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Psynergy and Proxians

Chapter 3: Uhhhh

Chapter Notes:

Sorry it took so long to write! I don't own Golden Sun or Dungeons and Dragons, yadda yadda yadda.

Poor form, Jenna. You don't steal the DM's notes. Seriously. In other news, Proxians are not elves.

Thank you Aliemma for reviewing, and much thanks to CreationsGoneAwry for beta-reading! :D

Felix stared at the dice in silent shock. He had set up a simple random-encounter table for the inn to spruce it up a bit, hoping that whatever it dictated would keep the players busy for the time being. Amongst the many outcomes was the rare chance for the players to encounter a new plot-relevant NPC. He'd meant it as a joke and nothing more.

He hadn't thought it would actually come up.

It seemed stupid to let it happen, though. They already had a story, with a firmly set plot and carefully calculated twists and turns. Not to mention, as the Dungeon Master, he could always choose to ignore the roll altogether.

As the three adventurers chatted, he weighed the pros and cons of using the strange plot twist. On one hand, it could - no, it would reduce his entire intricately crafted story to literary rubble, damage at least two different character arcs, and probably leave the rest unsalvagable. The only plot-relevant characters who could pull off a chance encounter like this one without killing the entire party (again) were busy minding their own business. If he were to attempt this, he'd need a new secondary character to join the story, which would make it all the more frustrating to keep the plot resembling any sort of coherent sequence. Felix shuddered inside at the gaping holes in the plot dug by such an idiotic course of action.

On the other hand, wasn't this the essence of role-playing games: writing a story with whatever was available, not necessarily knowing where it would lead? Pre-set plots rarely seemed to work in practice, and had proven catastrophic in the past. His players were unpredictable enough as it was, and Isaac had already made enough jokes about Garcia's inexplicable revival...

Of course! Garcia! If he could find an explanation for reviving Garcia, he could make him the mysterious plot-relevant character. A new thread of ideas wove its way through the existing story in his mind, and he marked its path in his notes. Garcia could become one of the antagonists, maybe even a boss later on... yes, this would be perfect. He could use this little chance encounter for all it was worth, with his original concepts and storyline still intact!

"Hey, guys..." he began. It took a few moments for the chatter to die down.

"So... this guy in a creepy mask is watching you from the corner. Jasmine in particular," he said. Jenna gave him a puzzled look, before settling into one of utmost determination.

"Five bucks says it's Garcia's zombified corpse." Isaac grinned, and Felix tried to hide a grin of his own. Oh, if only he knew.

Better dissuade any thoughts in that direction for now, though. It wouldn't be a twist if it wasn't surprising! "Shut up," Felix retorted.

Isaac just sat back and nodded. "Suuure..." he said. Felix fought back a chuckle, twisting it into an unamused glare.

Yes. Perfect.

After several minutes, Felix was almost absolutely sure that his players were conspiring against him. They whispered amongst themselves once more, and Felix had to lean in across the table to catch more than a few scattered words and phrases. However, flattening oneself across a surface covered in paper and dice to eavesdrop was hardly a subtle way of finding out what was was going on.

Jenna had begun giving him those looks again. They were the sort of expressions she made when she was planning something which would involve copious amounts of fire and chaos. Well, hypothetically. The last time she'd done it was a few weeks prior when she'd tried to paint the neighbor's dog green (long story), so Felix felt rather justified in his worry.

At last, the overlapping murmurs faded. Jenna turned towards him.

"Alright. Does Creepy Mask Guy do anything, or just stare?"

"He just stares," Felix clarified.

She nodded. "Can I stare back?"

"Nothing stopping you."

"I do that, then... and do my best to be intimidating here." She winked and rolled a twenty-sided die. Her character had no training in intimidation, so it was mostly an empty threat, but still...

"It's a four," Isaac reported.

"Which means you don't intimidate much of anything, even with that high charisma score," Felix added. Thank goodness. At least this time the dice were in his favor.

Garet snorted. "So basically, you just sit there growling at him and looking silly."

"Hey, I never said I growled."

"Whatever." He shrugged.

"Hey, let's get back on track," Felix cut in. "You fail to intimidate the masked man with your staring. Now what?"

"I walk up to him and greet him," said Isaac.

Felix paused. He'd have to tread carefully.

He switched to a low, raspy voice. "'Boy... Do you have business with me?' he asks."

"Um... yes? I try to bluff."

Felix set up his dungeon-master screen (an empty manila folder with some notes on the inside) before making the roll. He glanced over the top at the others' impatient fidgeting as the die tumbled from his hands to the tabletop.

He looked down again.

An eleven. He wouldn't have to lie about the roll to stop him from revealing anything yet.

"The guy glares at you. 'Well, I have no business with you! Now scram!' His hand creeps over to the sword at his side."

"Hey, we can take him," Garet suggested. "I mean, it's three to one, and he probably doesn't have any magic or anything." Crap.

Jenna seemed to agree. "Well, if he wasn't supposed to fight us, he wouldn't have showed up and threatened us like that..." Crap crap crap.

"He has been stalking us in the inn. But that's not really the best of reasons for fighting someone." Isaac noted. Felix did his best to hide his relief. With any luck, Isaac would play the voice of reason for the group.

"However," Isaac continued, "I don't have to take part in the fight, per se. And if you talk to him and find a better reason to fight him, I have no problem with that." Crap crap crap crap crap.

Jenna made the I'm-going-to-set-something-on-fire face again. She spun back around in her seat to face Felix. "I snap my fingers and cast a minor flare spell," she said. "Roll for initiative?"

