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File 145412712859.jpg - (265.88KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree_1a.jpg )
698163 No. 698163 ID: 3009b4

:: Reconnecting to Sami... ::

Sami: Guys?
Amy: I'm sure they're fine, Sami. You can't kill wild spirits.
Sami: Look, we don't know that for sure -- just nobody's succeeded yet. Everything dies eventually. Maybe twice in the case of the spirits.
88 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 774383 ID: 3abd97

Compromise as best we can. We keep moving, because there's no reason to make ourselves a target when we know curse reinforcements were inbound. Oscil keeps scanning as best he can while on the move, just in case. Start with Sami, just because if there's a curse hiding in or on her we're going to have to deal with that sooner rather than later, before they have a chance to do damage. Ami stays cloaked on point, and Sami plays bait a little behind, and Kitty will take a shot if it presents itself.
>>
No. 775295 ID: 54d288

yeah, scan and run, but scan amy when your done with Sammi, never know for SURE if we got the spoof up in time.
>>
No. 775496 ID: 54d288

You know, thinking back i don't think Sammi being scared is what caused the curse to lock them in the basement of the church; i think the CURSE was scared. Think about it, whats more opposite of Grief, Guilt, Sorrow, and even Greed? Then Love.
>>
No. 783562 ID: e136ae
File 148827326070.jpg - (323.84KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree19.jpg )
783562

Sami and Amy flee towards the bridge as Oscil performs a deep scan on her.

Sami's nervousness increases as the scan seems to take forever.

Amy: It will be OK Sami.

Sami doesn't reply. She just tries to keep focused on their task at hand. As they kick up dust, Sami can hear the vermin skittering around, just out of sight. She could always hear them in the village at night, the horrible, familiar sound going back to her childhood. Mostly inactive during the day, but at night she would hear them scurrying and searching, sometimes she'd wake up to feel one crawling over her. It made sleep difficult, because she'd always have that paranoid, unclean feeling of her safe place being under constant invasion by filthy creatures.

Those feelings had returned. She pushed them aside, she had bigger things to think about.

And then Oscil's scan finished.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: Scan complete. Sami, I'm afraid you are infected.

She knew it. She could feel the curse crawling inside her, under her skin, behind her eyes, in her hair, everywhere.

Amy: Sami, stay calm. Don't touch me you're infected. We just need to get to the bridge. You INFECTED me. Once we're clear, we can deal with it, OK? YOU INFECTED ME AND THEY'RE CRAWLING INSIDE ME TOO.

Sami isn't stupid. She knows her senses are compromised. It still hurts. She needs to get to the bridge. Once they reach the bridge, she can drown Amy and live it all over again, just as she deserves.

Despite being compromised, Sami can still think of a few options.

1. Protect Amy. Get her to cross the bridge ahead of Sami; with Kitty spoofing her she should be safe from everything. Once Amy is safe, then deal with whatever the hell's gone wrong now.

2. Attack the curse. Kitty... might be able to keep her spoof going.
:icon_haileymad:
Kitty: Maybe? I have an idea but it's expensive. Like 50 IP expensive, and that's not even doing the shooting.

3. Hold Amy, give up and die together.

4. STOP IT: _______________
>>
No. 784271 ID: b7883c

1. Make sure Amy stays far enough ahead to be out of arm's reach if the curse makes a move. If we attack the curse here more might come while we are busy.
>>
No. 785028 ID: 3abd97

It's okay, Sami. We fought them off when they got to you before. We can get through this. You have more on your side than you did last time.
>>
No. 785061 ID: 094652

Take a deep breath, and focus on the bridge. Use your axe as a walking cane to search for walls. Kitty, keep an eye on Amy. Oscil, find the fastest route to the bridge that involves wide roads. Amy, use rope or what-have-you to keep a distant link to Sami, she'll guide you to the decontamination zone.
>>
No. 785102 ID: 54d288

I vote 1
-Private-
okay, so the axe is ramping up her fear, we need to take her mind off of it without distracting her to much. only idea i've got is letting her listen to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWuPqD4s6Tw but im unsure if it will help or hinder. ill trust Moxxies judgement on this one.
>>
No. 786513 ID: e136ae
File 148917931413.jpg - (368.26KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree20.jpg )
786513

>>784271
Sami pauses and waits until she's sure Amy is safely ahead of her.

>>785028
She grits her teeth and resolves to beat this.

>>785102
Sami doesn't understand the lyrics and doesn't have time to enjoy it.

She's sure she can hear an animalistic howling, mixed with the scratchings of a hundred tiny limbs -- but no characteristic thump of a golem, so that's one less thing to worry about for the time being.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil (Private): The CURSE is using Sami to call the vermin towards her.
>>
No. 786530 ID: 3abd97

>Oscil (Private): The CURSE is using Sami to call the vermin towards her.
[To Oscil (Private):]

That... works for us, doesn't it? We're headed to the bridge already. If the curse wants to force us to replay pied piper, we can oblige and lead the vermin to their watery graves.

It's probably meant to be a traumatic invocation of Sami's past, but there could be something cathartic in turning it back around to do something positive with it.
>>
No. 786548 ID: 094652

Well, that's an easy fix. Switch to high-profile and run for dear life. Get the golems to chase you, and the vermin will scatter.
>>
No. 792377 ID: 54d288

running while fighting might be a good idea, don't want to get tired in the MIDDLE of a swarm.
>>
No. 794910 ID: e136ae
File 149186622594.jpg - (368.87KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree21.jpg )
794910

>>786530
>
That... works for us, doesn't it? We're headed to the bridge already. If the curse wants to force us to replay pied piper, we can oblige and lead the vermin to their watery graves.

Sami frowns and gets the flute. She knows how to charm the vermin and she's prepared to play piper, but she also remembers that once pulled from the grip of the town Nick regained his senses. The vermin might disperse, or being vermin they might still attack her -- especially the disease-carrying, blood-sucking Leapers. If Amy is on the bridge she might be placed in danger. At the same time, Amy might be charmed too if she's not prepared for the song.

1. Drown the vermin.
2. Let them go.
>>
No. 794915 ID: 3abd97

>>794910
Well, if they disperse, whatever. If they keep following you? River is safe for you, it ain't safe for them. You can lead them right off the bridge.

The biggest concern is getting Amy ahead of you, and making sure she doesn't get vermin ganked or drowned. In the worst case you could use your aquatic form to attempt a rescue, but it would be better to avoid that all together.

Are there measures we can take to prevent that? We don't seem to have very good selective targeting. (Although as part-fae, Amy might not count as a 'natural' creature to the same extent as the vermin).

Can we only cast phantasms on Sami? An auditory hallucination could potentially be used to shield Ami.
>>
No. 794929 ID: e136ae

>>794915
>Are there measures we can take to prevent that? We don't seem to have very good selective targeting. (Although as part-fae, Amy might not count as a 'natural' creature to the same extent as the vermin).
>Can we only cast phantasms on Sami? An auditory hallucination could potentially be used to shield Ami.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: Amy is both vulnerable and more resistant to the pipe because while she is mortal, she knows its nature. Even if caught off-guard, she SHOULD be able to shake off its influence but there's no guarantee. Additionally, we cannot affect Amy as she is currently being SPOOFED which essentially prevents her from being directly targeted by any supernatural force. She is still vulnerable to area-affect applications and as phantasms rely on the beholder she is also still vulnerable to things like the pipe's music. Neither she nor Kitty can be found by the CURSE however as long as the SPOOF is active.

You will have to make a choice and deal with the consequences.
>>
No. 794944 ID: 581efd

Try to get the vermin to drink the river dry.

Then electric powers.
>>
No. 795504 ID: e136ae

>>794944
The flute charms, it doesn't command. While charmed people see what they want to see, and simple creatures are easily duped.
>>
No. 795515 ID: e136ae

>** I posted to the Sami Discussion Ten Store that has Moxy elaborate on illusions and charms if anyone needs it before making a decision. https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/97520.html **
>>
No. 795686 ID: 3abd97

>Show mercy and potentially get betrayed 'cause they're just animals too dumb to know they're being spared, or drown 'em and basically relive the whole thing over as the Piper. Amy might get attacked by the vermin, she might fall in to the river, you don't know. There's no safe or easy decision, you just have to go what you think is right.
Okay. So, in those terms, one point is easy. The vermin don't deserve mercy. They're vermin, and both a nuisance and a hazard to mortals. Cleaning up and/or reclaiming this town would require purging them in one way or another, and if we remove them now, it denies the curse a tool to work with. A point towards degrading and destroying their capabilities.

And... honestly I like the symmetry of mirroring what happened before. Reclaim it, redefine it, make it something positive. A moment of control instead of helplessness.

Do it, Sami. We're gonna let the curse throw the vermin at you, and you're going to drown them. Let the curse unwittingly help us clean up the town.

We don't know where Ami is, but she's cloaked and (hopefully) ahead of you. She's safe from vermin and the curse, for now. Call out to her- tell her what you're doing, and tell her to stay ahead of you.

We'll drop her cloak once we hit the water, so you can see her then, and use your aquatic form to pull her out if necessary.
>>
No. 795770 ID: b7883c

I feel like the curse is trying to draw some sort of parallel between the piper vs townsfolk compared to Sami vs vermin, but the metaphor doesn't really hold up to a close inspection. People are sapient where these bugs are not, can be negotiated with or threatened where these bugs can't, and weren't actively attacking the faeries like the vermin attack you. Drown the bugs.

> Call out to her- tell her what you're doing, and tell her to stay ahead of you.
Good point; the curse is messing with our senses but not hers. Warn her that the curse might make it look like we need help or something but we will be ok.
>>
No. 796077 ID: e136ae
File 149227400231.jpg - (380.73KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree22.jpg )
796077

>>795686
>>795770

Sami shouts out a warning to Amy and hopes she hears it.

