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/qst/ - Quests

I hadn’t originally intended for this chapter to extend past a single thread, but due to some sudden events I wasn’t able to keep a proper schedule. Because of this, there’s not enough remaining in chapter three to fill a second entire thread with a 12-14 day lifespan. So, I’ve decided to elongate the chapter itself by including a short interlude where the chapter would have originally ended.
I’ll take suggestions up front, as I’m debating about its format: It could either be a single unbroken story (maybe something like a mega-update, probably somewhere between 10 to 15 posts ~3k char each), or it could be closer to how I’ve been running OO, but it would probably be very short in that case, as the significance of choices would be pretty limited (the interlude is set prior to OO). Let me know which you prefer, or if you have other ideas.

Anyway, back to it.
Rolled 9, 2 - 8 = 3 (2d10 - 8)

Deciding it best to continue where you are, the fight goes on. Last time you tried it was an outright miss. Everything is still a bit uncertain, but less so. Once again, Citrine attacks, and you do the same.

>roll 2d10-12
Rolled 7, 3 - 12 = -2 (2d10 - 12)

Glad you're back, OPaline
Rolled 3, 6 + 12 = 21 (2d10 + 12)

Remember you have to do +-12 in order to subtract rolls
Rolled 4, 1 - 12 = -7 (2d10 - 12)

Well I certainly botched that.
Closed to -4.

Also if you guys ever are in a situation where you're getting private lessons for someone, make sure you talk with the teacher directly about scheduling.
Rolled 35 - 6 (1d100 - 6)

Citrine lands against three, yourself missing again.

Come on !

Centering inward, you steady yourself and reassert your grip over the hilt.
"If you get frustrated, you'll lose focus. When a volley of arrows comes hurtling toward you, focus is something you can't afford to give up. Every time you fail, try again."
I won't get frustrated. Only focus right now. Watch the tips, follow their points and predict their path, I'll just come back again and again until you're all gone.

As if they share the same sentiment, the Lunarians return to form, ready to attack both you and Citrine on opposite sides.

>Roll 1d100-14
Rolled 28 - 14 (1d100 - 14)

Rolled 96 - 14 (1d100 - 14)

Closed to 48.
You both escape unharmed from your respective assaults. The platform begins to tilt as more of the Lunarians on Citrine's side dissipate.

"You all right over there?" He shouts. "It feels like I'm gonna start slidin' down!"

"Yeah, I'm fine!"

This is bad, Citrine must be going much faster than me. If I miss again the whole platform will topple, and we're not high enough for the fall to really hurt the Lunarians. The last thing we want is them on the ground while the yellow one's down there, even if he's hidden. No, the way I see it there's three ways to go. Either I don't miss the next attack on this side, I counteract the imbalance by moving myself to the other side, or tell Citrine we're going for the last resort.

>Continue fighting on this side
>Move to the other side
>Attack the central figure
If we continue fighting, our next roll should be 2d10-10, which would give us a 55% chance of hitting at least 1 Lunarian, but is a 45% chance of failure.
If we move to the other side, we wouldn't know what the Lunarians on the other side would do, but hopefull, they'll just take potshots at us. Also hopefully, two of us can balance vs 20 lunarians, which may happen soon.
If we try to take out the figure, we could fail at hitting it or get gang banged by a secret weapon. We know that this platform is the same size as the one Ant saw, and it took him a few hits to break that, so we probably won't be able to take out the platform easily.
Thus, I choose
>Move to the other side
Sounds reasonable, so move to the other side.
Closed for other side.
Rolled 1 - 6 (1d10 - 6)

"Citrine, I'm coming over to try and balance it out!"

Just the two of us should be enough to roughly balance it. I hope my math is right.

You break past, pushing through the group and running up the incline. As your weight moves, the platform at first stops tilting, then moves back to its original position. It seems as though about half of the Lunarians are following you, the others you can't see any more. Citrine attacks the ten around him as you round the edge.
He misses completely, and spins in place.

"Right as I thought I was gettin' good at it," he says, planting his foot on the soft floor.

You attack the same group...

>Roll 2d10-10
Rolled 5, 7 - 10 = 2 (2d10 - 10)

Rolled 5, 8 - 10 = 3 (2d10 - 10)

Closed to 3.
...Cutting through three of them.

Citrine sees you through the newly made opening "Here he is, pickin' up the slack! Took ya' long en--"

"No time for banter, duck!"

You pull him down as the ten who followed you and remaining seven take aim.

>Roll 1d100-12
Rolled 71 - 12 (1d100 - 12)

Rolled 17 - 12 (1d100 - 12)

Closed to 32.
Rolled 8 - 4 (1d10 - 4)

"Ah, thanks," he says. "Out of curiosity, what's the opposite of ducking, like dodging upward? You're pretty good with words."

