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Roleplay:Hunt For The Elemental Orbs/A Cimmerian Search

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This roleplay is currently Free join. Keep in mind that if I get continuous god-modding and drastic plot-stealing/altering, I will kick the offenders and restrict the RP to those I invite.

Plot

The Aphotic Orb, the object representing the God of Darkness, Voidstar, is said to be hidden deep within the Fearful Caverns, the home of the Dark Clan of Voidstar. The caverns run far deeper than most people see, but access to these deeper areas is prohibited by the Clan themselves, due to how hazardous the terrain is.

This does not halt the growing interest in the Orb, particularly from the likes of Dr. Eggman, who wishes to acquire the Orb for himself, in order to finally complete his latest creation; the Egg Chameleon, a sinister mecha designed to be fueled by darkness. Conquering the Fearful Caverns and the Dark Clan, to take advantage of the supposed mountains of Tenebrite hidden within the caverns, as well as take a good amount of prisoners, is his other goal.

Rules

  1. Stick to the plot. Do not alter it to revolve around your character, do not change it drastically, etc.
  2. No Godmodding. You should all know what this means; no auto-hitting, no random attacks, no constant avoidance of damage, etc
  3. No Trolling.
  4. No picking random fights with others.
  5. Do not just randomly jump into a scene. Either ask, or build up your arrival accordingly (I.E "Suddenly, such and such and such" or "Meanwhile, somewhere else blah blah blah")
  6. No hogging all the glory.
  7. No controlling other users' characters without their permission.
  8. Put effort in your posts. I mean it; none of this "Person: Shadow Ball! *uses Shadow Ball*" crap.
  • Acceptable method: (Person: Shadow Ball! *charges up a concentrated ball of shadow energy, and then fires it at Person 2*)
  • Preferred method: ("Shadow Ball!" Person yelled. Cupping his hands in front of him, he began charging up a concentrated ball of pure shadows. After a few seconds he threw the ball at Person 2.)

Current Participants

Moderators are the peacekeepers of the RP (their names are in green). Listen to them if they tell you that you broke a rule, and don't throw a hissy pissy fit if they give out constructive criticism on how you RP. Only people that I (Ryushusupercat) absolutely trust get to be moderators.

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  • SuperSilverXtreme14
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Banned Users

Characters

Heroes

  • Dark Clan of Voidstar - Played by Ryu and anyone else who has characters that are members of this clan.
  • Nate the Hawk - Played by YoungEezy27. A swordsman who is interested in the cavern for unknown reasons,
  • Arid the Shrew - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. A traveler and swordsman who has heard of the cavern from stories and rumors and had decided to come explore and check it out.
  • Gold The Hedgehog - Played by Wazzuper26. On a quest to receive the chaos Swords and become Diamond Gold.

Neutral

  • Shari Hayoko - Played by MHS. A hedgehog girl drawn to the Fearful Caverns by the orb's dark energies. She wishes to acquire the orb for proper archival.
  • Eggdelena Lianna Dark - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. She is simply here out of interest, and because her inner monster beckons her to the darkness.

Villains

  • Exspira - Played by Saren. He heard the myths, and the orb's power over darkness was something he coveted for his own ambitions.
  • Dr. Eggman - Eggman wants the Aphotic Orb to serve as the core for his latest creation. Played by Scorp.
    • Eurish Egg Soldiers - Initially sent by Eggman to scout out the area, but they plan on following the doctor's orders. Unnamed soldiers are played by anyone, Norrix the Wolverine and Gavriil the Weasel are played by Ryu.
  • Flamefly Steam - Played by Scorp. She's been sent by her group to retrieve the orb, but figures that she might as well have some fun while she's at it.
  • Princess Overtone - Played by Scorp. She was sent to make sure Flamefly accomplishes her job, without acting directly together.
  • Trezerak Dark - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. He is seeking the Aphotic Orb to obtain even stronger power.
  • Trezera Dark - Played by SuperSilverXtreme14. She is also seeking the Aphotic Orb, but is also just coming to keep her younger brother out of trouble.

Roleplay

Part 1

In the Dark Clan's village, a small group of children were gathered near the fenced-off area a bit far away from the back of the village; the old fence was what separated the village from the deeper and more treacherous parts of the Fearful Caverns. The children seemed to be talking among themselves, discussing rumors they've heard about the darkness beyond the fence.

"I heard-" one of the youngsters piped up, "-that a giant monster lives back there."

"No way! How would it have even gotten back there??"

"It probably lived there before anyone even came here, duh!"

The fence wasn't anything impressive, and was only about four feet tall. It was possible to see through the horizontal openings in the fence, and one of the kids poked his head through one; he saw nothing but blackness.

"How would a monster even live back there, though...? Isn't it all just spiky rocks?"

The small group was interrupted by a shout.

"Hey!"

A female chinchilla carrying a spear trotted towards them, trying to shoo them away from the fence with her free hand.

"C'mon now, you know this place is off-limits!"

This was met with a groan from the kids, and she crossed her arms.

"I mean it, now come on."

She gazed sternly at them, and the small group finally relented, jogging away from the small, wooden barrier between safety and the unknown.

A young, female fox walked up behind the chinchilla, smiling.

"Do you just wait around for people to come up here so you can shoo them away? Is that your job or something?" She teased. She was really hoping the joke would be noticed because if not, she was sure she'd be slapped in the legs for that.

Almost immediately, the chinchilla turns on her, looking startled.

"What the-?! Who are you??"

Kind of nervous from how the girl answered, the fox tensed.

"I'm well... my name is Fuchsia... hi...?"

"How did you even get in here??"

"I was going to walk here, but the guards stopped me. So, instead, I asked permission to go here. They let me. So... yeah, there's your answer."

The chinchilla raised an eyebrow; it really wasn't

like the guards to just give a stranger permission to enter the village...but this girl didn't seem to be a threat.

"Okay...what do you want, then?"

"I was actually going to ask what's so dangerous about what's past the fence. From what I can tell, it's just rocks..."

"That's part of the reason why it's so dangerous," said the chinchilla, frowning. "It's all a bunch of big, sharp, slippery stalagmites; if you tried to go down there you'd definitely slip and fall. Not to mention how dark it is..."

"I don't mean to sound like I'm saying you guys should change everything," Fuchsia said, getting a bit more nervous,"but then why don't you have a ton of signs saying 'beware of slippery, sharp rocks' or something?"

"Because everyone here is already well aware of the danger," she said, narrowing her eyes. The fox held her hands up in a surrendering gesture.

"Ok, you got me there, well, thanks, bye!" She said, walking away.

The sudden whirring of Extreme Gear could suddenly be heard as a grey hawk with orange goggles, a turquoise shirt, and red Extreme Gear boots rode towards the gate on his hoverboard. Almost immediately, the guards tenses up, and went to confront the hawk as he approached.

"Halt!"

The fox noticed the guards and the hawk, and changed her direction to see what it was all about.

There was a black-furred hedgehog nearby, slightly obscured by the environment. She was dressed in some scholarly robes, her leather grimoire clutched in her hand.

Fuchsia noticed the hedgehog also watching the guards and the hawk, and took a bit of comfort knowing she's not the only one who had nothing else better to do.

On the ceiling of the area, a proper yet gaudy spider person climbs with ease. Once near the cavern entrance, though still a bit high up, she pulls out a small camera and silently begins taking pictures. Around her, a cold web begins to automatically spin throughout the bumps and stalactites of the cave roof.

(Ryu-Wait is she in the fenced-off area?)
(No, she's near there though, but has stopped to scout out the area.)

The fox debated going over and helping the hawk, or just watching the whole thing. Realizing she was pretty lucky to have gotten permission to be in the village, Fuchsia decided she shouldn't press her luck, and backed off.

Outside the village, Exspira was loitering around and generally headed towards it. Easily spotted by anyone on patrol because he wasn't even trying to sneak past anyone.

Strolling through the village, using care to stay in the shadows so she would not be seen by passing guards, a black cloaked hedgehog girl made her way to the gate, only pausing to watch the scene as a grey hawk was apprehended by two or maybe three guards. Her face was hidden in the shadow of her cloak, and the shadows hid her almost completely from view.

From within her cloak, a low growl, like that of an animal, sounds from the shadows of the cloth. "Shh! Stop it! Just, stop it!" The hedgehog girl twists and flinches as if fighting someone, or something. A small group of teenagers, residents of the Dark Clan, start to gather around her, and one reaches into the shadows and throws her onto the ground.

