[ art / co / ot / q / qt / v ] [ 3dpd / unf ] [ g / sic ] [ countdown / hyperindex / linkboard / quest archive / stream ] [ Hamburger Time Calendar / MLPG Beacon / Donate / Game & Mumble Servers ] [ Rules & FAQs / Credits ] [ Mod ] [ home ]

/q/ - Quest

Password (For file deletion.)

  [Go to bottom]   [Catalog]   [Return]   [Archive]

File: 1536800281358.jpg (227.22 KB, 750x984, 1533166277266.jpg)

 No.701721[Last 50 Posts]

The party now returns to Kaco Island, having accomplished many things during their time on the small satellite island:

First, they learned more about aura and developed their potential even further, culminating in the creation of new abilities for some and improvements on current abilities for others. Second, they recovered a large cache of red herbs, called Helltongues, which would enable them to cure people from infection by Queen Toko's white parasites. Third, they resued an alien from outer space whose spaceship had crashed at sea during his research for his dissertation.

Now, Cutlass and Thessaly are heading back to meet with the leaders of the Three mafia Families who rule over Aristar and who have rapidly become the last stable leaders on Kaco Island following the Queens' thorough destruction of Potnia and other towns on the southern half of the island. Meanwhile, the rest of the party has plenty of time to kill before Alder and Cerulean are due for their circus performance in Aristar at 6. Thus they're heading back to check out some of the destroyed towns and pick over what might remain.

Post sheets.


File: 1536801061136.jpg (395.4 KB, 800x5141, Pointbuy.jpg)






He ignores you.

He nods and has a dizzy, involuntary kind of swoon. "Ah, one last favor? Can ya fetch me some water and some greens? I been on that rock a mighty long time."

"Ya nah, don't worry, I'll cause no stir, least of all on ya ship."

But the effect seems to have taken place, and both pirate crews are surely creeped out by him.

"Far enough that it took a pretty penny to get here. But, I cannot tell ya more. It's illegal, ya know," he says.

"When I get her fixed, I'll show ya she flyin'. But I can't do that if I never get her repaired! Onward to the closest island!"

>Just let me know when you're ready to move on


"I… suppose so." Slightly stunned by the whole experience, she goes and fetches some food and water for the visitor.
>ready to go whenever


Cerulean looks excited to see how this metal disc can fly.



File: 1536805599921.png (10.97 KB, 210x210, bruh.png)

"Illegal… well, goodness! I would hate to have such a nice-seeming person arrested, so I will cease my inquiries."


"Alright, good luck with your study then."

>Ready to move on



Cutlass sighs. "If you insist."

>ready to proceed


As you bring him some vegetables and fresh water, he quickly thanks you then ravenously devours it. Though he's mostly just eating, the crew keeps a wide berth around him, observing him with great caution and fear.

"Yes; I left home at quite the tumultuous time, politically speaking. Lots of things aren't legal there anymore. If I see ya on the open seas after this, I will do a little to help ya, but I cannot promise I will break intergalactic law for ya."

After a brief and fairly placid trip through the open sea, your ships come within sight of Aristar's northern ports. You are closer to the Crimson King's ship than you were when you left; the colossal vessel floats out on open waters, moored by great chains to various rocky outcroppings attached to the island from below, and countless smaller ships exit from ports on the exterior, sliding out on ramps with rails built in. Aristar's ports are all quite busy now with these smaller ships, which are marked with a jolly roger, depicting a black griffon's head in profile, surrounded by flame.

Your ships slide into port and dock in one of the few open spaces. Bee Holder looks over at the crew of the Secret Assassins. "Alright, when you want to meet up again? We'll be out along the coast until the circus performance."
Bent Scales turns to Cerulean and Alder. "When do you two want to be back for that? Or do you want to get some things done here?"


Cloud looks out at the massive ship of the King, giving a whistle of amazement.
"Wow, I can hardly believe that thing is floating."

"So what do we got in the meantime until that thing tonight?"
Cloud asks the crew.



Cutlass looks at the Crimson King's ship and ponders. She turns to the alien on her ship. "Do you have demons on your planet?" she asks curiously.

"As long as we meet back up before the performance, it doesn't matter. I odn't know how long it will take to negotiate. See you soon-ish…" Cutlass answers Bee Holder.


She stares out at the Crimson King's ship contemplatively. She secretly dreads the day she'll have to face him. She seems to have been pushed on a path of conflict with him, one that may very well cost her her unnaturally long life. She is not vocal about it, but death is the one thing she fears. As the ship docks, she pushes these thoughts out of her mind, and goes to find Cutlass.

"Captain. Shall we go? We have much to discuss with the Families."


"No worries, I would not expect you to go so far for us." the griffon says, sketching down a couple more little pictures of him. "T-Take care, by the way! Hope to see you again sometime!"

>Bent Scales

"Mmm, I wager we should head on back now- better safe than sorry, right?"


>Or, not. Misread again
"I suppose a couple of hours prior, or an hour prior? Depends on if there is much we could help with."


"Thanks again for the lift!" the alien says.

In the background, the crew of the Beesting works with the alien to disentangle his ship's tow hook from where it's hitched to the Beesting's anchor. Once that's done, it's placed on a cart, and a couple pirates line up to help him drag it off.

"Very well. Right now we don't have anything we *need* to do," Bee Holder says. "At least not until we come back for the rehearsal and costume check. When the performance begins, we'll most likely stage a kidnapping while everyone's distracted with the show. Depends on how Cutlass wants to go about this revolution. So until then, we're going to visit some of the destroyed towns and see if there's any loot we can take left. Any objections?"

"I can't answer that, nah," the alien says to answer Cutlass' question. "But I can say that your planet doesn't have a monopoly on the spirit world. It enters our level of reality here and there at many places."

Bee Holder nods. "Best of luck to you."

You see Magoja on the dock, standing beside a covered wagon and smoking from a long and ornate pipe. He waves to you cheerily.


Cloud hops down from the crow's nest ,giving a stretch.
"Sounds like a great plan. Could always use a little more loot."



"Indeed," Cutlass says with a nod to Thessaly.

"Come, Lazul," Cutlass says loudly, hoping that he's still on board to hear her.


Then, she notices Magoja and raises an eyebrow. "This should be interesting," she says as she travels down to greet him.


She looks intrigued at the sight of her (perhaps former) employer, moving over to greet him with a simple nod. "Greetings, Magoja. What news?"


Alder makes sure to get as close of a look to the UFO as the alien will allow, checking out the interior and looking for any sources of, well… movement. He's not expecting any sort of explanation, but maybe he'll spot something
>Perception: [1d10]

>Bee Holder

"No objections here, I suppose. I would be willing to come along. Do you have a way to get our attention, in case we need a more… distracting display?"

Roll #1 9 = 9


Lazul gets up from where he's been skulking on the deck and follows you without a word, glaring daggers at you.

As you descend, Magoja greets you with a fabulous wave of his pipe, out of which a sweet and strong smoke emerges. "Hello, hello. I have volunteered myself to be your escort to the building where the meeting will take place… since Walah forgot to tell you the address. I also come bearing gifts."

He pulls back the cover of the wagon to reveal some crates containing carefully-wrapped parcels. He unpeels one and reveals a Caller Conch inside. "You may already be familiar, but if you are not – these are Caller Conches, wonderous devices that allow you to speak to anyone who also has a Conch of their own, unless a signal cannot be established. Very, very useful. Please, take whichever color you like. I have enough for your Secret Assassins, and Walah will be in shortly with the Beesting's share."

"Your generosity knows no bounds," Sparkler says with a nod.

Magoja just smiles slyly. "Come, walk with me."

As you survey the interior of the machine, you only see a whole lot of panels with blinking lights, controls and switches that you don't really recognize, being far beyond any level of technology you have encountered so far. However, you do see quite a few personal effects, such as souveniers, photographs of islands and other trinkets from the travel, giving it a strangely homely feel.

"I have a bag of explosive flare powder on my person for emergencies," Bee Holder says, handing you a little red pouch. "With a little flourish, you can disguise it as fireworks easily as if it were just part of the show. But we all know it as a signal for help."

With that out of the way, the crew takes your ship out of port once again, swerving east around the Crimson King's massive ship to follow along the coast, keeping the lush jungle and bright rocks on your right to serve as a guide.

Roll perception



"Sparkler, see to it that these are distributed to everyone of importance in my crew," Cutlass instructs Sparkler. "I'll be taking this one," Cutlass says as she takes a violet one.

"Now, let's get going."


"Ah, most useful. Thank you," she says with a stiff little bow, helping herself to an emerald green conch.

"So," she says as she walks alongside Magoja, "what else brings you here? Surely not my radiant personality."


Cloud looks out as they sail down along the coast, a little cautious given their experience in the last ruined city they had.
>Perception [1d10]

"Think we'll find anything good?"
Cloud asks Chiu as they sail along.

Roll #1 6 = 6


"Oh, that's handy. I'll go ahead and take that, if you do not mind." the griffon says, pocketing the flare powder.


Alder takes note of the little mementos, and smiles a little bit. He still has no clue what the hell it does, but at least it looks cozy.

>[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 6 = 6


Sparkler nods and directs the ship's workers to distribute the leftover Conches to those members who are of sufficient note (OOC: the named crewmembers).

>Note: Unless you ask for them, the only NPCs who will come with you for this meeting are Lazul and Ossie

Magoja begins to lead you through the city, smoking idly. The heart of the city is as always a complex mess of streets and merchants, with the rich aroma of decadence and flaunted power in the air.

"Some people can conjure spirits with magic or manipulate time and space with their aura. My only power is that I am always wherever I am needed," he says with a long draw on his pipe, and you can't tell if he's joking or just being odd and whimsical as you both know him to be. "I'm often a bit jealous of those who have flashy powers! Hahaha.

"But onto the main topic. This meeting will be quite important – after all, it's your chance to align the Families with you against the Bee Queens and the Crimson King. Some people actually think they'll be able to ride out the coming war without taking a side. They're wrong, and this meeting and the circus performance tonight will show that… so try to do well today. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer to the best of my ability."

He eventually stops outside a very tall building, the tallest one on the block, and certainly the most impressive. He steps inside and heads for the elevator at the back, gesturing to the guards who stand at either side of the doors. They nod and press a button on a panel on the wall, and the elevator doors open. "After you."

Chiu shakes her head. "Doubtful given how thoroughly they annihilated that last town we were in… but hey, I've been wrong about things on this trip before."

Eventually, as you travel along the coast, you see the shimmering of another Heatwave barrier, the color of an aurora, stretching in a c-shape around a particular area, cutting through the natural island landscape. As the ship draws closer you see that the Heatwave has blocked off a smaller port town built into a hillside. Though the buildings are in far better condition than those in Potnia, it's still deserted, with no signs of pony or animal life around. The Beesting docks at the open port, and the crew slowly get off, surveying the area cautiously.

"Alright you know the rules," Bee Holder says with swagger as she steps off. "Whatever you find you keep. Give a shout if you need any help out there."



"Oh, I can tell you from experience, you are perfectly flashy as you are," Cutlass says cordially. "Your weapons arrived at the most appropriately dramatic time possible. Something for which I am quite grateful, by the way."

"Thank you," Cutlass nods politely as Magoja opens the door for them. "Will you be joining us?"


She nods. "The more I think about it, the more I start to realize this storm cannot be weathered. Everyone will have to take a side. Let us hope the Families choose the right one."

"Thank you," she says as she enters. "What will you do now?"


"Right. Suppose we meet back up here in a little?" he suggests, hopping off of the boat and starting to look around.
>Master Thief [1d10] (Any good places to start?)

Roll #1 2 = 2


>Bring Miss Sunshine


"I'm sure we'll find a few coins at least."

Cloud watches out to the barrier as they sail in to the town. He feels a bit nervous at the possibility of dealing with any more guards like last time, but with the free claim of loot, Cloud loosens up.

He steps off the ship, waiting up for Chiu.
"Alright, let's pick this place clean!"


Magoja gives it a little thought then stays out, but holds the door while he talks. "I have a strong interest in seeing this war play out in your favor. However, I don't wish to step on your hooves. You have everything you need to turn this meeting in your favor and bring the Families to your side, including luck, which every pirate prays for but few have."

>Slight retcon to say that Cutlass told Little Miss Sunshine to come along earlier, but she got distracted on the way there.

He steps away and smiles, then turns and walks off. Just before the doors close, Little Miss Sunshine bolts down the street and into the building, and before the guards can stop her from entering the elevator, she leaps in among you, panting hard. Magoja waves away the guards. "She was with us, there's no trouble here. Take them to the twentieth floor."

The guards nod, then the doors shut and the elevator rises. From a window in the back, you can see much of the glittering and rich city sprawing out below you.

The elevator eventually stops on the twentieth floor and the doors slide open. At the end of the hall, you see many rich-looking ponies of various shapes and sizes standing before a set of double doors; the males are dressed in black suits and the females in dresses, all connsumate professionals. From each of them, you sense a deadly presence and great strength. They survey you silently.

Bee Holder nods, and she and your fellow pirates disembark and spread throughout the town to see what they can find. Following his thief's senses, Alder leads the way through the town, but it seems most houses are barren. But then Alder gets a good sense about a taller, wide building, with a sign on the front indicating it's a taxpony's office. However, it's locked and with the windows all boarded up.

Chiu cautiously raises her shadow, looking around for threats.


"Hmm, nothing so far. Guess they really cleared the place out."
Cloud says as they find only nothing as they search the town.

When they reach the tax office, Cloud's eyes light up. Both from the potential riches, and as he attempts to shrink himself so he can squeeze under the door or through any other crack in the building.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink Self] [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


You shrink yourself down to about the size of a mouse.


Thessaly does not let herself be intimidated by the sinister aristocrats, looking at each of them in turn as she waits for their audience to begin. She tries to see if she recognizes any of them in the meantime.



"Hmmph," Cutlass scoffs at Magoja. "Me? Luck? I've gotten this far DESPITE it."

"Thank you for joining us Miss Sunshine," Cutlass says with a nod as she arrives. "You cut it very close."

Cutlass smiles broadly as she walks down the hallway. Being the center of attention was never something to put her off. On the contrary, she thrived on it.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlecolts. I am Captain Cutlass. This is Miss Sunshine. I believe you know Lazul. And, some of you may know Thessaly. We have much to discuss. And, I come bearing good news as well. But, a hallway is hardly a place to discuss such matters."


"Hrm… let me have a go at it." the griffon comments, hopping up to the door. He tries to use his slender talons to pick the lock.
>Lockpick [1d10] (Easier due to Master Thief)

Roll #1 8 = 8


You open up the door with no difficulty, popping the lock with ease. As the door opens, you see a large first floor, mostly populated with a few tables, chairs and couches, the standard for a basic tax collector's office. At the back of the room is a double set of stairs heading upward. You imagine that any valuables here would be hidden well.


With his shrunken size, Cloud hunts for an opening on the building he can squeeze through.
"Don't worry guys, I'll open the door for you. After a little search around myself."
>Find a mousehole door [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


You recognize quite a few: Crop and Vich from the Skep Family and Aegos, Ciba and Legra from the Honeydew Family, along with a few others you don't quite regognize. However, the presence of the aforementioned suggests you'll have some friends in the peanut gallery.

Little Miss Sunshine can only wheeze in response, being quite out of breath. "My power… no time to explain but… you already know what it does."

The guards simply stare at you impassively, before Vich muscles them aside and glares at them. "You fuckin' mooks lose your brains on the way here or somethin'? Open that door and let's get the show on the road already."

The guards sneer and then open the doors at the back, allowing you to enter. In this room is a raised platform, and atop that is a ring-shaped table, with three chairs behind it, one on the west end, one on the east and one on the north. In each of these chairs an older-looking beepony sits, dressed in formal luxurious clothes and with a wealth of jewelry about them. These must be the Family Heads. On the southern end (directly in front of you) is a few chairs for you to sit at.

"Captain Cutlass, how good to finally meet you," the pony in the northernmost chair says. "Please, sit."


After Alder opens the door, your efforts are instead turned to searching the room. Atop a cabinet at the far end of the room, you spy a chest, but you notice that its latch is rigged with some tiny string, presumably some kind of trap.


"That was simple enough… now, for the more important details."
>Search! [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2



"My apologies, you have the advantage at the moment. I don't believe I've been properly introduced to everyone here," Cutlass says cordially as she takes her seat.

>Soul Sight on this new pony


Cloud quickly scampers up the cabinet in his small size, glad his shrinking plan also helps to keep him not be noticed by the others to not give away any hints he spies either.

Cloud peers in the latch, eyeing the string.
[Hmm, yea what's the worst that could happen.]
Cloud pulls out his now tiny little claw gauntlet, and attempts to disable the chest's trap since he's close to the size of it.
>Disarm [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


Alder's attention is drawn to Cloud as the latter disables a simple string trap on a small locked chest at the back of the room. Alder's intuition tells him that, if they're going to booby-trap something as small as this chest, there's most likely more traps in this building – and probably more treasure as well, since somebody is unlikely to trap a place that has no value.


Cloud cheers a little too loud, though being so small it comes off more squeaky. Cloud quickly pops open the chest to see his findings.


Not much for talking just yet, she does as instructed and takes a seat. "We assure you, we would not have called this meeting were it not a matter of utmost importance. My captain, no doubt, will explain the situation expediently."


Unsurprisingly, it is locked.


Undeterred, Cloud attempts to pick the lock with his claws, since they're tiny enough to be close to a lock pick.
>Pick Lock [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Hrm… we should be very, very careful- there will likely be plenty of traps… here, let me give it a shot."
>Pick lock [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


As you search this pony's soul, you also take the moment to size him up: An older stallion with a golden coat and dark gray mane, he has an air of indolence, present in his casual leaning on the chair's edge, though his is the indolence that comes from power. You see that he desires to be the only one sitting at this table, with his hooves propped up on the table as he is tended to by a pair of attractive attendants. Whether the rival Families are dead or have submitted, you do not know, as they are simply not in the vision.

The pony in the northern chair, an aged stallion with a golden coat and dark gray mane, raises his hoof. "I am Hubla, Patriarch of the Honeydew Family."

The pony in the eastern chair, a fluffy old mare with a black coat and a kindly demeanor, raises her hoof next. "I am Soli, Matriarch of the Skep Family."

The pony in the western chair is younger by comparison, being only in the early stages of middle age. He is sleek and has a manicured auburn coat. "And I am Dyme, newest Patriarch of the Dextrose Family."

Dyme nods. "With these introductions out of the way, then, let this meeting formally begin. Guards, at ease. Captain Cutlass, Miss Thessaly, Little Miss Sunshine, Lazul… and whoever it is that's hiding in Cutlass' shadow… you have the floor. Begin when you are ready."

Alder deftly picks the lock as Cloud is only able to jimmy it a bit. Inside, propped on a cushion, is a jade ring meant to fit around a pony's hoof, though its clasp allows the size to be adjusted somewhat.


"Oh, thanks Alder."
Cloud says as Alder comes over to open the lock for him. He peers in the chest at the ring.
"Nice find. You can keep the chest if you want."
He says, hopping in the chest to grab the ring and shrink it down to fit in his little bag.

With that in tow, the tiny Cloud hops out of the chest, and off the cabinet onto Chiu's head.
"Let's check the other floors. There's definitely plenty more here."


"You know, Alder did break the lock on that chest," Chiu says with mild annoyance.



"It's a pleasure meeting all of you," Cutlass says as she looks to each one. As she does, she looks into the soul of Soli.

>Soul Sight on Soli

"Now, I suppose the best place to start is by informing you all that I have found those responsible for the recent… disagreement between the Skeps and the Honeydew."

"Lazul here was at least partially responsible for the murder. Lazul hasn't be entirely cooperative with me, but I can tell you that another pony named Fasol was involved as well. Why they did this is a separate matter that I wish to get into after this discussion. But, first I feel we should establish what exactly happened and that we are all satisfied with the answer presented us."

"Lazul, would you care to share your side of the story?"


Alder huffs a little as the mouse-sized Cloud snatches up the ring, before giggling a little and patting his head. The griffon will tuck away the little chest, and say "If you would like, you could ride on my head. It would be quicker."


"Adding on to this," Thessaly chimes in, "we have not yet found the one that committed the deed; Arroz's death was planned by many, Fasol and Lazul here among them, as he will doubtless confess." She looks to Lazul expectantly.


"Yea but I found it first."
Cloud defends.

"Hmm, a good offer, but I think I'm good here."
Cloud says, lounging on his chosen perch.
"But, I'll give you a better share of the next thing I find."
Cloud adds in.


"I will keep that in mind, then."
>Search: [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


After you take your loot and Alder seems to accept this, Chiu shrugs, and you move on, seeing little else of value on this floor (unless you want some spare furniture).

You bring your search up to the second floor, which has a few rooms connecting to a hallway. All of the rooms are locked except for the door closest to you on the right. In that room is a more posh room, with a nice rug and many trinkets and baubles on the shelves. A tax ledger sits on the desk at the end of the room, and there are rows of labeled drawers on one side of the room, presumably containing collected taxes.

As you examine Soli's heart, you see her tending to a garden, while her servants come in and report on the results of each Family's operations. The various reports indicate that the Families are prospering financially and cooperating in their tasks, but have rolled back their criminal behavior to quite a large degree. No hints of violence exist in this vision.

Lazul sneers, then straightens out his disheveled clothing as best he can and stands up straight with arrogance. "Yeah, alright. Arroz's death was my doing, along with Fasol's.

"Fasol thinks you people have gone soft with all this modern comfort we live in – sitting in tall buildings, counting our money and getting fat and lazy, walking around in the bright of day as if we were just like the mindless worker drones out there. He wants us to go back to the old ways when we were more authentic crime families, struggling to get by, made sharp and smart through going hungry, respecting the ways of the past… and don't think there aren't people in this very room who would disagree with him if push came to shove. When the Bee Queens come to your door, you'll see his side of the story alright.

"Me? I just wanted Arroz dead. No higher reasons, just revenge. That's all. He took something from me, and I so took even more back. I'm SICK of being the one everyone thinks they can step on, the good colt who plays appeaser. No more. Fuck playing the doormat. But no, I didn't kill him. Close enough, though. I had him set up to be killed."

The Three Heads are silent, but the room buzzes with fury as Lazul rants. Soli raises a hoof for calm. "And Fasol had him killed because…?"

"A tribute to the Bee Queens. By proving that members from the Three Families could conspire to trim the fat from the Families, he thinks he'll appeal to them and show that there are some who are still loyal to the old ways."

"You're a Skep, and Fasol is a Honeydew," Hubla says. "Then the third member of your conspiracy, the Dextrose–"

"Is in this room," Lazul spits.

The room goes cold with suspicion as the guards and Family Heads survey one another, backing away somewhat and growing tense.



>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8








Last time on PQ…

Alder, Cloud and Cerulean arrived via the Beesting at a coastal town some distance southeast from Aristar, and disembarked. While Alder, Cloud and Chiu went through the buildings to look for some loot, Cerulean went off by herself to practice a newly developed Aura ability of hers, practicing on some rocks and trees alike for want of actual opponents.

Meanwhile, Cutlass and Thessaly began their meeting with the heads of the Three Families - Hubla, patriarch of the Honeydews, Dyme, patriarch of the Dextrose, and Soli, matriarch of the Skeps. Cutlass turned Lazul over as one of Arroz's murderers, along with Fasol and his goons Saros and Ouski. The third mastermind of their conspiracy, a Dextrose, was currently not known. However, Lazul turned things around by alleging that the killer was already in the room – though whether his claims were true was not yet known.

After you take your loot and Alder seems to accept this, Chiu shrugs, and you move on, seeing little else of value on this floor (unless you want some spare furniture).

You bring your search up to the second floor, which has a few rooms connecting to a hallway. All of the rooms are locked except for the door closest to you on the right. In that room is a more posh room, with a nice rug and many trinkets and baubles on the shelves. A tax ledger sits on the desk at the end of the room, and there are rows of labeled drawers on one side of the room, presumably containing collected taxes.


>Slightly abridging from the block of text in >>701783 for space's sake:

The Three Heads are silent, but the room buzzes with fury as Lazul rants. Soli raises a hoof for calm. "And Fasol had him killed because…?"

"A tribute to the Bee Queens. By proving that members from the Three Families could conspire to trim the fat from the Families, he thinks he'll appeal to them and show that there are some who are still loyal to the old ways."

"You're a Skep, and Fasol is a Honeydew," Hubla says. "Then the third member of your conspiracy, the Dextrose–"

"Is in this room," Lazul spits.

The room goes cold with suspicion as the guards and Family Heads survey one another, backing away somewhat and growing tense.

A short distance south of the destroyed coastal town, you have been practicing your new aura ability upon rocks and trees. Having gotten the hang of your new power, you find that it is coming to you more easily with each attempt, like flexing a newly-found muscle. You feel reasonably confident in your ability to call it up like your other skills.




"I have a solution to this dilemma," Cutlass breaks the silence and the tension. "If you're all willing to listen. It will be… unorthodox. But, it will work."

As Cutlass speaks, her eyes go between the three family heads. Her gaze lingers on the Dextrose leader: the last one for her to Soul See.

>Soul Sight on Dyme

"Of course, it begins with making sure no one leaves the room - lest the guilty party gets away. To that end… Ossie," Cutlass says, gesturing for her to block the door.


Cerulean gives her tail a few swings to work out some of the kinks, giving an exhale from all the exertion. She looks around at the various smashed trees and rocks, and recalls her bringing forth her aura like chains. No way that shadow version of her was gonna escape this time. But for good measure, she keeps going and practicing, mostly since she hasn't had too many non-dire chances to really try it all out.


Thessaly sits quietly, letting Cutlass do the talking for now as she looks from Lazul to each of the Heads in turn, judging their reactions.


Ossie leaps from your shadow and stands before the ornate doorway, turning the lock for extra precaution. Though the bodyguards are tense, the family Heads are calm and icy – evidently no strangers to assassination attempts.

As you examine Dyme's soul, the scene is crisp and professional. Dyme is seated in a comfy chair in a well-maintained office, flanked by guards. The members of the Dextrose family come to kneel and pay respects to him with tribute – followed by members of the Skep and Honeydew families. The despair in their faces is all to evident, and they clearly do this not out of respect for his authority, but fear and submission for the sake of their own lives. It is clear that Dyme has unified the families under his rule as the sole mafia patriarch, and his rule inspires respect from his Dextrose bretheren and terror from the Skeps and Honeydews. Just as the vision ends, you see the Bee Queens enter the office, with kitschy gift baskets of wine and exotic treats, evidently enjoying a good relationship with Dyme.

"There is no need to panic," Hubla concurs, waving his hoof. "It is either a bluff, or the killer really is in the room. Surely he is not so suicidal as to an attempt an attack on all of us – not when his plan is to prove loyalty to the Queens and reap the benefits. What is this plan of yours, Captain?"

Lazul presses his lips together in anxiety.


"Oooh, Cloud. We should check this dresser… thoug, let me inspect it for traps." the griffon says, peering over it.
>Master Thief (Intuition) [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


You keep up with your practice, mixing in various moves to simulate its use in the heat of battle – what if you're attacked from the left, or from a blind spot behind you? What if you're attacked from above while it's active? Though you're a bit clunky at first from how new this ability is, you soon feel the ability come to you smoothly in a variety of situations, and get a good warm-up exercise out of it in the process.

After that, you her the faint sound of music coming from somewhere nearby – you're just not sure where.

You carefully check the dresser before opening it, and find a particularly devious mechanism rigged on the underside of the top drawers – a set of bombs are rigged to the desk, suggesting that whoever was here really had a bone to pick with thieves. But you are able to disarm the trap without setting it off. With the dresser now safe, you open the drawers, finding quite a bit of gold in labeled pouches – it must have been tax day recently.



Cloud hops off Chiu's head once they enter the new room, looking over the trinkets and baubles to see if there's anything of note.
>Search [1d10]

"Alright. Keep an eye for any keys too, maybe they kept the set for this floor in here. Don't want to leave any of those other rooms unchecked."

Roll #1 9 = 9



Cultass stares at Dyme for a moment in thought. It could be simply coincidental that he is sympathetic to the bee queens. He could just be delusional in his desire to work with them. Though, it's unclear on how submitting the other two families would work into such a delusion.

She shakes her head and looks back to Hubla. "It is actually rather serendipitous that this situation should arise. I had been struggling to come up with a way to prove the value of my… talent. This is not a talent I'd usually share the nature of with others. Secrecy is my most valuable weapon. Without it, I cannot use it as well. But, in the interest of cooperating and a show of trust, I will share it with you. I also have another reason for telling you this, but we can get to that later."

"I have acquired a talent for Aura. Specifically, I have mastered the art of seeing into people's souls. To be clear, this is not their minds I am seeing. I cannot read your thoughts. But, I CAN see your desires - that driving force which dictates all decisions you make."

"Of course, I don't expect any of you to just accept this truth. I intend to prove it to you. I've already seen into each of your souls. I apologize for the intrusion of privacy, but I see no other way to prove it to you without simply showing you that I can. I know what you all desire. For some of you… that is more compromising than others," Cutlass' gaze lingers on Dyme for a moment.

"Madame Soli," Cutlass says, turning her head toward Soli. "Your soul is rather nice. I imagine you'd be the least offended for me to reveal your desires. In the interest of proving my gift and gaining trust between the four of us, would you mind if I revealed what I saw?"

"Of course, alternatively, we could all just accept that I can do this if none of you wish for me to reveal what I now know. That way, we COULD move on to the REASON I'm telling you this."

[1d10] Diplomacy without Aura

Roll #1 4 = 4


Her ears perk at the music and, curiosity getting the best of her as usual, Cerulean decides to take a small break and go investigate. She was pretty sure she left her beetle band members back on the boat, so she's pretty sure it wasn't those.


Alder snags a few bags og gold and packs them away, before nodding to Cloud Chaser. With that in mind, he'll dig around for a key or two!
>Search [1d10]

"If yo would like, I can take a gold bag for you to give to you once you're normal height."

Roll #1 9 = 9


"We in this room are literate in Aura as well, and I would be quite interested to learn who trained you," Soli says. "But to the point – we understand the need for secrecy. No self-respecting aura user simply blurts out their ability without good reason, such as intimidation or negotiation. Reveal only what you need to. I trust you, but, I will volunteer so that the others can be won over: Show the others what you saw, and I will judge if it is accurate."

Dyme narrows his gaze. "Your powers are, in my opinion, secondary to the reason you called us all here. There's no need to waste your time or ours – get to the point."

Most of the oddities are exotic looking and, since this is a tax collector's office, most likely confiscated from those who couldn't pay their dues. Among the trinkets, you find several bottles containing a swirling, rainbow-colored liquid, labeled "Meli".

The music sounds very tiny, and as you head westward in search, you soon discover its source: A group of waist-high butterflies and spiders, dressed in red and black suits, are walking along the tree branches overhead and playing music with guitar and violin. Though, something seems like it's missing from the song they play, evidenced by gaps in the performance. Every few feet, the bugs stop and holler some words in a language you don't recognize, seeming to be searching for something.


After pocketing about 400 pieces of gold, you find a false bottom in one of the drawers, and after making sure it's not rigged, you open it to find a set of old black keys dangling from a black ring.


"Cool, thanks Alder. Try to scoop up as much as you can."

Cloud looks over the baubles, giving them a little nudge and poke here and there. When he comes up to the bottles, they look for more enticing than little trinkets.
"Has anypony heard of Meli before?"
He asks, while he starts to shrink the bottles down to carry them all off.


Chiu shakes her head and takes one of the bottles before you can shrink it. "Sounds like it's some kind of wine brand, or maybe a perfume or something?" She pops the cork on one bottle and smells it. "Sort of got a honey scent to it. Not too surprising given where we are. Want some?"



Cutlass giggles daintily. "Dyme, if you're going to panic, I suggest you just out yourself now."

She then nods to Soli cordially. "Thank you. Soli desires cooperation between the families - to the point that you share information openly with each other. In her soul, I see her tending happily to her garden. She even seems to desire a world where you do not have to work so illegally."

"Are we satisfied that I am not lying? If so, should we move on to finding the traitor or the main order of business first?"

[1d10] Whisper in Your Ear this time

Roll #1 8 = 8


Cerulean looks up curiously at the bugs, even more so at their odd language. She waves to them and tilts her head, but when they play, she tries to slap her tail against something fairly solid to add a bit of percussion to the performance.


Alder grabs a couple more gold bags and tucks them away, before stroking his beak "Where would be the best place to check for keys, you think?"


Soli shrugs. "Guilty as charged. Oh, that's probably not the best turn of phrase here. But I did get a shipment of many new flower breeds I was quite looking forward to cultivating tomorrow morning. I am convinced, captain, and I should hope the rest of us are as well."

The guards are now more attentive to you, and you feel the room relax somewhat.

"I suggest we move to the main order of business," Hubla says, and you notice that from his hooftips, a fine layer of aura extends, thin and nearly imperceptible as it runs all around the walls, floors and ceiling. "The traitor cannot act – not only is the door locked, but all communications in and out of this room are impossible. And if they attack, I will be the first to know. So, they may as well put their hooves up and wait."

Lazul is now visibly sweating and clearly angry, but forces himself to glare at the curved table at which the leaders sit, and not at the guards.

