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Sage Trials - very hard quest; Ticho, Yamcha, and Juch
Topic Started: Sep 25 2017, 09:51 AM (354 Views)
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Sage Trials

Difficulty: Very Hard

Description: Sages are Adel's most valuable pupils, and represent the bright future of the Keliouxian craft. To gain this title you must prove both your mastery of skills as well as your ingenuity. There are four trials. The first is a trial of basic ki control; how well can you move and build your ki? The second you must prove your ability to see and sense it. Third, you must be able to manipulate it; change its shape, its size, and the way it can be sensed. The fourth and final trial, you must stand before Adel himself and show your worth, whatever you think that may be.

Reward: +1,200 zeni, +7 DP, +2 SP, +100 all stats, +7 Rp Credits

Bonus: +50 Int, rank of "Sage". As well as receive the special item Sage Epaulette: Sages are masters of ki manipulation and all scholarly pursuits; along with keeping the benefits of previous ranks, a Sage may master an additional advanced technique and are granted access to Adel’s Personal Library.

Requirement: Must be a Seneschal, and have completed 8 Keliouxian Scholar Quests
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Continued from here

The saiyan observed his surroundings. Just like the other temples, the hall behind him was lined with the language of the Lost. Unlike the other temples however, the throne lay empty.

"What gives?" Ticho thought to himself as he scratched his head. "I guess I have to wait for Juch to arrive. I suppose I could get a head start and start looking for the orb now." The young scholar tried to step forward but his foot was stopped midstep. Some sort of invisible force appeared to impede entrance into the room.

The saiyan moved his hand over it, checking for any gaps or holes. "Impatient are we?" came a voice from within. This one was slightly different from the one that had spoken to him within the void. "We can start when your friends arrive."

Ticho raised an eyebrow at the spirit's comment. "Yamcha must've been sucked in too," Ticho thought as he took a deep breath. He'd wondered if the artifact remained active or went inert once it had had it's effect. He would have to ask Yamcha later assuming they made it out of this mess alive.

Before Ticho could pursue the thought process later, Juch materialized a few feet away. "I'm fine," the saiyan responded to the android's inquiry. "It looks like we can't proceed until we're all here. A voice told me that we could begin once my friends arrive. Yamcha must've gotten dragged into this mess too."

No sooner did the saiyan finish that sentence than did the human appear nearby in a similar manner to the professor. The younger scholar had to admire the fact the the earthling could make jokes even in situations like these. "It appears we're in the temple of Spirit. As you can see, the room ahead of us has the same layout as the throne room of the other temples we've encountered. I suspect we merely have to find the orb and place it on the throne to escape."

A loud chuckle came from within the throneroom. "Very good. Seems you've visited some of the other elemental temples," the voice boomed from the throneroom. "As promised, the three of you may now begin your final test. But a simple game of find the orb would not be interesting at all would it?"

The orb appeared suddenly halfway into the room floating 10 feet off the ground. Ectoplasmic manifestations began to form around the orb. Swirling and growing, they began to shape into what was starting to look like a being the size of a Keliouxian. Within about 30 seconds, the transformation had completed and an exact duplicate of the grandmaster himself floated in the center of the throneroom.

"Surely you recognize this face," the creature stated mimicking Adel's voice. "Your task is to defeat me. Only once you've overcome your teacher will you be allowed to retrieve the orb and leave this place. Oh, almost forgot."

The copy waved his hand towards them and a wall became visible for a fraction of a second before vanishing where the invisible force had been. The lookalike then took a fighting stance and looked upon the 3 scholars. "Come at me!"

Ticho looked at his 2 companions and then back towards the fake headmaster. It was most likely that the spirits could mimic Adel's power and techniques as well as his voice. After all, this was their realm and these beings were able to recreate elaborate scenarios from their memories alone. A direct assault would not work here and the saiyan decided it best to first discuss a plan of attack. The copy did not seem to be making immediate agressive action.

"Yamcha, Juch. He's not coming after us so the initiative appears to be ours to control. We should discuss a plan. Any ideas?"

WC: 634
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Yamcha frowned, his mind trying to accept this situation.

Adel didn’t develop the test, right? This is Lost tech, so it has to be older than him. That means they only know Adel from our own memories. I’ve been training with him for a long time now, I know you both have all had your turn, too. With three of us going together I can’t see this being too difficult, so the test has to be more than just defeating him. Let’s see what we can find out.

Professor Just would know much better than the Earthling, or probably the Saiyan, exactly the strength of their master. But again, Yamcha was estimating this Adel-replica based on his own memory, and wasn’t too concerned.

You know, I’m actually a little excited for this.” The Earthling stepped forward, ki rising as he walked. Suddenly his eyes narrowed and his aura leapt forward in a dark blur of howling rage. “Roga Fufu Ken!” The wolf-like aura crashed against Adel while the true fighter had now appeared behind the grandmaster. A flurry of blows were unleashed from both sides. This technique was the Illusion Wolf, and it relied on the deception of Yamcha’s fighting spirit being manifested visually and controlled to confuse the target’s eyes and inner senses. Effectively it meant that the opponent could not actually pin down Yamcha’s true location, leaving them open to several strikes while the technique lasted.

However, as Yamcha charged his enemy and the first exchanges were thrown, Yamcha suddenly found himself attacking his father again, only this time the man didn’t even flinch. The bandit vanished and reappeared a dozen times, meeting his enemy from every angle, but still the greasy farmer just grinned. A grin so similar to Yamcha’s own it made him sick.

“What’s wrong boy? Still feeling weak?” his dad said. The Earthling’s technique settled and so did he, facing his father with a white rage.

