The sun was getting low as the group crested the final hill and looked down on the village. Yuzu paused, placing her hands on her hips and taking in the sight. It was a small village, with an abnormally large dock. The dock had three large ships sitting at it. One of them was intended for them. Harumin was the one who had suggested this job. They'd been several towns over when she'd come prancing in and slammed down a large sheet of paper.
“It's easy. We sail out to the island, kill the monsters, steal the loot, and come home next year.” Harumin had explained.
“And how are we getting to this island?” Himeko had demanded.
“The paper says there's a boat waiting for us.” Nene answered, holding the paper in front of her.
“Well, I think it's stupid.” Himeko argued.
“It sounds exciting!” Yuzu declared. “What do you think Mei?”
“It sounds risky. But I see no reason we can't at least go and see.” She said simply.
They'd set out the next morning. It took them a few days to arrive at the village. The roads were busy, mostly with traffic flowing the opposite direction. There were rumors of an Orc raid brewing, and most travelers were looking to get out of it's way. Yuzu wasn't concerned about the Orcs. They'd only be spending one night in the village and heading out soon after they arrived.
They made their way down the hill, and into the village. It was a sleepy village, with three main streets running down it's length, each leading to a dock. The streets were connected alongside the docks, and by lots of narrow side-streets. They checked in with the boat, and discovered that they'd be ready to leave in a few hours. With that done, they returned to the tavern, and settled in to rest for the night. The sun went down, and for a while they relaxed around the tavern, drinking and laughing with the residents.
Several hours into their rest however the ground began to rumble. The sound of screams started to fill the air. The door to the tavern burst open, and a woman threw herself inside.
“Orcs!” She screamed. “Orcs are raiding the village!” Yuzu slammed her hands down onto the table and stood up.
“We have to help them.” She declared. Across from her, Mei sighed.
“All right. Let's go.” She said, standing up. One by one Harumin, Himeko and Nene all rose to their feet, and the group headed for the door. Walking outside, they were greeted by the smell of smoke, and the sight of buildings burning.
“How'd they set so many fires so fast?” Harumin asked idly. She was answered by a loud scream, as a group of Orcs came stampeding around the corner of the street, and towards the party! Yuzu drew her axe from her back, and let out a deafening scream. She wasn't going to stand for innocent people being hurt by these creatures. She began to charge towards the Orcs. An arrow flew into one of them, closely followed by a small bolt of fire. Yuzu charged at the weakened Orc, and swung her axe at it. But the Orc was too fast, and it jumped aside, dodging her attack!
“Did you remember your Weapon Focus bonus?” Himeko asked.
“Huh? Oh! No I didn't!” Yuzu replied, starring down at the sheet in front of her. “So...I got a 12, I add 4 from strength, one more from weapon focus...that's a 17. Did I hit?” Matsuri shook her head from behind the GM's screen at the end of the table.
“What about your rage bonus?” Mei asked.
“Oh yeah!” Yuzu said. “That's...19!”
The Orc was good. But Yuzu was better. She twisted her axe slightly as it missed the Orcs head. It lodged itself in the Orc's stomach. The Orc crumpled to the ground. Two more charged at Yuzu, swinging their massive axes at her. One hit her shoulder, while the other connected with her leg, and she cried out in pain.
The pain only lasted a second however, as magic washed through her, healing the damage. The wounds sewed themselves shut, leaving only small cuts where large gashes had been.
“Thanks Mei!” Yuzu called back to her.
“Don't get yourself killed please. I don't have enough mana to heal you forever.” Mei replied.
Harumin ran up alongside Yuzu, she stopped a few steps short of the Orcs, and threw her dagger at one of them. The dagger hit the Orc's leg. Nene fired another arrow, and Himeko cast another spell on the Orc. It seemed quite beat up.
“Why does it go down when Yuzu hits it with us, but not when Harumin hits it?” Himeko huffed.
“Because Yuzu-Chan did 18 damage. It was a good roll.” Matsuri answered.
