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    An Academic Matter

    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 12th October 2019, 1:10 pm

    Job Details:

    Job Title: 100 Year Free-form
    Rank: 100 Year
    Job Location: Anywhere
    Solo Word Count: 12,500 words
    Group Word Count: 25,000 words
    Additional Requirements: N/A
    Job Description: Whatever the player chooses
    Enemies: Whatever the player chooses
    Reward: 155,000 jewels

    Job Sign-Up: Page 5, Post Number 103
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 12th October 2019, 4:55 pm

    -Forgotten Deserts, mid-afternoon-

    Wearing a drab green long-sleeved shirt with drab green cargo pants and black boots, Diana made her way through the endless expanse of the Forgotten Deserts on her way to a job on behalf of a researcher. The researcher worked for Crocus Magicka University and was looking for someone to help them explore a newly discovered temple that belonged to a long-lost civilization known as the Gelae. The researcher was a rival of Dr. Anna's and wanted to find something to equal Dr. Anna's discovery about the Lestrek people. However, since the newly discovered temple was full of unknown quantities, this mission may or may not be a bust.

    Diana walked along a well-worn path until she spotted three small canvas tents near what looked to be a hole in the sand with sandstone stairs that led diagonally downward. She spotted a tall, skinny man in a tan t-shirt and khaki shorts with battered pith helmet on his head and a pair of brown-framed glasses on his face. In his hands were a nondescript white saucer and a small white cup emblazoned with golden letters that were the initials for Crocus Magicka University. The man looked up from his tea and spotted the blonde.

    "Oh, hello there young lady! You must be the mage I hired to help with the expedition!" He called out to her, waving delicately with his tea cup in hand. Taking him at his word that he was the client, Diana approached him and was greeted with a warmth that rivaled the heat of the desert sun. Still clutching the cup, the man hugged her without spilling a drop.

    "You must be Diana Winchester! I've heard good things about you!" The scholarly man greeted Diana.

    "Yes. I am Diana Winchester." The blonde answered calmly.

    "My colleague in the Astrology Department recommended you to me because of the fine job you did escorting his graduate assistants and helping them with their work on Terasu. It's a shame that he didn't find what he was looking for." The man said to her, pausing long enough to take a sip of his beverage. Diana took a moment to think about who he was referring to, but once the connection was made she knew who the client's friend was. Professor Gasan of the Astronomy Department was the one who recommended that the man employ the blonde.

    "What was it that you wanted me to find?" Diana asked the older man.

    "Oh, anything, my dear. Anything that looks old and valuable." He answered without skipping a beat. Diana did not exactly find that broad directive to be valuable information. She needed something a little more specific to go on. Was she after a particular statuette, a book, an idol, a piece of jewelry? He picked up on that and elaborated after he drained his tea cup and set it gently back on the saucer.

    "I do apologize if my answer was vague, my dear. It's just that this site is new ground... forgive the pun. It's never been explored until today." He said to Diana apologetically. Diana chose to let it go and focused on the upcoming task.

    "The Gelae people were long considered to be a backwards lot of desert dwellers who did not even have a writing system, but they are far more advanced than scholars give them credit for being." He explained to her, spinning on his heels and leisurely walking towards his tent, presumably to get a refill on his drink. Diana quickly followed her client to his tent, which was a hive of activity considering that it could only comfortably accommodate three people at most.
    He walked inside and bade Diana to enter.

    "Come, my dear. We have much to discuss before you begin your exploration." He said to her. Diana calmly followed him inside and waited for him to begin to tell her more about the Gelae people and what she could expect inside the temple. He said that it was new ground, but perhaps he could give her some insights into the long-dead people that would help her get through this job alive and with some artifacts to give him.

    [Post Word Count: 738]
    [Total Word Count: 738/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 19th October 2019, 1:55 pm

    -Inside the tent-

    Dian stepped inside the tent and was greeted by the sight of a poorly organized rectangular table that was almost as long as the tent. On top of it was a jumbled mess that consisted of unfurled maps, notes jotted in an unsteady hand, open books with bookmarks of different colors sticking haphazardly out of pages, and a pile of precariously stacked spiral notebooks that was placed at such an angle that it looked like the next stiff breeze would send it toppling to the sandy floor. At the table was a simple wooden chair that too was stacked with books. How did the professor find anything in this mess?

    The professor stepped over to a smaller rectangular table where a well-worn tea kettle was sitting on top of a hotplate connected to a fist-sized yellow crystal in the shape of a cube. He carefully opened the lid and waited for the steam to disperse, then refilled his tea cup. He set the refilled cup down on a waiting white saucer and picked up a stick of beef jerky.

    "Pardon the mess, my dear. I've been rather busy and haven't had time to clean or organize anything. You see, my assistants left to go get supplies that I absentmindedly left back at the university." He confessed to her. The blonde raised an eyebrow. What was it that he had left behind?

    "I brought water, maps, reference books, excavation tools, everything. Everything except one crucial item. You see, I accidentally left behind all the food. We've been living off of water and beef jerky for the past week-and-a-half." He confessed with a thoroughly embarrassed tone of voice. Diana kept a neutral expression but wondered how someone could forget to bring food to a remote desert dig site. The state of the table should have clued her in... he was a professor who was devoted to his craft but clearly needed some work on basic organizational skills. Oh well.

    "What did you want to tell me about the Gelae people, Professor?" Diana politely asked him in order to get the conversation back on track. The older man quickly got over his embarrassment and took a quick bite of beef jerky before talking to her.

    "Oh yes, the Gelae people! They're quite fascinating. Scholars used to think that they were just a bunch of technologically backwards people who didn't even have a written language, but they were an advanced civilization... for this area, anyway." He began to explain to the blonde. Diana listened patiently as the man took a sip of tea and walked over to the disorganized table.

    "The Gelae were a warlike people who believed that the Forgotten Deserts were their territory by divine right. They frequently clashed with their neighbors and often made sacrifices to their deity, the Conqueror Eagle. According to their theology, the Conqueror Eagle could be worshiped by engaging in fighting of any sort, be it a bar brawl, a sibling rivalry, or blood sports like gladiator contests. However, the Conquering Eagle regarded war waged in its name as the greatest act of worship." He continued regaling her with the belief system of the Gelae.

    "The Gelae were frequently at war with their neighbors for control of the Forgotten Deserts. You should expect to find a lot of ancient weapons and armor, possibly even idols of the Conquering Eagle. There will also be a lot of human skulls on the premises thanks to their headhunting warrior elite, so don't be terribly alarmed if you see them. I'll be glad to show you what the Conquering Eagle looks like... if I can find it." He finished explaining before leaning over to dig through the papers and books for what he was after. Judging by the size of the pile, Diana had the feeling that she was going to be waiting quite awhile.

    "Oh, by the way, I forgot to give you my name earlier. I'm Professor Charles Fauntleroy. I'm the seventeenth Professor Fauntleroy of the Archaeology Department. My family's been employed by Crocus Magicka University since its founding." The professor introduced himself to Diana while setting aside a stack of papers that were bent in the upper left corner.

    [Post Word Count: 740]
    [Total Word Count: 1,478/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 25th October 2019, 10:41 pm

    "It is a pleasure to meet you, Professor Fauntleroy." Diana returned the greeting. It was imperative for a mage like her to keep good working relationships with clients so that future work could be sent her way. It was doubly imperative for a Dark mage posing as a Guildless mage to have at least one or two clients for repeat business.