"What are you doing?" "She's weird." "An outsider perhaps." "We should tell someone." Suddenly, the hood that had once concealed her face flings off as she lunges at a teenage owl girl. The owl girl screams as the hedgehog girl claws her face, gnashing her teeth and growling like a caged animal. "No! Stop it!" The hedgehog girl claws at her face like one that is tormented. The owl girl's friends help her up, and many of them run to tell the guards.

It's not long before about four soldiers come running. They find the teenage owl with deep gashes across her face, and look shocked.

"What happened to her?!" one of them cried out.

One of the owl's friends, a violet jaguar pointed at the hedgehog girl. "She did it! It was her!"

The hedgehog girl is looking at the ground, standing on all fours. "What have I done?" she says in a low whisper. Unleash me.. Her pink eyes start to glow and she could feel it as it started to gain control. Feed me.. "No.. I can't." she says aloud.

The guards approached the hedgehog girl, hands on their weapons, just in case she attacked them as well.

"What are you doing here?" one of them demanded, unaware of her internal struggle.

"Hey, let go of me!" The hawk protested as he was grabbed by the guards. The guards seemed to be trying to push him away from the entrance of the village.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Near the outside of the Caverns, about 30 feet away, a small group of Eurish Egg Soldiers were prowling around; armed with laser rifles and Energy Tonfas, they seemed to be scouting out the general area. A burly wolverine with Cybernetic shoulders was among them, arms crossed as he gazed towards the Caverns.

"So this is the place Boss was talkin' about," he mused to himself.

Looking through a zoomed-in camera, the spider person can faintly see the shadows from the approaching Egg Soldiers. "Looks like the show's about to start. I hope my star doesn't come 'fashionably late' again," she says. "I should probably get ready myself." And with that she slowly descends to the ground on several thin threads.

Everyone nearby has their backs to the spider woman, and they do not notice her. They also have no idea that the Egg Soldiers may be approaching...

Exspira himself had made his way towards the caverns, having not been stopped by anyone it seems. Either luck is on his side or he really is unnoticeable.

"Now where to start my search.." He muttered.

(Ryu-So is Exspira in the village now?)
(yeah -Sar)

(OH CRAP I DIDN'T KNOW SOMEONE ACTUALLY ADVANCED THE PLOT, HOW DO I GET BACK IN -MHS)

Fancy-Pants Thing

"Let me see the leader of your village!" The hawk said, trying to restrain himself from using the sword on his back. "I need to warn him of the incoming threat!"

At this, the guards stopped, and eyed the hawk with suspicion.

"What threat?" one of them, a female cat, demanded.

"Well, before I answer that question i'll need you to answer this one!" Nate exclaimed. "Are the rumors true that there is a source of great power located in the caverns near this village?"

The guards look confused and somewhat shocked.

"...the priests and priestesses have felt like they've sensed the Aphotic Orb deep within the caverns, but they are not completely sure on that," said one of the guards, a male stoat. He shook his head.

"There is absolutely no confirmation that the Orb is back in the 'Point of No Return', so no, the rumors are not true."

Fancy-Pants Thing

Back where the girl hedgehog is, her body crouched on the ground, she shudders as she senses the guards looming presence.

"Answer me!" the guard barked. Another guard steps closer; he seems more concerned than angry.

"What happened? Why did you attack one of our civilians?"

"Well, that's too bad," Nate replied whilst feigning disappointment. "I guess I won't be needed here to help defend you from the incoming threat that is willing to destroy your entire clan for that one orb."

"Who says we even asked for your help?" the cat sneered. "You got a lot of nerve, waltzing in here and acting like some big, all-important hotshot...! We're perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves!"

But the stoat looked more concerned.

"Wait wait, what threat? What are you talking about?" he asked staring right into Nate's eyes. "What is approaching??"

"I'm sorry if I came off as impulsive and rude," Nate apologized. "I'm just here to offer my services as a warrior of Babylon."

"......very well, I forgive you," said the cat, crossing her arms. The stoat merely waved off the apology, however.

"That's all well and good, but who is approaching?"

"That's where the issue lies," Nate answered. "I'm not entirely sure who exactly is coming. All I know, according to message, is that the group coming have the means to literally wipe out this entire settlement if they felt like doing it."

By now, a few other Clanspeople had begun to gather, and the news they heard from Nate caused them to murmur in worry. The stoat frowned, rubbing at his chin.

"That...is a serious threat. We will have to worn Lady Maliseer..."

Fancy-Pants Thing

Exspira whistled a jaunty tune, walking up to one of the locals for some information. "Excuse me... I'm a biologist by trade and I was wondering about how I would get access to the Fearful Caverns to see the local Flora and Fauna." The spectral cat asked, lying about the Biologist part but given that Exspira's a liar by trade, he had the silver tongue and the body language to make his lie convincing.

The local, a female quokka, looked over at the spectral feline, curious.

"A biologist, huh? Well...we certainly don't get many of those coming by here, but there are definitely some interesting things to be found here," she said, gesturing towards some fenced-off areas, from which odd plants were growing.

"Look, over here; we've got Moonflare Roses; they only bloom at night, and they glow in the full moon!"

Up above, a hole had been carved into the cavern ceiling and fitted with a window; moonlight was filtering down from it.

Exspira went along with his lie, pretending to marvel at the flower and taking a petal for 'samples'... "But what about beyond the gate.. Is there any chance I could get inside for more research?"

The quokka's amiable smile was quickly replaced by a frown, and she shook her head.

"Oh, no...no one's allowed to go past that gate, I'm sorry. It's way too dangerous; you'd slip and fall and either get impaled on a stalagmite or fall all the way to the bottom of the cave and break your back or neck."

"Oh please.." Exspira chuckled, showcasing his 'unique' condition by phasing his left hand through his head for a few seconds then removing it. "I think you'll find I'm quite... Impervious to such physical nuisances."

Whether he was actually impervious to such things or not, he had a phasing ability. "So, if all you people are worried about is simply that.. Then I should be fine anyways~"

The quokka frowned, apparently having no idea what to do in this situation.

"But...it's still off-limits to everyone...you could get into a lot of trouble," she said, crossing her arms. "Also, it's incredibly dark back there; so dark, not even our residents with some kind of night vision can see well into it."

"Alright.." Exspira sighed, seemingly resigned. Of course that isn't exactly the case since later that night he planned to observe the guard's schedules. Hoping to find a brief window of opportunity in the changing of the guards to slip through.

"I understand this annoys you, but it's for your own good, trust me," she said, nodding once. "It's absolutely not safe to be back there..."

Outwardly, Exspira nodded and gave a smile that didnt reach his eyes before walking away. Inwardly, however, was a different story. 'For my own good!?! Hah! What a load of shit!! Nevertheless, the daft woman will probably figure me out far too late for her or anyone here to stop me from getting what i'm after.'

Assuming the Quokka didn't follow him, Exspira would have turned a corner before attempting to climb up a building so he could free run to a good vantage point near the gateway to the Fearful Caverns for the purpose of finding an opening he could exploit for the purpose of sneaking into the caverns undetected.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Back with the squad of Egg Soldiers, the PDA mounted on the wolverine's wrist beeped, and he opened it up.

Eggman's mug is on the monitor. "Status report."

"We are practically at their front door, sir," said the wolverine.

"Good good...Are they aware that you are there?"

"Those primitive fools will not see us coming, sir," said the wolverine, grinning a bit.

"Good. Make sure it stays that way; have you found the Orb yet?"

"No, sir; we suspect it is within their village, and that they are guarding it."

"Ah. Keep to your current plan of attack then. Do not let them get the drop on you. In addition to obtaining the Orb, you're also here to bring in new people to bolster the ranks. Understood?"

"Yes, sir; how shall I persuade them to join the Eggman Empire?"

"Any means necessary."

The wolverine chuckles a bit.

"My favorite means. We'll get right to work, sir; that Orb will be yours in no time."

"Good. See to it that the next time I check in, you have the Orb. Signing out." The monitor goes blank.

The wolverine nodded once and closed the PDA.

'Don't worry your shiny chrome dome, sir. Hehehe, I'll make sure these Darkness-worshiping heathens fear your name..."

He pointed towards the caverns and barked out an order. "Let's move out!"

Fancy-Pants Thing

A far distance behind the Egg Soldiers, a glowing, masked butterfly woman quickly flies, leaving a trail of bright blue flame behind her that fades shortly after. One of the eyeholes on her mask glows a bright red, and she stops.

"You are much too slow as an Arch-Face, Flamefly," a voice in her head begins to say. "What exactly are you planning?"

