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Thread Review (Newest First)
Posted by knux400 - 11-05-2021, 11:04 AM
"I've been on the other side of this door, that skybridge leads into a shopping mall, which leads into an SDU hall, whatever that is. Through there is the fish museum and the mailroom you found me in.

...But if you've got a faster way to get there, I'm all ears. We can just turn around again if we run into a dead end or something."


Let's turn around and go back through Cerulean's door. Maybe stop and check out the power box on the way.
Posted by SHIVERS - 11-05-2021, 03:29 AM
"Hang on. 
Has Mantis moved at all since we've been talking?"


Cerulean quietly shakes their head.
"...They haven't moved in the slightest since I've been checking.
When you mentioned that interference."


Worry wells up in you, but you swallow it down.

"...Let's hurry, then."
The cat nods, and leads you through the only door out.






As soon as you make it through, your ears are assaulted by loud, mechanical noise.
Glancing around immediately gives you the impression as to why:

Through giant windows on both sides of this hallway, you can see massive, factory-like machinery going to work.
Sanding, welding, molding, cutting; doing various tasks along numerous conveyor belts which all seem to be floating within proximity of one another, out in black voids.
You want to check longer, but just existing in this room is painful.

You put your claws to the sides of your head, checking Cerulean to see that they seem to be having it even worse.
The poor feline has clamped their ears down against their head, wincing in pain as they barely seem able to stand.



Without hesitation, you quickly find the closest door on the right side, wanting to leave as soon as possible, but Cerulean stops you.

They pull you further down the hall by the shoulder, shaking their head.
You pick up the pace alongside them, hurrying all the way to the end of the hall where another door awaits you.





The both of you accidentally wedge in against each other for a moment, trying to push through as fast as you can.
In no time, you both manage to make it through and slam the door behind you.

Cerulean sits down as you flop your back against a wall.

The amerveille frantically rubs at their ears.
"Why does this place have it out against me specifically?!" They whined, groaning in frustration.
You shake your head, trying to get your bearings.
"...Better or worse than that music from before?"
They laugh despite themself, seeming caught off guard by your joke.
"...Somehow still preferable to hearing that awful music on loop."
"Noted." 



The hallway you're in is tiny; plain white walls and white floor.
There's a curved staircase in front of you that's blocked in as well, barely having room for a handrail.

Cerulean stands up as you glance at the other door.
They seem to consider their options for a moment.
"...Up, I think."


Following them up the stairs, you have to stop for a moment.

There's an absolute monster of a telescope at the top, pointed upward at a dome-shaped ceiling.
It's surrounded by all sorts of little monitors and various other electronics.
All the equipment seems to be off - keeping the room fairly dim save for some emergency lighting.

You can't help being curious, even if you know there's no time for this now.

Cerulean walks past you as you marvel at everything.
They feel along the back wall, finding some shutters that open horizontally in pairs, each one seeming to house a door behind them.
The cat doesn't bother with any but the leftmost one, which they open.
"Come on, you can fiddle with that later."
"Right."
Focus.








You follow them into the next room, which is pitch black.

You instinctively blink a few times, allowing your eyes to adjust.
"...I can't see my own hand in front of my face," Cerulean informs you as you see them indeed waving their hand.
"It's fine, I can."
You're thankful for your apparently-phenomenal night vision.

This is... a tunnel of some kind.
Must be a subway or train tunnel, as there are tracks running along it.





"You just tell me... where..."
A ways down the tunnel, you spot something. 


The realization hits you.

You rush down the tracks towards the concrete lip you recognize from before, passing another door to your left on the way.
"Hold on, where are you--!
Get BACK here you idiot!"

You reach it and scramble up onto the platform.
There's an orange power box to your right, but you ignore that as well.

Finding the set of double doors, you check through the windows to see a familiar skybridge, and past it, the mall atrium.

"I... I know where we are.
This is near where I left Mantis.
They have to be close by..."

Your hands are shaking from the brief surge of adrenaline, but you manage to unlock the doors.



Cerulean clambers up the platform behind you, cursing under their breath as they fumble in the dark.
"Fantastic.
But as far as I can tell, they're just west of the door you bolted past, just down the tracks.
Very close.
And a bit further... downward, as well. 
Probably a single floor."




"We can go through here instead, if you'd really prefer to, but I'm telling you where I see them."

Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by knux400 - 10-10-2021, 12:06 AM
"Well, hang on a second. We've been standing here talking for the past few minutes. Has Mantis been moving around at all?"

In the meantime, that sounds like a good plan. Head in Mantis' direction and see if we can't find a good spot for Cerulean to rest along the way. I don't like the idea of leaving them alone for too long, though.
Posted by SHIVERS - 10-09-2021, 11:34 PM
Part of you is still hesitant to tell them.

But, by this point, you haven't known Mantis much longer than Cerulean, even if the latter is much more suspicious.
They've had plenty of time to pull something.
Could be they haven't only because they're hurt, but...

...Fine. I'll bite.

"I can 'see' information in my head; for myself and others.
Mostly medical. Current health status, and any conditions.
It says you're exhausted, you have a mild concussion, and that rest is recommended.
That's it."


They lean their head back against the wall, closing their eyes as they draw in a deep breath, and let it out.

