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Lessa

[OP - F4] Come Play with Us, Forever & Ever

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The massive hotel towered over Lessa, looming like a boss that needed fighting. What a strange notion - why did a building inspire such violence in her? It was just a building, one that had miraculously appeared out of nowhere the day before. The rumor mill churned out the news of this Shining-esque resort, and of course Lessa had to explore it. How could she pass up such an opportunity?

The white behemoth might have blended into the snowy mountains, had it not been for the blood-red shutters, trim, and roof. Lessa gave the building one final once-over before stomping up the steps and tugging open the front door.

Welcome heat blasted her as she stepped inside. An enormous fire roared in the hearth, which dominated the long, polished lobby. Small collections of chairs clustered around tiny tables, and a check-in desk stood abandoned. White marble rolled beneath her feet. Deep mahogany and rich crimson ruled the space, and -

A slamming door interrupted Lessa’s thoughts. A sudden wave of panic swamped her, and even before she tugged at the handle, she knew what she would find. The door was locked. The hotel had claimed its first victim.

Spoiler

Welcome to the Underview Hotel!

You cannot:

1. Post more than 200 words, or less than 150.

2. Access your HUD - no messages, inventory, etc.

3. Harm any other players.

4. Leave (though you can check out any time you like).

You have a massive abandoned hotel to explore. Have fun, but don’t do anything that jeopardizes anyone else’s fun.

 

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"This is what happens when you don't listen to me."

Like any sensible living thing, you'd expect Pacco to not nose dive into a frozen lake. You would expect, but Pacco never dealt with expectations, did he? No, he went beyond them. Cordelia unclipped her red capelet from her shoulder and wrapped the two birds in it. "What did you even see in there that sparked both of you to go in there at the same time?" She muttered to basically nobody but herself. Her familiar was probably too frozen to hear her rant.

"Now look at us," she muttered angrily, "I don't even know if you can freeze to death but shame on me for letting you roam free, right? I swear to God, don't make me buy leashes for you."

"We're too far away to even go back to a safe zone, so. . ." she trailed off, suddenly becoming aware of the massive structure in front of her. "Oh, nevermind, then," she sniffed, clutching her bundled up familiars even closer to her body. 

"Oh, I'm sure we're welcome," she mumbled, and without hesitation, pulled open the doors and stumbled in.

Victim number two has joined the party!

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"Roc...what in the world did you find?"

Calrex looked forward, seeing that his blue peregrine falcon familiar had landed in front of what appeared to be a rather ominous looking hotel, "A hotel outside of the safe zone? That seems odd, especially since I'm not aware of any shops that look like this...Of course I haven't exactly kept my ear to the ground as of late..."

He was already armed with his Grant Gauntlets III, but for such a low floor it didn't seem necessary to have his raid gear equipped, "Guess might as well take a look."

Cautiously approaching the front doors, the bluenette's eyes scanned the entrance for any traces of a trap or monster encounter trigger. Nothing stood out or went off in his perception. Grasping the doorknob, he turned and opened the doors to be greeted with a rather normal looking lobby, "Huh..."

Stepping through his head turned in response to the quick slam behind him, "Tch...I knew something was off!"

Grabbing the knob he felt no give as he tried to turn it. "Looks like I'm stuck in here...what kind of trick place is this?"

Three people were now in it's clutches.

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Riker knew someone was approaching far before the door opened. His hackles rose sharply, a low growl rolling from deep in his throat. He even went so far as to emit a sharp bark of warning when the entryway flew open with a blast of cold air. As snowflakes swirled like diamonds in the bright daylight, a figure emerged. She was long, lean, and familiar.

“Cordelia!” Lessa cried out as the door closed. Then, to Riker she added, “Relax, we know her.” The wolf begrudgingly obliged, though he watched the other player and her familiar warily. 

Lessa took three long steps toward her friend. “Hey, try the door. See if you can open it, I-“

Before her eyes, the door burst open, and yet another player emerged. This one was unfamiliar, but Lessa called out anyway. “Hey! Try to hold open that door! It might-“

But the door slammed anyway. The blonde blew out a frustrated breath, unsurprised as the stranger tried and failed to open it again. “Yeah,” she groaned. “Locked for me too. Do you think this is some kind of quest or something?”

@Cordelia @Calrex

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Cordelia jumped. "O-oh, hello, Lessa. You gave me a scare for a second," she stuttered, rubbing the back of her head with a sweat-drop. She briefly glanced at her familiar before she tilted her head. "Open what--"

Before she could ask any further questions, another player seemed to have found themselves in the room. She blinked. He looked familiar from somewhere but she couldn't put a pin on it. . .