"Oh, nothing special, hun," Flamefly says, seemingly to herself as nobody should be around to hear her. "I jus' wanna see what these guys ahead of me are gonna do. After that I'll be sure to find the orb as fast as I can. Maybe I'll stick around a bit after and find some more cuties."

With that, the glow in her eye fades and she continues on her path, going a bit faster but making sure to stay out of sight from the soldiers ahead.

The group finally reached the Caverns, away from the main entrance; they have to sneak in, after all. A couple of Dark Clan soldiers were patrolling, but they did not notice the Egg Soldiers hidden by the trees.

Overtone's descent ends with her gracefully landing on the ground. She looks around and sees a female Dark Clan member looking at her with confusion. Overtone quickly moves toward her. "You've seen too much, darling, but your timing couldn't be any more perfect."

The woman is unsure of what Overtone is saying, but now has a look of fear in her eyes when seeing Overtone up close.

"I'm going to need someone to play an utmost special part in my performance today. You will be that person, lucky lucky." Overtone gleefully says to her, grabbing the woman by the arm. In Overtone's other hands, a few spiders from her body assemble and form into a pale mask resembling a screaming face. A strange lifeless energy seems to flow from this mask.

The woman struggles to break free, but before she can say anything or scream, her mouth is sealed shut by a weblike ice coating fired from one of Overtone's fingers. Overtone's expression changes to a more serious one as she puts the mask on her and lets her go. At first she struggles to remove it but simply can't, but after a short while her body just freezes.

Strange, almost skinlike and flat tentacles begin to grow from the rim of the mask and wrap around her body. These come out and wrap in such speed that her whole body is encased many times over in a matter of a minute. The eyes of the mask glow a sinister shade of red as an unnatural growling can be heard coming from the new monster.

"Perfect, as I am known for doing," Overtone says to herself with a feeling of confidence. "Now, my newest Extra, go out and give them a show they won't forget!" With that, the bizarre creature runs away, leaving small craters wherever it steps and generally making a lot of noise, while Overtone walks toward the gate to the Point of No Return.

Exspira saw this and took the opportunity to run towards the gate, intending to phase through it to get to the fearful caverns. Of course he may end up running past Overtone on his way towards the gate.

A small group of civilians noticed the strange thing dashing towards them, thumping the ground in its wake. It vaguely resembled a Mobian bat, but its body was utterly featureless, save for the mask covering its face, contorted into a scream. Naturally, the civilians panicked and scattered, and this aroused the suspicion of some soldiers, who noticed the creature themselves and drew their weapons.

"Halt!!" they cried.

The creature slowed, to a stop, and observed the soldiers, as if it were studying them. It's hands begin to tremble, seeming eager to grab and destroy something.

Overtone hears the screaming of the civilians, and a wide grin grows on her face. "Everything is going as expected," she says to herself. "I'm going to have to speed things up though, I don't I'll be able to prepare things as quickly as I thought." She begins to weave her hands between each other, forming a bunch of cold, thin web-strings. She then slings them in the direction of the gate and begins to retract the web, pulling her forward much faster.

'Of course.. Someone else after my prize..' Exspira thought, following after Overtone, intending to observe her before making a move to rid himself of a potential thorn.

Nobody noticed the spider or the ghost lynx making their way towards the gate that separate the village from the 'Point of No Return'; they were too busy focusing on the strange, featureless creature that looked very much like it wanted to wrap its hands around someone's throat and crush the life out of its owner. The soldiers had their hands on their weapons, ready to defend themselves, while the civilians fled away from the being.

While most ran from the being, one stood tall, a yellowish-gold shrew with purple eyes and an Indiana Jones attire (excluding any weapons that may have been carried by IJ). In his hands was a sword. He stared at the being, and as he looked into its horrible eyes, he thought he almost heard its thoughts. Help me..

He tightens his grip on his sword. "Someone's in that thing!" He shouted at the closest group of guards.

(Ryu-Uhh, not sure how Arid would know there's someone in that thing, but I guess that's for Scorp to decide, anyways.)

Far away from them, in another part of the village, the girl hedgehog slowly, agonizingly, stands up, her back to the guards. Her voice is a low growl. "I'm sorry.. I didn't mean to.. I just-" Release me! The girl hedgehog doubles over in agony, and moans as if she had been violently punched in the gut. She could feel the beast taking over her body, spreading through her. And she was helpless before it. That's when she heard it. A violent pulse of darkness. Of longing. Her head violently turns to the direction of the gate.

She knew what she had to do. She set off at a mad run for the gate, leaving the guards behind.

"Hey!!"

They promptly took off after her.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Meanwhile, Nate was tired of waiting for this clan to make a decision. He wasn't even in the village yet! He looked around the village from in front of it and he noticed a crazy looking person running towards the gate.

"Um," Nate started with a questionable look. "Is that girl over there supposed to be running towards the gate like that?"

Exspira, who was following after Overtone, used the augmented leg strength granted to him by Fantasia in order to catch up to her.

The guards turned away from Nate and looked towards the gate.

"What the-"

The guards immediately bolted towards those running towards the gate, but the invaders had a substantial head-start...

"Stop! STOP!!"

'Tch, you won't get in my way!' Exspira mentally hissed, glancing back briefly before unsheathing Charon and using the saber to create a wall of black flames in front of the gate to block pursuit from the ground after he had passed through the gate. 

The guards skid to a halt as the black flames roared into life, their weapons already drawn. Despite their affinity for Darkness, the flames would surely hurt them if they tried to pass through, so they tried to find a way around them.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Outside, the Egg Solders were still lurking around, trying to find a way inside of the Caverns without running into any Dark Clanspeople. Eventually, a couple scouts came across a natural opening near the top of the cavern.

"Norrix, sir, over here!" one of them called. The wolverine and his other soldiers approached, and he looked down into the entrance. It was quite large, almost 6 feet in width, and extended down into a darker area of the cavern.

"Excellent...Gavriil, you're going to scout out the area first. Radio us if it's clear," he said, as some soldiers readied a long grappling hook, securing the hook against a stony outcrop and threading the rope down through the vertical tunnel. Gavriil, a male weasel, saluted and nodded.

"Yes, sir," he said, grabbing a hold of the rope before climbing down it, into the darkness.

Fancy-Pants Thing

The tunnel did indeed lead down into a virtually unoccupied area of the cavern, away from the actual village. Gavriil could see the gate a good ways away from him, but noticed there was quite a bit of activity going on around there. He opened his PDA and messages Norrix.

"Nobody's seen me come in, sir, but...there's one hell of a party going on near this big gate," he said, his voice somewhat hushed. "I bet this gate is blocking off the location of the Orb."

"Damn it," Norrix growled on the other end. "Looks like Eggman's not the only one who had this idea...the area around you is clear, though, yes?"

"Yes sir, not a soul within thirty feet of me. Dark, too, but I bet the residents can see well in it, anyways."

"Very good. Reinforcements are coming down."

After about fifteen minutes, what looked like a sort of silent dropship flew above the opening and one end of a rope was tossed down before a few squads equipped with Night-Op's gear and weaponry rappelled down.

By then, the weasel had been joined by about fourteen other Egg Soldiers, and their leader, Norrix, was among them. They were unaware of the new intruders, and kept to the darkness, watching the kerfuffle unfolding around the gate that blocked off the Point of No Return.

Norrix's comm device vibrated, alerting him that someone is attempting to contact him.

The wolverine grunted a bit, a bit annoyed, but flipped opened the comms, expecting to see Eggman.

While it wasn't Eggman specifically, the callsign had the Eggman logo. Identifying the caller as friendly.

"Skarn here.. Am I speaking to one 'Norrix'?" 

"Yes, this is Norrix," said the wolverine, slightly confused; but, of course, the presence of the Eggman symbol eased his mind. "Wasn't expecting another group of reinforcements, but it sure doesn't hurt, heh."

"No, it doesn't.. Anyways, we're nearing your position. What are the established mission parameters?" Skarn asked, all business from this point.

He and about ten others soldiers were headed towards Norrix's location, making sure to leave two full platoons behind with the orders to keep their landing site clear for exfiltration.

"The Orb is likely being contained in a place beyond a large gate; we get that Orb and capture anyone who tries to get in the way," said Norrix.

"Understood." Skarn hung up as they ventured closer to Norrix's location, and about a few minutes later they had arrived. Assuming Norrix waited for their reinforcements.

Indeed, Norrix and his squadron were still stationed in the same place, waiting patiently for Skarn and his forces.

Skarn himself was an Egyptian hairless cat with pale yellow irises garbed in standard Eggman special ops military gear holding a silenced M16 with laser sight on the underbarrel. Being an augmented Mobian feline, his eyes were augmented to pick up a variety of different colors of the color spectrum as well as enhancing the natural night eye trait that cats have.