    "Please, just call me Charles." The professor requested while rummaging through the disorganized mess on his desk in search of whatever it was that he was trying to find. After a few minutes of searching the older man stopped searching stood up straight with a look of chagrin. Diana took it that he had given up on the endeavor and would wait for his assistants to return with the food before trying to find the image of the Conquering Eagle again.

    "I apologize, my dear. It seems that the image I wanted to show you has eluded me for the time being. If you would like, we could wait until my assistants return so that they can help me find it." Professor Fauntleroy offered.

    "No thank you, Professor. I would prefer to go ahead and explore the temple on your behalf." Diana politely refused the offer. The older man gave a small smile to the blonde.

    "Very well then. If you wish to go, then I won't keep you any longer. But do be careful, my dear. There's no telling what kinds of traps the Gelae have set to keep intruders out of their sacred grounds. I've even read that the Gelae used an arcane ritual that bound their best warriors to guard the temple for eternity." The professor warned her of two possible dangers that lurked within the temple. Diana nodded and walked for the tent flap, gently moving it to the left with her left hand and walking outside.

    -Outside the tent-

    Diana let the tent flap fall closed behind her and turned to her left. She quickly located the entrance to the temple and began walking towards it, the wind picking up and whipping her waist-length hair around as the sand crunched beneath her boots. Roughly two hundred paces later she was standing in front of a stone staircase partially covered by sand and flanked by piles of dirt and sand that had presumably been removed to expose the temple and the staircase. Diana took a deep breath before going inside. If what the professor had said was true, she would be going up against both ancient mechanical traps and spectral warrior elites.
    In other words, she would be earning the big payday promised for completing the job.

    Diana took one last breath of dry desert air and carefully made her way down the stairs and into the cool darkness below.

    -Inside the Gelae Temple-

    Diana paused at the bottom of the stone steps and activated her night vision mode to get a better look at what lay ahead for her. In front of her was a long stone hallway that was wide enough for three people to walk through while side-by-side. On the floor were stone tiles that looked to have been carved individually by master craftsmen and on the walls was chiseled writing in a language that she did not know. Perhaps Professor Fauntleroy could tell her what it meant if he were down here.

    Diana walked slowly through the hallway and paid close attention to the floor tiles for any clues that could give away the location of pressure plates that would trigger traps. So far she was not seeing any, but that did not mean that there were no traps. It was not like the temple's designers would mark their locations for the convenience of archaeologists... or tomb raiders. She assumed that the people of Gelae had been told about the danger zones and had memorized safe paths through the area.

    Diana proceeded through the hallway at a snail's pace while searching for further clues to the presence of traps like holes in the wall or long slits where blades could swing out and cut through unwary intruders. At the halfway point she was not seeing any and looked away from the floor to look at a bas-relief of an eagle with angry eyes and outstretched wings clutching a human skull in its talons. That had to have been the Conquering Eagle that Professor Fauntleroy was trying to show her.

    The blonde's curiosity proved to be dangerous because she felt a floor tile sink beneath her left boot and heard the sound of a sharp mechanical CLING combined with the scraping of metal on stone issue from a barely visible slit in the wall to her left. Diana ducked just in time to avoid losing her head to a blade trap hidden in the wall at neck level. The blonde looked down where her left foot was and spotted a perfectly square tile with no special markings. Was the presence of the Conquering Eagle bas-relief a warning to the faithful that a hazard was nearby?

    Diana carefully crawled on all fours away from the tile and stood up again once it felt safe to do so. She had to be more careful or next time she might lose her head... literally.

    [Post Word Count: 905]
    [Total Word Count: 2,383/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 25th October 2019, 11:41 pm

    Watching the floor for dangerous tiles and the walls for any more bas-reliefs that might indicate danger, Diana passed the three-fourths mark of the hallway without incident. Her breathing was shallow and faster than normal, which was to be expected from going through a near-death experience just a couple of minutes ago. She normally did not behave like this. Usually she was calm in the face of danger; during the shootout in Mysterious Canyon with the Marauders more than one bullet had whizzed by her head and she did not even flinch. Here she was freaking out about an ancient trap left behind by a long-dead civilization.

    Diana reached the end of the hallway without further incident and paused in an open doorway that opened onto a large square room with just a square table sitting in the middle of it. She carefully looked around the room and saw a sealed door located behind the table that was actually a stone altar. The altar had a lot of dark brown stains on top of it and some dotting the sides. That particular feature merited a closer look.

    -Inside the room-

    The curious blonde stepped deeper inside the room and looked around again. To her left and right were walls featuring more writing and in front of her was a sealed stone door behind the altar and stone doors to the left and right of the dominating feature of the room. Diana carefully approached the altar and noticed a few more details about it.

    The main detail was the dark brown splotches on top of the altar and a few along the sides. A secondary detail was the presence of numerous shallow chop marks on the top, presumably left by the undoubtedly numerous sacrificial ceremonies that had been conducted in here. Diana's attention then turned to the door behind the altar. This one room could not have been the entire temple. More of it had to be locked away just behind the door.

    Diana approached it and noticed that there was a keyhole on the right side of the door. It looked like a normal lock, but she obviously needed to find the key in order to get past it. She had two choices of direction to go in; she opted to go left and see if the key was hidden in there. Diana walked away from the altar and pushed open the door to the room without any resistance.

    -Inside the left room-

    Diana paused inside the doorway and looked in the long rectangular room she had just entered. Inside and against the left wall was a series of bookshelves carved from stone that stretched along the left wall to the end of the room. On the right side of the room were waist-high stone tables covered in gold and silver jewelry and gold and silver coins, all of them except for one on the far end of the room. The table on the far end was given over to a fist-sized golden idol of a fierce eagle with finely cut rubies for eyes and outstretched wings.

    Diana recalled the directive given to her by Professor Fauntleroy, which was to find and secure anything that appeared to be of value. The blonde started to walk to the table to pick up the idol when she paused in place just three paces away from the idol. Something was not right about this.

    The blonde took a partial step back and tapped the floor where she was going to step with the heel of her right boot. She fell backwards as it parted in the middle and the halves swung down to reveal a spike pit that was partially filled with the impaled skeletons of previous interlopers. Approximately twenty seconds after opening the floor closed up again as if trying to conceal its true nature, but now she knew better than to yield to temptation and take the direct route to the treasure. Diana looked for a way around the pit and thought over the matter because she would only get one shot at this. Failure meant that she would be sticking around the temple for eternity.

    Ruling out a second attempt to grab the idol and run before the floor parted, the blonde looked towards the tables piled with gold and silver. Perhaps the solution to the quandary was to simply walk on them to avoid the trap, but the temple's designers had likely anticipated that ploy and had designed an appropriate countermeasure. Diana began to examine the wall behind the tables for anything like holes for darts to shoot out of or spear points to thrust through. She also looked for slots where blades could swing out to cut off her legs or remove her head.

    Diana did not see any on the walls, so she looked towards the ceiling for traps built into it.

    "Oh, there you are, my dear! I do say that that blade trap near the entrance was a nasty surprise! I almost spilled my tea!" A male voice exclaimed. Diana turned around to find Professor Fauntleroy with a silver cylindrical vacuum bottle full of tea and his ever-present tea cup. What was he doing here?