Kiyaaaaaaaa,” a loud growling kiai. Yamcha focused on steadily raising his power to the max. This wasn’t going to stand, he was going to finish this or die trying. His energy began building up inside more wildly than he could safely control. The ground trembled slightly, but the bandit wasn’t stopping. He pulled in more power than he had ever previously attempted. A wind grew from his feet, whipping his hair and karate gui. He kept his sights locked and kept on powering up, his kiai growing louder.

Yaaaaaa!” His muscles began to ache from the strain of collecting all of this power. His body wasn’t used to being pushed this far, though he knew that he could still grow stronger. Stronger. Stronger. The rush was now intoxicating, even as he felt it punishing him physically. Finally he began to focus it into a single large orb, a Spirit Ball.

Now let’s see you handle this!” He grinned back with feral glee, but just as he was ready to wind up and deliver his blow, a shine of yellow energy caught his eye from the side. He turned just in time to release his ki and cover himself defensively as a tidal wave of power swept over him, tearing at his body and battering him with more power than he had even felt.

Dazed, smoking, but running on adrenaline, the Earthling regained his feet, looking around. Adel was back, looking stoic as ever. Yamcha whipped his head around, searching for his father again.

“That technique is called Nightmare,” Adel stated calmly. “Who did you see? All we saw was a confused boy fighting the wind. You’ve got to learn to protect your mind.”

Yamcha swallowed hard.

I guess it’s not just the Adel from my memory, guys.

Fuck. Can I do this?
Yamcha: 624
Ticho: 634
Total: 1258
Arqua & Herra Valo of yore. Back with a vengeance.
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A heavy breath escaped from Juch, as he pushed himself off of the polished floors—a stark contrast through the strange and bizarre that he had been forced through just moments earlier. He had caught sight of Ticho just earlier, who had discovered a strange Lost artifact that had ensnared both of them in this twisted world. Fortunately, the Saiyan scholar seemed to be unharmed for the most part, and the android straightened his posture to survey his surroundings.

It seemed like they were in a different place altogether now, but despite the change in environment, Juch had a bit of relief flow through him now that he had the Saiyan within his gaze once more. He couldn’t let a student simply wander off when it came to newly discovered Lost technology. However, with that mentality, it would appear that his own plate became just a bit fuller.

The younger man had interacted with a voice of sorts? So there was something planned regarding all of this, but their number of two was not enough for the situation; instead, Yamcha had also been dragged into this mess? It felt out of place for Juch, but Ticho’s words were verified nearly immediately after.

It was a familiar voice grabbed his senses in this unfamiliar place, yet the placement of this one was the most surprising of all, “Hoh? Yamcha?” Juch turned as his gaze reaffirmed his thoughts. The dark haired human strolled forward, seemingly without a care in the world—just what in the world was he doing here? He must have interacted with the relic somehow after they had; oh dear—at least Yamcha seemed to be in good spirits, “I don’t give extra credit, unfortunately,” Juch replied, allowing himself a little bit of a wry smile.

Yamcha, for what it’s worth, seemed to be in good shape. Was he transported to this plane of existence directly, or did he also go through some trials and tribulations—well, perhaps Juch can ask about it later. For now, the task at hand was to get out of whatever stranglehold that the relic had cast on the three of them in the first place.

That was when the voice spoke up again. Juch looked up at the echoes as they bounced off of the walls. This was the Spirit Temple now? That made sense; it added up with what Juch had experienced in here so far, but it was fascinating to actually see something like this before him. He should have recognized it sooner himself. This was unheard of, having a temple constructed for this element as well. There had been hypotheses of how the Lost could pull of such a feat in the first place, but here it was. He was experiencing something that was thought to be only limited to thought experiments.

He watched as the orb formed, swirling around into a humanoid form. The android placed both of his hands in his pockets as he watched phenomenon unfold with a distant curiosity. All he needed was a notebook and a pen to furiously scribble away, but he can keep his thoughts clear even afterwards. However, it was only when the figure manifested into the current Grandmaster that made Juch tilt his head a bit.

They had to defeat this mimicry of the leader of Kelioux in order to progress, was that it? Very interesting indeed; Juch remained facing forward while Ticho looked towards him, asking about a plan. The professor ran through his thoughts, but his gaze remained fixed on the illusion of the headmaster. Since everything here was about the spirit, then the opponent before them must have the same properties as before. Everything was taken from the memories thus far, and why wouldn’t this be any different? Yamcha spoke aloud, as Juch nodded in silent agreement. They had come to the same conclusion, and Ticho appeared to have reached the same understanding as well.

Ah, this was going to be a little difficult then, wasn’t it? Juch let out a soft sigh through his nostrils. If it was just Yamcha and Ticho here, then the Adel they were facing would be much different. However, Juch had been by the Grandmaster’s side for much longer, and he had seen much more; this was going to affect the circumstances here, wasn’t it?

Before he considered speaking up, however, Yamcha seemed ready and raring to jump into combat. Juch watched as he went charging into the fray, but the android didn’t follow his lead just yet, instead observing the human’s distractions until he finally returned to his senses. Juch’s frown deepened. Indeed, Adel typically wouldn’t show a technique like that for students. So that move must have come from the professor’s memory bank.

He turned to Ticho, “Can you sense the flow of ki that is surrounding the orb? It is using that to maintain its power and appearance. I would recommend studying it to see whether or not we can disrupt it in some way.”

The android took a step forward, looking over to Yamcha, “It may not be the Adel from just your memory,” he began, “But this sort of combination brings out its own problems. Continue fighting the way you do, and I will support you.”

If this Adel was comprised from a mixture of various memories…what happens when the memories themselves conflict with each other? That may be the opening that they may need to break down the illusion entirely, but setting that up was going to be tricky…

Juch exhaled, as runes appeared on the floor by his shoes. A sudden gravitational force began to pull the fake Adel towards him, but the grandmaster canceled it out with the same technique, but with an opposite, opposing force. With the two of them deadlocked in this struggle, it may give Yamcha and Ticho some chance to find the kinks in the armor, so to speak.

