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Meraxa

A Cure For What Aleth You

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What had followed Argi's inquiry seemed to be a wide array of criticisms - primarily it seemed to be of those gathered here, though exactly who was who got largely lost in the mix of things. At least for Argi it did. That said, even if the specifics and nuances were unclear, the general gist was as self-evident as you could get: The dragon did not believe that this was an ideal force with which to fight the Enrele.

And at that... Argi wasn't sure he could much disagree, really. Stopping to think on it all made it fairly clear that what he was trying to do, and what he was trying to do it with, were ill advised at best. He only really knew what two of these people could do, however vaguely; beyond that he was simply hoping they would only have such enthusiasm to fight if there was means of backing it up. He certainly considered himself to have that, but... was that really such an accurate assessment of his abilities? Quietly, consciously resting his hand upon his empty sword hilt, Argi wondered about that for some time as the others spoke.

 

The dragon had a name, of course: Caeceila Glasmann. The name sounded quite Terran to Argi's ears, which made it curious with what he vaguely understood of the continent's general acceptance - or potential lack thereof - towards those that it saw as abnormal. With the subsequent mention of this being her 'honest' form, Argi realised there might have been some deception in her everyday existence. But if this was her honest form, then this would nominally mean her subsequent statement - that of being bound by honour to fight to remove the Enrele - then Argi would trust in that.

"Don't plan to die." He answered simply the concern that this was a suicidal endeavour. Whatever she subsequently said rather went over his head; there was mention of taking blood, that much he got, but everything else just made him blink, slowly tilt his head, and cross his arms in visible confusion. It didn't seem to be a proposition that the others reacted to all too well, which left him unsure of what to say in response. So, for the time being, he simply said nothing, electing instead to focus on other matters.

 

Matters like realising that, apparently, other Enrele had methods far more subtle than the likes of the carcass that had been laid on the table, before that got tossed all over the place. The corpse simply lay on the floor somewhat haphazardly now, but no thought went through Argi's mind to collect it now. Instead, he was thinking of what was said, and how it might apply to the man that now lay unconscious. If it was only Aleth that was so large and obvious, then it was quite possible that the man on the floor was infected. It instilled a sudden sense of paranoia that was difficult to ignore.

In that moment, hand clasping the back of his neck, Argi had a realisation of what this had likely meant for the lowlanders.

"...Angel of Meryam 'see' life." Argi spoke in response to the inquiry as to how the being and its ilk were somehow meant to be of aid. "Enrele are life, so it see them. See Aleth below Dougton."

 

Upon giving that quite truncated explanation, and allowing others the opportunity to digest it, Argi found a... voice, to be ringing inside his head. Yet again this was some new means of a stranger speaking to him without speaking, and he was beginning to wonder if the lowlanders made a habit of this. He almost - almost - turned his head towards the apparent source, that being the priestess called Aya, before he caught himself as he turned. In the midst of him doing so, she had explained that there was 'six or eight' people whose emotions were, apparently, the same. Something like that, at least. There was only one way, he realised, that then many people, out of those present, would be so aligned on anything.

...Damn.

The thought crossed his mind, clear as anything else, though whether or not such a thought could be heard by Aya, Argi could not know. What he did know, was that in spite of Caeceila directly addressing them, the hivemind Daloth had yet to answer.

 

"...You, you, you..." Argi began to point out the ten people that had joined him from the train station. Each one was increasingly confused by his doing so as he went along; when he had finally pointed out all ten, he said simply, "Leave."

"...What?" One spoke up rather bluntly. His voice quickly raised, "Is this a joke?!"

"No joke." Was the mountain man's reply. "Leave."

"You dragged us all the way out here, promised us we'd be saving a city! You getting cold feet?!" The question came from another, visible frustrations growing throughout all ten. "Or have you just decided you've got something better going on with this freakshow?!"

"Yes." Argi answered, so quickly as to drive his erstwhile entourage to utter disgust.

"They want your blood, you idiot!"

"If I spill, they have it." Was the reply, and evidently, the last straw. One by one, though not quite in the same order that Argi had pointed them out, the 'adventurers' from the train station began to depart, none too pleased with the decision to do so.

 

Argi took a long, deep breath, trying to hold back his nerves from doing anything too stupid in the moment. He might well have already met his required limit for the day; realising that, Argi sighed, then turned back to Caeceila. "Enrele gone now, for sure. We go to Dougton, find angel, Meryam, or both. Have them 'see' where Aleth is, or find ourselves."

That was followed by a few awkward moments of fumbling in which Argi allowed the opportunity for any opposing suggestions, counterarguments, or questions, expecting then to depart the ship and make for the road.

Instead, he saw something strange - a long, rising shadow - through the porthole to which the unconscious man could have lost his head. Without thinking to really warn anyone else in the heat of the moment, Argi suddenly dived to one side, just in time to evade the scythe-like limb that crashed its way through the hull of the vessel, which easily crumpled beneath the hard plates that lined the appendage. Each end of the wreck would rise at the edges from where it was pressed in the middle, before dropping unkindly as the scythe began to to retract itself. Through what would be the resulting shear that led to the outside world, or another of the vessel's portholes - glass on the verge of shattering - one might make out another such scythe lining itself up to strike.

 

"What?!"

Was all Argi could really say. Before Casper, he had never even really seen the sea, nevermind learned the array of creatures that could fill its depth. He especially had no way of knowing what a Yuuja was.

 


@The Alexandrian @Priestess @Thotification @Dauner Light @danzilla3 @Vilhardt 

@Yorgie if they still wish to participate

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Oh!  The gang feels like playing hardball, do they?  Sensational!  Caeceila is the poster child of stubbornness!  She's a tenth degree black belt in tongue fu, and her blistering "Hadouken!" could reduce a golem to a sobbing sack rocking back and forth in the fetal position in a corner!  They don't like doctors, huh?  They don't like blood work and healthy diets and affordable healing and understanding how the body actually functions!  Well, they'll be begging for doctors to treat these wicked burns!

First and foremost, Caeceila aims to knock Shishi from her perch and bring her into line with the rest.  This isn't a boasting contest; no one else is measuring body parts and asserting, "My crew is so swole we grab every disadvantage we can get just to keep our battles fair!"  Sure-sure, Shishi.  Caeceila whirls about, plants three of her appendage on the creaky, damp floor, and growls at Shishi while stroking her snout with her free "hand."  It's not quite as mocking, coupled with her derision, as stroking her chin, but dragons don't really have much of a chin to stroke.  Just cut her some slack; she has had a long day.

Well, excuse me, princess!  If your domain is Predator's Keep, your domain is an open sewer.  I surmise your Order is headquartered there because the land is especially cheap.  I digress.  If your celebrated Order could, as you claim, handle the Aleth hivemind then why, pray tell, haven't they?  While we're at it, where in the world were you while your sister was rampaging through the countryside with Mister Bwahaha Iamevil Lookatme?  "Oh, I was busy saving the world."  Sure you were.

Caeceila slams her free "hand" against the floor in a dramatic expression of her annoyance.  This annoyance quickly gives way to surprised when Caeceila realizes her "hand" has smashed through the floor and left a relatively small hole as a sign of the boat's structural integrity (or lack thereof).  Sighing as though she finds this outcome especially burdensome, she extracts her "hand" from the hole.

Why am I holed up in Emperor Tetanus, the rustiest bucket in the boneyard, wasting my breath on idiot adventurers who can't help but close their eyes, click their heels together, and chant "I don't believe in doctors."

Caeceila couldn't get over the bleak reality of this situation.  No tests.  No reliable, repeatable technique to distinguish between Enrele and ordinary, healthy folk without tipping her hand.  No data to trend.  No wonder the Enrele thrive in Terrenus; these people are savages!  Savages!

