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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/2022/5340343/

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. Critfails will only count if you don't pass the DC

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 don't break character.

Have fun and do your best.
>>
I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick-ass…

…and I’m ALL outta bubblegum.
>>
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>>5377799

"So how is he doing?" Serpico asks you of Guts' condition after a full day's work on him, only having time to rest at nightfall as Serpico throws some pebbles at the ocean to pass the time with you.

"We finally took the armor off of him. Damn thing was stuck on several of his vital organs, it was like a metal straw slurping on his blood. If it wasn't for Schierke's sleeping spells constantly putting him under, we would have lost him already..."

"And you still trust him enough to stay with that thing? You're pretty much lit the fuse on a man who doesn't have a good track record of handling explosives."

"Perhaps the same could be said of Farnese back in the day, but we've managed to handle her so far, right?"

"Speak for yourself..." Serpico's remarks seems rude at first, but you can see that he's merely lamenting how he was unable to change her before you came along. "Still, Hyde and I aren't too happy about him feeding into his bloodlust, it could easily turn into a liability for the group. To risk him killing us all whenever he dons that helm..."

"It's a necessary evil for now. Were it up to me, I wouldn't have him using the Berserker armor after one mere use leaves him half-dead, but I feel partially to blame after leaving him alone to fight The entity and Grunbeld, I doubt he will be as maimed as he is now, and with 3 magicians on our team, preventing him from losing his way will be just as much a priority as preparing for the war on the apostles."

"If you say so... Still, we have a right to defend ourselves. So should he come our way or against the ones we love, don't suppose we will stay idle." Serpico confirms that he would kill Guts or die trying should you be unable to control him, still being mistrustful despite his adventures on Qlipoth.

"Let's hope it won't come to that... Why don't we talk about something more concrete, for instance? I'm thinking of how we're planning on to get that boat to Elfhelm." You change the subject about something in the near future.

"I was about to ask you that. Do you have any plans on what to do when you arrive on Vritannis? There is plenty for us to do there, and I assume being wanted by the See won't stop you from pursuing onwards."

>I'll keep my helm on, as always. Can't risk anyone discovering my identity there.
>Rumors of the Phantom Impaler are already well known, it's possible someone might recognize my armor. Perhaps I should invest in a disguise...
>I'll present myself to the nobles as I am: Vlad Santana. I know I am innocent, and I do not fear the court of law.
>If Farnese has enough power to prove my innocence, she will likely have some sort of contacts that could hand us a boat.
>I think I have enough money to buy one from the docks. Might not be a first class voyage, but as long as it works...
>Write-in.
>>
>>5377827
>I'll present myself to the nobles as I am: Vlad Santana. I know I am innocent, and I do not fear the court of law.
Ace attorney up in this bitch.
>If Farnese has enough power to prove my innocence, she will likely have some sort of contacts that could hand us a boat.
And if she doesn't:
>I think I have enough money to buy one from the docks. Might not be a first class voyage, but as long as it works...
>>
>>5377888
>support
>>
>>5377888
>>5377894
"I'll present myself to the nobles as I am: Vlad Santana. I know I am innocent, and I do not fear the court of law."

"... Are you sure? Neither the nobles of Vritannis or the See are known for their fair, unbiased trials. I'm afraid they might just arrest you on the spot for revealing yourself."

"You know I am much stronger than they are, escaping or defeating them wouldn't take long."
"We both know you don't mean to prove your innocence by committing courtroom genocide. Most likely you would just let them arrest you"

"...Would I? I'm not so sure anymore."
"If you're asking for an evaluation from me, I would say you haven't strayed away from your goals, but they are conflicting with how you feel on preserving peace."

"Hopefully Farnese will be able to intervene before any violence occurs. If she really is able to prove my innocence, asking a boat for her father will be like a snap of her fingers."
"Will it be that easy, though? If Farnese and I ran away due to the of chance of being pursued as heretics, our return might not be exactly welcomed."

"And if it doesn't work?"
"We buy one. I'm not wasting my father's money on mindless jewelry or terrain when I get there. I don't know how much a boat costs, but as long as we find some way to get a ride to Elfhelm, it's good enough for me."
"Do you know how much does it cost to hire a crew?"
"No, do you have an estimate?"

"Around the 40 gold coin mark. The crew, the food, rations, repairs... And that's if this island is in the same distance from the average islands away from the coast."

"You really don't have a a good word of positivity to say, huh?"
"Hey, I'm merely making you aware of the risks. I've paid more attention to court proceedings than Farnese ever could, it's only fair I give you additional insight."

Serpico's negativity is merely a way for you to ask him of other factors you might not be considering, taking the role of advisor he wished to be when Farnese was in a position of power.

Well, why not indulge him a little?

>Are boats crews hard to hire?
>How was Vritannis the last time you were here, is there anything worth noting about the city itself?
>How close is Farnese with her Father? Do you have any dirt on him worth remembering?
>My Father might have visited this place a couple times, do you think anyone might remember him or his knight?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5377931
>How close is Farnese with her Father? Do you have any dirt on him worth remembering?

>My Father might have visited this place a couple times, do you think anyone might remember him or his knight?
>>
>>5377931
>How close is Farnese with her Father? Do you have any dirt on him worth remembering?
>My Father might have visited this place a couple times, do you think anyone might remember him or his knight?

>How was Vritannis the last time you were here, is there anything worth noting about the city itself?
>>
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>>5377938
>>5377945
"How was Vritannis the last time you were there, is there anything worth noting about the city itself?"

"For those who have the money to enter and exit the ports, it's a prosperous, ever growing garrison for the Vandimions. A monolith of how religion can unite people of all countries of the continent. Ys, Tudor, Midland, and Balden, just to name a few. Before we departed, I remember Vritannis attempting to expand their army by use of Randel commonwealth. Along with Faris, Lana and Nise, they together form the Paneria Alliance."

"Are they all meeting together for their negotiations?"
"They're all in the border of collapsing on their own regards. For example, Balden is dealing with a peasant insurrection. Randel is a newly found country born from said insurrection, and due to being a settlement in the wetlands where criminals were sent to, they are seen as an aggressive nation with negative connotations to their colonies. Uniting with Midland forces to aid in the Kushan army should cleanse their blackened history."

"If that much can be done for a country, a single man shouldn't be hard to forgive..."

"Redemption is not that easy to build, as a country's entire reputation can be tarnished by the slightest mistake. Look at Morgar and Wallatoria for instance, small kingdoms at the furthest east of our nations, yet they're veterans of war who have survived resistance against the kushans for generations. The Paneria Alliance were only a group of city-states in continuous skirmishes around their dominions, so even though they have economic power, they are heavily dependent on mercenaries."

"Seems dangerous, to only use mercenaries as a private army. Midland did something similar with the Band Of The Falcon, but they still had some semblance of a private army."
"Depends on the mercenaries, The Band Of The Dawn Fang, for instance have remained undefeated in the Randel war of independence, but one must always remember that mercenary groups will always priorities themselves and their benefits than whatever noble entity hires them."

"Your knowledge of their forces is quite widespread."
"It comes with being a herald of arms. Don't be surprised if you find plenty of people dying on the street and being ignored while begging for change though. All of these people hate the kushan and want to survive, but they won't accept all unless they apply with either political ideology, or with enough bribery."

"Getting on their good side must be near essential, then. They must have more urgent matters to attend than an inquisition of an old enemy."
"Well, you were accused of witchcraft and brought down the great hero of Midland at his peak, before the kingdom fell into ruin. It's pretty much common belief that you were the one responsible for it, bringing a curse onto Midland for your imprisonment."
"..." You shiver, wondering if that was the reason why they went after your family estate.
>>
>>5377931
>"... Are you sure? Neither the nobles of Vritannis or the See are known for their fair, unbiased trials. I'm afraid they might just arrest you on the spot for revealing yourself."
>"You know I am much stronger than they are, escaping or defeating them wouldn't take long."
>"We both know you don't mean to prove your innocence by committing courtroom genocide. Most likely you would just let them arrest you"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuV63EEhS8c
>>
>>5377976
"What do you know of Jacopo Santana or Royal Knight Gallahad? They have visited the holy lands a couple times, surely they are remembered."

"Jacopo... Jacopo..." Serpico mumbles your father's name, trying to muster up something worth mentioning. "Do you mean the son of Char Santana? I remember him being a judge from nobility that dealt with trials regarding tax evasion."

"From the commoners?"
"No, from the nobles itself. He knew that they had more fortune than whatever bronze coins they could take from whatever hundreds of thousands of peasants they knew."

"Combating corrupt governors is something that's hard to find even nowadays, I'm surprised he wasn't persecuted."

"In a few ways, he was. He might have had incriminating evidence to be found so that all his cases were closed and shut, but that came with some sort of infamy, many thought he used forged evidence to his cases thanks to the Santana's ties to the See. and being so focused on his work, he only married out of obligation, having a child in his golden years and dying a few years after retiring from the one verdict he said he was mistaken on."

"It feels humiliating to only hear my family's history from you, rather than on my own household, but that would explain why my the estate was so luxurious despite my father never being around."

"Jacopo is a name I hardly hear partly from Char's infamy. I believe your father likely wanted to lay low and have a quieter, more unassuming career to compensate for the turbulent divisiveness of Char, which is why he always opted out of skirmishes and advancements of our troops, instead pleading for diplomacy in the Tudor war instead of leaving villages behind for tactical advantages. He was a good man at heart, but being so easily pushed around and with no allies to his side, shutting him down was easy."

"Didn't help that Michelle was a commoner, even if our trading expeditions and his holy missions were successful, it all could be interpreted as expanding our private business."
"I believe that he played a part in supporting Randel's was of independence, but you'd have to ask someone more familiar with Balden history to confirm which side he took."

"What about the Vandimion Family? Do you have any dirt on them?"
"What could be dirtier than their only daughter being deeply in love with a wanted wizard with terrible relations with them? We almost killed you at your house just because you held her hand." Serpico chuckles, indicating that what you know about Farnese is already enough to shun them out of high society.

"There is one other thing worth nothing... But I do not know if exposing that secret would do us good or harm us in the long run..."

>Anything could help.
>If it's urgent, I need to hear it?
>Is it related to you and Farnese?
>You don't have to tell me, if it's that harmful.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5378014
>You don't have to tell me, if it's that harmful.
>>
>>5378014
>You don't have to tell me, if it's that harmful.
>>
>>5378014
>Whether you tell me or not, I trust your judgement on the matter.
>>
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>>5378031
>>5378071
"You don't have to tell me if it's that harmful."
"I insist. I've been dwelling on this for far too long. It's something I had to tell Lady Farnese eventually, so consider this a test run."
"Why can't you just tell her?"
"Let's just say this secret is only harmful for those who spread it, and you've more than earned my trust for you to explain myself."

You are reluctant in obliging Serpico, but after him boasting his vote of confidence to you, it's hard to deny an ear to him.
"I don't know if I can maintain my composure by explaining this with words, would you mind using your magic?"

Delving into his memories, Serpico thinks back to his childhood as the first vision that appears to you is pure white, the snowy stones of Vritannis slums obscuring a young Serpico's view as he is repeatedly kicked and stomped on by a group of children, stealing the food from his bag as they ate a slice of bead in front of him.

"Get lost, idiot!"
"Yeah! We're the ones who get food around here!"

Just as the group of children were about to leave, Serpico unexpectedly picked up a rock from his hand to squash the eye of the one stealing his dinner, bashing his face in to relinquish his anger before finally fleeing to his home.

For those who didn't have a family name, Vritannis was as much of a hellhole for commoners as any other place in Midland, as he climbed to the second floor at the rotting hovel he lived in, a dim lit room in the outskirts of a city was room to a woman emaciated to skin and bones by illness, forever reminding his youthful self of his imminent death.

"Here is your food, Mother."
"Were were you! I was freezing by myself here... My back aches, rub it for me."
"...Yes, Mother."

She showed her protruded spine and ribs for the boy to press onto, and the way her neck snapped when she turned over to check his face made her look like a living skeleton.

"What's this bruise over your face?"
"I, um... Got into a fight with some other boys in town--" Serpico speaks up before being slapped in the face.
"Where is your pride, Serpico!? You are an aristocrat! Fighting with hood rats is absurd, don't stoop to their level!"

Taking a pendant from her neck, the sickly mother makes an uncanny grin to her son as her eyes sparkle on the brink of insanity.
"You are my only hope... Your father will come for us, I know it! Do not disappoint him!"
"Quit shouting, Mother... You will start coughing again."
"Have pride, Serpico! Pride!"
Her mad mantra proceeded to drown his worries as he expected the locket, opening the latch to find a painting of Federico III and a younger depiction of herself. Being a servant for his mansion, she told the 9 year old Serpico that he was conceived at the end of their honeymoon.

As she clung to those sweet memories, she burdened the young child with a dream who he had no chance of discovering if it was a mere delusion, too busy supporting the family by himself.
>>
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>>5378089
Being beaten by the older brother of the kid he deformed the following day, his bones were broken to the point where he couldn't lift himself up the freezing snow, until the cursed daughter of aristocracy had the irony of saving his life.

Hating the burden he was pushed onto, Serpico had no idea who she was, other than a genuine daughter of nobility while he was a mere bastard son of a nobleman.

"Silly rabbit..." He grumbled as he saw the young Farnese clutching to her father's gift, only to receive a stomp to the nape.
"Insolent whelp!"
"Don't waste your time with this filthy, dying child, milady... It's time for the Holy communion." One of Frederico's servants came to interrupt Farnese's beating.

"The communion can wait, put this boy in the carriage!"
"But milady-"
"PUT HIM IN! NOW!" She growled, avoiding her visit to the temple to treat him.

Seeing these memories by Serpico's perspectives gives all the additional context you needed for their weird, dysfunctional relationship.

"I will look after you, but do not forget who you belong to. You owe me your life, so pledge yourself to me!" Farnese rubbed a hot cloth piece onto his freezing body.

Though he could not comprehend what he pledged to, he was finally able to find a decent paying job, liberated from a mother who could not let go of the past as he hired a housekeeper to take care of the woman in his stead.

"And what's the name of this noble?"
"I was so excited, I forgot to ask them... But I will live and work there starting tomorrow."
"Good! Serve them well! This is your chance to reach high society, don't waste it."

Despite being drowned by Farnese, being chased by dogs and falling off horses for entertainment, he didn't mind being her sadistic human toy, as the physical pain was nothing compared to the pain he felt of being dragged by the sins of a past others had lived, so he was happier with submitting.

But his mother's past would chase him even there, as when he met the master of the house when wearing the locket, he was asked to show the painted picture.

An underwhelming meeting with his father, feeling no sense of comradery at the man who abandoned him. Being more concerned at how close he had gotten to Farnese.

Already having 3 sons, Frederico did not want a fourth one competing for his assets, promising Serpico to become a noble when he grew up, if he promised to keep his secret as a loyal servant.
Fulfilling his mother's dream, Serpico had no choice other than to accept, but only after asking:

"Will you meet my mother too? She misses you a lot."
"...In due time. Honestly, I was quite at a loss when it came to Farnese, but ever since you came along, the other servants that their lives were made easier ever since you became her companion. Maybe she will stop feigning innocence to me eventually..."
Frederico dismissed his questions with such ease, Serpico wondered if he even heard him.
>>
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>>5378104
Feeling like you've seen enough to cast some judgement, you let go of his forehead and meet Serpico's gaze.

Reminiscing all his terrible memories, you expected some sort of feelings to resurface onto him: Anger, Sorrow, Sadness, perhaps even Despair.

Yet here he is, posing elegantly with his hands crossed behind his waist as if he was meeting his master.

It seems Farnese and Frederico had groomed him well enough to not emote negatively to whatever pain he was feeling. Almost as if he could smile through it all.

>Why are you comfortable with sharing this with me?
>The Vandimions are monsters, both you and your mother deserved much better.
>So that's why you refused to reciprocate Farnese's feelings, I don't blame you for it.
>What happened to your mother?
>Why haven't you told this to Farnese?
>So you joined Farnese in her inquisitions of the poor, despite being a commoner yourself?
>Screw nobility, you were stolen of your family name! It's time you take your pride back.
>It's a pleasure to meet you, brother-in-law.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5378109
>Why are you comfortable with sharing this with me?

>What happened to your mother?

> I agree this is probably something we shouldn't spread around. we won't really benefit from it.
>>
>>5378109
>>Why are you comfortable with sharing this with me?
>What happened to your mother?
>Why haven't you told this to Farnese?
>>
>>5378109
>>Why are you comfortable with sharing this with me?
>What happened to your mother?
>Why haven't you told this to Farnese?
>>
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>>5378118
>>5378124
>>5378135
"Why are you comfortable with sharing this with me?" You wonder why he suddenly blurted that out to you. "Farnese is the one who you owe an explanation, not me."

"Well, you wanted some dirt on The Vandimions, didn't you? There you have it. Besides, with Lady Farnese and the others already opening up to you, I could only hope that some of your magic worked on me."

"What am I, a confessionary?"
"A confidant. Should you find it too bothersome of your time, you can pretend that this conversation never happened."
"You just dropped a bomb on me! How can I forget this? I don't even know what to make of this information."
Serpico sighs feeling hurt and questioning his trust in you.

Not meaning to offend you, you attempt to shift your composure before he leaves.
"You have been easing Farnese's burdens more than I could, Vlad. It's only natural that you came to learn a secret that she doesn't even know of..."
"I rather let you be the one telling her the message yourself."
"I'm not sure it would be fair to reveal that, given her neglected feelings... Or what came after I found that out."

Serpico then explains what happened to his mother, being dragged into a sanitorium as her condition worsened to the point where she mistook him for her lover. The closest she would ever receive from a visit from Frederico.

"Is she still alive?" You ask, though already knowing the answer.

"..."
Groaning, you become too curious to cease your probing, looking for an answer by entering his mind.

"Well done, Lady Farnese. We've managed to finally strike at the headquarters of those devil-worshippers. Who would have thought their den would be a sanatorium?" His mind wanders to the same year your parents disappeared, when they were still eagerly burning heretics at stakes.

"Sanatorium?" Serpico uncharacteristically walked over to the victims about to be cleansed, hoping he didn't find any familiar faces...

"...Mother?!" Serpico's torch trembled as it's flames grew short, lighting the face of a smiling old woman."
"Serpico? What's gotten into yo-"
"She's..."

"Did he just say something?"
"I believe he said, 'Mother'?" The inquisitors interrupt Farnese's interruption as they overhead his fearful voice.

"I-Impossible! A relative of the Holy Army, a heretic?"
"But he said it so himself!"
"Yes, but..." Farnese attempts to defend her knight as he approaches the insane elderly victim of persecution.

"Oh! My dear husband, how long has it been? Was our son of use to you? He did not disgrace the family, did he?"

Despite how much his mother brought him down and he wished death upon her for the abuse and pressure, to do so in this moment felt like a betrayal of what Serpico stood for, an ironic way for her take revenge for ever thinking he could stray from his past."
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>>5378164
"Prove to me! Prove to me that she's not your mother!" Farnese tears up as she offers Serpico a stronger fire source, wanting to prove his innocence once and for all.

"Farnese-"
"You can do it, can't you? You don't have a woman to call yours! So swear it once more to me! I am your mistress! Only I, now and forever..."

Putting his mistress' needs over his, he slowly approached the stake with confidence to burn all the heretics, burning the only remaining evidence of his true origins while asserting to Farnese of his innocence.

"...Now you know why I can't tell her." Serpico says as his memories disappear from your vision. "We have left a labyrinth we never dreamed of escaping, and now we've reached the ocean that marks the halfway point of our journey. Be it snow or sand... our footprints continue along..."

How could he reveal the truth, knowing that Farnese would instantly connect the dots and deem herself guilty of killing her brother's mother?

"Maybe the wind of the sylphs is guiding me to my freedom with these thoughts... Though I wonder what it means to truly be free... Is it to pass my burdens to someone else, or to feign control over the ones who give you order. Unless being free to die is considered a form of opposition..."

>To be free is to do whatever you wish to.
>Freedom is relative, and many times illusive. Some burdens are ours to carry alone.
>We can't be free until we've fulfilled our missions. Though whatever our mission is predates our own conception.
>We are slaves of our own minds and needs. It's sad, but it reflects our state of being.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5378175
>Freedom is relative, and many times illusive. Some burdens are ours to carry alone.
>The man who lives imprisoned is still free to choose whether he lives or dies. He is free to think whatever he wishes to think, but he is denied the ability to go where he wants and do what he wants. He has the same amount of freedom as the man who surrounds himself with obligations and ties himself to being socially acceptable. The latter may have chosen his cage, but he can't say what his heart desires. Personally, of the two, I would rather be the former - he can say whatever he pleases, and show his true self to the world even if they hate him for it.
>>
>>5378186
support
>>
>>5378186
+1
>>
>>5378186
+1
>>
>>5378186
Support, yes.
Just in time for a new thread
>>
>>5378186
>+1
>>
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>>5378186
"Freedom is relative, and many times illusive. Some burdens are ours to carry alone." You open your heart to your friend so he can understand your interpretation of the world. "The man who lives imprisoned is still free to choose whether he lives or dies. He is free to think whatever he wishes to think, but he is denied the ability to go where he wants and do what he wants. He has the same amount of freedom as the man who surrounds himself with obligations and ties himself to being socially acceptable. The latter may have chosen his cage, but he can't say what his heart desires. Personally, of the two, I would rather be the former - he can say whatever he pleases, and show his true self to the world even if they hate him for it."

"I see... I guess only time will decide on when I'll be tested by a fork in the road..."

"Serpico! There you are!" Zhafira shouts over in the distance. "I've been improvising some new songs! Do you want to hear it?"

She ecstatically hops around, wanting her friend to trust her. Spending more time with Cindy and Hyde gave him an extra perspective on how the non-nobles lived their lives. Despite being unhappy with their social status, they all found a way to communicate their feelings and be more than the world wished them to be, be it through art, their relationships or their jobs, they gave Serpico a glimpse of what the world could be if he had remained as a commoner.

"Of course! What song are you making?"
"It's part of Rosy Rose's epic tale! But it's a bit of a sad song, so I'm trying to remember the lyrics without making anyone cry. It's the part of the story where she runs from home as her city is burnt to the ground."

"What a coincidence..." He whispers to himself. "It's an interesting premise, if anything."

Inviting himself to listen to the song, Serpico looks over to you, wondering if you'd join him, as well as what you would do with his revelations.

>Keep it between you two, you're glad he trusts you enough to tell you this, but you don't have much use in revealing it.
>Wait for him to speak up. It's his secret, so it's best to leave it to him to reveal it to who he wishes.
>Tell Farnese in private. She deserves to know.
>Use it to blackmail the Vandimions. Serpico deserves to be a noble as much as they do, and you will fight for his cause.
>Listen to the song.
>Guts might be needing some healing aid now, maybe later.
>>
>>5378515
>Listen to the song.
Then afterwards:
>Tell Farnese in private. She deserves to know.
Keeping it a secret from the rest of the group is justified, but from Farnese? Keeping such a secret that hits close to home from her could lead to some major trust issues with us if she ever finds out we kept this information from her. Tell only Farnese. She deserves to know at the very least.
>>
>>5378515
>Wait for him to speak up. It's his secret, so it's best to leave it to him to reveal it to who he wishes.
>Guts might be needing some healing aid now, maybe later.
Sorry Serpico, but you won't get out of this burden by pushing it onto us. It's your secret to reveal, not ours. The only one who can lift the weight on your soul is you.
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>>5378532
>+1.
>>
>>5378542
+1
>>
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>>5378532
>>5378550
>>5378542

"Wouldn't hurt to hear a piece of it."
"Hooray! Come over to the fireplace then! It'll add some visual flair to my singing!"

Finding a shell to blow onto to replicate some echoing sounds to her eclectic sounds, she slowly waltz behind the fireplace while everyone barring Guts heard her song at the bonfire.

These red and orange sparks, have rained down before
As they burn they remind me, of the faded town in the offshore
How can I descend a hill with you, when I failed to climb it alone?
On the day the city fell, our stories were all gone.

Even if you won't be there, I will visit you
and knock upon the charcoaled door, the one from way back when

This house I’ve never visited seems so familiar
When did it disappear together with you?
There’s no reason you’d have been here, yet here I am
When that song I cannot hear comes to an end,
I wonder if this echo I recall will disappear.


Serpico smiles, feeling like the meaning of the song was not lost on him. By confiding his deepest secret with you, some weight was put off his shoulders. It didn't seem like he was particularly suffering from the pressure, or at least, not anymore than he had already ruminated on the topic for over a decade.

He wasn't expecting your pity, or a pat on the back so you can do the job for him, he merely believed that you had more freedom to use that information for the greater good than him.

"Farnese." You rubbed the girl's hair as she lifted her face from your shoulder.
"Yes?"

>You mind if we took a look at Guts for a second?
>Let's take a walk for a bit.
>...Do you remember burning a woman who called Serpico her son?
>Would you like to know what Serpico truly thinks of you?
>Is Serpico a brother to you?
>Write-in.
>Nothing...[Avoid the subject with a quick kiss]
>>
>>5378581
>Let's take a walk for a bit.
>>
>>5378581
>Let's take a walk for a bit.
>>
>>5378581
>You mind if we took a look at Guts for a second?
>>
>>5378584
>>5378585

"Are you still upset with me?" You ask your loving apprentice as she takes off her shoes to walk in the sand.

"Not at all. I've understood your grievances after seeing how Schierke was dealing with Flora's death. As much as she attempted to convince me that she was fine, that she merely ascended to a greater realm of ideas, that it was all according to plan to better defeat Griffith... She couldn't help but tear up."

"Death is never pleasant. As much as we want to cope by saying they "are in a better place" if we truly believed in that, we would celebrate their life and passing, instead of missing them so much..." You relate to Schierke after all who came and went into your life.

"How many families did I destroy by ignoring that...?" She holds a hand over her forehead, while you try to distract her with something more light-hearted.
"I thought you would be angry at me for eating your omelet, too. Or do you just make good food when you're not with me?"

"I'm serious, Vlad! Now that I'm reaching closer to my hometown, a flurry of memories are swirling me..."
"Anything worth sharing? Serpico told me plenty, but I would like to hear your perspective."
"...Do you remember my brother Magnifico? He has a friend who's third in line for the throne of Ys... Roderick. I believe they will come for the meeting."
"Roderick? Sounds like someone important. Do you know anything else about him?"

"If he is coming over, he must be searching for political power... perhaps a bride."

She's afraid of her parents arranging a marriage for her, much like they have done in the past. And even being as physically powerful as you are, even before your family name was tarnished, your family wasn't even close to competing with royalty...

>You have nothing to fear, Farnese. I am also a lord.
>No man shall take me away from you, I don't care how powerful Roderick is, he will hear a no from me.
>I'm sure some sort of compromise can be achieved, we can't be too demanding at their home.
>If anything, it will be a good way to establish relations with Ilos so it's finally recognized as an independent place from Midland.
>About Serpico...
>Write-in.
>>
>>5378609
>No man shall take me away from you, I don't care how powerful Roderick is, he will hear a no from me.

>and I'm at least not a commoner. Hopefully that'll count for something.
>>
>>5378609
>No man shall take me away from you, I don't care how powerful Roderick is, he will hear a no from me.
>About Serpico.

The longer it takes us to get to the point, the harder it will be to say what is necessary.
>>
>>5378609
>No man shall take me away from you, I don't care how powerful Roderick is, he will hear a no from me.
>>
>>5378609
>>No man shall take me away from you, I don't care how powerful Roderick is, he will hear a no from me.

inb4 griffith
>>
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>>5378620
>>5378635
>>5378649
>>5378875
"No man shall take me away from you, I don't care how powerful Roderick is, he will hear a no from me if he hasn't heard one from his parents."

"I surely hope he can handle rejection..." Farnese whispers. "Gallahad was your master when training as a royal knight, correct? He became a bit of a legend at the docks, perhaps being his last pupil would leverage some of your status."

"After his body was buried under my estate? Unlikely... At least I am not considered a commoner, hopefully that will count for something."

"Hopefully." She repeats, walking further into the water to wet her feet.

"Any idea on when Guts will be able to walk again?"
"The way he is, I'll be glad if he can just open his eyes without screaming. I'd give him a few more weeks until he recovers, but knowing how eager he is to walk around without waiting for his injuries to heal, he'll likely just start undoing his straps and walking by himself in a few days if I let him."

"Stubborn as always, isn't he? Oddly enough, I feel like him being a commander gave him some experience in leading our group, I wouldn't mind it if it happened again, perhaps it could serve as a bonding for the opposing sides of our group."
Farnese's advice is sound, maybe you'll give him a word when he is able to listen.

Oddly enough, when approaching the water to check your face, you feel something tugging at your lifted heel. Turning over to get rid of the crab pinching you, you're surprised to meet a young child, not older than 4 years old, playing with the extra skin on your ankle. As he loses balance and falls face first on the sand, he starts to quietly sob as Farnese attempts to clean his face.

"What's a child doing here?"
"Naked, too. His skin is freezing." You start to worry about the kid as he avoids your touch after letting him fall, raising his arms to the direction of your camp's bonfire.
"Should we look out for his parents? I don't see anyone in the vicinity."
"I think it's smarter to just ask him first."

"Well, he hasn't spoken anything so far."
After being cleaned, the boy returns to his neutral expression. He lacks the energy of a kid his age, and the way he remains silent and avoiding your gaze when you claim for his attention makes his appearance all the more mysterious.

>Where are you from, little boy? Do you have a name?
>I'm sorry for tripping you over, are you feeling alright?
>Can you understand my language? I can speak in Tudorian, if you wish.
>Let's follow him, see where he wants to go.
>[Feel if anyone's nearby, his Od must be similar to his parents]
>[Entertain him with some funny faces.]
>Write-in.
>>
>>5378952
>Can you understand my language? I can speak in Tudorian, if you wish.

>I'm sorry for tripping you over, are you feeling alright?

>[Feel if anyone's nearby, his Od must be similar to his parents]
>>
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>>5378875
>Griffith arrives on the island to kidnap Casca.
>Vlad reaches him before he escapes.
>"Griffith, wait!"
>"Of course, I almost forgot."
>Hops out of Zodd's uber ride and kidnaps Farnese.
>FUUUUUUUUUUUU

I M A G I N E
>>
>>5378982
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
>>
>>5378952
>I'm sorry for tripping you over, are you feeling alright?
>Can you understand my language? I can speak in Tudorian, if you wish.
>Where are you from, little boy? Do you have a name?
>[Feel if anyone's nearby, his Od must be similar to his parents]
>Let's follow him, see where he wants to go.
>>
>>5378997
+1
>>
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>>5378997
That's just voting for everything but one thing
Too many voters never make smaller choices
>>
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>>5378955
>>5378997
>>5379013
>>5379026

Alright, sensing him is a given, but Vlad will need a row to see if he finds anything around aside from the boy, I'll consider the following actions depending on his result.

A 1d100 should do it, maybe he can find something out about this rando kid
>>
>>5379031
Ah, forgot the trip, reminder to not shitpost on other boards while I'm running. At least the IDs help me out on that regard
>>
Rolled 38 (1d100)

>>5379031
best roll.
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5379031
Sense the shit out of this little demonspawn
>>
Rolled 22 (1d100)

>>5379031
Sand. I hate it.
>>
Rolled 28 (1d100)

>>5379031
>>
Rolled 62 (1d100)

>>5379031
>>
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>>5379034
>>5379038
>>5379040

"Where are you from, little boy? What's your name?" You try to get some small talk with the boy, but he merely tilts his head sideways, wondering what are you really trying to say.

"Hmph... Is something wrong? I'm sorry if I upset you for tripping you over... Are you hurt?"
You inspect his feet, head and shoulders to see if there was anything stuck on him, but he seems to be doing just fine.

Still silent, though... What else could you say to him?
"इदानीं मां अवगन्तुं शक्नोषि वा?" Switching the language to Tudorian, you wonder if there is any other way to communicate with the boy without resorting to magic.

The child takes a step backwards, now feeling startled at a language beyond his comprehension.
"So it's the regular speak then. Why won't you talk, though? Cat got your tongue?"

Placing a hand on his hairy head, you attempt to look into his memories or hear any of his thoughts, yet he makes an active effort not to think of anything, revealing absolutely nothing with 0 messages. The child feels like a complete blank slate.

You thought that being mute would only make it easier to read his mind, but only a single thought goes through his mind.

