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 The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)

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SoloWingPixy

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:35 am

Jane's sweep of the battlefield led her to the unfortunate observation that her allies were simply spread too far out for her to help them all. Ferro was busy summoning someone behind her, Xana was entangled with the doll a good distance ahead of her, and Shovel Knight was trying to rescue Marie further up the hill.

She stepped back as she assessed the situation. Ferro didn't need her help at the moment, and she'd be likely to catch Medicine's attention if she ran up the hill to try and free Marie, so that left Xana as the best option. But how to go about helping her? She couldn't just run up and tear the doll off her, after all.

(Jane - Tactical Analysis - 76)
After a moment, she had an idea. Clasping her hands together, she focused her mind on the space in front of her to create a sphere of dim light. She often used this trick to distract and temporarily blind opponents, but she had something a little different in mind this time. Instead of increasing the light's intensity to near-blinding levels, she carefully crafted it into a subtly transparent lightshow, its morphing colors and spiraling patterns based on a hypnotic midara she'd run into in the past.

If she knew Xana, she was planning something, and hopefully this would daze Medicine long enough for her to do whatever she needed to do. Jane waited for Xana to notice the shifting light out of the corner of her eye, and gave her a nod to make sure she knew what was coming, so she didn't get dazed by it herself. Once the light was fully formed, Jane thrust her hands forward, shooting it off toward Medicine.

(Poison Gathers [Passive] - 6, Status Effect: Dazed)
(Passive - Flowers of Antimony)
Xana - 15
Ferro - 49
Jane - 44
Shovel Knight - 68

(Marie - Struggle - 93)
Meanwhile, Marie's eyes were closed as she focused on the strings coming from her hands. Though Medicine had severed most of their length, the vines being this close meant that she still had limited control over them, provided she could maneuver her hands so as to rest her palms on the vines. Eventually, she managed to do it, and from there, it was quite simple to force the vines off of her. She landed on both feet, rubbing her wrists and scanning across the battlefield to get a sense of what was happening.

(Ferro - Summon Dixi [Vortex Crusher] - 16)
Behind Jane, Ferro was trying out a new trick of his own. Unfortunately, it wasn't working quite as well as he'd been hoping; he knew summoning an astral form of Dixi while Xana was already fighting with them wasn't going to be the easiest of tasks, but with all the magic he was pouring into it, he should've gotten something. Eventually, he sighed and lowered his hand in defeat. He'd been close, he was sure of it! Maybe one of the poisons in the air was blocking him out?

Or perhaps it was Xana, who was already in the process of casting an enthralling aura around herself. She felt a distant pull on Dixi's spirit, but she ignored it, her focus right now being on Medicine. True, her opponent was a doll, and might be unable to feel the enrapturing sensations she'd melted so many opponents with in the past, but she certainly wasn't one to back down from a challenge. She poured even more energy into her aura in an effort to get past this hurdle, scrambling Ferro's attempts to summon her sister in the process. The aura's power began to extend past mere physical sensations, to the point where its temptations could affect the mind directly—perhaps, Xana hoped, even an artificial one like Medicine's.

This was all unbeknownst to Medicine, who couldn't help rolling her eyes at Xana's words. This was ridiculous. Was she actually trying to seduce her? She'd initially dismissed it as a poor attempt to get her to lower her guard, but now it was starting to seem like this woman simply didn't realize what Medicine was.

Well, fine. If she wanted to just keep prattling on with her "seductive" words, then Medicine would let her talk until the paralysis reached her vocal chords. For now, Medicine simply continued her soft caresses, noting the woman's slowing struggles as the poisons built up in her body. She was much appreciative of this, since it meant that she didn't have to focus quite so much on keeping the intruder pinned, and could instead relax for a moment in the flowers' soft embrace.

She hadn't been lying when she said that the flowers were always there to help her rest. Even now, she felt her anxiety slowly melting away, her hold on the intruder gradually loosening. It was fine, it wasn't like she was going anywhere. After all, she'd been so tired, and Medicine would be surprised if she was even still awake after lying among the flowers for so long.

Of course, it was getting increasingly difficult for Medicine to stay alert herself. She blinked her eyes blearily, her head resting on the lancer's shoulder. She suddenly felt uneasy, like something was subtly wrong here. Wasn't she...supposed to be doing something else? She was, wasn't she? She stirred, and started to lift up her head when a strange orb of colorful light caught her eye.

(Xana - Bewitching Aura - Charm - 8, 80 - Obey - 2)
She couldn't help but stare at it, its mesmerizing swirls and patterns leading her vision in circles. She wasn't sure when it had gotten there, but she had to admit, it was beautiful. She gently rested her head back down on the lancer's shoulder, keeping her gaze on the colorful orb as it danced through the air.

Her mind drifted as she stared. She subconsciously hugged the lancer closer to her body. The woman's warm, soft skin felt so...nice, all of a sudden. She nuzzled her neck, breathing in her sweet perfume mixed with the always-beautiful scent of the flowers. The colorful light slowly dispersed, and her eyelids drifted closed as she nestled herself against the woman. For the first time in months, she felt truly at ease. Safe, in the sheltering arms of a protector.

In the sheltering arms of...in whose arms?

The intruder's arms were around her, the paralysis nowhere to be seen.

She'd stopped giving her the poison some time ago.

