A Positive Start (Solo Quest)

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A Positive Start (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/26/2012, 7:07 pm

Guardian of Earth

Easy Quest

Requirement: None

Reward: 1,000 zeni

You've learned of Kami, the chosen Guardian of Earth, who is also a renowned warrior and teacher. Wishing to see if he would take you as his pupil, you decide to ascend to Kami's Lookout, which lies far above Korin's Tower, in the clouds. Upon arriving you are greeted by a robust black genie who tells you his name is Mr. Popo. Mr. Popo is very polite to you and a very generious host. However, he wishes to test your skills before he permits you to speak to the Guardian Kami. All you have to do is land a punch. Beware, despite his jovial appearance, Popo is a fearsome warrior.

Dread wrote:The Lookout was a far more impressive sight than that of the precariously tower-mounted abode of that mind-reading cat, Korin. The massive bowl-shaped structure left John nearly breathless from the moment he began approaching it; what impressed him most about it was that nothing supported it unlike Korin’s home that miraculously remained in place above its singular and narrow support. The Lookout simply floated thousands of feet above the surface of the Earth even though it had absolutely no right to do so. Even John, hovering far above the clouds as he was, continued to feel the pull of Earth’s gravity whereas the enormous lookout ignored that pull entirely. What, if anything, kept the Lookout afloat?

Sometime Earlier…

As soon as John had returned from his traumatic visitation to the Cave of Darkness, Korin issued him his reward. John, having little tolerance for the mind-reading creature, was ready to leave as soon as he had received that which had been promised him. The feline, however, had a message for him and told him to wait. John could hardly stand to take orders from Korin and that feeling had nothing to do with the fact that he was a cat and an especially ugly one at that. John passionately held a grudge against him for having previously probed his mind without his permission.

“High above the clouds, higher even than this place, lives a man who has spent many long years looking over the well being of Earth and its inhabitants.” Korin told him.

“And he’s done a great job.” John sarcastically retorted; after all, where had such a heroic figure been throughout all his years of suffering?

“He is highly revered by those who know of his existence and he has rightly earned the title of Guardian of the Earth.” Korin continued, ignoring John’s disrespect.

“I can tell; he’s done a great job so far,” John interrupted.

Korin growled in frustration; John smiled back at him with the satisfactory knowledge that he was getting to the cat. “He knows about you, John,” Korin said.

“I’m scared,” John tonelessly replied.

“He knows of your suffering and of your accomplishments. I do not know why, but he believes that there is a chance you might be able to protect the world from the terrible disasters that threaten it,” Korin revealed.

“I thought that was his job,” John said.

“He may have power beyond my or your understanding, but he is only one person. Earth needs more than one protector and the Guardian thinks you can become one such figure of great significance.” Korin tried explaining.

“If this is some kind of job offer then you may as well let your guardian pal know that I am not interested. I look out for number one,” John told him and drove his point across by aiming his right thumb at his chest. His arm then drooped to one side; he frowned as he added, just barely above a whispering breath, “No one else will.”

“No one is forcing you to go and I no longer care what you choose; I am done trying to get through your thick skull!” Korin shouted angrily.

“I’m glad to hear it! I don’t want you in my head anyway or was that first time not enough for you to learn that much?” John yelled back.

Korin almost delivered an incredibly personal insult at John from what he learned about the teenager already, but he thought better of it. “Your master wants you to become stronger, right?” He asked softly; John did not reply, there was no point in supplying an obvious answer. “The Guardian might be able to help you in that endeavor. He wants to meet with you at his home called the Lookout. If he sees more in you than I have already then he might teach you some things that would increase your power.”

“Choose where you want to go, John, but leave my home.” Korin spoke with severe finality.

John walked away from him and toward the railing that led to a drop of thousands of feet. He neither waved nor said anything to the talking cat as he climbed over the rail and dropped out of sight. A moment later, John reappeared, ascending higher into the sky than he had ever gone before. He had made his decision; he would meet with the Guardian after all.


