The underways of Saren’s Rest are a mish mash of abandoned tunnels, service ways and the actual lower levels of the city, the lowest of which were not //actually// below water when it was built but which have still held up surprisingly well all things considered. They’re quite clean for the most part. They are rather maze like though and between questionable power and intermittent flooding getting around in them is as much art as science.
The one dead giveaway when coming upon an inhabited area is trash. Trash and corpses. The original inhabitants of the city left no trace when it reappeared so any that are in the corridors have been put there by something more recent.
Which is what Hunter has found now. Not corpses, not yet, but when he sees a rations wrapper in an otherwise pristine corridor he signals to Ardul. The next door up ahead is closed, not by itself unusual but in this case now slightly more dangerous than normal.
They’ve been in the undercity for a bit now, following the maze of ‘streets’ that exist. It smells slightly damp if anything and Ardul is amazed yet again at just how clean the area is.
The blonde winged warrior is armoured up and she’s holding the metal cylinder that normally hangs at her hip. In these quarters, her wings are furled tightly against her back so they don’t brush against the walls as they walk.
Seeing Hunters signal, she agilely moves to flank the door and signals back to the Wolfen. He can try it, and she’ll ambush anything that’s waiting.
The wolfen moves to the door and listens. The frown on his face tells Ardul that he hears something but isn’t sure what it is. A signal tells her when he’s about to throw the door open and…
The next room is rather dem but that’s not because of the lights. No, it’s because there’s something blocking much of the light and that something seems to be a shell just barely big enough to squeeze down the corridor they came from. As to how it got in here…
“Huh…” The wolfen says as he steps inside the room, peering. “I could have sworn I heard something-”
WHUMP. With surprising swiftness the shell turns and an oversized claw slaps Hunter into a wall. This shell is… inhabited.
By a crab. An //enormous// hermit crab.
The blonde nods as Hunter indicates he hears something and she brandishes that cylinder in two hands, but doesn’t ignite it. Instead she nimbly follows the Wolfen in. “I doubt it …” she murmurs as she frowns at the shell “… maybe it’s behind th—-”
The cylinder flames into life and the blonde whirls, past the Wolfen and bringing the blade down on one of those oversized claws. It //should// cleave right through it but Ardul has seen all interesting things since being on this world.
It bites into the claw to be sure. Deeply. A solid foot or so but this claw is at least three feet across and whatever this thing is made of, it’s tough. That’s… not unusual when dealing with creatures from beyond this world. The original inhabitants must think that quite unfair, that everything that’s come to them seems so much stronger and tougher.
The claw Ardul has hacked into wretches to the side dragging her blade with it as a pair of soccer ball sized eyes come into view and a SCRAAAAAAPE sound announces that it’s bringing it’s //other// claw to bear. Just… slowly as it tries to work it out of the corner it had gotten into.
The wolfen pulls himself to his feet and shoots. The laser bolt glances off the shell. “Armored. Have to shuck it out of the shell or drive it inside.” He doesn’t have the tools he’d need to pierce it.
Ardul had expected something like that but she’s not quite prepared. It drags her with it, armoured feet screeching on the ground as she tries to regain her balance. Her wings still remained furled though, they won’t help – at least not yet.
There’s a ‘click’ and the blade of the sword disappears, freeing the winged warrior and letting her scrabble backwards. “No kidding.” she quips to Hunter, circling the cranky crab as he speaks. “I was thinking how much I liked the crab meat that Rosseau was serving.”
Shuck it out of its shell… hmmm.
The sword ignites again and the blonde glances to Hunter, he’s going to have to keep it busy as she darts //under// it, using the energy of the blade to try and cause an incision in the shell. This might be slow going.
“I’ll try to distract it.” As Ardul goes in Hunter fires again except this time he’s not shooting at the shell but the exposed bits.
Clearly it doesn’t like that. It rears up and swipes at the wolfen again, forcing Hunter to dodge away. Ardul gets purchase on the shell. Her suspicion is right. The shell is tough enough that she has to yank her blade through it and it only comes rather slowly.
On top of that, she has to do that while the crab or whatever it is turns and spins and thrashes.
Ardul grunts as the blade bites deep and as the crab rears up and swipes at Hunter it pulls her off balance. Not that it stops her. The blade disappears again and the blonde pivots, regaining her balance and then appears again as she makes another pass. “Not much longer, Hunter. I just …. ” she grunts with the effort “… have to get a few more incisions in ….”
