- Job Title: Size Matters
Player Requirements: 20 Posts of 200 words or more. Maximum 3 mages.
Job Requirements: Defeat at least 5 enemies and defeat the magpie to get the ring.
Job Location: Clover Town
Job Description: Mrs. Cartigan, a retired romance has lost her wedding ring in her garden and needs help finding it. Her garden is incredibly lush, and as such, searching from above will be neigh impossible. Because of this, Mrs. Cartigan will shrink you down to search for her ring. Beware, for as your size scales down, so does your power. Small creatures like rodents and insects are now very real threats. Characters are shrunken down to 2 centimeters in size.
Note: Due to the fact the mages are shrunk down for this job it is impossible for it to be invaded.
Ant: A single and out looking for food for its colony. Not too threatening, but can still have a nasty bite. Takes 1-2 C rank hits to kill. Bites do C-rank damage.
Cricket: Crickets are large and can pack a powerful bite, but are not very predatory. Defeating them just means proving you are too much trouble to eat. Takes 1-2 C rank hits to scare off. Bites do C-rank damage
Harvestman: Although their bite is less damaging than that of a cricket, the harvestman's long legs make it difficult to fight against. While they look like spiders, they aren't actually, and lack venom. Harvestmen take 3 C-rank hits to their body to kill, or the removal of all legs. Legs come off after taking 1 D rank hit and are much easier to hit than the body. Its relatively small jaws only do D-ranked damage.
Beetle: A predatory beetle with a sturdy exoskeleton and strong mandibles. Its bite deals C-ranked damage and it can take 4 C-ranked hits.
Wasp: A predatory wasp with strong jaws and a stinger. Wasps are sturdy, hard to hit, and deadly. They can sting multiple times and will likely employ hit-and-run tactics. Their wings are the weakest point, and hitting them can force the wasp to land. Bite deals C-ranked damage and can pick up opponents to shake them for additional D-ranked damage. Sting deals D-ranked damage on hit and B-ranked damage over 3 posts. Wasps take 5 C-ranked hits to kill. 1 D ranked hit to the wings from fire, electricity, or water magic or 1 C ranked hit of anything else will force it to land.
Jumping Spider: Nimble and venomous, jumping spiders tend to ambush their prey. It is very likely that these deadly predators will take those seeking the ring by surprise. Their powerful bite deals C-ranked damage when it hits and B-ranked damage over 3 posts. Their incredible speed will make them hard for even the fastest of mages to hit, and their sturdy exoskeleton can withstand up to 5 C-ranked hits.
Magpie: A magpie swoops overhead and lands nearby with none other than Mrs. Cartigan's wedding ring in its beak! It won't give up its new prize easily though, the magpie. With you at such a small size, this bird is a fearsome enemy. It can attack with its beak or lash out with its talons to deal B rank damage and flap its wings to knock enemies near it back, kicking up dirt and dust in the process. The magpie will take 15 C-ranked hits before it is defeated and flies away. The magpie will appear after 15 posts.
Reward: 10000 jewels and 12 homemade cookies (cookies do nothing, but are delicious).
Doing word count method, 4k cause solo yolo
”This looks like the right house. My though…I want to live in a place like this someday!” The excited voice ended with a small, sweet sigh. Before the short white-haired girl stood a tall, grand house filled with a majestic beauty about it. The front garden was lovingly cared for, though Shade truly adored the ivy crawling up the sides towards the second floor windows, adding an aged charm to the abode. She would’ve loved to scope through the place and see what kind of antics and treasures filled the house, but some man in a butler’s uniform already exited the building, motioning for her to follow him. Wordlessly she followed, a bit sad that they wouldn’t at least take a short cut through the house, instead using the one through the fence to the gated backyard. With Haigha in her arms in plush form and Gaspard not far behind in his usual form they followed the man.
She mentally likened the place to Wonderland.
Colors jumped out at her, some flowers growing so tall they looked down on even the butler who must’ve been at least six foot with his impeccable posture, each one sporting a slightly different hue as if planted to represent a gradient of purples. Greens of a multitude of variety twisted and turned around another, leaves around her various darker shades compared to the bright green of the lawn, and even a few of the trees came with a hint of blue-green to their foliage amidst the pure greens. Everything was filled with a luscious sense of life that she simply adored it, expression softening.
”I’m glad you like it my child,” a voice jumped out at her, ”it’s taken quite some time but I think it’s come along quite nicely. You should’ve seen the barren wasteland it used to be.”
