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Mononoke

"Is this a prison or is this paradise?"

0 · 592 views · located in LAIOS

a character in “Welcome to LAIOS Part II”, as played by Red Rum

Description

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Real Age:
Sixteen {16}
Occupation:
High school student
Gender:
Female
Orientation:
Asexual/ Panromantic
Appearance:
Cybele has always been short for her age, barley standing at 5'3. Her build is somewhat lanky with her skinny body yet long limbs. Cybele's hair is a jet black that looks almost blue when the light shines on it. The messy tresses have been choppily cut around her ears, allowing Cybele to not have to worry about her hair. Her eyes are large and round and are the blue-gray color of the sky on a rainy day. Cybele has a basically none existent chest and bum, often leading people to think that she is a boy at first glance. Cybele's skin is very pale and soft due to all the lotions and sunblock her mother makes her put on to maintain what she likes to call 'fragile feminine skin'.
Reason for playing LAIOS:
Cybele used to play videogames quite a lot when she was younger. However when she reached the age of 13 her mother decided that it was time for her to become a lady. This decision meant that Cybele had to give up many of the things she loved such as videogames, pants, and any friends her mother didn't think to be ladies themselves. Cybele put up with her mother's nonsense for three years before she had finally had enough and chopped of most of her hair. This act horrified her mother and Cybele was grounded for six months. A month had passed after she was grounded before LAIOS was released. Cybele's younger brother was an avid gamer and therefore raced to buy the game as soon as it came out. He would often tell Cybele about his adventures in the game, and curiosity getting the best of her, Cybele began to play the game herself while her mother was away at work and her brother was at swim practice.
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Avatar Sex:
Female
Level at Start of Roleplay:
52
Race:
Human
Element:
N/A
Class:
Swordsman
Role:
Regular Player
Occupation:
☭
Guild:
Knights of Lore
Hex code: #D84FF0

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In Game Appearance
Mononoke, or Moe for short, is fairly average height, standing at 5'6. Her heart shaped face is framed by wavy hair that falls just below her chin. Her hair itself is quite curious however seeing as the right side is a jet black yet the left side has no pigment at all, leaving it a snowy white. This abnormity continues with her eyes, the right being a dark, almost black, color and the left being a soft lavender. Moe has bangs that hang over her forehead to touch her eyebrows. Moe also has a small button nose sett in her lovely face along with lush lips and porcelain skin. You can find an almost permanent smile on Moe's face seeing as she always tries to stay in a good mood. Moe has a pretty normal body for a human, slim and quick from swinging her sword but not very muscular.

Cybele's design for Moe is fairly obvious, she wanted her avatar to look pretty and feminine just like she was always pushed to be but could never quite achieve. Moe's clothing styles are usually pretty light and airy seeing as she spends most of her days at her furnace and needs to have some way to keep cool. Her clothes are styled after different types of yukata which end at Moe's lower thighs as well as have no sleeves as to not to be restricting. Most of her clothing has a cherry blossom design and she usually wears colors such as pink, violet, black, and white. Moe also has some kimonos for special occasions. Moe wears long boats that go up past her knees that are made of a flexible fabric so that she can still run and fight in them. Moe wears her sword, a katana with a violet handle that she made herself, across her back when she brings it out. She usually only wears lighter armor when she goes out but she does own some heavier stuff for if she ever needed it. Moe also wears some leather arm bracers that go from above her elbows down to her wrists.



Skills:
⚜Sliding Dash- Allows Moe to target an enemy and rapidly run to the target with a strong first move.

⚜Chaos- The ability to attack enemies in a chaotic flourish. This attack is not super powerful, but allows Moe to attack multiple targets without being hit.

⚜Forger- Ability to use a furnace to create weapons and armor. Moe has managed to level this skill to level 68 which means that she has gained the ability to augment a weapon. This means that she can make a weapon that deals a certain type of damage such as air, fire, water, or earth or just increased damage for certain targets.

⚜Cooking- The ability to make meals. Food regenerates health and adds to the enjoyment of the game. This is a skill that Moe has learned mostly just for the heck of it, leveling it up to level 54.


Enhancements:
⚜Gloves: Physical damage reduced by 10%
⚜Body armor: Regenerate 5 points of health every 10 seconds;
Forger created (25% stronger)
⚜Leg Armor: Stamina speed increased by 20%
⚜Katana: Forger created weapon (25% stronger)
⚜Boots: Stamina regenerates a quarter of the time faster


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Likes:
â™Ļ Forging- Its began to grow on her.
â™Ļ Helping Other Players- It feels good to lend a helping hand in the midst of all this chaos.
â™Ļ LAIOS- Moe doesn't have to worry about what others say, plus all the different types of people and locations keep things interesting.



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Dislikes:
â™Ļ Player Killers- Be it mercenary or bounty hunter, killing players is wrong. Especially with these conditions.
â™Ļ Being taken advantage of- I mean who does?
â™Ļ Being underpaid for her work- Every now and then someone with a sliver tongue will come into her shop and end up talking their way into a discount before Moe can even process what's happing. Then she's just left with fewer coins then she needed and a headache.



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Strengths:
â™Ļ Very adaptable
â™Ļ Dexterous
â™Ļ High Stamina & Offense
â™Ļ Able to forge her own equipment



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Weakness:
â™Ļ Skills aren't super powerful
â™Ļ Less magically inclined
â™Ļ Less defense due to no shield



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Fears:
â™Ļ Dying- The thought of being stuck in a coma for the rest of her life is quite terrifying to Moe.
â™Ļ Being useless- Moe would like to help the other players as much as she can, she hates feeling like she can't help somebody.
â™Ļ Being hated- Having been told who to be for the past few years of her life, Moe feels strange finally being able to be herself. She fears that other people won't like who she really is.



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Personality:
Bashful áƒĻ Taciturn áƒĻ Helpful áƒĻ Loyal

While it would be impossible to say that nothing is different between Cybele and Moe, the differences honestly aren't that big. Cybele was always pretty quiet growing up. However when her mother decided that it was time to grow up and be a 'lady', Cybele was forcefully brought out of her shell. Her mother would always make Cybele converse with their neighbors when they would see them on the street. Whenever her mother was around Cybele was to be seen as a charming, talkative young lady. This meant that Cybele was almost always out of her comfort zone, and she couldn't stand that feeling of utter fakeness she got when she was forced to play this role. The only time that Cybele got to actually be herself was when she was either with her brother or at home by herself. So when Cybele logged onto LAIOS for the first time and realized that she could be anybody she wanted, the only person that she could really think to be was herself.

