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LAST TIME, ON DRAGON SLAYER QUEST
Your name is Noah Lee - straight B- student, scrawny runt, and lover of old ballroom dance vinyls. After a chance encounter during detention, you discovered that you possess the mystical "Type O-alpha" blood-type, which marks you as...

Monster bait. No cool powers. No "chosen one" status. But apparently, if you bleed around the wrong people, they will explode into gigantic, reality-warping monsters known as "Dragons" and immediately try to kill you. Silver lining! Surviving a Dragon attack gave you magic powers - "Alchemy", the ability to enforce your intent on the world and reshape matter and energy.

After a fraught encounter with your teacher, who burst into a Dragon and attempted to kill you, you were saved by Kendra Shields (call her Ken), a gruff, battle-worn two-star Slayer for the Fraternal Order Of Dragon Slayers (FOODS), and became her apprentice in order to learn enough so that you could defend yourself from Dragons.

In a complete 180 over your relatively relaxing month prior, yesterday was perhaps the most eventful day of your small life so far. You went to the Homecoming dance with your maybe girlfriend, Rebecca George, which was great, because you got to dance and hold her and eat meh-tier catering food. Ken was there, which was a lovely surprise! Probably to watch you, haha, right?

Surprise! You and Rebecca are being held hostage by a Dragon you semi-advertently caused to get ripped in half a month ago and who now has a serious grudge against you. A pretty brutal battle ensued, starting with you literally blowing up your arm by turning your sweat into a sodium flare and ending with you turning a light pole into a wrought iron fence inside of the Dragon, Jabberwocky, who, did your internal monologue forget to mention, was a god-damn Three star? Great. Love that.

You did a little debrief with Ken afterwords, who ensured that FOODS was handling the cleanup, with the ever-useful cover story of a gas main explosion. Ken revealed that there is no way you should've been doing as much alchemy as you were doing, you laughed it off, she called you an idiot (in a complimentary way), you laughed that off too, and then you passed out.

When you woke up, you were back home, with a worried Your Mom fretting over you, along with Rebecca, who both told you that Ken drove you and Rebecca home. While Mom bought the cover story hook, line, and sinker, Rebecca saw you explode, like, feet away from her, and was not convinced - you had to finally open up about some of the details of the situation you're in to her, to which she immediately compared you to Spiderman, of which you were only passingly familiar.

Then, you passed out with Rebecca brushing your hair (NICE), and had the most surreal-ly real feeling dream, with you, a wasteland, an infinite spire of concrete, and an orchestra being run by another version of you.

And now you're awake.
>>
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"How're you feeling, sleeping beauty?" Rebecca asks, setting a plate of toast and eggs down in front of you, along with a little carton of prepackaged milk with one of the straws already thoughtfully inserted. The toast, stacked six slices high, and the pile of four eggs, are all to your exacting specifications of "Doing magic is surprisingly calorie intensive, if you're going to insist on making me breakfast please make a lot of it and enough for yourself too", which she was all too happy to go along with.

"I mean, I feel like I broke my arm--" You say, glancing at your arm to make sure it was, in fact, not broken. It wasn't. But it was heavily bruised, particularly your wrist and fingers, where the bulk of the explosion's force did the worst of their damage, and your little Zeus act left a noticable amount of red tick-mark like fractal scarring along your arm. "And I'm still a little dizzy, but I don't think I have a concussion, so I'm probably fine. Why aren't you at school?"

"You're more important, tiger." She teased, giving you a peck on the top of the head.

"Is that a Spiderman thing?" You ask. She nods and grins like an idiot.

>"I think I prefer Noah."
>"I like it." Make a stupid tiger noise.
>Nod knowingly
>Free Option.

--

>"You should get back to school, I can handle myself."
>"Are you, like, okay with homework and stuff? Do you want to work on school stuff while you're here?"
>"Thanks for staying over. It means a lot to me."
>"How long do you think you can stay?"
>Remain comfortably silent.
>Free Option.
>>
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
https://pastebin.com/ipHuwpgL

CHARACTER LISTING
https://pastebin.com/Y3wCvLWB

LISTING ON SUPTG
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Dragon%20Slayer%20Quest

PREVIOUS THREAD
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4936182/

If you're enjoying the quest, your upvotes are greatly appreciated, but not at all required
>>
Noah's Dossier
Physical Health: Mediocre
Mental Health: Mediocre
Strength: Mediocre
Agility: Mediocre

Grades: Middling
Intelligence: Middling

Pneuma Reserves: Excellent
Pneuma Control: Poor
Alchemical Sense: Excellent

Alchemical Styles
Forge Alchemy - Level 1
Mobility Alchemy - Level 1
Architectural Alchemy - Level 1
First Aid Alchemy - Level 1
Biomedical Alchemy (Forbidden) - Level 1
>>
>>4989245
>"I like it." Make a stupid tiger noise.

