Thread 15 >>136072
Thread 16 >>138582
Thread 17 >>142144
JOKE THREAD UPDATE: >>/words/876
In which no, Wizard, you are the fey.
[X] Fight on your
terms: brain over brawn. Don’t contest its strength; find its weakness. It’s time... for the Merlin Gambit.
As the Dread Gazebo lumbers towards you, a terrible whaarrrrrrrr!
underlining its wrath, an old wizard’s tale comes to mind, unbidden: the legendary duel between Merlin and Mim. Mim was a shapeshifter. Like all specialists, she’d focused on developing terrifying mastery of her chosen school of magic. Rather then futilely contesting her mastery of personal transmutation, Merlin exploited her prendictability and defeated her handily.
Like you, Merlin was a generalist.
“Split up and keep moving!” you tell your companions. You mentally scramble for the perfect creature, and your mouth puckers as you contemplate the best option. As the magic ghosts past your lips the prickly numbness washes over your body, a sensation you’ve never grown used to. Above you see Keine’s shocked face growing larger and larger as you plummet towards the ground.
You give your new gossamer wings an experimental twitch. Your clothes and equipment have resized, as any decent enchanted gear will, and your robe has even made accommodation for your new appendages.
“Time for some remodeling,” you say gruffly – or would have, if you weren’t a two-inch tall fairy. Somewhere above you hear the most muted of chuffs
. Even with a killer building bearing down, Duke’s got time to be a wiseass.
You dart into the air nimbly, your maneuverability and speed far superior in fairy form. Keine sprints left, Duke reluctantly lopes to the right, and you arrow straight for the Gazebo. Your voice may be diminutive, but Ghost Sound
is loud as ever.
” booms a raspberry with the strength of seventeen men. “YO MOMMA WAS AN OUTHOUSE!
Much better. Back in your groove, now.
” the Gazebo retorts with the force of sixty drunk lumberjacks, the sonic blast buffeting you.
Your smugness slips a bit as the Gazebo thunders towards you, all fury and timber. You jink left and right, feigning uncertainty. The Gazebo swells in size, looking like an entire mountain from your diminutive viewpoint. Making the arcane gestures with crisp precision, you painstakingly enunciate every syllable of the spell from a bone-dry mouth as the Gazebo bears down, blocking out the entire sky.
A glowing red ball the size of your tiny head appears in your arms, and as the Gazebo closes for the kill you cradle the rubescent bead and dart straight into the Gazebo.
The structure shudders with abrupt braking, a gust buffeting you from all sides as the gigantic structure seems to whuff
in utter bafflement. You swoop low over the floorboards, looking for an opening. Spotting a wide crack, you sling the red bead with all your feeble might. It flies true and jams firmly in the floor.
Payload delivered, you sprint for the other side. Two balusters snap free of the handrail and snap towards you in a deadly scissors, splinters the size of spears brushing your robe as you dodge over by a hair, zipping out of the Gazebo and into free air.
The mighty monstrosity shudders for a moment, then twirls with uncanny speed.
“Yo papa was a DOGHOUSE!” you exclaim, your tinny voice carrying surprisingly well in the sudden silence of the motionless Gazebo.
The edge of the roof over the main entrance dimples down, and you’ve the strange idea it’s narrowing its eyes at you.
So your storied career as an abrasive asshole peaks with this: you’ve managed to piss off a building.
The monster flattens and swells, roof stretching and balustrades leaning out with queerly organic motion – and contracts sharply, springing upwards with impossible velocity. You zip sideways immediately, but the shadow of the Gazebo stays over you. Glancing upward, you see the Gazebo’s edges oscillating, emitting puffs of air as it adjusts course.
it emits volcanic fury as the Delayed Blast Fireball
detonates directly inside the Gazebo, immolating the entire structure with white-hot flame. As the now-flaming, flying killer Gazebo hurtles towards your head, you suspect you’ve erred. You strain for speed, gossamer wings beating furiously as you strive to clear the Gazebo’s footprint.
The sky comes smashing to earth with deafening volume, a wave of hot air slapping you from behind as the equivalent of a live volcano crash-lands inches behind you. You do a quick barrel roll, hooting with the joy of still having lungs to hoot.
The Gazebo hoots back.
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but whaaaaaaars
will slap you to earth. The sheer force of the Gazebo’s roar hits like a muffled hammerblow. Your muscles twitch, palsied by the shock, and you crash into a marigold blossom before plowing into a flowerbed. Rolling onto your back, you witness a sky consisting entirely of charring timbers rapidly descending.
