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Well, the ploy worked, Oswald was useful yet again, conjuring a violet portal that spat lightning. And then he fell into it.

 

Wonderful. Quite wonderful.

 

A way out at least, though where it led was as great a mystery as the world they were in, and Pan had not exactly been lucky with portals this day.

 

Oh well. "Master Boddyflock, I believe that a strategic retreat is in order! Here, let me help with your men!" Quickly flying over, he picked up as many of the Fae as he could, motioning for the others still standing to do the same, then quickly flew into the portal.

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GM

 

Boddy flock was trying to rouse his men; a somewhat futile task. Given, however, the little men were no more than six inches tall (including tall hats) it was easy enough to scoop them up in Pan's hand. 

 

Penny Coin was already through - her fae like speed quick to react. 

 

And the Fun Guy, roused from his stupor, was dashing through as quickly as possible. "FREEDOM!" he screamed, full of hope. 

 

Whatever realm Ozwald's mad mind had opened a portal to - or rather, intended to open a portal to - there was some wrenching of Eldritch energy. The portal opened to a Forest. 

 

Those who enjoyed long strolls outside Freedom City would recognise it as the Wharton State Forest...

 

 

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Perhaps it was an effect of the portal or mayhaps merely leaving the realm of the Fae depriving the fungal fluids of the rich reservoir of magic but for good or ill Oz felt his head begin to clear even as his face was filled with the undergrowth of the Forrest floor.

 

"Oof!"

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Through the portal, Pan flew like an arrow, Boddyflock and his men in his arms, held tightly, but not so tightly that they would be injured. While Oswald was anything but grace on his entrance to the forest, Pan slowly descended to the ground and let the Fae down. "Apologies, Master Boddyflock. I had to act in haste."

 

So, where were they now? A forest somewhere? But not one with entirely clean air. There were pollution in it, and he could hear noises in the distance, like cars. Had they returned to Earth, perhaps? Or another realm like it? Pan quickly looked around, a wide grin on his lips. He could see Penny, Oswald, the Fun Guy and the Fae, but what of the Black Rose? Had he escaped as well?

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GM

 

It was Dusk in Wharton Forest, and the sound of insects could be heard. There was the smell of rained - on - grass and something sweet and sickly underneath. 

 

"Gtumph! The indignity!" humped Boddyflock, although he and his men were glad to be alive. Unfortunately, the nauseating fungal cloud had inspired Boddflocks four men to empty their gastric organ quite violently into the palm of Neverboy. Small in quantity, their vomit, but most displeasing all the same. 

 

The Fun Guy groaned, then screamed. Clawing at his face as if he might rip it off. "Nwyawwwwlllmn..." he screamed, which could have meant anything or nothing, or quite possibly both. 

 

The fungal strains lining his skin were livid purple now, and his skin more mottled than ever! He clawed and groaned, he staggered aound in abject agony. 

 

Lorenzo, for his part, put his hand to his glass head bowl and stroked a non existant chin. "Hmmm...Interesting!" he murmured. 

Edited by Supercape

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"Ew." Pan made his displeasure known as he set down Boddyflock's men, before quickly starting to wipe his hand on the green grass, which quickly turned another, not quite as lovely, shade of green. "It seems that your men do not have the greatest constitution, master Boddyflock." He continued to wipe his hands clean on the wet grass for a moment, before the Fun Guy started to convulse and claw and groan, obviously in agony. 

 

Pan observed, for the moment. What was this? The fungal growths on the man's face were obviously worse. Was it the air? Was it the different rules outside of the strange Fae realm that the Black Rose had brought them to? At any rate, he did not like it. And he certainly did not like that Lorenzo found it interesting. 

 

"Why?" He made no move to aid the Fun Guy yet, but instead directed his question towards Lorenzo. "Why do you find the man's agony interesting? What do you know, that we do not?"

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GM

 

Lorenzo turned to face Forever Boy. A face that was essentially orange gas inside a glass bowl was not easy to read - but on the other hand, the Black Rose was no master of deception. He was vexed. 

 

"What do I know that you do not? Plenty, I would imagine. It would take me a life time just to list all that I know that you do not, let alone explain that knowledge!" he retorted, quite angry, quite assured of himself. 

 

Meanwhile, the Fun Guy screamed in agony. The fungus on his skin seemed determined to act, although quite how it would act was another matter altogether. It pulsed with life, like a heartbeat. 

 

"Get it off! It wants to grow! All it wants...." he grunted. "Grow...it wants to get..."

 

He controrted as if having a seizure, then he spoke in a deep and uncertain voice, quite different from his previous shriek. 

 

"....do not listen to me! I am....happy to be....."

 

"Don't listen to it!" he shrieked again. "It wants to...."

 

"....Do not listen to him! He seeks to...." came the low grunt again. 

 

And then all coherent language was lost in convulsions and pain. 

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Oz felt like a hot air balloon with a ruptured surface, his arms were heavy and his head was spinning as he pushed himself off the Forrest floor and wiped at the back of his brow with the back of his sweaty hand.

 

His attention immediately fell upon the portal he'd left open and with a kneejerk reaction he willed it closed, next his focus shifted to neverboy and Lorenzo arguing about something he couldn't quite make out before the convulsing of the fun guy rose to his most immediate priority.

