Previous Thread: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2022/5290397/Archive: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Mahou%20Shoujo%20Academia===Five millennia have passed since the fall of the Machine Builders, or so the textbooks say.You live in the World Reborn, a world of shattered lands in orbit above the decaying corpse of a tainted sun. Far above, the Second Sun dances with His Brother Stars, casting the Light of Wisdom upon the broken Earth and scouring away the taint of the Black Sun Below. Far beneath the Astral Strata, below even the tides of Black Mist that bring mutation and madness to the Lowest Strata, that wretched hole in reality births demons and other, stranger things into the world. Each beast is an abomination against the Stars Above, and it is the duty and honor of every Mahou Shoujo among the Faithful to exterminate them upon sight.One day, you will be one of them. For now, though, you are still in training.Your name is Parva Symphonia, and you are a holy maiden, diligent and pure. Up until recently, you have played the role of the attendant shrine maiden of the 1728th Astral Shrine - a small, backwater temple upon a nameless island adrift upon the aetheric tides that separate the Upper and Middle Stratum. You serve the will of your Holy Father Diligence, a star once believed to be extinguished, whose holy light returned to the world around the time that you were born. With the help of Sister April - your mother in all but blood - He has raised you beneath His Light since birth, diligently monitoring your physical, mental, and spiritual growth. Even if some of his methods made Sister April wonder if it was Heresy to call a star a pervert. Was it truly necessary for you to perform every examination clad in light alone? But no matter how strange they were, every test did serve his greater purpose in raising you. To prepare you for the day that you leave the shrine, and become his hands within the World Reborn. Seventeen days ago, he deemed you ready to move on to the next phase of your education: the Astral Academy, an academy where talented girls and boys are forged into the next generation of Mahou Shoujo.Since leaving the shrine, a lot of things have happened. You met a very pretty boy named Bear E. Dove and teased him out of his shell with the help of advanced prayer methods. Together, the two of you slew a pair of seductive demons that had somehow gotten aboard his family's private airship - though you almost fell for their charm magic. You arrived at the Astral Academy shortly thereafter, only to hit it off with another girl who likes playing with her "food": Princess Claudia Natalia fon Widdelsbach. She decided to host an impromptu tea party for you, Bear, and her friends on an overlook near the skydocks... which caused all of you to miss the Academy's Orientation.Which brings you to today.
>>5332516Survival to traverse the Wilderness. Roll 1d20+LCK+1/2 VIT vs DC30Having a compass to navigate by reduces the DC of the check by 5 to 25Having a detailed map of your immediate area to navigate by reduces the DC of the check by 5 to 2018+12+2 = 32. Three degrees of success!The gentle light of the Daystars pours through twelve pinprick holes in the veil of night, pushing away the shadows and painting the sky in a swirling and chaotic pattern of twelve colors. Though the dance in the heavens looks as though it lacks rhyme or reason, the paths the Daystars take across the sky as they greet the coming day as precise as a machinist's tools, if not moreso. Looking only at the pattern of the morn's first light, an astrologer could tell you the date, what day of the Sideralis it is, the current iteration of the Sideralis, and which of the Stars has His feast day today.As a holy maiden, diligent and pure, you of course know your astrology.Today is Nilsday, the 31st of Affluence, 5032 A.S.A., the 191st day of the 193rd Sideralis and the feast day of Coherence.By the time Wisdom emerges to dance with Confidence - the Morning Star - you have already completed your morning routine of stretches and calisthenics whilst clad in light. Claudia asked that you give her some space when you woke, and has been sitting at the edge of the overhang with a melancholic look on your face. Bear has been sleeping soundly, in a cute little pose where is towel-turned-blanket has been tossed to the side and his shirt has ridden up to expose his stomach while he snores. He wakes up just in time to see you finish putting on your jersey. The sky-blue cloth hangs loosely off your lean and lanky body like an oversized sundress, the sleeves easily reaching your elbows while the neck is wide enough that it leaves one of your shoulders exposed. The mesh fabric hangs low enough that it skirts your milky white calves and becomes close enough to a dress that you need not bother with anything else. On your back, crisp golden lettering declares that you are #58 - Beanstalk. The front depicts a shield emblazoned with the head of a wolf, wrapped in a spidery vine that blooms with roses and encircled by the twelve stanza chorus of Diligence be With Us Upon Our Journey.The irony is not lost on you that the tallest member of your team was the one given a jersey that looks too big for her.Though it makes you suspect collusion in how your team got here, as its style matches your preferences a bit too well. Thinking about it, Radford should have heard your first attempt to break your comrades free from the illusion they were caught in when this all began. With how much you amplified your voice with your magic, the entire Sophian Archipelago should have heard something. The fact that he did not come running means that he's likely involved. Mara too, you bet.
>>5332521"Good morning, Bear." Leaving those thoughts for later, you greet your friend of fifteen days. It feels like you've known him longer, but perhaps that's because you don't know many children your age. The tips of his ears have turned a delightful shade of red from the glimpse of your thigh that he caught before you finished putting on your jersey. He's feeling brave today, given that he hasn't averted his gaze like he normally does. With a cat-like grin, you decide to poke and prod him a little bit. "Did I get something on my jersey? You're staring~"He looks away, a blush creeping onto his face. "You're too defenseless, you know that?"Now that's a curious turn of phrase that you haven't heard from him before. It makes you wonder what he saw during his test last night, where your Mentor trapped each of you in a hallucination born of your fears, each near the end of your watch.You'd rather not think too hard about what you saw. It was a lie, and you intend to ensure that it will never come to pass."I am a holy maiden, diligent and pure." To answer Bear, you clasp your hands in prayer, exchanging your devious expression for an angelic one and briefly closing your eyes. The words of the Librum Stellaris flow from your tongue like water from stream. Somehow, Bear seems annoyed by that. "The only defense I need is my faith in Holy Wisdom and the shining Stars Above. [Confidence 37:8-9] Who trusts the Stars Above with their life and their will shall need no shield nor armor, for starlight shall smile down upon them and their flesh shall know no wounds.""Whatever happened to 'we are their hands upon this earth'..." Bear complains with a despondent sigh. All the same, a little smile crosses his face that leaves you very, very curious."That is an oft-quoted piece of apocryphal text," you explain to him. While he stretches out and wearily stands up, you lean forward with your hands behind your back, a serene smile on your face. Your jersey hangs from your torso like a curtain, and if you had leaned down just a little further you would have given Bear a look at something nice. As it is, he turns a beet red when his eyes catch your clavicles and the hints of what's hidden further down. Your catlike grin returns. "The Book of Acceptance was stricken from the canon with the Book of Tolerance and the Book of Innocence after the 2nd Black Tide. It's not heresy, but it's not scripture either.""I-I-Is that so?" Bear stammers, returning to the shy young man prone to stuttering that you remember first meeting. His imagination must be running wild, as he's staring again in the hopes that you'll lean down just a bit further and show him something nice. Too bad~! Even if you did, your Holy Father's blessing would cause some contrivance that kept things just out of view. He swallows hard. "I w-w-was unaw-w-ware of th-that..."You smirk like a cat with a trapped mouse in her paws. "Well, if you'd like, I'd be happy to show yo-"
>>5332523"AHEM!" Claudia cuts you off right as you were getting to the good part. Gone is her melancholy expression from earlier, when she quietly contemplated the passage of the Stars Above and the twelve colors of the Dawn. She stands before the two of you with her hands on her hips, giving a baleful look at how close you and Bear have gotten. You may or may not have been inching forward slowly and invading his personal space in order to provoke his deliciously flustered reaction. Claudia's hands are on her hips, with are draped in her own jersey - tied off with a wide leather belt like a tunic over a fresh pair of leggings. The Second Sun dances with Confidence at her back, allowing her to cast a long shadow upon the both of you."If you two are finished flirting, would you mind conjuring us some food, Bear?" Claudia says once she has your attention. The mood is ruined, so you pull away from Bear with a pout. Without your overly stimulating presence invading his personal space, the blush fades from Bear's face. He stammers something out about it not being conjuration, but Claudia brushes past it. She pulls out a map from her purse, and places it on a stone, pointing at one of the features. "We have a long ways to go today. Mentor Tefra left me a detailed map of this island. It says that there should be a Drasiltree at the center of the island, so if we can get there and climb it, we should be able to get our bearings.""Right, he left some water bottles for us after the test last night," Bear says. He pulls out three 2L bottles from his backpack, each of them made with stamped aluminum. Mentor Tefra seems to be going all out with the team spirit, at it shares the logo that has been emblazoned on your jerseys and towels. "I'll go fill them up and grow some breakfast. Do either of you have an preferences?""I could go for a banana, if they'll grow here," you tell Bear. He and Claudia share a look that you don't quite understand. Is there something strange about bananas? They might just be your favorite fruit. Back at the shrine, you could only have them when a faithful brought them as offerings, but they're definitely the best."Yeah, I can make that work," Bear says. The one eye peaking out from his strawberry blonde hair is oddly fixed on your lips. "Just, uh, don't do anything weird with it, okay?""Huh?" You tilt your head in confusion."N-N-Never mind," he stammers. A blush has returned to his face, but for the life of you, you don't understand why. He quickly turns to Claudia. "What about you Claudia? Do you want bananas too, or...?""I prefer clams to bananas," Claudia says something strange that makes Bear choke. From the look on his face, it must have been inappropriate somehow. Perhaps it is fortunate that you are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, and such innuendo flies over your face. "But if it's not too much trouble, I would appreciate if you could conjure up a butterfruit for me.""It's not conjuration..." Bear groans.
>>5332524You eat breakfast on the trail. You and Claudia have managed to figure out the best route to take based on an educated guess of your approximately location, using your compass to orient the map. There are not many clearings on the map with overlooks above a creek flowing north to south, so finding your current location wasn't that difficult. Bear comes back with a large and dark butterfruit for Claudia, which is shaped like a pear but with a thick and bumpy skin. He passes you some perfectly ripened bananas for you to enjoy. For himself, he brought a pair of apples and some nuts.For some reason, Bear pays a lot of attention to how you eat the bananas that he brought you, his eyes locking to your lips with every bite you take. You have no idea why he's paying so much attention and turning such a shade of red when every time you put the fruit in your mouth, but you're not going to complain about being treated to such a delightful show.When Claudia sees how happy you look at how flustered Bear gets watching you eat, she just rolls her eyes."So this is what that feels like, huh?" Claudia grumbles to herself. She's off in her own world a few meters ahead of you and Bear, her shoulders slumped over, barely looking at the trail. Something about this has her reflecting on her own actions, it seems. "I should apologize to Karl and Mikhail. Espeeeeeeeecially Mikhail. Though knowing that dunderhead I bet he thinks his sister and I just really close... Karl at least notices that much, the stupid closet pervert...""What does what feel like?" You catch up with her once you finish your bananas."Were you not doing that on purpose?" Claudia asks. Her face is covered with a mask of astonishment. "Why am I not surprised... never mind."After you all finish eating, the three of you can put all of your energy into navigating the wilderness. Bear's plant magic easily clears out a path for the three of you to walk, turning the overgrown underbrush into something that resembles a dirt road. You and Claudia handle the navigation together, and though you do manage to get turned around once - catching it thanks to flowery trail markers that Bear grew - it only takes you three hours or so to cover the ground and reach the Drasiltree at the heart of the island.It towers above, not quite as tall as the Astral Tower but dwarfing all the other trees around it. A vast, grassy clearing has surrounded it. One one side, its roots dig into a hill that reaches half-way up its side, while on the other they dive into a large pond to drink deep of its clear waters. You suspect a spring lies below, feeding the pond its water, otherwise the Drasiltree would have dried it up long ago.
>>5332528You should be able to get a good viewpoint from up there, but you'll need to figure out a way up to the top.>Maybe Bear can grow some vines onto its side, that will give you enough of a hold to reach the branches high above.>If you vibrate Metron and Nomos at the right frequency, you might be able to use them as leverage to throw yourself up.>Claudia has remarkable strength. Maybe she could throw Bear to the top, and he can let down some vines.>You have some rope that you can use. If Bear can create some steely thorns, you might be able to climb up normally.>Claudia is looking at you and Bear with an eager expression. It's clear she has some scheme involving her Shield Magic. Though what does she mean by "Kite Shield"?>Write in
>>5332530>>Maybe Bear can grow some vines onto its side, that will give you enough of a hold to reach the branches high above.>>If you vibrate Metron and Nomos at the right frequency, you might be able to use them as leverage to throw yourself up.I think we could do both
>>5332528>...Espeeeeeeeecially Mikhail. Though knowing that dunderhead I bet he thinks his sister and I just really close...Zam, imagine being cucked by your own sister, altough technically they weren't dating.>>5332530>Maybe Bear can grow some vines onto its side, that will give you enough of a hold to reach the branches high above.
>>5332530>Maybe Bear can grow some vines onto its side, that will give you enough of a hold to reach the branches high above.Sorry Claudia, maybe we’ll try the kite shield idea another time
>>5332530>>Claudia is looking at you and Bear with an eager expression. It's clear she has some scheme involving her Shield Magic. Though what does she mean by "Kite Shield"?
>>5332694at least karl understands the concept of side hoes and political marriages
>>5332790Had to check back and indeed Karl is the fianceé and Mikhail is the childhood friend. Not an unusual twist for the polite one to be a closet pervert, but it's fun and I'm curious if he was planning to get a side hoe for himself or if he thinks he can manage a 3some. Btw OP, how is homoseggs viewed by the main religion and the broad society ?
>>5332694>>5332790Mikhail is very naive when it comes to matters of political marriage and the like - he genuinely believes that if you marry someone, of course you love them, even if it's arranged. He also is kinda blind to the fact that Claudia and Isabella have been picking lilies with eachother for a long while now. After all, Isabella is the royal playmate, selected at an early age to become the Crown Princess's most intimate friend. There is absolutely nothing strange about the two of them sharing a bed with one another, even if they both prefer sleeping nude. Nor is there anything strange about the fact that they never miss a chance to bathe together, it's quite beautiful how intimate their friendship is, really.Meanwhile, Karl (quite privately) has expressed his approval because 1) girl on girl is hot, and 2) he won't need to worry about any of her children not being his with how those two get on. He also sort of daydreams about leveraging things into a threesome... and Claudia sort of daydreams about testing any lovers her husband might have. So a threesome might happen, but not with Bella. Bella belongs to Claudia.>>5332814Being known to have lovers of the same sex isn't looked down upon, and in many ways makes you a better marriage candidate. After all, if your husband just has a very intimate friendship with one of his hunting buddies, he won't be bringing back any bastards. Likewise, if your wife prefers the company of women and happily engages in skinship with her friends, any children you might have together will be yours for sure!The Book of Prudence's rules on the matter amount to "keep things hygienic" and "don't knock up/get knocked up by someone you're not married to". Marriage is generally done for procreation, though often it comes after the woman is pregnant among the common folk (I'd say about a quarter of marriages are "Oh shit you idiot kids have a kid on the way. Altar time!"). Among nobles, it's a political tool to merge two houses or seal an alliance, though they won't force a marriage between two people who don't get along, because that's a good way to ruin the alliance. And, ah, if one of the couple (common or noble) needs a bit of help fulfilling their procreative duties due to their inclinations, well... the worst that will come of it is spicy gossip.
>>5332530>>Maybe Bear can grow some vines onto its side, that will give you enough of a hold to reach the branches high above.
>>5332530>>You have some rope that you can use. If Bear can create some steely thorns, you might be able to climb up normally.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to post tonight, as I need to be up earlier than usual tomorrow morning. That being said, I will need rolls of 1d20 and 1d100 for how effective Bear's vines will be, and how beneficial the view from atop the Drasiltree will be. Also,Character SheetName: Parva SymphoniaTitles: Maiden of the 1728th Astral ShrineMagical Name: (None)Patron: The Star of DiligenceSex: FemaleAttributesSTR 5, AGI 10, VIT 4, MAG 7, LCK 12While Ascended...You have Strength to match your average body builder.You have Agility to match a precision tool with your hands, and the speed of a car on the highway.You have Vitality enough to run a half marathon, and an average resistance to painYou have Magic aptitude enough to match the greatest of sorcerers outside the circles of Mahou Shoujo.Even without your ascension, your Luck reaches the point of absurdity in how the world will bend over backwards to accommodate you when it comes to matters of chance.Magical Girl AbilitiesMagic of Sound: Your magic manipulates sounds and their physical and metaphysical properties. You have enough control to deaden your own sound, produce specific frequencies, amplify your voice, send a message heard only by the receive, and perform precise sonic attacks against the unawares.Blessed Frequency: 111 Hertz, the first frequency you learned to generate. It is anathema to foul creatures spawned by the Black Sun Below, and those who have been heavily influenced by it.Song of the Heart: A specific song with metaphysical properties that deaden the emotion of fear and instill the emotion of courage within those who hear it. When you use this, the actions of your allies become much more effective, and fear effects are suppressed.Metron and Nomos: Your magic swords that harmonize with your music. They are especially suited to carrying the sonic hymns as a form of attack.Barrier Jacket: A barrier jacket devised by the Star of Diligence. Breezy and showy, but very comfortable!Barrier Jacket (Clad in Light): Due to circumstances, the controls upon your LAPIS preventing you from using a barrier jacket where you simply brightly glow enough to censor your naked body have been disabled. Surprisingly, it is actually more sturdy than your normal barrier jacket.Kaleidoscope Eyes: You can copy other people's special abilities and fighting styles as long as you can seen them in use. Abilities that you've copied can be stored for later use, but their powers are largely diminished, and you can only store 6 of them.Borrowed Powers: Untouchable Steel CrownPerksFlexibility: You have the flexibility of an olympic gymnast and nearly perfect control of your body's motion. While ascended you become inhumanly flexible, as if you were made of rubber.
>>5334048Enhanced Outfit: The Star of Diligence Himself designed your barrier jacket to his exacting specifications to provide a greater level of protection for his shrine maiden than even the fabled powered armors of the Machine Builders. How he managed to do that while also showing off your body to the degree that the barrier jacket does is a mystery...Swan Song: You're only scratching the surface of your potential when you fight, because the forms which Diligence raised you to learn can be dangerous for the human body. However, if the need arises, you have his permission to go all out - just this one - and turn the tide of battle. Just don't expect to be walking for a while after you pull that stunt off...Money: You're rich. Or rather, Diligence provides you with a living stipend as His Shrine Maiden, and he does not skimp out on the the amount of money that stipend has. You cannot afford to buy just anything you want, but most things within reason are within reach. If you make a good case for it, your Patron might even be willing to splurge and get you something big.Ojou-sama: Diligence raised you as a daughter of his shrine to become His ideal of graceful beauty, and it shows in your affected mannerisms and demeanor. You can move among the highest social circles of the Upper Strata comfortably, and are blessed with the aid of one of His creations: a golem manservant, who attends to your every need.[CENSORED]: Behold, the ULTIMATE FATHERLY DEFENSE of Diligence. Somehow, whenever your get into a lewd situation or otherwise lose your clothing, there's always clouds of steam or rays of light that hide the important bits until they're properly covered. The reason you think it's Diligence's work is because of another blessing He gave you... any time you swear, it comes out like the quack of a duckling.Fortunate: From duplicate "Flexibility". Your luck extends to your mundane life, with things just happening to go your way whenever it's up to a game of chance. This can be a curse at times, because if you're looking for trouble, you often enough will just miss it if you wouldn't be able to handle it.When you roll any die, you take the better of the first two results. Additionally, on any die rolled, a roll of a 1 is treated as the maximum roll of the dice (including for whether or not Fortunate would select it as the better result.Patron: You were abandoned by your mother upon the steps of the 1728th Astral Shrine, in the Upper Strata. Though it had long since been abandoned, to be consumed by the wilderness, the Star of Diligence who calls that Shrine His Home took you in as his own. He raised you into a fine young girl, though His strange quirks and preferences - such as "no clothes in the Shrine except for ceremonies" - have given you a few strange habits.