>"Thanks for staying over. It means a lot to me."
but
>"You should get back to school, I can handle myself."
>>
>>4989255
Support
>>
>>4989255
>>4989435
"I like it." You say, proceeding to attempt a very poor tiger growl. To be clear, it's not bad on purpose, it is definitely bad because you are injured and also because you aren't the kind of person to make tiger noises in general. Either way, it gets the intended purpose fulfilled, and Rebecca rears her head back and cackles quietly.

"Please never do that again." She replies.

"Aye aye, cap'n." You respond. You give her a smile, and she gives one back to you, while you examine the lines on your arm. They're not thick at all, but they are raised, bright white scarring surrounded by a thin corona of red skin, some flakes of dried or burnt cells coming off with every errant gust of wind to pass you by. It's kind of cool, but also recognizably gnarly, and when you flex that hand, it feels sore and tense, like it doesn't want to squeeze your fingers shut the entire way.

"Thanks for staying over. It means a lot to me... but you should get back to school, I can handle myself." You tell her, after the two of you finish breakfast together. She bends down to brush your hair out of your face and gently pokes you on the nose.

"You sure you'll be able to fend for yourself, sleeping beauty?" She asks, teasing you.

You roll your eyes exaggeratedly. "Yeah, I'll be fine! Scout's honor."

"I'll accept that." She says, and you grin back at her. For some reason, you expected it to be a little more of a fight, but within moments the rideshare is called and she vanishes from your sight, out the front door, while you're left lounging on the couch, arm and shoulder aching quietly.

>Go back to sleep, see if you can go back to the tower.
>Call someone from FOODS to talk about Recent Events (Free Option)
>Go practice some alchemy, see if your fucked up arm is hindering you in any way.
>Can you get into contact with anyone from Pandora right now? (Free Option)
>Bro, there's no need to rush into anything... let's just chill out. We're lying on the couch recovering. Let's recover.
>Free Option.
>>
>>4990639
>Bro, there's no need to rush into anything... let's just chill out. We're lying on the couch recovering. Let's recover.
>>
>>4990639
>Check if there's any FOODS officers keeping watch. Again.
>Then check again if Saint is going to come visit. Again.
>Cool? Cool? Video games with music.
>>
>>4990639
>Call your bro, it's been a while. He might be worried.
We're back, baby! Was looking forward to seeing this again.
>>
>>4990639
>Bro, there's no need to rush into anything... let's just chill out. We're lying on the couch recovering. Let's recover.
>Call your bro, it's been a while. He might be worried.
>>
>>4990802
>>4990951
>>4990648
You spend a little bit of time relaxing on the couch, feeling a bit secure in missing out on school for a day or two because you blew up your fucking arm and then electrocuted yourself by forming a circuit or whatever. Yeah, you can take it easy for a little bit.

You don't go upstairs to grab your record player because, frankly, you really don't feel like going up the stairs right now. It's not impossible or insurmountable... you just don't want to. So, instead, you do the next best thing and connect to the TV with your phone's bluetooth so you can pipe youtube ballroom jazz over the speakers while you browse the internet and just relax.

That being said, you do take a minute out of your day to text (not call) Josh, since you know he's probably in class and calling him on the phone in the middle of the day would probably just get him in trouble.

noah/<What's up?>

His reply is nearly immediate.

josh/<DUDE>
josh/<there was ANOTHER fucking explosion at homecoming!>
josh/<did you hear?>
josh/<they said it was a gas main leak but COME ON>
josh/<do they think we're fucking idiots?>
josh/<first a locer room then the fuckin hoomecoming dance>
josh/<like come the fuck on, right?>
josh/<anyway, wya? havent seen you today>

It seems Josh has a lot on his mind that he's been holding in, and it also seems like news hasn't percolated out that you were the one who got, uh, explosion'ded on. Presumably that's because the only people that know are you, Rebecca, and FOODS (and a dead person), but, still, you figured there might've been like... a person or two who saw and got the word out. If anyone would know through the grapevine at this point, it would be Josh, and you have your doubts about his ability to keep his mouth shut.

>"No, you're absolutely right, most schools never have one explosion in their entire lifetime." Goad him on a little.
>"I'm playing hooky, didn't feel like going to school today."
>"I'm hungover so I didn't come in."
>"I'm sick, so I didn't come in today."
>"Oh, didn't you hear? I was caught in the gas main blow up and might've fucked my arm so I'm staying home. I'll show you when I get back, I have a sick scar now."
>Free Option.
>>
>>4991683
>"I'm playing hooky, didn't feel like going to school today."
>>
>>4991683
>"No, you're absolutely right, most schools never have one explosion in their entire lifetime." Goad him on a little.
Pranked bro
>>
>>4991683
>"No, you're absolutely right, most schools never have one explosion in their entire lifetime." Goad him on a little.
>>
>>4992582
>>4992391
noah/<No, you're absolutely right, though?>
noah/<Most schools never have one explosion in, like, their entire lifetime.>
noah/<Maybe a bomb threat or two if someone wants to ditch class.>
noah/<An actual bomb?>