Last edited by John Dark on 8/27/2012, 2:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: A Positive Start (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/27/2012, 1:46 pm

Dread wrote:Back to current events...

John landed some feet beyond the outer ring of the Lookout’s surface and took in his surroundings with a continued sense of awe. He observed the pristine tiles, the lovely landscaping, and, most notable of all, the palace-like structure that rested several yards away from him. Wherever he looked, he saw beauty that must have required the talents and attentions of a remarkable individual. Bees buzzed about the flowers that had been arranged neatly in parallel boxes; he wondered, for a moment, where their home resided so far above the planet’s surface. He smiled and proceeded toward the building that had and continued to captivate most of his attention.

Someone stepped out through the main entrance leading into the “palace” and he softly closed the enormous door behind him so that it hardly squeaked. “I must remember to oil that later,” The figure said to no one in particular.

He was, John realized, incredibly dark-skinned, short-statured, and strangely dressed. John thought better than to judge him by his outfit because he knew too well how ridiculous he presently appeared traipsing around in his combat and training attire. As he examined the stranger, the stranger looked back as though upraising him. A long silence passed between them and the quiet was accompanied by their mutual stillness. “Welcome to Kami’s Lookout,” He told John at long last.

“Are you the guardian I was told about?” John asked, not knowing who or what Kami was; perhaps Kami was dead, whoever that was, and the Lookout had been named in that person’s honor.

“No, my name is Mr. Popo; Kami is resting at the moment.” He revealed to John who felt rather stupid upon realizing Kami was the name of the guardian and not that of some honored saint.

“I was told the guardian…Kami, right?” John looked to Mr. Popo for confirmation; he silently nodded his head once. “I was told he wanted to meet with me and that he might be able to teach me.”

“You were informed correctly, John Dark” Mr. Popo said; John was immediately taken aback by the fact this strange man knew him by his name. “Like I said, however, Kami is resting at the moment.”

“When may I see him?” John asked while exercising politeness he had not shown to Korin whom he deemed unworthy of his respect.

“This evening perhaps,” Mr. Popo answered; John tensed up at that revelation because he lacked the time to wait around for this guardian person to wake up from his nap.

“I am sorry, Mr. Popo, but I do not have that long to wait,” John told him.

“If you haven’t the time to wait for Kami then perhaps you would like to take a moment to recuperate.” Mr. Popo suggested. “You must have endured a long journey to come all this way. Would you not care to enjoy one of our many beds or our luxurious bathhouse?”

John thought for a moment then said, “A bath, huh? I could probably use one of those. Could you show me the way?” He asked.

“Follow me and I will take you there at once.” Mr. Popo said; with that, he led John into the palace and through several corridors.

John often turned his head to either side and examined their passing and lavish surroundings; just who could afford such an incredible home? Did the world governments know of the guardian? Did they supply Kami certain finances? Mr. Popo stopped in front of a wooden set of double doors. “It is just inside. Towels and robes are provided. Would you like me to have your clothes washed?” He asked John.

John cringed for a moment; the pungent odor of his unclean outfit suddenly hit him with the force of a gale. How had Mr. Popo, or anyone else for that matter, managed to endure his presence? In that moment, he wanted nothing more than to have his attire cleaned, but he did not know if he could trust Mr. Popo with such powerful garments. “They will be returned to you completely undamaged and stainless when they are ready,” Mr. Popo assured him as though having sensed his worry.

“Thank you, but where should I leave them?” John asked.

“You may leave them outside the door,” Mr. Popo replied.

Is he going to stand out here while I bathe? John wondered. Is he some kind of pervert? “Everything you need for your bath is just inside,” Mr. Popo reminded him. “Excuse me while I go and prepare lunch. Would you care for anything to eat?”

John felt ashamed of having thought lowly of his gracious host even for a moment. “Yes, please.” He replied. “Thank you, Mr. Popo.” He added.

“It is my pleasure,” Mr. Popo replied with a slight bow; it was then that his jovial attitude began to unnerve John.