"What? This isn't the time for--" It's too late for your response to mean anything, as you're already ten feet above him, having been tossed straight up. Looking down, the first set of arrows fly through the hole you left in the air. The second group aims at where you are now, and from below you can see Citrine's smug grin.

At least one of us is having fun.

He jumps up to your height, and pushes off of you, sending you both away from the second set of arrows as they impact you- or rather would have impacted had you not just been moved. Citrine's judgement of the weight and power required from the push were spot on, and you both land on opposite sides of the platform. On the way down, Citrine pulls out his sword and tries for an attack from above...
...And when he lands four more are gone.

From here, you can see every Lunarian on the platform: six now remaining from the ten that followed you, and seven on the front.

"Wait a second," says Citrine as he pulls himself back into stance, "if this was all of 'em over here how come the thing was keeled over?"

"No... That's not right," you say, attacking between words while you have the chance.

>Roll 2d10-8
Rolled 5, 8 + 8 = 21 (2d10 + 8)

Well, I fucked up the formatting for that roll
Rolled 1, 1 - 8 = -6 (2d10 - 8)


Oh dear.
Rolled 6, 4 - 8 = 2 (2d10 - 8)

Closed to 1.
"There were more." Your words travel past the pained face of a single Lunarian, who dissipates, revealing Citrine. "Before, there were ten more, where'd they..."
"If they come to the ground, they've got a reason to. Don't let them reach it."
The ground... You lean over the edge, and sure enough there are ten descending to the ground, almost there. "But why? Why would they try to get to the ground right now?"

"Hey, Gyro, I think we might have bigger problems." He wrestles against the push of several pale robed figures, holding back their combined weight with relative ease. "I don't think he got the message."

"He? You mean," You stop mid sentence to follow Citrine's finger. He points to the north toward the boulder where he hid the yet-to-be-named gem. There he stands, unsteady, head peeking out from behind the rock. The brilliant yellow glints of light refracting through him make him extremely easy to spot.

Unfortunately, the Lunarians with you follow Citrine's pointing too, and they see his intention. The twelve in total take aim neither at you nor Citrine, but rather pointed toward the bright yellow luster.

Reacting quickly to the situation, Citrine dissipates the one closest to him. "None of that, thanks."

Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy for you. Four are left within your immediate range, and the seven on the front close enough to follow through if you put enough speed and force into it. All of them are ready to go at an instant's notice.

All of these ones, a good attack would buy us some time to get down and protect him head on. The last resort option too, if there was a time to use it it would be now.

>Attack the last eleven
>Attack the central figure.
I don't think we have a choice anymore, either we gamble on a quick victory now, or we might not make it in time to save the newborn gem.
>Attack the central figure
I think breaking the central figure is a bad idea. It has been established that the Lunarians do not dissipate even if the platform is destroyed, as seen during Ant's fight, so taking down the central figure, which will probably take a few turns, would still give ample time for the moonie scum to shoot our new gemfriend. Thus, I vote
>Attack the last eleven
>>Attack the last eleven
Closed for last eleven
Here goes, one more shot at this.

It will take some doing. The four closest are not in an ideal spot, but you see the path. Up diagonally through the four, keep the momentum all the way to the front, carrying it through the seven. You're unsure, but the look in Citrine's eyes, it's almost as if he knows what you're going to do, and is ready to run in if it goes wrong.

Hopefully it won't.

A last nod to confirm your intentions, he nods back, and you lunge.

>Roll 2d10-6
Rolled 5, 1 - 6 = 0 (2d10 - 6)

Rolled 10, 7 - 6 = 11 (2d10 - 6)

Closed to 6.
It started off well. You'd thought you hit the angle right, and the four are gone, but something about the second half didn't go as you hoped. Your momentum only carries far enough to hit two of the last seven. Citrine sees this, and rushes in.

It all happened within an instant. From in front of the five remaining Lunarians, he grabbed you by your collar. Time stood still, and he looked into your eyes. Although he only said one word, his heart said much more. Maybe it said "I'm sorry," or maybe it said "Protect him." Maybe it said "Goodbye."


"Go!" He shouts, as he throws you off the platform. The world moves again, although slowly. The sound of shattering bodies, a grand sunset of orange painted by tumbling shards of stone. You fall mixed in among a fiery rain of orange quartz.

I... Citrine?

The Earth twirls into view, the beach growing in size. A shining star looks back in confusion, holding on to the boulder for balance.

I couldn't... Your body doesn't afford you the time to think, it reacts instinctively to right itself during the fall, and you land feet first, unhurt. That star, staring through the empty sockets in his face; even without all the right features to show it, or the knowledge to do it, it's like he's looking at you for guidance, asking what will happen.