Mother...
"Right, I'll find your mom in no time!" Focusing on your surroundings and the color of their Od, you see the fusion of energy that came with his own sense of self. With the full moon, visual pollution was bound to disturb your Od vision, feeling several particles of the elementals as well as the spirits.

There are no strangers in sight. No apostles are nearby. The closest mind you can communicate with are the people from your camp. Given how that's the direction he is pointing, he couldn't possibly want to meet anyone there.

"Beware Of The Moonlight Child..."
You are reminded of Merlina's last piece of advice in your dream... The full moon has a strong affinity to spirits.

Malevolent or not, a team such as yours is bound to encounter the supernatural, but for what reason she would advise you to be wary of this kid?
Mother...

Knowing that his mother couldn't be Farnese, Violet or Cindy, the only other woman to be found there would be...
Now that you think about it... his features with the long hair... the mixture of their Ods...
Wasn't this the spirit who haunted them before?

>Poor boy. He doesn't realize that he's already dead.
>It wouldn't hurt to let him come along, would it?
>Maybe Casca would not appreciate reminding herself of her assault in such a crucial moment of her recovery.
>Check him again for any oddities.
>What do you think, Farnese?
>Away with you, ghost!
>Write-in.
>>
>>5379418
>Poor boy. He doesn't realize that he's already dead.
>See how he reacts to a ward drawn in the sand. If he only bears benevolence in his heart, he would be fine, surely. And if he's a malevolent spirit...you'll be able to see through his trickery through the pain the Ward would produce.
>>
>>5379434
support
just be ready to fight
>>
>>5379031
Yo becchi, I caught you last thread
>"See that wall over there? You can climb it!" You hold your open palm to balance the weight of your body as you fit it inside the crevices.
I cannot believe Vlad toddposted at Isidro like that
>>
>>5379418
>What do you think, Farnese?
>See how he reacts to a ward drawn in the sand. If he only bears benevolence in his heart, he would be fine, surely. And if he's a malevolent spirit...you'll be able to see through his trickery through the pain the Ward would produce.
>>
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>>5379450
Scenes with Puck are my go-to scenes for not so subtle referential humor.

I solemnly vowed not to reference anything that happened after Miura's passing, so at least the other references like Hajime No Ippo or Dragon Ball didn't take anyone too much out of the story considering no one commented on it.
>>
>>5379434
>Support
>>
>>5379462
>Puck has a heart to heart with Vlad and Schierke
>talks about how he also lost somebody dear to him a while back
>Vlad checks his mind
>sees a glimpse of Miura
>hears Guts going "He died doing what he wanted, no matter what. Right? I bet he was happy."
>vision ends abruptly
>feels a very very strange emotion come over him; a mixture of deep sadness when he lost his family, and the familiarity one gets seeing a stranger that looks strikingly similar to a loved one but is a complete nobody to you
>>
>>5379434
+1
>>
>>5379434
>>5379461
>>5379445
>>5379476
>>5379486
"Poor boy. He doesn't realize that he's already dead..."
"He's a ghost?" Farnese grooms the boy's hair with her fingers, wondering why she could feel him just fine.

Explaining to Farnese the events of Albion she did not know about due to fainting from the rapist horse, you tell her about Casca and how she managed to protect herself from the Tidal Wave Of Darkness thanks to the demonic baby she had with Guts. Being corrupted with Griffith's inhuman essence, he is perhaps the sole reason why Casca was protected from harm at night while Guts was forced to fight all sorts of monster for the two years they have been astray.

"This... Is awful! How did she not take her life from such suffering?"
"Being unable to remember what happened to her might have been a blessing in disguise... I doubt she wants to remember either."

"But it's her son! Shouldn't she feel better about seeing someone familiar who is still alive?"
"We can't know that without trying it, this could also risk another panic attack that would drain the little essence we have."

"Isn't being unable to see Guts without associating him with that day torture enough?" Farnese is inclined on delivering this nameless child to Casca. Though you can sympathize with her, you have to make sure that your master's advice isn't for naught.

Drawing a ward in the sand, you attempt to place the boy in a circle which would entrap evil spirits. The most that happens is him getting startled by the light show, kicking some sand at your face as he hops away with no further effect.

"*Cough* COUGH*" You clear your throat after some dirt got inside your mouth. Why does every single child you meet has to dislike you?

"I take it he's all clear then." Farnese holds his hand, noticing a scar between his fingers that seemed to have been cut recently.

"Hmm..." She wonders where he got hurt as you decide on whether or not to bring him in.

>Casca deserves to see him. And so does Guts, if he is awake.
>It might trigged a few too many bad memories. Sorry, boy.
>Let's at least give him some clothes and food until sunrise. I'd feel bad abandoning a child by himself.
>>
>>5379508
>Casca deserves to see him. And so does Guts, if he is awake.
>preferably with clothes.
>>
>>5379516
+1
>>
>>5379516
>+1.
>>
>>5379516
might be better to prepare before. We would take this kid with us, so we probably should talk with Casca/Guts
otherwise support
>>
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he passed the test
>>
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>>5379516
>>5379528
>>5379587
>>5379608

"Please, can I see him?" Casca asks to go into the caravan's hut after Farnese went off to ask Zhafira for some cloth.

"No can do, Casca. Orders of the little witch kid 'erself. It's for yer safety."
"But I don't get any reactions when he's asleep. "

"He could wake up at any moment, and we don't have any more juice to count for relapses."
"How can I get better if I don't try to get over whatever happened to me? I need to be with Guts!"
"Casca, Y' know that this is the sensible option-"
"How long do I need to be 'sensible' when he's dying right in front of me? Why can't I protect him for once?" Casca pushes Hyde away from the door, to which he tries to resist, but his muscular memory still proves that two years wasn't enough for all her force to go away.

"Casca!" Farnese looks back as Farnese brings the boy with her, covered in a blanket as his head hangs upside down.
"Where the heck did you find that boy, Farnese? That ain't how you hold a damn kid, woman!" Hyde quickly moves over to get the child from her arms before he could fall to the floor as Casca stops to see what they were doing.

"Wh-What did I do wrong?"
"Don't you see how kids are? Look at them big ass heads they got! You gotta put another hand on their nape so they don't hurt their backs!" Hyde adjusts the kid and places it back on her shoulder.

"He seems much more comfortable now..."
"Course he is. Been waiting to have a kid with Jodi for over 3 years, you bet yer ass I'm gonna be the best father in all the three worlds when I'm back home! Had plenty of time to hold Violet and the girls in my arms when they were young. Oh, they grow up so fast..."

"You can say that again." You chuckle reminding of Violet's instant growth into adulthood, wondering how you would explain the moonlight child's identity to the others.

>Found him at the shore, he doesn't seem to be able to speak.
>I was meaning to present him to Casca, he seems to be after her and Guts.
>Is Guts still asleep? I might have to wake him up to see this...
>Oh, didn't you know? I had a kid with Farnese.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5379691
>Oh, didn't you know? I had a kid with Farnese.
Fuck with him a bit for the lols
>Found him at the shore, he doesn't seem to be able to speak.
>I was meaning to present him to Casca, he seems to be after her and Guts.
>>
>>5379691
>>Found him at the shore, he doesn't seem to be able to speak.
>>I was meaning to present him to Casca, he seems to be after her and Guts.
>>
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>>5379695
>>5379710
"Oh, didn't you know? I had a kid with Farnese."
"Ack!" Farnese almost lets the toddler fall from her arms as she trips over on the weight of her own embarrassment.

"Not falling for that one, partner. Kid doesn't anything like you. Eyes and hair are totally different." He chuckles, making Farnese calm down as Casca approaches the child reaching his hand out to her.

"Found him naked at the shore. He seems to be a mute, but since he wants to be with Casca and Guts, I saw no harm in bringing him here."

"Why is he after me? I don't remember his face..."
"Looks a bit too young to be anyone she should remember before her memory loss..."
The child quickly hops from Farnese's chest to Casca's, with her trying her best to catch him without both of them falling.

"Nothing comes to mind?"
"Nothing at all..."
Casca is confused, but feels an oddly, familiar warmth coming from the child, like a mother feeding her son, she naturally lets his little head rest on her collarbone, so he can finally relax and close his eyes.

"It must be late for him." Farnese giggles at the sight of him sheepishly falling asleep.
Despite not remembering, the good influence and genuine happiness that came from their reunion would be bound to bear fruit, if you let them be.
"Father... the child thinks to himself as his head is caressed by Casca.
Since the retired mercenary hasn't given up on visiting Guts while he is asleep, she waits for your permission to enter his resting place.

Well, knowing how she would try to get in even if you said no, you let her come in, so long as she kept a good few meters away from him.

As Casca sees Guts' body, covered in a blanket to prevent the sight and infection of his wounds. The armor was taken off of him, but his resting was essential.

"To have the possibility of moving on dangled in my face, right as all is forcibly forgotten... It's like gasping for air one last time, before being pushed down to be drowned once more, by an assailant I can't fight..." Casca stays on her knees as the boy rustles on her chest, angry at being woken up before noticing who was in front of him.

"I just want to see him open his eyes, to have a final talk to him before this is all over... There's no need to die for me when we could have once lived in peace..."

"I still love him! That's the worst part about this! Why can't he realize that the weight of this sword is much greater than any burdens we could have gotten through!? I'm tired of fighting, Guts... Why aren't you...?"
>>
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>>5379800
>He would rather kill 100 apostles to protect you than outright admit his love. It's just the way he is.
>You are the one giving him strength. We all are, he's already changing and growing calmer thanks to being with us.
>You could always leave him, if it's too much for you to handle, but your child would appreciate having it's parents united.
>Would you like me to wake him up? Maybe he would appreciate having a heart to heart with you. It's worth seeing if you're getting any better.
>He will only cease his fight when he dies, when those monsters are sent away, or if he's incapacitated. sad to say, it's a feeling I'm starting to relate to.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5379801
>You are the one giving him strength. We all are, he's already changing and growing calmer thanks to being with us.
>>
>>5379801
>>You are the one giving him strength. We all are, he's already changing and growing calmer thanks to being with us.
>>
>>5379801
>He IS tired of it, Casca. He's been fighting for longer than any of us, but I fear it's the only thing he truly knows. Love and peace are strange and uncertain things for him. That's slowly changing, but for now...he's driven by the memories that haunt him, and his need for revenge. You both suffered true injustice, though I beg you to keep your mind away from that for now. He wants for nothing more than to live out the rest of his days with you, but the beast of darkness within him refuses to let go of him or the past. Sadly, it's not something so easily purged as an apostle or dark magic...it can only be purified by bringing peace to Guts, and giving him the strength to lay the beast to rest.
>>
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>>5379844
>>5379850
>>5379862

"He IS tired of this fight, Casca. Exhausted, even. As much of it as we all are, but I fear that's the only fuel he knows how to use. Love, Peace, Acceptance. Having to relearn all of those feelings after the injustice you've suffered... I can't imagine how haunting would it be to be fed only by revenge, taken those positive influences for granted for so long..."

"But how come he's not already improving? Did he even think twice before jumping into that monstrous armor? Forget about learning, he will die before any of us reach the damn island if he suffers wounds like these a second time!"

"I'm afraid I'll have to agree with Casca, Vlad. This is something even the others tend to ponder on. A single mistake in fights of this stake, and we risk being wiped out of history. And even when we can count our victories over time, they will start to feel like losses if everyone ends up like how Guts is now." Farnese expresses her worries.

"Ya might be able to heal everyone on the spot, partner. Doesn't mean we can calculate accumulated damage over time. Lord knows we're probably losing several years of lives with every blow to the head. Not everyone here can dodge as well as ya."

"His case is different, which is why I beg of them to wait. The beast of darkness is not the same as an apostle of dark magic... It's a personification of his needs to grasp to the past to stay living. We can only appease it by starving it with our strength and calming him down over time."

"And who's to say I yearn for revenge? I just want to live in peace!"
"Tell ya what, Casca. Why don't we strike a deal? Once you and Cindy are fully healed from this Mandragoran curse, Guts will likely have a better head on his shoulders. If ya both decide to forget about Griffith when we reach a peaceful place... Welp, nuthin we can do." Hyde gambles on everyone being safe and sound until then."

"...Is that true? You'll set us free?"
"Yer a patient, not a slave, girl. Yer free to come and go once all is fine with yer side of the group. yer not even forced to be around him if you don't want to."

Hyde's bad faith towards Guts makes her question whether it is worth it or not to even be around him. Something that never passed through her mind until today.

"Fine... Provided the island is reached without either of us dying... I'll have my answer."
"Don't I get a say in this?" Guts lifts his neck, waking up conveniently enough to hear most of your interactions.
>>
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>>5380039
"Guts!" Casca hurries to leave with the child, not wanting to trigger an episode, but the heavy tugging of the child's arm kept her in scene, making her notice that she already looked at Guts, and nothing had happened yet.

"H-huh?"
"It' is said in some medical reports that emotional support is just as essential in recoveries as medical. It's not every time it happens, but knowing that someone you care about is there to see you, to offer their full attention until you recover, or to cry should you pass, it's enough to make you cling onto life."

"Don't think you're getting rid of me a little to easily, Vlad? I'm not down for the count yet."
"It ain't you we're worried about, dumbass! We're wonderin why Casca is still fine." Hyde points to her and the moonlight child, which appeared to have it's eyes closed as it kept hugging his mother, seemingly preventing her collapse as she could finally interact with the black swordsman.

"And I was referring to the child who yearns for their parent's touch."
"Parents...? But I never--" She takes a good look at the child as it spreads its arms in the air, feeling guilty over it's own existence.
Casca finally connects the dots, tears fall down her face. A confused Guts wonders why she is sad, until he remembers the last sight of the aborted demon child before the falling of the tower of conviction."

"I did not know why he stopped haunting me... I thought he was still wondering around, alone somewhere in the forest night." He moves his neck around, still being unable to get up.

"Guts..." Casca bawls uncontrollably, finally uniting the three of them as you all left them alone to catch up their eternally delayed emotional reactions.

Guts might only have half the eyes to tear up, but you managed to catch a glimpse of his tears, as well.

A few hours later, you wake Hyde up so he can keep the night watch as you rest next to Guts, leaving Farnese by herself this night since he could always need something he could not reach.

"Vlad..."
"What is it, Guts? Thirsty?"
"Do you know how it felt to be on death's door, for two weeks? To sleep and rest, day after night, in peace... as I finally earned the trust of a group, when I had once sworn to never be part of a group again?"

You remained silent, noticing that he was merely contemplating his own journey.
"It was the calmest few nights I have had in such a long time... And now that I see the possibility of reuniting with Casca... I'm starting to worry I will lack the spark to go after Griffith... Why pursue revenge... When I already have everything I want...?"
>>
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>>5380096
>Take me for example. I never wished to turn Griffith into an adversary, I don't even think of him as someone on my revenge list. He is merely in my way to my battle against Conrad. This is a fight for justice, even disregarding personal feelings.
>Whatever your decision is, I will support it. You have been in this struggling condition for far longer than I have, provided you don't turn into an enemy or drop dead, you have earned to rest, but only after this is fight over.
>...That child is a spook, Guts. He is only present here due to the spiritual power of the full moon. As always, our happiness is only temporary.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5380098
>>Take me for example. I never wished to turn Griffith into an adversary, I don't even think of him as someone on my revenge list. He is merely in my way to my battle against Conrad. This is a fight for justice, even disregarding personal feelings.

>Whatever your decision is, I will support it. You have been in this struggling condition for far longer than I have, provided you don't turn into an enemy or drop dead, you have earned to rest, but only after this is fight over.
>>
>>5380107
>+1.
>>
>>5380098
Backing >>5380107
What IS the reason Guts needs to go take out Griffith?
>>
>>5380107
+1
>>
>>5380098

>>5380107
+1
Follow with this:
>"From the position you're in, you don't have to fight for vengeance anymore. If you do drop your fight right here I won't ever hold it against you. But take heed; we've seen a glimpse into the Godhands' plan. They seek to plunge the world into an apocalypse where they rule supreme with their demons running wild. And Griffith in particular is out to forge his own unholy kingdom as well. Think about it for a moment. Is a world in the palms of Griffith and the Godhand really the world you want to care for Casca and the child?"

It's a bit manipulative but Guts has plenty of military experience and has just as much for fighting Apostles. As a Lord of Ilos who's country is at war at Griffith(who's basically on Minecraft creative mode) we need to take what we can get.
>>
>>5380098
>Whatever your decision is, I will support it. You have been in this struggling condition for far longer than I have, provided you don't turn into an enemy or drop dead, you have earned to rest, but only after this is fight over.
>>
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>>5380107
>>5380121
>>5380133
>>5380166
"Take me for example. I never wished to turn Griffith into an adversary, I don't even think of him as someone on my revenge list. He is merely in my way to my battle against Conrad. This is a fight for justice, even disregarding personal feelings."

"I'm not sure I believe that." Guts sneers, bathing in sarcasm. "He's also done plenty of harm to you, even if indirectly. Give a few years bathing in the blood of your enemies, and you might just drop the pacifist schtick and admit that you enjoy all the killing."

"Doing an action similar to yours won't make me your doppelganger. We've both been gifted with Behelits, that does not mean that we'll walk the same path of the dark angels. Griffith has accepted his role as a pawn of causality, I merely pity the husk of what was once a man, who still have dear ones that confuse him for the benevolent man he once was. Conrad has no relatives who remain in this realm. His history is long gone, so I can't feel empathy to one who was never human in my eyes."

"For someone who walks a different path than mine, you sure adapted a mixture of the path between the two of us... You can tell the mixture of influences right down to your face. Obscured by a mysterious helm, hiding a scarred, animalistic face that gives way to a relaxed, soft-spoken young man."

A mixture of Guts and Griffith... That's enough to call your path your own, wouldn't it?
"As warm as the sun lets me be. The falcon will fly to it to reach it's heights, the wolf will chance it by land, and attempt to devour the sun. The tree merely stays as it is, letting the light come and pass through him as much as the darkness of the night."

"The tree will also outlive the both of them. Forever remaining still in it's ever changing scenery." Guts prematurely declares their deaths, wanting you two outlive them.

"If you do drop your fight right here, I wouldn't ever hold it against you. You have been in this struggling condition for far longer than I have, provided you don't turn into an enemy or drop dead, you have earned to rest, but only after this is fight over."

"Of course. While I do want this to be over with, I can't exactly abandon a fight I started. This sense of duty is starting to replace my revenge... I couldn't even imagine sharing the same air as him nowadays, but after seeing the growing relations of The Pegasus Brigade... Abandoning them would only make me repeat the mistakes of my past."

"In the same light as we don't recognize the old Griffith, he won't recognize either of us. To stop his plans of plunging the world into his apocalyptic autocracy of demons, our palms should be strong to push the ones of the God hand away, for all the ones we care for."
>>
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>>5380241
Taking a glance at the child of the moonlight sleeping soundly with Casca, he looks over to Farnese, wondering if you'd do the same mistake that he did.

"Have you two done it already?"
"H-Huh?!" His bluntness and the sudden change of subject feel like a mental suckerpunch. "What does that matter to you?"
"You seem to have less of a block towards these sorts of advancements than I do--"

"--Subtle way to call me a pervert--"
"Our paths might be different, but they sure attack in the same repeated way, if the armor from Bones is anything to go by. I just want to make sure that you don't be struck in the same manner."

A valid point. Now that you became a target for causality, the dimension of ideas is a perfect way to telegraph what would make you break: What would cause you to be on the verge of insanity, to let go all of your ideas as you snap and finally give in to your inner evils?

If they are building you up just to make your fall more horrifying like they are doing with the Kushan Empire, all of this could still only be bait to make you miss the ones who will soon pass away in front of your eyes...

To have a scenario similarly to the eclipse, where Farnese would be in Casca's situation...

"They wouldn't..."
"..." Guts lets the silence speak for itself.
"I'm still getting used to this whole 'father' thing--"
"Wouldn't say it's normal to see them only once in a blue moon, either..." You keep that thought to yourself.

"-- Which is why it would be useful to know if Farnese and you aren't... active. Do you even plan on having children with her?"
For someone so blunt, he sure tends to slur his tongue when speaking of sex.

> Maybe one or two, but any more would be too many.
> As many as possible. I am a lord at Ilos, expanding our lineage is important.
>I wouldn't mind adopting a child instead, It's only fair to honor my parent's legacy with their kindness.
>Don't plan on having kids, at least not right now.
>It's a decision between me and her, I would rather not elaborate any further.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5380251
>I wouldn't mind adopting a child instead, It's only fair to honor my parent's legacy with their kindness.
>>
>>5380251
>>It's a decision between me and her, I would rather not elaborate any further.
>>
>>5380251
>It's a decision between me and her, I would rather not elaborate any further.
>>
>>5380251
> As many as possible. I am a lord at Ilos, expanding our lineage is important.
>>
>>5380251
>> As many as possible. I am a lord at Ilos, expanding our lineage is important.
>>Ultimately is a decision between me and her, but to see my family prosper and return to his glory would make me very happy.
>>
>>5380251
>It's a decision between me and her, I would rather not elaborate any further.
>>
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>>5380262
>>5380292
>>5380333
>>5380416
>>5380439
>>5380460
"It's a decision between me and her, I would rather not elaborate any further."

"Well, hope that was enough for you to get the message then."

"It was, I'll try not to lose any sleep over it." You go back to your sleeping spot, getting ready to shut your eyes in peace after discussing your grievances with Guts.

Perhaps his role as a commander will repeat itself in your group afterall...

Hyde's obnoxiously loud whistling wakes you up.
"Enemies! Some fog's coming up and they're hiding in it!"
"Swear that I'm going to sleep until noon when I'm done with all this bullshit..." You grumble as your group awakes with you.

"Is it the usual wraiths? Bandits? Kushan?" Serpico asks of the previous enemies they've managed to fight without much worry."

"Buncha crocodiles. They don't usually hang out at the beach, or in Vritannis, so I'm wondering if they were summoned here by some of them wizards!"

"The fog doesn't let me see them well, be it with my eyes or with my magic reading. It will be hard to see what else we're up against."
"So are we fighting?" Farnese asks.

"Hell yeah we're fighting! I wanna put those climbing skills to the test!"
"What, you're going to climb they're backs? Gators don't go past twice your size." Ivalera shrugs.
"We can always run if ye don't feel like fighting, but they might just chase us to the main city."
"Well, what can we do?" Guts attempts to stand up, barely being able to crawl to the dragonslayer.
The moonlight child dons the berserker armor's chestplate, with Guts extending his hand to reach it, only for the boy to do a 180 past him to avoid his usage of the beast.

Seems like even he knows the dangers of the armor.

>We're fighting, no point in delaying the inevitable.
>We can outrun them, just let Gunpowder take the wheel.
>Guts, you better sit this one out, or I'll strap you to the floor if I have to.
>I've never had crocodile meat, let's see if it's any good.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5380511
>We're fighting, no point in delaying the inevitable.
>>Write-in.
>"You and the child will remain inside, it will suffice that you use your crossbow for keep them at bay from the wagon. We will fight but not on their conditions, the ones that summoned them aren't intelligent has they believe. We will leave the beach and find a terrain more suited to us, an hill or a forest, reaching it with Gunpowder shouldn't be a problem. I leave the task to find it to Hyde and Violet."
"Meanwhile i will use this mist against them, thanks to the trident, and my seeds will crush them if they arrive too near. Once we are on a better terrain their numbers will mean little."
>>
>>5380511
>We're fighting, no point in delaying the inevitable.
redrum redrum redrum
>>
>>5380511
>We're fighting, no point in delaying the inevitable.
>>
>>5380525
>>5380630
>>5380660
Onward towards our rolls, then!
a 1d100 to start things off against the crocs.
Let's see if the situation is as bad as Hyde said it was.
>>
Rolled 46 (1d100)

>>5380668
Cut your grasses (very bad flute edition)
>>
Rolled 17 (1d100)

>>5380668
Vladdy needs a new pair of boots.
>>
Rolled 37 (1d100)

>>5380668
>>
Rolled 83 (1d100)

>>5380668
>>
Rolled 59 (1d100)

>>5380668
>>
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>>5380685
>>5380687
>>5380688
>>5380742
>>5380824

Advising Hyde and Violet to scout the area and look for a better ground to fight or escape in, you tell Guts and the child to stay together with Casca until the situation calls for backup.

"Shame. This would be perfect to go back into practice."
"The full moon is also when a person's mind is at it's most unstable, Guts! You're inviting the beast of darkness into your body!""

"I heard you all the first time, only show up in case Vlad can't handle the crocodiles."

As they quickly emerge from the fog, all of your group attempts to keep flocked together and strike at the first reptiles who show their maws, but having the advantage in numbers, their copying of your strategy proves to be more effective as Serpico disperses the fog temporarily, getting a good sight of the tens of bipedal crocodiles walking up to Isidro's direction as he uses his salamander dagger as a torch!

"Isidro!" Not having time to wear your armor you shove the pishaca's teeth away from the young bandit as the monster gnaws at your arm.

The sharp pain from having your arm nearly devoured is enough to shock you from doing your first attack, pulling your halberd and pushing him away with enough force to stop the crocodile from eating you whole.

It does work for a single enemy, as you can match the monstrous animal's strength with no worries despite being in a bad position. What's worrying is the 5 others mistaking you for fresh meat.

Serpico is too busy flying over the enemies and clearing the skies for Violet to take flight, Farnese and Schierke are preparing their spells, and Zhafira's unseen hand doesn't seem to be trained in much other than absolute defense.

So your fighting companion for this encounter can only be Isidro... Either this will be proof that his training is paying off, or the bane of your existence...

>Impale the first crocodile and bash the others with him.
>Switch to your trident and freeze the water they rise from.
>Behead the gnawing monster and protect Isidro.
>See if he can help you kill the one attempting to rip your arm off with his set of shortswords.
>Something else.
>>
>>5381438
>Switch to your trident and freeze the water they rise from.
Do you know what killed the dinosaurs?
>>
>>5381438
>Switch to your trident and freeze the water they rise from.

>>5381444
It was US
>>
>>5381438
>Switch to your trident and freeze the water they rise from.
>>
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>>5381444
>>
>>5381438
>>Switch to your trident and freeze the water they rise from.
>>
>>5381444
>>5381446
>>5381462
>>5381466
Guess we're taking a trip to ice cap zone! a 1d100+10 to see how this works!
Added bonus because the undines are salivating from the amount of water around in this foggy beach
>>
Rolled 83 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5381481
Let's chill them out
>>
Rolled 77 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5381481
>>
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Rolled 97 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5381481
>>
>>5381500
If only we had a big cooler to store all these frozen gator tails and steaks for the road ahead of us. Or the ocean ahead of us, if THE BOAT will happen You should completely stop running this quest for a full year the moment Vlad and Guts get on the boat. Or at least have Puck or somebody lampshade it
>>
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>>5381584
/qst/ tends to run a lot slower after summer vacation ends for most anons so I'm already getting used to mimicking slower releases : ^)
Nah, mostly just taking a breather this week since I don't want to tire myself out while I'm working, wouldn't mind if I took a month off for the boat though lol

>>5381489
>>5381494
>>5381500
Nice going! Writing soon.
>>
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>>5381881
>stops running the quest
>instead starts posting about this neat game he discovered
>>
Nice rolls
>>
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>>5381489
>>5381494
>>5381500

Calling for the blessing of the undines, you take note of the ridiculous amount of humidity that came with the foggy air and the ocean by your side. Hoping to control the spirits of the water by feeding them as much power as you could, you attempt to freeze part of the shore where the crocodiles arose from their hiding in plain sight.

Unfortunately, you have yet to fully master the undines and their powers, combined with Schierke's warning of the spirits and the loss of ego when feeding into their thirsts proves to be a lot more than you could swallow.

"UGH!" The trident nearly flies off your hand as it extends and bends in several directions, skewering and impaling through several of the scaly fighters as they were frozen solid. A large portion of the sea turned into a walkable, frozen pond.

The coldness of the air was felt by you the most, as your body temperature dropped to the point where it hurt to move your fingers, taking a look at the wounded gash of an arm you have stuck on the crocodile's maw, you felt a lack of movement from your arm as you saw it completely frozen inside the remote controlled animal.

"Uh, Vlad?! Nice going there, you can stop flexing your skills now!" Puck nervously watched the undines disperse into their deep blue familiars, preventing any additional enemies from presenting themselves onto the battlefield, but also keeping you stuck in place as the wild elementals ignored your pleads to return to normalcy.

"I ain't the one doing this!" You complained about the trident being perhaps too effective in this area, to the point of being nearly uncontrollable.

"I got you, Bean dude!" Isidro takes hold of the salamander dagger to reheat your arm back to safety before the freezing could do any permanent damage. Begging for him to do it fast without melting your arm was a given, but there still remained the other pishacas who were still hiding in the fog.

"And here I thought I would never get a chance to shine!" Rolling and tumbling enough times to look like he was permanently curled into a ball, Isidro's precise strikes with Morgan's shortsword and Schierke's dagger makes him an effective multitasker. Dual wielding his weapons to slash and burn all of his incoming threats while keeping his berries around to buy you time until you were set free.

"Seems like they synergize as well as fire and ice..." The blue elf shrugs while lighting the way for the others to pass and find a way to safety.

"Found the ones in charge of this! I'd start shooting, but I can't see a damn thing!" Hyde spots a few magicians hiding at the cliffside.
"I'm on my way." Serpico gently glides away from the wild beast's range, leaving you and Isidro to keep it together until then.

>Attempt to regain control of the trident.
>Astral project and cover Isidro with your soul doubles.
>Strike at the frozen crocodile to regain some movement.
>Advise Isidro on what to do and let him handle this by himself.
>Something else.
>>
>>5381943
>Attempt to regain control of the trident.

>Advise Isidro on what to do and let him handle this by himself.
>>
>>5381943
>>Attempt to regain control of the trident.
>>
>>5381893
Nah, Been a while since I've been interested in any games recently, think the last game I played that was worth noting was Aria Of Sorrow, still have to try out Sekiro.

Now Anime on the other hand... Shit, I read rose of Versailles twice just to get ready for the Vritannis courtroom ordeals, and that hasn't even happened yet.

>>5381978
>>5382026
Well, let's give it up for a 2d100 then, hopefully Isidro won't disappoint you on the second DC
>>
Rolled 34, 68 = 102 (2d100)

>>5382183
>>
Rolled 15, 23 = 38 (2d100)

>>5382183
Undines, I command thee KNEEL
>>
Rolled 72, 62 = 134 (2d100)

>>5382183
BOI
>>
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>>5382193
>>5382200
>>5382201

"Cease this mindless destruction, Undines. Let us act as one for the greater good of mankind." Visualizing their return to your grasp, you plead to the elementals to not end the precious marine life of all the seven seas, now realizing how powerful this weapon is, and how much you still have to control them.

The blue Od flow slowly but surely returns to its handle as you start to grunt from feeling the awful pain that is to unfreeze your arm. Finally feeling your frost bones again, you somewhat wished you didn't, as you begin to shiver and feel how limited your movements are, just pulling your wrist away from the frozen crocodile is enough lose the rhythm of your breathing.

"There we go!" Isidro pumps himself up from saving you. "No need to thank me."

"Honestly, I'm just glad that my arm didn't melt..." You recompose yourself as you wait for your trident to stop extending itself into infinity.

Walking past the fog with the bandit boy, you decide to rely on your physical strength thanks to your irregular breathing preventing you from doing Od transfers.

So when another mob of crocs appear to fight you again, you realize how ineffective your powers are to any who don't have demonic energy within them, as you lack the force to cut through them after the 4th blow, no doubt due to your horribly tense muscles.

"I thought you were the acrobatic guy!" Isidro sneers as he almost gets caught in his own berry throwing.
"Let me freeze your fiery little head and see how you perform!"

With the pishacas lunging straight at your throat as a spear pushes you with a wooden staff.

Before their weight could topple over you and Isidro, the fog dissipates as Serpico beheads the kushan casters hidden in the cliffside. With their spells being broken, the crocodiles return to their simplistic thought process, ignoring their dead relatives and returning back to the sea (having a harder time than usual due to the frozen shore.)

"Talk about a sharp feather!" Isidro smiles, being finally able to see.

Surprisingly, you were wondering why the fog was making it hard for you to use your precognition. Perhaps that artificially generated spell made it so they could prevent both magical and physical sight?

"...The fog is coming out of their body!" Hyde points out as the sand rumbles beneath Serpico, almost sending him to the ground before he could redirect himself into a regular position mid-air.