Because unlike Yamcha’s initial thought, Juch was less certain about their victory if the three of them were to just gang up on Adel. Because the professor knew the extent of Adel’s power—and that wasn’t going to translate well in this battle. It was going to be a difficult one, that was for certain.

Juch Word Count: 1,044
Total Word Count: 1,044
Group Word Count: 1,044 + 1,258 = 2,302
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The Earthling's assessment of the situation at hand seemed mostly accurate, though even with their own knowledge of the grandmaster Ticho hardly expected this to be an easy fight. He knew that Adel could invoke telekinetic powers which might make surprising even this doppleganger difficult. The young scholar was also aware of the headmasters access to Lost magic. While a meteor shower would not be applicable in a place like this, he was unsure what other abilities this afforded the grandmaster...or this copy for that matter. He glanced at Juch briefly, recognizing by the professor's face that this would not be an easy fight. The android looked visibly concerned and likely knew much more thoroughly of what this creature would be capable.

"Wait, not yet!" the saiyan shouted as his human friend marched into the room, ignoring any objections. Yamcha was powering up to try to end this test quickly. The earthling reached what appeared to be his visible limit...and kept going? The scholar's eyes widened. He'd known the human to be a hothead, but not one nearly insane enough to forcibly push his body so far past it's limits. He looked on as his classmate pushed on, his muscles bulging heavily and steam began to form from the excess heat.

"Yamcha! Snap out of it!" Ticho yelled in what may well have been a futile effort to bring his friend back to his senses. Perhaps it was successful or maybe it was coincidence, but the earthling finally stopped. The copy taunted the earthling as he divulged the name of the technique he'd just executed.

Juch finally spoke up suddenly with an insightful suggestion as always. "Ok, but we can't just let Yamcha get massacred by this thing. Who knows what will happen to him in the outside world?" The professor promptly stated his intention to back the human up which Ticho fully intended to do as well.

Awaiting an opportunity, the saiyan observed as the professor locked himself in a tug o war of gravity with the Adel lookalike. The amount of power generating was causing the place to quake and the scholar had to hover off the ground to stable himself. "Holy moly, just how powerful is this guy?"

Ticho pushed a button on his scouter on the off chance he might discern how strong this being was. His mouth opened wide in shock as he read the result. "NaN?" the scholar thought to himself. "Absurd! My scouter doesn't have the best system, but it shouldn't display that unless.."

Preparing for the worst, the young fighter powered up to his maximum. "Heads up, guys! It maybe malfunctioning because of the nature of this place, but my scouter can't measure this thing's power! That shouldn't be unless it exceeds five hundred thousand!"

The copy's grin widened as he began to slowly pull Juch towards himself with the force of his gravitational pull. "You mortals and your numbers. It's quite adorable that you even tried to measure my strength," the spirit retorted. Holding his bout with the android with his left hand, the doppleganger pointed his right hand towards Ticho. In an instant, the saiyan was encased in a large block of ice.

The scholar shivered as he struggled to escape his icy prison. It was impossible to see what was happening through the distortion of the ice, but it was too early to give up entirely. If this was another test, it stood to reason that there should be some way to pass.

With as much concentration as he could muster, the saiyan focused his ki into his lungs to superheat his breath. With an exhale, he melted most of the ice around him, effectively freeing himself from the attack.

WC: 621 + 634 = 1,255
Total: 621 + 2,302 = 2,923
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The duel between Juch and the mimic continued to escalate. The ground began to quake as each of the two upped the amount of energy they were each pouring through their attacks, up to the point where a grimace was starting to show on the doctor’s face. Little by little, his shoes were beginning to slip towards the fake Grandmaster—whoever this entity was, they really took advantage of Juch’s memories. Should a similar situation had occurred in reality, the android wouldn’t be surprised to have this be the outcome.

Tch, how annoying. It meant that he couldn’t just simply brute force his way through this, because no matter how much he struggled—in terms of just pure raw power, this Adel would overshadow him. Ticho’s words floated over his head, but were also dragged into the gravitational tug of war soon enough, leaving the shock regarding the scouter’s output in its wake. Numbers indeed—it was such a strange thing to remark upon, but with Juch’s focus being diverted away, he didn’t have any residual energy to lob any sarcasm back towards the spirit.

After the spirit sent a blast of freezing ice towards the Saiyan, he was quick to send another one towards Juch’s direction. The temperature dropped as Juch’s gravitational pull accelerated its momentum, and the professor had to dive out of the way and withdraw from the struggle completely. He landed back on the tiled floor just a few paces away, with the spot that he had just stood previously having been encased in ice. And when he looked up, Juch saw that Yamcha’s spot had suffered a similar fate. Was the human also subjected to the same ills that had befallen Ticho? His body was much weaker from that attack earlier, so if it really did hit, something like that would be catastrophic.

He couldn’t let that happen to a student, but the fog that had arisen from the freezing attack had rendered Yamcha’s fate unknown to Juch at this point; and with the spirit still standing in the way with an arrogant smirk on his face, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be an easy feat to check up on the dark haired human, “One down,” the fake Adel grinned, “Only two more to go.”

“Hmm?” Juch murmured, but it was more of an absent minded expression than a questioning one. This was a losing battle, this he could see. Any direct assaults would most likely result in the same way. If the spirit is relying on their memories in order to form this sort of control over the battlefield, then…

Then what? The android formed a multitude of ki orbs in his palm as he turned to Ticho. He swept the floor and the spirit with them, causing an area of explosions that—while probably wouldn’t do much damage to their opponent, would at least give Juch the opportunity to dash back towards Ticho’s side, “We need to find a way to end this battle as quickly as possible,” the professor muttered as he tore away whatever ice had yet to melt from the Saiyan’s body, “The longer we stay in here, the harder it would be to escape, I fear. I can still hold him off, but I don’t think simply battling him will be an effective way. I will push myself to force him to use more of his ki, and perhaps with you here, you can analyze his ki patterns a little more.”