"C-Come on, we're going!" You grab his arm and start running as fast as you can. Surprisingly, he stays upright, only stumbling occasionally. This early in your lives, the extra energy in your inclusions is still plentiful, and they carry an instinct of your own body and how it works best. Even as you continue to speed up, the warmth in your legs returning as they morph between green and white, he stays just behind you. It never feels like you're doing much more than guiding him by holding his arm.

At that moment, you feel a crack in your leg. The sudden rejuvenation, the constant change of form, the stress has finally put them beyond their limits, and they fracture. You pull him in front of you, and push him away. He keeps running as if he didn't even notice, and you collapse as your legs give out.

Still somehow, sensation and desire creep into your body. It's intoxicating, the sparkling hum of the earth draws you.

You want me to go back?

As if replying "yes," your arms push your head from the soil, and drag you back toward the chord shore. The Lunarians are gone, as if they never followed you at all when you ran. Back over the hills, the field, and to the beach. It's empty, save for a few very small orange shards you notice that they must not have. The rest and biggest are gone.

The cliff stands a monument, the ocean stands a world, silence stands the rest. Things fade out of view, the clouds melt and deform, the cliff twists and folds, and Citrine is gone.

"Who's there?" You ask. "Oh, orange guy, it's only you." He drags you to the water, and you are swallowed by the tide.


It's very dark. As a consequence, you are very tired, completely sapped of energy.

Where am I?

Yet, there is a pinhole of light, you notice, just above your head. If you relied on vision alone, you couldn't tell if it were up or down or whichway, but the feeling of the hard ground pushing up against your weight tells you that you lay on your back, looking up. Come to think of it, there are other sensations too. You can hear the quiet sound of water. It laps against a nearby something, the sound almost mistakable for footsteps. Your body works to spread the energy from the light around your inside. Your sense of time is skewed, maybe an hour or two passed of you staring to the pinhole, and then you could move again. Now, you've sat up, and curled as much of you as you can into the small cone of light.

My legs, mostly gone below the knee. I hope nobody thinks I was taken if they find them.

Either your eyes found a way to adjust, or it's gotten brighter, as more of the place is visible. It's some kind of cave. It's not particularly big, but there's more than enough room to move around. The source of the water is a small pool on one side of the cave. Tearing yourself away from the light is hard, but you convince yourself that it's important in the name of exploration.

I can't feel a bottom, this must lead somewhere, but it's so dark down there. You pull your arm back out from the pool, and scamper back to the comforting sunlight.

"I wonder if he made it to the school," your voice echoes around the space. "I should try and get back, uh... Somehow."

Best bet is probably down in that water, but there's no light at all that I can see from here. There's more to this place too, maybe I can find something else.

>Explore the pool
>Explore the remainder of the cave
>>Explore the remainder of the cave
>Explore the remainder of the cave
Closed for remainder.
First order of business, go over every inch of this place.

It's all stone. Scraping against it, you leave a white streak along the grey rock. Harder than me, not surprised. I guess digging isn't an option. The cave has two major segments, separated by a small opening. The other segment is smaller than the one in which you awoke, and is entirely empty save for some stalactites. Everything here is like that, empty. The light starts to dim just as you slouch back under its glow.

"Just be brighter, I'm so tired," you say, pulling yourself tight into its receding bask. You droop your head. "What am I doing..." I'm clueless. I don't even know how I got here. There's gotta be something, come on, think! Thoughts of running away, pulling the new one along. Your legs broke, and your arms pulled you back to the chord shore. And then everything was... Weird. It was like it didn't really happen, it felt wrong but I'm here now. Someone, I thought I saw him pull me away, I thought he was... Someone I knew. But now, I remember, he wasn't. He was someone different, he was orange, but not like that other someone. Why can't I remember?

"If I want to get out, I need to remember how I got in. No, I know how, there's only one way it could've been, but how did it happen?" Why was I even running? It was... The Lunarians. We were at the chord shore, and were attacked after that noise, when...

"I wish I had a name for you. I won't learn it until I get out of here, but I hate just calling you 'the new one.' For now I'll just call you Yellow." When Yellow was born. We fought, but who's 'we?' The other one, he saved me and Yellow, I remember that, but I can't remember him. Now I'm here, wherever this is. The already small cone of light narrows further. This didn't feel like it lasted a whole day, I have to make good use of my time, not waste it on thinking. The light is very faint, soon it will be gone. Still, I can't stop feeling sad. Something should be here, but it isn't.

The light vanishes, leaving you completely blind. Then, tomorrow. Energy leaves you with every thought you have, eventually to the point of exhaustion, and you sleep.

I'm still here... I guess it wasn't a dream.

