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[F22 - PP] Reunion ≪F26 Boss Raid Meeting≫


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A simple message, an invitation alongside a marked location on the 22th floor, was sent by the blonde to the rest of the members of the labyrinth boss fight and her neighbour, the leader of Firm Anima. The message: "We had a short time to take in and digest what we saw in the floor 26 boss room. I wish to invite you all to an informal tea gathering to discuss and plan our next move. Unlike the last floor boss meeting, I'd rather keep the peanut gallery as small as possible but feel free to extend my invitation to whoever you deem relevant to the discussion, we'll prepare enough snacks and confections for everyone that'll come. I'll leave a marker with the location of the meeting place where u can get either by boat, following upstream from the « Lake of Reflection » through the forest; by taking the scenic route on foot or by horseback if you are in a hurry." (smol description + scuffed map)

For good measurement she sent two of her students to greet people at the front gate to guide them to the dojo and another one to usher anyone that came to her estate via boat. Each of them with their particularities (see notes below). Hank and Milicent, at the gate, could be heard casually talking about how exciting it was to have guests visit the valley. While Maugre could be heard asking in a loud voice what will they have for lunch later. The person who he's shouting at can't be seem and doesn't reply.

Inside the semi-open dojo there were already a couple of people that finished setting up the tools one of them was going to use, close to the wall. Near the middle of the dojo several small cushions were placed in case some of the guests preferred a more relaxed posture instead of seiza. The one performing the tea ceremony won't be the blonde but a redhead that for the occasion, swapped her maid outfit for a light orange kimono with a blue and orange accents obi. Ariel was wearing a more casual blue themed yukata as she sat next to Claudia, who was double checking that everything was in order. 
"Relax, it's not the first time you make me tea." said the blonde with a smile, trying to undervalue the meaning of a tea ceremony. But her bluff was called out as her words were meet with a raised eyebrow and a knowing look. With a small sight, Ariel rose and stepped outside to wave and welcome whoever arrived.


Ariel | HP: 820/820 | EN: 100/100 | [ - - -] | DMG: 26 (+8) | MIT: 12 | AA | ACC: 0(2) | EVA: 3 | +49 BH | +5 LD (+1 loot) | Fallen (1) | Keen (2) | ST Specialist

Spoiler

Skills:                                                                                                            

oIHdChW.png

Stats: 
HP: 820/820 | EN: 100/100 | [ - - -] | DMG: 26 (+8) | MIT: 12 | AA | ACC: 0(2) | EVA: 3 | +49 BH | +5 LD (+1 loot) | Fallen (1) | Keen (2) | ST Specialist

Spoiler
  • 820 HP (620 +20*10) | 100 Energy(80 +2*10)
  • 12 Mitigation (12[skill])
  • 3 Evasion (3[armor] )
  • 0(2) Accuracy (1[weapon] +2[trinket] -3[CS] +2(keen))
  • Absolute Accuracy (Attack rolls of 1 no longer automatically miss. Gain +1 to the BD when attacking.)
  • Keen (After a successful attack, gain +1 BD until your next successful attack, at which point this bonus is removed.)
  • 23 Base Damage (1[base] +7[weapon skill] +2[ferocity] +1[athletics] +12[mastery] )
  • Risky (When you take damage, gain (+8) base damage until your next successful attack)
  • Fallen Damage (Successful BD: 6-8 (before modifiers) add (+8) fallen damage to your total base damage.)
  • +39 HP Holy Blessing + Survival (After taking damage, heal HP at the beginning of your next turn. Can only trigger once per round.)
  • +49 HP Battle Healing + Survival (While in combat, recover 5% of your maximum HP (rounded down) at the beginning of your turn.)
  • +5 LD (+7 SD /+3 LD more when searching for dungeons: 10 posts CD & labyrinth: 3 posts CD)
  • Meikyo Shusui

 

 Equipment: 

≪Onimaru Shi#187508≫ ≪Shirajishi-ryū Kendogi#156967≫  ≪Keen Eye#151723≫
T4: Absolute Accuracy | Keen | Fallen (Katana)  T1: Evasion | Evasion | Evasion (LA) T1: Accuracy | Accuracy | Keen (Trinket)        
An odachi with it's saya made of polished maple, adorned with brilliant golden colour etchings and ceremonially decorated with tufts of white feathers. The long blade itself is black as the shadows and the flaming etchings on the steel seem to come alive at the wielder's will.   
Initially designed as a uwagi, some liberties transformed into a long pristine white cape with red accents and silver trims, reaching down to ground level. Branded with 白獅子流 (white lion style) kanji on the back, it brings the item closer to the initial design.        
 
A obsidian ring with thin parallel silver linings, that is said to increase one's eyesight.        

        
        

 

  Inventory:  

Spoiler

≪F21 Advanced Dungeon Map #154892≫

Spoiler

≪Cold Brew Coffee#(x5) [Potion]≫        
T3: HP Recovery | HP Recovery | HP Recovery (+180 HP)        
An unremarkable flask of cold brew coffee. Creamer provided separately.        
        
ID# 152747 | 152757 | 152763 | 152764 | 152868  

Spoiler

≪Flash of Rejuvenation#(x4) [Crystal]≫        
T1: Mass HP Recovery (+30*PTier HP)        
This master crafted concoction is derived from Self-Heal with some Cold-Ivory mixed with a dash of Viscous Gel.
This gold hued crystal when crushed and spread airborne pumps a wave of energy outward, bestowing strength and vigor to all in range.    
 
   
        
 IDs# 144486 / 144486-1 / 144486-2 / 144486-3 / 144770     

Spoiler
≪Leonidas' Strength#151568≫
T4: Holy Blessing | Holy Blessing | Risky | Risky (Cloth)
A blood red cape with a black inverted V design in the middle of the back, if worn as light armor; one of the trademark items worn by the Spartans that fought until the last man.

 
 
Spoiler
≪Guardian Cloak#187511≫
T1: Loot Die | Loot Die | Loot Die (Cloth)
A gray cloak with silver trims, on its backside lay four guild icons all crossed with a blood red X.
 
 

 
Spoiler

Empty

 

 Buffs: 

  • +3 DMG -> ≪Liquor of Light#152861 [Drink]≫
  • +3 DMG/ -60 Mitigation -> ≪Omega Protein Shake#86817 [Drink]≫
  • +3 Accuracy: "Filling"-> ≪Spicy Rice Cakes#152043-1 [Snack]≫
  • +2 Evasion-> ≪Ramen Bowl with Egg#151906-1 [Snack]≫
  • +98 HP (12%) -> ≪Field Rations≫
  • T3 Toxic Venom [24/3]: ≪Viperion#152856 [Salve]≫
  • +3 LD -> ≪Codex Shake#86848 [Drink]≫
  • +3 Prosperity ->≪Hanami Dango with Green Tea#151901-2 [Snack]≫
  • Search IV -> V: "Skylight"
  • +1 LD/SR/SD/Prosperity [1/1]: "Multipurpose"
  • Laurel Wreath: "Paragon lvl. 5"
  • +1 LD to Looting: "Paragon lvl. 10"
  • -1 EN [3/3]: "Well Rested"
  • -25% DoT [1/1]: "Squeaky Clean"
  • +20 HP OOC regen: "Relaxed" 
  • +1 BRI slot: ≪Dimensional Backpack≫
  • +1 BRI slot: "Item Stash"

Writer's Notes:

Spoiler

Shirajishi-ryū (白獅子流) Student Info.

