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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/2022/5377799/

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.
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>>5413369

Roderick has indeed proposed an interesting challenge.

Rather than letting you go and escape your judgement against the Vandimions from years of prejudice, he instead offered to clear your name far better than Farnese ever could, perhaps even granting Guts and Casca their nobility status as you hopped onto his ship with his crewmates to meet Sivir at the shore of Skellig.

You would likely have agreed with his terms if the exchange was money instead of your student and lover's hand in marriage.

Despite still suffering from the grievous wounds from intense frostbite, you proclaimed that you would chop his hands off of Farnese if you had to. This was not the time for noble scuffles, especially after Barnham advised you of Ganishka's imminent arrival.

The captain's invitation of a duel seemed more out of curiosity and rivalry than outright disdain for you. If he wants a taste of his powers, then he shall receive.

Farnese shouldn't sweat over who takes her hand in the ball tonight, even if Serpico's hands are tied, you didn't need much to exit the Vandimion mansion and follow the siblings to their party hall.

You are the first to arrive from your group, who know all about the information mentioned so far.

"We'll be arriving in 20 minutes. No signs of apostles so far." Hyde warns you from the horizon.

How should you enter their fancy salon?

>Wait for your team.
>Go in by yourself.
>Sneak past the guards.
>Barge in and warn everyone about the invasion.
>Look for Roderick and get this over with.
>>
>>5413409
>Sneak past the guards.
No time to wait for backup this time, just sneak past the guards via the infamous cardboard box technique and find Roderick so we can kick his ass.

Barging I’m also isn’t a good plan in our physical state, I think we need to pull a solid snake here and sneak around for now… maybe even use a little magic to mess around with peoples heads/senses so they have a harder time seeing us move around the place.
>>
>>5413409
>Go in by yourself.
>>
>>5413409
>Look for Roderick and get this over with.
I don't think anyone would listen to us about the invasion, given how we've been locked up all day and would not logically have a way to have been informed of the tidings...without magic.
>>
>>5413423
>>5413475
>>5413480
Sneaking it is then, let's rope the clap of Vlad's asscheeks don't alert the guard or something. Given how he had plenty of rest inbetween the walk to the ball and the mass sleeping incident in the Vandimion home, he won't be out of juice but might be prone to tumbling still.

A 1d100 should do it, put em up!
>>
Rolled 65 (1d100)

>>5413526
>>
Rolled 93 (1d100)

>>5413526
VLAD? VLAD? VLAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!
>>
Rolled 24 (1d100)

>>5413526
last roll
>>
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>>5413528
>>5413535
>>5413551

The best way to go past the guards would not be by brute force, nor would it be to cause chaos and force them to listen to those who have went through a lifetime ignoring the facts.
The less taxing option should be to carefully plan your movements.

And how convenient it is that sensing the presence of life around you is your best ability.

Without even needing to peek your head past the outer walls, you manage to see the afterimages and the tracings of several people in different garments, all pacing around and watching their posts.

You ponder on whether or not you should put them under or if making a distraction would draw too much attention when your sneaking speed is around the same as your sprinting speed if you wish not to burst any blisters on your skin, but thankfully your soul energy was not needed, as the guards were advise to move over to control the commotion at the balcony.

"What seems to be the problem?"
"A local servant claims to have proof that Lord Vandimion has had an affair."
"Who, Serpico?"
"Oh, I better see this in person--"
"This isn't time for gossiping, men. This is a civil gathering of high class members of all nations. Let's prevent further escalations and apprehend the one soiling Lord Frederico's good name. Violence should only be used as a means of defense, do not pull the blade before the unarmed can."

As dancers and knights alike gather in front of the balcony to seethe scandal exposing the crack in the once perfectly healthy relationship of the richest family in the nation, you wondered where the hell was this bonhomie adherent to the rules when the guards treated you like dirt during Charlotte's marriage...

So Serpico decided to expose his secret right now? Admittedly not the best of times, but it's safe to expect that the entire family is in shouting distance given Frederico's slip of the undergarments.

All that's left is his son in law...

"Going somewhere?" Was your way of saying hello to Roderick, who was trying to find a way to enter the crowd after Farnese while you poked at his back.

"Vlad? I wasn't expecting to see you this early."
"Funny. I'd say I'm right on time..."

You raise your arm at him, really picturing the lance you were meant to have fighting him.
If only you didn't come in your fancy clothes... The trident and the halberd are the first thing you're going for when the cavalry arrives.

"Ehm... Any reason in particular you are pointing at me?"

>Let's settle this now, Roderick. The less people see you on your knees, the less embarrassing it will be.
>What are you trying to prove by doing this? I am still in negotiable terms with you.
>How about we steal the attention with our duel?
>Could you wait for a second? I believe Farnese needs me at the moment.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5413654
>What are you trying to prove by doing this? I am still in negotiable terms with you.

>Could you wait for a second? I believe Farnese needs me at the moment.
>>
>>5413654
>How about we steal the attention with our duel? I'm sure that certain people would be more than grateful for the sudden shift in topic, no matter who comes out on top.
It's the perfect time. We can announce the duel, thus garnering SOME amount of goodwill with Frederico for both ourselves and for Roderick (which is ultimately his goal for being at this mansion to begin with), and since it's going to be an official and announced duel we'd of course be adequately supplied with an armament to perform the duel with - plenty of fancy rapiers in a place like this, I imagine.
>>
>>5413369
440 Hz is the key used for mind control and Bitcoin theft. 432 Hz is the key to reverse that. 528 Hz is the key to quell the beast. Whitehouse Contract is off by 0025 encryption. So much for Moots copyright.
>>
>>5413654
>Let's settle this now, Roderick. The less people see you on your knees, the less embarrassing it will be.
Settle it now and Vlad doesn’t have to risk more damage to his already frail body.
>>
>>5413661
>>5413666
>>5413781
"How about we steal the attention with our duel? I'm sure that certain people would be more than grateful for the sudden shift in topic, no matter who comes out on top."

"Amidst the largest scandal of the kingdom since Griffith's downfall and arrest? You sure are one to stir up controversies to yourself."

"You are sorely mistaken. Taking you in a fight is merely the easiest option compared to walking into that crowd and risking getting into the crossfire. It's also the fastest option. I want to settle this now."

"Astonishing determination... Well, don't let me stop you." Roderick clears his throat and draws the eye of a few dancers in the hall.

"May I have your attention, please? As some of you may know, this here is the man responsible for bringing Farnese back into Vandimion home. I believe he has something important to say to all the important figures here present, but before that, I promised to help him on his case under a certain condition..."

Roderick approaches a few guards who were about to approach you, asking them to hand them the fanciest rapiers they could find.

"The two types of power that are most valued here are the power to impress, and the power to rule. A Vandimion spouse would grant both of those to the weakest of men, such title should not belong in the hands of those without vision or will."

"I'm willing to give you that much." You catch the rapier thrown to you after he finds a decent enough sword for you to be on equal terms with. "I can only hope you'll fulfill your end of the bargain, if there's one thing I find disgraceful in pompous types, it's the inability to accept your losses."

"I did let you exit the estate, did I not?" He boldly claims that you would not have been able to do that if he was there.

Half the crowd still have their eyes glued to Serpico and Frederico, the other half have moved over to the center of the ball room to watch the duel unfold.

Single round, first one to disarm the opponent or graze at the opponent's skin wins.
No mistakes allowed.

>Let's not go too hard on the guy. Even if you are wounded, things will not end well for you if you accidentally kill him.
>Give them a show with your dodging skills. It should be enough to give some air to the Vandimions.
>Roderick is an average human, you are an apostle killer. Give it your all and show him the large gap in power between the two titles.
>>
>>5413943
>>Let's not go too hard on the guy. Even if you are wounded, things will not end well for you if you accidentally kill him.
go nice and simple, suddenly distract him with telephaty then make his weapon fly in to the night and have him drop on the ground with a legsweep. Then take our rapier and break it in pieces in front of all. A loss of two good rapiers, but it should send the message.
Ask him if he wants another round after that.
>>
>>5413943
>Roderick is an average human, you are an apostle killer. Give it your all and show him the large gap in power between the two titles.
MAXIMUM POWER! MAXIMUM SPEED! MAXIMUM EVERYTHING!

He said that the power to impress is valuable here huh? Well let’s do some impressing!
>>
>>5413943
>Roderick is an average human, you are an apostle killer. Give it your all and show him the large gap in power between the two titles.
>>
>>5413943
>>Roderick is an average human, you are an apostle killer. Give it your all and show him the large gap in power between the two titles.
>>
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>>5413965
>>5413966
>>5413978
>>5414005

Not pulling any punches, huh?
That's alright, It's what Roderick would have liked

Considering how strong he is and how Vlad is still not done healing, let's see if you guys can pass the ridiculously high DC of 25.

Crit on this one and I'll kill him off!
>>
Rolled 14 (1d100)

>>5414021
Don’t you ducking dare tempt the dice gods, they are a fickle bunch.
>>
>>5414030
God fucking damn it, I knew I was going to be jinxed lmao.
>>
Rolled 9 (1d100)

>>5414021
>>
Rolled 85 (1d100)

>>5414021
Amateur
>>
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>>5414039
Fuck off femto, stop trying to make us look bad every time we're in a fancy place
>>
Jesus Christ the gods are cackling at us rn. Oh well, at least the last roll saved us lol.
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>>5414030
>>5414039
>>5414040
Lol, saved by the last one too.
I'll be writing a fancy takedown soon
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>>5414030
>>5414039
>>5414040

Letting him attack first, you study his pattern as he lunges at your right, meaning to exploit your wounded arm.

His stance is a lot more open than yours, believing he has the edge against your fancier sidestepping with your dominant hand on your hip.

Very impressive. Perhaps with strength and skill like this, he could have beaten the likes of Corkus...

But that's not the enemy he's fighting, is it?
Crossing your arms, you suddenly stay still as Roderick confusedly stops attacking.

"Do you... surrender?"
"Changing stances."
"I'm not sure you can even defend yourself without drawing your blade..."
"I'm not sure you know just how out of your league you are."

Taking offense to your remarks, he grimaces as he picks up the pace of his attacks.
The duel only ends if he hits you, so as long as you keep sidestepping tot he opposite direction of his lunges, you will tire him out with ease.

Your rotations eventually lead your back to collide with the food table. Good! You were getting thirsty from all the hopping...
"Why are you mocking me?" Roderick begins to lose his patience as he is humiliated by not even managing to hit a man who looked so wounded.
"Relax, it's only a glass of water..." You approach the cup to your lips, only to be forced to spill the drink on the carpet from he fail of the bouncy sword.

"Fine... I'll try to make a challenge out of this." You raise the chalice and hold it like the handle of a sword, parrying his attacks as you try to catch the tip of his weapon inside the glass without breaking. It's a surprisingly fun self imposed adversary.

If only Roderick's blows weren't growing increasingly weaker and more self defeating with every attack.
A sidestep to the right, a sidestep to the right, another one, another one... You've seen this already. There's no point in destroying his spirit.

All he has to know is that he never stood a chance.

Farnese watches your sword fly into the air as you fling it vertically into a spin. Opening your stance, you invite Roderick to seize his best chance of attacking. You even drop the glass as you prepare for him to come forward.

"Looks like I've let my hands slip."

Placing one of your legs up as you struck him below the elbow with a knee strike, his hand drops the sword from the nerve shock just around the time your sword was about to go right through his head.

Thankfully, you were there to catch both his and your swords from falling, spinning him over to the nearest table and sinking both swords at the woodwork, each close enough to his ears to make him hear the splinters exiting the ornate table.

"Let me know how your fight with a dragon goes when you get to it." You whisper in his ear, making his blood run cold.
>>
>>5414195
"Hey! Kicking is against the rules of fencing!"
"And so is withdrawing your sword!"
"You lost and you cheated! You swine! You're a disgrace to the art of fighting!"

"No... You're all mistaken." Roderick, of all people, defends you against the masses. "In a way, I'm glad that he fought me in such playful manner. If he was really serious... The battle would have been finished in the span of a second."

You bow to your opponent after taking some distance from him, a gesture he nervously returns.

"Your feats really did not lie. It was like fighting against the tides of the sea itself. Very well... I will do my best in defending your case with the Vandimions." His voice is composed, yet his hand still appears to be shaking. Did you kick him that hard?

>Can you help walk through the crowd? I believe I can help the Vandimions.
>That can wait, I want to warn people of the invasion first...
>Do not get between me and Farnese ever again.
>So is the boat offer still up? I believe I can offer you something of value should you ally yourself with Ilos.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5414226
>Can you help walk through the crowd? I believe I can help the Vandimions.
Make sure homie is alright too while we are at it.
>So is the boat offer still up? I believe I can offer you something of value should you ally yourself with Ilos.
>>
>>5414226
>Can you help walk through the crowd? I believe I can help the Vandimions.
>So is the boat offer still up? I believe I can offer you something of value should you ally yourself with Ilos.
>>
>>5414226
>Can you help walk through the crowd? I believe I can help the Vandimions.

>That can wait, I want to warn people of the invasion first...
>>
>>5414226
>Can you help walk through the crowd? I believe I can help the Vandimions.
>So is the boat offer still up? I believe I can offer you something of value should you ally yourself with Ilos

We will say later about the invasion surely
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>>5414239
>>5414406
>>5414439
>>5414459

"Can you help walk through the crowd? I believe I can help the Vandimions."

"What, you can pull all those stunts, yet you're afraid of being stomped by the crowd?"

"No offense, but I would rather fight you again than risk getting pushed around amidst an uproar, the first situation sounds much more controllable."

Roderick merely shakes his head, holding back his laughter.
"Strange, I feel like I should be angry about my loss, yet being aware of my chances, it really is exactly as you said..."
"I do hope the boat gig is still up. I believe I can offer you something of value should you ally yourself with Ilos."

"I do not plan on going back on my word." He offers you his shoulder as he takes the rapiers from the table, placing him onto his belt as he makes way up to the balcony.

The crowd is visibly shocked, ecstatic and happy to see you, those who recognize you are either head over heels or with their palms glued to their face -Like Rubinsky is-.

"What do you mean, 'You're our step-brother?'" Magnifico bursts at Serpico, who appears to have received a beating from the family at his recent revelations.
"You can beat me all you want, but the truth is as I've said--"
"QUIET! How could you, even? After we've done everything to care for you and your well being..." Poliziano interrupts him.
"Exactly! Imagine the things going through OUR dear mother's head at the moment."

Serpico wishes to respond, but still feeling obligated to respect the house, he lets himself be dogpilled by his detractor.

"Actually, I am not that surprised." Lady Vandimion seems to respond with dissonant apathy. "Committing adultery and running away from responsibilities sounds exactly something like a weak man such as him would do. Frankly, I don't know whether I should congratulate you for holding yourself in for so long, or to slap him in the face for having no backbone."

If the matriarch is not moved by Serpico's secret being exposed, then who is--

Farnese's beautiful dress is obscured by the sadness in her face, feeling absolutely defeated that after all this time, the man she loved the most during her early years, the one whose mother he killed, was her half-brother.

"Why, Serpico...? Why did you hide this from me?"
Serpico looks away from her tearing eyes, feeling hurt himself from the guilt of holding it all in.
"I always let you know of my darkest secrets! You knew all of me before anyone else, I trusted you to the point of running away with you before ever forgiving Vlad!"
"..."
"WHY DID YOU REFUSE TO TELL ME I KILLED YOUR MOTHER?!"
"...Because I knew being aware of that would forever change our relationship, Lady Farnese... You are free to call me a coward, but I wished not to burn at the stake with her..."
>>
>>5414678
>Why did you reveal this now, Serpico?
>Farnese, please don't blame yourself over this, Serpico was only protecting himself.
>It's not his fault for existing, It's Frederico you should be beating up.
>We can settle this later! The Kushan are about to attack us, we need to evacuate!
>Write-in.
>>
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>Forget to add the reply prompt for a day thinking it's already there
>Suddenly wonder why no one responded to the update

Gee, I sure hope I can finish the quest before my Alzheimer's gets any worse.
>>
>>5415151
>We can settle this later! The Kushan are about to attack us, we need to prepare!
>>
>>5415151
>We can settle this later! The Kushan are about to attack us, we need to prepare!
Lmao, no worries man. It Happens.
>>
>>5415151
>We can settle this later! The Kushan are about to attack us, we need to prepare!
>>
>>5415151
>We can settle this later!
>>
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>>5415195
>>5415197
>>5415235
>>5415275
"We can settle this later! The Kushan are about to attack us, we need to prepare and evacuate the civilians!"

"What do you mean, later?" You get pushed by Farnese, hysterically shouting to the crowd as Roderick stops you from falling. "Did you not hear what he's just said? How am I supposed to bounce back from this!? I knew the sins I've committed would eventually come back to haunt me... But how could I have destroyed the life of someone so close to me?"

"...I'm sorry..." Is all Serpico responds with, though Farnese is the one who considers herself an unforgivable monster. "Your relationship with Sir Vlad was going so well, I was hoping you could be stable enough in the future for me to come clean before I-"

"'DIED?! LEFT ME?! WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS EARLIER, BEFORE I KILLED THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR BRINGING YOU ONTO THIS WORLD?!"

"...I was as subservient to you as you were to your background. The jail of our minds was the one we needed to escape before truly being honest to each other-"
"DON'T GIVE ME THAT! YOU KNEW HOW I FELT ABOUT YOU FOR ALL THIS TIME! YOU COULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING, ANYTHING! AND YOU WAITED UNTIL RODERICK PROPOSED TO ME TO REVEAL YOURSELF AS A VANDIMION?"

"...I still don't see myself as a Vandimion. Seeing as your family is, it would be wrong to call myself the same as you... Though it seems that we all have secrets that none would wish to reveal...."

Farnese has never felt so conflicted. Not even Serpico looks so sure of his answers anymore. The once calculating master of noble secrecy destroyed his reputation in front of all, just for a stalling of time until you reached the palace...

His attempt at coming clean has only soiled his image.

"Wait, did he just say something of a Kushan invasion?"
"That can't be, We've been keeping post for the past few hours and nothing came of it. There's no way a massive army like theirs could sneak up on us."

A few guards do pay attention as they hear your words, with Roderick attempting to shift the subject away from the Vandimions falling out.

"Are you serious, Vlad?"
"Yes! They can summon fog to hide themselves inside of it and summon their foul creatures, my body is proof of what they are capable of. A big carnage is about to happen, and I am here to prevent it.

While the ones who hear your warning look afraid, the vast majority are still doubtful.

"Who's to say it's not his doing? God knows he only brings harm wherever he goes."
"Oh, like you're a reliable source! Magic does not even exist!"
"Did you see how many soldiers we have? Let them come, we're ready!"

>Would you really rather listen to gossip than stay alive?
>Fine, then. Those who believe me can follow Roderick, the ones who don't can fend off for themselves.
>[Check with Hyde if your group is close to arriving]
>[Fire a soul arrow for demonstration.]
>Write-in.
>>
>>5415319
>[Check with Hyde if your group is close to arriving]
We should check in and see if they see any signs of the Kushan invasion force outside too
>Would you really rather listen to gossip than stay alive?
>Fine, then. Those who believe me can follow Roderick, the ones who don't can fend off for themselves.
>>
>>5415384
+1
>>
>>5415319
>The Kushan's spies are everywhere. Do you really believe they would not hear of a meeting of every capable force's head in Midland? Do you truthfully and honestly think that they would not use this opportunity to strike and weaken our lands in one fell swoop? And do you not think they would have tools and methods unknown to us, with which they may generate a perfect moving cover? My intelligence has made it clear - they're moving here, with great speed and purpose. We need to be ready. Besides, is this not an opportunity to show our benefactors just how much we're worth, at the hour of need?
>>
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>>5415384
>>5415411
>>5415434
"The Kushan's spies are everywhere. Do you really believe they would not hear of a meeting of every capable force's head in Midland and use that intelligence to weaken our lands with methods unknown to us? They are moving here, with great speed and purpose! Either show our benefactors how much we're worth or waste your final hour!"

"God, Roderick isn't paying me enough for this..." Stanley grumbles from inside the conglomerate, it seems that none from the holy city are willing to listen to your 'delusions'. The ones that do are clearly being outvoted by the majority of onlookers interested in Vandimion gossip.

You sigh in defeat, it seems like you failed to impress the nobles with your rhetoric.

"Fine, Vlad. Say that there are indeed several Kushan coming here with their kitty cats. Are you really in good condition to fight for more than a few minutes?"

"Someone has to hold the line while my team arrives, After that, I imagine it's going to devolve into a free-for-all. Those confident enough to stay can fend off for themselves, the ones who value their lives can follow Roderick and his teammates."

"Alright, I'll lead them to the docks in case they attempt to overtake the city, you know where to find me!" Roderick signals his men to call for a troop and escort the sane people out of the ballroom, leaving you with one of the two rapiers from your duel to self defense along with some guards, who seem to be more interested in arresting you again than defending the people.

"Hyde, are you close by?"
"Closer than close, the fog is already onto us, too. No signs of Barnham, though."
"Is Cindy and Benny coming?"
"Yup, thought it would be good to place them at the Inn, but that'd leave them unsupervised against our enemies. Don't want any deaths happening tday, ya hear?"


Serpico is the only one fully equipped, with Farnese's dress and corset greatly limiting her movements, he's the one you attempt to stay close by.

"What do you think, Milord? Should we arrest him?" The guards look at the saddened Frederico, who was pondering on what to do with Serpico.

"... I do not believe I could ever call Serpico my son..." The lord of the house enters the discussion by rejecting Serpico to the very end.

Yet before he could finish his thought process, a guard returns to warn of the Pishaca.

"Sir! The Kushan Tigers really are here!"

"What did I tell ya?" You shrug to Stanley, who ponders of a hundred ways to throw you in the slammer.

"H-h-ow many of them are?" Magnifico shivers.

"Around 50 of them, and it seems like there are more to come. Roderick had to stop his escorting to ask for reinforcements!"
"AAAAAH!" The visitors begin screaming.

"CALM DOWN!" You shout as you strike desk with your right palm, aiming to show your tactical prowess by leading them away from danger.
>>
>>5415515
>Step away from the doors and windows, we cannot compare to the strength and agility of feral felines.
>Serpico's Sylph sword can dissipate the fog, let him through.
>Is there anywhere in this building that would be hard for them to reach us?
>Form a line with the soldiers and barricade the entrances.
>Make room for me to do my magic! I will attempt to astral project. Farnese?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5415518
>Is there anywhere in this building that would be hard for them to reach us?
>>
>>5415518
>>Is there anywhere in this building that would be hard for them to reach us?
>>Form a line with the soldiers and barricade the entrances.
agh we don't have armor or weapons on us.
prepare to use our seeds, we could use them both in defense and offense
>>
have serpico and farnese near us, i imagine her dress will be a problem for movement.
>>
>>5415581
and yeah take command of the vandimion soldiers basically, we are the one with the most fighting experience here. They will be more effective with someone that knows how to fight Kushan.
If Serpico and Farnese are still debating, tell them to stop and focus on the fight. Farnese could cut part of her dress maybe but eh. Her choice, i don't want people to look at her
>>
>>5415581
+1

Could we also form barricades with the soldiers?
>>
>>5415543
>>5415581
>>5415590
"Is there anywhere in this building that would be hard for them to reach us?"
"Unfortunately not, this is meant to be an open space for the guests to feast and dance as much as they would like." Stanley observes the window, half expecting a tiger to maul him so he would escape his duty of having to comply with you.

"They're giant cats. Jumping and sneaking around tight areas would not be a problem to them" Magnifico panics.

"Guess we're out of choices then... Everyone, form a line with your weapons and barricade the entrances! Silver is a repellent against creatures possessed by magic, should we have any cutting or blunting weapons made out of those, it will be beneficial to-"

"And who do you think you are to command our troops?" Poliziano is the first to question your commands. "With the misfortune you bring, you might as well have the mark of the beast!"


"The audacity to command our soldiers, when he comes from a land that refuse to participate in the Tudor war to grow a coliseum in Midland Territory!" Giorgio is the other son who responds with scorn.

Perhaps Barnham was right afterall, these people would rather die virtue signaling than take matters into their own hands. Talking is all they're good for...

"I'd say let him handle it." Stanley plays devil's advocate to the crowd. "His father's lost plenty of money financing the Holy Knights. When Farnese went after him and The Black Swordsman, he magically made them all disappear into Ilos free of choice. It should tell you enough about his skills in recruitment and leadership, isn't it?"

"Vlad fought the law and Vlad won!" Puck arrives before the doors could be barricaded, singing to a soft tune as he goes unnoticed by the non believers.

"Where are the others?" You ask the elf.
"Just past the front gate, some of them are already inside the mist so we had to slow down a bit."
"LADY FARNESE!" Serpico runs after his step-sister, breaking down as she goes away from the edge of the balcony into the rooms further into the household.

"Didn't she hear the warnings? It's dangerous to go outside-" Puck stops himself after noticing her intent.

Farnese now feels used, betrayed, knowing that Serpico only stood by her side out of obligation, and perhaps a chance to be compensated instead of ever genuinely feeling any comradery for her. Even brotherly love was impossible to one who committed matricide.

"Vlad, you don't think she's thinking of jumping, is she?!"
You wish you could have said no.

>This is between her and Serpico, try not to get involved.
>You will not forgive yourself if something happens to her. Unlike her family, you can be by her side without casting judgement.
>>
>>5415680
>Maybe now would be a good time to astral project. Your body can try to protect the people here, and you could send your spirit to Farnese.
>>
>>5415680
>You will not forgive yourself if something happens to her. Unlike her family, you can be by her side without casting judgement.
>>
>>5415698
Yeah sure, I didn't consider that option when writing, should be a good idea to use your soul double, perhaps even for astral projection if you wish to

Let's do a 2d100, won't tell which one is which
>>
Rolled 17, 96 = 113 (2d100)

>>5415904
goodnight!
>>
Rolled 48, 96 = 144 (2d100)

>>5415904
>>
Rolled 24, 97 = 121 (2d100)

>>5415908
>>5415922
>dub 96
huh?

>>5415904
>>
Holy shit, three 90s in a row? Never seen that before. That’s special.
>>
>>5415680
>>You will not forgive yourself if something happens to her. Unlike her family, you can be by her side without casting judgement.
farnese god damn it, we have no time for a discussion
>>
>>5415680
>You will not forgive yourself if something happens to her. Unlike her family, you can be by her side without casting judgement.
>>
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>>5415908
>>5415922
>>5415932

Schierke did mention how abnormal it was for one to remotely control body and soul during a fight, perhaps it would be a good idea to use that ability while your soul is intact.

Closing your eyes and bypassing the need of runes, you materialize your soul double to pursue them whole while physically staying at the same spot.

However, your body is still not prone to jumping around and dodging tigers without inflicting damage to itself, the precognition can only show the best possible way for you to dodge, chances of tripping and falling are all on you.

Let's try not to trust it too much and calm Farnese down fast.

Going after the two brothers, you observe the fog quickly approaching before the Pegasus Brigade, along with the giant silhouette of a hairy figure dissipating the air itself with his snorts.

...Barnham? No, he was big, but never that gigantic.

Farnese got cornered when she reached the window of a room, getting ready to jump off should Serpico get any closer.

"Lady Farnese, I've had more than enough time to ponder how I feel about said occurrences The past is in the past. I do not wish you harm, you are not the one to blame for the life I have lived."

"How can you say that to me with a straight face...? It happened to you, to Vlad, and to anyone who approaches a monster like me!"

"Farnese, we've been over this..." You speak up to her, remembering the time she burned her holy armor in Albion.

"I thought I had, until I realized all of our interactions were fake, you were only pretending to care for me out of a sense of obligation!"

"...Perhaps those were my feelings for you at the start. I did see you as a mindless brat in our first meeting, but over the years, I have realized that... I've always cared for you. You were not responsible for me being born into poverty, to have lived with a sickly mother and raising me to be her breadwinner at the age of 5, to have been denied every other path in life simply due to family ties. Be it by being rich or poor, we became close because of our suffering, not despite of it."

Farnese shakes as Serpico pours his heart out in his speech, attempting to call her by her proper titles.

"Lady F... Farnese... Sister. You were responsible for bringing me here up to this point. Seeing you come onto your own thanks to Vlad has motivated me to become my own person, as well. Your actions were already forgiven a long time ago. The only one left to move on is you."

"Do you hate your mother that much, to condone what I've done to her and the life of mistreatment brought by all of our family because of a deranged relationship with a half sister?"

Serpico brings his head down, feeling vulnerable.

"Hate is not a word I would describe of my mother... It is not love, either. It's rather a mix of emotions I will likely never come to terms with."
As you attempt to approach her, Farnese trembles and crosses her arms.
>>
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>>5416222
"Get away from me, both of you! I command you to leave me alone!" She cowers to the floor with a last appeal to authority.

She ignores the shaking of the building as several Pishaca enter the plaza, the gust of wind leaving all to fight the tigers in total darkness.

Your body is the only one able to fight them on an equal level, though for how long, you don't know.

One tiger appears to be walking along the rooftiles, aiming for an entrance on the window.

It's up to you to either soothe her back into action, or to leave her here and attempt to fight the tiger with your spirit.

>We will not give up on you, Farnese. We have been with you every step of the way, not much has changed.
>You said your return to your home would be your ultimate test of how much you had evolved from your past ways, to not crumble under troubling revelations is how you will show your resolve.
>Neither Serpico or I could comply with such cruel orders, Farnese. I love you too much to leave you hurting.
>[Attempt to fight the Pishaca as a soul double.]
>[Order Serpico to fight the approaching tiger]
>Write-in.
>>
>>5416259
>Not one of us is who we used to be. The mere fact that Serpico has elected to reveal the nature of his birth proves it - we've all grown past our vices and our crutches. We no longer need the false security that secrecy, hedonism, or religious zealotry provides.
>You said your return to your home would be your ultimate test of how much you had evolved from your past ways, to not crumble under troubling revelations is how you will show your resolve.
>>
>>5416259
>[Order Serpico to fight the approaching tiger]
Then do this anons write in: >>5416303
>>
>>5416303
+1
>[Order Serpico to fight the approaching tiger]
>>
>>5416259
>You said your return to your home would be your ultimate test of how much you had evolved from your past ways, to not crumble under troubling revelations is how you will show your resolve.
>Write In
>"You must not let this weight separate us, fight Farnese and stay with us. We accept you both at your lowest and at your highest, there is no reason for us to hate you or despise you."
>"I will be outside now, cut your dress if you need to move in a better way. Don't leave us waiting my love."

>[Order Serpico to fight the approaching tiger]
>[Reunite with your body and fight the incoming monsters alongside the Vandimion Soldiers. Drop some seeds for create traps for impale and crush the Kushan Beasts]
I don't trust this soul double ability at all, we are already wounded in body if we are damaged in soul we are going to die.
>>
>>5416314
+1, let's not get soul damaged AGAIN
>>
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>>5416303
>>5416310
>>5416313
>>5416314
>>5416322
Alright, enough melodrama! Let's get into the action now!
Who wants to plow through some pussies (the cats)?
1d100+10 to see if Vlad can get the eye of the tiger
>>
Rolled 76 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5416357
plus ten! WHOOOH! OUR SOUL IS STRONG YEAHHHH BOOOOY
>>
Rolled 93 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5416357
>>
Rolled 4 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5416357
>>
>>5416358
>>5416415
>>5416434

"Farnese, my love. You said your return to your home would be your ultimate test of how much you had evolved from your past ways, to not crumble under troubling revelations is how you will show your resolve. I know you are hurting, but as you have shown before, you have accepted me in my lowest while waiting for my time to shine, there is no reason for either of us to despise you in your time of need."

"... But when have I helped you in such a fashion?" Farnese breaks out of her fetal position to stare at your spirit.
"Must I remind you that Casca and Cindy have been in your care when I cannot treat them? That you summoned a great ball of fire not to destroy, but to save?"

"Precisely, your debts with Vlad have been paid, as mine have been. You are as valuable to us as we to you."

"You were attentively learning every lesson from me, despite not knowing a thing about magic, you've let me shape you into the free spirit you were meant to be. You are already there, all you need to do is prove to your parents, break that image of the psychotic child they have instead of reverting back to it!"

