The main robotics repair shop in Saren’s Rest is called ‘Meg’s Mechworks’. It is, as one might expect, run by a woman called ‘Meg’ and several assistants. They do good work and have parts for quite a few things laying around by this point but they do charge a premium. Sometimes, especially when you’re like Hunter, it’s easier to just do the work yourself. Hunter has, after all, spent eight years with this particular bot. He knows it.
And today he needs that expertise. He’s got his Bot standing inside the abandoned lobby of a tower that might have once been a posh hotel in the noerthen end of Saren’s Rest and he’s picking crystal shards the size of his forearm out of his armor. The last fight had been against some kind of rock-like demon or elemental or something. Whatever it was, it had left a bunch of now somewhat fractured violet crystals embedded in his bot’s left arm and shoulder.
“Twenty one.” Chunk. Down to the floor a crystal falls. “Twenty two.” Chunk. “Twenty three.” Chunk. “Twenty four.” Chunk.Kthzyx has learned by now that just wandering the populated areas of this squishy dimension leads to … misunderstandings. There was one particularly unpleasant one where someone tried to smash her to get her crystals. So now, if she is asked or assigned to travel, she tries to be a little more … subtle about it. Ardul looks particularly good in her spiky new grey armor, doesn’t she? Well, at least the back half of it’s all spikey at the moment.
Mmmm. Ardul’s not sure how she feels about the change in her armour. It is after all something very special to her. A mark, if you will, of her standing within the royal house of Iyesgarth but Kthzyx had needed protection and this was the best to do it.
Poking at her own armour, the Winged Women finally glances over as the chunks of crystals fall to the floor “That last one, was a big one, Hunter. How much damage did it do?” beat “You alright back there, Zyx?”“Twenty eight…” Chunk. “Twenty nine.” Chunk. “Thirty.” Chunk. “Thirty one.” Ker-Chunk. Crunch. Yes, that last one was a big one. It was nearly the size of Hunter’s torso and Hunter isn’t a small being.
“Hello Ard- what in the name of hearth and hunt happened to your armor?”
The big grey wolfen has met Zyx, you see, but he’s not really aware of the full extent of her abilities. The crystal he’s just finished dumping on the floor has a faint resonance to it. Not an elemental resonance but it’s closer probably than any crystal that Zyx has encountered in this plane thus far.
“Watchers all gone?” Zyx asks Ardul in a very quiet voice, a bit more chime-like than has become her ‘squishy’ voice as she struggles to speak at a considerably lower volume. If there’s no one left around that Zyx doesn’t know or has not been vetted by either Hunter or Ardul, then she’ll ‘step back’ from winged warrior’s armor, leaving it exactly as it normally is. She’s not ‘piggybacking’ anymore.
Promptly turning to settle on all four limbs (she’s found it easier to move about like this, as it’s how she learned first upon arriving here), she then baby elephant shuffles over to the pile of crystals, fascinated by their resonance.
“Oooh…” she starts humming a low, singing bowl like tone. Possibly TO the crystals.
“My armour?” Ardul sighs “Zyx needed an escort. People keep trying to … harvest… her.” The blonde hadn’t been quite sure how the elemental had identified herself, but with that cleared up, it’s now ‘her’. “She suggested this. I’m not sure how I feel about it. And yes, Zyx, the watchers have all gone.”
As the elemental starts chiming, Ardul casts Hunter a look “Seems like these are hit with her.” It’s unlikely there are more… if Hunter was fighting an elemental. “Your bot ok there, Hunter?” He seems to take as much pride in that bot as she does in her armour. “That’s an awful lot of crystals you managed to collect.”Hunter just kind of stares for a moment. The crystals start to hum back as Kth hums to them. It’s sort of a faint chiming noise almost like wind chimes or… really soft synth music. It’s so faint that while Kth can //feel// it, it would take someone of Hunter’s ability to hear it. And he can, he’s just a bit busy right now.
“Yes. Thirty one of them, as it happens.” He says dryly. “At least the haul was… okay. Will you get some of the ceramite plate and bring it up here? I need to replace the armor on this side. It’s pitted pretty good.”
“What is ‘thirty one’?” she asks then stops at the first damaged area she reaches, her two frontmost limbs doing a passable imitation of a shrimp sifting through silt for snacks. And, yeah. She’s eating whatever she’s finding.