And you!  I...

Succubus!  Aya isn't a silent magician; she is a succubus!  There is only one way anyone can be that gorgeous without glamours, not that Caeceila is convinced glamours aren't in play, and that is by being a succubus!  If she wasn't a succubus, how could she have known that Caeceila is single?  Even if Aya is a succubus, Caeceila can't help but gawk at her as she steps into the light.  Caeceila isn't plain, but she can't hold a candle to Aya on the best of days with the aid of glamours.

Aya may have difficulty detecting Caeceila's mind.  It doesn't respond when it is pinged, and it masquerades as "background noise."  Once Aya defeats that layer of defense she'll quickly discover that Caeceila's mind is armored like a tank.  Telepathically broadcasting a message directly to her mind would be no mean feat as it would likely entail breaching her defenses and "attacking" her mind, a condition which she would surely notice and potentially perceive as a genuine attack.  If Aya has ever encountered a psychic who actively or passively attempts to shield his/her/its mind from other psychics, she might recognize Caeceila's tactic and comprehend how to bypass it in short order.

You might...  Uh...

Nope!  Caeceila just can't focus while Aya is in sight.  Her concerns with the swordsman Aya has endorsed, Caeceila can address, although her tone has shifted completely.  Her voice suggests her words are now more humorous ridicule than annoyed, humorous ridicule.  She turns her attention to Dauner, whose love of meat she may never understand, and admonishes him.

You, on the other hand, bad!  Bad!  If you want to hack 'n slash well over two million parasites glued to random people scattered throughout Dougton and adjoining areas fine, but don't murder any of the people attached to those parasites!

This is an important caveat, to be sure, and it begs the question of how Caeceila intended to deal with her suspect and the porthole.  If this caveat is indeed heartfelt, was she bluffing or did she have something else in mind for her suspect from the start?

More importantly, someone has already vouched for you, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and estimate that you could kill, on average, one Enrele every minute.  That's not too shabby, right?  Apply that rate to two million Enrele and we've got two million minutes or thirty-three-thousand-three-hundred-and-thirty-three minutes or one-thousand-three-hundred-and-eighty-eight days or, assuming there are three-hundred-and-sixty-five days in a year, three-point-eight years.  Yeah, you guys could divide that responsibility between the six of you and then you'd only have, what, a little over half a year each assuming you never slow down or take a break?  Let's not forget that I'm also assuming Hivemind Aleth won't just Argi you and dispatch normal people to lock you up or put you down and paint you as an evildoer and -

Completely ignoring whatever Dauner's companion might bring to the table, meat-related, combat-related, tech-related, or otherwise, and refraining from commenting on Emile's terse comment or Elizabeth's challenge, Caeceila stops mid-sentence and looks on as Argi points to each of his helpers.  You (x10).  Leave.

Perhaps Caeceila's judgment of Argi was premature.

What was Argi thinking, Caeceila wondered?  He dismissed his entire party just like that!  Caeceila had no clue why he had done so, and her eyes narrowed in equal parts bewilderment and contemplation as she witnessed his actions and heard his announcement.  Angel of Meryam "see" life.  Okay.  Life detection spells are a good start.  But how did Argi know, for sure, that the Enrele were no longer in the room?

Caeceila wanted to believe Argi, she really did.  He spoke with such conviction that it wasn't easy to doubt his words.  There was something elegant to his simplicity just as there was something that inspired courage in Dauner's go-get-'em attitude, something comforting about Emile's discipline, something that radiated hope tied to Shishi's choice to follow her own path in spite of the stigma she bore, a catching quailty when it came Elizabeth's passion, and magical aura about Aya's character.  Caeceila would never admit any of this, but in that moment, she let a sliver of these thoughts shine through her overbearing aggression.

And then the vessel is kebab'ed.

OH THAT'S SPECTACULAR!  GAIA WAS EAVESDROPPING ON US AND SENT A MONSTER TO EMPHASIZE HOW LITTLE I OUGHT TO TRUST YOU PEOPLE!  THANKS, GOD!  I REALLY LOVE THE WAY YOU CHOSE TO COMMUNICATE WITH ME!

With that, Caeceila spins around, taking full advantage of her agility and flexibility to achieve a tight turning radius, and charges the door to the second entrance to the chamber, an entrance that does not lead to the exterior of the ship but to an empty room in which four "Silver Eyes" hover.  These spherical, metallic robots, each roughly the size of a beach ball, were originally designed by House Glasmann as part of the Silver Vision project to enable rapid airship maintenance, assist in facilities construction, and take on the dangerous duties associated with basic combat engineering, mine sweeping, and sapping the field.  Emphasis on modular, utilitarian design led to the development of several equipment packages allowing the "Eyes" to serve as welders, heavy lifters (in teams), etcetera.  Different equipment packages are denoted by different iris colors.  Caeceila, surprising no one, fitted her "Silver Eyes" with combat packages, featuring a light, elemental magitech laser powered by ubiquitous enchanted objects, principally wands.

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Caeceila had turned to those opposed to just rolling with her orders with aggression and open hostility. She brought up some business that Aya had no existing knowledge of that occurred with one of the individual's sisters. Something about going on a rampage and her not being there to stop it. Aya wasn't concerned since the matter had already seemed to have been dealt with, since Caeceila was using past-tense for it. The wyrm had cursed her current circumstance with a stomp of her foot... hand... claw(?)- Aya wasn't sure what to call it, studying was ahead once this matter was dealt with.

It would seem that Aya was next on the verbal chopping block. Caeceila had turned to her, addressing her by third-party, non-nomenclature. She sounded angry-ish but stopped herself after saying "I" for some reason. Aya had a gentle smile on her face while she looked at her, not knowing that her telepathy had no effect on the wyrm. Her expression wasn't smug or arrogant, just, very calm and approachable seeming. "Yes?" She asked, changing her expression to innocent-curiosity. She was soft-spoken, and clearly waiting to hear Caeceila's retort, but she seemed to be unable to say anything against her. Did Caeceila know of the Shrine of Judgement? Did she know that getting Aya to go against even the least important contract would be like trying to get a mountain to break by throwing paper at it? Aya honestly wasn't sure, and she wasn't actively monitoring anyone's emotions. 

Aya also hadn't noticed that her telepathy didn't work on Caeceila. She had grown up as the only psychic among her entire shrine, which she did find strange; but, no one treated her as an outcast for it, so it was only a small concern. Her inexperience with other psychics lead to some difficulties in interacting with them, including not being able to tell if they were blocking her out. This was largely in part to her inhibitor keeping her from using the full breadth of her power, which would lead to people dying unintentionally- best to keep it bottled up for a rainy day.

There was one person who was just fine to go along with everything, and openly agreed to being tested. Had Aya not been under any contracts preventing such a thing, she, too would have agreed. Though, there were some properties of her physiology that were best kept secret. 

Once all had spoken, the man who was assembling this motley crew had begun calling on people, and Aya turned to Dauner. "Mister Dauner, if you'd like, I could share some of the venison jerky I bought? It's a couple days old, and not seasoned very well; but, it still has a light saltiness to it." she offered. The dragon on her head immediately frilled its feathers out and began growling at Dauner. Aya's eyes angled upwards, trying to look at it, and she said "Myuīl, you have more than enough to share." It served no use, as the dragon's eyes began glowing and it was showing its tiny teeth to Dauner, who already enjoyed combating dragons and likely would love to throw hands with a Crystal Dragon. Aya raised her hand and flicked the underside of Myuīl's chin, making it stop growling and let out a soft, cooing sound. She then reached to her back and slid her duffel bag around to her side, reach in, and pulled out a small bag of jerky to offer Dauner. 

