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Author Topic: The Adventures of Laliho  (Read 5590 times)

Offline Areya

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The Adventures of Laliho
« on: December 06, 2011, 09:54:07 am »
Author's Note:  This is a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek fanfic!  Those that hate this kind of thing should run away!

The Adventures of Laliho
Chapter 1: The Quest For More Shinies
1-1

"What a mess."

The spry moogle raffled through the drawers of the cabinets, trying to organize all the items entrusted inside.

"Sometimes I wish Master would take better care of her stuff, kupo..."

Unbeknownst to the moogle, the door to the room had creaked open, and a pair of brown eyes watched the creature intently from the shadows.  The moogle's back was turned; the shadowy figure began to creep in, taking care to avoid the creaky floorboards of the Mog House floor.  Closer, and closer still.  The intruder stopped just behind and was getting ready for a surprise attack.

The moogle paused in his task, keenly aware he wasn't alone anymore.  His head raised up, and then he whirled around.

"MASTER!"

Laliho was so caught by the outburst that she tottered backwards, falling flat on her back and dropping the cloth she had brought into her room.  The moogle fluttered down to check on his Tarutaru master.  Lali quickly recovered, climbing to her feet and sighing with an embarassed look on her face.

"Don't..   DO that!" she whined, a cross look on her face.

"You shouldn't try to sneak up on us moogles like that!" her moogle whined back, lowering his eyebrows.

After a few moments of intense silence, both of them broke into laughter.

"Oh, I can't stay mad at you!" she said gleefully, jumping up and snuggling the moogle like a pet.

----

Laliho busily sorted through her items and counted the coins in her gobbiebag.  Some of her silks had sold today, which was good; her recent experiments into improving her weaving skills had turned out badly..   She still had some nightmarish visions of wind crystals shattering into a million pieces, bathing her in shards and magic energy.  Crystal synthesis had advantages, but sometimes she preferred the old-fashioned ways.

Satisfied with her day's take, Lali goes to the back, removing her weaving glasses and apron and changing into something more comfortable.  She also let her hair down, its brown sheen falling freely around her face.  Afterwards, she went to the cupboard and procured a tasty rolanberry pie, lovingly baked for her by Areya.

"Did we get anything in the mail today?" she said between fruit-filled mouthfuls of the bright pink dessert.

"Oh!  I almost forgot, kupo!" the moogle replied, quickly flying up to a nook in the ceiling and producing a small parcel.  It was wrapped in parchment and tied with grass thread, and there was a note attached.  "This came today..  It's from Lady Areya!"

At first, Lali sighed.  That usually meant more gear that Areya wanted her to "hold on to".  More stuff.  She didn't run a warehouse service, after all!  But Areya helped pay the bills too...

The moogle plopped the package down in front of the Taru, and Lali's fingers quickly snatch up the hand-written note.  "Let's see.." she murmured as she began to read.

"Dear Laliho,

I know I haven't come to visit in a long time.  The life of an adventurer, right?  I found this on one of my recent explorations, and instead of pawning it off for some gil, I thought I'd give it to you.  I can tell it's magical and rare!

Also, I have business in Windurst so I will be coming there in a few days.  I'll stop by and visit!

Your friend always,
Areya

P.S.  Don't worry, I'll bring you more food.  Maybe some Cream Puffs?"

Lali's tummy rumbled at the mention of food.  Areya's cooking always made her happy..  and had definitely contributed to her tummy's size lately!  But more importantly, she wondered what the gift was!

The brown parchment quickly vanished from around the mystery, revealing a folded cloth.  It possessed a brilliant red shine to it, and waves of magical power flowed from its threads.  It was definitely something unusual.

"Oh my," the moogle gawked, staring at the dazzling, sparkling material.

Immediately, Laliho smiled.  She already knew what to do with it.

"I'll have to make her something out of this!"

She brought her hand to her chin and thought.  What would she make?  A dress?  No, Areya wasn't really the dress-donning tart that some Hume women were.  Perhaps a traveling tunic would do nicely!  And red WAS one of Areya's favorite colors...  Yes, that would do.  But she'd need to get some supplies.  Laliho hurried over to her clothcraft supplies, tossing threads and spools over her shoulder.  Finally she produced some gold and platinum threads, some sheep leather for stability, then finally..  she opened the drawer where she kept cotton to help soften the insides, but it was completely empty!

"What?"  Laliho stomped her foot and puffed her cheeks out, puffing out a breath forcefully.  "And the guild was out too."  She hastily pulled her hair back up in its usual state and grabbed a few handy sickles from off the wall.  She'd have to harvest some herself!

-----

Laliho made her way out to the fields in the early afternoon, and was wearing a comfortable black tunic.  She had brought the cloth along in a gobbiebag, wanting to see if the red moko grass matched up with its color.  She dropped the heavy satchel down near a large patch of high grass, then brandished her sickles and started to sift through the grass.  She squished a few locusts while searching for the fluffiest, softest cotton.  "Eww, gross!"  Many minutes pass as she searched diligently.  It had to be PERFECT.  It was a thank you gift for Areya, after all!  Everything she found wouldn't do...  Exhausted, she sat down for a few minutes to rest.  Her eyelids felt heavy...

The next thing Lali knew, the sun was near the horizon.  Had she fallen asleep?  She stretched her wee arms out and yawned.  "Mmm.. good nap."  She turned her head and suddenly, her eyes lit up. 

There it was!  The perfect cotton!

Lali practically squealed as she quickly relieved the plant of its precious prize.  Grinning widely, she quickly bounded through the grass back to her
gobbiebag.   Her gobbiebag...  Wait, where was it?!

"Oh no!  No no no no no!"

She swore she left it right here!  Immediately, the chaos of her mind began to ponder the terrible possibilities! 

She could see some of the ravenous crawlers of the savanna helping themselves to the cloth; they would eat nearly anything, especially cloth!  They had been in increasing numbers lately, and even with her efforts to.. persuade them to yield precious silk, they always seemed to be everywhere.  What if her special cloak was resting in the belly of one of those vermin?

She also pondered the wandering bands of goblins that had been reported lately.  They would easily steal such an obvious prize without a second thought!  There were several encampments of them holed up in the craggy regions of Saruta.  If there was one thing goblins knew, it was how to make a buck, especially if it came at the cost of an adventurer.

And then there was the Yagudo..  While they weren't thieves typically, they were curious and may have grabbed the sack.  Despite the official truce between the Yagudo and the Federation,  Lali knew there was tension mounting.  They would definitely not want such a pretty magical garment to fall into the hands of Windurstian casters.

Or, heaven forbid, some passing adventurer had scooped it up...  People were greedy, after all!

Laliho slumped her shoulders.  She wasn't so much sad as disappointed in herself.  After letting out a loud exasperated sigh, she looked around.  What would she check out first?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 01:16:28 am by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 12:27:41 am »
Part 1-2

Laliho continued to pace around the plains of Saruta, trying to clear her mind about the theft of the bag she had placed her cloth inside.  After a few minutes, she stops and sits, concentrating on the problem at hand.  If she had brought pies with her, that would have attracted the crawlers, but as she had polished off all of her sweets beforehand, that was a fairly unlikely scenario.  She also knew that the Yagudo would probably not provoke the ire of the Windurstian guards by committing a crime so close to the Federation.  That left the other two possibilities…

The young Tarutaru rose to her feet and began to snoop around the area.  A hume whooshed by on a chocobo, but before she could get his attention, he was already gone.  Another Tarutaru harvester walked by her, but her calls were unanswered.

“Why can’t I get any HEEEELP!?” she shouted angrily, kicking a round, smooth stone into a nearby pool of water.

“You sound like you have a prrrroblem,” a voice called out from nearby.

As Laliho turned around, she noticed a red-haired Mithra approaching her, wearing white and golden robes and sporting a lovingly crafted wooden bow.  Sibyl Guard, Lali thought to herself as her cheeks blushed Kazham-Pepper red.

“Oh!  Oh..  yeah, I guess you could say that..  See I lost a bag with something important to me..”

“Perrrhaps I can help you look for it, miss?” the Mithra offered.  “I am Hali Ehsdyurei, one of the Sibyl’s guards.”  The Mithra saluted quietly.

“Could you?” Lali asked quickly, a gleam in her eye.

----

Back at the site of the theft, Hali calmly knelt down, scanning the ground for clues.  While Laliho had no wilderness training (She was a spoiled-rotten city Taru, after all!), the mithra was able to discern some evidence.

“Look therrre,” she said after a period of study, tracing the outline of some footprints in the soft grass.  The footsteps are large and elongated.  “Goblin footsteps.”

Lali gasped.  Goblins!  That was surely the culprit!

“….and the tracks go off that way,” Hali continued, pointing in the direction of Tahrongi Canyon.

Lali didn’t stick around to waste time.  She patted the cesti attached to her belt and started to run off.  Someone was going to PAY.

“Wait, don’t you want any help?” Hali called out after her.

“I can handle it, thank you!”

----

Night had fallen, and the starry sky was clearly visible.  Around a small campfire sheltered from the elements by the surrounding cliffs near the canyon’s entrance, three figures sat, holding their hands out to keep warm.

“Gonna be another cold night, Wedgenox,” one of the goblins murmured.  He took a sip of goblin drink from his mess tin.

“I hear ya, Biggslox,” the one next to him agreed.  He was facing away from the other two, busily sharpening his dagger on a whetstone.

“Would you two be quiet?  All you do is complain!” the third one, clad in heavy armor, snarled.

“Sorry, Vickspox,” Wedgenox grumbled.

The hare roasting on their spit sent out a wonderful smell to the surrounding area.

“We got a pretty haul today, didn’t we?” Wedgenox asked after some time.  He brought out a small, velvet coinpurse and started to count out the coins they had made today.

“Yeah, that cloth fetched a good price,” Vickspox nodded in agreement.  “I’ll be able to finally afford that adaman blade I wanted…”

“What about the machine crossbow I wanted?” Biggslox interrupted, pointing angrily at Vickspox.  “I’m the one that found it!”

"Mehbee I want a new dagger!" Wedgenox chimed in.

Just out of sight of the three, but listening intently to their conversation, Laliho frowned.  These were the thieves, alright!  She could get the drop on them and probably take one out of the fight quickly, but which should she go for first?

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2012, 05:52:33 am »
Part 1-3

As the three goblins began to squabble amongst themselves, Laliho slowly climbed up one of the boulders encircling the goblin camp.  From there she could launch an attack on one of the three..  As the flickering flames of the campfire reflected off the darksteel bolts loaded into Biggslox's crossbow, she decided the ranger would have to go first.  Being shot in the back was never pleasant!

"Look, I'm the leader," Vickspox declared, "so's I should have the say!  And I say you two get whatever's left after I get a shiny blade!"

The other two stood up, stomping the ground angrily at being cut out of their spoils so quickly.  But before the argument could continue, a blur appeared in the sky as Lali launched herself off the rock, landing solidly on Biggslox's head, sending the goblin reeling back into the stone and collapsing unconscious.

"What's the big idea, little Tarutaru!?" Vickspox said angrily, grabbing his blade and holding it up meancingly.

"Let me handle the little rarab," Wedgenox boasted confidently, beginning to chant an incantion.  Waves of energy started to surround him, but before he can finish, Tarutaru cesti bop him squarely in the gut, causing him to cringe in pain and fall to a knee.  A followup punch sends poor Wedgenox to dreamland.

"Greedy Tarutarus always trying to swindle from us Goblins," Vickspox murmurs, his eyes narrowing behind his metallic mask.  "What business do you have with us?"

"You stole my cloth!" Lali accused, holding her fist up angrily.  "Now who did you sell it to?"

"If you want to know, you'll have to best me first," the goblin warrior declared, grasping the blade in his hand and charging.  Lali holds her ground, and as the goblin reaches her, she ducks under her strike and pivots him on his leg, causing the rampaging beastman to trip and fall flat on his face, his sword sliding along the ground noisily and coming to rest a short distance away.

Laliho walked over to the fallen opponent, bending one leg down to lean against his head, and scoffed.  "Oh, some challenge you are!"  She leaned forward carefully, her face upside down in relation to his, and she stared Vickspox squarely in the eyes.  "Look, okay, I don't want to hurt you..  much.  Just tell me what you did with that special red cloth you stole from me, and I'll let you and your friends go."

Vickspox pondered the offer, and with typical goblin shrewdness, muttered, "Gimme some beastcoins and I'll tell you."

Lali jumps down and leans close to his face.  "A bribe?  Is that it?"

"I gotta get something out of the deal for betraying da boss!"

Lali lets go and sighs.  She opened up her Gobbiebag and searched its contents before pulling out a small handful of silver beastcoins.  "No tricks, now," she warned before dumping them at his feet.

"You wanna see Ruindelver Oggbix.  She's the one that I sold it too.  She sets up camp in the Maze of Shakhrami."

The young Taru nodded and hurried off.  That was a fair journey through Tahrongi Canyon, and she wanted to get there before the cloth disappeared again!

----

The Maze of Shakhrami.  Dark, damp, and full of unpleasantries.

As Laliho swatted away yet another annoying bat in the way, she kept an eye and an ear searching for any signs of this elusive goblin boss.

"Maybe I should've stopped for dinner first," she lamented as she stepped through some puddles.

As she continued walking, her foot suddenly landed on a pressure switch.  A booby trap set up by the cunning prey she was tracking!  The stone gives away, dropping Lali into a giant treasure chest, which quickly snaps shut, trapping her inside!

"Hey, let me out!"

She beat on the chest with her fists for a couple of minutes, trying to force it open, but had no luck smashing its integrity.  Her little heart pumping wildly inside of her, she decided to sit down and think.  "Okay, Lali.  You've gotten out of lots of boxes before..  Just concentrate and look for a solution."  Being thrown into trick boxes was a perennial favorite of an old friend of hers, so she had quite a lot of experience in the matter.  After a few minutes of studying the locking mechanism, she finally snaps an important rod and lifts the chest's top off.  Freedom!

"Not bad, little one."

Lali quickly spun around to see a goblin staring back at her.

"You, you're Oggbix?"

"That's right."

"I want my cloth back!  The goblins stole it from me, and it's very importan--"

"You're not in any position to make demands!" Oggbix interrupted, holding up a staff and conjuring up a summon spell.  "Time to teach you some manners.  I guess I'll have to call my pet, Fluffy.  Here, Fluffy!"

A shadowy image began to emerge from the shadows...
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 12:42:15 am by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 09:12:23 pm »
1-4

*plop* *plop*

A giant round object emerged from the shadows.  The leech was large enough to swallow Laliho in one gulp!

"Fluffy, do be a dearie and handle this urchin, would you?"

As the giant amorph hopped over to Lali, she had to think quickly.  Trying to punch this thing would probably not work too well, considering its squishy nature.  She dove out of the way as it tried to gulp her down.

"Eww!  No thanks!"

Oggbix cackled, enjoying the show.

Lali continued to evade its attacks, trying to think of a way to deal with this menace.  Her eyes landed on the chest she had narrowly escaped from...  She jumped over to it.  "Hey, ugly!" she taunted, trying to provoke its ire.  As Fluffy lunged at her, she ducked behind the large box and slammed the lid down on top of the menace.  The beast let out a shriek.  Lali then climbed on top of the chest and rpeeatedly jumped up and down on it, illiciting more cries of pain from the leech, until eventually she stuffed the entire thing inside the chest.  The lock secured with an audible click, and the chest itself bounced and lurched around as Fluffy struggled to get out.

"Wha-- what did you do to my poor Fluffy?!" Oggbix cried out, pointing angrily at Lali.

