17th Jun 2020, 11:19 PM
Fight carefully but efficiently

 <<First     Latest>>   

Fight carefully but efficiently
You clear away from the wall, getting to a safe distance and behind the cover of a pew. Cici floats down to join you.

You take a breath. "Alright," you begin, "when I give the signal, I want you to drop the toolbox and go for the left highest chain. I'll go for the right middle chain. We double back to safety, wait for the boss to do its electrical thing, and then we switch--you take right highest, I take middle left. Got it?"

"Damn, Plaire, you have got this down." Cici obliges, gently setting the toolbox down on the floor.

You smile. "A lot of video games but especially Crush Souls are big on patience and learning the timing of huge bosses. ...I've basically fought this battle a hundred times already, just not physically."

The steadily approaching wall finishes collecting its two massive piles of pews; electricity surges down its four remaining chains, prompting those stacks of debris to explode. Wooden shrapnel goes flying all around you.

"NOW!," you yell. You bolt out from behind the pews, as does Cici--with you headed to the right, and her headed to the left. She flutters up to deal with the highest chain on her side, while you take a running leap, slashing straight through your side's middle chain with ease. You glance over to see how Cici's doing--

it takes her a few tries. Her arrows are not especially accurate, nor can they slice straight up and down to clear through the extended flesh like your halberd can. You can see a little frustration in her body language as she sprays arrows for a few seconds, finally fully severing the skin from the top left chain.

You and Cici rush back to the safety of the pews, and wait for the next explosion to go off. You sort of anticipate it taking longer, given that the face only has two chains to draw power from--but when the moment comes, the electrical flash from those two chains is substantially brighter. It appears Father Warden is pulling more power to compensate; the wall's speed stays consistent, at least.

The third explosion of the fight. Debris goes flying everywhere.

"Go!"

You run to the left, Cici soars high to the right.

Once again, with a good jump, your polearm has more than enough reach to cut through the face's skin. You cut off the last of the middle chains.

You turn to check on Cici, who is...

once more having a great deal of difficulty.

Arrow after arrow, either missing the final stretch of flesh entirely or barely nicking the edges of it, never quite cutting clean through the middle.

"Come! On! You stupid! Arrows!," she growls. "I don't have time for this! I don't have the ENERGY for this! ...Why won'T YOU WORK?!"


You then watch


with widened eyes beneath your helmet


as she conjures not an arrow,


but a motherfucking axe.






"AGGGH!" With a mighty battle cry, Cici slashes straight through the skin holding the last chain in place.

"Holy shit," you mutter. That's... a thing to note.

Her axe vanishes just as promptly as it appeared.

The chains, as though taking a life of their own, begin to crackle and flail. Though no longer attached to your dad's face, they're still hooked into the side rails that run along the (non-hostile) walls, and are still traveling alongside the boss proper.

Your dad's face, no longer hooked to anything,

does not come peeling off.


Instead,


it is suddenly sucked inwards.



Into the gaping hole that lies beneath.


"Cici, run!" You book ass, back to the pews, yanking Cici right out of the air and hauling her with you--you don't think she can fly as fast as you can run, and now is not the time to gamble on it.

"Gah!," she yelps, stuffed under your arm.

Lightning shoots past you in jagged bolts--in the heat of the moment, they seem to be coming from the corners behind you. The chains?

You narrowly avoid getting blasted as you duck behind a pew (many rows from the oncoming boss) with Cici in tow.

You peek out just long enough to see what you're dealing with.





"Fucking called it," you mumble. "Second phase." A void that consumes everything in its path, and a shriveled black heart dangling in its depths. You watch as whole pews are physically dragged toward the wall, then lifted into the air and sucked into the god damn nowhere. The wall continues to move forward, no longer resembling your dad, but the empty, miserable hollow fucking nothing that is his soul. There is no secret lesson to be learned, no hidden layers to your relationship with your dad. To know him, to understand him, is to be swallowed up by the bitterness and judgement that defines him.

He may wear a human face, but beneath it, there is no humanity. There is no compassion, no love, not even a genuine devotion to God--just a higher authority justifying his urge to see people unlike him be crushed and consumed. Everything and everyone is a resource or an enemy and he destroys both as casually as he exists. The more you push to get close to him, to find something else there, the faster the truth kills you. It never gets better. He only gets worse. The deeper you go, the blacker it becomes. It's nothing but a violent hate all the way down to a place nothing with empathy could survive.

The chains are no longer hooked to him--they've switched tactics from supplying him with ammunition to providing cover fire. They flail wildly, lashing out in random directions, sometimes firing a stray bolt of electricity. They mostly seem to focus on breaking up the pews, shattering them into thousands of pieces as they're flying toward the endlessly deep mouth of Father Warden Part II.