Unable to detect the crystals responding to Zyx, Ardul watches as the elemental starts to climb the robot. “The number of crystals that Hunter collected.” She answers, not quite understanding the question that Zyx poses.
Picking up some of the plating, the blonde uses the platform to join the Wolfen, inspecting the pitting when she gets there. “Mmmm, it was strong. Let me help you get that panel off.” There’s likely remnants of the crystal in that pitting that Zyx will feed on … “What did you go in after?”“One of the teams heard rumors of an armory in Lower Menagerie.” The Wolfen watches Zyx for a moment and then goes to work at one of the armor panels – one of the ones he’s going to have to replace – with a torque wrench and a pry bar. “We didn’t find it, so we settled for killing some rather annoying gargoyles and taking their stuff. Which they’d… taken from someone else. Lotta tech scrap. They were keeping a pet… something. It was big. Lots of crystals.”
The crystals continue to hum and… is it Hunter’s imagination or are they getting slightly louder? Maybe they are. Ardul might start to hear them now. In any case Zyx has a lot of stuff to snack on. There are plenty of shards to pick out and munch but she will have to be careful not to hang on to one of the panels Hunter is popping loose and replacing.
“Thirty one is count. Then no, no thirty one. More. More are singing.” When the blonde warrior reaches to open the panel for her, Zyx moves out of the way to give her room to do so, then reaches in and pulls out a palm-sized piece that she somehow adheres to her back. Then she starts humming again, harmonizing in a way with the crystals and hopefully calming them down so they don’t get any louder.
“An armoury?” Ardul turns grey eyes to Hunter, raising an eyebrow. “I’ve heard that Gargoyles down there are pretty dangerous. At least it wasn’t a wasted trip.” she murmurs, taking up another pry bar and working in unison with the Wolfen to loosen the panel. “Anything good in the scrap? The last lot of salvage I went in after, I found some useful parts that I could adapt for armour. The rest sold for a pretty amount.”
The humming of the crystals gets the blonde looking down and then to Zyx “Are they … talking to you?” she asks as she peers at the elementals legs, noting the colour. “The pet. Did you kill it? Or is it still around. Looks it agrees with Zyx’s appetite.”
“Heard a rumour earlier today.” she murmurs as they as they work “Two winged cyborgs were seen out near Clearwater…” Winged cyborgs, like the two that had attacked them a week or so ago.“Uh, no, it’s dead. Definitely dead. I smashed it in about every possible way this bot can smash.” Pop. Creaaaaak. Clang. The armor plate over the shoulder slides off and just falls to the ground. That’s actually kind of dangerous but… there’s no one else in here.
“That’s not a rumor that I want to hear. Hopefully it’s not related.” Hunter murmurs back.
As Zyx harmonizes with the crystals they seem to pulse, harmonizing back with her… and getting louder yet.
And then they start to grow.
Helping Hunter shoulder the panel, Ardul winces as it crashes to the ground. It’s a good thing they’re alone, because yes – that’s dangerous. “It’s not a rumour I want to hear either. Well, actually it is. If it is related, forewarned is forearmed.” she murmurs back. “I’m trying to get better confirmation.” She glances down, watching Zyx arranging the crystals, smiling slightly. Isn’t that cu—-
“Ah Hunter, are you sure you killed it? Those crystals you bought back are growing …” Reaching for the cylinder that’s attached to her hip, the winged warrior takes a deep breath and stares at Zyx. “Clean … what exactly.”The noise is only getting louder and the crystals are growing at an accelerating rate. The part where Hunter dumped them all is starting to resemble a bramble patch. A really hard, violet bramble patch. It’s not unlike a scene from a certain well known animation from before the Golden Age.
Well, not well known to anyone here.
“What in the name of…” Hunter draws and shoots – that may be his first reaction to a lot of things – but all it does is bounce the laser bolt //everywhere//.
“Shit. Well… ideas?”
Is the purple … crawling down her torso? Whatever the case, she does hastily pull a grapefruit-sized (and growing) chunk of crystal out of the robot and drop it toward the bramble. And she’s still almost frantically cleaning.