Farnese remembers the baths you took, all the nights lost hoping your soul would not dissipate, healing you even with her lack of skill, holding you close worrying about hypothermia catching up to you.
Her fears and guilt would not go away with words of comfort, but the least she could do was focus on the approaching Pishaca aiming to bite at her throat.

Thankfully, Serpico donned his Sylph Sword and Cape to strike the window, slashing the class defurring the feline with envious precision.
"Cut your dress if you wish to fight, it's only getting more intense from here." You say before departing.
"Actually, I think I have an idea..." Farnese stares at the round bottom of her dress, wondering where her silver dagger could be.

Returning back to your body was a surprise, seeing as the first thing to great you were the open jaws of an orange tiger. Serpico and Hyde might have trained to defeat these monsters with ease, but the shock from being greeted with such a heavy pounce brought you to the great.

Such incredible strength... How about you borrow some of it?
Your right arm appeared to be almost breaking from supporting it's weight, but wit ha quick absorption of his Od, you eventually started to overpower the monster and spin it side ways. When it fell back onto it's belly, you punctured through it's brain, leaving it stuck inside there as the other monsters circled around you.

You would give the puncture power of your halberd any day over this stingy staff of a rapier...
>>
>>5416415
Boy howdy, now that’s a good roll.
>>
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>>5416489
>>5416489
Screw it, brute force it is! Just don't use your head or your left arm!

Stopping the tiger's heart with a punch, you almost feel your hand breaking as it causes internal bleeding to the carnivore enemy's skin, being countered from a pounce mid-air caused great damage to his ribcage.

Grabbing hold of a silver candelabrum, you push it deep inside the second Pishaca's burning heart, leaving it powerless to any sort of possession.

"How the hell is this possible!? It's taking the death of 3 men to take care of one tiger! Why can he fend off for himself without any armor or weapons?"

"Sounds like your knights aren't struggling enough!" Puck spooks Magnifico by making his best attempt at mimicking The Skull Knight.

"AAH!"

Your stance is admittedly more unorthodox than what Puck boasts it out to be, having to use the same hand to hold the candelabrum and throw silverware proves to be troublesome.

Thankfully, you remember from your drunken days that alcohol and fire don't go well together... for your enemies.

"I'll pay you back for this!" You knock over the barrels of drinks over to the felines with a quick that bursts the blisters on your feet, spilling over to the occupied entrance.

Shoving the lit candles onto the trail of flammable liquid, you watch them all attempt to escape the fire as the mist turns into smoke, greatly reducing the chances of more of them entering to attack the guests.

Though that did not stop one nasty cat to break through the window to devour you. Even if he is faster, your reaction speed warns you to dodge as long as you have the right timing.

The enemies jump right onto your makeshift weapon, making you spin him over with one hand as you take a bite out of his neck like he would have done to you.

You don't know how Barnham can withstand the taste of blood, but you've come to respect how he bites through his enemies.
You're not hungry, but he surely is...

>Put the fire out, your crew is about to enter.
>Let the fire spread, Ganishka will not enter this place in his cloud form if he turns into rain.
>Help the guests escape through the window.
>Look for Hyde, any damage fighting naked could be lethal.
>Search for the Kushan casters.
>Ask Puck to lend you his energy.
>>
>>5416513
>Ask Puck to lend you his energy.
Puck-Sama… forgive me, I must ask you to lend me your power!
>Put the fire out, your crew is about to enter.
If we let the fire grow, it could just end up causing structural integrity to fail, collapsing the roof and making everything below it fall on us. Which is a bad way to die imo.
>Help the guests escape through the window.
And then after that trial:
>Look for Hyde, any damage fighting naked could be lethal.
Hopefully Hyde can fend them off long enough for everyone to escape and us to back him up.
>>
>>5416513
>Ask Puck to lend you his energy.
>Look for Hyde, any damage fighting naked could be lethal.
I think once we get our hands on the trident, we can extinguish the fires pretty easily if need be.
>>
>>5416513
>>Ask Puck to lend you his energy.
>>Look for Hyde, any damage fighting naked could be lethal.
>>
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>>5416550
>>5416556
>>5416640

"Puck!" You remind him of the extra energy you can recover by snatching him for a moment to absorb his essence.
"Yaay! He remembered me!"

Seeing how you lacked any water sources to properly put out the fire, you instruct the guards to help the guests exit through the window while the Pishaca are distracted.

"What the hell did this guy go through in the last 3 years?"
"Did you forget who Char Santana was? Were it not for him and partially his son, the war of independence of Randel wouldn't have enough funds to even happen!"
"Now you're just overselling his parent's deeds."
"Can you blame me? Look at what he's doing!" A few of Randel's warriors applaud you in your efforts, perhaps thinking that you were a hero for your deeds.

"If you have time to flap your mouths, then you have the time to GET OUTTA HERE!" Puck shouts at the Randelians with a megaphone, ordering them to pay attention to the ones who need it as they all grew increasingly more aware of magic.

The shaking of the chandeliers prove to bring more harm than the fire as Barnham steps closer to the mansion, making everyone panic as they see what appears to be another Pishaca.

"What? Never seen a talking bear before?" The blue haired monster limits his power, taking a form that more resembles a human as he walks through the fire unphased.

"Long time no see, Vlad. Unfortunately for you, I cannot eat the fire for your friends to pass. However, a little girl told me to bring this."

You replace the candelabrum with the handle of the undine trident.
Are the undines really ready to be placed under command? You've grown anxious over the power of water elementals after they nearly brought you to your death, but perhaps it will be easier to do so if all you plan to do is to bring a medium sized fire down.

"Would you mind using whatever magic you have? I do not mind eating more to regenerate my body, but I would rather leave this place inside a cremation urn." Barnham complains as the fire catches on part of his fur.

>Roll a 1d100 to test your rebellious weapon.
>>
Rolled 59 (1d100)

>>5416885
LETS FUCKIN GOOOOOO
THE DREAM TEAM IS TOGETHER FOR THE BIGGEST KUSHAN BEATDOWN OF THE CENTURY
>>
Rolled 60 (1d100)

>>5416885
Dreamworks makes the team works. Or something.
>>
Rolled 27 (1d100)

>>5416885
>>
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>>5416905
>>5416919
>>5416941

"Undines, I require your assistance!" You hold your handle up to the fire pit, hoping that the lack of casters blocking your Od flow would ease your control.

The icy handle snaps in half, the head of one trident falling off into a weapon resembling a Sai, with it's watery spikes protruding and extending into a jet to put out the fire on your bad arm, with a regular ice trident working as usual.

With how the weapon constantly changes shape and form, it should come as no surprised that you can section parts of it to act in different properties.

"Looks like the party's already in full swing." Guts greets you with his dragonslayer out, shoving the cleanly cut half of a tiger down to his side as he passes through the smoke.

"This idiot behind me attempted to take a piece off my paw as I was passing by! Can you believe the audacity of this no-name hoodlum?! Were I not such a charitable and attentive leader, I would not have recognized Gunpowder riding the Caravan to prevent me from eating them all."

'Fuck you!' Gunpowder speaks what Guts doesn't feel like saying with his disdain for apostles.

"I don't remember seeing you during the eclipse, but an apostle is an apostle. When I'm through with these kitties, you're next on the list."

"Why would I waste my time attending a mediocre feast when I have food at home?" Barnham mocks the death of the Band Of The Falcon, calling their forces minuscule would they were to be absorbed by him.

"Why you piece of--"

"Guts, please! We are in no position of refusing help, even if it comes from such... horrendous creature." Schierke associates apostles with the overtaking of Flora's home, naturally despising them to a lesser extent than Guts.
"I'll be sure to visit you in your nightmares." The bear cut off his cheeks to form a permanent grin to scare off the witch girl.

"Sup! Guess what I got with me!" Isidro points to Roderick and his crew, who were saved from the Pishaca onslaught thanks to their arrival.

"They were surprisingly easy to tame." Cindy floats as she is carried by Casca's axe of the gnomes under her giant dress, with the unseen hand dancing to the tune of the magical bagpipes from Benny, who hopped around to tame and negate the hypnotism of the Kushan.

"Why do I have to stay under this dress?"
"Do I need to remind you of what happened last time you saw a few too many apostles?" Hyde drops down from Violet, having your armor in hand so you can do a quick change inside the Pegasus.

"That's more like it. Now I'm feeling like the Phantom Impaler people feared."
"You certainly seem to be better off than last time we met. Though not by a lot, friend." The Gladiator King greets you in a much warmer welcome than the rest of the group, still weary of the imminent tiger army behind them.
>>
>>5417009
Why is Barnham so BASED bros? I want to recover from the shit rolls this stupid undine trident caused us last thread so we can reach full power for real. If we fuck up again, I will vote to ditch these shit water spirits
>>
>>5417009
"I could say the same to you, your presence is larger than Zodd's at this point. I'm sure you would be able to defeat him in your unleashed form if you ate a few more of those tigers."

"That is the stump I have seemed to have found myself in: Vlad. Truth is, my power seems to have peaked."

"...What?"

"The God Hand members surely would have placed an artificial limit to prevent me from growing stronger by merely doing a bodily function. I do not feel changes from eating humans or animals aside from light regeneration. Even that has seemingly slowed down. Should I prevail as a predator, I shall eat my competition as well."

"Can you hurry? Benny is starting to lose his breath..." Cindy worries about her brother's comfort, despite the lower half already turning into trunks from the stressful situation she finds herself in.

"What's with the fancy dress? Was it just to Hyde the mandragora?"

"A girl values her appearance Vlad! This is her best chance at appearing fancy! Just see the graph!"

'Cindy: Unsophisticated, Uncool, uncool, unattractive.'
'Cynthia: Fancy, High Class, Fitting for the occasion.'

"Did you really have to call me uncool twice?" Cindy lowers her head after seeing Ivalera's scribbles.

"Violet should be able to find the casters." Hyde places the feather falling potion close to her mouth, should he ever need to drink it mid-flight.

"Luckily, Ganishka is here, and I know about his giant Behelit made out of apostles! He plans to ascend into a form past the demonic form he already has! And I believe a bite of someone much stronger than me is exactly what I need..."

"Not on my watch. I don't care if Vlad considers you a friend. No apostles are growing on my watch."
"Oh, like you would have the power to scratch me, cyclop! Your strength is comparable to how hard these youngsters worked for to earn their luxuries. Speaking of which..."

"I did more than just scratch you, freak!" Guts grumbles to himself as Barnham clacks his claws at Frederico.

"Your Holy Knights are doing well under my command, your excellency. It shows how much freedom they had in your city when they were walking failures with blades! Is this what you call celebratory!? Dancing and drinking while I have managed to reform my entire city to defend the citizens against the Dakas? I'll tell you when it's time to dance! When there are no heads left to squash on the field!" Barnham breaks the handle of the staircase before Frederico and Magnifico manage to escape, letting him hear what he thought of the aristocrats.

"I'm sure you are ready to deny the existence of magic and the one that threatens your life, but let it be known that the highest bidders of my gladiator ring came from YOUR circle! It's a shame I am a man of my world, otherwise I would have arrested them along with all the ones who failed to win or hand them my hard earned money!"
>>
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>>5417062
Guts aims a sword strike behind Barnham if he decides to start a carnage. Both of them are already fuming.

Barnham is admittedly not the best to solve conflicts who don't end in beatdowns, being the mediator of angels and devils, you approach the patriarch with a calm mind to deescalate their mood swings.

>Is this enough proof to convince you that neither I, or the Tudorian Silver Eyed Clan, meant any harm to Midland?
>Let him go, Barnham. Killing him would hardly resolve our problems. Let us save our energy to fight the real enemy approaching us.
>Do any of you have a problem with me asking for Farnese's hand in marriage in the near future. If so, feel free to speak your mind.
>You would serve better aligning yourself with Ilos than being stabbed in the back by Midland's soon to be king, that much I can guarantee.
>Why do you not recognize Serpico as your son? He deserves that much from serving you and Farnese.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5417069
>You would serve better aligning yourself with Ilos than being stabbed in the back by Midland's soon to be king, that much I can guarantee.
>Let him go, Barnham. Killing him would hardly resolve our problems. Let us save our energy to fight the real enemy approaching us.
and as an aside
>Guts. I know that Barnham's nature, both in flesh and personality, hits a sore spot for you...but I ask that you look past the hatred that the beast of darkness blinds you with. We can't afford for you to lose yourself to it again. And for you, Barnham...you would do well to respect Guts as you respect me. You'll see his strength and conviction soon enough. Despite being fully human without a shred of magic, he can outdo a great number of apostles in raw power.
>>
>>5417069
>Let him go, Barnham. Killing him would hardly resolve our problems. Let us save our energy to fight the real enemy approaching us.
>Do any of you have a problem with me asking for Farnese's hand in marriage in the near future. If so, feel free to speak your mind.
>You would serve better aligning yourself with Ilos than being stabbed in the back by Midland's soon to be king, that much I can guarantee.
>>
>>5417114
+1
>>
>>5417114
>>5417206
"Let him go, Barnham. Killing him would hardly resolve our problems. Let us save our energy to fight the real enemy approaching us. He will serve us best aligning with Ilos than being stabbed in the back by Midland's soon to be king, that much I can guarantee." Barnham takes a step back as he hears you speaking up. Though you had a few words to say to the swordsman behind you."

"Guts. I know that Barnham's nature, both in flesh and personality, hits a sore spot for you...but I ask that you look past the hatred that the beast of darkness blinds you with. We can't afford for you to lose yourself to it again."
"I have a will and consciousness of my own. If a monster pisses me off, there's a damn good reason for it. Asking me to be cordial to these monsters is like asking if I would like to have my teeth pulled. Do I need to say that my answer is no?"

You sigh, hoping the bear apostle would beg to differ.
"And for you, Barnham...you would do well to respect Guts as you respect me. You'll see his strength and conviction soon enough. Despite being fully human without a shred of magic, he can outdo a great number of apostles in raw power."

"If you say so. I'll be on the lookout for him in case he shows potential."
No can do, they're both as antagonistic as you can get...

"Anyway, do any of you have a problem with me asking for Farnese's hand in marriage in the near future. If so, feel free to speak your mind."
You hear Magnifico and Stanley clear their throat, but Roderick elbows the both of them.
Lady Vandimion approaches you the moment Serpico and Farnese reenter the room. The black sheep of the family having her dress torn and cut in the shape of incantation runes so she could use her magic while wearing the dress with a moveable magic field.

"It's become clear to me that you have much more value and love for my daughter than this sham of a husband I have. My blessing for you is absolute." Lady Vandimion sheds her wedding ring and hands it to you, moved by your courage."
"...Firstly, I shall thank you for saving all here present in this ballroom, It has become clear to me that this is not even closest to the hardest you've strained yourself for the sake of Farnese. I refused to call Serpico my son earlier, but that is because the foundation of how I raised my children left me dissatisfied of the results. They really came into their own due to the life experiences that a life being pampered and ignored by me could never offer."

"I am envious of the trust Farnese places in you, Santana. Not once did I ever see this within this mansion. Not for me, him or her brothers. For the Vandimions, such a trust could never exist..." Lady Vandimion turns over to her daughter and Serpico once they approach.

"No one ever paid you any heed. Being raised in solitude, you won it through the power of your desire. A blessing that only a lithe soul in disregard of her familial yoke could bring out."
>>
>>5417453
I hope Guts and Barnham can settle it in the ring, like Vlad and Barnham did. Roderick still proving to be the only sane and reasonable guy in the Vandimions, and Farnese's mom saying its OK for us to fuck her daughter is an amazing speech moment right here in front of everybody. Taking the ring off and giving it over while talking shit at the rest of the family, in full view of EVERY noble gathered in the ballroom, is a big political hit too
>>
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>>5417453
"It would be foolish to deny the use of magic or arcane tactics, seeing how even Farnese herself is accepting of the magical runes used by Tudorians. As much as I am grateful for the lives you've rescued from what was undoubtedly a Kushan assault. We shall abide by the law of our fallen kingdom: Which is why you and all of your group are hereby excommunicated from the holy city of Vritannis."

"What does excommunicated mean?" Isidro asks to Schierke, who after whispering her response, had to hold the red haired thief back so he did not climb upstairs to clobber Frederico.
"A brave answer to die for." Barnham cracked his knuckles, ready to decapitate the head Vandimion before he continued his thought process.

"However, I now understand the reason you struggled against our system was due to you being destined to create your own. And that is why we will recognize the independence of Ilos from Midland territory. Should I ever be put in a place to choose between you or the royal family, I know only one of them has saved the life of nobles and commoners alike with their mere presence."

The audience claps as a few remaining servants return with your family crest, keeping track of the blacklisted nobles to consider as dead or traitors, a replica of the pegasus emblem was placed on your armor, with Serpico and Farnese receiving them as well.

"I thank you all for this small celebration." Serpico bows. "With the freedom given by me by the wind of this earth, I shall help the pegasus take flight once again, no matter how clipped his wings were in the past."

Benny gasps for air, needing to stop his playing after losing control of his breath, but instead of shouting as the Pishaca turned to attack, they merely stared at nothing, signing that Violet managed to find the casters and kill them.

Casting a spell to freeze them solid, Schierke solved the problem and decided to approach you with a ring of her own to consider.

"I have learned how to use familiars, Vlad! I realized after the incident at the shore that we need better measures for enemies of the flesh. Though these are impromptu, the braided ring can summon several thorn snakes. Given how you're part plant yourself, I am curious to see the synergy you and Farnese could have" She winks, making you wonder which ring should you choose.

This would feel somewhat childish, wouldn't it? Here you are being congratulated as the Santana name can finally be recognized as an honorable title, and you're going to give Farnese what appears to be a toy ring compared to the diamond one handed by Lady Vandimon?

>Hand Farnese her mother's ring.
>Hand Farnese Schierke's familiar ring.
>It's too soon to engage, you can save that for a later date.
>>
>>5417467
Wait why are we talking right now? isn't Ganishka on the way here? Barnham showed up, and we killed the big tigers, but aren't there more enemies outside? What's with all the exposition in this situation?
>>
>>5417467
>Hand Farnese Schierke's familiar ring.
The plant ring from us, the Vandimion ring from her. A fitting exchange.
>>
>>5417485
All in due time, anon. We just need to get the politics out of the way for the bossfight to start, not like it will take much longer, anyway.
>>
>>5417467
>Hand Farnese her mother's ring.
Farnese can have the diamond ring, and Vlad can have the familiar ring. They can become a pair of non matching rings that match their personalities. Plus, the familiar ring has the best potential to work for Vlad since he is plant man.
>>
>>5417069
>Take them....
"I thank you for returning me my family crest. It means much for me."
"Schierke that's quite useful my compliments for creating it in such a quick manner. But tell me do you think we could use this diamond has a powerful catalyst for Farnese magic ? I have never tried any runes on gems and rings, their rarity and quality was out of my reach for quite sometime. But i could see the creation of a far more powerful ring with the combination of this two, and i wouldn't want anything less for my future wife."
"Ordering this thorns to intertwin around the vandimion ring, should be something we can accomplish. Now."

what about some magical crafting time? just an idea really, if we can't i will consider it null.
//
we haven't make secrets that we are a sorcerer so i don't see problems of talking about magic.
excommunication ? funny, i think Hyde would want to say some words about our supposed "heresies".
>>
>>5417485
the moment requires it, and we should take the opportunity now. We have clean up outside enough for talking for sometime, we will take command shortly over the soldiers and knights of the Vandimion, and ensure we can take out any other Kushan monsters, magicians and soldiers present around the city.
>>
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>>5417486
>>5417502
>>5417506
"Schierke, do you think we could use this diamond has a powerful catalyst for Farnese magic? I have never tried any runes on gems and rings, their rarity and quality was out of my reach for quite sometime. But i could see the creation of a far more powerful ring with the combination of this two, and i wouldn't want anything less for my future wife." Ivalera and Farnese visibly blush, noticing how the soon to be Farnese Santana is already being recognized as your fiancée.

"Oh, likewise! Though I lack the time to do it right now, we could always make it reflect the light of the Od strikes you are able to do. Perhaps at a later date I can let you create elementals of your own rather than spawns of mandragorans, but I believe this should suffice for now." Schierke takes the two rings together and places some thorns on the diamond ring.

"What is that child doing with mother's ring?"
"Given how little regards Mother has for Father now, she could likely care less for it."

Her mother's ring should hold more sentimental value than a ring made out of thorns. Handing the diamond one to Farnese, you prepare a speech for her...
"I thank you for returning me my family crest. It means much for me."

...Damn it, did it really have to be now? You were prepared for a fight, not an emotional encounter.

"Look at any child, and you will remember your own childhood days, Farnese. Think of the child, that survived in your oh so grown-up self. If she is still with us, could you tell me if she is proud of yourself, if she could ever hope to find herself in this situation."

"Within this cage of a building, she realized that this isn't the place she wished to return, but simply where her journey started a long time ago. Her time to visit has passed. It's time to move on, that is all." She wears the ring as you do yours, proudly holding your hand.

"How can you be so accepting of your daughter's heresy, your excellency?"
"In such a public display, no less."
A few detractors of Vritannis seem to voice their complaints, with Randel's soldiers being quick to defend you.

"What does it matter to you? If Ilos is not Midland territory, you're free to disagree."
"But did you see those illusions? Were they to be real, it would cause a shockwave that would forever change the landscape of the world."

"Sounds like inventing divorce is not the only thing Vlad will be remembered for!" Puck chuckled before a gust of wind pushed him to the window.

The mist coming from the released monsters soon turned into the shape of a mustache, the face of the Kushan Emperor formed as it obscured the chandeliers.

"ILLUSIONS, YOU SAY? HEAR ME, INFIDELS! I AM EMPEROR GANISHKA OF THE GREAT KUSHAN EMPIRE! MY DECLARATION OF WAR WILL BE THE START OF YOUR NEVERENDING NIGHTMARE THIS EVENING!"
>>
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>>5417525
"ANOTHER ONE?" Though he was informed of who Ganishka was, Guts would not bear to witness two apostles freely walking upon him without readying his blade.

"Ah, Ganishka. I was hoping for you to show your cotton shaped face here! Are you ready to be consumed by one that matches your power? " Barnham starts his speech, but seeing how Ganishka was only there to warn the people and successfully make them panic, he quickly dispersed in the direction of the sea.

"There can only be a great army if it is led by Barnham The Great! COME BACK HERE!" The bear roars, transforming into his unleashed state to look for his nemesis' location.

"Hopefully they kill each other..." Guts grits his teeth.

"Sonia was indeed right... The Dakas have infested the city! Not even the port is safe, Makaras and crocodile Pishaca have surrounded the area.

"We can still get you all onto my battleship if the path is cleared off."
"No hard feelings?" You ask Roderick, surprised to see him smiling as Magnifico whispers to him.
"But what of our plan, Rod? I thought you wished to become powerful."

"Vlad has shown me you should always aim higher. Like he has said before, there are more powerful entities in Midland that could aid me politically. However, I would like to study and hear about Lord Griffith before deciding on whether I should compete with him and Ganishka for Charlotte's hand." Roderick boldly claims to wish for Charlotte's hand instead.

"You, taking Charlotte from Griffith?" Guts laughs. "Good luck with that, the last people who went after the royal family ended with their heads buried before their bodies.

"Ah, so you know about The Band Of The Hawk's leader? I would not mind listening to your stories...?"

"Guts."
"It'll be interesting to learn with you, Guts. I can only hope the women and children do not mind being in a warship."
"Thanks, you're exactly the type of captain we need for now."

"I don't want to be anywhere near this scandal when it picks up steam! Do you mind if I come with you, old pal?"

"Sure. Ys is in neutral terms with Midland, either way. I hardly doubt we are obligated to participate in the war.

"Let's get out of here, then. The living commanders can lead the civillians into the administration buildings." Serpico explains.
>>
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>>5417563
"Excuse me, did you just say something about Griffith's old Band?" A Midland officer blocked Guts' path before he could walk out the door. "I am Owen of Midland's Toumel Knights. Your appearance is considerably different than previously, but I still remember you."

Guts appears to be frozen solid by someone recognizing him after denouncing Griffith's path.

"Yes, I saw you several times on the battlefield, in fact. Guts, was it? Would you happen to know where Griffith is?"

"No. Nor do I wish to. We're in the middle of things, so please stop--"
"You do not wish to know!" Casca interrupts Guts' dismissive attitude by appearing from under Cindy's dress, daring to approach Guts as her trauma was starting to recede onto her anger.

"He has annihilated his band! Done irreparable damage to the few who have escaped his grasp! All for the sake of another chance to be king! Do not trust that wretched monster! He is as evil and as conniving as the rumors of his revival would have you believe!"

Casca, the one who once trusted him the most, shows all her disdain by spreading more controversy upon Griffith's already soiled name. Should her vote count for anything, it will be to add weight onto your name thanks to her opposition.

"I do not wish to turn into a noble like before, I do not even wish to live upon Midland, All I want, is to outlive that --" The rash of the mandragora boils her skin, making Cindy touch her by the way of the unseen hand, telling her to calm down before she turned into the nearly undead transformation she sees in the cheery artisan.

"...Right." Casca helps her leave thanks to her nearly paraplegic state.
"Take care." Guts leaves without saying another word.

All is ready for you to fight with the Daka army. How will you approach the fight until the pier?

>Do your best to follow Barnham, you can help him fight Ganishka if he needs.
>On the front lines clearing the way with Guts and Gunpowder.
>Opening a pathway with Serpico and Hyde.
>Aiding on the backline with Farnese and Schierke.
>Saving nearby citizens with Benny and Isidro.
>Make sure Casca and Cindy don't prematurely turn into more monsters to kill.
>>
>>5417575
>Make sure Casca and Cindy don't prematurely turn into more monsters to kill.
>Saving nearby citizens with Benny and Isidro.
Defend those who can’t defend themselves.
>>
>>5417575
>Saving nearby citizens with Benny and Isidro.
>Make sure Casca and Cindy don't prematurely turn into more monsters to kill.
We have a city to save it seems

Tell all nobles and knights present in the hall to go and equip themselves, there is a battle ahead and people to protect.
Once the city is cleaned up we could rejoin with Barnham, i would prefer to not see the city of our wife burning because of the Kushan. Trade with it would make Ilos stronger, besides we would gain a reputation for attract more people to our ranks.

Telepathically say to our group and Barnham to keep an eye in case of the falcons arrival. Only a fool wouldn't use an opportunity for destroy two enemies fighting each other, and gain the glory of being a savior instead of a conqueror.
>>
>>5417607
+1
>>
>>5417607
Good ideas. I support that we do these too.
>>
>>5417584
>>5417607
>>5417628
Well then, time for the rolls! Let's see if you can teach the newbies how to go together

Isidro's surely been picked a lot for these missions, guess it's important to train the younger generation.
A 1d100 to look cool while saving the kids
>>
Rolled 70 (1d100)

>>5417731
>>
>>5417575
>>Make sure Casca and Cindy don't prematurely turn into more monsters to kill.
>Saving nearby citizens with Benny and Isidro.
>>
Rolled 26 (1d100)

>>5417731
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>5417731
check 'em
>>
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>>5417761
>>5417817
>>5417874

Saying goodbye to Stanley as he responded with 'Good Riddance!' you've left him with the paper work as you exited to place your trust in the undines.

Splitting the trident into a primary and secondary weapon to use at the same time proved to be a good idea, with the wetting of the floor with the water torrents, you managed to prevent any fire from spreading by the lanterns and by Isidro's salamander knife.

Picking up the neat little trick you did to ignite the ballroom entrance after you told him what to do, you've dispersed a few meters away from Guts as he cleanly took out several of the approaching Dakas in one swell strike.

"Isn't there a way for you to control the fire?"
"Isn't there a way for you to control the water?!" Isidro responds as he throws a bomb from Guts' arsenal. And for once, he's right.

Spreading the alcohol around the monsters, you manage to make a line of fuel for Isidro to ignite, sending your enemies to the fires of hell before even getting close to the houses. All you had to do later was bring water from the pier and crash the waves onto it to clear the way for the citizens to escape to where the army was heading.

The water puddles still find a way to be useful, as you can turn the droplets of water into stalactites and growing frost icicles with the remote commands of the undines.

"The water spirits are a lot calmer today." Puck compliments them for not killing you this time.
"Guess any further mistakes are on me then."
"A-A-A-are we going to save everyone on the city?" Benny asks, failing to do his songs as he trembles from fear.

"Damn, you're even more useless than Farnese when she started out!" Isidro rolls over him and strikes his scimitar at the Daka about to impale the stammering musician. "We're good, but we can't be in two places at once!"

"B-B-but it's not fair to those being killed!"
"You wanna play fair? Make sure you can at least walk without stumbling on your feet!" Isidro sweeps Benny by his feet, baiting the Kushan monster to go after him before Puck blinded them with a flash:

"Puck Spaaaark!"
The shining little elf gives Isidro ample time for you to spin on your heels and swipe them all on the floor, making the ice freeze their faces and impale their heads as it grew from within.

All of this without even using your Od strikes or worsening your wounds, all hail the power of team composition.

Reading the Od of Guts and the crew, you can clearly notice them walking past the storehouses. The best routes available are to run after them before the enemies circle you again, or try your own route by walking to the closer alleyway that would trace you into a shortcut

Given Benny's stumpy legs and the risk of drawing the attention of more enemies lying ahead, you have half a second to ponder on the better option.

>Into the alleyway.
>Cross the storehouses.
>Neither, freeze the lake and try walking on water.
>>
>>5418002
>Cross the storehouses.
I can't help but feel death vibes from the lake and the alleyway.
The alley is too difficult to escape if we get enemies on both sides - or worse, through the buildings that make up the walls of the alley.
The lake is a big risk with the semi-unreliable undines and the aquatic pishaca all around.
At least if we cut a direct path to them in the open, we'll be able to clearly see and react to everything coming our way.
>>
>>5418002
>Cross the storehouses.
>>
>>5418002
>>Cross the storehouses.
>>
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>>5418064
>>5418233
>>5418386
1d100, let's try to get everyone to the boat chapters already!

Don't worry, it won't take over 5 years here!
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>5418553
Why do I suddenly hear idolmaster music?
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>5418553
HELP ME DICEMAN AAAAHHHH
>>
Rolled 72 (1d100)

>>5418553
nat 1
>>
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>>5418577
>>5418590
>>5418618
"No choice but to run after them! Isidro, can you carry Benny on you?"

"Not for long-- oof!" Benny straddles Isidro's back before he could get ready, almost tumbling over, but his scrawny weight and lanky build makes it easier for him to carry him.

"Then come with me!" Picking up Puck and placing him on your shoulder for added energy, you run up against the approaching wave of Daka riding on top of the Pishaca, his weapons being a weird mix of a two headed spear with a shield handle.

Intersecting their path, you go straight past them by extending your trident, impaling the tigers that stay in front of you and turning them to frost the moment they make contact, the added impact to the following Pishacas can effectively topple down the following Daka mounts as the frozen enemy breaks on top of the living ones, shattering into pieces to let your trident be left clean to impale more of them!

"YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FROM ME FOREVER, GANISHKA!" You can hear Barnham shout to the sea as he dodges the electrifying sparks from the Kushan shaped cloud in the skies, unable to reach him without jumping onto the water and drowning.

Down to the marketplace, you observe the dead carcass of the working class vritannians being mauled and eaten by the products of Ganishka's invention, a group of a regular family could hold no chance against a single one of them, let alone the onslaught that invaded them.

Yet what made you weary was the enemy that appeared as you managed to catch up with the rest of the crew, feeling the presence of the enemy that almost killed you a few days prior, you tell Isidro to get down as a Makara obstructs your path by passing through a building.

"ANOTHER ONE? HOLY HELL! IT WANTS REVENGE FROM HIS FRIEND!"
"I don't think I'm ready for a round two..." You grimace despite Isidro's eagerness.
"That's a few too many sucks for the day..." Puck floats to the ground, worn out from the two waves of energy you took from him.

"Leave the big guys to me, I've spent too long without a good fight." Guts readies his sword, ready to dish his anger from leaving an apostle alive by tearing that enemy to shreds.
"Guts, are you sure you can--"
"Yes, if it comes down to it, you can just do your thing." Guts is not worried about the Berserker Armor's activation, claiming that Schierke could bring him back to sanity.

