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supernal

A dollar for your sword

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Blairville
OOC

Only 2 people had shown up for his adventuring clinic.

A few factors contributed to this low attendance: he was kind of young for a professor, adventuring as a whole was on a decline as circumstances multiplied avenues by which a person could make a mint without putting their lives at risk, and he wanted to teach at an intermediate level when most people were either new to the field or tired, old hands at it already.

Appreciating these facts cerebrally failed to dull the emotional sting. But the pain was short-lived, and quickly replaced by the burning engine of Donovan's uncompromising ambition.

He met them at the Pavilion of the Sun, Moon and Seasons; on the table were little sandwiches, empty cups, and a pot of coffee. He had poured himself a cup, minute sips turning into hearty gulps over time, but without any sense of hurry or anxiety, bright yellow eyes on a casual swivel to take in the constantly changing people-scape of the bustling market.

And when they arrived, and introductions were exchanged, Professor Cutler dove into it.

"This is a 102 clinic, which means no chaperone. You two are going to do it all your own, and I'll either be watching or will rely on feedback from the customer and reports from you two about each other, to determine your final score.

"The job belongs to Mone, a wizard with a place in the Tower Quarter. He'll tell you the rest of the job when you get there and tell him you're on the case."

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Will pushed past a pair of men conversing loudly in his path, voicing a quick apology as one made a surprised noise.

"So sorry," he said with a weak grin, "I'm running late!" 

And with that, he was off, his pace brisk and hurried. So many people, all just walking around, and all so accommodating of a young man in a rush. Blairville truly outshone the praises he'd heard, and he wondered what his mother would have said at that revelation. Not important. You need to focus. He'd write to her when he got a chance but, right now, he was...lost? He slowed, tightening his hold on his bag in confusion.

His walking had taken him down a crowded street, through an alley, and out into a busy marketplace, just as the kind pedestrian had instructed. The square felt the full force of the sun overhead, sunlight unchallenged by tall buildings and thick clouds. Indeed, the site of the Pavilion was a staple of late morning, and the people who passed through it also fit the bill. Kids ran between the adults and played their ridiculous games, couples wandered with an air of romance, and merchants called out to tired commuters, their voices clear and demanding despite the fact that these were not ideal customers. Will shrugged helplessly at one such woman as she waved a string of beads at him. He needed his money, sadly. 

Clearing his throat, he instead followed a tide of people walking toward the Pavilion. His eyes took in the stalls they passed, and he made a mental note of a tray of pastries that smelled amazing. His stomach growled at the idea of eating even as he forced himself right by. Eventually, he arrived, sparing the grand edifice a quick glance before walking in. 

His professor was easy to find, as he was the only one sitting alone. Will rushed forward, a flurry of words. "William Sharr, sir," he fumbled, "and I'm very pleased to meet you."

Cutler was quick to move on, and Will appreciated that. He took a seat and listened closely, though his eyes drifted to the sandwiches throughout the man's announcement. 

3 hours ago, supernal said:

"The job belongs to Mone, a wizard with a place in the Tower Quarter.

"A wizard?" Will blurted out, his brown gaze snapping back to look at his teacher. He widened his eyes as he realized his blunder. "Ah, sorry. So you want us to make our way to this wizard? Why not just meet there?" He finally reached for a sandwich and began to eat as he waited for a response. 

Edited by ticklefarte

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Drifting in the endless darkness of his unconscious mind Luke floated. Some where off in the distance of the endless void there was a soft ringing ting ting ting ting it was an infinite sound no where but everywhere at the same time until it forced his conciseness bare forcing a realization. He woke to the sound of blaring alarm clock, lazily pushing it off to the night stand. To his displeasure it didn't stop the noise so he begrudgingly opened his eyes only to be almost blinded by the amount of sunlight streaming into the inn room. Pushing himself out of bed he stood to bend down and turn the the thing off why did I even turn this thing on? What was it set for? it took him a second, a long deeply thought second before horror overcame his face.

"Fuck"

The next five minutes were a blur, a shower, and a rush. Out onto the streets he could clearly see it was late morning, crowds of people conversing on the streets and stalls with plump pastries and breakfast meats. This did nothing to stop his haste, yelling out loudly as he could "Coming threw" and  "Excuse me" on his way, nearly trampling several people and two children.He could hear chatter along the lines of "Thats the second one today".  Weaving threw neatly placed stall Luke could see his destination in the distance, "Pavilion of the Sun, Moon and Seasons", and with in the minute he was calmly entering the building and sat next to what he assumed to be his partner. They where the only people there and as the man started to speak. He was young for a professor but if anything that must adhere to his skill, his yellow eyes calm without a trace of worry.

"The job belongs to Mone, a wizard with a place in the Tower Quarter. He'll tell you the rest of the job when you get there and tell him you're on the case."

Luke listened carefully as he spoke, taking in any minor details he could, this was a test and he wanted a good score. After the professor stopped speaking the man next to him spoke up 

"A wizard?" Luke almost scoffed questioning his mates qualifications for this missions briefly  "Ah, sorry. So you want us to make our way to this wizard? Why not just meet there?" "That's fine with me as" Luke spoke, his voice strong but quiet as he too reached for a sandwich an stuck expression of annoyance across his face. He was eager for details, to squeeze out any information he could but the professor couldn't give them so he stayed silent and took a bite of his sandwich.                     

 "You're new to the city right? Getting to the job is part of the job. Navigation is a fundamental skill. Besides. Food and coffee. Have a snack at least before taking a job on. You don’t know how long it’ll take to get to your next meal.” 

The professor spoke again, Luke nodded silently in agreement as he finished his sandwich and stood up. 

"Okay, I'm ready"

 

Edited by LukeRipstine

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Will stared at the professor for a long moment, chewing slowly as his mind processed his instructions. Even as the new student stood, he sat still. Find a wizard? A moment later, he finally swallowed his food.

Absolutely

He nodded, smiling as he got up. "We'll get right on that, Professor." After bending, picking up his bag, and checking that the crossbow within was intact, Will looked at the other man and gestured to the exit.

"I'm Will," he said as he walked. "Happy to know you."  

