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Hello and welcome back to Synthetic Gods Quest.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hivemind_Chan
Archives: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Synthetic%20Gods%20Quest
Rules and gameplay mechanics: https://pastebin.com/jcac0p9D
Current inventory: https://pastebin.com/gyZLMiNG
Current infrastructure: https://pastebin.com/i42ACWMs
Previously mentioned individuals: https://pastebin.com/LUJ5fyqA
Previously mentioned SGs and Cups: https://pastebin.com/ThR1eYvc
Project tracker: https://pastebin.com/BzmXGRhq
_________________________________________________________
In the last session we said our goodbyes, left the discussion table and headed for the exit. To prevent anyone from recognizing Haven, we were led to a different entrance from the building. There Haven was given a ring with an in- built “magical” disguise which altered her appearance to that of a different Teryian woman with significantly different proportions. Follow up explanation revealed that it is one of the simplest types of the disguise devices, limited to only 30 minutes and only providing visual projection of the illusion on top of the existing body, invisibility on the original body parts that didn’t fit in that hologram and some limited response of the hologram to external stimuli such as wind or bounce from walking. By following some instructions provided by Valentina’s Cup Bearer, we successfully left without anyone recognizing the disguised Haven. After a small stop, we took a deeper look into the inner workings of the ring. The disguise component proved to be impossible to understand, but the hologram provided by the ring roughly fits Ag’s body, making it potentially useful in the future.

Then we decided to do something with the total lack of clothing variety in Ag’s wardrobe, which was apparently long anticipated by Haven. After all, it is not all that appropriate to show up in underarmor to a royal or a noble meeting. While people would tolerate it simply because Ag is a goddess, it would still be inappropriate. Thus, we set out to find a seamstress guild that Haven recommended. There we discussed what dress we should commission, and ended up commissioning two whole wardrobes of outfits styled after both men’s and women’s choices of Ceno outfits. We then planned to spend the remaining cash in the Great Markets searching for something useful and interesting…
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>>4925921
As you walk through the evening market and scout for something interesting, you find a small and relatively rundown shop which sells things that were brought up from the Labyrinth by daring and brave or just desperate and stupid adventurers. From what you can see, it is a kind of a pawn shop, where adventurers deposit their trophies for quick cash and the shop then sells those trophies at a premium. Inside you find a mountain of stuff recovered by such expeditions: parts of various monsters, samples of different rocks, random artifacts that can only be considered decorative due to the lack of any other functions… hello?! Another customer managed to fish out a mechanical eye that is made in almost exactly the same style as the golem core that you have back in Farsalos. He asks what it is, and the shopkeep says that it is just jewelry of some kind and names the price. The customer refuses and puts the eye into a pile of other looted junk. A few moments later, you come up to the shopkeep with the eye, and ask him to sell it to you. Unfortunately, shopkeep now claims that it is an actual mechanical eye that could act as a replacement to a human eye if a sufficiently skilled magician can be found along with some other “magical qualities”. He likely did it because he knew that the eye has caught your interest. You point out that he has claimed different things to the previous customer, and that devolves into an argument, which the shopkeep quickly turns into a shouting match. You don’t want to pay 2/3 of your own cash and the guy keeps spewing bs and accusations in your face, at the end saying that he will not sell the eye specifically to you. “Well, your loss” you shrug and exit the shop. It would be nice to have a second sample of that technology to analyze, but you already have a similar eye in your possession, so it is not that much of a loss. The shopkeeper should understand that customers vote with their wallets, and such behavior won’t win him any money.