Yuzu attacked the Orc, and it went down as well. That left them with one final Orc. He swung at Yuzu again, but this time his attack hit her breastplate, and bounced away.
“Yuzu! Duck!” Harumin called from behind her. Yuzu ducked down, and a pair of daggers flew over her head. They embedded themselves into the Orc's eyes, and it screamed in pain.
“Does that actually blind him?” Harumin asked, looking up from one of the 20s sitting in front of her. Matsuri shook her head.
“Nah, it just sounded cool for a critical hit.” She replied. “Anyway, Nene, it's your turn.”
“Oh. I guess I'll shoot the Orc.” Nene said. She grabbed the dice, and rolled, before looking between it and her sheet several times. “18?”
“That's barely a hit.” Matsuri replied. Nene grabbed the next dice and rolled it.
“7.” Nene declared. Matsuri scribbled something behind her screen.
“My name is not Eyebrow-Chan.” Himeko protested. “I'll cast another Firebolt.” She said, picking up the dice. “Does a 12 hit him?”
“For you, it does.” Matsuri teased.
“Hey! How come she can hit with just a 12!” Yuzu protested.
“I'm using touch attacks. They ignore armour.” Himeko answered with a hint of smugness. She picked up the damage dice and rolled it.
“The Orc crashes to the ground, dead. You can see hundreds more coming down the hill towards the town. What do you do?” Matsuri narrated.
“I'm going to fetch my daggers.” Harumin replied.
“Uh...we can't kill them all, can we?” Yuzu asked.
“You can try.” Matsuri answered with a devilish grin.
“We should see if the boat is ready to cast off.” Himeko suggested.
“That is probably the safest choice.” Mei agreed. Yuzu grimaced.
“But what about all the villagers?” She asked.
“We can stop to save the ones we pass.” Mei conceded after a pause. Yuzu smiled. Mei had that embarrassed look she got from time to time when Yuzu got her way.
“All right! Let's go!” Yuzu declared.
“You start running for the docks. You can see that the boat is ready to go and is just waiting for you. A few other boats are taking on villagers. You're getting close, when a building collapses into the road, blocking your way. You can see a way through a side alley to get to the docks. From the other direction you can hear Orcs shouting, and the sound of villagers in trouble.”
“We're got to save them!” Yuzu said.
“We're saving the ones we pass. We're not passing those ones.” Himeko argued. “They knew the risks living so close to Orcs!”
“I agree with Yuzu.” Harumin said. “Besides, we might find some cool loot.” Nene nodded quickly in agreement.
“Madm President? What should we do?” Himeko asked, looking to Mei. Mei looked at Yuzu for a moment before sighing.
“Yuzu will just run in to help them anyway.” She said simply.
Yuzu charged towards the sound of the Orcs. She wasn't sure if anyone was behind her. She hoped they were coming, but even if they weren't, she had to save the villagers. They were inside a building. Yuzu kicked the door open and barged in! Two Orcs were standing over a woman and child cowering on the floor.
Yuzu charged the closest one, and smacked her axe into it's back. The Orc howled in pain and spun to face her. Unlike the others, this one actually had a shield. He slammed it into Yuzu's chest, and she stumbled backwards. The Orc followed her as she stumbled, occupying the space she'd just vacated.
Harumin burst into the room after her. She looked as if she'd been running for quite a while. The others followed her in, awkwardly piling up near the entrance. The other Orc advanced on them, swinging his axe at Harumin, and landing a hefty blow.
Yuzu struck at the Orc again. This time however he caught her axe on his shield. He slammed it into her again, and she hit the wall. Her head smacked against the wood, and the world around her spun.
Harumin was trying to fight the other Orc, but alone she wasn't doing a very good job of taking it down. Nene and Himeko were both focusing on it as well, while Mei began to pray.
Yuzu tried to muster the effort to strike back, but she couldn't focus long enough to fight back. The Orc slammed his shield into her again, and once more she hit the wall. The spinning only got worse.
