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| somewhere in the nobles district.

"it ran away."

so it did. just moments before, the creature that stood over them with that haunting melody vanished into the thick of the trees, leaving the adventuring duo to pick up its pieces. this was an arboretum, an enclosure for trees; for leisure than for training or combat exertion. theoretically, after the owner's brief incident, guests shouldn't be allowed here.

they were trespassing, essentially. and night hadn't expected anyone else to have been breaking the rules that eve, either.

her attention flicked back to day, the woman pulling her miniature spyglass from her eye. "i don't suppose you know anything about it, do you?"

"it's nothing that i'd ever seen before," the entity muttered, sights still trained on their target's once position. "or heard of."

night huffed, storing the spyglass back into her inventory. convenient of cardinal to not come up with any answers at the very moment she'd preferred it. her gaze fell over their vicinity, a crossroads of segregated forests and that man-made river from before running along them in a bend. she faced the direction towards that oddity, that strange mark, gesturing with a wave of her hand as she started down her path.

"whatever, let's go."

day was slow to move.

8hmll5P.png
| NIGHT
 | Status: [the ominous feeling of being watched.]

Notes: 
Water Canister (-1) | +20 HP PER OOC REGEN
 | ooc hp regen: 60HP/post

Spoiler

NIGHT HP: 966/966 | EN: 142/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 | Stealth Rating: 5


 equipment

  • Cosmic Devourer+1 
    | ABS. ACC, ACC, ACC
  • Jacket of the Prince
    | LD II, EVA, REC (3)
  • Silver Ring
    | PROSP III 

 battle-ready inventory

  • Gungir's Shard | Missing You (5)
    | -> 
    [ref] | HP RECOVERY III | INSTANT
  • Teleport Crystal (5)
    | TELEPORT | INSTANT
  • Ikayaki Slice (5)
    | VITALITY II [+12 EN]

 skills

Spoiler

mod count: 7/7

  • 2HSS | RANK 5/5
    • ferocity, stamina
  • CLOTH ARMOR | RANK 5/5
    • athletics, nimble
  • COMBAT MASTERY: DMG | RANK 3/3
  • SEARCHING | RANK 3+1/5
    • tracking
  • BATTLE HEALING | RANK 3/5
  • EXTENDED MOD LIMIT
  • ENERGIST
  • FAMILIAR: PROFESSION

extra

  1. SURVIVAL
  2. CONCENTRATION
  3. HIDING
    • blindside, vanish, surprise attack-t
  4. [CS] METAMORPHOSES

 consumed buffs

Spoiler

statue

  • KUMATETSU | +1 DMG

consumables

  • Berry Crumb Bars | LOOT DIE III | [#178067]
  • Mousse | PROSPERITY III | [#190282]
  1. Monkey's Agility | EVASION I
  2. Smores | ACCURACY II | [#175587-1]
  3. Divinity's Protection | OVERHEALTH III | [#174129-1]
  4. Breakfast Fry | PROTEIN II | FILLED
  5. Liquor of Light | DAMAGE III 

 misc buffs

Spoiler

housing

  • Dimensional Backpack, Item Stash
    | +2 Battle-Ready Inventory Slots.
  • Well Rested
    | -1 EN for the first three expenditures of each combat. 
  • Relaxed
    | +(5 * Tier) HP per out-of-combat post. Full energy restoration occurs after two turns out of combat.
  • Squeaky Clean
    | -25% DoT damage taken from the first DoT applied to this player in a thread.
  • Skylight: Searching
    | +1 Expertise to declared utility skill. Cooldown of 30 days to reassign.
  • Multipurpose
    | +1 LD/Prosperity/Stealth/Detection to one post per thread. Can be applied after a roll.
  • Filling
    | +1 T1 slot to a food consumed by this player in a thread. Can exceed Cook enhancement caps.
  • Col Deposit
    | +5% col from loot-minimum mobs, +10% col from treasure chests.

paragon

  • Lv. 5 | Gain additional col equivalent to 10% of EXP earned in that thread.
  • Lv. 10 | +3% EXP Gain.

gathering

rank 2 | xp: 69/200

  • Greenhouse
    | +2 G.EXP, +1 CD&LD to gathering attempts.
  • Familiar: Profession
    | +2 G.EXP
  • Demeter's Cornucopia
    | +1 CD to gathering attempts. 