 

Almost stumbling in his haste to get closer he mumbled an incantation and with a delicate gesture flung a sphere of arcane nullification upon the poor man as a rudimentary attempt to force the Fae fungus to dormancy even if only momentarily.

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"Why, yes, you know things that I do not, just as I know things that you do not." Pan spoke in something of a sing-song voice here. "But, I suppose that it was too much to hope that someone who had failed as much as you in the first place would know anything about the fungus that you claimed to study." Fine then, no need to waste more time with Lorenzo, if he was not about to be any help.

 

His feet lifting from the ground, he quickly moved through the air towards Oswald, who at least seemed to be back to normal, and the Fun Guy, who did not seem like he was having any kind of fun, and who seemed to be arguing with himself. Curious. Not something you saw happen often. A man at war with himself, telling them not to listen to either of his sides, it seemed. He seemed in agony, but Pan could do little against that. All he could do for now was to restrain him, or at least attempt to. A wave of his hand, and pixie dust glittered into existence around the Fun Guy, quickly closing in to try and restrain his movements.

 

"One at a time, please. What does it want? And what does he want?"

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GM

 

"Hmph!" said an indignant Lorenzo. "A failure, you say? Very well, if that is how you view me, I am not inclined to offer you my sage advise that is surely without parallel. It is a good thing my humble modesty is so great, for otherwise I would take offence!"

 

He turned his back on the scene, in righteous indignation. 

 

The Fun Guy convulsed and lapsed into what looked like unconsciousness. The fungus crept all over his skin, down to his bones. 

 

And out of his pores. 

 

It now seeped into the forest floor, oozing out of the cracks in the snare with frightening speed...

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Oh no. Oh no no no. This was not good. The Fun Guy might be held in the binding bands, but the fungus was flowing freely from him, into the ground and threatening to escape into this world.

 

"Oswald! Fire, now! All around the Fun Guy, if you would!" Pan was barking orders now. He did not like to do so, he was no leader, as far as he was concerned, but they needed to act first and stop this infection, before it spread to the world around them. But, they had other options, did they not? Others that could do something to help, if they would be so inclined? "Enough, Lorenzo! How about showing me what you can do, instead of just professing yourself as a mighty mage? Prove it, then! Show us what you can do about something like this! You know more about the fungus than any of us, after all!"

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GM

 

"Hmph? So you need my help now, do you? You seek the advice and wisdom of the master of floral and fungal thaumobotany? Now you need me?"

 

He paused a moment, to consider his options. Unfortunately, such considerations were overriden by the major factor at play. His ego. 

 

"Perhaps if you were to apologise for your past behaviour, and plead, and grovel at my feet. Then I will consider your entreat!" he said, proudly, full of opportunistic gloat. "Yes! And, now that I consider the matter, it seems my boots are rather dirty, and I have heard that your tongue is very clean!" he said, offering out his left boot, which was hardly dirty (it was in fact very shiny) but it was still a boot. 

 

And meanwhile, the Fungus started spreading!

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"Can't the forrest....would burn...." Oz wheezed as he hauled himself back to his feet and slapped his cheeks with his hands a little to try and focus himself with a refreshing jolt of pain.

 

His mind was still filled with fungusy thoughts and he doubted that he could entirely trust himself so he opted to go for a simple stopgap solution.

 

Mumbling, gesturing and sweating from the strain he transmutes from the ambient sunlight a huge circular saw, another gesture setting it to spin at an incredible pace and a third to set it on its path, cutting through the forrest floor a head of the fungal infection

 

Further strain was then brought upon the weary wizard as he span the winds into a frenzy and bid them to lift the transforming ground from the earth and suspend it high in the air away from anything it could spread too.

 

Or so he hoped.

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"Well, that works too, I suppose." Pan couldn't keep from whistling in appreciation of Oz's feat. It was impressive, the very Earth cutting away from the rest and floating up to contain the fungal infection. Well, it was effective, at least. Not really  a cure, like he expected burning it away would be, but Oz did better than burning down the entire forest, at least.

 

But then, of course, there was Lorenzo. The one that knew about this. And what was he doing? Grandstanding, playing to his own ego, wanting Pan to not just apologize, but to lick his boots? "No." Pan was firmer in his voice. They needed information, true, but he would not bow to the Black Rose. If anything, this just made him more incensed to figure it out without Lorenzo's involvement. And they had other options. Pan turned to Boddyflock instead. "Captain Boddyflock. What do you know about this Fun Guy? Where did he come from? What do you know of his infection? Can the Fungus be burn?" He had an inkling of an idea. Maybe something that his Pixie Dust could do.

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"Not quite that simple my friend!" Oz interjected as he widend his stance to steady himself.

 

"There is a human being in the center of the mass of mushroom, connected on a very intimate level, enough to take control of his speech and cause convulsions, we'll need a more delicate touch if he is to survive, the trauma would kill him if not going into shock from the pain." Oz reasoned out, still a little unsure about what thoughts were his own and which were not.

 

"And Lorenzo have a sample for his endevour. If it's too damaged it will be worthless for study...or a sufficient mass to undergo a symbiotic joining on better terms than this."

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