Long white locks flew about as Shade’s attention snapped towards the woman, jolted out of her peaceful joy by the intruding voice. There a woman sat, calmly sipping tea at her glass patio table, an assortment of treats laid out on plates and tiered serving dishes. Briefly she admired the woman’s attire, the long, mauve dress giving way to a white edge, multiple folds ensuring it trailed behind her beautifully when she walked. A darker vest covered the top portion of the dress as long sleeves protected her arms from the sun’s rays. A wide-brimmed, woven hat with a ribbon matching her attire prevented any burns to her face as she took another sip, pinky lightly extended and the cup creating a gentle clatter as she placed it back in its saucer.
”Come child, have a cup of tea with me. It’s not often I receive guests,” she smiled, the corners of her eyes crinkling, ”There’ll be plenty of time to get to work after a cup and some crumpets.” Taking the proffered seat, a bell-like laughter escaped as she watched Shade place the chocolate-colored bunny in the third seat. It left Gaspard standing at the open side of the table, creating a quartet. The woman motioned towards the treats again, happy to share and watched with a grandmotherly pleasure as the short mage set about fixing Gaspard’s plate and cup before her own.
”Such nice manners as well, though I wish I had a proper seat for your friend…ah, Bentley, if you may, perhaps the bench?” With a graceful wave of her hand she indicated a small, white bench situated against the house next to a large potted plant. As her servant brought it over she nodded, pleased as the beast took a seat and not blinking twice at the questionable canine – who looked more like a dinosaur in wolf’s clothing or something to that effect. As Shade finally took a sip of the tea after mixing enough milk and honey to leave it more as half milk, half honey, the woman nodded again. ”Yes, this is nice as I hoped it might be. Tell me…what’s caused one as young as yourself to become a mage, if you don’t mind sharing? I feel as though I see mages becoming younger and younger with the passing of time!”
”Ah, you might be surprised, but I am a little older than I look,” Shade offered the elderly woman a soft smile, ”but there’s probably a good gene running in my family so no worries. Admittedly I do like the traveling aspect of this line of work – I might even go so far as to say it’s my favorite since it allows me to see such a wondrous garden as this. I wasn’t allowed out much as a child, a bit sickly if you will, so I feel I need to make up for lost time!” She giggled a little, the woman smiling in kind. Beneath the table she played with the side of her jacket, the white garment a stark contrast to the surroundings, most of her outfit some variation of off-white to light gray compared to the vibrant rainbow of the garden’s flora.
Before she could speak the woman’s voice spoke up again, ”If I may inquire my dear…does the rabbit hold a connection to your magic? Is it perhaps some sort of medium?”
A natural question she figured, eyes glancing at Haigha’s form as it laid in the chair, smiling with that three-shaped mouth. ”Yes you could say that. I won’t get into the details as it’s all a bit complicated, though I’m sure you hear that quite a lot. Even a simple fire mage likes to think grandly of their magic, though I won’t fault their power. However, I fear I must ask about your request Mrs. Cartigan. In the notice you said you’d lost something important to you?”
She enjoyed the chat, imagining that this must be what spending time with one’s grandmother must be like, yet at the same time she was here for a job. Truly she appreciated the woman’s hospitality, she honestly did, but the woman also held little appeal or interest for her. This was merely a task for her, something to be over and done with because last she recalled from her previous foray into the world of the living, the guilds preferred one to be active and promote their glory. Shade may not have gotten to know anybody at this “Infinity Hydra” place, but it seemed like the thing to do and nobody had attempted to stop her for whatever inane or soap-opera based reason.
”Ah yes, my apologies,” the woman set her tea cup down, folding her hands in her lap. A more solemn look replaced the pleasant one she wore only moments prior, ”perhaps I was merely avoiding the unpleasant reason behind this visit, but I’m afraid I’ve lost something of great importance. You see I loved my late husband greatly – and still do to this day, I don’t think I shall ever remarry – but my wedding ring bears the greatest importance to me among the things I ever received from him. Unfortunately as wonderful as this garden is, I have lost the ring in here somewhere and none of my staff have been able to locate it. I’m afraid it’s a bit dangerous for them to go the only route left to me so I looked towards mages who might be willing. If you’ll permit me, I’ll shrink you down and perhaps you can find it in the dense plant growth. If not, then I thank you for your time as it’s been a pleasant little tea party if I may say so.”
’A keepsake? Is that all?’ Surprising, the girl often wondered about such habits of people. ’Is there a bit of his spirit tied to it? What does having the ring really do for her? It won’t bring him back…’ Yet she refrained from asking out right, not wanting to receive an earful about it later, potentially a lecture from her guild. Rather than any of the questions she simply nodded, ”Very well. If it’s that important to you then I shall find it.”