>There is strength in numbers, help everyone fight the mounted Dakas.
>The Makara will awaken the beast inside Guts, let's even the odds by fighting alongside him.
>Freeze the Makara's trunk, it won't expel water that way.
>Fire a soul arrow though it, piercing it's muscles would take too long.
>Check if you have any seeds left to plant to obstruct your enemies's path.
>Time to see what the familiar ring can do.
>Test your astral projection with Farnese and Schierke.
>Something else.
>>
>>5418712
>Fire a soul arrow though it, piercing it's muscles would take too long.
>Check if you have any seeds left to plant to obstruct your enemies's path.
>Time to see what the familiar ring can do.
Stack the debuffs with our items, then fire the soul arrow. Physical attacks did not work well last time so we should try to keep a distance this time and slow it down with the seeds, and familiar ring can draw its focus by fighting with the familiars instead of us, for long enough to charge a sufficiently powerful soul arrow.
>>
>>5418726
support

we can freeze his water later, this should still damage him seriously.
>>
is a shame vritannians are getting killed left and right, damned kushan. At the very least this is becoming more a battle than an outright massacre, if the vandimion soldiers can be inspired it might not be all lost.
>>
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>>5418726
>>5418775
Alright, a 3d100 should do it, so long as one of these is very effective you shouldn't worry too much about the other rolls!
Let's see how we do it in the rematch against this stupid water elephant goes!

Roll away!
>>
Rolled 77, 77, 23 = 177 (3d100)

>>5418848
Triple hundo, go!
>>
Rolled 55, 83, 73 = 211 (3d100)

>>5418848
here goes

>>5418852
nice double 77
>>
Rolled 39, 5, 21 = 65 (3d100)

>>5418848
godly rolls
>>
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>>5418852
>>5418853
>>5418882

Brandishing the ring against the light refracting from your eyes, you expel whatever magical force could be contained inside the ring.

The thorn snakes appeared in larger size and quantity than the ones brought by Schierke thanks to your affinity with the earthly spirits, sending them out to constrict and bite at the Makara, your venomous thorn familiars were also secreting a paralyzing poison from it's thorns, making sure the monster would not move as Guts spun and tore through it's insides.

"The Vlad and Guts duo are back, baby!" Ivalera pumps you up.

"Not so tough when I'm with my armor, are you?" You aim a soul arrow at the creature, charging a clean shot before warning Guts what you would aim it right at the bastard's forehead.

Despite your soul being able to dematerialize part of it's brain, your beast of an enemy was still struggling to be set free. Were it not for Guts bisecting a piece of it's trunk and ripping it off by sheer strength of his pull, it would have repeated the same misfortunate blow that left you incapacitated in the last full moon.

"A sturdy one, aren't you?
"He can be as sturdy as he wishes. I have yet to see a creature who can survive without it's head." Guts readies the blackpowder in his arm cannon, with you having a mischievous idea.

"Catch this!" You take out one the seeds from your body, wrongfully missing the throw thanks to launching it at Guts with your weaker arm, but before it could hit the ground and be lost in the bodies, several thorn snakes were materialized, originating from your own body as some sort of parasite.

The vision of a controllable mesh of man and plant does not give you fond memories...

Regardless, they manage to spread and spill their thorns to Guts, who adds it as ammo so you can burst the Makara and use it's remnants as the fertilizer of his grave.

The ringing of your ears manages to deafen even the steps of the Dakas past the docks, forcing the beat of your heart to keep it's rhythm as the Makara finally falls.

"Steal the show from me, why don't you? You might have grown, but I'm still #1 when it comes to battle skill." Guts takes his victory in stride as you reunite with your crew to pass to the boat.
"I've been fighting with Handicaps for so long, I'm starting to consider them part of my style!" You laugh in return, despite fumbling your steps from internal bleeding.

Despite seemingly being pushed back at the start, the numbers of the Kushan army are entirely focused on the pier. Since Barnham has gathered close to Ganishka, they reside right next to him, even taking some distance, given how they have learned of his regenerating nature.

The Hundred Man Slayer title might be feasible to you nowadays. Thousand Daka Anhilator? Not so much. Even with all your comrades contributing to the fight and in good condition, for the most part, passing through this army through conventional means is off the drawing board.
>>
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>>5419028
"That's one hell of a path to slip in through with the fog and all..." Roderick retracts into the group, not so sure of his chances."

"What now then, captain?"
"If anyone here has a plan, speak up before I procede with mine..."

"Farnese and I still have yet to try the summoning of spirits here, but the voices of the spirits are nearly unintelligible with all this chaos!"

"The one spirit present was already summoned when I had to save Vlad, he would hardly answer twice to such a selfish magic user..."

Returning from his flight with Violet once more, Hyde proposes an Idea.

"There! 'ese lazy ass workers at Vritannis wasted all their budget on the palaces. I know a shoddy woodwork when I see one. If I unload all I got onto that structure, it'll fall down with most of their army there!"

"But how are we getting inside the ship, doofus?" Casca asks, staring at the window from where Hyde was pointing.

'Gunpowder can get you there' The black horse risks the life of the remaining horse on the carriage by implying he could jump from here to Roderick's ship if all got inside the Pegasus.

"The only risk aside from dying in the water, is that I'll be defenseless against the other two giants fighting here should they come our way."

"Vlad?" Guts knows you have something in your mind to propose.

"I suppose I could try to convince Gunpowder to cover for us, but he's not one to work with a team."

"That's fine. He will hardly miss a target that big." Guts gets ready to cleave through Dakas until he sees red, letting the beast of darkness take hold of his body for the sake of letting you all pass.

"WHAT ARE YOU, INSANE? WHAT IF THEY CAN'T BRING YOU BACK?!" Casca brings her head out the Caravan despite her heart palpitating whenever staring directly into his eyes.

"We have three people here who can bring me back."

"Do you hold no regard to yourself? This is your life we're talking about!" Schierke tears up, knowing that the damage to his lower torso is already irreversible, he could not take much more traumas if he lost his way.

>Stick with Guts' plan, you will bring him back in case he turns.
>Attempt to summon a distant spirit with your magical allies.
>Contact Barnham and call him over.
>Let Violet and Gunpowder bring the pier down.
>Push through with all your combined efforts and hope you can make it on foot.
>Suggest another plan.
>>
>>5419054
>I have an idea. The Kushan sorcerers create these Pishaca with spirits, and control the mind of the animal while it's so possessed. If we can sever the connection of the caster, we may be able to repurpose the spirit - or the Pishaca themselves, depending on how things go - to aid us. A sudden reversal of the heavy hitters of the enemy forces would cause chaos among their ranks, and the aquatic ones could easily bear us to the ship. Of course, the actual magic work would be made easier if the casters were distracted, if not outright being assaulted. That being said...
>Let Violet and Gunpowder bring the pier down.
>Ask Barnham to see if he can sniff out the casters.

That's my comprehensive plan. Can't let Barnham get TOO close to us if Guts is going under, but overall seems like it'd be fairly effective.
And hey, talking to Kalki was totally worthwhile since we learned from him that these animals have perfectly usable spirits in them.
>>
>>5419115
>support
>>
>>5419115
+1 sounds like a solid plan. Worth a shot!
>>
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>>5419115
>>5419215
>>5419221
It is one hell of a plan, one that requires the coordination of the team!

3d100+10, power of friendship prevents you from critfailing! let's do it!
>>
Rolled 70, 71, 61 + 10 = 212 (3d100 + 10)

>>5419244
I have no friends. See?
>>
Rolled 94, 69, 68 + 10 = 241 (3d100 + 10)

>>5419244
>>
Rolled 98, 76, 54 = 228 (3d100)

>>5419244
DIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE
>>
>>5419257
Ah I forgot to add the +10. My bad, everyone just imagine I did.
>>
>108, 86, 78
Not bad rolls gentlemen, not bad at all.
>>
>>5419294
Perhaps we truly can turn the tides of Causality...
>>
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>>5419253
>>5419252
>>5419257
Coordinating your plan with Barnham, the apostle manages to hear your plead, but appears to have his arms tied.

"Can't say I feel the presence of any casters on the pier, they're likely disguising their scents with the saltwater... But for now, I'm too busy holding Ganishka off!"

"That's fine, keep him at bay!" You signal for Hyde to fire away as everyone enters the Caravan, nearly breaking as the space became too tight for anyone else to move an inch.

As the Od flow of your enemies become closer, your perception of them is muddled by the countless explosions as Hyde fires Rickert's cannon several times in a row. Giving you enough of a signal to run as fast as possible.

The dakas aren't blind, they can see the trajectory of the explosions and would easily jump away from the pier, were it not for Farnese and Schierke's aid in possessing and confusing several of the tiger Pishacas. Fighting against their own mount, they lose too much time hurting their own troops and are powerless to move away from Gunpowder's speeding assault. Every bump and crash into the road is enough to nearly break the arm of the people inside the caravan.

As the ground turns to smithereens, Gunpowder manages to jump in a small arc empowered by Serpico's sylph spirits, doing their best to glide all into the next ship. You are forced to summon additional stalagmites to push The Pegasus forward, and that's still not enough for it to stick the landing.

The Caravan is destroyed as it hits the side of the ship, the opening made on it's side is enough to send the Kushan galleass into a quick sinking. The only one's who appeared to have been damaged are...

"Cindy!" Benny cries out to his sister who went unconscious shortly after the crash.

...Is she starting to turn?"

"Y-Y-You can't die here, sis! W-e-w-w-e are so close to escaping!--"
"Leave her to me!" Carrying the axe that changes the weight of the others, Casca finally steps up to form a pathway mid-air with the earth elementals before the ship could sink. "How far are we from your ship, Roderick?"

"A few more north, and we can reach it, though since it's so close to that cloud monster, I'm not sure if--"

Before the captain of Ys could voice his worries, over 10 Makara surrounded the ships as you've realized the ship you crashed into was the one belonging to the casters of Ganishka's army.

"The conqueror of the seas shall not be the savages who dare to destroy our nation. Though your different teachings and learning of magic negation is intriguing, my duty is not to study, but to halt you." A floating caster with his hair wrapped in a turban remains in a meditating position above the ship as his crew evacuates, cornering you from escaping in any directions.
>>
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>>5419558
"Are you the one responsible for the attack on the shore a few days earlier?" You prevent yourself from panicking, raising your weapon at him as you are the only one able to understand his Kushan speech by reading of intent.

"Perhaps. You still have much to learn of magic against the Pishaca Leader Paramarisha Sen'ani' Daiba."

Guts is the first one to defend the group from the attacks of the Makaras, being pummeled by it's trunks and water sprays as he manages to partially block it's damage with his greatsword.

As one of them body slams itself onto the sinking ship, Guts appears to be crushed under the weight of the whale-elephant hybrid, seemingly dying as blood rises from the spot he sank from.

"GUUUUTS!" Your group collectively shouts for him as you feel the presence of his life force.

Though he is not dead, you wonder if that would be the better outcome, as opposed to the beast of darkness finally awakening.

"AAAAAAAAAAARGH!" The roar of the wolf spawn is audible as he springs from the water, walking up one of the Makaras as the dragonslayer drags itself through it's skin, easily killing it off as he brings himself back onto the boat.

"Amazing! Why did he not do this before?" Roderick mistakes the berserker armor's display of strength with Guts'.

"It's not something we should be celebrating. As soon as he runs out of enemies to defeat..."

"We gon' be 'is target." Hyde completes Serpico's sentence, aware that his bloodthirst isn't barred by who bleeds.

"How unfathomable! The chief of the Pishaca, slaughtered with ease by just a lone swordsman? A Makara is able to sink tens of warships by itself! Though by wrapping yourself with the Prana of Durga, I can hardly call yourself a mere swordsman..."

With one member of your team already being down, you have little time to ask for Ivalera for extra energy to heal whatever injuries Gunpowder and the others have from the por landing as The beast makes quick work of the remaining Makaras.

The thought of Daiba doing something to the waters the moment Casca decides to make her dirt bridge is not lost on you...

>Let her make the bridge, you'll deal with Daiba if he attacks.
>Preemptively block his Od flow.
>Ask Schierke and Farnese to appeal to Guts' humanity.
>Fire your Od arrows at the caster to distract him.
>Something else.
>>
>>5419607
>Preemptively block his Od flow.
>Ask Schierke and Farnese to appeal to Guts' humanity.
>>
>>5419607
>>Preemptively block his Od flow.
>Let her make the bridge, you'll deal with Daiba if he attacks.
>>
>>5419607
>>Preemptively block his Od flow.
>Let her make the bridge, you'll deal with Daiba if he attacks.
>>
>>5419607
>Preemptively block his Od flow.
>Let her make the bridge, you'll deal with Daiba if he attacks.
>>
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>>5419742
>>5419748
>>5419769
>>5419790
The power of the dice compels you, a1d100 to be on the lookout for Daiba's spells, hopefully he can't overwhelm Vlad with a trick he doesn't now.

Keep it up boys!
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>5420031
80+ only
>>
Rolled 30 (1d100)

>>5420031
Man, Guts is so fucked.
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>5420031
May the purity of our od overwhelm him.
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>5420031
>>
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>>5420053
>>5420056
>>5420059
Blocking the flow of Od from Daiba, he attempts to cast whirlpools while Guts is stuck dealing with Makaras on a sinking ship. As the remaining kushan soldiers jump in the water to prevent going down with their carrier, Guts' animalistic instincts prevents the monster from capitalizing on any mistakes, his reaction time being amplified tenfold as the blows from the monster's gigantic weights do not even make him flinch.

Casca tries her best to ignore her dying lover. making a pile of sand to float in the sky as the caster is confused as to why he can't summon whirlpools to add on the onslaught against Guts, which was eventually starting to turn the tides on the monsters by already taking down two other of the possessed whales by the time you loo back at him.

Making extra effort to carry Cindy, you manage to arrive at Roderick's titled ship: The Seahorse.

"Are we ready to depart?"
"Not without him... It's hard to maintain an Od flow blocked when I am walking away from them. Also, I believe the Kushan ship is already destroyed. Guts will drown unless we get there in time. Schierke, can you--"

You directed your voice to the witch child, who was already unconscious. Her spirit had departed to the other world as soon as she stepped onto the ship, using Farnese's dress as a make shift circle to enter Guts' spirit inside the armor, attempting to make him have the force of the berserker while still keeping his mind intact.

"Flying in the sky is our thing! Serpico, are we really gon' let this man steal our show?"
"I was about to ask you the same thing, hunting partner." Serpico ponders on whether it's worth to take flight, seeing as how Hyde was out of blackpowder, and someone still needed to stay in the boat to protect it from any further attacks.

>Send Hyde and Serpico.
>Guts can do this, let's stay here and hold our position.
>That's what your soul double is for, you can be in two places at once while attacking.
>Ask Roderick if his crew can move the ship closer to Daiba.
>Ask Roderick if his crew can move the ship closer to Ganishka.
>>
>>5420376
>Send Hyde and Serpico.
We have to focus on maintaining this block. Always cuck the spellcaster.
>>
>>5420376
>>Send Hyde and Serpico
go my boys
>>
>>5420376
>Send Hyde and Serpico.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xYXUeSmb-Y
>>
I wonder if Daiba is impressed yet with Vlad's magical proficiency.
>>
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>>5420397
>>5420486
>>5420552
>>5420565
Not long after being sent to Guts' aid, the duo combine their power and mastering of the air and wind. Standing on Violet's back as Hyde skillfully maneuvered her over the Makara hoses, the bloody chunks thar Guts was flinging upwards, and now the whirlpools forming a liquid path into the skies, defying gravity itself as they were forced to jump and twirl respectively to dodge the inhuman barrage of blow against them.

Hyde and Serpico nodded to each other, each one of them combining their attacks as Hyde threw them in a far off direction, only to be redirected at twice the speed in odd directions to gravitate towards Daiba.

As the whirlpools closed onto them, the sylphs made sure that the circular waves were cut spilled into regular waves, Daiba had a hard time even dodging the attacks, not used to his Od gates being blocked with such inconsistency.

By the time the 5th Makara goes down, Guts is already drowning thanks to a lack of leveraging platforms to stand on. Though thanks to a precise shot from the flying hunter's sling, the caster fell on top of a Makara, sliding off into the sea water as Hyde had struck a nerve on his nape with enough force to paralyze his body for a few brief moments.

As the Makaras began to revert to their whale forms, you pondered if the attack had finally done Daiba in. Being an old man such as himself, he should not be able to take more damage than a few rightfully placed pellets onto his body...

"Among thee are several experts of magic. No doubt taught by the human with inhuman Od in your group..." Your heart skips a beat when he telepathically enters your mind and your thoughts, speaking to the entirety of your team.

"Very few life forms can life in the bottom of the deep blue, be it plant, fish, or amphibians. Though all of us need water as a nutrients, fighting the balance of Varuna is deadly to any who attempt to compare themselves to the gods of the sea."

Daiba rises from the water with a new monster in his possession, one that resembled a gigantic eel the size of entire fleets.

"A commendable effort indeed, plant human, all of those spells without a single summoning circle or incantation in sight, no less. Although your dominance of the earthly spirits is undeniable, the Kundalini is my strongest pishaca Gana. Your harmony with the water is but a drop in the ocean compared to my extensive submarine army."
>>
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>>5420602

Feeling the life force of a Kundalini, you are mesmerized by he inner workings of this ethereal eel: The giant water snake you see in front of you is nothing but a proxy. All the Od seems to be expelled by a smaller zygote slithering outside of it's own projected form.

Advising Schierke and Guts to redirect their efforts there, their failed attempts at killing the smaller creature result in them being absorbed by their body through osmosis, drowning mid-air as the kundalini created a whirlpool inside of itself.

Amidst this nearly incomprehensible fight, the Makaras being to reform. With Daiba's mastery of Kushan magic being so great, he could likely maintain his control of the eel and the remaining 6 Makara simultaneously.

Sepico floats down on top of an unsuspecting whale mob as they all approached to collectively smashed and pummeled at Guts and Schierke inside the wall of water. Were it not the maws of the armor gnawing onto his skin and muscles, Guts would surely be dead.

Most worryingly, While Hyde was attempting to strike Daiba with his heavy flask and Violet's fierce talons, One Makara seemingly managed to sneak away as it detoured close to Roderick's ship.

"What?! Just because you lost your ship, doesn't mean you get to take ours!" Magnifico shouts as Farnese injects Cindy with the serum, wanting her to retain her humanity as Roderick pretended not to see the woman's wrist turning brown like the wood of his Seahorse.

Shooting his cannons with force so loud you were barely able to hear your thoughts, his sailors attempted to defend themselves against the oncoming destroyer of warships. Isidro ran out of bombs to throw as the monster approached the iron balls that mostly bounced off it. Neither of the three fighters at sea could draw back in time to protect their vehicle.

Casca's swings with the Gnome Axe only slightly inconvenienced the Makaras, though the mud could slow it down if it covered it's entire body, half a ton of sand would not do much other than slow it down.

Nearly being completely scorched from Ganishka's repeated attack with no means of retaliation, Barnham made a jump to reach the skies, busting his kneecaps as he attempted to disperse Ganishka's mirage from the clouds with his own nails, seemingly hitting a spot that made the Kushan Emperor scream louder than the cannon bursts as he electrocuted the gladiator king with his most potent lightning boats. Though the fat from his burly body made him able to float between the waves, the exhausted Ganishka appeared to make Barnham unable to move, remaining victorious thanks to his range.

"The breaking waves are said to crush stones. if that power is bundled to a point like a needle, it is able to bisect even diamonds. Much like the reign of the Kushan, water can't be cut." Daiba warns you all as Guts tries his best to hit the Kundalini eel while spinning and drowning inside of it.
>>
>>5420646
"The foes of the west have reincarnated apostles that can withstand my strikes! Perhaps you would have done best revolting against the Falcon of light, instead of drawing your fangs against me in a solo duel, furry fighter!" Ganishka's form appears to be fading in and out of view despite his boasting, signaling that perhaps, a tactical retreat would be done before he was capable of bringing you to ruin.

Though you could not count on his mercy, seeing as all of you were in very delicate circumstances with the slightest miscalculations resulting in your demise.

Some of your comrades were already passing away before that, if Cindy was anything to go by.

"S-S-S-S-Is! Y-YYou can't die here! I-I-I didn't even want to be h-h-ere! I did it just for you! Y-Y- you said we were going to finish our story together! Y-You said you could live until we saw father! W-Whyyy!?"

"The needle of the tailor's unseen hand... Has no true owner... It chooses to help whoever it can, coming and going to whoever it asks... A dying mandragoran... has no use for this weapon." Cindy's vision fails, seeing the weapon engulf her brother's body as The Hand is finally seen by Benny!

"Wh-What? Wh-at is this?" He shivers, still afraid of the entity near him.

"If all fails, perhaps I can aid you in death against a fight I was never meant to take part in... To fight for a just cause is not wrong, but some are never able to draw swords with their fickle, minuscule hands..."

"No! Gunpowder can help!" You hear your stallion's thoughts as he offers an alternative to throw Cindy onto the sea as she succumbs to the curse. Seeing how Casca can manipulate weight and terrain, he suggests empowering his speeding strikes from the sonic armor by trampling through the Makaras, isolating your focus to only Daiba, the Kundalini, and perhaps Ganishka as the gnomes form a thin line of terrain for him to speed through.

"It's too risky!" Farnese exclaims her worries after you translate his plan.

'Not with Vlad' Is your horse's rebuttal.

Gunpowder has never failed your trust, and you doubt this would be his first time, but the effects of passing through so many Makaras would definitely destroy his already failing hearing....

>Tell Roderick to reel Barnham onto the ship.
>Go forth with Gunpowder's plan and Casca's mud trail.
>Attempt to save Guts, trust the undines and hope they can freeze the Kundalini.
>Split the sea in half, obstructing the Makara's path as well as the Kundaline.
>Farnese still has plenty of energy, surely you and her can summon a spirit to help you by now.
>Throw Cindy onto the Makara and use her to escape in direction of Elfhelm
>>
>>5420666
>Farnese still has plenty of energy, surely you and her can summon a spirit to help you by now.
>Tell Roderick to reel Barnham onto the ship.
>Go forth with Gunpowder's plan and Casca's mud trail.
>Attempt to save Guts, trust the undines and hope they can freeze the Kundalini.
If I'm understanding the situation correctly, then a combination of these actions seems like the best plan imo.
>>
>>5420675
Support
>>
>>5420675
>>5420836
a 3d100, the first dice will determine whether you'll go through 0 to 3+ Makara, so let's at least roll high on the first one should the others fail, 2nd one goes for the spirit calling and the other for the moses roleplay.

Roderick's got this, no worries about rolling for him!
>>
Rolled 74, 58, 87 = 219 (3d100)

>>5420922
80+ only
>>
Rolled 39, 67, 52 = 158 (3d100)

>>5420922
You know, random tangent of thought here, but I wonder if it's theoretically possible to make an inverted Beherit. A key to the astral realms of the sefirot, the planes of that which is sacred and good. If you can cause a man to become reborn as a beast by sending him to the abyss, surely some similarly potent transmogrification can be performed with its opposite plane.
Coincidentally, I also wonder what would happen if an Apostle were to activate this inverted Beherit and be sent there.
If we ever manage to make one, we should make it so that it only activates during a moment of ultimate self-sacrifice, where the user fully intends to trade their life for the sake of others. A fitting parallel.
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>>5420960
>87 at opening the seas
Well it was the highest DC so you did deliver

>>5420970
Maybe Vlad could invest in some autistic studying of the dark arts in search for a loophole like his silver eyed father did, though the opportunity will likely not arrive until we are done with this encounter at the very least.

Man this fight is a lesson in escalation, and we're not even up to THAT part yet, at this rate the chapter will finish when they
>>
Rolled 63, 6, 29 = 98 (3d100)

>>5420922
e

z
>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsfJJpwXTXw
>Vlad rn
>>
>>5420960
>>5420970
>>5421115
Good, this is great

//
List of potential stuff to do :

- Make a plan for produce more of that serum. Maybe bringing some pots ?
- Learn to swim with Farnese
- Make a special spell for create a sort of algae/coral suit around our armor and maybe Gunpowder too, for fight underwater.
- Become friends with the undines
- Upgrade all our gang gear to runic
- Become more skilled : better control of our plant powers, purging od, weapons mastery and so on...
- Use the situation after this battle, for get some rad political gains
- Spend money for get more stuff for Ilos or for help the people of the city
- Have Barnham loot any free Kushan gear left around
- Create a new type of golem, instead of stone one of wood. Agility, speed and regrowing blades. Infused with some of our Od, for make each of their strikes poison to apostles.
>>
>>5421004
We're going to have a LOT of time on the boat, so yeah, plenty of time to do some studying!
It's kind of a nebulous amount of time, but before they get to the sea god shit they're on it at least long enough for ganishka to return to the capital, undergo his new transformation, and for griffith's forces (both human and apostle forces) to come all the way back from vritannis to fight the twice-reborn ganishka. That itself is definitely like a few weeks, and that's all BEFORE the island of the sea god! Afterwards they have time to settle things in falconia before the gang gets off the boat for real.
>>
>>5420960
>>5420970
>>5421115

Gunpowder will not disappoint you. Even if he turns completely death, even if he can't see the path in front of him, his lust for carnage will make Guts look like the biggest of pacifists.

"GOOOOO!" Your shout is swiftly turned null as Casca has a hard time redirecting and maneuvering the dirt path that Gunpowder risked running past with his lightning dodging speed.

The first Makara is barely enough to slow him down, being cut like paper as a horse-sized hole passes through it's face and covers your entire view with red from the organs splattering onto your face.

You and Gunpowder keep your weapons aimed in front of you, never faltering thanks to the contribution of the Gnomes, spinning you up, down and all around whenever they need to catch you again.

Though there are not directions other than forward when facing these fiends!

The second tunnel of flesh is formed as Gunpowder relentlessly attempts to cut down their number to half it's size. for any number higher than zero proves to be too many for the both of you.

The third Makara manages to get you stuck on it's mid section, though thanks to your power of the Undines, you plead for them to do a feat that once nearly sent you to your doom. You were not settling for Guts' death as he lost all the air in his muscles attempting to strike the Kundalini eel, much like the trident that was placed inside the whale, you expanded until the only thing that passed between it was air.

"BEGONE!" You opened your arms as the sea was partially cut in two. The eel monster and the Caster riding on top of it were unsuspecting of said defiance of nature itself, falling and dismantling itself as the opening made by it's loss of shape was plentiful for Guts and Schierke to redirect themselves onto the eel.

"Here's a souvenir from hell!" Guts strikes the Kundalini spirit and destroys the monster as they all fall on top of the hard sand, Serpico and Hyde manage to keep their footing, hopping onto a small boat as Violet placed them back onto safer grounds before letting Daiba drown at the bottom.

"You're not gonna slice my girl in half when I pull ya up, are ya?" Hyde still holds contempt from what Guts did to Violet, though he smiles while still in Berserker form.

"Not as long as I have this little girl with me." He compliments Schierke inside of his head, who you are able to see smiling with him. "That was an amazing combination from you all."

'I did all the work.' Gunpowder complains about going unnoticed.

"You folks never cease to amaze me, though we'll have another mess on our hands when that armor comes off..." Serpico shakes his head.

"The undines were being controlled by Daiba, yet you managed to overpower him anyways, how were you able to progress so quickly, Vlad?" Schierke asks you.

"Who knows, maybe they're finally starting to recognize my feats."
>>
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>>5421439
>Daiba
>Drown
Not to burst everyone's bubble but I think I remember reading that Daiba can hold his breath for 30 minutes if he feels like it. He is definitely still alive.
>>
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>>5421439
Drowning an old man, even if he is your enemy, does not sound like the most pleasurable of deaths. as the ocean returned to the regular flow of its tides, you let his body be hidden among the countless dead bodies inside its seabed.

"That old bastard sure was something else, huh?"
"A great challenge, indeed. I sure wouldn't be moving if I was in your place."
"Surprised ya even moved at all, given how you're still recovering. Did ya eat your wind spirits or what?"

Surprisingly, an early declaration of death would only surprise them after seeing a hand rising out of the water near them.

A flying monster resembling a scaly bat managed to snatch him away from certain death.

"What's a Garuda doing here?!" Schierke named the monster responsible for his saving.

"I'll go after him. Compared to Violet, he's going down in a few shots."

Hyde gets ready to aim at Daiba, though is stopped after seeing the great emperor himself aiming flight at the Kushan Caster.

"YOU HAVE BLUNDERED, DAIBA!"

The fog gets so thick that it obscures the harpy's view in the sky, the smoke from your eyes leaving you completely blind as you could only hear the voice of your enemies.

"WHAT A DISGRACEFUL DISPLAY, DAIBA! NOT ONLY DID YOU LOSE MOST OF THE MAKARAS, BUT EVEN THE KUNDALINI WAS SLAUGHTERED."

"Emperor Ganishka, please wait! We can still rejoin our remaining forces and take over the city if we-- AARHG!" The lightning blow onto the Garuda is nearly enough to kill Daiba, yet Ganishka holds himself due to lacking the potency in his bolts thanks to exerting most of his force against Barnham, who had yet to stand up after his encounter with the strongest Apostle the world was yet to face.

"Surely you jest. Move away, before I change my mind about you." The cloud monster berates him once more before having mercy on his subordinate.

"And now... what to do with the lot of you..." Ganishka observed your team as he started to commend your efforts.

"I must say, I am impressed. I never thought a few kshatriyas could strike down this many of my Pishaca Gana. Warfare really is not a thing to take lightly. Especially the two of you. The Viravadana Kshatriya, and the male Medini Prithvi. Both of you wear undeniable connections to the spirit world, much like me and the Sahana I have fought before."

"I'd appreciate a translation, cloud demon!" Hyde's complaints at polytheist terminology remain ignored.

"Ye are not mere warriors. Are you, by any chance, a follower of my arch-nemesis, the falcon?"

Ganishka already suspects that Ilos has something to be on allied terms with Griffith thanks to their combined attack at the capital, given how he first thing you see near you as the fog slightly dissipates are the three remaining Makara, your words should be carefully used should you not mean to anger him enough to be instantly killed by his bolts and Pishacas alike.

Though he does look pretty exhausted thanks to Barnham...
>>
>>5421484
>Griffith is our sworn enemy, and so should you be, if you do not let us cross the sea!
>Why have you decided to terrorize this town, instead of using this army against your true enemy?
>I have nothing to answer against a cowardly emperor that refuses to fight using his frail body, you shall pay for what you did to Barnham!
>Let the others speak to him and stall for time so you can astral project a spirit do disperse the nimbus apostle.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5421484
>Griffith is our sworn enemy, and so should you be, if you do not let us cross the sea!
>>
>>5421492
>>Griffith is our sworn enemy, and so should you be, if you do not let us cross the sea!
>>Why have you decided to terrorize this town, instead of using this army against your true enemy?
>>
>>5421492
>Griffith is our sworn enemy, and so should you be, if you do not let us cross the sea!
>Know this, Ganishka. The chains of fate are bound into the flesh of apostles. If you plan to utilize the behelit you made from those very same apostles, you would only seal your fate as a pawn to the god hand's goals. You would create a prison of your own flesh, from which you would never escape from the grasp of causality to achieve your ambitions. Of course, that's assuming your sense of self would even still remain intact after diving into such a deep layer of the abyss and melding with so many other souls.
>>
>>5421492
>>Griffith is our sworn enemy, and so should you be, if you do not let us cross the sea!
>>Why have you decided to terrorize this town, instead of using this army against your true enemy?
>>
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>>5421507
>>5421515
>>5421543
>>5421791
"Griffith is our sworn enemy, and so should you be, if you do not let us cross the sea!"

"Given how you are defending the city folks and the fleet of Ys, you appear to be working to his side, more so than forming your own. Can you really call yourself a different breed, when your strongest soldiers derive from the same stone offered to me by Daiba who transformed many reincarnated into servants of the Falcons?" Ganishka calls you similar to the enemy you so claim to face, being friends with apostles and taking a government forged in the bloodstained hands of slavery, you are quick to dismiss him.

"Know this, Ganishka. The chains of fate are bound into the flesh of apostles. If you plan to utilize the behelit you made from those very same apostles, you would only seal your fate as a pawn to the god hand's goals. You would create a prison of your own flesh, from which you would never escape from the grasp of causality to achieve your ambitions. Of course, that's assuming your sense of self would even still remain intact after diving into such a deep layer of the abyss and melding with so many other souls."

