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[PP-F26] An Empirical Matter <Scouting the 26th floor>

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An Empirical Matter

(Message on #Frontlines before joining thread)

This was something new to the hunter.  All other floors were much more open and spacious.  The wilds were somewhere, even if the vegetation and fauna were dead, they had an area.  Ruins, creatures, and the unknown were his Forte.

This was none of that, exempt from the unknown.

Ladonia, an empire nation that was growing quite a bit, and was hitting a new peak.  Their grand vision, Imperial and opulent, would create a grand city-state the which no one has seen before.  However, the stench of sovereignty was always foul, and it could be seen even in the Concordance Commons.  It seems like this place was a safe place, but for how long?

Looking around, the hunter sent out a message:



To: [insert name here]

From: Hirru

I may not be the best to say this, but I want to find the next Labyrinth.  We have been stagnant for far too long.  Will you join me?


The Jade Hunter removed his crimson cloak and armor.  This first part wouldn't require those for a while.  Instead, he had his black sleeveless turtleneck covering his chest while the silver and gold bangles, Spirit and Favor respectively, lay upon each of his wrists.  His green hair was still held up by his red headband, which still carried Lun'Rial's Insignia.  This would be quite the venture, if they can keep out of trouble.  Taking everything in stride though, he would use his buffs.  There could still be Labyrinth Guardians that would make fighting without armor an issue.

The hunter then realized that he just sent an unaddressed letter.

"Wait, who did I send that to?"


  • T4 Map -> Team Size 4->6
  • Lemon Berry Palmier [186761] -> +3 LD
  • Creme Brulee [189092] -> +2 ACC
  • Yaki Hatahata [189834] -> +60 MIT
  • Field Ration -> +86 Max HP
  • Immolation Potion T4 -> +40 Thorns

Offering to anyone that asks:

  • Berry Crumb Bars [189098, 189098-1, 189098-2, 189103, 189107] +3 LD



Hirru Lvl 31 (PL 29)

806 HP (+100 PL)
110 Energy (+10 PL)
6 Accuracy
1 Evasion
8 Luck (11 w/ Favor | 14 w/ Favor on Dungeon/Labyrinth)
20 Base Damage (23 w/ Ferocity & Impetus) [28 w/ Charge]
60 Mitigation
1 Paralysis
32 Envenom 


<Shelob's Fang> .................... // +1 Accuracy, +1 Paralysis, +24 Envenom
<Spirit of the Jade Dragon> ........ // +2 Accuracy, +1 Evasion
<Favor of the Golden Dragon> ....... // +3 Luck Die
<Lun'Rael's Insignia> .............. // Unique Vanity | 
<Dimensional Backpack> ............. // +1 B.R.I Slot

Battle Ready Inventory

<Teleportation Crystal> x1 ......... // Teleport to a town / out of a dungeon [Uses 2 posts: 1 for use, next to teleport]
<Bulwark> .......................... // +72 Mitigation (107 w/ skill)
<Rush Bar> ............................ // +12 EN
<Potion of Moderate Healing> .......... // +10% Health Recovery


Straight Sword [AOE Spec] .......... // Rank 5: +7 DMG
AOE Shift .......................... // Rank ?: +4 Multiplier to AOE I & II, +2 EN 
Heavy Armor ........................ // Rank 5: +35 MIT
Search and Detect .................. // Rank 5: +5 LD | +5 Stealth Detect
Charge ............................. // Rank ?: +5 DMG on successful first strike / -1 ACC / -5 EN / 5 turn CD
Energist ........................... // Rank ?: +20 EN
Combat Mastery: Damage ............. // Rank 3: +12 DMG
Lockpicking ........................ // Rank 3: +3 LD on Chests

Extra Skills (Max 4)
Concentration ...................... // +1 to your BD / 5 turn cooldown / -5 EN / 5 turn CD
Survival ........................... // Heal 44 HP when out of battle each post / Negate environmental damage
Shatter ............................ // On hit, negate 15 Mit before dmg calc / -5 EN / 2 turn CD

Skill Mods (Max 5)

Detect ............................. // +1 to Labyrinth searches | +2 Stealth Detect
Impetus ............................ // +1 Dmg
Reveal (Add on)..................... // +2 to Labyrinth searches | Post 10 searches | 3 turn Labyrinth Cooldown
Dismantle (Add on) ................. // +2 LD on Chests
SS Ferocity (Add on) ............... // +2 Dmg to all SS Sword Arts
SS Precision (Add on) .............. // +1 ACC
SS Stamina (Add on) ................ // -2 EN to all SS Sword Arts


Edited by Hirru
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"Ohayo, Hirru-kun." Baldur called out to his old friend and comrade. It hadn't been long, but still had been too long, since they had run their dungeon together. Baldur had been busy helping people acclimate to the changes of the landscape in Sword Art Online, and with great change came stress. He was also in the position of being a sword teach, and so Baldur needed to take his steps very carefully now that yet another system patch had been put forward.

"I am glad to see someone take the first step forward, or else us oldies would take too long to feel comfortable and prepare. Sometimes we need a kick in the butt to get us moving." The blue eyed samurai laughed as he rested his hand on the two katana he brought with him.

"I admit, I haven't explored this floor since it's been unlocked. Have you scouted much yet?"


» Baldur, The Gaijin Samurai vWKwiqS.png

  • Modified HP:
  • Modified EN:
  • Modified MIT:
  • Modified ACC:
  • Modified DMG:
  • Modified EVA:
  • Battle Heal:
  • Search:
  • Temp Buff:
  • Temp Buff:
  • Temp Buff:
  • Temp Buff:
  • Temp Buff:

» Base Stats

  • Base HP: 820
  • Base EN: 116 (includes 20 for Energist)
  • Base MIT: 78
  • Base ACC: 5 (includes AA and does not automatically miss on 1s)
  • Base DMG: 23 
  • Base EVA: 2
  • Battle Heal: 41 HP
  • Keen: +1
  • Recovery: +4 EN

» Items Equipped:

  • Warden's Fury - Absolute Accuracy/2 Paralyze
  • Muramasa - Absolute Accuracy/Fallen/Blight/Burn
  • Ethereal Tether - Zanshin - Absolute Accuracy/Keen/Freeze/Burn
  • Montsuki haori - 48 DMG MIT/+1 EVASION/+4 EN RECOVERY
  • Emerald Teardrop - +2 ACC/+1 EVASION
  • Hammerspace Backpack (HB) +1 BR item (allows stacks up to 7)