"So... not dying, then?"
"Not dying.
If this is accurate.
...Does that sound accurate to you?"

"Well, there's no way to really know, is there?
But... I am exhausted - I'm sure you could tell without using that.
Physically, it feels as if I've been run over by a train.
Beyond that:  
Headache, dizziness; that sort of thing, mostly.
So... I have no reason to believe it's in-accurate, I'll say."

"Better than nothing."





An idea hits you.
"Can I check something?"
"Hm?"
"With you, I mean."
"If it helps you rule out something worse, then by all means:  
Examine away, doctor."


Cerulean lets their arms go limp at their sides.

You move closer and crouch down in front of them, once again realizing just how much taller they are in comparison.
You push that thought away, though, and inspect their eyes.

Their eyes go a little wider and glance away from you, making them slightly more difficult to examine, but you manage well enough.
"...hard to tell, but I don't think your pupils are too dilated, and they definitely aren't different sizes.
That's good."

You stand back up.

Cerulean clears their throat as they start to speak, drawing your attention back to them.
They're sporting a blush on their cheeks, one that is quickly fading.
"...Good. Fine. Good news."





...You decide not to comment on it.
You don't have a clue what you'd say, anyway.

"...So, you're fine.
I'm more worried about Mantis, who you saw me with before.
There's some sort of interference, I don't even know if they're alive."

"They aren't that far."

"...what?"

"I can tell where they are. Roughly." Cerulean taps their forehead.

One like Mantis, then?
Maybe the same power?


"Alright...
You tell me where, and I get you somewhere to rest while I go after them."

"It isn't that simple."



They take their time standing up.

"Roughly, I said.
Distance and direction, not specific rooms.
I'd need to lead you there.
And even that might not be enough, considering how this place is laid out.
But I suppose I can try, and I'll look for some safe spot to lie down on the way."


They put their claw on the doorknob.

"Does that sound doable?"

Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 09-20-2021, 06:39 PM
"It's not as bad as you think, honestly. I mainly suggested the nap because I wanted to make sure you were as close to 100% as possible to fight off that eldritch horror. Didn't want to get you killed or anything. You've got a concussion and you're exhausted. That's basically it.

Really, I'm worried about Mantis, the green person I was with before. Something's interfering with my diagnostic for them, I don't even know if they're alive."
Posted by knux400 - 09-20-2021, 09:55 AM
"For myself and everyone I'm currently allied with, I get a little screen describing their current health conditions. There's a wiggly colored line that I think represents pulse or brain activity or something along those lines, and a short text description that talks about current condition and recommended treatment. Your description says- and I'm reading this verbatim- "CERULEAN - UNSTABLE: PHYSICALLY EXHAUSTED. MILD CONCUSSION PRESENT. RELATIVE PHYSICAL AND COGNITIVE REST IS RECOMMENDED ON A TEMPORARY BASIS."

"Does that seem accurate to you? I'm not trying to be snippy, I genuinely want to know so that I know how reliable this thing is. If you do have a concussion, I seriously think we should find a safe space and rest for a while. If you're worried, we could sleep in shifts or something, but I really don't like the idea of wandering around... whatever this place is... the way you are now."


While we're making direct eye contact, you may as well check their pupils. I'm not sure if amervielle work the same way humans do, but it's worth checking while we have the chance.
Posted by SHIVERS - 09-20-2021, 08:32 AM
this is bad.
we're going to lose this



and Mantis--





this is bad.
this is Really bad



what can we do?

what's the play here?




this is the only way forward.

we have to get through this
have to hope it leads back to them

and getting through this

means






"...We need to stop and rest.
We can't do this otherwise.
Do you think you'd be able to sleep for a bit?
I'll wait."


Cerulean doesn't respond, so you continue.

"...I've got a plan, for after.
Think I can weaken the Rank 4 piece with one of our Rank 2's, and hopefully upgrade our--"


A loud buzzer sounds, jolting you from what you were saying.

Confused, you look out to the board as it's bathed in a yellow light.















Your screen gives you the news.



                         GREEN TEAM forfeits!
                      GOLD TEAM is the winner!




Looking down, you see Cerulean's hand leaving the button.



Before you can speak, the floor drops beneath you.

You gasp.

You land quickly, now falling down a large tube, various colors flashing along the walls, disorienting you.

You try to get a grip or prop yourself up on the walls to stop your sliding, but they're far too slick.







It's not long before you're tossed out, landing on solid ground once more.
A familiar upbeat electronic tune rings in your ears.

You can hear Cerulean tumbles down soon after, and you scramble to get out of their way.
You stumble in the process, now feeling dazed thanks to the lights in the tube, but manage to get enough distance.

Having avoided a collision, you get to your feet.

The amerveille scoots over, sitting against the wall.













You turn to examine your surroundings, only to meet a translucent brick wall.

The screen from before is there, but all it shows is:


                                       Thank you for visiting The Colosseum!
                                                        Come back soon!





You tap the screen.

Nothing happens.





You tap it again.

Nothing happens.












Frustration swells, but the feeling melts away quickly.



Instead, your heart sinks.



"You... could've switched with me.
We're back where we started now...
...What're we supposed--"


"We aren't."