After the eye fiasco, you walk a couple block towards the sea, and on the way you almost walk past an unloading cart filled with various fabrics along with a large wooden cylinder tightly wrapped in layers upon layers of inch thick milky white thread. When asked, the bulk fabrics trader explained that this is a type of giant spider silk. Some strands are thin and thus are great for clothes, while thicker strands can work as great sails material and thickest ones are sometimes used in construction. He even lets you to try your strength on a small piece of the silk cable. To your amazement, it significantly outperforms normal spider silk and is almost 16 times better than Kevlar, while being only a sixth as dense as steel and also being very stretchy. The fabric shopkeep though is more impressed by your ability to stretch that strand until you managed to tear off a piece. With little further incentives needed, you decided to buy the silk.
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>>4925926
However, after this purchase, you’ve decided that you should really start looking for a present for Rheia. Something that should help her handle being alone better. While she’s been alone for quite a while when you were working and adventuring, this time would probably feel different to her. You need something that would keep her mood up over a long period of time, not just for a few days or weeks which would be expected from a normal present. You also don’t think that a tool or a weapon or a uniform would be that useful, since it won’t feel like a fun gift. Maybe a plushie? Then again, Rheia is an adult by modern standards, so it would probably be inappropriate… hmm… maybe a pet? You mutter a few ideas to yourself until you see a store which is surprisingly huge to be a pet shop in pre- industrial times. A whole free standing 3 story tall building placed at the road intersection on a street that’s parallel to the market street. You walk in and realize that it is not just a pet shop, but an exotic animal shop. It must be quite successful if it can afford such a big building in the capital. Inside you see various cages of different sizes and housing various exotic animals, you can see some wild cats not found in Ceno climate, a couple of large white cockatoo parrots, one of which can apparently curse in Ceno, Ethean and a couple yet unknown languages and another appears to be slowly balding likely due to it not being fed properly. You also see a few smaller birds, a couple large lizards including a couple Tegus and a cage filled with adorable puppies! You can’t say that you’re a cat or dog person, allergies do that to people like you, but now why shouldn’t you adore incredibly cute doggos now? They all look like Huskies with deep blue eyes and the fur pattern which is a characteristic of that breed, specifically black, grey or light brown back and part of its side with rest of the dog being white.
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>>4925936
Then you look at the price and whistle, wow that’s expensive for a dog. But then again, while you can’t afford the time to take care of the dog yourself, such a pet would be perfect for Rheia. You take a more focused look around and find out that these dogs are quite exotic indeed. They were imported from an island far to the south from Ceno, from lands under control of snow elves and their goddess. The breed is called “Fenrirs”, which is quite… “creative” from Eira, you must say. In any case, these dogs have quite a few obviously engineered aspects. First of all, they need 3 years to grow up to adulthood (compared to 6-24 months for normal dogs), their lifespan is comparable to the lifespan of a human and they feel comfortable both in cold and hot environments, seemingly being capable of compensating by ingesting more food to fuel their “internal climate control”. Also, they never get tired if they have enough access to food (like their husky counterparts), they heal rapidly, almost never get ill and they grow up to a size that allows them to carry an adult human on their back. The last and the most important aspect is the bond with their owner, which would be a problem if you decided to get such a pet for yourself. If successfully bonded, the dog would have an almost supernatural ability to follow owner’s orders. This also means that these dogs don’t live much longer than their owners after the bond is formed, as they refuse to eat and rapidly wither away after their master’s passing. In any case, you buy a dog carrier and the puppy that you found the cutest. You’re not sure if you can keep it hidden before Rheia's birthday, you think to yourself with a smile.
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>>4925945
The last item that you’ve bought today was a beautiful wooden box packed with various small bottles of perfume. You’ve found such an item in some kind of Teryian reseller shop placed close to the district for the wealthy. The shop owner, a Teryian woman, had only a couple of those boxes left. Haven filled you in on the specifics about Teryian Fragrance, which is apparently one of the most expensive perfumes among the Four Nations, valued for the long lasting and nice smell thanks to a secret ingredient, which you quickly identified as ambergris, a fatty substance used for centuries in your time for perfume manufacturing, produced in the guts of the whales, released upon their death and refined naturally as it floats on the surface of the ocean for long periods of time. The price is significant, but you’ve decided to buy the largest of the perfume boxes after Haven checked if its contents are genuine. You still debate if it would be a very expensive high-class present, or if you plan to use it yourself.
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>>4925957
After this shopping, you end up with no money reserves for large purchases beyond what might be required for Rheia’s lodgings, uniforms, books, writing implements, pocket money, etc. You'll need to get more money if you want something expensive again. Also, the night has come, most of the restaurants were closed and you weren’t that hungry anyway, so the two of you went to some kind of place similar to a fast-food joint. They sold wraps with vegetables, several types of meats and sauces. Haven and you grabbed a roll each and you’ve managed to buy some decent meat separately for the doggo who was somewhat scared by a small cage and the separation from its brothers and sisters. Tasty pork slices quickly increased its mood. Haven grabbed herself a massive beef and veggie roll and offered to pay for it herself, while you ordered a chicken roll with extra pitted olives. After a hefty if simple midnight snack, you’ve started heading home with your purchases. Half an hour of walking later, you could already see the inn where you’ve stopped, and a light still glowing through the closed window shutters in the room where you’ve left Rheia to study. You quietly make your way to the room and find a very sleepy Rheia faceplanting into the table as a glowquartz lamp is still glowing nearby. And now comes the choice, the dog is something that is quite difficult to hide for long…