Once Cybele began playing as Moe she never wanted to go back. She felt wonderful being able to be herself and carryout a life where she could decided what she did. Moe wasn't sure what she had wanted to be at first. It would be pretty difficult for a human to be an alchemist or an enchanter, so those two were out. Moe just didn't have the heart to be thief or a mercenary. Moe wasn't quite spontaneous enough to be a bard or information broker, and she wasn't talented enough with a needle to be a tailor. Treasure hunter meant that Moe would have to battle a lot, and cook just didn't really feel like the best way to experience LAIOS. Seeing as blacksmith was really the only thing left, Moe decided to give it a try. She soon ended up falling in love with the job. Moe got to help people find the perfect equipment for themselves, and it also didn't hurt that she could now recognize plenty of weapons and armor. One of the best parts for Moe though was really seeing the relationship between players and their weapons, especially now that they're their life lines. Not that Moe would tell anybody that, way to cheesy.

While Moe loves to help people, she's also somewhat socially awkward. She doesn't enjoy being in the spot light but she does love to make friends. Moe constantly worries that her shyness will rob her of any friends that she might get. Whenever Moe does work up the courage to actually make small talk with somebody she usually only manages to get out a few sentences before she starts to feel stupid and basically gives up. Of course if somebody else starts the conversation she'd probably feel a bit more confident. If someone does sick around Moe long enough to be considered her friend you'd find that she's fiercely loyal and protective. The only time that Moe would probably ever yell is when she's protecting her friends. Moe doesn't exactly enjoy fighting alone, she'd much rather have people to back her up. This is also one of the reasons for her lower level, she'd rather be leveling up her skills then fighting monsters and leveling up herself. And while the thought of dying and entering a coma is something that scares Moe quite a bit, she'd gladly sacrifice herself for someone else's life. In fact, that's the whole reason that she joined the Knights of Lore, so that she could help other players through their times of need.

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History:
Cybele's never been somebody who stood out very much. She sat in the back of the classroom and hardly ever made sound, she had always been much more content watching others interact then interacting herself. Cybele wore guys clothes quite a bit and had always cut her hair around her shoulders. She had been the one to get her younger brother into videogames and ever since then they had played them together. Cybele knew how displeased her mother was with her but she would have never expected what happened when she turned 13. One day out of the blue her mother called Cybele to her room and told her that it was time for her to grow up and start acting more like a lady. Her mother then proceeded to buy Cybele an entirely new closet, give all of her videogames to her brother, and make sure that Cybele no longer hung out with any of her previous friends since she deemed none of them to be 'ladies' themselves.

Over the next three years Cybele's mom continued to shape her into what she called 'the perfect lady' just as her mother had supposedly done to her when she was a teen. By this time Cybele had basically lost any ounce of happiness she had left. That was until one day a new kid showed up at school. The girl's name was Roseanne, and for some reason unknown to Cybele she had seemed determined to become her friend from the very beginning. Roseanne was very quiet much like Cybele, and with some persistence the two quickly became friends. Instead of going over to her aunt's house one night like she told her mother she was, Cybele headed over for a sleepover at Roseanne's. Of course her mother found out, it was stupid of Cybele to think she wouldn't, and her mother immediately called Roseanne's parents to tell them to keep their daughter away from hers. This angered Cybele more then anything else had over those three long years. So as soon as her mother hung up the phone Cybele marched into the bathroom and cut off most of the hair that her mother had her grow out over the year. Cybele had never seen her mother so livid in her entire life, and the fact that Cybele practically looked like a boy now absolutely mortified her. After a very stern lecture Cybele was officially grounded for the next six months. Cybele's brother bought LAIOS as soon as it was released a month later. And honestly after a month of doing absolutely nothing after school except homework, Cybele decided that some risks were worth it. So, everyday after school while her mother was at work and her brother was at swim practice she would sneak onto the game.

In all honesty Cybele isn't exactly sure why she made Moe the way she did. Naming her Mononoke (Spirit), Cybele couldn't help but feel that she was making the part of her that shouldn't exist, the part of her that her mother didn't like. It was almost funny how dramatic Cybele was being with this but she decided to continue. Cybele found herself working on Moe for a while, perfecting everything about her. It felt almost wrong for Cybele to be trying to make Moe all perfect and feminine like her mother had tried to do with her, but for some reason she was compelled to keep her that way. After about a week in the game Cybele found that she was almost sad when she had to logout. LAIOS provided a world were she could really be herself without having to worry. Cybele had come to love everything that the game had to offer, she even sometimes caught herself referring to herself as Moe in her head sometimes. So one day when she went to logout and saw that she couldn't, she felt a bittersweet mix of panic and joy. The idea of being stuck in the game didn't exactly scare Moe very much, but when the realization that if died in the game you didn't revive came up she did begin to worry. Moe knew that she wasn't the type of person to be on the front lines trying to either defeat the game's AI or find another way out. So she decided to help as much as she felt she could by joining the Knights of Lore, that way she could still help and protect people. Being a blacksmith also helps her gain information sometimes from her customers for the guild. For now Moe's just trying to help out anyway she can.

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Face Claims:
Naoto Shirogane - Persona 4
Nishiki - Donten ni Warau

CS Design:
Š By: FaddedFox Š
Played By:
By: Red Rum

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So begins...

Mononoke's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider
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╚═â•ŖHello all Players! This is your Game Master. I would first like to wish you all Happy Holidays! I would like to inform you all of an event that will be occurring shortly. The first Christmas event will commence on December 25th. During this event, the town of Vael will become a battle zone where event specific monsters will appear. If you do not wish to participate in the event, refrain from visiting Vael that day or stay indoors so you are not attacked. Regardless of participation, all players will receive a box of candy canes (12 canes) as treats, 10 health and 10 mana potions as a present from me. The event also has two parts. Once the monsters appear, midnight on the 24th, there will be a competition of who kills the most event creatures. The winner with the overall highest kill count will receive a mount of their choosing, a Christmas dinner that can be shared with 5 people, and 20 health and mana potions. The person that comes in second will receive the same things except the mount.

