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Shield

[F21 - PP] - Familiar Play Date and Looking for Loot

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Shield had taken too many distractions from the front lines. What had originally been only intended as a one-off carry for a low level player had turned into a couple of meetings with the intent to raise her level. He arrived at the teleportation plaza of Taft on the eleventh floor just after noon and was about to teleport out, when he paused and opened his inbox, beginning a fresh message.

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"@Calypso,

I'm going to be farming up on the twenty-first floor. If you want a chance to explore further into Aincrad safely, this might be a good chance. Also, I figured our familiars could use a play date.

-Shield"

He sent off the message before stepping into the teleporter. Even as he called out for the twenty first floor, he wondered why he had thought to message Calypso. Before he had much time to ponder it, he had arrived and set off for the edge of town. As he walked, he equipped the two earrings that he had acquired, each of which serving to enhance his searching capabilities. If nothing else, he hoped to find some things worth taking home to the shop.

As he crossed the bridge from the main settlement, he set about searching for the typical standard materials. It was mainly rope bridges out from the main settlement, each of which led through the main chamber of the cavern to one of several tunnels that branched their way out through the stone like spider webs. All the way around the floor, luminous crystals and fungi lit the way in the otherwise unlit subterranean floor. Before he had made it far, his left earring lit up, and he knew he had struck pay dirt. Casting about on the ground, he spotted the cause of the light. A small crystal formation had spawned right beside the path. He gathered it and stored the item for later use.

Spoiler

ID# 91585 results: Loot: 10 + 5 = 15 - Success! +1 T3 Material [1 Total]

 

Edited by Shield

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ID#: 91590 | LD: 17 - +1 material

"The twenty-first?" Callie repeated aloud as her eyes scanned over the contents of the message she had received from Shield. She was a bit surprised at the prospect of putting herself on such a high floor without many levels under her belt, but her lips curled into a soft smile as the memory of their last excursion resurfaced in her mind. With her back pressed against one of the many wooden benches that littered the plazas in the Town of Beginnings, her eyes turned down to the long-bodied creature coiled in her lap. "What do you say, Dani?" The sound of her soft voice caused the dragon's eyes to blink open and his neck stretched upwards as he looked to his owner. She brought her hand over and scratched the top of his head, circling her tips around the stubby horns poking out from his skull.

Maybe ten minutes had passed by the time Callie called out the name of the mining town at the teleport plaza of the first floor. Her eyes closed as a white light carried her avatar up the twenty floors to materialize in the center of Tomoika. As they fluttered back open, she scanned over the cavernous city with wide eyes. The massive structures, the soft light given off by hanging stalactites and florescent fungi, and the lack of a sky hanging overhead were all brand-new sights that filled her with a sense of childlike wonder. Simply standing in awe for a few long moments, it wasn't until Danesh's chin met her shoulder as his interest in the landscape faded that Callie came back to her senses. She summoned her menus to send off a quick reply to Shield and inform the man that she had arrived in the main settlement, as she didn't trust her lacking sense of direction to track him down on her own.

She had reached the edge of the safe zone rather quickly, taking in the sights with a small smile of interest resting on her features. Catching her attention, her eyes were drawn back to a small group of glowing mushrooms a short distance outside of the boundary that was considered the city's safe zone. One sproutling in particular glowed more brightly than the others, and she paused with a curious gaze before giving a quick glance over her shoulder. With hurried steps, she moved to the formation and knelt down, retrieving the mushroom from th ground and depositing it to her inventory.

Edited by Calypso

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ID# 91611 results: Loot: 9+5=14 - No Materials [1 Total]

Shield heard his inbox ping with a new message and checked to see if it was in fact Calypso who had responded. He was pleased to see her name at the top of his messages. After giving her reply a quick read and taking one last fruitless sweep around him for items, he doubled back to the edge of the safe zone. He had not wandered far, so finding her did not take long at all. He waved as soon as he saw the telltale patch of pale blue that was the easiest feature of hers to spot far away.

