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n this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of God hovering above? At least, it is true that man has no control, even over his own will.

Alas, they are certainly welcome to try and struggle to deviate from the laws of causality. Such is the case for a human mortal by the name of Vlad Santana. A young man who would find himself at the crux of a story that would eclipse his mere mortal soul.

Character Profile and abilities
https://pastebin.com/QZJkmpvG


Thread Archives:
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Vlad%20Santana

Rules:
Rolls will usually be a best of 3 1d100 from each player, DCs are context sensitive but transparent when prompted to roll.

Only 1 and 100 count as crits and good crits override bad ones.

Voting period closes after 1 hour from the first reply or when enough players unanimously choose the same options.

You can always ask for additional context for your choices and voting can be extended should anyone make an argument that could change previous votes.

Write-ins are always welcomed so long as they dont break character.

Have fun and do your best.
>>
>>5300829
Still licking your wounds from the encounter with the faceless entity, now revealed to have the silver eyed occultist residing and leading the mass off souls conglomerated into a single person, you decide to take the rest of the day off to check on your party and recuperate any losses you might have had while visiting the Hill of Swords.

Despite the initial shock coming from Hyde having his memories forcefully taken from him, the hunter seemed to be recovering swiftly, only misremembering when he departed from Ilos and beyond.

"You'd think I'd forget a partner in crime like ya this easy? I know my faith is strong, but I would mind if you had some in me" Hyde says as Violet the harpy nuzzles her head on his hands.

His aim took a turn for the worse, given how his pinpoint accuracy in long distance combat seemed to fail when he took several tries to hit a marble on his target with his slingshot, but combat experience and fuzzy memories aside, he's pretty much intact.

The reason why the entity did not remove his ability to think or just straight up kill him is still something you'll have to ponder on later.

At the following day, Rickert and Erica (the real one) were there to have a final talk with your group before departing.

"Are you sure you don't want to come with us? Your abilities would be a valuable asset to our team."

"I appreciate the gesture, but I'll have to pass for now. The cannon I fired botched some of the swords I placed on the hills, and even if it was a necessity, I would feel ashamed in leaving my comrades' graves in such a shoddy state."

The gesture doesn't come from Rickert's need to improve on forging weapons, but out of genuine respect for the Falcons.

"I see, and after that's done...?"
"...Frankly, fighting that enemy made me ponder on how easy it is to place Erica in harm's way, so I would like to stay out of trouble."

"Not an easy wish to grant, given our state of affairs. Plenty of people have been evacuating towards Vritannis in hopes of being housed by the rich, rumor says it that they're forming armies on the docks to fight the Kushan that way."

"...It's not the Kushan I'm worried about. I want to go the opposite way. Have a meeting with Griffith, to clarify what he really did."

"Aren't you afraid of being caught in the crossfire?"
"It's not something I plan to do right now, maybe I'll wait for things to settle before departing, or for it to get worse. Besides, Griffith knows me. As soon as I show my badge from the old Band, they will surely see that I'm on their side."

Given how Griffith treated you in the past, it's hard to know if he'll care in the slightest about Rickert's visit.

>There's no need. You've heard Guts' side of the story, he's as bad as you think he is.
>I understand the need for closure, just make sure you stay safe.
>I'm sorry for taking part on the vandalism of their graves.
>How much for that portable cannon? Hyde might have some use for it.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5300862
>Write-in
"Considering what Griffith has done to our comrades, it should be noted that he cannot be fully trusted, even for a second. If you do decide to meet with Griffith, keep Erica far away from him as possible. I learned first hand how he can manipulate others."
and
>How much for that portable cannon? Hyde might have some use for it.
>>
>>5300862
>There's no need. You've heard Guts' side of the story, he's as bad as you think he is.
>I understand the need for closure, just make sure you stay safe.
>How much for that portable cannon? Hyde might have some use for it.
>>
>>5300891
Changing it to this +1
>>
>>5300878
"Considering what Griffith has done to our comrades, it should be noted that he cannot be fully trusted, even for a second. If you do decide to meet with Griffith, keep Erica far away from him as possible. I learned first hand how he can manipulate others." You make sure to warn Rickert of Griffith's true identity a second time.

"Even if I'm not there to fight by his side? I don't think we would go that far... I mean, manipulating Erica? A little kid?"

"Especially the little ones, those minds are the easiest to corrupt with spoils." You reminisce about Zhafira's brother, wondering what became of the innocent musician in this world of warfare.

"I am not leaving Rickert's side, no matter what! Who else is going to keep me safe and make me my sweets?" Erica puffs her cheeks.

"I do hope you consider me for more than food..." He talks back, but the hug he receives in return shows she's merely saying it in jest.

"Having each other to rely on is already a good weapon to rely on. Speaking of weapons..." You ask Rickert if he would be willing to sell the portable cannon so Hyde's sharpshooting could be improved.

"I already have the schematics for it, so I don't mind giving it to you for free, honestly. Think of it as a thank you gift for helping me out with Erica."
"Make sure to clean the pipes, or it'll go BOOM on your face!" Erica reminds you that the cannon is only a prototype, and likely prone to jam or overheat. But with Hyde having plenty of knowledge in several ways of fighting, surely that factor won't hinder him often.

Departing to Cromwell with a new weapon, you say goodbye to the humble duo and stay on the main road, making sure to avoid any onlookers and unnecessary encounters until you reached Bolzack's domain. Your group can't afford to waste energy on meaningless fights.

Alas, even when keeping your face hidden by your helm and only letting Hyde go out on towns to buy supplies (seeing as he was the only one not on a wanted list) the closer you got to your destination, the more you noticed a few bandit groups eyeing you from afar.

First it was only one, then two, then a whole group, rustling in the forests. Neither they or their intentions being subtle as you read their minds and guessed exactly what they wanted.

Even if you're not at your best, these men are fodder, but since you're already close to the main towns, maybe it might be a good opportunity for less experienced companions partake in some training.

>Let Violet scare them away.
>See if Hyde can blow their cover.
>Watch over Zhafira as Farnese attempts some spells. Serpico can back her up
>Unnecessary. Gunpowder can outrun them all, or kill them. Whatever happens first.
>>
>>5300911
>Watch over Zhafira as Farnese attempts some spells. Serpico can back her up
>>
>>5300862
The slap will happen soon.

>There's no need. You've heard Guts' side of the story, he's as bad as you think he is.
>I understand the need for closure, just make sure you stay safe.

>>5300878
+1.
>>
>>5300911
>>5300973
>Watch over Zhafira as Farnese attempts some spells. Serpico can back her up
It's the least we can do.
>>
>>5300911
>Watch over Zhafira as Farnese attempts some spells. Serpico can back her up

But things are more unruly than Farnese or Serpico to handle, we could always rely on Gunpowder to stamp them out.
>>
>>5300911
>>Watch over Zhafira as Farnese attempts some spells. Serpico can back her up
>>
>>5300911
>Watch over Zhafira as Farnese attempts some spells. Serpico can back her up
Time to kick some bandit ass.
>>
>>5300911
>>Watch over Zhafira as Farnese attempts some spells. Serpico can back her up
>Write in
Remember to keep a tight guard from now on, don't give any kind of trust to strangers and avoid splitting up or being away for entire hours. The demon might return and do another trick or two. Or no for being completely honest.
It has become strong and skilled enough it could fight and kill all of us. Is only problems is anything he doesn't know and being alone, both of this problems can be fixed. One with experience in combat and the other in more than one way.
Lastly keep an eye on Hyde, and see if we can help him remember.


///
Next time, we need to escape or kill the demon with the aid of the rest of our party, otherwise it will just keep growing in strength. And we can't have that if we are trying to reach the orb.
>>
>>5300976
>>5300995
>>5301033
>>5301086
>>5301128
"Serpico, Farnese? You're up." You decide to order them to fight against these minor enemies.

"Understood." Serpico shows confidence as he exits the caravan with sword in hand, but Farnese's shaking hands make her effectiveness a bit more dubious.

"M-me!?"
"Remember what you trained for, Farnese. I have faith in you." Your words of reassurance only made her eyes widen with pressure, she really isn't that used to fighting, but at least she won't be in danger as much as fighting an apostle.

"Hey, what's this girl you got here?"
"Damn! I've not seen such a pretty one like this in a while! We can get a good deal if we sell her."
"Selling? To hell with that, she's staying with us-" as they start to fight amongst themselves, Serpico punctures one or the bandits on their throat before returning to his fighting stance.

"No need to create enemies on your group. The one you face here should be enough." Serpico makes sure to draw attention to him while Farnese checks on which magical circle to draw a few steps back.

"Let's see... This one is for protection, evasion, energy transfer... Oh! This one should be useful." Farnese's hands are still trembling as she marks out a semicircle and starts doing her runes.

Serpico's skillful swordsmanship allows him to barely avoid the bandits attacks in perfect timing, even if they're on horse ride, he always finds a way to poke at their cavalry and outrange them that way. If the enemy has an advantage over him, he's always sure to use their upside in his favor.

Seeing how none of them could land a hit on Serpico without risking certain death, one bandit swerved past him to see if he could land a hit on Farnese. Seeing as how she tuned the action out to focus on drawing, she had a split second to react, and you knew she lacked the reflexes to dodge the knife in the enemy's hand.

"You're coming with me!"

"Eek!" She covers her head with her arms as she hunches inside the circle, and with her body blocking the view of what she drew, you could only recognize that she did something related to transferring energy at long distances.

Perhaps she drew the wrong spell? This wasn't the time to improvise.

>Intervene.
>Hope her plan works out.
>>
>>5301338
>Hope her plan works out.
As much as I really want to intervene, I really think Farnese is up to something with her spell. We need to actually SHOW that we have faith in her, Vlad says he has faith so let him show it by not intervening, besides, how is going to become an effective team member and grow as a person if she is sheltered by Vlad every time something goes slightly off plan? Isn't that the same as Mozgus and what he did? We need to be better than Mozgus and every other idol she's had by showing her what she's capable of.
>>
>>5301338
>>Hope her plan works out.
Just be ready if we need to
>>
>>5301343
>>5301349
"Lady Farnese!" Serpico curses himself for letting a bandit go past him, having no faith in her succeeding without his help.

The bandit attempts to place Farnese into a chokehold, placing the blade of his knife against the neck, but as the man's hand reached farnese's body, he was flabbergasted to see his fingers passing right through her, almost as if she was merely a mirage

Lifting her head up to see if her spell worked, the young girl checked her runes again, proving that she actually combined two spells into one to aid in this fight: the first rune made her temporarily intangible to attacks until she ran out of energy, and the second was for Serpico to receive her Od transfer remotely.

Clasping her hands together and placing her palms on the floor, several white lines were formed as a path was formed towards Serpico, now empowered by his mistress' magical energy.

"Why can't I hit this broad!?" Farnese flinched every time his fists connected to her image, even if no pain was felt.

"What stupidity it is to ignore your primary adversary. Then again, I can thank you for handing me my victory."
Serpico pushes the man away with his scabbard as he appears beside him with a blink of an eye. However, not expecting the boost to his strength, the shove ended up sending the for several meters away as the crunch of his shoulder indicated the shattering of his arm.

The two blondes from your group were impressed by their own displays, albeit happy to prove their worth to their leader.

"Huh... I didn't mean to go that far."

"Is it over? This is the most I can do without resting." Farnese's pool of mana is enormous, so her request must come from the fact that her she's trembling so hard from the fight that you can almost hear her rapid fire heartbeat from where you stand.

"At ease, comrades! You've done plenty, and I couldn't be happier of your progress." You waltz out of the caravan to congratulate the two. "Let me handle things from here."

While the bandit is cursing in pain, he's the only one still alive from Serpico's rampage. His kills are a lot cleaner than yours, seeing as there was barely any blood coming out of their bodies, you wonder where he picked that up.

"Curses! So this is what I get from taking a nap before the main group invaded Cromwell! Can you blame me for not wanting to go? The place's a shithole! Taking that town over wont take more than a day!"

>How far are we from Bolzack's domain?
>If the Black Swordsman has reached Cromwell, you should consider yourself lucky to be alive.
>What do you know about Bolzack's experiments?
>Why is the town in poor conditions?
>Scram. I have nothing to say to you.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5301338
>Hope her plan works out.
I agree with the anon who said we should show faith in Farnese and not coddle her like Mozgus and the Holy See did. We should let Farnese get skills and experience.

and if a Write-in is allowed:

>Use telepathy on Farnese and the bandit to see what she'll actually do.
If she's really frozen up without having any idea what to do, we could step in and give her an extra chance to act.
>>
>>5301414
>How far are we from Bolzack's domain?
>What do you know about Bolzack's experiments?
>Why is the town in poor conditions?
>>
I knew Farnese had a plan, I'm glad we trusted her.
>>
>>5301414
wait a second,
>taking a nap before the main group invaded Cromwell
Ask him what he means by main group. How many soldiers they have, who is their leader, where are they located etc.
>>
>>5301431
>>5301439
+1
>>
>>5301433
I shall never doubt our wife again.

>>5301431
>>5301439
+1 to both.
>>
>>5301431
>>5301439
+1
>>
>>5301414
>How far are we from Bolzack's domain?
>What do you know about Bolzack's experiments?
>Why is the town in poor conditions?

Have Hyde and Serpico look in the bandits bodies for useful stuff, while we interrogate this guy.
Anything really, we can still put it to use. If Cromwell is on the way to Bolzack castle/estate, we can pass and save the people there. Send them to Ilos if needed.

And keep an eye around our camp.
>>
>>5301439
Also support

The union needs to grow in strength.
I like Vlad titles. Lord, Knight and Member of the Union. Feels like he has reach a good point, after all that happened to him.
>>
>>5301439
"Main group? How many of you bandits are there?"
"Everyone's a bandit around these parts, haven't you heard? I was still young when Bolzack started commanding the place. Don't know why he suddenly turned a blind eye to us, but pretty much our entire group decided to leave after he decided those Mandragorans showed. We knew we looked strong, so we all left with their best weapons before he asked us to protect the town fron those monsters, don't have more than a dozen with us on the other half.

"Mandragorans? Is this related to Bolzack's experiments?"
"Yeah! It's all his fault! Says he's been working on a cure to fix the disease while it spreads like wildfire! We've been waiting on it for years and nothing comes of it!"

"So that's why the town is in poor condition..." You shake your head, wondering if the people in town are really living in poor conditions, or if this is just the exaggerated opinions of some isolated minorities.

"If the place is in such a bad state, why did your group return to it?" Farnese asks the fallen adversary.

"Who else has a bunch of booty stashed for us to steal in these areas? We stay here on the road because it's easier to hide than inside the town, but we'll keep coming and going as many times as we need. Call it payback for taking so long in dealing with those Mandragorans! Ain't that right, Frank?" The bandit looks over to one of the corpses, only realizing he was dead after seeing his face.

"Ah, fuck you!" He spits at you in frustration, but his shoddy aim made it miss you entirely.

"How far are we from his domain?"
"A few hours, you can get there before sunset if you leave me the hell alone." He hunches over holding his bad arm in place.

>Take his money.
>Heal his arm and leave.
>Put him out of his misery.
>See if the fallen enemies have anything worth taking.
>Leave him there.
>Inquire for further information. (Write-in)
>>
>>5301781
>Heal his arm and leave.
Vlad would not kill an unarmed (literally in this case with his broken arm) man.
>See if the fallen enemies have anything worth taking.
Maybe we can find some more information, like a journal or note on one of the bodies.
>>
>>5301781
>>5301783
This +1

I'm not very familiar with the Berserk games, but do you guys think we could snag Bolzack along into the Union?
>>
>>5301781
>Heal his arm and leave.
>See if the fallen enemies have anything worth taking.
>Inquire for further information. (Write-in)
"I will do something you don't expect and for it since you are a smart man, you will talk more and not only that. At the moment with this arm your wounds would become infected and become worse within a short time. You have no means for heal it, and any attempt on your own with your current exhaustion, after this fight would risk to create further damage."
Heal arm suddenly
"Now, what can you tell me of this Mandragorans ? Their numbers, can they fight ?"
"What of Bolzack, does he only consider research this days ? As a lord of Midland he would have soldiers and knights serving him, what happen to them ? Do they still protect Cromwell or their lord ?"

not questions next, still important i believe.
"Now i think you can imagine, that you have indeed pass a line that i do not accept. To put it bluntly, you are scum, you had choices and strength of arm and you still hunted the innocent. For your many crimes I should simply kill you, and i could easily do it giving you the same faith like your fellows on the ground. But I want to give you one single chance. Abandon here the man you have become, and go to Ilos. There choose something that is worthed, instead of living like a carrion bird that preys on the innocent."
"If I find you being a bandit or a criminal again, i will not give this mercy another time. Neither heal you. Consider this a possibility for a better life and a warning."
"Promise it on your life, bandit, and do not take the words you will say lightly."
>>
>>5301885
This is very good. +1
>>
>>5301783
>>5301794
"Well, not much we can do here then. This will only take a moment." Clasping the thief's broken arm, you transfer some of your energy to him so his fractured elbow could be fixed before the adrenaline in his body went away.

"Wh-what happened?" He checked his arm, incapable of believing the potency of your healing.

"Anything useful they carried with them?"
"Booze, a few silver coins and some low quality weapons. None of them carried any medicine with them, so I don't believe there were any of these Mandragorans with them." Hyde searched around the battlefield for anything that could catch his attention.

"I believe Bolzack would favor us if we gave his money back to him. Barnham did break his fingers during interrogation, so an apology gift is necessary to ease any underlying tensions."

"Got it, partner. I'll stash it separately from your own money."

"Wait a damn minute! What makes you think I'm ok with you killing my comrades and taking my hard earned money away!?" The bandit protests.

"I believe the correct term would be 'hardly earned' money." Serpico shakes his head.

"It's a small price to pay, to spare your life of crime after one of my men took your group down. Trust me, given how many strong warriors I walk with, things could have ended worse for you, so consider a few coins in reparations a good enough deal in exchange for us to never see you again."

"I'll have you know I'm worth a lot more than a mere 8 silver coins! If you cross paths with me again, you're dead, asshole!"

"Your weapon is still in your hands, isn't it? What's stopping you from lunging at me?" You stay still in front of him, calling out his empty bluff as he shows no intention of striking. Deep down, he knew justice would eventually be served, so when the time came for him, he became aware of how useless it would be to risk his life for the sake of escaping punishment.

"Thought so. Consider changing your ways, because the next time someone manages to stop your attacks, you will meet the same end as your comrades."

"Cya!" Zhafira sticks her tongue out to the bandit, leaving him alone in the plains as Serpico observes the grieving man.

Empathy was not to be seen in his mind.

After finally arriving in Cromwell, the town seemed fairly modest, an open bridge welcomed your caravan as you observed the stone constructions, the houses were so close to each other that they almost looked like one giant building.

While the Mandragoran disease was allegedly rampant here, you have yet to find any sickly inhabitants, as even when the townsfolk bacedk away from seeing your caravan passing by, they didn't exactly seem to be in a miserable mood.

As a familiar headache stung from feeling the scent of demonic energy, you assumed that Guts was indeed, somewhere in the city.

>Find a lodging for your horse.
>Have a meal with the group.
>Look for Guts.
>Search for information about the Mandragorans.
>Search for Bolzack's home.
>>
>>5301909
>Look for Guts.
Meet up with the homie! Our interests align here.
>>
>>5301909
>Find lodging for your horse
>Have a meal with the group
If they are hungry.
>Search for information about the Mandragorans.
>Look for Guts.

In that order.
>>
>>5301929
>>5301930
"Hyde, I'll let you take care of Gunpowder. Make sure to find an inn that can house us well." You hand him around 20 silver coins and hope that takes care of most of your expenses.

"Aye, Violet doesn't like the attention, so it's best for us to stay inside. I'll keep an eye on your horse, the two were just starting to get along!"

"Neeeeeigh!"
"Screeee!"
For some reason, you get the feeling that you don't want to know what they're saying to each other.

"I'll let you know how much it cost me when ya get back to me."

"Sure thing. Anyone want to come with me? It's time to search for Guts, and maybe get to know a little about the place we're in."

"I could use the exercise, surely someone must be at town square at this time of the afternoon." Serpico volunteers, giving a hand to Farnese as she helps Zhafira leave the caravan in return.

"This is where we will find a cure for you, Zhafira!" Farnese hopes to get a reaction from the harlequin, but she pays no mind.

"Why are you bringing me out here? If I was sick, I wouldn't be doing this with my hand!" She snaps the metallic compartments of her prosthetic hand and spins it's wrist in place.

"Don't do that! What if it breaks?"
"It won't! That's what makes it magical! Hahahaha!" Zhafira does her trademark laugh, much to Farnese's dismay as she keeps Zhafira's fake hand from snapping.

"Taking care of her is something else, isn't it?"
"You tell me..." Serpico shrugs with you as you observed Hyde, Violet and Gunpowder departing into the town.

Following the feral scent past the marketplace, you could only feign surprise when a familiar cape and a ridiculously large dragonslayer are seen lodged in Guts' back. Additionally, your ally against causality had company being together with Casca and Puck.

"Oh, you three again!? How do they keep finding us?!"
"Hm?!" Guts seemed a lot more alerted by your presence, maybe due to seeing you along with the two others who previously tried to imprison him.

"I swear there must be some sort of GPS on this guy's back!" Puck pokes at Guts' naps as he scratches the elf away from him. "Who's this girl, though? Aren't you a bit too old to be playing with costumes?"

"Hello!" Zhafira takes one puppet from the folds on her clothes, one that beared striking resemblance to the little guy.

"*Gasp*! What have you done with him!? That's not where your hand should be!" Puck panics, afraid of being the next one with a hand up his ass.

Guts merely stares in silence as Puck greets your group, sheltering Casca with his cape while keeping his eye on Serpico and Farnese.

Maybe you should say something to smooth things over.

>We're not hunting you down, Guts. You can relax.
>What's the matter, seen a Phantom?
>Looking for Elfhelm, right? My caravan has room for two.
>I imagine this union must be unexpected to you, given what you knew the last time we've met.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5302049
>What's the matter, seen a Phantom?

>Write in: "Relax Guts; these people are now part of my union against the Godhand and the Apostles. They are no longer targeting you."

>Looking for Elfhelm, right? My caravan has room for two.
>>
>>5302049
I'll back this stuff >>5302061
plus
>"How have things gone for your group since we last met? On our end, it's been a matter of shoring up our skills and...trying to heal what wounds were sustained during the ceremony, but it's been difficult to say the least. Especially with that faceless apostle hounding us at every turn. Keep your guard up, especially in a city like this - and whatever you do, be wary of anyone trying to touch you or your companions, no matter how benign the gesture may seem."
>>
>>5302061
+1
>>
>>5302061
>>5302206
+1 both
>>
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>> local farmer boy, 14 years old
>>After a long day working goes to the lake to cool down.
>> As he wash himself, two figure suddenly appeared in his mind, two girls, his closest friends in the village, Rosine and Jill.
>>An enormous figure, a bug like monster emergingfrom the water, it's Rosine in her true form !
The boy is too shocked to run,
fear mixing with happiness and eros
ruling through his body, he stood still and was unable to move.
His long lost best friend, Rosine ,now in a twisted yet erotic and beautiful form, like a moth monster stood before him, her nake body expose infont of his eyes.
>> Ro..... Rosine.....is it you ? ....am I not dreaming ? Is this a sweet dream? or nightmare ?
>>Rosine didn't said a word, she just come closer, and grab you with her legs and hold you tight

>> You're more hansom then I remembered....much more mature.....
Iam looking for a king for my kingdom, would you be my king ?
>>
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>>5302262
>> Be my slave, my love, my king and my knight, sworn to protect my fairy kimdom like a good husband and king.
>> All you need to to is follow me, and become like me !

>> I....... I can't..... I don't..... don't know how, the teen's body is burning red, he breath heavily
>> We.......we...... Rosine, we are not even married yet..... the preist always said.....
>> He didn't get to finish his words, because Rosine seal it with a soft kiss.

>> Your mouth said no, but body and heart had betray you, my love !
She said it in a playful manner, smiling at the teen.
>> Slowly, she she grab and drag you into her cocoon , her naked body against your naked body.
>>Good night, my love, We will make many fairy children together !
>>
>>5302049
>We're not hunting you down, Guts. You can relax.
>Looking for Elfhelm, right? My caravan has room for two.
>>
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>>5302267
>>5302262

With her words, you close your eyes and start to fell into deep sleep, you can feel your body is transformeing and morphing into something that may terrify you if you're still a normal 14 years old farm boy.
>>But you just don't care anymore, as Rosine's naked cool body against your, embrace together in her warm slimly cocoon,you felt warm and beloved, for the first time in many years.
>>So, the fairy tale were true...... this is what a king, a knight felt when they are with their life maiden love...... so warm, so hot, so romantic, and so...so lustful...
>> With that last thought, you fall in to total slumber and you dream, dream that you fly on the night sky, with Rosine and Jill on your side, a happy fairy kingdom, with lots of children !
>>
>>5302061
Support
>>
>>5302061
>>5302206
"What's the matter, seen a Phantom?" You grin at him in jest, but he doesn't seem to let his guard down.

"..." Still waiting for an explanation, he would rather see you going straight to the point instead of playing around.

"Relax Guts; these people are now part of my union against the Godhand and the Apostles. They are no longer targeting you."

"Aren't you quick to trust them... Surely this isn't due to you being enamored by the girl?"

"No, that's not it. We're on our way to Vritannis, hoping she can prove my innocence. You're on your way there too, right? There's enough room for 2 if you want to join us until elfhelm."

"Hey! What do you mean, room for two?" Puck interrupted you, worried about not coming.

"Alright... Room for three it is." You sigh, not considering him due to his small stature.

"How did you know I was going there?" Guts asks.

"When it comes to ya, I always find a way to discover your whereabouts." You point to your forehead, taking pride in your knowledge.

"Hm." Guts ends the conversation with a grunt, seeming disinterested at your invitation. Something is definitely different in his attitude, given how he's in no mood to play around.

Is he being mistrustful of Farnese and Serpico? They weren't exactly fighting on his side during the incarnation ceremony, so he has a reason for them, but for you?

"Aaah..." Casca stumbles around as she seems to remember your face, which gets a reaction out of Zhafira.

"I don't think this little guy appreciates my arts! Maybe the girl over there will. Can you hold this for me?" She hands Casca a rope, preparing to do some sort of trickery, but Casca doesn't even tilt her head.

"Ignored again, haha! Why is everyone such a critic?"
"Don't stand so close." Guts takes a step forward and advises the harlequin not to get too touchy feely.

His change of attitude definitely comes from Casca. Knowing of a way to treat her, the mission gave him some new focus, maybe too much focus, as it's all that he currently thinks about.

The pressure from taking care of her by himself is definitely consuming him, since the aura of the apostle within him grows with each passing day. His stench is strong enough to make you think twice on touching him.

"You can do whatever you want, just don't get in my way."

>Isidro's not with you?
>Are you feeling alright? Your energy reads different from before.
>Did anything happen while you were by yourself?
>What led you to Cromwell?
>I've met Rickert not too long ago, good fellow, I'm glad we have a mutual friend now.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5302306
>>5302267
>>5302262
Huh, so this is what I get for skipping lost children...
>>
>>5302438
>Isidro's not with you?
>Are you feeling alright? Your energy reads different from before.
>Did anything happen while you were by yourself?
>What led you to Cromwell?
>I've met Rickert not too long ago, good fellow, I'm glad we have a mutual friend now.
Does guts know about the shape changing demon? If not then write in this too:
>"Guts, just so you know, I encountered a strange creature that is able to shapeshift perfectly into a person once it touches them, it has the unique ability to absorb memories and take their shape so I advise you to be carful about who you talk to around here. I think it was created by the collapsing of the tower. Luckily, the creature seems to have its soul composed of multiple people so I'm able to use my mind reading to identify it easily, maybe we should team up incase you meet anyone suspicious?"
or something like that
>>
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>>5302448
"Isidro's not with you?" You notice the absence of the ginger haired kid with a loud mouth alongside him.

"Beats me where the kid is. He's always around following me at a distance. Still don't know why he hides when I know he's near, but that's the sort of brat he is."

"Maybe he's scared of the monsters you fight every night? You're not exactly known for sleeping peacefully. Did anything in particular came your way that would make him weary of approach?"

"Maybe to him, but not to me. Hard to say anything really shocks me in this world." Guts adverts his gaze, thinking of one particular time he encountered a terrifying apostle, but remembering that you can read minds, he starts thinking of something unrelated to it.

"It's nothing important. Perhaps I could tell you at a later date."
"Guts, are you... Feeling alright?" Finally addressing his attitude, you wonder if the monster within him is eating away at him.

"Take one good look at me, Vlad. It should take you that long to see that I'm just dandy." Guts forced a grin at you. Maybe it was supposed to be unconvincing. Don't make questions you know the answer to.

"At least you seem like yourself... Just so you know. We've found a shape shifting monster in the hill of swords, so it's best to be safe." You proceed to give him a rundown of what happened at Rickert's home, emphasizing how dangerous it would be to let the faceless entity run amok.

"If you plan on teaming up with me, then you better get used to fighting the monsters I do on a regular basis, because I don't have the slightest interest in babying you in your training. That goes for the rest of your group, too. I'm not turning into your leader and ordering you around, nor taking orders from you."

"Like we would ask for your help, troglodyte." Serpico growls, impatient with the Swordsman's behavior.

"Easy, Serpico." You wave your hand before he thought of picking up his sword. "Any reason in particular you came to Cromwell?"

"It was in my way." He simply replied. Could it be a that he doesn't know about the Mandragorans or the healing properties of Bolzack's research? How lucky is he to just stumble his way here?

"What, you expected this bozo to learn how to read a map? He just walks around and at best asks for directions." Speaking of which, we saved a girl named Rita from some bandits on our way here, she was about to perform in some sort of circus show. We were about to look for her since she invited us in but--" Puck is interrupted before his exposition ends.

"A SHOW!?" Zhafira jumps in place as her eyes sparkle. "CAN I COME? CAN I COME?CAN I COME?"

"Um..." The question was directed at Farnese, but she waits for you to have a final say, since you ain't got all the time in the world to sit down and relax to watch a show on town square.

>Sure, it wouldn't hurt to watch a spectacle.
>Alright, but don't try to seal the spotlight from the performers, Zhafira.
>I'd rather we go straight to Bolzack now.
>>
>>5302487
>Alright, but don't try to seal the spotlight from the performers, Zhafira.
>>
>>5302487
>Sure, it wouldn't hurt to watch a spectacle.
>Before that, though, I would like to fashion wearable wards for Guts and Casca. There's only so much time we have before the next sunset, and I'm sure they could use more rest than what they've gotten. It would be bad to invite dark spirits to the middle of a town anyways.
>>
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>>5302442
Here's the follow up, and the ending

>>Rosine, whisper in his ear, soft and seductively, she kiss the teen on his neck, than to his chest, than to his belly.
>>And with her words, he close hiseyes and start to fell into deep sleep, he can feel his body is transformeing and morphing into something that may terrify him if he is still a normal 14 years old farm boy.
>>But he just don't care anymore, as Rosine's naked cool body against your, embrace together in her warm slimly cocoon he felt warm and beloved, for the first time in many years.
>>So, the fairy tale were true...... this is what a king, a knight felt when they are with their life maiden love...... so warm, so hot, so romantic, and so...so lustful...
>> A vision of naked Jill appears in his mind, with the green naked fairy queen Rosine on her side , weaving at him waiting for you to embrace them.
>> With that last thought, the teen fall in to total slumber and dream, dream of him flying on the night sky, with Rosine and Jill by his side, a happy fairy kingdom, with lots of children ! The three of them made love every night together in your fairy forest kndom, starts shining on the night sky....
>>
>>5302506
+1
>>
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>>5302519
>> The sweet memories of the three of them making love is going through his head, what a wonderful memories, but he needs to stop and be concentrated on fighting now, to stop the enemy of the kingdom.The former farmer teen think,
>>No longer a normal teen, but a bug like monster,. The once hansom teen had become creature from nightmare,
four long bee like insect arms , his skin had turn in to shell hard as steel armour, and his fingers had turn into claws sharp as the sword .The only remaining of his old self, is his somewhat still handsome face, now lay under his new insect head, a monstrous head with six large eyes , dark as deep water cave,and mouth with two lines of sharp teeth like blades.