Outside, the marketplace was just as they'd left it. A wave of people pushed past the Pavilion and nearly crushed his toes in the process. He stepped back, squinting as the sun flashed in his eyes. The Tower Quarter? He set his jaw, knowing that the current task was a lesson in navigation. Well, he thought, I'm definitely not from here. This should be useful. 

He spotted a merchant whose stall was currently empty. The man's clothes were bright, a tunic of crimson cloth and wrists adorned with precious metals. Around him were tables filled with expensive shirts, hats, and scarves. In truth, it wasn't a surprise that the man's traffic was low. Will balked at the show of wealth but, as soon as the pedestrians passed, he set forth. "Excuse me," he called cheerily, "We need help with directions. Could you help get us to the Tower Quarter?"

The vendor looked up from a project he was working on. His fingers were busy in the headspace of a ridiculous feathered hat, but he flashed Will an equally cheery smile. "Ah, of course. If...you consider making a purchase."

Will frowned and looked at his companion.  "Um," he whispered, "do you have any coin?"

Edited by ticklefarte

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Lukas looked down to the person who would be his partner for the task at hand, he paused as if to ponder and with a similar nod to Luke's own and a smile he stood. I guess this its time for us to get going, finally Luke thought to himself as he yawned slightly. Walking up in such a rush still left a bad taste in his mouth and a rising mist over his mind.

"We'll get right on that, Professor."

Luke couldn't agree more as he turned around and started towards the door yelling over his shoulder loud enough for them both to hear.

"We'll do it and do it properly. You have my word."

And with that they where off and out of the building back onto the late morning streets. It was slowly making its way to one or so. Their objective was to find the place, sadly Luke had never been the most keen on sense of direction so passively he kept himself a step or two behind the man. If it was up to him they would have had to find some other way to transport them selves, maybe pay a local teleport-er though they are extremely rare. Luke was so lost in thought that he barely even heard the man introduce himself.

 "I'm Will" the man said as he walked. "Happy to know you." 

"My name is Luke and happy to get to."

He wasn't too keen on the idea of working in a team with some one beside his rarely together three force team but it was a small but needed time of change. If this was gonna work then he might as well give it his all as a person and a team.

Luke watched as Will set his eyes on a strangely dressed merchant and walked over asking for directions

  "We need help with directions. Could you help get us to the Tower Quarter?"

to whom told them only if they consider to buy something. Luke instinctively felt the sides of his jeans. Luke worn a old leather adventure gear set, the only things missing are the belt to hold items like weapons and coin purses. He didn't grab anything out of the inns room in his haste, its all probably gone by now and if by some stroke of luck it was back he didn't have any plans to go back there without finishing the mission first. Luke signed to himself, he could always use his magic to try to create some but... He looked down at his hand, making a tight fist.

"No, I left my pouch."

Luke searches his mind for an answer What action here would get us there faster? The less time we spend away from out destination the better so how do I get this guy to tell me where the place is in a way that it would maintain my score?  Luke groaned under his breath cursing. Fine, the fastest way is the normal. Luke grazes at the mans wares, old trinkets and such

"There are a few things here that wouldn't pass for the smallest coin, you know that don't you?" 

Luke's deep ocean mirrored eyes brought them self's to direct gaze into the merchants own dull brown marbles. Walking closer to the stall he put his hands down on the bare wooden surface counter top putting his weight and force onto it just enough for the small structure to creek loudly enough for all of them to hear. 

"But that's just a custom right? It has to be right? Because where I come from there isn't any such thing *he puts more pressure on the stall* and its so much easier. Helping people feels good right? Like aa weight has been lifted so wouldn't you like weight being lifted."

His eyes now looked exactly like staring into the bottomless depth of the ocean, menacing and relentless. The poor stall was on the verge of collapse at this point, the look across the owners face read pure shock. Nervously the salesman fiddles with his hat and in a light whisper he caves. 

"You're right i-its south-west from here, across town and if you reach the city limits you've gone too far"

Almost instantly Luke let off of the stall, towns folk don't lie when their lively hood is at risk

"Thanks, maybe I'll be back later to actually buy some thing for your time."

He turned away and with a bit of pause started walking.

Edited by LukeRipstine

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His face fell at the scene, eyes narrowing as the man named Luke intimidated the hustling merchant. This isn't necessary... There was no reason to make the man fear for his safety, and Will stepped forward to interrupt.

Just as he reached a hand out, the man caved and Luke had his directions. Will stared after him as he left, his frown deepening. This was his partner? The idea was very concerning. Blairville was such a nice city and he wondered if threats were well tolerated in place so kind. He looked back at the merchant, now a sweaty mess. The man adjusted his clothing and stared at Will with embarrassment and...anger? There was a pause as the two made eye contact.

What merchant simply took humiliation lying down? The jewelry on his wrists practically glinted in Will's face, a bright reminder of the man's wealth. Wealth, which corrupted and polluted upset minds. Wealth, which could easily persuade men who were bigger than Luke or Will to avenge a shamed man. Ah...

"I'm sorry," Will began, wincing as the vendor waved a dismissive hand. 

"Go," the man spat. 

Will hesitated, then fished out two silver pieces from his bag. He showed the coins to the man, then shrugged and offered a smile. The merchant glared at him, then picked up a nice teal scarf from one of his racks. The two traded items, and Will felt comfortable enough leaving, though the loss of money did sting. 

In his mind, he was cursing Luke for bullying the poor man. He got directions. This was true but...there was other options. Right? In Will's limited experience, he found that forcing your will on others was usually a last resort. It got the job done, but such force burned bridges too. And for what?  Some lousy directions? 

He found that the marketplace was too busy to allow him to find Luke, so he simply set off in the same general direction. Was the wizard a patient man? He hoped so, considering he was too poor to afford any efficient transport and get lodging for the night. Will sighed, and kept walking. South-west, yes? He groaned and lengthened his stride. Passing storefronts, and pushing through large groups, and generally just trying appreciate the sights, he moved with his own goal in mind. At some point he cut through an alleyway and, when he found himself on the other end, he was nearly run down by a speeding carriage. 

Damn. That would have hurt. It was here that he finally spotted the back of the Luke's head on a busy street and picked up his pace, settling beside the man. The street curved and sloped, but eventually their path yielded a lovely result. 