An extremely dim pinpoint of light is all you can see. You are on your back, facing toward the ceiling of the cave, and you are very tired. I can't move again, just how dark did it get? The instant you are able, you sit up. Everything is the same. The same soft sound of water, the same rock walls, the same two segments, the only difference is your intention.

"Sorry, Opal. You'll have to re-do my powder." What remains of your legs dangles in the pool. You take the leap, and push yourself in, sinking downward more and more. The vertical column of water extends down for ages, and you sink unimpeded by any obstacle for many minutes, but eventually you touch a soft sandy floor. Jeez, I was wondering if it had a bottom at all. Looking back up, the light from the cave's tiny hole to the surface is just visible. Well that's my biggest worry out of the way. So long as I can see it up there, it's bright enough right here to come back if I need to. Now...

There's a long corridor extending out from where you touched down, at least you think it's long. Beyond the first few yards it's too dark to see anything. I'll be draining energy as soon as I leave this area, I'll have to turn back as soon as I start to get tired, one mistake, just one time carelessly going too far, and I could be stuck out there with no light to wake me up. No time to waste here either, let's go Gyro.

One step becomes two, becomes ten, becomes several minutes of walking, a hand held against the narrow walls. Suddenly, the wall falls away, you've entered some kind of wider space. Feeling around, you find the wall again. This area has two openings that both feel like directions of their own, one on the left, one on the right. I'm not tired yet, I'll just go down one until I am.

Let's go left.
Closed for left.
Might as well be systematic about it.

Keeping your hand against the left wall, you enter the new tunnel. It too stretches for many a minute's walk, although the actual distance may be small given the slower speed at which you are forced to progress. Yet again, there is a larger space, yet again it splits, this time in three directions.

It's all going to be like this, then. More caves and tunnels, and somehow I have to find a way out in pitch black. Why can't this just be easy?

"Nn... Whatever, I'm tired anyway." Hand to the wall, turning around proves to be less ordinary than you expected. As your head turns face, although it's entirely dark, you could swear you had seen some movement. It startles you and you jump a bit, removing your hand from the wall and entering a fighting stance. "I've got you now, Lunarian!" However, you dismiss it as a jellyfish or some other harmless creature, or a trick of your eyes after brandishing your iron arms into the darkness reveals no such thing.

R-right, I don't have any time to just wait around, I need to get back, which is...

"Uh, back is..."

Oh yes, I have erred.

"No Gyro it's fine, it's this way, I think," you say, failing to reassure yourself. You try to find the closest wall, right hand out. It touches stone, and you follow the wall. First, to another tunnel, then into a chamber, a tunnel, and as you dreaded, another chamber.

Okay, it's okay, that doesn't mean I'm lost. There are only so many ways it could be, I just have to turn around whenever I know I've gone past where the original pool could possibly be. The question is just if I can make it before I fall asleep, and panicking won't help that.

You turn around, tunnel, chamber, tunnel, chamber, ten minutes. Another direction, another two chambers, back again, another forty minutes.

Slowing down, really tired now, come on you stubby fractured legs it's only two more at most, then you can sleep as long as you want.

This third way is the same. A long and tired walk of stone, your eyes begin to close, but you force them open. You enter a chamber, still trusting the wall. Your arms are heavy, and so is your head. Another tunnel.

If this isn't it, the next one is. Please, I know you can do it inclusions, I just need a little more energy from you.

It feels as if it goes for miles, even if in reality it's hardly longer than twenty feet from one side to the other. Every step takes everything you thought you had left, but your body finds some iota still buried within you, just enough for another.

Another chamber... Then let's go back, now we know it's the next one...
Hey, legs, aren't you going to move?

"I'm awake?"

Your eyes open slower than they ever have, to a sight you've recently come to covet. The small pinhole which gives you the light you need to live.

"Not just awake, how am I back?" As the light grows for your third day of isolation, you thank whatever kind of happy luck was watching over you. I guess I'll need a more solid plan to go back down there. But what am I supposed to do, it's not like I have a map.

Your eyes trend to the wall. On it, the streak of white left behind by your finger is still there, completely untouched.

A map...!

"Please don't be anything important!" You say, snapping a particularly sharp and long shard from your leg. You take it and begin drawing out a rough layout of the cave system beneath the water. This circle in the middle will be for the bottom of the pool. It goes one way, and there's a chamber, and it splits in two directions...
Soon your map is finished, showing every place you have and every direction you haven't been.

"A map, that's smart. I wish I'd thought of that."

Hey, that's a weird thing to say to myself. Wait--

"Sorry, did I surprise you? You have been on your own for awhile."

You turn to meet the voice from another, but it's not apparent at first.

"Down here."

Some kind of orange slug creature the size of your forearm is waving up at you from the floor.

