A few ships have been sent by the Order of the Chief God to the coasts of Zipangu. Knowing that the Mamono of the foreign continent were much calmer than the more feral monsters in their own land, the Order’s temples have enlisted several missionaries to travel to Zipangu and attempt to keep its human and monster inhabitants chaste, by whatever means necessary. They have even planned for some resistance from the locals, and have brought soldiers with them to ensure conformity.
After taking the village of Tsumini off of Zipangu’s coast, the Order has run into a dilemma. The Mist Continent’s navy spotted their invasion, and are planning to assist in defending Zipangu from attack. The Order plans on pushing further into Zipangu to Karujo City.
The Order has begun to build fortifications to defend against any naval attack that might be made by the Mist Continent. However, as one problem is being prevented, another takes its place. The Ushi-Oni from the Aikushi Mountians have somehow heard news of the Order’s arrival, and are currently raiding the Order-controlled village of Tsumini to reduce the amount of soldiers there. Meanwhile, the lord and lady of the nearby Karujo City are about to hear news of the invasion, and war might officially start now.
The raid has ended. The Order’s numbers dwindle, but Tsumini remains under their control. Something has happened, however. An illness has started to take place, coincidentally in the same place that the Order has landed. But this is no disease. Whether directed by the Order or not, someone has found a way to decrease the lifespan of Mamono husbands, and has made an enemy of the goddess Hel herself.
You can choose to be either a Zipanguan (I think that’s what they’re called) or an Orderite. Sticking to Mamono from Zipangu is preferred, if you wish to play as one. You may also play as a Mist Continent troop.
"You've spent your whole life taking care of yourself, now let me take care of you... in more ways than one" Menagerie cooed, sliding her hand into Haruto's pants. "Let me do all the work, while you sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself" she continued, sliding off of his lap and was in front of him on her knees.
The soldier screamed at the top of his lungs. “CHIEF GOD, HEAR ME NOW! LET ME CONVULGE IN THE LIGHT OF MY PLEASURE!”
Haruto paused but slowly nodded, his faint smile returning as a few tears rolled down his cheeks. “Menagerie... thank you. N-Not for this, but... for caring about me, caring for me... I... I love you.”
“Herbs?” Shira cocked her head. “What kind of herbs?”
“I’m sorry I never said it sooner... haaah~” Haruto’s face started to go from pale to rosy, the tips of his ears going pink as he tried to keep silent.
“Ginsu?!” Shira let the Kobold in quickly, taking the herbs from her. “Of course, how could I have forgotten? It’s perfect!” She’d quickly slither to the kitchen, finding a knife. “I’ll make the tea with them. Why don’t you go show your master his gift?”
Haruto leaned in close to pull her in, kissing her deeply and sinking into it. His health was getting better by the second.
Shira started to boil the water, mincing the herbs along with some spearmint.
(Mayumi and her 6-year-old daughter Yuna both serve Arch-Magus Vez’nan after being tasked with raising Kyoko, the daughter of Tsumini’s late village elder. Mayumi’s husband has not been mentioned as of now.)
Getting up, he took one last glance around and put his mask back on before anyone could take a closer look at his face. He held out his hand so that Faye could climb and place her back on his shoulders once more.
“I was going to say that you should pay for the meal, but I can assume whatever valuables you gave to the man is enough for him.”
“Kaname?” Karl fished out a gold coin and placed it on the table. “He’s too nice. Decent. Cares a lot. Him and I used to grew up together as friends.”
Menagerie stroked Haruto's head as he slept in her arms. 'I love you so much, Haruto... I just hope that Mistress Hel can figure out what's going on with you and Hitachi' she thought, drifting to sleep herself.
“You know, there’s something I haven’t realized for a long time now.” Karl decided to gather some supplies by browsing around the merchant stalls for anything useful.
“What is that, my Karl?” The posh doll asked.
“It’s just that... how come I’m still alive?”
“Errr, what do you mean?” She tilted her head in question.
“Let’s look it this way. I’ve been though many dangers in my life time that should have killed me in the past, but somehow I still manage to live another day despite some of the moments being impossible.”
“. . .”
“Remember when I told you about the purification ritual?” He gestured at the inn nearby.
“How it normally kills someone slowly in the end?”
“Yessss?” She insisted on him getting to the point.
“Well,” Karl then pointed to himself, “how come I’ve been through it too and I’m still alive?”
Many merchant stands held their own wares. Jewelry, clothing, weapons, medicine, food. However, the general goods store was yet to be looked at.
The crossbowman laughed maniacally, his blood from the blow now mixing with the green. He started violently spasming, foaming from the mouth as garbled words morphed into tongues. “ﾚ乇ｲ . ﾶ乇 . り尺ﾉ刀ズ . ｷ尺のﾶ . ｱﾚ乇ﾑ丂ひ尺乇!!!!”
“You are very wise, Beatrice. Whatever the outcome may be, I am still here to guide you. Know that.” She rolled the diced herbs into a tiny paper fold before threading a string to it and setting it in a cup before pouring steaming water in.
Shira stirred her teacup as she placed a teapot at the table. When she saw Beatrice and Vez’nan, she bowed a little. “Good morning, Arch Magus. I’ve made some tea for you and Beatrice to start your day with. Would you care for some breakfast?” She sat Beatrice across from her master, placing a cup for the Kobold next to a bowl of sugar.
Menagerie had started to wake up from her nap, seeing as Haruto was still sleeping, she quietly got up from the bed, then proceeded to get dressed. Menagerie walked to Hitachi's room and knocked, "Risu? Hitachi? Are either of you in there?" she'd ask.
