Niudisa paused for a moment, her expression darkening briefly before she seemed to reconsider whatever she was thinking. Ultimately, she chose to just turn away, though her hands were clenched, for anyone close enough to see.
Veo's fists were also clenched, and she looked like she was going to pursue Niudisa, but this time Emfa outright grabbed her and spun her around, giving her a slap across the face. "Get a hold of yourself!"
Jeri put a hand on Veo's elbow, "What's wrong?", Jeri couldn't quite understand the situation, or why everyone was so uneasy about the plants, having not been involved with most of the events that led up to this point, she couldn't understand why Veo was upset. Veo apparently didn't feel like explaining, backhanding Jeri away and to the floor and ripping her self out of Emfa's grip.
"We're leaving, c'mon," Veo hissed, continuing onward whether she was followed or not. Jeri was holding her nose on the ground, apparently bleeding, looking very confused and a bit afraid.
Asta's claws unsheathed on reflex upon seeing Jeri get hit, but he quickly put them away. Emil watched Veo go, his ears back, before going to give Jeri a hand. "She's been through a lot recently. She doesn't want to think about it, so it's best not to bring it up."
Emil should’ve expected that reaction, but he was surprised by it nonetheless. He paused before patting her back. If nothing else, he tried to be a good friend, and that meant comforting those who needed it.
Erina and Fia went after the rest of the group while Shuffle stayed back with Emil and Jeri to make sure they weren’t just left behind.
Jeri took a few moments to gather herself before letting go and wiping the blood off her face. "I'm sorry," she still thought she'd somehow done something wrong, or maybe she'd bled on Emil's back. Probably both, really.
"Come here," Joanne clanked down next to Jerry and put her hand on Jerry's face, transferring some her pool into Jerry to heal her. "We will fall behind soon if we stay here."
Jeri nodded and stood up, following the others back to the rest of the party. Jeri hid behind Joanne when Veo reappeared, Adran and Emfa trying to talk to her but Veo was having none of it. Joanne sighed, and looked at Niudisa, "Fairy, would you like to attempt to break this up or shall i?" For once Joanne was putting any measure of trust in the necromancer.
Joanne nodded, and made her way over to the warlock and minotaur trying to reason with Veo. "All three of you, be silent."
"You stay out of this!", Veo hissed.
"I will not," Joanne looked Veo dead in the eye. "This is a difficult situation, yes, but you will gain nothing by being hostile and attacking your teammates. You will behave, or you will wear Jerry's necklace and remain in the bag of holding until you are needed." Veo slapped Joanne. Joanne turned her head back towards Veo, raised an armored fist, and slammed it into Veo's face, dropping her like a sack of potatoes. "You will behave, or you will not be a part of the situation at all," Joanne repeated before turning on her heels and moving on.
"What is the matter?", Joanne asked when she saw the looks she was getting. Emfa shook her head as she picked up the unconscious Veo.
Well now Jeri was scared of Joanne, too, hiding behind Shuffle when she looked over. "I'm behaving!", she echoed.
"Then let us continue," Joanne turned around and continued walking, leaving the party to follow the tank.
Farther into the ruins, they didn't find much. There were some rooms that looked like they had once been goblin camps, bottles of various alcohols and what looked like an attempt to brew their own ale littered the shelves and floors of the rooms. Adran unceremoniously pocketed every non-empty bottle in one of the rooms without answering any questions about why.
Finally, what seemed like hours later, by now Veo had recovered from being knocked out, but seemed to have had some sense knocked into her, and was following behind Emfa, putting one tank in front of her between the other.
"Yeah," Adran nodded, "But think about what we've had to deal with. That hallway was probably an impassable barrier for most creatures once it corrupted, and these plants," Adran kicked a dead root, "Have been eating everything. This is probably an area of the dungeon that's avoided. If you were a druid, this would be the safest place in the ruins."
Ahead they could hear the sound of something moving around, though. On the other side of a wide wooden door. It sounded like... goblins? And by the grunting, there was at least one minotaur involved. It sounded like there was a territory dispute going on, possibly as a result of the plants invading other areas.
“I prefer things we can fight.” Shuffle looked ahead, trying to hide her excitement. Somehow she’d gotten the impression that she shouldn’t enjoy the fights as much as she did. It had also been a while since her last swig of healing water, so her bloodlust was starting to rise.
Adran agreed with Shuffle on that. It sucked when your enemy wasn't something you could deal with by hitting it over and over again. He drew his bow and knocked an arrow, Joanne drew her sword, Emfa hefted her axe. Jeri looked down at her hands, and balled them into fists. She didn't exactly understand her actual capabilities in a fight.
