Shattered Rift

Sparkbomb: Mansionverse Saga

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Traj was having trouble. The choice ought to be obvious, but... the implications of being a Spectre... 

 

He shook his head. He'd think about it later. 

 

"Question, Rift. If everybody got wiped down to level 1, how was there a Phoenix to guide us here?"

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Following Blackjak's lead, iko described the encounter with the spectre, detailing the mechanics and layout of the rooms as well as the spectre's powers.

After thanking Shattered Rift for the rewards, iko checked out the usergroups and classes. He didn't especially feel any connection to the usergroups and classes. If it was viable, he would prefer being a non-usergroup with special skills like healing.

iko chose to be part of the Lunar Jade class under the Werewolf usergroup, in interest of Lunar Jade's healing skill. He wished he didn't have to transform into a beast and act physically in defense and attack when it came to battles. This is because iko's desire was to only make friends. iko believes in non-violent, non-physical interactions. His concern is the health and well-being of his comrades and if he had the opportunity, he would even try to befriend the enemy as well. 

After telling Shattered Rift his choice, iko nonchalantly waited for the others to see if they were interested in exploring together. It was then later decided that the group would split up to explore the various shops to obtain information on the items being sold.

He later went back to his Personal Quarters to reclaim any items or rewards first.

Move to Personal Quarters to get reward.
Explore J.B. Flea Market

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After speaking with Shattered Rift about the shadow mansion as well as the Pax Regia, Rexozord returned to his quarters immediately. He was never one for much customization as far as looks went, but having to set up all his settings again would be frustrating. He wanted to get it out of the way as quickly as he could. He was also curious what Shattered would have left there waiting for him.

After finishing in his quarters, Rexozord put on his mask and set out immediately to the First Tower. He wanted to check for any disturbances at the literal four corners of the Mansion, and he had seen both the Irregular and Glass Towers and their lounges recently.

Rexozord is an Executive Phoenix.
Rexozord returns to his personal quarters.
Rexozord explores the First Tower and Lounge.

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(Roleplay coming after next update.)

[Command - Become a Werewolf (Azure Optic)]

[Command - Explore (Your Quarters) - Retrieve Reward]

[Command - Explore Arts Forum - Retrieve Items Cache?]

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The Null Horizon Incident

"I'm sure you might be aware of most of this," Blacjak said, "but after we defeated the Script Kiddie we were sent somewhere outside the ordinary borders of the Mansion to a location one could only think was a beta ground for something else. Objects were not interactive, and the rooms were filled with motionless Spambots. The other acrobats and I discovered a path blocked by fences that lead to a Werewolf who identified themselves as the Ordnance Sergeant. They were significantly stronger than us and we were all fragmented. I can only assume the others faced similar trials."

Following Blackjak's lead, iko described the encounter with the spectre, detailing the mechanics and layout of the rooms as well as the spectre's powers.

When Rexozord mentioned the Shadow Mansion, Shattered Rift abruptly cut in.

"You're certain it was a copy of the Mansion?"

Rexozord hesitated. "No," he said, "I can't be certain. The dimensions seemed correct, at least. But I'd want confirmation."

Rift's brow furrowed. "Continue." When Rex mentioned of the Pax Regia, Rift openly frowned.

"What is the Pax Regia?" Trajectory said.

"When I first proposed the Innocence Pact, I called it a 'pax regia,' a 'Peace of the Mansion,'" Shattered Rift said. His eyes darted along the floor as if searching its frosted glass surface. After a moment, his gaze lifted to meet theirs. "Whoever you met, they remember an ancient time when werewolves and phoenixes and spectres clashed within these walls."

[If anyone would like to provide Shattered Rift with additional information, notably TheLastStarMaker, Trajectory, or Ward, it will happen here.]

After gathering the information that Star, Traj, and Ward cared to offer, the group asked their questions.

"'Nearly' everyone's inventories were wiped?" Traj asked. "What's going on with the lucky who few who weren't?"

"I don't know," Shattered Rift said with just a hint of frustration. "So far it appears to be random, but I have subroutines digging for any connection between them."

"If everybody got wiped down to level 1," Traj said, "how was there a Phoenix to guide us here?"

"Even though everyone was reset to Level 1, less than ten percent lost their usergroup," Shattered Rift said. "I've created a script to ensure that no one can log in without one, but the six of you bypassed that script by reconnecting during the initial hacking. Once you've all chosen usergroups, only Khem and Nebiros will be able to connect without making that decision. When they do, the phoenixes have orders to bring them to me immediately." His lips pressed into a thin line before continuing. "I'd appreciate it if you'd keep this next bit strictly confidential: while I have phoenixes patrolling the Mansion, they are understaffed and underleveled. The last thing we need is an incident.

"Are there any other questions?"

[If anyone would like to ask anymore questions, they will happen here. For the sake of time, I'll allow more to be asked retroactively for at least the next update.]

Each user silently PMed Shattered Rift their choice of usergroup and class, and his fingers moved silently across his terminal.

[All of you will be receiving PMs from me... hopefully tomorrow.

Note: In-game, each of you will be adjusted directly to your Level 2 stats and then receive level up. For the sake of proper etiquette, however, I'll be setting you to Level 1 here to run proper level up randomization...

Also, Lunar Jades are currently overpowered statistically, and there may be another issue that needs to be addressed in the imminent future. I'll likely sort through those tomorrow and make announcements as needed.]

Bed
Username: iko
Level 1 Lunar Jade Werewolf
Member ID #001
Title: Specialist
Trait: Hacker
Max Sparks: 28, Energy: 6, Charges: 0
Strength: 5, Stamina: 5
Talent: 5, Nerve: 5
Speed: 6
XP: 36, SC: 40
Equipment: Graphic Tee
Inventory: Snowball x2

Username: Rexozord
Level 1 Executive Phoenix
Member ID #003
Title: Guardian
Trait: Leader
Max Sparks: 32, Energy: 6, Charges: 0
Strength: 4, Stamina: 5
Talent: 5, Nerve: 5
Speed: 5
XP: 35, SC: 0
Equipment: Graphic Tee
Inventory: Empty

TheLastStarMaker
Username: TheLastStarMaker
Level 1 Lunar Jade Werewolf
Member ID #004
Title: Specialist
Trait: Acrobat
Max Sparks: 28, Energy: 6, Charges: 0
Strength: 5, Stamina: 5
Talent: 5, Nerve: 5
Speed: 6
XP: 35, SC: 22
Equipment: Foam Bat
Inventory: Snowball

Trajectory
Username: Trajectory
Level 1 Azure Optic Werewolf
Member ID #005
Title: Savant
Trait: Acrobat
Max Sparks: 24, Energy: 6, Charges: 0
Strength: 4, Stamina: 5
Talent: 6, Nerve: 5
Speed: 3
XP: 29, SC: 40
Equipment: Foam Bat
Inventory: Snowball [This snowball is supposed to be gone, right? I need to improve my bookkeeping.]

