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 No.707690[Last 50 Posts]

>Thessaly 6/4
>Cloud 5/4

Last time on PirateQuest…

Disguised as guards and armed with a pocket-sized Droplet, Thessaly and Cloud Shear waited dutifully by Queen Toko's side during the circus performance so far. The Pattern Juggler pesetered them and the VIPs from all sides with an assortment of tricks and jabs, formed by hijacking various parts of the performance, and using them as weaponized annoyances. This greatly stirred up Queen Toko's ire, exposing pre-existing tensions between her and the Crimson King – possibly something that could be to the party's advantage.

Alder and Cerulean conversed backstage with the crew as they waited for their performance to come on. Cerulean nearly, er, "killed" Boneless, a rubber chicken and performer with a storied and controversial past. Alder, however, saved his life by un-breaking his plastic neck. Nonetheless, they still had plenty of time before their scheduled performances.

Cutlass successfully boarded The Golden Vein and began her invasion, capturing guards to wring out for intel on the ship's guard situation. Although there were relatively few guards left on the ship due to the security detail being spread all across Kaco Island, she learned of the presence of at least ten so-called "giants" onboard, who made up the bulk of the ship's muscle and posed the biggest threat to their attack. Cutlass split her forces; the bulk, led by Schnitzel and Make Believe, would capture the control room on the third level. The rest would break into the prison holding on the second level to free Colobok, which would allow the rest of her assassin entourage to fight without fear for his safety.

As both sides of the attack against the Crimson King and the Bee Queens unfold, neither our heroes nor our foes know what lies in wait for them at the end of the night, nor how it would change the course of their voyages.


Post sheets along with your reply.


Schnitzel and Make Believe gulp a little; fear is written plainly across Schnitzel's face, and Make Believe, though also nervous, has an expression of pure excitement over his. By your order, captain!

"Agreed," Ossie says.
Sparkler is already heading for the door, impatient and worried. "Stay quiet, everyone. Don't engage unless we have to. I don't need anyone else getting themselves hurt or worse before this night's over. That goes triple for you, captain!"

>Alder, Cerulean

"Darn, I was gonna see what I could get for Boneless' most organic bits. Well, I suppose you should just stay on standby if there are any injuries during the show. I doubt the Pattern Juggler will follow regulation and put the show on hold if someone gets hurt out there. Hell, even if someone dies. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a bottle in my office with my name on it!"

He and Ruby Curls cartwheel away toward his office.


There's a fair amount of tape and bandages in the first aid kit, as well as painkillers. The former two could keep him bound there longer, while the latter would knock him unconscious or even kill him with a high enough dose. There's also Droplet in your pocket, though he would have to be a master assassin to kill anyone at his current size.


One of the demon guards approaches you, and it's evident that the's the leader - he stands a head taller than the others, looks a good bit stronger, and has a sword with a jeweled handle. "You need medical assistance, rookie? I'm going to send someone backstage to have the staff rein in the Juggler's antics; it's on the table if you want that job. Toko looks like she's on the verge of storming out right now."



Cutlass takes Schnitzel aside to talk to him alone. "Don't worry," she says reassuringly. "You're here to lead. As a leader, I expect you to stay alive - at any cost. Understand?"

Cutlass smiles and says, "Of course you do," before giving him a pat on the shoulder. Her being the cleanly, reclusive mess she is, that's a strong sign of friendship and trust.

"Now, everyone," she says, talking to everyone again. "Let's move out."


Cerulean seems a bit confused at first, but then realize what they meant by bottle with their name on it.
"Oh…dang, uhh, soooo I guess we just watch what happens now?" Cerulean asks Alder, seeming unsure about the words said by the two clowns.



Cloud looks up at Toko as the head guard approaches him. After all the fire nonsense he's not quite sure which guard is Thessaly, and they need somepony to stick by the Queen to keep an eye on her.
"I'm fine. It'll take more than a little light show like that to hurt me."
Cloud says with a brave voice through his burns.


"Of course. I shall be ready to fix any injuries that may arise." the griffon chirps, smiling a little.


Schnitzel nods with a heavy gulp, clearly nervous in spite of your reassuring words, but a small fire lingers in his gaze. His trembling hand stops and he grips his gun. Your group splits off from the others, heading off of the transport vessel and again into the many-layered sublevel of the ship, finding it a tricky thing to navigate, being a labyrinth of hallways and stairs, full of running and hissing pipes and whirring gauges for dozens of arcane mechanisms that undoubtedly power and steer this colossal ship.

Roll for navigation and stealth (stealth being optional, but recommended).

The Lead Guard claps you on the shoulder gruffly. "Outstanding, just what I want to hear. Now, back to work… and keep your eye on that screwball jester."

As Little Smokey departs from the stage, the Pattern Juggler floats up once again, his hoof raised for attention. "An outstanding show of fire and flash from our very own Little Smokey!" he declares. A spotlight comes on, pointing at the backstage entrance. A beepony mare in a stereotypical, gaudy knight costume comes trotting out, her head raised high and haughty as she casts a smug look at Cerulean and Alder. "Coming through, amateurs. Watch and learn what it means to perform," she comments.

"And please, will you give us your rapt and undivided attention to our next act, Avalon!" the Pattern Juggler declares, gesturing to the mare dressed as a knight. She draws a sword and kneels as she reaches the center of the stage, then stands and raises her sword high, as if taking on a sacred oath.

"Yes, Avalon has mastered the art of Swallowing Swords! Please, folks, don't try this at home, she is a professi–"

The crowd gasps as Avalon turns and throws the sword at the Pattern Juggler. As it touches his skin, the sword's blade splits, and becomes a monstrous mouth, full of little dagger-like teeth. The crowd gasps as the sword chomps him down, chewing him into tiny pieces.

A moment passes, and Avalon shakes out her sword's scabbard, and the Pattern Juggler tumbles out, good as new. "Here I am again!" he cries with a mad laugh. The sword magically returns to Avalon's hoof.

The crowd then applauds again, sighing with relief as they do. Avalon scans the room, evidently looking for someone else to swallow with her sword.


She ponders how to best proceed for a while, weighing her options. She decides to get a second opinion, and unzips Droplet. “What would you have me do here? I was thinking of putting my disguise on his then sedating him, so that they believe him to be me. A penny for your thoughts.”



Cloud holds steady, exerting all of his willpower to not show pain at the pat over some burns.
"Right, won't let him of my sight!"

Cloud's ears perk up as the next act is announced as a sword swallower. The more physical type of acts were always more intriguing whenever he saw shows. He looks on intently, that is until Avalon throws her sword at the Juggler, devouring him like a simple snack.
Cloud gulps, stepping back a step and trying to cover himself by the VIP bleachers he guards.


"I actually charge 20 Bits an hour for counseling sessions, but for you I can make an exception, as a business expense," Droplet jokes. "Sounds like a fine idea, these painkillers should do it."

He gestures to a stretcher laying nearby. "Place him over there, but don't tie him up. He needs to look natural, as if the medic put him there, just in case someone comes snooping. Use about three quarters of the bottle, he won't be up 'til tomorrow without someone purging it from his system."


Cerulean watches with rapt attention at Avalon's performance, looking to learn from a veteran performer how to perform like a pro.


She doesn’t seem amused, silently nodding and uncorking the painkillers while she commands the dark shackles to move Jeeves onto the bed. “Take your medicine,” she commands dryly as she attempts to force feed the butler the painkillers.

Roll #1 9 = 9


She watches him succumb with a soft ssshh. Once he’s under, she releases the shackles and moves him to look more naturally asleep before assuming her new disguise and heading back to the bleachers, doing her best to blend in as if nothing had happened.



For now, Cutlass' group remains quiet as they search for the prison cells.

[1d10] navigation [1d10] stealth

Master Thief wherever applicable

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 6 = 6


Alder offers a quiet, somewhat nervous wave if Avalon looks his way- he's more than willing to help out someone else's act, even if it's scary!



As you creep through the ship, it's initially difficult to get your bearings; many of the ship's hallways curve, doubling back on themselves, making it quite a treacherous place to navigate. Yet, your small group is able to keep a low profile as they creep about. You eventually find a set of stairs leading up and out to the ship's deck, and are greeted by starlight and moonlight illuminating the colossal ship and the waves surround it. No guards are around at the moment. As you look about, you see a great set of stairs to your left, leading further up. However, there is also a rope rigging directly above you. While harder to climb, you know enough about ships to know that this will eventually lead directly to a window you can sneak through, and will be almost entirely unguarded.

>Roll again for Stealth

Hurscurs and Qaromarrow, the twin queens, look aghast as the Pattern Juggler is swallowed whole by the sword, but Queen Toko beams with momentary ecstacy. However, when he tumbles out once more, she deflates, slumping forward to rest her chin on her hoof. "I knew it was far too good to be true. The troupe must be as mad as he is to follow his orders, they'd never rebel."

She casts a poisonous look your way. "Oh, for the love of– what is this one doing? Get up here and stand in front of me!"

The guards stand at attention, moving in front of the VIP section again, casting expectant looks at you.

Jeeves attempts to yell for help as you force open his mouth, but you are too quick, pouring almost all the bottle's contents down his throat and sealing his mouth again before he can make a sound. After a little while of holding him down and waiting for the medicine to take effect, he falls unconscious, allowing you to swap appearances with no trouble.

When you get back to the seats, Toko glares at you, but her gaze softens as she sees you in Jeeves' appearance. "There you are, what took you so long, my sweet? I thought you didn't like to do anything but stand by my side awaiting your next order," she says with a sugary tone.

Avalon spends her routine lobbing her sword at various audience members, which chews them up, then spits them back out in various ways, or allowing Avalon to launch them from her scabbard. This causes the audience to do little cartwheels and loop de loops in the air before they fall back into their seats. Avalon starts to mix up her performance, doing various trick throws for style and flavor. She pirouettes and spins like a ballerina, and as she does, she throws her sword blindly, causing it to fly at…

1 = Cloud
2 = Cerulean
3 = Alder
4 = Thessaly
4 = Toko

Roll #1 3 = 3


5 = Toko*



If Cutlass were alone, she'd consider the climb. But, with her companions (the five mooks in particular), the climb would be unwieldy at best. For now, she chooses to see where the stairs go.

[1d10] stealth

Roll #1 4 = 4


"A-Ah, oh dear… here goes nothing, I suppose!" he chirps to himself, trying to look like this was supposed to happen!


Cloud looks up as he's called out, mentally cursing as he fears getting eaten up this horrible looking sword. He steps out from the side of the bleachers, taking the very front spot in front of Toko to hopefully get back in good graces.

As the sword flies no where near him, Cloud silently sighs in relief.


Cerulean watches the performance, but doesn't do anything. Seeing what happened to Pattern, she figured Alder would be safe afterword.


You climb up the steps, keeping low as you do, and your allies silently follow along. As you reach the top, you find the second layer of the ship, naturally smaller than the first. To your left and ahead of you, you see the exterior of the ship's many holdings, each with its own door. Through one of the nearby windows, you see many rows of books, revealing a vast library.

A small group of guards, six in number, hangs by the second level's railing, looking out at the water in boredom, but suddenly, your Caller Conch begins to vibrate in your bag, indicating someone's calling you. A few of the guards look up, and time seems to slow as they turn their heads your way…

>Fight, or flight?

As the sword flies toward him, Alder is devoured by it, chomped into tiny bits.
>Only Alder sees this part:
He and his dismembered pieces fall into a space-like void, an endless expanse of color and emptiness. It is cold and peaceful, but dreadfully lonely, the kind of thing that inspires existential dread in the cold of night.

>All see this:

Then, a great force pulls him back together, and he is launched from the scabbard as if he were a cannonball, twirling and flailing about in dizzying circles to Oohs and Ahhs from the audience!

>Roll for landing!


Cloud looks on worried as he sees the sword fly at Alder, part of him wanting to try and stop it. But when he is shot out from the scabbard back in one piece, he feels relieved, to a degree.



"Idiots," Cutlass grumbles under her breath as she launches a dagger at one of the gaurds' head.

[1d10] ranged attack

"They can't know that anything is amiss yet. Kill them."

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Wooo! Awesome!" She cheers out to both performers.


Shit, she never actually saw how Jeeves acted around the Queen. She assumes he would be subservient, but stiff instead of groveling, and attempts to act as such. "Sincerest apologies for the delay, Your Grace. The guard's injuries were more severe than they appeared at first glance, courtesy of our mutual fiend." She shoots a withering glance at the Juggler. "I stayed a while to ensure he was safe and sound. Unfortunately, he took a few more painkillers than what was advised, and… well, he is indisposed, for now. But in my opinion, he should make a full recovery."


Alder wasn't sure what to expect, but… this is something else. He'd expected something more… painful? Violent? The calm was almost unnerving… but in just a moment, it was over.
>Land with a flourish! [1d10+2]

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9



The guard you throw your knife at is scraped across the shoulder, opening a small gash, but jerks back before the knife can sink into his skin. "Intruders!" he gasps, as he and the other guards draw their weapons. Upon seeing the size of your group, they appear confused. "How'd they get here?" another guard asks.
"Alarm, get to the alarm!" the first commands.

Ossie flings a knife from your shadow at Guard 1 [1d10+2]
Sparkler leaps like a bullet for Guard 2 [1d10+2]
Miss Sunshine darts forward and stabs Guard 3 [1d10+2]
Mooks A, B and C mob Guard 4 [1d10+1]
Mooks D and E then go for Guard 5 [1d10+1]

>Guard rolls to come in the next post

"Oh, who cares about him…" Toko says, scoffing at the plight of the "guard" you left in the medical tent. "Just come here. That idiotic fire serpent tamer went and ruined the moisture in the air. Look! Oh, look, isn't it just the worst?" she says, pointing to her mane. You see little frayed and split ends in her mane, and it looks a little frazzled from the heat. "First, he gives me that look, and then he goes and does this… hmrph."

She glares daggers at the Crimson King, who simply watches the show as if he's waiting for it to be over.

"Be a sweetie and do my mane, won't you, Jeeves?" Toko asks, the sugar in her voice reaching diabetic levels.

Alder sticks the landing and flourishes dramatically as he does, absolutely nailing the routine with a perfect ending. The crowd goes wild, tossing popcorn and flowers in equal measure his way. Avalon takes her bows, then twirls on her hoof and leaves, returning backstage.

The Pattern Juggler appears again, twirling and spinning through the air as he levitates. "Bravo, bravo, what an excellent sight! Now, for this next performance, I will need a daring soul, a heroic soul! A soul willing to put his life on the line to defend himself, his family and country from the monstrous menace that we brought here for the express purpose of endangering all of you for pure entertainment value! Worry not, we already have a damsel for you to save!"

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


The guards draw their swords to defend against the sudden onslaught.
Guard 1 attacks Ossie [1d10]
Guard 2 attacks Sparkler [1d10]
Guard 3 attacks Miss Sunshine [1d10]
Guard 4 attacks Mook A. [1d10]
Guard 5 attacks Mook D [1d10]
Guard 6 backs away, then starts to run for one of the nearby doors.

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


"Of course, Your Grace," she answers, without the slightest trace of emotion. She's screaming internally at being forced to do someone's mane like a teenage girl, but swallows her pride for the greater good and gets to work, primping Toko's mane to the best of her abilities.
[1d10] oh gosh oh frick

Roll #1 9 = 9


Cloud gives light amount of applause as Alder sticks his landing. Not enough to be noticed or heard, but enough so that he himself can support his friend.

As Pattern Juggler asks for a volunteer, Cloud scoffs, staying in his guard line, glad that for once he doesn't need to worry about being surprised.



Cutlass pulls out another dagger and rushes down Guard 6 as he tries to run.

>Dual Attack [1d10] [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 7 = 7


Alder twirls a little bit and lands surprisingly well, letting out an excited little chirp! He bows graciously and waves to the audience, stepping off the stage after just a moment or two. He pats himself down, trying to make sure nothing's gone.

Satisfied, he turns back to practice for his routine, but… Pattern Juggler's comment gets his attention! He'll step out, and call out "M-Mister Pattern Juggler! I-Is it open to us, as well? I would like to try, if no one else offers."


File: 1546579416512.png (479.66 KB, 1169x825, example 2.png)

Despite your internal struggle over this request, you manage to style her mane quite well, easing out the little breaks and curly frazzles that cropped up from the fire of the serpent Little Smokey conjured. Toko looks at herself in the mirror with a smile, then turns the mirror up so that you see yourself in it. "Oh, much better. You've almost un-ruined the night that the Pattern Juggler ruined. Hmm, too bad that's a tall order," she says, leering at the Crimson King. "Ooh! Shall I do yours, next?"

Guards 1, 3 and 4 fall under the attacks, as your allies swarm, stab, cut and throttle them and throw them to the ground. Sparkler and SAMs (Secret Assassin Mooks) A and D are roughed up slightly by the attack, but they are able to keep going. Guard 6 looks over his shoulder and swings at you, bashing you in the chest, and you lose 3 Hits, yet are not slowed, sinking your knife into his neck, yielding a stream of blood.

Guards 2 and 5 look at one another, seeing how vastly you outnumber them, then drop their swords, throwing themselves to their knees with hands up. "Wait, wait, we'll cooperate!" Guard 2 whispers. "Stop!"

Ossie and Sparkler leap atop them, pinning them both to the ground, covering their mouths with their hooves so the Guards can't talk. The two assassins look to you for direction, their faces terrifyingly cold and focused.

The Juggler claps as Alder volunteers, again taking the spotlight. "Excellent, excellent! Bring out the beasts!"

Two gruff-looking ponies, both in hunter's garb made of monster hides, and wielding large weapons made of giant monster teeth and bones, come out from backstage. They wheel out two cages, covered with cloth blankets, setting them on both sides of the arena, with one of them being next to Alder. After that, they pull off the cloths, revealing their contents.

In the far cage, you see a green, bipedal bird, with both wings and arms, sitting there with a cigarette hanging from its beak. Thessaly recognizes him as a member of the Vola race, a people of sapient birds. He's wearing brilliant red and orange makeup around his face and neck, and has on a kitschy costume that makes him look like some kind of dragon-bird hybrid. He looks like he'd rather be anywhere but here.

In the other cage is a capybara with a saddle on its back. Said capybara looks sleepy.

The cages are opened, and their captives step out. The bird puts up his dukes half-heartedly. One of the hunters goes up to Alder. "Alright, bub, here's your mount, and over there's your quarry. Knock 'em out of the park, slugger."


Cloud watches as the two large cages are wheeled out by rather imposing looking guards. He get's on edge as they ready to uncover, worried what they'll face. When it reveals an almost clown styled bird who looks disinterested and a tired capybara, Cloud let's out a snicker. Likely he would have held his sides from laughing if all the other horrible events didn't happen so far.



"Where is Colobok?" Cutlass asks the guards angrily.


" Th-the donkey? S-S-Surgeon's room, on the other side of the library, just through here!" Guard 2 hisses back. "He's alive, I swear!"


"If it would please Your Grace." She can think of billions of other things she'd rather do, and secretly is beginning to suspect she may know the jig is up. Nevertheless, she bows her head, and allows Toko to do as she will, for her own amusement. Not even she can suppress a smirk at the sight of the ferocious beasts in the ring below.


Cerulean looks on at the odd creatures, a lot of them looking pretty cute. She also slightly wonders how tasty some of them might be, but she shakes those thoughts out in case she accidentally acts on them.



A dagger stabs Guard 5 in the head, presumably killing him.

"Show me the way," Cutlass demands.

[1d10] if necessary

Roll #1 1 = 1


Alder watches the opponent be revealed with baited breath, giving it a somewhat confused look as he sees what it is. He looks to the two gruff-looking ponies, then to his… capybara. He gives it a bit of a wave, and asks "H-Hello, Mister. A-Are you ready to go?"


Guard 2 turns pale as you kill Guard 5, but keeps his mouth shut, slowly walking forward, as Ossie keeps his hands pinned behind his back. You enter a sprawling, multi-story library, which is presently deserted, but you spend little time there, as Ossie prods him along to quickly get to the other side. You go through a couple more corridors, and soon enter a well-furnished surgeon's quarters, clean and organized, a wide room with many curtain-enclosed stations for holding bedridden patients, all of which are presently empty. Guard 2 gestures to the last station at the end of the room, which has the curtain drawn about it. You see a silhouette standing behind the curtain, and a silhouette of a figure laying upon the bed.

Toko scoots forward by a row, indicating for you to sit before her. Walter and Alfred, the other butlers, smirk and roll their eyes at the display, and it seems like they've come to expect this sort of doting from Toko upon her favorite butler, Jeeves. Toko starts to comb out your mane, toying with it idly, but as she touches your scalp, you feel her hooves shivering. She leans in slightly, out of earshot of the others, and whispers, "Get in contact with the Yellow Jester, aboard The Golden Vein. Tell her I want my killer bees here, three of them at minimum. Send them to the port and have them brought up to the trailer area behind the tent. The Juggler's up to something and I don't trust a one of the King's guards to secure me. Please."

"Let's just do this, man," the tired-looking bird person says, chewing the end of his cigarette. He flexes and approaches you as the cages are dragged away, rolling his hands around like a boxer waiting for the first strike.

The capybara snorts and leans, allowing you to ride it.

For once, the audience murmurs, apparently not as excited about this performance as with the others. The Pattern Juggler's joyous, mad demeanor starts to fade as he looks between the audience and the ever-bored Crimson King, and starts to sweat. "And… and so the battle begins! Our combatants take the stage! Are you dying to see one of them die!? I know I am! Get killing!"



"Hold him still," Cutlass says before she telekinetically pulls back the curtain.


She remains motionless as Toko plays with her mane, doing her best not to show any signs of having heard her instructions, save for an extremely subtle nod. Once Toko is done, she subtly asks permission from the Queen to step away for a moment to go to the bathroom to "freshen up", as she puts it. Once this is granted, she slinks off to find a quiet place to make a call, deciding to make contact with the boss first.

Cutlass gets a call on the conch. "Captain, this is Thessaly. The situation is growing rather tense here at the circus. The Juggler seems to be planning something - perhaps going rogue - and Toko is getting paranoid. I am in position to strike, and plan on doing so at the evening's climax. How goes the raid?"


Cloud watches the display, finding himself almost… bored. Admittedly, this is a big let down compared to the last acts. Even if he isn't getting injured or disrupted in some way, this is just uneventful.
He even yawns.


Alder hums to himself as he looks over the whole arrangement, trying to figure out what exactly to do. The audience doesn't seem to like it a lot, but… maybe he can salvage it! The griffon clears his throat and hops on to the capybara, before giggling and announcing "I suppose this should do well enough to test my skill! I would not even need a steed, but it was offered so kindly!"


Ossie ties up the guard's hands, and the others quietly follow you as you approach the figure at the bed. When the screen is pulled back, you are greeted with an unsettling sight, of a levitating mess of a person. Their left side is entirely mechanical, a clockwork and brass creation of gears, chains and dials and valves, in the shape of a unicorn mare. On the right side, their body is flesh and bone, but a chimera of various species, from tip to tail. Her head is pony enough, but with no ears, and her skin is covered in griffon feathers. Her forearm is like a grasshopper's, and brownish yellow, and her sides are covered with mismatching patches of scales and stone-like armored protrusions, as well as a large, reptillian wing. Her haunch and below is like that of a giraffe. All in all, her form is a disturbing collage of species, full of contradictory and impossible patterns.

On the bed before her, you see Colobok, unconscious and missing an eye and ear, his body covered in bandages, stints and casts, with dozens of tubes running from various places on his body. The floating mare nearby raises her hoof, signaling for quietude.

Ossie and Sparkler's faces fall as they witness his horrifically disfigured body.

Toko watches you as you leave, apparently still quite nervous.

"Get on with it!" someone shouts from the audience, and the Pattern Juggler's eye starts to twitch. "Ah-ah, you haven't seen the best of it! There is still more to come with this routine!"

He quickly floats backstage, clearly panicking, stress written all over his face.

The costumed bird punches his fists together, then takes a swing at you. "Then let's see that skill in action!"


Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2



"Was that you who called earlier? Couldn't have picked a worse time. I think we found just found Colobok. We'll be moving on with the plan soon. Do what you think is best. Don't wait for me."

"And please, for the love of whatever god you worship, would everyone PLEASE stop using specifics!"


takes a swing at Alder*


"Thuigim. Understood. One other thing: Toko asked me just now to contact the Yellow Jester, whoever that may be, and have them send killer bees. She wants backup, in essence. You may want to look for this Jester and deal with them. Best of luck, captain." She hangs up and promptly returns to Toko's side.

"It is done," she mouths silently to Toko as she steps back into place, stiffly observing the rather janky show below. She shoots a side glance at the King to gauge his expression.



Cutlass gags when the moment after she pulls back the curtain. "What is WRONG with you?" she chokes out through her own coughing.

"I'm sorry," Cutlass says as she straightens herself up and regains her composure. "That was vague. To be clear, I'm not referring to him," she says as she points at Colobok. "I'm referring to you. Just… all of you. You're disgusting. You make me want to-"

Cutlass fails to finish her sentence because she goes back to gagging. "Are you even alive? No wait, please don't answer. I want to be able to sleep tonight."

"Well," Cutlass adds, looking back to Ossie and Sparkler. "If either of you want to blow off some anger and frustration before we all lose our collective lunches over what this ugly thing is going to look like when it dies, I'd like to point out we have a perfectly immobile pincussion-slash-punching bag right there," she says as she points to the tied up guard.


"Yeah, sorry. I gotta go. I think I'm going to be spending the next several minutes learning what it's like performing surgery and vehicle repair at the same time."



Toko doesn't look at you, in order to keep up the charade, but she touches your hoof, clearly grateful. As you glance at the Crimson King, you see he is speaking with Queen Hurscurs, and you overhear a few key phrases: "Accompass… Gold… the Hunger."
If you want more details, roll perception


Cloud watches Pattern Juggler as he quickly moves offstage, now worried again. Given what they've seen count as entertainment for him, whatever he has planned to liven up the show will not be good.


Alder flicks his ears a little bit as he hears the obvious distaste from at least one crowd member. Looks like he'll have to try and make it exciting somehow. He decides that, despite how off the bird's swing looks initially, it'd be better if it connected… so he lets it!
>[1d10] Making it look good!

Roll #1 9 = 9


She subtly shifts to the right in an effort to eavesdrop on the conversation.

Roll #1 8 = 8


"Hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm, good to meet you too, Captain Cutlass. Finally got enough people to follow you without throwing you overboard?" the floating figure asks, her voice a mechanical chorus of clatters. "I am quite concerned over your temperament. You could very well disturb Colobok here, and if he isn't able to recover, I suppose you're just going to have another corpse on your hooves. Didn't you come to bring him back alive to keep those two obedient to you?"

Ossie grits her teeth and snarls, but Sparkler, still trembling, raises her hoof. "… who healed him?"
"I, the Yellow Jester, did," the figure says.
"Did you do anything… bad to him? Poisons, hidden bombs, organ harvesting?"
The Yellow Jester smiles. "Of course, I'll answer no. Would I tell you if I had? But of course, the question is, why would I do that? Surgery is costly and risky, and resources are scarce. Why waste them on someone I intend to kill?"

"We've an artifact, straight from the Hunger's horde," Hurscurs says, testily. "It is guaranteed to take one straight to the Heart of Gold. That is all I will tell you until our contract is finished and our payment confirmed.
"Forgive me, but I take no investment lightly," the King says. "I assure you, my end of the bargain is not in question. It is yours that I have to wonder about."
Hurscurs scoffs and shuts her mouth.

Alder takes the hit despite the bird stumbling on the swing, and flies across the arena in a dramatic show, even as he flies himself to do it. The crowd's attention is got, and many lean in to see more, but soon the Pattern Juggler comes out with two more performers, a magician and a cowboy gunslinger, who look confused but begin doing magic tricks and fireworks in the background.
"More and more! Excess and extravaganza, glamor and glitz!" the Pattern Juggler declares desperately, seeing most of the audience focused on Alder. "Amusement! Entertainment! Adoration! Popcorn! Brains melting, spirits pouring out! Be amazed, be enthralled!"

He looks like he's at the end of his rope, and Alder and Cerulean realize he's brought out the next two performers early to perform alongside Alder.


Cloud is surprised as Alder is thrown across the arena from the rather poor looking punch. When Pattern Juggler brings out more acts as begins to look deranged, Cloud starts to feel extremely worried. He does not want another situation like what happened on the ship to occur again.
He tries to keep himself inconspicuous, staring at the bird. His eyes glow, attempting to use his magic to grow the bird to massive size to help make the show more exciting. After all, what harm could come since the bird doesn't even look like he's trying?
>Wax/Wane [Grow Bird] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


She can't help but do a slight double take at their conversation. So the Hunger is real… It must have consumed her island after all. She makes a mental note to discuss this as a side goal with Cutlass, when they have a moment. She keeps her trap shut and continues to stand by Toko's side, awaiting further instructions.



Cutlass straightens up and narrows her eyes at the Yellow Jester when it alludes to her past from before her current crew.

"Sparkler… Would this thing have gotten that information from Colobok?"


Alder grins a little to himself as he's knocked from his steed, flapping his wings subtly to make it more impactful. He turns to look at the two performers suddenly brought on stage in mild confusion, his composure faltering a little bit as he tries to figure out what to do next.

His answer comes in the form of the bird suddenly enlarging, becoming something even more monstrous than before! After hesitating for a second or two he looks to the other two performers, giving them a knowing smile and saying "Help, just in time! Come on now, it is deadlier than ever!"


Cerulean begins to have a look of worry on her face. It didn't take super senses for her to know things were just getting progressively worse and worse. Having a slight thought, she heads in the back more to see whatever kind of useful or zany props she can find to maybe be of some sort of help.


"…It's possible," she concludes after some thought. "The Gates of Justice put together a dossier on all captives that end up at our prisons, but such reports aren't normally for soldiers of our rank to see, so I never saw anything about you. Colobok could have snuck into Schwartzwelt's office and read it. He'd do that sort of thing before some missions, I heard, just to find out ways he could avoid killing his target."

"We need to leave with him," Ossie says, glaring down the Yellow Jester. "Are you going to get in our way?"
"That depends… on what you're going to do when you've gotten him out," the Yellow Jester answers.

Looking around the backstage area, you find the following:

-Glasses with 8x magnification. Very handy for finding small details and focusing on far-off things.

-Forces the wearer to sing all their dialogue. They must roll every turn for quality of singing, which gets bonuses from the following:
+1 if it is in a consistent meter
+1 if it is in verse form
+1 if there is a rhyme scheme
+1 if it comes with music in the post AND the dialogue fits with the tune of the music
-These bonuses stack with other performance-based bonuses.

Marble Bag
-A blue velvet bag containing 20 marbles, mostly tigers, swirlies and crystals of various colors. When the user closes the bag, any marbles that were outside the bag are magically drawn back in, allowing the user to play without any fear of losing their marbles.

-Owl-shaped cookies that conjure an owl out of your Aura. Fulfills any one request and then vanishes.

The bird stumbles as he's grown to nearly twice his size, and looks down at the audience in confusion. They look up in amazement, laughing and applauding, with some even commenting about the special effects being pretty good. The bird chuckles and rubs his nose, then spreads his arms, giving a mock roar with a hoarse smoker's voice. He then sweeps his arm at his foes in a theatrical fashion.
[1d10+2] "Cleave" vs Alder and other two performers

Seeing themselves dragged into some kind of nonsense, the other two shrug and play along, fighting back against the big bird with their fireworks and a handful of magic missiles.


Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #3 5 + 1 = 6


[1d10] Knowledge check

Roll #1 6 = 6


You've heard the stories, the dreams and legends, passed around by sailors and half-lucid barflies in dim tavern-light, embellished and punched up each time by braggarts who claimed to have visited or even conquered it.

The Heart of Gold, according to its mythology, is an island of incredible riches and beasts – some stories put it in the clouds, others deep underwater, while others hold that it's somewhere out there in the many Rings of the Ribcage itself, just like any other island.

It is generally agreed to be the legendary horde of a sea-monster known as the Hunger, which alternatively takes the form of a long, coiling sea-serpent, or a hydra, or a whale, or even a cloud of albatrosses that share a hive-mind. The Hunger is said to eternally covet that which it does not have, hoarding it not for any greater purpose than for its own insatiable greed. The Heart of Gold then is said to contain vast plains of plundered gold and silver, relics from past civilizations, ancient cities lost to time, and even other islands, captured and held as trophies for the Hunger.

Of course, such an extraordinary island is sought by countless young and idealistic pirates and treasure-hunters, and the pursuit has led no small number of them to untimely deaths. Doomed voyages to uncharted waters and encounters with monstrously powerful sea monsters and megabeasts are the fates most of these expeditions face.

Unlike with many myths, the existence of the Heart of Gold is not debated; it's certainly not the strangest thing to exist in the Ribcage, which itself is said to draw all the odd and freakish creations of Mother Nature into itself. What is questioned is how one might reach it, and whether one should even bother. An Accompass could hypothetically find the way if they are presented with an item from that island, and it's this fact that inspires many explorers to collect and inspect any rare trinket they find in the hopes of finding that forbidden route.


>Cutlass 4/5

Last time on PirateQuest…

The circus performance reached a fever pitch, as the bored look on the Crimson King's face and pressure from the audience's high standards compelled the Pattern Juggler to collapse the last three acts before the intermission into a single chaotic mess.

Alder, Cloud and Cerulean were in the center of it, and what had started as a simple mock battle between Alder riding a capybara and a male Vola in a qurupeco costume became a fight against a giant, while fireworks and magic tricks were going on in the background.

Thessaly, now in the disguise of Jeeves, Queen Toko's favorite butler, became privvy to the Toko's paranoia about the Pattern Juggler and the Crimson King, and the possibility that they were going to betray her. Toko requested that her personal entourage of "killer bees" be brought back from The Golden Vein to protect her from harm.

Thessaly also caught wind of the Crimson King mid-negotiations with Queen Hurscurs, involving an artifact that could take one to an island called the Heart of Gold, a legendary horde of endless riches. The King, it seemed, was after that old pirates' legend, and was working with the Queens not just for the pleasure of the Princess of Embers, but for a clue toward finding the Heart.

Meanwhile, aboard The Golden Vein, Cutlass met the Yellow Jester, a demonic figure whose body had been modified by machinery and by a kind of magical chimerism, until she no longer resembled a pony, but a hodgepodge of metal, gears and various animal species. The Yellow Jester claimed to have healed Colobok's horrendous torture wounds, and even hinted that she would not oppose Cutlass depending on what she intended to do upon recovering Colobok.


Post sheets with your response.


"…It's possible," she concludes after some thought. "The Gates of Justice put together a dossier on all captives that end up at our prisons, but such reports aren't normally for soldiers of our rank to see, so I never saw anything about you. Colobok could have snuck into Schwartzwelt's office and read it. He'd do that sort of thing before some missions, I heard, just to find out ways he could avoid killing his target."

"We need to leave with him," Ossie says, glaring down the Yellow Jester. "Are you going to get in our way?"
"That depends… on what you're going to do when you've gotten him out," the Yellow Jester answers.


-Glasses with 8x magnification. Very handy for finding small details and focusing on far-off things.

-Forces the wearer to sing all their dialogue. They must roll every turn for quality of singing, which gets bonuses from the following:
+1 if it is in a consistent meter
+1 if it is in verse form
+1 if there is a rhyme scheme
+1 if it comes with music in the post AND the dialogue fits with the tune of the music
-These bonuses stack with other performance-based bonuses.

Marble Bag
-A blue velvet bag containing 20 marbles, mostly tigers, swirlies and crystals of various colors. When the user closes the bag, any marbles that were outside the bag are magically drawn back in, allowing the user to play without any fear of losing their marbles.

-Owl-shaped cookies that conjure an owl out of your Aura. Fulfills any one request and then vanishes.

>Alder, Thessaly, Cloud, Cerulean

The bird stumbles as he's grown to nearly twice his size, and looks down at the audience in confusion. They look up in amazement, laughing and applauding, with some even commenting about the special effects being pretty good. The bird chuckles and rubs his nose, then spreads his arms, giving a mock roar with a hoarse smoker's voice. He then sweeps his arm at his foes in a theatrical fashion.
[1d10+2: 12] "Cleave" vs Alder and other two performers

Seeing themselves dragged into some kind of nonsense, the other two shrug and play along, fighting back against the big bird with their fireworks and a handful of magic missiles.
[1d10+1: 4]
[1d10+1: 6]



Cloud grins as his magic not only works out greatly, but helps spur the show up a bit. Feeling relieved that this might tide over Pattern Juggler for this act, Cloud watches the simple show play out.




"Hmm…" Cutlass contemplates what Sparkler just explained. "I wish I knew that…"

"Anyway," she pushes the information to the back of her mind. "You're one of those jesters? I suppose that means you are on the side of the Crimson King? Which means you are on the side of the bees?"


>Soul Sight on Yellow Jester



Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3



She pretends to pay attention to the ongoing shenanigans on stage, trying to Jeevesdrop on more of their King's conversation.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Ah! Now, this is a fight! I'll need my special arrows for this!" the griffon shouts, giggling a little as the others get in the swing of it. He'll take just a moment to take a few of his arrows and tinker with them, quickly removing the arrowheads and replacing them with a few of his own feathers.

Nodding a little, he'll fire one of his now-harmless arrows at the bird!
>[1d10+1] Bow

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


Cerulean mulls over the props, thinking to herself.
Huh…these could all be very useful. Oh, cookie! She takes one of the owl cookies and takes a bite. She walks back over to the performance going on at the moment to see how Alder is holding up.


"It goes without saying that Schwartzwelt was still wary of you, even after giving you your freedom and this mission, so we were told not to inform you. I'm only saying this because the Yellow Jester let the cat out of the bag… and might've skinned it for a coat, as far as I can tell," Sparkler says with a disdainful glance at the Jester's appearance.

"I am a member of the King's Court, of course. So, whatever the King is after, I am after," the Yellow Jester says. Her eyes dart to the side, and then back, after a brief moment. "But the King doesn't know what he's after, not anymore. He might think that siding with the bees will get him what he wants, but I think he's just playing with bugs. I am not on the bees' side. It's wrong to think they even have a 'side'. A tool does not have a side; it has a wielder. It has no role in a situation but to be used by those who know best."

As you gaze into the Jester's soul, you see a small filly standing atop the deck of a dinky, beat-up little ship, overlooking the water with a wide grin as the dawn peeks above the horizon. A wild and rag-covered crew of pirates of all shapes and sizes, stands around her, a wide sampling of races from the Ribcage. Eight in number, each of them gazes beyond the horizon with the filly, all with determination and wanderlust.

The King bends down and hands a few coins to the guards and butlers, including the both of you. "Cycle out the patrols at the intermission, go give your legs a stretch or get another snack from the concession stand. Standing for hours must be boring."

