5842/The Dark Lady: Wavering Heroes

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The Dark Lady: Wavering Heroes
Date of Scene: 10 May 2018
Location: The Forests around the Dark Lady's Castle
Synopsis: Tomoe and her party confront some more of the heroes who have started to question their own existence and just what is actually going on.
Cast of Characters: Tomoe, Staren, Yuuki Konno, Josuke Higashikata, Xiaomu, Iria, Kirito
Tinyplot: The Dark Lady


Tomoe has posed:
Deidra Longwing has been held for some time by the Dark Lady at this point she has become the terror of the kitchen and the mortal of the legions of terror have been in much better spirits from the better food. Tomoe had been keeping an eye on her somewhat of a look a like while she was around the castle.

It is until the day a small ball of light made it's way into the castle and to the bar maid who would find it had a message. Her violet eyes went wide as she read it but was soon getting her guards to take her to Tomoe's throne room. Tomoe is in the middle of a meeting with her various Dark Generals and other minions. (Okay allies and friends.) She looks up from her obsidian thrown for a moment "Yes what do you wish of me the guards said you were most instant."

"Some of them want to talk to you about what is going on they wish to Parlay."

Tomoe pauses for a moment. "Show me the message."

Deidra comes up and hands it to her.

Tomoe looks it over nods.

"I shall see to this."

She will turn to her allies and beckons them to follow her, he wings flare out, the large leathery dragon wings which she got when the female twin was defeated.

"Come lets go and Deidra? Thank you."

"Please don't kill them...Bolt' and Lailah have been friends since we were children..."

She leaves to return with her guard and Tomoe is flying off but will keep pace for people to follow and anyone who needs a lift she can happily carry someone hopefully the rest who can fly can do the same.

Sometime later once the transit issue if any are handled the group would come to land in a clearly some several Kilometres from the town and find a camp fire with he hulking form of Bolt Vanderhughe and the Priestess whose name is now known to be Lailah waiting and watching.

"So you come we got questions and I hope you have answers."

Notes Bolt as he rises from where he's sitting by the fire joined by the Priestess.

Staren has posed:
    Staren's in his 'villain outfit' again, which consists of a howie-style labcoat with huge black buttons, instead of his usual open one, and has his goggles pushed up onto his forehead. His hair is deliberately uncombed to be extra-wild. Over the coat he wears some kind of chest harness with magic or tech-y looking discs on it, which are actually forcefield projectors. His usual messenger bag hangs at his side. Completing the outfit are military black slacks and matching shiny black boots and long gloves.

    Given the hurried and allegedly peaceful nature of this meeting, he doesn't show up with a bunch of constructs -- instead, he beams down nearby, and flies to the meeting site on what appear to be cait sith wings... which makes sense, since he looks like a cait sith.

    He lands sitting on a tree branch in time to hear Bolt. "Oh? I love answering questions and helping people understand stuff! Lay 'em on me."

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    Waiting around is something Yuuki just ... doesn't do. She likes being social, playing games and doing stuff in general though. So what does a General of an evil dark overlord do in their spare time to keep busy? Well, they play games! Strategic and evil cunning games!

    Okay, chess. But in THIS version of chess, one imprisons and TORTURES the enemy pieces. At least that's what Yuuki's doing. It's cute, and perhaps a little disturbing, to see the horrible tortures she seems to be inflicting on her tiny prisoners. Then again she kind of lacks the drive to be truly terrible, so it's mostly saturday morning anime villain style behavior.

    Yuuki's not even too bad at chess. She's perceptive and clever. Her biggest problem is she's impatient, so she's easy to draw into a trap or a sacrifice play. She's probably down a few rounds by the time Tomoe calls on the group to attend her and join in the dialog with our friendly heroes. "I'll torture YOU later!" she promises the latest chess piece, putting it down and patting it on its rounded dome head before flitting off to join in the potential debate.

    Seeing as how it's peaceful and all, Yuuki makes no effort to hide. Which, in fact, is a good thing as she's not particularly good at hiding. She also makes no attempt to look ready with a blade, so she's simply a small dark figure bouncing cheerfully underneath the concealing wrappings of her ninja cowl and neck scarf.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Welp, if it's Dark General time, that means it's Dark Priest time! Also means it's time for Josuke to wear that ridiculously over-the-top 'evil' outfit. So... yeah, he's wearing it. He's one of those in this meeting that are trying to figure out a way to do this without beating these guys into submission. Well, not beating ALL of them into submission, anyway... a couple of those so-called 'heroes' kinda need it.

