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Justin OOC

Level 2: Might and Magic

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It had been two weeks since they returned from their fist mission, and Everyone was enjoying life at home, the calmness of normalcy.  Each of them hadn't been called that entire time, so when they received a text from the Gamemaster, it was met with varying responses.  "Come to the shop, we have a new Level open to us, one that I think is right up your alley.  Also I have a new surprise."

For Ryan's part, he closed the phone and sighed.   He was at his old home, and quickly head out to the shop to await the others.  He'd not really seen any of his fellow players since coming home, mostly he just spent his time catching up on the world's progress since he was last there.

"I wonder what he's got in store for us this time."  he spoke softly as he head for the shop.

 

  Okay you guys can describe what you've done since the last mission in your first posts, but it should conclude with you all arriving at the shop.

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The moment she received the GM's text was both the most terrifying and most happy one she'd had in two weeks. Going back to the Shrine, to being The Ryougi Shrine Maiden, after helping to save an entire world was awful in it's way, like tossing tar on the fabric of almost forgotten dreams. There had been the fear of pain and death, of course, but it had been bright and colorful and so much more than the mundane expectations of the Duty. It all dragged on her, even more weight on her shoulders that she struggled to keep out of her duties and ritual performances. There was always something that needed doing, Ryougis were the unshakeable pillar of the Sapporo shrine, and she wouldn't let something as... childish as disappointed boredom drag her down.     

Her brother had noticed, of course, despite her best smiles and polite deflections. He always did when she was down, even if the Grandaunts and their oft-absent Father didn't. Something about her sweeping the leaves a fraction slower than usual or pausing too long to pick the best possible words to describe her day.

Yuuki didn't know what she'd do without him. That's what fed the terror half of her reaction to the call. She'd been able to hold her tongue, barely, against her brother's questions and concerned looks, to keep her secret, but the very real danger she'd just vanish on him and might not ever come back... That would be cruel, so if there was a way she could get away with telling him without breaking the GM's rules... It couldn't hurt to ask? Right. That determination gave speed to her feet after getting off the bus and focus to her brown eyes. She turned the final corner and approached the shop, knocking twice before opening the door and slipping inside, scanning the room for anyone who beat her there.     

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Tori put down the text book she had been studying and pulled the earbuds from her ears, she glanced over at, Jodi Stanley, her roommate in the dorm, who was herself studying or supposed to be but she was on her phone texting and laughing. Probably some airhead boy.

She looked at her own phone, silent and somewhat ominous on the stand by her bed next to her laptop and her keys.

Her Keys and the electric key fob that didn't start her car but instead opened up a whole different world.

It had been two weeks since they had gotten back from the bug level and they had all left the wizards (she couldn't bring herself to call him Game Master that was just silly, like wizard wasn't) house and gone back to their own lives. Tori didn't really know any of the others none of them did but even before the weekend had ended and she had returned to school she missed them. She guessed it was that whole sisterhood in arms thing. They had faced Life and Death Had fought side by side in a battle that the world would never understand or even believe. Yeah she missed them and she missed her Banshee.

The Wizard hadn't said anything about using her mech or any of the others about using their powers but it seemed prudent not to flash those things around. So Tori had gone back to school, she studied, hung out with her usual friends, wet about business as usual. But she was subdued and what was worse none  of her 'friends' seemed to even notice much less care. She found her self missing those weirdo's from the wizards house, and missing the excitement.

BUZZZZZZ!

Her phone vibrated and she jump with a start, glanced at her roommate who was still oblivious texting and grabbed up her phone.

[ Come to the shop, we have a new Level open to us, one that I think is right up your alley.  Also I have a new surprise]

She read it twice then sprung to her feet and called out to Jodi "Hey I gotta go family thing don't know when I'll be back" She didn't even register Jodi's response or if she even gave one, she was already half out the door when she skidded to a stop. "Oh yeah gonna need these!" She race back to her night stand and scooped up her keys and with a thought her laptop as well. "See ya!" She called again and then she was out the door and on her way to the next adventure!