Hurscurs glares at the King, then at you. "Give the coins back, you're not going anywhere. This is behavior unbetting a King, your majesty. Just because I will not permit you to see the artifact early does not mean you have to take our favored guards and butlers away."

The King shrugs, his frown stoic and frigid. "What a far-off conclusion that you have jumped to. I would not do something so barbaric as to endanger you over a disagreement in a deal… a deal I have been incredibly patient in, as you have changed conditions, requesting more and more of my funding and assistance before you will take me to the Heart of Gold. I am a civilized King, a demon of business and negotiation! I merely wonder: surely your guards would be better off with a break to keep their bodies and minds refreshed. What say you, everyone?"

The giant Vola roars, swaying as he's hit so as to make it look convincing, having caught onto your act. He roars, spreading his wings widely, and then slams his arm into the lot of you. The wind is knocked from your lungs, and he winces subtly, seeing he may have overdone it.
>Alder 5/4

A red, translucent sooty owl manifests from your aura and stands on your head. "I will give a hoot for a single request, my dear. What can I do for you?"

It sounds like an old, wizened crab.

The Vola stands back, spreading his wings with a call somewhere between a villainous laugh and a birdlike squawk, not sure whether he's a supervillain or in a kaiju film, and bends down to pick up two damsels, a large griffon and a young mare, from the audience. The mare squeals with delight. "Save me, save me!"

The griffon on the other hand, shakes her fist. "Did I ask you if you could touch the goods, ya damn dirty seagull!? Get me outta here!"


"Did I tell you you could touch the goods"*


Cloud looks down at the coin, paranoia settling in over it being a trap given how the show has gone so far. He looks up as Hurscurs bickers with the King, then stiffens up when the King directs to them.
"I can stand guard all day, it is no problem here! …But a quick refreshment would be nice to keep alert if any more weird acts come up."
He says stoically, then adding in the last part to hopefully get some food out of this.


behavior unbefitting a King*




"Well then, I have a deal for you," Cutlass responds slowly, working things out as she goes. "This might work out well for me, actually. A bit of an olive branch to the Crimson King. I care little for or about him. I just want to be free. I have no intention of hindering him. It's only unfortunate coincidence that I have to kill his tools here."

"They are in the way of MY freedom. I will not stand for that. No pirate would. They will die. And, to that end, I will be hijacking this ship. But, I have no intention of keeping it. I'm not stupid enough to put that target on my back. The hijacking is merely to cause chaos."

"Which leads me to the deal. I don't want to keep this ship, and you surely will want to ensure it stays in the Crimson King's possession. So, how about this? I hijack the ship, and you don't stop me. After all is said and done here, I return control of the ship to you."

"If you don't trust me, then you are welcome to stay by my side," Cutlass smiles and adds. "Maybe you could even stir up a little trouble with us. Sound good to you?"

>Whisper in your Ear [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


Cerulean winces as well as she sees Alder take a hard hit. She looks up at the owl, a bit surprised to see it so quickly.
"Ooo, neat. Hey, think you could give my friend over there some help with his 'arrows?' Oh, and make it look flashy! Like…oh, like pretend he fired you from his bow! But do more flash and not too much harm, okay? This is just acting…I think."


Shit, she didn't expect to get singled out again. She improvises what she thinks Jeeves would say. "A break would be welcome, but I am ready to serve my queens to whatever extent necessary. I am at their command." She bows respectfully to the Crimson King.


Alder winces a little as he's swatted aside like a ragdoll, rolling with the hit to the best of his ability. He offers a soft, reassuring smile to the bird, before (hopefully) swirling to all fours in a swift, graceful, almost dance-like matter. It's all a show, after all!

>'Get up' [1d10+2]

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12


"Me? The Yellow Jester? Work with a pirate? I wholeheartedly refuse! But that's a swell idea, so I'll kill you, take your skin, and do it in your stead!" the Yellow Jester declares.

Twin shadows streak by your head in an instant, but the Yellow Jester catches them both. You see her appendages holding Ossie and Sparkler's hooves back effortlessly, even as Ossie's and Sparkler's arms strain, poised to rip the Jester's head off. "Ladies, ladies, I need you to bring it down for me. Perhaps this voice makes it hard to transmit sarcasm."

A long snakelike tongue flicks from her mouth and licks her lips. "I knew it! I knew you'd ask me, but like a free refill from a handsome waiter, it is still so satisfying to see. This deal the King has forged with the Queens has resulted in me drawing some bad cards, but I had a good feeling that today, I'd get an ace."

Suddenly, you feel a cold weight atop your head. A key has manifested in your hat, a long brass one with many teeth. "You'll need that for the control rig. Come along now, we'd better hurry, while your crew is still alive up there."

The Jester starts to float toward the exit. "Leave Colobok here, this is the safest room for him for now."

Ossie and Sparkler dust themselves off, looking at you with surprise. "Did you just… put her on our side?" Ossie asks.

Hurscurs looks satisfied, while the King is unamused, but accepting. "Then, do as you like."
"And they like to serve me," Hurscurs adds vindictively.

"Right away, ma'am," the owl says, offering a little bow, as Alder stands with a flourish, looking now like a great hero. The other performers look confused, but supportive, doing their magic tricks and fireworks in the background to set the backdrop for the final confrontation.

The Vola stands above Alder, roaring as it holds the two damsels captive. At that moment, Alder sees a translucent red owl, made of Aura, fly in from backstage, and land upon his shoulder. "Hi ho there, old sport. I've been tagged in to be your arrow of victory, as it were. Fire away and put the finishing touches on this show, will you?"

The Vola roars, bringing back its foot to punt Alder across the room!
[1d10+2] Kick

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4


Cloud salutes, then turns back into place. He'll stand guard for the time being, more to watch how Alder performs than to actually guard. But his mind does drift to what he could pick up at the concession stand once an intermission hits.


Cerulean waves at Alder from backstage from where the owl flew from. He can see her cheering him on.



"Are you surprised?" Cutlass responds to Ossie with a cocky grin.

"Sparkler, you and the others stay here and protect Colobok. Make sure he is okay. Ossie and I will go alone with this Jester. And, do whatever you want with this one," Cutlass says with a grin as she gestures to the guard they have tied up.

"If you're able to get Colobok good enough to walk, then rejoin us."

Cutlass follows the Yellow Jester. "Just so you know," she says as she catches up to her. "You may want to avoid using sarcasm in the future. It certainly did not come through, and I can't guarantee we will hold back again. It's a poor stallion's form of comedy anyway."


"Indeed, Your Grace. If there is anything you require, do not hesitate." She stays firmly by the queens' side, waiting for further instructions while secretly still listening in on any further information she might learn from the two.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 6 = 6


Alder giggles to himself a little bit as he sticks the landing, but can't show it on the surface just yet! He looks to the owl as it lands on his shoulder, cocking his head to the side and humming a little.

"I see… well, then… care to make it rather flashy? I would like to avoid actually hurting him, though." the griffon says, looking towards the big bid in question. He lines up an shot and draws the string back, before shouting "Now, fly! Crimson Arrow, strike down my foe!" and loosing it towards the Vola!
>Ain't a bird shootin' another bird kinda wrong or something? [1d10+2]

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9


>I completely forgot to type this earlier, but Alder, Sickly Sweet and Godot whipped up the following potions for all of you. You each have 5 of these:
>Helltongue Potion
>Tag: Single, Ranged
>Function: A potion that instantly kills the white fungal parasites. A host that has the parasites in their body will have them purged instantly, and be immune to further parasite infection for about an hour.
>Description: An orange potion that is incredibly spicy, stored in aerodynamic bottles for easy throwing. The parasites were used by Queen Toko during the Reconquista of Kaco Island to decimate civilian populations and puppet their corpses, enabling her to control them in turn with her Aura ability, Infectious Lifestyle.

The last time you were there, you saw a wide assortment of candy, drinks and salty food: most of it was the usual fare for carnivals, but there were also many Ribcage-unique refreshments that you were unfamiliar with but tantalized by, as they smelled quite appetizing.

Nearby, the Pattern Juggler floats, chewing the end of his hoof with anticipation as he watches the King passively stare on, discussing matters with the Queens and the guards. Stray hairs stick out of the Juggler's mane, and his tail twitches in the plain body language of stress. "Damn it… damn it all. What's not good enough for him? Everyone else is finally getting into it, even the naysayers and detractors from earlier. What's got the Captain thinking that he's too good for my show?"

"I'm appalled, and I will ask you to never persuade me to do anything. A power like yours is far too great," Ossie says, trotting along.

The Yellow Jester leans her head back all the way, to the point where a normal person's neck would snap. "'Kay then, I'm more of a puppeteer than a comedian, anyway."

Leaving behind Sparkler and Colobok, the Yellow Jester leads you through the winding corridors and criss-crossing stairwells of the ship, eventually bringing you up to the third and final level. Upon the stairs, there is a great amount of blood, stray bits of torn flesh, and the shriveled, burnt corpses of parasites.

You head for a large glass dome atop the third deck. Inside, you see a massive, complex control rig, a feat of magitech, comprising many desks with many chairs, and even screens made of magitech showing various levels of the ship. Inside the deck, there is quiet, but you see a few of the ragtag recruits laying dead just outside the entrance. There is no sound coming from within the dome, and you see no movement either.

The Jester looks to you, curious for what you will do.

"Just an old myth, anyway," Hurscurs mutters. "Pieces of captured islands, ancient temples… what rot!"
The King looks on. "It is no folk-tale or fable. It is real. And, with all that gold in my hands…"
"Yes, you'll be able to buy anything from anywhere, won't you? Do try to buy a better attitude."
The King's gaze grows distant.



The aura owl rockets from the bow, zig-zagging through the air and flying circles around the giant Vola before finally striking him in the chest in a dramatic flair! The Vola stumbles, briefly kneeling to drop the two ladies safely, and collapses, holding out his hand in a final grasp at life. "I just wanted… some babes."

With a sigh, he collapses "dead," and the audience applauds, whooping and cheering. The performers take their bows, and some stage hands come out to drag the Vola backstage. As the audience throws roses and out onto the stage, Alder receives the most of them. While the mare that the Vola captured runs off with a giggle, the big female griffon glances Alder's way, her gaze lingering.

Quickly, the Pattern Juggler floats out. "Thank you all for joining us, and thanks to our lovely performers for this incredible show! Our intermission will be going on for a little longer than usual, so you've thirty minutes before the second half! Get up and get that popcorn while it's hot! But not the hopcorn! Hahaha!"


roses and money out onto the stage*


Cloud gives some applause as Alder finishes off the "battle" with a flourish, glad that went by without any real difficulties.

With the intermission, Cloud excuses himself with a salute to head to the snack bar to pick up a little treat with the coins provided by the King. He does feel tempted for the classic cotton candy or even a pretzel (and staying far away from any kind of popcorn here), but the new aromas of the foreign snacks are too tantalizing. Cloud checks over those newer Ribcage treats, seeing what they have to offer.


Cerulean now more vocally joins the crowd in cheering on Alder and the other performers.

Cerulean looks at the Juggler confused, then looks over to where he is looking at.
"Hey, what's wrong? Somebody you don't like or something?"



Cutlass giggles girlishly at Ossie. "You give me too little credit. My persuasiveness is my own. The aura just… improves your mood. It's not as if I'm controlling their mind."

As they arrive at the dome, Cutlass looks around in confusion. "There's not enough dead here. Where would they have gone…?" she thinks out loud.

Before entering the dome itself, she looks around to try to find any sign of what happened and where the rest went. [1d10] Master Thief if applicable

Roll #1 8 = 8


Her eyes narrow slightly, and she keeps up the facade. As the intermission begins, she follows Toko wherever she may go, offering to fetch the queen some drinks or snacks. She makes a mental note of where Cloud goes, to catch up with him when she has a chance.


Much of the new things consists of candied fruits, but you also some pies and cookies, and even a selection of ice creams, incluiding a parfait which catches your eye.

>Day-Mare Fruit: 2 Bits

>Jo-King Fruit: 3 Bits
>Par-Fate: 2 Bits
>Apple Clobbler: 2 Bits
>Give-a-Hoots: 2 Bits for 3 cookies

As you survey the control rig, you see that it is a bloodbath. No fewer than five of the new recruits lay dead, torn indescribably across their bodies, including severed limbs. All the cuts you see are clean wounds, surgical and precise.

Many survivors lay about, hiding under desks and against various fixtures of the massive control room, all covering their mouths in horror, their eyes wide and shivering. You don't see Make Believe or Schnitzel anywhere, but a few survivors shiver upon seeing you out on the deck. One of them shakily raises a helltongue potion up.

The Jester's eyebrows raise, but then she raises a hoof to her mouth for silence.

You see Toko heading out for the snack bar, muttering and swearing under her breath, but has to keep up appearances, waving at all the passerby. "Jeeves, keep these vermin ten feet from me," she whispers to Thessaly as she heads for the snack bar. "I want to get the biggest bowl of ice cream they have for what I'm putting up with here."

Thessaly and Cloud notice one another as they both head outside for the snack bar.

The Pattern Juggler floats back to you after the show is done, holding his head in his hooves. "It's the Captain… Captain Crimson Sky… I don't care that he calls himself the Crimson King now, this is my show for him. But, he's just… he's just sitting there! He hasn't smiled, he hasn't laughed, he hasn't groaned… at this rate, I'm going to lose him to those Queens! Damn it! What am I doing wrong! You were there, you saw all of it! I had on such a great show, but what was missing? Why wasn't it good enough for him?"



Alder bows a little bit in response to the cheering, offering an excited wave to the crowd and bouncing around a little. He's a tad surprised by the number of roses, and some of the lingering gazes- especially the large griffon. He offers her a nervous little wave and a smile, before looking back to Cerulean and waving giddily to her and the others back stage!


The other performers crowd around you, all clapping you on the back, full of praise for your performance. "Nice work, there, boy!" Perfect Pair comes out to say, offering you a little cup of rum. "Here, keep it up for the second half, will ya?"


Messed up the linking in replies. See the response that starts with "You see Toko heading out for the snack bar," in >>708466



Cutlass furrows her brow, trying to figure out what happened and why they are hiding. Then, it clicks. Her eyes go wide, and she freezes in place. She panics momentarily, not wanting to have the same fate befall her again.

She moves nothing but her head. Slowly, her eyes scan the room meticulously for the slightest hint of movement. She listens for even the tiniest thump.

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 5 = 5


-Day-mare Fruit: Sour purple fruit that makes you vividly recall that one really embarrassing thing you did when you were a teenager
-Jo-King Fruit: Crown-shaped yellow fruit with a spicy inside. Puts you in the mood for telling jokes, and causes those jokes to be way more funny than they have any right to be.

-Give-a-Hoots: Owl-shaped cookies that conjure an owl out of your Aura. Fulfills any one request and then vanishes.
-Par-fate: A parfait that, when consumed, gives you portents of things to come.
-Clobblers: A cobbler dish that, when consumed, gives +1 to max Hits and Wounds, as well as +1 to unarmed combat, til the end of the day


Cerulean's eyes open a bit more at hearing that name, and her tail gets a tad twitchy.
"So that's the Crimson King, huh?" Cerulean thinks for a moment, then gets a slight idea as she looks back at The Juggler.
"Well, I don't know much about shows and stuff, but I think he might want some 'engagement.'" She grins a bit as her thinking on the fly continues.
"Hey, you know that strong lift show I want to do? How about a competition, instead? With him." She points at the Crimson King.
"I'd bet a curse-laying jerk like him would love to show off in front of a crowd like this."


Cloud approaches the snake bar, mouth watering as he sees the collection of fruits. He can't decide over which to pick, but luckily they just had a pretty successful looting that morning. Cloud tosses down 7 bits on the counter, buying a Day-Mare Fruit, a Jo-King Fruit, and then a Par-Fate, of which he starts into immediately as a nice cool soothe to the fire snakes from earlier.

Cloud takes no notice of Toko as she comes in, too enraptured in his food at the moment.


Before his bite though, Cloud remembers to cancel his spell on the Vola, to let the bird return to normal size now that that act is over.


As you suggest a competition, the Pattern Juggler pauses, then scoffs and chuckles, which quickly grows to be an uproarious laugh. "Sorry, sorry, but that'd honestly be too good! The Captain would've never refused a chance to embarrass someone in front of a crowd – whether it'd be you or him!"


He then sighs. "…but I doubt he'd even look our way if we called him out. It's not just that he hasn't smiled during this show. I have not seen him smile in months. Years. I've been with him how many years now? Must be well over 100 years by this point… This isn't just a case of boredom, is it? I hoped it was just due to the setbacks we've been facing with finding the Heart of Gold… but who am I kidding? I could tear myself into confetti, you could go up there and throw him into a clown costume and dance the can-can, and it still wouldn't be enough. I haven't been able to get a reaction out of him in years! I haven't gotten him to explore an island, to drink with the crew, to share stories of the past! It's all money, money, money, that he cares about now! Money, and this ticket to the Heart of Gold that Toko has!"

The Pattern Juggler stops floating and slumps into a chair, resting his head on his hoof.


"O-Oh, goodness! T-Thank you, all of you. I-I just tried my best!" the griffon chirps, accepting the cup of rum and sipping it down slowly.

"I-I hope your attempt goes well, Miss Cerulean! I am sure you will, what is it… knock it out of the park?"


"Of course, Your Grace." She starts doing her best to make way for the queen, shooing other circusgoers away so she can have her fill. Once that is done, she excuses herself to Toko, saying she needs to go to the bathroom and would also like to check up on the injured guard. Assuming this is granted, she steps away for a moment to visit the aloo snackbar herself, picking up a Give-a-Hoot and a Par-Fate, eating the latter.

Spotting Cloud, she makes her way over to him and pulls him aside somewhere a bit quieter for a moment. "Cloud, it's Thessaly," she says in a low voice, once she gets a chance. "How goes it on your end? I've learned quite a bit of interest so far. And, I think I have a plan in my head for when the time comes."


Cloud's eyes widen as the butler comes to pull him aside, nearly choking on his next bite of parfait.
("…Really?") Cloud whispers as Thessaly introduces herself, ("Give me some warning next time you change disguise. Nearly gave me a heart attack.")

("I think I'm looking good with the guards for sticking around through all these crazy shows, so that's a plus. …I think. Other than that I haven't really seen anything good or noticed any openings, aside from the Queens and the Crimson King bickering quite a bit.")
Cloud says.
("Alright, so what's your plan?")


You see a bullet roll across the floor of the control room, creating a tiny whirring sound as it rolls. From the ceiling drops a massive bee zombie, its body grotesque and bulging, ten feet long. It lands upon the ground with a great crash, but the survivors lay there in silent horror as the bee raises its head, blindingly twisting to catch more sounds of prey. Parasites writhe beneath its skin, plain to see in the bloodless wounds on its body, and in the hollow of its eyes. Ossie raises a helltongue potion silently, gesturing to the door.

As you bite into each of the snacks, a series of feelings comes over you.
First, a sour flood of embarrassment rises up in your gut as you recall Chiu calling you out on your first, blind date together, for not having brought any money to cover your bill at that really expensive restaurant, two years ago.
Next, the embarrassment is chased away by a spicy feeling of good cheer and humor. Inexplicably, you really feel like cracking jokes, suddenly more confident in your humor.
Finally, the feelings are all chased away by a premonition of the future: You behold Queen Toko laying on the floor of the circus, twitching and spasming as the audience laughs and cheers about her, in the frenzy of the show's grand finale. The Pattern Juggler floats overhead and laughs in utter joy at the sight, claiming that it is all part of the act. Suddenly, bullets and cannonfire ring out as the mafia attacks the circus, firing indiscriminately at everyone inside, including the Queens, the Crimson King, and the crew of the Beesting.

It's powerful stuff, and nearly knocks you off your feet, but the warmth of the drink is bracing, and you feel your confidence eke up a bit from it.

Toko pouts when you request to leave, but reluctantly allows you to take a little absence, calling over other guards to protect her while you're off. You then pick up your snacks, and as you eat the Par-Fate, you are overwhelmed by a sense of cold, and a far-off vision:
Cannonfire, gunshots, fire crackling and spitting, swords digging into flesh. The circus erupts into chaos and madness as the mafia enters the scene, slaughtering everyone in sight in their attempts to take out the Queens. They even gun down members of the Beesting, disregarding your alliance. The survivors flee for the transport ships at the dock out back, where the Beesting and Secret Assassins wait. Not without great losses do you make it there, just as The Golden Vein arrives, armed with incredible firepower, leveling the carnival.


Cerulean looks at Juggler a bit somberly now. Hearing all this, she looks back at the Crimson King, slightly wondering if she's been wrong to assume he was just this massive jerk that was just some 'evil for the fun of it' kind of guy.
"Heart of Gold? You sure he doesn't mean the expression 'having a heart of gold?'" She looks a bit bewildered herself now as she tries to piece this new information in somewhere on this ever-growing puzzle.
"So wait…is he trying to woo some lady because of her having something? He might be miserable cause he doesn't like this Toko for being…whatever Toko is like?" She hums a bit more, looking at the Crimson King.
"Or maybe he feels his life is…empty? Like when you just eat and eat and eat, but you just don't feel full, so you gotta take a swim through a coral reef or two to see something nice and stuff."



Cutlass silently telekinetically takes the helltongue potion from Ossie's grasp. Then, she slowly telekinetically opens the door so as to not make a sound.

She bites her lip as she carefully floats the potion closer to the zombee's face. Once it is within a close distance, she quickly jabs the open potion into the zombee's empty eye.

[1d10] [1d10]

>I figure it would be most appropriate to roll first for being undetected and second for being successful.

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 1 = 1


Alder comes in and hears the Juggler speaking with Cerulean.
"He cares not for Toko. The only woman he ever loved, the mother to the Princess of embers, is long gone now, having split off to form her own crew," the Pattern Juggler says, and spits with contempt. "The Fire Witch. Death would be too good for someone like her."


"The Heart of Gold! You must be from the outside if you've never heard of it. The legendary island of a colossal, covetous sea-monster, the Hunger, who kept a horde more valuable than anything a mortal has held there. Mountains of gold, jewels, magic scrolls, paintings, statues, plants with miraculous properties, holy artifacts, fleets of ships, ruins from long-lost civilizations, fossils from primeval sea-monsters! Anything that stirs up greed and the need to explore is to be found there – the greatest treasure of the Ribcage! It is a place that creates and destroys dreams!

"Captain Crimson Sky wanted it more than anything, and led us on a great hunt for it for many decades. We even became demons, just so we would no longer age, and could search for it for as long as we needed. Still… we never found it, even as we tracked down countless leads and dug up every clue we could, but it was hardly a disappointment for me. The Captain was the one with such lofty ambitions of conquest and explorations. I was happy just to see what was beyond each horizon. Perhaps I secretly hoped that we wouldn't find it, but that we would always search for it, and get pleasantly lost along the way.



"O-Oh, goodness. S-Strong stuff, ehehe…"


"But now, the Bee Queens are offering to take him to the Heart of Gold… and he agreed. He searched for it for decades, eager to be the first one to set foot on its untouched sands, the first one to see that cosmopolis of treasure, the first one to take it all for himself… and she's going to simply escort him there, as if he were just a tourist – not the captain of renown and infamy that I once served."

"If someone had offered to take Captain Crimson Sky to the Heart of Gold, or to give him an item from the island so that his Accompass could lead him there, he would have shot that person dead where they stood. The Captain hated to purchase or to be given things that he could take with his own two hands. So, he never bought anything, and he never accepted a gift or a bribe. Gold, jewels and all other valuables were just an afterthought to him when compared to the act of adventuring and hunting something down himself."

The Pattern Juggler's voice slowly becomes quiet and tender. "His longing to find the Heart of Gold was what compelled him to take to the sea in the first place. It's what led us on our endless journey to so many islands… It's what inspired members of our crew to give their lives in battle for his sake. What would they say if they saw him purchasing his way to the Heart of Gold, after all that we gave up to find it ourselves? And, with his Aura Abilities, he will have so much gold that he will be able to, not conquer, but purchase all of the Ribcage for himself. He will have all of it under his sole control, not because of battle or blood or sweat or journeying, but by simply buying it! What more will there be for him to do? There will be no new horizons to see beyond, no new lands to explore, no more mystery… only the dreadful eternity of an unlimited lifespan before him."

The Pattern Juggler looks back at you, his gaze longing and conflicted. "If I let him go through with this, our journey will be over. Our dream will be dead… and so too will be my Captain."


Her lip curls, and she takes an involuntary step backwards, accidentally bumping into a bystander. She almost curses in Gaeilge, but catches herself just in time and apologizes politely. She takes a minute to process what she's just seen; it bodes ill, no matter how she slices it. Already slightly on edge, she is now more paranoid than before, as the vision could mean anything for her. She swears under her breath in Gaeilge, starting to regret having ever crossed paths with Cutlass.

"There was no time. I had to keep up the mummers' farce." She doesn't apologize.

"I suppose my disguise would make me privy to more sensitive information. It seems the King has made an alliance with the Queens in order to seek the Heart of Gold. A legendary trove somewhere here in the Ribcage. Toko is also starting to get nervous. She sent me to warn the Vein of her suspicions and call for backup. I, of course, did not oblige her, though she certainly has my trust."

"My plan is thus: When the time comes and the show reaches its crescendo, I shall offer to fetch drinks for the Queens to enjoy. Spiked with antidote, of course. Then, proclaiming it for all to hear, I will slit Toko's throat and pin the deed on the King, to break his alliance. In the ensuing chaos, we shall both have to fight our way out, and once we have an opportunity, lose these ridiculous disguises. I shall contact the Beesting and the heads of the families to make them privy to this plan. How does it sound to you?"


"Bizarre… do you think something he encountered may have changed him? That does seem like a rather… bizarre shift of personality." the griffon says, scratching his chin a little.


This had to be the most still and somber Alder would ever see Cerulean as this rather tragic tale was being told. She did a double take between Juggler and Crimson, as if not believing that that mopey-looking person in the stands was this same guy Juggler was talking about that sounds like so much fun.
"Something just doesn't add up, here. From what you're saying, those Bee Queens should be dead and you guys not having this issue. There's gotta be something missing. Like…like the Queens having something else about him. Or something super important of his hostage or ransom or whatever." She looks at the Juggler seriously.
"Wait, is that why you're making everything so hazardous? Are you…trying to take out the Queens? I won't say anything if 'yes' 'cause honestly, you're a great friend if you're trying to help him so much that you'd try and kill for him."


A cloud of shame comes over Cloud as he remembers that first date, feeling even more guilty as he looks at all the food he just bought for himself.
Then he nearly chuckles as the good humor comes in from the next dish, but a twinge of guilty comes as he feels elated right after that previous thought.
Then a cold sweat forms as Cloud sees the vision. He feels dread, the vision feeling as if it were reality. He exhales, looking down at the parfait glass, not knowing if the food was tainted, if it was a warning vision, or if maybe the King had something to do with this given the coin he offered. But what he does know is that he has to get the others out of there before the show ends, no matter what.

"Yea, wasn't really a good time to say it before."

"So they're teaming up for treasure? That's really bad news if that king gets any more. Hmm… but really good if we could intercept that…"
Cloud muses in thought.

Cloud snaps back to the matter at hoof, listening to the plan.
"That sounds good… But, I have a bad feeling."
Cloud leans in close, pretty close to make sure nopony else hears.
("I think Pattern Juggler is going to try and get Toko in on the show. It's gonna be some big spectacle, but then the entire tent, circus, and everypony is going to be attacked. We need to get this done fast if we're going to do it.")


In your careful attempt to get the potion closer to the zombee without making a sound, you temporarily lose your grasp on the tiny cork, and it slips and falls to the ground, making the tiniest of clattering sounds.


Still, this is enough for the zombee to screech and rush forward, spilling some of the helltongue potion onto its hand as it knocks the bottle to the ground in its stride. When the potion sears and burns away its fingers, the zombee hisses and bellows, thrashing about in pain, swinging wildly at all nearby, which includes three of the terrified survivors.

[1d10+2] Zombee cleaving at 3 survivors
[1d10+2] DC - 1 Ossie flings a potion at the zombee.

[1d10+2] The Yellow Jester waits, her eyes darting back and forth as if quickly reading across a page.

Droplet pokes your chest from within the pocket's disguise. "Any way I can be of service?" he whispers.

"I… couldn't say for certain if any one thing changed this," the Pattern Juggler says. "When you take over an island, you can't just leave it without management, and so he began to take more and more time to lead them, to oversee their politics and finances. So much of his time was now spent not conquering, but ensuring that which he had already conquered didn't simply fall apart or rebel against him the moment he was gone. I told him to simply instill puppet rulers, but he wanted to do it himself, his ego wouldn't let him hand it off to someone else.

"But after that, we began to get so much income through taxes and donations… what started off as a small-time pirate crew of people who came from nothing, penniless rejects, the refuse of society… now we began to have so much money we knew not what to do with it all. Need, lack, want… all of that dissolved when all of that money came in from those islands. Everything we could ask for, now we could simply buy. Perhaps, that's what started it. What is the most important quality for a pirate to have, that without, he is no longer a pirate? It is hunger. To need something but lack it, that is hunger, that is what drives people to the sea, where they may be starved, drowned, starved, poisoned, hanged, blown to pieces… it is because they have a hunger for what they do not have. That is the treasure that all pirates have. And the King lost his."

He suddenly looks up, frowning as if he just conceived of an incredible idea.

"Yes, that is why I have been causing such mayhem. I cannot allow this to happen, no matter what… but if I killed Toko myself, he would undo my immortality curse and have me killed, then I would not be able to make him smile again. If, on the other hand, two small-time pirate crews killed her, it would disrupt all his plans, throwing all his careful calculations, bribes and purchase into disarray. Most importantly, it would strike at his ego! The anger would consume him, just as the anger he inspired consumed everyone he met, and that old pirate spirit would awaken from its slumber in his heart. Cerulean, Alder, I beg you… before this show is over! Slaughter the Bee Queens… earn the King's ire… and kindle the great spirit of piracy in him once more!"

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


At the very least… it all tasted pretty good!


Cerulean seems to perk up to this idea.
"Tell ya what, if you can get him to undo this death curse he put on an island of Misties and Gusties, you've got a deal. Though even if you can't, I would still probably do this anyway. And considering how mad I can make Cutlass at times, making Crimson angry should be easy for me!"


Cerulean gets an idea of her own.
"So, you think any of the Queens would want to be called out for a contest and totally not meet with a happy little accident?"


Her eyes narrow at the idea. "I have seen an ominous portent also. Of the circus in flames. I may have to accelerate things and strike before the grand finale, otherwise I shall not have the chance once the Juggler brings her on stage. Hmmm…"

"A generic disguise would not go awry," she muses. "Just in case. Could you make one for me?"

Regardless of her answer, she proceeds to call both Bee Holder and the remaining mafia heads, relaying her plan to them.



"Don't waste the potions by throwing them! Be precise," Cutlass calls out to Ossie as she throws one. "Shit," she mutters under her breath as she realizes her mistake.

She quickly pulls out another potion as she takes a few steps back. She telekinetically tries to jam the potion into the zombee's eye socket again. [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Ah… unfortunate, I suppose. But, such things could get to anyone." he says, shrugging a little

"And, I would have to agree with my compatriot- we need a curse upon the Gusties and Windies lifted."


"You had a vision too? So it wasn't a bad snack then."
Cloud mutters.

"We'll need to work quick too. Did you see Pattern Juggler during that last play? He looked like he was gonna freak out until I made that bird bigger to spice it up for the audience. I have the feeling if anything falls flat from here out, he'll probably take everypony out before either of those visions do."


She nods. "Something vexes him. I feel like either him or the King are up to something. Perhaps the Juggler is planning to go rogue?"


"I can have it broken. Their curse, just like all of the curses upon myself and the other members of the crew, is bound to an object aboard The Heart of Gold. With its destruction shall be the end of their curse, and their freedom. I'd nearly forgotten about them. But if you do this, you shall have my eternal gratitude."

He checks his hourglass. "Damn, the intermission is nearly up. We've five minutes to go. Everyone, get ready, they'll be coming back in soon!"

"A contest of…?" the Juggler asks. "I doubt they'd be willing to set hoof on the stage, even under social pressure. Trying to bring them out would be a serious faux pas, and may not fly. There is also the matter of you lot escaping alive after killing the Queens; the whole tent would come down upon your heads if you did that."

"Coming right up. Any requests?"

You inform the mafia heads about the plan, and they affirm it, assuring you that their personnel will be on standby outside the perimeter of the carnival, armed and ready to rescue you lot should anything go awry. This is a far cry from what you saw in the vision. Next you tell Bee Holder about the plan, and also mention what's in the vision. Bee Holder merely scoffs. "Heh. What a rotten thing to do, shooting us in the back like how guards do. Of course, we're teaming up with the mafia. They trade in slaves, drugs and lives. Without more context, we cannot say for sure whether what you saw will happen, but assume it to be the case. Fight back if needed to keep yourself alive, but get to the dock out back. The Beesting will be in position early with reinforcements. I don't leave people behind."

The zombee knocks three of the recruits into the walls with heavy crunches, and they slump over, immobile, leaving blood on the walls. Ossie's potion breaks upon the creature's head as it thrashes, and much of the potion flies about, searing the creature's body as it thrashes, creating great burns all over its form.

Then, just as it fixes its stance toward you and Ossie, and charges forward toward you. The Yellow Jester, who was not in danger of being hit, floats behind it in the air for some reason. The zombee attacks, and as it does, it knocks the bottle you launch into the air… and it lands precisely in the grasp of the Yellow Jester, who slices it open with her mantis claw, and the potion spills upon the zombee, causing it to spasm as it is burnt from tip to fail, melting into a flaming puddle of muck, the last of the parasites in its body dissolving.

With that, the survivors let loose sighs and cries of relief, coming out from their hiding places in the control room. "Was that the last one?" Ossie asks.
"Yes, we killed the other!" one survivor reports.

>The intermission will be over and the show will resume next round


"True. Sorry, I'm not really good at subtle stuff. Oh, but I might know someone who is good at that stuff. Okay, then its a deal!" Cerulean smiles to Juggler, then walks off to a backstage area.

Cerulean uses the callerconch to try and ring up Thessaly.
"Hello? Hello, Thess?"


"Understood. And… it is? Goodness, time flies… well, I am sure we will be ready for it!"

"Oh, already contacting the others? Good!"


is bound to an object aboard The Golden Vein*



"I don't know. He attacked us when we first entered the Ribcage, nearly sinking us before handing us a coupon for his show and leaving. And you say the way he looked at us when the show started, I think he just loves chaos and causing a mess. And looking at the show so far, I think he's just warming up."

As the intermission nearly comes up, Cloud nearly is about to walk back to guard duty, but he stops and takes a quick moment to call up Chiu on his Conch.


Before heading back, there are also some alcoholic drinks on sale.
>Temperate Tepache: Soothes the nerves, puts one's mind at ease, and relaxes compulsions. Removes any mind- or emotion-based status condition. 5 bits.
>Proud Pulque: Puts vigor into one's confidence, giving them the chutzpah to try the impossible and even to turn fate around. Allows the user to re-roll any critfail. 5 bits.
>Mammoth Mead: Makes one as sturdy as a mammoth, keeping them from being knocked over easily. Actions which would cause you to fall helpless only make you lose 1 wound instead, and you are restored to full Hits if they are at 0. 6 bits.
>Whiny Wine: Makes you much more likely to pout and feel sorry for yourself. Who would even drink this? 4 bits.



"Well done," Cutlass nods to the survivor. "Those grotesque things are quite annoying. Where are Schnitzel and Make Believe?" she asks without stopping.

As she speaks, she quickly looks for the controls for where to put the key in. [1d10] master thief

Roll #1 5 = 5



"And well done to you as well, Jester," Cutlass adds quickly as she continues to look. "Your timing was perfect."


Chiu is quick to answer. "What is it, Cloud? Everything okay?" she whispers. "I'm heading back inside now, the intermission's nearly over."


"Nothing conspicuous," she tells Droplet. "It is an escape plan, after all. Perhaps just a change of face and clothes."

"Understood," she tells Bee Holder. "I shall not be in disguise when I arrive at your ship, so look for my coming. Best of luck, captain." With that, she hangs up and prepares to return to her post, but not before quaffing one of the antidotes herself and heading to the bar. There, she rather hastily drinks a Pulque and picks up some tall, bubbling champagne flutes for the queens from the bar, steadily making her way through the crowd back towards the bleachers.

"As is evident. He seems to live for the spotlight, that one. We will have to be extra cautious, shan't we."

"Enough chatter. We have a face to put on, do we not." She nods sharply towards the exit. "Ádh mór, Cloud." She stiffly nods goodbye and heads off to finish the mission.

She hisses sharply as someone starts calling her, ducking into a nearby alcove to take the call. "Who is this?"


"Yea yea, I'm fine. I… just want to give you a heads up. If you see the queen go out on the stage, I want you to get out of there, okay?"
Cloud says, with a strange tone of seriousness compared to how he normally is.
"And when we're all done with this, I'm taking you out for dinner. The whole night will be on me."
He adds after.

Cloud says with a nod, and then confusion at her foreign phrase.
"…Uh, good luck Thessaly."


"It's me, silly! Cerulean!"

"But hey, you won't believe what I just found out. These bee queens apparently have some special access to some huge treasure spot! And Crimson over there is only along for the ride cause…I dunno why. Juggler said he was some super cool pirate that took everything he could and stuff, so really weird that he'd just buy his way to this treasure."

"Oh, and Juggler is on our side! He doesn't want to see his best friend find what he's been searching for in such a lame way. That's why the show has been so wonky and crazy. He's been trying to kill the Queens as well."


"…Right. Cerulean. Hello." She pretends to know who that is; the name vaguely rings a bell.

"Yes, I have discerned as much as well," she answers. "I am poised at the top, masquerading as Toko's favorite butler. It is as pleasant as it sounds. Cutlass will be most intrigued by these news, shall she not."

"…Ah. That will be a problem. Cloud and I had suspected as much already, but it is good to have confirmation. Our plan had been to strike during the climax of the show and blame it on the King, but if he is going to have her killed as well, perhaps we shall have to do so earlier." She proceeds to outline the original plan to Cerulean. (See >>708485 for a description of the plan, fuck typing it out again)


Cerulean listens and nods as the plan is laid out to her.
"Okay, great, but hey, you think you could sorta have it pinned on us instead? We sorta need him to want to get back to piracy and stuff, so we gotta make him mad or something. And what better way than denying him his huge feast…of treasure! That, and Crimson seems totally bored just being in charge of things."

"And totally! I'd bet Cutlass would love to hear about this Heart of Gold place as well. But hey, show is about to start back up, and I think I might be up soon. Make sure to cheer nice and loud for me, okay?! Bye!"