"I would advise you to spare me the lecture, given how no mere human would be able to do what your crew have displayed so far. Do you intend to convince me that apostles seeking power is something to be looked down upon, when your fiend of a leader has deprived me from the ability to WALK?!" The proxy apostle strikes at your direction. You preemptively instruct Gunpowder to move before Ganishka could produce electricity, but the rupturing of his eardrum left him off-balance.

You were ready to be incinerated, were it not for Serpico springing into action and deflecting the bolt back at a Makara.

"Seems like this is all I'm doing for the time being..." Serpico stays stiff onto the dirt path created by the gnomes, almost falling into the sea if Violet didn't snatch him back to the Seahorse.

"So much for the warriors who defeated my army." Ganishka sends out more of his lightning strikes, attempting to simultaneously hit Violet, Guts and Gunpowder at the same time. Though Serpico and Hyde remained safe as they returned into the Seahorse, Guts was struck with so much force that Schierke's spirit was disrupted from their soul bond, sending her straight back into her body as Guts fell over the upside down boat.

The conducting of electricity by the Makara leave you with added potency of conductable electricity, sending Gunpowder onto the floor as the bolt trips you over.

"GUNPOWDER!"

"I see you value your mount. Despite having fought relentlessly through the night, you still show admirable force by withstanding my power--"
>>
>>5421885
"Enough of this HORSESHIT!" Guts sinks his great word onto the it's stern, using it as a conductor of electricity as his body laid low to misdirect the magnetism of Ganishka's attacks.

"I'm neither one of Griffith's captain, nor am I associated with this pathetic furry carcass whose ass Vlad loves to kiss. I'm a purebred Human! Right down to the very bone. Do not lump me in with you freaks of nature!" Guts seems to have snapped out of his berserker form, yet still retains the anger from it in his speech.

"Hm... One of the Branded, then?! What a wonder, a sacrifice who managed to escape and live... Tell me, wouldst thou consider becoming a follower of mine?"

Guts grows silent as Ganishka's nonsensical offer.

"After what you've done to the ones on my side?"

"My anger is merely directed against those who proclaim to fight me. Nearly all the apostles have now gathered beneath the Falcon's flag. This should include the one who carved the brand unto thee, bringing unescapable despair and hatred born of living under spiritual darkness. Your madness, your malevolence is indeed appropriate to this bloodstained world of man, I find it agreeable."

"Your majesty, there is no need for such impulsiveness--" Daiba attempts to interfere, before being struck once again and told to leave.

"If you admire him so much, why can't you hand me the same prestige?"

"Do not take me for a fool, pseudo-human. The attempts you have made against my troops have not gone by unnoticed, neither by you, or the reported man riding a bipedal Garuda." Ganishka reminds you of the time you've sneaked up on a Kushan troop heading to Ilos to kill them, the feat somehow being reported and reaching the emperor's ears.

"Were I to calmly descend that mountain and explain my ideology to your captain, do you truly believe they would treat me any different?" You claim self defense, to which Ganishka can sympathize with.

"Perhaps not... But still, my anger mostly resides against those who lay hands on my beloved corruption. Should you leave that fiend's body at the sea for me to incinerate, I can pretend I did not see your ship swerving past me."

"You think I would so easily sacrifice one of my strongest allies?"
"The path of war is one that is prone to said sacrifices. Should you retain idealism, you will fail to be a ruler, if that even is a title that you could claim."

"The swordsman's heart is unlike yours. His heart beats for anger and anger alone..."

>Guts would never ally himself with you.
>Opposing the God Hand does not mean aligning myself with you.
>That would imply I can answer for him, Guts?
>Surely there are better ways for us to bargain than offering Barnham's life.
>I'm sorry, Barnham... [Leave him.]
>Write-in.
>>
>>5421938
>Guts would never ally himself with you.
>Surely there are better ways for us to bargain than offering Barnham's life.
>>
>>5421949
+1
>>
>>5421938
>You just don't get it. The lives of others will never be ours to sacrifice. They don't belong to anyone but themselves. The only person I would ever sacrifice for anything would be myself, and that would only be for the sake of those I seek to protect. I'm sure Guts understands me perfectly - we would put our bodies through hell just to see them smile. But that's besides the point; you want revenge, take it on me. Barnham acted on my orders, after all.
>Use the Undines in the trident to erect a barrier of water around yourself. Even the strongest bolts of lightning from Ganishka would be likely to disperse into the water, drawn to the path of least resistance as Guts just showed. Then, retaliate with soul arrows.
>>
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>>5421949
>>5421977
>>5421978

Truthfully, you already know the answer, Guts would never ally himself with Ganishka, but you would rather let him speak for himself.

"So Vlad was not lying afterall... There are Apostles who opposes the God Hand. You're a dog that bites his master, Very well, I can't say I don't have respect for you. But the reason I don't take you for a partner is the same I don't do the same for Barnham over there. I have no interest in a feud between monsters... After Casca has been healed, I've realized I have better things to spend my time with. Go ask someone else, your light shows are nothing but a public nuisance to those who already fight for themselves... No... for others!"

You are happy to see Guts accepting his place as a man that fights for defending the innocents instead of lusting for revenge despite his faults.

"The Black Swordsman's terror will turn into a mere myths with my passing... Though I would rather see my name will be associated with something other than despair, while I am still living..."

"You just don't get it, Ganishka. The lives of others will never be ours to sacrifice. They don't belong to anyone but themselves. The only person I would ever sacrifice for anything would be myself, and that would only be for the sake of those I seek to protect. I'm sure Guts understands me perfectly - we would put our bodies through hell just to see them smile. But that's besides the point; you want revenge, take it on me. Barnham acted on my orders, after all."

"So be it... Were I only avenging the lives of my beast, I would put a quick end to your life." Ganishka channels his anger to form a last lightning bolt barrage. "Though now that you have revealed your intent, I shall take my time with you--"

The sudden eating of a Makara startles you. Barnham appears from under it to eat the carcass of the Pishaca, as it regenerates his body into a more manageable stance.

He seems to be near-death, reaching the end of his regenerative abilities as he exerted demigod-like resistence against Ganishka's strikes.

"YOU ARE STILL ALIVE?!" Ganishka is forced to watch the chunks of the Makara blocking you from certain death.

"Beings of the sky, are you not used to the techniques of playing possum?!" Barnham roars, taking the remaining Makara next to him and aims flings it at the sky, sending the whale up to the clouds as it briefly dissipates Ganishka's image.

"I knew you weren't dead yet, you blue hungry bastard!" You are happy to see someone who also seemingly did not care much for the life of others, defending those smaller than him.

"Were it not for the weaker one I sacrificed, I would not be here to outlive him in his honor." Barnham thanks his brother, suffering in the Abyss for him to thrive against the God Hand and his members without resorting to melancholy.
>>
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>>5422297
"Curses, missed him!" Barnham complains after seeing Ganishka exploding his own Makara into the skies and reforming himself. "A shame, I've heard whale meat is a true delicacy."

"It's not that you missed him. Given his ethereal form is one of moisture, even if you could harm him at lower altitudes, his position makes it so regular arms cannot reach him." Schierke informs the apostle through telepathy.

"Regular arms?" He ponders over to you and Guts.

"Good thing both our weapons are made to take care of apostles!" You grin to Guts.

"What are you going to do, throw me at the sky?" Guts asks in jest, though that was exactly what Barnham was thinking...

"It's alright, partners! Violet can back you up!" Hyde waves while holding Schierke's shoulder, showing her harpy daughter flying freely without his aid or added weight.

"We could always leave him be, just hop onto the gnomes and let him escape, doubtfully he would go after us in such a miserable state." Serpico argues that running away is the best option, though the familiar stopping of your heart shows that a Band you know is about to enter the city.

"I would rather take this bearded fiend down myself than let the damn Falcon get the credit for it! The name of Ilos will not be a mere footnote in the annals of history! My name shall be remembered, even if I have to tear off at his wings!"

"But what will you do when Griffith arrives?"
"GRIFFITH IS COMING?!" Guts turns his neck with the sharpness of his swings, angrily pondering on whether he truly meant his previous speech.
"...Settle the score with Zodd... and then..."

Barnham doesn't finish his sentence, only making you more worried, as you had no chance of stopping him at the end of your stamina.

>Fling me at Ganishka, I'll use and Od strike against him!
>Fling Guts, he can take more damage than I ever could.
>We can both attack at the same time thanks to Violet being free!
>Cindy and Benny still wish to return to Ilos. You will be remembered well by bringing promise to your people, instead of dying against a battle unseen by them.
>We can spare Ganishka for now, let Griffith deal with him.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5422311
>We can both attack at the same time thanks to Violet being free!
If we finish him now, we can stop further bloodshed of midlands people. He's at his weakest he's ever been right now, this is our best shot of killing him! Quickly finish the cloud apostle off before Griffith steals the glory!
>>
>>5422311
>We can both attack at the same time thanks to Violet being free!
>Cindy and Benny still wish to return to Ilos. You will be remembered well by bringing promise to your people, instead of dying against a battle unseen by them.
>>
>>5422311
>We can both attack at the same time thanks to Violet being free!
>Cindy and Benny still wish to return to Ilos. You will be remembered well by bringing promise to your people, instead of dying against a battle unseen by them.

Take him down, our OD will destroy this demonic emperor
>>
>>5422357
>>5422436
>>5422492
Alright, time for the last roll we're doing for now!

This shall decide if we're either defeating Ganishka, or letting Griffith take the credit for himself!

ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLL ME A 1D100!
>>
Rolled 36 (1d100)

>>5422594
R O L L
O
L
L
>>
Rolled 22 (1d100)

>>5422594
Causality is going to fight us so fucking hard with this one. Ganishka's rebirth is critical to griffith.
>>
Rolled 96 (1d100)

>>5422594
>>
it was best of three or only one........................
>>
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>>5422619
>>5422633
>>5422639
>>
>>5422642
Its BO3 literally almost all the time. Looks like you just proved this anon >>5422633 wrong. Very class
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>>5422643
Ganishka is fucking dead

bottom text
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>>5422639
The chains of fate are broken. The wheel of destiny spins uncontrolled, spiraling towards an unknown future. Causality will have to mend this wound somehow.
>>
>>5422633
>>
>>5422652
>>5422655
>>5422658
that s cool, and we are doing it with a double strike between us and guts. what griffith will do beside coping ....
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>>5422619
>>5422633
>>5422639
"We can both attack at the same time thanks to Violet being free!" Violet heeds your command, already offering her back as you let your body slide off of Gunpowder and on top of her."

"Guess that leaves me to be flung at him, make sure to aim right, you freak of nature!" Guts growls at Barnham, aiming the dragonslayer at his neck.

"Strange, I imagined that dying for nothing was something humans were proud to partake in. It's only fair I pay homage to my human days..."

"It's best for you not to die here, Barnham! Cindy and Benny still wish to return to Ilos. You will be remembered well by bringing promise to your people, instead of dying against a battle unseen by them."

You point to the dying artisan and her cowering brother, making the bear ponder on his priorities.

"Not only do you intend to stop me from killing a great apostle for you to do it instead, you want me to ignore the Captain Of The Falcons I hate the most, to save two sons of immigrant citizens, useless to either my army or my economy, just because you asked me to?" Barnham is ready to refuse.

"It's either doing that, or seeing your head fly out your body! What's it going to be, gladiator?" Guts shows his respects to the woman that called him a coward for snapping into darkness, pondering on whether it would be best to kill him instead.

"Once again, I find myself needing to be convinced by displays of strength, instead of empty words of hypocrites. Tell you what: You deliver the final blow onto that emperor, and we'll have ourselves a deal."

'TO THE CLOUDS WE GO!' Violet takes off, rushing onto Ganishka with the speed that rivaled the typhoons of the Sylphs. Barnham curled his palms onto a ball and let Guts remain inside, both of them contributing to the ones who they once sworn to oppose.

Uniting with the greater enemy to defeat their strongest opponents. Truly this must be what it means to struggle.

Upon passing the altitude of the clouds, you are both electrified to the point where every muscle in your body is convulsing against your will. Though your grip on your weapons are firm, you start noticing your loss in altitude as Violet begins to faint from the high voltage.

Making the bold move to cross paths with Guts, you hop off from the harpy to freeze your wet boots momentarily onto the dragonslayer. Your ankles are nearly turn off from the impact, but you manage to surf onto the slab of iron imbued with the energy of Qlipoth.

Speaking of imbuing, your breathing is focused onto fusing your Od onto the weapon of the Undines. Your blow will purify Ganishka's corrupted soul. Guts' will be so demented that will undo the damage and restore it back.

The opposite of magical extremes have united under a single name: Power.

Both your attacks connect as you pass through the fog, making a crater the size of the Vandimion estate as Ganishka disappears from your sight. Daiba's Garuda is ordered to leave, for the emperor had lost his presence.
>>
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>>5422711
"And now, for the fall."
Guts and yourself accept your death, knowing very well that neither of you would live a fall from above the clouds.

Farnese, still intact from the fight, decides to use her spirit to become one with the Sylphs from Serpico's cape, uniting as they flew up to break your fall into a glide, making sure your efforts weren't laid to waste.

"You are so eager to die for me and the others, when my life thus far has been nothing but my absolute devotion for you..." Farnese is saddened by the sight of your scarred body as she holds you in her spiritual arms. I wish you would understand, that I want to live with you. To let me outlive you... would be to subject me to the cruelty all your loved ones have brought upon you thus far." Farnese wonders if you are testing her love for you, making her hold you like a baby so many times, a baby that would fail to fall asleep unless it attempted suicide at every waking moment. The internalized self hatred she had made her switch positions into the pacifist you were in your youth, while you have shifted into something else.

You attempt to form a sentence with your lips, but your body's energy is exerted. Could you blame yourself, Guts has already blacked out before you...

The last image you are able to see, are the invading apostles of Femto's army, and Griffith's eyes starting through your lids.

"It seems I will have to keep my word... This bastard always finds a way to twist my morals..." Barnham appears next to Farnese to drop Gunpowder and Violet onto the Seahorse, extending his hand to take Benny and Cindy with him.

"Yer not know to be very delicate, Ya sure you can handle these frail kids onto yer back?" Hyde ponders if Barnham is even capable of having empathy.

"I have created the means for them to be frail. The jester of the commoner's courtyard should have a right to see her family."
"W-Wait!" Farnese wishes to stop Barnham. To tell Cindy not to go, feeling like she failed her friend, her brothers, her family and her lover, she will have no one left to fall back on.

Though knowing how her decisions had no impact on the fate of the world, she merely showed Barnham the remnants of the flask of Mandragoran essence, giving her enough to last a few days as the crash and destruction of the Pegasus had greatly damaged their supplies.

"Well, I'll be off then. I'll try to eat Ganishka's carcass if I find him for good measure." Barnham rises from the sea as Roderick's ship finally takes off.

Somehow, somewhere. The new world was about to collide with the old one. You could only hope Sivir would wake up while still in the same world as yourself.

>Torn Battlefield: Chapter End.
>>
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Hot damn, Vlad has really been kicking some serious ass so far! Well done everyone, looks like we have successfully broken the curse™ that plagued us previously. We also managed to show up Griffith by killing Ganishka before he even got there, while simultaneously growing Vlad's renown in the process.

What a great way to end this chapter!
>>
good, i guess griffith will enter cope mode now.
Hopefully Barnham can reuse what has been gain here, Ilos needs to get stronger not just him or us.
To bad about Cindy and Benny, is a shame hopefully she will live some good days.

Great chapter end Becchi.
//
I have already some ideas ready, but with us in the ship and on the travel ..... we will need to leg it and hope it just works. A boat is not exactly perfect for improving but eh.
>>5421262
>>
>>5422770
Griffith's coping hard with the sudden change of plans and the fact that he won't get the honor behind slaying the emperor of the invading Kushan forces.
In fact, this stands to rally a great number of people to Iios, and AWAY from falconia.
I wonder if it could even convince some Apostles to defect...
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>>5422770
So Ganishka's actually dead thanks to the Guts/Vlad combo, right? I'm sure he'll find a way to merge the worlds anyways but at least we ruined their plan. Get fucked Griffith.
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And that marks the start of the dreaded boat arc, hopefully the fight with Ganishka lived up to the hype!

The next few volumes of the sauce material heavily focus on Griffith, The Kushan army, the roar of the astral world, and plenty of other stuff that doesn't involve the main crew in the slightest. So I'm wondering whether we should have an intermission chapter for a change in perspective or timeskip to when Vlad is in better conditions.

I was planning on taking a break but since things were a lot more manageable this session I can't say I'm feeling as tired as I was on the last one, so I'll shorten the weeklong hiatus for just three days.

Let me know what you would prefer seeing, now that things have fully diverged thanks to Vlad's impact, It's gonna be fun for me to write something else.

>>5422785
Pretty sure this was Vlad's longest streak of good rolls, it was good to see him doing so well without losing the boys Except Azan, shame he won't be in the elf island now..

>>5422799
Thanks, what ideas you got ? Surely some of them can be done in the boat.

>>5422827
>>5422828
Don't be singing victory too early, Causality has always a way to bullshit back into dominance... Though the support of Falconia will definitely not be unanimous now that a third way has come.
>>
>>5423008
Intermission chapter, please! I'm deeply interested in how things diverge on the other end of things.
>>
>>5423008
Shift to intermissions and other groups explored
>>
>>5423008
A Intermission chapter sounds interesting, go for it.
>>
>>5423008
Maybe intermission chapter ? But on who.
Ilos ? Tudor ? Vandimions ? Kushan Armies ? Falcons ? Other evil forces ? Other humans ? Other midlanders ? Church ?
If it’s evil i would prefer us not to "play" it, merely read what they do.
I don't feel like helping them with choices, when they remain the most powerful even in their worst circumstances. They have enough help from hell has it is really.

///
They are on the post i had put under. Here.
>>5421262
But I don't think half are feasible at sea really, we will see if we even have time for improvements in the boat. I feel like with the healing time that will need to pass after this battle, there is at best a small window of time.
Maybe a day if we are lucky.
>>
>>5423008
Really it was the artificial behelit that allowed the barrier between worlds to be destroyed, Griffith just has to dunk some disposable no man apostle into it and bam instant mountain tree monster, just add skull knight's sword and the plan is back on track. Unless Ganishka was special for some reason or the artifical behelit was damaged to the point of being broken and there is no one to fix it but either seem a stretch.
>>
>>5423208
Learning to swim is 100% on the docket.

Increasing our affinity with the undines through rigorous practice is 100% on the docket, which we can start on the New Moon (when spiritual stuff is at its weakest) and work our way up to handling them at sea during the full moon over the course of a month - plenty of time to acclimate to their rising power and to drill into them that we're the boss.

I think we could feasibly try to fish up algae, seaweeds, and other aquatic plants to refine their essence and ingest them to see if we can develop something to better allow us to work underwater.

Besides that, we can consider what's available to us on the boat: Becchi is there, so we can conduct Behelit Inversion tests or try to slowly purify/retune the od of it, under Master Puck's supervision, to try to truly convert Becchi into a good-aligned behelit.
It'd be extremely worthwhile to try to work with the Berserker Armor or with Guts himself to try to tone down the effect it has on his Beast of Darkness, or to try to tone down the Beast of Darkness itself.
We could always go the Kushan route and try to make some Picashas from sealife as well, which would be very useful for scouting out where our mother and that pearl is.
And, while I don't know how receptive they would be to it, I'd be open to trying to teach pretty much everyone in the Pegasus to learn how to sense od. It was the basis for our foresight ability, and I can see some of them seriously improving if they could do the same...Guts, unsurprisingly, is the closest non-magic guy to learning such a thing, since he uses his brand to specifically sense for tainted od. And even if they don't get good enough to predict movements, it'd be a big help if our allies could tell where the largest sources of od in things are, since those are usually weak points. I think they'd be open to this ability if nothing else, because it has plenty of synergy with the styles they already have while not requiring the massive investments that spells do.
Last idea I have for now is to ward the living fuck out of Roderick's ship, with the captain's own permission. We could make it a pretty hardy bastion against the monsters of the world that way.
>>
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>>5423028
>>5423146
>>5423174
>>5423208
Alrighty then, Intermission chapter it is.

Since this isn't really an epilogue and we'll be resuming our regular schedule after that, I don't play on writing too much so I'll ask you to only vote on one of these options. If anything gets ignored for now it can be added later during the epilogues.

You won't be playing anything out of character so don't worry on that regard, it's just something extra for us to pass the time.

>Griffith's Arrival on Vritannis.
>The aftermath of the Vandimion's revelations
>Barnham's travel back to Ilos
>Rickert arriving on Ilos.
>Kalki and Luka's infiltration on the Capital.

Let me know if anything else would be good to add onto either of those scenes, no roar of the astral world since we'll need to get rid of some pirates on our way before that
>>
>>5423907
>Rickert arriving on Ilos.
>>
>>5423907
All of them are incredibly fucking tempting.
But if I had to pick just one...
>Rickert arriving on Ilos.
>>
>>5423907
>Griffith's Arrival on Vritannis.
I NEED TO SEE HOW HE COPES
>>
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>>5424053
It's mighty tempting, this much is true.
Griffith might actually think that Vlad is an incredibly malicious and spiteful soul, to be actively hindering him every step of the way on his journey to achieve his childhood dream. Despite being a 'mere ant' in comparison, he's done a damn good job of it so far.
Hedwynn is laughing in the abyss so hard that the rest of the god hand still stuck in the astral have to wear earplugs. Sure, causality will get back on track somehow...but not many things can derail such a significant event even for but a moment.
>>
>>5423907
>>The aftermath of the Vandimion's revelations
>>
>>5423907
>The aftermath of the Vandimion's revelations
>>
>>5423907
>Griffith's Arrival on Vritannis.
>>
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And just like that, we no closer to finding a winner ladies and germs. An even split all the way around. kek.
>>
>>5423907
>Griffith's Arrival on Vritannis.
>The aftermath of the Vandimion's revelations
>>
>>5424630
shit sorry copied both just
>Griffith's Arrival on Vritannis.
>>
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>>5423803
Can't say I'm against the idea of forming an anti-behelit. If Daiba can make one out of apostle meat surely Vlad can put some research points onto his own artifacts, especially if he finds Sivir and other sorcerers on Skellig who can lend him a hand.

He can also use reflections to talk with people from far away, so he could always ask Benny to learn how to swim that way

And the winner is!:
>>5423984
>>5424010
>>5424053
>>5424288
>>5424318
>>5424462
>>5424630
>>5424631

>Griffith's Arrival on Vritannis.

Ohoho, eager to see the changes I'll bring to the table, eh? Well don't be surprised if all Grififth does is piss you off during the posts.

Will get to writing after I wake up and try to post the entire thing at once, hope you guys are into medieval politics
>>
>>5424906
>Well don't be surprised if all Grififth does is piss you off during the posts.
Bold of you to assume I give enough fucks about Griffith's twink ass to get upset over his autism. I'm too busy screaming at clouds shaped like fat men made of rats.
>>
>>5424906
>hope you guys are into medieval politics
ohoho this is gonna be good, I can tell.
>>
>>5424906
Well he is a tactician/politician mastermind and has some vitriol in his veins to release. He is also a petty and jelly man, even with an aura of divinity.
>hope you guys are into medieval politics
sure, he does need to get married does he ?want to rush with Charlotte (already did anyway lol) ? or do something evil i wonder
>>
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Becchi i have read the berserk quest over summer and it was the best fiction i enjoyed in a long while. I just wanted you to know yet another anon really enjoys your writing. I really hope victory, defeat or something in between we get to see Vlad's stories conclusion.
>>
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>>5424921
Good point.
>>5424981
I figure he'll be much more free to worry about marriages, all he needs to do is establish Falconia, get rid of the remaining Kushan, Ilos, and pluck some weeds along the way first.

>>5425350
Thanks. It's always cool to see a new player (literally) hopping aboard given the amount of reading that comes with it. I mostly have the original work to thank for working as a good basis for my writing style coupled with the good answers and the other stuff I consume in the meantime, but I can't deny I have my own input on the quest, so I'm glad I'll be able to expand that aspect on the following chapters.

Also good to know that people are accepting of me killing off some characters or even Vlad so long as it's well executed, it's something I felt that even the original material held off on doing with characters from Guts' travelling party so It's an interesting thing to observe. There's an unknown line of balance between killing off too many characters and feeling like everyone has plot armor that has yet to be really drawn in most media pieces for sure.
>>
>>5425761
I wonder if it does miff Griffith deep down that we consider him a secondary concern at the end of the day. "I don't care at all. Ignore the fact I'm jumping through hoops to talk shit and fuck with you while I'm totally only focused on muh destiny". What a dork.
>>
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"Zodd."

The apostle reminisces upon the last meeting they had in the Reborn Band Of The Falcon before the expedition, having to replace Grunbeld's position with a larger, less experienced captain. The silent Borkoff merely listened to the talk between The Immortal Apostle and Locus.

"Exercise due caution. The Emperor himself may set out for this battle. No possible attacks are effective against him."

The enigmatic goat demon merely grunted in response, leaving as he pondered the possibilities of the impossible. When so many humans have already proved to compete against him in combat, he found that hard to believe.

"You have a choice to make." Sonia impeded Zodd from walking forward as she approached him from under the tree.

"Choice?"

"To again battle the ones that once cut your flesh, or to make them your own weapon. Madness or Volition, as does your counterpart. The one you're drawn to."

"What's that mean?" Zodd inquires on the girl's vision after she returned from Vritannis.

"Eh... Dunno!" She shrugged.

"I guess that is how prophecy works." Zodd closed his eyes, leaving his own thoughts fill in the blanks.

"There you are, Sonia! We're about to depart to meet His Holiness The Pontiff."Mule reveals the importance of their next mission after bringing the child slaves of the holy town.

Thanks to the high agility of the apostle army coupled with Griffith's absolute awareness of Midland's events, he was able to optimize his moves to pursue the remaining Kushan troops away from Midland.

Even if the cleanup was intercepted by Vlad and the Ilos faction, Griffith knew that there was one aspect of the people he could always appeal to that the disheveled Santana house could never.
>>
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>>5425897
>>5425897
The Holy Pontiff was the very meaning of moderate. Old of age, on his very deathbed at the most crucial moment of his believers' despair, his disciples could only discuss on the next candidate to procede him, most likely being Cardinal Poliziano.

Never accomplishing anything special in the decades of his governing, The pontiff couldn't be criticized for being a radical extremist, with incidents of fundamentalism such as Farnese or Mozgus being derived from their own wrongful interpretation rather than his own endorsement.
Though inside, he could not deny that he was as worthless as the world who brought him to existence. Born into a distinguished family, his blessing of parental love came with the desire of absolute nothing, never receiving intense anger or affection for his formative years. The world to him seemed akin to a painting: adoring images without the sense of feeling or presence.
His devotion to the path of faith only derived from his disinterest in others or the world of man, rather than an aspiration for God's message. The title of holy pontiff merely came to him by chance of being the only one who outlived the competitive world of foiling candidates or the fatalities of better men. An achievement with no struggle, a mere position to do as he was told, praying with no desire to save others or himself.
'Some Pontiff I turned out to be...' He closed his eyes and declared that enough was enough: the vacant tedious of his life would soon come to an end. Without hatred, love, or fanfare. The hand of destiny was never held out to him, he was merely a footnote to keep the tradition alive until the greater man appeared in history.

As he wished for once in his lifetime, to ever be remembered by some greater event, the divine hand of destiny reached out to him, as visions of the Falcon and his feathers awakened him one more time from his nimble slumber.
He pondered as to whether this was a dream or not, though Sonia and Mule would soon come to answer.

"Halt!" "Who are you!?"
"We have been entrusted with a message to the pontiff. He is here, is he not?"
"His Holiness has only just now retired." "You can relay the message to us."
'If you would grasp destiny in your hand, follow the guidance of the feathers of light.'
"What sort of nonsense are these children--"


"I don't mind them. Let them inside." Despite the initial protests and wanting of other bishops to send them away, the pontiff invited them in as he was blessed with the feathers of his dreamscape.
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>>5425898
"Ah! There's the old guy!"
"For the love of..." Mule wished to hide his head in shame, but remained formal as he kneeled and removed his helm to inform the religious cell of his orders to bring them to his leader. Though his credibility was soon questioned when questioned about his age, and the fact that they were already heading to Vritannis to pray for the soldiers at the deployment ceremony. Yet before they could be properly expelled, The Pontiff once again argued in their favor:
"As they've said, let's depart immediately. I forbid anyone to contradict me on this matter. It is my holy command!"
"What has gotten into you, your holiness?" Being recently warned of a surprise kushan invasion that came as no surprise to Sonia, The Pontiff saw it as a path of destiny being pointed to him.

"Lead me where you will, guides of the light! The divine revelation is within your feathers!"
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>>5425899
Appearing a few minutes after the Seahorse departed, Zodd and his flying apostle sky force had appeared to clear the remaining Dakas and Makaras still onto Vritannis.
Yet after seeing the destruction of the docks, Ganishka's form already dissipating into nothingness, and the familiar scent of the bear bathing himself onto the saltwater to clean himself off the juice of warfare, Barnham comes face to face with the one who were to claim the credit for Ganishka's demise.

"There you are, alpha sheep of the herd. Just like the emperor of the clouds, the skies are the only form your shadow can find to tower over mine." Barnham starts taunting his nemesis, to which he ignores, for he never was a real threat to his existence.
"Your insolence knows no boundaries."
"What, are you here to take the credit for the victories of Ilos? Has your leader's incompetentes have grown to the point of having to play catchup to a mere human?" Barnham bears his fangs to all the apostles here present, though knowing how poorly his condition was, extending his hand to fight was something that would only result in his death.
After drying himself up, Zodd blocked Barnham's path as he started considering whether Sonia's advice was meant for Guts -who was nowhere to be found- or to Barnham, who was growing exponentially with a lot more promise than the swordsman.

"Where do you think you are going?!"
"Off to devour Ganishka's weapon. This time, there will be no magicians wearing skull armors to impede me."
"You have met the Skeleton Knight?" Zodd ponders if he knows of his true identity, but Barnham shows his naivete.
"Yes, Hopefully I will never come to face that sorry excuse of a role-player ever again."

"Banham. Why do you refuse to take a side, instead forming your own? Perhaps Ganishka could have withstood better chances if you both united yourselves against Lord Griffith. The Falcon already has control over all other Midland Apostles. What has gone over you to convince that you stand a chance?"
Instead of answering for the enemy, Barnham lifted a boulder next to him, exploding thanks to his expelling of force through solid objects. Behind it, showed the young Benny stuttering and crying in fear as his sister laid beside him.

"Take a look into this child's eyes, Zodd. What words would best be appropriate to best shape him into a warrior? Should I apologize for the life I've given him? Should I tell him to man up, and forget his sister, should I offer him a behelit and laugh as he turns into a mangled shell of his former self? In short, I do not know. I cannot know, nor do I pretend care. A debater is good at shutting down arguments, that does not mean that what he preaches is right."
As the flute player starts to cry, the bear finds the full pockets of a nearby corpse and hand him some money to look for a horse ride.
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"The same goes for me and my claws. I propose my idea, I convince them with my power. They either convince me otherwise, or die. Otherwise I would waste my time with those under me."
"Is that all for the sake of your ego?"
"These fangs are mine to bear. If you want to argue against me, feel free to meet me at the arena."

Zodd finally bit the bait, as Barnham finally interested him in a rematch in order to distract Zodd from his mission.
The two apostles detransformed and waited for Benny's ride to be ready. Zodd knew that he was merely being used to better remove himself from the remaining Kushan fight as his aerial fleet remained without a captain.
Yet his pride as a warrior could not refuse the offer.

--

A few days after Vlad had left his home with his daughter. Frederico pondered on what he could do to still establish order as a governor when all his ideas of faith, magic and the old world came to a crumble in the blink of an eye.
Given Owen's recent damage reports throughout the city and the disappearing of the marine Pishacas, he was starting to wonder if this was still all just a bad nightmare he had--

"Milord! Urgent report!"
-though the army of over 200,000 Kushan circling the town and invading the city with the remainder of their forces soon showed him the harsh reality of the old kingdom.


