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In 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

Previous Thread:
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2022/5300829/

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 when enough players unanimously choose the same options. The minimum vote requirement and time limit will depend on how fast I can update.

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.
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>>5340343
Ordering Hyde to scout the area, you stop conversating with your informant at Midland's capital and focus on your current predicament. Given how Violet is not in flying condition to scout the area, you'll have to make do with warning the team of what you can see with your Od vision.

"Trolls, huh? I thought these creatures were works of fiction..." Serpico was curious as to what they could look like.
"Everyone said the same about elves and just about everything magical that happenes do far, yet here we are!" Puck chastises him for being skeptical.

"Anyway, what can ya tell us about these creatures?" Hyde plays around with a hay straw between his fingers.

"They're pretty stupid, but they make up for their strength. Nothing you three and the others haven't dealt with so far, but watch out for their packs. Even if they can tear off a human's limbs individually, they have opposable thumbs, so they can be even more dangerous if they get their hands on weapons." Farnese makes sure her studies aren't rendered meaningless, explaining the creatures to the group.
"Since they never walk alone, they will overwhelm any who does not take them as the threat they are."

"I reckon the ladies and the kid can't really come in, given how they're still green." Hyde comments.
"Shut the hell up, bald spot! I can take those apes by myself!" Isidro sways a spare sword you had around, almost hitting Puck with every swipe.

"I've lost plenty of muscle mass... But I think I could handle a few of them... Were it not for..." Casca looks outside, alluding to Guts.
"...Actually, I have no qualms with staying here. You can pretend that I'm part of the scenery." Cindy tests hermetallic hand with a chisel, poorly carving out a self portrait.

"I wouldn't recommend all of us fighting them either, given how these creatures aren't meant to be in the human world. It's possible someone is opening a passageway for them to attack nearby villages, and given how I've felt the presence of 2 magic users inside the forest they're in..." Farnese visibly sweats, pointing out a second presence to which your impaired senses couldn't catch.

"Do you think it's the faceless monster?" You ask her.
"No idea. I would ease up since it can supposedly only disguise itself as a single person, but that doesn't mean these new characters can't have ill intent..."

>We're still wounded, let Guts plow through the forest.
>Stop the caravan while we're at a safe spot, make a team to venture inside.
>Attempt to communicate with the witches through telepathy, see what they are up to.
>Avoid the forest, it would take longer, but you can go around it and maybe find a town past it.
>>
>>5340375
>Avoid the forest, it would take longer, but you can go around it and maybe find a town past it.
There is a time to fight, and a time to get the fuck out, and seeing how a solid 70% of this group is heavily wounded to just wounded, I think we should get the fuck out for the time being. At least until everyone is back to full strength, then come back and kick their collective asses.
>>
>>5340375
>Avoid the forest, it would take longer, but you can go around it and maybe find a town past it.
>Attempt to communicate with the witches through telepathy, see what they are up to.
>>
>>5340375
>>Avoid the forest, it would take longer, but you can go around it and maybe find a town past it
Move, think of orb, rest. Remain on alert for any incoming enemies. If it proves to be a an annoying problem and delays further travel, we will begin operation kill monsters and kill witches. Probably ask plants the directions.

Keep equipment on us, don't relax.
>>
>>5340375
>Attempt to communicate with the witches through telepathy, see what they are up to.
>>
>>5340379
>>5340383
>>5340397

"Let's try and avoid the forest for now, even if Guts is in peak condition, an army of trolls and two witches might be a risk even for the likes of him. And who knows what might happen if the beast is let loose."

"Cant you have a little more faith in him?" Casca protests. "I know Guts has harmed you before, but you don't need to place him in such a negative light."

"There ain't no light hovering over 'is head, darlin'. It is what it is. If we can't pull the leash on 'im, we ain't taking 'em into danger. Group decisions. We do what's best for all here." Hyde turns her down, albeit antagonistically.

"It's not like we're missing limbs or anything. Just let me, Serpico and Violet heal and we might have time to take care of these trolls before they move out to the village we find."

"But what if there isn't enough time for that?" Casca asks you, while you make an effort to stand, using your magical staff as a cane.

"Believe me, Casca. No one's racing against time faster than me."

Before Casca could spit venom with her tongue, Farnese de-escalates the argument by attempting to make friends with her.

"I know you don't like the way we feel about Mr Guts, Miss Casca. But Vlad is thinking about you too when making this decision. You've just woken up to the state the world is in, and if we have a hard time grasping it all, no one would blame you for taking it slow. Now, would you mind helping Cindy with her crafts?"

Farnese is eager to have new female friends on the team, and while Cindy remembers enough of her to be in neutral terms with, She doesn't know about Casca, and how she's not interested in anything related to being a girly girl.

"It's just Casca for you, and I'm not touching any needles." She gives in, walking off to where Cindy was sitting down.
"Who's there? I know you can hear me. Identify yourself!" You speak to the entity who noticed your presence from afar, but an interference appears to come for the best, as an old man's voice screams for help.

"Someone... Please... I can't walk..."

As Farnese nods, hearing the same thoughts you did, you circle around the forest in search for a town past the vegetation while Farnese felt for the man's Od.

"It's so weak and small... His life force must be blending itself with the ones in the jungle." Farnese indicates that the man might be already unconscious.
>>
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>>5340438
As the hours pass, you catch the near presence of a multitude of people, which could only mean civilization, yet still no sight of that man.

With Guts following behind, you make sure that he's never lost by guiding him with your mind. Since he can't be the first to venture into the town by himself, he trailed way behind, until he suddenly ventured off.

"I've heard something." Is all he says before taking a detour into the forest.

That man never listens to you...

>Leave him there. The town is just an hour away, he knows where to find you.
>Guts might have found the man, let's trust him for once.
>Get a feel for the village's condition. Not all towns are sign of good people.
>Send the wounded to the village and trust the willing to help with the search.
>Attempt to contact the witches once more.
>>
>>5340439
>Let Guts go. He's been facing these monsters by himself for years, he'll probably be okay on his own for a little while. Check on his condition from time to time.
>Get a feel for the village's condition. Not all towns are sign of good people.
>Send the wounded to the village and trust the willing to help with the search.
>>
>>5340439
>Guts might have found the man, let's trust him for once.
>Attempt to contact the witches once more.
>>
>>5340439
>Attempt to contact the witches once more.
>Guts might have found the man, let's trust him for once.
>Get a feel for the village's condition. Not all towns are sign of good people.
>>
>>5340439
>>Guts might have found the man, let's trust him for once.
>>Get a feel for the village's condition. Not all towns are sign of good people.
>>
>>5340439
>>Guts might have found the man, let's trust him for once.
>>Get a feel for the village's condition. Not all towns are sign of good people.
>>
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Big sis Rosine always told me about the boys and men , about how they all just want to make you their, hiding under their gentleman mask, they're all lustful beasts waning us girls to be their.......
I thought she was joking.... not all boys and men are like that i told her. Like you and mister Swordman were realbgentleman and knight, not juste lustful pervert that want us girls to be your wife.
But... you.... anon, you have confuce me, make me no longer know what's wrong and right anymore.
I thought i would hate you, when you force your lips on me when we swim together.... but I don't.
I'm haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me. My heart beating...hoping that kiss will not become a scar, my body is burning every night when I dream about your kiss and your hands on my neck.You are in my very soul, tormenting me..
We both know this is sinful.... but I don't know what to do. Tell me anon, tell me that the kiss wasn't just some cruel game, tell me that the kiss is from your heart !

How would you respond ?
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>>5340657
Go back to >>>/a/240246341 anon.
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>>5340657
Silence wench! I have no time to care for your depraved fantasies! We must struggle against the God Hand and the very flow of causality to finally free the hearts of men from their tyranny!!
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>>5340657
blah blah monsters, demons and cruel men to kill !
speaking of
halberd with infused od catches legs make them fly, wood seeds goes GROWTH and impale from the sides, finish with a decapitation of our short sword.
I ll say this a pretty good combat move, BUT is kind of too standard and could be far more creative or combine additional abilities.
We could also go for a throw with our halberd and impale, summon a dozen magical arrows loose them to our foe, take back the halberd and cut the throath with our sword followed by a punch to the face and a seed in said punch for impale the foe skull, infused with our pure od for negate regeneration.
Or how about creating illusions, launch seeds near said illusions and when a foe attacks them, grow the seeds for crush them. Followed perhaps by combining our pure od and our seeds to create in the moment (thanks to study and use of both our pure od and our wood seeds) a runic war construct that is the opposite of the stone golems. And of course additional attacks with our halberd, and perhaps bathe the area with our od for inflict constant damage to demons. We can also use our dagger if we need to !
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>>5340447
>>5340477
>>5340564
>>5340588
>>5340621

Guts has been facing these monsters by himself for longer than anyone on your team. No harm in trusting him every once in a while and leaving him to do his own tasks. The Black Swordsman needs no babysitting.

Focusing your energy and feeling how the nearby village is doing, you're surprised in seeing how few people are living in a village of that size. It's population seems to be either dwindling due to the trolls, or migrating to escape those savages. The difference in ratio between men, women and children seems to indicate that they are targetting the weak ones first.

And sure enough, an army of trolls are running in that direction at full speed, aiming to cause more chaos and destruction their way.

You're glad you've used your foresight abilities before making a decision, but given how their numbers are large enough to have packs both here and in the village, you're stuck between a rock and a hard place...

Hearing some pebbles thrown at your caravan, you notice Guts trying to call your attention without breaking the distance rule. He definitely found something interesting.

I'll ask you once again. Who are you, and are you responsible for sending these trolls into the village.
"You are ill-fitted to fight the summons of Qlipoth as you are now. Come to us, and we'll provide you assistance."

A voice echoes from your brain as you attempt to communicate with the witches once more, this time getting through, and ominously having your Od prevented from having further conversations.

You're not sure if you should trust their warnings, or if they're just entrapping you like most past enemies pretending to be virtuous.

"Here he is." Guts interrupts your third attempt at talking to the unkown witches to show you a fainted elderly man in his arms. Though his breathing is rough and his heartbeat is weak, he is still alive.
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>>5340745
"Puck!"
"You got it, Boss!" Puck comes flying out of The Pegasus for his grand entrance, placing a hand on the man's forehead and flying over his face, producing enough magical powder on him to the man up and have him focus his eyes on the little elf.

"So he can see magical creatures--" You're surprised at seeing regular folk not completely indoctrinated by The See, but your soul disruption from overusing magic makes you trip on your feet and almost fall, were it not for Farnese pulling you up and holding your arm.

"I'll guide you there." She warmly smiles as she gets out of the caravan in time, the gesture being enough for you to smile back. Her reflex have really improved!

"Ah... So it's true... The witch did have an apprentice..." The man sees the magical book Farnese carries around to study with, mistaking her for the second witch in the forest. "It's been decades since we've seen each other, witch of the woods... I did not know you could change your appearance... Though if you prefer to remain anonymous and have a habit of changing your looks, perhaps you've always been a man?" He keeps his eyes locked onto yours with clear admiration.

Oh dear... It sure will be fun to explain this misunderstanding...

>I'm not the witch of this land, mister.
>Uh, yes... It is I, the witch and my apprentice. We're here to save you from the trolls! (Whatever gets him to comply faster.)
>You must be from the village, correct? What is your name?
>You seem to be very trustful of said witch. Are they benevolent?
>You are in terrible condition, my friend. Is this related to the trolls raiding your land?
>Write-in.
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>>5340756
>I'm not the witch of this land, mister.
>You must be from the village, correct? What is your name?
>You seem to be very trustful of said witch. Are they benevolent?
>You are in terrible condition, my friend. Is this related to the trolls raiding your land?
>>
>>5340773
+1
>>
>>5340773
support, use our halberd for remain standing.
>>
or actually just call gunpowder get on him and take some his od, so we are ready for combat if it happens. we have other horses so it shouldn't be a problem
>>
and present ourselves name and titles
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>>5340773
+1
>>
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>>5340773
"I'm not the witch of this land, mister. Disguising my appearance is something I would have done before if I could." You take off your helm and show him your face, signaling Farnese to unleash Gunpowder so you can properly walk around, possibly placing the old man on the seat with you as you hold your Halberd in place.

"Oh, I'm sorry about my lapse in judgement. I wouldn't put it past the witch to have those abilities."

"It's fine. Are you from the village?"
"Yes, My name is Morgan, and I'm from Enoch Village. As travellers, you might not know this, but this area holds several legends, fairies and alike."

"We can tell by the powerful emanations from the forest. Were it not for the trolls raiding this land, it would be a peaceful place, no doubt..."

"Truthfully, most of us still believe that those belong to the realm of folklore and fables. Even if someone says that they've seen magic before, there was no proof to their claims... At least, until the first night of winter."

"They've been attacking you since last season?!" Puck is surprised at how long they've managed to hold on.
"Yes, ever since that night, It's like the whole world has changed, as if all before had been nothing but a lie..."

Guts briefly stares at him, knowing exactly how that feels like.
"The trolls have ruined our fields, stolen our livestock, and worst of all: Carried off our women and children. Because of the war with the Kushan, taxes have been at an all time high, Enoch was poor to begin with, and we've been struggling not to starve by solely living through our work! But with these creatures of legend... It's a matter of time before we are wiped out."

"And what of your lords?"
"The castles have been emptied. Every high class noble has been invited and dispatched to Vritannis. Those who can't afford the travel are forced to stay and rot here. And even if we did told them... Would they really send soldiers over nonsense like trolls?"

"Men who abandon their people don't deserve to be called their leader." Guts grimaces, calling the lord the coward that he is.
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>>5340875
"You seem to be very trustful of the witch... Were you planning on asking her for help?"
"Affirmative. Me and five others have tried to reach her, but the creatures found us first... Alas, I'm the only one left, and I can barely walk as I am."

"Indeed, you're in terrible condition. Sacrificing your lives in hopes of reaching the witches is nothing short of desperate."

"It's said the witch resides deep inside a mansion made by the soil itself. Only those the mistress wills may reach the place. Most of us were afraid of going near it, but children have testified of seeing places fitting that description when playing by the trees."

"Seems like a spell was bound there to ward off enemies..."
"We've searched for five days, and yet..." The man coughs, interrupting his speech.

"Nuh-Uh! Save that energy, grandpa!" Puck shushes him as Gunpowder arrives.

"No! Go here! Over there! Whoooa!" Gunpowder twists and turns as Farnese rides him, flipping her straps over as she hangs upside down on your horse.

'Ear bad.' Gunpowder excuses his poor treatment of Farnese on his damaged hearing, when in reality, he just didn't like being pushed around as a regular horse.

"You couldn't bring along someone more... tame?" You shake your head at her choice of equines.
"The others wanted to rest from a day of travelling..." she throws her hands up, well, down, from where she is.

"I think I'll be able to calm him down." Guts unties her straps and helps you both get on Gunpowder, and before you could turn to move to Enoch Village, Morgan pleads you to stop.

"This might be a selfish request, but I would feel like I've let my comrades down, if I was the only survivor of the group, and still failed to reach the witch's lair."

His context of who the witch is might have given you more context, and while the sun is still high, you're not sure if anyone so powerful would appreciate an entire caravan coming in uninvited into their house.

The sun is still high, so the timing is perfect to waste some hours searching if you wish to do so, yet with the trolls after you, trouble might find you there.
Enoch might have trolls too, but believing in strength in numbers, going there first is the safer bet, even if Morgan might resent you for it.

>Woods is my middle name, I can find a treehouse with no problem.
>It's too dangerous to wander around here, and we're barely in condition to defend ourselves. Sorry, Morgan.
>>
>>5340876
>Woods is my middle name, I can find a treehouse with no problem.
We can handle more than a few trolls if they rear their ugly heads, lets go witch-hunting! The guys who wandered around for days had no experience with magic or such, so this should give Vlad a reasonably good chance of finding this witch.
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>>5340876
>Woods is my middle name, I can find a treehouse with no problem.
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>>5340876
>>Woods is my middle name, I can find a treehouse with no problem.
>>
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>>5340901
>>5340905
>>5340913
Vlad knows his forests, but the dice wants some numbers just in case Vlad finds trolls before finding a house.

A 1d100 should do it, let's see if the wicked witch is really good at hiding.
>>
Rolled 97 (1d100)

>>5340931
>>
Ready for combat in any case, have Hyde scout around us if needed. rest is only when we are sure, we can be safe
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>>5340931
>>5340938
Damn he really does know his Forrest.
>>
Rolled 29 (1d100)

>>5340959
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

>>5340931
nat 100 les go
>>
Rolled 82 (1d100)

>>5340931
>>
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>>5340938
>>5340961
>>5340968

"Woods is my middle name, Morgan. Finding a little treehouse in a forest will take me no time at all."

"Is Woods really your middle name?" Puck asks, curious about your full name.

"Nah, it would be too on the nose. Plus nobles my size don't get middle names."

Borrowing energy from Gunpowder, you trace the scent of humans to filter their Od from the trolls, walking with Guts, Puck and Farnese while Morgan stayed in the saddle with you and the Pegasus trailing not too far behind.

Checking the spirals on the tree trunks, you notice what any other traveller would have mistook for random carvings on the trees caused by erosion, birds or any other cause, yet these spirals were clear delimitations of an illusionary barrier, every time you tried to come forward without being invited, the vision in front of you would shift into a mirage of a dense group of trees, forcing you to turn around, if not just straight up pushing you to where you were previously without even noticing it.

When Gunpowder pushes through the lines, you're surprised to see the barrier being turned off without much hindrance. Strange, it's like she's really inviting you in...

"What is this familiar feeling I'm getting? This house looks a lot like the ones on Elfhelm!" Puck stares at the giant house being built inbetween the trees, with several trunks passing through it as it's leaves serve as a natural roof.

Whoa! Let me see that up close!" Isidro jumps out of the caravan and takes a closer look at the house. "So are the trees growing out of the house, or the house going out the trees?"
"Beats me." Guts also lacks words to describe how alien this building looks. The Od particles have grown big enough to be visible by even the likes of him. Taking a deep breath in this area attracts all the spirits of the forest to you as they let themselves be absorbed into your being.

You've never felt in such a state of peace with nature before, it's a surprisignly relaxing sensation to just stay here and take in the scenery.
>>
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>>5341081
"So the legends were true... It wasn't merely a dream..."
"The fuck do you mean by that, gramps?" Isidro says as he rushes to explore the place.
"One of the children who saw visions of the witch... was me. No one believed me, and so many years had passed, I started to think it was mere childish imagination..."

"Yeah yeah, whatever. Where's this old hag, anyway?! Let's get this bitch out of hiding already! Who does she think she is, relaxing in her cozy home while those trolls destroy the city!"
"I don't think I've made it clear to you yet: We don't plan on fighting witches today." You repeat to Isidro while he observes a giant stone statue covered in moss.

"So what? She's still a bitch for not helping! Here's what I think of her and her stupid statues." Isidro repeatedly kicks the mud figure, which eventually moves it's head and grows sentient, growing tired of being pushed around by the kid.

"A golem?!" Puck asks.
"Not really..." You recall the gargoyles your master used, and how they looked a lot more menacing than these ones. "These appear to be mud puppets. Common helpers or house guards for witches."

"S-S-So... Should I be worried about them attacking?"
"I'd advise you to run."
"AAAAAH!" Isidro cowardly rushes back after provoking the creature, with Guts slicing through the mud creature to see how easily he would go down.

While the creature managed to disappear into the dirt below, it quickly split into two as it's limbs regenerated. Accompanied by several other puppets behind him, it seemed that this fight would not end well for you.

"What is it with you and fighting enemies that can't go down in one hit?" Puck asks.
"I wish they would give me a break as well..." You sigh, noticing that while their intent was to push you all away, some of them were making a straight beeline towards you, the closer they reached you, the weaker their intent of attacking became, being replaced by a different gesture.

As their arms were spread wide, the bigger ones shrunk themselves into smaller sizes so it would become easier to... hug you?
What, did they mistake you for one of them?

>Attack with your halberd.
>Poke them with your shorsword.
>Attempt to communicate with them.
>Ward them off with your magic and head back to the caravan.
>Grow your magical seeds and form a wall between you.
>Let them approach you. If they're really harmless, there's no need to initiate a fight.
>Something else.
>>
>>5341083
>Let them approach you. If they're really harmless, there's no need to initiate a fight.

>Attempt to communicate with them.
>>
>>5341083
>>Attempt to communicate with them.
>Something else.
Manifest a very small amount of our Od, it should be clear who we are and that we aren't a slave or creature of hell. If they attempt to attack remain ready with our halberd
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>>5341083
>Attempt to communicate with them.
>Let them approach you. If they're really harmless, there's no need to initiate a fight.
>>
>>5341083
>Let them approach you. If they're really harmless, there's no need to initiate a fight.
>Attempt to communicate with them.
>>
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>>5341091
>>5341094
>>5341099

"Cease fire!" You straigthen your back as you hold your halberd with one hand. "We've come here in peace. Don't waste your time and effort fighting when you don't have to." You speak over to the mud puppets, but really wanting to reach the magician controlling them, knowing she's listening.

As the monsters appear to listen to you, they completely ignore the giant dragonslayer wearing enemy who attacked them to approach you.

"Huh?" Guts furrows his brow, failing to understand how they're listening to you talk.

"Just in case they do decide to attack. You should know that there are small figures buried in their chests, right where the symbols are located. Destroy them, and they turn to regular mud."

"Understood." Farnese is handed a knife by Guts, getting ready for physical battle if needed.

"Whoa!" One of the mud puppets affably hugs Gunpowder from behind, pulling you out of your straps as he patted your head, lovingly shaking his head around. No signs of attacking so far...

While their hugs doesn't hurt, they are quite heavy, which only makes it a lot harder for when the second, third, fourth and fifth puppet shoves themselves into you, making a group hug as they fumble together to congratulate their equal.

"S-Should we help him?" Isidro confusedly looks at their 'attack'.
"I don't think so... He looks fine as he is..." Puck says they mean no harm, also being able to feel their intent. And while that would sure look adorable to anyone watching, it doesn't mean their squeezes don't hurt on your frail body.

"I can't breathe..." You attempt to crawl out of their grasp, but they change their tactics by catching your body and flinging you to the air, catching you when you fall only to repeat the gesture.

"That's enough! Put him down!" The witch finally appears as the treehouse door opens, showing a small girl in witch attire. "Why aren't they acting as usual? I haven't been taught of this sorcery! How are you doing this?!"

"There she is!" Isidro wastes no time in catching his shorsword and climbing his way up to where the girl was, knocking her cane with a kick as she falls on her butt, her skirt being lifted up over her head as her view was blocked by her clothing.

"Ha! Finally decided to show up, huh?! Old Hag my ass! You're just a stupid kid my age! I bet you don't even have boobs..." Isidro takes a good look at her panties as she flailes her legs in the air.

The puppets are still too busy playing Hip-Hip-Hooray with you to care about what their masters are doing. What useful guards they are...

>Command them to put them down.
>Attempt to block her Od flow so they stop moving you around.
>Scare them away with your halberd so you can land on the floor.
>Call Gunpowder to save you from their grasp.
>Propel yourself over to the treehouse, reaching over to where Isidro and the witch are.
>Something else.
>>
>>5341152
>Command them to put them down.
>Propel yourself over to the treehouse, reaching over to where Isidro and the witch are.
The power of plant compels you!
>>
>>5341173
>support
>>
>>5341152
>Command them to put them down.
>>
>>5341173
+1
Also
>Slap Isidro in the back of the head
>"Behave yourself now, or I'm going to hang you upsidedown to the carriage"
>>
>>5341152
>>Command them to put them down.
>Propel yourself over to the treehouse, reaching over to where Isidro and the witch are.
>Write in
"Isidro your manners. If it's not an enemy it will deserve some respect."
"I haven't use a single spell in my possesion, but the reason they aren't attacking me is related to what i am. But let's present eachother first shall we ? I am Lord Vlad Santana, a Midland Knight and a Member of the Union of Ilos. Call me Vlad for short."
"With me are my companions, as well Ser Guts and Ser Casca. To who i have the pleasure to talk with ?"
>>
(the falcons officers where all made knights, those titles wheren't taken away so they can just act a bit grumpy if we use them :) )
>>
Don't chastise too much isidoro, make it a lesson. Keeping his guard is still not a bad idea with someone unknown, and a magician can be indeed a dangerous enemy that should be quickly dealt with. At the same time, there is other reasons to not act rushly and first try and understand if it's an enemy or a possible friend.
It s good he thinks about the protection of the city and his people.
>>
>>5341281
Ok fine, but watching the girl's panties that much and calling her names isn't needed. At least let's remind him to cool down and how he runned away from the mudlings
>>
>>5341286
true enough, we can agree on that
>>
>>5341250
+1
>>
>>5341250
+1
>>
>>5341173
>>5341231
>>5341249
>>5341250
>>5341314
>>5341330
" Knock it off! I need to hold Isidro in his place, either put me down or help me get there." Annoyingly trying to stop the teen on his perverted antics, you communicate with the benign creatures of the forest, and seeing how they all nodded together, you could tell that their idea was to send you flying over to the little witch's house.

Your soul might be leaking Od, but your bones and muscle are still working well enough for you to stick the landing.

"AAAAAH!"
At least, you thought they would give you a good throw, and not half assedly fling you as you flipped in the air over your own axis. Instinctively holding your halberd upwards, you could only hope that it broke your fall and that it would stick to the woodworks instead of the humans in your general direction.

"AAAAAAAH!" Isidro screams as he sees a spinning blade careening to him, sidestepping out of the way as the poor girl stayed upside down.

"What? What's going on?! I can't see anything like this!" She says, her clothing still blocking her view.

"What part of 'AAAAH!' did you not understand?! Move, Schierke!" A small, pinkish dot appears to speak over the girl's calves, attempting to push her down.

Thankfully, no children were murdered by you today, as your blade broke your fall when it got stuck at a corner of the roof, and with one final swing forward, you landed on all fours, unable to do a better landing due to your growing diziness.

"Don't you worry, Vlad! I did all the job for you. You're free to claim your prize, but only after I do!" Isidro laughed, rubbing his palms together as he proudly presented his victim.

"OWW!" You tugged at his ear, wondering what kind of hellhole he grew up in to treat defeated enemies that way.

"What kind of company do you think you're travelling with? Mind your manners. If she's not your enemy, she deserves your respect." You're still tall enough to reach his earlobe when on your knees, as well as being able to flip the girl over.

"Finally, someone who knows how to treat a lady!" A pink elf in a skirt waves over, appearing to be a companion of the girl.

"I haven't used a single spell in my possesion, little girl. The reason they aren't attacking me is related to what i am. But let's present eachother first shall we? I am Lord Vlad Santana, a Midland Knight and a Member of the Union of Ilos. Call me Vlad for short. Along with my team are Sir Guts and Sir Casca. To who I have the pleasure to talk with?"

The small girl has a staff similar to yours, appearing to be very young. Her short, curly green hair is something that strikes you as alien, but given how rosy her cheeks are, and how angry she is from her recent assault, she appears to be a kid like any other.

Ignoring your speech, her head instantly turns to Isidro as she stares daggers at Isidro, as if wanting to eat him alive.
>>
>>5341526

"ប្រែក្លាយក្មេងល្ងង់នេះទៅជាស្វា!" Yelling and waving her staff in an arcane language you did not recognise, a star shaped Od current was thrown onto Isidro as he took the spell, suddenly dropping his arms and hunching over.

"Ook! Ook! Ook!" Isidro started mimicking a monkey, scratching himself and attempting to remove your helmet as he searched for fleas to eat.

"Please don't tell me he's staying like this..." Even if he was a brute, a permanent stransformation might be too much, even for Isidro.

"It's fiiine! Give him an hour or two and he'll be back to normal. Maybe longer, if Schierke is really mad..." The female elf points to the witch, who was still pretty mad at the red haired bandit.

"And you...What are you...? Your Od and magical nature clearly show that you're not human. And the way you managed to command the mud puppets with your voice... The shape of your soul in it of itself is completely nonsensical! Your mere existence goes against everything I've studied!" Schierke eyes you up and down as she circles over you with her staff, staring at you in shock as if she just saw a brain in a jar.

"Oh! Mistress of the woods! Please listen to our plead!" Morgan approaches, thinking she's the witch of the forest.

Judging by the way she spoke of you, she's definitely a witch. But unless there's a rejuvenating spell you weren't told of, you doubt this is the same witch he was when he was young.

"Psst! Stick to the script!" The elf whispers to the girl, making her clear her throat and regain her composure.

"Ahem. You are all welcome into my master's mansion. Please, feel invited to stay, as we mean no harm to you."

"Oh! Finally! My village will be saved by your ever growing mercy!" Morgan is happy to hear, even if the rest of your group remains uncertain on how to process what they've just witnessed.

"Well? We've been invited. Might as well get comfortable." Guts doesn't doubt of their generosity. Seeing how his brand is still intact, he's happy to speak with someone else who can do magic and isn't tied to demonic origins.

As everyone from your team -barring the wounded harpy and Casca, for cautionary measures- enter the treehouse and climb through the wooden steps on it's tilted trunk, the parked horses enjoy some grass to munch on while Schierke introduces herself.

"My name is Schierke. I am only a witch in training, you folks are probably mistaking me for my master Flora..." She sheepishly greets you as she takes off her hat.

"And I'm Ivalera! I look after Schierke!" The elf's introduction is more brief, but just as effective.
"Well, thank ya for inviting us, lil' lady!" Hyde repeats the gesture with his own hat.
>>
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>>5341601

>Which one of you did I speak with in the forest?
>Why call out your guards if we were meant to be invited?
>I apologise in advance for Isidro. He's still learning how to behave as a proper knight.
>Would you mind turning my friend back to normal? I know he was a brute, but this might be a bit too much for him.
>Your magic seems to come from a different school than mine. How long have you been practicing with Flora?
>No need to worry about me. My origins are had to summarise, but I'm mostly human. I can speak in more details at a later time if you're interested.
>Thank you for having us, Schierke. We'll meet your master right away.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5341608
>Your magic seems to come from a different school than mine. How long have you been practicing with Flora?

>I apologise in advance for Isidro. He's still learning how to behave as a proper knight.

>Thank you for having us, Schierke. We'll meet your master right away.
>>
>>5341608
>I apologise in advance for Isidro. He's still learning how to behave as a proper knight.
>Would you mind turning my friend back to normal? I know he was a brute, but this might be a bit too much for him.
>Your magic seems to come from a different school than mine. How long have you been practicing with Flora?
>Write in
"Do you know of what is happening outside ? Or at large in Midland ?"

then
>Thank you for having us, Schierke. We'll meet your master right away.

I can imagine why the guards where there, in regard to an explanation about our origin perhaps later. It depends if we have one day of rest, or hours.
>>
>>5341608
>I apologise in advance for Isidro. He's still learning how to behave as a proper knight.
Although it's not really in advance
>Which one of you did I speak with in the forest?
>Your magic seems to come from a different school than mine. How long have you been practicing with Flora?
>Are you at all familiar with the silver-eyed clan, or their way of doing magic?
>>
>>5341676
+1
>>
>>5341645
>>5341676
+1
>>
>>5341644
>>5341645
>>5341676
"I apologise in advance for Isidro. He's still learning how to behave as a proper knight."

"Why in advance? He's already mistreated her!" Ivalera tilts her head.

"Because I have a feeling it won't be the last time he behaves that way." You groan, unfortunately knowing how his mind works. You've been there, no need to beat around the bush.

"I'll be sure to keep him as a monkey then!"
"No need to do that either. Just let it wear off, a stern talking is better for rehabilitation than straight up punishment..."

"Either way, your magic seems to come from a different school than mine. How long have you been practicing with Flora?"

"Ever since I was young. Master Flora took me in as her last apprentice."
"Were there others before you?"
"There would be... If it weren't for the humans ostracising her into staying inside the forest!" Schierke resents the Holy See for making Flora hide the beauty of magic to the world, and knowing where that criticism would lead to, Farnese quickly adverts her eyes, pretending she's not tuned into the conversation.

"Well, you're in luck. Most of us are non-believers. I assume you know about what is happening at large in Midland?"

"Of course. I have observed the Falcon and his progress in raising his army through my astral projection. My master likely has more knowledge of your adventures, given how I've only recently learned the ability myself." The little witch admits to learning the advanced spell at such a young age.

"W-What? Farnese and I have been trying learn that spell for over a season, and we've had no progress whatsoever... How old are you again?"

"13. What school of magic have you trained with?"
"Tudor style, though I've been more of a hybrid lately. Are you familiar with the silver-eyed clan?"