John had spent his whole life at the pit of society and far below its bottom rung. He had never experienced such service in his life before and he could not imagine anyone actually experiencing joy from serving others. He knew that he would hate to tend to every need and want of those around him. How could anyone in the service industry manage to remain pleasant? Were they forced to smile and express constant gratitude by their employers? Was Mr. Popo some kind of slave or did he actually take pleasure from his tasks at the Lookout? John then recalled the wondrous flowers and elegantly arranged trees atop the Lookout’s surface; certainly no one could have accomplished such beauty without a measure of passion, could they?
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Re: A Positive Start (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/27/2012, 4:02 pm

Dread wrote:John discovered all he needed just beyond the doors for a proper bath. Shelves along one wall featured neatly folded towels and wrinkle-free robes for after he had cleaned up. Sinks with mirrors and stools neighbored one another along the other wall. Further along, he encountered a separation wall with a sliding glass door through which he could not see. He opened it without encountering any resistance and stepped forward into the tiled bathing area. It contained an empty and squared off pool that could have easily accommodated a family of four or five. Brazen pipes lined the far wall that disappeared into the ceiling and down into the floor. He located gold-colored knobs along the right hand wall with which he experimented.

As soon as he began turning one of the knobs, visibly hot water spilled endlessly into the pool from a grate-covered hole inside it. John noticed several other such holes along the pool’s interior and accurately surmised that each of the knobs released water from one of those pipes. He turned several others, increasing the flow into the pool. Steam quickly filled the room and impaired John’s vision somewhat as is assaulted him with its humid warmth, but a pleasant aroma accompanied the steam.

John continued to experiment by shutting off certain pipes and keeping others open; he wanted to test a theory while he waited for the pool to fill. He learned, from taking casual sniffs at the air, the knobs not only released hot water into the pool, but also infused the bathwater with certain soaps, oils, and perfumes depending on which ones he opened. He decided to release water from all the pipes after discovering that none of the cleanly scents contradicted one another or came at him in overpowering waves.

He went back to the entrance of the bathhouse and discarded his clothes just outside the door. He had only opened it a crack in case Mr. Popo or Kami was walking past. Even though steam spread out into the hallway, John could see no one was there. He closed the door and went back to the pool. It had filled adequately upon his return; he shut off the water and immersed his entire body into its welcoming depths.

The heat stung him some as did the concentration of soaps and perfumes, but he endured the sensations of the treated water scrubbing the filth off his flesh. He relaxed and entered a meditative state for the next few minutes. After a time, he dunked his head beneath the surface and kept both his eyes and mouth shut. He held his breath for as long as he could then surfaced, effortlessly breaking through the foamy barrier of bubbles that had gathered above his scalp. That’s enough he decided.

He stepped out and immediately felt the chill of the air outside the water at it whispered over his skin. He hurried over to the shelves and took for himself a towel. He dried his body and discovered, to his delight, that the towel did not chafe him like so many others he had used before it. He expeditiously donned one of the impossibly soft and light robes provided for the guests and inhabitants of the Lookout. He then wondered, as he dressed just how many people lived at the Lookout and how often did it receive guests.

It would have been such a shame for people like Mr. Popo to put so much tender loving care into such a magnificent place if few people could actually enjoy it. Perhaps that is how Mr. Popo preferred it, John thought. Maybe he and Kami enjoyed the solitude that their location afforded them so that few people could disturb them and ruin their paradise in all its splendor.

Wasn’t Kami supposed to be a guardian of Earth or something along those lines? How could someone like that simply lounge about and enjoy the pleasures of a luxurious home while the people of Earth suffered constantly? What did “The Guardian” do that earned them such a title?

Why can’t I just be grateful for the bath, a meal, and clean clothes? John suddenly asked himself. Why do I have to be so critical of other people? The simple answer came quickly enough for both his questions; he trusted no one, especially people who claimed they were doing the right thing. People, in his experience, who would have him believe they were on his side would try stabbing him in the back at the earliest opportunity.

A knock came at the door; John walked over and opened it. Mr. Popo stood just before the threshold. “I have finished preparing lunch,” He informed John. “Would you like me to show you to the dining area?”