"Wow, I didn't think I'd go crazy this quickly."

"Don't ignore me! I'm not a haloosawhatsit."


"Yeah that's right, I'm not a 'nation, so you have to take me seriously."

"Okay, then how about an introduction? I'm Gyrolite. I have a hardness of two, but some parts of me are sturdier than others because of my variable structure. I like plants, and silkworms, and recently I've started thinking that slugs can talk."

"Very well Gyrowlight, I'll introduce myself too. My name is Esculentus, the... The last surviving of my species, the Admirabilis! Hn hn, Aren't you impressed?"

"I've never heard of them before."

"Alright, if you're going to be so rude about it maybe I should make it sound cooler. Since I'm the last one, that technically means I'm next in line for the throne, so you may now refer to me as queen Esculentus."

"O queen Esculentus, I have never heard of you before."

"But you've met me."

"Have I?"

"Yes. I was the one who brought you here all that time ago."

"Wait, you brought me here!?" You pick up Esculentus by the soft and slimy tail and she squirms about to look at you. "Then you know the way out! Please show me!"

"A-about that, you see I don't really know either. When I first saw you, I thought you desperately needed help, so I brought you with me into this complex cave system, but it was my first time here too. Now, I've been surviving off of small plants that grow on the walls, but all I can do is wander around before I'm lost. What I'm getting at is, won't you please help me escape too?"

"I mean, that's not really a choice. I'm going to get out, and I don't mind helping you, so it seems pretty inevitable. Oh, by the way, you can call me Gyro."

Somehow, she looks happy. "Really!? Thank you Gyro. I'm really bad with my memory, so I probably can't do much with the map, but maybe I can do other things to repay you? I could tell you about my people, or maybe I could give you something special? Anything!"

>Learn about the Admirabilis
>Receive a special gift
>Learn about the Admirabilis
But why does Gyro understand the slug's speech? None of the gems (except Phos) could.
>Learn about the Admirabilis
Closed for learning.
"Alright, if you can't help with the map, then why don't you tell me about the Admirabilis while I work on that."

"Sure!" Esculentus waddles her way to the pool, and beckons you follow with her tail. "Let's go, I'll tell you everything."

She jumps in, and you take a quick glance at your map. Even having visited only a few places, the amount of branching paths tells you that the whole system will be very complicated. So long as I don't lose the inclusions they're in, I can commit you to memories. That's how I'll beat this place, and take Esculentus with me.

Again at the bottom of the well, you find the bright orange Admirabilis waiting excitedly, rearing to go. When she sees you, she darts into the darkness. "Come on!"

"Wait, don't just go, what if we get separated?"

"I'm waiting for you just up ahead," she calls back. "Trust me, I'll show you something."

This slug... "Okay, but we need to go as soon as I'm out of the light, I'll just be draining energy at that point." You step in to the dark, following her voice.

"Don't worry," she says as you feel the tunnel give way to chamber. "You won't have to worry about that. I don't usually do this, the kind of algae that's in here grows slowly and doing this makes me really hungry, but it's fine every once in awhile." Suddenly, the chamber around you lights up. It's not especially bright, but you can see the walls and tunnels, and a thin covering of dark green algae hanging from the ceiling. The source of the light: fine pulsing wires of white and yellow glow running up the length of many orange fleshy tendrils, and following the frills of an orange and pink flowing dress, and following the curves of a torso, past the chest, over the arms, and onto the face of...


"Surprised? This is what we Admirabilis truly are."

"I'm glad, it's much better than a slug."

"Mm, I think so too. It feels good being like this again," she spins in place smiling, her frills rising in the water. "Well, what do you think, aren't I pretty?"

"Did Kyanite make that dress?"

"Who? No, this 'dress' is a part of me. All female Admirabilis have their own unique pattern of decoration. I guess that makes me the most beautiful in this world, since I'm the last one."

"I don't know, I mean, Cuprite's really pretty."

"Who is she, I'll beat her up." She says, with a sinister smugness.

"We need to get out first."

"Oh, right! Forgot we were working on that. I already forgot your map, so you lead the way!"

You retrace the steps you took the previous time, continuing the leftmost route without worry of a fatal time limit. Esculentus reaches up and scrapes a handful of the gooey algae into her palm, which she carries with her, occasionally snacking on.
"I was never really a fan of this stuff back home, but man when you're hungry it tastes pretty good. This stuff is how I knew where to take you back, by the way. Even though I can't keep track of where I am in here or how it's laid out, I can always find my way back to that cave. The bottom of that pool, that's where the algae grows densest, so all I have to do is follow the smell of food," she says.


"Yeah, smell."

"What is that?"

"It's... Smell. You know, the thing your nose does?"