As he drew nearer, the curious snout of his bush viper familiar poked its way out of his sleeve and began tasting the air. Shield turned his hand over, allowing the creature to slither out and ball itself up on his palm. By the time he had closed the distance, Lilith was coiled contentedly on his hand, her tongue flicking towards the dragon familiar.

"Good to see you, Calypso," he said with a slight nod of his head. "I honestly didn't know if you'd come out this way or not. I'm glad to see you trying new things."

He held out Lilith, who extended herself to close the distance to the little dragon, wrapping herself around his nearest paw for stability as it maneuvered up onto his back to settle in the fur between its shoulder blades. She sat there contentedly, flicking her tongue proudly from her new perch.

"Well, so much for manners," Shield said with a shrug before gesturing to the path ahead. "I'll keep watch up front, but these paths tend to be pretty clear. I'll be on my guard either way."

Edited by Shield

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She had just returned to her feet when a familiar voice announced Shield's presence beside her. Callie turned, a pleasant smile appearing to greet him. "Same to you!" Whether it was caused by the impressive new scenery, the prospect of adventure, or perhaps something else entirely, her tone was a note more cheerful than her typical politeness. Her expression turned thoughtful at his comment about her showing up after all, and she pulled up a hand to tuck a few loose strands of hair behind her left ear. "Well I certainly wouldn't be out here on my own, so thank you for the invite." She started with a chuckle. "This is so different from the lower floors, it's really impressive." Her head turned to the side and she gazed out over the wide caverns for a few moments again before the small viper eagerly stretched her body out towards them.

Danesh's dark eyes watched Lilith carefully, his nose twitching a couple of times as she drew incredibly close. His tail twitched lightly, tapping against Callie's arm when the serpent looped herself around his paw and climbed atop his back. His head lifted from the woman's shoulder, twisting around in an unsuccessful attempt to find the face of the colorful viper. His nose twitched once more before her turned forward again and gave a light shake of his head that tossed the darker gray hairs of his upper mane from side to side.

Callie let out a chuckle at the strange interaction between the content serpent and the passive dragon. She turned her head to catch a glimpse of the two creatures hitching a ride before she moved forward after Shield, being careful not to upset the balance resting atop her shoulders. "I'm glad to see they get along." Her attention came back to the front as she followed the tank away from the city's edge. Her chin tilted down in a nod, "Right, I'll stay on my guard as well."

ID#: 91614 | LD: 10 - nothing

Edited by Calypso

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ID# 91615 results: Loot: 17+5=22 - Success! - Found 1 T3 Material [2 total]

Before they had gone far, Shield's earring lit once again, casting a pale, golden light onto his shoulder. He cast about on the ground, but did not see anything out of the ordinary. It was when he turned around and glanced to wards the wall of the cavern that he spotted a patch of lichen that seemed to be putting off its own light, though this one a pale purple to compliment the gold that the earring that shed onto it. He tapped the item and selected the option to collect it, and it vanished.

"Well, if this had been my last familiar, first of all, it would not have been able to hitch a ride on Danesh," he said, turning back to the road. "If you ever stop by my shop, I'll let you see Norbert. He's in a tank that takes up the entirety of my front window. He's much happier in there than he ever was adventuring... or doing anything for that matter." He frowned a little, remembering how many times that hooked beak had snatched away pieces of his digital body. Fortunately, he had the regeneration to handle it. "In any case, Lilith is much easier to carry around and to manage in general than a hundred pound snapping turtle."

The path ahead forked, and Shield took the left path, avoiding the room with the mushroom colony that tended to spawn sentient, fighting fungi. Not that he couldn't manage, but it made more sense to avoid confrontation with Calypso there.

"It's a little weird seeing our familiars be in such close proximity," Shield commented. "Having a familiar always reminded me of the animal companions in one of the books I used to read. Those animals were actually an extension of the person's soul though, and so for them to be in close proximity like that would be more than a little invasive if they didn't know each other very well." He tilted his head towards the familiars. "This is a little more akin to a couple of dogs sniffing each other to say hello."

