22nd Nov 2022, 8:41 AM

Explore upstairs while Vainglory is distracted

Explore upstairs while Vainglory is distracted
Parabolic gets a good distance ahead before Kate remarks, under her breath,

"I don't trust that fucker for a second."

"He is awfully flippant about all this," you mutter back, "but he's also one of the only living things I've met in the alcazar that isn't trying to kill me, so I'm thinking... uneasy truce. Also he can probably still hear us. ...Wait."

Something occurs to you. You chase after Parabolic, catching up to his casual hustle pretty easily. "Wait!"



"I have ONE more question," you inform him.

You hurriedly dig out your note from Acedia. Showing it to him, you explain: "Somebody's been leaving me weird letters. This is the one I found tonight. ...Any idea what the hell it means?"

He doesn't ponder it long. "The 'men with weird heads' has to be referring to the Order," he confirms. "And waking in here means... well, it means not being here anymore. It sounds like someone's trying to get you to merc the competition."

Kate, sticking close by, chimes in. "So who sent it? Another member of the Order...?"

"Maybe," Parabolic replies. "Maybe not. Could be more players to this game than I thought..." He pauses, lifting his dish face skyward. "My advice? DTA."

"DTA?"

"Don't trust anybody," he says, "not even the other knights. Don't get me wrong--they're swell lads, all of them... but you can't split godhood. Good luck, ladies."


And with that, he's off.


You exchange a tense glance with Kate... and then the two of you, also, head out. Parabolic takes the hall directly north, while you and Kate double back to the Tradesman's room.

"So we're not gonna hit up Vainglory for answers, then?"

"Oh," you begin with a cynical chuckle, "we're gonna. I just don't want to waste the night--odds are good she kicks our ass, but if she's down here now then she's not where she was last night. We can do some poking around, maybe scrounge up some additional firepower, and if she hasn't hunted us down like fucking animals by the end of the trip then we take the fight to her. Gotta go out somehow, might as well go out swinging. ...That, and I'm kind of stalling for time. Something between me and the Choir is charging up and I don't actually know what yet."

Kate smirks. "You're not worried about her... uh...?"

"Actually killing us?" You hesitate, but not much. "She had me dead to rights already and she took the opportunity to talk shit. I don't doubt that she's RL killing knights, but I think there's more to this than Parabolic is either telling us or more to this than he knows. I'm not afraid of Vainglory. I'm pissed at Vainglory."

You arrive at the Tradesman. You give your goodbyes, unsure if you'll be seeing him again tonight--


and you return to the first floor.


You spend a little time trying to do what Parabolic suggested--'squeezing yourself out.' While you've gotten comfortable enough with the idea of pumping mana into stats, the idea of pulling mana from stats is... a new one.

But not that new.

As you focus on trying it--and maneuvering all that weight from your strength, resilience, pain nullification, perception, etc toward your stealth, which you're still pretty confident is a thing based on Marlow's seeming invisibility to enemies (not to mention Vainglory getting the drop on you like she did)...

as you focus on trying it, you realize that the sensation is a bit familiar. You do, indeed, get smaller-- in the same way that you feel lighter, lesser, when you're running out of mana. ...Which in retrospect would also lead to you having lower stats, since the mere act of existing costs mana and being low means being unable to fuel even your baseline... so of course the physical outcome would be similar. Intentionally lowering your stats doesn't seem to fuck with the lights the way running out of mana does, though, so at least there's that.

You try to coach Kate through the process, but she doesn't find it quite as simple to raise and drop intangible properties willy-nilly.

"Okay," she finally concedes, "I SORTA get boosting, but I'm in the freaking weeds on the other thing. UNboosting? I can go slower, I can't be slower."

"You haven't had as much time to fuck around with the mechanical under-the-hood shit as Cici and I have," you point out. "There might be some amount of... I don't know, stat elasticity or mental muscle memory tied to it. Like, it might not be your fault you're struggling with it, you just--" Hmm. "...You might not need to hide. With all due respect, your baseline should be relatively low--you haven't been at this long enough in total, yet. Maybe it's low enough to fly under the radar."

The radar that, you have to admit, you don't entirely understand. Can Vainglory really just... detect people? Parabolic mentioned 'battle levels,' which fits with your unified game theory of everything Spiritus Mundi hence far--but the thought that getting more powerful makes you easier to notice is... well, it's something.

It's definitely something.

Regardless, you end up squishing your stats down as low as you can (except stealth, which FEELS like you're doing it right but it's not like you can easily check) while Kate just... tries to think stealthier.