» Battle-Ready Inventory:

  • Medium Damage Potion x7 | Rare T2 Item | +2 Damage
  • Basic Teleportation Crystal x1 | Good Item | Teleports player to the Town of Beginnings
  • Max Mass HP Recovery Crystal x7 | Perfect T2 Item | +30*Target Tier (30/60/90)
  • Max T2 HP Recovery Crystal II x5 | Perfect T2 Item | +180 HP
  • Safeguard Potion x3 | Perfect Tier 1 | Safeguard
  • HB: Max Vitality Snack x2 | Rare Tier 2 | Grants +12 Energy
  • EWL: Medium Antidote Potion x1 | Rare Tier 2 | Immune to negative status effects for 2 turns
  • EWL: Muramasa or Warden's Fury
  • EWL: Emerald Matagama | Perfect | +3 Accuracy
  • SC: 


» Skills:

  • One Hand Curved Sword | Rank 1/5 | 
  • Katana | Rank 5/5 | 
  • Battle Healing | Rank 5/5 | 
  • Light Armor | Rank 5/5 | 
  • Charge | Purchased | 
  • Quick Change | Purchased
  • Extended Weight Limit | Purchased
  • Extended Mod Limit | Purchased
  • Energist | Purchased
  • Combat Shift | ST Specialist

» Extra Skills:

  • Concentration | Equipped
  • Survival | Un-equipped
  • Meditation | Equipped
  • Parry | Equipped
  • Forgotten King's Authority | Equipped
  • Shatter | Not Yet Unlocked

» Mods:

  • Meticulous: Equipped
  • Resolve: Equipped
  • Emergency Recovery: Equipped
  • [Mod slot empty]
  • [Mod Slot Empty]
  • ADD-ON Ferocity: Equipped
  • ADD-ON Stamina: Equipped
  • ADD-ON: Precision: Equipped

» Housing Bonuses:

  • Rested: -1 EN on first 2 uses
  • Tasty: Turns 2 food into feast for 4
  • Advanced Training: +2 SP to a thread 1/month
  • Filling: Add 1 extra tier 1 slot to food
  • Item Stash: +1 BR item slot
  • Relaxed: OOC regen 5*tier, recover EN out of combat after 2 turns in lieu of 3
  • Angler: +1 Mat when fishing


Edited by Baldur
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to: Hirru 
I may not be the best to say this, but I want to find the next Labyrinth. We  have been stagnant for far too long. Will you join me?
NIGHT: ???
NIGHT: new phone?
NIGHT: who dis

Out of all the ways to receive a message, Cardinal should've stopped sending off letters from unknown users of the player base at large. NIGHT huffed as she exampled the note, as though she was going to entertain it any thought; the last time she received junk mail, it was a quest from some NPC or other. A really bad quest, at that.

Thank the gods she only knew how to learn building IKEA furniture the soonest chance she'd got.

But back to the missive, and it struck her as unusual. Despite it's vagueness, the instruct of a Labyrinth signaled her in that it was front liner's business. Specifically, for a scout. And by that time of realizing that she wasn't particularly fit for the job, she was also reminded of the absence of runners participating in progressing Aincrad's advancement.

Right. That was the whole reason she got into this mess in the first place. Another sigh escaped her lips as she fumbled with another text, a hand lowering to set her wrap aside on her plate.

to: Lessa
NIGHT: hey
NIGHT: u up

It was just as strange that out of all the other players on her friends list, only the Empress seemed to be online. Just when the castle needed them the most, she guessed, shuffling out of the teleporter's white light, fumbling with the glove to ensure it tight upon her wrist. The land was in sepia, painted all the colours of rust and copper, buildings sky high just as ferries tracked across stratospheric ocean. And, once the knight had found Lessa, the player's pace hurried, pulling up the stray message she'd gotten from not too long ago with her reply.

to: Hirru
NIGHT: nm gotchu
NIGHT: we're here. me & a friend.
NIGHT: f26 right?
NIGHT: where u at

"The last I'd checked," NIGHT began with a scowl, almost talking at her companion rather than to her, her eyes downcast upon the interface before she turned it around for her audience to see, "for no small fee might I add. Labyrinths are tough work to locate, but neither am I aware of any scouts out on the job." She tilted her head, still firm in her expression. "Not like I'm in on any network of front-liners, of course. This is the best link I've got, and knowing us, we could fit the bill quite easily if we just gave it a shot. I heard it from an angel that said trace of an entrance on this floor must be somewhere shady, perhaps someplace underground."

The player shook her head, only when she'd notice her senior verify the notice and return her an approval of response. "I'm not sure where she got that idea from," the player added, "but with that in mind, if you think it's worth any merit or have an idea where to begin the search, ours or otherwise, I'd gladly tail you around for the day."

NIGHT then shrugged, closing her eyes. "I was here to take a gander once. Though most I recall are where the upper quarters are located. Never spent much time anywhere else." With a few more gestures and opened sights, she pointed out the routes to Lessa that would take them to higher ground. "So if our contact lets us know where they are and this isn't just some junk mail, we can find them and team up."

"I'm... not really keen on getting lost on my own, either, and I don't have anyone else I'd drag along for the expedition," she lied, fiddling with her glove again in addition.


 | Status: [hoping this isn't an arabic oil prince situation.]



NIGHT HP: 840/840 | EN: 122/122 | DMG: 23 | ACC: 4 | EVA: 1 | MIT: 20 | ABS. ACC | LD: 14 | PROSP: 3 | BH: 25 | Stealth Rating: 5


  • Cosmic Devourer+1 
  • Lucky Tracksuit
    LD III
  • Silver Ring

 battle-ready inventory

  • Teleport Crystal (2)
  • Jack's Executioner
    BLIGHT (32, -20MIT), BLEED (48), FROSTBITE (40, -1ACC), STATIC (40, 24 SPLASH)
  • Orgoth's Legacy
    ACC, PHASE, HOLY (8)



mod count: 4/5

  • 2HSS | RANK 5/5
    • ferocity, stamina, precision
    • shift: aoe
    • athletics, nimble
  • SEARCHING | RANK 4+1/5
    • reveal


    • blindside, vanish, surprise attack-t

 consumed buffs



  • OROCHI | +1 LD


  1. Berry Crumb Bars | LOOT DIE IV | FILLED
  2. - - -

 sword arts


en cost matches multiplier unless stated otherwise. shift underlined.