An amphibian monster, having the trunk of an elephant and the size of a whale appears and roars, deafening all present as the dead kushan possess the carcass of the large animal buried at shore.

"What is that?!" Serpico shouts.
"Post-mortem magic! It's a physical and ethereal enemy, similar to the weapons we have."
"Can we fight it? Farnese shows up with the caravan ready, with Cindy and Schierke inside.
"Yes."
"NO!"
"PLEASE NO!" Gunpowder scares his animal companions with his nonchalant compliance.
>>
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>>5382521
"I do not know enough about Makaras to properly advise in combat, even after our studies together..." Schierke shivers, nowhere in your knowledge of Kushan magic did it say where and how you would fight a monster that can squash the entire caravan flat and all in it by simply walking through it.

>Make a run for it.
>Aim for it's eyes, a blind enemy is a weaker enemy.
>Clog its trunk, elephants are smart enough to use them like hands.
>See if there are any remaining casters nearby now that the fog is gone.
>Attempt to exorcise their Od from the carcass.
>Wait for your trident to stabilize and attack with the elementals of your friends.
>Time to see what Astral Projection can do, look for a spirit in the world of ideas to empower your body.
>Something else
>>
>>5382527
>Aim for it's eyes, a blind enemy is a weaker enemy.
Tear it's eyes out make it scream!
>>
>>5382527
>Aim for it's eyes, a blind enemy is a weaker enemy.
Stack de-buffs like we did in the arena then go in for the kill later.
>>
>>5382527
>>Aim for it's eyes, a blind enemy is a weaker enemy.
>>
>>5382527
>Aim for it's eyes, a blind enemy is a weaker enemy.
>>
meh
drop some seeds around him
>>
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>>5382533
>>5382537
>>5382538
>>5382540
Not expecting you to pass this DC, but you're welcome to try
a 1d100! Gimme the numbers!
>>
Rolled 58 (1d100)

>>5382595
Expectations status: Surpassed
>>
Rolled 15 (1d100)

>>5382595
>>
Rolled 37 (1d100)

>>5382595
>>
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Suffice to say, this is not good.
>>
Rolled 20 (1d100)

>>5382595
>>
>>5382645
>>5382676
Does not matter our injuries shall be a motivator not to fail again!
>>
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>>5382597
>>5382600
>>5382605

This gigantic Makara might rival the size of the unleashed dragon Grunbeld, but is finding an enemy driven by pure animalistic instinct harder than one who has control over his own power?

"Let's hit him in the eyes!"
"What is it with you and eyes?" Puck scratches his head, noticing your preferences for vital blows.

"If I see a way to tactically bring this fiend to my level, I will act on it. CHARGE!"

Following your leap, Serpico is the first to fly over to hit the dead elephant's right eye as you flanked him from the left, but the tension from your frozen muscles prevent you from doing more than a hop that reaches the creatures jaw.

Leaning back and noticing your attacks, the Makara sprays a gigantic torrent of water onto Serpico from it's trunk as he ascended to the point of locking eyes with Hyde.

Were it not for the Slyph vest breaking his fall, he would have been forever lost onto the sea, with their controlled gliding trying their hardest to land on the thin ice created by the Undines.

Hyde gives the heavy feather potion to violet, sending a rain of iron talons towards the Makara as he desperately attempts to distract the creature from you.
"Are you sure you don't need any help?" Guts appears from behind the Caravan with one of the horses, dragging the dragonslayer on the floor as he had to use both hands strapped onto the hilt with his bandages just to keep it from dropping.

"Didn't we just fuckin tell you to stay still? Get that armor off of you before I waste this cannon blast on you!"
"Demoted to emergency backup it is, then... At least I can finally walk away from the runes on that caravan, they always burn and itch at my skin..." His horsehide takes a step back, seeing how both you and him had weapons that could dish out as much damage to themselves as it did to your enemies.

"I can't bear to watch this..." Farnese's spirit is seen ascending to the next dimension before Schierke could.

"C'mere, Dumbo!" Hyde angrily fires marbles and feathers at all the vital spots to slow the creature down and preventing it from stomping you and ending your life.

While it is effective, the flailing of his trunk is dangerous enough to even accidentally put you under. Hyde needs a precise shot to burst through the creature and perhaps even kill it, but with all the swerving and dodging of the water guns, it's hard to even keep himself upside up for long.

Shooting at one of his eyes as the king of pishacas' eye ball is turned into dirty fireworks, the Makara's frenzy is nearly uncontrollable, using the last of its adrenaline tanks to splash him down, the water torrent finally fires at you, slashing away at your clothes as you swerve into the frictionless platforms above the sea.

"Vlad!" Isidro is shocked to see you being defeated.
"Don't die to the filler bossfiiiiiight!" Is all you hear from Puck as you land closer to Serpico, who's isolated in a thinning iceberg slowly drifting farther onto the land.
>>
>>5382755
Despite your fall being worse than Serpico's it wasn't enough to send you singing, thanks to the stronger hits kicking and bouncing you towards the edge of the ice floor, who extended into a solid, snowflake shaped floor for you to fall on your back.

Serpico does not dare to move even a muscle, doing his best to shift his weight across the platform as any ill-performed jump could crumble the only thing stopping him from drowning.

Throwing caution to the wind and attempting to move your back, you find yourself unable to stand up, everything from your below your neck refuses to even move an inch forward.

...Are you paralyzed? You didn't think the Makara hit you that hard, but you aren't feeling anything at all!

Turning over to see why you were glued to the surface, you caught a glimpse of your naked skin stuck to the sub-zero surface of the ice platform.

Seeing how hard it will be to even escape by force without letting part of your chest laying in the snow as they are ripped out from your body, you wonder if that's for better or for worse.

The only thing that can save the both of you from drowning are either Cindy, the only one who knows how to swim, Hyde, provided he can defeat the Makara by himself or if Farnese summons something to aid him, or the Undines, who seem to grow more uncontrollable the closer they get to the ocean.

"Not to be pragmatic, Vlad. But I don't plan on reaching elfhelm on this small vehicle." The sylphs are caught pushing him forward with the wind currents, but the strong tides force him to balance himself on top of his melting circle.

Feeling the Od being drained from the Makara as his life escapes its decaying body.
But why is the source of magic being detected so far from the shore? Are there more casters on boats? If so, how can they puppeteer them so far away?

>Hope your trident can defrost your body without further complications.
>Thaw your back out of the ice with your halberd.
>Make an ice bridge to Serpico so he can help you up.
>Rip your skin out of the frozen snow piece.
>Something else.
>>
>>5382793
>Hope your trident can defrost your body without further complications
>>
>>5382793
>>Hope your trident can defrost your body without further complications.
>Something else.
Use our od and try to melt the ice around if we need to

how annoying
>>
i will force vlad in his armor for the rest of the travel
>>
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>>5382793
>Hope your trident can defrost your body without further complications.
Oh fuck this not good. Well, the trident worked last time, lets hope our luck pulls through!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRH-Ywpz1_I
>>
>>5382843
i am considering to just get gunpowder and switch to our halberd if we can get free (and with the undines going crazy is probably an high dc 80/85 my guess), the Makara and the sorcerers are likely giving us problem with the trident. Beyond the trident it self.
>>
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>>5382827
>>5382831
>>5382841
>>5382843
Well then, let's pray the undines don't go against Vlad this time.

Let's give it a 1d100 again, controlling the water when you're a plant boy might be a bit too much for Vladdy-boy if we fail
>>
Rolled 61 (1d100)

>>5383029
>>
Rolled 67 (1d100)

>>5383029
>>
Rolled 54 (1d100)

>>5383029
ah shucks
>>
Rolled 66 (1d100)

>>5383029
Looks like I made it just in time.
>>
Rolled 39 (1d100)

>>5383029
RIP Vlad.
>>
Rolled 14 (1d100)

>>5383029
>>
>>5383252
there are always alternatives
"If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away."
>>
Rolled 34 (1d100)

>>5383029
>>
How could this happen? We are a plant. Plants have water inside them. Vascular system nigga. Xylem and phloem nigga. Is it because we're not an aqueous plant like kelp?
>>
Rolled 74 (1d100)

>>5383029
>>
>>5383073
>>5383131
>>5383160
Attempting to control the Undines in this high tides, you use them to defrost most of the ice laying onto your body... except for the part stuck in your back.

You are in control, focus your breathing, the spirits should be one with the infinity of water sources, not disperse and lose themselves in the heartless sea.

Visualize the elements in peace, you will serve their wishes, so they can also serve you, whatever they can find at the bottom of the ocean, it shall not be greater than your quest against the forces of evil.

As they neutralize into their liquid shape, the ice thaws out with such speed that it melts all the ice you've previously materialized. Including the one you and Serpico were standing on to prevent drowning.

Seeing the melting of the platform, Serpico leaps forward a few meters to get closer to the shore, but the distance is far too great for his sylph cape to send him farther than what you could possible paddle towards before drowning.

Since neither of you can swim, panic is nearly inevitable, you attempt to activate the handle of the undine trident, but being submerged in water, they became unified with their liquid form and don't do much else than push a few tides in your direction.

As Serpico's sylphs are wet and his equipment submerged in water, he manages to see a distant Zhafira throwing her needle into your direction, with the unseen hand stretching a string that could perhaps save you both.

But it fails to reach.
It's only a few meters away from Serpico, but realistically too far from you to reach, you could wait until she reaches you both, but you are barely keeping your head up from sinking.
Can you really prevent yourself from dying to the enemy that sent you away?

The Makara is on its last legs, Hyde just needs one more shot, but with Guts and Farnese preparing to attack, he might not be the one getting the kill.

You can't die here, The Undines weren't reacting this poorly when you were fighting the dragon, and you have grown too far for this to not be working... Damn this dispersion of the full moon and the Kushan magicians accustomed to it!

>Shout for Serpico to help you.
>Attempt to hold yourself onto an ice piece by freezing the water.
>Try to control the tides to push you closer to the land.
>Desperately keep yourself from drowning as you try to float.
>Use the Undines to open the sea, they should be more effective now that they're one with the sea.
>See if you haven't lost any seeds to use a working one as a support to stand on.
>Something else.
>>
>>5383450
>Something else.
Use the tides to propel us like a torpedo and ram the fucking Makara
>>
>>5383465
support
let's see if it works
>>
>>5383404
Shit nigga humans got water in em too that don't mean they'll listen to Isidro.
>>
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>>5383465
>>5383530
A daring option given his current situation.
Let's see if Vlad and Serp will manage to avoid drowning.

A 1d100 to tell the Kraken to go fuck itself
>>
Rolled 1 (1d100)

>>5383576
>>
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>>5383614
Ah, I see.

I've killed us.
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>5383576

>>5383614
Get down Mr. President!
>>
Turns out the undines REALLY want to freeze the ocean surrounding vritannis for some reason.

Oh well, I hope this doesn't come up in the court case against us lol, freezing the entire port and stopping trade for god knows how long might not work in our favor in the court of law.
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5383576
>>
>>5383614
Holy shit anon
>>
>>5383631
just blame it on the dead sorcerers duh
>>
>>5383614
kek
>>
>>5383614
Well,shit.
Guess it's finally time for me to kick somebody of the team...
>>
>>5383678
Gomen'nasai Haido, machigaemashita.
>>
>>5383678
Oh damn Guts is super dead yo
>>
Attempting to push the tides of battle to your favor, you make a last ditch effort to come back into the fight with the power of the waves, propelling you forward until you went through the Makara attacking your group.

But the unpredictability of marine activity was exactly what kept you from being sure of the outcome. Your mind is wandering back to the Santana family crest, the monstrous Kraken that was able to take the virtuous Pegasus out of the sky, digging him into the depths of the unknown as their battle symbolized the struggle of good and evil, despite being at an advantage in power, the Pegasus had more numbers, leaving their battle postponed in the onlookers interpretation.

The monster in your home was broken when you took the piece of the statue off your family's garden, but what of the one who grasps the world?

The fear of not knowing how to swim, to be drowned by the exact prophecy that brought ruin to your family. You did not want to believe it, but you are just as susceptible to despair as anyone else.

And with all of this multitasking too, family and friends dying, the independence of Ilos, raising an army against The God Hand... You do not have enough limbs as the Kraken to tackle to many things at once...
Which is why when the trident reaches your thoughts, it sends you sinking. A crater is formed as the sea is opened up to the grains of sand below, sending you and Serpico into free fall as Zhafira's string is also brought down into the whirlpool.

As the hole closes, the extended shore is once again frozen, preventing your resurfacing.
The Undines have merely obeyed the subconscious thoughts you have been repressing for so long. The pressure has caught up to you, and now you and your allies are incapable of escaping the prison of your own making.

This is the way of fate to communicate the world of your suicide.

Serpico's air bubbles attempt to give him some oxygen as he attempts to float upwards, but going too fast for his body to accommodate for the changing pressure, he quickly starts coughing blood and loses consciousness, with Zhafira's unseen hand catching him without limiting their movements.

You reflectively gasp for air as you exhaust yourself trying to follow Zhafira, no sweat or saliva to be seen, it all blends together as the same liquid, the slow, agonizing climb towards the moon's reflection nearly makes you burst your own body from the pressure much like Serpico did before you.
>>
>>5383749
Finally reaching the surface, you telepathically tell your friends to help you before its too late, with worrying responses from Isidro, Guts and Schierke.
"Let me help him! These lizard salamanders can melt the ice just fine!"
"I knew I should have helped right from the start!"
"The Makara is almost bleeding out from Hyde's attacks, but there's something wrong with Farnese! She has brought forth the Wheel Of Fire, but it's too late for the spirit to do something against the monster! She has to release the energy somewhere to appease him and make the blaze wheel separate itself from her body! She hasn't learned how to disperse them yet!"

You attempt to shift to your Halberd and break the ice from inside, but the forse you need to thaw your group off the water is immense! You need to put twice the force to move with half the speed compared to what you were doing on land.

With your body craving for air by the second, you will not find any more energy coming from your body aside from what you're already doing. It's all downhill from here...

You were about to signal to Zhafira to see if she could help you in your strikes, but you see the fabric of her clothes being cut by brown spots and twigs as the stress of the situation worsens her mandragoran condition.

...Is she already about to turn?

>Keep using your Halberd, that's enough of Undine abuse for now.
>These spirits will not drown you, assert dominance and order them to save you!
>Absorb the Od of the the sea to empower your strikes.
>Tell Farnese to fire the blazing wheel at the ice formations.
>Wait for Isidro to get here and hope the three of you have enough breath to live until then.
>Use your seeds to burst the frozen grounds.
>Something else
>>
>>5383753
>Keep using your Halberd, that's enough of Undine abuse for now.
>Use your seeds to burst the frozen grounds.
Might work. I don't trust the undines at the moment, enough rolls today with them. And the sea is stupidly large, that's a given.
That's my two cents on this.
>>
>>5383753
>These spirits will not drown you, assert dominance and order them to save you!
Clearly the spirits must see now that they are incapable of killing us. Thus they must submit to us!
>>
>>5383753
>These spirits will not drown you, assert dominance and order them to save you!
USE THE PAIN TO FINISH IT.
>>
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>>5383779
>>5383786
>>5383791
It really is all of nothing with you folks, huh?
Well, hopefully this won't be the last 1d100 we do.

ROLLROLLROLL!
>>
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Rolled 24 (1d100)

>>5383915
>>
Rolled 46 (1d100)

>>5383915
please gods, don't FAIL ME
>>
Rolled 21 (1d100)

>>5383915
>>
We've finally reached it, quest end.
>>
>>5384050
DON'T GIVE UP NOW ANON, KEEP STRUGGLING!
>>
Rolled 73 (1d100)

>>5383915
SECRET-ROLL-JITSU ACTVATE!!
>>
I fucking hate water elementals now
>>
>>5383915
I expected a few different votes, but I am not surprised.
>>
>>5383922
>>5383924
>>5383959
Damn feels like an active effort to kill Vlad now, wonder if it's actually worth pulling a >>5384050 here.
Anyways, I had enough time to sulk, let's see how this goes.
>>
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>>5383922
>>5383924
>>5383959

GOD FUCKING DAMN IT! Why won't these undines consider you worthy!? Haven't you've proven yourself time after time?! How come these blasted spirits are so god damn ineffective at what they do? You can't get any clearer than this! LET US BE FREE!

As the bubbles of air exit from your lungs, the undines concede at letting your allies escape, breaking free as the thinning ice formations break from the unseen hand's decisive punch. Serpico hangs on by a thread as Zhafira crawls her way back to the dying Makara, her legs being deformed into uneven roots, making her unable to properly stand in her exhausted condition.

Yet when your hand did manage to reach out to the surface, the solidified handle of the trident brought you back down, sinking as your lungs were emptied underwater.
Every inch of your body aches for something it cannot produce, however the more you attempt to move, the faster the icy walls close in on you, depraving your senses one by one...

The ringing echoes of your comrades shouting into your mind from the other end of the surface is heartbreaking. Poor Isidro stabs at the icicles with all of his might, his melting of the undines isn't nearly enough to save you in time.

Having defeated the Makara, Hyde temporarily sets his differences aside with Guts to explode the iceberg enveloping you, but it refused to move.

You remember the irony of telling Casca and Guts that they should be free to choose to fight or not once they were cured in Elfhelm... Dying like this, it feels like you are forcing the torch of Ilos onto him, burdening the swordsman with your task of slaying both Femto and Conrad...You can only hope they do not resent you, in the same vein you would not hold a grudge against them.

Farnese! You hate to see her hurting... She was just about to blossom into the strongest of flowers across the white tiger field of the pegasus... The stiffness of your muscles prevent you from even blowing her a last kiss. Ironically, it feels like Serpico just cursed you after revealing his secret, but his heart to heart with you proved that he trusted you to the end, even if he might have felt rejected by your shutdown of the subject.

No tears come out of your eyes, nothing comes from your shouts. Your fist relaxes... The water entering your lungs does not hurt you anymore... The pain is receding, your body relaxes...

Your duty was to cleanse the forest, avenge your family, free Merlina's soul, and make yourself into a legend... You've done plenty, Vlad. It's time to rest in the same sand that embraced Sivir...

"LIVE!"
A childish voice is heard clearly as your body is ready to ascend into the great unknown, keeping you tied to your body as the small image of a white spirits is seen blocking your escape.

Is it the child from the moonlight? He seems to be benevolent enough, but the warning of the silver eyed gives you uneasiness...
>>
>>5384230
"Were it not for you, my parents would not have found it in them to reconcile and begin their healing. There is still plenty for you to observe in the world of the living, and we shall be forever grateful of your efforts. We beg of you to stay strong. Please, Live!"

The reinvigorating words of the child let you unconsciously absorb the Od of the Undines, giving your body enough energy to attempt a last move to the surface.

Your plant mother. The Santanas. Even from Gallahad to the child that refuses to see you passing. They all gave their life to you. Your appreciation of life could not come from knowing the true meaning of death. To refuse to burn yourself out of your energy to have a slim chance of living would be to betray all the ones you outlived you to ensure you how much love you had for life itself...

Farnese's fiery rod will soon approach you, whether will it free you or incinerate you, you feel like it would be unfair to leave your lover and disciple behind without ever saying goodbye.

Maybe it comes with following the uneven path of the Silver-Eyed...

A slight nub seems to poke your back when you descend into the sand... As cold as it feels, for some reason... the shape of the rock that touches you seems perfectly oval...

But are you really in the time or place to ponder shapes of pebbles?

It is time to either die as yourself, or live for all of life to persevere...
Whatever outcome is chosen, you are at peace with what happens from your lack of inaction.

>Arise.
>Sink into the stones.
>>
>>5384243
>Arise
The fire rises!
>>
>>5384243
>>Sink into the stones.
>>
>>5384243
>>Sink into the stones.
>>
>>5384243
>Arise.
>>
>>5384243
>Arise.
I'm not quite sure what the other choice means but I'm guessing Vlad dies if we choose it.
>>
>>5384243
>Arise.
NO, I CAN'T LET IT END HERE! I REFUSE! ONE BAD TURN OUT OF THE SO MANY GOOD ONES CAN'T MAKE VLAD DIE! HE STILL HAS SO MUCH TO DO! PLEASE LET HIM LIVE!!!!!!
>>
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>>5384243
>Sink into the stones.
YOU THINK I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE? MERLINA WARNED US ABOUT YOU, MOONLIGHT CHILD. AND HOW CONVENIENT IT IS FOR A BEHELIT TO PRESS INTO US NOW, OF ALL TIMES.
I WOULD SOONER TURN TO DARK MAGIC LIKE OUR MASTER BEFORE US THAN RELY ON THE EGG OF TEMPTATION, OR THE POWER OF ITS FOUL MASTERS.
I SAY WE GRAB THAT EGG...AND REJECT IT SO HARD IT LAUNCHES US OUT OF HERE!
>>
I can't help but feel personally responsible for this outcome...

If only I had rolled better or chose to run away, none of this would be happening so suddenly, all the hard work of the quests before would be up in the air like it is now. I feel so guilty. Shit, I'm sorry guys, I ruined the very thing I love so much. I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry, I really don't. I'm at a loss.

I truly wish from the bottom of my heart I could do something to reverse this, is all I can think about...
>>
>>5384243
>>Sink into the stones.
And the end of the day, being a man means embracing eternity. Actually just have some faith in our companions. They'll drag us up. I believe. We can't put the world on our shoulders and expect to never shrug.

>>5384301
Pft, come off it. It's just the way the wind blows my guy. What good is a game without a little risk, after all?
>>
>>5384243
>A slight nub seems to poke your back when you descend into the sand... As cold as it feels, for some reason... the shape of the rock that touches you seems perfectly oval...
Oh shit that's a behelit, isn't it?
>>
>>5384321
Yeah, seems that way. Also seems like the only way out without dying.
>>
>>5384313
I know that. Games without risk are meaningless and boring, but that's just why I can't let it end here. We've come so far and Vlad has accomplished so much in that time, and I refuse to let all of that end just because of one bad turn!! He still has so much to see and do!

Characters to meet! New challenges to face! Victories to earn! He needs to be there! HE NEEDS TO LIVE DAMN IT! I WONT LOSE HIM TO THIS!!
>>
>>5384335
Do not accept the behelit.
I am dead serious when I say we should prefer to invoke dark magic over sacrificing with the behelit to survive.
At the very least dark magic would FORCE the undines to heed our commands
>>
>>5384344
Honesty I would prefer that if that were an option, but I'm not even sure that's possible in our situation right now.
>>
>>5384345
>not choosing to die to spite causality
Live free or die my man.
>>
>>5384362
>Choosing to live and bear the pain rather than give up and leave everyone behind.
I prefer my way of looking at it.
>>
>>5384363
What a fine way of saying you don't think they can do it. Truly this is peak camaraderie.

Don't be afraid.
>>
>>5384365
>>5384243

Fuck it. Your right. I can't do it. I can't make Vlad become an apostcuck after all.

I rescind my vote >>5384296 as much as it kills me so deeply inside to do this. I just cant do it to my precious boy.

>>Sink into the stones.
May god have mercy on me, I hope I've done the right thing...
>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5Acw0QDY5k
>>
>>5384382
https://youtu.be/_dLOO2SbdH0
Run for the hills if Vlad starts hearing simple and clean.
Honestly this is the only video that comes to mind for someone drowning
>>
>>5384301
The rolls doesn't matter much.
We cannot decide what it does. Someone else could have roll 1. I could have roll 1. You could have roll 100 and so on.
Doesn't matter for us, me, you or anyone else because we don't influence the dices.
But you know what we can decide ? What we can influence ?
The votes. Now that matters a lot, it really matters a lot and it changes the dice we need to pass no doubt because Becchi doesn't write different words for each actions just for fun. Because each action is different.
>>5383786
>>5383791
See this ? I couldn t care of your rolls. This is what s important. This action is no doubt very difficult. Because the undines where not under our control. And we had a demon and sorcerers against us.
Plus the great influence of the open sea.
Choices are what's matter.
I am not judging you, but I was wondering why no one else was voting and you and the other anon picked that action.
This said the game goes where he goes. No need to be sorry.

>>5384243
>Sink into the stones.
I dislike Vlad being used like his father, and I dislike for the pure od to be infected by darkness and change.
>>
>>5384243
Changing vote from >>5384249 to
>Sink into the stones
Would be nice if Vlad, in this moment, realized it was a behelit and remembered Merlina's warning, then started smiling as he sank
>>
Rolled 64 (1d100)

>>5384417
Watch THIS
>>
>>5384419
Shrug
Choices are what's matter to me. If you want roll 30 or 1000 more times, will not change what I think. And what should matter for us.
>>
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>>5384249
>>5384257
>>5384267
>>5384273
>>5384287
>>5384296
>>5384313
>>5384297
>>5384369
>>5384418
>>5384417
You know what?
I'm not telling which answer is the right or the wrong one just yet.
I'm just gonna ask for one last 1d100 with an unknown DC and decide from there.

Will you have the courage to roll after so many bad ones, knowing it could put an end to his journey.
Roll for your last attempt at turning the tides, Be ready to lose if you fail this best of five.
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>5384433
>>
Rolled 67 (1d100)

>>5384433
DICE GODS HEAR ME:

UNDO THIS CURSE OF BAD ROLLS AND SAVE VLAD FROM HIS ICEY GRAVE!!!!!!!!!!!
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>5384433
FOR THE PEGASUS!
>>
Rolled 60 (1d100)

>>5384433
>>
Rolled 72 (1d100)

>>5384433
>>
I pray to god an 87 is enough....
>>
>>5384437
Well, since this was the highest roll I suppose I can metagame a bit and tell you the conditions for each options.

>Rise: Success: Vlad finds the strength in him to cling onto life and climb to the surface, grazing past the ball of fire as his companions free him of his own snares.

>Rise: Failure: Vlad and Isidro are incinerated by Farnese's summoning, with Serpico and Cindy soon passing from lack of guidance from the best medic on their team, Farnese vows to give up on magic and returns to the Vandimion home by herself, ending her life from the heartbreak.

>Sink: Success: The ball of fire sinks onto wher Vlad stood, the cooling bubbles working as geysers that melt the ice and propels him closer to the shore. His lungs are damaged and the loss of oxygen will be detrimental to the three of them but they will live for now.

>Sink: Failure: The pressure of the rock formation cuts through Vlad's skin as the oval nub buried in the ice summons forth a familiar arch-nemesis, curious to see who he is willing to sacrifice to remain alive.

I wonder which one of these options you are getting...
Writing!
>>
My heart has been in my throat this whole day. I can only pray for Vlad's safety now...
>>
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>>5384437
>>5384438
>>5384439
>>5384455
>>5384467

It all happens too fast for you to process.
Your hand lifts up into the air. The spirit of the child dissipates into a blinding light. Instinctively weaving to avoid the growing-sun-like sphere approaching your frozen shell, you avoid the attack from Farnese's spell, and lose the remainder of energy you could take from the sea.

The cooling of magma pushes your body with enough force to pierce the ice, leaving several stalactites to enter your body as the puff of air sends you towards the surface.

With a quick bounce, you get to see the shore one last time, before the world disappears once again.
This is how it was meant to be... To be angry at your passing would be to deny the nature of life and death.

The water does not hate, the tides do not move for anyone other than themselves. Like the purpose of a blade, you cannot get angry at the sword who takes one's life. Nature simply is.

Before sinking once again, Hyde manages to catch you mid-air with Violet's precise timing. Defeating the Makara by himself, his harpy daughter glides downward as she struggles to maintain altitude from the weight.

Casca and Guts panic as she loses sight of the moonlight child. You open your mouth to speak, but only gurgle as your lungs are still filled to the brim with water. Farnese cries as she presses both her hands against your chest, with Hyde doing the same to Serpico. Isidro and the elves attempt to push Zhafira to the shore, not wanting to admit that she will not make it to the end of the journey...

You could have sworn you saw the shadowy outline of the moonlight child disappearing into the cliffside where the Kushan remained. Wondering whether he was the one who waved you, or if he was a cursed child that brought forth Ganishka's strongest soldiers to meet you.

If this is the Kraken at the shore, meeting him in the deep blue sea will no doubt prove of his supreme reign over the plant morphs of the sea...

As you close your eyes and let your consciousness dissipate, you had a feeling that one of the three drowned victims would not be within your group when you opened your eyes again.

Truthfully, you wish you were the one to go instead of them...

Great Roar Of The Sea: Chapter End.
>>
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Gonna take a break for a few days to further read on sauce material, this later half of the Millennium Falcon arc is a lot longer than I remember it being. At the rate we're going we might not even reach the boat until the next thread.

Oh well, at least I can't be accused of rushing through the story. See you on Sunday!
>>
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>>5384548
See you Sunday Becchi! I'm so glad I can finally say that now that Vlad is safe-ish. The tension of who is and who isn't gonna make it is gonna grind on me for a while but I at least can take solace in knowing Vlad isn't dead, but instead reeeeally fucked up.

Hope you have a good few days of rest my man!
>>
>>5384548
>>5384577
Survivor's guilt here we come!
>>
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>>5384603
Survivor's guilt is basically Vlad's bread and butter at this point.
>>
>>5384604
A day where nothing goes wrong must make Vlad very uncomfortable at this point.

Cindy is dead and it's time to riot.
>>
>>5384608
More ammunition for her little shit-stain of a brother to throw in our faces later like the little turd muncher he is. Oh well at least she died as as herself and not as her clown/jester personality. Also who were the 3 people who were candidates for death? I know Serpico and Cindy makes two, but who's the third? [spolier]
>>
>>5384548
See ya


>>5384577
As if that is good.
>>
>>5384627
Never said it was good. Implied it was preferable
>>
>>5384639
We should have avoid it. This wounds will slow us, much like before. I don't care if it happens again, or if this wounds take a second or a millenium for heal. I just want that we avoid going for a choice that is filled with problems again.
Like trusting the undines today, knowing we didn't fully master the trident, that the sea, a demon and sorcerers where there for be a problem for our control over the trident.
>>
>>5384666
It just means that we've learned that our next most important task is to master the undines and the trident itself with the help of schierke and other mages if we can find them. No point in thinking about what we 'should' have done, cause it is done. All we can do now is learn from these harsh lessons and STRUGGLE™ again so we're more prepared for the future.
>>
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Also as a side note, does anyone see a future where Vlad becomes a pupil of Daiba at any point in this? Learning anything from that guy at some point would be very useful.
>>
>>5384688
There is many things we need to learn, but the wounds will likely be a problem for us.
This isn't about struggle (vlad always struggle), we need to accept that sometimes we need to not go for the option that will likely not work. We need go for other types of attacks and solutions.

>>5383779
Why do you think I said this ? And in the votes before i also voted to keep using the undines btw. I am not blameless, because before i also voted for the undines when using them wasn't a great idea. It was a dumb idea.
But then once i had done reading, it really looked bad to keep using them. Because we had obvious many problems with the undines.
>>
>>5384693
If the guy is on the road, i am open to learn some stuff and learn more about the Kushan school of magic. Not being a pupil, we have places to be and stuff to do.
>>
>>5384520
Well this fucking sucks. RIP Cindy.
>>
>>5384729
No insane clown pussy for us. RIP
>>
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>>5384577
Thanks! Personally, I was caught a bit off guard by how long every character managed to live in the canon story given the sort of tone Berserk has, although if the recent chapters show anything it was likely all a big bait from Miura to pull a Conviction/Eclipse 3.0
>>5384603
Pretty much what >>5384604 said. Alone in the world, perhaps Vlad is cursed to outlive all of his friends and die alone as he lived.
>>5384614
>More ammunition for her little shit-stain of a brother to throw in our faces later like the little turd muncher he is
Oh, undoubtedly. Get ready for some whining and guilt tripping if he finds you.

>Who's the third one?
Vlad, of course. I said he lived for now, but fatal arrhythmia from drowning isn't something you'll shrug off with the slap of a wrist, especially since he got his arm fucked up by the crocs and the freezing of his skin, and he'll have to stay active and talkative in court.
Remember to wear the armor when fighting, it sure made a difference when he was fighting Grunbeld.