Blacjak
Username: Blacjak
Level 1 Biotics Phoenix
Member ID #007
Title: Savant
Trait: Acrobat
Max Sparks: 24, Energy: 6, Charges: 0
Strength: 4, Stamina: 5
Talent: 6, Nerve: 5
Speed: 3
XP: 34, SC: 40
Equipment: Foam Bat
Inventory: Empty

wardari
Username: Ward
Level 1 Daltath Spectre
Member ID #008
Title: Bruiser
Trait: Hacker
Max Sparks: 24, Energy: 4, Charges: 0
Strength: 6, Stamina: 5
Talent: 5, Nerve: 5
Speed: 4
XP: 18, SC: 40
Equipment: None
Inventory: Empty

Level Up! iko achieves Level 2! Max Sparks +4! Max Energy +2! Strength +3! Stamina +2! Talent +2! Nerve +2! Speed +2! Learned - Slash!
Level Up! iko achieves Level 3! Max Sparks +6! Max Energy +2! Max Charges +1! Strength +3! Stamina +3! Talent +3! Nerve +1! Speed +2! Learned Shapeshift!
Level Up! Rexozord achieves Level 2! Max Sparks +5! Max Energy +2! Strength +2! Stamina +2! Talent +2! Nerve +3! Speed +2! Learned Skill - Shoot!
Level Up! Rexozord achieves Level 3! Max Sparks +5! Max Energy +2! Max Charges +1! Strength +2! Stamina +3! Talent +3! Nerve +2! Speed +2! Learned Surge Strike - Trained Shot!
Level Up! TheLastStarMaker achieves Level 2! Max Sparks +4! Max Energy +2! Strength +2! Stamina +2! Talent +3! Nerve +1! Speed +2! Learned Skill - Slash!
Level Up! TheLastStarMaker achieves Level 3! Max Sparks +4! Max Energy +3! Max Charges +1! Strength +2! Stamina +3! Talent +2! Nerve +3! Speed +2! Learned Shapeshift!
Level Up! Trajectory achieves Level 2! Max Sparks +4! Max Energy +2! Strength +1! Stamina +1! Talent +3! Nerve +2! Speed +2! Learned Skill - Slash!
Level Up! Trajectory achieves Level 3! Max Sparks +5! Max Energy +2! Max Charges +1! Strength +2! Stamina +2! Talent +2! Nerve +2! Speed +1! Learned Shapeshift!
Level Up! Blacjak achieves Level 2! Max Sparks +4! Max Energy +2! Strength +2! Stamina +3! Talent +2! Nerve +1! Speed +1! Learned Skill - Shoot!
Level Up! Blacjak achieves Level 3! Max Sparks +4! Max Energy +3! Max Charges +1! Strength +2! Stamina +3! Talent +3! Nerve +3! Speed +1! Learned Surge Strike - Trained Shot!
Level Up! Ward achieves Level 2! Max Sparks +3! Max Energy +2! Strength +3! Stamina +1! Talent +2! Nerve +1! Speed +1! Learned Skill - Spark Shot!

Member Quarters

Your Personal Quarters have the following options...

Size: 8'x21', 10'x17', 12'x14', or 13'x13'. All rooms are 9' in height.
Ownership: Owned or Rented. Either you retain ownership of your quarters or you rent them to others. Size is always determined by Owner, but remaining settings are determined by the Owner or Renter. (Note: Rented quarters are strictly a story-based mechanic.)
Privacy: Private, Semi-Private, or Public. Private quarters can be entered by invitation only, Semi-Private allows users to come and go once they have received an invitation, and Public is open all members of the Sparkbomb Mansion.
Zoning: Residence, Storefront, Commerce, or Industrial. Residences are intended for social gatherings. Storefronts allow the sale of goods. Commerce allows for the sale of services (including commercial social gatherings such as dining or clubbing). Industrial allows for storage and hacking projects.

Upon returning to your personal quarters, you find a standard 13'x13' room with a full-size bed.

[Please read on to your respective sections below...]

TheLastStarMaker and the Picture

Returning to her quarters, Star let out a long sigh at the emptiness of the room. The long stretch of drawers full of socks was gone, and seeing its absence finally made it real. She shuffled to her bed, ready for a night's sleep, when she found a letter and a small present.

Star,
Thank you for your assistance against the Script Kiddie. I know this won't make up for your loss, but I hope they'll be a good start to a new collection.
-Shattered Rift

Taking the present into her hands, she felt that one side was firm while the other side had a familiar softness. Opening the soft side, she found a pair of matching socks! Beneath them, on the hard side, was a picture featuring a pair of luxurious lavender socks with a shooting star in the upper-right corner. The picture was a strange gesture, but she appreciated it nonetheless. Besides, with her room so empty, it was comforting to have something to hang on the wall.

TheLastStarMaker receives Matching Socks. (Feet: Speed +1; All)
TheLastStarMaker receives 22 Spark Coins.

After a good night's sleep wearing a fresh pair of socks, Star contemplated how to spend the new day.

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

TheLastStarMaker: Sparks 36/36 Energy 11/11, Charges 1/1]

Rexozord and the Investigation

Only concerned about his reward, Rex gave little thought to how barren his room was. On his bed he found a letter and a Moderator Mask.

Rexozord,
Thank you for your assistance against the Script Kiddie. Only a handful of these masks exist after the hacking, and I thought you would appreciate one in lieu of Spark Coins.
-Shattered Rift

Rexozord receives Moderator Mask. (Head: +1 Stamina, +1 Nerve, grants chance of Stun via Surge Strikes; Phoenix), Makes the wearer appear as an anonymous Phoenix

Indeed Rex did appreciate it. Equipping it and concealing his identity, he headed to the First Lounge. He was surprised to find it almost empty, with just a couple of members cuddling on a couch together. The stairway was unguarded, unusual for how exclusive an area the First Tower was, and he ascended without further question. Much like the Lounge, the First Tower had been reset, and neither had ever been as ostentatious as the others. It was also strange that Shattered Rift had requested that they join him in the Glass Tower, but Rex suspected that had more to do with the Null Horizon than anything else.

"You on break?" a lone man said from a chair. Rex saw the username—Jenkins—above the man's head.

"What can you tell me about today's events, Jenkins?" Rex said, voice affected by his mask.

"I finally logged back in a few hours ago," Jenkins said, spreading his arms wide across the arms of the chair. "Word is we got hacked and everybody lost everything. Darn webcrawlers were swarming all over the place. Helped to put down a few myself. Couple guys I fought alongside said there had been more earlier and they'd spent half the afternoon fightin' 'em off in the dark. Scary buggers when there's that many of 'em, and I can't imagine fightin' 'em when you can barely see. Finally peeled off when I'd had my fill. Thought I'd enjoy the tower while it was empty."