You decide that it might be fun to see where he's going with this, or, at the very least, find out a little bit about where his head's at in the process. Might give you some insight as to what the rest of the school is feeling about it - Josh is pretty much the nexus through which the proverbial "pulse" that people purportedly have their fingers on flows, after all.

josh/<right?????>
josh/<like bro how come nobodys being investignagd by the fbi>
josh/<there are absolutely fbi agents at school right? theres gotta b>
josh/<like i saw sum dudes in suits just hanging around the other ady>
josh/<sunglasses and everything>
josh/<NO idea wut that was abt>
josh/<wtf is going on?>

Your eyes widen a bit, and then narrow. There's definitely a lot of moving parts and spinning plates when it comes to this Dragon business, and you certainly don't have a full scope of the land, but "men in suits" doesn't sound like anything related to it that you know of so far... right? Police officers, priests, and weeaboos, mental backspace, ninjas. Maybe a priest, but wouldn't they be wearing their religious attire 24/7 or something?

...Maybe it really is the FBI?

noah/<You know, it could just be dudes in suits.>
noah/<Or people from the superintendents office?>
noah/<Or school board.>

You fish for info.

josh/<no way dude>
josh/<you know like the transparent president dudes headpieces?>

You know what he means - the earpieces the secret service wears, translating from Josh-ese. You send him a picture anyway, though, after a quick google search, just to make sure.

noah/<These?>

josh/<yeah they all had those>
josh/<just kind of standing around all stiff>
josh/<u kno my pops from the navy that was>
josh/<MILITARY stance>
josh/<PROFESSIONAL>
josh/<like, arms folded over front real square shlders>
josh/<superintended my dick>

>Keep fishing for information, ask if there was anything else he noticed or heard about them. Are they still there? Can he do some spying for you?
>Start to wind down the conversation. At this rate you're going to get yourself involved in more bullshit - you can investigate on your own time, and right now your own time is on making sure your arm isn't turbofucked.
>Free Option.

and...

>Start a side thread with someone about this. It's suspicious. You want answers.
>Don't do that. One conversation at a time.
>Get a glass of water
>Free Option.
>>
>>4993144
>>Start to wind down the conversation. At this rate you're going to get yourself involved in more bullshit - you can investigate on your own time, and right now your own time is on making sure your arm isn't turbofucked.

>get some water, then head up to your room
I'd rather level up some of the stuff we've already got going on, or figure some non-alchemy ways to control dat dank pneuma
>>
>>4993144
>Keep fishing for information, ask if there was anything else he noticed or heard about them. Are they still there? Can he do some spying for you?
>Start a side thread with someone about this. It's suspicious. You want answers.
>>
>>4993179
Ogh, I forgot to indicate it because I'm tired but let me know if there's any specific someones you want to ask if you're voting for this option.
>>
>>4993148
Mmm, dat pneuma. +1
>>
To let you know in advance, I will not be able to update Wednesday evening most likely due to (((Richard))) reasons. Thank you all for reading though!
>>4993350
>>4993148
noah/<Yeah, I bet.>
noah/<Sounds weird.>

josh/<it WAS weird>

As it turns out, you're not really sure how to naturalistically wind down a conversation, but you try your best.

noah/<I'm sure whatever's going on will probably come out in the wash in like, a couple of years.>
noah/<Like when we switch presidents and in a fit of spite they unseal the documents about the ■■■■■■ High School Domestic Bomber or whatever.>
noah/<Not worth losing sleep over right now.>

josh/<yeah ig>
josh/<just weird man>
josh/<weird shit>

noah/<Yeah. You should probably stop texting me before you get in trouble though.>

josh/<oh shit yeah the teacher is looking at me lmao>
josh/<ill ttyl>

noah/<TTYL>

And then you shut your phone off with a click and slip it into your pocket.

You shuffle off the couch, groaning quietly at the soreness rippling through your entire being, and make your way over to the kitchen. There are, blessedly, water bottles in the fridge, which is good because you didn't feel like reaching up to grab a glass from the cupboard, when instead you could just reach forward. It's the little blessings. You pull it out and use your teeth to wrench open the cap, taking a swig before you make your way up to your bedroom.

Same as it always is. You get changed out of your thoroughly messed up suit and into some more appropriate lounging pyjamas, and grab your Forbidden Binder out from underneath your bed, just in case you decide to use it. Your arm doesn't feel any weaker, thankfully, just in pain, except for your fingertips which are a little numb. Hope you don't have any nerve damage, that would probably suck.

What's on the docket, Noah Lee?