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Tori arrived not long after Yuuki, and together they went inside.  It was the first time they'd really had time to look around.  The shop itself was nondescript, though if anything it was in a larger building than  most gameshops would be housed in.   There was one vehicle there, and the sign said it was open.  Two things stood out,  First, it was very clean, and smelled mostly of a pine forest, which given that it was literally about ten yards from a large one, wasn't so far fetched.   The second was the sheer amount of inventory.  Row after row of comics, off to the left, and to the right, A long wall of miniatures for dozens of different games.   The large glass counters held various single cards from many games, with a sign stating that vintage products were available by appointment.   Movie memorabilia, toys, books, pretty much everything that was part of modern gaming culture was there.   along the back She could see more rooms, and even tables set up.   This was an enormous store, seemingly far bigger inside than out.  

In the back they found Ryan, seated in one of several chairs in what looked to be a small library and reading area.  The books there were a mixed bag, and for his part, Ryan was reading The Lord of the Rings.  He smiled up at both of them, and nodded.  "Good to see you both.   The Old Man's in back, trying to get abit more info for us on the new level.   Vesper's not here yet, so why don't you take a seat for now, or you can look around."

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Tori scowled. People who were late annoyed her. but she figured it was to be expected after all with the whole nihilist Gothic thing and all. "I hope she isn't going to be too long." She looked around at all the stuff it was quite a inventory but it was also all orderly and clean very much unlike most shops of this sort she had ever been in.

"We're the only ones here? Is this place a real store or just a cover?"

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"Oh it's a real store, but The Old Man has an ability to keep people away when he wants to.  The better to cover up his other activities with us.   Near as I can tell it's just a sort of subtle suggestive mirage.  of course sometimes the truly dedicated get past it, and he'll handle them.   Mostly, he's gone to actually doing sales online, and some "Game nights for Beginners"   basically he sorta inverts the effect, and people who want to game come in, and learn or play the various games.  Only time i've seen someone buy anything is cards."

Ryan's answer was simple, and hinted at some other things.  "You ought to come out, you might enjoy it, some of the games are actually pretty fun."

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"Thank you for the invitation. I'll think about it if I can make the time," Yuuki replied, settling down into a chair and smoothing out her skirt, glancing away scan the book shelves and subdue the bubble of regret that she'd never find a good reason to do so. Things like this were part of the childishness she couldn't afford as part of the Duty. However...

"You're welcome to visit the Shrine, too, if you want. We live in the back of the grounds, so there's always someone around, and assuming there isn't a festival around the corner, I should be able to give you a tour, a quick one at least. You could meet my brother. He'd be glad to see that I'm making friends again," the shrine maiden eagerly continued before pausing as she realized just what she said, mask cracking a little as she back pedaled, "That is... I mean... Ahem, I don't want to presume on your time. Forgive me. There's something I really need to ask the Gamemaster, and it's distracting me."    

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Her phone buzzed. Vesper looked over at it from where she was sprawled face-first on her bed. On the charging dock she could juuuuust see the screen.

Ugh.

She buried her face in the bedspread again.

It was so fucking weird. Like, okay...you think having special powers would be amazing, right? Even if they did come with some weird death-ghost-thing that was constantly hovering around you. Shit, because they did! That was fucking metal! But...this whole 'game master' thing. It cheapened it. Having powers felt tawdry and almost demeaning, like they were just actors on America's Got Powers or something. And they went to other worlds and helped people and that was okay maybe but...what about THIS world? Who was helping HERE?

fuuuuuuuuuuck

Now they were going to do it again, and she had to do it too or she'd lose her powers or who even knew maybe she'd have to get killed or something but it didn't really matter because the fuck she was going to turn her back on psychic witchcraft shit. Even if it was starting to feel hollow, just like everything else.

Grumbling under her breath, Vesper rolled over onto her back and pulled herself out of bed to get dressed.

--------

She plodded through the door to the shop, having taken no effort to hurry there, and gave everyone a listless nod. She didn't have a cigarette at the moment, but that probably had everything to do with the steaming Starbucks coffee cup in her hand.

"Hey," Vesper greeted noncommittally, not making eye contact with anyone as she slid down into an empty chair. She could ask what was up, or what the 'mission' was but...eh. Coffee.

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With Vesper's arrival,  the players were there, and finally the Game Master emerged from the back.   "Well, I was going to introduce you to a new player today, but it appears she's running late.  If she arrives before too long, I'll send her along after you."

Ryan just stared at him.  "Wait, you can do that?"

"You aren't the only ones who get new abilities when you clear a Level, Ryan.   So long as my initial four players go together, I can send up to two more as reinforcements to the same level now, if I understand it correctly."