Edited by Shield

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"Oh, I can imagine." Callie said with a soft smile, picturing the difficulty of looking after a large snapping turtle as a familiar. She brought a hand up to stroke gently against Danesh's furry skull, taking care not to invade Lilith's own space while she perched on his back. By now, the tension in the wingless dragon had faded, and he had more or less accepted the reptile's presence. Callie scanned the uneven walls and turned up to the high ceiling above them, still taking in the scenery as she continued to listen. "That sounds like an interesting book." She commented with a touch of curiosity. Her fingertips gently ran over Danesh's small horns and around his tiny, pointed ears as they idly continued to pet the familiar.

"I'm relieved Danesh is as laid-back as he is. I was a bit nervous about taming a familiar for a virtual reality game." She admitted, casting a glance at the room to their right that was littered with even more mushrooms and other damp-dwelling flora before the sight of it vanished behind another dark, rocky wall. She continued after Shield, trying to keep an eye out for any other items that could be foraged along the way. "I've never owned a pet before, so I was worried if he had ended up being more high-maintenance that I might not be able to care for him properly." Her eyes softened with another sideways glance at her shoulder.

ID#: 91634 | LD: 10 - nothing

Edited by Calypso

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ID# 91650 results: Loot: 11+5=16 - Success! +1 T3 Material [3 total]

"Well, the nice thing about virtual familiars is that they're exactly as high or low maintenance as you want them to be," Shield said, glancing over at the odd assortment of creatures on Calypso's shoulder. "You can feed them with the barest essentials, or you can spring for in-game accessories that cost more than some top-rated gear. Luxury items can cost a ton of Col."

He continued to steer them down safe passages, all the while making sure that wandering monsters didn't sneak up on them along the way. It was rare, but not unheard of. In recent months, he had spent so much time down these passages that certain parts of them did not even require though to navigate. In the end, he was sure the work would be worth it, but he had definitely spent more than his fair share of time up here.

"Don't mean to leave you out of the conversation of navigation," Shield said, glancing back over his shoulder once again. "Since this is currently the best floor to grind for items, I've spent a ton of time up here lately, and my feet more or less just take me. If you see anything you want to investigate, feel free to let me know."

As he finished that thought, his earring ignited once again, the gold wire inlaid in the simple silver hoop lighting up like the filament of a light bulb. He glanced around, spotting one of the molts of the strange crystal-shelled hermit crabs that lurked around the floor. As best he could gather, it would be useful in alchemy or perhaps in making a suit of chitin armor, but either way, it was apparently a high quality crafting resource, and he gathered it like the others.

Edited by Shield

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"Good point." The existence of such items had been unknown to her until now, but his mention of them didn't surprise her in the slightest. She was still a bit sour over the few pieces of vanity clothing that she had lost. Beginners' gear seemed to be so recognizable, she thought on more than one occasion that she might stick out less if she was roaming around in casual attire than the simple cloth and leather armor that her avatar currently wore. As she pushed herself to continue taking on quests and gaining experience, her priorities needed to be shuffled around. She had been content spending her earnings on whatever she felt she needed to comfortably get by, saving the rest for some lofty goal like a house if she could ever manage it. Now, she was probably better off looking into a pieces of enhanced gear to get her stats in order.

"Oh, no worries." She replied, not having given a second thought to following after Shield's lead. When he suggested she could point out anything she found of interest, Callie couldn't help but let out a small chuckle. "Be careful giving me permission to get distracted, or your material farming might suddenly start taking a lot longer." She only half-joked, as she didn't intend to hold him up or have him go out of his way.

The hand that had been gliding over Danesh's head finally fell back to her side, and the small dragon stretched its mouth in a silent yawn before lowering his neck and resting his head back on Callie's shoulder. While she hadn't had any luck finding any materials of her own since they had left Tomoika, Callie's eyes drifted towards the dark cavern wall to their right, her gaze unfocused as if her attention was elsewhere for a moment. A sound had carried itself to her ears, almost as if a faint echo was bouncing off of the tunnel walls, and the woman was in the process of identifying it. With a generous distance between the players and the source of the soft, steady roaring, she had eventually surmised that the noise was produced by water, most likely a fast-moving river or even a waterfall.

"Shield?" She prompted, "Speaking of investigating, do you hear that?"