"Uh, wait." He pulled out a blank sheet of paper from his notes and pretended to look it over. "The masked man sees you readying an attack and bolts, heading for the door."

"What about initiative?" She scowled at him.

Felix shook his head."It says here he gets to run before the players start attacking."

"Let me see that," she demanded.

Jenna made a wild grab for the paper, but he yanked it out of her reach. If she saw it, he'd have some explaining to do.

"Hey!" He yelped in surprise as she swatted his hand, knocking the page to the floor.

Felix caught Isaac rolling his eyes as the two of them scrambled around in a chaotic battle for the notes.

"Give it back! It's got other plot stuff in it!" he protested. She swiped under a chair, narrowly missing the crumpled scrap of paper.

"Nothing I haven't seen before," she shot back.

"It's my notes!"

Somehow the paper found its way back into his hands, and she gave one final attempt at stealing it before sitting back in her seat with a grunt. He returned to his spot, set up the DM screen once more (it had been knocked over in the scuffle), and resumed the game.

"Fine," Jenna grumbled. "He gets away. For now."

Garet shrugged. "So, should we pursue, or what?"

"I dunno..." Isaac paused, thoughtfully. "If we see him again, we should probably do something. Otherwise, we have more important stuff to do."

The next few minutes passed uneventfully. The players plodded back uphill, meandering along dirt paths and wooden bridges. They crossed the river once, twice, and finally a third time after several pointless detours. Jenna had Jasmine set a squirrel on fire, and Isaac-as-Robin scolded her for it. Boredom crept into the players. Felix tried to ignore it.

They were almost there.

However, most of the players (Jenna and Garet especially) seemed to lack the attention span to wait.

"You pass some puppies as you cross the bridge and -"

"Puppies?" Jenna squeaked.

"Don't set them on fire," warned Isaac.

"No! Of course not!" She smiled. For once, the expression was felt genuine and warm.

Garet groaned. "Not again."

"Again?" Isaac asked.

"She tends to sidetracked by stuff like this in games," Felix explained. And in real life, he thought to himself. Jenna made a rude gesture at him, but didn't stop smiling.

"So," he added, "are you guys going to keep going, or..."

"Oh! Sorry," said Jenna. "Whoops."

"Can I pick one up?" Garet looked a bit sheepish.

Isaac chuckled. "You want to pick up the cute puppies?"

"Guys, focus," said Felix.

"I pick up a puppy and put it in my bag," said Garet.

"What?" Jenna looked puzzled. "Why? That's hardly a good place for a puppy."

"Hey, it's better than whatever puppy catapult you're probably planning."

"I would not!"

"Guys." Felix tried to interrupt, with little success.

"It wouldn't be the first time you've done something like that!"

"Those were a bunch of stuffed toys!" she objected.

"We were cleaning them off the roof for a week!"

"What-" Isaac started to ask something, then appeared to think better of it.

"Guys." Felix stood up.

Jenna's cheeks were bright red now. "I wouldn't do that to real puppies!"

"Yeah, right!"

"Guys!" Felix butted in. "Look, I get that Jenna used to do that stuff a lot, but she's a player now. I can stop her from making a puppy cannon if need be. Meanwhile, I would hope that she doesn't try it in the first place."

Jenna looked smug. "See?"

Garet glowered in her direction.

"Both of you, sit down," he ordered. After a tense pause, they did.

"Gerald picks up the puppy and puts it in his bag. Jasmine and Robin continue toward the sage's cottage."

"Sure," Isaac responded. He slouched a bit in his seat, visibly relieved.

"And all three of you approach the cottage. Together."

Garet slumped a bit over the table. "Yeah, yeah."

"Do you want to play, or not?"


"Forgiven. You all approach the cottage, and..." He stopped briefly to check his notes. "... you see a pair of colorful strangers hanging about in the bushes."

"Again with the villains?" Isaac asked.

"What makes you assume they're villains?"

"What else are they supposed to be?" Damn genre savvy players.

After an awkward silence, Isaac shrugged. "I guess we should go and confront them or something. Is everyone ready?"

"Almost," said Jenna. She was busy examining her character sheet. "Do I have access to any buffing spells yet? I don't think I finished choosing my spells yet."


She sighed. "Drat. So we're going in at normal strength?"

"Pretty much."

"I charge in first!" Garet announced.

Isaac cringed. "Can't we just eavesdrop first?"

"Oh, yeah. Never mind, then."

Right. Showtime. "You all stay about thirty feet from the strangers, hiding in the bushes. The strangers are talking amongst themselves, quietly. They appear almost monstrous, with scales and pointed ears." Felix flipped through his notes for descriptions.

"Some kind of elf, maybe?" Isaac guessed.

"Hush. The two are fairly quiet, and it's hard to make out what they're saying."

"I make a wisdom check," Jenna offered.

"How about you all make one and just go by the best one?"

"That works, too."

Felix passed around a d20, and the players made their rolls.

"Why did all three of us use wisdom as our dump stat?" Isaac complained.

"Shut up, I got the best roll anyway," grumbled Garet.

Jenna examined the die. "Well, that's irony for you. Natural twenty."

Felix went back to narrating. "You can hear them whispering about alchemy and stars. They mention Sclater frequently, and discuss how they might use him and his knowledge for their own intentions. You also pick up a few names. One of them is 'Saturos', and the other is 'Menardi.'"

"I relay all that to Jasmine and Robin."

"One of the pair - a fellow in blue armor - turns in the direction of your voice. 'Hey, you,' he says. 'You there! What are you doing?'"

"Battle time?" Jenna asked.

"Battle time," Garet answered.

Oh, for crying out loud.

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