The ship rocked and shook, and the bag of jerky went flying into the air as Aya lost her balance from something slamming and slicing the side of it. Aya didn't fall to the ground, as a frail girl probably should have. Myuīl had taken flight and got off her head, and Aya curled into a ball before hitting the ground- a natural reaction from what limited hand-to-hand training she had... actually, the only hand-to-hand training she had. When she hit the floor, she rolled forward a bit and stopped with her feet on the ground, able to stand up and look around at the gaping hole in the side of the room. "Oh my. It would seem we have a guest." Aya commented, sounding much too relaxed in the current situation. "Myuīl, would you mind going outside?" she asked, and the creature flew out of the room and shot straight into the sky.

Aya was looking through Myuīl's eyes using her Clairvoyance, and noticed a very large creature was behind the attack. She hadn't taken time to familiarize herself with Terrenas's local fauna, but it did vaguely remind her of the Genesaran Horror- possibly a different subspecies of the same creature? She looked at Dauner and said "Mister Dauner, I believe your affinity for being eaten by large monsters may come into play." It was a slightly joking reference to Dauner's fight against the explosion dragon they fought the first time they'd met, and how he intentionally got eaten. Though, with the amount of armored plates Myuīl was seeing on the beast's main body, or at least, the ones it could see under the water's surface, that joke may actually become a serious statement.

Through his eyes, Aya saw the creature preparing for a horizontal attack, getting ready to cut the top of the ship off and expose the victims in the room. Aya turned around and said "Siebenschichtiger Schild!" causing a large, black wall to appear. Those near the wall would notice it wasn't a wall made of darkness or shadows. It was warm, like light or fire- which was the opposite of darkness, which was cold and empty. The shield was made of seven layers, all of which were cut through, except the monster's claw was stuck in the seventh, making it unable to get a good cut on the final barrier. The result was that it didn't have enough force behind its swing to cut the ship beyond a small gash in the room. The scythe claw was withdrawn. 

A shimmering sound was heard echoing through the ship, which was the sound of Myuīl activating his ability to grow, turning into a two-hundred meter long behemoth of a dragon that would normally take him thousands of years. It was his Time Manipulation ability, which allowed him to control the way time flows through his body. It allowed him to become older or younger at will, changing his size and power as a result- an ability shared with various other kinds of dragons. "Everyone grab something." Aya said calmly while grabbing the nearby table.

Myuīl began swooping down, getting closer to the water's surface and making the air pressure in and around the ship increase by result of his massive body pushing the air down. From his mouth he fired a linear beam consisting of powdered crystals moving so fast that they'd blast holes in mountains either by force or erosion. The blast was surrounded by sparks of lightning, static electricity caused by the rapidly moving particulates glancing past each other and exchanging energy hundreds of millions of times over. It hit the water and evaporated what was on the surface, hitting the monster below and incinerating several tentacles; but, the monster's plates did little more than glow red before rapidly cooling off when the water filled the area back in. He left a dent in the scales, but ultimately just made the Yuuja angrier with his attack. Myuīl had taken back to the skies, narrowly avoiding a cluster of tentacles that shot up to grab him. As for the ship, it was shaken violently from the force of the attack hitting the water, which inevitably made the existing cut in its side slightly worse. 

Aya turned to Liz, whose name she didn't know since she didn't introduce herself, and said "You're a scientist of sorts, correct? Beyond the fact that its scales are so thick that Myuīl's breath attack is moderately ineffective, can you tell us anything of that creature that may prove useful?"


@danzilla3 @Dauner Light @Meraxa @The Alexandrian @Thotification @Vilhardt 

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Everything seemed to happen all at once.

Caecilia had been continuing with her theatrics when some kind of scythe like appendage tore through the hull of the vessel. Emile had been standing just to the side of the massive limbs entrance, and was roughly thrown aside as it came through. As he hit the ground, the two sides of the ship were raised out of the water by the weight of the scythe. He began to slide toward the limb, but caught himself on a hole in the floor. He managed to hold on until the limb retracted, and once the two halves of the ship began to lower he scrambled out onto the deck.

A creature he had never seen before loomed large above the ship. It looked to him like the result of a cross between a preying mantis and a whale. He didn't take too much time to contemplate what it was however; all that mattered was making sure it didn't kill them.

Raising his rifle, he looked through the scope at the creature, looking for some kind of weak point. Most of its body was covered in armor thick enough that he wasn't sure even his armor piercing ammunition could penetrate. The mouth seemed a potential vulnerable point, but it was its limbs that he centered in on. The scything appendages curved inward on a single joint. Upon examination it seemed that joint was more lightly armored than the rest of the body to facilitate movement.

Target chosen he took aim, took a deep breath, and pulled the trigger as he exhaled. A loud crack echoed through the air as the round broke the sound barrier and slammed into the joint. There was an explosion of blood and chitin, and the top right limb of the creature fell into the sea. 

The beast roared in fury and seemed to round on Emile. Undaunted, he ejected the spent casing and chambered another round, ready to fire again.

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Caeceila didn’t seem to like the responses given by those who refused to accept her terms. She began throwing verbal attacks at the group. For some reason, she seemed to be skeptical about Dauner's abilities. This however, was no surprise seeing as she hadn't seen him i action yet. Still, somehow he believed she wasn't the type of person to put any kind of faith in someone else's abilities.

You, on the other hand, bad!  Bad!  If you want to hack 'n slash well over two million parasites glued to random people scattered throughout Dougton and adjoining areas fine, but don't murder any of the people attached to those parasites!

He burst out in laughter after she had said this without seeming to want to withhold his laughter. The way she had said seem ed funny to him though it was exactly what he planned to do.

"Does cutting them up count as killing?" He asked after he had finished his laughter. "And I can kill way more than that, faster than that. Wanna bet on it". That was when Aya offered Dauner some meat which she had purchased. Dauner was thrilled about having it. It had almost been a day since he had anything to eat and was starving. It was a miracle that he was still standing. He grinned as he extended his hand to take the bag of meat which was so kindly offered to him. Just as he was about to get it, the boat began to rock making him almost lose his balance. The bag was also sent flying off Aya's hand and into the air. Dauner immediately skipped into the air grabbing the bag before it could come to harm. He then pulled a piece of meat out of it and took a huge bite off of it. His mouth was now stuffed with the meat so much so that, hiss next words were not very understandable. "Bop bosh jat?"(What was that?) He asked still chewing the meat. "It awmosh baf bi blus by bit"(It almost made me lose my meat) he continued.

After Aya made her comment, Dauner swallowed the meat which was in his mouth. "You mean now?" he said looking at her. He then took another bite. "Bush jyam shtill eashing. Gojshen, jou hanje jit"(But I'm still eating. Gozen, you handle it) he said as he turned to Gozen. While the others might not have understood what he was saying, Gozen did way too well and it was at times like this that he wished he didn't. He had spent a long time with Dauner and that was enough for him to familiarize himself with his 'eating language'.

"But- do i really have to fight? I mean, you said we were only going to explore some ruins and fight a few weak monsters. I never signed up for this" Gozen said pointing towards whatever was outside the boat. Dauner swallowed the meat had in his mouth. "I don't remember telling you that" Dauner responded looking away from Gozen hiding his guilt. "And if you don't fight. That thing out there will kill you" Dauner emphasized to Gozen.  Gozen then turned around and began to gloom with tears rolling down from his eyes. "I'll get you for this" he said with a barely audible voice.

Dauner then watched Myuil fire it's attack at the Yuuja before taking back to the skies. "Wow Aya. You're Dragon's strong" he said looking at Gozen with a disappointed look. "Don't give me that look" Gozen yelled before getting up and walking out of the room. He then walked a bit into the water getting closer to the creature. He was still reluctant to do this but he didn't have many other choices. He was bonded to Dauner for life and if Dauner won't run then there was no other way out.