Spoiler

 

NPC PC Students(so far): Claudia, Hank, Milicent, Maugre
Feel free to interact with/as them at the beginning(or not), taking into account their traits below


All of them have the school uniform, the kanji in the back with the school name. Each student in particular has color specific trimmings and accents that differentiate the ‘plain’ uniforms:

Claudia: Pumpkin Orange

  • Crimson haired girl (18 y/o) almost always wearing a maid-like uniform and glasses
  • REDACTED
  • REDACTED
  • REDACTED
  • Keen eye/sense and notices even the slightest changes around her; be it in the environment or the people
  • Versed in the conversational arts, will do whatever possible to accommodate others
  • REDACTED
  • Constantly adjusting her glasses, especially when explaining or scolding someone

Hank: Strong Blue

  •  (27+ y/o?), real name REDACTED, pre-sao job: REDACTED
  • A man with black and white hair and blue eyes. His attire consists mainly of a black and white tunic with blue accents, black pants, thigh-high armored boots, and a short white cape with a black edge,
  • Secretly likes Mili(cent) a little, acts somehow awkward around her once in awhile,
  • REDACTED
  • REDACTED
  • Strong moral code but a bit clumsy despite his age,
  • Tends to lose his cool in heated situations, REDACTED.

Millicent: Greyish Blue

  • Long dark brown hair and eye color, black framed glasses and two ponytails (sometimes one or none)
  • REDACTED
  • Solitary type, mostly quiet. Likes to keep to herself but sees SAO as a opportunity to change that and tries her best to interact with others, most of the times being awkward about it,
  • REDACTED, oblivious to Hank’s feelings
  • REDACTED
  • Is somehow ashamed of REDACTED but feels most comfortable not being in the limelight.

Maugre: Ammetist

  • Enjoys Hunting for sport (15 y/o?), french ancestors hence the nickname: malgré ill will, from mal, mau evil + gré grace, favor
  • A young man with pink colored short hair, likes to keep it over his left eye; yellow colored eyes and likes to dress in bright colors that usually complement his hair, his cape has amethyst accent especially around his shoulders.
  • REDACTED
  • Pretty outwards personality, slightly metrosexual tendencies once in a while,
  • REDACTED
  • REDACTED

 

A few casual posts at the start then we get into the meat of it xD

 

Edited by Ariel - The Crowned Lion
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Hirru never had any formal wear, so when he saw the message from Ariel, he was slightly relieved to see that it was informal.  If there was anything that he had that was formal, it would be his old Blades Cloak, but it was a tattered version now, and he no longer felt that he was able to wear it anymore.  Instead, he decided to wear his casual attire: a black sleeveless turtleneck, grey slacks; and tan brown boots.  His hair was still held back by his crimson headband, but the insignia of the dark elf queen was taken off.  He left his equipment in his battle-ready slots, but he doubted he would need them now.  This was supposed to be a peaceful discussion, but the issue would be himself, if Mac's behavior in the labyrinth search was apparent.  The hunter still had not spoken to the templar about his actions that day, and it was now too late to do so before the boss.

Riding along on the back of the Travelling Flame's rolling wagon, the hunter would let the Mysterious Merchant know they're destination.  It wouldn't take long after they left Coral to reach the Forest of Memories, where a newly laden path strewn forth.

"Rune Scribe, we can go no further.  The wagon won't fit."

"Understood!  Thank you."

The hunter would jump off the cart and look into the Forest of Memories.  He wondered in Nemo was alright?  Hirru figured he should spend some time fishing there again, but he needed to train proper tomorrow.  They would be fighting something big soon.  As he moved past the front of the wagon, the hunter pat Elizabeth before walking away.  To anyone else that saw this, they would just see him pat the air.  Only those with sufficient search skills would see the mischievous mount, but those that did business with Hirru knew her enough.

"Head back to town and sell some things!  I'm sure some players will need field rations!" 

He turned back to follow the newly paved road through the forest.  At some points, he was sure that he heard something off within the woods, but he left it to his memories going funky again.  Too many times have they hurt his mind with their thoughts.

------

Reaching the red gates, the hunter was amazed by the work that went into this place.  How long and how much did it take Ariel to accomplish all of this?, the hunter would think.  At the gate, there stood two people with green crystals over their head.  They seemed to be slightly chatty, though much of it was from the man that stood to the hunter's left.  The girl to his right seemed to talk a bit, but not much.  The both of them seemed to wear uniforms that denoted them as students of some dojo.  Hirru had seen it a bit from the old boulder punching quest, he couldn't remember the name of it anymore, but he did remember having to wear something along the lines then.

"..can you believe that we're getting guests within the valley!  Front liners even!"

"I wonder.. what they're like.."

It didn't take to long before they would notice the green haired player that had walked to the gates.  The black and white clothed man with blue lined cape stood upright before giving the odd man a look over.

"Hello sir!  Are you by chance here for tailoring purposes?  Please head inside and down the main trail.."

The girl seemed to clamp up as soon as the hunter would appear.  The hunter would shake his head before talking.

"Oh no, I'm here for the meeting.  I was sent a message by Ariel to come here for our floor boss meeting.  Something about a tea gathering?"

They both seemed to just stare at him before the man piped up.  He stood more at attention than before.

"My apologies!  Honored guest, please enter into Shirajishi-ryū Valley.  Our Sensei awaits your appearance!"

The sudden change startled both the hunter and the other girl, whom seemed to wear nearly the same uniform, except her cape had a greyish blue lining.

"Oh, thank you.  Haven't been here, so excuse me if I get lost."

"Just head down the path, it's the open air building, in the middle of the valley."

"It's easy.. to find."

"Again, thank you!"

He said while walking past the two and following the path to the building that he could only hope was the dojo.

Hirru Stats

Spoiler

Hirru Lvl 31 (PL 33)
[H:0] Hirru | 800/800 HP | 112/112 EN | 24 DMG | 122 MIT | 3 ACC | 1 EVA | 6 LD  | 1 PAR | 32/4 ENVM

800 HP (+140 PL / +60 IS)
112 Energy (+12 PL)
4 Accuracy
1 Evasion
6 Luck (12 w/ Favor | 15 w/ Favor on Dungeon) [+1 PL]
20 Base Damage (21 w/ Ferocity & Impetus) [26 w/ Charge]
122 Mitigation
1 Paralysis
32 Envenom 

Equipment

Shelob's Fang ...................... // +1 Accuracy, +1 Paralysis, +32 Envenom
Spirit of the Jade Dragon .......... // +2 Accuracy, +1 Evasion
Bulwark ............................ // +72 Mitigation
Blades Cloak ....................... // Vanity
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]
<Favor of the Golden Dragon> ....... // +3 Luck Die
<Rush Bar> ......................... // +12 EN
<Potion of Moderate Healing> ....... // +10% Health Recovery
<Empty>
<Empty>

Skills

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

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
Iron Skin (Add on) ................. // +15 Mit / +60 HP
SS Ferocity (Add on) ............... // +2 Dmg to all SS Sword Arts Inactive
SS Precision (Add on) .............. // +1 ACC
SS Stamina (Add on) ................ // -2 EN to all SS Sword Arts
SS Focus (Add on) .................. // Increased Crit / D.O.T. Range increase

Learned Arts

TECH-D
TECH-E
TECH-F
RAW

 

Edited by Hirru
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She'd first squinted at the missive whenever she'd obtained it.