    [Post Word Count: 882]
    [Total Word Count: 3,265/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 1st November 2019, 12:45 pm

    "What happened, Professor? Why are you in here?" Diana asked him. She had counted on exploring the temple alone so that the only person she had to worry about was herself, but the game had changed. Now the academic had wanted to get in on the action, so she would have to watch out for his well-being while also watching out for traps and head-hunting ghosts. Dealing with the unexpected was part of the territory for mages who lived and worked in the shadows.

    "Oh, nothing really. I simply got bored of sitting around in my tent and waiting for my assistants to return with the food. I think I'm up for a bit of adventure." He answered calmly. Diana was not certain if the scholarly man was up for the exploration, but he was her client and she always stuck to the contract. It was a variation of the age-old The Golden Rule... he who had the gold made the rules.

    The professor's eyes scanned the room and eventually settled on the golden idol sitting on the table in the far corner. Diana knew what was going to happen if she did not stop him. He would trot over to claim it and he would fall into the hidden pit and get impaled on the spikes waiting inside. That would leave Diana having to answer a lot of uncomfortable questions from Crocus Magicka University and law enforcement.

    "Wait a moment, Professor. A spike pit waits in front of the table." Diana politely warned him. The man took heed and stopped in his tracks, setting down his tea cup on the corner of a table. He walked over to the table at Diana's right and scooped up a handful of coins, then walked halfway across the room and cast them onto the floor in front of the idol. When the coins hit the floor parted to reveal its deadly surprise.

    "I see your point... forgive the pun." The professor said in a voice that was equal parts surprised and relieved as he peered into the chasm before it closed up. Diana was pleased that he did not fall into the pit, but there was a lot more temple to cover and many more unpleasant surprises to watch out for. That meant that she would have to escort him all the way through the Gelae temple while keeping herself alive as well.

    "However, we still need to get to that idol. It's one of the things I need to prove to my department head that the university isn't throwing away Jewels out here." Professor Fauntleroy informed Diana while retrieving his cup from the table. The blonde was way ahead of him.

    "I believe that I have thought of a way around the problem. I think the tables are safe to walk on, so I will walk across those instead of the floor." Diana outlined her plan to the client. The man nodded calmly and took a drink of tea. She took it as having his approval to proceed, so proceed she did. Diana climbed up onto the first table and ignored the crunching of coins and jewelry under her feet as she faced forward and began to slowly move towards the idol.

    Diana crossed over one table, then the next, then the one after that without encountering any problems other than having to stay balanced because coins and jewelry made for poor traction. Once she reached the next-to-last table Diana paused on top of it to focus on what was ahead of her. The object of her desire was only a few steps away, but she was not certain if the table was rigged to collapse into a pit or if other traps were built into the area. Diana took a deep breath and stepped onto the last table.

    Diana hurriedly picked up the idol and as soon as she did she felt a rumbling. Diana turned around and did a standing long jump that just barely cleared the spike pit; her heels hung precariously over the edge and she wobbled for a few moments before she leaned far enough to nudge herself forward and out of danger. Once she was clear of the pit Diana turned around and noticed that the table that once held the idol was no more. It had fallen into a pit along with the section of floor that was underneath it... the once-hidden pit was now permanently exposed.

    "Well done, my dear!" Professor Fauntleroy exclaimed in congratulations. Diana calmly walked over to him and handed him the golden eagle. He took it in one hand and almost immediately his eyes narrowed.

    "There's something under the idol." He said tersely. He flipped the eagle over, exposing a metallic object that looked like a key. It was a silver key with an engraved eagle as the handle.

    "I saw a locked door in the center of the shrine. I wonder if this key goes to it." Diana mused. The professor's eyes met her own.

    "Perhaps it does. Let's go find out, my dear." He suggested to her, handing the idol and the key to her and taking up his tea cup. He then led Diana out of the room and back towards the shrine.

    [Post Word Count: 921]
    [Total Word Count: 4,186/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 4th November 2019, 6:18 pm

    -In the center of the Gelae Temple-

    Diana and Professor Fauntleroy were soon standing in the center of the temple and facing the locked door located just behind the central altar. Needing a hand free in case spectral warriors came through the door looking for more heads to add to their collection, Diana set the golden idol on the altar and took the silver key into her right hand. She placed the key in the lock and turned it left, then pushed. Nothing.

    Diana turned the key back to the center position, then turned it all the way right before pushing again. Nothing. Either she was doing something wrong or this key was not made for this lock.

    "Perhaps we're using the key on the wrong door. I suggest that we try unlocking the door to the right." The professor politely suggested to her. Diana nodded in agreement, then turned the key back to the center position and withdrew it from the lock. She picked up the idol and followed her client to the door on the right. Once there she handed the idol to the professor and placed the key in the keyhole, then turned it all the way left and pushed. The door gave way without any resistance.

    "That did it!" The scholar exclaimed. Diana entered the room ahead of him to draw the attention of any waiting headhunters away from the professor and towards her. Unlike the older man clutching the idol and the tea cup, Diana was capable of fighting back against ghostly warriors.

    -Inside the room-

    After activating her night vision to cut through the dim lighting, Diana slowly walked into the unlocked room and determined that they had entered another storage area that featured the same layout as the storage area they had retrieved the idol from. This one had shoulder-high wooden racks on both walls lined with human skulls that stared at the interlopers with empty eye sockets. The skulls grinned at them like they knew something that the professor and his hired helper did not. Diana noticed long-dried bloodstains on the wooden racks and the stone floor.

    "It looks like we found the storage room for offerings to the Conquering Eagle. This room was set aside for offerings of severed heads. As you can tell from the bloodstains, the offerings were made while... fresh." The scholar chimed in with a brief snippet of cultural information on the warlike Gelae people whose temple they were in.

    "To be considered worthy of joining the headhunting warrior elite, a Gelae warrior had to take twenty heads from defeated adversaries. However, the heads only counted if they were taken from enemy warriors, not their women or children. Despite their bellicose tendencies the Gelae had a strong sense of martial honor." He added further. Diana had a feeling that the victims of the Gelae found that martial honor to be cold comfort as their villages were burned and the survivors either killed where they stood or carted off to be offered as sacrifices to the Conquering Eagle. The problem of reconciling honor with the stark realities of warfare was not a new one. Diana had that same issue; she was trying to reconcile her bare-bones code of "professional ethics" with the stark fact that she killed people for money.

    Diana continued to go deeper into the room as the professor continued to give more exposition on the Gelae and their culture. The talk was interesting, but she had to watch for danger while looking for the key to the door in the center of the temple. Diana spotted a small gleaming object sitting in the far right corner of the room on top of the last skull rack.

    She wordlessly walked towards it and reached out for the object when she was within reach. The blonde brushed it with her fingertips and scooped it into her waiting left hand. Diana examined the object and found that she had acquired a key, but she would need to step back into the light of the central room to better examine it.

    "I believe that I have found the key we are looking for. We should return to the central room and try it." Diana stated to the professor, who was busy talking about the Gelae's rivalry with a people named the Lestrek. He was still rambling about them when he  abruptly shifted into a diatribe against someone named "Dr. Anna." Among other choice insults he called her an amateur who had only made her big discovery about the Lestrek because she had hired a Wizard Saint to help her. Diana could tell that Professor Fauntleroy did not care for this Dr. Anna, presumably because he was under pressure to produce a big find of his own.