>>5384698
Overall I'm glad to have a more 'think before you act' approach in the playerbase. It's always fun to know you guys care enough to strategize and pay attention to the small details enough to ignore rule of cool for the viable options instead of just barging through high DCs and getting fucked. But as in Vlad's tale, not all choices are clear from the get-go, and you will get stuff wrong from time to time, and that's fine too. It's just that we're approaching the latter half of the story where the monsters you face are deadly to face head on even for Guts, so someone with lesser durability is likely to be in just as much trouble.
>>
>>5384866
>Remember to wear the armor when fighting
Bruh we didn't even have the option this time. Gators up'n droppin' from th'clouds all ornery and mutated. Shiiieeeeeeeeeet.

A better point to make is "know how to swim, you brick".
>>
>>5384866
>Get ready for some whining and guilt tripping if he finds you.
That's fine, we can just guilt trip him right back. This proves that our reasons for not wanting to take them were correct and we wouldn't have taken her if he hadn't left her alone in Ilos.
>>
>>5384986
Bonus points since we did actually fix her. And we were on the way to making it permanent.
>>
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To be fair we did manage to take down a full blown team of Pishacha crocodiles and a Makara whale. Which if you can remember, is what Daiba deems them as "the chiefs of pishacha", adding that a single makara is capable of sinking ten warships. Which is not that bad when you think about it.

This is a quick list of Vlad's injuries after the battle just so we're all aware.:
>Arrhythmia
>Arm severely damaged by a combination of blunt force trauma and deep lacerations.
>Both lungs partially damaged.
>Skin and muscle tissue on the body, (especially the back) has been effected by frostbite, likely ranging from stages 3-4.
>Arm has also been effected by frostbite, also likely ranging from the 3-4 stages.
Did I miss anything?
>>
>>5385091
Once we unlock plant regeneration, we'll be FINE
Once we unlock photosynthesis and plant respiration, we'll be FINE
>>
>>5385091
Thankfully, I don't think we'll have much physically required of us for the next stretch.
Really the part we have to worry most about is when we'll be spiritually deep diving to get sivir and our literal other half.
>>
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>>5385259
Yeah, it should just mostly be some courtroom chicanery in the next chapter. We just need to find a good lawyer to defend us and we're all set!

LUCKILY, I KNOW JUST THE GUY TO CALL.
>>
>>5385243
Isn't plant regeneration just as slow as human regeneration though? To my knowledge, all plant species are pretty slow when trying to heal themselves lol.
>>
>>5385091
No is pretty much everything we need to heal. Which is a pain, but I imagine we could rapid grow some medical herbs seeds and try to apply what grows from that with our healing, on our body. If we manage to heal, we can begin to train again in what will win in the options we put forward.
Regardless if we are up again, we can fight and help. Which is what matters.

>>5384866
I hope people will care for that. Or no i guess.
>>
>>5385366
Yeah alongside the healing herbs we can make, our healing Od aura, and use of some of pucks fairy dust, we should be near back to normal within a few months hopefully.
>>
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Sesh should start in 10 hours from now. Opening paragraph's ready, just need to get my beauty sleep.

Won't be much rolling for fights, but I hope you don't mind rolling for charisma when we get to the courtroom part of the ordeal. Talk no Jutsu might work on your allies and a few enemies, but since the public tends to be divisive on debates, convincing might take more than a few pretty words.
>>
>>5386054
Ah right the courtroom... meh. This will be bad, i can hardly put Vlad looking like a proper lord after this beating. And faking it will probably not work, if we recover faster it would be preferable.
It depends what we want to do honestly the faith is in the hands of the Vandimion but the Vandimion are also influenced by it. What is it uhh
Heresy (could be argued that Vlad is actually going by the book, but why would they want to argue first ? And second he would be considered heretic by anyone high in the church if refusing judgment, council or orders of the church. See high inquisitor.) ? Pagan (enough said silver eyes clan) ? Witchcraft (magic) ? Rebellion (Ilos Union creation, the kingdom of Midland still "technically" exist) ? Hedonist (take his younger life and use it as ammo) ? Betrayal of our liege (escaping prison away from the king and his court) ? Unaccepted bethroval with a Vandimion heir (self explanatory) ? I suppose all. That s a lot.
But we might not need to care that much about the courtroom, because we are still a lord and a powerful warrior/sorcerer.
I do believe that they will consider an offer we put on their proverbial table.
All of this would be fine, if there wasn't a not small chance though that Griffith might send someone to create problems.
If it comes to that our Union can't offer more than hell.
I guess we can still do other things here so not all is lost. Maybe we can recruit some mercenaries and send them to Ilos. Beyond buying equipment (in which we will apply runes) for the rest of the squad, supplies and a place on a boat.
I am quite sorry for Bernard, we can t return with her body on our own, so we will need to send someone with the bones there. It might break him, or it might reinforce him who knows. I dislike the idea to putting her body somewhere far away from him.
>>
"--promise his health even further! Let's give him a few weeks until--"

"--on't have time to wait if he dies before reaching the place. We better amputate it, if his nerves are damaged beyond repair the arm will be as useful as a lack of one." Hyde and Farnese's arguing snaps you in and out of consciousness as you wake up by the threat of losing your arm.

"What are you talking about?" Lifting your torso up from your rags, you see Isidro's fiery dagger being pointed against one of your arms. Ivalera and Puck fly off from your back as Farnese and Schierke let go of your arms.

"That's not yours! You can give this back now, baldy!" Isidro growls, jumping around Hyde to get his weapon back.
"Vlad... Thank the spirits you woke up!" Farnese clasps her hands together, her palms looking ragged and dried from overuse of Od transfer. "You've been passed out since yesterday! Since Vritannis is just on its way back, we were wondering what we would do about your condition..."

"How are the others?" You speak before coughing, once again prioritizing the health of others before yours.

"Serpico has a few wounds from pressure damage, but he can already stand, so long he doesn't force any of his lungs." Schierke explains.

"...What about Cindy?"

"...The Mandragora essence is preventing her from turning, but it's already close to running out, and since you're the only one who can bring those plants forth..."

"Nice going, Vlad..." You put yourself down, already having 3 of the strongest hitters on your team being nearly put down before reaching the elf island, you will also have to deal with one of your friends dying because of your poorly thought out decisions. Again.

"And what's this about amputat--" You place a hand on the arm that was bitten by the crocodiles, only realizing how horrible your wounds were after feeling your limb and basking in...

Nothing. Your sense of touch is numbed when you poke through your arm. The skin is filled with several dark spots of eschar, the open wounds of yesterday being replaced with gangrene and peeling skin.

With Isidro bringing a mirror to reflect the one on your back, you are able to see that your spine is in similar condition, thanks to the sub-zero frosting it received, you were looking much worse than whatever bruns Farnese left on you back in Albion. Provided you do heal, these will probably stick to you for years to come, and that's not even mentioning the melting of blisters and blood clots bubbling on your extremities, the parts that you can feel are horribly sweaty, you feel like you are permanently in a sauna.

"Isidrop's knife helped in preventing further complications from hypothermia, but we couldn't do much for the frozen blood on your wounds..." Puck hangs his head low.

"Hey, at least my face is still alright, eh?" You laugh, attempting to do the comic relief bit for the little guy. He does not laugh back, neither does anyone inside the caravan.
>>
>>5386482
"Can ye walk, partner?"
"Hyde!" The hunter breaks the silence with zero subtlety.

"I'm serious. Damage to the spinal chord ain't nothin' to play around with. If he wants to keep going on this journey, He needs to stand on his on two feet. Hell, forget walking, just showing that he can move his arm should be reassuring enough."

"Burns don't heal that quick, Hyde. He needs more time--"
"With those two elves on him 24/7 and the accelerated healing he already has? If he hasn't healed to the point of even twitching his limbs a bit, that's when we can confirm if his arm is already self-amputated."

You are terrifyingly afraid of moving your arms and legs to check on Hyde's theory, but the necessity of pursuing your journey asks for you to stand...

"Ya don't need to run or do handstands, partner. Just a little wigglin' would be enough. It's all I'm asking."

Roll a 2d100. First for walking, second for moving your arm.
>>
Rolled 10, 4 = 14 (2d100)

>>5386509
>>
Rolled 72, 87 = 159 (2d100)

>>5386509
well,>>5386513 that's not a good sign.
>>
Rolled 93, 61 = 154 (2d100)

>>5386509
best luck goes to me.
>>
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>>5386515
>>5386566
>>
cool, maybe there is hope for the healing
>>
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>>5386513
>>5386515
>>5386566

You squint your eyes and bite your lower lip, getting a feel of your left hand moving normally before seeing if your right one could do the same.

Your left palm opens and closes, your fingers and arms slowly move themselves up and down as they normally would...

You can't say the same about your right arm. There is nothing to feel. It's like touching a desk, something detached from your body. the sensitivity of the arm is dead.

But when you open your eyes, you see the nervous looks of your comrades observing your fingertips twitching as your elbow twists. It's a lot slower and less precise than your good arm, but it shows signs of being functionable.

Despite not having any feeling which indicates the loss of several nerves, there is always the possibility that your nerves cant move properly due to the clots and blisters on the way, you will likely not know the full extend of these nerve damages until you fully recuperate, but as for now, you can say goodbye to feeling anything with this arm...

Still feeling somewhat confident, you reach your arms over to Farnese, who nervously attempts to lift you up, really in her mind, wishing that you would stay down. Your heavier weight proves to be a challenge for her, but Hyde, Isidro and the elves quickly push you into a proper standing position.

You now remember how poorly Jacopo's position was when he lost his toes. The importance of them to maintain balance is severely underestimated, and now that you're balancing yourself on your heels to not burst any of the bubbles formed on your skin, you feel like his pain is the same as yours.

...Wasn't that how it started with him? He first lost his ability to walk and speak, losing enough morale for him to think he was forgotten, and then... The God Hand acted onto him...

But you are not him, and today, you will still stand.

"Good. But ya better remember this: Once we're fighting monsters like Makara day and night, you won't have time to rest 3 month's worth of recovery in a day. Hell, for all we know, this could be the last time it happens. So avoid fighting with that arm, if you don't want to see it flying off."

"Yeah --*Cough*-- Nothing I wasn't used to before..."
Don't get hit in the head, don't get hit in the arm... You'll soon turn into a glass cannon at this point.

"You should take his words to heart Vlad, this might be the last time any of us heal through this. We can only bring you back so many times before someone screams 'asspull'." Ivalera chimes in while Puck kneels with one hand on his forearm.
"O, My Rubber Od!"

"Guts can take it from your end, if you wish to rest." Farnese says.
"They're both barely able to stand, let alone fight. The only difference is that Vlad is more willing to listen." Schierke nags at Farnese to not give him any ideas.
>>
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>>5386747
"I'll consider it, even if Serpico and Hyde aren't to keen on him, denying his latent leadership skills would be a missed opportunity."

"Mrhm." Hyde merely grows in disapproval, not wanting to start the same-old argument of why he mistrusts the swordsman.

"Now that I'm awake, I believe there are urgent matters only I can attend to." You lean on Hyde to walk outside of the parking caravan. You get a good look at the vast army approaching the gigantic fortress in the distance.

This will likely be the last chance you'll have to find an extra dosage of essence for Casca and Cindy to last until The Island Of Skellig.

Casca obviously needs to be prevented from turning, but since Cindy is still sane, leaving her to rot would be something you could not forgive yourself if you just sat there and watched her die.

Even if she finishes turning into a Mandragoran today, you want to make it a painless process, in honor of her still living consciousness.

"How many seeds do I have left?"
"5. A few of them were lost in the ocean, and you haven't produced more of them since you were unconscious."

So are they all frozen...?
"Good enough for me to try."
Roll a 5d100 to plant each seed.
>>
Rolled 36, 20, 89, 77, 91 = 313 (5d100)

>>5386785
Big money!
>>
Rolled 79, 100, 38, 11, 15 = 243 (5d100)

>>5386785
>>
Rolled 47, 52, 34, 85, 50 = 268 (5d100)

>>5386785
>>
>79, 100, 89, 85, 91
shit guys, where were these rolls when we were getting our ass handed to us?
>>
>>5386804
Waiting for when it really mattered.
>>
>>5386793
Hot damn.
I guess vlad's tree children want to see him and his companions hale and healthy again.
>>
>>5386814
Indeed
>>
>>5386790
>>5386793
>>5386799

"Grow!" You exclaim to the plants you've buried in the outskirts of the holy city. The amount of deceased victims from inquisitors should potentialize this soil more than the beach sand you've swerved past previously.

As they grow, Schierke is ecstatic to see a strawberry tree, two mint trees, and two mandragoran trees, beautifully large and healthy in their size, ready to be harvested of their fruits, leaves, and essence.

One of the trees in particular is quite large, being able to fill the cauldron up to the brim. With this much essence, perhaps you could kept them fed enough for Cindy's increased dosages.

Knowing of your immunity to the mandragoran curse, you prick yourself on your good arm with the help of Farnese to be somewhat able to tolerate the wounds across your body. Really, you wished all of your body was already numb if it meant getting rid of the pain you feel from merely standing right now, perhaps you would compare to Barnham or Guts' Berserker Armor...

Visiting Cindy and Casca, one is seen inside of a cartwheel, talking to her puppets and desperately trying to recall the story of Rosy Rose, barely remember more than a paragraph. The other is clutching the perfectly recreated drawing of the moonlight child done in black and white pink from the harlequin.

" 'When Rosy Rose finally left her home, she met'.... She met... Who did she meet? How am I ending this story if I can't even remember what came before it!?" the notes turn wet from her weeping.

"Schierke has filled in the blanks on the child... But why does it disappear on the moonlight?"
Afraid of telling them that their son is dead, and is merely a spirit clinging onto its life, you opt to lie and tell her that you don't know, given how your theory could always be wrong.

"To think I was able to say... What I've always meant to say to him after holding his child in my arms... only for him to be gone by the morning... Just like his father and my chances of understanding him."

"If all it takes for him to be summoned is the sight of the full moon, I'm sure he'll be back."
"...You can't see that far into the future." Is all she replies as you place the cauldron next to her.

Forgetting the fake optimism that none are falling for, you focus on the gate of Vritannis, having to wait in line as the giant crowd of mercenaries for hire, vendors and all sorts of middle class men were invited in.

>Check the mercenary groups, Ilos could use some extra forces.
>Take a look at the merchants, perhaps you might know someone involved in your mother's trading base.
>This is a holy land, why not search for someone you might know?
>Look for a way to pass through the main gate without being inspected.
>Hide whatever objects the guards could consider suspicious.
>Tell Gunpowder to rush past them.
>Something else.
>>
>>5386879
>Hide whatever objects the guards could consider suspicious.
Is it still possible for us to save Cindy or is she screwed even if we do get her to Elfhelm?
>>
>>5386879
>>Check the mercenary groups, Ilos could use some extra forces.
>>Take a look at the merchants, perhaps you might know someone involved in your mother's trading base.
>Hide whatever objects the guards could consider suspicious.

Put our armor on, i don't want us to be stabbed in this conditions. Anyone could kill us.
>>
>>5386910
She wouldn't be using a cartwheel for locomotion if she could walk with her tree trunk legs, she's already turning. In the best possible scenario she's living halfway up to Isma's island before someone has to put her down.
>>
>>5386935
There's absolutely nothing we can do to save her? Damn, I feel like we should just euthanize her so she doesn't have to suffer.
>>
>>5386950
Would you cut off your nuts if it would save her? Would you sacrifice your friends?
>>
>>5386950
I will have Vlad tell her later on and give her the choice. An unlikely to work solution could be to bring some earth in pots and grow some Mandragorans during travel. Beside being dangerous on his own done in a ship, the terrain might not be fine after some days at sea. There might be more difficult solutions, such has attempting to put her in a sort of stasis.
At the moment we have other things to do, and I am not incline to not have our armor on or avoid the possibility of taking mercs or find merchants that our mother might know.
>>
Unfortunately this was to happen. With Vlad conditions being like this, is body makes less wood seeds for heal faster. If we had more seeds, we would have likely had more Mandragorans. Well deserved.
>>
>>5386935
Alright, so we know her body is fucked.
...However, it's her BODY that's fucked. Hypothetically speaking, if she had a different body that wasn't fucked, and we were to transfer her soul over to a new vessel, she could live on.
Alternatively, there's always converting her body and the mandragoran essence corrupting it into something else. The god hand does it all the time when they make new apostles, surely there most be some more benign form of the process that doesn't make use of negatively-aligned od or unwilling sacrifices to do so.

Of course, Vlad and Schierke combined wouldn't know how to do such things. Their magical expertise is thorough, but not quite THAT thorough. You could always argue for beseeching an ancient spirit on guidance for such a process, and that may very well work especially in the case of certain spirits that are already hanging out around zhafira which have undergone transmogrifying arts in its own history, but the reliability of such information is unknown and the potential consequences also unknown. Is being transformed or shunted into an empty body through magic ritual worse than dying? Fuck if I know.

This is all purely speculative, because any kind of rituals for shit like this is bound to be the kind that involve incredibly rare ingredients that we simply don't have. Unless Vlad's unique nature can bypass requirements, not that we'd know.
>>
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>>5386910
>>5386911

Taking a look over the crowd and making the most out of the temporary boost given by the mandragoran essence, you decide to wear your armor set, barring the helm to identify yourself and ignore the masses for a bit to focus on entering the gates. Be it mercs, quality food or fame, there is nothing you could get with them now that wouldn't be more effective if you just establish good relations with The Vandimions.

The real problem is hiding all of your magical and suspicious apparatus out of sight from the guards.

"Uh, everyone, would you mind going inside The Pegasus? I'm afraid they might ask too many questions if we see elves, girls in witch's clothing and alike."

"Hell yeah! Take your clothes off, Schierke!" Isidro claps after pulling Schierke's gown up, only to be repeatedly bashed over the head by her staff.

"Did you forget, Vlad? Stupid people can't see us! Watch this!" Puck kicks a random person passing by, making the stranger look back at his companion.

"Did you throw something at me?"
"Alphonse, my arms are tied around my back."
"Ah, right... Sorry..."

Trying to experiment like her elven friend, Ivalera hops close to the man's head and tickles his nose, making him sneeze without even realizing that someone was playing around with his face.

"Better safe then sorry." Guts picks the two of them and places them inside his pouch. "Tell Casca to close her eyes, I'm getting in."

'Is Violet going inside too?'
"Yep." You tell the frowning harpy.

'Carriage too heavy!'
'Hooves will break!'
'Pussies. This is nothing.' Gunpowder watches the other horses struggle to move one step forward without breaking into sweat while he leisurely waits for them to get on his level.

"I'm only half-joking! People are going to see your weird getup and instantly think you're a witch, or a kushan!" Isidro explains after his head is pummeled.

"I'm not like you, I will blend in with the crowds and refrain from threading clumsily."
"You'd be amazed at what a simple switch of a hat can do." Hyde takes his hunting hat and places it on top of Schierke's. "Wouldn't hurt ya to give ya something more normal."

"But this is normal for me..." she pouts, starting a silent argument as the kids whispered inside the vehicle.

"Greetings, Sire." You do your best attempt at playing the role of a commoner, placing a blanket on top of the runes of your caravan to prevent them from suspecting anything else you've forgotten.

"Welcome to the Holy See's citadel, what brings you here?"
"That's an interesting armor set you are wearing, but what is your faction? Are you a mercenary?"
"Mercs don't have 3 horses carrying a single unit, do they?"

Not one second in and they're already asking questions...
Oh well, roll with the drill.
>>
>>5387066

>I'm a blacksmith. This is merely a display set. The real goodies are inside.
>I'm a performer, real armors are a lot heavier than this. Inside this cargo are my friends and their stage props.
>I'm a knight-errant. I serve nobody but myself, and answer only to the world's calling.
>Does the name Vlad Santana ring a bell to any of you?
>Just... Keep quiet and let me in, alright? [Bribe them with gold coins]
>What caravan? [Signal Farnese to do an invisibility spell around the pegasus]
>Whoa, what is THAT? [Signal Schierke to distract them with a spell]
>Write-in.
>>
>>5387080
>I'm a knight-errant. I serve nobody but myself, and answer only to the world's calling.
We were almost a knight once so it's basically true.
>>
>>5387080
>I'm a knight-errant. I serve nobody but myself, and answer only to the world's calling.
>As for why I’m here now, I recently came into acquaintance with miss Farnese Vandimion on my adventures, and she wishes to appraise her family in person of recent events of grave concern for the country. Though I suppose I need not tell you about how dangerous things have been out there if late - I’m sure you’ve heard plenty from the few refugees that made their way here before us.
>>
>>5387080
>Just... Keep quiet and let me in, alright? [Bribe them with gold coins]
What's that old saying? Oh yeah,

MONEY TALKS

BULLSHIT WALKS.
>>
>>5386747
>You should take his words to heart Vlad, this might be the last time any of us heal through this. We can only bring you back so many times before someone screams 'asspull'." Ivalera chimes in while Puck kneels with one hand on his forearm.
>"O, My Rubber Od!"
YOU TWO KNOW DICE GOD HAND FUCKED US OVER
YOU KNOW WE FUCKING HAD THAT MIDBOSS FIGHT DOWN EASY
>>
>>5387154
One day we'll just snatch Puck out of the air and threaten to erase him from the page just so his 4th wall breaking ass can understand how obnoxious he is. Ivalera isn't AS bad. She just gets threatened with "the jar".

Fuckin' fairies man.
>>
>>5387080
>I'm a knight-errant. I serve nobody but myself, and answer only to the world's calling.
>>
>>5387175
Puck is more appealing for the jar than Ivalera, aesthetically.
Or maybe the puppet treatment he feared from Zhafira all that time ago.
>>
>>5387199
Nah cause Puck'll stay in that dumbass marshmallow form he likes. Well I suppose that fits the plushie aesthetic more.
>>
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>>5387093
>>5387096
>>5387186
Well, guess it's time to test the charisma rolls.

These guys in particular aren't notable masterminds and Vlad hasn't said anything egregious so let's see if he can pass without requiring any further inspections.
A 1d100, only fail this DC if you really wish to.

>>5387175
>>5387154
Pic related.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d100)

>>5387229
>>
>>5387239
Bro
>>
Rolled 55 (1d100)

>>5387229
All I want is my waifu.
>>
Rolled 76 (1d100)

>>5387229
Here is my strongest roll for our most harsh battle
I roll to seduce.
>>
>>5387243
Well, you sure weren't lying...
>>
>>5387243
>*Vlad walks up to gard 1*
>*Corners them up against the wall*
>*Leans in close with one arm against the wall*
>Guard 1: "Eh!....what are you doing Vlad-san..?"
>Vlad: "You look cute today, Guard 1-chan"
>>
>>5387239
>>5387241
>>5387243

"I'm a knight-errant. I serve nobody but myself, and answer only to the world's calling."
"Ah, one of those failed hero types, huh?"
"That's alright, must be looking for rest before your 'big fight', then. Just don't get yourself into trouble, you and your 3 horses."

"Trust me, I'll be in and out before you know it. Just need a good place to lodge all of this treasure from my escapades."

"You got nothing illegal on you there, do you?"

"Weapons I got from my enemies, I plan to sell them for the highest bidders over the next few days."

"And you've walked past the giant marketplace behind you?"
"A traveler needs to rest."

Both guards squint their eyes at you, but that ain't their lucky day. You have the growliest of faces here. After grimacing back at them in a moment of silence, they let their spears be uncrossed.

"Don't cause any trouble."

"Thank you."
Still leaving most of your friends inside the caravan to not draw any attention until you pass through the main roadway, wondering what you should do after moving through the gigantic lines of the crowd which barely let you hear your own thoughts.

>Go straight to the docks, find that boat.
>The Vandimion estate is close, might as well go there straight away.
>Time to look for an inn, some few hours of rest for you and your friends wouldn't hurt.
>Go for a walk, you might stumble into a familiar face
>Bring someone with you [Specify]
>>
>>5387472
>Time to look for an inn, some few hours of rest for you and your friends wouldn't hurt.
Rest now, business later. This gets us a chance to relax mentally and recuperate somewhat physically. We can use it as a base if one of the others gets separated/lost from the group. We can visit the other places later.

>Bring someone with you [Puck]
I want to spend some time with pick one-on-one since he’s never really done that with us.
>>
>>5387522
+1
>>
>>5387472
>>Time to look for an inn, some few hours of rest for you and your friends wouldn't hurt.
>Bring someone with you Farnese
We really need to spend some time with her
>>
>>5387568
>support
>>
>>5387522
support
>>
>>5387522
>>5387552
>>5387802

"Might as well look for lodging right now." You ask for your friends to rest easy at the inn, though finding a place that wouldn't bat an eye at Violet would be pretty rough to find, forcing you to place her inside the caravan for the entirety of your stay in Vritannis.

'Let me fly! Let me fly' Violet chirps relentlessly, making the housekeeper wonder who was shouting so loudly.

"Are you two doing alright in there?"
"Ye! We were just, uh.... Practicing our bird mimicking skills! We hunt for a living, so we need to think the animals are safe with their own!" Hyde makes an excuse while prompting you to imitate the birds.

"Uh... 'cheep-cheep'!"
"..." The innkeeper stares at you weirdly, before falling for your lie.
"Well, you better start improving, cause it sounds like a girl getting choked!"

"How are we going to keep her quiet for the next few days?" You whisper to him.
"Easy, birds can't tell when it's nighttime or if they just get them eyes closed." Hyde pushes a cloth piece from inside a bag and binds Violet with it.

'Papa Hyde! I can't see! Why is everything so... sleepy...?" The harpy soon hangs her head low and falls asleep like she was cast with a sleeping spell.

"Whoa, is it really that easy?"
"A parent has to know their kids and them secrets."
"Crazy how the most functional parent-child relationship from this group is between a hunter and a bird-human..."
"Me next! Me next! Me next!" Puck held a handkerchief on his head, wanting to be put to sleep too.

"Nah, I'm taking a walk." Hyde said, uncharacteristically wanting to spend some time alone.

"Going somewhere?"
"Yeah, heard there's a few places where they do horse racing here, wanted to check'em myself. If I win, I'm paying everyone a round when I get back."
"Didn't take you for a gambling guy."

"It's cause I don't gamble often. Comes with living in the middle of nowhere, but you'd be surprised at how much I owe to sheer luck."

"Care to tell me about it?"
"Only if I win. No point in boasting if I lose."

"Can I go for a walk, too? I was hoping to tell my stories now that we've arrived in a peaceful town..."
"With a body like that? They'll use your thighs as a stake to burn your ass!" Isidro growls.
"She should be fine if I go along with her." Schierke and Ivalera present themselves to vouch for her safety. "I was interested in seeing your shows after hearing your song on that day, it was quite enjoyable."

"Yeah, but don't you need a STRONG, reliable manly man to protect you from strangers."
"You're right... Guts, can you walk?"

"Sort of." Guts grunts at the sound of his joints snapping, wish Isidro cursing Schierke for ignoring his might.

Laying on the bed with Farnese, Casca, Serpico and your horses being the only ones present at the inn, you wonder what's the thing whizzing by your ear while trying to get some shut eye.

A loud SPLAT echoes as you strike the pesky fly, only for the white chestnut known as Puck to fall on your belly.
>>
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>>5387952
"You got a problem with me, Vladdy?" The elf grabs his trusty burdock to hit you with it, holding Guts' Behelit as a shield.

"Ack! Sorry, Puck. Mistook you for a gnat."
"Ah, physical aggression AND racism! I'll report you to the See- Actually, I don't think they would care since they can't see me..."

"Well, since you're here, I was hoping we could have a one-on-one for a bit. Been a while since we've talked in private, hasn't it?"

"Really? What gives? Am I really that interesting?" Puck blushes. "Schierke and Guts are probably doing something a lot more interesting... I thought you would pick Hyde, he's been thrown more to the side now that the party got bigger, didn't he? And he was one of the OGs like Gunpowder... Oh, poor Gunpowder..."

"That can wait, sometimes I need a lighthearted talk too."
"See, so you understand the true nuances of a comic relief! The rest can be left to epilogues, anyway. Right Becchi?" Puck stares at the Behelit, who he makes shake its head in disapproval.

"...You done?" You sigh, waiting for him to get his 'hilarious' shtick done.
"Alright, Alright... I'm done." He places his equipment aside to sit on your chest. "Whaddya wanna talk about?"

>Tell me about your home.
>You like having another elf on the team?
>You're an empath, how do you feel like the pegasus crew is doing?
>How do you keep yourself hunky-dory all the time?
>Bless me with your words of knowledge, O Great Puck!
>Write-in.
>>
>>5387965
>Why do you always cling to that cursed object? I'm sure you know what Beherits are for. It's nothing more than a portal to the all-consuming void. It's a gateway to an ocean of negative od. Why expose yourself to such a thing on a regular basis?
>>
>>5387965
>Why do you always cling to that cursed object? I'm sure you know what Beherits are for. It's nothing more than a portal to the all-consuming void. It's a gateway to an ocean of negative od. Why expose yourself to such a thing on a regular basis?
>You're an empath, how do you feel like the pegasus crew is doing?
>How do you keep yourself hunky-dory all the time?

Just caught up after not reading the quest for like 10 days and that filler fight... this quest needs something like three or four hour voting periods so one or two anons don't drive Vlad off a cliff.
Also I think I know where Becchi's jojo quest got all its goddamn crazy luck from, it reached into the future and siphoned it off of Vlad.
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>>5388043
Welcome back anon. Yeah I've been trying to spread out the voting periods given people have different timezones here but it also comes with the caviat of longer waiting times for replies since I'm only posting 3-4 posts a day.
Wonder what would be a good time for voting periods if I were to enforce them.

>Hitomi was so fellated by fate to the dice gods went out of her quest and swore revenge against Vlad

Suddenly everything's making a lot more sense...
>>
>>5388008
>>5388043

"Why do you always cling to that cursed object? I'm sure you know what they are for. A portal to the all-consuming void, and nothing else. It's a gateway to an ocean of negative od. Why expose yourself to such a thing on a regular basis?"

"Well, you heard what Flora said, right? Becchi is just a rock until someone gives it power! So why not let him stay with me? I'm just fine with it, maybe we can convince it to turn over a new leaf with a few talks"

"...You can hear voices from the Behelit?" Feeling like the little elf just revealed something crucial, you approached his tiny body to see if he had something to explain.

"Yeah, you forgot about my magical properties? Having smaller eyes lets me observe everything up to the tinies of details, from the boogers of your nose, to Becchi's weird, displaced eye. Here, I'll translate it for ya." Puck grabs the gray Behelit and places it next to your ear so you can hear its heinous inner monologue:

'Guts had a record of not bathing for 3 months, can you believe that? Imagine how badly those pouches on his belt must smell.' Puck runs his fingers through the artifact's lips, pretending that it can actually talk.

"I don't even know why I bothered listening..." You roll your eyes, giving up on having any meaningful interaction with this simpleton.

"But what if I'm right, though? What if there's a way to prevent these eggs from cracking and turning into demons, and it involves spreading so much good around it, it can't help but feel ashamed and apologize? Maybe it'll even turn into candy!"

"After a millennia of experimentation, I think The Skull Knight would have given us a lead about your theory if he had one."
"Would you really call him a sight for sore eyes?"

If your eyes could roll any harder, they would fall on your sockets and appear on your tongue...

"On a side note, I find it interesting how you manage to keep yourself hunky-dory all the time, especially given how the crew is doing."

"I know I'm a simple guy, Vlad. It's hard to stay mad and angry at any of you, especially when there are no problems for me to solve. I mean, of course I can fight when things turn sour, but we need to save the big guns for real emergencies, y'know?" Puck flexes his tiny biceps, pretending he has more muscle mass than your gangrene filled toe.

"Can't you take things seriously? We are about to lose someone on our group, and if I'm unlucky enough, anyone here could be next, including you!"

"Vlad. Of course I'm sad about it..." Puck grows more serious, losing the levity in his voice. "For all the times I thought Zhafira was weird and scary, I've grown to appreciate her songs, and what a gal like her can do to change the world, without shedding a single drop of blood... It's everything I wanted to say to Guts, and she did it while calling him a coward no less! I'm gonna miss her..."
>>
>>5388117
Feeling sorry for the spiky haired elf to the point of petting his hair with your index finger, you remember that for as much as he likes to play around, he also has a hard time processing these complex emotions around him. When were you ever this harsh against your own comrades? Are you taking your anger out on them due to the condition you are in? Puck should be the least guilty of your worries, even if he might get on people's nerves at times, what's the worst he can do.