Once everyone was ready, the door was kicked open, into a courtyard. By the foul smell, it was goblin territory, or at least where they frequented. In the center a bunch of goblinoids were running around, trying to fell a minotaur. The minotaur was putting up a good fight, but somehow the goblins were actually able to fight it. They seemed a bit larger, smarter. Organized. Their weapons and 'armor' was of higher quality than the salvaged hodge-podge the group had seen so far on goblins.
Emil got his lute and Erina grabbed her whip before the door flew open. Shuffle charged in once she had a view of the fight. She’d figure out which side to target along the way. Fia took flight, and Asta flew after her. He had to do what he could with his current size. Niudisa stayed above the fight as well, looking to see if any goblins had died before their arrival. Poli stayed back with Erina, Emil standing by them to play his support music.
There were some goblin corpses, mashed into the ground with body parts missing or completely flattened by the stampede of goblins and the minotaur. The minotaur wasn't looking that hot, breathing heavily and bleeding profusely as it started to lag, the goblins actually able to put up a fight.
Joanne and Emfa charged right in, cleaving off heads. It didn't take long for the goblins to adapt and begin trying to herd the melee fighters into the minotaur's path. Beri's yowl of pain and roar of rage announced that his tail had been hammered. Jeri... well Jeri tried. She punched a goblin in the nose of his helmet and a crack announced she'd broken her hand doing so. Jeri ran back to Veo and Emil as Emfa took on the goblin only to be sent flying by the hammer.
Shuffle clawed and bit a couple goblins before deciding the minotaur was the bigger threat, literally. She changed course and jumped for it from the side. Niudisa frowned as she kept looking for intact corpses, taking the fresh ones that had lost their heads and turning them against their own kind. Asta flew in and out of the fray, attacking the goblins' heads before flying off, serving more as a distraction than anything. Fia managed to get a few fireballs in when she had a clear shot without risk of friendly fire.
In spite of the group's efforts, the goblins were difficult to hurt. Only the magics seemed to actually do anything consistently, as these goblins actually had decent armor to protect them from the melee attacks. They could be sent flying, but unless the attacker hit a chink in their armor, the attacks did nothing. The minotaur was another story, falling quickly and fortunately crushing a handful of goblins under his weight as he collapsed.
Shuffle jumped off the minotaur as it went down before turning her attention to the goblins, breathing fire at the nearest one.
Niudisa knew she couldn't use any burst spells, not without possibly hitting someone on her side, so she targeted goblins individually, using a spell that put a black fog in front of their eyes to block their vision.
Blinded and confused, Goblins were much easier to hit for thee melee fighters. They couldn't see more than an inch in front of their face, which was more than enough time for Emfa's axe or Joanne's sword to actually find something to take out, while Adran's magic arrows continued to scatter them.
Despite how much sturdier these goblins were, and how disorganized the group was, the number of goblins began to dwindle. Slowly. Its hard to kill things when it's hard to damage them.
Shuffle couldn’t quite find a place to bite when she attacked the goblins, so she resorted to trying to strip them of their armor, charging from the side and pulling on it. It had worked with the living armor, so she assumed it would work here as well.
The difference between animated armor and a goblin wearing armor, is that the animated armor only supports itself, while the goblin wearing armor has it strapped to their body. Trying to pull the armor off didn't really work, and only left Shuffle open to attack.
"Where is that damn elemental?!", Adran shouted, "DO YOUR JOB YOU LITTLE SHIT!" The elemental poked its head out of Shuffle's cleavage to see who was yelling at it. It saw one of its summoners giving a command, and gave a tiny thumbs up, climbing out and onto the floor.
A goblin immediately smashed the shell to pieces, but just like when it fell down the stairs, that didn't do much. The ground shook as loose stones and fragments of the architecture broke off and rolled towards where the larvis had fallen apart, adding to the shell, making it larger, stronger, meaner. Well, maybe not meaner, but to the goblins whose heads just caved in when a chunk of the ceiling fell on them to make this golem, meaner. The construct began to glow with heat once the larvis finished putting itself together, almost liquid but not quite.
"I knew not sending him back was a good idea!", Adran whooped as the now eight feet of almost molten rock picked up a goblin and fried it in its armor. Joanne faltered a bit when she whirled around to see a goliath of stone and fire.
Shuffle recoiled from the inevitable counter before glancing down as the larvis popped out. Shuffle made sure to stay back from it while it did its thing, attacking some of the other goblins instead. Fire seemed to work, from what she could tell, so she focused on using her fire breath.