ID#: 91668 | LD: 7 - nothing

Edited by Calypso

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ID# 91671 results: Loot: 6+5=11 - No mats [3 total]

Shield turned his head to her and nodded. He slowed his gait, but he did not stop, at least not just yet. "I've been hearing that around here for a while. If there's an actual source, I have yet to find it. You're more than welcome to take a look. Maybe fresh eyes are what we need here." He gestured vaguely in the general direction of the sound as an invitation, but without knowing where the actual source could be, general was the best he could manage.  "It could be any number of things. Just know that if it's something new, I won't know how safe it is until we're already exploring it."

He wasn't particularly concerned. As far as he could tell, he and the handful of players who had been delving the deepest into the twenty first floor were more than strong enough to handle it, at least long enough to get out a teleport crystal and voip out. The cavern had narrowed as they walked, closing in on either side of them until they were in a proper tunnel.

"Do you want to stop for a bit and see if you can make some headway?" Shield asked, turning to Calypso and pausing for her response. On her shoulder, Lilith sat contentedly, tilting her head from side to side with mild interest regarding the crystals and fungi that lined the walls and lit the way. "This might be the first time she's really been out of my sleeve up here, at least for any significant amount of time."

Edited by Shield

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"She must have taken quite a liking to Dani, then." Callie chuckled lightly, bringing a hand up to trail over the uneven surface of the cave wall to her right. Her tips recoiled slightly after they had made contact, not expecting the chilled moisture that clung to the dark rock. Still, she ran her fingers over the wall until she came to a stop beside Shield. Her brows knit, unsure if her concentration had any effect on the clarity of the sounds that Cardinal replicated to her brain.

"I swear, it sounds like running water." She mumbled, a lingering note of uncertainty in her voice before she continued. "But still, in a fantasy setting that can easily mean a not-so-friendly water elemental or something." After a few moments spent staring down the length of the dimly-lit tunnel, she turned her chin towards him and gave a small nod. "Why not?" Perhaps she was choosing a poor time to feel adventurous, but she doubted that she would get another chance to find herself on this floor--or at least outside of Tomoika--anytime soon, if at all.

She continued forward with slow steps until the both of them would take up a careful pace. They quickly came to another fork in the path, and Callie's eyes danced between the two routes, trying to discern which might bring them closer to the sound of the steady, muted roaring. Favoring the left side, she gestured in that direction with a sideways glance to Shield to check with her more knowledgable traveling companion before pressing onward. Danesh, in the meantime, lifted his head slightly and curled his long neck, trying once more to inspect the serpent perched on top of him.

ID#: 91704 | LD: 2 - nothing

Edited by Calypso

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ID# 91742 results: Loot: 5+5=10 - No mats [3 total]

"I think she thinks she's found her brother," he said with a smirk. "The only other familiar she really sees is my companion, Beat's, and that's a falcon. Not only does it look nothing like her, but I doubt she feels super comfortable around a natural predator. Danesh is at least roughly the same dimensions, if not scaled up a little bit." As Calypso gestured to the left-most fork, he gave a nod. "I don't remember anything particularly dangerous down that way. I just also don't remember there being a waterfall."

The fork opened into a wider chamber at first, the walls of which were covered in tiny, luminous bugs, not terribly unlike fireflies. As the two of them came near, all of the bugs nearest the entrance flitted into the air, cascading in swirls of light as the clumsy things fled away from the threat of newcomers. Still, despite all of this, there were no real signs of a waterfall aside from what Calypso had heard so far.

"I've more or less canvased this area," Shield admitted with a shrug of his shoulders. "I wouldn't know where to begin searching again. If you have any bright ideas, now would be the time to put them to use."

Shield took a seat, sitting back and watching the swirling of the insects as all but a few stragglers finally found a new section of wall to inhabit. Tilting his head back, he watched the masses of them twitch and shuffle around on the ceiling as they kept the chamber lit.

Edited by Shield

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With every piece of scenery being new to her, Callie glanced over to her traveling companion as he took a seat against the cave wall. She continued walking along the sides of the empty space, gazing between the crystal and rock formations, the twinkling insects, and bare walls in between for anything of interest. "Well, maybe this new set of eyes can serve a purpose up here." The corner of her mouth pulled up into a soft smirk.