Risu opened the door with with a smile, putting a finger to her lips as she let Menagerie inside. Hitachi was sleeping soundly order the covers of the bed, almost completely covered in slime. “We had a... nice night...” Risu blushed as she sat down on one of the two chairs in th room.
Beatrice smiled, well, that was good to know. "What monster feature do you find the most attractive? Or course, working under a hypothetical situation where you find them attractive."
"Have you forgotten already? Don't you remember that one time when I was seven and I had a crush on that Dorome I found? As embarrassed as I am, I did love her slimy embrace. Though I'm glad she wasn't into little boys.... Where ever did she go?" Vez'nan answers, taking another few sips of tea.
Beatrice sighed. Well, maybe there was a way she could appeal to that guilty pleasure of his. She would have to ask Shira or Mayumi later.
"Not exactly. Mistress Hel has no idea what's going on with our husbands or any Mamono's husbands for that matter. She's currently working on it, though, she needs us to stay as close by them as possible since she needs Demonic Energy to see their lifespans" Menagerie continued.
Risu glanced at her husband with concern before turning back giving a nod of determination. “Anything to save Hitachi. Besides, that mucus should give him enough DE for hours as long as it remains on him.”
"Yes. But, we'll have to keep this up for about a month... According to the Mistress" Menagerie said, standing to leave. "Well, I should get back to Haruto, don't want him to go back into his sickly state. We'll talk later, Risu" she said, blowing Risu a kiss before phasing through the door.
“Let me rephrase. If you were to choose be-“ Shira stopped herself, hesitating. Beatrice had departed, but she told Vez’nan to trust her... no, this was the right thing to do. “If you were to choose between the Order and Beatrice, what would be your decision.”
Another priest rushed over the Fayard, but it wasn’t an ordinary one. It was one of the high priests. “Captain, clean the blood off while I banish the darkness within this man! Hurry!”
“... Arch Magus, you remember when I asked you to trust me. Do you trust me?”
The store was filled with shelves and drawers full of supplies, as well as practically everything one would need for, well, anything. A Nureonago stood at the front desk, and she looked up at the new customer with a smile. She must’ve been new.
Karl removed his mask in order to make himself less suspicious and approached the Zipangu slime with a bored expression, "Yo. You know where I can find travel rations, rope, whetstones, and camp beds?"
Faye sat snugly on his shoulders and thought to herself why her keeper would suddenly question his mortal plight in the first place.
'I guess the boss hired someone else to manage the register for her...'
(Italic button is acting weird and keeps giving me bold functions instead.)
“Mamono are vital to the Order, whether we like it or not. Holstaurs can feed kingdoms and Weresheep can clothe realms. The Order considers these exceptions to the complete annihilation of the Mamono populations, yet do not allow them to breed. How are they supposed to be beneficial if they cannot procreate?”
The slime looked up with a smile. “Of course! Follow me.” She’d grab a manifest log and a stylus before heading down one of the isles of shelves.
“I see no reason why you wouldn’t be allowed to. The only reason why marriage between man and Mamono is forbidden is because it tends to lead to procreation. So, if you two were to not have children while being within the Order, why wouldn’t marriage be permitted?”
Karl followed the worker as he glances about the aisles of merchandises commonly made and found by makers of different names, brands, and whatnots sitting on their shelves all neat and organized. A flash of memory in his mind pictured the place being a lot more smaller back then before he left to his adventuring.
A grim reminder of his attempt to escape from responsibility as he looked around nervously for any sign of the boss.
“They would probably object to this, but why must they? There is no consequence to you marrying Beatrice. If you don’t plan on having kids, or even any intimacy, then I suggest pressing on it. Because you love her.”
“Let’s see...” The slime extended a long tentacle up to the top shelf and removed a bedroll. “We have fur, leather, and imported Weresheep wool. Do you have a preference?”
It was visibly evident to Vez’nan that at least half of their forces had been captured. Many soldiers were trying to clean off the blood that plagued the fallen men, a seemingly slow and laborious task. Vez’nan found the high priest talking with a few of his acolytes.
Haruto squeezed her hand and smiled. “Thank you, Menagerie. Let’s just hope we’re not too late to save them.”
“What kind of rope are you looking for?” The slime extends multiple tendrils around the room, grabbing dirrefent coils of rope to show Karl.
The priest thanked Fayard and drank from it, making sure to save as much of the water as he could. “I was able to black him out, but this foul blood is too strong to keep him passed out for more than a few minutes. We must clean it all off, and fast.”
The high priest dismissed the acolytes and approached Vez’nan. “Ah, Arch Magus Vez’nan. Is there something you need?”
"Well, we need to find a way to get more soldiers. At the rate we're losing them we might as well just retreat. There are two ways we can deal with this, we can try to hold out for reinforcements, or we can find a way to get the natives on our side."
“I mean that he will wake up with the same symptoms if we don’t clean him off. RIGHT. NOW!” The priest yanked a rag from his robes and started to wipe away the green blood with a vigorous intensity.
“Well if you must know, Arch Magus, since you’re the highest-ranking mage here...” The head priest looked around before leaning in to whisper. “This little invasion is just a diversion. Almost every soldier that isn’t fighting the monsters back home are being shipped to the northern lands of Zipangu. We’ll be taking them by surprise before they even realize what we’ve done here.”
“Yes...” Haruto packed lightly before stepping out with Menagerie.
(Hello, would it be alright if I joined? I've been following this RP since the start and have been meaning to join for a while. But since my character is an order loyalist, I've kind of been waiting for the right time. So would it be alright if I joined with the main invasion force? Which in my opinion is perfect, since my OC has a leadership role and needs an army to lead.)
