Type: Field An intermediate level field in Delta Server completely drained of any type of color except for the players gating in, of course. The field is mostly silent other than the sound of wind and the inhabitants of this area moving around amongst the foilage. A light fog covers the ground here, growing thicker to form a 'wall' around the area should the player travel a certain distance.
Name: Nightmare Elixir Summary: The wavemasters that study Dark elemental magic often think in unconventional ways. The Alchemy District's Magic Research Association is in need of [Screams of the Dead] in order to push forward their newest invention: Nightmare Elixirs. It's easy to channel the resentment of monsters into dark magic, they claim. Take this bottle with you and fill it with screams. You can collect a scream by standing near the monster and holding out the special bottle as it dies. Clear Conditions: - Collect 10 [Screams of the Dead]. - Report back to the Quest Shop. Restrictions: lv1+, min. 5 posts per player Location: Any Delta area Rewards: - 5exp - 50gp - Nightmare Elixir x10 [Consumable. Boosts darkness elemental attacks slightly.]
[attr="class","posttext"] Mouse had been glancing at the quests for awhile. She absolutely did want to try them all at least once, after all. Though, it was no fun to do them alone. Some even required that you bring others along. Her first thought was obviously to pop in on Gorre and harass him to go since Kaya was working, but- Well. She ought not pester those closest to her all the time. She did consider others when scrolling through her member addresses, but ultimately shied away from directly inviting anyone along. This left her with the final option of accepting the quest and leaving it open for others who came to the quest shop to join if they so chose.[break][break]
Overall, she.. Wasn't comfortable with strangers, but.. She wanted to do her best. That meant growing stronger for herself and for others, too. Also, should she cross paths with Cernunnos again, she did not want to be so easy to strike down as when they first met. She would never be a match for him, but at the very least, perhaps he would recognize her growth enough for a conversation. About what happened with Burgundy, or anything, really.[break][break]
[ GATE IN ]
Arriving at the Chaos Gate, Mouse blinked a few times. "An area devoid of color.." she murmured softly as she stepped forward a bit. Kneeling down, she plucked one of the gray flowers from its place in the ground to give it a little twirl. Humming in thought, she wandered over to a nearby rock to have a seat. Idly, she watched the fog swirl around the ground while she waited for someone else to arrive. With all the excitement still lingering from the initial introduction of the Quest Shop, she was sure it would only be a matter of time.[break][break]
The thought of seeing the face of someone she didn't know show up at the Chaos Gate not only made her head hurt, but slightly nauseated her. Which was precisely why she had to try. These were feelings she did not want. But would it be possible to continue seeing The World in the light she wanted when another one was continuously obscuring it? [break][break]
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Perhaps fortunately for Mouse, the first face to show up in the field ended up being relatively familiar. A tailed, hunched figure gated into the colorless foggy landscape, and immediately began quickly and sharply looking around like an alert groundhog or a curious bird. It was Ornery - how could it not be Ornery, really? The contrast of bright caustic lime green against the dark purples and greys was too noticeable for it not to be Ornery.
At least, it was especially noticeable amid a total lack of color everywhere else in the field. Amid monochromatic greys and blacks and whites, the eyes of observers would naturally catch on anything remotely colorful. Which was what Ornery was worried about.
"Damn, I sure picked an area to quest in, huh." He rubbed his forehead, frowning. His ears twitched once and then twice, but he still hadn't turned to look directly at Mouse. Perhaps he hadn't noticed her.
Or perhaps he was trying to be polite just in case she was hanging out there in order to have some time to herself.
"... Standing out like a carrot in a snowman's crotch, am I. Well, that's dandy. At least I won't have to look around too long to find some monsters to grotesquely murder for their delicious, delicious screams." He eyed the bottles in his inventory, eventually pulling one out and inspecting it under the dull light.
"This kinda makes me feel like I'm in a noir episode of some show." Ornery cleared his throat and straightened up, doing his best impression of a serious face, and continued talking to nobody in particular in a much lower voice. "It was a murky, foggy day out in Delta Quiet Illusion's Grey Dance, which perfectly matched how Ornery had felt waking up that morning."
Ornery pretended to take a puff of a nonexistent cigarette with his free hand, and continued.
