Aug 20, 2019 12:14 PM
A Luehmani and a Rianchimaru in Boyfriend Dungeon
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The lunch rush landed on the mall food court, filling it with people, shouts of 'Coffee for Tabitha! Tabitha?' and a severe lack of tables to be properly antisocial on.

Despite Louie best efforts to project an aura of 'go away', two office workers sat down at her table, cheerily chatting over their salads. They're frustratingly immune to glares from people wearing hi-vis over a stab vest. (And okay, they're totally allowed to sit at this table, it's not like she actually owns this table. But still. They didn't even ask.)

She does her best to ignore them. She just got off from A Shift-- the sort that makes you question how the general public has managed to keep themselves alive for so long, question what is up with the state of public education and water supplies that so many idiots are running around, along with the standard questioning your faith in humanity. Not to mention this is the first day of her new schedule, with all the fun sleep cycle fuckery that implies. While it is lunch time for normal, daywalking people, it's dinner for her, and she's been up far too long.

Short of it is: It's been a day where she deserves donuts with dangerous amounts of cinnamon for dinner. For lunch. (For dunch.)

 

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There's a sort of warmth to the air, a hum that at first hovers annoyingly, fly-like, at the edge of her hearing, increasing in fits and starts until it's joined the clashing store music in the mall's cacophony, until people are subconsiously increasing their volume, until people start registering and complaining about it - is the air conditioning broken, come on -

Until it shrieks, and someone screams as the air in one empty corner of the food court twists and bleeds and bursts into ribbons of light.

The thing that steps out is small, somewhere between 'squat centipede' and 'fly' and 'frog', the size of a particularly tiny kitten.

And then more spill out.

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It takes her a second to register what that sound actually means, she was guessing it was broken PA system until the portal opened--

She's had training on what to do if a portal opens. Clear the area, call for backup, leave it to the actual professionals. She also knows what's going to happen if she tries that. One off duty officer yelling at people to clear off ain't going to achieve much clearing off, and as soon as people spot the portal there's likely to be a panic. And even though the nearest station isn't that far away, it's longer than a panicked public should be around a dungeon.

Someone needs to buy them-- the mall goers, the police, everyone in this area in general --more time.  And if something needs to be done, well, you should do it yourself.

She turns to her tablemates. "Call the police."

She picks up the first heavy object her hands can find, strides over to the centipede-frog-kitten-fly, and smashes it.

It's only when she looks down that she realises she's attacking them with a chair. The kind with a plastic top and metal legs. ...there are worse improvised weapons.

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There is indeed something of a starting panic, even as the mall cops start trying to get people to walk calmly and in an orderly fashion away. One person who by that voice probably has emergency medical training - yup, that's an off-duty EMT - starts barking out commands to the people nearest the portal, pointing out people one at a time and giving them evacuation tasks.

Her table mates have a brief 'ahhhh' before separately calling 911 and the local police station. 911 guy freezes in place and starts stammering - at least enough for the operator to get an idea of what's going on - until he's dragged towards the side and out of the way of any stampedes by his friend.

The monster squishes rather nicely, and she's firmly gotten the attention of a good chunk of the rest of the swarm. A few people who can't really run because crowds (who're also knocking over chairs left and right) seem halfway emboldened by her example, swatting any that approach them, but not actually approaching the tear in reality.

(There's usually a bit of time, before swarms become serious. This one doesn't seem to want to give them that time.)

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Are portals chokepoints? Portals seem like they should be chokepoints. Stepping in is risky, but if she can hold them off for longer, stop the worst of the swarm getting out--

She sprints towards the portal, holding the chair out as a battering ram in case any monsters decide to get in her way.

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The portal is halfway a checkpoint? Some are able to get over her head but she's definitely blocking at least half of them from getting out.

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Well she's just going to keep swatting at them then. A partway stemmed tide is better than nothing.

...Chairs are really awkward to swing around. She doesn't regret grabbing it, but it would've been nice to have something better on hand.

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There's some other stuff nearby if she's willing to drop the chair for a few moments - plastic trays, abandoned shopping bags, someone appears to have purchased a golf club from the sporting goods store...

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She seriously considers the golf club-- but she doesn't want to accidentally steal someone golf club, even for a good cause, and the extra heft of the chair may come in useful.

Also, dropping a weapon to grab another seems like it might be somewhat of a bad idea right now.

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The swarm does have its fits and starts, but they aren't predictable at all.

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She glances over her shoulder to see how fast the crowd clearing is going.

Walking through the portal is probably a bad idea (certainly is a bad idea), but if there's still people in the danger area, trying to rush through and shut down the generator might be worth it.

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The mall doors are something of a bottleneck, the food court is quickly becoming hazardous terrain, there's several people who've been injured - a few by the monsters but more by falling or being stepped on or being pushed by crowds - and the food court has barely cleared at all. In fact the crowds are quite likely to hamper any emergency responders.

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Goddamnit. She's a bit too tied up with monsters to help clear them out. If she stops holding off the portal, there's likely to be more injuries. There's not much she can do.

(Going through the portal is getting more and more tempting, even if it's a bad idea. Even if it violates the first rule of emergency response: 'don't add to the number of casualties'. Soooo tempting.)

The chair smashes are definitely getting wilder and angrier. (She's powerless to help more, and the amount of help she can give isn't that much --)

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Someone screams, a hoarse shout of pain, off far from her. She can't quite see what's happening.

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You know what? Fuck it. This portal generator is getting shut down, ASAP.

She steps through the portal.

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The dunj looks like someone took the horror movie aesthetic way too far. The walls are covered in shiny chitin, and nothing has a straight line - the floor slopes all over the place, and numerous branching tunnels are visible even from her starting point. It's dim and faintly green inside, and there's more bugs sliding out of the walls.

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why does the inside of the dungeon have to be bug themed.

She presses... inwards? Takes left turns wherever possible, to avoid getting lost. And smashes any smashable bugs, of course. (ugh, monster bugs.)

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The bugs start getting less dense, but instead bigger and tougher, as the tunnels become slightly wider.

There's also a tingle starting in the back of her mind.

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She has to slow her progress. The chair worked great for the little ones, but these bigger ones don't go down easy. And she's starting to get tired.

Okay that's kinda disturbing. Maybe the tingle is just what this amount of bugs skittering around feels like-- or maybe it's something more concerning.

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The tingle gets stronger the more desperately she fights. It's like it's doing something - or like she could do something - 

Something strong.

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The tingle is still super concerning-- but at this point she doesn't care.

She gives in to it, hoping something good will happen--

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She clatters to the floor.

She's a sword. A big one, one of those two handed ones with a silly long grip and an even longer blade.

Whether this is good or bad is subjective, and she can feel a poorly time existential crisis coming on (what does it mean if she can be a weapon? what does it mean about her? how is she going to tell her boss? is that even relevant?--) that will just have to wait until this is over.

...she let's herself have a moment of gee, thanks, I appreciate the magic, but it would have been nice if I could MOVE ON MY OWN.

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Turning herself back is at least straightforward, and the bugs seem to have been greatly startled by her transformation.

Also there's someone shouting in the distance.

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To the human voices! Either they need help, or they can be help, and frankly she's happy with either.

(...and who knows, maybe they need help in the form of a huge fuck off sword.)

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There's two people fighting the bugs, who look about as underprepared as her - one, shorter and girl-shaped, has nothing but their fists, which they're using quite efficiently.

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And the other wields a non-magical knife.

"We should have brought a gun as a backup," they're saying.

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