Will stopped as the spires of the Tower Quarter loomed before them, with people walking around him as if they saw this every day. Perhaps they did. Regardless, his eyes took in the grand sight of the structures as they stretched to the sky, then lowered to appreciate the denizens of this district. Magic users? Wow. He could practically sense the arcane in this place. Men and women made their way through the winding streets with purpose that was somehow different from the mundane pedestrians he was used to. Still, Will waved down a short woman in a robe and approached her with a smile.

"Hi," he greeted, "I'm looking for a man named Moen. Have you heard of him?"

She visibly showed her recognition of the name and nodded. "Sure. If you walk a bit down you should see a big sign for Tarr's Potions. Tarr's a nice man, but his potions aren't so I would avoid going in. Haha." 

Will chuckled, waiting patiently. She continued, clearly appreciating her witty jab. "If you go down the steps next to Tarr's, you'll see Moen's little hidden hole. Don't trip. Tarr would be the only one to hear you! Ha!"

Will thanked her, then nodded at Luke before walking further into the Tower's Quarter. The main cobblestone street branched off multiple times leading into smaller paths lined with shops and homes. When Tarr's sign came into view, he simply walked a bit further and found the stairs. Will let out a breath of relief and hurried down them, but before he opened the shabby door, he hesitated. 

"Luke," he said, "maybe hold off of threatening the wizard. Or anyone else who doesn't really deserve it." He shook his head, then pushed open the door. 

Ah, should I have knocked?

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Will definitely should have knocked. One did not make it into old age as a wizard, and one did not claim a home and atelier in the Tower quarter, by letting just anyone walk in anytime they please. One needed sensors and awards; tripwires and defense mechanisms.

Mone had these.  

He also had a sense of moderation. Every infraction couldn't be rectified with a Lightning Bolt or Fireball not only did that spell doom for the postman or the apothecary delivery boy, it was also expensive, both on the material cost and on the repairs to his home.

In this case, all Will and Luke had to deal with was a suit of armor. A suit a head-and-a-half taller than either of them, revealed to be hollow by even a casual glance past the visor of its helmet, and which laid a hand on each of their arms and lifted them a few inches off the ground. With that the game was afoot, begun and far from over, but before either of them could execute a reprisal, Mone's voice echoed from the narrow, spiraling staircase which led even deeper.

"Hold on a second!"

The suit of armor did not have to fight against momentum to slow down. It froze in place the second that Mone's command shot through the air.

Mone emerged from the darkness of the staircase, a reptilian humanoid a head shorter than either Will or Luke, naturally height-challenged but his stature only hurt by his hunchbacked posture. They made quick work of introductions, at which point the armor released the two adventurers, and Mone led the way further down, explaining as he went.

"I'll pay you 100 gold (5000 USD) to go down into the drain of my lab shower. I dropped a ring down there with a fantastic ruby specimen affixed to it and need you to go and fetch it for me. I, of course, wil shrink you and your equipment down to about an inch in height so you can fit.

Do not attempt to use the ring as it could kill you! Once you've found it, crush this gem in your hand and you will return to my lab at your normal size. I will give you this spool of thread, so you will have as much rope as you need. And one more thing. There's a storm tonight, and it will no doubt affect the plumbing. So hurry back!"

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Luke continued to walk on without his partner, he could have practically feel Will's disapproving gaze burning him back when he had squeezed the information out of the man, having such a soft partner was gonna be a bigger problem then just being able to find the wizards hide away. He'd thought hard about the, in his mind, minor situation as he navigated threw the the town with a slightly smoother ease than the rush he had started with that morning. Vaguely he took notes of all the small things in the town, the gap between the many jewelry hung wealthy people and the few commoners within the city was smaller that anywhere else he had seen before. That was the first tales of magic, people learned to not base off of traditional things but magic wither it was rarity or strength but at the moment he couldn't tell. 

Obediently following the main roads Luke had been able to see the distance tower which seemed to fade into the clouds, a breath taking view from the ground and he could only wonder how much of the world one could see from its top. Even though his eyes confirmed it his senses had been miles ahead. He could feel the dense mana  from the collective of thousands of magic users  making his head ache, the presence of mana to even this degree was havoc on his sensitive talents. It gave him the sensation of walking threw water with all of it begging for him to reach out and grab onto its shapeless form and command it into meaning but this was nothing. He'd been around Lady for long amounts of time in the past years and een though it sounds ridiculous, she held much more raw mana and magical power than this place could bring itself to. 

He drew a long breath as he continued to walk whilst ignoring his instinctual feelings and after a few lengthy strides he, since the beginning of the day, was happy to see his partner wade in the distance tide of people and to his further delight they had both locked the tower in their sights. Will however started to talk to one do the many hooded magic users swifting around If he has the jump on me for getting info then I'll just wait for him  Luke thought to himself ideally as he took a sharp right preceding to lean against one of the many building in wait. Bypassing the time by staring into the crowd of passing silk Fire mage, water, ah a duel attribute, spirit user Luke read the few passing mages core mana realizing their mana control is weaker than what he'd imagine from the town. 

Glancing over Luke stood as Will was walking right down the path in front of him. Silently letting him pass Luke filed in behind him.

"The city is full of wealthy and novice mage for the most part. Be careful"

They continued down stone paths until they finally reached their destination when Will announced

"Luke," he said, "maybe hold off of threatening the wizard. Or anyone else who doesn't really deserve it."

"Ill try"

Luke watches closely, he wouldn't know what to expect when they stepped threw the door and as they did and subsiquently got captured he looks over at his partner grimacing as if to say 'Do they deserve it?'. Traps, of course. Now we are gonna get arrested by the city police because of some bad directions I should have che- mid thought Luke was stopped by the sound of another voice yelling out deeper into the house.

"Hold on a second!"

Out of cloak of darkness stepped a petite and hunched humanoid lizard, the thing had amazing mana flowing off of it attempting an following introduction to which Luke  responded with,

"A simple spell sword"

Wasting no time the humanoid told them their task, the urgency and straight to the point dialect settled well with Luke giving him respect for his employer.