Peanut gallery?

So much for professionalism. Maybe this explained what did occur to the front-lines, fueling their reputation for lackadaisical progress. NIGHT shook her head at the sight, then reviewed the attachments accordingly.

It was to her surprise that Firm Anima had been nearby. To think there'd be space for other locales surrounding that guild hall...

After a quick forward to her associates, she waved away the window, glancing up from her interface towards the white-hooded figure. Some distance away, they were occupied with rowing the boat, oars in two hands. Her eyes then trailed to the rippling waters; it'd been a year since they were here for a festival. NIGHT could scarce remember the scenery back then, and her lids fell trying to recall the memory.

Warm lights, an empty canvas of black over head, the gentle wash of waves bumping lanterns into each other and towards their vessel.

The player half expected to open her eyes and be greeted with that orange glow once more, sat between the two, faint sweetness upon the tips of her taste buds. But when only natural daylight could be seen, NIGHT found herself perturbed, if only for a moment.

"..."

If her companion had discerned her dissatisfaction, they certainly hadn't mentioned it, instead opting to glance backwards before murmuring back to the player.

"We're getting close. There's someone..."

NIGHT's eyes immediately snapped back to the present. Her fingers, once smoothing over the vessel's polished wood, slowed to a halt right before her assistant pulled up at the dock.

A dojo. Perhaps the player should've been better informed, the way the river wound around the building and its surroundings as they'd came to approach the estate. But surely she could blame her ignorance on being lost in thought without questioning... could she?

Had she been quicker to rise, surely she would've toppled the boat over. However, her more present counterpart had been up first, and at their extension, NIGHT took their hand to stand. She skipped up to land and turned back to her assistant. A glance further upstream, if there had been room, was enough of a message for the entity to rest and continue their travels without complaint.

The player watched quietly as they pulled away. It was only after significant pestering from the dojo's attendant that she'd managed to pull herself away from the sight, feeling something heavy lodged in her throat.

"Right this way ma'am."

"Mm."

 

b3ue0Fx.png | NIGHT
 | Lv. 92 >> P. 61, Lv. 31
 | Status: [ ... peanut gallery. ]

 Notes:
 snz take my mega-slime farm.

Spoiler

NIGHT | HP: 860/840 | EN: 124/124 | DMG: 21 | ACC: 3 | EVA: 3 | MIT: 44 | LM: 2 | HLY: 8 | PHASE | LD: 5 | BH: 25 | Stealth Rating: 6


equipped

  • Orgoth's Legacy
    ACC, PHASE, HOLY (8)
  • Tracksuit of Unfathomable Fashionability
    MIT (24), LM II
  • Silver Crescent Necklace
    ACC II, EVA II

battle-ready inventory

  • //

skills

Spoiler

mod count: 4/5

  • 2HSS | RANK 5/5
    • focus, stamina, precision
    • shift: aoe
  • CLOTH ARMOR | RANK 5/5
    • athletics, nimble
  • COMBAT MASTERY: DMG | RANK 3/3
  • SEARCHING | RANK 4+1/5
  • BATTLE HEALING | RANK 3/5
  • EXTENDED MOD LIMIT
  • ENERGIST
  • FAMILIAR: PROFESSION
  • QUICK CHANGE

extra

  1. SURVIVAL
  2. CONCENTRATION
  3. HIDING
    • blindside, vanish, surprise attack-t
Spoiler

statue

  • BIALAS | +TAUNT
  • MOTHRA | +1 EN Recovery
  • TANOS | +25 MIT
  • MORETSUNA | +50 HP
  • OROCHI | +1 LD
  • KUMATETSU | +1 DMG

consumables

  1. - - -
  2. - - -

paragon

  • Lv. 5 | Gain additional col equivalent to 15% of EXP earned in that thread.
  • Lv. 10 | +1 LD to looting.
Spoiler

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
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.

gathering

  • 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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Surprisingly, the place was easy to find, maybe it was because Yuki's house is nearby and he has been going in and out of the manor hoping to run into her because he thinks that the reason he can't see her is because he isn't in the house when she is, a little bit of twisted logic but Crozeph isn't pushed to use his brain cells... yet

He arrived in front the meeting place, quite an exquisite design for him with peasant tastes. "You gotta hand it to the lioness, she knows how to make it impressive, not too flashy but definitely elegant" he thought and it seems that there are two persons in the gate waiting for him to-

"Wait I think that's-"  he saw someone who was with a white-hooded figure "hm, must be the mushrooms I ate, remind myself not to eat roadside mushrooms" he thought. As he approached the gate it seems no one was there to greet him because they have already guided the two who arrived earlier than him "hehe, time to wander around, I'm sure Ariel wouldn't mind me gliding inside her dojo. I rarely try to polish the floors of Baldur's dojo because there was no need, maybe I could try it here" he thought. Crozeph went in, taking a different path but keeping his eyes on looking for a dojo..

And that kids is how you turn from a visitor to a trespasser

image_2021-10-20_221407.png

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k o g a the elder wolf

Spoiler

notes

  • none

Koga | HP: 660/660 | EN: 100/100 | DMG: 23 | MIT: 30 | ACC: 4 | EVA: 2 | BRN: 56 | BLT: 32/20 | FALN: 8 | REGN | 13 | B.HEALING: 33/66

equipped

battle-ready inventory

  • None

skills

Spoiler

| COMBAT

  • Mastery: Damage III | Gain 1 * Tier Damage per rank | 15 SP
  • Battle Healing V | Recover 5% (rounded down) of your maximum HP at the start of your turn | 30 SP
    • Emergency Recovery | When non-fatal damage would leave you with 25% or less of your maximum HP, recover 10% of your maximum HP after the attack resolves. Effect cannot occur more than once per thread.  When activated if the player has lower than 10 energy remaining, simply reduce the player's energy to 0. | 6 SP
      • EN Cost: 10
  • Energist | Increase Base Energy by 5 * Tier | 8 SP
  • Howl | Gain +2 Hate against up to 4 targets | 10 SP
    • EN Cost: 2 EN
    • Cooldown: 2 Posts
    • Focused Howl | Gain +4 Hate against a single target | 5 SP
      • EN Cost: 4 EN
      • Cooldown: 4 Posts

| WEAPON

  • Curved Sword I | +1 DMG when equipped with a Curved Sword | 4 SP
  • Katana V | +7 DMG when equipped with a Katana | 30 SP
    • Stamina | Reduces the energy of all Katana attacks by 2 EN | 4 SP
    • Ferocity | +2 DMG when using Katana Sword Arts | 4 SP

| ARMOR

  • Light Armor V | +30 MIT when equipped with Light Armor | 30 SP
    • Meticulous | +1 DMG when equipped with Light Armor | 4 SP
    • Resolve | +1 ACC and +10 * Tier HP when equipped with Light Armor | 6 SP

| EXTRAS

  • Familiar Master: Rending | You and your familiar attack in tandem, applying Rend [7*tier unmitigatable damage] to the target that lasts for two turns. | 10SP
    • Cooldown: 5 Posts
  • Survival | Increases Healing effects received from all sources by 10%. Grants immunity to all damage dealing environmental attacks/effects.

buffs

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

 

 

koga_stats_100x100.jpg.c91432411146655193faca95fe94fa35.jpg

Good things didn't really happen to Koga. And even if they did, there was usually some kind of catch, which was why when Koga read the message that NIGHT had shot his way, he stared at it with equal parts surprise and skepticism.

