you popping me?" Jimmy asks."Yeah. Sure. Hands up." Jason replies. You don't feel up to testing the kid with the gun who can probably shoot it at you faster than you can get it out of his hands, so you don't even consider an alternative option, although you do stuff your honing rod in the back of your pants, noticing Ken strapping her hammer to the back of her work apron. The two of you walk out with your hands up."I'm reaching for my badge as well." Ken says, stepping in front of you, grabbing a small little wallet-like square of fabric from her breast pocket that she unfolds with a click of a clasp opening up, revealing some sort of badge to the two people in the other room. You follow in closely behind.
S-S-S-SATANIC>>4620666Jason and Violet are both shaking like leaves, and behind them, on a table, is perhaps one of the least prettiest sights you've ever seen. Meat, pure meat, overflowing onto the floor behind them. The gasoline generator chugs and twitches and pulsates like a heart as hands and feet occasionally emerge from the organ pile, only to get slowly sucked back in, churned back up, recycled into more meat.Whatever it is, it's making noise, and it smells fresh - like a butcher's shop, but with more gas station and formaldehyde. Several eyes immediately lock in on you. A chunk of black hair spits itself up with a skull fragment attached and then several strands of muscle attached to that, followed by some blood and some kind of clear... plasm, you don't have the words for it. A hand follows next. It doesn't get sucked in, just throbbing and writhing as it slowly extrudes more arm.>Jesus Christ, what the fuck>What is that? Holy shit, what?>Immediately begin puking.You bite your tongue until the pain shocks you back to the here and now. You keep your hands raised. >"Special agent. I don't have a badge on me right now, for undercover purposes. Sorry, kiddos." [Lie]>"Trainee. I'm just along for the assignment." [Truth]>Free Option.
>>4620670>What is that? Holy shit, what?>"Special agent. I don't have a badge on me right now, for undercover purposes. Sorry, kiddos." [Lie]
>>4620670>What is that? Holy shit, what? >"Trainee. I'm just along for the assignment." [Truth]
>>4620670>>Jesus Christ, what the fuck>"Civilian. I get into dragon trouble a lot, so I have their number." [Truth]
>>4620670>Jesus Christ, what the fuck>"Trainee. I'm just along for the assignment." [Truth]
>>4620670>>Jesus Christ, what the fuck>>"Special agent. I don't have a badge on me right now, for undercover purposes. Sorry, kiddos." [Lie]Better to keep our story straight with what we told the other girl.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>4621295>>4620675>>4620680>>4620777Nice trips btw
>>4620670>>4620680"Trainee. No badge. I'm just along for the assignment." You say, keeping your hands up sheepishly while your brain internally rebels. Jesus Christ, what the fuck? It keeps moving and squishing, and the worst part is that you half expect it to smell like something dying and rotting but it actually smells incredibly fresh, like a butcher's shop - there's a metallic, faintly acrid sort of "fresh cut of beef" scent hanging in the air, the unmistakable tang of blood. Already, the pile of meat on the floor is developing distinguishing features. Nails on its bloody fingers. A second, stumpy arm. What looks to be several ridged vertebrae. It's looking at you.Jason's gun flicks rapidly between the three of you, his trigger finger pressed firmly along the length of the barrel. He's sweating and shaking. "Are we going to go to jail?" He asks the other two - having mentioned your status as a trainee, you seem to have gone out of notice. Indeed, Jason's gun is flicking towards you less and less as you fade into the background, only glanced at by Violet and the rapidly forming homunculus. Jimmy very slowly and deliberately shakes his head. "If you let us do what we have to do we're not going to take you to jail. We hear you might have a problem with a teacher here?""Yeah, sick fuck touches the track girls!" Violet shouts, and the meat behind her quivers and curls and you feel the static in the air getting noticeably hotter in response to her outrage before cooling back down. "Saw him... Saw him... Bite her leg off, man. And then everyone just fucking forgot?" Violet says, the words dribbling out of her mouth like vomit. You can hear the unspoken disbelief, focusing in on the way her face contorts. Everyone forgot, including me. That's what she's not saying."Right. He turns into a giant monster and nobody else can seem to remember. And if you brought a gun to school then because nobody remembers the monster, you're afraid everyone will just see it as you murdering a teacher for no reason. Am I right?" Ken asks. You take a couple of quiet steps sideways, more of a shuffle, and don't see any reaction from Jason or Violet. You have some room to maneuver, you think, or will have more if you stay quiet.Slowly, the homunculus behind Violet starts extruding teeth. All molars, arranged in a hideous parody of a rictus grin, tendons attaching themselves to the roots.>Free Option/Phrase>"Did you forget too?" Press her. [Brave]>Stay silent. If you can get one of your hands behind the taller Jimmy you can move it without being noticed, grab your weapon, even. [Cautious]>What was that weird reaction in the field when she got upset? "Can you tell us more about what he did, if that's okay?" [Curious]
>>4621908>What was that weird reaction in the field when she got upset? "Can you tell us more about what he did, if that's okay?" [Curious]
>>4621908>"Sounds like enough reason for us to go kill him. You guys open to letting someone else take care of it?"