When you begin performing, the bugs stop and notice you. One of them, a spider, approaches, quite distressed. "Excuse me, ma'am, have you seen another one of our members? He is a spider like me, and he plays the accordion, and we lost him somewhere around here, and with the bees going around making people disappear, we, we… Oh, I don't want to think of the possibility."


"A spider like you? Hmm…no, sorry. Where around here did you last see him? I'm kinda on the bees bad side, so making them upset is good for me, I think." She smiles warmly.


"Yea, tilt off a drop and let me try it."
Cloud says to Chiu's offer while he takes care of hte rest of hte bottles.

"Probably in a desk or a closet. Can't imagine they'd make it too difficult to get a pair of keys back when this place was more used."



Roll #1 20 = 20


"Just last night, after an argument we had about his performance in our mariachi. He was… well, he has a tin ear, I'm afraid, but a keen sense of rhythm. We were coming from the west this way to try to leave Kaco Island, and that's when we had the argument. He took off in a huff with his accordion, and we are starting to fear the worst. We would like to find him and make amends, or… at least find his body. We know it is getting very dangerous on this island."


"Oop- here they are… now, where to from here?"


"Now we start trying those keys out and see what they open."



Chiu pours you a drop of the Meli, and it is quite sweet and savory. After a few moments though, your body is warm and fuzzy, as though you were wearing a thick wooly sweater that had become some kind of bodysuit. The light colors of the room brighten and become more sophisticated and hyper detailed, while the dark ones grow darker and gloomier. All objects appear to be outlined in black, and as you look at various objects, it appears as though they have friendly faces which greet you politely when you make eye contact, as if you were passing by them on a sidewalk.

You faintly hear Chiu's voice, but it is too muffled to hear, and you're more focused on how good your whole body suddenly feels.



"Hmm, you do realize that means the traitors will hear what we have planned yes? Of course, I suppose that doesn't matter if you plan to kill them. Though, perhaps once they hear what I have to say next, they will realize how absolutely foolish their plans to work with the Bee Queens actually are."

"And, THAT is the main reason I have revealed my ability to you. If you accept that I can do this, then you'd certainly be interested to know what I saw when I looked into Queen Toko's soul…" Cutlass pauses for a moment for dramatic effect.

"I'm sure you're all aware of the cruel and horrific treatment most of the island is getting from the Queens. Though most horrific thing of it all that I've seen is a certain white parasite. I'm do believe many of you may have seen them at this point. Or at least, you may have seen their effects. They infest the host - entering them as easily as one might dive into water. They grow within the victim. As of yet, I've not even seen an effective way of detecting them until death. Upon death the death of the host, the parasite takes control of the body. I've seen horrific things occur as a result of that. At first, I assumed it was just a natural instinct to spread the parasite to more hosts. But, it seems to be more."

"I don't know how - though Aura is likely involved - but, Queen Toko seems to have found a way to control the parasite. In other words, she has found a way to control the dead and spread her influence indefinitely. When I looked into her soul, I saw a world in which every last thing was covered in this parasite. And she was in charge of it all. Even the other Queens were infected and under her control."

"Queen Toko is a psychopath who wishes to kill all life so that she can control it. I know that most of you have thought that you could avoid the wrath of the Bee Queens as long as you proved useful or unobtrusive. This is not so. At the very least, Queen Toko has no intention of sparing any of you. There is no appeasing her. Your cooperation will come naturally with your deaths."

"She has already proven herself clever. She offered to have her doctors heal myself and my comrades. I refused, and my suspicions were later validated. She used the doctors to infect the ones who accepted healing. Those who did not went uninfected."

"I hesitate to spread the paranoia, but how many have already been infected? Can we afford to continue to wait and see what the Queens do? The longer we wait, the more Toko's influence expands. Not just this island, but the entire world is at stake. If she is allowed to spread, there will be no stopping her. It has to happen now."

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 9 = 9


As you talk with Cloud, you see Chiu pour him some of the liquid from the bottle marked "Meli." Soon after he drinks it, Cloud starts to wobble in place, his gaze seeming to roll upward in a peaceful, dreamy kind of stupor.

"Cloud? Cloud, you okay?" Chiu asks him in concern. "Uh… Alder? Should we be worried?"


Thessaly speaks up. "It is as Cutlass says," she asserts. "Queen Toko is altogether evil. She intends on bringing naught but misery and destruction to this island. We have already dealt with the white worms that she intends to spread. Arroz's body was rife with them. He became a festering abomination until we put him down. Between her machinations and the coming of the Crimson King, ruin is on your doorstep. All your family infighting and squabbling will mean nothing when the storm comes, and then it will not matter whose skeleton sits the throne on Aristar."


"Well, I've got a bit of time, so how about a tag along? Like you said, things are getting dangerous, so some extra muscle and an extr a pair of eyes won't hurt, right?" She begins to tag along with them, trying to keep her ears and eyes out for possible yelling, angry bee noises, or even frantic accordion playing.


Roll #1 4 = 4



"Very poetic," Cutlass says approvingly with a smile.


Alder coils his tail around the keys to hold on to them, looking back in time to see Cloud begin to wobble. He gives the bat pony a concerned little pat, asking "Perhaps… let me sniff it? I could find out what it is, sort of. Maybe it is alcohol?"


>[1d10] wow, l i q u i d

Roll #1 5 = 5


She nods gratefully and straightens up a little, clearly pleased with herself.


"Whoa, this stuff is great."
Cloud says in a distant droll as he wobbles back along the shelf past all the friendly smiling trinkets.
He makes happy little bat squeaks as he passes each one, and up at Chiu as she makes sounds with her mouth.



As you both assert your case, the anxiety returns to the room, though you can both tell that it is now tempered by growing anger, especially from the Honeydews who were at Arroz's funeral and know what you're talking about.

Miss Sunshine taps Cutlass' arm, then stands up. "We care about your survival greatly; we are pirates, not savages or mere looters. We are willing to help you, but it will be imperative that you agree to do as Cutlass and Thessaly say."

You both a faint glimpse of Aura spark by Miss Sunshine's hoof: A signal that her ability is ready. Thessaly does not know what Miss Sunshine's ability does, but Cutlass does, remembering when it was used on her.

"Yes, it is obvious that we need to act," Dyme says, rising from his chair in resolution. "Not only do we need to study the parasite, we need to find all who have been infected already. As Cutlass said, there may be others who have already been implanted with the parasite without their knowledge, and who Toko may use as biological weapons with her ability."

"You seem awfully sure that she has such an ability…" Hubla says. "Cutlass… were you joking earlier when you brought up Dyme's outburst?"

Lazul is silent.


It's clear to Alder that this liquid is some kind of hallucinogenic drink, but its potency and side effects are still unknown. Cloud, it is plain to see, is on a trip.

Chiu is clearly creeped out, and picks up Cloud in her hoof to secure him. "Should we keep going…? Is he gonna be okay?"

Cloud feels as though he is rising up through the heavens toward a starry sky full of stars, who are bopping along with an unknown beat and singing along to a groovy song.

The bugs are grateful, thanking you in their foreign tongue. As you escort them through the jungle, you draw closer to the town. In the treeline just beyond the town's borders, you see a rogue bee soldier, hiding up in the trees. In his arms he seems to be holding something as he stalks through the branches. He sneaks forward as if stalking something below, eventually disappearing among the leaves.



Cutlass looks form Hubla to Dyme. She contemplates how to approach the uncertain situation. Especially after Dyme agrees to help so readily.

"If Dyme IS the traitor, I give him credit for being clever. I imagine this is an attempt to escape this room alive so he can warn the Queens of our plans. Again, IF he is the traitor."

"I do apologize for sharing personal details without permission, Dyme. But, it does feel necessary right now. I'll only say what I must."

Cutlass looks to Hubla and Soli. "Among the things I saw in Dyme's soul, I saw a desire for he and his family to have a positive and cooperative relationship with the Bee Queens. It is worthy of note that only HE would have this positive relationship with the Bee Queens. Does this mean that he is the traitor? That much I cannot say."


"We've come to you today to propose an alliance, in the face of this growing threat," she says, speaking a little louder. "You cannot keep ignoring it, as is clear to see. I have joined forces with Captain Cutlass, as have many others; she has her own ship and crew, the Secret Assassins, as well as an alliance with Captain Bee Holder of the Beesting. Together, they are assembling a militia; a well armed defence against these monstrous threats. We have taken initiative and traveled to one of the nearby islands and procured a certain herb, an antidote for Toko's evil. We ask that you, the Families, join this growing alliance, and help us overthrow Toko, and the Crimson King. I have worked alongside your people many times, enough to say that it would be wise of you to accept this." She addresses Hubla and Soli more so than Dyme.


"Oh, dear… this is a hallucinogenic. It might be quite powerful, or… not so much. He is tiny, after all. I can try to fix him up, if you would like me to. It would only take a little while."

"P-Please, do be careful."


Chiu quickly bottles up the Meli and puts it back on the shelf, far out of Cloud's reach. "Oh, of all the luck. Yes, please do!"


Cloud holds up his hooves wide, like he's flying again as he rises up towards the stars. Soaring up high, gliding through through the heavens against like the bat he was. He starts to hum and squeak along to the beat of the stars as they bob back and forth.


Alder huffs a tad, and gets to work on attempting a mini-sized dosage for the shrunken pony to drink. Perhaps it'll do the trick?
>Natural Remedy [1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


Cerulean sees the bee soldier and, not looking to waste any time, immediately begins to dash at the tree line with great speed to close the distance and wallop the soldier with her tail.

>DC-1, Crit 8+, +1 Ranged, take better roll


Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6


The Family heads consider these words carefully. Hubla and Soli are obviously eyeing Dyme, but Dyme does not show any signs of guilt or concern about their suspicions. He merely eyes Cutlass and Thessaly with scrutiny.

After a long pause, Dyme speaks. "It would be all too obvious if I were the traitor, don't you think? Even a bit cliche: Of course it would be the new kid, the youngest patriarch of the Dextrose family, at only fifty-two. I will admit that I harbor far different views of how this mafia ought to be run than the others – having the mafia split into three Families that operate on uneasy terms is an unsustainable model, espcially when our roles are so imbalanced. The Honeydews have their drug trade, and the Skeps their weapons and slaves.

"The Dextrose, on the other hand, are meant to be intermediaries between the 'upper world' and the 'underworld.' All we do is broker deals with the legal authority of Kaco Island, the democratic government which ruled every city and town outside of Aristar. But with that legal authority all but destroyed by the Bee Queens, we have nothing to fall back on to ensure our survival in the coming war. This is our own fault, of course… but this would not be the case in a unified mafia… one with a strong relationship with an all-encompassing royal family. That's the way things USED to be and OUGHT to be.

"Let me spoil the last page of this story: I don't have blood on my hooves. I would submit to a mind reader if you could procure one. My heart and mind are without guilt. But I will say that… if I were to hear about a plan to remove subversive elements like Arroz, form a partnership with the Queens, and return to our former glory… perhaps I would be more empathetic than others about their cause and pretend I did not hear anything.

"But there must be trust among us, I suppose."

He nods at one of his bodyguards – a scarred, tanned beepony with a stoic confidence and a short-cropped brown mane. The bodyguard steps forward and kneels before the leaders. Hubla and Soli grow white with fury, but force themselves to remain sitting.

"Well then… your thoughts, ladies?" Soli asks.


Cloud's trip comes to a sudden end, though it is not painful as he is brought back to reality – just a bit startling. Alder can see him sober up from the potion as it chases the hallucinogens out of his system.

"You okay?" Chiu asks.


You whack the sneaky bee soldier out of the trees, and he goes cartwheeling out of the branches and lands with a thunk on his back in the middle of some bushes. You see that he's holding a glass jar with a spider mariachi inside, protectively clutching an accordion. The bee soldier reaches for his belt and grabs his blowgun, loads it with a stinger, and tries to fire it at you.


Roll #1 7 = 7


Cloud blinks a few times as the views of stars fade to the old building and ponies. He looks around in confusion.
"How'd I get over here?"

He looks up to Chiu.
"Yea I feel pretty fine. I felt pretty great a few seconds ago, all nice and warm…"


"Y-You took a sip of something that seemed to have been a hallucinogenic. I worked together something to purge its effects, s-since I was rather… c-concerned."


She arches an eyebrow. "For my part, I am merely an informant," she replies. "The in-between. My allegiance is to my captain, and to Magoja. It is not my place to dictate justice between you. I leave that in your capable hooves."


"Hallucinogenic? So that stuff wasn't just wine then."
He looks back at the shelf.
"Hmm, Chiu maybe you should hold onto those. Don't think me being small probably helped that all too much."



Cutlass listens to Dyme with a cold expression on her face. She looks down at the bodyguard who kneels and scoffs.

"Well, what I've just heard is an admission of guilt of the entire Dextrose family," she says coldly. "As well as an admission of obsolescence. What good to us is a family who empathizes with the blatant enemy of all that lives?"

Cutlass looks to Dyme directly. "You speak of 'cooperation', but what I see in your soul is submission: a world in which the other families follow you out of fear - not respect. You speak of trust, but you leave out such important details. You allow the murder of those you claim you wish to cooperate with and don't speak up about it when it comes to light."

"Nothing short of a complete apology and admission of guilt could have saved you if it were up to me. Now, I can't see how we could trust you. You still claim that allowing the Queens to rule is somehow a good idea. That is blatantly against the desires of everyone else here."

Cutlass looks to Hubla and Soli. "If it were up to me, I'd kill him and every Dextrose in this room and allow the rest of the family to die in the coming battle. But, that is not up to me. I am only here to cooperate with you."

"And," Cutlass says, gesturing to Miss Sunshine. "As luck would have it, we happen to possess a method of ensuring cooperation."

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 7 = 7


Chiu nods in appreciation, and grabs some more of the gold from the tax collector's drawers, then hands it to Alder, which gives him another 200 gold as a payment.

She looks at the bottles uneasily. "Take them? Uh… after what happened…? Alright, but you're not getting another hit unless you're normal sized. Maybe we can sell the excess."

Altogether, you obtain five bottles of the hallucinogenic drink, Meli.

Chiu then shakes her head and heads back for the hall. "With that sorted, why don't we check the other rooms?"


Cerulean proceeds to try and grab the soldier with her jaws and thrash him about like a ragdoll.

>Great weapon attack


Roll #1 10 = 10


Alder gives Cloud a reassuring pat on the head (as softly as he can manage) before nodding as they take the hallucinogenic drink. "Perhaps they could be used as some sort of poison, or something to distract? And, yes, other rooms."


"Hey hey, I'm a clean bat. I know better."
Cloud defends.
"Those bottles can give us a pretty bit, especially with that honey scent. around here."
He climbs back up onto Chiu's head.
"Right, let's start using those keys and see what else we can find!"

"Hey that's a good idea. Maybe you could use some for those potions of yours, toss a little bit of that stuff to get any enemies off our backs."


"Ensuring cooperation?" Hubla asks, then laughs softly. "I assume you're referring to one of your powers. No, no. There won't be need for that, if we want to merely kill all of them."

You see him tug at the layer of Aura which is before him and extends over everything. As he tugs on it, everyone moves involuntarily towards him, and they can feel and see the aura covering themselves as well. It is as though you're all covered in a near-imperceptible layer of plastic, which he can manipulate.

Dyme glowers and tenses, as do the bodyguards, and for a brief moment, it seems that the room is about to explode in a brawl. But just as that's about to happen, Soli manifests a gavel out of aura into her hoof, and bangs it on the desk. "Stop. No… killing them here would be… inefficient. And unseemly. Stains are hard to get out of these kinds of rugs. You there, young girl."

"Me?" Miss Sunshine asks, a bit bashfully.

"You put some emphasis on your words a moment ago, about Cutlass' and Thessaly's demands," Soli says. "It was obvious that you are an amateur user of aura, setting up the conditions for your power to activate. Yours is the kind of power that can 'command other people.'

"I am curious… so I am going to give you a 'blank check.' Cutlass, Thessaly, it would be more efficient to use these traitorous Dextrose in the battle against the Queens. So, without telling us to kill the Dextrose ourselves, what are your demands for us in regards to the coming war?"


The dart lands in your chest, but you hardly notice as you toss him about, completely wrecking the villainous soldier. He is soon dead, and the glass jar containing the spider mariachi rolls to the ground. As you watch it go, you see what the bee soldier was stalking:

A large drider, as big as you, rides a strange, six-wheeled wheeled contraption, powered by his feet. It's like three bicycles welded together. Behind him, you see a magnificent cart that is covered in curtains, like something out of a carnival or a fair. He's whistling a tune as he approaches, but stops when he sees the bee soldier's corpse. The drider seems awfully familiar, but you can't place it.

You check the nearby rooms with the help of the keys, but most of them are fairly uninteresting and don't seem to contain anything - there's just a bathroom and a couple sparse guest rooms. However, it's not til you get to the master bedroom, a richly decorated room with a doublewide bed and plenty of silk blankets, pillows, baubles and baroque furniture, that things get interesting. Alder can immediately tell that if any room is dangerous, it's this one – and it's also going to be rewarding.


"Oooh, fantastic thinking. If I could reduce it to vapor, I could even make little gas bombs from them." the griffon thinks to himself, before smiling a little.

"O-Oh, goodness. We can see where the collected taxes were going to, I suppose… let me take a look."
>Master Thief [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


"That's even better! We could take out a whole ship with one of those."

Cloud looks into the room, immediately piqued by the lavish digs. He hops off Chiu's head and decides to return back to full size to help with clearing this room out.
"I call dibs on the bed and everything that comes with it!"



Roll #1 1 = 1


"A-Ack! Cloud Shear, cease!" he shouts, trying to snatch the diminutive bat pony up. [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1



"I came here because you influence the people on this island. Very few will listen to me. Despite how important it is that the Queens are dethroned, I cannot reach the hearts and minds of so many and so quickly as you can. I have the means to supply an army with weapons. Now, I just need the army."

"First and foremost, I need you all to spread the word to those beyond your own families. Discreetly. We obviously can't allow the Queens to catch wind of this before it even starts. The larger our arm, the better. Chaos will be our weapon."

"To that end, I already have a plan in place. It's already begun. There will be a festival tonight. The Bee Queens will be in attendance. Their flagship will be mostly unguarded. A faction of our army will crash the festival. While the focus is on them, we will steal the flagship. Once we have secured it and begun to get away with it, the army will retreat."

"They'll either give chase to use, to the army, or their forces will be split. Either way, chaos will ensue. We will lead them around to the other side of the island. All the while, we will make strikes on their confused armies where we can. Just off the shore, there is a baby turtle island that Toko uses to cultivate the parasites. We have already set up a base there. Our main forces will lie in wait there. Confused, surrounded, and battered, they will fall."

"Which family is best with subterfuge? I would like some of their forces to come with me to steal the ship. Which family is best in combat? I'd like for them to be the ones to set up ambushes during the pursuit. And, of course, all of you will assist in the recruitment. That is what I need of you. Any questions?"

[1d10] Auraless persuasion

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cerulean picks up the jar and opens it, freeing the mariachi spider within.
"Sorry for the rough ride, but you're safe now. Your friends should be…over that way," she says smiling, pointing to where she originally ran from.

Cerulean looks up at the drider and tilts her head, not sure if she felt this guy was familiar or if it was some indigestion.
"Hey there," she greets happily, not minding the corpse as much as the drider right now.


As Alder's every instinct shouts at him that something is amiss, he tries to stop Cloud from stepping too far into the room. But Cloud is too fast upon entry, and steps onto a small throw rug. Immediately, he and Alder and a few things around them are blasted into the ceiling, and then fall to the ground with a painful thud. Both lose 1 wound.

Where the rug was, you see a magic rune etched into the floor, now uncovered, with a magic gem in its center. Evidently, some kind of wind-based spell was stored here. At least this one has been activated already.

Chiu, still standing by the doorway out of caution, carefully animates your shadows with magic, and brings you back to the doorway. "Want I should try to root out the traps?"


Cloud groans as he's dragged out of the room, dazed and in pain.
"Maybe I should have stayed small there…"
He groans more as he stands back up.
"Yea, that might be good. Let me try being a little more cautious this time."
He looks down at the magic rune. He might not be able to pick up on magic, but maybe he can pinpoint any physical traps with his bat senses.
>Echolocation [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


As the spider is freed, the other mariachis come forward and greet their friend, quite happy to see he is unharmed, as evidenced by the joyous shouting in their language. Once they have celebrated enough, they turn and thank you, bowing as a group.

The drider, who is wearing very dapper 18th century explorer clothes, greets you with a smile, evidently not too worried about the dead body. "Ah, hello! My name is Orb-Weaver, and welcome to my Caravan of Curios!" He pulls a cord on the side of the cart, and the curtains pull back, revealing the contents: a self-contained bazaar, full of strange objects for sale. Upon hearing the name Orb-Weaver, you recall the spider merchant on Semetyer Island. But his name was "The Webmaster" and not Orb-Weaver.

"Any friend of bugs is a friend of mine," Orb-Weaver says. "Please, may I ask your name?"

>Merchant Inventory:



Your ears are ringing from the impact – you can't hear shit.


"A-Ack, I am sorry I didn't move sooner. I knew something was amiss, but I did not move quite in time to stop it… aside from that, the shadows may be a good idea. T-Thank you, Chiu."


Cloud gives his ears a rub.
"Yea, I think it'll be best to leave this to you Chiu."


Soli glances at the two of you, then at Miss Sunshine, with her eyebrow cocked. "Very well. These terms are reasonable. I agree to them, and with my authority as leader of the Skeps, I will agree to the terms on behalf of my underlings."

"I agree on my own behalf and on that of the Honeydew Family," Hubla says. "And as for our traitors…? What do you have to say?"

"Go straight to hell," Lazul spits, now shaking uncontrollably. "Fuck all of you."
The Dextrose bodyguard, the unnamed killer, shakes his head.
"I have not a single regret for what I have done, and nor will I nor my family take orders from an outsider," Dyme says with pride. "Whether in a jail cell or in the underworld, I will not bow to you."


Hubla suddenly yanks at the layer of aura before him, and Dyme, Lazul, and the unnamed bodyguard are suddenly all wrapped up in a dark layer of aura similar to plastic wrap. Hubla spreads his hooves apart, gripping a strip of aura in front of him, and with a cracking sound, the three of them are stretched out to an unnatural length, their bodies flattening like paper, their faces twisted in inarticulate pain. Hubla then rolls the strip of aura up, and each of the traitors does as well, eventually vanishing when the roll is complete.

He then smiles. "Go on, Miss Sunshine, finish using your ability."

Miss Sunshine is white with terror, eyes wide. "C-c-c-customer Copy, activate."

Miss Sunshine's aura flashes green, and each of the mafia family heads obtains a small receipt.

"M-merchant Copy… activate," Miss Sunshine stammers, slowly regaining her composure as a very long receipt appears in her own hoof. "When you enter an agreement with me, you get a receipt, and so do I. I can use my receipt to compel you to hold up your end of the bargain, even against your will. If you complete your end, the receipts vanish and you are free from my power. Ordinarily I don't explain this power. The fewer people that know about it, the stronger it is. But… I think it's obvious why I'm explaining this. I don't want to get on your bad side."

"We don't either," Soli says with a smile. "Yours is quite the scary ability."

"Alright!" Chiu says, raising a number of shadows. "Let's see what we get."


Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


Chiu's shadows stop in front of a baroque vanity on the east side of the room and an empty animal cage on the west side. "Looks like some traps are right here, but that's obviously not the last of them. The others must be hidden pretty well."


"Hmm, the bed surely can't be trapped, right?"
Cloud steps forward cautiously as the shadow locate two of the traps. Cloud tries to inspect the bed as best he can, even though he's not sure what to look for.
>Investigate Bed [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


The bed seems to be safe – you are even able to sit and lay on it without any trouble.


>I actually made an error in this post; Merchant Copy has nothing to do with Miss Sunshine getting a receipt, so just write it off as her being too spooked to speak or think straight


"Ha, knew this wouldn't be trapped. Who would make their own bed a place that can hurt yourself?"
He says, somewhat obvious he was worried.
"And now to wrap this up all nice and tidy."
Cloud hops off the bed, eyes glowing as he shrinks down the bed with all it's pillows and blankets down to make it easy to carry off.


"Let me see if I can narrow down a few more places…"
>Master Thief [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5



"Fools…" Cutlass mutters as they display not a single shred of regret for supporting the notion of cooperating with the Queens. "So desperate to die…"

Cutlass watches with a small smile as they die horrifically. "Well, that was at least cathartic," she says once they are gone.

"Thank you all for your cooperation. But, what of the rest of the Dextroses? We can't have them going and blabbing to the Queens."


She waves to the group as watches them off before looking back to Orb-Weaver.

"Cerulean! And don't worry, I'm always friendly to friendly things," she says, then looks over at the bee soldier, "except him. He wasn't being a friendly bug."

Cerulean looks all about and her instinctual curiosity is setting in and setting in hard. She looks over at everything, having to stop herself a few times from touching stuff. Her gaze first rests on the little pieces of parchment, remembering what was said about teaching the Beetlebands new songs.
"Oh hey, I was looking for these, I think? Are they for sale?" As she speaks, he glimmer of something catches her eye: some kind of blue jewel that looked like an eye.
"Oh wow…so pretty and shiny."


Her lip curls as the traitors are executed, showing zero sympathy for them. "As they deserved," she comments. "We have need for sterner stock in the wars to come."

"Yes, what of the other conspirators? They should not be suffered to linger. One bad apple, and the entire barrel goes rotten."


There's something off about the mirror and the closet in the back of the room, you just can't tell what. But now that those three places have been identified, you feel somewhat relaxed. That must have been all of them.


"We should avoid… the mirror, and the closet. Other than that, I feel confident saying we will be fine."


"Well, I don't know if you've heard, but there's a rumor that the Dextrose leader has come into a spot of trouble recently," Hubla says. "And a Family can't go without a patriarch or matriarch."

"We'll have to hold an emergency vote," Soli agrees. "All in favor of Patriarch Hubla and Matriarch Soli assuming joint authority over the Dextrose Family until a suitable replacement can be found?"

Both leaders say "Aye."

"The motion passes," Hubla says. "By our newfound authority with the Dextroses, we will ensure that no rumor gets out through the use of compelling argument and appeals to their rationality and sense of Family pride."

"And plenty of beatings," Soli concurs. "But mostly my aura ability. For your own safety and mine, I will not reveal what it does. Still, I will give you a hint if you're curious." Soli knocks her gavel on the table in a very judiciary manner.

As they leave, the mariachis serenade you with great gratitude. They sound a bit off-key, but you have a feeling that one day they will fix that.

"Everything is for sale!" Orb-Weaver declares. "For the two song packs and the eye? I will give them to you for 210 Bits altogether, out of a 250 Bit value, because you have shown yourself to be a kind person."

You shrink and pocket the bed, and reveal a small bag of coins underneath the bed, containing 200 in total.

Chiu recalls her shadows, clearly still shook by the magic rune. "Alright! Well… enjoy! I'll just be back here in Safetyville."



File: 1538617686172.jpg (39.26 KB, 791x648, 1532986795913.jpg)

Last time on PQ…

Cerulean saved a mariachi spider from captivity by a now-dead bee soldier, much to the gratitude of his fellow bug friends. Afterward, she met a drider* merchant by the name of Orb-Weaver, who was reminiscent of another drider met on Semetyer Island who called himself the Webmaster.

Cloud tripped out on a hallucinogenic drink called Meli, which they had discovered while raiding the abandoned tax collector's office, until Alder brought him back down with an antidote. Afterward, they continued until they found the master bedroom, which had the most traps out of all the rooms they had searched so far.

Cutlass and Thessaly discussed things with the leaders of the Three Families. It had come out during the meeting that Dyme, the patriarch of the Dextrose Family, had allowed Fasol and Lazul to set up Arroz to be murdered, and gave his tacit support in a bid to prove the Dextrose Family's loyalty to the Bee Queens. For this, Dyme, Lazul and one of the Dextrose bodyguards, who had silently confessed to killing Arroz, were executed on the spot with Hubla's horrifying aura ability.

*Basically a big spider with an upright spider body, not a drider in the sense of spider + pony


Forgot to say it, but post sheets with your replies.

>Cutlass and Thessaly
"Well, I don't know if you've heard, but there's a rumor that the Dextrose leader has come into a spot of trouble recently," Hubla says. "And a Family can't go without a patriarch or matriarch."

"We'll have to hold an emergency vote," Soli agrees. "All in favor of Patriarch Hubla and Matriarch Soli assuming joint authority over the Dextrose Family until a suitable replacement can be found?"

Both leaders say "Aye."

"The motion passes," Hubla says. "By our newfound authority with the Dextroses, we will ensure that no rumor gets out through the use of compelling argument and appeals to their rationality and sense of Family pride."

"And plenty of beatings," Soli concurs. "But mostly my aura ability. For your own safety and mine, I will not reveal what it does. Still, I will give you a hint if you're curious." Soli knocks her gavel on the table in a very judiciary manner.

As they leave, the mariachis serenade you with great gratitude. They sound a bit off-key, but you have a feeling that one day they will fix that.

"Everything is for sale!" Orb-Weaver declares. "For the two song packs and the eye? I will give them to you for 210 Bits altogether, out of a 250 Bit value, because you have shown yourself to be a kind person."

You shrink and pocket the bed, and reveal a small bag of coins underneath the bed, containing 200 in total.

Chiu recalls her shadows, clearly still shook by the magic rune. "Alright! Well… enjoy! I'll just be back here in Safetyville."


"So! Let us continue searching, yes? Be very careful with where you step, Mister Cloud."



"Sweet, a fancy bed and some cash."
Cloud snatches up the bag of gold as well, looking around the room for anything else that looks promising.

"Right, right. You find any traps yourself?"


"The mirror, and the closet. They give me a bad feeling in my gut, I believe the saying is."


"Hmmm, yea, we should probably save those for last. Clear out the rest of the room in case those are a little more violent."


In addition to the mirror and the closet, you remember that the baroque vanity and the empty small animal cage in the ritzy room were also marked as trapped by the shadows. Those seem to be the likely places that treasure would be, but you don't see any. If there is any, it'd be hidden.



"Well, this has been quite productive," Cutlass says with a smile as she stands from her seat. "I trust you have weapons for your own families. But, if you need more for the ones you recruit for our militia, contact Magoja. I'm certain you've heard of him. Everyone around here seems to have. I've already worked out a deal with him."

"Now, if we have no more business to conduct, I beg your leave. I have quite a busy schedule to maintain."


File: 1538618760106.png (725.8 KB, 540x810, Skeletiano.png)


Cerulean can't help but blush at the compliment.
"Aww, thank you! And sounds good." She fishes around and hands over payment; some in bits and the other in some shiny gems from her big treasure haul.


"Right. Even if we haven't seen anymore, proceed with caution…"
The griffon looks for any nightstands or chests to rifle through…
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cloud eyes the empty cage, standing out quite a bit.
"I doubt they'd run off with their pet and leave the cage, so there must be something more here."
Cloud mutters as he gives it a look over.
>Check [1d10]

"Don't be too cautious, that's how you miss things."

Roll #1 6 = 6


She looks rather amused, if somewhat suspicious, at their impromptu vote. "We trust the Dextrose family is in capable hooves," she says simply. "I am glad we could see eye to eye on the matter of the coming storm. As the captain has said, if there is anything else you require, do not hesitate to contact us, or Magoja."

"Was there anything more you wished to ask of us?" If not, she prepares to leave alongside Cutlass.



Orb-Weaver appraises the gems, then hands you your change for them in gold coins along with your goods. You see that the gold coins have the profile of a griffon's head on one side – you recognize the symbol as the jolly roger of the Crimson King's ship.

"The songs, you slip into the little slots on the back of your beetleband members, and they'll learn 'em real quick," Orb-Weaver says. "The pendant, you have to be a little more careful with. Supposedly it's got some kind of spirits inside it, and they know a lot more than they let on – they can give you hints about things, but they're real picky about the tone of voice you use."


"Ah, yes, Magoja. An extremely odd and elusive figure," Hubla says. He checks a fancy gold pocket watch. "Wow, we made great time. You know, this meeting was originally scheduled for two in the afternoon, but it's only about nine in the morning! Magoja told us you were coming back early, so we had a few appointments rescheduled to accomodate."

"Right, but there's no sense in rescheduling breakfast for business," Soli adds. "You're welcome to stop by if you want some – it'll be on us. And if you find yourself in the need of something to pass the time until the carnival performance, you can give us a ring on our caller conches."

Hubla and Soli both give you the passwords to their Caller Conches.
>OOC: A password for a conch functions like a phone number. Whisper the password into the conch, and if they pick up, the call will go through.

"How did Magoja know we were coming back…?" Ossie wonders.


Cloud pokes around in the empty cage for a bit, turning it over and checking it for various things. Eventually, he finds a hidden panel in the bottom of the cage, containing a few bits of jewelry - three silver necklaces and two gold bracelets. Meanwhile, as Alder opens up the drawers on the vanity, his instincts send alarm ripping through his body – he senses that he's nearly activated a hidden trap. Since he already had a bad feeling earlier, he can roll at DC 4 to try to open it without setting it off.


>Master Thief Applies? [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2



"Magoja has his ways," Cutlass responds to Ossie evasively.

"We could use a spot of breakfast if you're offering," Cutlass says with a cordial nod. "Is that alright with you, Thessaly?"


Name fix.