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>5334048
Rolled 60 (1d100)>>5334048
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>5334048
Rolled 91 (1d100)>>5334048
Rolled 9 (1d20)>>5334048
Rolled 3 (1d100)>>5334048>>5334145
Rolled 2 (1d20)>>5334048
Rolled 67 (1d100)>>5334215
Spellcasting to create a vine up to the upper branches. Bear rolls 1d20+MAG+1/2 LCK vs DC20Spellcasting to shoot up to the crest of the tree. Claudia rolls 1d20+MAG+1/2 LCK vs DC20Bear: 8+14+3 = 25. Two degrees of Success!Claudia: 12 + 8 + 4 = 24. Success!A sudden gust rustles the leaves of a Drasiltree, causing a flock of birds to erupt from its branches and become a cloud of dark feathers and fluttering wings, drifting towards the forest in opposition to the prevailing wind. The core branches of the tree are left unmoved, a testament to the strength and sheer size of this ancient growth. You could fit the Shrine of Diligence inside of the trunk with room to spare, and the branches that form its core are equally massive. The gust blew off one of its leaves, and as it floats down into the nearby pond you can see that it must be nearly as long as you are tall. Crack!Before the leaf can touch the surface of the pond, Bear's Rosenpeitsche lashes out and catches it by the stem, saving it from falling into the water and soaking through like so many others. With a flourish that throws the leaf back into the air before he retracts the vine. It snaps back like an over-extended rubber-band, pulling the leaf and stem right into Bear's waiting hand.You and Claudia both give little golf-claps, suitably impressed by the maneuver. You tilt your head in confusion a bit, because that came out of nowhere."Ah, what a waste..." Bear says. He gives a wistful look the other falling leaves while rolling up the one he caught and putting it into his backpack. It's become a tube as thick as your thigh, and takes up a good chunk of the space in there. Things need to be rearranged, but he manages to fit it, if only just. "Do we really need blankets...? No, no, we need those, but... ahhh, those are all gonna hit the water and their membranes will dissolve, what a waste!""That explains why the stream's water was so fresh, though," Claudia muses. She unclips the water bottle from her belt, and dips it into the pond. The water that comes up is clear as crystal, with a faint blue glow to it. She takes a sip of it and smiles. "Even diluted, Drasiltea is an anathema to disease and a catalyst of healing. The palace gardeners would harvest the leaves that fell from Hvitrdrasil every fall to be divided among the staff and family. Mother always made a tea from them whenever I got sick..."You nod along with them, though you don't really know much. "I remember some of traders talking about offering teas with those leaves in them to the shrine. Sister April took it to help with her menses, but...""Yeah, most of that would have been made with autumn leaves, probably dried up," Bear says. He fills his water bottle with water from the pond as well... and you follow suit, figuring it can't hurt. "Leaves that fall off in spring are much more potent, though harvesting them in any useful capacity would probably kill the tree."
>>5335260"I wasn't aware of that," Claudia says. While you and Bear are looking at the drasiltree trying to figure out a way up, she appraises him with curious eyes. Then after a moment, as if she had suddenly realized something, she smirks. "I suppose that seeing something so valuable left untapped would offend the sensibilities of a merchant's son, wouldn't it? How valuable would you say one of those spring leaves are, anyways?"You are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, who knows very little of the worldly matters of money and finance. Yet even you can hear a greedy calculus in Claudia's words as she crunches numbers in her head in curiosity."Valuable enough that seeing them go to waste like this is... ugh..." Bear groans. He gives a despondent look at the leaves he couldn't save, whose membranes have already begun steeping in the pond water. You can see a brighter blue glow around them than the water in your bottle, as the source of their healing properties mixes with the pond. "Not valuable enough to, say, strip the Hvitrdrasil bare of its leaves, if that's what you were thinking. The White Tree of Rosaria is a national treasure! Just concentrate the teas made from fall leaves if you want the effect of a spring tea.""You're being rather bold, Bear~" you tease. A cattish smirk crosses your face, and Bear suddenly stops moving. He makes a sour expression, as if he just now realized that the girl wearing dirt-stained leggings and pretending her jersey is a tunic was - in fact - the heir apparent to the Greater Bayernan Imperium. His ears turn red with embarrassment as you lean down to whisper something into them. "I like it~!"Is this behavior becoming of a shrine maiden? No.But you are still young, and as Diligence once told you: [It is a rule that the young should break rules]. So, frankly, you don't care."F-F-F-F-Forgive my impertinence, Princess Claudia!" Bear hastily bows to forty-five degrees, as is customary among the merchants who ply their trade across the aetheric winds. You've seen enough sailors apologize to Sister April for one thing or another to understand that much. He's also slipped into High Gaulic as naturally as breathing. "I meant not to tell a member of the royal family what to do with her property, but rather to remind you of the Hvitrdrasil's importance as a symbol o-"Bear gives a yelp when something smacks him on the bottom. You give Claudia a look for touching your toy like that, but she doesn't seem too keen on apologizing. At least she didn't do it with her hands, just a spectral shield that glows with the same sky-blue color as her hair."[Duel Shield: Counting Coup]." Claudia spits out a few words in the Machine Builder's tongue, the language used to invoke magic. Speaking the words aren't necessary, but doing so helps focus and empower a spell. With a sweet smile on her face, Claudia chastises Bear. "By the Stars, Bear, how many times must I tell you not to be so formal?"
>>5335264"You'll p-p-probably need to k-k-keep reminding me for the next few m-m-months, Your Highne-" Bear gets cut off by a glare from the princess. It seems she very much does not approve of him using even basic honorifics. He gives a dry swallow. "Claudia.""I'll be here cheering you on!" You tell him. Giving a peppy little hop and twirl like a cheerleader, your jersey goes swish and exposes a very dangerous amount of skin. Had it flown up any higher, the two of them would have seen something nice, but leaving things to simple implication might have left them a bit more embarrassed. Claudia has looked away, a bit red in the face, and it takes her a few minutes for her to be able to meet your eyes again. Bear has a particularly delicious reaction, staring just long enough for you to feel appreciated before turning his back to you entirely."Yes, ahem," Claudia coughs. You have a devious smile on your face that she can't quite meet, looking past you and at the tree. "Do either of you have any thoughts on how we might reach the top of the tree. It's the best vantage point, isn't it?"You have many thoughts about climbing the monstrously large drasiltree before you, and like many things, they are best expressed in scripture. You clasp your hands together and allow the devious look to cross your faith, and speak the words of the Faithful. "[Competence 36:17-19] I said unto the people before me, 'I shall tell to you the secrets of the truly competent man. It matters not what trade he has mastered, but rather that he knows the trades in which he has no aptitude. For competence is not merely the magnitude of thy strength, but the acknowledgement of one's own weakness.'"Bear and Claudia both stare at you in confusion."In short, I have nothing," you admit. Bear chuckles while Claudia pinches her nose. "Do either of you have any ideas?""Yes," says Bear."Yes," says Claudia. While Bear moves to your side, Claudia puffs out her chest with pride, certain in the belief that her plan is the best plan. "My Shield Magic allows me to manifest a [Kite Shield] - that is to say, not a shield made in the shape of a kite, but rather a shield that can function as a kite. Bear's the lightest out of us, so he should be the one to ride it up. Once he's reached the top, he can let down a vine, and then we can climb up after him.""I have a better idea," Bear says. He motions for you to hold onto him. "Parva, put your arms around my shoulders.""How forward~!" You chirp, wrapping your arms around him. He's a fair bit shorter than you, so it's a little hard for you to get around his shoulders. Of course, you take the opportunity to rub your washboard of a chest against him, which gets a delightful blush out of him. Then with surprising ease, he picks you up off the ground. "Is this that boldness coming back again?"His ears red, he points Rosenpeitsche at the upper branches and intones a spell with two words. "[Vine Grapnel]!"
>>5335268At his command, the vine lash of Rosenpeitsche explodes upwards, the main vine soon joined by many lesser stands of rope-like plant matter that burst forth from the whip's handle. Like a snake springing from its coil, they go taught the moment their head meets its mark near the top of the drasiltree. It wraps around a study branch situated just above one so massive that it might as well be a bridge in the sky, and ties itself in a knot. For added measure, thorns burst from the head to further anchor it, piercing into the branch and digging in.Then, holding you in his free hand, Bear commands the vines to contract, pulling you up with surprising speed. The two of you push through a small number of leaves on the way up, though not with nearly enough force to knock them off their branches. The wind rustles Bear's hair and gives you a good look at both of his eyes, which are eminently focused on the vines, making sure nothing goes wrong with them. Your own hair becomes a long blonde banner in the wind, like a golden pennant on a creamy, pale spear. You are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, and girlish thoughts ought to be behind you. Yet looking up at him, your heart might just have skipped a beat. You have to admit... Bear looks kinda cool when he's like this."Hey wait a minute!" You hear a voice call out from below, from the shore of the lake that has been steeped with the fallen leaves of the drasiltree. The bluish glow is much more clear from up here, and it matches Claudia's hair so well that you almost miss her on the shore. "You're gonna let a vine down for me or something right? I swear to the Stars, you two lovebirds better not do anything lovey-dovey and gross before I get up there. OR WHEN I GET UP THERE, EITHER!" There's a pause in her voice for a moment as you and Bear reach the end of the vines. He touches down atop a massive branch - it must be 10 feet wide, at least! - and then lets you down."That was fun!" you tell him. You straighten out your jersey, as it did get a bit disheveled. "Let's do that again some time.""You think I should let down a vine?" Bear looks down at Claudia, who isn't quite a spec, but she still looks quite small from down there. Concern crosses his face. "I think I she asked me to let down a vine. I'll just set one he-""[Burst Shield]!"Claudia's voice rings out through the air with surprising strength and clarity for the distance between you, speaking the words of the machine builders to invoke her spell. Shortly on its heels, you hear an explosion followed by a whoop of joy. Bear is staring down at Claudia's rapidly moving position, and you join him in watching her haphazard and extraordinarily dangerous ascent. She seems to be having the time of her life invoking [Burst Shield] over and over again to use the explosive force to propel herself upward. Bear cringes as she blasts through a few of the leaves, though she knocks down far less than the gust from before.
>>5335273"Made it!" Claudia declares after her final explosion. She clears the branch that Bear used as an anchor like a high jump bar. You have to wonder if she does track and field, because her form is impeccable. Landing on her feet, she almost immediately flops down onto her back, spread eagle with a massive grin on her face. She gives an exaggerated sigh while you and Bear stare at her."Haaaaaaaaaah, but now I'm all out of MP..." she says. You look at Bear in confusion, wordlessly asking the question of what the heck MP is and what it means for her to be out of it. He returns your look with one of his own. Maybe Radford might be able to tell you. "I want my Bellaaaaaaaa. Why do you two get to act all lovey dovey and cool like that? It's left me even more drained than my spells, I need my Bella to help restore my MP..."You and Bear blink."Lovey...?" Bear asks."Dovey...?" You finish."And it's in his name, even!" Claudia hits you with another non-sequitur, before you realize that it must be his last name that she's talking about. You still don't get it, though. Suddenly, she sits back up, looking at the two of you in terror. "Speaking of which! You two didn't do anything gross like smooch or... or... that while I was on my way up here, did you? Various places might need to be burnt clean if you did.""No," Bear looks at her in confusion. "We didn't do-""Yes, we did that," you say. You face turns into a devious grin. You are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, so of course you haven't the foggiest idea of what that might be, but this should be an amusing prank. Especially since Bear has a reaction that's almost as delicious as Claudia's. "Right where you're sitting, as a matter of fact. We did that and we did it lots.""Abawha-?" Bear's face has turned into a red tomato, his words failing him entirely. This only makes your smile grow wider, as his reaction is positively wonderful. "Asa...nwha, huh? HUH?!""I KNEW IT!" Claudia declares. She jumps out of the notch in the tree where the branch meets trunk and makes an flourishing motion at it. A fiery shield is called forth by her magic, and scorches the bark clean of moss with a jet of fire. Despite it's white hot intensity, the flame is not hot enough to do more than leave a char mark on the bark, which slowly begins to heal. "[Flame Strike Shield]!""Actually, that was a lie," you say. "I don't even know what that is."The flames stop.Claudia stares at you in disbelief. Bear's wordless babbling trails off into silence, and he casts a suspicious glance your way. You open your arms wide and shrug, which provokes delicious expressions of exasperation from both of them. Why would they think you knew about whatever filth their dirty minds were thinking of? You are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, after all - such things were not part of the education Diligence gave you."Right." says Bear."I see..." says Claudia.
>>5335275Is it wrong that you are somewhat scared by the hopeful look in Claudia's eyes when she accepted the fact that you really had no idea what she's talking about? You have a feeling that if you asked her why she scorched the place where you said you did that with Bear, she would give you some sort of ridiculous answer. In any case, the three of you orient your map with the tree, and then pull out the larger map to see what islands are nearby.It looks like you lucked out.You can see the Astral Tower from here, to the north east, the top of it peaking out from between the mountains. The faint sound of the bell tolling noon can be heard even from this great distance, though it's barely more than a whisper. Ahead of it, you can see the Dragon's Egg - a mountain with a distinct, egg-like shape - that crowns the Isle of St. George. Which means that Claudia's early guess that this was the Isle of St. Daphne was correct.She doesn't need to seem so smug about it, though.Another stroke of good luck comes from the time of year. It seems that the Islands of St. Sophia, St. Marcus, and St. Daphne are the closest they'll be to one another over the course of a five year cycle. The distance of open-air that you would need to cross between each of them should amount to less than a hundred meters for the next two weeks. The problem being that 100 meters may as well as be an insurmountable wall if you intend to just walk there. If you don't jump with enough force, you'll end up caught in orbit with the islands, unable to make it to the other side until someone sends a sky schooner to pick you up. Or you manage to find a way to push yourself the rest of the way. Worst case scenario, you'll fall, though something tells you that a certain wolf-eared Mentor of yours is ready to catch you and fail you if that happens. How do you intend on approaching the prospect of getting across the gap?>Bear could use his lash to ferry you all across.>Claudia could use that [Burst Shield] trick of hers to throw you all across.>Claudia has a bright idea, and it's name is [Glider Shield]>There are some stones that float in the Aetheric Sea with the isles. Maybe you can jump from one to the next as intermediaries?>(Write In)Regardless of your decision, roll 1d20 and 1d100.
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>5335275>"Speaking of which! You two didn't do anything gross like smooch or... or... that while I was on my way up here, did you?"Why would she think there would me enough time for that while she was rocket jumping ? Unless she's a speedster in the sheets>>5335279>Claudia has a bright idea, and it's name is [Glider Shield]
Rolled 8 (1d100)>>5335329
Rolled 5 (1d20)>>5335279>Claudia has a bright idea, and it's name is [Glider Shield]
Rolled 87 (1d100)>>5335279d100 for>>5335361
Rolled 4 (1d100)>>5335359
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>5335279>>Claudia could use that [Burst Shield] trick of hers to throw you all across.
Rolled 93 (1d100)>>5335408
Rolled 9 (1d20)>>5335279>Claudia has a bright idea, and it's name is [Glider Shield]
Rolled 94 (1d100)>>5335421
>>5335329Experience with her mother and father getting in quickies when she was running late or they had a gap between meetings. The Emperor and Empress love eachother very much, but a lovey dovey relationship like theirs can be a little traumatic for their children. It doesn't help that her Father's magic was conductive to getting as much out of those brief moments as the two of them could.She hasn't quite realized that their, ahem, speed when they thought no one would notice them ducking out for a bit of this and that was abnormal. She probably won't until she and Bella actually do that for the first time, and even then she might think she's just slow for a while.Inappropriate topics regarding the Bayernan Imperial Family aside, I will not be able to post tonight due to splitting headache reasons. As always, feel free to post any questions you have about setting, characters, etc. and I'll do my best to answer them. Voting will remain open until tomorrow evening.
Rolled 5 (1d20)>>5335279>>Claudia has a bright idea, and it's name is [Glider Shield]
Rolled 40 (1d100)>>5336269
Survival to traverse the Wilderness. Roll 1d20+LCK+1/2 VIT vs DC30Having a compass to navigate by reduces the DC of the check by 5 to 25Having an overlooking view of your destination reduces the DC of the check by 5 to 2015 + 12 + 2 = 29. Two degrees of success!The three of you take a seat on the branch, looking out at the Island of St. Georgios.A blanket of trees covers the jagged island, pointed cliffs jutting up from the forest like daggers punching through a crimson cloth. The leaves have been painted such a bright shade of red that the whole island looks to be frozen in late fall, even though the turning of the leaves is not for several months yet. The trees themselves have a zebra pattern upon their bark, snow white flecked with intermittent stripes of black. At the center sits the Dragon's Egg, crowned with snow and painted with a thousand polished layers of bright sedimentary rock that seem to glisten in the sun. In each layer lies a record of history both ancient and modern, from the time of the tyrant lizards to age of plastic and steel the preceded the Machine Builder's fall. The jagged cliffs all point away from it, as though they had been kicked up countless aeons ago by its impact with the island. A crack in the shape of a lightning bolt sits on its western side, showing that even this stone monument is not immune to the rigors of time.Of course, some say the egg is simply hatching, now that the time is right.You personally have your doubts."Say Bear..." You say. Your eyes drift down to the gap between the aetheric shores of St. Daphne and St. Georgios. The map of the archipelago says they ought to be around 100 meters apart, which might as well be a thousand kilometers for all that you're able to cross it. "Which would you say is bigger? That gap down there, or the distance between the ground and this branch?""That gap," he says almost instantly. With a despondent sigh, he flops backwards, staring up at the branches above. Despite the excellent view, you're only in the middle branches of the drasiltree. There's at least another 20 meters before you reach the top. "50 meters I can manage, but that's about the upper limit of what I can do with Rosenpeitsche, and it's made to be manipulated by my magic.""I have something that can get us from St. Georgios' to St. Sophia's," Claudia says. She's drumming her fingers against the steely bark of the drasiltree, leaning back with a face scrunched in contemplation. "We don't have enough height from here, though. [Glider Shield] would only get us to the shore, maybe the aether if we have the wind at our back...""That's no good..." you grumble. Dammit, Tefra - you are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, not a bridge builder! Scripture and sword forms are what you should be tested on, not gap crossings. "That's no good at all.""Yeah, I don't want to become an aether buoy," Bear grumbles in agreement.
>>5337408With a sigh of your own, you flop back and join Bear in staring at the upper branches of the drasiltree, and the glittering light of the Second Sun that filters through the thin membrane of its massive leaves. The higher they go, the thinner they become, though they remain as thick or even thicker than the branches of an ordinary tree for quite a ways yet. You could probably reach the top pretty quickly if Bear used Rosenpeitsche to pull you both up like he did early. Though as pretty as the view might be, you don't think that it would give you a better idea of how to get across the gap...Something clicks inside of your head."Bear, how far do you think you could fling us?" You ask. Your eyes search the branches up above for one that's sturdy enough to hold you... and is facing the right direction at the right angle. You point a finger at one that looks like it will work. "Using that branch.""I dunno, pretty far? Maybe one, two hundred meters if I pushed Rosenpeitsche. Though we'd-" Bear starts, but the one eye peaking out from his peachy-pink bangs snaps wide open when he catches on to what you're thinking. "-get just enough extra distance for Claudia's magic to work. Claudia, do you think you can carry us bo-woah!"Claudia cuts Bear off by hoisting him over her shoulder, and then grabs you and drapes you over the other one. "You doubted in your Princess' strength, peasant! For shame. Expect punishment later, no less than forty lashes.""That seems a bit excessive, don't you think?" As a holy maiden, diligent and pure, you feel the need to reminder her of what Prudence has to say about excessive punishment. "[Prudence 15:11-13] The meted punishment shall be fit for th-""How's about we just go with one lash, Claudia?" Uncharacteristically bold, Bear cuts you off. He holds forth the handle of Rosenpeitsche towards the branch you pointed out earlier, the rose at its tip in full bloom. "[Vine Grapnel]!"Wait, were those two doing a bi-Before you can finish processing that, the sudden acceleration of Rosenpeitsche's contraction yanking you all towards the vine knocks the wind out of your thoughts. Branches zoom through your vision in a blur of green and steely brown as the lash brings you up to speed and launches you from the tree at speed. It's honestly rather impressive that, despite the accelerations involved, Claudia has managed to keep a grip on both of you, neither you nor Bear slipping so much as an inch from her shoulders.For a moment, you feel weightless as you reach the apex of the arc in the air. Everything around you seems to be still, and both the jagged island of St. Georgios and the smooth green pearl that is St. Sophia are laid out in your vision. Behind you is the drasiltree, looming over the lake at the island's center like a large hill unto itself. Infront of you is the Dragon's Egg, painted by sediment and cracked by time, the sun's light peaking through.