It’s a good thing she’s strong and quick. It’s just not pretty, but then battles rarely are, are they.
“Are you sure music wouldn’t have worked better?” Another turn, another deft use of that energy blade and another cut on the along the underbelly of the shell.
There should //almost// be enough slices that Hunters weapon will hurt it and then maybe the Winged Warrior and the Wolfen can crush it.
“Maybe I should have you sing to it.” Hunter grunts as he dodges another claw swipe. “You could stay. Keep it company. Maybe learn it’s name.” The wolfen fires again. The front of the creature is now covered in scorches and small craters from the laser fire but it doesn’t seem any more impaired than it did when this started. Hopefully cracking it’s shell will change that…
The last incision goes in. Now it just needs a big impact to crush the shell but that’s going to be more than Ardul can deliver on her own. Perhaps something in the room can help…
“Seems to work with you….” The winged warrior quips again, grimacing as ichor drips from the underbelly of the crab drips down on her. “… are you sure you want get jealous if I decide to stay?” The laser fire from Hunters weapon sounds just above her.
“Are you ready? I’m going to shove this thing against the wall, I could your muscle when I do…” Turning, the blade disappearing, Arduls wings flare wide. She’s going to need the oomph they can give her – this is going to hurt, of that she’s sure.
Dropping her shoulder, she barrels into the crab propelling it backwards to the wall.
Hunter leaps off the little landing he’s been dancing around as Ardul barrels into the crab. He hits it as well. They really need more mass for this but Ardul can at least compensate with speed. The thing stumbles backward, hits the wall and it’s shell breaks into half a dozen fragments.
And then it gets really mad. In a panic it starts to stamp and flail and tries to grab Ardul in it’s pincer like left claw. The skinnier and narrower of the two appendages.
Oh god. That hurts.
Ardul crashes into the crab and uses her wings to propel them backwards. It’s not that bit that hurts though – it’s the sudden stop at the end.
She’s slightly stunned as the shell cracks and the thing starts to flail, not quick enough to avoid the first attempts to grab her. Knocked backwards, she ends up on her backside just as the energy blade blazes to life again.
It twirls and even in her prone position, the blonde shows the skill she has with the weapon. It slices down and hopefully through the thinner appendage.
“Hunter, put it down…”
The wolfen brings his weapon to bear and aims right at the thing’s eye. It’s moving. Bobbing. Thrashing.
And then it’s not there. Followed by the other eye. Followed by three holes in the head. And it stops moving.
“Right so… that was fun.” Hunter says, dusting himself off and opening his weapon to reload. “You okay?”
This room //stinks// and there’s a lot of stuff in it. Probably worth poking around though.
Ardul puts her strength behind the blade and the claw finally drops – right on top of her.
“Oh, I’m just fine.” the blonde answers, wrinkling her nose at the stench and shoving the claw from her and struggling to her feet. “You know how I said I wanted crab? I’ve changed my mind…” She limbs a little and her left wing hangs a little funny – that will need stretching a little later.
“Shall we …?” she gestures around and starts poking in the corner nearest to where the thing had been standing. “… there might be something of use in here…”
“Lets.” Crabs like this are trash collectors as evidenced by the smell. Hunter has rather lost his appetite as well but they might as well look and see what this thing had been collecting.
Ardul finds something rather more interesting than not almost right away. In that corner… is a Brodkil. It looks like he was surprised by… something. Possibly the crab. It’s quite dead. No visible weapon but it’s body is curled around something. Something roundish. A cannister possibly.
This… looks like their target.
“Hunter …” Ardul has been shifting through the trash, mostly with the toe of her boots, and the Brodkil appears. “Looks like we’ve found out why Saren hasn’t got his loot.” Very carefully she moves the body, dragging it out of the pile that she finds it in.
“Check the cannister, carefully. Don’t shoot it …” that’s said with a smirk. “… Does this feel a little too easy to you?”
Hunter moves toward the body carefully but it’s… quite dead. “That’s him. Her. It. I never figured that one out with Brodkil…” He mutters.
The grey wolfen kneels to look at the cannister. He doesn’t recognize the markings on it save that they are pre-rifts. “It’s sealed pretty good. I wonder…”
The canister hisses as it starts to open. Mist comes out. Well, condensation. When Hunter tugs on the lid it comes loose with something attatched to it. Six somethings actually. Glowing cylenders containing some kind of… gas or suspension. They seem to be mounted to the lid itself. Hunter doesn’t pull them more than half out.