Unfortunately, Alder is not delicate enough in his touch, and the trap is set off: he sees a system of gears and pulleys in the drawer he opened, before he is blinded and choked by an explosion. A thick powder blows up into his face, burning his eyes and mouth with an extreme spice, and he is flung backward, ears ringing to make matters worse.
>No damage, but extremely painful


She looks over the coins, giving a slight hum as she remembers she's suppose to be putting a wallop on this guy at some point.

"Oh, I see. Still, wearing this can at least make things feel less lonely if I'm by myself, right?" She puts the pendant on, already liking how it looks.
"Plus, this is really pretty. Thanks again Mr. Orb-Weaver."


Cloud pulls out the necklaces and bracelets, holding them in separate hooves.
"Hey Alder, do you prefer silver or gold?"


"I would not refuse it, if it is an option," she answers warmly. "I must confess I am rather hungry."


Cloud covers his ears after the explosion goes off, walking over to offer Alder a hoof up.
"Maybe you were right on that caution part."


"No problem!" Orb-Weaver says. "Hopefully I'll see you again someday on these islands. I'll be traveling around this area for a while. Oh! Before I go, if you hear anything about items from the Eyle of Storms, I'll pay good money for those – at least double the market value. Anyway, buh-bye."

Orb-Weaver rolls away down the road on his bike.


Alder hisses and waves his arms helplessly as he's thrown back. He's not a very big guy, so for him the whole experience is extremely painful.

The griffon rubs at his eyes a little and lets out an uneasy warble, offering a nod in the direction he thinks Cloud Shear is. He accepts the helping hoof up, before shaking his head and trying to steady himself "Y-Yes, caution. And… whichever you prefer less, Cloud. It is your find, after all."


"Alright then."
Cloud tosses Alder the two gold bracelets.
"Least you won't need to worry about more traps now."


Alder fumbles with the bracelets, but his instincts manage to help him snatch them. He offers a silly giggle, and offers a short nod in agreement. "I-I suppose you are right, yes. And, thank you."


Hubla and Soli gather their bodyguards.
"Have Fasol, Ouski and Saros brought to the Hooks within the hour," Hubla instructs them. "Get names and faces from them – anyone else who knows anything about the muder or who harbors any loyalty to the Queens."

Soli points her gavel at the remaining Dextrose Family bodyguards. "And you, you're with us. You'll get to eat, don't worry!"

The Dextrose bodyguards flinch at the sight of the gavel, and nod, appearing quietly terrified.

Hubla and Soli lead you out of the building, and down several streets to the northwest, eventually leaving behind the more industrial and cityscape areas, out to a place where the streets are older and wider, and the buildings smaller and more aged. Eventually, you reach what is no more than a comfy cottage on a hill which overlooks the ocean. It's connected to the rich and busy city by nothing but a dirt road. When you enter, you are struck by the warm and quiet atmosphere – an old mom and pop shop with only a few customers. You're given a table by an old, tough-looking beepony mare, and handed some menus with only a handful of foods, all traditional.


Once Alder clears his vision, he notices that the vanity itself was knocked onto one side by the force of the explosion. Behind it, just barely revealed by the light, is a small lever built into the wall.

Chiu steps cautiously into the room on tip-hoof, apparently still worried about traps, and hands Alder a rag and a waterskin for his face.



"I'll have a fruit salad, please," Cutlass orders after looking at the menu (assuming such a thing is on the menu).

"This is a lovely little restaurant," Cutlass says as she looks out a nearby window. "You must dine here all the time."


Cerulean smiles and decides to walk off in a direction as Orb-Weaver takes off. As she walks, she might as well talk to her new spirit buddies. She looks down at the pendant.
"Hello? Can anypony hear me? I just wanted to say 'hi' and maybe talk a bit?"


Thessaly looks pleased at the sight of the little cottage, maling herself comfortable abd ordering herself some eggs Benedict.

"This place is quite divine. An old family staple, I assume?"



"You never knew of this place?" Cutlass asks curiously. "I take it you never left the city much?"


"Not particularly, no. I mostly ran errands here and there for Magoja. I am much more acquainted with the inner city than I am with its outskirts."


"Don't mention it."

Cloud looks over to the last places in the room with Alder taking care of the vanity. He looks between the mirror and closet, unsure of which to check. Leaving it up to chance, he pulls a coin out of the bag he looted and flips it, and goes to check on his result.
>Heads (1) for Mirror, Tails (2) for Closet [1d2]

>Check [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 8 = 8



The old mare nods and jots down the orders. "Coffee or tea?"

"Not as often as we'd like," Soli says. "Though, probably more often than we should. Places like these have history; they're connected to the spirit of the island itself. It makes a pony sentimental, soft, caring. The mafia doesn't have any room for that. Get soft, and someone knocks you off of your throne."

Eventually, your orders are brought to you – Cutlass's is full of a mix of colorful fruits, none of which she has seen before.

"You wouldn't have heard," Hubla says. "Nor even seen it from the shoreline or from the pathway leading up to it. It's a secret to most people. Family members who live to get gray hairs in their mane come here, and it's protected by a well-hidden aura field. Basically, it's the one place people like us can relax."

As you walk, you eventually reach an outcropping of rock overlooking the ocean. The tide is gentle, and the fish are plenty.
The pendant is silent.


"Just tea, thank you. No milk, no sugar."

She nods politely as she listens to Soli's opinion. "Indeed? I would have thought this would be a haven for leaders to unwind. Managing such a large and turbulent family must be rather stressful."



"Coffee please, I am dreadfully tired. And bring some cream and sugar, please."

"It's like a pirate's ship that way," Cutlass says before she tries a bite of the fruit. "Land is so… chaotic. Not in your control. But the ship - THAT is your domain. Everything is yours and you know it well. There are no enemies, no threats to concern yourself with. Just a place to be at ease and enjoy the breeze and the horizon."

Cutlass sighs. "At least, that's how it is supposed to be…"


"Do you like the city?" Cutlass asks between bites.


Wiping his face and beak off, he offers a short nod to the others. Rather curious himself, the griffon will reach over and pull the lever… after giving it a lookover, of course.
>Master Thief [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3



After pulling the lever, you hear a clicking sound, as if something was being unlocked. Partially hidden beneath one of the rugs on the floor, you see a trap door, now slightly ajar.

You check the mirror carefully and notice a kind of spring mechanism rigged up in a desk just beside the mirror, intended to launch a projectile at you. Taking care not to set off the firing mechanism, you find that you can actually open the mirror, much like a bathroom mirror. Inside is a few books, some makeup, and some colorful shawls and bead bracelets, but no jewelry.


"It is not without its problems, but Aristar has been good to me thus far. It has its charm, to be sure. A very quiet city, at least for me. I keep a low profile to avoid unwanted attention for my… condition… and I find it is the best way to live here. Better not to get wrapped up in too many family entanglements. Although, I suppose it is unavoidable at a certain point. The bill comes due, I suppose." She shrugs and takes a bite of egg.



"What? Oh. I just meant cities in general."

"What… condition are we referring to?"


Cerulean gives a bit of a sigh as there is no response. Seeing the rocky outcrop, she decides to look around the area and even walk in the water a bit.
"Ahh. Now this is relaxing. Wonder if I can catch up some snack time here."


Cloud takes a sidestep to avoid any possible misfiring of the projectile, peering into the mirror at the treasure. He's disappointed at what he finds, but he pulls the books out to check what they're about.
"Hey Chiu, see anything you like in here?"
He says, waving her over for the makeup, shawls, and bracelets.


"Ah… oho! Check in here, Cloud! A Trap-door!" the griffon remarks, peeking inside.


Your drinks are brought next. In all, though the food is not highbrow or ritzy, it is quite delicious, clearly prepared with expertise and care. Though Cutlass has never had fruit like these, the blend of flavors and succulence only makes her crave more.

"Yes, it's a mixed blessing," Hubla grunts. "It's dear to our hearts. Over fifteen generations of patriarchs and matriarchs are buried here. Even Dyme will be as well. For the living, though, this feeling of relaxation tends to distract from the quick pace of mafia life. And with the Queens and the Crimson King at our door, we can't afford to go soft."

Soli sips her tea. "On that note – I have to say, I appreciate your chutzpah in wanting to capture that behemoth of a ship, Cutlass. But that's a tall order, especially considering you don't know the King's powers yet. I'd say it's best to concoct a backup plan or at least some insurance to help you."

A birdlike voice squawks from the pendant. "Bread crumbs and worms make very good bait! You can find the latter very easily in the nearby soil underneath the bushes! Rawk!"


"Hm. Not particularly, to tell the truth. I have always preferred something smaller in scope. Little towns or hamlets are much better to live in from my experience. Cities are too busy. Too many prying eyes."

She shoots you a side glance. "My age, and nature as a cailleach - a sorceress in your tongue - tends to draw suspicion when I reveal it. The only reason I have told you is because there is no hiding it in our line of work. In many places, my kind are looked on with intolerance - fear, hatred, disgust. So, I keep that to myself, unless I see no choice but to reveal it."

"That being said. The Ribcage's denizens seem to look more favourably on my ilk than on the outside. Perhaps because the soul arts are so much stronger here. Still. Best not to give away information like that."


Chiu has a peek at the clothes, then scoops it all up into her own bag. "Yes indeed!"

You see that the first book is a history of famous aura masters from the Ribcage, as well as how their innovations and discoveries in aura practicality and theory influenced the ways of life and culture of many islands. The second is a practical guide to some of the islands' religious traditions, as well as holidays recognized on various islands.

You see that a ladder extends down from the trapdoor for about thirty feet, at the bottom of which is a stone tunnel. You smell salt water from the tunnel, suggesting it might lead to the ocean.


"A trap door? Whoever lived here loved to hide their stuff."


She nods pensively. "The coming war will weigh heavily on us all, it seems. I had hoped to weather it when it comes, but it seems that is off the table. It is good we were able to come to an agreement. Unfortunate about the Dextroses, but at least they are under your proverbial thumbs now. This little insurrection of theirs shan't last long." She raises her cup of tea. "Sláinte."


"Oh! Great idea! Thank you-huh?" Cerulean looks around confused for the source of the voice.
"Hunh…still though, thank you." She follows the pendant's instructions and goes digging around for said worms.



When Cutlass receives her coffee, she fills it to the brim with tea, practically rendering it white. She then adds the tiniest sprinkling of sugar. She carefully takes a sip so that it doesn't spill. The level of precision she demonstrates with the whole procedure indicates that this is common practice for her.

"It's just a distraction. I don't intend to keep the ship. Unless I can. But, that's not within my expectations. I'll have my own ship meet me halfway so that we'll have a getaway if we need one. The goal is to cause chaos and split their forces. I have every confidence that - so long as we accomplish that - everything will work out in the end."


"Ah," Cutlass says, after finishing a sip of coffee. "I didn't think anyone here would care about that. From my point of view, it seems more a blessing than something to be reviled."

"Prying eyes…" Cutlass repeats the phrase. "Yes, the worst part of a city is that there is always someone around. It's like a prison. I hate cities. I loathe them. I-" Cutlass cuts herself off. "Sorry," she smirks. "My frustration is building the longer I stay here."


"He did, yes… it seems like this leads to the ocean. Built-in escape hatch, perhaps?"


"It is a blessing," she says earnestly. "But many ignorant slaves see me as a harbinger of ruin. Witch, some call me. Hag, shrew, heretic… I have heard it all at this point. As I said, though, the commoners here seem more open minded about my brand of magic. Perhaps they do understand. Not like those fools on the outside."

She looks amused. "Betwixt you and I, I cannot wait to be back on the ship either. Aristar is all well and good, but the sea has ever been my true home. It calls to me. I am glad to be traveling alongside you, if only for that."


The leaders raise their glasses in agreement. "Níki."

Soli can't help but laugh at your drinking process. "Hmph, clever girl," she says. She then checks her pocket watch. "At least you'll have most of the day to prepare - as will we. You can enjoy yourself here as long as you like, but we won't keep you here overlong – I remember you saying you would be quite busy."

The birdlike voice returns from the pendant, and you can tell that it's female. "Rawk! No problem!"

You gather up plenty of worms - it must have rained recently - and retrieve the fishing net that you got back on Semetyer Island. It's peaceful out as you prepare the fishing rod, with only a gentle breeze for background noise.



"Well, to be honest," Cutlass laughs. "I didn't know the time. It's been…" Cutlass sighs. "Nonstop."


"I'm certainly happy to have you as a part of my crew. To be honest, I was worried the Bee Stings might steal you from me."

"N-not that I would care either way," she adds after a moment. Then takes an awkward sip of her coffee.


Cloud chuckles at Chiu's enthusiastic looting.

"Hey, this might be a good read for later."
He says to Chiu as he tucks away the books in his bag.

"Probably. Could be how he got away, if he did. Plus it gives us a quick out if he's still here."


Cerulean casts her line out, making sure to put a lively worm on before casting.
"And now I play the waiting game," she says, watching the bobber as her tail idly sits in the water.



Roll #1 10 = 10


"Mhmm. Should we search more, or make our own leave?"


After a little while, your line has a bite, and you wrangle with the fish for a good while before reeling it in – it's a very hearty-looking thing, very large, and while you haven't seen a fish like this before, it's a bit like a tuna, only vivid orange, and with nasty-looking hooks all over its sides, which will have to be scraped off before it can be eaten.


She nods and sips her tea thoughtfully. "So. What will be the next move? Queen Toko must be dealt with before she can put her machinations into action."

She looks at you curiously. "Do you not require my services, then? I could pledge myself to Captain Holder, if it makes so little difference to you."



Cutlass blushes and mumbles into her coffee. "Please don't do that," she mumbles quietly.


The two leaders' expressions grow serious. "The danger lies in not knowing the degree of control she has over the parasites," Hubla says. "Who has she infected already? What will happen to the parasites that have already infected people if we simply have her assassinated? The more we know about her power, the better we'll be able to strategize to neutralize her. Ideally, we should try to either force her into a situation in which she cannot use her parasites, or to keep her from becoming suspicious so that she thinks she won't need to use them. Then, we massacre her, her guards, her army, and then her loyalists."

"If we can capture someone who knows more about her power and interrogate them, that would be a good start," Soli says. "There are plenty of soldier bee drones out in the countryside, razing certain towns. If you can capture one of their captains, they'd make for easy interrogation."

"Toko is the most immediate threat, but Qaromarrow and Hurscurs will be just as dangerous when confronted," Hubla adds.


"Oooooo, now this looks like a tasty one. Okay, let's get you back to the others. I bet they'd wanna have some of you, too!" With that, she happily begins to drag the giant fish back to the Beasting. She'd eat it right here and now, but truthfully, she didn't feel like putting up with eating those hooks.
"Hmm…I think all this good cooking stuff is making me spoiled and picky now…."


"Leave so soon? We still got that closet to check out."


"Good point- we should stay, in that case." the griffon remarks, before looking around the room a little more
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


Her expression is inscrutable. "Very well, I shan't. I was not planning on doing so, for what it's worth. You and your crew suit me better, I feel."

"Do we know for certain that the other queens are in on it? Perhaps it is only Toko who has these maniacal plans."


You take a short jaunt up the coastline, and in time reach the town, finding that most of the crew has disembarked the ship and has begun looting the town, while Bee Holder and her closest allies survey the work from atop a statue in the center of town. As you come on over, Bee Holder waves and whistles. "Quite the catch you found!"


[1d10] Master Thief

Roll #1 10 = 10



"Yes, many of our militia's lives ride on killing all three of them. Their aura is already a part of their hunt. It's only a matter of time before it kills them."

"As for interrogation, that is a wise plan. I'll try to find a viable candidate. You'll likely be a more convincing interrogator than myself, however. I'm more of a negotiator."

"Well," Cultlass says as she finishes the last of her food and coffee. "In that case, I've added to my schedule. Which means we must be off."

Cutlass stands up and pushes her chair in. She nods to each of the family leaders. "Thank you both for your assistance and hospitality. I will be sure to return the favor."

With that, she leaves the restaurant.


Cutlass raises an eyebrow as they (presumably) walk out the door together. "Why am I a better fit?"


Cerulean waves back.
"I know, right?! I don't know what it is, but I figured he'd make a nice, big lunch for everyone!" She brings the fish onto the ship and gives a huff from that nice little work out.
"Any idea what it is? I would've dug in to find out, but I didn't feel like munching through those hook things."


As you open the closet, you find it mostly full of various gentlepony's suits, but there are various chests as well, and a quick glance at their contents shows that this is the motherlode - gold, weapons, jewels, deeds, even jars of various tobaccos, drugs, sugar and spices as well.

Yet all too soon after you open it, that familiar dread wells up as a mysterious mechanical ticking begins. On instinct, your finger flies forward and pokes at a switch on a large clockwork bomb stashed behind one of the chests, disabling it entirely.


"They're definitely all in on it," Ossie says. "When we first came to Kaco Island, we learned that people were being hit with stingers that were enchanted with the other queens' aura. When it stings you, it takes some of your aura to a pocket dimension called 'The Hunting Grounds.' Once that happens, Queens Qaromarrow and Hurscurs can forcibly teleport you there, in order to play a kind of hunting game in which you are the quarry. That's how we were told they were depleting many of the towns they attacked already."

Soli and Hubla nod. "It was our pleasure," Hubla says. "And we are looking forward to the fruition of your plans."

You head outside and reach the dirt road, seeing a few other rustic old cottages nearby, presumably retirement homes for old mafiosos.


"It is a fish in need of grilling, that's what it is," Bent Scales says, licking her lips as she hands you a knife to scrape off the hooks.

Meanwhile, other pirates - those that can eat meat - see what you're up to and nod approvingly, and start setting up a makeshift grill in the town square for your fish.


"O-Oh, goodness. This is quite the find. Cloud, come look! I found all sorts o-" the griffon freezes up, and his slender talons move to disarm the bomb. He shakes his head a little, and removes the clockwork device if he can. It might make for something of use, later.
"Various spices and other things, weapons, gold, jewels, and… papers. I do not quite understand those, though. I also found a bomb."


She purses her lips. "Well now." That certainly does complicate things. I cannot say it surprises me, though."

She joins Cutlass in bidding the family leaders farewell and follows the captain onwards.

She blinks. "More of a rapport established, I suppose," she answers. "We may have only just met yesterday, but I more welcome among your crew than I do among theirs. I think it shall work out for the better for me. For us, really."


It's a bit heavy, but you are able to remove the bomb and carefully store it so it doesn't arm itself while in your bag. Chiu unfolds some of the deeds and looks through them. "…Yikes. These look like properties around town. He probably got these from people unable to pay their taxes."



Cutlass heads back to her ship. If she's going to hunt down a guard captain, she'll need her assassins.


A tinge of guilt hits Cutlass at the use of the word Rapport. "Well, I'm afraid I haven't been entirely honest with you…" she says in a guilty tone. "How… much do you care for this island?"


"Still though, I am pretty curious. Like I'd like to know the name in case this is the tastiest fish we'll ever eat so we can buy more later," she says as she starts getting the hooks off. At the smell of a grill starting up, she redoubles her efforts.


Cloud looks over as Alder speaks of the find, though freezes in place as he mentions a bomb.
"A bomb?"
He questions, until seeing Alder has disarmed it.
"Phew, that would've been bad. For us and this stash."

He whistles at all the shiny treasure and weapons, then glances over at the deeds.
"Not sure how useful those will be now with how wrecked some of these towns are, but there must be one nice place still standing."


"Grill, I say, grill!" Bent Scales commands.
Sickly Sweet laughs and shakes his head. "We found some books in what appeared to be a fisherman's hut earlier; I'll skim and see if I find any pictures."

In time, you return to Aristar proper, finding your crewmates hard at work ensuring that the recruits of your army are getting in training, practicing with cleaning and reloading guns, basic sword play, and all manner of dirty tricks a pirate needs to get an advantage over a stronger enemy. As you approach, many stop and salute Cutlass as their captain.


She looks at you coldly. "Aristar has been my home long enough. It has suited me well, but I tire of it. Whatever you are hiding from me, I could care less what happens to this place in the end. Survival, at any cost. That is what drives me. And it is why I will fight at your side. I have not lived for two hundred years for my life to be cut short by some jumped up cutpurse like the Crimson King, nor those lunatic Queens. They are a threat to me. And I will see them destroyed."

"So, do what you will with this place, if you seek to claim it as your own. As long as my safety is kept intact, I will not stop you."



"Where are Sparkler and Droplet?" Cutlass asks a random recruit.


Cutlass lets out a loud, undignified laugh. "Claim it as my own? Never. Not this place. Not this dreadful, terrible, stupid, fucking-" Cutlass stops herself with a grunt as her vocabulary devolves.

"No," she says with a devious grin. "Once my plan is done, this place will hardly be recognizable."


The recruit points you to the side of the ship, where you see the two of them doing pull-ups using the ship's railing as a bar; other recruits exercise alongside them, though it's obvious that Sparkler and Droplet are leagues stronger than them.


"Ooo, nice find. When I've gotten me some brain food, I'll have to read it as well. Then maybe it'll make me hungry enough for seconds or thirds!" Cerulean works faster to clean this fish off for the grill.



"I require assistance hunting a bee guard captain," Cutlass says as she approaches the assassins.

"Also, you better not damage my ship with your exercise."


Both assassins flip themselves back over the railing. "I'll go with you," both say at the same time. They then glare at each other, and they are clearly eager to be the one to go.

You finish scraping the fish clean for the grill, and throw it on there. "You know how to cook?" one pirate asks.

After a quick survey of the loot, you estimate that it's worth around 5,000 altogether, give or take, though it's likely that you won't be able to carry out all of it yourself – and whoever comes around to help will definitely want a cut of it.
"I don't think I'd wanna own property on this island," Chiu says. "Not after what we've seen its royalty do to people."


"Agreed- I am not one for land ownership, either… I-I think. There is a lot of gold here, though… maybe we can take a chunk of it, and split it three ways?" the griffon suggests, looking the weapons over.


"Yea, home is much better than this place. Buuut, we might be able to sell these off to somepony before we leave. Or at least hold onto them for our bet."

"I like the sound of that. We really hit the jackpot here."


She lets out a single short bark of a laugh, although there's little humor behind it. "Alright then. Keep your secrets. As I said, I care little for the fate of this place."



"Yeah, fair enough," Chiu says, and begins shoveling gold into her bag. "But I really wanna see what's down that trapdoor too!"



"Why not both?" Cutlass shrugs.


"Let's scoop all this gold up first, don't wanna overlook any coins or gems."
Cloud pauses mid-scoop.
"Hmm, we can't split this evenly. Alder, you can take the remainder since you disarmed the bomb and all."


"We've got a lot of recruits, and keeping them all in line, even with our crew's help, is pretty difficult," Droplet explains. "You've got street rats, revolutionaries, ex-soldiers, family members seeking revenge, prisoners, merchants – I'm pretty sure Make Believe did something to those merchants before we recruited them too, they're terrified of him. Ideally, we should leave one of us behind to keep an eye on 'em."


"Uhh…sorta? I haven't been watching you guys close enough." She laughs a bit.
"I could actually use a bit of help, yeah."


The pirates give a good-natured laugh as well, and they begin showing you how to cook the fish. They coach you through the process and show you how to use various tools to keep an eye on your fish and make sure you cook it evenly and thoroughly. You start to get the hang of it, and by the end, you've made sure it's cooked enough, and it smells mouthwatering.



"Okay, then Droplet. Your shadow transformation will be useful for this."


Mouthwatering indeed. One would have to wonder if Cerulean's water-making aura power was activated with how much she seems to me salivating and chomping at the air in the fish's general direction.
"I may not like the waiting, but who can argue when I can finally eat stuff like this without hurting the inside of my mouth?" With that happy comment, Cerulean gets herself a nice, good chunk and begins to chow down.


"A-Ahh, fine. I suppose I will take the remaining piece." the griffon remarks, flustering a little. He packs his chunk of treasure, before nodding to Chiu. "Right. Let us check the trap door."


Sparkler is visibly disappointed and frowns, but she and Droplet nod. "At your command, we'll get hunting, captain."



"Then, we should head back to the countryside where we found the bee guards before. Do you have any intel on where there are smaller amounts?"

"Care to join us, Thessaly?"


She perks up from watching the sea, and simply nods. "Better than sitting around for the rest of the day. Let's be quick about it."


You dig into the fish, and it's got an interesting citrus-like tang to it that other fish just don't. Though it's tasty in its own right, something about having made it yourself gives you just a bit more satisfaction as you chow down. As you eat, you notice a familiar unicorn mare enter the town, carrying a very large cart in a rickshaw setup. You recognize her from the cornerclub where Cutlass had you keep an eye on that one guy she suspected of murder.

After dividing the loot among you, a tenth of Cloud's share vanishes, as per the debt he accrued from his wish with Stone Cold Classic. He feels an odd stirring and buzzing sensation where his wings once were.

You head down through the trapdoor, descending the ladder into the stone tunnel. There are torches in sconces on the walls, suggesting someone was here recently. As you proceed through the tunnel, the sound of waves grows louder, though is muffled. You soon find the reason why: a large wooden door, slightly ajar, is at the end of the tunnel. You note a dark pool of old blood seeping from beneath the door.

"We'll have to do some in-field hunting to get current intel," Droplet says. "They may have moved position since we last encountered them, they're a tricky lot. I'll have a scout head out ahead of us."

He whistles over a scout from among the original Gates of Justice members, who nods and heads off the ship.





File: 1539827280761.png (182.37 KB, 436x500, battle royale.png)






>Alder and Cloud 5/4
Last time on PQ…

Cutlass and Thessaly's negotiations with the (now two) Heads of the Mafia Families finally concluded after Hubla and Soli treated them to breakfast at a cozy secret cottage on a small hill overlooking the sea, a site of pride and nostalgia for the three Mafia Families. There, Hubla and Soli suggested that Cutlass and Thessaly attempt to kidnap a bee soldier captain in order to interrogate him about the Bee Queens' aura powers. From there, they returned to the ship, and had Droplet send out a scout to go find a suitable target.

Cloud and Alder kept exploring the tax collector's home, finding a wealth of gold and jewels, alongside clothes, makeup and other baubles. After several close shaves with traps, they went down a trapdoor, finding themselves in a dark tunnel, at the far end of which was a heavy door. Beneath the door leaked a pool of dark old blood.

Cerulean did some shopping, buying a neat pendant that could give her advice if prompted. The voice seemed to be female and had a birdlike personality, squawking at the end of its sentences. She then caught a nice fish and cooked it with the help of the Beesting's crew.


You dig into the fish, and it's got an interesting citrus-like tang to it that other fish just don't. Though it's tasty in its own right, something about having made it yourself gives you just a bit more satisfaction as you chow down. As you eat, you notice a familiar unicorn mare enter the town, carrying a very large cart in a rickshaw setup. You recognize her from the cornerclub where Cutlass had you keep an eye on that one guy she suspected of murder.

After dividing the loot among you, a tenth of Cloud's share vanishes, as per the debt he accrued from his wish with Stone Cold Classic. He feels an odd stirring and buzzing sensation where his wings once were.

You head down through the trapdoor, descending the ladder into the stone tunnel. There are torches in sconces on the walls, suggesting someone was here recently. As you proceed through the tunnel, the sound of waves grows louder, though is muffled. You soon find the reason why: a large wooden door, slightly ajar, is at the end of the tunnel. You note a dark pool of old blood seeping from beneath the door.

"We'll have to do some in-field hunting to get current intel," Droplet says. "They may have moved position since we last encountered them, they're a tricky lot. I'll have a scout head out ahead of us."

He whistles over a scout from among the original Gates of Justice members, who nods and heads off the ship.


Cloud looks back at his sides at the tingling sensation once he picks up his share of the gold.
"Whoa, what was that."
He gives a scratch, then the lightbub turns on.
"Hey now, i think this looting got that trade-off almost paid off. I knew this place would be promising!"
He says enthused as he scoops his gold and gems into his bag.

Cloud treads along through the escape tunnel, keeping an eye out for any more secret compartments. Spotting the door, Cloud almost hurries on ahead, but stops when he sees the crimson at the end.
"So uh, any takers on first peek?"



"Well, we're wasting daylight, let us be off," Cutlass says, heading off into the countryside.


"Hmmm… I will, I suppose. I've got a decent sense for when things are about to go wrong." he says, starting to take a peek through the door in question.
>Master Thief [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


Thessaly silently follows behind her captain, biding her time.


Droplet follows along, and as always, Ossie is hidden in Cutlass' shadow. You follow along the path that the scout takes to the southeast, eventually leaving behind the glittering urban sprawl of Aristar, passing through the city's gates, and in time approaching the tropical foliage of the island's jungle.
Both roll for navigation, DC 4 because of the scout.


Cerulean chows down on the delicious fish, likely getting flakes of fish around her mouth/on her face from how voraciously she eats it. Seeing said mare, she gives a wave with a large, hunk of fish held in her mouth.


Chiu builds up a protective barrier of shadow around the both of you, pooling around your hooves like a small fire. "I've got your backs," she adds, as she noticably stands just behind Cloud.

Alder peeks through crack in the doorway, remaining as hidden as he can behind the door itself. He sees a hidden artificial cove, where a small boat, a little bigger than a liferaft, sits elevated upon a wooden dock, and the trappings of a shipyard - tools, lumber, etc. - are around it. In front of the dock is an artifical channel of water, which leads down another tunnel, down which you see light coming, indicating it leads outside.

However, the most striking thing in this room is the hulking, shambling figure stumbling to and fro about it. In the same way that Arroz's corpse stumbled about at his funeral, there is a pony, its eyes white with death, stumbling around blindly in the room. It's dressed in noble's finery, and its body is bloated grotesquely, and blood drips from a wound upon its head and many upon its sides.


The mare approaches, and she combs out her long and curled mane with a huff. She sets down the cart and sits next to you, breathing heavily from the exertion. "You're… Cutlass's… right? Big delivery, lots of stuff…. could you?"

She pauses, holding up a hoof, then pops her neck and spine loudly. "Oooh, I hate this part of the job."


She follows the scout onwards, pulling at stray branches with her telekinesis to carve a path for herself through the undergrowth.

Roll #1 8 = 8


Cloud feels noticeably safer as Chiu's shadows gather around him.

"So Alder, what do you see in there?"


"I see… a-a bloated, shambling corpse. It's dressed quite nicely… m-maybe this is the tax collector?" he asks, squirming uneasily.


"Cutlass'…right? No, I'm Cerulean," she replies obliviously, taking note of the heavy thing.
"Need a hoof with those? How about some lunch?" She reaches over and rips a piece of fish off and offers the mare some fish.



Cutlass does not enjoy the countryside trek. She grimaces at the all the nature around her. "Be on the lookout," Cutlass warns. "There are… strange things in these lands. Previously, we witnessed a large beast that was fast and nearly invisible. If we encounter it, DO NOT fight it. We must retreat to safety."

[1d10] to navigate

"I asked about cities before, Thessaly. So, now I am curious. What are your thoughts about nature?"

Roll #1 4 = 4



After navigating the jungle for a few hours, you see the foliage begin to thin, and pick up the light chatter of discussion. You see a cliff before you, though you are near the peak, and it drops sharply at the edge. There is a small collection of tents, populated by about ten bee soldiers, as well as about six miserable-looking beepony stallions in ill-fitting soldier's armor, likely unwilling conscripts. Scouts look over the ridge at something below, and at the peak, you see a tall, gritty-looking wasp, about seven feet in height, its body gnarled and built up with scars.

"What's the plan?" Droplet whispers.


Mi nombre

The mare eagerly accepts the fish, and opens her mouth. You see the normal teeth of a pony in her mouth, but they quickly transform, morphing neatly into the sharp teeth of an underwater predator. She digs into the fish eagerly, stopping only now and then to dab her mouth with a handkerchief. "Mmph, phanksh," she says through a mouthful.

The pirates look on in utter confusion, but by this point they've seen plenty of oddities in the Ribcage, so they don't comment.

"My name's Walah," she says once she's done. "Cutlass, that pony you're with, she's working with my boss, and he wanted me to give these to your crew."

Walah pulls back the blanket on her cart, revealing many crates of big conch shells in various colors. "Caller Conches. You heard of 'em?"


"Do you think he got hit by those parasites?"
Cloud whispers as he tries to peek through the door crack.
"At least we got those plants so we should be good if he is."


As you watch him shamble around listlessly, you see the flesh of his sides crawling, moved by a hundred points underneath, like fingers squirming underneath a blanket, shuffling around his hair and skin. He raises his head and sniffs at the air, and grips a statue's head in his forehoof.


Cerulean just smiles at the sight, glad to see someone of similar origin.
"No problem! Always good to share something tasty!" She chows down more as she looks at the Caller Conches.
"I think I heard of them awhile back. These magically let you talk to ponies they're connected with."


"Oh, good! That spares me most of the explanation," Walah says. "Do you have one already? Magoja sent me here to make sure all of you had one. That way, you can communicate a little easier while everyone's separated. A lot of groups tend to do that."


Special PQ HD re-release alternate track for the scene:




"We have to make sure none of them are able to report this. Which means we'll have to kill them all. But, doing that is going to be hard without any of them escaping. If we can turn some of them to our side, that would help."

"We could transform to get into the camp to talk them into helping us. But, I'm not sure how we'll do that without being found out."


"Maybe? What does it look like to you, Cloud?" he asks, opening the door just enough to let the two of them see out of it.


