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-[ prismic △ sanctum ]-
That's the button that made the horrible noise earlier. Let's hit it and run to the stairs as fast as we can. We can worry about the thing on our head once we're out of immediate danger.
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle I will stab your feet

[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
You tap the button, gripping the spear tight as you get the employee badge ready in your other paw.
The loudspeaker crackles on.

You wait for your moment.

"The coela----h--"
That same high-pitched whine blares from the speaker, and you hop out from cover.

You get a glimpse of one of the aerosoul's eyes wincing, but their crossbow is still raised at you.
You throw the spear as hard as you can.
A bolt whizzes past your shoulder in the same instant.

Neither hits their mark.

Your spear doesn't quite go high enough, instead smacking into the tree and bouncing off.
The spear itself comes apart on impact, strip of cloth fluttering away as the stick and knife clatter to the floor pitifully.

You don't bother sticking around to watch, though, already running to the elevator.
You reach it in no time, just as the whine from the loudspeaker stops, the voice coming back in.

You slam the card aga
?nst the sensor.

"This elevator is for employees only."

Luckily, the elevator door begins to open.

You hear a loud bang and swivel around.

"Please make sure to stay with your group!"

The aerosoul is on top of the fish model you'd used
?as cover, standing up from a crouch as the model creaks under their weight.

With a heavy thud, they drop to the floor, and begin bounding toward you at high speed.

"For employees: Please tap your badge on the sensor to call the elevator."

The door finally slides open enough.

You shuffle backwards into the small elevator, its button panel coming into view. 
The towering figure looms closer and closer by the moment, sprinting for th⠗⠥⠝levator door.

⎲ou fe⒠l⠎y⠕u⦖re bare
y ⠎tand?ng 

Show Content(CW:FLASHING) MAP:
Hit a floor, doesn't matter which one, and hit the CLOSE DOOR button. No one else can get in the elevator without a badge, so if we can get the door closed and the elevator away from here, we're free to pry the scrambler off our head.

...Or just pass out, depending on our stamina level.
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle I will stab your feet

[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
hold out the pepper spray. if they get to the elevator before the doors close, hit em with it.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
You hurriedly tap the down arrow button on the panel, then the 'DOOR CLOSE' button, pulling as much focus as you can muster in your dazed state.

You keep a paw in your pocket and grip the pepper spray as you hear the aerosoul charging for the elevator.
Your vision is hazὙ, continually shifting, but you can see their silhouette growing closer and closer as the doors begin to slide shut.

Just as they're about to reach the door, you pull out the spray, turn its top, and click the nozzle.
A stinging mist bursts out, coating the aerosoul's hands just as they reach out to grip the doors.

You hear a loud yelp as the figure crumples to the floor.

The elevator door shuts, cutting off your view as you feel it shift, beginning to mov e
. Y

You back up to t⁆
You back to t₶e opposite wal l It's difficult ₜo It's di↩ It's

It's dif⎨icult t⌕ think␛cle
think    It☹'s difY⟅ou it's It⨊s Th⬳nk⪹YⰨou
You can't You 
It's cleThe elearvlThinkY
ум? It s'
if  l ieE vcAoYr

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       't tT
[Image: AkOFdsR.png]

"Roux! Hold on a minute!"

"I'm not s
ure I can make it up there!
And those arms of theirs are probably dangerous!

"I'll lose them! 
...I'll... be back!

"Be careful."


You crawl as quickly as you can through the vent.

Your knees hurt from repeatedly slamming against the metal.
But you can't lose them. 

You round a corner.
Then another.

You can see them up ahead.
They somehow managed to turn around - now crawling through forwards instead of backing up.
But you're still gaining on them.

You're getting answers one way or another.

The amerveille cocks their head back briefly.
You see their eyes go wide as their pace picks up.

"Why are you still--?!
You got your little keys back!
Just take them and leave, you insufferable hound!

You ignore them, panting as you start to catch up.

As you get close to their heels, you ready yourself to reach out and grab them.

A loud clank suddenly rings out.
The both of you slide into the wall of the vent as gravity seems to shift.
You push against the sides on instinct, trying to right yourself.

Horrible, metallic tearing pierces the air around you as the vent rips apart in front of you, reverberating through your skull.

You feel yourself drop.

The vent tumbles sideways in freefall.
Your world spins.

A blue mass crashes into your chest. 

It knocks the wind out of you.

There's a splash as your head slams int-

Water douses your face.
You blearily open your eyes.
You can feel your arms gripping tight around something rough and wet.

Your head is pounding.
But you do your best to shake yourself awake, and focus on your surroundings.