Dauner then sent his hand into the bag again just to realize the meat was finish. "Say Aya" he said turning to Aya. "Do you think that thing tastes good?"

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 All hell had broken loose it seemed, causing Liz to bring her hand over her face in distaste. As banter exploded back and forth, she rubbed the bridge of her nose, growing tired of the bickering and the paranoia. Her recluse nature helped block it all out, and she had taken a deep breath to ease her mind. It was then that she felt a growing vibration, and shortly after, a still pause. Patton looked up from the floor in curiosity, concerned about something.

 "What was that..?"

 Elizabeth asked, undertone in the ruckus of the hack job party; and the questionable ethics at hand. The inquiry was met with an answer, a force which bore through the ship and back. The sudden shift in momentum laid Elizabeth onto her stomach, where she remained for a moment before climbing back onto her feet quickly; awestruck by the Yuuja. A look of amusement crept across her thin face as she began collecting data, her black cap being thrown off from the gust created by the dragon overhead. Her fingers had already began to work by the time Aya had ackowledged her, sourcing information for display. Elizabeth's reaction was snappy and drab, as usual.

 "Patience is a virtue, priestess. Where is your reverence for science?"

 Liz spat in excitement, her right hand plugging along commands to her network; dragging along alternating light glyphs which danced along the tips of her fingers. Elizabeth's attention snapped towards the gunshot when Emile fired, picking up vital information from the reverb. A light beamed from Patton's glasses, expanding and creating a light screen which overlapped information by imprinting into the distance, allowing for the others to see it. It displayed the tension differences that Emile had sharply picked up on beforehand, and gauged the scale of the creature's physiology in accordance with the vibrations of the water and the port size, revealing estimated location and activity through echo-pulses which appeared along a grid on-screen.

 Nothing changed the fact that they were all sitting ducks, floating atop what would be splinters in the ocean if the Yuuja continued it's assault. They needed to run ashore, maybe even lure the beast out of the depths, or disengage entirely; but Liz doubted those among her would comply. Still, with a vein sigh she insisted anyway. Hopefully the Yuuja wouldn't suck them in immediately.

"I'm sure it's delicios Dauner, but I'm afraid we may all be the main course if we don't retreat to the port. We need as many advantages as we can get. I recommend we fall back, and strike from two sides in an attempt to force it out to sea." 

 Liz explained, offering advice from a sound perspective. She added in another tidbit at the end.

"Yuuja are infamous for swallowing ships whole...."

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Well, excuse me, princess!  If your domain is Predator's Keep, your domain is an open sewer.  I surmise your Order is headquartered there because the land is especially cheap.  I digress.  If your celebrated Order could, as you claim, handle the Aleth hivemind then why, pray tell, haven't they?  While we're at it, where in the world were you while your sister was rampaging through the countryside with Mister Bwahaha Iamevil Lookatme?  "Oh, I was busy saving the world."  Sure you were.

Shishi could not help but frown at that. Clearly, there is no need for such unwarranted aggression but she figured this was the true face of the head of Hell's Gate. Quite unbecoming of a woman of her stature but who is she to judge? Unfortunately for this Glasmann woman, she barely hit anything right.

"That is why I'm here. To determine the danger of this hivemind and if taking such action against these being would be within the Order's interests. That and bear in mind that I am just a lowly worker within the order and have no real authority unlike you. I guess you would know that seeing that you could say such words in front of a lower ranking member like me and not in the face of say, someone like James. But I guess I should be the better woman and let this one slide."

Frowning, she mulled on her words and then turned her face away from Cae's. "I think you mistook my sister for my mother. She was never there during the raid at Last Chance nor was she part of the Legion. Maybe you meant the Lady Blackbush not the Mistre..."

Her voice trailed away as she felt something else. Everything else seemed to fade out into background noise. Was it intuition or her natural sense for danger? Whatever it was, Shishi could sense something approaching. Something really big. What was it? She could not figure out. Was it friend or-

Then it hit. Like a large whip-like appendage scything through the dilapidated ship. Her world seemed to rock and shake from the shock. She had to scramble for purchase, her need for self-preservation giving her the strength to move. The limb barely miss her and she was thankful for that. Her trials, however, was far from over. She would still need to survive.

As the ship broke into two, she manage to right herself and gain purchase by propping herself on the nearby wall. Finally, she turned her attention to their assailant. A leviathan of the sea. A sea monster. A-

"Yuuja," her sister spoke, Shishi had to shift her attention to the source of the voice. Sure enough, there was her older sister sitting sashaying on the side of the hall, a stick of cigar on her mouth treating their life-threatening predicament as if it was a walk in the park. "It seems that the stories are true. It is quite the majestic creature!" the woman continued, her voice filled with awe and amusement.

"Any ideas?" Shishi cried as she tightened her hold. "Can't you take it out on your own?"

The older sister laughed. "Are you serious? That's ridiculous! If this was Genisaris or Renovation perhaps. But not here, not in this land. I suggest we run away. Or fly away more like it. I doubt this beast could reach us in the sky"

"What the hell? Then you're useless! I'm starting to regret bringing you here."

Shrugging, the older sister inhaled a lungful of cigar smoke before she spoke. "I'm only here to ensure your safety. Not do stupid things like fighting bloody yuujas."

"Safety my ass!" Shishi yelled while her body began to traverse the dangerous terrain. She needed a good spot to make her shot. Emile did a great job with cutting off one of the beast's limbs and she figured she should help too. 

"Look at the size of this thing! It's bloody huge! Well not that huge. I've seen bigger. No pun intended. There was this one time in Nehalen..." her sister's voice rang through the sea air.

Stabilizing her posture, Shishi braced herself for her own attack. She needed to time this right making sure she did not miss her only chance. Even her sister's words were like background noise as she focused all the power in her chest and with a cry, a beam of magical light shot from that area head straight into another appendage, replicating Emile's actions earlier.

"...where I fought a mountain! You had no idea how fun it was to have that huge ass mountain titan do a belly flop on me. After that came the upper cut which sent me flying way up high. Ah Good times....." the grating voice of her sister, still keeps on droning and droning.

As the limb fell down, Shishi rolled away from where she was previously standing. She needed to keep moving. There's no telling when the beast might retaliate. Her senses were mostly returning now, much to her dismay. With her earlier concentration done, she could once more hear her sister's annoying voice. Perhaps it's best to just ignore the blasted woman and focus on keeping herself alive.

...the good old days. Have I ever told you that Ursa Madeum where I had to fight a volcano. A volcano out of all things! It was one of the weirdest things I have ever seen....."

"Can't you just keep quiet for one goddamned minute?! I'm trying to survive here!"

"Spoilsport. Killjoy. Party pooper. Wet blanket....

"...Oh dear! I think the beast is looking directly at me. Shishi, would be a dear and help me out here?"

"Shishi?! Anyone?"

Edited by Thotification

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"...Not Gaia." Argi realised, both because he was doubtful of the entity's existence anyway, but because he realised the hand of another, concluding, "Enrele."
Daloth, most likely. He had literally just dismissed their ability to be informed of this whole endeavour, along with any ordinary folk who may have joined him. Reduced the other hivemind's ability to manipulate the outcome towards their own end - which itself implied they had been holding out for an opportunity, and rather than be denied it, it would deny it to anyone else.
"Then..." Argi's hand withdrew his empty hilt, and held it ready as if an actual blade was there. He knew he must have looked a fool, but...
 