“Well… that’s not what I expected. I can see why Saren didn’t want to be cheated out of it though.”
Too easy? Maybe. Too easy would be if they got back with no trouble.
“Don’t open i—-” Ardul just sighs as Hunter pops the top so to speak. “You never were good at Science were you?” The blonde snarks a little as she checks the Brodkils body. “That’s Pre-Rifts, yes? The symbology is similar to what we see in Vanished Point.”
As the cannisters are revealed, Ardul frowns “I’ve never seen anything like it but yes, I can see why he wants it. There’s nothing on the body, if you’re satisfied we can go…” She casts the grey Wolfen a look as she straightens “And we’re going to the baths tonight – you’re going to scrub my back …”
Maybe they’ll get out without trouble. Who else knows Saren is looking for this and they didn’t encounter anything much, getting in.
“Yeah. Power cores? Maybe… something else. Valuable and rare definitely.” Saren may not ‘need’ these but he is a dragon. He likes valuables and he dislikes being cheated of anything he thinks of as his. And since ‘dragon’ many things are his. Most, even. Possibly all of them deep down in his heart of hearts.
Not that he’d ever tell anyone that. Too urbane.
There’s a creak behind them and an alarm. The door they came through slams shut and a red light comes on above it.
Hunter frowns. “Pressure alert… we can’t go back the way we came…” That back scrub may be a bit.
It’s going to be a lot more than a back wash when they get back, but Ardul peers in the direction they came and nods. “Told you it was too easy …” she murmurs and turns to look further into the undercity, the way they were going.
“No way but forward I suppose. How’s your munitions? My armours power is adequate.” Adequate. He knows she’s been concerned about it for a while but adequate is ok, for now. Hopefully they don’t get too much in the way of resistance.
“It’s a good thing you don’t mind my company.” She gestures “After you?”
“I’ve got enough ammunition for a stroll, but not an overnight stay so let’s not stick around.” Hunter has… other solutions. But he’s not the melee fighter Ardul is and he’s not armored for it anyway. What he does have is a lot of ‘trail sense’ and despite his comment he may have some ideas for safe-ish places they can fort up if necessary. He’d just rather not.
“Come on. This way. We’ll want to get out of this level if at all possible. Juuuuust in case that door seal fails.”
Floods are a real concern. But there’s no sense worrying too much. Right now they just have to… move.
His ‘trail sense’ is one reason they work so well together. Though there is another that’s tied to the cuff she wears around her right arm. “You mean you hadn’t planned this as a romantic getaway? I’m disappointed, the ambience is amazing.” Ardul bring glib as she offers the gunslinger a smile when they start moving. “I would prefer to spend the night in our bed,not sharing the floor with that things relatives.” she hooks her thumb back to the crab they just killed.
Hunter doesn’t have to worry, she’s moving and is keeping an eye out for trouble.
His ‘trail sense’ is one reason they work so well together. Though there is another that’s tied to the cuff she wears around her right arm.
“You mean you hadn’t planned this as a romantic getaway? I’m disappointed, the ambience is amazing.” Ardul being glib as she offers the gunslinger a smile when they start moving. “I would prefer to spend the night in our bed,not sharing the floor with that things relatives.” she hooks her thumb back to the crab they just killed.
Hunter doesn’t have to worry, she’s moving and is keeping an eye out for trouble.
“I will make it up to you when we get back. We will go out for sea food or something.” The wolfen smirks. Theyve been in worse spots. So far this one is only potentially bad.
In the deep shadows though, something watches the winged woman. Something or perhaps someone with dark wings and dark eyes. “Target acquired. Will attempt to compromise.”
They have been in worse spots, like spending a week of more in the cab of his bot. “Oh will you now?” Ardul can’t help but chuckle. There’s a certain thrill to being on patrol and this… is similar. “I might enjoy that.”
Whatever is waiting in the shadows is wearing dark armour as it blends with the shadows. So still and so quiet, she misses it till she’s neatly passed it. Maybe it was a flutter of feathers or maybe the winged woman has a sense for these things. She puts her hand up, drawing to a stop and turns slowly. “There’s something….”
Was there? A flicker of feathers in the shadow may draw the eye but when it focuses there is nothing. Nothing but a vague feeling of watchfulness and perhaps a sense of dread. Not uncommon here but…this felt more personal. Ardul will have time to think about it as she moves. She may have heard a whisper. Why did it sound so familiar?