>>5337411"[Glider Shield]!"Claudia's voice booms through the air, an invocation of two words that calls upon her LAPIS to manifest a small bit of her magical alignment in the Real. Where you and Bear were gifted with conventional alignments of Sound and Plants respectively, Claudia's magical affinity lies with the esoteric element of Shields. Your magic benefits from thousands of years of refinement and understanding, with a wide variety of resources to study if you want to improve it. Her magic loses out on that, but benefits from its broad umbrella.If Claudia can envision a Shield that can do something, then it's just a matter of expending mana to invoke that image. In this case, the image she has invoked is a great shield the size of a boat, with broad wings like a giant eagle. Something to catch the wind and carry you over the edge of the Isle of St. Daphne, through the channel of aether that separates it from the Isle of St. Georgios, and land safely on the shore."Stay low to the shield and hold on to its handles," Claudia cautions. She lies down, letting each of you roll off of her and onto the steel conjuration. "Let me handle steering. We don't want to become buoys in the aether, do we?""Nope!" Bear says. He gladly grabs onto the leather straps on the giant shield's back. "...I had a whole passage ready, and you two were just doing a bit." You say. A pout crosses your face, but it earns you no sympathy from Bear or Claudia. You sigh, grabbing hold of a set of straps for yourself. "So, is that going to be a thing from now on?""Is what going to be a thing?" Bear asks."The bit where you and Claudia do the peasant and noble routine," you say."Ohohohohoho~!" Claudia's laughter is like a chiming bell in the evening. She adjusts the path of the glider with a few tugs upon the reigns before she gives an answer. The wide grin on her face lets you know just how serious her words are. "Is it really a routine when it's the truth? I am the Grand Duchess of Planetes Kyknon after all. Is demanding a bit of recognition from you commoners too much to ask?""The only commoner here is Bear," you say. Your expression falls flat as Bear gives an annoyed 'Hey!', and you continue unabated. "After all, I am a shrine maiden, diligent and pure, who tends to the 1728th Astral Shrine, where my Holy Father Diligence resides within his Astral Body.""Ah, my mistake," Claudia says. A catlike grin lets you know that you're going to hate her next words. "Childe Parva."You purse your lips in annoyance, before forcing a serene expression onto your face. "It is no problem at all, Princess Claudia."Bear stares at the both of you while you both force back a gag hearing the titles coming out of eachother's mouth. They're accurate to your respective stations, but you both hate hearing them come from your friend's mouth. Nodding at one another, you're not sure which one of you said it first."Let's never do that again."
>>5337413You spend nearly half an hour flying through the sky upon Claudia's [Glider Shield], most of which is spent clearing the distance between the Drasiltree and St. Daphne's aetheric shore. When you hit the aether, all vertical motion stops, leaving behind only horizontal motion and the winds to push you forward. But you have plenty of height and the wind is gently at your back, pushing you along ever so slightly and adding to your horizontal speed. The luck you had does not hold forever, though.You're still ten meters up when you reach the aetheric shore of the Island of St. Georgios, and that's when you begin to hear a rumbling. The stones shake, the trees quiver... and then, from beneath the earth the maw of a great wyrm bursts up. Before you even have time to react, Claudia's glider is surrounded by a cage of fangs."What-" Claudia says."The-" Bear says."[Quack]!?" you try to say, but Diligence's blessing against profanity filters your words into an absurd sound.Darkness surrounds you. You... will probably be out for a while, as that was a case of horrendous luck on your hands. In the meantime, Side Chapter time. Whose perspective do explore in the next post?>The ashen wolf.>The solstice cake.>The holy mother.>The noonday star.>The witch hunter.>The lovelorn soul.
>>5337416>The noonday star.
>>5337416>The holy mother.
>>5337416>The noonday star.Sure let’s see how Dilligence is doing.
>>5337416>>The witch hunter
>>5337416>The witch hunter.
Not going to be able to finish the update tonight as I got a later start than expected and am already nodding off. Diligence's perspective has won, but he's doing a lot of things at once (as expected of an entity of his nature). To narrow things down, what is Diligence getting up to?>Speaking with his beloved younger brother.>Having a conversation with a guest of some importance.>Answering the questions of his eldest brother.>Turning his eyes towards the abyss below.>Reviewing the growth of his precious daughter.>(Write in)As always, feel free to field any lore questions you have, I'm always happy to answer them.
>>5338367>Answering the questions of his eldest brother.how did sister april mange to join the church ranks and why was she selected to take care of the shrine? from bear's spiel, it sounds like a star turning itself on again is a very rare occurrence. its odd to me that the church only sent one person instead of at least 2 or 5
>>5338367>Answering the questions of his eldest brother.
>>5338367>Reviewing the growth of his precious daughter.
>>5338367>>Answering the questions of his eldest brother
>>5338367>>Speaking with his beloved younger brother.
>>5338400Giving Sister April's full backstory in how she joined the Church at this point would be something of a spoiler, as it relates to the broader conflict in the background that you will be getting a first look at in the next posting. That being said, circumstances aligned that she was in the right place at the right time to become the Keeper of the 1728th Astral Shrine. Is it coincidence? No, but it is very much the work of Providence.As for why she is the only keeper, it is because for various reasons, Diligence requested that be so. The Church sent a Quistor (and she brought a crew) to ensure that this wasn't a Fallen Star, but that's about it. There was a soft "don't acknowledge Diligence was dead" policy held by the Church, even though everyone knew it. Kinda hard to cover it up given that he is a Daystar, but their official stance was that he was asleep for five hundred years.
>>5338738>There was a soft "don't acknowledge Diligence was dead" policy held by the ChurchWhy was that ?
>>5338778Morale. The Daystars and the Nightstars are not as important as Wisdom, but they're close seconds - sort of like the Primarchs to the Emprah. The official line of the Church was that he needed to rest after the Black Tide that killed him, for he had worked harder than any to save humanity from the Darkness Below. They did not expect him to ever awaken, and it was a largely pleasant surprise when he did (and was confirmed to not be a Fallen Star).Most people still thought he was dead, though any member of the Church or the more devout among the Faithful would remind anyone who said such things that he was merely sleeping.
>>5338367>>Answering the questions of his eldest brother.
>>5338804Makes sense. What’s a black star ? And does that monster made with the shards of a dead star counts as one ?
>>5338917The Black Star Below will be at least partially explained in the next post. A Fallen Star is a martyred Star whose corpse has been puppeteered by the entities from beyond the stygian hole in reality that exists beneath the fog that obscures the space below the lowest Strata.As for "that Monster", that is a very interesting way to describe her. I would not say she is an innocent existence, but what crime has she committed that was not an act of self defense? Beyond being born with a perspective that is likely incompatible with the idea that other life has intrinsic value.(Note that I am not hinting that this will be a Kathleen Kennedy type LOL BETCHA WERENT EXPECTING THAT subverting expectations for the sake of subverting expectations, but I am a fan of Parthunax types where inherently evil/antisocial creatures become good out of self interest through great effort)
>>5338367>Answering the questions of his eldest brother.>>5338934I'm guessing there's no no known way to purify and "reignite" a fallen star? If there was I'd expect at least one attempt to send Mahou Shoujo down below to save one.This time I remember how to properly reply
>>5338958Going into any of that would be spoiler territory, so I'll leave it to your imagination.
>>5339063its just a matter of purging the corruption filters, replacing the sanctified fuse, changing the holy oil, and pressing the divine on button again. EZ
Going to say the update will be tomorrow, I don't know why I've been so sleepy this week. We're 9500 characters in, I like being at around 12k for an update, this might go to 15ish because I just got to the questions being asked.>>5339069Don't forget you need to light up some incense and pray to the machine spirits with each step, Techpriest.
Before the First Sun died and its corpse became the hole in reality known as the Black Star Below, the Machine Builders stood at the height of their power. Surrounded by wonders of science and technology every hour of every day, surely what the modern man would call a miracle was a simple mundanity not worthy of even a passing mention. They broke the planetes of old down into their component parts. They processed falling stars into materials to feed the engine of their industries. From these pieces, they built the great machines for which they were given their name.Machines that helped their old and feeble get around as if they were youngMachines that gave their soldiers strength to match any warrior of legend.Machines that ferried them between the heavens on oblique paths through the starry sky.Machines that carried messages faster than any courier.Machines that did their labor for them.Machines that did their thinking for them.Machines that stored memories and brewed dreams for all to taste.Machines that held their souls in a cage of glass.Machines that kept safe their hearts in a coffin of iron.Machines that house their minds.Machines that mimicked them... and machines that became them.The machines they built before they bored through the veil of the world and drilled the well from which sprung the Arcane were dazzlingly complex, built upon principles long lost to the never ending march of time. They were an inventive and curious people, two virtues oft neglected in the modern day for their lack of presence among the stars of Night and Day. Then, using the collapse of the First Sun as their means, they drilled through the fabric of reality and into an imaginary space that did not truly exist, and created a machine to administrate it.They invented God, and saw that He was Good. So good, in fact, that they decided to mass produce Him. The stellar machinery was designed and forged. Each of them given authority to preside over another hole in the fabric, and harness the luminous arcane power that poured from them. In this way, the Machine Builder brought Magic into the world. Each of them stranger and more dazzling than any other machine that came before them.These machines would one day become known as Holy Wisdom, the Stars Above, and even the Black Sun Below.But that is a story for another time.What is important to understand is that by the very nature of their existence, these pieces of Stellar Machinery are incomprehensible by any individual human. As a collective, humanity may be able to comprehend the individual moving parts, and may even understand the meaning of their words when they intend to communicate. But a human has no context for how a machine might think beyond tenuous abstraction. In turn, these machines cannot truly understand human behavior beyond pattern recognition.What follows, then, is a useful lie meant to represent Diligence's perspective through a mostly-comprehensible metaphor.
>>5339867A young man works diligently at his desk, the light of his computer monitors reflecting off a pair of half-moon glasses with a bronze wire rim. His office is a modest thing, a three hundred square foot room with a window pane that stretches from the floor to the ceiling that overlooks a busy city on the surface of Europa. The floor is covered with a carpet that holds a understated fractal pattern that mimics the spread of electricity through an object. Upon the ceiling is engraved a silver circle through which flows the horrific amount of arcane energy he has stockpiled for a rainy day. The walls are covered with oak paneling that has been polished to a near reflective shine. Upon the panels hang his most precious memories. A hundred men and women huddled around him and his brothers as Wisdom cut a cake that celebrated their first five years of life. He and Prudence playing a one-on-one game of soccer while their foster parents cheered them on. A pale and wrinkly old man patting an annoyed looking Diligence on the head, shortly after telling him to "try again" when he explained his solution to the trolley problem. A problem his younger self would find out - to his eternal annoyance - has no solution.And, of course, a chronicle of his daughter's growth. Her first steps, her first words, her first sword-form, and even the first time she threw away her habit after complaining about it being itchy, and ran around the yard while her nanny chased after her with a look of horror on her face. Well, that last one was not on the wall, but he has it saved away for when the time comes for him to fulfill his fatherly duty of sharing embarrassing photos and videos of his daughter with her future husband.His desk is a glass pane supported by steel legs that have been dyed black through their reinforcement with carbon nanotubes. His workstation sits atop his desk, plugged into a dock that connects to three monitors outputting the data he needs to process today. He performs his work diligently, but he is not above a bit of multitasking. His precious daughter made him a delightful boxed lunch of bean sprouts, black berries, his favorite cherry tomatoes, and these cute little hotdogs that she cut into miniature octopuses all by herself. She's grown up so fast, already going to school and making new friends.A single tear rolls down his face. Is this empty nest syndrome?To calm down a bit, he takes a look outside and drinks in the view of Europa's finest city. Jupiter sits on the horizon, and above it shines the Sun. The shadow of the orbital rings which connect Europa to the greater solar system have begun their daily trek across the city, giving a bit of shade to the pedestrians below. Steel and glass towers rise up from the moon's surface and display gaudy advertisements in a thousand colors upon dense OLED screens that have been built into their windows.It is obnoxious, but it is home. And Diligence has been away for far too long.
>>5339870Unfortunately, he cannot slack off for too long, no matter how much he might want to lie back and drink in all the beautiful things in the world. Part of the job is setting a good example for not only his subordinates, but his precious daughter and all of her little friends as well. So he diligently turns his chair back to his monitors, and with a stretch and a crack of his knuckles, he returns to the giant pile of work that built up after his little sabbatical.For a good long while, the only sounds that fill the room is the clacking of his mechanical keyboard and a buzzing white noise that blocks away all unnecessary sounds and allows him to focus. Those are all he needs to do his job, though he's recently grown fond of listening to his daughter's music while he works. Sadly, he's interrupted by a knock on his door before he thinks to put it on."Come in," Diligence says. He looks at the clock, and makes an adjustment. His must be off by a few minutes, as his eldest brother is never early or late to any appointments he makes. Wisdom is always right on time. "It's good to see you in person again, Brother."In walks a man who is almost the opposite of Diligence in every way.Diligence is a young man, and very well put together. His black hair is neatly cropped, his beard is perfectly trimmed, and his steely blue eyes are perfectly framed by his glasses. His fair skin is well care for and moisturized, and his build is lean, with just enough muscle to fill out his three piece suit. The only eccentricity upon him is his bowtie, a gift from his precious daughter which is spotted with music notes. Not a single bit of malice or harshness can be seen in the smile that greets his brother.Wisdom looks like a man who is wild and dangerous, yet all the same somehow reassuring with his every move and mannerism. His hair is long and unkempt, his beard reaches his bellybutton and has been braided and beset with beads. He holds a wooden staff in his left hand, and his right rests upon the gladius that rests on his hip. Eschewing modern fashions, he wears an unbleached woolen robe tied off by a rope belt, and his shoes fit into simple sandals.Around his neck he wears an old, old symbol of a wooden cross. A memento of his foster mother, whom he loved quite dearly."It's good to see you too, brother," Wisdom flashes Diligence a wry smile, before sinking into a chair on the other side of the glass desk. Diligence stops typing things up, and puts his lunch away as his brother continues. "I suppose you know why I'm here, yeah?""My annual check-up, no?" Diligence questions. Wisdom nods with a grim look on his face, at which Diligence can only sigh. "How much longer must we carry on with this, brother? We detected nothing the last twelve times you did this. Why-"You know why, brother," Wisdom says. Diligence purses his lips, slowly nodding in understanding. "We can't take any chances, not until we understand how you came back to us."
>>5339881Time hangs in the air for a moment.Diligence wonders if it might be worthwhile to fight his brother on this. Early on, the likelihood that he was a ticking time bomb that had been thoroughly infected by a the Black Plague was higher than not. Now, though, the odds of him having any trace of the virus within his system were rapidly approaching zero. Still, these check-ups gave him the rare opportunity to hear his beleaguered brother's voice, something he rarely got the chance to hear outside of holidays and special occasions.So he smiles and takes off his glasses, neatly folding them and placing them atop his lunch box. Another gift from his adorable daughter. "Very well. Shall we begin?""Yes. You know the drill," says Wisdom. "Don't think too hard about the questions, just give the first answer that comes to mind.""Just like always," Diligence gives a hollow laugh."Just like always." Wisdom agrees. His lips curl into the shape of a weary smile.From his robes, Wisdom draws a small moleskin notebook and a sturdy aluminum pen etched with the name of a certain manufacturer. The soft leather cover of the notebook has been stained in the likeness of Wisdom's favorite painting, Valleys of Carina. Folded papers and tab markers stick out from between the well-worn pages. He gently removes one of them from its place near the end of the notebook, and unfolds it. Peering over the paper, his grey eyes meet Diligence's steely blue.Somehow, since he returned from his sabbatical - woke from his coma, really - Diligence has been a bit more keen to the state of his brothers. The bags beneath Wisdom's eyes are not new, but it's like Diligence has seen them for the first time. Perhaps his recent stint as a parent has made him more keen to these things, but he can't help but feel concerned."Have you been getting enough rest, brother?" Diligence asks. His boyish face - disguised as something much manlier by his neatly trimmed beard - is propped up by one hand, while the other drums out a little beat on his desk."There will be time to rest when my work is done, I'm sure..." Wisdom dismisses the question with a light chuckle."I'm sure there will be," Diligence nods along, but there's still a tone of concern in his voice. "Just... remember to keep your axe sharp, will you?""Hah! Mother loved that fable," Wisdom says. His lips curl again into the shape of a smile. "I'll have you know that I have more than a few spare axes in case this one goes dull.""I'm not sure that's the point," Diligence points out. His eyebrow arches up in amusement. Somehow, the bags beneath Wisdom's eyes look a bit lighter, though, so he supposes he ought to take the little victories he can get when it comes to his beleaguered older brother."So, work," Wisdom says. He leans back in the chair, looking over his list of questions and at his brother. Diligence sits up straight, his hands folded atop his desk. "You have been marooned on a dead planet..."
>>5339884The battery of questions Wisdom brought with him to his brother's office have been developed and refined over a period of five millennia with the express purpose of rooting out the symptoms of contamination by the Black Star below. They would not be effective on ordinary people, but for people like him and his brother the battery has proven incredibly effective in diagnosing the symptoms of the Black Plague before they become terminal. The limited emotional spectrum shared by Wisdom, Diligence, and their ten-thousand brothers works out in their favor, making the emotional swings brought on by the plague easier to spot."I've never liked this part of the test, you know," Diligence says. A frown has crossed his face as his brother goes into great detail about the fact that he's not helping the poor little turtle that's been flipped upon its back. "It presumes action on my behalf when it tells me that I've flipped the poor fellow over. Then it tells me that I'm just staring at it, watching its stubby little legs flail about while it tries to get up?""You irritation with the premise is the point, brother," says Wisdom. A more genuine smile has crosses his haggard face as he snaps closed the book. "That section is designed to bait the plague into amplifying the desire to torment the turtle within an infectee.""So if I wanted to poke and prod it so that it squirmed around more...?" Diligence leaves the question hanging in the air."We would need to proceed with a more thorough treatment," says Wisdom. He stores away his notebook."You know, my daughter probably would have decided to poke it," Diligence says. A wry smile crosses his face. "She'd probably find it cute squirming on its back like that.""Childe Symphonia is human," Wisdom says that as if it explained everything."Humans are strange creatures..." Diligence says. Wisdom nods along in agreement, scratching a few things down in his notebook. As he does so, Diligence catches a notification pop up at the corner of his screen. What's this about Parva being stuck in the belly of a Wyrm? Ah, just a wild animal on the Academy's training grounds. She'll be fine. Probably.Diligence leans back in his own chair, the setting figure of Jupiter behind his shoulders. "So, did I pass the test this year, or do I need to submit to dear Purity for a deep cleanse of my mind-soul?""I will say the same thing I said last year," Wisdom declares after a moment's pause. "Your results represent abnormalities within your emotional spectrum that cannot be explained by expected variations within your personality matrix as designed. However, these abnormalities do not align with those historically found within patients that have been diagnosed with the Black Plague. As these variances have been classified before as 'Mostly Harmless', you are free to continue your duties as normal."Wisdom pauses. "Curiosity and I will our investigations into the circumstances of your reignition."
>>5339886"Same time next year?" Diligence asks.His focus has already returned to the stream of data that has been pouring down across his screen, the hopes and prayers of people who have put their faith in Wisdom, Diligence and their ten-thousand brothers. It's a heavy burden sorting through them, determining what can feasibly be answered, what can feasibly be nudged, where direct action can be taken per their charter, and which of the brothers is best to take care of it. But it is one that he performs with great diligence."Same time next year." Wisdom answers. The eldest brother of the Stars - at least among those who have not fallen into madness when they beheld what lay below the texture of the world - stands, and takes his leave. "Don't forget, the Feast of Beneficence is in a week.""Yes, yes," Diligence waves him out with a chuckle. "Hopeful Parva will have cut her way out of that Wyrm by then...""Beg pardon, what?" Wisdom asks."Never mind that, it's part of her training," Diligence explains, as if that were normal. Wisdom stares at him in abject disbelief. Diligences shoos him out. "I'm glad you're worried about your niece, but brother, please! As much as I'd love to gush about how amazing my daughter is, do you know how many prayers have come in during our appointment?"Wisdom winces. During his brother's sabbatical, he had taken over that particular duty, and he was almost as thankful to hand it back to Diligence as he was to learn that his torch had been reignited. "Ah, yes. Good luck, brother."He will need it.Wisdom failed to mention something about Diligence's results. He and Curiosity can say with certainty that Diligence is not infected with the Black Plague, because his responses did not match its modern variants. Purity even used a few of his esoteric tests to scan Diligence's astral body for signs of mental corrosion that might have come from the plague or tampering. But then, six months ago, while going over the results one more time, Curiosity noticed something strange about aberrations in Diligence's emotional spectrum.It was more than just those results not aligning with those of a Plague Bearer or Fallen Star.They were almost perfect inversions of them.===Well. You're currently stuck in the belly of a dragon that swallowed you whole. What do you attempt to do?>Navigate through the paths of its internal organs and body in search of a way out.>Attempt to cut your way out with Metron and Nomos.>Use a dangerous and forbidden technique that will get you through its digestive track with absolute certainty.>Attempt to force it to vomit you up.>Confer with your teammates, the other so-called "Ash Pups">(Write in)Regardless of your decision, roll 1d20 and 1d100
Rolled 6 (1d20)>>5339888>Navigate through the paths of its internal organs and body in search of a way out.
