Rupegia 131 Looping Winds – Part 2
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"Yeah, there's no way you'd think that an entire town's worth of people died here and were cursed into being zombies," Roxanne says.
"It makes me uncomfortable just remembering that," Ciel says and scratches her cheek awkwardly.
"I imagine that after stabbing a fetus, n.o.body could 'comfortably' remember that," Roxanne adds with a smirk.
"Please…" Ciel pleads with a sigh.
"I see that you're back to your usual mean self," Alissa says and nods in understanding.
"I'm telling you, Wolf's c.u.m has healing properties," Hana says.
"I'm not mean, it's just banter, banter!" Roxanne exclaims and pouts.
"You call that banter? I've seen maids with sharper tongues," Yunia says and points her chin up sn.o.bbishly.
"Oh? Is the elegant elven princess finally showing her true colors?" Roxanne asks and grins evilly. The two glare at each other, and I start to feel like they're competing, or something.
"What's gotten into them?" I whisper to Alissa.
"Banter. Their sadism compels them to put others down once in a while," she answers.
"Oh, please, I've always been myself: a refined and upstanding example of elven n.o.bility," Yunia says.
"Yet you bowed down so quickly to Wolfy's c.o.c.k," Roxanne says, her voice dripping with sensuality when she refers to my thunder spear.
"Hmph. It is not disgraceful to find pleasure in s.e.x," Yunia responds and turns her head away.
Roxanne smiles with glee and slowly says, "A commoner's c.o.c.k."
Yunia narrows her eyes and gives her a sidelong look. "You forget that he's a hero."
"Yes, but he, a human, bested you in battle, and then, he didn't just f.u.c.k you, he dominated you. Admit it, you're addicted to his c.o.c.k." Her honeyed words slowly infiltrate my mind, then gently persuade my pleasure rod to stand at the ready.
Yunia turns her head to face her and takes a step forward. "If I'm addicted, then what does that make you? A loyal dog that licks up every drop of his c.u.m that falls to the floor whenever he f.u.c.ks a real woman."
Roxanne also takes a step forward, and the two stunningly beautiful women nearly b.u.t.t heads as they glare at one another. "I'm his s.l.u.t, not a delicate flower with an ego the size of a castle."
"Ooh…! Are they going to f.u.c.k?!" Hana asks, excitedly.
"Please, not now," Ciel asks and shakes her head.
Yunia's voice gains a cold and deliberate tone. "A s.l.u.t is a toy, below his loyal slave, so you need to be shown your place."
Roxanne leans forward, her lips curled into a kiss, but Yunia has [Precognition] and easily avoids her attack. She trips Roxanne's leg, making her stumble, then slaps her a.s.s hard.
Roxanne continues on for a few steps before regaining her balance, then she holds her hat against her head and turns around to glare at Yunia.
"Hmph, got what you deserved," Yunia snorts sn.o.bbishly and walks away.
Roxanne's lips curl into a faint smile, and her face slowly returns to normal.
"I'm rather happy about how this ended," Ciel says in a low tone.
"I guess that Hana and Yunia are going to be competing for the position of top s.l.u.t soon," Lina says.
"Pff… not even she can win against me," Hana says and grins fearsomely.
I sigh and bring my thunder c.o.c.k back under control. Their short bout made me a little excited.
We split up again and continue our exploration. The Control Room is already powered, so at least we don't have to go through that connection process all over again, which would be a ma.s.sive pain in the a.s.s.
I gather doc.u.ments and start translating them. After a long hour, I finally notice something interesting: references to a "Remote Stability Scanner." It supposedly costs a lot of mana to operate, but we can just redirect all the power to this room again, and it should work fine.
"I think this is the Scanner that you mentioned," Lina says and grabs my attention.
She's standing in front of a large square wooden table with a gla.s.s panel on top. There are a bunch of k.n.o.bs and levers at one side, a few gla.s.s panes beside the table, and underneath are some small colored crystals embedded in a metal plate full of gold and silver mana channels.
We quickly divert the power back to the Control Room and return to the Scanner.
Lina pulls a lever, and a red smoke starts to seep out of the gla.s.s panel, then gathers in a few spots above it. On the gla.s.s panel, a more colorful variety of smoke comes together.