Cloud keeps his distance at seeing the shifting skin, believing for sure the tax collector is a parasite balloon. He sticks to the outer walls of the cavern, giving a look and a listen around for anything else that might be in here.
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


"I'm thinking he's like those bees we fought when they made the parasite, only this guy looks like he'll pop at one poke."

>Sneak [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


As Cloud enters the room, he sees it's fairly sparse save for the workshop and the small boat in the back. It looks like the boat is very well-made, certainly of a higher quality than the tiny sailboats that the Beesting carries around; it seems like the cavern was only meant to hold this boat, likely for when a speedy escape would be necessary.

As Cloud tries to sneak around, the bloated figure turns, and slowly creeps in his direction, head swaying from side to side, a filthy mass of dried blood and peeling skin. Chiu turns pale with fear.


"I…think we do? I'd have to take a look around, first. Feels like its been a long while ago." She grins and rubs the back of her head.


"My thoughts on nature?" She thinks for a moment. "It is… inconvenient, at the worst of times," she answers, anrrowly avoiding stepping on an anthill. "Uncontrollable. Primal. My kin taught that it is folly to try and bend nature to your will. You can coexist with it, keep it in check, to an extent, but no one can truly claim dominion over it. We are born of nature, made who wer are by it and in the end, undone by it."

"I would ask for your thoughts," she adds with amusement as she sees Cutlass' discomfort with the surroundings, "but your opinions seem rather clear."

She looks down at the bee ponies with a dispassionate sneer, having a clear but unvoiced disdain for soldiers. "I am inclined to agree with my captain," she concurs. "However, a nonviolent solution would be preferable. Less messy. It would be wiser to try to solve this conflict with words rather than with brute force. If we must, though, I will kill them." She looks to Cutlass for further instructions.


You recall that the Misties gave you only one Caller Conch for the whole party. In hindsight, not nearly enough for handy communication. Last you remember, Bee Holder held onto it for safekeeping.

"Well, I've got a variety of colors here," Walah says, slapping the top of her cart. "Take your pick!"


Droplet nods. "Got it. Thessaly, since this is the first time you've seen me in action, I get to brag about my power. I can make any kind of disguise for us out of shadows. Just describe it, and you've got it."

Droplet beams with pride as he bends down and reaches for your shadows. He then pulls them up off the ground as though they were long robes that trailed behind you.


"C-Cloud, should we… s-should we shoot it? I believe it sees you!"


Cloud's eyes quickly glance around, failing to scan for anything decent. He hopes perhaps this pony brought something with them in their fleeing before becoming this bloating bulb of bugs. His eagerness and lack of thought in pursuing ore treasure for his wings quickly becomes regret as the pony turns to him.
Cloud freezes in place, voice silent and caught in his throat as his mouth hangs open. His mind runs to a blank, unable to think of what to do, desperately wishing he could fly away.
His panicked subconscious however reaches out, one quick instinct of his doing what it does whenever he gets into a tough spot. I reaches out to the moss stuck along the walls of the cavern, making it grow out in big clumps to break free and plop all around, hopefully enough to distract the beast from the bat.
>Master Farmer [Mass Moss] [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6



"It's amusing how similar our feelings are considering our… age difference," Cutlass comments with a grin.


"Well, we are here to find a captain to interrogate," Cutlass says in response to Thessaly. "Manipulative I may be, but skillful at interrogation, I am not. I have… learned that the hard way. I don't intend to do the questioning myself. I intend to take him back with us."

"Unless you think you can trick such specific and dangerous answers out of him… We have to take him with us. And, they will surely notice their captain missing. Thus, it would be best to kill them."


The zombie stops as big clumps of moss pour down from the ceiling and walls in various places. He tilts his head this way and that in confusion, stopping only momentarily, but his nose continues to twitch, and beneath the skin of the nose, you see more of the wriggling shapes, squiggling about. He turns his head back to Cloud, and raises his hoof.


"Woah! So many," she remarks as she looks around. Some movement out of the corner of her eye catches her attention: Roger!
"Hey Roger. Where have you been hiding?" It doesn't say anything, but it floats into the cart and nudges a yellowish-brown shell with white stripes and a bright pink inside.
"This one? It sure is a pretty one, yeah." She pats his head and takes said shell.
"Well thanks Walah! These'll be super useful so we don't get lost anymore…hopefully."


Walah tilts her head at Roger. "Interesting, I haven't seen a Sentinel like that before. Nice find… though he's got some odd tastes in colors. In any case…"

Walah briefly explains how to set up a password for a conch, and how to call someone. For a new conch, whisper a phrase into it three times to set it as your password. To call someone, you simply whisper their phrase into a conch that has been set up, and the call will connect if they choose to answer.

>OOC Note: I won't require you to know anyone's password exactly, just maintain a list of those whose passwords you've received for future reference


Cloud starts to back away towards the door as the moss drops around, not bothering to question it. When it looks back to him, he stops again, both from fear and not wanting to bring it to the rest of the group.
As it raises it's hoof, Cloud raises his as well, hoping mirroring it will keep it calm like an animal.


She raises an eyebrow. "Is that so? How quaint," she says, observing politely as Droplet eagerly demonstrates. She's half tempted to give him a little clap, but thinks better of it.

She nods in agreement. "Whatever you wish, captain. I am not much of a talker myself. You seem to be best at that. I sense that they would not be difficult to break under interrogation, however. Look at them. They're hardly soldier material. Not much more than zombies, really. Disposable. The captain might be harder to convince, but even he might break."



"I was told to bring a captain back for interrogation. So, step one will be to convince the bee-stallions to help us."


Alder keeps his bow trained on the monstrous pony, backing up a little to allow Cloud Shear to better slip out once he was closer. He watches in a bit of confusion, hoping that… whatever he's doing, it'll work


"Hmm…I might have to write some of these down. Seems like a lot to remember off-hoof."

"Sentinel? I thought he was some kind of fancy, prehistoric remora. He hatched from an egg I found in a skeleton dinosaur's nest." As she explains, roger floats over and cleans up her face a bit of stray fish bits, earning him a hug from the sharkpony.
"He's a good boy."


As the zombie steps forward, its hoof brushes Cloud's, and it pauses for a moment, as if somehow moved by the point of connection. Yet in an instant, the zombie nearly topples forward, falling onto Cloud and nearly rolling his hind legs back with the monster's weight. The zombie pushes his hoof into Cloud's throat, blocking off his windpipe, all while letting out a ghastly snarl.
[1d10+1] Zombie

Chiu turns fully white in alarm and throws her hoof over her mouth to suppress a shriek. Her shadows lunge at the zombie's grasp.

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7


"Oh no, that's definitely a Sentinel, I can feel the magic energy coming off of him," she says, then smiles at the heartwarming scene. "And then there's his behavior, which confirms it.

"Sentinels are a kind of rare magical beast; their eggs only seem to hatch when they're around a strong-willed person, so a Sentinel can remain in an egg for years at a time before they awaken. They don't have any default appearance, and don't necessarily take after their parents. Instead, they take on a form that reflects the kind of person their owner is. They even develop special magic powers that complement or mimic what their owner can do. Be sure to take good care of him – though I can tell you already are."

She sticks out her hoof cautiously, and looks very eager. "Can I pet him?"


Alder hisses angrily, loosing an arrow at the Zombie's throat!

>Shortbow: [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


Cloud's shouts of panic and quickly muffled by the large zombie collapsing onto him as his throat being struck, his body feeling weak from the short moment of lack of air. He tries to push himself back and away from the creature before he is smothered by the rushing zombie.
>Disengage! [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Woah, I never would've known! Thanks Walah! And sure, I don't think he'd mind." She lets Roger go and he floats over to Wallah's hoof, observing her a bit before lightly nudging against her as he 'swims' through the air.
"Heh, he might still smell a bit of lunch on you, still."


"Hm. I, for one, would hardly pass as a soldier. You have more of the look, I feel. If you wish me to accompany you though, I shall."



Cutlass scoffs. "You doubt Droplet. Make us into beepony soldiers, Droplet."


Cloud shoves away the zombie, aided by the shadows, and a moment later, Alder's arrow embeds itself in the zombie's neck, spilling blood, though the zombie seems relatively undeterred by it. The zombie does look in Alder's direction because of the attack, but Alder is partly obscured by the door, keeping him just out of sight. The zombie, apparently distracted, leaves Cloud be for a moment.



"W-wait," she suddenly says after a moment. "What do you mean by that, anyway!?"


Cloud quickly scurries away to the door in a panic, if the door doesn't hold they always have hte ladder that it shouldn't be able to climb.


Walah giggles as Roger brushes against her. "Ah, you better get him away from me, otherwise I'll be here all day. I have to distribute these to your half of the group. Magoja's got the Secret Assassins covered. Then it's back to the office…" she sighs wistfully.

She heads toward the Beesting as its pirates gather around to get their conches, but Walah then looks around. "Have you seen Alder and Cloud and that one mare, by any chance?"


Droplet nods, then pulls up your shadows again. He kneads, twists and turns the shadows in the same way that one turns a balloon into a balloon animal. Eventually, the shadows are turned into the silhouettes of bee soldiers. He then pushes the shadows onto the both of you, and as they fall upon you, you both turn into beepony soldiers, like the conscripts sitting around the camp.

Droplet grabs his own shadow. "Shall I go with you or wait here?"


Alder hisses just a little bit, and helps yanks Cloud back through the door.
"A-Are you okay? It did not hurt you, did it?"


Cerulean waves Roger back, enticing him with a piece of fish that wasn't eaten by someone else.
"Uhh…no, I don't think I have. I'm sure they'll be back if you stick around long enough, maybe. Oh, but if you're busy, I could hold on to a few and give them the conches whenever they get back."


Walah nods as she goes to distribute conches. "I am on a schedule… so I'll just leave the boxes here and take the cart back, then they can choose from what's left. Thanks!"

>If you want to keep RPing in this scene, you are welcome to. If you want to join with Alder and Cloud, roll perception


"I-I don't think so. It just… I don't know. I thought it was fine, but then it just came at me! Went right for my throat too…"


As you retreat behind the door, you feel the zombie bang his hoof against it slowly, though the door holds steady for now. Chiu pants with exhiliration, but when she sees the door sturdily hold up, she wrings her hooves together. "You're right Alder, I think that was the guy who owned this place… shouldn't we do something about him?"

She looks over at Cloud's throat. "You okay? weren't infected again, were you?"


Cloud feels around his throat.
"I didn't feel anything crawl into me. I couldn't breathe or feel much of anything in that moment though."


"I-I could check you over, for what it is worth. I do not want to take any chances, M-Mister Cloud Shear."



"Wait out of sight. Be ready to ambush," Cutlass instructs Droplet. "Don't let any of them get away if they try to run."

"Let's go Thessaly," Cutlass says before taking a deep breath. She sneaks into camp so that they don't seem suspicious.

[1d10] for sneaking

Roll #1 3 = 3


She shrugs. "You look like more of a warrior than I."

She inspects her new body with only mild shock; changing form is nothing new to her, after all. "Curious," she muses, looking down at her insectoid hooves. "Your aura is strong, Droplet. Very strong. Quite the rare gift."



To be clear, specifically sneaking to where the conscripts are.



"How do I look like a warrior!?" Cutlass objects, blushing.


"Right, yea. Check as much as you need, I'd really prefer not to have to deal with those herbs again."


"I actually haven't developed an aura ability yet," Droplet says. "This is… a different technique. That's all I'm allowed to disclose."

As the two of you sneak into the camp, a couple of the bee soldiers glance over and give you suspicious looks, then look at the other conscripts and count them.
"Are you two sure you're with our detachment?" one of the bee soldiers asks. "We didn't have this many when leaving the village."

The beepony conscripts glance at you, but most avoid eye contact, shivering lightly.



Cutlass looks from the beeponies to the soldiers. "Um, yeah?" she says in a disdainful tone. "I mean, did you really bother counting us that hard?"

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 6 = 6


Alder gives the bat pony a once-over, humming softly as he tries to see if anything's gotten in
>Examination (No roll needed)


Alder confirms that Cloud has not been infected, merely bruised and shaken up by the zombie's attack.

Chiu shudders, but looks at the door again. "…I kinda liked the look of that boat."


She smirks. "It's the hat. hard to hide the fact you're a pirate with a hat like that."

Deception has never been Thessaly's forte, but does her best to play the party of a weary soldier. She offers no response, but gives the inquisitive soldier what she thinks is a hardened look.



"It gives me a dignified look," Cutlass insists stoically.


Cloud sighs as he comes out clean, slouching against the tunnel wall.
"That… I don't ever want to do that again."

Cloud looks at the door.
"Is there anymore of this place we haven't cleaned out yet? I vote we do that while we think of a plan to get that boat."


The soldier examines you a while longer, then shrugs. He looks at one of the conscripts sitting nearby, then kicks him. The conscript stands with a yelp.
"You don't get to sit down. Go take inventory again, all you lazy half-breeds; if you got time to sit, you got time to work."


"Alrighty! I think I'll go take a look around for them. C'mon Roger!" Cerulean trots off a bit with Roger following, keeping an eye out for Alder and Cloud.



Roll #1 9 = 9


"L-Let's just get back upstairs. I am not sure if we missed anything, but I feel we have looted more than enough."


"Well… we could try using one of those drugged bottles we grabbed back there. Maybe tossing one at the zombie might take him out for long enough."


As you retrace your allies' steps, your nose catches the scent of blood, though it is certainly a very foul kind of blood, full of rot, suggesting something is quite wrong. You follow the scent over to the eastern side of town, and a little further past the town's walls, to a wall of moss and vines overhanging some rocks upon the water. You see the movement of water beyond the moss and vines.


"That sounds pretty good, actually. It is worth a shot… I think I had some packed away." he says, rooting through his bag


"That could work, I could use my shadows to distract him too!" Chiu says as Alder retrieves one of the bottles of hallucinogenic drinks.



"Yes sir," she says in an intentionally half-hearted tone. She heads over to the beepony soldiers.

She looks at one with her Soul Sight.


"Alright that works, and then we could jump on that boat and sail it out! Or I could shrink it down so we can grab it and run back upstairs. Either or."


Cerulean holds and scrunches her nose, not liking the smell one bit. Still, she presses on as curiosity gets the better of her.
"Stay close, Roger. Something doesn't smell right around here…." She heads towards the water, thinking something must be around if the smell brought her here.


The beepony conscripts, as you can discern, want little more than to be in stable villages, raising families, working on farms, and practicing a kind of ancestral spirit worship, presumably the local religion on this island.

As you approach them, they look up, but their gazes are glazed over, and soon enough they're back to their work. You see them counting some boxes and bags that are stored in the tents, and you see food supplies, weapons like knives, bayonets and guns, and clothes among the supplies. Meanwhile, up on the ridge, the scouts are still at work, and the captain (the wasp) hasn't noticed you.


"Let us try and sail it out of here- it would be good to see where we ended up, right?" the griffon asks, fishing out the bottle and handing it to Cloud.


"Oh yea, I forgot about that part. We are pretty far out aren't we."



Cutlass looks around to make sure the bees aren't paying attention. Then, she whispers to the nearby soldiers.

"There is still hope for this island. There is a resistance force being built up in the northwest. We will overthrow the bee queens' tyrannical rule within the next two days. All you have to do to make this dream come true is kill these bees. Leave the wasp captain alive. We need to take him for interrogation."

"Are you ready to save your homeland?"

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 7 = 7


As Cerulean swims through the moss and vines in pursuit of the smell, she finds herelf going down a narrow, aritificial channel hewn into the rock, which eventually ends up in a cave. At the end of the channel is a small boat, about the size of the Beesting's lifeboats, though of much higher quality. Surrounding it is a workshop, containing lumber, tools and other things you'd find in a shipyard. To her left, she sees a bleeding, injured zombie, dressed in noble's finery, and with a bloated body – the source of the foul smell. Beyond the zombie is a door, and it is through that door that she sees Alder and Cloud peeking out.

The beepony conscripts glance at you as if you're talking crazy at first, then look at one another, look at the distracted bee soldiers, then at the jungle. Slowly, they start to inch towards the jungle, moving so slow as to not disturb their captors.

Currently, the wasp and the scouts are none the wiser as they survey the area below.



>correction on last reply

The beepony soldiers look at one another and their shoddy clothing, and you can tell many grimly deciding that failure in this couldn't be much worse than where they are now. They start to fish through some of the boxes which contain guns, powder and bullets.




File: 1540432624392.png (1.01 MB, 1080x1080, Serving Size.png)




Last time on PQ…

Cerulean got a Caller Conch, as did everyone else at the Beesting at the time, enabling them to call one another, provided they could learn the passwords for each conch (OOC: maintain a list of the people whose Conch Codes you've learned).

Alder and Cloud encountered a tax collector, who was now a bloated zombie full of the white parasites, wandering an underground cove which had a very nice boat, small enough to fit on the Beesting or Secret Assassins.

Thessaly and Cutlass hunted down an encampment of bee soldiers (10), beepony conscripts (6), and one giant wasp, evidently their commander. Cutlass began to foment rebellion among the unwilling conscripts, to assist in taking in the commander for questioning.

As Cerulean swims through the moss and vines in pursuit of the smell, she finds herelf going down a narrow, aritificial channel hewn into the rock, which eventually ends up in a cave. At the end of the channel is a small boat, about the size of the Beesting's lifeboats, though of much higher quality. Surrounding it is a workshop, containing lumber, tools and other things you'd find in a shipyard. To her left, she sees a bleeding, injured zombie, dressed in noble's finery, and with a bloated body – the source of the foul smell. Beyond the zombie is a door, and it is through that door that she sees Alder and Cloud peeking out.

The beepony conscripts glance at you as if you're talking crazy at first, then look at one another, look at the distracted bee soldiers, then at the jungle. Slowly, they start to inch towards the jungle, moving so slow as to not disturb their captors.

Currently, the wasp and the scouts are none the wiser as they survey the area below.



The beepony soldiers look at one another and their shoddy clothing, and you can tell many grimly deciding that failure in this couldn't be much worse than where they are now. They start to fish through some of the boxes which contain guns, powder and bullets.


Cerulean has a big smile and waves to the two, moving herself away from the bad smelling zombie.
"Hey you guys! Wow, looks like you guys have been having fun already, huh?"



She watches with a mixture of intrigue and amusement as the conscripts begin their revolt, hanging back and looking to the disguised Cutlass. "Impressionable cattle," she snarks under her breath. "So what is the plan now, captain?"



"We must make sure none of them get away. Do not initiate the attack until we've surrounded them as much as we can from this side. We have backup in the woods. They can't escape that way."

Cutlass then does a nod to her own shadow, indicating for Ossie to sneak around to the other side.

"But, remember, keep the Wasp captain alive."



Cloud peers through the door, trying to judge the best way to get the boat out quickly once they distract the zombie, until Cerulean comes in from the water.
"What the… Uh, hey! How'd you get in here?"


"Cerulean? When'd you get in here? A-And, look out! We believe he is infected by the same thing as some of the others."


Nodding quietly as they gather their arms and supplies, the conscripts slowly take after Cutlass' direction, moving closer to the forest's edge, then counterclockwise around the camp's perimeter toward where Droplet and the Gates of Justice scout remain hidden, keeping the tents between themselves and the bee soldiers as much as they can.

A roll to see if the soldiers notice something's up: [1d10-1] (Wait for result)

Roll #1 2 - 1 = 1


"From that way," she says, pointing from the way she came.
"Smelled something really bad and followed, and here are you guys!"

"Got here just now. And he? He who?" She looks around confused.



The beepony conscripts surround the camp in a semicircle along the eastern side, hiding themselves behind the tents. Droplet, who is to the northwest from them and you, watches the bee soldiers eagerly. Thus, the bee soldiers, unbeknownst to them, are currently surrounded.



Cutlass telekinetically throws a dagger at the nearest soldier to initiate the sudden attack.

[1d10] ranged attack

Roll #1 7 = 7


As Cerulean speaks to the others, the zombie turns to her – he is a fat stallion in noble's finery, clearly very rich in life but now bloated and grotesque, and his skin literally crawls as dozens of small shapes move about underneath his skin, like mice squirming about under a carpet. The zombie snarls incoherently at Cerulean, then hacks up a small white fungal parasite, and flings it at her.


Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


"Yea that's probably that zombie guy over there. We were just about to nab that boat and sail out of here before you showed up."
Cloud says, pointing to the zombie pony and the boat.

As the zombie turns to Cerulean and begins to spit up a parasite Cloud's eyes quickly glow.
"Alder, throw that wine. Chiu get your shadows ready. Let's string up this guy and get out of here!"
He directs as he attempts to immobilize the pony with his own nature magic to loosen up the stone and make him sink.
>Earthen Grasp [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


"A new ship? Woah, sounds like you guys made out good then, huh?"

"Oh, you sneaky little flounder," she says and gives the zombie a tail slam.

>DC-1, crits 8+, +1, take better


Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5


Seeing Cutlass spring to action, Thessaly moves closer to the wasp captain, then, once the fighting begins, conjures inky black tentacles to try and bind him.
[1d10+1] Shackles

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7



Roll #1 2 = 2



The knife nails one of the soldiers in the side of the head, the tip coming out the other end from the sheer force of Cutlass' magic. Shocked, the soldiers at the camp scramble for cover, but the beepony conscripts are already on the offensive, having readied their guns the moment that the knife left Cutlass' grip.

[1d10+1] (each roll is 2 conscripts, +1 from surprise attack)

The bee soldiers are unable to act this turn and most of them, in sheer confusion, start heading for the only seemingly open area – the grass directly in front of Ossie and Droplet as they wait in the shadows.

[1d10+2] Ossie
[1d10+2] Droplet

The soldiers on the ridge dive for cover as the shackles cover the wasp commander, and in a frenzy he flails around, trying to rip at the magic shackles covering him.


Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #3 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #4 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #5 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #6 5 + 1 = 6


"R-Right!" the griffon shouts, hurling the bottle at it

Roll #1 2 = 2



Cutlass immediately shoots another dagger at another bee as she retrieves the first one with another attack. She slowly walks forward, but keeps her distance.

[1d10] ranged attack

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cloud and Alder make valiant efforts to attack the zombie, and their attacks would have connected, were it not for Cerulean knocking the zombie clean across the room in a flash, slamming him and the parasite into the far wall, where they slump down into a slurry mess. The zombie's back half crushes into putty as it impacts the wall, but it pulls itself up, throwing another two parasites at Cerulean, all while snarling like a rabid and pained animal.


Chiu raises her shadows around Cerulean, attempts to shield her from at least one of the attacks. [1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #3 5 + 1 = 6


Alder hisses a little as the hulking zombie hurls more parasites at Cerulean, trying to one of the little white creatures
>Shortbow [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


She walks over to the captain and gives him a good thwack upside the head in an effort to render him helpless. "Calm yourself."
[1d10] Bonk

Roll #1 8 = 8


Cerulean runs after it and uses her jaws to rip and tear it apart.
"Stop throwing things and stay down!"

>Great weapon


Roll #1 1 = 1


"C-Cerulean, it's infected! A-Avoid that, please!"


"Oh we got plenty more than that. This place was a goldmine."

"OK let's just go for the boat and get out of here, come on guys!"
Cloud says to their group in the tunnel, pushing the door open and running to the boat.
Seeing the zombie half broken but still going, Cloud's eyes glow as he tries to shrink the pony so even if it manages to move still, it won't be able ot get close to them quickly like before.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink Zombie] [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


Three of the bee soldiers fall dead as the conscripts' bullets rip through their bodies, while the others are set upon by Ossie and Droplet. The remaining three manage to scatter, but one falls behind, and the two assassins, moving like a flash of darkness, twist his body into unnatural contortions, then toss his lifeless frame, bent and dead, into the air like trash.

The last two soldiers dive for their tents to grab their guns, but four of the conscripts attempt to shoot at them.

[1d10] Conscript
[1d10] Conscript

The soldiers on the ridge are much quicker to adapt, and one shoots Cutlass in the side with a large gun, knocking her onto her side.
>Helpless, -1 wound

The wasp breaks free, but not before Thessaly can whack him good on the head. He stumbles back, then draws a saber and tries to slice through her arm.

The other two soldiers on the ridge raise their guns at Cutlass, but Ossie and Droplet lunge for them next.

[1d10+1] Ridge soldiers
[1d10+2] Ossie & Droplet

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 10 = 10 / Roll #3 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #4 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #5 5 + 2 = 7


Chiu's shadow manages to catch the two parasites, but one worms its way through the shadow, causing Chiu to shriek and shudder as if getting chills all over her body, and the parasite dives into Cerulean's body, vanishing as quickly as a diver vanishes below the surface of the water.

She can see no visible difference on her body, but a squirming feeling makes its way toward her stomach.

Cloud shrinks the zombie back down to 3/4 of the size of a normal pony, and while it tries to fling another parasite at Cerulean, the throw comes up entirely short, not enough even to be a threat.



Cutlass curses under her breath when she is shot. She falls over, but she quickly gets back up onto her hooves, wincing in pain slightly.

[1d10] to get up

Roll #1 4 = 4


She hisses as the blow strikes her, shooting out a deep purple tendril that attempts to latch onto him and drain his strength. "Tá ag teipeadh do neart…"

[1d10+1] Exequy

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


Cerulean gets slightly jittery from the feeling, but she glares at the now smaller zombie.
"Knock it off, ya guppy," she yells and swings her tail again.



Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10


>Thessaly loses 4 hits
As the wasp commander scores a deep gash into Thessaly's arm, a gush of blood rushes out, and he unleashes a gravely cackle, harsh and discordant like the grating of dozens of metal shards against one another. But that bravado sinks as he sees the remaining soldiers in the camp die under a hail of gunfire from the rebellious conscripts. He raises his sword to issue commands to the soldiers beside him, but the soldiers are ripped into a shower of flesh and bone by Ossie and Droplet as the two shadows race up to the ridge.

Seeing the odds against him, he prepares to fly away, but Thessaly's dark magic seals itself upon his chest, and he stops motionless, then after a moment of thought, drops his sword and holds up his hands in surrender, glaring death at Thessaly.

"Thaaaaaaat does it, you've got me, you briny bitch of the sea," he hisses at Thessaly, his voice a crunching of stone and glass shards. "Decades taught me not to mess with a witch's curse. And decades more taught me how to undo 'em. Often ends with a match and some sticks, don't it?"


Cloud quickly turns back to Chiu's side as she shrieks.
"Are you alright?"

When the parasite reaches Cerulean, Cloud helps escort Chiu over to the boat, checking if it's tied to the dock and getting it prepped to sail out, readying his wind wand.


Cerulean slams the zombie into the corner of the room, where its head slumps over after a loud crack, neck and most limbs now broken beyond use. The white parasites remain in the body, shuffling it around in a vile attempt at puppeting the broken body.

Chiu settles down after the shriek, seeming almost confused. "Uh… I guess so. Ordinarily, my shadows don't feel anything, which is why they're so good as minions and shields. But when the parasite got through my shadow, it felt like a freezing-cold knife… and it was so grimy. That's never happened."

With the zombie now dead, Cloud opts to check out the boat. He finds that it is indeed tied up to the workshop platform, having recently undergone some repairs and sealing. The boat is big enough to seat eight, and in addition to roars and sails, there seems to be some kind of apparatus at the back which extends into the water, concealed by a wooden box with a removable cover.



"Cut his wings off," Cutlass says coldly as she stands up. She peels the costume off of herself.

"If he's cooperative - and lucky - that's all he'll lose," she says, looking to him menacingly.

Then, she looks to the beeponies. "Well done. You're all find soldiers. If you wish to fight further for your country, come with me. Of course, it's probably best for your safety anyway. If you do not wish to come with me, then spread the word. This island will no longer belong to these tyranical bees."

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 2 = 2


She pulls off the disguise, having no further use for it. She stares down the wasp, unfazed by his venom. "You read too many fairy tales," she answers curtly, slightly amused by his suggestion for a counter-curse.

"I would prefer not to," she answers, adjusting her grip on the purple tendril coiled around the captain to hold it like a leash. "My hooves are tied."


Cerulean opts to keep smashing the body and parasites with her tail, wanting to make sure everything isn't moving.

"Ugh…I feel kinda sick. One of them got me, I think."



"That's fine. One of them can do it," Cutlass says, gesturing to Ossie and Droplet.


"C-Cerulean! P-Please, let us deal with that parasite as quickly as possible!" he shouts, shoving one of the herbs up towards the sharkpony's snout.

"Y-Your shadows felt it?" he asks, looking Chiu over as they get on the boat. "P-Perhaps they can interact with such things in ways others can not? A-And, please. I-IF you still continue to feel weird, let me know. We should check you over if needbe."



"Huh? Oh right," she says and eats on of the herbs.



"A public burning at the stake is no fairy tale," the wasp calmly replies. "It is a spectacle, a public appeal to the gods, and where I am from, a good way to bring the townspeople together."

The wasp, seeing the assassins turn to him, smirks. "Whoever you are, I pity you. The only thing you can take from me is my body. How small-minded you are if you think that is of any significance."

The assassins twitch as the wasp reaches up, and the two of them pull Thessaly and Cutlass back, then leap in front of them as body shields. However, the wasp reaches for his own wings, grabbing them by the thin gossamer. With a mighty grunt, a powerful veil of aura obscures his face, and he rips the gossamer right off, ruining his wings.

He then drops the gossamer and glares at you, malice radiating from his face. He holds out his forearm, as if offering it.


The conscripts seem to take hope in your words, but when the wasp commander rips his own wings off, they turn pale, able only to stare at him.


"That's… weird. Did it hurt at all, or just feel cold?"
Cloud asks, checking her over.
"Do you think it could have been some aura thing they have?"

"That went a bit better than expected. At least nopony got hurt too badly. And now we got this cool boat as well!"
Cloud says, almost as if that first failed attempt with the zombie never happened.

He steps onto the boat and checks the wooden box, a little greed sparkling in his eyes.



Cutlass rolls her eyes. "Right, tie the showoff up. If he wants to elongate this, we'll just take him back our ship."

"To be CLEAR," Cutlass adds, looking to the wasp directly. "The wings weren't meant as a threat. I just don't feel like having to chase after you through the air. Do bugs even feel their wings? I wouldn't know. I'm an actually evolved creature."


Chiu nods, shivering still. "Let me get some of those herbs, just in case."

As you snack on the herbs, the parasite leaps from your body, burning and smouldering. You also take the time to ensure that the zombie and the parasites are a fine paste, of no harm to anyone.

"Aura?" Chiu asks, then grows grumpy, looking off to the side. "Doubt it. I still can't seem to use it, even after that island detour with the mantis."

Cloud inspects the wooden box, and finds an odd mechanical device, similar to late 18th or 19th century mechanics and engineering: a large blue gem is suspended in a glass bulb, hooked up with simple wires, connected to various gauges and meters. Inside the gem, and surrounding it, and surrounding the device itself, are a collection of tiny spirits, their front halves appearing to be ponies. They are blue and white: the blue ones have watery forms and are slow, while the white ones are wispy and dart about quickly, their manes moving like wind. The spirits wave as they see you.


"Well, something was either going on with your shadows or those worms, so let's hope it's something positive."

Cloud peers into the gem, confused at the machinery. He waves back to the tiny little spirits.
"Hi. …What is this?"


The spirits don't reply, apparently more interested in hanging out than explaining themselves. You notice some nearby desks at the workshop, full of diagrams and other documents. Chiu pokes at one of the spirits with her shadow, and the spirit pokes back, eliciting a little giggle from her.


Passing Chiu some of the herb, he blinks in confusion at the spirits surrounding the box. "Is this… ehm, what?"


Cerulean watches the parasite, and she holds her stomach.
"Ugh…I feel kinda sick to my stomach now…gross."

"So this is your guy's ship now? What're you gonna do with it?" She boards the ship and looks around now that there isn't a parasite-slinging zombie bothering her.


Cloud steps over to check the documents, looking between them and the box to figure out just what it is he's looking at.
>Discover [1d10]

"Not sure, just found it on the back here."

"I dunno. Could be a lifeboat, or might just keep it for our private little sail."

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cloud inspects the drawer, finding a plethora of diagrams of the device, as well as schematics for how it functions, how it fits onto the ship, maintenance, etc, as well as a manual. Unfortunately, it's all very dry and mathematical, and he can't seem to make much sense of it.

As they have a look around, Cerulean and Alder see a set of controls at the front of the ship, consisting of a small helm and a pair of accompanying levers, one blue and one white. They see that the case containing the device at the back of the small boat connects to the water and to the helm; a distinct strip of wood runs along the bottom of the boat between the device and the controls, indicating some connecting components.

"We could try it out?" Chiu says, looking at the light at the end of the cavern.


"Yeah! This looks neat!" Cerulean proceeds to push/pull the levers like a foal to see what they do.


She arches an eyebrow. "Indeed? How very quaint." She gives the wasp a condescending pat on the head, rather enjoying having this narrow minded idiot at her mercy. "Perhaps you could show me someday. But probably not."

As the wasp tears off his own wings, Thessaly crouches down and takes a small sample for further research. "Thank you for your cooperation," she says, her voice dripping with sarcasm. She looks to Cutlass, ready to get going.


The wasp ignores the both of you, looing simultaneously serene and full of malice, his face a sly smile and lightly squinted eyes. He makes no resistance as the assassins restrain him, and the bee conscripts glare daggers at him as the assassins lead him past. The conscripts take what they can from the camps, including a plethora of medical equipment, bullets, powder, guns, bombs, and clothes and a little food, discarding everything else and leaving it.