>Try to figure out exercises to control your pneuma better.
>Practice a style of alchemy. (Free Option)
>Read from the Forbidden Binder. Maybe time to learn something new about Egregores? Or delve into one of it's other topics... (Free Option)
>Free Option.
>>
>>4994735
>Try to figure out exercises to control your pneuma better.
>>
>>4994735
>Try to figure out exercises to control your pneuma better.
Either that or the egregores
>>
Feeling extremely exhausted from (real life occurrences), going to be skipping tonight's update, apologies fellas.
>>
Preemptive apologies for the short update, need to wake up early tomorrow for Occasions and stuffing myself like a pig before I fast.
>>4994771
>>4994736
You decide to spend the rest of the afternoon, up in your bedroom, practicing what you can to try and improve your pneuma control, which you have a feeling is not great. Your tummy is satisfyingly full from breakfast, god bless Rebecca, which means you have plenty of calories to burn for this.

You try to think of something small you can do continuously that shouldn't take up too much energy. After all, if what you remember about pneuma from Ken is correct, having more control over it is basically about being able to control how much fuel you give it in one chunk, right? So, you try to think about something that you can keep feeding with your breath.

>Create a small fire out of your fingertips, like Chief Grey. [Thermal Alchemy]
>Turn on the sink and transmute the liquid into something else. Like fruit juice. Or oil? (Free Option) [Fluid Alchemy]
>There's plenty of air around you. Can you just generate a nice, air conditioned breeze with your breath? [Fluid Alchemy]
>You recall enough about science class to know that sound is just the vibration of air molecules - maybe you can use alchemy to amplify or change the sound of your music? [Resonance Alchemy]
>Free Option.
>>
>>4997095
>>You recall enough about science class to know that sound is just the vibration of air molecules - maybe you can use alchemy to amplify or change the sound of your music? [Resonance Alchemy]
Seems the most thematically appropriate for Noah. Here's a fun idea, we've fucked around with lightning strikes, we could try get (directed) thunder.

Also, I wonder if Pandora are pissed Noah killed the coach.
>>
>>4997095
>Maybe you can make stuff that's supposed to hold themselves up on their own. Like card houses or something. [Architectural Alchemy]
>>
>>4997095
>You recall enough about science class to know that sound is just the vibration of air molecules - maybe you can use alchemy to amplify or change the sound of your music? [Resonance Alchemy]
>>
>>4997095
>There's plenty of air around you. Can you just generate a nice, air conditioned breeze with your breath? [Fluid Alchemy]
>>
>>4997095
>There's plenty of air around you. Can you just generate a nice, air conditioned breeze with your breath? [Fluid Alchemy]
>>
Really sorry about the delay, will try to have a big big post for you tomorrow, just had lots of stuff stacking up... QM's curse foils my well-laid plans
>>
>You recall enough about science class to know that sound is just the vibration of air molecules - maybe you can use alchemy to amplify or change the sound of your music? [Resonance Alchemy]
>>
>>5001407
>>4997111
>>4997103
You need something nice and small and supposedly easy that you can do continuously. It's like... It's like trying to push water through a pipe, right? If you try to put too much water in, the pipe, or the hose, or whatever, it might burst or shoot it out at such high pressure that something bad happens. And, of course, if there isn't enough pressure, then you get nothing, and if you recall your tutoring of pneuma correctly, these concepts are all broadly applicable just the same. So, you need something to pipe through, something to let it out at a steady rate.

You turn towards your gramophone. It's an antique, purchased by your mother two birthdays ago at a good price at the local flea market. It wasn't always in this good of shape - restoring it was a whole project, you had to learn how to polish metal, how to fill in cracks in wood, you had to purchase replacement parts with your meagre allowance and odd jobs around the neighborhood. You have a lot of feelings bound up in this gramophone, feelings that rattle around on the inside of your head like a bird singing in a cage as you grab the needle and use it to prise a bit of your undamaged thumb open.

You're getting staggeringly good at ignoring very small pain, and for an amusingly cynical moment you wonder to yourself if there are any diabetic alchemists around. They probably have an inherent advantage in starting out, considering the whole "stabbing themselves in the thumb repeatedly" thing they have to live with day in and day out. You don't bother changing the record out, you just wipe the blood off the tip of the needle until it's clean, plonk it down, and set it spinning while ballroom jazz starts piping through. Then, you smear just enough blood onto the side, wincing quietly after all the restoration work you've done for it, keep your thumb pressed in, and speak your will to the world.

"Amplify--" you barely manage to get out before it SHOUTS with an impossibly loud bass rumble, almost like a gunshot going off in infrasound, and you immediately wince. Three car alarms start going off outside, and you stare at your thumb, and then at the gramophone, and sigh quietly to yourself, unsure of why exactly that happened.