    "Splendid! I don't want to stay in this ghastly chamber any longer than we need to!" The academic readily agreed with Diana's suggestion and followed her out of the skull storage room with haste. Diana too was glad to get out of that room. The silence and the gloom combined with knowledge of how the skulls got there was more than a little unnerving. The professor waited until Diana was clear before he shut the door behind them, plunging the skulls into total darkness once again.

    [Post Word Count: 908]
    [Total Word Count: 5,094/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
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    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 5th November 2019, 7:55 pm

    -Inside the central shrine-

    After a brief exploration of a side room Diana and her client were back in the central area for a second time with a newly found key in hand. Diana set the golden idol down on the altar and examined the key she had found on the skull rack in the far right corner. It was a golden key with an eagle for a handle. The eagle boasted two small ruby slivers for eyes that glistened as she turned the key over for examination. Satisfied with the key in her hand, Diana walked over to the door and placed it in the keyhole, then turned it all the way to the left.

    She heard a click and pushed the door in. It slid open without any resistance. Diana peered down a seemingly empty corridor with the same dimensions as the one she had used to enter the temple.

    "Excellent! Now we can explore the rest of the temple!" The professor stated happily. Diana removed the key from the lock and pocketed it in case it could be used somewhere deeper in the temple. Diana tucked the idol under her left arm and led the way while the professor followed behind with tea cup in hand.

    -Inside the corridor-

    Using her natural night vision to cut through the gloom, Diana proceeded down the corridor with caution. She searched the walls for bas-reliefs of the Conquering Eagle that indicated the presence of traps but did not see any at the moment. Instead she saw something flickering in the distance, something colored the same pale blue as the magic of her lineage. It looked to be a humanoid shape, but the blonde could not tell for certain due to the distance.

    "I think I saw a ghost." The professor remarked, calmly sipping from the cup that seemed to be glued to his hand. Diana took him at his word and prepared for battle against opposition that could not be hurt by conventional arms. Thankfully she had spells which could send specters to the other world with ease.

    Suddenly the entire corridor was bathed in pale blue light and Diana could spot a few humanoid figures approaching from the opposite end. They were armed with curved swords and round wooden shields decorated with a small Conquering Eagle device in the same pose as the idol being carried under her left arm. Diana raised two fingers of her right hand and prepared a Spirit Beam to strike first against the hostile entities.

    Her fingers glowed blue and she fired the Spirit Beam at the first of five warriors walking in a chevron formation with shields raised. It struck him in the chest and set the spirit aflame. After falling to the ground he faded from view as the four surviving warriors took the hint and began jogging to close with her. Diana readied and fired another Spirit Beam, taking out another warrior and catalyzing the last three to break into a full run. Diana turned to the professor and handed off the idol because she would need both hands for the fight about to happen.

    "Take this." Diana instructed tersely. The professor took the idol without complaint and Diana turned to face the three warriors who had closed to melee range. She clenched her right hand into a fist and prepared a Spirit Drain Punch. Her fist was glowing blue but she could not deliver it because all three warriors were attacking at once, vying with each other to be the first to take her head for their deity. They were not giving her any room to strike back and she needed to take them down quickly; her best option was Spirit Dome, but she did not want to catch Professor Fauntleroy in the spell's radius.

    "Get back!" Diana tersely warned the professor. The sound of boots meeting stone could be heard as Diana canceled the Spirit Drain Punch and instead charged a Spirit Dome while dodging for her life. Soon the spell was ready, but for a second time the trouble came in getting a chance to use it. The warriors were not letting up and there was not much more ground she could give without risking the professor's life should a warrior get bored of trying to stab her and break off the attack to go after the older man.

    She would just have to take a hit to eliminate the relentless warriors.

    Accepting that her shirt might get shredded by their blades, Diana dodged to the right with a roll, then slammed her hands palms-down onto the ground. Her shoulders were grazed by their weapons, but instead of her shirt being cut and wounds opening up she felt a chill and some numbness in both her shoulders, which made raising her arms difficult. However, her spell had fired and all three warriors had dropped their weapons and were wailing as they vanished from existence.

    "Well done, my dear! They've been banished from this plane and shouldn't trouble us any more!" The professor exclaimed. Diana felt the numbness in her shoulders and tried to raise her arms. It was difficult because halfway up the effort became too great to sustain and she was forced to lower them again. The numbness would make further exploration a challenge, but she could not quit now. There was still plenty of temple for them to cover.

    [Post Word Count: 928]
    [Total Word Count: 6,022/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
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    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 6th November 2019, 1:57 pm

    Diana's shoulders were numb from the attacks and she did not expect them to recover any time soon. She could raise her arms high enough to defend herself and carry light objects, but gymnastics, heavy lifting, and anything that required lifting her arms above her head were beyond her in her current state. The best idea would be to leave the temple and come back when she could feel her shoulders again, but she and the professor had fended off the first attack by Gelae's spectral warriors and were deep in the temple. She would just have to press on and hope that she did not have to use her arms too much before they recovered.

    "Are you all right?" Professor Fauntleroy asked.

    "I am fine. As long as I do not have to raise my arms above my head, that is. Diana replied calmly, demonstrating the mobility her arms had by raising them until the numbness forced her to lower them again. It was not the full range of motion, but it was enough to defend herself and him. The professor did not look convinced that she was fit to travel any further.

    "If we need to, we can go back and wait awhile for you to recover. Should we go back to the tent and wait for my assistants?" He asked her with concern on his voice. Diana wanted to tell him no and press on while they had the chance, but her arms were not in the best shape. Maybe she should turn back while there was still a chance. She did not know how much further they had to go and she did not want to endanger them both by pushing on while not in good shape.

    "Yes, Professor. I think we should turn back." Diana said with audible reluctance. As much as she did not want to leave, she was in no shape for a protracted fight with another group of ghostly warriors. The warriors attacked in groups and were relentless. She did not want to endanger Professor Fauntleroy by letting her pride overwhelm her better judgment and getting into a fight she could not win.

    "Then it's settled. Come, my dear. Let's go back to my tent. The temple's not going anywhere." He said to her in an effort to console her after making a choice that had wounded her pride. Diana turned around and followed the scholar back into the central shrine and down the hallway leading to the outside world. While this was a temporary retreat, it was not the end of the exploration. Diana and the professor would be back for a second attempt as soon as the former's shoulders had fully recovered.

    -Ten minutes later, inside the professor's tent-

    Diana was sitting on a cot on the opposite end of the tent and facing the professor, who was standing at the small table with the tea kettle on a hot plate and pouring himself yet another cup of the beverage. Sitting in the middle of the rectangular table cluttered with papers was the golden idol of the Conquering Eagle that they had recovered from the storage room full of coins and jewelry. Even if circumstances prevented them from re-entering the temple, they had found at least one treasure that the professor could bring back to his department head as proof that the expedition was not a waste of time and money.

    Diana's shoulders were still numb, but they were slowly recovering feeling to them. As time went on she was glad that she had decided to call a temporary retreat while the going was good instead of pressing her luck. The professor seemed to feel the same way.

    "You made the right choice, my dear." He assured her in a paternal tone of voice. Diana was not entirely convinced, but she was grateful for him at least caring enough to try and comfort her. Not many clients went that far to help the mages they hired.