They point through the translucent brick wall, along the left side.
There, you spot the bridge you activated to enter the colosseum proper, which was now retracting itself.

Turning, the door next to you was different as well:  It looks heavy; made of steel with yellow stripes painted across it.

A trickle of relief soothes you.





"...then we should keep moving."
You waste no time going for the door.

"...How bad off am I?" 
You stop.

Their tone is downcast and faint, their confidence all but eradicated.

"You can tell, can't you?
That's your... 'power', or whatever you'd prefer to call it."




They look up, meeting your eyes as their voice grows shaky.

"Don't lie to me."

Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by knux400 - 08-30-2021, 07:59 PM
"...You know what? I suggested we stop and rest before, and that's exactly what we're going to do. Clearly we misjudged the type of game this was, and I really don't feel comfortable letting you fight any of that with a concussion. And don't try to tell me you disagree, because I saw the look on your face when that Rank 3 got revealed. At the very least, we'll have a few minutes before some kind of built-in warning system forces me to make a move, but I don't think it's likely since we're playing an AI. No one's there to get impatient. There's also the give up button if you want, but if we're dead set on fighting these things you're going to rest first. It's up to you."

"I think your tail's long enough you could use it as a pillow."
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 08-30-2021, 07:49 PM
shit shit shit
{R2: Down 2}
we need to weaken that thing
{R3: Up 2}
and bolster our own pieces.

Run this by cerulean first, since odds are they will have to fight the weakened monster this round.

Hand over the quit button ready to press the moment things get too bad.

After this turn, we'll (hopefully) have two higher-level pieces vs their (hopefully) two pieces, meaning the difference is in their two extra rank 1's. Possible to win but we're going to have to keep an eye on that other level 4.

Since Cerulean is our highest ranked piece, once this shitshow of a turn is over we should prioritise getting them to the other side of the board to rank up.

But first, before we input anything, have cerulean take a nap. They need to be well rested for the battle.
Posted by SHIVERS - 08-30-2021, 07:17 PM
"Take a minute if you need it.
Think about what we learned--"

"...We learned that I'm going to be cleaved in half."
"...Not what I meant."
They groan and cover their face, sliding down the corner to sit on the floor.

"...Damage keeps over time, so units can be worn down by attrition.
Same rank units on the same team seems to be the same thing.
So, we're up against... one more shadow, another wood and bone monster, and the rank 1 and rank 4 units are a mystery."

Cerulean sighs. "Yes. I got all that, thank you."
"We've got three flail spheres, one gun sphere that's damaged, another sphere that does something else, and you.
And, I can swap in if things go bad."

"...I know..."



"Our units move first and combat resolves immediately, before they can move.
So, we could interrupt what they've got planned by having our units be in a bad spot for them, or damaging one of--"

"Wrong," they state bluntly.

"...What?"
"You're wrong, I said."
"Enlighten me, then."
"My guess is that the AI's moves are calculated after our move finishes.
So they probably aren't 'planned out' until that point.
We have no advantage."


"...There's two of us."

"There is that."



"Do you want to swap out? 
Or quit?"

"...If you want to do either, then by all means, hit the button.
I'm not done yet."










"...I'll at least keep you away from that thing for now.
If you end up having to fight it, I at least want to weaken it first.
Our rank 3 can take out some of their weaker units, since their rank 4 is blocked.
As long as I'm careful."


"Well, you only have two moves, don't you?
Don't forget that horrible thing is only a space away from our end of the board."


You fall silent.



You've already input your commands.








{R4: RIGHT 2}
{R3: UP 3}


                                                        Commands accepted!
                                                                Moving pieces . . .

Cerulean's container slides to the side, now partially surrounded by two Rank 1 units.
Your Rank 3 moves forward afterwards, right in front of some enemy units.

"ROUX."


You watch the board silently, worry mounting.





                                                        It's GOLD TEAM's turn!
                                                                Moving pieces . . .

Immediately, the enemy Rank 3 unit moves down a single space, reaching the edge of the board.

                                                              RANK ADVANCED!
                                                       Gold Rank 3  -> Gold Rank 4

You watch as the creature twitches, its container starting to shimmer.
Its head lurches upward, as if looking in your direction.

It shudders.
Then, with a sickening crack, it splits in half down the middle, all the way down to the base of its neck.
The shimmering stops.

The twin moon heads sway independently, each forming new bottomless holes at their centers.

"...what was that...?
...about being careful?"










The new Rank 4 unit moves one space to the left, colliding with one of your remaining Rank 1s.

                                                        COMBAT ENGAGED!
                                                  GOLD Rank 2 vs. GREEN Rank 2

The containers raise to the arena.

                                                             S T A R T !

Your unfortunate Rank 1 robot fares about as well as you expected.
It manages to slam one of the creature's legs with its flail before being unceremoniously sawed into four pieces by the heads.


                                                           F I N I S H !

                                                  GOLD Rank 3 is the victor!

"Congratulations, this is a slaughter now."





Not done yet, the Rank 4 moves one more space to the right before mercifully coming to a stop.

It rests only a few spaces from Cerulean, who is now partially blocked in by Rank 1 units.


[Image: nHqVoqR.png]

                                                          It's your turn!
                                       You may input TWO movement commands.

You don't feel good.

