With the Molarian Moss gathered, our heroes left “Sy” to do his science and returned home.
About a month later, Sy contacted Doctor τ, informing him that he thinks he has a way to get K12’s memories and powers back. After gathering together, everyone was beamed up onto the Hive. Sy showed everyone a set of chairs with hairdryer-looking devices connected to a glowing green hub, apparently powered by adamantite. Our heroes would be hooked up to the device, and given a concoction with the Molarian Moss meant to enable their consciousnesses to introspect into minds. Along with the strange-looking device, it would allow the other heroes to enter K12’s mind. The moss would only work for a few hours.
Sy warned our heroes that whatever was locking down K12 may protect itself against them. If they were killed in K12’s mind, they would be braindead, something Hoenheim could not help with. Tau had some objections about experimenting on humans, but Sy assured him that “this sort of thing” has been done before, and that the procedure itself shouldn’t be dangerous. It was just whatever lurks in K12’s mind that they should worry about.
Since there were only three chairs, Hoenheim sat this one out, instead teaching his crow Jobe how to play checkers. Skree skree.
And so Witch, Tau, and K12 were hooked up to this device, and ingested a bitter purple liquid. Soon they fell unconscious. When they woke up, they found themselves lying on a web of black roots. Looking up, they found they were in a city with a strange, alien architecture. It felt familiar to K12. All of the buildings were overgrown with these black root-like vines, or vine-like roots. They all seemed to originate from one direction, where the root of this evil would lie.
As our heroes approached the source, they saw what appeared to be an enormous tree with purple leaves in the distance. As they came closer, they realized this was not a tree, but rather a tall building, overgrown with the same roots as the rest of the city.
Our heroes ventured to the top of the tree. Tau inspected the purple leaves, and found that, unlike normal leaves, they had no veins. He was unable to find a way in through the matting of roots.
Tau and K12 returned to the base of the building and attempted to get in through the overgrown doors. However, when they did so, they heard a roar off in the distance. Witch, who was flying around, led our heroes to the source of the sound, but they could not find anything suspicious. They returned to the tower/tree, and again tried to get into the building.
This time, they pulled away a web of roots. However, when they successfully made an opening, more roots quickly grew over it, fully covering the door. Another roar was heard, this time from the top of the building. Looking up, it appeared that branches were falling on our heroes. But as they grew closer, our heroes knew those were no branches.
A large humanoid golem made of the same black roots as webbed the terrain fell to the ground. It was as tall as three people, and accompanied by five human-sized golems. The large guardian had a bright purple stone as an eye, while the smaller golems sprouted small purple leaves, the same as the tree above. Everyone rolled for initiative.
Our heroes first dispatched of the smaller golems, destroying them with relative ease. This enraged the guardian, who continued to attack our heroes. They landed many successful blows on the guardian, but after each blow the eye of the guardian would glow, and the destroyed roots regrew. “The eye!” exclaimed K12. “It’s the root of his power, we must destroy it!”
Our heroes then focused on the eye of the guardian, and in a few more combat rounds destroyed it. When the eye shattered, the guardian blew away into fine black dust, and the roots covering everything began to do the same.
Soon, our heroes found themselves back in their own bodies, in the real world. K12 began to regain his memories. Back on Allaur, he was a well-known chef named Kal’Tolor who ran a fine dining restaurant. He, like all other Plebians, does not have a family, and grew up in a nursery. Having family is a luxury reserved for Borgians. He grew up with a friend and rival named Kul’Nathan, who also became a chef. K12 began to wonder whether Kul’Nathan and the chefs and sous-chefs that worked at his restaurant are alright.
One day Nek’ilash, son of Nek’thulan, vice-regent of war, came to K12’s restaurant. He ordered a fungi-based dish, and was then displeased that it was made of fungi. K12 suspected that Nek’ilash did not understand the name of the dish, and told him as much when Nek’ilash complained. Out of petty anger, Nek’ilash made sure that K12 was recruited as a recon. As K12 was loaded onto the S.S. Bakron for his preparation, Nek’ilash gloated in K12’s face about how this was all his doing.
K12 also remembered visiting a planet with black, vine-like trees like the ones seen in K12’s mind. That was where his memories and powers were locked. Sy was unsure of what the plants are, but knew a biologist who might help them. She’s a Borgian who goes by the name of Katerina, and ventures around the universe researching life forms. Sy could find Katerina’s whereabouts if they want.
What’s in store for our heroes next time? Will K12 get revenge on Nek’ilash for conscripting him as a recon? Now that the creature is destroyed, will all of K12’s memories and powers return? And what’s the deal with Sy and this Katerina anyways? Find out next time on Protectors of Emerald City!