"I take it you're Skarn," said Norrix, nodding at the hairless cat. The Egg Soldiers with Norrix looked over at Skarn and his squadron as they approached.

"Correct," Skarn said, he and his squads had been equipped with equipment and the needed tools for this mission, though some of the non felines did have night vision goggles on their foreheads for use.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Noticing the wall of black flame that sprouted before her, Overtone looks around to see a way around it, and sees another stalactite over it. She slings web towards it while slowing herself down, then when it sticks to the spike above, she yanks at it really hard, causing it and other unstable parts of the cave ceiling to fall onto the black flame. Overtone makes a full stop and waits until things stop falling, and sees that the fire is still burning in some parts, but the rubble has made a good bridge over it. Overtone then climbs over the steaming rocks before the flames can rise again.

Exspira glanced back and saw this, deciding to let the flames die off as they had served their purpose while he just kept running deeper into the point of no return.

The Dark Clan soldiers who had been blocked off by the dark flames had been forced to leap out of the way wen the stalactite had come crashing to the ground, sending a shower of smaller rocks with it, and shaking the earth.

"Back up, back up!!"

Thankfully, no one was hurt, but their pursuit had been delayed even further. By now, other Clanspeople had approached the gate, observing the scene.

"What do we do...? No one is allowed back there...!"

One of the guards, a male bear, huffed and waved a dismissive hand towards the gate.

"Bah! If those fools wan' t' git themselves killed back there, they c'n be my guest!" he growled.

"They're intruders all the same, Varjud," said the female cat from earlier.

"Yeh, but we 'ave no better chance of survin' back there."

Fancy-Pants Thing

Meanwhile, Flamefly might've noted something odd as she was flying towards the Caverns. Namely an all black troop transport craft bearing the eggman insignia flying back to what may be the closest base for refueling.

"Well that's a pretty little group there," she says to herself, before taking note of the Eggman insignia. "That could use some work though, something so sharp and ugly what is it even supposed to be? Oh well, this will only make things more fun," she concludes before chuckling to herself a little.

It seemed to have already deposited it's cargo, though she did about two platoons of mobians with differing augments return to the clearing as if guarding it.

"Damn I hate this part of the job." A male Anole with a heart tattoo on his head grumbled. "What about you Skael?" He cracked, elbowing an Alaskan Shephard who seemes a bit taller than him.

"We have our orders, we just sit tight and keep the evac zone clear!" A female coon barked, most likely the C.O.

With that, the two squads spread out and formed patrols around the vicinity of the landing zone, with the Anole lizard and the Alaskan Shephard staying in the clearing to light and share a cigar.

Part 2

Past the gate, the quokka had not been lying in her description of the Point of No Return; there was no flat ground to speak of, as the floor was completely dominated by sharp, slippery limestone stalagmites. The light from the village barely reached past the entrance of the forbidden cavern, and it was impossible to tell where the base of the stalagmites started.

Exspira smirked, his cat eyes helping him to see in the darkness as he floated, though he wanted to find the orb so he focused on trying to 'feel' out where the orb might be using his own shadow magic.

He found no trace of any significant dark energies, but really, who knew how far these caverns went?

With that the ghost floated onwards, occasionally stopping to try and feel out any significant dark energies in the hopes that he drew closer to the location of his prize.

As he continued, the presence of dark-elemental energies started to make itself known, but, oddly enough, it wasn't condensed into one small location; it was as if it was spread out all over the place.

Exspira sighed. "Looks like I won't be able to rely on my dark abilities to feel out the orb.." He muttered, drawing his blade Charon just in case something tried to attack him as he ventured deeper into the cave.

Overtone isn't that far into the Point of No Return before she notices the spiky floor, and thought to herself for a bit before amassing some spiders from one of her hands to form a camera with a propeller on it, which she turns on and lets float while recording.

"As you can see, loyal fans and followers," she announces to the camera. "Even nature itself seems to be in the way of my journey. But fear not, my beautiful people, I'm always prepared for this kind of thing."

After saying that, her shoes dissolve into spiders that retract into her body, both recreating her 4th hand and exposing her 4 split, clawlike feet. She begins to walk on the spaces between the spikes.

"Follow me as we get a closer look into an area previously uncharted!" Overtone says enthusiastically to the camera as she continues to walk through the spikes, wobbling a bit here and there but never quite losing her balance and falling, with the camera hovering a bit behind her.

Hopefully the camera has some kind of night vision on it, as the cavern is incredibly dark, only getting darker at Overtone ventures further.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Meanwhile, Norrix and his squadron have noticed that the gate has been breached, and the Dark Clan guards are quite distracted, hovering around the gate, as if debating whether to follow after the intruders or not. The wolverine frowns a bit.

"Looks like they beat us to it," he mumbled. "Guess we'll have to beat them, now."

"I recommend we take out the guards from cover using a silenced rifle with a magnified scope." Skarn spoke, his squad following behind.

"Good idea," he said. "Although, it might be best if we can take them alive, so they can be Cyberized later..."

Skarn nodded, taking a clip filled with thirty rubber bullets out of one of the pouches on his vest and handing it to Norrix. "Riot suppression, nonlethal but it will render an overlander unconscious if hit in the right spot."

"Perfect," said Norrix, grinning. He loaded his weapon with the clip.

"These saps won't know what hit 'em."

With that, he took aim and fired at the soldiers gathered around the gate.

Provided Norrix aimed for the head, took into account bullet drop and windspeed. The guards would've been knocked out cold in rapid succession.

Norrix's first victim was the female cat, who was standing right next to the male bear. As soon as the bullet cracked against her head, she dropped, knocked out cold. The others barely had any time to react before more rubber bullets whizzed towards them. Only two among the group, the male bear and a female serval, managed to avoid being knocked out.

"We're under attack!! Get the civilians to safety!!" the bear barked. More soldiers had arrived at the scene; some quickly ushered the civilians back into the center of the village, where it was safer, while five of the others remained with the bear and serval, to face the source of the attacks, weapons at the ready.

The bizarre mask creature hears the sound of gunfire, and it's attention almost instantly turns to where the sounds came from and began a mad dash in that direction, completely ignoring the people that may have still been around it.

Flamefly too hears the gunshots and focuses in on that. "Well, that was fast. That looks so fun but, orders are orders," she says with a sad sigh. "Hopefully I'll be able get in on at least some of the action."

"Gun them down.." Skarn ordered his men, taking aim at the bear's head and firing. Of course he and his squad had rubber bullets in their magazines, but the suppressers attached to their rifles severely dampened the sound of their rifles.

Skarn's Platoon, consisting of eight men without Skarn, split up into groups of two as they advanced on the gate. Taking different insertion points and checking their corners in case of ambush.

Three of the Dark Clan soldiers were armed with longbows, and took aim at Skarn, Norrix, and the Egg Soldiers, while the hands of the two battle mages swirled with Dark energy. Norrix and his soldiers took aim at the small group of Dark Clanspeople that opposed them.

Before Norrix could fire, the two mages, working in unison, used their magic to erect a translucent barrier of Dark energy in between them and the forces of the Eggman Empire. The three archers then fired their arrows at them; they were Dark arrows, bearing Caligium arrowheads.

Three arrows were unlikely to be enough to win the fight, but at least they might cause some injury to the opponent. They also did not notice Skarn's men approaching the gate; by now, the area had been evacuated.

Skarn had moved to cover, swapping out the rubber bullets for live ones now. Stealth wasn't an option, it seemed.

His men got into position using cover and rooftop vantage points to their advantage as they took aim at the three soldiers and two mages.

Norrix and his squadron fired at the barrier, sending black and purple sparks erupting with each hit. The barrier flickered and pulsed, but did not yet break. One of the Dark arrows slammed into an Egg Soldier's gut, sending him reeling back and collapsing. The other two grazed some Egg Soldiers, cutting flesh, but ultimately did not impale them. The bear and serval knew better than to go past the dark barrier, but it ultimately functioned like a wall, rather than a dome; their flanks and backs would be exposed.

One squad composed of a female Maine coon with a scar on her left eye and a male cougar noted this, and went to bypass the barrier to flank the bear and serval.

Skarn glanced out of his cover to see the situation as the female Maine coon communicated an excellent flanking opportunity using hand signals, prompting three of the other SpecOp's soldiers to follow her lead and reposition themselves to flank the five enemy contacts.

Skarn noted what his a few of his squadmates were doing and started communicating to Norrix using hand signals. 'We keep these five occupied while five of my men go around and try to flank them.'