"He'd gated into the field with an assignment no better than the usual. He'd had to manhandle the suspects before, but today, he was going to have to force them to talk - or," Ornery continued narrating, twirling the bottle, "he'd be forced to make them scream. There was no better task for this man, and you couldn't have found no better man to do the dirty work. If he had to count the sins he's committed, this one wouldn't have made the top 15."
Ornery shoved the bottle back into his inventory. And then, he realized something about his real life circumstances that prompted some disgusted investigation. He'd forgotten all about his drink! It was pretty warm by now, and probably pretty gross.
He tried it anyway and regretted it profoundly. Ornery only resumed his narration after a pause.
"He remembered the flat soda he poured into his glass two hours ago and took a resigned sip. Predictably, it tasted like piss. He deserved it, he thought." Ornery finished.
Though he'd already tried his hand at this quest before now, Incubus had chosen to try it out again. This time, he wasn't with Count, who was busy doing his own thing at the moment. It was kind of strange to be doing something like this by himself, but he'd checked and his boyfriend hadn't sounded like he minded, or generally cared. So, it was cool, he supposed.
Fortunately for him, he'd chosen to gate into a field that already had two whole people in itself! However, Incubus' initial enthusiasm waned as he realized he didn't know if these two were waiting for a third person already, or if they were both with separate parties, or...
Well, I'm never going to find out unless I ask, am I? Be a normal person, Souma. You can do it.
At least, that's what went through his mind before the lizardman started talking to himself. Incubus blinked at him, ears twitching in bafflement. Was it really alright for him to party up with someone this weird? But, come to think of it, this player looked vaguely familiar, so maybe he'd seen him around somewhere before. Not that it meant he was necessarily a good person, but Incubus was sure he'd remember if the encounter had been negative. He had a pretty good memory when it came to grudges.
Deciding that perhaps playing along a little would be in his best interests for worming his way into a party, he put on an inviting smile and stepped forward. "My, but that sounds unfortunate, Detective~."
Looking between the two of them, he beamed cheerfully, and gave a jaunty little wave. "Not to, ah, thrust myself into anything, but are you two already partied up? I'm here for a quest... ah..."
He paused upon noticing just how much higher their levels were than his. They probably wouldn't even spare him a glance, would they? His ears twitched again, this time warily, and the smile on his face faded slightly, though he tried to not make his dismay too apparent.
[attr="class","posttext"] Mouse jumped a little at the sound of someone else gating in. However, her expression quickly changed to one similar to an excited puppy when it was Ornery who appeared after all. What were the chances!? With a big smile on her face, she was ready to greet him- But.. What was this? Closing her mouth, Mouse chose instead to listen to his narrative instead of say anything right way. It was one of the few perks of being so quiet.[break][break]
However, the more he went on, the harder it was to remain quiet and also, the better she felt. She covered her mouth like a child trying not to laugh in class. Her eyes, bright with amusement shifted to the next player who gated in. The two of them observed for the moment until the stranger decided to participate in Ornery's little investigation. Shortly after, Mouse also stood up from her rock. She beamed up at Ornery before offering the stranger a cautious glance and the leftover smile from listening to her friend.[break][break]
"Good to have you on the case-" Mouse took a moment to read the longarm's name, "-Incubus. Me and my associate haven't properly teamed up yet.." Opening her menu, she sent her member address Incubus' way and would send the two of them a party invite as well before continuing. "While it may be too late for the soda, we still have these screams to attend to. Gentlemen?" Mouse kept playing along, having Ornery there was an instant anxiety killer so it was easy to speak freely in front of this Incubus person. [break][break]
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Ah, but Mouse was definitely not just there to quietly hang out - Ornery's monologue gave her plenty of time to abscond from the area or disappear into the fog. He grinned toothily and accepted the party invitation without further prompting. What part of his mood may've been killed by the flat, gross soda would be resurrected by this partying experience, he's sure.
And would you look at that, the other person wedging himself into the party is actually someone he finds familiar. It's...
"The guy I met at the graveyard that one time! In Nifl Phant!" Ornery laughed. "Hey there, Incubus. Omnibus. Autobus. Arquebus." He extended his hand to Incubus for a handshake quite gladly.