"Well, 'Fluffy' is preoccupied.  Now it's just you and me.."

"Do you know how expensive those broth jugs are?  Now I have to go poke Hansblix for more.."  Hansblix had raised his prices too; seems some Beastmaster had offed countless numbers of his pets...

Lali seemed unamused.  She strode over to the goblin and leered at her.  "Now, about my cloth..."

"You don't scare me, little Taru.  You can't make me talk."

The Tarutaru's eyes narrowed sinisterly.

----

"Okay, okay!  I'll talk, I'll talk!"

Laliho had Oggbix by the ankle, dangling her upside down from the edge of one of the cliffs of Shakhrami.  Down below were a few crawlers and scorpions, looking curiously at the beastman hanging from above.

Laliho simply smiled.  "I thought you might.  Now..  spill it!"

Oggbix flailed her arms, trying to hang on to the vertical stone facing.  One of the mess tins from her pack comes loose and plummets several feet down below, where one of the greedy crawlers starts sliming its saliva all over it.

"That red cloth, right?  I already pawned it off to some Yagudo!  Lots of gil, you know!  They're probably back in Oztroja now.  If you want it back you'll have to talk to them!"

"Oztroja..."  Lali shook her head; a Tarutaru barging in there wouldn't be met too well.

"I told you what you wanted to know!  Now let me go, please!"  After a moment letting her own words sink in, the goblin adds, "No, don't LET GO!  Pull me up!"

Well, she had told her what she wanted to know..  Lali reluctantly pulled the goblin back up to solid ground.  "For your sake, you better not be lying..."

Leaving the safety of the Maze, Lali decided a trip back home was in order.  If she was going to Castle Oztroja, she would need to come prepared.  It wasn't a short journey, nor a safe one.

----

"Master, I don't think you should do this," the moogle insisted, hovering in front of Lali.

"Don't try to talk me out of it.  I've come too far already," Lali responded, packing her gobbiebag full of food.

"It's just a piece of cloth.  It can be replaced!"

Lali patted the moogle on the head.  "Don't worry, I'll be fine.  Promise!"

Still, she had her own doubts.  She still hadn't decided how she should approach the situation.  The Yagudo weren't entirely unreasonable.  Perhaps she could negotiate with them without any fighting.  Then again..  maybe she could just sneak in and find the cloth.  She patted her cesti at her side.  If all else fails, she could always fight her way through.  Maybe.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 12:43:12 am by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2012, 11:27:09 am »
1-5

"Did you hear something?"

"No."

The two Yagudo guards were completely oblivious to the black-clad Tarutaru shadow that was slipping through the shadows.  Not even one hundred guards could find the trail of this master of subterfuge!

And then...  Laliho opened her eyes.  She was still in the same dark, dank holding room as when she had passed out.

"Everything works better in a dream," she lamented quietly to herself.

She had actually done fairly well at eluding attention at first.  But she wasn't trained in such matters; the cloaking magic she had used hadn't helped enough either.  Three guards had fallen before they overwhelmed her with sheer numbers.

Lali grasped her forehead, which still ached from the earth magic one of the Yagudo mages had cast on her.  A boulder to the head rarely felt pleasant.

"So, you're awake, smoothskin," a voice called from nearby.  The Yagudo jailor, Luu Yoku, stepped forth, his mighty ceremonial great katana hanging at his hip.  "You're either brave..  or dumb."

"Maybe a little of both," she replied, standing up and inspecting herself.  They hadn't even bothered to take her weapons away.  As she glanced down, the beastman chuckled and murmured, "If you have any sense, you'll keep your hands away from your cesti."

Unintimidated, she sat back down and looked at her captor.  "Okay, look, I'm after a--"

"You have yet to earn a right to speak!" the birdman interrupted, holding the blade forward threateningly.  "We don't take too kindly to thieves here.  Thanks to your kind, all of our astral rings are gone!  And countless amounts of coin!  However..."

"First off, I'm not a thief!" Lali insisted, jumping up and shaking her fists in frustration.  "Some goblin stole a cloth from me, and I found out they sold it to someone here.  I'm just looking for it, okay?"

"More lies!  Smoothskins will say anything to get out of trouble!"

She paced around a few steps, then cocked her head to the side, studying her captor.  "So what are you going to do?"

"Well, you didn't actually kill any of our kind.  So perhaps we'll just use you for entertainment."

"Entertainment?" she echoed.  Somehow, images of Troupe Valeriano or wandering dancers didn't come to her mind.  More like, sick twisted "how long will it take Tiamat to digest the Taru" kinds of entertainment.

"How about a little wager?" Luu suggested, stepping forward and staring the interloper in the eye.  "You take on one of our champions in combat.  If you win, we'll let you go.  Maybe."

She shrugged her shoulders.  "Sounds like I don't have much of a choice."

---

In the southern courtyard of the castle, many of the Yagudo had gathered.  They were perched on the ledges of the upper floors, as well as in the center structure, hoping for a good view.  The air was filled with dust blown in by the mountain winds, and the sun just peeked over the castle walls as afternoon began to turn into evening.  At the bottom, in front of the pool of water, Lali stood in front of three particularly fearsome opponents, with Luu right behind her.

"Now, you may choose which you wish to fight.  Kee Yigu the Bloodsong, on the left, hails from the East and is a master of forbidden arts."  At the mention of his name, Kee bows and produces a pair of twin shurikens.  "Phu Mixi the Mythrilpalm is a master of martial arts." The center Yagudo saluted, being larger thant he others and towering well over the Tarutaru.  "And finally Ouu Waku the Geisthand is well adept in arcane matters."  The last Yagudo, visage hidden by a ruby mask, has a wand at her side.

Lali studied the three carefully...
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 01:31:17 pm by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 01:48:27 pm »
1-6

"Well, the mage has to be the one I can KO the quickest," Laliho thought to herself, staring over at Ouu Waku the Geisthand.  Her mind made up, she pointed at her chosen opponent.

"Let it begin!" Luu commanded, and the gallery of Yagudos watching the confrontation began to squawk and caw.

The mage beastwoman walked up to Laliho and salutes.  "I hope you fight well."  Lali saluted, and after returning to a position a few yalms away, took out her cesti.  "Let's go!" she cried enthusiastically.

Ouu wasted no time employing her art, quickly chanting a summon.  A static-charged portal opened up nearby, and an incarnation of the great avatar Ramuh appeared.  The ethereal being raised his staff and unleashed a massive thunderbolt, zapping Laliho out of her wits, before vanishing again.  She fell to a knee from the attack.  However, the summon had visibly drained the Yagudo.  She was now open to attack!  Laliho gritted her teeth and rose, charging with a flurry of blows.  The Yagudo was no match for the pint-sized pugilist, and having used up nearly all her magic skill on her opening attack, Ouu fell after a short time.

The Yagudos watching cursed and were outraged, but Luu raised his blade and walked up to Lali.  "You have fought well.  As per our agreement, we will set you free.  But know this:  the next time you enter our castle, prepare to fight to the death."

Lali looked cross, and threw her arms out wide in irritation. 

"Wait!  The goblin, she said she sold you my cloth!  I just want it back, okay!?"

Kee Yigu stepped forward to the pair.  "A goblin named Oggbix?"  When Lali nodded in agreement, Phu Mixi also stepped forward.  "That greedy character sold us inferior weapons.  We would never do business with her again."

Knowing she had been hoodwinked, Lali sighed.  "Then I guess this has just been a waste of time..."

Luu stepped forward and put a hand on the Taru's head.  "Perhaps not.  How would you like to even the score?"

---

"Yes, yes..  Muckvix will pay many a pretty coin for my haul today."

Oggbix merrily walked through the Sauromogue Champaign.  Leaving all her victims in her dust, she was planning on pawning her ill-gotten gains in Jeuno.  Then she could use the proceeds to invest in more effective traps for her lair...

Suddenly, from behind one of the wrecked sections of wall, Luu Yoku stepped forward.  "It seems we meet again, Oggbix."

"Out of my way, I don't have time nor goods to sell to you," the goblin boss insisted, trying to step around.

"Oh no, we insist you stay a while.  Isn't that right?" Luu murmured.

"Absolutely," Lali replied, stepping out from a rock situated behind the goblin.

Oggbix looked backwards, then forwards.  "Uh oh..."

They say the distant explosion of a goblin getting blasted could be heard in Jeuno that day.  They also say afterwards you could hear a goblin clamoring to be removed from the top of a tower...

---

"So you finally got it back!" the moogle beamed, flying circles around its returned master.

"Yeah, the Yagudos aren't that bad, really," she replied.  Back safe and sound in her Mog House, she was exhausted from her adventure.

"You don't have much time before Areya visits, what are you going to make?"

Lali's eyes widened.  "I almost forgot about that!  Hmm..."

---

"Laliho?  Are you here?"  Areya called out, peeking inside the Mog

House of her young ward.

"Areya!  Hey!  Did you bring--"  The sight of a basket filled with pies and cookies answered that question.  The Tarutaru quickly grabbed it and began stuffing her face.

"Got lots of tales to tell you about.  Lots of adventures," Areya mused, taking a seat on Lali's bed.  It was about the only piece of furniture she owned that could handle a Hume.

"Oh, but first!"  Lali dove into a drawer and pulled out a shining red sash.  "I made this with the cloth you gave me!"

Areya accepted the gift, raising an eyebrow.  "It's nice and all, but I have so many sashes and belts already."

"After all the trouble I went through to get it back..  you BETTER wear it!" Laliho quickly shouted.

Areya looked at Lali's moogle questioningly.  "What exactly did I miss...?"

END
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 01:51:09 pm by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2012, 01:06:48 am »
Chapter 2 : The Revenge of Oggbix

2-1

Radiant bolts of lightning crept through the stormy skies above the rolling hills of the Konschtat Highlands.  On the crest of one of the hills, a shrouded figure stared out over the tumult of the situation.  And then, another figure appears in a cloud of smoke several feet behind.

"Oggbix has been defeated."

The mysterious figure didn't even bother to acknowledge the messenger's presence.

"Her base in the Maze has been destroyed by the Federation and her supply lines severed.  Our presence in Mindartia has been weakened," the second one continued.

This message was simply met with a knowing scoff.

"It is of little importance.  Continue the plan."

"Sir, there's still the matter of the Tarutaru that helped bring her down.  What should we do about--"

"One adventurer cannot halt the wheels of fate that are already in motion, Zenrox.  Your sister's apprehension is, at best, a simple bump on the road to our goal."

The goblin messenger swallowed audibly.  His master had a reputation for severe punishments for failure.  The diminutive cloaked figure tilted his head, a brief flash of lightning reflected off the crystalline spectacles he wore.

"Worry not about the grand scheme.  But, I will give Ruindelver Oggbix, and yourself, another chance.  I will send for the Asura Squad to assist you.  Make that adventurer pay for her meddling."

Zenrox nodded.  "Yes, master."  A smokebomb later, the goblin had vanished without a trace, leaving the mysterious stranger alone.

Thunder rumbled from a nearby lightning strike as he looked skyward.  "It won't be long now.  The Federation..  Jeuno...  Soon the world will tremble under my fist!  Haa haa haa!"  His laughter echoed off the hills and cliffs as the lightning continued to strike.  "Haa haa--OW!"  Apparently the Thunder Elemental behind him had gotten agitated by his presence and retorted with a large bolt.

---

Laliho peered over the parchment in her hand as she rode towards Buburimu Peninsula.  Mounted on top of FlammeKristall, her personal chocobo, she was double checking the orders she had been given.

It had been a few weeks since her adventure trying to retrieve the cloth she had misplaced.  She never thought it would lead on such a grand experience!  But that was over now and the reality of making an honest gil had taken back over.  Her clothworking hadn't sold quite as well as she would like now, so she had taken an offer on a freelance job.  It seemed simple enough.  A shipment of Yagudo Cherries would be taken via a chocobo-driven cart from the port of Mhaura to the Federation.  Succulent, juicy fruits..  her Tarutaru mouth was practically watering at the prospect.  But she was there to protect them from bandits, not to sample the wares.  Oh, she would definitely have to beg Areya for more Cherry Muffins!

Her trusty chocobo sped through the seaworn corridors leading to the port city, and she was blissfully unaware that someone was spying on her from afar...

---

"Reporting for duty!"

"Ah, therrrrre you are," the Mithra merchant, Frala Imdraenio, murmurred.  Her face was buried in the sheets of paper in her hand, and she only briefly made eye contact with Lali above the rim of her glasses.  She brushed some of her short blonde hair out of her face and hummed to herself.  "Now rememberrrr, you're to ride alongside the cart.  We've already lost a couple of shipments and we can't afford anotherrrr looting."

"Of course," Laliho replied confidently, then looked around.  "Um..  am I the only one?"

"We have a few scouts going ahead to make sure they don't try to block the rrrroad, but you're the only warrior staying with the cart."

"Oh..  well I'll try my hardest."

"Don't trrry.  Just do it.  Now, for your paperrrwork."  She thrust a form in front of Lali.  "Sign here.  And here.  Date here.  X here."  Lali quietly did as instructed and handed the paper back.  Frala chewed nervously on her chocoboquill pen as she inspected the details, then nodded.  "Okay, good to go.  Safe journey."

Laliho tossed FlammeKristall a couple of Gysahl Greens and scratched her head affectionately.  "Ready to go?"

The cart's wooden wheels started to creak as it started its journey, with Laliho close behind.  And predictably, not too far from the safety of the port guard, a threat appeared...
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 01:14:04 am by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2012, 12:31:03 am »
2-2

The wheels of the cart slid to a halt, and the pair of chocobos pulling it let out nervous shrills, as the threat loomed in the middle of the road.  It was still some distance to the outpost, and the narrow walls of this stretch of road prevented them from going around.  Laliho quietly dismounted her steed and walked forward.

There, in the middle of the path, stood a giant gigas.  Lali had to lean her head all the way back just to see the face of this enormous opponent.  He was a good 15 yalms tall!

"Give Groth food!  Now!"

"They don't pay me enough," she lamented quietly to herself, dragging a foot across the rocky ground.

The pair of Tarutaru in charge of the cart hid behind some of the crates.  "M-m-m-maybe we should do what he wants.." one of them meekly suggested.

"Don't worry, I'll handle it," Laliho said confidently, nodding at the pair.  Turning back around, she grumbled to herself, angrily putting her fists to her hips and calling out. 

"Hey!  You're the one that's been causing the merchants problems?"

Her question was met with a giant fist smashing down from above.  She nimbly rolled out of the way.  "Well, that answers that..."

"Give food NOW!" the giant insisted.

"Just because we're small doesn't mean you can pick on us!" Lali answered.

Groth took a step closer to her, then raised his foot to stomp on the bothersome little insect standing in front of him.  Lali, seeing an opening, quickly rushed forward and started tickling his tender sole, causing him to squirm.  "Little..  Taru stop!" he blurted out between laughs.  Lali then quickly slammed herself firmly into the ankle of his other foot, upsetting his balance.  It wasn't long before his monstrous form fell like a mighty Zi'Tah tree, crashing into the ground, his head smashing firmly into a large boulder and knocking him out cold.  The tremors generated by the event nearly knocked Lali off her feet.

"See?  That wasn't so bad!" she said triumphantly back to the frightened Tarus behind her.

"He's still blocking the road," one of them noted, pointing at his arm stretched out.

Lali looked back behind her shoulder and sighed.  She casually made her way over to the arm, climbing over it, then proceeded to push against the enormous limb, having no initial luck getting it to move.  "Where's.. ghhh.. some Galkas when you need some.. urk.. muscle!?" 