  • ST | x12 -> x15 | x20
  • AOE | x15 -> x18
  • TECH-A | x12 | STUN | 13EN
  • TECH-B | x12 | DELAY
  • TECH-D | x12 | SHATTER
  • TECH-G | x12 | BURN

 misc buffs



  • 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.


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


  • 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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It wasn't the microwave, that thing cannot exist in a medieval setting. A place where everyone is back to the basics of using glorified sticks and stones to break bones. From there one can say that it is a notice, a notification to be exact. Someone has sent a message and despite microwaves not existing, instant messages do exist in this world, in Aincrad. 

Sleeping, sleeping again outside. Somewhere, somehow he ended up doing it again as if it was a relapse. Could this be one of those times where a person felt a loss and went back to a set of pathetic coping mechanisms? for him it wasn't or so he denies. He was sure that Yuki's safe, but where she is was a question he doesn't like asking himself. Now a message appears yet it was from someone he doesn't know "is this one of those prince who wants to share their riches with me? a spam mail? he asked. 

Crozeph opened his eyes and was greeted by lush green leaves and a cool breeze, turns out he wasn't far from his fiance's manor. Anytime soon she would arrive and he had to be there but the message seems to tell him of something else.

"Someone is going to scout the next Floor boss?"

A weird message indeed, why would asshat Cardinal direct it to him? he was a humble swordsman and he had no feats that would guarantee a message that isn't from his few friends and Jacob's Ladder. 

Until he had a realization

"This is a scouting team, if my intuition is right then Yuki would be here too. She would jump in the march without a doubt"

With that, Crozeph stood up brushed off the leaves on his back and pulled a few twigs sticking on his hair. A team is out to scout, surely he would find the one he seeks there.

Cro stat.png

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“What the actual fuck …” were the first few words coming out of his mouth as he read the message enter his inbox. It was from no one else than his former Vice Commander who rightfully protected the raid boss from being cleared because of his moral compass in a game. “Not a name I had anticipated nor hoped to ever see again … but here we are …” he thought to himself and sat back up his sofa, trying to rearrange himself to sit more comfortably while reading and comprehending what was going on.

“First he halts the raid by protecting the boss, now he wants to progress again … can’t that man make a choice in his life?” he thought and sighed loudly. He stood up from the sofa and went through his inventory, checking out what equipment he would be needing for this. In a few flashes of light, Macradon donned his formal uniform, his necklace, and his sword strapped to his back, he was ready to venture out. He turned his head over his shoulder and made a mental note “I should say bye before I leave.”

He quickly moved by and stuck his head into the bedroom “I’ll be going labyrinth scouting with an old acquaintance, will be back soon.” he said to his fiancé and left his house.




Was his only reply to the message.

Aiming towards the given rendezvous point, Macradon was determined to fight on and see where this new dynamic would go. How much had Hirru changed in the time he last saw him an the 24th. There was a lot of pent up anger boiling up inside the knight, but it was foolish to linger on old wounds and not let them mend themselves, he would try to find out what could spark such a reaction from someone he had thought was a comrade to him.

Arriving with everyone else, Macradon waved and nodded at everyone present, quite a motley crew. He didn’t say anything, he was trying to keep his frustration hidden as much as possible, emotions had once been a tragedy to him, he would not let them become another.


«Macradon» 900/900 HP | 0(114) MIT | 19 DMG | 2 ACC | 0 EVA | 8 REC | 49 BH | 99 VMP | 0(16(8)) FRT | 0(16 FRS) | 16 Holy | Phase | 14 LD | 122/122 EN

The Imperial Topaz
Level: 31(57)
«Macradon» 900/900 HP | 0(114) MIT | 19 DMG | 2 ACC | 0 EVA | 8 REC | 49 BH | 99 VMP | 0(16(8)) FRT | 0(16 FRS) | 16 Holy | Phase | 122/122 EN
Stats HP: 900
EN: 122
ACC: 2
EVA: 0
DMG: 19
MIT: 0(114)
REC: 8
FRT: 0(16(8))
FRS: 0(16(2 turns))
VMP: 90
Equipped Items - Blade of the Bloody Dictator // +16 Holy Damage, Phase, 10%+Survival(99) Vampiric Offensive
Knight's Clothes ........... // +3 LD
- Templar's Necklace ......... // +8 Recovery, +2 Accuracy
Battle Ready Inventory - Silverlight ................ // +64 Mitigation, +16(8) Frost Thorns, +16 Frost Damage
- Empty inventory slot ....... //
- Empty inventory slot ....... //
- Empty inventory slot ....... //
- Empty inventory slot ....... //
- Dimensional backpack
- - Empty inventory slot ..... //

- Rested ..................... // -1 energy cost for the first two expenditures of each combat.
- Filling .................... // Increase the effectiveness of a single food item consumed in a thread by
                                  +1 T1 slots.
- Relaxed .................... // Increase Out of Combat HP regen by 5*Tier+Survival(22) HP and decrease full energy regen
                                  to 2 Out of Combat posts.
- Col Deposit ................ // +5% bonus col from last-hit monster kills and +10% bonus col from treasure chests.
- Paragon Level 57 ........... // +220 HP, +22 EN.
- Loot Die ................... // +3 LD
- Buff name .................. // Buff effect.

Skills & Mods

- 2H Straight Sword .......... || Rank 5: +7 Damage.
- - Ferocity .................. // +2 Damage.
- - Stamina ................... // Decrease Energy Cost by 2.

- Battle Healing ............. || Rank 5: Heal 5%+Survival(49) each post In-Battle.

- Charge ..................... || Rank 5: +5 on initial hit.

- Combat Mastery: Damage ..... || +1*Tier*Rank(12)

- Energist ................... || Add 5*Tier(20) Energy to your max pool.

- Fighting Spirit ............ || +1 Hate generation.

- Heavy Armor ................ || Rank 5: +35 Damage Mitigation.
- - Impetus ................... // +1 Damage.
- - Iron Skin ................. // +15 Mitigation, +15*Tier(60) HP.

- Searching .................. || Rank 5: +5 Loot Die, +5 Stealth Detection.
- - Detect .................... // +2 Stealth Detection, +1 LD when seargin for Sub-Dungeons or Labyrinths.
- - Reveal .................... || +2 LD when seargin for Sub-Dungeons or Labyrinths. You may also search for a
                                   sub-dungeon or labyrinth once every 10 posts (instead of 15). Reduces the
                                   personal post cooldown when searching for a labyrinth to 3 posts (instead of 5).

