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Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM): Monster Academy - Chapter 4.2b Jungle Gym


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Asano's method of teleportation left everyone feeling a little dry, but it was insanely quick. They arrived within the gymnasium, or at least where it should be. Instead, they found themselves amidst a giant jungle. Giant trees, dense foliage, and all the sounds and smells one would expect greeted them.

Asano looked around. "Great, someone left it on Predator mode. The headmaster is really going to have to have a talk with his staff."

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"Awesome, I just love jungles." Jiren said with a dry laugh, a faint hint of sarcasm in his voice as he took in his surroundings. "You know, it's probably called predator mode for a reason. I think we'd best be careful." His eyes narrowed as they furtively scanned the area, looking for hidden assailants or anything suspicious. "What is this, some kind of survival training simulation or something?" he asked, not addressing anyone in particular.

It kind of worried him that he had never heard of this mode before, not even from one of the more senior members of the basketball team. There were probably a few nasty surprises along the way, and it would be best to be prepared.

Taking a position at the group's rear, he kept his eyes peeled, making sure nothing would be able to sneak up on them from behind.

Mind stat roll: Look around for anything suspicious.

glyde *rolls* 2d6: 4+3+4: 11

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Asano nodded. "It's called that because it's made to directly counter whatever monsters are present, at their power level." That this came from the most powerful Fire Elemental was not the best thing in the world. "With it being a jungle I can't use alot of my stronger powers. Maybe it will work in our favor."

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"If it's optimized to beat you, maybe the rest of us will have a chance," Aria said. "The tactics to defeat a fire lord won't necessarily work on the rest of us."

She frowned, then added, "It might be faster just to find a way out and have a school staff member shut off whatever is making all this. Searching through this foliage will be slow going for most of us. On the other hand...I don't think it will be much impediment for me."

Aria melted into a tower of spiders that streamed away into the bushes in all directions and began the hunt!

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Asano nodded. "It is not acknowledging my codes as a lord, so I doubtr it will be any better for others. Besides, we're in the midst of it finding a way out would be just as difficult."

"Do not stray too far Aria, and Darrkik, let's get moving." He looked to Jiren and nodded. "Come on."

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Aria couldn't talk to them in this form, but following them was simple. Her awareness spread out over and around them, seeing the world through thousands of simple eyes all at once. A single spider didn't see much beyond smears of movement and light intensity, resolving shapes only close up. But hundreds of spiders still collected a lot of information which flowed to Aria's consciousness, where her mind assembled that information into a tapestry of moving, shifting image; each one crafted from the perceptions of multiple spiders comparing the same object. Her central mind started to fade about a hundred feet away from the center of the swarm, and was gone twenty feet later. The spiders could not venture farther than that. Even so, this resulted in a moving mass roughly two hundred feet across that saw, heard, smelled and felt almost everything in its path. She left a little bubble of area around the others free...so as not to risk having fragments of herself trodden upon.

Truth be said, she didn't like showing this aspect of herself off. It made detecting her presence much easier if you knew what to look for. It also felt a little like grandstanding to her, even if her current audience wouldn't know it. Among the jorogumo, the swarm form was considered the hardest to master. Few managed it before a century of their lives had been lived...though in fairness, few tried. She herself had worked extremely hard at it, and she was considered something of a talent at the Seven Spider-Demon Transformations. Already she could control her True Form's size from that of a dog, to that of a horse. That, plus her human form was four of the seven right there. Now the Swarm made five. The sixth was another permutation of the True...and the seventh was by far the hardest. Most jorogumo lived and died never having seen it, let alone mastered it themselves. But the Spider Folk were a quiet, secretive folk, and their lore was known by few outside their circles. They didn't have the raw power of dragons, or the sorceries of warlocks and demons. They survived because they knew much more of everyone else than was known about them, and because when all else failed, the jorogumo knew how to hide....and how to wait.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Aria felt them coming first, half a dozen sets of claws against the trees, then she could see them. BloodApes. each was about the size of a large silverback, but bloodred colored. One dropped down onto asano, driving him to the ground, as another three hit the ground moving towards Darrik and Jiren.

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Asano exploded into action, claws sprouting from his fingertips as he hit and slashed one of the bloodapes. Thankfully it wasn't much of a match for him. He looked to the others. You have to put them down fast. Blood Apes get stronger and faster once injured...."

(Jiren is up)

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Attack rolls:

glyde *rolls* 2d6: 3+2+11: 16

glyde *rolls* 2d6: 4+6+11: 21

"Take them down quickly? Okay. No problem," Jiren thought as he turned to face the loping beasts. His eyes narrowed as they focused on one that was closing in on him. "Let's start with this one." The yokai took a moment to size up his target. This ape seemed tough, but it wasn't anything he couldn't handle.