After a mighty effort, she managed to slide it over to his side, allowing the cart to pass by.

"We'll tell the guards at the outpost to fetch this lug," she assured the carriage drivers.

As she remounted FlammeKristall, Lali stared at the fallen beastman.  Strange, she thought, Gigas never come to these parts normally.  What is he doing here?

-----

The babbling of an underground river was audible near the chamber where a couple of goblins were surveying.

"So this is Ghoyu's Reverie," Oggbix mused, pausing to sample the scent of some fungus growing on the wall.

"That's right," Zenrox replied.  "These cavern system used to span nearly the entire continent.  During the Crystal War the beastmen used them extensively, but most of it was sealed up after.  My Moblin connections led me to a few chambers that are still intact."  He motioned towards a collapsed tunnel.  "I don't even think any of them know entrances still exist, even."

"Plenty of room to establish a new base!" Oggbix beamed.  With her hideout in the Maze well-known by the Federation now, a more remote location would be needed. "And what about the Asura Squad?  Have they showed up yet?"

"Phaen and The Twins are after the Yagudos as we speak.  Most of the rest are waiting to help us get established.  And I sent Kullen to pay your precious Tarutaru friend a visit..."

"Oh, that nosy little adventurer!  Why didn't you send them all after her?!"

Zenrox walked over and shook his head.  "Easy, sis.  We have plenty of time to torture her later.  And who knows?  One might be enough."

"It..  would be more satisfying to do the job myself."  She swung her arms out and begin to sing.  "I've got a preeeetty little new pet just waiting for her!"

Zenrox nodded and walked over to a corner.  "This better work, or Boss will have our heads," he grumbled.

-----

Night had fallen, and the moon brightly illuminated the plains of Saruta, by the time the carriage pulled up to the gate leading to Windurst Waters.  Lali was exhausted from the journey, but she had done her job.  As she rode up to the gate, a familiar voice called out to her.  "Nice to see you made it in okay!"  Leaning against the gate was Hali, the same Mithra scout who had assisted her all those weeks ago.

"Oh, hi!  I never got a chance to thank you," Lali said, blushing a bit.  "You really helped me out."

"Well I was happy to help.  Nice to see you got the supplies here okay too."  The Mithra checked the cargo and smiled.  "We'll make sure this gets to the proper places, you can run along.  I'm surrrre you're tired."

Lali stifled a yawn and nodded.  "Yeah, the bed will feel nice tonight.  See you around."

As she walked down the wooden planks leading further into town, the streets seemed to be strangely empty.  Moreover, the foggy mists that hugged the water's surface seemed to rise up, causing an especially spooky experience.  Although Lali wasn't especially afraid of the dark, she couldn't dispel a sense of foreboding about the situation.

"Okay, this is creepy...  I'll just head--"

"Lovely night for a stroll, isn't it?"

Lali's little heart skipped a beat as she whirled around.  There stood a Hume, dressed all in black.  His face was ghostly white, and his eyes burned red.  He had on a dark black cape that stretched down to his feet.  "The darkness, it envelops all, consumes all.  To deny it is to deny your fate."  As he spoke, she could see two elongated fangs in his mouth.  Lali took in this entire spectacle, and then..  burst into giggles.

"Wh-What's so funny?" the mysterious man asked.

"Oh come ON," Lali said between laughs.  "You can't be serious.  Is that supposed to be scary?  You look like a Harvest Festival reject!  'Oh I'm so dark and brooding!' And what are those, sand bat fangs you glued to your teeth?  Is that flour on your face?"  She almost fell down in laughter.

Areya had told Lali stories about real vampyres she had faced.  They were demons with huge wings, twisted grotesque faces, and giant claws.  This character didn't look even remotely close to such a thing!

The man stretched out one of his hands, and suddenly Lali felt stings on her hand.  As she yelped in pain, she peered down to see two fresh scratches, and she could see life energy moving towards him.

"Ow!  Hey, that hurt!"

"Now that I have your attention, allow me to introduce myself.  I am Kullen, Onyx member of the Asura Squad, and Oggbix wants you..  dealt with."  He pushed aside his cape, revealing a golden medallion on his chest.  In the center was a circular mask, each half with a different design, and surrounding the mask were eight hands in the compass directions.

"Oggbix?" Laliho took a few steps back as the reality of the situation began to set in.

As he stood closer, she could feel the transfer of her life force increasing.  As she backed away, it dissipated.  As long as she kept her distance...

"Well I'm not sticking around, later!" she cried, turning tail and running.

"You cannot escape the darkness!" Kullen declared, running after her.  Lali managed to evade but could never shake his pursuit.

"Help!  Anyone?!"  The guards all seemed to be missing, and the fog seemed to obscure the sight of anyone around.  She quickly spotted the Culinarian's Guild.  The main door was locked, so she carefully made her way around the edge, almost losing her footing and falling into the water below.  Finding the Tarutaru-sized back entrance unlocked, she quickly made her way through it, barricading it with a nearby barrel.  No one else was inside to help her.  Kullen began pounding on the front door, the only barrier keeping her safe.  She quickly looked around at the bags and boxes of cooking ingredients.  Something here had to help!
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 12:36:33 am by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2012, 11:48:44 pm »
2-3

Laliho began rummaging through the Culinarian's wares at a frantic pace.  Kullen continued to slam against the guild door, trying to claim his quarry.  Lali briefly stopped at the sight of a large box of Mhaura Garlic; her mind struggled to recall something about vampyrs disliking the spice.  Then she spotted the hot, fiery Kazham Peppers.  "He wants to bite something?  Let's see how he likes these!"  She quickly grabbed a couple of the ruby items, just as the doors flung open.

"You have nowhere left to run," the eerie Hume declared.  "Accept yo--"

His taunt was interrupted, as Lali squeezed a couple of the Kazham Peppers, shooting their juice upward towards his face.  Her mark was slightly off however, so she quickly rummaged around for more peppers.  Her next aim was spot on, and nailed him right in the eyes!  As he yelped in pain, Lali noticed the last peppers she grabbed weren't Kazham Peppers at all, they were Habaneros!  Even more potent!  As Kullen clutched his face and tried to get the burning liquid out of his eyes, his defenses were totally open, and the pint-sized pugilist wasn't about to let the opportunity go to waste, unleashing a flurry of blows.  He fell backwards onto his back, at which point Lali stuffed one of the fiery peppers into his mouth, then punched his face hard.  One of his fangs, which she had claimed to be fake, actually popped out and revealed that it WAS fake the entire time.

Finally, Kullen managed to shove the Tarutaru off of him and takes several steps backwards, his arm pulling his cape in front of him.  The pair were standing outside the guild now, and Lali was ready to resume round two of beating up the creep.  He managed to spit out the pepper before speaking, his tone changed from melodramatic and brooding to geeky and whiney.  "You-you'll regret this!  You haven't seen the last of me!"  He produced a small piece of parchment and threw it to the ground, creating a shimmering portal that he quickly utilized to vanish.  As the wormhole closed, the fog and darkness that seemed to have rolled in quickly dissipated, and soon Lali could see several Federation guards running towards her.

"Never help around when you need them," Lali griped inwardly.

"Hey!  What are you doing-woing in the guild?  What are all these peppers around for!?" one of the Tarutaru guards called out.  "Thief!"

"No, you've got it wrong.  I was under attack!  I had to fend him off!" Lali protested.

The guards weren't amused, grabbing her firmly by the arms.  "You're crazy.  We didn't see or hear any fighting."

"What's going on?" a voice called out from behind.  Hali walked up on the scene, looking around.  "Why are you detaining this adventurer for?"

"Look, I'll prove it to you, he was here!"  Lali looked around, spotting the tooth on the wooden walkway and motioning towards it.  "He was dressed in all black and had some false fangs, there's one of them!"

"You could have gotten that anywhere," the guards insisted.

"Look, I don't think she'd lie," Hali murmurred, striding over and picking up the evidence.  "But since we can't find this attacker, I guess we can't prrrove anything."  She studies the door, which had been forced open.  "Will you let her go if she pays forrr the damages?"

The guards consult for a few moments and nod.  "I guess that's fair, no one was hurt, I guess..."

"Except me," Lali sighed, looking at the scratches and cuts on her arms.  "Fine, I used up a few peppers, the door is a little busted..  5000 gil cover it?"

The guards released their grip on her arms and she begrudgedly counted out five thousand gil from her coinpurse and handed it over.  It would be better if she kept all this quiet, after all...

As the guards began to walk away, Lali turns to Hali.  "He said he was sent by Oggbix..."

Hali stopped in her tracks, her mind thinking quickly.  "If I see anything suspicious, you'll be the first to know, okay?  Watch your back."

-----

Three days had passed since the incident.  Laliho had stayed around the town, selling more clothcraft goodies and managing Areya's sent inventory, but she couldn't shake the foreboding of the recent events.  Oggbix back in business?  Trade routes disrupted?  People sent to off her?  She had opted against informing Areya of these developments; the Hume woman tended to be busy with other things, like saving the world.

As Lali left her Mog House and was walking towards the auction house, she couldn't help but catch a pair of Tarutaru having a conversation...

"So what's up with that weird boat in the Port today?"

"I heard it had some specialaru guests from far away.  My friend said they were going to meet with the Star Sibyl."

"Really?  Foreign ambassadors or something?"

"I don't know.  They definitely looked weird."

A strange boat in Port Windurst?  That seemed to be worth investigating.

Laliho made her way over towards the docks, and sure enough, there was a small vessel secured by ropes to the dock.  There seemed to be no one really watching over the boat at the moment, so curiosity piqued, she walked up for a closer look.  It looked built for long journies, but was too small to be a ferry.  As she began to walk back the way she came, she saw Hali approaching along with three mysterious people.

"Oh, Laliho!  I was just looking for you!" Hali chimed in.  "These people wanted to talk to you."

Accompanying Hali were a trio adorned in crimson talars and seraweels, with glittering golden chains and studs.  One was a Hume woman with short blonde hair and a rapier at her side, another was an elderly Elvaan with a grey beard and a pair of blades, and the last was a blue-haired Tarutaru wearing glasses.

"This is the adventurer that was attacked?" the Elvaan asked sternly.  "I was expecting someone more...  impressive."

"Be nice," the woman said between her teeth, elbowing him lightly.  "Now, miss?  I want you to describe the person that attacked you, if you could?"

Lali closed her eyes and brought her hand to her chin.  "Uhm..  he was dressed in black, black cape, he was really white, um..  he showed me some kind of medallion, like a mask with eight points..."

At the mention of the medallion, the Tarutaru reached into his pocket and pulled out a small coin.  "Like this?"  It was the exact same!  Laliho nodded her agreement.

"So they ARE here!" the Elvaan cursed, emphatically swinging his arm to the side.  "Seems the rumors were true."

"Who?" Lali asked quietly.

"We have a room at the local hostel.  The Rabite Tail?" the Tarutaru said quietly.  "Let's talk there, wouldn't want prying ears to hear..."

"You mean Rarab Tail," Hali corrected, then nodded to Lali.  "Go with them, Lali.  I need to get back to patrolling.  I hope you get some answers."

-----

Laliho sat at the table inside the room they had rented, helping herself to the plate of pamama tarts brought over from the cafe.  She had just relayed her tale of her lost cloth, the confrontation with Oggbix, the Gigas blocking merchant traffic, and the mysterious attacker.

"That's some story, adventurer," the Elvaan warrior commented, leaning against the wall.

"So who exactly are you guys?" she queried between bites.

The Hume woman sitting across from her nodded.  "I am Lady Sarimanthetia, this is Sir Thornmaraux, and Celo-Ceran is over there in the corner."

The Tarutaru in the corner, also hungrily devouring a tart, looked up.  "I usually just call them Lady Sari and Sir Thorn, though.  Such long names!"

Thornmaraux cleared his throat.  "We're members of the Phoenixguard, a group stationed in the Far East."

"Far East?" Lali asked, cocking her head to the side.  "Like Aht Urghan?"

"Farther than that."

"So tell me about this..  guy who attacked me."

"Honestly, we don't know to much about him," Lady Sari confessed.  "We can tell you about the medallion though.  He's part of a group of mercenaries known as the Asura Squad."

"We uncovered rumors that they had traveled to the Middle Lands for some purpose, so we were sent to investigate the matter," Sir Thorn added.

"Just three of you?" Lali asked after a pause.

"Well," Sari began, "you see, they're what you might call.."

"Misfits," Celo interrupted.  "They're not really that great at their job.  We've captured several Asura Squad members in the past."

"Don't discount their threat," Thorn said, standing up and walking over to the table.  "Eight points on their insignia, one for each member, and the more veteran members are powerful enough to hold their own.  Every time a member leaves or is captured, they seem to find someone new to replace them."

"Eight?"  Lali's eyes widened.  "You mean there's seven more of these guys after me?"

"That's correct.  We went to your leader, the Star Sibyl, asking for information regarding any unusual activities in the area," Celo explained.  "But she was unhelpful.  So we're following up on some leads we've acquired."

"Laliho, we would appreciate any help you could give us," Lady Sari said sweetly.  "You've gotten wrapped up in this situation.  We don't really know these lands, a native could be highly useful for us."

Lali thought for a few moments, then nodded firmly.  "What can I do?"

"Are you familiar with a cave system known as Ghoyu's Reverie?" Sari inquisited.  Lali had some experiences with it, having explored some Moblin Mazes in the past.  "One of the members we captured before we left mentioned it.."

"There's some moblins in Jeuno that have been digging in them.  Maybe they'd know if someone was using them?"  Lali suggested.

"That's an interesting theory, it merits investigation," Celo murmurred.  "We should check her old base of operations too.  It's likely there could be some clues left there."

"And if Mhaura is where the trade routes start from the sea, it'd be a good place to check out," Sir Thorn added.  "They could've arrived here from those docks, after all.  We could find a witness."

Lali crawled out of her chair and stretched.  "So what should I do?"

"We'll rest tonight, and then we'll split up and see what we can find," Lady Sari replied.  "You could accompany one of us.  Or you can stay here and wait for us.  But you'd probably be safer not being alone."

Lali thought for a moment...

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 10:30:29 am »
2-4

After pondering the options for a few moments, Laliho nodded in decision.  "Seems like Ghoyu's is the one thing we know for sure.  I've dealt with these Moblin Maze Mongers before, so maybe they'll be more willing to give out information if I'm there."

"Then it's settled," Lady Sarimanthetia replied cheerily, clasping her hands together.  "I could use an escort around Jeuno anyways."

Sir Thornmaraux walked forward and handed Lali a small fiery-orange linkpearl.  "You can use this to keep in touch with us," he replied.

"Hopefully we'll find some answers," Celo-Ceran murmurred, not moving from his comfy position in the corner chair.

"Meet me at the airship docks tomorrow morning, Lali," Lady Sari instructs.

"Will do.  Sleep tight~"

As Lali exited the building, she was unaware of the shadowy figure who had been eavesdropping on the entire exchange from just outside the door...

-----

"WHAT?!"

Oggbix, screaming in anger, clobbered Kullen squarely on the jaw with her gnarled scepter, which coaxed out a sneer from him.

"It's just a single Tarutaru, can't you do anything right?!"

"You tell me.  You've dealt with her before, and as I recall, you failed too," the dark Hume brazenly responded, lightly rubbing the bruise on his jaw.

Three warriors approached the scene from around the bend of a tunnel.  One was very large and rotund, clad in metallic armor.  Beside him was a tall Elvaan woman, and bringing up the rear was a stealthily clad Mithra.