Show ContentSHOW UNIT NAMES:

Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 08-30-2021, 02:06 AM
ask cerulean if they want to quit or switch. i dont imagine theyre enthused at the prospect of fighting an eldritch horror
Posted by knux400 - 08-25-2021, 02:15 AM
Take a moment to collect yourself. Think about what we just learned here.

"Okay. Okay. So. Damage is cumulative, and units can be weakened over time. It seems like all units of the same rank are the same thing, since both of our rank 2s had guns. So that means, what... one slime thingy, one crazy wooden bone flesh thing, four somethings we don't know what they are, and one big something we don't know what it is.

On our side we've got three flail spheres, one damaged gun sphere, one sphere that does something else... and Captain Extendo-arms, of course. And we could swap me in if you get too messed up.

Our units move first and combat is resolved immediately, before the other team gets a chance to move, so it's possible to screw up whatever move they're going to make by having our units be in the wrong place, or damaging one of theirs that's going to attack."

"...I think I want you out of harm's way for now. If you do end up having to fight that thing, I at least want to throw a couple rank 1s at it first to weaken it a bit. I'm going to bring our big sphere up to keep them busy, since their rank 4 is blocked in by other stuff. I should be able to take out some weaker stuff over there as long as I'm careful."

{R4: RIGHT 2}
{R3: UP 3}
Posted by SHIVERS - 08-25-2021, 12:54 AM
"If you've got suggestions, I'm all ears."
"No, no, you do your thing.
If you want me calling the shots, then we switch.
Otherwise, just do your best not to get me killed."



You input your commands.


{R2A: RIGHT 1, DOWN 1}
{R2B: UP 1, LEFT 1}




                                                        Commands accepted!
                                                                Moving pieces . . .


You move your leftmost Rank 2 piece over and downward, forming a diagonal blockade with your remaining pieces.
Your other Rank 2 makes its way upward, moving onto the same space as an enemy team for the first time.

The container stops just before touching the opposing piece. 


                                                        
COMBAT ENGAGED!
                                                  GREEN Rank 2 vs. GOLD Rank 2


Both containers raise upwards, stopping their ascent when they reach a height parallel to you.
A translucent floor emerges from the side wall under them as the containers move to opposite ends of the newly-created arena.

You can see Cerulean standing up on their tip-toes, trying to get a better view of the scene above them.



                                                            
S T A R T !

The containers disappear, revealing the opponent:
It's a near-shapeless mass of pure black, only a couple of feet tall.
It rivals the size of your spherical robot, but it seems to be... writhing, an incomprehensible motion coming from its surface.

Even looking at it unnerves you.

"...What the HELL is THAT?!"

Box-shaped armaments emerge from the sides of the sphere, which begin firing on the black shape.
It slides across the floor with surprising quickness, stray gunfire leaving a trail of bullets in the mass's wake.

The creature speeds along, shifting this way and that before nearing the bot, which backs up as it continues firing.
However, the shape is too quick and leaps sideways, splaying into dozens of writhing tendrils which grip around the robot's hull.

The bot's guns do their best to target the mass enveloping it.
They manage a few potshots here and there - scarring the shape's surface with red blood - but errant tendrils keep the weapons at bay.
Cracks ring through the air as the machine whirrs and beeps, starting to dent along its middle.

After a few more landed shots, the robot bows heavily inward and seems to shut off entirely, falling to the floor.


                                                          
F I N I S H !

                                                 GOLD Rank 2 is the victor!



The bleeding black mass slides off after a few seconds, and containers once again form around the two.

The robot's container rises upwards instead of returning to the board, disappearing out of view
While the black mass's container lowers back into its former spot on the board.

"...sickening..."





                                                       
It's GOLD TEAM's turn!
                                                                Moving pieces . . .

Immediately, the same Rank 2 piece moves downwards, colliding with the only Rank 2 you have left.



                                                        
COMBAT ENGAGED!
                                                  GOLD Rank 2 vs. GREEN Rank 2

Just like before, an arena forms as the two containers raise up.



                                                             
S T A R T !

Repeating its predecessor, your other Rank 2 bot begins its firing barrage, though it proves to be much more successful this time, landing many direct hits as the wounded creature approaches.

The shadow manages to bat aside the bot briefly with its tendrils as the sphere fires upon it, but quick work is made of the mass once the bot rights itself.
Surrounded in red, the creature sinks into itself oddly, creating what looks like a puddle on the floor before it dissipates entirely.

The Rank 2 bot succeeds, but is left partially damaged for its effort, sparks occasionally popping from its side.

                                                              
F I N I S H !

                                                  GREEN Rank 2 is the victor!

"I suppose trading isn't the worst outcome.
...And I can take those ...digusting things, if it comes to that,"
the amerveille assures you, not sounding sure in the slightest.





Back at the board, Gold Team's Rank 3 piece mimics its teammate's movement, making its way downward three spaces and engaging one of your Rank 1 pieces.

                                                         
COMBAT ENGAGED!
                                                  GOLD Rank 3 vs. GREEN Rank 1

The containers raise up and separate on the arena in front of you.



                                                             
S T A R T !

The containers vanish.