>>4621908>What was that weird reaction in the field when she got upset? "Can you tell us more about what he did, if that's okay?" [Curious]>Free Option/Phrase>Try to use our own experience as a survivor of a dragon attack (at this very school, no less) to establish a rapport. Sympathize over how we understand how frightening it is to have nobody notice.what's happening.
>>4621925>>4621916>>4622042"It's hard, isn't it? And scary. When someone that people trust just does something brutal, and awful, and nobody seems to notice what's happening. Can you tell us more about what he did, if that's okay?" You ask Violet, bringing you back into notice. Her face twitches, and the air heats up once more, enough that you can see the confused, sidelong glare on Ken's face, and Jimmy's matching "I don't know what's happening" reaction."What is this, an interrogation?" She shouts, slamming a fist on the table. The generator shudders and bucks, the meat pile letting out a sharp, short little squeal. You start sweating, not out of nervousness, but because it's hot. Jason even backs away a little bit. "What do you think he did, you dumb fuck? Yeah, I see why you're only a trainee, maybe once you pass the idiot exams you'll have a little more fucking tact."The situation seems to be rapidly escalating, and the homunculus just seems to be growing faster, developing a thin skin over its fingers that steadily climbs up its arms. Violet's hair is a mess, starting to fall in clumpy strands over her face.>Nudge Jimmy.>Nudge Ken.>Try to de-escalate the situation. (Free Option.)>Try to ESCALATE the situation. (Free Option.)
>>4624615Ah, talking to people. The perfect way to stupefy anons.I'm not saying I'm any good at talking though.>Try to de-escalate the situation.>Look, I got into all this when my teacher tried to fucking eat me. And nobody noticed.>The Fraternal Order Of Dragon Slayers is dedicated to taking out mosters like these. We'll fuck him up. He won't hurt anyone else.
>>4624615I don't know what you guys were expecting, but I don't fuckin know what to do now.>"Sorry, my bad. It sounds like the teacher is something we call a dragon, and Ken here is really good at smashing them into the pavement. You remember that thing a couple days ago? She saved me from one of them.">"Now that thing? No fucking clue what that is, but do you mind if we take over with more badass ways to kill a dragon?"
>>4624615>Try to de-escalate the situation. (Free Option.)>"Okay. Okay, you're right, I phrased that poorly. I'm sorry. I really am trying to help. I've been attacked by one of these things too, I know how overwhelming it can be.">"I'm not going to tell you that it's wrong to kill this guy. He's a monster, in multiple senses. He deserves it. But let us help you. The Fraternal Order's mission is to kill monsters. We can give you better options than a single homunculus that you're exhausting yourself trying to get grown in time."
Tomorrow, anons, apologies. Been a rough January!