Juch Word Count: 585
Total Word Count: 585 + 1,044 = 1,629
Group Word Count: 585 + 2,923 = 3,508
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The saiyan shivered once more as the world around him became visible again. Unfortunately, this revealed very little aside from the fact that he was still trapped due to the fog that blanked most of the area. Neither of his colleagues nor the spirit were immediately visible to Ticho.

A glow could be seen from the bottom of the fog briefly before the sound of several explosions rang through the air. The professor emerged from the haze as much of it began to dissipate. Wasting no time, the android began to remove the remaining ice that surrounded the saiyan while granting insight on how to proceed. "Sounds like a plan. I-"

Ticho stopped suddenly and took a deep breath in before exhaling another wave of fire. The attack met with what appeared to be a blue orb of ki, causing both to dissipate. "Clever dick, trying to catch us unawares from the mist. If you'd kept your hand inside, I wouldn't have noticed."

A chuckle emerged from the cloud followed promptly by the Adel imposter. "Very good. Perhaps you'll yet make it out of here. As a gesture of goodwill, you may take your other friend with you should you succeed." Almost immediately after the spirit finished that sentence, the rest of the vapor vanished to reveal Yamcha's unconscious body lying partway into the inner sanctum.

Ticho grimaced at the sight of his fallen ally. "Dammit! Why didn't you listen when I told you not to rush in like that?" the saiyan thought as he turned his attention back to the spirit. "Oh, don't worry. I left him alive and he will stay that way provided you 2 defeat me."

Clearing his throat, the saiyan kept his gaze upon the clone as he would not allow himself to be caught unawares a second time. "Professor, keep in mind that we're in his domain. Your plan will indeed allow me to analyze him, but I assume it will also expend quite a bit of your own reserves. I fear he may not share that weakness given the nature of this place. He was able to send each of us through visions of our past that were at least somewhat interactive. If there is a limit to his ki, it likely goes far beyond what either of us can reproduce."

The younger scholar leaped back several feet to give himself a good position to analyze and hopefully provide artillery support should Juch need it. "Please be mindful of that. Knowing his patterns probably won't do much good if either of us exerts ourselves to a point that disallows action on that knowledge."

WC: 440 + 1,255 = 1,695
Total: 440 + 3,508 = 3,948
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The shards of frost lingered on Juch’s gloves, but the cold did not penetrate through the material. Still, with Ticho out of the clutches of the ice is a plus; with an opponent like this, every little bit of advantage that they could muster would count. As the Saiyan began to speak, his words slowly melted away into flames; a cone of burning ki burst through his lips to meet with the sudden strike from the thick fog, one that shunned the incoming attack and negated the sneaky move.

Juch’s hands brushed against each other to remove the residue as he looked back at the fake grandmaster. His brow twitched as their opponent appeared to offer them a sort of handicap. The silver haired man’s eyes peered over his glasses at the reveal of Yamcha’s unconscious figure that had been incapacitated from the last attack. At least he was still alive. That was what counted right now.

Ticho spoke back, now his words being unhindered by the spirit’s continued gesture of ‘goodwill’. The scholar was right to point out that it could very well be a grueling battle, and Juch may be worn out faster than the false Adel given the circumstances of their situation. The professor nodded in agreement—indeed, he would expect that to be the case. Even if he was prepared for an endurance bout, even that can only last so long, “Don’t worry,” Juch turned back to the younger man, “I’ll be sure to pace myself.”

Taking a few steps back towards the ‘Keliouxian’, Juch planted his cane into the ground and exhaled, “Come now,” ‘Adel’s’ chuckle broke through the dissipating mist, “I’m curious to see what you would do—something that I don’t already know.”

Juch didn’t offer any reply. Using his cane as a focal point of sorts, his fingers traced through the air with a soft eerie glow. And little by little, the same movements that his digits conjured up were reflected on the tiled floor, circling around his walking stick as if it was a planet and the various symbols were orbiting around it. In spite of the situation, the professor seemed to be taking his time with the matter, and the spirit had his arms crossed, his towering form leaned forward with a confident look—showing no effort or meaning to interrupt the shorter android.

This was just like the first and only time Juch had faced off against the Grandmaster in reality, when he was overcoming the various tests that were put in place to test his mettle. The doctor had started with the exact same formation when he was a student, and…well, will the spirit simply copy what had been done in his memory to counter, given that the answer sheet was already available to him?

The hieroglyphs glowed brighter as they rotated around the cane faster and faster before each shooting out a glowing ki orb in rapid succession towards the imitation of the head of Kelioux, forming a hail of energy attacks that honed in on his position.

Juch Word Count: 511
Total Word Count: 511 + 1,629 = 2,140
Group Word Count: 511 + 3,948 = 4,459
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The android seemed all too aware of the implications of their surroundings as he assured the younger scholar that he would remain prudent. In fact, Juch probably knew even better what to expect than Ticho given his history with the grandmaster. Surely, the spirit would take full advantage of every bit of information contained within the professor's mind to form a deadly likeness of Adel.

What followed was not at all what the young saiyan expected. Instead of a high speed exchange of attacks, Juch slowly formed his attack as the copy simply stood and waited. It was a complete deviation from the clone's previous patterns of relentless assaults and sneak attacks. Watching closely, the saiyan expected the spirit to take some form of offensive action.