Eventually, you bring the wasp commander back to your ship in Aristar, having gotten quite a few looks along the way, both of admiration and fear at having captured him.

"Our ship have a special room for questioning, if you'd like to use it," Sparkler offers as you return to the ship.

Meanwhile, the crew set upon the conscripts, quickly taking their supplies and directing them to make themselves useful like the rest of your recruits, which the conscripts happily agree to.


Cloud, unable to decipher the alien diagrams before him, gathers up all the instructions and carriers them onto the boat for somepony else to read.
"Yea, let's set sail! See if we got anymore time to stop by somewhere else before tonight."


"If we do not, perhaps we could figure out how it works along the way back?"



"I'd like for YOU to use it," Cutlass responds to Sparkler. "I will observe. And maybe participate."


The blue lever does nothing, but as Cerulean pulls the white lever, many of the white spirits flutter out of the white box, pushing themselves against the bottom of the small boat. Though they are tiny, they are many, and as they push on the boat, the boat lifts into the air, floating as though lighter than a bird's down feathers. It can't float very high since the cavern is so small, but it floats nonetheless.

After cranking the lever back to lower yourselves back down, you untie the boat, cast off into the tunnel, and row yourselves out into the light, eventually passing through a cover of moss and vines which conceals this cove from the outside world. You find yourselves east of the small village, and see the Beesting still docked just outside it, not far from your position.


Sparkler's eyes light up, and you get that this is the closest she usually gets to smiling. "Will you be watching from within or outside the room?"



"In, if that's okay with you."


"Woah! This is awesome!" Cerulean exclaims as the boat begins to fly. Even if not much, enough to excite the shark.

"Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Alder, Cloud, a huge amount of Caller Conches came in back at the Beesting! You should hurry and get some so you can pick out which ever color you want. And also maybe get some launch that I caught and cooked earlier!"


She silently nods and watches the interrogation with curiosity, waiting for him to spill the beans so she can report the findings to the Families.


"Sounds like a plan."

Cloud peers over the side as the tiny spirits lift the boat into the air.
"Whoa, can this ship fly?!"
Cloud says in amazement.

"Huh, we didn't go as far as I thought."
Cloud comments as they row back out into fresh air.

"Caller Conches? What are those?


Sparkler nods, still not smiling but eyes glinting with mischief. "I'll get an extra tarp then."

After a brief while, Sparkler finishes setting up a room on the bottommost layer of the ship, ordinarily hidden behind barrels and boxes. It's a small room, with no furniture to speak of, nor a light, nor any decoration, and barely enough room for six people.

Sparkler has laid out tarps around the room, and given one to Thessaly and Cutlass for them to carry. She drags the wasp into the center of the room, bound at the fore and hindlegs, as well as in most other places.

There is no source of light in the room, and as she shuts the door, the lights go completely out for a brief moment. Then, with a quick swooshing, the shadows are wiped from the room's surfaces, pulling them all toward Sparkler, and she gathers them in her hooves like a garment. This leaves the room without any darkness, creating an eerie atmosphere.

She wrings the shadow out over the wasp, and a vile purple liquid, murky and thick as tar, starts to drip over his body. She hums casually, and each drop of the liquid sears his skin as it makes contact.

The wasp keeps his eyes closed, attempting to remain composed.


Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


Cerulean takes out hers.
"They're these neat shells that let you talk to others with them, so long as you know their special pass code thingy. Pretty neat, right?"



Cutlass watches with interest at the act of removing shadows from a room. It's like someone didn't finish a painting. It throws off depth perception a bit.

A thought occurs to Cutlass as she watches this happen to the wasp. "What would happen if you took the shadows away from under his own eyelids?"


Since the white lever and the white spirits seem to lift you into the air, you realize the blue spirits might do something similar for the water. Eventually, you sail back to the ship and to the town, greeted by many waves from the crew members nearby, who are going through their loot after having gone through the remains of the town.


"Oh… amazing. This is some bizarre device, alright." he says, looking over the sprites as they begin to lift the boat.

"Em… Caller Conches?"



She keeps watching, secretly eager to see where this is going. She can't help but feel some spite towards the wasp.


"Really, a shell can do all that? Hear I thought you could only hear the ocean in them."

"Ok we're definitely keeping this boat between us."
Cloud hops off the boat once they return to the rest of the crew.
"So, where's those conches Cerulean?"



"Getting the shadows out from inside the body is a difficult thing," Sparkler says, but waves her hoof, and a plethora of shadows are sucked out of the wasp's body, pulled out from his mouth and eyes. His body is now covered in burns from the shadow garment's drippings, exposing muscle and even bone in some places, but he remains composed. "This is only a martial art after all. More than that, I am not allowed to explain."

She wrings more of these shadows out onto the wasp, who now begins to shudder and shake, but remains emotionless.

[1d10+2] composure

"My power, Shadow Extract, is very limited. I wring emotions out of shadows and turn it into potions, some helpful, some poisonous. These limits are why I and the others have held off for so long on making our aura abilities. You will recall, Cutlass, that Godot gave us the pills to awaken our aura powers as soon as we left the prison, but have not made any aura powers yet. We agreed to wait and develop powers most useful to the situation at hand once we got to the first genuine threat in the Ribcage, knowing we could very well be out of our depths in the Ribcage."

"You'll notice I haven't asked any questions during this 'interrogation'. Nor will I ever need to, with this new ability," she says. She begins to glow with a very flowery pink aura, which even takes flower-like shapes around her body. "After much consideration, my ability will be this… if I or my allies can push someone into emotional instability, I can wring them out and learn from them whatever I want to know."

The wasp starts to sweat.

"Feel free to join the fun," Sparkler says, winking at the two of you as her aura comes into full bloom.

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10


Alder waves to the other crew members as they arrive, before cocking his head and nodding to Cerulean "Those seem… handy, actually. I-I suppose if they have some, I would not mind a blue one."

"W-Wait, why? This seems really useful."



"That's very clever," Cutlass says with a smile. "Both holding off of developing your Aura power and the Aura power you're developing. I'm impressed."

Then, she looks to the wasp with a frown. "What I don't get is why you're trying so hard. What do you have to gain from this loyalty? Let me answer that for you. A parasite which will consume your free will. That is the fate that awaits anyone near Queen Toko… Unless you think there's some way to save yourself from that?"

As Cutlass speaks, she uses Soul Sight on the wasp. [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


Her lip curls. She has no love for the wasp, and is not above torture, but the fact that Sparkler is enjoying herself disturbs her. "I would prefer not to," she says, for the second time today. She leans against the wall and crosses her arms, observing the gruesome sight with clear distaste for Sparkler's methods.


"I know Wallah left a cart somewhere full of 'em. Uhh…oh, right there!" She points to said cart.


"Oh! Thank you." the griffon says, patting Cerulean's shoulder and digging through the box


"It's pretty small, and besides, we found it so we should be the captains of it."

"Oh, cool. Free pickings."
Cloud heads over to the box, searching around for any darker green conches.


Cerulean gives a wide smile at seeing her friend happy, then heads over to see if there is any fish left for a small snack.


In the eye of the wasp's soul, you see that he believes Toko is some kind of godly figure, that she and her sisters comprise a kind of godly trinity; they are represented in his mind in the form of great works of art, holy and covered in flowing robes, terrifying and just, wielding justice against their enemies in one hand and endless blessings for their faithful servants in the other. The parasites are plainly in the vision, but are rendered as a kind of cherub, whispering in one's ear, a source of divine inspiration, guidance and wisdom, and not the horrific agents of mutilation that the party has encountered. This delusion, then, is likely why the wasp has so far been steady, and why he was so unconcerned with the mutilations of his body.

Sparkler shrugs. "You keep doing you then."

However, she stops wringing out the poisionous shadows, tossing aside the shadowy garment from which she got the poisons. She then draws a potion from her side and splashes it onto him, and the potion restores his injuries, growing back mutilated bone and restoring burnt flesh and hair.

"Because we can do this forever," she says to the wasp, who has now begun to pray silently.

[1d10] composure

The other Beesting crew members start inspecting and marveling at the boat as you approach, and Bee Holder, hearing you talk about the conches, brings over the boxes for you to pick through. The pickings are slim, but you see a few colors yet unclaimed, and manage to find the colors of your choosing.

"We still have to get the others' Conch Codes," Bee Holder says. "Best to get everyone able to communicate instantly before the circus tonight. Any votes to keep exploring the island, or any to get back to them?"

Also, there is quite a few fish left over: not only have the others done some fishing for the meat-eaters among the crew, Cerulean has saved enough of her own for Alder to have a good meal.


Roll #1 2 = 2


Sheets. Starting at 9:45 EST





>All at full H/W

Last time on PQ… 19 days ago…

Cloud, Alder and Cerulean met up once again, defeating the zombified tax collector and thoroughly exterminating the parasites that had reanimated his body.

After ensuring that they had not been infected by the parasites by consuming some of the Helltongues, they recovered an odd boat from the cavern. The boat had an engine-like device in the back, containing a magic crystal powered by small pony-shaped spirits, some blue and some white. The white ones proved capable of lifting the boat into the air, indicating that they are some kind of wind spirits. The blue ones would presumably have an effect of their own, but they weren't tested.

After that, they returned to the Beesting where they picked up caller conches of their own.

Thessaly and Cutlass captured and interrogated the wasp captain of that detachment they ambushed. Sparkler revealed that she developed an aura ability that would allow her to physically wring information out of someone if she could compromise their emotional state, which she was attempting by simply physically abusing the resolute captain.


In the eye of the wasp's soul, you see that he believes Toko is some kind of godly figure, that she and her sisters comprise a kind of godly trinity; they are represented in his mind in the form of great works of art, holy and covered in flowing robes, terrifying and just, wielding justice against their enemies in one hand and endless blessings for their faithful servants in the other. The parasites are plainly in the vision, but are rendered as a kind of cherub, whispering in one's ear, a source of divine inspiration, guidance and wisdom, and not the horrific agents of mutilation that the party has encountered. This delusion, then, is likely why the wasp has so far been steady, and why he was so unconcerned with the mutilations of his body.

Sparkler shrugs. "You keep doing you then."

However, she stops wringing out the poisionous shadows, tossing aside the shadowy garment from which she got the poisons. She then draws a potion from her side and splashes it onto him, and the potion restores his injuries, growing back mutilated bone and restoring burnt flesh and hair.

"Because we can do this forever," she says to the wasp, who has now begun to pray silently.

[1d10: 2] composure

The other Beesting crew members start inspecting and marveling at the boat as you approach, and Bee Holder, hearing you talk about the conches, brings over the boxes for you to pick through. The pickings are slim, but you see a few colors yet unclaimed, and manage to find the colors of your choosing.

"We still have to get the others' Conch Codes," Bee Holder says. "Best to get everyone able to communicate instantly before the circus tonight. Any votes to keep exploring the island, or any to get back to them?"

Also, there is quite a few fish left over: not only have the others done some fishing for the meat-eaters among the crew, Cerulean has saved enough of her own for Alder to have a good meal.


Thessaly observes Sparkler's methods with a mix of curiosity and disdain. She makes no attempt to interfere, silently watching as Sparkler continues to torture the captain. She is intrigued by Sparkler's unique aura ability, taking mental notes of its effects.


"Oh, these are marvelous little things." the griffon remarks, picking out a blue one and tucking it away in his already somewhat-stuffed saddlebags.

"As for whether or not to explore… we should not press our luck too far, I would say. In case we need to be at our best tonight."


Cloud tucks away his new green caller conch.
"I wouldn't mind exploring a little more. See what we can fish up before this big showdown goes down. But first I'm gonna drop off the loot I already pick up."
Cloud says as he departs on board the Beesting. He heads down to his little cabin to set up the brand new bed he looted back at it's full size.


"Oh crap, are we going to have to put this to a vote?" one of the mook crewmembers wonders aloud as the party expresses different opinions on what to do next.
"You should be grateful you get a vote!" Sickly Sweet says. "Ours is one of the few crews that still operates by that old pirates' code."

You return to your cabin and drop off your things for safekeeping. You aren't quite able to return the bed to its full size due to the limitations of the cabin (it's a rather large bed), but fit it in nicely. Its luxurious looks clash with the rugged and spartan decor of the Beesting's cabins, but that's what more thievery is for.


Cloud mulls over the bed's placement, but decides it's fine enough. For now.
He heads back up to the deck to see what everypony else is doing and how the vote is going.


Cerulean munches on some fish and looks over at the discussion.
"I mean, I don't care either way. Oh wait…that doesn't help much. Uhh…." She looks between Cloud and Alder, not sure which she wants to do.



Cutlass scoffs as she finishes seeing the wasp's soul.

"Thessaly, be a dear a go find Dr. Godot. Ask him for some Helltongue antidote."

"Well, Mr. Big-Strong-Captain," Cutlass says slowly with a smile. "You mocked me before about being small-minded. You said that I could only threaten your body and that meant we would never break you. You see your devotion to your Queens as your strength. And, you think that strength will make you never break."

"But, in reality, the opposite is true. There is no such thing as an unbreakable individual. Everyone puts their values - their self - into something. And, that something is their weakness. Your weakness IS your devotion. All I must do to break you is sever that connection you hold so dear between your Queens and you."

"I have seen into your soul. I see what you hold dear. You venerate the parasite Queen Toko uses. You see it as a path to divinity. You see it as becoming one with her. Then, having the parasite in you must be a pleasure and an honor."

"I wonder…" Cutlass says in ominous thought. Then, she looks the wasp in the eyes and smiles. "Are you important enough for that honor?"

[1d10] for Whisper in your Ear to make him feel uneasy

Roll #1 10 = 10


Cloud notices a spider merchant selling his wares to some Beesting members out in the streets of the deserted town.

Other Beesting pirates are discussing the situation among themselves. There doesn't seem to be any rush among the crew, given that it's still early in the day, but many pirates bring up the fact that there are more bee soldier squads still terrorizing the landscape and peoples of Kaco Island. Defeating them could mean weakening the Crimson King and gathering intel on your enemies.

Still others seem to be in agreement with Alder that reuniting with the Secret Assassins and preparing for the Circus performance tonight would be prudent.


"G-Gah, well, I do not want to have to push things to a vote unless we absolutely must. Regardless, I need to set some gear down." the griffon says, heading in to his cabin and stowing most of his treasure for safe-keeping. He returns a few minutes later, and lets out a bit of a sigh, and looks to Cloud Shear

"I… I will trust your judgement, Mister Cloud. But, only if we do not go for too much longer, yes?"


She feels she's seen enough anyway. "Aye aye," she says, not without a bite of sarcasm, and leaves the room to go to just that.



Now a different kind of "cat".


All throughout Cutlass's breakdown of his beliefs, the wasp remains silent, but he clearly starts to sweat partway through as she taps into his religious beliefs. Shadows begin to clump around his sides in a kind of vice, shaped like giant, multi-jointed fingers.

[1d10-1] He attempts to keep his composure

Sparkler, on the other hand, silently stands over him, watching you with a grin and a look that urges you onward.

Roll #1 3 - 1 = 2


You find Godot up on the first floor of the ship, counting medical supplies in various boxes, as well as the preserves of food and water. He seems anxious and has a distant look, but as you approach, he puts it away. "Thessaly, was it? Good to see you. Is there something I can help with?"


After stowing away your loot, you see the spider merchant as well (see >>704253).



"It's YOU who is small-minded, bug," Cutlass says, now looking at him with anger and disgust. "For thinking that your devotion would make you strong. For thinking that I could only threaten you physically."

"On the contrary, I am in your soul. I am in your mind. Soon, I will push everything else out. That connection with the Queens will be gone. It will be only me."

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Oh!" the griffon chirps, glad he'd saved some of his stolen funds. The griffon waves down the merchant, and asks "What all do you have in the way of wares, Mister?"


"Well…I guess we could looks around for juuuust a bit," she says and loads one of the new music tracks into her beetle band so it starts playing. She looks quite happy as she sits and listens, and awaits when everyone else is ready.
"Plus, helping these folks out more would be nice. Its how I met Orb Weaver over there," she says and gives a friendly wave to said merchant at seeing him again.


"Welcome, friend!" the spider calls with a wave. He gestures to a cart behind him, a portable bazaar stand full to bursting with all kinds of gizmos and gadgets, titled "ORB-WEAVER'S CARAVAN OF CURIOS".

"Please, take a look."


(Everything is there minus the Eye of Wisdom, which Cerulean purchased).

Orb-Weaver gladly waves back.


"Yea nothing too long. Just a little look around."

Cloud hops off the boat at seeing the merchant walking around.
"Hey, got anything good there?"
He asks the spider.


She nods in greeting. "Likewise. The Captain requires some of the Helltongue antidote for our guest. She said you would have some."


"Ah, yes, here you are," he says, producing a bottle with a viscous orange liquid inside it. "Tried to make it taste a little better with some various foodstuffs. It's…" He shrugs. "Well, it's evidence I'll never be a cook."

(Just assume you can go back to Cutlass without an intermediary post).


Orb-Weaver greets you as well, gesturing to his caravan of wares. >>704263


She examines the orange liquid. "Well, as long as it works as intended, I suppose. My thanks." She returns to Cutlass and passes her the bottle.

"As requested. I see our guest has yet to crack."


The shadowy vices around his body become more clear, becoming a silhouetted, disembodied pair of hands unlike anything you have ever seen, shrouded in thick, monstrous hair.

The wasp remains silent, his eyes shut, though he is lightly trembling.

Thessaly sees the disembodied hands becoming more clear just as she returns. Sparkler starts to look concerned at the shadows, but says nothing.


>Medic's Knife, Leather Armor

"Hrm… That Eye of Wisdom looks rather handy, but… I do not know."

Roll #1 6, 9 = 15



"Ah good," Cutlass says with a smile when Thessaly returns. "Thank you, Thessaly."

Cutlass telekinetically takes the bottle. "THIS will remove the parasite," Cutlass says with a devious grin. "I certainly hope you won't mind losing that connection to your beloved queens."

[1d10] for one last Whisper in your Ear before actually giving it to him

Roll #1 3 = 3


She looks over to Sparkler. "Those hands are… quite something. More of your Aura sorceress, I take it? What purpose do they serve?"


"Hmm… Not much here…. But I think I'll take that, that, and this."
Cloud says, pointing to the Bluestalker Armor, the Navigator's Hat, and a jar of black dye.

Roll #1 5, 10 = 15




You and Orb-Weaver discuss prices, and he lets the two items go for 115 Bits.

After some serious haggling, he lets the items go for 90 Bits, surely a steal. He gives you a bit of resentful side-eye from his four left eyes.

"Thank you! Be sure to keep an eye out for me on your journeys. And trust me, I'm the only spider you need to buy from. There are a lot of arachnid merchants out there giving the rest of us a bad name."

With that business taken care of, the other pirates finish their purchasing business, and Orb-Weaver loads up his cart, which is pulled by an odd bicycle-like vehicle, only with many extra wheels and pedals. You're not sure what the vehicle would be called in that case, actually… but regardless, he rides off.

With that, the crew starts to load up onto the ship.

Roll 1d100 for encounter purposes


Cerulean watches the two do their shopping, clapping each time the little beetle band finishes a song. Even Roger comes out and rests on her head, looking down at the mechanical musicians.


Roll #1 23 = 23


"I… I'm not entirely sure. I haven't actually used my ability on anything just yet," Sparkler whispers to you. "I didn't think my ability would look like this… in fact, I didn't consider what it would look like to begin with!"

As Cutlass mentions the cure for the parasites, the wasp's eyes shoot open, and upon seeing that this is no bluff, he turns white. He opens his mouth with a bellow, and for a brief moment, it seems like he's about to bite off his own tongue to try to end his own life.

However, the shadows have other plans. The shadowy limbs pick him up and start to twist him, wringing and twisting him as if he were a wet towel. In the process, the shadowy hands start to manifest lanky, sinewy limbs, backward out of the wrists, forming a murky beast behind Sparkler. It has a gorilla-like stature, but is unsettlingly thin, and most of its body is coated in a thick mass of coarse hair, like that of a yak or some other kind of beast.

As the aura monster wrings out the wasp, shadows fall out of the wasp's head, taking the shape of various letters and words that you cannot read or even focus your eyes on. Sparkler, who has gone white with a mix of confusion and fear of this unexpected development from her own ability, tilts her head at the words, and starts to arrange them in a logic she seems to understand.


She jumps a little at the sudden turn of events, standing poised to fight, but upon seeing this is all part of the Aura process; watches with great interest, observing as the wasp is wrung out like a wet cloth. She looks over to Cutlass to briefly gauge her reaction before continuing to watch, half transfixed by the magic display. "Curious… What does it say, Sparkler?"


"Pleasure doing business with ya."
Cloud says, used to the stink eye of merchants. He checks the jar to see how easy and how long it'll take to apply it to his new armor.

He steps over to Chiu, plopping the new hat on her head.
"Gonna need a hat to go with your new ship."


Roll #1 1 = 1


"What language is this…? And why can I read it? They're unlike any characters I've ever seen, but they make perfect sense!"

After a while, the words stop falling out of the wasp's head, and the monster sets him down gently, twisting him back into a normal shape. You see that the wasp is physically unharmed, but appears unconscious, his mouth twisted into a silent scream.

Sparkler spends a few more minutes arranging and shaping the strange characters. She gulps, scratching her chin.

"Well… the situation is worse than even what I thought," she finally says.


"Of course it is," she snarks. "Why would anything nice ever happen." She steps over the wasp uncaringly to try and read the words herself, but when this (presumably) fails she asks Sparkler to elaborate. "Might as well get it over with. No need to mess about. What are we up against?"


"Oh! I hadn't noticed you bought it- what exactly does the Eye of wisdom do, out of curiosity?" he asks Cerulean, giving her a curious poke.

Roll #1 27 = 27



At first, Cutlass quickly moves to give the wasp the cure. She thinks that this beast is some sort of defense mechanism from the parasite. But, as it becomes evident that it's a part of Sparkler's new power, she lightens up slightly.

Though, Cutlass still seems nervous as she realizes that Sparkler is equally surprised and frightened by her power.


"How on earth can it be worse?" Cutlass asks with more annoyance than concern.

As she asks, she telekinetically pours the Hellstongue into the wasp's unconscious mouth.


"Well, if you have a question or something, there's some very nice voices that help you out by telling you a solution or something. They're the ones who told me to use a worm, and then I caught that super big and super yummy fish. Though was odd, I was just thinking out loud and then it ended up speaking to me." She shrugs.
"Still though, they're nice, and its a very pretty thing to wear, too!"


"This is all assuming that the wasp's information is true, but we have little reason to think she would deceive her own troops."

"Toko only has one, very powerful, aura ability: Infectious Lifestyle, considered a Maso-type power.

"She can manipulate any pathogen or parasite which she has been infected with and that she has transmitted to another target. If she infects someone with her particular strand of the pathogen, she can manipulate it within their body if she is within a range of 50 meters.

"The things she can do with that strand are limited to the pathogen's normal effects. For example, if she infects someone with a common cold, she can amplify or dampen any and all of the cold's symptoms in them. Because of this natural restriction, she is almost always limited to dampening or amplifying symptoms, or causing the pathogen to lay dormant. However, because the white fungal parasites can control bodies past a certain stage of infection, she can infect someone with the parasite, power up the parasite with her ability, and then control the host by controlling the parasite.

"What's even worse is this: If she transmits a pathogen to one person, and then they transmit it to another, she can ALSO manipulate the pathogen inside the second person, as long as their strand of the pathogen directly originated from hers. There appears to be no limit on the number of hosts, so long as they are within her power's range.

"However, there seems to be a great weakness in her power: She needs to retain a strand of that pathogen within her own body in order to manipulate her victims. Thus, if she herself is cured of it, she can no longer manipulate those she has infected. The pathogen will then develop naturally in the host bodies once it's out of her control."

Sparkler thinks on this for a moment. "Any insights?"


"My. That is… quite something. Her weakness seems exploitable, however. We would just have to find a way to have her ingest the cure. Easier said than done considering how… distinctive… its flavor is. Not go mention infiltrating her lackeys to the point of tampering with her food is no small task."



"So, she only controls them while they are within 50 meters of herself? That's not very far."

Then, Cutlass smiles. "We already have the cure to her parasite. If we can cure her, then the threat is significantly lessened. Her army becomes far less organized."


It should take a few hours to get your armor colored properly, but the jar comes with some tools for application to a variety of clothes, so you shouldn't have much trouble.

"For me?" Chiu asks, adjusting the hat. "Why thank you; that was some impressive bargaining."

The Eye of Wisdom lights up when it is brought up in the conversation. "Rawk! Looking nice can improve your first impressions with people! Rawk!"

"Is it gonna do that every time?" Bent Scales wonders aloud.

"Rawk! Maybe! Rawk!" the amulet replies.

As you sail south along the shore, you see the makings of a ragged camp on the side of a high cliff, about 20 meters above the water.

You see many poor-looking beeponies in various places, all of whom are either chained up in chain gangs, or in cages. Many bee soldiers are present, but accompanying them are a group of bees (same sized as the soldiers) wearing gaudy black and yellow robes and holding rolled-up codices. This group of bees is very loud, and appear to be preaching to the beeponies about the salvation of the body and the soul through something called the Blessed Inspiration (you can roll perception for more info).

The beeponies don't seem to be buying it. Bee Holder suddenly steers the ship closer to the shoreline, blocking the line of sight from the camp in order to hide the boat. "Ah, god, these people again."


"Yes, that's the predicament we're in," Sparkler says. "Her ability could theoretically kill any of us in a few short steps, but at the same time, we can shut her down with just a few drops of the Helltongue potions. However, we should be wary of just how easily the parasites can jump from host to host. Everyone should have a plethora of potions on them. Considering how subtly and quietly Cloud was infected after her butler touched his injury, we should consider any of her lackeys to be a potential infection vector. Also, it seems like her power can work with any sickness, not just the parasites. She may use that as a secondary attack if we can innoculate her with the Helltongues."

After Cutlass gives the potion to the wasp (mentioned in previous post), various parasites jump out of his body as though it were water, and flop over dead, badly burnt and no longer a threat.

Sparkler rubs her forehead. "Well, that's all I have…" she turns uneasily to the monster behind her, then concentrates. After a moment, the monster vanishes. "Hopefully this thing's on my side!"


"Indeed! You look fantastic, Miss Cerulean!" he chirps, bouncing up and down.He snickers a little bit from the very bizarre noises it makes, before shrugging a little. "Perhaps it will be of enough use to outweigh the peculiar sounds."
>Perception [1d10]
"R… Religious fanatics, I presume? Do you know of them?"

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Yeah, some fringe cult that liked to preach on street corners and public spaces, never got too many followers and were considered a hazard to your wallet," Bee Holder explains. "But, if they're with the Bee Soldiers, that can't be a good sign."



"The fact that you're not certain is ominous," Cutlass says conversationally about Sparkler's new monster companion. As she speaks, she fills every inch of the wasp's body with daggers and knives which all fly out of her dress and cut up the wasp. She doesn't even look at the body she is carving to pieces. "Do you think that may something about you? Are you alright? N-not that I care personally. J-just want to make sure you're at your best."


The preachers' messages are a word salad of vaguely-convincing religious jargon, but they talk a lot about the 'little angels' and the 'Blessed Inspiration' having come to 'liberate the island from desperation and meaninglessness.'


"I'll consult with Godot and the mantis you brought back from the island," Sparkler says, regaining her composure. "It may have to do with how Aura works… but I suspect it may also have to do with shadows themselves."


Cerulean just gives a happy giggle as the amulet seems to have gotten more vocal.

"Wait, what? What's this Blessed Inspiration? Are they a bunch of artists or something?"



Roll #1 5 = 5


"You are uncertain?" She looks slightly worried. "So you had not truly utilized your Aura powers until now? That seems… odd."


You are also able to catch the religious jargon mentioned in >>704293. However, your sharp eyes catch a glimpse of one of the preachers holding a cloth bag. It's wriggling very slightly, and the prisoners stare at it with apprehension.

"No idea, we never let them anywhere near us. We'd cross whole city blocks just to avoid eye contact," Bee Holder says. She looks back at the prisoners, then clicks her tongue. "Scales, you're in charge. I'm going in."

Bent Scales salutes.



"Very well," Cutlass says casually as her daggers and knives return to their proper places. "If you need anything… let me know," Cutlass says, blushing slightly.

Then, she opens the door to leave the room. "And, make sure someone cleans up this mess," she adds before leaving the room, never having looked at the mess she made.


Sparkler blushes a little as you point out her obvious mistake and gets flustered. "Well… you're right. B-but I didn't think they'd take a form of their own! And it's not like I can just test it on our crew! And I wanted it to be a big reveal, a big cool thing to… argh, I didn't think this through…"

Sparkler is red in the face now, and nearly trips over herself as she goes to get a mop and bucket from another room. "Y-yeah, whatever, I'll be fine."


"When you've had the life I've had you learn to stretch each bit as far as you can."
As she adjusts her hat, Cloud gives a whistle.
"A perfect fit."

"These people? Who are they?"
Cloud questions as Bee Holder starts to veer the ship. He perks up his ears to try and listen in on their chanting.
>Bat Eavesdropping [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


"Huh? Hey wait, don't go alone! That's how those ritual sacrifices to weird things happen!" Cerulean calls out, running after Bee Holder.


"Hmm… is that why you had to put your wings as a down payment?" Chiu jokes.

See: >>704297 and >>704293


"Hmph." Unamused by Sparkler's reaction, she follows Cutlass out of the room.

"This is quite a predicament we fine ourselves in, Captain. Any ideas to how we are going to disable Toko's aura? …Might I suggest a surreptitious approach?"



Cutlass seems deep in thought. "Explain."


"I'll admit, that wasn't the best decision I've made. But I did feel a tingle on my back as we were looting that last place. I think I'm almost up to what that genie was looking for. One or two more good hauls and you'll have yourself 2 consequence free wishes."

"Oh, so scammers and beggars then."
As Bee Holder says she's going, Cloud ponders a moment then steps in line to follow.
"Yea I gotta agree, you can't deal with those weird types alone."


The two of you head out to the deck, where your crew are taking care of various housecleaning tasks, exercising, and chatting with the locals.


"Consider the following: we kidnap someone high in rank, close to Toko, and with Droplet's aura skill, one of us replaces them. Whoever the spy is poisons Toko's food with the Helltongue cure, then the rest of us make our move to defeat her. Of course this would not be an easy task, but I feel it would be the most expedient solution to the problem."


"Hrm… they want to liberate the island. I do not feel like it is the more literal meaning of the word. Would I be correct in assuming that? And, do they normally work with these soldiers, or is this an unusual occurrence?"



"How high up were you thinking? Because we just killed a captain. Presumably, no one knows he's missing yet."


"Yeah, well hopefully he'll put them back right. It'd be just like a genie to return them upside down, or reversed, or something."

"This is the first I've ever seen 'em with soldiers OR prisoners. My gut's telling me something's off," Bee Holder says.

Bee Holder starts to scale the side of the cliff, leaving quite a distance between herself and the camp. You see various rocks and indents in the cliffside that could be a good hoof-hold, or you could look for other ways of getting up there if you want to follow her.


"Hrm… do they normally preach about such things as they are now?" the griffon asks, watching them like a hawk.


"The religious babble is all there, business as usual, but that bag…" she points out the wriggling bag that one of the preachers holds. "It's givin' me all kinds of creepy crawly bad vibes."


Cerulean watches her go and attempts to follow her. She tries to climb a bit more daintily, more to not break the footholds and such.
"Okay…just nice and carefully…."


Roll #1 7 = 7


"'Tis unlikely a captain would be intimately familiar with the queen. No. I was thinking more along the lines of one of her confidantes, or aides. A servant in whatever palace she dwells in would be a prime candidate also. No one would think twice about a scullery maid having access to the queen's food."


"Of course. With the money I'm paying I'd want them back better than perfect."

Cloud peers up the cliff side, groaning at another instance where his wings would have been useful.
"Alright, slow down a bit there Captain!"
Cloud gives his hooves a rub, then tries to climb up after her.
>Climb [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4



"Well, we may be able to pull that off during our raid tonight."

Cutlass looks around for one of the assassins. "Do we have a Caller Conch to communicate with the other half of our forces?"


You catch Droplet sunbathing on the deck, wearing sunglasses made out of shadows.

"No, we still need to get the caller conch codes from the other half of the crew," he answers. "Shall I try to send out some scouts to look for them and call back to us?"


"It is only a suggestion," she stresses. "If you were entertaining an alternative, you should not feel pressured to do as I say."


"Perhaps we should investigate, then? Something like this must not be left be, if it gives you unease."



"That would probably be for the best."


"I had no better plan for curing her. Of course, my plan didn't really involve curing her at all. It might be a good way to add a little extra chaos when we steal their galleon, though."


"I feel it would be best to disable her before engaging directly. Else we would find ourselves in a much tougher situation. Either way, disabling or no, we cannot simply march up to her and kill her outright. A more covert approach is necessary. We are talking about regicide, not some petty murder."


"Oh, don't worry, I intend to," Bee Holder says grimly, as she climbs the cliffside with the others. "Yer welcome to join if you like. Could get ugly."