Rolled 69 (1d100)>>5339888Rolling for>>5339906
Rolled 4 (1d20)>>5339888>Attempt to force it to vomit you up.im pretty sure if claudia hits it hard enough, it will be *compelled* to puke us out
Rolled 11 (1d100)>>5339953>>5339907nice.
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>5339888>>Attempt to cut your way out with Metron and NomosWhat is this? A vore quest?
Rolled 34 (1d100)>>5339966
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>5339888>>Attempt to cut your way out with Metron and Nomos.
Rolled 24 (1d100)>>5340040
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>5339888>It was more than just those results not aligning with those of a Plague Bearer or Fallen Star.>They were almost perfect inversions of them.the plot thickens===>>5339888>Navigate through the paths of its internal organs and body in search of a way out.
Rolled 45 (1d100)>>5340099
>>5339870>His precious daughter made him a delightful boxed lunch of bean sprouts, black berries, his favorite cherry tomatoes, and these cute little hotdogs that she cut into miniature octopuses all by herself. She's grown up so fast, already going to school and making new friends.so i assume these were the demon cores we offered up in the ship>>5339881>The only eccentricity upon him is his bowtie, a gift from his precious daughter which is spotted with music notes.did parva draw/pasted stickers over dilligence's casing?
Rolled 18 (1d20)>>5339888>Navigate through the paths of its internal organs and body in search of a way out.
Rolled 34 (1d100)>>5340609Lot of interesting info to chew on, from the Machine Builders creating the stars by breaking reality to Diligence having some form of abnormality that is most likely related to our appearance at his temple. Wasn’t expecting Wisdom to “look” like a wild man
Rolled 26 (1d100)>>5339888>Navigate through the paths of its internal organs and body in search of a way out.
Rolled 13 (1d20)>>5340861
Rolled 9 (1d20)>>5339888>>Navigate through the paths of its internal organs and body in search of a way out.
Rolled 47 (1d100)>>5341241
>>5339953Her divine right to rule doesn't work on monsters, unfortunately. Unless you're talking about physiological stuff, which yeah that could definitely work.>>5339966No, though the 69 is definitely going to have some impact on what's happening next post.>>5340264I haven't quite figured out what that's a metaphor for just yet, but it's probably something in that vein, yeah.>>5340611Anything about the spoiler would indeed be a spoiler. As for Wisdom, I sort of imagine him to be an unkempt blend of Siddhartha, Jesus, Diogenes, and the Emprah in that metaphor chapter. Next post will probably be tomorrow!
>>5341970>Her divine right to rule doesn't work on monsters, unfortunatelyi was just thinking on a more physical side of things. My bet is that if claudia -and the other kids- hurt the stomach of the wym enough, it will throw them up
Survival to navigate through the Rock Wyrm's innards. Roll 1d20+LUCK+1/2 VIT vs DC25.Arcanobiology to recall the anatomy of a Rock Wyrm. Bear rolls 1d20 + LUCK + 1/2 MAG vs DC 25A successful Arcanobiology check reduces the Survival DC by 5.Bear: 15 + 7 + 7 = 29. Success! Survival DC has been reduced by 5 to 20.Parva: 6 + 12 + 2 = 20. Success!A warm darkness wraps around you like a soft blanket, leaving you blind to your surroundings. You can feel the mossy stone that you've landed upon, soft to the touch but hard and unforgiving beneath that upper layer. A gentle humidity fills the air, stirred around by a hot breeze that feels like summer but smells like a dewy springing morning. The wind runs through your jersey like water through a sieve, its gentle caress leaving a pleasant buzz that spreads throughout your body from the site of every humid kiss.A part of you just wants to continue lying back upon the stone, basking in the surprisingly pleasant climate.Another part of you remembers that you're in the belly of a Rock Wyrm. You need to find the others, and then find a way out.Though the darkness blinds your sight, your hearing remains as keen as ever. The cavernous stomach of the Rock Wyrm groans as the boulders scattered about within grind against one another in search of equilibrium. Likes its stony body, they are held in suspension by arcane forces similar to those that keep the islands aloft above the Black Star Below, whose hum you can hear gently echo across cavernous walls. Without that magic, the boulders tumbling with the dragon's movement would have broken the wyrm long ago. Your body would have most certainly been turned to paste.Bear and Claudia groan as they pull themselves onto their feet. The three of you landed on the same boulder and bed of moss, it seems. It's good that you didn't scatter too far from one another when you were swallowed by the Wyrm and fell into... you presume this cavern must be its stomach.Your entire body feels rather sore, and not the fun sort of sore that you feel after a good bit of exercise. With a sigh, you roll over onto your stomach and push yourself to your feet."Ohohohohoho~!" Claudia's laughter breaks the silence, though it quickly turns into a hacking cough. You stare at her in disbelief, and you want to believe that Bear has joined in with you. Why does she sound like the terrible chaos of being swallowed alive by a giant dragon was fun? "Well, that was exhilarating. We should do that again sometime!""Please no," Bear groans. "I don't think my poor heart would be able to take it.""I agree with Bear," you say. "That's not exactly an experience I'm keen on repeating.""Bah, you're no fun!" Claudia whines, just a little. You sort of imagine her puffing her cheeks out in indignation, at least little bit, like the spoilt princess she is. "Well, in any case, let's get some light on the subject, shall we? [Light]"
>>5343281At Claudia's command, an orb of light ignites in her hands. She holds it aloft and with a wordless command makes it float upwards and reveal the cavern's secrets.Moss covered boulders hang in the air, suspended by some unseen arcane force as they bump and grind into one another, scattering glittering fragments of stone and dust into the air. Rivulets of water trickle down the side of the cavern walls, running down into a crystal pool below, where the glistening pebbles and dust settle. The water moves in a gentle cyclone, pushing them around and into a hole at the bottom of the pool that slowly drains the muddy slurry that has accumulated at the bottom. Lichens grow upon the wall where the rivulets run most thin, drinking from the water that flows around them and eating at the stone that makes up the walls. Among the moss that caps each boulder grow beds of soft sporeflowers with earthen tones, like the ones that cushioned your crash. Some of them have grown rope-like vines that hang down from their boulder home, and even connect some of the floating rocks together. The three of you landed on one of the lowest and largest boulders caught in suspension within the Rock Wyrm's stomach.The Glider Shield has already scattered into glittering tufts of mana, having fallen apart the moment Claudia ceased concentrating on the magic that held it together. The pit at the bottom of the swirling pool of water seems to pull on the tufts, and they soon join the slurry of ground stone and pebbles that cycle around the drain. You are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, not an expert in what Rock Wyrms like to eat, but you think you can put two and two together here."I guess your shield looked pretty tasty, Claudia," you say. "You think so?" Claudia asks. The wheels turn in her head, and a scary smile crosses her face. "I wonder if you can tame these...""Mom and Dad used to procure Rock Wyrm eggs back in their adventuring days," Bear says. The one eye poking out from beneath his bangs is diligently scanning the walls of the wyrm's stomach for something. "Menageries and circuses would pay a good amount for them. They'd start out about the size of a dog, but after a decade or so they'd filled an entire tent. One circus even made it their gimmick when theirs got big enough, riding the wyrm from island to island with the tents pitched on its back.""So you're telling me there's a chance..." Claudia says. Her eyes brighten up at the prospect of having her own pet wyrm to play with. "Ohohohohoho~""Well, an egg will go for about 1,500 talents," Bear points out the cost to Claudia."Tch, that's too much to justify for a personal expense from my accounts," Claudia grumbles. Storm clouds begin to form on her face, before suddenly being whisked away by a warm summer's breeze that replaces them with a smile. "Oh well, I'll just ask daddy to pay for it. This pet will be much more durable than that puppy he never got me, so it should be fine~!"
>>5343283"Bear, what have you done?" You ask. Your voice has been hollowed out by horror. "I've saved us!" Bear, ignoring Claudia's terrifying glee, gives a shout of triumph.Your gaze darts from Claudia to Bear in dizzyingly rapid succession. As a holy maiden, diligent and pure, you are well trained in spotting the signs of someone who has fallen into the depravity of sin. Certainly the terrifying expression of joy on Claudia's face is the face of a sinner through and through. Nothing about that expression suggests that Bear's words have done anything but doom you all."His name will be Sir Rockmoore, of course, as befitting of his station as the Princess's pet..." Claudia mumbles to herself. A gleeful smile is on her face, as she scribbles things down into a notepad that she retrieved from the purse attached to her belt. "The Isle of Caer Strava is reserved for the royal gardens, so we can make his home there one he gets too large. But until then, he will of course ferry Bella and I to our getaways...""No, Bear, you've doomed us all..." you deadpan. A gesture to Claudia's manic scribbling is the only evidence you need present."What are you- no!" Bear almost shouts that last word. He sees your gesture and waves it off, wildly pointing towards a branch in the cavern that's about half-way up the stomach's rocky walls. "Well, I mean, yes, okay - your highness if you may please foc-"Claudia snaps the notepad closed, giving bear a smile sweet as venom. With a voice dripping with poisoned honey, she asks, "Bear, did you just call me 'Your Highness' again?""W-W-Well, I th-th-thought it w-w-would get your at-ta-ta-ta-tension again," Bear says. He throws up his arms like a shield in front of his face. "And it w-w-w-worked!"You step in between Bear and Claudia, using your mighty beanstalk-like tallness to your advantage to cast a shadow between them. Claudia won't do anything to Bear, but the two of them getting into their back-and-forth about appropriate use of titles and honorifics will just end up eating through time that you don't necessarily have."Bear, you said that you had a way out of here?" You ask."I don't see why we can't just work our way up and out the way we came," Claudia says. She makes a good point, but you gesture to Bear, as he clearly knows something."Mom and Dad got swallowed by a Rock Wyrm more than once when they were procuring eggs," Bear says. For some reason, his ears pinken a little before he continues. "Well, that and other things from Rock Wyrms. They're quite convenient creatures, really. They can fly through the aether unaided, their eggshells make for really good magic tools, some of their secretions have, uh... healing effects..."Bear's ears turn extra pink there, and you have to wonder why. You only see them go so red when he catches you praying whilst Clad in Light. You always try to invite him to join your prayer session when he stumbles upon you, but sadly he never does...
>>5343286"Oh!" His eyes immediately brighten as another thought comes across his mind, banishing whatever had him embarrassed. You can almost see him eagerly wagging his non-existent tail like a happy puppy. "Also, their excrement has some really astounding properties, too! See, their digestive process saps minerals, magic, organic compounds from stone. So what comes out of them are these incredibly pure ores that can nul-""I don't think we need to know about the properties of the dragon poop, Bear," you say. You give him a firm pat on the head as he pouts."Awwwww..." Bear looks a little put out. Not as much as if you stepped on one of his plants by accident, but still pretty sad."You can tell us about it later," you say."Now, tell us about that way out Parva says you found," Claudia demands. She looks like she wants to be out of here as fast as possible, so she can send for that Wyrm egg."Well, if I remember Mom's lectures about how these guys are laid out, that tunnel up there should lead to the Wyrm's heartspring," Bear says. He gestures again to a tunnel boring into the stone about halfway up, through which a steady trickle of water slowly pours down into the pool below, spreading its way across the walls. "From the Heartspring, there should be a few other tunnels carrying its springwater throughout its body. The one closest to the stomach should lead to its nose, and from there we should be able to jump out without much difficulty.""Well, then, let's get going!"Getting up to the tunnel isn't all that hard with Bear and Claudia having spells that help with movement. Claudia can zip up on her explosive shields, blasting herself into the sky and landing in the ankle-deep water without breaking a sweat. Bear's skillful use of Rosenpeitsche gets you to tunnel even faster than Claudia, its vine grapnel more than capable of supporting the both of you. As much as you like the opportunity to cling to Bear's side and tease him about just what parts of your body he accidentally touched, you do wish you had your own mobility spells. The Sacred Frequency's ability to purge the Black Mists from an area is nice, and so are its benefits when used with meditation. Your signature spell is a very specialized in opposing the enemies of Humanity, but it definitely lacks some of the general utility that Claudia and Bear are able to get from their respective magics.An idea to help with this has begun to percolate in your mind, but it's something that will need you to manifest your barrier jacket at the very least.The tunnel glitters with the crystal clear condensate that runs down its circular sides and into the steam that slowly flows towards the Rock Wyrm's stomach. The water picks up minerals and deposits them as it flows, carving its optimal path in the stone even as the living Rock Wyrm's body keeps itself healed. It's ankle deep where you all are walking, and as you trek towards the Heartspring the stream becomes even deeper...
>>5343291"Wow, that's beautiful..."The Heartspring might be the most beautiful sight you've seen, outside of the ancient and technological splendor of your Holy Father's astral body. At the heart of the Rocky Wyrm, a single crystal the size of your head floats in suspension amidst an empty cavern that must be the size of a house. It hardly looks real, the geometric shapes that emerge from the surface look too perfect, shining dodecahedrons that emerge from the stone. The crystals glow with a warm blue light, and from their many heads pour shining blue waters that fill a pool and feed the streams that lead to the stomach, the nostrils, and other places best left unsaid. The water is as warm as light, just hot enough to pleasant to the touch, like a bath that's been drawn and left to cool to the perfect temperature. The soft blue light that shines from the water lends to the relaxing atmosphere of the Heartspring's cavern."No, you're beautiful~" "Y-Y-Yeah, you're r-r-really pretty, P-P-P-P-Parva!"The only problem is that something's definitely in the water that has Claudia and Bear acting awfully strange. Claudia has embraced you from behind, her hands slowly exploring your body from top to bottom while she nuzzles the nape of your neck with her cheeks. Bear has embraced you from the front, nuzzling his face against your perfectly flat and feminine chest. Something that Claudia doesn't have, you can feel her big (for your age) and rather manly breasts pressing up against your back."What has gotten into you two...?" You say. You are a shrine maiden, diligent and pure, and you are ignorant of such worldly matters. What the demons did to Bear's handmaid, surely your friends don't intend to do to you, right? How troublesome... "Seriously, I don't hate this or anything, but shouldn't we focus on getting out of here? And shouldn't you at least pretend to be faithful to Bella, Claudia?""Mou, Bella said I could have someone on the side..." Claudia complains. Her cuddling becomes even more skillful, though the nice thing about the simplicity of a jersey is that she can't find a hole to slip a hand through and grab some skin when you're the taller of the two. "I wanna have you on the side, Parva~!""I feel weeeeeeeeeird..." Bear moans in a way that would be absolutely delightful if it was you making him like that and not this weird water. "Parvaaaaa can you help me...?"Patience be with you, they're definitely hopped up on something. Diligence's blessing must be shielding you from its effects. You need to figure out what to do, though...>Just drag them into the tunnel moving towards the nostrils.>Kiss Bear, slap Claudia, and hope that that cools them off for the time being.>Fill this cavern with the Holy Frequency and see if you can banish their lewd thoughts.>Help him? Oh, you'll "help" him alright... Him and Claudia BOTH!Regardless of your selection, roll 1d20 and 1d100
Rolled 7 (1d20)>>5343292lets have a little fun with them>lure them towards the nostrils with empty promises of lewd times in the futurehopefully by the time we're there, the heartspring's effects will be long over.
Rolled 59 (1d100)>>5343314
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>5343286>some of their secretions have, uh... healing effects...So, natural viagra ? neat>>5343292>Just drag them into the tunnel moving towards the nostrils.and here it is, time to move them.
Rolled 94 (1d100)>>5343343
Rolled 9 (1d20)>>5343292>Just drag them into the tunnel moving towards the nostrils.Man, we are NOT going to let either of the live this one down. We can expect free flustered looks from Bear for months at least.
Rolled 53 (1d100)>>5343363
Rolled 11 (1d20)>>5343292>Kiss Bear, slap Claudia, and hope that that cools them off for the time being.
Rolled 39 (1d100)>>5343579
Rolled 56 (1d100)>>5343292>Just drag them into the tunnel moving towards the nostrils.
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>5343599
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>5343292>Just drag them into the tunnel moving towards the nostrils.I half want to just smack them on the head with flat ends of our swords. Also we do need to come up with spells as at the moment we’re extremely hyperspecialized.
Rolled 72 (1d100)>>5343621
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>5343292>>Kiss Bear, slap Claudia, and hope that that cools them off for the time being.Come on. This will be fun.
Rolled 62 (1d100)>>5343665
>>5343665I have the feeling that would only make bear more brazen and awaken a kink deep within claudia
>>5343736Sounds like a win to me
>>5343744yes, but not in this very exact moment. we don't need them to realize that they can team up and overpower us
>>5343314Bear would know more due to embarrassing family stories (how I met your mother type), but unfortunately he's in heart pupil mode.>>5343343No, it has healing properties too. It's just the natural vigor it fills people with, ah, has side effects. For example, Bear may or may not have been conceived under the effects of a Heartspring's main pool.>>5343621Sound and music are also comparatively specialized by nature for buffs and debuffs when compared to plants. But you could probably figure out a way to use it to achieve flight, if you modified your barrier jacket.>>5343917The d100 was not another funny number we all laugh at because we are children, so you don't need to worry about that too much.As an FYI, I am not sure if I will be able to post tonight. I MIGHT be able to, but it depends on how much I manage to get done before I need to sleep.
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>5343292>>Help him? Oh, you'll "help" him alright... Him and Claudia BOTH!
Rolled 55 (1d100)>>5344635
No chapter tonight. Instead, have a Bearacter Sheet.Character SheetName: Bear E. DoveSex: MaleAttributesSTR 4, AGI 6, VIT 6, MAG 14, LCK 7While Ascended...Bear has Strength to match an athlete of your age.Bear has Agility to match an artisan, and can run up to 30mph.Bear has Vitality enough to run a marathon with ease, and an above average resistance to painBear has Magic aptitude that comes around only a few times each generation, if that often.Even without his ascension, Bear's aptitude for magic is an astounding thing, allowing him a wide variety of spells even outside his area of focus.Mahou Shoujo AbilitiesMagic of the Garden: Bear's core magic is involved in manipulating plants. Parva does not know the full of his capabilities, but she's seen him turn a rose into a grappling hook, cause fruit-bearing plants and root vegetables to mature in moments, and turn the thorns of rose into lethal spikes.Rosenpeitsche: A rose Bear took from his home garden, and has nurtured and shaped to the point where it's become his favored weapon. Its primary shape allows it to function as a spiked whip, though he's so familiar with the way magic is channeled through it that he can exert fine control over its movement and shape.Bearier Jacket: A white robe with trimming that matches his strawberry blonde hair. He wears the hood up, though much to Parva's sadness the hood does not have (and never will have) bear ears.???: Bear's [Power] is unknown to you at this time.PerksGifted: Bear is something of a magical savant, from what Parva is able to tell. Outside of exceptionally complex magic, he can dissect the nature of most spells he sees - and given time, replicate them. He's somewhat frustrated that he hasn't been able to replicate Parva's magic in even a lesser form, claiming that "she's using magic, but it's like she's not even casting a spell in the first place".Money: Bear is the son of shipping tycoon Ivor E. Dove, founder of the Dove Shipping Company. As his father's firm is the second largest shipping company in the known World Reborn - and the largest in the Greater Bayernan Imperium - he's not exactly strapped for cash.Other perks Bear may possess are unknown as of this time.
>>5345432These puns are unbearable
>>5345866Those puns are the bear minimum.
>>5345432Interesting that he can’t copy our magic but we could if ever wanted to. Now for her highness’s to complete the set. Would it be possibly to mess with his Lapis so he has bear ears? You know, as a joke
>>5346175we could ask Dilligence for a favor. maybe he'll answer?
Apologies, life has not been particularly kind to my free time this week. Going to need to delay the update by one more day. In the interim, to get a better image of how Parva drags them along...>She escapes their clutches and has them give chase as she leads them to the exit.>She teases her way into having them put their guard down, and reverses the hold they have on her>She just drags them along while they're both nuzzling her, if she can manage the strength.>She attempts to physically hoist each of them onto a shoulder and makes a break for the exit.>(Write in)As always, feel free to pose lore questions to the thread, and I'll do my best to answer them.