The professor completed the preparation phase of his attack and launched several orbs of ki towards the copy who continued to stand there. It seemed as though the clone really wasn't taking any agressive action as the spheres began to close on his position. At the last second before the barrage made contact, the Adel lookalike yelled really loud. The force of the spirit's voice dispersed roughly half of the attacks, leaving the other half to pummel the creature. The copy chuckled as the attack comcluded, clearly affected by the attack but only slightly.

"Well done, Juch. Still, that attack was fairly predictable. You'll have to learn to use it more hastily should you use it in combat," the clone stated as he stood there as if he were pre-programmed to make that response.

Curious, Ticho shot a quick amber colored beam from his finger toward the spirit. The attack was evaded with relative easy and countered with a sudden onslaught of needle shaped ki blasts. Several of the blasts struck the saiyan and held in place for a moment before detonating. Ticho yelled in pain as the explosions covered his body, leaving him scorched all over and his clothes in shreds.

Leaping back several feet to recover, he took care to keep an eye on the grandmaster. The deadly needles has wounded him, but he was still concious and still able to help overcome this test. Better yet, the younger scholar now had an idea on how to do exactly that.

"As I thought," Ticho declared as he brushed himself off. "I've never done that to Adel before, so the response is guessed based on what would probably happen were I to attack Adel unprovoked."

Another flurry of needles shot towards the saiyan, but he was better prepared this time and managed to hastily sidestep the attack due to the extra distance. "And given the nature of this test, the spirit defaults to agressive action when we take none."

Ticho breathed fire suddenly to counter a burst of ice that originated from the clone. "Seems there may not be a hard limit on how much ki this thing has. Juch! Try that attack again exactly as you did earlier! I think I may have figured out it's pattern!"

WC: 505 + 1,695 = 2,200
Total: 505 + 4,459 = 4,964
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It was just like what had happened back then.

Back then, he was there to show the Grandmaster how well he had mastered the various techniques, interweaving the Lost runes and the art of ki manipulation into one. It was a lovely display, showing the grace and temperament that Juch had thought would be approved by Adel.

Only to have his show to be utterly wiped clean, with a sudden shout from the Keliouxian. The burst of sound waves made half of the barrage tremble, as they reached a certain resonance frequency; they shook, growing greater and greater in intensity before they simply fell apart. That was…strange. Not the effect that Adel’s roar had on his attack, no, but of how eerily similar it all was compared to his memories of back then.

Even the words that the fake Grandmaster had used sounded so familiar. Juch nearly stopped in his tracks, but kept his composure. Despite the fact that he had purposefully done the attack in this very specific way, it was still fascinating to see the results like this. It was like reading a script, seeing his opponent seemingly recite the words like one would do a multiplication table or something of the sort.

And because of the sudden stillness, a steady beam shot out from behind Juch towards the fake Adel. The professor’s gaze darted over his shoulder to see the Saiyan pointing at the opponent. At this rate, it almost seemed like Ticho was going to get a free hit in, but it was a little surprising to see the spirit almost snap out of the trance that he was in earlier and suddenly elude the beam’s violence and reciprocate with an attack of his own.

The needles that came out thirsting for blood did not care who was in their way. It was possible that the attack was meant for the Saiyan, but the retaliation also struck Juch as well—the android ducked behind his overcoat, as the needles stuck into the armored clothing before erupting into explosions as well. The burnt side of Juch’s clothing was paired with a pained yelp from the younger scholar. Juch looked back to see Ticho’s current state, taking note of the sustained injuries, “Be careful,” the professor stated back, but listened to the Saiyan’s hypothesis on the matter.

Indeed, it was possible that their foe defaulted to some selection of Adel’s techniques should it be something out of the blue, and it was true that every time they stopped interacting with the false grandmaster for too long, their foe went on the offensive. That ice attack from earlier still left its mark, in the end, and the second wave of ice and needles wasn’t exactly welcome. So far, the Saiyan did have some weight to his argument, and when Ticho called Juch to attempt the same attack pattern as he did before, the android nodded in return.

He set it up the same way as before, but his speed was a little bit faster this time around—after all, in the memory, that was how it went. Adel allowed him a second chance at the attack back then, and he had tried to speed it up as per the Grandmaster’s feedback; however, the next part of this was going to be slightly tricky…

The runes glowed again, swirling around and firing off blast after blast as a noticeable strain overtook Juch’s features for just a moment. Suddenly, in the midst of the technique, one of the runes misfired, sending one of the blasts careening way off target—it was an accident back then, and quite an embarrassing one at that, but with his skills and knowledge now, to try and purposefully create that mistake was a little more challenging.

Hopefully, he did it well enough for to deceive the spirit. The remainder of the attack continued, spinning around faster and faster to make up for the ‘mistake’ earlier, showing Adel that indeed, speed was part of his repertoire as well.

Juch Word Count: 671
Total Word Count: 671 + 2,140 = 2,811
Group Word Count: 671 + 4,964 = 5,635
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Ticho looked on as the android began to recreate the attack. Despite his request however, this was not an exact repeat. The saiyan opened his mouth to protest, but promptly stopped himself as he noticed that Adel had once again halted his assault.

As the runes began to fire, one of the blasts veered noticeably off target. The fake Adel seemingly vanished and re-appeared in front of the misfires attack's trejectory and redirected it towards the temple floor. Without skipping a beat, the copy instantly retook his original position and crossed his arms as the remaining blasts began to make contact. This batch of attacks appeared to have noticeably more effect on the spirit despite its success in blocking them.

"It seems that you still need more practice to fully master that one," stated the clone suddenly as he brushed himself off. "Let's call it a day here. We'll try this again tomorrow."

Just as before, the grandmaster lookalike appeared to be spouting off words as though he were following a script. It was clear Juch had reached the same conclusion as the younger scholar and was continuing the same memory from where he'd left off.