Of course, she would just feel silly if she didn't find anything out of the ordinary now. Circling around the chamber with slow steps, she occasionally stopped and crouched down, or lifted herself on the balls of her feet so as to inspect something that varied from eye level. She reached a hand out to one of the small crystal clusters that clung to the dark stone. To her surprise, the smooth surface reflected a soft red light that the center of the crystal began to emit once her fingertips had made contact. Callie blinked, the reaction unexpected, but hopefully telling.

With her lips curled into a curious smile, she pulled away and looked around for any identical, or even similar formations. Working her way around the room in a second pass, three more small clusters lit up with the same red hue each time she grazed her fingers over their surfaces. She stopped in front of the fifth--and from what she could tell after her thorough search of the chamber--final formation on the wall opposite where Shield sat. Without hesitation, Callie reached above her, just managing to touch a corner of the unlit crystal before it sparked to life like all the others.

She stared at it for a moment, waiting for some sort of reaction. Danesh's tail twitched lightly, and the familiar picked himself up across her shoulders before hopping away from the woman and hovering in the air nearby with Lilith in tow. Callie perked up at his sudden movement and turned her chin towards the dragon with a small frown. "Danesh, what are you--" Her breath caught in her throat before she could finish her sentence as the ground beneath her suddenly gave way. A generous patch of earth around her feet crumbled and disappeared, along with the woman, into the darkness below.

ID#: 91812 | LD: 2 - nothing

Edited by Calypso

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ID# 91813 results: Loot: 8+5=13 - No mats [3 total]

Shield watched carefully as she set about touching the various crystals around the room, some of which seemed to change light properties when touched. It was common for environments to interact with users in SAO, but she could have been onto something. Either way, he decided to let her have fun with it. The activity seemed harmless enough. Either way, Shield could hold his own against anything that showed up.

There were two things at least though, that Shield could not save Calypso from. The first was trapdoors. The second was gravity. As she fell, Shield did not move at first. His eyes had seen what they had seen, but his mind justified it by telling him that he had seen her trip and fall, and that her complete disappearance was just doe to her having fallen behind something he hadn't seen. But over the next second, his eyes failed to come up with more explanations as to where she had gone, and the more it failed to do that, the colder ran his blood.

He stood, and as his height changed, he could suddenly see a gaping hole where Calypso had stood a moment before. Leaning forward, he took off at a sprint, pausing just before the hole. It was pitch black, with no hope of seeing where the tunnel led, but whatever was happening down there, he needed to be there. Her level was too low to be prepared for the challenges of the floor. With only another fraction of a second to pause and reconsider his decision, Shield took a breath and jumped.

Edited by Shield

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A short splash echoed and carried through the darkness. When Callie's feet hit the ground about a story and a half down, her knees buckled and she let out a small grunt at the sudden impact. She caught herself with open palms pressed against the ground, feeling the cool water that reached up past her wrists tickle her bare skin. They retracted, and she shook her hands lightly in the air in front of her in an attempt to shake off the wetness.

As she remained crouched, her eyes blinked and strained against the darkness. Her mind was catching up with her, trying to discern where she had fallen to when another splash sounded nearby, causing her to snap to attention. "...Shield?" She slowly straightened her knees to stand upright and turned her shoulders in the direction of his landing. Her eyes traveled upwards, only able to spot the opening to the chamber above thanks to the faint glow of the lighted bugs that still crawled and flitted around the walls and ceiling.

"Sorry, that was pretty careless." She offered the apology once she was sure the figure was, in fact, Shield and not a monster or other unfriendly encounter. It only took a second for the weight of the situation that she had quite literally dropped them into to fall on her shoulders, forcing her to take the situation seriously after her little 'touch all the crystals' game. If she thought she could see anything useful or even notable through the darkness she would have turned her head and tried to scan the area. By the same merit, the threat of stumbling into any more unfavorable situations kept her feet rooted to the flooded ground beneath her.