>just to add on in the middle of the blame bit
"You can even blame it on me. I'll be more than happy taking the brunt of the heat from Crimson if that helps any."


You take your places once again, and as the audience is seated, Cerulean and Alder see the Pattern Juggler smooth out his mane, wipe his eye and nod to them in gratitude. He then floats out with a wide smile, twirling as he surveys the audience with renewed life. "Welcome everyone once again to the World Classic Carnival! For the second half of our show, we've stepping it up even further than the masterpiece we had in our first half! Be on the lookout for flying objects, and try not to throw anything in there yourselves! Ladies, that means you gotta stay clothed! After all, we're going to be kicking it into high gear! What would happen if several performances were to be mixed together!? What splendorous chaos might ensue? Leeeeeeeeeeet's find out!"

He laughs, and gestures to the curtain, and a giant aquarium is rolled out, nearly the size of the arena itself, containing four sharks in one piece swimsuits, with nametags on them: Mr. Gills, Mrs. Gills, Gilliam and Gillgamesh. "Please put your hooves together for the Gills family, as this is their final show before retirement! And joining them tonight is a new performer, a volunteer! Introducing the lovely miss Cerulean Splash!"

>Cerulean, feel free to type up an intro

"Understood. Sickly Sweet just passed on a message from Bee Holder, apparently from Thessaly. I know about the 'fireworks' that the mafia's putting on at the end. I'm not leaving without you, though. If you're in disguise, grab me by the left shoulder and say the safe– uh… say 'rainstorm'. You know that'll get my attention," she says with a laugh.

"I have to go now, they're seating us. I love you."

"They got split off from us, a big guard patrol was coming up the left side at around the same time that we began our attack on the guards in the dome," a survivor reports, kicking some dead guard bodies aside. "Godot and Plague got here a little while after you with some reinforcements from the mafia, said they tried to contact with you earlier by Conch but couldn't reach you."

After a little while, you hear Schnitzel and Make Believe coming up with their forces, all badly injured, toward the glass dome, where Ossie and Miss Sunshine meet and assist them.

At the forefront of the main control console, you see a slot for the key, alongside a magitech version of a helm, as well as a plethora of dials, gears, cranks, and so forth. Various magitech monitors are nearby, showing the different levels of the ship, and its many dead guards, among which lay some of your recruits. On the first level, you see the Secret Assassins' crew tying up several surrendered guards after a battle.

"Oooh! If we're headed back, I bet the circus is still going on. I'll have to call the Pattern Juggler and let him know we're on our way." the Yellow Jester says, pulling out her conch.



"Hmm… Perhaps it would be best not to say anything at all. Let the squatterbloats of Aristar yell at each other and point hooves over it. I suppose Ishall have to make up my mind when the time comes. But yes. Your idea is a sound one too, Cerulean."


"I dunno what a squatterbloat is, but that doesn't sound like that would get his pirating spirit back. See, I think most of this is tied to the fact he has all these islands under his control, so he's got a bunch of money that just making him all…bland and boring and stuff. So what better way to get him back to things than having us, a small school of fishes, just really mess him up? Plus, then we'd have a name and infamy. That's stuff pirates want, aside from not being eaten by the likes of me, right?"

"So I can just say I staged the whole thing so they'll be after me, him especially. I should be center stage when it all happens, and you guys don't even need to announce yourselves or anything, neither. Just hide or something like a sneaky eel."


>Thessaly 6/4
>Cutlass 5/4
>Alder 5/4
>All else at full

Last time on PirateQuest…

The circus finally reached its intermission, after the Pattern Juggler, about to snap from pressure and a perfectionist streak, threw two more performances to go alongside Alder's theatrical mock "battle" against a male Vola (a member of a sapient, bipedal bird species distantly related to griffons) dressed up like a qurupeco. After Cloud increased the Volan's size with magic, Alder defeated the Volan with assistance from Cerulean and a Give-a-Hoot owl made from her Aura.

During the intermission, the party learned several important points. Alder and Cerulean spoke with the Pattern Juggler, who revealed that a great deal of his pressure that night came from a deal that the Crimson King had made with the Bee Queens. In exchange for his financial and personnel contributions toward capturing Kaco Island, the Queens offered to take him to the Heart of Gold, a legendary island sought by countless pirate crews. One of these crews was the pirates of The Golden Vein, led by Captain Crimson Sky. This was the Crimson King's name when he was a mortal pirate. The King had long since given up on being a pirate, abandoning his dreams of finding the Heart of Gold for himself. The Pattern Juggler, being one of the King's first crewmates, the sight of his friend and Captain becoming a boring, soulless dictator, more concerned with money than adventure, was unacceptable. He asked that Alder and Cerulean kill the Bee Queens, in the hopes that disrupting the King's plans would stir him out of his stupor, and rekindle the spirit of a true pirate warlord in him once again.

Thessaly and Cloud met up during the intermission to discuss the plans, and partook of an ice cream dish called a Par-Fate. Both had a grisly vision after consuming it, wherein they saw the mafia attack the circus, indiscriminately firing upon everyone inside, including the members of the Beesting and the Secret Assassins. Now, in addition to the assassination, they'd have to deal with the treachery of the mafia once the show was done.

Cutlass spoke at length with the Yellow Jester, who revealed that she cared not for the Bee Queens. She believed that the Crimson King had made the wrong decision to work with them, and that he did not know what he truly wanted anymore. She did not elaborate more than this, but when Cutlass offered a temporary alliance in the name of stirring up chaos for the King and the Bee Queens, the Jester readily accepted. They captured the control room of the ship while the Secret Assassins' reinforcements killed and captured guards on the lower decks.


"They got split off from us, a big guard patrol was coming up the left side at around the same time that we began our attack on the guards in the dome," a survivor reports, kicking some dead guard bodies aside. "Godot and Plague got here a little while after you with some reinforcements from the mafia, said they tried to contact with you earlier by Conch but couldn't reach you."

After a little while, you hear Schnitzel and Make Believe coming up with their forces, all badly injured, toward the glass dome, where Ossie and Miss Sunshine meet and assist them.

At the forefront of the main control console, you see a slot for the key, alongside a magitech version of a helm, as well as a plethora of dials, gears, cranks, and so forth. Various magitech monitors are nearby, showing the different levels of the ship, and its many dead guards, among which lay some of your recruits. On the first level, you see the Secret Assassins' crew tying up several surrendered guards after a battle.

"Oooh! If we're headed back, I bet the circus is still going on. I'll have to call the Pattern Juggler and let him know we're on our way." the Yellow Jester says, pulling out her conch.


"Understood. Sickly Sweet just passed on a message from Bee Holder, apparently from Thessaly. I know about the 'fireworks' that the mafia's putting on at the end. I'm not leaving without you, though. If you're in disguise, grab me by the left shoulder and say the safe– uh… say 'rainstorm'. You know that'll get my attention," she says with a laugh.

"I have to go now, they're seating us. I love you."

>Thessaly, Cloud, Alder, Cerulean

You take your places once again, and as the audience is seated, Cerulean and Alder see the Pattern Juggler smooth out his mane, wipe his eye and nod to them in gratitude. He then floats out with a wide smile, twirling as he surveys the audience with renewed life. "Welcome everyone once again to the World Classic Carnival! For the second half of our show, we've stepping it up even further than the masterpiece we had in our first half! Be on the lookout for flying objects, and try not to throw anything in there yourselves! Ladies, that means you gotta stay clothed! After all, we're going to be kicking it into high gear! What would happen if several performances were to be mixed together!? What splendorous chaos might ensue? Leeeeeeeeeeet's find out!"

He laughs, and gestures to the curtain, and a giant aquarium is rolled out, nearly the size of the arena itself, containing four sharks in one piece swimsuits, with nametags on them: Mr. Gills, Mrs. Gills, Gilliam and Gillgamesh. "Please put your hooves together for the Gills family, as this is their final show before retirement! And joining them tonight is a new performer, a volunteer! Introducing the lovely miss Cerulean Splash!"

>Cerulean, feel free to type up an intro


Cerulean makes her way out onto the stage wearing a long robe due to it being slightly chilly wearing just the one piece. She happily waves to the crowd as she walks out to center stage with the aquarium. Once there, she does a spin with her tail to get the robe wrapped around it like spaghetti around a fork. She then flings the rolled up ball of robe towards the backstage area, showing herself and her fit, one piece glory to everyone in the crowd. She doesn't look bothered by it and gives a big grin as she's feeling pretty pumped up right now.



"How fast can this thing go?" Cutlass asks the Yellow Jester as she works out the plan.


She goes silent on the line as she considers this. "…It would risk bringing the full wrath of the king down on us, but… perhaps it will help, as you say. Very well. I shall consider doing so when the moment comes. Got now though, I must go. The show is about to begin, and I should be at Toko's side. Thessaly out."


As the show begins anew, she offers the champagne flutes she'd picked up to the Bee Queens. "Refreshments, Your Majesties?"


Name fix



Alder giggles a little and flutters up to pat Cerulean on the shoulder, before saying "Good luck out there! I will be watching!"



"Have I ever said you're too good for me?" Cloud says, chuckling, "I'l come right for you if anything happens. Love you too."
Cloud ends the call, quickly heading back to the stands to stand at guard duty, looking far more determined than he did in the first half of the show.


The crowd loudly voices their approval, with many ponies whistling, stomping, whooping, even barking and clapping as they admire your form. You step up to the aquarium, finding that it's already fitted with rings both above and below the surface of the water for you and the Gill family to jump and swim through, as well as inflated beach balls, large sea-monster skulls and bones, as well as several glowing orbs which illuminate the water in various colors. Stage hands wait just outside the tank, with more props contained in a cage. There are various dumbbell weights, the kind you might see in old cartoons, and even more ponies in bathing suits, ready to be used and tossed around like props.

The Gill family, already in the water, swim about in circles, eager for you to join. "A bit of fair warning, dear," Mrs. Gills says via electroreception. "We like to play rough during the show. Might take a bite out of you by accident! But feel free to bite back; that's just how we do it!"

The Queens take the champagne flutes, briefly thanking you as the show resumes once more. You notice that Queen Toko has drawn up more of the guards and the butlers around her. She's formed a phalanx of five of the guards around her, while Walter and Alfred sit before her, which leaves the other Queens and the Crimson King sorely unprotected.

"Where'd that other guard go? Still in the medical tent?" Toko asks you peevishly as you hand her the wine.

As the show begins, you see a bit of stirring and an undercurrent of anxiety among the crowd, but it's hard to discern what the cause is at first glance. Roll perception.

As the show resumes, your conch starts to vibrate, indicating that someone's calling you. You hear another vibration nearby, and see that the Pattern Juggler is also backstage. However, as you look out at the stage, there is another Pattern Juggler, floating before the orchestra as they prepare to perform the next song. It seems that copying himself is another one of his powers. The Pattern Juggler floats away as he picks up his conch.

"With our distance from the carnival, we should get there within the hour at normal operating speed," the Yellow Jester replies. "Or, if you prefer, you can increase the engine speed with the lever to the bottom-right of the helm. At higher speeds, we should get there in under forty-five mintes."

Your conch starts to vibrate again. On the magitech monitors, you see that your allies on the first deck are making steady progress through the ship's defenses, but have suffered quite a bit of casualties themselves. They reach the second deck before they are ambushed by a heavily-armed patrol squad, who assault them with gunfire and swords.


Alder looks between the two Pattern Jugglers, a little confused, before deciding to just make note of that for now and picking up his own conch, to hear who it is!



"How many do we need to operate this ship effectively?" Cutlass asks the Yellow Jester. Before he can give an answer, she turns toward the rest of her men. "Everyone except for the amount we need, go reinforce the ones fighting."

"You're staying with me," she says to the Yellow Jester. "Help me sale this. We're heading to the shore to get things started. Also, is there any way we can help the fight from here?"


Cloud's ears perk, feeling the bit of anxiety as he looks around. After the past shows, bringing out sharks might be making some ponies uncomfortable, but after that vision he won't let anything slide past him.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


"No worries. I didn't get these scars already by not being careful in a reef," she says to them in the same way and gives a jump right into the tank, grooving her body around as she feels right at home.

Right away she goes to lift one of the medium-weighted dumbbells. Easy enough in the water, but she swims up to hold it above the waters surface while still keeping herself above water, doing a slight spin for the crowd.

>Tough: They can also lift, carry and move heavier objects than unicorns and pegasi.


Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


The cogs in her head turn as she sees the security around her doubled down. She'll have to find another way to get physically close to Toko, it seems.

"I'm afraid he is still indisposed, Your Grace," she answers. "Seems he took too many painkillers, and… well, he will be safe. He's just sleeping it off."


"Alder? It's me," Sickly Sweet whispers over the conch. "I've got to keep this brief. I'm in the bathroom and the Honeydew Family have their eyes everywhere. Bee Holder informed me of a vision that Thessaly and Cloud had during the intermission. The two of them foresaw that the mafia would attack the circus just after the grand finale. I thought it was just jitters, but the fact that the both of them had almost the same vision makes me think there's more to it. When are you performing?"

You scan around, but upon second inspection, the crowd seems to be calming down now. You could have sworn it was otherwise not a second ago. Something is clearly off.

The Yellow Jester whispers into her conch for a little while, giggling like a young girl as she talks, which sounds more like a high metal screeching, like swords being sharpened, or scissor-blades being scraped together as they cut through something delicate and vulnerable.

"A minimum of eight are needed to steer the ship properly," the Yellow Jester replies. "One for each of the control stations, monitors, gauges, and weapons controls. Unfortunately, we've no weapons that can be operated on the ship itself from here. Or, you could send someone down to the armory for their weapons. Or, you can go to the treasure room and take something from there."

The Yellow Jester floats over to the controls, while your forces split themselves again, leaving behind six to assist you in steering the ship. Those that leave meet up with Miss Sunshine and the others, and then head back down to the second level to help the battle in progress. Miss Sunshine runs inside, panting and sweating. "Who'd I miss? Where do I do? What do I go?" she asks breathlessly, clearly not prepared for the adrenaline rush of battle.


The orchestra starts to play an unconventional tune as you come up from the water. It sounds more suited to a fashion show, but is groovy nonetheless. You twirl the weight around, and as you do, the crowd claps for your power. Not to be outdone, the sharks dive for the bottom to pick up weights of their own, and come up to do some tricks of their own.

[1d10+1] Mrs. and Mrs. Gills
[1d10+1] Gilliam and Gillgamesh

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11



Toko scoffs and sips at her champagne flute, gesturing for you to sit between her and the other Queens and the Crimson King. "Another idiot out of the bunch. How'd I get stuck with this security detail again…?" she whispers to herself.

You notice something amiss with the audience as a wave of anxiety passes through them while the show begins. Roll perception.


>Note that all of the Jester's dialogue is supposed to be in the other font


[Huh, maybe I'm just feeling paranoid.]
Cloud thinks, not noticing anything off. It is better to be safe than sorry in this situation at least. Cloud gives a glance over the rest of the guards and the VIP bleachers, then tries to listen out through the crowd, hoping his bat hearing still works through the disguise to maybe pick up any passive chatter.
>Echolocation [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


"A-Ah. Oh, uhm… that sounds rather bad. I believe I am the last performance, or one of the last at least… w-what should I do?" he asks, ruffling his wings and flicking his tail nervously.



"Go to the armory," Cutlass orders Miss Sunshine. "Find the biggest weapon you can figure out how to use. Use it against the enemy."

Cutlass takes to the controls. "Let's get this thing moving. Full steam ahead."

Once her role in the operation is done (or at least requires less focus), she finally answers the Caller Conch. "What?" she asks impatiently.


"If it would please Your Grace, I could contact the hiring agency after the show, and see to it that they are reprimanded for their incompetence."

Noticing that some of the circusgoers seem as nervous as she is, Thessaly assesses the crowd passively as she watches the show begin.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 7 = 7


Cerulean, seeing the others perform well, does a small spin to toss the dumbbell fairly high into the air. She then sinks down slightly, then surges upward to breach the surface. She aims to go through one of the hoops, catching the falling dumbbell on her way back into the water.


>Earthly Affinity: When on chosen terrain, your rolls to recover from helplessness are DC4 and traversing on your home terrain is automatic.

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


As you listen to the crowd, you pick up snippets of dialogue. People are taling about the mafia, and a vision of violence at the end of the show, but other voices, lower, more gruff, deny such things, downplay the concerns, or simply call the concerned parties crazy or drunk. You can't tell who's doing this, but there are multiple people doing it.

"Keep up with the act until we've taken care of the targets," Sickly Sweet says. "We've sent word to our other forces, and they're gearing up in preparation. When the bullets start flying, head for the docks out back. We won't leave until we've got everyone, and that includes all of you."

"Uh, um, uh–" Miss Sunshine stutters, pacing in place til the Yellow Jester laughs.
"Second level, port side."
"Okay, I'll be there and back before you can blink!" Miss Sunshine vows, speeding out of the control room.

With the Yellow Jester's assistance, you weigh anchor, and get the ship moving toward the carnival with a great lurching, creaking, and the stirring and wooshing of engines far below. The guards are thrown off balance by the sudden move, giving your crew the edge they need to swarm around them and kill the last of the guards.

"Cutlass, it's Bee Holder," the voice on the conch says. "We've got a problem. I've got word on the mafia. They intend to attack the carnival after the show's climax."

"Yes, we need to just go back to buying slaves again for forced conscription. I wish I hadn't let Alfred talk me out of buying slaves from Kaco Island. The irony would've been delicious, but bringing slaves back to the island of their captors would've caused insurrection and riots. Can you believe that anyone would ever dare to turn their guns on me!? The rightful ruler of the whole Ribcage!?"

You recognize several mafia figures, from all three Families, among the crowd, as well as many ponies who clutch bowls of Par-Fate, with concerned looks. It only takes a moment to piece together that you and Cloud weren't the only ones to have that vision; these concerned people are too. However, as you listen in, you hear the mafia members downplaying the concerns of those who had the vision, and it looks like their persuasion is working to quell the fears, which only confirms what you saw.

You nearly flub the catch and almost drop the dumbbell, but are able to play it off as mere fancy hoof-work after going through the hoop. Next, a few ponies line themselves up at the aquarium's edge, and the Gill family scoop them up on their backs, leaping through the water and bouncing their rides up and down with the waves!

[1d10+1] Mr. and Mrs. Gills
[1d10] Gilliam and Gillgamesh

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


these concerned people have too*



"And?" Cutlass asks. "Are you concerned that we can't handle ourselves until then?"


"A-Alright. I'll try to keep it cool as long as I can." the griffon remarks, tucking his conch away into his bags,


Cerulean follows their lead, coming up to the edge to approach one of them. Being that she is not a shark, she can't exactly give the pony a ride like the other sharks could. But she gave the pony a wink to play along…then proceeds to (gently) grab him with her mouth and do a mock 'shark attack' to make the crowd (hopefully) gasp in some terror. She drags the pony down into the water, circle around while gnashing her teeth, then proceed to use her tail to slam (strong toss) the pony through a hoop and to safety, making it seem like the pony was able to escape.

>Slam. Crit 8+, DC-1, +1


Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


[Did they overhear one of us?]
Cloud's worry rises, it would make sense the mafia would keep word down if they want to take out the queens, but having ponies already stationed inside to keep tabs is not a good sign.
He keeps an eye and ear out around the VIP section if anypony approaches, so he can be ready if they make a move. In the meantime, he settles to watch the show as Cerulean and the sharks begin to leap around with weights.


"I couldn't agree more, Your Grace," she says simply. Whatever it takes to put this madwoman at ease, she thinks.

As she realizes what's going on, her eyes narrow, and she shifts in place uncomfortably, playing it off as adjusting her butler's uniform. She shoots Cloud an anxious look, but doesn't risk talking to him, in case Toko grows suspicious. She tries to shake her paranoia, instead focusing on Cerulean and the other sharks below. "How droll," she comments softly, to no one in particular.


"Indeed I am," she replies. "Not everyone you've recruited is a match for the mafia's tactics and numbers. This is based on a vision that Cloud and Thessaly had. Assuming it's accurate, they'll be attacking with greater numbers and weapons than us, without a care of whether they kill my crew and yours along with the Queens. A captain doesn't leave any ally behind."

"Roger. Stay safe. I can't exactly sew you back up if you're splattered all over the walls, eh? Oh, that was a bit grim. Try to stay positive, won't you?"

After you hang up, the Pattern Juggler floats over with a slim smile. "Oh-ho-hoho… Allies are a beautfiful thing to have, dear Alder. One of mine is on her way to assist your party right now. By the way… I was meaning to ask you earlier. You and I both know how dangerous the pirate's life is. None who have a reasonable chance to make a livelihood in any other field would willingly become a pirate. With skills like yours, you could establish yourself as an apothecary anywhere. Why then be a pirate?"

The crowd gasps in both real and theatrical terror as Cerulean snatches the pony and starts tearing through the water with him in her grasp. A little shocked, the pony hangs on for dear life, until he's flung through the air. He does a couple loops, then lands in the arena, stumbling once he hits the ground, but manages a pose before he flops down, out of breath. The crowd, now focusing back on the show and away from their concerns about the mafia, applaud and cheer.

"We're almost at the end, let's give it a proper send-off!" Mr. Gills whispers to Cerulean via electroreception.

Each shark grabs a prop – weights, bones, beach balls and one of the divers, and starts to swim around in a circle, building up speed. One of the stage hands nearby brings out a very large ring, and floats it out over the aquarium. In sequence, each member of the Gill family leaps for the ring, intending to form a bouquet from the water they launch around as they jump!

[1d10+1] Mrs. and Mr.
[1d10] the Sons

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



At first, Cutlass looks at her conch in confusion as if it's malfunctioning. Then, she fully processes what Bee Holder said.

"Oh. You mean they'll be attacking us too," Cutlass says in an annoyed tone. "Be more clear."

"If they want to attack everyone in the circus, then the solution is obvious: don't be in the circus when they arrive. This can easily work out better for us. It means we can devote less of our own people to this and not feel at all bad about it."

"Not that I'd feel bad either way," Cutlass adds with a laugh. "Oh, and on that note," she adds in a disgruntled tone. "Don't tell me how to be a pirate."

"Anyway," she says, suddenly in a far more cordial tone. "You know what to do. I'm coming with some firepower now. Once the fun starts, fight your way OUT of the circus. Let the fools kill themselves."


She continues to watch the show, occasionally stealing a glance at Toko to try and judge her current mood.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2


Cerulean decides to grab one of the glowing orbs as her prop, giving a big ol' burst of speed as well with the other sharks. The holds the orb behind her in her tail so the aquatic bouquet has a slightly illuminated look to it and breaches through the ring. In the air, she tosses the light orb playfully at the VIP section, specifically at the Crimson King, making sure to give a wink on the way back down into the water for a grand splash.

>Sprinter: DC-1

>Tough, Earthly Affinity

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12


Cloud watches in a bit of horror as Cerulean snatches down the poor pony, almost believing it until he's tossed out and lands with a pose. He feels foolish at thinking Cerulean would be so feral, feeling slightly as ease as the show goes on without a hitch.


Alder jumps a little and lets out a panicked squawk. Looking over to Pattern Juggler, he gives him a nervous smile, before thinking back and sighing a little. Wiping the smile off of his face, he says "T-To be honest? I-I want to prove myself. I can not do that if I merely settle in and open a shop."


Somehow, you can hear Bee Holder smile with grim mischief through the conch. "Did I tell you I like you more and more each time we interact? Don't ever lose your edge, my dear."

"We'll be waiting at the docks for our forces, then escaping once we've everyone. Let's lay low at that tiny island we found the Helltongues on."

Bee Holder hangs up, and through the windows of the control room, you see your forces, bleeding and dirty, coming up the stairs, with a group of ten demon and soldier bee guards captured and tied up. A lot of them look greatly demoralized, even those who are only lightly injured. Both Schnitzel and Make Believe are shaken and wounded.

"To… prove yourself?" the Pattern Juggler asks. "I'm not sure I understand. To whom, or to what? Do not take this as a slight; I truly want to know."

Cerulean steals the show, coming up with a brilliant plume of water, illuminated by the crystal light orb, which she launches at the King. For a brief moment, the orb seems to waver in and out of reality, surrounded by a dull golden Aura, but the King raises his head; the Aura vanishes, and the orb flies at him like normal. He catches the orb, and the force of it flying at him splashes water over all the VIPs and the guards there as well, much to the Queens' annoyance. The King tosses the orb to Toko. "A souvenier, my most honored guest."
Toko squirms uncomfortably as she orb lands in her lap and gets her whole dress wet. "Jeeeeeves…! Return the favor to the King!" she seethes, while the other Queens laugh and applaud Cerulean, not bothered by a little splash.

Meanwhile, the crowd stands to give Cerulean her most well-earned applause for her spectacular finish. Stage hands come out and wheel the aquarium to the prop storage once they've had their proper applause. Inside the aquarium, the Gills family pant and float inert for a while, thoroughly exhausted by their performance.


Cloud looks up with a little worry as the ball flies at the King, not sure how he'll react. But as it looks favorable, Cloud gives applause at the good show and Cerulean's act, not minding getting drenched.


She proceeds to dab away the water as best she can with her little handkerchief. "Shall I splash him with your remaining champagne, Your Grace?" she asks phlegmatically.


[1d10] dabbing

Roll #1 5 = 5


"W-Well, to my people. I was not always of much use at home. I-I figure, if I go off, and come back rich, and with tales of glory… maybe I would be seen better?"


Cerulean gives a bow to the crowd before leaving to the backstage area. She couldn't help but giggle a bit from the Queens' reactions to be in the splash zone.

She follows the other stage hands backstage, looking to the Gill family with electroception. She's panting a bit as well, but she seems so hyped up from the crowd's energy to really show.
"That was great! You all were amazing yourself. Shame you'll be retiring, but seems like you'll be going out to a loud applause at least."



Cutlass turns around and sees the group arriving from their victory with captives.

"Captives?" she asks, confounded. "Who do you think we are? We're PIRATES. We take valuables. We take weapons. We take alcohol. But, we don't take captives. They're a waste of resources. Kill them. If they didn't want to die, then they shouldn't have fought for queens who fuck with pirates."

"Now, once you're done killing these fools, I'm seeing a lot of demoralized faces on my crew. I can't imagine why. We just won the biggest prize this island has to offer. No, I don't mean this ship. I'm talking about the treasure on the ship."

"A disturbing mechanical birdy told me there's a store room. Go find it and relieve it of its valuables. Be back here in 45 minutes."


"If it makes sense, I am a little… eh, underwhelming for my tribe. I want to be seen as something greater."


"Do it, do it!" Toko urges Thessaly after she dabs away most of the water on Toko's dress, which is albeit still darkened by the water that was already soaked in. Toko passes her the champagne glass, half-empty. "And get me a refill once you're done!"
"I will pay you a handsome salary of ten bits if you do not," the King says. "I imagine that is quite the raise in comparison to what meager table-scraps your impoverished Queen gives you."
Toko turns white, a vein bulging in her forehead.

The Pattern Juggler gives the first genuine smile you've seen from him. "For the pride of your people? That is a beautiful motivation, I wish you the best of luck in its pursuit."

He grimly looks to the King as he starts to float out toward the stage. "And should you ever lose sight of it, I hope that you will have an ally who will set you back on the road to your goal."

The Gills float about, stretching and lounging in the water as the main stage hands bring out the next act. Others come by the aquarium and toss in some fresh fish, which the Gills quickly snatch up to regain their energy. "Ah-ah, we're not retiring just yet! We still have our race to get through! Save the sappy words for after you've finished in dead last," Mr. Gills says cheekly, bumping Mrs. Gills on the nose with his own.

"Actually," one of the captive guards pipes up. "Historically speaking, pirates rarely killed the members of an enemy crew, and it was this that led to many crews surrendering during battle. This in turn enabled post-battle negotiations to be more nuanced, given that captains knew that they could bargain for the lives of their cre– blurgh!"

Make Believe quickly slits that guard's throat, and after he sets the example, the rest of your crew follows suit, killing the captive guards one by one. They seem a little disturbed about being ordered to massacre those who can't fight back, but the rugged shock of battle still lingers about them. However, as you bring up the treasure, they look to the Yellow Jester, who smiles and nods. "Yes, please, take as much gold as you can carry from the treasury, and all the baubles you can hold too! Look for that one mare you were with, on the second floor, port side."

Your crew nod in obedience and head for the treasury.



You see a second Pattern Juggler float out from backstage, in addition to the one conducting the orchestra. The one before the orchestra vanishes shortly thereafter. "A wonderful performance, indeed! Can you believe that Miss Cerulean is merely a volunteer? I know I'd love to have her on as a permanent member, but alas, I cannot take a pirate away from her voyage! Putting that aside, I've a treat and a special announcement for all of you! We'll be doubling up on our next few performances, after receiving word of a… new development in tonight's events!"

The King raises his eyebrow.

"Yes, there's going to be an explosive special event, coming up toward the end! Even I could not have forseen such a lovely twist! Be sure to pay attention as the night comes to its close, my little ponies… perhaps I meant more when I said we'd be painting the tent red!"

Toko gulps.

"Now, onto our next performance, please welcome Perfect Pair, his clown troupe, and Veda of the East!"


An explosion of color and movement erupts from backstage, as dozens of clowns fly out, some cartwheeling, others leaping and bounding and throwing pies around. Perfect Pair, the lead clown, drives out in a strange little mechanical vehicle you have never seen before. It's a clown car. It's much too small for him, the three other clowns packed inside, and a lone, turban-wearing elephant who is cramped up on the dashboard with an annoyed look on his face.

>Cloud must roll to dodge pies in the face


"W-Well… t-thank you, Mister Juggler." the griffon says, flicking his ears and rubbing at the back of his neck. He snaps out of the somewhat fuzzy state by the announcement of the red tent, and tries to get himself back into focus. If something happens, he needs to be ready!



Cutlass smiles as the first (annoying) captive is killed. "You forgot to say the p-word," she says with a grin as his life fades away.

Then, Cutlass lets out a combination of a 'tch' and a snicker at her crew giving an obedient nod. "I appreciate the obedience, but we are pirates! Show some enthusiasm when you get to take treasure!"

[1d10] to raise the crew's spirit before they leave for treasure

Roll #1 9 = 9


Cloud considers chiming in, but decides to keep facing forward as guard.

When a second Juggler floats out, Cloud blinks, making sure he isn't just seeing things. When he's sure he isn't, he fills with dread at the sight of two of them, a feeling that only deepens at his colorful language.

He watches on as the troupe of clowns all pour out, nearly reflexively ducking as the pies fly out at him. But, he decides instead, to try and catch them, cause there's no way a pie would be laced or bad or anything from a clown.
>Catch [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


Cerulean gives a giggle.
"Careful, or I might make you eat my bubbles," she says with a playful grin.

Cerulean looks on the new performance, looking excited to see what is about to happen next. She can't help but begin to chuckle a bit at their crazy antics.


She gets some vindictive pleasure at seeing Toko squirm, but maintains her stolid veneer. As much as she'd like to rub it in Toko's face, she deems it best to keep up her facade, so that Toko still trusts her. After a moment of hesitation with the champagne in hand, she wordlessly tosses what's left right in the King's face, then turns back to Toko with a stiff little bow. "Seconds all around, Your Majesties?" she asks the Queens, as if nothing had happened.


As you berate them, they respond with a somewhat disheveled but spirited yell, raising up their arms and swinging around weapons as they run down the stairs to the treasure room.

After a little while, they come back, their pockets stuffed with gold, with jewels and pendants hanging from their ears and necks, having grabbed and thrown on whatever they could carry. They dump pools of gold onto the deck before you, and Make Believe comes forward with a velvet blanket. He unravels it before you, revealing a plethora of items. Here's some choice loot. There's this huge gatling gun we found too, but Miss Sunshine can't get it up the stairs, so it's rigged up on the second floor.

On the blanket, you see a circlet designed like a two-headed serpent, a glass bottle, a silver bell, a kaleidoscope, and a multi-tool. OOC: Their effects are listed below in the spoiler text in case you prefer to find out their effects by using them first. Be sure to share!

Serpent Circlet
-A fitted chain circlet that is commonly worn about the head. The chain is held by a clasp at the back, and can be adjusted so that it can be worn as a bracelet, anklet or necklace. It is made of silver and depicts a two-headed, coiling serpent. The serpent can be telepathically asked for commonly-known facts and trivia about anything that the general public might know about. It usually cannot answer about obscure, esoteric or any other secret subjects.

Messenger Bottle
-This bottle can teleport to anyone that the user has previously met in person, and can transmit any item placed inside it. The opening is as large as a coin, so usually this only consists of paper, papyrus and parchment. To send it to someone, place it in a body of water and say "Off you go."

-A silver bell on a bracelet. Conjures an Aos Si maid from the Sidhe, who performs various housekeeping duties and lectures you on your eating and sleeping habits, as well as all your other vices.

The Robber's Accomplice
-A folding multitool, containing tools favored by thieves, robbers and pirates of all stripes. It has a lockpick, a wrench, a set of pliers, a shiv, a screwdriver, tweezers, and a blackjack. Using this provides +1 to any action that might require their use, and allows one single re-roll on critical failure. Creative use of this item can yield bonuses in a variety of situations, as long as it is RP'd. Stacks with Master Thief's bonus.

Aura Tool: Kaleidoscope Historian
Aura Type: Psi, Amnis
-When this kaleidoscope is focused on a single person, place, or thing, roll 1d10. On success, it can learn everything that the target did and everything that happened to them within the past 48 hours. By twisting the kaleidoscope, the user can cycle back through past events. Illegal in most places, and you are more than likely to get attacked if someone sees you with one.



The King does not react as you throw the wine in his face, his expression a solid block of apathy. He in turn wipes it off with a handkerchief, and turns back to the show. "What interesting forms revenge takes."
Meanwhile, the Princess of Embers laughs uproariously at the disrespect you show to her faher, guffawing as the feathers on her head stand straight up like a peacock's.
"Yes, please," the Queens say in unison. Toko gives a little wink to Thessaly as a reward for the act.
"Ah, if you're getting up, mind if I tag along?" the Princess asks. "I'd like to stretch the legs a little, but father doesn't let me go anywhere without a guard… and as we've discussed, these ones here are sorely lacking."

Cloud is merely hit in the face with a pie, lemon meringue flavor.

What follows is a bizarre, high-energy explosion of clowns, honking horns, knock-knock jokes, flying pies and slapstick humor, all while Perfect Pair, the head clown in the most extravagant, poofy and brightly colored outfit, goes on a joyride in his tiny car around the arena, at times even drifting and doing donuts in the center of the arena, nearly running over several other clowns in the process. Meanwhile, the turban-wearing elephant (Veda of the East) attempts an escape routine by squeezing himself out of the clown car, but it's not going so well for him.


Cerulean continues to watch the performance, still giggling at the simple, slapstick humor.



Just going to assume there's some source instructions on these things for expediency. Maybe Yellow Jester explained off camera or something.

"Ooh, nice!" Cutlass says as she takes the serpent circlet. "It matches you nicely, Sir Pent," she comments to the snake hiding in her dress. She wears it like a necklace closely clasped around her neck.

She also pockets the Robber's Accomplice.

Cutlass then takes the Messenger Bottle and puts the Maid-to-Order inside of it. "Someone take this and send it to Cloud, please," Cutlass says with a grin.

"We'll figure out what to do with the kaleidoscope later."


Cloud pauses as he's hit in the face. He's honestly not sure how he expected to go any other way. He licks his lips, and accepts the blow, not letting any of that pie go to waste.

Watching the show go around in classic circus humor, Cloud has some ease on his shoulders, laughs here and there at the clown antics. When it's time for the elephant to come, but trouble sets in, Cloud decides to aid a little bit as he did before. Eyes glowing, he works his magic to shrink Veda of the East just a tiny bit to be enough to pop out of the car (hopefully in an amusing tumble from the force on a now unstuck body), and ending it after he's freed.
>Wax/Wane [Minor Temp Shrink on Veda] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Alder watches the display and lets out a frantic little giggle, before rolling around on the floor. His composure's broken, but at least it's for a good reason!


Several choice Gaelic swears run through her mind. She had hoped to sneak away, make sure Jeeves is still under, and store away some poisoned champagne for later, but it doesn't look like that'll be happening. "If it please Her Majesty," she answers, and looks to Toko and the King for approval. Assuming they give it, she will go to the bar, grab more champagne flutes, and return to the Queens, without attempting to engage the Princess in conversation.


What if some of the other guys want some of this stuff too? We shouldn't have all of it to ourselves, should we? Make Believe asks.

After you grab the champagne and attempt to head back quickly, the Princess stops you, taking you by the arm. "Hold on now… I want to talk. Let's sit, shall we? Well, I say 'shall we', but you don't have much of a choice," she says with dry amusement, gesturing to a table near the concession stand.

Following Cutlass' orders, one of her crew puts the silver bell in the bottle, corks it, then tosses it into the ocean far below. Over at the circus, Cloud feels a sudden weight in his pocket, and sees that a glass bottle with a bell on a bracelet inside has magically ended up in his pocket.

From backstage, a buffalo in stereotypical cowboy garb comes up, a pair of guns at his hips. He raises his hat, chewing a stem of wheat that's like six feet long. "You're Alder Frostclaw, I take it? Change of plans. Things are accelerating, the Pattern Juggler tells me. My sharpshooting show is going on at the same time as your tapdancing routine. So, I'll be shooting at you when we go on in a minute or two. Try not to get hit, will ya?"

With Cloud's help, Veda of the East manages to squeeze out of the clown car, tumbling and flopping over in a farcical flop. The performance takes a turn for the macabre as Perfect Pair switches out of the driver's seat for Ruby Curls. Ruby then proceeds to act as if she doesn't know how to drive, sticking out her tongue and honking her nose. She then proceeds to crash into the other clowns, sending some flying and simply running over others. She and perfect Pair act out a dramatic fight for control of the wheel, and in the process end up hitting other clowns. However, it's quickly apparent that none of the clowns are actually hurt, cushioned by a layer of Aura as they are hit and land. The hit clowns nevertheless put on an angry act, and chase the clown car backstage, threatening to hit the clowns with their rubber chickens and bowling pins and so forth, much to the crowd's amusement.

This leaves poor Veda of the East to stand in the middle of the arena, clearly starting to get stage fright as he doesn't know what to do without something to escape from.

"Oh, god, someone help him…" Mrs. Gills whispers in pity.


"Gladly," she says, trying to muster as much enthusiasm as she can, but failing miserably. She sits at the table. "What shall we talk about, Your Majesty?"