Cloud nearly slips and falls as he scales the cliffside, but Cerulean manages to secure him with her tail before he can tumble into the water. With him secured, you climb up the rest of the way, reaching a small section of jungle foliage, which conceals you from the camp. From here, you see that most of the camp's attention is on the prisoners (8 in total), who have their backs to the cliffside. In front of them are the cultists (3) and the bee soldiers (10). A row of tents and supply crates are behind them.

Bee Holder surveys the area, mumbling to herself.



"Well, regicide becomes easier when you have an army behind you."


Droplet stretches lazily from where he lays on the deck, and rolls onto his side. "Hmm… you, you, you and you go look for the Beesting, and deliver the message," he says, pointing to various mooks, who nod and head out to carry out the orders. "Anything else I can do for you, boss? Preferably something I can accomplish from here."


"All the armies in the world are useless if she can turn them on us at a whim."


"I will assist however I can!"


Cerulean makes sure Cloud is nice and safe before she gets herself in the same way.
"Okay, so…we going after one or the other…maybe go after both and sort things out later?"



"I don't think she could do it IMMEDIATELY. It would still presumably take some time to let the parasite germinate and mature to the point where it is capable of controlling its host."


Cloud nearly panics as he slips off the rocks, until Cerulean's tail catches him.
"Whoa, thanks Cerulean."

Cloud settles down on the ground with the others once they're at the top, peering at the crowd.
"That's a lot of soldiers. We should probably get those prisoners away from the cliff at least. …You think we can just push all the others off?"


OOC note: Based on Sparkler's explanation, Toko couldn't instantly infect someone with the parasite, then turn on their allies, but she COULD use her aura to force the parasites inside the host to germinate to the point that they could control the host; once that was done, she could control the host herself. While not immediate, it can be very rapid for someone who has not been infected at all, and even faster for those already infected.


"Hrm… I do not think I could manage to help push them off too much… oh! Perhaps I could dull their dexterity with my aura. Perhaps it would be easier to shove them off then?"


After assessing the area, you see that you could easily get the drop on them by coming up from behind and from the left, but they currently outnumber you. You could get more pirates from the Beesting up here, but that risks losing the advantage if they notice the sound of multiple pirates coming up the cliffside.

The Eye of Wisdom glows, but the voice is at a whisper. "Rawk… just call if you need me… rawk," it says.


"Whatever the case. We cannot just march up to her and slit her throat, practical as it would be. Cause some chaos with your army, cripple her with the antidote, then do what you will. Then she will be out of our hair."



"Of course. My focus is more on the big picture of the battle. If you can come up with a good plan for the smaller details, that would be great."

Cutlass takes her hat off and observes Sir Pent who is still riding on it. She starts petting the little snake. "I'm too stressed to deal with much more than what I'm already thinking about…"

"Speaking of which, should we report our findings to the families?"


Sir Pent, as if sensing your plight, cranes his neck up to your face and gently plops his head against your cheek. Perhaps it was an attempt at a kiss or a comforting caress, but it is unclear. The implications for snake intelligence are astounding.


"Yea that could work out. Make it so they can't try and catch themselves on the edge."

"Hmm. Hey Cerulean, how confident are you in swatting them away if you sneak over and I make you huge when you dive in?"


"Pretty sure I could, but are you up for it? I know you're been having trouble getting things big lately," she says with some concern.

Hearing the amulet, Cerulean looks down and whispers to it.
"Oh? You have an idea? We'd be glad to hear it."


"I should be fine for a surprise attack. I'm not distracted at the moment or anything, and we're not dealing with any zombies this time."


"Rawk – they can fly if you knock them off the cliff, so try clumping them together before you take a swing. Rawk."


"As you wish. I will come to you with a fully fleshed out plan once I have written it down."

"Perhaps we should, yes. They might be able to help with this plan of mine, in fact. They ought to know more about Toko than I." She takes out her Caller Conch and contacts Hubla, relaying what they have learned and what they plan to do.



Cutlass smiles broadly and nudges her cheek against the snake. "What a marvelous little creature you are," she comments as she pulls her hat away to look at Sir Pent. She ponders snake intelligence for a moment, then a thought occurs to her.

>Soul Sight on Sir Pent


"Ah, I see. Thank you," she whispers to the amulet.

"Alright, then you get me big, but let's not do the 'push off the cliff' thing. These guys can fly. But if we group them up…then we can just swat and squash 'em without too much effort."


"I could work with that! Are we reaqdy, then?"


Somewhere out there, there exists the 'perfect spot' – a very comfortable rock, in a temperate climate, right next to some water and some shady trees, with bugs aplenty for eating. That is what Sir Pent desires.

You contact Hubla's conch, and initially get an answer from a very annoyed secretary, who after giving you a bit of sass, transfers to you Hubla proper. Once there, you report the information you've gathered on Toko and your initial plans.

"I see…" he says thoughtfully. "I'd be taking an immense risk on this, but my power may be useful to these plans, if you can trap her in a small, enclosed space. Though, with the way the circus tent is set up, I doubt I'd be much help in that environment. As you mentioned, it'd work best if you can get me in a room with her in some stable area, such as whatever base of operations she is using, and I don't know where that would be. Perhaps that gaudy movie prop of a ship the Crimson King owns?"


"Alright then. Let's get ready to go."
Cloudsays, eyes glowing as he works his magic on Cerulean to make the shark giant.
>Wax/Wane [Grow Cerulean] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


She audibly rolls her eyes at the unhelpful secretary, tapping her hoof impatiently as she waits for her call to be transferred.

"So you do not know where she could be residing, then." She inwardly curses Cutlass for having done away with their hostage so soon. "I understand. Cutlass and I will make every attempt to locate her, starting with the Crimson King's ship. We will co tact you again once we know more." She thanks Hubla deeply for her time and for offering to help, then calls Soli and relays the same information she gave Hubla. Everyone should be on the same page if this operation is to succeed.



"I will be your perfect spot," Cutlass says to Sir Pent lovingly.


"The plan was to steal the ship anyway. I'm not sure if dealing with Toko at the same time would make the plan easier or harder…"


If now's the time to go loud, Alder gathers up his aura and lets out an angry screech. A wave of purple shockwaves wash outwards, and towards the soldiers.
>Terror Screech [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Yup, let's do this!"

Cerulean proceeds to run in while the others do their things, looking to score a solid hit in while they still have the surprise factor. She runs up and grabs a soldier in her mouth, then proceeds to thrash him around and likely hitting many others in the process.

>Cleave 2 random soldiers and 2 cultists


Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


(adding H/W since I keep forgetting)


Cloud supersizes Cerulean, making it tricky for her to remain hidden within the limited range of the trees.

Alder's battle cry shakes up the whole camp, briefly throwing it into chaos and confusion, but the soldiers gather themselves as Cerulean attempts to make waves. They scatter, drawing their guns and hitting her with a volley of gunfire from both sides.
>Cerulean loses 6 Hits

The prisoners and preachers alike start to panic and run around.

Sir Pent's gaze is dark and mysterious as he looks up at you.

Soli's secretary has a very bad stutter and apologizes profusely after screwing up the call transfer a couple times. You eventually get ahold of Soli. "I see. Of course Hubla would volunteer his power to your cause; he can't get over the fact he's getting too old for fights. Mine, based on what I know of Toko, would be no good against her, though I cannot say why without revealing sensitive information – you never know who is listening to these conversations. I will have my people scour the Dextrose's intelligence files to find out if Dyme had any information on where the Queens have been residing. More than that, I can't promise."



>Cerulean 6/8

Last time on PQ!

Cerulean, Pyrite and Cloud encountered a group of kooky cultists attempting to sell their religion to a captive group of civilians who had been driven out of their town and imprisoned by Queen Toko's bee soldiers. The party got the drop on the soldiers, but they were met with a retaliating volley, as the soldiers were quick to get their bearings.

For Thessaly and Cutlass, the torture of their captive wasp commander proved fruitful, as they were able to learn all the details of Queen Toko's aura power, Infectious Lifestyle, a gruesome ability that gave her control over all manner of sicknesses, diseases and parasites, within certain limits. They then brainstormed some ideas on how to deal with Toko's power, and reported their findings to Hubla and Soli of the mafia families.


>Alder, Cerulean, Cloud
Alder's battle cry shakes up the whole camp, briefly throwing it into chaos and confusion, but the soldiers gather themselves as Cerulean attempts to make waves. They scatter, drawing their guns and hitting her with a volley of gunfire from both sides.
>Cerulean loses 6 Hits

The prisoners and preachers alike start to panic and run around.

>Thessaly, Cutlass
Soli's secretary has a very bad stutter and apologizes profusely after screwing up the call transfer a couple times. You eventually get ahold of Soli. "I see. Of course Hubla would volunteer his power to your cause; he can't get over the fact he's getting too old for fights. Mine, based on what I know of Toko, would be no good against her, though I cannot say why without revealing sensitive information – you never know who is listening to these conversations. I will have my people scour the Dextrose's intelligence files to find out if Dyme had any information on where the Queens have been residing. More than that, I can't promise."

Sir Pent's gaze is dark and mysterious as he looks up at you.



Cloud looks over at the soldiers from his safer distance, the number of guns being a very large deterrent. He think back to the weird moss growth when he was cornered by the bloated zombie taxpony. He tries to see if he can make something like that happen again, in growing hte grass under the soldiers to become tall and thick to block their view and disrupt them a bit.
>Master Farmer [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


File: 1542855937731.png (314.9 KB, 1280x895, Silly Sharks.png)

"Ow! Owwie!" Cerulean yells out as she gets shot up.
"Okay, plan B!" She winds up her tail and decides to smack the closest one she can, as hard and fast as she can. Her aura flares up onto the ground to make things watery, her aura likely doing a slight waterfall effect at the edge of said cliffside.

>Slam. Crit 8+. +1, DC-1, take better roll, additional wound damage if crit


Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #2 1 + 1 = 2



"I understand. Her eyes and ears are everywhere on this island, after all. Any help you can give would be most appreciated."

She bids Soli farewell and relays to Cutlass what the family heads have told her. "Soli will see if the Dextroses have any info on Toko that might be useful. Hubla, on the other hand, may be able to help. She believes Toko is on board the Crimson King's ship, and if we can trap the queen in a room with her she may be able to help with her aura power. They don't have much intel on Toko herself, but again, Soli is working on that. Not much to go on, but it's progress."


"Not to impose, but I heard my name earlier during discussion of your plans," Droplet says, leaning up from where he's sunbathing. "How may I assist you, ma'am?"


She turns her attention to him. "Yes. You might be of use in the coming conflict. The plan I had devised was for you to use your Aura power on one us to disguise us as a servant wherever the Queen may be. Then, with the disguise, poison her food or drink with the antidote, and weaken her thoroughly. Then our forces attack, without risk of her infecting them all with her powers. Your part would be a small one, and with little risk on your behalf, but a crucial one to the success of the plan. I imagine you would do so?"


He thinks on this a moment.

"I am no stranger to risk, so worry not on putting me in extreme danger," Droplet says. "I welcome it, in fact.

"My power can maintain multiple disguises, so I think it will be prudent to identify and kidnap the Queens' most trusted servants, and replacing them with our forces, each with the antidote. That way, if one of you fails to deliver it, the other can still get the mission done. In high-stress situations, trust is the most valuable resource, so if I disguise a few of you as her most trusted, there's a better chance she'll lower her guard while focusing on the circus, or on the war effort, allowing you to slip her the antidote.

"But, say we slip her the antidote, and then kill or incapacitate her once she's helpless… what then? Do we have a plan of escape?"


She touches her chin. "I have not planned that far ahead yet. Perhaps if we have several spies infiltrating her abode, one of them could pose as a guard and secure an escape route for them in the ensuing chaos? Or perhaps some of ours, posing as guards, could pretend to arrest the offending parties and leave as a group. Hm…"


"Either way could work; we were drilled on a variety of scenarios during our training," Droplet says. "Have a preference? I can give you pointers on whichever you and the captain like best."


Hissing a little as the sharkpony is downed, hops back up, and seems to falter on her swing, and preps a little potion- this time, he's taking Cloud's suggestion for a water balloon!
>Natural Remedy: [1d10+1]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


Dice amirite [1d3]

Roll #1 3 = 3


"You seem like the expert," she shrugs. "Which strategy do you believe would work best? Or do you see another way to ensure escape?"


Cloud attempts to slow the soldiers with a barricade of grass, but the soldiers stomp right over it, trampling it before it can grow. Cerulean swings at them, but they bob and weave, forming three phalanxes of three soldiers each, which surround her from the front, left and behind, and jab at her with bayonet-tipped rifles, with one group pulling out as another dives in, always just out of her grasp. She begins bleeding profusely from her many wounds, but Alder tosses her a potion, giving her the strength to stand back up after the onslaught.

>Cerulean 6/8

The soldiers finish loading their rifles and pistols, then fire a volley at Cerulean. [1d10]

A few of the cultists get their bearings, and while they seem dreadfully shaken by Alder after that battle cry, they have enough focus to throw religious literature at Cloud. [1d10-1]

Bee Holder keeps sneaking around the campsite toward the prisoners.

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 5 - 1 = 4


"Killing a queen is no small business," Droplet begins. "If you try to slip out with a fake arrest, our fake guards will have to rough you up to make it convincing, while also making sure you aren't just killed on the spot by the mob. Trying to escape in the middle of the chaos would work better if we have some skills relating to stirring up confusion – do you or your allies have such a power or a penchant for chaos?

"Hmm, as for other options…" He scratches his chin. "Cutlass wanted to steal that multi-story whopper of a ship the Crimson King has. Just try that! Hahaha."


Cloud stomps on the ground as they trample through the grass easily.
"Gotta be faster than that…"
He turns his head as the Cultists start to through their literature at him, quickly jumping back from them as he looks over at the soldiers firing off another volley at Cerulean. He looks for whoever would look like the head captain, instinct jumping in as his eyes glow red and he drains away their vitality, and their mass.
>Vampiric Leech [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


Cerulean growls angrily as she grabs Alder's potion and breaks it in her mouth to get it in her system faster. She then tries to grab the last solider that stabbed her and thrash him around, hopefully hitting some of his comrades in the process.

>Cleave three soliders


Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12


Alder takes a shot from his shortbow, now that everyone's all patched up for now.
>Shortbow! [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


Finding their captain is easy, as it is a large, cruel-looking hunched over wasp, about seven feet tall, who is spewing clattering sounds at you - undoubtedly profanity in another language. You shrink him just as he raises his gun at you, causing him and his attack to shrink to about 75% of their size.


With Alder's support bolstering you, you shrug off the soldiers' bullets, finding them shatter on impact with your aura as if they were dirt clods. You grab and thrash around with one of the soldiers, breaking his body before flinging him, much like a bowling ball, into a phalanx, which knocks the soldiers off over the edge, wings broken. They try to fly back up, to no avail.

You see a soldier attempt to jab Cerulean in the neck from behind, and fell him with an arrow just as he readies his bayonet. This now leaves only five of the soldiers left, including their captain.

The soldiers regroup, and attempt to blast Alder this time! [1d10+1]

The cultists run up to Cerulean and try smacking her with angel-like religious icons while loudly threatening to revoke the invitation to their potluck next week. [1d10]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #3 6 = 6


"I can cause quite a bit of mayhem myself by calling on elementals. And if we're going to be on the ship, I'll have plenty of water to spare. It might be best to slip away once bedlam breaks out." She smirks slightly. "It might even be a little fun, really."

"Stealing the ship? Very bold of her. Dealing with Queen Toko is one thing. Angering the Crimson King, that is something else altogether. Bold, but perhaps foolish. It is risky, but it could work."


"No! How dare you not invite me to something with food! Especially while I'm hungry," she yells at the cultists, swinging around to smack one really hard into the wall/cliffside acting as a wall.



Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8


"I can't deny the idea sounds like fun," Droplet says. "Buuuut the responsible assassin in me has some concerns. Namely, the King's own powers and his servants who may be guarding the ship, and any built-in defenses that the ship may have to prevent its theft. I suppose it's possible to do it, if you have some precautions against these defenses, and some bargaining chips to keep the King at bay.

"If you'd like to pursue that option, I suppose a good way to start would be to scope it out, and to scope out the venue they will be at tonight – the circus, that is. Or, we could wing it… I suppose. Go shopping, eat a little, visit some tourist destinations and contemplate our probable demise…"


Cloud grows as he drains away the wasp's size, now making himself equal to the previously towering bug.
"Huh, that's new."
He comments ,looking at the wasp taking aim at him.
"But I enjoy it."
Cloud puts on his clawed gauntlet and rushes to sock the captain across the face.
>Punch [DC5] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3


>can see stealthed/hiding enemies if they are moving

Roll #1 7 = 7


She nods. "We should acquaint ourselves with this circus, yes. A bit of scouting wouldn't go awry. We should obscure our identities while doing so, however, so that we do not arouse suspicion during the conflict. Again, another useful application for your Aura skill."


"I still have yet to make an aura ability… I do have some ideas for what mine should be, though I don't know if I can even get them," Droplet contemplates. "My shadow power is fairly extensive as it is, and after I spoke with the Herbkeeper, I was worried about the potential dangers of making one willy-nilly, like how Sparkler made hers. But in any case, just call on me when you want to go. I can make you look like anything you want to look like."


"Understood. I should communicate all this with the captain first. When we are ready to leave, you shall be the first to know."


He glances at Cutlass, who seems to be in some kind of communion with Sir Pent nearby. "In that case, you'll be a minute and a half!" he jokes, then lays back down, puts his sunglasses (made of shadow) back on, and gets back to sunbathing.


"I-I'm sorry, potluck? What exactly even is that?" the griffon asks, attempting to duck out of the way of the soldiers' aim.
>Dodge: [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


The captain narrowly stumbles backward, unaccustomed to the new size, and narrowly blocks your punch by using his rifle as a shield. It breaks on impact from the punch, but the wasp is able to use the moment to slip back in among the grass. For a few seconds he's gone, before he pops back out from the side, attempting to sting you with guerilla tactics.


You smack one of the cultists into the wall, and he lands with a loud groan. "We'll reconsider it… please consider making a donation to our family."

You see a small brass key drop out of his pocket as he flops to the ground.

"Take some free literature!" another cultist shouts as a battle cry, and attempts to give your neck a paper cut with a in informational religious flyer. [1d10]

You're badly grazed by the gunshots before you can get behind the safety of a tree trunk, and accrue a few bad injuries.
>Alder 2/5
One of the cultists, a female, chases after you. "Oh, we're having a gathering this weekend to discuss the Blessed Inspiration with any new followers who are interested. Here!"

She hands you a pamphlet inviting you to the potluck.

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 3 = 3


With an informational*


"Maybe, hang on a moment." Cerulean moves to grab the cultist trying to give her a papercut with her jaws and swing him around a bit before throwing him at the soldier captain.

>Cleave 2


Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10


Cloud takes a step back after breaking the gun, surprised he was able to do that. When the wasp darts away in the grass, Cloud's ears perk up as he tries to track it through sound. He's too slow to turn as the wasp shoots out at him. He tries to swing again at the insect with his gauntlet to get in a quick strike.
>Punch [DC5] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


Alder winces a little bit and starts to work on his injuries.
>[1d10+1] Natural Remedy

"O-Oh. Uhm, t-thank you, I suppose." the griffon says, taking the informational flyer.

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


Cloud isn't swift enough to intercept the commander's attack, and so is stung in the side, feeling a deeply painful burning ripple thorough his right side as he's poisoned.
>Cloud 2/4
However, Cerulean launches the cultist at the captain, crushing the shrunken wasp with the stunned cultist.

The remaining bee soldiers (5), seeing their commander pinned and trapped under the cultist's body, look among each other as if deciding whether to stick around or finish the fight despite these odds.

[1d10] instant composure roll, wait for result before responding

Roll #1 6 = 6


The soldiers brace themselves, apparently resolving not to run away in spite of their poor odds and quick losses following the surprise attack. Instead, they hunker down, forming a pair of firing lines, and shoot at all of you in quick succession.
[1d10+1] vs. Cerulean
[1d10+1] vs. Alder
[1d10+1] vs. Cloud

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5


Alder hisses a little as the firing line assembles, hastily firing an arrow at one of the ones aimed towards him.
>Shortbow [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


Cerulean bites the air, lowers her head, and begins to run forward. Looks like she intends to break their ranks with an intense skull bash to (one of them in) the line.



Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #2 8 + 2 = 10


Cloud falls on his side from the stab, holding his side as he groans under his breath. As Cerulean takes out the captain, he exhales in relief that his has a momentary break. Which doesn't last long when he sees the remaining soldiers load up their guns. He tries to stand, but the stab is too fresh and pain runs through his side. His eyes glow red at the pain, looking at the battalion aiming at him, seeking to draw energy from the lead on in the firing lines.
>Leech [1d10+1]
He reaches for his Wind Wand, attempting to conjure a strong wind to smack all the soldiers together into a clump.
>Wind Wand [Toss Together] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9


>Alder 0/4
Alder falls, struck by gunfire in the shoulders and stomach, but Cerulean barrels through their volleys, slamming one of the frontline soldiers backward into the back rank, knocking into the guy behind him, the impact of which knocks them both out of the fight.

As the remaining soldiers try to regroup, Cloud absorbs health from one of them, shrinking him down to a dwarfish size. The wind from his wand causes the shrunken one to spin around in a vortex, the force of which pulls in the soldiers and spews their guns across the field. They are now tangled up in a clump of limbs, but are incapacitated, caught up in the spell.

One of the cultists (the female one who invited Alder to the potluck) comes over and prays over his wounds.

[1d10+1] Heal

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7


Cloud stands up, feeling recharge from his drain though he still clutches his side.
"Did we get them all?"
He asks the others, wondering if they're in the clear.


Alder blinks a couple of times as, of all people, the cultist helps him up. He gives her a nervous, thankful smile, and murmurs "I-I'll make sure to go if I have time. I have a big thing to do today!"

After which, he'll take a shot at one of the ones firing at Cerulean
>Shortbow [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


You survey the destroyed campsite, finding the soldiers thoroughly defeated, either by being squished like the bugs they are, knocked off the cliff, or tangled up by your spell. One of the cultists is slumped against a nearby rockface, and clearly won't get up soon. The other cultist, the female, is healing Alder.

You turn at the sound of a battlecry, and see a lone cultist running at you, armed with a pamphlet which is raised to strike and give you a papercut. But he slows his run once he sees the others defeated, and realizes that he's the last one fighting. He stops in front of you and hands you the pamphlet. "Please take some informational literature on our group, sir," he says.


Clod looks down at the cultist ashe stops to gently hand him the pamphlet. He takes it in his hoof, giving it a look over.
"So what were you guys doing up here?"


Seeing one of the incapacitated soldiers reach for the guns to take another shot at Cerulean, you nail him with an arrow, keeping him from being able to hurt Cerulean.

The cultist smiles. "I'll save you a plate, friend! Would you like to receive the Inspiration now?"

She then pulls a glass jar out of her cloak, full of coins. She then innocently holds it at her side, but it's tipped toward you. She clears her throat and tilts her head at the jar, clearly expecting a tip for healing you.


Crude and poorly-printed, clearly from a low-quality printing press, the pamphlet is a confused, rambling mess of religious terminology, apocalyptic predictions, grainy pictures of public leaders, including ones for the Bee Queens, and a handsome, dark griffon, standing upright and in a suit, whom you do not recognize.

"We were spreading the Inspiration to these lost souls," the cultist explains, gesturing to the captive townsfolk. "We knew what Queen Hurscurs's soldiers had been doing, and wished to spread the Blessing to them before they could be killed by her horrible Aura powers."


Cerulean huffs and begins to calm down as they all seem to have been taken care of.
"Jeez, those things really hurt!" She complains out loud, rubbing some spots where she got shot.


"If you need someone to dress your wounds, I am a trained healer!" the female cultist offers, noticably shaking her jar of coins as she does so.


Cerulean looks at them with an apprehensive look. Weren't they just trying to attack her too?
"Uhh…no. I think I'll have it looked at later."


"Yeah… Maybe you should stick to not getting involved with soldiers."
Cloud says, walking away from the cultist with a limp, looking for Bee Holder since she snuck off before the fight.


"Hmm? O-Oh, right." he remarks, pulling out 15 bits and passing them to her.


"Mmm, suit yourself," the cultist healer says to Cerulean, before Alder makes his contribution. "Heheheh, thank you friend," she chuckles greedily. "If I see you again, the next one is free."

With that taken care of, you see Bee Holder inspecting the cages in which the captured townsfolk are being held. She pats down her pockets. "Consarn it, any of you find a key to these around here? Didn't bring my lockpicks."

Nearby, in the camp, you see Chiu trying to poke through some of the tents to see if there's anything good. There are four main tents, each with various bags and crates lying around inside.


"Keys?Chance are they might one on the ones we sent over the cliff. But don't worry, I got this."
Cloud says, glancing at the cages. He rubs his hooves together for luck, then with eyes glowing he attempts to grow the cages so the spaces will be big enough for the prisoners to walk right out.
>Wax/Wane [Cages] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Cerulean goes up to one of the cages, eyes it a bit, thenshrugs as she just tries to brute force the lock with her teeth/strength.

>'Great weapon attack'


Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


Cloud's spell fails to have all that much effect on the cages, so Cerulean opts for a simpler approach and just rips the lock straight off of one of the cages (out of the three that were there).

The beepony prisoners rush out; some are clearly elated and run up to thank the party, but a few others, notably the mares and fillies, seem a bit paralyzed at their newfound freedom, buzzing and gesticulating in their beepony language with obvious worry.

"Seems they ain't got a home to go back to no more," Bee Holder grumbles. "The cowardly Queens already had their soldiers destroy the town these folks were living in prior to the war."


Seeing her simple idea work, Cerulean opts to go down the line on the remaining cages.
"Don't worry, I'll have you out in no time!"

>Cleave 2 locks


Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


Cloud groans as he fails to grow the cages, mentally blaming the sting for putting him off his game.
"Kidnap the whole town and then smash it up? Jeez, seems like overkill."
Cloud thinks a moment.
"Was that place we passed by earlier kinda still holding together somewhat? They could wait it out there for the time being."
Cloud suggests.

Cloud glances over as Chiu rummages through the tents. He sneaks over, giving her a poke in the side.
"When'd you sneak up here?"


You break open the remaining two cages, as easily as you broke the first one. These prisoners likewise seem to be facing the same dilemma as those in the first, and worry spreads among them like an infection. Some arguments clearly break out among the released prisoners, with some gesturing for the wilderness, while others seem like they want to stay put, even remaining in the cages despite them being opened.

"Hmm, suppose it could be," Bee Holder says, looking up along the coastline. "The town's already been destroyed, so there'd be no impetus for the soldiers to make a second sweep, but these folks don't look like they can defend themselves much."

"I saw that the soldiers' possessions were about to lose their owners, so I followed by natural instinct," Chiu explains, rummaging through the stuff. "Take your pick 'cause I don't feel like sharing!"


"We could ensure no signs of infection are left, and help them hole up there for now." Alder mentions, as he gets to work on a couple of the crates.
>Lockpick (Master Thief) [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


"We raided an old tax office that was mostly sturdy still, and we disarmed all the traps too so it should be all safe. That could be good if they want shelter."

"Good instincts, I see I've rubbed off on you with letting us do all the work."
He jokes, looking to the tents.
"Likewise, better pick well."
He says before deciding on tent number 3 to loot!



Roll #1 7 = 7


In one of the chests, you find a flintlock pistol, and three boxes of bullets. One box has a drawing of a flame on the top, the second has a drawing of an icicle on the top, and the third has a drawing of a lightning bolt on top. There's also some supplies for cleaning and maintaining guns in the chest.

There are three other locked chests in the campsite.


Cerulean looks at them with some worry, then tries to mimic how they're doing gestures and things to help them calm down/cheer up. She didn't really know what she was doing or possibly saying, but she sorta hoped the message would come across fairly clearly.


You go through the third tent, finding a locked chest and a few bags. The bags contain a variety of different outfits, mostly military dress uniforms, as well as dresses. There's a set of dyes in orange, gold and gray, as well as a sewing kit and several spools of thread, and some bolts of various clothing materials for patching holes.


"Ooh… I believe I have found some enchanted bullets, and a pistol from which to fire them." Alder says, flicking his tail as he makes for a couple other chests to begin opening them.

Roll #1 4 = 4


Cerulean's gestures seem to confuse the beeponies, but her attempts nonetheless draw their focus from their arguments, and undoubtedly, her performance in battle earlier established her as a trustworthy figure.
"Send 'em to the town then?" Bee Holder asks. "Alright, I'll give it a shot."

While Cerulean's got their attention, Bee Holder starts buzzing and gesturing in the beepony language, gesturing in the direction of the village. After a while and a brief dialogue, the villagers seem to agree, and many of them make a uniform gesture of tracing a smile in the air.

"That one means 'thank you,'" Bee Holder explains.

The prisoners, now freed, go to collect the guns that the soldiers had.


"Wow. And here I thought soldiers would have something good."
Cloud comments as she finds only clothing. He sets his eyes on the locked chest, sitting down and focusing his eyes to try and shrink the lock to be easily breakable.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink Lock] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


You shrink the lock on the chest to make it more manageable.

After picking the lock on the second chest, you find a well-built composite bow, with some strange runes etched into the side with a bold silver finish. There is a quiver next to it, stocked full of arrows. Notably, the quiver also has two silver runes etched into it, one on either side: a beautiful circle of flowers, carved with intricate detail, broken by a spearhead coming through the top.

There's also a maintenance kit for the bow included with it, including various brushes, tubes of wax and lubricant, and some soft rags.


"Oh, and a rather nice-looking bow, as well. I am afraid I do not know what these runes meanm though- are they some sort of language one of you might speak?" he asks, turning to the others


Cerulean looked glad she was able to seemingly learn their language so quickly, even if she was just winging it. But learning some of the actual language made her feel better.
"Ooooh, okay. Well good to know we did a good thing, then."

"So…what exactly were you all saying? I actually didn't know anything being said."


"Alright, let's see what we got."
Cloud says as he pries off the little lock to open his mystery chest.


"I explained to them the situation about that town, that it had already been razed, and then raided by us. It's not the same town that they were from; theirs was further inland to the southwest, and was already more or less picked clean by the bee soldiers who now occupy it.

"They were greatly afraid for the lack of defenses and material goods that they had, so I pledged a little of our own to help them defend themselves. They only have to hold out for a few days before the Gates of Justice can get here, and once we beat the Queens, the mafia families and the Gates of Justice will take over. So, I'm giving them some of our water, food and guns. Don't worry, you folks keep doing your thing. This is coming out of my own stashes. This island was once my home, after all."


None of the beeponies seem to recognize the runes when you show it to them, suggesting that it's of a somewhat esoteric or even occultic nature and that you may need to find someone more learned, or crack open a book, to find out some more.


When you open up the chest, there is a dagger with some silver runes etched into the sides of the handle, as well as two runes on the sheath, one on each side. It's the same runes as those on the quiver Alder found, described here: >>704838

In addition, there appears to be a few books in the chest. There's a jokebook, a collection of short fairy tales from various islands, and finally, a guidebook for tourists: THE COMPLETE AND UTTER MORON'S WALKTHROUGH ON HOW TO SPEAK ANY LANGUAGE IN THE RIBCAGE, GUARANTEED


Cerulean smiles and nods.
"Well that's good to know. Helping them, I mean. And don't worry, we'll help you take back your hunting grounds…I mean home. Sorry."


She smiles and gives you a hug. "You're a dependable pony, Cerulean. Still, this place ain't my home. My home is the open sea, and my boat, and my crew. That means you too, so try not to get harpooned and grilled, would you?"


"Now this is what I was expecting. Pretty nice too."
Cloud says as he holds the dagger and looking it over.

He flips through the books, good finds to help pass the time for when they set sail again. When he gets to the guidebook, he looks from it, to the runes. He picks up the book and looks through it to see if he can find any translation for these runes.


She hugs back and pats Bee's back.
"Heh, I'd be more worried about the other guys if I were you. If all they have are dinky, little harpoons, I think they'll be the ones getting grilled. Unless they taste bad, in which case, I wouldn't grill them."


Alder packs away the bow and arrows, making note of the unusual designs for research later. He'll look for any other unopened chests, and pick at the lock.
>Lmao at me if this is unnecessary [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


You can't seem to find any direct translation for the runes; however, you come across an interesting tidbit in a footnote to one of the sections on 'Esoteric Languages':

"While the primary purpose of language is to inform and communicate, there is the dual purpose of obscuring information from those deemed outsiders. Secret societies, occultic orders and reclusive peoples will use written and verbal communication full of hidden meanings and coded messages, in order to speak with their allies while also keeping the public none the wiser. Translating such languages may be a lost cause, as if they become public knowledge, these secretive groups wil simply invent a new one in order to keep us in the dark."

The final locked chest contains a bag with various samples of rather large monsters' teeth, carefully preserved in a researcher's bag, full of subdivisions for keeping specimens separate and secure. You find some notes raving about the samples, which excitedly speculate that these samples have never been found on Kaco Island or any of the islands it has historically made contact with, suggesting the discovery of certain 'roaming' monster species, which could lead in turn to the discovery of new islands if given to an Accompass, as well as great fortune from their capture and sale.

She laughs. "Well, with all this taken care of, let's get back to the ship once you're done poking around in the tents for good stuff. I'm going to head back and unload those supplies for the townsfolk."

You see that the locked chests in the tents are already picked clean by your allies, leaving only a plethora of bags which haven't been looted.