Quick Change ............... || Allows the user to instantly equip, unequip, or swap any equipment in their
                                  battle-ready inventory.

Aerial Ace ................. || Increase damage at the cost of ACC, EVA, & MIT while in Aerial stance.


- Disguise ................... || +1 EVA for one turn, lesser critical doesn't autohit.
- Meditation ................. || Recover 4*Tier(16) energy with post action.
- Parry ...................... || Reduce incoming damage by 50%(rounded down).
- Survival ................... || Increase all Healing from all sources by 10%. Immune to environmentatl damage.


Edited by Macradon
Berry Crumb Bar yum yum
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The message came out of the blue. Of course, that wasn't saying much, as just about every message caught Lessa off-guard these days. While she wasn't reaching hermit status the way she had a few years prior, she didn't consider herself especially social, either. Expecting a message from Bahr or Alkor, the woman's eyes widened as she noted the sender's name. NIGHT? They were guildmates, but they hadn't spoken in quite some time. Additionally, the vagueness of the message first interested her, then concerned her.

Lessa: Yeah, I'm here.
Lessa: Why, what's wrong? Is everything okay?

Before the reply came, Lessa had already changed out of her sweatpants, stashed the jug of lemonade back in the fridge, and closed the distance to the front door. Perhaps sensing her worry, Riker slid up alongside her, keeping pace as Lessa exited Manderley and began the long trip to the Teleporter. She appreciated her solitude, but in moments like this, she regretted living so far away from town.

Some of that fear abated when the Guardian reached her friend, and received an update on the situation. Lessa blew out a hard breath, hooking her thumbs in her crisscrossed belts as NIGHT spoke. "Yeah," she agreed with a small nod. "I definitely don't have a finger to the pulse of the frontlines. I haven't even fought a floor boss in years. But scouting seems straight-forward enough, and from everything I've heard, it isn't too dangerous. We're pretty capable. I think we can figure it out."

Her expression turned a bit sheepish, and she reached to rub gingerly at the back of her neck. "Granted, I have absolutely no idea where to start. I don't think I've spent more than a few minutes on this floor, if I'm being honest with you. It makes sense for the opening to be off the beaten path, so underground seems likely. I'm up for starting there, and waiting for a reply from your mystery sender. As long as we're smart about it, I don't think it would hurt to meet up with them."


Lessa, The Empress
Level: 31
Paragon Level: 37
HP: 820/820
EN: 114/114

Damage: 21
Mitigation: 122
Battle Healing: 41
Loot Dice: 6
H.M.: 8
HLY: 8
ACC: 1

Equipped Gear:
Weapon: Arcael's Might (T4 THSS - DMG DMG DMG HLY)
Armor: Violet Ribbon (T2 LA - 3LD)
Armor: Empress Armor (T4 HA - HM HM THNS THNS)

Heavy Armor R5
Battle Healing R5
Fighting Spirit

Active Mods:
Iron Skin
Emergency Recovery

Inactive Mods:

Active Extra Skills:

Inactive Extra Skills:

Battle Ready Inventory:
Berry Crumb Bar (+3 LD) - Consumed
Teleport Crystal

Housing Buffs:
Well Rested: -1 energy cost for the first three expenditures of each combat
Clean: The first time you would suffer DoT damage in a thread, reduce damage taken from DoT each turn by 20% (rounded down)
Relaxed: Increases out of combat HP regen by (5 * Tier HP) and decreases full energy regen to 2 Out of Combat Posts.
Col Stash: +5% bonus col from monster kills and treasure chests
Advanced Training: +10% Exp to a thread. Limit one use per month [1/1]
Multipurpose: Gain +1 to LD, Stealth Rating, Stealth Detection, or Prosperity to one post in a thread. Can be applied after a roll

Guild Hall Buffs:
Helping Hand: Lowest-leveled guild member receives +10 bonus Exp at the end of the thread. At least half of the thread's participants must be guild members. Limit one use per month, per character. [1/1]

Scents of the Wild:

Wedding Ring:


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Although, the hunter was expecting a crowd, he was not expecting the ones that came.  Looking back at the message for a moment, he was able to see all to whom the message was forwarded.  There were two players that he did not recognize from the forwarded names: Night and Crozeph.  It looked like Night was sending him some cryptic messages, but the hunter seemed to understand slightly.  Since they didn't know him, it would be obvious that this circumstance would be weird.  Hirru would respond in kind.

While he sent his message, he would see a familiar face approach: an azure samurai.


To: Night, Crozeph

From: Hirru

My apologies for not giving specifics.  Please meet outside the teleporter in the Concordance Commons, you'll see two individuals.  One with green hair and another in a blue haori with a katana.  That will be us.  We'll be waiting.  

As he sent the message, he would turn to his friend and breath a sigh of relief.

"I'm glad you got the message, Baldur.  No, I don't know much about this floor, except what I see here.  I have been on quests to realize a new form of combat, which has helped me a little with my swordsmanship.  Now, I don't feel like I'm copying a certain someone."

A small message came from someone he didn't expect, but would dismiss it for now.

"I sent out a missive to whomever I knew, but it seems that my message was received by two others.  A player named Night and another Crozeph.  Do you know either of.."

A striking figure came into the mix. One that Hirru could never forget, which made his eyes widen in both fear and anguish.


He had gotten the man's letter, but never figured he would actually come.  It was him.. The silver haired knight and Hirru's former guild mate..,


Hirru mumbled softly.  He was not ready for the reunion to be now.  The knight seemed to wave at them, but the hunter was sure that if he said anything specific, he would lose any sway in this matter.  He slightly shot his eyes downward and gave a low sigh.  This was going to happen sooner or later.  It may as well be now.  Raising his head, he would look towards his former brother-in-arms.

"Macradon, thank you for coming."

It was a small gesture, but the hunter would hand out a food bar to both Baldur and Macradon.

"We'll be needing as much luck to add to our search as possible.  I know this isn't much, but this is only the start."

Looking to the both of them trying to smile.

Offering to party

  • Berry Crumb Bars [189098, 189098-1, 189098-2, 189103, 189107] +3 LD
Edited by Hirru
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A very different approach

After a quick visit to Cintamani to buy some essentials (not oil) he began making his way to the teleport plaza. It must've been quite an experience for someone like him when he suddenly realized another thing. He received the message, understood it's contents, bought what he needed, finally headed to the quickest transportation around... but there was no specific meeting place.