You roll under the protruding ledge of a flat decorative stone just in time for the earthshattering impact to violently bounce you between soil and ceiling. You pant with pain in the dark for a moment while appreciating the excellent acoustic properties of your skull: it makes one hell of a bell. Sunlight floods in, and vanishes again as the Gazebo smashes into the earth once more. This time it impacts your rock closer to the edge and the stone ceiling crushes you into the yielding mulch of the flowerbed. Your tiny ribcage pops and creaks, razors of pain slicing your chest.
Light. You brace uselessly for the next impact, but it never comes. Explosions come like rippling thunder from above, and giants are roaring.
The stone is still crushing you, and spikes of fire pierce your chest. “Iz...” you stutter breathlessly. “Fuh...” Gritting your teeth, you steal what air you can with a stone ledge compressing your chest. “IzBa’kon!” You gesture with a numb hand, pushing aside dirt granules for room. To your relief and amazement it works, a sheen of oil instantly coating your robe. Kicking and squirming, tears of agony streaming down your cheekss, you manage to slither out, bumping dirt granules aside with your head. Finally in the open, you lay prone, panting in pain.
Merlin, you decide, was a dweeb.
Rolling onto your better side, you push yourself up. In the distance you see the Gazebo, its structure smoldering and badly charred. Duke stands atop, bellowing triumphantly as he brings his black greatsword down on the roof, carving deep into the wood. A fresh barrage of Keine’s ogive ruby darts swarm in from every direction, shuddering the entire structure with their explosions. The schoolteacher herself darts in from behind a hedge, sword blurring. An entire vertical beam slips apart, cleaved in twain.
A deep thrumming buzz suffuses the air behind you.
“What-” you manage before ducking as a swarm of bumblebees buzz overhead, each one seeming the size of a mastiff and looking about as pleasant. From every direction you see hundreds more flowing over the charred and smoking Gazebo, and wherever they land the timbers soon sag and crumble.
With a sluggish gesture you dismiss your spell, shooting skyward as the world shrinks around you. Thrusting your finger at the distant Gazebo, you shout for your companions to jump clear. Duke makes a beautiful dismount, shifting to his wolf form as he dives from the Gazebo’s roof, and Keine rolls behind a statue.
Despite its damage, the Gazebo turns towards your voice and advances with a shaky, lumbering gait. Your other hand is still a bit numb, but you manage to get the small lodestone from your charm bracelet in your palm, hastily tracing the final symbol in the air.
“ZALABAM Z’NXYZT!” you roar with all the volume your abused chest allows. A thin emerald ray springs from your fingertip and strikes the Gazebo. Emitting a hollow scream like wind through twisted elms, the entire structure vibrates intensely for a long second, resisting, before its front half is completely vaporized.
The final collapse of charred timbers splinters the air, and then all is quiet.
Trudging over to a nearby statue of a man throwing a rock, you slump against it wearily, favoring your good side. Through smashed hedges and flowerbeds torn asunder comes Keine, cloaked in a shimmering aura of quicksilver. Kusanagi is in her hand, the light of her battle magic dancing and flowing along the bright steel.
It seems she’s talking.
“... okay? Hello?”
“Sorry, had all the smartass bravado stomped out of me,” you wheeze.
“Few cracked ribs, ‘sall,” you manage, the sudden post-battle weariness crashing over you. You let your eyes drift shut and rest your head on the statue. There’s a distant snapping and cracking of timbers; you presume Duke is liberating his greatsword.
Strong arms circle your shoulders and catch you under the knees. Keine lifts you easily as a doll, ferrying you to a nearby bench where she lies you prone.
“I can walk,
you know,” you grunt. It hurts to breathe, much less to talk, but an attempt at dignity should at least be made.
“Teacher!” a high-pitched voice hails. “Miss Kamishirasawa!”
Craning your neck back, you get an inverted view of a small green-haired girl waving madly at Keine. Her other hand is locked firmly around the wrist of a slender youth in trim, baby-blue scholar’s robes. He looks quite uncertain, clutching a thin tome to his chest like a shield.
“Wriggle!?” Keine says, astonished. “What are you..?”
“We were coming home and saw the whole thing!” she says excitedly. “Who’s that?”
Clamping a hand onto your hat, you prepare to sit up, waving off Keine’s sounds of protest. “I’m fine, you wuss!” You rise, tilt your hat to its accustomed rakish angle, and topple right off the bench.