You're in some kind of underground river, as best you can tell.

The water is rushing fast, and you're thankful you managed to cling onto some large rocks standing in the river, otherwise you would've been washed downstream.
The current is still testing your grip, but you're holding on solidly enough for the moment.

The only reason you can see at all is thanks to a strange, dim blue-green glow illuminating the cavern.
You look up to find the source, and find strange, bioluminescent objects hanging all along the ceiling.
You squint.
It sort of looks like fungus. Or... some kind of worms?
You can't tell. Doesn't really matter, anyways.

The section of vent you were in is visible further downriver.
It's propped up, wedged in diagonally against stalagmites jutting out of the water.

There's a large silhouette stuck against the vent.
You soon recognize it as the amerveille you'd been chasing after.
They aren't actively holding on to the vent at all, and instead seem to be slumped against it.

They aren't moving.

Further past them, way downriver, there's a massive, dark hole in the bottom of the wall at the far end of the cavern.
All the water is funneling down into it.
You can't see anything at all past the hole, just an abyss of black.
The rapids swirl into it, and disappear.

You don't like looking at it.

You glance to your left and right instead, looking for some way out of the river.

The left side is just a wall, but there's a gravelly shoreline along the right side.
The river is wide, so you'd need to swim a bit, but you think you can make it to the shore without too much difficulty.
It extends most of the way down the river, but cuts off about... fifteen feet or so past where the vent is stuck.

Beyond where the shoreline ends, it's just slick cave walls on both sides.
Which eventually lead straight into that black void.

The amerveille downriver looks to be in bad shape, and the vent is subtly shaking with the current, looking unsteady.

...You doubt they'll make it out on their own, unless they manage to miraculously wake up.

Whatever you're doing, you should do it fast.
You can't cling here forever.

Show ContentSTATUS:
We can't get any answers if there's no one to ask. Let go of the rock and let the river do the work of getting to them, then see if we can haul them to the shoreline.

They are bigger than us, but we can always drop them if we end up getting overwhelmed.
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle I will stab your feet

[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
Tie their extendo arms in a knot first. Splash some water on them to wake them up.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
You breathe in, and out, then let go of the rock.

You fight the current as best you can, but it's even stronger than you were expecting.
Thankfully, you don't have to cover much distance til you're lined up with the vent.

You let yourself drift and land against it.
You hit it harder than anticipated, nearly sliding off as you slam against it.
It creaks and shifts - almost coming loose as you struggle to hang on.

You manage to steady your grip, but the vent is hardly stable.
It feels as though any movement could unwedge it, and send the both of you downriver.

Any plans you had before fall out the window as you second-guess yourself.

The current is harsh, and the shoreline's far enough away now that battling it's going to be a challenge.

You're fairly confident you could make it alone, but you have no idea if you'd be able to reach the shore with another person's weight.
You're not even sure exactly how to position yourself so that you could swim while holding someone, let alone someone larger than you are.

And with the vent looking more unstable since you crashed into it, you don't have much time.

You need to act.

Show ContentSTATUS:
See if you can splash some water on them or slap them awake. You can still bail if you don't get them awake in time, but at this point it looks like their magic arms are the only thing that's going to get both of you out of here unscathed.

EDIT: It says to keep their airway clear. Make sure their head is above water and compress their chest/ribs so they can
Show Contentcw: unsanitary:
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle I will stab your feet

[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
Move yourself behind them. When you are directly behind them, hook your arm around their neck with your elbow at their throat. Then swim with your legs and the other arm. They will naturally float and you can haul in someone who is substantially larger than you are.

As far as the current goes, try to swim diagonally to the curent until you get near the water's edge. River currents are less strong around the sides of the river, so from there you'd have an easier time getting up to the shoreline.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
As gently as possible, you climb further onto the vent and scoot across to them.

You decide against splashing water in their face, not wanting to get any in their mouth.
Careful not to move too much, you lightly smack your palm against their face a few times. 

No response.

You take a breath to steady yourself.
Your arm wraps around their shoulder, and you begin to pull them down into--

The vent shifts.
It scrapes across the stalagmites and rolls forward with a sudden, forceful motion.

Your world upends as you're flipped forward.
You hear the pitiful, wet squeak of your body sliding off the vent before you're tossed in the river.

                   it takes you a bit to get your bearings, the rushing water not helping in the slightest.

You resurface, and find you're somehow still holding the amerveille, though your grip has slipped down to their arm.
You quickly pull them to you and wrap your elbow around their neck.

Blearily, you locate the shore.

It feels painfully far.

The dark hole looms at the end of the cavern.

