As they circulated through the nobles camped out in the tower, the party were approached by various people. Most of them just wanted to get them involved in some game or other, but a few had other agendas.
The medic took Serene aside to ask her if she *really had* cast cure disease on all her friends, just in case -- Serene maintained that she had, not wanting to admit to any wrongdoing. They spent some time researchign a way to reverse the plague, and eventually decided they'd need to invent a new spell. However, without any samples to study, spell invention promised to take weeks or months even to get to the prototype stage. The healer and his friends tried to convince Serene to go out and bring back some cocoons to study, but she refused. Carnelian volunteered to find volunteers, and found four people who talked a good fight. Three of them were willing to go and ask the guards to let themselves out. One of them wasn't dissuaded by the guards promising them that it was suicide, but they didn't let that one out either. Carnelian didn't try to talk the guards into letting that last person go out, since alone it probably was suicide.
Murdock studied some magic in the tower's public library, including the spell to turn herself into a weasel. The spell wasn't hard, but it turned you into an offworld weasel, without the ability to talk or make the gestures required for spells. She scouted out the vault level anyway, and discovered that the walls seemed to be magically protected, not just for the main vault with the dragon in it but all the little minor vaults too. She eventualy decided she'd need a distraction to get the guards away. She tried to get Serene to do more scouting, so Serene turned invisible and tried to sneak up -- but was spotted by a watchdog spell on the stairs, and had to run back down to re-join the guests before the guard-mages responded to the alert.
The response was a mild scolding, addressed at no one in particular since they didn't know who'd done it. "I know some of you are eager to meet the lord, but please wait your turn." The party was suspicious that people who went to meet the lord never came back, but before being chased downstairs Serene had seen some people on an additional residential level, being housed in less crowded conditions. They also found and talked to someone who'd spoken to the lord and been dismissed back to the general population for being an idiot.
Gamble's statements about wanting to leave the moon were picked up by the Society for Opening the Way, who offered to let her come to their fifteenth annual -- sorry, I mean daily -- meeting. They wanted her because as an offworlder, surely she'd have some useful insights about escape. She refused, because she thought they sounded like idiots. They spent the rest of the party occasionally pestering her, or loudly discussing their views near her to try to incite her, and only succeeded in inciting the rest of the nobles.
Carnelian incited them further, suggesting that with a Shop powerup they could use the Lord of the City's treasure to buy a ship that would let them all escape. This was probably a lie -- the Shop only bought nonmagical things, and every ship they'd seen crash through the skyplant was based on magic -- but the crowd was pretty restless and she eventually got them to charge up past the guards, trampling them in passing.
The riot didn't get up to the vault level right away -- they tore through the restricted living quarters, terrifying and/or robbing the guests there -- until the guard mages responded to the alarms and started casting 'Panic' on the front ranks of the crowd. Serene healed the people who'd been trampled, and used a bravery spell to get the riot going again, and most of the rioters surrounded the mages and started beating on their force dome, trying to get inside to beat them up. A few headed farther up to the vaults, and the party was just a bit behind them.
Most of the rioters on the vault level drew the guards away from the main vault, beat them up, tied them up, and tried to get them to give them the keys to the vaults. Which the guards insisted they didn't have. Carnelian and Gamble found the door to the restricted library open, with the owl inside trying frantically to find a book -- the book he remembered seeing on his last visit, about how to control the skyplant -- so that he could take it to the Lord of the City and get him to call back the spiders.
One particularly distructive rioter, who'd stopped to trash priceless artwork instead of helping with the guards, followed them in and started trying to burn everything. Carnelian held him off until Gamble could get him into a bear hug and convince him to calm down or else. But behind the books he'd piled on the floor, Carnelian spotted a hidden panel, and removed it to reveal a painting that looked suspiciously like the mural on the front of the main vault door... only, not quite. A few details were wrong -- like the giant spider dominating the viny tangle being in the center instead of in the top left corner, like it was on the real vault. She didn't remember enough to spot any other diffences, so she found a notebook (in lieu of ripping blank cover pages out of books, which might have annoyed the owl) and carefully traced the design.
Serene, after animating some statues to try to break into the vaults without triggering the trap on the door handles, managed to ghost through the walls of the minor vaults instead (this set off alarms, but the guard mages were busy) and stole some precious gems and metals, one gun-shaped thing from the room full of strange machines, and the Lord's box of 'special powerups'. Which only had three inside, all of which were depowered and with symbols she'd never seen or heard of before (because all 'special' powerups were unique).
Then she joined the others in the library -- Carnelian had locked them all inside for some reason, but she ghosted in -- and helped the owl verify that the book he was looking for was actually gone. She settled for a book on Alchemy with strange notes in the margin, that told how to make wild variants of the standard potions. Carnelian found the golem-related books for Gamble, who took a handwritten book describing the 'golems of the second wave', which looked kind of like her and had abilities vaguely related to hers -- increased attack speed and the ability to change their form. They had many *more* abilities than she did, though -- maybe some of them were ones she did have, but didn't know how to unlock? The last half of the book was written in some sort of code, that used random numbers and letters, although only the letters up to 'f'.
Then they eventaully worked out how to get themselves *out* of the library, and were ready to open the vault. Except that Serene refused to let Carnelian try until the people in the hallways were safe -- because the vault had a dragon in it, and why the heck did she want to let the dragon out anyway?
So Carnelian tricked them into the gem room (which she opened using the method developed to exit the library) and locked them inside, which satisfied Serene, and prepared to unleash the beast.
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