Norrix only nodded once, having clearly gotten the message. He motioned for his men to keep harassing the Dark Clanspeople behind the Darkened Bastion with rubber bullets, ensuring they did not see Skarn's five flankers, led by the Maine coon, coming.

The Maine coon and the other five flankers managed to sneak past them and get into position, taking aim at the back of each of the five hostile's heads before firing their rubber bullets.

Having no knowledge of the sneak attack, the three archers and two Battle Mages were knocked out cold by the rubber bullets. This caused the bear and serval to turn around.

"It was a trap...!" the serval cried.

The remaining members of Skarn's platoon fired upon the bear and the serval. They promptly used their arms to try and shield their heads as they ran back towards the village, but the serval was taken out by a rubber bullet to the back of her head, and pitched forward, unconscious. The bear skid to a halt and turned towards the assailants.

"No...I'm not lettin' yeh get t' the civilians...!!"

By now, other battle-capable Dark Clanspeople had started to show up, having heard the scuffle. They made sure to put themselves in between the village and the scene of the fight. From behind, a female bat carrying a scythe and a male lynx had shown up, as well; they had been trying to secure the village, making sure the civilians were safe.

"Today just isn't our day, is it?" the lynx muttered.

Gold The Hedgehog Some how ends up next to the lynx.

"Is this Lynx a hero or a villain?" Asked Gold.

Unsurprisingly, everyone turned towards Gold, drawing their weapons (if they had any). Things were tense enough as it is, and now strange folk were literally popping up out of nowhere.

"Where the hell did you come from?!" the male lynx barked.

"I came from somewhere I saw this portal entered AND BAM!! I ended up here." Said Gold.

"Tch...a likely story," the lynx muttered. "Whatever. Just stay out of our way; we have enough problems as it is."

With that, the lynx, the bat, and the soldiers advanced forward, towards Skarn's platoon. Some civilians were peering out of their homes, staring at the scene unfolding.

"I am going to fight Princess Overtone guys I'll see you guys later when i defeat her." Said Gold.

(Ryu-How on earth did he have any knowledge of Princess Overtone being in the Fearful Caverns?)
"I knew that she was in Fearful Caverns I studied her at Mobius." Said Gold.
(Ryu-I have a feeling Scorp won't be cool with this.)

Everyone just stared at him.

"Hey guys Im just trying to get the Chaos Swords." I may have to find them I saw them fall from the sky when i came here!" Said Gold.

(Ryu-Okay, this is getting ridiculous. You're metagaming, and also kind of steering the plot off course.)

Skarn scowled, signing to Norrix and the rest of their squad members who were still able to move his plan. 'Cover your ears and eyes.'

The egyptian hairless cat grabbed two small spheres from his equipment pouch and pressed a button on each before tossing them into the center of the assembled dark clan soldiers and civilians.

The Dark Clanspeople had no idea what those spheres did, but they really didn't want to stick around and find out. As soon as the two spheres were tossed at them, people panicked, trying to flee for cover.

Norrix and his soldiers had covered their ears and eyes, as instructed.

Skarn and his squad also did the same, and after a few seconds they detonated. One being a flashbang and the other releasing a plume of smoke to hopefully give the assembled egg forces enough time to climb over the rubble acting as a sort of bridge for flames that have died out by now.

(You're right, I am not okay with that.-FS)
(Ryu - I had a feeling you wouldn't be.)

The bright lights and plumes of smoke sent the Dark Clanspeople into disarray, completely distracting them from the Egg Forces attempting to breach the Point of No Return.

The mask creature can be faintly seen closing in on the area, less so now due to the smoke but the sounds seem to get louder and louder.

Skarn's squadron, well those that could, moved to climb the rubble and cross the entrance to the point of no return.

They were then followed by Norrix and his soldiers. The Dark Clanspeople seem to have managed to stumble their way back to the village; those who were knocked out by the rubber bullets from earlier are still laying on the ground.

*Gold Comes back painfully*

"OUCH!! BAD IDEA!!" Yelled Gold

*Gold gets out flashlight* "Um okay?" Said Gold.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Norrix and his squadron pulled out their night vision goggles and put them on, looking around the dark caverns past the gate.

"Damn...nothin' but stalagmites," Norrix muttered. "Move carefully, soldiers. One slip and you're gone for good..."

"Assume everything not egg-affiliated is hostile.." Skarn told his men as the few who didn't opt to have eye implants or didn'y have night vision capabilities equipped their night vision goggles.

"If we encounter anything else not us, do we use lethal force?" The Maine coon, introduced as Tamara, asked Norrix.

The wolverine nodded.

"Yes. We take no chances. That Orb belongs to Dr. Eggman."

"You heard the man! Everyone switch to live fire, unscrew those silencers and attach the muzzle dampeners!" Skarn ordered his platoon, swapping out for live fire rounds on his M-16.

Perched precariously on the stalagmites, the Egg Soldiers and Norrix did as instructed.

Skarn began to walk across the stalagmites precariously, followed by his men. They were followed by Norrix and his soldiers, their hands on their weapons and eyes peeled.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Exspira by now was probably really close to the darkest point if the cave, hopefully anyways, he had charon out and ignited in black flames to act as a sort of torch to provide visibility so he can actually see where the hell he was going.

The dark flames dimly illuminated the limestone stalagmites and stalactites, but it was mostly still darkness as far as the eye could see. Thankfully, Exspira hadn't run into any other life forms...yet.

Exspira chuckled, so far things have been rather easy for him and he wished his luck to continue so he could retrieve the orb and skedaddle before anyone else finds it.

At that point, a high-pitched squeaking could be heard, like that of a bat.

Exspira blinked. "The fuck?"

Soon, there were more squeaks, as if there were a whole flock of bats. Heading right for Exspira.

Exspira blinked. ".... Oh balls." He grumbled before igniting his entire body in his own black fire.

The bats that finally showed up were surprisingly large, with close to five-foot wingspans. But that wasn't their strangest features; they looked like they were comprised completely of shadows, wisps of darkness trailing after them as they fluttered, their eyes burning red spheres. Chittering and squeaking, they flapped around Exspira.

However, they seemed to be disappointed, and squeaked angrily. They then flapped past him, away into the darkness.

"... Suck it!" Exspira couldn't help but cheer as the flames receded until they were only covering Charon, and with that odd encounter out of the way he proceeded onwards towards his prize.

Unfortunately for Skarn and his crew, the shadowy bats could very well be headed their way, now...

Skarn blinked, holding up his hand for everyone to stop. "... I here something coming."

The squeaking was getting louder, and a faint, shadowy mass could be seen approaching Skarn and his squadron.

"What the hell is that...?" asked one of the SpecOps, a male fox.

Skarn was silent, his optics cycling through vision filters as he raised his weapon.

It looked like a cloud of bats...but they were made purely of shadows...the brightest part of them were their glowing red eyes.

"Incoming swarm of contacts, twelve o-clock." Skarn warned as he fired at the swarm. The bats that were 'hit' by the bullets dispersed into a black mist, but more were coming, trying to swarm Skarn and his men. The male fox raised his weapon, only to get three of them swooping down on him.

"GAH!! Get them off!!"

Strangely, they did not seem to bite him...their red eyes shone intensely as they flapped around his face, and in a panic, he dropped his gun. They seemed to be sapping the very life out of him, and he flailed about.

"SOMEBODY HELP!!"

Of course, it wasn't long until his flailing caused him to lose balance...

Tamara reached out to try and save her comrade from a grisly death, only to possibly fall prey to the life draining ability of the shadow-bats once she was distracted.

In his flailing, the fox frantically grabbed onto Tamara's hand, and this seemed to stop him from falling; however, his grip felt weak. Unfortunately, the bats had now turned their attention onto her.

"Wh-What the hell are these things...?!" the fox cried. The bats swarmed around Tamara's face now, and the fox shakily tried to shoo them away from her.

Tamara started to feel weaker, and Skarn noticed this along with the fox's weakened grip on Tamara. 'They are attracted to life.. in that case.'

Tamara tried to pull him up despite the life drain affecting her, hell, Skarn was even starting to feel it as he swatted the bats away.

"P-Please don't let go," the fox whimpered as he practically clung to Tamara, trembling. The bats were relentless, until, finally, one of them let out a pained screech. Beams from halogen lights were spotlighting Skarn and his soldiers, and the bats clearly did not like it. They squealed and chittered; the strong light seemed to be partially dissolving them, and eventually, they were forced to flee. From behind, Norrix and his squadron had shown up, some carrying the halogen flashlights.