"Young Master, what is it that you wish to do?" The Tapasa asked the Bakiraka leader Silat, as he pondered on what his actions would be now that Ganishka was in critical condition after the double attack from The Pegasus Fleet. The Od Strike from Vlad serving as a poison that corroded his face.
Vritannis meant a great land to conquest in their losing war, but to keep it occupied would require extra force that they did not had, and a dying leader that promised to revive their clan would be meaningless, should they choose to rise among them.
Uniting with the inhuman demon lord was neven an option.
"Excuse me, is Silat of the Bakiraka Clan the one I am speaking with?" A voice deep inside of his head was heard from a Kusha, who dared to speak in Midland speech.
"Who is this?"
"My name is Kalki. You may not know much of me, but I am aware of you and your secret weapon. Should you wish to impede the reincarnation of your emperor as a demon, you best return to where it was and destroy that artifact immediately!"
"H-How do you..." Silat pondered on how such a random magician could work as an effective spy against their forces, feeling pressured to leave just as Ganishka was about to send his last troops onto Vritannis with his dying breath.
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'Your majesty! What am I supposed to do with your passing? Who shall be your successor?' Daiba held Ganishka aside his horse as he coughed and barfed more of his blood.
"Perhaps that artifact was far too powerful to be used while I was alive. Yet I know that the reincarnation I shall receive will be one to witness. Daiba, if you refuse to disobey my last wish, I will surely await you in the afterworld: Lower my body onto the pyre!"
"But Your Majesty! There is no precedent to producing such an illicit practice! Shouldn't we test it in a--" Daiba wondered what an apostle would do inside a man-made behelit and worried about the people's safety, yet Ganishka decided to scream his last orders to deafen his counselor's worries.

"PURGE THEM!"

As his strategic arrangement followed through. The Kushan obliterated the remaining forces of Vritannis. The holy alliance armies were already amidst recovery as they hoped the strongest of the enemy troops were already dealt with.

Though with the arrival of the Falcon Of Light and Locus' fleet of lancers, a few hundred soldiers would eventually dwindle the kushan lines of over 200,000 Kushan, miraculously cutting through their formations as no imperial guards were able to stop the commanding leader himself from hopping over the elephant Pishaca on his horse.

Not even Ganishka's last laugh would be realized, as the Illusion of victory he could have had from descending onto the abyss without seeing his men drag his soul themselves would come to fruition.
For a brief moment, both of them stood silent, as the great ruler's hands began to tremble, too weak to even assume his apostle form, his instinct of the demon realm recognized Femto as the untouchable master of the reincarnates.

"You seem to suffer..." Was all Griffith said to him as he extended his palm to his servant
Yet his presence brought him comfort, hunger and thirst. He was sufficed, yet maddened.
The moment those fingers touched his skin, it would all be over. His form would scatter much like the wind as the omen of doom would claim him.
And so, Ganishka kneeled.

Yet before a coup de grace could be delivered, The God Hand's fingers merely ran through his jagged forehead, healing his imperfections and undoing the damage caused by the plantmorphed pseudo-human.
"You've fought well, Great Emperor. Yet I do not understand why you fail to show me your true form."
Ganishka realized his energy was back, yet when he attempted to summon forth the clouds, the breeze was impeded by Femto's own center of gravity, tearing at his moving temple as the fog failed to form into any shape, dispersing behind the leader of the skies.

"Where is your form, Emperor?" Provoking him with a bow as his eyes met, Ganishka was stuck between the mist, and the invisible forcefield caused by Griffith's mere existence impeding him from receiving any attacks.
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>>5425761
>Also good to know that people are accepting of me killing off some characters or even Vlad so long as it's well executed

L-lets not get hasty
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>>5425933
"Why don't you withdraw?"
"...Are you taking pity on me?!" Ganishka's peaceful sparing only made him grow more vicious.

"Surely, our blades will not reach you in the midst of this wind, but you cannot wield your power either. If your mist body leaves you unable to be captive, there is no point in fighting a combat you will lose."
"But if you vanish from this place, know you will never again gain control of your huge army, it will only invite useless confusion. So why not consider this a stalemate, and use the royal capital our battleground?"

Feeling humiliated to have been saved from death by his sworn enemy, Ganishka used all of his newfound strength to stand up and respond in tone.

"Very well! OUR SHOWDOWN WILL BE ON MY DEMON CITY, AND I SHALL MEET THE FLIGHT OF THE FALCON WITH THE WICKEST OF BATTLE LINES!"
Signaling a few beacons for his army to retreat, The Band Of The Falcon let the Vritannis army rejoice as they recognized the emblem that saved them once more.

After being informed of who they were, Frederico The Vandimion introduced himself in the aftermath of the skirmish. Addressing himself as the captain of Midland's liberation army, under direct control of the royal house, Princess Charlotte revealed herself to be alive, being found and snatched from under Ganishka's home, all accusations of establishing monopoly on sovereign rights as a mere man of common origin had disappeared.
Finally being reunited with her beloved 3 years after her disappearance, she already had the face and posture of a queen, though still lacking in political knowledge, she could always fall back on her soon to be husband and king for added comfort.

"I, Charlotte Beatrix Marie Rhody Whyndham hereby declare this as the Royal Princess Of Midland: Sir Griffith, my betrothed, Leader of The Band Of The Falcon, has been designated Supreme Commander Of The Midland Regular Army. We earnestly entreat all of you to join us now as we devote ourselves to the recapture of our land."
"As I am Commander Of The Liberation Army, all forces who set foot within our Kingdom shall obey my orders. Those who cannot accept this condition are asked not to interfere in any way with our Kingdom."
The protesting nobles all crumbled in their confidence after Griffith's credibility was re-established. A man who kept the monarchy intact as others kept hiding and escaping to other countries.
All but one daring judge of duty, who raised his hand to speak over the hero of the hundred year war.
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>>5426185
"It is not that we do not appreciate seeing the princess in good health, or the saving of our lives, for that matter. However, there was already one who passed here before you to enact the same deed. Though I admit Vlad Santana's numbers were not as impressive, if we extended him the courtesy of facing a trial... Then we shall not forget that the man who saved our monarchy is the same man guilty of murdering the queen to fasten his rise upon the throne. A crime much more malign that the use of magic or apostles to defend our people."
Griffith's victorious smile disappeared into a state of indifference, as Stanley reminded the people that Femto's biggest crime was not that of being interested in the princess. The study of the case left by Royal Knight Gallahad made sure that Griffith could not forget his previous crimes against the other candidates.
"Moreover, a candidate for the throne, though already recognizable as a powerful entity, does not have the right or the means to impede, censor, or subjugate opposing factions and countries from coming and going into their territory. Especially when the faction of Ilos and their independence has been recognized by Lord Frederico De Vandimion, as well as the Randel forces who have amicable relations with the Santana family tree."
Knowing how Frederico was emasculated by the recent scandals, Stanley voiced the worries that the Patriarch failed to address. If neither Kushan or Holy Hierarchies could restrict him from moving away from Vritannis, he would denounce his credibility to shift public opinion by reminding others that he was just as much a controversial figure as Vlad himself.

"Sir Stanley Rubinsky. For what reason would you claim to doubt me?" Griffith said his name without ever being informed of it. Surely you must be worried about the reform about to occur from The See's involvement with the state, wouldn't it be wise to postpone said trial until after the Holy Was has ended?"
"Please, Sir Griffith. A man of the court knows the meaning of a postponement in a trial. You stall for time to forge evidence or bribe enough people to 'forget' your 'mistakes'. I would have left you alone, though both you and him have a similar witness in common."
Having heard reports of Owen's rescue missions, Stanley found a suspicious individual residing in a broken boat that failed to sail before Violet tore down the pier.

"Don't be shy now, reveal yourself, Bridge Knight Azan."
Gone into hiding by shame and fear from being persecuted, the surviving member of the Holy Iron Chain Knights was encouraged to reveal his face once more, knowing that the outlook upon magic and paganism was beggining to change he grew less afraid of explaining his reasoning for leaving after The Holy See disbanded the group.
"Being familiar with Gallahad and the family that has Raised Lady Farnese, I believe I can vouch for Sir Rubinsky's integrity when--"
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>>5426187
Surely Griffith had prepared himself for such accusations, which came in handy when Sonia and Mule's plan to recruit the Holy Pontiff came into fruition.
"A blessing upon all of you!" The Pontiff exited out of a carriage with the shock of all present, managing to silence even the two opposed nobles that dared to speak up.
Law had no business intervening in the chaotic world of monsters and deities.
Though Griffith made sure to bow in presence of the cardinal, The Pontiff himself fully prostrated to the floor at the mere sight of the Falcon Of Light. Such actions would speak louder than whatever Midland offers could say to sway their biases to align with the other countries.
"Hear me now, children of god. A divine revelation has been given. The Falcon of light you see here is our true savior!"
As they were all reminded of the hopeful dream of the Falcon, Midland cheered as all doubt was implicitly cleared upon Griffith, while the remaining immigrants and visitors wondered why he needed no trial for his accusations.

--
"Well, that's a case off my list." Stanley returned to the disheveled palace, tearing the paperwork he had ready in case the accusation went through.
"I do not understand, did you not harbor resentment against Vlad?"
"Not more than I do for injustice. Or my own work, if the recent events are anything to prove me. Do you believe we would have more added weight if we joined Ilos to look for more Iron Chain Knights? Maybe Jerome would be a valuable witness."
Azan merely shook his head in silence, confirming his death.
"Oh, great... Next time I see Vlad, I'm decking him in the schnozz.

Stanley could not measure the extent of Griffith's knowledge, but he knew a man such as he would not show himself after doing what he did unless he was insane, or very calculative in his measures.
Femto himself was capable of undoing all the damage caused by Barnham, Vlad and Guts with the swipe of a hand. Nothing in his plans were altered to the point of worry. Much like Ganishka's grow, the magicians needed to have a beacon of light for themselves, only to be obscured by the true Falcon.
Should they ever prove to be too bothersome, Griffith knew of one he could target to completely demolish the astral creature's morale.
For one who sacrificed himself for the sake of others, isolation was the way too make him as weak as he was when he came onto this world.

>Hero: Intermission End.
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Pretty much expected with us at sea and being able to do little than nothing in terms of countering or doing our own moves on the continent. Barnham is also going to fight Zodd it seems, so he isn't going to care about politics until he kills him or dies. Which it's useful like rocks inside our shoes, if Griffith allows Zodd that much freedom killing lieutenants doesn't matter much beside prestige, some experience and temporary effects of disorder. They are easily replaceable.
Though i am surprised the big army of the allied nations didn't put much of a fight. Too many losses with the monsters attack ? With less monsters the battle should have been more manageable. Oh well, either way our gains in the holy city will dwindle to nothing, the pope can just declare Ilos a bunch of heretics. Most states will not align or trade with us for that, so even if a few Vandimions had some sympathy for us they would just harm themselves by extending an hand to Ilos for trade. Same for Ys and Randel.

>>5425761
Would he need that after this show ? An emperor kneeling and the pope kneeling to, make the other objectives kind of secondary lol. But he is a perfectionist, and Ilos can be made in a impossible and evil foe he defeated with a snap of his fingers.
....... it's doesn't really hold a candle to the two empires he already defeated, Tudor and Kushan, or easily gain the full approval and friendship of the pope, or spawning from thin air an entire capital size city with all the latest improvements, perfectly made and beautiful. On top of the ruins of the old capital.
Ilos is sort of strong, but it desperately need us (i am convinced it does not advance properly with just Barnham there, he is more focused on self improvement at this point).

also excellent chapter becchi !
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>>5426199
We were utterly powerless to change the events to come, truly causality is undefeatable. Is our fate doomed to be us and our love ones being crushed like an ant under the talons of the reborn hawk of darkness?
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>>5426233
Nah don't get on that pussy shit. Griffith can play in his shitty little sandbox for his petty little dreams. We're hunting whales and he's satisfied with being a clownfish. We will change what matters. And that's kicking Conrad in the dick until his soul explodes. There's nothing cosmic intervention can do to stop that on gawd.
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>>5426233
Be not afraid, for predestination is powerless in the face of the ultimate gift of god: free will. For no matter how strongly the machinations of fate work towards preordained results, mankind will always be given the power of choice. Though the crown of thorns we wear may bring pain, it will ultimately liberate humanity from its sins.
And for the false messiah, though they parade around as a god amongst men, they will find themselves wanting in the face of the divine fires of the true god.
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That was some fucking good reading. Very well done Becchi my man.

I feel bad for Stanley especially. One day he's just doing business as usual and doing courtroom projects for his job, the next day he's dealing with a guy he's hated for years who's become the most powerful plant-man in the world, and not only that, the same plant-man absolutely shatters his life long perception of the world by uploading sheer fucking volumes of undeniable supernatural proof directly into his brain to experience himself. On top of THAT, it turns out the very same plant-man has developed a romantic relationship with a Vandimion (a previously though dead Vandimion mind you) and is fighting against a femboy god and his four fingers from literal hell.

Even then his suffering isn't done because then his home gets invaded by a demon cloud, a 200,000 man strong army, and a bunch of demon zoo animals, which all get defeated by the very same previously mentioned femboy god that rules literal hell and murdered his nations queen. And just when he seems to getting a grasp on his new reality and justifiably try to get Griffith in jail or even just a courtroom, THE FUCKING POPE OF THE SEE COMES IN AND FULLY PROSTRATES HIMSELF BEFORE GRIFFITH. Which ultimately means for Stanly, there is no way in hell Griffith is going to step in even the general direction of a courtroom if he or anyone else doesn't want to make the see go absolutely livid with rage.

Stanley is the true struggler of the berserkverse.
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We'll be back in action on Saturday. Given how our buddy Griffith has 2 more volumes at the very least, it's gonna be hard not to turn this into The Griffith Show during epilogues.

Did I perhaps go overboard by writing a few too many scenes? Perhaps, but people were interested in other POVs so it doesn't hurt to set some pieces up.

If we do get to the roar of the astral world during next session I just know the epilogue on that will be just as big. Hopefully Rickert and Benny will arrive before Ganishka goes full Ganigga.

>>5426199
Thanks!
The invasion was a few days after Vlad went away, so it's only fair to say the big numbers were in a hurry to leave after what happened there. Provided they were indeed there, 200k soldiers is a bit overkill for any army in a city coast.

I believe Griffith is still treating Ilos as a minor inconvenience. It's why he didn't opinionate on the subject of the faction turning independent. He's leaving the minor inconvenience after everyone else agrees to suckle on his penis. Since Ilos is situated on a mountain side next to Kushan territory, the only thing impeding Ys and Randel to directly fund and support Ilos really is the distance.

Though whether Griffith can afford to sit down with Vlad and make a peace treaty is another story.

>>5426233
Surprised people reacted so well to Grififth being able to heal Od strikes.
>>5426276
Truly the wagecucks are the real strugglers of the story. An archetype that was missing on this quest for sure.
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>>5426333
>Surprised people reacted so well to Grififth being able to heal Od strikes.
I mean he's filled to the absolute brim with evil demon thought jizz so him cancelling out the goodest boy energy is kind of a no brainer. I'd assume the rest of the hand could do similar until it became a monumental amount of the stuff.
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>>5426340
It just means Vlad has more room for growth. My boy needs to find a way to increase the potency of his od. Just another thing to practice on the BOAT I guess.
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>>5426333
>Did I perhaps go overboard by writing a few too many scenes?
No you most certainly did not. I enjoyed every word of it, and I'm sure everyone else did too.
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>>5426238
>>5426258
Im sorry bros i thought we could at least delay the coming merging of the worlds but seeing the femboy putting things back on track so effortlessly made lose nerves. Also whats the point of kicking conrad in the dick till he blows up if hawk kills everyone we love?
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>>5427008
Death need not be the end of hope.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fPqAsOFU4s
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>>5427008
>whats the point of kicking conrad in the dick till he blows up if hawk kills everyone we love?
What a silly thing to worry about, does any man need a reason to kick an asshole in the dick? Nay. It is simply something we must do. And so we shall just as surely as the world turns Conrad will be subjected to testicular trauma.
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Will be showing up in 5 hours from now to start the session. Let's see what comes from it.
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>>5427981
See you in 3hr(s) 12 min(s) then!
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Days have passed, perhaps weeks? It's hard to tell the passage of time now that you're pretty much strapped to the hammocks so your skin and muscle tissue could properly heal from the frostbite you had yet to treat when you fought a demi-god of the skies and brought down his army of demons.

Farnese herself made it sure that you stayed stuck to the base pillars of the Seahorse, tying you by the ankles to make sure you had enough space to walk around and stretch, but not to the point of having free reign to walk around on Roderick's ship.

You knew Farnese was afraid of losing you more now than ever. Having just proposed to her, being away from her family amidst the climax of the Kushan war, plus the everlasting change of her relationship with Serpico and the likely passing of Cindy, she required the feeling of having some sort of control on where her life was going, which ended up falling on your shoulders.

Guts was in similar terms, having been burnt to a crisp with Ganishka's aftershocks, he was covered from face to toe with burn marks that would hardly leave his skin without Puck and Ivalera's aid, the recent arguments you've heard him with Casca now that they were finally able to speak within shouting distance proved that they may be in a rough spot, and since the most you could do was wander around in your spiritual form, it didn't seem like she minded if you escaped that way.

Surely enough, you did have more than enough strength by this point to just cut off the knot, undo it or unstrap yourself without taking the ship down despite your right arm still not being the same after your recovery, but there was something endearing about the way she was treating you, always improving on her cooking skills, kissing you goodnight and sleeping under you instead of her own place, yet you knew the reason for her acting so nicely was due to her all other foundations of trust being broken.

At least you have something to pass the time with your spectating self...

>Check on Gunpowder.
>Ask Hyde for some counseling.
>See if Puck and Ivalera can sneak you out without her noticing.
>Find out why Guts and Casca were fighting.
>Observe how Roderick handles his crew.
>Confront Farnese.
>Contact Kalki.
>Attempt to find Sivir's location.
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>>5428294
>Check on Gunpowder.
See if he's fully deaf or if he can hear basic sounds still. Measure the damage.
>Find out why Guts and Casca were fighting.
GOSSIP. MUST ACQUIRE.
>Contact Kalki.
Mission report status.
>Attempt to find Sivir's location.
Must find mother. Or at least a hint of her...
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>>5428294
>Contact Kalki.
>Attempt to find Sivir's location.
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>>5428294
>Contact Kalki.
>Attempt to find Sivir's location.
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>>5428300
>>5428328
>>5428339
Wouldn't hurt to roll to get a feel for Sivir's radar, right? She's pretty buried underground, but maybe her bouncy ball will stand out.

Just a 1d100, no penalties for critfail.
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Rolled 83 (1d100)

>>5428343
check this out
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Rolled 52 (1d100)

>>5428343
MOTHER! LEND ME YOUR POWER FOR THIS CRIT!!
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Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>5428343
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>>5428351
Momma don't like you, brother.
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>>5428348
>>5428351
>>5428354

Seeing as you are closer to your plant morph mother than you ever were before, you attempt to pinpoint her exact location in this endless blue of marine activity.

Closing your eyes and attempting to feel the Od energy that aligns the most with you, you form a beeline towards a place with no sound, no visions.

Darkness. Only pure black, as if something was covering her eyes.

She is indeed in a comatose state, though you should be able to know something other than what you were already aware.
From early morning until noon, you search high and low for anything that resembled a plant laying at the bottom of the sea, soaring through all sorts of fishes and mammals amidst the near infinite salt of the world, you were no closer to finding Skellig, an archipelago, or any piece of land that resembled a living space for a tree to grow in the sand.

Yet your instincts do not lie to you, there is a great concentration of her scent amidst an outline of a rock formation located to zero points of reference. It was in the general direction of where the ships were heading, though judging by the speed of the boat compared to your soul flight, it would take several more days to reach that strange, confusing piece of a cliffy island.

Going further into the astral layers of the world, you manage to see where her hiding spot actually looks like. A solitary island with several other humans worshipping a creature of incomprehensible form inside a gigantic fissure splitting the island on the inside.

The concentration of dark energy is not what forbids you from seeing the creature, but rather, it's size. What are you possibly looking at? It's tendrils? It's mouth? Teeth? Finger? Your soul swirls around and around the island, yet fails to find the beginning or the end, of the inhuman fauna that lays inside this monster biome.
Given how some of them were looking your way when you approached them, perhaps tracing your steps back to Sivir's location was a better idea.

There she lays. A beautiful adult woman buried beneath a mountain of sand. Her torso seems very much human, yet the way her lower half diverges into algae, as well as her hair makes it so all that is shown is a few centimeters of green moss amidst the coral.

"Sivir!? Sivir!" You call for her name, unsure as to call her mother due to her estranged relations, yet she did not respond. Not even a twitch of her fingers cradling the cracked pearl the size of her torso.

The fusion of her Od with yours seems to be what's keeping her alive in a parasitic state, seeping into the rest of her roots and into the Sea monster's crater.

"The ward seems to be disappearing."
"Is she not answering to our songs?"
"Let us try once more."

You are hypnotized by the odd shanties of the astral creatures of the sea, chanting melodically as another hybrid of man and fish approached your mother's presence.
...Merrows?
>>
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>>5428382
"AAAAAAAAH!"
The sight of a sea dragon appears to scare them away of approaching Sivir, passing through your spirit and dispersing your focus that forced you to be back onto your body.

Feeling the anxiety of your body, your breathe for a few minutes to calm yourself down. There still seems to be some fear of the Kraken in your adult mind from some of your younger days, yet you didn't think you would face a literal one to save her.

It's almost as if she sealed herself away in more than distance, she's in another plane of dimensions entirely, never to see more humans than she wished to.

You are fated to meet her either way, there is no point in obsessing over events that are planned in due time.

Switching over to the situation at Ilos, you attempt to get through Kalki back in Midland's old capital as his base is established so you can properly inform him of what happened in your travels so far.

"Ah, Lord Vlad! What is it you wish to talk about?" He speaks in a confident tone, though his energy reads some uneasiness.

>How is Barnham dealing in the war?
>Any report on Ilos and Michelle?
>Are the girls giving you any trouble?
>What do you know about sea monsters?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5428396
>How is Barnham dealing in the war?
>Any report on Ilos and Michelle?
>Are the girls giving you any trouble?
>What do you know about sea monsters?
>>
Also holy shit, we found fucking mermaids/mermen. I wonder if they're even aware that Vlad exists as Sivir's offspring considering they seem to worship her. I also wonder if there's any Merwomen...
>>
>>5428396
>How is Barnham dealing in the war?
>Any report on Ilos and Michelle?
Gotta ask about the based blue bastard and mom
>>
>>5428396
>How is Barnham dealing in the war?
>Any report on Ilos and Michelle?
>How has your infiltration gone?
and
>What do you know about sea monsters?
>>
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>>5428406
>>5428436
>>5428458
"How has your infiltration gone? Are the girls giving you any trouble?" You chuckle and offer some small talk before asking the serious questions."

"Uh, No sir! Nothing of the sort. My mother watching above me would not forgive me for having a harem of non-Kushan women." Kalki nervously retorts, not used to taking the edge off given Barnham does not tend to joke around with him, but you quickly excuse yourself and let him speak his mind.

"The girls have done commendable effort in their housing, thanks to that, we were able to establish a small base of operations under the nose of authorities. Should they come over, all I need is to hypnotize them to look the other way, while we find a few more funds to expand and liven the economy in Ilos as well as means of transportation. My Pishaca rides can defend them from bandits, and they disguise themselves well enough from the Kushan armies to not be harmed."

"Interesting, I was wondering if the people were in poor conditions given the critical state of the rest of Midland. Any reports on Ilos and my mother?"

"Her crops have been keeping the people well fed, and we have heard good results about the expansion of Ilos' territory. Our base has been reinforced by a wall of Pishaca and the essential citizens remain inside. The rest of the working citizens are taking materials from the mountain to expand and build more posts around it."

"And what of our magicians?"
"Your idea of fusing our teachings worked wonderfully. Some of them have already mastered the art of flight."
"Really? Now I feel bad for not knowing how to do it still..." You scratch your head, wondering if he was about to report on anything else.

"Speaking of improvements, another friend of yours appeared to have come our way. Do you know anyone by the name of Rickert?"
"Yes, in fact! What did he do?"
"We've installed several powerful new cannons thanks to his blueprints. I have never seen anything like it, to be quite honest. It appears to be formed by one large boulder, until it splits in half and diverges into several small pellets before it impacts, very deceitful, but effective. He was wondering about deploying a fire spraying type of weapon, but he was in a rush to reach Wyndham, so I am waiting still until he arrives to greet him."

"I'm glad someone is on our side, at least. I was half expecting Ilos to collapse without us." You comment before moving on to Barnham.

"Lord Banham is about to fight against Griffith's greatest captain, though given how the cloud apostle is also attempting to use his Man-made demonic device, I'm not sure that he can fight without being interrupted."

"Ganishka is alive?"
"Lord Griffith has managed to heal him of his wounds before his passing."
"I knew one strike wouldn't be enough to finish him off..." You curse yourself as you confirm your doubts, only hoping that Barnham would not be stupid enough to get in the midst of their skirmish.
>>
>>5428558
You do not need to worry, Lord Vlad. For I am wagering on Ganishka's failure. I have contacted the leader of the Bakiraka Clan Silat to show himself along with Rickert. If I do manage to convince him to fight on our side, it is possible that the Kushan Empire will be on our side, given that Ganishka has no relatives, another noble name shall rise up to the throne if their people live."

>I'm not sure the Kushan would be on our side so easily, we have fought against their past leader.
>Compromises are to be made in war, it has to end in some other way other than complete anhelation.
>We should prioritize our forces onto our artillery, just having Rickert with us should be enough.
>Are you sure you can stay in Wyndham amidst the fight?
>Can't you do something about this Man-Made Behelit?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5428567
>I'm not sure the Kushan would be on our side so easily, we have fought against their past leader.
>Are you sure you can stay in Wyndham amidst the fight?
>Can't you do something about this Man-Made Behelit?
>We should prioritize our forces onto our artillery, just having Rickert with us should be enough.
>>
>>5428567
>It’s come to my attention that the Kushan forces may have some particularly potent sorcerers among their ranks. I would ask you to see if you can convince them, more than any else, to join IIos. The older ones especially, given how much experience they’re likely to have. You should have seen the last one I encountered…

You know, its not really relevant to anything currently happening, but in the future I kind of want to organize a tournament for the morale of Ilos. Jousting, swordplay, the works.
Maybe we could even invite Locus for the jousting events. He may be an enemy, but he’s an honorable sort who might actually take us up on the offer. And imagine the clout if we best the moonlight knight in the public eye…
>>
>>5428567
>>Can't you do something about this Man-Made Behelit?
>>Write-in.
BROS TELL HIM TO MAKE SURE WE DONT APPROVE BANHAM TAKİNG A DİVE IN THE BEHELIT JUICE and for the write in i support >>5428684 's idea of turning mages to our side. Its the only way to survive the hawkpocalypse.
>>
>>5428567
>>I'm not sure the Kushan would be on our side so easily, we have fought against their past leader.
>>Compromises are to be made in war, it has to end in some other way other than complete anhelation.
>>
>>5428567
>I'm not sure the Kushan would be on our side so easily, we have fought against their past leader.
>Compromises are to be made in war, it has to end in some other way other than complete anhelation.
>We should prioritize our forces onto our artillery, just having Rickert with us should be enough.
>Are you sure you can stay in Wyndham amidst the fight?
>>
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>>5428660
>>5428684
>>5428771
>>5428810
>>5428886
"I'm not sure the Kushan would be on our side so easily, we have fought against their past leader."

"We don't need to convince them all of our cause. Merely planting an idea with an influential figure on their side could be advantageous. Aside from that, I wish to establish contact with a Kushan member who won't kill me for merely taking a glance at me. I beg of you, Lord Vlad. I have been waiting for this moment for a long time, perhaps I can finally come to terms with my own ancestry by doing good to their... my people."

Knowing how much it could mean to him and being in a similar journey yourself, you are not one to crush people's dreams.
"Very well, I suppose compromises are to be made in war, it has to end in some other way other than complete annihilation. It’s come to my attention that the Kushan forces may have some particularly potent sorcerers among their ranks. I would ask you to see if you can convince them, more than any else, to join IIos. The older ones especially, given how much experience they’re likely to have. You should have seen the last one I encountered…"

"Certainly so. A man like Daiba would be great to have on our cause, though I'm not sure he would be easily convincible, given the weapon he created..."
"Are you sure you're going to be safe in Wyndham amidst the fight? I'm not sure what that Man-Made Behelit is capable of."
"Being so far away from us, I doubt I could enter his lair and destroy it without losing my life... My apologies, Lord Vlad. I am too cowardly motivated to live to see our faction prosper."

"No, it's alright. It's best for you not to kill yourself either way." You ponder on what else you could speak to him about.
"Is... Is Cindy still alive?"
"Her life presence is very weak and fragile, but so long as her vial isn't emptied, she will find forces to meet with Bernard once more."
"Good. One last thing, do you know anything about sea monsters?"
"I have never been to the sea myself, neither have most Kushan, barring soldiers and casters. Though we are aware of a Varuna that lies deep inside the casket of the corals. It is said never to stray far away from oceanic routes laid out by the connections of earth-sea, or else you would awaken the unknown creatures of the ocean."

"The creature I met did not seem from our world. it managed to seal a whole island off into the astral."
"It is feasible, perhaps not by conventional magic, but by spreading their beliefs."
"Huh?"
"Do you remember your encounter at the forest? The witch could hide herself from public view thanks to the astral roots of her trees. It is possible to replicate that magic in the wall of the collective unconsciousness. Make a small group of humans believe and venerate an entity, and said entity will be given power, even if it did not have any."
>>
>>5428999
Your mind wanders to The See and how so many were tricked into following the dark arts by believing in God. It is the same fashion Griffith used to empower the God Hand.
The people there either have to be powerful magicians, or have unmeltable convictions.

Saying goodbye to Kalki9 and wishing him good luck, your thought process about Sivir is interrupted when Farnese appears. Complaining about a stiff shoulder, you comply with her offer to give you a back rub.

"...How many times?"
"What?" She suddenly speaks up with anguish on her face.
"How many times are you going to jump into danger, letting me heal you and worry about watching you wither slowly by each passing day?"
You silently stare back at her, understanding she feels frustrated about the repeated outcome you stay in.

"...As many--"
"Don't you dare say 'as many times as it takes'! We have never been more powerful in terms of numbers or skill, and yet... With every fight you take, I'm afraid it's going to be your last..."

"But Farnese, what else can I say? You know we still have much to do about our work, and I would rather die before all of you than letting you lose your life for me--"
"Don't you understand? We all feel the same for you! It's not fair to us to see you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders while we idle about! We are not like you, but we can do our part!" The more Farnese says 'we', the more you know she means to say 'I'.

"We have lost so much already... our friends, our family. Do we really need to lose each other too? We've seen how Guts always loses himself to the armor, but you're not like him! You don't need to destroy yourself over this cause... You're all we-- I, have left! Will our marriage be consisted of me tending to your tombstone? You're all I have left after this, Vlad! I don't want to see you going away too!"

She waves her hands, showing a worrying scar on her forearm, when asked to reveal it, she pulls back her sleeves and shows her some light scarring from her burn marks.
Farnese has resorted to doing that again to cope about your possible passing...

"Please, Vlad... Even if it's a lie. I want you to promise me that you will live to see the end of this journey in good condition... After Cindy, after Father... I don't want to lose you too. Tell me our happy ending isn't a mere tale of fantasy..."

>I'm not going anywhere, my love. Have faith in me
>I would feel bad about lying to you, or breaking that promise.
>I can't predict that far into the future, Farnese.
>We are on our way to victory. Everything will be alright.
>[Kiss her]
>Write-in.
>>
>>5429028
>[Kiss her]
Words would only fail us. Action is what’s needed here.
>>
Plus, promising something we can’t necessarily keep would be the same as lying. We should never lie to her.
>>
>>5429032
+1; are we going to turn our back on all this and revenge against Conrad just for Farnese? You all know the moment we do, the horrors will come for us, sensing our guard down. That's how it is now.
>>
>>5429028
>[Hold her hands.] I cannot promise that I, or any of us, will live through the coming war. But I can promise that even death would not do us part. The miniscule time we have left on this world, even if we live for so long that we die of old age, pales in comparison to the eternity that awaits us on our moonlit waltz throughout the stars. This world, unfortunately, is not fit for our children - I want to make it safe for them, so we can smile happily when we look upon our descendants from the heavens. That's the happy ending that I see, and the one that I fight for every day.
>[Kiss her]
>>
>>5429050
I'm not saying we should give up or anything, but you sure they're gonna bother coming after us if we "give up"? The Godhand themselves only follow Griffiths will and everything that comes with it, which doesn't really apply to us if we stay out of his way. If we abandon our journey and travel as far away from Griffith as possible, he and the other GodHand members have no reason to follow us half way around the world, since in their eyes, our not participating is the ultimate victory for them.