>>4624904>>4624790>>4624868"Okay, okay, you're right, I phrased that poorly." You say, raising your hands a little bit higher and taking a step back. "I've been attacked by one of these things too. I got into all this when my teacher tried to fucking eat me, and nobody noticed. I know how overwhelming it is."Violet's listening, and the air is slowly chilling back down. Still warm, still sweaty. The little rectangle on the table is buzzing and humming."I'm not going to tell you it's wrong to kill this guy, but we can help you. Our mission is to kill monsters like this. Professionally. With no legal repercussions. We have a license to kill Dragons - we can give you better options than this single homunculus you're trying to get grown in time."The air is simmering, slowly. The homunculus gets up on both feet, ankles cracking into place, as the last, juicy, squishing remnants of organ meat suck themselves up into its body, leaving only some kind of visible umbilical cord of wobbly, heated air connecting its back to the generator.Then, it immediately starts to churn out a second one, the air filling with the scent of fresh blood and gasoline, a puff of steam escaping from the generator. The homunculus, looking like an especially deranged version of Violet, but a little more muscle-y, with a cracked-up smile, takes one step forward.Violet turns back, slowly, looking over her shoulder at it, and its hand shoots out to grab her by the neck, other hand wrenching outwards with a sickening crack to grab her by the waist and pull her into a classic hostage angle. Its teeth rest on her collarbone - like a vampire, but way more fucked up looking - and a single canine extrudes itself from the homunculus's forehead before plopping out onto the floor and dissolving into ash.>"Shoot it!">"Don't shoot! We got this!">You know more than the others in this room. If it's made of meat it can be turned back into meat - medical alchemy in reverse. Tackle it and stop it from living.>Free Option.
>>4627249>"Violet, I'm pretty sure you can control this thing. You made it, you can tell it what to do. You are in control of this magic blood stuff, and you can tell it to fuck off with the teeth."I sure fucking hope Ken or Jimmy is thinking about smashing the generator
>>4627249>"Don't shoot! We got this!">Have Ken hit it in the headI'm absolutely sure Violet can't control this thing, for multiple reasons.
>>4627249>"Don't shoot! We got this!">Free Option.>Use Architectural Alchemy to raise up a blunt wedge from the floor between Violet and the homunculus, forcing them apart. Command word "divide".>"Smash the generator, it's still feeding on it!"Guess it didn't like us suggesting that there were better options than completing its growth. Getting Violet away from the homunculus should be first priority, followed by removing its energy source. Arguably Violet might be an energy source for it, too, I wouldn't put it past this thing to be able to parasitize its creator's alchemy.
>>4627403>>4627424I know I'm not exactly convincing, but it is literally about to bite into her artery.I'm guessing the generator is fueling the homunculi with Violet's pneuma or something, so destroying it should cut off the source. Unfortunately, it's HOLDING the source so I think that would give it all the more reason to bite and grab the whatever Violet juice it can still take.
>>4627437What do you want from me? I already voted to hit it in the head. These things are usually immune to bullets.
>>4627484My point is that I don't think hitting it on the head is a good plan when its head is already at someone's collar. That just sounds like you wanted it to bite harder.
>>4627249>Have Ken hit it in the head>"Smash the generator, it's still feeding on it!">Use Architectural Alchemy to raise up a blunt wedge from the floor between Violet and the homunculus, forcing them apart. Command word "divide".Damn, I missed some social fuckups. I have no idea here on the shooting, but the rest sounds good.
>>4627437That's why I want to raise the wedge between them. That would push the homunculus up and backwards, keep it from biting Violet too much. Might get some bite in, but less than if it bit her in response to anything else we did.
>>4627705I guess so
[If we can come to a consensus between Plan Wedge vs Plan Hit It In The Head, I'll be doing that post when I wake up tomorrow afternoon ish. I've noticed that the tinnitus is way, way louder the later in the night it gets, and I do most of my productive writing at night, so, this is a conundrum I'm going to need to adjust my schedule to :\]
>>4629065I prefer wedge over head, but my vote is still to talk.
>>4629065I think wedge works better, while Ken can destroy the generator.