She also laughs at you, a little, because now you're roughly as small as she is.



"It's the helmet," Kate clarifies. "The rest looks... fine, I guess, but that big-ass helmet on your blue baby body is just..." she drifts off, shaking her head and choking back further giggles.

"I could take the helmet off," you suggest,

but that only brings her to frantically shake her head, and wave her hands emphatically in the negative. "Nooo no no, the last thing I need is tiny Plaire face seared into my brain. This is enough, thank you."


The two of you make your way from the 1F candle room toward the boss room, and the path outside. You... hope that going Chibi Mode (and nobody needs to know that you're calling it that) might even be enough to fool bosses, but alas

as you wander into the boss room, you hear the now all-too-familiar slam of a wall-sized Dad face hitting the floor of the sanctuary.

"God DAMMIT."

"FUCK," Kate blurts out. "THAT'S the dad boss you were talking about?!"

"Take cover!," you huff as Father Warden begins his approach. "And keep your distance! He starts blasting lightning and pew shrapnel after he hits the second row or so...!"




Once you're both out of sight, you begin simultaneously going over the fight with Kate while trying to quickly jump your stats back up to at least where they were on your first attempt at this. "We have to take the face off the wall," you state. "I can cut through the skin on the left side, you should be able to burn through the skin on the right--where it meets the chains. That part's no big deal, the REAL shitty part's going to be the second phase."

There's definitely something off-putting about watching your blobby mitten hands gradually separate back into realistic human fingers. You continue:

"Once the face is disconnected, we'll be left with a huge, vacuumous hole and a tiny target we have to hit from a distance. The mayor's stat drain is cool but it's melee only, and I haven't figured out what's going on with your power yet. I could shoot fireballs when I borrowed it, but I couldn't hold the fire like you do. We're missing... something."

God DAMMIT why didn't you just tape the boss key up in the exit lock? Maybe because you didn't anticipate getting stuck in this fight with no ranged options, and because you wanted to keep weirdos out of the only section of the alcazar you're even vaguely familiar with and you didn't anticipate there being one or more back doors, and you DEFINITELY didn't anticipate LOSING ALL THE GOD DAMN TAPE--

"Is vacuumous even a real word?"

"I don't know," you admit. "I took a gamble hoping you wouldn't call me on it. You get the idea though."






The vibes persist in flowing
34%




Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
Load my Place Save my Place



Will Schrag | Snervalton | Skullrama | John Wood | Tom Axon | David J Wu | Sekwel | Mochi | arbit | Travis Whittaker | Avasraali | Nicolas Arboleya | Trent Brossman | Clotty Cola | TacticOwl | SomeRando | Cyrene DuVent | Swagner | thatbloodypaladin | Opunny | Kat Dixon | Harmony Petersen | ActionKermit | Scott Johnson | Loose Cog | James Nichols



22nd Nov 2022, 8:50 AM
Morgenstern
Join the Patreon

Toss me some end-of-the-month food money via Paypal

Boost us on TopWebFiction

Vote for us on TopWebComics

Also still looking for 1-3 more people for Crown Cosmic, my weird collaborative roleplay / fight booking idea; hit me up on Discord or wherever for more details
23rd Nov 2022, 6:06 PM
Cheshire777
There's a forum I frequent (Awful Hospital) that I could mention Crown Cosmic on if you'd like, I bet some people would like the idea. If you don't want to try managing some completely unfamiliar dudes though I totally get that.
26th Nov 2022, 2:11 PM
Morgenstern
I'd like Crown Cosmic to grow beyond my normal audience anyway, so I'm cool with reaching out to whoever.
26th Nov 2022, 9:53 PM
Cheshire777
Sure thing :)
I'll drop a link over there then.
22nd Nov 2022, 10:55 AM
Compassion
For the talisman at least: Courage because Plaire has done this before and can do it again!!!! Hope because there's a whole new world to explore when the boss is done!!!! And Spite cause Fuck this guy!!!
22nd Nov 2022, 5:23 PM
lilWitchPepper
Courage for what must be overcome, despite the fear!
Hope for the good you can bring, and your friends helping overcome despair!
Spite against what's been thrown at you, may you rip and tear!
Plus Fucking One, our dear Plaire!
22nd Nov 2022, 6:43 PM
Frission
That was bootiful. :D Plus One, PLUS ULTRA!!
22nd Nov 2022, 7:05 PM
I'm no poet, lmao, but we believe in y'all. You've done this before, it's practically rote by now. And every chance you get to explore something new is another chance to learn something that'll help us figure all of this out. You can do this, and nobody's gonna stand in your way, least of all this asshole. Sending mind-hugs and a hefty dose of fuck yeah your way. <3
22nd Nov 2022, 7:31 PM
Momerath
Boosting the talisman, big time.
22nd Nov 2022, 7:36 PM
dusk_love
+1 indeed :)
23rd Nov 2022, 9:01 AM
Antarean
26th Nov 2022, 1:33 AM
Spyder
Vibes for the talisman!
Kick its ass Paire!
23rd Nov 2022, 6:12 PM
Cheshire777
I'm not sure if we need to keep boosting the talisman on every page, but sure +1.
24th Nov 2022, 8:31 AM
Although probably unnecessary, it's the thought that counts! +1
22nd Nov 2022, 2:34 PM
BJBlack
No doubt the proposal to throw your weapon (or just the machete blade?) at Phase II will come out, but if it comes to the worst, Squeeze yourself to the max and see if Kate can fly you out a window. You threw a sword out of a window in here way back when, so things can exit the windows.