>>"So.... you are her trump card huh ? Sold your soul just to become a ugly monster ? How pathetic ! Where is the girl !
>> The tall figure , in all black armour stood Infront of you. He is a fearsome warrior, he can tell, even though he's still just a human, he could still kill him with his large sword and bersrk like fighting spirit and skills.
>>The Dark Knight Roisne warm and told him about, a warrior of evil that will dystroy Rosine's fairy kingdom if not be stopped, an evil warrior that will took Jill away from him and Rosine.
>>The queens are waiting for him at the hive, he must win this battle, no matter how strong the Black Knight is !
>>With that last thought, the king of the misty forest fairy kingdom, launch his attack tword the warrior, his swords like sharp teeth and claws against the Black Knight's black sword as the warrior lift his sword up.
>>Bless me my queens ! Gave me your strength, the young king thought and shouts out as he made his move towards the Black swordman.
>>
>>5302531
>>"I won ! I have defeated the Black Knight ! Rosine, Jill, my queens and my loves! I have won ! Our kindom is safe !
>>The young fairy king open the wooden door of their chamber in their hive, where his loves await. The two queens lay naked on their bed, kiss and making love with each other, as they see their king , return victorious, they cry snd in happiness and get off from their bed.

>>"Thanks God your alive ! Jill rush to the injure fairy king and gave him a warm hugs
>> "I always know you can do it, my love,
I made the right chose to make you my king and me and Jill's protector " Rosin ,still lay on her bad,side leaning her slander legs move smoothly and suggestively.
>> As he comes to the bed, he knows his battle was worth it.
He's body is badly injured, one eye blinded with scars, two out of four arms of his were cut off and still bleeding,multiple deep cut wounds are all over his body,half of his body was badly burn, and his insect head was almost ripped off.Its was a fearsome and bloody battle, the man is not human, so strong and so berserk , with rage like it's form hell, but the power of love had let him to the final victory, he had won....he had......won....wo
>>Darkness and silent follow
>>
>>5302531
>>"I won ! I have defeated the Black Knight ! Rosine, Jill, my queens and my loves! I have won ! Our kindom is safe !
>>The young fairy king open the wooden door of their chamber in their hive, where his loves await. The two queens lay naked on their bed, kiss and making love with each other, as they see their king , return victorious, they cry snd in happiness and get off from their bed.

>>"Thanks God your alive ! Jill rush to the injure fairy king and gave him a warm hugs
>> "I always know you can do it, my love,
I made the right chose to make you my king and me and Jill's protector "
>>Rosin ,still lay on her bad side leaning,her slander legs move smoothly and suggestively.
>> As he comes to the bed, he knows his battle was worth it.
He's body is badly injured, one eye blinded with scars, two out of four arms of his were cut off and still bleeding,multiple deep cut wounds are all over his body,half of his body was badly burn, and his insect head was almost ripped off.Its was a fearsome and bloody battle, the man is not human, so strong and so berserk , with rage like it's form hell, but the power of love had let him to the final victory, he had won....he had......won....wo
>>Darkness and silent follow
>>
>>5302532
>>The pseudo-apostle dead beheaded body lay still on the forest ground, as Guts watching the body turn back to that of a young teen, about 14 years old.
His body horribly mutilated form the bloody battle minutes ago.His beheaded head had this wild grin on his face, like he's having a twisted fantasy.
>>For a brief moment, the black
swordman's heart was moved, the teen's youthful appearance had remind of himself, from a better time. But as he remembered what these monsters had done, Guts's heart turned cold and hard again.
>>He lifted his Dragon Slayer back to his back, and walk over the dead teen's body, there is more fight ahead of him, more twisted and dangerous evil he must cut down and kill, as he hears the furious cry and mourning come from the deep end of the forest. The apostle fairy queen cry in rage and sorrow, she will kill the black swordman, for killing her king, and for the kill making Jill sad and cry !

The End .....for now

Any anons who wants to add more contents to it is free to do so.
Like if Roisne actually love her "king" at all ? And what do an innocent girl like Jill think and feel about her best friend drag her into this erotic and crazy play house role playing game ?
>>
>>5302535
I won't lie, I didn't read it because of the formatting. Switching between normal posting and greentexting is offputting.
>>
>>5302506
+1
>>
>>5302506
You mean like sowing wards into their clothes? That is a great idea! +1
>>
>>5302506
+1
>>
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>>5302563
>>5302491
>>5302526

"Sure thing, just don't interrupt the professionals at work." You comply in giving your comrades a good show. You did have a good time when an impaired Zhafira showed her talents, maybe a full on team of dancers and acrobats could throw you for a loop.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Zhafira frowns, even though she was thinking of doing exactly that.

"I wonder what we'll be seeing there. it might not look as impressive as the things we see every day. But the fact that there's no ghouls involved is already pretty inviting." Serpico comments, feeling up for some light hearted fun, if that's what Farnese would like to see.

"Agreed, let's see what they have there."

"Well then what are we waiting for? Off to see the show!" Puck leads the way, the blue trail of dust indicating where Rita was.

Meanwhile, you started preparing your runes for when night fell. Knowing how both Casca and guts are branded, they could bring enough monsters here to destroy the town. It was best to prevent any further mishaps.

Even if your wards didn't go so far as to prevent the monsters from showing up, they masked enough of their scent to not be a target for darkness.

"I can hear the music!" Zhafira claps along with the sounds of the accordion.

A large group was formed as they danced and skipped next to the music players. At the center of it all, stood a short girl and her dog, ordering the pet to jump and do several flips in the air.

"Ready, Irk? Jump, jump!" The people clapped and cheered as the dog passed through rings and ran along a small circuit prepared by the group.

"Now, for my next trick, I'll need someone from our lovely audience to volunteer."
"MEMEMEMEMEME!" Zhafira lifted her hands up in delight. Who would have thought that keeping her in a good mood would make her mind less forgetful?

"Are you sure it's a good idea?" Farnese arcs for reassurance.
"What could go wrong?" You can only hope for the best.

"Hah, looks like you are already in gear, are you a jester of sorts?" Rita tilted her head as she tied her to some planks, placing an apple above her head, noticing Zhafira's makeup.

"Oh, I know this trick! I'll stay still for you!" She remembers the tricks she used on her younger brother for practice. Maybe that's why Benny was so eager to stay away from her.

Taking some distance as the straps were placed, Rita did several front flips and handstands before throwing several knives onto Zhafira with all of them hitting straight onto the the wood frame, the biggest one going through the apple and being stuck a centimeter above Zhafira's head.

"I'm ok!" She lifts her hand up to prove her good health, yet her prosthetic falls on the floor. Startling Rita as she momentarily thought she hurt her assistant.

With another round of applause, Rita guided Zhafira back to your group, showing you the inner part of a hat to ask for tips.
>>
>>5302588

>Meh, I'm not impressed.
>Good job, lass. (Hand her 10 bronze coins)
>Treat yourself to a nice meal. (Hand her 5 silver coins.)
>Don't go showing this around. (Hand her 2 gold coins.)
>>
>>5302589
>Don't go showing this around. (Hand her 2 gold coins.)
>>
>>5302589
>Don't go showing this around. (Hand her 2 gold coins.)
>>
>>5302589
>Good job, lass. (Hand her 10 bronze coins)
>>
>>5302589
>>Treat yourself to a nice meal. (Hand her 5 silver coins.)
>>
>>5302589
>>Treat yourself to a nice meal. (Hand her 5 silver coins.)
>>
"Don't go showing this around" you carefully slide 5 silver coins inside the straw hat as Rita's eyes go wide in shock. Sometimes you forget how much money you have in your possession. It's already halfway through the season and you barely spent any of your fortune. Knowing how to hunt and scavenge probably had something to do with that, but still. It's best to give to those who need it. But not too much. Giving her gold would probably draw unneeded attention.

Rita tries to hide her shock by shaking the hat around, making the silver coins stay unseen beneath the few bronze ones she got from the other audience members.

Current earnings: 119 gold coins. [/green]

"And now, for our final trick of the evening, the moment you've all been waiting for: we will show you the strongman Job as he lifts up this gigantic iron ball! Come on out, Job!"

A shirtless giant with a sack wrapped inside his head went out of the caravan to guide himself with his palms towards the iron prop. After finally finding it, he grunted loudly as he lifted the weight above his head and even spun ir around with relative ease as the crowd went wild.

"Psh. Big deal, it's not any heavier than the sword I have with me." Guts was not impressed.

"Give me time to get back into shape and I'd probably be able to lift that much." You wondered on how powerful your unleashed potential would be.
"Me too!" Puck flexed his tiny biceps.
"... no comment." Serpico was a realist, knowing he was outmatched, he simply decided not to compare himself to the two of you.

"But what's wrong with his face for it to be covered up--" Farnese asks just in time for him to fall flat into the floor. Revealing an ugly face disfigured by a hideous grown under his chin, which extended until his belly.

Weirdly enough, the growth seemed to also have a face.

"What the-"
"He's possessed by the Mandragora!"
"I want my money back!"
"Leave this place, monster!" The townsfolk revolt as they throw rocks at the giant, who does not retaliate, merely gurgling as he covered his head.

"Stop it, you fools! What has he done to you people!" Rita takes one step in front of the stone throwers, which only makes them throw a few in her directions.

"We will not let a Mandragoran zombie infest this place again!"
"If I were a betting man, I would advise against angering someone who can snap bones like twigs." Serpico warns that angering Job is bound to end badly for them.

Just like before, Guts merely observes, not wanting to intervene.
"Oh, don't you go statue mode on me! Let's help the guy out!" Puck tugs at his cheek with no response.

>Observe the Mandragoran and the parasite. Maybe you'll discover more about the disease.
>Order them to stop throwing rocks, or else.
>This is not your fight, if he gets angry and kills them, they'll get what they deserve.
>>
>>5302668
>Observe the Mandragoran and the parasite. Maybe you'll discover more about the disease.

Then if he decides to try and kill everyone else, we can just step in to handle it.
>>
>>5302668
>Order them to stop throwing rocks, or else.

I refuse to allow them to debase this poor man.
>>
>>5302668
>>Observe the Mandragoran and the parasite. Maybe you'll discover more about the disease.
>>
>>5302668
>Observe the Mandragoran and the parasite. Maybe you'll discover more about the disease.
>>
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>>5302677
>>5302691
>>5302692
Guess that calls for a 1d100, let's if Vlad finds anything relevant about these Mandragorans while Job is about to job.
>>
Rolled 91 (1d100)

>>5302712
Ok here I go
>>
Rolled 58 (1d100)

>>5302712
>>
Rolled 66 (1d100)

>>5302712
>>
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>>5302716
>>5302717
>>5302716
>>5302717
>>5302720

A few rocks and pebbles are nothing your armor can't handle, so you don't feel alarmed in approaching the scuffle as the Mandragoran is threatened.

My god... What is that thing? Apparently several roots have morphed into his skin, which more resembles the trunk of a tree as it reaches closes to the parasite.

Using your soul vision, you are confused to see no point of distinction between where the human starts and the Mandragoran ends, as Job's arteries seem to mix into the creature's roots right into its heart. The condition was so advanced that there was no way to save the man from the Mandragora without also killing him.

This is actually pretty similar to what the god hand did to the silver eyed clan when it was infested into flesh creatures that could mix into the soil, you wonder if their demonic energy had something to do with how it differed from real Mandragoras.

Regardless, plants are your forte, and its clear to you that the man can't be saved. So it's best not to make him react to any strong emotions, as the Mandragora is prone to react negatively to sudden chemical changes from it's host.

And surely enough, a stone struck onto the lump was all it took to trigger the Mandragora, shifting and expanding like extended rubber as his flesh turned pink.

Job's arms resembled tentacles as they aimed a hit at your head, and as you swerved under it's swing, you noticed that his other arm also absorbed the iron ball he was carrying before.

"It's just like the flesh creatures from before... Why won't they leave me alone!?" Your hand trembles as Job reminds you of how you took your father's life away.

"You? Talk to me when you have slayed over 5 apostles in a day!" Puck points to Guts, who places his great sword in his hand, finally being interested in a fight.

"Over here, over here! Quit running in all directions!" Serpico tries to get people away from Job as the Mandragoran kills indiscriminately all of his previous fans.

"Job! That's enough! Control yourself- Ack!" Rita tries to get on his emotional side, but his humanity was already long gone, if the strike Job tried to land on her wasn't a clear sign.

With Guts lifting the dragonslayer above his head to block the metallic ball, he invited himself into combat.

"You can stop here or die, either one is fine by me."

>Watch the fight, you could learn something by watching how they move.
>Help Serpico in evacuating the crowd.
>Take Rita away from danger and protect the girls.
>Guts might need some assistance, Job will go down faster if you join him.
>>
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>>5302760
>Take Rita away from danger and protect the girls.
>Guts might need some assistance, Job will go down faster if you join him.

Write-in(if allowed):
>Order Serpico and Farnese to help evacuate the crowd.
>>
>>5302767
>'So long gay Bowser' but it's Guts throwing Zodd into the abyss
Kino
>>
>>5302760
>Take Rita away from danger and protect the girls.
>>
>>5302767
>>5302799
Guess saving the innocent will always take priority In Vlad's case.

Let's do a 1d100 since he won't join the fight right as it starts.
Roll to establish dominance! You're the bigger tree out of the two!
>>
Rolled 47 (1d100)

>>5302854
>>
Rolled 76 (1d100)

>>5302854
>>
Rolled 78 (1d100)

>>5302854
I have great rolls guys
>>
Rolled 33 (1d100)

>>5302854
>>
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>>5302866
>>5302874
>>5302876
Prioritizing Rita's safety, you snatch her by the arm and take her away before Guts could start fighting. Knowing him from past experiences, he could care less about collateral damage to property or to people in his way.

As Guts starts out throwing a few bolts from his repeater arm to test the hardness of the Mandragoran's skin, he finds the stretchiness of it's surface amusing, but not practical in terms of defense.

"This shouldn't take long." He declares as Serpico conducts the crowds into an alleyway, too slim for either combatants to pass through.

Having Rita, Farnese, Casca and Zhafira in your company, your hands were tied when it came to fighting. Someone had to take care of the weaker ones during this encounter, and it sure wouldn't be Guts.

One striking problem that you've noticed in Guts and his fighting style is that his large sword is great for outdoor fights and crowd control, not so much for indoors and tight spaces. Didn't help the fact that unlike your halberd, the dragonslayer is more effective when doing full swings to capitalize on momentum, which is why the black swordsman 10 times out of 10 opted on doing instead of shifting angles and avoiding getting his sword stuck into rubble or ricocheting back to it's usual position, overall wasting his attack turns.

He still managed to slide, jump and shoot several times before Job could land a hit on him, however his stretchy nature and regenerative limbs made so that Guts taking damage would be a certain eventuality.

"Grrrrr..." The moaning Job took hold of his foot as another of Guts' knives were thrown onto his face. Finally grasping the Swordsman by the tip of his elongated whip-arm, he violently threw him into the sky before ragdolling him into the rocks below, smearing his face onto the town square as he whacked at his back with the iron ball he had for a hand.

As Guts' screams grew more silent with each passing blow, he attempted to make the most out of being damaged and spun his sword diagonally at the monster's torso, but the yelp of pain was only followed by Job chucking the swordsman's head against the wall with the speed of a catapult, with rubble and dirt flying in all directions as his neck disappeared inside a small nearby building.

"Is he...?" Rita asked in fear.
"Nah, that's just Guts being Guts. Takes a bit for him to really build his carnage during a fight!" Puck reassures the performer that he's fine. "Although he's taking longer than usual to get up these days..."

>Should I tag in and finish the job then?
>Does he have some elf powder with him?
>It wouldn't hurt to double team the enemy then.
>I'll trust you on this one then
>>
>>5302957
>It wouldn't hurt to double team the enemy then.
>>
>>5302957
>It wouldn't hurt to double team the enemy then.
>>
>>5302957
>It wouldn't hurt to double team the enemy then.
>>
>>5302957
>It wouldn't hurt to double team the enemy then.
Aw yeah here we go bros
>>
>>5302991
>>5303001
>>5303003
>>5302961
>>5302991
Let's see if this will finally convince Guts that you can fight the enemies he faces too if you put your mind to it.

Alternatively it could work like last time where you two are uncoordinated together and end up conflicting with each other's moves.

A 1d100 and best of luck!
>>
Rolled 89 (1d100)

>>5303004
Hopefully this will go well for the both of us
>>
Rolled 61 (1d100)

>>5303004
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
>>
Rolled 55 (1d100)

>>5303004
Doom.
>>
>>5303008
Nice
>>
>>5303008
>>5303009
>>5303010
Guts did say this should be over in a minute. Provided you don't wait for Job to fully recover, you can make the most out of the blows he's already received. The Mandragoran has to run out of juice eventually, given how it's empowered by the human host.

Focusing and seeing the intent of Guts, about to rub some elf powder on his body before getting back up, you attack the creature on the back before it could run over to Guts and impede his healing. What's the point of having two set of eyes when they all face your front?

Taking a deep breath and transferring your Od onto your weapon, you impaled the creature's arm first before it could drop the weight of several anvils on your head, sticking it into job's torso as he groaned like a flesh creature.

This fight is bringing you memories you do not wish to dig up...

Dispersing your energy into the creature had the unexpected reaction of making him heal faster, as it's other arm began to stretch with the wound you just made closing over your lance. Was it due to your affinity to plants, or because Mandragorans we're not inherently evil?

Before you could scream 'damn it's as you failed to unstick your bloodied lance from the creature's liver, Guts leaped into the creature's opposite side, striking through Job and pushing your weapon out of him.

And wouldn't you know it, his weapon was the one that got stuck as the Mandragoran regenerated back to normal.

"Hope you've had fun savoring your lucky shot, monster. From now on, it's a countdown until your death."

Seems magic doesn't belong in Guts' arsenal yet, and yours won't contribute to his plan of attacks. Raw strength it is then, let's save the Od for the stunts you're about to do.

You propelled yourself upwards and struck the end of the dragonslayer with the flat side of your weapon, whacking the enemy as it additionally unleashed his weapon from the plantmorph's grasp.

From then on, you started playing a game of whack a mole, trading blows more between each other than straight to the enemy as it was powerless to block it. If it tried to attack one way, it wouldnt be able to block from the other side. If your weapon got stuck again, Guts would push it right back at you, and vice versa. The energy to match the impact and to push back the dragonslayer was a lot on you, but playing a long with a serious Guts is something you were expecting to have some difficulty.
>>
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>>5303072
With no real fanfare or final attempt at retaliation, Job simply falls by himself, exhausted from having to regenerate for so long, he chose death over dealing with such excruciating torture.

"Saves me the trouble of using my bombs." Guts was glad that he didn't have to waste more of his arsenal.
"My... Treatment... Couldn't come sooner..." You speak out of breath as the fight finally subsides, angry at your lack of stamina despite keeping up well with such a living legend.

"Ha! Take that, Mandragoran freak!" The townsfolk come back to kick away at the monster."
"I'm glad he's dead!"

"What are you feeling proud of, murderers? You've all provoked him without thinking twice! This is all your fault!" A teary eyed Rita attempts to push people off from Job's rotting corpse, but gets slapped in return.

"Grrr, what did he do to deserve being killed!?" She threw a knife at you and guts, but the Swordsman easily caught it between his fingers, and you are too heavily armored to even feel it bouncing off your plates.

"I do not condone their disdain against him, young Rita. If we had a way to save him, i surely would have thought of one, but when these Mandragorans reach this state, all that's on their mind is rampage. Whatever humanity was left in there became far too little."

"He was a monster, and we had to put him down. There's all there is to it." Guts is a lot less sugarcoating than you in his response.

Before Rita could jump at his throat, an embellished carriage stopped near the corpse, out of it came a man dressed in high class clothes, with facial hear that more resembled a lion's mane.

"So that's Bolzack..." Farnese whispered, hiding behind Serpico as he returned to her side, in case she was recognized.

"These large wounds... Were you the ones responsible in slaying this creature?"
"Yes." You reply in unison with Guts.

"You have my utmost gratitude for taking care of these hostile patients while I work on my cure. My army is not what it used to be." Despite the rough appearance, Bolzack seemed to be somewhat benevolent with his own kind.

"What would bring you to my lands, being plagued the way they are?" Bolzack almost admits to having lost the fight with the Mandragorans already.

>Just passing by.
>I heard you were working on some alternative medicine, and my body is starting to fail me.
>A friend in my group has her head in the clouds, I was hoping to find something to bring her back to earth.
>Just helping Guts over here.
>I have something for you, consider it a gift from an Ilos lord. (hand him the money from the bandits)
>Write in.
>>
>>5303079
>I have something for you, consider it a gift from an Ilos lord. (hand him the money from the bandits)
>A friend in my group has her head in the clouds, I was hoping to find something to bring her back to earth. (Referring both to Casca and Zhafira)

I would write something in, but I'm not sure what to really put for that.
>>
>>5303079
>A friend in my group has her head in the clouds, I was hoping to find something to bring her back to earth.
>I have something for you, consider it a gift from an Ilos lord. (hand him the money from the bandits)
>Write in.
"Beside finding healing for this friends, i do have other reasons. I also want to know what happened here and if you already know the rumors happening in the rest of Midland. Such as the Kushan invading, the events in the capital or the new orders born from this lack of power. And if it would be possible i would like to know how you are making your cure and what kind of ingredients you are using, Lord Bolzack."
"But where are my manners, i didn't present myself i am Lord Vlad Santana, a Midland Knight and a Member of the Union of Ilos. With me are my trusted companions and friends."
check his od, slowly.
>>
>>5303079
>I have something for you, consider it a gift from an Ilos lord. (hand him the money from the bandits)
>A friend in my group has her head in the clouds, I was hoping to find something to bring her back to earth.
I find it fascinating that the Mandragoran was able to absorb our od and use it to heal itself, I think we are gonna find out some interesting stuff if we use our plant side more.
>>
>>5303079
>>I have something for you, consider it a gift from an Ilos lord. (hand him the money from the bandits)
>>A friend in my group has her head in the clouds, I was hoping to find something to bring her back to earth.
>>
>>5303157
+1
>>
>>5303088
>>5303157
>>5303187
>>5303264
"A friend in my group has her head in the clouds, I was hoping to find something to bring her back to earth." You point to Zhafira, laughing to herself as she failed to juggle a single rock above her head, along with Casca, who was placing Puck way down her throat like a pacifier.

"Gee, ever heard of brushing your teeth? These cavities are bigger than my mouth!" You hear Puck echo inside her.

"Ah, my apologies. I did not know the Mandragoras have reached this far from our border."

"No! Don't lump Casca with those monsters, she has nothing to do with them." Guts protests.

"Exactly, although related to trauma, their memory loss are self inflicted, unrelated to this disease." Serpico adds.

"Besides that, we would also with to know what happened here and if you already know the rumors happening in the rest of Midland. The Kushan invasion, the king's demise, the orders born from this anarchy."

"Hm, I have to admit that I am not up to date with the king's whereabouts, nor was I aware of the Kushan invasion. We have been too focused on developing a cure and keeping quarantine to keep track of the outside world."

Reading Bolzack's Od, you find him telling a lie that would go unnoticed by your peers. You wonder if you should bring that up now, but being in a public area, you might want to discuss with him privately.

His Od is clearly human. Above average strength and intelligence, but no signs of supernatural interactions.

"Of course, where are my manners? I am Lord Vlad Santana, former Midland Knight and a Member of the Union of Ilos. With me are my trusted companions and friends. I am also well aware of occultist magic, if there is anything I could do to help you find a cure to this disease, just say the word. Please take this as a humble gift from me." You hand him back the money and goods stolen from the castle, taken away by the bandits Serpico killed earlier.

"Ilos? I did not have a strong opinion of Barnham, given how independent his nation always tries to be. It's impressive someone managed to become a lord there." Bolzack stares at his hand, likely reminding himself of when the bear apostle visited him.

"I believe there is something we can settle for, to compensate you both for saving my people. Our cure is reaching it's final stages of development, but I believe this is not the place to discuss such matters. Come to my castle. Only the two of you."

>As you wish.
>Why only us?
>Can't we bring our sick companions along?
>I would feel safer with a trusted companion by my side. (Pick either Farnese or Serpico)
>Write-in.
>>
>>5303342
>Why only us?
>>I would feel safer with a trusted companion by my side. (Pick either Farnese or Serpico)
>Farnese
>>
>>5303342
>Why only us?
>Write in
"Ah thank you Lord Bozack"
"Could we arrange for have my companions make camp near your castle ? I would prefer to have them near, we have travel far and it has become unusual to be apart. Besides is safer near a castle than in the outskirts of a town."

Tell our companions to keep guard, if we are strangely not returning there might be problems. Move Zhafira and Casca in a safe place too. We have our own supplies for now, verify anything edible here before eating/drinking it.
>>
>>5303380
+1
>>
>>5303380
+1
>>
>>5303342
>Look to Guts for his stance. If he insists on bringing Casca, you don't think you'd be able to change his mind on that - best to support whatever he decides, given how stubborn the man can be.
>>
>>5303380
>>5303397
>>5303416

"Thank you, Lord Bolzack. But if you dont mind me asking, why did you-"

"Casca comes with me. I ain't leaving her behind. If there's not enough room in your carriage, just kick your soldiers out. They should know the way to your castle." Guts and his rude demeanor points out how weird it is for him to opt out of bringing the sick patients into the castle.

"Couldn't we arrange for have my companions make camp near your castle? I would prefer to have them near, we have traveled far and it has become unusual to be apart. Besides, it's safer to be near a castle than in the outskirts of a town." You remind yourself that Hyde and the animals are out of reach, and would rather unite than rush into Bolzack's place.

"Very well. You shall be honorary guests at my castle. However, I only want you two to come inside the the quarantine chamber. It is far too dangerous to let others inside, and I cannot vouch for their safety should they be infected."

Checking for lies in Bolzack's mind proves that he is telling the truth this time, and you telepathically say so to your group.

"Fine. Don't get any funny ideas while we're visiting." Guts mistrusts Bolzack despite his noble invitation.

"Excellent. Gyove, you can deal with the girl. Proceed with the plan as usual." The knights come out of their horse ride as the ruler tells his counselor to follow according to their goals.

"As you wish, milord." An old, hunched over man approaches Rita as the knights form a line towards his vehicle. Telepathically talking to Hyde and explaining your situation, he gives you a good response.

"Ya' got it, partner. Be there in a minute, just making sure Gunpowder's hooves are trimmed, you know how much he walks."

'Hyde good at trimming.' Gunpowder unexpectedly approves of his treatment, he sure ain't in a rush to go.

Bolzack's castle is truly immense, rivaling your estate in both size and aesthetic. Though you soon find out that his set of stairs work more like a maze, hiding where his laboratory resides by tiring you out with how many times you went up and down. We're it not for him, even you would have trouble making your way back.

"We'll wait for Hyde outside, you can count on me to take care of Casca, Black swordsman." Serpico says the last few words like he was about to puke.

"Sure thing, blondie." Guts doesn't hide his indifference either, doubting Serpico and his capabilities as a knight while Farnese stuffed Casca's clothes with protection wards.

"Ugh!" Guts groans after feeling a familiar pain on his brand, approaching the Mandragorans seem to have a reaction on his curse, despite them not reacting to your Od transfer.

"It's in the mandragora's nature to retaliate against humans, like the one you've seen earlier today, which is why we keep the patients and volunteers away from public eye."
>>
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>>5303469
>>5303469
Several masked doctors covered from head to toe walk around, brewing mixtures, operating on mandragorans, and placing their bodies in bags to throw them away.

"He's convulsing! Doctor! He's going to break the chains!"
"Uuurgh-" a nearby Mandragoran was about to stand up while undergoing surgery, yet the preemptive swing of an iron axe to his head was used to kill it before things could get any worse.

You would call that a waste of human life if there was any humanity left on him.

"Are you aware of what a Mandragora is?" Bolzack holds a vile up, observing if there was any progress in his experiments.

"Never heard of it. Vlad?"
"It's a plant that resembles a humanoid form. Never seen one either, but legend has it that whoever pulls it from the ground while it's sleeping will die from it's horrible, ear shattering screech. With its roots exposed to sunlight, the Mandragora also dies instantly."

"Which is exactly why it's so difficult to cure my people. The disease came from the borders of my land a few years ago, and only grew more rampant as the Mandragorans were possessed at night, and infected more people by the day." Bolzack completes your statement with additional insight.

The timeline adds up to when Conrad unleashed the plague throughout Midland...

"Rumor has it that should the plants nutrients be extracted, it can rejuvenate people, feel them with youth and vigor, and perhaps, even treat the Mandragoran disease. But with them dying from human touch, I have encountered and experimented with collecting them in many ways, all of them resulting in my teams being wiped out.

"So what's the alternative?"
"To extract their serum without them going to waste, the Mandragora plant needs to grow into a tree and have its heart extracted. I managed to recover a piece of one in an infested village, but only with an entire heart, we can put an end to that cursed Mandragoran possession."

"Get to the point already." The impatient Guts inputs his say in the matter, uncaring of the condition of Bolzack's people.

>So you want us to look for a Mandragoran tree?
>How fast does it spread?
>Is there no way of staying alive after hearing it's scream?
>Do you mind if I observed your progress with the medicine? I'm familiar with plants, maybe I could provide you some insight.
>Can the Mandragora also rejuvenate the mind?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5303501
>How fast does it spread?
>Is there no way of staying alive after hearing it's scream?
>Do you mind if I observed your progress with the medicine? I'm familiar with plants, maybe I could provide you some insight.
>Can the Mandragora also rejuvenate the mind?
>>
>>5303501
>How fast does it spread?
>Is there no way of staying alive after hearing it's scream?
>Do you mind if I observed your progress with the medicine? I'm familiar with plants, maybe I could provide you some insight.
>Can the Mandragora also rejuvenate the mind?
>>
>>5303501
>How fast does it spread?
>Is there no way of staying alive after hearing it's scream?
>Do you mind if I observed your progress with the medicine? I'm familiar with plants, maybe I could provide you some insight.
>Can the Mandragora also rejuvenate the mind?
>>
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>>5303510
>>5303513
>>5303521

"How fast does it spread?"
"For a Mandragoran to be fully formed, the plant must first reside inside the host. Once it's in, it will not leave, and further distress or pulling from the human will only make it grow faster to shut it up."

"When the corpse is nearly in decomposition, it's pores will spread it's seeds and infect the air with their residue."

"Airborne infection..."
"Villages were nearly taken overnight by a single instance of a Mandragoran appearing inside their soil. The disease is not to be taken lightly."

"But how do we take the Mandragora heart if they all kill us with sound? Is there no way or staying alive after hearing it's scream."

"No. Especially if you're the one pulling it from the earth. But I do know where you can find a Mandragora heart from a fully grown tree. There is a nun in a town a few hours away from here, Eliza. She fancies herself to be the protector of the plants, eating and sleeping with them as if they were human. She has turned down several of my pleads to take remove the heart herself, but perhaps with the likes of you going there, maybe she'll be convinced." Bolzack makes no effort in hiding that he wants her dead.

"Sorry, Bolzack. I don't get along too well with holy people. What's in there for me, anyway?"

"Isn't it obvious? If we can extract the serum, we will be able to heal your woman, seeing as you two are potential saviors of the town, your antidotes will be the first in line to be delivered."

"I don't trust you, Bolzack. Something tells me you're hiding something from us."

"You attempt to look deep into his mind, seeing if Bolzack had any underlying motives despite your impaired senses.