She is not at all comfortable with this idea, it goes against her better judgement but she trusts her friends outside understanding and begins to play.

The CURSE doesn't seem to interfere as she leads the swarm to the river. The illusion is simple; one of the smell of food and shelter. The vermin instincts' betray them and they don't realize their folly until the river has swept them away.
>>
No. 796078 ID: e136ae
File 149227408652.jpg - (175.13KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree23.jpg )
796078

Suddenly a desperate choking cry echos out from down the river and Sami realizes she has made a terrible mistake.

She throws everything to the ground and dives in after Amy.
>>
No. 796079 ID: e136ae
File 149227423020.jpg - (146.25KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree24.jpg )
796079

The river is a deathtrap and the current far too strong. Sami is spent sprawling under the water; she thrashes and struggles to regain some sense of direction.

When she bursts through the surface for a quick gasp of air, she can hear Amy's horrified screams ...

... from the bridge.

She's been tricked.
>>
No. 796082 ID: 094652

DIVE! You can breathe underwater, so get to the bottom of the lake and grab onto something!
>>
No. 796084 ID: e136ae
File 149227439743.jpg - (189.12KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree25.jpg )
796084

Sami finds herself lost, dragged along the river current, bumping into her victims just like before... and she feels utterly defeated.

She lacks the rage to transform because she blames no one but herself for her folly.

The river's torrent slows down and part of it empties into a swamp.
>>
No. 796088 ID: e136ae
File 149227466514.jpg - (261.87KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree25b.jpg )
796088

Of course, you can't drown Sami. But the CURSE isn't intelligent enough to take that into account, it just knows that the sensation of drowning is something Sami still hates and fears.

It doesn't have the ability to realize that Sami will transform -- conscious or not -- to being drowned.
>>
No. 796099 ID: e136ae
File 149227677894.jpg - (238.98KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChampterThree26.jpg )
796099

The swamp is warm and full of life.

And the remains of life.

There are whisps here. Dozens. Not hundreds though.

Not even quite one hundred.

Whisps traditionally flit away from travellers and often lead them off course, but these whisps begin to draw near to Sami.

One in particular is brighter and more purposeful than the rest, and it eases in towards Sami like dandelion seeds using their silken sails on a gentle breeze.

It can't speak, but it emulates a feeling and memory.

"Forgiven".

Sami shakes her head in disbelief, but the whisp repeats its message.

"Forgiven".

The other whisps begin to move in closer and echo the sentiment.

Despite it being her greatest wish, Sami's been living with her guilt far too long and she fights what she's sensing. The sensation is like having a festering wound cleaned; it burns and it hurts and the flesh underneath is raw and throbbing but through the pain there is relief. Eventually she stops fighting.

"Forgiven".

It's Rosemary, the best friend that drowned with her so many years ago. Sami is sure of it.

Sami floats effortlessly in the swamp for what seems like hours, just staring at the whisps and listening to them repeat their message. Her consciousness drifts and she is lost in the moment.

It's not until some creature within the murks brushes against her skin does she snap out of it and realize that she has transformed back. The whisps do not leave, and their echos don't stop.

Then Sami hears Amy's scared but determined voice in the distance. The sound makes most of the whisps dance away deeper into the swamp, but the light that Sami is sure is Rosemary lingers.

"Never forgiveness needed, but you are forgiven".

Sami: ... was that her soul?

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: Welcome back Sami. Less what you might consider a soul and more like the spiritual equivalent to a last will. Opposite of Curse if you will; it is the want of the dead for their loved ones to be at peace -- but the whisp you identified as Rosemary had a Redeemer signature. It was likely a Redeemer who helped arrange a last message, should you ever stumble across it.

Sami: Why here, so far away from town?

Oscil: This is where most of the bodies were lost, the lingering elements don't stray far from resting places. The innocent usually try to avoid the trauma of the site of death unless they've nothing left and prefer their resting places or locations of tribute instead.

Sami: ... will I ever see her again?

Amy's voice echos out in the darkness.

Oscil: I suggest you focus on the living right now Sami.

Oscil needn't have reminded her, Sami returns Amy's call and begins to move towards Amy's voice.
>>
No. 796101 ID: 094652

Glad you're feeling better, Sami. Now, get to Bill's house and trade that cheese for a well-needed bed. But first:

Oscil, scan for treasure.
>>
No. 796106 ID: 3abd97

>tricked / utterly defeated
I feel obligated to point out you weren't defeated, not really. You cleaned the town of vermin, which is a step towards fixing things and denies the curse a tool to work with. You didn't accidentally endanger Amy with your magic, and even when you thought you did, you reacted swiftly and appropriately to help her.

I mean, if she had actually been in the river, you'd have saved her, and that would have been that, right? How can it be worse when she wasn't there.

The only thing that went wrong is the curse tricked you into the water when you didn't need to be there. And, well, you're a creature of the water. You accepted this.

Drowning the vermin and moving to help Amy were both actions that would have helped people. That's a far cry from lashing out in fear and confusion and anger.

>curse isn't smart enough to take the particulars of magical biology into account
Well that's useful tactical data.

Also apparently isn't smart enough to take the outside environment into account and/or it isn't aware of what lies outside town.
>>
No. 796251 ID: e136ae
File 149235289173.jpg - (243.44KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree27.jpg )
796251

>>796101
Oscil informs you that things tend to sink pretty deep into the swamp over time.

>>796106
You really can't argue feelings.

Sami calls out to Amy that she should wait for her on the shore.

Normally swamp travel is difficult, with sinking into the mud being an issue but Sami is calm and allows herself to uses the water alter her body and glides to the shore. Her legs are now coated in thick, smelly mud and she pauses to brush off some of the more persistent leeches.

As soon as Sami is on more solid ground however, Amy sprints over to her and embraces her tightly. Kitty (Hailey) and Oscil (Oculus) nod at each other.

Amy: Sami, Sami... don't ever do that again.

Sami: The Curse tricked me.

Amy: I know. Kitty was able to communicate through the mirror once we were across the bridge but she wouldn't open any "channels" until you were out of range -- not that it took long once the river swept you up. She MADE me gather up your belongings and take them across the bridge before she would lead me to you.

:icon_haileyshrug:
Kitty: Pft, like sending Sami down a river would do anything.

Amy: Are you OK?

Sami: Yeah... I think so. I took a tumble and I passed out for awhile, woke up in monster form. I found the children's souls, the ones that the piper drowned.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil bleeps across Amy's mirror as well into Sami's ear: They're not souls. They're spiritual essence, basically persistent feelings.

Sami: Whatever. Found Rosemary, my best friend as a kid. She told me she forgave me. They all did.

Oscil interrupts once again across Amy's mirror as well into Sami's ear: She also noted that you never did anything to need forgiveness.

Sami: Shit Oscil, you can be really annoying.

:icon_haileyshrug:
Kitty: He's a scanner, that's how they usually are. All details and definitions and splitt'n hairs.

Amy: Well, you're naked and you smell terrible. We need to get you some place safe as soon as possible.

Sami: Told ya, transforming wrecks my clothes. We will need to come back though. Oscil, can you... can you remember the way?

Oscil: It's... not really part of my function but basically I can track our way back through the whisp signature.

Kitty: That means 'Yes'.


Amy gives Sami her cloak and they make their way back towards Bill Phooka's home. It grows very dark and becomes very difficult to navigate. City people rarely experience the kind of intense darkness that comes with night travel in rural areas, but both Amy and Sami are used to it and Amy especially seems adapted to night time travel and Oscil acts like a beacon to help guide Sami.
>>
No. 796267 ID: 3abd97

>Oscil informs you that things tend to sink pretty deep into the swamp over time.
And attempting to loot the bodies of drowned children might go over poorly. Not that they would have had much to loot in the first place.

>She MADE me gather up your belongings and take them across the bridge before she would lead me to you.
We would have asked the same, honestly. Would have been bad if the curse found a way to get its hands on those instruments, for example.

>clothes wrecked by transforming
Hmmm. We should have packed spares. Or used different selection criteria. Looked for something loose, that comes off easily when you shift, instead of being torn, maybe.
>>
No. 796296 ID: b7883c

By the way, now that we are away from town it would be a good time to deep scan again to check whether Sami is still (directly) cursed.

>Hmmm. We should have packed spares. Or used different selection criteria. Looked for something loose, that comes off easily when you shift, instead of being torn, maybe.
I think spares would be our best bet, since transforming in water would likely lead to losing the clothes even if you remove them during.
>>
No. 796703 ID: 094652

>clothes wrecked by transforming
>Hmmm. We should have packed spares. Or used different selection criteria. Looked for something loose, that comes off easily when you shift, instead of being torn, maybe.
When Sami shifted, she grew spikes on each shoulder. Maybe we could look into Oculot fashion?

You think the scientists will hold up?
>>
No. 797095 ID: e136ae
File 149272045157.jpg - (424.64KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree28.jpg )
797095

Sami and Amy arrive at Bill Phooka's a few hours later. When the fae opens the way and greets them, he finds a shivering, dirty, swamp-smelling Sami wearing Amy's cloak and nothing else. He reaffirms his reputation as excellent faerie host and quickly ushers them in and shows Sami to the bathroom where she is fascinated and delighted by the fact that he has running hot water and a strange kind of soap that suds and foams with a soft floral fragrance.

Sami has her very first bubble bath ever. Once the initial grime is gone, on Bill's suggestion she draws a second bath to soak and relax in. He explains he will get a meal ready and that he looks forward to hearing about their adventures. He asks Amy how her mother is doing and Amy tells him she is doing well and is very happy with her mortal husband. Bill clearly wants to know more but is patient enough to allow Amy to tell him over dinner.

As Sami soaks, Amy undresses and slips in with her. She kisses Sami and wraps her smooth warm arms around her. One hand glides down Sami's chest and comes to a rest on her inner thigh.

Amy: How you feeling?