ID#: 91845 | LD: 9 - nothing

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ID# 91846 results: Loot: 9+5=14 - No mats [3 total]

Shield landed on both feet, dropping to a knee and catching himself with his hand. In the real world, that fall would have easily jarred his bones violently enough to cause severe pain or even a fracture, but for now, it was manageable. He straightened up, wiping away as much of the wet as possible from his knee as he took in their surroundings. After a few moments, he realized that there were no monsters around. It had been a trap door, but not into a trap room. He glanced down and realized that in his panic to assess the new surroundings, he had opened his menu without even realizing it, his finger already hovering over his combat gear to equip it. He sighed, relaxing his index finger.

As he looked around in the dark, he could tell that light was going to be an issue. He scrolled down past his gear into his materials, summoning out a piece of raw crystal into his hand. Immediately, his earring blazed to life, casting a halo of golden light that enveloped both players. He took visual stock of Calypso, noting that, although wet, she seemed more or less unharmed.

"Are you alright?" he asked, offering her a sand to stand up. "I wouldn't blame you for being a little shaken after a sudden drop like that."

Edited by Shield

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With a couple of rapid blinks at the sudden light source, Callie's eyes adjusted and found the man beside her, offering a hand and some words of concern. A soft smile unconsciously appeared, and she accepted his help to pull herself back to a standing position. She took a second just to gauge herself: heart pounding and breathing a bit quicker than normal with the adrenaline that had spiked from the fall. Dismissing both and determining nothing else to be cause for alarm, she drew in a deeper breath through her nose in order to hurrying along the process of calming her body down. She gave a short nod, "Yeah. It was startling, but I'm okay." She assured.

Through the opening in the ceiling, Danesh finally saw fit to rejoin his player. The dragon snaked down through the air and came into view, carrying the brightly-colored viper on his back all the while. When her eyes turned and she recognized the creature, Callie's expression quickly became stern. "Danesh, if you're so clairvoyant as to keep yourself from falling, you could at least try to warn me!" She gave a small huff while Danesh stared back at her with the same expressionless gaze he always wore.

Determining she was in no mood to carry him around right now, he stayed put and kept himself aloft in between the two players. Her heartbeat was still in the process of normalizing when she turned her head and tried to take a look around them again. Besides the light shimmer of the clear pool of water that reached to the ankles of her boots, it was still difficult to make out much through the surrounding darkness. "I don't suppose you know this area?" She asked in a quiet voice, unsure of which answer to expect.

ID#: 91855 | LD: 1 - nothing

Edited by Calypso

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ID# 91856 results: Loot: 18+5=23 - Success! +1 Material [4 total]

Shield shook his head. He turned his gaze back to the darkness that surrounded them outside of the sphere of light cast around them. There were some sharp highlights thrown back at them from what he assumed were the nearest walls, but it was impossible to say for certain.He decided that forward was as good of a direction as any and began to walk.

"If there's a one-way entrance to this area, then likely we're going to have to find the exit elsewhere. My guess is we'll need to find a tunnel that leads back up." He clearly could see the water around them out to about fifteen feet, so there was little danger of the floor dropping out suddenly or hitting unexpected walls. Still, there were any number of other unpleasant things that could happen to them. Shield tried not to think too hard about any of them. He would hate for a routine loot search to turn into an actual danger. "Don't wander off," he mumbled to her in the drippy but otherwise silent air. Droplets seemed to fall on them fairly regularly, though not with any sort of consistency.

After wandering for a hundred feet, Shield's foot finally found an upward slope which led them up out of the shallows onto a stony bank. He glanced behind them. "It's a shame this place isn't lit," he said to Calypso. "These places, when lit properly, are spectacular. The surface of the water when still will perfectly reflect the ceiling so that it looks like there is no water at all, simply a room full of stalactites and stalagmites."

As he made his way properly onto the shore, his boot hit something on the ground that skipped a few inches with a clacking of stone on stone. He bent down to inspect it to find a strange ore that was inconsistent in color, ranging across the entire color spectrum. "Bismuth, maybe? Or something like it at least."

The dad in him wanted to chuckle at his use of the word 'or' while holding 'ore,' but he kept his mind on the task at hand, storing the substance away and returning his eyes to the shoreline of the underwater pool.