...and then the next message arrived.

He stood frozen a few feet away from the portal, players around giving him wary reactions. A player with raven-black hair, wearing a pair of eyeglasses, and a pitch black katana that screams of "I have fuck you stats" strapped on his side stood before the portal. Pair it with his dark shirt with faded stripes and royal blue pants similar to a military uniform and black boots. "So a guy with green hair and a katana guy wearing a blue haori... a blue haori." It was all that is needed to know, he entered the portal with faint smile on his face.

A few minutes later, floor 26, Aquilainean Bazaar, looking for the Concordance Commons

It sure was a hectic place and Crozeph isn't fond of it. Too many voices, lots of shiny things, mind-numbing splash of different colors (for him). It was indeed a bazaar. Another problem was his looks get to be more noticeable, raven-black hair and azure eyes. Crozeph quickly accessed his map and tried to look for the Concordance Commons faster. "Would I be late?" he asked himself as he opened his menu for some common knowledge of the area. "I do hope I don't bump into some eccentric noble..." 

He saw three figures, Baldur, the green hair guy, and another... the player who had a name that sounds like a dragon. Crozeph walked towards them, closed his menu for some info and changed it to his inventory. He took out a few consumables and chewed on them as he made his his way to the group. 

Crozeph consumed the following
Liquor of Light [DMG III]
Divinity's Blessing {T3 OH]
Woodland armor (1/3) +15*tier MIT


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A sudden ping would catch her attention somewhere at the end of their conversation, NIGHT turning around her interface to check on the reply. Right next to the teleporter? Hell — that was exactly where they were standing. The group wouldn't be too difficult to find. The player closed the window with a quick swipe of her hand, extending her other to lead her companion around the main square before she started walking.

"They said they'd be around. One of them's got green hair, and the other person's in a blue haori. Katana."

It would've taken the woman some extra effort to have linked the latter's description to a passing figure she'd come to know, but upon registering Baldur's image mixed between the different other players in the crowd (in addition to the aforementioned green sticking out like a sore thumb from earlier), NIGHT immediately came to an understanding of what sort of company she would find herself amongst. Familiar faces indeed, although she put no names to them at all. The man that approached them, silver-haired, did seem to reinforce her guesses if her recollection hadn't been faulty. Sure, things were hazy after the jet black wash, and there was always room for human error...

She looked towards Lessa, checking to see if her aide had noticed; if not, a small nudge on her arm, a gaze of conviction and a head tilt would've done the trick. "I think that's them," she hurried, before darting ahead to convene with the gathering; moreso to verify her hunch instead of leaving her associate in the dust.

Speaking of dust, NIGHT kicked some of it up as she skid to a stop, right in the periphery of both apparent recruiters, never mind the other front-liner-if-her-memory-served-her-correctly. Shorter than everyone else to be present, her stature definitely bothered her after the thought settled in that they were all simply strangers to each other, or she might simply be ruining a meetup that warranted a void of her attendance. Nevertheless, she did find courage within herself to speak, looking towards Baldur for some sort of recognition first before her sight bounced off to his acquaintance. "Excuse me, I'm looking for someone named Hirru? I was told something of a Labyrinth scouting to be taking place today...?"

Of course, the Akashic Records would know that the answer was going to be a yes. But to the player, the wait for a confirmation felt like forever. Barring that, once she'd gotten notice of her presence in the right place, she immediately turned to catch Lessa's eyes, had it not already been stolen by their present company. A nod and a wave of her hand; NIGHT knew she was easy to lose in a slurry of figures, but when her friend stepped into their circle, the woman would look towards whom she'd assumed was the leader of the pack, arms folded, her voice wavering and betraying a sense of uncertainty.

"Are we — no, I mean — is there anyone else that perhaps you might be waiting on? ... I'm NIGHT, by the way. The friend I brought along is Lessa. We're guildmates. ... And —"

Something struck her to quietness as her vision slowly blurred and drifted to the wandering entities about the teleporter. It wasn't running out of things to say; rather, she felt a slight oddity in trying to explain too much. To someone she'd barely just met. It made for a better introduction that both parties were familiar with each other, sure, but the question still lingered over her.

"— Do front-liners... have some sort of resume? Or a portfolio they have to give to others...?"

Though NIGHT turned her head to speak to Hirru directly, she still tried to avoid keeping his expression in her direct line of sight. And it was both troubling and a boon, as she spotted the last figure sauntering up to them, someone whom was indicated to be on her friends list.



"... Looks different," was all she muttered, before giving him an open palm as a greeting. All black and no stars? Why, had the woman been aware of his transformation, perhaps she would've changed for the occasion. Now, one of them needed to do so, and the player felt a pittance that she hadn't asked for her housemate's cloak for the meetup, despite a once-nagging feel of having wanted to. In hindsight, she didn't have a purpose for it then.

With Crow's appearance, she did.

"Crow," she hollered to him, trying to catch the man's attention, "Are you joining us?"

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Hirru was acting quite dismissive at the knight’s entrance, which was fitting enough as to what he might’ve felt from the two’s past. Macradon wouldn’t try to engage in any discourse for now as their personal quarrel was in no way the burden to be put on everyone else present’s shoulders. The Jade Hunter reached out with a potion for the lot that had arrived, most if not all of them he already knew in some way or shape, and like everyone else Macradon would accept and chug it down to increase their potential for the labyrinth scouting.

As Hirru’s gaze would climb its way back up to meet Macradon’s, the knight’s scarlet eyes would look at him with disinterest for now. “Shit shit shit … I know I’m angry, but I don’t know how to react without making a scene, I’ll just keep it cool for now.” he thought for himself and nodded back at the Jade Hunter “We need as much manpower as we can get, and since I’ve been on quite many labyrinth scoutings, it felt appropriate that I would be joining.” he said with a monotone voice, very different from what he’s used to utter his sentences with, but he didn’t want to show any ill emotions or intentions with his words.

The knight's gaze crept over the gathering of players, whereas only Hirru and Baldur were someone he "fondly" remembered being part of his party in quests or raids beforehand, the rest were strangers to him, perhaps some of them had been patrons at his shop, in that case he's a shit store owner to not remember his patrons. The only person to actually start up a more social conversation was the raven-clad woman called NIGHT, Macradon chuckled and shrugged “I don’t personally have any resume to pass around. I’m Macradon. It has come to my attention that a lot of players in here have heard about my name … but some refuse to believe I actually exist … for some odd reasons, so I guess that’s my resume?” he said half jokingly. He would let the rest introduce themselves if they wanted to but would otherwise try to get the "expedition" going, they could spend time socializing while wandering around the floor.