Alright. Take two. You gently, gingerly press your thumb into the side of the gramophone, and think about the smallest possible adjustment in volume. Not doubling of decibels, but a gentle increase, a quiet sloping upwards. And you think about a better word, and you whisper it to the world. "Adjust it up, just a little bit." you say with more specificity, keeping your thumb pressed to the gramophone's side.
>>
>>5001939

You can feel it. You feel the thrumming and throbbing of your heart in your chest as your blood circulates and the gramophone slowly increases in pitch. The car alarms outside try very hard to disrupt your concentration, even with one of them stopping, but you squeeze your eyes shut and block them out. You think. You think. And you think and you keep the volume just slightly above the loudest it can be.

The further you keep your thumb pressed to this, the harder you can feel it getting, the static electricity around you, tickling at your skin getting spikier, more... aggressive? It goes from a smooth, if tingly field to something more projected, more noticeably uneven, like it's struggling to remain coherent. Sweat beads on your brow. For a split second, the volume starts to violently rise out of control, but you suck in air between your teeth and force it back down, a droplet of sweat dropping into your lap.

You need to think about something to keep this under control.

>Free Option.
>Abandon ship and start over. You can just do this repeatedly - you've already been doing it for a good forty-five seconds, that's already excellent time for something that feels so delicate.
>>
>>5001940
>Think about how far you'd be able to hear the music. 1st floor? Outside your room? If you had an ear to your door? Try to vary it between those sound levels.
>>
>>5001940
>Vibrations. Sound can shatter glass, can't it? What about other things? Isn't there something about how bridges can break because of resonance?
>Try to target something that isn't irreplaceable or expensive. Like, uh, a lightbulb. Shit, you're going to need to clean that up before your mom gets back.
https://science.howstuffworks.com/resonance-info.htm
See: Resonance disaster for applications on a larger scale.
Worth a shot, right? Not to mention we already use tuning forks as spears, I'm pretty sure. Some pretty good synergy with all our stuff.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>5002253
1
>>5001953
2

Will try to write tomorrow afternoon, exhausted from IRL events today. Crying, shitting, farting, etc.
>>
>>5002827
Are you suggesting we use alchemy for more efficient shitting?
>>
>>5002856
Yes.
>>
>>5002253
You almost let go of the gramophone, considering resonance, the way the air around you is vibrating with sound and infrasound. Frantically, your eyes dart around the room, looking for something that you could focus your energy on, and eventually settle on something eminently replaceable - a light bulb in the ceiling. You'd get up to unscrew it and put it in front of the gramophone, but the whole point of this exercise is to not let go, to keep the pneuma flowing out of you at a rate that's sustainable. You're just gonna have to clean it up later.

It's a good thing your room isn't covered in carpet!

You grip the corner of the gramophone and clench your teeth. It feels, incredibly so, like the physical equivalent of trying to keep the grind meter balanced in a Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game, with the little meter indicator thing swinging more wildly left and right in your head the longer you hold on to the gramophone.

Hey, actually, it seems like even thinking about that is making it slightly easier. Weird.

You try to keep the meter in the middle while you stare bullets at the light bulb above you. The noise piping out of the gramophone's horn steadily morphs to your whims in timbre, bass, pitch, volume. You focus. You focus. You focus on the light bulb. You try not to let the meter pitch too hard into one side, and...

The lightbulb POPs open, shattering the filament inside and sending large chunks of glass onto the floor. You jerk your hand away, instinctively, and then wave it through the air, your thumb looking particularly pale. Actually, your entire hand looks sort of pale, slowly regaining color as (you assume) blood returns to it, a sense of thick, glove-like pins and needles style tingling carpeting your skin. All told, you held it for about a minute and a half, maybe a minute and twenty seconds, and as you let go you feel a wave of exhaustion whack you in the face.

Thankfully, you have spare lightbulbs.

>Do that again, and see how long you can go without popping a lightbulb.
>No, you're gonna burn yourself out before this long. You're already injured, just clean up, replace the light bulb, and let's rest up instead.
>Free Option.
>>
>>5003552
>No, you're gonna burn yourself out before this long. You're already injured, just clean up, replace the light bulb, and let's rest up instead.
>>
>>5003552
>No, you're gonna burn yourself out before this long. You're already injured, just clean up, replace the light bulb, and let's rest up instead.

Best not to push ourselves too hard when we’re still recovering from our injuries. We can try repeating exercises like this when we’re in better shape, physically and mentally.

Also I think it’s kinda funny that he doesn’t know who Spider-Man is but knows about THPS, when Spidey has been an unlockable character in that series.
>>
>>5003552
>No, you're gonna burn yourself out before this long. You're already injured, just clean up, replace the light bulb, and let's rest up instead.

>>5003629
He wasn't good enough to unlock him
>>
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>>5003757
>>5003629
Correct, Noah is not good enough of a Gamer to unlock spiderman and usually only played at Josh's house.
>>5003557
You take a deep breath, again, deeper than before and steady yourself. No need to burn yourself out when you're already injured. Instead of going ahead, you'll just admire the solid minute and twenty seconds of pneuma control you were able to muster. That's already progress, you feel like, not shooting all your shot in one big burst... outside of that one huge noise you made at the start, but let's not think about that too much.