"But when I am at my most saddest, I remember that being sad is contagious! Just as much as smiles. I don't have the brain to go on giant paragraphs on the philosophy of being happy or why it's important and healthy to keep your head, up, nor are my arms big enough to shake people for dramatic effect when I say 'Get it together!' But what can I do is tell them that not all of the world is trying to destroy them. I know why they should smile, they know why they should smile, so it's easier to just remind them of why they're here. For me, it's eating those apples you buy, but what about the others? That's for them to decide, and if they don't know yet, well, I'll be there with them until they figure it out, It's what I did with Guts, and we all know how much of a pain he was previously."

This was... surprisingly emotional. Puck shows his hidden depths by showing that he is as simple as you've previously thought of. Does one need more to be happy than being able to taste a piece of food they enjoy? An expression of love and companionship from the ones he cherishes? Isn't that how commoners live and still manage to smile, despite many being unable to find beauty in simplicity once they're shrouded in contemplating the complexity of the world and it's inner workings?

A love for one should not contradict the appreciation of another. Despite the madness of existing, we shall live, and we shall enjoy.

>I'm sorry I doubted you Puck, you seem to have it together more than I do.
>I wish you expressed this more often, instead of just joking around.
>It's one thing to be simple, but don't you ever feel like you're dumbing yourself down?
>Do you have anything else worth sharing? You're pretty motivating when you want to be.
>You're from Elfhelm, right? There's gotta be something worth telling.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5388138
>I'm sorry I doubted you Puck, you seem to have it together more than I do.
>Do you have anything else worth sharing? You're pretty motivating when you want to be.
>You're from Elfhelm, right? There's gotta be something worth telling.
>>
>>5388138
>I'm sorry I doubted you Puck, you seem to have it together more than I do.
>Do you have anything else worth sharing? You're pretty motivating when you want to be.
>>
>>5388138
>I'm sorry I doubted you Puck, you seem to have it together more than I do.
>Do you have anything else worth sharing? You're pretty motivating when you want to be.

It's motivating for Vlad, but kind of sad to me.
Skull Knight pursued his revenge until his body was incapable of enjoying even the smallest things - I doubt he can taste things with that undead body of his, nor enjoy a pleasant dream at night, or feel the warmth of a summer night's breeze.
As for the God Hand, they too have sacrificed their ability to enjoy the little things. Not because of physical incapability, but mental ones. They're so focused on their dreams and ambitions after their transformation that it 'eclipses' all other feelings. Perhaps that is why they indulge in their vices so heavily, because they've grown insensate to anything less. Still can't wait to put their heads on pikes, but I can still empathize with them, despite the fact that they quite literally made their choice.
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>>5388165
>>5388182
>>5388197

"I'm sorry I doubted you Puck, you seem to have it together more than I do."
"Nah, It's all dope. Keeping people happy is my full time job!"

"Right... Do you have anything else worth sharing? You're pretty motivating when you want to be."

"Of course! Wash your face when you wake up, brush your teeth after every meal, and drink plenty of water! The girls will love you for it."

"'Girl', you mean."
"Yeah, that!"
"I was referring more to Elfhelm, your home. Since you're from there, you could recall something useful for us."
"Hmm... Let me see..."

What you thought would be a few short minutes turned into several hours, as Puck brainstormed memories of Skellig until his brain fried, only to recall not many important things.

"Skellig has plenty of unicorns and other animals unique to them! Maybe Violet and Gunpowder will feel right at home!"

"Really? Well, I guess that would be good for them... Gunpowder feels really at odds with the other horses, maybe he's meant to stay with those weirder creatures."

"... Lady Dannan looks really cool! A pink dress and some big horny things on her head? What are those called again...?"

"Did I tell you I have 4 other twin siblings? Pack, Peck, Pick and Pock!"
"How do you tell yourselves apart?"
"My hair is the least spikiest, Pack has the porcupine head, and it's a sliding scale between me and him!"
"I see..."

"Oh, one last thing! I just remembered that one time I almost got eaten by a narwhal! Was stuck dancing on it's head until he sank, I almost drowned, like you! And I can't fly underwater!"

"So how did you escape?"

"Some rubbery vine extended as I landed on a water lily. When I looked down, I saw a beautifully elongated half of a plant woman. I remember she spoke something to me."

"Please, leave. I have been placed off this island for a reason..."

"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS BEFORE?!"

"I forgot." He knocks his fist at his head.

Puck stares silently at the walls and at your face, but remembers nothing else.
For all the people to remember Sivir...

Before you know it, night has fallen, and Hyde is the first to return with a few gold coins on him.

"Well, time to treat the party!" He hurriedly invites you to a drink."
"Hyde, I'm not sure if that's a good idea." You point to the desecrated arm you have.
"Why not? It'll numb your pain for a bit, everyone else will join when they return, and you'll be safe from any apostle attacks of the sort. Hell, I'll even invite Farnese and Serpico when they're done healing."

It's hard to turn down a drink during a social gathering, and it all seems in good, light-hearted fun, but your past history with drinking might ruin what's supposed to be a moment of peace.
>>
>>5388410
>Nah, I'm good. You guys can have fun downstairs.
>I'll join, but it's best for me to keep myself clean of old habits.
>A few drinks wouldn't hurt, I've been too on edge recently.
>If you see me reaching for more than one bottle, you can slap me at my good shoulder.
>I bet I can drink more than you.
>>
>>5388412
>If you see me reaching for more than one bottle, you can slap me at my good shoulder.
Defeating an addiction is great, and I’m all for it. But having one drink with your comrades is something everyone has to do. It the human thing to do.
>>
>>5388412
>A few drinks wouldn't hurt, I've been too on edge recently.
A few drinks, with a warm meal to accompany it will be enough for everyone. We don't need to have our senses warped by alcohol or be too relaxed here, this is still a large city and humans can still kill or attempt to. We have also things to do tomorrow, best have a ready mind and don't create unneeded problems to the regeneration of our wounds.
Or smelling bad.
>>
>>5388412
>>If you see me reaching for more than one bottle, you can slap me at my good shoulder.
>>
>>5388412
>>I'll join, but it's best for me to keep myself clean of old habits.
>>
>>5388445
>>5388469
>>5388470
>>5388551
"If you see me reaching for more than one bottle, you can slap me at my good shoulder."

"Don't ask for anything ya might regret, partner. Ya might just get it." Hyde grins as he wears his leather glove.

Calling Farnese to be downstairs with you, she tells you that she'd be there in a moment, just needing to clean a few rags from Serpico's treatment.

"You know, I'd appreciate our time drinking if we didn't have someone with a hand raised behind my back all the time."
"Oh, this? I'm just makin' sure I'm ready for it when the time comes." You sigh, reaching for your glass as he readies the drink for the both of you.

You make sure to slowly tip over the glass as you break your 3 year streak of being sober. You are already having flashbacks to the times you got piss ass drunk and started hitting on girls during parties, when they were taken and you inevitably got into a fight, at least you could relax, knowing that the alcohol would numb the pain until the following day.

"ACK!" You grimace after letting the drink fester its taste onto your lips. Did you really drink this garbage on the daily? It feels like you're taste testing lantern oil.

"Hey, that's the most expensive one I could find. Guy told me it was a local brand."
"Looks like the holy city is as good at making alcohol as they're good at making acolytes."
"Ya can hate the followers, but the preaching of religion hold importance we can't deny."
"After the millionth death, it kind of becomes hard to see the good side of whatever ideal one haves by going back to its roots."

"Make fun of me all ya want, but it's God that stopped me from gambling so recklessly." The hunter adjusts his hat after reaching closer and whispering to you. "Don't tell Jodi about this, but if I didn't bet my savings on a buncha dumb shit when I was young, I wouldn't even meet her!"

"Can you elaborate?"
"Dad lived next to a place where we could roll the dice. He always told me to never go there, so like every youngin that thinks they know better than them fathers, I went in there anyway. Stole the stash from the old man, too. Decided to go all in on a bet that increased our biddings 8 times."

"And you lost?"
"Nah, I won! On my first try, too. The house had to make sure I wasn't bamboozlin them, but there I was, walking home with 7 gold coins on my pockets. It was my first taste of a big victory, I thought I was super lucky, so I had to keep the streak going."

"Did it work?"
"For a good while, it did. Pa was angry at me for getting his stash without permission, but he didn't mind after I showed him the booty. Suddenly, I had a buncha friends that I didn't even knew I had. Someone asked me for money because they uncle's wife's mother's pet dog new me, so I gave em because I didn't need it. Girls love it when you give them a treat, so I didn't have any trouble finding one for me."
>>
>>5388625
"The house never saw someone that could win every round, they wanted to make sure I wasn't cheating, they were sure of it! No one had a 100% win rate before on that place! But then over the years, my luck was starting to slip. Suddenly, a 100% became 80%, then 70%, then 60... When I was down by 50%, what was once a little side hustle was my main source of spending. The rush of the risk was what kept me going back, but one final game was what made me break the tie. Winning or losing, I swore I would stop after I bet with a slave trader."

'Free all the kids if I win, aight?'
'Daring bet, but what do I get if I win.'
'All the money from the house. How does that sound?'

"Safe to say, you didn't win that time, did ya?"
"We tied 3 times, but on the 4th time... I won!"
"R-Really?"
"Why are ya expecting me to lose every time, ya bad faith loser?" He flicks the tip of your helm.
"Then why would that stop you from gambling?"
"I won alright, I expected to win, What I didn't expect was for them to refuse to hold their end of the bargain. They had no integrity to be good losers, just ransacked the place and my money. The girl I used to hang out with lost all respect she had with me, and I was kicked off the place."

"Sounds rough, though it's oddly similar to the run in I had in Ilos."
"Well, the difference is that I had to look for a job instead of becoming a lord. Went to do some community service to feed the poor on the local church, and that's how I met Jodi. I was a bit afraid of telling her about my past, but she offered me a good substitute for the thrill seeking."

'Since ya like gamblin so much, how bout you do something dangerous that you can actually improve at?"
"And that's when I started huntin'. It wasn't as fun when I started cuz I sucked at it, but then I started observing more about nature, the rocks, the quiet rustling of the animals on tall grass. You mean I can relax WHILE I'm on the job? Easy money." He emptied his drink in a single chug.

"Moral of the story: If you live long enough to fix your mistakes, you will find God, and God will find ya!"
"But that was all your doing, what part of it was God?" Puck rudely butted in, swimming in the mug as he appeared to be drunk.

"Should we be worried about him overdosing?"
"Nah, there's only water on this cup."
"Tell me, Vlad. what are ya doing after this?" Puck mimics Hyde's accent after dousing his head on what he thought he was getting drunk in.

"After what, the boat travel?"
"No, when are you going to think, 'ye, I won in life!'"
"Well, when the apostles are all dead-"
"Naaah! That's the most boring, generic heroic answer you could spout! I'm talking about what would make you feel whole and satisfied! Your happy place! The retirement home!"

Huh, Your happy place? What an odd question to ask. You never saw happiness as quantifiable in ambience, but an ideal condition for you to remain happy would be fun to ponder as an end goal...
>>
>>5388686
>Back in Ilos, reforming those mongrel gladiators into a just army under a solid ruling.
>A rebuild Santana estate, for my mother, Farnese and any invited to feel right at home.
>Elfhelm seems like a good place from what you've told me, at least. Maybe living next to Sivir wouldn't be so bad.
>Were it not for the constant violence, I feel right at home with all of you in the caravan. If only we could travel at lower stakes...
>I'd pay my respects to the silver eyed. Keep travelling and looking for more wisdom. When I explore the entire world, only then will I be able to rest. I'm a lover of nature afterall, and I do miss rock climbing!
>I said what I said, don't see a happy place existing while The God Hand is clawing at us.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5388689
>Write-in.
>I would like to rebuild and improve upon the old ruins of the silver eyed clan town and create a new village there with a replicant Santana estate added for my mother, Farnese and anyone else in need of a home. I would teach the new inhabitance the knowledge thought lost from my people and instill some semblance of our old culture too, if I can't get back what I lost, I can at least try and reclaim it in some fashion. Hell, maybe i'll even have a kid or two with Farnese and watch them grow strong and wise, and free from the nightmares that stunted my own childhood, while me and Farnese enjoy some peace and relaxation with each other without interruption for once.
>>
>>5388689
>I said what I said, don't see a happy place existing while The God Hand is clawing at us.
>Besides, I don't think I'm as noble a hero as you think I am. I may sacrifice life and limb for the sake of others, but there's something that makes me feel truly alive in battles. There's a rush that compares to no other when it comes to impaling three of your enemies at once, or turning aside a blow that would have torn your head off otherwise. It's a side I was blind to before my first conflict, but it would be foolish of me to deny that it exists - the battlefield makes me happy, just as much as it saddens me. Perhaps Hedwyn's bloodlust was passed on to me.
>>
>>5388689
>Back in Ilos, reforming those mongrel gladiators into a just army under a solid ruling.
>A rebuild Santana estate, for my mother, Farnese and any invited to feel right at home.
>I said what I said, don't see a happy place existing while The God Hand is clawing at us.
>>
>>5388689
>Were it not for the constant violence, I feel right at home with all of you in the caravan. If only we could travel at lower stakes...
>I'd pay my respects to the silver eyed. Keep travelling and looking for more wisdom. When I explore the entire world, only then will I be able to rest. I'm a lover of nature afterall, and I do miss rock climbing!
>>
>>5388703
>>5388707
>>5388746
>>5388917
"Provided Ilos is left in good hands -passing rulership to either Kalki or one of my descendants- I would like to rebuild and improve upon the old ruins of the silver eyed clan town and create a new village there while my mother Michelle is still with us. Perhaps I can build a replicant Santana Estate for her, Farnese and anyone else in need of a home." You offer him a few propositions for the future.

" I would teach the new inhabitance the knowledge lost from my people and instill some semblance of our old culture too, if I can't get back what I lost, I can at least try and reclaim it in some fashion."

"The Hazel Eyed Clan? Huh, would be a hot spot and a half."

"I wouldn't be really interested in making it a popular visiting place. So long as Farnese and I could rest and watch our kids grow strong and wise, I would be happy enough. Being free from the nightmares that stunted my own childhood, while having two parents that can enjoy peace and relaxation without interruption... What more could I ask for?"

"Even after yer done with all this bullshit, you still have that many plans? No wonder yer mind is racing, partner. Damn!"
"I was going to do most of this anyway if it wasn't for Conrad and Femto. I'm used to putting my plans on the backburner, seems like I can only plan on the short term."

"Even then, ya can still get panicky when things don't go yer way. For a guy so disinterested in warfare, it's ironic to see you being pushed into politics every time."

"It's the running joke of causality. Pretty sure they find it hilarious for me to be the one to liberate the dark angels' slaves while being a noble in warrior's clothing. Though I do value competence over dynasties, it's why I joined Ilos in the first place."

"Suppose ya wouldn't feel angry if I visited every now and then, would ya?"

"Of course not, perhaps Violet and Gunpowder could race against each other to see who's the better mount."

"Man, why wait until then!? Who knows if we're living until that happens, let's do it on the elf island. That way you wouldn't have any field advantage."

"Deal, you chuckle as you toast in hopes of reaching Elfhelm in one piece.


Little by little, your party comes back to hang out at the bar, first with Farnese and Serpico, one doing a very poor attempt at handling her drinks around you, and one being barred from drinking at all thanks to his incessant coughing.

"*COUGH COUGH* I told you not to drink it that fast, Lady Farnese..."
"But it was *Hic* Cherry flavored... I thought I would be fine if I drank the same as *Hic* Casca..."
"I've been drinking this amount of booze for years, why would you want to keep up with me?"
"*Hic* This is so *Hic* Embarrassing!"
"*COUGH*"

Before you could empty your bottle, the rest of the pegasus group returned, making you wonder if you should order another round in their honor
>>
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>>5389030
Yet they all seemed to have plenty to tell on their own.

Guts gave up on limping with his sword, using Schierke's staff as a cane while holding her old clothes.

Ivalera was flying around the little witch, enamored at the clothes sewn by Cindy while the girl herself was beet red from blushing.

Isidro's face was beaten to a bloody pulp, his cheeks were swollen and his face was round like he was stung by a thousand bees.

"...Don ashck." Is all he says before sitting down across you, aiming to get a hand on your bottle.

"3 glasses. I'll have whatever scar face's having." Guts orders from your tab as Casca begrudgingly stands up, retreating to the corner due to her distancing limit despite neither of them being happy with this separation.

Cindy is not with them. Though none of them seem to be bothered by her absence to the point of not even mentioning her.

>Where's Cindy?
>Who beat you up, Isidro?
>I wasn't going to finish this anyway.[Give Isidro a taste of your drink]
>I don't even trust you while you're sober... [Stash the drink away]
>You look cute, Schierke.
>Found any good boats while you were out?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5389060
>Where's Cindy?
>I don't even trust you while you're sober... [Stash the drink away]
Under age drinking? NOT ON MY WATCH!!!!!!
>You look cute, Schierke.
>Found any good boats while you were out?
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>>5389060
>Where's Cindy?
>I don't even trust you while you're sober... [Stash the drink away]
>Found any good boats while you were out?
>>
>>5389075
+1
>>
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>>5389075
>>5389334
>>5389396

"You look very cute on that dress, Schierke. It suits you well" You compliment the girl while pushing the bottle off the table, letting it's last few sips drip onto the floor while Isidro curses at you incomprehensibly.

"Hah! I knew they would all love it. You're getting complimented by all the boys. Which one will admit your love for you? Will it be the cool, elegant man of high society that saved you from apostle peril, or the brooding, muscular hunk of a man, who just carried you in her arms and defended you from those child slavers?"

"C-Can it, Iva! I'm not interested in any of them... This dress is so constrictive to move in... it feels awkward to move without my wand."
"Sorry, Schierke, not interested in kids your age. Guts is also taken as well."
"U-Uh, but I never said--"
"That's only more motivating! It's the forbidden fruit! What choices and dialogue options will lead you to the Good ending? Oh, this is just like my NTR novels!" Ivalera rubs her palms together, anticipating Schierke's next moves.

"I'd suggest looking for someone your own size." You point your thumb to Isidro, who makes a fart noise with his mouth.
"I doubt she's interested in monkey-boys." Puck shrugs.

"Child slavery, huh? so that's what you were dealing with out there?" You turn your head to Guts, who had another round at playing leader again. "Must have seen plenty of good boats by the docks."
"Nothing but ships by the seashore, all of them are pretty large, too. Though what they carry in their cargo is of dubious quality."

"Phew of them tchried two getush! But Gutx and I kicked bhem off wiff our shuper shtrength!"
"Nothing of the sort. Schierke saw some spirits of unresting Kushan being hanged at the plaza, we went to the executioner to liberate their souls, she caught wind of some pirates, I defended her."

"Is that why Isidro is in this... Condition?"
"Phuck aff! I wash In a laiff or defh schenario againsht a phalcon who showed up to schteal my momentsh! I'll have you know I was shtrong enof to kick the ash of sheveral adults"
"I can vouch for him, sadly." Schierke shook her head.
"Falcon? They're already invading?"
'Nothing of the sword. Just some misguided kids who think Griffith is in the right."

"One of them appeared to be Zhafira's younger brother, so we let them be escorted by a knight-errant who helped us defeat the enslaving group, they should be back after a bit." Ivalera added.

"Younger brother...?" What is Benny doing here, walking with Falcon troops, no less?"
>>
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>>5389529

"There was also something much more worrying that I have encountered... One of the girls warned me of something, she managed to enter my mind in a way I have never seen before, showing me a vision of the future..."

"Get away from this city. As fast as you can."

"I suggest hurrying it up, as well. Or else I might just use a little bit of 'convincing' to get those kids off the wrong team." Guts bares his knuckles.
"Agreed. We better start moving tomorrow morning." Serpico nods.

>We'll be buying a boat from the aristocrats tomorrow.
>Let's stow away at a merchant boat, they should cost a lot less.
>You think the pirates would be down to taking us for a ride?
>Pretty sure we need a permit to drive a boat, all the more reason to visit the Vandimion house and ask for assistance.
>Let's look for Cindy, I need to tell her to stay away from those Falcon kids.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5389543
>Let's look for Cindy, I need to tell her to stay away from those Falcon kids.
>Pretty sure we need a permit to drive a boat, all the more reason to visit the Vandimion house and ask for assistance.
>We'll be buying a boat from the aristocrats tomorrow.
Only the best for our buddies.
>>
>>5389543
>>Let's look for Cindy, I need to tell her to stay away from those Falcon kids.
>>Pretty sure we need a permit to drive a boat, all the more reason to visit the Vandimion house and ask for assistance.
>>We'll be buying a boat from the aristocrats tomorrow.
>>
>>5389543
>>Let's look for Cindy, I need to tell her to stay away from those Falcon kids.
>>Pretty sure we need a permit to drive a boat, all the more reason to visit the Vandimion house and ask for assistance.
>>We'll be buying a boat from the aristocrats tomorrow.
take our equipment, remain on guard. If we have time i want to see if we can buy some armors and other weapons for the rest of our group and carve some runes in it. Maybe on the dragonslayer too.

lmao Ivalera
>>
>>5389700
>Ivalera is into NTR
S H I T
T A S T E
when is she going to pull Puck under the nearest blanket?
>>
>>5389549
>>5389582
>>5389700
Pretty sure we'll be needing permit to drive a boat, all the more reason to visit the Vandimion house and ask for assistance. Find a crew that's not too busy, and hire them first thing tomorrow morning."

"You make it sound a lot easier than it is in practice..." Serpico mumbles, worried about how things would go when you eventually reached the Vandimion house in such a state.

"We can worry about further hurdles once we get there. For now, I would rather keep Cindy away from the Falcon kids--" You bump into one of the drunkards entering the bar, it took but one look at them to see that their intent was malign the moment they entered the establishment.

"The hell do you want, cripple? It's past your curfew! Go back to bed, unless you want to get a beating!" The man flings your numb, damaged arm, before their friend group took a look at the beautiful ladies (and child) in your company.

"Well well well, what do we have here? Three lovely girls sitting in the corner."
"Actually, there's four to five of them-- mmph!" Puck tries to count Zhafira, but is interrupted by Ivalera placing her hand on his mouth.

"Hey there, good looking! Do you want to sit with me and have a drink?"
"Do you want to die?!" Farnese reaches for her dagger, aiming to dig at his testicles rather than letting a guy other than Serpico or you near her.

"Ah, it's one of the feisty ones! Even better..."
"This one looks a bit like a guy, but I've been with worse faces." Another one leans at Casca, who was just about to excuse herself from the group to look for Cindy.

"Oh, I bet we could go for a round..." Casca flexes her biceps, getting ready to rip some teeth out of the ones bothering her.

"Get away from them, drunk ass!" Isidro growls at the group, almost starting a fight as he headbutted one man's mug onto the floor.

Wanting to avoid a barfight, you walk over to one of the men and excuse yourself.
"Look, sir. While I apologize for ruining your night, there's a million things I'd rather do than to waste my time with you, so why don't we ignore each other and-"

"Who asked you, ya vegetable in armor!?" The man pushes your over, were it not for Guts holding you over, you would have probably faceplanted on the bench.

"A barfight's just what I needed before going to sleep." The cracking on his fingers are pretty audible, showing how much he's been itching to fight someone who wouldn't kill him for once.

You could fight alongside him, and their underestimating because of your bandaged arm really struck a nerve.

>Mistaking a peaceful treat as a sign of weakness is a grave mistake, Barfight it is.
>Leave the dick measuring contest for Guts and Isidro, the girls can take care of themselves, as well. Ignore them and look for Cindy.
>>
>>5389924
>Spare the time to humiliate him by dodging everything he throws at you with Foresight, but don't actually hurt him. Maybe he'll tire himself out or get so embarrassed that he'll give up, hopefully. And if he tries to target someone else, you could always steal his belt and make his own pants trip him up.
I don't think it's appropriate to beat up the disabled. That's why I don't want to fight this retard.
>>
>>5389924
>Leave the dick measuring contest for Guts and Isidro, the girls can take care of themselves, as well. Ignore them and look for Cindy.
We can leave the brawling to Guts, Casca, Serpico and Isidro. We need to find the clown girl before Griffith's retard brigade convince her to switch teams or something.
>>
>>5389998
+1
>>
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>>5389947
>>5389998
>>5390032
Fight's going to get pretty ugly in there once Guts and the others start swinging, let's see if Vlad can escape the collateral damage with the help of his aimbotting foresight turned on.

1d100, low DC but not too low.
Seeing it coming won't be the hard part, it's going to be moving and dodging.
>>
Rolled 47 (1d100)

>>5390045
>>
Rolled 9 (1d100)

>>5390045
Angry.
>>
Rolled 9 (1d100)

>>5390045
>>
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>>5390048
>>5390054
I'll have two number 9s...
>>5390046
Never mind, this is good enough.
>>
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>>5390046
>>5390048
>>5390054

Crouch walking hurts a ton, but it's miles better than having the risk of having a table flipped over your head. Even that could kill you off, the way you are moving right now, so it's best to avoid the conflict Guts is creating by inviting several people to brawl with him.

Weirdly enough, Casca decides to escape the scuffle after throwing one of the men over to the nearest torch and following after you, choosing not to get accidentally near the swordsman he wished to be with.

Exiting the town with the help of the mercenary, you hear a faint melody of a wind instrument, and using your Od vision to be led by the crowd of child slaves freed by Guts earlier, Casca walked you over to the sound of the bagpipes.

It was Benny, the bald little bard. Tearfully playing the softest of tunes on his pipes as Zhafira danced and bobbed in place, using the unseen hand to pretend she was able to dance normally with her limited movement as to not show her legs.

You are surprised that she is not craving the needle or transforming into a mandragoran, given the stress on her body to sing on the right notes, remember the songs she forgot a long time ago, and dance to appease the crowd who cheered along with her.

--The tropics of the horizon,
would guide her to the throne,
Her happiness could only begin, when meeting with the king,
So early morning, with the sun she arose,
Off her town she went, as the world would prevent
The happy tale of Rosy Rose...


The group of listeners went wild at her display, as Casca couldn't help but smile from the ordeal.

"She remembered! It was only the first part of the whole song, but she remembered... She was always so restlessly stuck with her drafts, we were wondering if her art was the only thing preventing her from spiraling, so we left her to it..."
"I have a feeling all here present had a part in her process." You kept watching them clap and throw some coins at Benny's hat. Though if he was near, surely the Falcons should be in the vicinity...

"Well, I'm glad this journey wasn't completely useless..."
"What do you mean, useless? Can't a lady have a stroll around a city? We even reunited a family of siblings!"
"Will they be united for long, though? I don't think they let the poor perform art in the holy town, and commoners shouldn't be reading in public either."

A young boy in horse mount and a blonde girl with a large forehead were seen when you reflected your thoughts into the water of the docks, the crest in the youngster's armor made it clear of his affiliation with the Reborn Band Of The Falcon.

But why did they come here? Did they knew of our intent to reach Vritannis? Was it merely to warn of the imminent invasion? Were they blind followers of the dark angel, or did your enemy act out kindness?

>Confront the two enemy soldiers.
>Greet the artisan siblings.
>>
>>5390080
>Greet the artisan siblings.
>>
>>5390080
>Greet the artisan siblings.
No fight.
>>
>>5390048
>>5390054
Lmao dice gods are fucking with us yet again.
>>
>>5390080
>Greet the artisan siblings.
Talking to Mule and forehead is pointless.
>>
>>5390080
>>Greet the artisan siblings.
ugh
>>
>>5390080
>>Greet the artisan siblings.
>>
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>>5390086
>>5390131
>>5390134
>>5390309

Good! They're already splitting up, all the more reason for you to focus on Cindy and Benny.

"V-V-Vlad?" The stammering boy raises his arms to gesture a hug, but quickly undoes his motions, remembering how the last time you met went.

"I was not expecting to see you here, boy."
"She's been fixed, Vlad! She's really been fixed! She was having a hard time remembering Rosy Rose's tale, but she always sang it to me before I went to sleep. I remember plenty of it, now she can finally travel around the world to do her songs with me!" Benny was so happy, his speech impediment seemed to have disappeared entirely, how did he improve so fast?

Cindy gives her brother an empty smile and a kiss on the forehead, not wanting to tell him of her true condition.
"I thought you would be uniting with the Falcons?"
"Griffith is so busy, the time where he took me from Ilos was pretty much the only meaningful interaction I had with him... He doesn't seem like a bad guy... But I'm scared of what some of the people in his army can do... It's like they're about to turn on each other at any moment..."

"I can't believe I let you into that dangerous place by yourself, Benny! Why would you do that?"
"It's true! Sonia and Mule were the ones who led me here, and they have liberated Midland people from Kushan rulership! S-Some of them want to fight for justice as much as Vlad."

"Then why did you leave? You could have just brought Cindy into the Band."
"I-I-I don't feel safe there anymore..." Benny shivers, stammering once more. "G-G-Grunbeld was there to save me before, but now that he's dead... I-I-t will happen again."

"Good people can be led by ill-intended leaders." Casca speaks up. "If not all in Griffith's New Band are apostles, chances are they are seeing him as just as much as a miraculous combatant of evil as he was previously..."
"Th-There are good apostles, too! Grunbeld and the girl with the scythe were not evil... So why did you take their lives, Vlad? I thought good people were meant to unite under their same c-cause! They were just like you and me!"

Benny tears up, afraid of the aftereffects of the rift caused by Grunbeld's death in the enemy army. Moreover, he genuinely seems saddened that his once heroic mentor had struck down someone he deemed a protector of the weak.
>>
>>5390508

>It is how Casca said. I don't doubt there are good people in Griffith's army, but I can't undo a crowd's lifetime of manipulation with a few simple words.
>Violence is necessary in some instances. It is the most pacifist option between serving demons and bending the knee to lose your free will.
>You seem to feel unsafe with just about every group you find, are you sure it is not yourself you are afraid of?
>I was wrong in thinking you were uncapable of living by yourself outside of your home, and for that I apologize. You can come along with your sister, if you wish to.
>Cindy would not be sound of mind if I idled by in Ilos like you. I may have made some mistakes, but I would like to see you doing what I've done.
>Grunbeld wished to die in an humorous battle, I merely granted his wish. It was nothing personal, he was merely a misguided man on opposide sides.
>The dragon was an apostle, that was enough of a reason to kill him. I would do it again if I could.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5390508
>Grunbeld wished to die in an humorous battle, I merely granted his wish. It was nothing personal, he was merely a misguided man on opposide sides.
>It is how Casca said. I don't doubt there are good people in Griffith's army, but I can't undo a crowd's lifetime of manipulation with a few simple words.
>Violence is necessary in some instances. It is the most pacifist option between serving demons and bending the knee to lose your free will.
>>
>>5390524
>It is how Casca said. I don't doubt there are good people in Griffith's army, but I can't undo a crowd's lifetime of manipulation with a few simple words.
>Violence is necessary in some instances. It is the most pacifist option between serving demons and bending the knee to lose your free will.
>Grunbeld wished to die in an humorous battle, I merely granted his wish. It was nothing personal, he was merely a misguided man on opposide sides.
>If it was so simple Benny, there would be less war and death in the continent. Our objectives and ideals are too different, for exist at the same time in Midland. Conflict is inevitable. Regardless, how do you feel at the moment ? Do you think, you could accept the offer i made time ago now ? To be my squire ?
Check with our od senses around us and Benny.
>>
>>5390524
>It is how Casca said. I don't doubt there are good people in Griffith's army, but I can't undo a crowd's lifetime of manipulation with a few simple words.
>Write-in.
>Grunbeld, the Entity that wore my master's face and those vile beasts who accompanied them wished to do harm to a kind old lady as Griffith had commanded. I believe you met her apprentice, Schierke? I could not allow them to do as they pleased and in the end I spared them both from a fate worse than death by purifying their corrupted souls with magic.
He seems to care more about the fact that we killed Grunbeld and the Entity than anything else so lets focus on that.
>>
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>>5390569
>>5390607
>>5390787
"Grunbeld wished to die in a battle of honor, I merely granted his wish. It was nothing personal, he was merely a misguided man on opposite sides."

"How can you say that? How can someone like Gunbeld's biggest wish was for him to lose his life?"
"Because he had nothing else to look forward to in his immortality. It is how Casca said. I don't doubt there are good people in Griffith's army, but I can't undo a crowd's lifetime of manipulation with a few simple words."

"Are you obligated to stay in his army? Have you killed anyone under his name?" Casca turned her head over.
"No... I don't want to kill anyone. All I had to do to help him was compose his anthem, no f-f-urther obligations."
"There is a difference between mindlessly killing and knowing your targets. Violence is necessary in some instances. It is the most pacifist option between serving demons and bending the knee to lose your free will."