The second part of the event will happen at midnight on the 25th. A boss will appear in the town and will not attack anyone unless it is attacked. The player that does the greatest damage and takes down the boss will receive a dragon egg, the Christmas dinner, candy, and potions. I thank you for your patronage and hope you are all happy with your gifts! Happy Hunting!
---Game Master Time stamp December 18 5:00am
╠═╝

â‚Ēâ‚Ēâ‚Ēâ‚Ēâ‚Ēâ‚Ēâ‚Ēâ‚Ēâ‚Ēâ‚Ēâ‚Ē



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Occupation:
Mercenary

Guild:
Night's Guile

Level:
72

Hex Code:
#CC1100

Location:
Vael tavern - Gold Gallion



December 24th. It was a peaceful, normal day for the most part in Vael. It was two in the afternoon so most players were up and awake doing whatever they needed to get done that day or doing some grinding in the field to get ready for the event. The sandy beach town had been transformed for the season and snow fell from the sky as realistic as if it were really happening. The snow flakes were delicate and cold to the touch and the air had grown chilly enough to allow the snow to rest on the ground. Some players had even stuck their tongues out to catch the falling snow. The NPC children had a lot of fun gathering up the multitude of ice on the ground and tossing it around at each other in a fight and engaging players, begging them to join them or throwing random snow balls at passerby. Playersand NPCs alike were making snow angels and building up snowmen. It really was like a winter wonderland and Shade_Strider wasn't a huge fan. The cold sucked but he supposed cold weather was better than blistering heat. Over all, things had been cheery. There was even a giant tree in the middle of town that hadn't been there before covered in lights and decorations that towered over the buildings and in every town. The game music had changed to the instrumental of Chirstmas songs but thank the Game Master that he only applied that feature in the town square and not everywhere else in the game. Shade might have actually wanted to die in game just to escape the overly cheery lullabies of the holiday. He thought Christmas music in real shops had been annoying. Even the fields had snow falling everywhere.

A lot of the players were talking about the coming event and what it meant. They remembered all to well the event that had trapped them in the game. It had been an event to welcome all players but it really hadn't been an event at all. It had just been the Game Master removing the log out feature and giving them a few potions as a starter kit. It made the players wary if anything. What would happen this time? Was it really an event? There were other players that ignored the event and others that were excited for it to. It was all a mixture of emotions like everything else in LAIOS.

In Vael's tavern, the Gold Gallon, 'life' went on as usual though even the tavern was decorated with Christmas decorations and stockings. It was almost sickening how Christmasy it all was. Shade_Strider wanted to cut something. The drink was good however and the bard singing? Stunningly gorgeous as usual. Shade loved everything about his Princy and his voice was amazing to though he always found himself lost in the tenor or the man's voice or his deep hypnotic eyes rather than his lyrics. EclecticPrince was singing as was his occupation, standing in front of a game table where many of his friends were already gathered. Shade_Strider did sometimes start staring at the man, game in front of him forgotten momentarily.It almost made him oblivious. Almost.

"Bullshit!" Shade_Strider called out suddenly with a grin, his smoldering ruby colored eyes narrowed on Granite. He so did love playing cards with Prince's brother. And his jokes were fun to when Granite decided to chip up. "I call your bullshit, Granite. I don't believe you put down 2 Queens! Flip them over, you liar. Don't you agree, Demo?" he asked and glanced at the other player at their table. They weren't exactly friends but gaming with her was fun to. "You call his bullshit to, don't you?" Shade_Strider's leather black wings fluttered behind him in his confidence. He was positive the other demon didn't have the cards he professed. This would be a good turn in the game since Granite at that point had far fewer cards than he or PsycheDemo.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Lilac Sin Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: Angus Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Taunbon
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Occupation:
Treasure Hunter

Guild:
N/A - Freelance

Level:
67

Hex Code:
#8A0707

Location:
Auren - Forgotten Tomb #324 - Name Pending until Angus can be bothered to think of one.


Angus stomps echoed loudly through the damp cave as his thick hooves smashed down onto the hard surface beneath him. His fur was wet from the humidity, and his own sweat, sticking to him and an entirely uncomfortable fashion, and he could only begin to imagine how badly he must smell to anyone that had the misfortune to be nearby, but that was hardly his fault. Auren sucked. Whoever decided to toss in a hot, humid jungle filled with poisonous creatures and deep swamps needed to be shot. Then stabbed. Then shot again.... and maybe dragged behind a pissed off Minotaur with some kind of contraption that captured all of the Minotaurs exerted stank and channeled it right into his nose. Hell, it barely felt like December in the hellhole that was Auren, but Auren was where his level was at, and more importantly, Auren was filled with ancient ruins and ancient ruins meant ancient treasure and ancient treasure meant epic adventure and epic adventure meant... well, something, something, Angus to the rescue.

Forgotten Tomb #324... Name Pending had him on ends. Most caves and forgotten tombs was packed full of nasty critters and monsters, but this one had nothing in it and that was bad. When a tomb was empty that meant traps. Lots and lots of traps. His bestial instincts were screaming at him that something was off, something was wrong. It had screamed at him this loudly since he had that unfortunate run in with the massive, mutant centipede... three hours ago. Pausing to catch his breath and try to cool off, although that was destined to fail, but one can hardly blame a fellow for trying, and he scanned the darkness before him with his dark eyes, his snout like an arrow that pointed out exactly where his attention was as he looked for anything out of place or out of shape. Nothing.

It had been one long tunnel, well hidden under a large boulder, for the last two hours. It was... disconcerting. Opening up his pitifully small friend's list, he checked on Lilac Sin, a habit he had long formed since they parted months ago, to ensure she was fine and was relieved to see that, indeed, she was still doing well. Once more, he looked at the message button floating in the air before his face, taunting him. What could he say? 'Hey, this is Angus, you know, the burger with the extra side of murder? Soooo, it has been awhile, whatcha been up to girl? Me? Just exploring some cave in the ass end of nowhere. Sorry about cutting and ditching you, no hard feelings right?' Ha, even he knew that wouldn't work. Swallowing a frustrated sigh, he swiped his hand and dismissed the window. Hopefully, she was having fun with her guild as Christmas approached.