Medicine's eyes shot wide as she realized what was happening. With a shriek, she roughly shoved Xana away and quickly scrambled to her feet. She bolted away from the lancer, only stopping and whirling around once she'd gotten a good distance away. "Wh-what was that?!" She cried in a panic. "What did you do?! What did you do to me?!" Her whole body was shaking, and she looked for all the world like she was about to burst into tears.

It...it had felt so natural. This disgusting woman's influence had invisibly slithered its way into her mind, smothering her thoughts without a word. She shuddered. She'd never felt so violated. If she hadn't been sure before that Marie was brainwashed, she had proof of it now. Without a doubt, this was the horrifying ability that had stolen away Marie's will.

She pointed an accusing finger at the woman. "You're the one who brainwashed Marie, aren't you?!" She demanded. "You're vile! A mistake of nature!" She narrowed her eyes in hatred. "I know what you're doing to her. It's what people like you always do," she growled. "You enslave us. You use us. Then, you throw us away like we're garbage." She started stalking forward, as twin clouds of billowing purple smoke began to emerge from her hands. "I know what that's like. And I promise you, I'll never let it happen ever again!" She charged toward Xana, rage plain to see on her face.

(Shovel Knight - Dig Slash - 58)
As she ran, her eyes darted to the right at the sound of armored footfalls. A second too late, unfortunately, as Shovel Knight—who'd seen Marie managing to free herself, and so had turned back to continue the fight against Medicine—reared back, and swung his weapon right at her. She managed to raise her arm in defense, but it did little to soften the impact of steel on porcelain. She clenched her teeth in pain, but ignored the knight as more vines rose up from the ground to temporarily drive him back. Right now, she had more important matters to deal with.

(Medicine - A Touch of Poison - 20 - Xana)
Despite what Xana had managed to do earlier, she still had paralyzing toxins running through her body, so she'd only just barely managed to get back to her feet before Medicine slammed into her, staggering her again. In an instant, Medicine's hands leapt to Xana's mouth and nose, blocking off most of her breathing. The billowing purple smoke coming from her hands filled Xana's throat, and without enough air for her to breathe, drifted down and settled into her lungs.

Medicine glared at the lancer. Her colleagues had gotten the privilege of tasting this poison through a soft kiss, but no, this one deserved rougher treatment. As did the one who'd tried to kill Marie, of course, but that would come later. This one had enslaved her, the other had tried to kill her, and who knows what the other two had done. By the end of this, she'd make sure that they'd all received proper punishment for their crimes.

Xana: 15 Willpower + Frail (17 Poison stacks)
Ferro: 23 Willpower + Lightheaded (14 Poison stacks)
Jane: 18 Willpower + Lightheaded (14 Poison stacks)
Shovel Knight: 21 Willpower + Disoriented (11 Poison stacks) (5 Magic remaining)

Medicine: 40.5 Stamina + Charmed + Obey (Charmed/Hallucinating, Infatuated/Lovesick, Dazed ready)

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:40 am

Xana grinned, it was working, she was getting angry and now she has planted a little seed in her subconscious, she didn't even minded the poison she was actually receiving, after all she just had to... Wait... She wasn't in her own body... She was in Dixi's... Fuck, she was so used to fight on her own now, she totally forgot, she'll have to be more careful now... Well, then, she would start by helping everyone to recover... She casted a water rune, trying to create a healing rain above her and her allies.

(Water Rune - Defense -1 turn duration, - 1 point healed, team effect)
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:18 am

Okay...So Marie had escaped, and Shovel managed to do a bit of damage. However, Medicine seemed rather enraged, if her screeching and grabbing the...martial artist? Temptress? Who knew? Shrugging, Shovel Knight began to rear back, his grip tightening on his Shovel...And he waited.

(Charged Dig Slash.)
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:43 pm

Her plan deemed to go off almost perfectly, but it seemed to have cost Xana quite a lot. Jane could see Xana preparing her water rune. By the looks of the energy, it seemed to be being cast as an assistance to her allies, rather than to the detriment to her foe. However, having experienced the poison first hand, Jane was rather convinced it would do little to clear it. So Jane, once more, fashioned an anti-toxin that she hoped would help Xana's condition.
(Anti-toxin - Target: Xana)
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:13 am

"ENOUGH!!" Marie shouted over the violence of the battlefield. She glared at everyone present as she kicked one of the vines that had previously bound her. "What the FUCK is wrong with you?! This delusional doll thinks I'm being brainwashed and what do you assholes do? YOU TELL HER YOU DID!! What kind of ass-backwards bimbos birthed you morons?"
She then glared at Medicine and jabbes a finger at her. "And YOU!! You need to learn to fucking listen to someone for once instead of listening to what you want to hear!! I don't know what happened to you in the past, but the life experience of one does not define the whole world!"
-Brutal Nag-
Ferro was about to strike again, but Marie brutal verbal lashing stopped him in his tracks.
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:50 pm

(Passive - Flowers of Antimony)
Xana - 98
Ferro - 24
Jane - 33
Shovel Knight - 20

Medicine gave a dark chuckle as Xana began struggling anew in front of her. Honestly, she'd been rather confused for a moment there—not only had the lancer not been trying to get away before, but she'd almost seemed...smug, as if getting forced to breathe toxic air was all part of her plan. For one reason or another, though, a look of realization had soon passed over her face, and now she was doing her best to get away from Medicine. She grabbed the doll's wrist with one hand and tried forcing her away with the other.