"...Well." Vez'nan was rather surprised to learn that everything done here was just to distract Zipangu and divert attention from the North. "I had another question but I feel that it is rendered useless by this revelation."
It was evident to Menagerie that the village had been completely ransacked. Rubble had replaced the once beautifully quaint houses and shops, both by the Ushi-Oni and the Order. The labor camp was located on the beach, and several dozen Orderites still remained after the attack.
(You can join as a replacement, since K’eth did not contribute to any of the last episode. Just read thread description for creation details.)
The priest was finally able to wipe away the blood on the soldier’s torso, which was the most affected area.
The slime handed him the rope and continued down the isle.
“Well, you may ask anyway, if you wish.” He had the head priest’s full attention.
"I was thinking about marrying my Kobold Beatrice." Knowing that if he even wanted to try and hope for a chance, he would need to tell the high priest the benefits. "While this certainly sounds blasphemous, indeed, I thought it as such when it first occurred to me, I doubt it would be if she remains chaste. This will probably further increase her loyalty to the Order, along with the loyalty of some of our new monstrous converts. It could also give the soldiers a reason to celebrate, increasing their morale. I understand completely if you turn down my request, and I understand why you might decide to test me for Demonic Energy. All I ask is for you to consider."
(It's your call Spoon, I don't wanna wreck your RP. I just feel like it wouldn't make sense if my character was in Tsumini this whole time, especialy during all of the chaos that happened. So I just figured it would be best if I showed up with reinforcements. So when you mentioned a massive invasion, I figured my OC and his army could be among them. Again though, your call.)
“Absolutely not, Arch Magus!” The highs priest gave a nervous chuckle. “You are one of the greatest mages in the Order. But even the most powerful of us can be tempted by the vile desires placed in us by those creatures. I must confess, I too once had a moment of consideration for such a dark path in my youth. But I was kept from going astray, and I simply got rid of the problem!” The high priest put a hand on Vez’nan’s shoulder. “It is simply a task of relinquishing your twisted feelings. Remember the oath you took when you were given that monster to tame. ‘If thine monster doth lead me astray, so too thine monster must I then slay.’ Remember this, Arch Magus, and the Chief God may grant you peace.”
The Oni’s house had been half destroyed during the raid. Some of the roofing had collapsed, and the exterior of the left side was left in rubble. Vez’nan could se a very faint blue under the collapsed roof and debris.
“... I can’t ven tell if this is a Zipanguan village anymore. I don’t see any Mamono or local humans anywhere-—” Haruto’s concern was interrupted by the sound of some men nearby.
The makeshift barracks that quartered Fayard’s soldiers had been badly damaged, but still stood on its foundation. The bunks were filled with wounded men, all of them having been disinfected. Priests and healers were trying to help as many as possible.
“What else did you need again?” The slime checks the book once more.
The closest village was Taboso; that would have to do for now. Crossbow bolts were ultimately foreign in Zipangu, and a village herbalist could only do so much for a wound like that.
She was cut up pretty badly, with bruises and burns all over her. The white lace clothing she probably received from the Order We’re tattered and scorched, the robes that made sure to cover her completely had been torn to shreds.
(I’m working on the main invasion intro right now, stand by)
"Myuu..." Sebastian would say, seeing as this picture was upsetting to her. Out of the blue, he would give her a hug. "Listen, If you think I'm going to be angry over this, I'm not. I don't want to see you like this." He says, disrigarding writing anything in his notebook for once.
When Vez’nan entered with the Oni, Shira dropped some china in shock, which broke on the floor. She immediately sweeped it awail with her tail and hurried over to Vez’nan. “Arch Magus? What is this? What happened?!”
"This Oni was the second person I converted during the first day of our arrival. I went to go check on her since I had nothing to do and found her stuck under the destroyed remains of her house. She needs healing, and quick!"
“MAYUMI!” Shira lifted the Oni out of the mage’s arms an slithered into the bathing room, heating up the water with a quick blast of purple flames from her hands. The Danuki was by her side seconds later, bringing rags and herbs to help with the process. “Arch Magus, are you familiar with any healing spells? Something to stabilize her, at least?”
The thick, heavy fog of the water obscured most of the northern part of Zipangu’s seas, the region of Tamane-Jaiang watching over the cold breeze of the ocean. This region was no fisherman’s abode, however. This was one of the very few areas in Zipangu that held dangerous caverns of an immeasurable wealth.
The sentry towers in the mountains looked out along the horizon’s fog, the lookouts squinting at what appeared to be a lone diplomatic ship with the Order’s flag sailing slowly towards Zipangu. Curiousity of the ship’s intentions were washed away with an immeasurable fear that settled into the hearts of the sentries. A long, dark wall slowly followed the diplomatic ship, an armada of at least two hundred vessels, from lightweight frigates to enormous battleships. The lookouts’ faces paled as a shadow loomed over them, blocking out the sun. Four airships , the size of several whales, slowly made their way towards Zipangu.
“I... I love you, Sebastian. I know that you’re from the Order, I know I’m a Mamono... and I know that I’m a freak. But I care about you so much, ever since you rescued me. I’m worried that none of this will last, that it cannot be a reality.” Myuu was stifling her cries, the tears in her eyes silently trickled down her face. “I love you.”
Fayard recovered a weapon that was lying around and went to get his equipment. Retraying his journey or rather his flight. Remembering having to recover his sword, his boot, his warhorn and the arbaleste with its ammunition.
Prince Elias Torryn leaned over the port side guard rail of his flagship, and observed the island of Zipangu as it drew closer.
"And so it begins again." he said to himself with a heavy sigh, while the cold ocean breeze blew through his short, curly brown hair.