>>4629097>>4629072>>4627583You bend your index finger inward and gently drive your nail into the messed up little warp of scabbed material that your thumb is steadily growing, picking it off. You wince in pain, but it's a pain you're used to, feeling it trickle enough that you have blood to use. Your right hand is still behind Jimmy, and, quietly as you can, you wipe it on the brick wall. You think about the wall, your very first Cool Trick - if you can make a wall between a projectile and a person what's preventing you from making a wall between two people, forcing space, like the wedge of a door? "Divide!" You yell, stomping a foot on the ground.Everything that happens from there happens in about three seconds. The homunculus tries to bite down on Violet, but is hindered both by its lack of sharp, cutting teeth and the sudden presence of a rough wedge of brick raising itself between the two, steadily widening, sucking up more of your energy.Violet stumbles forward, gasping for breath, Jason turns around and flicks a single bullet into the homunculus's head. "Smash the generator!" You yell to Ken, who is already running for it while the homunculus reels from the impact. An arc of sticky, thick black blood leaks from its head, the wound immediately beginning to seal it back up. Jimmy flicks his knife once, twice, three times, creating a spray of blood as the homunculus suddenly finds itself with a dozen dozen new knife wounds, coating it in a fine layer of lacerations that also begin stitching themselves back up.The homunculus lets out an unearthly howl, the generator chugging through blood at a much faster rate than before. Ken rears back and brings her hammer down - "Demolish!", and as it hits the generator, there's a loud whine of sparks, and then a bright burst of white.-When you come to, ears ringing, a smoldering crater where the generator was, the first immediate thing you notice is that the static feeling field is gone. And, thankfully, the second thing you notice is that Ken is safe, albeit dazed and tossed into one of the nearby lockers, denting it slightly.The least good thing you notice is that the homunculus is gone. You have no idea if this is because it is dead without its fuel source, if it blew up, or if it fled - your eyes are still adjusting to the light. Everyone else seems fine, if a bit dazed.>"Jason, Violet, you two head home. We'll be able to handle the rest of the investigation from here.">"Shit, where'd it go?">Free Action/Phrase
>>4630597>"Shit, where'd it go?"
>>4630597>"Shit, where'd it go?"No more alchemy feeling means it's probably dead, but let's still confirm a kill before we drop our guard. It's unlikely, but it could have just stabilized its biology enough that it doesn't need active alchemy to live.
>>4630597>"Shit, where'd it go?"Let's hope that thing evaporated into thin air or something. Seemed barely stable.
>>4630597>"Jason, you should get your sister and head home. Violet, I think you need a medical checkup."
>>4630597>>"Shit, where'd it go?"
>>4631647>>4631448>>4630714>>4630717>>4630720"Shit. Where'd it go?" You ask aloud to the stunned group - sitting in the back, you took what seems like the least of the damage, so everyone else is still reeling slightly. The wedge of brick you summoned gently retracts into the ground as you move your hand off the wall, before more rapidly crumbling back into its original shape.There's a smear of blood behind it, on the floor, and as everyone looks around, eventually, Violet points to a small shape in the corner and gasps. "There!"A small, writhing piece of meat, disconnected from its fuel source. A single eye and a small ridge of forming canine teeth, all far pointier than they have any right to be, are all that's left of it besides undifferentiated, red, raw flesh. Noticing that it's been noticed, it quickly tries to scurry out of view behind the lockers, squeezing itself into a tight gap.>"Kill it!">"Capture it!">"Leave it be, we have bigger problems now, and it can't grow without a fuel source like a gasoline generator.">Free Option/Phrase
>>4632158>WRAP>Use the locker metal to capture it
>>4632158Yeah, >>4632167 sounds good. Supporting.
>>4632158Support >>4632167, but say 'WELD' to make sure it's sealed tight.
>>4633363>>4632377>>4632324>>4632322>>4632167You charge forward, pushing everyone else out of the way, and cram your bloodied thumb against the locker. You know structures - constructs, objects, architecture, furniture. You know what a cage looks like. You wipe your thumb against the front of the locker, visualize some nerd getting stuffed inside (you, you visualize yourself), and then project your will. "Wrap!" you shout, causing the locker to crumple completely backwards, cleanly ripping free from the other lockers and closing itself into a small, metal safe. Then, you squeeze your aching hands onto the cube, feeling it rattle with exertion of the creature inside. "Weld!", and there's a sudden burst of heat that burns a painful line across your palm. You grit your teeth as the safe welds itself shut, and then hold it tightly, slowly lowering it to the floor. The safe rocks and shakes in your hand, but it's clear whatever's inside doesn't have enough energy to burst out, especially not with all the exits welded shut."Well, that was. Uh. Dramatic." Jason says, sheepishly. "Are we. Um. Are we free to leave, officers?"Ken and Jimmy both look poised to talk - potentially over each other, to be honest - but you have an opportunity here to cut in if you need to.>Free Option.>Let them handle it. Take a little break, recoup your strength.