Now visible, Rank 3 creature is four-legged and surprisingly tall, a foot or two above Cerulean, including its head.
Its body looks wooden and almost mechanical, full of interlocking parts and pieces that move together, yet its very middle is pale and unsettlingly fleshy - something pink pulsing at its center.
Braces lead from its body to its legs, which are quite long and look sharp at their tips - a single joint at the middle. 
They look like bone, you think.

The creature's neck is almost as long as its legs, the same pale flesh extending up to a round head with two white, horn-like appendages on its sides
In the center of its head is a gaping hole, perfectly round and of an unknown depth you can't quite process - seemingly extending inward far beyond the entire length of the creature itself.

You try not to look at it.

The monster stands mostly still, swaying listlessly as if a gentle breeze was present.



Cerulean says nothing.










Rather than guns, the Rank 1 bot seems to only have a single large arm that emerges, a heavy, mace-like attachment at the arm's end.
It begins to rotate, the mace arm swinging faster and faster as it approaches its opponent.

The hole-headed creature doesn't move.



As the machine bares down on it - arm now swinging sufficiently fast enough to cause serious damage - the creature finally reacts.
Its head dips down low, facing upwards to 'stare' at the bot.

With the bot almost in striking range of the monster's body, its head rotates to the side. 
The hole on the front tints pink and shudders.
There's a small flash, and the robot's arm flies off.
It bounces off the side wall, rebounding to slam against one of the creature's legs, chipping off a chunk but otherwise not harming it.
It doesn't flinch.

You have no idea what happened.







The robot, now otherwise defenseless, attempts to ram itself against its opponent.

You pay close attention this time.

The monster's head swings sharply upwards, the hole in its head glowing pink once more.
You barely catch it:
Some sort of blade or thin tooth emerges in time with the swing to make contact with the bot, effortlessly bisecting it before rapidly retreating back into its head.

The two halves of your Rank 1 robot flop to the floor in a useless heap.


You see the color drain from Cerulean's face.



The beast's neck twists in an unsettling manner, its head shaking briefly before returning to its upright position.

With that, it becomes motionless just as before.


                                                           
F I N I S H !

                                                  GOLD Rank 3 is the victor!

The robot's remains are lifted out of the arena, while the Rank 3 container descends with the strange being back to its spot on the board.





You're down two pieces after a single turn.

Cerulean looks dazed.

They're up against the back corner of their container, staring dead at the thing in the Rank 3 container.



[Image: fixed_ps_img.png]

                                                       
It's your turn!
                                          You may input TWO movement commands.

Show ContentSHOW UNIT NAMES:

Show ContentSTATUS:
 
Posted by knux400 - 08-22-2021, 01:57 AM
{R2A: RIGHT 1, DOWN 1}
{R2B: UP 1, LEFT 1}

"If you've got any suggestions, I'm all ears."
Posted by SHIVERS - 08-21-2021, 08:24 PM
"Think I got it. Pretty simple, honestly.
Don't like not knowing how it decides which piece wins, though. 
...You're the only actual person on our team, by the way.
All the rest are these sphere things."

"I can see that."

"No clue about the other team."
"Well, if it's just more of those, then we have no problem.
I can take them. Easy."






You decide to move your Rank 3 piece into the field while intercepting their advancing Rank 1.


{R2A: LEFT 1, UP 1}
{R3: UP 2, RIGHT 1}



                                                       
Commands accepted!
                                                                Moving pieces . . .

Your pieces move up in order, fanning out slightly to the sides.





                                                       
It's GOLD TEAM's turn!
                                                                Moving pieces . . .


[Image: w3mk5Bl.png]

The gold Rank 3 pieces suddenly moves forward, getting between your Rank 2 and the Rank 1 you were trying to overtake.
An enemy Rank 2 piece moves up just next to it, forming a barrier.

"...You're sure you've got this?"


                                                       
It's your turn!
                                          You may input TWO movement commands.

Show ContentSHOW UNIT NAMES:

Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 08-10-2021, 10:27 PM
think about ball
Posted by knux400 - 07-25-2021, 01:03 AM
Let's bring our Rank 3 out into the field while allowing one of our Rank 2s to intercept the Rank 1 that's moving towards us on the left. We've got good odds of winning that fight, and I still want to know what's inside the enemy pieces.

{R2A: LEFT 1, UP 1}
{R3: UP 2, RIGHT 1}

"Yeah, I think I got it. It's pretty simple, honestly- although I don't like how much ambiguity there is over which piece wins in combat. I can't tell what's inside the opponent's pieces, but as far as our side is concerned, you're the only real person. All of our other pieces are these sphere things."
Posted by SHIVERS - 07-24-2021, 08:21 PM
"Did you read the rules? 
Looks like a strategy game."


Cerulean glances around in their container, and finds a small panel on the side wall.
They activate it, and start scrolling through with their claw.

Their voice comes through the intercom shortly after.
"I'm reading them now, yes.
Not very descriptive. 
Combat system, blah blah."
They swirl their hand around in the air.

"Hopefully you have enough to go on up there.
I'd rather this wasn't a slaughter."


You give a thumbs up.
They roll their eyes, turning to look ahead.





Curious about your opponent, you look across to the opposite wall on the other side of the board, and find a similar container to the one you're currently in.
Though, this one is opaque, and has text reading 'COLOSSEUM AI' printed on it.