“It's not fair she can get stunned over and over like that.” Nene protested.
“Stunlocks are part of the game!” Matsuri replied. “It's not my fault Yuzu charged ahead of the party.”
“That was very stupid of her.” Himeko agreed. Yuzu grinned at them sheepishly.
“Sorry! I just got really caught up in the moment!” She said. Harumin sighed.
“I don't think I can beat this Orc by myself. Could you cut us a break?” She complained to Matsuri.
“Alright, alright!” Matsuri grumbled.
The spinning got significantly worse, as the wall behind Yuzu broke, and she stumbled out into the village. She toppled onto her back, and for a second she was sure she'd be sick.
“Is that better?” Matsuri asked.
“Now she's out of line of sight for my heal.” Mei stated.
The break in the wall caused a chain reaction, and the rest of the wall fell, baring the insides of the house to the world.
Matsuri removed the last toothpick from the battlefield, indicating the wall had collapsed.
“Is THAT better?” She asked.
“Thanks Matsuri!” Yuzu said. “It's great!”
“Haru, let me!” Nene declared. She fired another arrow at the Orc, before running up to it.
“Are you sure?” Harumin asked.
“I can handle it!” Nene said. Harumin nodded, and jumped away, before running towards the Orc that was chasing Yuzu. Himeko continued to pepper the Orc in front of her with firebolts. The Orc paid her no mind, as it attacked, and injured, Nene.
Mei's prayed finally finished, and Nene, Yuzu and Harumin all glowed for a second, as their wounds healed themselves. It wasn't a perfect heal by any means, but it helped.
Yuzu rose to her feet, and swung at the Orc. She landed another hit, and it hesitated slightly. It looked to be getting weak. It didn't bother hitting her with the shield this time. Instead it slashed at her with it's scimitar.
Matsuri sucked in a breath through her teeth.
“That's a critical hit.” She declared.
“What? They can crit?”
“Yeah. So that's...15 damage.” Matsuri remarked.
“That's so much!” Yuzu protested.
“Don't be a baby. It's only 15.”
“That's almost half my HP!”
“That's more than half my HP.” Harumin said.
“Really?” Yuzu asked. She reached over and grabbed Harumin's sheet. Sure enough, she only had 23 HP.
“Oh...I guess it's not so bad.”
Nene continued to face off with her Orc. She fired at it, and missed, while the Orc missed it's own attack. Harumin had almost reached the Orc fighting Yuzu, and so she threw both daggers at it. The Orc screamed in pain.
“How close to dead is that Orc?” Himeko asked.
“Pretty close.” Matsuri replied. Himeko stared at the minis on the table in front of her, thinking for a minute.
“I'm going to cast scorch on it.” She finally declared. She grabbed the dice, and rolled it.
“6 Damage. Is it dead?” Matsuri glanced down at her notes. “Yes! The Orc screams in pain, as his skin burns, and he collapses to the ground dead.” Matsuri declared.
“You don't need to make it so horrific.” Himeko scolded her. “And then I'll cast firebolt on the other one.” She rolled her dice.
“That's a hit.” Matsuri declared.
“I didn't even say what I got!” Himeko complained.
“I can see it from here. You hit without bonuses.” Matsuri explained. Himeko huffed, and grabbed her damage dice.
“9.” Himeko declared the moment the dice stopped.
“Got it. Mei-San, your turn.” Matsuri said. Mei looked at the board.
“Is anyone other than Yuzu hurt?” She asked.
“No.” Matsuri answered.
“I'll hold my turn.” Mei said. Yuzu looked at her in shock.
“Mei! I'm almost at half health!”
“You'll live another round. I can heal you on Himeko's turn if no one else needs it.”
“Okay, Yuzu-Chan, take your turn.”
“Can I charge that other Orc from here?” Yuzu asked.