But before he might speak as he would normally do at this stage, there were a few things to take stock of. Firstly, that Caeceila was gone; where, Argi hadn't even registered, nor could see from this angle. But he hardly had the time to look about for the dragon, when uh... there was another! One could only really see it through the hole that had been cleared right into the ship, but it was a gargantuan beast, greater than any Argi had laid eyes upon since stepping down from the mountains. It was something that, by its sheer existence, had him awestruck. Was this a great spirit made manifest?
The possibility of a 'yes' in answer to that question seemed to rise substantially as the dragon the swept down from the heavens, a great rush of wind preceding it. With the fabric of his loose robes flapping about his person, Argi watched in anticipation, rewarded by the unleashing what seemed almost like lightning from the dragon's gaping maw. For the slightest flash of a second, the young man feared it might have spelled their end.
 
However, though the 'lightning' came close, and lasted longer than any flash of lightning rightly should have, it was evidently not aimed at them. With body hair standing on end, awash in steam, and a burning smell assaulting his sinuses as the air itself almost seemed to catch alight in the attacker's wake, Argi watched this dazzling display strike the attacking beast with what seemed like the full force of the sky. When the attack ended, he thought the same true of Daloth's assault.
 
Not so.
 
How could he have known that the hide of such a beast would prove so resilient? How was he know the simple disparity of trying to unleash such an assault in the fractured land of Terrenus, where even magic was now weaker than it should have been? He could not, and so Argi was left simply to be aghast as he saw the steam clear, and there the creature remained. Wounded, obviously so, but still very much alive.
Now, whether by it's own instincts or that of the Enrele, it was angry. It thrashed with what tentacles remained: thrashed against Emile, who had, unbeknownst to Argi's eye, actually struck another blow, firing his rifle and stealing the beast of a full limb. Rather than reveal the exposed joint of the next to the soldier, the Yuuja contorted itself in what would otherwise be a clearly uncomfortable fashion, and thrust the 'scythe' forward, while laid flat. It would still ram its way through most materials of the increasingly frail vessel, but that still meant probable harm for any human that did not get out of the way. So did the Yuuja thrash against Gozen upon the water, whipping around several looser tentacles, lacking for scythe but much faster and free to strike, cracking like whips the length of lesser vessels towards Dauner's most unfortunate companion. It thrashed as well towards those that remained within the increasingly fleeting 'safety' of the vessel proper, though its efforts were cut short by a smaller, but quite precise beam of light put forth by Shishi.
 
Ironic then, that it should not turn its subsequent attentions to her, but one that looked a bit too much like her. Increasingly deprived of appendages with which to assault another, as much as its main body remained intact, it shifted towards relying upon that body - chiefly, it's long, whale-like 'head'. With astonishing speed it moved, tearing back and then thrusting forward, mouth opening for a quick snap that might swallow the elder sister whole.
"PELDUN!"
At last, Argi leapt into the fray. A great, green light would flood the room, before all could see that where the young man may once have been, there was now a golem - or something akin to such - four metres tall and as blue as the sea that lay outside. Try as the Yuuja might - and Argi most certainly knew its name now - it could not open or close its jaw any further. Open, because Peldun's sheer size had forced the Yuuja's mouth open to it's very limit. Close, because while it was quite clearly trying, it not so easily crush the automaton. That said, a question would be as to how long it would last: Within Peldun's other space, Argi could certainly feel the pressure upon him growing.
 
"Swallow ships whole..." he muttered, and could be heard through Peldun's form. "But bet it not as tough inside!"
Those armoured plates wouldn't make sense in the stomach, after all. True of any scaled creature he knew.

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For all her paranoia whenever and wherever the Enrele crop up, Caeceila's tactical expertise and unwholesome obsession with warfare, particularly her weakness for gambits and ignoble trickery that would compel the Witch King himself to take pause, continue to serve her well.

Caeceila set the conditions of this encounter.  By her command, drow technicians, under the cover of night, restored power to the Wyrm's Bane several days prior.  It was her design that messengers of dubious loyalty and professionalism leak the time and location of this meeting to enemy forces.  Caeceila baited the Enrele and played her part convincingly, luring as many of them into her kill zone as her ranting, raving, and the salient threat she posed could attract.  She arrived in a draconic form armed to the teeth with a suite of cutting-edge weaponry to coax them out of hiding.  From the onset, she challenged Hivemind Daloth, directly, at times.  Her performance was magnificent, if she did say so herself, and in the end, she had her "undesired" confrontation with Hivemind Daloth.

How they would rue the day they declined to parlay with Caeceila Glasmann: not that Caeceila ever intended to grant them quarter!

This sea monster, what everyone else referred to as a Yuuja, had crashed Caeceila's party.  Of the creature's identity, Caeceila was utterly oblivious.  Whatever this sea monster is, it is a terrifying foe worthy of her respect, to be sure, and it is more than a little worrisome, Caeceila would opine, that it is, in all likelihood, capable of surviving in the waters of Genesaris and Renovatio since that implies Hivemind Daloth is well on its way to establishing a global presence.  No matter.  This Enrele-aligned beastie and those that must be advancing from the coast to cut off the party's retreat are destined, at the very least, to get intimate with a meat grinder, and Caeceila must content herself with that for now!

Caeceila had, seemingly, abandoned the party to their own devices.  Shooting the monster and blasting it with energetic crystals would, it goes without saying, draw the beast's aggro away from Caeceila, who wasted no time in racing toward the generator room.  Unbeknownst to Caeceila, the party had already inflicted massive damage on the sea monster, which will impress her somewhere down the line; she figured they would deal light damage and fall back to the beach.  She entered the generator room, a bulkhead slamming shut behind her, and did her part.  She pressed herself against a gene-locked panel on a large, cylindrical tube coursing with mesmerizing light.

Before Caeceila learned of the Enrele threat from the Symposium Against Doom, she spearheaded an effort to smother the Legion of Doom at its inception.  She worked hand-in-hand with the Terrenus Military and provided some measure of air support during the Legion of Doom's Raid on Last Chance, dismantling several Legion of Doom members and the beasts they deployed to cover their retreat.  In this engagement, she witnessed how effective the Terrenus Military's anti-psionic grenades and pulses were against Legion of Doom psychers and later gained access, by leveraging her position as a well-respected Terrenus Military Contractor and the heiress to House Glasmann and Glasmann Cryonics, to this technology.  She had stockpiled such weapons in Hell's Gate on the off-chance the Legion of Doom ever encroached on Hell's Gate, intending to cripple Dredge by bombarding him with anti-psionic shells launched by House Glasmann artillery units showcased in her recent open house.

Several of the wrecks in this relatively desolate section of Casper's shantytown had been fitted with anti-psionic ordinance by sneaky drow technicians flying Nines's banner days before.  As Caeceila manually triggered this ordinance, any psychic in the area, including the Enrele, actively relying on psychic powers, like telepathy, would experience debilitating pain followed by the inability to use psychic abilities for a total of ten minutes.  These invisible pulses would temporarily alter the flow of ambient magical energies in the area, yet this phenomenon imposes no disadvantage on other types of magic.

Caeceila, who was never optimistic when it came to the Enrele, had saturated the area with such weaponry because she expected a full-scale army to turn up to silence Argi's task force.  She had, therefore, also taken the precaution of designating this room as her safe room.  In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't that important except that it contained the generator, anti-psionic ordinance, the trigger for her trap, and a few of her all-time favorite toy: two overcharged wands of flesh-to-stone and a sonic cannon.  As Caeceila's Silver Eyes slotted these wands into the turrets mounted on her sides and affixed the sonic cannon to the end of her tail, completing her absolutely ludicrous ensemble, music blasted from speakers tucked away in wrecks across the beach.

Spoiler

 

As Caeceila listened to that cover of Die, Die My Darling she, Nines, Cameila, and Iolanda had recorded during a team bonding exercise, she couldn't help but smile warmly.  Nines did well with this little surprise!