"Wonderful to have you on the case, my gravestone-giggling colleague. The three of us will solve this case and bring relative peace and justice to Gotham once again." He lowered his voice dramatically and artificially. "Although peace never lasts for long in this foggy city."
Ornery cleared his throat and then let himself slip back into his usual hunched pose, tail curled behind him.
"Let's make some monsters scream. Man, that's so morbid, though."
"It's my pleasure, Mouse. Many thanks for letting this dick learn from his senior inspectors!"
His smile returned at full force when he was accepted into the party, after all. Gladly, he swapped member addresses with both players, and accepted the party invitation sent his way. Though, this player named Ornery seemed to know him from---Nifl Phant?
"Ah, this detective is the very Ornery fellow I met, once upon a graveyard!" Incubus realized, his ears flicking with some excitement at meeting someone he'd already met before. Even though they hadn't really spoken all that long. Still, he shook the hand that had been extended in his direction, with the grip and timing of someone who was a pro at polite handshakes. Because if there were things he was good at, it was common, expected polite gestures.
"Well, this... foggy city is a lot better for screams than the sewers I did this quest in previously." He related, shaking his head. "I may already be a hardened dick, but what I and my companion found in those sewers... it haunts me to this day. But I digress! Let's get down to business."
[attr="class","posttext"] The fact that Ornery and Incubus had previously met served to further lighten Mouse's mood, as if the live action detective story wasn't enough. Once greetings, member addresses and party requests were out of the way, it was time to get down to business. "Right, I'm glad the two of you have already met, that will make this investigation run smoothly," She tried, she really did- Tried her best to have her take on a raspy middle-aged detective's voice, but it sounded more like some kind of smallish animated creature trying to portray a villain.[break][break]
Ultimately, she gave up on the dream in favor of keeping her voice. Mouse cleared her throat, but was distracted by a delayed realization of what Incubus had said. "S-sewers..?" She made a disgusted face, sticking her tongue out. "Eww! You're a far braver detective than I, Incubus. Hopefully this time around things go more smoothly, hm?" That being said, she made sure to remember the objective. "So, all we gotta do is collect screams before monster's die? O-oh.. That is kinda morbid," she said in agreement with Ornery before shrugging. "Well, you gotta do what you gotta do to uh- Git gud..?" Her eyes flicked to her friend briefly, having remembered him mention that term before she finally summoned her staff.[break][break]
Walking away from the Chaos Gate, she watched as the fog kind of moved around them as they moved, it was equal parts beautiful and disorienting being in a black and white area. Mostly, she was curious about the creatures that occupied this place. Taking a moment to make sure her companions were at least near her after being lost in thought, Mouse squeaked in surprise as she found herself falling forward. In the middle of the 'path' was some kind of large.. Fluffy..? Looking mass with another just like it further off to the side. As she was lifting herself back up again, embarrassed by not paying attention, one large eyeball would blink open on each of the balls of fluff.[break][break]
[break] Black Bird Lvl 15 x2[break] HP: 100%[break][break]
Standing from their roosting positions revealed they were actually quite tall, and very upset. They both started shrieking loudly, one hopping angrily towards Ornery and Incubus while the other made its way toward Mouse.
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"Sewers? Eww!" He cringed in sympathy, echoing Mouse almost perfectly in that moment. Collecting screams of whatever lived in actual sewers? Horrible. Why did [The World] even HAVE sewer fields? Okay, maybe he didn't have to wonder about it much, seeing as he vividly remembered the early VR days of R:1 and the many experimental environments it offered, like the disgusting tumorous flesh wall dungeons that felt like taking a slow crawl through a diseased beast's intestines.
Maybe in that sense, sewers were better. Only very marginally so.
"Before I start making real bad jokes about gumshoes, "hardened dick", let's move on from that particular topic, shall we?" He winked at Incubus and turned to wander onward alongside Mouse. He had a sensible giggle at her usage of "git gud", but didn't otherwise comment. If Mouse was making a conscious effort to acquaint herself with certain (sometimes outdated, admittedly) terminology that Ornery and his ilk tended to use, he couldn't discourage her. Well, he could do it - nothing stopped him - but he wouldn't because it would be unfun and immoral.