Anyway, yeah. If Tomoe's heading out to meet some of the 'heroes', he's going too. There's just too much possibility that it's a trap for him to even think about letting Tomoe go by herself. He can't fly, no, but that's what his Stand is for. It's not flight, no. Josuke is having his Stand toss him across the distance to keep up. Toss, catch, toss, catch. Until he gets to the site.

The question from Bolt prompts Josuke to take a breath to respond... but then he remembers, he's supposed to be evil. So instead of what he'd been about to say, he notes in that false evil tone, "Speak then, heroes. We will entertain your curiosity... for now."

Xiaomu has posed:
As for Yuuki's unfortunate enemy on the eight-by-eight battlefield, Xiaomu is by preference, rather than flying, cutting across country - by lightcycle where feasible, on foot where she has to; the former can cover a lot of ground quickly if the terrain is reasonably flat and forgiving, and the latter is reasonably agile, plus she doesn't tire out quite as easily as normal mundane mortals.

(On the other hand, if the meeting place is in the geographical center of Futtbuck, Nowhere, with miles of forest wilderness to navigate from any direction, she might have to hitch a ride with a flyer after all.)

She was decidedly not dressed for villainy during the strategy meeting, but that's quickly rectified with an application of her shapeshifting powers. One second she's in her accustomed qipao and vest, while the next sees her in the hooded cloak and robe which strike terror into the hearts of the good guys. ... Okay, maybe they don't do that exactly, but you get the idea. "As long as you're good with some give-and-take on who asks questions and who provides answers," she intones, "I should think we can provide a sufficient supply of answers."

Iria has posed:
Dark Hunter?

That's what you might think of Iria wearing a black cape instead of a dark red one, and her face looks a little more pale than usual, although that's because of the makeup she's wearing to give herself a more pale appearance. Apparently, it makes her look more evil. Behind that evil look, though, is a bit of unhappiness with this whole thing. She can't believe she's going into a disguise of sorts to go along with this.

"The sooner we get through with this," Iria mutters, "The better. I've always been a lawful person!" For now she tries to hide her unhappiness as best as she can with an evilish grin.

Kirito has posed:
    They actually did something Kirito wasn't expecting. They've LISTENED.

    He's not sure why this surprises him, given how he tends to treat NPCs like people anyways - and this has just become even more the case since they've started showing up in odd places and walking around!

    He might actually have a good reason to remove the ferocious Oni Mask he's been wearing to a great deal of these meetings. And maybe shrug off the spiky pauldrons and other accessories he added to his gear to seem more menacing.

    As usual though, Kirito's letting Tomoe keep the lead here, and at first he only observes when he lands. Of course, part of it's because he's not that great at making the first move in speaking to people outside hectic situations, and doesn't want to say something stupid...

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe is still somewhat embarrassed by her outfit she's come to live with it though thankful for her semi digital nature to this would be really uncomfortable and in the back of her mind she wonders what will happen with fashions as time progresses and more people gain avatar forms? That doesn't last long as the question is asked though. She seems to sit back fold her arms and waits watching all of this with a neutral expression.

Bolt looks to Staren, to Yuuki, Josuke,Kirito, Xiaomu and Iria in turn before he speaks.

"We both went looking for Grandia, we could find no way to it, no one who knew, we even went to the city at the base of the world tree. No one really knew a thing about it. We could not find it on any map we could find either. What is going on?!"

Lailah now speaks. "It doesn't make sense, a few know of Brick in the city but few seem to have heard of one supposedly as experienced as he is."

Bolt grunts "Why do you look like Ms Longwing?!"

He looks right at Tomoe when he says this...

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    Even under her concealing face-scarf, Yuuki's uncertainty shows in her lowered eyes. Are these questions they should answer? Are they questions they CAN answer? Will this break the quest? She murmurs to herself briefly, asking questions of her own, before looking back up unhappily.

    "Look, I don't think we can help about Grandia. I mean, first I heard of it was from you, right?" she offers Bolt. "Or about Brick either. Uh, no offense. I mean, you could be famous, I don't really know that many of your sort of heroes!" she grins sheepishly.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Oh boy. Knocking on the inside of the fourth wall. Or on the inside of their own roles, as Xiaomu suggested. Josuke struggles with himself here; he really doesn't WANT to break the quest... but if there's a mind in these NPCs, particularly one struggling to get out... he can't bring himself to pretend. Not that he's very good at it, either.