"Alrighty then! We'll be back before the tides change," she says reassuringly, then looks out to the others.
"Wow, you guys work pretty fast, huh," she remarks and goes about opening the bags scattered around the place, using her teeth to tear a small hole and rip it open if any of them give her trouble.


"Might be something the guards know about then. Maybe it could buy me a moment if we come across more."

Cloud packs away the dagger and all the books, and picks up all the clothing bags and supplies easily while he's still large. He steps out of the tent and sees what the others are up to, and checks on Chiu to see her gains.


"Oh! These are some fascinating teeth! All of you, once this business is over we could sail and try to discover some new islands!" he chirps, packing away the teeth and notes before returning to the others.


In one of the bags, you find a variety of tools for carpentry, like saws, hammers, nails, measuring rods, balancers, and the like - everything one might need for touching up a ship, in fact.

In another, you find a variety of cooking utensils - freshly made ones, unlike the somewhat crude and weathered ones that the Beesting still uses.

Finally, you find a very nice throw rug in the last one, which might look lovely in one of the cabins.

Chiu seems to have found a variety of seeds and pots for plants, as well as a couple bags of soil, carried by her shadows.

"I would suggest we find one without bees, after what we've been through, but no bees means no flowers," Chiu says. "But seriously, small bees from now on please."

With all that done, you meet up once again, having gained quite a bit of stuff from your searching.


"I found a few dresses if you wanna look through for anything that fits later."
Cloud offers Chiu as they meet back up.

"We need to start checking places out more often. We're just racking in the loot."
Cloud comments as everyone rejoins.


Cerulean tilts her head at some of the things, not entirely knowing what they are or how to use them, but she takes them along nonetheless.

"Excitement, danger, treasures! This is exactly what I was hoping for when I signed up," she remarks happily to everyone.


"This has all been a very nice break, actually! I have thoroughly enjoyed it, save for a part or two."


"So what'd you all snag up? I found clothes and some books."


"A flintlock with enchanted bullets, a bizarrely-carved bow and arrows, and a bunch of interesting teeth and notes!"


"I got a whole bunch of tools, and this neat little rug."


"I dunno, I think I'm starting to like these pirate rags at long last," Chiu says. "Though I want something pretty for special occasions – and something sharp for you too."


"Wow, we really made out. I wonder what those soldiers were doing with all this stuff."

"Gotta agree with you there. I can't really see you without the pirate duds now."
Cloud comments.
"If you think I'll look good in soldier garb, I'll see what fits."


With all of this done, the cultists slink off. You carry your earnings back to the ship, and once aboard, Bee Holder explains the situation to the Beesting's crew. The ship then helps load the townsfolk onto the deck, and sails back north along the coast to the abandoned town.

Once there, the townsfolk disembark, thanking you once again. As promised, Bee Holder rolls out some of her personal stash of food, water and weapons so they can keep themselves supplied until later.

As that starts to get taken care of, and the townsfolk begin to hole up in the stable houses, you see a couple members of the Secret Assassins emerge on the northern road, entering the town.


Alder offers a bit of a wave to the survivors, happy to have helped out.

"I suppose we all found good stuff! The most I could think of would be they have been doing some looting of their own I suppose? It would explain the rather varied nature of what we have found."


Cloud, back to normal size, sets his gatherings in his cabin for storage. Once they sail up and bring the townsfolk to their new homes, Cloud watches from the ship.
"This feels pretty nice, helping them all out."

"Makes sense. They had just about everything you could think of in there."


"I dunno. After all we've been through, I'm not sure if I can see you two in anything fancy. Like, I'd wonder if somepony was trying to do a bad impersonation of you two or something if you walked up to me all fancy and stuff."

"True. Plus, I may not know what a lot of these tools do, but at least they don't have them anymore."

With not having much to do with said tools, she hands them to the crew on the Beesting, pretty sure some of them would be able to figure out how these work.

Cerulean smiles and watches over everything going on with the survivors, making sure nothing tries to do any funny business.


"I am sure we can figure out what the most of them do, given time."

"Mhmm. I do not see a reason why they would not."


Cane Shuga smiles as Cerulean hands him the tools. "Ah, nice nice! This will be handy for inside the ship's rooms. The tools we have now are mostly suited for working on the outside of the ship - big picture stuff like keeping the mast and the hull and rudder repaired. But with this we'll finally get to do some work on the cabins and stuff, do a little decorating. Most of the crew has been complaining about their rooms being too small to hold all the stuff we've been picking up. So, if you want to decorate your room or make changes to it, just let me know."


"Yea see, that's what I mean. Soldier stuff just isn't my look."

Cloud turns as Cane offers to do some renovating to the rooms.
"Yes I would like to have my room made bigger."


"Changing my room around might be nice, so if I do so I will get ahold of you. Out of curiosity, do you happen to know much of languages or runes? I found a peculiar bow…"


"Right. I'll get a floor plan drafted up so we can see how much room we'll have to work with, then you can get to work."

He glances at the bow and scratches his head. "You know, I think I may have seen something like that once, but I've been to a lot of islands in my time. Let me go through some of my mementos from past expeditions, I'll get back to you."

The guys from the Secret Assassins come aboard the Beesting, showing off their caller conches. "Hello! You lot got some of these as well I assume?"









Last time on PQ…

Cloud, Cerulean and Alder finished their fight with the soldiers who had imprisoned a group of townspeople. With the soldiers defeated, the cultists gave up on prostelytizing to the townspeople, and let them go. The party escorted the townspeople back to the abandoned town which they had just looted, and Bee Holder decided to give them supplies to hold them over until Queen Toko was defeated, and the Gates of Justice could take over and provide for the people.

Thessaly and Cutlass finished torturing their captive wasp captain, and discussed their plans for the attack against Queen Toko.




File: 1543288865132.jpg (353.46 KB, 1000x1000, Cerulean Suplexes A Boulde….jpg)


You shut up


"Right. I'll get a floor plan drafted up so we can see how much room we'll have to work with, then you can get to work."

He glances at the bow and scratches his head. "You know, I think I may have seen something like that once, but I've been to a lot of islands in my time. Let me go through some of my mementos from past expeditions, I'll get back to you."

The guys from the Secret Assassins come aboard the Beesting, showing off their caller conches. "Hello! You lot got some of these as well I assume?"

Sparkler comes back with a shudder, and approaches the both of you. "Well, that answered quite a few questions and raised many more. In any case, do you have orders for me? Anything else we should get done before the circus tonight?"


"Thank you. I have no clue if it is a good sign or a bad one, but it cannot be too bad, right?" he asks, offering a bit of a shrug.

He nods to the Secret Assassins and waves his Caller Conch, before chirping eagerly.


"Well, we got our own," one of the Secret Assassins members says. "Magoja brought them to us. I gotta say, that guy is a bit of a creep with how often he pops up… but in any case, we're going to go around and get caller conch codes from the Beesting's crew so you can contact Cutlass and the others at any time."

"This is going to take a while, so sit tight," another member says. "Don't mind us."


She folds her arms defensively. "It is not my place to be giving orders on this ship," she says dismissively. "We have a leader, after all." She looks to Cutlass for further instructions.



"I only have one question. Any update on the status of…" Cutlass looks around to make sure no Beestings are listening. "That book?" she whispers.


"Sweet. Let me know when you're done."

"Yea, we all grabbed one a little bit ago."
Cloud says, showing off his Caller Conch.


"Oh, that?" Sparkler asks. "Yeah, that turned out to be the Aura Ability of Perfect Pair, one of the Crimson King's minions and the head clown at that cirsus. This is according to the thieves who joined the Beestings. What were their names again…? Oh, Paraiba, Zerk and Squatz.

"As it turns out, there are two books and two bookmarks, and it's meant to be used in tandem with another person. One person has the master bookmark and book, and can use the bookmark to teleport the other person to any location that they put the bookmark on. The other person can teleport themselves with their own bookmark, but they can't teleport the person holding the master book and bookmark."


"Oh, but… Alder gave back the book that the Beestings had. There's a chance to steal it at the circus tonight, but according to the description of the ability that the thieves gave us, I doubt we'd be able to keep it."


"Yup! We just got them a few moments ago!"



"Hmm," Cutlass sounds disappointed. "Forget it. Not worth the potential security problems."


"Great, we'll get back to you once we've gotten your crew's caller conch codes," he says.






"Oh yeah, how is Cutlass and Thessy holding up? I haven't seen them for awhile now."


"Oh, they've been hanging around Aristar, having a grand old time killing bee soldiers, capturing captains, torturing them and wringing out information on our enemies from them. You know, the usual."

"Yeah, that's a pretty important point," one of them says. "They found out Queen Toko's power. I'll let you hear it straight from them; we're really going to need a strategy to take her out."

After a little while, the scouts from the Secret Assassins finish informing everyone in the Beesting's crew about the caller conch codes. In short, the crews of the Beesting and the Secret Assassins can contact one another via the conches remotely.

>Now's the time to contact one another and discuss the plans for the circus tonight. Once you're ready, we can timeskip to just before the show tonight, or if you have other things you want to get done, tell me


"You found out her power? I thought that whole Hunting Ground thing was the queen's power."



Cutlass says their code into the Conch so that everyone can communicate with each other.

"Is everyone there?" she asks impatiently.


She joins the conversation with her own Conch, although she stays silent for now, allowing the captain to take the lead.


"No, it turns out that the Hunting Ground is a joint power that belongs to Queens Hurscurs and Qaromarrow. Queen Toko's power has to do with the white parasites; she can control them, and she's probably the reason Arroz's corpse jumped up and attacked you at his funeral."


There is a loud voice of excitement going through.
"Cutlass! Hi! I'd ask how you're doing, but one of these Secret guys already told me! Is Thessy there? I don't hear her."


"Oh great, so they all got different stuff."

Cloud picks up his Conch as Cutlass' voice comes out.
"Yea I'm here. So what's going on?"



"Toko's power is even worse than that. Her Aura allows her to control any pathogen that has infected her body. That includes any pathogen that originated from the ones in her body. In other words, she can make people sick with anything given the time. And the worst version of that sickness. The parasites count as a pathogen. And, since they can control their hosts, she can use them to control anyone infected by it."

"Luckily, it seems this power of hers is limited to only 50 feet or so. The rest of the time, any pathogen she infects people with can't do more than it normally would have."


She seethes a little at being given a nickname, but lets it slide. "I'm here, yes. We have a plan of attack for tonight. I wil let the captain explain. I believe we are on the same page."


"Yes! I think so, at least!"

"Hrm… that is troubling. I think I could concoct a mixture to deal with it, but I do not know if I could do so often enough, or do so well enough to counteract a particularly potent strain."



Correction: 50 meters



"We have the remedy for the parasite already. Do you think you can make something for other common diseases?"


As the conversation begins, other members of the Beesting and the Secret Assassins start to gather around your groups in order to listen in on the conversation, but remain silent in the interest of not cluttering up the line. Even Sir Pent leans in toward the conch.

Make Believe looks at his conch rather sadly. Suppose I don't have a whole lot of use for my conch… he bemoans with telepathy.


"That's…that's terrible," Cerulean begins, "that's 50 feet too far away for me to beat her up!"


"Given the time and materials, yes. I might need a better setup than what I have currently, but… I have made off with a tidy sum recently. Perhaps I could use some to buy a better, larger kit to place down in my room."


"Any pathogen? What if she's got the common cold and other basic stuff? Are we just screwed if we try to get close?"


"Well, it would depend.It may not kill you outright- just weaken you or pain you to the point you might wish you were. If I stay on top of my work though, and we find ways to limit our exposure, we could handle it. After all, as long as it does not kill you, I can cure you back, yes?"



"Yes and no," Cutlass continues.


"We don't need enough to cure everyone. We just need enough to cure HER. Her power requires that she have the pathogen infecting herself. Obviously, since she can control it, it does nothing to her. But, if she isn't infected then she can't control it in other people either."

"Currently, Thessaly is planning to sneak her way to Toko and cure her of the parasite. If you can come up with some other common cures, then those would be helpful too."

"That's one thing we need from your group before the show starts. The other thing we need is confirmation on where exactly Queen Toko will be during the show. The current assumption is that she'll be in the Crimson King's galleon. That's fine. We plan to steal it to cause some chaos anyway. If she's there, we can cure her, then kick her out. But, we need to know if that's the case."


"Oh, even better! And, If she re-infects herself, I could cure it mid-fight as well. Though, it would be best if Thessaly could do it prior, just to make things easier. I'll fix up what I can though, yes."


"I'm not worried about getting infected, I'm worried of what if we go to fight but we got something we don't know we had and she turns it against us."

"Oh we just gotta cure her? That's easy then, I've already suggested Alder use balloons for some of his tonics to throw in fights so this'll be a snap."
Cloud pauses.
"So you just want us to check that ship somehow then."



"Maybe someone in the show's staff will know something about seating arrangements. Or try to get something out of their guard somehow."


"Oh! I could try and find out when we go back! They're gonna have me doing tricks with sharks in the show."



"Thank you, Cerulean."


"That is the plan," she chimes in. "First we scout the circus and the Crimson King's ship before tonight. Then, we kidnap one of Toko's servitors and have one of us take her place with the help of Droplet's shadowmancy. Then, we poison her food with the antidote to neutralize her skill, and then the attack begins. If we need to escape, we should have more of Droplet's disguises on hand to be able to go unnoticed in the ensuing bedlam."


"Both of us are, actually! Since we will be preforming for them, we may be able to figure out where they are seated and all."

"Do you already have the antidote, Miss Thessaly? Or do we need to work on one?"



"Oh yes, that too. We need someone specific for Thessaly to disguise as. Someone allowed near Toko."


"If I may interject – I love making disguises, I take quite a bit of pride in them," Droplet adds. "And since this is a circus we'll be at, we'll have a grand opportunity to escape in the midst of the chaos that makes a circus a circus. So, the more outlandish the disguise, the better. Give me the wackiest request you can think of."

"You're a bit of a freak, you know that?" Paraiba adds.

"He takes pride in this fact as well," Sparkler says.

"Shh! I'm listening to the plan!" Zerk says.

"Oh yes, that reminds me, what of us?" Chiu asks. "Are there specific roles you want us to have?"


"If you do not have any already, we found some of the herb that should cure this parasite."


"Oh good so the scouting is already covered then. Anything else that's gotta be done then?"



"For my crew, Ossie will, of course, remain with me. I intend to have our own ship provide us cover when we get the galleon moving. I need Plague and Godot to remain on the ship. You'll be in charge there. Miss Sunshine, Shnitzel, and Sparkler will come with along with enough crew to sail the galleon. Droplet, you should go with Thessaly in case a change in disguise is needed."


"That is just what we will need," she says. "Perhaps ground into a powder to make it less noticeable, but the herb alone should render her powerless."

"Unfortunately, we can do naught but scout for now. We know nothing of her personal entourage. …I recall her having a company of butlers at Arroz's funeral. One of them was in charge of the parasites, and infected Cloud here. Perhaps if we could find him and spirit him away, he would be willing to talk. Sparkler's methods are certainly effective…"

She blinks and arches an eyebrow. "I believe something more subtle would be less conspicuous. I do not do 'wacky'."



"Cloud, see if you can find these servants. You WERE dumb enough to let them infect you. You should recognize them. See if you can get him alone and incapacitate him until we get there."


"Whoa hey, how was I supposed to know they have parasites in them? Also how am I gonna get close to these servants to take them out. Won't they be up and close with that queen?"


"If you absolutely must live life so drab, then I suppose I will oblige," Droplet retorts, his voice dripping with drama like a ham.

Sparkler shudders again as you bring up her power.

"Roger," all three assassins say.

"Cutlass, If we find evidence that Colobok is on the Crimson King's ship, do we have permission to search for him in the middle of the assault?" Paraiba asks.


"As for the crew of the Beesting, I see two scenarios," Bee Holder says. "The Bee Queens are the biggest threat in this situation, and since Droplet and Thessaly will be taking on Toko with the trump card against her ability, we should occupy ourselves with Queens Hurscurs and Qaromarrow.

"The stingers from their bee soldiers have gotten all of us in the past couple days, so if they activate their Hunting Ground ability, all of us will be teleported to the Hunting Ground, and I don't like the thought of fighting within the enemy's territory. If those Queens are on the Crimson King's ship at the time of the attack, we shall simply board the ship and strike at the two of them before they can activate their power. If they are at the circus, we shall have to take them out in the midst of the chaos before they can understand what's happening. Any objections from the peanut gallery?"

"How brutish and direct," Squatz comments. "Just what I love."



"Yes," Cutlass answers Paraiba.

"If you guys can stop the Hunting Grounds from happening, that would be perfect. Otherwise, the whole plan will fail."


"Anyway of preventing that, though? Because all I think of is hitting them hard enough that they get knocked out or something before they have the chance."



"That's the best idea I've heard so far," Cutlass says with a hint of annoyance.


"Good. I'm afraid that if they catch on to what we're doing too soon, they'll use him as a hostage to try and stop us or at least throw off the assassins," Paraiba explains.

Ossie and Sparkler quietly seethe.

"A good point," Droplet quietly adds, though he tenses at the mention of Colobok. "If I saw him right now, I'd probably leave you all behind just to save him."

"In the event that it does happen, we should all immediately try to contact one another via Conch, assuming we'll have them on us. Our number one priority after that will be to find out how to break through their ability and get back to the real world so that we can fight on more even terms."

"Without knowing what they need to activate it, it's hard to say," Bee Holder says. "So far, I've heard it described like it's like a game, so maybe they need to hit a certain number of people with the stingers before they can 'begin.' That may explain why they haven't used it on us despite us all being stung and despite our numerous encounters with their forces."

Manny the Mantis, alternatively called the Herbkeeper by Thessaly, raises his claw. "Joint abilities are notoriously difficult to pull off because they require the cooperation and focus of two or more people. All of their minds have to be in synch at the time that they want to activate the power. So, separating the two Queens in some way, or distracting them in separate ways, could keep them from activating it."


"We haven't gotten hunted yet? That's a relief, I thought that's been happening this whole time."


"An expedient solution, if ever there was one," she comments. "You will hear no objections for me. Fast and direct."

"Perhaps disguising yourself as a lesser servant and luring them away with the pretext of needing to deliver a message?" she suggests. "Brute force would raise too much suspicion. You would have to get them somewhere private and replace them before suspicion is aroused."


Cerulean gives a slight groan as she looks like she's getting a headache.
"Ugh, way does it have so many parts? I hope my next aura power is making things simple cause I have a headache now…."

She perks up after Manny speaks.
"Oh! So hitting them really hard IS the way to prevent it!"


"It would appear that would be the simplest way, yes. By all means, beat them all you like."


"I guess that could work, though do we know any lesser servants that could get that close? I gotta be upfront that disguise and silent take downs aren't my strong suit."


"It doesn't seem so. Hm…"

She thinks for a good long while, then gets a brainwave. "We might not need disguises at all, come to think of it. With your shrinking powers, one of us could be sized down to be small enough to pass unseen, and slip Toko the antidote."


"Now you're talking my language. Much easier to deal with things like that than some silly disguises."


"Oh it has been, but it's just you that's being hunted," Chiu says. She flicks out a knife and gives you a creepy smile with narrow eyes, then pecks you on the cheek.

"That's the reality of aura," Manny says with a cheerful laugh. "No convoluted, bizarre power can get around a good, old-fashioned ass-whooping. That's why my power is all about getting punched and punching back."


She nods, then realizes that you wouldn't be able to see her do so. "Yes. Still, it would help to have others infiltrate as well, in case things go awry. Droplet should be able to disguise us as part of the crowd, or as performers. Though I would prefer the latter myself."


Cloud eyes the knife, until the peck.
"Sure are taking your sweet time to catch me."
He jests.

"Yea, yea. So disguises and shrinking so we can all move about easy then."


"Would dulling one's senses do the trick by chance? Maybe some sort of toxin or poison that would hinder them some?"



*"If we were on their hunting grounds, what would be happening to our real selves?"


"That's a highly effective way of doing it," Manny says. "Poison, drugs, alcohol, asphyxiation, deafening sounds – anything that breaks one's concentration can make a joint ability like theirs impossible to activate."

"I suppose I'm waiting for the right net to catch you with."

"From what I understand, our real selves will be teleported straight there; the aura stolen from us by the stingers acts like a tether which pulls the rest of you in once they begin the Hunting Game properly," Bee Holder says. "So, it's the real you in a pocket dimension made of of aura; if you're hurt, you're hurt. If you die, you die."



"Then where would we end up afterwards?"


Bee Holder gives it some thought. "That's an extremely good question. Ideally, we'd end up in the same spot as we were before we got pulled in. Otherwise, if they can control where we exit, that's very dangerous. Without knowing, we have no way of saying for sure. Hell, why don't we just ask 'em while disguised?"


"Who needs a net when you have perfectly good hooves."


"I imagine the Queens' serfs are not the kind to speak unless spoken to. Asking too many questions might arouse suspicion."



"A job for those being sneaky."


"Oh! I should absolutely be able to turn up something that can manage that."


Manny pauses, and although you can't see him, you get a sense he's looking over his shoulder for some odd reason. "You got anything… recreational too? Edibles maybe?"

Chiu snorts and paces. "Oh, you motherfucker, that's clever – I can't top that, this conversation's over, I can't one-up that."

"Fair enough, but maybe there's someone we don't yet know about who will be there, someone more on equal footing with the Queens. Acquaintances, rivals, allies of necessity, lovers, and so on. But we won't know for certain until we get down and dirty and find out who's going to be there."

"Speaking of which…" Sparkler says, pulling out her own conch. She calls up Soli, then hands the conch to Thessaly and Cutlass so that everyone can hear.

"Ah, you two," Soli says. "Good timing, I was about to have my secretary ring you up. We have information indicating that Queens Toko, Hurscurs and Qaromarrow have lately been residing in the third-floor luxury lounge of the Crimson King's leviathan-class ship. They seldom leave the ship, and have only done so for the odd public appearance in Aristar. In any case, when they are not on the third level lounge, they are often on the second level, which is a balcony with a good view of the ocean.

"We have no idea where the Queens or the Crimson King will be in the circus tent itself during the show, or whether they will be in the tent for the whole time or stay on the ship. Another issue: this circus is being put on by the Pattern Juggler, leader of the Crimson King's circus performers. The Pattern Juggler and his troupe have historically never performed the same show twice; in fact, they make the chaos and novelty a selling point of their show. The show's contents and order of performance are always determined by the performers before the show begins.

"This is a disadvantage because of how unpredictable the show's contents could be, and how it might occupy Alder and Cerulean and whether the Queens might move around during the show – whether they just get bored and go to the ship or move to another area for a better view – or even to participate in it themselves. It's best to ask the staff about this. They'll know more for sure. However, the chaotic nature of the performance is an advantage because of Alder and Cerulean. They can influence the order of performances, and thus affect where the Queens will be.

"Thus, if you keep your eyes on Toko, Hurscurs and Qaromarrow, I don't think it'll be much of a problem. In any case, the Skeps and Honeydews are more than ready to fill that whole circus with gunpowder and knives. If it really hits the fan and you find yourself on the verge of losing hope, give us a signal. We'll give you a proper finale."

Bee Holder smirks. "With all that said, we've got the groundwork of the plans set up. The only variables we can't account for now are due to a lack of information – so I say it's high time we pay this circus a visit. We'll find out where the Queens will be, where the Crimson King will be, and we'll hijack this circus for our own, unforgettable, extravaganza. Let's give them a real show."





Once they are done planning, Cutlass seeks out Schnitzel to speak with him about the plan.


Some time passes, and the crews of the Secret Assassins and the Beesting meet up in Aristar's port to finish their preparations for the night. It's currently about 1 in the afternoon.

You find Schnitzel and Plague having a discussion with Sickly Sweet and Bee Holder in the mess hall of your ship, with various foodstuffs and drinks on some tables before them.



"Hello, you too," Cutlass says as conversationally as she is able to. "I suppose you've heard about our plans by now? Any thoughts on what I have you both doing?"


"You've got nothing but confidence out of me, boss," Schnitzel says. One of his back paws is visibly shaking, as if it were having its own little earthquake. "Chasing a bunch of demons off a fuckhuge ship? I don't think anything will go wrong."

"I'm not too happy about being left with that Make Believe guy on our ship," Plague says. "After what I heard about him from the merchants, I'm questioning your decision to have him join my crew… but I'll stick to the plan so long as he doesn't put any of his aura stickers on me."



Cutlass smiles at Schnitzel. "I need you level-headed. You work well with the crew. It's going to be a big ship. If we're going to sail it anywhere, we're going to need someone to coordinate everyone. I imagine I'll probably end up being busy with something. So, I'm leaving it to you. We're sailing around to the other side of the island - where the baby island turtle is."

Then, Cutlass scoffs at Plague. "Well now I don't recall actually saying he'll be a part of MY crew," she responds. "I didn't tell him to do anything because I don't consider him a part of our crew… yet. I suppose I SHOULD find a job for him, though. Still, I'm leaving you in charge of my ship. Handle it well."

Then, Cutlass takes a step toward Plague and looks him dead in the eyes. "And, I don't think I need to remind you how bad of an idea it would be to turn tail and run with my ship, do I?"


"You're putting ME in charge of coordinating!?" Schnitzel asks in shock. "Uh… I guess there are worse choices. I did have a pretty good racket going while I was in jail, at least 'til all the Gates of Justice fell in love with that Godot guy. Oh, on that note, can you tell him to give me an aura pill? I think he 'accidentally' forgot to give me one, 'cause I never got mine."

Plague shudders. "Yeah, I think you'd be wise to keep him occupied with something, keep him busy. The guy's always fiddling with something invisible, mouthing words like he's talking to people. I don't know if he's acting or just plain crazy."

He leans back and holds up his paws in a defensive gesture. "Woah woah, where'd this come from? I'd never leave behind a member of my crew."



Cutlass smirks at Plague. "Good to hear."

Then, looking back to Schnitzel. "Unless you'd prefer to help me fight demons and bees. That can be arranged. I chose you for this because I figured you'd want the job with the least violence. The crew will listen to you. You're good at being clever and following and giving orders. You'll be fine."

"Now, speaking of hangers-on. Does anyone know where Puddin is?"


Plague laughs nervously.

"No, no no no no no," Schnitzel says, shaking his head for emphasis, which causes his ears to flop around and hit both sides of his face. "That'll be a hard pass from me on the fighting. I'll keep them all in line and name-drop you liberally if they don't comply. Ooh, can I threaten violence in your name if they don't listen?"

"That big grumpy minotaur" Sickly Sweet asks. "Oh yes, I saw him up on the deck with Etch, the smith from our ship, and Naza, that slave. The three of them seem to have occupied themselves with various strength competitions. We've collected quite a few meatheads, it seems."


"That big grumpy minotaur?"*



"Thanks," Cutlass says to Sickly Sweet. "I should probably see what THEY plan on doing."

Cutlass goes to talk to Puddin and Naza.


You come up to the deck and see Puddin and Naza currently in the midst of a hand-standing competition. Behind them, an aged, gray-haired donkey stands, watching them both intently as the two competitors wobble to keep their balance. The old donkey has many scars and burns going up his forearms, and wears a heavy gray smith's tunic.

Both Puddin' and Naza see you as you approach, but neither gets down, clearly intent on winning this competition. "Make it quick!" Puddin' sneers through gritted teeth.



"Hello, idiot," Cutlass says to Puddin as she pushes him over with telekinesis. [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


Puddin's arms start to quiver like pudding as you push against him, and his back legs wiggle as he tries to keep his balance.

He fails. "Wh-wh-wh-wh-FUCK!" he cries, and lands with a heavy thud. He lays on the deck with a heavy sigh. "Hello captain, how can I help you today?" he asks, half-muffled as he talks into the wooden deck.

Naza turns his handstand into a cartwheel and gracefully rolls to the side, then stands back up and bows to you. "I appreciate the help, captain."



"You deserve it, Naza," Cutlass says to him with a courteous smile.

"And, so does he," Cutlass says with a more condescending grin as she looks down at Puddin.

"Now, I realized I don't exactly know your strengths. So, I haven't actually given any suggestions on what you two should do for the upcoming struggle. Any thoughts? And no, being an idiot is not a strength," Cutlass quickly adds, looking to Puddin as if he was about suggest such a thing.


"I'm no good in a fight," Naza says. "I've been a slave all my life, and I'm descended from slaves all the way back as far as the ledgers go. Never had formal training from a master, nor have I been taught in the guerilla styles you pirates use. All I'm good at is doing what I'm told to do. Ain't got much direction or skill beyond that."

Puddin gets up and dusts himself off with a glare. "Let's get this straight. I'm only here because I need to kill Hurscurs and Qaromarrow before they can drag me into the Hunting Ground, and I'm not listening to any orders to the contrary. The moment I see the two of them, I'm running up and taking a swing."

He bradishes a curved dagger with many etches in the side, flourishing it with a twirl.



"And, let's get it straight that I'm only here because you are an idiot," Cutlass says angrily. "But sure, get yourself killed. Fine by me. You're the one who paid to free Naza - or own him, not sure which - so, you can do with him want you want."

Cutlass observes Puddin's dagger for a moment then smiles.

Cutlass looks to Naza. "Sound good to you? If not, we can change that up."


"Edibles? Oh… recreational drugs.I do not know, but I could try, I suppose?"


Naza looks at you with confusion. "Sound… good?" he repeats, as if the concept is foreign. His eyes are gray and his voice listless, mechanical, as though they'd never known another tone. "What are my orders? If I am ordered to live, I will live. If I am ordered to die, I will die. If I am ordered to kill, I will kill."

"You're acting like they're invincible, when they're just as squishy and vulnerable as any of us are," Puddin retorts. "An aura power doesn't mean a thing when you've got a knife in your head, especially not a power that two people have to be alive and conscious in order to activate."

Puddin turns to Naza. "You'll be a distraction. Keep us all alive, and keep the Queens' focus on you. If they so much as look at me or Cutlass, I'll gut you."

"Understood," Naza says. "I hope I will do well, captain, boss."



"Hmm," Cutlass mumbles. "Good… luck," she says genuinely to Puddin and Naza.



"Oh good," Manny says, clicking his mandibles together. "It was getting pretty boring on that tiny island without anything fun to space out with."

After the two crews meet up once again (around 1 pm) Manny skitters aboard the Beesting. He approaches you on the deck. "Oh, uh… I don't have any money on me. Mind if I pay you later?"


Puddin scoffs, and with that, the two walk off. Other members of the two ships discuss their plans, distract themselves with shanties or card and dice games, clean weapons, and so on.

The air is tense, especially among your new crew members, but the atmosphere of dread only makes the pirates dive harder into their raunchy lifestyle to relax, drinking and smoking and fighting with glee.



Cutlass looks for Make Believe.


"It does not cost me much to do, honestly. As long as you do not need it constantly." he says, trying to mix something up.
>Natural Remedy: [1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


You find Bent Scales (the dragon from the Beesting) attempting to teach Make Believe how to play 'Go Fish,' but it seems like he's having trouble with the concept.

"You have to be honest when I ask you what card you have!" Bent Scales roars, shaking her claws at him.
How am I supposed to win then…? Fighting's all about deception and misdirection, isn't it?
"This isn't a fight, it's a game!"
Same difference isn't it?


You whip up a concoction of various substances at your disposal, and create a relaxing drink with mild hallucinogenic effects, though nothing too potent or (thankfully) addictive.

Manny takes it eagerly, clacking his jaws in a strange sequence of sounds that lasts an uncomfortably long time. "That means 'thank you' in the Krikral language, country dialect," he quickly clarifies. "Is there anything I can do for you in exchange, then? I hate asking for favors without repayment."



"Think of a game as an enjoyable limitation," Cutlass interjects into the conversation. "The rules are to be followed because if they aren't, then you're not playing the same game. If you're not playing the same game, then why play at all? The limitations are there to test your mind and your skills and see if you can find a way to use them to your advantage but all the while following them."

"Of course, if you're going to teach someone the joys of playing a game, you should probably choose a better one than Go Fish. I can hardly blame him for feeling limited in such a childish game," Cutlass adds, looking to Bent Scales.


Make Believe rubs his chin, his eyes darting around in thought, as if his entire worldview has been broadened. Oh… oh…! That's… that's downright brilliant!

"Don't you disrespect a card game," Bent Scales says. "On our ship, we play a hand of whatever comes to mind before a big operation. It's bad luck if we don't. The Captain's been kicking ass for ages now, so we have to be doing something right."


"Hrm… I don't really know. What all can you do, exactly?"


"I am well versed in the songs and dances from my home, Agyl Island, and while I am not as skilled in tinkering as other members of my island, I am quite a weaver if you give me some yarn."

He thinks for a moment. "Oh dear… I suppose that's about it, sadly. Most of my life has been spent on learning Aura. Oh, that's just it! I suppose I could try some Aura Enchanting for you once I'm better versed at it!"



"I'm sure you can think of better," Cutlass responds to Bent Scales.

"Anyway," she says, turning to Make Believe. "It has come to my attention that certain individuals are intimidated by you when you are not distracted. As such, I have come here to come up with a suitable role for you when the plan goes underway. Any thoughts?"


Make Believe sighs. Yeah, that's the trouble when you test your ability's limits on other people. But then again, how else are you supposed to learn them, especially if you're a Psi-type?