Cloud watches as this turn, realizing that he ruined the poor elephant's act. He thought he was genuinely stuck in that tiny car! Cloud sweats a bit, trying to think of how to re-help this show. A lightbulb goes of, as he tries to call up some roots from underground to crawl up and wrap around the elephant in a straight-jacket get-up, hoping he catches on.
>Earthen Grasp [1d10]

Cloud looks away from the act as he feels something drop into his pocket. He reaches in and slips out the bottle, confused to what it is or where it even came from. Does he open it? Should it be left alone? That vision is showing to be true, so this might be another tip of advice to help this all turn out okay. He decides to uncork the bottle to see what the bracelet is.

Roll #1 9 = 9



"Someone else can have the kaleidoscope, I don't need it," Cutlass answers with a dismissive hoof-wave.

"How much longer until we're in range to fire?" Cutlass asks the Yellow Jester.


"Shooting? O-Oh, that is a little…" the griffon looks around nervously, and offers a short nod. Picking himself up off the ground far more nervously than before, he finally speaks back up with "G-Got it. I'll try."


Cerulean, hearing this, gets a slightly devilish idea. She goes over to the aquarium and puts on one of the sea monster skulls, then her hide armor made from sea creature parts. The music crew to play something a bit tense to make it seem like the stage fright is part of the act.

Cerulean then exits to the stage area, making it obvious to the crowd she's creeping around by 'sneaking' around comically like the clowns were before. Just as the music gets to a high point, she leaps out into the spotlight of center stage in front of Veda.


"I want to pick your brain a little," the Princess says, laying her hands out on the table. With a forefinger, she traces circles around on it. "My father doesn't want me to use Aura in the slightest, but I've been trying to get whatever information on it that I can in the past weeks and months. All my life, and my new life as a demon, I've never had to strive for anything. After all, my fathe can buy literally anything tangible with his Aura abilities, but come on, one of these days I'm going to get married! Again. For the… twentieth… time. I think. I lose count. But I'll have to move out, and provide for someone else and for myself! So, I want to use Aura too, if for nothing other than that. I guess what I'm saying is… can you teach me, while we're out here? It shouldn't be hard, right? Just wave your hands and say some dumb words, like how all those idiot witches and wizards do."

Make Believe shrugs and wraps up the remaining stuff back into the the blanket.
Looking out over the horizon, the carnival is coming within view, growing larger upon the horizon. "A mere 20 minutes at this current rate," the Yellow Jester reports. "All guns are operational, they merely need the personnel to load and fire them."

However, there seems to be trouble. As you approach the carnival, you see one of the Crimson King's smaller ships turn off its patrol course at start to head your way, likely in response to the early return of The Golden Vein. "Uh-oh," Ossie whispers. "Orders, captain?"

It just seems to be a silver bracelet with a bell on the end. The bell has interesting runic script upon it, and a sort of pre-medieval illustrations below that, seeming to depict ponies in a mythical forest landscape, surrounded by wild fairy-like beasts.

Cloud quickly traps Veda of the East, and the elephant panics, unsure of what to do now that he's bound up, whether it was an intentional part of the show all along. But then as Cerulean leaps out before him, he shrieks and rolls backwards, snapping the roots that bind him, and just sort of keeps tumbling along backward until he makes it all the way backstage, where he comes to a stop, shivering and wide-eyed in shock.

"Well, that was… definitely something! Always a surprise to see how different performances will play out. Only at the World Classic Carnival will you find such oddities, courtesy of our high skilled performers and spur of the moment lineups! Now, will you direct your attention to our next act, Alder Frostclaw and the sharpshooting legend, Isaachar!"


"A mere twenty minutes."*

Apparentlt that font doesn't have numbers.



Cutlass grins. "Sinking that little vessel into the ocean is as good a start as any. Everyone, get to battlestations. We have some hell to raise!"

[1d10] to rile them up again

Roll #1 6 = 6


Cerulean goes backstage as well, taking the skull off and going up to Veda.
"Hey, sorry to spook you big guy. You okay?" She gives Veda some gentle pats on the shoulder while also undoing the more bulkier parts of her armor.


Alder offers a bit of a nod to Veda as the elephant heads off-stage and the griffon heads on. He's back in his tap-dancing outfit, and tries his best to expel any worries before waving and chirping excitedly to the crowd!


She clasps her hands on the table reservedly, impassive as ever. "I will not deny it, Your Grace. I do indeed know how to use Aura, and have for many years. However, it is not something that can be taught so easily. From my understanding, it functions similarly to the marks of ponies. Aura is not something that can be taught, as far as I know. Not initially, at least. You develop Aura when you develop it. You may not even develop it at all. You will know when the time comes, but, I am afraid I cannot help you develop it just like that. Aura, in my experience, is a leap of faith, Your Grace."


Cloud is unsure how to feel as Veda is quickly spooked backstage, deciding that maybe it's for the best he doesn't interfere unless things go really badly.

While the next act prepares to come out, Cloud looks at this mysterious bracelet. He rolls it around to look at the runes and illustrations, the artwork pretty nice to look at. He takes out the silver dagger he found, comparing the runes to see if they're similar.


>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


Veda starts to calm down once he's backstage, and once you come up to speak to him. "Ah… erm, uh, yes, right as rain, luv. Gave me quite the tizzy there with that little yelp of yours, but I'm on my hooves again, now! Erm, thanks, though."

"Oh, come on, even I know that's not entirely true! There's ways of imparting it, isn't there? It can be transmitted… some way or another. Come on, do I need to know the secret hoofshake, or the esoteric gestures and get the secret signet ring? You know… I can make it worth your while far more than whatever the Queens or my father are."

She starts to trace her way up your forearm with her fingers, 'walking' them up your arm.

The runes look to be of a similar style to those on the dagger, but you still have no idea what they mean. However, you notice something peculiar. The bell has a rune depicting a wreath of flowers. The same rune is on the dagger's hilt, but there is a spearhead breaking the flower wreath on the dagger's version.

As Isaachar and Alder take the stage, the crowd is thrilled to see Alder again after his last performance. However, Isaachar is steely-eyed, taking a wide squatting stance, hooves ready to draw his guns. The orchestra prepares itself, and then hits the downbeat of the tap-dancing song so that Alder may begin.



Your crew look a little apprehensive at the idea of blowing their cover this early, but sharply salute. "Aye, captain!"

With that, they rush to battle stations, as the Yellow Jester shouts out the locations of the guns. Most are located on the port and starboard side, secured on the edges of the decks, and there are also several on the fore, built into the basement-level decks. As the crew of the smaller ship starts to come onto the deck, your crew launches a volley of cannon-fire at them, catching the smaller ship's crew completely off guard.
[1d10+2] Cannon fire

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




Last time on PirateQuest…

Cutlass's crew finally captured The Golden Vein after widespread injuries and losses of the Secret Assassins' new recruits. The total number of casualties had not yet been totaled. Also, the crew had looted a vast amount of gold and magical items from the ship's treasury, and with a ship as vast as The Golden Vein was, it was likely that there was still more to be found.

The circus continued, with certain abridgements. The Pattern Juggler had begun to speed up the show, having been informed by the Yellow Jester that Cutlass was en route with The Golden Vein to attack the carnival and stir up chaos. This escalarated tensions between Toko and the Crimson King, bringing what had been a cold war of petty trades into heated argument, with Toko losing her cool well before the King.

As the circus neared its final acts, Cutlass came within sight of the carnival, only to attack a passing patrol ship that had come to investigate The Golden Vein's early return to Kaco Island's waters. They would have to take out the patrol ship before it could signal to its allies, lest their cover be blown.


>H/W unchanged from last session


Veda starts to calm down once he's backstage, and once you come up to speak to him. "Ah… erm, uh, yes, right as rain, luv. Gave me quite the tizzy there with that little yelp of yours, but I'm on my hooves again, now! Erm, thanks, though."


"Oh, come on, even I know that's not entirely true! There's ways of imparting it, isn't there? It can be transmitted… some way or another. Come on, do I need to know the secret hoofshake, or the esoteric gestures and get the secret signet ring? You know… I can make it worth your while far more than whatever the Queens or my father are."

She starts to trace her way up your forearm with her fingers, 'walking' them up your arm.


The runes look to be of a similar style to those on the dagger, but you still have no idea what they mean. However, you notice something peculiar. The bell has a rune depicting a wreath of flowers. The same rune is on the dagger's hilt, but there is a spearhead breaking the flower wreath on the dagger's version.

>Alder, Cerulean, Cloud

As Isaachar and Alder take the stage, the crowd is thrilled to see Alder again after his last performance. However, Isaachar is steely-eyed, taking a wide squatting stance, hooves ready to draw his guns. The orchestra prepares itself, and then hits the downbeat of the tap-dancing song so that Alder may begin.




Your crew look a little apprehensive at the idea of blowing their cover this early, but sharply salute. "Aye, captain!"

With that, they rush to battle stations, as the Yellow Jester shouts out the locations of the guns. Most are located on the port and starboard side, secured on the edges of the decks, and there are also several on the fore, built into the basement-level decks. As the crew of the smaller ship starts to come onto the deck, your crew launches a volley of cannon-fire at them, catching the smaller ship's crew completely off guard.
[1d10+2: 8]
[1d10+2: 8] Cannon fire



Cutlass grins. "Someone take these controls. I want to be on deck for this."

Cutlass goes up top so she can get a more personal view of the action.



Cloud notes the matching symbols, wonder if these items are a pair or not. He's tempted to experiment, but as the next show starts and a gun-wielder steps out, Cloud pockets the bracelet and his knife to watch and be aware for any stray shots.


"Yeah, sorry it was sudden, but you looked like you needed some help out there at that moment." She smiles warmly to him.
"But hey, why not grab a drink, relax, and watch the show? It looks like its gonna be a good one." She looks out to the stage, awaiting Alder's performance.



She has to force herself not to physically recoil as the Princess starts trying to seduce her. She keeps a straight face and thinks, getting a bright idea. "I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do to impart Aura. It's just not possible. However… Hm… Well, there is one thing I could try to do for you, Your Grace." She reaches into her pocket and produces one of the four remaining antidotes. "Do you know what this is?" she asks genuinely.


Alder squawks nervously to himself, getting his tap-dancing routine started! Here goes!
>Dance! [1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


As you turn over the controls to the Yellow Jester and head down the stairs, Miss Sunshine waves you over from where she is on the second level. She and one of the Secret Assassins mooks are jointly operating a monster of a crank-powered gatling gun, locked into place with a powerful brake upon the wheels upon its side. The mook feeds a belt of bullets into the side, while Miss Sunshine stands at the controls. "Ooh! Ooh! Look what I've got!" she says, shivering and trembling even though you haven't heard her fire it yet.

Meanwhile, in the waters below, the patrol ship is blasted by a volley of cannon-fire, ripping holes into its upper hull and some of its masts. The ship turns about as its crew, a pack of demons that resemble bipeal hogs, cockroaches and worms, come up on board and see yours at The Golden Vein's guns. They quickly man their own guns and retaliate.

[1d10+2] Patrol ship
[1d10+2] TGV cannon fire
[1d10+2] TGV cannon fire

The Princess raises her eyebrow and retracts her hand, quickly stopping the attempts at arousing your attraction with an annoyed grimace. "A miracle elixer, right? From the ice-capped mountains in the far orient, where you discovered the City of Gold, the Fountain of Life and the Sword in the Stone, all next to one another?" She scoffs. "What, will that impart Aura, to me while also ensuring I don't go bald?"

"By the Queens, that's an understatement!" Veda exclaims. "I'll put on a pot right now and get a cuppa for us."

He heads deeper into the backstage area, apparently to put on a spot of tea.

Alder begins his tap-dancing routine adequately well, but the buffalo, Isaachar, quickly draws his pistols, and fires a few rounds at Alder's feet. At the very least, he keeps his shots in rhythm with the song, but the shots disrupt Alder's flow; he stumbles a little, but keeps it going.

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #3 6 + 2 = 8


Cloud winces as Isaachar fires and Alder, worried if this act goes wrong. But, it's playing along well enough that it looks like it should be fine.


Alder winces a little bit and tries to keep himself going, hoping to get back on tempo.
>Dance! [1d10+2]

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


Cerulean watches the interesting performance with interest, looking back a moment to watch Veda go back and make some tea, then goes back to watching the performance.


She doesn't know. Good. This might actually work. "Nothing as extravagant as that, Your Grace," she answers coolly. "This is an Aura catalyst. To us, it strengthens our Aura tenfold when imbibed. My Queens use it often when they have to… quell… dissidents. Potion brewing has never been my area of expertise, so I am unsure of the nuances of its success, but I can guarantee it works as intended. I have seen its effects firsthand. To a non Aura user, it will simply be like taking medicine, with no other adverse side effects, but… well, if my theory is correct, it may help you unlock your Aura." She holds it out for the Princess. "Will you try it, Your Grace?"



Cutlass can't help but let out a giggle at the massive weapon. "Well, I DID tell you to get the biggest weapon you can find…"

Then, she notices Miss Sunshine's shaking. "Are you alright?" she asks with a frown.



Roll #1 6 = 6


After a while, Veda returns with a teaset, with mint tea, biscuits and fancy porcelain cups. "'Ere you are, love. Cream, sugar?"

Isaachar fires off a few more shots at Alder, but this time, Alder's able to anticipate the shots and keep the show going steadily, even as the rootin' tootin' cowboy buffalo takes shots at him. Much of the crowd cheers for Alder, rooting on his valiant dancing in spite of being fired upon by the cowboy.

Isaachar checks his watch, then spits out the absurdly long wheat stalk he's been chewing on. "It's time," is all he says as he begins to twirl his guns on the tips of his hooves. Seeing this, the Pattern Juggler gulps, and his horn glows. Alder feels benevolent magic flow into him, giving him a great boost of energy.

>Alder is now Hasted for this performance!

After a long sequence of twirling, flipping and tossing his guns, Isaachar crouches, then fires a volley of bullets at Alder.
>Roll 2 dodges in addition to dancing

"I've been practicing fighting alongside Schwartzwelt for most of my life," Miss Sunshine says. "My father never wanted me in the Navy, or even the Gates of Justice, but for me, it was always about being closer to my family. I liked to learn how to fight…"

She shivers. "But this is the first time I've been on the battlefield. It's so much more real than anything I've ever practiced! I've seen people die, but I've never kill–"

Explosions ring out behind you as the two ships exchange fire. The smaller ship flees before The Golden Vein, and you see sailors on the patrol ship's deck reaching for Caller Conches, indicating they're about to call for help.

"I'll be fine, I just need some help!" Miss Sunshine says, clearly trying to psych herself up. "We can't let them call for help, can we?"

[1d10+2] Patrol ship fire
[2d10+2] TGV fire

"Aura… medicine? Ah! I've heard of that, but have never had a chance to have some. Aura Masters who can brew it are incredibly secretive, and are said to even kill those who misuse Aura Medicine to increase their powers without earning it. To think the Queens would hide such a boon from me."

She takes the potion from you and sniffs it carefully. "This is a sudden change from your earlier stance. I intend to take it all the same, but indulge me, flatter me. What was it that changed your mind?"

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #2 4, 1 + 2 = 7


"Simply that it did not occur to me at first to try it, Your Grace. Normally, Aura manifests at a young age; indeed, in many cases it is part of the transition into adulthood. If it has not manifested by now for you, then it may never come to be, and this catalyst is probable to do nothing for you. That being said, Your Grace, there are cases of it developing later in life, and I hear your father is quite the Aura user himself, though I may be mistaken." This last part is a shot in the dark from Thessaly; she has no idea if the King uses Aura or not, but a powerful being like him probably does.

"Besides," she continues, "it is only appropriate to secure an alignment between the Queens and your family. Her Highness Queen Toko does have the best intentions towards your father, despite her prior… indiscretion." She shoots a glance at the champagne flute, barely suppressing a smirk. "Aiding you in your potential unraveling of your Aura seems an appropriate way to make amends, does it not? Even if the method is unorthodox, and has no guarantee of success."


>The Hullshredder

>Requires another character's assistance to use, but this requirement can be bypassed if one has the "Tough" or "Huge" racials, or the Martial Defender skill.

>A beast of a gatling gun, powered by a crank on the side. Like a cannon, it has wheels for transport, and a locking mechanism to hold it in place. Ammo is fed by belt into a slot on the side, usually requiring the assitance of another person to hold the belt and gun steady while firing.

>When attacking with this weapon, it consumes 1 unit of ammunition for each die that the attacker uses. In other words, one can roll up to a total of 4d10, each time that they attack with this weapon. All attacks deal double damage, or triple damage on Critical Hit.

>It can Cleave up to 10 targets per attack, and using Cleave with this weapon has a -2 to its Critfail range, allowing you to Cleave 3 targets with a Critfail range of 1. The range only increases once you Cleave 4 or more targets, and it increases by the normal amount.

>You have 20 units of ammunition right now.


Cloud claps his hooves as Alder manages to dance through the bullets well enough. When the routine speeds up and Isaachar gets more serious, Cloud is on the edge of his seat (or guard post, rather), in suspense.



"It won't be the end of the world if they do," Cutlass comments. "At this point, we're getting the chaos started. But, might as well try to split up the enemy as much as we can for as long a we can."

Cutlass looks at the massive gatling gun, then toward the demons about to try to make a call. She aims the gun at them with her telekinesis then says, "Feed it some ammo."

She then proceeds to shoot the everloving shit out of those sailors with their conches and the ones nearby.

>Cleave attacks on the two with conches and 2 nearby sailors [1d10] [1d10] [1d10] [1d10]

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


Alder, somewhat emboldened by the cheers, puts more of himself into it! He does a quick, short series of taps and slides to the side to try and dodge to the side, and does a short twirl mid-dance back in the other direction, before continuing with his routine!

>Dodge! [1d10+2] [1d10+2]

>Dance! [1d10+2]

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


"Uhmm…not sure. Never had tea before," she replies, "what's your recommendation? Also, nice cups." She looks at the fancy cups exploratively, not wanting to touch from how fancy and dainty they looked.


The Princess looks skeptical and worried as you allude to the difficulties that one has in learning Aura the older they become. "I said flatter, not bore me," she quips, trying to chase away her doubt. "But yes, I quite agree. I am sure my father, upon seeing the utter foolishness in trying to deny me my start in Aura, will be more than grateful. He might actually show some kind of emotion other than deadpan, for once."

She drinks the potion, and her eyes widen as she coughs. "I didn't realize it'd be so spicy! What's in this, Dragon's Breath!?"

After a moment, she calms down, looking at her hands. "How long does it take to… hmm?"

She looks at the tip of her finger closely for a few seconds, then puts it down. "…Perhaps I was mistaken. I thought I saw a Glow."

You've heard the term "Glow" before in relation to Aura. It refers to the phenomenon that occurs when a potential Aura-user is first developing their powers. While those with awakened Aura powers can see Aura easily, those who are just starting can only see faint points of light around sources of Aura, referred to as "the Glow."

Only slight relation to the album.

He pours a little cream into the tea and a tiny sugar cube, but nothing more. "I prefer to let the mint speak for itself."

Isaachar snarls, staying in-character as a cowboy outlaw as Alder completely styles upon him, earning applause and cheers from the captive audience. He reloads all of the rounds in this revolvers, then turns around dramatically, pulling his hat over his eyes. Just as the song starts to approach its climax, he spins about, and unloads every shot he's got at Alder!
>Roll 4d10 in dodging in addition to dance, as this is the grand finale.

As Miss Sunshine helps load it, you unload into the ship with the enormous gun, and a deafening roar pours from it, drowning out almost all sound around you. When the flash from the gun has ended, two of the four sailors are simply gone, reduced to bloodstains and scraps of clothing, and you've opened a massive carpet of holes on the patrol ship. With the damages they've suffered already, the ship starts to sink, and the enemy patrol starts to head for their lifeboats. You see that one with a conch has gotten aboard the lifeboat, and is shouting a distress call into it.

"No survivors!" your crew shouts from the deck, attempting to kill the survivors with rifles and pistol fire.

Miss Sunshine stands there dumbfounded at what she's seen.

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11


>Updated w/ corrections

As Miss Sunshine helps load it, you unload into the ship with the enormous gun, and a deafening roar pours from it, drowning out almost all sound around you. When the flash from the gun has ended, the sailors are simply gone, apart from bloodstains, shattered weapons, and scraps of clothing. You've opened a massive carpet of holes on the patrol ship, all through its upper deck, masts, and hulls.

There are, quite clearly, no survivors. The ship begins to sink, and though your crew scan the waters with their guns loaded, they see no signs of life to shoot at.

Miss Sunshine stands there dumbfounded at what she's seen.


Cloud leans forward, entranced by the performance and waiting in baited breath as the buffalo unloads all his shots on Alder.


"Give it time, Your Grace," she says as reassuringly as she can muster. "You are the daughter of a great conqueror. I am sure you will develop Aura of your own, when the time comes. Perhaps this catalyst will help speed you to that point. Aura is an art form in its own right, some would say. And, as the saying goes, you cannot rush art."

She perks up as she hears the performance begin to reach its climax, offering a glass of water to the Princess and standing up, ready to carry the champagne flutes back to the Queens. "The taste is quite strong, is it not? Please, wash it down, Your Grace. And… if I may ask a boon of you, please. Do not speak to my Queens of what I have given you. I… I had a vision, you see. From the Par-Fates, during the intermission. I fear… I fear something may happen after the evening's crescendo. I would have my Queens be ready for a fight when the time comes. The Families, you see. They are up to something. I slipped away and procured some of the catalysts, but I do not want to vex my Queens yet. They should enjoy the evening, after all. But when the moment comes, they should be in peak fighting condition to fend off the mafia's treachery. For Aristar. Do we understand each other, Your Grace?" She looks resolute and slightly worried, mentally preparing herself for what's to come.


Alder decides to try his best for this last bit! Sweeping around to wiggle his rear at the cowboy teasingly, before getting a bit of a tap-running start and leaping through the air! He flaps his wings at a lul in the song to propel himself a little further, before quickly dropping himself to the floor and immediately continuing with the tap-dance routine. Eager to not get hit on accident, the griffon incorporates a variety of swoops, slides, and twirls into his routine, hoping it looks good to the crowd!
>[1d10+2] [1d10+2] [1d10+2] [1d10+2]
>Dance! [1d10+2]

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



Cutlass can't help but cackle maniacally at the destruction she just caused. "Dear Celestia," she laughs, unable to contain her enthusiasm. "Who would design such a weapon? What was this thing MADE for?"

She wipes her eyes, then looks to Miss Sunshine. "Good find," she says with a approving nod.

Then, she puts her hoof onto Sunshine's shoulder. "If you want, we can talk about the other stuff later. I know I'm not the easiest to talk to… But… Yeah…" Cutlass blushes.

"A-anyway," she says loudly, now to her crew. "Let's get this show on the road!"


"Ooo, fancy." She takes a cup and does the same, giving the tea a try. Her eyes go wide as the minty flavor rushes throughout her mouth.
"Woah! This tastes so…refreshing! Like I just brushed my teeth after a big meal kinda of refreshing."


Miss Sunshine blinks a few times, coming back down to reality as the fighting ends. "Oh… right. Um, I think I would greatly like that. Once this is all done, that is. Would you mind if we went to your quarters? … without Ossie. I'd prefer it to be in private."

As The Golden Vein sails on, the carnival gets closer and closer into view. You're not quite within firing range, but you're close enough that you can hear the faintest sounds coming from the tent, namely the loud music.

The Princess looks at her fingers with disappointment and impatience. "Thank you all the same for this gift. It is true; whatever Aura I develop will surely outshine the stars themselves.

She begins to appear alarmed as you share about what the Families intend. "A fight, you say? I am not surprised. I told Toko that that plan was far-fetched. A gamble to see if there are any in those arrogant Families who would drag themselves through the mud to beg forgiveness from the royal family, all to save their own hides. It was idiocy to ever try it, but Toko wants to have the underworld under her hoof the same as the surface world. Pure sentiment, if you ask me. The part of the Black Market that the Families have hold over is such a small part, it's not worth subverting. Slaves, weapons, drugs, organs… they're small-time in comparison to what I've seen my father buy and sell."

"Very well, I will abstain from telling them. But I need them alive to reach the Heart of Gold. Will our forces be able to hold them off?"

Alder briefly wavers as he tap-dances around the gunfire, and a single shot hits him in the stomach! Pain ripples through his body and air flees from his lungs, but as he looks down at the 'wound' he sees no blood. He notices a BB pellet roll to the ground near him.

The impact is not enough to deter your grand finale, and you stick the landing in spite of the searing pain. The crowd's applause reaches a fever pitch.

"Excellent, excellent!" the Pattern Juggler says, then his conch begins to vibrate in his pocket before he can sing Alder's praises. He swears under his breath, clearly not expecting it, but holds it to his ear. "Hell-loooo~?" he asks, trying to play it off. "Why, you're almost here!? Great scott, what timing, my dear! Give us just a moment, why don't you, we'll have to accelerate even more to keep up with you!"

He hangs up the conch. "My lovely assistant, the Yellow Jester, is nearly here with the special surprise for tonight! One of many surprises, I might add. We've still one more act to go before the grand finale, but at this rate, we may have to have the grand finale right now! If I could have everyone outside, please! Our final act before the finale is the race between Miss Cerulean Splash and the Gills Family! We'll set up seating outside as our racers get ready!"


Cloud gives a stamp of applause as Alder manages to pull off his act, even getting hit but shrugging it off like it's nothing! But the cheer is no long lived as Pattern Juggler answers his call and instructs everypony to go outside. He's worried, but keeps a strong face as he turns back towards ot Queen, ready to escort with the other guards to keep a good wall round her. But he does worry as he sees no sigh of Thessaly, wondering where she could be.


Her expression darkens. "I have seen my Queens raze towns to the ground with the power of their Aura. With these catalysts, the mafia will not stand a chance against them. Fear not, Your Grace. The traitors will not live to see the morning."

"For now though, we should return. My Queens have been waiting long enough, have they not? I am glad to have you as an ally, Your Grace. I can only hope that my prophecy does not come true." She bows her head and starts heading back to the bleachers with the champagne.



"Of course," Cutlass says with a nod. "I don't intend for Ossie to be with me ALL the time. That would be ridiculous, and an invasion of MY privacy. Just when we're doing something dangerous do I intend to have her protect me."

"Now," Cutlass thinks out loud. "Where can we fire that will cause the most damage with the least casualties to our side…"

She surveys the shore to find such a target. [1d10] Master Thief

Roll #1 3 = 3


Cerulean sips her tea as she listens to the idea.
"Ooo! And outdoor finale. Sounds like we could do lots of things without worry about knocking the tent down and stuff."


"Well, it's not like I would intentionally spy on you from the shadows or anything," Ossie says. "Even though I could. And might. But only if I hear you talking about me behind my back."

"Excellent. Perhaps I shall look you up after the Queens have been reestablished to their rightful thrones. I shall have need of a butler as qualified as you are, Jeeves."

The ushers and stage crew start to direct the audience through the various fire exits toward the outside, while the VIP guards and the butlers carefully escort the Crimson King, the Bee Queens, the Princess and the other aristocrats out through the throngs of audience members. Outside, there is another set of bleachers, covered with velvet cloth so as to remain warm despite the evening chill.

Out in the distance, The Golden Vein floats in the water, only now you see that it is much closer, showing off its enormous size. The King studies it, and begins to look suspicious and curious.

In the waters, you see that various hoops, buoys and rings have been set up, forming an oval-shaped racing track. At the part of the track closest to the bleachers, the four sharks of the Gills family and Cerulean float in the water, waiting for the race to begin.

The Pattern Juggler, holding a pistol, floats above the water. "And you will see before us, fillies and gentlecolts, the grand, Leviathan-class ship of the Crimson King, The Golden Vein! The King's pride and joy, and the home of his great and mighty Court, myself included! There, my lovely assistant awaits with her great boon for the grand finale, sure to be remembered and talked about for years to come!"

Alder and Cerulean can hear nostalgia and a hint of longing in the Juggler's voice, thrilling like a far-off echo or memory.

"Everyone ready…?" the Pattern Juggler asks, raising his pistol.

As you approach the shore and behold it through a spyglass, you notice a curious sight. The circus audience departs from the tent, gathering in bleachers set up outside, facing the shore. You see that the crew of the Beesting, as well as plainclothes mafia members, and civilians are all mixed in, while the VIPs sit apart in their own segregated section. The bleachers outside are set up so as to watch the race, and they can all see The Golden Vein in the distance.

"They're all bunched up together – not good," Ossie says. "We'd hit too many irrelevant targets and our allies if we attacked from here."


Alder winces as he's shot in the stomach, managing to stick his landing and finish out the routine regardless. He looks down, letting out a sigh of relief and bowing gratefully to the crowd. He works his way backstage to relax for a little bit, catching the conversation and giving a slightly worried look to Pattern Juggler.

"M-Mhmm! Might be a tad safer, as well." he says, sidling in alongside Cerulean and walking outside with the rest of the group.


Being a temporary member of the cast, you are able to sit in a special reserved seating section, off to the side, in another, smaller tent for the cast members to lounge in. Most of them are exhausted, and smoke, drink, chat, and relax as they watch the show. Isaachar comes up and offers you a hoofshake. "Sorry pardner, didn't mean to get you in the gut."



"P-please don't say such things…" Cutlass responds to Ossie uncomfortably.


"Irrelevant people are exactly that," Cutlass says as she takes out her conch. She calls Cloud.


She gives the Princess a meaningful nod. "Perhaps," is all she answers before returning to the bleachers.

She serves the champagne to the Queens. "Apologies for the delay, Your Majesties. Your refreshments, as requested. Is there anything else you require? Shall I fetch a bottle for refills?" she suggests.

Still keeping up her facade, she shoots Cloud the briefest of glances as she comes back, as if to acknowledge that everything is going just fine.


Cerulean looks to the juggler with a smile, and nods as she gets into racing take-off position. She awaits the bang on the pistol so she can jump in and get the race going.


Cloud marches with the royals as they head to their new velvet-draped bleachers. A small bit of alarm comes to him, hoping hey don't pass the two guards they trapped in the ground.

He looks out at the racetrack floating in the water, a bit eager to see a shark race.

Cloud feels a bit of relief as he sees the disguised Thessaly rejoin the group.

Cloud worries as the conch rings, hoping this would not alert the royals. But, in this situation nopony would call without reason. He takes a step to get just a slight bit more privacy, and picks it up.
("Hello?") He whispers.



"Get the Beestings and our allies away from the VIP section of the bleachers. Forget the mafia. They don't matter. You have 10 minutes. Any questions?"


"H-Hmm? Oh! Oh, it is quite alright, mister- it was a pellet, so I seem to be completely fine. T-Thank you for the concern, though." the griffon says, smiling a little bit.

"You are quite talented with those firearms, by the way! I found one earlier this week, but I have no idea how to use one."


("What? Why? And what about me and Thessaly?")



"If you want to die, stay there. Be my guest. The clock is ticking."


("…Is that an insult, or a warning? There's a lot I'm already worrying about so I just want to be clear.")






Ossie mockingly makes a kissing sound. "Shadows are always listening."

"Oh, yes, keep the bottle handy," Toko says, looking at the audience as they wave at her. "I'm going to need the whole thing."
"Not so!" Hurscurs says. "You should learn to enjoy yourself without having to be drunk. Does anyone want to worship and revere a slovenly, inebriated queen?"
"Certainly not!" echoes her twin, Qaromarrow. "Keep your reason about you, dear… we'll drink the whole bottle! Keep it coming, Jeeves, more for us!"

The twin queens are clearly more than a little tipsy, and more than Toko is.

"Oh! Care for a little lesson?" Isaachar asks. "Can't fire it now, but I can show you how to load it, arm it, keep it steady, and clean it."

"Best of three laps! By my mark!" the Pattern Juggler cries. "One, two, a skiddly-diddly-doo!"


He fires the gun, and the Gills family start to swim ahead through the track toward the rings and hoops, all eager to be the first one across the finish line.

[1d10+1] Mr. Gills
[1d10+1] Mrs. Gills
[1d10] Gilliam
[1d10] Gillgamesh

Roll #1 10 - 2 = 8 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #4 1 = 1 / Roll #5 10 = 10


"Of course, Your Majesties." She slips away, heads back to the bar to grab a bottle of champagne, then, while no one's around, pours the contents of the remaining antidote into the bottle and swirls it well so it mixes in before heading back.
[1d10] spiking roll if needed

Roll #1 5 = 5


Cerulean launches herself into the water, also jumping through hoops and making sure she does some fancy twists in the air and landing back into the water hard enough to catch audience members in the splash zone.

>Earthly Affinity: When on chosen terrain, your rolls to recover from helplessness are DC4 and traversing on your home terrain is automatic.


Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


("Alright then.")
Cloud hangs up.

Cloud looks back at the Queens as they yammer on, dialing up his conch for Chiu.
("I have to make this quick, you need to get our crews away the Queens quick. Cutlass is planning something, I don't know what but she said we got only a few minutes. I'll be fine, just make sure you all get some distance. I'll meet with you in a few.")
Cloud quickly says once she picks up, ending the call after to emphasize the urgency. He steps back into line after.


"That would be wonderful, mister!" the griffon chirps, bouncing up and down eagerly. He settles in next to Isaachar, waiting for the demonstration!



"That idiot is going to ruin everything," Cutlass sighs. "Let's give him some time. Then we fire."


"…What's it like to kill someone?" Miss Sunshine asks bluntly as you wait.

Isaachar goes over the points of gun safety, emphasizing trigger discipline, not pointing the barrel at anything until ready to fire, and the weapon's power. He takes the time to identify its properties, explaining that it can shoot magic bullets. He calls it "the Spellslinger."
https://pastebin.com/6pnzYRnW (see heading under Spellslinger)

Next, he goes over how to load, unload, disassemble and clean the gun and its various parts. He's clearly a bit of a gun nut, but he knows his stuff and takes great care to explain everything clearly, making his passion evident.

You mix it as well as you can. There's still a faint orange tint to it, but given how tipsy they were, they shouldn't be too quick to notice it, especially if they're more focused on the race. After returning to the bleachers, you see the Beesting's members leaving their bleachers one at a time, putting distance between themselves and the VIP section. You start to get a bad feeling, like icy fingers skuttling their way up the back of your neck.

"知道了," Chiu whispers back, having a tendency to lapse into Chineighse in moments of urgency and worry. As you watch the bleachers, you slowly start to see the Beesting's members step away from the bleachers, taking up various positions away from the Queens one at a time so as not to attract suspicion.

You quickly spring into the water, overtaking Gilliam and Mr. Gills, but Mrs. Gills takes up ahead of you, while Gillgamesh puts considerable distance between himself and the other racers. Various audience members cheer on the racers, and you think you can hear quite a few calling your name in support. Not to be outdone, though, all the sharks try to get back into the lead themselves.

[1d10+1] Mr. Gills
[1d10+1] Mrs. Gills
[1d10] Gilliam
[1d10] Gillgamesh

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #3 10 = 10 / Roll #4 2 = 2


Cerulean hears the cheers and the crowd cheering and opts to pick up the pace herself. Using a bit of aura and her sleekness, she tries to torpedo herself through the water at high speed, which should be quite a sight for a pony of her size.

>Earthly Affinity

>Sprinter: Once per combat you can perform feat of great speed as part of an escape or charge. If used to escape combat only fast fliers are able to catch up with you as long as there is open terrain.

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


She bites her lip in worry as she sees the evacuation, but the show must go on. She takes several deep breaths. This is it. This is what she's been building up to this whole time. Her heart pounding out of her chest, she walks back up to the Queens, bottle in hoof, taking a moment to observe the Princess' actions. "Thirds, Your Majesties?" she asks politely, her voice wavering a tiny bit.

[1d10] if needed

She shoots Cloud a questioning look, noticing something's up.

Roll #1 8 = 8



Cutlass practically deflates at the question. "C-can we not talk about it?" she responds, not looking toward Miss Sunshine.


Cloud watches as the others leave, their safety ensured. Now, he worries for Thessaly and himself. He watches the race, but his hooves tap nervously. She was going to finish off Toko, but now their time could be shortened very soon. Would whatever Cutlass has planned do the job? More tan that, how could they get away from whatever it is without alerting the Queens or causing them to flee or go on full guard if it fails? A few ideas surface, but each one also comes with doubt in helping.
Right now, Cloud is looking like nervous wreck with all this planning.


Cloud's eyes glance back to not make it too obvious. His expression has a clear "worried for life" look to them.


"I see- so, maintenance and discipline are important parts of using a firearm, then?" the griffon asks, looking over the reassembled firearm curiously. He begins to pack it back in his belongings, nodding happily and offering the Buffalo a hand to shake.

"Thank you, Mister Isaachar!"


He tips his hat and returns the shake. "No worries. Always happy to talk guns. You find any other guns out there, especially rare or enchanted or cursed ones, feel free to ring me up, and I'll give you tips and the like on 'em."

He gives you his conch code for later.

Putting in great effort, you rocket yourself ahead of all four of the shark family, leaving a trail of bubbles behind you as you zoom past them. The burst of speed puts you into first place with a comfortable buffer of distance past the other sharks, and you cross the finish line, completing the first lap.

The other sharks, now in the order of Mr. Gills, Gillgamesh, Gilliam and Mrs. Gills, try to catch up.

[1d10+1] Mr. Gills
[1d10+1] Mrs. Gills
[1d10] Gilliam
[1d10] Gillgamesh

"Have you not…?" Miss Sunshine begins, but Ossie sets her hoof on Miss Sunshine's back.
"Let's save it for later, I'll answer your questions. Right now we can't afford distractions."
"R-right, sorry…"

The Queens, after having downed their most current drinks, waver a little as Thessaly holds up the champagne.
"Wait… Does that look…?" Toko asks, blinking slowly at the color of the drink. "Did you get a different braaaand, Jeeves?"
"Oh, what's the difference, it's all the same!" Qaromarrow says.
"Indeed, it's not the drink we're after but this!" Hurscurs says a little drunkenly, hiccuping with glee.

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #3 6 = 6 / Roll #4 7 = 7


With herself in a fairly comfortable lead, Cerulean slows down a bit and goes for some showmanship to better pace herself. She goes to do a front-flip through a hoop, hopefully without losing too much of her speed.

>Earthly Affinity


Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


Her own face goes stony, but she nods and swallows nervously.

"The usual has run out, regrettably. I hope this new brand is to your liking, Your Majesties." She pours each of them the spiked champagne and corks it, setting it aside within arms' reach in case she has to use it as a weapon soon. She stands stiffly next to Toko and waits, taking a brief moment to whisper to Droplet. "Prepare yourself," she hisses to him quietly. She tucks her hands in her pockets and fingers the dagger, passively looking around for any sources of fire she could use to conjure an elemental when the time comes.

Roll #1 10 = 10


Alder nods happily and makes sure to tuck the code somewhere where he can find it later. He'll turn to watch Cerulean and the Gills's race!