As casual as the message was, the matter it discussed was anything but. The boss room? Scattered whispers had made its way to Koga that the room had been discovered, so he'd at least known that much, but this was...well, Koga could only guess that it was an invitation to discuss how to take the beasty down.

This had been what Koga had been working towards for the past...too long. And now it was finally here. But what was the catch? Well, other than certain death at the hands of some deranged, monstrous creature made entirely out of ones and zeros. Was this just NIGHT's idea of a prank or something? No, definitely not. Koga doubted NIGHT even knew how to pull a prank.

With a shrug and a swipe, Koga decided to take the message at face value. Gathering his things, he called to his familiar. "Okami, let's go." Silently, the wolf rose to his feet and followed his master out the door.

---

Koga chose to walk to the designated location. He wasn't much for boats, and up until today, he didn't even know horses existed in Aincrad, let alone that you could ride them, so, on foot it was.

A nervous energy overtook as he walked, hastening his pace ever so slightly. He was excited, but also, anxious. Strangely, his first thoughts did not drift to the impending doom they were all preparing to face, but rather, how he should conduct himself. "Shit, should I have brought nicer clothes?" the man muttered to himself, realizing he had thoughtlessly donned his coat. Oh well. What's done is done. The message had said informal anyways.

---

Arriving at the location, Koga was a little surprised to find that it was, in fact, a dojo. A far more traditional one than he was used to, but a dojo nonetheless As the man bowed and entered the place, he was struck with memories of practicing all manner of movements in the real world. He hadn't realized how much he missed places like this.

With a deep breath, Koga's eyes flitted about, searching for any remotely familiar faces that he could attach himself to.

Edited by Koga
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Macradon looked over at this HUD as a small notification appeared in his message inbox. The knight hesitated but was still quick to press the floating screen only he could see and would read the message. “Nice, a meeting, this should hopefully be better than the last, a bit too chaotic, but let’s see who shows up. It might actually be a very constructive and efficient meeting." They didn't know much about the boss or about the boss room other than the quick peek to get an understanding of the arena they’ll be fighting in, which didn’t really tell the vanguard party anything too useful.

Macradon sighed and rose from his sofa like a zombie rising from its grave, he nearly even looked the part. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to be at the meeting, he just didn’t have the highest of hopes for the gathering because of the “informal tea” that was added to the meeting’s description. Just like the last boss raid, it got quite … too lax and the discussions weren’t getting out to everyone, seemed like it was just a dialogue between two that kept being ping ponged at each other.

“Horseback … boat … nah I’ll go for a run, been a while since I exerted myself.” he thought to himself and donned all of his formal clothes for the tea gathering, he wanted to look as pretentious as possible for his journey. Quickly adorning his old knightly uniform with blue tailcoat and ruffled sleeves. Macradon equipped his vambrace as always, reminding himself of his past deeds and what he should strive to be better at “Sorry to you all.” he said out loud while looking at the etch markings on the vambrace.

With his personal preparations done, the knight rushed out of his estate and got to the teleportation plaza, uttered the words of the 22nd floor and was transported in light turquoise light.

The 22nd floor was just like he remembered it the last time, but for now he would have to go for another direction rather than going for that pillar guild thingy.

With how the valley was set up, the infrastructure of traveling even by foot wasn’t that difficult to much of a degree. The running waters and the sound of wildlife engulfed his sphere with a serene feeling. “I can see why so many wanted to live here.” he mumbled while sprinting towards the noted location. It took a bit of a while before the knight on foot arrived at the valley and would easily be able to spot the meeting as there were already familiar people gathered at the marked spot on the map.

Macradon quickly shifted out his current formal knight wear for his kimono like last time he attended a meeting on this floor.

He noted the current attendees and would wave around for those that he could lock eyes with, except the Jade Hunter, and empty cold nod was all that he could muster for that person. "With all these peanuts present, I hope no one was a salted on their way here." he said with a cheeky smirk.

Stats

Spoiler
DynamicMac_v2_narrow.png
Macradon
The Imperial Topaz
Level: 31(60)
«Macradon» 920/920 HP | 114 MIT | 19 DMG | 2 ACC | 0 EVA | 8 REC | 49 BH | 99 VMP | 16(8) FRT | 16 FRS | 16 Holy | Phase | 124/124 EN
Stats HP: 920
EN: 124
ACC: 2
EVA: 0
DMG: 19
MIT: 114
REC: 8
FRT: 16(8)
FRS: 16(2 turns)
VMP: 90
Equipped Items - Blade of the Bloody Dictator // +16 Holy Damage, Phase, 10%+Survival(101) Vampiric Offensive
- Silverlight ................ // +64 Mitigation, +16(8) Frost Thorns, +16 Frost Damage
- Templar's Necklace ......... // +8 Recovery, +2 Accuracy
Battle Ready Inventory - Empty inventory slot ....... //
- Empty inventory slot ....... //
- Empty inventory slot ....... //
- Empty inventory slot ....... //
- Empty inventory slot ....... //
- Dimensional backpack
- - Empty inventory slot ..... //
Buffs - 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.
- 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(50) 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 environmental damage.

Edited by Macradon
forgot stats
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Baldur, the Gaijin Samurai, was known primarily for two things.

The first, which he adjusted as he walked down the path towards Ariel's new dojo, was his blue and white haori. He had worn it in every incarnation since he had it made when his level was in the single digits. It was his trademark, his signature, it was better than having a glowing name hovering above his head.

The second was his distinguished age. Though thankfully because of the mechanics of SAO, he would never reflect his true age. His body was frozen perpetually at perhaps the best shape he had ever been in in this life. No matter how long they were stuck here for.

As he walked the shaded path, he saw on his map Macradon was quite a ways ahead of him and moving quickly. Was Baldur going to be that late? Even still, he did not have it in him to run to the dojo. The quiet walk gave his mind peace to think.

They were going into this boss more blind than usual.

The gentle rustle of the breeze as Baldur stepped into Ariel's dojo made the flames along the hem of his haori dance as if the fire was alive. She had an impressive setup here. He would have to come visit often. While different, it shared much the same aesthetic of his own home. It would be good to have somewhere to visit.