"Okay, now what does this red smoke mean?" I question.
Lina fiddles with another k.n.o.b, and a blue smoke forms a completely opaque cube on top of the table, covering the red smoke. She fiddles with the k.n.o.b again, and the cube becomes transparent, allowing us to see the red smoke.
She fiddles with another k.n.o.b, and a small cone of black smoke appears near the bottom. She turns one last k.n.o.b, and hundreds of little purple b.a.l.l.s of varying sizes appear.
I hum in thought and say, "Well, I think the blue smoke represents 'normal' air, so we can turn that off completely; black could be the tornado above us; and I have no idea what red or purple would represent, probably something bad."
"Agreed," Lina says and nods, then she moves to a set of k.n.o.bs that turn endlessly. She slowly turns one, and the black, purple, and red smoke all move downwards. "Oh, I think this is moving the scanner's 'view.'"
"Seems so. Now, we just need to find our destination."
She continues moving the Scanner down and puts the whole tornado in view. At its bottom, we see a small red dot surrounded by black smoke. She fiddles a little more with the Scanner and discovers a way to zoom in and out.
"Heh, that's nice," she mutters.
Alissa finds a book of official coordinates. It has the name of a location, its coordinates, the anchors required to make a path to it, and the polynomial equations used to calculate the path that the Looping Wind would take. It's not really that complex, it just requires a lot of small calculations that could be done automatically by a computer.
Hana and Roxanne skim through a lot of doc.u.ments and memos, and they start to notice a repeated name: "Ozymandias."
Well, that's ominous.
"Ozymandias was the name of a chimeric king. I don't know anything else about him, though," Lina says.
"It's the name of a location in the book," Alissa says.
"It really is the most commonly mentioned name that we've found," Roxanne says as she counts its occurrences. "Also, it's seemingly the capital of this 'fake' chimeric nation."
a.s.suming that this station is the center of the system of coordinates in Alissa's book, Lina puts Ozymandias' coordinates into the Scanner. The red smoke gathers into the shape of a vertical disk that's half the size of this station.
"Well, it looks like an interesting place, alright," Roxanne comments.
"I can zoom the Scanner out to show the distance between the station and Ozymandias," Lina says.
"Please do," I say.
The red disk of Ozymandias slowly becomes smaller and smaller until it's so minuscule that only Alissa can see it, then we see a small black dot representing the tornado.
"Well, that seems pretty far," Ciel says.
"A few hours, maybe half a day?" I question.
"Not sure. I don't know how to translate this zoom level into a real distance," Lina says.
"Let's see what obstacles are in the way," I say.
She increases the opacity of the purple and red smoke, but we can't really see anything since it's all so small.
I get an idea and grab one of the gla.s.s panes beside the Scanner. It has a support frame that allows it to stay upright, so I think that it has some kind of use.
When I put it on the table, the red and purple smoke starts to glow, making it much easier to see.
"Interesting…" I mumble.
"I guess that all that's left is figuring out how to control the Looping Winds?" Alissa asks and looks at Ciel and Aoi.
"Well, that thing's a mess. The tornado is not the right way to use it, apparently," Ciel says with a wry smile.
Aoi nods in agreement and says, "Tornado is not in the manual."
"Have you tried turning it off and on again?" I ask.
Ciel opens her mouth, then closes it, then bites her lip.
Aoi blinks blankly then turns to her, "What a waste!"
"I…" Ciel starts, but her voice dies down, then we break into laughter, and she blushes heavily.
Aoi groans out loud and curls on the floor. "I'm taking a nap!" She angrily announces.
The connections are already there, so turning it off and on again is not much of a problem. To be fair to Ciel, it does take a few hours for the Light crystals to stop and then resume charging the Wind one, so, if we could find a way to undo the tornado, it would save us some time.
"I definitely didn't want to have us waste two hours of our morning waiting for the crystals to charge. Definitely," Ciel says and chuckles.
I smile and gently tap her head, then pull her into a hug as we wait, sitting down on one of my sofas.
Yunia discovers a way to increase the speed of the recharge, so our waiting time is reduced to an hour.