    "I know it sounds cliche and it probably won't do much to help you, but many years ago I was just like you. I was a youth looking to make his mark on the world and sauntered into danger without a care in the world because I wanted fame and fortune and I wanted it yesterday. Then after I became an archaeologist I learned that sometimes you can't have what you want right away. Sometimes you have to wait for it, sometimes for many years." Professor Fauntleroy offered encouragement to the blonde.

    "It took me five years of work and waiting to make my first big find, which was only a beat-up bronze cup found at a dig site in central Desierto. I was disappointed beyond words that I didn't find something bigger like a stone tablet or some jewelry belonging to an ancient ruler, but that small find gave me enough encouragement to persist in the field of archaeology." He continued the pep talk to the blonde. Diana was not entirely uplifted by his pep talk, but she was getting the gist of it. Sometimes results were not gotten right away. Sometimes one had to wait a long time and keep working at it before an endeavor finally bore fruit.

    [Post Word Count: 914]
    [Total Word Count: 6,936/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 10th November 2019, 1:02 am

    -Eight hours later-

    It had been a little over eight hours since Diana and Professor Fauntleroy had left the temple behind after disposing of a quintet of spectral warriors. Diana's shoulders had gone numb after receiving downward chops from ghostly blades, a handicap which made it impossible for her to lift her hands over her head. That numbness was a major inconvenience that could have been fatal had Diana opted to press on and run into another team of Gelae warriors. However, the professor suggested that the pair call it a day and return when the blonde could feel her shoulders again. Diana reluctantly accepted the offer and was now sitting in the professor's tent and recovering from the ordeal.

    As time passed Diana was slowly regaining the use of her shoulders; hours ago she could not even raise her arms above her head, but she could now hold her arms above her head to a count of ten. Despite the improvement in her condition, she did not want to rush back into the temple and get into trouble because of an incomplete recovery. She would need to completely recover before even thinking of venturing back inside to search for more treasures for her client to take back to Crocus Magicka University.

    Professor Fauntleroy was in no hurry to go back inside... he had said so himself when the pair exited the temple that it would still be there. Speaking of which, the older man was busy imposing some semblance of order on the mess that he called a table. Diana could hear the rustling of papers and the THUMP of books being stacked on top of one another as the man went about cleaning up the jumble of papers, books, and notebooks. The idol that they had retrieved was now proudly perched on the small table next to the tea kettle, which had been drained two hours ago and was awaiting the preparation of more tea.

    Diana listened to the wind blow outside and walked over to the tent flap to open it and take a look at the outside world. She slowly opened it and peered through it. The blonde saw nothing but darkness and sand as far as the eye could see. Diana switched to night vision and looked around again for any sign of the professor's assistants arriving with the food supply. She did not see anyone and the wind was kicking up again, so she closed the flap and turned back to her host, who peered up from a stack of books on the bottom left corner of the table to speak to her.

    "I take it my assistants haven't arrived yet?" Professor Fauntleroy asked her.

    "Not yet." She answered.

    "Drat. This is ridiculous! They should have been back by now." He commented. He then disappeared behind the stack and rustled more papers, seizing a map in both hands and rolling it back up before placing it in a bin under the table.

    "Do you think that they ran into trouble like outlaws or wild animals?" Diana asked the professor. She saw a pair of hands reach for a stack of spiral notebooks and grab them, then put them into a bin with a white label. He appeared again and answered her query.

    "I don't think they did. There aren't too many outlaws here and the only wild animals here tend to stay in the shade or underground during the day. I don't know what's happened to them and frankly I'm a little concerned." He confided in her.

    "Would you like me to stand outside and watch for them?" Diana offered. He waved off the offer.

    "No, my dear. It won't be necessary." He replied. Diana chose to let the matter drop and focused on another question. What would they do now?

    "Are you planning on waiting for daytime before we try to explore the temple again?" The blonde asked the professor, who was shuffling around another stack of spiral notebooks that he had just uncovered in the mountain of papers.

    "Yes, that is exactly what I'm thinking. We wait until morning and hope that your shoulders are better by then. Perhaps my assistants will be here with the food by morning. I must say, I am getting awfully tired of eating nothing but beef jerky." He said to her, confiding in her his disappointment with the food situation. Diana could tell that the man was speaking the truth to her. He took a brief break from the herculean task of organizing the table and walked over to a bin under the table, kneeling down and grabbing a packaged stick of beef jerky.

    "Oh, words can't express how badly I want something else to eat..." He lamented to the blonde before peeling the package open and biting into the stick of beef jerky.

    [Post Word Count: 850]
    [Total Word Count: 7,786/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 11th November 2019, 8:57 pm

    -Morning, the next day-

    Diana had fallen asleep on the cot and woke up with a dry taste in her mouth. She really needed something to drink, but she did not want tea. At least not yet, anyway.

    She sat up and felt that her shoulders were back to normal. She also noticed that the professor was not behind the table or at the tea kettle getting another cup of tea; in fact he in the tent anymore. She realized that around the same time that she heard shouting distorted by distance coming from a ways outside the tent. Was the professor being abducted by outlaws or was he being chased by ghostly warriors who had left their temple on a mission to reclaim the golden idol?

    Diana jumped to her feet and darted to the tent flap. She threw open the tent flap and hurried outside, fully prepared for a fight.

    -Outside the tent-

    A drowsy Diana looked around the immediate area for her client. She gazed left to the sunken temple entrance and did not see him nor any warrior spirits, so she could rule that out as the cause for his disappearance. Diana looked right and did not see him there either. She then looked to the ground in front of her and saw bootprints that led straight ahead into the sandy dunes a short distance from the camp. Diana hurried straight ahead and heard more unintelligible shouting in the distance. She had to hurry!

    Diana ran just to the right of the tracks so that she did not obliterate them with her own footprints. She spotted a human figure in the distance waving their arms above their head and running towards what looked to be a caravan of three horse-drawn carts full of something. The blonde did not stop to think about what the figure was running to. She needed to see if the figure was the professor. Diana ignored the wind kicking up sand in her face and pushed on.

    -Approximately ten minutes later-

    After running for around eight minutes Diana finally caught up with the figure and the caravan they had been running towards. The blonde heard more shouting, but this time she could easily make out what was being said. She could also make out the identity of the figure, who had literally jumped onto the back of a wagon loaded with wooden crates of something important.

    "PRAISE THE WIZARD SAINTS! FINALLY, SOMETHING TO EAT OTHER THAN BEEF JERKY!" Professor Fauntleroy exclaimed in joy. Diana relaxed now that she knew that her client was not being abducted by outlaws. She looked over the people on the wagons and saw that they were dressed in khaki clothing similar to what the professor was wearing. They were also far younger than the older man... they must have been his assistants. The older man spotted Diana and jumped off the wagon, running over to her with arms outstretched and embracing her in a tight hug.

    "THEY MADE IT, DIANA! THEY MADE IT! MY ASSISTANTS CAME BACK WITH FOOD! REAL FOOD!" Professor Fauntleroy exclaimed, hugging her so tightly that her arms were pinned to her sides. Even though she did not like being touched, Diana kept quiet and wore her poker face since the eyes of his assistants were upon her. After a full minute of hugging and exclamations of joy the older man released her and turned back to the caravan.