Ticho pondered for a moment, careful to keep his eye on the copy in case the current set of events ended. He'd not had many interactions with Adel, but he had noted that the grandmaster was quite the rambler at times. Perhaps if fed the right set of words with the correct tone, the saiyan could invoke one of his own interactions.

Thinking back, the saiyan recalled his first trip to the grandmaster's office. Adel had spoken first, but perhaps submitting his response with the same tone would allow the process to start from that point. "Do you know this much about all of your students?" Ticho inquired seemingly with no context given in a very specific tone. It was almost scary how easily the scholar recalled and recreated the words. In fact he felt as though this place itself made it easier to vividly access ones own past experiences.

"Most of them," the imposter said exactly on cue. Realizing he had succeeded, the saiyan prepared himself to evade an inevitable counter attack. "After all, I did state that I'm always looking for good hel-" The spirit was cut off suddenly as the gravity around him suddenly pulled down on him. It wasn't enough to keep him in place completely, but it certainly kept him from retaliating immediately. After all, that attack is much easier to counter when you aren't yammering on like a machine.

The copy struggled for a moment as he brought his hand up. It seemed likely that he was about to try to negate the attack with a gravitational shift of his own.

Concentrating on maintaining the hold, Ticho invoked a sudden spike in the gravity level to force the copy to stay in place for a few seconds longer. "Professor, I can't hold him much longer. Please hit him with something and/or get ready to dodge or block!"

Within a couple seconds, the lookalike broke free from the gravitational pull and let fly with another wave of needles. Having observed carefully, the saiyan was able to note a small opening in the wave of attacks. Without a word, he leapt through the hole in the otherwise perfect wall of needles that proceeded to sail through the narrow corridor. As he did so, he fired another quick beam from his finger that struck the clone in its partially off balance state, leaving a singe mark in its chest.

WC: 599 + 2,200 = 2,799
Total: 599 +5,635 = 6,234
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Ah ha.

The climb towards finding a solution can be a tricky path indeed, what with the twists and turns and dead ends. There were times where the struggle would entrench oneself so deeply, that it would be near impossible to salvage by a certain point. Yet in the same vein, success was just as rewarding, and the ‘mistake’ that Juch had used to conceal his movements paid off in the end.

Adel had stopped again in his tracks, in fact moving out of his way to stop the blast from striking the wall and instead deflected it away—only when it had actually happened how many years ago, the grandmaster was only stopping it from striking one of the many bookshelves that had lined the walls. The professor slowed his own attack down; there was no need to continue now that the memory had served its purpose, and that he also needed to control his ki expenditure. Because while he had quite a bit of reserves still stored away, it wouldn’t be good to throw them all endlessly into what seemed to be a bottomless pit.

However, he served as a proper distraction to get the injured Ticho back with another opportunity. While the android was expecting the Saiyan to make a move like what had happened last time—with the spirit distracted, it was a good time to attempt another shot towards him. Of course, there may be another shower of needles waiting for them after the strike, but progress was progress, as they say, and every bit of damage was another step closer to getting out of this mess—time, after all, was definitely not on their side.

But this time, Ticho didn’t exploit the spirit’s weakness—at least not right away. Instead, the scholar dragged the false grandmaster into another rabbit hole, on that led in a completely different direction than the one that the professor had originally used to ensnare the entity in the first place. Now this was interesting. Almost immediately, the statement that the Saiyan had used as a hook was followed up with what Juch could only assume to be the correct response—hook, line, and sinker. The android tilted his head at the change of pace, and while words were being exchanged, he began to shift his position. His footsteps moved slowly away from where he had stood, pushing the distance farther between himself and Ticho, and circling to the side of the spirit.

There had to be a more glaring opening here while Ticho had him like this. While Juch was thinking, it was then that the green eyed scholar made his move. A sudden distortion in space time brought him back to reality as Ticho applied his attack during the spirit’s response, locking him in place. While it was a well planned move, it did not contain enough power to hold him forever and invoke enough damage to incapacitate him.

As the call for assistance reached Juch’s ears, he had begun charging an attack of his own. His gloved fingers curled up slowly, crackling in the air as he moved towards Adel. The few seconds of his opponent being indisposed was just enough to have a flaming burst of ki to surround his hand. And when the wave of ki needles filled the air like an immense tidal wave, the professor grinned, “…grandmaster,” he whispered, his voice slithering through the air and dispelling the attack away from his figure, “Is this it?”


Footsteps echoed throughout the empty hallway, just outside a pair of double doors. The wood gleamed off of the bright candles that provided illumination, and the doors were slightly ajar. Still, a younger Juch’s voice cracked through the silent atmosphere, “Grandmaster! Is this it?”

“Shush, shush! You’re supposed to keep quiet in a library,” Adels’ voice drifted back as the scholar pushed the door open and strolled in. A library? He had seen libraries before. This wasn’t just a library, this was a shrine to the written word itself!

And before Adel could shush him in return, Juch landed his punch. And it hit, hard.

Juch Word Count: 690
Total Word Count: 690 + 2,811 = 3,501
Group Word Count: 690 + 6,234 = 6,924
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When the Adel-pelganger launched the freezing attack that blinded the group and put Yamcha out of commision, the human fighter barely saw it coming. Dragging in ragged, burning gasps for air not only took all of his mental energy and focus, but his vision was also fading fast from the strain he had put on his body in the mental attack he had suffered. It was as if he had fought a hundred battles and his body took all of the strain at once. But was this even his real body? Regardless, when the icy blast came and stole the human’s awareness from the situation away it was a relief.

He found himself again in the hallway he had been in earlier in this ordeal, right before he had rejoined his allies.

What happened?” he asked out loud to the spirits that directed this trial.