"My nose? I don't think mine does that, is it supposed to?" You touch your index finger to the tip of it, just to make sure.

"I thought so, but we are different so who knows."

As you suspected, the cave system is truly massive. Every tunnel opens to a new chamber with at least two more tunnels, the cycle never deviates. I wonder where this all came from, it seems so big and complicated for old magma tubes, but that's just a feeling. I guess that's exactly what it could be, I'm not Siderite, I don't really know that much about all that. It probably doesn't matter, anyway.

"You've said that you're the last Admirabilis." Your companion, who as of yet has not actually told you anything about her people, has been following you, providing light as you take mental note of how far you go. "What happened to the others?"

The light dims a bit, and Esculentus slows down.

"They died. I think."

"Died..." Your mind goes back to before the winter, to the day when you first began testing plants with silkworms.

"Is this another 'smell' situation, or..."

"No, I think I understand it." Your mind goes back to just after the winter, to the moment you saw Almond's head. Dead... "So the Admirabilis are the kind of thing that can die."

"Yes, and you're the kind of thing that can't?"

"Maybe. Does that mean you'll die, Esculentus?"

"I will, some day. For now, I'm still young, sixteen years old. What about you, Gyrolite?"

"I'm three hundred. I'm young too, compared to my friends. Until the day you took me off the shore, I was the youngest."

"The newborn. I remember that day really clearly, even though I almost never remember things. I saw her fall from the cliff, and you and your friend going up to him. I was even watching you fighting the Lunarians."

"My friend... I can't remember him at all, but I know he's gone. They took him."

"They did. I saw that too, even though I didn't want to watch it. I don't think you know this, but before you saved that strange looking--"

"I call him Yellow."

"'Him?' All five of you I've seen have looked like girls, Yellow too even though 'he' was weird. Maybe I just can't tell the difference. Well, before you saved Yellow, you saved me too. One of the Lunarians saw me. I was like I am now, an easy target for their well trained archers. I watched frozen in fear as she stared at me, cold menace in her face, ready to loose that arrow, but you killed her before she had the chance."
The bleak grey stone sounds its reluctance, it pushes back against your heart and body from all sides. The caves are an entrapment in which both you and Esculentus have fallen victim, and the walls of this cage can squeeze secrets from you.

"So you were there the whole time?"

"Yeah, I was. When it was over, when I saw your friend get shattered and throw you down, I realized you weren't quite like me. The Lunarians let you run away with Yellow, and they came down and collected your friend's pieces. They were the most gorgeous orange stone I'd ever seen. They collected the pieces like a resource, then they just vanished, back to the moon."

"So he was Orange... I wish I remembered my mineralogy lessons, I feel like the memories are just out of reach."

"Welcome to my world." She says. "When the Lunarians were gone, I ran off to follow you, but hid when I saw two of your other friends who were armed. They were quite a bit east, I don't think they had any idea what had happened, and they were just walking, but I was scared of being confused for a Lunarian. From there I could also see to the west, and I saw you crawling back to the cliff alone, legs broken, so I went back too."

"That's where everything gets fuzzy for me."

"That's my fault, sorry. I took something with me when we-- when I escaped the city, it's made from the venom of the jellyfish that come in summer mixed with a concentrated excretion from a gland in our bodies, we use it to cure pain. I thought you would need some, so I tried giving it to you, but it kind of absorbed into your face. You started mumbling and looking around everywhere, and eventually fell asleep."

"That explains it."

"I thought then that I had two choices. You were too heavy to take with me inland, so either I had to go find those two others I had seen earlier, which I thought was a bad idea in case the Lunarians came back. That would risk my life and not guarantee your safety. That, or I could take you into the sea, which I already knew to be safe for you, back to the entrance to these caves, which I saw on the way, where we would both be safe from them. At the time, I thought it was the right decision... I just don't know. I hope you understand why I did it."

"I understand, and there's no going back to undo it anyway," you say.

The walls squeeze tighter.

"The two that you saw, was one purple, the other completely black?"

"Come to think of it, yes, you know them?"

"Mm. Jet and Antozonite. The Lunarians have hurt them both, I think you made the right decision. You don't look like a Lunarian to me now that I know what you are, but Ant at the very least wouldn't want to take the chance, even if he didn't know for sure."

"He sounds scary, glad I didn't try to talk to him."

"He's amazing in that kind of way, I think."
Your makeshift chalk scrapes against the cave surface. You must have visited a good hundred or so new chambers today, just following the leftmost path together, although you did finally reach a dead end and decide to turn back. Now, Esculentus watches in awe as you draw out the new places and paths from memory.

"This is really impressive, I can't understand how you remember so much. I can't remember anything like this. I can't even remember most of those places, just parts of our conversation."

"If you want to talk about impressive, you had a hard time remembering our conversation while we were having it."