Edited by Shield

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Callie cast a curious gaze of her own over her shoulder at the flooded chamber that now sat behind them. As Shield described what the area might have otherwise looked like, she tried to picture such a sight until mentally declaring it an impossibility. "Hmm, have you seen something like that here before?" Though she didn't specify whether she meant on the twenty-first floor or in all of Aincrad, she voiced her curiosity.

Her eyes caught on the colorful material Shield retrieved from the cave floor, and shortly after shifted around them in an attempt to spot a cave wall or some other structure that might give them a better sense of direction. While the residual nerves from the 'trapdoor' mishap dissipated, she spotted the shine of reflected light off to her right and she wondered if it marked the wetness that clung to the damp cave walls. She cautiously reached out a hand, only having to take half a step before her fingertips gingerly grazed the rough surface and Recognized the feeling from all the hands-on exploring she'd done up to this point.

Callie traced her tips carefully along the wall as the two players continued to press onward, and before long the roaring of rushing water echoed along the walls to reach them again. She cocked a brow, first wondering whether or not the source was the same as what they had heard one level above. Golden eyes glanced to the brunette at her side, "Fingers crossed this is where we stumble on the peaceful, underground river rather than the secret underground boss monster."

ID#: 91858 | LD: 6 - nothing

Edited by Calypso

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ID# 91859 results: Loot: 15+5=20 - Success! +1 Material [5 total]

Shield gave a nod. There were any number of possibilities, and although he felt as if he could properly defend both of them in a worst case scenario, he would rather not find out the hard way. One possibility was not a monster at all, but simply harder to find loot. That was a bit of a pipe dream for now, and he didn't want to draw too much attention to that thought in case it turned out to be nothing.

"I've been through a few caverns in the real world," Shield said, finally addressing the question that Calypso had asked. "It has been quite some time, even before the start of SAO. It's pretty unreal."

The sound of water seemed to be louder now than it had been, but Shield had no real frame of reference as to whether that was an accurate assessment or if it was merely that everything else seemed quieter, or his hearing was sharpening in the dark. His toe nudged something else, and he almost overlooked it until he remembered that his earring was already lit and would not glow any brighter to indicate materials or treasures present. Upon closer inspection, he found yet another chunk of the same mysterious ore and stored it away with the first.

Edited by Shield

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Keeping her hand more or less in contact with the wall beside them as they walked, Callie's head turned to Shield with a voice full of interest. "Oh, really?" She asked, not to doubt his words, but simply out of surprise at hearing them. She thought for a moment where in the world one might have to find themselves to go exploring through caverns outside of SAO, but as she wasn't going to pry she left the curiosity to her mind. "The places you can find here," Her chin lifted an inch and her eyes trailed through the darkness above them and over to the wall beneath her fingers. "are pretty incredible, to me. It might be fake, but it's an impressive representation." She went on. "The closest I got to 'outdoor adventure' was bonfires during the summer. That was years ago." A reminiscent smile appeared.

As they continued on, Callie found herself staring suspiciously ahead, as if she wasn't sure if her eyes were playing tricks on her. Intermingling with the farthest reach of the light that spilled from Shield's earring, faint white reflections bounced from the moisture that lived on the dark rock. The farther they kept walking, the more clearly they could see their surroundings without the golden glow of his item to guide them.

The touch of apprehension she had felt from the increasing clarity of the rushing water disappeared once they had reached the end of the dark tunnel. The area before them opened up into a huge cavern, the few meters of cave floor that stood between them and a running river glistening brightly with the reflection of light. The source hung high above them, on the opposite side of the hollowed area was a massive cluster of shimmering crystals that let off a soft white light, acting like a chandelier and filling the cavern with a generous amount of light due to its size. A generous distance to their right, the roaring waters could finally be confirmed as the base of a waterfall that stood at least thirty feet tall crashing and pushing the river along.

Callie had stopped moving, staring awestruck at the scene before her. Golden eyes shifted slowly between the top of the rolling waves to the shining crystals to the river that stretched down the length of the wide cavern.

ID#: 91863 | LD: 1 - nothing

Edited by Calypso

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