"With the supplies you have set out for us we should be able to get this done efficiently as possible, thanks." 

Luke glanced over at Will to see how he was processing the information, "I think we should both carry one of the items, the gem and the thread. I don't care which one you pick but for the first time since this morning I'm actually exited to get going." 

He stood in the bathroom turning to face the small marble tub in the neat slightly modern room and waited.

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A blur of movement, and suddenly a cold hard grip on his left arm. It tightened, his boots leaving the ground as an animated suit of armor seized him. What a way to go, Will thought. He clenched a fist in some last attempt to defend himself. The thought of his bone and flesh colliding with tough metal made him sick, but he was willing to do it. He was ready. 

The cry from further into the house halted the armor, but took a bit longer to stop Will. He'd already swung his free fist right into the chest plate of the armor, the resounding clang echoing through the wizard's home but doing nothing to deafen the pain that blossomed from his hand. He groaned and pulled back, blinking back tears as he glowered at the empty suit. That had been a regretful decision. 

Will was still rebounding from the pain when Mone appeared, a wedge-shaped head covered in scales. Blinking, he took in the wizard's appearance with a nod. "Will," he grunted from above. "Pleased to meet you, Wizard Mone. Professor Cutler sent us?" 

Mone introduced himself to the two of them swiftly, and they were soon descending a large case of stone steps. Will rubbed his hand the whole way, hardly processing the information the wizard was sharing. It wasn't broken, but his knuckles were swelling. He could push through the pulsing with a bit of focus, however, which is what he eventually decided to do. It was then, naturally, that his ears picked up on the fact that he and Luke would be shrinking. What? Really?

At the bottom of the stairs, he slowed and took in the wizard's lab. It was a large lamplit space, a network of cobble and brick rooms with a dank air drifting through the open channels. He couldn't tell what this table of vials was for, or what that stack of books could do, or even what that wall of symbols meant, but he was fascinated. Their voices echoed off the stone and, as Luke spoke, Will turned to face him. The man had an expression of excitement that Will was sure he mirrored. "Hm," Will mused. "I'll take the thread? With my luck, I'll crush the shiny rock accidentally."

He looked at Mone, a smile on his face. "How will you shrink us, sir?" 

Luke had already begun approaching a room so Will followed. With his steps, he pulled his bag up and took out his crossbow, a weathered thing with an embroidered sling attached. He slung the sash on his shoulder, checked his bag for other contents, then checked the quiver at his hip for bolts. Twenty in total, with three capable of unique actions. Good. He settled next to Luke at stared down the drain, imagining himself sliding down it. "Ready," Will announced. "Is this going to hurt?"

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"I've already prepared a concoction which will see to your resizing. I've been experimenting with an aerosol. Worry not I've already trialed it several times and can swear to its efficacy; there is no risk whatever of your staying shrunk. As to whether it will hurt or not, it's honestly difficult for me to say. I've never shrunk myself. My subjects have moaned and groaned before but I think it has much more to do with the disorientation than with physical pain.

"Actually, would you keep a record of your experiences so I can flesh this out?"

Despite his age, Mone was glib, working through a spiel that would have seemed spontaneous to see it written out but which to the ear sounded smooth and rehearsed; he made it from one end to the other in just a matter of seconds and in a single breath.

While they were still working through what he said, or maybe while they were structuring additional questions, Mone twitched his hand and a canister fell in the space between them. On contact with the flooring it belted plumes of pink-orange smoke, impossible to see through but with a pleasant smell that didn't make them cough; the plumes whirled around them into a tight whirlpool, obscuring everything, and then vanishing seconds later.

And like that, Will and Luke were in miniature, not more than an inch apiece.

Mone gathered up the mat on which the two had been standing, placed it over the sink.

"Good luck!" And tilted it over so that they slid into the sink, bone dry in preparation, and could angle towards the drain. Mone's last act before leaving them to it was to loop one end of the thread around the faucet and leave the other end for them to use to rappel down into the drain.

Darkness, dozens of feet of it (50') before a bottom could be found – and the bottom was water.  

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Luke had had countless magic adventures ranging from abnormal phantom plains to voids, most of which stayed locked behind the impenetrable walls of a higher consciousness that always left a sensation of cool burning on his skin as a sign of long lost deja vu and his skin was a flame in that moment as thoughts of the system of drains and pipes connecting similarly to that of the design of a labyrinth. The mission of find an item of power within a maze not knowing the dangers that lurk or the traps that lay set for only the most novice adventures lives to be claimed on, it was thrilling yet comforting to him. Even in his haste he'd forgotten important questions like how were they to be shrunk, how long ago had the event taken place, or is there any unique power emanating from the ring. All of these questions could have helped them take a more direct route, be more attentive for signs, and make them more comfortable with the quest in  its entirety, he cursed himself mentally before preparing for the wizards magic, it was too late and the motions where already in place. 

More important of all, is there rats?

The sudden thought crossed Luke's mind, that enemies that aren't human would be present. More thoughts crossed his mind, recalling the professors last words.

"You don’t know how long it’ll take to get to your next meal.”

He realized that he'd come grossly under prearranged as he had no rations and no physical weapons. He found himself having to rely on his magic when he'd started to wish he had brought a dagger or a short sword with him.Something, anything more constant than himself and his abilities but in that instant he knew he'd been too careless and only the success of his team and their mission could right his obvious wrongs.

My magic inventory is long ranged barrier and mimic magic. Thinking deeper he could come to name the unique magic he held though the more he thought of it the more questions it always produced, as it was less of a magic and more like controlling mana participles in the air crystallizing them and using the producing mist as a catalyst for spells. At least thats what Lady told him it looks like, an anti magic mist of crystal mana that could be used. 

Will took up the thread,  "I'll take the thread? With my luck, I'll crush the shiny rock accidentally." Which caused Luke to smile lightly, hell he wasn't sure he could either but careful items weren't foreign to him and he picked up the small transparent gem with a light blue hue to the stone, holding it in his open palm for a second staring at it. The light strobes of magic energy coming from the stone alluded to its mystery. He simply pocketed the stone shared in Will's "Ready" with a nod and he turned to look at the wizard, he had started to answer Will's questions of  "Is this going to hurt?" With a lengthy explanation that ended with a request. 