It had been only three months since his last campaign against the Demon Realm back west; and after he and his army brought victory to the Order, he hoped for a period of peace. But it seems this was not to be.
For here he was, at the end of his long voyage to the far east, with the Altmoran 1st army and 2nd fleet at his back. Yet these were only a fraction of the forces that had come. As Elias looked around, he could still only marvel at the dozens of different banners that flew from the hundreds upon hundreds of ships, which sailed in formation with his own. It seemed as if the might of the west itself had come east.
Elias then gave the island one last look before turning away, as he then went to look for the admiral of his fleet.
Only half of Fayard’s soldiers stood by at attention, the others either wounded or infected.
“Do you have any idea of what rations you require? Rusks and grain can only get you by so much.”
The admiral was below deck, standing over a large map of the Zipanguan islands on a strategizing table. Little figurines of ships lined up along the northern part of the ocean, along with airships suspended by enchantments. The giant region of Tamane-Jaiang was displayed on the map, along with multiple miniatures of watchtowers. The admiral looked up from the map and bowed respectfully to Elias. “Prince Torryn. I assume you have received your orders?”
The lesser wounds healed well, but the larger lacerations and burns still remained. Shira sighed. “It’ll take time to tend to her injuries. You probably wouldn’t want to be in the room... unless you’d like to help?”
Once Sebastian told her this, her breathing and her heartbeat stopped in their tracks. She felt frozen in time, the one second feeling like an entire lifetime. When that second ended, she was sobbing with joy, crying into his shoulder as she wrapped her arms around him tightly.
“Let’s be quick then.” The prisoners by the exit watched as Haruto and Menagerie appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Haruto was quick on his feet, lunging in to grab the guard’s key and scurry back before they found out. By the time the guard had turned around, Haruto had unlocked the exit, swinging it wide open. “Come on! Let’s get you out of here!”
(I believe dragoons in the mge world ride Wyverns, not horses. Hence the term "Dragoon" aka "Dragon Knight". I know some order states have them as air units, but I'm not sure if you want them here or not. Since even "lesser" dragons are pretty strong.)
(Oh! I thought you meant like the historical dragoons. In that case, I suppose there would be five Orderite dragoons in his army; I’m making the Mamono-Orderite relationships very rare, if you couldn’t already tell.)
“Your dragoon units will be providing air support as our airships make their way to the drop zone. The enemy will likely have flying Mamono to defend with, so air units have been decked with crossbowmen and ballista turrets. Even so, we can only assume that they will have more airborne units than we can estimate.” The admiral gestured to the suspended airships, then to the naval units. “Once our flyboys reach the objective, the full force of our navy—-led by myself—-will start their assault on the defending land forces and capture the region from the coast. The rest of your army’s soldiers will secure the location from there.” The admiral looked up. “Any questions?”
Every prisoner started rushing out from the camp, heading straight for the forest along the coastline. Menagerie had to keep them from blowing their warhorns, or else every Orderite would be on their tails.
“Well... alright,” Shira hesitantly opened the door to the bathing room, easing the unconscious Oni into the tub, letting the water slowly was away the dirt and dust that covered her. “Just do whatever you can to keep her asleep and numb her pain. Spells, enchantments, whatever you can do.” As SHira said this, Mayumi unsheathed a knife before looking at Vez’nan. “You may not... want to witness this.” The Danuki didn’t give the mage any time to react before cutting away the tattered clothes of the Oni, tossing the soaked rags to the side.
“Are... are you sure that this will work? I don’t want you to get hurt for anything that we do...” Myuu was shaking a little.
It happened so fast. One moment she was asking him, and the next she was hitting the ground, the sand softening her fall. She saw Haruto standing motionless in front of her, his hands in a position as if he shoved her, before falling to the ground next to her, the illness from before hitting harder than it ever had. Had he not pushed her out of the way, the assailnt behind her, a man with radiating robes and a symbol of the High Priest, would have struck her in the back.
Myuu shook her head, raised her arms to hold his face, and kissed him out of the blue, the emotions that she had been holding back for so long now being set free.
(Uh oh, I hadn't intended for Elias himself to be a dragoon. XD I was thinking that he could have a small squadron in his army to act as scouts/close air support. Elias himself is single, and prefers to fight alongside his troops on the ground. But if you absolutely need him to be a dragoon, I think I can roll with that. Let me know before I post a reply.)
Elias nodded before answering.
"Only one: Do you think you can get our ships close enough to cover the landings with their weapons? I Don't want my men and I to be met by a 'welcoming committee' before we disembark and form up.
Other than that; I'll set captain Mathis and his dragoons to task momentarily."
Elias looked down at the map the admiral was observing and still couldn't believe the number of troops and ships that had been brought.
"I must say though admiral, do you not find it odd that the Order would deploy so many forces so far away from home? I feel that with a force like this, we could march on Makai itself and end the war for all time. The church must see something in these islands that I don't. And I've been taught many times, the importance of strategic value."
“The ships will approach as close as they can without hitting the shallows. As for the numbers, the Order wants Zipangu for many reasons, but one of those leading causes is about what is mined in those caverns...” The admiral pointed at the mountains along Tamane-Jaiang. “Sulfur. The very substance combined with charcoal to create one of the most powerful weapons of the mortal realm: black powder.”
It went on for a few minutes until Myuu broke away. She didn’t want to use her tongue, else the Demonic Energy might be too present in him, but traced it very gently across his cheek. For Sebastian, that feeling alone made that side of his face flush with an itching warmth, as if asking for more.