He looked at the trio of ladies.  "We've got abit of time before the window closes, so I've been working to get some more information for you all.   This Level is more of a traditional Fantasy world, similar to the first one you went to, Ryan."

"Well at least it won't be that bad.   The worst thing was the lack of plumbing, let me tell you..."  The younger man nodded sagely, It was something he'd missed from this world.

"You won't get the objectives until you get there, but it's a world with real magic, and minimal technology.   That said it could have some surprises for you all, if you're not that familiar with Fantasy works."

 

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"No, it should work fine,  just saying aside from your phones, and the Banshee, don't expect any other real technology that you're used to seeing."  The Game Master replied quietly.

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The shrine maiden stood up and bowed at the GM when he entered, features attentive.

Yuuki brightened briefly at the prospect of a magical world this time around before her social mask recovered from it's momentary flailing. She could handle a magical world. Those kind of stories had been her bread and butter before her Mother died, and if it meshed with her powers better than the last one... All the better on every level. If she could figure out the rules in play from that, hopefully there'd be less confusion this time around. Too much could be at stake to allow that again.

"Just call your mech a 'golem' around any locals, Cannon, and we should be fine, assuming they don't try to kill us for using the wrong kind of magic," she volunteered with a trace of amused caution, dredging through half-forgotten stories, "As for when we go, I assume it's when the last of us say our magic words. I think I'll start: Player One, Buying In."

 

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The group went through and nothing happened, and Ryan shook his head, and smiled.  "Doesn't work quite like that Yuuki. You're not Player One."   He looked at the others.  "When you start a game, the players don't change who's who most of the time.   You all each laid claim to your spot in the order the same as me, even if it was done in various ways. You're that Player position until you die.  Rules are rules I guess, so I'll start us off this time, if there's No Objections."

He looked at each of them and then stated "Player One, Buying In."

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Ryan earned himself a veeeery thinly veiled look of annoyance from the shrine maiden, but she held her tongue out of long practice at patience in the face of the ridiculous.

"Player Two, Buying in," she replied, eager to get this started.

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Tori sucked in her lips to keep from laughing at the little Japaneses girl with the super green thumb. Still trying to keep the humor out of her voice she spoke

"Player Three buying in," she said casting a glance at Vesper.

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Vesper rolled her eyes and looked at the Game Master.

"This is really petty," she informed him. His expression never wavered though. Expectation. Nevertheless, she persists. "Rules are only rules because you're deciding them. This is all on you."

He shrugged, but nothing else changed.

"Player four, signing in."

Nothing.

"Signing on. Checking the box. Saying okay. Giving a thumbs up."

The Game Master just shook his head slightly.

"Jesus fuck, man, you've got issues."

Finally she gave up and said, "Player four, buying in."

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"Be sure to tell the Universe that when you meet it, I imagine it could use a good laugh."   Was the Gamemaster's reply.   She'd understand, in time.

There was a flash of light as they could all feel the power  of the Nexus opening up, enveloping them, and then they were in another world.   The air was crisp and clean, and smelled of nature, which given they stood in a small glade amidst towering trees, was fitting.   There was even a sign.   Ryan held up his phone, and tapped a small icon.  "Ukrus Rest stop.   By permission of the Elflord Arkas, this glade is for travelers to rest without fear of animal attacks.   Violate the tenants of our hospitality and you will be removed and unable to return.  Any goods you leave behind will be forfeit as well."   
He smiled  "That's pretty cool. "  He looked around, and found what he was looking for.  "There's a little exit out to the road through these woods.   Seems  this world's civilizations are fairly advanced, that something like this actually has magic attached."   

He smiled at the three other players.  "Be careful here, your powers may or may not be exactly as they normally are.  Magic is very tempestuous, based on my own experience, and can be really awesome, or really terrifying."
He let the others get their bearings as he  checked the phone for their objectives.  There were six.
"First, We have to protect Theo Cornaro, and prevent his death at the hands of Chaos.   Figures it's another escort mission..  

Second, we have to Slay Lord Jurgen Vorn.    Of course, we'll need more info, but kill quests aren't new.

Third, two of us must learn this world's magic.   Well that's definitely gonna be you two, as I have a sort of anti-affinity for Magic.


Fourth, The Prince and princess of the Kingdom of Andvise and Roselim Empire must be successfuly wed.    I guess we're playing matchmaker.