"What the hell were those things??" Norrix barked.

Tamara sighed, ruffling the fox's head as a sign of reassurance. "Don't worry, Semper Fidelis.."

Skarn was shaken up as well, evidently not expecting those bats at all. "I-I don't know.. They had some sort of weird life drain, and they swarmed.."

"Well...whatever they were, they don't seem to like the light at all," said Norrix. He had his men pass some spare halogen flashlights to Skarn's soldiers.

He nodded, as he and his squadmates took the flashlights. "And I'm all outta ductape.."

"Hopefully those bats will be the worst thing we run into," the fox sighed, still holding onto Tamara's hand.

Tamara nodded. "Hopefully, but I have the feeling that those bats aren't going to be the worst thing we run into."

Skarn looked at Norrix. "Should we press on?"

The wolverine nodded.

"If we fail this mission, Eggman would probably activate the failsafe in our Cybernetics and store us away for who knows how long, just like poor Tassel Boy. Best to not stop now..."

"Agreed." Skarn nodded before turning to his men. "You heard the man, we keep going!"

The fox nodded, still nearby Tamara, and Norrix urged to soldiers to press onward along with Skarn and his squadron, deeper into the cavern.

Fancy-Pants Thing

A bit between the Egg Army and Exspira but still far away from both, Overtone is still climbing on the stalactites when the bats begin to fly at her. "Ladies and gentlemen, I've found a new species!" she exclaims out loud to the floating camera, attracting the bats' attention. "Video evidence is never enough, I need pictures now."

With that, some of the spiders on her body meld together to form a set of three smaller cameras designed more for taking pictures. She tries to take a picture, but the flash causes one of them to screech loudly. The other bats are disoriented for a bit before all but one of them flee.

The last bat charges at and tries to absorb energy from Overtone by getting close to her, but she seems more charmed by this than afraid. "Aww, isn't that just adorable?" she exclaims, before shooting out a small, hand-like growth of light-blue spiders from deep within her, which then completely swallows the bat and pull it in. The bat struggles and tries to fight it, but is completely concealed and silenced after a few seconds.

"I got traces of dark energy from this bat," Overtone says to herself, with a more serious tone in her voice. "I could use some more of this."

Meanwhile, further ahead,Exspira plotted; once he got that orb he was gonna have fun tampering with its powers to boost his own.

A couple of lizard-like creatures scampered across the stalagmites near Exspira, pausing to lick at the mineral-rich surface. They resembled day geckos, but were almost a foot long, and had longer, modified scales on their necks that reached towards their backs; they were also black, with grey and purple markings, and pure white eyes.

Exspira noted the lizards, stopping briefly to examine them closely for signs of anything that may interest him or lead him in the right direction.

The lizards clearly had no fear of him, and one of them simply stopped and looked over at him, licking at its eyeball.

Exspira shrugged. "Meh." He said in a casual manner as he just floated onwards, continuing his quest to try and acquire the orb. ".... I really hope this turns out to be an easy snag."

The caverns only continued to get darker, swallowing up what little remained of the lights from the village. The silence was all-encompassing; no creatures trilled or chirped, no water dripped down from the stalactites.

Exspira shivered, sure he used darkness before but this was something new. Like someone had tossed him into a place devoid of anything.. Just an empty expanse of black as far as the eye can see; yet he traveled onwards to get his prize.

"C'mon... Mystical doohickey that's supposedly able to control all darkness, where the crap are you.." He mumbled as he kept searching, well, going with his gut feeling and floating in the direction that seems to get darker and darker.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Further back, the lizard-like creatures seemed to be in a panic as one of them was being enveloped in Overtone's spiders, struggling a bit before suffocating and dying, then being fully covered and pulled in to her body. "My my, all these interesting specimens, and they're all so delicious!" Overtone exclaims to herself as she begins to consume another. "But what I wish to know is, how much longer is this cave going on for?" She then reaches into one of her pockets and pulls out a light-blueish green glowing piece of something, with the number 28 being visible on it. "I know it's too early to use this, but I'm getting reeeeally impatient," Overtone says before putting the glowing fragment back and carrying on, the area around her getting darker and darker.

Even farther back, Flamefly doesn't seem to notice things getting darker as the flames that make up her body illuminate the area around her, though the distance the light goes seems to be shrinking as she progresses further inward. She sees one of the bats get near her but then vanish in the light, then keeps on going. She sighs a little, then says "It's always that way, isn't it? Anything that gets near me just goes... poof, gone!" she makes a gesture with her hands where she stretches them out like an explosion. "Hopefully these orb things Axom's ranting about make this all worth it."

The bats seemed to have finally figured out that approaching Flamefly was death for them, and she would likely not see anymore heading her way. The lizards were also keeping to themselves, crawling further down the stalagmites to avoid any other visitors; the spiders from Overtone had panicked them enough.

Overtone had begun to enter even darker parts of the cave when she begins to think while more calmly looking around at the fading scenery. "What exactly is darkness anyway?" she asks to herself. "Is it merely an abscence of light, or is it something more than that?" Even the small blinking light from her camera is being slowly consumed by the shadows.

Exspira continued floating and floating in the direction he felt was the right path to the orb, having to increase the intensity of the flames on his saber that he's using as a makeshift torch in order to try and improve his range of sight; however small that may be as he, hopefully, entered a wide clearing.. Or something that looked like a wide clearing in these accursed caverns.

The dancing flames from his blade faintly illuminated the seemingly endless deposits of raw Tenebrite, the crystals twinkling in shades of purple. There was so much Tenebrite that the entire clearing seemed to be faintly glowing in purple.

Exspira's eyes widened; and quite frankly he was tempted to take a few of these crystals, but unfortunately; he had to keep his eye on the prize. So with a sigh he kept moving forward.

There was a faint noise, that sounded a bit like a mild wind blowing through the dark clearing. But there couldn't be any wind this deep underground...and it had an odd rhythm, as well...

"Huh..." Exspira muttered; getting an odd feeling about this rhythm.

In the very middle of the clearing came a sudden, faint pulse of light.

Exspira blinked, rubbing his eyes at first. When he was satisfied that he wasn't hallucinating he started floating towards the light.

The pulse became a steady rhythm, now, a bit like a heartbeat. The light was purple in color, and was coming from a lone stalagmite in the very center of the clearing, except this one had a top not unlike a clawed hand, grasping onto something.

Exspira blinked, he had an odd feeling about this light; and his common sense was telling him that such an important artifact is probably protected by something, so he phased into the ground and floated towards the lone stalagmite.

The stalagmite was almost 50 feet tall; Exspira would have to float upwards to reach the top of it and find what was glowing.

Which he did, albeit keeping real close to the stalagmite itself just incase.

Nestled within the stony 'claws' of the stalagmite was a dark purple orb about the size of a bowling ball. The orb was pulsating rhythmically with light, casting shades of purple around itself with every pulse. It did not look like it was solid, instead seeming to be a perfectly spherical compression of pure dark energy, its surface dancing in shades of purple and streaks of pitch black. An occasional spark of dark energy escaped from it.

Exspira blinked, a sense of awe crossing his face as he slowly reached to pick up the orb.

The stone claws surrounding the orb seemed to be grasping around the orb, holding it in place; however, they were made of limestone, so Exspira should be able to break the 'claws' with a bit of force, as limestone was a soft and fairly brittle rock.

The strange, oddly-warm wind started up again.

Exspira was hesitant on breaking anything, mainly because that would create noise.. So he first tried to phase the orb out of the stone claws, if that failed then he would start trying to break the limestone.

The orb seemed to just flat-out ignore any of Exspira's dark powers, as well as his attempts to phase it past the limestone claws.

Exspira shook his head, holding onto the orb he manifested two large spectral skeleton hands into existence, using them to break the limestone while he himself kept a tight grip on the orb.

The skeletal hands were able to snap off the limestone claws with little effort, and bits and pieces of the broken stone cascaded down the edge of the stalagmite. With almost no time at all, the Orb was freed from the stony grasp.

The wind picked up. Warm and rhythmic...like something breathing.

Exspira smiled, though he sure as hell wasn't going to try and stuck around. So he did the smart thing and attempted to use his control over darkness to try and shrink the orb until it was small enough to fit in his pocket, or in one of the slots in his sword.

It remained the same size; it seemed to be completely oblivious to his darkness powers.

Exspira then attempted to phase into the ground with the orb secured tightly in hand, he had plenty of time to figure out how to use it later. For now he just wanted to leave.

(Is he still up near the top of the stalagmite?)

A deep, rumbling growl, shockingly loud, started to reverberate throughout the clearing.