“I'll do that!” Yuzu declared. She reached over the table and picked up her mini, and moved it next to the Orc. “And then I roll.” She said, picking up her dice and rolling it. “Okay so...my melee is a +5, another +1 from Weapon Focus, and then +2 from charging right?” She looked up at Matsuri for confirmation. Matsuri nodded. “Which makes a 20.”
“That's a hit.” Yuzu grabbed her damage dice and rolled it.
“The Orc looks like it's about to go down, but it's not there yet! Taniguchi-Senpai!”
“I'll run up to it, and draw more daggers. Then throw another one at it!” Harumin declared.
“Does Nene give me sneak attack?”
“She's in melee, so yes.”
“Alright!” Harumin rolled. “Um...19”
“Hit.” Harumin picked up a pair of dice and rolled them.
“A 2 and a 5.” She declared. “No other bonuses.”
“Why don't you have any other bonuses?” Nene asked.
“Because I only have a 10 in Strength, and I don't have any feats to add Dexterity to damage yet.” Harumin grumbled.
“At least you get an easy way to apply Sneak Attack.” Matsuri offered in consolation.
“Yeah yeah. Does he die?”
“He does!” Matsuri declared. “So that's another fight over!”
“I'd like to cast Heal on Yuzu.” Mei said.
“Thanks Mei!” Yuzu replied, grinning at her. Mei blushed slightly, and looked back down at the dice. “You heal for 12.” She said.
“Okay! That should be enough until the next fight!”
“Are you okay?” Yuzu asked the woman. She nodded.
“Yes...thank you.” She replied. Yuzu grinned.
“No worries! You better start running though...” The woman nodded again, and began shepherding her child out of the room. Yuzu turned back to the group. Harumin had retrieved her daggers, and Nene had finished picking out her arrows.
“Now can we go to the boat?” Himeko asked.
“Yeah! Let's go!” Yuzu declared. The group jogged out of the building, and down the side alley they'd ignored before. It lead them through to a parallel street that headed for the docks. This one was much more quiet, with only the sounds of the fire crackling, and the distant sounds of battle. Corpses littered the street, both human and Orc.
“This is depressing...” Harumin said softly.
“Yeah, what gives?” Yuzu asked.
“We should just be glad we're being left alone.” Mei replied. Yuzu grumbled quietly, but nodded. They reached the end of the street, and walked out into the walkway that ran alongside the dock. Their boat was sitting in one of the docks, ready to go. A large man with huge, feathered wings waved to them.
“What? Why does he have wings?” Himeko asked.
“He's a Galeborn.” Matsuri replied.
“What is that?” Himeko demanded.
“It's another race. Like a human with wings. You could've played one if you wanted.” Matsuri explained.
“Oh...” Himeko said softly. “No thank you.”
They didn't make it to the dock. Halfway there, a wall of a burning building ahead of them was smashed down, and a large Orc with two giant axes in hand walked out.
“Ey! Where you think yous going?” The Orc demanded.
Yuzu couldn't stop laughing. Matsuri stared at her.
“It's not that funny.” She insisted. Yuzu nodded.
“It is!” She said. Harumin was laughing beside her.
“What even is that accent?” She managed to choke out between laughs. Matsuri folded her arms.
“It's how they're supposed to sound!” She protested. Her protests fell on deaf ears, as the two girls laughed. After a few minutes they managed to catch their breath.
“Okay! Okay. I'm done...sorry.” Yuzu said. She glanced over at Mei. Mei was staring at her with a small smile on her face. As Yuzu looked, Mei glanced away.
“Good. Can we continue now?” Matsuri asked. Yuzu and Harumin nodded.
A second, smaller Orc stepped out. He was wielding a pair of small daggers. A tiny troll woman followed him out.
“Nowhere but the graveyard I reckon.” The second Orc replied.
Yuzu and Harumin spent another half a minute laughing.
“You know some big words for an Orc.” Harumin shouted back. The Orcs fell silent.
“I think shes insulting us.” The first Orc declared.