* ~ * ~ *
The world from down below looked so different, blades of grass on par with trees. Where everything had once been scenic and serene it quickly turned into a maze, the white haired mage starting to rethink her decision in this matter. If anything surely it would’ve been easier to find as a fully-grown person than something as small as an insect, a lady bug walking by her with barely a nod of its head. Down here they looked so much more intricate though as she watched some of the insects going about their business. Though the more interesting thing had to be the fact the spell worked on her magic subsequently, Shade casually watching as Gaspard fended off a few ants who’d considered them potential food. As one rounded around the frantic canine the girl sighed: sometimes Gaspard could be almost as bad as CM.
”Not really worth my time I’m afraid. Sorry.” No remorse came with the words as she shot the thing a couple times, pulling out one of her pistols. They’d been a passing gift from some woman she hadn’t seen since, a little jealous of the upgraded model at the woman’s hips but…well she’d accepted the gift all the same. Besides she rather enjoyed the detachable blades portion.
After a few hits the ants seem to decide they put up too much of a fuss to be a bother, though if they “died” Shade knew they’d come back for the corpses. ’Poor things probably think there’ll be something to eat later.’ Nothing would be left though if they fell, the girl and her companions merely forced back to Paradise.
”How the hell does she expect us to find this stupid ring in the first place?!”
”That’s a good looking question,” the tiny, almost mocking voice piped up from the crook of her arm. The rabbit cuddled to her finally moved, peering around at the new surroundings, ”I guess she’s hoping we’ll be more likely to wander off into whatever nook or cranny it fell into. What a silly woman, honestly! Oh…I feel like maybe there’s a hint of magic that way?”
Haigha’s exclamation ended on a questioning note as her overly large, floppy ears flipped up and then bent as if acting like some radar. With little else to go on the trio moved in the direction, hoping to stumble upon something horrendously oversized compared to them and shiny if too much dirt didn’t already cake over it. They hadn’t gone far when grass rustled something fierce, parting way before the almighty and now fearsome beetle. Long antennae moved about as its mandibles clicked together, a near hissing noise escaping the thing as its attention honed in on them.
Forward it charged, the walking pair diving to opposite sides as it struck the ground where they’d been, its head turning between the two as if to decide what looked more tantalizing. Shade almost laughed as it instead turned towards Gaspard, the plump canine looking creature obviously a more filling meal compared to her thin structure. He yipped and transformed, breaking apart into a myriad of diamond shards that struck at the insect as they rushed by. As an antennae dropped the thing rose up and roared in both pain and what might be the insect equivalent of rage, turning back to stare at the reunited duet. Just when it turned about she took another shot, the eye exploding in disgusting bug juice that caused the girl to cringe and hope the thing wouldn’t come near her. She really didn’t want to be slimed with bug blood.
A very ominous sound however sent the thing skittering away, the horned summon shoving Shade aside as the spider pounced. Four large eyes stared down as the jaws opened and it roared down at him. ”Gaspard!” she cried out, panicked for a moment as she sent the denizen back to their home realm. Stumbling to her feet she raced through the grass, none too pleased to be chased down by that hairy, ugly mess and how the hell did it sport a saurian roar like that?! Did all bugs sound like scary reptiles when you were knocked down to their side?!
Behind the panicked run she could hear the crunching of grass as the thing apparently pounced here and there, narrowly missing her one time. She outright smacked into the butt of an ant in her haste to escape, wondering in the back of her mind if they were a part of the line she ran into a bit ago or if they belonged to a different ant hill entirely. They turned, obviously curious until the thing landed just behind her and offered another tyrannosauric roar, sending the workers skittering away.
She could use them.
”KUMEI!” she yelled, clutching the little chocolate bunny plush in one arm as she waved the other next to her. Alongside her the thick beast manifested, the chimera glowing with his otherworldly blue hues, golden eyes lacking pupils as he stared straight ahead. Clutching the plush mane around his shoulders the girl hoisted herself onto the racing beast, hand pulling out a pistol to take aim at their pursuer. Aiming proved tricky however on the bouncing beast, missing a shot and skimming the second on a leg when she’d been hoping for another eye splatter. Kumei, no less eager than his mistress to become something’s meal, shot his odd, claw-like tongue out at one of the ants running abreast.