"How many webcrawlers do you think there were?" Rex prodded.

"Couple hundred at least," Jenkins said. "Maybe a few hundred before I logged in. Hard to say. I wasn't exactly countin', y'know?"

Shattered Rift hadn't mentioned the webcrawlers. Or maybe Jenkins' information was incomplete. Were the webcrawlers a clue?

[Rexozord: Sparks 42/42 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1]

Ward and the Aurora Bazaar

Ward grunted when he reached his quarters. He favored the Mansion's sports, such as paintball, instead of the games that preoccupied others. Seeing his room empty of the dresser, bookshelf, and table he had once owned was not so difficult to accept. He could always get new ones, he reasoned, if he ever had the interest. His Mafia set was gone, as were a handful of books whose titles escaped his memory. The paintball paraphernalia might be worth replacing. Perhaps he would jot down what he had lost. Or perhaps he wouldn't.

On his bed, he found a letter with a handful of spark coins.

Ward,
Thank you for your assistance against the Script Kiddie. If you're ever interested in playing on an amateur league paintball team, I'll make sure you have the recommendation.
-Shattered Rift

Ward receives 40 spark coins.

With Shattered Rift's offer in mind, Ward headed out. Normally the Aurora Bazaar filled one of the eastern halls of the Mansion, but when Ward turned onto that hall expectantly, he found it devoid of its usual banners and flags and tapestries. Instead there just a few sullen members.

"What happened?" Ward said. "Did the hack hit the bazaar too?"

"It did," Gypsy said. She was ordinarily a flamboyant woman, wearing a flowing dress in one bright color or another. Seeing her in a drab black hinted at how dire the situation was. "There are only a few things for sale..."

Aurora Bazaar
Foam Bat, 26 SC (Weapon: Attack +1/+0; All), Quantity: 2
Poke Stick, 20 SC (Weapon: Talent +1; All), Usable as an item in battle, Quantity: 2
Graphic Tee, 40 SC (Body: Defense +1/+0; All), Quantity: 2
Matching Socks, 18 SC (Feet: Speed +1; All), Quantity: 1
Fused Spark Mini, 24 SC (Item), Quantity: 4
Snowball, 12 SC (Item), Quantity: 4

"Have you heard about anywhere else that's still open?" Ward said.

"The RGB has a small selection," Gypsy said with a sniff. She clearly hoped Ward would buy something from her.

After deciding whether or not to appease her, Ward walked back down the hall. The RGB—the premier paintballing goods store—was on the other side of the intersection. The sign on the door was missing, but Ward stepped into the shop without missing a beat. It was one of the few 8'x21' rooms in the Mansion, a shop meant for depth with a line that wound the full perimeter of the room. Ward was disappointed to see it practically empty, just a small table a few feet in working as a makeshift counter witha few jerseys and scarves on display. Roy, the man on the other side of the table, was muscular and had a hint of gray in his hairs. He had been a professional player back in his day, one of the few to have played for both Incoming Fire and Darting Lightning at different points in his career. Ward thought Roy had played for a third team as well, though he couldn't remember its name.

"What'll it be?" Roy asked, optimistic despite the low inventory.

The RGB
Red Jersey, 32 SC (Body: Nerve +1; All), Quantity: 1
Blue Jersey, 32 SC (Body: Nerve +1; All), Quantity: 1
Yellow Jersey, 32 SC (Body: Nerve +1; All), Quantity: 1
Red Scarf, 26 SC (Accessory: Talent +1; All), Quantity: 1
Blue Scarf, 26 SC (Accessory: Talent +1; All), Quantity: 1
Yellow Scarf, 26 SC (Accessory: Talent +1; All), Quantity: 1

After considering his options and deciding whether or not to make a purchase, Ward decided to get some sleep. It had been one of the longest days he could remember. [Going to progress you to morning. If there's something pressing that you'd like to do during the evening, let me know and I'll add it back in.]

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Ward: Sparks 27/27 Energy 7/7]

Blacjak and Umbra Alley

Blacjak returned to his quarters, eager to learn the mysteries of being a phoenix.

Blacjak,
Thank you for your assistance against the Script Kiddie. The world's been changed by this hacking: if you're not afraid of the risk, you might find some areas to parkour outside of the Mansion's walls.
-Shattered Rift

Blacjak receives 40 spark coins.

Another message awaited Blacjak in his PMs. He read it before heading to the one place he could shop and gather intelligence at the same time: Umbra Alley. [PM will not be coming tonight as it's already 1 AM and I'm still typing this update.]

More frustration filled the Random Chat Cafe than usual, but Blacjak moved quickly and paid it little mind. The Mansion grounds were poorly lit, with only a handful of exterior lights from the Mansion and its auxiliary buildings illuminating the pavement he walked on. One of the lights looking down on Umbra Alley had already been broken. Blacjak grinned at that, business as usual in spite of everything, but the grin faded when he saw the grungy man standing half-obscured in shadow.

"Where's Fence?" Blacjak said.

"Busy with this mess," the man said, gesturing palm up and slowly lifting his hand in a shrug. "Call me Spare."

"Got anything for sale, or did the hack get all of it?" Blacjak said.

"I've got a couple of deals for you," Spare said.

Umbra Alley - Spare's Deals
Anon Mask, 40 SC (Head: +1 Stamina, +1 Nerve; All), Makes the wearer appear anonymous, Quantity: 1
4x Snowball, 34 SC (Item), Quantity: 1

"Offer's only good for an hour," Spare said.

"What do you know about the hack?" Blacjak said.

"Darn thing took nearly everything everyone had," Spare said. "Couple people still have a couple things, but almost nobody has coins. I wouldn't be offering these deals so cheap otherwise. More than that... well, you know how to find out more than that."

Making a purchase might loosen Spare's lips to tell him more. What would Blacjak do?

[You are on the Sparkbomb Mansion's grounds. Command?

Blacjak: Sparks 32/32 Energy 11/11]

Trajectory and the Creator's Lounge

No amount of bracing himself could prepare Trajectory for the empty room he walked into. His lab—equipment, research, and all—was gone. Years of work had been undone by one Script Kiddie. The letter and coins waiting on his bed was little consolation.

Trajectory,
Thank you for your assistance against the Script Kiddie. I'm sorry about the loss of your lab.
-Shattered Rift

Trajectory receives 40 spark coins.

Shattered Rift knew about the lab. Traj didn't dare let that thought give him hope, but in the back of his mind the hope crept through anyway.

Idly hoping that the items cache was still in the Art Forum, Traj went downstairs by way of the Creator's Lounge to check on it. His timing couldn't have been worse.