If we manage to remove ourselves from Griffiths equation to victory, then there's no real reason for us to be killed off to them I believe. Hell, they might even offer us a place among them if we go that far; and at least that way we could safeguard Farnese our descendants futures that way.
Not saying that's what I want, just playing devils advocate.
>>
>>5429032
>>5429050
>>5429069

You wish to tell her that you won't die, deep down, you fantasize about letting the world solve it's own problems, deluding yourself that you've done enough, and that your efforts would already be plenty. Yet both you and Farnese know that maintaining the peace you've established and preventing derelictions requires an entirely new skillset over the span of several generations.
You will not be there to see that. You wonder if you will even be there to see the generation after yours grow into adulthood...

Pleading with her and to yourself, you hold her hands, rolling her sleeves back so her scars would go back into hiding. Her relapse into self-harm would not have come without a need to feel like she had control of something, anything in her life. Her eyes shine as you see yourself in it's reflection:

"I cannot promise that I, or any of us, will live through the coming war. But I can promise that even death would not do us part. The miniscule time we have left on this world, even if we live for so long that we die of old age, pales in comparison to the eternity that awaits us on our moonlit waltz throughout the stars. This world, unfortunately, is not fit for our children - I want to make it safe for them, so we can smile happily when we look upon our descendants from the heavens. That's the happy ending that I see, and the one that I fight for every day."

She observes you in silence, undecided in whether to be moved, or to refute with more of her insecurities. Her mind races, she does not know what else is there to say that wouldn't come off as whining.
Her words fail her, she merely stares back.
That's fine... You're not sure if anything could be added to your speech other than hurtful lies.

Shutting her lips with yours, you lock her movements by placing yourself over a pillar on the boat. As you are caught in the sweetness of the moment, her nail digs onto your back as you are startled by her scratching and biting.

Right, she tends to associate these more intense feelings of lust with pain...
As her kisses and grabs grow more intense and lewd, you pull back and make sure you're getting the right messages.
"You sure? I thought you were feeling--"
"Don't worry, I'm ready... It has to happen eventually. Though I hope you don't mind something more... Unconventional." She blushes, trying to sound dominant with her lack of experience in anything other than being a sadist.

"It's not going to be as rough as that time, will it?" You remember to the time she stomped your genitals to escape Slan's grasp.
"I won't repeat that mistake." She speaks, still unsure as she unties the rope from your feet, wondering if it could fit the rest of your body instead.

>Let me take the lead, I'm more experienced.
>Have fun, I won't judge.
>I won't submit so easily. You want to vandalize my body? Fight for it.
>We don't need to do this right now, I'm not sure if this is the right time.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5429426
>Have fun, I won't judge.
>>
>>5429426
>Have fun, I won't judge.
Vlad's most dangerous and harrowing battle yet...
Lets hope he keeps at least some of his limbs by the end of this...
>>
>>5429426
>>I won't submit so easily. You want to vandalize my body? Fight for it.
god
>>
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>>5429455
>>5429565
>>5429726
Roll for... Ehm, Performance?

Just kidding. Gonna be skipping over this scene since it might be a little too risque for the jannies if I go into detail, perhaps in an epilogue?

Have this lovely picture instead while I write the scene after this one
>>
Rolled 48 (1d100)

>>5429783
Since when were you under the impression that kidding would stop me?
>>
>>5429426
>I won't submit so easily. You want to vandalize my body? Fight for it.
>>
Rolled 66 (1d100)

>>5429783
>>
>>5429455
>>5429565
>>5429726

Your head exits out of Farnese's chest, drenched in sweat, saliva, wax, and several other mixture of liquids. It took you a few hours, but the pain and blood was overtaken by the feeling of pleasure...

...For her, at least. Next time you're doing this, you need to make sure Farnese has her nails trimmed. You can deal with the waxplay and the bondage, but your back has never looked this ragged before. It's like Barnham used you as a scratcher while a rope demon constricted your body...

Farnese, on the other hand, looks absolutely giddy, with the bubbliest look on her face as she silently stares at you standing still.

It's been a long time since you've done this, but the experience hasn't left you rusty. Despite all the strain, you get the feeling that it wasn't that awful. In fact, you could get used to this.

"Are we done?" Farnese whines.
"If we keep at it, you won't stop until nightfall. Plus it would be awkward if someone heard us."
"That implies they already haven't." She giggles. Observing the marks of sisal left onto your skin, she finally unties you and helps you get dressed.

"Alright, you can go. Just don't wander too far away."
"I'll be back." You smile to her, as she rustles herself to snuggle with a blanket.

...Phew! Does she even know how dangerous it is to come inside? Why did she look so upset when you pulled out?
Anyway, it feels clunky to walk around when the boat shakes and saddles so much, it's been a while since you stood up, so the added difficulty is only making you more nauteous.
Still, free at last!

>Check on Gunpowder.
>Ask Hyde for some counseling.
>Find out why Guts and Casca were fighting.
>Spend some time with Roderick and get to know his crew.
>See if the kids aren't at each other's throats.
>Something else
>>
>>5429819
>Spend some time with Roderick and get to know his crew.
I want to get his permission to create some wards.
And...as embarrassing as it sounds...see if he knows how to swim.
>>
>>5429821
>Support
>>
>>5429821
+1
>>
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>>5429819
Damn I missed the rolls.

>>5429821
+1 to this stuff too. If we can swim we can explore the power of algae abuse!

I will be watching out for that epilogue with great interest.
>>
>>5429821
>support
>>
>>5429905
I guess there's still a third one available still if you want to shoot your shot for shits and giggles, though I don't know if we can get much more fitting than 66 aside from 69
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>5429937
Never tell me the odds!
>>
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>>5429877
>>5429821
>>5429887
>>5429928

Roderick's crewmates seem to keep the Seahorse in quite a good shape. Always monitoring the speed of the tides, the direction of the winds, and most importantly, treating the Pegasus with plenty of respect, for the most part.

Initially, they seemed to be quite weary of who you were, but to deny that you played a part in the saving of their lives would be nothing but foolishness. Even if they had their inquiries, The Ys fleet captain made sure to enforce their respect by respecting you first.

Isidro was stuck parrying Violet's feathers with a cutlass, with Hyde instructing him on how to best parry enemies who had a field advantage.

"How the hell do I take the pouch from her mouth!?"
"You've done climbin' lesson with Vlad, didn't ya? Use that noggin of yers for once in a while!"
The crewmates were mesmerized by the fantastical, docile creatures, especially after seeing Puck and Ivalera dancing around at their line of sight.

"What? Never seen an elf before?"
Schierke was stuck with Casca, attempting to learn how to make better use of the Mandragora essence to lessen her skin rash. Guts was near the bow, limping around on a crutch without his metallic arm. It's a weird, vulnerable side you're not used to see him assume publicly.

Roderick was near Gunpowder, checking his eyes and mouth as the stallion held his saliva not to spit on him while Magnifico was having an argument with Serpico.

"I thought you had made this decision yourself?"
"No sir! I was forced to move out of my city after my father's reputation was brought down to the dirt thanks to you."
"Lord Magnifico, I have served under you before for a while. I know you're scheming something to be noticed by Lord Vandimion. I am not a threat to you, there is no need to have any animosity between us--"

Magnifico aimed a puny punch at Serpico, still being jealous of how hard he had derailed his plans my merely existing. Though still having deficiency in his lungs, Serpico was still very able to duck under Magnifico's fist as he hit the wooden pillar behind him. Yelping and blowing on his hand as he whined about the damage done to himself.

"I thought you would be easier to hit..." Magnifico sobs.
"I fought. A. Makara!"

Adding insult to injury, Gunpowder purposefully let a fart out onto Magnifico's direction as he kneeled close to his behind, the direction of the wind was additionally unfavorable to him.

"It seems I'm at an impasse with both step-siblings among this ship..."

>How is Gunpowder doing?
>Don't try fighting against Serpico, Mag. You're out of his league.
>Top of the morning, captain! Would you happen to know someone who can provide some swimming lessons?
>A great ship you have, I assume our path is clear from any strange obstacles?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5430011
>Top of the morning, captain! Would you happen to know someone who can provide some swimming lessons?
>How is Gunpowder doing?
>>
>>5430011
>A great ship you have, I assume our path is clear from any strange obstacles?
>Would you happen to know someone who can provide some swimming lessons?
Wait a minute...does Barnham know how to swim, you reckon? He can just swipe the water out from under him so powerfully that it launches him. That counts, right?
>>
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>>5430017
>>5430026
"Top of the morning, captain!" You salute him as he returns the gesture. "How is Gunpowder doing?"

"Sorry to inform you, boss. I don't think your stallion here is doing that well." Roderick claps his hands close to each of Gunpowder's ear, to which he barely answers to.

His left eardrum has been ruptured and left unusable, his right one had all the effectiveness of a hearing submerged in water. It hurts to admit it, but Gunpowder appears to be deaf by all considerable terms.

Still being able to speak to him by sheer thought reading, you see that contrary to popular belief, Gunpowder can actually become flustered with something other than lack of fight.

'Vlad! Vlad! Why can't Gunpowder hear Vlad?'
He panickily neighs on two feet, startling Roderick as he sidesteps away from the horse's hooves.

"Are you sure he's fine to stay aboard? I thought the ship had a place for housing animals." Magnifico stands up straight after his eyes were reddened from the gas blow.

"Gunpowder is no mere animal. He's been fighting the good fight for longer than I have, both in horse years and actual years. Even if he shat on the wood frame, I would still ask to keep him around."

"Ah, a prized family horse?" Roderick manages to tame him with a vegetable of his choice, asking for one by the passing crewmate enjoying his meal.

"Something like that. I've made a promise for him to get to see my arch-nemesis one more time."

"Sounds like a good story to listen..." He inquires about your backstory, but you have a trade to offer.
"I'd be down to telling you, if you answered me one thing..." You asked him if he knew someone capable of teaching you how to swim. Being afraid of the ocean and needing to take Sivir out of the bottom of the ocean, you tell him if he perhaps could spare some lessons.

"Of course. We marines have to learn how to swim on our first few days of training. Though I don't think I am a good master, we could strap you to a raft and have you exercise some lessons on calmer tides. I don't think you will learn enough to be a professional by the time we reach Skellig, but at least enough to not drown yourself if you fall off the boat."

"I'm fine with that." You tell him, finding a few free hours of the day to practice also reminded you of your relationship with the undines, to which Schierke recommended you to hone your mind with the spirits of liquid form.

Why not try both? Time is not something that passes quickly when you have nowhere to go.

>Roll a 2d100, first for swimming, second for magical training.
>>
Rolled 45, 45 = 90 (2d100)

>>5430181
I am one with the sea. See?
>>
Rolled 38, 14 = 52 (2d100)

>>5430181
bribe the undines with small doses of energy to get them to like us more?
>>
Rolled 99, 99 = 198 (2d100)

>>5430181
>>
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>>5430188
Oh, this might be the hardest you've all been teased by the dice...
>>
>>5430184
>>5430188
The dubs...what do they mean?
Regardless, apparently we have QUITE the aquatic affinity. Was plantmom based on the water lilies no doubt prevalent in the swamps of the silver-eyed clan...?
>>
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>>5430188
>>
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>>5430189
>>5430188
wow
>>
>>5430206
It gets better.
>Rolled 99 on both dice
>88 dubs in the post itself
You touched divinity, anon
>>
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>>5430184
>>5430187
>>5430188

Swimming is indeed a surprisingly effective form of physical therapy. Your body feels lighter underwater, requiring you seemingly less energy to do the stretches and twirls familiar in your acrobatic fighting style.

As afraid as you are to dive your head underwater and lose your breath, you manage to hold yourself underwater for a total record of 30 seconds, be it panicking, exhaustion from repeated dives, or what have you, half a minute is the most you can get without the need to come back for more air.

Using your trident as training wheels, you make sure never to fall over or die when you plead for the Undines to synergize with you, using your body as a filter for both the spiritual and physical world, you manage to surf along in the direction of the raft Roderick was stationed at to observe your training.

>With a few days of training, you were able to learn how to float and dog paddle to prevent yourself from ever drowning again. Additionally, changing the weight and density of the trident by freezing it might be able to ascend and descent to better control yourself three dimensionally when underwater.

"You have managed to control yourself quite amicably with the Undines, Vlad. It's like the two of you have never had a problem before!" Schierke commends you for your growth, despite feeling like you have still much to experiment.

Before you could properly dry yourself with your tower, Magnifico appears to attempt to speak with you eye to eye.

Interesting, you've never had a proper word with him on this ship yet, what could he be interested in--

"Vlad, would you perhaps be interested in a loan?"

Oh, money. Of course...
"It has come to my attention that you have quite a large sum of money with you that you have no intent of using. Given how the Vandimion family is in a bit of a rough spot, I was hoping that someone could provide me with some funds for a certain investment."

Money money money. Gee, at least Serpico bothered to act like a decent enough Brother-In-Law.
You're no master of economics, but you have the feeling that whatever offer Magnifico makes, he will either fumble his wager or waste it on something stupid.

You're not sure what it is about him, but he just sounds like someone who would make your money disappear if you gave it to him.

>You could at least pretend to be interested about something other than my money...
>What sort of investments? What's in there for me?
>I'm not interested in your schemes, can you leave me be?
>[Hand him a gold coin.] Is this good enough?
>By all means, I have no use for my money anyway, take it.
>[Stall him with smalltalk while you read his intent with your mind]
>Write-in.
>>
>>5430211
>Of course. As a lord of Ilos, I am obliged to consider to any request to any that show conviction, purpose, and competence. How does noon tomorrow sound for the duel? It should give you ample time to prepare. As per the usual rules, if you impress me enough, I shall provide you with the loan.
>>
>>5430219
Support
>>
>>5430219
+1
>>
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>>5430219
>>5430228
>>5430244
"Of course. As a lord of Ilos, I am obliged to consider to any request to any that show conviction, purpose, and competence. How does noon tomorrow sound for the duel? It should give you ample time to prepare. As per the usual rules, if you impress me enough, I shall provide you with the loan." You challenge him to show his worth, to which he swiftly declines.

"W-w-wawawait a minute! Have you seen me carry a blade with me? I'm a merchant, not a fighter! Negotiations is all I can offer you." He nervously sweats as he knows he would fight a battle he could not win.

"Ah, pardon my ignorance. What other competences could you offer me." You give him ample time to recompose his arguments.
"Ahem. Is this island you are headed to the same island of Skellig rumored among sailors as the legendary island of elves?"
"Affirmative."
"Elves... the creatures that appear in all countries' fairy tales! I would be skeptical of their existence, but after seeing a harpy steal my lunch the other day, I can't say I have room to argue. Of course, I'm all aware of your secrets after eavesdropping onto your friends' conversations..."

"Y-You have?" He manages to surprise you, wondering what he could know that could prove of a detriment for your journey enough for him to blackmail you.
"Of course, I know you are carrying with you The King Of The Elves himself, Master Puck!" He shoves the small blue midget from out of his pocket, who was bearing a beard and a cane resembling the old king himself.

"All hail me!"
"Master Puck has given me all the knowledge I need, as well as permission to establish my name by conquering the island! Swarms of elves! All mine! Selling them to royalty and nobility across all countries will popularize them and build up a market for them! The children will love them! We'll paint every few hundred of them green and gold so they look more rare and add imaginary monetary value!"
"Tsk tsk! What kind of idiot would fall for these cheap tricks!?" Puck keeps his royal persona, though he makes sure to whisper inside your mind.

"Don't worry Vlad! Becchi wouldn't let me sell out my buddies at home like this! I'll keep him busy while you prepare for the final battle against Magnifico!"

Ah, good to know this was a huge waste of your time...
"What do you say, Vlad? Being my first patron along with Roderick, I would advise you to invest your money wisely. We can split the money with you receiving a small percentage of the sales. It won't sound like much at first, but the reward program you could receive as my affiliate would be higher than the sum of several years budgeting your worth on the Vandimion Banks. Moreover, once I establish myself as the richest man of Midland, I will use my position as head of the family to-- Wait! Where are you going!?"
"Go find someone else to play your comedy routine." You walk off, interested in seeing what the crew was worrying over with their binoculars on hand.
>>
>>5430346
What a shame. If he had the guts to accept the duel and give it his best shot even knowing his chances, I would have accepted the loan.
After all, strength of heart is most important...
>>
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>>5430346
"Armed merchant men?" One of the lieutenants from Roderick's fleet asked as he was arming their cannons, with Hyde wondering if he could use some.

"They appear to be sailing with Ys Flags."
"Until a while ago their nationality was unclear, but upon noticing us they changed course and suddenly raised those canvases. No response to the signals we sent."

"You don't say..." Roderick prepares a shout for his sailors to assume battle positions.

"Three ships versus one of ours... Do we stand a chance?"
"Plenty of our ammunition was lost defending ourselves from the Makaras. If we were to fight him, not a single shot could miss. And even then, we are likely to be defenseless to later possible encounters."

"And how fare are we from Skelling?"

"5 more volumes!" Puck holds a black and white book with his glasses on, whatever that cryptic measure could mean....
"Let's try giving them a scare then. Place the women and injured into hiding, would you?" Roderick asks, including you in the mix.
"Are you sure we can't help you?" Serpico intervenes along with Isidro, despite also not being in the best of conditions.
"YEEAH! LET US KICK SOME ASS!"

"I was in your constant debt back at the docks, the least you can do is leave the sea fights to me."

"Ye, but--"
"Let us not doubt the confidence of the experts then, Isidro. Our being here would be bothersome to them and our safety."
"Let me watch it, at least! I swear I won't get in the way."
"...Fine, but it's on your head if you die." He leaves them be while Serpico helps the crew into the hold.

>Are you sure they can't be convinced?
>I have some money that could pay for our safety. Wouldn't that be safer?
>I can read their minds to tell you of their tactics, would you like me to counter them?
>I wonder if the undines could send them away...
>Not to abuse my luck, but perhaps I could offer some assistance as a soldier?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5430384
>I can read their minds to tell you of their tactics, would you like me to counter them?
>>
>>5430384
>>I wonder if the undines could send them away...
>>
>>5430384
>I can read their minds to tell you of their tactics, would you like me to counter them?
>I wonder if the undines could send them away...
>>
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>>5430403
>>5430414
>>5430470
A 1d100 to see if Vlad can do anything on time! A shootout is about to start, so It'll be hard to focus and stay still when all you hear is BOOM!
>>
Rolled 29 (1d100)

>>5430481
>>
Rolled 17 (1d100)

>>5430481
>>
Rolled 3 (1d100)

>>5430481
A shitty roller arrives precisely when he means to
>>
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So Vlad shoots his water gun, then falls on his ass. kek.
>>
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>>5430486
>>5430494
>>5430517

Closing your eyes and letting your Od reveal to your a most favorable course of action, you overhear the conversations going inside the pirate ship.

"Cap'n?"
"Skalawag! The hell you're looking at? She's a warship!" The most stereotypical pirate you've ever seen strikes his worker with a scope, walking around with an eye patch, a wooden stump for a leg and the dirtiest of beards.

"Argh! We try turning over a new leaf and start some honest business, and our cargo of brats runs off! Who would have thought that our first prey on our home turf would be a single ship! We really are luckless, mateys!"

Slave traders. Schierke has told you about how war prisoners turned into a commodity and were only banished from being turned into slaves in Midland out of convenience, so much for honest business...

"But Cap'n BoneBeard! We have 3 ships! A warship's captain and officers are sure to be nobles! If we take 'em hostage and demand a fortune in ransom-- ACK!" The pirate gets struck on the side of the head.

"It's Boss! Call me 'Boss Man'! Pain in my arse, a lot of you are!" The mean old pirate leader grumbles. "...We are three ships, though. A ransom for the captain would give us plenty of booty... RRRRRIGHT ON! HOIST THE SKULL AND CROSSBONES! WE'RE BACK IN BUSINESS, ME HEARTIES!"

Being so invested in their conversations, you did not notice that they had already circled over and were in good rage to start firing their cannons. You're not sure if there is enough time to offer some money to get them away. This is your late father's hard earned cash, it would feel wasteful to spend on paying for security with some dirty old pirates. It's unlikely for them to turn over a new leaf just because you've paid them well.

But it could prove to be a better investment than paying for Magnifico's Elf collection...

>Attempt to negotiate with them.
>Leave Roderick to take care of the pirates.
>Fight alongside the Seahorse.
>Help the crew with whatever they need.
>>
>>5430772
>Attempt to negotiate with them.
Vlad's family were always good with negotiations, and seeing how Vlad can read intent and minds, we can control negotiations like the best of them. Just remember the time he managed to outclass the political mastermind Foss at the royal ball.

If nothing else we can get them close enough so that if negotiations fail we can in close enough range to attack more effectively.
>>
>>5430772
>Fight alongside the Seahorse.
>>
>>5430772
>>Fight alongside the Seahorse.
>>
>>5430813
>>5430896
>>5430919
Well, I'd say it would be hard to fight a ship when you're just one guy, but the Tridents could prove to be useful in deflecting damage, who knows?

Roll me a 1d100! Let's see if Vlad can contribute in any way
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5430931
One with the sea.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d100)

>>5430931
Back to roll like ass again
>>
Rolled 26 (1d100)

>>5430931
>>
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>>5430938
Can't say you were wrong on that one...
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It looks like negotiations have broken down. Oh well, here's hoping Vlad makes good use of that swimming technique he learned from Rod, looks like he's gonna need it.
>>
>>5430951
A shame too, I was half expecting seeing a back and forth with the Pirates since Vladdy boy just fought for his life not too long ago. Into the deep-end we go then
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>>5430958
Yeah, Vlad really should not be seeking out a fight when he's still this injured and negotiations are a viable option imo. Especially since he can mind read which is a god-tier tactic when negotiating with someone. He can literally pull an 'Inception' by pretty much planting ideas into peoples heads and guiding them into the most favorable scenario for himself and others.
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>>5430937
>>5430938
>>5430942
"Do not let those slowpoke carracks get close! We can outrange them with our superior artillery! Aim at the rightmost ship! FIRE!" Roderick's orders were objective and with no room for alternative interpretations. The potency of his weapons were finally properly seen, as a few key blows were enough to destroy their galleons. For once it's refreshing to see a human captain that call pull off his own weight without your input, though that's likely just due to being unaccustomed to seeing human on human fights after being used to slaying fantastical creatures.

Surely they wouldn't mind a little bit of help then, would they?

Raising a protective wall of water to obscure the pirate's view, you focused on obstructing the path of the incendiary shots that would prevent the third ship from sailing. It was effective in blind sighting Bonebeard, but since their shots didn't have enough potency to pass through the water wall, they merely bounced off or surfed through the waves and sunk.

"Vlad! I just told you NOT to get in my way!" Roderick glares at you with anger. Being out of ammo, he had no way to finish off the last of the pirate's ship.

"I was just trying to help, with the ship being obscured by the water, there's no way for them to--"
You stop yourself after noticing the smoke caused by the cannons, delving into Roderick's thought process, he was letting the wind carry over to Bonebeard to prevent him from seeing an ambush.

It was a similar, more calculated plan that would have worked perfectly without your intervention. The only thing that it aided was in making you look like a fool.

>I apologize for my impulsiveness. Carry on.
>I can still fix this, let us get on their ship and buy off their goods.
>Pehaps I can still bring the last one down with my trident...
>Write-in.
>>
>>5430998
>I can still fix this, let us get on their ship and buy off their goods.
Whoopsie. Sorry Roderick, let me use the power of money to fix this.
>>
>>5430998
>Pehaps I can still bring the last one down with my trident...
>>
Rolled 66, 74, 28, 29, 64 = 261 (5d100)

>>5430998
>Pehaps I can still bring the last one down with my trident...
It's probably a terrible idea but lets try to sink a ship with these little watery psychos. I'll just uhh do a test roll.
>>
>>5430998
>I apologize for my impulsiveness. Carry on.
Why are we doubling down?
>>
Oh, Jesus Christ. Are you guys still going to seriously try and fight again? Guys, you do realize there's more options than fighting right? At this point I won't even blame the dice gods for killing Vlad if this is the course of action that is always the first response.

It's the whole possessed whale scenario all over again ffs. Did we really learn nothing from that??
>>
>>5431060
Side with me.
Don't try to bargain with pirates though, that's going to fail and bomb. Once they catch a whiff of fortune they won't stop.
We should just let the naval expert be a naval expert.
>>
>>5431067
Yeah, fuck it. I definitely do still want to negotiate because I think Vlad could still pull a win with his mind reading, but I would rather support you and pull us into a deadlock and stop retards making the worst choice in this situation.
>>
>>5430998
>>5431048
All mediocre or bad rolls. I'm taking that as a sign and changing my vote.
>I apologize for my impulsiveness. Carry on.
>>
>>5430998
>>I apologize for my impulsiveness. Carry on.
>>
>>5431076
>>5431050
>>5431013

"S-Sorry. I apologize for my impulsiveness, Carry on..." You excuse yourself and leave Roderick to deal with the pirates on his own.

Really, what came over you? Force of habit? There was no point on doing that unprompted when you had plenty of better options...

Perhaps the wickedness of the apostle world has left you afflicted. spreading yourself too thin would be detrimental to your safety.

Going over to where Guts and the others were, your ears were attacked victims of the Bombardment of the guns below you, who were still trying to get accustomed to regular hearing

"I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING!"
"WHAT DID YOU SAY?!"
Farnese and Puck screamed at each other while Gunpowder seemed unphased by the noise.

The getaway was intense, but Roderick's superior model made sure to outspeed however many knots an incinerated pirate ship could move at.

The crewmates all cheered and celebrated their casualty-free victory, something worth celebrating indeed, given how the massacre in Vritannis went.
Being used to so much bloodshed so far... It's hard to say you're still the same person as when you started this... You wonder if your could self would have reacted in such a brute fashion. Hell, you're even starting to adopt the strategy of--

"I hope I didn't come off as insulting to you, Boss. It's just that it's hard to save one from drowning when you can't swim." He offers you a mug as an apology.
"Nah, I've said my piece. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, no point in forcing conflicts." You chug the beverage down in one go, hoping that you could forget your mistake with it.

Yuck. It's warm... You think the Undines would have chastised you if you made them freeze your beer?
A few hours later as the party extends until nightfall, you see the unlikeliest of duos talking to each other: Guts and Hyde, amicably exchanging words of advice.

"So you're saying it's normal for couples to stray away at times?"
"Course! Healthy, even! A part of yerself always develops when ya stay in certain companies. The one that forms when you are together sure is lovely, intense, exciting! But as we grow, we start to develop plenty of other sides of our personalities, it's what makes us multi-faced!"

"You mean multi-faceted?"
"I know what I said, smartass! As we grow old, we change, but we can still remember who our old selves were way back when, and that's why so many times it feels like we're revisitin' old times in new situations. It's what makes good couples fall outta love! Same logic!"

>How did the topic get here in the first place?
>You two must be pretty drunk to play pretend as friends.
>Got any advice for me, Hyde?
>Do you miss Jodi yet?
>Is this related to Guts and Casca?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5431249
>Is this related to Guts and Casca?
>>
>>5431249
>How did the topic get here in the first place?

So only a single ship was sunk instead of two and the third being rendered immobile...perhaps the pirates will search for greener pastures rather then be stuck in the ocean while swearing vengeance leading to them getting turned into apostle spawn.
>>
>>5431249
>How did the topic get here in the first place?
>Is this related to Guts and Casca?
Oh thank you, to whatever god made anon's realize fighting is stupid.
>>
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>>5431254
>>5431433
>>5431642
"How did the topic get here in the first place?" You tilt your head in confusion after seeing the two of them talk about relationships and the three dimensional aspects of the self. The apex of stoner talk, if you've ever heard one.

"Ah, guess ya weren't there when the fight broke out. Ya see, Guts 'ere had a small bickering with Casca after she was finally able to speak with 'im without fainting. First thing she did was tell us she was thankful for all 'is effort, but now that they're finally together, it's hard to ignore the problems of the past."

"...She told me she would rather not have to remember what she went through every day, or be together with the one who left her defenseless for two years without ever looking back." Guts solemnly sulks.

"But I thought you two were keeping it together after the encounter at the beach."
"Something has changed since then, hasn't it?" Guts' somber tone alludes to Cindy's passing. With her going away, so went Zhafira's positive outlook on life that gave them a morale to continue in the first place. Being the second one most closely relating to her in terms of background and situation, she must be the one suffering the most from her fear of mortality." Guts touch the eyelid of his missing retina, remembering what it's last sight was. "Our times in Griffith's Band was always one filled with discussions and bickering, but this time... I had no strength left with me to convince her to stay."

"Bein' the only one who has a long lastin' marriage, I figured I'd share my perspective about marriage, even if I want you to go fuck yerself, doesn't mean ya deserve to be unhappy for life. So I made a good example of me and Jodi."

"Right, you two had no problem departing despite being so in love with each other, how did she handle it?"
"We fucked like bunnies until a few minutes before ya showed up to the house, what else?" You and Guts nearly spill your drinks through your nose as you're struck by Hyde's trademark lack of a filter, but he quickly goes back to his counseling role:

"But before that, we made sure that we'd both have nothing to worry about. No unsolved problems over than missing her from afar."
"What do you mean by that?"

"That's where I was getting at before ya interrupted me, partner! No one can be in our heads all the time other than ourselves! Not even Vlad would handle all I think about on a daily basis!"
"Oh, I wonder..." Like he had anything else in his mind...

"What breaks up plenty of couples sometimes is just that people will always be people! Doesn't have to be a meltdown every time! Sometimes one is poor and can't afford much other than their own, sometimes they fall in love with someone else, sometimes the sparks just ain't there no more, and that's alright! Your problems couldn't have come from something y'all could predict. No point in wondering on what could've been!"
>>
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>>5431687
"Is that why you're not bothered about falling out of love with Jodi!"

"Nah, Course it's not my case! But I'm just sayin that relationships will sometimes have their struggles unrelated to either party being arseholes! We're all humans! We get angry and misunderstand each other for the stupid reasons all the time. Doesn't make us a villain and a hero out of every story, sometimes we're just... flawed."

"I can't say I disagree, it takes maturity to work through every small problem and discuss it amicably. We're all good looking enough to get just about any girl with wish, but that's not a title I'd be proud of. Getting a girl is easy, making her stay and making it work through years is where the real challenge lies! But if it fails, it fails. What can you do?"

"I thought that the child who showed up during the moonlight would be enough to make us grow together... But like the idea of improving after years of neglect... The past can't be undone... This is what I chose. I can't say I ever thought of turning back when I was slaying demons, when I cursed the child's existence for merely going after me. I'm surprised it does not even resent me."

Taking hold of Guts' metallic hand, you quickly understand why his stump is still just as muscular as he is. This thing is heavy! Almost like having an anvil strapped to your elbow!
"Casca was always one to adapt with the times. Griffith was the one who taught her strength, telling her to catch his sword the slave trader about to ravish her when she was about to be raped by him instead of saving her himself. Which only adds more weight to..."

Guts would rather not have to finish this sentence, even if Hyde doesn't fully understand it's meaning.
"She don't seem incapable of fightin' like Zhafira. It's just that it's too much to catch up when she still risks memory loss."
"Like the hand Cindy had, mine is merely a replacement. A lump of iron I attached just to beat up enemies. Even if I looked for a substitute to force back what I lost, it could never be what it previously was..."

As he stares at his non-existent hand, Hyde ponders if his advice was truly worth telling, given how distance might not be what they need.
"I've made up my mind, Vlad. Once we do reach the island. Once she is safe... I would have already done my part. If there is no creature that threatens us living there, I believe I will have no need to lift my sword... Her happiness should come before fruitless vengeance. Even if we can't solve this slump we are in... I would rather see her happy at a distance than waste it all for a fight that quenched my ego."