"Cut the kid some slack," the Elvaan woman chuckled.  "He's our newest member.  Besides, he wouldn't come back emptyhanded."

"I was just about to get to that," Kullen said, turning to face his comrades.  "There's three Phoenixguard here too.  And they're all split up.  Perfect chance to take them out."

"Perfect!  One on one duels to try the might of my blade!" the Galka bellowed.  "Leave me the toughest one!"

The Mithra, her face hidden behind a veil, shakes her head and points to Oggbix.

"The catgirl knows her place.  Don't forget that I'm in charge, pretties," Oggbix said singsongly.  "I'll be making the decisions.  Now, Kullen, the details...."

-----

"Master!  Wake up!"

Laliho rolled over in her sleep.  "Mmm..  Magma Key..  lali.."

The moogle sighed, then flew back against the wall, getting a good footing before swooping quickly into the slumbering heroine, sending her careening off the edge of the Hume-sized bed and onto the floor.  Lali's eyes flew open, staring at the ceiling, barely making out the fluttering creature a couple of feet above her face..

"Master!  You're going to be late!"

"Okay, okay!  I'm up!"  She hopped to her feet and slipped out of her clothes, methodically suiting up in her temple wear.  It was heavier than her usual robes and tunics, but was better in a fight.  And with eight mercenaries after her, a fight was expected!

After stuffing her Gobbiebag with plenty of food (never can have enough rations!) she sprinted out the door and hurried to the airship docks.  Perfect timing, as the airship had just begun to descend into position.  After paying the fare, she went up to the boarding dock. Lady Sari had been passing the time with a fishing rod, but apparently hadn't had much luck with the bites.

"Surprised they'd let you on the ship without a pass," Lali questioned.

"Ambassador, you know," she replied with a smirk.  "I've never actually been on an airship before.  They don't have these things in the East."

"It's..  amazing.  The feeling of flying, the earth moving below your feet!"

The pair boarded.  There weren't many other passengers on this particular flight.  Lali didn't really give them much mind.  She had taken the airship many times so this was routine.  But for Sari, it was a special experience.  Lali could see the wonderment in her eyes as she stared at the inner workings of the vessel.  A short time later, the boat began to move.  The gears turned, the props spun, and soon the water fell away from the hull.  They were airborne!

Sari wasted no time racing up to the deck.  She grabbed the railing and just stood awestruck at the scenery.  Lali followed her up, amused at her schoolgirl reaction.  It brought back memories of her first time aboard...

...except she was too short to see over the railing.  Which was sad.

Another passenger had ascended the stairs.  She was on the other side of the deck, but Lali could see her attire.  It was blue and white robes, with a cloak over it that caught the wind, giving a brief view of silver locks and long ears.  She had previously been reading a book before the flight started.

"Enjoying the view?" she called out to Lady Sari. Sari turned around and was about to give  a friendly reply, but suddenly her face faded and her right hand went to the hilt of her rapier.

"Hey?  What's the matter?" Lali asked in shock.

"It's been a while, Meilanis," Sari managed, her eyes narrowing.

"Oh, good.  You remember me.  I'm touched," the Elvaan woman said with heavy drippings of sarcasm.  "Nothing personal, I'm just supposed to take both of you out is all."

She lifted her arms, and swirls of blue began to radiate from her.

"Another Asura?" Lali guessed, going for her own weapons.

"Meilanis, disciple of Shiva.  She's a cryomancer," Sari replied.  Sari held her hand forward, chanting protection spells.  Green light enveloped them both, then a thin layer of red warmth.  The same warmth flowed into her blade, imbuing it with the power of fire.

"The power of ice is a powerful thing, Taru.  And I've gotten stronger, Sari.  Ultimate power!  Beyond your comprehension!"  The sorceress began to chant the first of her attack magic, and before Lali could move, the area was enveloped in frozen devastation.

After a few moments, the red-hot blade of Lady Sari shattered the crystals, revealing the damage was minimal.  "Meilanis, you know you can't defeat me alone.  My Red Mage training can handle what you attempt against me."  She then turned to Lali.  "I'll take this one, okay?"

Lali stood back as the two women began to engage in combat.  The Freeze and Blizzaga spells flew rapidly, but Sari was able to shake off the icy assaults.

The entire time, the pilot and other passengers below had hunkered down, hoping the battle would end before landing!

After several minutes, Sari's blade finally manages to sink itself into Mei's side, causing the black mage to stagger back.

"That's enough.  Surrender already," Sari commanded, her blade pointed firmly at her chest.

"I've got one more trick up my sleeve," she whispered.

Lali had began to walk over, hoping to get answers.  Before she could close the distance though, Mei thrust her arm out and directed an icy blast of energy.  It zipped past Sari's head and landed straight towards one of the rear propellers.  The machinery lurched and groaned before stopping completely.  The jolt caused the back of the airship to fall, and Lali tumbled off of her feet and down the stairs, landing with an audible thump at the
bottom.

Sari managed to grasp the rail to keep her footing.  She jerked her head backwards to examine the damage.  "Are you nuts!  Are you trying to kill us all!?"

"Just you," Mei said in triumph.  Not only had she found a way to win, the distraction was enough to ready her escape attempt.  She produced a scroll much like Kullen had done a few nights before and opened up a portal.  "So a few innocents get hurt in the process.  It's totally worth it."

"Wait!"  Sari lurched forward trying to grab her, but her form had already dissolved into nothingness.  The engine continued to stall a bit, the ice wrecking havoc on the machinery. 

She quickly descended the stairs and grabbed Lali, who was still woozy from the fall.  "The ship's in danger of crashing!" she stammered.

Lali ran downstairs and looked out the front of the ship.  Jeuno was still some distance off...

"I don't know how long it'll hold out!" the pilot cried out.  "Do something!"

C'mon, think Lali..  the Taru thought to herself.

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2012, 12:02:19 am »
2-5

The creak and groaning of the moving parts of the frozen propeller echoed throughout the interior of the airship.  Laliho knew that if it continued, the damage could rip the engine to pieces, or worse, the crystal engine could explode from the pressure!  The Tarutaru quickly ran backwards, ducking under the rope blocking access to the engine room door and flinging it open.  Lady Sari tugged at the rope momentarily before whipping out her rapier and, with a flick of her wrist, sliced cleanly through it.

The inside of the engine room was a cacophony of technology.  Pistons and gears were moving frantically.  Truly a marvel of Vana'dielian construction.  But there was no time to marvel!  Laliho quickly noted an array of gauges and levers at the edge.  Her eyes widened and glazed over; it was much more complicated than she imagined.

"What are you going to do?" Sari asked impatiently.

"We need to shut off that prop!"  She stared up, trying to discern which lever operated which part.  Tentatively, she grabbed one of the levers, which didn't budge..  She pulled herself up, her feet planted against the metal panel, and tugged with all of her Tarutaru might.  The poorly-oiled lever finally gives way, causing Lali to fall flat on her back. 

The entire airship buckles as the back left prop slows to a stop.  Sari quickly rushes up to the deck, followed by her calling back, "Not that one!"

Lali let out an audible groan of frustration, pushing the lever back up then trying the next one over.  This time, she guessed correctly.  The damaged prop lost power and the screeching came to a halt.  The immediate crisis averted, she joined Sari up on the top level.  The ice on the prop was still spreading, and it could still reach the engine...

"We need to get rid of that ice.  Can you melt it?" Lali asked, seeing the crystalline obstruction.

"I.. I don't know.  What if we damage it?  The metal could warp, distort."

"Just use a small Fire spell.  If we can just loosen it enough, maybe it'll fall off!"

Sari nodded, then raised her right hand towards the target.  After concentrating briefly, magical energy welled up at her fingertips, and then fiery sparks form around the ice as a small flame engulfs it.  There seemed to be little effect, however.

Lali shook her head, then rummaged around her Gobbiebag, pulling out one of her harvesting sickles.  "Maybe I can knock it off."

"Climb up?!"  Sari's face spoke volumes about the danger.

"It should have been loosened up.  It shouldn't take much. Give me a boost."

Sari reluctantly agreed, kneeling down so that the Taru girl could climb up on her shoulder.  She then walked over to the small tower housing the propeller, allowing Lali to climb up farther.  The wood is fairly smooth, but there's enough wear to maintain a grip.  The sickle in her hand found its way into the icy barrier, and after several stern swings, it began to fall off, sliding off of the metal and into oblivion.

"I think that's get most of--"

A sudden turbulent gust rocked the airship, causing Lali to lose her grip and fall off the prop.  She slid off the back of the side of the airship but grasped the railing. Her eyes peered down at the terrain of the Meriphataud Mountains far below her.

"Sari!  Next time I have an idea to do something crazy, STOP ME!" she yelled frantically.  The Hume woman loaned her an arm, pulling her above and scooping her up to safety.  Lali sat there, shuddering briefly, her wee heart pounding.

"Come on, we have to get the engine back on," Sari whispered quietly, and Lali inhaled sharply and nodded.

-----

The airship pulled into Port Jeuno a short time later.  The airship agency members had many questions for the pilot and the passengers.  It was hours before Laliho and Sarimanthetia were able to enter Jeuno.

"What a bustling city," Lady Sari noted, awestruck at the grand tower.

"There's a lot of unpleasant people here, so I try to limit my stays here," Lali replied.

They made their way to the shop the goblins maintained, pushing the door open to several pairs of glaring, mask-covered eyes.  Sari stood back, not used to having to deal with friendly beastmen.

"Oh, customers.  What can I do fer you?" one of the moblins inquired.

"Been a while, Goldagrik."

The moblin sniffed a couple of times at Lali and then nodded.  "Oh ya, Maze girlie.  I remember ya.  Been a while since we've done business."

"Yeah, too long.  Listen, I need some information."  The Taru produced a few coins.  Money always loosened goblin tongues.  "Have there been any people inquiring about Ghoyu's Reverie?  Maybe..  Oggbix?"

Goldagrik stopped cold at the mention of the goblin's name.  He looked around shiftily before leaning in close.  "Normally I wouldn't rat out a fellow gob, but since yer a good customer.."  Lali took out even more gil, and the moblin chuckled.  "That's what I wanna see.  Oggbix?  No.  But there was one named Zenrox asking about it.  Paid good money t' buy the rights t' use caves near Maze.  Most of da caves there were sealed, so he'd have t' dig out."

Sari stepped forward.  "Could you tell us where the entrance is?  Please?"

Goldagrik looked the Hume over and nodded.  "Near where Fort Karugo-Narugo used t' be.  In the mountains.  Here, I'll mark yer map..."

-----

"This is definitely our best lead at the moment," Sari said, her finger pressed against the linkpearl set into her ear.

"I'm just glad you two are okay," Thorn replied, his voice coming from the device.  "Mhaura didn't yield too many clues.  I had to deal with trouble as well."

"You weren't the only one," Celo-Ceran chimed in on the same channel.  "That Galka almost got me, but I gave him the slip."

"It's safe to assume that the Asura Squad knows we're coming," Sari continued.  "We need to be careful."

Lali, busy with her bowl of Icecap Rolanberry, was sitting with Sari at a table outside The Merry Minstrel.  As she pondered the prospect of having to face more competition, she began to ponder calling in some extra help...

-----

Zenrox was NOT happy.

He looked over the three Asura members that stood before him and held up his axe menacingly.

"I thought you were supposed to be good mercenaries.  Yet here you are, failures!"

"How was I suppose to know they'd find a way to save their airship?" Meilanus said in rebuttal.  "They just got lucky."

"And you only did that because you failed to defeat them to begin with!" Zenrox growled, taking a step forward.  "Be glad Oggbix is gone at the moment.  She'd have your head!"

The Mithra standing behind remained quiet.  Sir Thorn had managed to fend off her ambush.

Meanwhile, the Galka looked furious.  "I only lost that Taru nerd because of the terrain of the Maze.  I can't help it if he ducked into a hole I couldn't fit in.  He has no honor!"

"Excuses won't be tolerated.  Fail again and you don't get paid."

Meilanus wrinkled her nose and looked cross.  "If it wasn't for Sari, that Tarutaru would be frozen forever right about now.  We'll win next time."

"See that you do."

As Zenrox walked away, he highly suspected that they would have company soon...
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 12:04:51 am by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 05:52:11 am »
2-6

Laliho sat in the Rent-a-Room she had taken in Jeuno.  Lady Sari had her own room, resting up for the battle that lay ahead of them.  The Tarutaru was rolling a pair of pearls around in her hand.  The gold-colored orb sparkled in the light of the lantern above her head, while the gray one didn't catch much of the light.  This problem that lay in front of her was too big to face alone.  It was time to make some calls..  She started by donning the linkpearl.  It had been given to her by Areya, but it was only supposed to be used for emergencies.  The last time she had called, the distraction had caused Areya to alert some beastmen to her presence, so she was a bit hesitant.

"Areya?  Are you there?" she said, pressing the linkshell lightly in her ear.

No response.  It wasn't surprising.  Areya was always running around on adventures.  It couldn't even be guaranteed she was in the same dimension!  Further attempts at contact yielded nothing.

She then moved on to the signal pearl.  "Pak?"  She hadn't talked to Pakurara much lately.  But the cheery little Tarutaru answered.  "Lali?  Hey!  What's up?"  After explaining the situation, the fellow murmurred, "Yeah, sure, but I have to finish up a job.  I'll catcharu up with you."

Her thoughts ran to other people she could call.  There were a few others.  But she didn't know how to get in touch with them easily.

-----

"I can't find it anywhere!"

Laliho looked annoyed as she scouted the terrain of the Meriphataud Mountains.  This was the spot indicated on the map..  But the rugged terrain proved to make the entrance elusive. 

Sari, meanwhile, was waiting patiently for Thorn and Celo to arrive.  Lali had decided to investigate while waiting.

Exasperation overtaking her, she grudgedly jumped off a raised ledge to the ground below..  only the fragile stone beneath her feet, weakened by recent digging, gave way, causing her to fall an additional distance and roll to a stop in the darkness below.

As Lali's head spun for a few moments, she became aware that someone else is in the cavern.  She turns and spots three goblins advancing on her.

"Whatchu making so much noise f--"

Both Lali and the goblin let out a collective "You again!?"

It was Vickspox, Biggslox, and Wedgenox.

Instead of attacking, the goblins take a couple of steps backwards.

Lali brought her hand to her chin while giving them a funny look.  "Uh, what are you guys doing here?"

"We're guarding this tunnel entrance see?" Vickspox answered firmly.

"Oggbix giving us lots o' beastcoins to watch for intruders," Biggslox affirmed as well.

"And that means you," Wedgenox continued.

Lali wasn't impressed.  She slowly cracked her knuckles, looking at them.  "Look, I don't really wanna fight you guys.  But if you insist, I will."

The three goblins formed a huggle, whispering and occassionally looking over their shoulder at the Taru.  Were they really discussing this?  After a few moments, they turned to face her.

"Hey, Wedgenox, she paid us to watch for anyone entering the cavern, right?"

"Yeah, Biggslox."

"I don't remember her saying what to do if we spotted anyone.  Were we supposed to fight them?"

Vickspox took a step towards Lali and nodded.  "I don't remember her specifying.  So if someone were to walk past us, we weren't ordered to stop them.."

Lali couldn't believe her ears.  She just tilted her head and raised an eyebrow.

"Seriously?"

"Hey, we get paid either way.  Come on, let's have some Goblin Drink you two."

The three goblins went to the corner and pulled out some filthy flasks.

"Don't bother my friends either when they come through, okay?" she asked quietly as she started down the tunnel behind them.