Spoiler

» Baldur, The Gaijin Samurai vWKwiqS.png

» Base Stats

  • Base HP: 840
  • Base EN: 118 (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: 42 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 x4 | 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
  • 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
  • Emergency Recovery: Equipped
  • [Mod Slot Empty
  • [Mod Slot Empty]
  • [Mod Slot Empty]
  • ADD-ON Ferocity: Equipped
  • ADD-ON Stamina: Equipped
  • ADD-ON: Precision: Equipped
  • ADD-ON: Resolve: 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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His sojourn through the sparse woods of the Forest of Memories took little time, especially given the proximity of Ariel’s dojo to Firm Anima’s guild hall.  Freyd had just finished reviewing his daily reports when the message first arrived.  Having recently learned from Hirru that the labyrinth had been cleared; the news was met with mixed reception and concern.  Were they ready?  Shadow’s defeat had taken personal tolls and left a heavy burden on all of Aincrad’s remaining players.  Though no one he knew personally had fallen in recent memory, names still steadily appeared on the Monument of Life.  Kayaba’s trap remained lethal.  

Scars left in the landscape by the Spire’s agents had been healed.  Slender trees with paper-thin bark, like origami landscape writ large.  Beauty in hues of pinks and orange mixed together and wrapped themselves in wisps of fluffy fog, granting the woods their air of mystery.  The Lake of Reflection shone once more in the distance, restored to its former glory and shimmering as it fell from view.

“There is danger in forgetting so readily,” he cautioned, speaking only to the wind.  Birds chirped at a distance in response.

Nearing the entrance to the Crowned Lion’s pride, he chose to enter as a Whisper.  Without fanfare, or even minimal disturbance, the lake was crossed and a scene revealed of final preparations  already well underway.

I’m early.

Of course you are.  You live next door.

Shut up, Montjoy.  

Speaking to his shadow was nothing new.  No one could hear their private, internal conversations.  He knew that he was really just talking to himself.  It was the only way he’d found to grant voice to his conscience, to debate it actively in his own mind.  Yes.  Freyd talked to himself, often, and replied to himself by another name.  It would get confusing to do so otherwise, or so he reasoned.

An illusion applied. Change of face and clothing were simple matters. Snaring a nearby lonely, wooden rake he went to work, tending a nearby stone garden beneath his adopted guise and a broad straw hat, seizing the opportunity to sort and settle his own thoughts.  Others began arriving soon after.  The Jade Hunter was first, trailing an odd-looking cart behind him.  He was an odd one, with a troubled past shaped like a block of Swiss cheese.  A decent sort, though.  Freyd intended to help him plug those holes and find himself again, chance permitting.

NIGHT?  

A single, visible iris swiveled for a glance, the rest of him diligently working at the stone to maintain appearances.  Who was the figure in the boat?  Its unobtrusive presence naturally drew his immediate attention.  No captain to O&I could afford to overlook such subtlety. Lacking the means to investigate any further without exposing himself, he scratched lightly at the clothing around his chest.  Something dark and intangible slunk out from his pant leg an instant later, darting to follow the boat.  The outcome of Persi’s exploits would be discovered later.

Crozeph was next.  Not Freyd’s first choice for a boss raid.  The man was as likely to be seeking a place to string his hammock as to partake in the battle.  At least he might bring snacks, though likely also devour them all before things even got started.  Conscious effort was required to prevent him from shaking his head.

Koga?  Was he even high enough level for this?  Nearly his double, in appearance, he hardly struck him as the type to stay focused on anything long enough to have advanced to the front lines so quickly, but the order of the world was askew since Shadow’s fall.  Maybe he had?  People had been changed by the experience, including himself.  Worth finding out, later.

Mac was next, in full flair and flamboyant spirit.  Given the number of times his name appeared on the monument, Freyd wondered at the toll it had taken and how he reconciled those deeds with his peace of mind.  His own approach was cold and calculating, but that definitely wasn’t Macradon’s style.  He had a serious side, though, that had shone through when they'd fought the ruined child-thing one the nearby lake-bed, prior to its recovery.

To each his own?

Perhaps.

The Gaijin Samurai would be the one to make his entrance fashionably late, wouldn’t he?  The man oozed gravitas and presence and was respected for it, with good reason.  'Seasoned' seemed inadequate as a description.  From the last floor boss fight, he knew him to have a tactical mind, and a sound ability to articulate his thoughts.  A leader.  One would be needed.  A grimace formed beneath the hat.  This game had gone on long enough.  Not enough healers had come.  Not enough tanks.  It was an inauspicious start.

Underfoot, the stones had been raked to meticulously balanced perfection.  Every granule had found its proper place.  Tool returned to its resting place beyond the garden bounds and his true appearance restored, a black shaft of pure void appeared in his hands, drawn from the darkness of his own shadow.  With it, he placed a single marring stroke upon his work.  A reminder that things were never perfect.  Donning a simple, dark montsuki, Freyd dismissed his weapon and silently entered Ariel’s dojo proper.   No one else from the guild had come.  Based on what he had seen so far, he’d also require some convincing to participate.

Spoiler

cfe56f327a2a7b1ca0818089e0b6e1ce.jpg

Full Stats: (Mega-Slime Farm Applied)

Spoiler

Freyd, Firm Anima O&I Captain
Level: 31
Paragon Level: 71
HP: 940/940
EN: 128/128

Stats:
Damage: 24
Mitigation: 78
Evasion: 2
Accuracy: 5
Battle Healing: 51
Loot Dice: 5
FLN: 16
HLY: 16
REC: 8

Equipped Gear:
Weapon: Samael's Pride (T4 Hammer | Fln 2 | Holy 2)
Armor: Fallen Angel Garb (T4 LA | Mit 2 | Rec 2)
Misc: Fight o'er Flight (ACC 2, EVA 2)

Custom Skill:
All-Consuming Shadows  (Inactive, pending approval)

Skills:
Hammer R5
Light Armor R5
Searching R4
Battle Healing R5
Energist
Charge

Active Mods:
Night Vision
Tracking
Meticulous
Untraceable

Inactive Mods:

Addons:
Stamina
Ferocity
Precision
Resolve
Reveal

Active Extra Skills:
Disguise
Survival
Meditation
Forgotten King’s Authority

Inactive Extra Skills:
Hiding R3
Brawler
Photosynthesize

Battle Ready Inventory:
Teleport Crystals x7
Mass HP Rec [Inst] (+30*T HP) x7
Mass HP Rec [Inst] (+30*T HP) x7
Crystal of Divine Light (Reusable) x1
Rhino's Horn (Reusable) x1
T3 Probiotics 3 x2

Housing Buffs:
Rested: -1 energy cost for the first two 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)
Working: +2 EXP per crafting attempt
Filling: Increase the effectiveness of a single food item consumed in a thread by +1 T1 slot.
Item Stash: +1 Battle Ready Inventory Slot
Delicious: Turn 3 identical food items (same quality, tier, & enhancements) into a Feast. A Feast contains 6 portions of the food items sacrificed.
Relaxed: Increases out of combat HP regen by (5 * Tier HP) and decreases full energy regen to 2 Out of Combat Posts.
Skylight (Searching): +1 Rank to the Searching skill.
Angler: +1 material gained when fishing
Advanced Training: +10% Exp to a thread. Limit one use per month [1/1] (APPLIED.  Last used August 26, 2021)
Multipurpose: Gain +1 to LD, Stealth Rating, Stealth Detection, or Prosperity to one post in a thread. Can be applied after a roll
Decor [Potted Tanabata Bamboo Tree]: This buff affects the player and their choice of up to two party members.