Rolling his shoulders, he stepped forward... and his hooves sunk in an inch as his sharp ears heard a distinct click. "Shit," he whispered, as if that made a difference. Of course, it was just like him to step on the one damnable trapped spot in the massive tunnel system, because that was just his luck. This game had it out for him, he just knew it.

A loud grinding and rumbling started behind him, and despite knowing he shouldn't, Angus turned his head, his eyes widening over his large snout as a massive round boulder tumbled down an unseen ramp to crash down in the tunnel behind him with a thunderous crash. "Oh, come on! This is some Indiana Jones bullshit!" Despite his outraged cry, the boulder slowly started to roll forward before building momentum. Not wasting another second, Angus turned on his hooves and bolted down the tunnel.

His hooves dug deep into the stone beneath him, taking out chunks as he dug into it with each powerful step, his massive thigh muscles bulging as they gave Angus 110% of their output, their very survival on the line... just like the rest of his body. His eyes scanned the walls and ceiling, there had to be a way out. Had to. There always was. There! A small out cove in the roof... a... very... small out cove.

"The fuck!?" Angus roared in anger, his legs still pumping furiously under him. He understood what was supposed to happen. He was supposed to jump against the wall, bounce off, grab the roof ledge then hold himself in it while the boulder passed. But there was one glaring issue with that: He wouldn't be able to fit his shoulders in there much less his entire body. That was blatant discrimination against his size!

That wasn't an option. Angus lowered his head, as he continued to sprint for all his worth, there had to be another way. Well, no, there didn't, but he certainly hoped there did as he didn't want to end up as beef paste. No one liked beef paste. The rumbling grew louder, and worse, closer, so he braved a look over his shoulder just in time to see... a popup. If Angus had time, he would have laughed at the sheer inopportune time, without reading it, he dismissed the window in time to see the boulder incredibly close. Far too close.

Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn! The words repeated themselves in his head in a panicked mantra. His eyes made out an opening ahead in the darkness, but his nose told him that it wasn't safety... it was a drop off. He could smell the damp, dank smell that was wafting from it, it was a pit. He would fall to his death or be crushed by the boulder. His eyes glanced from the edge to the far wall, his legs still pumping, he could try to jump. It was far. Even by his standards. If he used his axes like ice picks, he might be able to stick into the wall then slowly crawl his way back around, but he doubted it. The stone walls were slick with water and had not handholds. But what other option did he have? He couldn't just go ba...

Go back. Skidding to a halt near the edge of the chasm, Angus looked back at the massive boulder rolling his way. Go through that? Did he have a choice? Taking a deep breath, his lungs filling with air, he lowered his head and charged the boulder activating his Pain Train. Giving himself one final reminder about how mindbogglingly stupid this plan was, Angus lowered his head, raising his right shoulder and let out a roar of defiance as he smashed into the boulder. An earsplitting crack traveled down the tunnel as the two titanic forces collided. A large crack formed where he smashed into the boulder, but it wasn't enough, not nearly enough. He had slowed it, but it was still coming. Grasping it in his hands and pushing his body against it, he tried to bring it to a stop, but it kept coming. His hooves were digging long groves into the solid rock beneath him as the boulder slowly pushed him back. Casting a quick look over his shoulder, dismay filled his heart as the chasm was slowly getting closer and closer.

Closing his eyes, Angus gathered what strength he had left, well aware his stamina bar was quickly depleting and pushed back with everything he had against the boulder. His muscles bulged, crying out in pain as his body felt like it was tearing itself apart in its desperate gambit for survival. Unleashing a soulful, dreadful roar fueled with all his pain, passion, panic, anger and fear, his body gave its last defiant effort to stop the boulder and just as his left hoof started to slipped off the edge and into the dark abyss seeking to consume him, the boulder came to a halt.

Eyes closed, Angus didn't open them for a few seconds, not willingly to believe it worked. It. Worked. He was alive! He let his horns rest against the rough rock, he couldn't believe it. He was alive, but... Now what? With the rock coming to a stop, and the tunnel only having a slight angle in which the rock was able to slowly build up speed, he might be able to roll it back up... all the way to the top? He doubted he could make it that far. His legs felt like jelly and his arms were burning, but what choice did he have? Slowly, he leaned his weight against the boulder and started to push with all his might as he slowly, but surely, moved the boulder back the way he came.

---

Sweat dripped down his body, his chainmail loincloth chaffing in all the wrong places, as he desperately fought the boulder, step by step, up the tunnel. He cast a baleful gaze at the opening above him that would have saved him so much effort if they had made it a size fit for real men. But, it was then that something caught his eye. A slight gap in the side wall, angling himself closer, his dark eyes peered at it. "Very clever," Angus said through gritted teeth. The gap was angled so only someone coming back up the tunnel could see it, likely, when they jumped into the out cove above and dropped back down after the boulder had passed, they would have seen the opening and investigated, but not only that, the hole was big enough for Angus to fit. Thank God.

Angus let his eyes fall down to the distance between himself and the gap. He would have to move fast. If he was too slow, the boulder would catch him and crush him, but he doubted he could move it much further, he was at his limit as his stamina bar kept helpfully screaming at him. Taking a deep breath, he pushed the boulder then flung himself at the wall, feeling the wind rush pass as the boulder missed him by inches. Pulling himself into the small tunnel, Angus collapsed to the ground, staring at the dark, damp rocks above him before laughing. His laugh was loud and carried throughout the tunnel, the laugh of a man who thought he was dead but, against all odds, managed to survive once again. He laughed until tears rolled down his eyes and into the sweat mattered fur of his face, until his ribs hurt and he couldn't breath. He had done it.

Regaining his composure, well, mostly, a giggle escaped here and there, Angus pushed himself to his unsteady legs and leaned heavily against the wall as he walked down the small tunnel, desperate, just like Alice, to see what awaited him on the other side of the rabbit hole.