Going off alone was a bad idea, but Lali wanted to check things out before the others got there.  The tunnels curved and descended further into the earth.  Then one wrong turn brought Lali into a dead end.  As she turned to double back, a set of bars fell over the passage behind her!

"Haha!  Got her!"

Oggbix jumped down from some hidden perch, gleefully taunting the trapped Tarutaru.  She was followed shortly by Zenrox.

"So this is the Tarutaru that has been causing you trouble, Sis?"

Oggbix nodded.  Lali grasped the bars and tried to bend them, but was met with a konk on the head from Oggbix's staff.

"Don't even bother, I'm sure these will hold you.  Not even a Galka could bend these."

Defeated, Lali sat down, glaring at the two.  "Maybe.  So, what are you gonna do, send the rest of your goons in here?"

"Tempting," Zenrox replied coolly.  "But I think I can use you for part of the bigger plan."

"You mean..  disrupting the trade on Mindartia?"

"You think too small, girl.  We have grander schemes than that.  A plot you can't even realize."

"The Yaggy~udos and the Federation are gonna be at each other's throats!  And so will the longears and the Galka!" Oggbix said merrily.

"The nations have fought too much already.  They're in no hurry to return to arms," Lali insisted.

"That's where you're wrong," Zenrox interrupted.  "We're going to use ancient Yagudo attack tunnels to launch a siege strike on Windurst.  Then we'll use the Yagudo prisoners we captured and frame Windurst for their kidnap and demise." Zenrox leaned in closer, chuckling.  "Then we're gonna use an experimental weapon we brought from the Far East against the Kingdom.  They'll think that Bastokan genius, Cid, invented it.  Oh, we've been planning for a while, girl.  And even you will be a pawn in our game."

"It's gonna be nice to use that fool Luu for something good after what he did to me!" Oggbix cackled.  "And you too!"

Lali shook her head.  "So you blurt out your whole stupid plan because you think I'll never get out, is that it?"

"Hey!  No lip from you!  Now if you'll excuse me, I have a base to continue establishing," the goblin woman retorted.

As the two goblins fade from view, Lali goes back to the bars.  No amount of pushing, pulling, or prying would budge them.

The goblins had stupidly forgotten to take her linkpearls, at least...

"Sari?"

"Lali, what's up?"

"I could use some help..."

-----

About an hour later, Celo-Ceran was up on Thorn's shoulder, fooling with some switches above the trap door.

"Doesn't wanna budge.. Grr..  There!"  With a final effort, the lever clicks and the bars rise out of the way.

"Am I glad to see you guys!"

"Why did you go off on your own, Lali?" Sari asked, a bit hurt at the Tarutaru's reckless effort.

"I know.." she replied, hanging her head, her ears drooping to the side.  "But that's not
important!  We have to do what we can to stop them!"

"There's so many parts to their plot.  We need to decide what to tackle first," Sir Thorn replied.  "If we free the Yagudo prisoners, they won't be able to use them as part of their plot."

"One of them, Luu, helped me a while back, I owe him," Lali interrupted.

"We need to prevent them from attacking Windurst too.  It's a beautiful place, and I heard about the damage it sustained during the Crystal War," Sari added.

"If they've got an experimental weapon, that could be really bad," Celo also insisted.  "Without tunnels on Quon, it's probably hidden away somewhere on the overworld near the Kingdom.  If it's the one I believe it is, I think I have something that can detect its energies."

"And there's Oggbix herself.  We need to shut her down before she can fortify this as her new base."

So many choices.

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 06:35:20 am »
2-7

There were a lot of choices for young Laliho.  She couldn't be everywhere at once.  More manpower could be helpful...

"Let's free those Yagudo first," Lali said after a moment's reflection.

"But we don't have any idea where they're being held," Sir Thornmaraux replied, peering around the corner checking for anyone.

"Let's go ask those goblins."

-----

"Yagudo prisoners?" Vickspox murmurred.  "Naw, haven't seen anything like that here."

"I think I heard one of them say something about taking food to the lowest level," Biggslox insisted.  "There's a ladder down to tha north."

"Thanks, guys," Laliho said cheerfully.

-----

How far down had they gone?  Daylight seemed like a distant memory.  The tunnels finally opened up to a large chamber.  A couple of glowing crystals lighted the room.  Behind an iron gate, several Yagudo were sitting, defeated. Wards around the prisoners prevented any spell use, and their weapons lay in a pile nearby.  Several armored goblins stood watch in front.

"We need a plan," Celo-Ceran whispered.  The intelligent Tarutaru noticed a side tunnel extending past the prison and pointed.  "Sari, Thorn, think you can distract them down that way?  That'll give Lali and I some time."

"Um..  what if one of the guards has the key?" Lali asked quietly.

Thorn responded by pointing at a small iron lever on the wall nearby.  "That should be the way to open it.  We'll try to get their attention, but it's likely a couple will stick to their posts."

"I think I can handle a couple," Lali replied, rubbing her knuckles.

"Be careful," whispered Lady Sari as Thorn and she crept down into view.

The goblins quickly spot the two and rush them.  The two intruders quickly dart into the side tunnel, leading all of the goblins save for one at the gate.  He was momentarily distracted however, and Lali quickly advanced and disposed of his threat.

However, before Celo can pull the lever, a figure dropped from above right on top of him.  The large Galka placed his palm squarely on the Tarutaru's head, lifting him off the ground while he flailed about.  The Galka was wearing black and gold exotic armor from head to toe and let out a hearty laugh.

"Got you this time, little one!"

"Let me GO you overgrown--"

"You got away last time," the Galka interrupted, "but I have you now."

Lali stepped forward, unintimidated.  "Hey, let him go!"

"Let him go?  Sure, I can do that!"  He reared his arm back and flung the male Taru halfway across the room.  He rolled along the ground and crashed into a wall, falling limp and unconscious.

"Celo!"  Lali looked back over at him, but quickly glared back at the intruder.  "So, another Asura Squad member eh?"

"The strongest one!"  The Galka produced a very large katana and unsheathed it menacingly.  "You can call me Riknar the Magnificent!  And a pitiful girl like you doesn't stand a chance against my techniques!"

Lali cracked her knuckles and adopted a fighting posture.  "Only one way to find out..."

"Blade of Ruby Dragon's Breath!" He rushed forward, his blade glowing red, and as he lowered it, a flame pillar erupted where Lali was standing.  Lali managed to evade the attack, but the flames just kiss her skin and leave a burn.

"Not bad, but you're not done yet!  Blade of Indra's Rolling Thunder!"  Sparks crackled around the tempered edge and he thrust it forward.  Lali guarded versus the attack, but the electric discharge rattle her momentarily.

"Blade of Consuming Umbral Shadow!"  The reflection of moonlight eminated from his blade and he leapt forward, unleashing a devastating attack on the Taru.  Laliho unfortunately didn't block this one, and she was sent flying backwards.

"How corny can you get?" she murmured as she pulled herself back to her feet.  "I've seen all of these before.  Giving them fancy names doesn't make them any stronger."

"Hold your tongue!  Hmph.  I'll teach you a lesson!"  Another attack.  "Blade of Cross Gemini Slash!  Blade of Stunning Shimmering Blossom!  Blade of Demonbane Radiance!"  After his flurry of attacks, he stopped in his tracks, confused.  Lali was missing!  Where did she go?

"What?  Where?  Did I obliterate her completely?"  He peered around, there was still no sign of her!

What the pompous Galka didn't know was in the middle of his spirited attack, he had gotten so caught up with unleashing his combo of attacks that she was able to duck underneath his legs and clamber up his back.  She was desperately hanging on to a stalactite above his head, waiting for the right moment.

"Hmm..."  Riknar scratched his chin.  He then removed his helmet, revealing his mostly bald head; the kabuto limited his peripheral vision, so removing it would help him look around more easily.  But it also left his head exposed...

And that's when Lali struck.

One Tarutaru flying elbow later, and the Galka fell to the ground.  She kicked the blade away from his grip.  She then heard the Goblins returning from the side tunnel.  She quickly rushed towards the lever on the wall, pulling it with all her might.  The iron gate around the Yagudo lifted and they quickly scrambled, gathering their weapons right before the goblins rushed the room.

Lali quickly went over to Celo, poking him.  He was alright, but still unconscious. She lifted him over her shoulder and quickly got him out of the fray.

-----

The battle finally ended, the Goblins defeated by the Yagudo.  Luu Yoku approached Lali and the still fallen Celo.

"Never thought I'd owe you anything.." he said smugly.

"We're going to need your help, Luu.  There's a plot that involves the Yagudo and the Federation and we need to stop it.  Will you help?"

"We'll do what we can.  But first we need to get some of our injured back to Oztroja..."

Lali nodded in agreement.  "Keep the goblins under wraps."

-----

"How is he?"

Lady Sari knelt over Celo-Ceran, her hands glowing faintly as she weaved her healing magic. 

Thorn stood nearby, arms crossed impatiently.

"He'll be okay.  Just needs to rest a little while..."

Lali sat nearby, watching out for any guards.

"Get any information out of Riknar?" she asked.

"Not really.  He's a stubborn one.  That jail will hold him for a little while at least."

Sari rose to her feet and joined the other two.  "So...  what do we do next?"

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 08:34:00 pm »
2-8

Sir Thorn moved over to the pair, shaking his head.  "We have to stop the attacks on the nations here, but we have no real info on where to look for their forces."

Lali nodded in agreement.  "We still need to secure this area too.  Once Luu comes back, we'll be better prepared to stop them."

Sari stepped forward and placed a hand on Thorn's shoulder.  "I'll stay here with Celo.  We can't just leave him unattended.  Why don't you two make sure there's no roving patrols around here?  Or, worse, more Asuran Squad members?"

Thorn hesitated to answer, but then pointed down the tunnel they had diverted the forces through.  "Alright.  Let's start by going that way.  Come on, Lali."

-----

Lali and Thorn walked into a large underground cavern chamber.  Crates and jars were stacked up against the walls.  Lali clambered up on top of one of the crates and raised the lid of another.  "It's full of...  powder of some sort."  She picked up a small handful, examining it.  Some of it lingered in the air and she sneezed, causing an echo to radiate from her position.

"Seems like this is a supply room for the base," Thorn observed.  "We should destroy these materials."

"Maybe some of this stuff is explosive," Laliho wondered aloud, her destructive streak starting to come out.

"It's possible.  But let's see what all is--hold it.  Don't..  move..."

Thorn slowly turned his head around, facing a figure that stood behind them.  The Mithra was dressed completely in dark blue clothing, with only her tail, her ears, and a small area around her eyes uncovered. The only part of her garb that varied was the shimmering badge near her waist.  Her hands were calmly resting on the twin katanas resting on her hips.

"Another Asuran eh?" Laliho spoke up.  When the figure didn't answer, Lali pressed on.  "What, no boastful declarations?  No witty comments?"

After more silence, Thorn turned to Lali.  "You won't get much conversation out of this one.  She doesn't talk."

"Oh, I'll make her talk..."

"No, she literally does not talk."

"What?"

"They call her The Shadow Blossom.  But no one knows her real name.  She's never been observed to speak, ever."

"I guess we won't be getting any answers from her," Lali said resignedly, then turned to face her.  "If it's a fight you want, then we ill, otherwise stay out of our way!"

The Mithra adopted a fighting posture, bringing out her twin blades, but didn't make any sudden movements at first.  Then, a second Mithra leapt from behind her.  Then a third...  Soon there were four total, the shadowy clones identical to the original.

"Oh, this isn't even fair!" Lali whined.

Thorn grabbed his blades and rushed a pair, but the evasive figures were able to evade every attack he made.  Meanwhile, the other two pursued Lali, who also struggled to land any blows.

"We need to find the real one!" Thorn cried out.

"How do you propose we do that?" Lali said stubbornly.  Then she had a flash of brilliance.  Dodging the onslaught of attacks aimed at her, she scurried over to the crate she had examined before and grasped big handfuls of the powder from earlier, slinging it into the air.  She then grabbed more and flung it towards the other pair of Mithra.  The fine powdery substance lingered in the air.

"What are you doing?" Thorn said bitterly.  "Are you trying to blind us?"

"Just trust me!"

After a short time, and a couple of sneezes from Lali, another sneeze rings out.  Except this time, it wasn't Lali or Thorn.  One of the Mithra Thorn is fighting had sneezed.  The real one!

"There she is!" Lali said, quickly rushing her at the same time as Thorn.  Despite her skills, she couldn't fend off two attacks at once, and after Thorn landed a direct hit through her shoulder, the clones vanished and she clutched her shoulder in pain.

"That's a good trick.  But I'm afraid we win."

"..."  She looked up, defeated, and trying to speak.

"What is it?"

"..castle.  Attack...  Kullen and Phaen."

"So two Asuran Squad members are already handling that.  We'll have to deal with that soon enough," Thorn replied.  The Elvaan then took out a couple of unlit Goblin Mines and set them at the cavern entrance.  "Let's not stick around for the fireworks!"

-----

"How's your head, Celo?" Lali asked quietly.

"I'll be okay.  Just shaken up a bit."

They had regrouped outside the base, in the windswept terrain of Meriphataud.  Luu and his group of Yagudo had gathered closeby.

"So, smoothskins, do we have some kind of plan?" he said impatiently.

"We still need to stop the attack on Windurst.  The last thing we need is turmoil on the continent," Laliho replied.  "But we've learned that their plot to attack San d'Oria and frame Bastok is in motion too.  We need to split our forces up."

"Let Lali and I look for the experimental weapon.  Sari, Celo, and the Yagudo will stay here and secure the base," Sir Thorn continued.

"Will you two be okay by yourselves?" Lady Sari questioned.

"Don't worry, we'll be fine."

-----

As Lali and Thorn sped on chocobos through Batallia Downs, a crackle comes from within Lali's ear.

"Were you looking for me, Lali?"

"Areya!" Lali said happily.  "Listen!  I need your help!"

"I'm..  a little busy at the moment," Areya replied.  The sound of metal clashing in the background could be heard.

"Well, okay..  look, if you had a big cannon and you were trying to get it close to San d'Oria, how would you get it there without being seen?"

After a pause, the linkpearl crackled again.  "Hmmm..  well you couldn't just ride it into Ronfaure directly.  The tunnels of King Ranperre's Tomb could hide it maybe.  Or if it was really big, maybe float it down the channel in Carpenters' Landing."

"Don't suppose you could find me any help, could you?"

"...I think I can arrange someth--" A loud crash interrupted her conversation.  "I'm going to have to stop there, Lali.  Interdimensional demons to kill!"

Lali reluctantly removed the linkpearl and rode up next to Sir Thorn.  "I've got a couple of places we can check.  Let's hurry!"
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 08:41:47 pm by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2012, 08:11:24 am »
2-9

"Hello?"

"Hey, it's Areya."

"I heard you were looking for me."

"From the sounds of it, Lali could use some backup."

"I suppose I owe her that much.  Where am I headed?"

-----

Laliho and Thornmaraux rode through Jugner, hurriedly trying to intercept the dangerous experimental weapon.  As they cross a log bridge along the path, Lali paused and pointed northward.

"West of the great lake, there's a tunnel that leads to King Ranperre's Tomb.  If they were going to sneak a weapon through there, they'd have to remove some obstructions, so it should be evident if they're going that route."

"So you want me to check that direction," Sir Thorn replied after a moment.  "And if they aren't there?"

"Go to San d'Oria and make sure we're not too late..."

"What will you do, Lali?" he murmurred, riding up to her and looking at her intently.