 “Alright,” he said and cleared his throat, “if everyone’s gathered and ready to venture out, should we begin our humble march and discuss team composition?” he proposed and would begin his first step into the wilderness of the 26th floor.

«Berry Crumb Bar 189098 consumed»


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Macradon's words seemed to cut the hunter.  They felt like that had no feeling in them, as if the hunter was not worth it to him.  Hirru understood that much, he guessed.  The hunter did betray Macradon and everyone else on that forsaken floor.  Though, the hunter wanted to clarify the reasoning, since Baldur already knew and would be a needed companion for this discussion; now was not the time or place for it.  Especially when something else happened.

A sudden bit of dust was kicked up in front of him before a new sight was brought to his attention.  A young lady with black hair seemed to have stopped near the them; inquiring about the hunter himself.  Swiping the dust out of his face, he could talk a bit better to the lady.  It seemed she was accompanied by another woman.  Blonde and a bit more well dressed than the other.

"Yes, I am Hirru.  Thank you both for coming by.  The samurai beside me is Baldur and you already got acquainted with Macradon."

Introductions were presented at this point.  The short black haired one was NIGHT, a bit of an odd one but quite inquisitive.  The blonde one called Lessa, which he had no proper introduction to yet.  He got a chuckle out of NIGHT's 'lack of resume / form'.

"I don't know what that means, but we have never needed something along those lines.  Oh!"

It seemed that another had joined too.  Hirru heard the words Crow, which could only mean that this one was the Crozeph that he messaged.

"You must be Crozeph, I presume?  I think that makes all of us, then.  If no one has any luck based buffs, I have some if needed."

With that, the hunter noticed that Mac didn't want to waste any more time and was already heading out.

"Oh.. Okay, let's get going then, everyone!  Though, does anyone have any thoughts to where we should start as we walk?"

Edited by Hirru
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It was her readiness for the meetup that surprised her; NIGHT had entirely expected to show up knowing the least about the floor as it were, at least amongst her party of recruiters. And yet, with one of the more experienced members of their gathering starting off down an unmarked road, and their 'leader' asking aloud if anyone had any leads, the woman could only look around sheepishly in a pause, hand running through the back of her scalp.

Were they, and no offense to the world around her, rather unprepared for such an expedition?

NIGHT cleared her throat if only to draw attention to herself, an act that she looked upon with ire. While she didn't know much about the floor, somehow, she figured even her slight knowledge of the grounds was already an advantage over her companion's lack thereof. With a hand, she gestured to the few routes she'd shown Lessa earlier, guessing that it was as good as any other time to begin a very basic study on the city that was their floor.

"So this land is split into different divisions," she'd guessed, "with the raised sectors reserved for the rich and nobles of the city. Wealthy, business folks, most like." She'd scarcely remembered the dusk venturing out into someone's private arboretum, eying its general vicinity when her head was raised to examine the skyline. "I'd speak more about venturing there if I'd believed the labyrinth might be located up above, but I had someone inform me their guesses were that the boss room be found down under."

The woman switched to pointing out the other paths, where the cobble floors were starting to wear out and grow mold, streets sinking lower into a light slope. "We could start looking those ways. Some slums, might be an outpost present for the homeless. Not sure what exactly we're looking for, but anywhere 'underground' would fit the bill."

"It might also come as a surprise to you all," NIGHT added, starting to drag the group along with a wave of her hand, "but this floor is entirely a capital, never mind any forestry or wilderness, I suppose." Her gaze drifted to the horizon, or what she could make of it between the towering skyscrapers. "What fields you can make out in the distance seem to be off, somehow. We've tried looking around for gates to lead us out of the settlement, but we never managed to find any. Furthermore, once we step out of the teleporter's general vicinity, the game likens us to being outside of a safe zone. But we're still in Ladonia, you see?"

Right as she'd finished her sentence, they'd passed through the boundary between the Commons and the outskirts of the floor. Though it was in distaste that she did so, her weapon was quietly forged in her hands just as they'd continued their journey. Her flick left a trail of white sparkles hanging in mid-air whilst the blade was given full form, and the player set its edge upon one of her shoulders, almost as though trying to shelter her image from passerbys' views with its length and width.

"Be on your guard."

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"She's not here..."

His thoughts were clouded after scanning a few faces. This was unexpected for him, the lack of her presence. Usually she would be the one to jump in the front and tank all damage and that also means she's earlier than the others and claim her position as the paladin. He munched on his consumables, buffing his stats to raise his survivability. With the changes made to the system after the boss battle, Crozeph has been pushed back to his glass cannon build and with that he would always have her by his side. There's Baldur, Macradon, a green haired guy but she wasn't here. What a strange feeling, quite nostalgic...

Are you joining us?

It felt like an Eminem lyric card slapped him. His eyes moved as if he got pulled out somewhere deep and he saw her, a familiar face. Someone who was also there along with the paladin, the deadly duo in his eyes but this time it was only her and a different person was with the woman who wielded a fearsome two-handed sword.

"NIGHT..." he uttered, slow as if dread was slowly creeping in.

"Y-yeah I got the spam message, I mean the message about scouting and where to meet up" he told her. It also felt like NIGHT had a faint curiosity of his look. He scratched his head and tried to fake a smile as fast as he could to hide his uneasiness about something "after the boss fight, my hair went back to how it was before, maybe I should dye it again."

Another person stepped in, must be the one who sent the message and introduced himself as Hirru. "I got the message and I'm here to help. I-it's nice to see familiar faces too including NIGHT and Baldur-shishou" he told him.

Resumes were his bane, he hated making one as if he needs to prove himself first but that was of little matter to him "maybe we should start getting out of this place first, it seems some royal guards are wary of us and I'm pretty sure a labyrinth leading to a boss won't be here unless the nobles are up to something."

As he followed, his katana began oozing out black goo at its hilt, as if it was reacting to the players present in the group but it seems no one has noticed yet... even its dumb owner.