“Well then…” Arduls response is rather moderate considering Hunters and she watches the bramble of crystals grow … “I imagine, Hunter that it’s part of the creature you thought you killed.” Seeing the laser fire bounce everywhere, she takes a moment to consider. “It’s crystalline, right? And it seems to be respondind to Zyx’s humming …” she looks at the creature that’s skittering over the robot “Zyx, modulate your tone to shatter it …”
Just in case that doesn’t work, Ardul taps on a panel on her armour “I might be able to modulate the energy field my armour puts out … Can you do similar with your laser? If not, drop more panels on it.”“Modulate my laser to shatter crystal? When was the last time you saw a bright light break crystal or glass?” Hunter shoots back in annoyance. Kythzyx’s effort have prevented Hunter’s bot from growing new, extraneous crystal based shrubbery but the entire left side of the room is near inaccessable and Hunter is seriously considering going in to smash, except he’s not clear that’ll do anything but make more crystal to grow.
“Kth can you help?” If not, smash it is.
“The laser is energy and penetrates at different frequencies…” Ardul mutters, still working on the energy fields of her armour, testing them against the growing mass. “If Zyx can’t do something, just smash it. But I’m not sure that will help in the long run. It might just make more of the things…”
Pausing her efforts as Zyx skitters back down the bot, she watches carefully … “Is she doing anything? I can’t tell…”The rampant, fractal growth slows and then finally stops. The crystals are pulsing visibly now, first with violet light that then turns bright, bright red. Whatever it is, it doesn’t like this.
It likes it even less when Hunter slides down the ladder and smashes a whole ‘branch’ with his cybernetic arm. “Keep doing whatever you’re doing Kth. Ardul, a hand if you please?”
It seems Zyx is and as Hunter drops, so does Ardul, after she picks up a hammer from the platform. She doesn’t slide down the ladder though. She uses her wings and alights on the ground.
“It looks angry … ” she murmurs, swinging the hammer at another branch, shattering it and giving Zyx an apologetic look. “You seem to like it, Zyx. Can you contain it? Might give you sustenance for a while.”After a long minute or so of Zyx humming and Hunter and Ardul smashing the crystal stops pulsing and goes back to the simple, faint resonance that Zyx had heard at the start of the whole thing. There’s a lot more of it now. It’s in shards and pieces now and the room is now accessable again.
“So… that was fun. Everyone okay?”
“Nono. Big pieces don’t want to listen. Want to grow and walk. Very bad. Better just smash and leave tiny.” She keeps up the counterpint until the crystals die back down. Back in baby elephant configuration, she shuffles through the mess back toward Ardul to try to hide behind her legs. “Dinner isn’t supposed to try to fight back,” she says a bit mournfully.
“Well, that was interesting. I’m ok, thank you, Hunter…” Ardul answers as she looks at Zyx. “Keep them small then, little one. Gather them up and don’t sing to them. I assume that’s what you did. Eat them, when you are hungry.” Of course, Zyx’ll have to find something to collect the crystals in but it should be right, shouldn’t it?
If not, they’ll have to dispose of this mess.
“I don’t think the ‘pet’ is dead by the way, Hunter.” the grey eyed woman casts the Wolfen a look “If you’re going back in there, you might want to be careful. If it is alive, it might hold a grudge.”“Dinner?” That gets a look from Hunter. She eats that? Isn’t that like cannibalism? Well, perhaps not. It isn’t alive per se. Well it is alive but it’s not really sentient. It’s not thinking anything. It’s just… there. And it does respond to Zyx.
“Well you can have those if you want. Maybe you can use it to grow a garden or something…”
In general, though, Hunter agrees with Ardul. It’s not something he wants around right now and it’s clearly not dead, at least not in the traditional sense.
Zyx looks at all of the broken crystal bits. “Too much. But will take some.” Of course, isn’t there a market in Vesper for crystals of all types and sizes? And even smashed, there are still some good-sized chunks in the mess. “I won’t try to grow them again. Too … angry.”
“Mmmhmmm…” Ardul had noted the way Zyx’s colour had changed. “… dinner.” The fact that Zyx won’t take all the crystals poses a slight problem. “Well, then. We’ll have to collect all of this, it can’t stay here. There’ll be a merchant her in Sarens Rest or Vesper that will want them.” She’s heard that Techno Wizards pay good money …
“Let me clean up here, Hunter and I’ll help you mend your bot…”“Too angry… sure.” He’ll take Zyx’s word for it. They certainly seemed angry. Fortunately, she’s also right about there being a very large crystal market in Vesper. So that should net something at the very least.
“Anyway, I’d appreciate the help. And if I go back in there and find that thing alive again… I’m going to feed it to Zyx…”