Sami: Good. Better with you next to me. This bath is amazing.

Amy: I love the bubbles!

Amy rubs her cheek against Sami's.

Sami: Soooo...

>1. Is it me, or does that pipe look like a penis?

>2. Do you think Bill will mind if a couple of young women make love in his tub?

>3. I don't really know if I wanna try to go back into town so soon, even during the day. Should we try to see if the Piper's spirit is active or just go back to base camp?

>4. Discuss and review recent events, getting Oscil and Kitty's analysis as well as Amy's, and then bring this up with Bill.

>5. Something else: _________________
>>
No. 797099 ID: 094652

>1. Is it me, or does that pipe look like a penis?
Why did you ask this? But to answer your question, it looks more like a worm.
>2. Do you think Bill will mind if a couple of young women make love in his tub?
You already know the answer.
>3. I don't really know if I wanna try to go back into town so soon, even during the day. Should we try to see if the Piper's spirit is active or just go back to base camp?
Base camp. You've had enough supernatural for a weekend. Detox your horror with scientific explanation.
>4. Discuss and review recent events, getting Oscil and Kitty's analysis as well as Amy's, and then bring this up with Bill.
You do that.
>5. Something else: _________________
Fruit pies. Cinnamon-flavored fruit pies. Served from Amy's chest.
>>
No. 797100 ID: e136ae

>>797099
It was meant as a selection for next action, not 5 things to reply to.
>>
No. 797127 ID: 2e80c7

I'm thinking 3 mixed with 4.
>>
No. 797154 ID: 3abd97

>>797095
Even Ami's hair is hugging her.

>>4. Discuss and review recent events, getting Oscil and Kitty's analysis as well as Amy's, and then bring this up with Bill.
Unless emotional needs are more pressing, going over what happened is probably smart. You two are new at working together as a team, and figuring out what works and understanding your enemy is important.

>penis
If that's a penis, it's got a painful kink.

>would he mind
Probably not, although given his apparent fascination with fae / mortal relationships, he might be interested in whatever you two get up to, one way or another.

>>797100
Commentary is irresistible!
>>
No. 797442 ID: 54d288

#2 THEN #4 at dinner with Pooka, get his thoughts too, Then #3 probably should learn how to play the axe, but a respite from the supernatural sounds good too; i guess ask Pookas thoughts on THIS aswell. Always good you bounce ideas off more heads.
>>
No. 797467 ID: e136ae
File 149288758705.jpg - (368.90KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree29.jpg )
797467

>>797442
The overwhelming influence for Review and Discussion from the other players kill most of the moment for romance for Sami & Amy.

** Discussion and Review of Recent Events **

Sami: Let's go over all the shit that we had to deal with recently. Amy, could you get your mirror so the spirits can talk to you?

Amy nods and reaches over -- her mirror is just with her pile of clothes.

So when we explored the basement of the church, the CURSE locked us in. I thought the spirits were inactive during the day.

Oscil: Daylight acts as 'darkness'. The spirits don't sleep, although they remember sleep but what they do is more akin to just being dull and inattentive than actually sleeping. Since you are still cursed, your anxiety over Amy's safety is what caused enough of a disturbance for them to become aware of your presence.

Amy: I'm sorry Sami, I shouldn't have suggested exploring.

Sami: It's OK Amy.
>>
No. 797471 ID: e136ae
File 149288843968.jpg - (360.16KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree29b.jpg )
797471

Kitty: Gonna guess that they hacked the door to jam to freak you out. You freaked, that gave them more power to keep the door jammed. You freaked out more, more power to hold it shut. Vicious cycle would have trapped you until you calmed down or they got help. The flute countered all that force so when it gave it was explosive.

Sami: So basically, any time I go into town we can expect to be attacked.

Oscil: Unless you can relax yourself first. You are still less likely to be attacked during the day, and certain places like the school are still probably safe.

Sami looks down in shame. She knows that everyone has tried to tell her to be calm and yet she's been incapable of controlling her emotions. Amy slips behind her and wraps her arms around her.

Amy: It's OK. You can't help it.
>>
No. 797476 ID: e136ae
File 149289052463.jpg - (367.06KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree30.jpg )
797476

Sami: What about the golems, like The Rook?

Kitty: Takes a LOT of energy to hack those things, and multiple spirits. One good blast and they clear out. Probably won't work so well at night since it will be a lot easier to get reinforcements. I haven't been online all that long but I got access to Kittipedia and it says a 10 year old Curse can recover pretty fast, so hit n' run is outta the picture. We'd run outta ammo way before the Curse did.

Oscil: I would suspect that we would definitely be attacked by golems if we enter at night.
>>
No. 797558 ID: 094652

We need a strategy for next time, key points to focus on exploring, and five different escape routes. Now that Kitty and Oscil scanned a few areas, can they draw up a map so we can get to work on pathfinding?
>>
No. 797574 ID: e136ae
File 149294722455.jpg - (335.12KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree31Kome.jpg )
797574

>>797558
>We need a strategy for next time, key points to focus on exploring, and five different escape routes. Now that Kitty and Oscil scanned a few areas, can they draw up a map so we can get to work on pathfinding?

Sami: Nice idea but I know the town better than anyone else and really we don't have a whole lot of options. The Rook can probably plow through anything in its path except the Church and School and that's only 'cause it won't, not because it can't. There's danger in the fields -- which are on the way out.

Oscil: I can attempt to scan for Curse activity but since the whole town is cursed, it essentially evades detection through sensory overload. Unless I attempt to scan specific objects or people there's not much we can do to detect trouble until it has manifested.
>>
No. 797575 ID: e136ae
File 149294727061.jpg - (368.10KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree31.jpg )
797575

Sami: What was the deal with the vermin? Did they want me to drown them?

Oscil: I am not sure. Cursed spirits often try to recreate the events that made them.
>>
No. 797576 ID: e136ae
File 149294741269.jpg - (358.77KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree32.jpg )
797576

Kitty: Could have just been strategic. Vermin are a lot easier to influence and they don't require power to animate. A few cursed spirits can control a lot of them, especially the grites.

Amy: I think you were given an opportunity. Maybe a test? I don't know if you passed or failed though.

Sami: I think it was just trying to drown me, being the only kid that escaped before.

(Feel free to interrupt at any time; as they discuss the situation the updates will continue on their own until a decision is required.)
>>
No. 797581 ID: e136ae
File 149295455679.jpg - (343.28KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree33.jpg )
797581

Amy: Speaking of which, you said you found the children's souls in the swamp?

Oscil: Essence of the lost children. Souls...

Sami: Stuff it, Oscil. Yeah. My best friend Rosemary left me a message, too. That I was forgiven.

Oscil: Also that you were never guilty, but since you needed to feel forgiven...

Sami: ... she wanted to know I was.

Amy: That's the power of love, Sami.
>>
No. 797582 ID: e136ae
File 149295472377.jpg - (339.84KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree34.jpg )
797582

Sami: Kitty, you have an opinion?

Kitty: Me? On what?

Sami: Any of this.

Kitty: Nah. I mean, it's a Redeemer hack to set something like that up and it's not a good idea to fuck with them.

Sami: Do you think it was really Rosemary?

Oscil: I...

Sami: You've said what you think repeatedly. I'm asking Kitty.

Kitty: Probably. Well, not HER but she must have lingered long enough to get a Redeemer to leave a message for you. I don't think she could set up anything like that herself. I mean it's possible but only if you know it's possible before you die, and even then you need to be really determined. You Rollish types don't trust spirits -- not while you're living -- so chances are she had help.
>>
No. 797586 ID: 6dc8e5

>>797582
It was certainly from her, meant for you.
How much would it matter to you if the lingering message from your best friend was from her spirit, or just an echo, or if it had been a physical note left for you? Asking genuinely curious, wondering where your head is at right now.

[private]
Oscil, how long would it have taken for the Redeemer to make it out there to the swamp? I don't think we really have a sense on how quickly they work, but Rosemary would have had to linger in some sort of coherent form long enough to both meet the Redeemer AND to recognize that Sami was going to suffer from survivor's guilt.
>>
No. 797594 ID: 3abd97

>So basically, any time I go into town we can expect to be attacked.
It's hostile territory, we knew that going in.

The question is how long we can lay low before drawing their attention or being forced to retreat.

This isn't a battle that's going to be won with brute force, but by licks. Dart in, do damage, dart out. Building up our understanding and exhausting their resources.

And seriously, Sami, don't beat yourself up for having emotions. No one can help that. Being aware the curse is trying to use how you feel against you may mitigate the effect somewhat, but short of drugging you to the gills or really invasive magics I don't think it can be stopped altogether.

>Unless you can relax yourself first.
Relaxation, huh. Maybe next time bathtub happy times should be scheduled before going into town.

>>797575
If there are patterns to curse behavior, we can potentially manipulate it to our favor. For instance, drowning the vermin left them with one less tool to use. I'm not thinking of other handy exploits off the top of my head, but presenting the curse with opportunities to recreate things, or fall back on old patterns, when it's actually disadvantageous for it, might help.

>>797582
I'd think the message was from her, at least. Any redeemer with any sense would have to know forging that kind of message would eventually backfire in an ugly, terrible way, and I doubt they'd have had the right information to leave the message without Rosemary in some form.
>>
No. 797671 ID: e136ae

>>797586
:ioculusalarm:
>Please refer to the Discussion section for background information in regards to the recently deceased and Redeemers.
>>
No. 797683 ID: e136ae

Reminder, the active discussion thread is at https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/97520.html.
>>
No. 797950 ID: e136ae
File 149314725748.jpg - (430.70KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree35.jpg )
797950

As Sami and Amy aren't really in the mood for sex after their reflection, they clean up and then Sami goes to a spare room where Bill Phooka said she could find something to wear.