Fifth, A new emperor Must be crowned.   So we have to help with a coronation, I've done that before actually.


Sixth, We must successfuly Contain Chaos.   Sounds either like we're battling an  elemental force, or a demon on that one."

 

He looked to the others, hoping one would have their map open.  "So, where do you want to start?"
 

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The shrine maiden hugged herself, nodding intently to the list of objectives, although it was hard to keep a frown from her face after Ryan listed off the third one. She flashbacked to the years and years of training and study and practice and devotion that went into the Duty, the rituals, the dances, the hundred-and-one tasks that she needed to do every single day as a part of her faith and her magic. And Shinto's magic, the magic of the kami, was... subtle, so subtle that an unbeliever would be forgiven for thinking that the charms and the dances and the rituals had nothing to do what followed, the quiet miracles of everyday rhythm of success and failure that the kami invisibly nudged along. That all of it was in Yuuki's head and the heads of the shrine's visitors as she did her Duty and handed out charms to students who redoubled their studies after receiving them.

Before accepting the GM's bargain, Yuuki herself couldn't point to anything objective she had done to satisfy the accusations of an unbeliever.

How much harder would it be to get a handle on a magic system that was much more active then her own training?

"Based on my experience, the third quest will be the hardest and longest to do," she volunteered softly, "But we can't complete the first or fourth quests if any of those three people die, so finding and making a good first impression with at least one of them as soon as possible is most important. So who is closest? *That's* where we start until we get more information about this world." 

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Tori was looking around at all the green, she wasn't really the woodsy type. "Elflord huh? Learn magic sheesh. This is like D&D isn't it?

Ok well we don't know enough so we need to find this Theo guy that's the only name we have and unless there's a computer or an old fashioned phone book around one of you guys is gonna have to use you whammy stuff since you two already know magic."

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"We're gonna be here forever," Vesper sighed, producing a cigarette and a lighter. "Do we age when we're doing this? Is there paperwork to get back the precious moments of our lives we're spending on it?"

She exhaled smoke and shook her head. "Lets find Theo Cornrow then, since that's the only one on the shopping list that has a definite deadline."

With a glance at Therion over her shoulder, Vesper beckoned the spirit to follow and started off.

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Ryan shrugged.  "Could be Yuuki, we don't know because we don't know what magic is like here.  I'm sure we'll find out though."  Ryan switched his phone to the map, going through the search function and trying to Find Theo.   he shook his head.  "He's not within a mile of us, so we've got a hike ahead."

 

He spared Vesper a dour look.   "Yes we age.  I was fifteen when I started the first level.  I'm nineteen now, and no we don't get the time back, unless someone happens to get that power."   Ryan followed behind her, along with Yuuki and Tori,  and sighed.   "I wish the search function had a range of more than a mile for people."   He kept pinging his phone at ten minute intervals, and finally scowled after they'd covered a couple miles.   "There are definitely demons here, we seem to be heading towards them... "  he trailed off.   "And Theo's there with one other person...  Against three demons.  guess we need to hurry."  He took note of where the ping was.   "Tori, you might want to call the Banshee, that way the three of you don't have to walk.  We're in a forest, so don't use the buster rifle, no need to start a blaze."   With that he took off running, not like the flash, but far faster than most humans can run.

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Vesper lifted her arms out and said, "Therion, get me there faster."

There was a shimmer behind her, the suggestion of a towering shape barely seen. Then Vesper rose up off the ground and began floating forward at high speed. Not car-fast, but faster than she could run herself.

(Therion turns solid but is still invisible, and carries Vesper at 10kph)

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"I'll be good, Tori. Just worry about yourself it seems," the shrine maiden offered with a bemused look at the trees around them.

"Hokaido Fertile Guardian Expression!" she called at the top of her lungs, throwing up one hand as the storm of flower petals engulfed her position in swirling pink. The petals scattered in all directions as a pillar of green light announced their position to anyone for miles around. The initial lightshow ended to reveal the exotic and elegant form of the transformed Yuuki, black-clad form sporting an additional verdant whip at her hips.

Her golden eyes widened slightly at the sight as well as the feeling of increased vigor pumping through her veins, "Oh, that's new. Try not to shoot me out of the trees and I'll keep you covered like last time, okay?" 