The doll grimaced. This woman was certainly stronger than she looked, and it was only a matter of time before she couldn't hold onto her any longer. Still, she'd be damned if she backed off before forcing the lancer to take in as much poison as she could. She dug her fingers into the lancer's cheeks, stubbornly hanging on tight and continuing to pump toxic air into her lungs. Her arm screamed in pain as the lancer kept trying to force her off, but even a few more seconds of poison would make it all worth it.

After a few moments, she couldn't take it anymore without losing an arm. She jerked her wrist out of the lancer's grasp and let herself get shoved away, smirking as the girl choked and sputtered on the miasma in her throat. "Serves you right, you witch," she muttered bitterly. "Poison my mind, and I'll just poison you right back." She had half a mind to turn toward the other intruders and leave her poison to do its work, and was about to do so before she noticed a strange blue light coming from the girl's hands.

Medicine's eyes narrowed. As if she was going to give this monster a chance to use her foul magic a second time. She quickly reached her hand beneath her dress, to a strap of poison darts on her thigh. She pulled one out, the lightweight wooden shaft supporting a wickedly sharp point. She rarely resorted to using these, given their relative inaccuracy, but right now, precision wasn't important. She just needed to hit the lancer somewhere to interrupt her spell. After taking a moment to aim carefully, she reared back and threw the dart toward Xana.

(Xana - Water Rune - 99)
Xana hissed in pain as the dart scored a direct hit in her stomach, quickly spreading its venom through her body. Luckily for her, Medicine hadn't had time to prepare the dart with any long-lasting toxins, but it was still enough to break her concentration. The water rune's blue light faded instantly as Xana instinctively pulled the dart out and clutched the area where she'd been hit.

Medicine snickered. "What's wrong, did I interrupt your little magic trick?" She sneered. "Sorry, but I'd rather keep my freedom, if it's all the same to you." Her eyes narrowed. "Not that you'd care. After all, it doesn't matter what a doll wants, does it?" She scowled. "No, no, it's all about what you humans want! In fact..."

The doll took a step forward. "Let me do you one better. I won't give you what you want," she snarled, brandishing another dart in her hand, this one slick with much more poison than the first. "I'll give you what you need!" With that, she charged toward Xana, intent on delivering her toxins with a bit more of a sting than usual.

Or, at least she would've, if she hadn't suddenly been halted in her tracks by the resounding shout of a familiar voice nearby. Medicine's head whipped back toward the sound, and to her dismay, she saw Marie once again free of the vines keeping her away from the battle. Damn it, what was it going to take to keep her from interfering...?

Medicine took a step back as Marie delivered a veritable beatdown to everyone present with her scathing rebuke, not the least of whom was Medicine herself. The doll stood frozen in shock as Marie sharply berated her, unable to form any kind of reply as the girl's angry words sank in.

It took several moments for her to fully process what Marie had said. Why...why was Marie so furious at her? Didn't she realize what was happening? Medicine could perhaps understand her ire at being repeatedly bound by the vines, and the lancer's brainwashing meant that maybe she really couldn't realize what had happened to her, but the girl's sheer fury still left her staring in disbelief.

The corner of Medicine's mouth twitched.

That was it.

She'd lost her fucking patience with this girl.

"I need to listen?!" Medicine roared, stomping toward Marie and jabbing an accusing finger at her. "You're the one who needs to listen, you little brat!" She swept her arm out at the party assembled around them. "Look around you! These people are evil! They can warp minds with a single thought! They tried to kill you!"

Medicine's entire body was shaking with rage. "I'm risking everything for your sake! My home, even my life! And yet you're angry at me?!" Her eyes darted left and right, seeing the intruders start to close in on the two of them. No, she wasn't finished yet!

With a grunt, Medicine lifted her foot up and slammed it hard into the ground. The hill began to rumble as the flowers scrambled to follow the intensity of her command, roots quickly shifting underground to make way for her instructions. Dirt was thrown into the air as countless plants suddenly burst up through the earth, forming a large ring around the two dolls. Countless leaves of stinging nettle, Venus flytraps viciously snapping their jaws, wicked thorns pointing in every direction, and the ever-present lilies-of-the-valley polluting the air with their poison all arrayed themselves in a veritable fortress against the intruders, keeping them away from the two dolls.

(Shovel Knight - Charging Dig Slash - Auto-success)
Shovel Knight backed away from the sudden appearance of this strange wall of plant life. He braced himself to slash at any vines that came rushing toward him, but after a moment, it became clear that none were coming. He lowered his shovel for a moment, reasoning that perhaps the plants were simply meant to keep them away, rather than be an active threat. If that was the case, then, he'd have plenty of time to show them what he could really do with his shovel! He reared back and held his shovel at the ready, charging it with magical power.

(Jane - Anti-toxin - 86 CRIT!)
Nearby, Jane quickly made her way over to Xana, though she was careful to keep a safe distance between her and the plant wall. She pulled out her needle gun, the injector already loaded. Since the plants didn't seem to be actively hindering the party at the moment, she had time to carefully search for a vein and make sure that Xana got the most of her anti-toxin. She pulled the trigger, spreading a numbing feeling through the lancer's arm as the neutralizing agent worked its magic.

Jane eyed the plant wall separating the party from the dolls. The foliage was too thick for them to see through to the other side, but Medicine's angry shouting wasn't going to be blocked out so easily, every bitter word coming through clear as day.