Now that you think about it, the floating ball machines look exactly like the one you bumped back in the alley.
Same shape, same design, same everything, as far as you're able to tell.

You're not sure this information helps you at all, but you have it.





After a few moments of thought, you input your commands, deciding to push your Rank 2 pieces forward.


{R2A: UP 1}
{R2B: UP 2}




                                                        Commands accepted!
                                                                Moving pieces . . .

As you watch, the two Rank 2 containers move forward, one after the other.






                                                        It's GOLD TEAM's turn!
                                                                Moving pieces . . .

Your opponent's pieces move; a Rank 1 piece scooting ahead to allow their Rank 3 piece to make it out in the open.

You'll probably need to be careful about that one.



[Image: joC4HnB.png]
 
                                                        It's your turn!
                                          You may input TWO movement commands.

Show ContentSHOW UNIT NAMES:

Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by knux400 - 07-11-2021, 07:41 PM
"Did you read the rules, too? Seems like some kind of strategy game."

I think the best thing to do would be to keep Cerulean out of combat as much as possible. I don't know if their actual combat ability is what determines which piece gets taken or if Cerulean dies if they get taken or what, but I certainly don't want to find out. I'm also curious if the opposing team is seven spheres and one person like we are or if there are just random monsters in there.

Basically I just want to get a bit more information as to what the heck is going on, and I think sending our Rank 2s to fight the opposing Rank 2s is a decent way to do it.

As a sidenote, do the floating ball machine things look similar to the 'red orb machine' Roux saw way back in the alleyway?

Voting to move
{R2A: UP 2}
and
{R2B: UP 2}
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 07-11-2021, 09:36 AM
look to the opposite side of the board and see if you can make out whether the other team has its own commander container, maybe you are playing against a person

give cerulean a big thumbs up

then {R2A: UP 1}
Posted by SHIVERS - 07-11-2021, 08:22 AM
"Better not to split up--" 
Before the words even make it out, Cerulean is already opening the larger door.
"We should rest first."
"I'll live and I am not waiting in here with this awful music."

You begrudgingly follow along.




The next room is tiny and pitch black.
You can't see much at all until the door closes behind you, at which point text begins to glow along the wall in front of you both.

It reads:

[Image: Fp3I1LL.png]

There are four glowing handles on the wall below the text, in sets of two.

Cerulean grabs the set under the word 'SOLDIER'.

"No."
"Why are you complaining?
I'm letting you be the leader.
Besides, you have nothing to fight with."

"I don't have a concussion."

"...And I don't think there'll be actual fighting involved, anyway.
This place seems more along the lines of a family-friendly arcade than an arena."

"We should rest, at--"
"I want this over with already.
We can switch roles if it becomes an issue.
It'll probably be... paintball, or something.
So stop being dramatic."


You rub your temple, then reluctantly approach the set of handles under 'COMMANDER'.
"...This is a terrible idea."
"I'll be sure to keep that in mind when we blow through this in five minutes."












You hesitate, then grab the handles.

A loud swishing noises emanates all around you.

You instantly let go, frantically reaching out around to find that you're encased on all sides by some kind of hard, see-through material.
It's too dark to see more than that.
"Cerule--" 
The floor moves under you, nearly knocking you over.

Gravity seems to increase as you feel yourself moving upwards, as if in an elevator.



Finally, it comes to a stop, and a dim red light coats your tiny room.
You are in a six-walled, diamond-shaped container of some kind, the walls appearing to be plexiglass... possibly.
Running your hand over it, it feels more akin to metal.

You doubt there's any way you can break it, regardless.










You can faintly hear a banging somewhere out in front of you.
Five of the six walls in your tiny prison don't seem to have anything beyond them, but you can faintly see something below you through the front wall.

As if on cue, the area you were seeing lights up.
It's a large room with no ceiling that's ten or so feet below you, the edge of it just in front of the chamber you're in.

There are sixteen colored containers - shaped identically to yours - arranged on what looks like a giant game board.
The eight yellow containers furthest away from you are entirely opaque, while you can see through the eight on your side of the 'board'.
Seven of them are green, and each house what appears to be a small, floating ball-shaped machine of some sort. The sizes between them seem to vary, with most on the smaller size.

There's a single blue container just below you which your amerveille companion seems to be stuck in.
They strike the walls around them with their mechanical arms several times - which you recognize as the banging sound you heard earlier - before giving up.





Before you can process anything else, you hear something directly behind you and pivot on your feet, ready to fight.

A chair and screen - both the same red, translucent material you're currently boxed in by - rise up from the floor in the center of the chamber.
You walk around to check the screen, not taking a seat yet.

There's some text, some on-screen buttons labeled with more text, a game board laid out identically to its massive counterpart, and a command line at the very bottom of the screen.

The on-screen text reads:


 

                             WELCOME TO SKIRMISH !

                                             You may read the RULES at any time.
                                                          You are
GREEN team.

[Image: ck5njxT.png]

                                                      It's your turn!

                                          You may input TWO movement commands.



The text on the buttons read: "RULES", "SHOW UNIT NAMES", "SWAP" and "GIVE UP".

Show ContentSHOW UNIT NAMES:
Show ContentRULES:




Below the screen is an attached keyboard.