"Silver-eyed clan...?" Schierke enunciates the words a few more times, seeing if it rings a bell."Those are the Tudorians who turned into Nomads after being banned from their kingdom, right? I remember Master mentioning them as true masters of Light and Dark magic, an alternative that bridged the fissure between the physical and the astral world by relying on the power of the human soul and it's dormant affinity of the spirits, instead of needing the elementals, their kind believed that the power to produce magic should always come from within. While noble in their goals, their runes and scribes required a great mastery of their arts which few would perfect, and the ones who did were often reported to have shorter lifespans than other magicians due to their constant draining and refilling of their Od gate."
>>
>>5342002
"Additionally, since their scribes were made for them to adapt into dark magic if they ever needed to, plenty of accidental pacts were made just because their blood was dropped onto their runes mid-fight. Since humans have a more natural affinity to darkness than light, the power of their abilities were grown exponentially, yet at the cost of more adverse effects. They could negate aging, use magic without the use of any runes, talisman or incantations, but would forever be negated from using elemental magic, only relying on the destructive power of the dark. It is said they would live shorter, miserable lives, grow distant from their relatives, and be cursed by the spirits into streaks of bad luck. Tears from the interstice would flock to them, and they would often focus on nothing but their power, being devoid out of other human needs. While it was not common for that to happen, the few bad apples were enough to make them infamous in the eyes of commonfolk, being banished and feared despite them being a secluded clan that rarely let strangers join their in order to prevent said catastrophes."

"Question! Is this gonna be on the test, teach? I'm having a hard time writing all this down!" Puck asks with a paper and pencil in hand, chastising her for getting too carried away on her tangents.

"Yeah, them..." The bookworm surprises you in how much she knows, quoting those facts as if she'd just read them on a book. "I'm the last of their descendants."

"Amazing! That would explain your ability to control the mud puppets and the shape of your soul. I've never met a dark magician before, is it true that the apostles do not attack you because they mistake you for one of their own? Is it just like having a brand of the sacrifice? How faster is it to cast magic without prior incantation?" Schierke fumbles around you, curious to see you in action like a scientist discovering a new species.

"Oh no. I'm not a dark magician. Though I do have a lot of the benefits they have, it's mostly because I've been born that way. None of the downsides, either"

"Wh-WHAT?!" Schierke's mouth stays open as she hears that contradiction. "But how!? That goes against all laws of magic!"

"For humans, yes. But having astral blood in me, it all becomes second nature. Maybe I'll tell you about my plant mother some other time."

"PLANT MOTHER!? I've been practicing all these years... and he says it's all second nature to him because his mom's a plant..." Schierke remains in a daze, nearly sobbing as she feels that her hard works and studies have been treated as a joke compared to your born talent.

"Awww, look at what you've done! You stole her M.O!" Ivalera shakes her head, attempting to calm the witch down. Don't worry Schierke! You're still amazing! Who cares what plantmorphs think?!"

Oh goodie, she's going to treat you as a rival now, isn't she?
>>
>>5342035

"Well, thank you for having us either way, Schierke. Why don't we go meet your master?" You distract her by remembering what you all came here to do.

"Huh?! A-Ah yes, let's get going..." Recovering from her emotional breakdown, she passes by a brewery room as the group remains steady behind her.

You're surprised by the large collection of powders, liquids and substances mixed in this room, all the flasks have tags onto them with mixtures that you've never even heard of.

"OOK! OOK OOK!"
"Don't touch that!" Farnese takes a hold of Isidro before he could drink a blue vial from the top drawers.

"Seems this Flora Lady knows her drinks!"
"My mother was healed by one of her concoctions. She was on the brink of death before drinking, yet managed to stand on her feet the next day. It's the stuff of miracles!"
Hyde and Morgan chat amongst each other.

"I wonder what she could use to make those..." Out of the corner of your eye, you catch sight of a dead, dried up mangdragora, and given how the trip to Cromwell went, speaking of someone else who knows more about brewing than you do is bound to be useful. Especially when it comes to that mixture of Mandragoran essence and Elf Powder you've been experimenting with.

>Did she teach you anything about potions, Schierke?
>How did she get hands on a Mandragora?
>Can I have that Mandragora for myself? I can pay you, if needed.
>What do you call the mixture of Mandragoran essence and Elf Powder?
>Stay silent and let the apprentice guide you to Flora's room.
>>
>>5342043
>Did she teach you anything about potions, Schierke?

>How did she get hands on a Mandragora?
>>
>>5342046
>Did she teach you anything about potions, Schierke?
>What do you call the mixture of Mandragoran essence and Elf Powder?
>Bring up your degenerating condition
>>
>>5342035
Hey, in fairness to Schierke, I don't think Vlad is at the point where he could go "casually invoke lesser Deity to annihilate demons". She's probably still better than him and Farnese in many things.

>>5342043
>Did she teach you anything about potions, Schierke?
>How did she get hands on a Mandragora?
>>
>>5342043
>Did she teach you anything about potions, Schierke?
>How did she get hands on a Mandragora?
>What do you call the mixture of Mandragoran essence and Elf Powder?
>>
>>5342043
>Did she teach you anything about potions, Schierke?
>How did she get hands on a Mandragora?
>What do you call the mixture of Mandragoran essence and Elf Powder?
>Say would your Master be open, to me reading her books or study them ? Or perhaps even learning from her ?
>There is also the matter of the trolls outside .....
>>
>>5342294
+1
>>
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>>5342046
>>5342055
>>5342149
>>5342216
>>5342294
"Did she teach you anything about potions, Schierke?"

"I have watched my Master brew a few substances in this room before, but I don't have her permission to mix anything yet. She says any small mistake could bring ruin to the entire forest."

"That's understandable. I'm already shocked at what you can already do without harming yourself. I'm just curious as to how she got her hands on a Mandragora."

"Oh, that much I know. Just place some drops of this dark liquid onto them, and they never wake up." Schierke demonstrates it on the dead Mandragora. "Of course, this is just a sample, but I believe there's some Mandragoran essence laying somewhere around here, if that's what you're looking for. It's a rare substance, so I doubt she has that much, given how she hasn't found one for years."

"I figured it wouldn't be that easy... Good to know there's a way to treat them, either way..." Would have saved you a lot of trouble a few days prior...

"Say, what do you call the mixture of Mandragoran essence and Elf Powder?"

"Kmengcide, I believe. It's a deadly aging substance, that speeds up your metabolism to the point of reaching the end of your lifespan. It's partly a blessing that mandragoran essence is not easy to find, or else someone would have used it as a war asset, like humans do with boiled water or oil."

"Kmengcide, I'll write that up on my notes... Well, since you don't have permission to use the room, I'll ask the remaining questions to Flora."

"Good. I could barely understand what you were talking about." Guts comments as they were lead to a sewing room in the upper floor, where a charming old lady sat at her chair, staring at a window and reading a book by herself.

"Here they are, Master." Schierke opens the door as Flora smiles to the group.
"Welcome... To the Mansion Of The Spirit Tree. Please forgive my apprentice for the incident at the garden, she was merely concerned for my safety."

"You... Surely... You're the one I've met 50 years ago... It's unbelievable, you look exactly as you did when you gave me that medicine to save my mother!" Morgan smiles as he remembers what happened in his childhood.

"How nostalgic. I do remember that boy, as well. Though I guess age has affected both of us in different ways..."
Farnese has been quiet ever since Schierke mentioned the See, and now that she's in front of Flora, she tried her hardest to blend into the scenery until the elder witch spoke to her.

"Don't be so frightened, young lady... My folk were not among those whose lives you took. Even if you were, the fault collectively lies upon the servants of your deity. I do not harbor hatred from manipulated individuals. In fact, your effort to redeem yourself by learning magic is plenty admirable. If you can learn some offensive magic and astral projection, you would likely be close to Schierke's level."

"Sh-She knows magic too!?" Schierke frowns, feeling less special by the day.
>>
>>5342472
"How do you know that much about me? Th-That's not information you can get through a moment of mind reading..." Farnese recognises the spell, but not the extend of Lora's wisdom.

"I have been patiently awaiting and gathering information about all of you. That includes, the branded man and his lover. As well as the halfling from the occultist swamp... It pleases to make me your acquaintance"

"Who the hell...?" Guts scratches the brand of his nape, not feeling the sharp pain that comes with the presence of apostles, but a tingle that still faintly ached.

>For what reason were you watching over us?
>I assume you know where we are headed then?
>Is there anything you could do to aid me in my failing condition?
>If you know that much, could you perhaps tell me if my mother is still alive?
>Write-in.
>(Remain silent. Morgan's situation is more dire than any questions you might have.)
>>
>>5342498
>>I assume you know where we are headed then?
>>Is there anything you could do to aid me in my failing condition?
>>If you know that much, could you perhaps tell me if my mother is still alive?
>>Write-in.
With your permission the magical knowledge and lore you posses would aid me and my companions greatly, could i learn of it. Or learn from you directly ?
>>
>>5342505
+1
>>
>>5342505
+1
>>
>>5342505
+1
>>
>>5342505
+1
Along with:
>Telepathically ask Guts if his brand is sensing any nearby apostle or troll activity
>>
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>>5342505
>>5342514
>>5342544
>>5342562
>>5342568
"Guts, are you feeling alright? The brand shouldn't be reacting towards regular magic. Any signs of apostle or troll activity?"

"No, it seems like it's coming from the witch." He replied in his mind, as curious of her intent as you are.

"You do know I can also hear your thoughts, no?" Flora interrupts your telepathy by speaking up. "I'm sure you have many questions, and I will answer them in due time. But for now, I believe Morgan's problems are of higher urgency." She invites the man from Enoch Village to get closer.

"Y-Yes, it's about the trolls."
"I am anxious about them too. Creatures from the astral world should rarely be seen by humans, much less attack their homes. Unfortunately, I cannot assist you."
"H-How come?"
"This Old body of mine has neither the strength, nor the time left to leave this place... My time of death draws near, and I'm simply waiting for that day..." Flora speaks with a smile, while Schierke hangs her head low in silence.

"Ah! That's terrible! How will we save the village then?"
"Don't worry. I cannot go by myself, but someone else can visit you in my stead. Schierke? It is high time for you to put your training into practice."

"Master! This is far too great of a task for me to do on my own!" Schierke believes she is not ready to save a village, but Flora presses on.

"Please, can I trust you all to assist my disciple?"
"We don't have all the time in the world to lollygag and save towns when Vlad is dying, lady. We need to stick to our journey." Guts refuses.

"Naturally. I am not asking your help for free. I think I might be of use to you as well. There are plenty of magical weapons in my possession that could aid you in your journey. Even if you are familiar with incantations, my magical talismans are one of a kind. All I ask of you is that you leave your wounded in my care, as it would be far too dangerous to send them into Enoch Village."

"Of course, that would include you, Lord Vlad Santana." She offers to answer your questions, at the cost of sending your unsupervised group up to Enoch Village.

"But who's gonna be in charge of The Pegasus without Vlad?" Hyde asks, with Farnese, Flora and Schierke assuming Guts would take care of the able-bodied fighters.

"Hell naw! You want us to trust this selfish idiot?! I can already tell where this will end."
"I am just about as interested in fighting by your side as you are." Guts and Hyde trade insults amongst each other.

"Take this a chance to redeem yourself, swordsman. You can prove that you have grown beyond your selfish goals and your prior regressions." Flora trusts Guts to take care of Schierke and your companions, though you wonder if this is really a good idea.

She does want you near, maybe she can tell you two have much to talk about, perhaps she can teach you something you don't know about magic.
>>
>>5342660
>We were already going there anyway, I have no problem accepting your request.
>I am against my team departing without me, I would rather clear any mysteries now than later.
>I would be more trustworthy if you were less cryptical on your plans.
>As Guts said before, we are in a hurry, and Vritannis isn't too far away. I am sorry to disappoint.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5342663
>We were already going there anyway, I have no problem accepting your request.
>Schierke, you're a neutral party in this. Please help direct our fighters appropriately in my absence - they're quite used to a telepathic assistant at this point. They don't need much more than being pointed at the right targets to make sure we can dismantle the enemy forces most effectively, they're all quite capable. Just make sure to keep their specialties in mind. If you have any questions, I'm sure they can help answer them.
>>
>>5342663
>We were already going there anyway, I have no problem accepting your request.
>Schierke, you're a neutral party in this. Please help direct our fighters appropriately in my absence - they're quite used to a telepathic assistant at this point. They don't need much more than being pointed at the right targets to make sure we can dismantle the enemy forces most effectively, they're all quite capable. Just make sure to keep their specialties in mind. If you have any questions, I'm sure they can help answer them.
>>
>>5342663
>We were already going there anyway, I have no problem accepting your request.
>Schierke, you're a neutral party in this. Please help direct our fighters appropriately in my absence - they're quite used to a telepathic assistant at this point. They don't need much more than being pointed at the right targets to make sure we can dismantle the enemy forces most effectively, they're all quite capable. Just make sure to keep their specialties in mind. If you have any questions, I'm sure they can help answer them.
>>
>>5342663
>We were already going there anyway, I have no problem accepting your request.
Use this as an opportunity to get some answers from one of the few people who exist who can give them. This is also a way for Guts to win back some of the trust from the group, and redeem himself as she said.
>>
>>5342663
>>We were already going there anyway, I have no problem accepting your request.
>>Schierke, you're a neutral party in this. Please help direct our fighters appropriately in my absence - they're quite used to a telepathic assistant at this point. They don't need much more than being pointed at the right targets to make sure we can dismantle the enemy forces most effectively, they're all quite capable. Just make sure to keep their specialties in mind. If you have any questions, I'm sure they can help answer them.
>Write in
"Serpico, Hyde both of you know me. I will not throw your trust on the mud, neither your experience. So take it as a test to see if Guts can prove himself. You aren't under him, and can voice your opinion on how to deal with this trolls and save the people of Enoch. I doubt this will create a friendship, but if Enoch can be saved it will help us in the future. Another settlement that isn't food of monsters, be real and false ones, is one that can help the Union."
"Guts, i expect you to treat them well and consider what they say. You have been a commander, not just a warrior. Show us that those tales of a butcher are nothing but lies. Show us you are a man."
>>
>>5342711
+1
he still needs to keep distance from casca however
>>
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>>5342677
>>5342682
>>5342691
>>5342693
>>5342711
>>5342762
"We were already going there anyway, I have no problem accepting your request." You take Flora's offer, approaching Schierke to instruct her on what to do when you are absent from The Pegasus.

"You are a neutral party in this. Please help direct our fighters appropriately in my absence - they're quite used to a telepathic assistant at this point. They don't need much more than being pointed at the right targets to make sure we can dismantle the enemy forces most effectively, they're all quite capable. Just make sure to keep their specialties in mind. If you have any questions, I'm sure they can help answer them."

"Y-You make it sound like I'm going to be your substitute!" Schierke stammer.
"As if the pressure wasn't already growing on her!" Ivalera chastises you for adding weight on her shoulders.

"Well, in some regards, you are. If you believe your school of magic is inferior to mine, it's time for you to learn what the extent of your true powers."

"I... I'll do my best... For Master Flora!" Schierke deflects the absurdity of her situation by focusing on her master's wishes.

"Are you rally sure that trusting Guts is in our best interests?" Serpico voices his worries as you turn over to him and Hyde.

"I will not throw your trust on the mud, neither your experience. So take it as a test to see if Guts can prove himself. You aren't under him, and can voice your opinion on how to deal with this trolls and save the people of Enoch. I doubt this will create a friendship, but if Enoch can be saved it will help us in the future. Another settlement that isn't full of monsters, be real and false ones, is one that can help the Union."

"And Guts? Treat them well and consider their thoughts and actions. You were also a commander, not just a warrior. Show us that those tales of a butcher are nothing but lies." You voice your trust to Guts, even if he doesn't trust himself.

"...Are they really? I wish I had the gall of the commander I was at that time... After what happened with them... I'm not sure if I should command anyone but mysef..." His hand visibly shakes, remembering his dead comrades... Maybe you struck a never with him.

"You have plenty of time to plan your expeditions. For now, I'll consider our negotiations complete." Flora concludes.

"Thank you! Thank you so much!" Morgan hugs Guts as he is distracted, crying and weeping his tears on his shoulder.
"H-Hey!"

"You must all be tired from your journey. Please rest for the night, you have plenty of time to depart until tomorrow. Schierke will prepare a meal for you all. As my mansion is protected by my talismans, you may rest easy."
>>
>>5342792
As your team is greeted by Schierke, she leads you all back to the garden, disappearing into the kitchen to make a full course meal for all present.

With your team dispatched and with clear directions in mind, you see them separating into groups as they discussed what they would do between the ones they got along with the most.

Finally being set free, Gunpowder ran circles around your caravan, with the other horses ignoring him, still wanting to eat their food.

Serpico, Farnese and Hyde were arguing amongst each other, with Hyde being the most vocal out of who should go and who should stay, given how Serpico himself was wounded, and Casca being unable to stay close to Guts.

Casca and Cindy were nowhere to be seen, still told to stay inside the vehicle, as much as it pained them to do so. You wonder what they could be doing...

Guts was power lifting his sword from the floor up to his shoulders, training his triceps. Occasionally, he glanced over his shoulder to check the caravan, only to focus on his training once more.

Puck and Isidro were climbing around the trees, with the monkey spell still being in effect, you hope he isn't afraid of heights, given how the spell is bound to wear off soon.

Violet tried her hardest to flap her wings, still faceplanting onto the floor when jumping and flying, making sure to stay as far away from Guts while still staying inside the forest.

You reckon you can still talk with a few of them before the meal is ready.

>Assist Schierke in the kitchen.
>Discuss your plans with Hyde, Serpico and Farnese.
>Help Isidro out the tree before he falls.
>Check on Casca and Cindy inside The Pegasus.
>Have a chat with Gunpowder and see how the new horses are treating him.
>Keep an eye on Violet and her wounds.
>Instruct Guts on his mission and see how he's holding up.
>Ask for insight from Flora in private.
>>
>>5342819
>Ask for insight from Flora in private.
>>
>>5342819
>Check on Casca and Cindy inside The Pegasus.
>Keep an eye on Violet and her wounds.
>Have a chat with Gunpowder and see how the new horses are treating him.
The others will be fine. Doing anything more will leave Vlad short-handed.
>>
>>5342819
>Instruct Guts on his mission and see how he's holding up.
>Ask for insight from Flora in private.
>Keep an eye on Violet and her wounds.
>>
>>5342819
>Discuss your plans with Hyde, Serpico and Farnese.
>Keep an eye on Violet and her wounds.
>Instruct Guts on his mission and see how he's holding up.

I do want to talk to Gunpowder, but not now. Gunpowder is no normal horse and wants battle.
If we stay here after dinner we can make time later. I think that Casca and Cindy are still sleeping, probably for the travel and also the place is peaceful. I am actually concern by Isidro, but Violet is moving too much and could open the wounds again which would make all that healing null.
In regard to others Schierke might have problems during the battle, but i think Flora will talk with her before tommorow.

No the real deal is ensuring Hyde, Serpico and Farnese keep working well in battle like usual. And reinforce Guts trust in himself.
>>
>>5342819
>Ask for insight from Flora in private.
>Check on Casca and Cindy inside The Pegasus.
>Assist Schierke in the kitchen.
>Discuss your plans with Hyde, Serpico and Farnese.
>>
>>5342819
>Instruct Guts on his mission and see how he's holding up.
>Check on Casca and Cindy inside The Pegasus.
>Discuss your plans with Hyde, Serpico and Farnese.
>>
>>5342835
>>5342836
>>5342864
>>5342865
>>5342880

Making sure Violet wouldn't open any of her wounds, you attempt to tie her leg onto the trees so she wouldn't keep harming herself. She lacks fingers and the best she can do is bite at her leg with her teeth, the harpy barely seems to understand why you're doing that

'Vlad! When will Violet see the clouds again?'

"You're just needlessly harming yourself by trying to fly. I know how much you love doing it, but you need to learn when to rest, too."

'If Violet can't fly... What else will Violet do? Violet away from Mama Jodi and sisters, Papa Hyde will be in danger without me! Do not want that to happen!'

Unlike Gunpowder, Violet solely lives and flies because she is concerned about her dad, and holding onto the promise of meeting her family again. Even if she's scarred from Guts and the other mosnters, she would rather die than be rendered useless.

"I'm sure he won't discard you just because you can't fly. He loves you dearly. You don't need to be so dramatic, it's only for a few days, prematurely spreading your wings will only prolong your healing."

'But does Vlad need to tie Violet on rope? Violet will not fly anymore, promise! No need for this!'

While her attempt at looking cute looks horrifying when it's a grown harpy doing it, you can understand that perhaps, this might be a bit too much for a bird who's just aspiring to do what nature told it to do for several centuries.

"Alright, I'll set you free, but I'm making a cage for you if you fall again!"
'Vlad is good guy!' she rubs her fearthers on your shoulder as a weird, avian greeting before walking on her two legs, curious to see what Gunpowder was doing.

"Gunpowder, if I may ask, why are you running around in circles?"
'Training. Finally will do something other than ride humans.' You see him opening his mouth every now and then, trying to chew the air and imagining it to be human heads.
"Still eager to fight, huh? I thought you would count as one of the injured."
'Not dead, not injured. Gunpowder stronger than most humans inside Pegasus. Will finally have a chance to trample enemies, like done in wars.'
"Well, you do have a point there... Trolls are small enough for you to squash them like humans, I'd advise you not to get to bloodthirsty and keep an eye out for the others, but we both know what you plan on doing..."
"Killing!"
"Yep." You shrug, knowing him a bit too well.

'Why Gunpowder not resting? Violet would kill to have friends like him!'
'Other horses not friends. Inferior, only there because Gunpowder can't be mild.' Gunpowder thinks too highly of himself, especially when the other horses start commenting on him.

'Gunpowder gallops too fast. Always makes us trip.'
'Go away, Gunpowder annoying.'
>>
>>5342975
'Vlad friends getting new equipment. When will Gunpowder get magic?'
"Huh. I didn't think about that, given how you're so fight-hungry, I was wondering what would even fit you."
'Want horn to impale enemies. Big pointy helmet. Run through them like Vlad.'

>Maybe Flora has something for you, I'll see what I can do.
>Not with that attitude. Try to get along with the younger horses, will you?
>Would you like to stay off the caravan for the mission? The village can be reached on foot anyway, it might be easier for you to move around.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5342977
>Maybe Flora has something for you, I'll see what I can do.
Or maybe even a set of metal wings so the Pegasus team becomes more literal heh.
>>
>>5342977
>Would you like to stay off the caravan for the mission? The village can be reached on foot anyway, it might be easier for you to move around.
>Maybe Flora has something for you, I'll see what I can do. If she doesn't, I can always try my own hand at crafting and enchantment.
>>
>>5342977
>>Maybe Flora has something for you, I'll see what I can do.
based gunpowder, thinking about it if we have more time in a settlement, i might have Vlad buy some horse steel armor and then put runes in it.
>>
>>5342985
>>5342991
>>5342995
"Maybe Flora has something for you, I'll see what I can do. If she doesn't, I could always try giving you something with my own crafting."
'Yes. Will be waiting.' He finally seems pleased with your decisions, making you go out of your way to ask another question that would peak his interest.

"Would you like to stay off the caravan for the mission? The village can be reached on foot anyway, it might be easier for you to move around and do your things"
'Vlad finally understands Gunpowder, for the first time in long time, will be free to fight!'

"You know, GP. Sometimes I wonder if you were a wild animal in your past life, cause you sure are an odd one for a horse."

'Gunpowder likes tigers.'
"Well, try not to rush into your next life."
'Will not. Gunpowder will be there to see Conrad.'
"Y-You've remembered him by name?" You reply as the mood shifts into an ominous one after your horse names that who shall not be mentioned.

'How dare Conrad bring down strong master? Will be there to see Vlad be as violent as Gunpowder when day comes.'

"You think I'll be as angry as Guts when we meet again?"
'Do not fear man who gets angry all the time. Fear man who loses patience after remaining calm for years.' Gunpowder stops responding, wanting to keep training.

Violet, having nothing else to do, circles around Gunpowder at a lower speed, using more of her legs since she still couldn't fly. It's a start.

Well, that was a mild detour, but it's always good to see what that mad horse is thinking. At least he's growing more loyal to you after what feels like an eternity. You can swear he's harder to tame than Guts himself.

There's still plenty of time to meet one of your comrades before the meal is ready. Which one shall you talk to?

>Isidro and Puck.
>Guts.
>Flora.
>Schierke and Ivalera.
>Casca, Morgan and Cindy.
>Hyde, Serpico and Farnese.
>>
>>5343046
>Flora.
Speak to her as much as possible, the more we talk, the more we can learn.
>>
>>5343046
>Hyde, Serpico and Farnese.
>>
>>5343046
>Flora.
>>
>>5343046
>Flora.
>>
>>5343046
>Casca, Morgan and Cindy.
>Hyde, Serpico and Farnese.
>Schierke and Ivalera
>Flora

The first three just to check on them, maybe answer some question they have and tell them we're having a day off.

Serpico, Hyde and Farnese to try and ease the mood of the first two, to maybe stay somewhat close to each other to fight and have Farnese being a second on command and keep an Eye on Guts, if she can sense his Soul and see the Dog, once he gets cornered or something that could unleash it then she should tell everyone to keep some distance. But ONLY sense, no interaction and if the Dog speaks to her, then she should block the connection.

Schierke and Ivalera just give her a warning about Guts condition with the Dog, to tell her if she knows some really good heavy pacify spell or something to use it on Guts if he starts attacking allies once he's in that state, or even have something to numb the Dog and not Guts.

And the rest some more extense Flora dialog. If she got something for Gunpowder then good, and after that let's hear what she has to tell us. After all we are lucky to have a full day of talking with her. Maybe she has a Cure for the things in Casca and Cindy skin and how to fully stabilize the cure for their full recovery (and some sweet sweet spell theory lessons and alchemy101. Or maybe another solution for our soul problem to be 100% top condition again)

And QM, if by choosing so much options it means we have less time to talk please tell me, in which case I'm going to change my vote
>>
>>5343046
>Gunpowder knows Conrad by name
It's decided. Gunpowder MUST be the one to help us deal the final blow to the demon god of disease.

>Flora.
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>>5343080
I think you can still have time to talk to all of them until the end of the night, it's just that some time will pass either way. I'd say you have time to speak with one more group/person and fully interact with them until dinner's served, and then one or two more so we can get to the main event
>>
>>5343046
>Guts.
>>
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>>5343052
>>5343076
>>5343079
>>5343080
>>5343083
Not since the silver eyed occultist have you met a powerful mage with knowledge of causality far greater than yours. Even if she is dying, her mansion is brimming with fruits of her knowledge. It would be foolish not to make the most out of your time, even if you're spending an extra day with her either way.

Entering once more through the doorway, you excuse your entrance as you pass through Schierke while she was setting up the plates on the dining table to speak with her master.

Flora was still, the same way she was when you first met her, were it not for her blinking eyes and her face contorting into a smile, you would have assumed she was dead already.

"Returning, so soon? I figured you had plenty to ask me..." Flora motions over to another chair, where you would both watch Guts train by himself through a window.

Taking a deep breath, you wonder on where to start with your questionaire. There are too many problems you are handling at once, but even if one are solved by meeting her, your detour was more than warranted.

>What is the extent of your knowledge of us? Why have you watched us for so long?
>I doubt I will live to see the end of the year in this debilitating condition, is there any way to fix my soul from tearing, or at least mitigate it's effects?
>My friends have recovered their memories through a Mandragoran shot, why are they struck with rash and other side effects when the essence should have been purified?
>Please... Can you tell me if my mother is still alive? I haven't spoken with her in quite some time, and I'm starting to lose hope on her being alive...
>What weapons do you have in your arsenal? Is there anything else you can give me to aid me in my journey, perhaps a spell or a potion recipe you might have?
>I don't think you might have this answer, but is there a way to defeat the God Hand?
>I have a Behelit with me, should I be worried about causality affecting me?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5343112
Lets start with most pressing question:
>Please... Can you tell me if my mother is still alive? I haven't spoken with her in quite some time, and I'm starting to lose hope on her being alive...
Then lets follow that up with:
>What is the extent of your knowledge of us? Why have you watched us for so long?
>I doubt I will live to see the end of the year in this debilitating condition, is there any way to fix my soul from tearing, or at least mitigate it's effects?
>My friends have recovered their memories through a Mandragoran shot, why are they struck with rash and other side effects when the essence should have been purified?
>What weapons do you have in your arsenal? Is there anything else you can give me to aid me in my journey, perhaps a spell or a potion recipe you might have?
>I don't think you might have this answer, but is there a way to defeat the God Hand?
>I have a Behelit with me, should I be worried about causality affecting me?
I'm interested to see if she has any information on the behelit's themselves.

Sorry I voted for all the options, I'm just interested in hearing all the answers. I don't mean to give you a ton of writing to do.
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>>5343128
Ey, no problem with that. Writing's what I do and I'm all for it.

I was meaning to get to this part of the story since the last thread, so I have no problem with making longer posts, the only struggle will be to see if it's interesting to read so much exposition for the next day or so.
>>
>>5343112
>I doubt I will live to see the end of the year in this debilitating condition, is there any way to fix my soul from tearing, or at least mitigate it's effects?

>Please... Can you tell me if my mother is still alive? I haven't spoken with her in quite some time, and I'm starting to lose hope on her being alive...
>>
>>5343112
Honestly yeah, I’m interested in a longer discussion with her. Totally fine with exposition, we dearly need it since Vlad has been the expositional character for so long - he has to restock on exposition from an even great expo char
>>
>>5343128
+1

Same with >>5343153
We have been fucked since a while, and the possibility of finding an old mage like Flora again is going to be even more hard. I mean, after Merlina we found just some death corpse that somehow got his Soul trapped inside him because he tried some spell, that was the only Magic usser we found before the Tower ritual. And of course when we finally got some downtime to train our Magic with the Kushan general of Barnham well, you know already know
>>
>>5343141
well if I know me, and I do, I love to read me some exposition. No matter the size or length.
>>
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>>5343128
"Miss Flora... I beg of you... If you have watched us for as long as you claim, please... Tell me the extent of your knowledge can answer this question:" Your hands start to tremble as you sit down and prepare yourself to hear the worst, should your mother not be in this world anymore.

"...Is Sivir still alive? I haven't spoken with her in quite some time, ever since she cracked her magical orb to prevent me from dying to the God Hand Fingers in Albion, she's been unresponsive... I'm starting to worry that she truly is dead..."

Before answering you, she makes sure that you stop trembling as she holds your shoulders and instructs you to breathe slower, the anxiety is enough to spike your heart, but the anticipation won't kill you just yet.

"It is indeed hard to measure wether she's truly alive or dead... In truth, I've only been keeping contact with you ever since my friend in the astral world told me to. 'They of Brand will visit your forest, guided by tiny wings. I want you to lend them a hand.' It has taken me a while to understand your situation."

"There is someone else who has been watching me? Who could that be?"
"The Flower Storm Monarch herself. Lord of the elves, and ruler of Elfhelm."

"Puck's homeland..." You are curious as to why such a powerful entity would be praying for your team to succeed, yet try to remain focused.
"But why is that? Why can't you figure out if Sivir is alive or dead?"
"We both have tried to contact her in the depths of the sea, and even with our knowledge of magic, she has remained unresponsive. We both have theorised that she has been in suspended animation, using the remaining powers from the orb that shares both your Ods to remain in this realm, and both your lives seem to be connected into her orb, she could very well be draining the remaining energy to stay alive after she expelled the demons from Albion."

"So not only is she fated to die if we don't reach her, but so am I, if I don't recover her energy..."
"The silver eyed knew that attempting to overcome causality would only bring them into the eye of the abyss. It is a shame that such curse had to be passed onto an innocent child..."
>>
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>>5343217
"I doubt I will live to see the end of the year in this debilitating condition... I've done the best I can to take as little damage as possible in my last fight, and even with Puck and Farnese's constant healings... I constantly feel like I have been squashed under rubble... Is there any way to fix my soul from tearing, or at least mitigate it's effects?"

"The way you are using magic, I honestly doubt you will live through your next encounter with an apostle. Even if you did find your mother and the orb, you would still have a gaping wound on your being that would expel even more energy out of yourself. It is the reason I wanted to keep you away from entering Enoch Village. You would have certainly succumbed at the simplest mistake. But I believe we can mitigate that problem, if you could accompany me in my mending ritual."

"D-Do you mean that!? Can you truly fix me!?" You start uncontrollably chuckling at the thought of an early heal. You thought it would take you to up to Elfhelm for you to finally see a glimpse of a normal life...