One whips straight at your direction; you pull yourself back behind the pew as it flashes its charge up, and narrowly avoid getting beamed right in the face.

"So, things I've learned," you tell Cici. "The wall is speeding up, the chains are shooting lightning now, and if we get too close to that hole we are not getting back out of it. It's sucking up whole fucking pews."

"I'm stronger than a pew," Cici points out.

"But you're not heavier than a pew," you comment. "If you could hold onto something sturdy enough you could get in range of that heart, but if you just go flying up to it I don't think you can flap fast enough to make it back out. I could hit with a fireball--"

You start to stand, and immediately duck back down to avoid another string of lightning.

"--But THAT'S happening. ...Did you make a fucking axe a minute ago?"

"Yeah!," Cici answers excitedly. "I thought it was just arrows, too! I guess I can make arrows OR axes!"

...Hmm.


Hmmmmm.


Still hiding behind a pew, you can hear the wall coming. You cleared the first part of the fight pretty damn effectively, so you still have about half the length of the sanctuary to work with. To repeat, you personally do not want to be within... oh, say, maybe 20 feet of the giant wall black hole entity that previously resembled your father. The little black heart in its "throat" is obviously a weak point, but it's located in what is ostensibly the throat, and those chains are running interference so nothing too solid gets that far into the Dad Hole.


"God," you mutter under your breath, "phase 2 is straight up garbo."

Cici laughs, barely audible over the sound of lightning bolts and exploding pews and the giant sliding vacuum wall. "I'm not too big of a fan myself," she says, "if we're bein' honest!"

 <<First     Latest>>   

   

Rate this comic:

X X X X X
average rating: 5

17th Jun 2020, 11:43 PM
Morgenstern
I have started doing preview images for the $3+ Patreon crowd! Now you can see a page in progress like, a handful of hours before the actual page goes up.

I love you and please give me money
17th Jun 2020, 11:45 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
............................
this looks like the sort of thing you chuck explosives into to me so.... Fireballs for effect? 's not like we've got anything else to use I think.
17th Jun 2020, 11:58 PM
Snervalton
+1 to shooting fireballs into the hole, aiming for the heart within. Run out from behind cover and strafe the boss then dive into cover behind another pew.
17th Jun 2020, 11:59 PM
18th Jun 2020, 12:03 AM
One fireball, just in case there's another phase after this one. Gotta make it count.
18th Jun 2020, 12:05 AM
Frission
I feel like Kate would want us to use the power she gave us to explode things, especially the boss' black heart! XD We just need a clear shot...
18th Jun 2020, 12:51 AM
Do we really even need to aim? It seems like if welaunched a fireball, axe, and/or wild spray of arrows in the GENERAL DIRECTION of the Black Hole Heart, the suction would pull it directly TOWARDS the heart. And, well, that selfsame suction would pull a carefully-aimed projectile off-course anyway.
18th Jun 2020, 6:34 AM
pkrankow
Have Cici launch an axe. If it gets sucked in to hit then send a fireball. I bet there will be a tactic change after a hit making it vulnerable then back to a sucking hole
18th Jun 2020, 12:43 AM
Yeet a few fireballs in there!
18th Jun 2020, 12:52 AM
Snervalton
Oh yeah, and wait for an opening between lightning blasts to run out and strafe, of course!
18th Jun 2020, 2:51 AM
nathan400
I think you mean KILL IT WITH FIRE!

Also, I too agree with this plan, +1
18th Jun 2020, 8:50 AM
18th Jun 2020, 8:53 AM
Hari_Seldon
+1 use the pews as cover and quickly pop up for fireballs. Plaire may get hit a little but can probably kill Phase 2.
17th Jun 2020, 11:49 PM
Anotherdamntimeclone
Assuming that severing the heart will be the end of it, Cici could attempt to fly in and cut it with her axe before she is sucked the rest if the way into the hole. Severing it might even stop the black hole and she could survive, if not we could make a break for it with the halberd considering its got some reach and we should still be relatively close to full on mana.
17th Jun 2020, 11:56 PM
Snervalton
-1. We shouldn't make that assumption, there could be a phase 3, 4 5 or 6 still.
17th Jun 2020, 11:59 PM
-1. The chains are shredding things that go in before they can get to the heart-- so that wouldn't work unless we can disable the chains.
18th Jun 2020, 12:53 AM
If everything else fails and the boss is close enough to pull them in, the last resort could be to ALLOW both Plaire and Cici to be pulled in, and try swiping at the heart on the way past.

...Hm.