"Wait, it's locked?" She asked, bewildered. Putting it to the test, Cordelia tugged on the handle, to no avail. "Oh, I guess we are." She looked over to Lessa and shook her head. "I don't think it is. We would've already gotten some kind of notification saying that we've accepted the quest or something like that." She looked back at the door. "Though, I'm sure we'll be perfectly fine," she sniffed, her grip growing a tiny bit stronger on her bundled familiars. 

"I'll just see if I can message Oscar or someone. He can come and open the door for us or something," she suggested, her hand extending out in front of her before swiping down.

Nothing.

She swiped down again.

Nothing.

"It's. . . it's not working. I can't access my menu."

@Lessa @Calrex

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Looking around Calrex turned to see two faces also present within the hotel. One he thought ht recognized, but he couldn't place the name. The second was more recent, as they were around for another event that taken place recently, "I should have known better than to step away, my bad."

"Still...this is rather odd. A location that you cannot willing escape from?"

He reached down to check his equipment, but as he did the bluenette realized that none of his gear was equipped. The gauntlets, his accessories, none of them. Anything in his inventory was unaccessible, even though he was out of combat, "Yeah, none of my gear is reachable either, and we're not being attacked at the moment. Something is not right..."

"Is this something glitched in the Cardinal system? I haven't seen something like this before, although I wouldn't be surprised if it's possible. It did nerf Achilles on me right before a boss battle."

"There wasn't a quest prompt, or anything like that, so I doubt that this is some kind of actual quest. In fact this doesn't match up with any form of task that I can recall."

@Lessa @Cordelia

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Lessa’s jaw worked as she planted her hands on her hips, then turned to survey their surroundings. “So no messages, and no equipment.” She let the words sink in, and they settled over the trio like a heavy blanket. But not a comforting, fuzzy blanket. This one was scratchy, and smelled funny. Like a grandma’s basement.

”Yeah, I’m not a fan of this.” The blonde turned back to her companions, glancing between them as she said, “I haven’t seen anything like this before. I’ve never just not had access to these in-game tools. If we can’t access our messages, I assume we can’t see our friends list either, and-”

A sudden realization hit her like a freight train. “Oh god, do you think we still show up on everyone else’s? I mean, what if we fell off the grid somehow? What if they look and we aren’t there?” What might have begun as an interesting adventure suddenly turned urgent. What would she do if Bahr saw her missing name? What would he do?

”I think the sooner we get out of here, the better. Should we go deeper into the building, and look for a back exit?”

@Cordelia @Calrex

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Cordelia shook her head. "It's not your fault. The same goes for me too."

"I feel like this is what I'm going to experience the same thing when I go back to the real world," she said dryly. Right, the real world didn't have menus that can be accessed with the swipe of a hand, or limitless inventory, or maps. 

She looked over to Lessa and inhaled sharply. "I don't know-- but I'm sure that we aren't going to be the only players who stumble into. . . whatever the hell this place is," she sniffed, rubbing her eyes tiredly. This was exactly the last thing she needed today. Why her? Why now?

"I agree. I have no idea how this whole place is laid out, though. It didn't look too incredibly big from the outside but heck, we're in a video game. This place is probably like that infinite Ikea store or something," she muttered, shaking her head. Her idea wasn't too far off, but she could never be sure. "But if we do go, we're sticking as a group. No argument. We're rendered useless in a place like this, we can't afford to lose the few things we have."

@Calrex @Lessa

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"Yeah, in a situation like this we're better off sticking together. If anything we'd also best keep track of our movements through the rooms. If this place is consistent in terms of layout, we can at least get our bearings. If not, then at least we're all still together and don't have a chance of getting separated easily."

Crossing his arms for a moment he gave a calming breath, "Think carefully. If the front door is locked, then in terms of general game design there could be a few options. One could be that there is another exit somewhere in the area that we can use to get out, the next is that we need to get something in order to open the front door. Without equipment, the chances of combat at low, but not zero, so it's possible we may need to defeat something to unlock the way out..."

Looking over at the blonde that was with them Calrex gave a nod, "Well, if anything we're not going to gain anything standing around. Which way do you think we should check first? I can take point in case of any potential danger."

@Lessa @Cordelia

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Lessa nodded her agreement. “For sure,” she confirmed. “This is feeling more and more like an episode of Scooby Doo, and splitting up rarely works for them. We should definitely stick together.”

She cut Cordelia a sideways glance, tilting her head to look at the taller player. “Infinite IKEA store sounds like absolute hell,” she stated. Despite the frightening circumstances, that needed to be said. “Like a worst nightmare. I really hope that’s not what we’re looking at here, but it wouldn’t surprise me.”

Next, she looked to the other man. ”Gonna assume you’re probably the highest level one among us.” It really was difficult to tell without equipment. “So yeah, I know I’d appreciate it if you took point.” A pause, then she added, “My name is Lessa, by the way.” She extended her hand, as well as a small smile. “I know it’s a weird time for formalities, but I’d rather know your name going into this.”