She was just trying to blend in and get along. It would be quite un-friendlike to mock her for it. In their own right, her reluctant attempts to be hip with the specific brand of stupid slang-slinging gamer that Ornery was were kind of adorable.
These creatures that Mouse tripped over and Ornery stopped short of, however, were less so. They were like a hybrid of a mimic, a Vague Videogame Fluffball Of Doom, and half a cassowary, and boy, did he not like the look of the talons on the leg of that thing making its way over to him. Mouse could hold her own against a level 15, so Ornery focused on making sure Incubus wouldn't get his face and ass traumatically transposed by an angry bird.
... Haha, angry bird.
Ornery began whistling a familiar tune as he ran to meet the Black Bird halfway, far enough that it wouldn't unexpectedly hit Incubus (he hoped) but close enough that Incubus could strike it, as a qualified Longarm.
He may have been, well, Ornery, but he was also dedicated to quashing the stereotype of the shitty, teamwork-avoidant, kill-stealing, roguish Twin Blade. He was in a party! He was supposed to do teamwork stuff! So that's what Ornery did, keeping what he knew of his party-mates and their skills in mind.
(Though he kind of doubted Mouse would be swinging a sword around this time.)
"Gale Blaa-a-aade! Time for some one-legged chicken tenders!" He cheerfully interrupted his own whistling of the official main theme of a game about flying birds and grounded pigs, and launched a flurry of blows at the Black Bird. His speed increased, and his Poison, for once, had the common decency to proc.
Rend did not. That was fine - in the end, both of those things were merely tasty bonuses.
He nodded along, eyes wide open and voice hushed as he related some of his dramatic, horrifying trauma from the sewers. "Oh, it absolutely stank! Almost literally. The monsters were---ugh, I can't even bear to describe them! You're best served using your imagination, if you wish to, but I really wouldn't recommend that. In any case you'd gross yourselves out."
Incubus grinned and winked at Ornery when he remarked on his choice of words, before something Mouse said caught his attention. He tilted his head at the use of the unfamiliar terminology.
"Git gud...? What does that mean?"
It seemed like he'd have to wait a little to get an answer, however, as the three of them stumbled - in Mouse's case literally - upon a couple of very odd monsters. They would've been cute, if their glares hadn't been so unsettling, and if Incubus had particularly liked birds.
"Okay---physical, maybe?" He muttered, and shifted into Fortress Stance, rooting himself in place for time being. Since it seemed like Ornery had the enemy distracted, Incubus struck out at it with his now long ranged Rampart Thrust, hoping he'd cause at least a little damage to it despite being four levels lower.
He nervously glanced towards the second Black Bird hopping towards Mouse while doing so. She was more than high level enough to deal with it, so Incubus wasn't needed, but it was awkward being a tank in this kind of a situation. He was really kind of no good here, was he? His fluffy tail lashed behind him with agitation.
Ugh... It'll be fine! They're probably not even thinking about it! Keep your cool, Souma!
[attr="class","posttext"] Mouse twirled her staff idly between her fingers as she backed away from the bird hopping towards her, sparing a glance to Ornery and Incubus as they began to deal with their own Black Bird. As she expected, they were doing just fine on their own. Ornery's attack had taken a big chunk, Incubus had nearly finished it off, but it ended up being the poison that took the final sliver of health. It was dying and ripe for some scream collecting. So now, as she looked back towards her own Black Bird, what had been a nervous smile turned into a grin. She put a little bit more speed into her back stepping to put space between her and the monster.[break][break]
Once she found herself at a decent distance, she flicked her staff forward, muttering a quick, "Gan Bolg." She wasn't sure if these things could actually fly or were even considered Wind element, but either way, there was no going wrong with armor-piercing rocks. The rocks rained down on the poor bird causing it to collapse as two earth runes appeared near Mouse's form through Extrapolate.[break][break]
She rushed forward as she noticed the health bar depleted a little more dramatically than she anticipated, retrieving one of the bottles from her inventory that was meant to capture screams. Though the beast was buried beneath rocks, she held the bottle near its beak to capture its final scream before it evaporated into a series of gray pixels. Tilting her head to glance at the item briefly before pocketing it once more, Mouse looked towards her companions.[break][break]
"W-well, that wasn't so bad. Oh-!" She smiled sweetly towards Incubus. "I think it's the first time I've seen a longarm in action. I look forward to seeing more." Looking towards Ornery now, she tilted her head. "Didja get the scream?" As she waited, she couldn't help but notice the sound of stomping in the distance and a light shake to the ground. Had the sound they made during combat attracted another's attention? If so.. It kinda.. Sounded like a pretty big something.[break][break] [break][break]
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Ornery used his tail as a makeshift bottle-holder, since both of his hands were somewhat busy with his blades, and killed their bird the rest of the way once the poison ticked it down to 1 HP. As its ugly dying screech sucked up into the bottle like a house into an American tornado, Ornery had nothing to do but wait.