Aiming yourself diagonally at the shore, you start to swim frantically, putting as much power into your haphazard strokes as you can muster.

You feel tired almost immediately.

But you keep at it.

There's a moment where it hits you.

Even as you near the shore.

That you aren't going to make it.

Fueled by adrenaline, you change your trajectory to fight the current more, desperately trying to make it in time.

You're so close.

The shore passes by in your vision.

You push for the wall of rock past it instead; there's nowhere else to go.

You reach out and grab for it.

Your hand slides across the rocks, but you try and clamp down as hard as you can.

Eventually your grip holds.

Your fingers hurt.

Your mind races as you try to figure out what to do.
You try to pull yourself forward a little.

You hear a yelp.

The amerveille squirms in your arm, apparently having woken up.

You try to tighten your hold on them, but they wriggle free. 

Your grip on the rock slips.

You drop into the current.

You swirl around, reaching out for something, anything to hold on to as you try and right yourself.

Tension catches on the back of your neck.

You aren't moving further downriver.

You instinctively swim up to the surface, then turn your head back to find a stretched metal claw grasping the nape of your neck. 

Cerulean's other claw is dug deep into the rock wall.

The hand holding onto you retracts, bringing you up close to them.
You latch on around their waist, allowing them the use of both their arms.
They grunt from the strain of your weight, but soon begin to climb sideways across the rock wall, staying mostly in the water.

It isn't long before they reach the shore.

You slide off Cerulean as they roll over and collapse onto their back, one hand on their chest.
You crawl up the shore a few feet, hands and knees trembling as you do your best to stay upright.

The two of you pant heavily, nearly in unison.

You're alive.

Show ContentSTATUS:
"Well that was nuts."
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
If there's no immediate danger, we should just sit for a minute. Maybe make some small talk to Cerulean while we recuperate.

"Nice arms."
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle I will stab your feet

[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
You don't exactly feel like small talk.
You don't know them.
And you aren't going to stick around long enough for something else to go wrong.

Get up, already.

You shift to your knees to stand.
Or, try to.
The second you try letting weight off, your hands collapse back onto the smooth pebbles that make up the shore.

You try again, making it to your knees, but stumble backwards as you lift up to your feet.
You end up with your back against one of the giant rocks at the edges of the shoreline.
Your knees are wobbling, and you have yet to even catch your breath.

Glancing around, you spot a dark tunnel cut into a nearby cave wall - seemingly the only way forward.

"...Leaving already?
Not even a 'thank you'
The amerveille is still on their back, but their eyes have flicked over in your direction.

They start to sit up, but the motion is slower, pained; Cerulean dragging themself against gravity.
"The way I see-
They wince and clutch their head just as they reach a sitting position.

" owe me."

Show ContentSTATUS:
Take it slow. We're pretty messed up according to our health thingy, we might make things worse if we get back up too quick. Oh, and make sure we catch our breath before speaking so the snark of our comment can be properly conveyed.

"Oh, that's really reaching. Good to know your metaphorical arms are just as long as your real ones."

"You tried to steal my shit, first of all, and then I dragged you most of the way to shore myself before you woke up and saved us both at the last second. I could've just dropped you halfway over, or not grabbed you in the first place. My math might be a bit fuzzy from the fall, but if anything, I'd say you owe me."
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle I will stab your feet

[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
Pay attention to your status meter. You both need rest. Just say whatever you need to to get them to shut up for a while and rest up.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
You really want to leave rather than squabbling with them.
Waiting here feels like wasted time, especially every second spent listening to this jackass.

...But, you do need a chance to rest, anyways.

You take the time to catch your breath first, trying to keep yourself supported on the rock.

"Wow, that is- 
You're really reaching!
You tried to steal from us, and I still dragged you most of the way to shore myself!
I could've just dropped you, or not bothered in the first place.
You owe me, if anything.

"And why did I need saving? 
Any guesses?

You glare.

"I've been through those vents plenty of times. They've never broken when it was just me.
You... are the reason we ended up in that river.
I didn't even manage to take anything from you, so why exactly did you feel the need to chase after me?
If you'd let well enough alone and just gone about your business, we'd both be fine right now.
Saving me from drowning was the least you could do, really.
And you couldn't even manage that without my help, could you?

They placed a metal claw to their chest.

"So, you owe me, clearly.
You could show me a bit more gratitude, you know.

Your blood boils.

Show ContentSTATUS:
Screw this, just leave them.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
"How the hell was I supposed to know the vents would go above a river? How was I supposed to know they would break, for that matter? It's not like they put up warning signs in this crazy death maze!