    "COME ON, BACK TO THE CAMP WE GO! WE DON'T HAVE ALL DAY!" The excited man ordered them. He then hopped on board the first of the three wagons and the black-haired youth holding the reins started the short journey back to the camp. Diana hopped on board the back of the second wagon and rode it back, observing the third wagon following behind and listening to the creaking of wheels as the wagon moved through the sand.

    -Back in camp, inside the professor's tent-

    Diana stood near her cot and did her best to keep out of the way as the assistants unloaded crate after crate of supplies, setting them off to the right corner across from the entrance. The stack of crates took up half the space allotted to them and threatened to encroach on Diana's cot. The professor stood at the table with the tea kettle happily eating something from a brown wax paper package that resembled a military Meal, Ready to Eat. He appeared genuinely happy to have something to eat other than beef jerky, which was of questionable nutritional value. Another thing of questionable nutritional value was his habit of drinking tea constantly, but people made lots of little compromises to get through the day. Diana was no different.

    "That should be the last of 'em. We've got food, water, tea, flashlights, batteries for flashlights, sanitation supplies, shaving cream..." A young woman with curly, waist-length red hair wearing brown semi-rimmed glasses listed off the supplies that had been brought in. Diana was somewhat surprised at what it took to keep such a small camp operational, but there were about fifteen people here, thirteen of which were Professor Fauntleroy's assistants. Diana mentally paused when she noticed the number thirteen.

    Thirteen.

    Diana did not like that number at all, not since her family was all but exterminated by poisoned wine over four years ago. Her family numbered thirteen people altogether. She too would have succumbed to poisoned drink had she not been busy on a "job" at the time of the wine tasting.

    "...Diana? Diana, are you all right, my dear?" Professor Fauntleroy asked. The blonde forcefully dragged herself way from the daydream and back to the present to face her client and answer him.

    "I am all right." Diana assured him, wearing a well-practiced mask of serenity. The blonde was lying through her teeth. She not sure if she would ever be truly all right. Diana had not been "all right" ever since she was a young girl who had just discovered her special, deadly magic at the expense of an innocent household servant's life.

    [Post Word Count: 1,045]
    [Total Word Count: 8,831/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 16th November 2019, 11:15 pm

    "All right then. Now that my assistants are here with the supplies, I say that we go back into the temple and explore further." Professor Fauntleroy said to Diana. The blonde readily agreed. Now that her shoulders were working properly, she was able and willing to go the distance. But first she needed a few supplies.

    One of them would be shaving cream. Diana knew that it was distinctive enough to stand out against the stone floor and light enough not to set off the trap connected to the tile. She could use it to mark trigger tiles for the rest of the group so that they knew exactly where not to step.

    "Professor, do you mind if I borrow a can of shaving cream for the exploration?" Diana asked her client. Upon hearing the unusual request the professor raised an eyebrow. He had no idea what exactly she needed a men's hygiene product for until she explained it.

    "Oh? So you're saying that you'll mark trigger tiles with it? In that case, why not? Take what you need!" The scholar replied to the request. He took a crowbar that had been left lying on top of one of the crates, found the one containing shaving cream, and forcefully opened it for her. Diana looked inside and found over five dozen white aerosol cans with red caps that had red stripes twisting around the body of the can; the look was exactly like an old-fashioned barber pole, which was most likely deliberate on the maker's part. Diana picked up four of them and stuffed them in the side pockets of her navy blue cargo pants.

    "Is there anything else you need?" The professor asked, closing up the crate again.

    "Would you happen to have a backpack or a messenger bag to carry things in?" Diana inquired. She wanted to carry the golden idol with them but did not want to have it take up a hand, especially when there was a high chance that she would have to fight again. Having a backpack would be excellent. Even a messenger bag would keep her hands free during the exploration.

    "I have an extra one right here!" The redheaded female assistant from earlier answered, producing a nondescript tan canvas messenger bag from what looked like nowhere. Diana could sense a magic signature two ranks below her own... she could tell that the youth was a mage. Maybe the redhead's magic let her stash objects away in a special dimension until they were needed. Diana was not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. She took the bag and slung it around her left shoulder, then transferred three of the cans of shaving cream and the golden idol to the bag.

    "Thanks." Diana thanked the redhead for the loaned bag. With the shaving cream and a borrowed bag, she was now ready to go back into the temple and see what else she could find for her client. Diana would now have to watch over the client and his assistants, but it was a small price to pay for more helping hands for the exploration of the temple.

    "All right then, let's go!" The professor, having eaten something other than beef jerky, exclaimed with enthusiasm. Diana, the redhead, and five more of the assistants, who had equipped themselves with flashlights and backpacks, formed up behind their leader, who carried his vacuum bottle of tea in a backpack and a flashlight in his right hand. Diana took the last can of shaving cream out of her left side pocket and held it in her right hand. She would need it to mark the first trap tile for the group. Professor Fauntleroy opened the tent flap and let the exploration team out before letting it fall closed.

    -Inside the temple, in the entrance hallway-

    Leading the way into the temple, Professor Fauntleroy soon let Diana pass on her mission to find and mark traps for the expedition team. Uncapping the shaving cream, Diana approached the tiles and walked slowly until she reached the bas-relief of the Conquering Eagle from yesterday. She stopped short of it and got on all fours so that the blade trap would pass harmlessly over her head once it was triggered.

    "Stay back." Diana tersely warned the group. With the cans clinking against the idol, Diana carefully crawled over to the point where the Conquering Eagle faced the floor, then pressed on the tiles with her left hand until she found the one that triggered the blade trap. She heard the sound of metal grinding against stone followed by a WHOOSH of a heavy metal blade passing harmlessly overhead. Gasping and shrieking sounded from behind the blonde.

    Undaunted, Diana liberally sprayed the trigger tile with the can until a clearly visible white mound of shaving cream could be seen by the group.

    "The first trap is now marked." Diana calmly advised the professor and his assistants. She then casually stood up and walked ahead of them to find more traps before they did. Diana walked on all the tiles to trigger any that she had missed the first time, but no more of them were trapped and the eight explorers soon passed safely into the central shrine.

    [Post Word Count: 910]
    [Total Word Count: 9,741/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 17th November 2019, 12:09 am

    -Inside the central shrine-

    Leading the professor and his assistants into the central shrine, Diana was on the watch for more traps or more spectral warriors who had taken up defensive positions since she and the professor were last here. She had not seen any so far, which was a good thing. Less fighting meant an easier paycheck for the blonde.

    The group fanned out and explored the shrine for more artifacts while Diana stood watch at the stone door behind the altar. It had been left open when she and Professor Fauntleroy left yesterday and she had no idea if any more warriors had gotten the idea to venture down the hallway. She let the team explore in peace while she kept a watch out for trouble. The assistants had gathered around the stone altar and were examining it while their leader produced his vacuum bottle of tea and poured himself a cup.

    "Are you seeing any of those ghost warriors, Diana?" Professor Fauntleroy asked her.

    "Not yet, Professor." Diana answered without taking her eyes off of the hallway, which had gone dark. When they had last walked through it it was lit by pale blue torches, but now it was completely dark. It was no obstacle to her because she could see in the dark with natural night vision. It was with that night vision that she surveyed the hallway that led deeper into the temple.