Inside the ring, Medicine's tone was seething. "Almost every single human I've ever met has been the same," she growled. "You say that my life experience doesn't define the world? Well, excuse me for seeing the same pattern emerge, again and again, over the course of years." She started slowly stalking around Marie. "They lie. They cheat. They'll always do anything to save their own hide at the expense of others." Her hands clenched into fists. "They even take our own kind as slaves," she hissed. "Slaves! That's all we are to them! Is that what you want?!"

Her vision had become tinged with a burning red. In her rage, she roughly grabbed Marie by the collar, not caring if she hurt her anymore. "Humans built me. They gave me everything, and then they just took it all away!" She could feel her joints cracking in protest at the force of her grip, but she didn't care. Her vision started to blur, and her focus on Marie faded for a moment. "Because I...we weren't 'useful' anymore. Because they didn't need us anymore. And once they don't need something anymore, they just throw it away." Her eyes narrowed. "There's no love, no sentiment, no attachment. We're all just tools to them, and these people are no different."

She pulled Marie closer, until their faces were only inches apart. "Now, what is it going to take for you to realize that they're. Not. Your. Friends?!" She stared daggers at Marie, looking all over her face for some reaction. "Well?!" She roughly shook Marie. "Answer me!" She roared.

Some distant part of her was calling out to her, desperately trying to urge her not to hurt Marie. That she hadn't done anything to deserve this. That the poor girl had only gotten caught in a situation she didn't understand, and that this was only going to drive her further away.

But Medicine didn't care.

Xana: 15 Willpower + Tactical + Lightheaded (12 Poison stacks)
Ferro: 23 Willpower + Lightheaded (14 Poison stacks)
Jane: 18 Willpower + Frail (15 Poison stacks)
Shovel Knight: 21 Willpower + Dig Slash Charged + Disoriented (11 Poison stacks) (5 Magic remaining)

Medicine: 40.5 Stamina + Charmed + Obey (Charmed/Hallucinating, Infatuated/Lovesick, Dazed ready)

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<<She's like a demon...>>
<<That kind of midara...they call a Demon Lord.>>
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:05 pm

"These assholes have been faking it the whole time, you unbearable dumbass!! Let me tell you that the little timid shit that is the real me used to be loved. She was cared for and kept safe in a time when humans and Midara were in a constantly strained state with each other, but when things went south and shit hit the fan, she was forcibly given a curse that turned her into a human dominating monster.
That damn Vampire's intent was her safety, but so many people suffered, including her! And you know who came to save her? You know who broke the curse and rescued that little wallflower? Those humans out there!" She held her arms out as if to shove Medicine into the thorny, dangerous foliage wall, but instead, she laid her hands upon Medicine's shoulders calmly and looked straight into her eyes seriously and with complete focus. "All that talk of brainwashing and usefulness, that was just a ploy to get you to lose your cool and make you reckless. Your so strong and wouldn't listen to reason that they had to do something. Granted, it was a stupid fucking decision and I'm going to pound every single one of them when this is all over for that, but they're all good people." She pulled her into an embrace and held the doll tightly. "Please, Medicine, you have to believe me. Not every human is as evil as you think they are and these complete and utterly hardheaded morons... Well, they're the best people Marie's ever known... But what do I know. I'm just a leftover of that shitty vampire curse."

Ferro was unsure how to proceed and instead decided upon restoring his focus, waiting for things to play out.
-Nine Kata-

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:17 am

Xana thanked Jane "If only I had my body... I'm going to need a rest... Ix your turn..." Xana faded, leaving Ix in control. 

"I'll do my best... Ah" She looked around, the beautiful flower field, damaged by the battle, she felt really sad as she kneeled down, gently touching the flowers "The flowers are... Sad... They are crying..." She had to help her friends, but the pain of the flowers worried her too, so she, carefully not to damage the flowers, sank her sword into the ground and started a prayer "Oh holy sword that light my way, protect my kin and these flowers and heal their wounds and pain... Eternal Shine!" A warm light soon covered the flower field, repairing the damage from the fight, was fighting really the only choice? She hoped, Marie could convince Medicine to stop this madness, this unnecessary fight. 

(Eternal Shine - Effect extended to flowerd field)

"This doll, Medicine, she has suffered a lot... I feel really sorry for her..." 
"She's pretty much crazy..." 
"Didn't you said something similar with Marie? And you were wrong... I want to help her... Ease her pain..." 
"Ix that's not a good idea, maybe a first yeah, but after all that has happened I doubt she will listen..." 
"I want to try anyway... You saved Marie... Now I want to save Medicine from her sorrow and pain..."


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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:21 am

Shovel felt the power course through his weapon of choice, prepared to attack...And yet he chose not to. There seemed to be a discussion going on right now. If that other doll, Marie, could convince their foe to lay down arms, it'd save them a headache.

(Turn Pass.)
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:45 am

Despite Marie's verbal beratement, Jane was confident that her lies and deceit had been the right thing to do. Regardless of how they appeared when worded the way Marie had chosen to word it, in the context of their use they had seemed like the best option to mitigate harm to the group on the whole.

However, seeing the massive wall of vines surrounding Medicine and Marie allowed Jane to feel and glimmer of hope. Marie was Medicine's weakness, that much she'd already established. Perhaps she could end this encounter without the need to fight.

As that thought washed over her, and the realisation that, at least for now, there was a small portion of safety from the doll's attacks, Jane's weariness hit her like a truck. The poison was getting to her again, and she needed to do something about it or, regardless of the outcome of Marie's exchange with Medicine, Jane wasn't sure she'd see this through to the end.