"Sorry, that happens. I get off topic easily."

"You never told me what happened to the rest of the Admirabilis."

"Oh, didn't I!? Ah, I'm hopeless, let me start again!"

"Please do."

"It was fairly recent, about three months before I came to your island. Maybe a little longer, I'm forgetting details. The Lunarians attacked the city, something we never expected could even happen. They abducted almost all of us, they wrapped them in nets and dragged them from the ocean into the sky."

"How many of you were there?"

"Almost two thousand. We were already struggling with this disease, the one that makes my memory so poor. Believe it or not, I've got it better off than most did. Our numbers were already dropping, and suddenly it dropped to almost none, but I escaped from the attack with my brother-- my brother's m-medicine, not the same one I used on you. It's made to treat this," she taps her head.

"You haven't used it?"

"No! I-I couldn't... It's the last thing of his I have. Besides, it wasn't made for me. If I'm the last one, it doesn't matter anyway."

"If you're the last one, then wouldn't it be fine to use it? Or maybe you still think there are others out there?"

"I...! I don't know..."

"One of my friends went to the moon and came back. I mean, it was a set up, and you and I have different bodies, but I wouldn't give up hope yet."

She's silent for a short while, the only sound being your shard leaving streak against stone, and its echoes. Then, you hear a new sound, one which is partly familiar, partly not so.

"What's that--" you say, turning around, before you are pulled into a hug by a crying Esculentus. The new part of the sound was sniffling. "Ah-- Hey, you're too squishy!"

She laughs through the tears, head held tight against your torso. "Thanks."
The embrace holds for a few seconds, then she releases it. "Sorry, I'll get back on topic." She wipes away a few tears, then continues. "I ran away from the city as fast as I could after I escaped, and I just kept going. I went in one direction, stopping only to take care of needs, for three months, never daring to surface in fear of seeing one of their platforms overhead. Then, I came upon the giant cliff. It was bigger than anything I'd ever seen, and it went forever in any direction except up, and only just short of forever that way. I began to swim up, until I heard voices. And after hearing voices, I saw four feet dangled over the edge, and knew I was close to the top."

She takes a moment to catch her breath.

"I panicked at seeing the feet, up until that point the only feet I had seen were those of Lunarians, so I had assumed them to belong to such. I saw a decently wide crack not too far away, and quickly swam inside. That was the entrance to these caves. Eventually, the voices started shouting, and getting quieter, so I set down my brother's medicine inside the caves' entrance and went up to peek over the edge. To my surprise, the two weren't Lunarians at all. It was you and your friend. I tried to call out, but you either didn't hear me or chose not to answer. You both began running away, so I chased after, but you were so fast! Still, I never lost sight of you, all the way up to the island."

"Wow, I never knew, that was pretty much my whole day and you were so close the entire time."

"Tell me about it."

The light from the pinhole above starts to dim, and you finish today's mapping.

"Whaddaya think?"

"I wouldn't know, I can't remember any of the rooms, but if you think it's right then it's perfect!"

"I think it's my masterpiece."

"Alright let's not get ahead of ourselves."

When the light is completely gone, Esculentus gives her own while you prepare for sleep.

"Do you mind if I sleep in here for tonight?" She says, pointing toward the second chamber of the cave.

"It won't bother me a bit."

"Thank you. Not just for that but... Well, you know."

"You too. I'm glad you told me so much about what happened, it's comforting."

"Mm. Goodnight."


The rest of your days in those caves are spent under a similar formula. You wake up to find Esculentus waiting for you. You descend to the complex network below, and map out a new portion of the caverns, all the while sharing stories or small talk.

However, the thirty fifth day was a little different. On that day, she wasn't her normal self.

"Gyro," she had said, "Do you think we'll ever make it out?"

"Of course," you said. "We just have to keep trying. Our system will eventually work, all it will take is time."

"Okay, I trust you. It's just getting hard to keep believing that."

"I know. We'll just keep pushing forward."

On the night of the eighty eighth day, after the natural light in the cave had gone out and you had long since gone to sleep, you were awoken by her bioluminescence. She clung tightly to you and cried for a very long time. You tried to speak, but the energy was simply not there, and so you were simply there until she fell asleep herself from exhaustion, and her lights went out. You asked her about it the next time you awoke, but she said she couldn't remember ever doing it.

On the one hundred seventy seventh day, she was similarly depressed.

"Gyro," she had said, "Do you think we'll ever make it out?"

"Of course," you said. "We just have to keep going. If we give up, we never will. We owe it to ourselves to make it a reality."

"Okay, I trust you. It's just getting hard to keep believing that."

"I know. We'll just keep pushing forward."