Guild Hall Buffs:
Lucrative: Reduce LD needed for Salvage by 5 (10+ for Alchemist crystals, 6+ for everything else). +2 EXP per craft. Rank 9 crafters receive +1 crafting attempt per day. Rank 10 crafters receive +2 crafting attempts per day.
Col Deposit: +5% bonus col from last-hit monster kills and +10% bonus col from treasure chests.

Scents of the Wild:
Kumatetsu Statue: +1 Base Damage for a thread

Wedding Ring:
n/a


 

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' one, two... seven ' Ariel watched them find a place to settle before the meeting would start. Pleasantly surprised that there were more people than she originally estimated, most of them players that she already had worked before or at least interacted in some way or another. From her seated position, she clapped twice hoping to get everyone's attention. The same action signalling the two students of her school that brought their guests to the dojo to start preparation. As she talked, they would try their best to inconspicuously place a tray in front of each person. The tray contained a small assortment of snacks and sweets, the main attraction being the wagashi.

The blonde open her arms as she spoke: " Welcome everyone and thank you for taking the time to be here today. Since I mostly see here members of the team that took down the labyrinth boss, I'd like to skip past introductions and jump straight to the reason why we are here. We can take our time with pleasantries after we outline some sort of plan, or two. " She took a second to review her mental map and the information she gathered after the small glance inside the boss toom.

"Filthy" she claimed with a sour face. "We'd fought the giant humanoid rat lab. boss in the sewers and even after, as we made our way towards the boss room. Past the fortified door I noticed a high ceiling and the floor had an irregular surface that looked hard to walk on and easy to trip on. Inside was dark enough to not see anything else except the four massive figures in the center. To me, they kind of looked like cannons." she closed her eyes, trying to get a clearer vision of what they saw and if she skipped on anything else: allowing others to intervene and complete the picture before she could continue with her own thoughts and suppositions.

Behind her, she could hear a small cough as the redhead in charge of preparing the tea signaled her that she was almost done. Ariel would noticeably nod and Claudia would start ceremoniously pouring tea in several ceramic cups that looked handmade. The two students would again distribute the green tea and slightly bow before going out of sight.

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꧁༺Lessa༻꧂

 

Lessa, The Violet Guardian
Level: 31
Paragon Level: 39
HP: 820/820
EN: 114/114

Stats:
Damage: 23
Mitigation: 122
Accuracy: 2
Battle Healing: 41
H.M.: 8
HLY: 8
REC: 8
THRNS: 72

Equipped Gear:
Weapon: Arcael's Might (T4 THSS - DMG DMG DMG HLY)
Armor: Empress Armor (T4 HA - HM HM THNS THNS)
Misc: Neutron Star Necklace (T4 TRINKET - ACC ACC REC REC)

Skills:
Straight Sword R5
Heavy Armor R5
Battle Healing R5
Energist
Fighting Spirit
Charge

Active Mods:
Impetus
Emergency Recovery

Addons:
Iron Skin
Ferocity
Stamina

Active Extra Skills:
Parry

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]

 

https://i.ibb.co/PtTNDFx/image0.jpg

"Hey there, I'm sorry I'm late."

With a smile that managed to be both warm and sheepish, Lessa slowed to a stop outside of the wooden building.

The young woman she spoke to cocked a single crimson eyebrow. "Yes," she stated plainly, "you are late."

Taken aback by the response, Lessa faltered for a moment. "I really do apologize," she managed, hooking the her thumbs in the front pockets of her blue jeans. She had opted for her casual wear - jeans, a tee, a jacket, and boots - but she suddenly felt alarmingly out of place and underdressed. "I live around here, but I guess I underestimated the time it would take me to walk." She nearly apologized again, but bit back the words. She had made a mistake, but she didn't need to grovel. 

The redhead emitted a short disappointed sigh. Then, surprising Lessa greatly, she waved her hand dismissively. "It's fine." Pausing, she shoved her glasses up her nose, then gestured for Lessa to follow along the path. "Right this way. You likely haven't missed much."

"I really, really appreciate it." Nodding in thanks, Lessa turned to half-jog up to the house. When she finally slid into the room holding the boss meeting, she noticed that something felt a bit off. It took a few seconds for her to put her finger on it.

There's hardly anyone here.

Hadn't the Floor 25 meeting had three times as many people? As unease wound it's way through her like a slow-acting poison, the blonde shuffled up alongside Baldur. Though NIGHT, her guildmate stood nearby, Lessa merely offered her a small wave and a quick smile. Among the small party of Players gathered there, it was he she felt most comfortable with.

The student Lessa had encountered had been right - she hadn't missed much at all. Ariel launched into her brief speech as soon as Lessa entered the room. Though there wasn't much to go off of, she found herself grateful she had called Ariel in as a replacement. The other Player was a force to be reckoned with, and an exceptional leader when given the chance. Lessa found she didn't mind watching someone else take control for the time being.

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Zandra stretched her arms high in the air as she rose from her bed. She glanced at Itzals place, that was still empty. She started to be a bit angry on him. He had now been gone for over two months, but didnt contacted her. She knew he was alive because he was still her husband. But that was nothing to think about now. Today was some serious information she would take note off. It was time for the next floor boss fight meeting. Herself she had been very adbscent from anything that had with the frontlines to do. But now, now it was time, she was also quite excited to see what would happen. And since she this time didnt participated in the labyrinth boss fight, she had completly no idea what to expect. ‘’Zita! Time to go.’’ she said and left her estate behind.

As she arrived to Ari’s place she got met by two of her students at the front gate. Zandra gave a smile before following Hank that took the lead. Not long time later she was at the dojo. There she saw one of her oldest friends that she havent seen in a long time. It seemed like she just had started the meeting. Zandra quickly glanced at who else was there. A few similar faces, a few new faces. To not interrupt, she quietly took a place a bit away as she listened to what the lioness had to say.

Edited by Zandra
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Rats, cannons and a sewer. NIGHT hadn't gotten the full rundown of the floor, having graced the underground district for the first time at meeting the labyrinth boss, but still found herself thinking back to the secrecy of it all. Urchins, the street vendors and food, all next to somewhere vaguely unsavoury.

Cannons.

"No idea," she fired out. Her once kept position, arms and legs both folded by the delicacy spoke of her reserved, contemplative nature. All of that unraveled once she set an elbow upon the wood, chin cupped at the edge of her palm, and furrowed brows evening out to a perplexed, mellowed look. A glance around the room, before she started to make her guesses -- accurate or otherwise.

"The last labyrinth fight had a ballista, didn't it?" It had been a fight against a dragon, details she could scarcely recall, and speculation there had seemed to scatter just as wildly as her blind musings upon this new frontier. Were they supposed to feel this lost trying to figure out what threat the bosses might impose against them? She hummed briefly, almost in a growl, looking towards the ceiling as though it would beckon an answer from her subconscious. "Maybe it'd be another dragon or something. But if it can fly... the game would probably just have granted us another ballista or something, wouldn't it?"

Another murmur. "So blunt damage against piercing damage..."

The player took the wagashi for a spin. A toothpick with wide prongs cut through the side of a smooth sweet's snow skin. Red bean paste in the middle, and a part of her was reminded of the potential for a white lotus filling as an alternative. Recipes and speculation to be stowed away for another day.