You grab a dustpan from the closet and sweep up the glass. For the time being, you feel like trying to make your way up a stepladder with your body as unsteady and injured as it is is a recipe for disaster, so you just flick the light switch off and decide that replacing the lightbulb is an assignment that can be saved for another day.

You sit back in your bed, and feel a wave of nausea overtaking you, immediately passing out.

---

You don't feel right when you wake up. For one, you feel hungry. For two, you feel exceptionally tired. For three, there is a Dragon standing over your face. The immediate impulse to scream is stunted by your exhaustion, and by the time you're awake enough to not want to scream, the familiarity of the figure looming over top of you prevents the action in the first place.

"You." Saint says, reminding you of their existence.

"Me." You reply, gently pushing Saint off of you with your good arm. They acquiesce, falling backwards onto the floor, leaning into it with their knuckles like a gorilla. Your passing glance at their figure shows them as both considerably more nicked and scraped than last time you ran into them, over a month ago, and not very much progressed into a Three-star. Immediately, you can tell, from their gaunt expression, that they're sticking true to their internal code of "not eating people that smell like Noah", which is... commendable.

"Are you well? I need your help." They ask. Well, right with it, then. You sit up, feeling uncomfortably sticky and damp with sweat, the collar of your t-shirt stuck to your chest. Then, you show Saint your arm. They bend down, sniffing it quietly. "You are not well."

"Is this... urgent, urgent?" You ask.

"That is... very dependent on your... definition of urgent." They breathe through their needle-like teeth. "Found men... for answers. The men with robes... Who want monster hearts... Found many men. Afraid... might leave."

You check your watch. At two in the fucking morning? A mixture of heady exasperation, hungry, frustration, and excitement whacks you in the face all at once. You sit up all the way into a stand, and Saint takes a couple of steps back.

Everything happens all at once, doesn't it?
>>
>>5005073

>"Alright, let's get going, but we're hitting a corner store for snacks first."
>"I'm sorry Saint but... my arm's *real* fucked. And I'm afraid if you go for them alone you might get hurt real bad. Tell me everything you know and we can find them again when my arm's better, right now I'll just be a burden for you, and I doubt they're leaving."
>Maybe you can phone a friend... (Free Option).
>Free Option.
>Switch Perspective.
>>
>>5005076
We still don't have a phone number to call those pandora people, huh?

Secondary thought: we're still one of the people they sent a manual to. Even if nobody followed Saint, there might be somebody who noticed a dragon checking up on Noah. Well, that's supposing they weren't already scared off by FOODS the last few weeks ago.
>>
>>5005076
>Switch Perspective
>>
>>5005089
Can't we call someone from Ronin? I think they left us their contact, didn't they?
But of course, I must go for the mysterious choice.
>Switch Perspective
>>
>>5005750
>>5005742
Your...

Your...?

Your name is... No...? No, it isn't. Your name is unrecoverable information buried within the crevice of your malformed skull, no longer necessary until you can once again assume human shape. You have decided, for the sake of convenience, that people can call you Saint, although it's not as easy to articulate this to people given that you look like a horror movie monster capable of rending people in half with your bare hands.

To be fair, you can. You can totally do that.

Here you were, having a normal night of detective work, lamenting, and gnawing on dumpster leftovers when your only real friend up and passed out on you. "...Hello?" You ask, gently shaking him by the shoulders. It was almost frightening enough to get you to lash out instinctively, when he lurched towards you, eyes milk-white and blood leaking from his nose (oh, how you could smell the blood beforehand, but you very successfully resisted your more primal urges). He said something you couldn't understand, and then passed out against your torso.

You feel... uncomfortable. Despite your condition, you are acutely aware of the fact that you are sort of breaking and entering, even if you can force his windows open easily and nobody can see you. Or, well, notice you, you've seen things that made it feel like people can see you, they just can't stick to that for very long. You smack your lack-of-lips quietly and gently lay Noah down onto his bed, giving him a couple of nudges with your palm.

"Noah. Noah, I will... call 911. I do not think... the thing you just did... should happen." You say, forcing it out through your tight throat. Normally, it only expands when you need to breathe fire, keeping your venom sacs inflated for when they need to be constricted in order to generate appropriate quantities of discharge. This, obviously, makes talking and breathing normally somewhat difficult, giving you a somewhat wheezing countenance.

You also feel just generally uncomfortable because you always feel uncomfortable. But... you feel more uncomfortable. Like your conscience is louder. You're no stranger to it even on the worst of days, the voice in your head that you've grown increasingly attached to as your sole tether to your remaining dregs of humanity, the last parts of you that allow you to remain the erudite scholar you used to be, but you've never heard it this forcefully in your head before. Your skull feels... uncomfortable. You're distinctly aware of your heartbeat.

