Jinx nodded along happily at Foki's explanation. Even IF the shrinking had decreased their combat abilities to some degree, the dark mages would have to be equally as impaired. That, and Majins operated on magic - which would work the same regardless of how large or small Jinx wanted to be - while Fauxbians, as succinctly explained earlier, drew natural power from a (probably magical) connection to their planet. "Good enough for me!" She declared confidently, examining the entryway with a critical eye. "Alright, party tank, going in first!" The wizard and the rogue could wait for the fighter lest they want their heads lobbed off.
As before, Jinx pushed herself to the front, summoning a light source alongside those that Foki's guards had brought with them. As expected, the initial entry was little more than a dirty, root-clogged jagged tunnel of bug craftsmanship. Jinx kept on high alert for any semblance of tripwires, pressure plates, bug assassins, or any other nefarious trap that the evil mages might have set up to ward off intruders. Disappointingly (to her adventurous sensibilities), the path seemed entirely safe so far. "The smell got worse, though. Guess that means we're headed in the right direction!" Probably.
"Ahh, so now you sense it. At least tells me I'm not going crazy checking this place out." Striker didn't even get a few inches in before she managed to catch some gross mess on the side of the small 'cave'. A sort of ooze she could only imagine as either a mashed-up bug or something unfinished meal. it definitely wasn't the source of this stench of dark magic that filled the chamber, but it did give Foki a moment to pause and watch the stain with her.
"Careful, it still might get you." He teased, prompting the little tenrec to turn around and frown up at him. Arms crossed as she continued walking back towards the straight and narrow path they took. So far everything was rather samey and uniform. The resident Party Tank and DPS were going to take whatever came out first, if anything. it'd continue like this for about a minute's travel before the earth under them shook. At their size, that could mean a lot of things, but the stench of dark magics seemed to spike as it happened. Foki frowned and pointed his staff towards the slowly enlargening hole they went down.
"I think we're going to have company real soon, Jinxie."
WC: 208 TWC: 6826
Last Edit: Jan 26, 2023 19:22:03 GMT -5 by Striker
Jinx had expected a sect of powerful dark mages to be living in more than natural squalor. Yes, MAGICKING everything would be a beacon to critical eyes, but at least make your tunnel not this. Ignoring the squelch of goo underfoot - Dharatan had already given them both a far worse experience - Jinx paused as a pulse of magic rocked the tunnel physically. "Well, that can't be good." On cue, the earth trembled, shaking as something, or lots of somethings caused a ruckus. Whether that be bugs, spells, or simply someone walking overhead, she didn't know. "Flare powers, go!"
A bright white light was tossed further inward, illuminating the dark, damp path as the choking claustrophobic walls loosened up. "...I don't see anything new." Granted, the rumbling hadn't stopped. Nor had the increased activity of magic. "Oh, you think it might be a forced collapse instead? Those are pretty cliche and effective. Scouting time!" Jinx turned herself into a ball, revving up and shooting off towards her thrown flare to check if the path was clear. If there was any sort of nasty surprise waiting for them up ahead, the Majin was confident she could shrug it off with practiced, regenerative ease.
Jinx had a bright idea. Quite literally. She'd huck a bright light into the hole like a flare, waiting to see what would appear.
Striker would get herself ready upfront, stretching herself, from arm to leg, while keeping pace and an extra careful eye out ahead. With the combined lights, they'd have a fair bit of time to react to the source of the rumbling. Again, another shake would rattle them. This once's a source more distinctly further down the little hole. Foki kept his staff held up at the ready as he kept himself in the middle of the pack. A very small dull green appeared on the tip of his stick once more.
"Huh." A third rumble, some dirt getting knocked loose from the ceiling, and the sudden sounds of clattering from further in grew closer now. Striker lowered herself to get ready for a curled-up. They'd make mince meat out of any bug at their level, but maybe it was some weird dark bug. Or, as Jinx suspected, they could have just been busy taking down the tunnel.
"Well, Jinxie, I know a pretty quick way to find out what's doing this. Cave-in, bug, whatever, I could get it done in a second.