The small tunnel eventually opened up into a small room, the room had beautiful carved sculptures of an odd two-legged lizardman like race and a pedestal at the middle with a small round disc laying at the center. Taking extra care of where he stepped, as if those statues came alive and attacked him, he was going to throw the biggest bitch fit this side of Vael. Coming up to the pedestal, he leaned close, examining the small disc, which, he found out, was an ancient coin of.. some type. Sniffing around it, he didn't smell anything out of the ordinary nor did he feel any air coming from around the pedestal, so it was unlikely it would drop down if he took the coin. Reaching out his massive hand closed around the tiny coin and pulled it off, he tensed waiting for something to happen, but when nothing did, he let out a sigh of relief as he turned it over in his hand.

It wasn't worth anything, he knew that just by looking at it, at least, it wasn't worth anything on its own. The small golden coin was curved in small markings, and he was enough of a gamer to know it meant one of two things: It was a clue to a much, much larger treasure or, possibly and, it was a key to open the door to a much, much larger treasure both sent pleasant tingles running down his spine at the thought of the hunt. Tucking it in his inventory, he paused finally remembering that very rude message that had nearly made him trip and pulled it up.

Briskly reading through it, he raised an eyebrow, a Christmas event? If he left now, he could likely make it.. but he would have to suspend his hunt for a bit.. This could work out as he could stop and see if that tricky little minx had any knowledge of ancient looked doors within Auren, and if not, either or Moe could tell him more about the coin through examination. Either way, it was worth a look.

Pulling ups his friend's list again, he tapped Psychedemo's name and started to compose a message:

"Hey! This is the Beef of Kings. I have found a... well... coin. Weird right? Well, anyways, this coin has some kind of inscription on it that I can't read. I think it likely leads, or opens a door, to a much larger treasure trove, and I thought you and your Knights-of Collecting-Old-Shit-That-Nobody-Else-Wants would be interested in it. I should be at Vael in a few days for the event thingy.

Faithfully Forever Out Of The Reach Of Tricky Little Minxes,

Angus the Great and Beefy."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: Angus
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#, as written by Red Rum
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Occupation:
Blacksmith

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
52

Hex Code:
#D84FF0

Location:
Vael- Town Square




The message from the GM had come as a bit of a surprise to Moe. The realization that Christmas was just around the corner had left her a bit confused on how she should feel. Should she feel sad that she wasn't getting to spend the holidays with her family, or was it ok to honestly not to feel that bad about it? Deciding that she didn't want to be alone at her house with all of those thoughts, Moe decided to close up shop and head out on the town.

Watching all the joyous faces of players and NPCs alike pass her by, Moe could feel a small smile curling the edges of her lips as well. Pulling her cloak closer to her frame as she trudged through the snow, Moe wondered what exactly she should do. Having left her home really only to not be alone with her thoughts, she didn't really have a clear plan of what she should do. Eyes shifting to all of the people running around attempting to catch snowflakes and build snowmen, Moe sighed. At least everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, she had at first been worried that all of the players would be depressed over the fact that they weren't spending this holiday season with their families.

Suddenly spotting a shop dedicated mostly to selling ingredients, Moe's smile grew brighter. The store was located near the center of town, close to the giant Christmas tree. As she hurried inside, the NPC behind the counter's smile grew as well, it wasn't exactly her first time coming to this store. "Welcome young lady! Please, look around as much as you'd like!". Nodding her thanks, Moe began to scroll through the list of buyable items that the store had to offer. An idea had already begun to take root in her mind, she should make some sweets for all of her friends that had helped her thus far. It wasn't very much, but it was at least something she could do for everyone. She could bake some cookies for some of her guild members like Psyche, Goliath, and maybe even Cain. Moe could also probably bake some cookies to give to Accido as thanks for all of the training she'd been giving her. And then she'd make an unnecessarily large cake for Angus, he'd overpaid her for repairing his equipment again and she'd been looking for a way to repay him. After buying all of the necessary ingredients, Moe and the store owner exchanged thanks before she braced herself and headed out into the chilly wind again.

Not quite wanting to head home just yet, Moe once again began slowly walking through Town Square. The lively Christmas music was an interesting change of pace to the game. Leaning back against one of the brightly lit up buildings, Moe watched the people passing by in happy dazes. Happening to overhear some passing players talking about the upcoming special event, she began to think of her own plans. Moe knew that the event would be a good place to help her level up quickly, but the thought of fighting monsters alone honestly made her a bit queasy. Maybe she'd consider participating if another player offered to party with her, but other wise she'd probably just spend the entire time at her house, repairing other players equipment if it was needed. "I'm such a wimp..." Moe scoffed at herself, drawing patterns in the snow with the tip of her boot as Christmas music flooded her ears.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Occupation:
Bard

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
76

Hex Code:
#aaaaaa

Location:
Vael Town Square


It was Christmas Eve, a day which usually saw Goliath sullenly sheltered in his room. Away from his somewhat disparaging, and unpleasant family until the next day. A day which for most would be filled with mirth, joy, and familial bonding was for Goliath instead filled with thoughtlessly, disappointing gifts, and the shadows of his superior, much more accomplished brothers. As they were showered with praise, and bountiful gifts, he had the occasional glance, and half mentions. And perhaps on a good year some clothes that decently matched his styles, and tastes. But then again that was always Owen's versions of the holidays.

Goliath's holidays were different. Everything was so fantastically different here in LAIOS. Here he was walking through the town square of Vael,humming a classic Christmas tune, and sporting a smile that would cause most familiar with his more neutral, or even despairing expression to fall flat on the ground from pure shock alone. Here it seemed a young boy, a child blinded by the innocence of childhood to see the occasional though harsh unfairness of life had lost his love for the winter festivities, only to be picked up by a stranger who had never before experienced such things.

The town was covered in a brilliant layer of snow, and the this time of year Vael seemed to have a quaint sort of beauty to it. Of course according to the mysterious game master, the town's beauty would soon be marred with festive, and most likely dangerous creatures. A fact which only made his smile grow larger. What better way to spend the holidays than fighting off vicious Christmas themed beasts? The reward while tantalizing, and certainly a most worthy prize of emerging victories from such an event seemed more of a secondary goal to the large Beast compared to the thrill of the battle that would precede it.

