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Mysteries Infinite: The Palace of Fortune [IC]

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Nick Cimitiere thrusts towards the walking armor, who parries the onslaught with a wild swing of its large arm. Its other arm swings around towards your back, pulling you close as it winds up for a full-powered slam with both of its fists...

...which leaves the brute remarkably open for assault. In a flash, the metallic armor is sundered open by the power of Ereshkigal's Talons, revealing the minion to be nothing more than a hollow shell, fueled by the power of magic. The eyes of this minion dim as well, as he loses his balance, falling forward towards Nick Cimitiere.

Rolling out of the way to avoid getting crushed by the immense weight of the giant golem, you find yourself moving towards the final minion, who does not hesitate to seize the opportunity to exploit your momentary momentum. The ferrous felon squarely strikes Nick Cimitiere with an uppercut, much to the joy of the malevolent mistress.

"Good! Now rip his arms off! We'll see just how mouthy the peon is without those precious claws of his!"

Her servant shambles over to do his queen's bidding.

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KC leapt up, his eyes full of anger. "Leave Nick alone, you overgrown turtles!" KC's eyes glowed green as he hurled more mystic fire. He was ready to take out these jokes, despite the enjoyment he got out of kicking ass. This had gone on long enough. As he threw the fire at the remaining turtle, KC was hopping over the tables, knocking over glassware and ceramic plates, which crashed against the ground. These waves of minions were really wearing him down, but he continued to run closer to Nick. The turtle had really knocked him back- almost across the room.

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"Thanks, KC!" Nick yelled. As he regained his footing, he brought the ectoplasmic talons raking down across the soldier's helmet. Sparks flashed, and as he pulled them away, he saw where filings coated the elongated fingers. "God, you'd think some people could take a joke..."

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As the last of the tin soldiers falls to the heroic onslaught of Nick Cimitiere and Kid Cthulhu, the lady of the water slams her fist into her throne.

"NO! I will NOT see the servants of the deep DEFEATED by any surface dweller! I will show you a cornucopia of watery horrors, the likes of which you've never dreamed about in your darkest NIGHTMARES!"

With a recklessness unbecoming of any sorceress, she pulls two giant watery orbs from both sides of the aquarium that float in thin air and join together in the center of the room. One orb of water contains a couple dozen eels: rather impressively large specimens. In the other orb, a shark swims in circles around the orb over and over while a single lobster floats aimlessly, looking rather out of place.

The Lady cackles wildly as she forces the orbs together. "We'll see who laughs now, Heroes! Your ends are nigh!" The watery orb glows with intense magical power, exploding forth in a shower of mist. Taking up most of the room, and standing upon the fallen bodies of the minions you had previously defeated, is a large, hydra-like monster of the sea. The heads appear to be oversized crosses between eels and sharks that squirm and weave in every direction, while arcs of electricity pass between one elongated neck to another. The body, however, is that of an enlarged lobster, complete with two incredibly-large pincers that appear capable of easily snapping a person in half.

The sorceress slinks back in her chair, looking rather exhausted, but content with her abomination. "Destroy them BOTH!" the lady yells as she points to you. The hydra's heads turn towards you, as they vie for which head will attack who. With the size of this creature, the length of their necks, and the relatively small size of the parlor, there's nowhere inside that the beast cannot reach!

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"Sweet Christmas!" KC exclaims. That was the only rational response to the sea-beast the Lady summoned from her magic. "Nick, looks like this one'll be tricky. It will take all of our power to defeat it. So let's kick some ass." He sits down on the ground, meditating for a moment, and gaining mental strength. He then releases it in a huge bolt of psychic power, aimed right at the monster's many heads!

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"I know it's the duty of a queen's guards to protect her," Nick said, "but you think the queen would be willing to fight her own battles for once!" Nick took one look at the gigantic monstrosity -- he knew that if he got into melee range, the thing could very well cut him in half. So he decided to fight another battle, instead.