He pushes back the hood of his robe then, so Bolt and the Priestess can see his face properly. See? There IS one under that hood! But he also shakes his head. "I've never heard of Grandia either," he adds. "Or of Brick." There's a reason for that, one he's not sure he should go into detail about. But he IS speaking without the 'pretend evil' tone now. He looks... a lot like a typical high schooler, really.

Though as for Tomoe looking like 'Ms. Longwing'? He says nothing on that score. Because to be honest, he doesn't know why either! He'd thought it was someone screwing with Tomoe, but after this he's not so sure...

Staren has posed:
    Staren watches Bolt attentively, ears turned forward, as he asks his questions.

    Then he thinks, brow furrowed. How to explain CARDINAL to someone like this.

    "A new god has risen to power. It isn't necessarily a good god, or an evil god -- perhaps fittingly, for a world of fairies, it thinks in stories."

    Staren drops down from the tree. "It merged your world with others. Surely you've noticed the cities with towers of metal and glass, where people drive horseless carriages... That is one of the other worlds."

    Staren begins to pace. "This god tells stories. All the time. It decided to tell a story about a dark lady terrorizing the countryside. A band of heroes came together and went to fight the Dark Lady... But something went wrong." He waves a hand at Tomoe. "The Dark Lady posessed one of the heroes, Tomoe, the Iron Lily. We exorcised her... but the god did not consider the story finished. So it spun a new tale, with Tomoe as the Dark Lady, and it created a new band of heroes to challenge her." He waves his hand at Bolt and Lailah. "There's a bit more to the details, but it's rather complicated and I think that covers the gist of it. As to why the barmaid looks like Tomoe, I have no idea. The whims of that god which we call CARDINAL, perhaps." He shrugs.

    And then he stops in place and looks at the heroes seriously. "Just because you were created by CARDINAL, though, doesn't make you any less real, or mean you're beholden to its whims. The fact that you've noticed the inconsistancies and come to talk to us proves that." He shrugs again and shakes his head. "I have no idea what will happen, though, if you don't complete the story. Perhaps CARDINAL will create new heroes to attack us, who think you're villains too. We're very much in uncharted territory. All we want is to protect the people of all the worlds, from whatever threats they face -- whether CARDINAL has decided a giant monster attack makes for a good story, or because of criminals who try to trap people in worlds of their own devising..."

    "So... what will you do? Well, if you even believe me... I suppose it's a pretty incredible story..."

Iria has posed:
Iria continues to grin evilly, although it does look rather forced so after a while her grin disappears. Still, she listens attentively to what is being said. She offers little to say for the time being, although she does give a glance to Tomoe when the name 'Longwing' is said, but that's very brief and little else is shown in terms of movement or emotion.

When Yuuki starts to speak, Iria gives her a glare. The way Yuuki is speaking sounds like she's not sure of what's going on, and that makes things a little more difficult in the eyes of Iria. But she doesn't say anything to Yuuki, instead waiting to hear a response from Bolt and/or Lailah.

Josuke is really having trouble keeping with it, so Iria looks down before she rolls her eyes and looks up again. She decides to let Staren speak for the time being, and when he's done speaking, Iria finally speaks. "It sounds like a huge fairy tale, but I believe he speaks the truth," Iria says, gesturing to Staren.

Xiaomu has posed:
Other than commenting quietly on the radio, Xiaomu has largely gone more or less silent. She does reach up to tug her hood back, leaving her face visible ... as well as her vulpine ears, and the several tails which are, as usual, 'disguised' as her hair.

The 'heroic' NPCs have, for whatever reason, started running up against the bounds of their roles, as though walking through the forest and coming across the edge of the stage curtain, or leaning on a wall which collapses because it was plywood used to build the set. Xiaomu herself, for all her familiarity with (and love of) video games and other popular entertainments, is not quite sure how to approach the subject further - because gods alone (or CARDINAL, if that) know how these characters-becoming-people will react when the truth of their reality is explained fully.

Of course, Staren is basically pulling down the curtain even as she considers what might be a better way to broach the subject - a gentler way, at least.

Assuming that such a way even exists, that is.

Xiaomu just stands in a slightly more relaxed manner, watching and listening, particularly attentive for reactions to Staren's ten-yen lecture on automated quest creation as applied to the real world.