There they find two silky dresses. Amy is extremely enthusiastic and Sami considerably less so; she's never really liked dresses, especially not fancy ones as they're so impractical. She hopes that Bill only expects them to wear this for tonight and not for travelling.

After dinner of... some kind of good but unusual fae food (neither Sami nor Amy recognize it) they have cheese and brandy and discuss their reflections with Bill as well as talk to him more about their romantic relationship. Amy and Bill start the conversation with excessive discussion of the dresses, their quality and sewing. It's not until Sami has finished an entire bottle of brandy by herself that they realize perhaps they've gone a little overboard on the discussion of fashion. Amy is indeed a seamstress as well as a town defender. It should be noted that the brandy is more mundane and has very little effect on Sami.

>>797586
Sami: One thing the spirits asked me is how much of a difference it would have made if the message took some other form. To be perfectly honest, I don't think I would believe anything like a note. There's still a nagging bit of doubt even with the emotion I felt because I've been manipulated so much so far. I mean, it's as good as it's gonna get in my opinion but I'm still only 99% sure it really was from her.

Bill: Understandable, although I can assure you that the swap is well outside the domain of the curse -- quite the opposite. The Swamp -- aside from the various creatures that live there -- is spiritually a safe place with the whisps. There used to be a hag by the name of Jenny Greenteeth that lived there. She wasn't opposed to children's flesh but there was some sort of taint to the bodies that were washed her way so she moved on to less troubled waters.

Sami: ... and she was a friend of yours or something?!

Bill: Reporting to me is mere a formality. I'm essentially a court clerk.

Bill is unable to shed any more light on the topic of the golems or curse strategy, but he is interested in the fact that Sami repeated the previous events.

Bill: So you drowned the vermin, just like the Piper did.

Sami: Think it was a mistake?

Bill: Too early to say. I think a lot of it will depend on how YOU feel on the situation. You should think about this, because when you approach the Piper again he will surely ask you about it. I will say that you probably made the Curse a bit stronger and temporarily less hostile. Remember, the Piper DID drown all the town's vermin -- it's the Curse's influence that has caused it to become so infested again. It will summon more over time.

Sami: So it was a mistake.

Bill: You were washed down into the Swamp where you found the essence of the town's children. It might have been a mistake but you have benefited from it. They key will be how you view your actions.

Bill gestures to a small sack of coins.

Bill: I have to tell you that I admire your willingness to pay the piper. We all know that the coins are utterly worthless to him, it's the gesture that counts and I hope it frees him and you.

He sighs.

Bill: Sami, I think you will lift the curse and then it will be time for you to leave. I never really thought much of the mortals around until they were gone, and you made me realize how much I really miss them. You and Amy especially have me rethinking a lot of things, even my political alignment. I would like you to keep the mirror, and maybe visit again from time to time. I know it's inconvenient. Maybe I'll be able to see your children some day.

Sami and Amy exchange glances.

Sami: Bill... we're both girls. We can't have children. You know that, right? You need a man and a woman to make a baby?

Bill tilts his head. Perhaps he didn't.

Bill: Faeries don't. It's easier that way but we don't.

Both girls stop a moment to consider the possibilities and ramifications but Sami shakes her head first and says that their first priority is to deal with the Curse. They thank Bill for his hospitality and he invites them to spend the night.

>If you have any questions for Bill you can ask them now before the girls retire for the evening. Then you should decide which they should do first:

>1. They should return to camp. The scientists might be worried as they've been gone all night and they may fear Skyia's wrath if they think something happened to Amy.
>2. They should pay the piper.
>>
No. 797968 ID: 547d10

Amazing dresses, you look ready to win a dance-off!

Amy, compliments. Also, try out a pigtails haristy-

Kitty, that 'joke' doesn't work here.

Is there a way we can give the scientists a communication relay like Bill's mirrors? Maybe some kind of receiver for the flute and the guitar.

>Pay the Piper now
Not until you have the entire stash of money. Someone among the scientists may be tempted to steal it and then your debt would increase.
>>
No. 798226 ID: 3abd97

>So it was a mistake.
Only if you see it as one. You gained something of value to yourself, and the curse traded available minions for ethereal strength.

As keeps coming up, the curse if affected by your feelings. So how do you feel about it? Can you feel success or empowerment over having reclaimed something that was done to you as something for yourself, and having found a message of forgiveness? Or do you feel defeated for being manipulated at all?

I will say there's no wrong way to feel. Even if the curse draws some small strength from upsetting you, you survived again, learned more, and will keep coming back until things are settled.

>what do
If we had a planned rendezvous with the scientists we should probably stick to it instead of leaving them to panic.
>>
No. 798302 ID: e136ae
File 149330557756.jpg - (353.71KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree36.jpg )
798302

>Amy, compliments. Also, try out a pigtails haristyle

Amy keeps her hair loose for a reason.

>Is there a way we can give the scientists a communication relay like Bill's mirrors? Maybe some kind of receiver for the flute and the guitar.

Sami: Scientists are really wary of fae tools, I doubt they'd go along with it.

>As keeps coming up, the curse if affected by your feelings. So how do you feel about it? Can you feel success or empowerment over having reclaimed something that was done to you as something for yourself, and having found a message of forgiveness? Or do you feel defeated for being manipulated at all?

Sami: Honestly, I feel drained. I've been dealing with a lot of bad memories I've been trying to keep buried. Spending time with Amy was wonderful but I dreaded coming back and having to face this shit all over again. I'm so tired that all I want to do is finish this once and for all and then deal with how I feel about it later. I think the worst part is THINKING I'm over something and then old wounds just open right up again later. It's just one thing after another. I am really dreading going back into town AGAIN but I know it has to be done.

>If we had a planned rendezvous with the scientists we should probably stick to it instead of leaving them to panic.

Sami: Two of you seem to be in agreement and I think you're right. We'll give the camp a heads up on what's happened and then go see the piper. I think we're close enough to the original total that he'll be satisfied.
>>
No. 798344 ID: e136ae
File 149332679971.jpg - (180.05KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree37.jpg )
798344

Sami and Amy retire to a spare bedroom for the night.

The bed is stuffed with something Sami is unfamiliar with; it's soft but firm with a sort of slow give. She pokes it curiously but Amy just flops down next to her and sighs.

Amy: Just relax, Sami. Not everything needs to be poked.

Sami rolls onto her back and then Amy drapes her arm across her and kisses her on the cheek, causing a familiar tingle to travel down her spine in a lackadaisy manner. She can feel Amy's love -- real love, not the frenzied passion she felt with her other lovers -- and while it is comforting it also scares her as she knows the two of them will be in danger again before long and she's not sure she could survive losing her.

Amy must be able to read her even in the darkness.

Amy: Don't worry Sami.

Sami: I can't help it. I've been alone for so long. Not... not that I haven't had companions but even with my parents, I felt so alone. Now I have you. And now there's things that are going to try to tear you from me and I hate it. I'd do anything to keep you safe.

Amy is quiet for a bit and just runs her fingers down Sami's arm.

Amy: I don't want you to think of yourself as disposable.

Sami: What do you mean?

Amy: You know exactly what I mean. You wanted to go back alone. You sent me on ahead. You had your guardians shield me and left yourself vulnerable. You think you don't matter, and that's it's OK if you get yourself killed and leave me without the only woman who's ever really loved me back. Stop it. I've been alone a lot longer than you have, Sami. You had the option of being 'normal'. You could be with men. I never had that.

Sami: Well, men never...

Amy: That doesn't matter, you still had the OPTION. I never did. All the women in Welser just live the lie and pretend to be normal wives and sometimes they seek me out because they know I'll keep their secret. But I'm just a release to them. I thought maybe I was just an experiment to you, like I was to them. Then you showed that you didn't care what anyone else thought.

Sami: It...

Amy: It's easier for you because you're not from Welser, I know. What about after we beat this thing, Sami?

Sami is quiet.

Amy: You're not sure if we can. You're thinking you're going to die here because you were supposed to, because you don't have any faith. I have faith. I believe we are going to beat this. And I want to think about what we're going to do once this is all done.

Sami is quiet for several moments.

Sami: I guess I'd have to bring you back to meet my parents.

Amy squeezes Sami's arm.

Amy: ...Really?

Sami: Well, yeah. I mean we're going to... well... you'd be my girl I guess. My uhh...

... husband-wife?

Amy bursts into a fit of giggles.

Amy: HUSBAND-WIFE? Really Sami?

Sami shrugs helplessly in her loss for words.

Amy: The Gaelish term is "Unoo-us" ("Unique Choice"). The "Off-mate". The socially
acceptable extra martial lover of the same gender.

Sami: Shit, I've gone all clopper now?

Amy: Don't be so rude. Also I'm going to tell you right now you BETTER NOT go find yourself a husband and think I'm going to be happy as the off-mate.

Sami: That never crossed my mind. Do they have a term when a person only has an off-mate?

Amy: It's generally not socially acceptable to only have an off-mate. Everyone gets expected to have children with only a few exceptions. Although if what Bill said is true...

Her voice trails off and she smirks mischievously.

Sami: What?

Amy: I would LOVE to have a child with you Sami. I'd love to see the looks on all those faces who told me that I'd never have children without a man so I'd better stop being silly. I'd love to a have ten children with you!

Sami looks at her incredulously and Amy just nibbles her ear in response, causing Sami to shiver.

Amy: My love, you need to relax.

Amy continues to nibble Sami's ear and then whispers something unintelligble into it. She moves down her neck and pauses to kiss her.


What shall you do?

1. Give them privacy and return in the morning.
2. "Assist" wordlessly (NSFW)
>>
No. 798348 ID: 094652

>>798344
>Disposable
You heard Amy; she NEEDS you, and she can't replace you. By definition, you're not disposable.

>Husband-Wife
Term for humans is Wife and Wife, and children call their parents Mother and Other-Mother.