"But you know I have no interest in anything of the s-s-s-ort!"
"Benny, Vlad never obligated me to fight either, yet here I am... You don't have to worry about doing anything you don't want to."

The flute master still seemed hurt by his dreams being crushed by you, yet something else kept him from being committed to the Falcons. Perhaps he needed some soft convincing.
"I know you wish to live in a world where you can perform freely with your sister, yet that world is not ready yet. "I know you wish to live in a world where you can perform freely with your sister, yet that world is not ready yet. If it was so simple, there would be no war and death in the continent. Our objectives and ideals are too different, for exist at the same time in Midland. Conflict is inevitable, but when this is all over, I promise you that the day will come."

"Wh-Why didn't you say that in the first time we m-m-et back in Ilos?" He quivers, blaming you for something that happened in his past.

Checking his Od and seeing his intent, you could tell that he was almost suffocated by an eel monster when traveling on his way to meet Griffith. Where he would then be molested by the apostle before Grunbeld could save him.

Though you understand his pain and grievances, you wish he would believe in himself in a similar awakening that you had in your youth, but you're not sure what could even push him to such a state.

"--!" Your mind wanders as you are forcibly pushed into seeing visions of the near future, The Vandimion Palace being invaded, several people being ravaged by pishaca, and lastly, The Dragonslayer slicing your body in two, as you defended your group from the Berserker.

"We will not forget or forgive you for what you've done to Grunbeld. Your mindless opposition will fail, and we, the Band Of The Falcon, will prevail!" The departing girl seemingly controls your mind to send you a message with her telepathy, giving you a glimpse of the near future...

Did Griffith find someone with the same ability as you?!
>>
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Oh shit, time for Vlad to master his Mind-jitsu to defeat 5 head over here.
>>
>>5390802
>We will not forget or forgive you for what you've done to Grunbeld. Your mindless opposition will fail, and we, the Band Of The Falcon, will prevail!
Normally I'd feel bad about wanting to bully retarded children but...
>>
>>5390802
It seems their visit was not as innocent as you might have thought... Did she manage to gather intel of your journey in this short amount of time? Following her Od flow, you could see her mounted alongside her knight, already leaving back to her camp before you had time to process something to say to her.

You were so distracted by the intrusion, that you did not notice Cindy heavily leaning upon her brother's shoulder, growing heavier by the transformation of flesh into wood.

"Cindy? W-wWhat's gotten into you?"
"The syringe!" Casca reminds you of the essence she did not take while Benny panicked at her sudden fall.

"There's more essence back at the Inn, Cindy. Let's go back and get you fixed--" Casca attempts to lift her up, but her peeling hand reached the mercenary's contaminated shoulder.

"We both know that you have more chances of living until reaching the island, Casca... There's no point in wasting resources with me if we both turn into plants before being healed." Chlorophyll appeared to form in her lacrimal ducts as the jester sadly accepted her late stage condition.

"S-Sis! A-a-are you dying?! W-Wh-What did Vlad do to you?"
"Listen to me, Benny... Do you know why Father wanted us to pursue the art of entertainment? It was not merely due to our talents, and not because we would become rich from it. Anyone can keep up a job, serve a master, live a life of pain, happiness and mystery, but to perceive the world in one way, and to become eternal in a piece of paper by what you interpret of said world while improving your telling with age... It is something very few can do. A skilled artist should receive just as much prestige as valiant swordsman, in an ideal world..."

"But the world of war cannot tell art apart from propaganda. Manipulation to be used as a means of violence, the exact opposite of what he wanted us to preach... I don't want to fail our father, but I know that I might not reach him back home... That is why I want you to make them remember The Unhappy Tale... of Rosy Rose."
"S-Sis, W-what are you talking about? This is too much pressure to be put onto me! I-I-I can't finish the story for you! Wh-Wh-at if you die before we remember everything!?"
"You are an artist of your own... Take it as a learning experience. Your production is related to what you consume, and what you live."

>You're too far from home to live without the serum, Cindy. Don't leave yet.
>You can live longer with us. Don't make it your dying wish by hurrying your death.
>I did promise to your father that I would reunite the three of you... Very well, I will teach him how to inject the serum on you.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5390838
If she ain't gots no leg we should just chop ours off and replace one of hers with it. Our planty nature should make it compatible with her changing body and maybe slow it all down. Because that's how science works.

Then we can just get a spear or a sword for a leg to replace it.

EZ PZ

I want to save the clown. But I cannot.
>>
>>5390838
>I did promise to your father that I would reunite the three of you... Very well, I will teach him how to inject the serum on you.
I'm scared bros.
>>
>>5390838
>I did promise to your father that I would reunite the three of you... Very well, I will teach him how to inject the serum on you.
>>
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>>5390843
>>5390846
>>5390849

With a sad sigh, you tell the siblings that perhaps, it is best to let them reunite with their surviving parent before time would end her life. So returning back to the Inn, Casca carries Cindy up to the entrance, where Guts and the others were done throwing the drunkards out the window.

Though before they could catch sight of you, a group of guards blocked your path as they appeared thanks to an unknown report.

"Were you two the ones playing music earlier at the docks?"
"Y-Y-Yes, why?"
"The reports said you were reading lyrics from the songs and writing musical sheets, are these yours?" He points to the musical equipment the boy was wearing.
"You're not going to tell me commoners aren't allowed to read, are they?"
The guards stay silent at Cindy's question, not knowing that it was an oddity from people of her class to be able to do arts of the aristocrats due to Barnham not separating people by wealth, but by power.

She was never limited to the rules of Midland, though she found herself barred from doing her work here.

"What kind of asinine rule is that?"
"We're merely reinforcing the rules, miss. We're not lords full of power either, but we all seem to agree that some precautions need to be made for some types of people not to mix with each other."
"Would you and your group mind accompanying us for a minute?"

The guards try to coerce you into coming with them, but as someone who's been arrested before should know, they don't take no for an answer when they get to that point.

And just like last time, your arrest is related to none other than the damn Falcon himself. Or in this case, his oracle...

>She has a health condition, would you mind if I gave her some medicine first.
>You don't have any grounds to arrest her, if you don't agree with the law, why not pretend you didn't see anything?
>Is that the Vandimion crest on you? I don't think your superiors would appreciate Farnese's friend being arrested.
>Wouldn't you rather look for a higher bounty, someone like the Phantom Impaler, or the Black Swordsman.
>How about I give you folks some gold coins, and you both look the other way?
>Good, I needed someone to invite me into Farnese's house.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5390923
>Write-in
"Well then, since you are not nobility then you will not mind if I tell you they are under my protection, the one of a knight and nobleman. You do not mind the retainers, servants and friends of knights and noblemen that pass through the city do you ?"
"Then i think this is already resolved, i will simply talk with them and you shall go your way. Besides it is not much to report to your captain, arresting a bunch of kids. What you think others would say of that ?"
Make them sleepy with some magic if we need to. I don't want them dead.

Uhm i am still conflicited about the previous decision, i guess we will think more of it during this days in the city. Unless sister and brother leave today.
It is bittersweet to let her return home like this.
>>
>>5390958
+1
I still wish we could save Cindy though, she didn't deserve her fate at all.
>>
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>>5390958
>>5391074
Well, life's not really fair, is it? Still, better to die surrounded by her friends and family than have her head splattered by a hammer during a fight.Or getting the Behelit treatment.

I like the sleeping strategy, so let's go with that. Should be an easy roll unless miss Sonia decides to intervene and manipulate them into arresting you because you decided to commit blasphemy against her lord and savior Griffith.

But she wouldn't be that petty, would she?
A 1d100 to take a nap.
>>
Rolled 96 (1d100)

>>5391100
I sleep
>>
Rolled 52 (1d100)

>>5391100
Fuck that little cunt, I hope she dies a gruesome death.

>>5391114
Nice
>>
Rolled 54 (1d100)

>>5391100
I mean she can try. This time around though i am not sure being impaled will allow her that function might be a tad more difficult. Who knows
>>
Ah, Don't you just love to wake up to the first roll being a success? I know I do.
>>
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>>5391114
>>5391151
>>5391295

"Well then, since you are not nobility then you will not mind if I tell you they are under my protection, the one of a knight and nobleman. You do not mind the retainers, servants and friends of knights and noblemen that pass through the city do you?"

"Really, what a family are you from, then?

"One that's very well known and closely affiliated with the Vandimions."

"Feel like you're pulling this affiliation out of your ass, friend." They do not appear to be convinced, but nothing a little mind control wouldn't fix.

"Wait, I think I know you from somewhere, didn't the messenger deliver us a report of The Impaler?"
"Yes he did..."

...Hm? That's strange, you're having a hard time delving into their mind. It's like their Od is blocked by some other magician?
The image of the smiling girl's lips appear to you when you close your eyes.

Oh, that's absolutely adorable. Do you look like a weakling in magic due to your hurt constitution? She's about to be in for a rude awakening, Your spirit is still intact, and stronger than ever.

And this Sonia girl is no Femto, no Slan, no Flora, and certainly no Merlina. Dispersing her Od is as easy as breaking a cobweb under your bed. Away with her!

"As I was saying, I will simply talk with them and you shall go your way. Besides it is not much to report to your captain, arresting a bunch of kids. What you think others would say of that?"

Focusing back onto the crowd of guards, they appeared to be peacefully sleeping in place.

"Thought so."

Letting you return to the inn to instruct Benny on how to use the mandragoran medicine before sleeping with her sister. With your group being ready to sleep, you felt that it was best for them not to be disturbed by a mere introduction, Benny can talk to the others if he feels like it.

For now, it's best to focus on the journey for tomorrow.

Leaving the inn at early morning and promising to contact your friends through telepathy in case anything happens, you march forward towards Farnese's old home with Serpico.

You did not see her eyes being shut for one second when sleeping with her yesterday, and even with the added force she was using to hold the hands of both her strongest knights -Mostly due to how wounded they were- her hands were constantly trembling.

Her growth retracted into nothingness when meeting her father again, with how much importance she is giving to him, you're almost feeling intimidated yourself. Will she stay strong and remind herself of your life lessons inside the house she grew up in?

It was hard to say who she respected the most, now that she was in his palace.

As common courtesy from entering a noble household, Farnese entered the main hallway after giving a maid an engraved sword, with you accompanying it with one of Violet's gigantic, fresh eggs. Should be good for an exotic meal, at least...
>>
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AHAHA get fucked you 6 headed nerd! Vlad just beat you at your own game!
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>>5391467
If the Santana Estate and the coliseum of Ilos were combined and stretched into a straight line, it would only equivalate to half of what this single hallway of the Vandimion Mansion's entrance.

Flabbergasted at the news of her dead weight of a daughter, Frederico De Vandimion III himself came over to meet the three of you, so dirty and ragged that none of you could barely be recognized as nobles affiliated with the wealthiest man in Midland, perhaps from the entire world.

"G-G-Good morning, Father! H-how are you--"
"Why are you here?!" He rudely interrupted Farnese after she mustered the courage to speak up.

"I have heard of your previous actions with the Holy Iron Chain Knights, destroyed and put under by the occultist clan Father Mozgus attempted to combat. While I will not say that was a result of your indiscretion, you were in charge of a band of knights. What do you have to say for yourself?"

"I-I-I--"
"For you alone to shamelessly survive, and worse, go into hiding... You will appear before the holy city's supreme court immediately."

"...Yes, Father..." Farnese finally gives in, with Serpico merely watching her struggles as her father loudly sighed in her presence.

"It would seem that no matter where you go, the star under which you were born will see to it that you sully the honor of our family name... Either way, until I say otherwise, you are not to leave this mansion."

Farnese complies with a nod, showing the relationship is based around control, more so than actual trust.

Finally acknowledging your presence, Lord Frederico grits his teeth at your sight.

"Isn't this the foul Phantom spread by commoner's gossip. The rumors of your death being faked seemed plausible, but now that my daughter caught the criminal she was obsessed with, perhaps she will settle down after sacrificing her whole army for a single man's head to fall."

>It's a pleasure to meet you, Lord Vandimion. I am the last member of the Silver Clan, Champion of the Ilos coliseum, a lord, a warrior, and most importantly, your future son in law. But you can just call me Vlad Santana, for short.
>You have sent your men after me? I am flattered.
>Is this how you treat your daughter? No wonder she ran away.
>You should know a thing or two about commoners...
>The Holy Iron Chain Knights are alive, they merely disbanded and were dissolved into my army.
>I am not here for a trial, though I assume you wish to force me into one.
>Farnese, don't you have something to say?
>Write-in.
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>>5391484
>It's a pleasure to meet you, Lord Vandimion. I am the last member of the Silver Clan, Champion of the Ilos coliseum, a lord, a warrior, and most importantly, your future son in law. But you can just call me Vlad Santana, for short.
>You have sent your men after me? I am flattered.
>Is this how you treat your daughter? No wonder she ran away.
>The Holy Iron Chain Knights are alive, they merely disbanded and were dissolved into my army.
>Farnese, don't you have something to say?
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>>5391484
>>It's a pleasure to meet you, Lord Vandimion. I am the last member of the Silver Clan, Champion of the Ilos coliseum, a lord, a warrior, and most importantly, your future son in law. But you can just call me Vlad Santana, for short.
>The Holy Iron Chain Knights are alive, they merely disbanded and were dissolved into my army.
>Is this how you treat your daughter? No wonder she ran away.
>Farnese, don't you have something to say?
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>>5391484
>It's a pleasure to meet you, Lord Vandimion. I am the last member of the Silver Clan, Champion of the Ilos coliseum, a lord, a warrior, and most importantly, your future son in law. But you can just call me Vlad Santana, for short.
>The Holy Iron Chain Knights are alive, they merely disbanded and were dissolved into my army.
>You have sent your men after me? I am flattered.
hahahaha
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>>5391504
+1 lol
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>>5391504
>>5391513
>>5391525
>>5391769

"You have sent your men after me? I am flattered, Milord. I never figured the head of the Holy Iron Chain Knights would have been so progressive in such relations."

"V-Vlad!" Farnese gasps after seeing you present yourself to her father in such a moronic opening statement.

Serpico would attempt to scold you in most occasions, but he is too busy holding his laughter in.

"What is the meaning of this insolence, Phantom? Are you in such a hurry to die? I doubt half of your nerve equates to your energy, seeing as how the three of you are in complete shambles." He addresses your antiquated garment and your slouched posture onto Farnese.

"You can relax, Lord Vandimion. The Holy Iron Chain Knights are alive, or at least, a good portion of the nobles. They have merely disbanded when they were dissolved into my army?"

"Your army? And might I ask how did you raise one while indoctrinating them under your wing?"
"You are sorely mistaking if you believe that this is how I operate in my government. I guess it is time for me to properly introduce myself: Lord Vandimion, I amthe last member of the Silver Clan, Champion of the Ilos coliseum, a lord, a warrior, and most importantly, your future son in law. But you can just call me Vlad Santana, for short. The reason The Iron Chain Knights went away was for the same reason your daughter left. The shunning of the younger generation by patriarchs like you leads into aimless teens who are left to fend off for themselves in a large world they don't comprehend. Only instead of making the women a prime target for indulging in pornographic acts, the men are either pushed off into extensions of your power, or turned into soldiers with no individuality. At least with me, they were allowed to live life for some time."

"And here I thought my daughter would give me the biggest of headaches today... Not only did she invite one of Midland's most tarnished perverts into my home. I found out that he is alive, manipulating my daughter into marrying her for political power!"

"As much as you would like to infantilize her Milord, she is old enough to make her own decisions. In fact, I believe she has something to say." You lead her into confronting her own father.

"F-F-ather... I'm sorry to disappoint you once again, but I really do love Vlad, and if it's not too much to ask, I do wish you could treat him with more respect."

With the meek tone she addressed her father, you wonder how she was deemed as a brat in his eyes.
"He shall be treated with much respect once he gets the life sentence he escaped whatever cell he crawled out of. Is there anything else you want to waste my time with? I am late for my private meeting."

Frederico announces his intent of calling the guards onto you. What a warm, welcoming family indeed...
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>>5391952
"Why yes, in fact." You interrupt him before he could pass over you.

>I would like to have my name cleared of charges, and I believe you can help me with that.
>Are you against my relationship with Farnese? I don't see why, seeing as you would finally get rid of her like you seem to wish.
>A boat would be a great way for you to never see my face again, wouldn't you agree?
>The war between the Kushan Empire and Midland is ravaging all domains. As such, I would like to claim independence from this kingdom so Ilos can take a strategical stance against both factions. An Ally such as the Vandimions would be much appreciated.
>Will my cell be clean? I am not a fan of mold.
>Write-in.
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>>5391959
>>I would like to have my name cleared of charges, and I believe you can help me with that.
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>>5391959
>I would like to have my name cleared of charges, and I believe you can help me with that.
>The war between the Kushan Empire and Midland is ravaging all domains. As such, I would like to claim independence from this kingdom so Ilos can take a strategical stance against both factions. An Ally such as the Vandimions would be much appreciated.
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>>5392018
+1
Time to kill all our effirts because anons cannot into politics
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>>5391967
>>5392018
>>5392065
"I would like to have my name cleared of charges, and I believe you can help me with that."

"You do know that you are a mere stranger to me, correct? Why would I ever affiliate myself with you when I see no benefits you could offer?"

"This is where you are wrong, Lord Vandimion. If you have bothered to read the reports, you have undeniably seen the horrors that our fallen kingdom have been plagued with for the past. As such, I was looking forward to claim independence from Midland, given how we have no kings to speak of, the only element that one should consider for separation of territory should be an alliance with the most notable presence one can find. An Ally such as the Vandimions would be much appreciated to take a strategical stance against both--"

"Countless of offers are done to me on a daily basis, Santana. Plenty of them arrive in letters, placed on the bottom of the priority list due to how unconvincing and unreliable their senders are. Were you to sent me an offer in written format, I would have sent my fastest messenger to send it back to you by merely seeing your name."

"Guards?" Frederico signals for the armored men to approach you.

"I-Is this really necessary, Lord Vandimion? He does not pose a threat to you." Serpico uncharacteristically speaks up to his master in order to defend you, but Farnese goes even further beyond him.

"DON'T YOU DARE HURT HIM!" She growls back at the guards approaching you, making even Frederico tremble from the shift in her tone.

"If I hear the word that ANY of you have so much as laid a finger on MY Vlad, I will make sure that ALL of you are fired before you have the time to be on your knees!"

All present freeze solid as Farnese pants and recomposes herself. What once were her tantrums against you are now being the weapon used to defend you against the stake she would previously light you on for her sexual pleasures.

Though the irony is not lost on you, you are surprised to see how much revisiting her home is her ultimate test on her development.

"A-Ah, of course, Lord Vlad. We wouldn't want you hurt on a stingy old cell, would we?" The ass-kissing knights take the role of your manservants.

"Perhaps a guestroom would be more fitting. We would only have to keep watch on the door, afterall! Here, let me guide you."

With the way they you are following behind them instead of being carried or pushed around, you do not feel like a prisoner in the slightest...

"Wait here, please. One of our hired judges will soon come to report on your testimony and inform you of your charges."
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>>5392142
>Do as you were told to and wait.
>Contact your friends at the inn, they could help you out.
>Use your soul double to explore the mansion.
>Contact Farnese and Serpico.
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>>5392142
>Use your soul double to explore the mansion.
>Contact your friends at the inn, they could help you out.
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>>5392144
>Use your soul double to explore the mansion.
>Contact Farnese and Serpico.
I wonder how much a good lawyer costs in a situation such as this?
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>>5392144
>Use your soul double to explore the mansion.
>Contact Farnese and Serpico.
This went about as well as I expected.
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>>5392183
To be fair, boyfriend introductions to the parents don't ever go quite well.
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>>5392160
>>5392174
>>5392183

Pretending you were merely asleep, you jumped into the bed and covered yourself under the blankets so you could separate your soul from your body and freely investigate the mansion to look for Serpico and Farnese.

Being delegated to the role of a servant once more, Serpico is seen over the garden in worker attire, tending to the garden walls and observing his sister from a difference.

Speaking of siblings, you are firstly introduced to one of her three known brothers, Magnifico, who appeared to be taking a stroll around the beautiful fountain as the both of them flaunted their ornate, high class clothes.

"--A journey to the west, with that man you hated from your youth? This is very unlike... Rather, I guess it is like you to suddenly shift judgement based on how you feel..."

"Is it possible? His group has scouted for ships before, but I'm not sure if any of them are available."
"I'm afraid most of them are engaged with the war effort, the idea of finding a ship to carry personal travelers at a time like this, I doubt even father would--" Magnifico is ready to refuse her offer, but remembers his contacts with other important nobles, and gives her some solace.

"One ship is not beyond my power. Perhaps with the agreement I will offer, your lover could even be forgiven of his crimes, and be freed to roam the world as an innocent man."

"Please tell me how, Magnifico! Vlad means the world to me, I would do anything to see him freed from the prejudice of the masses."

"...Then I suppose you shall hear the conditions on your end of the ordeal."

The sound of a loud knock and the opening of the door back in your "cell" indicates that someone has arrived to interrogate you in such a crucial moment, but not wanting to feign death, you return once more to your chambers and see who was supposed to defend you and write your report.

"...Dear god, Vlad?" A man with dark hair brings his palms to his face after seeing yours. He only appeared to be a few years older than you.

"Do I know you from somewhere?"
"Unfortunately, yes. I take it you don't remember the name of Stanley Rubinsky, do you?"
"Can't say it rings a bell..."
"Really? After you drank all the wine in my graduation ceremony and had sex with the girl I was meaning to confess, you have the gall to-" He aims for a punch, but seeing how you were so piss-ass drunk that day that you don't even remember his face.

"I am an unbiased and just member of the council, I shall treat all convicts as innocent before being proven guilty, no matter their past history..." Stanley repeats his mantra, though spitting some venom in your direction.
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>>5392376
"Regardless, here with me is a list of repeated offences you have done to our kingdom, and despite your sentence never being carried out. The laws of Midland still have to be applied by Midland territory to prevent further chaos. Now added with the reports the Vandimion Soldiers who have told about you throughout the land, I will see what you have to say about each of your crimes."

"You won't write any lies to worsen my case, will you?"
"Only if you try to pull any funny business. Now onto the questionnaire." He rustles his papers and starts reading the report for you:

"The first crime of Vlad Santana, last known member of the Santana family --His father, Jacopo Santana, known contributor of the Holy See's activities, married to Michelle Santana, establisher of crucial trading grounds around the capital, known to discover deceased Royal Knight Gallahad, with his grandfather being affiliated with the independence of Randel-- was that of witchcraft, his family was accused of hiding his possession attacks and mental breakdowns from the public, only leaving him with teenagers so he could satiate his lust and gain the hatred of several other patriarchs. Being indemnified with the sum of 30 golden coins, the Santanas obliged to keep Vlad from facing the death row by paying the fee, something that they only managed to do partway, before their estate was invaded and their lives were unceremoniously cut short."

"Why is it that you faked your death and ran away from your served time in the cell if you believed that you were innocent? Are you aware that your sudden disappearance could be directly tied to the uproar in Midland's government after heir Griffith was imprisoned, causing the downfall of King Wyndham's sanity? Are you really affiliated with the silver eyed clan, or do you deny that you are a wizard?"

>If all that matters is the money, I have enough on me to pay for the remainder of the indemnification clause.
>I deny bringing ruin to the royal family. That was Griffith's doing, and Gallahad reported accordingly.
>I am indeed a wizard, I was merely adopted into the Santana family, my true origins are with the Silver Eyed Clan.
>I did not run away. I was responsible in cleansing the plague from our land and controlling the pests inside the swamp.
>Imprisoning wizards and burning infidels is a practice I am vehemently against, especially when said magic is used for the well being of the people.
>Write-in.
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>>5392396
>If all that matters is the money, I have enough on me to pay for the remainder of the indemnification clause.
>I deny bringing ruin to the royal family. That was Griffith's doing, and Gallahad reported accordingly.
>Imprisoning wizards and burning infidels is a practice I am vehemently against, especially when said magic is used for the well being of the people.
>Context is important in matters such as this. How about I just tell you everything that happened to me and all I know since after I escaped custody, so you can get a clear picture of events?. (Proceed to send him our memories via our telepathy about all the other events that happened in our life up until now, The swamp, The Mozgus incident, The mandragoras, everything that we know about the realms, Apostles, magic, Griffith. Basically Everything.)
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>>5392411
+1
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>>5392411
+1
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>>5392411
>>5392586
>>5392739
"If all that matters is the money, I have enough on me to pay for the remainder of the indemnification clause." You offer to pay the remaining 15 gold coins, though Stanley did not deem your actions as heroic.

"Opportunity has long past you for you to pay your debts. Even if family arrears are passed from father to son, I doubt the Vandimions would accept your money in honor of the fallen king."

"What is it about then? I willy deny bringing ruin to the royal family and blame Griffith for it, as he was accordingly arrested and proven guilty by Gallahad. With evidence of him grooming the princess to boot."

"Yes, that much is factual." Stanley writes down your answers. "Opinions of Griffith were already mixed within the nobles, given how he suddenly rose to fame and in ranks at such a young age, only to be the center piece to his own downfall. Though reporting a crime doesn't absolve another's. You still guilty of escaping your sentence."

"Did you want me to comply with dying too a crime I don't see as immoral? Imprisoning wizards and burning infidels is a practice I am vehemently against, especially when said magic is used for the well being of the people."

"Yet even now, you do not deny your sentence. Not even your parents attempted to defend you on that regard. So is it true or not?"

Feeling like Stanley would not budge if you answered a flat 'yes', you opted on a different approach.

"I believe context is important in matters such as this. How about I just tell you everything that happened to me and all I know since after I escaped custody, so you can get a clear picture of events?"

Offering your arm to the noble, you guided him through your past journey with visions of your memories. Of which he managed to tolerate up to meeting Barnham before breaking down.

"GOOD HEAVENS! Is this the dreaded magic you were practicing?"
"It is the most efficient way of learning the truth, isn't it?"
"And how the hell do you want me to process all of this information to write this down when I don't believe my source? Forget the death row, you will be placed in the sanitarium the moment they hear of the mere mention of the curing of plagues! And what was that about purifying magic!? If Mozgus got hold of your attempt of mimicking a messiah, you would have died on the spot."

"Yes, we have met before, and he tried doing just that."
"WHAT?!"
"Hear the rest of it and find out. You might not believe everything to see, but just like your vow of swearing to tell and spread nothing but the truth, I have no reasons to lie to you."
"Oh, brother... I will need more ink for this..." Stanley exits the room, pondering on whether or not to continue the interrogation.

But sure enough, he listened to the end.
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>>5392411
I am not against it but it could damage his mind and then the accusation of using magic against him could be used.
This said i can t think of much at the moment, beside just talking.
So hopefully it will work out. If not we will do something else. Probably save him or get away.
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>>5392826

You spent the remaining free hours of Stanley's day playing stop and go with your telepathic abilities, as the paper he uses to narrate your trials and tribulations soon turns into a large file, and then a scroll of notes.

"Unbelievable... After hours of hearing you, this all reads like utterly nonsensical ramblings!"

"Well, then this case should prove to be a good challenge!"

"Challenge?! Is this how you see your life being put on the line? It seems like you are not taking this seriously in the slightest."

"You seem to be awfully upset by your visions."

"Of course I am, I'll have to prove that the biggest idiot from Midland's younger years grew up to be one of the most powerful entities in the world. Part of me still believes you are all manipulating this in order to come off as a good man all along."

"If your evidence is sound, then it all shall add up."

"You do know why I turned into the court of law, right? I was nearly quitting after my father pushed me into the career, but knowing there was a descendant of Char alive, I went to see what sort of wisdom the Santana Family brought into the world. And what did you say?"

"Drinking is fun! Whatever job I end up with, I hope I can use the money to buy more booze!"

"And that's where I knew our kingdom would be in shambles if the best man in the courtroom had such dead weight in the bloodline."

"That's strange, I don't remember that night at all... I must have gotten a concussion in my head from hitting Anastasia's knockers too hard."

Stanley goes red with anger before exhaling with a tired clutch at his quill.

"I'll... See what I can do with you... Proving magic is real... The Audacity of this man!"

"Better for it to be me than the Kushan..." You both grumble to each other's backs, remembering how the Band Of The Falcon bird predicted an invasion to happen right in the holy city.

After having your generous meal of two loaves of bread and water, a knock on your door is heard after two knights greet you with two other visitors.
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>>5392826
>>5392939
>Stanley when we reveal to him the inner workings of causality and the 100 other earth shattering things Vlad has encountered.
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>>5392939
"Hello, Mr. Santana." Frederico is the first to greet you, applying makeup to his right eye after a noticeable concussion.

"Did something happen to your eye?"
"Don't mind me, Farnese and I just had a mild disagreement regarding some negotiations with the captain."

"Negotiations? What might that be about?"
"I believe Frederico is referring to me, good sir." Roderick introduces himself with a firm handshake, to which you had to switch hands to merely reply with.

"You must be Roderick."
"Oh, so you know who I am? It's an honor to meet someone who would catch the attention of the living goddess among us known as Farnese."

"Do you have a reason in particular to be speaking so fondly of her?" You raise an eyebrow at the captain's suspicious manner of speaking.

"Being the smart man you are, surely you must know of the great inventions made by the men of Ys. Particularly, our splendid works in the marine fleets. If we manage to improve on our already solid foundations and invest in better usage of our fuel sources, I believe a world of great exploration is about to come into the world. Imagine, if you will, all corners of the world being expanded, a full map proving that humanity had already explored the entirety of the sea. The greatest limitation of our means of locomotion, broken. Who knows what other countries, islands, perhaps even continents await us when we are not limited by our own feet?"

"But for those investments to come, the Ys fleet needs more manpower and relevance in the current political world. And what better way than to affiliate themselves with the Vandimion household?" Frederico explains his plan.

"So you plan on stealing her from me!? Bastard!" You get ready to muster saliva to spit on both their faces, before they both back up.

"Oh, no! Why would we reveal our plan if it had no benefit to us?"
"What, do you consider us a bunch of supervillains? We are all civilized men here!"

"Then what is it that you wish from me?"
"I believe I can offer you a trade. We've taken a look at your case, and it doesn't exactly seem...plausible for you to be cleared of all charges."

"So why wouldn't we wash each other's hands? I believe that I can clear you of all charges if I press hard enough at the court. Farnese has also told me about your wish to find a boat, and we can fulfill both of your needs."

"It's not too unreasonable to bargain with, right? You remain free, you get a boat of your own free of charge for your crew, and provided I do become heir to the throne of Ys against my other two competitors, you will have my full support at liberating Ilos from Midland territory, no matter how tarnished Barnham's reputation is."

"And all you ask for is to marry Farnese in my stead?"
"I do not need your permission, per se. But you are not the only one who is not intimidated by her rumors. Since we are men of vision, women with a little bit of an attitude prove to be more enticing to us, isn't that right?"
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>>5393022
>You have a lot of nerve, kindly asking me to steal Farnese, instead of doing it behind my back.
>Never, I would rather rot in prison with her at my side!
>Trust me, you don't have what it takes to remain with Farnese. A Goddess is as powerful as she is graceful.
>You're right, Roderick. We are both civilized men, but we are also knights in our own ways. How about we decide it over a duel, so you can encompass the caliber of man you are dealing with?
>Does it have to be Farnese? Surely we can negotiate better terms.
>Write-in
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>>5393032
>>You're right, Roderick. We are both civilized men, but we are also knights in our own ways. How about we decide it over a duel, so you can encompass the caliber of man you are dealing with?
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>>5393032
>You have a lot of nerve, kindly asking me to steal Farnese, instead of doing it behind my back.
>You're right, Roderick. We are both civilized men, but we are also knights in our own ways. How about we decide it over a duel, so you can encompass the caliber of man you are dealing with?
>>
Rolled 89, 57, 30, 25, 53, 90, 61, 56, 13, 39 = 513 (10d100)

Rolling to see how the gods are feeling today. God help us if we end up dueling Roderick and roll a 1.
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>>5393032
>No, I won't disregard my own or Farnese's feelings so callously. If her heart is somehow swayed to another, then so be it - but I intend to take her hand for no other reason than the fact that I love her, provided she will have me.
>However, it seems to me that you've left an alternative - you want Farnese because of the Vadimion's manpower, connections, and wealth. Iios has much to offer, with the finest warriors honed against countless men and monsters alike - and special goods you'll scarcely find anywhere else, thanks to our multicultural policies. Forgive the boasting, but it's not inaccurate to say that we have adapted to take on the strengths and shed the weaknesses of our friends and foes. We would gladly forge ties with you to bring you and your nation up for the sake of all, should you aid us today. We can even arrange for deals that favor Ys quite well.
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>>5393105
+1
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>>5393105
>support
dueling for it in our shitty condition and with our bad luck is stupid.
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>>5393105
+1
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>>5393105
Support well written
Beside if we get marry with the Vandimion, it wouldn't be difficult to arrange something with Vandimion and Ys. At least it would be easier than the marriage
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>>5393105
"No, I won't disregard my own or Farnese's feelings so callously. If her heart is somehow swayed to another, then so be it - but I intend to take her hand for no other reason than the fact that I love her, provided she will have me."