 

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her once suspicions of a training grounds would have to be revised, then. an unusual dungeon run, perhaps? or one of those scenarios that occurred from time to time, out of accident; out of fate, as one of her memories of games had once put it. or perhaps that new target was a field boss -- no, they were more often much larger than that, and less swift. less skittish. more a punching bag and less of a personality than whatever it was they'd seen.

the idea of a bounty still lingered in her head, the hunt for such a figure that unusual.

in time, night would leave her assistant unattended; or perhaps the right manner would be that she knew of her doppel's presence to be a constant partner, stuck to her side despite day not being visible in her periphery. she'd track the gemini, knowing that the entity was faltering behind; a curious maneuver, if night were to comment on it herself. when her watch was in vicinity, she let go of that attention, directing it to her environment once again.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> TEMPEST

193208 | 6 | CD

193208 | 3 + 5 = 8 | -> Owlbear #1
193209 | 1 + 5 = 6 | -> Owlbear #2
193210 | 8 | -> Owlbear #3
193211 | 4 + 5 = 9 | -> Owlbear #4

| (-12 -8 +2) = 18 EN
| 30 * 14 = 420 DMG

Owlbear #1 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED
Owlbear #2 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED
Owlbear #3 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED
Owlbear #4 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED

NIGHT | HP: 966/966 | EN: 124/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [T: 0/2]

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so night walked on. on her route, she'd expected to catch sight of that shadow they were following, the hunters stalking the hunted. there had to be some irony in that, how both of them were mimicking the same dynamic they'd expected to exert on this strange creature. and yet, there were no signs of it as she struck past another few bounds of trees. some cypress lined up in neat rows, a dragon tree grown large surrounded by beeches, but no threats she could identify from the get go.

perhaps that wasn't right. they'd been trekking along the outskirts of these sections, in neat rows down pavements already carved out for them. if they'd ventured into the woods, there would most likely be a solid chance to run into something unexpected, something that wasn't meant to be there in the first place.

did she dare imagine the shadow and the miscreants of this place linked?

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> CYCLONE

193212 | 7 | CD | +3EN

193212 | 7 | -> Owlbear #1
193213 | 7 | -> Owlbear #2
193214 | 4 + 5 = 9 | -> Owlbear #3
193215 | 2 + 5 = 7 | -> Owlbear #4

| (-7 - 8 +2 +4) = -9 EN
| 30 * 7 = 210 DMG

Owlbear #1 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #2 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #3 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #4 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 966/966 | EN: 118/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [T: 1/2] [C: 0/2]

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the whisper in her ear told her everything. "more leshin over there, past the sycamores." night knew day had gestured, because there was a flap of something that hit her back, rough cloth against her own. the woman turned as per ordered, before another sharp tap on her shoulder directed her gaze elsewhere. "owlbears in the birch."

night could only blink in surprise.

"owlbears," she repeated.

"yes."

the quadrant of silver wood was bordered by different yellow flowers, a small field of them, before the path directed travelers into the heart of its emporium within. night's internal compass was all but lost at the sudden revelation that there were things -- living animals that were kept within the garden's interiors, and looked up towards the tree line hoping to catch a sight of the tallest, trying to draft her way towards it.

it seemed as though it was on the way.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> GALAXY DESTROYER

193216 | 12 | CD | +3EN

193216 | 7 | -> Owlbear #5 || 10
193217 | 10 | -> Owlbear #6 || 9
193218 | 9 | -> Owlbear #7 || 3
193219 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #8 || 1

| (-14 -8 +2 +4) = -16 EN
| 30 * 17 = 510 DMG

| 187 + 188 = 375 DMG
| 966 - 375 = 591 HP

Owlbear #5 | HP: 110/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #6 | HP: 110/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #7 | HP: 110/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #8 | HP: 110/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 591/966 | EN: 105/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [T: 2/2] [C: 1/2] [GD: 0/4]

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to cut down an army of owlbears was one feat that night hadn't properly exercised at. sure, such creatures were indeed in the compendium of common monsters, particularly known to exploring players and careful brokers alike, but they were archetypes besides herself. anything that was defined as a foe would be cut down with valiant effort and exertion. the details never needed to matter, she figured.

but numbers were overwhelming, on occasion. and so were appearances deceiving.

no snout, so it didn't need a muzzle. just a beak; piercing attacks were meant to get the better of tougher armor, night wasn't exempt from that. from the moment the player stepped into the woods, sword kept alight out in front of her, she knew something was off, felt it from the stares she thought were lingering on her form. on her light, sizing up the cut of her armor. of her--