"'Fixing' is not the word I would use. It is a grievous process, that could very well leave you even worse off than how you started, but yes, there is a way to close your soul back to the way it was, even if your spongy nature will make it so you absorb and expell your surroundings."

"Then why haven't we started it yet? Please, I'm ready!"
"I would advise you to spend some time with your friends before they departed first. I understand that you're eager to fix yourself, but it will require some magical effort from both my end and yours."

"It is that serious..." You wonder what the hell will she even do in said ritual, becoming concerned on how you will change after she is finished, but the thought of refusing never crosses your mind.

"Very well, It will be the first thing to do tomorrow morning... Should no one interrupt us in the meantime." She refers to an unknown entity, your mind reading letting you see that she means... The Skull Knight?

Focus. You can question his reason for visiting when he arrives.

"Besides that, if it's not too much to ask. Is there anything else you can give me to aid me in my journey, perhaps a spell or a potion recipe you might have?"

"Schierke will show you all of your new arsenal after dinner. Believe me, none of you shall be left behind."
"Even my horse?"
"...Even your horse." She bluffs, now having to think of something to gift to GP.
>>
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>>5343236
"That's good to hear, perhaps with that power boost, I can finally master the art of astral projection and teach it to Farnese."
"There are also a few substances you can take to increase your affinity with the spirits."
"...It's not alcohol, is it? I've been trying to keep myself clean, since I've been addicted to it before."

Flora does not respond. Hopefully drinking again will not lead you to relapsing into the way of the drunken spear.

"Speaking of substances, would you mind if I took your Mandragoran essence, if you had any? My friends have recovered their memories through a Mandragoran shot, yet they are having some side effects."

"This is why I did not offer to treat them with what I had... You see, while the mandragoran essence miraculously works to heal off physical conditions, it tends to exchange it for mental regression. So the reverse should apply for when trying to heal mental trauma. It is not as easy as injecting them with serum... They are still easily prone to relapses, and the doses will have to grow more frequent when their body gets used to the biotics. By attempting to take their problems away, you might have given them a worse one."

"So the rash will get worse? What happens if it grows across their entire body?"
"That will only happen when they remain without their shots for too long, and given how you are running out, I will give you my vial just so you can reach Elfhelm without them dying. Mix the essence with water, if you have any delays, just prevent the rash from growing worse until you meet Monarch Danan, and she will take care of the rest. The abstinence will only grow worse with time."

"Understood." You sigh, feeling guilty for trusting Bolzack's research a bit too blindly, when he had no prior experience with magic.

"One last thing, I know you might not have this answer, but is there a way to defeat the God Hand?"

"I believe there is someone else who would like to hear the answer to that question." Flora looks over to the opening door, seeing Guts entering the room after prematurely ending his training session.

"Sorry, couldn't help but overhear you talking over my lifting. If the question at hand is to defeat them... I'm all ears. Especially now that we have this." Guts hands her the behelit, forcing you to show yours.

"What in the blazes... Does this belong to you both?"
"I got it from someone else. The same goes for Vlad. You know what it is, don't you?"

"Unfortunately, yes. The key that links the deep layer of the astral world to the physical one: The Behelit. The fetish to summon the five angels."

"Tell me... How do I summon them to me?" Guts daringly asks how to see them in person, seeking to end his vengeful quest against them.
>>
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>>5343271
"This revenge of yours. It must be that malice, that drive, that kept you on your feet by yourself until this day. Your life cannot be without hatred, but that hellfire is striving to incinerate even those you consider irreplaceable. So they will shackle you to add weight and bluntness to your sword. Just like treading across thin ice, it is a difficult and dangerous expedition."

Guts grits his teeth in anger, not recieving the reply he wanted.
"I hate how you mage types always make sure to read me, yet remain unprecise when it comes to saying what I want to hear."

"It is not that I don't wish to tell you. The behelit is a highly spiritual object that governs human fate itself. Perhaps an even greater existence sent to the physical world. The object itself is nothing more than a stone, but fate associated with it rests upon the hands who were sent to it. When time is right, it will be in the hands of the person it belongs. That's the way it's always been. If it's truly yours, even if you discard it, it will come to you. If it's not yours, it will eventually leave your hand. It will only activate at the very moment in which the owner craves their power. It's beyond such things as human will."

Your heart stops as you remember your first reaction to the Behelit. The time you threw Hedwyn's Behelit away from you, and how despite that, another Behelit came into your possession.
There is still doubt that Guts' Behelit is truly his, however... The fact that your powers were awakened with one, combined that you were rarely not chastised by the God Hand despite not being branded, could only mean one thing...

The Blue Behelit you carry can only be yours.

"B-But how can this be? I have remained noble in my ways, haven't I? I never let hatred or vengeance consume my thoughts... This Behelit can't possibly be mine."

"That much is true... But remind yourself that you keep aiming for tougher challenges. Fighting The Falcon Of Darkness, foraging assets for a grand war, retaking the glory of your kingdom, saving people from certain death, curing your deadly illness, saving your mother. All of that requires a gargantuan amount of power. I'm sure the God Hand members were once benevolent humans in their carnal form at one point, but--"

"DON'T YOU FINISH THAT SENTENCE!" Guts suddenly speaks up as you start to sweat, wondering if you fate had truly been sealed the moment Hedwyn decide to bring life into that damned plantmorph...

"Be that as it may, I truly hope that neither these Behelits belong to any of you... There is no greater mystery for those of use who explore the astral world, than how to stop the ones commanding all of evil. The God Hand Members are executors of the will of something lurking in the deep abyss of the astral world. Perhaps in that domain, it is unattainable for one to arrive as a person, thus killing their ego."
>>
>>5343307
Bro Skull Knight come slurp this shit up. Get it outta here. Come back next week for seconds if they keep trying. Shit dude. Winners don't do causality.
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>>5343307
"The Idea Of Evil... Merlina was investigating their origins before she passed away, though she never came to a clear conclusion as to how to defeat them." You call the entity by name, much to the shock of Flora.

"You know of their identity?"
"Only through second hand information. I thought that was also common knowledge between magicians?"
"Not at all... If only she wasn't limited to staying in the flesh swamp... She would have undoubtebly played a key part in spreading her knowledge in defeating them." Flora points out how, if working together, Merlina, Flora and Danan could have formed a plan to counter the God Hand and causality itself, in due time.

It's almost as if they were perfectly intended to be secluded...
"The best I can do is share the knowledge she gave me before passing on..."

"Please do. In Layman's terms, if possible." Guts asked you to explain as succintly as possible.
"You're all aware of the physical and astral world, correct? One is our life, and one is essentially the afterlife. These worlds were once more tightly connected, but there was a third dimension that most tend to ignore: The world of ideas."

"Yes. The physical, the spiritual, and the mental. In the most shallow layers of the astral world, various ethereal beings exist in the realm known as the interstice. Even the scenery is derived from etheral forms of our world. So there is little disparity between the separated dimensions." Flora concludes.

"While the separation from the spiritual world appeared to be man made, what is religion but a collective shape of ideas turned into actions and beliefs by large crowds? They have purposefully, since the beggining, attempted to stray humanity from the astral world, so their ideas could shape reality itself. By letting the world of ideas have the power of the etheral, they would remain immortal, and all powerful."

"It is why those who haven't realised that they are dead or regretfully leave the world of living remain in the space between those two worlds. After becoming aware of their death and losing their ability to maintain their form, they pass from that layer to even further ones." You both complete each other's sentences, leading to the same conclusion.

"While it is possible to ascend into a higher form after dying, there are several realms onto that amalgamation of ideas and magic energy. Each ones according to their own karma and beliefs."

"There could very well be concepts and realities similar to those of heaven and hell within those depths. Though if one dives too deep, they will be unable to return, to a place that no human soul has returned from."

"One of them has... One of them knows what lays inside the collective unconsciousness of humanity and every living soul's desires..."
>>
>>5343340
"I remember attempting to read her mind once... She was always so quiet, yet her thoughts were at a constant race with each other... The panic that she had when considering those thoughts... I finally understand now..."

'How does one kill an idea? One that will remain far more culturally relevant than any mortal will in both realms? Once they gain control of all three dimensions... It will be truly hopeless... No matter how much I struggle, I am only one, in a sea of trillions of souls... Even if that traitor reaches a fraction of my power... What good will that entail, when humanity has already shunned us from victory!? Those fools have an inherent wish to feel pain, and to be defeated, and so their gods will answer by gaining power in the realm of ideas. A life where none shall win, and none shall lose, for there will be no difference between the dead and the living...'

The cost of said information is far too great for you to handle, as your vision becomes doubled from the stress of remembering how useful Merlina would have been, had you not left her for dead.

Sivir is alive. The Behelit is yours. You can save your soul from being vaporised. The Behelit is yours. Merlina was right. The Behelit is yours. There are others in the astral world who are on your side and will do their best to defeat the God Hand with you.

The Behelit Is Yours. Conrad has led your father to insanity and turned him into their plaything, after that, it was your master, and soon, you will join them after an early end to your futile life.

"Food's ready!" The tense atmosphere of your breakdown is cut to a halt by the innocent knocking of Schierke at the wooden door, announcing that everyone is gathered at the dining table. "Do you need help to go downstairs, Master?"

"There's no need to, Schierke. I will be with you in just a moment." Flora stands up, not wanting her to open the door.
"Can't defeat them, can't summon them, and can't even join them at the dinner table without harming Casca... What the hell do I do with this information...?" Guts finds himself stuck at an impasse, just forced to push forward, as he always does.

You wonder if it's worth going there to keep your team up to speed, or perhaps just to calm yourself down, given how you're on the verge of tears from these revelations...

>Skip the meal. You've already lost your appetite.
>Eat alone with Guts. The others can't see you in this state.
>Ask for Flora to stay with you. You still have more questions to ask her. (Write-in.)
>That's enough panicking for now. Maybe some food with yourfriends might give you a breather.
>>
>>5343360
>Eat alone with Guts. The others can't see you in this state.
>Comfort Guts, and in doing so try to comfort yourself. No matter how impossible the odds may seem, the God Hand and the Idea of Evil are simply projecting the concept of being undefeatable. All things have a weakness, nothing is infallible. They must make mistakes, there must be things even they can’t predict or control. They want you both to believe otherwise…because belief ultimately gives them power. Even if it’s hard to believe, seeing the results of your failures over and over again.
>>
>>5343372
+1

>Theorize about Griffith and the Godhand
>"Griffith sacrificed the entire Band of the Hawk to ascend to power did he not? If I'm right, a Behelit requires a sacrifice to be eaten or killed in order for its user to gain power. If you and Casca survived, then technically means that the ritual was interrupted. Maybe Griffith hasn't received his full power yet?"

>"Could the Godhand truly have predicted such an event occurring like that? Why would they let someone or something survive and disrupt the coming of the newest member in their ranks? It doesn't make any sense."

>"I remember Griffith visiting me and taking Cindy's brother. He said something along the lines of 'for there to be a God Hand, A God needs to exist' and 'And if he chose to give me wings, I shall take to the sky and forge my kingdom'. This implies to me that the Godhand's successes can only come when they are allowed to. My point is that the Godhand cannot be all powerful, undefeatable beings with these limitations that seem apparent."

>"I believe that these beings can be overcome, but not without great difficulty and understanding."
>>
might have taken too much
>>
>Eat alone with Guts. The others can't see you in this state.
>Write In
"Carve this words in your mind Vlad Santana"
I am no slave to the God Hand, i was made to put an end to them and i have accept this role. I have a power that can destroy them, if only I master it first. Even behelits could be made in nothing but ash by it. And so I shall not be used by them, not now and not ever.
(Purging Od for anyone that doesn't get it)

Talking with Guts
https://pastebin.com/zYZ9GfAb
(Placed it in a pastebin, because i know some can be quite indisposed, aggressive and overall very ... negative about slightly longer texts than usual by anons.)
>>
>>5343372
+1
>>
>>5343372
+1; unburdening to Guts might help us
I wonder how, if Berserk was a quest, would the player anons behind Guts would be posting/voting
>>
>>5343516
Wew lad, I'll try to incorporate some aspects onto it as Vlad calms down, don't see him speaking this right away until they're somewhat more into the conversation
>>5343669
Would be interesting to see, he's by far the toughest one to write and maintain in character, especially now that he's starting to fall off on his edgy persona while still getting what he wants, which in the canon story doesn't happen until much later on
>>5343372
Alrighty then, writing.
>>
Ayo fuck this bitch-ass femboy Griffith, we're the mf Ghost Impaler, the Great Pegasus we aint gonna be tempted by some cheap-ass ugly trinket with bad energy shit. We gon' ride over the mf Kraken and stump in his bitch-ass eyes for even trying
>>
>>5343745
No need, it got no votes. If it had some support i could understand. yeah maybe it was too fast i suppose
>>
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>>5343372
>>5343399
>>5343539
>>5343669

"Are you coming with me?" Flora asks, not inviting Guts for obvious reasons.
"...I would be grateful if you could spare us a plate. We will thank Schierke at a later date for the meal." You cover your face, still pretending that you are having coherent thoughts.

"Understood. I will leave you alone for now."
In actuality, you just didn't wish to ruin the mood your team is having. their high spirits would probably be contaminated by the fear you are exhaling in your being, even if you only appeared in there for a brief second, it would go anywhere but unnoticed.

Flora returns with two dishes full of peas, nuts and cabbage leaves you alone with Guts. You are angry enough to shatter those nuts by squeezing them inbetween your fingers, yet a single pea is nearly unpatable, it all tastes like bile with the array of emotions you're feeling.

Your vision is still doubled, the conversion of negative Od is visible even by Guts, you can't stay like this, no matter how much you obsess over your failures.

"Carve this words in your mind Vlad Santana. I am no slave to the God Hand, i was made to put an end to them and i have accept this role. I have a power that can destroy them, if only I master it first. Even behelits could be made in nothing but ash by it. And so I shall not be used by them, not now and not ever."

Feeling your blood pressure returning to normal, your mind slowly clears itself as you purge yourself of your own, monstruous ambition. Such paranoia would only lead to you developing a beast of darkness like Guts.

Speaking of him, he still hasn't had a single bite out of his meal, instead quietly observing your struggle against yourself.

Feeling like he has gone through a similar ordeal, you attempt to comfort him in his problems, really meaning to comfort yourself, by remembering that you are not alone in this, theorizing what could be done to defeat them.

"Even with all their power, if they were humans once it means they might still have something left of their humanity."
"I find that hard to beleive. Didn't you hear the witch? To have that much power, your ego needs to be gone. Vessel for ideas, or something like that."
"If they are evil incarnate, then they are no true allies or friends of each other. The reason they are not competing though, is to get hold of the world. But even so, none of them has reason to let one of them gain more power than the rest before the world is taken."

"Maybe, you said it once that they were cyclical, so something had to come before them to give them that power."
"The hell kings have prepared long to create this apocalypse. And they are working further now, spreading lies, spreading misfortune and destroying anyone that might be an alternative to their puppet, but not all believe their lies. We have proven more than once we can't be easily defeated both in battle and conviction."
>>
>>5343794
"If we can use their true nature against them, then Griffith's new order could be broken before it is solidified as the only salvation and state for all of men. While they might roleplay as Gods, they are still woven by the contradictory energy that is human desire, some may wish destruction, yet some might wish something else entirely. If it is a battle of ideas, and not just blades and magic, we know that they are not victors in the cultural war, as there are several opposing them who are even more powerful than us. In short, we should--"

"Not give up hope? That sure was a lot of words just to summarize what I already know." He grins, finally starting to eat his food. "It seems like you are trying to convince yourself that your fight is worth fighting, instead of inspiring me."

"I am not a tactician like you, I don't consider odds or advantages when I raise my blade. Even if chances were null, that wouldn't have stopped me to chase Griffith when he did what he did. Surely, if I had given up when hearing what that bag of bones told me when I was branded, I would have rotted on that cave along with Casca until the end of your days."

"Strange... I never saw you as the type to commit suicide."
"Then what do you call what I have been doing for the past 2 years?" He speaks in a brief moment of self reflection, realising that without his anger and the motivation to heal Casca, the only thing still on his mind is avenging The Old Band Of The Falcon.

So that's why his beast is surfacing...

>You are right in pursuing Griffith, but for the wrong reasons, justice is a better word for it than revenge.
>How did you manage to achieve this drive of yours? I don't think I could have shared your rationale in your stead.
>I am sorry for what I did with Casca. My intentions were good, but I might have only caused more harm to her and Cindy.
>You hungry? I'm not sure if I can have another bite...
>Write-in.
>>
>>5343805
>How did you manage to achieve this drive of yours? I don't think I could have shared your rationale in your stead.
>I am sorry for what I did with Casca. My intentions were good, but I might have only caused more harm to her and Cindy.
>You hungry? I'm not sure if I can have another bite...
>>
>>5343805
>How did you manage to achieve this drive of yours? I don't think I could have shared your rationale in your stead.
>I am sorry for what I did with Casca. My intentions were good, but I might have only caused more harm to her and Cindy.
>>
>>5343807
+1
>>
>>5343807
+1
>>
>>5343805
>You are right in pursuing Griffith, but for the wrong reasons, justice is a better word for it than revenge.
>How did you manage to achieve this drive of yours? I don't think I could have shared your rationale in your stead.
>>
>>5343807
+1
>>5343906
+1
>>
If Vlad did have a Beast of Darkness, what would it be called?
>>
>>5343807
>>5343832
>>5343906
"You hungry? I don't think I can have another bite of this..."
"Can't say nuts and cabbage is my favorite mix of flavors, but given what we're up against, it's better than not eating anything." He refuses while you force yourself into eating the dish into being half full. Maybe you can save it for a snack before sleeping.

"You are right in pursuing Griffith, but for the wrong reasons, justice is a better word for it than revenge." You say after placing your food aside.

"Call it foolishness, if you'd like. All I know is that I'm still willing to do so. Even if my desire to kill him has been... Declining."

"How come?"
"Ever since I reunited with Casca, I have slowly imagined what it would be like, to live in peace once she healed, if she would ever reciprocate what I feel, if anything I've done so far, might have been worth it, just for her sake..."

"But since her healing is not immediate, it all turns into speculation..." You ponder if it's worth telling Guts what happened to her since you injected her with the Mandragoran essence.

"When I met Griffith in the hill of swords, I was astounded by the calmness in my heart. Even if it had something to do with his manipulation of energy, I can't deny that part of me wants this to be over. That I could pretend not to care about him and live off somewhere else with Casca until she heals. It would certainly be a better life for the both of us."

"But that's not realistic, is it? Not after what I did with Casca."
"...What are you talking about?"

It seems he did not hear that part of the conversation with Flora.
"... The Mandragorans serum cannot effectively heal mental scars. The rash they have on their skins could aggravate into a deadly disease if they stop taking the medication."

Guts gets visibly angry, aiming a closed fist at your face and pulling you closer to himself.
"And now, you decide to tell me of the adverse effects? What the hell were you thinking?" He growls, slamming your back to the window.

"I'm sorry, alright? I wouldn't have done this if I knew of the consequences. My intentions were good, I just trusted Bolzack's research too blindly."

"So you decide to make Casca your test subject for any future endeavors? I knew trusting you was a waste of my time..."

"I did this for you! Her life is not the only one on the line here! I take full responsibility for her and Cindy's healings, but we can still save them! Quit acting without thinking and listen to me for once!"

Slowly letting you go, Guts realizes that he might have been acting too ferociously for someone who hasn't heard the full story yet, and after being informed of Danan and the magic of Elfhelm, he placed you back on your seat.
>>
>>5343974
But not before noticing your trusty shortsword, stealthily aimed at his jugular, in case he did lose control.

"Offer with one hand, strike with another, huh?"
"I thought I made it quite clear before, if you became a detriment to my team, I would see you gone from it. Be it one way or another."

"That's fair. I haven't done my best at remaining friendly with your team... Even dining alone seems like a bad habit I would do in my early years."

"I do sympathize with you, despite you posing a threat to my team, I don't know what it would take you to be convinced that I'm on your side. How did you manage to achieve this violent drive of yours in th first place? I don't think I could have shared your rationale in your stead." You say both as a compliment and as a statement, admiring his toughness while wanting to observe the origins of the beast of darkness.

"The violence part was just business as usual... When your adoptive mother dies of sickness, and her mercenary lover blames you for it, remaining with him as a father figure as he enlists you to warfare made it a challenge for me to know if seeing heads rolling was traumatizing, or just something I had to put up with to spend some time with him..."

Guts surprisingly opens up about some aspects of his childhood, his matter of fact way of revealing things about himself catching you off guard as he uncharacteristically reveals more about himself.

"Adoptive parents and feeling responsible for their deaths... No wonder you still try to get along with me..." You start to understand him better as you inquire for more information.

"There must be some relation to having problems in your adult life with how badly your relationship with your parents were... You mean you never had time to play around? No other children beside you? Even I had some toys to keep myself busy."

"I felt like I was the toy, most of the times. A punching bag for the adults to 'practice' their swordfighting. Instead of playing sword, I had to carry a sword bigger than me and try to learn how it worked as I was half beaten to death every day."

"Didn't your father shield you from it? Even if he didn't care for you, he should have taught you something."

"It's strange... For every time I thought Gambino hated me, he would show a monochrome of respect for when I came along with a few silver coins, or when he smiled after seeing me hit my target... That sort of approval was addicting, but it grew more rare as the years passed..."

Guts wishes to speak something else, but stops himself, feeling that it would be too personal to share.

While you are interested in what made him this way, you know that he doesn't react well to forcing topics onto him.

>[See through his thoughts with your mind reading.]
>Don't push yourself.Only tell me what you are comfortable with sharing.
>What happened to Gambino?
>I will not judge you for whatever you tell me inside this room, my lips are sealed.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5343996
>Don't push yourself.Only tell me what you are comfortable with sharing.
>I will not judge you for whatever you tell me inside this room, my lips are sealed.
>>
>>5343996
>Don't push yourself. Only tell me what you are comfortable with sharing.
>I will not judge you for whatever you tell me inside this room, my lips are sealed.
>>
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>>5343943
That would depend on the possible afflictions that plague him, I was wondering if that was even possible to create given how well he's been handled so far, but here's a few what ifs to keep around.

>Lust
Unless something really bad happens that makes him relapse into addiction or if Farnese makes him horny enough for their sexual activity to become harmful, I don't see this one happening, same goes for the alcohol problem. The concept of him having a succubus in his head would be pretty fun to write if his encounter with slan was anything to go by.

>Guilt
That's a bit more likely, he's already had plenty of nightmares about his deceased folk and how late he was to take responsibility for his inaction, Merlina herself didn't believe he was doing anything out of the kindness of his heart, but more so our of obligation/retribution for the years he's ignored his clan. Which is why she was rarely grateful.

>Madness
Now that's a dangerous one. Remember that he and his parents thought he was insane since a very early age, and that made it so he would conceal the worst aspects of his character, something that happens to this day. Should his mind deteriorate along with his body, he could very well start hearing voices, seeing entities out of the corner of his eyes or even mistaking them for the people he know. The meat vision is something that he doesn't miss, that's for sure.

Be glad that he's not the one taking the berserker armor, but that's still not to say that he's untouchable, given how he acted after he considered the Behelit being his, he is somewhat prone to paranoia too.
>>
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>>5343943
I'm just spit-balling ideas here but, maybe the Beast of Darkness inside Vlad could be called 'The Impaler' since that's basically Vlad's whole shindig. A darker version of Vlad created from the negative od particles he's been exposed to over his encounters with Apostles and creatures from the abyss.

A sort of background radiation type of negative od that has slowly built itself up over time inside of him, and because of Vlad's unique plant/human (and od sponge like abilities) biology, it has allowed for the negative od to absorb parts of Vlad's personality that he has rejected (His drinking, lusting, bloodlust, etc.) to create a sort of Anti-Vlad that is also a conscious negative od that is tumor-like in its construction.

I don't know I'm just trying to come up with ideas on how to flip this since Vlad has been very virtuous so far..
>>
>>5343996
>Don't push yourself.Only tell me what you are comfortable with sharing.
>I will not judge you for whatever you tell me inside this room, my lips are sealed.

"We can talk more in the future, and of course you can ask me questions as well"
>>
>>5344052
Following with
"So... did you think of tommorow ?"
>>
>>5344037
>>5344016
>You were worthless almost your entire life.
>The only times anyone showed genuine respect to you were when you were on the battlefield, skewering men onto your lance and letting their blood flow over you.
>You break your body for peasants that will never know the truth. Never SEEK the truth. Your mission would be so much easier if you left them to their fates.
>You're an ant in a battle of giants. You lack power. You know the path to power. You cannot afford to wait for it. You must seize it. Force the spirits to your will.
>Your fear makes you weak. You're afraid of what you'll become if you use your behelit. Barnham still fights against the god hand, why do you cower at the thought of becoming an apostle? Your power would become greater than Hedwyn could have ever imagined. The only way you can match the dark masters is by consuming the power of all who oppose you.
>The peasants you protect, the band you command, everyone around you is either foolish or incompetent. This war would be easier if you simply used your magic to force them to act according to your plans. Plant your roots into each and every one of them, to command an unyielding army. Bolzack was right.
etc etc
that's what I think Vlad's beast would be all about.
>>
>>5344007
>>5344013
>>5344052

"Don't push yourself. Only tell me what you are comfortable with sharing." You try to make him aware of his feelings. It seems Guts is making an effort in being more cult and directly speaking as to how he processes his memories, but maybe it's important to establish some limits.

"I thought you would appreciate if I put things into context, but maybe I am spreading myself too thin. Sorry, I'm not used to these sort of talks. It's been a while."

"If you do wish to say something, know that I will not judge you for whatever you tell me inside this room. My lips are sealed."

"Well, that's contradictory." Guts points out how that goes against what you just said.

"How so? All I'm saying is that it's up to you."

Guts chuckles, before his smile faded back into a frown.

"It's difficult to even think of Gambino as my father... It's more like he taught me how to either live or die, and then tried to berate me for existing."

"See this scar?" He points to the slash across his nose. "Got it from him, after I insisted on using long swords, I got a few good hits on him, and he paid me back with this cut."

"What a lovely figure indeed..."
"Yeah... I do think he had his reasons to act so tough, especially after he lost his leg to a cannonball. After that, he lost his position on the mercenary group, and I had to do twice the work for him while he had fun drinking and playing with his stupid dog."

"So you went away, right? A child can only take so much abuse before retaliation." You expected the story to have a better than ending than what it really had.

"But I never did retaliate. It wasn't abuse if it was all I knew. I didn't compare myself to others, because that was the only life I saw a child like myself having..."

Staying silent, you attempt his technique of letting him people speak on their own, seeing if it would work on him.

"One night... He got too drunk. Came into my tent with a sword. Blaming me for Shisu's death... Calling me a cursed child... It was either me or him... I didn't mean to kill him... But what choice did I have?! I was only doing what he taught me--"

"Enough!" You snap him out of his memory lapse, feeling that you've heard plenty.

As his pupils stop shaking, Guts places his fork back on the plate, still squeezing the knife.

"After that... Well, I didn't stay to wait for them to kill me, so I ran away, despite my injuries... Wouldn't be until a few years later that I would meet the Falcons. And you already know the rest of it."
>>
>>5344176
"I'm not sure I do... But I do know that we have a lot in common."
"All of us do. Every person has a set of bad events that happen to their lives. One would think that they would better relate to one another, given how it's a same event happening in a different context."

"Yet saying two people are the same because of their mental scars would be reductive. Since they all walk different paths, none of them come with teachings of empathy, since it's all a matter of interpreting events. It's easy to judge, but hard to relate. No one's obligated to extend a hand to you." You change your mindset to say something Guts would, and in turn, he says what you would likely think:

"So that's why you offer yours first, because if it was someone else, they wouldn't have done it..." He clearly relates to being called a cursed child, not knowing his true parents, killing his adoptive folks, and being abandoned. Sure, it's different, but much like with Farnese, the mutual respect you have for each other's background is key to learning how to work in unison.

"Now you're thinking like a Pegasus."
"I've felt like saying that when you were younger, for some reason, felt like you would understand then."

"I doubt I would, but I'm glad you did it now. Between me then, and Isidro now, I'm starting to think you have a soft spot for kids. And I can't really blame you, knowing what I know."

"Yeah? And who's to say I want you to know more of me? There's plenty I haven't told."

"I don't need a biography to wish you the best, Guts. I will always be free for you to tell me something else, if you wish."

"Don't count on it..." He takes a sip of water.

"I'm just glad you've managed to speak your mind without calling onto the spirit. How does it feel to finally getting this off your chest?"

"Terrible, as bad as when I tried to tell Casca. I'm never doing this again... But perhaps by letting a few people know... The pain from the scars will be numbed over time."

"I just hope your mind stays clear for when you join my team... Letting Farnese with you feels like a gamble in it of itself."

"I wish I could give you words of encouragement on that regard, but no promises. Hopefully, I can go back to my mindset as a commander. Go in, kill the enemies, come back, check if they're fine."

"Just like you said, the context changes, but stripping down the events to the basics, it's all too similar."
"Such is the repetitiveness of life... I can only hope it doesn't end like last time..."

>I should go. I don't want them to ask too many questions.
>Thanks for the talk, feel like I needed it more than you did, in a way.
>Do your best tomorrow, I'll be here to congratulate you all.
>If Farnese dies, don't bother coming back.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5344220
>Thanks for the talk, feel like I needed it more than you did, in a way.
>Do your best tomorrow, I'll be here to congratulate you all.
>I should go. I don't want them to ask too many questions.
>>
>>5344220
>Thanks for the talk, feel like I needed it more than you did, in a way.
>Do your best tomorrow, I'll be here to congratulate you all.
>>
>>5344220
>>Thanks for the talk, feel like I needed it more than you did, in a way.
>>Do your best tomorrow, I'll be here to congratulate you all.
>>I should go. I don't want them to ask too many questions.
>>
>>5344295
>>5344244
>>5344231
"I should go. I don't want them to ask too many questions." You wrap some of your food on the plate so you can eat it on the go, leaving Guts still hiding away as the moon rose onto the sky.

"They're probably missing you already. Hopefully the panic won't be showing on your face."

"I'm serious, I appreciate our talk, I feel like I needed it more than you did."

"It has been a few ages since we have been in similar enough headspace to speak like this. Hopefully it cleared the air between you and I."

"It did a lot more than that. Do your best tomorrow, I'll be here to congratulate you all."

Waving goodbye as he rests in the dark sewing room. You observe Farnese, Cindy and Casca finally spending some time together, getting ready to take a bath after Hyde leaves the room.

Serpico is seen opening a dusty room outside with Schierke, coughing as the arsenal is finally revealed.

Having a large bump in his head, likely from the fall he had when turning back to normal, Isidro and Puck try to get a look at the ladies as they enter the bathroom, thinking he might appreciate the view after being battered by the consequences of his actions during the day.

The other animals are already sleeping, aside from Gunpowder, of course, still running circles around the carriage. With Morgan mesmerized by his unyielding energy.

>Talk to the ladies before they enter the bathroom.
>Ask for Farnese to bathe with you, some time together would be nice before she departs.
>Sigh and waltz to Isidro. This kid never learns...
>Check out the arsenal with Serpico and Schierke
>>
>>5344312
>Talk to the ladies before they enter the bathroom.
>Ask for Farnese to bathe with you, some time together would be nice before she departs.
>>
>>5344312
>>Talk to the ladies before they enter the bathroom.
>>Ask for Farnese to bathe with you, some time together would be nice before she departs.
>>
>>5344343
>>5344346
"Psst! Hey! Vlad! Piss off! You're getting in the way!" Isidro whispers as you purposefully stretch yourself over the window preventing him from catching any good sights.

"Your yoga stretches are awesome Vlad! Excellent form!" Puck compliments your physique.

"Come in, the water's already heated." The artist dips her fingers on the large tub they would soon be sharing.

"I'm not sure how common it is to get naked in front of girls for you, but this is not something I'm used to." Casca replies, blushing as she tries to get used to having female friends.

"Ah, I've bathed in muddy rivers too many times to care about sharing some clean water with a few pretty girls. Quit being such a nag!" She teases the soldier as you knock on the door.

"What are you doing, Vlad!? They were about to take their clothes off!" You ignore Isidro's whispery shouts as Farnese answers the door, with the other two still covered in towels.

"Yes?"
"Would you mind saving some water for me? I didn't get to wash myself today."

"Sure, we're not that dirty either, we mostly just want to relax for a bit."

"Farny, would you mind if I joined you on your turn? I think it would be nice to spend some time with you before you left."

Cindy coos as you hear Isidro's jaw dropping from behind you. You don't know who's blushing the hardest between Casca or Farnese.