>>5346695>>She teases her way into having them put their guard down, and reverses the hold they have on hereven if she doesn't know half of what she's doing.>Lore questionhow has dean matilda reacted to the whole thing? i don't think she was that happy with the sonic boom parva did
>>5346695>She teases her way into having them put their guard down, and reverses the hold they have on her
>>5346695>>She teases her way into having them put their guard down, and reverses the hold they have on her
Tease to fluster Bear and Claudia. 1d20 + 1/2 VIT + 1/2 AGI + 1/2 LCK vs DC 25Bear and Claudia are both inexperienced and easily flustered. Reduce the DC by 10 to 15.12 + 2 + 5 + 6 = 25. Three Degrees of Success.One of lesser faith would have been sorely tempted by the way Bear and Claudia cling to you with their arms and press the blossoming flowers of their youth against you. Bear especially is quite the beautiful boy, and though you do not share Claudia's preferences, you can at least appreciate her charm on an intellectual level. Indeed, it would take a frozen heart to ignore the needy sounds they both make with every rub against your skin. You almost fall into temptation when you feel the thing that a maiden's dreams are made of pressing stiffly into your thigh. Claudia's wandering hands don't to anything for you, but that..."Parva, it's weird, but it feels really good..." Bear says. His lovely, needy tone makes your heart skip a beat."I wanna feel good too..." Claudia whines. You pay her little mind, ignoring the delicate places where she decides to grab at you with bold and indelicate hands. She sniffs, and when she catches something she almost purrs. "And it looks like you do, too~"Your eyes snap forward, whirling and dazed. You don't look at anything in particular, and instead deliberate look away from your two companions. Whether or not your thighs feel a bit slick on the inside because Bear touched you with that matters very little in the grand scheme of things. You are a holy maiden, diligent and pure. You know not if your companions have been touched by a spirit, if this is some effect of the heartspring to which you are immune, or even if they simply carry a mutation that has given them a heat cycle. You will not take advantage of them for the sake of a transient and fleeting pleasure.For the first time since the moment the head of that kissed the cream colored flesh of your thighs, your eyes return to focus. Your feet return to the path, guiding your partners to the path away from the heartspring's cavern. A wretched smile crosses your face, tainting your visage with an expression unbecoming of a Childe of your station. You have realized something quite important:Just because you will not take advantage of this delightful situation does not mean that you can't have fun with it."Surely you jest, Princess Claudia," you say. Your smile grows when she puffs her cheeks out in annoyance at the honorific you've given her. "I am a humble shrine maiden, diligent and pure. Such prurient desire was not a part of my education.""Spoken like a true virgin," Claudia growls. She reaches a hand out infront of you and shows off just how dextrous her fingers are. No wonder her attempts to massage your more delicate parts felt so nice. "Let me have your maidenhood, and I'll show you that I can play the part of a ravishing prince quite well~"
>>5347548Still caught in a daze, Bear looks up at you from where he had been nuzzling your feminine washboard of a chest in confusion. "What's a maidenhood?""Don't worry about it," you tell him. Bear gives a tired nod, and you pat him on the head as a reward. With a contented sigh, he goes back to rubbing his face against your chest with the smallest and most adorable smile that you've ever seen. You indulge yourself a little bit, running your hand through his silky smooth strawberry blonde hair. At that moment, Claudia's hands go from exploration to invasion, hiking up the back of your jersey and touching something that's not meant for Claudia to touch. You can't say you hate the feeling, but..."Do be careful about where your touching, Princess Claudia," you growl in warning. Where the unfamiliar sensations have turned Bear into lovely, docile putty in your hands - not by your own effort, but still a desirable outcome - the Princess clearly has some manner of experience. Why, the expression on her face reminds you of nothing less than a ravenous wolf. "You may come to regret it if you don't...""Ohohohohoho~! But Parva, this is just normal skinship between girls, comparing our growth..." Claudia lies through her teeth. Grabbing eachother's breasts and comparing size is the sort of thing that macho guys who haven't found themselves a girl yet do in the locker room, not girls. Certainly not diligent and pure shrine maidens, such as yourself. Some particularly rambunctious tomboys like to do it, though, and you suppose that Claudia is a tomboy. But that's besides the point. Claudia has gone well above just cupping her hands over your deliciously flat chest."No, if I was trying to be more than friends..." Claudia growls her words into your ears, her own excitement showing in her husky tones. Her breathing has grown heavy, you can feel her sizable chest heavy against your back. "I'd start by touching right here~"Her finger brushes against a place that was not meant for her hands.Your body tenses up and you give an involuntary shudder as more of that slickness spills onto your thighs. The sensation that floods your body is nice, but even if it feels really good, you're pissed off that she crossed a line you told her not to cross. You know intellectually that the fault doesn't lie with her, but with whatever spirit or spell has taken hold of her and bear and sent them into heat. All the same, your legs snap shut, and had she not manifested her steely skin, you probably would have broken her hand."Ow!" Claudia yelps, pulling her hand back. "Since when could you turn your skin into steel?""I believe I told you that you needed to watch where you were touching, Princess Claudia," you remind her. Guilt tripping is a neat way to dodge the question, but she looks less than repentant. "I hope you're ready for some punishment, Princess..."
>>5347550"Hoooooooooh, and what sort of punishment do you have in store for me...?" Claudia asks, amusement running thick in her voice. She sounds disgustingly pleased with the idea of being punished. Either that or she thinks you mean the fun sort of punishment, which you certainly don't. As a holy maiden, diligent and pure, you have no idea what a fun punishment would even be. Though if you did know, you would leave it as a reward for good behavior. Like Bear's behavior right now, where even though he's just as much in heat as Claudia is, he's been a very good boy. You've certainly learned quite a bit about the shape of a maiden's dream from how he's been rubbing against you!For people who cannot keep their hands to themselves despite being warned to watch it, well, you only have on thing in store for them."Hmmm..." you pat Bear on the head, while looking up at the ceiling in thought. "I wonder what would be an appropriate punishment...""I can think of one thing~" Claudia says. She makes a v with her fingers and sticks her tongue through it, her eyes brightening and her pupils now shining with pink, etheric mana. You bite back a shudder of horror, as it reminds you too much of the look in Lucy's eyes when you and Bear found her being taken by demons. You try not to look into Bear's eyes, as you're afraid of what you might see. "Wouldn't that be fun, Childe Parva?""One doesn't think about fun when punishing their friend's bad behavior," you declare, looking straight at Claudia. Wisdom be praised, for a moment the lewd expression falls off her face, and she seems genuinely and unabashedly happy to hear you call her friend. That perverse smile returns with a vengeance, though. You smirk at her with narrowed eyes. "But this, I do think I shall enjoy.""Woof, woof~" Claudia says. She squats down low and spreads her legs so wide her skirt hikes up and you can spot her blue and white striped panties. As she does so, she curls her hands like a begging dog. "I like that expression, Parva. Keep it up and I'll happily become your faithful do-""Let us read from the Third Apocrypha," you declare. Once again you've borrowed Sister April's sermon voice for your speech. Holding a mewling and squirming Bear to your side with one arm, you make a grand, sweeping gesture with your other arm. At a wordless command, your LAPIS projects the image of the Third Apocrypha in your hands, a large leather bound tome containing the holy texts of lesser stars than Wisdom and Diligence. "For when we are tempted to sin with our bodies, we must let Passion's truth guide us.""What?" Claudia deadpans. Moments ago, she looked ready to munch on your thin tufts of golden blonde carpet, but now she looks thoroughly confused. The hearts in her eyes flicker for a moment, and you smirk in triumph. What better answer to temptation, what better punishment for sin than scripture?
>>5347551"[Passion 18:55-69] I shall lay thee gently upon our wedding bed and teach you of the flame that burns within my heart," you begin reciting a passage known as the Secret Marriage Vows of Gottfrei and Luna. It might be one of your favorite passages from the Third Apocrypha, as the imagery stirs something in your chest. Diligence advised that you hide the book from Sister April, though, apparently she did not hold them as the Fourth Canon as he did. "Like the moon, your ivory skin shall beckon me to indulge in the wondrous beauty of thy marvelously fertile plain, beneath which beats the rhythm of thy heart. I shall kiss you once, then twice more, and then once again, and the last kiss shall endure until thy passion floods the arid valley and brings it life anew.""Huh?" Claudia's face reminds you of a tomato. The hearts in her eyes have evaporated beneath the words of your favorite apocryphal scripture, turning into concern. The gears in her head turn, and when she starts to stutter you have to wonder how she went from coming on hard to a sputtering virgin. "Wait, is this that super embarrassing passage where-""And in the valley of thy passion, I shall show thee that none but I are up to the task of tilling thy fertile soil." You continue the verse unabated, while Claudia makes a strained noise of pain. If the smile on your face has become a bit cruel, then what of it? You are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, quoting scripture at a sinner. There is nothing wrong with that. "For mine is the greatest spade in twenty-thousand leagues at least, with such great girth that thy hand wouldst be insufficient to hold it on its own. And of its length, a single thrust into thy fertile soil will be enough to reach that satisfying place where a seed is sure to take root."Parva...?" Claudia looks a bit panicked. She gives you a pleading look, and speaks with the voice of a beggar. "Parva, you can stop now, I've shaken off the aphrodisiac and won't come on to you again, I promise..."No. You refuseThis is the least that she deserves for such untoward behavior."But a single thrust I shall not give, upon our marriage bed, my love!" You cry out. A manic look has crossed your face, a cruel grin splitting it in two. Even Bear has shaken free from his fugue from your sudden increase in volume. When he hears what you have to say, he turns as red as Claudia, but you refuse to let him squirm free. "For mine own heart shall burst with vigor, and shall not be satisfied leaving any inch of soil untilled. No, one seeding is not enough, and when the crops are thoroughly planted I shall scatter my seed across thy perfect ivory plains. The hills and the valleys shall come to be well and thoroughly planted, and when my work is complete your heart will know the taste of my love."
>>5347555You smile in satisfaction as Claudia flees down the nasal tunnels, away from the Heartspring whose waters appear to have effected her better judgment, and towards the best exit of the Rock Wyrm's body that you have. You follow closely behind her, and the twinkling light that she has cast upon the tunnel. Keeping a very self-conscious six feet away from you, Bear follows as well, trying not to look you in the eye."I thought it was cute." You suddenly say."Ack-" Bear nearly trips over his own two feet when you say that. "Ah, that's, okay - I'm sorry can we have this conversation later? Preferably around never-o-clock? I'd like some time to process things at least.""But it was, though," you insist. Somehow, that only makes Bear sputter even more."Can we talk about something else?" Bear begs."Alright," you think for a moment. Silence hangs in the air, but for the sound of water dripping from the roof of the nasal tunnels. "How come we don't feel anything in here? I can't imagine that the Wyrm's been still the entire time....""Oh, that's easy," Bear says. The one eye peaking out from his bangs brightens up when it had been gloomy a moment ago. "You see, if everything in here moved with the Wyrm, it would end up tearing itself apart from the shear stresses. They've actually got quite potent anti-gravitation magic inside of them, similar to the effects that keep the islands in their orbits above the Black Star Below.""So..." you think for a moment, trying to picture something that behaved like that. "Like a gyroscope, sort of?""Kind of, but..." Bear bites his lower lip in thought. "It can also dampen acceleration..."After a while, you manage to catch up with Claudia at the exit of the nasal tunnels. She's sitting at an overlooking view, where you can see that there are only a few hours left until dusk. Wisdom's light has already begun to dim slightly in preparation for the night. Spread out before you, you can see a vast lake that must be many miles across, flecked with little islands. Beyond the far shore, you can see the silhouette of the Astral Tower.>Look for a place to set up camp for the night along the shore.>Continue trekking on into the night - the tower can't be that far, can it?>See if you can get to one of those islands, and give yourself a head start for tomorrow.>Walk until night falls and camp where you stop.>(Write in)
>>5347557>Look for a place to set up camp for the night along the shore.Nothing like iron age pious erotica to break the spell
>>5347551>"Woof, woof~" Claudia says. She squats down low and spreads her legs so wide her skirt hikes up and you can spot her blue and white striped panties. As she does so, she curls her hands like a begging dog. "I like that expression, Parva. Keep it up and I'll happily become your faithful do-"oh claudia, you have no idea of how much power parva has over you right now.>>5347557>Look for a place to set up camp for the night along the shore.
>>5347557>Look for a place to set up camp for the night along the shore.So is Passion still alive or has it fallen? Either way, I can see why we were told to never show this to Sister April
>>5347557>>Look for a place to set up camp for the night along the shore
>>5347557>Look for a place to set up camp for the night along the shore.
>>5347557>Look for a place to set up camp for the night along the shore.>>5347781>oh claudia, you have no idea of how much power parva has over you right now.>right nowWe shall tease her long and hard about what happened in there, and if she ever atempts to flip the tables, then we pull out the bible.
>>5348095Nono, we threaten to punish her like the bad girl she is, and then we pull out the bible
>>5347557>>Look for a place to set up camp for the night along the shore.
>>5347876That's a good catch. It should have been Third Canon/Tertiocanon, rather than Third Apocrypha. Passion is still alive and is in good standing among the other stars, even if he's a pervert. He's just relatively minor, and his book is not considered to be among the primary (Wisdom, Day, and Night Stars) or secondary canon (which collects texts that contain useful moral lessons). Third canon is "a Star wrote this account".Next update should be tomorrow.
>>5347781Parva doesn’t realize how much power she has over Claudia right now. The real question is if Claudia realizes Parva doesn’t know to keep her mouth shut if she’s asked to recount the events of the day and at what point do the quacks kick in?
Got about halfway through the update today. Apologies for the delays. I should be able to have this finished tomorrow evening. Until then, please hang tight, and I'll try to answer any lore questions during lunch break tomorrow!>>5349260Claudia is not responsible for anything that horny Claudia says, especially when she's hopped up on an aphrodisiac. Though Bella may still hold her accountable.>>5346192Diligence wouldn't do it for you, but he might give you a lead where - if you are diligent in your studies - altering Bear's outfit into, say, a Bear onesie should be within the realm of possibility.>>5346727She will, at the very least, be having an interesting conversation with Tefra about things. Especially the Rock Wyrm thing, and why one of his students shouted so loud she could be heard from the Tower.
The rope that you salvaged from when Mentor Tefra strung you up ends up coming in handy on your way down from the Rock Wyrm's nose. The nasal cavity opens to a view of what you suspect is St. Harrison's Lake, but said view is from fifty feet at least. Bear and Claudia have magic that can help them get down, but sometimes its best to take the mundane option. Besides, once your feet are on the ground, you can vibrate the rope at just the right frequency to cause the knot you tied it off with to come loose.While Claudia parasails her way down upon her shield, Bear dusts off his pants and stares at you. After a moment, he works up the courage to ask after something that's clearly been bothering him. "You know, I've been meaning to ask how you've been doing that.""Doing what?" you ask."That whole... thing," Bear says. He makes a gesture at you with his hands as you work on coiling the rope back up. An expression crosses his face that you're not sure you like, a cocktail of annoyance, envy, and confusion wrapped up in the furrows of his brow and the curl of his lips. "Where you just... skip past the mnemonic and then something inexplicable happens.""Bear, I am but a humble shrine maiden, diligent and pure," you say. You clasp your hands together in prayer, an act that replaces that ugly expression on his with something truly delightful. Of course, this is something of an act. What's so weird about your magic? "I am no scholar of the arcane, but is not the entire purpose of magic to use one's mana to cause the inexplicable to happen?""Well, yes... and you don't have to look so smug about that!" Bear puffs up as he speaks. His cheeks tinge with a delightful shade of red, and you love the way the eye peeking from behind his bangs focuses on you, and nothing else. You can't help but smile at that, which only further reddens his face. "Okay, yes, but magic is enacted through spells, which contain very specific instructions for our LAPIS to execute. I thought you were just casting without the mnemonic at first, but it's like you're not really casting a spell at all."Now that doesn't jive with what Diligence taught you. You wave him to follow you towards wherever Claudia plans to land. "My LAPIS doesn't perform the magic. I perform my magic."Bear stares at you. He almost trips himself on a root for how hard he's staring. He certainly slips into a cruder form of Anglic when he asks, "Beg pardon, wot?""I perform my magic," you say. The two of you stop walking for a moment, and stare each other in the eyes. You rather enjoy this, his eyes are a lovely shade of emerald green, both the peeking eye and the one veiled by his bangs. After a moment of silence, you find that you have to ask the question, "Is that weird?""How do you handle all of the math involved...?" Bear asks. His voice is very distant, even if his eyes are locked on you.You tilt your head in confusion, failing to understand what he means. "What math?"
>>5352384"Huh...?" Bear asks a wordless question. His mouth hangs slightly agape as he stares at you in silent disbelief. You return his gaze in kind, silent and confused at this breakdown in communication. For a moment, it's quiet enough that you can hear the slow draft as the sleeping Rock Wyrm behind you breathes in and out. What does math have to do with magic?As if he read your mind, Bear finds his wits again and explains just that. "If you're using magic without preprogrammed instructions in your LAPIS to form spells, then you have to be performing all of the calculations that LAPIS normally performs for its user, right? There's a lot of parameters that go into every spell you learn, even a simple one will have a hundred variables, give or take. I would know, I've programmed a few of my own...""Parameters? Variables?" You ask. You have a vague understanding of those abstract terms, but you still don't get how they relate to casting magic. Frankly, the idea of so many numbers makes your head hurt. Your expression must look like one of a lost sheep right now. "Those sound awfully complicated for something you have to do on the fly. I just... do it.""Do what?" Bear asks. His expression is one hopeful for answers, but you don't really know what to say to him."The magic," you explain. "I just do the magic.""You do the magic," Bear says, though it sounds more like a question than a statement. His voice cracks a little, and his eyes become a bit manic as he starts to giggle between his words. "You just do the magic?""Yes," you say without a second thought. Your eyebrows rise just a little bit. You really don't know what to make of the expression on Bear's face, though that little place in your heart that likes to collect the various looks that cross his face takes a snapshot of it for later. "Is that weird?""Yes." Bear says. He gives a hollow laugh of amazement, shaking his head. "Yes, I think it is.""Oh," you say. That doesn't make much sense to you. You are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, and your magic came from the Star of Diligence's personal instruction. Doesn't that make his magic the weird one, if it doesn't match what a Star would teach? Questions for later. "In a bad way?""No!" Bear's voice is loud and jolts like thunder. In a flurry of motion, he's next to you, holding your hands so tightly that he must think you'll disappear on him if he doesn't. With a single green eye peeking through his strawberry blonde bags, he speaks with utmost certainty. "No, it's weird in a good way, in a very very good way. Just... don't leave me until I've figured out what the heck you're doing, okay?""Hmmm..." You hide your smile with a thoughtful hum. Bear is far too entertaining for you to abandon, so he shouldn't worry like that. But it's fun to pretend that he needs to. "Well, I promised your parents I'd get you out of your shell, so I guess you're stuck with me for the next five years, at least. That work?"
>>5352386"Hey!" Claudia calls from the distance. Oh, it looks like you and Bear were so engrossed with your conversation with one another that she managed to land, clear out a spot overlooking the lake, and get a campfire going. Is that fish you smell roasting on the fire? It certainly looks like she's got something roasting on skewers over there. "If you two are done flirting, I've found us a place to camp for the night!"You look back at the Rock Wyrm.As unmoving as it is, you can still feel the gentle and warm wind of its exhalation. It pulls in fresh air from the environment and returns an exhalation that could send a ship slowly sailing across the surface of a lake. You imagine that if the beast really tried to blow on something, its breath could be the gale of a storm, or perhaps even the howling wind of a hurricane. Frankly, you would rather be as far away from the creature as possible before you make camp. "Aren't we a little close to the big guy?" You ask Claudia and Bear, once again eying the shadow of the beast nervously. "I'm not too keen on getting swallowed whole again... or getting blown away in the middle of the night if it decides to sneeze.""Ah, but being this close to the biggest monster of the archipelago is sure to keep all the smaller beasts away," Claudia says. She's also eying the Rock Wyrm as you are, though instead of seeing a rabid wolf it's clear she sees a big, friendly puppy-dog. "We should consider her as our guardian beast!""Her?" you ask. You don't know the anatomy of Rock Wyrms that well, so you wonder what gave it away."Women's intuition," Claudia touches a finger to her nose and winks at you. "Girls call out to our fellow girls, and this one's another girl, I can tell just by looking at her.""Actually, from the shape of its crest, it's a male," Bear says after taking a single look at it. He makes a gesture to the hill-like structure where its now-shut crystalline eyes are embedded, and how it rises to meet its cranium. "The spikey way it flairs back, you don't see that in nature. It's a trait that makes it attractive to female Rock Wyrms, as it means that he's strong and clever enough to survive despite them. Female Rock Wyrms have a rounded crest there, to help make them look like natural rock formations when they're asleep.""Ohhhh!" You clap your hands a few times for Bear. The boy puffs up with pride at the applause, even as Claudia looks a bit dejected. "As expected of our Bear, so knowledgeable!""Thank you, thank you," a bit abashed, Bear tries to roll with the unexpected praise. His face turns a bit red, and he nervously scratches at the side of his neck. "Though, Claudia's camp here should be fine for tonight. Rock Wyrms will sleep for at least a week after they hunt, to let the rocks they've eaten digest and refresh their mineral structure. Plus, uh... I'll spare you the details, but they don't sneeze.""Well that's nice..." Claudia grumbles. "I had a name for her..."