And don't act like you're perfectly fucking innocent just because you missed your shot at taking my stuff! I, for one, would like to know what the hell you thought you were doing up there."
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle I will stab your feet

[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
You push off the rock, stepping closer to the amerveille.

"How the hell was I supposed to know they'd break?!
Or that there was a river below us?
And you don't get to play innocent just because I stopped you stealing our stuff!
What were you doing up there in the first place?

They struggle for a moment, but manage to shakily stand, stumbling over before addressing you.
"That's hardly fair!
And I don't owe you an explanation just because you-
They faltered, eyes lidding as they suddenly toppled, the much taller cat collapsing on top of you.

It takes some doing, but you shove them off, Cerulean now clutching at their head as you stand.
You wince.
Your back stings, landing on the rocky shore not doing any favors for your soreness.

"If you won't talk, then I'm done.
Good luck managing that alone.

"Fine, fine!
Just... give me a moment...
They sit up gradually, taking it slow.
Once up, they turn to face you.

"...I wanted those keys - everything in those damn tubes, really - but nothing in those rooms would work for me, and the door was barred.
I'd still been trying to find other ways forward through the vents when I heard the both of you stumble in.
So, I just waited and... voila.
" They rolled their hand, emphasizing.

"I couldn't risk you two not letting me use the keys. Not everyone here is exactly friendly, you know.
...But I, more than likely, would have helped you both with them as well.
It would've taken more effort to re-lock doors after I opened them, anyways.

You give them a look.

"Don't assume the worst of me, it's not as if you know me.
And you can't say you'd have done the same.
Something tells me you just might not be the trusting type.

"...At any rate, I expected you'd be upset. 
I did not expect you to be so ...ferocious. 
...Or to react so quickly - my hand still feels off, for the record.

They sighed.

"Look, I've obviously been badly hurt from the fall - regardless of who may or may not be at fault for that - and I can't be absolutely sure I'll make it out on my own.
I believe I've more than proven my capabilities. 
You wouldn't be alive now if I hadn't.
I simply could use... a bit of... help...
For now.

The cat looks you in the eyes.
"Why go through the trouble of saving me if you'd just leave me to die afterwards?"

Show ContentSTATUS:
"...Fine. But we shouldn't stay here too long, just let me catch my breath and we'll get moving.

And if you try anything funny, you can expect me to be just as ferocious as I was the first time."

Once you're both ready, offer to help them up- judging by the health display and their performance just now, it doesn't seem like they can stand or walk on their own.
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle I will stab your feet

[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
Take some time to just sit and recuperate.
Ask them if they remember anything about where they are from or how they got here. If they don't want to answer, just let them know you can't remember anything either.
While you're resting, take a moment to scan the area for ways forward.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]
You don't want to sit here doing nothing.
You're just sore; you'll be fine.
You can catch your breath while you're moving forward, and you can recuperate once you're back.
Or if you happen to find somewhere you're sure is safe.

...But you can try to take things easier in the meantime.

But if you try anything funny, you can expect the same ferocity as last time."

"Duly noted, now help me up."

They reach out a robotic claw.
You take it and help pull them up off the shore.

Cerulean teeters on their feet, but manages to keep themself upright despite the unsteadiness.

Checking your surroundings, there's only one clear way forward:  
tunnel not too far inward from the shore, cut into the wall of rock.
You search around past the water, just in case.

There's the dark hole you narrowly avoided falling into earlier at the end of the river, and you can spot the broken vent you fell from far upriver.
Frustratingly, you doubt you could ever possibly reach it, even with Cerulean's help. 
It's just too much river to traverse.
Further upriver than the vent, you see the bottom of a waterfall that marks the start of the river.
Nothing else stands out.

When you turn, Cerulean is already making their way towards the tunnel, so you hurry to catch up.
As you head in, following the amerveille's gradual pace, you decide to ask them.

"...Do you remember anything about where you're from, or how you got here?"
"To this place?
Not a clue.
Why? Do you?"

You shake your head.
"That's what I expected.
I doubt anyone here does.
...Certainly no one I've met so far, at least."

The two of you round a corner in the tunnel and reach the end of the path.
It's a simple metal door in the rock wall, a dim lamp jutting out over it, illuminating it.

Show ContentSTATUS:
Have Roux open it, Cerulean should stay back since they're in worse shape and can punch people from further away.
Artificial lifeform/mechanical construct on a mission to obtain every armor type TCP and also maybe make cool stuff along the way

If you call me a bionicle I will stab your feet

[Image: WOxKePR.png] [Image: DGVV5eJ.png]
Take the lamp for light in case you need it.
[Image: 7ypC3K8.gif]

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