Meanwhile, we continue our research into how to set up the Looping Wind. According to our calculations, the path won't be easy. There are lots of unidentified obstacles in the way, and too few safe spots to set an anchor. The longer the Looping Wind stays without an anchor point, the more twisted and unstable the path becomes.
"I've identified a few dangerous spots," Roxanne says.
We use the gla.s.s panes to help us see these obstacles better, but the path is so long that it takes a lot of effort to comb through all of it.
"Zoom in on them, we could try to guess what they are from their shape," Ciel says.
Lina fiddles with the k.n.o.bs, and we start guessing. Most of them seem to be islands, a few are just too amorphous for us to make a guess, and the last one, which is right next to Ozymandias, is moving. By its shape and the way that it moves, it's a huge sky serpent, or something similar.
"And there is our next challenge," Alissa says as we stare at the sky serpent.
"More like the next boss," I say.
"How big is that thing?" Hana asks.
"Huge. We must be like ants compared to it," Lina says.
Soon after, the crystal is finally done recharging, and we see on the scanner a black ring appearing around the station, so we start setting up the anchors.
The inputs are all a.n.a.log, so we have to count how many times we've turned the k.n.o.b towards the target coordinate and hope that we didn't miscount. Then we turn the anchor on and search with the Scanner for a yellow dot, which is where it's been summoned.
As each of the anchors is turned on, the black ring starts to stretch and roughly conform to the path we've calculated, so we can consider that a success. We also quickly check the return path, and it seems safe, so everything is ready.
Once the Looping Winds settles, we create a map of all the way to Ozymandias using the obstacles as points of reference. It's like Roxanne said, a few points look dangerous to fly through, so we'll have to pay attention when we get close to them.
We return to our s.h.i.+p and turn it on, then we unfurl the sail and spread the wings. I take ten points out of [Sword Use] and put them into [Piloting] again. Then we take off Aoi's armor so that she can fly more easily, and we each tie ourselves to a rope on the s.h.i.+p.
Alissa breathes slowly to calm her heart and allow me to sync my body with hers.
"Helm, warp nine, engage!" I yell and gently make the s.h.i.+p fly forward. Alissa rolls her eyes, but doesn't comment on it.
"Are you having fun?!" Hana yells from the deck.
"I sure am!" I yell back and grin.
We leave the platform and find a large, gray tunnel waiting for us near the station. We fly past the station's four spinning arms, then stop in front of the tunnel. It's a half-circle made of gray smoke with the flat part facing up.
The way the smoke flows seems like the sea when its windy: small, periodic waves form on the surface, following the direction of the wind. So, differently from the dust tunnels of the tornado that wanted to keep us stuck inside of them, this one pushes us up onto the flat part, then guides forward. This is like a sky road, or maybe a sky river.
I sink the bottom of the s.h.i.+p into the smoke, then tilt the wings forward, and the s.h.i.+p is immediately pushed along. The wind is also coming up from behind, so both the wings and the sail are helping us move faster, removing the need for us to use the [Fly] crystal besides counteracting gravity.
It's pretty easy to control the s.h.i.+p along the Looping Winds, so we relax a little and teach the golems how to do it in our stead. They have my memories from when I used to play flight simulators, so they should be able to learn this quite easily. Though, I'm only capable of achieving a smooth flight thanks to [Piloting], so they probably won't become as good pilots as me.
Soon, the station is left behind, and the only thing that we can see is the gray sky road taking us through the infinite blue. Then Alissa notices a small cloud very far away.
I summon Hollys and have them establish a perimeter around us. They see one lone cloud, then two, then three, then four, then eight, then twenty, then our vision of the infinite gets blocked by the numerous clouds that quickly increase in size.
In only half an hour, we go from a clear sky to a stormy one, full of huge, white and gray clouds. The sky dims, so we turn on the s.h.i.+p's lights. The wind starts to become chaotic, and we see lightning inside the darker clouds.
"We are getting closer to the first obstacle," Lina says through [Bind].
"Stay alert, girls! This could get b.u.mpy!" I warn them.
In case anyone falls, Aoi will stay with Yunia, Hana with Roxanne, and Ciel with Lina. I'm concerned about keeping the golems out, but they can all fly with [Telekinesis], so I'll trust them to keep themselves safe.