>Kids
I'd suggest you adopt someone, but your world's population isn't in the billions so just grow a-

>Ten kids
Please limit yourselves. Remember, you're going to be in debt for a while once you literally pay the piper. Ten thousand years of history have shown that you need an appropriate (but not excessive) budget and a basic plan OR strategy, to raise intelligent children and not spoiled brats.

>Watch?
Nah, we have willing sources to acquire visions of debauchery from.

See you tomorrow, kids.
>>
No. 798399 ID: 3abd97

>You wanted to go back alone. You sent me on ahead. You had your guardians shield me and left yourself vulnerable. You think you don't matter, and that's it's OK if you get yourself killed and leave me without the only woman who's ever really loved me back.
Probably shouldn't address this till morning, but we can use the mirror to talk to Ami later: maybe Sami was thinking that, but we were involved in that decision and we weren't. It was risk mitigation- the curse is savvy enough to recognize it could hurt Sami by threatening a loved one or turning a loved one against her.

We shielded you because we judged it would be a hell of a lot harder for Sami to deal with you being cursed than if they hit her again. We needed her not worried for your safety. (And we had promised).

>1. Give them privacy and return in the morning.
>2. "Assist" wordlessly (NSFW)
I wouldn't object to a sex scene but stepping in to assist unasked and unexpected seems a hell of a lot creepier than incidental narrative voyeurism. (At least, if we're doing anything past using phantasm to holodeck up mood lighting and such).
>>
No. 798413 ID: e136ae

>>798399
AUTHOR NOTE:
It's an abstracted way of saying there'd be a sex scene ala Coxwette, with comments and suggestions having a chance of dictating what happens without the usual "Sami talks directly to you" interface. I mostly put it in just to judge TGChan interest.
>>
No. 798552 ID: 900be4

-Private-
defiantly give them their privacy, we're not here just watching the story unfurl, we're "helping", invested in the characters almost, maybe even exactly like they were real!
(on a side note, we know so LITTLE about how even THIS universe works how can we be sure they ARN'T real?)
They deserve their "alone time", as anyone who would want to be just for them does.
>>
No. 800019 ID: e136ae
File 149410131750.jpg - (418.24KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree38.jpg )
800019

The next morning, Bill gives Sami what he deems a more appropriate travelling outfit and a satchel of the agreed on gold. After the lovers briefly discuss a little more on the mechanics of love at Bill's request over breakfast, they head out to camp to report in. Dr. Korez and the rest of the crew are sitting by the fire. They've just cleaned up from breakfast.

Dr. Korez:: Sami! Amy! We were worried!

Sami: Yeah, I know. We're OK, it's just that there were complications.

Sami feels Dr. Korez's gaze on her outfit.

Sami: Said complications involved The Rook, my past, and being washed into the swamp.

The camp is quiet.

Sami: There's a friendly fae by the name of Bill Phooka who gave me a new set of clothes.

The camp resonates with understanding in the forms of comprehending "Ahhs" and muted chuckles.

Amy: I think she looks handsome!

There are more muted chuckles and a flash of irritation from Amy does nothing to silence it.

Sami: Handsome or not, this is only slightly less practical for adventuring than the dresses he sent us here with. I mean, it's really comfortable but I have a feeling it's gonna catch on something eventually.

Dr. Korez:: Do you mind if I ask if it's silk?

Sami: Feels like it.

Amy: Could be. Fae have a way with insects, they're easy to control.

Dr. Korez:: Just wondering if we could analyze part of it at some time. Also, what happened when you placed the device?

Sami: Placement went just fine. We put it in the church, figured it should pick up something.

Dr. Korez:: I hate to ask but...

Sami looks grim.

Sami: Yeah, I know. We'll have to go back to check on it. We have to go back regardless.

Dr. Korez:: Do you want an escort?

Amy: I don't think that would be wise, especially anyone's from Rollen. The Curse is much stronger than anything I've encountered before.

Sami: The tricks we've got for defence barely cover ourselves, I'm afraid we'd lose anyone else.

Dr. Korez:: Do you mind if I ask what tricks?

Sami pauses and looks at Amy. She nods.

Sami: I've got spirit guides. One of them can shield a person.

Dr. Korez looks excited, then glum.

Dr. Korez:: If they're here with you now, it means our devices are useless.

Sami: Ummm...

Oscil: He strikes me as having an open mind. You can tell him.

Sami: My one friend says that they should work, actually -- but our little spirits aren't enough to register on it.

That seems to cheer Dr. Korez up somewhat.

Dr. Korez:: Well, if you don't mind placing a few more, we can make some adjustments. Also if you don't mind me saying so, it doesn't do us a lot of good to have devices that can only detect something as powerful as Curse, not really. We'd prefer to have something that could maybe detect the presence of your friends.

Oscil: I'm afraid we can't offer much advice there -- it's like a deaf man trying to teach a blind man about colour. Too many gaps.

Sami: Anyhow, doesn't bug me what you want to do, we have our work cut out for us.

You may suggest retrieving specific gear or actions to do with camp now; otherwise Sami will change into her old outfit and she and Amy will head off towards the Piper.
>>
No. 800114 ID: 094652

Our primary concern is the absurdly high profile you have in relation to the curse - curse spirits can find you the moment you step in town, hijack the nearest golem, and pilot it directly though buildings just to flatten you.

We need an alternate strategy. Rooftops and tunnels don't work, because the curse spirits can hack you directly and affect your movement, causing you to lose balance or get lost. Could the scientists alter their black boxes somehow so that it sets off a jamming signal to prevent the curse from pinpointing your exact location? It doesn't have to be perfect, if you get more than one you can tie the other to a random vermin and let it scurry around to send multiple signals, forcing the curse spirits to split up or guess one at a time.
>>
No. 800230 ID: 634645

i cant remember if letting someone else hold your axe is bad or not. But if not let Amy carry the axe for awhile, it ramps up your emotions to extremes. Try to find anything else you can use as a weapon(other then the axe).

on a side note komes idea would be pretty good if these guys knew what they were doing, but im pretty sure even they admit they're guessing at the moment.
>>
No. 800329 ID: 3abd97

>Just wondering if we could analyze part of it at some time.
Don't see why not, though it might be rude to damage a borrowed or gifted outfit. We'd just have to be careful where they take samples from.

>We'd prefer to have something that could maybe detect the presence of your friends.
Well, they're welcome to try detecting us if they have the tools, but we don't have much practical advice as to how they could develop tools to do so.

I'm afraid practical concerns like dealing with the curse take priority over long-shot research goals, though.

Oscil, could we maybe make an emissions spike that would be easier for them to pick up, and slowly dial it down? Figure out where their lower threshold is.

>You may suggest retrieving specific gear
Do we have a cache of spar gear here at camp?

Nothing jumps to mind unless we want to bring one of their sensor things to see the Piper.
>>
No. 800835 ID: e136ae
File 149439567867.jpg - (205.05KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree39.jpg )
800835

>i cant remember if letting someone else hold your axe is bad or not. But if not let Amy carry the axe for awhile, it ramps up your emotions to extremes. Try to find anything else you can use as a weapon(other then the axe).

Amy's emotions will also be amped up. She's just been under a lot less stress lately.

>on a side note komes idea would be pretty good if these guys knew what they were doing, but im pretty sure even they admit they're guessing at the moment.

Sami, Amy and the avatars have to agree with you.

>Oscil, could we maybe make an emissions spike that would be easier for them to pick up, and slowly dial it down? Figure out where their lower threshold is.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: No, neither I nor Kitty have near enough power to direct such physical devices.

>Do we have a cache of spar gear here at camp?
Sami dropped her pack before jumping into the river which Amy retrieved. The camp has a variety of items -- food, tea, basic weapons -- but nothing Sami thinks would be effective against golems.

>Nothing jumps to mind unless we want to bring one of their sensor things to see the Piper.

That sounds like a good idea to Sami; she mentions it to the scientists and they are excited about the idea of testing it against a non-physical but non-hostile spirit.

Sami is happy to be back in her old clothes again; Amy is less thrilled but openly admits that Bill's outfit is completely unsuitable for adventure.

They head to visit the Piper's ghost, devices in tow. Better yet, giving the results to the scientists will be far less dangerous than retrieving the device from the church.
>>
No. 800838 ID: 094652

I just noticed your cheeks puffed out today, you seem calmer now. The others are too polite to say this, so I will: you really need to work on your calorie intake, when we see your jaw bones you look like Latchkey Catherine after five hundred grams of weed.

... Guys, that's your cue for the straight man retort.

But yes, be sure to place the black boxes in various positions and mediums - put one in the water under the bridge, one on the bridge, one where you leaped at Piper, etc.
>>
No. 800996 ID: 3abd97

>>800835
Don't worry Ami, you'll get to play dress up again. Sami's nature means she's going to be prone to wardrobe malfunctions.

>Better yet, giving the results to the scientists will be far less dangerous than retrieving the device from the church.
Well, presumably, we'll retrieve that one eventually. Clearing out the curse will probably require more trips to town, and in the worst case it can be recovered when the town is clean.
>>
No. 801945 ID: e136ae
File 149487917079.jpg - (435.98KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree40.jpg )
801945

Sami and Amy return to the Piper's bridge. As they approach, one of the black boxes they're carrying quietly puffs. The device has triggered; something that should make the scientists happy.

Oscil: The Piper is awake.

Sami knows. She drops the cache of coins in offering.

The air grows cool and the waters beneath the bridge churn while a shimmering in the air begins to take form.

The Piper: You've returned.

Sami: I've brought your tribute.

The Piper ignores it: How did it feel, Sami?

Sami: It felt wrong.

The Piper pauses and cocks its ghostly head to one side.

The Piper: Then why did you do it?

Sami: I was acting on advice from some friends. They hadn't steered me wrong yet. Not really.

The Piper: I did not expect this answer.

Sami shrugs.

Sami: It's the one you're getting. I knew the Curse was messing with me, and I know it can't touch my friends the way it does me. So I went with their advice, and I repeated the events of my childhood.