I'd say keep this one for a last resort (I expect unforeseen consequences), but squeezing takes time... hard call. It's up to you.
22nd Nov 2022, 2:52 PM
Gigafreak
I have an alternative last resort, one I'd consider last-er than yours (i.e. if yours fails, THEN maybe this one seems like a less-bad idea).
Plaire managed to shrink herself, and it comically extended to her clothes and gear.
If she does the exact opposite, as hard as possible, she can grow big enough to simply stab the heart with her weapon. The lightning becomes a problem, but she can mana-block that too.

The reasons for this to not be Plan A:
One, I'm not sure she CAN grow bigger than her full size
Two, even if she can, I'm not sure how well she can multitask self-embiggenment and blocking the lightning while aiming an attack at a tiny target, and
Three, I don't know whether her mana reserves are sufficient to do something this huge even briefly.
22nd Nov 2022, 6:25 PM
Embiggening would also by nature do the exact opposite of what we were trying to do with Chibi Mode, which is be less detectable via whatever Sixth Sense BS Vainglory's got going on. It'd be like setting off an astral flare.

-1, unless there's no other options.
23rd Nov 2022, 8:04 PM
Snervalton
I'm also going to -1 any embiggening because it'd be like setting off an astral flare.
22nd Nov 2022, 3:00 PM
Gigafreak
Very tentative idea:
How much power might Plaire be able to steal from the boss before it starts throwing lightning and shrapnel? The power will gradually return to the boss once she disengages to break contact, but that takes time. Also, Plaire can't Mustachio jump right now so she'd have to wait for the pew debris to pile up if she wants to reach the upper chai--
Oh, wait, that part can be resolved by re-distributing the tasks. Aerial Kate on the upper chains, earthbound Plaire on the lower chains.
Anyway, I was kind of hoping Plaire could weaken the boss enough that its lightning becomes feeble (or maybe Plaire could temporarily steal the lightning ability entirely, and then throw THAT at the heart). If that seems implausible, though, we could just focus on cutting the face off and figure out Phase 2 separately.
22nd Nov 2022, 3:24 PM
Compassion
I agree with trying out a melee ground and flying team for now, and trying to drain as Much As Possible during the fight! As for phase 2, I would like to repeat the suggestion of using bits of the pews as substitute torches!
22nd Nov 2022, 5:27 PM
lilWitchPepper
+1 Vamp Melee and Pew Torches

Maybe see if we can't speedrun his death hard enough for us to keep his powers after he dies? Bosses might give us a bonus if they die while we have their strength.
22nd Nov 2022, 6:19 PM
Snervalton
+1 to using a ground and flying team to sever dad-wall's face mask.

+1 to using bits of the pews as substitute torches to burn away the heart during phase II. If that doesn't work then try one of the last, last, last resort suggestions.
22nd Nov 2022, 6:27 PM
+1 to all of this. The more we can drain before Phase 2, the easier it should be. Hopefully.
22nd Nov 2022, 11:29 PM
MeTealic
+1 to the power drain