Sure enough, you're all thinking of the same thing.

"That soon?!- I mean, I would love to, Vlad. W-would you mind if I had a minute to speak with them first? I need to take care of their rash, and all."

"Sure, I'd like to have a word with them later, if you don't mind."

"Ah, Cindy! Do you need help taking your hand off?"
"What are you talking about, I can take it off just by-- eek!"
She makes an excuse to gossip with her friends as they close the door.

"What the fuck... How can he just get in and ask her to get naked in front of Farnese, and she just goes along with it?" Isidro's head spins as he tries to incomprehensibly wrap his head around how quickly she accepted you.

"You see, Isidro: when a tree and a firecracker love each other very much, they-"
"You ruined my night, Vlad! I can't jack off watching your hairy ass!" Isidro gives up as he takes Puck away before he could properly explain the birds and bees.

Problem... Solved?

"There we go, what did you wish to talk about?" Cindy pops his head outside the door, with Casca and Farnese showing up by order of height.

>Glad you're having fun together. Didn't think you would get friendly so fast.
>*Whisper* Watch out for Isidro.
>I suppose I should tell you the truth about the cure...
>Any updates on your conditions? New memories, the rash?
>Quit acting perverted, I just want a quick wash.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5344397
>Glad you're having fun together. Didn't think you would get friendly so fast.
>*Whisper* Watch out for Isidro.
>I suppose I should tell you the truth about the cure...
>>
>>5344397
>Glad you're having fun together. Didn't think you would get friendly so fast.
>*Whisper* Watch out for Isidro.
>I suppose I should tell you the truth about the cure...

kek
>>
>>5344397
>Glad you're having fun together. Didn't think you would get friendly so fast.
>*Whisper* Watch out for Isidro.
>I suppose I should tell you the truth about the cure...
lol, lmao even
>>
>>5344428
>>5344513
>>5344575

"I'm glad you're all having fun together, didn't think you would get along so fast."
"Well, we somewhat had to get along, didn't we?" Cindy speaks up. "Casca can't go outside, and Farnese here is the only is the messenger who keeps us up to date and administers our shots. These are the first female friends I make since I met your mum."

"Likewise. Though I still don't think your mother liked me that much..." Farnese nervously thinks back on how they started off on the wrong foot. "I knew how Zhafira was, but I never met the girl behind the makeup."

"Sorry for disappointing you then. The rash and the cynicism don't leave much to the imagination" she complains.

"I don't know... This isn't the sort of company I'm used to having..." Casca still feels uncomfortable.

"At least the group isn't the sausage fest that it appeared to be before."

"Speaking of imagination..." You come closer, whispering to the girls some good advice. "Watch out for Isidro, you can imagine what he's up to with you lasses at the bathroom."

"Oh, there aren't even any drapes on these windows..." Farnese checks the inside of the room.
"What a perv, I'd give him a punch to the face if he wasn't a kid..."
"So? Let him watch. Wouldn't be the first time it happened to me." Cindy nonchalantly goes against what the other two just said, surprising you as much as them.

"...What?"
"Enough bantering, I'm here for something important!" You prepare for the reveal... Trying to ignore the beautiful maidens staring at you from behind the door slid.

"About the cure I gave you..."
"Ah, you finally got a cure for the rash? It's starting to become very bothersome, in a few areas..."
"Well, I found more essence in Flora's brewery room, but I suggest you keep using them as planned."

"You won't increase the doses? I'm starting to think it's losing effects with how quickly our skin goes bad again..."

You start to wonder if it's really a good idea to tell them about the disease, since they could either freak out, rile up against you, or both.

They seem to be having fun without knowing, is this really the appropriate context to tell them this?

>Yes, they need to know that they might die from what you did.
>Maybe not, if you reach Danan in time, they will be safe anyway.
>Change the subject, you're interested in knowing if Zhafira's shows are retired or not.
>Just leave and wait for them to end their baths, there's already too many headaches for you to deal with.
>Write-in
>>
>>5344794
>Yes, they need to know that they might die from what you did.
They should be aware of the risk, no matter how little a risk it may be, it’s still present and should be made aware. Honesty is the best policy.
>>
>>5344821
+1
But we should also focus and tell them that there's this Danan guy of whateve in Elfheim that Flora told us is going to actually cure them from the side effects entirely. We should have enough for them to keep up and maybe a little more until we finish our business in Vritiannis, go for our mom and finally going to Elfheim
>>
>>5344794
I feel like is an emotional minefield either way. And i don't want Vlad to be accused of withhold informations. Maybe giving them the option to talk about it tomorrow with Flora ? they might freakout now, and it would be in their right.
>Write-in
"No is not about the dosages, is the cure it self. I have discovered recently something that i didn't expect in my deep* study of Bolzack research when we were in Cromwell. I could talk you now of it, if you wish to hear it in this moment or tomorrow with Flora a far more knowledgeable magician than me. Is something very serious, and you might not be ready if i said it now."
(*he did read and study quite a lot before take the decision of using the serum)
>>
Change my vote of >>5344830 to >>5344840

Good call
>>
>>5344840
>>5344850
"The problem isn't with the dosages, it's with the extract itself. I have discovered recently something that i didn't expect in my study of Bolzack research when we were in Cromwell. I could explain to you now, but I believe Flora would do it better than I." You cut the lollygagging and get straight to the point.

"...Is it serious?"
"Very. I was hoping not to ruin the mood if I told you this, but it's something you should know."

"Well? Go ahead then." Cindy presses on, wanting to hear the news."
"There's still plenty of serum left, but if it runs out, the rash could turn into an infection, and if we don't find the true solution to your problems... You might pass away."

"... How long do we have left?"
"Until the serum runs out, and then a few days, I imagine."
"You gave us back our sentience just so we can know of our deaths? That's a great plan indeed..." As if you and Casca weren't in a rough spot before, she attempts to get out the door to aim a punch at you, lashing out her anger in a similar way the swordsman had done prior to her.

Farnese and Cindy try to pull her back to the bathroom door, but they're not dealing with a girly girl. Even if she's retired, she's still a war veteran with plenty of muscle memory to throw you a punch, they can barely keep her in place.

"Violence is not the answer, Casca! The stress is bad for your health."
"Yeah, what would Guts think of seeing you walking naked to wrestle with another guy?"
Barely locking the door in time, Farnese slides the key under the door for your safety as the bangs are strong enough to form a crack on the walls.

"Everything ok up there?" Ivalera briefly appears from the arsenal to check in on you.
"Fine and dandy!" You hide the key on your pockets.

"If you say so... Make sure to come down there so Schierke can show you all your cool upgrades!" She warns before descending back to the magician's side.

As you wait for them to finish their baths, a gentle knock at the door baits you into opening the passageway for your apprentice, only for Casca to slam the door on your face.

As if that wasn't enough, a punch that would rival your own strength hits you right up to your gut, making you see stars as you gasp for air on your knees.

"Alright. All is forgiven..." she thankfully stops herself, in the state that you're in, you probably wouldn't take another strike without being put to sleep.

Really, what else you were expecting from the one who Guts fell in love with?
"You look great with your hair short, I feel like Farnese and I are ripping your style off." Cindy pushes Casca away before she could change her mind.

"Why don't you grow yours then?"
"Uh... Maybe I should buy a wig." The artisan regrets how her hair can't grow from years of malnutrition.
>>
>>5344932
Crawling inside the bathroom and changing into a towel, you start to wonder where Farnese was, until you saw her delightfully smelling the fabric of your clothes. Making sure to dig her nose on the sweatier areas.

Sometimes she keeps the fair maiden act so well you forget she was your biggest stalker. She can only keep the facade going for so long herself.

"Come on. You're asking for me to call you out at this point." She drops your clothes and pulls a hand away from her nether regions as she stands up, still having her towel on.

"I- well... This... It's... Exactly what it looks like, isn't it...?" Her creepy habits show you that she hasn't completely dropped off on her old ways.

>You're odd, Farnese. But I can't say I hate that weirder side of yours.
>Suppose you wouldn't mind if I smelled your panties, then?
>You're not getting in the water like this, right? Come on in.
>Would you mind if we talked for a bit? I just want to relax in the tub, if that's ok with you.
>What a day... Come here.
>Write-in
>>
>>5344935
>>What a day... Come here.
>You're not getting in the water like this, right? Come on in.
>Would you mind if we talked for a bit? I just want to relax in the tub, if that's ok with you.
>>
>>5344935
>Suppose you wouldn't mind if I smelled your panties, then?
>You're not getting in the water like this, right? Come on in.
>What a day... Come here.
>>
>>5344970
+1
>>
>>5344970
>>5345010
>>5345035

"Just so you know, I would like to relax for a bit on the tub, if that's alright with you." You casually let her weirdo antics slip past you as she slowly places your clothes back to where they were.

"Ah... Nothing else?"
"Nothing else... For now." You take off your towel and jump over to take your bath, as the water splashed over her face, she appeared to be somewhat disappointed with your response, awkwardly staring at you in disbelief.

"Well? You're not getting in the water with the towel on, are you? Hop in. Its still warm."

"S-sure... It's been a while since we've had a regular talk, anyway. All this focus on my training, and then on taking care of the girls, it's about time we just lazied around for a bit." She says, growing red as she left her towel close to yours and laid bare facing you from the other end of the walls.

Sure, you've seen her naked before, but never in such a pleasant environment, no demons or imminent threats on your way. It's enticing, but also comforting.

"Interesting, did you have anything in mind?"
"Um..." Curious as to what other topics you could discuss with her to take the edge off, you take a look inside her mind to--

...Ok. That might have been a bit too graphic... It's best to let her come out of her she'll on her own accord.

"Phew. What a day... Come here, let me wash your back."
With the water being crystal clear, she's more comfortable in showing her backside a lot more than facing you, so that earned you some points in helping her relax.

Her back is ridiculously tense for someone her size, you wonder if she's been growing anxious of something other than her inhibiting lust.

"... I've noticed you didn't come to eat with us..."
Oh, that's it...
"Was that enough to alarm you?"
"It wouldn't, if you weren't already dealing with so many problems... I worry about you, Vlad. The more I see you as someone I can reach out and talk to about my worries, the more I wonder if you don't need that support yourself."

"I appreciate the gesture, but I'm doing alright. Just a bit stressed out from the travel, but it'll get better by tomorrow, after Flora helps me with my condition."

Silence plagues the room, with Farnese looking over her shoulder, showing that wasn't enough to soothe her.

"I know what we both tend to think about when we're together, but that doesn't mean that there's all that should be to our relationship. If you're not feeling well, I want you to tell me."

"And I do. Whenever I can't walk or if the pain gets unbearable, I ask for a heal."

"You know that's not what I mean..." She slides under your chest and locks eyes with you. "There's more to trust than just sending me off on a battle or casting a spell... If you ever feel any pain in here... I just want you to let me know."
>>
>>5345093
>I'm serious. I'm doing fine. You're worrying too much.
>You have too much on your mind already, I don't want to bother you with my problems when neither of us can solve them.
>There are other ways for me to relax, it's just that most of them involve me staying on my own. It's nothing personal, really.
>Fine... I'm worried about plenty of things. Might as well share them with you.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5345097
>Fine... I'm worried about plenty of things. Might as well share them with you.
Let him get it off his chest.
>>
>>5345097
>>Fine... I'm worried about plenty of things. Might as well share them with you.
Share the weights
>>
>>5345097
>Fine... I'm worried about plenty of things. Might as well share them with you.
>>
Writing, didn't mean to take this long, but work's a bitch.

Anyway, let's a go
>>
>>5345101
>>5345115
>>5345178
"Fine. I'm worried about... plenty of things. Might as well share them with you."

Slowly retelling the revealing events of today, you unconsciously emphasize on your fear of the Behelit actually being yours.

"I don't understand... Flora said it's just a piece of stone. Outside of ornament and design, there shouldn't have any power emanating from it... So why am I afraid of it?"

"Sacrifices and turning yourself into an apostle... It definitely doesn't sound like you... If anyone would notice any change over time, they would point it out to you."

"But what if it's instant? Given how my body is, and who I value the most... It's like I can tell when and how they will strike, but can't prevent it." You can't stop staring at her eyes, knowing what Conrad would use as the sacrificial lamb.

"I would gladly die for you, Vlad." Farnese proclaims, with no hint of sarcasm or fear.

"Don't say that. You have much to live for. You're starting to have your first friends, you're pulling your weight-"

"And who offered his shoulders when I couldn't use mine? I went along with you because you offered me the freedom I wouldn't have with any of the nobles or of the See. Should you pass away, so would my new life. And I don't see a place for the old, pathetic Farnese in this world."

"Quit being so ominous. I want you to be happy when I'm not around, too. Being an emotional crutch wouldn't be productive to either of us."

"But a physical crutch is just fine, isn't it?" She playfully wraps her arms around yours, knowing how much it hurts for you to move around without her by your side.

"Here, it's my turn. Let me wash your hair."
You let her play around and spill water over your head as she affably digs her fingers around your hair.

"It's so soft... What do you use on it?"
"Uuh... Sunlight and sweat?"
"Ew, mine never looked this shiny. It's strange to see a man with more hair than his maiden."
"I'd say that's pretty common. Don't see a beard on ya."
"When are you taking that thing off, anyway? It tickles too much when you move around."
"Never!" You rub your chin on her arm as she giggled, lightening the mood as you forget your troubles.

She's surprisingly good at putting you at ease...

>Nervous about tomorrow?
>I think it's time I teach you some offensive magic.
>How are the girls treating you?
>What were you talking about earlier with Hyde and Serpico?
>What about you? Anything bothering you?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5345735
>How are the girls treating you?
>Nervous about tomorrow?
>What about you? Anything bothering you?
>>
>>5345735
>What about you? Anything bothering you?
>>
>>5345756
supp
>>
>>5345756
>>5345760
"Are you nervous about tomorrow? I've let pretty large shoes to fill."

"Do you believe I can do it?"
"Surely."
"Well, I guess that answers it then."

"Believe in the Vlad that believes in yooooou!" You look outside after hearing Puck's voice, panicking at the thought of being watched.

"...Did you hear something?"
"No, nothing at all."

Great, you're hearing voices again.
"I'm curious to know about the weapons we're about to receive. I wonder if Flora will offer something to Casca..."

"How are they treating you, anyways? Didn't see you being besties with my patients."

"They've slowly been telling me their stories to remember their lives, and I've found it quite eye opening. Cindy still wants to do her shows and tell her stories, but it's like the talent got sucked away when she returned... That and her motor skills, she can barely draw a straight line..."

"I've seen what she's capable of. She could be renowned in her crafts in peaceful times, but since war is all that Midland knows, she'll be hardly noticed."

"Speaking of wars, we might have to increase rations for Casca. You should see how hard she exercises. I can barely do one push-up by the time she does 5."

"She wants her shape back, huh? That's alright. She was very good looking in her prime, still is, in a way."

"Ahem!" Farnese clears her throat, growing jealous.

"I can't really call her ugly, can I?"
"No. She's gorgeous..." Farnese admits. "I can see why even Guts would be struck by her beauty... But when you say it like that, it makes me question a few things..."

"Such as?"
"You know a lot about what I like... But I don't even know how many partners you've had."
"Why is that important?"
"I... I just want to know, ok?"
"...I wouldn't really know how many there were, to be frank. Between the parties, and the brothels... It's somewhere in the double digits for sure."

Farnese frowns, feeling outclassed.
"Does it really matter? It's in the past. You're the one I chose."
"I know... It's just that... Since I don't have experience with these things, I would like to know what I'm doing when the time arrives... I don't think I'm ready for it yet, but the anticipation is nerve wracking either way."

Well, shit. She wants to know what you're into... Let's hope you don't embarrass yourself too much...

>I liked to take charge in most cases, don't worry, I don't think you'll be doing much when it happens.
>To be honest, I liked being more submissive.
>You know what roleplay is, right? It's fun, once you get the hang of if.
>This might sound weird, but I had a thing for this certain body part...
>I liked hiring multiple girls to spend the night with me.
>>
>>5345850
>This might sound weird, but I had a thing for this certain body part...
Hm, perhaps a navel fetish would be most appropriate for an Impaler..
>>
>>5345860
"Uh... You see, I had a thing for navels..."
"Huh... So you like girls with a little bit more weight?" She held her waist for comparison, finding herself to be on the slimmer side.
"No, that's not it... Everyone has a navel, its just that some look better than others."
"I'm not sure I understand..."

"There's nothing to understand... It's just a thing I like."
"I'm not judging you for it... I just... Find it weird... It's not the first thing I would sexualise on a body..."
"Well, compared to what you like, I feel like a saint here."

"Well, are you...?" Farnnese brushes her body against yours, feeling the stiffness in your nether reasons as it answers the question for you.

"I can see why you'd be a terror with the ladies, with a thing this size."
"Could just use your hand if you're intimidated-" You ask her to share an intimate moment, before you heard Ivalera banging at the door.

"How many days are you planning to spent in there? Get a move on! Everyone's at the arsenal already."

Well... That's alright, guess you'll just leave it for some other day to have the full course...

Putting your clothes on and reaching the arsenal with Farnese, you see a shirtless Guts having his brand being reapplied it's seal to cancel the brand of the sacrificed.

"What happened, was it wearing off?"
"No. Girl over here said hers was better, so I just rolled with it."
"Vlad's energy is emanating from his runes, but this one works differently. This here's an ointment filled with purification salt."

"Alright, I'll just add that to the list when applying it now."
"Sure thing." Guts says while Schierke remains feeling left behind.
"We came here for the weapons, anyway, why don't we see what you have to offer already?"

"Fine..." Schierke places a blanket over a table with several pieces of equipment wrapped onto them, with the amount of things they had, it seemed she found one item for each of your friends.

"Hyde, this container should be useful for growing and accelerating your natural metabolism and natural growth." She hands the hunter a flask the size of his head.

"Natural growth? Ah, so you knew about my problem, huh? 'precciate it, lil' witch."
"Nonono! You're not supposed to drink it-" Hyde takes a sip, thinking it would remove the bald spot on his head, only to see his eyebrows grow cover his eyelids, for it to fall off moments later as his face goes down with his hair."

"The hell was that about? Those eyebrows felt heavier than my head!"
"That was for your harpy... We have found that there's a special kind of safflower leaves than when mixed into millet seeds, has a reaction that causes an odd reaction in avian metabolism. Their feathers grow, harden and fall, becoming as sharp as razors when they come from the sky."

"Interseting... I already got a good cannon a few weeks ago from our pal Rickert, so I wasn't expecting much. But how am I gon use this? Sounds hard to control these many feathers falling during a wind current."
>>
>>5345850
>>I liked to take charge in most cases, don't worry, I don't think you'll be doing much when it happens
>>
Kek poor hyde
>>
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>>5345961
"That's where a little thing called synergy comes in!" Ivalera points to the next item about to be shown.

"While it doesn't seem like much, everyone should be able to confront those trolls withous spellcasting, and synergise well with each other's abilities. First off is Serpico's hood and sword." Schierke hands Farnese's knight a green cloth that covers his torso, and a giant feather with a handle on it's end.

"Are they floating on their own?" Serpico is curious at how the piece glided to his hands, without him having to throw it or even move his arms for it to flail about.

"Please take a closer look."
"Hm? Oh, I can see something inside the fabric... Are those wind elementals?" You observe the vivid shapes of insect like spirits swerving on his vest.
"Exactly! For each of the four states inherent to the physical world -Solid, Liquid, Vapor and Energy- there should be a resonant equivalent for the elementals of the astral wordl - Earth, Wind, Water and Fire-. For Serpico's elemental choice, he shall wear the Sylph Hood, protected by the atmospheric currents to swipe aside every sword and arrow that come his way. And with the Sylph Sword to his side, he shall generate a whirlwind with a single swing that can tear the enemy's flesh without even touching it."

"Are you sure that this is a sword? Seems more like a feather duster to me..."
"It was made from a white-shouldered eagle's feather, and the hilt from mistletoe growing on the highest branches from the forest."

"...Where do you find these materials? I have searched so far and found a grand total of nothing to protect my team..."
"As good as your lessons in magics were, Vlad, they don't teach you how to scavenge through the land as well as someone as experience as my master..." Schierke proudly beams, feeling confident from showing something that managed to surprise you.

"Can I try swinging it a few times?"
"Of course!"

Serpico valiantly slashes at the air, in the general direction of a lit candle. While the wind took an extra second to reach it, the current of elementals managed to send a strong enough gust to light the fire out of the candle, letting the nearby leaves fly onto the air as the top half of the candle fell off on it's own.

"Quite handy indeed."
"Think of the damage this will do with a rain of steely feathers..." Hyde and Serpico think out loud.

"Badass! Where's mine!? Where's mine!?" Isidro chastises Schierke as she hands him a dagger and a pouch.
"EEEEH?! Why can't I get a sword or a spear?"
"We have no arms for children." She replies as the bandit stares at the red, glowing dagger.

"What are these squirming things crawling on it? Is it dirty?"
"Those are salamanders! The Salamander dagger is magically crafted from molten lava. Cuts made with that dagger will ignite and burn as hot as if struck as a hot iron."

Isidro demonstrates it's power by chucking it's tip against the talbe, nearly setting the rest of the weapons on fire with a blazing burst.
>>
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>>5345987
"WHOA!" Isidro squeals, were it not for Serpico's hood gracefully landing over the fire, things could have gotten a lot worse.

"I take it back, Vlad. Capes aren't as impractical as I thought they were." He laughs the accident off as he wore it once more.
"Salamanders are hooligans! Don't brandish them so recklessly!" Schierke shakes her head in disapproval.

"...Cool." Is all Isidro has to say as he watches the flames flow in and out of his dagger. "So what's in this bag?"
"Consecrated berries. Throw those at the trolls and they will scatter away. At best, they should be used for self defense, if it were up to me, I wouldn't let them with someone as unbridled as you, but it was my master's command, so oh well."

"Say what?!" Isidro tries to smach the girl for her insolence, but Serpico holds him in place.
"Suppose I couldn't have a few of those, then? I do have a slingshot to throw 'em around."
"Good idea, I only have this pouch, so try to share them between you two."
"Oh, sure... Everyone's stealing my gimmick now! ACK!" Isidro is tackled to the ground as Serpico prevents him from attacking Hyde, taking a few berries and placing it on his ammo pouch.

"For our ladies, I have three silver chain shirts, a silver knife for Farnese, and a silver needle for Cindy. Make sure to bring Casca here later, as I will explain it's attributes to her while I seal her brand."

"I'm not sure I should keep this, dear Schierke... I'm not a fighter, I don't even plan on going to Enoch anyways. I appreciate that it's a sewing needle, but what properties does it have?" The artisan attempts to refuse the gift, but the witch reassures her of it's eficacy.

"Silver has strong talismanic properties, but this needle does not come from an ordinary sewing kit. Legend says it that a talented mage was working on a neverending carpet on his retiring days, before being found and accused of witchcraft by his early years of public appearance. As he ascended into a Daimon, he left one of his hands in the physical world to keep working on it's masterpiece, before deciding that his energy would best be used to protect the innocent who couldn't fight on their stead."

"The Tailor Of The Unseen Hand..." You recognize it from the story that Kalki told about his mother defeating an assailant with only a needle.
"The heck's a Daimon?" Isidro asks.
"A chief spirit. They can reside in a deeper stratum of the astral world than of the elementals. Some mortals can achieve those depths by a ritual, or through sheer force of will."
>>
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>>5346034
"You're aware of the Unseen Hand?" Schierke gasps. "It's a vagrant spirit, Master Flora has attempted to keep it sealed multiple times, yet it always finds a way to disappear. Every now and then I find it helping townsfolk in minor squabbles when I'm astral projecting, but for some reason, it always returns to our mansion."

"An unseen hand... Yes! I do remember seeing one! When I tried to do a handstand as Zhafira, and fell through a glass panel. I should have been cut to pieces from the fall, yet I remember a hand catching those shards and saving me from most of the damage. No one believed me when I told them, but the hand kept responding to my commands when I told it to."

"Perhaps it was waiting for you. While it can produce silk from seemingly thin air, it appears that it makes a direct connection with the energy of the Daimon layer of the astral world to make a nearly intangible barrier to protect it's user. Not only is it able to perfurate through attackers, but it creates walls, pathways and shapes to deflect damage from anyone it pleases. Observe!"

"...You sure I can hit her?" Serpico seems unwilling to strike at Cindy despite Schierke's gestures.
"Let me do it then! HAI-YAAH!" He chucks his dagger at her direction. As the tailor flinched, the dagger was seemingly held and thrown into the floor, with a single string being able to block it's fire fiery afterburn from reaching Cindy's skin.

"What happened? I didn't see anything!"
"It wouldn't be the unseen hand if everyone could see it, would it?" Puck shrugs.

The Daimon layer is in such a complex dimension of the astral world that only advanced magicians should see it's hand. Yet for commonfolk, the tailor willingly chooses a user to see him, even if they do not believe in magic."

The string wrapped itself onto Cindy's metallic hand and remained between her fingers. Resting alongside her as the giant hand coiled itself around her.

"This feels a bit too powerful to remain with a simple girl like me, but if the tailor chose me, than I'll try to meet his expectations."

"The efficacy of this magic realized by your faith in their powers, they don't depend on you to work, so be sure to appreciate them." Schierke warns as the team gets accostumed to their weapons.

"I hope we can work well together, sylphs."
"Hell yeah, fire lizards!"

"Next, for Guts, I have this Axe that can--"
"Don't need it." He blunty refuses.
"C-Come again?!"
"I want to take into battle what my hands know best." He brandishes the Dragonslayer to the witch, who confusedly turns around to make you an offer.

"Well... I was planning on giving you something else, but since he doesn't want it... What do you say, Vlad?" Schierke shows the axe to you.

>What does it do?
>Axes aren't my thing, no thanks.
>What else did you have in store for me?
>It's somewhat similar to a halberd, I guess I could dual weild it?
>You could always give it to Casca.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5346063
>With a few modifications, it could make a great Halberd
>>
>>5346063
>What does it do?
>What else did you have in store for me?
i want to hear if there is something else, Casca could use a magical weapon too. We haven't free runic weapons in the Pegasus, so it would be better than normal steel.
>>
>>5346063
>What does it do?
>What else did you have in store for me?
Agree with >>5346069
>>
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>>5346066
>>5346069
>>5346077
"Well, what does it do? Can't go accepting other people's gifts if you had something else in store for me."

"Well, this here is the Axe Of The Gnomes. Since it was one of the remaining, unused spirits of our arsenal, I was hoping that the quaking, unstoppable elementals of the earth would react well to a more aggresive type such as Guts. But since you do have an affinity with earthly spirits, maybe this axe might suit you well." She hands you the weapon for you to feel it's weight.

"It's... Certainly a bit heavy..." You struggle to remain in place as the weapon wobbles around your arms. This is almost as heavy as the Dragonslayer! How is Schierke able to hold it so easily.

"That's because you're not adapting to the elementals, take a closer look."
Several small, humanoid midgets appear to go inside the folds of your clothes as the weight of the weapon because nearly non-existant. This is similar to the trick you used on your halberd for it to remain steady in your struggling body.

"Much like the unseen hand, when it adapts to it's new user, it shifts it's weight so only those worth of lifting it can properly use it. Otherwise, it becomes increasingly heavy to the point of breaking the user's arms in a single swing.

"What else does it do? You said they had something to do with the earth, right?"
"Yeah, but it's best to test this outside, it might do too much damage if you stroke at the ground here."

Leading you outside, you make a fissure into the floor as your mighty strike changes the soil around you. As the tremors increase, the rubble from the trees and the mansion is nearly enough to bring the forest down.

"AN EARTHQUAKE! TAKE COVER!" Puck hides under Isidro's feet.
"HEY! WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO HIDE, THEN?!"
As the earth beneath you finally gives away, you're sent into freefall as you create a crater that sends you several meters down into a rabbit hole.

"VLAD!" Farnese shouts as you disappear into the dark.
However, before you could let go of the axe, it magnetically went back onto your hand, with the gnomes inside your clothes making it move mid air as it connected back into your body defying gravity itself.

Speaking of defying gravity, the rubble from the rocks and soil destroyed in your crater managed to lift you into the air, creating a moving staircase that levitated blocks of the ground into thin air. As you gracefully walked back up, the spiral staircase spun itself around your feet, shifting and swerving like a slithering snake as you commanded where to go with it, walking upside down, at a 90 degree angle, and even jumping around, it seemed like it altered your center of gravity so it only glued you to this surface, until you decided to let go.
>>
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>>5346128
Safefully landing next to Schierke, you come to appreciate the power of the gnomes, throwing the axe into the air as it landed back onto your waiting hand. Even if the blade should have chopped your fingers off, it somehow spun faster when reaching you just so the handle would maneuver into your hand.

"Should you accept this battle axe, it shall be yours and yours only."
"It sounds like a good weapon all in all, but what else did you have in store for me?"

"Well, for Gunpowder, we have the Sonic Horsearmor. The hooves have added padding and were empowered by the depressive power of the Barytes. They are incredibly small, yet the shifty nature of their abilities lets them increase a mount's momentum to an insurmountable speed. The added horn on it's forehead is rumored to pierce through sound itself, making a clash deadly to any who even stay near it's path.

"Seems like a set made for The Skull Knight itself, I could see GP enjoying this."

"And at last, the weapon I was actually meant to give you, The Trident Of The Undines." Schierke gives you a weapon handle which appears to made of frozen, solid ice, with a thin layer of the same material holding plenty of liquid inside.

"Are you sure this is a weapon? Looks like it could break at any moment!" Puck knocks on the tip of the three-headed spear, only for it to break and spill it's liquid everywhere before you even had a chance to use it.

"AAAH! I BROKE IT!"
"Nice going there, Puck..." You groan at seeing a new weapon being tarnished, only for the fork to form itself back into it's full glory.

"The spirit of the Undines are the most freeform of all the elementals. While it was believed that they could only stay inside the water, the truth is, they resonate with just about any fluid, and seeing how there are small particles of water flowing in the air, our bodies, up the clouds, the compatibility this weapon has is nearly endless."

Schierke claps her hands as the mud puppets present themselves for you to test the trident. While appearing to be a solid, icy weapon, it would soften and harden at your command. when in liquid form, it could pass through attacks from the golems, wack away at them with the pressure of the water, or simply deactivate itself by only leaving it's handle solid.

However, when you decided to twist the handle of the trident, it rose from the opposite end, freely extending itself as it forcibly froze the liquid inside the mud creatures.

As they were impaled by the three spikes, the weapon grew further and further as it chained the puppets together, growing adjacent spikes to reach any foes who tried to dodge it's homing attacks.
>>
>>5346202
"None can control the tides of the water other than the ocean itself. Whenever the Undines force compatible elements to be placed into slumber, they shall be frozen solid, and only the weapon that iced them cold can thaw them out of it's snares."

"Sho thash why my tongue ish shtuck here!" Puck decided to lick the icicles formed by the extended trident, now three times it's original size. As the ice slowly melted into water, Puck was set free as the trident turned back into an empty, harmless handle.

"Are you sure you aren't taking either of these, Guts? I almost feel like I'm robbing you by taking these weapons."
"All yours. The Dragon Slayer has yet to fail on me." he replies as you ponder on what to take from Flora's arsenal.

>I want The Trident Of The Undines.
>I'll take the Sonic Horsearmor.
>I want the Axe Of The Gnomes.
>I'm fine with my halberd, actually.
>Is there a way to transport those elementals? I liked their magical properties, but I still prefer my old spear.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5346217
>>Is there a way to transport those elementals? I liked their magical properties, but I still prefer my old spear.
>>
>>5346217
>I want The Trident Of The Undines.
>I'll take the Sonic Horsearmor.
>>
>>5346217
>I want The Trident Of The Undines.
>I'll take the Sonic Horsearmor.
The trident is going to be absolutely fucking critical to retrieving our soulsphere. And the sonic horsearmor is convenient for GP since he already lost his hearing.
I wonder if we could later modify it to give off a Mandragora's Scream towards his target when it reaches full speed...
>Suggest offering the Axe to Casca, since she's competent enough to use it yell.
>>
>>5346202
>Is there a way to transport those elementals? I liked their magical properties, but I still prefer my old spear
>>
Man... I really want the three of those, like using the Axe as a secondary weapon
>>
>>5346217
>>I want The Trident Of The Undines.
>>I'll take the Sonic Horsearmor.
>>
Uhmm we would need to learn how to use a new weapon ? Or would the trident count as a weapon like spear/halberd? We did spend time training/using our old spear and we did time training/using our halberd. Mostly considering for combat

I do agree we should give the axe to Casca
>>
>>5346217
>Is there a way to transport those elementals? I liked their magical properties, but I still prefer my old spear.
God imagine putting those earth elementals and their anti-gravity bullshit into something that looks ridiculous like the dragonslayer swordspear from DS3.