“You are quite foolish, Banshee,” The priest calmly flexed his fingers outward towards her fiancé, a white light glowing from his hand as Haruto’s emotions, his very identity, was being sucked out of him. “You would bring your bastard of a man here to die. But fear not, for he will live. His years of life shall fall flat, until he is nothing more than an empty shell. And then he’ll be discarded.” The High Priest extended his other hand towards Menagerie. “Such a pity. He would’ve been a fine Orderite indeed.”
"Ah, very well then. I had best go find wing captain Mathis."
Elias started to turn away before stopping, and then turning right back to look at the admiral.
"Also, did I hear that correctly from before? You, will be leading the combined fleet? Would that technically mean that the Order promoted you to Lord Admiral?" asked Elias as he raised an eyebrow and gave the old admiral a wide grin.
“That was so... Good.” Sebastian said with a smile before one side of his face was licked. Afterward, he softly rubbed the affected side. “Ah, That feels so nice. Why is that?” He’d ask, struggling to not ask for more.
There was an apothacary’s shop across the village square, and it seemed to be open.
She giggled a little. “That’s the saliva. Those pleasant effects that I mentioned are all contained in every drop of it. You felt the diluted, weaker version of it when I used water last night. This is what it really feels like.” She smiled shyly.
"And you, Lord Admiral Tully." Elias replied with a humble bow of his own.
As Elias turned to leave the room, he stopped in the doorway and looked back at the now lord admiral one last time.
"Congratulations on your promotion by the way! Father will be pleased to know that it was you who led us to victory on the eastern waves. Make him proud, make Altmora proud." he finished with a smile.
And with that, Elias left to seek out his dragoon captain. Luckily for him, he already knew where to look.
Elias was now at the topdeck of his flagship, and looked up towards the ships' crows nest. It had become Wing Captain Mathis' prefered spot where he and his wyvern would spend 'quality alone time together' as they put it.
"Captain Mathis!" Elias called up to the crows nest. "If you and Yara are up there, can you finish up, get dressed and come down please?!"
If anyone else had known about how “intimate” the captain and his Wyvern were, they would surely be executed for their blasphemy. Luckily, everyone else seemed just out of earshot. The Dragoon’s head came into view from over the edge of the crow’s nest, giving the prince a wave. “We’ll be down soon, sire!”
They all saluted and left to the bunks, hoping to find a vacant bed and help the injured.
The Nureonago stopped in her tracks as he said this words, holding some salted pork and uncooked rice grains. She turned around slowly. “You want black powder weapons? What... what for?”
The two Mamono worked slowly yet diligently, cleaning and dressing every wound with meticulous care. Once again, it seemed to show a side of them that Vez’nan had been unfamiliar with before.
Myuu looked down. “Every other soldier... they called me a freak. Even some of the villagers thought so, too. The priest that revealed me wanted to cut my tongue out...” She then looked up, a happy, caring smile on her face. “But now I know you feel differently, and... that means so much...~”
Sir Fayard retrieved his long sword which lay not far from his boot. He began to attack spiderwebs with his sword. Seeking to cut a thread after a thread, glancing behind his shoulder from time to time.
"It occurs to me that you two are very skilled at what you do. I thank you both for being good at your duties." Vez'nan complimented, as he continued casting spells when needed. It had grown into a act that didn't require his attention, which led his mind to wander.
It took time to cut the threads of silk, all of which combined were as strong as steel cables. After what seemed like hours of hacking at the webbing, his boot finally broke free.
“It is simply a matter of kindness,” Mayumi replied, gently pressing a cold towel on one of the Oni’s burns. “In Zipangu, we care for our families, look out for our friends, and provide hospitality to strangers. What you call duty... we call compassion.”
When Vez’nan turned the corner on to the beach, the first thing he noticed was that all of the prisoners were gone. He then saw a man and a Banshee—-who must’ve been his wife—-fall to the ground. The High Priest himself was there, his arms extended as he was casting some spell on the husband, which was turning him pale... emotionless... cold... the priest was using magic that Vez’nan had never seen before, but he could tell... it was some form of dark magic.
There were rations on the nightstands of the bunks, some of them being eaten by the soldiers as they finally found the time to enjoy some breakfast. The farmhouse probably had better food than this, however.
Vez'nan decided it would perhaps be best not to tell others of the High Priest's usage of Dark Magic, as they might be able to detect the fact that he... Experimented, with it. Indeed, it would be better to help the Priest. "Hello your Holiness! Do you require my aid in killing this Monstrous Harlot?"
Elias let out a heavy, embarrassed sigh, as he rolled his eyes and tapped his foot on the deck. While at the same time, looking around to make sure none of the nearby crew were paying attention.
Elias thought way back to when he first met Jonah Mathis. Back when his father gave him command of the 1st army, Mathis' squadron joined as a detachment. Of course it wasn't his squadron at the time, as he was just another fresh faced recruit straight out of the Altmoran Dragoon Academy.
Elias was also among the very few outside of the dragoon corps that knew about the intimate relationship shared by Wyverns and their riders. As he accidently walked in on Mathis and his Wyvern Yara during the middle of one of their sessions. But had promised to keep it a secret.
Of course, that did not stop the three of them from becoming fast friends. As they all fought together through six campaigns over the course of three years.
Mathis however, was recently promoted to squadron leader, or Wing Captain. And this would be his first time leading a squadron into battle.
“I wish I was back in Palancar,” One of the soldiers ate while he reminisced about his hometown. “Sure, fighting these filthy whores is my duty, but... well, I wish I wasn’t shipped away so far from home.”
The High Pries looked over his shoulder as he saw the mage, grimaced. “And I thought no one would see this...”