Visions of a younger Bolzack and an unknown woman in his care appear behind him as he attempts to retrieve the heart for her sake, going so far as to infect his own people with the Mandragora to experiment on them and develop a cure, killing them and letting them die just for the sake of having a faster way to heal the woman.

Given how common mutations are, it is likely that the reason the mandragorans remained strong in their presence was not due to mere persistence, but from active and premeditated growth.

"For the sake of trusting you, lord Bolzack. Do you mind if I observed your progress with the medicine? I'm familiar with plants, maybe I could provide you some insight."

"I would prefer if you let the research to me, especially when there is little to be done at this point." He deflects as Gyove appears for more counseling.

"We don't need their help, milord, accordion to our scientists, we can achieve a cure through regenerating the heart in the next few seasons."

"Enough of your nonsense, Gyove! Cromwell will be eradicated before how many seasons it takes for an artificial heart to be created!" He angrily pushes his counselor away from the conversation.
>>
>>5303573
>Alright, Bolzack. We will speak with Eliza.
>I insist, perhaps I can speed things up.
>You're not doing this for your people, are you?
>What do you think, Guts?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5303574
>Alright, Bolzack. We will speak with Eliza.
>I insist, perhaps I can speed things up.
>>
>>5303573
>Science is a gift from god, that much is sure, but it is only one component to the mystery of the Mandragora. I have received blessings and insights from a spirit of harvest in the past, so trust me when I say that I know plants. If there is any way to harvest a cure from these plants, I will be able to find it.
>>
>>5303574
>>Alright, Bolzack. We will speak with Eliza.
>>I insist, perhaps I can speed things up.
>>
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>>5303583
>>5303587
>>5303601
Using Vlad's plantcestry to see if you can find a better lead? Good call!

I'll throw you a bone and let you look at the experiment log, but chances are you won't like what you find or it's alternative options, and that's counting the risk of Bolzack thinking you know too much for an outsider.

crit on this DC and Vlad will try to plant a Mandragora tree with his tooth seeds :^)
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>5303615
Here you go boss, if you need it!
Didn't explicitly call for a roll but you did mention a DC so...maybe?
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>5303615
Let's goooo
>>
>>5303626
Yeah, forgot to ask for a 1d100, silly me.
I'll count it either linked to this post or to >>5303615 when you anons roll, as long as we reach a bo3 it's all good
>>
>>5303629
Vlad knows his fucking plants, jesus christ.
I wonder if we might legitimately help to further an actual cure with a roll of understanding like this, unlike what happens in canon.
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>5303615
COME ON LUCKY 100
>>
>>5303629
Fuuuuuuck. We were (this) close to a crit, oh well at least we hit very high.
>>
>>5303626
>>5303629
>>5303637
Damn, was it close.
But it wasn't quite on the mark, so we'll have to make do. At least we know Vlad's knowledge won't be entirely replaced once the loli witch steals the show with magic
>>
>>5303648
>I know magic, I've studied!
>I AM A PLANT
>>
>>5303698
>"Ok but that doesn't mean-"
>Vlad spits seeds at her until she stops bragging about being a nerd
>>
>>5303626
>>5303629
>>5303637

The world disappears as you close your eyes and imagine it with your 6th sense. The harvester's blessing will not go to waste. A plant based medicine? Possession from supernatural roots? Extracting serum and energies that cannot be seen?

You were made for this moment, and your photographic memory will be with you throughout the entire thing.

"I insist, Bolzack. My blessings from past harvesting spirits have given me extensive knowledge on this subject. My actions are unclouded of bias and skepticism. If someone can speed up this project or help with productions should the Mandragoran heart fail to be taken, alternative measures will be there to assist you."

"So sure that you can find an answer! Your hope-fueled words bring promise to even the emptiest of hearts." Bolzack seems convinced, though still prefers to carry on with his primary plan.

"Screw it then... I'll consider talking with this Eliza nun. Just give me an hour or so to think this through." Guts has a change of heart, trying to convince whatever empathy he has left to help Bolzack, so long as he promised a fix for Casca.

"Thank you. Truly, this feels like a dream come true! My people have waited so long for this day, I pity the ones who couldn't live until you arrived-"

Bolzack's ferocious grin is turned upside down as the sound of a battering ram is heard tearing the door open.

"What's happening?!"
"Rebels! They've grown impatient from our secrecy about the cure!" Gyove explains.

"I've got this. A good warm-up until I leave for the real mission is exactly what I needed. You can stay here and do your bookworm shenanigans if you'd like. If your team can't hold their ground until I reach them, maybe you shouldn't miss dead weight when they're gone." Guts underestimates how strong Hyde and Serpico are. Even if Farnese is still in training, Puck and Casca aren't exactly top notch front hitters...

>I'll start reading the logs.
>On second thought, I better check how my team is doing.
>>
>>5303817
>On second thought, I better check how my team is doing.
>>
>>5303817
>On second thought, I better check how my team is doing.
Read the logs afterword, for now lets just make sure our team is not under attack.
>>
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>>5303828
>>5303833
With others trying to invade the castle, you wonder if the group of thieves you met before entering Cromwell had anything to do with this.

The Mandragorans quickly grew angry at the sudden noise, being disturbed of their sleep and whatever peace they could find while being put down when people screamed for them.

Observing their rotten minds, you did see a glimpse of some of them reminiscing about their loved ones, as if still remembering their past lives

"Uuuurgh!" Their strength is shown by how easily they managed to bent the metal bars in the dungeon, bending and breaking the cells by contorting their limbs, or even just smashing a hole through the wall.

Already having his sword in hand, Guts stands dead center in the dungeon hallway to better swing the dragonslayer, cutting and dismembering the test subjects as many times as he had to as he sprinted to the upper floors.

Bolzack went along with him, though minding his step to not get too close to the swordsman's chaotic swings while you pondered on how to approach the main hall faster.

Your interactions with Job indicated that these creatures react differently than apoatles, even if they share the astral origins.

Since neither Puck or Farnese are here to help you give an extra boost, maybe sucking their energy will be enough to push you through the enemies from Guts' behind, plus the ones he failed to kill? A cleaner kill would certainly be preferable given how many gallons of blood are being smeared on the walls thanks to the dragonslayer.

>Try to contain them with your magic.
>Attempt to take their energy until they stop moving.
>Being physical is way cooler, you can charge and slash through them.
>Plat your seeds to break the ceiling and destroy the tree when they start climbing it.
>Let Guts take care of it, you never know when you might have to preserve energy.
>>
>>5303900
>Try to contain them with your magic.
>Attempt to take their energy until they stop moving.
>>
>>5303900
>Attempt to take their energy until they stop moving.
>Being physical is way cooler, you can charge and slash through them.
>Write in
Sing a lullaby to the mandrogans with telepathy, while at best a lucky shot, sounds does effect plants in both ways. Perhaps it can calm them down since it would be done by us an half human/plant, a rampage of mandrogans in the castle must be avoided. If it doesn't work, magic and weapons are in our hands.

Tell the people to move to safety.
>>
>>5304084
>telepathically link with plant parasites
>immediately hear screaming
>pass out
>die
Good end.
>>
>>5303900
>Try to contain them with your magic.
>Attempt to take their energy until they stop moving.
>>
>>5303900
>Attempt to take their energy until they stop moving.
>Being physical is way cooler, you can charge and slash through them.

Can't really support the lullaby idea but this sounds rad, maybe we could drain them through our weapon?
lewd, I know
>>
>>5303900
>>Try to contain them with your magic.
>>Attempt to take their energy until they stop moving.
>>
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>>5304086
>>5304103
>>5304183
>>5304156
Time for rollan, a 2d100 should do the trick.

God I hope people don't fail the dice check if they pull on a Mandragora, that'd be an embarrassing way to go out
>>
Rolled 3, 53 = 56 (2d100)

>>5304262
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
>>
Rolled 39, 76 = 115 (2d100)

>>5304262
Cowabunga?
>>
Rolled 88, 90 = 178 (2d100)

>>5304262
oh god oh fuck
>>
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Rolled 50, 94 = 144 (2d100)

>>5304262
>>
>>5304323
>>5304266
>>5304275
>>5304289

Taking a few moves from Guts, you replicate his strategy of swinging horizontally to the point of practically spinning. The removed weight of your armor and weapons made your attacks fast enough to deflect the rubbery Mandragoran's swings as their lumps hardened to defend themselves of your onslaught.

Switching hands to keep your pole moving, you wave your spear to signal to them how you're ready to attack at any moment. You can see their movements when they come to you, but precognition is a one way street.

Without having to resort to spiritual recharge, the potency of your swings as you ravaged through splashes of blood and chlorophyll were starting to slow down, especially when you saw guts already being several steps in front of you.

It's going to be a pain to traverse back to the main hall by yourself, but neither of them seem to wait for you, despite the enemies coming both ways, they're only facing the front way.

Frustrated at your progression, you place a hand on the fallen mandragorans who refused to lie down and stay dead, since you're used to being around plants already, you might as well attempt to take the energy of them forcefully, if doing the opposite had an unexpected effect, what could this do?

Placing your hand on the Mandragoran's face, you suckle their life force as their painful cries make you wish you could cover your ears. As the creature shrinks and turns into a small puddle on the floor, you barely feel a difference on your energy or notice any of the possession's effects on you.

The plant is gone, yet so is the host, killed along with his parasite.

While not as deadly or passive as the flesh monsters, as you cut down the logs and chip down the tall grass growing around you, you start to wonder if these creatures are pseudo apostles, being controlled by a stronger figure who is actually a demon would certainly make a lot more sense...

Finally catching up to Guts and Bolzack z you see them trying to keep a door locked as several infected guards tried to smash through from the armory.

These things are already annoying enough to kill, but they're going to be an even bigger pest with full sets of armor...

>Seal the door.
>Squash them with your magical trees.
>Open the door and deal with them.
>We can deal with them later, let's rush to ground floor.
>Guts can blow them up through the crack on the door, let him deal with it.
>Put your hand in between the door and disintegrate them by absorption.
>>
>>5304342
>Squash them with your magical trees.
>>
>>5304342
>Squash them with your magical trees.
TIME TO USE OUR SPECIAL MOVE
>>
>>5304351
>>5304352
Let's go for a 1d100+10 this time. Trees are Vlad's specialty by now, let's not pretend he can fuck this up, roll for veggietales
>>
Rolled 10 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5304383
Let's get a good roll soon..
>>
Rolled 37 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5304383
PLANT IS STROOOOOOOOOOOONG
>>
Rolled 73 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5304383
fucking up now
>>
>>5304409
BASED
>>
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>>5304387
>>5304395
>>5304409

How would it feel to taste their own medicine?

"Allow me." You tap Guts to get out of the door before he could act on his impulse and fire that arm cannon of his.

Taking your seed pouch out of your pockets, you try to feel the energy of how many Mandragorans reside inside the armory, wondering if one for each would make it easier for you to squash them all.

"1,2,3,4...7 seeds."
"This is no time to grow a beanstalk, Vlad. What do you think you're doing?" Guts questions your sanity after seeing your unorthodox weapon.

"I like to learn as I fight, you'd be surprised at how much I've learned while you were off. GROW!" You order your seeds to sprout as their branches fight off against the Mandragoran's.

The willow's leaves fell out as it shook and grow with your arm's movements, replicating your flailing as you made it go through them, break the armors and weapons in their possession, with the bonus of making their room uninhabitable.

After the door was opened, you saw that your tree managed to absorb the nutrients the Mandragoran residue would leave on the floor, with several faces being carved on it's trunk.

"Did you... Just create a Mandragora tree?" Bolzack asked in shock.

"No, these were just regular seeds. You place evil astral energy into pretty much anything, and it will grow sentience and want to act in revenge."

The willow tries to attack you, but aside from it's strikes being easily dodgeable due to its range. You were the one who created the damn thing! A quick exorcism should easily put them in their place-

A loud clang of the dragonslayer reaches the tree and sends it falling down. Guts was the one who killed it before you could conjure your spell.

"Or you could do just that... Good job." You partially complain over not being able to exorcise your plants and see if they could still be intelligent. It's infuriating how you're on the verge of discovering new powers, but your weakening soul always keeps you from discovering what that is...
>>
>>5304479
"I took you for a tree hugger before, but this is ridiculous!" Puck flew under your nose as he sprayed the powder from his wings wherever he went.

"Took the words right out of my mouth." Guts grins and greets his elf companion. "What's happening up there, is Casca safe?"

"Yeah, that hunter we found in the mountains showed up flying and attacked them from behind. It looked super cool, but I can fly a lot higher than that bird, so I blinded them with my Puck-sparks for added measure!"

"Puck-sparks?"
"Don't humor him." Guts replies as you question the names of his 'attacks'.

"They got Casca in a hostage situation, but Rita chose to go in her place. I didn't even see when she entered the castle, but hey, if it's convenient for us, it's better we don't ask too many questions."

"The guards and scientists can neutralize the remaining Mandragoran, let's see the damage they've done." Bolzack rushed to the staircase, hoping the worst for his castle and for his men.

"The scoundrels! They will pay for this treason with their lives! How dare them invade us when we're the only ones attempting to keep the fall of our civilization from happening?" The older Gyove is quick to cast judgement over the destroyed entrance hall, but Bolzack only follows with a short "Naturally."

"Y'all should have some more faith in us, partner. We might not have much experience with apostles, but a couple of youngins with sticks making sound? Serpico and I can deal with this on our sleep." He grins to the blonde man cast with the role of protecting the team while you were away.

"I couldn't really tell if Rita wanted to leave to escape her trial, or because she actually wanted to be heroic. Given how she took a disliking for you and Guts after killing Job, I suspect they might be related." While lacking any of your abilities, Serpico deducts enough from the situation to give you a report.

"Someone needs to go after her! Bringing a Mandragoran to town is bad enough, but aligning herself with the rebels is more than enough for a public hanging!" Gyove condemns. No one speaks a word, let alone agree with him.

>Someone can look for her while I'm studying the Mandragorans.
>Are her crimes really that grave? Look at the situation they're in, of course the silence would be panicking.
>Keep quiet, this land is not yours to counsel.
>>
>>5304497
>Someone can look for her while I'm studying the Mandragorans.
Time to study plant.
>>
>>5304497
>>Someone can look for her while I'm studying the Mandragorans.
>>
>5304497
>Someone can look for her while I'm studying the Mandragorans.
>>
>>5304497
>>Someone can look for her while I'm studying the Mandragorans.
>>
>>5304505
>>5304508
>>5304514
>>5304523

"Surely they're still near these areas. Can't someone look for Rita while I'm studying the Mandragorans?"

"Are they hideout close to Eliza's church?"
"No, but they're around the same direction." Gyove answers Guts.

"Then I'm off to wherever they went to. Standing still won't get us closer to that heart."

"Exactly! This place might not be as safe as my home, but healing Casca here would be an awesome strat for a sequence break!" Puck safely lands on Guts' pouch. "Off to save Rita!"

"Let me guess, that girl is coming with you? With how many knights and fighters are here, it would be best to let them accompany you, instead of a sickly-"

"You got a problem with how I save your shit stain of a city?" Guts points a knife at the old counselor, clutching his fist after hearing his whining. "The less people working with me, the less I'l have to worry about casualties, or being double crossed."

"Wait, Mr Swordsman!" Farnese speaks up, offering some wards for Guts like she previously did with Casca.

"I don't need these. It's useful to keep them around Casca since she can't fight, but if I don't keep myself sharp fighting with the night demons... My sword will be too dull to cut anyone other than myself." Guts pushes her papers away, tugging on Casca's gown as she left on a whimper.

Finally alone with your thoughts as you pulled an all nighter studying the experiment logs and seeing the effects of the Mandragora on the few possessed subjects still left alive. The theory that this disease was artificially spread keeps making it's way onto your head, especially reading the experiments logs where they go in painstaking detail about how the Mandragora reacts to pain, having it's limbs torn, how fast it regenerates and how long it lives with its head chopped off. How would these facts help in developing an antidote in any way? There's barely anything mentioning how to set back it's symptoms.

What can you really add to this research in a single day?

>Confront Bolzack on the ethics of his research.
>Observe how your blood reacts to the Mandragoran spores.
>Study the possibility of regenerating the piece of the Mandragoran heart by killing the remaining patients.
>Ask Farnese for magical assistance.
>They're hiding something from you, you just have to pretend you're studying and listen to the scientists talking.
>>
>>5304599
>Observe how your blood reacts to the Mandragoran spores.
>Ask Farnese for magical assistance.
>>
>>5304599
>>Observe how your blood reacts to the Mandragoran spores.
>>Ask Farnese for magical assistance.
>>
>>5304599
>Observe how your blood reacts to the Mandragoran spores.
>Ask Farnese for magical assistance.
>>
>>5304599
>Observe how your blood reacts to the Mandragoran spores.
>Ask Farnese for magical assistance.
>>
>>5304989
>>5304617
>>5304620
>>5304625

You didn't spent around a month training Farnese and others about different assortments of occult practices to let her stay idle. Whatever little thing she can do will save you the most of time, and you're going to let her know that.

"Vlad... Don't you think they're going to find it weird for me to be here?" She shakes as you take her hand and bring her downstairs.

"Why? Because they might find out who you are? There are masks and bodysuits for you to change in here. Besides, Bolzack hasn't said a word about you yet."

"That's not it. I'm talking about me practicing science while doing magic..."

"Well, if the local nun is famous for accepting the Mandragorans, they must be pretty desensitized to these sorts of things. A woman doing magic on the operating table will be barely noticeable by their standards. You can get changed behind the closet."

"Alright, but I don't want to see you staring..."
"I'm taking this as seriously as I can here, Farnese. This is no time to be immature." You say, though deep down, lamenting the fact that you swore not to abuse of your Od sensing when not in life threatening situations.

Stupid moral code...

At least you weren't the only one distracted by a significant other's presence. As Farnese tried to speedread the contents of the research logs, you pondered on how to solve the plague directly.

Naturally, given the weird interactions you've had with them so far, perhaps it was worth testing the effects of placing your own blood sample on the Mandragora's fungus.

"Farnese, can you help me draw some blood? You place your hand on the table as you look for a sharp, clean object."

"Oh, sure..." You're taken aback when you later feel your fingers going inside her mouth as she attempts to take a bite out of your skin.

"Er, Farnese? There's a syringe on your right."
"O-oh! Of course! What was I thinking...?" She tries to hide it as a mere mistake, but it takes more than being klutz to think that this is the most effective way of drawing blood, especially coming from an ex torturer...
>>
>>5305062
Regardless, Farnese knows exactly where to pierce your skin to hit a main vein, so it was easy to draw blood and watch the reaction from the pores as they spread around the small red tray.

Focusing your sight onto the mixture, you see them trying to form something akin to a solid form as your blood coagulates. Seeing as the plant creatures are known to be adapting their environment in more ways than stealing nutrients from soil, you're interested in seeing the chemical reaction on a closer level.

"Vlad! Look!" Farnese shows the illustrations on their sheets, showing the initial stage of the Mandragora plant as it sprouts before taking the usual form known from screaming until people's ears went numb.

The blood wasn't nearly enough for it to nourish, and being out of soil, it died before even growing larger than the size of a tooth.

Oddly enough, it's heart was already formed by then. Not large enough to compare to the Mandragoran heart tree Bolzack wants, or the piece he has in his possession, given the circle around the heart on the drawing.

It would take a considerable amount of blood to create a Mandragora and plant it on the ground, and even if you could tell it to grow, you could always kill yourself by pulling the plant too early and die in vain.

You could also attempts to form a fully lab grown heart, but the amount of blood required for that would require you to sever your main a limb and likely dying to blood loss.

You could use the Mandragorans for it. They're technically already at death's door if they don't get treated, but that's a sacrifice you don't exactly feel comfortable in doing.

The pressure on choosing who to lives or dies is tough when you're a doctor, and that's because you're just playing with theoreticals.

>Attempt to grow a Mandragora sprout.
>Attempt to grow a Mandragora heart.
>Draw from your own blood.
>Terminate the patients to work on the cure.
>Tell Bolzack you have nothing to report. It's safer to just wait for Guts.
>>
>>5305114
>Terminate the patients to work on the cure.
In a world like Berserk, sometimes we have to make sacrifices in order to make the greater good.

But not like Griffith of course, these patients are kinda screwed.
>>
>>5305114
Wait, I think there's more to consider under this avenue of research before we decide on a method.
>Subdue one of the patients that's close to if not already a lost cause. Cut into the mandragora within them and implant a seed, then have Farnese remotely provide a supply of od through transference runes, while you provide a supply of blood, and you Grow the seed with the direction of taking control over the mandragora around it and forming a plantlike heart over the course of a few steady hours.
There's a physical component, but I think after seeing what our od does with them and what their od does with us, we should be able to work with this. Get the seed to grow densely rather than large.
>>
>>5305189
+1 Sounds very creative
>>
>>5305241
>>5305189
Alright, I can see this experiment working, but not in a few hours, given the amount of precision required and the limited patients.

Expect a high DC on this one, but a passable one. Give me a 1d100
>>
Rolled 35 (1d100)

>>5305290
Hopefully this works
>>
Rolled 100 (1d100)

>>5305290
ez fail on the way
>>
>>5305303
Damn you dice. I asked for a failure. Useless RNGesus.
>>
>>5305303
Jesus Christ Vlad take it easy with the blunts...
>>
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>>5305303
NICE
>>
>>5305292
>>5305303
Asking for permission to Bolzack and the head surgeons, you combine their knowledge with yours to create the perfect antidote.

As they put an unhealthy test subject to sleep, you used their barely alive body to implant a seed inside their body, hoping you could fool the Mandragoran into thinking that was an extension of itself, slowing spreading it's pores to the regular plant and taking it's nutrients.

With Farnese keeping the patient alive with her Od transfer, you managed to pour enough of it's essence to replace the original sprout as you coiled the seed in the shape of a human heart.

It wasn't exactly Mandragoran, nor was it a tree, or a human. Until you planted it and let it grow in your command, it could be any of the three options, or perhaps even something in-between.

Placing it in a pot, you keep your fingers crossed as you stammer to say the magic words.

"...Grow!"

Silence. Farnese covered her mouth as she hoped that the Mandragora was just too shy to show up. Bolzack was hoping for you to fail, despite his neutral expressions, and the other scientists whispered to themselves on how effective that idea was.

Yet suddenly, a bulb sprouted from the soil, and a quick reading of presence under the mud revealed that a small, humanoid plant figure was laying in the plot.

All of you in the room would be cheering and congratulating each other, were it not for the golden rule of staying silent near a Mandragora.

Even the possessed patients got a reaction from that, as their moans stopped and all stared enamored in the direction of the plant, even when it wasn't in their line of sight.

You and Farnese take turns in watching over the plant, making sure no one disturbs it as you lean on each other on two separate chairs adjacent to the pot.

The way she nuzzles her nose on your shoulder whenever it's itchy is really adorable. Hopefully she'll let you rest your head on her lap when it's your turn.

These happy moments of victory... Almost make you gloss over how easy this was.

You're telling me that after all these years, with a talented team by his side, Bolzack never managed to grow a Mandragoran in his lab? And now that we have one, why are we waiting for it to fully turn into a tree? Why is there only one tree and why did people keep pulling them out if the point was too wait for them to be ripe?

>Confront Bolzack.
>Deal with it later, it was a tiring day.
>>
>>5305386
>Confront Bolzack
Wouldn't hurt to ask a few questions... right?
>>
>>5305386
>Confront Bolzack.
Holy cow, I go to sleep and Vlad starts kicking ass in the laboratory. Based.
>>
>>5305386
>>Confront Bolzack.
>>
>>5305386
>Confront Bolzack.
Here's hoping Vlad's crazy good rolls means a actual cure can be made rather then one that irreversibly and utterly mind wipes anyone who takes it.
>>
>>5305386
>>Confront Bolzack.
>>
>>5305391
>>5305533
>>5305600
>>5305675

Approaching Bolzack at the main hall, your mind wanders on what exactly took him so long to get to this point. Sure, none of them are actual magicians, but provided they started studying and figuring out what to do, someone must have managed to reach a cure previously, correct?

"So you did manage to create a Mandragora on your lab. Commendable effort indeed, Lord Vlad." Bolzack acknowledged your achievements.

"Waiting for it to fully grow will take a while, but when it does, no doubt it's hear will be ours. It's weird how people kept pulling the Mandragoras instead of just letting them grow naturally though... It's almost as if... You were giving your scientists and laborers misinformation."

Bolzack's expression shifts as he grows weary of your accusations.

"Now now, I am not accusing you of anything, surely there must be a reason for you to do this. Otherwise the armory wouldn't be so close to where the patients are, correct?"

"What are you insinuating?"

"I've met a few of the bandits from Cromwell in the outskirts. At first, I thought they were merely rebelling for the sake of it, but seeing how you keep your research in such secrecy while also easily letting me in, I figured that contradictory action could only mean that you were planning something in the shadows."

"H-how did you have the foresight to see through all of this?"

"I've been played for a fool enough times to learn all sorts of mind games."

"Blast! I thought I told my guards to impede any from leaving without permission!" Bolzack hits a wall with his fist, angry for being found out before actually doing anything. Reading intentions really makes you look like a genius when others don't know the extent of your ability.

"I suppose there is no point in feigning ignorance, then." Bolzack admits defeat, though still holding some cards to his chest.

>Well, what else are you hiding?
>What were you planning on doing if I told the truth to your citizens?
>Why hasn't the disease been eradicated already?
>Who really is responsible for these Mandragorans?
>You seem to have a woman in your mind, are you doing this for her?
>>
>>5305906
>Well, what else are you hiding?
>Why hasn't the disease been eradicated already?
>Who really is responsible for these Mandragorans?
>You seem to have a woman in your mind, are you doing this for her?
>>
>>5305906
>Well, what else are you hiding?
>Why hasn't the disease been eradicated already?
>Who really is responsible for these Mandragorans?
>>You seem to have a woman in your mind, are you doing this for her?
>>
>>5305906
>Well, what else are you hiding?
>>Why hasn't the disease been eradicated already?
>>Who really is responsible for these Mandragorans?
>>>You seem to have a woman in your mind, are you doing this for her?
>>
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>>5305938
>>5305968
>>5305985

"Well, what else are you hiding? Surely you know how the Mandragoran possession truly came to be."

That is the one answer I cannot give to you, as Eliza is the one who lives with the plant creatures, she is the one more familiarized with their arrival. Though I believe they came right after the passing of a local boy in her town, Nico."

Reading his mind, you verify the truth in his words as he tells the story of the young Nico.

"A commoner boy became infamous on the town near the church, always hanging out with animals and talking to inanimate objects. He believed that life was the best gift that one could recieve, and that there was no reason not to share that happiness, even if no one was there to listen to him."

"The other children found him weird, throwing sticks and stones to him so he would stop talking, yet he never did. The nun took pity on him, believing there was nothing wrong with his genuine joy in living."

"One day, during the cold winter of new year's day, the bell of the chapel rang, loud enough to reach Nico's town. The food was growing scarce at that time of season, and already being cast out from his peers, they refuse to feed Nico, forcing him to go out to the cold, until he reached Eliza's church."

"He banged on the door and yelled for her as loud as his freezing body could, yet his shouts were drowned out by the bell. When Eliza found his body, she was never the same."

No lies, he's still telling the truth, even if the story has no correlation to the Mandragorans.

"Do you know if there was a Behelit nearby? An amulet of sorts, oval in shape, but with human expression carved on them." You theorize that Eliza could have wished for the God Hand to bring Nico back to life, with the results backfiring as she sacrificed her humanity.

"That's a minute detail to ask of someone with second hand knowledge of the situation. Can't say I've ever heard such a thing present that day."
No lies there, even if the theory seems sound.
>>
>>5306048

"Surely Guts will figure out the rest of the story if he's going there personally. We can deal with those questions later if it means asking you why you haven't eradicated this disease already. The Mandragorans wouldn't have come this far if you didn't let them spread all the way over here. Why is that?"

"Have you taken a look at what's happening outside, Vlad? Demons, invasions from different lands, wicked plagues, despair after despair. You might be able to deal with these predicaments while you are young. Lord knows I did... With Cromwell being so close to the border, this land has been captured an seized well over a hundred times. I managed to establish peace and stay afloat for a long time... But time was not kind to me, it changes who you are, and as my wife turned ill, I came to the conclusion that I needed to leave something to the following generation."

"Which was?"

"This Mandragoran disease. While leaving much suffering toward my people, if properly controlled, could raise an army that would make even the weakest child capable of dealing with my strongest soldier. A counter measure for all the pain and suffering plaguing our fallen kingdom. After so many deaths, sharing a cure without having an army would make their deaths entirely meaningless."

"Those people never consented to being mutated, Bolzack! You lied and told them you were working for a cure, when you were just looking for a way to fully brainwash them."

"Brainwash? That's the exact side effect I've been trying so desperately to cure... Be it diseases, dismemberment, even when the victim's heart has already stopped, the Mandragora can revive them and return them to the world of the living, but it comes at a great cost... Their mind is never the same. Such was the cost of curing my dear wife from her sickness."

This magical elixir I've been marketing to my people is nothing but snake oil... An easy fix to all their troubles can't come without a cost, and I know that better than all of them."

Truthfully, Bolzack did not want a cure for the disease, for it would either give their people the same fate as his wife, or render his plan of a private plant army pointless and devoid of meaning of his massacres, even if he doesn't seem sorry for the lost lives or for lying to their faces

>So you'd rather let them all die than tell them the truth?
>You deserve being shunned by the rebels, you heartless fiend.
>There's still time to turn this around, Bolzack. Let me grow this Mandragora tree.
>>
>>5306088
>There's still time to turn this around, Bolzack. Let me grow this Mandragora tree.
>I understand your want for both power, and to cure the minds of those who are ill. Both reasons are why I've come here, in truth - not just to provide a cure to my friends. There is merit to your pursuits, even if I cannot agree with the morality of your methods. I think that together, we might be able to find the best of both worlds - to mend the minds of those we care for, and to acquire the power to resist the evil at our respective borders. All that I ask is that you not succumb to the temptations of evil - such quick and easy methods cost far more than they're worth, and the true cost is always hidden.
>>
>>5306145
+1 in support

Adding to this: "I once knew of a man who wanted to become a king of his own land. While his ambitions appeared to be noble, his desire was left unchecked which gave way into darker impulses. He did not know when to control his lust for his dream; thus it lead to him taking more extreme drastic measures until he committed a great evil in which he killed those closest to him to get to that dream faster. In the end, he had only himself left. Be wary of evil, no matter what place it comes from, Lord Bolzack."
>>
>>5306145
>>5306201
Support
>>
>>5306145
+1
>>
>>5306145
>>5306201
>>5306238

"Given Midland and it's background, I understand your want for both power, and to cure the minds of those who are ill. Both reasons are why I've come here, in truth - not just to provide a cure to my friends. There is merit to your pursuits, even if I cannot agree with the morality of your methods. I think that together, we might be able to find the best of both worlds - to mend the minds of those we care for, and to acquire the power to resist the evil at our respective borders."

All that I ask is that you not succumb to the temptations of evil - such quick and easy methods cost far more than they're worth, and the true cost is always hidden."

"You don't need to warn me of the path I'm taking, Lord Vlad. I've already chosen what side to remain in until the end of my days. Little by little, expectations turned to frustration. The love for my land turned into mere obligation. Indifference is what awaits you when you fight until the point of fatigue. Ambitions become as blanket as the Mandragoran mind. The only thing still pushing me forward is the attestment to the blood I've already spilled!" Bolzack attempts to show some strength in his voice, but it comes off as distant and indifferent, he can't even fake enjoyment in torturing people anymore.

"There's still time to turn this around, Bolzack. Let me grow this Mandragora tree!"

"I once knew of a man who wanted to become a king of his own land. While his ambitions appeared to be noble, his desire was left unchecked which gave way into darker impulses. He did not know when to control his lust for his dream; thus it lead to him taking more extreme drastic measures until he committed a great evil in which he killed those closest to him to get to that dream faster. In the end, he had only himself left. Be wary of evil, no matter what place it comes from, Lord Bolzack."