And then she was off in the wake of the first two, whips in time singing out to catch on sturdy branches and propel her through the treeline with green hair streaming behind her.

Spoiler

Special Movement: Balance + Swinging

 

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"Guys," Tori called out! "Reign it in. We don't know the situation, who the players are or what our abilities can and can't do here. So maybe we should use a little discretion." She makes a pointed look at Vesper then turns to face Ryan putting hands on hips.

"You need to give us more guidance Ryan. This is only our second time and last time we showed up in the middle of a battle. So this is all new." She swung her arm out in a sweeping gesture to indicate everything.

"So what do we do?"

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Ryan heard her and actually slowed, but didn't stop, pulling out his phone as he ran.  Tori's phone squawked like a radio and ryan began to speak through it, and both Vesper's and Yuuki's.   "Tori, I've only done this one more time than you three.  One of the guys we've got to keep alive is in a fight against worse than average odds, hence the hurry to get to him.  We don't know if he's a god of war, or how powerful demons are, but I'm choosing to err on the side of caution.  We do what we have to do, save him and then we can talk to him, and hopefully get some good information from him about the state of the world and the other people mentioned in the Win Conditions."

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Yuuki had no free hands to respond to Ryan's call nor more than half-a-mind to consider making a reply, a small smile blooming on her face. Demons. They were fighting demons, the very things her whip, well, whips could very well be especially good against. Out went the left hand weapon, snapping taut to absorb and redirect her airborne momentum. Snap went the right whip, sending her careening back towards her original course. She wanted to whoop with joy as she avoided clipping a tree trunk by inches on one swing, liable to go spinning into an acutely painful faceplant if she failed a single maneuver.

But she didn't. This whole insane rush was as natural as breathing with the magic flowing through her veins. And that *did* make her chuckle to herself.

The sound of battle ahead and to her left stilled the laughter, game face falling back into place as five figures came into sight between the rushing trees, two human, three obviously not. Snap went a whip, sending her up and into a spin that ended with her perched on a stout branch above the fight, already clutching a glowing seed in one hand. Golden eyes took in the scene below. 2 pitch black minotaurs and a pitch black wolf vs a man straight out of a fantasy movie sword and all and a blonde woman without weapons. 'Mage' whispered a sense the shrine maiden didn't couldn't quite tell if it was a voice or a thought as she glanced at the woman. Wait, what? No. Nevermind.

"Sacred Bamboo Grove Ramparts!" she called as she dropped off the branch behind the monsters, seed flying up and over to engulf the duo of natives within the spectral shelter of her living magic, even as she dropped to a fighting stance with both whips in hand, green hair blowing in the wind, "We're here to help. Stay in the bamboo."

Spoiler

Dropping the forcefield so that it protects the two other humans.

 

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"With nothing else to be said he continued his run back at full speed, catching up to the others.  Everyone got there at nearly the same moment, to behold a Young man with Dark green hair, wielding a shield gauntlet and sword, fighting off against two Wolf like creatures, and a third that was more akin to a minotaur.   What made the creatures stand out was that they looked almost like congealed shadows, solid black with only glowing red eyes for a color, Even the wolves' fangs were black, and it was as if the darkness drew in light, and everything else.  A short distance away were two horses hitched to an almost royal looking carriage, and another dead horse.    half a dozen corpses were scattered around, from their attire, to Ryan it was clear they were bandits.   They'd likely tried to ambush a noble, and then got attacked by the creatures.   Standing by the Carriage was a young blonde woman, bearing no weapons, but she did look to not be all that concerned.    There's a small wand with a crystal bulb in her right hand, but she doesn't seem to be actively supporting the young man fighting the monsters, and they are certainly leaving her be.

His right arm glows with a blue light, enveloping his sword as well as he guards against the creatures of shadow.    Then Yuuki's Rampart shield springs up between them, blocking their view from each other and he turns to look at the trio of people with utter confusion.    Fear passes through his eyes as he sees the flying metal warrior that is the Banshee, and Ryan doesn't even stop, running to him, then leaping over the shield and then diving down at the wolves.  "Don't hesitate, Fight Dammit!"   it was unclear who he was yelling at, but the Young lord quickly regained his composure.   Unlike Ryan though he'd have to go around the massive shield.   Using Laevatein, Ryan  slashed at one wolf  and frowned as the wolf jumped over his swing, and at him.   Deftly he ducked under the wolf and moved to bring his guard up.  These things were abit nastier than he thought.   "If you have light magic use it, these things look to be pure shadow."