He flips open his sticker box and checks them. I think I should have enough for tonight. What do you need me to do, friend?


"Aura Enchanting? I do not think I have heard of that before."


"It's when you charge an object with your Aura, imparting one of your abilities to it. This is called an 'Aura Tool'. Then, if you give the Tool to someone else, they can use your ability. Though, most Aura Tools are only good for a single use of the ability, unless you get them from an experienced Enchanter. When I'm a Master, I'd like to use this to help my students get their start with Aura."



"You know what, just come with me," Cutlass says, amused at the child.


"Oh, that is interesting. I think that would be more than enough to pay me back, if you must."


"Well, I'm not quite experienced in it enough, but once I am, I'll give you one!"

That sounds like fun! I'm ready when you are.


"Did you learn it from someone else? Or was this a talent you developed over time?" the griffon asks, cocking his head to the side.


"My own master was in the midst of teaching me the basics, but a… rather bitter disagreement caused us to split ways," Manny says with a little regret. "So, I'll have to finish the training on my own. I find it more organic this way, so it's really no bother…"

He sounds like he doesn't believe himself even for a moment.


"Ah. Well, Aura seems to be about self-discovery. So, I am sure you can find the way to it!"


Post sheets. While you wait for the start, here's a mega-recap:


Tonight, at 8 pm, the World Classic Carnival will have another performance, with special guest stars, Alder Frostclaw and Cerulean Splash! In attendance tonight are some high-profile targets.

First we have the Three Bee Queens, who are currently terrorizing Kaco Island as revenge for their forefathers being driven out over fifty years ago. There is Queen Toko, who wishes to destroy the island with white fungal parasites she can control with Aura, and her sisters, Queens Hurscurs and Qaromarrow, who can jointly use an Aura Ability called the Hunting Grounds, which allows them to drag certain people into an Aura-based pocket dimension after their victims are stung by their Bee Soldiers.

And of course, who could forget the Crimson King and his daughter, the Princess of Embers?

It was the Princess of Embers who caused the Bee Queens' ancestors to be driven out from Kaco Island. The previous rulers had pledged the island's honey production to the Princess, who wanted it for another one of her many weddings (after each of which, she is said to kill her husband). However, she took so much honey from the royals that it nearly crashed the island's economy and almost caused the natives to starve. However, the Princess is back for more. While they were on Semetyer Island, the party learned that the Princess of Embers was looking for another suitor to marry, and her alliance with the Bee Queens suggests that she's got another wedding in the works.

It is her father, the Crimson King, who is financing the Queens. The party is also after him and his gang of servants because of a curse he put on Windy Island, which split the inhabitants into two rival tribes that are doomed to kill one another unless the curse is lifted.




The party has entered an alliance with the Three Mafia Families that run Aristar, the hive of organized criminal activity on Kaco Island. The party has planned to take out the Queens and to steal the Crimson King's leviathan-class, three-story ship, which is piloted and guarded by demons.

How they will do this is up to them. However, they have much at their disposal. They have recruited many angry natives from Kaco Island who were left homeless after the Queens' pawns attacked and destroyed their villages. In total, their forces number 120 altogether, split evenly between the two ships, the Beesting and the Secret Assassins. In addition, if the attack goes wrong and the party finds themselves in trouble, Soli and Hubla, the last two remaining leaders of the Mafia Families, have pledged to come in and slaughter the lot of the Queens' forces, if they are given a signal.

Perhaps most crucially is how the World Classic Carnival will be conducted. Starting at 6 pm tonight, the performers will all gather and decide on the routines that they will do, and the order in which they will perform. Because Alder and Cerulean are signed up to be in the performance, they will have a say in how the circus is conducted. Notably, the Pattern Juggler, the leader of the circus, and Perfect Pair, the head clown, will be there. The Pattern Juggler is long overdue for his rematch against Cerulean, and Perfect Pair has come to like and trust Alder and Cerulean after they helped him deliver his two weeks' notice to the Pattern Juggler.




Finally, the party has also acquired a number of tools during their stay on Kaco Island, including weapons, armor, and more developed Aura Abilities, and they have a number of new allies who can be assigned to help them in whatever way they see fit.

The party's travels thus far have built up much experience, manifesting in each PC receiving 1 BP and 1 EP. (See https://pastebin.com/36whrC0R for a review on how to spend them).

Here are the current NPC assignments:

Schnitzel, Little Miss Sunshine, Sparkler, Ossie and Make Believe will go with Cutlass, along with a number of their mook soldiers, to attack and capture the Crimson King's ship during the performance.

Droplet will go with Thessaly, providing shadow disguises to help Thessaly slip the antidote for white fungal parasite infection into Queen Toko's food. If Queen Toko is cured of her infection, she will be unable to use her Ability to control the parasites.

Godot and Plague will guard the Secret Assassins with some mooks.

Bee Holder and the mooks of the Beesting, as well as Puddin Tame and Naza, will occupy themselves with keeping Hurscurs and Qaromarrow from activating the Hunting Grounds ability.

No NPCs are assigned to help Cloud, Alder or Cerulean, but any NPC not named above can be asked to go with them. Thus, Paraiba, Zerk, Squatz, Chiu, Kling Klang, Cane Shuga, Bent Scales, and Sickly Sweet can be assigned if you desire.




To be clear, Godot and Plague are to meet halfway with Cutlass' ship to provide cover.



File: 1544064482056.png (2.32 MB, 1323x1282, Free Shark Rides.png)




As stated earlier, the two ships met up at around 1 pm, giving the ships' crews ample time to meet, discuss and confirm their plans. As a reminder, the rehearsal and meetup for the performers will be at 6 pm; at such time, Alder and Cerulean are due at the World Classic Carnival's backstage area to meet up with the other performers and, per the carnival's traditions, decide on when they will perform in the show's lineup and what they will do.

Is there anything else you want to get done during the period between 1 pm and 6 pm? If not, we can timeskip to 6 pm.


File: 1544065456451.png (562.68 KB, 1950x1400, Alder Mass.png)


Fixed H/W


>spending 1 BP on Shackles: +1 to rolls with it
>ready for timeskip


With all that taken care of, you spend the last hours between the rendezvous and the circus preparing yourselves, getting some much-needed rest, eating, preparing your abilities and weapons, and so on. When the time finally arrives, you head for the carnival, located in the southeastern section of Aristar, deep in Dextrose territory. Though you get many cold looks from the local Dextrose mobsters on your way to the carnival, they do nothing to stop you on your way there.

The carnival is located near the northeastern coast, where Aristar meets the sea. A large green fence marks off a large section of land, and you see that it's full of concession stands, attractions, and even rides, all of which you might find at an amusement park. Your destination, the circus tent, is located at the far end. Some rather… energetic music is being played over an intercom somewhere.


The circus tent is massive, at least three stories' high, a deep red, with gold stripes flowing down its sides. Just beyond it, out in the open sea, you see the Crimson King's massive ship, floating along, covered in shadows from the dark of the evening. As you approach, you see that the circus tent has an entrance with several lines leading up to a ticket booth. On the left, you see a special, empty line. It's marked "VIP Entrance." In front of the VIP Entrance is a lanky, scrawny teenage beepony in an employee's uniform. He looks like a strong breeze could blow him away, never to be seen again.



"Alright, everybody," Cutlass says to her group as they get close. "Stay out of sight until it's time to take the ship."

She then turns to observe the ship off the coast. "Why is it all the way out there?" she asks with concern. "Is it going to come to shore?"

She looks around to see how anyone could be getting on or off the ship right now. [1d10] Master Thief?

Roll #1 7 = 7


"This place is the circus? Looks almost like Las Pegasus."
Cloud comments as they near the overly ornate fair.
"So what's the plan from here?"


Alder, now set and ready to go, has begun getting dressed and ready for the circus. He and Cerulean are supposed to do one really, really impressive show, so he's ready to try his best! He'll head back in through the employee entrance, if he can.


"Okay, looks like this is where Alder and I head in. Have a fun time, everyone, and try to see our shows if you can." She gives Cutlass, Thessaly, and Cloud a big smile and wave before heading through the employee entrance.



"You could always help the group that will be fighting Hurscurs and Qarromarrow. I'm sure they could use the help. And besides, you've been stun too. You'll need to be saved like the rest of us."


She visibly gags at the gaudiness of it all, but tries to keep it together. She rubs her chin as she surveys the situation.

"We will need a way past the VIP entrance, it seems. Perhaps you could resize us to sneak past and help Droplet and I in poisoning the Queen. Or, do as Cutlass suggests and join the others in fighting the other two. The choice is yours."


File: 1544068687736.png (59.34 KB, 1692x1156, Circus Tent Diagram.png)

You see that the base of the Crimson King's ship has several circular port-like openings on it, each meeting the water. A few normal-sized ships flow into and out of these ports, and it seems that these openings are the primary means for any vessel to traverse between the island and the giant, leviathan-class ship.
"They're probably taking a transport vessel from the giant ship to here," Ossie whispers, poking her snout out of the shadow of your hat. "And that's how we'll get the Secret Assassins in there."

The skinny teenage employee at the entrance looks at you, and then checks a list on a clipboard he has. "Hello, sir, ma'am, please right this way, thank you," the lone guide says, his voice managing to crack on almost every other syllable. He hands you both a map of the circus. "You'll be expected in the actor lounge in five."

After getting past him, you head for the lounge, which is where you were taken by Perfect Pair when you first volunteered for the show. Along the way, you see dozens of crew members running two and fro, shouting at one another in person and over Caller Conches as they frantically wheel props, costumes and stage equipment to various destinations.

The actor lounge, in contrast, is tense, but not as frantic as the scene out there. Ten performers – clowns, acrobats, singers, dancers and the like – are present, relaxing on couches and chairs, and the little shark family that Cerulean met earlier is chilling in an aquarium nearby. The Pattern Juggler is in the center of the lounge, pacing to and fro and checking over some sheet music. But, he looks up, and sees the two of you, and he gives you a wide, slim grin. "Oh, it's been too long, you two."

Droplet slips you both two small shadow orbs, each about the size of a baseball. "Here. These are some generic employee disguises I whipped up in case we aren't able to get ahold of Toko's butlers. We should try to figure out where the Queens will bee, too." He pauses, then laughs to himself. "Oh I should write that one down."


"I think I'll go with the sneaking party. Seems a bit better than going after two queens."

Cloud looks at the shadow orb.
"So what do I do with this?"


"Just push it up against your chest, and it will automatically envelop your body. It'll feel a bit like you're walking with heavy clothes all over your body. Oh, and I feel this should be obvious, but try not to put it on when people can see you. Sort of defeats the point of a disguise, doesn't it?"



"We need to find where those transport ships are going," Cutlass thinks out loud.

"Sparkler and Make Believe with me. Everyone else, stay out of sight. Miss Sunshine, you're in charge until I get back."

Cutlass follows the shoreline discreetly to find where the ships are going.

[1d10] if necessary

Roll #1 3 = 3


She examines the shadow orbs curiously. "Ah. My thanks. These will surely come in useful."

She nods stiffly. "Whenever you are ready, then." She waits patiently for Cloud to shrink the trio down to a sneakier size.


"A-Ah. Hello." the griffon says, a tad more uncomfortable than before. He tries to summon up the most of his confidence, and says "Y-You are performing too, yes? What will you be doing?"


"Alright, I'll just hold onto that then."
Cloud says, putting away the shadow for later.

"Good, let's get through this quick."
Cloud says, eyes glowing as he attempts to shrink down Thessaly, Droplet, and himself to perfect sneak size.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7


Cerulean waves to the shark family, happy to see them again.
"Hey again! And yeah, there were things we wanted to do before the big show. Everything set and ready to go?"


You head around the circus tent, going past it a little distance to a downward-leading slope with brick steps. After heading past a few buildings, you come to a stone outcropping overlooking the water. At the water's edge, you see a small port, where the ships are docking. Various aristocratic-looking beeponies get off, accompanied by a demon entourage, comprised of squat, ugly monsters with heads and bodies reminiscent of fusions between hogs and roaches. Among the aristocrats, you see Queen Toko, and her two sisters: middle-aged looking beeponies in royal black and gold finery. None of them have seen you yet, but they are heading toward a stone staircase that, after a while, leads past to the stone that you stand on.

Sparkler and Make Believe crouch on the rock, silently waiting for orders.

All the sharks wave back, so happy to see you yet again.

You find a place to hide in a nearby alleyway, and shrink yourselves down to the size of spiders, completely unnoticeable in this crowded area.

"I'll be leading the orchestra tonight, as the maestro was called away unexpectedly on some family business. Thus, I'll be performing the opening ceremony, intermission, and grand finale, as well as in any other performance that calls for a musical accompaniament!"

"Yes, we're all ready to go, we were just going over the logistics of the show's performance order. Between all of us, we have enough for fourteen performances, which includes the Opening Ceremony and Grand Finale, which will feature all of us. Right now, we've got things set up in the following order."

He gestures to a whiteboard behind him, and you see the show's performances lined up.

1. Opening Ceremony (Pattern Juggler)
2. Highwire Stunts (Turnip)
3. Fire-taming (Little Smokey)
4. Sword swallowing (Avalon)
5. Mock Monster Battle (Tag and Bag)
6. Magic Tricks (Hermes the Magnificent)
7. Fireworks (Gunpowder)


8. Water Acrobatics (Mr. and Mrs. Gills and their sons)
9. Escape Artistry (Veda from the East)
10. Sharpshooting (Isaachar)
11. Clown Madness (Perfect Pair)
12. Open Spot (Alder/Cerulean)
13. Open Spot (Alder/Cerulean)
14. Grand Finale (Everyone!!!)

"Of course, you don't have to go last if you don't want to. You can perform whenever you'd like. You are our special guests, after all. What will you be doing?"



"Wait until the passengers have passed and we'll take the ship," Cutlass whispers.

She moves out of sight and waits.



Roll #1 2 = 2


"I am rather fond of dance, so I was planning on doing that. I would not be sure how to spice it up though."




Roll #1 3 = 3


"We have a wide collection of props, costumes and assistants, all of which are open to your use," the Pattern Juggler explains. "Or, if you'd like, you can even pair up with another performer and make it a joint routine. And if you'd like some music to go along with it, I am happy to assist you."


"This should be small enough. So where to first? Are we going straight for the Queen or are we gonna scout all her helpers first?"


"Hmm, I don't mind going last if everyone else already settled when they wanna go. I mean, kinda our fault for being a bit late I guess." She gives a small little chuckle.
"Though for what I'd do? Hmm…oh! I can lift things up and put them down! Like objects, other performers, some…other heavy things."


"Curious," she muses, adjusting herself to her new size. "Quite curious. This will do very nicely. Thank you, Cloud." She opts to hang back and wait for the VIPs to start entering before going in herself. Once they do, she will start assessing the crowd, trying to spot the Queen and/or one of her servants she may recognize from Arroz's funeral.

"Helpers first. We should see about incapacitating at least one of her entourage, so we may replace them. The more accurate the disguise, the more of a chance we will have of coming close enough to Toko to poison her."


[1d10] Perception if you need it

Roll #1 10 = 10


Her ears and tail perk up at a sudden realization.
"Oh wait! I nearly forgot! I remember the sharks saying something about a race! Oh, that sounds like that'd be a lot of fun, too." She gets an indecisive look on her face


As the aristocrats start passing by you, you find an alcove in the rock to hide behind. The aristocrats don't seem to notice you, laughing and already starting on drinking, evidenced by the champagne glasses they carry up the steps with the occasional inebriated stumble. One of the guards, however, notices you, but doesn't seem to recognize you. "Go on, git! Scram, ya little bugger!" the imp growls at you, shooing you away.

From the left and behind the circus, you see a crowd of aristocrats coming up from some stone steps that lead down to the shore. Among them, you recognize Queen Toko from the funeral, accompanied by three butlers and a small detachment of guards. Two other regal-looking middle-aged beeponies come up the steps. One of them is white and the other gold in color, while Toko is red. From behind them, two more significant figures walk up: The first is a tall griffon-like figure, bipedal, and two heads taller than any pony, wearing a trim black tuxedo, with his feathters slicked back. His feathers are white and drab, and his eyes are sunken. Next to him is a young-looking griffon, female, wearing a form-fitting red dress. A column of fire continually surrounds her, dancing yet burning nothing.

The VIPs get in line as the skinny teenage beepony stammers incoherently, sweating as he reads off the clipboard.

"Why not both? You can go twice if you wish, separately or back to back," the Pattern Juggler says."



"Quick and silent," Cutlass whispers as she grabs the guard with her telekinesis and pulls him behind the rock out of sight.

[1d10] to telekinetic pull him out of sight

Roll #1 8 = 8


"A shark race sounds exciting! Do that!"

"Uhm… my mentor taught me tap-dancing. It has been some time, but I could try that."


"That sounds easy enough. I'll let you take charge of that since you're a little more informed on this here. Just point them out and I can get them nice and tied up."

"Whoa, what a crowd. I'm guessing these are our queens, so we should probably trail one of those others with her then."
Cloud comments as they lie in wait.


Her eyes narrow. It's her first time seeing them, but she can only assume the identity of the two griffons from context: the Crimson King, and his complete bitch of a daughter. She can only assume the other two beeponies are Hurscurs and Qaromarrow. She focuses more on the butlers, pointing them out to Cloud and Droplet.

"Over there. The queen and her servants. We should try to replace one of them."


"Ooooh both…yeah, that sounds pretty good! That way you get more shows that get put on, and I'll be nice and ready to a nap later on tonight. It's a win-win!"


You grab the guard and yank him away from the crowd before anyone else can notice. He reeks of alcohol, and you've got a good grip on him with magic, which prevents him from being able to shout for help. The hairy, massive arms of the monster in Sparkler's aura manifest themselves. "Need me to wring him out?"

Droplet scoops up some nearby shadows from debris littering the floor, wrestling and shaping it into pony forms. "Already on the disguises. Let's tail them inside," he whispers.

"Excellent, excellent. And, as far as order goes?" the Pattern Juggler asks. "Do you wish to be moved up on the list so you don't have to wait back here while the show goes on?"


"It would give me some time to practice, so I think I will remain near the end if it is alright. Do you happen to know a good tune for tap-dancing?"


She nods and darts in behind the crowd, following at a reasonable distance behind Toko and her entourage. She takes care to not go too deep into the crowd, as they are vulnerable to being trampled at their size.
[1d10] Navigation, if needed

Roll #1 4 = 4



"How many guards are on that ship?" Cutlass whispers, then nods to Sparkler.


"Yeah, same. I need to do some warm-ups and stuff, maybe a bite or three to eat as well."


"All of them, or is only one of us going in?"

Cloud nods, following after the crowd of butlers that trail behind Toko while being careful to not be noticed.
>Sneak [1d10-1]

Roll #1 3 - 1 = 2


"As you wish, I'll leave you two at the end of the show. As for food, by all means, help yourselves – preferably before you don any costumes or touch any props. It's all-you-can-eat, and our financier has a bottomless wallet. Though, for the sake of your performances, go easy on the alcohol!"

The Pattern Juggler gestures to several rows of banquet tables behind the couches and chairs where the actors are sitting.

"Speaking of the costumes and the like, you'll find them over here," he says, gesturing northward, to the Prop Storage Area, where all manner of outfits, equipment and props are set up, hung from racks and stored in countless boxes.

The Pattern Juggler flips through the scorebook, clicking his tongue and shaking his head a few times before settling about halfway through the book. "Oh, this should work just fine, we've got a good one on page 137; I'll show off a bit of it to see if you like it. It goes something like…"

The Pattern Juggler begins to dance while humming the general tune of the song for you.


Sparkler wrings out the guard, and mysterious, unreadable words spill out of his head, which Sparkler then arranges. "Thirty-five are left on the leviathan, which is called The Golden Vein. Their forces are split up pretty widely tonight. Most are on guard ships around Aristar, to keep watch for an attack from outside. We've got 60 of our own forces on the Secret Assassins."

Assisted by your tiny size, you slip in unnoticed by either the aristocrats or their guards, but have a few narrow shaves with being trampled on your way in. The interior of the circus tent is massive, even without being shrunk. You see that there are three bleacher-like seating areas surrounding the ring, populated with padded reclining chairs, tables, cupholders, hoofrests, even little bells, presumably for calling up waiters and waitresses – all quite luxurious. The aristocrats stop in awe of the setup, before being guided up to the seating area in the middle. Queen Toko and her entourage are led up to the third row, center of their row, presumably as they will be the best seats in the house for most of the show.


She thinks. "Only one should take the butler disguise to administer the poison. The other two should pose as guards in her entourage to avoid suspicion. Whoever does the deed, you should be close at hand, so we may shrink away and avoid capture immediately after. …At least, that is how I feel it should be done. If you have any better ideas, I would like to hear them."

The gears in her head start turning as she observes the setup. "Hmm… How best to separate the butlers from the queen… Perhaps a waiter disguise to call one away for a moment?" She looks to Droplet and Cloud for opinions.



"The four of us will take over the ship now," Cutlass whispers. "Let's move."

Cutlass leads the way, quickly and quietly heading into the transport ship. [1d10] if necessary

Roll #1 10 = 10


After checking this way and that to make sure that you won't be spotted, you slip aboard the transport ship with your allies. The few guards remaining on the ship don't take notice of you, and are passing around legs of meat and bottles of rum, clearly bored out of their minds, with nothing to do.



"Go," Cutlass orders her three companions as she kicks things off with a ranged telekinetic dagger to the head of the nearest guard.

>[1d10] telekinetic ranged attack

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Sure thing!I can hopefully find an outfit that goes along with it!" the griffon chirps, heading to go and look for something dress-y.


"Maybe? I've never the best with this formal stuff. Is there a way we could make them move around or something?"


"Sweet!" Cerulean cheers, going to get herself a nice big bite of something good.


Your knife knicks the tip of one guard's ear, and he drunkenly turns around in confusion, nearly ready to shout before Sparkler lunges up, swinging for his neck. [1d10+2]

Meanwhile, Make Believe rushes for the guard next to him, and tries to place a sticker depicting a soldier onto his arm. [1d10+2]

The first guard is too shocked to react, but the second guard tries to smash Make Believe over the head with a bottle. [1d10]

After inspecting the costumes, Alder indeed finds that the Pattern Juggler wasn't exaggerating about their extensive selection, albeit most of them are flashy, neon and more colorful than what one might want for a tap dance performance. Though, he does find a tux and tailcoat, accompanied by tap dance shoes and a top hat.

Cerulean heads for the buffet table, finding a wide selection of fish and meat, prepared in a plethora of different styles, to accompany the fruit and vegetables for the herbivores.

Droplet passes off two butler disguises to the two of you, then begins working on waiter disguises as well, pulling shadows from the environment to mold. "They'll probably move around only if they think they'll get a better view somewhere else. I'm thinking we go with Thessaly's plan. Only, I can think of a hitch. So far, when we've seen someone cured of the parasites, don't the parasites jump out of their body? Won't that get noticed?"

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #2 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #3 8 = 8



Cutlass grumbles at all the failure to kill drunken targets. "There goes subtlety…" she mumbles.

Cutlass telekinetically pulls out a second dagger and rushes toward the guard attacking Make Believe.

>[1d10] [1d10] Dual Attack

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 4 = 4


"Neither." She looks a little annoyed. "Perhaps we should wait for one of them to move…?" She is starting to realize she hadn't planned this part very well. She opts to wait a while and see if any of the butlers move from Toko's side.

She nods. "Indeed. Which is why we shall lie in wait until the end of the show. Slip her the poison during the climax of the evening, when the crowd is most distracted."


"Hmm, what if I try to change the size of the bleachers they're in? Or maybe grow someone down in front. Change up their view so they have to find a better spot, and when they change seats we swap out one of their butlers."
Cloud suggests.

"They parasites die though from it, so it shouldn't be an issue since she can't control them anymore until she gets reinfected."


Alder's a tad confused by the neon outfits- he's never seen clothing like that before… his eyes light up when he spots the tailcoat and shoes! He'll take off his scarf and slip into the outfit quickly, hoping that it fits at least somewhat well.


"Come to think of it," she says, fondling the dagger in her pocket, "it may be more expedient to just slit Toko's throat directly after poisoning her, then shrink away…"


Cerulean's mouth waters at the sight and she starts to load her plate up. She gets some meat, fish, fancy fish, meat, decides to try some of the bizzare/exotic looking things more local to this area and find out if its meat or not. She also makes sure to get a nice bit of meat, and some fruit so its all nice and healthy. As she eats, decides to meander about the place so as to sate her curiosity of things around here while also sating her hunger.


Both Make Believe and Sparkler are struck as they try to attack their targets in the dark, with Make Believe falling as a bottle is broken over his head. It's alright, nothing I'm not used to, he assures you as he stumbles.

You attempt to get the drop on Guard B, but he kicks you in the chest, and shouts at Guard A to get help. Still shaken, Guard A bolts for the door leading to the ship's interior.

>Cutlass loses 5 Hits

Sparkler curses profusely and lunges at Guard A. [1d10+2]

Make Believe tries to get up. [1d10]

It's just a little large, but by fluffing up your feathers to make yourself bulkier, you find that it fits on you quite nicely – not too stiff, not too loose. You also find a classy cane with a diamond at the end of it, and some tap-dancing shoes.

You have yourself a nice little tour of the circus' backstage area. Much has changed since you were last here, such as the vast amount of overworked and stressed-out staff, and the abnundance of fierce, caged monsters around, trying to claw at anything and anyone that strays too close. You also see quite a few props that catch your eye, such as jars of what appear to be popcorn, only labeled "Hopcorn," instead, and some belts, which are labeled "Belters."

"Waiting until the end…?" Droplet asks. "Hmm, alright. Waiting increases the chances she might move somewhere unfavorable, but the cover of the climax will give us plenty of room to slip out afterward. I'd say it works out in our favor.

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #2 3 = 3



"Get him," Cutlass orders as Guard A goes for help. She herself launches a dagger at Guard A's head.

[1d10] ranged telekinetic dagger

Roll #1 1 = 1


"I doubt she will move about much. She has some of the best seats in the house, after all. Still, we should keep an eye on her position at all times."

"Changing the size could work," she nods. "Although, it would mean having to change the plan some…" She thinks, then nods. "Try it. See what happens from here."


"Oh! It even has a cane, how nice!" the griffon chirps, spinning around a little and twirling the cane. He'll return to the main room, looking for Cerulean!


"Ooo! Popcorn!" Cerulean remarks, seeing the, what she knows to be, sweet treat. She doesn't seem to pay much mind to the label and opens a jar, proceeding to grab a hoofful and munch on some.


"Oh yea. She'll probably be too stunned by the parasites leaving her to defend herself. Still doesn't answer how we get that close though."

"Alright, let's see. I bet smaller might make it a worse view, plus with all sitting it'd look like it's sagging under all of them so it's buyable."
Cloud steps up behind the stands the queen and her group sit on, eyes glowing as he tries to shrink them down a little bit. Enough to be noticeable but not enough to be suspicious.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink Bleachers] [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


>Round 2 [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


As Alder catches up with Cerulean, he too sees quite a bit of the strange props mentioned in >>705960
: the Hopcorn, the Belters, even a few other things like "Give-a-Hoots," which are these little owl-shaped cookies, and "Spyderglasses," which appear to be sets of glases, only with four lenses on each eye, which can be moved freely as a kind of adjustable magnification option.

As Cerulean eats the hopcorn, it tastes like caramel popcorn, but suddenly, she notices something odd. Each time she moves one of her hooves off the ground, she makes a small involuntary hop, launching her a few feet into the air, higher than a normal jump would. It happens each time she lifts up her hooves, effectively turning her into a jumping bean.

Sparkler catches Guard A, and the two grapple for a moment, before Guard A shoves her into the way of the knife, using her as a shield so that the knife sinks into her shoulder blade. With a grunt, she takes the hit and twists the guard into a pretzel, breaking his neck and several bones, before tossing the lifeless corpse aside.

Guard B stands there in momentary frozen terror, and looks to you, just before Sparkler flops over from the pain of the knife.

Cloud causes the bleachers to shrink subtly, mostly accumulating in the middle. The guests don't seem to notice it at first, but a few of them try to scoot away, shoving their guards off the bleachers and forcing them to stand on the sides so that they themselves can have more room. The result is that the bleachers are now less populated and more open, with the guards now having to stand on the sides rather than be able to sit at the edges to serve as body shields.



Post sheets along with your response.

Last time on PQ…

Cutlass spied The Golden Vein, the Crimson King's three-tiered, leviathan-class ship, floating off in the waters distant from Kaco Island. She took Make Believe, Ossie and Sparkler, and resolved to capture one of the transport ships that the Bee Queens and the other aristocrats used to travel from The Golden Vein to the island for the circus performance.

Thessaly, Cloud and Droplet shrunk themselves down to discreetly access the circus' VIP Entrance after the aristocrats and their entourage of guards had taken their seats in the VIP Seating Area. There, they juggled options on when to attack, with Thessaly suggesting that it was best to wait until the performance had reached its climax, so that they could assassinate her when the audience would be most distracted by the spectacle.

Alder and Cloud went backstage to the actors' lounge, where they met the Pattern Juggler for the first time since he attacked the Beesting. He was far friendlier this time, and scheduled their performances alongside the other actors' time slots, along with opening the carnival's copious amounts of props, costumes and tools for their use.


Meanwhile, the crew of the Beesting laid in wait at an unknown location, with their mission being to keep Queens Hurscurs and Qaromarrow from being able to activate their joint Aura Ability, called the Hunting Grounds, which would disrupt the attack by dragging everyone who had been stung by their bee soldiers into a pocket dimension of Aura.

Puddin Tame had openly gone rogue, declaring that he would kill the Queens at first sight. He and Naza are also waiting in an unnown location.

The crew of the Secret Assassins would meet up with Cutlass once she was en route to The Golden Vein, and assist in the capture of the ship.


>Alder, Cerulean
As Alder catches up with Cerulean, he too sees quite a bit of the strange props mentioned in >>705960
: the Hopcorn, the Belters, even a few other things like "Give-a-Hoots," which are these little owl-shaped cookies, and "Spyderglasses," which appear to be sets of glases, only with four lenses on each eye, which can be moved freely as a kind of adjustable magnification option.

As Cerulean eats the hopcorn, it tastes like caramel popcorn, but suddenly, she notices something odd. Each time she moves one of her hooves off the ground, she makes a small involuntary hop, launching her a few feet into the air, higher than a normal jump would. It happens each time she lifts up her hooves, effectively turning her into a jumping bean.


Sparkler catches Guard A, and the two grapple for a moment, before Guard A shoves her into the way of the knife, using her as a shield so that the knife sinks into her shoulder blade. With a grunt, she takes the hit and twists the guard into a pretzel, breaking his neck and several bones, before tossing the lifeless corpse aside.

Guard B stands there in momentary frozen terror, and looks to you, just before Sparkler flops over from the pain of the knife.

>Cloud, Thessaly

Cloud causes the bleachers to shrink subtly, mostly accumulating in the middle. The guests don't seem to notice it at first, but a few of them try to scoot away, shoving their guards off the bleachers and forcing them to stand on the sides so that they themselves can have more room. The result is that the bleachers are now less populated and more open, with the guards now having to stand on the sides rather than be able to sit at the edges to serve as body shields.



"That didn't work quite as well as I thought. But we got some guards moved at least, have anything to go off of that?"
Cloud asks Thessaly and Droplet



"Well done," Cutlass says quietly as her dagger slashes at the throat of Guard B nearby.

[1d10] Single attack, DC-1

Roll #1 9 = 9



She taps her hoof idly as she observes the results. "Hmmmm… Perhaps we could pose as guard to call away some of the butlers? Then take them out, assume their identities and do whatever the queens wish us to until the final act of the evening. What do you two think?" She looks to Cloud and Droplet for opinions.


"That sounds good.But how are we gonna pull one of those guards away then?"


"We could pose as nobles wishing to make an inquiry, perhaps. Or other guards needing to alert them to a situation. Although, we should not risk alerting all of them. We would be woefully outnumbered, and I have no intention of dying tonight."


"Right, right. We would need a good situation to only draw one away… Hey, what about posing as one of the circus staff and come up to ask if they need more seats. See if we can lure one guard away to find a bigger seating spot, then we take him out and replace him?"


Alder giggles a little bit as the sharkpony involuntarily jumps every time she takes a step, covering his mouth with a wing and trying out one of the Give-A-Hoots.


She nods. "That seems like a good option. Only one of us infiltrates the bleachers, while the others wait in the wings to escape. Did either of you want to be the ones to do the deed?"


You bite into the sweet cookie, getting hints of mint and chocolate. Brieflly, your aura flares up, and a translucent barn owl appears before you, made out of purple aura, which you instinctively recognize as your own. "I will give a hoot for a single request, master," the bird says with a dignified accent. "How may I serve you?"

"Let's not assume it will be so easy or straightforward as waiting," Droplet adds. "Better for one of you to take this task. I'll busy myself with making disguises and preparing for our getaway."

He starts scooping up shadows and molds them into shadow disguises based on the grotesque, buglike demon guards.

You slice Guard B's throat just as he tries to flee and run, and he collapses, clutching at his neck for a few moments to staunch the blood, yet it is too much, and he keels over.

Sparkler and Make Believe get up, and Sparkler retrieves a few potions from one of her bags, tossing a couple to you and Make Believe. "Should be a few more below deck," Sparkler whispers. "Capture or kill the lot?"