Please read the author's notes. (Examples and explanation of moves and appearance+ Monster Sources)
Sitting in Hephaestus's meeting room, Yang and Thalie can be seen enjoying a peaceful silence.
The woman in question holds some papers of news around Orario in her hand as Yang has his feet up on the coffee table as he snacks on a box of cookies.
"Kinda edgy with the armor don't ya think..." he breaks the silence with an observation about her armor.
Her mostly obsidian black and dull silver armor was brand new and crafted by their teams' smith recently. Two shortswords rest against the couch she's on, normally placed on her back when moving. Bits of brown and dull red fabric reside on certain parts of her armor, salamander wool and dyed Amphisbaena scales made to fit, they keep her cool even in the face of magical attacks and keep her warm when faced with cold attacks. A necessity when teamed with the resident Elementalist if Welf was asked for his reasoning.
Her helmet with a metal visor rests beside her on the couch as she looks up at Yang with a quirked brow.
"Uh-huh, says the guy dressed for a ball..." she fires back, "how many hundreds of millions did that cost you again?"
Yang could only sigh in response, his battle mage equipment from Altena was closer to a suit than combat armor. It was comprised of black boots with some blue designs at the top reaching almost his knee, standard combat pants with a holster on his thigh for small items, and a belt with a pouch and knife holster behind his waist. The top was a fitted black T-shirt that zipped up in the middle of his chest.
All of this was fine, until he put on the coat. With long coattails reaching his shins and simple blue designs, the chest designed to look like actual formal wear. A black glove on his left hand and a blue glove on his right, thankfully Hephaestus told them his flames were blue so his outfit wasn't bright red. And an arm protector on his right hand matching the blue of the glove.
"It's not that formal. Besides mages fight in stuff that looks like they're about to get married a lot. At least this stuff has inlaid armor plates AND is enchanted. Cost me extra just because most mages don't ask for inlaid plates..." he grumbles out.
"That's fair, but in their defense, most mages don't enjoy walking up and punching monsters in the face," she shrugs.
"Most mages are boring..."
As they fall into a calm silence again, the door is kicked open, Welf has arrived, late as he might be.
"Mornin red, we've been waiting," Thalie says.
"Trust me, you'll find this well worth the wait," his smile was almost infectious.
"Considering you're Orario's news celebrity... I'm sure you've got something good." Yang says, taking a slight jab at him. Truth be told Welf wishes he could return to people ignoring him, at least then he could go shopping in peace and not be swarmed with adventurers asking for sponsorship from him.
"Ugh, don't remind me. It's not on the level of Mōsōka but you'll like em," he sets down the large box in his arms onto the table between them.
One longer rectangular box was protruding from the top of the crate, he gently hands it to Thalie, waiting for a response like a parent on Christmas morning.
They both give him a strange look, they hadn't seen him this excited since he was explaining what Mōsōka does exactly, the fact that creating that weapon made him hit level 4 was almost forgotten until their goddess mentioned it, the smith had actually forgotten.
He was almost bouncing in place, his new outfit finally got revealed when the boxes were moved as well.
He changed to a red kimono made to resist the elements just like Thalie's equipment. On his right hand had armor atop the fabric forming a black gauntlet for extra defense all the way up to his shoulder. His black boots could be seen from the shins down as the strange angular, and bladeless, sword was on a special hook across his back.
He took inspiration from Yang's equipment and decided to inlay armor into his kimono, opting for light armor to increase his speed now that he wasn't using a greatsword. He also got rid of that blue cloth at his neck, Hephaestus quietly appreciated that.
As Thalie opens the large box, only two inches shorter than herself since she stands at 6ft 2 inches.
An ornate black spear is revealed. One sharp point at the top with grooves not dissimilar to circuitry on a motherboard carved into the entire weapon. Jet black in all areas but two. On one side of the blade had their familia insignia carved in, and on the other had their teams insignia. Both symbols almost unnoticeable, short of a close inspection or running your hand over the weapon they'd be easily missing since the weapon was jet black.
"Wow, is this..."
"Yup," he cuts her off, "it's similar to my new weapon, but not as strong. Perfect for you thought. Durandal so its unbreakable aside from needing to be sharpened and made for your specific height."
