The tumbleweed slammed through the trees, the white stone-like substance that made up the body of the creature crackling with electricity. The sheer mass of the creature displacing trees, roots, and soil shook the trees around it,
Crap, it was not doing that before, at least not constantly. I wonder if something set it off, or if it is triggered by the increased motion or momentum of the thing?
It did have increased momentum, at least from what Robin could judge from the way it was rolling along at a high speed without needing to pull itself along with the piston-like strikes it was now emitting outwards seemingly at random.
It did not seem particularly guided, either, rather moving like a boulder rolling down a hill.
Robin could see that it was not going to impact May or him directly unless it veered suddenly, thanks to their constant movement, but he was not prepared to rule out that it might, in fact, suddenly change direction. He reached into his senses for Opal, but had trouble pinning her down. It was not that he could not sense her, it was more that her location was inconsistent. Her Pink Moon Mantis abilities are really shining here. At least she does not seem worried, just unnerved from the tumbleweed.
Much like him, now that he considered it.
Robin shook his head, trying to shake the mental fog that constant adrenaline leaves in its wake.
Robin pointed into the woods at an angle perpendicular to where the tumbleweed seemed to be headed, and she nodded, following his lead as they sprinted through the trees a small distance. The tumbleweed seemed to be turning in a wide circle to swing back at them, but it bought them a few moments, by his estimation.
“Hey, May. Do you have any healing items?”
May shook her head, a pained expression flitting across her face.
Robin nodded slowly, his eyes darting as he considered his options. May took a half-step towards him, lifting a hand and dropping it.
Robin smiled, lifting his head towards her.
“May, try not to take this the wrong way, but I need bodies… as in corpses.”
He pointed a smile with too many teeth at May, feeling the awkwardness even as he was making the motion.
This is why COM is useful, he thought, some tiny part of his lizard-brain expecting her to back away, tell him to step back, or even raise the glowing white machete at him.
May nodded, letting out a small sigh of relief.
“Yeah, that shouldn’t be an issue. What kind do you need? There are Tweaker Goblins everywhere, a few spiders a ways back, some Tweaker Mages here and there… Which would you prefer?”
Robin raised his eyebrow at the phrase “Tweaker Goblins”, resolving to himself to make the mental switch to that name. Much less morally objectionable than ‘Baby’, anyway.
“I have very little BODY left at the moment. I have a potion that will help me recover BODY, but it consumes corpses or other raw biological matter. It… um. Well, it might mutate me, depending on how far off the material I absorb is from whatever is defined as baseline humanity for me.”
Robin took a deep breath, expecting to feel winded after his speech, but realized he… was just fine, and stopped his breath partway through, letting it out and attempting to start breathing normally again. Ugh. There is a downside of being more aware of individual muscles… Stop thinking about your lungs… Stop thinking about breathing…
Robin started talking, hoping it would clear his mind a little.
“The Peak Human (XII) title might help prevent that, but I think that items that specifically cause mutations are still dangerous, and might still have a higher chance of mutation.”
May nodded, waving her hand slightly to make him hurry up.
“Okay, I get it. So, bodies. We have spiders, mages, goblins, a couple brutes!”, she interrupted herself. “We have a tree we punched, which is biological matter, and we have… nothing, that’s it. Which do you want?”
“I think the Tweaker Mages might be best. They seem closest to human, right?”
May shrugged. “I dunno. Follow me.”
She turned into the woods and began running, seeming to Robin to know exactly where to go. He followed after her, pulling the Serum of Consumptive Recovery from the Aliquam Pack.
In what felt like moments, May led him around a large oak tree, where he almost inadvertently stepped on the Titan corpse bisected at the foot of the tree, sagging into the roots.
“This good?”, she asked, jerking her head at the corpse. Robin nodded, awkwardly stepping forward, moving the boots of the Shell of the Blue Entomage into the mud that had formed from the blood of the Titan, or Brute, or whatever it was called.
I guess I should trust the Ranger to name the enemies properly. Brute it is. I wish it was not so … generic, though. Titan sounds cooler.
...and I want to believe they do not come in any larger varieties. Robin pictured a Tweaker Mage the size of an upended city bus and shuddered briefly, pausing as he opened the bottle.
Robin turned his mind from the thoughts and focused on breathing through his mouth before he drank the potion. Grimacing, he gulped it down, his increased WILL failing him entirely in his attempts to not look at the corpse.
Robin gagged slightly, but managed to drink the entire Serum of Consumptive Recovery, his stomach involuntarily recoiling from the overwhelming taste and odor.