Mathis slid down a rope from the top of the ship’s mast, dropping in front of Elias. Yara then jumped from the crow’s nest and landed silently next to her rider, using her wings to soften the landing. They both bowed in unison. “My prince, the Dragoon units are at your service.”
Vez'nan sat down on the beach, his gaze falling upon Haruto. Perhaps he could use the man to cripple the Banshee emotionally? There was a body of water nearby, perhaps he could... Yes, that would do nicely.
"Well, they don't know any better. They don't know the other side of the coin." Sebastian explains with a smile before bringing Myuu into another hug. This one softer. "I... Well, I love you." He manages to say a bit red-faced.
Haruto’s face was ghostly pale, and his lips were turning blue from an invisible cold. But his stare... as if he were dead, his emotionless stare at the mage pierced Vez’nan’s soul. But the man wasn’t dying. The life force within him was being shattered, broken, sucked out of him. It is simply a matter of kindness. Mayumi’s voice seemed to echo in Vez’nan’s head. In Zipangu, we care for our families, look out for our friends, and provide hospitality to strangers. What you call duty... we call compassion.
Vez'nan knew that he should help the man, that if he ever wanted to call himself a decent human being he should fight the High Priest and allow the two to escape, and Mayumi's words coming to him only brought that knowledge to the front of his mind.
However, He remained transfixed upon the sight of the High Priest working his magic, and a new thought burst towards the front of his mind: He wanted to learn more. He wanted to feel the power the High Priest was wielding, and he knew that to interfere would kill any chance he might have of learning such powerful magic.
Torture. That is what this was. A method of stealing the emotions of a man and leaving him with nothing. Vez’nan could sense the Demonic Energy in the man disappearing, seeming to make him more pure... but less alive. “You see, if you kill the Banshee’s husband, she will simply resurrect him and live their unholy lives as undead. But, by leaving their husband as nothing but an empty shell, there is nothing they can do.”
"So I assume this only has a actual purpose when applied to those who are in a relationship with undead?" Vez'nan asked, deciding to turn his gaze away from Haruto, as the sight of him made him question things that he shouldn't be questioning.
“Oh no, Arch Magus. This can be used for any Mamono-attached man. Killing a husband, a betrothed, a beloved, it works well. But this... the sorrow of a widowed monster cannot compare to the suffering for their empty husband.” A maliciously calm smile formed on the High Priest’s face. “To think that any of these fiendish harlots could show remorse for their man. It is all a facade. All they are, and all they will ever be, are a bunch of animalistic, carnal creatures.” The word remained stuck in his mind. Compassion...
“We will bind her in our spells to prevent her from escaping, and let her watch as her man dies on the inside, slowly and painfully. Once that is done, the man she would have known will be gone, and completely infertile. His suffering is her suffering, so why put them out of their misery when they can learn which god is superior?” The priest looks over at the mage. “Oh, and I expect you to help me with their restraintment.” He kicked the Banshee back before tugging her hair to turn her face, making her watch her fiancé suffer.
The smallest hint of emotion reacted to her tears, an expression of sadness and loving care. He whispered to her. “I will always... love... you...” And then it was gone. He went back to his empty face, and the last of his Demonic Energy started to wither away.
As Myuu dragged her tongue across his face once more, his expression suddenly changed to one of slight shock. Suddenly, he stepped back, shaking his head. He'd be scratching his face now. "Hold on, hold on! We can't do this right now..." He explains, looking at the ground to his left.
“H... He...” Haruto’s eyes drooped as his soul started to fade. “...Hel.” Call... Hel... She heard his thoughts in a last-ditch effort to communicate.
“I don’t see why not. The more you scout out the land, the more weak spots we might find to exploit.” The priest wasn’t listening to the Banshee’s conversation with the man being tortured, but the mage could hear them clearly.
Menagerie would roll over her side from Vez'nan's kick. She'd lay there for a minute before her eyes began to glow, creating a portal underneath her. As she fell through, she had landed softly in a Dark Slime. Menagerie had quickly climbed out of her body and headed straight for Hel's castle.
The magical bindings holding her kept her restrained until she hit the Dark Slime. The power it took for her to escape them made her almost lose consciousness in exhaustion. The guards of the castle quickly let her in.
The High Priest saw the Banshee escape, his free hand clenched into a fist. “Dammit! Agh, no matter. Her man will be gone soon.”
Use violence only as a last resort. “I wanted to see the look on her face as the very thing she loves the most is taken away from her.” With one last flex of the priest’s fingertips, the man on the ground was lost.
Menagerie felt it. She felt her heart sink to the bottom of her stomach. His mind went blank, his emotions went silent. Only his breathing and the very slow heartbeat proved that he was alive, but his entire being otherwise... lost.
Elias smiled and nodded to the pair before smirking as he leaned in and spoke softly.
"Having fun up there? I swear I thought I told you two before we set off, to keep your "alone time" to a bare minimum and only during night hours. We are not amongst forgiving people out here, and if you were to get caught....."
Elias shook his head and let out another sigh.
"Regardless, we have matters to discuss." He said as he gestured towards the slowly approaching shore.
“What do I want with the guns? Like any person would do with it. Shoot it at something that had it coming. That something right now just so happens to be Order.” Karl stared at the slime clerk with a shrug. “In case you aren’t aware of it, Order has come to this land for something. Both of us know what they always do to manonos like you. I’m a little surprised the capital haven’t heard news about the scouts, otherwise the Ashigarus would have been deployed already.”
He gave a deep sigh and licked around his dry lips, “Listen. I know this is going to sound unreasonable, but this village doesn’t stand a chance with Orderites coming in full force if no one resists. I know this store has the biggest amount of matchlocks, flintlocks, whatever. The villagers need to be armed and someone needs to train them how to fight. I know that old coot that used to serve for the army is still around here kicking.”