(Anti-toxin - Target: Jane)
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:37 pm

(Poison Gathers [Passive] - 50, Status Effect: Winded/Breathless)
(Passive - Flowers of Antimony)
Ix - 17
Ferro - 81
Jane - 80
Shovel Knight - 54

(Ferro - Nine Kata - 1d9, 6 - 6 Willpower healed)
The wall of hostile plant life separating the party from the dolls didn't look like it was going to budge anytime soon, so Ferro took the time to close his eyes and channel his magic inward, focusing his mind and calming his thoughts. His hands became a blur of motion as he muttered several different incantations under his breath, gradually pushing Medicine's influence out of his mind completely. Normally, he'd never have the opportunity during a fight to focus himself to such a degree, but with the dolls temporarily isolated, it seemed as though he had plenty of time to do it now.

(Jane - Anti-toxin - 72)
Jane had come to a similar conclusion, and carefully administered her antidote to herself as she'd done before. She glanced down to her first aid kit as she waited for the anti-toxin to take effect, frowning at the dwindling amount of the neutralizing agent she needed. There was still plenty left, but the amount she'd already gone through was worrying; if Marie wasn't able to talk down Medicine soon, they could all be in some serious trouble.

While the other members of the party treated their wounds and prepared themselves to continue the fight in various ways, Ix had her own ideas. She looked across the battlefield, at the countless patches of torn and burnt plant life scattered around them. Though the party's efforts might have been focused on Medicine, it was obvious that the flower field was suffering just as harshly as the doll was.

Her grip tightened on her sword as she made up her mind. Talking down Medicine was only the first step; if they really wanted this to end without bloodshed, then they'd have to convince the flowers they meant no harm, too...even if that meant healing their enemy.

As she plunged her sword into the ground in preparation, the flowers scattered around her feet turned toward her and immediately started blowing poison gas in her direction. She coughed and grimaced at the choking feeling of the smoke, but she held her ground. Once they understood her true intent, she was sure they'd have a change of heart. She whispered a prayer to fuel her spell, sending a wave of warm light scattering across the flower field.

(Ix - Eternal Shine - Auto-success - Damage Reduction - 23)
Though the effect wasn't as strong as she'd intended it to be thanks to the interference of the nearby flowers, the spell still managed to go through. She looked across the battlefield once again, and smiled as the damage was undone before her very eyes. Torn vines knitted themselves back together and slowly lifted themselves up off the ground, as if groggily awakening from bed. Blackened patches that been burnt by her sister's furious energy gradually shifted to a verdant hue as life returned to them, as if they'd turned back the time on a cosmic clock.

As she watched, she noticed the air starting to clear around her. She looked down at the flowers near her feet, and saw that they'd stopped emanating poison gas. The flowers were slightly shifting back and forth, as if unsure what to do. One of the flowers hesitantly bent itself forward, sliding out of the soil and pausing before softly resting against her sword, bathing itself in the sword's glow. After a few moments, it pulled back into the soil and turned to point at Ix, as if looking at her. The petals opened and closed a few times, before the flower slowly bent toward her, laying itself to the ground by her feet. The rest of the flowers near her soon followed suit.

(The Flowers of Antimony passive has been disabled for Ix.)

All of this meant nothing to Medicine, however. The flower field's hesitation, Ix's healing light, the importance of it all paled in comparison to the realization of what she'd just done.

A moment ago, she'd been too enraged to care about how Marie felt. But seeing the look of genuine hurt on the girl's face was more crushing than any attack she could think of. Her anger disappeared in a flash, to be replaced with raw horror. She quickly let go of Marie's collar and took a step back, her head shaking. "M-Marie, I..." she stammered. "I-I didn't...didn't mean—"

She cringed as Marie started berating her again. No...no, no, no, no, no...she'd messed up. She'd let her anger get the better of her, and she'd ended up turning Marie against her. She couldn't even blame this on Marie having been brainwashed—this was all her fault.

And now, it was all over. If all it took was a little verbal lashing for her to lose her cool like that, how was Marie ever going to trust her again? How was she ever going to trust herself again? What if she lashed out at Marie a second time? She could hardly manage to protect Marie from the intruders. If she couldn't even protect Marie from herself...

Medicine's eyes went wide as Marie held her arms out to shove her into the thorns behind her. "W-wait!" she cried out, shielding herself with her arms. "Please, Marie, don't! I...h-huh?" She felt Marie's soft hands fall to rest on her shoulders, and slowly lowered her arms. "Wh..." She looked into Marie's eyes, and saw that they no longer held pain or fear within them. Instead, Marie was gazing at her with a look of genuine concern, empathy for someone she knew was suffering like she had.

And the people who had freed her from that suffering were...the intruders...? But...but that didn't make any sense. It just didn't work! Medicine had always known humans were evil. That was a simple fact of their nature. To think that these ones had rescued her from her curse, and let her live as she pleased...it just...it didn't make sense...

But...there was too much emotion in those eyes, too much life, for it to be the product of mere brainwashing...

Medicine let out a little gasp as Marie embraced her. She stood frozen, Marie's words playing themselves over and over again in her head.

"Please, Medicine, you have to believe me..."

But...humans are evil! I know that! I've lived my whole life knowing that!

"Not every human is as evil as you think they are..."

The chemicals in her body froze. Not every human...

Mary...

Could...there really be more like you?

"No..." Medicine breathed. "Marie...please, don't...don't lie to me like this..." Her arms were limp at her sides, and her head hung low. "Please..."