"What's the name?" Yang asks.
"The Supreme Golden Dragon Spear, I decided to keep it simple since you'll probably change whatever I pick," he shrugs.
"Golden... why not Supreme Black Spear?" She inspects the weapon, not finding anything gold on it.
"Channel some magic through it," Welf says with a knowing smile.
"Uh-huh...sure," she carefully channels a bit of magic into the spear, unsure of what to expect, especially considering they were sitting inside babel.
As her magic connects with the spear, she felt as if her body grew. As if it was actually a part of her. The grooves in the weapon shone with a bright gold, just like the dragon that was used to make it. The insignias at the head of the spear lit up for the very first time, the spear came to life and took its first breath.
"Wow." Was all she could mutter out, her pupils like saucers as she twirled the weapon in her hand, rising to her feet and giving it a few test stabs.
"Yup, Hephaestus gave me some more info on what I instinctively used to make my weapon, the basic rundown is the weapon will grow with the user. The first person the channel magic into it is the only one that can use it to its full potential, we can also use it since we satisfy both conditions but not as good as you still. It becomes dull junk to anyone else, you can also feel where it is as if it were part of you. But that's the extra stuff, the main thing is what the Rok ingots did, if you channel magic into it you increase its properties proportional to the magic. So for a spear---"
"Sharper, harder, stronger... " she answers for him.
"Exactly, this one actually got me the number 2 spot on the weapons listing, you're holding a billion Valis in your hands..." he adds, puffing out his chest and donning a proud look.
"Uh...." words were failing her.
"Prices don't apply to you two luckily," he shrugs.
"Liberty, I'll name it Supreme Golden Dragon Spear; Liberty," the woman decides while waving it around.
"How much does a regular Durandal sword cost?" Yang asks, eyeing Thalie's weapon as she practices some movements with it.
"Hmm, depends on the size of the item, for just a knife it's probably 20 million, for a longsword... 100 million maybe, that's about what Ais's cost anyway."
"Damn, but, why don't all high-level people just use Durandal?" Yang asks, genuinely not sure why entire familias like Loki's doesn't just buy Durandal.
"Because it's not perfect, Durandal still needs to be sharpened and can only have the attacking potency of second class adamantite weapons, it's the trade you make for having a weapon that'll never break during combat."
"But this," Thalie lifts her spear above her head," Durandal, but magic can make it sharper than any first-class weapon, and it can become stronger because of whatever weird thing you did, and I can always know where it is...Yeah, that's worth a billion Valis."
"The materials alone can cost almost a hundred million, it took most of the materials I had to make that after my own weapon, barely had enough for what I made this guy," he nods toward Yang.
"I GET ONE TOO?!" he lit up with a wide smile.
"Well... kinda," Welf awkwardly scratches the back of his head.
"Look, I only had a little bit of the materials left and we didn't even start with enough for a greatsword, so I made what I could. Still better than you'd find anywhere else..." he removes two black gauntlets from the box.
As Yang puts them on, they reach almost his elbows, a perfect fit for him.
"This is what the mold was for?" he asks the smith.
"Yeah, it's the least I could do really, use some magic."
Yang immediately puts his hands together and makes a small flame between them.
The gauntlets lit up with the same circuit-like design on Thalis's spear, blue lines matching his flames. On the inner forearm of each side is the same two insignias on all their equipment in the same blue.
"These aren't as powerful as ours honestly. Making it capable of channeling multiple magic types and unbreakable wasn't possible with such little material. It also doesn't grow with you so we'll have to replace them eventually. But they're adamantite class so I don't think they'll break when your magics on considering you can pass mage armor through them to boost them, but like I said, better than you'd get anywhere else."
Yang could only stare down at his hands, one by one he channeled different elements into his gauntlets, watching the colors change over and over.
"This is awesome. Elementalist Gauntlets, I love em." he finally finds his words. "I was honestly worried you'd bring me a staff of something," he jokes.
"Nah, I've met you so I know better, I also made you this, it's just a first-class greatsword honestly but you can practice with it," he hands him a standard greatsword before reaching to the bottom of the large crate and taking out four briefcase-like wooden boxes.