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Macradon looked over at NIGHT, who seemed to have a great, if only basic, understanding of how the floor functioned. Macradon grew a big smile and replied with excitement “Now that’s what I like to hear. Been a while since I got to move around some more, let’s see what this floor has to offer, some kind of metaphorical underground expedition.” The last time this knight got swinging with his sword was … way before the big kaboom with skill reset and everything slowly not fitting whatever research he might’ve done with how everything worked beforehand, he even got this new fancy skill in his list with some kind of rip-off pokémon name.

“So much has happened in a short amount of time, can’t wait to try it all out and see what’s in store. NIGHT, was it, you’ve ventured this floor before, correct? Has the different tiers of populous had some kind of pattern in behaviour? Something overarching that seems to be set for each region of the floor like a social hierarchy and its stereotypical behaviour,” he inquired. NIGHT seemed to be the most knowledgeable of the bunch, all Macradon had to do was to be the master detective he wasn’t, all he was good for was looking into a brick wall and miraculously make his way to the labyrinth entrance, he hoped his luck would be just as stupid as all other times.

He looked over at Crozeph and then at the rest of the party “Yeah … this motley crew of adventurers doesn’t really yell prestige and royalty to anyone, does it?” he said with a light chortle “Let’s get undercoverground ~” he chimed and wafted his swallow tails behind like the snob he posed as while wearing his formal uniform “Hehe, if only those snobs knew what they were losing out on. Strawberry punch amirite … where’s Mari when I need her to crack jokes with.” he thought to himself while sighing, trying to keep his disappointment burrowed down beneath his cheery exterior, like a shining apple waiting for a savage animal to rip him to shreds so his inner self could be exposed to the world in all its glory.

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"Blue haori and katana, huh?" She muttered the words, more to herself than to NIGHT, as her companion began moving away. In truth, the combination was far from unusual. Many katana users opted for the more traditional light armor, so that weapon plus a haori did not promise anything. But also blue? Hope bubbled in Lessa as she finally trotted after NIGHT, her blonde hair bouncing, her boot heels clapping against the stone. She considered asking her guildmate about her suspicion, but eventually decided against it. Was there any way to be sure NIGHT and Baldur actually knew each other? They were both Frontliners, sure, but Lessa herself hadn't joined the ranks in years. She couldn't know if they had ever bumped into each other. 

So she silently held onto the hope, and felt the joy crash into her when she finally saw him. It had been months since they had last spent time together, and as it always did, the time seemed like an eternity when they finally caught up to each other again. Excitement flashed in her blue eyes like flint to steel, and as NIGHT addressed Hirru, Lessa focused all of her attention on her friend.

"Fancy meeting you here," she quipped, rocking onto her tiptoes to throw her arms around the man's neck. She gave him a quick squeeze, then stepped back in time to hear her name spoken. Oh yeah, introductions. "Good to meet you, Hirru." She flashed the man with the green hair a broad smile. "Thanks for inviting us. I'm looking forward to this." Now more than ever. NIGHT and Baldur, two of her closest friends - as far as company went, it didn't get much better.

Two others joined them - one with light hair, and one with dark. While the former seemed a bit familiar, Lessa found that she couldn't place him. So when the party began to move, players discussing strategies and floor specifics, the Empress strolled along at the back of the pack. "It's great to see you," she told Baldur, glancing over at him as they fell into step. "It's been a long time."

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"That's a bit of a keen insight I don't have on the floor," NIGHT replied, hearing what Macradon had to say about Ladonia. She'd winced; his guesses had stunned her for the first two seconds of her recognition of his words, and though she'd hummed for the few afterwards, trying to retrieve memories she did not have about the floor, her conclusion simply would not bear fruit. "But so you figure. You and Crow both, it seems."

After all, the player couldn't bear to ignore one of her closest and trusted allies not only looking different but seeming on edge himself. The player let the silver-haired knight take the lead for a bit, slowing her pace so she fell in by her friend's side. It was strange, trying to talk to him; her attention was first captivated by the katana by his waist, dripping with goop as though it was Jack's Executioner gone wild or unsealed. But the liquid traces that fell to the floor didn't seem corrosive in nature. Just dark. Grimdark.

NIGHT turned her focus back to the forefront of the group first, issuing directions from last she recalled about the slums of the city. "I don't think there's a particular area simply on the surface of the city, in broad daylight of the streets. Maybe keep an eye out for shifty looking passersby's, Macradon. Something like a hidden stairwell an NPC might be using? –Same goes to the rest of the party. Everyone keep a look out if you can."

Then, her voice lowered, gaze shifting from the horizon to Crow's visage. It wasn't so much that the man had seemed to change; appearances could be so deceiving, but the woman could tell underneath that false, dark-natured facade (that, by all accounts, was a reputation she'd owned), her friend was still bothered by something.

"Hey," she began, blinking out all traces and guardedness from her vision while she believed she could. The player wasn't one to match her sights with another, but she could still point it in his direction, bouncing between his expression and the distant bends of alleyways and districts that was beyond Crow and herself. "Everything okay? ... See you've gotten yourself a new weapon. Looks fancy."

(Even though NIGHT wasn't exactly sure what it did, or how much of a punch it had.)

"—How're you and Yuki doing, especially after the fight? We hadn't had time to catch up after the Shadow black out, as far as I know."

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Baldur enjoyed the warm welcome of Hirru, and when the viridian haired hunter let him know that Crow and Night would be joining, it brought another smile to his face. He was glad to see that Crow was pushing forward, and while his interactions with Night had been a whirlwind, he had been impressed by her performance, though he knew nothing of her personally. She kept strange company was about the extent of his knowledge.

He opened his mouth to say that he knew Crozeph when Baldur caught the sudden physical change come over Hirru. He turned to look at what the Hunter was looking at and saw the thing that explained everything.


That beautiful, clumsy dork.

But then it clicked. Macradons' expression. Hirru's expression.

Holy shit, they haven't spoken since the floor 23 boss fight. HO-LEE SHIT.

Had Baldur been any other man, his jaw would have been on the floor. Instead, his eyes widened and his face looked like he had just seen a ghost.

This is either going to be really good or epically bad. Do I intercede? Shit, he's here, it's too late.

The greeting between them was awkward but cordial. Maybe this is what they needed To take the first steps themselves. It would give him more to work with. He could help smooth this over much as Hirru had done with Baldur and Shield. He opened his mouth again to speak, when he realized Night was there as well. And there's Crow. And then Lessa came forward and hugged him warmly, banishing all other thoughts from his head for a long moment. Well, the moment was past. It wouldn't do to air dirty laundry in a crowd. Night's resume question almost made him chuckle, but perhaps this was the best chance to begin healing the wound.