Noah is breathing, but shallowly, a thin line of slightly bloody drool leaking out the corner of his mouth. You wince quietly and pull out a handkerchief from your sweater pocket, wiping his face until it's clean.
>>
>>5006113
>Rummage around Noah's room. You have a *feeling* there's something here that can explain what's going on. You know he can perform the magic arts, perhaps he cursed or cast a spell on you?
>Find Noah's phone, call 911.
>Find Noah's phone, try to unlock it, alert someone what just happened. Was it... a seizure? You don't know if normal 911 can handle this.
>It'll wear off in time. Clearly, he's in no fit state to help with your investigation. You'll just have to leave him as tucked in as you can manage and then go do the rest on your own.
>No, this is strange. People don't normally do what just happened, and you're not sure if it's normal even among magic users. You have to keep watch on Noah, in case someone comes while he's vulnerable.
>Free Option.

Your head feels... full.
>>
Well.
Shit.
Makes my heart feel all warm and fuzzy to see that Saint thinks of us as a friend, though. Wonder what's going on with the "conscience" thing.
>Find Noah's phone, try to unlock it, alert someone what just happened. Was it... a seizure? You don't know if normal 911 can handle this.
Genuinely curious to see how he manages to unlock our phone! Hoping FOODS doesn't go ham on his ass, though.
>>
No update tonight, having one of those vaunted "personal disaster nights" where nothing is going correctly. See you all tomorrow!
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>>5006113
>Find Noah's phone, call 911.

>>5006989
Take care, man.
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>>5006113
did Noah put a fucking egregore of himself in Saint?

>Find Noah's phone, call 911.
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>>5006989
Take care, mate.
>>
>>5006113
>It'll wear off in time. Clearly, he's in no fit state to help with your investigation. You'll just have to leave him as tucked in as you can manage and then go do the rest on your own.
>>
>>5007185
>>5007173
Egregore...? The word occurs to you in a flit of thought, and you rummage through your distorted memories for a snatch of knowledge that would help elaborate on it. Egregore. From the Greek... Egeiro, to awaken from sleep, then to Egregoros, "Wakeful". Then to the Book of Enoch. "Watcher". Modern day Gnosticism, a thoughtform generated by the beliefs of several people.

You don't see the thought's relevance. You discard it, while grabbing for Noah's phone, looking around quietly, nervously. You do find it, and proceed to have a not insignificant quantity of trouble actually using it, considering most of your grasping surface is in your claws rather than your fingertips, and the capacitive touch screen doesn't respond to the thick, metallicized keratin in your claws. Still, you know that all iPhones, even the old ones like Noah has, can make emergency calls to 911.

You frown at yourself, trying very hard to dial the number with your big stupid hands. This is proving to be inordinately difficult for what would otherwise be a very simple task. Gently, and gingerly, over the course of five minutes you do figure out just the right way of pressing that gets you where you want. Nine. One. One.

Immediately, you consider a problem, and then, solution. Problem: Other human beings besides Noah and a couple of other rare exceptions don't seem to be able to perceive you directly. You haven't tested yet if this applies through a phone network, but you'd be surprised if it didn't. Solution: You dig into your head for the silent call protocol... and then remember that it's only available in Massachusetts, and would require you to use the keypad anyway. The possibility of a mistype, even if it was available, is too high to risk.

You glance over at Noah. His breath is steady, but shallow, occasionally twitching at the neck. 911 is sitting there, punched in, all you have to do is hit the dial button, and then you can get on with your day.

Noah helped you once. It's the least you can do to pay him back.

You look around the room and take in what you can. There's a gramophone, a bookshelf full of vinyl records, none of which you recognize... god damn, these are old. A laptop computer, open and humming, still logged in. A gramophone, skipping, thumping along on the last locked groove of the record. Occasionally, it pops and hisses. A binder under his bed, likely full of school materials, a bookbag full of the same. A drawer full of clothes. You know. High schooler stuff.

You glance at his phone.

>Just call 911 and put them close enough that they can hear him breathing, and hope they get the message.
>Turn on Noah's gramophone so they can hear actively that there's something on the other line to get their attention.
>...Try asking with your voice?
>Free Option.
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>>5008288
>Occasionally, it pops and hisses.
excuse me what

>Study the gramaphone, try to listen for anything else that's making sounds that shouldn't.
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>>5008291
No, it's just doing that crackling thing that vinyl records do when they've run out of runtime, where its the sort of crackling you normally get that's covered up by the sound of the music? That sort of noise. Nothing weird there.
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>>5008297
oh, normal kind of pops and hisses

>>5008288
>Just call 911 and put them close enough that they can hear him breathing, and hope they get the message.
>>
>>5008288
Get Google Translate to read your message aloud into the phone
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>>5008304
that's also an option. The laptop has physical keys, right?
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>>5008307
It does.
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>>5008304
I'll +1 this
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>>5008288
>>5008304
This is a solid idea
>>
>>5008304
>>5008307
>>5008571
>>5008748
You go to Noah's computer and, slowly, carefully, cautiously, swipe the mouse over to the URL bar. He was watching something on YouTube that you don't pay much attention to, instead making your way to Google Translate, the first thing you can think of with text to speech.