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> BLAST
FREE ACTION -> HP RECOVERY III | GUNGIR'S SHARD (4/5) | +159 HP

193220 | 7 | CD | +3EN

193220 | 9 | -> Owlbear #5
193221 | 1 + 5 = 6 | -> Owlbear #6
193222 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #7
193223 | 3 + 5 = 8 | -> Owlbear #8

| (-4 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -6 EN
| 30 * 4 = 120 DMG

Owlbear #5 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #6 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #7 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #8 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 778/966 | EN: 102/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [C: 2/2] [GD: 1/4] [B: 0/2]

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a shove forward; an invisible hand. the first striker was quick; had it dropped down from above? perhaps. night wheeled around in time, blade in hand to cut through the figure whose neck was held aloft by the butt of day's spear, dividing through its hind quarters with nary a second bat of her eyes. it was gutted through with the flick of the entity's weapon, a flash of white through hide of darkness, and with it the creature faded away into ash and dust.

had night the time to stay idle, she would've, watching her mirror tussle her hair in elegance -- 'showoff', the player would've pouted, capturing that moment only in the corner of her eye. but the dissipating fractals only gave light to the other ursine mixes on the field; the player whipped around with an uppercut just as the shadows moved, forepaws in the air, ready to strike. a kick sent the beast staggering backwards, but only slightly.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> TEMPEST
FREE ACTION -> HP RECOVERY III | GUNGIR'S SHARD (3/5)

193224 | 3 | CD

193224 | 7 | -> Owlbear #9
193225 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #10
193226 | 2 + 5 = 7 | -> Owlbear #11
193227 | 3 + 5 = 8 | -> Owlbear #12

| (-12 -8 +2 +4) = -14 EN
| 30 * 14 = 420 DMG

Owlbear #9 | HP: 620/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED
Owlbear #10 | HP: 620/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED
Owlbear #11 | HP: 620/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED
Owlbear #12 | HP: 620/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED

NIGHT | HP: 965/966 | EN: 88/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [GD: 2/4] [B: 1/2] [T: 0/2]

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a drawn cross; her art attracted the attention of more demons from the dark, once her second target had been smashed into a tree. night huffed, blade held ahead of her with two hands. behind her, the princess chuckled, catching a bear approaching from her front, struck it in the face with a rapid, deep joust. "that's nothing," the gemini cooed, to which the player was taunted to shoot her secondary a glance. "here, look, i can do better."

and night had almost vomited out a speedy 'i'd like to see you try', trying to turn her attention back to her advancing opponents, but her doppel, quicker on the ball, had already withdrawn her weapon and ordered for the player to have ducked before she'd even raised her leg. the gemini struck the side of her victim; a roundhouse kick. at the very moment two more ursines had lunged out of the hollows, that bear now projectile had struck them both off their trajectory, a reckless fling that shot them both into a corner of the park. night barely even had a moment to strike the ground before them, trying to halt their toss through the air with cardinal's assistance.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> CYCLONE

193228 | 4 | CD

193228 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #9
193229 | 1 + 5 = 6 | -> Owlbear #10
193230 | 1 + 5 = 6 | -> Owlbear #11
193231 | 9 | -> Owlbear #12

| (-7 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -9 EN
| 30 * 7 = 210 DMG

Owlbear #9 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #10 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #11 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #12 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 966/966 | EN: 79/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [GD: 3/4] [B: 2/2] [T: 1/2] [C: 0/2]

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"and what was the point of that, exactly?"

owlbears were meant to be solitary creatures; often, predators were crafted in fantasy with the stereotypical food chain and pyramid in mind. to see an entire swallow greeting them, grounds full in an arc was something to behold. night dug deep into the soil -- tender, damp -- and spoke before her shadow could recover. the tip of her sword was raised high. "i barely got the experience from that, thank you very much."