"Desires? Believe me when I say there is nothing I wished more than to feel something new. In truth, I envy the Mandragora, who knows just enough to live without worry. My wife lives oblivious to her own pain. While I'm doomed to remember everything..." The apathy from knowing too much is what separates him from his old ideals, and despite how many people you meet, their suffering is always something they have in common for the dark angels to weaponize.

"Provided the best case scenario does happen. That both you and Guts manage to extract a Mandragoran heart. I shall warn you that my studies have already shown how much serum we would theorietically need to heal a human from it's Mandragoran condition."

"And how much that would be?"
>>
>>5306265
"Provided the hear is killed in Eliza's town, the Mandragorans there should be eradicated, turned back into their human forms. We believe that once their original progenitors cease to be, the other branches soon lose their grip on their hosts, bearing so much attachment to their creator that they follow suit."

"Why didn't you tell Guts about this, then? Now he-- We are killing humans without knowing they could be saved."

"He doesn't seem the type to mind of what type of blood smears his sword, much like me. What difference would that make?" Bolzack implies that all along, the Mandragoras and their possessed would have done absolutely nothing if they just left them alone or just managed to kill their main heart, yet deliberately angered them to wage war on their people, on the promise that they would eventually fuse into one and be a stable army.

This man makes Barnham sound like a master strategist...

"Still, if we ended the Mandragoran curse with both your Mandragora and the swordsman's, killing both of them would only make them be able to heal a single person per heart." Bolzack explains, still thinking on how the powerful heart serum could be stronger than the average extract they've pulled before, but given the side effects, you wager that one day isn't enough time to consider it safe for consumption.

"I believe that even if I told all of this to Guts, he would still obey me as long as I gave him the medicine, yet I am not sure what you will do with this knowledge. Who do you think should be our first subject, in this supposed test phase of our mixture, provided it does work?"

>Casca. That woman is all Guts lives for, and he would kill us both if we deny his share.
>You, Bolzack, you've suffered long enough with your sickly wife.
>Me. My body is falling apart, maybe if I recover, I can help you find more Mandragoras.
>Zhafira, I only brought her here on the off chance that she could regain her sanity.
>I can't say who deserves it the most. (Lie, he can't do this without you now.)
>>
>>5306285
>Casca. That woman is all Guts lives for, and he would kill us both if we deny his share. But he's also a dear friend to me, so I would do anything if it meant lessening his suffering.
>>
>>5306285
>I would be lying if I did not say that I wish to see Zhafira as herself again, or to restore my dear friend's beloved Casca. Indeed, I also want to ease your own suffering, Bolzack - it's clear to me that you've suffered all these years. However, at the crux of my decision is thus: you stated that the person used would be a subject. And on the off chance that it does not work as intended, that it has unbearable side-effects or consequences? I would only offer my own body for such a test. I would never, ever risk another's life or wellbeing with such a test, no matter how certain of the benefits we are. Life has a way of twisting the best intentions if one acts too hastily, after all.
More in-character than as a means to repair his body, in my opinion.
>>
>>5306344
+1
>>
>>5306344
Disregard >>5306304
I'm changing my vote to this +1
>>
>>5306344
+1 I was thinking off the same thing too.
>>
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>>5306344
>>5306352
>>5306354
>>5306359

"I would be lying if I did not say that I wish to see Zhafira as herself again, or to restore my dear friend's beloved Casca. Indeed, I also want to ease your own suffering, Bolzack - it's clear to me that you've suffered all these years. However, at the crux of my decision is thus: you stated that the person used would be a subject. And on the off chance that it does not work as intended, that it has unbearable side-effects or consequences? I would only offer my own body for such a test. I would never, ever risk another's life or wellbeing with such a test, no matter how certain of the benefits we are. Life has a way of twisting the best intentions if one acts too hastily, after all."

You state your case on how you have a condition that goes beyond bodily limitations, much like Casca, Zhafira or Bolzack's wife, yet being patient zero means anything could happen if the first shot if your antidote misfires. And if you do end up turning someone into a plan, it might as well be someone who already has familiarity with them.

Bolzack stays silent, in deep thinking as your words appear to get through to him. He still seems to be wondering if you have any intention of fulfilling your end of the bargain, instead of just dying or leaving without lending him a sample.

"You dangle the promise of saving my dear Anette from insanity, only to say you want to save yourself first?"

"If Guts was successful in taking the heart from Eliza's town, we should be able to heal 2 of our sickly, instead of just one."

"Then make sure Anette is the second in line, or else you and your group will only leave Cromwell after fighting all of my soldiers."

That's going to leave both Casca and Zhafira out of the equation... The latter is in no rush to be healed if it's up to her, but you doubt Guts will be complacent with your actions.

"Where could he be? It doesn't feel just to discuss who goes first without Guts here..." You speak out loud.

"He should be arriving soon, provided Gyove has taken Casca under the swordsman's nose like I ordered him to. I wanted to make sure he would come back and stay until dawn." Bolzack smirked, taking advantage of the mentally impaired to bait Guts into giving him the heart.

Before, he wasn't sure that he could heal Anette, but now that he found a way through you, he's already firm on which course of action to pursue.

Hope did nothing but reveal his true colors.
>>
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>>5306399
>provided Gyove has taken Casca under the swordsman's nose like I ordered him to
Oh fuck this let's go hide in closer somewhere and hope he doesn't hit us by accident.
>>
>>5306399

>Attack Bolzack. If he dies you won't have any obligations to heal Anette.
>Go after Gyove. You don't trust him to take care of Casca.
>Look for Guts. You need to know how his mission went.
>Watch the Mandragora sprout with Farnese. Knowing Bolzack's intentions, you might not want to leave that alone in his castle.
>Your cavalry is still here, telepathically explain the situation and tell them where to go.
>>
>>5306405
>Your cavalry is still here, telepathically explain the situation and tell them where to go.
>Keep talking with Bolzack, perhaps you could find a way to sway his heart and mind back onto the path of righteousness. Perhaps by combining your mind-reading abilities and the social acumen you picked up from your youth, you can press him in the right ways to start seriously reconsidering his current path of abusing the trust of Guts and Casca, and of possibly betraying any of you.
>>
>>5306436
This anon is using his brain.

+1
>>
>>5306436
+1
>>
>>5306436
Support
Mention that in doing so he would create an enemy for himself in Guts, an exceptional warrior and ex mercenary. What would his wife think of betraying trust of someone that aided him ? And of what he did so far ?
No, a better path can still be picked, if not for himself, his people, or his power as a lord then just for his wife. Take a better path for her, let others benefit this and not just you.
We where able to create a heart here, we should be able to make more for our needs. It would require some time and proper nourishment/healing, but it can be done.
>>
>>5306436
+1

>>5306517
this too
>>
>>5306436
>>5306517

Talking about one thing while relaying another message with your mind to several other people is as tough as it sounds, yet you manage to communicate Bolzack's true intentions to your team, and they react accordingly.

"Always too quick to trust strangers... Alright, I'll try to look for lady Casca and watch out for his soldiers." Serpico rushes to action as he focused on the human enemies.

"I'm gonna fly with Violet to see if I can look for Guts. The faster he gets here, the easier it'll be to deal with this nonsense." Hyde flies off through the window on his trusted harpy.

"Me stay with clown girl. If Gunpowder go fast, soldier can't take clown girl" Even your horse seems to know what to do, being set free by Hyde and instantly rushing to where Zhafira was.

"Wheeee! I'm going on a great adventure!" The oblivious girl doesn't even bother resisting when the horse grabs her by the collar with his teeth and chucks her over to his back.

"Listen to me, Bolzack! Are you really willing to make an enemy out of Guts after seeing what he's capable of? What would your wife think of your actions?"

Bolzack ponders on who's he really been doing this carnage disguised as research for: was it to distract himself from giving up on Anette, or was it because he truly cared for her?

"I-"
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" A muffled Mandragora scream is echoed through the basement's walls as the hear appeared to have been prematurely taken.

"What the hell is this?" You shout as you cover your ringing ears.
"The Mandragora heart? But how? I've kept it hidden for so long in my room that-" Bolzack slaps himself in the face, putting 2 and 2 together and realizing that the innocent Annette probably found her way into the heart and woke the Mandragora up.
>>
>>5306710
"V-Vlad!? I might need a little help here..." Farnese telepathically speaks to you as you attempt to establish a connection with her.

The Mandragorans interpreted the war cry of the heart as an order of attacks, rebelling and wailing on the walls until they bursted out of their cells.

The basement starts to crumble as several roots and branches start engulfing the castle, just how big is a fully grown Mandragoran tree for it to be destroying the castle just by growing up?

Several Mandragoras start sprouting from the ground as their bulbous bodies guide the impaired patients outside, running after Bolzack as the attempt to take revenge upon the one responsible for their deforestation.

If this is happening where the plant creatures are contained, imagine how many Mandragoras are flocking towards the castle...

As you dodge the rocks and rubble bursting from the tree's wiggles, you let Bolzack get a head start in his escape without knowing what he'll do after your attempt at convincing him

>Go after Farnese, she could be in danger.
>Fight the Mandragoras and the patients.
>Follow Bolzack to see the plant heart.
>Cut down the roots destroying the dungeon.
>>
>>5306744
>Go after Farnese, she could be in danger.
She said she’s gonna need help this time, let’s give it to her
>>
>>5306744
>Go after Farnese, she could be in danger.
Tell her to wait us in a secure location, if it s not secure move to somewhere we can find each other easily. And fight if needed.
After that, we might want to deal with the current problem before it destroys an entire castle and then a town.
Or no, we don't gain back a lot of energy like in the past and we are weaker. And the antidote, i doubt is going to give us much back. I am always ready for a fight but we need to consider it.

Do we want to say anything to Bolzack or his troops ? We could direct them around and save them, or convince them to join forces.
>>
>>5306744
>Go after Farnese, she could be in danger.

>>5306792
Regarding Vlad's weakening, I feel like maybe Sivir would know what's going on and perhaps we'll know what exactly to do if she is able to point out the cause of Vlad's ailment.

For Bolzack, we've been able to actually get to his heart and I think we're very close to steering him away from becoming an enemy. I think it'll take a bit more convincing though once we actually meet up back with him.
>>
>>5306752
>>5306792
>>5306803

Well, time to pull out the weeds then! A 1d100 to get to Farnese without having much trouble with trees or Mandragoran spawn!
>>
Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>5306809
>>
>>5306803
That’s assuming Sivir is even alive to talk to since, you know, the whole Vlad and the tower thing where he had to use a shit ton of his and her od to save the lives of those peasants a while back.
>>
Rolled 67 (1d100)

>>5306809

>>5306822
That too..
>>
Rolled 39 (1d100)

>>5306809
>>
>>5306814
>>5306828
>>5306855

Being thwacked by roots that more resemble the size of tree trunks is something you should certainly avoid, yet Farnese doesn't really have the physical training or the flexibility to run out of here by herself, does she?

It's frustrating to see it every time: you can see the enemy coming, the attack is telegraphed by your astral vision, all you need to do is sidestep out of the way, yet you fumble the jump or trip on something when landing because of your sickly soul. Thankfully none of the blows caused major damage, but the flying assortment of rubble, dirt and blood are starting to add weight to your movements.

The tree does not know the meaning of the term friendly fire, as it squashes the humanoid creatures amidst the heap.

When disturbed, nature will stop at nothing to compensate for it's destruction of self, not even the mightiest of cries would make noise to the environmental chaos caused by the deaf force of the astral spirits.

Seeing several airborne colored dots guiding you upwards and into the soil, you try your best to ignore an easy means of escape to hunt for the leader of the defunct iron chain knights, a horrifying vision was surely waiting as you stepped into the chamber.

The Mandragora plant has hatched. Not one, but several. The little saplings more resembled impish onion spawns. Their stubby little limbs, lacking fingers or genitalia, made them walk and huddle around aimlessly as they fiddled with surgery equipment and played around breaking furniture.

They were only a foot tall at most, yet their numbers and destructive potential made you very weary of entering the room.

Or at least, that's what you would like to say, if they weren't making a ladder with their bodies to reach Farnese, who climbed up all the way into a tall bookshelf and kicked the ladder down.

She wanted to make noise and to scream, but knowing that would only result in making the creatures shatter her eardrums instead, she resorted to panicked whispers.

"No! Nononono... Stay away...." She barely hushed as she fought out of their reach in fear of being possessed.

Well, talk about being screwed... If any of them shout, you're both toast. But it's either going in or letting Farnese become a Mandragoran! What's the best way to approach her?

>Start slicing them and draw attention to yourself.
>Tell Farnese to jump down, you can catch her.
>Calmly approach the bookshelf. Maybe they won't attack if you mean no harm to them.
>Pretend you're a possessed Mandragoran and shuffle your way to where Farnese is.
>Crush the saplings with a tree of your own
>>
>>5306981
>Use their focus on Farnese to stealthily drain them of their energy. It might even send them back into a sleeping state if you drain them to a certain point.
>>
>>5306983
+1
Also: >Tell Farnese to jump down, you can catch her.

We have to catch the waifu bridal style
>>
>>5306981
I'm between >>5306983 and trying to sing a lullaby... From the description they sound like some "child" Spirit with a physical form, and in case they are, maybe that will make them more peacefull or even make them fall asleep
>>
>>5306983
>>5306992
>>5306998
Alright, let's try and suckle on their energy if we can, though I'm not sure if the sleeping part will work.

2d100. Second dice is for catching Farnese. Surely she can't fuck this up...
>>
Rolled 81, 97 = 178 (2d100)

>>5307006
Hopefully i get a good roll on this one
>>
Rolled 42, 53 = 95 (2d100)

>>5307006
>>
Rolled 3, 13 = 16 (2d100)

>>5307006
>>
>>5307010
>>5307011
>>5307013

Huddling up with the Mandragoras, you hunch over and bump into the plant critters, stealing some of their energy to make them a bit less hyperactive. As they don't perceive you as an immediate threat from the way you cautiously approached them and made an active effort to not even step on their feet, the group of Mandragora almost treats you as one of their own. Would that be due to your mother's genetics, or from you growing one of them?

"Psst! Farnese, jump over!" You spread your arms as you approach the bookshelf and wait for her to make an obvious decision.

"I don't think that's a good idea..." She whispers, seeming to be somewhat scared of what a bad fall from that height could to her.

"It's either this or letting them scream the carrots out of your ears. Don't be afraid, I've got you!"

You can only hope your body is strong enough to take her weight along with your armor, otherwise, you're crushing the Mandragoras under your ass and dying with them.

"Alright... 3,2,1..." Farnese dives into your arms as you make an excellent catch, lifting her thighs over your head as you place her behind your back.

You stumbled a few steps from the Mandragora, but none of them got hit, as their ladder falls apart and they approach Farnese, their intentions suddenly become devoid of hostility.

"What are they doing?" Farnese watches with her legs wrapped behind your back as the Mandragoras cheer you on.

"If they see me as one of them, they must be thinking I got you to perform a Mandragoran possession." You read their mind as you become mesmerized at their low intelligence. Are they really this foolish?

"Well, in that case..." Farnese rubs her palms together and places her finger on your head, transferring energy as you stay revitalized to support her weight until you exit the dungeon.

Even with her good control over Od, it's best to save her juices from when you're down for the count or needing some healing, so you tell her to ease up on the sharing.

With the walls and ceiling continuing to fall and obstruct your way to the staircase, you are threatened by the mandragoran tree's roots and the possessed humans searching for a way out, directly following the scent of the main plaint and ignoring the walls along the way.

At least 30 other Mandragorans await you until you reach the ground floor and stick to the main path, and even with them perceiving you as their equal, nothing stopping the floor from giving away or a root to trap you in this room.

>Keep pretending you're a Mandragoran and limp past the others.
>Make a dash towards the stairs.
>Make a way towards the upper floors with your trees.
>Clean the way with your halberd.
>>
>>5307320
>Keep pretending you're a Mandragoran and limp past the others.
>Use Od sensing and precognition to detect any possible threats
>>
>>5307320
>Keep pretending you're a Mandragoran and limp past the others.
>>
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>>5307329
>>5307419
Guess we're rolling for stealth
A 1d100 to pretend to be retarded
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Rolled 28 (1d100)

>>5307428
I don't have to pretend.
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Rolled 43 (1d100)

>>5307428
Pretend?
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>5307428
>>
Rolled 17 (1d100)

>>5307428
>>
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>>5307440
>>
>>5307437
hmm
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>>5307437
Looks like we were saved by a lucky roll, very good bros.
>>
>>5307430
>>5307432
>>5307437

"Grrrrm... Ughhh..." Making groans and wails to better get in the Mandragoran character, you limp over to the staircase as you flail your arms in place, mimicking the uneven pattern of their movements.

Slowing down the pacing of your footsteps only made Farnese tremble harder as she was forced to wait with only the falling blocks of the ceiling serving as a distraction towards the path to safety.

With one particular piece of the branch doing a swipe at the floor, the shockwaves made it clear that the floor would give away, and seeing the one opportunity you had to sprint, you slid under the attacking tree as Farnese's head bumped on the floor.

"Only one of us is wearing armor, Vlad!" She chastised you as she rubbed the swollen bump on her head.

"Sorry, it was either a small tap or letting your head come off. Argh..." You explain before quickly getting back to your braindead persona.

Searching for the upper floors got easier once you started hearing more active screams. With your disguise intact, the Mandragoran didnt even bar an eye at you, even when you picked up the pace to avoid the growing trunks of wood appearing from the walls.

The real problem came from seeing who the screams were coming from. The armored Mandragoran army was fighting against the human soldiers, who clearly did not want to be transformed, yet being turned into one of them was merciful, considering what they were actually doing.

A group of Mandragoras were shrieking at their ears, making their heads explode and even forcing you to cover your ears despite being at a distance. the sight of a Mandragoran woman eating chucking a crying baby to the floor and bashing its head repeatedly until it cracked open was a sight you wish you could take your eyes off.

"No! Stop it mom! That's my little brother!" A young girl attempts to snap her back to reality, yet fueled by the plant's vengeance, it's arms stretched out to apply pressure at the child's temples.

"What are you doing with me, mom!? It's hurting me! Aaah... AAAAARGH!" the girls cautious warns turned into a bloodcurdling scream as one of the woody branches went under her daughters dress, piercing her womb through her anus and pulling out her small intestines by the enlarged orifices.

The human face of the maniacal mother only kissed the girl's forehead as it's life force seeped out of her body, while the Mandragora heads on her skill were all fed the lower half of her organs as she couldn't even feel her head bleeding, prickled open by the grip of the monster's palms as it cracked open her skull just like her little brother's.
>>
>>5307776

While the Mandragorans were fighting Bolzack's regular army as the tree declared war on humans, the people from all over the town were invading the castle to find shelter. However since the bigger threat was laying inside the the damned building the guards who were in the backline were forced to refuse their entry.

"Please! let me in! I'm the only one who got out alive!" A beggar attempt to push his way in like several did before, implied by the stomped bodies of the army's backline.

"Don't you see the chaos running amok in here? Move out!"

"But I have nowhere else to go! And more of these monsters are coming in anyway! Why don't you just let me-"

"Quiet, peasant! You don't make the orders here!" The guard lifts his axe and strikes the man's shoulder, dislocating it from it's body as he briefly stares at his detached arm, wondering how merely pleading for his life was enough of a burden to cost him his life.

"WHYYYYYY!?" Is all he could scream as his consciousness faded, being rooted to the floor along with the one who took his life?

"Wh-what is going on?!" Angered at the sight of mindless violence, the head Mandragora took the decaying body of the man lacking an arm and lifted his pelvis up to the soldier's chin, forcefully bashing them into each other as the plant attempted to mimick human copulation.

It's forceful impact might have been too much for their bodies, since with only a few collisions, the man's jaw was already dislocated as his tongue fell out of his throat and the man's pelvic bones were perforating his skin.

Seeing as they could not reproduce like their human counterparts, they imitated human behavior in a gruesome fashion to scare them away from fighting, and while it horrified some enough to live or to slash their throats to escape the plant orgy, it's safe to assume that the once benevolent plant life grew tired of playing nice against a ruler who abused of it's wildfire for years on his wild goose chase for a 'cure'. Their malice now being indistinguishable from the ones they were facing as they learned from the worst: humans.

Farnese couldn't take it anymore, droplets of tears shed from her face and dripped on your chest plate, who's to say she wouldn't be next?

As the Mandragorans soon shifted around to observe her weird behavior for one of their kind, you pondered as to who would remain alive in this three-way struggle between Cromwell's inhabitants having their bodies defiled pre and post mortem, Bolzack's army, about to become one with the Mandragoras, or the head tree itself, letting all of it's hatred out of it's system.

You sense for Serpico's presence and find an entire troop of 50 men going after him as he attempts to reach Gyove, running away with Casca to the upper floors.

Hyde seems to be returning, but instead of bringing Guts with him, a gigantic, unrecognizable surplus of power follows him. An apostle?
>>
>>5307796
Gunpowder really went above and beyond with running alongside Zhafira, you can't even feel his presence. Hopefully that means he just went away to look for Guts instead of Hyde and not that he...

No time to focus on the ifs, Vlad. Act! Act right now!

>Keep faking your identity and ignore the carnage.
>The Mandragorans are already onto you, time to slash away at them.
>Tell Farnese to charge you up, you're sending a soul arrow to clear the path to the upper floors.
>Rush outside, who the hell is this following Hyde in the air?
>Serpico needs your help, find him and fight the troop along with him.
>Disrupt the plants from acting so freely with some of your own seeds.
>>
>>5307799
>Serpico needs your help, find him and fight the troop along with him.
>>
>>5307799
>The Mandragorans are already onto you, time to slash away at them.
>Disrupt the plants from acting so freely with some of your own seeds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8djTTi6G6w
>>
>>5307813
Changing my original choice to this one. I forgot that Serpico can't fight 50 guys on his own while trying to save Casca.
>>
>>5307799
>>Serpico needs your help, find him and fight the troop along with him.
>The Mandragorans are already onto you, time to slash away at them
Kill the mandrogans that arrive

Maybe we can take whatever survivors are left from this mess and send them to Ilos.
>>
>>5307816
>>5307828
>>5307820
Off to help the squinty eyed knight we go! Let's give it a 1d100 to get to him first.

Vlad's surprisingly good at living though clusterfucks when he's not the one doing the fighting
>>
Rolled 56 (1d100)

>>5307850
we die
>>
Rolled 64 (1d100)

>>5307850
>>
Rolled 5 (1d100)

>>5307850
>>
Rolled 21 (1d100)

>>5307850
Let's do this
>>
>>5307851
>>5307852
>>5307854
>>5307855

Squinting your eyes and pretending not to see your surroundings, you slowly thread over to the upper floors, with no Mandragorans following you until you've reached their front lines.

With the nonstop clashing of swords and splinters, the only way you could propel yourself forward was to put yourself in their line of fire.

As much as you groaned in anticipation of the cramps you would get from making a jump from this height, Farnese had your back, charging you up and numbing your pain to make your leap as comfortable as possible, entirely avoiding the chance of being hit accidentally since you sure weren't being mistaken by a Mandragora to the humans.

Your legs jolt into the air as you feel the wind greeting your presence, hopping well over 8 meters away from guards and plants.

The only obstacle in your path were the vines replacing the curtains thanks to the ever growing greenery replacing Bolzack's castle, but with the spikes on the back and the tip of your halberd, you slide back to the top row of stairs as the vines miraculously hold your weight and Farnese's with no issue, regenerative factors can't be taken for granted...

Serpico is backed into a corner as the 50 soldiers stay huddled up in a circle to fight against him. While his skills are commendable, he can only target one or two enemies at a time as he slashes them through their foreheads, yet getting the damage traded back to him as he's slashed and cut at the arms

"End of the line, Sissy! Either surrender and have a quick death,or we'll have plenty of fun seeing you walk without your legs!"

"Normally, I would see myself fighting you all with no problem, but since my commander sent me off to save someone that that does not interest me in the slightest... I will-" Serpico cleans his arms with a piece of cloth as his wounds keep dripping blood, but a quick appearance from the leader of the Pegasus order made him change his attitude.

"Stall for time, is what I was going to say." He clears his throat, slashing at the axe wielder to his left.

The tall ceiling from the second floor gives you a view of Gyove running away as two elite soldiers take Casca with them, with one last turn around, you make sure he stares at you in the face when you call for his name.

"GYOVE! COME BACK HERE AND EXPLAIN YOURSELF!" Your shout echoes louder than any Mandragora scream, drawing the attention of all there present.
>>
>>5307911
>>5307911
As the grizzly old man slowly comes forth, placing himself under the shining chandelier as the sun illuminated your side against the darker shadows of the castle hall, the elderly fiend finally revealed his plan.

"Your friend Guts' help was unnecessary from the start! The secret of the Mandragoran possession was never meant to be seen by outsiders!"

"What are you talking about? The plant wouldn't be awakening if it wasn't for his doing! Farnese and I were closer than close to finding the cure, what's the need to resort to extortion?"

"Our army was meant to be perfect! Soldiers that require no food or water, that can live and move without needing their real heads! We could have easily reclaimed Midland's reputation as a land of warriors if we found a way to control the Mandragorans and defeated Emperor Ganishka. But you outsiders had to get in our business..."

"Do you think your soldiers would agree with this foolish plan? To deprive them of individuality and demote them to mindless zombies?"

"It would be a preferable outcome, rather than letting all of their lives go to waste." Gyove strokes his beard with Casca elbowing the elite soldier's armor as she shouted to herself.

"Does your self sabotage knows no boundaries?" Serpico asks
"Sending Guts to Eliza's village was a mere deterrence. We knew he would find the truth with the rebels, so he guided us to their base so we would kill them faster. We even set fire to the village while he was inside the temple, all so I could set this plan in motion! Now we all shall become Mandragorans!"

Gyove turns his back to you after your rage boils inside you. Forget Bolzack, this madman just admitted to hijacking the Mandragoran project to himself while going out of his way to burn down an entire village! No one ordered him to do that! It's HIS fault alone, and he shall pay!

But first, Serpico needs help fighting an entire troop. You're not sure if you both can fight 24 people, but it's a better ratio than 1 for 50.

>Drop Farnese off your back.
>Keep her on you and tell her to keep pumping you with energy.
>Throw your shortsword onto the chandelier so it falls down on Gyove.
>Strike a line of soldiers with your soul arrows.
>Bait them to approach you and push then down the windows with your pole.
>Dash forward and tear your way through them all
>>
>>5307936
>Drop Farnese off your back.
Farnese has no armour and I don’t wanna begin swinging if she’s in armoured on our back.
>Bait them to approach you and push then down the windows with your pole.
>>
>>5307936
>Write-in: Spit magical seeds into the crowd of soldiers to subdue them.
>>
>>5307949
+1 to this.
>>
>>5307944
>>5307949
+1 to either of them

But I say we can do both, first baiting the ones that are more close to use, and once they see our trick we use the seed to subdue the rest. We basically reduce the total numbers of soldiers and grab the rest.
>>
>>5307944
>>5307949
+1 to both
>>
>>5307944
>>5307949
>>5307985
>>5308007
2d100 then! Hope the rolls synergize well because if it's only one or the other the plan might backfire..
Anyways, let's start rollan!
>>
Rolled 70, 37 = 107 (2d100)

>>5308021
>>
Rolled 66, 39 = 105 (2d100)

>>5308021
I sacrifice my humanity for the sake of this roll!
>>
Rolled 97, 3 = 100 (2d100)

>>5308021
>>
>>5308028
>>5308029
>>5308030
The other plan, oh no, it fired back
>>
>>5308028
>>5308029
>>5308030

"Farnese, do you mind hopping off for a bit?" You proclaim to the student as she placed her feet on the ground.

"Please help Serpico in his fight... Pleading is the most I can do for him either way..." She lowers her head, feeling guilty for being unable to help one who always took her side, even when she was wrong.

"I won't take long, the harvest will do most of the work for me." You take out your trusty pouch of magical seeds and spread them across the group of soldiers, and with a single command to grow, you control them all into a conjoined ramification, sticking and spreading to the walls as it limited their movements with the tight grip of the moving twigs.

Paralyzed from the waist up, a good dozen of them were already taken out of commission, with a few others running back to Gyove or towards the Mandragorans climbing their way up the castle pillars.

Some of them, however, went straight towards you as they realized you were the primary and most dangerous target. While managing to pull them away and striking at their armor non lethally with your spikes, attempting to resolve this peacefully only seems to anger the knights.

"I'd advise you to stop while you can, if I truly wished to, you would all have been goners long ago!" You dodge and parry the strikes, as Serpico quickly joins in to back you where you can't defend.

"Don't count this as a victory yet, you cocky bastard!" A push from a late blow forces you to stagger backwards as your armor breaks the glass of a windowsill.

Serpico diagonally moved to your right, yet thanks to the way the 20 remaining soldiers still in action, you find yourself in a similar predicament to Serpico's when you arrived, only with better odds in your favor.

"Send in reinforcement!"
"Sir! They're just two men!"
"Don't you see what they're capable of? How easily they can dodge out attacks? They're as dangerous as the Mandragorans!" You smirk at the knights acknowledging your powers, even if it's coming mostly from the seeds.

Maybe you should save some of them for later, given how the pouch is only half full....
>>
>>5308089
>>5308089

"I wouldn't go that far, especially after saying how I shouldn't count my victories when I haven't earned them yet." You taunt your enemy, making him lunge in your direction as you fell with him.

While your crowd control was exquisite and your expertise serviceable, your body was already feeling exhausted without Farnese's energy transfer. You did spend an entire night studying and reading, followed by the adrenaline rush that's still happening right now. Your heart is still bursting out of your chest, yet your body is in no such rush to respond.

Your grip on the drapes is firm, yet the weight rips it apart as the soldier who attempted to attack you pulled at the other end and fell to the floor, the loud sound of his bones crunching below showed you that letting gravity take the wheel would only result in your demise.

"Vlad! Hang it in there, I'll get to you in time! Serpico promises to take care of the remaining 19 fighters making their way towards the window to tear the fabric and see you falling, but Serpico's focused stance appears to scare them into paying attention on him, not sure if his lack of expression meant determination, or a poker face to hide his fear.

Feeling the presence of Hyde as he gets near you, you notice he's being followed by a black, giant furball also flying alongside him.

No... Why the hell would he be here?! Why is Hyde leading the most terrifying apostle right to Bolzack's domain!? Is he out of his mind!?

>Swing over to the next window before the drapes rip apart.
>Hope Serpico can sneak out here and save you.
>Provoke them into approaching and slingshot yourself back in with your halberd.
>Drop down and find a fissure to stay in place, your rock climbing skills should come in handy.
>Place some seeds down and hope they grow before you fall.
>Ask Hyde to save you with Violet.
>>
>>5308139
>Provoke them into approaching and slingshot yourself back in with your halberd.
It sounds risky, and it is, but if we put all our focus into Foresight and performing the maneuver, we should be able to pull it off way more effectively than most other people would be able to.
>>
>>5308174
+1
>>
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>>5308174
>>5308249
Alrighty, guess I can ask for the roll while I'm going to bed!

A 1d100 should do it, DC moderately high since it's a fairly acrobatic feat for someone in Vlad's state.

I'm liking how things are going at least, when our boy gets in the flow of things the die really make it clear.

When he fumbles, on the other hand...
Nah, let's not think about that for now!
>>
Rolled 66 (1d100)

>>5308253
My rolls have been a bit wonky today, for Vlad's sake I hope this one will be good.
>>
Rolled 80 (1d100)

>>5308253
>>
Rolled 89 (1d100)

>>5308253
>>
We should try and convince them to stop fighting us if possible, this knights don't need to die. And then move inside for finish this creature.