"The Elvaan float logs cut in the forest down the channel.  They have rafts that run between stops there.  It's possible the Asurans could float something right up to their front door.  So I'll check there."

"Alright.  Good luck!"

-----

Meanwhile, at a river bank in Carpenter's Landing, two figures were near a large cannon.  One, a Hume man, was struggling with a jacket bearing the sapphire hues and symbols of Bastok.  The other, a Tarutaru, had opened up a panel on the side of the machina and was adjusting and scrutenzing.  The cannon rested on a relatively large boat which was moored to the shore by several ropes.

"Are you finished yet?" the man said grumpily.

The brown-haired Tarutaru looked up from his work, adjusting his large spectacles.  "Kullen, genius takes time.  See, I'm rerouting the energy crystal array's feedback loop into a crossover reservoir and readjusting the stabilizers.  According to my calculations, this adjustment will boost the power of the machina by at least 20%."

"Remind me again, Phaen, why I have to tag along for this?" Kullen replied, irritated at having to wait...  again.

Phean grabbed a wrench and plunged into his work again.  "Be logical about it.  Bastok has Humes in charge.  We can't send goblins in with the cannon.  And of the Asuran Squad, there are only three Humes.  With the Twins busy on their current endeavor, that only leaves you."

Kullen kicked a nearby rock into the water.  "This blue is too bright.  I prefer my black cloaks.  And I haven't gotten a chance to fix my teeth either."

"Quit your whining.  There, I think I got it."  Phaen closed the panel and stepped to the control panel on the front of the machine. Buttons here, levers there.  Lights and gauges lit up across the board.  "Hmm..  Power level at 15200.  18.5% improvement."  He chuckled and smiled widely.  "I...  am... a genius!"  And he was always quick to remind everyone around him of it.

"So, all I have to do is hit the big red button and the cannon will fire?" Kullen asked, walking up behind him.

"Only if this meter is full!  Don't waste it on a partial charge.  Takes forever to build it back up...  Gotta make it count!"  He grumbled as he continues making readings.  "If I had designed this, it would work so much better.  But hey, you guys are the ones that pay me to do this stuff.  More money for my research."

The sound of chocobo steps approaching got Kullen's attention and he turns around to see someone emerging from the nearby tunnel.  "We have company."

On cue, Laliho rode up, spotting the large boat and dismounting some distance away.  As she walked up to the boat, she calls out.  "Aha!  So this is where you're at!"

Kullen looked around curiously and grinned.  "Just you?  Perfect.  The shadow is hungry for revenge after--"

"Another day, Kullen," Phaen interrupted.  "Get the boat started and put the plan into motion."

"But Phaen--"

"I'll take care of this one and catch up to you later.  Start the cannon charging so it'll be ready when you land!"

Kullen simply nodded and walked over to the controls for the boat, causing it to pull away from the shore and start up the river.  Phaen then took a couple of steps towards Lali and fetched a small machine.  It appeared to be a remote control of some kind.  Much like the Animators from the East.

"You don't really look like the fighting type," Lali said calmly, noting the Asura Squad badge on his loose fitting clothing.

"A good observation," the male Tarutaru replied, keeping a safe distance from her.  "Don't take it personally.  I'm just paid to do my job.  Our boss's plan has maybe a 10% chance of succeeding.  But I get my gil either way."

"So why not just let me go and say I beat you up?" Lali suggested.

"I suppose I could.  But why waste a perfect opportunity to test out REGAL?"

"REGAL?"  Lali tilted her head to the side in confusion.

Phaen pressed a button on his controls, causing a large arcanic doll to drop its invisibility from nearby.  It appeared similar to dolls she had seen in Delkfutt's, except much much larger, towering 10 yalms over her head.  Blue energy flowed through intricate markings on its golden body, and a clear crystalline eye shimmered on its head.  "Robotically Engineered Gyroscopic Automaton Liason, or R.E.G.A.L., my little..  project." 

The giant machine scooped Phaen up in his giant hand and carried him over towards the tunnel entrance.  "He's my creation, and you're a perfect test subject.  But I stipulate that the odds of you vanquishing it are..  400 to 1."

As the giant lumbered over her, Laliho was content to agree.  Still, she didn't back down.

The giant mech raised its fist and slammed it down on the Tarutaru, who nimbly dodged out of the way.  "He's big..  but at least he's slow," Lali grumbled to himself as she shirked off its next few assaults.

"Accuracy's a little low.  Activating Target Marker!  Deploy mini thrusters!" Phaen cried out, pressing some more buttons.  Several more panels opened up on the limbs and body, and the creation's speed increased.  Lali was unable to evade the next assault and was clutched by the thing's metallic hand.  Its limbs rotated then flung her through the air, causing her to splash into the river near the shore.

As Phaen chuckled to himself, Laliho dragged herself back up to the store, dripping wet.  She grabbed a small pugil that had latched onto one of her ears and yanked it off, tossing it back into the water.

"Ha, see?  Science beats your precious martial arts!"  The automaton then opened up its left arm, showing a small cannon.  "Use Storm Cannon!"  A blast of electricity shot out, its energy surging through the soaking wet Lali and causing her to fall down to a knee.

"I.. won't lose," the monk said breathily.  She then launched an assault on its legs, but her cesti were unable to even make a dent in its armor.  This assault was answered by another fling through the air, this time landing against a cliff.  She picked herself off of the ground again.

"I can do this all day.  It's fun!" Phaen practically cackled from his safe spot.  He then spotted the orb of chi energy Lali had launched straight at him, and narrowly dodged out of the way.  "Hey!  None of that, now!"  The mecha grabbed the Taru again, clasping her securely in its grip.  "I could crush you like a bug!  But I'm going to toy with you a while longer first."

Phaen was too busy gloating to notice that someone had walked up behind him.  The Hume woman wore a short black dress that also doubled as a tunic, with a lycopodium flower in her brown hair, and cobalt and emerald blades at her sides.  She stood there a few moments, watching Lali struggle, before swiftly reaching down and plucking the device out of his hands.

"Hey!  Wha?  Who are you!?"

His query was met with a swift kick, causing him to roll down the hill and landing against a tree nearby.

"Picking on Laliho?  Throwing her into the water?  Torturing her?"  She leaned down closer to the genius and grinned slyly.  "That's MY job."

She then took the controls and pushed some different buttons.  The giant machina first spun around in circles, then rocketed several feet in the air.  "You really should label these," the guest complained, finally finding a button that released Lali.

"Don't you dare hurt my REGAL!" Phaen said angrily, attempting to reach for the controls.

Getting an idea, the woman worked the controls, causing the machine to grab Phaen, then flung him into the lake as well.  She then went over to her companion.

Laliho, still a bit dazed, walked up to the woman, recognizing her.  "Lunet!"

"Good thing I came along when I did!  Getting into trouble as usual!"

"Yeah...  Thanks."  Lali blushed and dragged a foot across the ground, then her eyes widened.  "The cannon!  I gotta go stop it!"

"Oh?  Well, go on then.  We'll catch up later."  Lali quickly ran to her chocobo and rode off, trying to reach San d'Oria in time...

Meanwhile, Lunetmoon gazed at REGAL and the controls.  Maybe she could claim it for her own?

-----

Laliho hurriedly rushed through North San d'Oria, going to the shutters that led out to the North Dock of Carpenter's Landing.  She expected carnage and devastation, but...  everything seemed normal.  Had she beat the cannon there?

Seeing Sir Thorn waiting for her, she quickly rushed up.  "The cannon!  It's coming up the river!"

Thornmaraux chucked and shook his head.  "I wouldn't worry about that."

"What?"

"Well, it was experimental, after all.  And if I know Phaen, he probably pushed the limits of its power.  But doing that makes it unstable.  It exploded on the boat on its way here while charging."

"So..  it's at the bottom of the river?"

"Yeah.  No sign of Kullen or Phaen though.  They're bungling, but I doubt they'd die that easily though."

"Well, if the danger has passed here, we need to get back to Mindartia!" Laliho chimed in.

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2012, 09:56:09 pm »
2-10

A couple of days had passed since the confrontation near San d'Oria.  Everyone had gotten some much needed rest.  Lali and Thorn had traveled back over the Quon continent and back to the entrance to the entrance to Ghoyu's Reverie.  The three bungling goblins had left already.

As they approached the first large chamber, Lali saw an additional familiar face among the personnel gathered there.  A female Tarutaru with blonde and red hair, wearing carapace armor and sporting a large trident.

"Paku!"

Pakurara turned around and grinned widely.  "Lali!  You finally made it back!"

The two pint-sized heroes hugged tightly.

"Glad you could make it!" Lali said contently.

"Yeah, it took me a while.  Radille and Sharlene are somewhere around here too."

The mention of the adventuring companions recruited by Areya and Lunetmoon made Laliho a bit more content.

"Anyone else?"

"Still no sign of Areya."

Which wasn't surprising.

Lady Sarimanthetia and Celo-Ceran walked over, and Lali waved. "So, where are we now?"

Celo unfurled a map and places it over a flattened rock nearby, near a flickering lantern.  "We've secured most of the tunnels.  Thanks to the Yagudo we have enough manpower to keep the goblins at bay.  But there's a couple of problems."  He pointed to a thick solid line on one of the maps.  "We believe the heart of the base, where Oggbix is hiding, is behind this reinforced barrier.  But we can't find a way to open it!"

"There's no place for a key?"

"Doesn't seem like it."

"The other matter..." Lady Sari spoke up, "..is the nature on the attack on Windurst.  We've heard distant explosions underground, but we can't find a way to get any further south.  There may be another entrance above ground."

Celo nodded.  "Luu Yoku is looking for another entrance."

As if on cue, Luu walked into the chamber.  "And I have found one.  There's another entrance to Ghoyu's in Tahrongi, near the plains of Saruta.  I already dispatched a couple of goblins watching the entrance, but I have yet to investigate the sounds coming from further in."

Lali walked up to the Yagudo and nodded.  "I'll go with you.  Windurst is my home, I'm not going to let someone from across the ocean ruin it!  Thorn, Sari, Celo, Paku, and everyone else, keep looking for a way past that wall."

-----

The ground shook violently as Luu and Lali walked through the gloomy tunnels.  It is evident this series of tunnels is relatively fresh.

"What on Vana'diel are they doing down here?" Luu questioned idly.  "Almost sounds like a turret from years ago."

"Digging tunnels by explosives?"  Well, it did sound like something a Goblin would do.  But not a sane one.

The narrow tunnel opened up into a larger chamber.  There, on the other side, a single form is looking through a bag.  It pulls out a small bowl of rice pudding and starts eating it greedily.

As Lali approached, the figure looked up.

"What on earth is that?" Luu questioned.

The narrow ears, the bags on its hips, its ratlike snout, its noteworthy claws, and its large eyes...

"It's a Qiqirn!" Lali exclaimed.

"Yooo are right.  I Twilight Bomber Zhuuzhuuroon!  Plant bombs at twilight!" the figure said proudly.  He then flashed the familiar Asuran badge.  "They give me shiny!  They give me clink-clink!  Sooooo shiny!"

"Oh brother...  So you're the one digging the hole to Windurst?"

"Plant mines all over Windurst from below!  City go boooooom!"

Luu carefully drew out his great katana, holding it menacingly in front of the Eastern beastman.  "We can't allow you to do that.  If anyone's going to cause Windurst to fall, it's the Yagudo, not some..  ratman!"

Zhuuzhuuroon reached into his bag and pulled out a mine, already lit.  "Catch me first!"  He dropped the lit mine and ran some distance away.  Lali and Luu took cover as it exploded, leaving a crater and shaking the entire chamber.

"Where'd he go?" Lali said after the dust cleared.  Then she spotted movement down a side tunnel.  "There!"

The tunnel led to another large chamber.  Zhuuzhuuroon was waiting confidently at the other side.

"Yoooo not strong enough to survive Zhuuzhuuroon!"

As Lali started chasing him again, he began dropping a steady stream of the incendiaries.  Lali kept dodging the large explosions, determined to catch the firebug.  It seemed like a hopeless effort.  Lali paused to catch her breath.  "How many..  bombs are in..  that thing?"

The Qiqirn pointed at it and chuckled.  "Yooo like?  Much bigger than Goblin Groond Greedalox bag!"

As Lali took a couple of steps back, she heard cracking from beneath her feet.  The ground in the center of the room was getting loose.  The craters around the outside of the room had severely compromised the integrity of the floor!

"Luu!  Block the exit out of here.  I have an idea!"

Lali started the chase again, but the next time he drops a lite bomb, Lali..  picked it up!  She then tossed it with all her might in the path he was taking, causing him to divert towards the middle of the room.

"Yooo sneaky Taroo--"

His taunt was interrupted as the ground collapsed around him, dropping him several feet to a chamber below.  He seemed to have sprained his ankle in the fall.

"Owww..  Mean Taroo!"

"Luu..  go grab his bomb bag.  He won't give us any trouble without that."

-----

"So the attack is stopped?" Pakurara asked.

"Yeah.  And these mines might let us go around the barrier!  It'll still take some time though," Lali replied.

Sari and Thorn approached the pair of Tarutaru with a look of urgency on their faces.

"We have a situation," Thorn said earnestly.

"What's wrong?"

"Another plot by the Asurans.  This one's very dire," Sari explained.  "We had wondered where the Twins had been this entire time.  We had just assumed they were with Oggbix...  But they're in Jeuno.  Trying to assassinate someone..  Coconut?  Kumquat?"

"Duke Kam'lanaut?" Lali corrected.

"The Duke of Jeuno," Thorn confirmed.  "If those two succeed, there could be disastrous consequences!  We're about to leave for the Duchy.  Coming with us, Lali?"

Lali raised any eyebrow.

"Well, I hear so much about these 'Twins', I suppose it's time to meet the last two Asurans."

-----

Oggbix looked over the box she had gotten from across the seas.

"Soon, soon, they'll all pay!" she cackled.

Zenrox and Meilanus walked up behind her.

"Sister, it's time to abandon this mission," Zenrox murmured.  "It seems fate is not on our side in this endeavor."

"What?  No!  I won't give up yet!"

"Look at the facts, Oggbix," Meilanus stated simply, pushing some of her hair out of her face.  "Riknar and The Shadow Blossom are captured.  Kullen and Phaen seem to be missing.  Even Zhuuzhuuroon hasn't reported in!  And the Twins haven't had any luck in their mission yet.  We need to cut our losses and retreat."

"Your little band of, of...  MISCREANTS aren't worthy of my cause!" Oggbix angrily protested.  "I still have this base, and a little surprise for that Tarutaru that drove me to this!"

"Oggbix, our superior is not happy with your performance," Zenrox calmly stated.  "There will be a price to pay when all this is said and done."

Meilanus walked off, lost in thought.  Perhaps there was still time to get out of this situation in one piece.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 10:10:42 pm by Areya »

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2012, 03:22:39 pm »
2-11

A large crowd was gathered along the bridge in Lower Jeuno, down the stairs outside the Merry Minstrel, gawking and staring in amazement around a pair of street performers.  One was a dark haired man, dressed in brilliant orange raiments, crooning out an allegro chanty and strumming the strings of a large harp.  Nearby was a brunette woman, her long hair secured in a long ponytail, donned in an exotic outfit of the same color.  She was dancing and whirling ferociously, ceremonial blades flashing in her primal performance.  It was evident that they were related, based on how similar their appearances were.  Many in the audience were tossing gil into a small pile nearby.

Meanwhile, a couple of floor above the spectacle, Laliho sat on the edge, watching the pair perform.  Sarimanthetia and Thornmaraux were closeby.

"So those two are the Twins?" Lali asked just loud enough to be heard over the performance.