“So if this is a hotel, there should be more doors to the outside, right? There can’t be only one entrance and exit. Maybe just head straight back? Pick a hallway and follow it? Stay on this ground floor?”

@Cordelia @Calrex

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"Worst case scenario would probably mobs coming out to attack us at our weakest," Cordelia murmured thoughtfully in response to Lessa. "I'm sure we'll be fine."

She looked over to the blue-haired player and cracked a small smile. "You can call me Cordelia," she said, shortly after Lessa had introduced herself. She was sure that she somewhat knew this player. Perhaps she had seen him at an event, or just passed by him a couple times in town? She mentally shrugged. Maybe the pieces of the puzzle would fit together once he had introduced himself. 

Cordelia nodded her head at Lessa's suggestion. "Best bet would probably be looking around the ground floor first. See if there are any other exits that way," she sniffed. "I have no idea how big the floor actually is, but I'm assuming there will be a lot of spaces we have to check out." She looked over back to the firmly shut door. "I just hope that no one comes while we're gone and thinks that they're the only ones in here. Is there any way we could leave some kind of note to direct any other people who found themselves in this. . . unfortunate situation?"

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Crreeeeeaaaak...

Kooh winced at the drawn-out sound that the large oaken door made when she pushed it open. "So much for trying out that lockpicking skill..." She muttered under her breath with dissatisfaction. Still, an entrance had been presented to her, and so she cautiously made her way into...an office? She raised a brow while looking over the large room. A few desks, some filing cabinets, even a standing fan and water cooler decorated the space, though she couldn't shake how empty and lifeless it felt.

WHAM!

She spun around, eyes wide and her pulse skyrocketing. The door had slammed shut behind her, and she could hear the 'click' of a lock sliding into place. "Oh are you serious--" She marched back and tried the handle. It wouldn't budge. She groaned and scowled. "Fine." She turned back and faced the contents of the office room with a huff. "I wanted to check out the big-ass creepy building, I'll check out the big-ass creepy building." She walked around, inspecting the room for anything of value. When she tugged on the drawers most of them were non-functional, causing her to scowl with annoyance.

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"Lessa...Lessa...where have I heard that name before? Someone mentioned it in the past..."

Calrex crossed his arms for a moment to think, "I think I might have heard about you from someone else before. Do you happen to know anyone going by Baldur or Celes?...In any case, we can save the chatting for later."

Looking over as Cordelia introduced herself the bluenette gave a nod, "I think we met one time at an event quest before, so she might not recognize me, heh."

"It's nice to meet you both. I'm Calrex. As for the plan, yeah starting floor by floor might be good. If this isn't some kind of area where things shift as we move through, we can get a good bearing on our location. Then we can move on to the next floor and do the same.

Looking at the closed door, he felt a bead of sweat form at Cordelia's suggestion, "Also...yeah we should leave a note..."

With a small sigh he centered himself, "Yeah, I can take point. If anything we should find something to take notes on, or to draw a rough map of the hotel layout on the fly if we can."

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Despite the situation, a smile bloomed. “I know both Baldur and Celes. They’re very good friends. Do you know them too? I just spoke with Baldur a couple of days ago, but I haven’t been able to get ahold of Celes.”

Lessa reached back, rubbing at the base of her neck as she glanced around. “Honestly, I haven’t had need for paper in ages. Even if I did, I can’t access my inventory, so...” Her shoulders rose and fell. “Guess it doesn’t even matter.”

She held up a finger in a quick ‘hold on’ gesture, then jogged to the empty check-in desk. The surface that should have held computers, papers, and phones was completely spotless. In fact, there wasn’t even evidence that any of those things had once existed there. But when she reached for the drawer and gave it a good tug, the lock held. Something jingled inside, but without the key, Lessa wasn’t sure how she could access it.

“Nada,” she informed Calrex and Cordelia. “We can keep an eye out as we go. Maybe look for an office along the way?”

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A paved path cutting through a garden of delicate white flowers and crystal ice statues. And a door to the towering building at the end, placed between two windows — with tinted glass panes she carelessly overlooked. 

Shelter from the frigid cold.

Mishiro was still shivering when she grasped the knob with a gauntleted hand covered in a thin layer of frost. Caught in the middle of a sudden snowstorm, even layers of Claude's fluffiest coats could do nothing to stave off the bitter cold when she herself lacked the [Survival] skill. The tower was a beacon of warmth amid bleak snow-covered hills and the freezing girl craved nothing more than a few minutes spent by a warm fire.

She'll continue her trek later. She had to.