"and i was just trying to--"

"hold that thought."

the player pulted herself right into one of the monsters, hoping the glow of her sword would catch their attention more than her form in the dark. the first of many pulled itself on its hind legs, just as night grazed past it, slamming the edge of cosmic devourer down into its side in an untamed, vertical cut. the system's will, night's wishes to move; that momentum carried her forward as she dragged herself into the heart of the fray, unleashing a whirlwind and hoping to strike as many beasts as possible while the iron was hot.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> BLAST

193232 | 11 | CD | +3EN

193232 | 6 | -> Owlbear #13 || 5
193233 | 1 + 5 = 6 | -> Owlbear #14 || 5
193234 | 3 + 5 = 8 | -> Owlbear #15 || 3
193235 | 10 | -> Owlbear #16 || 10

| (-4 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -6 EN
| 30 * 4 = 120 DMG

| 966 - 188 = 778 HP

Owlbear #13 | HP: 620/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #14 | HP: 620/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #15 | HP: 620/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #16 | HP: 620/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 778/966 | EN: 76/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [GD: 4/4] [T: 2/2] [C: 1/2] [B: 0/2]

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galaxy destroyer was meant to start with a plunge into its enemies. the slashes would then build up as she shifted from foe to foe; but night had other ideas trying to devastate the field, sinking her weapon into the ground, feeling as though she was merely acting as the agent for cardinal for that split second. a compulsion, that move, after she'd whirled her blade up high sent ripples and cracks into the ground. they glowed bright, warm with heat and red light, almost creating an uneven terrain in the seconds to come as her enemies approached her, the ones attacked starting to stir from their senses. and when they got close, the quick draw of her sword from the ground returned the environment to normalcy; the plane shuddered as pressure was released through its vents, causing fog to spill into midair. and the beasts that were swarming her, some halfway through their attack animation, stopped in the might of that force, a show-stopping combination with that pair of an eater of worlds.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> GALAXY DESTROYER

193236 | 4 | CD

193236 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #13
193237 | 6 | -> Owlbear #14
193238 | 4 + 5 = 9 | -> Owlbear #15
193239 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #16

| (-14 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -16 EN
| 30 * 17 = 510 DMG

Owlbear #13 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #14 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #15 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #16 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 806/966 | EN: 60/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [C: 2/2] [B: 1/2] [GD: 0/4]

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there was a flash past night's sights, barely catching the gold of her secondary dive right into the chaotic feast as well. that scatter of dust from mass devastation had left the player blind to all but touch; she couldn't see past the twinkling lights, couldn't hear past the tinkling bells that sent cardinal's sweet pawns to their rest. an unusual exploitation of the game's design would also come with that costly few seconds of falter; night's arm regained movement first, blade readied by her side, but it wouldn't be enough to have blocked the batter from the edge of her sights, knocked her into the claws of another monstrosity, its moonlit eyes matching the sharpen of its pupils as it focused in on unguarded prey.

two strikes. night remembered she could only take five at best before needing to rest.

right when the beast stood to grapple her in a hold -- a signature move of the kin that night wasn't familiar with -- the player sundered it horizontally by its abdomen, ducking and whirling around its height. if she could've ended things off with a shove, she might've, but her stature against predator was not impressive.

in truth, the ursine barely even budged.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> TEMPEST

193240 | 4 | CD

193240 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #17
193241 | 4 + 5 = 9 | -> Owlbear #18
193242 | 2 + 5 = 7 | -> Owlbear #19
193243 | 7 | -> Owlbear #20

| (-12 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -14 EN
| 30 * 14 = 420 DMG

Owlbear #17 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #18 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #19 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #20 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 834/966 | EN: 46/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [B: 2/2] [GD: 1/4] [T: 0/2]

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a quick slash to force it downwards; that would be enough for the woman's display in escape. the player then focused on a meteoric return to her aide -- not that she needed the help, but it was better to stick together during situations like these, the night reasoned with herself. nothing was to be mentioned about the three strikes left on her avatar, the depleting energy bar after performing so many unusual arts in quick sequence.

so she rushed through the crowd, the edge of her steel poised horizontally out in front of her, night emphasizing the glow of her weapon as though to beckon her enemies forward; she needed to be careful, careful of additional threats, but nothing was against the onslaught of what she could see at the moment, while the woman could help it, afford the expenditure in energy and health. three strikes felled the left beast; she'd forced one on the right before the nip of a third was onto her back.

two more left in the tank.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> CYCLONE

193244 | 12 | CD | +3EN

193244 | 10 | -> Owlbear #17
193245 | 6 | -> Owlbear #18
193246 | 9 | -> Owlbear #19
193247 | 3 + 5 = 8 | -> Owlbear #20

| (-7 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -9 EN
| 30 * 7 = 210 DMG

Owlbear #17 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #18 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #19 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #20 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 862/966 | EN: 40/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [GD: 2/4] [T: 1/2] [C: 0/2]