"I'm pretty much out of ideas, so suggestions are appreciated!" Jinx tried to latch on to the source of the increased output, only to be met with a blanket of obfuscating magic. She huffed irritably, foot stomping the ground. "Foki! Can you sense where this stuff is coming from?" If the experienced scryer mage couldn't, they were dead in the water. Possibly dead in the tunnel if they kept screwing around. "Alright, Strikes! Go ahead and work your non-magic magic; I'll hang back with Foki to make sure nothing kills him. If you need help, just holler, and we'll come right after you!"
Jinx wandered back toward the Kashvar, concentrating as she waved her hands about. Wooden support beams interlaced with metal cores formed from her Magicka, rooting themselves into the walls and ceilings to protect them from any possible collapse. If worst came to worst, she'd just need to shield the elderly mage with her body - a bit of dirt wouldn't get past her superior defenses! "Maybe not the best time to ask for lore, but what do you think about all this? The Dark Mages are pretty bad for doing dark magic stuff, but could they have played any hand in that giant storm?"
"Alright! Let's go!" Given prompt permission, Striker would curl up. Giving the three others who weren't used to this a sudden show as she darted off in the form of a rolling ball down and down deeper. It got dark pretty quickly for the fauxbian, but she could feel and hear the rumbling much closer as she darted along. Like Jinx had suggested, the mages seemed to start sealing off the entrance to their little tunnel. Something which grew to become a lot bigger at this point.
What was apparently just random clattering noise was actually a strange door being placed in the way of the tunnel. Made of a weird black substance, the moment the Fauxbian made contact it was shoved harshly and pushed deeper into the tunnel rather than break under her strike. Confusingly, it started to slow to a stop and actually cause her to start rolling in place against it.
"I always like a curious mind. You're fine. You see, We have plenty of mages who don't go out of their way to ruin Konatsians and other off-world species' lives. Some just take their power and the trauma of war and struggle and push that onto others. Shame, really." Meanwhile, Foki smiled and watched Jinx do her own big magic. Giving her a few claps before the sudden shouting of Striker echoes back to them through the tunnel.
"HEY I THINK THERE ARE SOME WEIRD MAGIC DOORS BLOCKING ME!!!"
Well that was placatingly, if understandably, neutral. Jinx hummed, words rolling around in her mind. If you dabbled in foul-smelling practices and had to hide in shrunken tunnels to hide from the 'good' citizens, were you a good person? Jinx was used to just doing whatever she felt like. Taking things and hurting people at her leisure. She was bad. These Kashvar that had gone rogue? They had some sort of motivation, as poor as it may be. Anger, revenge. "I getcha. Just hope we can get through this whole thing without it turning too bloody." Primarily for reputation's sake. Killing an entire room of people in front of their good-aligned employers was asking for trouble.
Striker's voice rocketed through the cave, Jinx hopping toward the source and shouting back: "YO! LIKE DOOR DOORS OR FAKE DOORS!? UH, NEVERMIND, WE'LL BE RIGHT DOWN!" With a quick flourish, she'd beeline toward Striker, Foki presumably in hot pursuit. "Ayo, what the heck is that." It was strikingly familiar in coloration to Void, but it lacked the negative energy and corrupting properties true Void had. Some sort of dark magic was at play, no doubt, but figuring own how to slip past the door without just tunneling around it was the hard part.
The Kashvaran Druid and his guards were right behind Jinx as the majin seemed to bound past her magicked pillars and towards the heart of this tiny cave. One that would eventually spill open and nearly constitute a room, had it not been for this sheer black void metallic material now lodged deep above and below the tunnel walls. It had the vague appearance of two doors, with a seam in the middle, but that didn't seem to make it any less a problem. When they reached her, Striker had since unfurled and tried pushing it with her actual might. Jinx would sense the magic it gave off, someone had formed a real dense material to lodge inside the entrance rather than destroy the tunnel completely.
"Oh... Hey guys. I don't know what the heck this thing is, I rammed into it at top speed and it stopped right here. Can't push it any further." Further inspection shows above and below the big clean marks the 'doors' made being moved a good foot or so. She'd eventually relent and poke at it a bit. She's not really seen a material, even metal, that could withstand her force.