The claws melted away from his hands, and he opened his mouth, drawing upon the flow of death in the area once more, reaching down into the depths. He spoke again, but there were no words -- there was simply the heartbeat of some great king of the ocean, something monstrous that viewed life and death as mere places of residence. The unnatural sound filled the room, driving at the minds of the queen and her many-headed protector.

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Kid Cthulhu's mental might is more than a match for the magical menace, as his mind-melting magicks meet its mark. The creature writhes in agony, slamming its multiple eel heads into various tables and chairs as it tries to somehow sunder the pain from its many brains.

Your victory is short lived, however, when the creature screeches an unholy howl at you, preparing to charge. You're certain you hit something within the multitudes of minds that make up the aquatic adversary, but even the damage you've done has only served to make it angry!

"Did you honestly believe you could defeat my greatest creation so easily?" As the witch of the waters is distracted by her own haughty arrogance, Nick takes the opportunity to draw upon the power of the grave, watery or otherwise, drawing the fear of death itself to a stunning climax within the humble seafood establishment.

With a gesture, the lady extends her sea-green hand in defense against the wail of the banshee. An invisible dome just out of reach of her manicured fingertips clashes against the Nick's own magics, and the very sound waves themselves seem to be visible, if only for an instant, as they wash past the sorceress. She cackles excitedly as the waves finally dissipate.

"You truly have no idea what sorcery you meddle with, do you necromancer? Such hubris! Such..."

The extravagant smile upon the self-proclaimed sea-queen fades slowly to a look of terror. At first glance, one might think the banshee's wail perhaps indeed had an effect. However, her gaze falls upon the true source of fear as she watches something within her sea-beast hydra simply snap.

Roaring with incredible ferocity, the beast simply goes beserk in a mix of fear and anger as every head and limb of the abomination flails out at anything and everything within reach. Fortunately, for you, neither Nick nor Kid Cthulhu are quite in reach, without being focused on.

"No, Creature! You belong to me! Obey your mistress and DESTROY these fools!"

The queen's commands fall on deaf ears, as she narrowly avoids a snapping, electrified head from her own minion. It seems the fear effect was not enough to stop the creature from attacking, but it does serve its purpose in some respects.

One of the heads smashes hard into the reinforced aquarium hard enough to cause a huge crack, which begins leaking water at an alarming rate. Another head slams in a similar place, deepening the crack as the entire wall aquarium begins to buckle. Despite the wail of the banshee's victory, your hydra troubles do not seem to be over. There's a lot of people in the aquariums, and in their current fishy forms, they will not last long against a cornered hydra's rage!

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"Damnit!" Nick yelled. He surveyed the scene; it was a choice between taking out the fairy woman and her monstrous creation, or saving the transformed victims from a death by asphyxiation.

Actually... that wasn't much of a choice at all.

Nick drew up his will from the ground. Like before, he drew on the essence of death, and focused it into a poltergeist-like creation of pure force. But his goal wasn't to subdue this time. He was aiming to bolster. Soon enough, a thin, invisible sheen -- like melted sugar stained gray, almost -- began to form over the aquarium walls. Even as the glass cracked beneath the sheen, the water -- and its occupants -- stayed right where it was.

"I'll keep 'em in," Nick yelled. "Find a way to take those two down!"

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Death has always been surprisingly good at holding back the tides of the inevitable for long stretches of time. This situation seems no different. Within an instant, the water ceases to leak and the occupants appear lively, if rather agitated by the near-death experience. These poor people will be safe for the time being...

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KC nodded at Nick. He gestured at the Queen with his hand, curling it into a gun gesture. He looked at her with the utmost seriousness, trying to channel the spirit of one of his favorite movie heroes. He stared at her, right in the face, and pointed his finger at her. "Yo, she-bitch. Let's go." The otherworldly fire shot from his fingers like a shotgun slug, lighting up the room with a green glow.