”You will go towards the beast,” he gave the silent command as the toxin took hold. It was quickly joined by another one as he jabbed the side of a second ant, the spider already crunching down on its first victim. They wouldn’t have long now before it finished both snacks so while it was distracted they parted away from the more tantalizing rush of ants. Ducking and weaving through grass the sounds of the bug stampede faded further and further into the distance, even the rustling of grass dimming as the spider gave chase to the more visible targets.
A few minutes more and they finally stopped, the blue beast’s speed slowing as he panted, though offered a slight purring noise as her now free hand ruffled through his mane.
”Good boy,” she offered, a little bit breathless herself after the excitement of the stampede, ”you did very well.”
Belatedly she realized another creature of the grassy forest rested with them, eyes meeting when she looked up. The girl could already tell: the cricket was sizing them up. She had half a mind to blow the thing’s head up had Kumei not acted first. A mighty roar left his large frame, lungs powerfully built and offering quite the sound that immediately turned it off, looking the other way and considering where to jump. At least…she’d hoped that’d been the case until a very loud sound permeated the skies above.
They stared in abject horror as above something hummed, the beast shuffling them quickly beneath a dense patch of grass as the striped creature inched closer and closer. This was a predator however, not to be outdone and even menacing to regular sized humans when in true swarming formation. ’A wasp.’ Being stung didn’t sound fun in her proper size she could only imagine the stabbing sensation at this size. While she needn’t fear for her life Shade didn’t exactly seek out being stabbed either, seeing no reason to throw herself into the fray needlessly right now. She wasn’t the type to act sacrificially because it held no appeal or benefit…and hadn’t been pleasant the first time around either.
No, she couldn’t dwell on that. Not here. Not now.
Even the insect seemed to have second thoughts however as a more terrifying whoosh happened over head, forcing the blades of grass to scrape against one another from the force of the wind where it would’ve been little more than a gentle push to a human. The size of the creature was unlike anything they’d dealt with so far, but even that failed to fully catch her attention compared to what lay clasped in its beak.
It was so bloody close.
”I’ve been trying to tell you it was nearby, but I guess you guys were more focused on the spider and now the bug above us,” a cheeky voice chimed, a note of laughter lacing its words.
”Laugh all you want at least we’ve got our ticket out of this silly situation!” The problem would be getting near the thing as it stood up above on a tree branch and they…unfortunately on little more than the oversized lawn. From down here the height spanned impossible lengths that might’ve been disheartening to most. Shade however was a girl who knew how to use people to get what she wanted when necessary, and looked back up at her ex-nemesis and soon-to-be-ally. ”I think it’s time for a little tag-teaming Haigha.”
The rabbit giggled: this sounded fun!
Considering flying away in the face of the bird, the wasp didn’t notice the chains as they rose up from the depths of the green sea, swirling around the flying menace and jolting it out of place from the sudden weight. Its attention returned to below it as a form rose up towards it, the thing brandishing its stinger. Ooooh how it wanted to impale the thing and then bring it back to the hive, the delicious and suicidal morsel probably a nice offering to the queen. Letting go of one of the chains Shade and her trusty bunny sidekick arched in their ascent, landing atop the insect and reaching for the looped bit of chain with her hand, settling for squashing her plushy friend in the crook of her elbow. Well, not that it was truly necessary but Shade did prefer the comfort of keeping her soft companion immediately at her side rather than dropping her later since she intended to summon the guardian entity soon enough.
Up they rose as Shade steered her new steed skyward, buzzing menacingly towards the bird who no doubt caused this entire farce in the first place. All they really had to do was force the thing to give up the ring, though Shade imagined it wouldn’t be too long until the spell wore off, recalling the client’s warning.
”It will only last half an hour at most, though in my age it seems to last closer to twenty minutes…I’m afraid I can’t rightly say where you’ll fall between those times.”
With all the excitement of her undersized adventures the girl may have forgotten to keep track of any sense of time, avoiding one bug only to be met with another denizen of the garden. She didn’t plan on any repeats in the future, that much was certain.
Upwards they soared, the bird’s eye and then complete attention riveting onto them in an instant and she felt the wasp’s hesitation quickly grow. It really didn’t want to go towards that thing despite the knowledge that its siblings and hivemates would undoubtedly be upon the bird mercilessly. Survival instincts were a real kicker like that, but Shade didn’t really care as they’d finally come close enough and the bird’s wings opened as it prepared to dive straight for them. There was no signal as she simply pushed against the fuzzy backside of her temporary mount, the bird rocketing towards them as magical energy enveloped Shade entirely. A dark flash and she now sported a partner as Haigha took on her true form, eye glowing bright pink with joy as the smile remained permanently affixed to her face. Her charcoal black jacket fluttered in the wind, sound matched by the one Shade now sported as bandages surrounded both of their bodies beneath the outfits and atop their arms, some wrapping around the summoner’s hair to keep the long locks under control. As the bird swooped by them, killing the wasp with pitiful ease bandages shot from the pair and latched onto groups of feathers, pulling them along for the ride as the duet reeled themselves in to cling to the avian.