Lina climbs up to the bridge. "See that dark, scary cloud over there?" She asks and points to a mother f.u.c.king colossal storm cloud of black death approaching us.
"Yes…?" I reply, anxious.
"That's the red smoke that we saw on the Scanner."
"We're going to pa.s.s close to that?" Alissa asks.
"Not just close, but through," Lina answers.
"I'll increase our speed to the maximum so that we spend the least amount of time inside it," I say.
"Be careful," Lina says, a little anxious, and returns to her maps.
The Looping Winds start to slowly wave from side-to-side and up and down. It's the instabilities that are affecting it. Further ahead, it'll get much worse.
We're slowly dwarfed by the cloud of death, and the wind becomes even more chaotic, making the s.h.i.+p creak from the strain. The wind behind us also increases in strength, giving us even more speed.
I wish I knew our current speed and the maximum that this s.h.i.+p was designed to tolerate.
Thunder roars in the distance, slowly becoming stronger. The wind starts howling, and some light rain starts falling. The s.h.i.+p shakes, the turbulence too strong for me to counteract.
Lightning lights up the sky road ahead for a moment, revealing how it plunges into a tunnel, surrounded by the storm of death.
Slowly, the last remnants of illumination are left behind with the white clouds. The gigantic tunnel of death surrounds us, and the only things we can see are the sky road and the occasional burst of lightning. Thankfully, the wind is much calmer inside the tunnel, but now the problem is making sure that I stay in the Looping Winds.
"There are two tight turns and a loop inside this tunnel," Lina reminds me through [Bind].
Ciel and Lina go to the bow so that Ciel can use her glaive to create a headlight, helping me to see a bit further.
Lightning cracks so close that we are temporarily blinded and deafened.
f.u.c.k! Should I go slow and safe or should I go fast to finish this quicker?!
"There are monsters inside the storm!" Alissa warns us through [Bind].
Fast it is, then.
We power up the [Fly] crystal and go full speed ahead. The s.h.i.+p protests, but I know that it can handle at least this much.
I use Alissa's [Sense Presence] to guide Roxanne, and she fires an [Ice Lance] into the cloud.
"It's still alive," Alissa says. "Ah! Ahead!"
Ciel illuminates it for us: a head made of a conical dark cloud; a neck formed by constant lightning; a chest composed of mossy rock; arms and legs shaped like tornadoes of dust. A storm elemental.
Aoi builds up an explosive fireball inside her, Ciel prepares [Wind Hammer], Roxanne prepares a thick [Ice Lance], and the other girls charge up [Earth Bullet]s.
"Let us help," Ted asks.
"We know how to fight Storm Elementals," Suzy affirms.
I pull three boulders out of my "Items."
"Have fun," I say.
The storm elemental fires a bolt of lightning towards Ciel, but it's diverted by Lina's [Dead Zone] and strikes the hull, slightly damaging it.
"We can't let them destroy the s.h.i.+p!" I warn them.
I take five points out of [Parry] and put them into [Enhanced Reflexes]. I'm going to need this.
"Focus on flying!" I say with [G.o.dly Language]. My mind clears, and my body relaxes, but my heart rate stays fast.
We fly past the elemental, and the girls release their spells, obliterating it before it can throw more lightning at us.
I summon five electric elementals. The plasma b.a.l.l.s float around the bridge, silently waiting for orders.
"Protect the s.h.i.+p, but priority goes to the wings and the sails!" I order them. They'll guard the s.h.i.+p, but this doesn't make us invulnerable. "Now it's all on you, girls. Alissa and I are too busy piloting, we can't help any more."
"Leave it to us!" Aoi confidently exclaims.
"Lots more ahead," Alissa warns.
"Barrage! Pick a target and fire, then switch! Don't try to destroy them!" Lina relays Ciel's orders.
Alissa's "radar" is filled with dots, so I use [Bind] to feed this information directly to the girls. They fire their spells into the dark clouds, then lightning is thrown back at us in response. Most of it is diverted by our electric elementals, but the sheer number of attacks overwhelms them, and a few get through. Some planks explode, but the damage is minimal.
Another wave arrives, and fewer bolts. .h.i.t the s.h.i.+p this time. The girls are adapting to my information sharing.
