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Here you are, standing just inside the gates of Cartridge Gardens. You are not the best, you are not the brightest. Those, the great heroes of Tendoria, have already striven against and fallen to the Glitch. No, you are not the best and brightest, but you are what there is, and the hope of a city and a people rests on your shoulders. An angel, a karate champ, and a floating head.
The Mayor, a little man in a tophat with a monkey capering by his side, looks at you sadly but with a touch of pride. "You are risking a lot, heroes, but really, not taking a stand against the Glitch just means waiting for it to come to us. Which of the Zeroes will you attempt to free first?"
That's the question, isn't it?
Doctah Chompah roams the hallways of Good's Mile Hospital, where once he was a great healer, revelling in his corruption and allied now with the Plague Clouds that used to be his nemeses. He was the oldest of the great Heroes, and the first to fall during the initial wave of fighting the Glitch.
The conjoined Falzetti Sisters rule Pipe City with a capricious and cruel ferocity, but they are not a united front, arguing between themselves all the time. Some of Papa Shellini's old regime remains active, and might be a help.
Tar Zangeles is controlled by MagnaMonk from atop the Grand Banana Hotel. The mecha-primate's creator and former tormentor, Doctor Maru, also resides within the gang-infested city, and it is said that she is working on a cure for the Glitch, in her own twisted way.
In Castle Tempylvania, half-vampire Agent Brad DeVries struggles against the last onslaught of the Glitch's attempt to control him, as well as against the temptation to take the Throne of Blood and fulfil Mina Elisabeta's desires for him.
Princess Orianna Sopralto's controls the world of Opera Fortress nearly completely, and the few allies you might find will have agendas of their own, if you want their information or help.
Heroes, where do you begin?
"Exactly, Mayor! We've got to take action!" Apollo looks at the Mayor's monkey, who probably wields more power than most pixons realize, and gives the primate an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
"I think we should rescue Brad DeVries first. If he is still Glitch-free, he'll be a powerful ally!" Apollo looks at Hiro and Buddy, saying, "What do you think?"
Hiro's eyes narrow, which is tough since they are always narrow. He gives a curt nod, "Hai. DeVries should be the first target. He is the most time sensitive. Also, his aide will make future efforts stronger." Hiro punctuates the word "stronger" by punching his right fist forward. He looks to Buddy, "What counsel do you give us, Sensei?"
"Well, if you two geniuses say it's DeVries, then I guess it's DeVries. What's the worst that can happen?"
The Mayor gives you a smile as the monkey climbs up to sit on his tophat. The monkey waves.
The gate opens and you set out into the wilds of Tendoria Island. It is not long before you stand at the edge of the Forest of Black, Castle Tempylvania's skull-face looming above the mists.
Here is what you know about Castle Tempylvania, before The Glitch.
The Castle itself sits high on Tendoria's sole mountain its skull-like face peering out over a dark forest where time seems to shift crazily from day to night. This is particularly unsettling, because all manner of monsters come out once the sun sets. The villages scattered through the forest are hardly welcoming, but safe enough as long as you're indoors come dark. The villagers themselves are superstitious and fiercely against "witchcraft," as they call Hax. Agent Brad DeVries came to what was then known as Castle Dracula originally to find the lost treasure of the Templars, but found himself drawn back into a time when Dracula himself sat on the Throne of Blood and was forced to embrace his own vampiric heritage, in the form of his ancestor Sir Braddock's unholy sword, to defeat Dracula. He refuses to embrace the black and ascend the Throne of Blood himself, but protects the villagers as if they were his own.
After the Glitch?
Something about DeVries' already divided nature has allowed him to keep the Glitch at bay, but he is constantly fighting to keep it so. His dual struggles with the Purple of the Glitch and the Black of his Vampiric nature are rumored to be tearing him apart from within. Villagers infected with the Glitch don't present obvious symptoms, but tend to suddenly transform into monsters in a burst of purple and green.
Glitch Effect in Tempylvania: Any use of Hax here causes the user to lose a heart (lowest available).
Hiro looks out across the expanse of Castle Tempylvania. "Apollo-san, the villagers are protected by Brad DeVries, hai? We should gain their support to prove to Brad DeVries that we are his allies." Hiro quickly steps onto the cobblestone path that leads to the small village under the shadow of the great and horrific skull castle.
Apollo flits along the path next to Hiro, nodding. "A good start, Hiro! But we best not appear as though we are challenging his power or rule. We can't risk a squabble in the face of the Glitch!"
Apolllo looks out at the small village, taking in the fields and waterways. "I wonder what they need?"
Apollo and Hiro, that's a good question. What do the villagers need? They're going about their business, actions rote and uninteresting. What do you see? What's missing, what's the weakness or danger here that's not being addressed?
Apollo strokes his chin, thinking, his trumpet case thumping along with his steps. "They do look rote and uninteresting. Perhaps they are bored, overwhelmed with the threat of the Glitch, seeking diversion?" He looks to the floating head. "Do you see anything notable with your glasses, Buddy?"
Hiro peers for a moment longer, observing, "There are no children. Perhaps they are kept indoors. Shameful. Why would they do such a thing? We must go find out."
"Joe. My name is Joe, not Buddy" The head rotates, slowly. "Yes, I see no children. Interesting that you two torso-gifted folks noticed. Maybe there's been a Piper incursion?"
"Piper incursion?" Hiro asks, confused. "Do you mean the plumber and friends?"
Joe shakes his... well, his head. "Does having a body make you stupid? What do plumbers have to do with kids? I was talking about the the pied kind of Piper..."
"Oh, very sorry." Hiro apologizes with a bow. "I thought you meant the plumbers and their pipes. Are Piper Incursions common, Sensei?"
Joe does that thing he does, bobbing up and down once. It's his version of a shrug. "Since the Glitch, who knows? Everybody used to keep mostly to their own worlds or Cartridge Gardens. Anyway, I'd bet getting their little brats back would earn us some trust from the villagers."
Apollo shakes his head sadly. "Small wonder they look so listless, that their children have been taken. Joe, I haven't heard of a Piper Incursion in a long time. Maybe we are overdue." He lifts his gaze to the village, thinking of sundered families.
"We should search the area outside the village, to see if there's any signs of Pipers." He looks over his shoulder at his two companions, to see if they agree.
Hiro ducks his head in a nod, then heads off at a jog. Being the only one that actually walks, Hiro has to move quickly to keep pace with his companions.