The doll showed a worried glance at his direction and knew what he was proposing.
“If you’re worried about pay, ask for Kaname at the inn. I heard he found a large fortune inside the previous occupant’s room and doesn’t know what to do with it. Tell him... a concerned adventurer told you this.”
“The dark magic that I used. I can tell from your response to seeing me casting it that you aren’t unfamiliar with its power...”
“Sure. If you could help us ease her into one of the spare beds that would be appreciated.” Shira slowly lifted the Oni out of the tub, gently drying her off with a towel. “Her wounds may worsen if we aren’t careful.”
“The Order is here?” The slime extended an appendage across the store to some area unseen. When the tendril came back, it was holding a large, matchlock firearm, a trumpet-like barrel at the front end. “I received this as a gift from a Mist Continent ship’s crew. They’re ship capsized, and I gave them food and shelter until they could return to their homeland. This is no ordinary black powder weapon, however.” Another tendril extended somewhere else and came back grasping a firework. “It’s a firework shooter. The called it the ‘boomstick’ or something.”
“Where were you from, sir? I-If you don’t mind me asking.” THe soldier braced himself a little.
“Sweet child,” Menagerie felt a hand on her shoulder. “I... I cannot fathom such a loss... do you know who is doing this?”
Fayard scratched his neck. "The ancient theocracy of Lescatie, you understand why it is difficult for me to return." He smiles. "That's why I have to kick the Buttocks of the Overlord before I'm too old to marry." he joked.
“Oh no. The soul has been whisked away. Bringing it back is next to impossible. The soul is like glass. You can remove the glass pane and place it into another body. But with the right spells, you can shatter it and crush it until it is nothing but fine dust, that all blows away in the wind.”
“What do you mean?” Shira had coiled herself around her makeshift tree.
“Then he will pay with his blood.” Hel snapped her fingers as five Zombie Dragon warriors swooped down beside them. “All of you, fly to Zipangu. Find this High Priest. We will not let him escape.” The dragons took off into the blackened dimension, where they teleported out of sight. “Now,” Hel raised hr hands up. “We will keep Haruto from harm.” Her hands glowed purple and black as Haruto’s body landed slowly and softly into the goddess’s arms.
“They most likely do not truly care about conversion. All they care about is the eradication of Mamono as wives. Whether by killing or converting, it doesn’t matter.”
“The commandments of the Cheif God are of higher priority than our world’s mortal laws. That is why—-“ The High Priest was interrupted by the man’s body disappearing with a flash of purple.
"I'm afraid that there is a battle brewing. I was hoping we would not have to fight upon landfall, but it seems as though nothing is ever easy.
Nonetheless, we'll be hitting the coastline soon and we'll be hitting it hard. Now if you two would kindly follow me to the bow for a better view, and I'll explain both the situation and the plan." He said before turning to walk to the bow of the ship.
She’d gently lie the lifeless yet living body onto a comfortable bed that the shadows seemed to have created out of nothing. “I... I’ve never seen a body with its soul ripped from its core...” Hel waved a hand over Haruto. “He won’t be able to eat or drink. His body is functioning from unconscious instinct. He... cannot feel a thing.” Suddenly Haruto’s eyes opened, and he looked around without moving a muscle. Looking around with empty eyes.
“We cannot fight against the Order. All we can do now is heal and fix what we know will b destroyed once more.”
“He... disappeared.” The Head Priest shook his head. “That never happens...”
In that moment, Vez’nan saw small purple flashes blink from the sky out in the distance.
“Only that priest has the answers as to whether we can bring him back to us or not.” Hel created a granite stool next to the be for Menagerie to sit beside him. “You might... find it comforting to talk to him. he can hear you and see you, but he cannot react.” Haruto looked back and forth from Hel and Menagerie.
Once the trio reached the bow, Elias pointed towards the coastline.
"Alright, here is the situation. I'm not sure if you can see them from here, but we have identified a handfull of Zipanguan watch towers along the northern coast. Lord Admiral Tully believes that the towers together hold a sizable Zipanguan garrison. We will eliminate that garrison and secure the coast.
Now the plan is calling for a massive assault from both sea and air. The airships will be going in first to suppress the towers and deploy our airborne forces. You and your sqaudron, will be escorting them all the way there. It sounds simple, but Tully suspects the garrison may inclue air units."
Elias gave a quick shrug.
"I'm not sure what those air units might entail, so be on your guard.
Meanwhile, Tully is going to bring the armada right to edge of the shallows and bombard the coastline, hopefully breaking up any defenders who may be lying in wait.
At the same time, I'll be leading 1st army ashore under the cover of the bombardment. We'll take the beaches and then move inland to secure the towers.
By the end of today, we should have a secure coastline and a secure road inland."
Elias then turned to look at the pair.
"Any questions or concerns regarding your role in this?"
Fayard laughed too. But he knew full well that age would not stop them. He had seen enough heresy to know it. "Okay, I'll check the area." he declared before getting up. "By the way, would there be an unused spear or pole axe?"
The High Priest looked up in the sky, and both he and the mage could see five figures in the distance flying towards them, getting closer. “...Arch Magus, we must speak to no one of this day. Do you understand that?”
“Do you not think that Zipangu believes the same? There is a reason why Mamono and humans here have thrived together in harmony since the beginning. There was no Order to oppress Yokai, and there was no monster cult to repress men. We saw our differences and became one united civilization under our gods. We were at peace until the balance of humanity and Yokai was disrupted by the Order. And now... we are at war.”