>I'll take the Sonic Horsearmor.
Our boy craves violence and violence he shall have
>>
>>5346217
>I want The Trident Of The Undines.
>gunpowder will want the Sonic Horse armor.
>>
>>5346375
I mean, he's trained with the spear, and the fork is mostly a three headed weapon of a similar calibre, the most he'd have to learn is to get used to it's properties when it's flaccid and getting used to the frostbite than anything else. He'd be ok with any pole weapon at this point desu
>>
>>5346217
>>I want The Trident Of The Undines.
>>I'll take the Sonic Horsearmor.
>>
>>5346229
>>5346235
>>5346236
>>5346276
>>5346310
>>5346387
>>5346499
>>5346574
"Is there a way to transport those elementals? I liked the magical properties of the Trident Of The Undine, but I still prefer my old spear." You ask Schierke if you could keep your halberd, the design, the blade, the lack of weight, the spikes that grow around it that could go in multiple directions, it would all be quite fitting to your preferences if you could change it, or even mix the two elementals with the Od transferring techniques you have.

"There is... But you'd have to copy the talisman, and it would take a few hours for the elementals to stabilize inside your weapon, but it would be technically feasible."

"For both of them?"

"No, only one of each weapon. The elementals are meant to be free. So placing them in a confined space with both Undines and Gnomes could lead to disruption. The Undines could freeze or drown the gnomes, or their fluctuating synergy could lead to unsynchronized attacks. It's important to respect the spirits of the astral world, so altering and mixing talismans together mostly make them ineffective."

"Understood. I'm not really an axe guy, but let's not discard this weapon. Someone like Casca could use it, you never know when it might be useful. I'll take them both, but I'll split between using my halberd, or the trident."

"Flora and Schierke went through all that effort to make these talismans, and you're just going to let her work on it again until early morning for your knock-off weapon! Have some manners! We have places to be!" Ivalera complains, but Schierke calms her down.

"That's not disrespectful, Ivalera! We obviously we should have taken his weapon of preference into consideration. It was our mistake, not his." Schierke speaks with serenity, but reading her mind, she doesn't seem so serene.

"Stupid, overly demanding, pretentious little... poopy-head!"
She complains about having to do the extra work, sending it back to her master as she didn't have the time to fix it and have good hours of rest for tomorrow.

>Don't worry, I can use both at the same time.
>On second thought, I'll just use the Trident.
>Let me try transferring the elementals, I have more time to lose tomorrow than you.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5346613
>Let me try transferring the elementals, I have more time to lose tomorrow than you.
>>
>>5346613
>I'd like to work on it with you, if you don't mind. You and Flora are experts far beyond me in elementalism, so watching the masters at work and seeing where I lack would be excellent. I don't have much to offer in exchange for being a bother, but how about some special seeds that are one of a kind?
Flattery is bound to work here! And she's such a nerd that she's bound to be interested in the properties of Vlad's tongueseeds.
>>
>>5346747
+1
>>
>>5346613
>>Let me try transferring the elementals, I have more time to lose tomorrow than you.
Propose to work together, for cut on time and ensure she can do her tasks. If we take too much time, we will just work more on it on your own.
In exchange we could offer different things. For example learning from us, about the Tudorian School of Magic or the Khuzan one. A position in the companions of the Pegasus, that would extend to Ilos. And a look/study of our body, like our own wood seeds. And coins if she would want to buy something in a town or city.

Exscuse ourselves for the time taken, we meant no offense to the her work or the one of her master. Our reasons for have it is not because we dislike or hate the idea to use it, far from it, is simply for make the weapon we use an even more formidable tool of war against the fiends and slaves of hell.
If anything we are in deep gratitude for having the possibility to receive such equipment, and learn more about magic here.

(Give her a small reminder that we can hear/talk with the mind too though.)
>>
>>5346613
>Let me try transferring the elementals, I have more time to lose tomorrow than you.
>>
Honestly, if you're thinking in transfering the Undine spirits to our current spear I think that's going to be a downgrade

It's better to have a have a single handle and have any sort of liquid be our spear instear of having some real weight of our halberd and the shape. While we could use the Trident as a whip/spear our regular weapon is going to keep it's form and would lose the control potential of the trident

Also imaging the things we could make, like we could hide easier the trident and even modify it for narrow spaces. We could even double wield it with our shield and make the trident those japanese weapon with three points in it.
>>
>>5346650
>>5346747
>>5346782
>>5346841
Now you've been called plenty of things on your journey, but a poopy-head is just plain unacceptable.

"I could try transferring the elementals, I have more free time than all of you tomorrow, so perhaps I could even cut on time by working together with your master. Her work is nothing short of splendid, and I did not mean to disrespect it. I am simply thinking of the possible ramifications of combining the two weapons. I know I'm being a bother, but I do have something to offer."

You show her how your magical seeds work, growing a miniature tree on your hands as you order it to grow, letting it bonce around, break and disintegrate after you absorb it back into your body.

"Wow! Tudorian Magic really is a lot faster than waiting on the elementals. It's like you can just order them around by connecting yourself into the spirits."

"I believe you or Farnese could do something similar, if you trained enough. The only problem is taking them from me." You offer Schierke half of the seeds you had. All the while she asks the important questions:

"But where do these seeds come from?"
"Over here!" You point to the inside of your mouth, taking one of them from in-between your teeth. "...Nevermind, this one's just from today's meal."
"You're... Very strange indeed, Vlad. If possible, I would like to learn more about your halfling origins, when we have the time."
"I'm glad I could do more than being a beggar for my host."

"...But try not to think aloud too much." Schierke jumps in place after you telepathically let her know that you heard her calling you a poopy-head. No harm taken, of course, you just wanted to get a reaction out of her.

"Well, we have much to do tomorrow, so let's get some shut-eye while we can. We'll be departing when the sun rises." Guts walks out the door, with Isidro and Puck following their favorite party member.

>Rest with them. You might not go to Enoch Village, but pulling all-nighters isn't healthy in your condition.
>Attempt to transfer the elementals tonight. If you grow tired, you can just leave it for tomorrow and let Flora give you back your stamina.
>>
>>5347028
>>Rest with them. You might not go to Enoch Village, but pulling all-nighters isn't healthy in your condition.
rest time
>>
>>5347028
>Rest with them. You might not go to Enoch Village, but pulling all-nighters isn't healthy in your condition.
Nap time
>>
>>5347028
>Rest with them. You might not go to Enoch Village, but pulling all-nighters isn't healthy in your condition.
A full nights rest, heavenly. We might even get some nice dreams.
>>
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>>5347093
>>5347099
>>5347107

Despite having plenty more energy than you'd usually have this late at night, you decide to play it safe and sleep early, while you had trouble sleeping from sudden chest pains, waking up at night from the sharp blows, you thought you were having some sort of panic attack, but nothing that finishing the healthy lunch Schierke prepared you at night, your heavy stomach gave some weight to keep you still in bed.

Waking up before Farnese at your side, you're surprised that you can lift yourself up and acrobatically move without feeling any pain from your joints. It's like you've had a week's worth of sleep in one.

Surely the mansion's elemental properties are related to the numbness of your pain.

Serpico himself seems to be walking along nicely, despite still suffering the consequences from his twisted leg just earlier yesterday.

"Hm? The scratches and bruises I had from my training are gone." Isidro points out, staring at his arms as he checks himself for any injuries.

Going outside to see the cavalry, you're surprised to see that even Violet seems to be healing faster, being able to flap her wings without any of her wounds reopening, yet still refusing to take flight, afraid of being put in a cage by you.

"While you are in the mansion, minor wounds tend to heal faster due to being in a section of the astral world."
"Ah. So that's why regular humans have a hard time finding this place."
"Precisely! Even to those with extrasensory perception the mansion should only appear to be a mirage. In the physical world, these trees rotted about 200 years ago. But when it was alive, it was the focus of worship for all arboreal animists in this region. The stronger the power of the idea of existence in the physical realm, the longer and more splendid your shape will be fixed in the real world."

"So it's like an afterlife of sorts, our souls and bodies here act as one in the same..."
"Yes! The majority of magic users -barring from the Tudor School- have established residence in this layer of the interstice. The limitations of the material world are long fixed in a weakened state here. So controlling matter with our minds here becomes easy."

"Does this girl ever shut up...?" Isidro whispers to Puck.
"Vlad could have said that without taking half of the character limit..."

"Casca will stay here along with Violet in Cindy. I know this is a peaceful place, but I'll try trusting you with her as well as you trust me within your team." Guts bids you farewell as he sits on Gunpowder, beautifully equipped with his new Sonic Armor.
'If one Troll alive, won't stop squashing them." Gunpowder puffs.

>Good luck, team. May the spirits be with you.
>I'm glad you trust me enough to stay with Casca, I won't take this for granted.
>I'm somewhat worried about you being the one to ride Gunpowder. You're both pretty ruthless...
>Try to behave yourself, Isidro!
>Write-in.
>>
>>5347134
>Good luck, team. May the spirits be with you.
>I'm glad you trust me enough to stay with Casca, I won't take this for granted.
>Try to behave yourself, Isidro!
Give Isidro a good noogie on his head.
>>
>>5347134
>Good luck, team. May the spirits be with you.
>I'm glad you trust me enough to stay with Casca, I won't take this for granted.
>>
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>>5347177
>>5347211
"Good luck, team. May the spirits be with you! I'll make sure that each one of our trusts is well placed with me." You make it both a general statement to your group, while emphasizing on Casca and Violet, still being in your care.

"If there's someone I can trust with Violet, I'm sure as hell that it's you, Vlad." Vlad says, while still being distrustful of the swordsman.

"I can only hope this new commander is temporary."
"Don't call me commander." Guts speaks to the untrusty Serpico.

"Isidrop, The hope to kill the trolls and beat Gryffindor lies in your hands." Puck attempts to motivate Isidro, but he's too busy focusing on Schierke.
"I'll make this little nerd pay for turning me into a monkey! She'll see what's good for-- Hey! Let me go!"

"And try to behave yourself, Isidro! The real enemy is on Enoch, so save the anger for the real evildoers!" You noogie Isidro on his head as he attempts to get away from you.

"Waaah! Alright! I got it! Let me go!" Isidro gives up on biting at your arm and slides his head down your elbow, finally escaping your grasp.

As you give a final hug to Farnese, your team waves you goodbye as they finally depart with Morgan, being now alone with the regular horses, your healing patients and Violet, Flora guides you back to her home.

Feeling a similar astral presence in the tailoring room, you see The Armored Skeleton, resting without his horse, seemingly relaxing and waiting to be greeted by the ancient mage.

"Ah. Here you were, then. You should have said something." Flora sets 3 cups of tea for her and her guests, while The Skull Knight stays silent.

"What a stroke of fortune brought you to ask a favor of me? Is it for someone's sake? Pity for fellow strugglers? Or are you just using them."

"..."
"Please answer, old friend. I want to believe the heart of a man still remains within you."

"Even I can't fight them myself. Those guided by the halfling may also be a factor guided by causality. However, I was not expecting The Halfling to join us in this reunion." He finally speaks his mind.

"It's only natural that he knows of our planning. Out of all in the vicinity, he is the one most similar to us in spiritual nature, and the most knowledgeable of your fight against causality and it's ramifications. Being so aware of our ways, he is the one who would benefit the most in knowing such revelations."

"Perhaps. Uniting himself with the struggler was meant to increase his power. It is time to see if The Silver Eyed were right in confiding in him."

>What brings you here, Skull Knight?
>How did you come to know Flora?
>I remember you being in St. Albion. Were you the one who closed Merlina's portal?
>Skull Knight, I have found another Behelit. Could you please get rid of it?
>I am ready to begin my soul healing.
>Flora, when can I start practicing Astral Projection?
>Would you mind if I tried transferring the Undines into my weapons while you spoke?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5347249
>My skill has increased tremendously compared to what it used to be, but the toll of trying to save so many has done a number on my body and soul. I don’t know how you manage to fight foes that would leave me on death’s door so effortlessly.
>What brings you here, Skull Knight?
>Skull Knight, I have found another Behelit. Could you please get rid of it?
>>
>>5347259
+1
>>
>>5347249
>What brings you here, Skull Knight?
>How did you come to know Flora?
>I remember you being in St. Albion. Were you the one who closed Merlina's portal?
>Skull Knight, I have found another Behelit. Could you please get rid of it?
I still want to research the Behelit's, but getting rid of this one I can live with if it means we can't sacrifice people.
>Flora, when can I start practicing Astral Projection?
>I am ready to begin my soul healing.
>>
>>5347265
Support
>>
>>5347259
>>5347264
>>5347265
>>5347268

"My skill has increased tremendously compared to what it used to be, but the toll of trying to save so many has done a number on my body and soul. I don’t know how you manage to fight foes that would leave me on death’s door so effortlessly."

"Once more, I have found you surviving the anomalies of the astral realm, Halfling. The plant morph born from the occultists has served you well in remotely assisting you since your birth, as unlike my own predicament, your condition is still more than reversible." His compliments come at the cost of an admission of his loss of humanity.

"Indeed, his strength will likely rival the strongest of apostles that walk this realm, should his fateful meeting with Sivir come to occur."

"I'm flattered. My only complaint is that I did not awake to these callings sooner. Perhaps I could have aided you at an earlier age."

" I have hardly accepted apprentices, Halfling. Your awakening came at the ripe age of your maturity. Should your full power be displayed at an earlier time, you would have brought unneeded attention to yourself, prematurely ending your life." Skull Knight presents his hypothesis to counter yours, attempting to cease your guilt trip over yourself.

"I can't say I thought of my conditions in that form... Either way, what brings you here, Skull Knight? I did not know you were friends with Flora."

"While this valiant knight is mysterious to most, him and I come from a further period in time than you might expect. Our prime age predates even the hundred year war, or the God Hand members that came before it. Though even I am surprised that he would ask me to aid children such as yourselves."

"None of you can afford to pass before encountering The Falcon. Which is why I have come to reinforce your safety measures, and ask her to empty her arsenal before her life ceases to be."
"So you do have a heart afterall, I am glad to see this old friend of mine still helping me in my final days."

"Indeed. I recall seeing you in St. Albion. Were you the one who closed the portal?

"Yes. Though The Silver Eyed could not use her vortex on a valiant opponent, she was partially responsible in sending The Wretched Priest straight into the Abyss. Causality shapeshifted him into a different form, yet he was still no match. It is unheard of a mage that maintains her conscience in that layer of the astral, a shame that what is left of her is a mere fusion of frets and undisclosed sufferings. No doubt a portal like that one would easily suck in an apostle such as Emperor Ganishka."

"And I wasted it in a minor nuisance of a human such as Father Mozgus..." You lament, hoping to have used it in a better scenario.
>>
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>>5347330
"Since we are speaking of nuisances... Skull Knight, I have found another Behelit. Please, I wish you could take it away from my hands."
"I was indeed passing through Cromwell before reaching this place, searching for the last Behelit that could finish the forging of the Sword Of Actuation, before it was stripped from my grasp. It is indeed worrying of this being the second Behelit that has found you."

"I do not wish to sacrifice people, and if the idea eventually passes through my head, the last thing I want to stare at is the awakening eye of the storm as it consumes me." You take the Behelit out of your pouch and offer it to The Skull Knight, wishing to destroy any remaining possibilities of the God Hand seducing you with their powers.

"It shall be granted. Remind yourself that while our desire to defeat them lives on, their manipulation of causality could turn your biggest assets into your worst hindrances. He takes The Behelit and lets the steam of the hot teacup he holds hide away the face in the stone, as he threw it on the inside of his jaw, gulping it down with the drink the elder witch offered him.

It's always unsettling to see it happen...

"Him, of all people, should be aware of how one can be consumed by their own fuel to continue..." Flora comments, though you wonder what she meant by that...

"Is the armor still contained in this mansion? The Guru Of Skellig has said that it could be of use, perhaps to aid the struggler in his fight against the oncoming Band of Apostles."

"Sweet heavens... Do you really plan on setting that thing free once again?" Flora gasps as she thinks of the armor she purposefully hid from your team.
"...Orders of The King Himself." Skull Knight ominously replies.
"What irony of you to say this...I did not know you still had a sense of humor, too..."

"It is my final day on this realm, so I shall move according to their plans. But firstly, let me take care of Vlad, as his healing is the fastest out of all our tasks."

"I am ready to begin my soul healing, Miss Flora. I assume I can start training Astral Projection after we are finished?"
"Only if it all goes well. We have a secluded room for you to safely see your soul outside of your body without distractions, but I'd advise you to do this by yourself, unfortunately. Placing the talismans back onto the armor might take a considerable amount of time from me. Know only that whatever visions you have when being healed, no matter the pain you feel, that agony will not transfer to your physical body, so do not be afraid to comply with the ancient spirits."

>Let's not waste any time, then.
>Orders of The King? Wyndham has been dead for quite some time...
>Your final day? You still look healthy to me. What could possibly take your life away?
>What's so worrisome about the armor you have in your mansion? Is Guts really fit for using it?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5347347
>Orders of The King? Wyndham has been dead for quite some time...
>Your final day? You still look healthy to me. What could possibly take your life away?
>What's so worrisome about the armor you have in your mansion? Is Guts really fit for using it?
>Let's not waste any time, then.
>>
>>5347347
>Let's not waste any time, then.
>>
>>5347347

>Orders of The King? Wyndham has been dead for quite some time...

Write in.
>So if your a king can you knight me?
>>
>>5347347
>Your final day? You still look healthy to me. What could possibly take your life away?
>What's so worrisome about the armor you have in your mansion? Is Guts really fit for using it?
>Let's not waste any time, then.

Likely a different king, a spiritual one ?

>>5347395
Vlad is actually both Lord and Knight, plus member of the Union.
>>
Yeah but it would be cool to be knighted by the king who unified the continent and there is no harm in asking. Plus this king was a warrior lord and not some imbred perv.>>5347428
>>
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>>5347358
>>5347385
>>5347395
>>5347428

"Orders of The King? Wyndham has been dead for quite some time... Unless--" You ponder as your mind connects the dots.

The Skull Knight has been fighting his war against The God Hand for a millennia, and Midland was formed around that time frame. The First King Of Midland was described and illustrated as a man who fought amongst his people, and had a skull armor that covered him from head to toe.

You almost fail to control the urge to slap yourself, being so lost in your affairs that you had yet to consider the possibility.
But how could you, really? Why would a man such as King Gaiseric, still be alive 1000 years after suddenly disappearing, be alive as a skeleton, eating your Behelits and attempting to save Midland when the world needed him most?

"Y-Your Majesty! I had no idea!" You take a bow to the mythical legend of your kingdom, while he shakes his head in disapproval.

"It has been quite a few centuries since anyone has recognized me in this form. The decadence of Midland's teachings is showing in their disappearing culture. You need not to address me in this manner, King Gaiseric was a fool that nearly brought an end to all his conquests. It is no wonder I can barely recognize the descendants of such lineage.

"Darn, and here I thought I could be knighted by the first king himself after the old one blacklisted my family name..."
"As I've already told you, I don't take apprentices under my wing. You would be hard pressed to be accepted in any brigand commanded by a ghost of the past."

"Gaiseric's few remaining companions remain in Skellig, The Island of Elfhelm where Danan is located in... As well as My deceased mentor, The Priestess of the Cherry Blossoms."

"A lover of the king. Sacrificed much like the ones remaining at the tower of rebirth, when Void was first awakened. Enraged with the chaos happening before his eyes, he let the rage of the Berserker Armor consume him, as he declared war against those who incorporated causality. The armor has the ability to keep you alive by suppressing the distress caused by the natural limitations of the human body, turning the wearer into a feral, uncontrollable beast.

"Should the wearer be unable to control himself, it will deteriorate his body without him feeling it. Berserkers would only die once the last drop of blood left their bodies. Were it not for the ritual that managed to pull his soul into this current set of armor he has, he would have been devoured by the eclipse of his time, when it happened." Flora reveals how Gaiseric truly came to pass.

"AND YOU'RE PLANNING ON GIVING THAT TO GUTS?!" You panic, already seeing him killing you with the beast of darkness by his side, let alone something that empowers said demon.

"Never in my undead life, would I suggest such a dangerous, karmic equipment to him. Yet these desperate measures appear to call a return to the Berserkers."
>>
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>>5347561
"There is no reason to be so pessimistic. Their nature are not bound to choose the same mistakes as you and I. As such, I will carve as many runes as possible in the inside of the Berserker Armor, so that he does not meet your demise as swiftly as the king did." Flora retorts, refusing to call Gaiseric by his title.

"One thing I did not understand, Miss Flora. Why did you say that this was your final day? You seem healthy to me, and whatever sickness you might have would be mitigated by your potions, and the healing factors of the astral connection. What could possibly take your life away?"

"...Truth is, Halfling. These forest of spirit trees are nothing but a general term for lands throughout the interstice where several large trees exist. Each of those trees is a parasitic plant, like mistletoe, with it's roots fastened spiritually to a larger, legendary tree that connects all dimensions, to the heavens, the earth, and the underworld. A massive fissure that penetrates the world, piercing deep into the dark layers of the physical and astral dimensions."

"While the world was once intrinsically connected in that fashion, The Path Of The Dragon activated by the behelits disrupts the natural Od flow of our world by opening a path from the surface straight into the abyssal layers."

"By absorbing power from the world tree, they have hindered the expansion of its branches from into the physical realm. Mages have lived in such forests used the powers of said trees to deepen their understanding of magic, while guarding the land and maintaining balance between dimensions. This is why the Silver Eyed Clan were once nomads, and why Conrad decided to infest one of the last few locations where sorcerers still remained as a group in the physical world. Or why your father insisted on creating a living plant human."

Flora reveals the true nature of Sivir, and in part, you, acting as a walking limiter of the astral world from returning into the physical one. What does that say about your mother, who mistrusted humans for giving them life with an important she never consented to? What does that say about you, and why you are able to still purify apostles and make them dissipate, despite seeing so much corruption?

"After The Occultist Swamp was cleansed, this place remained as the last notable spirit tree. The Falcon aims to reunite the ancient chaos of the intermingled worlds so he can rule over all of existence. Which is why a troop from the Reborn Falcons are marching to this land as we speak, aiming to destroy the last of the mistletoes... And end the witch that knows of it's secrets..."
>>
>>5347634
"Then why are we here? We have wounded with us! We should be evacuating! Or at least, preventing Griffith from connecting the worlds!"

"It is not that simple... Much like the mages who came before me, I plan to ascend to a higher plan of existence, instead of being killed by them, I will remain as a Daimon to freely swerve through the astral world, assisting you all much like the spirits of the elementals, only on a larger scale. I chose you to stay here, because your mere presence might be enough to delay The Falcons for long enough for me to prepare my ritual."

"So you're killing yourself...?"

"I am merely exiting this world to better even the odds in our in another. Should the World Tree be set free, Femto and his underlings will eventually be able to freely travel to each facet of the world, by connecting with the branches present throughout the sky. As the world reverts into a primitive state, we can only hope to equip a younger generation with the best in our arsenal, and lead them towards salvation."

"So when the faceless entity teleported away from my grasp... Was it only testing it's knowledge of the astral branches?"


"It is likely that they will show themselves to you personally, as the silver eyed's innate knowledge of the forest would be crucial in countering Flora's magic, as well as speeding up their journey."

"No... That monster is not Merlina, nor will it ever be! I will not openly welcome The God Hand into a connected array of the astral and physical worlds! Should they come here, they will face a man who will tear down their entire army!" You angrily proclaim, getting ready to get your weapon in hands and fight them yourself, but before that...

"Let's not waste any time, then! I will be healed from this condition, and I will regain the power I once had to defeat them!"

"Now that's the spirit. I am sorry for putting you through so much trouble."
"No matter. If this is my calling, I will face that entity with my full strength, and rip Merlina's soul out of that wretched pile!"
"Very well,. Let us get down to business, then." The Skull Knight lets you go, as Flora places you in an isolated room, lighting several different colored candles, which in turn light the darkness from your closing eyes into a swirling, rainbow conflagration.

Remember... No matter what the spirits ask of you, no matter how much they taunt you... their effect is not real, and it's important to remain focused, or else your healing will not work.

(Roll to become one with the spirits, let them absorb you and be absorbed into your Od as you are sent into a layer further from the ones you can see with your naked eye.)
>>
Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>5347652
This one is for nobody but you.
>>
Rolled 52 (1d100)

>>5347652
I am one with the shitposting.
>>
>>5347652
Come on guys
>>
Rolled 24 (1d100)

>>5347688
>>
>>5347658
>>5347678
>>5347691
Eh... You've reached spirits alright. Let's just hope the more dice heavy side of the story shows more impressive numbers now that we're shifting gears and getting more action packed.

Writing.
>>
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>>5347688
>>5347691
Ironic.

>>5347696
The dice just hate anything moving the story forward. They want us to be on a boat.
>>
>>5347330
>we could have fucking oneshot Ganishka if we'd kept the cloak
God damn it.
>>
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>>5347658
>>5347678
>>5347691

Your soul stretches itself against the thin coil of your skin and flesh, the elastic feeling your body had when you were moving and dancing to doge swords finally reflects into the sights of your own afterimages, disorienting you as you observe how your body acts before it moves.

You feel constricted, tied up by your own living self, the feeling of suffocating while staying still becomes unbearable, you need to get out of the physical Vlad, so the spiritual halfling shall rise.

Forcefully jumping out of your shell, your ethereal soul is finally given a form, a body similar to yours in concept, but upon closer inspection, the white, see-through nature of your skin shows you how different your form truly is from other humans.

Several holes are carved through your body, having a diamond shape carved into your skin as all forms of energy pass in and out of you.

Be it negative or positive Od, they shall be neutralized and become Vlad Santana.

The flames lift you up into the skies, blinding you by the shifting lights, before the color that should appear in your closed eyes finally show up.

Pure black, darkness, absence. Yet before long, several spirits appear to fly at you, simple emanations from different dimensions that represent the complex existences inside themselves.

Before the flames could properly lead you to a healing spirit, you felt yourself being engulfed by a slimly creature, which placed you into an empty dimension of pure nothingness, with only the weirdest of creatures greeting you.

It was an indescribable sight. A bipedal creature, having the torso of a horse, but walking on two feet, or should you say, too hooves. He would be similar to Zodd, were it not for his human hands, his stature similar to yours, and colored feathers of a peacock, shifting in color to shift his emotions.

"I have a feeling that you were not the one supposed to heal me."
"Indeed I am not, fellow spirit. There are much more effective healers than me around this realm." He materializes a foreign object at his hand, inhaling the smoke as he observed your figure. "Yet sometimes, I cannot help but feel bored in this empty world of my own creation, so I catch the ones on their way to the healing spirits, and guide them with a few added rules."

"And what would those rules be?" You ask as the chimera puffs smoke over your face, knocking your spirit over as the smoke remained within you.

"Simple, just don't move outside of this circle." He points to the smoke ring around your legs as you sit down, attempting to have a stable position as he's already caught you in it's grasp. We will technically be healing you in the process, but since I can control your visions and your mental state in this realm, you will see, hear and feel whatever I desire you to. Oh, and don't bother hiding your worst fears, I will figure them out eventually."

For such a nonchalant, calm spirit, you have found quite the sadist healer.
>>
>>5347720
Didn't we have to pick between going up after the cloak or down after Farnesse? I don't recall even using the cloak, just that it went off. Whatever. Agonizing over the past is for losers.
>>
>>5347732
>Talk is cheap, let's get this over with. I have places to be.
>How can I know that you're not sending me straight to my demise?
>Joke's on you, I've already hallucinated my worst fears for most of my younger days. Let's see what you can do.
>[Jump over the smoke ring and attack the entity, you have no time for these stupid games]
>[Stay silent and don't move a muscle, the trial has likely already started]
>>
>>5347741
>[Stay silent and don't move a muscle, the trial has likely already started]
No point in bitching

>>5347733
Mozgus burned the cloak like a retard while we went and saved Farny
>>
>>5347741
>[Stay silent and don't move a muscle, the trial has likely already started]
>>
>>5347741
>Sense the od of this creature, if he is no healing spirit you will not be made in an easy picking for demons. If he is an healing spirit, resume as normal, thinking that anyhting around is now false.
>[Stay silent and don't move a muscle, the trial has likely already started]
>>
>>5347741
>[Stay silent and don't move a muscle, the trial has likely already started]
>>
>>5347741
>Sense the od of this creature, if he is no healing spirit you will not be made in an easy picking for demons. If he is an healing spirit, resume as normal, thinking that anyhting around is now false.
>[Stay silent and don't move a muscle, the trial has likely already started]
Given that this is Adramalech, there's a non-zero chance he's just a flat-out demon here to con us. But he could also be abiding by his own twisted sense of honor here. It's hard to say.

Either way, best not to piss him off.
>>
>>5347769
>>5347777
>>5347784
>>5347819
>>5347860
Let's get a 1d100 going to sense the demon's intent. Vlad's body will heal well enough for him to do that without problems later, but since he is in a parallel dimension, things might not be so easy, maybe he might even move around?

Gimme the numbers!
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5347949
>>
Rolled 70 (1d100)

>>5347949
BY THE POWER OF OF ALLAH, DEMON YOU WILL BE VANQUISHED.
>>
Rolled 7 (1d100)

>>5347949
I can see through you, mf
>>
>>5347972
Nvm
>>
Rolled 64 (1d100)

>>5347949
>>
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>>5347966
>>5347969
>>5347972
Well, that's more like it! Let's see how well that went on Vlad's side
>>
>>5347966
>>5347969
>>5347972

You won't be falling for any provocations.
Taking a deep breath and feeling the enemy's intent with perfect accuracy for the first time in what feels like a lifetime. Revealing that the sadist healer is indeed, capable of healing you. While his appearance resembles the one of an apostle, he is indeed just a creature of the astral, though why he is isolated in this dimension can tell you that he is not that benevolent.

Remember what Flora has told you. Whatever hallucinations he shows you, it will not be real, no matter how painful, distracting or rage inducing it might be.

The creature exhales the smoke from his pipe into your insides, while it is indeed distracting, you remember that your body here is also only a concept, not needing to breathe as you make your best attempt at mimicking a statue.

As the smoke passes through the holes in your transparent skin, it closes the diamond shaped fissures on your palms to a smaller size, ones that wouldn't dissipate any extra Od you had inside you.

"Really? You're already ignoring me? Seems like you're eager to get out of here as fast as possible. Well, why don't I bore you with my story then?"

Great, more talking.

"I always considered myself a lover of the spirits. The watch tower they put me in to warn of enemies invading my town left me very close to some natural scenery. When I found this trusty pipe with me, inhaling it's smoke is really all I wanted to do. So much so that I didn't notice the troops passing through my tower and destroying the town I was supposed to protect. By the leaves that burned on that pipe felt so more important... Why couldn't I live off the feelings that pipe gave me? I would be able to heal them anyway... Just replace their heart with a boar's, the head with a monkey's, the body is just a vessel for you to experiment with different connections of the astral anyway, what's wrong with changing a few animals parts for another? Worked with me..."

His puffs grows heavier as the smoke envelops your entire body. You couldn't see him even if you cleared your way through the white fog, it seems the healing is about to intensify, but having so much smoke around you means that your movements have been limited to the point of you being unable to move an inch from where you stand.

>I really couldn't care less about your story.
>So everything here is just a product of your hallucinations? I wonder if the same can apply to my thoughts...
>Shut up.
>[Remain silent and unmoving]
>>
>>5348042
>[Remain silent and unmoving]
Don't give him anything to work with. Give him nothing. Interacting with him on any level could be disastrous is some way we don't even know about yet.

If he is indeed a bored demon looking to gain entertainment from playing with us, the only way to win is to not play at all.
>>
>>5348042
>So everything here is just a product of your hallucinations? I wonder if the same can apply to my thoughts...
>>
>>5348042
>>[Remain silent and unmoving]
>>
>>5348042
>[Remain silent and unmoving]
>>
>>5348042
>>[Remain silent and unmoving]
>>
>>5348042
>[Remain silent and unmoving]
>>
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>>5348263
>>5348050
>>5348334
>>5348369
>>5348414
>>5348417

"..."
"Alright, I can see that you're not falling for my story, but maybe some visions that you would hate to see happening could destroy your concentration."
"..."

You're not even giving him the benefit of the doubt. You already know his trick, and the healing is already working. You can feel the closing of your pores going from your palms to reach your extremities, slowly but surely, it will reach your arms, your chest, your head, and all of your should, where you will finally be freed of your agonizing curse.