Cloud turns his head as he hears the Queens growing tipsy. That'll at least make it easy to not alert them so much. It might make things a lot easier as he thinks about it.

His gaze lingers on Thessaly a bit, but he manages to get his head turned back forward to the race, heart pounding in his chest.



"Give the order to sail in closer," Cutlass says to a nearby mook. "Close enough to get a nice, clean shot. But, not so close to raise alarm."


You keep your lead comfortably, but it's not long before Mr. Gills comes up quickly behind you, clearly set on retaking the lead. With a mischevious, yet good natured smirk, he spins around, launching a current of water at you to try to knock you out of the way and give the people more of a show.

[1d10+1] Mr. Gills uses Water Pulse!
[1d10+1] Mr. Gills
[1d10+1] Mrs. Gills
[1d10] Gilliam
[1d10] Gillgamesh

You don't see any torches nearby, as most of the lighting is provided by Brightstones, magic glowing rocks which are put into lightposts all around. However, you smell tobacco burning in the performer's tent and in the audience. There's also the cooking pits used by the snack vendors over at the concession stands, but that's a little further away from where you are.

The mook nods, and heads up to The Golden Vein's control room. Shortly after, the ship begins to inch forward, gradually crawling into firing range. The crew ducks out of sight behind the railings, but are all at the guns, which are loaded and primed to be fired. The whole ship waits, holding its breath in a collective stillness.

Meanwhile, in the VIP bleachers, Toko, Hurscurs and Qaromarrow shrug, drinking of the spiked champagne as they watch the race. Nothing happens for a few moments, until Hurscurs stirs in her seat, touching her stomach with concern. Qaromarrow develops a light cough, but does not seem overly concerned.

Toko, on the other hand, begins to tremble lightly, looking about with a look of sudden confusion.



Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #3 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #4 3 = 3 / Roll #5 8 = 8


>Thessaly 6/4
>Cutlass 5/4
>Alder 5/4

>All Temporary Bonus Points have recharged

Last time, on PQ…

All the elements of the plan had finally converged onto one spot.

Cutlass, riding aboard the commandeered Golden Vein, had brought the colossal ship just within firing range of the carnival, with her troops, despite their earlier injuries and losses, ready to fire upon the Crimson King and his crew.

Thessaly, posed as Queen Toko's favorite butler Jeeves, had just served the Queens champagne which had been poisoned with the Helltongue potion, which would soon kill any parasites which were inside them. Cloud, posed as one of the thirteen head guards around the VIP section, was nearby, carefully keeping watch for the mafia's foreseen attack.

Alder had just received a crash course in gun usage and maintenance from Isaachar, the buffalo cowpoke who had shot at him during the performance as part of the Pattern Juggler's experimental mashup of acts during the circus. Being that he was in the actor's outdoor lounge, he was well out of the way of the line of fire, either from The Golden Vein or the mafia.

Cerulean, however, was in a disadvantageous spot. Because the race was currently ongoing, she and the Gills family would be in the trajectory of both The Golden Vein and any other ships that would enter the waters during the battle. Not only would they be at risk of being hit by cannon and gunfire, they would also be subject to any underwater attacks that might be used.


You keep your lead comfortably, but it's not long before Mr. Gills comes up quickly behind you, clearly set on retaking the lead. With a mischevious, yet good natured smirk, he spins around, launching a current of water at you to try to knock you out of the way and give the people more of a show.

[1d10+1: 11] Mr. Gills uses Water Pulse!
[1d10+1: 11] Mr. Gills
[1d10+1: 7] Mrs. Gills
[1d10: 3] Gilliam
[1d10: 8] Gillgamesh


You don't see any torches nearby, as most of the lighting is provided by Brightstones, magic glowing rocks which are put into lightposts all around. However, you smell tobacco burning in the performer's tent and in the audience. There's also the cooking pits used by the snack vendors over at the concession stands, but that's a little further away from where you are.

>All except Cerulean

The mook nods, and heads up to The Golden Vein's control room. Shortly after, the ship begins to inch forward, gradually crawling into firing range. The crew ducks out of sight behind the railings, but are all at the guns, which are loaded and primed to be fired. The whole ship waits, holding its breath in a collective stillness.

Meanwhile, in the VIP bleachers, Toko, Hurscurs and Qaromarrow shrug, drinking of the spiked champagne as they watch the race. Nothing happens for a few moments, until Hurscurs stirs in her seat, touching her stomach with concern. Qaromarrow develops a light cough, but does not seem overly concerned.

Toko, on the other hand, begins to tremble lightly, looking about with a look of sudden confusion.



Cutlass purses her lips in thought. She wants to give Cloud as much time as possible to move the allies out of the blast zone. And, she might as well get a bit closer if she's going to wait anyway.

"They don't seem to be responding yet, get us closer," Cutlass orders cautiously.




Cloud turns back as he hears the queens quiet down, wonder what's up. His hooves twitch in place, wondering if Thessaly is making her move.


Cerulean tries to outrun the water pulse, or at least create a large amount of distance before getting smacked by it.
"Heh, now this is getting more intense! I love it!"

>Earthly Affinity


Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


Alder looks around a little as he relaxes with the other members, trying to keep at least a little more aware- what looks like the place where something rough might come from?
>[1d10] Master Thief, baybee

Roll #1 8 = 8


>Movement roll, Earthly Affinity

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9



She gives Cloud the tiniest of tiny nods, then looks over to Toko with feigned concern, both hands in her pocket, grasping the knife. "Your Majesty? Is everything alright?"


You hear the faintest commotions stirring within the audience as the ship starts to move in closer. You're too far off to discern exactly what they're saying, but you can tell most of them are simply in awe of it, thinking it no more than another prop for the entertainment of the night. However, as you approach the shore, moving slightly closer toward optimal firing range for the cannons and guns, you see far-off lights in the distant waters turn and move toward your position – other patrol ships, four in number.

A mook soon runs down from the third level and salutes. "Report, ma'am! The patrols are confused about our approaching the island; apparently The Golden Vein wasn't supposed to come in 'til much later. The Yellow Jester's conch is ringing non-stop and she's trying to dissuade them from getting closer, but they've got questions about some shots they heard earlier, must've been when we took out that one patrol. At least one vessel's headed in that direction to investigate."

Your gaze is drawn to the plainclothes mafia members among the audience. They're glancing at the Beesting members as they slowly distance themselves from the audience bleachers. It seems that the mafia's goons are catching onto what's going on, even as the Beesting crew slowly and subtly try to get away from the blast zone. You can see that there are about three dozen mafia goons in the area. You recognize telltale shapes beneath their clothes, concealed weapons. If you had to guess, pistols and bombs of various kinds – but probably not kinetic explosives, as their sheer numbers among the crowd would hazard friendly fire. Maybe firebombs or smokebombs, or perhaps something magical or aura-based.

The wave ripples through the water, knocking you squarely off-course, as Mr. Gills zooms ahead of you through the currents, taking the lead, and the rest of the family passes you as you drift there stunned. However, not to be outdone, you corkscrew yourself upright and speed back onward, slipping around Mrs. Gills and Gillgamesh to take second place.

[1d10+1] Mr. Gills
[1d10+1] Mrs. Gills
[1d10] Gilliam
[1d10] Gillgamesh

As the race continues, you notice The Golden Vein steadily approaching the racing circuit, drawing near the buoys marking the course's boundaries. "Isn't that a bit odd?" Mrs. Gills asks via electroreception. "Didn't think they'd be in this early. Show's not over yet, but are they planning on leaving soon anyway?"

As the first syllable leaves Toko's throat, she coughs, hoof immediately flying to her mouth. She covers it with a layer of sickly green Aura, but a shape moves within her cheek, undeterred by the block. A shriveled, burnt white parasite falls out of her cheek, into the gaps between the bleacher's rows. She looks on at Hurscurs and Qaromarrow as the shapes of dead parasites stir beneath their skin, the other queens to drunk to notice. Toko drops her champagne glass, and starts to fumble in her dress, while also trying to get up from the cramped VIP section, her mind clearly pulled in every which direction from the panic and confusion of the situation.

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



Cutlass grins. "Heh, confusion. Perfect."

"FIRE!" Cutlass shouts across the deck. "Aim for the VIP section of the bleachers."

[1d10] to give good orders!

Roll #1 10 = 10


Cloud's attentive ears catch the shatter of the champagne glass on the cobblestone below the bleachers, even as the audience's attention is rapt by the approaching vessel and the race. He sees Toko start to panic and attempt to get up from the bleachers, while dead white parasites begin to peek out from the Queens' skin.


Cerulean decides to do some race spice of her own, using her tail to give a mighty swish in Mr. Gill's direction to cause a chaotic current in the water.

>Using Slam to make rough water

>+1, crits 8+, take better roll

"Hmm…no, I don't think so. But I will say that you might wanna make sure not to use too much steam here. Let's just say things are going to get very crazy and you four might need to make a run for it," she replies through electroception to Mrs. Gills, as well as the other three sharks.

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



Also, a perception roll [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


Seeing the Golden Vein approaching, and presumably about to open fire, her eyes dart around the VIP section, her mind racing. Time's run out. She pulls out her knife, grabs Toko in a chokehold and stabs her viciously in the gut several times, with as much strength as she can muster, twisting the knife with the final stab.
[1d10+3] Expending all TBP

"The Families send their regards," she hisses, loud enough for anyone nearby to hear. With that, she tosses the queen aside and jumps off the bleachers.
[1d10] GTFO

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #2 2 = 2


Alder frowns a little bit, and looks to some of the other performers. He lets out a shaky warble, before saying "E-Ehm… we may want to be careful. I have seen rather nasty groups operate before in other towns, and…w-well, let us just say I have an eye for trouble."

Pulling his conch out, he turns it online and says "I-I see three dozen, plainclothes. Likely armed with smoke-bombs and other forms of riot control, pistols, and aura."


Cloud looks back as he hears the glass shatter, and a little disgusted as the parasites start to crawl out of the queens. He's anxious, knowing they'll have to run once Thessaly makes her move, panicking as so many threats threaten to overlap on them.

But then his ears perk as he hears the cannonfire. The mafia fired on the tent in his vision, did things change? It doesn't matter, as his instincts kick up to get out of there. He turns his body, running towards and up the bleachers for Thessaly.
"Get down!"
He shouts as he grabs her, jumping off the top of the bleacher, eyes glowing as he attempts to rip open the earth to form a hovel for them to fall in to give cover from the oncoming volley.
>Earthen Grasp [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2



As you give the order, a tremendous well of energy flows up from within your crew, so much that it can be plainly felt even by those with no psychic, magical or aura senses. Instantly, you recall a similar feeling erupting from your ragtag and terrified troops at the moment you declared war within the ruined town of Potnia, which was when Magoja's promised weapons miraculously appeared.

"AYE-AYE, CAP'N!!!" your crew roars, bloodthirstily manning the cannons, the rifles, and any other ranged weapon they can get their hooves on.


Cannonfire and gunfire echoes through the night, and streaks of light hurtle through the dark toward the audience, whose spectacle and cheer quickly morph into horror and confusion as bullets fly toward the audience's VIP section.

Suddenly, you notice something as the attack commences. A great portion of the bullets and cannonballs fly toward the Crimson King, the tall, tuxedoed griffon in the center of the VIP section, and the smaller, female griffon next to him. However, before they can hit him, they pause in mid-air, and start to glow with golden, radiant Aura, and flicker in and out of existence for a brief second, before vanishing. You hear a few plinks as a single golden coin falls onto the deck before a few of the crew members at the guns, though not all of them.

The griffon stands up and glares at the ship, scanning it even as your attacks fly at the VIP section.

Toko flails and sputters quietly as you choke and stab her, blood splashing and staining all the other guests in the VIP section. Gunfire also pelts her, blocking you for the most part as she becomes an unintentional body shield. As you make your escape, Toko desperately grabs at your leg, causing you to stumble. Screeching and spewing blood, she digs in her dress and pulls forth a long, very narrow misericorde, the tip of which is so narrow that it resembles a syringe. With a howl, she tries to stab you with it.

"TOKO!!!" the other Queens shout, before they drunkenly dive for cover in the bleachers, cannonfire and gunfire pelting the bleachers all around them.

You knock Mr. Gills aside by stirring up a powerful current in the water, and swoop past him for the lead. Then, just as Mrs. Gills comes up to try to speed past you, you hear a storm of explosions overhead, followed by screams, cracks and all other manner of chaos as Cutlass unleashes her attack. Mr. and Mrs. Gills immediately grab their sons and dive deeper into the water for safety. "What's happening!?" Mrs. Gills shouts.
"An attack! We have to help the troupe!" Mr. Gills answers.

As the attack commences, the rest of the Beesting's crew makes a break for it, running from the bleachers as the first wave of the attack comes in, ripping into not just the VIP bleacher but also the general audience's bleachers. Chaos erupts all around you, making it almost impossible to concentrate, or see or hear clearly. People run to and fro and scream for help. You lose track of where everyone is amid the madness. Cloud is unable to grab onto Thessaly, as Toko grabs her by the leg, and Alder gets no response on his conch.

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


She snarls as Toko lashes out at her, wheeling around and shooting out a hand. A purple tendril lashes out from it, aiming to lock on to Toko's heart, draining her life essence. "Crith!" she shouts.
[1d10+1] Lifestream

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


Cloud turns as Toko manages to take hold of Thessaly, drawing out a weapon. Cloud quickly pulls out his silver dagger he found, stabbing down to deflect or strike away Toko's misericorde.
"You're a persistent one, aren't ya?"
>Parry [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3



Cutlass' eye go wide as she sees the griffon stand and look at the ship. Even at this distance, that aura and that presence makes it unmistakable who it is she's just fired upon. Somehow it had not occurred to her that the Crimson King may actually be present.

However, she quickly steels herself, not wanting to show weakness to her crew or her enemy. "Don't worry about that aura. The only ones it protects aren't our target anyway!" she calls out to her crew to encourage them. "Keep firing!"

[1d10] for more encouragement!

Cutlass' gaze is instantly drawn to the coin as it plinks onto the deck. From where, she does not know. And, that concerns her. She quickly looks from the griffon in the stands to the coin. Not wanting anything to do with whatever trick is about to happen, she quickly uses her telekinesis to toss the coin overboard. [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 4 = 4


"Yeah, sorry, but this was kind of a last minute addition. We'll have to have our race put on hold for now until things settle down again," she says to them, following them down until they are at relative safety.
"Alright, you four either stay put or swim out to sea. It'll be way safer than sticking around here. Juggler kinda knew this was going to happen, so the rest of the troupe might've been preparing to leave already. I gotta swim back up and have some fun. Sorry if this kinda ruins your retirement performance, but I'll find some way to make it up to you all." She gives a big grin and hugs each shark, then waves goodbye as she speeds up to the surface.

Cerulean bursts up through the water, looking around at the chaos going on around her, and she looks over to the troupe performers to see if they're okay.


Alder winces a little as the attack goes off, deciding to take a chance ot duck into the shadows, and out of sight for now


Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11


Even as Toko stumbles forward, bullet-ridden and gut-wounded – wounds which reveal much of the muscle and bone below, she is no pushover as she madly stabs ahead at you. The two of you stumble off the bleachers as you back away from her attacks, and she takes the opportunity to stab at your elbows, near the veins. She falls from the bleachers just before they are annihilated by cannon-fire, slaying many of the aristocrats and burying the other two Queens beneath a twisted pile of metal and velvet.

Wtih each stab, she pushes a button at the end of the misericorde's handle, and white hot pain stabs into your bodies. Dark blue ooze pours out of the misericorde's hollow end. As it flows into you, you feel cold and stiff, as if you'd just been plunged into deep ocean water unexpectedly.

>Both Thessaly and Cloud lose 2 Hits

>Bonechill Poison

>A poison gifted from Queen Hurscurs, concocted through experiments conducted on those of her giant bee soldiers that were so devoted to their god-queens that they gave up their very bodies, in exchange for the promise of salvation. Gives a -2 penalty to movement and attack rolls until it is removed. The Helltongue Potion, which can be ingested as an auto instant action, can remove it.

Your battlecry is lost amid the fire, and from the quick movement of your soldiers on the deck, as they grab more ammo and powder for the guns and cannons, you lose track of the coin. On the shore, you see that the VIP section has been decimated, as has much of the general audience's section. Most of the aristocrats lie dead, and Hurscurs and Qaromarrow fall beneath a pile of twisted rubble. You see Puddin Tame poking through the rubble, trembling and white with rage as he searches for the Queens to kill them. You remember that you're still a target for their Hunting Ground ability. It's not over til they're dead too. (See also Pyrite's and Cerulean's posts below)

The sharks still seem confused, but nod. "Stay safe and come back to us alive! Call us once you're out of here and we'll have a big lunch!" Mrs. Gills says.

The sharks swim off, heading deep into the water to evade the attacks.

As you vanish amid the crowd, you see the Pattern Juggler using his magic, and vast quantities of Hopcorn, to quickly remove the general audience from the battlefield, sending them as far away as possible from the attacks.

Meanwhile, the rest of the guard rounds up the performer troupe, evacuating from the scene of the attack, ducking under gunfire and explosions, quickly heading for the docks at the shore to board one of the transport ships. However, Perfect Pair and Ruby Curls seem resistant to leaving. "Pyrite! Cerulean!?" they shout, looking for their volunteers before they leave.

You also notice mafia goons heading for the transport ships, armed with lit firebombs.



"It's an ambush! Attack! Attack now!" one of the plainclothes mafia goons declares. He and other mafia goons pull back their coats, reaching for guns, bombs and vials at their belts. You notice that they've also got gas masks hooked to their belts as well, signifying the presence of gas weapons among their armaments.

Just as the mafia gives the order to attack, Bee Holder releases a shrill battlecry, skewering a nearby mafia goon on the tip of her saber. "You bet it is!" she laughs madly. "Kill 'em, me hearties, and give the survivors a tale so grand nobody will believe!"

As the Beesting and the three Mafia Families' footsoldiers clash, explosions ring out, and smoke fills the area as smoke and sound-bombs are set off, adding to the madness of the scene.

[3d10+2] Mafia attacks
[3d10+2] Beesting attacks
[3d10+2] Secret Assassin attacks

Roll #1 7, 7, 4 + 2 = 20 / Roll #2 6, 1, 5 + 2 = 14 / Roll #3 1, 1, 5 + 2 = 9


Despite her grevious wounds, Toko swears and spits like a pony possessed, madly keeping up her attacks with her poisoned dagger. "Kill you… I won't kill you, I'll put you on the Hooks, I'll peel you apart, I'll hang you up and parade you through town!! Defy me, how dare you defy… who are you!? You're not Jeeves! YOU CAN'T BE HIM! WHERE IS HE!?" she screeches, focusing her attacks on Thessaly for wearing Jeeves' appearance as a disguise.

[1d10+2] Attacking Thessaly

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11


Cloud stumbles back as Toko stabs at his joints, surprised at how quick she's able to move still. His legs lock up as the toxin infects him, though right now he feels more tense from the panic. He clutches his ears as the cannonfire and bombs go off, the loud sounds ruining his focus and putting him through pain in his sensitive ears.
His reflexes focus on Toko from the pain, drain on her essence to try and patch some of it up.
>Leech [1d10]

"Gaah, quiet down will you?!" Cloud complains at her screech. "You're not doing anything aside from just giving up!"
Cloud says, eyes glowing as vines sprout out of the ground to tie her down.
>Earthen Grasp [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 7 = 7


She doesn't answer her, staggering from the attacks but gritting her teeth and pointing at her, muttering curses towards Toko as a red sigil materializes on the rabid queen's skin. "Seo é mo thoil…"

[1d10-1] Exequy
>Exequy: spell, recharge 2 after effect ends; Thessaly places a curse upon an enemy, crippling them with dark magic. The target auto-critfails its next roll, and on a crit the target is rendered unable to attack on the next turn. If an enemy gets multiple rolls per turn, the first of those rolls is the one affected by Exequy.

Roll #1 6 - 1 = 5


>Forgot the -2s. So that's 10 and 5



Cutlass panics as she loses track of the coin. She has to find it. She can't let some stupid little thing ruin the whole plan!

[1d10] to find the coin

Roll #1 5 = 5


Alder, unhappy with what he's seeing the mafia goons doing, emerges from stealth beside Perfect Pair and fires off a fire-enchanted round at one of their firebombs
>Spellslinger [1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


Regardless of the outcome of the shot, Alder looks to the two performers and beckons them along "Hurry! Miss Cerulean will be fine- we need to get out!"


Cerulean looks at Perfect Pair and Ruby Curls, rushing up to them.
"Hey, you've got to get out! Now! Don't worry about me and Alder, we can swim and fly," she says to them, urging them to get moving right away with deep concern, then smiles at them.
"No worries, we'll be fine. This is all part of our show, okay?"

Seeing some mafia goons, Cerulean grabs a wooden crate nearby and throws it at some of them close-by.
"Hurry, get out! Now! I'll hold them off for you!"

>Ranged Cleave due to Arabian Agility

>cleaving three goons, critfails 3-

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


Blinking as he sees where Cerulean popped back up, he channels his aura into the gun and fires it out. The 'round pops over her head, showering her with energy.
>Rallying Shot [1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


Toko, practically howling with madness and fury, knocks Thessaly onto her back, stabbing with glee into her neck and shoulders, injecting more of the Bloodchill Poison into her. She jabs the button on the dagger's hilt so much that the poison spills out interminably, splattering all over the ground and sizzling away.

>Thessaly 0/3

Toko stumbles and shrinks as Cloud drains her energy, restoring 5 Hits to himself. Quickly weakening, Toko throws herself atop Thessaly, pinning her and covering her with a torrent of blood. Beginning to sway from bloodloss, she then reaches into her dress, and pulls out a writhing bag, which must've been the writhing shape you saw beneath her dress earlier. "Guess what I've got!?" she asks mockingly with a crazed trembling in her eye, opening up the bag, and as she turns it upside-down, you see dozens of white fungal parasites skittering around within. She tries to cover Thessaly's mouth with the bag's opening.


As you head for the first deck, which is where the coins fell, you notice something horrible happening. Various cannons on the ship explode, badly injuring those who are manning them. Guns quickly begin to jam, and barrels of powder are knocked overboard by the explosions. It's as though serious bad fortune has come over your crew for some reason. You get to the area where the coins fell, but you don't see them – your thief's intuition tells you that they've been picked up.

The two performers look reluctant to leave you behind, but Cerulean knocks back three of the goons before they can get to the ships. Alder follows it up by blasting one of the firebomb-carrying goons with a well-aimed round, detonating the firebomb in his grasp and immolating him and his allies, who go running, aflame, and throw themselves into the water.

Seeing you can take care of yourselves, Pair and Ruby nod and head for their ship. You see the Princess of Embers follow after them, dragged along by the guards, but she stops and looks around. "Dad!?"

You see the Crimson King calmly walking through the battlefield. Any attacks that fly toward him are negated; a golden aura covers each bullet and bit of shrapnel that flies his way, and it vanishes. He's heading in the direction of Cloud and Thessaly and Toko.

The battle between the Mafia and the Beesting continues all around you, and smoke fills the carnival.

>Everyone needs to roll perception each turn (free action) due to the increasing smoke

[3d10+2] Mafia attacks
[3d10+2] Beesting attacks
[3d10+2] Secret Assassin attacks

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 9, 3, 8 + 2 = 22 / Roll #3 8, 1, 9 + 2 = 20 / Roll #4 1, 8, 10 + 2 = 21


>to add

Each time the golden Aura negates an attack heading for the King, you hear a coin drop to the ground, clinking brightly.



Cutlass groans in frustration. "IF YOU PICKED UP A COIN, BRING IT TO ME IMMEDIATELY," she orders everyone within earshot loudly and angrily. [1d10] Whisper in your Ear to ensure they listen

Roll #1 2 = 2


Her eyes widen as Toko brings out the parasites, kicking upwards to her gut injuries and struggling away from her in an attempt to get up.

Roll #1 3 = 3


Cloud feels slightly better at the drain, but it doesn't help the sound of his stiffness. Once he can focus enough to pay attention, he grows numb and pale at seeing Toko stab and slice and just tear into Thessaly. With their journey up to now, he's never seeing such feralness or blood, it makes him feel sick to his stomach. He tries to get his hooves to move, every bit of him appalled at the sight, but as the bag of worms is pulled out, his body jumps into action, not letting their work go to waste. Cloud pulls a bottle of the Helltongue potion out, tossing it to Thessaly's side. With a sudden surge of energy, he throws himself at Toko, knocking her off Thessaly and tumbling down with the bee queen.

>HellTongue Potion on Thessaly [Instant Auto]

>Tackle Toko [1d10+1] [Using 3TBP]

>Perception for smoke [1d10]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #2 5 = 5


[1d10] Smoke perception

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cerulean spots the Crimson King calm walking and moves to block his path, grinning a bit.
"Not so fast, Crimson. Don't tell me you're just gonna stop all this. Doesn't this just get the water nice and chummed up for ya?" She grins as her tail idly swishes along the ground.


"Miss! Please, get to safety!" the griffon shouts, taking a shot at the closest threat with his bow to keep them from turning to focus on him and the others
>[1d10+1] Masterworked Bow

"Your father would want to ensure you are safe- I am sure he can handle himself!"

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


>Right, Smoke [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9



Roll #1 5 = 5


Many of the injured, after getting their bearings, retreat from the ruined cannons, emptying their pockets of coins and every other kind of knicknack and oddity they've got on them, spilling out their purses and bags until a plethora of coins are out before them. You can roll with a +2 bonus from master thief to identify the recently-grabbed coin.

Meanwhile, the ship starts to move in closer. A mook comes down to the first floor to report. "Captain! Too many of our guns have been damaged! We're moving in closer for small arms fire!"

As Toko, in a hellbent craze, force-feeds Thessaly the parasites in the bag, they screech and squirm upon contact with her body, leaping out almost as soon as they touch make contact, still scratching and injuring her as they quickly leave her body and burn up, destroyed by the helltongue potion. "What!?" is all that Toko is able to manage before Cloud knocks her off of Thessaly.

>Thessaly 0/2

Toko, now starting to slow herself, lays on the ground, trying to prop herself up on her dagger, but can't muster the strength to do so. Instead, holding in her guts, she starts to crawl away. You hear the other two butlers, Walter and Alfred, calling for her as the smoke clouds the area. "Here… here! H-help! Help me, and kill them!" Toko calls.

However, Cloud sees a small shape crawling across Toko's shoulders, down to her chest and to the open wounds therein. You see that it is Droplet, still shrunken. He cracks his neck, and looks to Cloud. "By your order, sir."

Between your attacks, you see that the mafia, despite their initial advantages, is beginning to be pushed back by the Beesting's forces, and are forced to retreat back toward the circus tent. With the opening now made, the Beesting's crew advances toward the twisted and destroyed bleachers where Qaromarrow and Hurscurs are trapped. The mafia starts to retreat, but you hear them calling for reinforcements. The Princess, grimacing, runs off after Perfect Pair and Ruby Curls to evacuate.


The Crimson King stops as Cerulean stands before him, his head cocked to the side. He surveys her dully, as if she were no more than a price tag upon an ordinary object. He looks up dispassionately at Toko as she begs for help, and reaches into a coat pocket, pulling out a coin purse. "How much do I need to pay you for you to move out of my way?" he asks in utter lifelessness and disdain.


She shudders in disgust,pulling herself up and lurching towards Toko. "Your words will disappear," she intones icily, crushing parasites under her feet with each step, brandishing the knife. "Your name will disappear. Your empire will disappear. All memory of you will disappear." She raises her hand, conjuring up black tentacles to bind her. Eye contact remains unbroken. "Geill."

[1d10+2] Shackles

[1d10] Perception through the smoke

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


Cloud, breathing heavy from the effort, looks over as Toko goes to crawl away. He takes out another Helltongue drink, tossing it back after being so close to the parasites to be safe, and in case she tries it again. Looking down as Droplet hops over to her, still shrunken and ready to deal with her, he's feels a small amount of relief that it may be over. But he looks back at Thessaly, bloodied and downed, she needs to get out of here quickly.
Cloud reaches out to grab Droplet.
"Get Thessaly to safety."
He says, it being obvious Cloud isn't in a good state to run or carry another body.
Assuming Droplet follows Cloud's suggestion, he ends his size magic on him once Droplet gets off Toko so he can assist her fully.

Cloud follows Toko, holding his silver dagger as he grabs her shoulder. He turns her around and stabs it into her to finish off this insect.
>Stab [1d10]
>+1 if Echolocation if she can't see from the smoke

Roll #1 10 = 10


File: 1548740911400.jpg (10.79 KB, 236x261, Smug.jpg)

"Oh wow…you can't be the same Crimson I heard about. I heard he was a real go-getter of a swimmer." Her grin takes on a smug look as she tries to mimic some of Cutlass' mannerisms as she gets ready to be not nice with her words.
"He'd never just pay for something to be handed to him. But…you seem to be the only Crimson here, so…oh dear, don't tell me you've sunken so low! Surely the most feared pirate all around wouldn't pay for someone to get out of his way. And besides," her grin gets wider as she steps forward.
"Your money isn't good enough for somepony like me."



Cutlass stares at the growing pile of loot and rubs her temples in frustration. "I meant in the last few minutes, you idiots!" she shouts angrily as she sifts through the loot to find the mysterious coins.

[1d10+2] to find them

"No, you idiot," Cutlass responds to the mook without looking at him, still looking through the loot. "If we are without heavy defenses, then the last thing we want is to be in a vulnerable position like that! Those patrol ships are coming for us, and I'm sure there's more on the way as well. We've done our part. It's time to act as the distraction and pull back. Get them chasing us from a safe distance. Chart a course for the baby turtle island."

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


"A-Ack! Perhaps you should not challenge him?" he asks, somewhat worriedly. "P-Please, join us when you are done posturing." he calls out, running off to meet up with the rest of the crew.


Toko looks back, the last of her madness breaking down into abject fear as Thessaly begins to intone the words of her demise. Blood dripping, splattered everywhere. The ruination of her body. The shattering of the visions of her empire all around her. As it all begins to truly sink in and the adrenaline dribbles away, she starts to crawl toward her butlers' voices, begging for help, but Thessaly then pins her. Growing desperate, she pulls out one final thing from her dress.

It is a tall, obsidian jar, exuding an ominous presence, the kind felt around places where great evils have been committed. It is ornate, and shaped like a fleur, and its lid is shaped like the open maw of a sea-serpent. It is covered in an old, leathery texture. She struggles against the shackles, reaching up to remove the lid from the jar, but suddenly, Droplet's hoof moves like a flash through the smoke, severing her forehoof and catching the jar in one movement. Before Toko has time to scream, Cloud stabs her, ending her life. Her body sputters up a last bit of blood, twitching and spasming as the last of the life flees from her form. "No… there was… so much to do… my empire… my crown…"

With that done, Droplet looks at the jar with disgust, then offers his arm to Thessaly. "C'mon, let's be off with us. Cloud, it's not over 'til the rest of the Queens die with Toko. See to it that you squish those bugs, will you?"

It occurs to you that this jar might've been the relic from the Heart of Gold that the Crimson King was after.

The Crimson King looks on dispassionately as you mock and question him. It is as though he isn't listening to your insults, merely waiting for the time until you name some kind of price for him to pay. "If money isn't good enough for you, there is nothing more to disc–"

You suddenly see his attention caught by the grisly scene of Toko's murder (see above). "Th– there!" the King says, suddenly getting a bit of life into him as he points at Droplet. "That jar, the one he has! Bring it to me, and I'll see that you never want for anything again!" he commands. "Money! Henchmen, influence, lives! Name your price and I'll pay it threefold!"

You head over to where Thessaly and Cloud stand, quickly enough for you to see Toko's last moments, and her execution. As you run toward Cloud, the Beesting's crew rushes past you to where Hurscurs and Qaromarrow were last seen, digging through the rubble with guns drawn in a desperate bid to get rid of the other Queens before they can activate their power on all of you.

>Make an intuition roll pls

You quickly find four coins, each with the Crimson King's head in profile printed on one side, as if he were an emperor. You separate them from the pile and can sense a powerful Aura pattern imbued into them. If you're curious to know more, you can roll to identify them, but they seem complex, their secrets hidden.

The mook is twitchy and jumpy as you yell at him, goosebumps up all along his skin. You can tell that the taste of blood has left him wanting more. "Fine…" he mutters with resentment. "I'll have the Yellow Jester get us out!"


Your vessel starts to turn about, its magitech engines whirring and grunting as it changes its course, heading northeast in the direction of the baby island turtle. The four patrol ships change their trajectory to follow you, remaining out of firing range but quickly gaining on you, signal fires lit as their crews scramble to combat positions.


Cloud looks down at Toko's body as she falls lifeless before him. He's silent for a moment after Droplet speaks.
"Oh, right. Yea. You stay safe, …and you should probably get that jar out of here quick."
Cloud says in a flat voice.

He looks around, the smoke thick, but tracing the location of the broken bleachers with his echolocation. He pauses a moment before leaving, quickly checking Toko and looking her body over for any valuables or jewelry that a queen would likely have.
After his quick check, he heads towards the VIP bleachers, focusing his magic on himself as he makes himself grow.
>Wax/Wane [Self] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


Her lip curls in disdain. "Sin sin," she remarks, wiping the knife off. "So uncivilized…"

Her attention turns to Droplet, her attention lingering on the jar for a moment. She makes a mental note to explain everything to Cutlass when she gets the chance. "A fine cut," she compliments him. "But yes. Let's hurry up about it. Those two vermin are still out there. Would you kindly hand me another disguise? This one's going to attract attention." She starts moving back towards the bleachers.

She looks up at the now considerably larger Cloud. "Ah. One step ahead of me. Grand. Would you be so kind as to shrink those two cockroaches down to the size they deserve to be. And… perhaps even smaller. I have been curious to know the limits of your abilities."


>Master Thief [1d10]

"G-Goodness, Thessaly! Please, hold still." he says, mixing together a remedy.
>Natural Remedy: [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8


She does a double take, brandishing the knife for a moment, but then relaxes. "Ah, it's you. Go raibh maith agat. My thanks. That banshee had more fight in her than I anticipated."


"If they're still together, I'll try."
Cloud mutters as he walks off towards the last queens.



Cutlass tosses the coins overboard with her telekinesis.


"Get the big gun into position on the stern," Cutlass says, referring to the massive gattling gun. She makes her way back onto the top deck. "We'll take them out as they get into range."



"Also… if I go unconscious… You have your orders. You know where we are headed. Just keep me safe," she orders the mooks.


Cerulean glances over at the grisly scene, feeling bad when he starts pleading, but she knows she has to keep the mean act going.
"My price threefold? Hmm…," she intentionally pauses for dramatic effect, but also to stall slightly to keep Crimson away from the others, "oh, I think I do have a price."

"Beat me to the Heart of Gold, Crimson. The old fashion way. The real way." Her facade fades a bit as she gives her usual warm smile.
"The fun way! Like seriously, you have any idea how much fun having someone to race against to get a massive treasure like that is?! And what better way to have my first time than racing against the a big fish like you?" She goes back to grinning smugly as she realizes she let the act slip slightly.
"Besides, why have you hand the Heart of Gold to me when I can take it for myself and cut out the middle fish? Sorry Crim, but I guess I'm not buyable, even for you. And now that you don't have your quick current way to it, looks like you don't have a head start on me anymore."


You find a silver sapphire necklace, a ruby brooch, three golden bracelets and a purse containing 300 Bits.

Something about the mafia's quick retreat feels extremely off to you; it seemed that they had the advantage, or were at lesat on equal footing with the Beesting forces for most of that fight, and with the fire from The Golden Vein focused on the VIPs and not the mafia, they didn't have many losses from that either. That, and their quick calls for reinforcements suggest the retreat was perhaps to put you at an undeserved sense of ease.

The King grimaces as you bring up the Heart of Gold. Something shudders involunarily in you. You recognize the sensation. It's the same stirring that you felt in your chest when Stone Cold Classic granted your wish for power – the wish that you were warned about by Guts and Glory, the one that would amount to a curse, a sentiment that Master Cangrejo later echoed.

It resonates with a feeling coming from the Crimson King: A true malice is stirring in the Crimson King, a faint flicker, but one nonetheless. It feels more real than anything he's said thus far, rendering all that he's said no more than the insincere words of a hustler and con artist. And yet, there feels to be something else unknown under it.

"Move," the King hisses, pushing past you and heading toward the jar, his hand outstretched in desire, even as he's far off from it.

Cloud grows greatly in size, and Alder quickly tends to Thessaly's wounds, restoring 1 Wound and full Hits to her, though she is still greatly wounded after the beating she took and from Toko's vile poison. As you get close to the bleachers, you see that the Beesting's crew is currently ripping through it, tossing debris here and there in a mad rush to get to the Queens below. "There they are! I see them!" Bee Holder shouts, pointing to a bit of Hurscurs' dress visible beneath a twisted hunk of metal.

As the rest of your crew tends to the injured and prepares to battle with the approaching patrol ships, Miss Sunshine and a mook nod, quickly unlocking the Hullshredder and moving it astern on the second level of the ship as you turn and escape the four patrol ships. As you head back up to the very top, the Yellow Jester floats out from the control room, smiling at you.

"An impressive job. What are you feeling now, now that have accomplished so much in one night?"


or were at least on equal footing*


"Understandable. P-Please, relax. You did quite well, though- congratulations."


Cloud pockets the jewelry and bits.

Walking over to the bleacher debris, Cloud looks down as Bee Holder shouts they found signs of them.

His eyes scan over for what she points out, spotting the dress. Cloud raises a hoof and stomps down on the spot.
>Stomp [1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3


She readies herself. Despite their primary objective being completed, something still feels wrong to her, like the worst is yet to come. She conjures up an orb of magic and flings it, helping to clear the rubble.
[1d10+1] [1d10+1] Magic Bolt

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



"The fun has only just begun, Jester," Cutlass says with an excited grin, though her eyes are tired. The kind of feeling and demeanor a person gives off after hours of partying, but refuses to stop partying just yet.

"I dare not spoil the climax, but it will be glorious. For now, I'm concerned. That battle faded way too quickly. It seems the mafia failed to even fail at holding up their end of the bargain. I suppose they caught wind that we caught wind of them."

Cutlass shakes her head as if her own words made her dizzy. "I'm a fan of intrigue, but this has grown quite ridiculous. All the more reason to anticipate the bold simplicity of the conclusive climax that awaits us."

Cutlass takes a telescope from whatever nearby individual may have one and uses it to look over the horizon in every direction to see if anything is approaching them. [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


Alder helps the unicorn up, before trying to bolster her and Cloud with his aura. A bit more focus, and another bolt of energy.
>Rallying Shot: [1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


The moment the Crimson King touches her, Cerulean activates her aura to try and holmgang him with red aura chains.
"If you force me to move, then I guess I'll just force you to stay! You want something so bad, then you need to work for it! It…," she thinks back, thinking a moment how wrong she is for lecturing someone about this when she tried to do so herself, "it should be worked for! With those who you can trust and stuff! That way everyone can be happy and you aren't such a lifeless carcass floating around that even the bottom feeders don't want you when you finally sink down!"