Kirito has posed:
    Kirito opens his mouth - not that anyone can see it - when Staren begins tot alk. He's not really sure that explaining CARDINAL in any fashion will be HELPFUL, as opposed to giving them an explanation that works within the bounds of their own Alfheim-based understanding of existence...

    But thankfuly he's still wearing the mask, so nobody can see this. Either way, he clamps his mouth shut again. He ends up folding his arms at this... and shakes his head.

    Becasue if they don't accept THAT story - and he's not sure he would if he was in their shoes - he's not sure how he can set the matter straight. The boy sighs exasperatedly from the sidelines, braing oing into hyperdrive.

    He steps forward, removes the mask and unequips the menacing extra parts of his attire, dropping down to just plain ol Spriggan Kirito.

    "Honestly. You can put that a lot more simply, Staren. The dark lord of the palace was beat, now the castle considers Tomoe her successor, and nobody told anyone from Alfheim any of this because we didn't know any of this was going on! ... I just dressed up because a demon castle needed some duds that looked the part."

    Simple. As. That.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe has been wondering about what the deal with Longwing has been, why does she look like she could be her sister and almost twin? She has to think about that one, pretty hard. She has no good anwer for that but the consentis seem to everyone on both sides? Grandia does not exist anywhere on Earth. In or out of the game zones, if at all. Which Tomoe thought it was most likly didn't exist period.

Then comes Staren with the full story, hard blunt and mayhaps for the best here given who knows what beating about the bushg might have done to thigns in the long runs. If Bolt and Lailah are straining against their origins it may be for the best. Josuke gets a glance from Lailah too as what staren has said sinks in.

Bolt ponders for a moment. "The town farther south is indeed strange, everyone ears are rounded, also they can not fly."

Lailah starts to think looking a bit scared.

"So your saying this Cardinal created all of us.... our world and fused it with another? I would think that mad but I too have seen the town to the south and it's strange people."

They seme to be overloading a bit but then Kirito swoops in with something a bit easier to take or graps on given their mental limits.

Kirito's words seem to strike home and with the combined behjaviour along with people explaing things to them.

"So wait then this?"

Lailah holds up the gauntlet she has. Bolt seems to be recovering and looks to the weapon on his back he has.

"Are these...tied to this castle?"

Tomoe also has some wheels turning is the Castle the actual end boss?

Staren has posed:
    "That wouldn't explain Grandia." Staren points out to Kirito.

    The heroes respond, and Staren nods, relieved that they're at least seriously considering his story. "Honestly I've been wondering how you even GOT here. Alfheim is off the coast, on an entirely different continent. ...If you want independent confirmation, you can ask the race leaders. They know about this, but I'd imagine they don't know how to tell people in a way that sounds sensible if they haven't seen what you've seen."

    He was expecting them to ask if the Gatecrashers were also CARDINAL's creations, so he's actually surprised when they persue a different line of inquiry.

    Staren shrugs. "I'm not sure what the deal with your artifacts is, but CARDINAL gives us messages that the story is progressing when one is destroyed."

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    Yuuki looks thoughtful at this. Which, unfortunately, also makes her look rather strained and uncomfortable. Or perhaps she's just uncomfortable at the level of open uncertainty and distress going on, and it's getting somewhat mixed with thoughtfulness...

    "I'm not sure about those." Yuuki mentions. After a moment she shrugs, then unwinds her face scarf. Underneath it is just Yuuki, young and guileless. "They're part of this whole thing, yes. Just like the castle is. You could give them to us, and we'll see what happens?" she offers brightly. Just, you know, not exactly helpfully. Like she's trying to be evil and failing.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Bolt's words draw up something Josuke can use. "That's right," he notes, about the ears and lack of flight. He turns his head to show his own ears -- with his hood back, now it can be seen that Josuke's ears are round, too. "See?" He's not one of the humans from their world, no... but humans are generally humans, from what he's seen. It can be assumed he isn't flying, since he doesn't have wings. Then again, depending on whether Bolt can see Crazy Diamond or not, it may have looked like he was flying, so he doesn't claim otherwise.

Lailah's question of the relics/artifacts gets a nod. "They might be," Josuke replies. "It's all really weird how this has turned out..." He doesn't want to mention the whole 'video game' thing, but he's never seen a quest like this.