Cerulean's voice crackles through an intercom on the panel in front of you.
"This is a bit dramatic, I'll admit, but... hopefully nothing... too dangerous."

You step away from the screen, and you can see them looking up at you.

"...Try not to do anything careless."



Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by seppawku - 06-14-2021, 10:42 PM
catching your breath and then party of two sounds good
Posted by knux400 - 06-14-2021, 09:25 PM
"How about none of the above? We're both pretty banged up and this seems like a decent place to catch our breath."
Posted by Ignispark - 06-14-2021, 05:03 PM
It'd probably be better not to split up. Given the wait music though, this might be a decent place to get a bit of rest. If rest isn't really possible or amenable, then going through the larger door together seems prudent.
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 06-14-2021, 04:55 PM
together!
Posted by SHIVERS - 06-14-2021, 04:47 PM
You resign with a sigh.
"Fine. 
I'll bite.
Just be careful."


Cerulean seems to be finished, addressing your comment as they walk past you away from the screen.
"I'm always careful."
You roll your eyes.

Stepping forward, you see the screen just as it was before your companion used it, and tap the dot in the center.
It expands outward to form white text across the screen, as well as what looks like a keyboard.
It reads:
'CURRENT PARTY: 1


Enter your name to register!
'
There's a blank space with a blinking cursor, just above the on-screen keyboard.

You use the touch screen to type in 'ROUX'.

The center text is replaced with 'Thank you for registering!', while the text at the top changes to 'CURRENT PARTY: 2'
After a few seconds, the screen goes entirely black.
With that, the translucent wall of bricks seems to crumble away with a triumphant clattering, disappearing into nothing.

The bridge is open.





Cerulean stops leaning on the wall, stretching their arms as they come to join you at the start of the bridge.
"Let's get this over with."
"You could try to have a little fun, you know."
"I'm too tired for fun."

As the two of you start making your way across, a thought occurs to you.
"Do you like the music?" you ask Cerulean.
The cat raises an eyebrow.
"...Trying to see if anything jogs our memory."

Cerulean takes a moment to listen, putting a claw to their snout.

"...mmmmmmno. 
Not at all."

"OK."
You thought it was alright, but a little boring.
...You really wish you could remember more about your music taste.

Though, none of that's important right now.






You soon reach the building in the center, and a large door of various colorful mechanisms opens up for you.
You take one last glance at the tunnels moving around the building before entering.

Inside, you strangely don't hear the same music you'd noticed outside.
Instead, speakers in the room are playing bland elevator music.

As you're focused on the new tune, a sudden sound behind you makes you jump, and you spin around to find the door shutting behind you.
It soon looks as if it was never there, appearing as just a wall.

You instinctively feel along it, fruitlessly searching for any spot to pull back it open.



You find none.

Cerulean watches you, looking like they're judging you, though they say nothing.






The room is large, and has the same aesthetic as the outside. 
Bright, neon patterns adorn the walls, glowing from the blacklight above. They shift about, moving in a liquid-like manner.

Otherwise, the room itself is entirely empty save for three more doors; one bigger than the other two.
The smaller doors are right next to each other, and have text that reads 'PARTY OF 1' above them, while the larger door's text reads 'PARTY OF 2'.





Cerulean sighs. 
"You choose.
I don't care for either option."

" 'Either' option?"
"Well, clearly they're giving us the choice to split up or stay together for..." 
A specific word doesn't come, and instead they gesture vaguely at the doors
"...whatever this is going to be."

They rub their chin, getting a better look at all the doors.
"I assume the big door is more challenging in some way, since we're allowed to stay together.
And I'd normally say I'm better off on my own anyways, but potential head trauma may not mix well with this.


They clutch their head, looking to be in a mixture of slight pain and annoyance.

"It already is, all the music is giving me a headache."





The amerveille seems to shake it off enough to continue their thought.

"At the same time, you did nearly get me killed just after meeting you, so...
Really, I could lean either way.
So, you choose."

"...You're assuming a lot."
They look offended.
"Oh I'm sorry, were you given information I wasn't privy to?
Do you have a better deduction you'd like to share, detective?"


You glare.

"Well, that's what I thought, then.
So, go on.
Make a decision."


Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by Ignispark - 05-29-2021, 03:38 PM
In the ever famous words of some hypothetical person, what could possibly go wrong signing up for an unknown danger. (Seconding might as well give it a try. It does seem like the most plausible path forward.)
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 05-29-2021, 02:18 PM
Discover you have a previously unknown fear of dancing.
Posted by knux400 - 05-29-2021, 10:16 AM
May as well try it. There doesn't seem to be any other way forward.

At least the music here is nice. Are either of you a fan?
Posted by SHIVERS - 05-29-2021, 08:45 AM
You don't recognize any of the nearby plants at all, unfortunately.

You pluck one of the white flowers and lightly toss it at the electric fence.
It turns black and catches fire almost instantly, burning to a crisp in seconds.

"...Good to know."
You startle, not having realized Cerulean was crouching right next to you during your little experiment.
"Let's get moving, then.
Only one way forward."
They stand up.

"Hold on."
You pluck another flower and try the same thing on the purple barrier covering the other door.
The flower bounces off the barrier, but otherwise looks unharmed.
"Riveting."
"At least we know now."
"Still only one way to go, you know."
"I'm aware." 