I don't like that Hyde has an apostle with him. This feels really bad. Who know where Guts is too, Gunpowder has enough brains to avoid danger and knows where we are at least.
Farnese really needs to become more capable in combat.
>>
>>5307936
>and defeated Emperor Ganishka
Lul. Lmao, even.
>>
>>5308255
>>5308259
>>5308262

"Is this what you call an honorable victory? Shoving a man outside a window while your comrade dies in vain?" You provoke them into approaching you as Serpico takes care of 5 more men. While his conventional swordsmanship and on the fly thinking lets him maneuver over the enemies, fatigue and sensory overload are bound to show in some mistakes, with one particular bash from the 6th knight's shield hitting him full force at the chest, momentarily stopping his body along with his heart as the staggering leaves him open to another hit to the skull.

"Picking up the pace was a necessity, yet rushing your swings made them less effective!" A knight shows his face through his helm as Serpico attempts to back up and dodge the swing while laying down, but your shout finally gets to them.

"Hold on, Serpico! I'm climbing through the window again!" You bluff, making 3 soldiers shift their attention and rush back to the window.

"Darn, he's still there? Just rip those drapes to shreds already!" The trio approached the window to properly kill you, yet before they could see you, a push from your halberd sent you backwards before the fabric gave away, carrying enough momentum to send you back to the 2nd floor.

Catching the drape by its end, you throw it back to their faces and pull down, making them try their damnedest to stay up by pulling their weight down and tugging onto each other, being blind to your swing, you send them falling down just in time for you to break another window, kicking a soldier in the back and knocking him unconscious.

"Well, that's 10 soldiers left." Your grand reentrance into battle gives Serpico ample time to tumble back up and grab the elite knight into a chokehold, aiming his rapier at the man's eyeball.

"We could make it 9 if they don't surrender. Are you sure you want to keep going after this?"

Hearing the screams of their comrades as they try to escape the roots that stuck them to the floor, as well as the Mandragorans making their way up the stairs, the knight wipes the sweat off his brow and yields.

"Fine! I surrender! Just let us go!" He pleads, not wanting to lose an eye.

Serpico sure likes playing the bad cop to your good cop...

>Kill your trees and free the knights.
>Rush to Gyove and ignore the Mandragorans.
>Only free them if they agree on keeping the Mandragorans off this floor.
>>
>>5308555
>Kill your trees and free the knights.
>>
>>5308568

These men pose no threat now that they see the the futility in battling one who does not consider the taking of their lives a priority. Not only this, you and Serpico have shown that if you truly were bloodthirsty, they could have sent another troop in and the odds were still going to be in your favor.

"I am glad to know that no more corpses will be dropping by my hands." You kneel next to your trees, lamenting at the ones you were forced to kill to protect yourself.

"R-really? I was ready to turn him read at your command..." Serpico drops the man down, more thanks to his arm muscles giving away from his wounds than a lack of force.

"Can you still fight, Serpico? I'm not sure if I'm in the best condition either--"

"Let me do this!" Farnese gives plant of her energy to heal him, to the point where even some minor cuts appear on her skin as the damage is transfered onto her.

"Lady Farnese! Cease your healing immediately!" He tries to protect her as he pulls her arms away.

"But you're both bleeding all over!"
"As your knight, the shedding of my blood is preferable to a single wound across your face." Serpico opts in coddling his protector, while she desperately thinks on how to stay useful.

With the Mandragorans inviting themselves in after seeing your trees disappearing, the remainders of Gyove's troops stay to fend off the plant zombies.

"We'll hold the line! How do we stop these things!" The knights ask you as you run up to the third floor.

"By destroying the main plant..." You mutter to yourself as you rush to fight Gyove with the two blondes in your group.

"Wait!" You hush to your companions as you see the spiral staircase wired with an almost invisible string. Seeing how the elite soldier's couldn't fit a big enough rock up the stairs in such a short amount of time, you can only imagine that this tripwire will either shoot something from the walls, or warn you of your passing
>>
>>5308678
Feeling Hyde's presence drawing closer, you're terrified by feeling the one who's almost devouring him in the air. The immortal warrior himself, Nosferatu Zodd.

"HYDE! WHY AND HOW ARE YOU BRINGING THIS DEMON HERE!"

"I WAS TRYNA HELP GUTS GET OVER 'ERE FASTER! SAW A GIANT HORNY FELLA APPROACHING IN HIS DIRECTION AND THOUGHT DISTRACTING HIM WOULD PREVENT A FIGHT! I JUST DIDNT THINK THE FLYIN' BASTARD WAS ZODD! WOULDN'T HAVE FIRED SHOTS AT HIM WITH MY CANNON IF I KNEW!"


Violet panics, maneuvering upside down and turning in all directions to throw Zodd for a loop, yet nothing seems to delay the monster as he inches closer to the flying huntsman.

You're not even sure if Hyde's stupid diversion even worked, since Guts is taking so long to show up--

Wait, it worked! You can feel his presence along with Rita, Puck, Gunpowder and Zhafira! He's close enough for you to speak with him telepathically, so at most he should take a few minutes to arrive.

"Guts! How did it go with Eliza?"
"Killed her, a kid took possession of the heart and meshed with her into a Mandragora tree. Tried taking the bandits with me, but Gyove set fire to the village, and it's quickly spreading it's way here. Your horse sure came in handy. I would have taken my time fighting their army and pulling out the weeds, but it's best to let the trash erode by itself."


Taking one look out the window, the smoke is evidently rising from the forest, all indicated that the rest of Cromwell is on fire too, as anything you attempt to feel that's further from your mental range is obscured by flames.

Hopefully that burns the rampant Mandragoras before it kills their future hosts.

>Tell Hyde to keep stalling and hope Zodd doesn't kill him
>Tell Hyde to enter through the third floor, Zodd can deal with the traps, the elite knights and Gyove just by passing through the room.
>Is it worth talking to Zodd and drawing his attention? He's not as mindless as other apostles, maybe he'll listen to what you have to say.
>>
>>5308733
>Is it worth talking to Zodd and drawing his attention? He's not as mindless as other apostles, maybe he'll listen to what you have to say.
ITS NOSFERATU FUCKING ZODD
>>
>>5308733
>Tell Hyde to enter through the third floor, Zodd can deal with the traps, the elite knights and Gyove just by passing through the room.
>>
>>5308733
>Tell Hyde to enter through the third floor, Zodd can deal with the traps, the elite knights and Gyove just by passing through the room.
>>
>>5308733
>Tell Hyde to enter through the third floor, Zodd can deal with the traps, the elite knights and Gyove just by passing through the room

Finish Gyove and convince the elite knights to follow us, this men don't need to die here in vain (besides is far easier to convince men than demons).
Too bad for that village. Inform Guts of Zodd arrival, having him here will create further problems no doubt.
>>
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>>5308745
>>5308764
>>5308798
>>5308835
"How about you come inside and stay for the party?" You invite Hyde to land on the castle.

"Ya out of your mind, partner? Zodd can break through this building just with a flap of them wings!"

"That's the plan! We can't move forward thanks to the traps set here and the knights on the room above, just make sure you take Casca away from the knights before he breaks in."


"Ya makin' this sound a lot easier than how it really is!" Hyde's hands tremble as he pats Violet's head, slowing down to find a good entry point.

"I know yer growing tired, girlie, but we ain't resting here unless we don't plan on seeing Mama Jodi again!"

"Mama Jodi! Mama Jodi!"Being encouraged by her dad and the promise of seeing the rest of her family again, the bird hybrid brings her wings to her body as Hyde passes through the small, circular hole above you, taking one turn around Gyove and striking them with his pellets at their joints, making the duo contort in pain and involuntary drop Casca on the floor.

Zodd tears his way through the building as a good quarter of the floor walls go down, the rubble falling onto Gyove and the last of Bolzack's soldiers as they are unceremoniously crushed under the minotaur.

With the rubble activating the trap, you block a few of the repeated poisonous darts flying from the walls by chucking a boulder at the secret compartments.

You've successfully rushed your way through the last floor, yet you've only substituted one problem with a worse one.

"Foul bird, how dare you attack me before I could settle my qualms with the black swordsman?" Zodd roars to Hyde and Violet as the bird runs out of breath, staying on the floor incapable of taking flight thanks to Casca's added weight.

"Ya already fought with 'im once, what's the point in doing it again? Ya know the result already!"

"Our fight was forced into an intermission, orders of the Falcon of Light. And unlike my encounter with you or the bear from Ilos, I can't tell who the victor would be if we finished our fight on that snowy hill."

Zodd implies that his strength is comparable, if not stronger than Guts. It's possible that you might have the edge in combat against the apostle if you all tackled him at once, but Guts has only now reached the castle's entrance, so until he deals with the Mandragoras, you can't exactly count on him for the save.
Talking with a monster who could easily obliterate an empowered Barnham... You can already feel your legs trembling...

>Ah, but you haven't faced me yet! I'll have you know I have defeat the black swordsman in battle before you ever could!
>Is this fight necessary? Your desire for a strong warrior won't come from killing us.
>If you yearn for a challenge, maybe you should fight the infested Mandragorans instead.
>Surprise him with a soul arrow to the head.
>Write in.
>>
>>5308841
>Write in: Get him to talk for a little bit and then spit a seed into his mouth and make it grow into a big tree.
>>
>>5308841
>It seems that fate brought us together again, old friend. I'll dance with you for a while, but I hope you would humor me with your tale should I last long enough to impress. How about it, Zodd? May I cut in?
>>
>>5308841
>>If you yearn for a challenge, maybe you should fight the infested Mandragorans instead
I thought we would have time to get out, instead they are right in front of us. Oh well, prepare to fight the demon is likely going to attack us just for existing. Unless he decides to have some weird thinking and flies away to his master, allowing us to finish the tree.
Prepare some seeds in one hand and our Od in our halberd, maybe we can do something creative and wound him or imprison him for one moment.
Unlikely, but we have no time to waste with this trash when there are people to save.
>>
>>5308933
+1, distract him because we're tired as fuck
>>
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>>5308846
>>5308860
>>5308933
Let's do a roll for distraction then, hopefully a 1d100 does him well enough since you're not planning on taking him on.

Going to be MIA tomorrow since I'll be traveling to another town, most likely gonna phonepost there so I've been trying to get used to it for the last few days

God the autocorrect sucks. Anyway, give me the numbers, see you later!
>>
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Rolled 20 (1d100)

>>5308950
>>
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Rolled 31 (1d100)

>>5308950
>>
Rolled 74 (1d100)

>>5308950
>>
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>>5308958
>>5308966
>>5308968
Took longer than expected but hey, at least the rolls were good, even if it won't do much against the enemy
Will write after I wake up tomorrow! Have some fanart of sans Undertale while I sleep
>>
>>5308846
>>5308860
>>5308933
>>5308933
>>5308958
>>5308966
>>5308968
"If you yearn for a challenge, maybe you should fight the infested Mandragorans instead, Zodd." You take some seeds from your pouch and charge Od onto your weapon, disguising any signs of fear with a furrowed brow and gritted teeth. "I will not interfere in a developing dystopia."

"The earworm once again crawls in my direction." Zodd outright calls you a mere maggot as he turns his head over.

"Why the hostility? I don't remember doing anything to you."

"Your mere existence screams of unimportance. When all you could muster in your declaration of war is to grow a tree and ignore my presence, it's no wonder The Falcon considered you a mere secondary nuisance. Your bear apostle won't last a minute against the Kushan Emperor, let alone him."

"Come now, being an ancient creature such as yourself, surely you must be impressed by how much growth the recent generation is having. Are you perhaps afraid of plateauing? That a group of apostles might match your strength while having less battle experience? In fact, forget apostles. You came all the way out here to fight a single man, what's the harm with facing one more?"

"Your attempts to derail my goals and provoking me are commendable, yet your fumbling posture shows me you're not in proper condition to fight the likes of a real warrior" he notices your exhaustion after running all he way over here and doing basic acrobatics. This would have been nothing to you before...

"I'll try impressing you in our round, hopefully you won't be disappointed." You throw a few seeds at his giant mouth, yet seeing your ability on Griffith before, he merely swatter them away with a flap of his wings.

"The surprise factor of your strongest card would only work once-- RAAAAGH" Hyde fires several shots from Rickert's Cannon, sending the minotaur stumbling forward on his two hooves.

As your growing seeds burst, you control the direction of it's splinters as they all go across and through Zodd's torso. No reaction whatsoever.

It's not that he doesn't feel pain, Hyde's barrage already proved that he does. It's just that a fleet's worth of darts really don't do much against the brute.

With bald spots on his fur giving way to his scorching skin, The potency of Rickert's weapon really is the most you can do, so the strategy for the moment seems to zone him out for Hyde as he takes potshots until Zodd retreats.

Forget raw power, with Serpico, you and him, as well as Guts and Gunpowder coming up to the second floor, your individual strengths are amplified by your wits and their team work.

>Double team him with Serpico, attacking Zodd's legs.
>Switch to ranged and fire a few Soul arrows at him.
>You need a breather, send Serpico to fight and guide him with your telepathy.
>Tell Farnese to conjure some weakening spells at Zodd, bring him down to your level.
>Attempt the seed throwing again.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5311518
>Double team him with Serpico, attacking Zodd's legs.
Lets stave off using our od for now and utilize our specialty, acrobatics, with Serpico who also has a similar fighting style so the synergy should be good.
>Tell Farnese to conjure some weakening spells at Zodd, bring him down to your level.
>>
>>5311594
+1
>>
>>5311518
>Double team him with Serpico, attacking Zodd's legs.
>Tell Farnese to conjure some weakening spells at Zodd, bring him down to your level.
>>
>>5311518
>>Double team him with Serpico, attacking Zodd's legs.
>>Tell Farnese to conjure some weakening spells at Zodd, bring him down to your level.

keep our last seeds for now
>>
>>5311518
>Double team him with Serpico, attacking Zodd's legs
>Tell Farnese to conjure some weakening spells at Zodd, bring him down to your level.

Once Guts and company come here, Zodd is screwed.
>>
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>>5311594
>>5311616
>>5311617
>>5311648
>>5311649
Rollan a 2d100 then. First for the rush down, second to give farny ample time to cast something.

Here's hoping Vlad does more than buy time until Guts arrives
>>
Rolled 49, 76 = 125 (2d100)

>>5311676
>>
Rolled 60, 100 = 160 (2d100)

>>5311676
>>
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Rolled 4, 17 = 21 (2d100)

>>5311676
UNLIMITED POWAAAAH
>>
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>>5311698
hooooooooly shiiiiiiiiiiit
>>
>>5311698
Apparently calling Zodd a "big dumb doodoo head" gives him an existential crisis he has to sit and think about for five minutes. Wew
>>
>>5311680
>>5311698
>>5311700
>Farnese out scales Vlad in magic and eventually poofs Zodd out of existence .
Would be hilarious, writing.
>>
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I am Farnese blade of Vlad. You will witness true horror. Proceeds to transform into a magical plant girl and cast scarlet rot.>>5311698
>>
Let this be the moment she develops plant powers.
>>
>>5311698
Farnese fucking nuked Zodd holy ahit.
>>
>>5311698
Nice we might be able to do some damage.

Eitherway for the last seeds, we can probably use them for impale him and tear his body. Though no throw, we leave them at his feet in melee. Then Vlad and Serpico keep striking him. Hyde can switch to the fling if he has no ammo, and Farnese can keep casting. We could have her use other spells
>>
Rolled 24 (1d100)

>>5311676
KILL ZODD
>>
Rolled 76 (1d100)

>>5311814
Forgot the other roll.
>>
>>5311680
>>5311698
>>5311700
"Serpico! On my command."
"I hope you know what you're doing..."
Rushing against the titanic titan with Farnese's knight, you make the most out of your combined speed and approach his hooves, jumping over his tail swipes and rolling over his claws.

You both have your backs against the open sky as Zodd rotates in place to face you, leaving Farnese behind him as she desperately brainstorms a way to help you out.

"I can't really hit 'im when y'all are so damn close!" Hyde attempts to fly up again for added assists, yet when taking aim with the hand cannon, he finds no way to safely harm Zodd without killing you.

Opting to use his regular ammunition, he shoots a few shots, effectively placing his marbles where the apostle's eyeballs should be. Even if Zodd's constant movement and the flapping of his wings, Violet still found a way to remain stable and let her dad crush the minotaur's right eye.

"RGHAAAAAARGH!" Zodd roars as you seize the attack to turn it into a combo, leaping with your halberd and striking at his calves, and with your blade being stuck on the bone, Serpico helps with several of his slashes to open the wound and poke at his exposed nerves, using all the centripetal force he could with his movements to make a larger wound.

In the split second that you pulled your lance from Zodd, you noticed his patience wearing thin as he pounded at the floor with enough force to bring it down. With the rubble flying down on you, Serpico quickly moved out of the way before he saw you struggling to dodge Zodd and his following moves:

Seeing the chandelier dangling over him, the apostle quickly thought of bringing it down and chucking it to you both.

Serpico would have dodged it perfectly if he didn't decide to come back and pull you out of the way, feeling the full force of the gold coated metal bending his legs the wrong way with the shattering glassware entering his chest.

Thanks to him, you've only suffered minor wounds and cuts as most of the glass didn't enter your armor, but being beneath the rubble and unable to escape, the poor knight is in critical condition, if not awaiting for death if Zodd decides to do an adicional strike.

And he will! Hyde tries to draw attention to himself, but the more he tries to harm Zodd, the faster he regenerates.

While he can feel damage and you have enough potency to harm him, his regenerative factor puts Barnham to shame, as not only his is faster, but has no active requirement, just being able to passively heal against your strikes.

While your Od is venomous to him, it won't mean a thing if you can't use it, the area around his leg is only slowly recovering instead of being an outright cancellation of his ability.

And Farnese... God, Farnese! How the hell is she amidst this mess?
>>
>>5311838
>>5311838
The world becomes mute and devoid of noise, the blonde swordsman has his life flashing before his eyes as Zodd's closed fist swings down on him to crush him flat, feeling Farnese's hesitant spirit pushing her further into the fight, your spiritual vision informs you of what she's been up to.

Several blurred out scribbles are written with chalk on the floor, at least 9 circles were scratched before she decided on a spell, energy absorption would be ineffective, invisibility wouldn't work on animal hybrids, intangibility requires you to stay inside the circle. Sealing Zodd is the right call, but her shaky hand made her miss the incantation a few times before she could properly draw the right runes.

The marks of sealing coupled with rejuvenation? Is she thinking of reverting Zodd back to his humanoid form? That would greatly reduce the punch from Zodd's blow if he hits Serpico, yet that's not a gamble you're sure on taking when you can already see him coughing up blood.

You lock eyes on Farnese as she locks onto yours: Absolute terror is all that reflects. She knows she's dealing with a great level of magic to which an advanced magician would quickly empty his stamina with. Hell, even at your peak, you doubt you could abuse this technique, her doing this could easily knock her out or drain her without the spell happening.

Yet this is exactly what you need. Gunpowder is nearly visible as you see the dragonslayer's wielder climbing the steps towards the last floor. She can't fumble this up unless she really wishes to.

Before returning the favor to Serpico and slumping your way into the chandelier to either impale Zodd's fist, or get crushed along with your ally, you have enough time to send some thoughts to Farnese as she placed her hand on the marks.

>Do it!
>What are you waiting for!?
>Move out, Guts is coming.
>Whatever happens, I'm giving you a kiss if we live through today.
>Write-in.
>>
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>>5311901
>Whatever happens, I'm giving you a kiss if we live through today.
>>
>>5311901
>>Whatever happens, I'm giving you a kiss if we live through today.
When the spell is done, send a thought to Hyde to shoot with the handgun Zood, we take Serpico away and then strike Zodd again both with our seeds for impale him and in melee with our halberd.
>>
>>5311915
+1
>>
>>5311915
+1
>>
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>>5311911
>>5311915
>>5311934
>>5311978
Always with a flair for the romantics, hopefully the boner is what they need to penetrate Zodd.
A 1d100! Even if he escapes the hit should be critical if he's not in apostle form, best of luck.
>>
Rolled 60 (1d100)

>>5311997
No simping
>>
Rolled 52 (1d100)

>>5311997
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5311997
Esto es el fin, Zodd.
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>5311997
rollin
>>
vlad is a jobber through and through
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>5311997
I will save us
>>
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>>5311998
>>5312002
>>5312004

Serpico will not die today, and neither will you, or anyone on your team! You're the damn leader, show some confidence! Show that you will bend over backwards if it means getting this victory over this monster of monsters!

"Farnese, just so you know... Whatever happens... If we live through today... I'll make sure your first kiss will be your best." You pass the thought to your lover as she jolts into the circle. The encouragement might not do much in such a chaotic encounter, but she should know that you're proud of her.

"STOOOOP!" Farnese shrieks as the magic electrocuted Zodd, stiffening his body as his gigantic arm shrunk into a more tolerable size. He still makes Guts look like a midget in comparison, but the weight difference is enough for you to save Serpico, pushing the minotaur's arm upwards and ripping it off as it got stuck on the spikes of your lance.

Making one more pull and regaining your footing, you pull at the exposed arteries on Zodd's shoulder and finally release, falling on your knees as the weight of his arm toppled on top of you.

"UNBELIEVABLE! HOW COULD A DEAD MAN STANDING DISPLAY SUCH STRENGTH IN HIS BLOWS!?" Zodd covered the whole on his shoulder with his hand, as you saw an opportunity to trash talk.

"I'll take that as being impressed by my competences. Perhaps I've lied a bit by saying strategizing is my best ability... Just like you lied when you said Guts was the only human capable of measuring up to you... Tell me, how many earworms have ripped your arms out before?"

Angrily roaring at you, Zodd finally takes you seriously as he assumed you were the one who took his arm off, not seeing Farnese fainting behind him. His headbutt is probably enough to send you flying back to ground floor if he hits you, you have ample time to dodge, but the cramping of your legs impedes your leaps.

Death stares at you through Zodd, the immortal. And as you embrace mortality, you can only wonder for how many years you'll last in his mind.

You got into his head, and that's enough to laugh at him as he charges.
>>
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Your demise is indefinitely postponed as Zodd's clash is met by Gunpowder and Guts, who impaled Zodd with the dragonslayer and sends him crashing towards the chandelier he brought down, being stomped and bitten by your stallion as the horse tases for apostle blood.

"Taking on the physically impaired, AND losing? So much for the Immortal apostle... Fighting you in this state wouldn't really be on equal terms to where we left off, but wailing on you should help me cool down."

Guts' hands are trembling with rage, his one eye growing red as you try to envision his Od and the Behelit he carries, the presence of the monster resonating inside him is so great that masks Puck, Zhafira and Rita's presence.

"Oh Vlad! The horror! Gyove burnt the village down! He killed all the rebels! And then the nun threw herself into the fire! And then we found out Bolzack was a bad guy! And Casca is still with him! And-- and" shocks come through the elf's little head as his brain fries.

"I already know all of that, Puck..." You place a finger over his face, sparing him the trouble of explaining things as you limp over to Farnese and Serpico, with Puck understanding what to do.

"You really want to drain me today, huh?! Well, I better hear a thank you after this!" Puck flaps his wings over Serpico, hoping the elf dust rubbed onto him makes him live through today.

"Now... Let's see you pick on someone your size." Guts raises his weapon with only one hand, hiding the exhaustion from fighting a towns worth of Mandragoras on his way.

>Watch him wail on Zodd, this will be satisfying.
>There's no need, we still have Bolzack and the Mandragora to deal with.
>Correct Guts. Bolzack is not your enemy, yet...
>He can take his anger out on Zodd, you can still walk over to the last room and deal with the Mandragora tree.
>>
>>5312097
>He can take his anger out on Zodd, you can still walk over to the last room and deal with the Mandragora tree.
The tree requires a more subtle touch, a more plant touch if you will.
>>
>>5312097
>>Correct Guts. Bolzack is not your enemy, yet...
>>He can take his anger out on Zodd, you can still walk over to the last room and deal with the Mandragora tree.

Well. Average result.
Get Hyde to shoot Zodd, then follow us fron the air when guts start attacking the guy. We will keep the seeds, and move to the tree, something like a potion would be nice now.
I suppose we can absorb any od of dead madrogans in the way. Might do nothing, but let's give it a try.

For Gunpowder, we can't use him inside this castle. Take some od from him then have him bring our wounded team in the wagon. Beside Hyde and Violet none of them can fight anymore. If Hyde and Violet are too tired, have them retreat to the wagon as well.
I would like to bring Guts with us, but I am certain Zodd will get up in seconds and start killing our team if left alone

Tell Gunpowder to run with the wagon around if any unknown """human""" approach it. Not even paranoia, i just expect it at our weakest is a basic rule to use against an enemy
>>
>>5312097
>Finish Zodd off for good.
I cannot stress to you all how important this will be in the long run. We HAVE to kill him here right here right now.

>Correct Guts. Bolzack is not your enemy, yet...
>He can take his anger out on Zodd, you can still walk over to the last room and deal with the Mandragora tree.
>>
>>5312097
>Correct Guts. Bolzack is not your enemy, yet...
>There's no need, we still have Bolzack and the Mandragora to deal with.

Honestly with Serpico and Farnese down with Vlad at 50% at best I don't trust the dice to let us deal with the tree and possibly Bolzack. Unless Guts seriously tries to kill Zodd, just wailing on him will do nothing. If he does its almost certain causality will get in the way and make it impossible.
>>
>>5312106
>>5312113
>>5312141
>>5312181
"There's no need to prolong this fight, Guts." You clasp at his shoulder before the beast inside him could be unleashed. We still have Bolzack and the Mandragora to deal with."

"...Right. Forgot he was the enemy for a second..." He thankfully listens to reason, even if temporarily so. "Best to let my anger out on someone who deserves it."

Zodd stands up, still recovering from the blows you gave him now that he has no regenerative ability to rely on.

Slowly towering over you, he uncharacteristically takes his detached arm on himself and seals it back onto his body, with no signs of scratches.

"It seems we both have more important affairs to do for now, branded one. To think that there are more humans who match your growth, enough to make me lose if we fought again today... Simply impressive. I'll keep my eyes on you from now on, Halfling..." Zodd calls you by the same nickname The Skull Knight gave you. To be respected by Griffith's strongest knight before the meeting with the reborn band of the Falcon... It's an alien sensation, to be sure.

With another leap, you block with your weapon when Zodd jumps off in your direction, yet he only did so to drop off and continue his journey, unable to transform until Farnese's control over the spell ran out, which should have already happened a while ago.

Pft. The shock was so immense that he didn't even try to transform back, good going, Farnese.

"Guts, listen. Bolzack isn't our enemy yet. As long as we--"
"'we' what? Forgive him? Just wait until he says he's sorry and that he'll change his mind on things!? That might be how you spoiled diplomats deal with things, but I don't mind spilling blood to get what I want. If I see him laying a finger on Casca, he's dead." Guts interrupts you without any sense of guilt. He's really hell bent on killing him, and not for Rita's sake or for Cromwell, though that's somewhat more understandable.

"The town is in shambles! He can't get away with this, no matter what horrors he's been through!" Rita also seems unable to make any compromises.

"This isn't about playing nice, Guts the cure is still possible! We're talking about saving Casca and the others here! Are you really going to let this opportunity slip by because you want to see some violence?"

"Who's going to stop me if I say 'Yes'?" Though Guts is the one to reply, you can hear another voice echoing with his. Darkness is merely waiting for an opportunity to strike and take over his body.

You can only pray that this opportunity will not be against you.
>>
>>5312272
Opening the door along with Guts, the swordsman dismounts from your horse as he stays by your side, giving you some much needed energy and two extra set of legs, mobility won't be a problem unless you stay away from confined spaces.

While Serpico and Farnese are down for the count, Hyde and Violet still have more energy with them in case you need backup, and not knowing how the threat looks, you'll blindly take their help.

"BOLZACK! SHOW YOURSELF!" Guts shouted, not expecting the baron to be kneeled not too far away from him.

"You're going to tell me where Casca is, of else I'll-" Guts grabs his collar in one hand and aims his cannon with the other, his boiling point being nearer than near.

"The Mandragora tree... Engulfed them both in it's bulb... I was powerless to stop it!" Bolzack grimaces, pointing to the tall grass wall leading back to a grown garden. Clear enemy territory...

"Hahahahah... HAHAHAHAHA! REAL FUNNY BOLZACK! I KNOW YOU DON'T HAVE THE BALLS TO LET CASCA DIE AND FACE THE CONSEQUENCES! NOW TELL ME WHERE SHE IS!" Guts stares at the defeated Bolzack, intending on placing him on top of the dragon slayer and smashing the walls with him.

You'd think Guts being more close with Casca would do good for his mind, yet it only gave him an even narrower tunnel vision as his life is burdened by Casca and the mere thought of danger being present where she could be.

>Would you calm down already? Casca could still be alive!
>I can check on Casca and Anette's life forces.
>Save the anger for the Mandragora! Bolzack can lose his rulership, but killing him won't accomplish a thing!
>You know what? You can kill Bolzack, see how little that changes!
>Write-in
>>
>>5312366
>I can check on Casca and Anette's life forces.
>Save the anger for the Mandragora! Bolzack can lose his rulership, but killing him won't accomplish a thing!
>>
>>5312366
>All crimes will be paid for, Guts, but now is the least fitting moment to act rashly. She’s still alive, I know it.
>Bolzack, you’ve studied the Mandragora. What weaknesses does it have? Surely you researched such in your pursuits of a cure and an army. We need your help to rescue the girls without harm.
>>
>>5312366
>>I can check on Casca and Anette's life forces.
>"Bolzack, how deep in the castle is the bulb of the plant ? How long ago Casca and Anette where taken by the plant ? Do you know of any way in the castle, for get has near as we can to the bulb without having all of the mandragoras on us ? Any secret corridor or door of sorts ?"
"Eitherway you are coming with us, take your sword and light a torch if you find one. Rise now."
"Your death will just add another corpse here and a corpse cannot fix his errors, instead you will live and start to pay for your errors by letting the blood of this halfdemons run free like rivers on this castle, so that we may save the ones we hold dear and your people."
>>
>>5312366
>I can check on Casca and Anette's life forces.
>Save the anger for the Mandragora! Bolzack can lose his rulership, but killing him won't accomplish a thing!
>>
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>>5312406
>>5312475
>>5312628
>>5312635
"All crimes will be paid for, Guts, but now is the least fitting moment to act rashly." You tilt the dragonslayer and bring Bolzack down to the floor by lowering Guts' fist. Closing your eyes and feeling for the impaired women's presence, you feel Anette and Casca conjoined into the same hotspot, sharing the same space within the top of the Mandragora's head.

While still submerged in chlorophyll, they are still alive and breathing. The tree is being powered by human life force z instead of the other way around in Mandragoran possession.

"Are you sure about that?" Guts shouts into your ear, doubting your claims.
"Absolutely. While his acts were indeed villainous, killing him will accomplish nothing. Instead, Bolzack should live and pay for letting the blood of this halfdemons run free like rivers on this castle, so that we may save the ones we hold dear as well as your people. Punishment is not felt in death, and neither is retribution."

"Now that much I can agree with... Maybe killing him is being too merciful, we should start by breaking his bones and hearing how he screams..." Guts places his sword away and cracks his knuckles, eager to punch him until his face was swollen.

"Wait, Guts! Vlad has a point! If we kill him now, we could miss some important information about how the cure works!", Rita starts siding with you, rather seeing him being punished by authority rather than with violence.

"Don't jeopardize the mission, captain! You'll betray the law!" Puck goes against Guts and his morals, wearing an officer hat and a police baton.

Seeing how many people were against him, his reason was slowly taking over the beast of darkness once again.

"I'll give you a few minutes. If you still haven't gotten anything out of him, I'll killing him and anyone that goes against me." Guts forces authority by being aware of how he's the strongest in the room, his cooperation being as disingenuous as his patience.

"Bolzack, you’ve studied the Mandragora. What weaknesses does it have? Surely you researched such in your pursuits of a cure and an army. We need your help to rescue the girls without harm. Any quick way to get there would be appreciated too."