“It tastes like fish!”, he cried, wiping the edges of his mouth and taking gulping breaths. “Just like a backed-up creek smells!”
May covered her almost-silent laughter with her hand, before grimacing, looking down at Robin’s feet.
The mud was twisting towards Robin’s ankles, the blood leaving the dirt behind like water being wrung from a sponge by an invisible hand, flowing up his legs and into the gashes, cuts, and cracks in the armor. Robin was a little shocked at the sheer quantity of wounds that he had taken and simply not noticed.
May emitted a startled squeak, and Robin looked up sharply at the woods, but she was still staring in his direction, at the… he twisted his head to look, his morbid curiosity overwhelming his dread.
The corpse of the brute was twisting towards his kneeling form, the solid muscle and skin flowing towards him as if it had suddenly liquified. Robin let out his own squeak as the flesh overwhelmed him, wrapping over him and cocooning him in a warm, suffocating embrace.
Robin tried to scream and immediately regretted it as the liquid flowed into his mouth. He vomited, but was forced to swallow it, as it had nowhere to go. His legs and sides were burning, like molten of metal had been carefully and tenderly placed all over his body like sadistic tiger stripes. Robin began thrashing wildly, attempting to shake the wave of rot off of him.
As quickly as it had overwhelmed him, the cocoon of liquified blood, bone, and flesh stopped moving, dropping off of Robin like water dumped from a pail, splashing to the ground with a sploosh.
Robin gasped for air, spitting the remnants of the horrific fluid from his mouth. He pulled up his menu, desperate for anything to distract himself from lingering taste. He was mildly displeased to realize that he had apparently missed a notification.
May tapped him in the chest with her canteen, and he washed his mouth out with it eagerly, shooting her grateful looks as he gargled. She nodded distractedly, looking in the direction of the tumbleweed.
They could both tell where it was from the sheer noise it was generating, and it was getting louder.
Robin opened the notification after a moment of hesitation began to drag, hoping it was not a mutation.
|Your adrenal glands have become decentralized nodes, allowing for more rapid dispersal of adrenal fluids, allowing for an increase in response time and reflexes, albeit it at a cost of increasing aggressive tendencies. +4 AGI, +1 SPEED, -2 MENTDEF|
Ah, crap. It makes me aggressive? The SPEED and AGI boosts are really nice, but… I do not want to freak out and attack someone friendly during a battle…
“I got a mutation. It is not too bad, I guess. I… you might… maybe you should keep out of my immediate vicinity in combat for a while… if you can?” Robin scratched his head awkwardly, stepping out of the pile of liquified gore.
“...sure, Robin. What did your mutation do?”
“It makes me faster and more aggressive.”
She stared at him, shocked by his blunt response.
Might as well check my Motes while we are here…
He pulled up his menu of Motes, hoping he had acquired a few.
Robin heard the crashing of the tumbleweed approaching, and estimated that he only had a few seconds. He immediately willed all of his available motes to fuse, causing the expected notification to appear.
|Domain of the Spider|
|The user may invest their MANA directly into a source of non-magical web, causing the web to rapidly expand to cover an area equal to three meters per MANA point invested. (3m / 1 MANA)|
|Interest of the Spider|
|Your class ability Domain of the Spider involves Motes empowered by Kwaku Ananse, and has been upgraded.|
|Additional Effect Applied: x1 Web Mote|
|Domain of the Lurking Spider|
|The user may invest their MANA directly into a source of non-magical web, causing the web to rapidly expand to cover an area equal to three meters per MANA point invested. (3m / 1 MANA) The growth may be delayed to be triggered at a specific time dictated by the creator at the moment of MANA infusion, or triggered by the creator at will.|
Yes! I finally got a class ability that I flat-out like, with no real drawbacks I can see! Finally!
Robin smiled at May, but she was not looking in his direction any longer.
Instead, she was staring at the shaking trees, in the direction of the increasing roar.
Robin gulped. This is it. He glanced around him, suddenly nervous about Tweaker Goblins, Mages, or Brutes, but they seemed to have fled from the lightning-filled wrath of the tumbleweed.
The glance around him did not do much to alleviate his nerves, unfortunately. The trees around him were devastated to either side, the tumbleweed having passed over the area several times, flattening everything in its path, leaving plowed earth behind.
Nowhere left to hide…
Robin infused MANA into the Δ-Revenant, the weight doing a better job at increasing his morale than the dismal sights around him. When it was full, he cocked the hammer carefully, then lifted his arm and aimed it at the shaking trees.
“Hit and run?”
“Hit and run.”
The white tumbleweed exploded through the trees, spraying them with wood shrapnel, electricity arcing to the flying debris.