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night wasn't feeling lucky any more.

a quick cyclone sent back the bears from the player; another tempest made sure the ones in her vicinity remained in place. she'd struck the foremost ursine with a downwards slash, and her teeth bit her lower lip in an attempt to dart atop her opponent, using her blade as leverage before throwing herself off it, covering distance she couldn't have on foot due to numbers.

another whirl was to stagger the other past that first; by then, her stunned quarry was starting to close in, cry after cry from the shrieking flock a complaint of wrestles as the group squirmed just to follow night, keep her in their line of sight. the player swerved past her current obstacle, blade barely deflecting the catch of a sudden raised paw as she entered the bear's vicinity; the flat of her weapon was enough to block some damage, and incidentally throw the bear for a quick loop as it stepped to the side, dazed.

Spoiler

RESTING | +60 HP, +1EN // ooc

193248 | 10 | CD | +3EN

CONSUMING FROM INVENTORY

  • Round of Beef | TIER 3 VITALITY II | (4) | [154508] [154511] [154511-1] [154511-2]

+48 EN // consumables

NIGHT | HP: 922/966 | EN: 92/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [GD: 3/4] [T: 2/2] [C: 1/2]

// [20/5/21] NIGHT: due to an en miscalculation error, chaffing 3 more vitality items to match the expected EN total.

  • Ikayaki Slice | TIER 3 VITALITY II | (3) | [153287-1] [153295] [153295-1]
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it was the third she'd successfully evade underneath, the woman reaching sanctuary, pulling out her menus as she discarded her sights but for a moment. the burning sensation in her throat; night loathed to admit that her other was more prepared for an endless skirmish such as this, and yet it was a miracle that the gemini had covered so much ground and kept it free of owlbears, wide swings of her spear, piercing weapon it may have been, to clear and shun them out of territory, of groups and clustering.

"cover for me!"

"on it!"

and not even with her back turned would an ursine approach within three feet of the paused player. she'd gulped down a handful of some beef, welling uncertain growing in her as she wondered why, out of all foods, firm anima had decided to craft consumables in the form of meatballs to eat in the midst of battle. a screech of that agitated horde from night's escape came to finish their failed hunting attempt; that sear of white and gold had stopped them in their tracks, crushed them into remnants before they had even completed their charge.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> TEMPEST

193249 | 10 | CD | +3EN

193249 | 9 | -> Owlbear #21
193250 | 7 | -> Owlbear #22
193251 | 10 | -> Owlbear #23
193252 | 7 | -> Owlbear #24

| (-12 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -14 EN
| 30 * 14 = 420 DMG

Owlbear #21 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #22 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #23 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #24 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 950/966 | EN: 81/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [GD: 4/4] [T: 0/2] [C: 2/2]

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the spear in day's hands simply twirled as she finished her assault, before lashing out with a bite towards one of a fallen beast's neighbor. she'd bounce backwards, not in a retreat; her point was skating across grass towards another edge of the ring. a swerve of that lance drove a wave of light to rupture the ground, pillar of emptiness pounding upwards in a jab, sinking mercilessly into the owlbear's maw. another dance towards that locale, two steps as a skip, day's quick berths would cross out brave souls and confident hounds, sent them back towards cardinal's void. and she'd do it all again a few beats after, nothing taxing visible on the immortal foe.

on the last lash for a third corner, night rose with a brandish of her blade, health safely in the green and a crash of glass onto mud, remnants of starlight melting into the sky. a tilt of her edge was in preparation for the closing border her companion had temporarily held off earlier; with a swing, the player started to dice through her opponents again.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> CYCLONE

193253 | 10 | CD | +3EN

193253 | 4 + 5 = 9 | -> Owlbear #21
193254 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #22
193255 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #23
193256 |  9 | -> Owlbear #24

| (-7 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -9 EN
| 30 * 7 = 210 DMG

Owlbear #21 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #22 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #23 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #24 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 966/966 | EN: 75/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [T: 1/2] [C: 0/2]

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one, then two and three. night was careful not to wander too far off again, skipping backwards with her eyes sorely strained, back of her lids a pulsing mosaic of black, white and red. "tell me you saw an end to this horde," the player begged, throaty and sour; in her pause she'd been gasping for non-existent air.

her associate was stoic, brows furrowed, a picturesque example of concentration -- uncommon for the gemini, had night found relief enough to catch the agony on her doppel's face. another set of jabs towards an eager combatant, sending the owl bear into bay. "oh?" and despite her lack of enthusiasm for the fight, still her voice seemed to purr. "getting tired?"