>>5352389You spend the rest of the evening putting your camp together, and even making a fairly substantial shelter overlooking the lake. Bear grew the materials, you processed them, and Claudia completes the assembly. Metron and Nomos probably were not meant to be used for saw work, but by pouring your mana into them and causing them to vibrate, they cut through the wood Bear grows like a hot knife through butter. With your dexterous hands, you even manage to cut a number of joints Bear marked up, letting Claudia put everything together without the need for nails or rope. The end result is a small lean-to with three elevated cots that use a net of sturdy, rope-like vines in place of cloth to hold you up. One for each wall of the structure. It's a bit cramped, but not nearly as cramped as when the two of them were doped up on Heartspring Water and attempting to molest you."This is much better than the stony ground," Claudia says. She flops onto her cot, using her towel as a makeshift blanket. She rolls onto her stomach and points out at the Astral Tower, which looms in the distance, its clock face still brightly lit even after the sun has fallen. "We'll rest up tonight, and then tomorrow we'll make straight on for the Tower.""Over land, or over water?" Bear asks. "That sounds like a tomorrow problem," Claudia declares. "Who's got first watch?">You'll take first watch.>You'll take second watch.>You'll take third watch.Regardless of your choice, roll 1d100 and 1d20.
Rolled 27 (1d100)>>5352392>You'll take first watch.>>5352386>"You do the magic," Bear says, though it sounds more like a question than a statement. His voice cracks a little, and his eyes become a bit manic as he starts to giggle between his words. "You just do the magic?"and thats how you mindbreak a nerdy boy
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>5352401
Rolled 16 (1d20)>>5352392>You'll take first watch.
Rolled 28 (1d100)>>5352433
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>5352392>You'll take first watch.
Rolled 45 (1d100)>>5352526
>>5352392>>You'll take first watch.
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>5352537
Rolled 18 (1d100)>>5352538
Rolled 20 (1d20)>>5352392>You'll take first watch.How has Bear not had an aneurysm yet after dealing with us?
Rolled 78 (1d100)>>5352564
Rolled 83 (1d100)>>5352392>>You'll take first watchI want to kiss Bear
Rolled 3 (1d20)>>5352581
Belated realization, based on Diligence talking about the real oldest brothers going insane after “seeing under the texture of the world”, I’m guessing a) that understanding is what actually changed The Black Sun and other Fallen Stars and b) that Diligence probably experienced the same thing but was made into a better version of himself instead. He’s probably immune to corruption at this point.Shame about the perviness, but it’s probably not worth a reroll given how every other star goes insane instead.
Wrapped things up tonight a bit late to do a posting today, so it will need to wait for tomorrow (or maybe Thursday depending on my pace of writing). In the meantime, once again, your watch is interrupted bout halfway through by a disturbance. Another test, perhaps? Or maybe a stroke of ill fortune...>You see a pair of ruby red eyes peering at you from the darkness of the forest, glowing like a pair of smoldering coals against the black of the night.>You hear a thud as something strikes against a nearby tree, and against the moonlit sky you see the silhouette of young man balancing upon the haft of a war axe.>A ring of arrows encircles you in a cage of wooden shafts. In the distance, a figure stands atop a tree with its back to the moon, as if they wanted to be seen.>A glittering silver golem emerges from the forest, raising its spear and pointing towards you in challenge. Its master is nowhere to be seen.>A young woman sits atop the still lake waters, glowing like a beacon in the dark with a pale and silvery light. Somehow, you feel drawn towards her.As always, any lore questions (that are not spoilers), I'll attempt to answer during my lunch break tomorrow.>>5352401>>5352564He had been previously operating under the assumption that "Damn, this girl is a savant who never has to use an incantation, her magic is an incredibly tough nut to crack because I haven't found the common foundation yet". Now he's operating under the assumption of "I have no idea what the fuck this girl is doing and I would like to know more".A bit of mindbreak with a slight chance of aneurysm... and definitely a bit smitten by the puzzle that is Parva.>>5352581Woah, woah, woah. Slow down there, buddy. Parva hasn't even gone on a first date. Next thing I know you guys will want me to write some filthy and degenerate smut about them holding hands...>>5353062This theory of yours is fascinating and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.Though, I would not say that Diligence is pervy as much as he forgot about certain human taboos and why/how they feel shame about certain things while he was under, and raised Parva without certain culturally enforced taboos/shames that many would consider normal (and may, in fact, be beneficial towards getting along in society). Sister April has the impression that he became a pervert because he kept doing checks of Parva's growth that necessitated nudity, but though she was the closest to him outside Parva, she did not have full context as to why he wanted so many data points on Parva.
>>5353411>A young woman sits atop the still lake waters, glowing like a beacon in the dark with a pale and silvery light. Somehow, you feel drawn towards her.
>>5353411>A glittering silver golem emerges from the forest, raising its spear and pointing towards you in challenge. Its master is nowhere to be seen.
>>5353411>>You hear a thud as something strikes against a nearby tree, and against the moonlit sky you see the silhouette of young man balancing upon the haft of a war axe.
>>5353411>You hear a thud as something strikes against a nearby tree, and against the moonlit sky you see the silhouette of young man balancing upon the haft of a war axe.
>>5353411>A glittering silver golem emerges from the forest, raising its spear and pointing towards you in challenge. Its master is nowhere to be seen.Though regardless of what actually wins,>Check acoustics.I’d be willing to stall in engaging the newest threat just to confirm this isn’t *another* illusion. Or that it’s real but someone else is moving in nearby. Our mentor already checked in on us the night after we started, he may be crazy enough for two nights in a row.
Rolled 12 (1d20)Rolling to break the tieOdds are the golem.Evens are the axeman.
Perception to notice ???. Roll 1d20 + LCK + 1/2 MAG vs DC2516 + 12 + 3 = 31. Two Degrees of SuccessThe night is dark, and ten thousand stars march across the ink black sky in astral procession led by the Star of Coherence. His feast day ends with the dawn, and upon this day His light shines brightest of all the stars in the heavens. Behind them, His ten-thousand Brother Stars trail behind, forming the constellations of the season and raining their blessings upon the world. In the waning days of summer, the Farmer leads the Oxen, and behind them trails the Plowshare whilst the Sisters scatter seeds. This will soon end upon the first of Eminence, and the Ten-Thousand Brothers will form new constellations for Autumn.Only the Nightstars do not join their in the march of the constellations. They remain locked in their positions for the night, ever vigilant in their watch whilst Wisdom takes his rest. Only with the passing of the hour do they move, one drifting to the Moon's side to take His Brother's place in escorting Her across the sea of black that stands behind them. For She is the Mirror that reflects the light of the Second Sun and guides humanity through even the darkest of nights, and her name is Sofia.Behind Sofia and the Ten-Thousand Brothers, all is black and void.You remember reading in a book once that in the days of the Machine Builders, stars beyond counting could be seen in the night sky. Not the grand constructs that guide humanity even in this day and age, but a milky road paved with starlight that spanned the whole of the sky and rained its beauty upon world. If your Holy Father had not shown you the images himself, you would have a hard time believing it. In comparison, the sky of today seems empty and lifeless, a hollow thing and a true void."Did the Enemy Below steal their light from us?" you remember asking Diligence, and his answer made you sick for a week.[No, my child, it was not the enemy.] His voice thrummed so hard inside your mind that you felt it in your teeth. [Mankind sought to tame the fire of the gods, and were burnt by it. This is the scar it left behind.]The nothing behind Sofia and the Ten-Thousand Brothers still haunts you, it still feels wrong that the night sky is so empty.But the moonlight is warm, and so too is the flickering light of the crackling campfire that you've been keeping alive over the course of the night. The air of a late summer's night is crisp and cool, but that does not prevent you from enjoying the sensation of being clad in moonlight. Bear and Claudia have long since fallen asleep, so you've no objection from your comrades to keep you from indulging yourself in this small comfort. Your jersey is neatly folded upon your cot, and you sit on the lean-to's roof, basking in the light of the moon.The night is blissfully quiet and peaceful. You've even made friend with an owl, perched upon your wrist.
>>5354409Of course, your peaceful watch does not last.You hear it before you see it. The whistling sound of steel as it soars through the air compresses into a high pitched whine as noise overlaps with itself in the doppler effect. Then you see the glint of moonlight reflecting off of an axe face polished to a mirror's finish whirling towards you, but not at you. Whoever threw it threw it to spook you, not to hurt you, and you watch as it misses you by a good foot. The axes continues soaring through the night until it hits a low, thick branch belonging to one of the trees overlooking the lake. It strikes so perfectly, embedding itself so deep into the branch that it has to be intentional. The moment that thought crosses your mind, the figure of a young man drops from the trees onto the axe handle.His back is turned towards you, and from where you're sitting he's perfectly framed by Sofia's Light. Yeah, that throw was definitely intentional.The two tails of his scarf flutter dramatically in the night's cold breeze, like a banner. Perched upon the handle of his axe, stance he takes almost reminds you of a mongoose that's relaxed its body before springing at its prey. If he was a little less tense in the shoulders, if his arms hung just a bit more looser at his side, you'd almost believe that he wasn't trying his best to look cool.And you won't lie, he does look pretty cool there."Well, well, well, if it isn't my lucky night..." the young man growls. The acoustics of his voice force you to choke back a laugh, as he's clearly forcing himself to speak in a low, growling tone. Like most men, he's a contralto, but he's not that deep a contralto. "I owe the Head Master three fresh heads if I want to graduate this year, and what do I find but three hapless firsties in my territory. Taking your heads will be nice and easy, ufufufuf- wait a minute, why are you clapping, girly?""Because that axe trick of yours was really cool!" you look at him with bright blue eyes that reflect the moonlight behind him, and tell him the truth."Really? Thanks, it took like a week to get dow-ack!" the young man says with no small amount of excitement. He reverts to a light countertenor almost instantly, almost forgetting his dangerous stance until he catches himself and starts coughing. He forces himself down an octave again. "Ahem... what I meant to say was that I can't believe I missed. I was aiming for that pretty little head of yours, girly. I guess I'll have to take it some other way..."Even if his acting could use some work, the young man's skills and strength are the real deal. He falls from his perch upon the axe handle, only to catch it with his hands. In a single fluid motion, not stopping for an instant, he does an acrobatic spin around the handle and throws himself from the tree with enough force to pull the axe loose.He lands before the fire, kicking up dust and ash. "I hope you're ready, girly!"
>>5354411As the dust clears, the fire provides enough light for you to get a look at him. Despite wielding a weapon as unsubtle as that gigantic axe of his, everything about him is understated. His hair is a short bob of light brown atop his head, and his eyes are of a similar shade. He wears a dulled steel breastplate as the only armor atop a grey-blue bodysuit, which cleaves only loosely to the shape of his large, manly breasts. His boyish face is rather plain, and you suspect he's only a handful of years older than you.Besides his oversized axe, the only thing that stands out about him is the scarf. A rich navy blue, a subtle pattern of flowers is woven into its fabric. Even those are understated and hard to make out in the campfire light.Said axe - a massive weapon whose blade has the breadth of your torso - rests on one of his shoulders, carried by one hand. His other hand is outstretched towards you, beckoning you towards him in challenge.How do you answer his challenge?>It's dangerous to go alone. Wake up the others, who cares if they see that you're clad in moonlight tonight.>Bear will scold you if he finds out that you clad yourself in moonlight tonight. [Ascend] into your clad in light form, and try to make this quick.>You know, from that little reaction he gave you, you bet you could have some fun playing with him a bit. Let's see how close you can come to defeating him without violence.>Frankly, you do not appreciate that this "person" has interrupted your basking in the moonlight. Vengeance will be yours. FOR OWLY!
>>5354413>It's dangerous to go alone. Wake up the others, who cares if they see that you're clad in moonlight tonight.i'm gonna enjoy sonic boom-ing his ass at close range
>>5354413>Bear will scold you if he finds out that you clad yourself in moonlight tonight. [Ascend] into your clad in light form, and try to make this quick.
>>5354413>You know, from that little reaction he gave you, you bet you could have some fun playing with him a bit. Let's see how close you can come to defeating him without violence.My Ojou-sama senses are tingling.
>>5354413>>You know, from that little reaction he gave you, you bet you could have some fun playing with him a bit. Let's see how close you can come to defeating him without violence.
>>5354413>You know, from that little reaction he gave you, you bet you could have some fun playing with him a bit. Let's see how close you can come to defeating him without violence.
>>5354413>You know, from that little reaction he gave you, you bet you could have some fun playing with him a bit. Let's see how close you can come to defeating him without violence.You know I'm actually surprised the machine builders didn't blow up or create an artificial moon Unless Sophia IS artificial
>>5354413>You know, from that little reaction he gave you, you bet you could have some fun playing with him a bit. Let's see how close you can come to defeating him without violence.Imagine if Bear wakes up and sees us basicaly playing with this stranger, haha... imagine Bear jealous.
>>5354571Other than Sophia being an oddity by habing a name instead of an adjective and being female, i think its worse than that.Either the machine builders (accidentally or otherwise) killed all the stars in the observable universe or this quest takes place around the time of the heat death of the universe, and thats why parva and friends are in an enclosed -and probably artificial as well- solar system
>>5354413>You know, from that little reaction he gave you, you bet you could have some fun playing with him a bit. Let's see how close you can come to defeating him without violence.Alright, Let’s warm up the old idea noggin.>Switch to Clad In Light form anyway, you’ve seen the reaction it gets out of Bear and you can use that to immediately get this guy on the backfoot. “Your trick was nice. If I’m going to show you any of mine, I’d prefer to be comfortable.>He took our compliment to his skill well. Continue with it. “You’re wield your weapon quite deftly for its size.” “I’m sure you could split me in half easily if I let you have your way.” “I appreciate a man who understands the importance of diligence in practicing his strokes.” Pepper them in however.>Ask if we can get a better look at his weapon. Don’t wait for an answer, just walk up and take it. See if we can make more comments about how he’s handled it while we inspect it.>Use our flexibility to attempt a trick with his own weapon. Apologize for rough treatment, say he made it look so fun and we couldn’t help but take it for a ride. Bonus points if we straddle the weapon by the end.>Power down, ask if he wants to sit and keep us company for a while. Owly is nice, but not much of a talker.
>>5354651There are other options. Like when two black holes collide they make a gamma burst that eradicates EVERYTHING in their path. Somebody “merely” has to have a black hole power plant to cause a “scar” in the night sky for ones that can be seen by the naked eye.
>>5354413>fluster him by having an honorable (naked) duel>recite scripture to get him to agree to it if possible
>>5354660Maybe, but that doesnt explain why parva couldnt see any stars at all other than the 10,000 ones
>>5354674Dyson spheres would make the most sense given the complexity of the machines they created. The stars aren’t dead, merely enclosed. The light show could have been from artificial light created from the energy of that network.Maybe each of the Stars is actually drawing power from a real star as well, and the shining was an indication that they were actively running. The lack of stars in the sky is a sign of how many other Stars have died since The Black Sun fell.
>>5354693Dyson spheres may be fun, but they are a little inefficient compared to mining new stars.I was personally thinking the machine builders were absurdly advanced and brought in some new stars or dismantled some black holes to partially repopulate the sky. That seems on the level of a mankind advanced enough that we are an entirely different era and not called the machine builders in recognition of all the crap we make.
>>5354413>>It's dangerous to go alone. Wake up the others, who cares if they see that you're clad in moonlight tonight.
Giving everyone some advanced notice that there will probably not be an update tonight. My schedule for tonight is pretty tough, though I will have some time to write later, it probably won't be enough for a full post (I feel kinda bad cutting yesterday's post shorter than I intended already as well, but I didn't want to put that one off any further).>>5354577Sofia is very much an artificial construct of the Machine Builders, much like the Stars, though with an altogether different purpose than the Stars.>>5354651Sofia's name is just a fancier adjective, don't worry. It's from my Gnoticism addiction, though it's a shallow reference at best. Funnily enough, when I take a step back, neither of the theories you've given are correct, but they both have some aspects of the correct answer in them. It - like most things in this setting - is humanity's fault, and the concerns that led them to do things that caused things to break included the Heat Death/Age of Iron Stars.>>5354656This is probably a bit too horny for dealing with a young man who claims to be after your head. In before jokes about offering him your maidenhead in its place. Though if it isn't obvious, this guy is a student who was 100% put up to this and is just having fun. He's not expecting to find a lanky noodle like Parva who is a natural, unthinking tease though.>>5354660Whatever happened, it is all humanity's fault. Or at least, the Machine Builders' fault.>>5354693I think this has been mentioned before, but one thing you guys should know/isn't hidden is that at the Heart of every Star - Wisdom, the 10,000 Brothers, Sol and the Fallen - lies a borehole in reality through which magic flows into the world. They are not powered by fusion reactions. See >>5339867>Each of them given authority to preside over another hole in the fabric, and harness the luminous arcane power that poured from them."Them" referring to the machines that would eventually become known as the Stars.>>5354715I will not make the mistake of giving hard numbers on what they could do, but more or less if it's physically possible the Machine Builders could probably figure out a way to do it if they wanted to. Their tech would be more or less magic to the modern man, and it's their own damn fault that their civilization fell. They definitely did not use Dyson Spheres. Dyson Swarms, however, were their joint. The islets that you live on are - in fact - a magical Dyson Swarm.
>>5354982Oh cool. Now I’m thinking they started harvesting stars like we harvest oil and broke into a new universe to tap into magic rather than accept that they were running out. I also got a halfassed theory about demons counting as an alt universe humanity if a star looks too deep into the abyss/below and thusly glitching whatever the 3 laws equivalents are to give dual loyalties.
>>5354982>Sofia's name is just a fancier adjectivein that case, does sophia has her own book, or does it get bundled in wisdom's?hmm....are there more Moons out there and what are their roles in general?>>5355080my guess is that the black star (and all the stars sources of power) is more like the warp. the machine builders got lucky with the first star and drilled in a correct metaphysical plane of existence, allowing magic to flow into the universe while the hole they dug for the black star was one of the worst they could find out there, because it was filled with humanity's excesses in all the senses of the word.
>>5355097I t(ink a 40k warp is too extreme an adjective. More like… fey. They stole/steal power from the gods and didn’t expect to have to deal with payment, so the gods/fey are/have taken back whatever they want as recompense. That’s also more in line with the overall theme of magic going on.
>>5355179i dunno about that. the metaphor makes it sound like the machine builders literally created god and added magic to the universe. they literally added new rules to the laws of physics. i don't think any external entity was involved in this.
>>5356569I thought the power source (magic) was from an external universe. And it would be a hilarious twist of hubris if the residents of said universe not taking kindly to that is what bit them in the ass. It doesn’t imply they created god so much as they waltzed into his kitchen and stole his food thinking they found free sandwiches.
>>5356569>>5356802The exotic matter from an alt universe could have its own set of physics and that’s how they created new ones in our universe in combination with their technology.Or we’re all just inside an instanely high tech amusement park as the last shelter for mankind.
It is not the young man's challenge that has captured your interest. Rather it is his response to your earnest compliment about his axe play. Your mind has ignored most of the threats he's been presenting, and locked he way his voice jumped up half an octave and all semblance of the sadistic and gruff exterior that he had been presenting evaporated. Somehow, it reminds you of how excited Bear would when you let him lead you on a stroll through the Fat Dove's greenhouse, and tell you about all of the plants that he cared for.Somehow, you like watching boys get excited over things they enjoy.Doubly so if it's your words that managed to trigger their adorable behavior.The smart thing to do would be to wake up Bear and Claudia, and drive him off together, but you don't want to do the smart thing. You want to poke and prod at this young man and see if you can get any more tasty responses from him before he either leaves or does what he came here to do. If you work hard enough at it, maybe you'll see something nice. So, with a practiced motion, you roll smoothly into a handstand and elegantly fling yourself over the edge of your lean-to's roof to meet his challenge. Your golden hair glitters in the light of Sofia as you tumble through the air. Her pale light bathes your cream-colored skin in silver, letting you taste of her boundless knowledge. Of course, Diligence's protection means that as provocative a display that your body clad in moonlight might make, the young man sees nothing of importance."Ohohoho... are you sure that you're the one who should be saying that?" you ask. An excited smile splits your face in two when you catch the way his eyes go wide as he realizes that you are clad only in the Light of Sofia and the stars that escort her across the sky. His face is red, and that's not just the flickering campfire light that's casting that color. "You seem a bit nervous there..."As you speak, Metron and Nomos appear in your hands, and you fall into a stance ready to receive him. Your legs are spread at shoulder's width and a half apart, one arm outstretched with Metron to challenge him while the shorter Nomos stays close to your core to help the other arm guard. Your gold hair cascades down your body like a waterfall, granting you some semblance of modesty without the need for Diligence's protection."W-W-W-W-Why are you naked?" The young man stammers out. His eyes dart around nervously, not knowing where to look. "How better to show my faith to the Stars Above then entrust my everything to them?" You answer his question with a question of his own, though he doesn't seem to hear it. He's too focused on not looking at your flat, feminine chest or the tuft of gold between your legs to hear what you have to say. "I am a shrine maiden, diligent and pure. There is nothing sinful about this body of mine. Don't tell that you've been having prurient thoughts..?"The young man makes a choking sound, that transforms into a fit of coughing.