A third wave comes, and the same thing happens.
"Curve!" Lina warns us.
We move the s.h.i.+p to the left side of the lane, then we roll it 45º and start pulling the nose up.
We leave the Looping Winds since we turned too early, and the s.h.i.+p slows down a lot. Then we sink back into it again, and our vision is clouded by smoke because we didn't turn hard enough.
We bring the s.h.i.+p vertical again, and the smoke pulls us up without our input, then we surface and cough. The smoke is magical, so it's not completely suffocating, but it's still not air, so it's not good for our lungs to breathe it in.
"Behind!" Alissa warns.
A salvo of lightning bolts. .h.i.ts the back of the s.h.i.+p before the girls can counter it. A hole is opened up in the stern, but the electric elementals are defending the wings and sail perfectly.
We quickly leave these storm elementals behind, but then they start appearing all around the tunnel. Their numbers are less concentrated than before, but they still force the girls to be constantly fighting.
Without them having the needed numbers to overwhelm the electric elementals, we don't receive any damage from their lightning bolts.
But the dungeon's aim might not be to destroy us, it could simply be trying to tire us out.
"Curve!" Lina warns us again.
I've learned my lesson, I won't come into a curve too fast like a noob again. We repeat the same preparations as before, but this time, I slow down the s.h.i.+p's forward speed, and we make the turn without a problem.
Then the sky river starts to wave again, and I get a bad feeling about this.
"Loop!" Lina warns.
"Ahead!" Alissa warns, too.
We flex our muscles to keep them from shaking, but the tension makes them hurt. The road starts turning upwards, and we gently follow it, keeping our speed at the limit that the s.h.i.+p can handle without leaving the Looping Winds.
The girls struggle to aim correctly, and when we go vertical, the belly of the s.h.i.+p gets. .h.i.t repeatedly.
We turn upside down, and the girls all miss their spells, too busy trying to hold on to the s.h.i.+p to aim.
Then we finally start pointing downwards, and the bolts. .h.i.tting the s.h.i.+p reduce in number until they stop completely.
The sky river straightens out, and we reach a new speed record. We go so fast that the wind hurts my eyes and makes it hard to see.
I need aviation goggles.
Soon after, the last of the storm elementals is left behind, and then we're clear of the clouds of death. The cold winds and rain hit us again, but they're nothing in comparison to what we just went through.
Up ahead, we start to see something s.h.i.+ning in the sky, then a burst of lightning reveals it to us: a f.u.c.king-huge floating island.
"Our first landmark," Lina says.
The first anchor is nearby, so I think we could get some rest over there. Lunchtime is coming up soon, and I don't want to fly on an empty stomach.
We get closer and closer to the huge lump of rock and crystal. It must be larger than a mountain.
It arches over the Looping Winds, sheltering us from the rainstorm. Soon, the wind stops, and we reach the calm.
I pull the s.h.i.+p out of the sky river and park it right beside an exposed Wind crystal on the floating island.
"I want to try something," I say.
Alissa sighs and turns to me, looking slightly tired. "The last time you tried this, you hurt yourself. You certainly didn't go slow like you said you would," she says reproachfully.
I smile guiltily and reply, "I have to find a way to control small amounts of mana. Last time, I couldn't really focus on that because of how desperate we were."
She lifts up my visor and kisses my lips.
"Fine. Just be careful."
Hall of Fame of Patrons
The patrons who support Rupegia shall have their names sung by the bards for they deserve the glory and honor. Their names are:
Oracle Maximillian Hübner.
Lord Andrew Meyers.
Lord Samuel Lim.
Lord Michale Erwin.
Lord Enrique Peña Gomez.
Lord Yeeteris Dedmeem.
Lord D4rk Sheep.
Lord Nathan Vanbrunt.
Lord Andrew Heffelbower.
Lord Thiago Ferreira.
n.o.ble Salty Panda.
n.o.ble Mild Fracas.
n.o.ble Tiler Mills.
If you'd like to support Rupegia, you can become a patron at: www.*******.com/manasong
Rupegia 131 Looping Winds – Part 2
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Rupegia 131 Looping Winds – Part 2 summary
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