"My masterpiece is ruined!" Normally Traj would have found turquoise spikes an attractive hairstyle, but the rage in the man's voice was off-putting. Traj stopped when he recognized the piece the man—his username, Van, hung above his head to clue Traj in—was standing in front of. It was the painting of Cinder and Ash that he, Star, and Rex had failed to protect.

Traj's eyes darted to the Art Forum, where he saw a trio of members busy inside. It was impossible that they hadn't found the cache. He could go check anyway. Or he could let his curiosity get the better of him and find out if Van knew whose fault it was that the painting had been destroyed. Of course, calling it a night might well be the best idea of the three. What would he do?

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Trajectory: Sparks 33/33 Energy 10/10]

iko and the J.B. Flea Market

Returning to his quarters, iko took a moment to mourn the loss of his things. A letter sat on the bed along with 40 Spark Coins.

iko,
Thank you for your assistance against the Script Kiddie. I'm sorry about the loss of your belongings.
-Shattered Rift

iko receives 40 Spark Coins.

iko read through the letter twice, grateful for the gesture. With nowhere but the floor to put the the letter, he placed it in his inventory. For now, he would carry it with him as a reminder of his connection with the admin.

[Going to progress you to morning. If there's something pressing that you'd like to do during the evening, let me know and I'll add it back in.]

After a restful night's sleep, iko decided to check on the flea market. The Mansion was strangely quiet, grieving punctuated by the occasional fit of anger at the loss of possessions. Just how much had been lost, iko wondered? Others, perhaps many others, had been much richer than he. When he passed through the Random Chat Cafe, he was surprised by how many patrons were drinking water.

Warm sunlight greeted him as he stepped outside the Mansion. Far fewer members were outside, and when he arrived at the former J.B. Flea Market, he understood why. Only a single stand stood in the place where an entire marketplace had once thrived, manned by a rather depressed-looking woman speaking to an irate man.

"What am I supposed to do?" the man demanded. "Everything gone, and here you are without anything to sell! Beetle would never stand for this!"

"Jules is mourning the loss of the Gallery," the woman said gently, hoping not to further agitate the man.

"The Gallery!" the man huffed. "Nobody cares about that dusty old museum. I needed more emeralds for the breastplate I was working on. The breastplate that's gone now!" The woman was silent as the man seethed.

"You're not selling anything?" iko asked timidly.

"I'm afraid the flea market's closed," the woman said. "We won't be reopening until Jules figures out a way to move forward."

"Who is Jules?" iko said.

Both of them looked at iko incredulously. He shrinked under their gaze.

"This is a waste of time," the man said before hurrying off. The woman let out a long sigh.

"Jules 'Beetle' is the founder of the flea market," the woman said. "I'm his assistant, Olive. Normally I manage the market, but..." She looked around, disheartened. "... there's not much to manage right now. And Jules is mourning the loss of the Gallery."

Taking in the information, iko knew that there was nothing to buy here. He would need to look elsewhere for a place to spend his spark coins. Or maybe he could help Olive and Jules?

[You are on the Sparkbomb Mansion's grounds. Command?

iko: Sparks 36/36 Energy 10/10]

---

[Okay, it's nearly 2 AM, I'm too tired to proofread this, and I want it up tonight. PMs will be sent to everyone tomorrow with sekrit stoofs. And there might be a couple of edits in the update itself. Only the Umbra Alley inventory is time-sensitive, and if either is to be bought then it must be purchased for next update. Blacjak has first rights, and otherwise it will be first to post making the purchase (and I'd better not see an edit in the purchasing post, :p). Even the characters that have already slept through the night may still bypass time and space to make the purchase.]

Edited by Shattered Rift

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Retroactive input:

"Clashed?" One of Star's eyebrows raised at the word as the admin spoke it and she hummed through pursed lips for a moment as she thought back to the Dark Mansion, the mirror world. "We each found a member of a different usergroup behind different areas that were only accessible by specific traits..." She shrugged, her eyes shifting to the empty space beyond the Mansion. "Who's to say they weren't all working together with that Script Kiddie?" She shrugged again, thoughts swirling about in her head but none of them settling into thoughts that she felt she would be able to articulate at this time.

Present moment/The Next Day:

Star sighed, fingers tracing the edge of the artwork absently as she looked at the socks therein without really seeing them.

She hadn't even had a bed-side table to place the sock-picture upon before laying down on the only piece of furniture left, so she had slipped it underneath the bed last night.

She wiggled her toes as she swung her legs back and forth over the edge of the bed where she sat up first thing that morning, feet secure once more within their soft, matching confines. Letting out a small, resolute sigh, Star went over and hung the portrait just above her door, stepping back to look at it from farther, hands on her hips.

It still didn't feel like home yet, but it was a start. At least there people wouldn't notice upon first glance. She didn't particularly want to answer any questions as to how she had acquired the thing, but it felt wrong to not having something up in the room.

Looking back at the other emptiness around her, she thought of the leftover currency she had remaining, smiled a little as she realized she still had her snowball and foam bat in her inventory, and left the room, making sure that for the moment the space maintained its Private state.

Moving at first as someone who did not particularly wish to be noticed as she padded through hallways, Star very quickly rediscovered her "Mansion-Legs," as she decided to call it, and began sliding and dodging and ducking around wherever and whenever the surface would allow, the sensation of the at least somewhat faster mode of travel--the air whipping her hair around her face, the fluidity of motion--settling something inside her that made the blood that had begun rushing through her veins sing a word in regards to herself that she couldn't believe she had forgotten: Acrobat. 

Without her direct notice, she found herself heading in the direction of the Mafia forum...

Command:

Explore Mafia Forum and Lounge

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Announcement: A miscalculation in the level up code caused a few values to roll lower than they should have. Correcting this has resulted in everyone's stats increasing. The above post has been directly edited to correct these numbers.

 

Edit: The cold I've been fighting off for the last two days has caught up to me. I'll try to revise anything else in the update that needs revising, but I'm likely to be less available for answering questions and such today, and the PMs probably won't be coming out today. Plan is still to run an update tomorrow evening.

Also, I do my best to portray each of your characters during updates while leaving the interesting decisions up to each of you. If I grossly misrepresent your character, you're free to correct that in a role play of your own. Although I'm confident in the way that I've portrayed some of you, I'm less confident with others. And once in a while I try adding a detail or two in that might make things interesting.

How each of you reacted to Shattered Rift's thank you letter, for example, is entirely up to you. My goal in writing each of your reactions to your quarters and the letter was to flesh out the history that each of you have.

Edit 2: Update has received a few minor edits. Notably...