Edited by The Alexandrian

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Each member was contributing in their own way. Liz had told Aya to wait, asking where her appreciation for science was located. Aya could appreciate hard facts and data just as much as the next person. She was, after all, a business-oriented person who also dabbled in delivering justice in ways that unsettled others; but, her current reverence was in the idea of not having Dauner carve her way out of a lovecraftian horror's stomach. Liz later, though, not much later, stated that the best course of action was making their way to solid ground. That would mean risking the seas below them and hoping not to be grabbed by the multitude of tentacles held within.

Those tentacles were starting to lose their numbers on account of Shishi and Emile working on cutting them down. Following Myuīl's Crystal Breath attack, Dauner had complimented the dragon's power while slightly admonishing Gozen in a very low-profile sort of way. After Gozen told Dauner not to give him that sort of look, Aya smiled gently at the other dragon and said "You're quite impressive in your own right, Mister Gozen. Myuīl is unable to take on a human form, making it impossible for him to blend in. It was quite difficult convincing the train conductor to let him aboard." To some, it might sound like Aya had forgotten they were all in danger. She sounded so relaxed and calm despite the current situation that she would have to had forgotten.

The sounds of battle was around them and before long, the sounds of explosives being fired from their containers. Shortly after that, they went off, releasing a type of energy that made Aya fall to her knees while holding her head. It took all of her mental fortitude to not scream. Screaming could disrupt her allies, drawing attention away from the threat, which would lead to casualties. She was gritting her teeth with her eyes shut tight, trembling from the pain. Would this had happened if she weren't using her clairvoyance? Well, no, it wouldn't- but Aya had no way of knowing to turn that off and disconnect from Myuīl. 

Having sensed something was off, Myuīl let out a cry, which would be heard as another shimmering sound that echoed through the vessel. He was trying to call to Aya, get her to send a telepathic message. Slowly, Aya reached into her duffel bag and pulled out a slip of paper with some writing on it. The paged gave off a light glow before evaporating, and her extreme headache vanished alongside it. She sat up and took a breath while reaching for her staff. Upon touching it, she could feel something was different. Had her psionics not been disabled, she would've immediately known the issue; but for now, it was just a feeling. It was like hearing the word 'insect' and needing to scratch somewhere, even though you couldn't see what was there to be scratched at.

She stood up with a less relaxed and more serious expression on her face. She was getting annoyed. She didn't know that it was Caeceila who set off the psychic EMP, so her immediate frustration was aimed at the Yuuja. It was closing in on the ship and was attempting to take a nice, hearty nibble on the vessel. Aya's eyebrow twitched and her serious expression became a frown. A green flash had erupted in the room that lead to the sight of a new being, a golem of unknown origin, holding the Yuuja's mouth open. It's breath was horrid, and reeked of rotted and partially digested flesh. 

The light from the world began to fade, being cut in half. It wasn't just the light in the room, but the light outside it, and Aya had a black aura around her. To some, this would equate a dark element spell being used, which was unbefitting of a priestess. "Auf dieser unwürdigen seele, vom kern von seinem sein, austeil ein fluch von endlosem schmerz und seinen körper brechen." as she spoke the germanic tongue, words written in ancient elven would appear in front of her body. She normally refrained from such long incantations; but this land weakened magic, and this monster was huge- such high power was necessary to counter both.

Continuing the light show on board the ship, the light faded entirely for a second as Aya's spell resolved. The monster let out a shriek of pain and its muscles convulsed. Even if the hivemind was controlling its mind, even if the monster wanted to move, it was now knowing the furious pain that every human with a foot had experienced at some point in their life- all over its body. Aya's curse was one that caused every single one of the monster's muscles in charge of movement to fire at the same time, in different directions. On its skin, as the light returned to the world, those muscles could be seen twitching and writhing under the skin surrounding its mouth. With the golem holding its mouth open and Aya's curse keeping it from moving away, its insides were ready to be torn to shreds. As far as Aya was concerned, she thought the monster had disabled her psionics- so she disabled its entire body. This wouldn't be permanent. Just as any major cramp, this one would eventually subside. Whether that was a few minutes or a few hours from now was anyone's guess. 


@danzilla3 @Dauner Light @Meraxa @The Alexandrian @Thotification @Vilhardt  
OOC: Translation (rough) 'On this unworthy soul, from the core of his being, issue a curse of endless pain and break his body."

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It wasn't long after Gozen had gone out into the water before a cracking sound echoed through the air. This was Emile's doing and was quite effective as it took off one of the monsters tentacles. Liz turned to Dauner and said what she thought about how the monster's meat tasted. Unknown to her, her words had just provoked his desire to have a taste of it. Shishi didn't just sit by either as she blasted the monster with a beam which took off another tentacle. The Yuuja was slowly losing it's limbs and this was no happy moment for it. It got furious and wanted to finish off the annoying group once and for all.

By this time, one of it's tentacles was about to ram into Gozen slicing him up. He raised his arm placing it in the tentacle's path. His arm then changed color and was black. Flames ensued covering his entire lower arm in fire. The blade on the tentacle hit the arm fiercely pushing Gozen backwards but It couldn't go through his arm. Gozen let out a grin looking at the monster as he clenched his hand into a fist and tightened his grip, loading magical power into it.

Dauner was not planning on missing out on the fun. He jumped straight into the water avoiding one of the scythe tentacles. The A green light then glowed from behind revealing a golem who in turn preyed the Yuuja's mouth open. Cae had disappeared from the action scene. Where she was, was unknown to all. Still Neither Dauner nor Gozen had noticed this. They were out to kill a Yuuja and feast on it's meat. Well only Dauner was out for it's meat but it still did count.

Dauner turned around and began to run away from the Yuuja. Seeing this, anyone would conclude that he was chickening out. The way he ran would make this opinion even more obvious. However, when he had reached a certain distance from the Yuuja, He turned around. This was when Aya cast her spell on the beast. Dauner recognized the light of the world fading and concluded that Aya was the one doing it. He noticed the Yuuja stiffening up and thought of this and a good opportunity for him to make his move. "Road Rush" he said as he leapt forward rushing towards the beast. During his run, his head was bent downward towards the front with his hands trailing behind him holding his swords. All who paid attention would realize a fact that appeared to be more than obvious. Dauner's speed was about several times faster than the ordinary human's speed and he was not running on the ground below the water but rather on the water. That was the result of his 'road rush' technique.

Gozen then jumped backwards loading a punch. When he landed, he punched hard at the air yelling, "FIRE FIST!". Once his hand had stretched out to it's limit, what seemed like fire with the shape of his hand shot out. The hand expanded rapidly ending up as big as the Yuuja itself before landing a punch on it's chest. The hand disappeared as fast as it had come leaving the area which had been hit severely damaged. The skin of the Yuuja was as hard as armor but Gozen had been perfecting this technique for this particular type of opponent. If he couldn't cut steel like Dauner, he could at least smash it in. The part of the Yuuja's chest which had received the impact had been smashed in and partly melted away.

"Gozen. Send me flying" Dauner shouted towards Gozen as he approached. Gozen jumped into the air stretching his leg outwards. It turned black and fire engulfed it. Dauner jumped onto this leg just before Gozen Shot him towards the Yuuja's chest at top speed. The speed Dauner had accumulated during his run played a big part in this. With the golem still holding the Yuuja's mouth, and it's  body stiff. It would not have been able to escape into the deeps and it now lay an open target. Dauner was planning on hitting right where Gozen had first hit exposing the beast's flesh.