“Yeah...I think she is. Better teach her a lesson eh?” With a loud scream, the two Orcs charged forward. The one with the axes swung at Yuzu, and landed a solid blow on her. She screamed in pain, and stumbled half a step back. Before she had a chance to react Harumin had thrown two daggers at him. The Orc screamed in pain for a second, but the troll behind him cast a spell, and the wounds healed themselves, pushing the daggers out.
“Get the troll!” Himeko declared.
“Okay!” Nene said. She fired an arrow at the troll. It hit, and the troll stumbled back slightly. Yuzu screamed in anger at the Orc.
“You've already raged today.” Matsuri said. “You can't rage again.”
“What?” Yuzu asked. She looked down at her sheet. Nothing like that was written on it. Matsuri handed her a paper from the stacks behind her screen. Yuzu took it and glanced over it. It was a page from the feats list. Sure enough, Berserker clearly stated she could only rage once per day.
“Oh...I guess I'll just hit him then.” Yuzu declared, defeated.
Yuzu's axe slammed into the Orc, and he screamed in pain once more. Himeko fired off a firebolt at the troll. Then the second Orc came running up. He ran past Yuzu, and she swung her axe at him. Incredibly, he managed to flip over her axe, landing behind her. He twisted, and stabbed at her back. The dagger slipped through her defences, in the small gap between the bottom of her breastplate, and the top of the furs she kept wrapped around her waist. The Orc in front of her swung both of his axes, hitting her twice over.
“What?” Yuzu stared at her HP. “I'm almost dead!”
“Don't worry, I'll heal you.” Mei said softly.
“Well, it's your turn Mei-San.” Matsuri declared. Mei picked up her dice and rolled.
“14.” She said. “And then I'll cast plea, to heal Yuzu for another...” She paused a moment as she rolled the second dice. “6.”
“Mei...” Yuzu said softly. Mei glanced away from her. “Thank you.” Yuzu added quickly. She'd forgotten they had company for a second.
“Taniguchi-Senpai!” Matsuri called.
“I'm going to charge the Troll.” Harumin said. She leaned forward, and picked up her mini, moving it up next to the troll. “And stab it, I guess.” She rolled her dice, and frowned.
“2 damage!” Matsuri declared.
“Why is it so low?” Nene asked.
“She doesn't get her sneak attack when she's fighting alone.” Matsuri explained. A cheeky grin flashed across her face. “She's kind of useless without Yuzu-Chan.” Nene blushed a bit, and grinned back.
“Please stop feeding her weird obsession.” Harumin snapped.
“I'm just telling her the truth!” Matsuri replied. “Anyway, the troll jumps back, and casts a spell, healing it's wounds. Nene, your turn!”
Another arrow flew past the brawl in the middle of the fight, and hit the troll. It screamed in pain. Yuzu swung her axe at the Orc in front of her, and then took an awkward half-step away from the pair of them, trying to avoid being outflanked.
“Is that right?” She asked.
“You should be safer there, yes.” Mei replied. Yuzu smiled.
“Now they have to move forward to hit you, so they can't use both weapons.”
“Thanks Mei! So uh, did I hit?” She looked to Matsuri. Matsuri nodded.
The axe impacted the Orc as Yuzu fell back, and it howled in pain once more. Himeko fired off another firebolt at the troll. It looked to be almost dead, so she threw a scorch on it as well. This time it went down, with a howl of anguish. Himeko shuddered.
“I wish they wouldn't all scream like that...” She complained. The Orcs advanced on Yuzu again, and swung their weapons at her. The axe hit again, but the dagger was poorly placed this time, and it got stuck in the furs.
“See? I told you the furs were a good idea!” Yuzu declared.
“You only ever said they'd be cute.” Mei replied.
“Well they are!” Yuzu insisted. “And they protected me.” Mei sighed, and cast another healing spell on her. Yuzu grinned.