On the night of the two hundred thirtieth day, well into the dark, you were awoken by a very faint light. It was Esculentus, but it was dimmer than you'd ever seen it before. You had too little energy to speak, but she spoke for you.

"Gyro, do you think we'll ever make it out? Well... It's been a very long time now. I feel like I owe it to you, for helping me, that at the very least you know the whole truth. For you it was the third day in this cave. I was sixteen years old. I don't remember too much, not for disease but time, but I know I told you a lie. I told you that I was the last of the Admirabilis. I suppose it wasn't entirely a lie, but I didn't come here alone."

She pauses to breathe, her voice is as faint as her light.

"I came here with my brother. He was exiled from the city for pursuing strange methods of medicine, and he was safe when the Lunarians attacked, so having escaped I sought him out. He said we should run as far from that side of the world as we could, and so we did, together, the last two of the Admirabilis."

Another breath.

"He stayed here when I chased you at the cliff, and lived here in secret alongside us. I lied to you to protect him. He continued work on his medicine until he died a very long time ago, but not before we had children out of necessity. Those children have children, and maybe soon them children of their own, all living in secret from you, and this is their home."

Another, longer, breath.
"And would you believe it, it worked. His medicine cured our new family, and it even cured me. Gyrolite, I lied to you to protect them, because however many times I said it, the truth was I never really trusted you. Now though, I can see that was wrong."

She begins coughing, but when the fit has eased, she resumes.

"They will keep themselves a secret from you no matter how long you stay, continuing to search for the exit. That's how they were raised, don't take it personally."

She stands and slowly moves to the pool.

"I think I ought to get going now, thank you, for everything." she says. However, as she begins to step down into it, she is overcome with another fit.

I can...

It wracks her body, you notice now how frail she appears.

Almost move...

It only intensifies, and soon her light begins to fade.

My arms...

She starts to fall forward into the pool just as her light vanishes completely. In total darkness, your inclusions gathered just enough energy to power your form, and you lunge with as much might as you can muster, but it isn't enough. Your arm goes limp, hanging into the pool, and you fall asleep too.


You awake to the pool lapping at your left shoulder, the cone of light above is already at its normally brightest point.


The moment you can move, you drop into the caverns.


You have a mental copy of your map, and you run as fast as is possible when hobbling just below the knees through the dark caves you've been in before.


But no response comes.

When you become tired, you give up your search and return to the lit area at the bottom of the well.

And then a year had passed.

On the three hundred and sixty fifth day, you left your cave and began exploring the caverns. Over time, you've become better and controlling your body, allowing further expeditions with less energy, although you have still been hindered by the lack of light. Yet, there was the exit.

Just as Esculentus had described, a decently sized crack, looking out to the same view you saw with the friend you can't remember on the day he was taken.

You return to your cave, now knowing the exact directions you had taken, and scrawl out the last piece of the caverns you saw today into your massive map.

Next, you look toward the pinhole of light. You've gotten control over your body back. One arm, one thigh, and the right side of your torso become green, and you jump, punching at the only source of natural light you've known. A one foot wide hole crumbles away, and a trickle of water runs in, as well as more light. The thought that this was an option makes you laugh and feel a little sad at the same time. Pulling your head through the hole, you discover that the cave was only a few feet directly beneath the chord shore, and you start walking home, as slow as is possible when returning from a long time away.
Along the way, you are met by familiar sights. The white hills, the western plateau, and namely the sun. The amount of light entering your body is such a shock to your long deprived inclusions that it makes you feel slightly sick. A dizziness wins against you, and you fall to the ground.

"T-that face... I think I remember... You're--!"


Looking up, a tall gemstone with bright yellow hair is accompanied by Goshenite. He helps you to your shortened legs.

"Gyrolite... Gyro I-I thought you were... I thought the Lunarians took you! Are you back from the moon?"

"I was never there..."

"G-Gyrolite? So then you must be... You're the reason why I'm..." Stammers the yellow gemstone.

"Gyro, this is... It's been a hundred and three years... Ah, what am I doing!? We gotta do this, at least!" Goshenite grabs the yellow one by the collar and pulls him over to you. "Gyro, this here is who you, well who we thought you sacrificed yourself to save."

Clearly shaken and embarrassed, he performs a rushed introduction.

"N-nice to meet you, and thanks for risking yourself to save me, and my name is... Oh what is it... Oh r-right, my name is Yellow Diamond!"

Chapter 3: A Warrior was Born,
More slug incest, nice
When will Chapter 4 start?
Gonna shoot for Sunday the 25th, 10:00a PST.

I'd like to do Friday at that time, but every thread so far has been in concurrence with leaks and I don't want to break that pattern in case they come out the next day. Also that gives me time to make sure the chapter doesn't conflict with what I've written for the OP.

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