>Hakarl, TBP


Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


The King puts up no effort as you restrain him, but as you listen to him, he turns back slightly, looking at you sidelong. "It is a matter of life and death that I get to that island – not one, but many. Countless many. I have sought it for far too long; it would be irresponsible to let this farce of a search go on any longer – not when the key is before me. Work? Happiness? What tripe. I simply need to get there and take its gold for myself… and then it can all be over. Then I can get back to what I ought to be at – the maintenance and running of my businesses and islands, no more of this piracy, this vagrant, foolish life, chasing adventure… chasing the horizon."

The stirring in his eyes increases a little as he says those last words.

The Yellow Jester looks off to the side, her eyes moving rapidly back and forth, as one does when skimming a book. [1d10+2]
"Is that why they left so early? Ah, what a shame. I know well that to see the future is a terrible thing, indeed."

As you survey the waters, you see that three other ships, these ones bearing insignias that you have seen in Aristar, on the mafia's ships, heading your direction, a great distance apart from the Crimson King's ships, so that they are out of the firing range of both you and the patrol ships. Indeed, it seems that all the ships following you are trying to remain just out of range so as to avoid that atrocious gatling gun on your stern.

Finding that most of the rubble is still intact enough to withstand attacks, you put your effort together to break through the rest of it alongside Bee Holder and the rest of the crew, eventually exposing the two Queens, huddled with their hooves over their heads. The corpses of a dozen aristocrats lay at their hooves, and they themselves look badly damaged. White parasites are visibly scuttling about beneath the skin of the aristocrats.


Hurscurs and Qaromarrow look up at the Beesting's crew, who draw their guns and swords. Qaromarrow quickly puts up her hooves. "Parlay! Parlay!"

Bee Holder arches her eyebrow. "Oh? What makes you think a landlubber like you gets to invoke the pirate's code?"

"Indulge us, and think of your own well-being," Hurscurs says. "Come now… I know these Auras even though I don't know you. All of you have been stung by our servants, and your Auras have been brought to us, where they await you in the Hunting Grounds. We could give the word now, and all of you would be dragged away into our nest. Our powers are fast… but the question is whether we could activate them and take you away before you could pull the trigger and blow us away. It's not instantaneous. Depending on how many people we try to pull in, it could take a few seconds. But instead of seeing who's quicker on the draw, why not– a deal?"

Puddin lunges forward from the crowd, knife drawn, but Bee Holder holds him back. "Why are you even listening to them!?" he sneers. "We could kill them now!"

"Are you sure you want to take that chance with your lives?" Qaromarrow asks, clutching her injured frame. "Come now… that's not a gamble you want to take if you like seeing the sun rise each morning. There's a way we can all walk away from this. We have no chance of winning this battle out here… and you have no chance of winning the battle in there."

Within the crowd, Chiu looks around in confusion, her eyebrows furrowed as she looks around for something.


Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


"Hold up, just a moment more-" the griffon says, pulling the knife out of his pack "N-Now, I assure you. This is an enchanted knife. It will not hurt, I promise." he says, holding it up to show her. He leans in, and tries… a slight, exploratory poke.
>Medic's Knife! [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


Last time on PQ…

The attack commenced in an explosion of black powder, cannonballs and blood. Thessaly ambushed Queen Toko the moment that Cutlass bombarded the VIP bleachers with cannonfire and bullets. Most of the aristocrats in attendance were slain after the first volley, and Toko was gravely injured. At the same time, the mafia began their attack on the circus, but had been caught off guard by Cutlass' surprise attack, and so were unable to get the drop on the Beesting's crew. In the midst of the havoc on the island's shore, the Pattern Juggler's troupe evacuated to the transport ships at the dock, while the Pattern Juggler himself remained on land to remove bystanders and ordinary circus-goers from the line of fire.

After a grisly battle that would have claimed Thessaly's life, had it not been for her ingesting a Helltongue Potion beforehand, Thessaly and Cloud killed Queen Toko, eliminating one of the three primary threats of the night. Just before her death, Toko produced an obsidian jar, narrow and long, shaped like a fleur-de-lis with an elongated stem, and attempted to open it, but failed to before she was killed. The Crimson King, who notably did nothing to stop the attack or help the Queens, fixated upon the jar, and would have grabbed it had it not been for Cerulean stopping him.

While the mafia made a surprisingly early retreat from the battlefield, the rest of the Beesting crew flew to the destroyed VIP section, where they found that Queens Hurscurs and Qaromarrow were the only survivors, buried under the twisted metal and velvet. At the last moment, the Queens attempted to bargain with the party, on the premise that, if the battle were to continue, it would come down to a coin flip of whether the Queens could activate their Hunting Game joint ability before the party could unleash enough firepower to kill them.

Finally, there is the matter of Cutlass. After having unleashed her first attack with the Crimson King's ship, she gave orders for a tactical retreat to the small island northeast of Kaco, so as to lure away their mafia and Crimson King pursuers. Indeed, seven ships were now in pursuit: three from the mafia and four from the Crimson King's forces. Each ship maintained line of sight, but waited just out of range of Cutlass's guns, bringing the battle to a stalemate for the moment.


>Cloud, Thessaly, Alder
Finding that most of the rubble is still intact enough to withstand attacks, you put your effort together to break through the rest of it alongside Bee Holder and the rest of the crew, eventually exposing the two Queens, huddled with their hooves over their heads. The corpses of a dozen aristocrats lay at their hooves, and they themselves look badly damaged. White parasites are visibly scuttling about beneath the skin of the aristocrats.


Hurscurs and Qaromarrow look up at the Beesting's crew, who draw their guns and swords. Qaromarrow quickly puts up her hooves. "Parlay! Parlay!"

Bee Holder arches her eyebrow. "Oh? What makes you think a landlubber like you gets to invoke the pirate's code?"

"Indulge us, and think of your own well-being," Hurscurs says. "Come now… I know these Auras even though I don't know you. All of you have been stung by our servants, and your Auras have been brought to us, where they await you in the Hunting Grounds. We could give the word now, and all of you would be dragged away into our nest. Our powers are fast… but the question is whether we could activate them and take you away before you could pull the trigger and blow us away. It's not instantaneous. Depending on how many people we try to pull in, it could take a few seconds. But instead of seeing who's quicker on the draw, why not– a deal?"

Puddin lunges forward from the crowd, knife drawn, but Bee Holder holds him back. "Why are you even listening to them!?" he sneers. "We could kill them now!"

"Are you sure you want to take that chance with your lives?" Qaromarrow asks, clutching her injured frame. "Come now… that's not a gamble you want to take if you like seeing the sun rise each morning. There's a way we can all walk away from this. We have no chance of winning this battle out here… and you have no chance of winning the battle in there."

Within the crowd, Chiu looks around in confusion, her eyebrows furrowed as she looks around for something.


The Yellow Jester looks off to the side, her eyes moving rapidly back and forth, as one does when skimming a book. [1d10+2]
"Is that why they left so early? Ah, what a shame. I know well that to see the future is a terrible thing, indeed."

As you survey the waters, you see that three other ships, these ones bearing insignias that you have seen in Aristar, on the mafia's ships, heading your direction, a great distance apart from the Crimson King's ships, so that they are out of the firing range of both you and the patrol ships. Indeed, it seems that all the ships following you are trying to remain just out of range so as to avoid that atrocious gatling gun on your stern.


Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


Ignore the roll from the previous post; the roll from last week will be used instead.


The King puts up no effort as you restrain him, but as you listen to him, he turns back slightly, looking at you sidelong. "It is a matter of life and death that I get to that island – not one, but many. Countless many. I have sought it for far too long; it would be irresponsible to let this farce of a search go on any longer – not when the key is before me. Work? Happiness? What tripe. I simply need to get there and take its gold for myself… and then it can all be over. Then I can get back to what I ought to be at – the maintenance and running of my businesses and islands, no more of this piracy, this vagrant, foolish life, chasing adventure… chasing the horizon."

The stirring in his eyes increases a little as he says those last words.

>Alder, Thessaly

As the medic's knife stabs into her, Thessaly feels not pain, but a slight tickling, and notices the last of her injuries sealing up.
>Thessaly at full H/W



Cloud looks down at the two begging queens, exhausted and sighing. He looks back at Chiu in the crowd, then back to the queens.
"Just tell us what it'll take for you to let our auras free so neither of us have to deal with each other again."



Cutlass pulls out her Conch and calls her ship.



Her eyes widen a little as she sees Alder go to jab her with the knife, flinching instinctively, but relaxing a little when she sees it work its magic. "Curious… You have my thanks, Alder. You definitely have a healer's gift to you."

She then turns her attention to the queens with a contemptuous expression. "I, for one, have had quite enough of this whole bloody affair," she says coldly. "If I ever have to see your bloated, smirking faces again, it will be too soon. I shall humor you, for now. What are your demands for the return of our Auras?"


File: 1549335889651.jpg (104.23 KB, 600x729, Liar.jpg)

Cerulean scoffs at that and yanks the chain, pulling him closer to her. Close enough to graze him with a tooth. Not to cause serious harm, but enough to draw blood, and licks the teeth with his blood on it.
"You taste like a liar, Crimson. You don't want any of that boring junk, do you?" She grins a bit.
"You want the thrill of the hunt again, don't you? What's the point of just grabbing something and being done with it when you can find all sorts of cool and exciting things along the way? All the sights of colorful skies and oceans you'd be missing out on if you just sit around all day." She gives a slight hum in thought.
"Hmm…actually, maybe it'd be better if you didn't. I mean, more for me to see and take, right? Maybe I'll find some other like minded people as my crew. Oh, you think there's anypony in this circus that would love to chase after things instead of run of business? I bet they'd love to tag along with me instead of boring you."


Alder lets out a nervous giggle, and tucks the knife away. "A-Apologies for the sensation. It definitely seems to do the trick. A-And, uhm… thank you. I suppose I do have a gift."

"I suppose we don't have too much of a choice, do we?" he says, looking to the others.


A moment later, you hear Plague's voice on the other end of the conch. "Hey! What's going on, Captain? Boy, you won't believe some of the stuff we're finding on this rig. We're going to be eating big and we're going to be eating exotic tonight once we get out of here. There's ingredients I can't even name in some of these barrels we're finding."

You recall that the Secret Assassins had already boarded The Golden Vein shortly after yours and had assisted in the cleanup of the local demon crew.


"A ship, a week's provisions, and safe passage from these waters for myself and what I presume are our only two remaining butlers. In exchange, we shall release you from the grasp of our Hunting Game freely. The exchange shall take place once we have inspected the ship, determined it to be free of traps, and have made enough distance to be out of the range of your guns," Hurscurs says.

"Very thorough demands," Bee Holder comments.

"There is no trusting a pirate outside of matters governed by the Pirate's Code," Qaromarrow adds.

Bee Holder smirks. "Thanks, we try our best to keep it that way."

"Where are those butlers?" Chiu asks.

The Queens drill their gaze into her, causing Chiu to gulp.

"What guarantee have we that you will not betray us?" Bee Holder asks.

"The fact that betrayal should gain us nothing. We have waited decades to return to Kaco Island, to sink our teeth into the necks of traitors. Our exiled forefathers have survived on scraps of bread, rotten fruit rinds, and muddy water. They bided their time. They survived the loss of home and hearth, of crown and the favor of their gods. What is this, but a mere inconvenience by comparison? We shall not gamble away our forefathers' dream by lashing out when we are bested," Qaromarrow says. "Release us, and you shall never see us again."

Bee Holder keeps her gun leveled at the Queens, but slides her gaze over to you, eyebrow arched inquisitively.

As you suggest that you would reach the island before him and take its wealth, and amplify it by suggesting that his crew would join you, a dim spark, but a spark nonetheless, flares up in his gaze. You feel a distant, overpowering coldness coming from within him, as though a blizzard raged within, dampening all life. And yet, in the farthest-off corner, a flame is struck.


The King reaches out and places his hand upon your shoulder, squeezing tightly enough to draw blood in return for the scrape you inflicted upon his face. "You, take the Heart of Gold before me? When I have poured so much into finding it, scheming, bargaining, buying, selling – bodies, lives, flesh and blood, weapons, towns, kingdoms, enire islands!?" he asks, voice steadily rising.

"Don't ever forget your place, little pirate! This sea is not yours. I am to put all of it under my thumb! This Ribcage, a world apart from the rest of the world, answers to one thing, and one thing alone: Gold! And I know gold better than anyone – I command gold better than anyone! If you seek to challenge me, you shall not insult me, not through words or even actions, but by challenging me when you don't know what gold truly means!"

You can feel his heartbeat through his hand, which has risen from a dull ticking to a resonant thrilling.


Cerulean glances her her wound, which doesn't seem too out of place with the other various scars on her.
"Well you better watch out then, Crimson. Your thumb is looking pretty appetizing right about now," she remarks with a grin as he's starting to show more life.
"And 'what gold truly means?' Big talk from the guy who just tosses it around everywhere. Almost like its worthless." Cerulean tries one of those cool, dramatic pauses before saying her next line.
"Ahh, that's why you couldn't buy me. Your gold is actually worthless and doesn't mean anything to even a 'little pirate.'"


Cloud steps protectively in front of Chiu as the queens turn their gaze on her.
"A ship feels a little much. Why don't we drop you off on an island instead to let you start over whatever it is you want to do."
Cloud offers instead, not too keen on sticking around to find a whole other boat for these bees.



"So, what's the plan if we have ships blocking our path?" Cutlass asks sarcastically, but also looking for an answer to this problem.



Her lip curls. "I would not trust these harridans with the time of day," she simply says to Bee Holder. "If it were up to me, I would have their bodies paraded in front of all the citizens of this wretched town. But, I am not the captain, or the leader. The choice is yours. I have done my part killing that virago."



"As long as they do not try anything funny, we could do that. Failing that, just find calm waters and give them something small?"



There's a low, rustling sound, something unnatural and cold, confusing and sinister, like the sight of a half-seen snake darting through grass. The King's beak parts in a strange way, and from it, you hear the sound again.

He is laughing, making a sound that you can tell has not left his throat in years, perhaps decades, and has become old and rusty with disuse. All at once, you feel a rush of strange emotions – emotions that are not your own. You become aware of the Pattern Juggler's aura about you, overflowing with two emotions. The first is pure, sincere gratitude.

The second, flowing up from behind the gratitude, is envy, black and cruel, poisonous and hungry.

"Now you betray your ignorance, little pirate. Gold is the one thing that has true, inherent value in the Ribcage. In this place, one may buy anything, as I have said. Food, clothing, weapons, ships, property, flesh, blood, organs, lives, slaves, prostitutes, souls, minds, even one's descendants, one's ancestors, one's name, one's reputation! Justice, injustice, right and wrong! Conviction, principles, even worship! These people are depraved, soulless! High or low, there is not a person in the Ribcage who does not and will not sell anything and everything!

"I have seen love and hatred, evil and good up for sale in the various black markets that the Ribcage holds. Good, honest people turned to shrewd shysters and merchants, selling out their kin and country for thirty pieces of silver. Gold is what holds this place together. These people! For a dime, these people are criminals, heathens, apostates, savages. Just look at the Bee Queens. They would have never attacked Kaco Island, killed as many as they did, women, children, old and young, if I did not give them money! If I offered them more money to end their Reconquista this instant, they would do it!

"Money is temporary and fleeting, yet it can make anything and everything happen! More than morality, more than loyalty and duty, more than the gods themselves! Money, money, money! That's all that has value here!

"That is why I can control the Ribcage – why I will! I'll give them the money they so crave, I'll give it and take it, and then I'll make interest on what they owe me! I'll let them have their goddamn money until they choke on every last coin!"

He pauses, and smooths out the feathers on his head, which had since flared out like a demon god's, as he ranted. "You wish to beat me to The Heart of Gold…? Very well. But not until you have learned the value of money. It will make you vomit."

"Uh… can't we just blow them out of the water?" Plague asks unhelpfully. "We've got the cannons for it, and they can't hope to do damage to the ship. First of all, this ship's massive. Plus, they won't want to fire on their own vessel – the King's troops won't, at least. Pirates have too many superstitions about ships to attack their own, even if it's been boarded."


Bee Holder nods. "I may be captain, but I take my crew's council seriously," she offers as an explanation to Thessaly.

After listening to the three of you, Bee Holder looks down at the Queens. "You can take a lifeboat off one of the transport vessels the King used to get here. I'll guarantee you safe passage out of the range of Kaco Island's waters."

"WHAT!?" Puddin Tame roars, turning his knife to Bee Holder, who doesn't react.

"I saw the future earlier when I stopped to pick up one of those Par-Fates, after hearing that Thessaly and Cloud had 'em and saw some nasty stuff. If we get pulled into this battle, we're not going to survive."

The Queens grin. "Very well. You have not made the wrong decision. Now, if you will be out of our way?"

Bee Holder nods, backing off and signaling the rest of you to do so as well.

Roll perception.


"The sooner we rid ourselves of them, the better." the griffon remarks, wiggling his talons idly as he looks around.

Roll #1 5 = 5


Her eye twitches involuntarily as Bee Holder agrees to their terms. "Surely you cannot believe these shrews won't stab us in the back as soon as they get the chance," she says icily to Bee Holder. Preparing herself for the worst, she mentally gets ready to throw down if need be, eyeing the Queens like a hawk.

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Half of our guns have blown up, you idiot," Cutlass responds in frustration. "Whatever, you better be right."

She hangs up in a haughty fashion.



Cloud looks down at the queens, stepping aside to let them walk as Bee Holder sets the agreement. But his eyes don't leave them as they move in case they try anything funny.

Cloud lowers himself to the ground, tapping Chiu on the left shoulder as they agreed before.
"Are you alright? Nothing got you in that battle, did it?"
He asks. And though he is concerned, his voice sounds severely muted in other emotion.

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


"Now you're the one betraying your ignorance, because I'm NOT from the Ribcage. So I won't vomit on the lesson since I'm not a depraved soul of the Ribcage," she says happily and puffs out her chest, as if she just expertly refuted his argument.
"True, you may have home field advantage, but I'm what some people would call…uhh…'stubborn?' Yeah, stubborn! So I don't need your lessons cause I have my own lessons I have on the value of things." She grins.
"And I can't wait to beat your lessons with mine, Crim. Really, this is shaping up to be a buffet of a meal we're cooking up here. So you better not disappoint me."




Bee Holder turns her head back toward you as she backs up to give the Queens room, and when her head turns enough so as to be out of the Queens' sight, you see her mouthe a single word – "Liars."

Deftly, aided by the fact that the whole crew of the Beesting is there, she slips a small parcel into Alder's clothing. By its shape and weight, he can tell that it is a bomb. Thessaly feels Sickly Sweet, Bee Holder's doctor, bump against her, and as he mumbles an apology, she becomes aware of a weight in her own pocket.

Whether the Queens notice this or not, you cannot tell, but they are watching you with unrepentant, poisonous gazes, their eyes wide and pupils narrow, reminding you of serpents or hungry jungle cats. "Walter, Alfred, come along now," Qaromarrow says.

Both Walter and Alfred appear out of thin air directly in front of Cloud and Thessaly, having been invisible until now. You see the two of them armed with syringe-like misericordes, much like Toko's. The two of them have their daggers pointed a mere inch from Cloud's and Thessaly's eyeballs. Apparently, they had been ready to stab the both of you had something gone wrong – and would have likely struck true. The two butlers swiftly put away their daggers and turn to escort the Queens toward the dock.

"You don't mind waiting here until we pick out a suitable vessel for you, do you?" Bee Holder asks.

"That's an acceptable condition," Hurscurs says, looking like she'd rather swallow caltrops.

"Alder, Thessaly, will you be dears and go pick out a lifeboat for them?" Bee Holder asks. "Or would you like some more help?"

Chiu looks at you with concern. "No, but you certainly don't look great," she says. "What happened? You weren't hurt, were you?"

The King straightens up to his full height. "Of course. And if you should disappoint me, perhaps I shall start to sell shark at one of my restaurants."

He pulls a coin from his pocket, readying it upon his thumb as if to flip it. "Care to call it?"

"…Ah," Plague chokes out. "O-oh. I must've missed that – I got kinda carried away during the looting bits, I wasn't so aware around the time of the shooting bits."

As a little time passes, you eventually come within sight of the small island where you got the Helltongue parasites. None of the mafia's or Crimson King's ships have reached the island before you, making you the first ones here. As you can see, the seven ships remain in pursuit, but slowly and reluctantly stay out of the range of your guns, being unaware of the setbacks you faced from the explosions earlier. One more ship comes along after them, another mafia ship, bringing the total to eight.

You hear a distant sound from one of the ships: one of the Crimson King's, amplified through a Conch, though a different kind from the Caller Conch. "Halt! Halt! We with to negotiate!" the roach demon calls through the conch.



Cutlass scoffs. "Negotiate?" she looks to the Yellow Jester. "Give them a signal that we will listen."

Then, she calls the control room on her conch. "We're docking the ship at the island. Stay at the controls for now, but be prepared to leave. And, get our ship out."


"Better keep perhapsing, 'cause I'm one tough catch."

She sees the coin and grins.
"What, you control how it lands or something," she asks with some jab, chuckling a bit.
"But alright. Tails," she calls, giving a slap of her tail for emphasis.


Cloud's eyes widen as the knives appear just before his eyes, feeling his heart sink. His breath is held until they move away, exhaling in a bit of fear at nearly being blinded.

He focuses his attention back to Chiu once the butlers back off.
"No. Well, a bit. …That's not hte problem though. Toko… I killed her. Well, Thessaly did most of the work, but I was the last bit. I… I never did that before…"


Alder nods a little bit and turns to the others, chirping out "Let us not waste time, then. The sooner, the better."

Alder waits until he's some distance from the butlers to let out a panicked sigh, and looks to Cloud with concern.

"I-I am sorry you had to do such a thing. I have not done it myself, either."


"Thanks, Alder. I hope it doesn't need to be done again if we can help it."


Her eyes widen a little as she sees the butlers, looking over to Bee Holder. When she realizes she's planning something, and feels the something appear in her pocket, she simply nods. "It will be done, captain."

"It was necessary," she says simply and coldly. "Toko was a rabid animal. She had to be put down. I wonder if she's the worst I've ever met. The truly vile do stand out over the years… In any case. You did well. You have much to be proud of."

She nods. "Let us move, then." She follows quietly behind Alder, looking for a boat to set up for the queens.


The King shakes his head. "Is it that obvious? But no, this time, I shall not."

He flips the coin, then catches it with his left hand, places it on the back of his right, and then reveals it.

[1d2] 1 = Heads, 2 = tails, feel free to react accordingly.

The Jester nods and floats out to the bow to relay your instructions. The mook that you call affirms your orders. Shortly, The Golden Vein pulls in to the small island, and drops the anchor to dock the ship. Quietly, the crew of the Secret Assassins start moving toward the holding bay at the water's level to get your own ship ready.

The demon from before calls again, his voice magnified by the conch. "We wish to send envoys to speak with you on the deck of our own ship! One from each of our ships, a total of eight, shall come to speak with you! Is this agreeable?"

"That was the first time you ever killed?" Chiu asks. "Wow… I-I can't believe I'm shocked about that. I had just assumed it had happened with all the battles we've been in. Sahagins, demons, bee soldiers, enemy pirates, the loa… I mean, I don't… I don't recall if I've killed before. You'd think that'd be a thing to remember, don't you think? H-how are you feeling about it all? After all, if there's anyone to kill, it'd be her."

Bee Holder comes along with you to the dock, where a few transport ships, marked with the Crimson King's jolly roger, wait. When you are out of earshot, she leans in with a whisper. "Sorry to pull the rug out from underneath you, kids. I didn't intend to steal your thunder, but I foresaw what would've happened to Thessaly and Cloud if I had given the order. I'm not losing either of you to scumbag tactics like that."

She turns to Alder. "That bomb I gave you – it's a flashbang, a fancy gizmo called 'magitech'. Smallest bomb I could get. If I had picked a standard bomb, it would've been too hard to hide on a lifeboat, and wouldn't have been strong enough to take out a standard vessel. Thessaly, Sweet gave you the detonator. Once the Queens and their butlers are out on the water, you'll push the button on the detonator. The light and the sound will disorient them hopefully long enough for us to take them out from the shore, while they're too dizzy to activate their ability. Alder, it's your job to hide the bomb well enough that neither the Queens nor the butlers will find it before they set sail. Any questions?"

Roll #1 1 = 1



"Tell them that's fine," Cutlass says after a moment of contemplation.


She nods in understanding. "An expedient solution. I will do my part, captain." She examines the detonator curiously.


"Ah. Yes, it would likely work better than the explosive I've had on me, anyways. I am not much of a smuggler, but I will see what I can manage." the griffon notes, looking the lifeboat over and trying to find a spot to tuck it away in. The griffon was never much of a smuggler, but hopefully some of his knowledge might come in handy.
>Master Thief [1d10] (Insight on the best spot to stow it?)

Roll #1 1 = 1


"Well, kinda. I mean, you were kinda just showing off your aura earlier and turning stuff into coins, afterall. I could do the same, but I'm not that kind of girl, you see. And no, you can't buy an aura show from me neither," she says, letting some of the animosity die down and now going into something more real and her: just having fun.

She watches the coin spin up, then land down.
"An early win for you, it seems. Could be fate telling you that you'll need this headstart once we get this race going." She giggles a bit at her own joke.
"C'mon, you have to admit that one was comedy gold." Her noise attracted someone who was scrounging around the crowd for fallen popcorn and other discard treats.

"Roger! You're alive!" She hugs her floating, rainbow remora right in front of Crimson.
"Oh right, Crimson, Roger. Roger, Crimson." She holds Roger close to his face.
"Be nice, but not too nice. We're gonna be stealing the Heart of Gold from him, so get your game face on." Roger, in response, simply floats there as he is a magical fish.
"That's the spirit."


"I know. After what I saw she was doing to you, I just couldn't let her walk away."
Cloud says, voice distant.
"I don't feel proud…"

"Yea, we've fought a lot but we've always chased them off or it ended before… that."
Cloud pauses.
"…I don't know. It had to be done, but… Seeing her body just, stopping, by my hoof… I took her life! I'm a murderer!"
Cloud says, starting to breakdown.


"Hrm… I think I will just stow it under the water."


Miss Sunshine tugs on your sleeve like a little filly, eliciting a small growl from your dress. "Hush you," she says to the dress, and it does. "Can we keep the Hullshredder?" she asks, gesturing to the gatling gun as if it were a puppy. "I… I just don't think we should let something this good remain in enemy hands."

After the Yellow Jester relays your words, there is silence. From each of the eight ships, a single lifeboat rows out, containing only a small rowing team and a single, powerful-looking member. From the four Crimson King ships, they are all angler fish demons. From the four mafia ships, they are ordinary beeponies – one of whom is Vich, and the other is Crop, of the Skeps. The other two are Aegos and Legra the Honeydews, who were present at Arroz's funeral, and at the trials.

The eight ships are directed to approach The Golden Vein, with your crew directing them to dock on the other side from the Secret Assassins so that they can't see that your crew is getting the ship ready.

Eventually, the eight negotiators are let up onto the second level, where they are stopped by your crew. Ossie looks to you, poking her head out of your shadow. "Is it alright for them to be this close to the control rig up here?"

As you examine one of the transport ship's small lifeboats, there really aren't a whole lot of places to hide it. The lifeboat can hold up to eight people, as well as their supplies. Perhaps you could hide it in between the provisions they requested, or perhaps under the railing on the side – but there's not a whole lot to work with. "Try to make it quick," Bee Holder whispers. "They're going to get suspicious."

>Can roll again, DC 4 from trying once.

Chiu grabs ahold of you to keep you steady. "Murderer? Cloud, she was planning to kill thousands, when she had already killed hundreds. And not just any kind of killing, like in battle, where there can at least be honor. She killed them with parasites. That's cowardly, that's disgusting. As far as I care, you didn't do anything but squash a bug."

The Crimson King looks deadpan at Roger, but not in the lifeless boredom from before – he seems genuinely unsure how to respond to someone who was talking so big to him earlier but who is now making silly puns and playing with a floating fish. The King offers his claw to Roger, who taps it with a fin.

The King then presents the coin to you. "I will give you this if you never make another pun in earshot of me again."


Chiu can feel Cloud shakily heavily as she holds him. His eyes look to the ground.
"What if this happens again? What if we're faced with something else that we have to kill?! I… don't know if I can keep doing this."



"I do not currently consider them my enemy," Cutlass responds to Miss Sunshine as she looks at the weapon greedily. "But, I DO like that weapon. I'm concerned over how much ammo we could get for it though. I'll see what I can do in the negotiations."

"Our own men are still in the control room. And, unless they have some seriously impressive stealth ability, we just watched the only 8 who have approached this ship come up onto our deck. It will be your job to make sure there are 8 of them at all times," Cutlass says to Ossie.

Cutlass looks between the 8 negotiators. She looks at the strong-looking demon with silver eyes.

>Soul Vision on the strong demon

Then, she looks to the family members. "I would first like to hear the stance of the families in all of this. This seems like a rather dramatic departure from where we left off when we last talked.


"You did what had to be done," she says distantly. "No more, no less. Chiu is right. She was an insect, and was destroyed like one. Just like her sisters shall be."

She looks the boat over, trying to find a good place for Alder to plant the bomb.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 4 = 4


She looks like she's about to take it, only to push the coin back towards his chest.
"Nope. I told you you can't buy anything from me," she says and gives a cocky grin.

She watches the brief exchange between him and Roger, which turns her grin into a warm smile.
"Still, I can see why they've stuck around with you, even when you got all lame and boring business man. Deep down under all that money talk, you don't seem that bad of a pirate. You just kinda…swam in the wrong current, I guess." She motions for Roger to swim over, giving a gentle pet along his body, then looks him in the eyes.
"But now, heh, now you look more like a shark that can keep up with me. So what do you say? You gonna make the most the most of your headstart," she asks, motioning her head towards the coin, "or you gonna just gonna let me take your treasure? Well, maybe not me specifically, but I do know a bunch of people that would LOVE to get their fins on something like that."


[1d10] "R-Right, right. Let me get on that."

Roll #1 1 = 1


"We can't say for sure if we have to, but if it looks like it'll come to that, we'll figure it out. I can't promise you anything except that I'll be with you and that I'll support you, alright? I should've been with you earlier, when you had to do it, but Bee Holder wanted me around to help protect our crew with shadow magic. But no matter what, I'll be with you next time, alright?"

She starts holding you tighter, looking very distressed as you shake, but still manages to keep herself together.

The demons are mere brutes – an examination of any of their souls reveals that they desire only a gluttonous platter of carnal pleasure, a life dedicated to nothing but satisfying hungers and getting steady enough coin to fit the bills they will inevitably rack up in the process. These demons, although appearing strong and intimidating on the outside, are nothing more than brainless thugs. Why they sent these as negotiators is anyone's guess.

Ossie nods, then vanishes back into the shadows. Miss Sunshine smiles, evidently pleased.

Crop is the first to speak. "Yes, well, the orders may have come from up top, but it's an attitude that most of the Family's members would have felt. You see, the Families aren't against working with pirates in matters that DON'T concern our own island. However, when Kaco Island is involved, the mafia has an image to keep. If we appear that we need the assistance of pirates to take care of our own, who's ever going to take us seriously? Having our toughs attack your crewmates at the circus was nothing more than a PR stunt, like what a politician might use."

"For the record, I was against it," Vich says. "After what you did for us, I kept my boys busy, and assigned them to other jobs to keep 'em from having to attack your allies."

"I have no subordinates who have combat duties," Legra says. "But I would have done the same if I had. I don't betray those who do right by the Families."

Aegos shakes his head. "You people are too sentimental. Our toughs had their orders, and they carried them out. Questioning or disloyalty to the Family used to be punished with Excommunication. MY toughs carried out the attack until they received NEW orders to retreat, as they should have done. I feel no regret, only pride that they did as I and as Hubla and Soli told them."

The other three mafia negotiatiors glare at Aegos, but have no rebuttal.


The King turns and pockets the coin to maintain a cool distance from you even as you turn him down. He then turns his head back to you. "A head-start? My, what is this, a race or a game of hide and seek?"

He cracks another smirk at the thought of it. "Well, perhaps you're onto something. Very well, maybe I will have that head start. I've been looking for it for decades, never getting any closer as the island-turtles of the Ribcage swim in their eternal circles, always changing the world around me. What is another… oh, shall we say, two weeks spent in preparation? Yes, two weeks. That sounds about right. Of course, that means you have two weeks to get swimming, little shark… before I come after you and your crew. Spend it well."

The King puts his hands into his tuxedo's pockets and begins walking toward the carnival, away from the shore. "My friend?" he says to the open air.
The Pattern Juggler floats over to his side. "Yes?"
"We are leaving. Inform the Yellow Jester and whoever it is that has taken my ship."
"Right away, my kin–"
"Wrong," the Crimson King says. "Call me Captain."
The Pattern Juggler starts to beam, his eyes widening. "As you wish, my Captain."

Thessaly finds a small crook in between the planks on the inside of the hull, a small crevice made from age, where the magitech flashbang might be jammed and reasonably hidden. She points it out to Alder, and he stuffs it in there, just as Bee Holder finishes floating over provisions looted from the transport ships and starts to load them onto the lifeboat. Soon, Hurscurs, Qaromarrow and their butlers approach the lifeboat, surveying it. "Are you quite finished? What took so long?" Qaromarrow asks suspiciously.


Cerulean just silently smiles and watches Crimson go off, giving a winning grin and a wink to Pattern Juggler should he look back at her.
"I think its time we got going. What do you say, Roger?" Roger just rests happily on her head.
"Yeah, I could use a nap after all this. Whew. Now…what were the others suppose to be doing? Oh yeah, run from all the gunfire and stuff!"

She runs to the water and dives right in as her grand exit, making a bit of a splash from her bulk. Roger, in true remora fashion, fastens himself on her head and hitches a ride through the water. She begins to swim around towards the surface, searching for the rest of her friends.


Cloud says nothing, but he does look appreciative of Thessaly's words.

Cloud looks at Chiu with deeply gracious eyes, saying nothing as he pulls her in to hold tightly, taking care to be gentle with his large size still.
"Thank you."
He says, calmed but still a bit unsteady.

"Droplet, can you get rid of this disguise now?"
He says after a moment, wanting to distance himself from this mess.


"We were debating the proper transport for two upstanding members of high society such as yourselves," she answers, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "Your chariot awaits, Your Highness."


"We wanted to inspect the lifeboat and make sure it did not have any weaknesses. The last thing we would want to do is set you out on a leaky lifeboat, yes?" he suggests. "I-I do not know much of ships, but leaks are bad." [Innocent]



Cutlass scoffs at the family members. "Well, I'll tell you outright, I don't believe you. I'm willing to believe that you," Cutlass looks to Vich in particular, "may have been against the plan. I MAY even be willing to believe that some of you may genuinely believe that this was just for appearance. But, no I don't believe that is what has happened here."

"You have betrayed me. And, the fact that you stand here with as my pursuers along with these demons makes your lie transparent. The goal is to take out the bee queens. They are allies with these demons. You have allied with them. Keeping a public image is one thing, but your current actions are outright detrimental to the original goal."

"This one has the right of it," Cutlass points Aegos. "Follow your orders. You are an extension of the will of your leaders. If that's not how you wish to be, then don't follow them. Don't continue to be a part of their organization. And, as I am convinced your leaders intend to betray, I am convinced that you are an extension of that will."

"The only reason we are talking now is because I have no interest in fighting the Crimson King. That he is here, that I've hijacked his ship, that he is allied with the ones I want to kill is all tragic coincidence. I asked you why you've betrayed me, and you've tried to convince me you haven't. That is not an answer to my question. Is this really how our negotiations are to begin? Let's hear some truthfulness out of you. Why did you pursue me - an action that is nothing but detrimental to our goal?"

>Whisper in your Ear [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


Cerulean swims a little northwest along the shore, in a counterclockwise fashion which brings her closer to the docks where the transport ships are held. As she draws near to the docks, she sees Cloud, Droplet, Chiu, Alder, Thessaly and Bee Holder speaking with the two remaining Bee Queens and their butlers, Alfred and Walter. Instinctually, from years in the sea, Cerulean can tell something is up and that it'd be wise to lay low for now. Droplet removes the disguise from Cloud, returning him to normal.


The Queens scrutinize Alder and Thessaly as they explain away the delay, and the butlers go to inspect the small lifeboat, poring over the food and water rations carefully. [1d10-4]

"You aren't taking Toko?" Bee Holder hazards.
"One of the only things she truly dreamed of was to die in her homeland," Qaromarrow says. "After cleansing it of peasants and plebeians and mafiosos in a scourge of parasites, that is. She was always such a patriot, that one."
"She'd never forgive us if we took that from her," Hurscurs adds with a dreamy sigh. "Ah, a true Queen!"

Crop looks at you with a tilted head, his gaze as expressive as a rock. "Oh, you're no fun. I was told that if I mopped up you and your crew and made as big a show of it as possible, I could have what remained of your bodies."

Legra shrugs. "I really do hate to admit it, but he's right. I only came here because Hubla and Soli DID want you taken out in addition to the Queens. They were planning to go public with the news of Lazul and Fasol's treachery. Then, they would point to the indiscriminate slaughter that we're supposed to create here as a sign that ANY defiance against the Families would result in chaos. It's supposed to be a mess. It's supposed to be convoluted. It's supposed to end in a slaughter. Because what the Families offer is order. Anything that threatens that order creates pure chaos, and we were supposed to dramatize that by piling bodies upon bodies in such a confusing display that nobody in Aristar would entertain a single idea of questioning the mafia's rule. What they want is total loyalty. If they went out and declared that the sky was red when it was clearly blue, they want the people of Aristar to say that the sky was as red as an apple, against all evidence. Capiche?"

"Fuck that and fuck you," Vich says to his fellow mafiosos. "I stand by what I said. I'm not giving anyone the dick today but my wife when I get home from all this nonsense. Cutlass, I got no beef for you."

"I was also honest from the start," Aegos says.

Roll #1 8 - 4 = 4


Cloud feels a bit better as he's returned to his normal bat self. As they talk, he tries to ignore their discussion of Toko, guilt still lingering.

He waits along with the others as they deal with their bargain so they can move on.


Her lip curls at the mention of Toko, inwardly feeling even greater conviction at having planned her assassination. Not one for negotiations, she waits for Bee Holder to finish the formalities, itching to blow them to kingdom come.