"Anette got caught by the Mandragora when she found the secret passage behind my bookshelf." He points to a rectangle away from his throne room. "There is still time to extract serum from it's bulb. If you inject the liquid they are submerged in directly into their veins it's possible they might show symptoms of recovery."

"They why didn't you do it? Wasn't the Mandragora here?"

"The tree is gigantic, Vlad. I couldn't get near it even if I tried. Several Mandragoras grow out if it's stems like peas in a pod. I was too cowardly to sacrifice my life for Anette's, for my people! I am not the ruler I used to be all those years ago..." He closes his eyes, demonstrating genuine guilt.
>>
>>5313061
"Boo-fucking hoo. Are you done with your pity part?" Guts chimes in, even after getting what he wants.

"Ya doing this for ya girl, or for yaself, Guts? Cause if it ain't for Casca, let the real men talk instead of being a child." Being a family man, Hyde can't help but feel offended by Guts and his priorities.
"I didn't hear anything about sparing the Mandragora or leaving it alive, so it's all fair game from here, right? I didn't interrupt you in your little chitchat, so let me do what I do best."

"But you just got done interrupting him! Tee hee! What a coward..." Zhafira's bubbly voice is heard behind Rita

"What was that?!" Guts turned over to look at her in the eyes as she elaborated.

"You're a coward, Guts. I never understood why Benny or my dad kept hiding my toys, tying me to beds or even why I'm here. But I'm always happy to be here! Complaining is for those who want to spread negativity, and that's a no no! Why do you never look happy, Guts? That can only be because you're scared! Silly little goofster Guts, scared of a few plants! Hahahaha!"

"Uh, Zhafira? I think that might be a bit too much..." Rita attempts to stop the clown girl, but her brief moment of provocation comes with plenty of lucidity.

"You know who wasn't a coward? Benny! My little brother never left my side, even when being so young, he always swore to protect me for all 14 years of his life! How many years did you stay with Casca when she needed help?"

Guts aims the dragonslayer at the harlequin, but after processing the words making too much sense for him, he dodged to her left as Zhafira sat on the floor smiling at him, not out of malice, but out of genuine intent on wanting Guts letting the anger out of his system.

"...One. Just one. And after she's worsened... Not even a single season..." Guts realizes his grave mistake, one that not even Zhafira's brother dared to make, even if he did leave eventually from exhaustion.

He was now wondering who was truly more deserving of being cured, and if all were to judge by the competence of their caretakers, Casca would be dead last.

Wondering if Guts was calm enough to rationally proceed with your plan, you pondered on who to proceed with in the final bout to meet the Mandragorans. Given how they aren't prone to violence against those who went against them, Guts would be better off staying here, but that could also mean he would take the anger of losing the argument out on Bolzack...

>Hyde will be crucial in taking the girls from out the bulb. He's in.
>Guts will just get in the way and kill another Mandragora heart.
>It's best to keep a watch on Guts rather than leave him alone, his added muscle could be useful.
>Zhafira should stick with you, in case you can cure her too.
>>
>>5313063
>Hyde will be crucial in taking the girls from out the bulb. He's in.
>Ask Guts if he'd be willing to draw the Mandragorans attention for the rescue operation, since their ire would definitely be focused on him. If he is, then you'll have a powerful distraction to use to get to the girls. If he isn't, then at least he can rest in case anything goes awry with the plan.
Knowing Guts though, there's no way in hell he'll be content to rest even if he needs to.
>>
>>5313063
>Hyde will be crucial in taking the girls from out the bulb. He's in.
>It's best to keep a watch on Guts rather than leave him alone, his added muscle could be useful.
>Zhafira should stick with you, in case you can cure her too.

"Hyde i need you to be ready to take the girls away, at the same time don't go near the bulb if the tree is still ready to attack you. Attack from range, keep any bullets of the handgun for the tree. Use the sling for the Mandragorans."
"Guts, i don't need to tell you what to do. But remain concentrate and precise, we need to keep in mind where we are fighting."
"Zhafira stay near me, don't get near any of this creatures. There could be enough of the cure for you too."
"I will use my remaining seeds for give us an advantage against the demon tree. Either has an opening, for wound it or for kill his spawn. That is all. Any objection or better ideas ?"
"Bolzack, if you join us you will fight at my side. If not, find any survivors and bring them to my wagon. Act has their lord and protect them."
>>
>>5313063
>Hyde will be crucial in taking the girls from out the bulb. He's in.
>>
>>5313132
>>5313148
>>5313183

"Guts, I don't need to tell you what to do. But remain concentrate and precise, we need to keep in mind where we are fighting. The Mandragora's are still human, so if you're down to slaughtering anyone, it's best to be the one who'll turn them back to normal."

"Could have just said you wanted to keep an eye on me." He readies his weapons, rushing forward and cutting the vines and thorns that lay in the hallway. Hopefully he won't screw with your plans before you arrive at where he is...

"I'll go with 'em, partner. If he gets too carried away, a few bops on the head will make that damn beast pay attention to us." Hyde flies off with Violet, not referring to the Mandragora when mentioning a beast.

"Where are we going? Aww, I wanted to see Rita's performance again!" Zhafira puffs her cheeks when you take her hand and place her on Gunpowder.

"I'm fulfilling your brother's wish like I promised, let's get moving." While horse rides are unorthodox for indoor fights, so are giant great swords, and that never stopped guts from fighting, so you might as well go in with your full arsenal.

"Wait! What about us?!" Rita asks, alone with Bolzack as he's still recovering from butting heads with the black swordsman.

"The soldiers down below are still fighting the plants invading the floor, either help them out or hide. Try bringing Serpico and Farnese with you, if you can."

"A last attempt at making amends with my people... I'll leave Anette's fate up to you, Lord Vlad." Bolzack rushed forward, hoping to still have some determination left on him.

By guiding Gunpowder with your telepathy, you only have to hug on his back as you squint at the tight passage of the wide staircase as you rush to meet Guts and the Mandragora tree.

With its full body reaching the third floor, you gasp as a floating heart child appears floating around in the empty plaza, it's body covered in shiny, sharp leaves with more Mandragoras about to swarm you at the slightest scent of conflict.

Seeing how it flails around, observing where to move and the scream it made after waking up, convincing this monster appears to be a shot in the dark: it's a giant flying plant baby.

As Guts slashes at a Mandragoran scientist, he lets go of an empty syringe, and before you could take it to extract the serum, the plant baby noticed Guts, and having shared knowledge front Eliza's village, it loudly cried and shouted as the smaller plants started to grown and drop onto the floor.

You cover your ears, incapable of making more movements as Gunpowder falls over, not being able to do the same.

Zhafira's ears start to bleed and even guts recoils behind the dragonslayer, sinking it like an anchor on the tiles as grimaces.

"WAS THIS REALLY BETTER THAN RITA'S SHOW!?" Zhafira complains as red pours from her eardrums.

This baby needs to calm down, before other little Mandragoras follow suit!
>>
>>5313388
>Enter the plantmorph's mind and calm him down.
>Tell Guts to stay hidden, it only shouted after seeing him.
>Chuck the syringe and give it to Hyde, he should have an easier time jabbing it than you.
>Pick up the syringe, you can climb the floors and jump on the heart baby with Gunpowder's help
>Focus and attempts to communicate with the harvesting spirit that blessed you before, he might know what to do.
>Make a sound wall for your friends with the seeds you still have with you.
>Write-in
>>
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>>5313388
>Enter the plantmorph's mind and calm him down.
PLANT POWER ACTIVATE
>Make a sound wall for your friends with the seeds you still have with you.
Make plant wall so nobody gets tinnitus.
>>
>>5313395
>Enter the plantmorph's mind and calm him down.
>Make a sound wall for your friends with the seeds you still have with you.

So we will only have access to one heart at best then from what I have gathered. Hoping Vlad can somehow jury rig a way to make more after the apostle powering the whole mandragora affair is dead.
>>
>>5313388
>Tell Guts to stay hidden, it only shouted after seeing him.
>Make a sound wall for your friends with the seeds you still have with you.
>Enter the plantmorph's mind and calm him down.
>>
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>>5313424
>>5313430
>>5313434
A 2d100! First one will be to play plants vs zombies with dababy, second will be a check to see if your seeds have any effect on the Mandragoras, if all goes well we might get a cure for the disease after all, already going better than canon anyway.
Roll!
>>
Rolled 5, 62 = 67 (2d100)

>>5313465
the plants shall plant as plants do.
>>
Rolled 21, 43 = 64 (2d100)

>>5313465
>>
Rolled 48, 1 = 49 (2d100)

>>5313465
>>
Well fuck lol, this rolls where abysmal
>>
>>5313466
>>5313469
>>5313501
Oh, goodie...
>>
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>>5313501
OH DEAR GOD ANON WHAT HAVE YOU DONE????
>>
>>5313465
>already going better than canon anyway.
>>
>>5313508
Gotta keep that suffering coming yeee.

For being more serious idk what to do, beside absorbing od from the madrogans and attempt to heal. We can't really recover at the moment from any big damage too. Maybe our runic armor will protect us again. Probably no.
And I that i hoped this fights would end soon, it will probably do so not how we want it of course. Is kind of tiresome to do a bad roll instead of a good one, when we are almost done with this demon trees. After an entire day of vlad fighting too, and several real life ones.
Really really annoying
>>
>>5313466
>>5313469
>>5313501

You can only hope the harvesting baron is on your side as you drop some seeds off your pouch and spread around to protect your friends.

"Grow!" The trunks form a cubic shape around Guts and Gunpowder, which though initially appearing to be acting according to your orders, soon turn against you as it's vines whack you off your horse and seal all inside, growing thorns and compressing them as the Mandragora tree easily takes control of your magic.

"What do you think you're doing!?" Guts yelps as several branches go through his armor, with him doing his best to slice the growing plants out of his way, before they slowly engulf him and freeze him in place, with a brown engraving of his angry expression carved out from the wood.

The muffled shouts and screams show that he, as well as your friends, are all still alive, though for how long is unsure.

The last seed you saved on your tooth hole starts growing as well, you barely have enough time for it to pull it out your tongue before it grew into a Mandragora.

As you recovered from dislocating your jaw, you observe the Mandragoras shouting the coated woodwork of Guts and your party, though you can't hear them back due to the noise, and they're not exactly doing their deathly wail, it's still loud enough for them to grow dead if this keeps up.

"STOP THIS! PLEASE! WE'RE NOT YOUR ENEMY!" You plead for the Mandragora tree to understand you, but it lacks the comprehension to respond, even by connecting yourself to it's mind, no coherent though comes from that empty head.

To that enormous child, the branded man is the enemy, and he intends to kill you by association.

You wish you could get things over with and decimate the creature, but not only would that defeat the entire purpose of your journey for the cure, it would also leave you with no possible means of saving Cromwell from the curse.

Violet is the only one who managed to dodge the Mandragoran attacks, skillfully dodging the seeds thrown on it's way, as well as the swatted leaves on it's head as the enemy approaches.

Thankfully, your enemy's inferior intellect makes him easy to telegraph, being easy to bait as he doesn't realize he can outzone the flying hunter.

Picking up the syringe from the floor, you consider if it's worth telling Hyde to extract the serum and risk a flight up to its bulb to either save Casca and Anette, or kill the thing off for good.

Hyde is barely keeping it together, placing his boots on Violet's ears and dangerously aiming at the baby while laying at an odd angle, shoulders above his ears to withstand the screaming.
>>
>>5313570
Someone's eardrums are definitely bursting if this keeps up, and you don't want to sit still to find out.

>Absorb the Mandragoras and the trees onto yourself, free your friends before they get consumed.
>Tell Hyde to aim for the bulb and kill it with his cannon.
>Tell Hyde to release the girls from the bulb, you'll try to catch the extract as he falls.
>Jump onto the Mandragora. If the baby is a plant, you might be able to absorb it.
>You're not risking Hyde's life on your idea, tell him to get off Violet, you're taking the extract yourself.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5313570
>Absorb the Mandragoras and the trees onto yourself, free your friends before they get consumed.
>You're not risking Hyde's life on your idea, tell him to get off Violet, you're taking the extract yourself.
>Jump onto the Mandragora. If the baby is a plant, you might be able to absorb it.
>>
>>5313573
>>Absorb the Mandragoras and the trees onto yourself, free your friends before they get consumed.
>>You're not risking Hyde's life on your idea, tell him to get off Violet, you're taking the extract yourself.
>>Jump onto the Mandragora. If the baby is a plant, you might be able to absorb it.
>>
>>5313573
>Absorb the Mandragoras and the trees onto yourself, free your friends before they get consumed.
>You're not risking Hyde's life on your idea, tell him to get off Violet, you're taking the extract yourself.
>Jump onto the Mandragora. If the baby is a plant, you might be able to absorb it.
All in
>>
>>5313515
The part about it taking a while irl is admittedly a me problem, would usually post more than 3 times a day if it I was home, but it's better than nothing I guess.

I'll be back in a week so hopefully it won't be for long that it stays that way, at least the vacation is fun.

>>5313580
>>5313576
>>5313594

3d100 for the overall combo. The added result better give me a 100 at least or I'll have somebody's head!
>>
>>5313597
Personally I am fine with the time, this negative rolls on critical moments are my only problem. Don't think too much of it, not like we didn't have any bad rolls before is not possibile to always win. We will try and plan around them like usual. Speaking of bad rolls, i will not roll now maybe someone has better luck.

That's cool, have fun there.
>>
Rolled 4, 82, 99 = 185 (3d100)

>>5313597
I'll give you 300 just to spite you.

>captcha: GNAAT
Yes, and the DC will be squashed like one.
>>
Rolled 58, 61, 95 = 214 (3d100)

>>5313597
Maybe there'll be change in fortunes

>>5313609
Finally a good roll
>>
Rolled 14, 45, 5 = 64 (3d100)

>>5313597
I MUST ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLL
>>
>>5313624
>>5313609
>>5313612
>>5313624

Standing back up and placing your hands on the Mandragoran fauna, you absorb as much as you can from the plants around you, killing them as you slowly seep out their energy and take back control of your your plants.

While they stopped growing, a burst in your chest indicates that your Od pool is already at it's limit, and not wishing for your soul to dissipate, you hold back on removing the thick layer of wood from your comrades. At least their energies aren't being drained anymore.

The ringing in your ears subsides, the humanoid sprouts are all dead, all you need to focus on is the baby and the women inside it's head.

"Hyde, you think Violet can stand one last dash? My armor might be a bit too much for her." You repeat the message a few times as Hyde recovers his hearing, still paying attention to the flying plant's movements.

"Only if I get off of her, why?"
"I think your ears have went through enough suffering for today. Placing a family man in harm's way when I can extract the cure myself would be downright parental abuse." You guide them to come to you as Hyde cautiously let you straddle the harpy.

You can't say it's the same as riding Gunpowder, but she seems coordinated enough to move vertically without your guidance.

"Vlad boy, how many times are you going to gamble your life on these ideas you make up on the spot!?"
"I can't count to infinity, so for the sake of brevity? Plenty." You fly off, jumping at the right time to land on the leaves of the Mandragora's head as it swerved in a different direction.

You could feel it breathing in as it prepared for a scream and flailed into the air, yet your practice with rock climbing showed you how to withstand difficult positions.

"If you can't hold the weight of your body on this angle... Fall back and readjust!" You charge the last of your Od to activate the carved runes of your shortsword onto the baby's head, sending a stab through it's leaves as the droplets of energy coming from the atmosphere were attracted into the wound.

It's energy was drained without pain or agony, as it finally glided back to earth in a peaceful sleep, descending while letting some of it's bulb leak it's miraculous liquid.

The moment to extract the serum and cure your allies was delivered to you on a silver platter. You will not have another chance to jab the syringe as smoothly as this.

Penetrating the transparent leaves on top of it's head, you call for Zhafira as you avoid hitting the submerged Anette and the unconscious Casca.
>>
>>5313735
The perforating needle slowly drips into the vial until it is completely full. You've done it. The Mandragora child is unconscious, you can take it and inject it on the three of them until it runs out, so long as the needle doesn't break or the heart doesn't get killed--

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!" A contained explosion burns at the coated woodwork Guts was previously in, and the fire from the burnt black powder expands as smoke illuminates his silhouette.

The feeling of being ensnared and having it's energy absorbed while his lover could be in danger became too much for the swordsman to handle, the thought consumed him until The Beast formed by the darkness in his heart and mind finally overtook his spirit.

A one eyed, dark wolf, much like Guts himself, only roaring and blindly attacking anyone who comes it's way. Being incomprehensibly devoid of rationale, the mere sight of plants would be enough for him go unleash the embodiment of all the trauma, loneliness and despair he's felt in all those years of fighting monsters to escape his suicidal thoughts.

His misery is personified, and while you never thought Guts would be your biggest obstacle against allying him with your group, it's all but clear that he is a detriment to himself.

>One jab is fine, it might not heal everyone, but it's better than healing nobody.
>Guts can't kill the tree heart yet, you need to hold your ground and impede him from attacking
>Jab yourself with the serum. Your astral ancestry could protect you from adverse effects, and will give you a boost to fair up against Guts.
>Jab Casca, maybe seeing her safe could make his conscience disperse the beast's.
>Jab Anette. Cromwell needs a ruler, and Bolzack has too many crosses to carry.
>Jab Zhafira. She's the closest to you and has helped a lot more than she should given her oblivious state.
>>
>>5313769
>>Jab Casca, maybe seeing her safe could make his conscience disperse the beast's.
>>Jab Anette. Cromwell needs a ruler, and Bolzack has too many crosses to carry.
>>Jab Zhafira. She's the closest to you and has helped a lot more than she should given her oblivious state.
>Guts can't kill the tree heart yet, you need to hold your ground and impede him from attacking
>>
>>5313769
"Guts victory is ours ! I have the serum we can save them, don't attack the heart now !"
"Hyde, we don't have much time i need you to take the girls to safety, the heart cannot die. Quick !"
>Jab Casca, maybe seeing her safe could make his conscience disperse the beast's.
>Jab Anette. Cromwell needs a ruler, and Bolzack has too many crosses to carry.
>Jab Zhafira. She's the closest to you and has helped a lot more than she should given her oblivious state.
>Guts can't kill the tree heart yet, you need to hold your ground and impede him from attacking

put the needle to safety it would be a waste if it breaks during, what is likely to be combat. Though if we could convince Guts somehow that would be great, or pin him down for a while.
>>
>>5313885
>local man yells at dog
>>
>>5313769
>Jab Casca, maybe seeing her safe could make his conscience disperse the beast's.
>Jab Anette. Cromwell needs a ruler, and Bolzack has too many crosses to carry.
>Jab Zhafira. She's the closest to you and has helped a lot more than she should given her oblivious state.
>Guts can't kill the tree heart yet, you need to hold your ground and impede him from attacking
oh god of fuck I think guts is starting to berserk 1997
>>
Rolled 1 (1d3)

>>5313824
>>5313885
>>5313928
Vlad can only jab one at a time and since this is a split second decision, I'll make the decision for ya.

That's not to say only one of them will be healed.
Give it up for a 2d100! First one's for stopping Guts from attacking the plant while you're on the brink, and he's on his rage boost, 2nd is to make sure the syringe doesn't break so you're ready for the next shot!
(I still can't believe this is a real panel)
>>
Rolled 25, 81 = 106 (2d100)

>>5314036
>>
Rolled 79, 48 = 127 (2d100)

>>5314036
>>
Rolled 7, 46 = 53 (2d100)

>>5314036
>>
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>>5314036
GUTS HAS GONE BERSERK (2012) OMMG!!11!
>>
>>5314037
>>5314061
>>5314067

"Hyde!"
"Gotcha!" He fires few shots at Guts' kneecaps and thighs, but even with him not holding back, the swordsman does not relent or shifts in speed, aiming the dragonslayer right at your head!

"Guts, victory is ours! I have the serum, we can save them, don't attack the heart now!" Reason is the last thing that reaches Guts' mind, yet you attempt to avoid his attack as you shake the liquid inside the syringe and aim it at Zhafira's shoulder blade.

"Ouchies! Give me a warning next time, hahaha!" The girl laughs as you stab the needle into her and watch the liquid take its full effect. You can't push it any harder or else you'll risk a leaking, but Guts sure isn't waiting for the vial to empty.

Making the most out of your flexibility, you spin kick your legs onto the dragonslayer as you tilt it sideways before crashing onto you and severing Zhafira in half. The last time you attempted to block his strikes, your weapon broke and you were saved by Casca and Gallahad before Guts ended your life. But now? Your growth in power lets you strain your leg muscles to the point of holding him still, using it as a leverage while having your back supported by a nearby pillar.

Your arms are busy holding Zhafira and the syringe still, watching her pupils dilate as her confident smile gave way to a sickly expression.

"Vlad...? What happened to my brother...? I wanna go home..." The confusion from the adverse reactions of the Mandragoran extract take effect, with some hard blisters appearing onto her skin, but no signs of mandragorans possession.

Observing her insides with your Old sensing, you notice what appears to be an internal hemorrhage starting in the area around her inflated liver, the body desperately looking for a way to ruin some other parts of her body before restoring her sanity.

"Zhafira is only my performance name, right? The one my mother gave to me, the one they called me before she passed away... What was it...?"

It might be from her being the only one out of the amnesiac patients not to be submerged in chlorophyll before taking this jab, but the potency of injections definitely made the healing effects work faster, as well as amplifying the side effects for the sake of equivalent exchange.

From what you remember reading, the effects can be stabilized so the person can escape from either inflictions, but that's something you would have to test over the course of several week, not in the span of a few minutes!
>>
>>5314256

Cindy buckles to the floor on her knees as she starts to remember the tragedy of Ilos's condition, making you fall as the support from your hands gave way to several more strikes from Guts from his sword. Being too close for the full force of his swings didn't stop your legs from receiving several gashes across your lower limbs, with the dragonslayer depending on more brute force than sharpness, you're surprised your armor could block out most of the damage, even if you were shouting throughout his strikes.

"ENOUGH!" Having more strength in your legs than your arms, you shift the weight of his sword before he could swing, sending him spinning his head into an opposite pillar as Violet dragged the swordsman's neck away from you, both falling onto themselves as the syringe slipped through your fingers.

Hyde catches it by taking his boot off and letting the needle rest on it's leather. Hygiene and medical etiquette aren't really a top priority, what matters is that the item is still intact, and so is the Mandragora.

If Guts can pull strength out of thin air by channeling his anger, you will match his fierceness with your own drive for success! Do what he wouldn't he able to!

[red] "That's it... Ravish them... Kill them all. This is what you were always meant to do. It's in your nature to destroy, so don't hold back against them. Sacrifice them before they sacrifice you." [/red]

His inner beast is still in full control of Guts and his mind. The reason he grew a lot more distant with you in this encounter compared to the one before suddenly starts to make a lot more sense.

You wish you could reach his mind, but you're too busy wondering if Hyde can take him on without dying, or if you can pull open the bulb and jab Casca and Anette before the dire situation turns even more sour.

Is the dowsing going to make their healing more or less effective? Who knows... All you've decided for now is that the dosage will be on...

>Casca.
>Anette.
>Yourself.
>>
>>5314295
>Casca.
Get this man his waifu and his autism will reduce.
>>
>>5314295
>>Casca.
>>
>>5314295
>Casca.
Keep guard of the needle, the runic upgrade of our equipment is very good. We might want to see it later up close, in case it needs repairs though.

"War dog i have no time to listen to your demented creed of bloodlust but I want to inform you, i will kick you out of my friend mind if you don't stop now. There are no demons beside the heart, so why keep going ? Do you have your own plans for Guts uh ?"
>>
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>>5314313
>>5314315
>>5314320
A 1d100 for an early Casca fix or for Guts to fuck your shit up!
Wasn't expecting her to get unpotatoed 20 volumes early but I'm all for it so long as you hit the DC!
HIT ME!
>>
Rolled 45 (1d100)

>>5314339
Dice don’t fail us now
>>
Rolled 61 (1d100)

>>5314339
I dedicate this roll to our lord and savior, Vlad
>>
Rolled 49 (1d100)

>>5314339
>>
File: casca.gif (1.63 MB, 500x393)
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Please dice gods let it be enough...
>>
>>5314358
At least it's not negative. Maybe we can work with this
>>
>>5314347
>she wakes up
>screams
>breaks again
yey
>>
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>>5314343
>>5314347
>>5314352
I'm sorry to say anons... The DC was too high and the shot... worked, writing.
>>
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>>5314343
>>5314347
>>5314352

It takes some effort to bring Casca to you when she's under so much liquid without tearing a hole at the leaves, but you manage to reach the plant and shake the mixture in his brain until Casca hovers over to the nearest wall.

Violet is terrified to remain close to Guts as her feathers dissipate over the swordsman. Hyde's expertise on animals let's him keep a distance from the branded warrior, yet what he didn't expect was for Guts to leap over raising his blade to the sky, easily closing the gap.

While Hyde didn't take
the full hit, the dodge let an open wound at Violet's left wing, nearly tearing it off her body as Hyde fell onto the broken pillars.

"Ya touch my girl and I'm blowing ye head right out ya fucking NECK, BASTARD!" Throwing caution to the wind, Hyde is willing to kamikaze himself by shooting as much lead onto Guts as he needs to if he shows any signs of harming the flying monster he calls his daughter.

In the mean time, you pricked Casca in the arm, the odd angle made you afraid of hitting a muscle, yet as her eyes slowly opened, you felt a consciousness that wasn't present before you tried to read her mind. Seeing how Cindy was also groggy and unresponsive, it was hard to measure if the effects differed from person to person, this was not your research, yet you had to make do.

Turning over to see Guts and Hyde ready to kill each other, you began panting as you cut a hole open in the dying Mandragora to pull Casca out.

Screw the dryness of her skin and the fidgeting of her lips, you shake and slap her awake until she says something. If that doesn't get a reaction out of Guts, it's all over!

"BEGONE, WAR DOG!" you shout at Guts to call his attention, as he watches you cradle his woman in his arms, Guts reminds himself of the scene of the eclipse. His twisted role of the protector tells him to disembowel you if it means letting the two alone.

Casca's eyes drift to Guts as she holds a hand out to him, the sweet reverb of her voice making more effect to appease the beast than you ever could.

"Guts... Stop this, please..." She whispers, showing that the cure is partially restoring her memory.

"Casca...? Do you recognize me?" The hound goes away in an instant, with Hyde's heartbeat decreasing as Guts swifts his attention to you and the old fallen Falcon member.

"I never left to begin with, Guts... Seeing you from a distance... Unable to respond, unable to say what I wished to say... It was all like witnessing a fading dream, one that I never thought I could wake up from..." Casca faints as her hand caresses Guts' ankle.
>>
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>>5314521
Guts can't believe what he just saw as his consciousness comes back. The woman he yearned to save was almost tarnished forever as he attempted to murder everyone who was on his side. No matter how many times you've warned him, he waited until the last possible second to spare you, and even then, the damage was already done...

"Wh-what have I..." He stammers, observing the bloodshed he left behind.

>You're welcome, arsehole.
>I don't know if she's fully healed yet,but it will take time for her to stand again.
>(Punch him square in the jaw. It's payback for all he did previously.)
>No time to rest yet, help me heal Anette with this syringe.
>Write-in
>>
>>5314527
>No time to rest yet, help me heal Anette with this syringe.
>I don't know if she's fully healed yet, but it will take time for her to stand again.
>>
>>5314527
>No time to rest yet, help me heal Anette with this syringe.
>I don't know if she's fully healed yet, but it will take time for her to stand again
"Guts, I am not sure if it's you again or that beast but if it’s you follow my instructions. After i give Anette the serum, i want to see if i can get more. Then the heart can be killed."
"We will talk when we are done here, and in the following days."

Have Hyde bring the girls to safety. Puck should be able to heal them lightly
>>
>>5314538
>>5314531
+1
>>
>>5314538
+1
>>
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>>5314531
>>5314538
>>5314598
>>5314664
"So... Finally gotten rid of the beast, eh? If that's really you, Guts I hope you can follow my instructions now. I'm not exactly in peak condition, so I'd appreciate some help if you carried me to Anette. After I give her the serum, I'll try to store as much as I can for repeated dosages. Only then the heart can be killed." You try to ignore his mistakes and get straight to the point, as Guts is prone to do.

"Is... Is she really safe?" Guts is still fixated on Casca, so you reassure him of her safety:

"I don't know when she'll be fully healed yet, but it will take time for her to stand up again. Her mind show progress, but this is not exactly a quick fix. After that, we'll take the girls to safety and get together with Puck and Bolzack."

"..." Guts stares in silence, pondering if that was the right thing to do, but after realizing how much trouble he made, he would try his best to write his wrongs.

"I'll talk to you when we are done."
"I can only hope you stick with me for the following days. I get the feeling this is only the start of our truce." Guts takes Casca on his shoulder and helps you stand up, before looking around at the Mandragora.

"...Where is this Anette girl? Shouldn't she be inside the bulb?" Your heart races after Hyde points out her absence. Where could she be-

A familiar tearing at your soul bubbles inside of you as you notice a vortex sending the baroness into the God Hand's dimension. Something happened with Bolzack, someone had a Behelit with them, and thinking it was just Guts with his, you paid no mind to the surrounding energy to not abuse your spiritual self.

"NO!" You hurt your fist on the nearest wall, knowing that could only mean Bolzack was about to sacrifice his wife because of whatever happened with him fighting the invading Mandragorans.

Lacking any hosts, the tree heart started leaking it's juices as it died off, with you desperately injecting the syringe and looking for any nearby containers to save it from being put to waste.

"Seems like he didn't trust us after all... Since I'm the only one here in fighting condition, I'll head over there and see they're up to."
"You're not going to relish in darkness like you did just now, are you?"

"No. I promise. Let me do one thing right today, call it a first step to pay my debts to you... Thank you, Vlad." Guts takes his sword in hand, but throws you a bag with elf powder on you before leaving.
>>
>>5314743
"It's the last one I have of these. I'd tell you to use it wisely, but you don't need me to give you any advice, do you?" He leaves, with a million thoughts on his mind,but with a kind, soft smile rising from his cheeks.

Not to fake his anger, or to show his intimidating bloodlust, genuine happiness, coming from the growing heart of someone who thought he didn't have one to begin with.

>Rip some leaves out the Mandragoran's head and store the liquid that way.
>Look for a container.
>Use the elf powder on yourself, Guts might need assistance later
>Share the healing artifact with the girls.
>Save it, Guts might need it after his next fight
>>
>>5314748
>>Save it, Guts might need it after his next fight
>>
>>5314748
>Write in: Use the elf powder sparingly to heal some of the major wounds; then save the majority for Guts who might need it after his next fight.
>Rip some leaves out the Mandragoran's head and store the liquid that way.
>>
>>5314748
>>Rip some leaves out the Mandragoran's head and store the liquid that way.
>Save it, Guts might need it after his next fight
>>
>>5314748
>Inject some into yourself immediately.
>Rip some leaves out the Mandragoran's head and store the REST of the liquid that way.
and for elf powder
>Save it, Guts might need it after his next fight
I have an idea for what we might be able to do with the rest of the mandragora's cure and the elf powder if we don't end up needing to use it.
I think that if we mix the two together and inject them at a later point, we might be able to more thoroughly fix a LOT of the shit that's wrong with us. I'd vote to call it Panacea too.
>>
>>5314748
>>Rip some leaves out the Mandragoran's head and store the liquid that way.
>Save it, Guts might need it after his next fight

Then move out and see what is happening. Fighting alone is never a good choice

"Wait"
"Something terrible must have happened, and today Zodd attacked us. Perhaps it could be another demon or apostle, all this suffering and conflict could have attract them."
"Let me ask Farnese and Serpico, i'll tell you what they are dealing with then go. I ll join you when I am done here."