While the beauty of the town was quite breathtaking at this time, Goliath soon began to crave a more warm environment. One where he could revel in the merry of other players enjoying the holiday and perhaps share in song and drink with friends and friendly strangers. Thus he made his way to the Golden Galleon. As he walked through the snow draped town he passed by many players, most eager to take on the challenge of the upcoming event. On his way to the tavern, past the large tree in the center of town Goliath had spotted a familiar face.

It was none other than Monoke. She was a welcome sight, and the resident blacksmith of the Knights of Lore, Goliath's pride and joy. As always it was good to run across another Knight, especially now as an event was approaching. He walked up to here, a bounce in his step, and eagerly called out too her. "Hey there Moe! Enjoying yourself during the festivities I hope!" As he spoke he wore his usual grin of friendliness and confidence."So are you looking forward to the holiday event?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Red Rum
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Occupation:
Blacksmith

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
52

Hex Code:
#D84FF0

Location:
Vael- Town Square



After watching people pass by for a while, Moe sighed and closed her eyes. Tilting her head towards the sky, she felt herself relax a bit as the cold snowflakes gently caressed her face. It was at this moment that she heard somebody call out to her. She could instantly feel herself tense up a bit, Moe hadn't expected to run into anybody while she was out. There weren't very many people in LAIOS who knew her, so the different faces of everyone she was acquainted with were able to flash through her mind in the amount of time that it took her to turn to the player who had called out.

Moe was honestly a bit surprised to see Goliath standing there. She could feel a bit of the tension easy off of her as she nodded in greeting to the man. He'd always been nice to her, not to mention that he was her guild leader, but his personality was sometimes a bit intimidating.

Moe was pulled out of her thoughts when he continued to speak. His sudden questioning of how she was enjoying herself caused her to give him a timid smile. "Well, I guess that I'm enjoying myself just as much as everyone else." Gesturing vaguely at some close by players who had proceeded to make snow angels, Moe gave a quiet laugh. She was inwardly chiding herself for behaving so awkwardly, but there was really no way to help it. She just hoped that maybe one day she could become comfortable enough around everyone to not feel so bashful all the time. Goliath's next question however caused Moe's smile to waver a bit. "T-the event? W-well... I was sort of just planning on staying home and offering my assistance with repairs. I'm not really a great fighter..."

Moe scratched her head a bit awkwardly and smiled a bit at Goliath once again. "You'll be participating, I assume? You can always come to me if you need any repairs. T-the same goes for anyone else in the guild of course..." She had no doubt that he would be participating, probably with some other guild members as well. She'd be happy to provide them with some assistance during the event, it was the least she could do for everybody. Plus, it was her job after all. Even if Moe wasn't going to fight in the event, this was still a very important time for a blacksmith, this would likely be when she was needed most.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Occupation:
Bard

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
76

Hex Code:
#aaaaaa

Location:
Vael Town Square


When Moe turned back to him and boded he tried to give off an easygoing smile. And though she she at first seemed slightly at ease she gave a smile that made Goliath remember just how nervous and timid Moe could be. He recognized, the look. The smile masking tension and anxiety. It was similar to how Owen would act back in the real world. It was a feeling that he'd rather forget. It was easy to see how Goliath's rather loud personality could make Moe feel somewhat uncomfortable, and he simply hoped that he could manage to tone it down when around her. Monokoe reminded Goliath very much of Owen, though she seemed to be able to handle her anxiety much better, than the anxious boy. At least she was able to speak back, and be understood.

He was glad to hear that she was enjoying the holiday season, despite being stuck here in this world, and he couldn't help but let out a small chuckle when she gestured to the players. Her response to Goliath's second question was not nearly as positive. Goliath could tell he upset her. He could see why she might not want to be a part of the event however, the last event didn't go so well, and not everyone was as excitable as Goliath when it came to striking down monsters.

"Oh I'm participating alright. I've got my eyes on the prize after all. But really someone's gotta be around to keep some of the other players safe. This event could get out of hand, so I've made sure there would be a couple of Knights here to keep people safe. And yeah i'm sure I'll end up breaking something at some point, so it's good to know the Knights have got a great blacksmith like you to keep our weapons nice, and sharp!" He glanced back at the players and NPC's enjoying the snow, and then looked over towards the direction of the Gold Galleon.He doubted that Moe would actually want to come to the crowds, and noise of the tavern, but he figured it would be rude not to at the very least ask. "You know I was planning on heading over to the Gold Galleon until the event started. Maybe play a song or two. You're more than welcome to come along if you want? Unless you'd rather stay here that is?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Mononoke Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Red Rum
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Occupation:
Blacksmith

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
52

Hex Code:
#D84FF0

Location:
Vael Town Square →
Outside the Gold Galleon



Goliath's question caught Moe by surprise. It was no secret that she wasn't exactly the most sociable person out there, so his offer baffled her a bit. Her immediate instinct was to politely decline, but as she opened her mouth to do so a sudden thought stopped her. She didn't have anything to do at the moment, and the thought of sitting by herself in her house was honestly a bit depressing. Plus, knowing more people could definitely pay off later at some point in the game.

'Then again...', looking up at the snow fluttering around above her, she realized that there would likely be tons of people at the tavern attempting to escape from the cold. Sighing quietly, she wondered why she could never make things easy for herself. Her internal struggle was beginning to get old, it was now or never. "Uh, sure. Why not?" Cringing a bit at her words, she hoped that she wouldn't regret this. It wasn't as if she couldn't talk to people, she had been forced to talk all the time in the real world. She'd just always been naturally quiet, preferring to listen to others rather than speak herself. The only thing that calmed her in times like these was the fact that here in LAIOS she was Moe, not Cybele. She didn't have to worry about contributing to the conversation every couple of sentences. If only her nerves had gotten the memo.

Turning to once again glance at Goliath, she nodded once before politely saying, "After you." Wiggling her semi-frozen toes in her boats, Moe waited for the man to begin walking. Hopefully no one would notice the way she stiffly crossed her arms as they marched through the snowy landscape.