"You sound a lot less confident in your words when mentioning your relationship." Roderick raises his eyebrow, wondering if something happened between the two of you.

"You might love her, alright. But how much time have you spent with her recently? Is there something that you could consider a flaw between you and her that would make her heart be swayed?"

You start to wonder if there was anything that happened between you and Farnese. She always feels very safe and confident by your side, but knowing of her past and being busy from all the problems currently hindering your life, perhaps have you been neglecting her? She would tell you if that was the case, wouldn't she?

Or perhaps, it was the event at the beach, where she watched you almost die, and had to come to terms with your passing right before her eyes...

Grr! No point in speculating now, you have to take action!

"I've noticed that you've left an alternative - you want Farnese because of the Vadimion's manpower, connections, and wealth. Ilos has much to offer, with the finest warriors honed against countless men and monsters alike - and special goods you'll scarcely find anywhere else, thanks to our multicultural policies. Forgive the boasting, but it's not inaccurate to say that we have adapted to take on the strengths and shed the weaknesses of our friends and foes. We would gladly forge ties with you to bring you and your nation up for the sake of all, should you aid us today. We can even arrange for deals that favor Ys quite well."

"I'm not sure if I can trust you on that. the report did say that you align yourself with an monstrous leader of a gladiator ring who enslaved his population when they lost, as well as murdering Bolzack, the commander of Cromwell. You are a struggling nation, and though I see promise in you should you escape this predicament, the difference between your union and the Vandimions is staggering. I just don't see many advantages that you could offer..."

"Then what is my alternative, just kindly accept that you'll take Farnese from me because you politely asked?"
"Again, I wouldn't be so heartless. I can ponder the possibilities, we have until later tonight to decide this."
"What happens tonight?"

"Oh, nothing major. We'll just be having a ball like any other the family has every month." Frederico explains. "We would love to see you there."

"Well, then let us--" The guards still block you when attempting to step forward.

"But in order to see if you really are the man in the legends you told about yourself, why don't you see what you are truly made of in a duel in the court ball? To formulate your own way to escape, appear during the party, and defeat me effortlessly in a duel, that would make you quite the hero."
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>>5393445
"Are you challenging me? You might come to regret this... Especially when I could just grant the support you want for you."

"But then what credit would we receive from our hardships. You do know that being given a pity victory wouldn't count as an honorable conquest, would it?" Magnifico pretty much spells it out that he wants to use his friend and Farnese's marriage as a stepping stone towards his own career.

"Hopefully the legend will fare up to the real deal." Roderick bows, before respectfully leaving.
"I'll be ready to put you on your knees." You grimace, already knowing that he would lose. You are dying to Makaras, Apostles and ethereal monsters from the abyss. The last human that managed to harm you is Guts, and you can hardly call him a mere man.

"Really, Mag. Didn't you say these two were the worst of enemies?"
"They were! It wasn't even a year until she swore to kill this man! I have no idea what caused her to 180º in this fashion!"

"Are you sure this obsessions with Vlad was always platonic?"
"Well, now that I think about it. It's not that normal to dream about a guy you hate every day, is it?" You hear them whisper to each other with your soul double, showing that their confidence is also mostly feigned when addressing you.

Oh well, time for the escape plan...

>Contact Serpico, he can buy you some time.
>Contact your group and inform them of the ball, as well as your situation.
>Place a spell on the guards at the front door to distract them.
>Attempt to knock them out.
>Jump out the window.
>Tither yourself through the floors until you climb down.
>Contact Barnham, ask him for political advice.
>Something else.
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>>5393452
>Contact Serpico, he can buy you some time.
>Contact your group and inform them of the ball, as well as your situation.
>Contact Barnham, ask him for political advice.
>Place a spell on the guards at the front door to distract them.
>>
>>5393461
+1
I'm also excited to have another talk with Basedham
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>>5393452
>Contact your group and inform them of the ball, as well as your situation.
>Contact Barnham, ask him for political advice.
>Place a spell on the guards at the front door to distract them.

We can consider Serpico part the group
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>>5393461
Though just for inform him might as well
Support
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>>5393461
>>5393480
>>5393490
>>5393492
Alright, I'll just need a 1d100+10 to see how well the guards are paying attention to their surroundings and we'll get started with writing about our brother bear.

The boost is due to everyone in this household being a magic noob, so roll away!
>>
Rolled 61 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5393507
>>
Rolled 31 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5393507
>>
Rolled 47 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5393507
>>
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>>5393509
>>5393515
Placing a dispersion spell on the guards, you forget that putting them to sleep is not ideal when the front door is locked. Do you have enough skill at lockpicking to bust this open? Your soul double doesn't seem to be able to grab it...

Well, you have enough time to bust it wide open while putting any other guards who hear it under their best naps.

Contacting your friend at the Inn first, you tell them of what happened with Frederico and Farnese.
"And you're just going to sit there and let Farnese be taken away?" Serpico is the first to chastise you.
It is very unlike her to simply sit idly by, especially after hitting her brother." Zhafira questions why she would go to the ball if she wasn't interested in betraying her friends."
"I'll follow her Od flow to reach this social gathering, try to contact Serpico so he can buy you time.

"On it." You end your calling, sneaking around the palace as they are all mysteriously put to sleep. Being unable to run, you find your body reacting quite well to careful, stealthier movements.
"I'm sorry to say, Vlad, but I am already on my way there myself." Serpico explains, leading the carriage with Farnese inside.

"Isn't there anything you can do to stall them? You have free access to the palace!"
"Yes, but only as a servant. I cannot grant you access to our palace or forgive your mishaps as I am. Even if I do not agree with Sir Roderick and Sir Magnifico's decision, I have no right to disavow them."

"Perhaps not as a servant, but we both know of your true origin."
"Exposing Sir Frederico's secret could compromise the entire family's reputation, especially now that Lady Vandimion will be in my presence for the first time in 10 years..."

"...Yet I can't deny that our journey has inspired me in searching for freedom for myself. The one that perhaps was stolen from me due to conditions outside of my control... Maybe I will finally see where the spirits of the wind will guide me."

Serpico's answer is a hard maybe, neither a yes or a no, still pondering on whether or not to reveal himself as a Vandimion to protect Farnese from political marriages, whatever shock he may cause will be minuscule compared to the ones caused by the imminent Kushan invasion.
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>>5393544
Borrowing some energy with the spirit of the nearby atmosphere, you make sure to relax after expelling so much of your magic by spreading it across the estate, you remember that you share a union with a man-bear that has a lot more political knowledge than you, and seeing his opinion of the overall aristocrats of Vritannis.

"Weaklings, all of them! They shall be the first in line to suffer after we are liberated from the God Hand! How do they fail to realize that power is not hereditary, but meant to be obtained by your own hands!?"

"Lay it off with the insults, Barnham. I want to know of your opinion."

"And I just gave it to you, they're all weaklings! Even the likes of you or your woman could obliterate them in terms of strength."


"Right, but would you be alright with an alliance between the faction of Ys and Ilos?"
"Let the bastard fight his own war! If he is so keen on taking women to compensate for his irrelevance, he might as well go after Charlotte, much like Ganishka is doing."

"You've... actually made a good proposition, perhaps I should have thought of that before."

"It is an unlikely scenario Vlad, I derived it from hyperbole exactly because it is impossible to happen, especially now that Zodd and Griffith managed to escort her out of the capital. I failed to realize that the bastard coordinated his attack against the Kushan Emperor with mine. I was so busy fighting his projection and basking in my increased powers after taking a bite out of that cotton apostle that I did not notice Zodd flying over the full moon."

"Wait, so you managed to absorb Ganishka's powers?"

"Not a lot of it, but enough for me to debilitate him. Heard from rumors on my way back that he's unable to walk. His best means of fighting is hiding and projecting his proxy form."

"So Ilos is finally closing the gap against Midland and The Empire..."

"The king's remains lie within my stomach. I had already considered ourselves independents since then. I'll leave the bureaucratic part to your end. Maybe they will take our independence seriously once you prevent the invasion."

"So you know about the Kushan meaning to invade Vritannis?"
"Of course. I'm the one cornering Ganishka there."
"What were you thinking? He will destroy everyone at the ball."
"Don't you worry. The gap between Zodd and I has widened into my favor. I'll meet you in time."

Ball : Chapter End
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>>5377827
>>5393574

Huh, chapter 236 to 255, right?
Sure feels like I've tackled a lot less so far...

Though given the increased focus on Vlad and the importance of his changes in Midland, perhaps I should disregard the manga's length by chapter. Especially since we are about to reach a big point of diversion from canon with the implications highlighted in the last post.

Still, I'm beginning to see why some criticize this part of the story for feeling elongated, a lot of chapters indeed, but nothing that impactful if you disregard worldbuilding.

What do you folks think, should I take a few days of break and try to push the plot more forward for thread completion's sake, or should I go for epilogue week and just leave the thrilling action parts for #9? We do have a gigantic set of characters to be shown interacting with so I wouldn't mind exploring their relations for a bit. Crunch week is already over on my job so not like I would be against what either of you guys prefer.

I'll sit on this for a bit, hopefully you've been enjoying the ride so far
>>
>>5393574
every time we look at barnham he gets 10x more based
god i love that man
if people weren't obsessed with firepussy i'd gay marry barnham to become the most powerful power couple in the setting
the twist is that they're both tops
>>
>>5393574
An excellent thread.
I have plans here in the city, hopefully i will be able to do them (learn to swim, some training/learning, buying some equipment for our companions and engraving runes on it, and see about if we could grab some mercs or commoners and send them to Ilos. Ilos needs to get stronger. I am thinking of something for Zhaf but eh making Mandragorans at sea in pots is not the best idea). And put good to use to the rest of the money.
In elfheim we will not have much use for cash lol. Maybe we could find some books to read that might be fun.
>>5393587
The current pace is good, but if you need a good amount of sleep and not feeling tired go for it. Also yes i like Vlad and what you are doing with the quest. And doing some world building, conversations, introducing characters is perfectly fine. And something i think all like.
>>
>>5393785
Be talking with old or new characters you make. We need to have a talk with Gunpowder, unless he gains a new trait fighting under water/ ship/ island might not be easy . Well island should be easy, ship might be hard not impossible .
Perhaps new runes to the armor of Gunpowder...
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>>5393574
God I love that big blue bear bastard
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>>5393785
>>5393786
Alright then, always nice to have some feedback.
I think I'll just separate the remainder of the arc then. One's going to be tackling the more character focused adventures, the other half will be the unga bunga blood and carnage that's faster and usually more fun to write and play with. Works as a good two-parter if you will.

Vlad's progression is slow and steady, but it's definitely being more noticeable the more we grow and observe just how much his interactions have grown in relevance towards the story.

>Golden age: Mild changes, still somewhat irrelevant to the bigger picture, skimmed over the eclipse thanks to the silver eye's backstory, deadly wound was a poke to the lung.
>Conviction: Skimmed over lost children to solo two apostles around the strength of Rosine's. Gravely wounded after being tortured by Farnese and mind hacked by Slan, still managed to fight the wave of Darkness and save the army to recruit them into his own.
>Flowers of Oblivion: Early heal on Casca, remaining somewhat unscathed, gaining reputation throughout the land.
>Spirit tree arc: Improved and expanded on the crew's strengths to have relative ease in fighting the trolls. Takes center stage during the fight with the apostle army, fights toe to toe with Berserker Armor Guts and kills one of Griffith's strongest captains.

It's all been slowly building up to this, even if the new Berserk chapters change the events of the story into something else. The point of diversion will be met long before we reach the current story, so we'll have no problem continuing from there as changing it up was always the plan.

I'll think of a few epilogue options to add tomorrow, given how there are plenty of people to write in different perspectives I'll have lotsa fun during epilogue week.
>>
Sorry for the delay, had some trouble fixing the shitty ass broken modem I have here.

Anyways, Here are the epilogue options, let's see which one of them you folks are more interested in.

>Barnham fights Ganishka.
>Guts bonds with Casca over their son.
>Farnese discussing her arrange marriage with Roderick and Frederico.
>The Unhappy Tale Of Rosy Rose.
>Miscellaneous interactions between the pegasus group
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>>5396668
>Farnese discussing her arrange marriage with Roderick and Frederico.
Big laughs ahead.
>Barnham fights Ganishka.
My favorite bear-man cannot be denied!
>Miscellaneous interactions between the pegasus group
I want to see how absolutely seething Sonia is about Vlad easily breaking her jedi mind tricks.
>>
>>5396668
>Barnham fights Ganishka.
>Farnese discussing her arrange marriage with Roderick and Frederico.
>>
>>5396668
>Barnham fights Ganishka.
>Miscellaneous interactions between the pegasus group
np becchi
>>
>>5396668
>Miscellaneous interactions between the pegasus group
>Barnham fights Ganishka.
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In other news, who wants to see some real world vlad bullshit?
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>>5396668
>Guts bonds with Casca over their son.
>Farnese discussing her arrange marriage with Roderick and Frederico.

>>5396995
Dogs are too good and pure for this world. What a based boy, avenging his master.
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>>5396995
>>
>>5396668
>Barnham fights Ganishka.
>Miscellaneous interactions between the pegasus group
>>
>>5396995
Uh the more you know
>>
>>5396995
THE DOOG SLAYER
>>
>>5397006
>>5397246
>>5397260
I imagine it's very similar to how Gunpowder would react to our death.
You just know he'd hunt down and kick the shit out of our killer.
>>
>>5396668
in order.
>Farnese discussing her arrange marriage with Roderick and Frederico.

>Barnham fights Ganishka.

>Miscellaneous interactions between the pegasus group
>>
>>5396676
>>5396811
>>5396827
>>5396942
>>5397006
>>5397125
>>5397595

And these are the winning options!
>Farnese discussing her arrange marriage with Roderick and Frederico.
>Barnham fights Ganishka.
>Miscellaneous interactions between the pegasus group.

I'll get started right around when I wake up, expect them all to be done by Sunday, the last one might take a bit of time, but I'll let you know of the few things that'll happen since the shorter thread means a few characters got the shorter end of the stick:

>Guts, Schierke and Isidro meeting the peaceful Band Of The Falcon.
>Farnese meeting Zhafira and watching them bond over their brotherhood.
>Isidro trying (and failing) to have some synergy hunting with Hyde.
>Puck and Ivalera at the barn.
Might turn into the longest epilogue yet but it'll be plenty of fun to do, at least.


>>5396995
>Anon found out where I get inspiration to write Gunpowder's diaogue.
Well, shieet.

>>5397269
Turns out the Guts expy this entire time was never Vlad, but Gunpowder. Should Vlad ever prematurely die I'll make sure the epilogue is focused around him.
>>
>>5398194
>griffith kills vlad
>suddenly stumbles because something hit the back of his head
>falls to the ground in shock at something able to bypass the awareness and defense of causality itself
>gunpowder starts trampling him
>skull knight's horse joins in too
>>
I'm thinking we need to warn the group about that girl that wants to kill us who is at least a telepath and showed a future where Guts cuts Vlad in half.
Betting she will either try to mind fuck Guts or will try to manipulate circumstances so the berserker armor triggers hard enough to overwhelm Guts.
>>
>>5399656
Why not just kill her
>>
>>5400359
Put it on the itinerary of people we need to kill.
>>
The struggler did not need further guidance.

Seeing how competently The Halfling and his teammates were in their ventures on Qlipoth, as well as defeating two of Femto's Generals on their own, it was safe to assume that they would safely arrive onto Skellig without being unowning of their predicaments.

So instead of visiting them on the beach to check onto their conditions and how The Struggler was dealing with the armor's wounds, Gaiseric chose not to be swayed by curiosity. Instead, he pursued Nosferatu Zodd himself.

Not because he wanted to end their duels once and for all. The Goat Apostle was too dense to realize that he would never win their postponed duels, yet sparing him only led him more astray, instead of making him want to break free of his shackles.

It was due to Vlad's unmoving confidence in the other growing apostle in Midland that concerned him. What was it about Barnham that made The Halfling join forces with a bear apostle, one that could not hold himself in a fight against Zodd, no less.

So to Wyndham he went, off to see what the opposing apostle force was capable of, and if the judging of his character proved him to be worth ignoring, or if he should prevent Barnham from further growing.

"GANISHKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" Opening the portal to Midland's fallen capital, The Skull Knight heard the roar of the wild, intangible demon invading the occupied palace with a flank attack. Taking the Dakas with a swipe of his claw, his human enemies screamed as they could head the snapping of his joints and spine as Barnham contorted and distended his limbs just to move in unpredictable patterns, using his claws more as a five headed hook against the Kushan army.

Each fistful of sloshed entities that went inside of his magical digestive system only made him grow more muscular, hardened to the point of even his skin being impenetrable to conventional weapons. He was a moving coliseum of gladiators.

"The mandibles of an ant were made to carry the dirt around them." The gladiator turned to the Daka assaulting his arm flesh, unimpressed, unmoved. "Should one attempt to consume a predator, let it be known that their maws should be big enough to tear at their heads with a single bite!" Barnham proved the feats he himself claimed, purging the backline of their army and stacking him inside his mouth like a pack of bread crumbs.

The Skull Knight thought he would merely observe his onslaught, feeling nostalgic on seeing how the apostle fought in the front lines to show that he was not afraid of dying before his subordinates. However, his priority of making a straight line into the fortress made it so the survivors could run further up to the human fighters of Ilos, leaving them as easy picking for the monsters who were overprepared to fight them in terms of offense and defense.
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>>5400720
Making sure he ran fast enough not to be seen as more than a gray blur, The Skull Knight ordered his horse to charge at full throttle onto the losing troop, letting the fighters of the coliseum ring stand at better odds against their enemies as the Pishaca of opposing sides fight amidst themselves.

[b]"Are you making a conscious effort to slay your soldiers? I would advise you to keep your numbers in check, or else you will rule a kingdom of tombstones."[/b] The armed skeleton stood behind Barnham, who unbeknownst to himself, was speaking to the one who inspired him to raise a city of fighters, where only the strongest would thrive.

Though despite knowing how Gaiseric looked like in illustrations, he was too young to be born anywhere near the time where Zodd was a human, let alone witness the full glory of Gaiseric's reign before its downfall.

"Who do you think you are, impersonating the greatest king that Midland had by wearing a replica of Gaiseric's skeletal armor? Do you wish to sully the little honor the Wyndham name still has?"

[b]"I am merely one who keeps his legacy alive. No correlation with the royal family is needed. Know that your attack is being used as a diversion from The Band Of The Falcon's invasion. You are feeding into their hands as they take the credit for saving the princess--"[/b]

"Do not get in my way, hoodlum! Or else I will add your bones into that armor of yours."

Skull Knight merely ignored his comments, silently observing Barnham's ever-growing power pushing Ganishka further and further into his own tower. Though he had enough troops to focus on both the Falcons attacking him from the front, and the even smaller troop of the undefeated bears, the pressure on the Kushan Emperor was felt as he already turned into his proxy mist form to electrocute the apostles from Griffith's army, getting them out of the way as he retreated to see the other force flanking their fleet.

"KALKI! WHERE IS THE DAKA SPAWNER?" Noticing the Od flow inside his head, The Undead Knight was surprised to see that Barnham was not merely rushing into the palace blindly. Rather, his trusty counselor Kalki had a plan to obliterate Ganishka's main adventure: His disproportionate growth of soldiers.

[i]"I am doing my best to guide you there, Milord! But the putrid smell of demonic sorcery... It rivals the evil presence of the personified Adharma![/i]" Kalki replies, becoming nauseated as he uses his Od to lead Barnham into the tower, where the kushan apostle of Femto's army had also led Silat and the Bakiraka clan to the demonic womb that Ganishka hid in plain sight from his enemies.

And it was even more putrid than the Kushan immigrant could ever imagine it to be.
[i]"Sweet Shiva... What is this!?"[/i]
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>>5400781
A giant man-made artifact occupied the entirety of the tower, starting from the ground floor and reaching the tens of meters onto it's open ceiling. A collection of apostles and deformed humans were stitched together into a curtain of flesh, a bulbous form of demonic origins that ended itself in the shape of a semi-circle. The red and green pus that oozed out of the gigantic unbirthing grounds served as a pool towards apostlehood. As the living net of monstrosity was being fed and upkept by his loyal servants, several pregnant women were submerged onto the bile. As they contorted and writhed from drowning while tied to a rope around their chest, their pain would soon be eclipsed by the fully formed red oni known as the daka. Her stomach and intestines were splattered onto the enormous river of sorcery as the woman's voice faded from her body, losing her strength as her newly formed baby rapidly grew into a monster ready to fight.

"...So this is that Ganishka has done to the women of Midland?" Silat covered his mouth to prevent his fear from showing, even his stoic bodyguards became horrified of what their leader was capable of doing to his enemies.
"I will tell you this much, Bakiraka Clan: The one who is your keeper is not a man, but a demon king." Rakshas escapes as the clan is left alone with their thoughts.

"Delightful! A monstrous vessel of reincarnation! A behelit made to surpass the power given by the dark lords! With this added to my feast, Griffith shall soon be eradicated from this world, so Ilos can rule supreme!" Barnham is mesmerized by the artificial behelit after The Skull Knight explains it's properties.

"Milord! This is a disgrace to what all magicians stand for! You need to destroy this immediately!"
"Yes... Perhaps submerging myself into this unknown mixture might not be the brightest idea. With these many apostles ripe for the taking, This lifetime's worth of occult studying shall be undone as I absorb all of their army onto me!"

"You shall be more mindful of your servant's advice. A King shall serve his people's first, his needs and rush for ecstasy, second." Gaiseric advised him not to get carried away with his hunger.

"Must I pry your head open for you to learn not to interfere in my plans? Either observe me in life, or oppose me in battle!" Barnham aims his claws at The Knight, only for him to swerve past him with his horse, pulling onto the bear apostle's cheek, he rips his mouth open and leaves a good third of his facial fur peeled inside out from his skin by a mere tug of his fingers.

"Were it not for the halfling, a stronger army would have already erased your name out of the footnotes of history. I will not be so generous in my next move." Gaiseric reminded himself that working with apostles is a recipe for disasters. Should you not show your own strength, they would mistake your pacifism for weakness.
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>>5400835
"WHO'S THERE?"
"AAAAH!"

Two Kushan guards are alerted of the two monsters present, being slain before either could stand a chance against Barnham and Skull Knight as Silat and his clan exited the room before Ganishka could approach them.

While Barnham was busy devouring the men guarding the vessel, and Kalki was attempting to contact Silat in order to understand who the Kushan really were as people, The Skull Knight pondered as to how he should properly disposed of the Man-Made Behelit.

Should he just spread it's liquids open and face whatever transmorphed creatures spawn from it? Did he have time to convince an apostle to work along with him instead of eating the flesh curtains? Would it be wise to banish this entire thing inside the Abyss, so no mortal could use it while ignoring collateral damage?

His time to think was too brief for him to make a decision, thanks to Ganishka's arrival, quickly electrocuting all inside as his mere presence was gigantic enough that his mere eye already towered over Barnham's entire figure.

"WHO DARES TO INTRUDE INSIDE MY LAIR!? I WILL NOT TOLERATE MEMBERS OF THE BAND OF THE FALCON TO USE DAIBA'S MASTERCRAFT!"

Ganishka is not afraid to kill his own army, reducing all present to ashes as the screams of the apostles stitched together were the only sound audible, making even The Skull Knight himself be slowed down in his movements.

Using the portals controllable in his sword, he attempted to strike the outside of the building where Ganishka was located at, but it was like handwaving away at the clouds. he could not find an effective way to strike at the cloud form of the Kushan Emperor that did him any damage.

Finally breaking free of the lightning strikes before he could increase the voltage, The Skull Knight jumped onto the windowsills before hesitating to strike Ganishka, noticing that Barnham was still alive.

Despite not feeling pain, that did not stop his body from contorting to the point of unwillingly being frozen solid. how could it be, that the undefeatable Barnham could be constricted by someone who was made of something intangible?

His burns were hardening his skin, all the liquid on his body was evaporating, the voltage would soon kill him for good, unless he took action.

"Do not mistake me for the weaklings you've fought in the past, for I will make sure that the name of Barnham The Great keeps you awake at night, as it echoes in your mind!" Barnham smirks before jumping onto the Behelit, gnawing at it's ropes at the vessel to destroy the Demon Womb.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU WORM!? QUIT EATING AWAY AT THE VESSEL!" Ganishka increased the power of his rays, to it's maximum strength, potentially damaging his own Daka spawner in order to prevent the bear from devouring it.

However, the apostle blood sent him into a frenzy, eating more and more, until he felt freer and freer from the emperor's grasp with every bite...
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>>5400926
He was on the verge of losing himself in his banquet, letting the apostles' life source be absorbed into his and increased tenfold.

The maws of the ant might be intimidating to their own, yet when biting the hand of a giant such as humans, the pain is unremarkable, insignificant.

Barnham would not stop eating until every single blow against him was equivalent to that of the ant's mandibles.

"YOU INSOLENT FREAK! BEGONE!" The monstrous apostle decided to use all of his power to kill Barnham before diverting his attention back to Griffith, who was already on his way to save princess Charlotte.

"AAAAAAAAAARGH!" Throwing caution to the wind, Barnham caught the monster made of clouds not with his hands, but with his lungs.

Breathing in and expanding his ribcage to the point of it tearing apart, he sucked the air as he jolted his head high, slamming his hands onto the floor to destroy the tower and open a large crater into the building, letting him get a clear sight of the emperor to suck the cloudy apostle onto his body!

"WH-WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?! DO YOU INTEND ON DYING WITH ME?!"

"I WOULD RATHER BRING YOU DOWN THAN LET ONE WHO FIGHTS WITHOUT HONOR AND CHEATS THROUGH HIS IMPROVEMENT IN FIGHTING! FACE ME, COWARD!"

For a moment, Skull Knight wondered if it was worth letting them kill each other in the midst of all this. Ganishka would die as his sense of self was absorbed into the vacuum that was Barnham's stomach, and the increased potency of Ganishka's attacks would destroy him from the inside out. Two of the great rising apostles from this generation, gone without him even having to lift a finger.

Yet apostle or not, Barnham was a valiant fighter at heart, one who believed in Gaiseric and pushed forward the teachings of the late king. Despite feeling no empathy towards the monsters that brought ruin to his own life, he could not deny that this one oddly reminded him of who Zodd once was...

Additionally, having no opposes against The Falcon would quickly give Femto his dream of being a lord in all three worlds, and he would not stand for that. His enemies had to stay strong.

Opening a portal to an unknown location, Barnham was saved of an early death as he was nearly done sucking the entirety of Ganishka into himself, getting ready to explode at the fighting force inside of him.

Being elbowed in the chest, the force of the reflux was exactly what Ganishka needed to escape as his soul barely stopped itself from fading away with his misty form.

"H-H-ow can it be... A mere apostle from an unknown land... STRIPING ME OF ALL MY POWER?!" His human form attempted to get up from his throne, only for him to fall down as his legs refused to work.

Barnham had left a mark the emperor would not forget.
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>>5401022
"YOU IDIOT! WHERE HAVE YOU SENT ME?"

"Away. You would do yourself a disservice by dying there."

"YOU HAVE FORCED MY ARMY TO DIE WITHOUT ME!" Barnham's anger is so great that his strikes at the ground create creaters the size of a catapult boulder.

"Your counselor can alert them in time. Do not pretend that you care about them."

"WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ORDERING AN ARMY! YOU ARE A GLORIFIED MAGICIAN BOASTING ABOUT HAVING THE POWER OF AN ANT. YOUR ARMOR IS A DISGRACE TO THIS KINGDOM'S LEGACY!"

Gaiseric chose not to answer, instead leaving him to sulk as his burnt body is destroyed by his own user.

"Though if I have grown strong enough to eat at the clouds... The likes of Zodd himself should not hold a candle against me! Should I fight either of them again, perhaps I can defeat both opposing forces without being afraid of being hurt by Griffith's spells!"

"The Emperor should be heading to the sea after this encounter, aiming to bring terror on the weaker humans that will bend the knee to his conquest."

"The sea... Of course, that's where Vlad and the others are... I'll let them know not to go after my reserve food."

"Your alignment with The Halfling shall boggle the mind of all historians." The Skeleton shakes his head.

"A true emperor worries about keeping his system intact, instead of whether or not he is understood by his people."

"...Which makes it all the more easier for you to be forgotten the moment you pass..."

"Then at least my successor will have plenty more to look forward to. Any approval rate compared to mine would be considered an acclaim..."

Barnham admitted to rushing into the conflict so he could finish his big fight against Zodd and call it quits. Taking lessons in empathy just as much as Vlad became more prone to violence thanks to him, his exchange came at the costs of understanding the permanent damage he had done to several generations onto him. Yet he regretted nothing, as his ends justified the means.

Gaiseric knew where Barnham's path would end as a governor, so he took his leave to prepare himself for the coming days.

"WAIT!" Barnham lifted his hand to the galloping horse as he kneeled over, making The Skull Knight turn his head.

Had he finally discovered who he was?
"Do you have any meat I could chew on...? Any type of meat would work... I just need something that lets me regenerate... Those light shows were so bad I can hardly move my legs."

"...I have more pressing matters to attend to." Skull Knight departed.
"Heh... Cocky mongrel..." Being abandoned on the road, Barnham simply watched the mysterious knight go away, fantasizing about murdering him once Ilos became a name worthy of fearing.

[green]Admirable Ants: Epliogue End.[green]
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>>5401127
Jesus. Barnham's progress is skyrocketing at a terrifying rate. As expected from someone who gains power from devouring his foes eating even part of the man-made beherit and the Apostle-Emperor.
I'm as proud of him as he probably is of us for our showing against the Dragon and the Witch. And he's starting to genuinely care about preserving his forces! Absolute chad is slowly regaining his humanity even as his bodily form abandons it.
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"Ah, Stanley! How's it going with Vlad's case?" Frederico tapped Rubinsky on the back while he angrily rustled at his scrolls and quills

"Going straight into the trash! Look at these charges, and the amount of research I'll have to do just to solve all of this to receive a guilty verdict! If he had 3 more lives, he would still receive a life sentence on his fourth one!"

"But do you believe him to be guilty?" Roderick scratched his chin as Stanley sighed to calm himself down.

"...No. He might be a vagabond, a womanizer, an insurrectionist and most importantly..." He makes a dramatic pause. "Witchcraft! …But no, as biased as I am, I do not consider him a current threat to our nation. Like the child he was before, the best way to treat him is to give him what he wants, and he won't throw a tantrum before going away."

"I thought judges were meant to be unbiased in their trials."
"In theory, yeah. But when it comes to the Vandimion house or other aristocrats, they all have like, what? 3 to 4 trials a week to catch up with? The courthouse would rather scrap an unsolved case if it meant they could get it done and go to the next one. It's not as heroic of a charge as I once believed it was in my younger days."

"I am more interested in your statement about Vlad, how can one cause so much coordinated chaos, and not be considered an enemy of Midland."

"For as much chaos that he brought onto us, it pains me to say it, but it all indicates that he has learned how to coordinate his insanity and misfortune into a fighting spirit. He seems very serene and exhausted, but it shouldn't take more than a few bad words for him to consider you beneath him."

"Interesting... I wonder what a talk with him would entail."
"Trust me. He will do more than merely talk... I need a drink..." Stanley surrenders to the bitter rum that corrupted the young Santana in his youth as the two friends are left alone.

"Roderick, I believe Farnese is in the garden. Shall we meet her there?"
The nobles waltz into an ornate room, decorated with flowers, bouquets and assorted plans as far as the eye could see. In the midst of the fountain, sat a pouty Farnese, ready to dish her anger out on the first man unfortunate enough to open that door.