"And these are for you," he holds the cases out to Thalie.
As she reaches out to take them, however, he doesn't let go. Looking directly into her eyes he tells her very sternly.
"I made these to see our goals to reality, these ARE NOT for anything else, understand?" his tone had a seriousness they wouldn't normally associate with the smith.
"Got it, I promise I won't misuse them..." she gives him a firm nod. Taking the cases she sits back on the couch and holds one on her lap.
The locks on the case click open, as she slowly opens it, she immediately understands why he was so apprehensive about handing these to her.
Rows of Shuriken are neatly laid out in the box. A kaleidoscope of colors paints them, they almost look delicate, but she understood what these were.
He had given her a small arsenal of magic swords in the shape of her favorite throwing weapon. The main thing she lacks was elemental magic, and he just solved that. She immediately began replacing some of her throwables with these new gifts.
"Thank you... this means a lot to me," her voice barely reached him as the weight of what he just bestowed on her hadn't fully set in yet.
Handing the remaining boxes to Yang, he stores them away with his greatsword, his battlemage clothes didn't come with any weapon harness, unfortunately.
"So, we got the gear, let's get this started. We've still gotta head to Twilight Manor," Yang says as he looks at his excited teammates.
As they make their way out of Babel, many people were eyeing them hungrily.
Between their expensive, and quite eye-catching armor. The high-quality weapons, two of which were still making headlines almost a week after the news broke; Welf's sword and Thalie's spear.
Had they not been walking in a group as such some of the less intelligent folks would have found out the hard way that fighting Thalie over a billion-dollar spear was not worth the risk. Just as they may have been the first people aside from the creator to see Mōsōka in action.
"We're probably gonna run into trouble because of how the information system in Orario works, most smiths don't use their own high-end stuff so the leaderboard is usually fine, but since we have the top two pieces of gear in one place just expect trouble," Thalie says while observing the crowds they pass by.
"Not like they can exactly sell it, so they'd have to be wanting to use it right, what's the plan if that happens?" Yang asks as he begins to look around, previously just enjoying the walk.
"Choose violence, figure out the rest after. Surviving is your top priority and if they corner you just kill your way out," she shrugs, earning a wary but agreeing glance from Yang, the fruits of her conditioning him showing.
"Jeez, remind me never to piss you off..." Welf mutters as they approach Twilight Manor.
Safe to say, nobody interrupted their stroll to Twilight Manor.
The guards had expected them and on Finn's orders saw them to the back of the castle where they are greeted with the sight of a stack of crates and even a few carts nearby to carry them. Essential items for those who don't have a high smith and storage magic on hand for every expedition.
Normal expedition teams, unlike the Trifecta, need to carry much more resources because they either lack versatility in magic or high smiths that can make or repair items in the dungeon. Carrying boxes of spare weapons is the norm especially for large parties like Loki, Freya, and Ganesha familias.
"Yo, we're here!" Yang calls out with a casual wave.
Finn, Gareth, Riveria, and the amazon twins immediately shift their attention from the boxes to the approaching trio. Scattered around the area are various other adventurers doing small exercises with some training dummies.
"Just on time, we were about to start prepping the carts for the journey down," Finn says as he points to the crates.
"Cool, I can definitely fit... maybe 10 of those, that should be one less cart at least. Made some extra space by moving around some unused stuff I had..." Yang shrugs as he approaches the executives.
Completely oblivious to the unwavering gaze Tiona had locked onto Thalie, or the look of shame that would flash across Welf's face whenever his eyes glance at Riveria or any other Elf in the courtyard.
"That's more than we thought, more than we prepped for you too..." Gareth adds as he strokes his beard.
"We can always redistribute some of the contents," Riveria adds.
"I CAN DO IT CAPTAIN!" Tione volunteers happily, waving to gain Finn's attention.
"Hmm, alright. Yang, I need to speak to your team one last time to review the plan just to make sure you're up to date. Please follow me."
"I'll stay here actually, I'd like to take a look at whatever we'll be carrying before you start storing things away," Thalie glances at the boxes warily.