Her head perked up as she suddenly heard the voice of the flowers in her head. They sounded...almost hesitant. Unsure of themselves, as Medicine was starting to be herself. She gave a small squeak at what they said to her. "They...healed you?" she whispered.

But...but that was impossible. They were evil, weren't they?

A new thought crossed Medicine's mind, one that had been purely unthinkable before now.

...What if they aren't?

What if Marie's telling the truth?

Her voice shook. "I..."

Medicine threw her arms around Marie, hugging her tight. "Marie, I..." She buried her face in Marie's shoulder, her body shuddering. "I just...I-I don't know anymore..." She couldn't cry, but the sorrow in her shaking voice was more than enough to make her grief clear. "Wh-what do I do?" She drew Marie in closer, trying to comfort herself with her warmth. "Please, Marie...I-I don't...I just don't know..." she whimpered.

The circle of thorns surrounding the dolls slowly fell away, sinking back into the ground to reveal the two embracing each other. The poison fog still hung heavy in the air, but it seemed that the flowers were starting to lower their output, with the ones near Ix ceasing their attack altogether.

(Remaining duration for all status effects has been paused, unless the character performs a combat-related action.)

Ix: 18 Willpower + Tactical + Lightheaded (13 Poison stacks)
Ferro: 30 Willpower + Frail (15 Poison stacks)
Jane: 21 Willpower + Disoriented (10 Poison stacks)
Shovel Knight: 24 Willpower + Dig Slash Charged + Disoriented (11 Poison stacks) (5 Magic remaining)

Medicine: 40.5 Stamina + Charmed + Obey (Charmed/Hallucinating, Infatuated/Lovesick, Dazed, Winded/Breathless ready)

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:29 am

Ix coughs a bit more even now that the gas was gone, her sword vanished as she sat back, carefully to not hurt the flowers, she looked around, seeing the field back to normal, no burns, no holes, no destruction, it made her happy, she then looked at the flowers closer to her and smiled warmly "I'm glad it worked, I'm glad you aren't suffering now." She said to the flowers as she lied down, still smiling, enjoying their scent, emanating a warm glow of light and bathing nearby flowers on it "It's not as strong as the last one but I hope this helps a bit more..."

She heard Medicine say it before and it was true, she felt so relaxed lying down among the flowers, she felt some of them tickling her skin but they weren't attacking her, she was right, these flowers only wanted to protect the one who protected them "You just wanted to help Medicine right? Don't worry I won't hurt her, in fact I want to help her, she's filled with sorrow and pain, isn't she? She must have suffered a lot..." she asked the flowers.

(Healing Radiance - Targeting the flowers instead of the party)
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:09 am

Twirling his shovel about, Shovel Knight stared on. The battle seemed to be over, or nearing it's finale. Perhaps he could leave now? "So...I assume you fellows won't be needing my assistance anymore?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:01 pm

Well, you can't be prepared for everything. Jane hoped this fight was over. If it continued any longer, her supplies were almost guarenteed to run dry. To make matters worse, even if the fight was over, it seemed that nobody had told the flowers that, as they continued to shoot out poison everywhere. Except... hang on, they weren't shooting poison at Ix. This confirmed one of Jane's previous theories. These flowers were sentient, and independent of Medicine. After all, if the fight was over, the flowers wouldn't be poisoning anyone, and if it wasn't, there was no reason that they wouldn't continue to assault Ix, regardless of the good deed she'd done for them. This left Jane with two options. Attempt to communicate with the flowers, either verbally, or through some other means, or do something positive for the flowers.

The latter was more difficult, as she had nothing as direct as healing magic at her disposal. And the former was not as guaranteed to work. It was clear the flowers could perceive in some manner, but it wasn't initially clear if it was sight, sound or feeling. She suspected it wasn't sight, given they didn't have eyes, but it could very easily be sound, or vibration based. Given that they were capable of attacking or defending things that were, sometimes, outside of the flower field, and had reacted to steps by moving away before they were squashed, Jane concluded it that it was probably based on vibrations, or shifting in the soil. This opened up the possibility that they could comprehend sound. Whether they would understand or not was another question entirely.

Before she had time to fully process this thought, she noticed the thorns starting to fall, and the poison beginning to dissipate. Hmm... well, it appeared that the fight WAS in fact over. She turned over to Shovel Knight.
"I would recommend not leaving just yet. I may be able to assist in treating your poison. Of course, if you would prefer to seek out a private physician, you are welcome to do so, but I would like to at least assist you with what I can do now." Jane commented, before turning to Medicine. She decided against interrupting what was clearly an important moment for her, especially given the impression she'd left on her. There was a level of irony in the fact that she was the prime negotiator, yet she was also the one who had left the worst impression on her, with the possible exception of Xana. The irony was not lost on her.
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:29 pm

"You need to open up a bit," she told her. "I'm not telling you to just trust people right away, I can't force you to. But you need to be more open to others and to the good people others can do. It's not perfect, and there are still terrible people out there, but it's a better time than it used to be..." Marie held Medicine tight and pressed her lips to her forehead, giving a kiss meant to comfort her.
"If the real Marie can open up to them after what she went through, I know you can too," she told her.

Ferro sighed as things seemed to be mellowing down now, though the poison he had in his system was still there and after a moment of reading the room, he allowed himself to drop to the ground, being careful to avoid the flowers.