Matching Socks have had their cost lowered to 18 SC and received a downgrade to Speed +1.
Moderator Mask has had its chance of Stun obfuscated and has been specified to make the wearer appear as an anonymous Phoenix.
Poke Stick has been specified usable as an item in battle. It can target one enemy.
Anon Mask has been specified to make the wearer appear anonymous.

I think those are the noteworthy points. Minor story edits have also been made for clarification and should have a negligible impact on your decisions.

Edited by Shattered Rift

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Traj winced internally. That painting really had been beautiful - for a moment Traj felt guilty that he hadn't been able to save it from the spiderbots, but there really wasn't anything he could have done once Rex and Star had gotten deleted.

Still, I do feel bad about it. This guy must have been the one that painted it. Van, huh? Not a name I'm familiar with.

With a last glance at the door to the Art Forum (had the people in there found the cache? How well had it been hidden?) Traj approached the fuming blue-haired artist.

"That painting was your work? I really liked it. I'm sorry it got ruined in the invasion."

 

 

Not the best conversation opener. Great, way to immediately remind him of his ruined masterpiece, like he wasn't already aware. Traj could feel the blush happening and tried to will it away by sheer force of irritation. Blushing was stupid. Everything was stupid. This was a stupid idea.

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Blacjak forked over 40 coins for the Anon Mask.

"Now, as you were saying?"

After listening more to Spare's information, he added

"I'm sure you're well aware, but it's expected that a little client-broker privilege be maintained in order to ensure a fortuitous relationship. If you get any more interesting stock in, be sure to send me a message and I'll come check it out. Oh, and let Fence know I'm looking for work."

If nothing further was added, Blacjak set off to explore the mansion grounds for these new parkour spots Rift mentioned.

Purchase Anon Mask

Explore Umbra Ally

Edited by Blacjak

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Awaiting commands from: iko, Rexozord (given his earlier statements I can assume a visit to the Prismatic Lounge/Tower is in order), Trajectory, and Ward.

If anyone intends to purchase Spare's snowball set, it must be done by tonight's update. If anyone would like to purchase from other shops, they may do so freely while continuing to Explore as desired. Something I haven't enforced yet that I'm going to begin doing: if you purchase equipment, please specify if you're equipping it.

I'm still under the weather, so PMs probably won't come today. Getting the update in tonight is my priority.

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Previously...

 

Before they left Rift, Traj went over to speak to him quietly. 

"I'd have sworn we were in another version of the Mansion, somehow, Rift. It was like the Mansion... before, you know? I saw what looked like remnants from the Spark Game, a weird kind of ore that wasn't interact-with-able... and an inactive Spambot army."

"The Pax Regia... felt like they'd been there a long time, Rift."

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Interact further with NPC

iko was perplexed at small exchange he had with Olive. He couldn't decide what to make of the situation. Normally he would help those in grief, as demonstrated in front of him, but he didn't feel the least bit sorry for Olive and Jules.

"Uh... I'm sorry for your... loss?" iko spoke with uncertainty. He paused for a moment, to self reflect. In the end, his goal was to make friends.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" asked iko politely.

Move to Aurora Bazaar to Buy 1 FSM after interaction is complete

Edited by Bed

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This must be an exaggeration, Rexozord thought to himself. There were no where near as many Webcrawlers when we fought to the Script Kiddie. Still... I must keep this in mind and corroborate with other users logged in at the time.

Rexozord nodded his thanks to Jenkins and moved along.

Explore the Prismatic Tower and Lounge.

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"can I get one of the Incoming Fire Scarves, and have you heard any official word on the last match? the only thing I keep hearing is people saying their team won."

Purchase Red scarf.
Equip Red Scarf.

Move to Mafia Forum and Lounge.

Edited by wardari

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The Null Horizon Incident

"Clashed?" One of Star's eyebrows raised at the word as the admin spoke it and she hummed through pursed lips for a moment as she thought back to the Dark Mansion, the mirror world. "We each found a member of a different usergroup behind different areas that were only accessible by specific traits..." She shrugged, her eyes shifting to the empty space beyond the Mansion. "Who's to say they weren't all working together with that Script Kiddie?" She shrugged again, thoughts swirling about in her head but none of them settling into thoughts that she felt she would be able to articulate at this time.

"There have been battles and wars throughout the history of Sparkbomb," Shattered Rift explained. "The Mansion has always been a safe haven and neutral ground, but there were times when the fighting reached us. I hope we never see combat within these walls again... except in the Arena, of course.

"As for a connection between the Script Kiddie and the Pax Regia, I'd like proof one way or the other," Shattered Rift said.

Before they left Rift, Traj went over to speak to him quietly.

"I'd have sworn we were in another version of the Mansion, somehow, Rift. It was like the Mansion... before, you know? I saw what looked like remnants from the Spark Game, a weird kind of ore that wasn't interact-with-able... and an inactive Spambot army. The Pax Regia... felt like they'd been there a long time, Rift."

"So you agree with Rex's assessment," Shattered Rift said, lips curving downward. Despite this expression, his face was almost unreadable. "However long they've been there, I can't imagine they're doing nothing. Keep me in the loop if any leads pan out."

[If there's nothing else, I'll consider this segment resolved next update.]

Ward and TheLastStar Maker -> Mafia Forum

Ward buys a Red Scarf. (40 - 26 = 14 SC)
Ward equips Red Scarf. (Talent 7 -> 8)

"Have you heard any official word on the last match?" Ward said. "The only thing I keep hearing is people saying their team won."

"Wish there was," Roy said, shaking his head. "Everybody's got a different story, and it's not just who they were cheering for. Sergio shot Cinder. Nearly everybody agrees about that, but a couple of the crazies will tell you Sergio went down first. What happened next is where the disagreement is. Some are saying Ash avenged Cinder for match. Others are saying Sergio got Ash first. Until a ref logs in to make the call, nobody's officially won. And you can bet the call'll be disputed."

[If wardari doesn't mind, I'm going to have Ward go to sleep here and sync him up with Star in the morning.]

Star and Ward arrived at the Mafia Lounge at about the same time, finding it empty except for a couple of somber faces staring out the window. The horizon wasn't as obvious from ground level, but the absence of Zenith Mountain was clear. It was no trick of weather, no clouds nor fog nor anything blocking the view. Somewhere past the treeline, the mountain simply wasn't there. Nothing was.

A group was gathered inside the Mafia Forum, some sitting and some standing around a table where a single game was being played. Each of the two players had eleven pieces facing off. Something about the Day and Night structure of the game tugged at Star's memory, but it was strange seeing two sets of pieces facing off, and she watched as each player maneuvered to kill the other players' pieces.

"Why aren't more people playing?" Star said. It wasn't the question she had meant to ask.

"The hack deleted nearly every Mafia Set," Garry said. His most distinguishing feature was the widow's peak at the front of his brown hair. "A couple of players went out to the forest to cut down a tree, to carve more pieces, but they haven't returned yet."