Then, you hit 911 and let it dial, setting it to speaker, while your clumsy fingers tap-tap-tap the best you can on the keyboard. Noah convulses, just a tiny bit, as you rush to type, hearing the 911... person on the other end of the line connect.

Then, you tap the speaker icon. "Hello. I cannot speak. I am at 2900 West Street. My friend Noah just collapsed and is bleeding from the nose. I think he may have had a seizure. Please send help."

There's silence from the other end of the line. Did you do it? Did you work around the... unnoticing? You press the speaker button a couple more times, as long as the person remains on the other end of the line, and by the sixth repetition of it, something seems to click.

"Please remain where you are. We're sending dispatch." They say, calm and dispassionate. You breathe a thick, mucousy sigh of relief.

>Well? You did what you can. Time to get a move on.
>You heard the 911 operator. Stay where you are, just in case Noah needs more tending to. He'd do the same for you... probably.
>Free Option.
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>>5010104
>Unlock the doors to the house
>Stay watch a while, then head out
standing between them and noah might make the actual procedure harder
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>>5010104
>Well? You did what you can. Time to get a move on.
>>
You know. All this excitement reminded me...aren't there like...FOODS agents watching Noah.
Like right now?
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>>5010121
Last time we checked, no. That's not saying much, but Saint's been there for like half an hour without being skewered.
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>>5010104
Supporting >>5010113
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>>5010113
+1
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>>5010113
>>5010185
>>5010265
You decide that the best course of action is to probably stick around for a bit, just to make sure the emergency services actually arrive, and take the time to amble into the upstairs bathroom so you can wipe some blood off your face with the available toilet paper. That was, you supposed, one of the perks to being a gross monster - no more shits - but, oddly, you've found yourself missing it, just a little bit. Or maybe you're just missing the experience of being fully human, both are possible, and in fact, equally likely. You wad up some toilet paper and wipe Noah's blood off from your face, toss, and flush. You turn the sink on. You splash some water across your leathery skin. You turn the sink off and sigh.

You gently make your way down the stairs, bracing yourself on the railing as you do, hearing the old, disused wood creak beneath you. You weigh a good 400 pounds of compressed muscle, and it shows from how they struggle and strain beneath your weight.

You unlock the front door, so they don't have to bust it down, and then, just as gingerly, make your way back up. If you could unfurl your wings out here, you would, but that would probably break something, and you don't have the room to fly anyway, so instead you just try to keep yourself as light as possible on the stairs. You set your feet down completely flat, since you think going on tip-toes would just put all the force on one spot and make you bust through the stairs.

You hate just how much your new ungainly shape has made you have to consider everything so much more than before. It's a unique kind of frustration.

Sitting in the hallway, towards a closet, you make yourself as small and out-of-the-way as possible while you watch Noah lie dead still. Every so often, he jerks, and you half-expect him to sit back up and continue your prior conversation.

But then the ambulance sounds begin to ride in from the distance, and the front door opens, and paramedics trudge their way through the house, calling out their hellos, looking for Noah. You don't really have any way to make them look upstairs, but it doesn't take long for them to get the picture, beginning to make their way up the stairs and towards Noah's bedroom. One of them mutters a very quiet "Aw, shit." when they think nobody can hear.

You press yourself further into the corner, hiding in the unlit space, as a third person walks into the house. No particular uniform... but you can smell them immediately, before you hear their footsteps or even see them. Someone with blood like Noah's.
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>>5011074
>Hide in the closet. Don't start a fight in Noah's house, don't check it out, just squeeze yourself in.
>Now's time to run. Just push past the emregency workers, out the window, and take flight before anyone can stop you. Don't make things worse for Noah by getting caught.
>Just stay where you are. The back of the hallway is dark and not a place anyone would look, there's nothing here, and you need to keep an eye on things... in case it's *not* FOODS.
>Free Option.
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>>5011074
>Now's time to run. Just push past the emregency workers, out the window, and take flight before anyone can stop you. Don't make things worse for Noah by getting caught.
It's fine, not like they can do anything even if they catch you.
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>>5011074
>Now's time to run. Just push past the emregency workers, out the window, and take flight before anyone can stop you. Don't make things worse for Noah by getting caught.
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>>5011074
>>
>>5011107
Howdy.
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>>5011077
>>Now's time to run. Just push past the emregency workers, out the window, and take flight before anyone can stop you. Don't make things worse for Noah by getting caught.