She had a bite. Her eyes flit around the quiet room as she chewed, thinking.

"... You know," she started once again, once her gaze fell to the floor, empty space ahead of her, the woman focused on a spot between the tiles of the room. "I never got to see much of the city when I was out and about. I can hardly recall seeing anything that spoke of machinations."

"But for a civilization that's vast enough to cover the expanse of a floor for its territory, alongside the capability to support multiple airships locked in the sky... I can't help but imagine it's got to be something technologically advanced."

NIGHT paused for a moment, giving her words a little more thought. The toothpick twirled in her hands again, and she was ever so subtly reminded of the gentle burbling of waves on a lake. "At the very least," she continued, "it's got to be something well-armored. Something that's got a lot more defense that we may be used to. Why else would we need four cannons to blow it up with?"

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Baldur was pleased to see Lessa show up, and even more so when she came and sat beside him. His eyes never waivered from whomever was talking, but as she sat down, he leaded over and bumped her shoulder lightly with his, acknowledging intimately that he was pleased to see her.

Then he waited until there was a lull in the conversation, "Unfortunately, I feel like speculating on the canons is going to be mostly wasted time until we get in there and see. Undoubtedly they will factor in, but it doesn't tell us anything useful about the fight. We will probably need people to man the canons, but it'll be a puzzle for us to figure out once we see what we're dealing with."

He hated having to say that. No one enjoyed planning and debate more than him, but it was useless conjecture at this point. He gently picked up the cup of green tea poured for him, and took a sip to wet his throat and let his words breath.

"The uneven floor and the darkness could speak to accuracy challenges, but the boss rooms are always dark until we enter them. Still, it wouldn't be bad to make sure every party has some light stones. As for the rest... we probably need to address the elephant in the room before we can have productive conversations."

He glanced around the room, counting everyone up in his head.

"Will we have the people to field two groups?"

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"I'm much rather concern of seeing a rat act almost that good-" Crozeph chimed in out of nowhere, appearing from behind a wall and slumping on the floor as if he was tired of exploring Ariel's place "and it's living under or near a settlement, that's something no creatures lurking or prowling outside a settlement can do" he told them. The bazaar, children who were too cautious, the talks of infestation, and the nobles not liking him. Well that last part was clearly a Crozeph thing and he didn't want to bring that up, after all, he insulted a noble who was a bit more scrawny than him.

He rolled over and looked at the trees, pleasant, just like Yuki's house. Ariel's description along with Baldur and Night's thoughts about it gave him little clay to make bricks, not that he was good at it all the time. "I can only tell that whoever is in there, it's gonna prepare mutated shit or armed to teeth with what ever advancement humans had made... with extra steps" he rolled over again facing the group "it got me thinking that this won't be like Shadow doing eldritch shit, we could be facing someone or something armored or on steroids and if I am right, we could be able to come up with something to debuff it rather than landing every damage we can in a short span of time." 

This was only his thoughts, it may amount to little but he was hoping it could help, all while sneakily tries to grab a snack prepared for them by crawling.

"Two groups huh."

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"Hm?"

His eyelids slowly opened as the light of day greeted his dark blue irises, forcing Calrex to squint for a moment before fully opening his eyes. He had gotten a notification in his menu that had awoken him from his brief nap within the room set aside for him and Teayre within Baldur's estate. After spending some time exploring the floors and trying to come to terms with the changes in Aincrad's system, the Ultramarine Knight had felt mentally and virtually burned out. The past few days was the laziest he had been in quite some time, back to the early days before he even decided to leave the safety of the Starting City's walls.

"It looks to be from Baldur...I guess they found the floor boss..."

"The question is...am I even in a state to really participate? With everything that's changed...I'm not even sure I can technically be considered a competent player anymore."

A small sigh escaped his lips before the bluenette got to his feet, swiping on his menu to don his casual combat attire, the outfit he had sported from so long ago. Adjusting the scarf he made his way over to the door, sliding it open and closing it behind him after passing through.

The trek to the designated meeting place blew by as he wanted through the world in a bit of a daze, hands in his pockets while his virtual limbs moved through the crowd, the young man completely preoccupied with his own thoughts until he finally snapped back to full attentiveness of his surroundings. Since he was merely following the directions outlined from before, Calrex never took the time to fully analyze his surroundings and the secluded hollow Ariel had moved her shop into, "So...I guess Ariel's really made some upgrades from before, heh."

Stepping through the Ultramarine Knight was briefly taken aback b the numerous amount of people scurrying around inside, a bead of sweat running down the side of his head, "...really made some upgrades..."

Closing his eyes with a small sigh he made his way through, keeping silent and only giving brief polite nods to the passers by...

Or at least that was his intention, but upon entering into the gates he was greeted by one of the people waiting inside, asking if he was here for the floor boss meeting.

"Uh...yeah, here for that. I received word from my guild leader..."

With that he was swiftly ushered through at a pace even he considered to be quicker than usual, "I guess they must have started already. Wouldn't be surprised, I did kind of take my time getting here..."

As they drew closer to the house Calrex could over hear mentions of a rat, as well as cannons, confirming his suspicions. Giving a thankful nod to the person that showed him here, the bluenette took one more moment to give a calming breath before stepping just inside and off to the right so that he wasn't blocking the doorway.

"No real reason to be directly in the conversation. I haven't been out and about as of late, so it's probably best to just listen in for now. Everyone here seems to have more contextual knowledge about this fight, best to hear those first."

 

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After finding the dojo, and being asked to sit, the hunter awaited everyone else.  It seemed that the news would spread fast, as many people would come to hear the information that the scouting party would have to give.  Unfortunately for everyone that arrived, there was very little to give.  All they could see from the darkness of the room, was the rough terrain around the staging area, and the four obelisks that the others seem to identify as cannons.  It was not much information to pull any strategy off of, but the others seemed to already be going off on their own theories.

NIGHT seemed to be talk about mechanics that the last floor boss had.  Since Hirru wasn't apart of that, he kept quiet about anything from that lower floors.  In fact, he was just mostly silent throughout.  Since he missed two sets of meetings and their follow-up raids, he was effectively out of his element now.  He had done his part in scouting out the next floor boss, but now he had to redo everything that he worked on since the 18th floor boss.  That included strategies and such.

Baldur had the right concern though, with everyone that was here, they had barely enough for a decent sized two team fight.  Though, they were not evenly distributable.  Ariel, Baldur, Freyd, Mac, and  Crozeph had shown themselves to be heavy burst damage players, which could be good spread into the two teams as the high DPS.  Although, Mac's hate generation would be something to man-handle.  NIGHT was obviously a stealth character, although her choice in weapon was the same as Hirru and Mac.  She would probably operate just like Hidden and Hikoru would have, though her use of TECH arts in the last fight were quite good.  With Hirru, that made 

The issue comes with everyone else here.  If he were to go with his prior knowledge, he would have to lump Calrex and Zandra where they were before, as tanks.  However, the update gave them room to do whatever they wanted.  Cal was known for being versatile, but that can't be the case anymore.  His unique skill made him the best tank there could ever be, besides Shield and Hestia.  Speaking of, where were those two?  They should be here.  Outside of that, there was Zandra's healing skill that she was quite known for too.  Depending on how she still carried herself, they would be looking at those two as tanks.