The Piper: What did you learn?

Sami: That the spirit of my childhood rests in the same swamp their bodies were lost in.

The Piper: I ... did not expect this answer.

Sami: How did you feel, when you piped us into the river?

The Piper stares at Sami curiously.

The Piper: ... I don't remember. Curious. Maybe I had hoped you could shed some light on why I did what I did, but ... you were just acting on advice? Quite the gamble.

Sami: In my heart, I felt I should have let them go. That even though they were just beasts, that they were just another set of victims of the Curse, and that they would have just left. My friends thought that the Curse was perhaps trying to draw a parallel between them and my people, but thought that it wasn't applicable because the vermin weren't sentient. But removing the vermin would weaken the Curses's resources, so that we should play along.

The Piper: Interesting.

Sami[/b]: Yes?

The Piper: I think I had similar reasons when I lead the children into the river, minus the curse. That they were not people, not proper people, and so it was just a more clever kind of vermin I was drowning.

Sami[/b]: And?

The Piper: I was wrong. I think your friends meant well but they were wrong too. You've strengthened the Curse by repeating the events. It might act less directly hateful to you but I think it will try to manipulate you again. I ...

The Piper looks at the gold.

The Piper: ... I will not allow this to happen. You are a good person, Sami. You are the only one trying to pay the debts. You paid the debts of those who ruined your childhood, and now you are working to pay my debt by lifting the curse. I cannot stand by and let you do this alone any longer.

Amy: What are you going to do, ghost?

The piper reaches into himself, and a sensation of pulling and wrenching seems to echo across the Sami's face. A sensation of pain that slowly reaches intensity, like pulling a tooth. It reaches a peak and almost with a pop, it is done and a wave of relief washes over both her and the spirit.

The Piper hands Sami a luminescent orb, no bigger than a pearl.

The Piper: It is all I know of the Siren's Axe. It is my memory pearl. Swallow it, and you will understand how to play. The Siren's Axe will sing to those of doomed form, and they will follow you.

Sami does as she's instructed, before Amy can say anything.

The Piper did not lie.

Amy: Sami?

Sami takes the Axe and feels its form shift. It's no longer so large or overbearing, and as runs her fingers across its translucent strings she feels it submit to her like she first did to Amy. Her eyes glow softly and she begins to play a simple melody. The sound of the guitar -- electric, amplified and distorted -- fills the air and seems to be coming from all around them. It sings beautifully.

Sami: I think we're ready.
>>
No. 801947 ID: 094652

This is going to be EPIC.

But first, preparations. Find a relatively strong Rook in a cluster of weaker golems, then sing a trojan virus directly into the stronger one. Take a few moments to rest, measure the amount of time it takes for the Rook to start thinking it's in the middle of a money spider nest, and hack the remaining golems as they defend against the Rook.

War on.
>>
No. 801968 ID: 3abd97

>>801945
Rock on, Sami.

Well, that neatly counters the rook and other golems, which were the curse's most fearsome remaining assets.

What's our next objective, though? The piper has been paid, and you can now more safely enter town, but what do we need to do to cleanse it further?
>>
No. 802109 ID: e136ae
File 149491365999.jpg - (240.88KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree41.jpg )
802109

>But first, preparations. Find a relatively strong Rook in a cluster of weaker golems, then sing a trojan virus directly into the stronger one. Take a few moments to rest, measure the amount of time it takes for the Rook to start thinking it's in the middle of a money spider nest, and hack the remaining golems as they defend against the Rook.

Sami: No, that's pointless.

>Well, that neatly counters the rook and other golems, which were the curse's most fearsome remaining assets.

?What's our next objective, though? The piper has been paid, and you can now more safely enter town, but what do we need to do to cleanse it further?

Sami: Don't you know? I thought you spirits of all people would recognize what to do next based on the nature of the Siren's Axe. It's more than just a tool to control the golems.

Moxy manifests, projected by the mirrors and Sami's coin.

:iconmoxy:
Moxy: Don't be too hard on 'em Sami. For you, this has been what -- a week? A month?

The girls are startled and cuss her out. After they recover, Sami answers.

Sami: I was in the cursed town for ... five days? It got hazy a few times. Then two days to travel to Welser, and I was there for a couple of weeks, actually. You lot were just gone for a bit. Couple of days back to town, and then we've been here a day. So almost a month.

Moxy: By my estimates, they've been with you around two and a half years.

Sami and Amy glance at each other as they take this in.

Sami: How do they not go mad?

Amy: Mother says that immortality changes you, that you forget things easily. It helps keep you sane. Maybe it's the same for spirits?

Sami winks at her: ... maybe not, considering Kome.

Amy smiles.

Amy: So you know what to do then?

Sami: Yes, it's very clear to me.

Moxy: Goodie! OK, one moment.

Moxy claps her hands and directs her attention to you.

****
:iconmoxy:
Moxy: OK guys, Sami knows exactly what she needs to do and instead of you convincing her to run around scanning everything or fighting stuff for nuthin, I'm gonna give ya a little hint. You should check this - https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/645426.html.

If you can figure it out, mebbe I'll give you somethin' special.
>>
No. 802113 ID: 094652

>How do you not go mad
We have other clients to talk to, and our own lives to focus on.

>Guess
Well, other than "go talk to the mayor", "rally the spirits", "loot the mayor's house again", "get @#$%ing high on magic", "get revenge on the curse spirits for sending me to hell over a matter of thirty gold", or "control the rook that's currently stuck underneath a rotting house", I don't have any creative ideas. Sorry.
>>
No. 802117 ID: 094652

Oh wait, are you going to activate this https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/654357.html?
>>
No. 802260 ID: 6dc8e5

I mean, the list of primary curse anchors was The Piper, The Mayor, and The Sami. The Mayor is handled?, we just left the Piper, and Sami is always gonna be the last step.

There was a notion that a lot of the curse revolves around money, and to that end we were trying to get into the guild office before, but we couldn't because the door was strong. I suppose we now have the tools to solve that problem.
>>
No. 802327 ID: 3abd97

>How do they not go mad?
Believe it or not, this is one of things we do to avoid madness.


>Don't you know?
Well, both the axe and pipe have specific limitations on what they can effect.

>Note that the song requires a specific instrument depending if the intended targets are Natural, Automation (construct, undead, elemental, program), Faerie, or Pantheon. The infamous Piper's Pipe only affects Natural targets.

>In this particular case, the Pipe is limited to only impacting the "Natural" world -- it has no impact on fae, pantheon or cat elements.

>The Siren's Axe for example only works with Golems and the Redeemer network.

Specifically, it works on automatons and the redeemer network. That might allow you to act directly on the curse, but I'm not sure we've seen prior evidence cursed spirits count as automatons (though it does make a certain kind of sense. They are more energy-code than people) or that they're accessible via Redeemer networks.

>The mayor on the other hand is beyond consolation, and until he can forgive himself he will remain entwined by the curse
Grace the Redeemer seemed to cite the Piper and the Mayor as the two big remaining anchors for the curse. If things are really settled with the Piper, it's time to get the mayor to forgive himself. Or move on.

Which... again, I'm not sure the axe directly applicable to? I'm more reluctant to consider a still-sapient ghost a automaton. I suppose as a ghost in need of redeeming we might be able to access him through the redeemer network?

I feel like there's an intuitive assumption being made as to what the axe is capable of that's outside its defined functions.
>>
No. 803270 ID: e136ae

>Which... again, I'm not sure the axe directly applicable to? I'm more reluctant to consider a still-sapient ghost a automaton. I suppose as a ghost in need of redeeming we might be able to access him through the redeemer network?

>I feel like there's an intuitive assumption being made as to what the axe is capable of that's outside its defined functions.

:iconmoxy:
Moxy: There are two major clues. One is early in the thread I provided, and the other is in this one.
>>
No. 803273 ID: 094652

What, you're going to talk to Grace? I doubt that's right, she's likely at least fifty miles away even by fae gates and doing her own quest. She set up a relay station nearby, you're not going to bug her when you can just activate the statue in the graveyard... are you?
>>
No. 804107 ID: 634645

the Guitar seems to be limited to impacting the "Dead" world -- it has no impact on fae, pantheon or cat elements but it will impact artificial elements (golems), curse, and wayward spirits.
and Things became high priority when she detected the curse getting loose on the mayor. Anyhoo, thought you all could use a bitta help figuring on what to do soooo... here it is! Aight, the short version is to save everything you need to keep the mayor away from Ronnalin ('cause the Curse is gonna try to push him there) and then break the curse in the town by 'bringing the essence of the children back'. Grace said that basically Sami will sense it and that it will 'pool where they died' or something. Otherwise the ghost mayor will go nuts and try to kill everyone's asses. are the clues yes? i just cant piece them together ><
>>
No. 804110 ID: 634645

im not much of a rock listener, and im pretty sure the AXE is gonna be ALL about the rock.
So maybe im thinking of the axe to-much like the flute? Perhaps its got some songs that are freedom inspiring (breaking chains instead of adding them)?
>>
No. 805057 ID: e136ae
File 149609585081.jpg - (504.96KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree42.jpg )
805057

>>804107
>then break the curse in the town by 'bringing the essence of the children back'. Grace said that basically Sami will sense it and that it will 'pool where they died' or something.

Sami: Something like that, yes. Don't you understand, the "pool where they died" means the swamp, where their bodies were laid to rest. I sensed it when was washed down there and I was given a last message from Rosemary.

Amy: Sami?

Sami: We're going to the swamp. Now that I understand the Siren's Axe, I can play the song of Childhood to bring the wisps to me and have them follow me back to town.

Amy: Can they exist during the day? Can they leave the swamp?

Sami: I think they do and they can. If I can get them to follow me with the song of CHILDHOOD, then I can return their essence back to town -- it will give them back their children.

Amy: You're sure?