>>4633961>Let them handle it. Take a little break, recoup your strength.
>>4633961>>Let them handle it. Take a little break, recoup your strength.Phew. Glad we managed to get The Thing contained.
>>4633961>Let them handle it. Take a little break, recoup your strength.We're the trainee, we might have done a lot today but we're not the authority figure. I'm sure Ken and Jimmy will be able to sort out a "yeah, but don't go far, we still need to question you about the monster teacher".
>>4633961>Let them handle it. Take a little break, recoup your strength.Any distractions and we could let it go. Might have to mention the sister if they bring her up, but we don't need to volunteer it.
>>4635938>>4634368>>4634098>>4634078>>4633978You take a lean back and decide that you have done more than enough for the day, just keeping your grip on that little scrap of homunculus inside its cage while Ken and Jimmy talk over each other for about five seconds. Then, Ken wins out, Jimmy takes a step back, sighing gently."It goes without saying that, given what we've seen and heard today, we're going to need to open up a case file." Ken starts, reaching into her apron and pulling out two little business cards, handing one to Violet and one to Jason, both of whom accept in their own little manners of sheepishness. "A FOODS agent will be around within a couple of business days for an interview. It also should go without saying that any restricted materials, such as the manual that you learned how to make a homunculus from, will have to be confiscated as evidence. I don't want to sound too much like a hardass to you two, but there is not really a way that you can get around this. Sorry."Jason nods politely while Violet lets out some sort of defeated, tired exhale. "Yeah, whatever." She says, looking at the floor. "Are you guys gonna-""Take care of the teacher? Yeah. He's as good as toast. We have permission to apprehend and execute any Dragon that becomes a threat to public safety. Can you give us a name?" Jimmy cuts in, folding his switchblade back into its retracted shape, stuffing it into his pocket."Mr. White. Gym teacher. Coaches track & field." She answers, slowly pulling herself up to her feet. You wince very slightly - you know of Mr. White, although he was never your gym teacher. You just weren't in the chunk of the alphabet that got assigned to him, that's all."Right. Makes sense that a three star would want a position with easy access to victims, yeah...?" Jimmy muses, mostly to himself."You two are free to go. Don't let us catch you fooling around in this sort of stuff again, okay?" Ken says, as the two kids walk past her."Yes, Ma'am!" Jason says, sidling past her, while Violet just brusquely pushes past everyone, and they both disappear out the exit. It's much, much easier to think in here with whatever was causing that alchemical static gone."Wait, shouldn't you guys take their gun?" You ask, once they're out of earshot. Jimmy shrugs and squats down, elbows on his knees, heels raised slightly."Outside of our jurisdiction. We're not here to investigate bullet crimes." He answers."...Fair enough." You reply.>Free Option.>Too exhausted to do any hard thinking right now, just wait till you get some marching orders and do those.
>>4636009>Wonder aloud who could go spreading around alchemy manuals and for what purpose.
>>4636009>Free Option.>"So, um...what do I actually do with this thing now? Do we need to bring it in alive for study, or something like that?"I'm feeling oddly conflicted about the idea of killing the homunculus. Which is weird, because killing the three-star dragon is a much more casual idea, and they're a person. A monstrous person, sure, but still sapient and at least ostensibly possessing of moral agency. Moral agency they might be ignoring, but they're supposed to have it. This thing is of indeterminate intelligence and agency, I should be valuing its life less. How odd. Maybe Pandora have a point about how FOODS' rhetoric makes it too easy to kill people.
>>4636009>"So I'm pretty tapped out right now, can someone take this off my hands?"