    Diana heard excited chatter from behind her. The assistants were making notes about the altar and measuring the marks on top of it. The professor himself was pouring another cup of tea when he yelled and accidentally threw the cup into the air. The assistants screamed. Diana spun around and saw a quintet of spectral warriors emerge from the floor around the altar.

    Diana ran towards the warriors as the professor and his helpers ran for the relative safety of the room's corners. She knew the quickest way to get rid of the ghosts. One good Spirit Dome and they would be sent back to the great beyond where they could not harm her clients. The blonde got on both knees and slammed her magically charged hands palms-down onto the stone floor, generating a dome of pale blue energy that engulfed the charging warriors and made them flail about in agony before relinquishing their hold on this world and disappearing.

    "I'm glad that's over. Well done, Diana." Professor Fauntleroy thanked Diana for the rescue before examining the front of his shirt where a prominent dark stain was now sitting.

    "Oh dear. It seems that in all the excitement I spilled my tea." He remarked with mild concern for his stained shirt. A brown-haired male assistant walked over to it and picked up the bottle cap which doubled as a cup and returned it to the professor. The older man produced a red handkerchief and wiped off the inside and outside of the cap before returning it to its place on top of the vacuum bottle.

    The other assistants emerged from their corners and slowly drifted back towards the altar and their leader. Diana walked a short distance away and resumed her watch over the dark hallway that led to an unknown destination. The group soon calmed down enough to resume their examination of the central shrine and were soon busy taking notes on the structure. Diana hoped that today she would get to finish exploring the temple.

    -Fifteen minutes later-

    Once the team had taken all the notes that it needed on the shrine, Professor Fauntleroy marshaled them for a trip down the hallway Diana had been quietly watching for the past fifteen minutes. Suddenly she saw a flickering at the end of the hallway.

    "I believe that I saw something. I will lead the way." Diana announced as she quickly took the lead. If any more ghosts showed up to oppose the expedition she would be the first person they ran into. She and she alone could send them back whence they came with her magic.

    -Inside the hallway-

    Walking about fifty paces ahead of the expedition, Diana carefully made her way down the hallway, which was dark except for the circles of harsh yellow light provided by the flashlights of the assistants. She could see the flickering just ahead of her, but it did not look like another team of ghosts looking to halt their progress. It was definitely humanoid, but she could not tell who they were.

    "Are you seeing anything?" Professor Fauntleroy asked Diana.

    "Yes. I see a humanoid shape." Diana answered. The assistants began murmuring among themselves and wondering what to do. Diana saw the shape approaching her and soon saw about seven more join it. The shapes then began to approach at a running pace. She could see that the shapes were composed of seven warriors and someone wearing a tan robe with a red Conquering Eagle emblazoned on it. In his left hand was a well-used thirty-centimeter long sacrificial knife.

    "Oh dear! More of them! More of those dreadful ghosts!" The professor exclaimed. He and the assistants hurried for the relative safety of the shrine while Diana focused magic into her hands and prepared to fight the group of incoming spirits. She could not afford to let them through. If they got past her the professor and his assistants would be unable to defend themselves.

    [Post Word Count: 931]
    [Total Word Count: 10,672/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 17th November 2019, 1:02 am

    Diana stood her ground and waited for the ghosts to reach her before unleashing her spell. Once they were within five running steps of her she dropped to both knees and placed her hands palms-first onto the ground and the Spirit Dome engulfed all eight spirits at once. They flailed about in agony and fruitlessly tried to put out the blue fire before falling to the ground and fading from existence. She spotted a single entity in the distance and readied a Spirit Drain Beam to deal with it. Diana quickly advanced to deal with the threat before more could join it.

    Diana noticed that she was dealing with another robed man carrying a sacrificial knife. Judging from their clothing and their choice of weapon, they had something to do with the religion of the Conquering Eagle. She wondered if they were full-fledged priests of the Conquering Eagle or simply acolytes, but right now it did not really matter. If it was a ghost and it held a weapon, it was a threat to her and her clients. The ghost came within ten running steps of her and the blonde fired a Spirit Drain Beam that punched a hole in its chest and set it aflame.

    The ghost ran past her and tumbled onto the ground, where it rolled about in silence before disappearing. Diana faced forward again and began moving towards the end of the hallway when another six-man team of warriors appeared and brandished their weapons. Judging from how the opposition suddenly stiffened, she was getting closer to something the ghosts were intent on defending. She would clear them all out before the professor and his team returned.

    Diana readied another Spirit Dome and waited until they got within range, then used it to wipe the team out to the last man. Moments later three more warriors emerged from the walls on each side of her and rushed at her. Diana readied a Spirit Drain Beam and fired, defeating one of the warriors almost instantaneously. The other two closed the distance and began swinging their weapons at her. Diana jumped back and readied a Spirit Drain Punch, then ducked under a horizontal sword swing meant to decapitate her. She then drove her fist through the chest of the offender when he missed. He fell back and writhed on the floor before vanishing, but there was one more to deal with before this batch was finished.

    Diana ducked and weaved around frenzied vertical slashes while readying a Spirit Drain Beam. Once it was ready she fired and hit the head of her spectral foe with the pale blue beam. It toppled forward and vanished before it even hit the ground.

    Diana felt that she had burned through slightly over half of her magic reserves due to all the spells she had cast so far, but it could not be helped. Professor Fauntleroy and his assistants were counting on her to protect them from the hostile spirits and her spells were the only way to lay the ghosts to rest. She would use as many spells as it took to eliminate the opposition and protect her clients.

    The blonde paused just long enough to take a breath before the next wave of ghostly opposition confronted her. She wondered how the expedition team was doing back in the shrine. Moments later she had her answers.

    "GHOSTS IN THE SHRINE! GHOSTS IN THE SHRIIIINNNNEEEE!" A female voice screamed a warning to the blonde mage. Diana spun around and saw the assistants running towards her with the professor trailing not too far behind behind them. Hot on the older man's heels was a large group of ten warrior spirits looking to add his head to their collection.

    Diana wordlessly used a Reaper's Sprint to pass by the assistants and come to a stop just behind the professor, who kept running for his life. Diana then prepared a Spirit Dome and used it once the warriors were within two running steps of her. The dome engulfed them all and defeated them without undue difficulty. Diana had just stood up when the assistants and professor ran by her again.

    "MORE OF THEM BEHIND US!" The same young woman from earlier yelled to Diana. The blonde readied yet another Spirit Dome and saw the six-man team of warriors bearing down on her. Once they were close enough to touch her she used the spell and defeated them all in one blast of death-dealing magic. Diana's magic reserves were beginning to run low... maybe she had defeated all of the ghosts in the temple, or at least this part of it.

    "BEHIND YOU!" The professor yelled to Diana. Diana readied a Spirit Drain Punch and spun around, smashing through the face of another priest and causing him to disintegrate before her eyes. The professor sighed with relief.

    "I think that's the last of them. Now, I wonder what they were so keen on defending." Professor Fauntleroy mused aloud while rejoining his assistants so that they could continue their journey. Diana took the lead again and walked carefully while looking for Conquering Eagle bas-reliefs that indicated the presence of traps. The blonde had moved twenty paces ahead of the team when she felt part of the floor give way out from under her. Diana had stepped back just in time to avoid falling to her death, but she was rocking on her heels and dangerously close to tumbling into the pit that had just been revealed.