“... worlds spinning a little faster then usual,” you say nonchalantly from the dirt. “But I got the measure now.”
“You’ve got a concussion,” Keine worries, scooping you up and laying you out on the bench again. She glances at the horizon and bites her lip, fear pulling at the corners of her mouth. “Just a few minutes more...”
“My friend!” Duke’s voice booms from on high before his usual serious face appears above, scowling down his muzzle. “Well done. I did not think to exploit the structure’s wide-open construction.”
“Not like you have to, with a sword long enough to toast a party-sized sub sandwich on,” you grunt. “I am not similarly blessed.”
Duke evaluates your battered form judiciously, then slowly turns his golden gaze sidelong at Keine, who’s hovering over you attentively.
“Perhaps,” he says dubiously.
“Any sign of Benson? Yoshi?” you ask. Duke and Keine shake their heads negative.
” the young man in blue exclaims in disbelief. “Teacher, what’s going on?
“I’ve no clue!” Keine almost wails in frustration. glancing at the sky again.
“Should we get him to a doctor?” the bug-girl asks, her inquisitive face hovering close over yours. You scowl up at her for suggesting it.
“In a minute or two, we won’t have to,” Keine replies, still watching the sky nervously.
“Who are you?” The bug-girl calls up to Duke. “I’m Wriggle. Wriggle Nightbug!” She swirls her little cape dramatically. Duke solemnly extends a paw, engulfing her palm in a handshake. They carry on a little while, but with your head still ringing splendidly you lose interest in the conversation. Wriggle is saying something about hound youkais when Keine leans over and presses her hand to your brow.
You sit up.
“Wow,” you comment, tilting your neck experimentally. Every ache and pain has vanished, and your head is clear. “You told me about your powers and the moon and all, but... wow.”
“This time of month... every minute closer to the full moon, my powers strengthen.” She smiles at you. “Lucky for you, since you seem to get clumsier.”
Which has everything to do with the proximity of a different type of heavenly body, in your opinion, but you keep that to yourself. “What surprises me is the spectrum,” you reply. “From low to high. At this rate, well, I can’t wait to see you on the full moon.”
Keine’s smile shatters instantly.
“Hello,” the young man says, stepping in smoothly. “My name is Yukikaki Kojima. Since you know Teacher, please call me Yuki.” You exchange a brief handshake. “And this is my wife-”
“Wriggle!” she declares happily, catching your hand for a shake. “Nightbug,” she adds belatedly.
You eye her antenna thoughtfully. “So those bumblebees were yours?”
“Carpenter bees,” she corrects you. “They look pretty similar, though.”
Well, that explains the wood-eating. “Thanks for the help.”
“No problem. It was certainly something different,” she replies. From the look on Yuki’s face, he’s somewhat less enthused with ‘different.’ “What was
that thing, though?”
Gazebo?” The couple both turn to where the gazebo they were familiar with had sat and blanched when they saw it unoccupied.
“It - it looked like – and the distance – but how!?
“A most pressing question,” Duke rumbles from behind you, and Keine concurs. You rub your forehead, agitated.
“Obviously an animated object, but far more powerful then is ordinary, even for its size. Unless somebody’s spent a year secretly preparing it as a gigantic golem... nah. It’s a clerics spell where I come from. God-granted magic. But...”
“Judging from your expression when it lofted airborne, they can’t fly,” Keine says drolly.
“Or use sonic attacks. Or hold grudges. Or absorb as much punishment as that one did.”
“Could the Society...?” Keine wonders. “With those magic artifacts you said Benson mentioned?”
You shake your head. “To do this’d require an artifact, not just any enchanted device. A powerful one, too.” You think a moment. “Of course, we are
in Gensokyo, so I can’t rule it out.”
“Perhaps the shopkeeper could enlighten us further,” Duke suggests, his face inscrutable. “Should we move up our appointment?”
“I’d like to find Mokou,” Keine says. “If somebody ambushed us, she might be next.”
“Either way, we should be going,” Duke observes, nodding to a crowing crowd of spectators arriving from the town proper. You think you see a few hats in the mix, and immediately start scanning for that damn little red one, harbinger of trouble. “Decide quick.”
[ ] Find Benson. We’ve an appointment to keep and you need to determine if he set you up.
[ ] Find Mokou. She may be attacked next, with similar force, and this thing nearly killed you, with help at hand.
[ ] Find Aya. We do
owe her an interview, and tengu have long ears – we might tease some clues out of her. So to speak.
[ ] Write-in?