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Kid Cthulhu's blast catches the lady off guard while she is is busy with the hulking beast who had gone crazy, and she barely has enough time to bring her arm up and erect a forcefield to avoid being completely overwhelmed. Still, a number of blasts find their mark, and she is thrown off of the throne due to the sheer concussive blast. Staggered and weakened, she fell on the floor - only barely holding on to consciousness.

Unfortunately, the hydra beast does not go down with her mistress, and only seems more enraged. Obviously looking for a way to escape, the beast slams into the aquarium on the other side of the wall, making it leak as well. The fish-people inside this aquarium become frightfully agitated.

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Nick noticed the second aquarium starting to burst. "Yeah, that's just what I need," he muttered to himself. Especially since he'd have to plunge right into the midst of the hydra's rampage to keep the working going without putting some major strain on himself.

Still... if it's a matter of me or them...

Nick gritted his teeth, charged for the center of the room, and sent his will out to the other wall. It mingled with the breaking glass, forming a wall part-material, part-spiritual. "Mind putting that thing back in the terrarium where it belongs, KC?" he yelled.

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Kid Cthulhu looked at Nick with a serious expression. He then held both of his green arms up, his fingers making the "rock-out" gesture. "Let's rock and roll." He leaps onto the table, and fires a concussive psychic bolt at the thrashing hydra. Then he turns to the Queen and holds out his hand, a great ball of otherworldly fire shooting forth from his palm.

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The bolts of mystical fire fly out, findings their target - the sea hag's magical barrier, erected only through sheer force of will, stops most of the attack, but not without a price. With little other alternative, she stumbles to her feet, staggering towards the kitchen door in the hopes of finding sanctuary against the mystical onslaught.

The beast, however, is simply too enraged to mentally assault successfully. With surprising single-mindedness, the creature roars a cacophony of ear-piercing shrieks. Charged with a hellish burst of lightning, the creature thrashes at Nick Cimitiere, who has nowhere else to go.

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Nick knew he had a choice -- focus on the wall, or take the blow. Man, this is gonna suck... The hydra bore down on him, and the blow went through the mystical protection of his jacket, catching him off guard. He could feel the wind go out of him, and as he tried to gain his footing, he felt his will falter. Oh, no...

"KC!" he gasped out. "The fish!"

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"I gotcha covered, Nick!" KC erects a barrier of psychic force, keeping the fish in. He grits his teeth as the massive weight of the water threatens to push his barrier over, but his will stands strong. "We've gotta take out that hydra somehow, Nick! What are we gonna do?" The water sloshed against his barrier, weighing against his mind like a headache. "I can't attack the hydra and keep these fish in their tanks!"

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With Nick still trying to catch his breath, and the need to hold the aquarium in two different places, Kid Cthulhu has no choice but to get closer to the center of the Parlor, in order to be able to see both cracks.

The horrific sea creature screeches an ungodly wail as the source of its mental anguish comes closer. The smell of ozone overcomes the usual fishy odor as lightning crackles between the various giant eel heads, focusing the power forward.

In a startling and rather unnerving display of cooperation, six of the heads open their hideous maws, projecting a singular blast of lightning straight at you. With the barrier erected, Kid Cthulhu has nowhere to go...

...But barriers are good for more than holding water! With quick, creative magic on your side, you hold the shot of lightning dead in the air as the barrier forms a "U" shape, covering both the aquariums and yourself. The barrier eventually gives way way under the ferocious might of the deadly blast, but not before you have time to tilt your head to the side, the blast missing by mere inches.

You've managed to buy yourselves the precious resource of time, but its quickly running out!

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"Good one, KC!" Nick said. "Now, as for your shrieking hellbeast..." The remnants of ectoplasmic residue from the disrupted barrier slid across the floor and up to Nick's hands, where they coalesced into familiar talons. "I wonder how he'd do as sashimi." He struck out at the beast with the fists closed, the rough formations dragging away scales and skin as they dragged down its exposed belly.

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