"Can either of you magic it away or something." Foki frowned and shook his head, looking at the squishy girl. His primal magic would probably not affect something like this.
"Like, TOP top speed? And it didn't even budge?" Striker had grown immensely in her own right - to the point where the Fauxbian's resting power now sat about Jinx's yet again. If all that pure power rocketing into this stuff at supersonic speed hadn't managed to dent it, then brute force was out of the question. Worse yet, Foki seemed unable to help either, his specialty not suited to destroying or removing massive slabs of hyper-tough material. "Now Striker, you know that we can't just magic everything away!" Disintegration was something you could do with enough power and a giant laser, after all!
"I'll give it a go, though!" Jinx's Kili skyrocketed as she cut loose, a surge of pink surrounding the Majin. This material was clearly hard to create and maintain, given that their current size was positively minuscule - this amount of dark slab metal would've been the size of their feet! Instead of trying to blow it all away or force the entire set open, Jinx opted for a different approach. A small archway of pink formed on the surface of the blockade, Jinx's expression tightening as she pumped all of her free-floating Magicka into it. "I t-think, that'll do! Go ahead and check it!" Transmutation. A door just big enough for the tallest of their party to crouch through was emblazoned on the larger door's surface.
"Well, it nudged a little bit. No budging past that, though!" Look, she didn't know how all that magic stuff. Jinx got onto her for realizing she couldn't just hit 'undo' on whatever made this in the first place. The complaint would be met with a hand wave as she eventually backed off the door and got to watch Jinx do something a little more clever. Jinx reached out to the door and made one right on it. A doorway through a doorway.
"Oh my Jinx. That's a lot of energy you are packing."
"Did you seriously make a door inside a door? Doorception?" Striker gave the transmuted door a quick lookover with a scratch of her chin before she'd bend down to pry this new one open. Revealing a dimly lit-up cavern on the opposite side. She blinked a few times before pointing it out to them both. Keeping her voice down for once.
"This is weird, but I think you did it. There's a big room inside." She'd start crawling through, eyeing the torches. This cavern was much bigger than the shrew-sized hole they were coming down. And the fauxbian would nearly fall their equivalent ten stories as this lip falls sheer to a new floor. Now was a matter of getting the old man through and un-morphing the gang.
"Hey, this place is normal-sized in here. Get your tush moving, druid man!" She'd call past the small faux door, showing they only had a few feet of 'ledge' before this lip ended. Foki turned to the Majin and waved her in.
Jinx yawned quietly, green limbs wobbling. "Sheesh. That took the wind right outta my sails. You'll have to give me a few to catch my proverbial breath." It meant that the shadowy door was the work of multiple mages working in tandem. If JINX even felt 'tired' from prying open a small pathway, then they could be facing upwards of five or more seasoned spell slingers. "It might be a little crappy, so watch your step!" Striker the scout, faithful as always, deduced that they were at the next phase of their journey. "Finally!" Jinx would exclaim happily. "Being this small for so long really gets my goat!"
Slipping into the normally-sized underground chamber after Striker, Jinx sighed as she allowed her body to magically morph back to a proper shape. Striker and the other Kashvar would need to wait for Foki's spell. "Alrighty," She'd kneel, whispering lowly to the mini-people. "We're in the belly of the beast now! All these torches and magic doors mean this is definitely the hideout of those dark loons we're after. I, uh, assume we're trying to avoid killing any of 'em, right?" If Foki was tagging along, it likely meant the mission was to capture or interrogate rather than assassinate.
Foki laughed under his breath as he'd wait for Jinx to get a short rest before going under with her. Popping out the other side with the two boys in tact. Striker would watch Jinx preemptively reform her height without the spell's intervention, wagging n index finger up at her.
"Something told me you could do that at any moment! I've seen you as a puddle before." Foki would just nod at the display of self-control and start focusing the green energy back into the very tip of the staff. Raising it off the ground and facing the general direction of the rest of the small people. To answer Jinx before they turned back, Foki would tilt his head up at her. Their eyes were ever unfocused as he really wasn't using sight.