 "I've already prepared a concoction which will see to your resizing. I've been experimenting with an aerosol. Worry not I've already trialed it several times and can swear to its efficacy; there is no risk whatever of your staying shrunk. As to whether it will hurt or not, it's honestly difficult for me to say. I've never shrunk myself. My subjects have moaned and groaned before but I think it has much more to do with the disorientation than with physical pain." 

 "Actually, would you keep a record of your experiences so I can flesh this out?"

Luke felt uneasy, the way the wizard spoke about it was as if this was an experiment. The thought sent shivers down his spine.

With a second of thick smoke of swirling pink and orange fumes they shrunk, the feeling of being much smaller was a much smoother process then Luke had thought it was gonna be and no matter how gun-ho he was about the experience there was still room for error.

Then the nausea hit like the force of two massive cargo trucks and a plane. The world spun in a much slower rate than his stomach the two feeling as if they rotated against each other in a cruel and savage grind. The lizard spoke but his voice was distorted by the whirlwind that the world had become, lost in its walls. He didn't know how long it lasted but when the feeling lifted he had been brought to his knees in the massive reversed dome of a marble sink. Standing up slowly Luke looks at his partner and then  the turns gazing to the surface of the gaping metallic hole yards in front of them. Shakily Luke attempts to stand which to his surprise solidifies himself.

"Will are you okay? I don't know about you but that was one hell of an experience"

If will had fallen like he had then Luke would offer his hand to help him up. If he hadn't Luke would smirk and pat him on the back.

Turning his attention back to the hole Luke deeply exhaled and deeply inhaled calmly repeating the action as if to meditate while standing. Gradually the air around himself started to grow a blue tint, after a few minutes the tint grew to a clear but transparent mist, a few more moments pass and the mist grows thick producing a bright colorless light whilst maintaining its see threw properties. With one last deep inhale Luke  nodded at Will and took to the thread, sliding down as he illuminated the rusted pipes. Water reflecting from somewhere deep beneath them.

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Will shut his eyes as pink-orange clouded his vision, stepping back out of reflex while a cough shoved its way out of his throat. He'd been too slow, however, and the tight spirals of the smoke closed on him with speed. Something was happening. His limbs felt strained, chest heavy as air pushed against him from all sides. This was so much pressure. His stomach lurched with the sensation of falling, his eyes opening to see the lizard man stretch past him, then simply loom above. 

He swayed, then stumbled to his knees, hands splayed out to catch himself on the mat as he coughed chaotically. His head was pounding, an incessant drum that slowly faded as his senses reoriented.  "Agh," he groaned. "That was awful."

Mone didn't react to his words. Will glanced up and realized that the wizard was a giant now, and likely couldn't even hear him. No, instead Mone picked up the mat and lifted them high. The motion threw Will on his back. He squinted against the rushing air, then shouted in surprise as they were dumped into the sink without much preamble. Abruptly, he fell through the air, hitting the dry marble with a grunt before tumbling down the slope. 

His fingers squeaked against the surface for purchase, boots sliding, then slowly gaining traction to halt his descent. Will let out a sigh, panting heavily. His heart beat in his chest, but he ignored it in favor of Luke's gesture. He took the man's hand and rose unsteadily, checking his crossbow for damage. The wood was solid, and he hadn't rolled onto it, which surprised him. 

Unfortunately, a few quarrels had left his quiver. He stooped down to retrieve them, thankful that the explosive bolt hadn't been triggered. A gentle send off would have been preferred, but he saw no reason in resenting the wizard. Mone watched them from on high, a monstrous creation that chilled Will to the bone. He watched as the beast tossed a bundle of rope into the sink, eventually registering that it looked like a rope to him only because of his size. The thread, he realized.

"I'm fine," Will coughed. He shifted his gaze to Luke, then did a double take. The man was glowing. That was certainly useful, but definitely unexpected. Luke was already descending with the thread, so Will approached the drain with caution. The pale blue glow gradually grew smaller and, when Will decided that it was small enough, he took the rope and began his descent with a final wave in Mone's direction. 

The light of the lab quickly became a distant dot above him as he alternated arms to gently lowered himself into the pipe. He could hear Luke's grunts below him, the sound echoing throughout the dank space along with the scraping of their boots against the metal. Will's arms strained for a bit, but eventually settled into the rhythm of letting himself down. 

A splash told him that Luke had reached the bottom. It was a few moments later that Will could see the blue light again and his boots touched down on water. He groaned, stretching his limbs as he looked around. The pipe opened in two directions, one which sloped further downward and the other which had a smooth turn. This was likely to prevent overflow, but right now it just annoyed him. He bent down, picking up a bundle of thread, and thought aloud. 

"Mone dropped a ring, yeah?" he asked. "If we're assuming he dropped it with water, the flow would likely take it further down as opposed to around a corner. Luke, I think we're going going down again."

He approached the path on the right, cursing aloud before tossing the rope down and rappelling down again, boots pressed against the slick metal walls. He heard the bundle of rope splash below.  As he descended, he noticed that there were many openings leading into this straight pipe. These gateways led to other piping, and he had to fight against the swaying rope to make sure he didn't swing into one of these branched paths. 

The smell of mold and rust tainted the air. Each breath was disgusting, the scent coming from slimy walls packed with congealed bacteria and slick to touch. With Luke above him, Will only had darkness and touch to go by. He relied on the latter, his skin crawling as the pipe opened up into a wide space filled with water. He looked around, squinting while he lowered himself to the bottom. Around him, multiple pipes ended in the same way, some shooting out water, others dripping, and others just dry from disuse. Will winced as his boots touched the cold water, liquid seeping through and right in between his toes. "Gah," he hissed. 

The water reached his knees, so it was only half an inch deep. He couldn't see anything with Luke still out of sight, but he could certainly feel the tug of a current. This pool was draining somewhere, and the tide was strong. Strong enough to drag a ring? 

He slowly waded in the direction of the water flow, hesitating. In his mind he imagined a sewer tunnel that drew the water into a larger system. However, without light he couldn't tell how far that opening was. "Luke," he called, voice echoing through the expanse. "I need you to lead. I'm blind down here." To his right a pipe overhead gushed out stinking water, the deluge splashing into the pool and showering him. Will sputtered and wiped his face. He wanted this over with. Disgusting. 