Sami: The only other thing I've ever been so sure of is you, Amy.

Sami begins to stride confidently towards the swamp, with Amy following nervously by her side. After a few hours they reach the edge of the swamp, and Sami begins to play.

To Amy, the guitar reverberates soft and gentle with acoustic sound, but along the spectrum of the world of the dead across the swamp, it is an amplified, powerful and irresistible call. Soon many wisps of light begin to bubble up from within the brackish water and move towards the source of the call, swirling and playing around Sami.

Sami then continues to play as she beings to walk towards town, Amy and whisps in tow.
>>
No. 805087 ID: 3abd97

So wisps are appropriate targets for the axe. I suppose they count as spiritual constructs?

>The only other thing I've ever been so sure of is you, Amy.
Ouch. I think we just got burned. Someone break out the spirit salve!

Good luck, Sami. Metaphorical fingers crossed.
>>
No. 805127 ID: e136ae
File 149612011905.gif - (1.05MB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree43.gif )
805127

The whisps follow Sami all the way back to town, but when they pass the threshold, something happens.
>>
No. 805130 ID: e136ae
File 149612140312.jpg - (586.10KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree43b.jpg )
805130

The sound of the curse being dispelled is like listening to the ocean, and feels like a pressure headache subsiding.
>>
No. 805149 ID: e136ae
File 149613073146.jpg - (441.29KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree44.jpg )
805149

At the time this happened, the mayor was huddled in his small dark part of the curse, clinging to the memory that Sami was alive tightly. Wave after wave of guilt would crash against him.

"The children are dead and it is your fault"
"The people are broken and it is your fault"
"The town is dead and it is your fault"

He clung to the thought that at least Sami was alive and fighting, the one thing he felt he hadn't completely ruined. It was the only thing that he had to remind him of who he once was.

When the whisps crossed the threshold, the first thing he noticed was a change in pattern.

"The people are broken and it is your fault".
"The town is dead and it is your fault".
"The people are broken and it is your fault".

He paused. Something was different.

"The people are broken and it is your fault".
"The town is dead and it is your fault".

What of the children?

"The town is dead and it is your fault".

"The town is dead and it is your fault".

What of the people?

Silence.

At first, he was scared -- he was surrounded by fear, guilt, pain, and anger, so it was only natural fear would rush to him at the moment of change.

No, nothing. Just silence. Glorious silence. But he didn't deserve this gift. Because of him, the children were gone. The guilt stubbornly clung to him.

Then he felt the presence of a contradiction. He could hear the children laughing and playing outside.

The mayor floated to the edge of his domain, and saw the sunlight streaming in the shape of door's frame. He vaguely remembered doors, because he had barred his before he hanged himself.

And suddenly he was outside. He knew he was outside although he couldn't feel the warm sunshine, he knew it was there. The children were there; he couldn't see them because his eyes had long rotted away but he knew they were there. He knew their names. Sami was there with the children. She must have convinced the Piper to bring them back.

He was forgiven. He didn't deserve it, but he knew it.

He felt overwhelming gratitude and blessed relief. He wanted to thank Sami, to thank the children, to thank the gods, to thank everyone for forgiving him and to share his blessing. His joy purified the world around him, reducing the curse to salt.

He let it all go, at last.
>>
No. 805150 ID: 094652

The children of this reality will remain dead, forevermore. They died with mud in their lungs and fear in their hearts. Nothing you do here will contradict this fact.

But in another reality, they all lived. In millions of other realities, actually. In some they were raped, and in some they grew corrupt and wicked, and in some they found love and in some they became heroes and in some they found a way to find their ways into other realities.

And in this reality, where they have died?

They have found hope.
It's brighter than the sun.

USE IT.

>>
No. 805151 ID: f562b1

>>805150
Uh, okay.
I think the Mayor himself managed to use that hope, though. Guess his emotions were strong enough to form a pearl at the center of his essence? Either way, I believe he faded with the rest of the spirits. That pearl may be gone or crumbled, or it may still be there, but I think the important thing to do is fetch the boxes, speak with the scientists, and speak with Billy.
>>
No. 805205 ID: e136ae
File 149620287832.jpg - (466.88KB , 640x720 , Sami_Chapter45.jpg )
805205

>>805150
Sami: You're just killing my moment, Kome.

Peace at last.

Sami feels clean, fresh and forgiven -- truly forgiven. She and Amy exchange joyful glances. They don't need to say a thing, they can FEEL the blessing in the air.

The spirit of the piper materializes before them. Sami smiles at him warmly.

The Piper: I am unbound but I could not leave without thanking you.

Sami: No, it's all right. You've lingered long enough.

The Piper: I was so wrong, Sami.

Sami: It's OK. We're all forgiven now.

The Piper: Forgiven yes, but my fae nature insists that I reward you somehow.

Sami: I'm planning on giving back all the gold, if that's what you mean.

The Piper: Nothing so meaningless as material things, Sami. I have to let it all go, but there's nothing saying I can't will it to someone deserving. Someone far more qualified to play Piper than I. My talents are yours for the asking. Even if you don't wish to have them, you can keep them should you ever need them later.

Sami: Thank-you.

Sami and Amy walk through the town towards the church. It's quiet and peaceful; the golems are motionless and retrieving the box is of no consequence. When they arrive back at camp, the scientists are all waiting for them anxiously.

Dr. Korez: What did you two do? Every single one of our detectors triggered in a rather explosive way! And by that I mean they popped.

He then sees the look on Sami's face.

Sami: Broke the curse.

The old man beams at her.

Dr. Korez: Amazing! So our instruments work? Oh what am I saying -- Sami, congratulations. You always were a gifted child -- I knew that before the incident, but this third event confirms it. How did you do it?

Sami explains everything and the doctor takes it all in stride, but it's pretty apparent what he's most happy about is the proof of concept for his research. He's more than ready to believe everything Sami tells him because it is what he wants to hear. It doesn't matter; Sami knows what she's done and her soul is light because of it. Feeling generous, she even hints to the doctor that the cleansing of the town may have left behind a residue that could be useful in further research.

Over the next couple of days, Sami and Amy escort the scientists around town and they note that the infestation of vermin and the feeling of danger have indeed passed. They gather some samples and then they prepare to return back to Welser; after all there's not much point in staying with all the detectors destroyed.

There is just one last thing to decide.
>>
No. 805206 ID: e136ae
File 149620412734.jpg - (400.34KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree46.jpg )
805206

Will you forgive the mayor of Welser?

Sami has not been the only one struggling. The mayor of Welser has not slept since the night he met with Sami and shook her hand.

His fate is not in Sami's hands, but yours.
>>
No. 805217 ID: e136ae

For those who need a summary of the Mayor of Welser's involvement, it was a note retrieved from the Redeemer database and added to the Sami's Quest Wiki. The Piper had originally come to Welser and charmed the vermin from it -- but instead of asking for the vermin to be killed, the mayor paid the Piper to take them to rival town Ronnalin.

The mayor of Welser did not knowingly set up the events in Ronnalin; he just wanted to weaken their position while strengthening his own.

However, since the Curse has traveled to him after meeting with Sami, now he is becoming more aware of his part on the disaster.
>>
No. 805224 ID: 7b95d9

>>805217
What he did was serious scumbaggery.

In an ideal situation he would have been arrested and tried, all that stuff. But as things are?

Meh. Afterlife's too short to hold a grudge. And you did help in the aftermath at least.

So get the fuck on outta here, Mayor. I say we ain't EXACTLY square, but your ledger's clear anywho. Goodness knows we've forgiven people for worse.
>>
No. 805228 ID: 094652

The mayor was ruthless. Guess what: that's normal. If he really wanted those people dead, he could have hired some of Piper's friends to play razor grenade hockey in Ronnalin, and they would have done it for kicks.

Piper was taking orders from someone higher to build a conspiracy from the ground up, and the Mayor's twisted plan was just what he needed to sabotage the Pantheon's ground in Ronnalin on pretense of gold, to prevent all-out war but with the environment restored.. ish.

The mayor was toying with powers he didn't understand because they were waving their dicks in his face. The fae and pantheon factions were fighting proxy wars, waiting for a strong leader with serious inexperience in superpower affairs to take the bait.

I can't blame the mayor of Wesler for being a little toad in the Great Game. But I highly suggest he step down, after the blow to his sanity.
>>
No. 805241 ID: 634645

Forgive. Let him know that this has ALWAYS been the price of greed, just that he was unaware of it, and to be a better person as mayor in the feature.
>>
No. 805272 ID: e136ae

FORGIVEN is locked in.

Epilogue to follow later; it requires a lot more illustration.
>>
No. 805307 ID: 3abd97

>>805206
Considering we're a bunch of spirits, and we've spent this whole time battling a bunch of curse spirits who couldn't let go of the past, our own refusing to release a grudge would likely have some ugly metaphysical implications. (The curse is dead! Long live the curse!).

Let's not put Sami in the position where she has to turn around and clean us up.
>>
No. 805449 ID: e136ae
File 149634584089.jpg - (256.69KB , 640x720 , Sami_Epilogue1.jpg )
805449

Epilogue...

Sami and Amy made one last trip to visit the mayor to tell him of their success. The mayor immediately requested her help, and Sami told him that the best chance for a cure would be to visit the town he helped destroy.

Upon returning, with your help the town forgave the last guilty party. Indebted to her, he left politics and joined the research team as a lab assistant, helping to finance the lab's restoration and working in Ronnalin for the rest of his life. His efforts and financial support helped restore the town.

Word spread; Skyia and George were now formally recognized by Welser's own government as defenders instead of oppressors (somewhat to her chagrin). While welcomed in town, they preferred to live on the outskirts where they'd continue to be less likely to be bothered.