The two that he could not put his finger on were Lessa and this new guy.  Lessa seemed to armored up quite well.  Enough to be considered a tank, but then again, so was Hirru.  He would have found out more, but she decided not to fight in the guardian battle, and let Ariel take her place.  Was she not willing to join the front in battle?  Was she scared?  The hunter couldn't tell.  Next was the new guy.  Hirru couldn't make heads or tails of him.  Was he a player that had just hit the 31st level cap, and found their way into the meeting?  If anything, the attire of the guy was nothing fancy, nor was it shabby.  It was more along the lines of lighter armor.  Possibly a fast striking evasion player.

With all of that, the hunter could think of the teams now:

Role Team 1 Team 2
Leader / Tank Calrex Zandra
DPS Baldur Ariel
DPS Crozeph Freyd
Alt Tank / DPS Mac Lessa
Alt Support/ DoT DPS NIGHT Hirru
Support / DPS New guy (Koga) ???

The issue was now: relaying all that, when he probably wasn't the most trusted mouth in the entire room.

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"Hm?"

Two groups. NIGHT took a moment to look around the room. Sure enough, her counting skills hadn't failed her, although she did wonder how many of Anima's Army would be able to make it to the fight.

Was organizing their troops really such a big deal? The player did wonder. Between what she'd seen of her party from Shadow, she'd chalked it up to the most sociable of the group to speculate the distribution of members. Additionally, ensuring each party had their bare essentials -- healer, tank, restoration crystals -- were all she'd expected to be a given.

That being said, she wasn't too certain about everyone's capabilities to make the assertion that their party lineups would be secured.

"--We can always switch out if there's a concern about survivability," the woman considered aloud, toying with the cutting of wagashi with an idle hand. "Or make multiple visits to the room if we so believe ourselves to be unprepared. One to scout, out of caution, and with more concrete details we could persuade other players to join. --Though, heavens know if any of us have ever handled a cannon before."

If there were brief glances towards the Whisper's way, they were all in concern for the lack of any other representatives from his guild to the fore front. Seriously, that collective seemed to have everything under wraps -- and for being an institution with many notable figures and fighters, she'd have expected more than an individual to have made an appearance -- at an important meeting, no less.

Had it been formed with such purpose to exit the game, it only underlined their dedication more to have made themselves present to the scene. So the alternative was understandably questionable. Yet there were no better personnel to pack the missing squadron slots with, should the guild have manpower to spare.

In hesitation, NIGHT cleared her throat.

"Assuming everyone here is to make it to the fight, we won't see full parties of 6 with an even distribution. @Freyd." A healthy pause. The woman took the time to grab hold of her tea, bringing the cup's edge close to her lips. "Will Firm Anima be sending anyone else to provide their assistance?"

In an instant, she downed her cup. Washed down the gagging feeling of having reached out for help, on behalf of the meeting or otherwise.

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Silence claimed dominion over the room.  Freyd hadn't even qualified to attend the preparatory meeting before joining the front lines against the last floor boss, yet here was NIGHT calling him out for support.  She wasn't wrong in her assertions, nor general assumptions, but therein lay the problem.  The force fielded against Shadow was full of veterans, confident in their power and yearning for battle.  It had been a confrontation for the ages, with the boss's reach extending far beyond the chamber where the fight itself played out.  The aftermath of those terrible events still scarred their collective confidence.  He could see it in the eyes all focused upon him now.

Clearing his throat, the Whisper lifted his cup from its saucer, slurping a sip before returning it with a clink that echoed about the beautifully adorned home of their host.  He was pausing, of course, as much for dramatic effect as to gauge the reactions of the rest who had gathered.  All were known to him, which he hadn't expected.  Though he traveled widely in his relentless endeavors, Freyd wasn't really the sociable type.  Had he really covered so much ground in such a short time?

There were legends in this room that dwarfed his time and exploits by orders of magnitude - each accomplished in their own right.  Yet nervous tension was pervasive.  For NIGHT to have spoken as she did spoke mountains about her concerns.  As did the absence of others whom he would have expected.

"So," he began, his voice quiet and contemplative, "let me get this straight: we're going into a room that might have cannons, and the rest is pretty much pure speculation?"  Bracing his chin against an open palm, fingers rubbed his temple as he struggled to process their odds of success. 

"Well," he began, a slim, wry smile perching itself on the edge of his lips, strands of unruly, mousy-brown hair obscuring his eyes from view.  "I suppose we had even less to go on last time."

A slight tilt of his head expose one iris, steely blue instead of past crimson and aimed squarely at NIGHT.  It was a notable change to those who paid attention to such things.

"Firm Anima will field a full group of its own."  The eye scanned the rest, watching whether the news caused greater or lesser tension.  "We synergize best together."

"I have faith in the rest gathered here.  You all know what you're doing and have the heart to stand side by side against anything."  Sweeping his bangs back exposed a plain, pale face and harsh, angular brow.  Locking sights with each person, in turn, the steel in his gaze bore unyielding determination.

"We will be more than enough."

@NIGHT

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Zandra had taken a seat and listened to all opinions from the players who was present at the meeting. Thou as it often did, her mind started flowing away when there had been alot of talking. Thougths about how many boss fights she had actually participated in by now, how different they have been. In some fights there was many players, some few, and some in between. The outcome had been shifting too. Some was easy peasy, some was really challenging, even some deaths from some of them.This time thou, there wouldnt be any deaths. At least not if Zandra could prevent it. She was sad that Itzal wouldnt join them, but she couldnt say that he would, since not tven she, his wife, knew about his whereabouts. But today wasnt about the past or who cant be there, today was about their future and the people that had decided to make everyone in Aincrad get one.

So, the subject about who would be present in the came up, quickly pushed away what information they already knew about. Yes ofcourse it was important to know who would be there, but how much would it actually matter? Not like they was gonna skip it if to few turned up. Wouldnt it be better to have a base strategy laid out?

‘’So, four canons you say? Floor that looks like it will be rough to move quickly and safely on, High ceiling and darkness. And the labyrinth boss was a… rat?’’ this was all important details to rember, so she should made sure she wouldnt forget anything. ‘’Anything Ive missed?’’

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A smile broke across Lessa’s face as Baldur shoulder bumped her. It had become their “thing,” a gentle reminder of nearness and unwavering support. She appreciated it, and him, especially in those moments of uncertainty. The weight that had settled across her shoulders lifted - at least for the moment. Freyd’s declaration, though intense, also helped to reassure her.

However, as the conversation continued to flow, something nagged at her. A few different times, Lessa tentatively lifted her hand into the air, then dropped it again, like a student unsure of her answer to the problem on the board. Finally, when the conversation dwindled to a trickle, she put voice to her thoughts.

”Don’t you think it’s a little repetitive though?” After a brief pause, she added, “I mean, the ballista, and then the cannons?” Lessa gave a one-shouldered shrug, then turned to Baldur. As her blue eyes searched his face for some sort of confirmation, she continued to address the group. “I haven’t been to many of these boss fights. Actually, only one, and it was a disaster. But anyway, would there really be two fights with super similar mechanics back to back like this? It feels too predictable. Plus, wouldn’t the game designers be a little more creative than that? Or am I just grasping at straws?”

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