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Luke had steadied himself along the rope, gliding down smoothly as he illuminated the pipe turned tunnel. The reflected rust stained walls gave an apocalyptic feel as if no human was meant to be there and truthfully it was exactly as such, no human has ever been down here not like this. Unless of course this is where Mone's experiments took place, the thought gave his skin a frosted feeling.

Looking down it was clear that he was near the end, the surface of the water low beneath him  reflecting the light back to him on its surface in rifted waves. In a few minutes he splashed down onto the solid pipe ground. Gazing up he couldn't see Will in the above darkness and with a second more to spare, he began to search around the area peering into the slightly illuminated dark. The path to their left was a turn that pulled around a corner into more unknown whilst the path on their right seemed to descend deeper into the pipes system. 

Will set, stretching his body as he too examined the paths swiftly making a decision,

"Mone dropped a ring, yeah?" he asked. "If we're assuming he dropped it with water, the flow would likely take it further down as opposed to around a corner. Luke, I think we're going going down again."

"I agree, though I'll do a quick check of the  other turn just in case you head on without me and I'll catch up real quick."

Luke gave him a signature nod and turned the other way jogging lightly  and disappeared around the corner, he was fast as his light loomed bright even around the corner. 

Coming down the straight pathway to his disappointment the path only led to a different rising with walls made of plastic instead of the ancient pipelines with nothing notable at all, this mission wasn't gonna reach the sudden ending or without trying which gave him a sense of hope for a more fulfilling adventure, pivoting Luke started to head back, the sell of mildew rising in the air.

Returning to the path he followed the gleaming thread happy to know Will was continuing without him. Following the thread Luke came to another decent, faintly in the distance beneath him Luke heard his partner hiss

 "Gah," 

Luke took to the rope like a man on fire, sliding down as fast as he could voicing his concern threw a yell

"You okay?!" 

With a steadily closening response will spoke

"Luke," he called, voice echoing through the expanse. "I need you to lead. I'm blind down here."

With in seconds he hit the ground causing more water to be splashed about, he almost jumped back onto the thread when the cold mold smelling liquid flooded his boots and splashed his jeans. Now he understood why WIll had yelled.

"Okay, it only makes sense, I was just exploring the other route." Luke looks up to the numerous spouts and pipes that spew droplets of water "This place will probably be flooding when the storm hits, we better be out of here by then or be really good at swimming against thunderous wave" Continuing to scan whats above then Luke notices a patch of discolored fuzz "Is that mold? God only knows whats down here"

Turning his attention forward, the waters flow pulling to the right. The pipe must be taking the water into larger waterways, the facts that the ring made it this deep was magical in its own sense.

He starts to push forward, following the waters path into a curving pipe Luke's presence showering it all in a bright blueish light that bounced and reflected off of the waters surface as they moved.

"If this is like traditional pipelines then it should be like tree branches. With the smallest ones being the one we came threw and the ones we've been walking threw and the biggest ones being the sewer"

Luke shivered at the thought, the smell and the moral wrongs that came with roaming around a massive system of waste and critters. Simply pushing the thoughts to the back of his mind he walked curved with the tunnel that brought them around in a U shape which brought them to a drop, a thick plaster void filled to the brim with colorless water. On the other side of the void was a continuation of the path they where on, dry, which meant the path continues to go down draining more water. Could it have pulled the ring down? It looks like it is suppose to be another drain pipe, it must be clogged maybe with the ring? its sitting at the bottom of this pool? Na, it cant be that easy... Luke thought to himself as he stopped, peering over the chasm he could see the clear mesh of more mold lingering in the distance.

"I think this is a good place to split up for a second. I'm thinking of going down and checking down in this water for a clog, maybe I can find something in this you can come with me or cross on your own. Can you cross this on your own?"

He looked at Will, he was able to swim if he likes but Luke could probably help him get over with his abilities. Going back to his previous breathing techniques Lukes grew brighter steadily, the soft mist concentrating around himself as he waited for Wills response.

 

 

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With Luke in front, the space was faintly aglow with the man's azure light. Will appreciated the change and bent down to pick up the soggy thread, looping it diagonally over his chest. He then followed with care, boots sloshing through the water. The light illuminated the ripples of their passage, which stretched larger and larger in expanding bands around them. The smell of the water still felt off, and breathing became more of an oral process as opposed to a nasal one. He sighed as they approached the U-bend. It was the next part of their journey, it seemed. Luke's curiosity was a valid one, but the bottom of the bend was distant.

Will shook his head, sighing. "The water goes deep. I don't think I'll be able to hold my breath for that long." He paused, adjusting the bundle of thread around his chest. A moment later, he decided to drop his bag of food and coin in the shallow water. The pack splashed, but stayed in place despite the current. He didn't want to drag it around, and didn't see a point in ruining the material. Besides, the crossbow was heavy and the bundle was still thick. Weight would only slow him down. 

"You go," Will continued with a grunt. "I'll swim ahead and you can follow the thread to get to me when you're done. Be quick, Luke. And be safe." 

There would be no hesitation after that. His boots splashed in the water as he approached the pipe-made waterfall, legs tugged by the cascade of water slipping over the edge. There was a chance that the ring was heavy enough to sink past this current, and a possibility that it was light enough to be carried through the U-bend. Regardless, Will's primary concern was sight. Just go straight. He smiled at the thought, then jumped in, a quick inhale filling his lungs.

Air rushed past his face, whipping his hair around as he dove feet-first into the water. Should he open his eyes? No, this place was disgusting. Darkness and cold surrounded him, then seeped through his clothing to chill his flesh. He quickly puffed his cheeks before submerging quickly into the depths with water crashing down from above him.

Swim. His limbs shot out in response, legs churning to drive him deeper into the water and arms settling in their long strides. As Will moved, he found that there was a presence beyond his eyelids. It was a similar effect to facing the sun with one's eyes shut tight, and he wondered if he should open himself to the light or keep his eyes closed. He decided on the latter out of a fear of infection, until something began to pull him rapidly toward the bottom. What?