And then he looks to Tomoe, wondering what her take on all this is. He sees the thoughtful look on her face... replays the last thing the 'heroes' said -- 'connected to the castle'... Then he remembers Kirito's mention of 'choosing' someone as the Dark Lady's successor. But if that's the case... who would have made that choice? Then his eyes go wide. "...You don't think that...?" A pause, a shake of his head. "No. Couldn't be. Can a castle be alive?" And then, because it's usually the answer to anything weird happening in HIS world... "Maybe it's a Stand?" Because if HE can leave his world, then other Stand users can too, right?

Iria has posed:
Iria wants to make a quip about the ears being rounded and being unable to fly due to the fact they're humans, but she holds off on making any type of wisecracks or things like that for time being. She simply keeps her arms folded and listens, all the while silently envying Staren for having the ability to be so blunt yet do it so well.

When Yuuki speaks again, Iria has to turn away so she can shake her head and scowl without anyone noticing. The huntress grits her teeth a little as well, trying not to snap at her in frustration. "We're supposed to be the bad guys!" She barely gets out, sighing a little, before turning to face forward again.

Finally, she speaks audibly again. "It is very weird," Iria comments in a serious tone. A pause, then Iria narrows an eye a little as she says, "A castle that's alive? Trust me, I'll believe anything can happen in a world like this." She scowls a little. "Whatever a Stand is."

Xiaomu has posed:
They're taking it relatively well, thinks Xiaomu, as Bolt and Lailah engage with the answers that Staren and Kirito provided. And it seems to be going fairly well, at that - no exploding freak-outs, no screams of 'that can't be true,' etc.

A piece of her dares to wonder if it might actually be this easy. The rest of her remains skeptical, and wary to go with.

Kirito has posed:
    Man, Josuke just came to a REALLY scary conclusion. Kirito's face darkens a bit as his thoughts go wild with possibilities and educated guesswork. "... It's posssssssible." He admits grimly to the man. "... A living castle, that is. No idea about any Stands." What are Stands again? Huh.

    He gives Staren a somewhat exasperated glare, but just shrugs at the end of it.

    "Say..."

    Seizing upon a sudden idea he whirls around to face the twins! "Your crew has some pretty decent mages, doesn't it? Why not give us a hand figuring this problem out? Then we can all go home knowing it's finally OVER."

Tomoe has posed:
Bolt is thinking here. "This Goddess is obsessed with weaving stories and did Orginal create Dark Lady Tomoe and the rest of you as well?" Its' a logical thing to ask about honestly. Bolt takes his massive war-hammer and moves to set it down on the ground. "I found this in a Dungeon in the mountains near here before this all started."

Lailah also thinks more at what Josuke says about it. She then moves to offer him the gauntlet.

Tomoe eyes goes a bit wide for a moment. "Wait what are you suggesting tha5t it's some kind of strange entity akin to your stand?"

At lest that's where Tomoe seems to be getting some ideas about the castle.

Bolt sees Lailah hands her gauntlet over as well.

"If we are just puppets in a play...I would rather be writing my own lines then letting someone else."

It's only Brick and Lailah here today it seems.

Bolt takes a deep breath.

"I am in but I do not think all of the others will listen."

The Priestess seems unhappy yet nods. "I will as well take our items and do as you will with them. I would like to see this over and ... get some measure of our lives back."

Well more starting their lives so to speak but it seem these two are willing to help.

"I do not know about those who remain with Brick I doubt most of them will listen Misty I think you could convince I do not know about the rest."

This is progress though.

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    Yuuki frowns at mention of the Goddess. And, well, she COULD lie but she's bad at it, and she doesn't really like deceiving. She shakes her head. "I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm only here because the Dark Lady's my friend and I'd do anything to help her!" she claims perkily. Just flat out saying it in such a way that it'd be almost impossible to doubt, while at the same time leaving it in full doubt just *what* she's doing. Being evil, apparently, whatever that implies.

Staren has posed:
    Ah, there it is. Staren shakes his head. "We predate the 'goddess', but if you want proof of how we can know we weren't also created with memories of other histories, I'm not sure I can give you quick proof, so I'm willing to concede we might be creations too for the sake of argument, for now."

    And then they... hand over the artifacts? He decides to check his quest log... and has another thought: "Tell me, does anything happen when you do this?" He asks the two, before he makes the menu-opening gesture.