The smoke shifts into visions of the Spirit Mansion, then it moves into a vision of a few miles away. An entire army of apostles indeed appear to be approaching Flora's house, and you cannot believe on the absolute units sent your way.

Griffith is there, mounted on his ride with his trademark Falcon gear. Accompanying him, God Hand monsters of all shapes and sizes were marching along, including The Immortal Zodd, Locus The Moonlight Knight, The Flame Dragon Knight Grunbeld, and...

The Silver Eyed Monster, using her appearance to control the amalgamation of souls inside their body.

...This doesn't make any sense. Even if Skull Knight and Flora are formidable opponents against him, Femto himself would not need to come here with so many strong allies on his side, especially when his fight with Ganishka is close to happening in the capital. Surely a few of these characters might show their face during the invasion, but not all of them...

What's next? Showing Conrad's face on Griffith in an attempt to get a rise out of you? This healer really needs to up the ante on his illusions...
>>
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>>5348675
"A tough one, eh? How about I show you something closer to your heart, then?"

As the healing sauna closes your astral wounds up to your forearms and knees, your vision swerves farther, now reaching the outskirts of Enoch Village with your team attempting to combat the army of trolls.

Trepidation rules over the townsfolk, running their way onto a gigantic church who could house the needy.

With the creatures of the interstice running out of resources to pillage, they instead resort to directly eating the women and men they find, raping one and turning the others into mincemeat before and after they are finished.

Your brigade fights with all of their might as they synchronize with each other's attacks, and if not, isolating themselves in their own sections of the town to not disturb those who are already underperforming.

Gunpowder is unable to see where he goes as he cuts through the sound barrier, having to stop several times mid charge as his unsurmountable acceleration is enough tp trample an entire line of trolls, breaking any walls and houses that came his way as the trolls were squashed beyond recognition.

The speed surge appeared to quickly exhaust him, as he was puffing and shaking his head on his two back hooves from the constant noise coming from the ringing in his ears. Deciding not to deafen himself any faster, he shifted into a more normal speed for him -Which was still enough to easily reach the fastest of the creatures- to impale them with the horns and spikes on the armor. Kicking, biting, impaling and rolling through all the carnage of his own making, GP basked in the glory of his mountain of cadavers. If these creatures knew no fear in approaching him, he would make sure that it would be the last thing they would ever feel!

Likewise, Guts was easily plowing through his batch of enemies by himself. The ape-like creatures have tried several times reach behind his back, under his feet, jumping onto his head, yet as if calling out their attacks before they would ever be thrown, an easy swing of the dragon slayer was enough for him to dissuade the growing number of enemies approaching him.

Looks like he learned a few things from how you predicted the enemy's moves, waiting towards the last possible second to make sure when to attack, instead of blindly plowing at the enemy for style points. You're almost feeling prideful of yourself, he's fighting more against his stamina than the actual swarm of trolls against him.
>>
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>>5348718

Serpico's Sylph Hood and Sword seemed to have accepted each other's company, swiping the enemies at a mid-range as the trolls confusedly failed to understand what hit them. As the air elementals extended the blade's reach to three times over what it used to be, Serpico gracefully floated over the hopping beasts that threatened to lunge at him, autonomously dispersing those who blindly charged to his sides with a swipe of the hand and a strong gust of the wind.

"Spirits of the swords... Grant me power... I beseech you, Elemental Sylphs!"
It is amazing to see his development at hand. Already being a formidable knight, he now rivals the strength possessed by you, or even Guts himself. Despite being the one tasked with helping Farnese in her freedom, as she was sheltered by the oppressiveness of the religious world, he would soon find himself unable to pull her up to salvation, only sinking along with her as he pretended that nothing was amiss.

While he was the last of the two to consider freedom, it is quite fitting that the spirits of the wind would encourage him in his new journey.

As the village's inhabitants all came to the church, they were greeted by Morgan and the able bodied men of the village, fighting with sickles, hoes, rakes and forks as they all passed through the watchful eye of Hyde and Isidro.

"You sure this is gonna work, Bald Spot?" Isidro asked as Puck threw a few of the consecrated berries at the trolls, distracting them and preventing from eating the townsfolk as they chew threw their own to reach a single of those fruits."

"Damn sure! Just because I can't fly, doesn't mean my hunting skills have gone away! Now when I say 'go', you gon hit that fire dagger on this end of the rope and pull it up. They all either run away to escape the burst, or trip on it and spread those blazes onto themselves! Just wait till everyone gets in."

"How did you even think of such a ridiculous plan?"
"When you're just one man, you gotta find a way to kill a swarm of monsters by themselves, and compared where Jodi and I lived, these buncha trolls are nuthin but a buncha hairier, four legged spiders! Now let me go!"

"Where ya goin'?!" Puck mimics his accent as he panics in the absence of a responsible adult in a chaotic scenario such as this.

"That close minded priest ain't lettin' Schierke do her spells. Now I know this sound dumb, given all we seen so far, but I never stopped being a believer, and I don't remember seeing any parts of the scriptures that tell us to lay down and die when eerryone's crying out for help, and Imma let him get a piece of my mind!" Hyde sprints to the stairs, letting Isidro and Morgan take care of the upcoming row of trolls as he attempts to save some time for Schierke to astral project.
>>
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>>5348749
"Let's do this, Schierke! You were meant to do this by yourself anyway." Ivalera pumps her small fists onto the air as the little witch closed her eyes.

"Time to see if my training paid off..." Farnese's legs trembles as she chants in a different language from the meditating Schierke, manipulating and getting inside the mind of the strongest trolls, hijacking their bodies to start several infights against the troll groups, making them whack and and squash their own limbs as the switched from target to target. Already finishing the warding runes to protect the church, all she had to wait for was for the spirit Schierke would summon forth to dissuade the endless troll horde from destroying Enoch.

Before she could turn Schierke invisible, the priest commanding the church decided to interrupt their rituals.

"Cease your witchcraft immediately! I will not permit such blasphemy in the house of our lord!" The blindly religious owner of the temple shouted on the rooftops that looked down over the entire village, with Farnese quickly moving over Schierke to shield her from losing her focus.

"Can't you see we are attempting to save this village? Her magic is crucial in securing Enoch!"
"Schierke is stuck in a trance while she is chanting! If she is forcefully sent back to her body, her soul could be lost in the null spaces of the astral!" Ivalera speaks, before being swatted down by the zealot.
"Why are you doing this!? You can even see Ivalera! The people from this town can see our magic because of the temple being built over the spirit realms! Everyone is conforming and pleading to be saved, stop interfering!"

"Silence! This is a test from God himself! This village should entrust all to the fate he has assigned to us! What good would it be to live to the end of my days, because I relied on wicked interventions from you fiends!"

Despite facing what could be summed up as the personification of her past beliefs, she still lacked the tact, the verbal arguments, and the patience to shut down arguments like her boyfriend did to her, instead letting the insults and the pressure get to her as she drew the silver knife towards the priest!

"Insult the ways that have saved my life, and I will stab you to death!" Farnese shouts, impeding the priest to take another step.
"Resorting to violence?! Like I've said before, I am not afraid to die, if it means it was according to God's plan, now let me through!"

The priest and Farnese fight for who remains holding the knife, slowly inching to the edge of the roof as Farnese's behind keeps brushing against Schierke's. She attempts to hold her ground, but it seems that it will only be a matter of time until the three of them fall to their deaths.
>>
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>>5348781
This... feels a lot more real than the last vision. To the point where you aren't even sure that it's even fake now... It seems more like a vision of the near future, if not the present.

You want to prevent them from falling, you want to convince the priest of the wrongness in his ways, you want to reach for Schierke's soul and either drag her back to her body faster, or speed up the conjuring of the astral spirits. But in attempting to make a move, you are accepting that this is a real occurrence, and not an illusion caused by the healer.

The pores up to your shoulders and thighs are closed, all that's left is your torso and your head. Would this be enough to have some control of your Od, even if it's not comparable to it's full effects? Would the progress be undone? Would you be killed by failing the test.

You don't know, and being forced into action while not knowing what to do feels like the worst of taunts.

>Attempt to possess Farnese's body.
>Enter Schierke's empty vessel.
>Shout to the priest and attempt to intimidate him into leaving them alone.
>Attempt to find Schierke in the astral layers.
>Push the three of them away from the edge of the roof.
>Ignore them and hope Hyde reaches them in time.
>Something else
>>
>>5348786
>Ignore them and hope Hyde reaches them in time.
We will not be tempted demon
>>
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>>5348786
>Ignore them and hope Hyde reaches them in time.
STAY. STRONG.
EVEN IF IT'S A VISION, HYDE STILL HAS A CHANCE!
AND THE BEST LIES ARE BARELY SEEN IN A BED OF TRUTH!
>>
>>5348786
>Ignore them and hope Hyde reaches them in time.
Trust the team Vlad.
>>
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>>5348790
>>5348792
>>5348793

Seems like this one will be the dedicated "Do it for her" roll of the session.
A 1d100 for impulse control. You never know if something might go south now that they're without their leader.
Provided that this is actually happening, that is, cause if it isn't...
Meh, let's leave it till the next update to find out, just a few numbers will do for now.
>>
Rolled 52 (1d100)

>>5348804
Hope is for people who aren't certain. Nothing will go wrong.
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5348804

I roll to lose all script.
>>
Rolled 29 (1d100)

>>5348804
>>
Rolled 30 (1d100)

>>5348804
>>
Rolled 7 (1d100)

>>5348804
come on
>>
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>>5348810
>>5348812
>>5348814
Well, DC was a 50 so not bad, good part about having a bo3 is the odds of someone coming in for the save is a lot more likely than a fail turning into a critfail.
Writing!
>>
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>>5348812
>>5348814
>>5348815

"..."
Even if this is real, you have no reason to worry about what Farnese does or does not do. Your team has handled themselves spectacularly, and you will not retract your trust on the first sign of danger.

"YER FULL OF IT, PRIEST!" Hyde shouts from the top of his lungs, banging his fist at the rooftop walls as he orders him to let go of Schierke and Farnese.

"When has the Pontiff or the supreme court of Vritannis ever tell ya to let yer people die? When the nobles who ruled this village abandoned y'all, can ya really say it with a straight face that God intended to test y'all with a trial impossible to pass?"

"This is what believing in God is all about! To persevere and have faith when all hope seems lost!"

"Did he also tell ya to take the knife out of a girl who's just tryna save a kid from dyin'? Might as well stab her with it and pretend that God told ya to do so."

Aware of how mad he looked from the way Hyde was describing him, he looked at the reluctant eyes of the Ex-Holy Lady, slowly pulling his fingers away from the knife, he took some time to observe the fiery explosion caused by Isidro's meddling with the Salamander Knife, setting the mob of trolls ablaze as the villagers commemorated their recent victory.

"Startin to feel like I don't believe the same god as ya', priest. With the religious teachings being at an all time low presence thanks to the wars, they forgot what God actually stands for, instead of just using his name to garner virtue to raise taxes: Believing in God isn't just for accepting yer family's traditions, and it ain't an excuse to do a buncha bad shit and think yer going to heaven when you die cuz you can recite pretty words from books. It means having humility to know that yer not right every time ya open yer mouth to spew yer bullshit! Be it human, God or even astral, someone might know somethin' ya don't, and that's the real test! To admit that yer not perfect."

He stares at Guts, seemingly having second thoughts about hating him once he sees the lengths he is going through to save the village.
"I've been shown plenty of terrible things in my life. Ones that could take anyone's faith away. The girl over there just lost hers the other day. But their fear of saying why doesn't come because they want to feel lost, panicked or unconverted, but because you kill anyone who questions yer weak rhetoric! It's all an excuse to be an asshole without changing yer ways, cuz yer siding with the good guys! That's why we don't believe in the same god!"

While seeming like an incoherent rant that only served to let off steam, Hyde rambled long enough for Schierke to finish her spell, though whatever it was remained unseen as your vision faded back into the white smoke.
>>
>>5348877
"Argh! They just had to make it in one piece! I was hoping someone would fall down, but if I just improved the scene myself, it would look too obvious for you!"

"..." You remained silent as the healer's voice came back to you.

"Man you're one tough soul, I even showed you the real deal and you still remained unmoving! But I think this one's finally going to catch you. No one remained still after this last provocation... How about I try crushing your eyeballs?"

"..." He takes you by surprise, implying that he could blind you right after fully healing you.

"Now now, I am not actually crushing your eyeballs, maybe I'll just stab you through your heart, or rip out your tongue... It won't actually happen, it's just a hallucination! But given how the spell ain't finished yet, you'll feel the pain of it all! People usually just die from the shock, or at the very least, move a bit through the fog, and that's when they finally lose..."

Taking a few for your status, the only places that have yet to be closed are your heart and your brain, the most crucial parts of all...

"Surely you trust me enough for it to believe that I'm not actually crippling you for life... right?"
You feel the sadist healer moving through your body, showing that these hallucinations can really emulate touch...

...Yet after his nails start scratching and digging through your shoulder, you start to believe that this might not be emulation.

>Let him damage your body and endure it, the pain is still part of the test.
>He is trying to kill you, fight him!
>>
>>5348889
>Let him damage your body and endure it, the pain is still part of the test.
>>
>>5348889
>Let him damage your body and endure it, the pain is still part of the test.
>>
>>5348889
>"Ok."
>Let him damage your body and endure it, the pain is still part of the test.
>>
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>>5348896
>>5348897
>>5348901

Good choice, but will Vlad be fine having his eyes popped like a bubble?
Let's give it another 1d100 to find out. higher DC than the last one, but pass it and Vlad will finally get his body back, and maybe Astral Projection might just come with it...
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5348904
Fuck this spirit, Gunpowder's the superior horse!
>>
Rolled 43 (1d100)

>>5348904
Eh! It shouldn't be that bad
>>
Rolled 70 (1d100)

>>5348904
>>
>>5348908
>>5348913
>>5348922
Man oh man... Don't play with my heart like that, I was already thinking on how to kill Vlad if he failed to roll under this dice check.

For a guy who I thought would die way before this, he's surely rolling high when it counts.

Will write a surprisingly favorable update when I wake up tomorrow.
>>
>>5348929
What would happen to Vlad if he were in the Berserker armor
>>
>>5348929
>on how to kill Vlad
You have been itching to find a way to murder us for so long and we just keep denying you. Such is the way of Causality.

>>5348941
Death, at best.
>>
>>5348929
I dunno, I feel like having your innards become outards somehow would hurt less than having your soul kicked so hard it just about irreparably breaks. So ol cockass here would have a hell of a time hurting more than Vlad already has been.
>>
>>5348929
Lmao
Though I do wonder how would Vlad Od react to a spirit trying to do something against him. We already know what it does to demons
>>
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>>5348929
My heart skipped a beat there for a second when I saw those two first rolls and you said high DC, Thank god for the third one for saving our ass lmao.
>>
>>5348941
His testosterone levels would increase so much that he would literally explode.
>>
>>5348941
Ic ? I think his pure od would make it impossible to use it. Both him and the armor would be at odds i believe. No he needs something else, something made for a Santana. For now runic armor works quite well and has proven reliable.
>>
>>5348957
Hey, for someone who I thought wouldn't make it past thread 2, I'd say Vlad is doing better with each passing day
>>5348941
Either it wouldn't work like >>5349081 said or something that would finally corrupt him.

Now onto that onset of good news I promised, writing!
>>
>>5348908
>>5348913
>>5348922

You can feel the spirit's nails digging through your pupils, grabbing your eyeballs and squishing them as they burst into nothingness.
"..."
The spirit goes even further, opening your mouth, placing a hand on your tongue and forcefully ripping your tongue out of your mouth.
"..."
Growing more desperate, the monster materializes a blade the size of the Dragonslayer, shoving the greatsword through your chest and letting you feel yourself being pummeled through a pulp.

"...Are you finished?" You finally speak to the monster as you feel the smoke dissipate, having healed your entire body as your pores have closed to a smaller size.
"H-How the hell did you do that?! This is enough strength to kill you several times over! Do you not feel pain?"

"On the contrary, I have felt nothing but pain as I lived during the past season. My biggest downside when fighting was not knowing how to take damage... But after day after day of almost fainting for running too fast, or doing regular acrobatics I was always meant to do... You could say it gave me the training wheels I needed to numb my suffering. Besides, if this is a world where only thoughts and ideas matter, and we are the only ones present, I can just choose to ignore yours, and mine will still take priority inside my mind."

"Impressive..." The sadist healer appears to be shocked, but doesn't seem to be mad at your victory, instead just inhaling more smoke from his pipe to calm himself down. "Well, I believe you are the first one that lives through my backwards way of healing mortals... That can only mean that it works, then!"

"I would advise you not to try this again, but I do not care enough for illusions to convince them of right and wrong."
"Very well, I will send you back on your way, then."
"May we never meet again."

Standing up and closing your eyes, the flames from the candles that sent you into this dimension finally guide you back home, as your soul was carried back to the physical realm.

Once the blinding lights dimmed, you saw an odd sight right in front of you: It was... you!
Your body, being seen through the eyes of your soul. You appeared to be squatting on the same position you were when taking the test, and when walking forward to meet yourself, you accidentally fell through the floor.

You've appeared to acquire a ghost form! You can pass through walls and fly through the air when released from your body. And when passing through the rooftops and staring into the sky, the visions of the astral dimensions swerving this one easier to reach, with the spirits welcoming you as they shined and danced around you.

>You have finally learned the ultimate technique of the mages, astral projection. Freely walk through the physical realm while being able to exit and call for a higher entity, though whether or not they will answer is still up for debate. Since your whole gimmick is to purify things using your soul, perhaps calling for higher spirits is ill-needed.
>>
>>5349156
>Go back inside your body.
>Attempt to move your physical body while remaining outside of it.
>Fly outside, see if the Band Of The Falcon is near.
>Connect your mind with Schierke's. See how they are doing in Enoch Village
>>
>>5349157
>Go back inside your body.
>>
>>5349157
>Attempt to move your physical body while remaining outside of it.
Lets give it a quick test while we are here.
>Go back inside your body.
Cant believe we have Astral Projection now, That's kickass!
>>
>>5349157
>Attempt to move your physical body while remaining outside of it.
Agree to a quick test
>Go back inside your body
We should be able to sense it if is near
>>
>>5349175
>>5349187
>>5349197
Well, suppose a quick test wouldn't take too much time.
Let's give it a 1d100 just to check, maybe Vlad can do something special with his weird soul properties
>>
Rolled 56 (1d100)

>>5349201
>>
Rolled 69 (1d100)

>>5349201
POWAAAAH
>>
Rolled 65 (1d100)

>>5349201
>>
>>5349215
>>5349227
>>5349230

You attempt to push your body backwards, seeing if you would react differently or even feel anything while in an out of body experience. Surprisingly, your body indeed dodges the your hand, moving autonomously as it read your intent.

Opening his eyes, the other Vlad appeared to dodge any and whatever sudden movements you made in his general directions. Doing several flips in the air, tumbling and kicking his feet into walls for added impulse, he did whatever he could to change and misdirect what he considered attacks against him from spirits.

Closing your eyes in this spiritual state, your consciousness appears to switch between the hollow, soulless Vlad, and opening them again sent you back to your spirit...

"What in the world?" You ask yourself. Seeing your body act on it's own thanks to your inherent precognition, the biggest drawback from doing Astral Projection - being a sitting duck to any threat on the physical world - seems to have disappeared entirely thanks to your blessings from Sivir. You appear to have developed your body as a double which moves on instinct alone that lets you roam freely in the spiritual realm without needing to rush for a summon.

In fact, who needs summons? If you can develop yourself to fight simultaneously with your double, perhaps you could find a way to attack enemies using your own soul? Maybe you could even pull their spirit out of their bodies? materialize a blade with the power of the elementals? The sky is the limit when you are finally free to use your body as you wish.

As you finally managed to remotely control your body for him to stop moving, you've entered inside your own self to finally get a feel of your new form.
The pain is nowhere to be felt. You jump around, easily reaching the ceiling, you sway from side to side and tumble to make sure your body won't feel a thing. You even sprint and leap across the staircase to land on your knees, reaching the first floor of the mansion.

Ok, that last one might have stung a bit thanks to your shoddy landing, but there is no afterburn like before. You can finally fight at your fullest, and thanks to keeping up with your training in the meantime, you've only gotten more capable!
>>
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>>5349281
FINALLY! RESTORED TO OUR FULL GLORY!
>>
>>5349286
Yeah, hopefully now we can focus more on intensifying our physical training and od mastery to create new combat techniques. Happy to be back kicking ass at full strength again!
>>
>>5349281
Vlad is no longer dying, very nice!
>>
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>>5349281
"So this is why The Silver Eyed placed so much trust in your Astral Projection... You have managed to achieve a technique I've only heard of in scribes and theories... The ability to fight as a high spirit while still having a presence in the physical realm... If only I could do the same, I wouldn't have to abandon Schierke in her presence..." Flora notices the difference in your Od after you've found her and Gaiseric in the mansion's basement, using the mud puppets to help her seal the Berserker Armor.

"And to think this isn't nearly the end of my developmental potential... Quite frankly, I feel like I could defeat Guts if I mastered this technique..." You humblebrag about your new skills, before stopping yourself from approaching the armor as you felt the stench of death flowing through it.

"Be mindful of your wishes. When a Berserker loses control of his mind, he might as well consider all living presences, his deadliest enemy." The Skull Knight's words trigger you a vision of Guts, slicing you in half with the dragon slayer while clad in this cursed armor.

You haven't had many premonitions, but knowing the difference between seeing the near and the far future, you don't want to contest what your mind sees. If Guts goes Berserk, it's best to not get in his way, especially since the Beast Of Darkness already knows who you are.

"What's the situation? Is the village safe?"
"Somewhat. Schierke managed to summon The Lady Of The Water to push the trolls away from Enoch. Yet the women and children are still missing, so your group is following my apprentice while she finds their hideout by tracing their thoughts."

Qlipoth is the astral world's region of darkness, where hearts drenched in darkness congregate. It should never have overlapped with this realm. This transformation of the world has no doubt been triggered by the God Hand Fingers. Whichever one of them resides in that location, I shall sent them to oblivion before they could take aim at that group." Skull Knight draws his teleporting sword, aiming to go there and meet whoever's responsible for giving physical bodies to nightmarish creatures.

"I will likely have finished my work with this armor before they invade the mansion, but I believe they will only be greeted by my ashes when they return..." Flora whimpers, with The Skull Knight pondering whether or not to return to see his old friend's final moments after reaching Qlipoth.

>I'll help you seal the armor, Flora.
>I will go to Qlipoth with The Skull Knight. Time to see what I'm capable of with these new surge of power.
>I will go to Qlipoth, but only to help Gaiseric on his mission. We'll be in and out before you can miss us.
>I will warn the others in the mansion about the invasion. If they intent on killing Flora, they'll have to get over my dead body.
>I'll stay here, but I want to relay a message to my team, to thank them and see how they are holding up.
>>
>>5349311
>I'll help you seal the armor, Flora.
>>
>>5349311
>I'll help you seal the armor, Flora.
>>
>>5349311
>>I'll help you seal the armor, Flora.


>>5349286
once we gain the orb ....
>>
>>5349311
>I'll help you seal the armor, Flora.
>>
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>>5349316
>>5349319
>>5349321
>>5349329

It feels ironic to take your body back, only to offer yourself to do some idle tasks that don't involve action packed fighting, yet you do know that Flora is racing against time until the apostle troop arrives on her doorstep, so you stay at her side to carve out the runes on the armor.

Despite being sensitive to negative energy, you managed to replicate her talismans with astounding precision, perfectly replicating and tracing the ones showed to you.

"You are quite skilled with your wrists."
"It's not just from the scribal practices. I tend to draw from time to time, maybe once I retire I'll get to practice some more."

After a few hours, the armor was ready to be used. You would congratulate your own efforts, but you could feel the apostles already drawing close, with no signs of the returning Skull Knight or The Pegasus Team.

"I would strongly advise you to evacuate your team from here, or at least, dispatch the ones who can fight to stay by your side."
"Can't the astral barrier hold them off?"
"A magician as strong as the faceless monster should be able to cancel my Od Flow if they are aware of her abilities... Even disregarding that, I can already feel my life force dissipating..." Flora shakes her head, accepting her death just like your previous master.

...Schierke would be in shambles if she had to witness this, maybe it's best that a girl her age doesn't become overwhelmed with such grief.

>Place the horses on the caravan and run from the forest with your team.
>Dispatch the caravan, but fight against the apostle army.
>Ask if either Violet or Casca can already fight.
>Scavenge the brewery room for any useful mixtures.
>Reinforce the barrier of the mansion with your own magic.
>Equip your halberd and your standard equipment (Staff, Armor, Shortsword)
>Put the Trident Of The Undines to the test.
>>
>>5349351
>Reinforce the barrier of the mansion with your own magic.
>Telepathically ask Casca if she can set some traps for the oncoming hostiles - she must be used to such tactics from her time as a commander, so she's likely to know some effective ones.
>>
>>5349351
>Equip your halberd and your standard equipment (Staff, Armor, Shortsword)
>Ask if either Violet or Casca can already fight.
>Scavenge the brewery room for any useful mixtures.

I am not sure if we should reinforce the barrier, mostly for the battle ahead, we might need every last bit of energy. A shame they are coming.
>>
>>5349364
>>Telepathically ask Casca if she can set some traps for the oncoming hostiles - she must be used to such tactics from her time as a commander, so she's likely to know some effective ones.
i can agree with telling Casca this, should be a good surprise for the bastards, maybe planting some of our wood seeds around. If Violet wings are actually healed she could help her.
>>
>>5349370
It stands to reason that they would need to expend the same or more amount of energy to fully dispell it, especially one as expertly crafted by Flora and fueled by purging od that would actively resist the amalgamation's od when she tries to manipulate it. Beyond that, it buys time for the others to get back to do battle - every second bought is one less second in the midst of battle without backup. Beyond that, some of them might get impatient with not-merlina's dispelling work, and might try to charge in only to either hurt themselves or even nuke themselves in the process.
>>
>>5349351
>Scavenge the brewery room for any useful mixtures.
Just fucking grab everything, no time to be picky!
>Equip your halberd and your standard equipment (Staff, Armor, Shortsword)
>Reinforce the barrier of the mansion with your own magic.
We need to try and hold them back as much as possible so that Flora can do her ritual to ascend.
>Ask if either Violet or Casca can already fight.
>>
>>5349379
fair enough, you have some good points.

>>5349370
i ll add
>Reinforce the barrier of the mansion with your own magic.
As the first priority
>>
>>5349351
>Ask if either Violet or Casca can already fight.
>Scavenge the brewery room for any useful mixtures.
>Reinforce the barrier of the mansion with your own magic.

I was tempted by the prospect of heading to Qlipoth, but I doubt we could have done much against Slan's avatar beyond getting our soul wounded again. Best thing to do is to try and reinforce things here before the inevitable apostle assault.
>>
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>>5349364
>>5349370
>>5349377
>>5349384
>>5349386
>>5349379
Let's go for a 2d100 then! First one is to reinforce the barrier, second is for scavenging the tree dome before they attack.
Keep rollin rollin!
>>
Rolled 7, 31 = 38 (2d100)

>>5349396
The barrier is unbreakable. But the kitchen is empty.
>>
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Rolled 23, 59 = 82 (2d100)

>>5349396
>>
Rolled 67, 39 = 106 (2d100)

>>5349396
Fingers crossed COME OOOONNNNN
>>
decent
>>
Ok, why no one voted for using the Trident or any weapon? I hope we at least give the Axe to Casca
>>
>>5349477
If we are going to fight we need Vlad to use the fucking Trident, and Casca needs that axe. Would be rather embarrassing if we lose both of those items because we forgot to grab them.
>>
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>>5349402
>>5349403
>>5349404
Running through the brewery room, you scour the entire drawer of ingredients and check her table of potions to see what Flora could have stashed in her house to assist you.

Having an entire jar of elf powder from Ivalera, you thank yourself that you might not need to ask for Puck for a save in case you get too badly injured mid fight.

Additionally, you've found the reason why there was little mandragoran essence in the mansion, Kmengcide is neatly contained at a black basin the size of a cauldron. She was definitely preparing it for this occasion.

It is time to reinforce this damn barrier! None shall pass!
Cautiously taking the container away, you see Casca and Cindy panicking as they hear the rumble of the apostles.

"What is this?" Cindy shakes to her core as Casca sends the horses into the carriage, with Violet seemingly afraid of taking flight despite having the vial already strapped to her chest.

"Stay inside the caravan, and don't open the door!"Casca tries to remain composed, while shaking her hands when pushing the artisan inside.
"Casca! You can't fight them either! Your mark will-" Cindy is shut down when Casca locks the door to the caravan, with the horses being ready to run should they be unable to defend the mansion.

Being fully suited in your armor, as well as your three main weapons, you salvage both weapons from the armory and place them at the caravan, and when meeting Casca, she instructed you in what to do as you explained her the situation.

"This can age the apostles to the point of ending their lifespan, right? Farnese also told me you can grow trees, perhaps since you can control their growth, you can place some leaf bags hidden between the branches to get the drop on them whenever possible. I'll hide some holes around the ground while we have the time."

With you taking her suggestion increasing the density of the forest tenfold, you could feel the spirits of the astral combining your force onto yours, letting Flora rest and taking her role as it's guardian, you make a visible barrier that repelled any who found it, intensifying the illusions as the apostles wasted around an hour of their time chasing mirages, letting you and Casca prepare yourselves after Violet was freed from her bandages, being able to fly to the limit of the barrier to check if the enemies were near.

Also explaining the properties of the two magical arms from Flora's arsenal, the attempts to take the Axe Of The Gnomes.
"I am much more comfortable with a sword... But I can do with a heavier weapon for now." Her hands trembles as you finally see why Cindy was so worried about Casca...

Her chest is bleeding profusely. This is the first time she will see apostles after returning. Even if her skills are still in place, her traumas of being raped in front of The God Hands could cause her to collapse before even landing a hit...
>>
>>5349700
'Fire! Fire!' Violet warns you that the apostles have grown tired of being led around in a magical maze, instead just spreading fire into the forest until they finally found a Od barrier that was unaffected by the blazes.

With the mud puppets remaining as frontlines to at least attempt to kill an extra apostle or two that you can't handle, you wonder if Casca is truly capable of facing the apostle army.

"What are you seeing up there, Violet?"
'Fire cannon! Horn monster that attacked Papa Hyde! Gray scythe woman! Lots of monsters! Too many!"

So that's Zodd, The Faceless Entity, and a new enemy apostle. The Feared Flame Dragon Knight...

Forget Casca, this might be a bit too much even for you...

>Stay behind me and follow up my attacks, Casca.
>Stay behind the mud puppets, Casca. They can protect you a lot better than I could.
>I take it back, maybe you should not fight.
>I have a shortsword with me, if you'd prefer a weapon you're more accustomed to.
>I might not be able to hold them off. Get ready to run away if I fail here.
>No matter how many come to me, I shall fight until the end.
>These puppets might not be enough, I'll try evoking some mandragorans.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5349711
>These puppets might not be enough, I'll try evoking some mandragorans.
>Stay behind the mud puppets, Casca. They can protect you a lot better than I could. And stuff your ears if you can, if I'm successful in making Mandragorans then you'll not want to hear their wails.
>>
>>5349711
>These puppets might not be enough, I'll try evoking some mandragorans.
>I might not be able to hold them off. Get ready to run away if I fail here.
>I have a shortsword with me, if you'd prefer a weapon you're more accustomed to.
>Stay behind the mud puppets, Casca. They can protect you a lot better than I could.
>>
Do we want to hold them here ? Or more like stay and fight ? I don't think Vlad can fight the 3 big named apostles alone. And 1vs1 is still dangerous.
>>
>>5349732
We're a lot more prepared for it now than we were before. We just need to buy time for Guts, Skull Knight, and the rest of the gang to get here. And for stalling, the odds are ssssomewhat in our favor since at least ONE of them wants to 1v1 a strong warrior instead of doing STRICTLY as ordered.
>>
>>5349732
We play defense and hold them here. Guerrilla warfare to thin out their numbers for as long as we can, until the others reach us and Flora can do her magic ascension ritual. Then we get the fuck outta dodge while having done a good amount of damage to them. I think that is a good plan for now.
>>
>>5349733
Is mostly for understand if we want to stay in front and don't let them pass, or retreat while fighting until a certain point.