[New Quest!

Quest - Into the Woods
Optional: Acquire Lumber
Optional: ???

Note: Like the revealed stores, this Quest is available to everyone. Exploring other areas of the Mansion may reveal additional objectives.]

With so much lost from the hack, lumber was bound to be in demand. Lumber could be carved into a simple Mafia Set, and it could be used to build furniture for member quarters. It likely had other uses as well. The Mafia players probably weren't the only ones looking for it. If Star or Ward decided to pursue lumber, leaving the Mansion grounds would be safer with numbers.

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

TheLastStarMaker: Sparks 36/36 Energy 11/11, Charges 1/1
Ward: Sparks 27/27 Energy 7/7]

Rexozord -> Prismatic Tower

The Prismatic Lounge had its share of members, a couple wearing the colored jerseys of the teams they supported. Like at the Glass Lounge, many were staring out the window, but several of the faces here wore looks of frustration in addition to worry and despair.

The bouncers—Rex detested the gang activity—had already assumed their places at the base of the stairs, but they stepped aside for an on-duty phoenix, staring him down as he passed by. They resented the policing, but they respected it. Prudence would require treading carefully.

Nearly a dozen members stared each other down from two sides. Sergio—a member of the Darting Lightning professional paintball team—led one side, and the couple Cinder and Ash—members of Incoming Fire—led the other. One of the IF fans behind Ash had a Poke Stick in hand.

"I did what I do best, and I took you out before you got a shot," Sergio said. He had a height advantage on Ash, but the two were almost nose-to-nose for how close they were. Cinder, standing alongside Ash, had a presence taller than she actually stood.

"I avenged Cinder just like I do every time," Ash countered, not holding back spittle. Some of it caught Sergio's cheek and slowly slid down.

Rex observed carefully. The bouncers downstairs would take no issue with a fight between players or fans, but as a moderating phoenix it would be his job to intervene if a fight began. His eyes circled the tower, searching for anything amiss. Like everywhere else Rex had seen, the Prismatic Tower had been reset to default settings. In fact, it lacked the usual vibrance and color that it usually had, and it was identical in furnishing to the First Tower and the Irregular Tower, with the sole exception that it lacked the screens of the latter. Darkness filled the world outside the window, but the absence where Zenith Mountain was supposed to be could be felt even if the horizon was invisible in the dark.

Red Shirt pokes Yellow Shirt. Critical! 18 damage.
Yellow Shirt attacks Red Shirt. 10 damage.

Rex's attention snapped to the fight as soon as it began. Intervening would likely worsen the situation and might result in the gangs disrespecting the phoenixes at a time when they were least prepared to deal with them. Allowing the fight to happen might maintain short-term peace at the cost of violating his responsibilities as a phoenix. What would he do?

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Rexozord: Sparks 42/42 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1]

Blacjak -> Umbra Alley

Blacjak buys an Anon Mask. (40 - 40 = 0 SC)

"Word is the whole place was dark when the first members logged back in," Spare said. "Sun should have been high in the sky but it wasn't, and none of the lights were working. Whole place was teaming with webcrawlers too. You know, those little spider machines that are normally harmless. Apparently the darn things were picking a fight with anybody and everybody, and a swarm's not easy to take down when you're Level 1. Fence says the lights were already back on when he logged in, but he fought off plenty of webcrawlers himself."

Blacjak took a moment to consider this. The others that had fought against Script Kiddie might want to know what he had learned.

"I'm sure you're well aware, but it's expected that a little client-broker privilege be maintained in order to ensure a fortuitous relationship," Blacjak said. "If you get any more interesting stock in, be sure to send me a message and I'll come check it out. Oh, and let Fence know I'm looking for work."

"I'll add you to the mail list," Spare said. "As for work... everything's valuable right now if you can find a buyer. If you can handle yourself in a fight, or if you can get a party together, there's bound to be plenty of value in the woods just off the grounds. Who knows what's outside of the Mansion's walls?"

Blacjak gave his thanks. In the dark of night leaving the Mansion's grounds was likely to be dangerous. Perhaps he would get some sleep and check out the woods in the morning. Or maybe he'd ask around and see if anyone had any ideas what else might be out there. As for Umbra Alley, Spare was the only one around. There was nothing else to learn here.

[Note: The Into the Woods Quest is available to everyone, but your conversation with Spare did not reveal any additional objectives for it.

You are on the Sparkbomb Mansion's grounds. Command?

Blacjak: Sparks 32/32 Energy 11/11]

Trajectory -> Creator's Lounge

Trajectory buys 4x Snowball. (40 - 34 = 6 SC.)

"That painting was your work?" Traj asked. "I really liked it. I'm sorry it got ruined in the invasion."

"You're familiar with my work?" Van said, almost snapping at Traj even though the question wasn't meant to be rude.

"Not exactly," Traj said. He tried to recover. "Couldn't a hacker fix it, maybe?"

"A hacker!" Van said incredulously. "Any fool could recognize the damage, the ripped canvas that has ruined my work. Just as soon pretend that scars from the Arena don't show!"

In Traj's opinion battle scars didn't show, but he decided not to say that, and Van quickly stomped off.

[Trajectory has lost Respect from the Art community.

Note: This penalty is coming from Traj's failure to save the painting rather than from the interaction itself.]

A shifting ponytail caught Traj's eyes, and he noticed a woman, Mariel, had a video camera in her palm. Traj knew her type: a content creator or maybe a personality cashing in on Van's tragedy. As much as it sickened him in that moment, he also had an idea. Telling his story about the Script Kiddie could earn him some notoriety in the Mansion. On the other hand, discretion might be wiser.

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Trajectory: Sparks 33/33 Energy 10/10]

iko -> J.B. Flea Market

iko buys a Fused Spark Mini. (40 - 24 = 16 SC)

"Uh... I'm sorry for your... loss?" iko spoke with uncertainty. He paused for a moment, to self reflect. In the end, his goal was to make friends.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" Olive blurted out, cheeks reddening. "You must be new to Sparkbomb. And what a time to be new! This used to be a thriving flea market with dozens of vendors. It's the kind of place where you can find all sorts of odds and ends. Jules founded the flea market many years ago. He just loves to collect things. That's also why he founded the Gallery, a sort of museum where he displays his collection. But his collection is gone now, too."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" asked iko politely.

"You would have to ask Jules," Olive said. "He's in the Gallery- that is, the Art Forum. Although I suppose if you have anything to sell, you could join me at this booth? Most people sell trinkets, odds and ends, things they find outside of the Mansion's walls or decorations they've made themselves. But right now I don't think anyone has the materials to make anything. And at Level 1, traveling outside of the Mansion's walls is dangerous."

iko politely explained that he had nothing to sell and excused himself. Olive had certainly had an idea, but she hadn't been very specific about where he could go to find things. And if he decided to travel outside of the Mansion's walls, he would probably want to have friends to help keep him safe.