“Thank you!” Harumin came charging up on the Orc in front of Yuzu. She rammed her dagger into it's back, and with a loud cry, it collapsed to the ground. The other Orc let out a furious scream as it's comrade fell.
“That doesn't sound very good.” Nene remarked. She fired another arrow at it. Yuzu turned and slammed her axe into it, and then stepped back again. The Orc didn't react to either hit. Himeko threw out another firebolt and a scorch on the Orc. It didn't flinch.
“What's up with it?” Yuzu asked. The Orc pounced towards her, and began stabbing with it's daggers.
“It gets four attacks after moving?” Yuzu asked.
“Yup. And they all hit. So that's another 24 damage.” Matsuri answered. Yuzu glanced down at her HP total. It was 23.
“I'm down.” She said softly.
“I'll take care of you.” Mei told her. “I'll cast Heal and Plea on her again.” Mei said, rolling her dice. “That's a 19, and then a 5.”
Yuzu climbed back to her feet just in time for Harumin to get up behind the Orc. She rammed her dagger into it's back. It barely flinched. Nene shot another arrow at it. She missed. Yuzu raised her axe high, and swung it down hard.
“So...I reduce my hit by one?” Yuzu asked.
“Yeah.” Matsuri said.
“And get a plus one on my damage?”
“That's right.” Yuzu picked up her dice and rolled.
“19!” She declared. “Wait...24! Sorry!”
“So close to a crit. Roll your damage.” Matsuri replied. Yuzu picked up her dice and rolled. It came up 12, the highest damage she could roll with this weapon.
“12! So...” She looked down at her bonuses for a second. “8 from strength, 1 from power attack...21 damage!”
Yuzu's axe embedded itself into the Orcs head. It stopped in it's tracks, and slowly toppled forward. Yuzu placed a foot on it, and with a tug, pulled her axe free.
“Let's go!” She said.
“What about their weapons? They might be better than yours.” Mei asked.
“That is how it works, right?” Mei asked, looking at Matsuri. Matsuri nodded.
“Oh yeah!” Yuzu replied. She grabbed the axes off the dead Orc, while Harumin grabbed the daggers. With their loot secured, they turned and ran for the boat.
The Galeborn man ushered them onto the boat, and threw the ramp aside. He flew onto the boat, while the crew began to raise the anchor. Once they were done, the boat began to drift forward.
“I'm glad to see you made it.” The man said, nodding to them.
“I'm just sad we couldn't help anyone else escape...” Yuzu remarked. The man shook his head.
“They wouldn't want to come with us anyway. Come, let's get you settled below decks.” He offered. He guided the girls below the decks, and showed them to a set of rooms. There were only four beds.
“What are we going to do about beds?” Harumin asked, as she collapsed onto her bed.
“Some of us will have to share!” Himeko declared. “I will volunteer to share a bed with the President.”
“The who?” Nene asked.
“I mean...Mei.” Himeko corrected herself quickly.
“I think Harumi and Yuzu should share a bed.” Nene suggested softly.
“Not happening.” Harumin declared quickly.
“Yuzu and I will share a bed.” Mei said after a moment.
“Huh? We will?” Yuzu asked. “I mean...of course we will!”
“But why?” Himeko protested.
“It is normal for sisters to share a bed.” Mei replied.
“Y-yeah!” Yuzu agreed quickly.
“Sounds good to me. Let's get some rest. I'm exhausted.” Harumin declared, as she pulled the sheets over herself.
“So, we rest, and then what?” Harumin asked.
“Well, you gained just enough experience to level up.” Matsuri said. “So let's take a break for lunch, and do that?”
“Yes!” Yuzu cheered. “I can rage again!”
“And you have to stop using your breastplate.” Mei said.
“What? I do?” Yuzu looked down at the sheet in front of her. The Berserker prestige class was sitting beside her, as she was the one taking levels in it. Sure enough, under restrictions, it listed losing Plate Proficiency. Yuzu sighed. “What am I gonna do...” She groaned.