>>5349711
>>Stay behind the mud puppets, Casca. They can protect you a lot better than I could.
>I might not be able to hold them off. Get ready to run away if I fail here.
>These puppets might not be enough, I'll try evoking some mandragorans.
>Write in
Place on the ground some seeds. When the demons pass near them you will crush and impale them.
>>
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>>5349713
>>5349726
>>5349742
Alright, the deal with Casca are free actions since the apostles haven't reached you yet, but Mandragoras are a bit harder to get out of.

I said you had to roll over a 90 to summon forth mandragoras, buuuut that was when Vlad had his soul fissure, so he should have an easier time summoning them.

Mandragoran DC for a seed throwing roll will be reduced to 80, but since this is a dedicated roll and we're in somewhat of a comeback hype, let's take it down to 75 just this once.
A 1d100 is all it takes, let's see how that goes!
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>5349750
Even if this should fail to summon mandragoras, hopefully it'll leave a good bed of trapped trees!
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

>>5349750
Roll? Did someone say roll? Dice!? DICE
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>5349750
>>
Only one or best of three. Likely one
>>
Yet again, 1 roll has saved us from oblivion, sasuga dice gods...
>>
>>5349758
Holy fucking shit.
I wonder how causality is going to work around Griffith's greatest men having permanent deafness.
>>
Eitherway too bad we haven't the team here. I had ideas for the battle ahead.
I have some for here too, but less. Mainly the use of our wood seeds, weapons and od. And if we fight the named ones, the use of our full arsenal
The negatives are :
- Cindy didn't have time to learn how to use her weapon, Casca is not fully healed and has no armor, Violet is still wounded. Flora will be occupied with her ritual.
- 3 named apostles, that might not just stand idle if there is a 1vs1.
- unknown numbers of demons

Positives :
- We can communicate and coordinate with everyone here.
- 3 named apostles that might stand idle watching us in a 1vs1
- Quality is great
>>
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>>5349757
>>5349758
>>5349756

Planting the remaining seeds you had on your pouch, you saved a last one for emergencies, just to see if you could draw the plants to grow as mandragoras.

And sure enough, you focused onto their true nature, shifting their unknown nature as they grew and flipping their gimmick around, taking in the power of the earth elementals to define their identity as mandragoras.

"Grow and reveal your true form, much like I will in due time."
After your order, you see several of the mud puppets being accompanied by around double the number of Mandragoras, as they escaped out of their sprouts.

Refusing to scream or wail to their deaths, they instead line up into a formation. By order from nearest to farthest of the tree mansion stood you, the Kmengcide traps, The Mandragoras, The Mud Puppets, Violet, and lastly Casca with The Pegasus.

The formation even seemed to be changing, as some mandragora decided to ride on the puppets for added power. Given how the puppets can split, and the mandragoras can spread a zombie-like infection against the apostles on your command, you might just be able to hold off their troops without Guts needing to use the Berserker Armor, but what about the 3 main enemies?

You've given Casca your shortsword for her to act more comfortable on the battlefield, but that's no guarantee that she'll be performing well. The golden ages of the Doldrey fight are long past, and even if she maintained the force she had back then, the gnomes would have to work overtime to make up for her mistakes...

"If only my spiritual power hadn't weakened so much, perhaps I could help you hold the barrier to be near impenetrable..." Flora laments as she observes through her window, before The Skull Knight lunged to your side.

"Y-Your Majesty!?"
"You will fight for me?" Even Flora seemed surprised in his decision. "Either way, I am going to..."
"All the more, for it to be at ease."
"Thank you... I won't forget your devotion, dear friend..."
"The struggler has been saved from Qlipoth, and his team will arrive shortly. But not before they begin to attack... The Skull Knight sees the army of apostles banging and crashing at your barrier, throwing themselves into the barrier despite their corrosive nature to see if they could escape the fire.

"Sir Grunbeld! There weren't as nearly as many forests here when we started searching in this area! Why aren't they burning?!"

"Some powerful witchery is at work, out of my way!" The silhouette of a tall knight in dragon-like armor bashing a gigantic hammer around your dome, still clear of smoke as the enemies start to cough and suffocate in their own erosion of nature.

Even with your enduring soul, and the dying spirits of the forest flickering towards you as you were given their energy to keep the mansion intact, every swing of Grunbeld's hammer felt like he has smashing at your head.

As if that wasn't bad enough, a familiar conglomerate of voices approached the dome.
>>
>>5349758
Brilliant.

>>5349773
I think much of the apostles could be whittled down using some well placed seeds, even before Grunbeld and his gang can see us. The Mandragorans will definitely be able to hold them off for a while as well. If Grunbeld decides to pull his "i want an honorable duel" thing with Vlad I have an idea on what we can to do.

Also, we should telepathically inform our entire gang that Grunbeld and his apostles are here at the gate, and that we intend on holding them off for as long as possible. Guts should be told that Casca is hidden somewhere and [should] be safe. But we need to tell them to come ASAP to turn the odds completely against them. Full power Vlad and Berserker Guts will be a dangerous combination for Grunbeld and even Zodd..
>>
>>5349789
"Leave this mission to me. I can cancel his Od flow with ease." The faceless entity motions Grunbeld to relax, making swift motions through the smoke pit as you felt your Od being blocked.

It was an incomprehensively oppressive technique. An unnatural force stopped you from moving all your muscles, your veins and arteries felt like they were about to burst with your every movement, and by attempting to keep the force field steady as it flickered in and out of existence, the pain you had from your dying days felt like it would return at any second.

You could almost see the image of Merlina and the faces carved around the entity's body choking you in your mind, taking the airs out of your lungs as your body pleaded for mercy.

Should she fully block your Od, she might even remove your control of the mandragoras, as seen by them suddenly going limp and remaining in place...

This will not end well for Casca... And though Skull Knight is at your side, nothing prevents Zodd from still interfering in this battle.

>Deactivate the force field. It's time to let them in.
>Resist the Od Block, attempt to reverse it and overpower the magician.
>Unleash the mandragoras and the puppets. It's time for the carnage to start.
>Attempt to take flight with Violet. They don't appear to have many long ranged attackers, and you have plenty of Elf Powder.
>Your body is stable enough to do your soul arrows with your staff, disintegrate the ones who go over the line.
>Run back to the caravan and take the trident.
>Something else.
>>
>>5349802
>Resist the Od Block, attempt to reverse it and overpower the magician.
>Unleash the mandragoras and the puppets. It's time for the carnage to start.
I don't think she'll expect us to have fully healed like we did. The od output she's used to from us will be FAR less than what we can do now. And if we start causing chaos on her side of the field, her concentration will weaken - especially if a mandragora can infect her body.
>>
>>5349802
>Unleash the mandragoras and the puppets. It's time for the carnage to start.
This should theoretically block the Faceless Entity's concentration once the mandragoras start wailing.
>Resist the Od Block, attempt to reverse it and overpower the magician.
>Your body is stable enough to do your soul arrows with your staff, disintegrate the ones who go over the line.
Any stragglers who sneak their way in should be dealt with.
>Run back to the caravan and take the trident.
>>
>>5349811
Honestly don't think we should spread ourselves THAT thin.
Skull knight is here to help with anyone that breaches the barrier.
If we really want the trident, we can ask Casca to throw it our way.
>>
>>5349814
Hmm.. in any case I do think we should start this off with the mandragoras and puppets attacking first, then using the opportunity to overpower the faceless entity. Everything else you've described makes total sense.
>>
>>5349809
>support
>>
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>>5349809
>>5349811
>>5349821

2d100! First for the lil screaming onions, second to start things off against your not-master.

Let's keep the ball and the dice rolling!
>>
Rolled 44, 62 = 106 (2d100)

>>5349843
>>
Rolled 75, 41 = 116 (2d100)

>>5349843
>>
Rolled 72, 13 = 85 (2d100)

>>5349843
>>
>>5349846
>>5349847
>>5349848

Pretending that you were still as weak as you were when you first met the entity, you cough and fumble onto the floor, secretly concentrating your energy in strategically moving the mandragoras and the puppets to the edge of the barrier, where they would finally jump and endlessly wail at their foes.

Suicide bombing the mandragoras, you notice that even the creatures that do not have ears are cowering in fear, shouting along with the sprout monsters before the hidden frequencies of their primal scream is enough to splatter their heads open.

The Skull Knight himself appears to take some distance from the scuffle, as their own souls are disrupted by being forced to hear the incomprehensible horrors that shatter their eardrums.

Being too small to be properly squashed and killed to the point of extinction, the apostles tried their best not to be overwhelmed by the once weak, regenerating guardians of the forest, but given the regenerating nature of the mandragorans, possessing the mud creatures became second nature to the mandragoras, and should they even manage to break the figures inside them that would prevent them from duplicating, the sprout children could always just build it back.

Combining their cancerous abilities, one mandragoran ridden puppet became two, then four, 8... Your controlled ruckus was now reaching the likes of the faceless entity itself, who covered it's ears as it managed to use it's impure Od to silence the plant monsters to their deaths, slicing and tearing at them with it's scythe in similar fashion to your Od strikes.

As it's energy was focused on sending those moon shaped projectiles, you've found the opportunity to reverse it's Od block towards itself. Powering up your energy to your very limit, you override the faceless entity's spell as it is barely able to withstand the damage dealt by your seeds. The barrier once again is held back up, you watch as the entity fails to keep its hearing from being damaged, having to resort to wild swings to kill the puppets for good.

Seeing an opportunity to attack, The Skull Knight charged with his skeletal horse at the entity, who finally adjusted to your true power and reacted accordingly, teleporting inside the dome as it had an easier time blocking your energy, while additionally negating the elementals.

You still are not sure if you have surpassed your master, let alone Merlina's power times the souls inside the conglomerate controlling her.
At least The Skull Knight is finally free to swing against what remained of the first troop of apostles, slaying and piercing through several of them with an easy swing of his blade as he prepared himself to face whoever came for the second wave of attacks.
>>
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>>5349893
"We were told that the magician was a woman! Who are you? How is a horseman doing so much damage to war demons like us?"

"I have no name to give to apostles. And you have yet to reach the halfling who truthfully holds the line. The Skull Knight replies to Grunbeld's unit, who instead of fighting the fallen king head on, decides to watch the duel between you and the entity after spreading flames from his hand-cannon, making quick work of your mandragoras and sealing the mud puppets around the mansion.

The oxygen levels have drastically fallen now that the smoke has reached your side, and with your traps of Kmengcide being on top of the trees, you wonder if all of that effort was for naught.

Involving itself in it's barrier, the faceless entity now switches to the offensive, sending its spiritual projectiles in your general direction.
Knowing which attacks to dodge and which to deflect will be essential in fighting against this monster equally, as not only you cannot let it touch you, dodging such monstrous projectiles could easily make it so she hits the tree behind you instead. Cindy might be safe since your Caravan is still warded, but the same can't be said for your horses, Casca, or Flora.

>Astral project to duplicate yourself and autonomously dodge while you tear at its barrier with your soul.
>Call forth a higher spirit to aid your fight.
>Deflect and dodge accordingly, imbuing Od on your halberd to eventually corner the spirit into taking your Od Blasts.
>Fight the monster with your staff, firing soul arrows at it and disintegrating any apostles who come near.
>Bait it into falling onto your pitfall traps.
>Ask Casca to hand you the trident, someone needs to put this fire out
>>
>>5349912
>Ask Casca to hand you the trident, someone needs to put this fire out
>Deflect and dodge accordingly, imbuing Od on your halberd to eventually corner the spirit into taking your Od Blasts.
>Bait it into falling onto your pitfall traps.
>>
>>5349912
>Deflect and dodge accordingly, imbuing Od on your halberd to eventually corner the spirit into taking your Od Blasts.
>Bait it into falling onto your pitfall traps.
Just this.
My logic is: astral duplication is ENTIRELY too new to suddenly be using in this fight.
I don't want Casca to get close to us while such a dangerous entity is focused on us - she might get hurt, and worse Grunbeld might view it as turning it into a 2v2 (especially if Casca tries to help more than we ask for).
Soul arrows are Merlina's specialty, physicality is likely their weakest point.
Calling a higher spirit could easily backfire with so much negative od around. We already know that a pseudo-malicious one is hanging about.
As for why I want to go with getting up close and physical with it, and abusing the pitfall traps? It keeps the entity's focus SQUARELY on us as it has to focus way more on a close-quarters enemy, it lets us herd their movement more effectively, and Vlad never really used traps much around the entity or Merlina so it might be an unexpected move from their perspective. They have no idea just how much of a physical powerhouse Vlad is these days.
>>
>>5349922
>support
>>
>>5349920
>>5349922
>>5349930
Gonna sleep earlier today, but I'll let you roll nonetheless.

1d100+10. Since Vlad is more of a glass canon I was wondering if a passive that gave him a critfail prevention modifier until he got hit would be too OP for him, how would you guys feel about it?

Speak your mind, just make sure to roll first.
>>
Rolled 1 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5349949
Eh, I don't think it will be a problem
>>
>>5349962
wtf
>>
Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>5349949
That's an interesting suggestion. He DOES tend to go really strong until he gets hit, from there on our rolls tend to spiral downwards.
>>
Rolled 84 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5349949
No one really likes critfails, rather the spice they can provide. Well, assholes and doomers do. I think anything to prevent cascading steamrolling on either end is pretty nice.

>>5349962
INSTANT karma. Fuckin' a anon. Had to open your mouth. Well Vlad just got the bad fucking touch by Merposter and now Guts has to put on the dumb fucking armor to try and pull this out of his dick. Damn bro.
>>
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>>5349962
didn't see this before i rolled
well here's hoping becchi puts STRONG consideration into that critfail prevention
>>
>>5349962
Does the modifier mean we can go with >>5349987 instead or is Vlad about to get his soul torn apart again?
>>
>>5349949
I mean, I like that little perk, specially if we can use it know. It would be like a re-roll of sorts and would make that role useless, but that doesn't mean the other two will be good enough to pass the DC and that's when we lose the passive until the next scene/mission/fight

Or just a re-roll that overrides the critfails, plain and simple
>>
>>5349949
I can agree to it.
///

Uh i hope is best of 3, lol.
Man i thought we had more wood seeds, would have been nice. Maybe we can redirect some of our minions if needed, for give us time to do actions that is or reduce negatives from wounds. Uhm we left our shotsword to Casca, kind of a shame if she's isn't going to fight much.
We still have a dagger too, so I don't mind , but we can always pull out the sword slash/stab and then return to the halberd.
I think with the abomination in front of us finding a core would be the best way to kill it. The mask it has should probably be our target.
>>
>>5349795
Possibly they have a decent chance to kill the demon horde or make it very wounded/small. In regard to the three named apostles, i don't want to be fair with them.
Not at all in fact i want to overwhelm them.
Grunbeld, starting with two cannonballs in the face with Hyde and Guts fighting him.
Serpico to us, and we will coordinate melee attacks with him on Merlina.
Skull Knight will already go to fight Zodd Schierke and Farnese instead direct spells on a target, could be Zodd, Grunbeld or Merlina. Which ever is picked shouldn't be able to suddenly deal with two magicians attacks, giving us an opening for inflict a more serious wound.
Casca and Isidoro should retreat to the Pegasus, and watch over the rest.
>>
>>5349962
I fucking hope that +10 modifier negates that critfail, otherwise Vlad is gonna be crippled mere moments after he he's been healed and I'm gonna be mega pissed.
>>
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>>5349962
what have you done

>>5349949
I think a critfail prevention mod would be perfect now that his soul is healed.
>>
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>>5349962
Ah, there never really is a boring day with you folks, is there?

A 94 definitely passes the roll, so >>5349987
saved your asses for now.

Until you get hit might be too OP in case a luck streak happens, so I might change it for the first 3 rolls of the fight, just going to test the waters for now and say Vlad won't be getting sliced in half or anything, so all's good.

Writing!
>>
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>>5349962
>>5349980
>>5349987

Tumbling forward and focusing your precognition on the faceless entity's movements, you find yourself seeing several souls attempting to distract you as they moved simultaneously. It was like watching a crowd standing in the same spot. Yet the scythe and the energy that came from it was a surefire way to indicate what you should truly aim for when defending yourself.

Turning off your intent reading for a few moments, you bait the entity into slicing through it's own allies as it spun around itself trying to hit you. Close quarters might not be your most effective way to combat your foes, but even while not being fully able to swing your halberd or fully thrust it into the barrier, your recovered force was enough to do strike it's force field several times, each of them making it get closer and closer to dissipating.

As the soul arrows were enough to send the trees around you toppling over, you've made sure to imbue Od on your weapons, parrying it's attacks and preventing them from being sent on their way to the caravan. Every clash of weapons felt like it had the force of two boulders colliding and stopping their rolling down a mountain as they brittle each other to insignificant pebbles.

"Your days are numbered, Vlad. Succumb to your faults. You still to raise your sword, it sickens you to take a human life. You've hated fighting from the day you came onto this realm... It's why you failed to end your master then, and you shall fail to end her now."

"Don't be afraid of the man who kills all in his path, but the one who could do the same and always finds a way to spare them. Because should he ever find it in himself to take a life, he will assemble an army of one to destroy what he considers subhuman!" Attempting to shrug off the traumatic vision of the monster in front of you, you let your anger temporarily be the main fuel of your mind and release the most powerful Od Blast you could muster, sending it's scythe flying backwards as it's arm recoiled from the impact.

Now lacking a weapon, Violet attempted to shake the branches of the tree around her to drop the Kmengcide traps, hitting several of the oncoming apostles while you and the entity danced around yourselves.

Finally being pushed onto a pitfall, the one wearing Merlina's face could not levitate in time as you pushed it onto the aging trench.

"A duel of true titans is happening before our eyes. The surging legend of The Phantom Impaler, fighting against the monster who the Midland pagans claimed he was... It seems the invasion of an old woman's secluded property won't be as one sided as we've previously thought... I shall make sure that none interfere in the honorable fight of this warrior."
>>
>>5350230
Seemingly gaining your respect, Grunbeld uses his flamethrower cannon to isolate you both in a ring of fire. Making you unable to escape or see the ongoing chaos, losing more and more air with each passing second while preventing the enemy from teleporting or levitating out the pit.

Finally feeling familiar presence, you see a speeding blur in the distance as Gunpowder breaks the sound barrier with Guts on top of him.

It is impossible to tell how Guts' condition is, given how he can barely see himself moving at such a constant velocity without something getting onto his eyes, but his dragonslayer remained raised.

'Vlad move, we trample monster.'

Gunpowder's worlds couldn't be easier to understand, either prevent the entity from teleporting, or lose the chance of breaking it's shield.
If they are here, surely the others will be reaching you soon.

>Dodge to the right.
>Dodge to the left.
>jump over Gunpowder.
>Block her magic to prevent her from escaping.
>Meet Gunpowder's clash as you both impale the monster.
>Mount on your horse to escape the fire pit.
>Check the presence of your other companions
>Something else.
>>
>>5350238
>Block her magic to prevent her from escaping.
>Meet Gunpowder's clash as you both impale the monster.
We need to send our Od into her to purify her. We messed up our chance the first time.
It won't happen again.
>>
>>5350238
>Block her magic to prevent her from escaping.
>>
>>5350238
>Block her magic to prevent her from escaping.
>Meet Gunpowder's clash as you both impale the monster.
Nothing like some Double Penetration to even the odds.
>>
>>5350238
>Block her magic to prevent her from escaping.
>Meet Gunpowder's clash as you both impale the monster.

Speak later with Guts by using telephaty, then others.
>>
>>5350246
>>5350252
>>5350268
2d100! First one prevents her from escaping, second one is for taking the DP with GP. ramming a horse at high velocity doesn't have a good history of ending well, but I can trust you enough to do it.
Let's see the numbers!
>>
Rolled 22, 43 = 65 (2d100)

>>5350279
Gunpowder hasn't let us down yet. Time to return the favor
>>
Rolled 9, 30 = 39 (2d100)

>>5350279
RAMMING SPEED
>>
Rolled 17, 88 = 105 (2d100)

>>5350279
>>
>>5350289
>>5350294
>>5350297
Well, first time for everything, right...?
Writing
>>
>>5350289
>>5350294
>>5350297

This is your opportunity to take down this shapeshifting monster, before it can steal more memories and prevent it from staining the name of the silver eyed clan any further, this piercing attack from two angles will crush the insides of this mob and fee her from the grasp of the undying--

Why do you keep saying 'her?' It's a monster, and it's appearance can't fool you, even when she... turns into a perfect copy of Merlina after disabling her barrier...

It's... stunningly accurate. The head being the only intact part of her human face, the bleeding mark on her forehead, the bare skeleton covered by her ragged cloak...

If she pleaded, smiled to you or said anything to garner sympathy, you could easily have shrugged it off as an illusion and kept her from escaping... But it seemed as though the entity captured exactly what Merlina would have said in this instance, and the accuracy is what trigged your traumas to override your reasoning.

"You have sworn to me that you would end my life, after the cleansing of the swamp was finished... Yet you ignored my suffering and left me to rot in that decaying body, all because of a simple Behelit. I was a fool for ever thinking you had a different intent than selfishly serving yourself, and to this day, I still live to bear the consequences, being absorbed into an abomination of nature, when it should be you who should live up to that name, traitor! Should I have known you would turn me into a scapegoat for your nightmares, I would have killed you when we've first met, you freak of nature!"

Her anger is too real to be mimicked by the entity... These are her true feelings shown by a momentary incarnation of your master. Your mind is distracted and refuses to cast magic you start to pant, giving it a golden opportunity to shift into it's true appearance and teleport out of the way, leaving you to brace yourself for the full impact of Gunpowder and the Dragonslayer.

As you are sent flying from the impact of the horse armor, your hardened spear blocks most of the damage as you fly back to the spirit tree and hit the trunk of the mansion, rolling on the floor to smother the fire out, you see that Guts also fell off from his straps and was resting by your side.

He seemed to have astral wounds similar to the ones you had previously, and the lack of armor shows that he's incapable of wearing any weight because of those injuries, he is ill equipped to take a single hit from those apostles.

Your rune shielded armor didn't even suffer a dent, and with the added resistance from your stamina increase, you thankfully withstood a building destroying blow while shrugging off most of the damage, but the same couldn't be said for Guts, who you had to offer your arm for him to stand.

'Told Vlad to move. Are Vlad ears worse than Gunpowder?'
>>
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>>5350365

Being close enough to be seen by Casca, Guts made it so you were not the only one triggered by horrific memories of the past.

As the swelling on her chest increased from her clothes being unable to withstand the blood flowing from her brand of sacrifice, she took notice of the familiar apostles who recognized and commented about the two of them.

"Hey... I remember these humans. They are the survivors from our master's sacrifice!"
"Yeah! I remember watching this broad get inseminated by our master. If only we could have done something other than watch..."
"She still appears to be in good shape, maybe the trouble of finding this spirit mansion was worth it after all..."

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARHH!" Casca became blinded by rage much like Guts, fighting like a cornered animal as she took her shortsword into her hands and repeatedly stabbed the apostles she tackled down until they were twitching from cadaveric spasm.

"CASCA! SNAP OUT OF IT! YOU'RE GOING TO- HGN!" Though she was performing better than the swordsman who could barely lift the dragonslayer, he knew a ferocious, raging attack did not suit Casca, it would. And though he attempted to fight alongside her to protect her from a second raping attempt, he could barely tear of a single apostle's arm with his sword.

The greatsword itself appeared to have a different sort of Od flowing from it, having been amplified by the energy of the God Hand itself... Did he attempt to kill one emanation of it in Qlipoth? You wonder if his weapon will stay cursed since he can't liberate the negative energy of the world like you can do with your Od transfer, but you'll have to consider this an upgrade for now.

When Casca failed to pull out the weapon from the fallen soldiers, she instead flung the axe of the gnomes onto the floor until a landslide formed outside the limits of where your barrier resided, causing much of the Kmengcide to spill over to the apostles, who aged up over 100 years in a few seconds, being weekend by age and slowly killed off by the remaining mandragoras and mud puppets.

With the remainders of the first two fleets regrouping into the third one, Zodd, The Entity and Grunbeld were finally marching alongside each other. With the flame dragon knight feeling like his mission was accomplished after seeing Flora's manor starting a countdown to it's ashes.
>>
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>>5350385
"MASTER!? WHERE ARE YOU!? MASTER!! MAAAASTEEEEER!" Schierke's screams are heard in the distance as Violet glides to the direction of her voice, attempting to reach the panicked child seeing her home being demolished with her master inside.

All of them are returning soon, you just have to hold them off a while longer...

Chanting with her scythe, the entity made all the apostles near it glow into a tint of gray, empowered by it's magic, they now had a similar, though thinner layer of protection to ensure their safety now that the monsters were not considering you incompetent buffoons.

"So the three of you are united again with the three of us... It seems we are truly connected." Zodd makes his grand entrance, though Grunbeld decides to speak over the immortal minotaur as he finally introduces himself.

"If possible, I wish to be the one who fights the black swordsman."
"Do I know you?"
"Perhaps not, but your rumors are nearly inescapable. The man who though human, survived the eclipse, going around his land to hunt for apostle blood. Though I have forced myself to invade the old woman to display my loyalty to the falcon, I was wondering why he sent his strongest soldiers to defeat a single woman. But seeing the display of the halfling besides you, I can see that this journey has been worthwhile. As the strongest human alive, you are a forced to be reckoned with. I, Grunbeld as a warrior of the band of the falcon, call upon the black swordsman in a single combat." Grunbeld takes a light bow before bashing his hammer at his shield.

"...What?" Guts was overcome with rage after hearing what Grunbeld entitled himself as.
"You... THE BAND OF THE FALCON!? HOW DARE YOU!"
"AAAAAARGH!" Before either of them could attack, the still exasperated Casca attempted to hit the axe onto grunbeld, who simply took the blow on his armor as the elementals had long abandoned her blade from the abuse of the weapon.

"I believe I've made myself clear when I said 'a single combat.' Though I would say the same to my group. Turn your blessings off of me, sorcerer. I will not require assistance from your side either."

"As you wish..." The entity retracted it's Od barrier from both Grunbeld and Zodd, who was likely thinking the same thing.
"Save your energy for those who need it. I can take The Skull Knight by myself!"
"None of you shall lay a finger on the witch." He draws his weapon while the empowered apostles obey Zodd's commands.

"Bring me the witch's head!"

>Assist Skull Knight in fighting Zodd and the empowered apostles, keeping them away from Flora as she ascends.
>Offer a tag team fight with Grunbeld. Him and The entity vs you and Guts.
>The entity is fueling the apostles, it's best to maintain your focus on it.
>Bluff that Guts is not in his full power, he needs an armor for it to be a true man's duel.
>Mount on Gunpowder and trace back to the trident. Time to beat fire with ice.
>Something else
>>
>>5350411
>Offer a tag team fight with Grunbeld. Him and The entity vs you and Guts.
>Mount on Gunpowder and trace back to the trident. Time to beat fire with ice.

If I'm correct, the Entity can't empower the apostles if she's too busy fighting Vlad and Guts. Though Skull Knight might have a hard time with Zodd, but I think he'll whittle down the rest easily enough.
>>
>>5350411
>>Bluff that Guts is not in his full power, he needs an armor for it to be a true man's duel.
While doing this place an hand on Guts back and heal him a bit
>>Mount on Gunpowder and trace back to the trident. Time to beat fire with ice.

>Write In
Tell Cindy to grab now the trident and give it to us, also prepare the armor for Guts.
Tell Guts to go with what we are saying, might buy time.
Tell Casca to get back and protect Cindy, the house can't fall
Call for Serpico and tell him to join us, if Hyde is with him send Hyde to Guts.
Call Farnese to get Schierke, we need both of them casting spells on this apostles now. Tell her to send Isidro to the house we need puck to use some powder on Guts and get him in the armor.
>>
>>5350411
>Mount on Gunpowder and trace back to the trident. Time to beat fire with ice.
>Offer a tag team fight with Grunbeld. Him and The entity vs you and Guts.
>>
>>5350411
>Offer a tag team fight with Grunbeld. Him and The entity vs you and Guts.
If the Entity can say no to the offer, then
>Try to knock Casca out or something to get her into the Caravan
>The entity is fueling the apostles, it's best to maintain your focus on it.
>Tell Gunpowder to protect the house from the Apostles, or at least make them lose time so the Mandragorans+mud puppets go and attack them
>Tell Gunpowder to only use the bashing power when it's safe that's not going to hit our allies or The Pegasus

I'm worrying to go for the Trident know, because all the fire that Grunbeld put surely evaporated it all and we could use only the out sweat or something (thanks again for choosing not to pick it up early before the fight, anons.)

Also, I'm considering on make Gunpowder to take Casca into the fight, because if she's totally out of control and Gunpowder couldn't make it like a babysit then things could go wrong, what do you guys think?
>>
>>5350411
>Offer a tag team fight with Grunbeld. Him and The entity vs you and Guts.
>Bluff that Guts is not in his full power, he needs an armor for it to be a true man's duel.
>Mount on Gunpowder and trace back to the trident. Time to beat fire with ice.
Buying time is the best way for this to go, I reckon.
And grunbeld would be fucking pissed if the entity refused him a grand fight against TWO excellent warriors.
>>
>>5350444
I am taking Gunpowder, we have a connection with him that would improve combat. And i am not knocking casca now in the middle of a fight.
>>
>>5350434
I'll add in healing Guts and calling the rest of the party in like this anon said.
>>5350439
>>
>>5350434
>>5350439
>>5350442
>>5350444
>>5350447
>>5350449
>>5350463
Wellp, those sure are going to be a lot of words for me to write, but like Grunbeld, I'll accept your challenge.

3d100. First one is to see if the dragon falls for the berserker bluff, 2nd to either fight the entity or both of them in case the first roll sucks, and 3rd to get casca out of the way while your trident takes it's time to arrive.

Let's roll!
>>
Rolled 33, 100, 3 = 136 (3d100)

>>5350585
WOOOOOOORDS
>>
Rolled 8, 21, 46 = 75 (3d100)

>>5350585
BY THE POWER OD DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE
>>
Rolled 8, 14, 60 = 82 (3d100)

>>5350585
>>
>>5350590
looks like the universe has a funny sense of balance today.
>>
>>5350590
Ayo, wtf with these rolls man
>>
unusual rolls
>>
Rolled 5, 26, 14 = 45 (3d100)

>>5350585
I will make up for my atrocious roll from earlier
>>
>>5350635
Nevermind
>>
>>5350590
>>5350600
>>5350602
Oh wow, I don't even know how to make sense of this...
Give me a minute, I'll see how this adds up.
>>
>>5350590
>>5350600
>>5350602
So we're not very convincing and Grunbeld probably will fight Guts and Us right away.
We proceed to kick the living shit out of the Entity and Grunbeld while casca spasms slowly out of the way and the trident takes its sweet time.
This is going to be hilarious to read.
Vlad "If there's more than one I want it gone" Santana once more proves that he's ALWAYS more effective at fighting multiple enemies than he is in solo combat.
>>
>>5350590
I wish our boy Barny was here so he could witness the fucking massacre coming Grunbeld's way (and also eat some apostles)
>>
>>5350736
We can give him Grunbeld's heart if we succeed
>>
>>5350872
Hold your buckaroos there horse, I doubt we'll be killing Grunbeld. We probably will barely be able to hurt him in the first place.
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>>5350877
A man can dream
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>>5350590
>>5350600
>>5350602

"But Grunbeld! Wouldn't you rather fight your enemy at the peak of his power? Surely a champion of your size, coming from such a far away land would rather meet someone that wouldn't be lacking in their energy. As you can see, my friend here has lost his armor, all I ask is for you to wait for him to get his spare, and he will give you the fight of your dreams!"

"There are no dreams to flourish in the midst of a battle to the death. I am not a circus clown for you to entertain yourself, you self-absorbed bastard!" Guts protests to being a mere appetizer for the dragon, firmly pressing the Dragon Slayer against his shield.

Yet instead of breaking, he managed to parry a sword as big as Guts' while battering him with his battle hammer, whacking at his ribcage to successfully crack at his bones, sending the wounded swordsman plummeting towards the floor.

"I was told that the phantom impaler was sick, according to Zodd, yet that did not stop you from showing me a true display of battle prowess. A warrior such as him would not do such an amateur mistake of losing his armor before coming to a decisive duel. If he cannot adapt to his circumstances, it will be an error that he will take to his grave."

Guts attempts to shield himself of the blunt damage from Grunbeld's blows, yet fighting the trolls since early morning and going to Qlipoth in the afternoon is a drain of stamina that not even the beast of darkness inside him can refill. Guts coughs blood as his punctured chest opens from his astral wounds, revealing what could have happened if you ever overexerted yourself in such life or death scenarios.

"STOOOP! LET GO OF HIM! GUTS!" Casca still wails on the enemy as Grunbeld ignores her punches, chucking her over to the caravan as she crashed and opened the door from the impact, letting Cindy be free to ream onto the ravaged fields.