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
It doesn't surprise Josuke that neither Iria nor Kirito know what a Stand is. So he offers a quick explanation, "The thing that follows me around." He assumes they can see it, since he's noticed a lot of people outside his world can -- and he did use it to get out here, so there was opportunity as well. There really isn't time for a long explanation right now.

Tomoe's question gets a thoughtful pout from Josuke. "Maybe," he replies. "Though I wouldn't go on only that information. Jotaro says he's seen Stands bound to objects before. I'm sure spirits and things like that can bind themselves to objects too. Maybe it's even a really big tsukumogami -- a castle that felt abandoned, so made someone be its Dark Lady."

...That's a chilling prospect, isn't it? But he does note, "Though I have no idea of knowing if that's really the case or not. Right now it's just throwing stuff at the wall, not even being able to see what sticks." So there's that, at least... he could be way off base!

The offer of the gauntlet from Lailah, gets a nod. Josuke smiles. "Thank you. We really don't want to have to fight you guys," he admits finally. Yeah that whole 'evil' thing is gone now. As for the others not wanting to play ball? "Do you think you could get hold of their relics? Maybe when they're asleep or something?" he suggests.

Kirito has posed:
    Kirito is going quite wide-eyed at the self-awareness being displayed by these NPCs. He's seen plenty of Very Intelligent and driven NPCs, but none that have actually talked about such things as pondering their 'real nature', such as it is.

    He's begun to gape ever so slightly at this, in fact!

    "N-not so sure anything we'd find is one of these 'Stands', but the idea that the Castle's got a will... it bears checking."

Tomoe has posed:
Things seem to be progressing quite well the two heroes seem content to hand over the Artifacts. The pair dot not see the menu but pause wondering what Staren's doing with hand likely wizard things. "I felt like we should get back to town right away." Notes bolt and Lailah nods in agreement. "I felt much the same, we met Brick shortly after and things snowballed from there."

The items are handed over and when the log is checked? Anyone who does will find the count went from 1/7 to 3/7. So progress is being made, very good progress is being made here.

"That s worrisome possibility we may have to deal with Josuke and I ...."

Tomoe urks for a moment as she grows a black scaly dragon like tail which easily finds it way out and through her armour and she also sprouts a pair of Daconic looking horns from he rhead which part through her hair. Tomoe just kinda sighs tail trashing in clear annoyance.

"I'm never going to live this down."

The two heroes pause for a moment.

"We should get going before the other notice something is amiss, we'll be back."

Notes Lailah. Bolt adds to this.

"We will see what we can do about this...I just want to know the truth.

"We'll figure this out hopefully we can stop this from going out of control. Now I'm going to catch this damn thing in doors..."

Josuke Higashikata has posed:
Josuke is clearly disturbed by the sudden growth of the tail. "Tomoe? Are you all right?" he asks, alarmed. No he's not going to try and touch the tail, no matter how much he wants to poke at it. He looks worried, though.

He looks up at the two heroes, with a nod. "Thanks for trying to work with us instead of just trying to bash our heads in," he says, half-kidding. More seriously, he offers, "Take care, you two."

He's still worried about this. Tomoe is changing as the quest progresses more. What happens if they get all seven? Will Tomoe's personality change? Will Tomoe become possessed by the Dark Lady again? There's still too many things he doesn't know yet...

Staren has posed:
    Staren looks at the quest log and gives the heroes a thumbs up. "CARDINAL indicates the story's progressed. Looks like us taking them counts too, we don't have to destroy them."

    Then Tomoe grows a tail and horns and Staren looks over at her. "I guess that's an indicator too." As she thrashes it in annoyance, he smiles. "Ooh! You learned to control it fast!" His own tail twitching excitedly. Stuff is happening! NPCs are learning! What will happen? Why is Tomoe turning into a dragon and what does it mean? There's so much to learn!

    He turns back to the heroes as they say their goodbyes. "I just want everyone to know the truth. Good luck. Again, if they want more proof, you can talk to the race leaders. It doesn't make sense for all of them to be conspiring with the Dark Lady, right? What would be the point?"

    Then he looks a bit more serious. "Good luck. And thank you for coming to see us, so we could start straightening this all out."

Kirito has posed:
    With Tomoe RANDOMLY GROWING DRAGON FEATURES, Kirito turns and STARES at her. The fact that the quest advanced isn't lost on him, but...

    Yep. He's staring in open bewilderment at her! "... This is just ridiculous..."