[Note: The Into the Woods Quest is available to everyone, but your conversation with Olive did not reveal any additional objectives for it.

You are on the Sparkbomb Mansion's grounds. Command?

iko: Sparks 36/36 Energy 10/10]

Edited by Shattered Rift

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Explore Art Forum to interact with Jules

The last thing iko wanted to do was seek out Jules and see if he needed anything. But what else is there to do? iko sighed and checked out the Art Forum, as instructed by Olive.

 

 

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Awaiting commands from: Rexozord, TheLastStarMaker, Trajectory, Blacjak, and Ward. Update is scheduled for tonight.

Individual PMs have been sent out. Keep in mind that certain elements of those PMs is to be kept secret. Also, while I'm in communication with several of you via other means, I'd prefer that any important information also be included in those PMs for my reference. Thank you.

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((Rift, are you planning on putting the Locations that we can go in the initial post?))

Star nodded her thanks to the players for their information, and quietly turned to go.

She was definitely not keen on leaving the grounds by herself, and shot Trajectory a PM about the notion as she thoughtfully wandered to the nearby Sports Forum to stick her head in for a visit.

To: Trajectory

Subject: Into the Woods?

Message: Visited the Mafia Lounge. They lost almost all their pieces to the hack. The ones playing said a few people went to go cut some trees so they could carve new ones, but haven't come back yet. I bet there's a lot of people who'd be interested in some fresh lumber, not just for Mafia. Want to go check it out with me? I wouldn't really want to go by myself ;P

Command(s):

Explore Sports Forum

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"Stop!" Rex commanded, stepping forward to push the two brawlers away from each other. "If you want to settle this disagreement with violence, take it to the Arena." Rex looked at the leaders of the two factions, catching their eyes, and aiming his next appeal to them. "We cannot afford brawls in the Mansion so shortly after our security has been breached."

Rex intervenes.
Rex postures!
If Rex defuses the situation, Rex will inquire about the events of a few hours prior (regarding the Webcrawlers).

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10 minutes ago, TheLastStarMaker said:

Rift, are you planning on putting the Locations that we can go in the initial post?

At some point hopefully soon, yes, along with the class information and up-to-date character sheets.

 

There have been some questions about how the world works, so I'm going to Q&A a couple of points...

When characters are logged into Sparkbomb, they're unaware of the world outside of Sparkbomb. (Khem can still be played meta, but keep in mind that this is the expected norm and how people will react.) I use a lot of online terms for flavor, like being logged in or how the world is loading or that sort of thing. And characters are aware of "other worlds" in some way (at least in the context that this world is Sacred Sparkbomb), but I haven't decided what that means yet. People can log out (or disappear) for long periods of time or even permanently. This is taken in stride as a fact of life, although it has likely contributed to rumors about permanent deletion. Contrasting that, there's also a belief that old members could return, but it's generally assumed that if someone hasn't appeared in so many weeks/months/years that they're not coming back at all.

When a character logs in for the first time, they're given information about the three usergroups (spectre, phoenix, and werewolf) and they're forced to choose one. This happens before they actually log in. Their class is determined by unknown algorithms. (Obviously you guys are each choosing your class, but this is what happens from your character's perspective.)

Leadership, Acrobatics, and Hacking are each possible by all characters. The Trait simply offers gameplay and story benefits. Hacking is able to manipulate anything in the world. Some things are just more difficult/complex to hack than others.

Your inability to interact with environmental objects during the Alone in the Dark Quest was highly unusual. Normally everything can be interacted with.

In retrospect, I wish that I had been able to better establish the world environment before the game actually began. There are a lot of things going on right now that would be common knowledge that simply haven't been shared yet, and I apologize for this. I'm trying to find a way to introduce the world and establish the environment as quickly as possible.

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Blacjak sent a quick PM to Mast letting him know he'd be reporting shortly. Then headed over. After finishing up there, he slept for a bit and headed into the woods in the morning to explore.

Move to Phoenix Lounge

Explore Woods

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Traj shook his head and left the Creators Lounge. Best not to get caught up in notoriety - at least, not for a while. Those who needed him would know how to get in touch with him without his face being plastered all over the screens.

He headed upstairs. Perhaps some of the shops on the second level would have escaped the mass deletion?

[Command: Move to Pet Store]

(Traj will respond to Star's PM soon. IRL I'm sleepy.)

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TheLastStar Maker and Ward -> Sports Forum

[Assuming Ward goes with Star. Having him here adds a bit.]

The Sports Forum had a few lone tables, but just as many people were standing as were seated. Despite its name, the Sports Forum lacked any of the expected paraphernalia. Ward missed the banners. The forum should have been sporting the red or yellow of the winning team.

"I'd been planning to go out to Nadir Lake today," a member seated to their left said quietly. Star remembered the lake. It was to the northwest of the Mansion, but there was a forest there now. Was the lake still there, hiding somewhere behind the trees?

"Bet we could go out and tag some of those trees," another member said from their right, leaning against the wall.

"We could if there was any spray paint left," Sable, a dark-haired girl, said in reply. "We don't even have shirts anymore."

"Shirts?" Star said.

Sable kept from rolling her eyes at Star, but she shifted in agitation. "Shirts. Jerseys. The R.G.B. still has a couple for sale—not that anyone can afford them—but we don't have any way to express ourselves without them."

"Usually everyone in here is wearing something," Ward said. "Paintballer, freerunner, swimmer, everybody wears something to represent their hobby."

Clothing would require fabric and dye. Star wasn't sure where either could be found. Ward, however, guessed that he could ask Roy.

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

TheLastStarMaker: Sparks 36/36 Energy 11/11 Charges 1/1
Ward: Sparks 27/27 Energy 7/7]

Rexozord -> Prismatic Tower

"Stop!" Rex commanded, stepping forward to push the two brawlers away from each other. "If you want to settle this disagreement with violence, take it to the Arena." Rex looked at the leaders of the two factions, catching their eyes, and aiming his next appeal to them. "We cannot afford brawls in the Mansion so shortly after our security has been breached."

Red Shirt pokes Rexozord. 4 damage.
Rexozord crosses his arms and smirks.
Yellow Shirt attacks Rexozord. 4 damage.

"Just let 'em duke it out, phoenix," Sergio said. Cinder and Ash's silence was tantamount to agreement.

Standing between the two shirts was keeping them from attacking each other, but they had turned their attacks on Rex instead. None of the others were stepping in, either content to let the two shirts sort it out or watching the entertainment of a phoenix getting involved. Rex still had the option of backing out. Or, if he continued, it would be a fight to submission.

[Defeating the enemies will be sufficient for moderation purposes, should you choose that route. Feel free to include auto-battle conditions.