If, at that "last resort" moment, Plaire and Cici tie themselves to each other and leap towards the hole side by side, the rope between them would SNAG on the heart. They'd probably crash into each other afterward, but then they're right where they need to be to cut it to bits.
18th Jun 2020, 1:49 AM
+1 to last resort chopping the heart as we are getting sucked in. also +1 to never doing that unless we need to.
18th Jun 2020, 2:52 AM
nathan400
If we start getting desperate, throwing the halberd might be a better bet, and close range fireball as back up if that fails.
17th Jun 2020, 11:59 PM
Cici has become Axe Cop
18th Jun 2020, 12:00 AM
the "hmmm"s kind of imply that we're thinking that cici can make something other than just arrows and axes. while aiming was the problem with the arrows, i doubt aim will be a problem when the hole is literally sucking things in, so maybe see if cici can summon some hefter projectiles or try our hand at fireballs
18th Jun 2020, 12:01 AM
i dont remember if we already tried it, but since plaire can do Kate Fireballs, can she do Cici Light Arrows?
18th Jun 2020, 12:08 AM
Frission
Maybe see if Cici can make hard light buzzsaw blades and yeet them at the cords holding up the heart? Wouldn't need to be super accurate -- a bunch of sharp spinning sawblades would stand a good chance of shredding up anything in their path.
18th Jun 2020, 12:01 AM
Cici's axe doesn't seem to be connected to her, which means she might be able to use it to chop at the chains perhaps (edit: but only very VERY carefully because she's not super nimble). We could try firing a fireball at the heart, but I suspect the chains will deflect it somehow. How many fireballs do we think we have in us? Using at least one on the chains on one side, to give us an opening to shoot the heart, might be a good plan. Then we can have Cici distract the chains on the other side while we shoot the heart.
18th Jun 2020, 12:10 AM
throw the toolbox at it
18th Jun 2020, 12:35 AM
Snervalton
-1. No reason to sacrifice all our tools and it's unlikely the toolbox would be any better at destroying the heart than a big massive fireball.
18th Jun 2020, 1:10 AM
-1. That would be a good way for one of the chains to smack it out of the air and either send it flying at us, or we just lose it.
18th Jun 2020, 4:17 PM
I just pointed it out to Snervalton but I was thinking along the lines of hey maybe the lightning would follow the toolbox and hit the black shriveled mass that is supposed to represent his heart also that they ONLY throw the box not what is contained in the box
18th Jun 2020, 4:15 PM
well, obviously I meant to throw out the tools before chucking the box also do it right as those chains fire off a bolt of lightning maybe we would get lucky and the bolt would get redirected toward the hole where his heart should be.
18th Jun 2020, 12:23 AM
Lunar Waffles
Can Cici make other weapons, if so what kinds? A javelin or a crossbow or something would be good for long range accuracy if she cant make modern ones.
18th Jun 2020, 1:14 AM
I would *love* to see her make a ballista lol. Or a trebuchet!
18th Jun 2020, 1:47 PM
18th Jun 2020, 1:18 AM
Okay. Second phase. Shit.
Those chains are absolutely going to blast anything that comes too close... but they still have a cooldown. Your best bet is to have Cici play distraction for the lightning and fireball the heart when there's not any lightning.
For the love of god, Cici, don't become dad fried chicken.
18th Jun 2020, 1:51 AM
Remember to keep with the program. calm, careful, and accurate.
18th Jun 2020, 2:51 AM
Just to throw it out there as an idea (if we get desperate): Throw the junkyard key at the heart. It's small and made of metal so hopefully it can get past the chains and MAYBE pickup an electrical charge from them as well to deliver to the heart.
Symbolically (if that matters at all) it'd be throwing a useless tool at someone that treats everyone else as a tool; and a great way to deal with someone like that is to be too useless for them to be able to use.
18th Jun 2020, 7:14 AM
+1 throwing useless keys at it. Even if it doesn't draw electric charges right to the black heart, we can throw them at different points to gauge the suction so we can see how close Cici could get to it without being in danger.
18th Jun 2020, 1:36 PM
No matter what made of, no matter the initial voltage, a little key won't contain enough charge to cause any harm.
18th Jun 2020, 5:27 AM
I'm curious if Claire can change her rings choice to Cici while she is here, or if she can change it in the dream without going out and back in.

But that's for later (maybe).
18th Jun 2020, 5:53 AM
Chains fire bolts at us when they, like, 'see' us, right? Get Cici to fly from one row to the other first, then make a strafe run fireball for the core.
18th Jun 2020, 7:42 AM
So we could have cici kite the attention of the chains while plaire gets closer to cast fireball. If that doesn't work we might just want to run explore the dungeon for more useful items and strategies for the next run. Also try to end the run in the bed room i think it will stop us from losing one of are lives.
18th Jun 2020, 8:17 AM
BJBlack
Tie rope to exit door.