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Emile kept his eye on the giant creature as it flailed about in it's rage. Many soldiers would simply lay down as much fire as possible; hoping that if they threw enough rounds at it that it would hurt it eventually. Snipers were trained differently. Each shot fired had a purpose; maximum damage for maximum effect. What some might accomplish with an entire clip, he would do with a single bullet. He had done well with the first shot, but now it's appendages were moving around too much to get a guaranteed hit.

Then something seemed to seize the beast, and it convulsed in what looked like pain. This caused it to open its mouth, and reveal a new target. Refocusing on the new weak spot, he fired once, then twice, then thrice. Each bullet impacted the roof of its mouth, and burst out the top of its head. 

The teams combined efforts seemed to be wearing it down, but he wondered how much punishment it could take.

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 The sudden ringing of an unknown frequency pinged Elizabeth's system, causing a system malfunction; her tactical display wavering before disappearing. The light lenses in her eyes vanished, revealing a pair of ocular orbs which oscillated in a control ring interlay, forming feint hues of light. Her system identified the problem, an assault on the harmonizer which bridged her neural network to her nervous systems. Had it not been for her autonomous functions, Elizabeth may have experienced severe ache, disability, or worstly, brain death. 

 Her over ride systems killed her pain inhibitors and began producing a counter - wave. As her function returned, Elizabeth could have guessed the treachery afoot, but sleighted the chance in response to the situation. It seemed that her associates were going all out, likely a byproduct of this new signal she assumed. So many colors and loud noises exploded into the horizon, and yet Elizabeth continued to stand by; simply watching. One had to wonder truly, what was she doing?

 It takes a very peculiar kind of mind to remain calm in the face of disaster, collective some would say; nightmarish to most others. Few had the untrained ability to show self-restraint atop the precipice of their own power, fewer among this lot, and somehow Patton was in her prime here. She met the Enrele threat with nothing in response, hardly ackowledging the Yuuja at this point, and strived to gain the same ends of her enemies; information. She would not let the Enrele force her hand, not yet.

 As her newfound allies handled the here and now, Elizabeth had been manipulating other outcomes. She had been micromanaging, broadcasting her experience to an unnamed personal task force of sorts, which had moved to intercept the men Argi had dismissed earlier. The temporary loss of signal had caused them to forego their covert approach and mobilize. As people began to take notice of the portside assault, the squadron set up a perimeter, ushering civilians to "safety" while combing through every crevice for their targets. They found the lot in a panic, some of them suffering convulsions while the others beckoned for assistance. 

 Unfortunately, their job wasn't taking prisoners, nor providing "aid", but rather collecting samples and neutralizing first hand witnesses. Their ergokinetic amps were malfunctioning, the means of how unknown, forcing the squadron to rely on handy non-lethal alternatives to suppress the targets. The squad captain reached into his deep coat, pulling a small triangular device from a belt which rested against a black turtleneck sweater. He wound a small dial at the top, causing the bindings between the runes to align, and activated the device by pushing the dial into a locking mechanism. The dial wound down, churning a thin rod in rotation which gathered friction to initiate a spell, causing a feint glow which skidded across the ground as the lad tossed it. 

 A whistle screamed out as the pin rod ejected, accompanied by a static discharge which harmlessly primed anyone within it's influence and caused them to cling to the nearest surface. In this case, it was the ground, straining on the band gradually; bringing the uninfected members onto their knees and then flat beside the pain ridden Enrele hosts. The security units moved in unison to execute their orders, rushing on top of the dismissed party members and pinning them before binding them with fiber inlaid polymer shackles which wound around a central mechanism that spun into place. Three bars locked into the central hinge behind their backs as the prisoners faces were covered and they were hearded to a transport to await further orders. Elizabeth had come here to make a few "friends", and perhaps the Ventrix mind could play nice with the Glasmann heiress by offering leverage to strike up fair terms of negotiations. Perhaps, not.

 Communications occurred shortly after.

"G-9 to Director. Target's are in custody."

 Elizabeth smiled in satisfaction as she responded.

"Understood G-9. Resume hazard control."

 Patton commanded, looking towards the Yuuja, prepared now to give it her full attention. Elizabeth's tactical grid kicked back on, displaying information, and her nonlinear processer activated; creating a large scale spell sigil which inlaid against the sea monster. Little by little it wove it's angles, slowly and undetermined beforehand. She amassed a sum of equational value in digital form, which calculated arcane context in preparation of generating a binary spell. Her head throbbed, and while not in pain, she grew irrate, barking at her comrades as a result.

"For the sake of the black blood.. Stop playing around!!!"

 

 

Edited by Vilhardt

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Shishi did not expect the sudden inexplicable wave of headache that hit her. It was like something was scratching inside her head. Painful but bearable at most. It did make her almost loose her grip on the ship's side but thankfully managed to latch on to the ship again and keep herself from falling down at the sea where the yuuja has an advantage.

"You know, you can just walk on water."

Her sister's voice only made Shishi's headache worse. "Just leave me alone. I'll be okay after a while."

"That wouldn't do," the older sister chided, "That's anti-psionic stuff. That hellgate bitch must've seen the reports during the raid at Last Chance and seeing how effective such devices were against the Legion's main forces, the brat must have gathered as many as she liked."

"Last Chance? I thought you were never part of that battle," Shishi asked with a troubled look on her face.

"Well, Sera was there." 

Shishi rolled her eyes at that one. "I should probably switch to using magic for now."

With her newfound realization, Shishi dispersed her psionics and instead made use of her innate magical energy. The adjustment brought a greatly alleviated her predicament and it even strengthened her resolve to fight.

"I do find it wonderful in a sense though. For someone relying on petty trinkets and so call 'technology', she did well on this one. It seems there is something worth praising about her once in a while."

 Her sister's words made Shishi halt in her tracks. Turning her head around, she found her sister in a rather strange condition. Ignoring the fact that the older woman was more or less walking nonchalantly on the ship's hull, she was more concerned with her sister's face that was filled with awe and amusement. It was an expression of a little kid enamored by a new toy or perhaps some fireworks. 

"It still disappoints me that I am unable to replicate such an interesting thing. Unfortunately, it's too narrow-minded for my taste. Now that I have Baeoi in my grasp, I find it too lacking. It does have its niche uses, I suppose."

Ignoring the babbling woman, the little sister returned her attention to the yuuja. The whole group is wearing it down now and it will die anytime soon. She could have opted to wait till it succumb to its natural death but she found it prudent to at least give more contribution to the group effort. Stretching her left arm forward, her hand imitated the shape of a gun, with a lone index finger pointing at the yuuja as the barrel and her thumb as the hammer. Power blossomed within her and gathered at the tip of her extended index finger which began glowing with a dull light.

"Bang," she whispered and the gathered energy shot out of her fingertip which split into a dozen or so sparkling motes of light each streaking towards their intended targets. Her aim was the yuuja's limbs and each mote of light is like an explosive round which dealt with every limb they can reach.

While her light show happened, her sister was jumping up and down behind her and squealing with joy. "Save some for me later! I need a piece of that cute yuuja so I can replicate one as a pet!"

 

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Argi waited... and waited... Grunting with each flex of the beast muscle's, trying to crush him within its maw, waiting still...

"...Hello? Anyone?!" Argi raised his voice, wondering to himself why no-one was doing anything with his suggestion. Nothing visible to his eyes, at least, though admittedly his position - staring right into the belly of the beast, or its throat at least - did not afford him much ability to see or comprehend how others might be preparing for it. Yet still, this delay made him anxious, and even though he could not truly feel it, he could feel the breath of the Yuuja wash over him, frustrated and perhaps even hungry.

Then it made a different noise.

Just as any human should struggle to render speech if their mouth is jammed wide apart, so too did the Yuuja struggle to render its anger - its agony - as it began to suddenly convulsed, the guttural noises that erupted from it as much driven by muscle spasm as it was any actual cry. 