“Now we know the value of the peace you secured,” they said with an infuriating serenity. Yamcha ignored the invitation to restart their philosophical debate.

What is going on with Ticho and Professor Juch? Where are they?

“They are still engaged with their trial. You see, they didn’t fail in either the preliminary or yet the final tests. They do not let their Spirits rule them.”

Yamcha refused to be distracted.

Is it safe? Is it just a test or is it real?

The spirits were silent as Yamcha stalked down the open hall, however, the air seemed to ring with derision.


“True tests are all real.”

Will they die?” the human shouted in frustration.

“Are you dead?”

Yamcha felt his gall rising. His mind racing from the panic he felt from the battle, and the shame he felt at the spirits’ obvious feeling superiority at his logical lapse. Of course I’m still in the test, he acknowledged. Don’t shame me for being concerned with my friends! He wished that sounded convincing, even in his mind.

Spirit, huh? Yamcha stopped in his tracks and crossed his arms to think. Spirit isn’t about being right or wrong, it’s about being in control. And if I’m acting so fast that I can’t even think my actions through, then I’m clearly not in control. So let’s gather some facts.

He raised a hand to count them off.

One, I’m still here and not dead. Ergo, my friends will not die. I can calm down. Two, I’m still here and not dead. I am still in the test. Three, the spirits clearly want to teach me to rein in my spirit. Do I want to learn that lesson? He stopped counting and resumed pacing, albeit at a less frantic rate.

Are you saying that the failure in my first test is the same failure as in the final test?

No answer came, but as he walked, the hallway dissolved from view and was replaced once more with the farm of Yamcha’s youth. The change surprised him. The dust from the worn out fields choked him, and he coughed as he surveyed the area for the second time, lingering even on the spot where he remembered appearing during his initial test. The spot was empty, however.

Round 2, huh?” He couldn’t help but smile. “I’m actually feeling grateful.

He strolled to the barn, his good mood evaporating with every step. Control. Self-control. How will I do this differently? He pondered the first conversation he had with the spirits. He was satisfied that justice had to be done; his mind wasn’t changed in this regard. So, how would he make it different this time?

He didn’t hesitate this time for the event to happen--no shock and residual trauma held him this time. He marched directly to the barn, not even heading toward the doors. Energy crackled between his fingertips as he raised his claw-like hand ready to crash through the walls.

But he stopped. Wait. Justice and control. I can’t punish him until he’s guilty. His hand lowered to his side, clenched, but rattling with even more frustrated energy. No! This isn’t the first time! He’s been guilty for years.

Though Yamcha had these reasons burning his soul, he kept his hand still. Knowing that this was a test of spirit, resolve, justice, all of these things--he knew that he couldn’t make a move until the villain hit a point of no return. The deafening *CRACK* of the slap that started the nightmare finally shattered the painful waiting. Yamcha exhaled from his nostrils, opened his eyes, and let his aura explode.

The wall of the barn shattered inwards, spraying the three occupants with painted splinters and terror. The human fighter gazed on the scene in front of him. He was surprised by the trepidation that still grasped his heart. His lucid mind could tell that this was not an earth shattering scene. In fact, it was distinctly quaint. He felt a dark shame enter him. A rabbit--small and pointless, dropped from the hand of his father in the face of Yamcha’s display of power, a footnote in someone’s life--and a small boy’s bruises. What did these matter? His eyes, so full of venom, found his father, once again a pitiful excuse of a man. Were these crimes worth even this worm of a person’s life?

And then he heard the soft sob of his baby sister, more a baby to him now than ever before. She was not distracted with the dramatic presence before her. She took the distraction as an opportunity to dart forward and grab the fallen rabbit and flee the scene. The boy, wide eyed and overstimulated, remained with his nearly cowering father.

Yamcha had so much he wanted to say to the two of them. He wanted to tell the child to look at what he would become and know how much greater he could be than where he was, than what he knew. He wanted to tell his father that the pride he took in staying on this farm wasn’t worth the shit they couldn’t even use to fertilize. That this pride was nothing more than a facade for cowardice.

They trio stayed and stared at each other for a moment longer, and Yamcha’s thoughts changed once again. He saw how the boy edged nearer to his father. He saw his father somehow eke out an ounce of courage from the quiet vote of confidence. The fighter could stay silent no longer.

Why do you defend this man!” he shouted. “Don’t you know what he was going to do to you? To that rabbit? To your sister’s heart? Don’t you know that he is a cancer on your life? Stop it! Stand up for yourself! Now!

The boy, Yamcha stepped back at the onslaught of words. The boy’s father stepped in front of him even further.

“You leave us alone!” the man managed to bark back.

Yamcha was flabbergasted. He stepped forward and reached out with his shining claw to grasp his father’s neck. He lifted the man easily and saw the terror fill his eyes, once more a worm. The fighter clenched tight to keep the man mute.

You do not deserve any love this family has for you. I know the lengths you would go to keep them from questioning your power...and finding out how truly weak you are. I know what you were going to make them do here and now. And if you had done it I would have killed you with a smile.

He dropped the man in a heap, where he coughed to regain breath. Once more the boy raced to his father. The older Yamcha spit in disgust. He turned and stalked out of the building.

Oh, and don’t forget kid, he called over his shoulder. “I am you from the future. Your potential is way more than you realize.

And he left this scene from his past forever. As he stepped over the shattered wooden planks of the wall he had turned into a door the environment changed once more into the empty hallway of the spirits.

“This is right,” they greeted him. “Justice can never be passionate.”

I’ll remember that next time,” he said more drolly than he felt. In truth, his adrenaline was already subsiding. Maybe there really is something to this test.