"Asina and Araquin Loshinof," Sir Thorn replied.  "Don't let them fool you, they're highly trained assassins.  I know some of the Asura Squad seem inept, but these two are the real deal."

"You never find them apart," Sari continued.  "They coordinate their attacks well.  Don't even think about facing them alone, Lali.  We'll go with you."

-----

Their performance over, the two performers were sitting at a table outside, hungrily consuming some mithkabobs.

"At least the people here tip well," Araquin said, his mouth half full of food.

"But we still haven't finished our mission," Asina responded.  "We've been here for days searching for Duke Kam'lanaut.  And we can't find him anywhere!"

They had searched his chambers, looking for signs of activity.  They had talked to servants, trying to learn more about him.  They had even repeatedly attempted to gain an audience under the guise of performing for him, but the guards refused them every single time.

"For someone that's so powerful, he sure doesn't seem to be around much," she lamented.

"Yeah..  I wouldn't be half surprised if anything in the Duchy would even change if we killed him.  The ordinary people seem out of touch with him."

Asina then noticed a Tarutaru girl walking up to their table.  She quickly flashed her brother a gaze then forced a smile.  "Oh, another fan?  Want an autograph?"

"Not exactly...  So you two are the Twins?" Lali answered.

Their expression instantly changed as realization washed over them.

"Wait, so you're the one Oggbix told us about?" Araquin said smugly.  "Pretty confident if you're walking right up to us."  He then reached into a pocket and showed his badge.

"Saving us some time?  We can do this here and now if you want, if you don't mind losing in front of a crowd," Asina taunted.

"I was thinking outside.  Rolanberry Fields."

"And I'm assuming those Phoenixguard are coming too?" Araquin added, motioning towards Thorn and Sari, who were watching from a distance.

"Three versus two doesn't seem very fair," his sister commented.  "But it still won't do you any good."

-----

The hills of Rolanberry surrounded the combatants.  Ruins of walls from another era were scattered around, speaking of battles from long ago.  Araquin had stashed away his harp, instead brandishing a pair of sapphire daggers.  Asina had also changed weaponry, now brandishing dual blue scimitars.  Across from the siblings, Thorn, Sari, and Lali stood, ready for the battle.

"Taru first," Araquin murmurred.

The two suddenly rushed towards Lali.  Araquin began a songlike chant as they did so and their weapons began moving.  Lali frantically tried to avoid all the strikes, but their coordinated attacks were too much.  As she would dodge one of her strikes, one of his would cut her off.  Araquin finally stopped singing with a loud shout and their assault stopped, Lali having sustained several cuts.

Sari quickly rushed over to Lali, trying to mend her wounds in a hurry.  She then focused magical energy over Araquin, trying to surround him with a veil of silence, but he shook off the spell.

"Her next," Asina murmurred.

The next attack started towards her.  Sari managed to ward off most of the attacks, and Thorn attempted to attack them from behind, but his attacks were also parried by their expert skill.  A blade hit home right through Thorn's shoulder, causing him to fall back in pain, crippled.

"This is too easy," Araquin boasted.

"To think you'd be a match for us," Asina agreed.

As Lali and Sari went over to Thorn to help him, Sari whispered.  "We have to split them up!"

And with that, Lali got an idea.

Laliho walked over to the pair, lowering her cesti and looking defeated.  "Wow, you two are really good.  Both in battle and performing."

Araquin raised an eyebrow, but nodded.

"But, you know..  The crowds aren't really there to listen to you.  They're there to see her dancing."

"Lali, what are you--" Sari started to say.

"What are you talking about?" Araquin protested, walking closer.  "They love my music too!"

"Troupe Briloth has great dancers, and she's as good as they are.  If not better."  Lali walked closer to Asina and nods.  "She could perform on her own.  She doesn't need you."

Asina blinked, then smiled.  "Well, she isn't wrong, brother."

Araquin jerked his head towards her and frowned.  "What are you talking about, Asina?"

"I don't mean any disrespect, Araquin," Lali said, turning to him.  "Your singing and playing are good too.  But your fans are distracted from that by her.  They don't appreciate you as much."

It was Asina's turn to butt in.  "Hey, we're a team!  We each have our part."

"There's one thing I don't get, either.  You're such good performers, why are you even with the Asura Squad?"  Lali asked.

"You think being a street performer pays the bills?" Araquin said crossly.  "Our leader pays us well to do what we do."

Asina walked over to him and shook her head. "It was always about the money with you.  I didn't want to train as an assassin!"

"I didn't hear you complain about the last sack of coins we earned!"

"And what's wrong with enjoying the reward for the deeds we do, anyways?"

"And instead of saving for new blades you spent it on clothes!"

"Better than stuffing my face with food like you do!"

As the two began to argue, Sari and Thorn could scarcely believe it.

"Don't think I didn't hear that sour note you played earlier, brother!"

"What about that spin?  You almost fell flat on your face!"

They were so into their quarrel, they didn't see the two Phoenixguard members walking up to disarm them...

-----

Meanwhile, back in the tunnels of Ghoyu's Reverie, a trio of adventurers had gathered around the protected wall to the inner sanctum of Oggbix's base.

"I don't think this is a good idea," the dark-haired Elvaan woman murmured, standing at a distance.

"You never think anything is a good idea, Radille," the Tarutaru woman said cheerily.  She had the bag of Qiqirn Mines from Zhuuzhuuroon, and had taken out a large number of them, stacking them in a pile in the middle of the wall.

"We should probably at least wait for the others to return, Pakurara," the short-haired Hume companion chimed in, sitting on a nearby stone.

"Nonsense, Sharlene!" Paku replied.  "We'll just blow a hole through the wall and storm in!"

"And probably destroy half the tunnel in the process," Radille sullenly added.

"Oh, fiiiiine."  She stopped her machinations and grabbed the sack.  "I'll leave these here just in case though."

-----

The small squad of goblins arrived in the large room.  Oggbix and Zenrox were there, looking over boxes of supplies.  Meilanus stood on the other side of the room, still contemplating what to do.

"We've all but lost the base now," the goblin captain reported.  "This the only section left."

"The tunnel to the surface has been completed," Zenrox said flatly.  "We can use that to flee.  It's a section the Federation doesn't regularly explore.  We'll have time to regroup."

"I told you, I'm not running!" said Oggbix.  "Not when my new pet has just arrived!  We'll go up to the surface and fight them there if we have to!"

"Enough of this, sister.  We'll have our fight another day.  Stay if you want.  I'm leaving."

As Zenrox left, Meilanus walked over.  "I quit too.  This endeavor isn't worth the price you're paying."

"Going to turn against me already?" Oggbix said angrily.  "You're not going anywhere."

"You're crazy to keep fighting.  As far as I know, the rest of the Asura Squad are captured or missing.  I have to report back to my leader."

As the Elvaan turned to walk away, she found her way blocked by the goblins, their weapons pointed at her.

"No, you listen to me.  You're going to go pretend to ally with those wretched Phoenix people, and you're gonna bring them into a trap set by me.  And if you don't, my associates here are going to scar that pretty little face of yours, dearie!"

"I don't think so!" Meilanus cried out.  She started charging her arctic energies and tried to fight her way out.  While the first couple of goblins got frozen solid, she couldn't fight off an entire squad of them, and soon was face down on the rocky ground of the chamber.

"Let's try that again.  Do as I say!"

Meilanus reluctantly agreed.

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2012, 11:50:27 pm »
2-12

The prison deep within the bowels of Ghoyu's Reverie were starting to get rather crowded.  As the gate slammed, the Twins were the latest addition to the rabble within.

"Still no sign of Phaen and Kullen," Celo murmured as he looked over the five members that now resided within.

"Don't think this is over!  Not by a long shot!" Riknar said angrily.  But with his trusty blade secured in the corner, he wasn't about to overpower the Yagudo that stood guard nearby.

"Calm down, Galka," Araquin said quietly, watching as his blades and instrument were added to the pile of weapons.

"There will be a time for revenge later," Asina added.  "For now we have to wait."

Sir Thorn was in the corner, having removed his talar as Lady Sari was tending to the blade wounds he had suffered hours ago.

"Have we made any progress on finding a way into the base, Celo?" Thorn queried.

"Not yet.  We thought about blowing the door with mines, but we're not sure how stable the tunnels are.  It could cause a cave-in."

Suddenly, Pakurara came running into the chamber.  "Hey!  We've got someone that surrendered!  They asked to speak to you..."

-----

"Just like that?" Lali questioning, her tone full of doubt.

Meilanus was standing in front of the group, her gaze fixated on the floor in front of her feet.

"I can't work for that crazy goblin any more.  The money's not worth it!  She's insane!"

"So what exactly are you offering us?" Celo spoke up, taking a step towards her.

"The main entrance is locked and secured, as I'm sure you know.  But there's a second entrance, known only to a select few.  If you spare me, I'll give you the key that opens the secret passage."

"You nearly killed us.  You sell your services for money!" Lali exclaimed, lifting a fist in disbelief.  "How do we know you won't just turn on us?"

"I know how Lali feels," Sari replied, walking in front of the Taru and waving a hand dismissively.  "It could be a trap.  But we don't really have a choice in the matter."

"We can't just let her go either," Sharlene commented.  She and Radille were some distance away from the rest of the group.  "We should lock her up too, just in case."

"But suppose the key actually works and allows us further in, she could be useful as a guide," Radille refuted.

"When I left, Oggbix was retreating through a tunnel up to the surface.  I have no idea where it leads to.  But you better hurry if you want to catch her!" said Meilanus.

Lali thought for a moment, then nodded.  "Radille, Shar, take Meilanus to where the Yagudo are resting.  They'll keep an eye on her.  Paku, Thorn, Celo, Sari, Luu, and myself, we'll go to this secret passage.  Meilanus, you'll have to tell us where it is.  And of course, hand us the key..."

-----

"I still can't believe it!"

Phaen was fuming, stomping down into the tunnels with KLullen walking behind.

"You've been complaining about the theft of your precious project the entire trip.  Give it a rest.  Suffering is inevitable," Kullen said irritatedly.

"I'm just glad the second design is functional.  That Hume girl is gonna PAY if I find her ag--"  Phaen quickly stopped and pointed ahead.

Radille and Sharlene walked by with Meilanus in tow.

"Kullen.  Think you can use some of your magic to shroud the area so we can rescue her?"

The dark Hume nodded and started summoning his ethereal miasma.  It spread like smoke through the tunnel, quickly blinding the two warrior maidens.  As they coughed and sputtered, Meilanus felt herself yanked into a corner.  When the area was cleared, she was long gone.

"Phaen, Kullen, there you are!  I heard you were dealt with, didn't know if you'd make it back!"

"So, we have a plan, Mei?"

"I do.  But first we need to get the others."

-----

The prison area was quiet.  Too quiet.  The pair of Yagudos standing guard were dozing lightly, even as the occupants were sitting around bored.

And they never saw the icy conjurations aimed straight at their heads.

Soon enough, they were incapacitated on the floor, and Meilanus walked over towards the gate lever, pulling it tightly and freeing the rest of the Asura.

"Gather your weapons," she ordered.  "Then follow me.."

-----

The heroes had gathered at the spot marked on the map.  Lali peered around, finally seeing a small gap in the wall and jammed the small cermet key into the opening.  The entire wall spun around, revealing a tunnel behind.

Beyond the tunnel, the group found what was left of the heart of the base.  Most of it had been packed up by the retreating goblins.  A faint light came from one of the tunnels beyond.

"I guess she was right.  We better hurry before they get away!"

After their eyes adjusted to the brightness again, the spectacle of the surface was a sight.  Cacti were growing everywhere, and pieces of shattered fortifications were strewn all over the terrain.

"What is this place?" Lady Sari asked, peering around.

"Looks like it's the remains of Karugo-Narugo," Lali said, walking over to one of the larger pieces of stone.  "This place hasn't been accessible for years."

"Footprints going through that canyon," Sir Thorn noted, pointing a short distance away.

But as the group began to leave the area, they were startled by a voice from behind.

"Hold it right there!"

As the group of six turned around turned around, they were met by eight individuals, led by Meilanus.

"We've still got a score to settle!  And it's going to happen right here!"

"I knew you couldn't be trusted!" Lali blurted out.

"You got lucky before!" Riknar said as he removed his great katana from its sheath.

"Wait for us!"  Radille and Sharlene ran up from behind.  "They managed to get away from us using some sort of smoke trick."

"I don't see that meddling Hume that stole my R.E.G.A.L., such a shame," Phaen said calmly, pulling out a beacon and slamming down upon it.  A portal opened up nearby, and a large machina, almost identical to the one he had before, except for a red and silver paintjob, materialized.  "Time for REGAL Mk II to make its debut!"

"Oh man, we have to fight THAT too?" Pakurara exclaimed.  "Not even fair!"

"That thing is a bit too dangerous to use around us, Phaen," Araquin complained.  "You'll end up hitting us too..."

"Quiet, you!"

Before anything else could be said though, the ground began to shake, and from the tunnel behind emerged..  Phaen's original creation, with Lunetmoon walking behind.  "Care to pick on someone your own size?" she said with a sly grin.

Sari quickly turned to Lali and motioned towards the trail.  "Hurry!  Go find Oggbix!  We'll take care of them."

"But I--"

"No time to argue!  Don't worry.  We're not about to lose.  It's 8 on 8 after all!"

Lali took a look back and then nodded.  "Good luck!" she said as she ran off.

"You'll pay for stealing my baby!" Phaen said angrily, pointing at Lunetmoon.

"Talk, talk, talk.  A good mech duel will decide things!" she shouted back.

Asina motioned angrily at Lady Sari.  "I think we have unfinished business.  Araquin and I versus you and your precious Thorn!"

"That suits us just fine..." Thorn said, bringing out his swords.

"Care to taste my blade, Taru!?  I'm the greatest blademaster in the land!" Riknar taunted towards Celo-Ceran.  However, Radille calmly walked in front of him and took up a defensive posture.  "I think it's time someone learned some humility..."

As the Shadow Blossom stepped forward, Luu motioned towards her.  "A display of Eastern fighting.  This should be interesting."

Meilanus began swirling her icy energies around her.  "Who wants to dance with me?"  Celo stepped forward and nodded.  "I'm tired of being left out of the battles.  It's time for me to shine."

"Yoooo won't get Zhuuzhuuroon this time!"  He had recovered his bag of mines and had palmed one, ready to wield it.  Sharlene advanced on the Qiqirn.  "The little pyro is mine."

"Guess that leaves me with a cute little girl for leftovers," Kullen said sinisterly, looking towards Pakurara.  "The darkness will consume your soul."

"You're...  kinda creepy," she replied, but brandished her trident.  "But I'm not afraid!"

The grand melee was about to begin!

-----

"It's almost time."

Oggbix stood at the top of the remains of the Spiritwell, once the center of the Federation's defenses.  Beside her was a large container.

She turned to see a single figure advancing towards her.

"There you are.  Little troublemaker!"

"There's nowhere left for you to run, Oggbix!" Lali declared.

"Who said anything about running?  I have you right where I want you!  I still haven't forgiven you for taking out my Fluffy..  Well, I've got a new pet for you..."  She motioned towards the etherally sealed box.  "Sprinkles is just dying to meet you.  And take care of you..  permanently."

With a wave of her staff, the box flew open, and the being inside was unleashed...

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2012, 03:26:19 pm »
2-13

"You made a mistake asking for a rematch," Araquin taunted as Asina and he adopted fighting stances.

"You won't be distracting us this time," she added, brandishing her blades.