Digging down with one foot for better traction, the greater demon launched himself forward. Moving almost too quickly for human eyes to follow, he quickly closed the gap between himself and the ape, catching it completely by surprise with a flurry of punches and kicks.

Connecting with a vicious straight that snapped the primate's head back, Jiren drew back, preparing another strike as his opponent staggered backwards. Stepping forward and unleashing a devastating right hook, he tagged the beast on the side of its jaw, sending the Blood Ape flying and spinning into the air before crashing down in a motionless heap over 10 meters away.

Jiren allowed himself a slight smile of satisfaction. This one clearly wasn't getting up. Not after taking that hit.

"Uh, next?" he said cheerfully, turning his attention to the remaining Blood Apes.

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Darrik whirled backwards and began to move his hands in a rapid focusing motion in order to concentrate his spells. A shadowy guard surrounded him now, and he prepared Shadow's Rain to attack.

OOC
Power Flux: Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 2+2+7: 11 + 1 = 12

10 EP spent to increase that roll.

HP: 135/135

EP: 120/130

Power Setting: Weapon 8 (Autofire, Range 1), Force Field 5 (Regenerating)

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The cautious ape was attacked first, its hesitancy being its doom. Without a noise, the jungle behind it turned black as hundreds of spiders glided out of the bushes and underbrush and began climbing over the creature. It hooted and brushed at itself, then screeched as it was covered in a carpet of glittering black chitin; in an undulating forest of legs and eyes and fangs. Spiders went on, ignoring the flailing of the first ape to engulf the second one as well...all in that eerie silence, with the only sound being that of her victims. A sharp eye could see too that the spiders weren't biting randomly all over...but rather that they were seeking out soft places, tender and vulnerable areas where the blood was close to the skin, and the poison could be delivered with precision and devastating effect.

(natural 12 on attack roll...each ape takes 66 damage)

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While gravely wounding each ape, these were of course blood apes. With a feral hoot and bellow of rage, they seemed to bulk up, and almost glow with blood frenzy. The two injured apes charged, one going after Jiren, the other after Darrik. Wiping away the spiders didn't even cross their minds.

(each of you needs to roll defense vs 16 (Jiren) and 14 (Darrik) or take 50 damage from the apes powerful fists, as they lash out at you Jiren you will be up.)

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[glyde] 10:27 pm: defense roll:

glyde *rolls* 2d6: 2+1+12: 15

(Ouch, can I use energy to increase that roll?)

[glyde] 10:28 pm: ok, attack rolls.

glyde *rolls* 2d6: 3+2+11: 16

glyde *rolls* 2d6: 4+4+11: 19

glyde *rolls* 2d6: 6+6+11: 23

(I'll fill in the post later)

As much as he wouldn't want to admit it, Jiren was caught off-guard by the ape's sudden charge. The last thing he had expected it to do was to rush forward, especially after all the bites it had already suffered. He tried desperately to side step the ape's backhanded swing, only to get knocked off his feet by a brutal hit to the side of his ribcage.

The greater demon prince grimaced as he went down, more out of annoyance then out of pain. "Oh great, how many ribs did I break this time?" he cursed silently, knowing that he had nobody else to blame but himself for this latest development. He had gotten careless again. Jiren had long since learned how to retain his demonic strength and agility while wearing his human mask, but sometimes it was all too easy to forget just how frail he was in this form... That is, until faced with unpleasant reminders, such as getting clobbered by a simulacrum of a giant red primate, for instance.

In any case, there would be time enough to berate himself over the lapse later on, but right now he had business to take care of. For a moment he considered unmasking himself, but if these monsters were programmed to fight at their target's power level as Asano had mentioned, he was worried that revealing his true form might only make things worse. He would have to do this the hard way.

Flipping neatly back onto his feet, he slid back out of the creature's reach. Jiren took a moment to catch his breath before bursting forward. This time it was the ape's turn to be caught off guard. Not expecting it's prey to recover so quickly from its earlier attack, it clumsily raised its arms to defend itself, only for Jiren to duck under them and deliver a quick succession of blows to the mid-section, ending with an elbow ram aimed straight for the brute's chest.

Jiren heaved a short sigh of relief as the ape collapsed before him. Falling back into a ready stance he glanced around, looking around for any other possible assailants.

HP: 20/70

EP: 50/50

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Darrik spun away from the fists, and leveled a hand at the brute. "Shadow's Rain!" He shouted, sending forth a stream of black energy at the blood ape.

OOC
Defense Roll: Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 5+6+10: 21

2 Attack rolls:

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 1+2+10: 13

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 1+5+10: 16

Each attack deals 40 dmg if hitting, and is Autofire...

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Jiren nodded silently in agreement.

Wincing slightly, he managed a slight smile as he fell in behind the rest of the group, once again keeping a wary eye out for anyone... or anything approaching from the rear.

"Which way do we go from here?"