>>5357026"You know, there's a saying in the Northern Provinces that all men are wolves, girly..." the young man says when he recovers from his coughing fit. His voice - which had slipped up half an octave again when he first saw your naked body - has returned to that deep, growling tenor. "It's hard to resist eating up a tasty cut of meat when we see it. I originally came here to bring your heads back to the Dark Master of the Lightless Citadel, but there's nothing in my Black Contract that says I can't have a little fun before I end your lives."Even if he's doing his best to sound dangerous, with every implication that he makes his ears get as red as Bear's face when you kiss him on the cheek.Though you do get a look at something else that piques your interest while his eyes intently avoid your precious places. Weird, the tent in his pants isn't as big as the one Bear makes when he gets like that. Is Bear actually rather gifted in regards to that special thing that a maiden's dreams are made of? Thoughts for later."Oh, and what sort of fun do you intend to have with me?" you ask. As a holy maiden, diligent and pure, you don't really understand what might be "fun" to a servant of the darkness. Bloody murder? Torturing you? That thing those wretched demons did to Lucy? You let your ideas flow out of your mouth like water from an unfiltered spring. "Don't tell me you mean to split me in two with that obnoxiously large weapon you're carrying and turn my body into some sort of meat puppet...""M-M-Meat p-p-p-puppet...?" The young man's stammers out, his voice again jumping up half an octave. He seems oddly excited from hearing those two words strung together, but in a way that feels kinda gross. "I m-m-m-mean, if you w-w-w-want me to.."You tilt your head at him quizzically at his nonsensical statement. Why would you want to be split in two and turned into a trophy to be taxidermized an mounted on a display case? You enjoy living, thank you. He coughs again, returning to his gruff voice. Somehow it sounds a bit lighter, and more paternalistic than before. "Ahem, I mean, no, that would... no. Consider yourself lucky that you've run into an honorable Dark Knight of the Infinite Shadow. There are far worse men than I in this world who would do terrible things to a girl like you, holy maiden or otherwise. Keep that in mind the next time you decide to take on your enemy without any clothes on, brat.""My faith is my armor, my purity is my shield..." you tell the young man. A slight furrow of irritation can be seen in your brow at how close his words came to Sister Aprils. She raised you while bringing the Shrine of Diligence back to its former glory, so she has a leg to stand on when it comes to telling you what to wear when you're in public. Metron and Nomos begin vibrating in your hands. "Who are you to tell me how I may express my faith in the Stars, faithless dog of the Black Star Below?"The young man smiles.
>>5357029"Ahahahahahaaaa! There's the fire that I was looking for!" the young man cackles, whirling his axe around with a flourish as he takes a deep bow. He forces his voice to go even deeper than it should, hitting the exceptionally rare depths of a baritone while laying mayo on thick upon the ham sandwich of a speech he had no doubt prepared ages ago. "I am Sir Damien Blackhart, wielder of the Chaos Battleaxe Shardbreaker and weakest of the Shadowlord's Four Heavenly Kings. I owe my resplendent lord the heads of three promising students of the Wretched Academy... and what have I found but you three. Mwhahahahahahahahaaaaaa~!"He raises his axe to the ready, holding the haft in both hands and dropping to a coiled stance ready to spring at you. You keep Metron and Nomos prepared to intercept his coming attack, but it doesn't come yet. He must be waiting for you to introduce yourself as well."Well, Sir Blackhart, I am Childe Parva Symphonia of 1728th Astral Shrine," you tell him. His eyebrows raise at your title. He should know that already, shouldn't he? You told him that you were a holy woman, and at your delicate age you could only be a shrine maiden. "And I suppose I ought to stop you, shouldn't I?""Indeed!" he declares. "Do you have any last words before I take your head in a single stroke?""Just a single question, if you don't mind," you say. He gives you a slow nod. "So is the whole 'evil knight' thing you're doing just a bit for some test of Mentor Tefra's?"'Damien' coughs. His voice jumps half an octave again as he tries to keep it level and cool. "I have no idea what you're talking about.""Well I mean..." your voice trails off a bit while 'Damien' tries to clear something from his throat. "You went from weirdly excited about the opportunity to torture me to death, to someone who was too honorable to do something like that really quickly."'Damien' mouths the words torture to death as if the thought had never crossed his mind, and his face suddenly turns a bright red. "W-W-W-Well I g-g-got caught up in the idea of having a maiden as ch-ch-charming as you gasping beneath me I will admit. It wouldn't be too strange, my parents have bigger age g-gap and uh... ah... NEVER MIND THAT, such things are beneath a Dark Knight of an Infinite Shadow."You give him a pitying look that he recoils from. From the sound of things, his father must torture his mother as an expression of his affection for her, and he expressed a similar desire because it is all he knows from them. You can sort of empathize, as if you were younger you would probably tug on Bear's hair as an expression of your friendship with him.Still, you need to put your foot down."I am sorry," you tell the young man. "I don't know how your parents express their love for one another, but I personally would rather not be tortured.""W-W-W-W-W-What the heck are you t-t-t-t-talking about?" 'Damien' looks a bit panicked. "Stars Above, what?
>>5357032The expression on 'Damien's' face is rather delicious right now, but he just said something that further proves to you that he can't actually be an agent of the Black Star Below. The faithless who follow the Black Star Below would not swear by the Stars even to maintain their cover, so great is their hatred for their Light. You might hear something like that from a heretic belonging to the Brightheart Theocracy, as they at least respect the might of the Stars, but not a true faithless."You swear by the Stars, and your master has been inconsistent," you tell him. 'Damien' pales, and you think you can say for certain that the jig is up from the panicked expression on his. "Dark Master, Shadowlord... and I'm fairly certain that you started this off with some nonsense about the Head Master needing three heads so you could graduate."'Damien' swallows audibly."This is a test, isn't it?" you ask him."Dammit, Amy told me not to improv for this..." 'Damien' says with a sigh. You don't know who this Amy is, but you bet she would have a delightful reaction to hearing that he wanted to torture a girl that had to be... three, four years his junior and make her gasp beneath his 'tender mercies'. 'Damien' chuckles. "Well, I guess that gigs up. You're right, this is a test of your combat skills by one of your upperclassmen. No 'Dark Knight' wanting to do unspeakable things to a cute priestess. Though you should really put some clothes on.""That's against my religion," you deadpan at him. He chokes back more laughter, his face turning red. "Now, can we not fight and say that we did?""Sorry, but professor Tefra made us a pretty sweet deal if we went through with it," Damien tells you. His voice is a bit sheepish. Then, his eyes go slightly blank. "Plus, I'm feeling kinda motivated to go all out against you right now, because otherwise you might end up telling Amy and the others about my dorky little improv session. Damien Blackhart, why did I think that sounded cool...?""Because it kinda did?" you say. 'Damien's' eyes snap to you."Naked, bratty shrine maidens don't get to have an opinion," he tells you. "Now put on your barrier jacket, and come at me with the intent to kill."He's obviously confident enough in his own abilities that you probably won't kill him even if you tried. Still, you shouldn't just attack wildly, you need a strategy...>That axe of his is exceptionally dangerous, your strategy should focus on controlling its position.>Your biggest concern right now is his magic. It's a big unknown, you need to stay on your toes against it.>You have two weapons, and he has one. Use Nomos as a shield and press the attack with Metron.>The Blessed Frequency will only give him the same boons it gives you. See if you can't target him with a debilitating frequency during the fight.>Now is the time for the strongest technique up your sleeve. RUN AWAY!
>>5357035>Now is the time for the strongest technique up your sleeve. RUN AWAY!now its time to wake up the others
Oh, and one thing I 4got, I will need a d20 roll from people.
Rolled 11 (1d20)>>5357055
>>5357035>>That axe of his is exceptionally dangerous, your strategy should focus on controlling its position.
Rolled 10 (1d20)>>5357067
Rolled 6 (1d20)>>5357035>The Blessed Frequency will only give him the same boons it gives you. See if you can't target him with a debilitating frequency during the fight.
Rolled 3 (1d20)>>5357035>>You have two weapons, and he has one. Use Nomos as a shield and press the attack with Metron.
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>5357035>That axe of his is exceptionally dangerous, your strategy should focus on controlling its position.I want to say he has dark magic, but there's something incredibly hilarious about a total chuuni having something like light magic
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>5357035>>That axe of his is exceptionally dangerous, your strategy should focus on controlling its position.
Just giving a note that there will be no post tonight, and potentially no post tomorrow night depending on how other things go. As always, I'll do my best to answer any lore questions that come up on my lunch break tomorrow.
>>5358812And I did not have time either of those days, or today for that matter, because life is suffering. Tomorrow we shall be posting come hell or high water, and apologies for the delays.
>>5360794Don't sweat it QM. When I first encountered this quest I thought that it was a shitpost that would last for less than a week. I couldn't be happier to be proven wrong.
>>5360794Chillex, as long as you remember to warn us I don't mind the wait. The quality of the quest makes it worth it.
>>5360794The fact that you constantly inform us that you can't update puts you above many QMs.
>>5360794I’m still waiting for quest updates from years ago. This is nothing.
>>5361111Which quest? Regardless, may your quads deliveer you on your waiting.
It is half past midnight, my a key has popped out of my laptop with a busted hinge and keeps sticking to my finger when I press a, my spare keyboard's connection dongle is busted and isn't sending a signal, and I'm having a major block on this post that neither of these things are helping out with. No post tonight, apologies.
Swordsmanship to fight defensively against Damien. Roll 1d20 + AGI + 1/2 LCK vs DC30.11 + 10 + 6 = 27. One degree of failure.A wave of dread crashes into you like a deluge of water pouring over the crest of a dam. You stagger backwards, doubling over as if a sharp fist had slammed into your stomach with enough force to leave a bruise. You feel nauseous. You want to vomit up your dinner and quench the campfire with a reeking splatter of half digested fish and yams, but the panic that has taken your senses kills your gag reflex. Something warm runs down your thighs, and it takes you a moment for you to realize that you've pissed yourself.If your mind would just think for a moment, you'd wonder why panic has overtaken you. Your senior is still your senior, the stench of daemonic energy does not permeate the air, you do not hear the growl of a terrifying predator nor smell their aggressive pheromones in the air. So why...?Of course, you mind is not following any such logical thoughts right now.Right now, your body is running on autopilot while your consciousness runs around in panicked circles. You are a holy maiden, diligent and pure, so such a feat of autohypnosis is simplicity itself. While your mind panics, your body breathes in and out in five second intervals, regulating the flow of oxygen to your brain and brute forcing a sense of calm throughout your body despite the rapid and chaotic firing of your neurons.Though you stopped thinking the moment you felt that tide of terror drown you, your body stood like an unmoving rock and made up for your mind's failures. Calm and diligent breaths, just like your Holy Father taught you, cause the panic to recede."Color me impressed," Damien says. His body seems distorted in your vision, horrifying and daemonic shadows cast over his form. Something is wrong with his voice, it reverberates as if being spoken in an echoing cavern, folding upon itself and distorting with layers of interference. Though you cannot think clearly right now, on some instinctual level his tone reminds you of them. "That level of terror would have made most kids break and run, even if it meant their companions died. Congratulations are in order, at this rate you just might survive your first encounter with a demon."You barely hear his words.Your mind is deaf to all but his tone. Your heart pounds in your ears. Your sight is filled with a blinding white light."But a demon won't just stand around doing nothing, kiddo!" he roars. Again you only hear his tone, not his words. You feel his motion through the air, leaping past the campfire and swinging for your shoulder with the flat of his axe. "Their assault will be relentless and without mercy!"The graceless noise of clashing steel peals like a church tower bell."Luminous Arcane Power Integration System... set up!"
>>5362672Spirit Resonance confirmed... arcane lock canceled.Welcome, Parva Symphonia.Caution: Mental contamination has been detected in core regions of your amygdala.Caution: Hormone levels suggest that mental contamination has caused irrational thought patterns.Please Stand By...Please Stand By...Starting up LAPIS Systems Psychomedical Suite...100%Diagnosing...Diagnosing...Diagnosis Confirmed.Starting up LAPIS Systems Large Molecule Conjuration Suite...100%Administering 50cc KYKEON (tm) via spinal chord injection...100%Rebooting...Scanning For Additional Mental Contamination...100%No Contamination Found.Performance Nominal, All Systems Green.Would you like to load one of your preset configurations?Loading Clad_In_Light_07...100%Set Up: Holy Wisdom who shines above, deliver us from from the Black Star Below=====Below the neck, your naked body begins to glow in imitation of the golden light of Holy Wisdom, whose radiance drives away the Black Mist and the demons it gives birth to. Your radiance is not His - for none among the Stars can match Him, let alone their humble children - but it does cast a light at least half as bright as day into the clearing. Your Holy Father need not lend you his protection when you are like this, for even if your hair blows wildly in the air, your radiance keeps your secrets for you. The woodland creatures stir and shiver, awoken by the sound of battle and the blinding light you shed. So why haven't Bear and Claudia woken up? the smallest corner of your mind thinks.Unfortunately, its voice is crowded out by a chorus of righteous indignation and divine fury, for all you see before you is a twisted and wretched demon wearing the skin of a man."[Defiance 13:37-41] Let peal the thunderous corpse-whale horn and cry the song of ruin!" You barely recognize your own voice as you quote the half-forgotten book of a long forgotten star. The demon's eyes widen when you break the lock of your weapons, throwing aside his axe and relentlessly press the attack. "The walls of the Black City shall fall, and from the ruins shall pour the cup of wrath and malice. One hundred and eight billion demons shall crash against the shields of the righteous. One hundred and eight billion demons shall be put to the sword. For this is the Will of Wisdom, that the shadow be forever broken!"Apocryphal scriptures slips from your mouth less like a prayer and more like the battle cry of a furious berserker. Every sentence is punctuated by a swing of Metron and Nomos that has all the wild grace of a starving wolf ravaging the throat of an weary elk. It is not the dance-like form your performed for Diligence, but something savage and precise. You waste no motion upon flourish or beauty, your every movement acting towards the singular goal of breaking the demon's guard and running it through.In the distance, you hear trumpets. A rough noise, made of bone.
>>5362674The blessed frequency rings beneath the trumpets, a chord for their discordant song to follow as the sound of steel clashing with steel provides the rhythm. Even with your ascension heightening every physical ability, and the blessed frequency filling your heart and opening the gate of dreams within your mind and granting your its impossible clarity, you cannot pierce the guard of this opponent. Every time you think you find a hole in the demon's defenses, his axe is there to catch Metron or Nomos and force it back and around. The interruptions his axe makes in the flow of your savage dance of blades does not break your movement or your guard, however. You do not allow it to do so. You instead let the momentum of your deflected blades carry you into your next swing. It's a horrifically ugly and efficient style, but this is not an opponent against whom you can afford beauty and grace. No motion is wasted, every force against you is redirected into another blow at another opening you find. Only for his axe or its haft to meet you halfway and knock you into another rebounding exchange. It's almost as if the demon was toying with you. To your credit, Damien struggles to make each parry and riposte with his axe as look as effortless as they seem to you. His pride as your senior is on the line here, and you're fighting as if possessed by the angel of battle herself. So of course he gives it his all, all so his cute little junior will respect him as his senior and understand the (rapidly closing) gap between the two of them. The fact that he has yet to land a solid blow against you has put out his spirit just a little bit.That could also be the sheer amount of noise you're making, though.The magic of music is the opposite of subtle."Would you mind turning those trumpets down, kiddo?" the demon growls, its tone distorted and heavy to your ears. Or perhaps that's just your imagination. Laced in the words you can feel magic weighing down upon your mind and trying to push you towards it. "You're going to wake every critter in ten clicks, you know, and some of them ain't friendly. And for that matter, it's beginning to give me a headache..."If you still had your wits full about you, the spell - or, really, the power - he used upon you may well have worked. Such a command would have turned rational thought against you, filled you with doubt that keeping the air filled with the cry of the corpse-whale trumpets was a good idea. After all, he makes a good point about unfriendly creatures even without the underlying command.The problem is, your head is empty and your rationality has tucked itself away in the corner to have a good cry.He emptied it himself, and filled it with a void of terror.Right now, the only thoughts within your waking mind are the Song of Ruin, the Blessed Frequency, and burning need to purge the demon with the power of music...
>>5362680"Do not presume to give me orders, DEMON!" You spit the word like a foul curse, unbecoming of a holy maiden such as yourself. Your rationality has slowly begun to seep back in between the harmony of the song that swells in your heart. You can say something that isn't a quote from scripture again. "I am a shrine maiden, diligent and pure... and I kneel only before my Holy Father and Wisdom Above. None other - least of all a foul demon like you!"The demon balks when you call him for what he is, and as you continue your swings, his fighting style shifts. He no longer tries to follow up his parries with attacks into your guard for you to dodge, instead focusing purely on defense. He knocks away your attacks instead of trying to circle around them and riposte, forcing you to move back, build distance, and watch for a hole that you can exploit.But none come."Parva, you're confused," the demon says. It has the gall to fake concern."You lie," you growl at him. Your eyes leave him for a split second, Metron and Nomos held in warding position. Claudia and Bear haven't so much as stirred, despite the furious trumpets blaring. "What else but a demon's sorcery would have kept them asleep through our battle?""This is a test, your test, remember?" the demons insists, and it almost sounds logical. But you remember, the demon possessed that dorky senior of yours. No matter what logic it brings, you can't let yourself be swayed. For his sake. "They're asleep so they don't interfere with my test of your combat readiness. [Goodrest] is the spell, I can cast it on you as well, it will hel-""Enough of your lies," you declare. Your stance sinks into the ground, your lithe body coiling and getting ready to pounce. If you can't find an opening, you'll make one with your speed and exorcize him in a single stroke. "[Prudence 66:17-19] And for the dark beasts that crawl up from the pit below, you are to offer them no comfort and listen not to their poisoned words. For their tongues are those of a liar, and their promises are the road to damnation.""Stars above..." the demon takes the Stars in vain. A common practice among the Faithful, it is true, but a demon does not have that privilege. He lowers his axe and offers a hand in false peace. Slowly circling around towards the lean-to. "Look, I'll undo the spell, just let me go in and-"An image flashes before your eyes.The real thing that stirred the panic in your heart. Not the demon, but of their aftermath. Bear's dead eyed handmaid splayed out upon the bed. Only now it's Bear. Bear, and maybe a fuzzy image of Claudia too."You won't touch them!"You move in a flash. Steel catches the moonlight and strikes flesh."Be at peace," the victor says.
>>5362691You took a hell of a blow there, but you're alive and your wits have decided to return to you. Where are you?>Bear is giving you a lap pillow outside your lean-to. Ufufufu, what's that delightful expression on his face?>Claudia is welcoming you back to the land of the living. Your bed is rocking back and forth - you're on a boat, on the lake.>It's still dark. Barely been a minute. Tefra is sitting across from you at the campfire, with a sheepish looking Damien.>You're waking up to an unfamiliar ceiling. Radford is dozing off in a chair, while Bear seems to be borrowing your lap as his pillow. How cute~Regardless of your decision, roll 1d100Holy moly am I glad to be done with that section. I was kind of worried that the reveal that this was a test killed the potential emotional impact of the fight. That's sort of why I had been stuck, because with it becoming just a spar, there wasn't any impact. Parva's not trying to prove anything, she wasn't desperate here, the guy isn't an enemy.But having his demoralization/fear/mind magic (foreshadowed by his note about him wanting to erase his chuuni cringe from her memory) a bit too well got the conflict for the fight that I needed. Also helps that I got a new backup keyboard that actually works now.
Rolled 64 (1d100)>>5362697>It's still dark. Barely been a minute. Tefra is sitting across from you at the campfire, with a sheepish looking Damien.>>5362697Man, I'm impressed that you managed that. At first I thought it'd be just him trying to maintain his pose, but the terror wave was neat and the (expected) beatdown came later than I figured it'd come.
Rolled 46 (1d100)>>5362697>Bear is giving you a lap pillow outside your lean-to. Ufufufu, what's that delightful expression on his face?
Rolled 67 (1d100)>>5362697>>Bear is giving you a lap pillow outside your lean-to. Ufufufu, what's that delightful expression on his face?
Rolled 21 (1d100)>>5362697>It's still dark. Barely been a minute. Tefra is sitting across from you at the campfire, with a sheepish looking Damien.Yeah I understand getting stuck on an update due to not getting the mood right. Can’t wait to be deemed too zealous. Also:>Starting up LAPIS Systems Large Molecule Conjuration Suite...100%>KYKEON (tm)So transforming can purge some stuff via creating medicine (which is still trademarked).