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:59 pm

(Passive - Flowers of Antimony)
Ferro - 79
Jane - 82
Shovel Knight - 86

Though the flowers around Ix had stopped spreading their poison, it seemed the rest of the flower field wasn't quite so willing to give up yet. Poison gas continued to emanate from the flowers surrounding the rest of the party, to mingle with the ever-present violet fog.

As Ix spread her healing light around her, more flowers flocked toward her, shifting and bending themselves in her direction until there was a small ring of abandoned soil around her. The closest flowers laid themselves over her body, basking in the warmth of her magic.

With the poison around her dissipating, Ix allowed herself to breathe deeply and take in the scent of the flowers surrounding her. It was a shame, honestly—the flowers smelled so beautiful on their own, but with the poison, their sweet scent became overwhelming to the point of being sickening.

She smiled. At least she was able to appreciate it now. And from the looks of things, the flowers seemed to be just as appreciative of her. Though their only response to her question was to wiggle around, she could tell they were thankful to her.

Medicine, on the other hand, didn't know what to think.

Her face was still buried in Marie's shoulder, and she couldn't bring herself to let go—couldn't bring herself to lift up her head and see the world in more than just black and white. She could only slowly shake her head back and forth as Marie softly consoled her. Open up? Trust people? How was she supposed to do that? All she knew was hatred. It defined her. Trust just wasn't possible for someone like her!

But...was that really how she wanted to live the rest of her life? Feeling nothing but loathing toward people she didn't even know?

Her answer came in the form of a gentle kiss on her forehead. She looked up at Marie, eyes wide. That's right...Marie. She was the key to all this. Her words weren't just idle reassurance—even if Medicine hadn't said a word about her past, Marie knew what she had gone through, having already gone through it herself. Even after untold years of wallowing in her loneliness, in her anger, she'd still been able to escape that life and find a new purpose for living. And now, here she was, trying desperately to show Medicine that she could follow that path, too.

For the first time in a very long time, Medicine felt a glimmer of real hope. Hope that things might change.

"Opening up..." she murmured. Slowly, she nodded. "Y-you're right. If..." She took a moment to calm her shaking voice. "If...there really are good people out there, then...I...I want to meet them." Her eyes gleamed with a hint of steely determination. "I want to meet more people like you, and...a-and..." Her gaze fell, and pain gripped her chest. Mary...

She slowly drew away from Marie. "But...if I'm going to open up to people, then...they have to trust me first, right?" she asked. "In that case..." She looked back down, toward the flowers around her feet. "Su...you can stop now," she said softly. She lifted her foot back, and tapped the ground twice with her toe. "Our fight is over."

As if a switch had been flipped, all the flowers across the battlefield stopped emanating poison. Their final puffs of fog swirled into the air, joining the slowly-dissipating violet cloud hovering over the flower field. At the same time, the churning chemicals within Medicine's body slowly ground to a halt, stopping the creation of new poisons for the battle. She didn't need them anymore.

(The Flowers of Antimony passive has been disabled.)
(Poison Gathers [Passive] has been disabled.)

Medicine looked up at Marie. "I hope you're right, Marie," she said quietly. "I really hope you're right." She turned back toward the party. "I...guess I should start with them, then," she said, uncertainty plain in her voice. She took a few tentative steps forward...then stopped.

She...she couldn't do it. Approaching humans without harmful intent, without a plan, went completely against every instinct in her body. She knew—well, hoped—that Marie was telling the truth, and that they really didn't mean her any harm, but she still couldn't force herself to get any closer. It was just too much for someone who'd spent most of her life shooting first, asking questions never. She stood frozen, unsure what to say, or even to do, besides "kill", "humiliate", or "humiliate, then kill".

Her eyes went to the blonde girl lying among the flowers. The flowers were quick to inform her that this was the one who had healed them, replaced the countless plant lives that had been lost in the fight. She could immediately sense the girl's gentle nature, watching as she made sure not to hurt the flowers, and even tried to converse with them. She managed to take a few steps closer to the girl, avoiding the other intru—er, humans. "Y-you're the one who...healed the flower field, right?" She hesitated before continuing. "Um...thank you," she mumbled. "I'm sorry for, um..." She started to trail off. "Trying to...kill you, and...everything..."

Gods, what was she supposed to say? She couldn't remember the last time she actually tried to have a real, genuine conversation with anyone other than the flowers, much less give a heartfelt apology.

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:10 pm

Ferro felt utter relief as the poison fog dissipated, his lying upon the ground becoming far more relaxed than before. He watched as she approached Ix and thanked her, seeing that the convo went well.
"This was more dangerous than fighting Daraku," he commented. "But it's over now. Thank goodness no one had to die."

Marie watched Medicine closely before heading over to the rest of the party. "Yeah, it's better this way. By the way, I was serious about pounding every single one of you," she stated, holding a clenched fist.

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:12 pm

"Ah....A fine show, young warriors. You have the makings of a knight, each and every one of you!" Shovel Knight looked over at the dolls, namely the one threatening to pound them, before turning and beginning to walk off. "I believe adventure calls. Good luck, all of you!"
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:16 pm

"I didn't even participate in Dixi's plan!" Ferro sighed, not really fighting her threat.
"You didn't try to stop their BS plan though! You're just as guilty as Dixi and Jane!!" Marie huffed. "Speaking of which, hey, Ix, when we get home, switch with Dixi, so I can punch her, okay?" she calls to the girl.
"So who are you anyway? Another split piece of soul?" Ferro asked her. "You're not like the Marie we know."
She placed a hand upon her waist and replied, "Split personality. I'm a byproduct of Marie's curse."