He spat out a noise of alarm at the sudden tugging at his hip, bubbles swirling around him as air escaped his mouth. His lips quickly clamped shut, but his eyes flew open to see...light? 

Oh what a sight it was. The bubbles twirled around his body, illuminated by a pale white radiance that seemed to be part of the water itself. Was this the wizard's doing? Or just the Tower Quarter in general? Magic users of all kinds lived here, and even Tarr's potion shop could affect the pipe system if just one elixir was poured down the sink. Will thanked Mone and whatever friends he had for this gift and looked down, prepared to slam a boot into whatever beast had decided to drag him into the deep. He saw nothing. 

His heart thudded in his chest as panic settled in. What was happening?  All he could see was the moldy surface of the U-bend below. He couldn't see a ring, but maybe Luke would find more. What was more important was that his body was moving down without obvious cause. He resisted the motion by swimming harder in the opposite direction, but the tug was incessant. Another look down made him notice the odd angle that his quiver was pointed. It followed a radial line toward the bottom, trembling as if it were attracted in that direction. His eyes widened even more when the dagger on his belt suddenly shot out of its sheath, flipping through the water until it slapped into a strange black rock with a resonant clang! that pushed through the liquid medium as a distorted wave. 

The tugging weakened and, although his quiver still yearned for release, Will was able to swim easier toward the upward curve of the bend. His chest had only just began to tighten, but the surface was right there. Almost there...finally. 

He burst through the surface with a gasp, the air cold on his body but also welcome. The U-bend had been structured so that the far end had a shorter wall that the first, allowing him to swim over to the the pipe's ankle-deep surface and clamber on. Will chucked his crossbow up first, cursing the loss of the knife as he did so. The water could have ruined his crossbow, and now all he had were bolts and a scarf. Time would tell. 

Soon, he followed with his boots slipping on the metal floor but eventually finding purchase. A moment later, a soaked and glowing Will settled on his hands and knees, outside of the pool and before the opening of a new path. He stared at his hands as he caught his breath. The swelling hadn't gone down yet, but the cold had numbed the throbbing. That was fortunate at least. He cast a tired look back at the U-bend, which had begun to lost its glow as the water settled. Magnets? In the pipes? What the hell? 

He laughed at the absurdity of it then got to his feet. Luke, he hoped, would not have metal on him. In the mean time, Will set forward, picking up his wet crossbow and holding it before him. He tested the trigger, then jumped in surprise as the bolt within shot out and ahead. Its flight was piss poor from the water, but the crossbow itself still worked. That was good. The light of the bolt faded from sight, so it still had some fair distance.

He listened for the splash of the projectile landing, then frowned when it didn't. The sound of claws skittering on pipe echoed back toward him as something fled. Did I hit something? What the hell is down here? His immediate thought was rats, but that didn't settle the pit in his stomach. At this size and in these confines, he simply felt uncomfortable in combat. He didn't want a confrontation just yet.

With a grim resolve, Will set another bolt in and walked down the pipe. It curved and forked, but the thread stretched behind him and gave information on his path. In the distance, he heard the pipe walls thrum as adjacent channels filled with what he could only assume was the storm's gift. It'd arrived. They needed to hurry. 

Edited by ticklefarte

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He waited for Will's response as he produced more of the mist like substance that now grew over his body like waves, normal mages used incantations and charges to cast their spells but Luke only needed a sufficient amount of the crystallized mana participles that constructed the mist to use spell with each spell taking a amount of the mist based on strength and other variables. When Will's answer finally arose the man simply shook his head and sighed, 

 

 "The water goes deep. I don't think I'll be able to hold my breath for that long." he paused, Luke watched as his partner tightened his hold on the thread, took off and dropped his heavy bags into the water. Just watching it made Luke mildly uncomfortable. "You go, I'll swim ahead and you can follow the thread to get to me when you're done. Be quick, Luke. And be safe." 

With that he was off into the water and fast. Luke felt no haste as he started to go on his own way, the mist moving around him in not in the usual uncoordinated flow but with purpose extending outwards from him almost growing in size eight fold forming a massive field filling part of the tunnel behind him and in front of him draping over the water surface the tight clumps of crystallized mana many times stronger than its traditional counterpart. Without hesitation he walks to the waters surface and steps over on to the magic. His foot hits the mist as a solid as it further visually solidified creating a transparent glass-like floor beneath himself just enough room for him to spread his arms to his sides, front, and back enough two or three inches of room. The mist swirled into rising walls and a ceiling around him as he continued to breathe steadily Apply weight, retain air, seal and sink. He concentrated heavily, commanding properties into the mana and they followed. He stared below himself into the deep murky water and slowly he started to submerge into its unknown depths.

On his heels Luke moves back against one one of the cubes walls letting himself rest on it before sliding down it bringing himself to a sit on the floor, for the first time since he'd been down there he let his breathing go out of control as he slowly descended, breathing in rapid burst. Four walls at once still does shake me up, damn I have to get my breathing back under control Luke thought to himself, tossing his head back he gazed upward to the now distancing surface of the water. In a few calming moments he could no longer see the surface, the void of darkness had swallow him whole. Breathing properly now he started to produce more of the mist in his decent, gazing around his surroundings which never seemed to change in its full deep ocean like presence.

Within a few moments he was back to his feet, the mist almost filling the cube,

"How deep really is this thing?"

In his wait he talked to himself lightly, a habit that had been with him for a long time. 

Gazing down through the almost see through barrier walls into the  water Luke shivered at the thought of having to go down there and into the water. He'd do what he had to do like always, like a repeating pattern in a loop. 

The water must be freezing, I'll have to go into it slowly to undo the clog when I get to the bottom though I-

He stopped mid thought as he focused his gaze. Deep into the water a faint glow far into the distance beneath him was steadily getting closerhe was right on top of it and in his decent what ever it was would be in his way.  What could that be ? Don't tell me some one dropped a potion or something else down the drain. Or maybe, that could be the ring? He didn't mention any glowing. Luke was caution but exited as he waited getting closer and closer.