>Gently wake up Rheia and show her the b-day present
>Carefully place Rheia in her bed and show her the puppy tomorrow
>Pay someone to keep the doggo cared for for a few days. That farmer whom you’ve paid to look after your gondola seems like a good choice, after all you need to drop off the spider silk there anyway
>Other ideas?
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>>4925979

>Pay someone to keep the doggo cared for for a few days. That farmer whom you’ve paid to look after your gondola seems like a good choice, after all you need to drop off the spider silk there anyway

No distractions before the test.
Unless the puppy has a risk of bonding with the farmer, in that case give It to her tomorrow morning after a full night's rest
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>>4926135
agreed
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>>4925979
>>Pay someone to keep the doggo cared for for a few days. That farmer whom you’ve paid to look after your gondola seems like a good choice, after all you need to drop off the spider silk there anyway
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>>4925979

>Pay someone to keep the doggo cared for for a few days. That farmer whom you’ve paid to look after your gondola seems like a good choice, after all you need to drop off the spider silk there anyway
>>
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>>4930627
>>4926854
>>4926602
>>4926135
You decide that it is not a good idea to distract Rheia just before the exam, so you needed to find someone to take care of the puppy for like 5 days. While the shopkeep said that the puppy would need around 2 years to fully bond with the owner, you’d still prefer not to risk that. As a reminder, Rheia’s exam starts in about 3 days from now and lasts for 2 days, with her birthday happening way in October in about 3 weeks after the exams, so you think that it would be better if she receives the puppy right after the exams, plus you think that you know exactly where to keep it until then.

You gently levitate Rheia through the air from her chair to her bed and turn off the light (or more like place the crystal in a box). Haven in turn decided to stay at home and also get some sleep, so you leave the two in the room, grab the puppy cage and the spider silk to haul them back to where you’ve left your “flight gondola”. You’ve left it at a relatively well-off farmstead operated by farm’s current owner and his family, which is pretty tame regarding its size for the times they live in. The owner is a man in his 50s, he has a wife, three sons, a daughter and his mother, who is pretty close to her 80. The sons are 23, 17 and 15 respectfully with the daughter being 19. As many other farmsteads, they are positioned quite a long way away from the city around one of the several dozens of villages which supply the capital with produce. This farmer has a few fields for various crops, biggest of which grows wheat at this time, and wheat is more valuable than other grains. There are also a few animals from chickens to pigs to cows and even a small herd of sheep. The villager uses some hired labor, but it is almost exclusively for the duration of the harvest seasons so now his family members are the only people for miles around.

You’ve chosen his farmstead for a few reasons, for one, he has several barns big enough to hide the gondola. Secondly the farmstead is relatively big and pretty far away from the village meaning that visits are unlikely to be common. And the third reason is that he was fine with your proposition. You had to visit a few farms before finding someone decent who was not terrified of your being. You essentially pay him to keep your stuff under the roof, not to make a big deal of it and of you and not to show it to anyone else who could arrive. While it takes a good part of the day to walk all the way from Elspen to that village and then to the farmstead, for you it takes all the 15 minutes, 20 tops. As you fly above you notice that the farmer is not asleep and instead is working on the roof of one of the barns which has one of the corners of it completely disassembled with charred wooden pieces laying nearby. You land next to him to say hi and find out that there was a fire that damaged the roof and walls about two days ago, and they’ve been working to fix it since.
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>>4930949
Not that surprising, honestly. The barn is made from planks and without mechanization they have to be made by hand which is a very time and labor consuming process. They have already fixed the actual structural damage by replacing the wooden beam skeleton but they were struggling to process enough wood to fix it quickly. Apparently, timing was paramount because while Elspen never experiences thunderstorms (thanks to someone you know), the people are preparing to shelter their animals for the coming couple of weeks of harsh weather. Also, the open side of the building might cause wood to rot if it gets significantly wet in the rain. You look over the structure, the tools and guess that it would take you around 2-3 hours to fix it without even trying too hard.