Mishiro twisted the knob. With a long and loud creak, the door swung open and a pleasant draft of warmth welcomed her. She was peering into a hotel restaurant.

And it was eerily still and empty.

The door slammed. It echoed, the sound bouncing on and off the room's walls. Mishiro stood deathly still in the middle of the room, gauntleted hands curled into fists. She looked behind her.

She didn't remember walking forward.

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Tower groggily cracked an eye open, then slammed it shut again after the daylight pounded his retina. He groped with a massive hand for shutters that weren't there before deciding to just keep his eyes shut forever. He grumbled incoherently under his breath, and reached down off the bed for a shirt. Finding a piece of cloth, he grabbed it and slowly sat up, scratching his bare chest. 

 

He stood slowly and blindly reached for the door, stepping forwards. The morning light wasn't going to defeat John Cromwell, no sir. Hand finding a handle, he pulled and stepped forwards into the Hall adjoining his bedroom and stepped through, putting one arm through a sleeve of his blindly found shirt. He opened his eyes, expecting the dim light of a hallway, not a lobby. His surprise overrode any pain from the stark light of the room. 

 

He froze, locking eyes with the shorter of the women in the group. 

 

"Still dreaming then, eh," he mumbled. He hoped, at least. 

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“Tower?”

Lessa stared at her guild mate for a moment, then blinked owlishly. “What the heck are you doing here?” Sleep still rode the man’s face, a bit of grogginess despite surprise. Had he been sleeping in the room he’d just left? In this massive, creepy building? At least he had fun boxer shorts to sleep in. They had little anvils all over them, and she wondered if he had them custom made.

WAIT- WHERE WERE HIS PANTS?

”Um, hey,” Lessa stammered, immediately averting her gaze. “You should probably, ah, put some pants on.” The woman gave an awkward half-laugh, reaching up to rub at the bridge of her nose.

”Introductions, I guess. Cord, you already know Tower.” They both belonged to the Tarot, after all. And who could forget someone like Tower? He stood a billion feet tall, and was probably her grandpa's age. In a word, he was a badass.

Lessa nodded to the blue haired player. “Tower, Calrex. Calrex, Tower.”

@Calrex @Cordelia @Tower

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With no luck of a tool for them to track their movements, Calrex gave a small sigh, "Yeah, we'll have to keep an eye out while we're searching then."

"Unfortunately since we can't access our menus, that means we also don't have any form of overmap, so even if this place were a procedurally discovered areas like some dungeon crawlers we don't have that. Hopefully our memory is enough."

There was a brief silence among the group, which allowed the bluenette to pick up on what appeared to be a door opening and closing from somewhere else in the hotel, but with the numerous hallway walls the sound bounced too much for him to get an idea of an originating point, "That sounded like another..."

Turning back to face the group his eye level met the torso of what appeared to be a much older and much taller man, a bead of sweat forming on the side of his head. Lessa took the opportunity to introduce the acquaintance to the group, the person going by the name of Tower, "That is a rather apt name to go by."

"It's nice to meet you, albeit under such...unique circumstances."

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Calrex, Calrex, Calrex-- Cordelia swore she had heard of it somewhere.

Cordelia nodded her head. "Well, should we start heading--"

She paused, watching as a somewhat familiar man stumbled into the room. Cordelia let out an awkward cough as she turned her head the other way. "Ah, yes. I think we've met briefly before," she mumbled, her hand traveling up to cover her eyes before she used to other to rub the back of her neck. 

Cordelia cleared her throat. "A-ah, well should we start exploring, then?" She asked. "I wouldn't want to have anyone I know come looking for me and have them stuck here too. The sooner we find a way out of here, the less people will come. . . although, I'm not sure how long this building will be here," she murmured, scratching her chin. "My shop is on this flor yet I've never seen this place before. . . it was like it showed up out of thin air."

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Seconds ticked by. The room remained still. Slowly easing out of her rigid stance, Mishiro reached down and met empty air where her teleport crystal usually hung from a hook on her belt. She fixed a careful eye on the restaurant's interior and took quick note of its layout as she quietly inched backwards until her gauntleted hand met the knob.

She tried the door. It was locked.

She jiggled the knob and twisted it again to be sure. It was locked.

She took her eyes off the room to peer at the keyhole. Could she pick it somehow? She kept a lockpick in her inventory, and perhaps she could send Claude a quick message informing him about the situation. Her hesitation with the latter wasn't exactly a factor when there were too many unknown variables in the equation. Mishiro swiped her hand down.

Once, twice, then another try with her opposite hand.

Disabled menu access. A cold chill crept up her spine, and she clenched her gauntleted hand into a fist with grim determination.

One last option.

If she could punch a boulder into oblivion, she could do the same for a flimsy wooden door.

She swung.

[Immortal Object]

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