>>4636038>>4636220>>4636037"So, um... What do I actually do with this thing now? Do we need to bring it in alive for study, or something like that? I'm pretty tapped out... could someone at least take it off my hands?" You ask. Ken looks at you and chuckles a little bit."No, you're gonna have to hold onto that until we bring it back to the station. Unless you want it turning back into a locker on top of you." She says, and you realize that she is very correct, and you groan slightly, scooping yourself up off the ground, keeping one hand firmly affixed to the safe at all times. "That being said, yes, we're going to bring it back for study. Don't worry, I'll drive slow.""Whee." You groan sarcastically, as Jimmy turns around."Anything else you two need me for?" He asks, flicking a lighter idly. This dude really likes flicking shit, it seems. "No, we're good. Thanks for the assist." Ken says, waving him off."Yeah, no problem. I'm gonna head back and open a case file while you two handle the homunculus." Jimmy says, sounding very unenthusiastic about the prospect of "doing work". "Wait, hold on a sec. Since you mention case files - I think having someone that's going around spreading alchemy manuals and, like... What, dragon blood tablets? I feel like that's something we should be looking into." You say, and Jimmy turns around, flicking his head at you."Yeah, that was definitely part of it. The three star dragon is more worrying to me, personally, but we should definitely be keeping an eye out for someone distributing this sort of stuff - and manufacturing. You think it's Pandora?" He says, turning to Ken for the last question.She shakes her head. "Not their MO. They're very one track, this doesn't do anything to advance their goals besides stirring chaos. They're ecoterrorists, not the Joker."You imagine Oni in Joker makeup and chuckle quietly under your breath while the two adults in the room talk."And it's definitely not l'Ordine. Absolute complete MO mismatch. They're even more one-track than Pandora. Think it's an individual or a group, kid? Gut instinct." Jimmy asks, cracking his neck as he whips his head towards you.>"Individual[...]" (Free Option)>"Group[...]" (Free Option)>"Honestly, I don't think we have enough information to even say."
>>4637513>"Honestly, I don't think we have enough information to even say."In any case, this is someone who has access to dragon blood. Either a group capable of capturing Dragons, or a high-level Dragon.Another thing to think about is how they choose targets. How do they know who will be receptive to an alchemy manual? How do they find this out?
>>4637513>"Group[...]" (Free Option)>"Whoever is doing this has resources. Either a captive dragon or the lab equipment to make synthetic venom, and some sort of library of forbidden alchemy knowledge. And then they just gave it away to some random kid, so the costs must not matter that much to them. Maybe it's a rich eccentric, but it makes more sense to me if this was a group."
Skipping tonight's update for family related reasons - need to watch the dog and wake up early tomorrow morning, and then have a busy day. Will probably end the thread after the next update and move on to thread #6. Thank you all for joining me on this ride so far, readers!
>>4637513>>4638678>>"Group[...]" (Free Option)>>"Whoever is doing this has resources. Either a captive dragon or the lab equipment to make synthetic venom, and some sort of library of forbidden alchemy knowledge. And then they just gave it away to some random kid, so the costs must not matter that much to them. Maybe it's a rich eccentric, but it makes more sense to me if this was a group."
>>4638678>>4637705>>4639580>>4640744"Whoever's doing this clearly has resources - either a captive dragon or the lab equipment to make synthetic venom, and enough functioning knowledge of forbidden alchemy to write a working manual on it." You reply, rubbing your chin in thought to mirror Jimmy. "And then they just gave it away to some random kid, so either cost doesn't matter to them, or chaos matters more than costs. Maybe it's a rich eccentric, but it makes sense to me if this is some sort of group."Jimmy hums quietly. "Good insight. I'll note that down in the file and I think we'll act accordingly. Ciao, fellas." He says, blithely vanishing out the hallway."I'm not a fella!" Ken yells after him, sighing quietly. "Well. That happened.""It certainly did." You say in response."Glad I came along, though - that homunculus probably would've made swiss cheese of you kids if I didn't bust the generator. Next time you get any dangerous vibes like this, let me know ASAP, I trust your gut compass." Ken says, hefting her sledgehammer over her shoulder and gesturing towards the hallway with her other hands. "Keep a hand on that safe, I'll drive slow.Kendra Shields now trusts you more!>To be continued... in thread #6!
Thanks for reading, everyone. Next thread soon, either Monday or Tuesday, depending on how busy I am tomorrow.
>>4642149Thanks for running!When can we start the waifu wars?
>>4642158You can start already if you're not a coward
>>4642158>>4642164Oh no, is best girl going to be the homunculus!?
I noticed this hadn't been archived yet, so I put it up. Hope I'm not stepping on any toes.
>>4644385Oh, it's no problem at all, thank you very much.
New thread:>>4645229Thank you for reading!