Guts announces his plan to retire from fighting. Something that not even a rematch with Griffith could make him reconsider.
Or so he says... seeing as the beast of darkness acts of it's own will, it's hard to know it's inner thoughts.
>>
>>5431715
>I believe you are giving up too early.
>Give it some time, I'm sure Casca hasn't given up on you.
>What exactly did she say?
>You've been through a lot. Perhaps too much, thanks to the Berserker armor. No shame in the help you've done so far, it's been a pleasure.
>What will you do with the baby? You're a father now, you said it yourself.
>Don't blame yourself, it would only ruin the memories you've had.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5431719
>>What exactly did she say?
>>You've been through a lot. Perhaps too much, thanks to the Berserker armor. No shame in the help you've done so far, it's been a pleasure.
>>What will you do with the baby? You're a father now, you said it yourself.
>>
>>5431719
>What exactly did she say?
>Give it some time, I'm sure Casca hasn't given up on you.
>What will you do with the baby? You're a father now, you said it yourself.
>>
>>5431719
>You've been through a lot. Perhaps too much, thanks to the Berserker armor. No shame in the help you've done so far, it's been a pleasure.
>What will you do with the baby? You're a father now, you said it yourself.
>>
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>>5431830
>>5431910
>>5432011
"You've been through a lot. Perhaps too much, thanks to the Berserker armor. No shame in the help you've done so far, it's been a pleasure."

"Funny, I feel like I should be apologizing for letting you down. Getting to live in peace for a few days at a safe distance with Casca, while your journey is far from over."

"You do have a habit of being too hard on yourself..."
"Look who's talkin'. The way I'm seein' it's more like you two are adopting eachother's philosophies and making into your own as ye fight together."

Hyde has a valid point. It seems like your view in warfare have finally intertwined. While Guts is starting to mellow out and turn into peaceful solutions to stop his demons from growing, you are becoming more and more prone to violence, it's hard to say you were ever against it, with how much you've already done against Apostles and alike.

While you still are in a somewhat better condition than Guts, either one of you will die first if you keep fighting this endless battle.

"If you don't mind me asking... What exactly did she say to you that would convince you that being together with her is too painful?"

Guts remains silent, pointing a finger at his forehead so you could get the message with better clarity.

"The biggest lie we can tell to eachother, is that time heals all wounds. It doesn't. Sometimes time itself is the wound. The painful reminder that the same gash will be there, that when you try to pick up the pieces, the scabs will be there to remember you of your fragility. The world will keep existing without you, uncaring about your anguish."

"I've tried staring at anguish in the eyes, jump onto my own abyss with all the determination of a corpse who has nothing to lose but his own skeleton... This is not a life worth living. A life that I can invite others to." Guts shakes his hand uncontrollably, knowing that his greatest mistake was assuming Casca would live in peace with one she forgave, but could not forget.

"But what of the baby? You're a father now, you said it yourself."
"I feel like he will be essential in this new life of mine. One that can bring the two of us together... I know how incomplete a child's life can be without both parental figures... Whatever happened to me, I'll make sure it doesn't happen to... Crap, still have to think of his name."

"Damn straight! Better appear every now and then in your kids' life than to not appear at all! That's why first thing I'm doing when I meet the girls again is to not set a foot outside my home before seeing how well they're doing! Then I'm making a boy for every harpy in the egg basket!"

"Have you thought of a name for him at all?"
"The name Lucio came to mind... Casca seems to have liked it. All we need is to find him again, wherever he is..."
>>
>>5432075
"Sometimes it's hard to believe he's even real at all, given how he always disappears. It's almost like a sign that things could always get better, yet they never do. To leave everything to time assumes I will have more time left in me"

Guts's wounds could only be ignored for so long, a blurry eye with weakening eyesight, worsening hearing, trembling tendons, The Armor was not a power-up, but a crutch for him to live on.

"If time ain't the solution leave it to the people you trust. Don't know what kind of company you've previously walked with, but we're all aware of the risks that comes with fighting those creatures that go against God's will! Didn't stop that from siding with us, did it? Ye might be a dad and a fighter, but your role as a man will be exist before and after those two. It's a part of you no one can take away!"

Hyde and Guts find something to relate to, even if they sober up and keep on being assholes to eachother, a mutual respect is found among their opinions of the near future.

"Thanks. For an old man, you seem to be as wise as you are agile!"
"Hey! I'm not that old!"
"Sorry, the bald spot always makes you look older."
"Laugh all you want, yer hair starting to grey out too! About time age caught up with you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, I'm only 24 years old."

"H-HUH?!"
And with that, they're back to throwing insults at each other. Oh well...

With the passing of following days, you start noticing odd failures of your heart, not because of failing health, but due to premonitions which you've rarely had before.

The images of Barnham dying to Femto, Ilos being squashed flat, The Dragonslayer slicing through you. You haven't had a single nap without those sorts of nightmares ever since the pirate invasion.

You have the feeling that the world is about to plunge into unsurmountable chaos, yet you have no way to explain why or how that would happen.

Would it be worth projecting yourself to Ilos or Wyndham to see how the others were doing? It could be dangerous to walk around as a spirit so closely to a God Hand member, yet you can't help but feel worried on the role Barnham will play on the fight against Griffith and Ganishka.

>Contact Kalki at Wyndham.
>Contact Barnham at Ilos.
>Astral project to observe the Falcons.
>Bring the other magicians with you.
>Let it be. This operation is too dangerous to at this stage of your training.
>>
>>5432110
>Let it be. This operation is too dangerous to at this stage of your training.
No fucking thank you, I know a trap when I see it. Just have faith in friends and stop this paranoia.
>>
>>5432110
>Bring the other magicians with you.
>Use the water-viewing trick to observe and communicate with Barnham remotely, inside a circle of wards. It may provide the necessary buffer to prevent too much backlash should the God Hand involve themselves.
>>
>>5432110
>>Let it be. This operation is too dangerous to at this stage of your training.
>>
>>5432110
>>Let it be. This operation is too dangerous to at this stage of your training.
>>
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>>5432119
>>5432123
>>5432176
>>5432181
If there's one thing the past few days have taught you, is that you need to learn how to take it easy and admit that you can't win every fight that does not involve you. Your action in Ilos have more than kickstarted a chain reaction that would take either gargantuan effort from Griffith's apostles to take down, or stupendous incompetence from Barnham's behalf.

And given the possibility that Zodd somehow wins their duel and kills the remaining lord, the soldiers would do their best to finish him off while he's still standing.

Trust in Ilos, and Ilos will remain united. If there's anything worth seeing, Kalki will contact you first.

Seeing Serpico relaxing in the Ship's nest, he interacts with a nameless crewmate who is surprised on how the Sylphs act.

"There's such a nice breeze whenever we come up here..."
"Thanks for coming up so early. For some reason, a good wind always blows whenever you stand here. Smooth sailing makes a good voyage, you're a great help to us sailors."

"Really? Hah, I'm glad to be of service."
"Skipping over your astral projecting lessons, you warn Schierke and Farnese of your premonitions, to which they both take with extreme caution."

"I was hoping we could use our luminous body to finally summon a spirit together..."
"Now is not the time! If Vlad's premonitions have been proven right, then priorities should shift along with the spirits!"

Not long after, Casca's chest is seen bleeding as Guts leaves a red trail coming from his mark of the beast. With Puck keeping the Behelit on hold as it hopped and shook around the Seahorse, your eyes wandered to the clouds, who formed the shape of the hound inside the Dark Swordsman!

"What is this sensation?" Casca's skin starts to turn green as Schierke hurriedly looks for the stash of Mandragoran Essence

"Some unbelievable calamity is taking place from the southeast!"

"But that's where Ilos is situated--"
Your thought process is obscured as Kalki comes with his breaking report through telepathy.

"LORD VLAD! I HAVE MANAGED TO CONTACT SILAT! WE HAVE ESTABLISHED A TREAT TO JOIN TOGETHER WITH ILLOS, BUT-- AAAAH!"
"STAY WITH ME KALKI! WHAT'S HAPPENING OUT THERE?"
"I AM TRYING TO PERCIEVE THE WORLD THROUGH LORD BARNHAM'S EYES. HE IS WHERE THE SHIVA HAS FORMED! HOLDING HIS PAW AS IT TRIES TO SMASH THE CREATURE WHO LAYS IN THE CLOUDS!"

"I THOUGHT HE WAS BUSY FIGHTING ZODD!"
"HE HAS BESTED ZODD IN COMBAT! BUT I DO NOT SEE WHERE HE IS! THE FALCON OF DARKNESS SEEMS TO HAVE FLOWN UP TO MEET HIM, BUT HOW COULD-- NO! GET AWAY--"
"KALKI!? ANSWER ME! KALKI?!"

Kalki does not respond, try as you might, no sort of connection appears to be reestablished as you are shut off from the world, as if you could never use your powers.
>>
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>>5432495
A few more minutes pass as Casca is treated and prevented from having any harder convulsions, yet before you could worry about your own, a blinding light had formed in the horizon, seemingly expanding and increasing as the blast of radiating energy forever changes the landscape of the old world.

Do you trust what comes from the unknown, letting it engulf you in it's everlasting metamorphosis, or should you hide from it, shielding yourself from what could be a sign of The God Hand's victory over yourself?

>Bask in the glorious light.
>Shield yourself and the ship from the unknown display of magic.
>Hide away, perhaps they might not reach you in the shadows.
>Absorb the foreign Od of distant, sealed dimensions.
>>
>>5432497
>>Absorb the foreign Od of distant, sealed dimensions.
>>
>>5432497
>>Hide away, perhaps they might not reach you in the shadows.
>>
>>5432497
>Shield yourself and the ship from the unknown display of magic.

I assume Farnese and Shierke will be working with Vlad to do this.
>>
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>>5432497
>Absorb the foreign Od of distant, sealed dimensions.
AAAAAAaHH. I'm not afraid of the unknown! I have the power to change DESTINY. GODHAND, you weigh the scales of fate. Spill my guts, or face the unknown, either way, I will not hide. Hiding from you will subjugate me to the wheel of fortune, and I am a king, not a hamster. My path runs straight into the void! ON A SICK, FLAMING CHARIOT! I will not hide!
>>
>>5432497
>Absorb the foreign Od of distant, sealed dimensions.
A shield could hardly act against something that would change the entire world.
But perhaps we can protect those around us by drawing that energy into a focal point within us. Our soul is, after all, like a sponge of sorts...
I can only hope that the purity of the halfling can overcome any negative influence hiding within this od.
>>
>>5432497
>>Absorb the foreign Od of distant, sealed dimensions.
Purify this Od and integrate it in our power.

I just remembered that we should have ask Kalki about Cromwell and that village we aided (priest and trolls), but especially Cromwell. Those elite knights would really come in handy....... Beside that, if they accepted to trade with Ilos is more stuff for us and our army.
Next call we can ask i guess.
>>
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>>5432695
>>5432826
>>5432644
>>5432506
Let's give it a roll to see if anything comes out of absorbing the energy of the new atmosphere.

Critfail and Vlad explodes from sensory overload, a 1d100 please!
>>
Rolled 38 (1d100)

>>5432850
>>
Rolled 62 (1d100)

>>5432850
BRAVE THE STORM BROTHER
>>
Somebody else better roll or I'm gonna lose my fucking mind from suspense.
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>5432850
penis

>>5432920
Your wish is granted. Big mistake buckaroo
>>
62 ain't bad, I'll take it.
>>
Rolled 72 (1d100)

>>5432850
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>5432850
best roll?
>>
Rolled 10 (1d100)

>>5432850
It's too late, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't roll.
Let's see what fate has taken from us. It will make the grief that much deeper.
>>
Rolled 65 (1d100)

>>5432850
People be rollin'. I be rollin'.
>>
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>>5432861
>>5432875
>>5432932

In many ways, you were the unknown format of life situated in the illusion of a free world. There is no need to be alarmed at what comes from the world of desire.

Your mind resorts to delving into your own memories, the times you have studied together with Schierke, letting yourself be aware of how these creatures came to be.

"Amongst villages, nations and all people of the past for millennia, stories have been told of all the creatures we have met so far."

"The trolls? The harpies? The mandragoras? ...Even myself...?"
"People fear what escapes their internal logic, the same way we yearn for conditions outside of our grasp. We cannot catch or escape from . Thusly, we have gone on imagining this other half of the world, longingly separated from what it used to be."

Mankind's desires... Fantasia, is upon us.

Attempting to open your body to receive part of that powerful layer of the astral being unwoven, your body is the first that becomes compatible with the old, new world. This is who you were meant to be.
However, a force this great is one that breaks through all forms of logic and bypassing of magical laws. If thoughts are meant to be real, this means that The Idea Of Evil has won. Corporeal forms and abstract images will now be one and the same. Femto is not the only one who will have a host. Parasites of the God Hand and the dark fiends themselves are now capable of walking upon the same ground you do.

Slan...Void...CONRAD! They will all be here in a matter of time!
The advent of this oncoming venture, the power unleashed from the blast that pushed your dimension into it's last frontier, comes with a feeling of freedom and improvement, but also with one of despair. Causality has taken another forward step into their grand, maleficent plan.

With your vision finally returning, you are bothered by several lines that obscure your sight when you open your eyes. No matter how much you attempt to look away, all you see are espers and signs of Od readings roaming freely, as well as the thoughts and hearings of all present in the ship.

No... This is too much even for that. It is a similar sensation to when you had entered temples in your youth. An overtaking of senses by nature itself.
You need to prevent yourself from having any seizures. You are not as weak as you were in your teens, yet it just goes to show how much the scope and the gap between God and Man truly is.

>Roll a 1d100 to suppress your reactive Od, keeping control of your own self.
>>
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Rolled 46 (1d100)

>>5433004
I wonder if the great roar is going to wake Sivir up.
>>
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Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>5433004
Dice gods, I beg.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d100)

>>5433004

>>5433013
No gods, only pain
>>
>>5433012
>>5433013
>>5433018
well boys, looks like we'll adapt the hard way instead of suppressing it
on the bright side, having to get used to it on full blast is probably going to be beneficial-ish longterm for our growth. What cripples us now will just make us that much more beastly when we're un-crippled...
>>
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>>5433018
Holy shit that roll. Vlad nearly got permanent brain damage.

Anyway, Time for a funny seizure moment.
>>
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>>5433018
Well pain is certainly the right word for it...
>>
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>>5433012
>>5433013
>>5433018
The creation of life is seen through the inside of your mind. You attempt to shut out all your other senses, but the soul is one that you can never escape from.

Whatever you attempt to see in this flash passes too fast.
"Again!"
It is too incomprehensible, a surplus of information that should never be contained by a single individual.
"Again!"
Your luminous avatar reverberates outside of your body, expelling Od as if it was turning into steam.
"Again!"
Your veins turn into worms, wiggling and squirming into vermin as the seeds that exit out of your gums turn into rat feces. Several mice escape from out your throat, bursting into a new form that was scarred into the back of your mind.

"Do not forget that your mere existence is a product of your father's undying loyalty towards the dark arts. You belong to us. You are our puppet, my tool create plight and bring the seeds of sickness towards my beautiful harvest."
The mountain of rats start to deflate your body, stanching your carcass with their urine and blood.
"How could one fated to fight fate, deny that destiny exists? Nothing has changed, you are merely playing into our hands, as Hedwyn has. As Merlina has. As Bolzack has."
The rates form into a mass that resembles your form, the diseased Apostle leader uses your form to deceive you from perceiving yourself as more than a marionette, with the flesh colored monster placing a foot onto your head.
"Enjoy your happiness while you can, for it will be the last moment of peace we shall give you before the death of the plants preventing our rulership."

You snap back into your consciousness before this vision could be seen for the umpteenth time. Not much time has passed in real life, seeing as you were holding yourself onto the staircase.
There are no signs of changes from your regular abilities, and after doing an overview, no added benefits or curses have been added to your form.
Yet your retinas still seem detached, the squiggly lines do not escape your sight, especially when looking above the clouds.

"Is that..."
A tree with branches and fescues that encompassed the entire horizon, a corridor of stone pillars is seen with surprising accuracy by your naked eye. There are details that formed a world map that served as a way of travelling through the skies. The world is connected as one.

"Something has gone wrong with the world, Vlad! What has happened with the spirits?" Farnese attempts to keep you steady after seeing that Casca remained stable.
"We need to observe them up close! It might be dangerous, but we need to understand the inner workings of this fusion before using this empowered magic!"

>I would rather not do that, it's too dangerous even for the three of us.
>I'm not feeling too well to do this... You can astral project without me.
>Hold it, I am seeing something among the clouds...
>Alright, I'll try to focus on my luminous body.
>>
>>5433050
>Alright, I'll try to focus on my luminous body.
>>
>>5433050
>Hold it, I am seeing something among the clouds...
No cool plant elf thing transformation for Vlad. Just Conrad laughing at his bad rolls.
>>
>>5433050
>Alright, I'll try to focus on my luminous body.
>>
>>5433050
>Alright, I'll try to focus on my luminous body.
>>
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>>5433054
>>5433083
>>5433119
>>5433188

Searching far and wide along with Schierke and Farnese, you wonder why your sight feels so fractured, why no one else is able to see what you are seeing. Asking what your other assistants thought of it, their responses could not feel any more alienating.

"Tree? What tree? I'm not seeing anything in the skies."
"How come? It's all I'm seeing whenever I look up!"
"Are you sure they really are there? You have said before that you can predict movements and intents. Perhaps you are seeing something that is still about to happen?"

"I'm not sure..."
"Well, we better check either way."
Following both girls right away, you attempt to pass through the clouds, only for your soul to keep going up.

Ascending and ascending, the world trees extends it's foliage around you, stopping after you were able to see the stars in broad daylight.
Your soul has manage to travel so far, all you see is the rest of the world behind you, the sea and the boat looking so small, that you wondered how you were supposed to go back or meet the astral plane.

Yet before panic could afflict you, the tree itself comes to life as you feel a path being formed by the pillars phasing onto it's trunks.
It does not seem to be an ill indented life form, despite coming back to life thanks to The God Hand, it is merely a pathway that was in our world long before mankind forgot about magic. Your plant affinity leaves you to have great control over it's distortion of space and time.

Five steps downwards, and you are back onto the seahorse, one step forward, and you're seeing The Pirate Ship far in the distance, following the seahorse in vain to avenge their fallen. Two steps back, and you are facing the island where Sivir was previously located.

...Only this time, it is not hidden by magic. The rock formation is completely there, as is the plant-woman buried into the sand. Likewise, the sea creature resides in the island, too big to be even be shaped into a form by your naked eye.
It seems to be a lively town, full of regular residents. A shock given the creatures you were expecting to see paired with the kraken himself, but Sivir and her pearl seem to be shining with the brightness of the sun itself, vibrating and spinning into it's own axis as it kept the monster from moving properly.

She appeared to be there by choice, wanting to disappear for so long that she went into a dimension above humanity's, her mere existence challenged the one from disturbed her peaceful slumber. Using hers magical strength fused into yours, the monster would only move if she did.

Now that you have spent your adventure wondering what could come of meeting Sivir, you also question yourself if she can even be met.
>Fantasia: Chapter End.
>>
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Going to take another break since the Falcon Of The Millenium Empire arc has officially come to a close and I feel like resting for a bit.

Man the new chapters from the manga are good to read. Wasn't expecting much but the team is emulating the writing and tone right to a T. I almost feel bad about overpassing the canon story beats and not being up to par.

Anyway, I promised that this thread would be more eventful than the last one but given how long the Sea God arc is we might not get to finish it all here with the added Sivir interactions I plan on doing.

So what do you guys think? Another intermission chapter and half of an arc for next week, or would you rather have it all in one go next time and end things with an epilogue week? I did have plenty of fun doing intermission chapters so it might turn into a regular thing.
>>
>>5433204
>Can use the world tree's branches naturally and skillfully
laughinghedwyn.jpg
>>
>>5433240
>Another intermission chapter and half of an arc for next week
Do this one please.
>>
>>5433240
intermission chapter is cool
>>
Finally caught up with the quest after a while of absence, reading through it all had been an absolute blast. Shame we couldn't save Balzack, but causality is not so easily derailed. Also the mandragoran solution had proven to be more of a detriment than a boon, even if it granted Vlad a useful ability.
>>
>>5434355
Welcome back to the struggle anon, glad you liked the mandragon arc. Sometimes the current of causality can be so strong it becomes impossible to save someone, Balzack was doomed from the start imo.
I feel as though the power of the mandragon's is still yet to be fully unlocked by Vlad, and now that we have entered the fantasia arc it is now the perfect time to attempt to perfect not only Vlad's control over them, but unlock their full potential by practice and training as well.

I think the same could be applied to Vlad too; his full potential, while still locked away inside him, now has the chance to be fully realized as we enter the fantasia arc. While we couldn't help Vlad unlock it during the baptism of the new world thanks to the mediocre rolls, he still has much time to unlock that hidden potential he failed to unleash previously.
Who knows, maybe with time and effort Vlad will begin to mutate and become more like an elf and get pointy ears, or maybe his skin will become green, it would be funny if he began to grow little wings on his back over time. Who knows what could happen to Vlad physically and spiritually as he explores this new world.
>>
>>5434387
I definitely think that going for cultivating greater personal power that many people insisted on was part of the reason why Vlad nearly died during the fight on the coast. His greatest strength is facilitation of growth of his allies and acting as a force multiplier, not trying to be Guts 2.0 even if the situation may call for it. This sort of a character had been determined all the way back at the start of the quest when we chose the reward from the spirit of nature and deviating from it, especially in times of crisis had led to us losing more than we gained. That is even the whole point of magicians in Berserk: the greatest feats of their power come not from them, but from their ability to communicate with nature, its elements, spirits and asking to borrow their power. Sure, they can call down lightning and fire, but it is not *Their* lightning and fire, they ask spirits for permission and cooperation in its use, acting as a medium for the purposes of channeling the forces into the material world. In this regard they are more like shamans and spiritualists than typical fantasy spellcasters that simply bend the elemental powers to their whims. Of course there is the dark path, but that one seems like a line never meant to be crossed. Not-Merlina buffing apostles was a great example of what Vlad could have been doing for his allies instead of trying to Dragoon-dive sea monsters with his spear and nearly breaking his neck in the process. The "cool" factor had cost us Cindy even if we did manage to absolutely wreck the neo-Falcons, but their losses were still easily replenished and we had suffered permanent injuries in return. Also, holy shit Barnham is great, he steals the show whenever he appears.
>>
>>5434392
Creating mandragoras is our greatest feat so far. I still remember how ridiculously useful every single one of them has been when we manage to whip them out for battle.
I guess it’s to be expected that the bodyjacking banshee-wailing plants would be insanely powerful.
>>
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>>5434392
I see your point. The way you explained it makes me think that Vlad is more like luffy than I originally thought. If Vlad can acquire more power, then the more capable he will be in protecting those around him from causality, like Cindy, which is why I'm hoping Vlad goes through another training arc soon. The fight that nearly killed Vlad, while brutal, was a good reminder of how fragile his life is and how he should be carful in every situation, regardless of his opponent.
>>
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>>5433254
>>5433544
>>5433626

Alright, I'll let you pick one of these for the Intermission chapter:

>Barnham Vs Zodd.
>Rickert arriving on Ilos.
>Griffith Vs Ganishka.

Not putting Farnese and Vlad's sex scene here on purpose since that's better suited for the epilogue. I'll be back tomorrow to count the votes.

>>5434355
>>5434392
Good to see you back anon, sometimes a break is warranted given the slow pacing of updates. Also cool to see you getting the character of Vlad, this archetype has sort of been the intention since day 1, adaptability and preciseness always thrives over Unga Bunga. I don't forbid players for going on that route, but given how his constitution and experience is much lower than Guts and he lacks the dark arts mastery like Merlina, he might just burn to ashes before either of them.
Also interesting how Barnham turned into a fan-favorite given how close I remember him being to have his heart ripped off on his duel with Vlad.

>>5434387
His plant nature and magical properties will be shown in due time, just give Sivir the wakey wakey and she'll fill you in (literally).
I'm not so sure about transformations for Vlad. Dragonball has somewhat ruined transformations for me in terms of how they work, it always has to be some grandiose, long hairdo, overly muscly giant form that throws away any subtilty, it's why my favorite one from the modern show is just Ultra Instinct Sign or Ryu's Power Of Nothingness, sometimes less is more.
Buuut if you do want to know what lies aheadI was thinking of giving Vlad his silver eyes when his potential is unlocked.
>>5434451
Oooh you'd be surprised at which characters I based off to do Vlad, I could pull the reference sheet I keep in hands if it interests you
>>
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>>5435493
>Rickert arriving on Ilos.
Eyyyyy it's my favorite boy here.

Agree about the transformations, it's usually better if they have a subtle, but noticeable change in the appearance rather than a full overhaul of the characters look.
The eyes changing color would most certainly be a good idea if we were to go in a more subtle direction.

On a separate note, pass me that reference sheet you mentioned brother.
>>
>>5435493
>Barnham Vs Zodd.
LETS FUCKING GOOOOOOO
OUR BOY IS BECOMING TOP DEMON
>>
>>5435493
>Rickert arriving on Ilos.
>>
>>5435493
>Barnham Vs Zodd.
>>
>>5435493
>Barnham Vs Zodd.
LET THE BLOOD FLOW
>>
>>5435493
>>Barnham Vs Zodd.
>>Rickert arriving on Ilos.
double rations....?
>>
>>5435493
i still have a grudge to settle with Barnham, while i like a lot the union we have made and him a bit more, there is still something that cannot be agreed upon ......
>>
>>5435502
>>5435520
>>5435727
>>5435735
>>5436170
>>5436454
>>5436456
>Barnham Vs Zodd.

Alriiight! After all the politics spiels I've been missing some brutal, mindless gory action to write, so I'll make sure this is plenty of fun, will try to finish it up until Wednesday!
>>
>>5435502
The reference sheet consists of mostly notes and bulletpoints I do that only make sense in my own head but I'll try to explain the characters I've used as a base for Vlad's.

Since I wanted someone who could work as a middle man between Guts' archetype of being a human and fighting causality at the cost of his own body and sanity and Griffith's ethereal, pure appearing presence and magical and otherworldly abilities, only actually coming from good intended origins. Since there was no real Paladin in the Berserkverse or a proper spear lancer, it was pretty easy to fit right in. I had no experience with spear welders since they were never the focus on the type of media I usually consume, so it was an interesting experience to write one all the way through here. I thought of giving Vlad the jack of all trades perk since he started out by sparring with Judeau, but just like in the canon story, the blonde boy didn't have that much significance to the plot.

That leaves us with the 3 main characters I based him off in terms of morality, backstory and personality.
>Kenzo Tenma
A doctor, a lover of life, a guy who no matter how many times is pressured into doing deplorable things, he still finds a way to hold on to hope and not give in to his inner Monsters™, though since he is a bit of a pussy who never resorts to violence, it was hard for Vlad to continue using him as a base, thusly--
>Kenshiro
If he worked as a good basis for Guts, there's bound to be some scraps that work on Vlad. More specifically, his ideas that good does not necessarily means nice. Guts still gets to be more sadistic with his enemies like Kenshiro, but Vlad prefers to shit done. I guess I'd put Kiryu there since they both come off as brooding and vicious in battle but in general are pretty down to earth and thoughtful characters, but Kiryu has never killed anyone so I'd put it more on Kenshiro. If only Vlad could make people explode...

>Yang Wenli
Might be a bit of a stretch on this one since democracy isn't a thing here or in Ilos, but imitation is the best form of flattery and I needed room for one more of my fav characters.
Deep down, it's not in Vlad's nature to find fighting fun, or to even be a smart ruler. He just happens to find himself in a position that no one else is able to do the job other than him. There's nothing more that he wants than to live in peace and give zero fucks about Griffith or his war, but duty calls, and he will answer, finding ways to empower his allies through and establishing good foundations instead of having him relying on him all the time.

I could do more for a few other characters but you get the idea.
>>
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>>5436911
My bad, forgot to add Tenma, remind me not to post after midnight.
>>
>>5436914
I would also say that Vlad has a lot in common with Yang because he often thinks up seemingly insane strategies on the spot that turn out to work well for everyone involved. Except for himself. And I also support giving him silver eyes instead of some grand transformation with wings out of his back and lightning out of his ass, subtle is best and he is of the silver-eyed clan, he carries their legacy and he accomplished the titanic task of liberating Merlina from the vortex of the abyss, even if it had caused he great consternation, he has proven himself worthy beyond all possible doubt.
>>
>>5435493
>Barnham Vs Zodd.
>Griffith Vs Ganishka.
>>
>>5436781
wait a minute, it's friday
>>
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>>5439901
A few things got on the way, but I'll try to finish it today since I was halfway done.
>>
>>5440365
Eyy no problem man. Take your time, even if you can't finish it today there's always another day.
>>
Barnham and Zodd walked at a brisk pace amidst the fields, their weightless steps contradicting the nature of their encounter.

This is the highlight of Barnham's gladiator career, he should be beaming with pride, finally having a proper rematch with the monster that took down his fighting ring. He managed to rebuild it in under 3 years, more fortified than it could ever be, why should he not be basking in his already confirmed victory?

Because the last time he did that, he nearly had his heart bisected from his body. Besides, the failing health of Cindy and the unstable mental state of Bernard Jr had him at a loss of thoughts.

"...And then? What comes after it?"
Bernard Jr. had just finished writing the bullet points for the remainder of Zhafira's story. He knew that Rosy Rose wished to live in bliss at the end of the world, with the few surviving members of society barely escaping extinction to live their final days in solace. A miserable ending, though one that inspired hope depending on the execution.

"..." Cindy's husky, shriveled up face refused to respond her brother, wishing to save any remaining energy to see her father one last time.

Slowly moving her fingers over to a paint flask, she dipped her fingers and traced a smile onto Bernard Junior's cheeks, wishing for him to celebrate her life instead of sulking like he usually would.

"...What does that mean, s-s-sis? I can't finish this story without you! T-Tell me while you have the time!" Benny doubted his skills, his vision, to match a talented multi-culturally invested artist with no budget or funding to speak of.

"Child-" Barnham's reminiscing of his older, conjoined self made him have some sympathy with the maimed siblings of his faction, yet his past had already condemned him too much for it for any good faith to be had upon him.

"St-St-Stay away!" The musician held a flute against the restrained apostle who peeked his head onto their carriage, aiming to use the song he used when on Griffith's side to repel him.

"...We've arrived." The bear-man merely meant to warn them of the visage of the horizon, being so far away from his city, Benny could barely recognize the iron fortress that Ilos had morphed into.

With no parting words, Benny stared one last time at his ruler, spitting at his feet as he was too short to reach his face.

"I figured we were fighting on your arena." Zodd spoke up.

"With the artillery I have? Don't be ridiculous, my men would obliterate you within seconds. If there's one thing they despise more than me, it's the one who motivated me to form this battleground in the first place."

"Perhaps you are giving yourself too much credit, given how easily defeated you were not too long ago--"

Barnham loses his patience, striking Zodd from the back of his neck with an open palm strike, digging his claws deep into his jugular as he grappled him into a dive, the spreading of damage from his apostle form twisting the minotaur's bones with ease.
>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXyV8dWtYkk
Some tunes for the fight to increase testosterone levels.
>>
>>5440470
"My apologies. My hand must have slipped. It is weird that an inferior creature such as myself has managed to hit you, though. I thought an Immortal being would not be swayed by mere trick attacks."

"Breaking the rules of your own duel?" Zodd gets on all fours, bracing himself as he was hit before preparing against the bear apostle.
"This is not my ring, is it? We are merely fighting a selfish battle to fulfill our own egos. No virtuous motive, no grand cause, I just want you dead by my own hands."

"Then why did you let that runt back into your hideout?"
"...Good men aren't meant to die young. Something I had to keep in mind after they were all laid to waste when Ilos was but a small plot of land."

The battle had begun the moment Zodd agreed to fight, Barnham was merely waiting for the audience to be within sight.

"Just so you know, Vlad would have dodged that one." Barnham smirks, chastising Zodd before he finally attempted to hit him back.

"...You didn't have to help me." Nina sheepishly coughed as Jodi shared some of her food with her and Joachim.