So when Mouse finally asked the question, Ornery could rightfully and confidently nod. Yes, indeed, he'd gotten the scream! And to further make his point, he lifted up the bottle, demonstratively. No one could accuse him of being a liar now.
"Yep! One birdy screech, all accounted fo---"
Thump. Thump. Thumpthumpthump.
Ornery squinted at the scream swirling in the shaking bottle, and at the direction the noises were coming from.
"--oor. What the actual turbo fuck is that noise?"
He blinked at how quickly everything was over and done with.
As expected of higher level players...! I want to be that good, too.
Incubus blushed a little and beamed at Mouse. He was pretty sure she was a genuinely nice person! Or, at least, he hoped so. Maybe he was just too easily flattered?
"I don't have all the moves yet, but I'll do what I can~." He responded, and unrooted himself... just in time for the ground to shake. Truth be told, he felt like making a break for it at that moment, but instead, he gripped his spear and warily looked towards the direction of the sound.
"Er... is it okay to wait for it to get close...?"
This reminded him of his last encounter with something large, and he hadn't liked that at all. Then again, this wasn't in a sewer. Incubus tried to comfort himself with that fact.
[attr="class","posttext"] Just as Mouse opened her mouth to respond to both Ornery and Incubus, a large figure emerged from between the trees nearby. Large, gray arms spread the trees and brush apart as a darker set of arms stomped forward. The creature would seem blind at first, until the second head fell backward. One large eye bore into the trio while the mouth of the darker figure groaned. The beast drug itself forward, bellowing at the three of them.[break][break]
"O-oh yikes this one is kinda creepy.." Mouse muttered to her friends as she stepped backwards. The figure on the backside of the Siam rose his arms in the air before clapping his hands loudly as his stare remained on the three before him. The moment this happened, the figure below's head snapped into the direction of the players as well and it rushed forward in a burst of speed, using a Charge attack! Mouse quickly dove out of the way, for once, looking back towards Ornery and Incubus to make sure they were alright.[break][break]
Mouse took this opportunity to cast Rue Kruz, sending a wave of water and ice towards the massive beast. Two water runes and two ice runes Extrapolating and joining the earth runes already hovering around her PC. Was this stronger monster a direct consequence of making so much noise in such a quiet field? She cast a cautious look toward Incubus. Due to the shift in her and Cernunnos' relationship, some things had changed. She knew she wouldn't be able to take many hits anymore. She could only hope he had managed to avoid the sudden attack.[break][break]
The enhanced speed brought on by the earlier Gale Dance let Ornery dodge the charging attack with relative ease - though he'd, of course, try to pull Incubus to safety with himself if he didn't move fast enough alone. Ornery would have just tried to throw himself in Siam's way, but his previous experiences with charging attacks told him that he'd just get trampled over, and the monster would keep on keeping on in the same direction it was going, unstoppable.
So he chose the path of least resistance. As he often did.
Whether he got to drag Incubus with him or not, dodging to the side boosted his speed once more. He only needed one more to be able to unleash a heavy barrage of damage. For now, though, Ornery would pick a different tactic.
"Close your eyes! Sonic Strike!"
It didn't cause any damage to Siam, but it did afflict it with Blind. If it was an all-physical monster - and it looked like it - then it would not be able to land its next two attacks at all!
And if it had magic, even that was very likely to miss.
He only hoped that his teammates would take this chance to attack the monster unimpeded.