As the Gold Galleon came into view, Moe's previous thoughts were confirmed. Players could already be seen milling around outside the tavern. Hopefully she'd at least run into some people that she knew here, that'd be nice at least. She hadn't seen very much of her friends recently. And although her nerves were on edge, she was determined to not let it ruin her time. She was not going to be a hermit! However, as they arrived at their destination, her stomach was in knots. Slowing down a bit, Moe quietly called out to Goliath, "Um, you can go on ahead of me. I'll be inside in a minute." Smiling a bit weakly up at him, she turned around to view the rest of the town as she took a deep breath. 'Yup. I'm definitely a wimp.'

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Shade_Strider Character Portrait: EclecticPrince Character Portrait: Mononoke
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Image

Occupation:
Bard

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
76

Hex Code:
#aaaaaa

Location:
Vael Town Square

As Goliath was almost positive Moe would refuse his invitation he opened his mouth to let her know it wasn't a big deal and she didn't have to come if she didn't want to. However much to the Beasts surprise she accepted, though somewhat hesitantly. He stood there for a minute blinking away his surprise until a small smile formed on his lips. "Really? All right lets go!"

He then turned around and enthusiastically made his way to the tavern with Moe by his side. As they walked Goliath tried not to make the shy blacksmith too uncomfortable. He made sure not to burden the girl with too much conversation. Perhaps a snippet here and there but overall the goal was some form of comfortable silence. Lord knows Owen was never good with conversation, so he saw no point in forcing it on someone like Moe.

When they got to the tavern Moe opted to stay outside for the moment and Goliath gave an understanding nod."Sure thing. You stay out here as long as yu need. I know a tavern liek this isn't really your kind of scene anyway."Simply coming here seemed like a good step in Moe breaking out of her shell and he was more than happy to let here take as much time as she needed to steel her nerves.

As he walked into the tavern he scanned the current occupants of the Golden Galleon. There were quit a few familiar faces here, but he was naturally drawn to that of his beloved Second in Command and one of the more annoying though no less valued Knight Cain. He smiled as he was about to walk over to them, though stopped himself when he noticed Shade, among the group his friends had gathered in. Great he thought as he let out a small sigh. The PKer was here. He considered finding someone else to chat with as he looked around the tavern again.

He walked over anyway,giving the group a friendly wave, determined not to let the murderer ruin his holiday spirits. Besides Shade wouldn't be able to cause much harm here in one of the towns anyway. "Hey there you guys! Merry Christmas to all of ya!" He paused for a moment as he looked at the others all with his trademarked friendly tone and smile. All except Shade of course, he didn't want to pay much attention to the man."So what's going on over here? Anything interesting?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Goliath Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Rakugo
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Occupation:
Alchemist // Tailor
Guild:
None// None
Level:
182 // 200
Hex Code:
#00008B // #388E8E
Location:
Vael Town




Seraph was probably the person most excited for the event even though he wasn't going to be down in the town actively participating. This was his first real event and he wanted everyone to enjoy it, even those that weren't taking part in the battles. It was almost time! The Game Master was grinning ear to ear as he peered down at the town from his perch on the balcony of a random house. He didn't have the high level of the acrobat skill to get up here but he was the game master so he had a few cheats he could utilize when needed; Like getting to places he shouldn't be able to. He wanted to be able to watch everything happen as they unfolded for the event and a high perch was the most advantageous. He smiled to himself and leaned against the balcony as he stared down at the center of town. Those that were going to participate were already gathering in anticipation. Some players had locked their doors and shut off the lights but he could see a few staring out their windows, interested in seeing what was going to occur.

"I thought I might find you here, Seraph," said a voice behind him.

Seraph sat up and looked behind him to see his favorite person in the world; Nightingale. She was the reason why he had locked the game the first time after all. He waved excitedly at her and rolled onto his heels and then back to his tip-toes. "Nightingale! I thought you weren't going to come into town because of the other betas that gathered. They are all here. But do you like what I have planned for the event?"

"Neither of us should be here and I advised you not to come, but I knew you'd come anyway. You never listen. And of course I liked the event. You did a good job," Nightingale answered with a small smile. Seraph really was like a child, her precious baby. She had to protect him should the other betas spot Seraph and turn their attentions away from the event and try a full on attack on Seraph. They would all have higher levels this time around and unlike Seraph, she couldn't see what level they were. It worried her a bit but Seraph was Seraph. He was still the Game Master and there was no way he'd be able to resist coming to the center of the activity in the game. She knew first hand how much he loved his players and everything he did was for them to enjoy. Who wouldn't want to see the results of their efforts?

"I had to come. Tonight is the event! I want to watch everyone. I want to know what I can improve on next time. I have already gotten a lot of feedback! I went a little overboard with decorations it seems," he chuckled and raised a hand to rub the back of his head. "And that is not fair, Nightingale. I do listen. I just decide not to follow your caution," he answered. He had to make sure everything was running smoothly after all.

The archer walked over to Seraph and reached out a hand to ruffle his hair then. She couldn't help the grin that played on her rosy lips when the boy blushed and tried to dislodge her hand. "Nightingale!" he called out exasperated and took a step back to try and fix his hair. He hated it when she did that. Nightingale on the other hand loved watching him get flustered. He was just too adorable. The Game Master huffed and crossed his arms. He glanced back at the center of the town. "It is almost time." Seraph took in a deep breath and closed his eyes to center himself a moment before he completely turned his back on his companion. When he opened his eyes, his once expressive gaze were blank, code rapidly flitting through the blue hues. It was time to send out the message that would initiate the countdown.

╚═â•ŖGood evening all players, this is your Game Master. The first half of the event will be initiated shortly after this message. I hope you all have a happy holiday and enjoy the event. Before they spawn, here is some extra information for you. The monsters that will be appearing do not have a predetermined level. The level of the strongest player in your team will be determining the level of the monster for that party. This means that if the highest party member is level 100, the monsters will also be level 100. This is a feature set to give each group a fighting chance and the most exp. If someone joins your battle, the monster level will not change and both parties will get half of the exp. The party or soloist that kills the most monsters will be determined at the end of the event. Thank you for your patronage and enjoy the event!

--Game Master Time stamp December 24 11:58pm.
╠═╝

Once the message had been sent out, Seraph blinked four times before his personality reemerged and he twirled in a circle and stopped to face Nightingale. He clasped his hands behind him and leaned against the balcony. "Will you be joining the event?" he asked her then.