 

pictures Theo
img_main.png

 

The blonde
Omake+ScreenCap+-+Grancrest+Senki+-+Epis

 

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"Well i don't have any light magic,"Tori said mostly to herself "but I do have these Banshee fire pattern bravo 3 Starfires lets light this place up!"

The computer gave a single terse affirmative and deep inside the bulk of the mech magazines change and special ammo slides into breaches.

With a dull wump a trio of shells fired out of tubes located between the wings of the flying mech the flew upwards in three different directions to a good 300 feet above when the burst into bright phosphorus light and began a slow drift down toward the ground which would take several minutes

Spoiler

tori fires starfire illumination rounds to light up the area  have no idea what the effect if any might be in your court gm

 

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Golden eyes tracked the lordling's progress with a flicker, and the mind behind them came to a choice just as quickly. The world seemed to slow down a fraction as Yuuki called up her energies in a pulse of green light that swept along the ground in the lordling's direction. "Bounded Field Blooming!" she called, voice flowing smoothly through the invocation even as she willed the trees along the edge of the clearing to weave branches old and new into an extended barrier between the lordling and the monsters. He needed to live and they needed questions answered. Neither involved him getting himself killed.

 "Rooting Strike!" she followed up with a spin on one heel, one whip blooming into a mass of entangling vines that snapped towards the closest shadow minotaur, her chosen opponent this fight.

Spoiler

Plant Control Roll

2D6+13 => 18

Attack Roll with a -2 penalty to the minotaur's dodge roll, 38 damage if it hits and entangle effect.

2D6+8 => 16

 

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The Flares lit the entire battlefield and that certainly did some damage to the monsters,  With yuuki's own attacks They bound the minotaur and began to strangle it.   The Wolves weakened by the flares halted where they were, and Ryan moved fast, slashing twice to take down the first wolf.   Theo meanwhile was completely surrounded by the Bamboo shields and safe, though he could no longer act.

It was then that the woman spoke.  "You must let him fight, or he cannot claim the cores."   Hearing that Ryan frowned, but then slashed at the shield, Cutting the new erected one down, and he leaped out, Slashing just over Ryan's head, cutting down the remaining wolf.  "Thanks."   

Theo nodded.  "Let's finish this."

With Yuuki binding the remaining monster, Ryan made a couple strikes to weaken it, and then Theo took its head.  From the three monsters rose three cores of swirling chaos, Which after sheathing his sword, Theo put his right hand into and seemingly absorbed them.  After that he nodded, and lead them back to the carriage.  "Thank you for saving me.   To whom do I have the honor of speaking?"

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Tori Landed and dismounted then with a flick of her thumb on the key chain sucked the mech back into its extra dimensional space.

"That would be us the three musketeers." Tori said flatly.

The woman frowned, "But there are four of you?"

"Read the book you'll understand."

 

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With a horrified flash in her eyes, Yuuki inserted herself between the brash pilot and the locals with the slightest of apologetic head bows. She gave the two her best smile, the scent of sakura blossoms heavy off of her. 

"You'll have to forgive my companion. As skilled a warrior as she is, Miss Cannon sometimes doesn't know when to... temper her words meeting new people,"  the shrine maiden added into the opening, straightening fully again, "I am Ryougi Yuuki. That is Vesper, and our last comrade is Ryan Church. Our patron sent us to help a Theo Cornaro defeat chaos, and we noticed you were having some trouble. Perhaps you can give us  some leads to find him. May we have your names, my Lord and Lady?"

No point in overplaying their advantages, much as they suspected he was their mark. The whole absorbing the 'essence' of the slain monsters didn't entirely sit well with her either. But questions would have to wait until they finished introductions.

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Vesper nodded mutely at the locals and went over to take a closer look at the spots that the bodies of the creatures had been. Wolves and...minotaur? Huh. That was a new one. Not to mention how they'd sort of dissolved into light or something, and disappeared.

"What was that thing you did when they died?" she wants to know.

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Theo looked at Tori for a moment, not getting the joke, but thankful for the woman's help in battle.   He didn't seem to take issue with her tone at all, after all he was used to that sort of tone.

