You explain to Marcus that you’re fine with him coming along, but tell him that Tahtsu seemed to want to speak with him. You ask him to at least let her know that he’ll be out for a while before you go. “Hm… Alright.” He gives you a nod. “While you all are getting prepared to leave, I’ll go have a word with her. I’ll meet you at the town gate then.” With that, he heads off.
“Well, the rain’s less heavy now at least.” Myla looks out a window as everyone gets ready to leave. You give her a nod, assuring her that everything will be fine. “Let’s hope so. I really hope we aren’t walking into another trap.” She sighs. You sigh as well, admitting that you do have the same worry. “Well… if what the guy said was true, then it can help Elykae. Let’s just get it over with.” You give her another nod, and your party heads out to the gate.
After a short wait by the gate, Marcus returns to you. “Everything’s ready then?” He asks. You give him a nod, though also ask what Tahtsu wanted to speak about. “Not sure yet. Seems she still wants some time to think. When I return, then we’ll be able to talk. Let us hope this doesn’t take too long then. Shall we?” With another nod, all of you head out of Malor.
You continue along the road for a short while before breaking off into the wilderness. The trees shield you from the weather a bit more, which seems to please Myla some. Along the way, you remember that Kimno’s escorts were going to scout the ruin before you arrived. With that, you realize that your party will likely meet up with them before arriving. You explain this to your party, though to make sure things do not go poorly with Elykae, you make sure to not give their allegiances away. “So we are to meet with this other agent then?” Elykae asks. You admit that it will just be her escorts, but give her a nod. “I see. Perhaps I can learn more from them as well.”
“Well, they’re more help, yeah?” Garrett speaks up. “And if there are more bandits, maybe they managed to deal with em before we get there?” You’re not sure. They seemed more likely to just gather information than actually act. Regardless, information is always useful.
“You could have told me they’d be there, Floria.” Myla looks less thrilled about the fact though. You apologize to her, admitting that you forgot to tell her and Elykae. “Well, let’s just hope we don’t end up actually needing them.”
It takes some time to reach the place, but after a long walk in the rain, you arrive at a clearing. You can see the ruins, and more notably, you can see Oriz and Naeck under one of the overhangs, keeping themselves out of the weather. From what you can see though, there are no signs of bandits, or anything else for that matter. They notice your group and wave you over to them. Once there, you greet the two. “Took your time, eh?” Oriz gives you a smile. “Heh, don’t worry, we figured you’d stay the night at Malor.”
“You’re the scouts that Floria mentioned then?” Marcus asks, but then looks at Naeck. The fighter looks to be a bit injured, though nothing too serious. “It looks like you’ve run into trouble.”
“Ferals.” Naeck responds. “They took us by surprise, but we handled it. My injuries will heal. And you are?”
“Marcus.” The man introduces himself. “A guard from Malor and a friend of Floria’s. When I learned of there being something of interest at these ruins, I decided that it would be best for me to join the investigation. I am told you were to be scouting the area, so what have you found?”
“Well, problems mostly.” The harpy scout shrugs. You ask what he means by that. “The proper part of the ruin is underground, like many of these Ancient places. There’s only one entrance, and that’s where the problem is.” He points a wing over to a door not too far away. You can see it’s open. “We can’t get in.”
“Really now?” Myla crosses her arms. “Looks open to me. Is there another door down below or something?”
“Not quite. It’s just…” Oriz sighs. “Just go see for yourself.”
You look at Myla and give her a nod. The two of you head over to the door with everyone else following. You move slowly forward, expecting to see some sort of obvious trap or something that would prevent the two scouts from entering, but nothing of the sort is visible. Stepping closer to the door, you do notice a sudden change in the air. It’s somewhat familiar, though you can’t put a finger on it. Regardless, aside from that, you feel nothing strange. However, once Myla reaches the point where you felt the change, she suddenly lets out a pained groan and stumbles backwards!
“Urgh..!” The wolfkin falls back onto the wet ground, holding her head. You quickly rush back to her side. “What the fuck was that?! Gah… That fucking hurt…” A quick check shows that she seems to be fine.
“What’s going on here?” Marcus turns to the two scouts, obviously unhappy to see Myla get hurt like that from their suggestion. “You’d best explain yourselves.”
“H-hey, calm down. That wasn’t even expected by us, okay?” Oriz has a confused look on his face. “It didn’t have that much of an effect when it hit us!” He looks over at Naeck, who seems to be thinking.
“But it did not seem to affect the human girl at all.” The cat speaks up, obviously trying to figure something out. After a moment, it looks like he has an idea. “Hm… I have a theory. However…” He turns to Marcus. “I would ask your help to test it.” The guard hesitantly gives him a nod. “I would like you to step near the entrance as well.”
“Hm…” Marcus looks at the entrance, then back to Naeck, giving him a nod. “I think I know what you’ve got in mind. Alright.” With that, he takes a few steps toward the ruins. He manages to pass the threshold where Myla was forced back, and like you, it looks like it has no effect. “Nothing. But I can sense some sort of magic here.”
“A magic similar to Barrier Devices, correct?” The cat scout offers. Marcus nods to him. You’re confused by what they seem to be suggesting, so you ask what he’s talking about. “Cities and towns across all three nations use a technology known as Barrier Devices to keep dangerous beasts away. They are built in such a way that they give off a sort of magic energy that causes beasts uncomfortable pain, thus driving them away.” He looks at Myla. “Of course, they can be adjusted to ensure that they just keep beasts away. Too much energy in them, and they would affect us beastkin. We do have the blood of beasts in our bodies, after all. The wolfkin being a pure is likely why it had a stronger effect on her.”
“But with you two being human, it doesn’t have any effect at all!” Oriz speaks up. “Of course, this means that you two are pretty much the only ones who can get inside…”
“There must be a way for us to enter.” Elykae steps forward to test the barrier herself. As she crosses into the barrier’s effect, she visibly winces, taking a few steps back. “Urgh… It is… not unbearable, but yes. It would be difficult to pass…”
“Indeed.” Naeck gives her a nod. “It would be possible for us impure to pass, though very unpleasant. The barrier likely only covers the entrance, and not the entire ruin, though we would need the two humans to check that to be certain.” You ask if he’s offering to come with you. “I would, but I fear my injuries would make me of little use.”
“But if you two went inside and found a way to disable the barrier, then we could all get in nice and easy!” Oriz offers. You ask if he would be willing to join in going past the barrier. After all, he’s an impure as well. “Ah er… that is…”
“Oriz has a low pain tolerance.” His cat-like partner reveals. You almost get a hint of a smile from him saying that. Oriz doesn’t seem too pleased by it though.
“So what are we going to do?” Garrett asks. “If it hit Myla that hard, there’s no way Bluebell could get past it, yeah? I mean, I might be able to, but these places are kinda tight hallways and stuff from what I know.”
“I would come with you.” Elykae speaks up, seemingly determined. You ask if she’s sure. “Yes. I can withstand some discomfort. We are here because of me anyway.”
“Floria.” Marcus turns to you. “If there’s something in there, it would be good to have as many allies as we can, but it’s obvious that something wants to keep beastkin out. However, this wasn’t here in the past. The reports would have said so. There’s something very concerning about all this.” You consider what you want to do…
[WAITING FOR INPUT…]
Now maybe you guys might realize why Floria’s human again. :V