"Excellent. Why don't you introduce yourself to her, old friend?"
"With pleasure. Farnese De Vandimion, I am Roderick of Staufen, officer of the Ys navy." He bowed down to kiss her hand, but she held them in the inside of her sleeves.
"Do you see these flowers at the greenhouse, Farnese? Roderick was the one who bought them all to you as a welcoming gift."

"I am not impressed. Vlad could grow all of these with a snap of his fingers."
"Must you be so uninviting?"
"I know exactly what you two are planning, so let us skip these fake pleasantries: My answer is no. My heart belongs to Vlad, and any who oppose him shall talk to the back of my hand."
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>>5401403
"It pains my heart to see you being so dismissive, without so much as giving me the benefit of the doubt, Milady."

"There is no doubt in your second intentions. Save the poetry and luxury for those who are impressed by it."

"Well, you were a woman of the holy army. Perhaps more feminine subject matters would not be of interest to you?" Roderick ponders on what they could talk about to get on equal footing.

"Must I repeat myself? There is nothing in particular I wish to speak of. I am not interested in political marriages, as I am already taken."

"Well, let us talk about the one who you hold in your heart, then. Surely from what I have heard from Vlad, he seems like a figure that would be hard to forget."

Farnese was not expecting that response from Roderick. She thought he would be more insistent or attempt a few more tactics to woo her, but instead, he just asked about Vlad out of genuine interest in his accomplishments.

"Well, his strength rivals the one of an entire fleet. His drive to establish order and piece while only using violence as a last resort is better applied in his command than within the holy army. He might have been a noble, but he has the humility and simple joy of a commoner, he's never afraid to swallow his pride and admit that he was wrong. His love of nature is something he cherishes, which is why I want to be by his side, to live until we are in piece."

"Well, I can't deny that he is admirable if you have so many kind words to him, but if you don't mind me asking... What exactly has he done to you?"

"Hm?"
"You've said well about him, but I still lack understanding as to what he's done to fall in love with you."
"He was the one who confessed to me. I was in love with him the moment we've met... I was just, too childish to understand my own feelings."
"You two certainly didn't seem very intimate when you entered the room. He seemed more like another servant than a lover." Magnifico chimed in with disdain.

"We don't have time to sit down and play romantics! His mission comes first. Besides, we've promised to leave that for later..." Farnese reminds her of the time she was harassed by Slan. Though she could not wait to grow more intimate with Vlad, she knew she had developed a mental block for sexual interactions thanks to being fondled in the worst possible place and time.

Her nipple was still bent at an odd shape from the time she was tortured, it was not something they could ignore that easily.

"But when will he have time for you? His priorities seem to be killing him. Hell, I just caught a glimpse of him from afar, and he already looked like a dead man standing."
"Does it not pain you to see the one you love, suffering in such fashion? What exactly have you done to prevent him from passing?"

"I'm the one who heals him, were it not for that, he would have likely died the day before we arrived."
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>>5401758
"From what it sounds, it appears that you are merely bending over backwards for him." Roderick speaks his mind. "Do you believe that he's the type of man that would cease his death seeking activities if you told him to stop and live in peace with you?"

"...No. I don't believe that he would." Farnese did not understand what Vlad meant by 'love'. Perhaps because she did not know herself what love truly was. Was it to ignore your loved ones and make up for the lost time by giving them treats and crumbles of affection every now and then? Was it to teach them pretty words while ordering you to lash out your negativity into innocent, unrelated individuals? Or... was it to periodically pour your heart out to your most precious significant other... only to die in her arms?

"I have faith in him. He will not die until he avenges his people."
"Have you seen the charges on him, though? That is wishful thinking at best."
"On the contrary, Magnifico. Farnese has enough power to set him free, but that would require her to ascend in political power. Counting that with the permit she's after, we could easily set him free with a boat for his crew. A marriage with a higher noble could easily do that, plus whatever other wishes he could have."

"They do say that if you truly love one another, you should set them free, to see if they come back."

"That was exactly what I have done..." Farnese sighed. She came into the Vandimion house only for a quick visit at the old home that confined her. It was a brief reminiscing of her previous life, before continuing on her journey with Vlad...

Only now, she was not so sure of what to do.
"What kind of ultimatum are you giving me? If I love him, I should either free him and marry you, or let him break free and let him kill himself while I'm forced to watch!"

"I am not suggesting anything, Miss Farnese. I merely wish for you to follow your heart." Roderick's conniving wording makes her blood boil.

"Has he truly changed you from who you were previously, or are you merely using him as an emotional clutch for your broken spirit?" Magnifico asks, only to be received with a backhanded slap as an answer.

"I'M NOT BROKEN!" As she says this while fuming, she took notice how overblown she was acting for a mere questioning, hitting her brother for merely questioning her lover.

Were they right? Had she made no progress towards herself? Was she still just as much of an emotionally stunted crybaby as she was before? If not, what was the reason for lashing out just because someone doubted her 'love'?

Tearing up from the questioning, she ran back to the hallway, believing that she would rather kill herself for Vlad than the other way around.

"You just had to go up and say something, eh?"
"How would I know she would act like that?"
"She is YOUR sister, Mag!" The two men bicker between each other.
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>>5401788
Finding his half sister in the garden, Serpico pondered as to what to say to soothe Farnese, only his mind was already clouded himself, thinking of Vlad's words mentioning his heritage.

"Freedom is relative, and many times illusive. Some burdens are ours to carry alone."
Knowing that The Vandimions were preparing a ball in honor of the warriors about to depart in the Kushan war, he was wondering whether or not he could save Vlad and Farnese from going their separate ways. But for him to have any weight in political marriages, he had to reveal his identity...

Yet lucky for him, Lady Vandimion came back to her mansion in order to appear in the ball, catching sight of her daughter and the humble servant, she stopped by to greet the two.

"You look as well as I expected, being gone after so long..." The matriarch noticed the bruises on their body.
"You look splendid as always, Milady." Serpico bows.
"What brings you here, Mother?"

"As I can't abide by the cold, I sailed about in the southern islands during the winter, but I thought I would complete my trip by taking in the battlefield. Speaking of which, what brings you here? I remember hearing news about you being missing after stealing away from your army."

The nonchalant way she speaks of her daughter's disappearance is very telling. Nevertheless, Farnese gives her a summary of recent events.

"Betrothed by a friend of Magnifico? Hmph... But what about the men you are fond of?"

"Facing the death row... I've hurt him in the past, with the same way I've brought down the house..." Farnese laments on throwing a fireball at Vlad, realizing how risky that maneuver was.

"Whenever you mention him, your eyes revert to those of the Farnese who had Frederico at a loss..."

"Huh?"
"What, were you not aware? Your father fears you more than anything else. He's a weak man, so he wants everything situated where he can handle it. Moving through all the world like they were his toys, he only relaxes when all is arranged through his schemes. In my eyes, he's a slave to the world, yet if he wasn't for that abnormality, he wouldn't be cut out to be the Vandimion head. To someone like him, you're an enigma, a little monster."

"But that cannot be! I could never say a word about my own feelings to Father... All I did was nod at his presence--"

"Words are not all there is to communicating feelings, Farnese. You've always expressed unutterable repressed feelings through unexpected behavior. Like a baby without speech, crying and shouting incomprehensibly. That is why he feared you. He lacked the strength to comprehend you. Left to be raised alone, without warmth or the world of man, your heart was naked. So artistic in your feelings that you cannot abide by this world."

"Yet if this Vlad does indeed give you a place for yourself, then you, being more familiar with the pain of abandonment than most, would revert that repression into the biggest expression of kindness."
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>>5401800
Of course! Non verbal communication! That was exactly what Vlad became a master of! He understood exactly what was happening in her mind without so much as needing her to say one word. All the nights sleeping with her, treating her wounds as she treated his. While failing to explain in words to Roderick and Magnifico, she began to cry when she understood that Vlad was the one sending her into freedom and self improvement, yet she always chose to return to the one who understood her. Not by words, but by feelings.

Though the similarities with her father in being controlling of fate showed would be something to be concerned with, what defined Vlad's strength was how he always knew the slim chance of his schemes working. His relationship was merely the only one he was the most confident about.

"Oh, Vlad..." She sobbed as she felt the hug of her mother.

"Though I did not raise you as such, know that I am proud to have you as my daughter..."

-

Well, that settled it. She would wear the prettiest dress she had, she would practice her dance moves with the mannequins, she would attend the ball where Giorgio, Poliziano and Magnifico would be, so the world could witness his true growth.

When the time came, Serpico finally approached the lady of the house at night to reveal a similar internal struggle.

"Aren't you Farnese's servant? Your name is..."
"Serpico, Madam."
"Right, it's been some time since you've been on the estate."
"I believe it's been 10 years. I was saved by Lady Farnese at a young age, and received the honor of being her servant."

"Over a decade by Farnese's side... Then you must be quite twisted as well." Serpico visibly frowns at her stern comment.

"Oh, I do meant that in a positive manner. Companions such as yourselves cannot be separated, they need to be intertwined to stand together, like a pair of conjoined trees."

She seems very astute in her judgement, yet her opinion on the following question shall make or break this conversation.

"Lady Vandimion. This might seem like a strange question to ask, but what is your opinion of nobles and concubines."

"A strange question indeed. Yet with so many nobles falling out of love and being busy with their jobs, it seems to be the common norm. Which is why it intrigues me to see Farnese rejecting Roderick so harshly, when she could still have both of them licking at her feet. She's not the kind of woman who's at peace with the schemes of man, so to willingly be with one without resorting to easy polygamy, she must truly be in love with him."

"It's hard to think of her without thinking of Vlad, honestly."
"If only her father showed the same sort of passion to anything in his life... Perhaps we wouldn't feel like strangers for the past 20 years..."

Reading in-between the lines, Serpico understood exactly what she meant by her travels, and feeling estranged with her marriage.

"Well, in that case..."
>Rising Scandals: Epilogue end.
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>>5401862
Serpico boutta be on that step mom shit yooo
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>>5401865
fr fr Lady Vandimion be bussin fr
>>
Also just wanna say I'm really happy reading the epilogues, the quality is quite good! Well done Becchi!
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>>5400835
>A behelit made to surpass the power given by the dark lords!
Did he just go "a weapon to surpass Metal Gear" on us?
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>>5401865
Lol, didn't write it in that connotation, but now that I'm rereading it I don't know how I missed it.

>>5401964
Thanks, feel like epilogue week is usually where I'm feeling more refreshed after my break. I'll try to finish the third one today, but no promises.
>>5402067
I'm surprised no one caught on the biggest reference so far, especially when Barnham is already a walking Takamura reference.
Guess imitation really is the best form of flattery...
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>>5402239
>but now that I'm rereading it I don't know how I missed it.
We'll wait patiently for the omake.
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"Ah, so this is where it all goes downhill..." Puck peeks his head out of the haystack while Ivalera pulls him out of the pile of horsefood inside their barn.

"What are you talking about?"
"The boat, we all know that's where it started to suck! The story started to drag out, characters became non characters, everyone's arcs boiled down to repeatedly calling back to the same things over and over! It makes me wonder if it was ever good to begin with."

"Bah! You're only saying that because it's the popular thing to say!"
"Only over here, everyone else treats it like it's the second coming of the God Hand when we all know the guy who made it was stalling because he didn't know how to end it well."
"Sounds to me like you just got filtered..."

"What are little man and woman talking about?" An annoyed Gunpowder approaches his mouth onto his meal, angry that he couldn't eat in silence.

"Post timeskip One Piece, what else? Aren't you caught up on what's popular with the kids?"

'Gunpowder can't read. Can barely hear as I am."

"Ah, right. Guess they don't call it the sonic armor for no reason, GP" Puck plays around with the Dark Horse's earlobes, rustling his hair in order to shape it into a third ear.

'Interesting. Little man wishes to die!' GP bites at Puck while he does his best to hold his jaw in place.

"Waitwaitwaitwait! Isn't this a bit of an overkill?!"

'Underkill! Gunpowder has not killed enough!'

"Please, GP! Vlad is in critical condition! You can't kill us here, who will take care of him then?" Ivalera kicks puck out of Gunpowder's throat as he is spat out into a ball of saliva and snot.

'...Vlad can't die, Not before we reach island.'

"But how can you be so sure, horsy? With the way it's looking... I'm afraid people some of us might not even make it to the island, after what happened to Cindy..."

'Gunpowder will not be one of them... Hearing hard, hooves hurt, but if Vlad calls for fight, Gunpowder fight.'
"I have faith in you old buddy--"
"Me not friends with little man."
"--And if anything happens to you, you can count on me."

'Pecking order: Gunpowder, Finger Demons, Sword man, Vlad, Little Witch, Violet father, Squinty Eyes, Muscular Woman, Vlad's Bad Cook, Fire Hair, Plant Clown, Haystack, Little Woman, Little Man. Will not count on little man.' GP lays his unbiased ranking of strong entities he's met so far from strongest to weakest.

"Ah, that's just mean..." Puck frowns.
"Hey! he thinks I'm stronger than you!" Ivalera gives the horse a thumbs up, to which he ignores. "Hopefully Vlad can get that boat after he wakes up."

"He'll be fiiine. I don't know why he's fussing so hard over it. I mean, the guy has 3 moms, he'll be pampered for life!"
"3 mums?"
"Yeah, his plant mom, his adoptive mom, and now Farnese: his sugar mama."
"I don't even know why I hang out with you..."

"Iva! Let's go for a walk!" Schierke invites the pink elf to accompany her through the docks with Guts, Isidro and Cindy."
"Try not to kill each other!"

-
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>>5402461
>Hyde above Serpico
Whoa
>that entire Puck and Ivalera skit
If Puck doesn't have anything appropriate happen, like an "emotional moment" with Guts followed by instantly falling into a coma upon flying onto the boat, I will be saddened
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>>5402470
To be perfectly fair, Hyde is a mountain man. He's got some serious biceps. He keeps up with the big boys despite only having a slingshot.
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Noticing a specter groaning and crying, Schierke guided Guts onto a walking graveyard by the alleyways of Vritannis.

"Wait... I can't walk that fast..." Cindy cries as she slouches over onto Isidro, who has a hard time carrying the woman around.

"Hrrgn! Where the hell is this stupid witch walking towards!?"

Seeing the inner thoughts of the souls refusing to pass onto their public hangings, Schierke falls to the floor as she observes the slaves of war, observing the previous life they had, their screams forming comprehensible sentences.

"LET ME DOWN!"
"SE ME FREE!"
"PLEASE! WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?!"

"What are you doing here, little girl?"
"Must have fainted from the stench, this isn't exactly a place for children to play around."

Two guards splash some water on Schierke's face, who recovered herself by asking for more insight.

"Why were these people hanged?"
"They're Kushan Slaves. Vritannis is a city full of merchants. If it'll make money, they'll sell it here, to other countries of the holy see, they are enemy heathens, but in this city, they can live as livestock."

"They could. Now that the city has been chosen as the holy see's navy yard, they could not stay here even in this state, so we had to put them here to send a message to our enemies."

"I doubt these people were criminals, they were probably just unlucky to be born in such times and places."

...Was that merely it? The sole reason to justify slavery? Would humans really take each others' lives for such measly, ridiculous motives? It was enough to make her blood boil!

"The pillory of corpses is a desecration of the dead! Impermissible! I will take them down immediately and cremate them! UNDERSTOOD!?" Schierke sways her staff, with Isidro and Guts finally catching up to her.

"Understood, Boss. Do you need some help from us?" Cindy's perky voice comes through her pain, aiming to help the guards with 7 extra hands.

"If the girl says it's just, then it simply is." Guts's speaking is brief, but effective. Now that the sight of his family is something he could consider, he began to come to terms with a new reason to push forward, other than himself.

"I appreciate the gesture, but wouldn't that be too much for you both?"
"As long as our favorite witch is there to give me energy, the show will go on without a hitch!"

"...Ah, alright. I'll help you this time around. But don't expect this to happen all the time! I still think your magic is a load of bologna!" Even Isidro is compassionate in his own way towards her cause.

With Schierke's newfound reason to smile, perhaps she could still have faith in the redemption of humans.

-
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>>5402493
>ONLY having a slingshot
I truly pity anyone and everyone that underestimates slings.
There was an entire LEGENDARY mercenary group that specialized in slings. They were amazingly successful and widely sought.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uDtrwNY0Zk
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>>5402493
>>5402523
Don't forget Violet, her metal feather, and most importantly the cannon he got from Rickert. I haven't had many chances to show Hyde as more than a jobber, but he didn't finish the Makara offscreen for nothing.

Gunpowder's position over the God Hand is a bit questionable, but he's being fair to the others.
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>>5402523
My guy it's hard to say a slinger is all that great when you compare them to a guy who can fly, two wizards, and a dude who swings around the weight of a volkswager with a single hand.

The fact he's on the list at all is a testament to his prowess. Irregardless of his choice of weapon.

>>5402539
Funnily enough I never saw Hyde as a jobber.
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>>5402591
It's only hard to say it if you don't know just how overpowered sling specialists are.
I mean, this is someone that can break your bones and rupture your organs from several hundred feet away using an ordinary rock, and they can do that repeatedly without much issue at all. Now give them literally any kind of ammunition more effective than a rock and they become a monster on the battlefield compared to people with only close-ranged options.
And hey, Hyde's also a hunter. I bet if you throw his trapping skills into the mix he becomes even more of a menace. It's kind of sad that he hasn't had the chance to use those nearly as much as his other hunting skills, but hey, it happens when you're on the move. Hyde for one of the Commanders of Iios when? Damn it, he'd never take it, he just wants to get home and fuck his wife until he has 27 kids.
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>>5402630
>literal magic and genuine feats of superhuman physicality
>yeah but rocks tho
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>>5402720
As long as humans have existed, throwing rocks really hard has been a tried and true method of survival.
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>>5402504
>>5402504
Playing her song around the crowd after being finished with her duties, Cindy downed her art costume and began to dance and sing in front of her live audience. Zhafira found joy in her art, but her actor knew that it would not last, as fading as the smiles on each man, woman and child cheering onto her.

All of them had their lives to go back to, this was merely a distraction, something to keep their minds occupied to forget about their suffering.

It lacked the importance of the menial jobs, and the success of the art made by aristocrats.

Guts wasn't even hearing it, he was merely protecting her from onlookers as Isidro played around at the plaza. Schierke left to gaze at ships she saw for the first time The drunkards might have stopped fighting, but they would go back to it once it all ceased.

When was the time art did more than distract?

"I'd rr-r-r-ecognize this music anywhere..." The stuttering boy interrupted the melody. Cindy could not believe her eyes as the familiar hooded boy appeared from the crowd. "This is the opening start to Rosy Rose's story, isn't it?"

"B-Benny?!" Cindy smiled harder than Zhafira ever could. What sort of miraculous power source managed to lead them together.

"S-S-S-Sis! I--ii-i-it's really you! But how are you--"
"It does not matter." Cindy briefly stops her performance, answering herself moreso than Benny. "Art has kept us together, and that's all that matters for the time being."

As she skipped the mention of The Mandragoran essence keeping her life on a stopwatch, so did he skip the mention of the Band Of The Falcon leading him there, swiftly approaching the child after following his stumbled rush.

"He sure runs fast for a disabled kid...." Mule gets off from his horse, with a curious Sonia swerving past him to speak with another magic user not too far from them.

"Excuse me, kind stranger. Would you happen to know one who goes by the name of Vlad Santana? He also goes by the name of Phantom Impaler."

"It depends on who's asking. Do you wish to--" Guts replied camly, until seeing Griffith's Emblem onto the child soldier's armor, making him quickly lift the boy up by the collar and almost blast his head into pieces.

"ARE YOU AN APOSTLE AS WELL?!"

"N-NO SIR! I AM ONLY SPREADING THE WORD OF LORD GRIFFITH TO THE WORLD! WE HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT FIGHT AGAINST THE KUSHAN AND RESTORE MIDLAND TO IT'S GLORY!" Mule pleadingly screams at Guts, drawing the attention of a staff knight, using a pair of feathers on his face to mimic his mustache.

"Who dares to disturb this peaceful reunion of siblings? Do you plan on slaying this poor child--" The man flinches after recognizing who he was speaking to.

"Do I know you?" Guts tilts his head, wondering if the man's voice sounded familiar.

"N-Not in the slightest, sir! But please, I advice you to let go of this child."

Guts drops Mule off to the floor as he falls, merely giving him words of advice after calming himself down:
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>>5402863
"If I were you, I would look into the one you follow."
"Wh-Who are you? Why are you so mistrustful of Lord Griffith?"
"...Take it from someone who trusted him too much..." Guts walks away, aiming to pull Schierke out of that girl's grasp.

"Wait! What do you mean by that--" Mule attempts to stand up, but is struck on the back by Isidro's dropkick.

"If Guts doesn't go along with you, It's reason enough for me to think you are scum! Leave him alone! We don't have time to deal with you fancy noble types! Bugger off!"

As they start to punch and kick each other, the hoodlums consider it a part of the show, being as entertained by it as the songs the brothers were playing. The Staff Knight could only sigh and watch the two, hoping they did not go too far.

"At least they're fighting on a more equal level..."

-

"You're a witch, aren't you?" Sonia approached Schierke and Ivalera, sitting down as the doves she was speaking with were scared away.

"Do I look like one?"
"You bet you do. Pointed Hat, Wand, Speaking to animals, and most of all, this little fella! A girl with an elf in town can only be a witch!" Ivalera was startled to see another human pointing a finger at her, but remained in Schierke's shoulder.

"You're the one who set the Kushan Souls free, aren't you? They looked so serene, like fish swimming in the sky..." Sonia clasped her hands together, enamored at the witch's selfless acts. "Watching those grown ups being wrapped around you finger was very cool. Was that your magic?"

"It was just a spell akin to a suggestion--"
"Yeah! Isn't she great?" Ivalera boasted about the shy girl's talents.
"Yet why are you here? Witches don't usually stick to the city."
"...I am on a journey. Even if I feel alone and miss my home... I know there's no point in coming back..."

"It sure is hard, being different than the others... A lot has happened to me too. It's hard to put it into words."

"Do tell! I am interested in hearing about ya!"

"Well, how do I put this... Once upon a time, there was an ugly duckling--"
"--Oh, I know this story!"
"The duckling was different from everyone else, so she felt ostracized. You see, this entire time, she was actually-"

"A Swan!"
"A Kite."
"Huh?" Ivalera was taken aback from the sudden plot twist.
"One day, a nasty murder of crows attacked the ponds. The ducks could only quack in terror, unable to fly away. Everyone was captured, and the poor kite was convinced that there was nothing she could do, still believing she was one of the ducklings."

"But then! Out came the king of ducks to save them all! A white Falcon, bringing all sorts of servants and dragons to slay the crows. Falcon and Kites are like kinsfolk, for the first time, the kite met one of their own and realized she could indeed fly! As the Falcon liberated the ducks, even dragons and reformed crows came to his army. The young kite felt special! Only it could fly in the same sky and feel the same wind, unlike the ducks or the dragons!"
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>>5402978
"How lovely! I wasn't expecting the narrative shift, but it had an even better ending."

"That was not the end... One day, the duck princess was rescued by the falcon from the crow kings. The ducks, wanting a strong tie to the falcon, all wished for them to mate. And worse, a new threat came to the falcon, an ethereal figure that should not even exist... A Pegasus, known for cutting the wings of all avian during his flight. Not by happenstance, but by choice. He flied alone, though several other unidentifiable birds had tried to follow him, only to die of exhaustion due to his otherworldly stamina... The Falcon tried to welcome said birds related to the pegasus... But he was never the same after discovering what laid inside the egg of a clapper rail..."

Schierke got lost on so many bird descriptions, but tried to follow the story nonetheless.

"The Pegasus managed to slay the clapper rail and the dragons with his magic, proving to defy nature as he galloped through the sky, The kite wished to stay by the Falcon's side, scared of what the future might bring. needs of flying with the Falcon did not matter, so the young, sullen kite went off to the sea... Wondering if she could ever hope to avenge the dragons."

"And what happened next?"
"Well, she met a young white owl, surrounded by seagulls!" Sonia stared straight into Schierke, who instantly understood the analogy. "Even though she was surrounded by other birds, the kite thought that the owl looked lonely. 'We are somewhat alike, perhaps we could be friends...' she thought to herself, before Guts came to interrupt their meeting.

"Falcons make for terrible predators, as all birds are. Clip off their feathers, and they are as intimidating as your average rooster. It's no wonder why a simple bite from a wolf can twist it's neck."
"Guts!" Schierke was startled at his sudden appearance.
"Don't trash talk Violet, you meanie!"

"Sorry Schierke, but I don't think you'll be making any new friends here." Sonia takes a step backwards as Guts expels her from his proximity.

"Wait, please!" Sonia attempted to speak further with the wolf, but a crowd of child slaves swarmed the area as they were held by slave traders.
"मम साहाय्यं कुरुत ! मम साहाय्यं कुरुत !"

Though Guts could not understand them, their screams made it obvious to what they meant.
"You pirates?" Guts addresses the word to the one holding the child's hair.
"Slave traders! Know the difference."
"We bought them legally with authorization from the government. Since kushan are contraband, their parents got hanged. Since they didn't want to kill them off, that's where we come in."
"We'll get a good price from them on the colonies down south!"

"How about you treat them more fairly? This is not the kind of life children deserve to have. Growing up in such a miserable state, it will only give them a one-way entry into darkness..." Guts speaks from experience.
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>>5403053
"Who are you, their dad? Don't meddle in my business, idiot--" Running out of patience, Guts breaks the man's arm with an open palm strike from his metallic hand, letting the child go free as Schierke stunned the other slave traders with their magic. Letting them freely run away.

"Sorry, your ears must have been filled with seawater. I will repeat myself more clearly: Set them free."

"Y-Y-Yes sir!" The man salutes the swordsman with his broken arm.
"Good, now go treat your arm, I can see the whiteness of your bone from here."

Sonia simply takes her leave, aiming to find Mule before Schierke and Guts.

"Ya shure gob a lob of nerve, kid!" Both of their swollen faces were evidence of the draw in their fight. "What's your name?"

"Iffiblo!"

"Mule! We're leaving!" Sonia calls for his horse"
"I'll remember your name, Iffy Blow! Until we meet again!" The embarrassed kids went after the kushan child slaves, but not before sending a message to Schierke of the city's future.

-

Isidro's fight against Mule was not the only scuffle he had, despite taking part in the bar fight with the drunkards, he still wished to get some more action to improve his skills, only his sparring partner was the incompetent Bernard Jr, who was crying on a chokehold calling uncle.

"GAH! P-p-Please stop!"
"Why aren't you fighting back? Bowing down and pleading for mercy won't work every time! Use your muscles, if you have any!"
"AAAH!"
"The fuck ya doing with the boy, Isidro? Let go of 'im!" Hyde pulled on Isidro's hair until his hands were meters away from the sobbing Benny.

"Why? He's my age! Why is he getting pampered?"
"Some kids don't wish to be more than commoners. Plus I haven't seen you actin' that way to Cindy."

"Yeah, but that's because, you know..."
"Cuz you saw her naked?"
"Y-You're coming off my sister?"
"I'm coming off and onto all the girls of Midland! Don't bother hiding who you like, cause I'll steal them just to spite you!"

"Wh-Why would you do that..." Benny sobs again, giving Isidro an easy victim for bullying.

"Ya want a challenge, kid? You got one. Let me show you something you'll remember!"

"Bring it on baldies! I ain't afraid of you!" Isidro boxes the air, thinking he was going to get some sparring matches with Hyde.

-
"Really? Fishing!?" Isidro shouts at the sea, scaring the fish away as the others relax with rods on their hands.

"Quiet, boy! Ya need patience to get these! Something ya desperately need to learn!"

"Can't we use a spear to catch these? Hell, I can boil these fish alive with the salamander knife if I throw it at the sea."

"Sometimes ya need to use what nature gives ya. If ya get too used to yer arsenal, you won't know what to do without it. And THAT's real pampering."

Benny seems in peace with fishing, being used to playing at the river with Zhafira every now and then, but the fact that him, Hyde, and even Violet were happy sitting in place doing nothing pissed Isidro off!
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>>5403123

"Got one!" Benny beamed at feeling the weight of the fish, almost being pulled down into the water, were it not for Isidro also holding him in place, wondering what he could have gotten.

A large bass spilled water all over the trio, landing onto a net as he flopped around in place from being unable to breathe.

"Nice! Now hurry up and put it on a stick!" Isidro was happy that he at least didn't waste a night doing absolutely nothing, but upon seeing the fish's panicked eyes, opening and closing his mouth as it pleaded to stay alive....

"Not hungry." The musician took pity on the fish, and slouched over to spare him and place him back into the sea. It was a brave display of sportsmanship.

"You idiot! That's our morning snack you're letting go!" Isidro pushes him, making them both fall from the dock as Benny attempted to balance himself by pulling him into the water.

"AAARGH! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING! NOW WE'RE BOTH GOING TO DROWN--" Isidro flapped in place as he met the same fate as Vlad, only to see the boy floating and dog paddling his way back onto the wood planks. Taking vengeance by simply staring at Isidro lose his supply of oxygen.

Hyde, however, would not let either of them die, whistling for Violet to catch him by the boos and hang him upside down in the air.

"I get the feelin it'll be easier to catch a shark with these rods than seeing you too get along."

"Fuck you, bald midget!"
"I'll p-ppush you again!"

-

Far in the distance, a grave keeper had just finished tending to his last tombstone.

Finally restoring the graves of his comrades after his sacred grounds were destroyed. He had to take extra care thanks to the passing season, making sure that the snow wouldn't fade and tear away at the beautiful blades placed onto the hill, he stuck them straight onto the rock formations.

"Finished..." He wiped the sweat of his brow before it froze onto his face, finally paying his respects to the fallen before entering his house and looking for the small child packing their belongings.

"Are we going?" The girl pondered about her destination, as the blacksmith aimed to visit his old leader and confront him about the truth of their sacrifices...

"Yes, but before that, I was wondering if we could take a detour. To Ilos."

>Tales From The Strugglers: Epilogue End.
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And that should cover things for thread #8, time to archive it!
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html

Wish I could run this weekend, but I'm somewhat out of energy to run it then. I wanna be motivated when I write so I get the feeling you would notice if I were just writing for the sake of obligation instead of having fun with it. It's a shame cause I'm seeing plenty of improvement writing-wise, but I'd rather take a bigger break to come back feeling refreshed than do an update a day and end up increasing the length of the story artificially.

Thread #9 will likely end on the boat and The Roar Of The Astral, so it's only fair to expect the thread turning into a megathread, but for that to happen I'll need to be on top of my game, which won't happen if I'm feeling exhausted.

Overall, I think we can get to where the story is currently by the time we reach the one year anniversary, but by then meeting Sivir, The resistance in Ilos and with whatever allies Vlad manages to acquire in Vritannis, It's fair to say things will diverge a lot from whatever direction the manga is going right now.

I swear I'm not delaying it to wait for new chapters
So yeah, new thread on the 23rd, then a month long break whenever that thread ends, and hopefully by then I'll get rind of the Curse™.

See you then and thanks for reading!
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>Name thread #9 instead of Thread #8

Fuck do I suck at multitasking
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>>5403338
Oh fuck rickert chooses to become based
>everyone's face when the world's foremost expert on explosives and cannonmaking eventually joins Ilos
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>>5403364
See you guys in the next edition!! God knows it gonna be a fun one!
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>>5403364
Damn casuality making sure we won't be able to stop the shattering of the barriers between the physical and astral worlds with that filler boss battle nearly killing Vlad and leaving him crippled for the critical fight where we would have a shot of killing Ganishka.
Assuming he wasn't so spooked he won't even bother to take the fight against Griffith and will just dunk himself in the vat that Barnham forgot to actually destroy.
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>>5404038
On the bright side, once the great roar of the astral happens, Vlad's probably going to get a massive boost as his astral side and his physical side no longer have a dimensional boundary between them. Honestly, Vlad's got a lot of potential for power boosts, moreso than just the passive one from the great roar and from acquiring the pearl of his soul. He may very well also have a True Name that can release his True Form, like a certain other hybrid in the setting. He may not know that true name yet, but it may become clearer to him once the roar happens. In a sense, Hedwyn actually was a fucking masterful planner, because he stacked things so that every move the God Hand takes can also serve to drive his own pawn to the end of the board.
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