>>5362697>Claudia is welcoming you back to the land of the livingA boat ride sounds fun.
Rolled 98 (1d100)>>5362892Oops
>>5362716>>5362889Yeah. Again, I'm just happy to have gotten through this scene and to have it behind me. As a note, there will not be an update until Sunday at the earliest due to timing of things (I've got company tomorrow and no time tonight).This arc will be finished relatively soon! I will probably end up taking some time to polish what's been written, so the pace might slow down a bit. Or I'll just keep chugging, and only polish things up once I'm a ways through it all. I dunno.>>5362889I wouldn't say too Zealous, but Mentor Tefra will definitely be sitting you - all of you, really - down for some talks to help you manage intense fear like that (as that was supernatural "your mind is imagining the worst thing possible" fear). You might even get an apology from Damien for putting you through that.As for KYKEON, the trademark is a legacy thing rather than something that's still enforced. That's just how it returns in the database. It's a metaphysical drug that is a mix of stimulants and (to borrow D&D terms) a potion of Greater Heroism. It effectively eats fear and turns it into courage. Which, uh, when the fear hit you so hard (because Damien didn't hold back or account for you not having your barrier jacket up when he used it) that you stopped thinking, resulted in Parva going full Crusader Mode.HEAD EMPTYNO THOUGHTSONLY FAITH
>>5363050So Damian basically made us Morb ?
Rolled 37 (1d100)>>5362697>>You're waking up to an unfamiliar ceiling. Radford is dozing off in a chair, while Bear seems to be borrowing your lap as his pillow. How cute~
Rolled 14 (1d100)>>5362697>>Bear is giving you a lap pillow outside your lean-to. Ufufufu, what's that delightful expression on his face?Cute!
>>5362697>It's still dark. Barely been a minute. Tefra is sitting across from you at the campfire, with a sheepish looking Damien. >>5363050So basically Damien's little overkill stunt forced our LAPIS to give us magical meth?Hopefully the cut isnt that deep
Rolled 60 (1d100)>>5362697Forgot my roll
>>5362697>>Bear is giving you a lap pillow outside your lean-to. Ufufufu, what's that delightful expression on his face?
Rolled 52 (1d100)>>5364017
Rolled 24 (1d100)>>5362697>It's still dark. Barely been a minute. Tefra is sitting across from you at the campfire, with a sheepish looking Damien.
Rolled 58 (1d100)>>5362697>>Bear is giving you a lap pillow outside your lean-to. Ufufufu, what's that delightful expression on his face?
Just giving notice that there will be no update tonight. Got a decent chunk through the update, but it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to finish this tonight.As always, if you have lore questions, I will do what I can to answer them during my lunch break tomorrow.
>>5366024What are the cup sizes of everyone in the party?
>>5366071I am sorry, but that is sensitive medical information that Bear and Claudia would prefer to refrain from disclosing, please understand. Parva does not know her proper cup size, as - being the very model of the feminine ideal of her age (tall, fair, and svelte) - she is flat enough that she does not need to concern herself with such things.For the record, Tefra has H-Cups. Fortunately, he also has a strong back to bear them.
>>5366075But how will she feed her children with Bear without a proper bust
>>5366082Carefully and lovingly
>>5366024Do they have any archeological record of ancient magical girl anime and will they need to review them as part of their schoolwork?
Rolled 89 (1d100)>>5362697>Bear is giving you a lap pillow outside your lean-to. Ufufufu, what's that delightful expression on his face?
>>5362697Changing to >>5366242From >>5363105
>>5366075How many kids manage to pass school without PTSD or just pass at all? If the trials parva and company have passed through are so.ething to go by, it sounds to me that a lot of kinds end up traumatized to hell and back.
>>5366240They've reconstructed a few things, and some historical Mahou Shoujo might be expies of Nanoha characters and such. Reviewing old fiction would be part of ancient literature stuff XD.>>5366304Usually students are not thrown into this level of survival training and such until much, much later on. This 100% is a "scare them straight" exercise. Tefra is also a bit of a hardass when it comes to how he trains students. He knows the horrors of the Black Mist very well, and wants to prepare his students - even if that preparation is cruel.That being said, the therapy here is top notch, and there are dedicated courses on dealing with horror and mandatory time with the local clergy to help with trauma. Part of being in the clergy is being more or less a trained therapist.In terms of numbers, about 80% of the students obtain their license in 4 years or less, 10% drop out, and 10% leave with the intent of pursuing a different profession.
>>5366362Confirming that this was, in fact me, and also posting that it's looking like I will not have time to finish the update tonight. In the interim... while you were out, you dreamed. It's a fleeting memory now, but what was it that you dreamed of?>Whalesong and the breaching leviathan.>The haunting melody of a frozen winter's gale.>The crackling refrain of the bonfire's blaze.>The hollow rumble of the mountain chorus.
>>5366727Water, wind, fire, and earth? I’ll go>The haunting melody of a frozen winter's gale.since I’m partial to wind.
>>5366727>Whalesong and the breaching leviathan.Just feels right for some reason. Probably some show or song I'm subtly remembering
>>5366727>The haunting melody of a frozen winter's gale
>>5366727>>The crackling refrain of the bonfire's blaze.
>>5366727>Whalesong and the breaching leviathan.It’s a melody that has haunted mankind since it first set sea and the origin of the song of the siren. If this is somehow related to magic it might even help with mental magic types either offensively or defensively due to that.And I find the idea of a song that makes men go mad throwing themselves at her while she has little to no interest outside of the song itself funny.
>>5366727>Whalesong and the breaching leviathan.
>>5366727>>The hollow rumble of the mountain chorus
Not going to be able to finish the update tonight. Timing has been rough these past few days. If someone could please break the tie, I would be much obliged.
Word of warning Headmaster, there’s been a string of quests randomly getting shot down recently. So it might be a good idea to archive early as Sup/tg/ updates until the thread goes down.
>>5369128Thanks for the head's up. I've gone and added it to the archives. https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2022/5332516/
>>5369196Any update today?
>>5369336If you asked me 15 minutes ago I would have said no. But HXD saved my ass and helped recover what I lost, god bless it. Give me another hour or so.
When you next open your eyes, you are greeted with a most pleasant sight indeed. Strawberry blonde hair mussed about by the gentle rigors of two nights without proper grooming still manages to perfectly frame a face filled with boyish charm. Seriously, it's not fair how pretty Bear is without even putting in even the slightest effort. Were you not a holy maiden, diligent and pure, an emotion resembling jealousy might crawl up from the bottom of your heart where such petty and base emotions should remain.Fortunately for him, you are a shrine maiden, so such petty matters do not interest you.It's still all manner of unfair, though.He does not seem to notice that you've woken up just yet. All the better, as it lets you drink deeply of the rather delicious expression painted upon his face with lines of furrowed worry, the gentle coloring of his cheeks, and the shadow of concern that veils his emerald eyes. Your lips curl into a smile for a moment when you notice that his gaze travels down your body, and you almost sing out a teasing question of just what thoughts about your naked body are running through his boyish head. But you feel the light and silky fabric of your jersey draping you once again, and realize that he must be looking your over for injuries.Even if you don't have such an easy excuse to tease your friend, he has given you the best seat in the camp for you to fill up on your Bearium. Indeed your head is resting on prime real estate that Bear must be feeling quite bold to entrust you with. Not only have you been blessed with a soft lap to rest your head upon, but you can also feel something terribly excited brush up against the back of your head from time to time. A more foolish girl would yelp and jump away when they realized the presence of a weapon filled with the vim and vigor of youth, but you know you have nothing to fear. Instead, you shall maintain a serene expression while Bear absent-mindedly runs his fingers through your golden hair, looking up at him and waiting for him to notice that you're awake.Your face definitely hasn't turned a bright shade of cherry red when you realized just what part of your friend's anatomy brushed up against you. Your heart certainly isn't pounding in your ears as you become very acutely aware of each and every time it touches you through his pants. The awkward noises and motions Bear as he tries to get it to calm down, or at least tuck it away where it won't bother you don't make your breath hitch. You definitely have no idea what you're supposed to do with that anyways when you're faced with one, besides knowing that it's what a maiden's dreams are made of. One of these statements is actually true."Oh...!" Bear gives a noise of surprise when he finally catches that your eyes are open. Looking down at you, his face is every bit as red as your own. You both silently agree to pretend that neither of you felt anything strange. "Parva, you're awake! That's good..."
>>5369373"Why do you sound so surprised?" you croak. Your throat feels surprisingly sore, as if you had been shouting for a good long while, or maybe singing for hours on end. The last thing you remember is going a little berserk, but not that berserk. Just chanting scripture angrily before getting knocked out. Reluctantly, you push yourself up and off of Bear's lap and brush yourself off. "Did that fake Dark Lord hit me too hard at the end there, or something? Don't tell me I'm the only one who failed the test...""Fake Dark Lord...?" Bear stares at you in confusion. "Sorry, what's this about a test?"T'was a test of our combat readiness, or so the Fake Dark Lord said," You tell Bear through a yawn. As you speak, you slide from the cot and onto your feet and begin running through some morning calisthenics. Surprisingly, the floor of the lean-to has flooded a bit, getting up a bit past your ankles. "Had a big axe, liked to talk about taking our heads. You were asleep though.""Well I remember a man with a big axe, but he didn't say anything about taking our heads," Bear says. A pondering look crosses his face for a moment before he perks up. "He thought you'd be out for a few days, though, when we spoke to him.""Oh, come now, you both should have known better," you say in a chiding tone. You muscles feel rather stiff, so you go through the routine twice, making sure to stretch out your body as best as you can. "I had my barrier jacket on when he knocked me out. Part of their function is to heal you right back up when you're injured. He didn't hit me that hard."Bear looks like he wants to say something, but then he closes his mouth. Claudia peaks in through the door. Her curls have been soaked through with water and she does not look amused. The rainfall and flooding must have happened during her shift. Unlike Bear, she doesn't hold her tongue, though what she says when she sees you up and about leaves you more than a little confused. "You know what, I will refrain from asking how you're awake right now. It is clear that the Stars and Holy Wisdom have a special providence for Shrine Maidens.""Well, of course they do," you tell her. The Stars do not like playing favorites, but they will nudge things for the sake of those who keep faithful their oaths. A child of the Royal Family should know that more than anyone, carrying their divine right to rule. "A shrine maiden who remains diligent and pure in her duties to the stars will of course receive their holy blessing, such is the way of the world.""Childe Parva..." Claudia strains. Her eye twitches, and you have to keep yourself from shivering. You have not known her as long as you would like, but Claudia has only used your honorific when you annoyed her, thus far. She looks like she's about to burst into a rant... but then lets out a sigh. "You are an absurdity, do you know that?""Parva, what's the last thing you remember happening?" Bear asks.
>>5369377"Let me think..." You say. You lean backwards, going through the final paces of your morning routine. Things become a bit blurry after... you assume Damien made a psychic attack against you that invoked your fears. "That fake Dark Lord and I were fighting outside, and for various reasons I had become convinced that he was a demon... in retrospect, I feel kind of silly about that. I started quoting scripture at him, he and I fight for a bit while you two were sleeping..."The sound of metal striking wood can be heard from outside. Over it, you can hear Claudia calling out: "That... is the last time... I go to bed... without casting [Mindguard Shield]!"When you tilt your head in confusion towards her, Bear waves you back with a quick explanation. "He told us about the spell he cast on us when... well, continue.""Well, there's not much else to say," you tell him with a shrug. "He must have cast a spell, because I wasn't thinking straight at all by that point. I kinda..."You turn red in the ears.This time it's Bear's turn to look at you with confusion. "You kinda what?""Well, I mean I thought he was a demon!" you tell him, as if that explains everything. You throw your hands up in the air, hoping he'll understand what you were thinking without you saying it, because you don't want to say it. Frankly, it still disturbs you enough that you have bad dreams about it. "You know what happened the last time that we fought demons. I was worried that-"You suddenly hear a crash and splash from outside, followed by the sound of someone rapidly wading through water. Claudia peaks her head back in through the door of the lean-to, the blinding brightness of the sun behind her. Shock is written all over her face."Beg pardon, did I hear that correctly, Parva?" she asked. "You and Bear have already faced demons?""Well, technically speaking they were cultists who invoked demonic spirits and not actual demons," Bear answers her before you can say anything. "At least, that's what Mr. Cobb thinks happened. Two demons show up, two new hires that had been brought on go missing... he's pretty pissed off that they passed our background checks...""Yeah, well, demons or faithless scum invoking them, they still did really bad stuff to Lucy," you say. Your lips thin as you think back on what happened last night. "I kinda... well, since I had it in my head that he was a demon, I thought he was gonna... do bad stuff to you two. So I went and did an all out attack!"Bear and Claudia both share a look at one another, and then stare at you."Parva, do remind me to never get on your bad side," Claudia says."Yeah, your all out attack is kind of scary," Bear agrees."What are you two talking about?" You tilt your head in confusion, which seems to befuddle the both of them. While exchange another look, you go on. "He kicked my butt, I didn't even hit him. He knocked me out with a single swing.""...beg pardon?"
>>5369380"Are you sure that you're not misremembering anything?" Bear asks. The expression on his face would be rather delightful under different circumstances, but you don't remember doing anything deserving of such confusion, befuddlement, and awe. "Nothing happened afterwards that you're leaving out, he just knocked you out cold in a single hit?""Yeah..." you say. Something is itching at the back of your mind, though. "I did have a fairly vivid dream, though.""Did this dream involve whales, by any chance?" Claudia asks."As a matter of fact, it did!" You say. The memory you have of your dream is something far more clear and vivid that what you had of the battle with Damien. "I dreamt of old Terra and the great saltwater lakes that separated the continents. I was on a white boat that was running parallel with the waves, standing on the deck of the bow. No, wait, I wasn't standing, I was dancing to the call of the leviathans, and I held a conductor's baton in each hand whose signal they would answer with their song."Then the leviathans joined me in my dance," you say. Bear and Claudia share another look with one another. "They were really quite graceful creatures for their size. They took turns leaping from the water and crashing back down on their back, sending plumes of water into the air and cover the boat with mist and sea spray. I didn't really mind though, it was a hot summer's day and the water was quite cool..."A small smile crosses your face as you remember the way the leviathans sang, the haunting and enthralling melody that they used to talk to one another. It's a shame that most of the shards with lakes large enough to hold such creatures were lost to the Black Mist long ago."Um, P-P-P-Parva..." Bear has regressed to stammering, and ends up trailing off without finishing what he meant to say. "I d-d-don't think...""You are an absurdity beyond comprehension, Parva," Claudia says. She steps inside and grabs ahold of you hand, pulling you along behind her as she heads back outside. As you follow you notice something odd that you should have noticed earlier. The water barely feels like it's flowing anywhere. "Behold, your dream made manifest upon the world, in all its glory."Claudia makes a grand gesture at what remains of your camp.It is underwater, coming up to your and Claudia's calves. This is rather concerning, considering the fact that you made this on a ledge overlooking the lake with a roughly ten foot drop. The entire hillock is underwater save for a small patch at the peak, where waves gently lap at it. It appears that the shore of the lake has moved to account for this sudden addition of eight feet of depth to the entire lake. Claudia claps you on the shoulder as you look around and behold the flood for yourself, caught between the valleys."Oh..." You're not really sure what else you can say."Yeah," Claudia and Bear agree with the sentiment. "Oh."
>>5369383You have no idea how you did it, but apparently you caused the sort of mass flooding in this area that falls into the category of a "100 Year Flood" after you fell unconscious. Per Claudia and Bear, it apparently involved "a flock of watery leviathans answering the call of your song." Fortunately, Claudia has put together... not a boat, but a raft for you all to take.>The shortest route is a straight line across the lake, and straight on to the Tower.>The safest route follows the shoreline, such as it is after the flood you caused.>The best of both worlds is to hop from island to island.Regardless of your choice, roll 1d20 and 1d100
Rolled 3 (1d20)>>5369386>The safest route follows the shoreline, such as it is after the flood you caused. So parva can do weird shit™. I shudder to think what kind of destruction she could do if she manages to call in the spirit/energy of a rock wyrm or a dragon. Thats some scary stuff.
Rolled 31 (1d100)>>5369405
Rolled 5 (1d20)>>5369386>>The shortest route is a straight line across the lake, and straight on to the Tower.
Rolled 74 (1d100)>>5369421
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>5369386>The safest route follows the shoreline, such as it is after the flood you caused.
Rolled 17 (1d100)>>5369431
Rolled 18 (1d20)>>5369386>The safest route follows the shoreline, such as it is after the flood you caused>.He didn't hit me that hard." Bear looks like he wants to say something, but then he closes his mouth.How hard did he really hit us? Also a flood might be the least dangerous outcome of that vote, we’d probably have frozen everything or cause a massive forest fire.
Rolled 68 (1d100)>>5369511
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>5369386>>The safest route follows the shoreline, such as it is after the flood you caused.Bear is great
Rolled 77 (1d100)>>5369533
Rolled 17 (1d20)>>5369386>>The best of both worlds is to hop from island to island.Bear could be deep inside her and Parva would still call herself a pure holy maiden.
Rolled 33 (1d100)>>5369891
>>5369386>The best of both worlds is to hop from island to island.I guess this is what can happen when you cast magic by feelings instead of spells instead. You get knocked out in your barrier jacket, slip into a dream, and continue casting “spells” thanks to how the dream makes you feel. Maybe Diligence had a hand in setting it up in the LAPIS so she’d defend herself even when unconscious?I wonder what Damien’s reaction to us will be when we show up at the academy and meet him in normal circumstances. And what sort of rumors he’s already spreading about us. He’d better not be giving people the wrong idea!
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>5369386Anything that might get angry from us flooding everything should have already woken up and started enough problems to be visible. Ergo the shoreline is the least safe spot from anything big deciding to investigate a new sudden water source.>go straight through the lake. Maybe there’s still some leftover magic in the air that’ll let the rest of the party see some cute baby leviathans swimming while we sail?
Rolled 31 (1d100)>>5370090
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>5369967>>5369386Forgot to roll.
>>5369405Parva is... special. To use a Pathfinder metaphor, in a world of vancian wizards, she's not just a sorcerer, she's using a completely different casting subsystem. Same power source (the starlight which shines from on high), just a very different method in how it's used. More "natural", less precise.>>5369511Hard enough for you to fall unconscious, but not hard enough to break your barrier jacket. And, yes - the other options were "everything caught fire", "everything froze over", or "Your lean-to is now at the peak of a new mountain".>>5369891Look, she doesn't know what to do with a dick, she thinks what the demons were doing to Lucy was evil (wait until she finds out that it's what penises are for). She's just very curious about them, as is natural for a maiden in her springtime.>>5369967This is a very interesting theory.As for rumors Damien might start, well, they'd begin with "that scary nudist who calls herself a shrine maiden".>>5370090Choices represent the party's overall survival knowledge and wisdom. That's a good point, but the Ash Pups haven't considered it yet.No update tonight. Next update should be Saturday, though I might end up doing a little hiatus after this thread ends as my work life is going to be (and has been) rather hectic in the near future for about two weeks. Plus I have vacation coming and I'd like to just do a post a day during the start of a new thread then, so I might work on polish until vacation time (those with QQ accounts might see it come up as a story). If I do go on hiatus, I'll be back at the start of September.
>>5370173QQ account ?
>>5370189Questionable Questing, mostly because this isn't really a place to post non-quest stuff and they're a board that are largely OK with anything. Needs an account to view NSFW stuff and it will proooobably fall under that just to be safe.
>>5370173With the way things are going here this thread may last another week or longer lol.
Rolled 2 (1d20)>>5369386>The best of both worlds is to hop from island to island.
Rolled 70 (1d100)>>5370715
Rolled 9 (1d20)>>5369386>The shortest route is a straight line across the lake, and straight on to the Tower.
Rolled 93 (1d100)>>5371985
>>5370173So do you still plan on pumping out another update before the thread gets archived? Personally I'd like to see you make a new thread right away since we can do lore QA even without story posts.
>>5372572In that case, I might go ahead and make a new thread tonight then. I wasn't sure what the etiquette for /qst/ is on that, I used to do things on /tg/ before /qst/ was a thing, but that board moved a lot faster.
>>5372602There's no written etiquette really. Several quests had discussion threads when the QM was unable to update regularly.
>>5372602The only thing that is asked is for the QM to warn the voters if he can’t doot/will stay away for a long time.
>>5372789>>5372805Probably no new thread tonight. Next post WILL be a new thread, but social activity went on longer than expected this weekend. Which isn't bad, but is bad for writing time.