After a few moments he could almost make the thing out, it looked like two over-sized jelly bulbs still in the water. His first thought was jelly fish? then he shook his head, there wasn't anyway live jelly fish could be here right? He prepared himself anyway, whether or not it was a jelly fish or a toy someone had gotten lost in the pipes, Luke could faintly see the outlining bottom. Possibly having to cut threw the thing was more of a problem then what exactly it was.

Few seconds had passed before the image of not only one but two of bell curved heads became clear, their curved surfaces emitting bright almost blinding light, the long protruding tentacles tucked under them yielded to be deadly weapons of thick whip like arms which held clumps of thin needle injectors that seeped poison. Even a full sized human would avoid these and with smaller jelly fishes being anywhere from six to ten inches long there was no doubt about their inconvenience when Luke found himself few meters away.

With a sharp intake of breath Luke prepared himself as he thought, the mist around him swirling into both his hands creating hilts from which grew long opaque blades, a darker shade than the barrier which housed him.

If I can just get past them, but first I need to get out of here, they'll be distracted by colliding with the box but I don't know how much time that will buy me I need to keep the box stable enough for me to return to it or else I might drown out there

 He stared into the cold abyss, his eyes glowed the mirrored color his cornea coated in a very thin shield of mana and with that all the mist was gone. As far as attacking and defending himself he could only use the box and the swords he currently held. 

He was inches away from impact. Soften, pass threw, make way he commanded the wall across from him as in its falling course the box would collide into the gut of the first monster hopefully keeping entertain as the second one was almost right behind it in the direction Luke would jump as he rushed the wall dashing right threw it into he freezing abyss MOVE he screamed at himself as the cold took him and he shut his eyes, halting all of him to a stop as the water soaked his clothes and drenched his hair the darkness seeming to dye everything it touched as it swallowed him, his body conversing lightly at the sudden switch of temperature the air almost ripped from his lungs his forced his eyes open and swam hard in broad wide strokes, it wasn't the first time he'd been underwater swimming with weaponry and as his weaponry held no definite weight he was fast glancing back to see the shelter he'd had moments before in a mesh of rising appendages both of them the box and the pinkish transparent jelly of the monster sinking further down. Below him the second orange glow rose slowly to meet him, the creature roughly six times larger than him was slow but in its home territory. Luke swam in an attempt to circle the creature, a rising arm reaching out for him. Luke himself was so small that he could see the jagged singers that covered the surface of it. Rising almost just in front of him Luke wade left using the motion to swing his sword which sliced cleanly threw detaching the limb. Flipping onto his back Luke brought his arms in a soft flapping motion, propelling himself forward he twisted his body forcibly earning himself chorus of soft cracking as another limb shot to his left, seeing the opening he committed to an attack, the limbs regrowing at astonishing rates .

Vast weight, sink fast, overload he feed the thoughts into the sword in his left hand increasing its weight to sink him allowing him speeds which he couldn't fathom as his lungs slowly grew horse.  Having been above the creature his speedily decent drove right for its center, the lost of two of its limbs sent it in a fury throwing more of its arms in retaliation and while his left arm pulled him down his right still held the weightless counterpart and in a agile burst of movement he continued to twist himself to doge and slashed wildly with his right arm, what he couldn't protect against his gear  covered as he closed the gap between him and the monster, tearing though it like a drill piercing its guts and shooting out of its mouth letting go of the sword he held in his right sinking at incredible speeds. Overflow and fill with even more, expand and erode your walls /\ mimic magic, EXPLOSION now far behind him the creature was engulfed in a brilliant orb of red and orange flames the construction of the sword acting as magical shrapnel aiding in tearing the creature apart as it was washed away by the flames, the shock wave shaking the pipes and propelling Luke down even further, he could see now, the mass of caught moss and unmentionable filth that kept the drain filled with water. To his left he could see the other creature helplessly pinned being crushed slowly by the box dying. Close to his objective Luke ignored his lungs yearning for air as he changed the swords command Weightless, standard, Običan the force from the pull gliding him into the reason for the clog. I'm going to throw up he gagged as he buried the last sword into the mess, kicking it pushing it as deep threw it as he could. Peering threw the transparent weapon he could see the other side, a curved fall empty. He searched the mess for anything metal but came up empty in the seconds later. Defeated he started the swim back to his cube, which laid on the slain monster its vice like limbs now limp at the boxes underside.

Entering the same wall he had come out of Luke greedily took in gulps of air, laying on the floor a bit of the creatures limb had broken off inside the box. His body felt unnaturally wet as the disgusting liquid had even soaked into his skin. His eyes where tired and his body felt in its self like jelly from manuring in the water. He laid there, a wet and damp mess for moment before hoisting himself to his feet. He wasn't done yet but as he did so pain spread threw his midsection, the surprise of such brought him back down to his knees. Shakily whether from the cold or the injure Luke lifted his shirt to find a rash that had spread on his mid section down to his upper thigh. he staggered back to his feet, kicking the severed limb of the beast against one of the walls as if to further spite it. 

"Fuck"

He voiced aggravated with himself for being careless. Taking off his shirt he preceded to wrap a sample of the monsters limb up into it tightly, examining it afterward to make sure it was safe to hold he tucked it under his arm and concentrated. Weightlessness, floating, fast rise  he recited in his consciousness. The box started to rise at a faster rate than it had sunk and few minutes later Luke could see the surface of the water. Overflow, erode your walls /\ mimic magic, lesser explosion he finished the line by tilting the box towards the far end of the pipe, the way his partner had gone. Far off in the depths there was an explosion as Luke broke the surface of the water, the speeds he had come up at launched him in a perfect arch to the other side.

Crashing down onto the ground the corners of the cube cracked and its walls splintered shattering throwing Luke out of it sending him tumbling down the pipes hall. The shards dissipated into aimless mana, Luke lay there aggregated and aching again picking himself up he slowly began to walk down the hall, following the damp thread catching up to his partner. Some where deep in the pipes he could hear rushing water,  the storms already starting? I have to catch up quick 

"I don't ever want to swim again in my entire life."

His first words to his partner and with a stern look he nodded.

"Did you find anything? On my side it was a bust." Luke showed Will the jelly fishes limb that was wrapped up in into a bundle. "Found some weird stuff though."

 

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