"Your sword is indeed remarkable, taking so many blows without breaking. But what of your fight? You have only struck me once, being knocked away without any resistance."

"Just you wait... YOU WILL PAY FOR THIS!" Guts attempts to get up to strike Grunbeld with his cannon, yet can't even find the force to straighten his knees without falling again.

'Will see how brown woman is. If clown woman is there, will tell her to bring you fork.'

"GP! Wait!" You advise him to not blindly rush in, saving time as you commanded him to not blindly use his bashing speed, only saving it for when he's sure he can pierce through the enemy as to not repeat the previous accident.

Making a gamble to reach the spirit mansion before it starts consuming Flora and Gunbeld killed Guts. Yet as soon as you manage to heal Casca and move over to see where Cindy was... Zhafira's squaky voice is heard as the harlequin's head pops out of the caravan.

"Did somebody say circus!?"
>>
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>>5350904
"Cindy! What the hell are you doing outside! are you out of your mind?" You wonder if she had been skipping her shots, given how she's dressed and caked up like the clown girl you've met in Ilos.

"I am not Cindy! I am Zhafira! Teehee! Bringing smiles to the world with her great talents and assets-"

"I can't waste time with you, I'm locking you two inside." You push them both with your shoulder, until Cindy got out of character to explain what she was doing.

"Waitwaitwaitwait! I am not wasting your time! This is my battle paint!"
"You mean your war paint? I thought you hated fighting, Cindy..."
"Cindy does hate fighting! But Zhafira isn't afraid of anyone! She will laugh in the face of danger, because unlike Cindy, she has the hands to grasp the weight of the world! Haha!"

The Unseen Tailor's Hand appears as she brings the needle along side her, quickly layering her clothes into a silky exterior.

"The silk blocks fire, remember! Zhafira can't forget now, so she is invincible! Haha!" She attempts to use her stage name and acting skills to mask her fears of the apostles, making the most out of her noncombative abilities to enter the mansion before it's burn to a crisp.

"Please, Vlad... The others are busy fighting the apostles away from us, and the flames are almost reaching Flora. And you don't have the time to look for her, so get back there with that fork of yours and give that evil a piece of your mind!"

Still only being a commoner, you could tell she was afraid, and had no plans on fighting apostles, but knowing the situation and seeing that Flora's death was near, she really was the only one capable of getting in and out without being put on fire.

Seeing Gaiseric and Zodd fighting amongst themselves, The Skull Knight made quick work of the empowered apostles, still being no match for a being of his stature as Zodd chastised him for running away.

"Chasing a woman amidst your fight? That is unlike you, Immortal. I believed battling was all that meant to you."
"Don't misunderstand, I'm the only one who can hold you off. it's that and that alone."
"So it seems we both have different reasons than usual..."

"See! Mr. Skeleton will save me, because I have a skeleton too! Haha!"
You could attempt to put the fire out for her, but will the handle even activate the undines, when there is so little humidity in this air?

>I trust you to bring the armor, but that's all you are doing.
>No, let me through.
>[Check on Flora's fading Od and bid her farewell.]
>Write-in.
>>
>>5350954
>I trust you to bring the armor, but that's all you are doing.
I'm confused because Cindy it's saying she's going for Flora, while in the option it says going for the Armor, but if it means both then it's all good

And if we can absorb water from anywhere we should put it in Flora's mansion, if not we could still store it in some pocket before going again to fight
>>
>>5350954
>I trust you to bring the armor, but that's all you are doing.
>>
>>5350966
>I trust you to bring the armor, but that's all you are doing.
>>
>>5350954
>I trust you to bring the armor, but that's all you are doing.
>>
>>5350954
>>I trust you to bring the armor, but that's all you are doing... for now
>>
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>>5350966
>>5350975
>>5350980

"I trust you to bring the armor, but that's all you are doing."
"I will bring a smile to your face, weed admiral!" The unseen hand envelops Zhafira as she skips and hops around the battlefield, dodging and skipping around the fiery manor as she went over the safest path towards the raging inferno.

"Are you really the black swordsman, who defeated so many apostles? Who equally crossed swords with Nosferatu Zodd? A weakling like you, considered our arch-nemesis?" Grunbeld angrily stomped at Guts' chest, envying Zodd for his formidable opponent while he was stuck with the vermin.

"The battlefield ought to be a sacred place to a warrior. To meet death in battle is one's long-cherished aspiration... But it seems the pride of a warrior is not fitting for you."

Guts is kicked onto the floor, not even being worth killed by his main weapon as Grunbeld aimed his cannon filled to the brim with explosives onto the swordsman.

"Fall to pieces and litter the ground."

"GP... Remember when I promised you a good fight? Well, it's about time I give one to you."

'Like old times?'
"Even better... This time, we'll be murdering as many apostles as you want. And if we're lucky, we might just stand tall when we obliterate their troop's commander. Together of course."

'Vlad promises a lot, will Vlad deliver?'
"Only one way to find out... Now run through the dragon with the power of sound!"
'DIE!' Gunpowder's neighing becomes inaudible as he charges his speed up to a ridiculous degree. You can barely see a the blur of images that your eyes process as you speed through the entirety of the forest, only being able to locate the entity and the flaming dragon thanks to your Od Vision.

Guiding GP with the strongest pulls you could use on his reins, the ringing in your ears doesn't let you hear when Grunbeld is struck as his left side is trampled by Gunpowder's unbreakable horn helm. Though his iron-clad armor should have stopped the blow from penetrating him, his shoulder was pierced by your horse and the damage was visible up to his perforated ribcage, and after running through several within the apostle army, as well as the trees of your creation, you dispersed the mob as the splinters entered and moved through his body, you had effectively saved Guts from becoming mush, additionally deteriorating Grunbeld's armor through Kmengcide.

You are not underestimating yourself. when you say you can defeat this enemy, and as Gunpowder finally slows down from exhaustion, you telepathically tell Guts to wait for Zhafira to hand in the armor and get back to where you stood, far from your group, but also from the apostles and the worst of the fire.
>>
ooooooh shiiiit, Vlad VS Grunbeld. Gonna be an interesting fight.
>>
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Of course the site freezes for 7 hours while I try to write the hypest part of the fight...
Well, at least I finished writing most of it.
>>
>>5351284

Not being finished with your onslaught, you imbue your Od onto your halberd and spike Grunbeld with the top of your weapon, carrying the momentum of Gunpowder's speed as you leapt forward while he was slowing down, the inertia doing more to increase your strength and flip him onto the floor, with you standing on top of him as you entered the duel.

"What is the meaning of this, Phantom!?" Why have you decided to interrupt our fight?"

"On the contrary, I merely wish to join you in a tag team duel. Guts and I versus you and the entity that will soon find us here." You feel the presence of the mage from the apostle band quickly floating over to your side of the battlefield, urging you to jump back onto Gunpowder and deflect the scythe projectiles from damaging your horse.

Adding his energy with yours, you block and reflect the attacks back to it's caster, with the entity also trying to avoid it's own attacks, as they could cut straight through it's own barrier. Firing off a soul arrow against her makes her teleport around to attempt an evasive combat maneuver.

"A flea's jump are proportionally astounding to a creature of their size. A tiger beetle also moves too fast to see. Their knowledge of the world only makes their feats impressive to their own blissful kind." The entity bluffs, though appearing to shorten the size of it's astral disks.

Despite it's pool of mana seeming nearly infinite thanks to the lives it took, you are also receiving a boost from the dead elementals of the forest. While your stamina will likely run out before hers, the barrier she keeps around herself is bound to weaken eventually, and you are on the offensive side more times than her.

"A corroding effect?! So you are capable of weakening both my armor, and my spirit?" Grunbeld understands your attacks as soon as he tries to lift his shield, falling from it's deterioration as his defensive left arm barely moves high enough to raise his cannon.

"Are you satisfied with a change of opponents? If you believe that this fight is unfair on your side, you can consider my horse is a second opponent for now, and not an extension of my arsenal.

"A lucky shot is all you will achieve, Phantom!" He swings his hammer up, gaining momentum to crush you and Gunpowder.
Your armor completely absorbs the damage as you hold his gigantic hammer in place, with Gunpowder resisting the push. Doing a handstand and falling on your knees with your back to GP's ear, you dodge both the oncoming horizontal swings, and the vertical swipes of her scythe.

"It feels more fitting... to be called a Phantom by apostles... I wish to be the one to haunt your nightmares, when you consider taking hold of the astral and physical world... I will be there to skewer through your dreams, to give the death that you wish for in battle, but also to this foolish cultural dead end that romanticizes genocide among nations! I SHALL END YOU MYSELF, FOR I AM MY OWN ARMY!"
>>
>>5351523
God damn. Just call us Vlad the Fell Omen, because we're going to put these foolish ambitions of theirs to rest.
Emboldened by the flame of ambition, someone must extinguish thy flame. Let it be Vlad Santana!
>>
phantom is a good title for scare our enemies
>>
Vlad has come a long way hasn't he?
>>
>>5351523
You circle around Grunbeld as GP gracefully dodges the soul slices from the entity, who stops firing it towards you after seeing how it could easily kill Grunbeld accidentally.

A whirlwind of mud rises from the force that Gunpowder makes by diggings his hooves into the ground and flinging it onto the air with every trot. Grunbeld can see but a continuous dark and brown blur as you slash through his decaying armor.

The explosives and firecrackers he carried inside his vest appeared to also be deteriorating, he was forced to use the cannon he had on his arm as you destroyed his shield in half. He's lucky that none of the Kmengcide got on his skin yet!

Still using the Od Vision, the entity could see Grunbeld being bashed from side to side as your halberd opened gash upon gash onto his body, stunning a giant among giants while standing up on top of your dark horse. Chanting a healing spell while making scythes out of her spirit, the entity phased several weapons through the floor, attempting to come out when you least expected to.

Lucky for you, this coincided with the recovered Grunbeld jumping into the air as he fired most of his ammo count all at once, obliterating the floor beneath him as nothing but a crater was left of where you stood.

You could have easily been obliterated by this explosion, were it not for your intent reading that made you seemingly disappear while Grunbeld thought he was the victor in your fight.

In actuality, you leaped onto his hammer and spun yourself on it like a pole while you two were high up in the clouds. Commanding Gunpowder to dash at the entity, she was forced to stop her healing to hold him down with her barrier, slowly but surely being pushed away as GP went to full throttle.

Using his hammer as a vault pole, you repeatedly kicked at the dragon's face with each spin. Feeling the bruises on his face, he still attempted to fire at you midair, but his cannon was already jammed thanks to the rust from the Kmengcide.

As gravity finally sent you down to planet earth, Grunbeld tried to take you off his hammer with his wild swings, at the orange tinted sky. Despite growing dizzy from the movements, you just knew that there was an army of spirit spears, blades and bolts flying towards you as you careened towards a terrible fall.

Even if you can take some damage, falling from a height up to the clouds will do plenty of damage, and should you not stick the landing, your fall could put an end to your fight before Guts could tag you out...

>Fire a soul arrow through Grunbeld's heart.
>Place the trident handle on the inside of his mouth and impale him with icicles as it grows with the increased humidity.
>Let go of his hammer and jump away, you will not be able to dodge the entity's soul armor otherwise.
>Plead for Gunpowder to catch you mid-fall.
>Use your last magical seed to grow a tree to break your fall.
>Something else.
>>
>>5351601
>Place the trident handle on the inside of his mouth and impale him with icicles as it grows with the increased humidity.
>Use this ice, grown from the clouds and from Grunbeld's own blood, to form a slick ramp to bleed off your vertical momentum. If you aim it right, you might even be able to avoid the projectiles and fling yourself towards the Entity...
RULES OF NATURE
>>
>>5351607
+1
AND THEY RUN WHEN THE SUN COMES UP
>>
>>5351607
+1
WITH THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE
>>
>>5351607
+1
>>
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>>5351596
And this isn't even his final form yet, between mastering astral projection, using his soul double and finding Sivir's orb... there's still plenty of room for growth.

Seems like he has plenty of training partners now, between teaching Farnese and Isidro, sparring with Guts and Serpico, and now having some extra magical aid with Schierke, things are definitely looking up for him after what, 3 threads of him being crippled?

Thank god Vlad didn't take any major wounds after Albion, otherwise he would pop like a balloon.
His equipment and training was always kept up, but now that he doesn't need a charge from Farnese on the hour to act like a normal human being, he'll finally be able to show his progress.
>>
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>>5351607
>>5351610
>>5351621
>>5351623
3d100. 70 for the first, 85 to break the fall and escape the astral swords with no damage whatsoever, could work partially if you fail, but only partially, as this is a big gamble. Third one is to see how fast Guts arrives since he already has a good gift for Grunbeld...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq2rrcbg5Ck
ROLL! OUT HERE ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE!
>>
Rolled 81, 22, 48 = 151 (3d100)

>>5351629
>>
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Rolled 51, 14, 57 = 122 (3d100)

>>5351629
>>
Rolled 33, 7, 14 = 54 (3d100)

>>5351629
>>
Rolled 5, 7, 39 = 51 (3d100)

>>5351629
Falling with style.
>>
>>5351633
>>5351642
>>5351644
We do the impaling and the ramp, but it doesn't really break our fall all that well or get us out of the way of the attacks. Guts arrives when its suitably dramatic enough.
On the bright side, we're probably dealing just as much damage as we take here!
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>>5351633
>>5351642
>>5351644
So he activates the trident and falls badly while Guts approaches as a leisure pace... Not bad at all, writing!
>>
I guess Vlad still needs some serious training with his Trident hehe.
>>
>>5351732
>"PERISH!"
https://youtu.be/ctF-dVNR4jo
>>
>>5351732
>BAPTIZE ME IN YOUR GRACE, UNDINES!
Anyway we could keep the seed in our mouth, for surprise od charged spear for impale one of the demons
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>>5351732

'CLANG!'

The dragonslayer savagely tears at Grunbeld's crystal paw, as the apostle was forced to pull his foot elsewhere, you move over to see Guts' face as he stoically stared at the dragon's nearly severed limb.

The lack of emotion in Guts' face is concerning. Or at least, what you can barely see of his face. His presence is entirely demonic, as the donned Berserker Armor morphed his face into that of a skull. He shouldn't be walking so casually, let alone tearing off the foot of a dragon with the strength he had previously unless he had some serious healing of his astral wounds, which would not be possible in such a matter of minutes--

--Is his hand broken from the potency of his attack? The armor from the placards to his gauntlets appear to have twisted his arms in itself, bent like a contorted cloth piece as the force of his blow appeared to have gone several times over the limit of his durability.

But using it's twisted magic, the armor's metallic scales dug into Guts' skin and twisted his arm back into shape as he groaned and screamed in pain, with his conscience slowly being lost as the beast of darkness rose to take hold of the armor.

"Is that... The Black Swordsman?! No... That's impossible... How did he go from barely putting up a fight against me, to cracking my skin of corundum, harder than steel itself?!"

"As I've said before... He was merely missing his armor piece... And now that he's --Geh!-- Finally equipped to fight you... our double duel is ready to begin... Or should I say, our double slaughter?" You conceal your broken dominant hand, placing it on your back as you wielded your trident on your left with your staff and halberd strapped onto your back. You wish you could count on Guts to say something to soothe your worries, but as his screams turn into howls resembling an eldritch wolf, you can hear the beast of darkness inside his head as the image of the skull helm is replaced by the fangs of the monster.

"GRIFFITH HAS RETURNED, HE HAS ALREADY REPLACED YOU! DO NOT LET HIM DEFILE HER ONCE MORE! IF HE WANTS TO REPEAT THE EVENTS OF THAT HORRIBLE DAY, YOU SHALL PREVENT FRIEND AND FOE FROM DYING BY HIS HANDS, KILLING THEM YOURSELF! TAKE MATTERS ONTO YOUR OWN! MURDER THEM! DESTROY THEM ALL!"

Unable to withstand more of his howls, the entity sliced an Od slash straight through Guts, with you having to block it from reaching you as your icy trident was hardened through your life force. Should you have failed to block this attack, it would have sliced through your legs and killed you in an instant... Yet Guts seems unphased by the astral attack.

The wolf was not howling from pain, but from hunger.
>>
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As the repeated spiritual slices passed through his body, the armor proceeded to reinforce it's wounds, seemingly undoing them to keep his body in piece, but biting through bone and flesh as he was devoured by the steel teeth inside the monster's maw. His turbulence of power is so strong and maleficent that he can ignore wounds that would kill any in his stead.

Yet as both Grunbeld and the entity are forced to fight the beast on your side, you wonder for how long Guts will be fighting as your ally. Likely going by order of strength, the beast will be satisfied if he dies fighting either the entity or Grunbeld... But should he live while remaining in this state, you will become the next target, and soon the rest of your team, as Guts will be rendered as useful to the chaotic mission of the God Hand as their own apostles.

You would ask for instructions on how to proceed, but Schierke and the others are far behind you, and Flora seems to already have passed away as Grunbeld's flames incinerated her into ash...

Still feeling her presence onto the air, you take notice of the ascended witch instructing Schierke on how to proceed, making sure she can astral project and save Guts from his own lust for carnage.

You feel cornered as to what to do, to either let Guts do all the work for you would mean to lose your friend as he just managed to achieve an insurmountable amount of power. Though you could astral project instead of Flora's apprentice, your first spiritual journey ending with your soul becoming one with the beast of darkness would only fasten The Berserker Armor's rampage of carnage. Yet you somehow need to stall for time while not killing both apostles, as the more they are overwhelmed, the more Guts will reject your assistance in this fight...

...That is... if he can even accept you as an ally right now.
The Berserker Armor: Chapter End.
>>
>>5351803
Wonderful chapter
I have some ideas for next session.
Probably heal our arm first, maybe use our last seed has a surprise od spear.
The Berserk armor might be problematic, but we did start some form of mental training for Guts. It might be not too bad now.
Looking forward to impale both the Entity and Grunbeld, less champions/liutenants for Griffith is a good aid for long term goals.
For Guts, Casca could help. Ice and wood could also block him for some time.
And we might send some of our od to Schierke
>>
>>5351803
Good chapter guys, looking forward to starting the next one whenever we get around to doing that. Speaking of which, Becchi are you taking a break to rest after this like usual or what do you feel like?
>>
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>>5351847
Taking a break until the next episode starts on Saturday. I was really hoping to see Vlad get this W and I'm pretty satisfied with the overall result, but between how chaotic it is to describe a war fight + all the expository reveals about the elementals, the truth about Vlad's backstory, Sivir's true nature, etc etc, this was easily the wordiest chapter out of all sessions.

Felt like a break was much needed considered we've adapted like 2 volume's worth of the manga in here, going on 3. At least it managed to scratch my itch on writing consistently on my PC after last thread was such a bitch to do on my phone, this was tons of fun.

Alas, there is plenty to talk about until we get there. The soul double, the astral projection, the trident, things are finally looking up for Vlad. Hopefully it was as fun to read as it was for me to deliver.

>>5351815
I'd say you can have a chance of killing Grunbeld here, given how Guts hasn't even gotten started on his side of the fight, perhaps even freeing Merlina, if you're brave enough, buuuuuuuut...

>>5349311
>"Be mindful of your wishes. When a Berserker loses control of his mind, he might as well consider all living presences, his deadliest enemy." The Skull Knight's words trigger you a vision of Guts, slicing you in half with the dragon slayer while clad in this cursed armor.
>You haven't had many premonitions, but knowing the difference between seeing the near and the far future, you don't want to contest what your mind sees. If Guts goes Berserk, it's best to not get in his way, especially since the Beast Of Darkness already knows who you are.

There's your warning.
>>
>>5351868
Of the two, I would greatly prefer to eliminate the Entity and leave Grunbeld as guts bait for a while.
That being said, was anyone else weirded out by how this arc transitioned in the manga? Flora goes all big fire ghost and everyone just...walks off. Even Skull Knight. For a guy who wants to fuck over causality, he gives up awfully easily against apostles that were arguably at the end of their rope - Why not deal a finishing blow to Zodd? He's not even in a hurry after Flora's death - not like during the Eclipse. And I don't really think they're even opponents at all, given how quickly he deals with him during said Eclipse. For real man, they just walk off and [one week later] that shit.

That aside, HERE, it makes more sense for shit to be taking a while. The entity was reinforcing the minions and Zodd so Skull Knight will have a bit more difficulty in taking them down.
>>
>>5351868
I will see you on Saturday at the usual time then my friend!

I had a great time in both participating in this chapter and reading your writing, I really can't praise it enough. I actually really enjoyed reading all the expository dialogue this chapter, maybe that's just me, but I don't really find it difficult to read at all.

I'm also looking forward to seeing the further developments ahead in regards to the actual story and Vlad's growth with his healed body, I am especially looking forward to seeing him develop his new skills and abilities as he trains in the future with his full potential finally having the chance to unlock itself.
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>>5351868
Great chapter Beechi. I enjoyed seeing Vlad and the gang develop for the better.
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>>5351900
Zodd's power scaling in general feels all over the place in the original story, desu. He's regarded as a monster among monsters, yet has been the biggest jobber of the manga. He loses an arm to Golden Age Guts + Griffith, which fair enough, you can attribute to Femto's causality, but after that he fights evenly with Guts at the hill of swords which entices Grunbeld to search for the guy, and later on in his apostle form he struggles to beat the likes of Ganishka without asking Guts for a truce.

I have no doubts that Fantasia Guts with The Berserker armor could defeat Apostle Zodd by himself, even if he died afterwards, which makes it hard to believe that SK and Zodd are comparable in strength when one of them has a sword that can nope you out of existence and suck the whole dimension of Qlipoth back to where it was.

For him to not have been killed off by Skull Knight for over 300 years, I believe he either spares him out of pity from having a related past or because he doesn't consider him a primary threat. Hopefully they elaborate on why that is now that Berserk is back in publication, it's why I didn't feel like it was too far-fetched for Vlad/Serpico/Farnese to beat him together when he tied with Guts in the Mandragora Arc originally
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>>5352028
It's hard not to see Zodd as the world's most powerful worm, given his displays in the manga.
Sure, to a normal person he's hard to even hurt. To a normal person, a single strike from him is about as survivable as a bear mauling you in the same way.
But as soon as any character is capable of dealing with hits like that (be it dodging them reliably or tanking them reliably) and capable of cutting through his thick hide, Zodd is nothing more than an annoying flying regenerator. He's not the most skilled fighter, and he doesn't have unusual abilities you have to strategize around. He just tries to beat you in a war of attrition at that point. Is Barnham roughly the same way? Sure. But I think our boy Barny will change if he survives long enough, and hey, devouring interesting and powerful apostles might end up giving him an edge that Zodd doesn't have. At least Barnham doesn't grovel at Femto's feet for having the good luck of getting a red behelit like Zodd does.

It honestly HAS to be pity from Skull Knight. They're not even comparable, despite Zodd's thoughts otherwise.
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>>5349795
>If Grunbeld decides to pull his "i want an honorable duel" thing with Vlad I have an idea on what we can to do.

My original idea was to stab Grunbeld in his chainmailed crotch but that didn't really come into play.
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>>5351868
yeah best be cautious but still, seeing them die would be quite a boon. uh this will likely create the same just argument has before (guts being bloodthirsty), this time the berserk armor adds on it
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>>5352454
>Greetings, Sire. Let us duel against each other in this honorable combat against knights of the battlefield--
>CLANG
>TomScream.wav

Would have been a funny idea, but I don't see it working on the long term lol
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So... Today we're back?
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>>5356930
Yeah, but have patience. It should be beginning again relatively soon.
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Lots of hype for Berserker Guts and Vlad vs Entity and Grunbeld.
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>>5357146
More like Vlad vs Entity and Grunbeld vs AssmadGuts
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>>5356930
Yeah, sorry for the lack of announcement, should have given a general timeframe for when it started so nobody was kept waiting.
Well, it's still saturday here so I'll leave the update post here and start shifting gears when everyone's ready.

Aaaaand start!
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Grunbeld and the armored swordsman have locked eyes, staring into each other with as much fighting intent flowing through them as their need to devour themselves in enemy blood.

While luck appeared to be on your side as the number of your team evened out against theirs, a few apostles had found their way to the entity, and having them fight while empowered by the dark magician could prove to be worrisome, but regardless, the creature kept chanting to itself, focusing on drawing more soul blades while multiplying their force.

"Should we attack them?"
"In front of Grunbeld while he's fighting? Nah! You'd be asking for a death sentence at that point. Only transform on command, remember?"
"But if this thing is already giving us magic force, think of the damage we'll cause when we are unleashed! She's already handing it out to everyone but the big guys, so it's not like she'd turn it off if we did something else."

The smaller apostles ponder to themselves. Now that Grunbeld has forgotten about you as a duelist, what are the chances a line of monsters at the same time as you deal with the entity?

Moderate, you would say, were it not for your broken wrist. Since it merely dislocated and adrenaline is numbing most of the pain, you could attempt to place it back where it was, though you have never tried to do that before, it certainly wouldn't be nearly as debilitating as suturing brattled bones with iron sutures the size of spikes, like Guts' armor is currently doing as blood spills out of his breastplate with each wild swing of the dragonslayer, doing as much damage to the crystal dragon as he does to himself.

>Fire soul arrows at the apostles before they transform.
>Attack the entity now that Grunbeld has left you alone.
>Mount on Gunpowder and plow through them with his speed.
>Use your soul double to fight twice the enemies simultaneously.
>Attempt to fix your wrist.
>Seal their form and keep them from transforming.
>Plant your last tree, imbue it with Od and burst it's splinters to all present.
>Help Guts do more damage on Grunbeld. He'll go down faster that way.
>Something else.
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>>5357371
>Attempt to fix your wrist.
>Mount on Gunpowder and plow through them with his speed.
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>>5357371
>Attempt to fix your wrist.
>Mount on Gunpowder and plow through them with his speed.
Talking is not a free action, whelps!
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Rolled 18, 80, 59, 56, 49, 30, 24, 85, 59, 6 = 466 (10d100)

Lets see how the dice gods are feeling today
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>>5357377
>>5357469
Well, let's see how a 2d100+10 goes, boost because you're both a good medic and a master at gunpowder shenanigans at this point.
Anyway, first goes for gore, second for the horse who loves gore, feel free to roll!
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Rolled 89, 53 + 10 = 152 (2d100 + 10)

>>5357518
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Rolled 42, 39 + 10 = 91 (2d100 + 10)

>>5357518
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Rolled 93, 29 + 10 = 132 (2d100 + 10)

>>5357518
This one's for mookslaying.
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>>5357526
>>5357533
>>5357560
Perfect bone reattachment, average ride on Gunpowder's death ride.
Will write after I wake up tomorrow
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Vlad could become a fucking MD at this point and I wouldn't be surprised lol.
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>>5357345
To combat this, maybe we should start doing a EST and GMT time frame thing to lower confusion and so that everyone can participate all at once, know what I mean?

Just a suggestion yo, anyone else thinking similar?
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>>5357817
True, I'll try to mitigate that problem next time by giving a more precise time frame
Anyways, writing
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>>5357526
>>5357533
>>5357560

And one, two... Three!
The snapping of your joints causes an enormous amount of pain, but you grit your teeth and prevent yourself from groaning. Screw the Berserker armor, it's numbness of pain and it's ability to poorly heal Guts, this is something you can do all of that better than it without losing your humanity.

It's best not to abuse your right hand, since it's still not moving as swiftly as your left, yet you don't have to worry about movement, since Gunpowder and the undines will help you aim better.

Whistling for GP, you vault over on his saddle and let him run amok, focusing your Od and spreading it to his armor and the undines, you let him trample and bite through the apostles who have yet to transform, turning them into chunks instead of demons as their souls disintegrate, being transformed and purified into pure air.

It's not the painless release they deserve from this world, given their sins, but it is one that will prevent you from wasting time and energy ravaging them and possibly getting a rise out of their torture, much like Guts has done in the past.

As the vast majority of the apostles are defeated, the entity decides to take matters into her own hands, sending it's flying soul weapons in your direction. While you were able to dodge and strike through most of them, the semi-solid trident sometimes failed you as the blade went straight past your weapon and slashed you anyway, proving that you still needed some time getting used to the undines before properly fighting.

With your rune enchanted armor preventing you from feeling much other than blunt damage, you and GP still had plenty of stamina to tackle the entity spamming projectiles from a distance, even if you might have to negate that barrier with a good Od Blast.

All the while, Grunbeld's corundum skin seems unable to ignore the pure Od flowing through his veins, poisoning his strength as it burns through his durability despite already transforming, with Guts destroying his bones and veins as he cracks and slices through the scales of Grunbeld with the dragonslayer.

Out of the corner of your eye, you can see the astral silhouette of Schierke, who growing worried of Guts' well being, intended on entering the berserker armor to control the beast.

You can only hope and pray that the entity does not notice her.

>Distract the entity by charging at it.
>Attempt to break her barrier and finally striking it.
>Solidify the trident and attempt to freeze Grunbeld.
>Ask Schierke how the others are doing.
>Ignore their durability and fire a few soul arrows at both enemies.
>Something else
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>>5357924
>Distract the entity by charging at it.
>Attempt to break her barrier and finally striking it.
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>>5357924
>Distract the entity by charging at it.
>Attempt to break her barrier and finally striking it.
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>>5357924
>>Distract the entity by charging at it.
>>Attempt to break her barrier and finally striking it.
Uh it s here

Prepare to use our last seed
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>>5357924
>>Distract the entity by charging at it.
>>Attempt to break her barrier and finally striking it.
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>>5357934
>>5357936
>>5357978
a 1d100 should do it, it'1s an easy combo to do since one thing will lead to the other, so all you gotta do is roll for results!
Make it flashy, anons!
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Rolled 28 (1d100)

>>5358009
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Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>5358009
STYLE POINTS
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>>5358024
SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT
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Rolled 71 (1d100)

Causality. >>5358009
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>>5358024
Well, that sure is flashy...
Writing!
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>>5358066
We'll try spinning, that's a good trick.

Maybe it's flashy enough for Merlina's soul to scoff at a memory she doesn't realize she has
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nice
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>>5358012
>>5358024
>>5358038

If Gunpowder could push the monster's barrier back, then it's possible that he just needs a little nudge to break through, and you have just the right thing for it...

"CHARGE!" You signal for the black stallion to break through the sound barrier once again, instantly appearing in front of the entity as it could barely fortify it's shield in time.

As you finally saw a crack on it, you shoved the liquid trident at the barrier and let it splash over it's circular shape, letting them solidify into a ball of frost, finally revitalizing the undines to pierce the barrier with the three spikes of the trident onto the Merlina lookalike.

Once the trident penetrated through the amalgamation's chest, the barrier was dispersed as Gunpowder kicked it onto Grunbeld's jaw, impeding him from using his fire breath to incinerate Guts, though it did not stop the freak of nature to slash at the dragon's face while the temperature from the fire near him should be enough to boil his skin.

Not matter for how long he tried to melt the ice, the ball seemed like it had the temperature of absolute zero, blowing more flames only redirected them back to Grunbeld's throat as it kept the giant from losing his mouth to frostbite.

The entity is finally within your grasp, you see several souls escaping from it as you imbue it with Od, letting the amalgamation lose it's council of madness as the image of your master became less and less distorted.

Still not wanting to leave her vessel, the panicked entity used it's scythe to dig it's blade at your jugular, using it's phasing projectiles to off your head before it's body was frozen solid.

Using your soul double to catch the scythe, you kept your physical arms in place as you struggled to push her off. While the real Merlina is close to showing herself, it seems that she's slowly recuperating the Od she had at the peak of her powers, empowering her strength and magical prowess instead of diminishing it.
"Vlad! Are you there? The transformed apostles are heading your way! Flora is already..." A panicked Farnese informs you of the elder witch's fate. The timing couldn't be worse...


"How are the others?"
"We are trying our best, but we're already exhausted from fighting the trolls at Qlipoth and Enoch. Serpico and Hyde are holding the line, but there's too many of them. Schierke decided to bring you two over here and attempt to calm Guts down. Please, hurry up!"

Guts is close to defeating Grunbeld, but the trail of blood that drowns his feet shows that he might die if he keeps inching closer to the final blow, and the same goes for the entity. While you could drop her down and take leave, that would only mean having to fight her later as she grows stronger.

You have taken down a considerable number of apostles, but is it enough to make a dent in Griffith's new band of the falcon?
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>>5358142
>There is still time to bring the entity down, pursue the attack!
>Schierke might not take control of the armor in time, help Guts defeat the major apostle.
>Farnese won't die on your watch. Remember that you are fighting for peace.
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>>5358142
>Far