When we are done making a container with leaves, ask Hyde if he wants to remain here defending the girls has a last line or if he comes with us outside for see what we have to kill. Eitherway thank him for today.
>>
>>5314748
>Rip some leaves out the Mandragoran's head and store the liquid that way.
>Use the healing powder on major wounds starting with Violet, save as much as possible for Guts.
Don't fuck this up Vlad.
Also we blew half of a huge boon on 6-12 birds only 1-2 of which are ever going to travel with us so we better fucking heal the harpy that nearly lost a wing and will never fly again unless we do something NOW.
>>
>>5314748
>Rip some leaves out the Mandragoran's head and store the liquid that way.
>Share the healing artifact with the girls.

>>5314989
Mixing the cure with the elf powder sounds promising, I'm all for doing that experiment if and when we get the chance.
>>
>>5315001
I change
>save it for guts
Here, to
>Use the healing powder on major wounds starting with Violet, save as much as possible for Guts

>>5314748
If I can change it of course. I have thought about it and Violet needs aid right now. Puck can make more powder, later.

>>5314989
>mandragora's cure and the elf powder
It could be a good mix, we will see when the battle is done. We are going to remain for a few days in Cromwell, or an entire week at least so we should have sometime.
Maybe we can add other medical herbs to the mix.
>>
>>5315084
+1
let's do this for Hyde too
>>
>>5314764
>>5314819
>>5314970
>>5314989
>>5315001
>>5315084
>>5315091
>>5315171
>>5315196

Trying to sense for Farnese and Serpico, you feel a faint fraction of their energy, evidently still unconscious and drained of stamina from all that happened today. Telepathically speaking to the unconscious only lets you see the visions of their dreams, irrelevant to your task at hand.

"Damn..." You curse as Guts leaves, not being able to warn him of the apostle above or how he looks.

"Violet! Don't give me that look, girl! Fight it!" Hyde takes off his coat to staunch the blood pouring from the screaming Harpy's wing, who only hurt herself further by attempting to fly and repeatedly falling back down.

Hurrying towards the leaking would be enhanced by the regenerative, you rip off some of the leaves from the dying Mandragora and find yourself holding half a liter of the solution in your hands, a barrel would be nice, holding it like this will just make it spill all over...

Nevertheless, this thing is powerful. Best not let it go to waste, for Zhafira and Casca's bodies only.

"Bring her here!" I need to be careful with this..." You spray some of the elf powder onto Violet's nearly detached wing, numbing her pain and calming her down thanks to her speeding metabolism closing the wound with her dried up blood.

"Thank God almighty!" Hyde prays to a higher power as you spread some of it on yourself, letting you limp back into action as you attempt to fix Gunpowder's ears, Zhafira's rash and let Casca rest.

"Do you need a fix?!"
"Not any more than all of you. How much do you have left?"
"Barely a few grains. Guts sure won't get a full heal from this, and I've tried to be as sparing as possible with my usage." You complain, still trying your best not to spill the Mandragoran extract.

Wondering if you could still reach Guts with your telepathy, you instead connected wavelengths with the small elf at his side, terrified of seeing what was happening before his eyes.
>>
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>>5315323
"Vlad! It's Bolzack! He turned into a... A... Good question actually, what exactly do I call this thing?!"

"A description could help in identifying his form."

"Let's see... He has a snake's face- wait a second, there's another animal lodged into his body! And another one! And another one! And on top of this animal with several legs and faces, there's Bolzack glued onto it from his belly!"

"How is Guts doing?"

"He's trying his best, but it's like every part of Bolzack does something different! One head spits fire, the other sucks him in, another one hits him with a stinger... He's getting tossed like crazy!"

"So he's fighting a chimera... What about Farnese and Serpico? Are you done with them?"

"Yeah, but they're not waking up! Guts didn't have time to get them out of the way, so it's real dangerous in here!"

"Did you see Bolzack getting sucked into the Behelit's contract?"

"No! But I felt their presence! It's the 4 guys Guts is trying to kill, right?"

"4? It was supposed to be 5, weren't they?" You wonder if Griffith being reincarnated means he can't be in 2 dimensions at once, attempting to process if this would be easier or harder when you eventually met them.

You wish you could help Guts in this last fight of the day, but there are too many casualties for you to take care of, and this Mandragora antidote won't keep itself from spilling.

"Is the Behelit still there?"
"Yeah! It's a blue Becchi! Guess he's got a little brother now? You think that 7 different colored ones, I can do a super wish with them?" Puck asks, comparing the egg with Guts' own Behelit.

>Stay here until Bolzack is defeated, Guts can win this, just trust on his battle experience.
>Tell Puck to bring the blue Behelit. It's safer with you than all the way over there.
>Use the rest of the elf powder on you and help Guts fight the apostle.
>Bring Farnese and Serpico over here with Hyde's help and avoid further harm until the fight ends.
>Tell Puck to bring you a container if he finds one.
>Write-in
>>
>>5315436
>Tell Puck to bring the blue Behelit. It's safer with you than all the way over there.
>Bring Farnese and Serpico over here with Hyde's help and avoid further harm until the fight ends.
>Tell Puck to bring you a container if he finds one.
>Stay here until Bolzack is defeated, Guts can win this, just trust on his battle experience.
>>
>>5315436
I am considering the idea of punching a block of stone of the castle, make an hole in said block, and put the serum in it. Probably will not work so eh.

>Write-in
Tell puck to find a container and throw the Blue behelit in it, then come here to the girls with said container.
I am considering to straight up just purge the behelit. Same for Guts one.

>Bring Farnese and Serpico over here with Hyde's help
>Observe the fight once done, you can trust Guts, but not demons.
>>
>>5315436
>Find somewhere you can overlook Guts’ fight, and use your ability to predict movements to telepathically assist Guts in defeating Bolzack. Knowing when each part is going to act, and how, will probably help him avoid a lot of injuries.
>>
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"Puck, can you find a mug, or a bag, or anything you can carry with you? We need something that can hold liquid in. Grab the Behelit with it if possible."

"The great Puck will fulfill your wishes! BEEEP!" The elf makes the sound of a phone disconnecting, promptly ending the call.

With a few more minutes awaiting, you hear the sound of something falling down the stairs, with a sharp, squeaky scream inching closer to your hearing.

"WHOAAA!" Puck collides into a wall inside a golden chalice, holding a Behelit around his body. Rolling outside the cup and handing you the blue egg... While standing at your opposite direction.

"Alright Vlad... Which one of the 4 of you I'll have the honor of handing this little gem to?" He spins the Behelit in his hands, wondering why his vision was quadrupled.

"You couldn't fly over here?"
"Not with this much baggage with me I couldn't! I'm strong, but I'm no Hercules! Plus my back muscles are all sore! You have no idea how much I had to hover on Serpico for his heart to beat, and even then, he's in pretty bad shape! " You observe if the chalice had any dents or holes before switching containers.

It's safer, still full to the point of relying on surface tension to hold the liquid in, but it's better than a paper cup for sure.

"That'll do, Puck. Thanks a lot. Couldn't you get the one Guts has?"
"I tried talking to him, but when Guts is in fighting mode, he can't babble much else than 'AGH UGH EGUAGHH!' No point in trying, either. At least Rita stayed up there to help with the two from the church, so no need to worry about them, right?"

"Not quite, if Guts dies, we're next." You stumble back into the secret passageway, despite doing a lot more than what one should be expected to.

As you climb upwards, Hyde stays back to wake Gunpowder up and carry the injured on his back.

You can't believe how the Behelit fits so easily in your hand now, it wasn't that long ago in which the abyss severed your ties with your magic and with your real mother.

You're starting to understand why Guts keeps his around, it's partly to remember who he wishes to destroy, yet the energy that comes from staying with one of these is like wearing a sign on you that says 'eventual apostle'.

What to do with this...

>Purge it. Surely it won't be like last time.
>Stay with it for now, the skull knight will enjoy the treat.
>Keep it, it might be useful eventually.
>Throw it away, it's not yours
>>
>>5315575
>Keep it. You can use it to find ways to better destroy your enemy, and then purge it later on when you’re healthier.
>>
>>5315575
>Keep it, it might be useful eventually.
>>
>>5315575
>>Purge it. Surely it won't be like last time.
>>
>>5315575
>>Stay with it for now, the skull knight will enjoy the treat.
>>
>>5315649
>>5315670
>>5315702
>>5315717

Begrudgingly, you start to understand the importance of keeping the Behelit with you. Destroying it probably won't work if the last time is anything to go by, and there's a chance that you could summon them on your lowest point or accidentally just by inserting raw magical force onto it. Studying is a much better way of getting answers, and if the temptation ever gets to you, you could always throw it away or destroy it.

Or at least, that's what you want to believe...

Climbing the stairs, you see the fallen corpses of who were once Mandragorans, who took over the castle before turning back into humans. The windows of the castle show people attempting and succeeding at putting the fires out.

This isn't like the reincarnation ceremony... The town, everybody managed to hang by a thread, and Cromwell will live on! Well, everyone for except...

"Hah... Hah... Hah..." Guts is already growing tired of going in and out of his vicious attack patterns, swinging against the dual welding chimera as Bolzack roared from several different mouths, throwing purple projectiles that when dodged, flee into the sky with the force of a catapult.

"He'll try to stomp on you after sucking you in. Wait for his feet to rise before you throw some bombs under him." You read the intentions of the chimera, sending the message to Guts through his mind before he could act rashly or listen to the beast in his head again.

"STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO-" Guts thinks to himself, only then realizing that you were the one helping, hiding strategically by the corner of the bookcase.

"Right, I got an even better idea, watch this..." Guts steps forward when the potent suction of the alligator mouth of the chimera attempts to pull him against his will, throwing several of his bombs into it's mouth as he almost tips over.

Following that, Guts pushes the monster by impaling the dragonslayer onto it's underbelly, Bolzack's wounds bathe Guts in his blood as he shoves his cannon right onto his intestines.

By exploding the arm cannon, the subsequent explosions send bolzack flying upwards with each burst.
>>
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>>5315792
"To the left! Use the repeater!" You advise Guts to shoot the head flying off, still attempting to bite onto his face, to which he easily takes care of just like you asked, aiming it under his great sword to defend himself from the rubble.

"He's coming back down!" Gravity can only do so much, and with his good eye behind that brick of a blade, you cover Guts on his blind spot.

"No he won't." Taking aim at the descending apostle, Guts daringly threw the dragon slayer upwards, slicing the human waist that was still recognizable as Bolzack while sticking his gigantic mass into the ceiling by the destroyed handle of the chandelier.

Bolzack's remains flail on about, his twin halberds crawl towards you before Guts placed it's boot on his head.

"Usually that's where I would let loose on him and see his head roll, but maybe you have something else to do with him." Guys catches his swords as the handle falls on his hands, having to shift his weight not to crush the Baron's head.

Seeing the once great ruler reduced to such a state is sad to see, because despite his life of crimes and reprehensible experiments, part of him was not beyond saving.

"He saved me from the Mandragorans... Your friends were almost getting possessed by them, but suddenly a blue light came from the pendant I found when Eliza died... I didn't know it would turn out like this..." The performer laments as she explains how Bolzack sacrificed his wife for the sake of the people of his kingdom, and though it did cost both of their souls, the shift in his morality showed that your message did get to him...

"It was not your fault. You had no way of finding out what the Behelit was." You pat her head, understanding that she only thought it was some regular pendant she got under Guts' nose.

As Bolzack pathetically growls on the floor, you decide on your final move to end your game with the Mandragoras.

>Save his soul with your Od strikes, he does not deserve eternal punishment.
>He willingly sacrificed his loved one, and that's a line he should not have crossed. Guts should give him what he deserves.
>>
>>5315818
>Save his soul with your Od strikes, he does not deserve eternal punishment.
The reason to do this should be obvious.
>>
>>5315818
>>Save his soul with your Od strikes, he does not deserve eternal punishment.
"Say your last words, Lord of Cromwell. I will not send you to hell, and your people will be given a new home. It is unjust that it ended like this, when I was ready with the cure."
"Until we meet again Bolzack"

//
I ll be honest, i don't find safe any research on behelits. They are tools of the god hand against mortals, their power is a shiny bait so that corruption, evil and ruin can spread further. Our purging/purifying ability needs to grow, and the best way is practice. I am not expecting to find books for learn how to improve in it
>>
>>5315853
I kinda disagree about the researching of behelits. We face danger every day, and the danger that behelits alone can cause is very marginal in comparison to our daily life.

"Know thy enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated." As overused as this quote is, it serves to remind that knowing your enemy is essential to defeating them. I think we should take the behelit and run a few experiments on it and observe the results it produces. What better way to fight the God Hand than to understand their abilities and break down what they do to into manageable and easily understood brackets of data? We can do this when we do the experiment with the Mandragorans cure and the elf dust.
>>
>>5315853
>>5315833
"Say your last words, Lord of Cromwell. I will not send you to hell, and your people will be given a new home. It is unjust that it ended like this, when I was ready with the cure, but I am not the one who has sown the threads of fate, so I will be the one to put an end to your sinful destiny."

You raise your halberd and take a deep breath, absolving the Baron in the last moments of his life as a shed of humanity still appears to be inside of him.

"Ann... Anette... I won't shed tears because of my passing... But because I will be free in another life, while I have doomed yours to eternity..." Is all he can muster, before his eyes start to water and tears begin to shed.

Don't you and Guts know how that feels...
"May we meet again, Baron." You expel the force of your spirit onto his, slicing his chest open as his body dissipates into the great unknown.

If your eyes don't deceive you, the image of a smiling young boy and his dog appear to mix in with the clouds, with the hand of a nun and a third hand guiding them into a higher plane of existence.

Rubbing your eyes together, that image seems to be a mere illusion, coming from your flustered marathon of studying, reading and fighting over the span of an entire day, with your body finally admitting exhaustion, you shout from the top of your lungs, proclaiming the safety of Cromwell thanks to the Pegasus brigade.

"NO MORE MANDRAGORAS! The deforestation of Midland and the wars will not make our people fight amongst themselves!" You raise your free fist, feeling the emptiness of your losses despite your overall victory.

"I got everyone on yer horse, partner!" Hyde greets you with the tip of his hat, not even wanting to acknowledge Guts and his presence.

"Sorry old friend, I'll try to carry Farnese and Serpico on my own to ease the weight on your back, but you still won't be running for some time."

'Gunpowder can't hear Vlad.' he says, having his hearing quality compromised by the Mandragora wails, poor horse...

Exiting the castle a crowd of people come near you to throw rocks at you and your group after you pick up the fainted Farnese and the limping Serpico. And while Guts was holding the serum containing the chalice, he felt that being in this public stone throwing session would only cause damage to your group of nearly dead fighters plus the elixir you did everything to save.

"You monsters!"
"What have you done to Cromwell!? Bolzack is dead!"
"I bet he's the one responsible for the Mandragorans going rampant in this town.

"No! It's not true! Why are you missing your opressor after he was rightfully judged by authority? Guts, please! Explain yourself to the--" Rita tries to talk with the branded swordsman, yet his loner person's conveniently comes into play.
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>>5315958
"I've got nothing to say. I'm the 'black swordsman', remember? Bringing ruin to men and demon alike. They have a right to fear me, and I'm not obligated to change their minds." Guts leaves with the serum, giving you a hint of his thought process as he leaves.

"I'll wait for him at the outskirts. Holding this for him will make sure he comes to me with Casca... Maybe she's in better hands than with me..."

>Go after Guts.
>Explain yourself to the crowd.
>>
>>5315961
>Explain yourself to the crowd.

Might as well talk, going to be here for some time and getting chased out of town is just asking for trouble.
We should have Farnese look at Vlad's soul when she wakes up assuming she can do it, leeching a bunch of Mandragora might have had side effects.
Maybe we got lucky not jabbing Anette if she was doomed no matter what or if Bolzack refusing the sacrifice would have caused us to lose team mates but that seems unknowable.
>>
>>5315961
>Explain yourself to the crowd.
>>
>>5316001
This
>>
>>5316001
>>5316067
>>5316110

"People! This is not the time for rioting! The conflict is already dealt with!" You attempt to appease the masses. How come no matter what you do, the people you help are never satisfied?

"It's true! There are no Mandragoras in Cromwell! And it all happened thanks to Vlad and Guts, please leave them be!" Rita defends you, but it only makes some rocks get thrown your way as she has to hold you for you and Serpico not to lose balance onto each other.

After all you've dealt with, is it really going to be a rock thrown at your head that kills you? You want to laugh at the idea, but the prospect of that happening is very real if the bleeding on the inside of your cheeks can give you any hints.

Hyde throws these for a reason... They really do damage over time...

"Bolzack has no close relatives, and neither does Anette? What are we going to do now that neither of them are in power?" They continue their rhetoric in accordance with their stone tossing.

"You will be free! From disease! From exploitation! To figure out what you want and need! I can't vouch for your safety as my army is not with me, but I come from Ilos! Home of gladiators and rich betters, so if it takes some monetary aid from my part, I would gladly provide some funds to repare the damages."

As soon as you say Ilos and money in the same phrase, they all shift in position, their greed dethroning their violent impulses.

"Ilos? Wasn't that where Barnham came from?"
"I heard he broke some of Bolzack's fingers before and made him walk with a cane!"
"What are we hitting this guy then?! We're all dead if he finds out."

"That's more like it." Hyde assumes from here. "Now y'all better let us go back to that inn I found. I didn't pay in advance for nothing!" He plays with the rubber of his sling, safely de-escalating the ruckus and guiding you to a safer spot.

Finally getting a good 4 hours of sleep, you recieve additional help from Cromwell's soldiers as they help you place a splint on Serpico's broken legs, as well as spoiling you with reassurance that your side of the story would be properly told. Out of gratitude and intimidation.

While everyone is licking their wounds, there is plenty of time to see how your union is holding up.

>Visit Farnese and Serpico.
>Visit Hyde and Rita.
>Talk to Puck, Gunpowder and Violet outside the inn.
>Stay in your room and rest some more, Casca and Cindy are already here, so you can save your energy for when they start acting up.
>>
>>5316136
>Stay in your room and rest some more, Casca and Cindy are already here, so you can save your energy for when they start acting up.
Cindy's the one I worry most about here. Have to make sure she doesn't do anything rash with her new cognizance.
>>
>>5316136
>Talk to Puck, Gunpowder and Violet outside the inn.
I wanna see how Gunpowder is doing after basically going deaf, and see what Violet is thinking. I also wanna have a look at her arm.
>>
>>5316136
>Visit Hyde and Rita.
>Write in: Apologize to Hyde about Guts's actions
>Talk to Puck, Gunpowder and Violet outside the inn.
>>
>>5316136
>Visit Hyde and Rita.
>Talk to Puck, Gunpowder and Violet outside the inn.

Farnese and Serpico probably still need time to recover, Guts will likely return to rest after is lonely thinking session.

Anyway here some stuff we could do in our stay:
- Give any repairs to our equipment if there is a forge (and if the equipment has need of it). Offer to Guts to carve runes on his equipment, and to make something new for Casca. Gift her some clothes too so that, she doesn't go around looking like an hobo.
- Make a medical cure, add other plants ingredients beside the mix of elven powder and mandragora serum we had in mind. We could buy said ingredients if the market still stands, or search around Cromwell forest.
This cure should be useful, even if the Orb of Sivir is likely to remain very important to obtain.
- Craft a magical talisman/amulet s ? Some additional protection, against sorcery and dark influences would be nice. We could make it out of our seeds wood. In fact why not experimenting and trying to see if we can grow our seeds in objects ? Maybe we can make talismans like that.
- Look around the castle for notes/research papers. Maybe even the treasury chest, we could gift that to the people here.
- Some light training with Guts. He needs a better control of his will and emotions, rage can be used against him.
- If Skull Knight pay a visit talk with him, maybe ask him if he can update Barnham on what we did. I don't want to make him a glorified mailman, but it would be useful. Due to Barnham being an apostle is kind of unlikely he will do that, still just talking should be good. Any knowledge of our foes would be a boon, and he likely knows more about behelits/demons/hell than us.

If we have already convinced the people and knights/soldiers to join our state, we have also done our job for ensure the growth of the Union.

>>5315897
We will have to agree to disagree then, i cannot consider their tools marginal elements. More often than not they like to specifically place them in critical moral situations, where a mortal is very tempted to use them and most of the time the mortal will do that.
Their influence seems to grow stronger when one is weak/wounded too.
If you and others are able to pass a vote with behelit research, i would advise on some magical security for vlad or if not for him at least his companions. A box with runes for example ecc.... that kind of stuff.
>>
>>5316136
>>Talk to Puck, Gunpowder and Violet outside the inn.
>Visit Farnese and Serpico.
>>
>>5316170
>>5316191
>>5316250
>>5316310

It's best to let the girls sleep while they still can, and though you wished you could do the same, a commander can't afford to stay still.

Reaching the outside of your inn, a small barn appears to have been placed outside, where both the Pegasus and Rita's circus carriage were placed in.

Gunpowder rests with his face leaning towards the haystack, looking bored out of his mind, if not frustrated by the other horse in his presence, who was seemingly getting along with the wounded Violet a lot better than him.

It's weird to see her walking around on her two feet without even opening her wings, a look at both caravans shows that they're all intact, more than what you can day about your party.

"I thought you would leave with Guts." You see Puck riding Rita's dog Irk, pretending to be on a rodeo as he waved a red handkerchief.

"He's not that far off, and I know he wouldn't leave me alone, so no need to be a worrywart about him." Puck flies up to Gunpowder, checking his damaged eardrum.

"I also wanted to see how you people were doing. It's not every day a bunch of regular people try to do what Guts does and then some! You deserve some extra care!" He gives a smooch on his earlobe, making Gunpowder shake his head in annoyance.

He's not really known for being compassionate, is he?

>Thanks for the help, Puck. You do a lot for an elf your size.
>I'm doing alright, more worried about the others, though.
>How did I fare off compared to Guts? You're his main companion, after all, I want to know how far our gap in power is.
>Is Violet's wing ok?
>Gunpowder, can I check your ear for a bit?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5316512
>Thanks for the help, Puck. You do a lot for an elf your size
>How did I fare off compared to Guts? You're his main companion, after all, I want to know how far our gap in power is.
>Is Violet's wing okay?
>Gunpowder, can I check your ear for a bit?
>>
>>5316521
"Thank you for the help, Puck. You do a lot for an elf your size."

"Fist bump!" He closes his fist and waits for you to hit high. His hand is a bit too small for you to not to Puch him accidentally, so meeting his bump with your pinky finger will do for now.

"Off the record, but I'm the tallest one from all my 5 brothers! By a whole millimeter, no less." He stays up in his tippy toes, though not making any difference from being up in the air.

"If you don't mind me asking, how did I do compared to Guts? Since you walk around him so much, you'd probably be the one best suited to gauge us."

"Hmm... Let's see..." Puck places a square of the red handkerchief over his eye, tinkering with it and making beeping noises. "Well if we check the numbers, how many apostles Guts has fought, how fast he takes them down, equate them to how fast you took the tree, minus that none of you get zenkai boosts... Yeah! You're pretty close!" You don't question the validity of his schematics, preferring to just take his word for it.

"Well, I'm glad to know. I did train with half a year fighting creatures around the size of Zodd. Even if my fractured soul is hell on my stamina and my mana gate is minute, the only difference I should have with him is the time I'm fighting, since our training is the same, right?"

"Well, not exactly. I'm not the one who does all the sword swinging, so maybe you should ask him about it when you have the chance." Puck shrugs, telling you it's best to leave it to the experts.

"One thing I can say for sure though, you take a lot of care with your body! No reopened scars, good diet, hydrated hair, no wounds stacking on top of each other, it's important to let those heal before jumping into danger and getting hurt again, that's asking for permanent damage! It's why Guts has been slowing down recently." Puck implies that you have the edge in longevity. Given how he's always walking on foot and relying on himself to eat whatever he finds on the off-road for who knows how long, that should come as no surprise.

"The healing you give him should take care of that, right?"

"Have you big he is? One bite he gets from a chimera jaw is the size of 3 me's! And another thing, if the powder heals him wrong, it's gonna stay that way, a piece of broken bone that's gone into the skin doesn't grow back, or else he'd have his arm back like Zodd goes through one set a week when he fight you two!"

"I can only wish I was as annoying to kill as they are..." You envy the apostle of how much time they have, compared to the unknown time of your own systems.
>>
>>5316647
"I assume that's what's happening with Violet and Gunpowder?"

"Gunpowder, yes! Violet, not so much!" I've been working overtime to help them out, but I'm only one elf, so I've been prioritizing the horsie over the birdie. The weight of the bandage is keeping her down to earth, but that's not what birds were made for, and she's been reopening her wound to get Hyde's attention." Puck frowns as you approach Violet to caress her feathers. When pulling her wing up, you see how closely the wound was to hitting her chest, her dislocated wing bringing her a great source of pain as she claws you with her talons.

'No! No! Hurts! Violet wants to fly and meet Mama Jodi! No more pain from Vlad!' She's become visibly scared of following your orders and from medical care, perhaps blaming you for the incident.

"Don't be like that, Vi! Vlad didn't mean to hurt you, I would say the same about Guts, but..."

'Woof!'
"You stay out of this, Irk!" Puck communicates with the animals just as well as you, seems like the little gremlin is full of surprises.

"If she's mad and distrustful of me, I can only imagine what Hyde thinks of my maneuver..." You ponder, hoping you can atone and regain her trust as you let go of the harpy, having a few added scratches on your forearms.

"I don't want to abuse it with the grains that come out of my wings, if the body gets too accustomed to our healing, it'll grow numb to it, it's like you humans get addicted to it."

"I see. Well, perhaps I should try to-- Whoa!" Your legs stumble as your body tilts downwards, you forgot to use your staff as a cane and bring it with you, since your refusal of doing magic meant that equipment had less usage on your heads.

But before you could fall, the loyal Gunpowder rushes to your side, bumping you on his side and letting you stay upstanding.

'Violet dumb. Gunpowder ear might be bad, but can still run. Vlad legs weak, but ears good. We team, we should act like team.' Gunpowder still takes pride in fighting until the end, uncaring about his overall hearing loss, so long as he remembered to work see through your blind spots, like you did with him before.

His growing sense of loyalty is something that always brings a smile to your face...

>I haven't forgotten about you, GP. I'll be sticking with you in our next fight.
>Are you sure nothing can be done about his hearing, Puck?
>When you're feeling better, I would like to have some spare elf residue for some experiments.
>How would you feel about a new friend, GP? I could try finding you a horse to help you with the carriage.
>Write-in.
>Keep up the good work, everyone.(Leave)
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>>5316685
>I haven't forgotten about you, GP. I'll be sticking with you in our next fight.
>Are you sure nothing can be done about his hearing, Puck?
Hopefully his hearing isn't permanently fucked lol.
>When you're feeling better, I would like to have some spare elf residue for some experiments.
Vlad the science guy.
>Keep up the good work, everyone.(Leave)
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>>5316719
yeah support this
>>
>>5316719

"I haven't forgotten about you, GP! The second I find you in our next fight, I'll be sticking with you."
'That's what Vlad always says.' Gunpowder's ears stay covered, wondering if you'll deliver on your promise.

You will, even if it's more out of necessity than to better his health.

"Are you sure nothing can be done to his hearing, Puck? He's my warhorse, I don't want him staying miserable..."

"I would like to say yes, but it wouldn't be fair to get your hopes up over nothing! Actions have consequences, and all that!" Puck fondles GP's ears one more time.

It was a lot easier to see blood and wounded people when it was just you getting hurt, but now that they're all sharing a piece of a larger scar, your desire to carry their burdens while being unable to feels like you're being idealistic, but in actuality, it's more normal to not wish suffering upon your loved ones than you might imagine.

Maybe you should try venting it off with someone with a bit more wits on them.
"Would you mind if I took some spare elf powder with me for some experiments? Only when you're feeling better, of course."

"Hm... I'd usually be saving it for Guts in his pouch at this time of day, but the not sleeping part's making me want to rest... Check in tomorrow! Or the day after! However long I have to do this for. I can think of how bad it would be to work like this all the time. Oh well, can't relate!" Puck sits back on the acrobatic dog, with the duo continuing to play around in circles, you felt incited to leave them be.

>Check in on Farnese and Serpico
>Watch over Casca and Zhafira.
>See how Hyde and Rita are doing.
>Sense for Guts' presence.
>Take a breather, some time alone might do you well.
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>>5316806
>>See how Hyde and Rita are doing.
I would prefer to talk with Hyde, though Guts did something that he shouldn't have done. And we need to talk about that and other things with him. He should at least make an apology.

>Check in on Farnese and Serpico
i want to see how our other companions are doing. Talking with them and giving them our compliments would be nice too
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>>5316813
+1
>>
>>5316813
+1
>>
>>5316813
+1
We need to fix Violet or Hyde mighy resent us for always getting them hurt. Come on, having a flying team member is super worth it
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>>5316813
>>5316817
>>5316930
>>5316967

Hyde was washing his hunting equipment as you met him holding a bucket next to a knife, skinning animals is something he tends to do when he wants to relax. And when he notices your presence, his grip on the handle of his blade visibly tightens.

"Ey there, partner." He emphasized the last word, appearing to show some disdain in using that word. "Got something ya wanna talk to me?"

"Yes, actually. I've been meaning to-" the thunk of the knife hitting the wall beside him stops you from completing your sentence.

"Look 'ere. I might have gotten mad with you before, and I forgave you then. Sometimes I just see the wrong thing, sometimes I'm just plain stupid, and assume one thing for somethin' else. The shit Guts did was no mistake, and if he dares to show his face up here again, I'm shoving this fucking cannon right up his ass and I'mma keep firing until I see him eating his own damn guts!"

"Hyde... I know what Guts did wasn't right, but-"

"I ain't hearing shit from ya. You talk like I don't forgive people! I'd forgive you if you stepped on my foot, knocked my food over, hell even if you order me to do something risky, I'm all for it! It's what I signed up and trained for! Who I don't want to get along is with this bumbling retard who can't tell friend from foe!"

"Did you see the look in his eyes when he struck a blow against Violet? He wasn't glaring at me, or even mad. He was smiling like the fucking freak that he is!"

You open your mouth to attempt to defend the swordsman, but even if you give Guts the benefit of the doubt and say the beast of darkness was responsible, it's still his duty to keep his sanity in check, and no one should be taking the heat from his irresponsibility.

"Mind ya, this was all cause we were TRYING to help that motherfucker! If I didn't know to tilt Violet sideways, it would have been her neck! Imagine if someone did that to your girl! Would ya be fine with it?"

You have no reply, the thought of Guts slicing Farnese in two is something you don't even want to consider, even if it's very likely if you stick with him.

"I'm sorry..."
"I ain't asking you for an apology, partner, at the very least, he should have said something to me when he left, or at least to Violet, and he didn't! He doesn't give a shit! And I don't see a reason to look for 'im when he could just show up one day and kill all of us. For a guy obsessed with demons, he sure doesn't mind making enemies. Ask anyone from our group, and they sure ain't takin 'im on our ride! He's a liability!"

Hyde makes it look like it's either going to be him or Guts, if you do choose to invite him to your union.


>We couldn't kill him now even if we tried to, it's best not to provoke him either.
>I won't ask him to join if the majority vote against it, and even then, it's up to Guts.
>His strength is best on our side than on the enemy's, if he does that again though, I'll take responsibility and end his life.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5317053
>I won't ask him to join if the majority vote against it, and even then, it's up to Guts.
>>
>>5317053
>>I won't ask him to join if the majority vote against it, and even then, it's up to Guts.
"I will talk with him about what happened yesterday. I avoided to do it, since we had to heal the girls and i was too tired."
"I have visit Violet, the wing will take some days. I will try to not have this happen again. I hope you can trust me on that, if i fail you would be right to leave. I would have failed both as a leader and friend."
"Thank you for the talk Hyde"
>>
>>5317053
>I won't ask him to join if the majority vote against it, and even then, it's up to Guts.
Hopefully Guts can be convinced to stop socially sabotaging himself so much.
>>
>>5317121
+1

>>5317254
this
>>
>>5317068
>>5317121
>>5317254
>>5317289

"I won't ask Guts to join if the majority of our group vouches against him. And even if I convinced you all that he's safe to travel with, it's ultimately up to him to decide."