“Your friends are ready.” The hallway vanished once more.
Yamcha WC: 1388/2012
Quest WC: 8,312
Arqua & Herra Valo of yore. Back with a vengeance.
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Pain was the first sensation to enter the Earthling’s consciousness. Then voices. Shouts and mumblings whose meanings eluded him in his groggy stupor. He flexed his fingers and shoved himself off the ground, finally opening his eyes. The experiences of his trials vanished in immediacy, similar to a dream that you don’t focus on, or like a memory from something long ago--he knew he could recall it at will, but he didn’t feel much like he had left the floor of this temple or experienced an entire independent adventure. The pain from his self-inflicted blow out, and the subsequent ice attack were definitely the most prominent elements in his mind at the moment.

The discoveries of his more diligent and careful comrades were slowly entering his mind through osmosis. His consciousness slowly put the meanings of the words together with the sounds he had heard while in his daze. Surprise the sucker, huh? He decided to sit still and bide his time, them. If his comrades could distract the dark Adel, then the best chance for Yamcha to score a hit would be when no one knew he was back in the game.

However, there was a single glaring concern in how he could figure into the strategies of his comrades: Yamcha had nearly zero private or unique experiences with the professor. God, what have I been doing during our training together? Basically just following any of the regular commands and exercises. Wait…. Two events suddenly came to mind. When he and Ticho had experienced their taste of Lost technology and testing Adel had been there to greet them upon their return to reality. But no, the human couldn’t remember any words he had exchanged with the Grandmaster then.

His stomach churned as he heard more dangerous exchanges being tossed between his companions and their enemy. The Earthling thought harder. Yes, there had been another time. During the Grandmaster’s personal testing of Ticho and himself, when he had rained down meteors onto the land to replicate the disaster that seemingly wiped the Lost from this, their homeworld. That gave him an idea.

Ticho’s voice brought the bandit strongly to the present.
"Professor, I can't hold him much longer. Please hit him with something and/or get ready to dodge or block!"
And then Juch sprung into action, too. As the professor made his moves, Yamcha began his. He fired off a double shot of his favorite orb of ki towards the ceiling of the temple. The upper level collapsed downward in a dramatic showering stone debris as Juch’s punch rocked the alleged Grandmaster’s face. The duplicate’s eyes caught the action as they bulged in surprise from his Keliouxian face.

You made all those meteors fall from the sky? Who are you exactly?” the human shouted in his best Ticho impression. The Grandmaster flinched at the overwhelming contradictions flooding his mind, assisted heavily by the strain put on by Ticho and Juch’s actions. The doppelganger struggled to decide between retaliating towards the largest threat (the android), responding the to rock shower, answering the memory Yamcha was trying to invoke, or simply reacting in real time since part of him knew that Yamcha was not the person who spoke these words to him.

While this conundrum of contesting influences were raging in the Grandmaster, Yamcha had leapt forward again, charging him just like before. The Keliouxian regained his senses in time however, and grasped the human’s out-lashing leg, tossing him aside amid the falling stone. The larger being opened its mouth to speak, but that’s when it saw the second spirit ball the human had thrown. It had not been directed at the ceiling, but had been sent around back, a trailing tail to the human’s flight. The fake raised a hand to deal with it, when he heard the words once more:

You made all those meteors fall from the sky? Who are you exactly?

Yamcha had utilized his Double Zanzoken, engaging in a mirror version of the attack he had just performed, a flying kick, while he had yelled these words. The Grandmaster had an attack of immediate de je vu, reliving all the experiences that had confused him moments ago. His response was the same, grasping the human’s leg and hurling him in the opposite direction--directly into the flying Spirit Ball--which is when the human engaged another technique he had learned from the Grandmaster: Transmute energy.

An explosion of power centered around the human as he converted the power of his spirit ball into a swirling cloak of flames. With a grin, the human was launched from close range back at the Grandmaster, impacting with him like a fiery comet. Their bodies intertwined as they tumbled, Yamcha grasping and grappling, trying to keep their bodies close, with the tenacity of a badger who clings to a hunting dog’s neck.

I was a little more thoughtful this time, wasn’t I?” he said through grit teeth. “How are we doing so far in your test? I’m feeling pretty good about this.
Yamcha WC: 841/ 2,853
Quest total: 9,153
Arqua & Herra Valo of yore. Back with a vengeance.
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With a look of utter shock and relief, Ticho watched as Yamcha sprung to life and immediately began to use the same methods to keep the spirit at bay. Within moments, the copy was struggling to break free from the human's fiery grasp, obviously hindered by all the stimuli that had been thrown at him.

"Glad you're ok. Careful, he's a tricky bastard!" the younger scholar yelled, unsure how long the clone would remain disoriented. Before he could contemplate further, the Adel lookalike suddenly stopped moving. Seconds later the clone dissipated, leaving the orb in his place. "You three have shown great insight in your trials. I have observed and concluded there is no further need to prolong this test," boomed the spirit's voice as the orb floated a few feet off the ground as if awaiting it's placement. As the orb was placed into the slot above the throne, a blinding light filled the room which began to fade from existence.

Ticho awoke back in his office to see Yamcha and Juch awakening beside him. The artifact once more sat inactive on the saiyan's desk, though all the characters had faded from it. Looking at the clock, it seemed only about an hour had passed since the time of their appointment.

"Well, that was certainly unexpected," the saiyan said after about a minute. "I'd say we've studied this artifact pretty closely to say the least. Feel free to crash in my office if either of you are especially tired. I know I most certainly will." Ticho leaned back in his chair, taking a moment to relax and try to reflect on everything that had taken place. He didn't feel much different physically save for a bit of fatigue, but his mind somehow felt more clear. "I'll take this decahedron to Adel's office tomorrow morning to see what he thinks."

WC: 310 + 2,799 = 3,109
Total: 310 + 9,153 = 9,463
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