Exspira actually phased into the stalagmite when he heard the growl, floating down to what he assumed was ground level before poking his head out to make sure.

(he is, that was my error ^^; )

A massive, shadowy claw smashed into the stalagmite, cracking it in half and sending the broken top half collapsing to the ground, where it shattered into fragments.

Exspira blinked, taking a look at whatever shattered the the stalagmite.

What appeared to be an absolutely hulking beast comprised of darkness started to lurch into view. Its head was a horned skull that was a brilliant violet color, always shifting in shade and intensity, with pure white eyes sunk deep into the sockets. A somewhat long and thick neck stretched forward, sitting on top of a wide and sturdy chest ringed with rib-like extensions in the same 'color' as its head, as well as what looked like a spike-ridged spinal column running down its back; it also had large, shadowy, fin-like structures growing from its back. Its forearms were thick with massive claws wreathed in shadows, but its lower half could not yet be seen. Its head whipped to and fro, as if frantically looking for something, snarling.

Seeing as it didn't notice him, Exspira thought it wise that he immediately sink below ground level and quieeeetly float away with his prize... 'Oh shit oh shit oh shit..!'

In the beast's eyes, the orb showed up as a violet blob of light that was currently below the earth and scooting away from it. While it did not seem to see Exspira himself, it knew that something was stealing the Orb away. The creature dropped down on all fours and started to galumph after him, periodically stopping to try and claw into the ground, trying to dig up the escaping Orb.

Exspira had ended up phasing deeper into the ground as he hightailed his spectral ass with the intent of reaching the entrance; screw dealing with the beast, he had his prize, let the others who followed him deal with it.

With a loud, disturbing groaning sound, the beast continued to storm after Exspira as fast as it could; the lynx was soon reaching the 'forest' of stalagmites, and the creature would likely start smashing through those to continue its pursuit.

Overtone had just reached the entrance of the clearing and had not yet noticed either Exspira or the giant monster. "Thes walls, they're coated in something," Overtone says, having broke out of her previous pondering session. "Whatever it is... is... simply..." Overtone had stopped for a dramatic pause. "WANDEFUUULL!" she then shouted at the top of her lungs, which echoed throughout the chamber and the caverns that she had just came out of.

'Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuuuuuuck!!!' Exspira thought; occasionally poking his head out from the ground to see where he was headed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnHmskwqCCQ

-this is obviously playing for the chase.-

The giant beast stopped dead in it's tracks; it may have had incredibly selective eyesight, but it was not deaf, and Overtone's shout echoed easily within the limestone cavern. It turned its milky white eyes in her direction, but could not see her. It let out a horrible rumbling sound.

Overtone quieted down and heard the sound of the beast, then turning to look at it in all of it's horrific glory. "Well I wasn't expecting anything remotely cute down here, but jeesh!" she says to herself.

Further back, Flamefly heard the echoes of the beast as well as Overtones shout, and stopped in her place. "Overtone's here too? I guess he didn't really have all that faith in me anyway, oh well." She floated down to the ground and unsheathed two small blades from her sides, and as she stepped on the floor of the cave, flames began to spread out around her in a circular motion. "Whatever else is there shouldn't be too much trouble, teehee."

Exspira just kept hightailing it back to the entrance, still phased beneath the ground; however, once he was absolutely positively killtheplanetically sure nothing was chasing him, he rose from underneath the ground.

Flamefly saw him rise from the ground. "Oh, perhaps my prince shows his face?" Upon seeing him more, she quickly retracts her question. "Oh, gross. He's hideous. Ew ew eeeeeeewwwwwww!" The flames intensify around her as she appears to be getting a bit angry.

Back in the clearing, one of Overtones eyes begins to glow, while her eyes begin to change, making her look more bored than excited. "I'm sorry, big grotesque abomination, but I have something to do. Maybe I can pencil you in for an interview some other time," she says to the monster. Overtone then seemingly disappears as a gust of wind blows past the creature. Overtone is then seen in front of it, seeming to go incredibly fast but to anyone watching her movements would only look to be fast-walking, though at a much faster pace motion-wise.

Due to the creature's poor eyesight, it does not even see Overtone go past it, but it can feel the wind, and this catches its attention. With a rumble, it turns its head to where it last felt the wind, trying to figure out where it came from.

Exspira held the orb in hand, staring at Flamefly. "..... Excuse me, I'll be taking my leave." Exspira spoke, sinking back into the ground. 

The flames from around Flamefly quickly coated the ground and burned a bright, ghostly blue. "Such horrendous creatures... existing in a world where I, the purest of the pure, exist," Flamefly says out loud, as the flames keep rising and rising, heavily increasing the temperature of the area around her. Any of the local creatures around that are unlucky enough to get caught in the flames burn instantly, with only their bones and spirits remaining, the latter of which becoming fuel to feed the ever-consuming fire. "It's just so disgusting, so disgusting, so disgusting."

Much of the nearby, unlucky fauna residing within the floor of the cavern was too slow to get away, and were consumed by the ghastly blue flames, instantly incinerated.

Exspira's response to Flamefly when her blue fire coated the ground, basically preventing him from phasing into the ground, was quite... Plausé at best. "Yeah yeah, keep your blue fire to yourself Ivanna Purgealot!!" He shouted as he attempted to bolt past her, giving her the bird as he ran.

Now, he was going to try a really risky maneuver, which was leaping through the flames while coating himself with his own black flames; barring any interference from the dark orb he should be able to pass through her flames with minimal injuries to himself as a result of his hasty maneuver; its not like there is any solid mass behind the flames that could act like a wall.. Or at least he hoped.

Excess flames begin to funnel into Flameflys daggers, causing them to glow a bright blue from all of the energy stored within them. Once full, Flamefly pointed her daggers at Exspira and fired two beams of heavily-condensed energy at him, both beams cutting through the air as they move towards him.

Exspira glanced back at Flamefly just in time to see her fire those two beams of heavily condensed energy at him. "Shit!!" He cursed, clutching the orb to his chest he vaulted to the ground, landing a roll as the beams hopefully didnt follow his every movement like darkseid's omega beams.

However, he realized that he probably wouldn't be able to escape without a fight; so turning around he swung his sword in a spinning arc, black flames trailing from the weapon which he essentially launched at flamefly in a series of two slashing arcs.

Flamefly had taken note of this and retaliated with a spiraling mass of fire taken from the burning area around her, though this is not enough. While it does greatly reduce the strength of Exspira's attack, it still hits her nonetheless. Flamefly backs up a small amount and covers the hit area. "That's what that thing can do? No wonder he's been badgering me so much to get it," she says to herself before sending more flames into her daggers for another beam attack.

Far in the surrounding darkness, trailing dust and a lot of footstep noises could be slightly heard.

That gigantic beast was getting closer, too; it's rumbling growls echoing throughout the cave.

"It's not the orb toots; it's Charon, so far this thing has been utterly fucking useless!!" Exspira growled, striking the ground with charon to create small pillars of black fire that completely surrounded him, effectively creating a safe point for him to phase into the ground that he utilized.

"Stop, you horrible freak! I haven't been able to kill you yet!" Flamefly shouts, firing more energy beams at Exspira at a much more frantic rate, some not even being fully charged, hoping to hit and stop him.

The footsteps get slightly louder, and more of them can be heard, being made at a highly unnatural rate, though the source of them is still far away, but is closing in on the two.

"I'm already dead you crazy bitch!!" Exspira shouted back; thankfully the pillars of black fire he made were able to hold themselves up until he had phased into the ground with his saber, however they collapsed soon after; the black flames snuffing themselves out as Exspira, who had once again phased into the ground, fled from the crazy bitch trying to kill him a second time.

And now, the giant beast had arrived, its thick claws slamming down into the stalagmites in its fervor to reach the escaping Orb. The brittle limestone rock crumbled under its weight; Flamefly might want to get out of the way, NOW.

In front of the beast is Overtone, now visible as well though starting to slow down as she reaches Flamefly, with the glow in her eyes fading out as well and her usual expression returning to her face. She then immediately grabs Overtone by the hand and then jumps up, bringing both of them on top of the beast in order to ride it. "Sorry to keep you waiting, I simply hate disappointing my fans," Overtone says with a high sense of confidence.

"What? Ovetone, when did you-" is all Flamefly could say before noticing Exspira still escaping. "Ugh, no time for this now. We have to follow that guy and take the orb from him!"

The beast does not even seem to realize that it now has passengers, instead resuming its fervent quest to reclaim the Orb from the one who stole it. It was still slowly and destructively making its way through the limestone stalagmites, destroying and knocking over anything it could not climb over.