You make your way in front of the cat and open the iron door, the both of you stepping inside.




The room inside is unlike any you've seen before.

It looks vaguely like an arcade or a bowling alley, in terms of its decor:  
The whole area is illuminated by blacklight, the floor covered in a dark carpet with brightly-colored shapes, and similar neon patterns being projected along the walls - seemingly from nowhere.
Though, the section of the room you're in only seems to be a small entrance alcove connecting to a much larger structure; entirely contained within this massive 'room'.

In front of you is what looks like a multi-story building, lit up with neon lights and shapes, shifting oddly to the beat of generic, upbeat electronic music that radiates from it. Various tube-like protrusions - possibly large tunnels - funnel their way out from different spots on the building, always leading to somewhere else along the wall of the inner portion of the giant room. 
They move every once in a while, changing spots to link up somewhere else.

A singular, stationary bridge leads to the building from the alcove you're in.
However, it's currently blocked off by a translucent 'brick' wall, which is changing colors to the beat.





In front of the wall is a big, black screen with the words 'TOUCH HERE' surrounding a dot in the center.
A large sign hangs down from the shallow ceiling of the alcove, just above the screen.

It reads:
'
WELCOME TO THE COLOSSEUM!
Please register on the interactive screen below.
(Appropriate for ages 18+ ONLY)`





"Well, this is...
...different..."

"...Kind of tacky."

Cerulean walks ahead of you towards the screen.
"Wait."
"Why?"
"I don't trust this."
"So?
I don't trust anything here.
But this looks more entertaining than the other death traps, at least.
And it's the only way forward, right?"

"So we may as well give it a shot."


Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by seppawku - 05-24-2021, 01:27 AM
toss a piece of a plant at the electric fence to see how strong the current is
Posted by knux400 - 05-23-2021, 03:45 AM
Let's check out the iron door first. Everything else seems too dangerous. Are there any plants you can identify?
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 05-23-2021, 03:16 AM
Throw something at the barrier to see what happens.
Posted by Ignispark - 05-23-2021, 02:49 AM
The bottomless pit, barrier, and electric fences don't seem particularly promising to start with. Carefully heading forward to the iron door, or checking out the plants that are on this side of the fencing seem to be the readily apparent options. So, perhaps take a look around the nearby plants with care, and then head for the iron door if nothing sticks out.
Posted by SHIVERS - 05-23-2021, 02:29 AM
You try to reach up and take the lamp, but it's attached to the wall above the door and won't budge.

You step in front of Cerulean, motioning for them to stay back as you prepare to open the door.
"You want me to stay back?"
"You're in worse shape, and I'm guessing those arms of yours can hit at range."
"Not if you're in the way, they can't.
Besides, what exactly are you planning to do if something shows up?"

"Handle it."
"How?
Planning on using your 'noble intentions' as a weapon?"

"...I'll be fine."
"Suit yourself, I suppose."

You turn the door handle, and it creaks as you open it and step through.





Inside is what looks like a jungle clearing.

Various flora - mostly large-leafed trees and white flowers - is scattered around nearby, but most is densely packed beyond the fences that surround this square area.
The fences are tightly-packed, with only very tiny gaps across the span of them. Being close, you can also very faintly hear electricity crackling through them.
Though, you don't see any sort of breaker box or other power source nearby.



To your right, the fences end, giving way to a massive chasm. You can see more jungle beyond it.
You don't really want to peer over the edge.

To your left is a shutter door in the middle of the fence, though it's covered by some sort of high-tech 'barrier'.
The barrier glows and pulses with a purple light.

About 20 feet in front of you is an average iron door.

Cerulean looks over into the chasm.
"...Positively absurd, the sheer number of bottomless pits in this place."

Show ContentSTATUS:
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 05-04-2021, 02:40 AM
Take the lamp for light in case you need it.
Posted by knux400 - 05-02-2021, 07:48 PM
Have Roux open it, Cerulean should stay back since they're in worse shape and can punch people from further away.
Posted by SHIVERS - 05-02-2021, 07:41 PM
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.



"...Fine. 
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:
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 04-16-2021, 03:37 AM
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.
Posted by knux400 - 04-14-2021, 08:25 PM
"..."
"...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.
Posted by SHIVERS - 04-14-2021, 08:05 PM
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-
Happened-
"
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 wouldn't 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.
Besides...
"

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:
Posted by knux400 - 04-14-2021, 05:02 PM
"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."
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 04-13-2021, 11:35 PM
Screw this, just leave them.
Posted by SHIVERS - 04-13-2021, 02:38 AM
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? 
Hm? 
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:
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 04-09-2021, 02:58 AM
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.
Posted by knux400 - 04-09-2021, 12:53 AM
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."
Posted by SHIVERS - 04-09-2021, 12:26 AM
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.

Focus.
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-
nn...
They wince and clutch their head just as they reach a sitting position.

"...you owe me."

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Posted by knux400 - 04-04-2021, 06:04 AM
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."
Posted by ಠ_ಠ - 04-04-2021, 12:40 AM
"Well that was nuts."
Posted by SHIVERS - 04-04-2021, 12:17 AM
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.











Disoriented,
                   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.

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