Cerulean does exactly that, keeping a low profile and only poking her head out enough to look at the scene taking place. She slightly wondered why two of the queens were still alive and none of the others were doing anything to change that. But trusting her instincts, she kept still floating and watching.



"You were truthful, Aegos, and I commend you for that."

"Well then, Vich," Cutlass says, looking to only him with a steely expression. "Before we move on, I want to take this moment to highly suggest you follow my advice and leave the families. Otherwise, you may not like what comes next."

>[1d10] Whisper in your Ear to only Vich

Roll #1 1 = 1


"So… we just leave her be? No burial of sorts, or pyre?" the griffons asks, a tad confused.


"Do as you like with the corpse. The dead are of no use to anybody, no different than trash," Hurscurs says scornfully.

Bee Holder sees you but has no reaction. From here, the scent of apprehension, mixed with a little confidence and a lot of crazy, is very plain for your shark senses.

After their inspection, Walter and Alfred pause, mumbling among themselves for a few moments, studying the lifeboat. They then glance at all of you, a gaze that lasts perhaps a few seconds but that crawls by for what feels like an hour. They turn to the Queens. "You may climb aboard," Walter says.

The Queens look surprised, then turn to you. "We shall be off then. Fare thee well: you have made a wise choice," Qaromarrow says.
"I'll bet," Bee Holder says, holding back a smirk. "Enjoy the waves and the tans, ladies."
Hurscurs looks like she's about to spit on Bee Holder, but stops herself. "Perhaps you shouldn't enjoy them so much – you could get rid of some wrinkles that way."
The Queens get on the boat, and the two butlers start to row, bringing the lifeboat out to sea. Bee Holder slowly trots off, acting as though there was nothing more to the deal. "Just a few more moments," she whispers to Thessaly, beginning to tremble with anticipation.

Vich looks at you, and then at the other mafiosos. He throws up a hoof. "I'd say 'don't say crazy things' but we're more than past that point. I'd rather die than leave the Families. They're my blood and homeland: what more can I say? Buuuuuuuuuuuut I also know how to read a room, and this room's got some serious writing on the wall. It says fuck this."

He starts to walk off.

Cutlass! Make Believe says telepathically. The ship's ready to go, we're all set down here, just give the word.


Cloud watches as the queens sail off.
"When will we know our aura was released?"
Cloud asks, enough out of his distress to focus back to the situation.


As soon as the queens are out of sight, she tears off the Jeeves disguise with disgust, throwing it into the sea after them. "Never. Again," she growls, brushing herself off and shuddering. "No more backstabbings and schemings for me. You shan't expect me to volunteer for anything of the sort again. Ever." She continues to groom herself violently, wishing to rid herself of any traces of the past few hours, scowling all the while. "Just say the word, captain. Please. Let us be done with it."



>"Not yet," Cutlass thinks in response to Make Believe.

Cutlass points her hoof at 3 mooks. "Make sure he actually leaves and doesn't sneak into the ship."

"Well, if that business is done, then I think the next obvious question is to know where you stand in this considering this new information," Cutlass says, looking to the demons.

"They've just admitted to wanting to kill everyone involved in this. Not just the bee queens, but the Crimson King and his men. That would be you. Will you stand for this?"

>[1d10] Whisper in your Ear toward specifically the demons

Roll #1 9 = 9


Cerulean has a look of confusion, but seeing them begin to row out, her curiosity took over more than logical thinking. She dove down deeper into the water to remain better unseen. Looking up towards the surface, she follows the silhouette of the boat blocking light from above. Figuring they might've done something to her friends, she follows with the intent of doing them in before harming her friends. She just needs to wait long enough when they think they're safe….


"Very well. Have fun rowing, then- I hear it is great exercise." the griffon says, sticking his tongue out and huffing like a child. He turns back to join with the others, awaiting the explosion.



After a brief while, the lifeboat gets a short distance out to the sea, and the Queens look at each other doubtfully. They exchange quiet words between themselves and with the butlers, appearing to be in doubt. But eventually, resolve comes to their faces, and perhaps a little relief as well, that this is all over.

They then turn and look at the party on the shore, smiling at them in the same way that a hunter smiles when he sees a particularly fat and lazy quarry. Smiles split their faces like knife wounds, and their eyebrows curl condescendingly, as if to ask, "Really?" They then join their hooves together, and a sphere of ravenous black Aura manifests between them at the point of contact.

"NOW," Bee Holder hisses, gripping her gun.

Vich looks back and laughs with a wheeze. "Please! The only place I'd sneak to is the kitchen, but lucky for the both of us I already ate."
The four demons look hungrily at the remaining mafiosos, whose confidence starts to waver as they survey the demons. "I say," one demon says with stunning eloquence. "That puts us in a terrible position, Miss Cutlass. As you might guess, we too are here to kill just about everyone, not least of all you and your crew, for you have killed a great many of our allies on your way up here. For demons, death is but an inconvenience; many of us can reconstitute our forms with a little help after we are killed. You and the mafia, on the other hand, will not be so lucky."
Aegos begins to look apprehensive, not for himself, but moreso as he looks at Legra. "Shoot Vich."
"And why would I do that?"
"Doing that would be a violation of the Agreements. Violating them would render you Excommunicated. If you are Excommunicated, you are under no obligation to die here, as most of us likely will be."
Legra pauses, considering this seriously.




"Oíche mhaith." She activates the detonator with a wicked, uncharacteristic grin.


Figuring that they're out far enough and in some relative safety, Cerulean propels herself up towards the surface with great speed. So much speed that she does a leap out of the water and, going off her first thought, tries to bite someone's limb off, or at least drag them into the water with her as she reenters and dives down.


>Crits 9+, critfail 2-. Sprinter DC-1

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11



"That sounds like a good idea to me," Cutlass says in all seriousness to Legra.

Then, she turns back to the demons. "As I've already said, I have no interest in waging any sort of war against the Crimson King. It's unfortunate that these bees are allied with you. I need them dead for the sake of my freedom and mental well-being."

"The Crimson King should have no interest in having such undisciplined allies anyway. This tragic series of events was bound to occur from the very beginning. If not with me, then someone else. These queens were far too uncontrolled with their power. They made enemies of everyone they came into contact with. It's not efficient to be allied with such animals anyway. The Crimson King loses nothing of value here."

"And, on that note, I do apologize for killing demons and taking this ship - for what that is worth. If it helps, I've never had any intention of keeping it. If you need proof of that, just ask the Yellow Jester," Cutlass gestures to the jester.

"And, I think that stands as powerful proof that I do not wish - nor have I ever wished - to be your enemy. And, fighting me under these current circumstances will result in conditions that I am sure the Crimson King would not approve of. How would he feel if he found out that you damaged his ship unnecessarily when I intended to return it peacefully?"

>[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 9 = 9


Cloud panics as he sees the queens form aura around them. He doesn't know what to do, his mind still clouded with doubt and worries. But he does know he needs to separate them so they can't use their ability. His instincts call the most distracting thing he recalls, eyes glowing as he tries to call a thundercloud over their boat to strike them, hoping the sound, light, and electricity can disrupt them enough.
>Climate Control [Thunder Storm] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


Alder, not sure what to expect, readies his Spellslinger. He fires a lightning-charged round at whichever target presents itself

Roll #1 5 = 5


Legra pauses, looks at the demons again and back at the demons in the smaller ships below, then walks toward Vich, knife drawn.

"You see? We are all quite in agreement that such a situation benefits nobody. Why we'd all be MAD if we pursued this course of action – Mutually Assured Destruction is all that awaits a group of people who just want to kill one another because their bosses told them to!" the angler fish demon exclaims.
"Would you take this seriously?" another demon asks the first.
"I am!" the first demon declares. "Why else would I be trying to put on such a big show for these dolts who insist on such extremes – killing everyone involved to ensure mafia hegemony – only to back down when threatened with greater force? Drama is the only persuasion they understand!"
"I really don't like any of you," Crop says like a child denied a toy.
"With my sister now gone, I've much less to leave for," Aegos says resolutely. "Cheer up. I thought you liked when the odds were against you."
"Only when I can then cheat to win," Crop says.

You are unable to conjure much in the way of lightning, still shaken by the thought of what you have done.


A rapturous explosion rings out, accompanied by a terrible ringing and flash of bright light, briefly blinding anyone who had the misfortune of looking in the boat's direction at the time of the explosion. When the light clears, you see the four inhabitants of the lifeboat laying prone and splayed out on it, groaning and half-conscious, completely incapacitated, deafened, blinded and stunned. Immediately, Cerulean takes the opportunity to rip Alfred right out of the boat and pull him underwater. Walter, on the other hand, tries to lift himself up, flailing weakly before him in some pathetic attempt to fight off whatever unknown attackers he might be imagining hit them just now.

At the same time, the crew of the Beesting sprint down to the dock, armed to the teeth with guns and bombs and magic. Each of them, much like Thessaly, wear grim smiles, wild with perverse pleasure and condescending smugness as they shoot and bomb their helpless prey. Many unleash evil laughs, revelling in the total reversal of fortune.


Walter rises, taking a glancing blow across the cheek from Alder's gun, which splashes blood and skin all across his face, and tries to bodyblock for the Queens. [1d10-3]


Roll #1 1, 9, 1 + 2 = 13 / Roll #2 3 - 3 = 0


Last time on PirateQuest…

Cutlass, after retreating to the small satellite island where their party had obtained the Helltongue herbs, met with envoys from the mafia Family as well as demon soldiers from the Crimson King's fleet. The mafia's envoys, consisting of Crop and Vich of the Skeps and Aegos and Legra of the Honeydews, revealed that they had been sent to wipe out Cutlass and the Beesting's crew in order to turn the battle against the Bee Queens into a public statement of the mafia's hegemony over Kaco Island. What the mafia wanted was absolute, unquestioning loyalty to the point of sheer absurdity from their followers, so much that they were even willing to betray their temporary allies to obtain it. However, Vich and Legra had doubts about whether to go through with this considering that Cutlass and her allies had helped the mafia solve the murder of Arroz, so they were willing to back down.

Meanwhile, on Kaco Island, Bee Holder had apparently eaten a Par-Fate after hearing about the visions that Thessaly and Cloud had received from them. She foresaw that, if the crew were to attack the remaining Bee Queens during the standoff at the bleachers, Walter and Alfred, who were hidden via Aura abilities that turned them invisible, would attack Cloud and Thessaly, blinding them at best and killing them at worst.

Instead, Bee Holder agreed to the Queens' demands to be given a liferaft, supplies and their freedom in exchange for releasing the Aura which had been taken via the Hunting Ground ability. In secret, she slipped a flashbang magitech bomb to Alder, and Sickly Sweet slipped the detonator to Thessaly, and had Alder hide the bomb in a gap between two planks on the liferaft. When the Queens were out on the open water, they tried to betray the party by activating the Hunting Ground ability anyway, but Thessaly detonated the bomb, knocking them out of commission long enough for the Beesting's crew to begin their attack.


Legra pauses, looks at the demons again and back at the demons in the smaller ships below, then walks toward Vich, knife drawn.

"You see? We are all quite in agreement that such a situation benefits nobody. Why we'd all be MAD if we pursued this course of action – Mutually Assured Destruction is all that awaits a group of people who just want to kill one another because their bosses told them to!" the angler fish demon exclaims.
"Would you take this seriously?" another demon asks the first.
"I am!" the first demon declares. "Why else would I be trying to put on such a big show for these dolts who insist on such extremes – killing everyone involved to ensure mafia hegemony – only to back down when threatened with greater force? Drama is the only persuasion they understand!"
"I really don't like any of you," Crop says like a child denied a toy.
"With my sister now gone, I've much less to leave for," Aegos says resolutely. "Cheer up. I thought you liked when the odds were against you."
"Only when I can then cheat to win," Crop says.


You are unable to conjure much in the way of lightning, still shaken by the thought of what you have done.


A rapturous explosion rings out, accompanied by a terrible ringing and flash of bright light, briefly blinding anyone who had the misfortune of looking in the boat's direction at the time of the explosion. When the light clears, you see the four inhabitants of the lifeboat laying prone and splayed out on it, groaning and half-conscious, completely incapacitated, deafened, blinded and stunned. Immediately, Cerulean takes the opportunity to rip Alfred right out of the boat and pull him underwater. Walter, on the other hand, tries to lift himself up, flailing weakly before him in some pathetic attempt to fight off whatever unknown attackers he might be imagining hit them just now.

At the same time, the crew of the Beesting sprint down to the dock, armed to the teeth with guns and bombs and magic. Each of them, much like Thessaly, wear grim smiles, wild with perverse pleasure and condescending smugness as they shoot and bomb their helpless prey. Many unleash evil laughs, revelling in the total reversal of fortune.

[3d10+2: (1, 9, 1) + 2 = 13]

Walter rises, taking a glancing blow across the cheek from Alder's gun, which splashes blood and skin all across his face, and tries to bodyblock for the Queens. [1d10-3: 0]



Cloud watches as the others quickly unleash on the boat of queens, a little worried at how quickly they get to it. He can't bring himself to fight, but he has to help somehow. He focuses his gaze on Bee Holder, growing her so she can get her vengeance on these insects.
>Wax/Wane [Grow Bee Holder] [1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


With Alfred deep in the water, Cerulean opts to simply leave him for now and go back to the boat with all these other sounds happening. Getting the hint that They're all on the offensive, Cerulean decides to help a bit. She swims right up at the boat, then suddenly spins to tail slam it really hard, hopefully hard enough to launch them into the air and keep them disoriented, using some extra aura to get that result, then quickly dives back down before they can retaliate against her.


>Ranged, DC -1, crits 8+, take better result, using temp aura boost

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



Thessaly is quick to spring to action, her horn flashing as she tries to seize control of the waters around the queens' boat. "Bean farraige!"
[1d10+2] Unholy Elementalist

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9


>Evoker: When Thessaly conjures a minion via Unholy Elementalist, roll an additional 1d10 on a success. On a pass, the minion is raised with an additional 2 hits for a total of 5/3. On a crit, the minion gains 1 hit and 1 wound, bringing it to 4/4. On a critfail, the minion is hostile and gets no bonuses. (Amnis: +1)


Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


Alder winces a little as he watches the glancing shot, and tries to rally up his allies with a burst of Aura

>Rallying Cry [1d10+1]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2





"In that case, I suggest we all go back to our ships to conduct the next order of business: killing these mafia bees. Then, we can reconvene and discuss our conditions with a far more civil atmosphere," Cutlass says with a clap of her hooves as if all is decided. "All in agreement?"

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 2 = 2


Your voice cracks as you cry out, giving what would have been an inspiring roar an embarrassing twinge.

In the Beesting crew's somewhat panicked and overeager rush to attack the small boat, many of them bump into one another, crowding the already-packed dock. Many of their shots miss and a few careless pirates even trip and stumble into the water, trembling and frantic to kill the Queens before they can recover. However, Hurscurs and Walter are grazed by gunfire, and Walter, taking a stray shot through one of his scorched eyes, falls back with a pained scream, clutching the bloody socket.

Thessaly takes control of the water beneath the lifeboat. Both her new elemental and Cerulean rise up from below the boat, knocking it into the air for a moment, before it capsizes, tossing its helpless crew into the water below.
Hurscurs and Qaromarrow, gasping and bleeding, dive below the surface in an attempt to get away, while Walter, still clutching his destroyed eye, draws out his knife once more, and tries to ram it into Cerulean's chest.

[1d10+1] Walter's attack

[1d10] Qaromarrow
[1d10] Hurscurs (these count as preemptive dodge rolls)

Alfred, mangled by Cerulean's earlier attack, drifts through the water, still dazed, before he sees the Queens trying to swim away, and dives in after them, leaving behind a trail of bloody water.


"Trying to buy time?" Crop asks. "Oh, please, don't beat around the bush, will you? We're all here, there's no need to delay it further."
"Ignore this one," the fishman says with a dismissive gesture at Crop. "As I said earlier, you people have too much to lose simply by fighting us here. There's no point in us damaging the goods. We intend to take your ships, your bodies, your minds, your souls when we win. Damaging you as little as possible, and dealing with this in a civil manner, is our goal, you understand."
"You people never learn. I don't answer to any of you," Crop says, his head tilted, an obsessive gleam churning in his gaze.
Aegos takes Crop by the arm, and opens his mouth to say something, but his conch begins to vibrate. He frowns. "Do you mind?"

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 4 = 4 / Roll #3 1 = 1 / Roll #4 4 = 4


Forgot to specify, but the Beesting lost their chance to act this turn due to the 2, count 'em, 2 critfails last round.


Cloud turns his eyes to Cerulean as he see's her appear out of the water to attack the queens. He doesn't question where she came from, but with the queens capsized from Thessaly's summon, a shark is the best attacker they have. His eyes glow as he tries to focus and make her large.
>Wax/Wane [Grow Cerulean] [1d10+2]

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11


With a cold expression, she manipulates her elemental into the form of a mass of watery tentacles, making them grab the Queens like some great kraken and bind them underwater, dragging them down to a watery grave.


For good measure, she mutters a curse, putting a glowing red seal on Hurscurs.

>Exequy: spell, recharge 2 after effect ends; Thessaly places a curse upon an enemy, crippling them with dark magic. The target auto-critfails its next roll, and on a crit the target is rendered unable to attack on the next turn. If an enemy gets multiple rolls per turn, the first of those rolls is the one affected by Exequy.


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


Alder huffs a little bit and rubs his throat, before going to simply try and shoot a weapon from their hands, if he can manage.
>Spellslinger (Ice) [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4



"As you wish," Cutlass says with a dismissive hoof-wave to Aegos.

Cutlass scoffs at Crop. "Clearly, the pressure of the situation has made you lose perspective. This is not a matter of 'answering' to anyone. This is how negotiations end. Everyone returns to where they came from. I'm not going to kill negotiators who have taken it upon themselves to go into hostile territory as a show of good faith. A pirate I may be, but I also have standards and expect others to show that same level of respect."

"So no, I'm not… 'buying time'," Cutlass says the phrase in a mocking tone. "If you'd prefer I could just give the order to have you killed now while you are separated from your companions and on the ship occupied by my crew."

Cutlass then turns her attention to the demons. "And, I do not wish to fight you. These bees, on the other hand," Cutlass points to the mafia members. "They DO wish to fight you. They've made that clear. So, violence is going to have to be enacted on them regardless. Therefore, as I have already suggested, the most logical and beneficial course of action for all of us would be to first deal with them and remove them as a factor in future dealings."

>[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 8 = 8


File: 1549942018388.gif (1.37 MB, 500x274, Thats Good.gif)

With them in her home turf now, Cerulean just feels more at home, and there are some intruders that need handling. The scent of Alfred's blood, all the frenzied movements of injured prey; it was all fueling her predatory instincts.
"C'mere, I don't bite too hard!" She suddenly bursts through the water at Walter jaws first, then follows the blood trail after Alfred, then the movements of the Queens disturbing the water.

>Cleave four targets


Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8



Cloud's magic empowers Cerulean, bringing her to double her size as she bolts through the water. The Queens and the butlers look back, then try to scramble, but they are far too slow in the water, and Cerulean effortlessly rampages through the four of them, battering and ripping at their bodies with her teeth. Alfred tries to jam his knife into her throat, but Alder is quick on the draw, and shoots the knife out of his grasp.

After Cerulean's attack weakens the dying foes further, the elemental grabs Hurscurs, who uses her last bit of freedom to shove Qaromarrow out of the elemental's reach. Hurscurs glows with orange Aura as she tries to fight back against the elemental, but Thessaly's seal then burns into her side, causing her to seize up and twitch with pain, even as she thrashes about. She opens her mouth in a gasp of pain, and bubbles rush to the surface as she slowly drowns.

Qaromarrow looks on in abject horror as the elemental squeezes the life from Hurscurs, and her countenance falls, first into disbelief and horror, but soon, into total defeat. She floats in the water, slowly losing consciousness from severe blood loss. Although still alive, she has completely given up. Walter and Alfred, beginning to choke, try to swim desperately for the surface, but they too, from their grave injuries, begin to slow, as death overtakes them.

From the shore, the Beesting's crew looks on in stunned silence and amazement. "We… got them," Bent Scales slowly breathes.

"How good it is to finally meet a pirate of reason and class," the fishman demon says. "Very well. We shall be off."

As the fishmen demons start to walk down the steps to return to their ship, Aegos raises his conch to his ear. "What could be so impor–"
On the other line, you hear an explosion, bursts of magic and the hum of Aura, and finally, silence. Then, a choking sound, and the popping of vertebrae. "Aegos, re–" Hubla's voice chokes out, before he is silenced by another squeeze. Aegos turns white as a new voice, one that you have never heard, but you instinctively know the owner once you hear it.


"Hello, Aegos," the Crimson King says from the conch. "Is Cutlass with you? I asked Hubla here to call her, but he seems to be a bit hard of hearing, or perhaps he got the codes mixed up. He called you by mistake. In any case, I'd like to know where my ship has gotten off to."
Aegos is silent with shock.


Aegos turns white as he hears a new voice*



Cutlass freezes when the Crimson King mentions her by name. She expected to speak with him eventually, but she didn't expect to be sought out specifically. She trembles for a moment before lets a smile weakly cross her face.

"Good," she says with building confidence. She telekinetically takes the conch from Aegos' stupefied hoof. "Good evening, Crimson King. I apologize for the inconvenience I've caused you. But, I assure you, I'm working things out with your subordinates."


"I… I-I guess we got them." he says, a little dumbstruck as he sees the whole ordeal go down. "G-Goodness, Cerulean seems particularly vicious."


Cloud shrinks back down to normal size as he looks at the bloody water as the queens and their butlers come to an end. He's silent as well, relived that it's all finally over but still deeply affected by the events that happened.
"…I'm heading back to the ship."
He says, leaving to walk back to the Beesting.


She dismisses the elemental with a wave of her hoof. "Such flawed creations, those queens," she says derisively. "The world is better off with them buried. A job well done, by all accounts." She nods stiffly at the other crewmen.

With the threat neutralized, she turns her attention to the jar Droplet has with an intrigued expression. "The Crimson King was quite desperate for this, wasn't he. If this is what I think it is, Captain Cutlass will find it very, very interesting. Any word from her yet?" she asks the group at large.


Still in a blood frenzy, adrenaline from being big again, and very hungry from all the events as of late, does what a hunter would normally do.
"Looks like a royal feast tonight," she says with a grin below the surface. Following the scent, Cerulean goes for Qaromarrow for a bite or three.


Alder winces a little and goes to say something, but holds of. He'll say something later.


"She is quite bloodthirsty, isn't she," she remarks, as if she were talking about the weather. "It is an impressive sight seeing one degenerate to their base animal instincts. Let us hope she comes down from the bloodlust sooner rather than later. It would be a shame to have to fight her as well."

Seeing Cloud still shaken by the experience, her expression softens just a little, and only for a passing moment. She looks like she's about to say something important, but instead merely nods in understanding, keeping silent for now.


"Ah, good to finally hear your voice. If only I knew what you looked like, too," he says. You hear him flick a coin in the background. "I'm a bit surprised to hear that negotiations are going well. A merchant by the name of Magoja tipped me off that you had commandeered my ship. He also was the one who informed me where the mafia heads were hiding as they coordinated the attack on my circus. He claimed to be some clothier who had been pushed out of business by the mafia for failing to pay his protection money, and he had quite the axe to grind against the lot of you, described you in particular as quite the pirate warlord, Cutlass. Said you were his worst enemy of all."

"That's a lie, all of it!" Aegos says, getting some color back in his face. "We'd never had dealings with him until today!"

"I thought it was awfully convenient that some disgruntled merchant would cross my path with the information I was after," the King says. "But I don't care about his ulterior motives or whether he lied to me in the details. I only thought I'd mention it if you wanted to take your vengeance against him after this was all done.

"What I am here for is the return of my ship and my gold," the King says. "I want you to either tell me exactly where my ship is, and where it will remain until I return to it. Or, you can take it into port yourself. In either case, I promise that you will be unharmed, as long as you do not take a single piece of gold from my ship. Even the slightest coin missing will result in… complications."

Chiu starts to walk with you as you head up back to the area with the circus tent. "Why don't we wait for a moment, get some water and some air? It's a little early to head back to the ship, and we don't know if the rest of the mafia's still waiting for us."

Droplet looks down at the jar as Cerulean goes in for a dreadful snack. "No, I haven't heard anything from her, nor from the others. But I'd think there'd be enough of them to call for help if something were to go wrong with the mission. We'd best not interrupt."

The Beesting's crew drops to the dock, relief palpable on their faces as the threat is finally over. Suddenly, from the water, a great stream of Aura bursts forth, in the shape of many long, narrow streams of Aura, in every color. Hundreds of them fly from the two dead Queens' body. Many of the aura streams fly back to the Beesting crew, and it becomes clear that this is the Aura which the Queens had stolen from you. Finally, the grip of the Queens' abilities have left you, and you are free.


Once she had her snack and calmed down, her clarity of mind came just in time as her aura comes back to her. Feeling multiple kinds of relief, Cerulean pops up from the water and joins everyone else on the dock.
"Hey guys! I got so worried when I lost track of you all in all that," she greets with her muzzle still rather red and some bits stuck between her teeth, "glad to see you're all safe!"


She nods. "We have done our part admirably. Let us hope the Captain does the same." Part of her wants to open the jar just out of sheer curiosity, but she decides not to.

She watches the rainbow display with satisfaction, closing her eyes with relief as her Aura returns to her. "And it is done. …Well, no sense in messing about. Let us move."

"Greetings," she says simply, trying not to show her distaste at her feral appearance. "Did you enjoy yourself?"


"I'd like to get some distance between me and this place."
Cloud mutters as they walk. But wen they near the circus tent, he stops. After a few seconds, he turns to head around the tent to where they trapped those two guards in the ground, feeling some regret on that.

Cloud pauses as the stream of aura lands back on him.
"That's one less thing to worry about at least."


"Oh yeah! The show was great and everything! I even talked with Crimson a bit. He's really not that bad. But then everything after that is kinda…fuzzy and hazy." She rubs her head a bit and smacks her mouth a bit as the taste is still there a bit.
"But I feel full and tired now, so I guess it wasn't anything important. Did you guys have fun?"



"Magoja said that about me?" Cutlass responds with genuine surprised and confusion. Then, Aegos interjects. "Hmm…" she contemplates out loud. "Magoja is an odd one. I honestly can't say as to how much of what he said is a lie. It may be that he DID intend to betray me. WHY he would do that, I'm not certain. It could have been simply for the fun of it. I wouldn't put it past him."

Then, the conversation moves on. A deep relief washes over her body and can be seen on her face as he seems reasonable and is willing to let them go unharmed as long as she returns the ship. All is going according to plan. Then, he mentions the gold. She feels as though her stomach has fallen straight down out of her body. Her face freezes in horror. She doesn't say anything for a time. At first, her lack of conversation is a result of pure terror. But, as her wits come about her, she begins to formulate a plan.

"Okay," Cutlass says in a high pitched, raspy tone, her fear still clinging to her throat. She clears it and her voice returns to its usual beautiful (albeit grating) self.

"As for the ship, as I've said to your subordinates, it's always been my intention to return it to you. My issue is purely with the bees, not with you. Your involvement in any of this has been a tragic bit of collateral damage that I'd like to put behind both of us. There is a baby turtle island off the north shore of this island. We'll be docking it there. Come get it at your earliest convenience."

"A-as for your gold," she continues on in a far less confident tone. "Obviously, you can't have expected a pirate crew to have entered your fine vessel and not have perused of your valuables. I will have the gold returned, but understand that this will NOT go over well with my crew. This is going to be a large blow to my leadership. In return for the return of all of your gold, I ask that you allow my crew to take your fantastic Hull Shredder. They've taken a liking to it."

>[1d10] Whisper in your Ear negotiations

Roll #1 3 = 3


"I-I have faith in her. Cerulean is a good sort, I think, even if she can be rather… ehm, well… you can see for yourself." he says, gesturing to her.

"A-Ah! Hello, miss Cerulean. I suppose you thoroughly dealt with them, from the looks of it. I believe we all made it out alright- Thessaly was wounded, but she's in far better condition now." the griffon says, with a soft sigh of relief. He lets out an odd little chirp when his aura settles back into him, and shakes himself off "T-Though, we may want to check on Cloud. He seemed rather… out of it. I believe today's events have shaken him."


"You may have it. It is only a thing, and things can be replaced, but payments, and another person's gold, gold which doesn't belong to you, cannot be. Money has a funny quality, you see. When it is loaned, or taken by someone else, the amount which the borrower or thief must pay back has the strange tendency to multiply. Eventually, it multiplies so quickly that one never has any hope of paying back what one owes. You understand me, I hope. Take the Hullshredder. Take whatever other objects strike your fancy. Just don't take the ship, of course, unless you happened to also be named Theseus. As for your crew, if they do not find themselves contented with the loot they take, then it is their fault for not looting well enough."

"We will be returning shortly, if we have nothing else to discuss."


The crew looks quite elated to have gotten their Aura back, many of them examining their auras with glee and celebrations. A few run forward to greet you as you return to shore, but the sight of your mess makes them second guess themselves, and they back down. Bee Holder, on the other hand, comes forward with a relieved sigh, and hugs you. "You as well, lass. You did a fine job, Cerulean, a damn fine job. All of you did!" she adds, turning to the crew. "We're free of the Queens, and free of their curse, thanks to all of you!"

The crew gives a cheer, but Bent Scales looks concerned. "But what about the mafia? They still tried to attack the circus while we were in attendance."

"Oh, hang them all," Bee Holder says. "After the thrashing we gave them, they'd be damned fools to keep up their betrayal, but look alive all the same. We should get to our ship and get to safety in case they intend to pull off a surprise attack."

She reaches into her coat, draws forth her conch, and calls up the crew left behind on the Beesting. Shortly after, she puts the conch down. "They'll be around to pick us up shortly. Keep a watch until they're here!"

Chiu walks alongside you. "O-okay then. I'll come with you."

As you return to the spot where the two guards were buried, you hear some muffled singing coming from the mounds of earth where you, Droplet and Thessaly stuffed them.


"When you're chewing on life's gristle / Don't grumble, give a whistle! / And this'll help things turn out for the best…" the mounds of dirt sing in unison.


Cloud smiles a bit. Not by much, or for long, but he's appreciative of Chiu's company.

Cloud watches for a moment when he hears the singing, but since he was in disguise they shouldn't recognize him once they're freed.
His eyes glow as he undoes his magic and raises them back up out of the dirt and into the open air.
"Are you two alright?"


"A real blast," she says dryly, suppressing a smirk at her own bad pun. "We tended to those vile hags all night, then topped it all off with a spot of regicide. That vixen Toko knifed me in the gut, but Alder has his… methods. The important part is, they shan't bother us any longer. …You've got red on you."

"She has a good heart," she nods. "A rarity in this wretched hive, I would say."

"If my idea worked," Thessaly adds to Scales, "the King will believe the mafia were to blame for Toko's murder. They shan't stand a chance if he seeks to act on this."


"Aww, poor guy. I'll check on him later. Though what about you? Not too tired from all that, right?"

Cerulean laughs and hugs back.
"Woohoo! I mean, I never really felt all that trapped, but more free is always great!" She lets go so Bee Holder can make her call.
"Honestly, they sound like junkfood at this point. Not sure if I could fit another bite," she remarks, keeping an eye out all the same.
"Still, I could just smack 'em around a bit."


"Woah…sounds boring. Now I'm kinda more glad I took part in the show," she says with a chuckle.
"Oh, I do? Thanks…where exactly?" She begins patting herself to find said spots, doing the hot-cold game method with Thessaly to find the red better.



"You are truly a generous king, sir," Cutlass says, the relief obvious in her voice. She'd curse herself for sounding so pathetic if it weren't for the fact that she is too overwhelmed for all that has happened since the last time she has had a good rest.

"I understand you completely. And, believe me, if I find that any of my crew members leave your ship with any of your money, I will personally see to it that it is the last mistake they ever make."

"If I may be so bold, I have one last request. There is a mafioso currently on your ship by the name of Crop here for the negotiations. Seeing as how the mafia families have been as bad to you as they have been to me, and this specific mafioso has been a particular displeasure from the first moment I met him, I assume you would not have any qualms if I took him prisoner, yes?"


Alder would offer his services to heal up any injured members of the Beesting, in case there were any.

"Hmm? O-Oh! Well, I am a little frazzled, and a little tired, but I think I am alright for now. Were you injured any, Miss Cerulean?"


"Everywhere. On your face. It's quite unsightly. There's also bits of Queen in your teeth. It would behove you to freshen up a little."


The two guards cough up a little dirt and shake themselves off when you free them. They look around at the deserted and wrecked circus with a combination of amazement and disorientation. "Blimey!" the first guard says. "What's all this then? What in the world did we miss? I heard shouting and fighting and explosions like it was the end of the world out there!"
The other guard stretches with a groan. "Some birthday this has been. They're going to take this out of my vacation time, just you watch." He looks over at the two of you. "Are you two okay? You look a bit injured."
"We… I'm alright," Chiu says, and takes you by the hoof. "The worst is over, at least."

Scales nods. "Good thinking, and bless you for it. I'm in no state to fight off either of their goons right now. I just want to be off this damn turtle and back to the open sea!"

"Do you have a tendency to eat ponies?" Sickly Sweet asks in shock.

"You're asking if I care whether a member of the same mafia that ruined my plans, my evening, and my beloved daughter's entertainment – the one thing that could get her to sit still for a day instead of looking for suitors – gets taken hostage. No. Allow me to answer your request with a request of my own: Do as you please with him. I shall be on my way."

Aegos shows no reaction to this, but Crop looks pleased at the arrangement. The call ends. Afterward, Aegos looks up at Crop, then at you. "…Sure you can handle him?"

The various Beesting crew line up for you to address their injuries. It is at this point that you notice some scars on your body, as well as on theirs. The injuries that you have built up so far on this journey are leaving their faint and permanent marks, little reminders of all that you have gone through together.

As you tend to them, you feel some eyes on the back of your head. Roll perception.


"That makes two of us, at least. I've had about enough of this cesspit of a city." She stands about and waits impatiently for Cutlass to arrive.


"I could be better."
Cloud mutters, standing by Chiu as she takes his hoof.
"You two should hurry out of here. I'm not sure what's going to happen next but the mafia has been hiding out around here."
He says to the guards.
"Probably can use this whole deal as a cover for some time off for your birthday."


"No, don't think so. Feeling pretty good," she says with a roll of her shoulders, "I didn't have a fight with Crimson, and the fresh chum we made didn't really put up much of a fight. I almost feel bad for being so rough. Almost. They did do all the things they did to us, so…eh." She finishes that sentence with a shrug.

"Bits of Queen?" She picks her teeth a bit and gets a piece out, only to taste it again.
"…oh. Oh, yeah, this is a familiar taste," she remarks looking…sort of upset and unsure with herself.
"Well, I'll freshen back up on the ship. Thanks, Thess. I'll hug you after I'm all cleaned up, okay?"

Cerulean looks a bit mortified by the question.
"No! You don't taste all that good at all!" Her defense lowers a bit as she thinks back to just a bit ago, that tasting getting some of the fuzz and haze away.
"Although…sometimes I just eat whatever when I get worked up enough…ehheheh."


[1d10] Whuzzat?

Alder looks over his own, somewhat scarred frame, sighing a little bit. The trip's been harder than he realized, on both himself and the rest of the crew. Regardless, he focuses on patching up as many as he can (roll?)

"W-Well… I see it as killing something such as a wolf. Sometimes, it must be done. I am glad you are well though, Miss Cerulean. It would be a pain to lose anyone."

Roll #1 9 = 9


>Healing check [1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8



Cutlass furrows her brow at the Crimson King's response. "Okay," she says in that high-pitched raspy tone again, not one to look a gift-pony in the mouth.

"I hope tomorrow fares you better than today, Crimson King," Cutlass says before hanging up the conch.

"Well," Cutlass says with a smile, looking to the negotiators. "I think that settles everything. Be some dears and tie this idiot up, won't you?" Cutlass says to the demons, gesturing to Crop.

"Handle him?" Cutlass says with a giddy laugh to Aegos. "It will be my distinct pleasure."


Sickly Sweet snorts. "Well I think I'd taste pretty good. Why else would I be named this way?"

He pauses, rubbing his chin as he considers the implicatioins. "That's not an open invitation to eat me, though!"

The guards nod. "Thanks for the tip, lad," the birthday guard says. "You two be safe. We've got to rendezvous with the captain and get back to our duties."

With this, the guards sneak away, heading through the side-streets for cover. Chiu smiles as they depart. "It was really good of you to do that. Most people here would've left 'em."

You patch up the wounds of many of your crew, in spite of your fatigue, but the exhaustion is still palpable.

You turn and see the large griffon from before poking over the rubble and remnants of the wrecked circus. She eyes you and the Beesting's crew with cautious intrigue, apparently not sure what to make of you all after the events of the night. You see that she has brilliant blue feathers, and the head of a wren with a manificent frill coming back on the top of her head, like a cassowary's. Her cat-body is that of a tiger's, with silver and black stripes blending smoothly into her blue body. Like Cerulean, she's a bit large, and there is the definition of muscle beneath her tunic, which is silver.

Eventually, the Beesting, piloted by the leftover mooks that weren't assigned to any of the night's tasks, come around from the northern end of the coast, and comes in to the dock at one of the open spots left by the transport ships. They wave and call to you as they pull into dock, and hurriedly extend the gangplanks from either side to let you on. "Let's move, all aboard who's going aboard!" Bee Holder calls.

You call back up the demons, and they look at Crop with suspicion, who only wears a small, contented smile and puts up no resistance upon being grabbed and tied up.

Aegos shakes his head, but says nothing further, and departs, heading back down to the lower levels to return to his ship.

"That went far more surprisingly well than I had even hoped! What else is there to do?" Ossie whispers.


Cerulean can't help but giggle a bit.
"Don't worry, I'm not looking to learn how you'd taste. I think its only in deep water I get like that."

"Don't have to tell me twice! Onward to somewhere new!" She happily cheers out and quickly gets on the ship.


She looks stony at being called Thess. "If you must," she answers simply.

She eagerly boards the ship, making herself comfortable. "No need to mess about," she comments, dusting herself off before sitting down on her haunches, rather like a cat.



Cutlass says her final courteous goodbyes to the other negotiators.

"Escort this idiot to my ship, and throw him in the brig," Cutlass says to Ossie and Sunshine. "And, keep an eye on him. I don't want him escaping. I'll be down to speak with him momentarily."

Cutlass then pulls out her Caller Conch. "Plague, I need two things of you. Gather everyone so that I might make an announcement to them. And, send some of them to bring the Hull Shredder to our ship."

Cutlass then goes down to her own ship as well.