"Ya damn right it is. The Pegasus only has room to house 10 fighters. Puck might be alright, but Casca has nuthin to show for, and I'd rather trust an apostle in my care than that crazy bastard."

"I'll talk to him about it. I was too tired to do it before, but it wasn't because I was giving him a pass. While Violet's condition is recoverable, Gunpowder's hearing might stay damaged. That is to say, I don't want this happening ever again either, so I hope you can trust me on that, if i fail you would be right to leave. I would have failed both as a leader and friend."

Your sincere, apologetic tone comes through to your companion, softening his expression as he lets the idea of you genuinely being sorry for him sink in.

"...You go do that."
"Thank you for the talk, Hyde."
"Much obliged... Damn whippersnapper..." He turns back to his knife and tries to unstuck it from where he stabbed into, his active imagination seeing Guts's skin where he was placing his blade.

Surely a rift has formed between those two.

Exiting into the halls, you bump into Rita, who was brewing some tea with the leaves their inn left on display.

"Oh, hello Lord Vlad! I hope I'm not interrupting anything..." She says, offering you a cup.
"Just settled some things with Hyde, pardon me if this sounds rude, but why are you staying here, I thought you would rather stick with Guts, after spending more time with him."

"Well, I don't plan on living in Cromwell, so I'll have to leave eventually. But since everyone from my crew is no longer with me..." She pauses, remembering her Mandragoran friend.

"Oh, Job... If only we knew how easy it was to get rid of the Mandragoran possession."

>What do you plan on doing now?
>What kind of performer was he? Not everyone would keep a Mandragoran around.
>What's your take on Guts, from the time you spent with him.
>Zhafira loved your show, you two would probably get along.
>How much for your horse? Mine might start needing some help with our caravan
>>
>>5317344
>What do you plan on doing now?
>What's your take on Guts, from the time you spent with him.
>Cindy loved your show, you two would probably get along.
>>
>>5317344
>What do you plan on doing now?
>Zhafira loved your show, you two would probably get along.
>How much for your horse? Mine might start needing some help with our caravan
>>
>>5317344
>How much for your horse? Mine might start needing some help with our caravan
>What do you plan on doing now?
>Zhafira loved your show, you two would probably get along.
>>
>>5317344
>>What do you plan on doing now?
>>What's your take on Guts, from the time you spent with him.
>>Cindy loved your show, you two would probably get along.
>>
>>5317624
>>5317734
>>5317800
>>5317807

"What do you plan on doing now, aren't you afraid or the Kushan?" You decide not to focus on her fallen friend, trying to distract her from the miserable thoughts already plaguing the collective minds of your friends.

"Oh, don't you worry. I might not be able to kill monsters twice my size, but I know how to take care of myself. I'm a big girl!" She fidgets around with the lid of her teapot, balancing it on her finger as it spins to display some sort of hand-eye coordination.

"Yeah, it takes a lot of practice to do the flips you did. Zhaf- Cindy loved your show. You two would undoubtedly get along if she was sound of mind." You correct yourself by using the appropriate name of your friend, instead of the one she meant to use as a front for her insurmountable sadness.

"Cindy... Oh, that's her real name? I never would have guessed. What does she do?"
"A bit of everything. Puppet shows, writing, poetry, singing, sewing, storytelling. She's as well intentioned as you can get when it comes from people who came from poverty, which is why I wished to see the real her. To cure her traumas, much like Guts wanted to do with Casca."

"I see... Guts has a weird presence to him, doesn't he? Even if I only spent some time with him, I feel like I'll remember everything that happened today for the rest of my life. Well, I'm sure the same goes for you all, but still."

"So you don't hold a grudge for him killing your friend?"
"It's a hard question to answer... Seeing how he carries himself, how he pushes everyone away... It's a sign that he doesn't trust himself around others, more than outright hatred. He protects you by keeping you away, despite that being detrimental to his well being."

Rita's analysis of him makes sense, and even if you're well aware that he might stay that way until his dying days, even by knowing a few layers of him beyond the surface, you want to keep that date away, if possible...

Finishing your tea, you ask Rita to help you back to your bedroom, and since your mobility was already impaired, you felt like asking her now was only appropriate.

"My caravan's growing big, I might have to get an extra horse. You selling hours?" I'll let you keep the change in case you want a better one. I'd say he's worth 20 bronze coins."

"Let's round of up to 30 then."
"Golly, are you really so full of money that you have no problem throwing this much around?"
"Yes."
>>
>>5317942
>Current earnings: 118 gold coins, 29 silver coins

Wanting to call it a day, you walk back to your room to look for your cane and rest some more, feeling that your body would appreciate the odd few hours of sleep.

Getting back to your bed, you look over to the double bed Casca and Cindy are in. It's rare to see her without her clown makeup or with regular clothes. It's an odd contrast to the brown rags Casca usually wears.

It's been so long since you've had a tall with her, so you can imagine how much guts has yearned for this moment. But you're more curious for Cindy's case, given your history together.

Will she still want to perform as the magnificent Zhafira, travelling around the world when she all but wasted 14 years stuck as that character with the only audience she had being her family? Will she resent you for making her brother leave her side by providing him with false promises, even if in the end, you fulfilled them under the musician's nose?

As you place a hand on her forehead, her eyes jolt open, the lack of further movement making the shift of her gaze even creepier.

Taking the serum without being submerged in the Mandragoran essence, you had no idea if her reactions to the cure would be better or worse than Casca, but seeing how she was more present and active than the female Falcon, there's a chance that the effect was psychological.

However partially that was, Cindy's traumas never made her want to leave this world, or retract into herself, as Zhafira was always outgoing and loved to interact with good or evil entities, all she did was refuse to be sad, which made her emotions spiral into a form of numbness.

Casca, however, did not want to be present, and retracted to an even younger state of mental maturity despite being younger than Cindy.

Now was the time to discover if her wish to bring smiles to the world still lived in Cindy, or if the cruelness of this land put an end to Zhafira.

"...Vlad?"

>Flowers Of Forgetfulness: Chapter End
>>
Another chapter survived. Good work everybody.
>>
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Going for another 3 day break. Need to pack up and get back home and then I'll start thinking of the possible upgrades Vlad might get if Flora has something for him.

Also because I miss my computer and I hate phoneposting, feel like it's so easy to miss out on typos and syntax mistakes it's unreal, can't wait to use a keyboard again bros.

Hope you've enjoyed things up to here, it was overall a big W compared to how the game's story went, wasn't even expecting Casca to get healed this early but hey, it's an exercise in writing, you can only stay on rails for so long

At least I got somewhat used to posting outside of weekends, hope to see you then!
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>>5318173
thanks Beechi
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>>5318173
Enjoy your 3 day break my man, there's nothing like coming home after a long period of time and sleeping in your own bed. Also I can relate to the phoneposting, autocorrect is a bitch.

I've immensely enjoyed playing this chapter, I was fucking amazed we somehow managed to pass the DC on injecting Casca with the mandragora cure, so I'm looking forward to seeing what effects (if any) it has on her psyche. As well what the results will be of attempting to experiment with the elf dust and the mandragora cure.

If your looking for ideas for what upgrades Vlad could receive from Flora, I was thinking Vlad could get some kind of armor from Flora that is able to contain and expel od from Vlad and other sources he finds, sort of like a secondary emergency battery that you can recharge when resting, but then expel that charge later on to produce increased strength, agility and speed. That's only an idea though, and I'm not sure it has much merit. Anyway, see you in three days!!

Also Vlad is officially now the third man to penetrate Casca, and even inject her with his mandragora cure juice.
>>
>>5318173
Honestly, I'm looking forward to seeing what the mix of Mandragora Cure and Elf Dust does to vlad.
Could be good, could be bad! All I know is that it's going to be fun, and interesting.
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>>5318173
That's cool becchi, we will wait. I am just waiting for see if we can try and do some of the ideas i had posted for when we are in Cromwell, once our health is better. Cindy reaction will be wild

>then I'll start thinking of the possible upgrades Vlad might get if Flora has something for him.
Honestly our equipment is top at the moment, unless there is some named mythical equipment/weaponry we are good. A legendary spear could be nice, not sure what kind of power should have beside nature or light themed.
She could also gift us something else.
Spells, magic knowledge ecc ....
Or informations for find more powerful equipment, attuned to Vlad. There is more than one thing.
>>
>>5318442
>A legendary spear
Ah yes, like the Spear of Longinus, Ascalon, Gungnir, the Lance of Olyndicus. Or if you're a fan of Hades, Varatha.
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>>5318450
Just an idea, it could look cool. Beside it was Vlad first weapon. Becchi has multiple options on what to do, or more ideas now. He will probably think of something cooler.
But I would like to see in the future a named weapon in Vlad hands. Preferably a weapon from a category he knows to use well.
>>
>>5318450
>Varatha.
Don't forget klatu and uh. Nickel? Nectar?
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>>5318233
Can Flora teach us Waterfowl dance?
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>>5318233
> nothing like coming home after a long period of time and sleeping in your own bed.

True that, so much so that I ended up resting for an extra day, whoops.
Well since I'm sleeping early today I think it'll be easier to just start the session tomorrow

Glad you're enjoying it, the Dreamcast is a bit of a kusoge but I'm surprised how well it adapted to this format, even if we deviated from a lot that happens in it

As for the upgrades, I think Vlad will synergize quite well with the ones his team will get, but I've grown quite attached to the halberd to give Vlad anything other than a spear type weapon.

Although he does have a shortsword and a staff... Any of you in particular are into dual wielding?
>>
>>5323908
>shortsword and polearm
>wears platemail
>very fuckable
Aw shit when did we become Hilde from Soul Calibur?

I'm always for using all the tools at one's disposal so go for it, right?
>>
>>5323908
That's understandable using what he knows best, will avoid that he looks in the basics again for learn to use a different weapon.
Well i consider those just part of his arsenal, if he needs them he uses them. Sure dual wielding is pretty cool, what you had in mind ?
>>
>>5323908
Duel wielding sounds cool. Glad your enjoying yourself and relaxing, don't worry about resting for the extra day, you obviously needed it lol
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>>5324046
>Hilde from Soul Calibur
I feel like Vlad would have a few more rape attempts happening to him if he looked like her.

>>5324166
It's happening sooner than later so I don't feel like spoiling his possible abilities, all I'll say is that I've been thinking a lot about unconventional ways to move around.

>>5324243
Thanks for understanding, I'll start writing the update now. Consider the session started!
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>>5324645
>a lot about unconventional ways to move around.
What Vlad needs is to increase his pole vaulting and attach a chain to his shortsword so he can chuck it mid jumps and do wacky wall sticking+swinging maneuvers. And then he can put knives on his shoes and a shoulder mounted laser cannon and jet boosters on his elbows.

For anyone wondering, this is a joke.
>>
"Vlad..." Cindy forces a smile after recognizing your face. The genuine happiness of Zhafira being long gone.

Her cheeks are contorted into a grin, yes. But the tiredness in her eyes and the shallow showing of her lips looks more like she's just showing her teeth.

The fake smile was learned, almost as if out of practice from subconsciously living through her alter-ego.

"After so many years... I thought I would never come back... To watch everyone from my family slowly drift apart, to be unable to control your body, to be able to see it all happening right before your eyes, and yet your words come out as the exact opposite to what you meant to say. I saw the world as a puppeteer, entangled in my own strings, only moving when my character was meant to, never once showing who I really was."

"And would you mind telling me who you really are?"
"Just a foolish woman, who once swore to bring happiness to the world, all while failing to make her dear brother happy in his own home..."

Tears come flowing out of her eyes, yet her smile remains unmoving. She tried to force her cheeks down with her fingers, but her miserable grin kept forming itself again. In a sad attempt to keep the lower half of her jaw according with her emotions, she started scratching herself with her nails, before noticing her metallic hand was covered in a softer material, preventively stopping her from situations like these.

"I FAILED THEM! I FAILED EVERYONE! AND I KEPT LAUGHING WHILE IT HAPPENED!" She shouted while throwing her hands down, waking up Serpico and Farnese in the nearby room while you held her wrists.

While doing so, you noticed that her wrists were a lot sweatier than they should be, when closely observing the wounds on her face, you caught a glimpse of a green liquid being added onto her blood.

You might have brought Cindy back, but her wounds and her struggles have only been delayed to the point of making her incapable of preparation for her rude awakening and the struggles that come with them.

>Please don't panic. The worst of it is over, we can help you through this.
>You might need to rest some more, please get back to your bed.
>You haven't failed anyone! Your family understood your condition and held on as best as they could.
>Benny is still alive, we can still save him from Griffith. Maybe if he sees you healed he might change his mind.
>Write-in
>>
>>5324721
>You haven't failed anyone! Your family understood your condition and held on as best as they could.
>Benny is still alive, we can still save him from Griffith. Maybe if he sees you healed he might change his mind.
>You might need to rest some more, please get back to your bed.
>>
>>5324761
"You haven't failed anyone, Cindy! Your family understood your condition and held on as best as they could." You hold her by the shoulders as she shakes in place.

"That's easy to say when they can't hear me! Now that Benny has joined the enemy's side,what good does rationalizing this disaster would do to me now?! It would be easy to discard them if they didn't love me and left me to die, but they did the exact opposite, and that's exactly why it hurts so much!" She continues to cry and hold herself in her arms with that uncanny smile, one that you're starting to pity.

"The situation is indeed complicated, but it's not one without fixing. Your brother is still alive, I don't believe Griffith would want him dead. Perhaps he'll change his ways if he sees you in good condition. It is the only reason I brought you upon this journey. You deserved to be set free."

"The constrictions of this forced liberty might as well limit me to my most basic instincts..."

While she does not appear to blame you in particular, there is some feeling of disdain from you being the one who pushed her brother out of Ilos, naturally, this is the one request she would have when having her memories:

"Take me back! Please! I need to see him!"
"I can't promise you that, I don't know where Benny is, but provided he's with Griffith, I can't exactly go straight towards him-"
"WHY NOT!? YOU'RE THE ONE WHO PUSHED HIM AWAY! AND YOU'RE TELLING ME WE CAN'T GO AFTER HIM?!" her metallic hand claps your neck, furiously dishing out her anger.

"I didn't mean to obscure him of hope! Had I know he would react that way, I would have held my tongue..."
"He's a child, Vlad! Hope in his hero all he had left!" she starts to choke on her tears as her nose clogs.

"Maybe this was a bit too much for you... You should get back to sleep, all this stress will only wear you down."
"I refuse! What will be of me then? You know I can't fight, nor do I want to! I'm just an artist, and I'm not sure if I even have the spark to do art anymore! I don't know what to do!" Her smile finally breaks, not because of her sadness, but from the weakness of her body finally reacting to her traumatic return.

Holding her by the waist and preventing her fall as she faintd, you place her back on her bed as you consider if it was indeed the right thing to bring her back to reality.

Well, you wish you could have accomplished this alone, but Serpico and Farnese felt the need to help you after hearing all the shouting.

"Are you sure you can handle her, Serpico? That splint should be heavily limiting your movements..." Farnese almost invites herself into helping you out.

"Worry not, lady Farnese. Two physically impaired men should be comparable to a functioning adult's body." He takes the piss out of you and himself, stumbling along her bedframe.

"Well, what now?" The blonde knight asks after the unconscious performer rests her head on the sheets.
>>
>>5324927

>Perhaps I should send her back to her father.
>She's safer with us, even if she might resent me, I owe it to her to let her see this to the end.
>She has a right to stay as a non-combatant, I wouldn't force the role on her.
>We are barely scraping by with a team full of fighters, she has to learn the bare minimum.
>Do you think she's justified in holding a grudge?
>Should I test to see if Casca's reaction is any better than hers?
>>
>>5324929
>She's safer with us, even if she might resent me, I owe it to her to let her see this to the end.
>She has a right to stay as a non-combatant, I wouldn't force the role on her.
Pawning her off to her father at such a crucial time in her mental health could be disastrous for her and everyone else.
>Do you think she's justified in holding a grudge?
>Should I test to see if Casca's reaction is any better than hers?
I wanna see how Casca is reacting to the serum she received.
>>
>>5324929
>>She's safer with us, even if she might resent me, I owe it to her to let her see this to the end.
>>She has a right to stay as a non-combatant, I wouldn't force the role on her.
>>
>>5324929
>>She's safer with us, even if she might resent me, I owe it to her to let her see this to the end.
>>Do you think she's justified in holding a grudge?
>>Should I test to see if Casca's reaction is any better than hers?
>>
>>5324944
>>5324971
>>5324986
"I believe she's safer with us, even if she might resent me for it, I've made a promise to let her see her brother, and I will fulfill it, no matter what."

"Naturally, I wouldn't expect any other answer from Mr. Santana himself, but what about her artistry? Are you going to teach her how to survive? All she knows is singing, poetry and puppetry."

"... I'm afraid I can't force that role on her. It's not in their nature to fight. Be it on Griffith's side or mine, neither of those siblings have murdering intent engraved onto them, and I have the feeling that destroying their natural limiter for violence is bound make them kill each other someday."

"You say she's not naturally violent, but your neck looks pretty sore from her chokehold." Serpico points to the marks left from her metallic hand, though given how her real one left no imprints, you chocked it up to her not being familiar with her prosthetic grip.

"Most men and women aren't like you and I, Serpico. It takes a specific push for them to be directed onto the battlefield, and even then, every life we take in a day takes one hour of sleep from our nights. But there's a difference between being forced to kill, and losing yourself into the path of violence. Best case scenario: you end up like Guts, traumatized, lonesome, and impossible to interpret to the average folk. In most cases, it's just a waste of human life, to see them attempt to fight the world, and die mindlessly to the first obstacle they face."

"You really do put a lot of thought on those on your kill count, or at least the ones you actually kill, instead of the apostles you set free." Serpico is engaged in your fighting philosophy, interested in seeing a more vulnerable side you haven't shown to him.

"Overthinking might be one of my bad habits, but it helps me know the needs of my group. Tell me, do you think it's fair for her to hold a grudge against me?"

"Well, you were the one who changed their lives, for better or for worse. The good deeds you've made to Ilos aren't necessarily invalidated from Griffith's invasion, and that's probably what made her have a mixed reaction. Considering that, yes. A right to be torn is more than understandable. Especially when it comes to family."

Serpico's mind wanders as he stares at Farnese subconsciously after uttering the word 'family'. While that would be brushed off as the regular occurrence of a knight glancing over at his mistress, your Od reading tells you there's more to this story, and that Serpico's family might be something he holds dear, despite never really bringing it up before.
>>
>>5325059
"Well, do you think Casca's reaction would be any better than Cindy? She's only been in this state for 2 years, and since her big trigger isn't here..."

"I haven't really studied medicine like you and Lady Farnese, so I would rather abstain from making a decision outside of my area of expertise." Serpico refuses to council you, pointing a hand to the quiet Farnese, who didn't want to disturb the conversation until spoken to.

>I'll wake her up then, you two can help me if Casca starts acting weird.
>That can wait, I would rather talk to you for a bit.
>Is there something on your mind, Serpico? Maybe we could discuss it privately.
>How do you two feel about Guts joining our group?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5325061
>>That can wait, I would rather talk to you for a bit.
>>
>>5325061
>That can wait, I would rather talk to you for a bit.
>>
>>5325065
>>5325075

"I wager that can wait for a bit, I would rather talk to you first." You open up to your closest allies, hoping they would have something to say after all the chaos that happened not too long ago.

"It was not an easy day, was it...? I never expected to fight Nosferatu Zodd in the flesh, or to live after that." Serpico speaks in his usual matter of fact way, even if the occasional gritting of his teeth show that it wasn't exactly an easy task.

"Overall, I'd say it ended a lot better than the whole ordeal in Albion. That's not to say casualties are quantifiable, every tragedy is still a tragedy, especially in Cromwell, when they only have this one to compare."

"I'm just glad that we've managed to help the people end the possession, even if we couldn't save Anette..." Farnese finally joins the conversation.

"Took you a while to present your thoughts."
"I'm just feeling embarrassed, about fainting again when I said I would stay strong." She proclaims, does she not know that the spell worked?

"What are you talking about, Farnese? Your help was vital, if it wasn't for your containment spell, Zodd would still be in his unleashed form when he attacked us. And I don't believe I could have survived that encounter with my failing health."

"I-it worked?" Farnese I'd hard-pressed in believing that she stopped the strongest apostle known in Midland, almost as if taking the credit away from herself. "No... That can't be right, I wasn't even there to see it, you're just trying to make me feel better about not contributing in combat, right? You don't have to do that, Vlad. I appreciate it, but I know my shortcomings."

"I'm serious, Farnese. Why would I take the credit away from--" you attempt to boost her self esteem to where it should be, but the odd sound of Serpico throwing a few coins in the adjacent room was a neat distraction for him to chime in.

"Must have slipped out of your wallet. Why don't I go look for them?"

Serpico's knees are in no condition to bend, and the fact that he purposefully threw those off could only mean that he wants to discuss the elephant in the room without Farnese hearing you.

Seeing how her self esteem is into question, you wonder if Farnese should be included in the conversation, or if Serpico might be more comfortable speaking his mind if the meeting remains private.

>Let me help you with these coins, Serpico.
>As I was saying...
>>
>>5325089
>Let me help you with these coins, Serpico.
>>
>>5325089
>Telepathically ask Serpico if he forgot you could read minds, and ask him what he wants to discuss. This way you can easily not sabotage Farnese’s self esteem, but give him privacy only telepathy can bring.
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>>5325113
+1, but go for the coins anyway just to keep the cover up
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>>5325113
>>5325137
+1
>>
>>5325113
+1
>>
>>5325113
Support
>>
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>>5325105
>>5325113
>>5325137

"Let me help you with that," You hunch over and look for those pesky coins together, pretending to be busy while Farnese also tried to make herself useful."

[i]"What, forgot I could read minds?"[/i] You ask Serpico as you speak to him telepathically.

[i]"Not really, I just thought an excuse might be needed so we don't awkwardly stare at each other in silence. Farnese knows that too, I wouldn't want to stand out that much."[/i]

[i]"Its a bit difficult for me, but I can manage to speak and think at the same time, it wouldn't be hard to hover over your mind like this."[/i]

[i]"Really? Well, I guess I gambled with your net worth over nothing..."[/i]

[i]"Nah, it was a good call, the silence can disguise our talk as mere focusing."[/i] You tap him on the back as Farnese shoves her torso under furniture to find your money.

[i]"Anyway, what did you want to mention about Farnese?"[/i]

[i]"I'm sure this isn't just my imagination playing tricks on me, but I have noticed Lady Farnese growing distant to me. I've pretended not to notice, but when I pondered on the reason as to why that is, I've recalled what happened when we were on our way to Ilos."[/i]

[i]"What about it?[/i]
[i]"Well, remember when she was sick, and she decided to sleep in sheets? I was wondering if anything happened there that would make her act suspicious around you and I."[/i]
[i]"Oh... Yes, about that..."[/i]
[i]"You don't need to tell me in detail, if you will. I'm not exactly interested in-"[/i]
[i]"Nothing like that, Serpico. She thought I was you and then gave me a kiss before going to sleep."[/i]
[i]"...I... see... I take it me being kissed by Lady Farnese would mean that she's seeing herself as unfaithful."[/i]
[i]"Well, was she?"[/i] You frown as you hide the last coin in your hand, prolonging their search.

[i]"Not in the real world, But in her mind, most likely. And since I have no place in your relationship, the least I could do is help you in this impasse."[/i]

So that's where the cause of Farnese's low opinion of her image came from. In her memories, she still thinks she kissed Serpico, so she's been bending over backwards to compensate for a problem that she never really created.

>Why didn't you do anything about it?
>Is that all you have to say for now?
>I'll explain things over to her.
>How to you feel about her recent growth? You might have to change your role as her knight when she learns how to defend herself properly.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5325520
>>I'll explain things over to her.
>>How to you feel about her recent growth? You might have to change your role as her knight when she learns how to defend herself properly.
>>
>>5325520
>>I'll explain things over to her.
>>How to you feel about her recent growth? You might have to change your role as her knight when she learns how to defend herself properly.
>>
>>5325520
>I'll explain things over to her.
>How to you feel about her recent growth? You might have to change your role as her knight when she learns how to defend herself properly.
>>
>>5325520
>>I'll explain things over to her.
>>How to you feel about her recent growth? You might have to change your role as her knight when she learns how to defend herself properly.
>>
>>5325524
>>5325550
>>5325552
"It might be something unforgivable in her mind, but for the ones who know what really happened, it really is just a minor misunderstanding." You roll your eyes, pondering on how to approach Farnese onto that situation. "No need to worry, I'll explain things over to her."

"Much appreciated. It must have been difficult for Lady Farnese to feel at ease, or to accept any of your compliments when in her mind, she thinks she already slept with someone else."

"Talk about monogamous... Good thing she never asked me how many women I've been with in my younger days when she interrogated me, or else I would have been slapped around for a few more hours for being a man-whore." Serpico shakes his head as you admit to your past history of visiting brothels and having sex at parties.

"Just... Get it done, alright? It will benefit us all with zero negatives." His no-nonsense attitude really shows itself when finishing the subject.

"Right, but before we end our coin hunt, I want to know how you're holding up."
"Me? Why? I mean, I am in considerable pain, but nothing I can't handle."
"Just because you want to blend in with the background, it doesn't mean you don't have something to say. I figure you have a few thoughts about Farnese's recent growth. Whenever she finally learns how to handle herself in combat, what will become of your role as her knight?"

"That... Is indeed something I've been pondering about. Truth be told, I am growing envious of how well you've managed to change her... It's something I- well, her entire family have been begging for, even if they have different intentions than you and I, I can understand that they wanted someone, anyone to get through to her, show her that she doesn't have to be alone in this path."

"And why would that make you jealous? You can take the credit for me when we meet Lord Vandimion, if it makes you feel any better."

"Please, that would feel all the more patronizing. It could be worse, all things considered, at least the one to move her heart was someone more endearing and easier to explain than the likes of the black swordsman -Now that might actually make me angry- but still, I acknowledge that my position as her knight might be rendered meaningless once you're done with your teachings."

"For the first time, I have considered the possibility of a post-service life. But I haven't the vaguest idea what to do with that liberty, in case if that were to happen. It feels more like I'm being replaced, rather than retired."

"You really never thought of living apart from Farnese, huh?"
"Of course not. Orders of the Lord himself. It was either a case of dying before her, or dying with her."
>>
>>5325654
>The world is big enough for the two of us, Serpico. No shame in still being her knight.
>You've made a friendship with Hyde, haven't you? Don't you think you could make a life in the ring with him at Ilos?
>We're soon approaching Vritannis, Do you think it's time to discuss our plans when speaking to The Vandimions?
>How were you hired by her family, anyway? Surely they wouldnt send anyone to take care of the familly's twerp.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5325654
>The world is big enough for the two of us, Serpico. No shame in still being her knight.
>We're soon approaching Vritannis, Do you think it's time to discuss our plans when speaking to The Vandimions?
>Write-in.
"Whatever path you decide to take in the end, you have my thanks Serpico. You are a trustworthy companion and a good friend, and an example of a knight."
>>
>>5325680
+1 sounds good to me.
>>
>>5325657
>There will be a point in your life where you will realize your calling, Serpico. I was once far more aimless than you, and was for the vast majority of my life prior to my parents being kidnapped. That event was the catalyst for everything that came after, and ultimately lead to the realization of my own twofold purpose - to root out the evils of this world, and to protect the innocent. Whether you follow a similar path or a different one, you will one day find yourself inexorably drawn to a specific purpose in life that will galvanize a true passion in your heart. Who knows, maybe deep down you alright have an inkling as to what that might be?
>>
>>5325657
>>5325680
>>5325683
>>5325688
"The world is big enough for the two of us, Serpico. There will come situations in which neither her or I will be able to persevere by ourselves. The title of a knight is one that you carry with excellence, and should you ever leave that position, know that you've done more than your job, not only as a fighter, but a companion and a friend, too."

"The feeling is mutual, Lord Vlad. Were I not sent to the Vandimion mansion, I imagine the Santana estate would have been a quite welcoming household. I take it I'll decide on something eventually, with such a tactical commander around." Serpico humbly imagines how he would have been treated in that parallel life.
"We aren't that far apart age wise, are we? It would be awkward to be protected by such a young child when I was little."

"I started working at an early age. Were it not for this, I would have been ill prepared against the likes of what we've faced so far. Be it young or old, age shouldn't be a factor for or against assistance. Besides, we would look cool as a duo."

"Fair point. Speaking of households, do you think it's time for us to discuss our plans when speaking to the Vandimions? We are expecting to reach Vritannis by the start of spring."

"I would rather discuss that when the 3 of us are present in the conversation, if possible. But since we're still pretending to do something else..."

"Hgggn! HGGGGN!" Farnese made the table under her rock as her hand got stuck in a hole.

The coins are already all here in your possession, how did she find something shiny under the desk?

"Thanks for the help, Serpico. I'll take over from here, go keep that ribcage of yours in place."
"Feeling like I should be the one to thank you for that..." Serpico leaves. You definitely feel like you've warned up to him. Whatever secret he is hiding, you can tell he's a lot more comfortable in saying it to someone who's taken care of his boss as much as he did, maybe he'll open up next time you speak to him.

Leaving his mysteries aside, you hold Farnese still and start tugging on her hand until she's set free from that awkward predicament, after a thank you and a straightening of her clothes, she was about to leave the room to follow after Serpico.

She probably wasn't expecting you to address what was on her mind.

>I know what you did that night.
>What did you see inside that hole?
>I can tell you're feeling stressed around me, feel like talking about that?
>Say, about that kiss I promised...
>Write-in.
>>
>>5325826
>Say, about that kiss I promised...
>What did you see inside that hole?
>I can tell you're feeling stressed around me, feel like talking about that?
>>
>>5325826
>Say, about that kiss I promised...
>What did you see inside that hole?
bad feeling about that
>I can tell you're feeling stressed around me, feel like talking about that?
>>
>>5325826
>What did you see inside that hole?
>I can tell you're feeling stressed around me, feel like talking about that?
>>
>>5325826
>Say, about that kiss I promised...
>What did you see inside that hole?
>I can tell you're feeling stressed around me, feel like talking about that
>>
>>5325847
>>5325862
>>5325893
>>5325956
"What did you see inside of that hole?" You chuckle as your apprentice scratches her head in embarrassment. It's best to start off with something that's easier on the mood.

"Your money. Didn't it fall over there? What else would the yellow be?"
"Well, hopefully not what I think it is..."
"I wouldn't get my hands dirty over nothing, good sir. I couldn't pull it out when you unstuck me from the hole, but I can guarantee you that I touched something solid."
"That's arguably even nastier..."
Sighing, Farnese looks for a mirror and a place to retract the light into the circle on the floor as you pushed the desk to the side, showing that there was indeed, a stash of 3 gold coins there.

"See?"
"But those aren't mine... You think someone stashed it here?"

"I doubt it, since this is a common inn and the people from Cromwell are from the working class, it's more likely some outsider lost it here. A stash would have more money, right?"

"It might not be much to us, but a few silver coins would keep a guy fed for a few workdays. It could very well be a stash. Especially in a hollow hole like this one."

"Well, if we do attempt to take it out again, let's try not using our hands..." She offers you a teaspoon, taking it from the set left on display.

Her mindful awareness of the environment helps you out of a pickle once again, and after you scoop the coins out of the indentation, you leave them at the table, wondering what to do before Farnese tried to leave once again.

"Well, that was a good use of our time, call me if you need help talking to Casca-"

"Hold on." The swiftness in your voice made her heel freeze in the air, before side stepping and looking over from her shoulder, nervous as to what else you might need.

"I can tell you're feeling stressed around me, perhaps do you feel like clearing that