"and you can keep this up?"

night pushed forward slightly, countering an underhanded claw with the back of her blade, before sweeping around and striking at her opponent's upper paw. two more slices; fast additions to the inflicted scar, and her front was secure again, aside from the player losing ground on their ring.

all it took for day to expand it again was a wide arc, wiping out three weakened culprits in one shot.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> GALAXY DESTROYER

193257 | 11 | CD | +3EN

193257 | 4 + 5 = 9 | -> Owlbear #25 || 4
193258 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #26 || 10
193259 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #27 || 8 - 3 = 5
193260 |  9 | -> Owlbear #28 || 3

| (-14 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -16 EN
| 30 * 17 = 510 DMG

| 966 - 188 = 778 HP

Owlbear #25 | HP: 110/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #26 | HP: 110/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #27 | HP: 110/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #28 | HP: 110/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 778/966 | EN: 62/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [T: 2/2] [C: 1/2] [GD: 0/4]

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"right," the player growled with a pant, rolling her eyes as she caught that party-kill with a glance. "you want to keep this up?"

for the first time since her entry into the army, day spared her environment something other than a stoic look. this one was an expression of annoyance, elegant and gentle; perturbed and lost in thought. the player didn't hold her long enough in her gaze to have studied that complexity, that arrogance. instead, night was focused more on the battle, erasing another handful of owlbears more from their ever stalemate slate.

a tap of the end of her other's spear against her thigh stole the player's attention. night ripped the owlbear's fur up its chest with haste; her doppel's eyes were shimmering again as day looked over a shoulder, back straightened, almost releasing her stance in combat. "we can take to the trees," she explained; a trick that night knew might take time, but was worth a shot.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> BLAST

193261 | 3 | CD

193261 | 10 | -> Owlbear #25
193262 | 9 | -> Owlbear #26
193263 | 4 + 5 = 9 | -> Owlbear #27 
193264 | 3 + 5 = 8 | -> Owlbear #28

| (-4 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -6 EN
| 30 * 4 = 120 DMG

Owlbear #25 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #26 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #27 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #28 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 806/966 | EN: 56/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [C: 2/2] [GD: 1/4] [B: 0/2]

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"but they might be able to climb."

"they're bears," night spat, aiming for the throat of another beast that had approached.

"and bears can climb trees too, you know!"

the player's voice flattened, eyes squinting in defiance of the truth. looming over her was a giant of a specimen, readying a peck as she'd held against the pressures of its claws with the side of her blade. "you've got to be kidding me."

an arc in the shape of an 8; day's spear whipped out towards the ursine night was facing and stole its health from a quick, painless pierce. not to be outdone, the woman shot an art forward, spilling digital insides in the model of bright polygonal particles. the gemini returned to her own emerging pack -- a heartless swipe of one bear to plow its side into the others; her gaze turned to night's in a second. the fingers that wrapped around her wrist came in the next.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> TEMPEST

193265 | 8 | CD | +3EN

193265 | 10 | -> Owlbear #29
193266 | 1 + 5 = 6 | -> Owlbear #30
193267 | 6 | -> Owlbear #31 
193268 | 2 + 5 = 7 | -> Owlbear #32

| (-12 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -14 EN
| 30 * 14 = 420 DMG

Owlbear #29 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED
Owlbear #30 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED
Owlbear #31 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED
Owlbear #32 | HP: 200/620 | DMG: 186 | STUNNED

NIGHT | HP: 834/966 | EN: 45/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [GD: 2/4] [B: 1/2] [T: 0/2]

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now, day appeared a little winded; or perhaps, that was night's own exhaustion nearly catching up with her after their endurance run with the ursine. her spear pointed towards the tree line; in the heart of it, past the familiar white lines of the birches they'd been pummeling opponents into, there was an out-of-place camphor, large and homely and seemed full of shelter. the player pulled a wry look, teeth set together as the gemini rushed through her words. "night, it's either there, in the leaves with less bears," she stated, "or it's through the ground, where there's more of them. either way, we'd be through here this way until we can find an exit."

night took one look towards the way they came from -- packed with a swarm of troublesome malefics, nothing she'd want to trifle with -- before shaking her head, snarling, a cross nod towards her partner in crime.