 

Reacting against the pain, like any creature of basically will should - and indeed, acting for the first time as any animal really should - the Yuuja withdrew, drawing back its mouth from the ship into which it had smashed itself mere moments ago. It thrashed about again, but this time, it was more a series of subsequent shocks to the latest set of pain which it felt. It was utterly exposed when one man's giant, flaming fist opted to strike, blowing it back from the vessel, almost tumbling it straight into the waves below. An opening that the swordsman sought to exploit, catapulted by their ally through the air and right into the anatomically deprived architeuthid. Against many creatures, such an assault would have been likely to work; but not against the Yuuja. Dauner's blades would bounce from those plates, resilient even as the flesh beneath them was churned. One of the few remaining tentacles would flail loosely in Dauner's direction, less because it was specifically driven against him, and more that he happened to be in the way of it twitching otherwise. He had however inadvertently achieved one thing: Prying Argi free from the Yuuja's crushing grasp. For beating the Yuuja back had driven it, and its mouth, into a vertical position, with the shift in position allowing Peldun's feet to slip down the flesh of its float. Desperately, quickly, it sought snap shut its jaw around the malignant automaton, only for the shots of Emile's rifle to fire without fault, right into the Yuuja's then still open mouth. It was struck still, and then howled again, as the roof of its mouth turned to flimsy pulp, loose bits of plate pushed free of the flesh on the other side. Peldun was free of the mouth entirely!

 

Because it had fallen down its throat instead.

 

Argi screamed, both internally and externally, at the sheer madness of this misfortune. But his screams were silent within the belly of the beast to any and all outsider observers; it would be especially hard to hear him after the particular lightshow that was Shishi unleashing her attack. The beams of light spread towards a target that still was not really even thinking of its surroundings any longer, unaware of anyone or anything going on about it.  For Shishi's count, she could most certainly claim the destruction of three of the Yuuja's limbs, which above the water at least, left it with just the one. One, that fell faintly against the ship, with seemingly not even the strength remaining for a light nudge. Or perhaps, not the will, as it did push away from the ship, weakly twisting itself to turn in the shallow waters, and make its way back out into the depths. Far, far and away from all those fearsome little things with too few legs that had hurt it so.

Forgetting it had swallowed one of them; not for long though.

"Out! Out! LET ME OUT!" Argi cursed in his native tongue, digging and driving his sword against the walls of the Yuuja's stomach, where some strange, yellow liquid was lapping at the construct's body, and there was a strange, light tingling upon Argi's body. Cleaving apart the flesh surrounding the stomach immediately only seemed to allow blood and water and whatever else constituted this creature's body to flood the area in which Peldun... 'stood'?

 

However, going far enough eventually saw the sword find purchase against something hard - something against which Argi was compelled to drive his sword flat, until it found a gap between one of those accursed plates, and pushed upward. Wedged between the Yuuja's natural armour, Argi used Peldun's sword as a wedge, widening the gap with as much brute force as the moving statue might muster. After several long, agonising seconds, at last the preposterous protection popped. Even as sea water soon flooded into the opening, Peldun pulled itself free, soon dropping the short few metres to the sea floor below. To his thankful astonishment, Argi found he could breathe, though the air did seem to be getting... less pleasant. Spinning about, an act he found sluggish in all this water, he saw the beast itself turn, but not by any lingering will of its own, or even that of the parasite that most likely possessed it. Small pockets of air escaped was now a tumbling carcass, a great and mighty creature laid low in a matter of minutes. Argi felt... nothing towards it, instead moving again as he tried to discern which way led back to the shore. There then, as his eyes, through the eyes of Peldun, gazed out into the deeper waters, did he witness another vast shadow, a silhouette upon a dark canvas - it was almost impossible to see, but the young man knew it to be there. Through the water, a low, rumbling sound rang as clearly as though the beast were right beside the young man, who braced himself for its immediate approach.

 

It then shifted slightly, and swam away.

 

Then it was that the truth of the matter hit him, his gaze returning to the now deceased Yuuja. Parent. Mate. Child. Sibling. All of these things it could have been to the other. Whatever it was, the one that remained - and who knows how many others - were deprived of its continued existence. Its only fate, to be a rotting corpse to delay the ideally inevitably.

"...In all things, it seems, the Enrele are cruel." Argi concluded, beginning the walk back. Thankfully, he had not come out too far, and though he found the air ever more dreadful, when at last he could dig his hands into the aged stone that was the edge of Casper's port, and climb. Peldun emerged from the waters, and Argi could breathe again, taking in one deep breath, and then exhaling. Just as the ship beside him snapped irrevocably in half. Anyone still aboard would be wise to vacate it immediately!

CEASE AND DESIST!

A voice boomed from the heavens above, much to Argi's confusion, and then concern. Holding aloft Peldun's blade once more, the young man readied for a continued fight.

 

Instead, a bright, orange bird rested upon the tip.

DO YOU NOT HEAR ME, MORTAL?

"...Huh?" Argi blinked from wherever he was.

Or would a tone of voice like this be more amenable to a wanton vandal as yourself?

"...Bird talking?" He asked just to confirm, to which the bird puffed up, rankled by the comment, and adjusted a circle of glass, placed atop one eye, with its wing.

And I hear a statue talking. Both strange, from the other's point of view. Though, you're not really a statue are you?

"No, am no-"

You're a vandal! An uncouth wretch whose gang of miscreants has brought chaos to my city's waters, and slain a most magnificent creature! I wanted to see that Yuuja up close, but nooooo, you all had to go and kill it! Savages, the lot of you!

"B-But Enrele-" Argi attempted to explain, only for the orange bird to wag its feathers at him, like someone else might a finger.

NO BUTS! As the duly designated Regent of His Most Illustrious Majesty Odin Haze, Master Crusader, Custodian of the Moonwood, Protector of the Seven Se- Wait, Enrele? As in, those extravalucrean parasites?

"I... Uh..." Argi's mind stumbled its way through all that had just been said, picking up on the 'Valucre' in that bird's sentence, and so figuring to answer, "I think? Not good with Terran tongue."

Hm... Yes... The bird mused to itself aloud. Your accent was a peculiar one I could not easily place. As far travelled as I am, that would leave only the likes of... the Mountains, perhaps? 

"I uh..." Again, Argi was just sort of thrown by all this. "Am Menjen."

By Gaia, a Menjen! I haven't seen laid eyes upon your kind for many an age, no wonder it was so difficult to place you! Yet here, taking the fight to the most vile bodysnatcher! Bravo, young man, bravo! Although, um... Permit me a moment.

 

With that, the bird took flight from where it had been perched, swiftly setting about the scene. Quickly it spied out and swung by each and every member of the erstwhile band, calling them to the shore - which would have been advisable anyway, given the collapse of the Wyrm's Bane into the shallow waters below. When at last all were gathered, the creature resumed its perch, and after any and all exposition as to what had occurred here, it spoke to them.

Most noble warriors! I am the duly designated Regent of His Most Illustrious Majesty Odin Haze, Master Crusader, Custodian of the Moonwood, Protector of the Seven...

And so he went off, listing off what seemed like every single one of the Saint King's titles, no matter how minor, or how heavily contested they may have been in present times, to finally conclude with:

...Paul. And I hereby do sanction your most grand endeavour against the wretched Hivemind Aleth, through my own personal prestige than formal power, and declare you to be the Expedition to Dougton! May you stand as the true Bane against these vile servants of the Wyrm - the Wyrm's Bane, if you will - who bring chaos and disorder to our beloved continent!

...

Incidentally, I would most certainly recommend going now, lest word of this somehow reach the abomination's million eyes and ears. Damnable things are everywhere, you know.

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