“Where are my clothes?” John asked, glancing at the floor where he had dropped them.

“You left them outside; I collected them for cleaning. Was that not what you wanted?” Mr. Popo asked.

“Of course,” John replied slowly. “Please, show me to the dining area and thanks again for your hospitality.”

“Think nothing of it, John,” Mr. Popo replied.
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Re: A Positive Start (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/27/2012, 5:02 pm

Dread wrote:They entered a rather small room located near the entrance to the “palace”; it featured an average table and a single window. The window provided its occupants with a clear view of the perfectly blue sky outside. Mr. Popo directed John to a seat; he plopped down immediately with an obvious eagerness to chow down. A bowl, a cup, and silverware had all been neatly arranged for his arrival. He received the impression of dining at a five-star establishment in spite of his bland surroundings. Mr. Popo rolled a food cart next to him and proceeded to serve him.

He filled John’s bowl with piping hot ramen of the home cooked variety. John had only ever eaten the instant kind and it took him a moment to identify the soup placed before him. The steam alone that wafted upwards carried the mouth-watering scent of perfectly measured spices and seasonings. He peered down at the dish and noticed thick noodles, finely chopped vegetables, and shrimp. Floating at the surface like two wayward kayaks were two halves of a boiled egg. John took a fork, dipped it into the soup, twirled it about to catch some of the noodles, and brought it toward his mouth. The egg halves bobbed a little, but both remained afloat despite the disturbance. He smiled because he had succeeded in his attempt to spear one of the shrimp with the utensil.

He breathed onto the dripping noodles and accompanying shrimp then stuffed it into his mouth. His face instantly lit up and almost expressed his delight, but thought better to chew and swallow first. It was almost a shame to swallow the tender morsels he had issued onto his tongue; he wanted to continue to savor the assortment of textures, the herbal flavoring, and the perfect combination of sweet shellfish meat and salty broth. The salt was hardly present unlike the instant crap John had often called a meal, but it was noticeable enough to make his tongue tingle and his mouth quiver.

He swallowed then exclaimed, “This is absolutely delicious!”

His stomach growled in its demand for immediate nourishment; it had not been trained to appreciate taste. For the longest time, food had been nothing more than a means to continue living for John. He ate as a feral beast; he consumed food quickly so that he could exploit any opportunity to acquire more sustenance even faster. He devoured his shares as swiftly as possible to deny anyone the chance of taking from him any amount of food, but he was not always successful in such attempts.

John ate quickly to calm his belly, but he showed some respect toward Mr. Popo’s culinary talents by making constant use of the silverware and restraining himself from slurping or belching. The egg halves, to his surprise, tasted as wonderful as the dish’s many other components. He abandoned his fork or spoon only to drink the broth when he had consumed all the bowl’s other edible contents. He washed down one serving after another with iced tea and Mr. Popo refilled his bowl or glass whenever either emptied in absolute silence. The supply of either food or beverage never dwindled, but Mr. Popo never made a return trip to the kitchen, wherever that may have been.

“That was wonderful,” John told his host when he had emptied his twelfth bowl of ramen. “It’s been some time since I’ve eaten like that. You have my compliments.”

Mr. Popo beamed a smile back at him; he positively radiated pride in his work. “Thank you,” He said.

“No, I should be thanking you, Mr. Popo. You’ve been nothing but kind to me even though we have never met. I wish there was something I could do for you,” John told him.

“There actually is something I need you to do for me,” Mr. Popo replied.

“What is it? Would you like me to clean up? I can do that for you,” John offered.

“That will not be necessary,” Mr. Popo told him. “Meet me outside and I will tell you what you must do for me and for Kami.”

“For Kami?” John asked; Mr. Popo issued him a silent nod. “Alright, I’ll be out there waiting,” He said compliantly as he stood up; he pushed his chair back toward the table then left the room for his and Mr. Popo’s rendezvous point.
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Re: A Positive Start (Solo Quest)

Post by John Dark on 8/27/2012, 6:13 pm

Dread wrote:John stood at the bottom of the steps leading up to the main entrance into the “palace” with his back turned toward the structure. He had already dressed into his combat and training attire he had discovered lying neatly folded by the door. He doubted anyone would see him naked atop the Lookout; Kami was supposedly resting and Mr. Popo was nowhere to be seen. He smiled as he found his host’s generosity unbelievable for the umpteenth time since his visit.