"alright," day proclaimed, a raise of her spear towards the creatures bold, and a gentle lift of the hand she held night's wrist in. it didn't slip the player's mind to admire a braver declaration of her companion, voice filled with determination and pride and a triumphance of reason unknown, yet left in between. "one straight line into the woods, coming up!"

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> CYCLONE

193269 | 7 | CD | +3EN

193269 | 3 + 5 = 8 | -> Owlbear #29
193270 | 2 + 5 = 7 | -> Owlbear #30
193271 | 4 + 5 = 9 | -> Owlbear #31 
193272 | 8 | -> Owlbear #32

| (-7 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -9 EN
| 30 * 7 = 210 DMG

Owlbear #29 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #30 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #31 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #32 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 862/966 | EN: 39/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [GD: 3/4] [B: 2/2] [T: 1/2] [C: 0/2]

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in the pull, night had almost forgotten to move her feet. she stumbled and lagged behind day, sword swung brazenly and wildly; the more powerful strikes, accurate and steadfast were her counterpart's signature measure, and for that her ability to clear their path was made up for even in night's inevitable error-prone fluster.

their crossing bade tides to the ocean of monsters, the owlbears ebbing and flowing with every five swings her escort unleashed. that once dominating fury was weaker now; one-handedness, night reasoned, hoping her nigh practiced blade work and explosive damage would benefit their escape on occasion. it took them a minute to have waded through the flurry; during that time, the player felt her reserves finally hit empty, clinging onto the floor of her energy with her armor squeezing cardinal's fortune dry, night left a wheezing mess by the time they'd gotten to the base of their safe spot.

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> BLAST

193273 | 1 | CD

193273 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #33 || 6 
193274 | 2 + 5 = 7 | -> Owlbear #34 || 8 - 3 = 5
193275 | 2 + 5 = 7 | -> Owlbear #35 || 4
193276 | 5 + 5 = 10 | -> Owlbear #36 || 8 - 3 = 5

| (-4 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -6 EN
| 30 * 4 = 120 DMG

Owlbear #33 | HP: 500/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #34 | HP: 500/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #35 | HP: 500/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #36 | HP: 500/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 890/966 | EN: 33/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [GD: 4/4] [T: 2/2] [C: 1/2] [B: 0/2]

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and day looked none the worse for wear, either, that kept manner starting to wane after slashing and striking with meager progress by the second. it was only at the tree's base did the gemini's gaze start to shift about more sporadically, facing the bark of the tree; night's flailing of her weapon once they'd stopped was to accommodate that.

when the player pulled herself away, it was subtle; gentle. there was a widening in day's eyes, frantic.

"you know i can do it."

the shove of steel into wood was all the entity needed for an on-the-spot moment of recollection. immediately, day's grin returned, messy and cherished by the sharp glance of her player. "oh, yeah." the entity checked the wave of predators inching in towards their position. "i didn't forget."

"hurry up!"

neither of them had the heart nor energy to banter back.

while night required the support of her blade, her mirror's advancement towards a sturdy branch was more skillful, practiced. day's clambering earned her player assistance in hauling herself upwards; both of them sprawled themselves out across the thick platform, one more out of breath than the other.

it was the darker of the two that remembered the details this time, too jittery to have stayed put and remained calm. "are they climbing up yet?"

she bought day's silence for a yes after a moment that the gemini tossed her sights towards the ground. in reality, the owlbears were scratching wildly at the tree, unable to find a good foothold along the side of its bark. night shook her head in vitriol, exhaustion, as the back of it fell upon the sandy, smooth wood once again. her eyes shut tight.

"ah," the woman continued, shrinking, unravelling. "i'm... tired."

Spoiler

SWORD ART -> GALAXY DESTROYER

193277 | 6 | CD

193277 | 9 | -> Owlbear #33
193278 | 1 + 5 = 6 | -> Owlbear #34
193279 | 10 | -> Owlbear #35
193280 | 3 + 5 = 8 | -> Owlbear #36

| (-14 - 8 + 2 + 4) = -16 EN
| 30 * 17 = 510 DMG

Owlbear #33 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #34 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #35 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186
Owlbear #36 | HP: -10/620 | DMG: 186

NIGHT | HP: 918/966 | EN: 17/142 | DMG: 30 | ACC: 5 | EVA: 3 | REC: 3 | LD: 10 | PROSP: 6 | BH: 28 || [C: 2/2] [B: 1/2] [GD: 0/4]

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