Red Shirt, Yellow Shirt remain.

Rexozord: Sparks 34/42 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1]

Blacjak -> Phoenix Lounge

The Phoenix Lounge was a simple room with a lone table and no chairs. Blacjak wondered if it was always so empty or if the hacking meant the table had been moved in recently. More importantly, he noticed that two of the three phoenixes' faces were obscured as if by Anon Masks. He quickly put on his own to obscure his identity.

Mast was not anonymous. Perhaps being a Spokesman allowed him that privilege. After dismissing the other two phoenixes, he waved Blacjak over.

"No need for the Anon Mask: this room takes care of that. Good to meet you," Mast said formally. "Shattered Rift filled me in on your special case. We're short staffed after the hacking. Not everyone has logged back in, and with everyone reset to Level 1..." He shook his head. "I don't have a Phoenix Mask for you, so you won't be on moderation or patrol duty yet. You'll need to get more creative with keeping the peace." Mast's no-nonsense tone told Blacjak that he meant diplomacy. "The losses in inventory and wealth present a threat. Right now people are still grieving their losses, but that grief could turn sour. The forest should have resources, notably lumber. And who knows what's going on with Jubilation Cave. If you ask around, you might be able to pinpoint specific things people need. The sooner we can restore wealth to the Mansion, the sooner peace will be secure."

[New Location - Jubilation Cave revealed! Jubilation Cave is outside of the Mansion grounds to the west.]

At night, Blacjak wasn't going to accomplish much, so he returned to his room and slept. When he woke up in the morning, he considered his options, as well as the thought of meeting up with someone to travel together.

[You are on the Sparkbomb Mansion's grounds. Command?

Blacjak: Sparks 32/32 Energy 11/11 Charges 1/1]

Trajectory -> Adonis' Conquests (Pet Store)

A frustrated woman standing in front of a lone table greeted Traj when he stepped into Adonis' Conquests. He recognized her from when the group had been walking through the hall, and suddenly he remembered that she had been complaining to a phoenix about losing her inventory.

"Is now a bad time?" Traj said, looking around at the emptiness that had once been filled with cages and raucous animals.

"Not if you fancy yourself a hunter," Artemis said. "Right now I don't have so much as a Black Rat to sell. But there are a couple of creatures I'm looking for." Traj leaned forward. "First, honeybees."

"Honeybees?" Traj said. Had the store ever sold anything so small?

"If you could bring back a colony, queen and all, I'll even throw in a jar of honey once they get producing," Artemis said. "Or if that's not your speed, I also need a Black Widow spider."

"Aren't Black Widows common?" Traj said. Honeybees made sense if the hives on the Mansion grounds had been lost, but a Black Widow was a strange request.

"You want to get bit and catch a virus right now?" Artemis asked, quirking a brow and daring Traj to say yes. "With no vaccine to cure it?" Traj hadn't thought about that. Viruses were always a danger with traveling outside the Mansion's walls.

"How do I capture them?" Traj said, and Artemis waved her hand over the table to reveal a large translucent box.

"A Capture Box," Artemis said. "Just 200 coins to rent."

"Two-hundred?" Traj almost choked. That would have been fine before the hack, but now...

"I managed to put one together that won't break if it fails," Artemis said sternly. "Two-hundred is cheap, especially right now."

[New Quest!

Quest - Bug Catching
North Forest: Capture a Honeybee Colony
Jubilation Cave: Capture a Black Widow

Edit: To clarify, rewards exist for each of these objectives, and they are independent of each other. The Capture Box may be passed to other players, but only one will exist. Prizes for objective completion will be divided by participants present when the target was captured.]

Thinking on his feet, Traj said, "What if someone vouched for me?"

Artemis coughed a laugh. "And who's name could get my attention?"

"Rantu," Traj said. Rantu still owed him one favor, and this... this might be worth it.

Artemis' expression narrowed, and slowly she nodded. "Sure, if you can get Rantu to vouch for you, I'll loan it upfront and take the difference out of your cut."

That just left one question: was it worth it?

[You may accept Artemis' offer in addition to a normal command.

You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

Trajectory: Sparks 33/33 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1]

iko -> Art Forum and Gallery

iko made his way to the Art Forum. Long ago, he had been one of the regulars here, using his talent with hacking to create artwork. One time he drew a picture of a critter that had hung on the wall for a full year.

Seeing the forum empty made him sad, wistful of a time long past, but it also made him eager to create something new and contribute something fresh.

Jules was talking to a couple of people, but he stopped when he noticed iko watching him.

"Olive sent me," iko said. "Is there something I can help with?"

"Thank you!" Jules said, grabbing iko's hand and shaking it furiously. The man bobbed as he spoke, brimming with energy. "I don't have much to offer in return, I'm afraid. My fortune disappeared right along with the Gallery."

Now iko remembered. The Art Forum had practically been taken over by a museum, a collection of all kinds of knickknacks and items, weapons and armor, every object imaginable and some that weren't. It was around the same time the Developer's and Creator's Lounges had been added. Now, however, the art forum was just a few drab tables.

"It's always been my dream to collect one of everything," Jules said, "and I had nearly succeeded. The truth is, I love shiny things the most! The very first shiny I ever found was a chunk of Copper Ore. It used to sit right there." Jules pointed to an empty spot with nothing around it. Perhaps there had once been a stand there for displaying it? "I found it in Jubilation Cave. Back in those days you could still find something there from time to time. It wasn't as empty as it is today. From that piece of ore, I decided I would collect everything shiny. After that it just sort of... took off!"

"I thought Jubilation Cave was empty," iko said. "Just a nice place to go for a walk."

"It is today," Jules said, "but long ago, you used to be able to find something from time to time..." His brows furrowed. "... some people are calling this hack a reset. You don't suppose that Jubilation Cave has been reset too, do you? Maybe a new piece of Copper Ore could be found!"

[New Quest!

Quest - Spelunking
Optional: Acquire Copper Ore
Optional: ???

Note: Like the revealed stores, this Quest is available to everyone. Exploring other areas of the Mansion may reveal additional objectives.]

"Are you planning to go?" iko asked.

"Oh no, my old bones aren't what they used to be," Jules said. "But you look young and spry. Perhaps you could give it a look for me? I would deeply appreciate a donation to the Gallery, but if you want to be compensated then I could try to find some Spark Coins for your time."

Going to Jubilation Cave alone might be dangerous. Perhaps iko could reach out to his new friends for help?

[You are in the Sparkbomb Mansion. Command?

iko: Sparks 36/36 Energy 10/10 Charges 1/1]

Edited by Shattered Rift

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iko sent out a message to the others and asked them if they were interested in exploring the jubilation cave. He added there may be a chance of "fresh" loot waiting.

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