Would it be possible to weaken the lightning enough in phase 2 that Kate can get in close and flame boost herself back out? If she can generate enough thrust to get out, the resulting jet of fire might do some damage.
22nd Nov 2022, 11:56 PM
Cyanic
+1 because we hopey for the lightning power stealing
23rd Nov 2022, 8:25 AM
PurpleKetchup
+1 gotta get used to draining.
Funnel the drained power into faster draining speed (and pain resistance, probably gonna need that for a prolonged first phase) if possible.
25th Nov 2022, 10:11 PM
22nd Nov 2022, 4:11 PM
What stat influences size the most? Could try stealing power while it's possible to get close and get big. As big as possible. Though it would probably take a lot of power, maybe an idea for later challenges.
22nd Nov 2022, 5:09 PM
lilWitchPepper
Do y'all think we could boost her Talisman more by running music with *vibes*?
22nd Nov 2022, 7:10 PM
pkrankow
PUMP UP THE JAM! PUMP IT UP! PUMP IT UP!
22nd Nov 2022, 7:52 PM
lilWitchPepper
https://youtu.be/aqUsHmtZygg

Nothing to get hope, courage, and spite flowing like some fighting spirit! Let some new boss battle music play, Plaire!
23rd Nov 2022, 8:30 AM
PurpleKetchup
*Cough* https://youtu.be/z1OUIEycFEw
24th Nov 2022, 4:26 AM
https://youtu.be/MUGawUkBbDw
25th Nov 2022, 10:06 PM
Limrix
Hit play on Eye of the Tiger.
1st Dec 2022, 8:27 PM
lilWitchPepper
*Focuses into running this as a playlist instead of all at once so we don't overwhelm Plaire*
2nd Dec 2022, 9:05 AM
pkrankow
Yes, Playlist.
22nd Nov 2022, 8:00 PM
I dedicate my whole action to vibe flow/channeling for the talisman charge
remember your spark of determination. It reverts time, it makes your blows cut through enemies, it alters probability, it powers galaxy+ sized mechs. It's powerful stuff but it has to come from within
25th Nov 2022, 10:05 PM
Limrix
Believe in the we who believe in you!
23rd Nov 2022, 8:45 AM
PurpleKetchup
Quite unimportant in the short-term, but I instantly want to challenge that "can't split godhood" statement.
Accepting that kind of premise without any proof just rubs me the wrong way. For all we know it's easily done, but if only power-hungry assholes ever got into this race, it's in their interest not to share and get everyone else in that mindset.
Could change a lot in terms of negotiating with other participants.

...Gotta look for that backdoor in a future dungeon run, too. Already got plenty to do this night.
24th Nov 2022, 1:48 PM
Honestly, Tradesmen share a godhood, so why can't we? No godhood should be controlled by a single entity, that's a way to create another Thale or Nil.
25th Nov 2022, 7:25 PM
Cheshire777
Ehhh... there's plenty of examples of singular god-power-level entities that aren't remotely like Thale or Nil. Mine's mother, the Library, plenty of unnamed beings that were jockying on Bunker X, etc. I mean, I totally agree that gestalt beings are a thing here, and an option, but I don't see that single beings are universally bad by any means.
26th Nov 2022, 8:31 PM
I said nothing about "universally bad", I say that power twists and corrupts. Mine's mom was an insatiable eater of worlds until an accident made her understand concepts alien to her nature, including (but not limited to) human concept of 'evil' btw. She's a different thing entirely, a god trying to become a human, not the other way around.
25th Nov 2022, 9:56 PM
Limrix
+1, you can totally split godhood, they do it all the time.
26th Nov 2022, 1:40 AM
Spyder
It's likely to be completely possible, and probably easier than you'd think, too - were talking overflowing power, so just overflow it into multiple ppl - and then you've got a pantheon of demi-gods that together will be stronger than one overwhelmingly powerful individual - the whole bundle of stick are harder to break than just one thing.
23rd Nov 2022, 3:41 PM
Snervalton
An alternative suggestion for destroying Dad-wall's heart: Kate deliberately flies into the vortex in order to get close to the heart then turns around and ignites her rocket propulsion power, hopefully incinerating the heart as she blasts out of there. Risky I know, but it's another one of those last, last, last resort suggestions...

If Dad-wall needs to be distracted while Kate pulls this off, in the same way that Cici did the first time Plaire defeated him, then Plaire can taunt him about how she's now living her best life outside the closet and away from him.
25th Nov 2022, 10:08 PM
Limrix
Causing explosions with the potential for a slingshot momentum burst? I'm in.
23rd Nov 2022, 6:09 PM
Cheshire777
How about Plaire tries to boost her accuracy as much as she can? Then she can just throw pew shrapnel or her halberd at the core to knock it out. A few points to strength also seems expedient if we try that.
24th Nov 2022, 8:46 AM
I could try to give ideas for the battle, but I can't think of anything other than Chibi Plaire!

It's so adorable that I instantly started humming a song in dwarf mode.