The last of the former mayor's corrupt allies were expelled from town control (with his help) and while his replacement still answered to Skyia, she was an ally rather than just 'the devil they knew'.
>>
No. 805594 ID: e136ae
File 149642848555.jpg - (336.68KB , 640x720 , Sami_Epilogue2.jpg )
805594

Seeing them more friendly with the fae, Billy eventually started to socialize with the Welser community and realized how lonely he really was.

He became close friends with Skyia, who encouraged him to take more chances.

Eventually Amy introduced him to a boy who had become quite taken with his vibrant colours, and Billy finally began to get a real understanding of romance.
>>
No. 806380 ID: e136ae
File 149679021391.jpg - (355.46KB , 640x720 , SamiEpiloge3.jpg )
806380

Sami and Amy did eventually return to the Ronnalin graveyard to collect the reward promised by the Redeemers. They donated some to the restoration of Ronnalin's scientific centers.

Your connection with Sami pops in and out during this time, during which she is warned that your connection to her will be fading soon now that your work is done, but she is promised that you will likely meet again some day, when needed.

Then they began the long journey to meet Sami's family and assure them of her safety. Sami warns you ahead of time that she's going to omit your presence since you'd make her community nervous -- and her parents will have enough to take in with Amy.

When they arrive home, her parents are overjoyed to see their child not only back but actually SMILING. Sami's mom yanks Amy lower and forward to give her a big hug.

They immediately invite them inside so Sami can tell them about her adventures and her new friend.

Sami's Dad, Maxwell: We were so worried.
Sami's Mom, Yvette: Did you find your peace, baby?
Sami: I'm sorry, and yes I did. Dad, you've gone so grey.
Maxwell: Well, you know. Age. Stress.
Sami looks down: Worry.
Maxwell: Well...
Yvette: Don't add to the child's guilt, that's what drove her away in the first place. You look so much BETTER Sami. You look like you've finally gotten sleep.
Sami: I have. And Amy is probably the main reason for that.
Yvette: You're half-blood, aren't you sweetie?
Amy: Yes.
Yvette: Well, welcome to the family. You show it a lot more but it's not exactly something we hide that well either.

Sami goes over her adventures and meeting with Amy and her family, as well as the former mayor's involvement, the lifting of the curse and finally of the slow restoration to their former home town. Finally, she and Amy exchange glances and are quiet for a bit. During their silence, Sami's dad starts going into the details of the party they want to have to welcome their daughter home. They patiently wait for him to finish, but Sami's mom interrupts him.

Yvette: I think the girls have something to tell us.

Sami: Mom, dad... umm... yeah, there's something else about Amy besides helping me come to terms with my blood. I love her.

Yvette: Well, we could tell that dear. I mean, she...

Sami: Mom. I love her romantically.

Maxwell takes a deep breath and lets out a long sigh. He and Yvette exchange glances.

Yvette: Are you serious, dear? I mean, we knew about the boys. We heard the talk and I could tell.

Maxwell: How long has this been going on?

Sami: Honestly? Ever since we met.

Maxwell asks in a deep, serious voice: She hit you?

Amy stares at him horrified and then looks at Sami.

Amy: Your men HIT you?

Sami shrugs.

Sami: Used to. I felt I deserved it. Then I started hitting back, and hitting back harder. I liked it, but that was the end of the boys in town for me.

Just as seriously, Maxwell asks: Do you hit her?

Sami: No, never.

Amy: She's been the most wonderful person to me ever. Sir, I am my town's defender.

Maxwell smiles and sits back.

Maxwell: Young lady, how people behave on the job and how they behave in private are two entirely different things. Love makes you vulnerable, and love changes you. It's been the basis of the family's entire history.

Amy cocks her head to one side.

Maxwell: Yes, my side of the family. Jones was a cover-name. Now that we're a few generations in it's just as much a family name as anyone else's. Sami, this just isn't 'cause she's fae, is it? I mean, we always knew you were different, I just don't want you breaking hearts just because you gotta connection with someone just as different.

Sami folds her arms.

Sami: Amy does things to me that no man ever could, and not just on a physical level. She's the very first person that made me happy and that truly loved me. I never thought I'd ever find that. I thought the only people who could really love me were you and mom, and even then I wasn't sure if you could if you knew the truth.

Sami takes a deep breath and lets it out slow and measured.

Sami: I have... more secrets to share. I want to do this before you plan a party, OK?

Her parents look apprehensive but nod.

Sami tells them of her transformation and that she devoured the Piper.

Her father actually smiles wryly and her mother looks relieved.

Yvette: Oh sweetie, we knew that.
Maxwell: We didn't to discuss it unless you wanted to. You never did, and that bothered us but we didn't want to push the issue.

Sami on the other hand looks somewhat disappointed and a bit irritated.

Sami: Wait, am I the ONLY ONE who thought it was a big secret?

She huffs.

Sami: OK fine, Amy helped me transform again with the river to help me deal with things and instead I got really big breasts and webbed fingers.

Amy: And pink hair. It was cute.

Maxwell sighs heavily.

Maxwell: Well... then that's that. You're... uhh.... well... I guess we'll never have grandchildren.

Yvette sighs and looks disappointed.

Amy: My mother suggested it might not be impossible because Sami's heritage is from water-spirits? She told me I would have to carry the child though.

Sami's parents exchange glances.

Maxwell: I'm... not sure we should look that far ahead. It's enough to take in that our only daughter is queer for other girls...

Sami steps in sharply.

Sami: Just Amy.

Amy beams.

Maxwell: Still, it's enough. I'm not ready for the idea that you could literally play the father too.

Sami: I don't understand it either.

Yvette: All the same, not something to completely discard either.

Amy sighs.

Amy: Now you sound like MY mother.

Yvette: Oh! That's nice, I think we should meet. It would be LOVELY to speak with people who understand what we've gone through.

The thought brightens up Maxwell too, and Sami relaxes. She then presents her parents with a bag of crowns. They initially try to refuse but Sami insists. It's clear that the real gift for her parents is seeing their daughter back, happy and healthy.
>>
No. 806524 ID: e136ae
File 149681285906.jpg - (301.90KB , 640x720 , SamiEpilogue4.jpg )
806524

At the party that follows, Sami recognizes a number of faces -- a few of whom she slept with, but most of her former lovers either aren't invited or didn't show.

It's immediately apparent that the townsfolk are nervous around Amy, but they are polite and do their best to try to make her feel welcome. Sami winds up retelling her story several times and even plays some music for them on the Siren's Axe.

There is one party crasher, a man Sami hasn't seen in ten years. He is quiet, keeps to himself, and is basically ignored by everyone else. Sami locks eyes with him once -- he nods and then quietly leaves.

Amy asks who that was, but Sami's already out the door to follow him, but by the time she makes it outside he's nowhere to be seen.

She cautiously returns to the party and tells Amy she thought she saw someone she hasn't seen in ten years, the man who gave her the death token.

And he hasn't aged a day.

The next morning, there's a knock at the door. Sami is called by her father as someone named "Rekki" is here to see her.
>>
No. 806558 ID: e136ae
File 149681993549.jpg - (371.69KB , 640x720 , SamiEpilogue5.jpg )
806558

Sami: What do you want, trite?
Rekki: You're looking well, Sami.
Sami: What. Do. You. Want. Trite.
Rekki: I don't think I've done anything to warrant such hostility.
Sami: I saw you ten years ago. You haven't aged. You gave me the coin. You knew something was going to happen, and you didn't stop it. What. Do. You. Want?

Rekki sighs. Sami's parents and Amy stare back and forth between the two.

Rekki: I didn't have a choice, Sami. I did what I was told.
Sami: By whom?
Rekki: My employer. Same one who wants to hire you.
Sami: Yeah well I don't recall asking for a fucking job from him.
Rekki: I didn't ask either. You'll find out that he's got a knack for giving you a choice that's not a choice.
Sami: Did he TELL you what was about to happen?
Rekki: No.

Sami narrows her eyes at him. He shrugs helplessly. Her parents ask what's going on.

Sami: Ten years ago, this man approached me and gave me a death token disguised as a gold coin. He told me to keep it a secret and to not give it to anyone. Told me it was magic and it'd protect me.

Her voice begins to shake.

Sami: Soon afterwards, I'm the only survivor of the hundred children charmed into the river. You fucking son of a bitch, you KNEW.

Rekki holds his hand up as Sami begins to menacingly march towards him.

Rekki: No, I didn't. And that wasn't the event the coin was to protect you from.

Sami stops in her tracks.

Rekki: The wild spirits. When you returned to town.
Sami: Why give it to me THEN?

Rekki shrugs.

Rekki: I told you, I just do what I'm told. I don't have a choice. I mean I do, but the other possible choice is unacceptable. So really, I don't. Same thing applies to you.

Sami motions and the Siren's Axe flies to her hand. Everyone (including Amy) but Rekki is stunned.

Sami: If you think you're threatening me...

Rekki sighs and lowers his head. Every element of his body language and voice indicate he is not.

Rekki: No, no. I'm just saying... I'm... look. You know what you've been through, and it was terrible, and I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. But here's the thing. There are others suffering like that, and my boss wants those problems fixed, and fixed faster than the Redeemers can do it. You don't have to do anything Sami, but I have to ask you: Can you live with yourself if you don't?

Sami glares at him and says nothing. Minutes pass in awkward silence as they lock eyes.

Sami: Damn you, trite.

Amy puts her arm around Sami.

Rekki: I'm not saying you have to leave now, or that you don't deserve some rest. I'm just... letting you know that you'll be seeing me again and we'll have work to do.

Sami nods but doesn't say a word.

Rekki: I really am sorry, Sami.

The man leaves. Sami's parents gather around her and she knows she'll have more explaining to do. Amy just kisses her on the cheek and holds her.

Amy: It's OK Sami. I'll be with you. Have some faith. Or borrow some of mine, I'll have enough for both of us.

** Quest Complete **
** Connection Terminated **

Questions, critique and more for Sami's Quest available at https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/97520.html.

Thank-you for reading!
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