Monstrous Compendium Ch2 bit – Fetch Quest

“Okay, let’s head back outside,” Klein sighed. “Send him another message-”

“Who disturbs the silence of Stheno’s Cave?”

“…Or not,” Klein muttered. Damn it. We would hit this place when the quest respawned. And Argo’s guide says the quest-giver here can get nasty. “Form up. Let’s just be polite and try to talk our way out of this one. If the villagers say they’re not being bothered, then we’ve got no reason to bother anyone back.”

He hoped. Heck, it might even work. Argo’s guide said Stheno was hard to aggro-

“A human fighter who thinks. And I thought unicorns were rare.” A slender shadow moved in the back of the cave, gracefully halting just outside the light. “I’d hate to slay such a rarity. But you have intruded on my home. What would you offer, in recompense for this trespass?” Torchlight glinted on red braids and emerald coils, yet her features were still cast in shadow. “Gold? Mystic secrets?” A hand lifted, claws gleaming. “A life?”

Oh boy. Klein glanced at his guild, looking for any ideas. Dunno what’s the right answer. But I know what it can’t be. “I’m sorry, ma’am,” he said politely. “We didn’t know we were trespassing. If there’s something you need, let’s talk. But it was an honest mistake. Nobody needs to die for it.”

“An honest mistake.” Sarcasm dripped from Stheno’s tone.

But she’s not stepping into the light, Klein realized. She’s not threatening us. Not really.

His guild could see it too. They were tense, but not wired tight. And Issin looked downright relieved.

“Yes, ma’am,” Klein nodded, slow and careful. “We’re sorry. And thank you for giving us a chance to say it. If somebody turned up in my living room, I know I’d be all kinds of jumpy.” Deliberately, he sheathed his katana. “Is there something we can get you to make up for it? The bakery in town makes an awesome lemon Danish.”

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52 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch2 bit – Fetch Quest

  1. *“Is there something we can get you to make up for it? The bakery in town makes an awesome lemon Danish.”

    My love for Klein increases with every chapter — no, line.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. >The bakery in town makes an awesome lemon Danish.>
    And within the cave Kirito and Argo are face-palming. I can see that line even getting a blink out of Stheno for the sheer “What?”.

    I mean an ancient monster who speaks of gold, magic or lives and you offer a pastry.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey, it’s not like she can go into town and buy one herself, at least not without causing a panic. Ask anyone that has done relief work, or just been in, a major natural disaster such as a hurricane. After a few days you’d cheerfully consider violence against a fellow human being just for a hot shower, a warm meal, or some clean clothes. Stuff that in your day-to-day living are trivial, but once you break the local infrastructure you will find how badly you miss them.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hurricane Ivan. No power for 2 weeks. Yep, agreed with all of the above. Though we had the supplies to make some hot food, a fair store of clothes, and could at least warm up a few cups of hot water for a warm rinse after cold scrubbing.

        …Hot showers rule. One of the greatest human inventions!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey-a sweet delicius pastry is priceless for someone who can’t get them otherwise!

    And for his next trick, Klein will proceed to flirt with Aurayle-who will have logged disguised as a player to get a read on how those ‘humans’ will incite her wrath…and continue until she gives in

    Because the idea of him charming and previously human hating Youkai Lady seems golden.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. >I think it probably would have to be Paladin of the Silver Flame.>
        >*G*>
        And it was mentioned that there were issues in that religion in-story:
        “the Church of the Silver Flame spreads, and is corrupted, and comes for us”

        So Tira/The Silver Flame decided to select a champion that is more ‘Good’ and ‘Protection’ and less on the ‘Law’. Because Klein is a lot more focused on the former two instead of the latter.

        I can’t wait to see the reactions of the Youkai Lords.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. He’s going to be a pretty high level paladin, which may come with a certain ability to pull rank, and probably some sort of youkai, perhaps lycanthrope, my guess being were-tiger.

        I notice that the nation Aincrad replaces is lead by a seer, a heavy, and a strategist. The wiki says the one the nation can’t survive losing is the strategist. Here, only two of the three are alive. Euryale doesn’t seem as cunning and perceptive as the canon strategist. I think the canon one would have seen through Beniryuu.

        I don’t know that SAO really has any canon characters that really fight the Asian strategist/tactician archetype all that well. Maybe Asuna would be closest, maybe Argo.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. > And Issin looked downright relieved.>
    I guess his new Nekomanta status and/or innate abilities of a shaman where giving him the subconscious impression of “If we need to fight this lady we are toast”.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This reminds me of something my brother in law said about my sister. “Whenever she gets really grouchy I just say, ‘here, have some food,’ and five minutes later she gives me a hug and says sorry.” This food offering is a good one, and doesn’t require something irreplaceable as the sacrifice. First few levels are hard to get cash at.

    Also, I really hope that they get the message that these are real people before level twenty five boss fight. Because that strategy session, Asuna was perfectly willing to throw the NPCs out as bait.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not all of the NPCs /are/ people. Sure you have some that are being played by real people in Eberron, but I seriously doubt that anywhere close to even a significant minority of NPCs are actually people. Probably just key, important, ‘NPCs’ like Stheno and some of the Yokai Lords.

      And Kayaba/Dragon-dude assuming he’s playing at being Heathcliff still.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not saying they all are, but it’s a terrible precedent to set, an awful mindset to get into, and I’m not convinced that there weren’t consequences to that action even in canon. And who’s to say there aren’t a few lower importance people mixed in? It’s one thing to have a player be respectful towards someone like Stheno, the local barmaid on the other hand….

        Liked by 2 people

      2. >> *EG* Oh, you can probably assume Heathcliff is still Evil.

        Hmm.
        *Looks at all the assumptions about Beniryuu being Kayaba*

        >> […] Knights of Blood […] So is Asuna going to end up being a Dhampir or something similar here?
        >> *G* Amusing image, but nope. Something very different in mind.

        Hmmm.
        Beniryuu is depicted as a Red Dragon, and alignments are softer in Eberron, but those are still default Chaotic Evil…

        Don’t tell me Asuna ends up the adoptee of a Dragon (after all, Stheno looks like she’s already latching on to Kayaba’s normal favorite unwilling protege).

        >> *EG* And there are a few other options you may not have thought of yet.

        Good to know Pina’s probably real, but now I do have to wonder what Yui’s going to be.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. >Don’t tell me Asuna ends up the adoptee of a Dragon>
        Asuna as the cute dragon-girl? Quite workable.

        Though she’d probably make a point of pinning her hair up into a bun when flying. Long hair catching on moving wings would be…….bad.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. There’s a lot of truth in those Snicker’s ads…..

      It’s amazing how much mental energy (and therefore mental fuel) certain tasks require, especially if one’s base stress level is, for whatever reason, elevated.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Every time the characters act on the assumption that Stheno is an AI, I smile. From Kirito’s assumption that safety equipment meant for dealing with her pet cockatrices was meant for some sort of quest to Klein’s assumption that the Lonely Gorgon quest had respawned to Kirito’s whole internal monologue about Sorcery Skill acquisition being a random event, I loved it all.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I know, but it’s still funny, and after spending over twelve hours trying to figure out how to reply to your last comment on AO3 without either taking dictation for my father or putting my foot in it again, I needed one. The only reason I’m posting that remark here instead of just posting my comment at AO3 is that you have not said that my remarks here are condescending or patronizing.

        By the way, how do you make taking notes work for you? I’ve found that my notes overwhelmingly consist of Japanese given and surnames and spreadsheets full of useless info like which classes the character is taking without times and days or unrealistically large amounts of vegan cabbage rolls prepared with bok choy.

        Like

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