"Please, girlie! It ain't like I'mma run outta eggs anytime soon! Even with all I shared with tha blondie fella, they'll give me more than enough to bring food to the table!" Cindy claps her hands, letting her makeshift hen house grow noisier as they push one egg half the size of the former sex worker.

"I don't know if we'll be carrying more than one of those back home."

"Dontcha worry! We can cook'em right 'ere! What do you wish for? Egg sandwiches? Omelettes? Maybe some fried muffins with Michelle's spinach sprouts..."

"Her menu isn't exactly diverse..." Nina whispered in dismay, before a rumbling broke several off the eggs laying inside.

"An earthquake?!" Joachim cowered as he felt the monstrous roar from the colossal fighting happening in the outskirts, imagining their trading blows as a mere fissure breaking beneath their feet.

"Lady Jodi!" A few of Ilos soldiers came to evacuate them into safer houses.
"Good lord!" Riddled with anxiety, several of the harpies flocked away from Ilos to fly over the gruesome duel of the titans.

Zodd wasted no time transforming into his minotaur form, tail swiping Barnham across his jaw as he blocked the gigantic limb with his elbow, pushing him back as the raising of dusty impaired his sight.

Catching his tail with his other arm, Barnham grew tired of receiving damage freely, the champion bit it with enough force to break his tailbone, yet pulled back to merely provoke him and spit a chunk of Zodd's tail back at him.

They both can regenerate from this, where is the challenge in holding back.
"Where is your gall, Zodd? Did it go away with your horn and your pride as a warrior? BECAUSE I DON'T SEE IT!" Flinging him over with a spin, Zodd flew into several trees and rock formations as his skin was perforated by debris.
>>
>>5440551
"As if you were playing fairly last time..."
Barnham bared his claws as Zodd flew back with his wings, he reminded himself of how Griffith could revert his main ability, being unable to feel pain. As such, he meant to fight Zodd as the closest thing to a human as he could be, if only to humiliate him further.

Being impaled through the shoulder into his lung, Barnham took met the impact of Zodd's horn bash without protest, digging his engorged claws onto Zodd's brains as he roared with anger.

Almost breaking into his skull, Barnham bit onto the curved horn of the minotaur, misplacing the skull and shifting the organs inside as he attempted to free it from the rest of his skin and muscle tissue.

As Zodd sunk his horn onto the floor, he flailed his head several times as Barnham arm was splattered onto the craters.

Zodd believed the fight was finished, yet the growing weight on his head that would be enough to break his neck had he not shifted his body with it's momentum, revealed that Barnham was forced into his predatory form.

"Fine then. Get over here."
Barnham shifted his weight onto Zodd and grabbed hold of him with his remaining arm, immobilizing him as he straddled the giant and placing his limbless side against the dirt, he decided to use his redirecting of forces to crush him from the inside out.

Hugging Zodd with all his might, Barnham could hear the brattling of the minotaur's bones as he helplessly screamed into his deadly embrace, each press digging them further and further into the center of the earth, As the horned apostle struggled to break free, his muscles failed to have any effect.

Taking sight of Zodd's wings, Barnham predicted that he would try taking the battle into the skies as they opened forth.

"You don't need those wings!" Barnham placed one paw onto Zodd's face as he chomped down onto his wing, attempting to rip it off from his back as he tightened his grip.

Slowly, ferally, the dominating victory of Ilos would be proven by effectively dismantling Femto's strongest following, showing that not even his contract would protect him from true despair.

An audible rip echoed as Zodd's left wing was devoured into Barnham's stomach, providing him with a regenerating arm that ripped his right wing.

"Don't you worry, Griffith has wings of his own. Should he dare to appear in the skies, he'll show himself as the falcon he claims to be." With one last bear hung to dismantle Zodd's vital organs, Barnham flung the immobile apostle back onto the surface, getting ready to thank the dark lords for the generous meal.

"H-How... How did you get this strong?"
"Heh, what's it to ya?" Barnham didn't bother giving his rival a satisfying answer. He was as humiliated as he was back when they first met. The minotaur should know that he was not in place of exchanging information.

"Don't worry, I don't plan on killing you yet. I'll make sure I'll deal a blow for every one of the soldiers you've killed!"
>>
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>>5440627
As he readied a stomp onto Zodd's head, they both took notice of Ganishka's transformation. A demon with the power of a god, a new world order in the form of chaos, the end of the world as the roar of the astral was soon to be, but before that, Ganishka's Shiva form would have to be dealt with.

The combined efforts of Zodd, Barnham, and perhaps the entirety of the apostles from Griffith's group would not be able to quantify a billionth of the Shiva's power, transforming, absorbing and sucking the life form of everything present to become his own. Something the bear was very familiar with.

"HGGGHN!?" Barnham felt his stomach turn, the bile in his body reverting as he felt the urge to barf. After decades of overeating, could it be that another stronger apostle form would be able to steal his powers?

Barnham vomited as the colossus walked through the clouds, forming a fosse the size of a city with every step he formed, walking right to the capital of Midland. The pathway clearly being defined with the obstruction of Ilos. He could feel himself growing weaker with each imposing rumble reverberating across the earth. A meteor of showers came with several pseudo-apostles being formed from the crumbs of life around him. The moving vermin that came from Barnham's unknowingly functional stomach showed this was all according the God Hand's plan.

"Calculating bastards..." Barnham reverted back into his blueish human form to preserve his strength, aiming to return to Ilos to prevent them from being squashed.

"Hold it! Our fight is not over!" Zodd angrily pleads for their duel to procede, even if a mercy kill were all that it took for it to end.

"What do you mean? We're finished. I win." Barnham had his priorities set straight, he had more to worry about. The people of Ilos and their lives mattered more than the death of Zodd.

Seeing how Zodd didn't lose much else other than his wings, he could regenerate from his broken bones should Barnham be able to stop the Shiva. However, Zodd did not feel like doing much other than laying with his head to the sky, staring at the clouds.

Had Zodd peaked? Was he uncapable of defeating anyone who matched him in power? How many other humans, apostles and in-between would out-skill him until he came to terms with the truth?

Femto already had wings, The Falcon of Darkness did not need his. Why did he pretend that serving as his transportation device was anything other than eating from his hand?

As Griffith was soon to appear, he would know the look of distant indifference that would mark his disapproval, in attempting to fly with the falcon, Zodd had lost his wings to a creature without one.
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>>5440738
"ALL UNITS! ASSUME POSITION! UNLEASH THE PISHACAS! DEPLOY THE CANNONS! LET THE MAGICIANS REPORT FROM THE SKY! MOVE! MOVE!" Barnham re-entered the gates with barely a scratch on him after cleaning his face, leaving Zodd to sulk onto his own as he retreated into irrelevancy.

"Lord Barnham! Would it not be wiser to evacuate the citizens away from Ilos?" One of his commanders asked, to which he quickly dismissed.

"Not enough time. I would rather risk losing all here inside than to admit our fortress is a failure in defensive maneuvers!"

"But Milord! He is a hundred times larger than the tallest of our buildings!"

"If he plans to continue towards a straight path towards Wyndham, there is one place he needs to pass through..." Barnham stares at the gigantic mountain preventing their territorial expansion, the one that cornered the poor from outside the gladiator ring... The one where Benny was currently pushing Cindy towards using a wooden cart.

Ganishka's grown was not controlled. Power is meant to be contained through acquisition. A disproportionate increase of his form would be too much for his ego to properly be controlled. As the Kushan lord lost his mind, he would be fragmented into more controllable forms, which is when Griffith would attack him.

But what if Barnham held him in place? Impeding Midlanders from seeing Griffith take in the credit for what he's been doing this entire time? Vlad had already managed to damper his credibility, all he needed was to push it back onto Ilos...

"We need to run away! Barnham won't protect us either way!" Michelle grew more anxious with each passing step, knowing she was powerless to stop the oncoming mayhem as she pushed Bernard to come out of his house.

"But Michelle... This house... This house is all that's left of my family..." Bernard stared at the calluses on his palms, lamenting the fact that the home his children grew up in would forever be destroyed. "Even if I didn't have the conditions to raise them properly, even if these toys bring me no monetary value... Who would be so cruel to throw all of this away?"

He stared at his shed, full of abandoned art projects as Michelle refrained from voicing her thoughts, having already lost her house and family once before...

Yet her terrified mind was once more filled with hope after hearing the magical bagpipes of Benny, providing his sister enough spiritual energy for her to stand up straight and walk a few measly steps to her home as she affably patted his head.

"Remember to stay true to yourself, little bro." Her raspy voice tried to imitate Zhafira's, who she always used to calm him down. "Even if Cindy's gone, you've lived enough with her to not need her in presence! She'll always stay by your side, ok?"
>>
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>>5440783
"B-But Cindy--"
"Psssh! No tears to be found here! Let's bring the world to peace, one smile at a time! So keep playing that song!"
'Zhafira' shushed her brother, his music the only thing keeping her afloat now that they were out of mandragoran essence.

As Zhafira died, Cindy remembered of her promise of a new king, one that would be trustful, just, and leading of a new age. Unfortunately, neither of her personas would be here to meet this new world... The least she could do was to prepare the ones she loved to dish out her dreams across the river.

Unlike Don and Deion, the siblings that crossed the world with their deficiencies would not down as the dam burst, but merely learn how to live without one another...

"Father?" Cindy called out to Bernard, fulfilling Vlad's promise of seeing both her and Cindy returning together safely to their home.

"I'm home..."
An audible twist of Cindy's torso makes her fall apart like a broken marionette before Bernard and Michelle could ever respond back to the once insane jester of Ilos. The wood overtaking her flesh as her humanity was lost to the mandragoran curse.

As if reacting to Ganishka's approaching presence, The Unseen hand morphed it's shape along the growing human tree, expanding until it breached the ceiling and grew as tall as the mountain, where the tailor's weapon was met with a brave bear, spreading his arms as he readied himself to catch Ganishka's gigantic foot to keep him in place.
He lacked the strength to do so by himself, which is why the tailor did not mind to help those in need.

As a parting gift for the stuttering bard, a marionette of a familiar jester was carefully sewn close to the confused adults wondering what just happened before their eyes...

>Harmony of Light: Intermission Chapter End.
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>>5440795
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Barnham's levels of based have reached main character status.
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>>5440795
>Cindy's final act was to reassure her brother
>She transformed into a mountain-sized tree as a flourishing symbol of her struggle, and as a way to passively resist against Ganishka in her final moments
Unbelievably based, Cindy...
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And to think none of that even begins to cover Ganishka's transformation and the big fight between him and Griffith, their epilogue will be a long one for sure...

Anyway, our boat should be sailing again this coming Thursday, hopefully I won't miss the date this time.
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>>5440795
Bravado Barnham, Bravado.
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So this means there are TWO big fuck off trees in the world right next to each other, the Cindy tree and the world tree, which are both practically right next to Ilos? Damn, that's interesting.
>>
>>5440795
>where the tailor's weapon was met with a brave bear, spreading his arms as he readied himself to catch Ganishka's gigantic foot to keep him in place
Barnham, you absolute fucking legend. Also RIP Cindy, now we have our own special tree.
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Will be starting the sesh in 7 hours from now, hope you like training, we might just be doing that for a bit before arriving on Sivir's island.
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>>5443957
Aw yeah! Training time!
Time for Vlad to get some focken muscleees.
>>
>>5443957
ready.........
>>
The feeling that time is racing towards you while staring under such a serene sky is mind boggling.

You still have a ways to go until reaching Skellig, but already running out of Mandragoran essence, you make a deal with Roderick to make an emergency stop at the solitary island where your Mother is.

"That's bizarre, the island you mentioned is nowhere on the map... Then again, an invisible island would be far from the weirdest thing I've seen so far, so I'll take your word for it."

You have little over one week left, and while part of your brain tells you to relax, your sense of curiosity and the general activity that your body has been used to will not tolerate idling.

Use your time as you best see fit.

>Keep practicing your swimming lessons with Roderick.
>Explore the new world in your astral body and astral projection with the girls.
>Invest in learning a new magical technique.
>Practice the power of your soul double and master the spear of the undines.
>Attempt to decorate the ship with some wards and runes.
>Train physical upkeep with Guts and Isidro
>Something else.
>You might have time to do it all if you cram yourself hard enough...
>>
>>5444270
>Keep practicing your swimming lessons with Roderick.
>Practice the power of your soul double and master the spear of the undines
>Invest in learning a new magical technique :
Call the algae and coral of the sea, and create from them a living suit around your armor for breath and fight underwater. If we become really good at this, we could try to do the same for Gunpowder.

I'll say this is enough to concentrate on in our current conditions (if we had more time though....). We can task Farnese to place some wards and runes across the ship. She should be more than capable.
Swimming also helps our body physically.

/////
/////
Kept the list
List of potential stuff to do :

- Swim more, good exercise
- Make a special spell for creating a sort of algae/coral suit around our armor and maybe Gunpowder too, for fighting underwater.
- See if you can become friend with the ocean through the undines
- Upgrade all our gang gear to runic
- Become more skilled : better control of our plant powers, purging od, weapons mastery and so on...
- Spend the rest of the money for get more stuff for Ilos
- "Gently" ask Barnham to use a runic armor made from Ilos forges. Point out that many warriors used them both in the past and even now.
- Create a new type of golem, instead of stone one of wood. Agility, speed and regrowing blades. Infused with some of our Od, to make each of their strikes poison to apostles.
- See what can be done with the diamond in the ring of Farnese.
- If Cromwell is trading with us, see if Kalki could offer them to join us. Their knights have made battle with the mandrogorans, and survived. Having men of that kind in our service would improve our army considerably.
>>
>>5444270
>Train physical upkeep with Guts and Isidro
>Keep practicing your swimming lessons with Roderick.
>Attempt to decorate the ship with some wards and runes.
>>
>>5444270
>See if Guts or Casca would let you study their brands, and if Puck would let you study the Behelit. They are keys that thin the border between real and astral, and draw the bearer's soul to a specific destination. Perhaps you could find a way to eliminate the influence of the brands and behelit entirely, or develop an inverted brand of sorts to attract beings of the sefirot and offer guidance away from the abyss in the event of death. Perhaps even an inverted Behelit...all you need is to understand exactly how these things operate.
That's all for my autistic writeins today
>Attempt to decorate the ship with some wards and runes.
>Practice the power of your soul double and master the spear of the undines.
>>
>>5444294
>>5444298
>>5444323
Seems like we'll be doing a lot more than I thought then!

I'm all for it, just hand me a 3d100 and I'll start writing the results for the swimming, image training and the magical research with Schierke, the rest will be either freebies or will require posts of their own so no need to worry about that yet!
>>
Rolled 92, 81, 7 = 180 (3d100)

>>5444355
>>
Rolled 34, 21, 4 = 59 (3d100)

>>5444355
Are we sure Vlad isn't part fish?
>>
Rolled 11, 54, 22 = 87 (3d100)

>>5444355
I'm not late
>>
It turns out Vlad skipped math when he went to school.
Sorry Vlad, but no magical research for you until you can do you 10 times tables again.
>>
Rolled 10 (1d14)

>>5444600
Time to roll the wheel of blame. We must never admit our own failings, so it must fall on someone else. 100% their fault guys!
1 Puck
2 Ivalera
3 Isidro
4 Violet
5 Hyde
6 Magnifico
7 Roderick
8 Schierke
9 Guts
10 Casca
11 Farnese
12 Serpico
13 Gunpowder
14 CONRAAAAAAAD!
>>
>>5444636
I can't believe Casca's clumsy ass keeps spilling shit all over our notes, knocking our delicate instruments over, and messing up our runes! God, you'd think a former mercenary would be more graceful. She's walking like she's made of wood or something.
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>>5444638
>She's walking like she's made of wood or something.
lol
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>>5444638
I'm almost half inclined to write her being to blame for Vlad not being able to study
Writing.
>>
>>5444364
>>5444399
>>5444474

The tides for all your days of swimming were all favorable for your training sessions. Roderick himself seemed impressed by your progress and your willingness to train with and without him, so much so that one day, you started to develop cramps on your legs from overtraining yourself.

You were almost managing to fight the sea as you approached the sailing boat, though just when you started to learn how to breaststroke, your lower muscles hardened to the point of not responding.

"It's harder to notice when you're feeling exhausted in the water since you can't exactly perceive your sweat. Therefore it's best not to overdo it when you feel the burns, you might just be a lot more tired than you think you are." Roderick manages to catch your hand right before you could worry about sinking.

>You have learned how to swim at an average speed. Make sure to never manic when dropped by yourself amidst the ocean, or else.

Having dealt with that, you brought Farnese along with you to convince the crew to let you do some redecorating on the ship's interior, with the sailors having mixed responses on it.

"A ship's look is just about as important as it's men and artillery!"

"How are we supposed to fill a prince's ship with scribbles and still be recognized as champions of the sea?"

"Eh, I don't mind it! Maybe if you pay me I'll even help you along with it."

Farnese shrugs and gives you a look that lets you know it's really up to you on how to progress with this conundrum.

You wouldn't mind her having some stronger opinions when you're with her.

>Sure, I'll pay. How much?
>It won't be very noticeable, we'll just ward a few key areas and the places no one checks anyway.
>We'll keep the wards on the interior, the ship should look the same when entering.
>A few runes would greatly help the Seahorse since it's low on ammo. It's best to be thorough with our protection.
>>
>>5444749
>A few runes would greatly help the Seahorse since it's low on ammo. It's best to be thorough with our protection.
Argue that it could be quite decorative and perhaps not noticeable to an untrained eye. Beside we are sure it would made the ship far more protected (gotta save some money).
>>
>>5444749
>Sure, I'll pay. How much?
We haven't fucking used money to fix a problem yet and now is the right time. This way we can draw protective runes not only on the inside, but outside too! Extra protection!
It probably wont even cost that much to persuade them to help us, which means the work gets done faster AND we don't have to persuade normal sailors that magic actually exists because all they care about is their pay!
>>
>>5444638
>>5444644
Who can really blame her for knocking stuff over and spilling our notes all over the place?

She's been acting reeeeal *wooden* lately
>>
>>5444840
"Sure, I'll pay. How much are you charging for, folks?"

"Hmmm..."
They bundle up together and start haggling for a price. A quick reading of their minds makes their privacy turn null.

"Are we even doing that much the past few weeks? Sailing has been going so smoothly thanks to that squinty eyed fella, it's like we don't even have to worry about them pirates anymore!"
"You're just saying that cus you've been drinking the wine stash all day!"
"We're getting paid well enough by Roderick to be active on our good days, so why can't we ease off on the workload when there's nothing going on?"
"We can't rip him off for the same reason, what more money could this guy offer us, anyway?"
"If the changes are too noticeable, we might as well get a new boat altogether, we can't change everything under Rod's nose, can we?"
"Eh, they're on good enough terms to get his approval. Asking us might just be out of courtesy."

After some more time counting how much money you had left, you don't think you would mind giving them a tip if it bothered them that much.

"1 gold coin for a few spots, 3 for the interior, 6 for the entire thing."
"You folks must earn a good salary to ask for this much..."
"Splitting with the entire team, 1 gold coins means 2 silver coins for each of us, best to maximize our gains while we can, wouldn't you agree?"

"That's fair. Working overtime must come with a good bonus." Farnese nods her head.

>Just a few spots then.
>Just the interior then.
>Time for a makeover!
>You wouldn't mind if I gave you all a tip, would you?
>>
>>5444866
>Time for a makeover!
>You wouldn't mind if I gave you all a tip, would you?
Share the wealth for once. Not like we can't get it back at some point. Or than we were really using it.
>>
>>5444866
>Time for a makeover!
>>
>>5444866
>>Time for a makeover!
>>
>>5444879
>>5444975
>>5444980
"Deal! Time for a makeover!" You hand them their money's worth so the ship can be carved and redesigned to something a bit more safe. Should The Sea God try to send enemies your way, they shall be weakened and slowed to a crawl by a merely entering the Seahorse.

Additionally, Schierke managed to teach you how to do something similar to Flora's barrier back in her tree mansion, in case you do find a monster big enough to swing at the boat, it will have an added layer to cushion the blows.

>Current Earnings: 83 Gold Coins, 27 silver coins.

"...I don't know, I kinda like the approach to the tapestry."
"Whaddya mean, tapestry! This isn't a carpet, it's hard earned wood! What tactical advantages would having a ship full of spirals on it's planks do?"
"Vlad said it will be easier to absorb the Od of the Undines and... Something about the filtering of Makaras? I didn't really understand all of it, but it seemed legit enough."
Magnifico and Roderick watch with disappointment and awe respectively as the shipmates spent their free time following the instructions drawn by yourself.

Fighting against your soul double was an interesting ordeal. It feels a bit egotistical to say that your best sparring partner is yourself, but you have yet to find a more interesting way to practice your speed, accuracy and mental fortitude.

Picturing the image of a lance, you fight against yourself wielding the spear of the undines. Without so much as controlling your body, your flesh cage effortlessly dodges against your pokes, parrying your attacks and letting you phase through geometry instead of impaling yourself.

Trying to bring more of a challenge to your mirror sparring match, your body unconsciously calls forth the undines, rising the tides and forming water balls that extend themselves into the air like tendrils, attempting to strike and dissipate your spirit to continuo it's autonomous dodging along the edge of the boat.

Is it even possible to beat yourself in Od Reading when you are still using your luminous body?

>Attempt to create more obstacles with your imagination.
>Dodge the water splashes.
>Phase through the attack and try to catch your body.
>Corner your body in a way its precognition can't do much other than see your victory.
>No need to push yourself so much, it might be dangerous to fight at the edge of the boat.
>>
>>5445007
>Attempt to create more obstacles with your imagination.
INTENSIFY THE TRAINING
>>
>>5445007
>Move faster! Hit harder! Your spirit is not limited like the flesh is, you just have to find a way to unshackle your mind from the limitations it's used to.
>Corner your body in a way its precognition can't do much other than see your victory.
>>
>>5445007
>Attempt to create more obstacles with your imagination.
Improve our flesh twin's offensive capabilities. Two Vlads are better than one.
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>>5445014
>>5445050
>>5445051
Don't know about you, but I feel like we can do both
2d100! bother your body AND fasten your ghost grip!
>>
Rolled 71, 34 = 105 (2d100)

>>5445115
TRAINING ARC!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Rolled 33, 97 = 130 (2d100)

>>5445115
>>
Rolled 85, 57 = 142 (2d100)

>>5445115
I am speed
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>>5445136
>>5445155
>85 on imaginary constructs
>97 on realizing that ghosts don't have to abide by physics
god DAAAAAMN
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>>5445176
Vlad had performed enough superhuman feats to be barely bothered by physics in the material world, this makes complete sense.
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>>5445119
>>5445136
>>5445155

Countering your own body should be difficult to most, but who to better exploit your weaknesses than yourself? It's best to be aware of how you can be caught during your autonomous dodging while you are sparring than when you are at death's door.

Increasing your speed, you phase through your own water guns by maintaining your form without dissipating.

As the increasingly larger tides fragment themselves to strike you from unconventional directions, you attempt to summon the Od particles of the atmosphere to form into a shape similar to the Od arrows, dispersing their energy to become nearly the size of raindrops, they will hardly harm your body, but they should be more than enough to counter and splash the water spheres away as they collision of orbs spill onto the ship.

As your body double absorbs the liquid back into the the pole, he extends it and spring jumps around the ship's mast thanks to the water pumps, combining your natural agility with the Undines' wishes in a way that makes it impossible for you to catch yourself.

Think, Vlad! If you were an apostle fighting a man with precognition abilities, how would you overwhelm him? What is impossible for even an omniscient instinct to predict?

Pretending to have dropped a magical seed on the ground, you form the image of a wall in front of where your body was. It was clearly an illusion, but it was enough for your body to feign a leap forward to dodge being cornered.

As you disappeared by phasing inside the ship's carvings, you send your brain a fake signal that you would appear before it, and when you jump backwards to strike your ghost, that's when you finally attack.

Grabbing your body by it's center mass, you impale your luminous hand through it's body and send him onto the floor over your shoulder, going back into yourself to feel the pain of your own attack.

It was an interesting exercise: Your body rarely loses a dodge by itself, so your hits must always be related to your own concentration. The only way to counter your instincts are to manipulate them, and you don't need to wonder if there are any dark magicians capable of doing that...

"Yo, Vlad! Can you help me with this new move I got? I feel like if I test it out on you, I can beat the likes of Guts all by myself!" Isidro proudly fist pumps the air, proud at himself for finding a new technique while Schierke is quick to chastise him.

"Actually, I've been observing you from afar, and was thinking of a few lessons that might help you out. Let's not waste time with this baboon."

"What!? You're gonna study? Whooa, sounds so exciting to sit down with your eyes closed for a few hours and read a buncha books only you can understand!" Isidro sarcastically mocks Flora's teachings.
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>>5445463
"What are you insinuating?"
"Nothing, just thinking of how boring it must be to study with someone who's so serious all the time! No wonder you can't do a thing without that stupid staff of yours!" Isidro sticks out his tongue.

"Grrr! You are so childish! You wouldn't last a day without us with the way you never treat enemy threats with the caution they deserve!"
"Why would I bother being so serious all the time? Be it combat or non-combat, There's still plenty of time to be relaxed"

"You only say that because you have lost nothing of worth on our journey!" Schierke shouts, creating an awkward silence between them as the young witch reminds herself of the master she lost.

Isidro does not dare to respond, knowing the mood would only be further soured by any further words.
Sometimes his brain actually works, color you impressed.

>Apologize to Schierke, boy. I expected better from you after seeing our group's conditions.
>I agree with Isidro for once, there's no point in being so serious all the time.
>Do not be envious of him, Schierke. Wishing harm upon him would do no good to yourself.
>I'll go train with Schierke.
>What do you wish to test with me, Isidro?
>Write-in
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>>5445467
>Do not be envious of him, Schierke. Wishing harm upon him would do no good to yourself.
>I'll go train with Schierke.
>What do you wish to test with me, Isidro?
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>>5445467
>Isidro can hardly lose much when he never had much to begin with, Schierke. Consider the reason why he protects himself with his detached aloofness.
>Empathy is the greatest trait of all true knights, Isidro. You’re doing better about that than you used to, just keep striving to improve your mind in addition to your body. The greatest fighters exploit their knowledge as much as their skill.
>I’ll take Isidro’s test first, then study with you Schierke.
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>>5445482
>>5445512
Feeling like both kids could learn some lessons in humility, you attempt to coax them into different lessons in the same speech:

"Isidro can hardly lose much when he never had much to begin with, Schierke. Consider the reason why he protects himself with his detached aloofness."
"Yeah, what he said!" Isidro has no idea what aloofness means, if he did, he would probably be mad that you indirectly called him stupid, but Schierke appears to understand as she sighs and considers his upbringing.

"Now don't get cocky either, Isidro. Empathy is the greatest trait of all true knights You’re doing better about that than you used to, just keep striving to improve your mind in addition to your body. The greatest fighters exploit their knowledge as much as their skill. That also includes treating situations with different degrees of seriousness."

"What did I just say?" Schierke rubs her nose, feeling proud of herself.
Thee two are more fated to fight and disagree than Griffith and Guts...

"Anyway, I suppose checking Isidro's tricks wouldn't take too long, what do you wish to show me?" You decide to give him a listen.

"Ya see, I remember when we both were doing very well with our weapon combo against the crocs, so I was thinking: What if we tried combining more our weapons and seeing the cool effects it brought us? You think we could do something like a fire tornado? Or maybe make rain from boiling all water from the ocean?"

"You're making it sound a lot easier than it actually is..." Schierke mutters the difficulty in combining the power of so many different elementals at the same time in harmony.

"I'm just spit balling here, but since Vlad is so good with plants and all, what's the harm in learning some cool things to do together? Since Guts is the only one who hasn't gotten an elemental for himself aside from the armor, I'm sure even he would do a flip when seeing what I can do."

"What's your obsession with surpassing him? You're not even close to what he can do, not that anyone would wish to use that armor..."

"Look, I've accepted that I'm small, alright? But Morgan told me that's not a bad thing if I can make the most out of it."

"Oh, do tell. What's your grand plan if you fought Guts?" Schierke sarcastically asks.
"Take his arm off! Easy! I'm sure he would die from it"
"That would be extremely painful--"
"Yeah, but he's a big guy--"
"--For you."
"...Oh."

For some reason, you can't help but hear Puck chuckling to himself as Isidro frowns.

"Say Vlad, who's the strongest: You or Guts? Who'd win in a duel?" Isidro's curiosity quickly makes him recover from the joke at his expense.
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>>5445588
>Guts, I believe. I'm no pushover, but the guy is ridiculously muscular, I can't compare to his physical attributes.
>I think I have the edge in combat thanks to my array of magical abilities.
>I'd say we're pretty even, though I've mostly been playing catchup with him in terms of power.
>Don't tell anyone this, but I've already beaten him in a duel once.
>Who knows, I might just have to find out myself one day...
>Why don't we bring him here to find out?
>Write-in.
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>>5445589
>Don't tell anyone this, but I've already beaten him in a duel once.
TWO
100S
KOCKED OUT COLD.
>I think I have the edge in combat thanks to my array of magical abilities.
It's like trying to compare a hammer to a swiss army knife, but I think Vlad's vast arsenal of weapons and unconventional way of fighting could give him the upper hand.
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>>5445589
>Don't tell anyone this, but I've already beaten him in a duel once.
That fucking duel man.
>Why don't we bring him here to find out?
ROUND TWO! Lets see who causality hates more these days.
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>>5445589
>>5445755
Actually never mind that's a terrible idea.
>Don't tell anyone this, but I've already beaten him in a duel once.
>I'd say we're pretty even, though I've mostly been playing catchup with him in terms of power.
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>>5445598
+1
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>>5445598
>>5445755
>>5445759
Slouching over to let your lips better approach the boy's ear, you whisper at him with a small hint of confidence.

"Don't tell anyone this, but I've already beaten him in a duel once."
"Wh-WHAAAAT?" Schierke and Isidro shout in unison, making you force to gather them around and tell the proper story.
"So this was back when I was still learning my powers..."

"--And then I bonked him on the back of the head, must have struck a main artery, he just blacked out and stopped responding?"
"Just like that?"
"I thought it was over, but after that he got up and started getting serious. Didn't think he would break my lace with his sword, if it wasn't for my ability to harden wood, I would have probably died on the first swing."

"With each passing day, I'm starting to question where you and Guts measure on the cool scale, It's like you keep one-upping each other."
"What happened then?"
"Somehow, I managed to push his great sword away from my head as I caught it with my hands. Casca and my master decided to call it quits then for the sake of our safety. Officially, it was a draw, but I like to think I've won. Gallahad even backed me up on that one."

You reminisce of simpler times with a chuckle, back when you thought that you could get along with Griffith, Guts and Casca in hopes of joining the falcons, to protect the glorious king of Midland... what a load of garbage that was.

"Ah, but that was what, a few years ago? Things have changed significantly since then! I sure hope you won't be like an old man and stop getting with the times!" Schierke scoffs, being on Guts' side.

"Hey, I'm still young, ya know."
"Sure you are, old timer!" Isidro finally gets along with the green haired girl after finding a target in common. "Do you think you still could beat him now?"

"Hm, I'm not sure exactly. Even back in the day, I would say he was stronger than me physically, were it not for my magical abilities, I doubt I would have the edge to even fight him in a mock-match back then, and my physical training has mostly been playing catchup as the gap between us widened during the eclipse."

"Are you still chasing him?" Schierke tilts her head
"Not quite... I'd say I have searched for newer heights, and those have led me to new abilities. Hopefully we will never have to battle to the death by ourselves, but I would not go easy on him. I can only expect he would give me the same level of respect."

Both of you could theoretically decapitate one another in different methods, but that would require both of you being at the summit of your strength, with intent to kill.
You need to make sure that time never comes.

"Schierke, I was wondering if you could help me with something." The subject reminds her of your magical lessons, prompting her to get her reading glasses.
"Of course, what is it?"
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>>5445827
>Can you help me study The Behelit?
>Are there any spells you think would go well with my arsenal?
>Can we try summoning an astral spirit?
>Is it possible to speak with the Beast Of Darkness?
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>>5445828
>Can you help me study The Behelit?
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>>5445828
>Is it possible to speak with the Beast Of Darkness?
This. We should help Guts however we can before ourselves.
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>>5445828
>Is it possible to