You come up to the head of the family and offer your help in exchange of taking care for the puppy for around a week. His farm does have a couple of dogs to make the whole sheep control a bit easier, although he is surprised about the nature of the request. It is not something that he’d think a goddess might ask for, but to be fair asking for storage of a wooden boat- looking thing and whatever is inside it was not conventional either. You explain that the puppy is supposed to be a present, and he seems to be satisfied with not knowing further.

You pull out some tools that you had in the gondola, the farmer shares some of his own and you start turning several logs into planks at the same time. Plank walls are erected on both inner and outer side of the barn and hay is shoved between them as insulation. A bit of a fire hazard, but you can’t really access glass wool at this point. Then the planks go on top of the roof and everything exposed is painted by an almost tar- like black paint. You’re done by the point when the rest of the family wakes up with the rising sun. You feel somewhat bad as you see how hyped farmers youngest son is to pat the puppy, knowing that you’d be taking it back in a couple of days. You tip the farmer for “some dog food”, say your goodbyes and fly back to the inn thinking about what should you do next. From one hand, you could go and see the sights again, or visit the awfully named Valhalla, but then again Rheia’s exams are very close, so you should probably chill for a few days and tutor her…

>Plan a visit to the Valhalla, you’d like to see Nika again
>Plan to go to the Hall of Huntsmen and see if they have anything bad that you could deal with
>Plan to walk around the city and see what else you could find
>Plan to chill and help Rheia study (3-day timeskip)
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>>4930952

>Plan a visit to the Valhalla, you’d like to see Nika again
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>>4930952

>Plan a visit to the Valhalla, you’d like to see Nika again
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>>4930952

>Plan a visit to the Valhalla, you’d like to see Nika again
>>
>>4930952

>Plan a visit to the Valhalla, you’d like to see Nika again
>>
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>>4938180
>>4931917
>>4931176
>>4930978
You decided that before Rheia’s entrance exams you’d like to visit the Pantheon. To ask some stuff, see if anything has changed but mostly to see how they are all doing. The sun has already started to rise as you’ve arrived back to the inn. Both Haven and Rheia were sleeping, so you just ordered some breakfast downstairs. Good to know that bacon and eggs are a thing, although most visitors prefer some type of porridge that includes pieces of meat and some veggies mixed into it, which is a pretty common dish that is served in many of Ceno towns and cities from what you’ve heard. You absentmindedly listen in to the conversations in the inn's dining room, but you don’t find anything that specifically interests you, only random personal and business talk, along with a couple discussing the upcoming exams. Haven comes down along with yawning Rheia a couple hours later, closer to 8:30 am, and they take a seat with you as you wave them over. After they order some food, you ask them if they want to accompany you to the Valhalla today. Rheia is too sleepy to respond coherently, experiencing some microsleeps and almost boinking the table with her nose a couple times. Well, you told her not to study late. Haven politely refuses, saying that she would prefer to take a break today after the yesterday’s excitement. She doesn’t seem to be a fan of engaging with Valentina, so it likely extends to her Cups as well.

In any case, once the food is in and Rheia wakes up a bit more after taking some bites, she also informs you that she would like to stay and study. She seems to get more and more stressed as the exam approaches, especially today if you judge by how she seems to be in deep thought and eats very slowly. You think of back when you were having entrance exams, and you realized that you didn’t fear failing in itself, but what consequences it would have, and what your dad told you back then. “Rheia…” you say, “while I have utmost confidence that you’ll pass, you should know that there won’t be the end of the world if you don’t. There is an option to pay if you are very close to passing, there are other academies and universities and then again there is always me. We will still be friends, I’ll still keep you employed… you’ll still get the birthday present, no matter what.” Rheia stops eating for about 10 seconds, after which she says very quietly, barely audible “but… would I be worthy of all of that?”. “No ‘buts’,” you reply, “greatest people in history doubted their abilities, it is just a part of human condition. You are very important to me; you are a part of my family, Rheia, be you gifted or not. Nothing can be more important than that.” Rheia takes some time to think of what you’ve just said, and after almost a minute she finally responds.
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>>4941049
“…Thank you. I don’t know how, but it helped. Although… can I really be called your family?” she asks. You shrug and reply: “Why not? Family is a vague enough concept and it doesn’t only contain the blood relatives, and I am still human where it counts.” you say as you tap your head. “In fact, you, Haven and Sig are the closest people to me that can be called a family.” Haven blushes a little after you say that and hides it by taking a swig from that kvas- like drink that she has. You are not sure why the two of them considered that a surprise. Well, one can argue that Sig is not yet a part of your family because she doesn’t seem to want to get as involved as Haven, and one can argue that Rheia is a bit closer to you than Haven, but you and only you can decide who you consider to be a part of your family after all.