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The mass of spiders pooled, then started climbing upwards, skittering over each other's backs to make a sort of lumpy tower of legs and eyes and bulbous bodies. Then they seemed to reach a kind of critical mass, and the 'umps' resolved into a feminine humanoid silhouette, and the details of the surface merged and blurred and became Aria. It was hard to tell from looking at the transformation how deep it went. Was Aria something that could break itself down into spiders? Or was the humanoid mask she wore a thin shell over a body constantly filled with squirming bugs?

"Since it's obviously no coincidence the gym's functions were turned on, I suggest we follow the path of most resistance," Aria said. "Whatever did this, did it to keep us away from something. The gym's resources are finite though, so he'd have concentrated most of the resistance around the sigil itself. We can tell if we're on the right track roughly on how difficult the battles are therefore. Right now, I expect we've still got a distance to go."

She looked down at the blood ape's body and didn't say the rest of what was on her mind. The gymnasium's simulation systems wouldn't leave bodies behind. It was just a simulation. No matter how realistic, the apes wouldn't have been real. These had been. She wasn't sure what that meant, but she doubted it was anything good.

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Darrik nodded... then closed his eyes, forcing himself to connect to the magic harder than before, feeling the swansong ambient tune of mana all around him, and differentiating out what was different, alien, other. Unique too, with the brand of the sigils. Using his focus as tightly as he could manage it, he stepped forward and let the call show him the way forward. "North." He mumbled, and set out in the forefront.

OOC
Mind+Supersenses: Magic

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 4+3+11: 18

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Darrik grinned nonchalantly, and began, even as they walked, to form his hands into the caste gestures for full dispelling of magic. "We'll see about that." A wave of disrupting energy like that, with his whole force going into it, could sweep hundreds of miles.... surely it would suffice for here?

OOC
Shifting Power Flux:

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 3+5+7: 15

Successful, setting:

Nullify 2 (Source: Magic, Area 8)

Gonna try and knock out the Pocket Dimension magic

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The effect was dramatic, as the magic holding the dimension failed. reality began to crash around them, tightening into an ever-shrinking sphere. They were trapped with no apparent way out, in a reality that would crush them to a singularity before returning to oblivion.

Asano looked at Darrik. "This is why the entirety of the yokai look down on your people you know. You have power, and either you don't think before applying it, or you only think things halfway through."

(2 rounds until the reality closes, and... welll.... yeahh Good Luck.)

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"Well, on the bright side, at least he got that last blood ape. I guess we won't have to worry about it bringing some of its friends to the party now," Jiren quipped, shaking his head in exasperation as he watched the world collapsing in on them. "Anyone else have any bright ideas?"

He shot a look in the elemental fire lord's direction, all the while struggling to keep his balance as the ground heaved and shook underneath him. "Lord Asano, can't you get us out of here with your magic or something?"

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Aria took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Events had narrowed to a binary conclusion. If she was right, they'd live. If not, it looked like everyone but Asano would die.

"If this doesn't work, come back for the sigil at least," Aria asked the elemental lord, then she looked up and addressed...no one? Everything? Only the voice that emerged from her lips wasn't her own. It was the deeper, rougher voice of the Headmaster.

"This is an emergency, restart the gymnasium pocket universe, I repeat...restart the gymnasium's simulation pocket universe at once!"

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"Abort sequence initated, please enter passcode to terminate pocket reality safely."

"I swear to God I will melt you into slag......" Asano's remark wasn't picked up, but Serena's was.

"Passcode, Eternity!"

"Passcode accepted program ending in 5..." they could see the walls of reality closing in.

"4..." the sky faded

"3.." The horizon faded.

"2..." the ground began to fade.

"1..." They could fell themselves begining to compress, and then white light, as they emerged into the gymnasium, the sigil glowing about ten meters away, intact, as they were.

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Aria shivered, then rolled her shoulders to work the tense muscles there. "Not exactly what I had in mind...but it'll definitely do." She eyed Serena. "I'd ask how you knew that code, but at this point...I'm just glad you did."

"Lord Asano, would you like the privilege?" She gestured at the gleaming sigil, inviting him to be the one to destroy it.

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Jiren grinned, shooting Aria and Serena a thankful look for saving the day.

"Well that was a little too close for comfort," he breathed, glancing around at the suddenly familiar surroundings. He walked up to the warlock, his grin widening into a full smile as he came to a stop beside the caster of shadow magic. Laughing heartily, he gave Darrik a friendly thump on the back, which with his inhuman strength seemed a bit more solid than it should have been. "Next time you might want to give us an advanced warning before you pull another stunt like that," Jiren said cheerfully. "I would've wanted a chance to set my affairs in order before getting crushed by a collapsing training sim, you know?"

There was something in his manner of speaking that told Darrik he was lucky to be getting off easy this time around.

"Anyway, are we done here? Or are there more sigils that need to be dealt with?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

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