“They will not fail in bringing him here to pay for his crimes, I swear upon the power vested in me.” Hel placed a reassuring hand on Menagerie’s shoulder before backing away. “I will leave you two alone now.” And she was gone amidst the shadows.
“I am... assuming we will not be taking prisoners?” Yana asked this with a curious tone.
A soldier quickly unraveled a pike from underneath his bed. “You may use my weapon if it pleases you, sir.”
“Mmmn...” The Oni slowly stirred awake, her eyes fluttering open. “What... where am I...?” She felt her face and groaned. “I... I can’t see...”
Five large, muscular Dragon Zombies landed in front of the mage and priest, the lead one stepping forward.
DZ: “High Priest Vallerio of Surda. You have committed crimes against the natural cycle of life and death, and are hereby apprehended in the name of Hel. You will return with us at once or suffer the wrath of the goddess herself.”
HP: “I will not be bullied by the harlot Hel or any of her blasphemous minions. The Impurities of the world will be destroyed in a raging fire of the Chief God, and I am her holy subject. All monsters shall die before I am defeated, all of them!” The priest fires a bright yellow flare into the air to signal the other priests. “Arch Magus, I order you under the might of Her holiness to destroy these creatures!”
DZ: “Arch Magus Vez’nan of Lineria, you must stay out of this accord. The High Priest must be brought to Hel to stand trial for his defiance against nature. Your crimes of dark magic usage will be forgiven if you stay out of this.”
“Will you require an escort, sir?” One of the soldiers stood up.
(The beach is slightly far from the center of the village, but you definitely see the flare that the priest fired into the air)
Haruto stared at her blankly, the paleness in his face making him almost ghost-white. His expression was dead, the happiness and love for Menagerie was no longer evident in his eyes. That priest had taken everything away from him... but something must have been in there still. He was still her Haruto. Yes, his soul was gone, but... maybe his memories...?
Menagerie would grab Haruto's hand and hold it, "Do you remember when we first met? You were so afraid of me, yet you still welcomed me into your home. You fed me and gave me something to drink. That was my first day here in Zipangu, I felt so... happy that I'd met you. Then, a few days later, I had saved you from the man who has taken you from me this day" she'd say, tightening her grip on him. "I saved you that day... and I promised to always and forever protect you. But, I was weak... and I couldn't, and now you're gone. I remember that you said, that you loved me... Do you still?"
Fayard was soon being tailed by multiple soldiers, all following him to the beach. Soon, most unoccupied Orderites were going towards to beach to investigate.
Haruto closed his eyes, and a gray haze formed about his head. The fog dissipated into a memory. It was the last time he had seen her, when he was being taken away by the priest, who was smiling over him. She heard his thoughts from the memory as it played. Menagerie... it feels so cold... no... no, I won’t go like this... I will stay strong for you until the end, my love... I am tired... take care of me if I do not wake up... tend to the both of us, because when I am stronger... we will be together until the end of time... I will always... love you...
“Don’t do this, Arch Magus. You cannot defeat death. Think of your loved ones, don’t leave them alone because you meddled in the affairs of nature. It is not worth it.” The four other Dragon Zombies got into a defensive stance as the priest threw off his robes, an ethereal blade of light forming in his right hand.
"You sure do make it sound like your going to kill me. Isn't that supposed to be something that rarely happens?" Vez'nan stood ready. He would fight here, even if it meant getting dragged away to Hell.
The magical shield blocked the shots from the soldiers, but as more hit the barrier, it very slowly started to weaken.
Haruto, of course, wasn’t able to react. Instead, the memory haze kept repeating the words softly in her ear, as if telling her that he’d kiss back if he could. I will always love you... I will always love you... I will always love you...
Vez’nan had engaged in combat. The Dragon blocked the flame easily, and the lead Zombie sighed. “No... because we know that you love someone else...” Purple blades formed in the hands of the Dragon Zombies as the lead one swung at the Head Priest, who blocked and countered. Two of the other Dragons aided the lead, while the other two stood in the mage’s way.
The blocking Zombie absorbed the flame into her hand, which was reflected up into the air. The two Dragons simultaneously got into a defensive position, both stances matching in unison. Vez’nan realized that they weren’t attacking him, only blocking his attacks. Meanwhile, the High Priest was blasting balls of light at the Zombies while deflecting blows with his sword.
(Demon Realm objects can pass through the shield, but if you are holding the object, it will pass through until you hit the barrier. Basically, projectile Demon objects can pass through with no issues) The blade stopped short at his hand.
Elias turned away and thought for a moment before turning back to face the Wyvern.
"If what I've read about this land holds any merit, the monsters here are quite different to those of the west. The main difference being that they are far less aggressive. If the same holds true for the people as well, anyone who asks for mercy may receive it. At that point, their fate will be in the hands of the church.
The blade just passed through the dome, not cutting it up but just waving through it.
Yana nodded with a thankful expression. She never said it out loud, but Elias could tell that she hated the thought of killing Mamono and their husbands. It might have been just instincts, but it was something that wouldn’t hopefully get in the way of her duty.
The Dragon wrestled with the wolf before the other one sprayed frost from her fingertips, extinguishing the wolf within seconds. She then directed her spell towards Vez’nan.
Vez'nan finishes his incantation, and three green crystals appear in front of him. He smashes all three and from each a spirit rises, the same color as the Crystal that contained them. "Rise and answer the call of the Lord of Pagras you heathens! You were useless in life, but perhaps in death you can redeem yourselves."
Vez'nan then gestures for two of the spirits to charge the Dragons, while the other one takes the icy spell and dissipates. The remaining two do their master's bidding with a chilling cry. Satisfied that they would occupy the attention of his foes, he then conjures another flaming sword and walks to help the high priest.