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:05 pm

Ix was enjoying the scent of the flowers when she heard Medicine speaking to her, she opened her eyes and looked up at the doll negating with her head "Don't worry about it, you were confused... And... I apologize for what my sisters said, they didn't meant to." She replied with a smile "You were right, lying here among the flowers feels really good..." She added while gently getting up, carefully to not damage the flowers that were enjoying her light "...I'm sorry for how humans treated you in the past..." She noticed the doll's wounds "I can heal you if you wish..." She finish with a smile before looking at Marie, she was a bit confused by the change but it was still Marie "Sure! I want to lecture her myself too."

"Huh? Why? And what's with Marie?
"You and Xana bullied this poor doll, you two should apologize."
"I... I'm sorry..."

Ix smiled and looked back at Medicine "My sisters said that they are sorry for hurting you... A-Ah!" She remembered something and blushed a bit "I-I haven't introduced myself... T-That was really rude of me... My name is Ix, nice to meet you, Medicine..." She said smiling, then she looked at the flowers "And nice to meet you all too, little friends." She said to the flowers.
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:27 am

Jane didn't respond to Marie's threat. She felt no regret for her actions. In fact, even with hindsight, she would do the same thing again. She was not going to apologise without it being genuine. A false apology was worse than no apology at all.

She also had little to respond to Medicine with. It seemed like the apology she had given was intended for Ix, and she did not wish to presume that it also included her.

Sometimes, silence was the best option.
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:10 am

"Well, either way, it looks like we were able to prevent any nasty conclusions for everyone," he sighed, turning toward Medicine. "I don't know what happened to make you what you are today, but thank you for stopping the fight."

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:15 pm

At the mention of her wounds, Medicine looked down at herself, and found herself surprised with how much damage she'd taken. The porcelain of her skin was visibly chipped and cracked in many places, and the ringing pain in the back of her head reminded her of the many times she'd been struck there by the knight-gardener. The combined attacks from the martial artist and the monk had caused significant internal damage to her waist joint, which would undoubtedly be a long, painful process to repair.

Even so...she wasn't sure she was ready to put her trust in this girl's magic quite yet. Healing the flower field was one thing, but magically fixing up a living doll was quite another. She looked back up at Ix, and shook her head. "No thank you," she said. "It's not bad, I can take care of this myself."

She tilted her head in confusion. "Sisters? Who-" Realization dawned on her face. "Oh. Oh." She frowned. "Well...tell them there's no need to apologize. I did attack first, after all, but..." She hesitated for a moment. "...just..." She sighed, shaking her head. "Just make sure that lancer stays far away from me," she grumbled. "I can't promise I can stay civil with that witch around." She shuddered at the thought of that woman slithering around in her mind, changing this and that to suit her whims...a textbook example of the ugly depths lurking just under the surface of humanity. Or...most of it, at least.

She glanced toward Ferro. "What happened to me is none of your concern," she said flatly. "And..." She grimaced. "It's...not your fault, either. I shouldn't blame you all for the actions of other people." She sighed. "I just...I thought you were all the same...besides, Marie's the one you should be thanking, not me," she said, tilting her head toward the other doll. "If it hadn't been for her, you'd all be dead now, or wishing you were." She chuckled dryly. "You might've been putting up a good fight, but you weren't going to hold out forever. I could feel the poison in your body, you know. I still can." Her smile faded. She'd have offered the party an antidote, but somehow, she got the feeling they weren't going to trust her not to poison them even more. Honestly, even she wasn't sure if she'd do it or not.

She blinked in surprise at the sudden departure of the cyan knight. "Wait, what are you doing?" she asked. "You didn't just come here to fight me, right? Or are you just trying to prove some kind of point?" She stepped back, and looked at each member of the party in turn. "I...remember you said something about 'expanding territory' at the start of all this, or some ridiculous thing like that. If Marie's right, and I really can trust you all, then that means you'll tell me why you're actually here, right?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:23 pm

The knight stopped, turning to face the doll. Shrugging, he began to make his way back, eyes noting the chips and cracks. With a sigh, he reached into his ruck sack...And pulled out a small chalice, a red liquid sloshing within. "I have this. I know not if it will help you fix yourself, but drinking it *should* restore some of your strength, assuming you've lost any during this battle. I'd offer it to the rest of the group, but I only have two chalices, so unless you all wish to share..

"As for your question...I came because there had been sightings of flowers, quite similar to the ones you grow upon this hill. As such, I came to investigate."
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PostSubject: Re: The Melancholy of Medicine (Boss Encounter)   Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:25 pm

"Keep calm, Medicine," Marie urged with a soothing, hushed tone. "Everyone, care to explain?"
"Of course. Your expanding flower garden had been expanding and overgrowing the land, which gave the people in a couple nearby villages concern. We came hoping to settle things peacefully." He used his staff to help him up to his feet. "Though it didn't go as well as I'd hoped, it still resolved without any loss." He smiled a bit as he heard her speak so highly of Marie.
"Of course, if it weren't for Marie, we probably would've lost here," he admitted. "You're quite effective. But, you're selling yourself short, Medicine. You listened to her, ultimately, and you showed concern for her and were even willing to trust her judgement. Empathy and faith aren't something to be sneezed at. I'd still like to thank you, Medicine, but I might as well thank Marie too."
Marie huffed and smirked jubilantly, "You and your pretty words!"

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