"I'll stay here too..." Welf adds, trying his best not to look at Riveria.
"Uh-huh, ok..." Yang agrees, not sure as to what's up with his friends.
Wordlessly exiting the courtyard, Yang followed the group of level 6s into Finn's office. Stacks of papers for the expedition were still piled on his desk from this morning's paperwork, Yang cringed at the mere thought of being a familia captain.
As they all stood at his desk, Finn fished out a sheet of paper and handed it to Yang while taking his seat.
"Mhm, floor 39, Flare Rock core, Formoire horns... Floor 50?" Yang asks with a raised brow.
"Yes, the plan has changed since we last spoke. I've already cleared it with your goddess this morning but she figured I'd just tell you here. We took a few extra quests as well as expanded out the planned route to the floor 50 safe zones from floor 39."
"Tsubaki and her smiths came in good with extra spare weapons and even more magic swords. Put us in the red for a bit but we should be fine after this expedition and the quests we took. The extra gear lets us go further than before," Gareth explains.
"Hmm, so you brought me in here more or less to ask---"
"If you're still willing to go ahead of us, there will be no shame in waiting for us on floor 39 then we'll regroup and advance to floor 50 together," Riveria says.
"Hmm," he fell into deep thought for a while. They honestly weren't sure what to expect, but Finn had his theories.
He had told his executives that their quest was likely Udaeus, the timing matched up too well for it to be anything else, it's the only predictable enemy on those floors that would spawn at this time. Why he didn't want help Finn couldn't quite put his finger on. His bet was pride, or Hephaestus knew something they didn't, the latter was highly likely if she allowed this behavior.
"We'll see you on floor 50 then. If we hit a wall then the 39th-floor safe zone will be our meeting point. If you don't see us there we're dead or at the next safe zone so just keep going..." the decision was made.
"Are you sure, those floors can easily kill level 4s and even be lethal for level 5s..." Riveria warns.
"Then we die or overcome, that's life. So anything else you guys need?" He asks Finn.
"I'd rather not have you go without one more fighter at least---"
"We've been over this Finn." Yang interrupts him.
"This isn't about THAT. You're going to be carrying important cargo for us, resources that my familia may very well NEED to survive. I can't afford to lose it because you get cocky and die, even if your goddess seems to trust you to do whatever you want."
"Aye, can't have you losing our stuff now can we." Gareth nods in agreement.
"Sigh...fine. Don't suppose I can take dungeon mom here?" he points a thumb at Riveria.
"She's almost essential to carry large sets of cargo to the lower floors, her defense magic is too useful," Finn explains.
"Well shit, that makes sense. Tione won't leave Finn so that's out, Bete's annoying, I assume I can't take Gareth---"
"Then that leaves Tiona and Princess...don't suppose you've got a high-level healer I can take instead?"
"No." Riveria's answer was abrupt, dashing his hopes of getting a free healer on loan.
"Language," the high elf says.
"Fine, guess I'll take Tiona with me. At least she won't try to fight me at some point, and she's fun to be around," he decides with a defeated sigh.
"I figured you'd choose her, she's honestly the only one that would get along well enough with your team. Alright, let's go." Finn says as he begins leading them back to the courtyard.
In the few minutes they were gone however, things had seemingly shifted a bit. As they open the large double doors to the courtyard, the first thing they saw was all the previously busy or training adventurers at the edges of the training area facing the center.
In the middle of the makeshift arena, Tiona and Thalie stood facing each other. Tiona with her famous smile and Thalie with a stern expression, eyes hidden beneath her visor.
Urga and Liberty in hand, both women took a fighting stance.
"Choose violence, figure out the rest after. Surviving is your top priority and if they corner you just kill your way out"-Thalie....she really is my Kyoshi/Wonder Woman huh
NO TRAINING ARC WE DO IT LIVE!
Have some idea about my story? Comment it and let me know.
"Choose violence, figure out the rest after. Surviving is your top priority and if they corner you just kill your way out"-Thalie
---Boom, floor 50 is the goal, things have changed.
---Thalie vs Tiona, predictions anyone?
---Just when we got Tiona on loan from Finn damnit.