The two fiery clad siblings took up their fighting postures and started advancing towards the pair of Sarimanthetia and Thornmaraux.  They launched into their signature combo attack, eventually landing a hit on Thorn's shoulder.

As Thorn reeled backwards, Sari stood between him and the twins.  She turned her head but kept her eyes on the pair.

"The only way for us to defeat them is to do our own combined attack," she whispered just audible to him.  Thorn nodded back at her.

As the Twins began to attack again, Sari started chanting.  Right before their final flourish, she unleashed a stunning blast towards Asina.  Thorn then took the offensive, focusing power onto his blade before unleashing it in a bright burst of saffron-colored energy.  Sari followed with a skill of her own, taking to the air on ethereal wings and unleashing a blast of holy energy.  The combined chain of skills were unleashed into an explosion of light.  Sari then focused a fiery explosion on the carnage, while Thorn unleashed a quick burst of light magic, which both fed on the unleashed energy.

Araquin staggered backwards, momentarily overwhelmed by the sheer force of the attack.  Meanwhile Asina's knees buckled slightly.  "Ow..."

"Now, separate them!" Thorn called out as he rushed Araquin and dragged him away from his sister.

Once apart, the solitary twins stood no match.

-----

The ground shuddered as the giant machinas clashed in battle.  To avoid interfering with the other melees going on, they had moved further south to another clearing.

"Don't think for a moment I haven't forgotten what you did!" Phaen taunted from a distance.  "As much as I hate to harm my creation, I won't lose."

REGAL Mk II unleashed a blast of energy from its arm cannon, which its predecessor narrowly avoided.  The blast landed in a nearby rocky bluff, causing rocks to come crashing down.

Undeterred, Lunet stood her ground, countering with a spinning arm attack.

"Talk talk talk.  You're good at talking."

"And you cheated last time.  I've calculated the odds that you can win this match.  They're less than 20%."

His mech coalesced energy into its fist and unleashed it straight into the other's chest, causing it to reel backwards with damage.

She countered with a lightning blast to the head, causing it to malfunction temporarily.

"That's it.  I didn't wanna use my trump card but..."  He pushed a large red button on his controls and the chest of his giant automaton opened up, revealing a massively large laser cannon.  "Target locked on...  Charging up H.E.L.M.!  My Hyper Eliminator Laser Module will dissolve your mech into particles!"

Lunet blinked a couple of times and smirked.  "So you basically sat there and told me exactly what is going to happen?"

"You can't dodge it.  You can't halt it.  And you can't survive it."  Phaen's eyes glowed with a smug look.  "I've calculated every possibility!"

As the energywell began to increase in brightness, Lunet pondered his words...

...and then thrust the fist of her machina straight into the chest, remembering one final switch on the controls.

"Ha, you can't stop it that way!" he chimed in.

"Can't I?"  She then took the safety off the controls and cranked the power output level to 150%.

"Wait, what are you--"

"Well if I can't lose, I'll make sure you can't win."

The temperature in REGAL was beginning to rise to dangerous levels, and an internal meltdown was imminent.

"What?  You can't be serious!?"

Just before his mighty laser was to be unleashed, her mech exploded in a colossal fireball.  The energy blast overloaded his own, causing his robot to be utterly destroyed as well.  The entire area shook violently and parts were scattered to the winds.

All of the color in Phaen's face drained as he fell to a knee.  "Noooooo!  My creations!  All my work!"

Lunet calmly walked over to him and lifted him off the ground.  "Beat up my friends?  I think I know a locked box with your name on it.."

He gulped loudly.

-----

The clash of blades rang out as Riknar and Radille dueled on the edge of a rocky cliff.

"Gwahaha!  Do you really think you can beat me!?"

Radille calmly dodged and parried his attacks.

"You spend too much energy on taunts and flairs."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

She ran her uchigatana calmly along the ground in front of her.  "The key is to remain focused, calm.  If you let raw emotion consume your blade, you cannot defeat me."

"Ha!  I'll show you my strength.  Blade of Winter's Chill!"  Radille calmly sidestepped his icy assault.

"See?  All that wasted effort."

"Hrrr!"  He roared and raised his blade again.  "Blade of Ruby Dragon's Flame!"

Before he could unleash his attack, Radille bashed him squarely in the head with the flat end of her blade.

"And the choice of your skills is so random.  You aren't using them just to be showy."

His temper flaring, he launched another assault.  Radille stood her ground, and then before he swung his blade, she started her attack, swinging her blade backwards and covering him with a golden etheral seal before leaping and completing the attack.

Riknar fell to the ground after a single strike.

"Strength is nothing without technique," she mused to herself.

-----

Meilanus lifted her staff and pointed it at Celo-Ceran.

"I know you're more the intel expert than a fighter, Celo.  Are you sure you want to pick a fight with me?"

Celo raised magical barriers around himself and nodded.  "I still have some tricks."

Snowflakes began to spin around her form as she began her first spell.  "Have it your way." 

The first blizzard seemed to take a lot out of him.  He didn't run, but began charging a powerful spell.

"If you're thinking about a fire spell, you should know I've taken precautions against that!"

With that she launched another spell his way, encasing him in a frigid block of ice, then shattering it.  It seemed to hurt him significantly, but he did not cease casting.

"One more spell and I think you're finished, Celo!"  She began chanting again, but before she could finish, something above her caught her eye.  A rift in time and space opened up and a colossal projectile flew through, crashing on top of her and exploding.

His Comet spell finished, Celo fell backwards, his chest heaving.  Such a grand spell took a lot out of him.  But Meilanus lay crumpled on the ground nearby, unconscious.

-----

"Stay still!" Sharlene cried out as Zhuuzhuuroon continued running from her.  How was she supposed to finish him if he just continued to run and leave mines in his wake?

"Yoooo think me a fooool?" the Qiqirn responded, continuing to keep his distance.

"You can't..  run forever, you know."

"Neither can yoooo."

She paused for a moment to catch her breath.  They were on a hillside, with a large rock on their right side.  He was a bit higher than her, and he decided to take advantage of the fact.  He grabbed a particularly large bomb out of his bag and lit it.  "This one cost many clink-clink!"  With that, he lobbed it straight at her.

Sharlene couldn't dodge it in time, so she summoned all her strength and grabbed it, flinging it into the air past the Qiqirn.  It landed near the rock cliff and exploded after a few moments.  The concussion jarred several large stones loose from the cliff, causing a landslide to overwhelm the Qiqirn.

"Noooo!"

Sharlene quickly dove to the side to avoid being swamped herself.

"Phew..  that was close!"

-----

The Shadow Blossom had used her image attack, causing Luu to be surrounded by four Mithras.

"Impressive, a technique from the East.  I had heard about such things."

He was having some mild trouble fending off the attacks from all sides, and had suffered some wounds.

"But all I have to do is find the real one, yes?"  He crouched in a defensive position.  "In that case, let me show you an Eastern technique of my own!  Shibaraku!"

He leapt into the air and unleashed a devastating cyclone spin kick, hitting all targets in his range.  Except, his attack passed right through three of the ninjas.  However, it connected firmly with the real Shadow Blossom, sending her flying several feet away.

Before she can conjure up more images, his blade was at her throat.

"No need for that.  Admit defeat, honorable foe."

She reluctantly nodded and put her katana away.

-----

Kullen lamented having to fight out in the accursed daylight.  Thankfully he wasn't really a vampyr.  And, he could still shroud the area around him in a dark mist.

"Your fate will be to succumb to the darkness," he hissed, hidden from Pakurara in the shadows.

"Am I supposed to be scaredaru of you?" she said, putting up a brave front.  In truth, she was a little hesitant.

"Why fight it?  It is pointless.  Just give up now, I promise it will be quick..."

She couldn't see a thing!  The cloud seemed to follow her no matter where she turned.  She stood still and closed her eyes.

"You think you can pick on me?" she asked.  In truth, she was listening.  If he wanted to be chatty, she could use that against him.

"I know so."

He was just to her right.

"So I should just drop my trident and let you blast me with all that dark energy?"

"The more you struggle, the longer your suf--"

He didn't even get to finish his sentence.  She thrust the prongs of her trident towards the sound of his voice, catching him in the arm and twisting it.

"OW!"

"You think you're so tough!?  I'll show you what this 'little girl' can do!"

It was probably a good thing the cloud hid the assault that the feisty Tarutaru unleashed on him.

-----

All eight of Laliho's allies gathered together, some in better shape than others.  The defeated Asurans were tied up in a pile nearby, guarded by some Yagudo.

"Just one more to go!" Pakurara cried out.

"We should catch up to Lali," Sari noted.

A loud roar from nearby roused all of their attention.

"And from the sound of it, we better hurry," Celo added.

-----

From inside the large box, a single bulb emerged.  Quickly, vines began sprouting in a burst of floral energy, and a giant flower emerged, its purple petals several feet long.  A sentient plant being rose up from inside the blossom, its unnatural head staring at Lali.

"W-what is that!?"

Oggbix lifted her staff up and pointed.  "A Moblin friend from the Empire created this.  He said something about getting a seed off of a being that some well-to-do types fought from a dimensional rift.  And now, Sprinkles is gonna make you pay for all the stuff you've done to me!"

Several thorny vines advanced on Lali, and before she could run, they were wrapped around her and lifting her off the ground.

"Yes!  You can't win this time!"

The outburst seemed to get Sprinkles's attention, and a vine advanced towards Oggbix.

"Hey!  Not me, her!  No, wait, stop!"  But soon she was as trapped as the Taru was.

Lali was struggling against the vines, but they were slowly squeezing the life out of her.  Help would have to get there soon!

And help came from a spinning axe flying through the air and slicing the vines that held her, causing the supernatural plant to let out a scary roar.  But who was responsible?

Offline Areya

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Re: The Adventures of Laliho
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2015, 06:10:44 am »
Author's Note:  It's been three years since I last messed with this, but as I've had multiple requests to finish the tale, I put this together.  Hope you enjoy!

2-14

As the belladonna screeched at the loss of one of its vines, Laliho flopped to the ground gaspoing for air.  Nearby, a Hume clad in heavy onyx-and-gold armor standing on a nearby ledge.  Her axe whipped back towards her like a boomerang and she deftly retrieved it.

"None of that.  This Taru's a little important to me."

Laliho quickly rolled away, trying to elude the grasp of new vines that were quickly advancing towards her.  "Areya!  Some help!"

The Hume woman brought her hand to her mouth, letting out a shrill whistle.  From above, a giant red tiger pounced down on the mutant plant, its claws rending the vines apart.

"I guess this is when I would normally make some comment about needing to do some weeding..." Areya started as she rushed toward the plant.  "But this is serious."  As a couple of vines approached her, she deftly sliced them.  "Come on, the tiger won't hold them long."

As Lali was picked up by her companion, she shook her head. 

"Wait!  What about her?"

Areya stopped in her tracks and stared back at the goblin, sighing.  "I know, I know.  We're not cruel."

The giant humanoid plant started approaching even as the tiger continued attacking its leafy coverings.  With a lunge, Areya severed the vines holding up Oggbix, then proceeded to attack the heart of the monstrosity itself.

As Oggbix struggled to free herself she screeched, "Last time I order a monster from him!"

About that time, Areya flew soaring backwards over their heads.  She crashed in a clump against the rocky walls, and her pet tiger followed moments later.

"...tougher than I thought.." she grumbled, wiping some dirt off her chin.

Lali stared at the beast, noticing that it suddenly seemed sluggish.  An ethereal glow started eminating from its heart.

 "Wait, what's going on?"

As Oggbix studied the situation, she paniced, scooting away on her rear kicking the ground.  "It's unstable!  The rift energies are going to cause an explosion!"

"It's alright," Areya said calmly as she reached into a small pouch tied to her waist.  From within she procured a small red crystal.  "I've dealt with these kind of monsters before.  When I heard you were involved, I had a friend make me one of these.  It'll seal the monster within.  But we'll have to get close.  It needs to contact that glowing energy."

"I'm not getting anywhere close to that thing!" Oggbix shrieked.

"I'll do it," Laliho calmly said.

"It's dangerous, maybe I should--"

"You're always off playing the hero, Areya!" Laliho spoke up, looking annoyed.  "Besides, I need you to keep those vines off of me long enough."

"Lali.."

The glow started to intensify and a low grumble started to fill the air.

"There's no time!" the small woman implored.

Areya patted her on the head gently and offered her the crystal.  "Okay.  Let's go!"

As Areya and her tiger launched an assault on the shambling mass, Lali quickly jumped at the exposed center of the belladonna, shoving her hand, crystal clutched firmly in the center, deep into the fiend!

An otherworldly roar reverberated off the ancient stone walls of the ancient fort and into the sky above.  Suddenly, everything went white.

Nearby, Lady Sari swung her head towards the disturbance. 

"Oh no..  Laliho!"

-----

"..."

"---ke up.."

"..."

"let me..  something..  ..anberry pie."

"..."

Laliho's nose started sniffing softly, and her eyes opened up.  "Hey..  is that..  one of Areya's pies?"

"She's back!" Pakurara cheered.

Around the tiny monk, everyone had gathered.

"I guess things worked out after all," Sharlene chimed in.

"We were worried!" Sari blurted out.

Laliho rubbed her eyes and sat up, still dazed.  "And the Asuras?"

"Oh I wouldn't worry about them," Celo admitted while laughing.  "Our feathered friends are going to make sure they don't cause any more problems.  Although there's still the matter of what to do with them."

Laliho peered up, scanning the faces of the crowd around her, but noticing two missing.  "Hey, where's Areya and Lunet?"

Radille shrugged slowly.  "You know how Lunet is.  As for Areya, I'm not sure.  I think she was clearing the tunnels."

"Well, I, for one, think we all earned ourselves a feast," Laliho suggested.

----

The sun kissed the water's horizon as dusk began to fall on Windurst.  The emblazoned vessel at the docks emitted smoke and steam as it prepared to depart.

"So, I guess this is goodbye," Lady Sari said quietly, trying not to look sad.

"You know you're always welcome to come back and visit," Lali replied.

"The Middle Lands aren't so bad," Celo managed to say while stuffing his face with a pear crepe.

Lali chuckled and turns to the Elvaan.  "So what will happen to the Asurans?"

Thorn brought his hand to the back of his head and cringed his face.  "Well, you know, we aren't really sure.  Plenty of people back home want these folks locked up.  They're not all that bad, maybe just a little misguided."

Sari nodded and added, "We still don't know who's running the show but without his minions he can't do anything.  So I
wouldn't worry."

"We sealed off those new tunnels," Celo mentioned as he continued to feed himself.  "Probably better that the beastmen here can't use them."

"And Zenrox?"

"Think he got out while he could.  Don't think he'll be messing with you again, though!"

Lali breathed a huge sigh of relief.  "I think we've all earned some rest.  Safe travels to you!"

The bell rang out and the engines of the craft began to warm up.

"Take care, Laliho!" Lady Sari waved as the gangplank was taken out and the ship began its journey east...

-----

"That's quite the story," Areya said as she sat in Laliho's Mog House.  "Who would have thought?"

"There's one thing that bothers me though," Lali started, walking up close and staring intently at Areya.  "How did you know to use that crystal?"

"Hey, I gotta have my secrets too."

"Come ooooooonnnn!" Lali insisted, punching the Hume lightly on the arm.

"Let's just say I already knew she had tried to get something unusual to get back at you.  I've been battling voidwalkers and such for a while, so I have connections!"

Laliho frowned and sat down.  "Still not a very good answer!"

"You did good though.  You really were a hero this time!"

"Guess I take after you then!"

END