The rest of the meal goes on without any other big revelations, and once everyone is done, you ask Rheia to go to sleep at the appropriate time, say your goodbyes and leave the building. You take a walk to the docks and find a spot that has the least amount of people. There you jump off from one of the wooden structures into the water and land on the very surface of it. For some reason, you enjoy taking off from water instead of just from any other place. The sensation of standing on its surface as it is barely disturbed by your presence, the refreshing sea spray as you leave your wake as you gain altitude… While some might notice something in the water, you doubt that anyone could identify you as you zoom away at high speed and out of the artificial harbor. In less than ten minutes, you are on your approach to the section of the artificial island where you were instructed to land last time when you were here.
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>>4941054
As you approach, you pick up a directional psychic transmission aimed directly at you: “This is Valhalla Beta landing zone. Please slow down and power up your identifications before approaching closer. You have 25 seconds before you contact external barriers.” Huh, so they even have air control here, neat. Probably a pretty boring job, considering how rare ability to fly is. You slow down to a hover and pull out your halo. The instruction was to equip the halo, allow it to tap into your energy reserves and activate the “beacon” which essentially starts broadcasting an equivalent of your IFF signature/ID. Once you follow these instructions, you receive another transmission: “Outer directional barrier opened, barriers highlighted. Proceed to the second checkpoint.” Some distance in front of you a wall of blue shimmering light appears and opens a circular hole in itself right in front of you. The hole is enormous, but through it you can see the second shimmering wall, now of a green color. You fly though the hole and stop right in the middle between the two forcefields as the one behind you closes. “Initiating sensor burst, do not be alarmed. Please keep the halo active, Goddess Agatha.” You feel a weak wave of psi energy pass through you, while also highlighting every forcefield between you and Valhalla. They appear to have dozens of layers of these shields defending their home, which is probably something that you should’ve expected. Afterwards, you get an all- clear and you pass through the second shield, and then the third. On the fourth check, all the much more densely positioned inner shields shimmer and open the clear path to the entrance. “Thank you for cooperating, Goddess Agatha. Please proceed to entrance B-6.” With those words, a path of huge semi- transparent arrows materializes and points you to one of the sixth slit carved into the upper part of the mountainous barrier, which is the dead center with 5 identical slits located to both sides of that one.
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>>4941057
When you land, you are met by two Cup Bearers clad in shiny and fantastic- looking metal armor with imagery of Tyrael engraved into the chestplates. The armor is uniform and covers them completely, making it almost impossible to tell them apart. You can only tell that they are both men. “Welcome to Valhalla, goddess Agatha. We were instructed to inform you that currently not all of the Pantheon is present here. Elspeth, Yawgmoth, Nike’, Ninmah, and Samael are present, others are preoccupied in other locations. Valentina is yet to return from Elspen for diplomatic reasons, while we can’t comment on the locations of other gods. Please be aware, that Elspeth is planned to leave for the capital in six days for the annual academy year opening. We have informed all gods that are present of your arrival, and we can escort you to any of them. You may refuse our escort; in which case we will provide directions or summon the Cup whose escort you would prefer. Once again, welcome.” Looks like you need to pick whom you’d wish to visit first…

Escort:
>Accept escort from the Knight Cups
>Request escort from a female Cup Bearer
>Request escort from a Cup Bearer of a specific deity
>Refuse escort

Whom to visit:
>Elspeth, the head goddess: she likely knows everything important, and you have a few questions
>Yawgmoth, the god of machines: a good person to visit regarding questions on some technical stuff, or maybe you want to ask for a commission?
>Nike’, the goddess of war: you can’t wait to visit your friend and see what she has been up to
>Samael, the goddess of trade: well, you haven’t talked with her much…
>Other ideas? Maybe just walk around and see who you bump into?
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>>4941060
>Nike’, the goddess of war: you can’t wait to visit your friend and see what she has been up to

>Refuse escort
Either that or call upon a Nike Cup we Net before

First Nike, then we can talk with Eles about the academy I guess
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>>4941060

>Refuse escort
>Nike’, the goddess of war: you can’t wait to visit your friend and see what she has been up to

Try to silencie our psy signature and playfully surprised her!
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>>4941060
>Nike’, the goddess of war: you can’t wait to visit your friend and see what she has been up to