Again, he took in the serene sights before him and found himself wondering why he felt no chill and why he could breathe normally if the Lookout was located high above the clouds. He wondered where the Lookout received all its water and how Mr. Popo had managed to collect all the ingredients needed for the lunch. For that matter, how had he acquired the ingredients in such quantities as to fulfill his appetite? These were questions to which he had no answers, but they helped him pass the time while he waited.

He had not long to wait, however, before Mr. Popo stepped outside. John heard the creak of the door opening and closing, but he did not make any movement to indicate his awareness of Mr. Popo’s presence. “Are you ready, John?” Mr. Popo asked.

John finally turned around to face his generous host and grinned. “I am ready? What do you want me to do for you?” He replied.

Mr. Popo made no answer; instead, he suddenly leaped toward John with one fist extended toward his face. John took a hard punch to the left side of his face and staggered awkwardly and diagonally backward as his attacker landed. He steadied himself then rubbed his cheek where his skin felt a little sore; he thought it might bruise a little, but he was otherwise unharmed. “What are you doing?” John asked.

Mr. Popo made no response; instead, he advanced quickly with every intention of continuing his attack. He had expended his element of surprise, however. John took a defensive stance and batted away Mr. Popo’s next two strikes against him with his wrists. “Why are you attacking me?” John asked.

Mr. Popo dropped out of his peripheral vision; John looked down, but had left that action too late. Mr. Popo positioned his body sideways on the ground with only his right hand to support his weight. He delivered a sliding kick, sweeping his ankles around John’s tendons; the result was immediate. John fell onto his back with a grunt. Unfortunately, for John, Mr. Popo would not let up even after his opponent had fallen.

Mr. Popo had already returned to his feet just as John had started falling; he then leaped skyward. John observed his black figure momentarily eclipsing some of the sun above as he fell toward him, threatening to smash a fist down on top of him. John rolled away as Mr. Popo’s fist crashed into a tile; the impact obliterated it into dust, some of which sprayed John. Could that have broken my jaw? John wondered; he had toughened up quite substantially over the past few weeks.

John jumped up to his feet and faced his opponent. He had no idea why his host had gone from offering him a plethora of comforts to assaulting him. Had he been correct in wanting to suspect Mr. Popo in not being what he initially appeared? He had no time to search for answers; he needed to defend himself, quickly. His instincts he acquired from growing up doing little else other than fighting or being beaten took charge of his actions. If Mr. Popo wanted to brawl with a street-toughened man, then John would oblige him.

John formed a fist with his right hand and crouched as though preparing to strike out against his present adversary. Mr. Popo stood and assumed a defensive position. John ran toward him, but Mr. Popo simply remained motionless. Good, John thought. I have you now.

John threw his fist forward and, just as he suspected, Mr. Popo raised his arms to block. His knuckles connected with a muscled limb and stopped. “Not that easy!” John declared and unleashed a very basic ki ball of absolute darkness from his fist directly onto Mr. Popo’s arm.

The resulting explosion knocked both John and his host back and away from one another. They both crashed onto their backs, but neither had been rendered unconscious by the blast. John raised his aching fist above his head to examine it; the skin appeared mildly burnt and stung horribly. He marveled at the recoil of his weakest ki attack even though he had discharged it with nothing separating him from his target.

He jumped to his feet and prepared to continue his fight; Mr. Popo also stood, but he no longer appeared interested in fighting. He bowed before John in the manner a fighter might respect his opponent before or after a match. John was shocked until the possibility struck him that their physical exchange had been a test of his abilities. He bowed to show a mutual amount of respect toward Mr. Popo and could not stop himself from grinning. Mr. Popo, you are a man who is full of surprises.
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