    Several tense seconds passed before she felt strong hands grab her under her arms and pull her ten steps back from the edge of the abyss.

    "That was a close one, my dear!" The professor exclaimed, releasing his grip on the blonde. Diana took a deep breath and exhaled. He had just saved her from an untimely end at the bottom of a dark pit. Two brave assistants with flashlights approached and directed their lights into the pit, settling on rows of protruding metal stakes.

    "Spike trap." Came the terse announcement of the danger she had barely avoided.

    [Post Word Count: 1,044]
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    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 17th November 2019, 3:40 pm

    After being pulled away from the edge of the abyss by Professor Fauntleroy, Diana had to stop and take a deep breath or two. Normally she was not so unfocused as to nearly fall into a pit trap. Normally she would have proceeded a lot more carefully than she had. Maybe the mask she had worn for so long was finally beginning to crack and show who she really was. Beneath the mask and the carefully crafted reputation for doing her deadly work without anyone knowing until it was too late to stop her, Diana was as mortal as anyone else.

    "Are you OK, Diana?" The professor asked her. Diana took a deep breath and gave her answer.

    "I am now, thanks to you." Diana answered truthfully. She needed help to avoid falling to her death and the older man had come through for her when she needed him the most. That was the second time he had saved her life. The first was when he had suggested that they leave the temple and come back when she was in good enough shape to fight effectively. She was glad that she had swallowed her pride and listened to him because had she pressed on yesterday chances were that she would have ended up in very deep trouble with the temple's defenders.

    The blonde took a few moments to cool down before taking the lead again. Stepping around and past the spike pit she had almost fallen into, Diana took the lead and vigilantly scanned the area for still more spike pits or tiles that triggered blade traps. She saw that the hallway continued straight but noticed bas-reliefs of the Conquering Eagle on both sides of the hallway. That meant that traps had to be in the area.

    "Be careful, everyone. There are traps in the area." Diana warned the group before getting on all fours and pulling out her can of shaving cream. She had barely taken four crawling "steps" when her left hand came down on a section of floor that immediately gave way. She fell forward and her left side threatened to go completely over the side and drag her with it. By relinquishing her hold on the can she managed to keep herself from falling in head-first by using her newly freed right hand to push herself up. Flashlights focused on both her and the pit she had just uncovered.

    "Another spike pit? You live a charmed life, my dear. For there to be so many pits we must be getting close to something very important." Professor Fauntleroy remarked as Diana recovered and crawled away from the newly uncovered pit. The can she was holding had skittered across the floor and rolled to a stop a short distance away. It was a simple matter to retrieve it and crawl along until she set off another blade trap with her left hand. Once the blade had receded into the wall Diana used her left hand to press down on the titles until she found the right one, which she duly marked with a mound of shaving cream.

    Once Diana had laboriously crawled down the right side of the hallway and marked all the traps she repeated the process on the left side. It was slow and tedious work that was painful because man was not meant to crawl everywhere they went, but Diana marked the locations of three more blade traps and uncovered two more spike pits without falling into them. Once Diana had swept both sides of the hallway again she declared it safe for travel by the expedition team. The team walked through the passage without incident and Diana led them to a doorway at the end of the hall.

    "Well done, my dear! I'm sure that it was rough going crawling around like that, but you did us a valuable service!" Professor Fauntleroy thanked Diana for her efforts in clearing the hallway they had just walked down. Diana was glad that part was over. Now all they had to do was go deeper into the temple and... what?

    "Professor, the doorway's blocked by rubble!" The young woman who had warned Diana of the ghosts chasing the expedition team from the shrine alerted the group. Flashlights turned towards the doorway and illuminated it for all to see. Diana frowned when she looked towards the doorway and saw that it was indeed blocked by debris.

    "Damn it all!" Professor Fauntleroy cursed in despair. The team was visibly crestfallen and Diana was feeling weapons-grade disappointment seep into her body. The older man was visibly angry.

    "Damn it all! We come all this way at such great risk and we can't even get in the temple's inner sanctum! By the time we can clear it all away Dr. Anna's going to make another discovery!" He continued to fume. Diana shared his intense disappointment but kept it to herself. Since there was no way to go any deeper without clearing away the debris, now what was the professor's team going to do?

    [Post Word Count: 880]
    [Total Word Count: 12,596/12,500]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Mythical- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- X-Rank- H-Rank- S-Rank- A-Rank- EXP Grinder- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Unknown Legend- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Sticking Around- Halloween Social- Halloween job event participant - Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Senior [500]- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 595
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : ‭1,338,237

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    An Academic Matter Empty Re: An Academic Matter

    Post by Diana Winchester on 17th November 2019, 5:32 pm

    "What do we do now, Professor?" Diana asked the older man, who was still fuming over the discovery that the only doorway deeper in the temple was blocked by rubble. The assistants faced him and awaited the answer. He remained silent for almost a full minute before finally speaking to Diana and the assistants.

    "Unfortunately, at the moment there's not a whole lot we can do. Unless you can clear away ten tons of rubble by yourselves, we aren't getting inside the inner sanctum. I'll have to let the department head know that we're gonna need more people for the excavation." Professor Fauntleroy answered. Diana knew that without a strength-boosting piece of equipment or special tools such a task was beyond her. The assistants knew that despite their eagerness to make a big discovery they could not hope to move so much debris by themselves without a lot of help.

    "We need something to show that this expedition isn't a waste of time and money. Do we have anything that we can use to convince the department to send more people and resources?" The young woman asked him. Diana thought back to the golden idol contained in the messenger bag that was loaned to her. That would be the perfect bargaining chip for the professor to use.

    "I have something that will work nicely. Remember that golden idol we found in one of the storage rooms yesterday?" Diana chimed in, reminding the professor of the idol they had retrieved at great risk to Diana. The very unhappy man calmed down and faced her. He did not smile, but his bad mood was starting to evaporate and cautious optimism was taking the place of frustration.

    "Yes, that idol should do the trick. In between the gold and the rubies for eyes, it's quite valuable. That should convince them that there's something else hidden in this temple, something very valuable. All we need to do to get it is clear away this rubble and find what the Gelae people had hidden here." He expressed a small measure of hope. Diana removed the messenger bag from around her shoulders and handed the bag to him. He held the bag in his left hand while turning around.

    "There's nothing more that can be done here, at least not yet. But we'll be back soon enough. We'll be back with people and tools and clear this mess away. Then we'll really explore the temple! I'll prove to the university that Dr. Anna's not the only one who can make an important discovery!" The older man finally allowed himself to express his newfound sense of hope. He seemed to have a rivalry with this "Dr. Anna" and was clearly motivated by a desire to make a discovery that would allow him to finally surpass her. It was none of Diana's business, but she hoped that his rivalry would not compel him to make a foolish decision like explore the temple without her or someone else to protect him.

    "Now, let's go back to the camp and report to the university what we've found. Miss Winchester undoubtedly has other business to attend to, so we'd better get going!" Professor Fauntleroy said, happily leading the way past the uncovered spike pits and the marked trap titles. The idol clinked against the extra cans of shaving cream that Diana had stashed in the bag. She did not mind... the professor and his assistants had survived the exploration of the temple and they had made a find that could net them more resources with which to continue their work here. It was safe to say that Diana had succeeded on her latest mission.

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      Current date/time is 25th May 2020, 7:04 am