"We'd prefer to capture them to investigate and hold them to court for our Vynh brothers to see. A casualty here or there out of necessity should be the last resort." He'd reiterate Jinx's assumption before smiling at the others.
"Ready? (Enbiggen!)" Tapping the staff back down, the four others would grow suddenly from the side and be shunted a little to the side where Jinx stood. Striker, unused to the sudden change in height, would fall to her knees and catch herself moments before going face-first onto the platform.
"I'm fine." She grunted and picked herself up, turning back to her green partner.
"They probably know we're here with them. We need to find them before they try something else funny like that." Despite the lit torches and lingering dark magic, there were an abundance of dark corners and crevasses slimy little mages could slip into and hide. Seeing as they can shrink themselves too, they were probably waiting to launch something bigger than just the black door.
WC: 302 TWC: 8083
Last Edit: Jan 27, 2023 19:55:23 GMT -5 by Striker
"Well yeah, not like I was gonna do that in a small lil' tunnel, though." Imagine how cramped it would've been with her admittedly petite body trying to fit! "Gotcha. No murders." If they could help it. Jinx was pretty good with self-control and judging how hard to hit people without splattering them against a wall, but these were real-deal dark mages they were up against. If the Majin got even the slightest hint Striker or Foki slipped into grave danger, Jinx wouldn't hesitate to end the threat right there and then. She didn't relish the thought that some albino elf's brain matter might stain her cape, but Jinx had long since grown somewhat apathetic to the act of murder itself.
Embolden? No, that didn't seem quite right either. Whatever Foki said seemed to do the trick. She almost instinctively reached to help Striker up, fingertips arcing back and pulling away hesitantly as the Fauxbian did it herself. Jinx smiled warmly at her fellow Nova: "Good point! Foki, will you be able to re-size any tiny enemies we run across? Taking them down while small would risk some unfortunate accidents I think we'd all rather avoid." Nothing says killing like stomping on ant-sized mages with a boot.
Striker had less self-control and more, most of her strikes coincidently did more to bludgeon and wear down people rather than turn them to a fine paste at any level. Poor Jinx... Oh well, Striker didn't notice the girl going to help her up. She was so used to always picking herself up, it was just habit and a good one in her mind. She'd pat herself down and raise to give the surroundings a quick look over. Much like Foki next to them, Jinx would have trouble pinpointing a source of magic from the mages themselves.
"I should be able to. Should they be out in the open or close enough around a corner. I'll be at the ready if that's the plan, to weed them out." Foki brought his staff up and started towards the center of the platforms with his guards in tow. Very slow-like, letting the other two take lead in the search as the warriors with Foki would mainly stick to defending the druid. With Striker limbering up, she'd nudge Jinx a little in the side and point up at the ceiling.
"I've got a really quick way to check the ceiling if you can do some of that magic to keep the place from caving in. Shake them out with some quick running, they won't be able to hold out in any little cracks if they even tried."
Small blessings. Jinx might've been able to manipulate her body on a fundamental level that bypassed magical scaling, but she couldn't exactly do it to other people. They had skeletons, organs, and blood vessels that could crush, squish, and explode if they tried to stretch and twist like she did. "Gotcha sir! We'll keep our eyes peeled!" The biggest threat was still her companions' lives being put in danger. Jinx could regenerate and weasel her way out of anything these two-bit hacks could throw at her. "Alright. Strikes, what are y-" Oh. Plan. And here the Fauxbian claimed she didn't LIKE making plans! "Sure thing!"
Though a bit drained from the door fiasco, Jinx still had plenty of free-floating Magicka to call upon for something this relatively simple. Reinforced support beams were dug into the ground, twisting and winding through the walls and ceiling to ensure that no dirty collapses could be pulled on them. "You should be good to go now with whatever it is you're planning!" Jinx moved a bit closer to Foki's guard detail. She'd have gone off cabal hunting but wanted to see what Striker had planned before dashing off an getting blasted into hundreds of gooey chunks.