(While she're there, try to open the door for the sake of trying.)

In terms of conventional tactics, it could be used to save Player if she falls in (though she would need to drop the polearm).

For an unconventional tactic, she could straight-up tie herself to the door, and when the walls meet, she'd be dangling in the void, but safe. How to save Cici and how to not get lightning bolted in such an exposed location are the potential problems. But if she could figure that out, hey, Easter Egg tactic (like when she started the boss from a tactical advantage).
18th Jun 2020, 9:26 AM
Limrix
I like the idea of trying to get the boss to pull the doors open as a last resort. If it's still safe to get the toolbox, I'm good with tying the ropes around one of the door handles and leaving the end for the maw to pick up. No sense tying the other end to a pew or something, it would just get blasted, and the end state would still be the maw pulling the door.
18th Jun 2020, 8:57 AM
Hari_Seldon
Try to shoot a fireball at the boss and if that doesn't work or if we get hit too much take Brainsate and hope it does either bullettime or healing.

I guess if Plaire and Cici are going to die they could shoot fireballs and arrows until they fade away.
18th Jun 2020, 9:04 AM
Limrix
Might as well try it.
18th Jun 2020, 9:21 AM
Limrix
Is the hole slowly filling with wood? Or is everything disappearing into the hole? I think the heart might be a sort of black hole. If it really is a black hole, then time should slow down around it compared to everything else.

We probably have to sever those two dangly bits on the heart, or... fill it with love? No idea how we'd do that, so blasting it is. After that happens, it might all collapse on itself, leaving I'm not sure what.

The chains were holding father warden taut, so they must not be able to reach the center. However, both sets of chains can shoot lighting, and there's the vacuum maw. We could try to make a giant pile of pews in the middle of the aisle, where the chains can't hit them and would have to use lightning, and then attacking the maw from there. How quickly do the chains recharge?

Another thing we could try is fireball, straight down the middle. Lightning probably can't disrupt a fireball, so it should reach the heart, though it might just absorb it.

We can use our cellphone to maybe bait one attack by tossing it at the chains.

If Cici can change the form of her attacks, Kate and Plaire probably can too. Cici and Plaire should be familiar with the idea of a Stratemyer cannon. Plaire might be able to fire some kind of napalm bomb. +1 to buzzsaws, ballistas and other weapons.

Cici is probably inaccurate with her arrows because she flaps around so much, if we held her we could shoot them straighter, though they don't have the range to hit the heart.

Is the speed of fireballs relative to the person shooting them or absolute? If it was absolute we could try running towards it to pile up a giant fireball mound at the risk of lots of mana.
18th Jun 2020, 6:31 PM
Snervalton
+1 to throwing the (otherwise useless) cellphone into the air to absorb an electrical blast from the chains. Do it just before Plaire leaves cover in order to help keep her safe when she leaves cover to strafe the boss.
18th Jun 2020, 9:52 AM
I hope this guy drops some loot. maybe a ranged weapon or something magic? Just something good.
18th Jun 2020, 12:01 PM
If we're gonna try Brainstate in the dream, now seems like the time. It should give some sort of buff.
18th Jun 2020, 12:06 PM
Hari_Seldon
The only reason to not take Brainsate now is if it is a healing item. Maybe Plaire should try to shoot that fireball and if that doesn't work or if she gets hurt take the Brainsate after.
18th Jun 2020, 1:18 PM
Lunar Waffles
+1 lets hope for bullet time(where you think fast enough to where even your movement appears slow to you)/time dilation(where you move more or less normal but everything else is slow) x:
18th Jun 2020, 6:32 PM
Snervalton
-1. The heat of combat is not the time to be experimenting.
18th Jun 2020, 11:52 PM
Limrix
+1 to taking brainsate, it will probably help somehow
18th Jun 2020, 3:46 PM
Hari_Seldon
Cici should try to distract the chains, but stop if she gets too hurt.
18th Jun 2020, 6:32 PM
18th Jun 2020, 4:02 PM
See if Cici can pull aggro on the chains to give us a window to cause dad a bit of heartburn.
18th Jun 2020, 6:02 PM
I wonder if Cici can make Light Shields too...
18th Jun 2020, 6:07 PM
Hari_Seldon
+1 YES try that while distracting
18th Jun 2020, 6:33 PM
18th Jun 2020, 6:47 PM
18th Jun 2020, 6:07 PM
undeadDreamer
Cast fireball around the corner at it. Don't worry too much about aiming since it'll get succed in anyways.
19th Jun 2020, 3:09 PM
Taenidia
The lightning seems fairly chaotic now. Any chance we have something that could serve as a quick lighting-rod? (mostly to absorb lightning while we throw things like fireballs into the maw).

If not, then it's something to try bringing for next time.