Exspira kept moving, fuck the crazy bitch, fuck the hippy tribals here, fuck this cave, fuck that beast.. He had the orb and he was going to make sure he was the overall victor in this little game.. Of course his path to escape might lead the beast to Skarn anyways.

Fancy-Pants Thing

Back with the Egg Soldiers, the piercing beams of their halogen flashlights were managing to hold out against the growing darkness, but they were relying heavily on these to even think about getting through the cavern; without them, they likely would end up falling to their deaths, or being eaten alive by the shadowy bats.

Skarn wasn't having a good time, the atmosphere of the cave doing little to ease his nerves... To top it off, morale might be an issue considering what has happened since they entered this godforsaken cavern in search of some orb.

Already, two of Norrix's soldiers had slipped and fallen to their deaths. The wolverine had to push the rest of his squadron to keep going, as most wanted to try and rescue them.

"There's no point," he growled, although his voice was somber. "They wouldn't have survived that fall. We have to keep going."

The shortest stalagmites in the cave were nearly 50 feet high, jagged and slippery; if the two unfortunate soldiers hadn't died of broken necks or spines incurred from the fall, the razor-sharp surface of the stalagmites would've probably torn them to shreds.

"All we can do now is finish the mission, and maybe convince one of the higher ups to completely shell this godforsaken cavern and that village to avenge their deaths." Skarn spoke, his men weren't doing well either, the bats having taken the lives of three of his squadmates earlier.

Norrix nodded in agreement.

"Anyone we can't take as prisoners will get buried under the rubble," he said, a savage grin crossing his muzzle.

"It will be a glorious sight to see in so many ways~" Skarn said, a pleased grin stretching across his muzzle.

"Yes; perhaps we can split the 'new allies' between ourselves. Lord Hood has enough men under his watch as it is."

"I concur, after all it wouldn't do us any good for our squads to lose men and not recuperate from those losses."

Norrix nodded in agreement. "Precisely. It is upsetting that we lost some good soldiers, however..."

"Something wrong..?" Skarn asked, call it frayed nerves or curiosity but Norrix trailing off after saying however didn't slip past him.

"...just...god...those screams...I swore I heard some tearing noises when they fell, too...as if the stalagmites cut them up when they fell..."

Skarn nodded, the tearing sounds and the screams of his men as they plummeted to their deaths weighed heavily on his conscience. Making him question his orders the more he thought about it. "..... Those sounds.. They will haunt us... Until the day we die.. But we must press on... It's the only thing we can do now..."

Norrix nodded again.

"You are right. If we try and back out now, if we disobey...we'll likely end up with our failsafes activated..."

Skarn nodded. "Something tells me we entered a gambit between gods and monsters.. This isn't going to be fun.."

"Hopefully whatever foul thing lives back here will be buried and forgotten with the rest of this damnable village, when this is all over."

"Agreed.." Skarn said, before directing his men to advance cautiously.

The growling from the clearing (which was about 100 feet from the Egg Soldiers) reached their ears.

"What the fuck was that?!" Norrix barked.

"I don't know.. Thermal's aren't picking up anything either." Skarn reported. "... Someone still carrying an LMG?" 

The fox, Sustineo, nodded and hefted up the LMG he had been carrying.

"Good.. Something tells me we're going to need that thing."

The noises from the creature continued to reach the Egg Soldiers; something was clearly coming their way...

"Everyone spread out! Something's coming, watch your footing and no heroics!" Skarn ordered. "Sustineo, you see any stable areas to set up that LMG?"

"Uhhh..."

There was a surprisingly wide and flat-topped stalagmite not too far from their position, and Sustineo immediately made his way towards it.

"Found one, sir!"

"Good, set up and wait; whatever's causing that noise is most likely huge, but stupid; if we can lure it to the centerpoint of this bridge we could probably collapse it with some C-4 and send the fucker plummeting to a grisly end!" Skarn explained through Comms. "Norrix; any of your guys have any C-4 charges?"

One of Norrix's soldiers held up two C-4 charges.

"Right here!"

"Take two guys and set them up at key chokepoints at the center of this blasted structure, then rendezvous at the entrance.. I have a feeling that our prize is involved with whatever's making that noise..!" Skarn ordered.

Crashing sounds could be heard about 70 feet away from the Egg Soldiers, as if the very rock was being torn asunder. The soldier carrying the C-4 charges motioned for another soldier to follow her, and the two of them went into position, the soldier with the charges passing a pack to her companion. Sustineo remained in position with the LMG.

The other soldier nodded, setting up the C-4 charges handed to him on the left side of the centerpoint; they had to work fast and under pressure without screwing up, but they are soldiers.. They can manage.

The other soldier looked to the one originally carrying the C-4 charges, giving her a thumbs up.

She grinned and gave a thumbs-up as well, and looked over at Skarn.

"The charges are in place!" she called out.

"Good, now rendezvous with Sustineo and tell him to pack up the LMG! I want a controlled evac with no casualties!" Skarn ordered, he had the switch to the C-4. 

She nodded and made her way over to Sustineo, who was still perched next to the LMG.

"Pack that up, Sustineo; Skarn's using the C-4 charges instead."

"We're gonna blow up the cave???"

"Probably, but not with us in it; now come on!"

The fox nodded and packed up the LMG, joining the female soldier as the two of them went back to the other Egg Soldiers.

Tamara looked at the three. "Alright, let's move people!" She barked, hopefully rousing the two platoons to head for the exit.

Skarn, however, wasn't coming with them; the detonator had a limited signal range and the caves were treacherous. In a way it felt cathartic to Skarn, sacrificing himself to let the rest of the platoons escape. 

"..." Skarn took out a cigar and placed it in his mouth before lighting it. "Heh.." He muttered, exhaling the smoke from the cigar.

While everyone was making their way back to the entrance of the Point of No Return, Norrix noticed that Skarn was not joining them.

"Skarn!!" he barked, turning towards his comrade. "What're ya doing, man?! You'll go up in smoke with the C-4!!"

The rumbling roars seemed to be getting closer still.

"Detonator has a limited range, and we're out of options! The way I see it, one sacrifice to keep the rest of the squad alive isn't so bad.. Now get going; and blast this damned village to hell for me would ya..?" Skarn said, before turning back in the direction of the rumbling roars.

"........."

Norrix had a genuine look of despair on his face at those words, but he nodded solemnly.

"We'll bring the whole damn place down for ya, Skarn," he said, before reluctantly turning away and starting to head for the cavern entrance. At the entrance, the rocky bridge was still on top of what used to be the fence, and none of the Dark Clan villagers seemed to be nearby.

"Good.." Skarn said, removing the cigar from his mouth and exhaling the smoke. "Alright then... Me against some big ass juggernaut; what're the odds... So show yourself ya big ugly lug!! Papa Skarn's on the express ride to hell and I'm takin' you with me!"

From 60 feet away, the beast could hear Skarn's voice calling and echoing, and it raised its head somewhat, now looking towards Skarn. For a moment, it ignored its quest to start making its way towards the one who was yelling.

"Yeah that's right.. Me and you asshole! Show your fucking face unless you're afraid of me..?" Skarn was intentionally taunting the creature in order to piss it off. "I'll send you back to whatever god created you in a bloody handbasket!! Before dragging it to hell with me!"

A loud roar could be heard in front of Skarn; slowly but surely, the creature was getting closer, still forcing its way through the stalagmites. The sound of breaking, crumbling rock echoed throughout the cavern; it was still destroying most of the stalagmites in its path.

Skarn fingered the switch in his hand, a mirthful smirk crossing his face. "Yeah... Ad Victorium and all that..."

When the creature reached the middle point of the bridge that had C-4 placed on the structural weakpoints; Skarn pressed the switch, detonating the C-4 and causing the bridge to collapse. Taking him and the creature along with it.

Exspira still kept floating through the air, where the bridge used to be; since the C-4 charges did not have any magic or kinesis involved in the detonation Exspira's phasing would've held up as he just keeeept on fleeing.

Both Overtone and Flamefly had jumped off before the beast had fell and are now floating near the roof of the cave, with Flamefly holding Overtone. "That could've gone better to say the least," Overtone remarks.

Exspira heard the explosion and saw the rocks falling, and he felt a bit better knowing that the giant beast was probably unable to chase him.

(Ryu-What's the explosion radius on those C-4 charges?)
(Hmm.. C4 generally has a blast radius of one meter, but their were multiple charges set on the centerpoint if the bridge; which is why Skarn's tryna lure the guardian real close.)
(Ryu-Ah, I see.)

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