Nightingale placed a hand on her hip and gave a nod. "Yeah. I think I will. This event is a good way to level up. I won't miss the chance. Meeting the other betas however will be quite the inconvenience. Good thing I have a few things to help disguise myself unless they directly come in contact with me," she mused. At least the betas wouldn't be able to attack her in town since she to was a PC. If they saw her here though, they'd immediately seek Seraph out. She had to stay on guard. "I guess I'll change," she mused and started to leaf through her equipment to pick out the best equipment for this event. She quickly put on her dark blue light armor with the crimson trimmings. A cape hung behind her and she tugged at her finger-less gloves to check the fit though she didn't need to and tapped her boots on the ground. It was a little cold for such a thin outfit but it was a game. She wouldn't freeze to death and it was only a little nippy. She equipped her second choice bow and arrows and caressed the pale blue feathers. She would use her rare item but if the betas saw it, they would recognize who she was immediately. She didn't need to use it. Lastly, she equipped her head gear that looked more like a winged masquerade mask that covered her entire face. Like the rest of her current outfit, it was a baby blue with red trimmings and the feathers themselves looked like they were dipped in blood. It might not look like much, but the outfit was reinforced with a variety of enhancements. That was one thing she loved about the game; you could wear clothing like this and still be well protected if you knew where to purchase and who to ask to craft them for you. Nightingale then hung her hair up in a messy pony tail and smiled at Seraph.

"Well, time to join the fray. I'll talk to you after the event, Seraph. I look forward to seeing what you have come up with."

Seraph beamed at her and gave her a wave. "Enjoy the event!" Nightingale used her acrobat skill to hurry away from the current balcony and took up her place instead on top of the tavern of Vael and readied herself.

7...6...5...4...3...2...1... The clock struck midnight and a firecracker shot up into the air from the center of town and exploded above the area as the bells rang. The sky was illuminated with red and silver lights from the fire cracker. Almost instantly, monsters began to spawn in the town all around the people standing there. Of course, they were all Christmas themed. There were tiny Santa Elves running about, Polar bears with ribbons and bells, China dolls and jack-in-the-boxes hopping about, and growly snowman clawing with their stick arms and angry expressions. At fist, they didn't attack anyone but after they finished spawning, they went after who ever was closest. Nightingale was quick to target one of the toy wolves with her arrow and took in a steadying breath before letting her arrows fly. The wolf howled and turned in her direction but using her rapid shot she was able to get some good hits in and the wolf couldn't reach her where she was so she had pretty easy pickings. She didn't want to win the event. She just wanted to gain experience so being solo made her a bit slow, but that didn't matter. She had a goal and wouldn't waver.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Accido Character Portrait: ArcticFire Character Portrait: Psychedemo Character Portrait: Cain Character Portrait: Rakugo Character Portrait: Lilac Sin
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Occupation:
Information Broker

Guild:
Knights of Lore

Level:
84

Hex Code:
#9C6B98

Location:
Town of Vael




Rakugo couldn't help but laugh. Lucive, huh? Well he was a cutie. He didn't have much time to focus on that however. His little dwarf friend was already running gun-ho out the door. Of course, his favorite jelly was always running head long into things. He would really have to watch out for him. He didn't want to turn around and find his friend dying because he couldn't keep up with him. He took most things in this world as fun and games since LAIOS was supposed to be a game, but matters like this were less silly. Stranger or no, Rakugo wanted to ensure that as many people as possible survived to reach the outside world again. The fox put a smile on his face and put the Noh mask back on before he rushed after Man-O-War and brandished his blade. "Don't leave us behind!" he called out. Of course he was the only one lagging. Lucive and Man-O-War were already fighting a Toy Soldier. Rakugo let out a battle cry as he spun, slicing at the giant toy. He was the one doing most of the damage considering his level matched the monster while the others were lower level, but with the three of them, the battle ended quickly.

Rakugo beamed as they got their exp and items. "Good job, boys. We make a good team," he mused. Rakugo took the moment to glance at everyone else in the direct vicinity. Ah, he saw that white fox again. His only clue. He was 90% sure she was a beta and he wanted to approach her and try and glean some information from her, but he could not. Not yet. This event wasn't going to be conducive for that right now. And oooh, who was the priest beside her? He remembered seeing him out and about but he hadn't really investigated him any. If he was partnering with Ms. Foxy, then he needed to be on his list to. He would get to the bottom of this. Though he liked LAIOS and all it offered, it was a game. He couldn't let appearance wipe away the memory that he was really out there, not in here. "I will find you, Game Master," he cooed to himself more than anything.

The fox's ear twitched when he heard a jingle and turned just in time to catch the massive scythe that was coming at him from a deceptively adorable rag doll. "tsk, tsk, darling. Such rude manners." Rakugo was forced on the defensive as he blocked the onslaught of rapidly moving swings. "A little help, guys?" he called to his party. He was relieved when the doll was finally stunned thanks to Man-O-War and Lucive. Rakugo coated his blade in poison then and began a flurry of attacks of his own.

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The first part of the event lasted a few hours with the monsters never pausing. They just kept spawning just when you thought the mob was thinning. There was an infinite number and the only way to escape the war zone was to hurry into the tavern or into one of the houses that covered the streets. Players and monsters were vanishing left and right. Rakugo and many of the others that were higher leveled tried to help those weaker but even they had limits. Many players were losing their footing against the mob. Thankfully however, the GM did finally allow a brief reprieve. A message went out to the players signally an hour break so people could go ahead and stock up on potions and the like. The damage had still be done however.

Lilac Sin, Psychedemo, Mononoke, Angus, Accido and Lucive were gone. Yes, even Lucive. And Rakugo blamed himself for his death. Rakugo had gone off to protect a little girl that was running from a monster and when he had turned around, he wasn't able to get to Lucive on time. He had tossed a potion only to have it touch Lucive after his HP hit zero. He was shaken about the death of his party member and could only imagine the guilt and hurt Man-O-War would be feeling right about now. Rakugo put away his sword and tore off his mask as he walked over to his friend and gripped his shoulder. "Man-O-War..." he called softly, "I... I am so sorry for your loss. I should have paid more attention to you and Lucive."