More wasps wandered into the area, likely scoping the place out since they’d already sent out a scout. Needless to say, given their usual temperaments, the group was having none of it when the bird swooped by and they received taunting smacks. Defensive instincts immediately rose in their body as they gave out the signal to attack, more of their brethren rising up out of nowhere to flock around the bird.
Mindless of the increasing hoard, Shade yelled out to her traveling companion to be heard over the rushing winds, ”Do you suppose Amarylis would get annoyed if I asked her to grow wings? This is kind of fun!”
”I think she prefers a draconic form to that of a phoenixian one!”
”Yeah, you’re probably right!” It’d been worth the consideration at least as she focused on her next step in this crazy, crazy plan.
The swarm continued to grow as the ferocious insects started dive-bombing the bird, angered by the smallest of provocations and now viewing it as a threat to their well-being. They could smell the death of one of their own on its beak and now sought to protect their hive from the intruder. Making sure to move when they got too close for comfort – the insects more concerned with the magpie than them luckily – Shade’s focus shifted towards the ring still locked in the bird’s mouth. The darned thing was determined, she’d give it that, but that ring would be their’s darn it! Slithering bandages through the feathers, Haigha doing the same, they managed to loop around the ridiculously large ring and waited, hoping, biding their time…
…and then it swooped so fiercely they dislodged from its back, the only thing keeping them afloat still the multitude of loops around the ring…
…and then they were plummeting again as the bird finally released them to yell at the swarm as flapping aggressively and all the loop-de-loops in the world weren’t dissuading its attackers. It’s only true escape would be to leave the area it seemed, chased from the beautiful garden and its shiny prize by a swarm of bullies.
Between the height and the looks of it, they were both about to be either smashed against the ground by the ring or cut in half – all dependent on how the thing hit them as it twirled above like a menacing guillotine. If not for the force of the fall Shade might’ve sighed at her fate, time slowing down as if to taunt her further. ’At least it should end quickly…little suffering…’
She watched as the ring drifted further and further away for some reason, the phenomenon rather curious given their original speed and that the ring might’ve caught up to them in a few seconds. Instead though it traveled away until the realization that the leaves no longer looked so large hit home just as she lightly thumped against the grass and blinked.
”My, what splendid timing! I was afraid I wouldn’t catch you in time!”
Familiar, kind eyes looked down into magenta orbs, the woman curiously honest in her relief. ”I would’ve come out sooner but there was a horrid swarm of wasps. I had to wait for them to pass with that poor, poor bird.”
Wordlessly the girl held up the ring, her outfit already normal even as a certain denizen of Paradise lay face down in the ground, little more than a chocolate-milk colored bunny again. Incoherent words of gratitude started tumbling out amidst a few tears, the little droplets landing on Shade’s porcelain skin, tickling her cheeks as they slipped down into the grass. [i]’What relief she shows at a simple object…why does it hold so much importance to her? How can it symbolize the entirety of a person like this, inspire such emotions?”
”Oh I’m so sorry dear,” the woman helped her up finally, dabbing at her eyes, [color:4a68= violet]”It’s just that this really does mean a lot to me. I still miss him so much, but someday we’ll be reunited again. Until that day comes though this ring reminds me of all the times we’ve shared together…I don’t suppose you have someone…do you?”
”No, I don’t,” she admitted plainly. Dusting herself off and picking up the stuffed rabbit she shrugged, ”I did sign up for some blind date thing, but I don’t really know how that’s going to go or what they’ll pair me up with. I really hope it’s not some slime monster.”
Mrs. Cartigan laughed off her half-hearted worry, patting her on the shoulder, ”Well I’ll have to hope for the best for you then, and that they don’t indeed stick you with a gag date. It really, truly is a wondrous feeling…Oh! But before you go, while you were busy I did cook up a little something for the road as more of a personal thank you, though I don’t think I can ever fully thank you for this.”
As Shade was leaving – once again accompanied by a relieved Gaspard – Mrs. Cartigan waved her off, calling out, ”Good luck on your date!”
Shade still thought a “blind date” might involve wearing blind folds, but she’d been unsure whether the old woman knew or not so she refrained from asking. Instead she merely accepted the sentiment with a smile.