"No, no resume. On the frontline, it's all about your name. It bears your reputation, for good or for bad."

SHIT. That was exactly the WRONG thing to say at a time like this. Dammit!

Then Mac and Hirru decided to push forward and move out. They did not get far, before everyone realized they didn't have direction to go on. Baldur had assumed a lead had been found, but when no one spoke up, he saw Night do just that. He was surprised, not because he knew Night, but because this was by far the most he had ever heard her speak. She had spent most of their time together hidden. But that was a bit less useful outside of combat when they were trying to maneuver together.

As Baldur followed the group, he noticed Lessa drop back to walk alongside him.

"It's good to see you up here. So you and Night are close, huh? She seems to be a very interesting character." His blue eyes flashed to the woman helping lead the way, "I like this side of her more than the, you know, invisible one." He gave a slight chuckle and then swerved his step slightly and nudged Lessa's shoulder with his own.

"It's nice to see that I know everyone here, though I'll have to spend some time getting to know Night. I've fought alongside her twice now, but we haven't really spoken. But how're you holding up?"

Berry Crumb Bars [189098-1] +3 LD

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Where is she...

Crozeph nodded as Macradon and Night began thinking of what they should be doing now that it's clear they have no solid clue yet. He was looking for her and at the same time didn't like things that are hidden in plain sight. Amidst the bazaar's colorful wares and fabrics being sold, he saw a few children walking around as if looking for something for themselves "refugees..." he thought. The floor had been known to have some kind of conflicts in factions, nothing new, yet he felt a bit of indignation for those who unknowingly suffered and treated as "collateral" but enough of that. "We could go try and ask some people too, well not these merchants. They're just here to earn, I'm talking about them" he pointed at the children or rather teenagers who ran in and out of dim alleyways. "They must be hiding from the guards or trying their best not to bump into nobles." Some were scurrying while others calmly blends in with the crowd.

As he tried to assess their current situation and how to start, he picked up one of the consumables Hirru has offered and ate it in one go and just after that Night talked to him again and her questions were adding to his indescribable feeling right now. 

"I was about to ask you the same thing about Yuki. I've never seen her ever since the boss fight, it's weird. I woke up at Tartarus holding this-" Night also noticed his weapon strapped on his waist and as he grabbed it his hand was stained with its black goo "this some kind of boss drop from that battle" he shook his hand trying to wash if off "it's got some issues and I'm still getting used to it being wild when wielded. Enough of that, I'm more concerned about Yuki" he uttered. "To be honest everything is not okay with me not seeing her here with us." He looked at their group, most of them was with him in the last battle, he remembers Lessa too when they fought Skalaugh, and Hirru seemed like an old acquaintance of his sensei "we both know in groups like this Yuki would be the first to arrive with me being dragged by her, she would light this place up with her smug smile and..." he paused. "I went to our house, no one was there too, or maybe she was out and I arrived too late, I don't know. I don't know what to think, maybe if we can find the boss now then she would appear and protect us or join us as we search for the boss room. Maybe, just maybe..."

Crozeph looked at the people around them again, Night was right. Keep an eye out on people who might know something. "What if we ask one of the children here? maybe their parents would know a few places that seemed suspicious. I'm not good with kids so maybe-" he looked at them. Lessa seemed like a good candidate for talking to them or Mac and his lighthearted nature. Baldur can try, his blue haori would definitely look cool in children's eyes.

Anything to find something.

Crozeph consumed [Berry Crumb Bars 189098-2]

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“Close?” Lessa echoed, then tilted her head in thought, sending her blonde hair slipping over her shoulder. “I’m not sure I would say we are close. Not as close as you and I, at least. But we are guild mates, and I consider her a friend.” A small smile ghosted across her face, the expression oddly wistful. “She’s definitely interesting, yeah. I’d also like to get to know her better, but we haven’t really had the chance. Maybe more adventures like this will make that possible. You're welcome to come along, and we can both spend more time with her."

Shifting her gaze, Lessa stared at NIGHT's back as she walked ahead. Baldur mentioned the woman's other side, and he wasn't the first to do so. But Lessa knew next to nothing about her guild mate's situation, and how the duality came into play. Would it be rude to ask her about it? the blonde found herself wondering. Then she filed the queries away for later. Searching for the boss room had to be their top priority, and potentially making waves by asking inappropriate questions wouldn't help. Besides, if NIGHT had invited her to join, they had to be on pretty good terms, right?

"I'm holding up pretty well," she finally answered, looking back toward Baldur. She offered him a grin, and returned his gentle shoulder bump. "Trying new things." With a gauntlet-clad hand, she motioned to the party that walked ahead of them. "I've never joined a scouting mission like this before, for example. I'm even considering helping in the upcoming floor boss fight." A faint blush lit her cheeks, and suddenly bashful, Lessa's hands went to adjusting her many belts. "Assuming you guys need help, that is. From what I heard, the last fight went really well. You may not need me up there on the Frontlines, but I have been training, just in case." She lifted a single shoulder in a half-shrug. "It would probably feel nice to contribute again, I think."

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It felt good to have Lessa at his side again. They were infrequent questing companions at best, though most of their time spent together was in the realm of much needed companionship and recovery. They had both seen in themselves and others the cyclical nature of burnout and recovery that the frontlines demanded.

"We'll always need you, Lessa." Baldur said casually, obviously referring to the raid.

"I'm actually fairly new to the scouting parties. The first two dozen floors were found so quickly it never required a team. But this would be my, third or fourth time scouting out a new floor for the labyrinth. Maybe more, I can hardly remember all the boss battles I've been in anymore."

His hand and arm rested casually against the handles of his two katana at his waist, but there was something there, a twitch of the wrist here, a movement of the finger there, which belied the casual appearance of his demeanor to add context to the shifting of his steel blue eyes.

"I think that's a great idea @Crow. Children are always looking for somewhere to explore or play hide and seek. I wouldn't be surprised if they had found something out. The children of the lowest tier of the city are the best bet of any NPC I can think of."

He turned his attention back to Lessa.

"Have you met everyone? I'm sure you know Mac, and you may or may not remember Hirru. He's been a fixture of the front for a long time, but perhaps not long enough. I'd consider him a good friend. The other is Crozeph. He's a member of my guild and someone I've known for almost as long as you. He's engaged to the bubble gum tank, Yuki."

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