"I am Theo Cornaro, of the Island kingdom of Sigurd.   I came to the mainland to gain battle experience before I return home to bring peace to my homeland from the Tyrannical Lords ruling it."   He spoke calmly with a certainty and passion in his tone.   

It was the woman who answered Vesper.  "Lord Theo used the powers of his Crest to absorb and purify the Chaos cores of those monsters.   In doing so, he was able to grow stronger, enough now that he can actually award Subordinate crests,  making him a true Lord now, a Vicount, by my guess."

She smiled  "I am Siluca Arte, I am a Royal Academy Mage.  Recently I was dispatched to Locate Lord Theo to ascertain his suitability to being a Lord."

 

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Vesper shook her head wearily.

"Like, you're using English words, but your sentences make no sense. Crest? Chaos core? And it sounds like you're using 'lord' weird too, because...ugh, nevermind that."

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"I'm sure they'd find our own magic equally strange and interesting, Vesper. No need to be rude," Yuuki gently remanded her gothic comrade before softening her expression and focusing back on the duo of natives, thoughts racing. Could crests have something to do with whatever powers Lord Theo possessed? Strengthened by devouring spirits and... Shared, split.. with these lesser crests? Huh. Yet different enough from Arte's power to not ping as a 'mage', however the heck Yuuki was managing that new weirdness.

"As I said before, we have been sent to help you defeat chaos, Lord Theo, and can not return home to our home until that's done. Our knowledge of this world is extremely limited, and we have no means to return to our own, no possessions aside from what we have on our persons," Yuuki began, gold eyes suddenly gleaming with the realization of what they needed to do to succeed on a potentially long haul task like this, "If you'd trust us and support us, I promise you our trust and support in return until the time our mutual task is complete. Faith for faith, truth for truth, and honesty for honesty."

And with that, the shrine maiden dropped into a deep bow, gaze firmly on the ground, hands clasped respectfully in front of her, hoping for a 'yes' or at least not a 'no'.

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It wasn't Theo who'd been about to respond to Vesper, but Siluca, and it wasn't going to be that polite.  With Yuuki's quick reply that was headed off.  Theo instead replied.  "Chaos cores are cores of Chaos energy, the manifestation of dark deeds, emotions and energy to bring the world closer to oblivion.   All things possess this energy,  but only creatures of Darkness manifest it as a core, to my knowledge.  If a core isn't purified, they seep back into the environment and increase the chances of further chaos being created.  The crests that Lords bear allow them to purify the chaos and gain power.  This power can have many effects, often increasing base abilities of the Lord possessing the Crest, and can be used to inspire the soldiers they lead in battle."

He sighed.  "I am a natural Lord, my crest is my own, not gifted by anyone else.   I left my homeland as a child, and it has suffered greatly under those who were allowed to govern it.   I have to grow stronger to free my people.  That's why I've been defeating the Chaos beasts where I find them, but most were lesser beasts, which while needing to be destroyed, they really didn't increase my power much."

Siluca answered for him in regards to the latter "Of course we'll accept your aid, and help you how we can in turn."  this surprised everyone, but Ryan nodded.  "Right then.   So what do we do now?"

Siluca looked to the Carriage.  "Well the driver was killed, and Theo has his own horse.."  Ryan smiled.  "Sure, I'll drive, it's something I did before."   he went to inspect the Horses, as Theo retrieved his.  Siluca gestured to the three women there, and nodded  "it may be a little cramped, but we can all ride together in the carriage.   We're headed to Duke Antero's castle.  I was supposed to Contract with Theo there, but he happened upon us as bandits attacked, and fought them and the chaos beasts off.  Chaos beasts can feed on magic, so I was unable to help him with the fight."

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Yuuki arched one eyebrow at the reveal, absorbing the information for later. So her magic, at least her whips anyway, didn't count as magic here. Or at least the wrong kind of magic anyway.

"Someone should ride shotgun with Ryan on the way back just in case of more monsters," she offered, looking speculatively at Vesper, "Preferably someone with a range longer than the ten feet I'd get with my whips while moving. Plants don't do chases well. Oh, my apologies. A shotgun is a weapon from our world that you'd give to a person sitting next to the driver to scare bandits off."

She laughed a little, smiling a bit more naturally now that the immediate crisis was over and if she could... ah, quarantine... Vesper away from the locals that'd be one less fire she'd have to keep putting out. That much more effort to put into getting a handle on a magic tutor or two.

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