"Ah. Hello, miss. I-Is there something I can help you with? A-Are you injured, perhaps?" he asks, offering a nervous smile.


"You two as well."
Cloud says, waving the two guards off.

"I couldn't leave them here, they were just doing their job. And it was his birthday. He's gotta get home for that."
Cloud says, looking to be in a better mood.

Cloud heads aboard the ship with Chiu as they return, feeling glad that they'll be gone of this island soon.
"I… also picked this up from the queen. I'm not feeling to great about it, but i you like them…"
Cloud says to Chiu, pulling out the necklace, broach, and bracelets he pulled off Toko.


The griffon comes forward, admiring the Beesting. "This might be a bit forward of me, mate, but I was actually hoping to – er, before that, gotta mind me manners. I'm Splendid, yadda yadda yadda, and I'd like to hitch a ride with you lot, if you'll have me."

"That's a pretty good testament to your good nature, isn't it?" Chiu asks.
As you hand her the jewelry, her eyes are aglow, but she can pick up on your mixed feelings on them. "…Thanks, Cloud. I know the sight of these must be a bit rough, so why don't we talk about these tonight?"
She slips them into her pocket.

Once you hop aboard the ship, the crew settles in, sitting on the dock as they watch the open sea. One of the mooks comes up from belowdeck, and reports that he just got into contact with Plague, from Cutlass' crew, and informed them of what went down. He also reports that Cutlass and company are in wait at the small baby island turtle where you got the Helltongues.
"Then that's where we're bound!" Bee Holder says. "Any objections, crew?"

Ossie and Sunshine nod, then drag along Crop down to the lower level so as to throw him into your ship's brig. After you call up Plague and give him the orders, he stops you before you can hang up. "Big news, captain! Just a minute ago, one of the Beesting guys called me – couldn't catch his name, though… wonder if he even has one – anyway, they've done it! The Queens are dead! All three Queens, dead! I think it's finally over!"

A moment after he says that, several streaks of aura fly toward the members of your crew who had been stung by the Queens' soldiers, returning your stolen aura to you.

>For time's sake

After the discussion via Conch is over, you eventually return to your ship, docked in The Golden Vein's interior port. Your crew has taken its time loading up treasure and loot, including the dreaded gold coins that the King warned you not to take, as well as the Hullshredder and other amenities, such as furniture and clothing, which he gave his permission to take. Sparkler loads the unconscious Colobok via stretcher onto the ship after you come down, and quickly takes him to your ship's medical ward.

As you come aboard, the crew gathers before you, and you see they are all assembled, awaiting your announcement patiently.


Thessaly shakes her head. "The sooner we are out of this place the better. The King is sure to be on the warpath soon."


"Yea, I guess it does."
Cloud's mood lifts a little more.

Cloud smiles as he sees her eyes light up.

Cloud sits down by the railings on the ship, content to wait as they meet back with Cutlass' crew.

He pulls out the strange bracelet that appeared in his pocket during the show, looking over the runes again. Now that they're not undercover, he gives the bell a ring since he won't be exposed to murderous bee queens now.



"Well, congratulations, everyone, we've gotten through this! The queens are dead. We are free to leave. But, the fun isn't done yet. The most fun part has yet to come. By tomorrow, this island will have its entire dynamic shifted. And, we will have the pleasure of watching it happen."

"But first, we have a bit of business to conduct. We have received this fantastic new weapon," Cutlass gestures to the Hull Shredder. "I can say from personal experience that it is very fun to use. BUT, in exchange for this, we need to return all the money we took from the Crimson King's ship. Any other treasure or booty is fine to keep. But, if its gold or money by any other standard, it MUST be returned."

"Let me be clear on this:" Cutlass says in a more severe tone. "Every single one of you must return every bit of money we've taken from this vessel. I don't care how much money it is. I don't care what you think you can get away with. This is a demon we are talking about. He is not like us. He is supernatural. He is obsessed with money. If the Crimson King comes back to his ship and finds even a single coin missing, he WILL know. And, he WILL come for us. And, if he does that, I WILL come for YOU. If I find out anyone tried to squirrel away even the tiniest bit of his money, I will personally make you suffer in ways you could not even imagine. If I find that someone by accident missed some coin somewhere and failed to return it to the Crimson King, I will make sure you ALL suffer the same fate. ARE WE ALL CLEAR?" Cutlass say sternly and loudly.


"Oh, no worries," Cerulean says to Thessaly, getting to work on freshening up via using a large splinter of wood as a toothpick.
"Crimson said he was going to need about two weeks to prepare things before heading off. So I don't think we'll see him again all that soon."


The Beesting departs from port, and as you set off for sea once more, you recall that the trip to the island will take a few hours. For now, all you have to do is keep watch and relax until you meet up with Cutlass. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew settles about their business. In particular, you see Zerk, Paraiaba and Squatz, the three thieves you picked up on Semetyer Island, sitting in the center of the boat, about the mainmast, with annoyed pouts.

As Cloud rings the bell upon the bracelet, there is a rustling of the winds, and green, ethereal mist starts to congeal in the shape of a pony next to Cloud. The mist takes on the shape of an old mare, green and translucent. Immediately, on instinct, Thessaly recognizes this pony as one of the Aos Si.

The mare looks about, and you see she's wearing a maid uniform. She scowls with disgust as she looks at the ship and its crew. "Ach, it never fails. Wot's it going to take to get these people tae clean themselves!? I could smell ya lot from the Sidhe!"
"Uh… who are–" Chiu hazards.
"And ye!" the maid exclaims at Chiu. "I dinnae even want to know what that smell on ya is, but I think I can guess with one look at this young stallion," she says with an accusatory look at Cloud.
"…You're probably not wrong," Chiu admits.

There is a great cheer from the crew as you first declare their victory over the Queens. Many, especially the new recruits from the island, who had been made homeless or orphans or widows due to the Queens' slaughters of the island's inhabitants, are plainly emotional, weeping and shouting with joy over their win.

Then, you get to the next bit.

"What!?" some of the more pirate-y crew members exclaim as you first bring up the King's stipulation. However, as you go on about why taking any of his money is a terrible idea, they start to back down, seeing the danger in defying either you or him. Reluctantly, they start to go through their pockets and bags, and start to unload the literal crates and barrels full of gold they had pilfered from the ship. It is a long and arduous process, but eventually, they take all of it off, and probably leave behind a little more gold of their own just to be on the safe side.


"What the?"
Cloud mutters as wind and mist forms beside him, creating an old maid. But as she immediately berates everypony, he's not enjoying it.
"Hold on, who are you and where did you come from?"
And when she calls out Chiu, Cloud springs up to his hooves.
"Whoa hey! You can dis everypony else but don't you start calling her unclean!"
Cloud scolds in her defense.


"Hmm? Forward about what?" the griffon asks, cocking his head to the side. At the mention of joining the Beesting, Alder hums a little, and offers a small nod and a hand to shake. "I am sure we would not mind, especially with the state of the island. My name is Alder, of Tribe Frostclaw. It is nice to meet you, Splendid."




Roll #1 5 = 5


The result mentioned in the previous post stays the same, and as you keep an eye on the crew, you are quick to notice anyone reluctant to part with their gold. Upon being noticed, they ashamedly relinquish the stolen gold obediently.


Thessaly looks over, at first mildly curious, but as she sees the mare coalesce, her eyes widen, freezing in place at the sight of the spirit. "Cloud… what did you do?" Her voice is shaky.


"Sweet as," Splendid says, and comes aboard the ship. Once she crosses the gangplank, she pauses, looking all about the ship with admiration, even though, by all accounts, the Beesting is not the most impressive vessel upon the waves. She seems awestruck for a time, as she doesn't say much else.



"Excellent, thank you, and well done," Cutlass says as the last of the gold is offloaded from their ship. "I know it's a lot of work, but we are talking about a demon that calls itself a king. So, on that note, I want everyone to make one last sweep over the ship to make sure we didn't miss anything. Leave no nook or cranny unchecked. Our lives depend on it."

[1d10] if necessary

With that, Cutlass heads down to the brig.

Roll #1 3 = 3


"This bracelet appeared in my pocket when we were guarding Toko. I rang the bell on it and then this maid appears and starts complaining immediately!"


Cerulean looks over at the three pouters, shrugs, and goes over. She is still cleaning her teeth a bit.
"Hey, whats up? You all have a look like an angler fish's face."


"You are interfering with forces beyond your understanding." She seems genuinely unsettled. "Dismiss her at once!"


"We'd hoped that we'd get taken to go rob the Crimson King," Paraiba says, "But Bee Holder insisted that we stay at the circus and help with the fight. Robbing the King was the main reason we joined you guys!"
"I guess there's always next time," Squatz suggests, but is clearly disappointed.
"Yeah, speaking of, what was that you said about 'two weeks'?" Zerk asks.

"Ma name is Grainne Ní Mháille," the old maid says. With a turn of her hoof, runes manifest in the space before her, becoming a mop and bucket, feather duster, wipes, gloves, and all manner of other cleaning supplies. "Most just call me Granny. Ah was called here because someone rang my bell, and Ah clean. Not much more to it than that, and Ah ain't leavin' til I've got this place and you damn pirates spotless."

Granny starts to swab the deck, muttering curses and criticisms under her breath. Chiu, despite being berated, seems to be none too bothered. However, she still seems exhausted from the events of the day, and pops open a bottle of beer. "Recycle that bottle when you're done or there'll be hell to pay, lass!" Granny quips.
"Yeah, yeah!"

You make your way back down to the brig, which you find has far more rooms than just the torture room in which you interrogated the wasp captain. You find Crop held up in one of the cells, looking at the wall with a slightly bored and disinterested look, but as you enter, his gaze fixates on you. His expression doesn't change, but there is a clear shift in its vibe, from one of disinterest to playful curiosity. "Hi there."


"Have you been on many ships? You seem rather awestruck. T-To be honest, this is the first ship this size I have been on, as well."



Cutlass looks back at Crop with a (barely) contained smile. Like the kind of expression a young pony might get on their birthday when they receive all their new gifts, but they don't want to burn out all the fun at once. They want to draw it out. Bridled joy. She merely stares at Crop in this manner for a moment after his greeting.

"Do you know why I chose you?" Cutlass asks, not responding to his greeting.


"How do I do that?! Wait, you know who she is?"
Cloud says, confused at Thessaly's tone after seeing how she acted during the circus events.

"You just clean? Oh, ok then. But hey, we had a rough day so maybe not be so rude."
Cloud says, too exhausted to get bent out of shape.
"Hey, wait a minute!"
Cloud says, following after the maid.
"Those rune things you just did, and those on your bell. They look the same as the ones on this dagger I found," Cloud pulls out the silver dagger to show her, "Can you translate?"


Splendid doesn't seem to realize you're talking to her at first, but soon snaps back to reality. "Course I've… been on other ships. Just not like this. I'm… used to more impressive rigs, but this'll still do for an adventure!" she says, strutting aboard confidently, but her legs wobble as she comes aboard. Something seems… off. Roll perception.


"Oh, just that Crimson said he'd need two weeks to get ready to set sail is all," she responds. She goes over and pats Paraiba's back, though hasn't gotten around to getting the blood off her yet.
"Hey, no worries. 'Cause I got some info on something the Crimson King wants. A treasure so big that he wanted it cause it was more money than even he had. So we can look forward to maybe swiping that from him," she says with a playful grin.


"Ah. As long as it is good, I can introduce you to the captain. Bee Keeper is quite nice." he says, giving her a curious look.

Roll #1 2 = 2


She seems to relax a little seeing as the spirit seems to be mostly harmless. She still gives Granny a wide berth as she does her thing, shooting her an occasional nervous glance.

Thessaly relaxes her guard after a moment. "She is one of the Aos Si," she explains. "Spirits of nature. Wild, unpredictable, often terrible. She, at least, seems benevolent, but be extra careful with that. If there is one thing that you should never, ever do, it's interfere in their private affairs."


>The RP on the Beesting side can continue until you guys are ready to timeskip

"Ah can," Granny says, and leaves it at that as she cleans. "Ach, just look at this fahckin' deck, all the care in the world ain't much good against saltwater and dirt, innit? Cryin' shame, cryin' shame, a maid's work is never done."

Granny looks your way a few times as well, sizing you up. There's a gleam in her eye that hints she knows a little more than she lets on. "There somethin' I can do for ye, missy?"

"I don't know enough about you to give a definite answer, but you strike me as a petty pony, nonetheless," Crop says without much care. "You seem like the kind of person to ruminate on an argument while you're in the bath, fantasizing about all the things you could've said differently to make a fool out of the person you were arguing with. Given that, the things I just said could by themselves incline you to round me up and torture me."

He smiles the kind of childish smile that is used by children everywhere up to no good. "Am I right?"

"We were so close though," Paraiba laments, but bucks up once you bring up the treasure the King's after.
"I guess we can stick along with you a little longer then," Squatz says.
Zerk scoffs. "Oh yeah, of course we have to! Where else would we go? We got no ship of our own, guy!"

The way her legs are wobbling don't seem like the usual kind, the way that people who don't have their sea legs wobble, but you're not sure what else it could be right now.

"Yeah, that'd be only proper, eh?" Splendid says, still wobbling but clearly trying (unsuccessfully) to contain it. "Lead on, then!"



[1d10] Thieves' Intuition

Roll #1 8 = 8


"A nature spirit? How did one of those end up dropping into my pocket?"
Cloud wonders aloud.
"Cleaning is something i have no interest in interfering with, so no worry there."


It clicks for you as you look again. It is not out of inexperience that Splendid seems so unsteady on the ship, nor even the base and animal fear of falling overboard and drowning, but nearly imperceptible in her eyes and face, you catch bits of shame and a different kind of fear altogether.


"Is… everything alright? You seem rather nervous, Miss Splendid- if it is something personal, I understand- we could find somewhere private, or save it for a later date. Being nervous the whole time you are aboard would be bad for your health, though."


>Cutlass will not be here tonight on account of player absence

Last time on PQ…

After having finally slain the three Bee Queens, the crew of the Beesting gathered themselves together to depart to sea once more, in order to eat, rest and sort their wounded and any dead. They were, additionally, joined by a new griffon named Splendid, who was a cassowary griffon, with some wren-like features as well, and a white tiger-like body. They also met Granny, or Grainne Ní Mháille, a sassy Aos Si maid who was summoned by the bell that Cutlass had given to Cloud.

The order of business for the night, apart from recuperating from the battle, would be to determine where to go next. Just beaucase they had slain the Bee Queens and driven off the mafia ambush didn't mean they were out of danger. It was likely that the remnant forces loyal to the mafia and Bee Queens would want some kind of retribution for the losses they'd suffered that night.

Cutlass managed to negotiate a peaceful end to the standoff between herself and the forces of the mafia and the Crimson King. The King, having been led to believe that the attack on the circus was a mafia operation, had attacked the mafia heads himself. He had also been tipped off to their locaion by Magoja, who had lied to the King, claiming he was a merchant who had been wronged by the mafia, and wanted revenge. Whatever Magoja intended with that lie, the heat was, for the most part, off of the party now. The Gates of Justice, presumably, would arrive in the Ribcage tomorrow to take control of the now-crippled remnants of Kaco Island.


>The RP on the Beesting side can continue until you guys are ready to timeskip


"Ah can," Granny says, and leaves it at that as she cleans. "Ach, just look at this fahckin' deck, all the care in the world ain't much good against saltwater and dirt, innit? Cryin' shame, cryin' shame, a maid's work is never done."


Granny looks your way a few times as well, sizing you up. There's a gleam in her eye that hints she knows a little more than she lets on. "There somethin' I can do for ye, missy?"


"I don't know enough about you to give a definite answer, but you strike me as a petty pony, nonetheless," Crop says without much care. "You seem like the kind of person to ruminate on an argument while you're in the bath, fantasizing about all the things you could've said differently to make a fool out of the person you were arguing with. Given that, the things I just said could by themselves incline you to round me up and torture me."

He smiles the kind of childish smile that is used by children everywhere up to no good. "Am I right?"


"We were so close though," Paraiba laments, but bucks up once you bring up the treasure the King's after.
"I guess we can stick along with you a little longer then," Squatz says.
Zerk scoffs. "Oh yeah, of course we have to! Where else would we go? We got no ship of our own, guy!"


"Nah, nah, nah!" Splendid insists, putting on a tough and stern smile as you question her. "I'll be fine, I swear. Just… been a while since I been on a boat like this. Fresh air, churning seas, pirates all about me. Erm, how shall I go about making myself useful around here?"


"Alright, if you are sure. As far as usefulness… hrm, I would not be sure. Perhaps we could speak with the captain for a better idea, but… what are you good at? I bet that would give us an idea." the griffon asks.



Cloud gives a flat look at Granny as she comments and continues cleaning. He walks around to cut her off againn
"Can you do it now? And before you just say yes again, I mean actualy translate it now."
Cloud says, with the slightest annoyance.


Splendid pauses, thinking on the question for a length of time that strikes you as inordinately long. "The past ships I was on, I swabbed the deck, and I barnacled, and I gathered and incinerated the trash, and I washed the laundry."
"Sorry to interject, but you do realize we're pirates, right?" a mook asks. "Sounds like you're looking more for work on a transport ship."
"Course I know you're pirates, what are ya, daft?" Splendid barks. "But by the looks of your ship, any janitors and swabs you have aren't doing half as good a job as you ought."

"Ah could, and Ah won't," Granny says. "The words that you're lookin' tae have translated are not for ye to know. They're not for most folks to know. Those words bring a lot a misery to a lot a people."


"Look, I've had a rough day. Can you just be straight with me? Is it cursed or something?"
Cloud asks, the npulls out the bell he used to summon Granny.
"Come on, the runes look like the ones on this bell I used to call you here. It can't be that bad, and it's gotta do something with all these marks on it."


"Well, we have not had too much time to clean lately, I suppose. I don't think it would be unwelcome, but… it seems an odd thing to suggest. Do you have any other talents, by chance?"


"Cursed? As in, having put a malevolent enchantment on it? Nae, not that," Granny says. "But what those symbols signify – what they mean to the people who understand them – that's the real curse. Those objects are only going tae bring ye misery if ye show them tae the wrong people. It's best that ye remain ignorant of them, so if you're caught with them, ye'll not be punished. Or, ye may still be punished if ye don't keep yer trap shut."

Splendid clams up. Despite your welcome, she still seems apprehensive about the ship. You can tell she has a lot on her mind, and is intentionally divulging very little. "If you're asking if I can fight, I can do that too – I'll be able to prove myself once I'm put to the task!"
"What brought you onto our ship, anyway, miss Splendid?" Paraiba asks, trotting over. "A treasure you're looking for, perhaps?"
"Er…" Splendid seems to be at a lost for words, then looks back toward Kaco Island. "For now, just a ticket off this island… away from its people. I'll worry about the rest later."
"Fleeing someone?"
"You could say that," Splendid answers.

>For everyone

Your stomachs begin to rumble, and your eyes start to droop as the exhaustion of the day finally catches up with you. From the expressions on your crewmates' faces, it looks like the feeling is shared fairly widely by the crew. In time, they start to head for the mess hall belowdeck, calling for the chefs to start up some grub. Bee Holder looks your way as the crew starts to head down into the hold. "Good work today, everyone. More troubles await us tomorrow, but for tonight, I think our work is done. Come along and get yer vittles, everyone."



She swallows, trying to calm her nerves. After everything she's been through tonight, an angry granny shouldn't intimidate her as much as she does. "Not at all," she says respectfully, giving the spirit a stiff little bow.

She nods and follows everyone else below deck, eager to have something to eat after the chaos of the evening. She looks back for a moment, giving Granny a meaningful glance, but decides not to engage the spirit, for now.


"Aye, good we sorted that," Granny says, giving you side-eye that would put a parrot to shame. She continues to mop the deck, and starts to hum an old tune to herself. You recognize it – a popular one from the land of your youth, a shanty sung to guide the spirits of those lost at sea back to their homeland.

>More to come when the others respond


"Alright, fine then. Be a blabbermouth about everything else but this."
Cloud grumbles under his breath as he packs the dagger and bell away and walks back to Chiu.

Cloud's ears perk as the call for food comes, a meal that isn't enchanted or forced sounds fairly good to him now. He joins the others, walking down with Chiu for some grub.
As they all gather together, Cloud remembers something, a nice distraction from all the worries.
"Hey, we're done with this island, right?"
Cloud mostly asks Bee Holder, but the question is open to everypony.
"So that means it's time to see who got the most loot, and who lost that big bet with the least."
Cloud says, bringing up the bet everypony else jumped in on when they arrived at Kaco.


"Fighting? Not necessarily. I am a rather poor fighter, but I have other talents that can be handy." he says, before flicking his ear and looking back to Cloud for a bit.

"Well, I would say you are in luck- we were just getting ready to head out. As soon as we are under way, we can start to find things for you to help with."


Her breath catches in her throat as she hears the tune. She subconsciously takes a step towards the spirit. She's about to ask her about it, but holds back for now. She resolves to confront the spirit once she has had a proper meal.

Once she is away from Granny, Thessaly's usual aloof demeanor returns. "How very materialistic," she comments. "There is far more to this life than just gold, you know. A lesson that our mutual fiend the Crimson King would be wise to learn."


"Ah will!" Granny quips as she continues to mop and sort out the deck.
Chiu smiles. "I can't help but like her already. Guess those runes will be a mystery still."

Splendid relaxes a little as the pressure and attention leave her, and follows you downstairs with the others. "Righto then, lead the way… cap'n? First mate? What rank have ye on the ship?"

You head belowdeck to the third level of the ship, which houses the mess hall. It's a long hall full of gnarled tables, old stools and empty barrels for sitting, as well as a separate room for a kitchen. Already, the pirates of the Beesting are passing around rum, beer and cheap ale, and tossing about plates of bread, cheese, salted fish, and mish-mashes of whatever fruit and vegetables they can dredge up from the barrels. It's a free-for-all of food and alcohol in which you serve yourself.

Bee Holder looks back at you all as Cloud brings up the bet. "Ah, right you are then! Everyone start counting your gold and your haul! We need to find out who won our bet!"

The pirates cheer, and then begin to sort through their pockets to count up their loot.


"Yea, I know that. But we all had a bet here to see who could be the most pirate-y. But don't worry, you're exempt since you were around with us at the time. Unless you think you snagged plenty of loot otherwise."


She narrows her eyes distastefully at the lack of a good wine, settling for serving herself some rum, along with a healthy serving of assorted fruit.

As everyone scrambles to count their loot, she gives the group a meaningful look before simply presenting the misericorde she got from Toko. "I must confess, I care little for material wealth," she states simply. "I only took what I felt would be useful."


"O-Oh, nothing so grand as captain or first mate- I do not know what rank I would be, but I mostly work as the ship's medic, of sorts. I brew potions, and I am rather handy with somewhat… unbecoming things, like lockpicking."

He flicks his ears a little and looks up to Bee Holder, before letting out a nervous giggle. "A-Ah! Allow me to retrieve the other takings from my room."


"She'll be good for cleaning at least. I wonder where she came from though."
Cloud complains.
"Yea, guess it'll be something to look forward to then."

Cloud grabs a mug of rum, and then plenty of fruits and bread. As well as grabbing a plate for Chiu too.

Cloud sits down, taking out the pouch he took earlier and counting the shrunken items he found.
"Alright, let's see what I got. I found a bunch of books, a bunch of clothes, this silver dagger, I guess that new maid too though I didn't really loot that myself. Just sorta appeared in my pocket. I picked up a huge bed sitting in my cabin, a bunch of jewelry, and a ton of bits. I forget what I found here and what I had before, let's call it an even grand."


While the others pick over their loot, you have a chance to inspect the misericorde more closely. There is a removable panel on the side, and underneath it, there is a complex clockwork mechanism within the handle. Most of it houses a barrel, which now has traces of a murky blue poison inside it – the poison which Toko stabbed into you and Cloud during the fight. The button on the hilt acts as a thumb plunger, and pushes the barrel forward, delivering the payload through the hollow blade once it's stabbed into a target.

>The Fatal Injection

>Weapon Tag: Single, Dual
>Function: Can store up to four uses of any substance in its barrel and inject them into a target. Most commonly used for poisoning foes, but can be used with any liquid substance. If a poison is allowed to sit in the blade, unused, for an hour, it will start to concentrate, giving it twice its potency and doubling the effect of the poison when it's used.
>Description: A cruel and subtle dagger, designed both to appear relatively unthreatening and to efficiently deliver its payload, in order to ensure that one's target stays down. Used by pirates, scoundrels and underground arena fighters, who are broadly considered to be nothing but living trash by the societies in which they live at the margins.

"You'd be a Surgeon then," Splendid says. "Most ships would kill for one of you."
Splendid follows you to your room as you head over there to pick up your things. Inside, you find the possessions you set aside for safekeeping. Your room is rather sparse, being a rather small cabin with a hammock, a dresser, and a window, but not much else. "Been at sea long? This is a very spartan room if I've seen one. Though, it's certainly got more than I've ever had," she adds, looking greedily at your treasure.


Cerulean counts out her gold and jewels from the treasure chest she found. Part way through, she ends up sliding it back and starting the count over again. And again. And again.
"Ugh…there's too much! Hey, can someone help me count? The number gets too big for me to remember…and I don't even know how much these shiny rocks go for."

As Cerulean describes her plight, Roger can be seen doing a floaty dance with the beetlebands as they play music.
"Hey, would me catching that huge fish for lunch earlier count towards this?"


She turns the dagger over in her hooves, letting out a soft 'hm' as she figures out its mechanisms. "Barbaric," she muses. "But not unwelcome. Perhaps a new methodology would not go astray…"

She glances over idly as Cerulean complains out loud. "1500 bits," she says simply, without hesitating. "A handsome reward for a task well performed."


"Hm? O-Oh, you flatter me, thank you." the griffon says, before humming a little bit as he thinks back on the trip. "Oh… a-about three weeks, now that I think of it. It has been quite busy, honestly, but I have gotten along alright." he chirps out, scooping up all the hidden treasure into his saddlebags.

He gives her a slightly curious look, before continuing with "I-In all honesty, the ocean is still a rather jarring sight to me. I come from a far more… land-locked, I think the word is? A more landlocked region, in the mountains." he explains, before starting to head back for the deck where Bee Holder's at.


Many pirates groan and grumble as you count out your loot, declaring it to be a grand in total. Most of them have only picked up little baubles, trinkets and bags of gold, and certainly not one of the mooks seems to have collected more than you.

Splendid's eyes widen in surprise. "You've been – no, you're from the outside world, then, eh? You'd must be, if the ocean's a doozy for you. I've only known life inside the Ribcage. The islands are always shifting, moving from one place to another. Nothing's stable. The Ribcage, and the islands inside it – everything is always shifting. So do the people inside it. Pirates and sailors, most of them, always going from one island to the next. That's pretty much life as I've known it 'til… recently."

"That fish was a fine catch, I'd say it's at 50 Bits," Bent Scales says to Cerulean as Alder comes back. "Sharpen your craft at cooking, and you could certainly charge a lot more than that, with a little butter, salt, lemon and so on.

Several crewmembers come over, helping to sort Cerulean's gold into manageable little stacks. Soon, the gold is piled up into a little city of gold, like some legendary treasure in a far-off land. Many whistle as they survey the great haul that Cerulean has pulled in.

"Cerulean at 1,500 Bits! Anyone got a stash that's topped that?" Bee Holder asks, looking about the crew. The pirates groan and grumble as they realize they've been bested by one of the new recruits. "Hah! Then unless Cutlass has trawled up some long-lost cache from the bottom of the sea, Cerulean takes it! Three weeks aboard our boat and she's more pirate than all of us!"

The other pirates laugh and, initially begrudingly, they applaud, stomping their forehooves on the table and giving out hollers and praise to congratulate her.


>and so on
and any other fixings you can think of!"*

The first line was boring


She rolls her eyes at the rowdy display, sipping her rum daintily. "Pirates," she mutters disparagingly, and looks over to Droplet. "How are you faring, Droplet? Do you still have that jar? The King coveted it so. I feel it will be vital in the days to come."


"The Ribcage has certainly been a jarring experience, yes… I cannot say I am used to it, but… I am more used to it, at least. And, you're from the Ribcage? Have you been on the same island all your life?" the griffon asks, cocking his head to the side and humming curiously.

"Oh! Congratulations, Miss Cerulean! You certainly outdid youeself!" the griffon says, smiling and giving her an excited pat.


Cloud whistles as Cerulean comes through with a large cache of gold.
"Wow, that's quite a stash you got there. I'd ask what the prize should be but you already got plenty there."
Cloud looks across the rest of the crew, seeing how the party has collected the higher amounts of them all.
"Now I believe the loser was said to do everypony's chores for a week. So, who's the unfortunate pirate of the bunch?"


"Oh sweet! I didn't think it was THAT much! Thanks Thess!"

Cerulean gives a big, sharky grin.
"Hehe, what can I say? Beginner's luck, right?"

"Oh yeah, I forgot about the chores bit. Actually…come to think of it, what do I actually do around her besides swim with the ship and catch fish whenever I'm hungry?"


Droplet looks a bit grim, but happy. "I just checked in with our allies on the other side. Apparently, the King got to the mafia heads not too long ago. I don't know if he killed them or what, but it sounds like he stomped all over the mafia's forces as if they were nothing but sandcastles. Amazingly, Cutlass brokered a deal with him. She's leaving behind The Golden Vein, but she's escaping with her life, her crew, her ship, and a good deal of other goodies he let her just take. Colobok – my friend, the one who had been captured – he'll be alright. They freed him and treated his injuries, but he'll need time to recover.

"But… all that is to say that we won. We'll be meeting up with Cutlass in just a few hours, and we'll be free of this wretched island. Good riddance. Madponies and murderers, the whole lot of them."

He then reaches for his bag and produces the long, obsidian jar once more. "Here it is. Whatever it is, we could present it to Prisma. She'd be able to find the island that it originated from, but it's another question of whether we want to go to that island in the first place. My suspicion is it has something to do with that 'Heart of Gold' place he was obsessing over. That doesn't necessarily mean it will lead us directly there, however. If it's connected to an island that nobody's been able to find before, there's bound to be dangers along the way."

Splendid nods. "Yep, born and… well, I wouldn't exactly say 'raised' here. 'Raised' would imply that someone actually bothered to do that for someone like me. I've come and gone from island to island on… 'business', but mostly in the Outer Rings, never gone too deep into the Middle or Inner Rings," she says with some weight. She gives you a thoughtful look. "So what does your ship do? Any connection to the Black Market?"

Cloud then brings up the penalty for losing, and the pirates discuss this for a time, measuring each one's haul to figure out who their unfortunate one was. It turns out that the loser was Etch, the ship's smith, as he never bothered to go out and loot anything. "Ah…" the old donkey says as he looks around. "What were we supposed to be doing again? I've been here keeping things from breaking down. Still, I'll accept the loss. Work and toil are my fancy."
Bee Holder pauses to think. "Did we ever decide on what the winner got?"
"We could leave it up to Cerulean, see what she wants," Bent Scales asks.


"Either way you got an excuse to laze about. Sounds pretty good to me."
Cloud says, with a hint of jealousy.

Cloud ponders the point, having forgotten himself.
"Huh, I was so busy thinking of it being a way to pawn my work on whoever lost that I never thought about the winning part. Yea, I guess Cerulean has free pick in what she gets."


"Well, you are a great fighter! And, I'd say you lift people's spirits. That's good enough, no?" he suggests, giving her a friendly nudge.

"Ah. I am sorry to hear that your younger years were rough, Miss Splendid. While you have not been there, do you know anything of them? We have only been to the Outer Rings so far."

Cocking his head to the side, he thinks over her question a little and shrugs "I… hmm, I would not know. I have not been on long enough to get a good eye for that."


"Seems everyone did their part effectively, then. Everything went just as planned. For the most part. At least it is done with. If I ever see Aristar again, it shall be too soon."

She nods in approval. "To Prisma, and to Captain Cutlass, yes. She will be very interested to hear that we possess something the King wants so badly. Whatever lies in the Heart of Gold, it is bound to bring misery if the King gets to it. I have stood by and hidden long enough. I will do my part to be rid of him."


Cerulean thinks for a moment, grinning a bit.
"Well, aside from a certain thing I want to go after…I don't really know what I want, honestly." She scratches the back of her head a bit.
"Uhh…any ideas?"


Droplet leans forward against one of his hooves, his eyebrows knit. "Things indeed went well. While I'd be happy to chalk this up to the arrogance of our enemy and the prowess of our crews, my gut is telling me I'm overlooking things. Or maybe, that there are dangers ahead of us that we don't yet see. Operations rarely go as smooth as this one, and every op has fallout.

"We knocked out three powerful Queens with an army of followers that were loyal to the death, pinned the blame on a mafia with deep ties to the criminal world of the Ribcage, and in so doing, we interrupted the long-built plans of a cold-hearted businessman with more money than there are fish in the sea. We crashed out ship right into three great empires. We might have come out unscathed for now, but one by one, all the pieces are going to come tumbling down right on top of us.

"There's something else that bothers me. Several things about this plan happened because of a certain… let's say supernatural help. What do you know about that Magoja character?"

"Then I'll start from the top," Splendid begins. "The Ribcage is loosely divided into several 'Rings', which are a group of concentric circles, made by the paths that the Island Turtles swim in. Each Ring, it's believed, consists of about three of these circles, but people disagree on the exact number. It's hard to keep track of all the islands in the Ribcage since the Turtles are always moving about in the course of a year. Most inhabited islands are found in the circles of the Outer Ring, and in the outermost circle of the Middle Ring. Beyond that, most of the islands are inhabited only by beasts, but from what I heard, lots of expedition teams are setting out to try to colonize those islands."

"That's about as much as I know…" she says, trailing off. You notice she relaxes a little once you dismiss any connection to the Black Market. "Just what I picked up from when I was on slaver ships."

The other pirates lean in as they gather together to hear what Cerulean will demand as the winner of their competiton, but as she admits this, they pause and think.
"How about this: I'll give you one use of my Captain's Orders," Bee Holder says. "You've noticed by now we run things a bit more democratic-like on my ship. Seldom do I coerce anyone to do anything. I instruct and I lead, but anyone who wishes not to follow me has only to say the word and they can walk away free. I don't run a ship of slaves, but of free people who obey me because they want to and because they trust me. But, in the event that I have to settle a mutiny or make a snap judgment, I can invoke the Captain's Orders, and the crew must obey me, no matter what. I'm not talking about a mere figment of authority. This is a real power I can give you, but just for one use."

>When you're ready to move onto the next day, just make a note saying you retire to your rooms


Cloud's eye's widen as Cerulean is handed what is basically a free order for the ship.
"Wow, lucky. You could do anything with that… Man, I should've tried harder if I knew that could'e been a reward. Alright, next time we make a bet let's make sure we know what's on the line!"


"Woah…that is a great reward. Yeah, that sounds pretty good! No worries everyone, I promise not to abuse it." She giggles at Cloud's comment.
"Heheh, yeah, that does sound fair."



"I see… this is certainly quite the complicated region, then. Far more confusing than the mountains back home." the griffon says, with a bit of a giggle. The mention of slaver ships brings him a bit of pause, though, and he looks at her curiously. "Served, or… ehm, held?"


She nods, taking another sip of rum. "The fallout of all our good intentions, as it were," she says pensively. "I do not doubt there is a storm looming on the horizon. We will have to be ready when it comes."

At the mention of Magoja, she shrugs a little. "I know little, despite being his employee. Erstwhile employee, I suppose. He would send me on errands about Aristar. It is how I formed connections with some of the lower members of the Families. Magoja has always been an enigma to me. I do not know his machinations, but I daresay he will have his own part to play in the coming days. I can only hope he is on our side in regards to the King."


"I offer it to those I can trust won't abuse it," Bee Holder says simply. "And if you lot have proven just one thing today, it's that you lot can be trusted. More than that: you can be relied upon. All of you new recruits may not know it, but it's a damn shame just how rare reliable people are in the world of pirates. Most people with a shred of good in them die out at open sea, having given up their lives to help someone else who wouldn't have spit on them if they were on fire. You people are good, and you aren't naive. I like that in new recruits."

As Cerulean assents to the gift, Bee Holder nods and reaches into her belt loop, producing a pistol with a short, wide barrel but no loading mechanism. The strange gun has the jolly roger of the Beesting, a killer bee with a grinning skull face, upon the handle. "Pull the trigger and issue your orders when you want to use it, and all the crew shall heed your call. Use it wisely," she warns.

>The Captain's Orders

>Function: Automatic: Give an order to all those loyal to the Beesting. With this power, all in the Beesing's ranks will be able to hear you, regardless of distance, and will be filled with a storming strength, like the first wave of a tsunami crashing upon an island. They must obey the words of your order, and cannot resist.
>Description: A mysterious pistol with an old sea-charm placed upon it. In times of desperation, captains call upon this power to rally their crews about them regardless of the circumstances. Because of this, abuse or tyrannical application of the Orders almost always result in mutiny.

"Both, technically," Splendid says with a twinge of guilt. "I joined a slaver ship as a swab when no other crew would take me. Never handled slaves, never captured them, barely even looked at them outside of cleaning their cages… then I became a slave myself after an argument on the ship got personal."

"Is that going to be an issue? I know that, with some of the inter-island conflicts that have been going on, some pirate crews have been hired to take out slaver ships. But I'm not a slaver now, and I've no intention of going back to being one."

"I wouldn't be so sure. Apparently, Magoja told the Crimson King where the mafia leaders had been hiding. He passed himself off as a merchant that had been jilted by the mafia, and that Cutlass was behind the capture of his ship. He said she was a ruthless pirate warlord, when in reality she's just a small fry as far as the Ribcage goes. Any guesses as to why he'd do this? I have my hypotheses, but you know him better."


Cloud looks up at Bee Holder as she speaks. The words offer some ease after the day he had, and the sight from earlier of the Queens.
"Yea. You know, I'm glad I came along with this crew. Even with the bad stuff, I wouldn't pass this up."
Cloud says, before attending back to his food.

>Good to jump to morning


Her brow furrows. "Perhaps he is trying to instigate a rivalry? If so, he may be trying to play both sides. Pitting them against each other to see if one can destroy the other. Magoja is a difficult one to read. He has his own agendas a lot of the time. I never got too involved. I prefer to keep my head down."


"Uhm… I would not imagine it to be. I do not think they could blame you for taking what work you could get in the past." the griffon offers. "Please, just relax."
>Master Thief: [1d10] (Do I get a bad feeling about her, by chance?)

Roll #1 10 = 10


Cerulean smiles and nods, looking rather serious as the gravity of this reward is on her. Though said gravity is quickly lightened by a Roger plopping down on her head, making her giggle a bit.
"I will. Thanks again," Cerulean says and hugs Bee somewhat tightly. She then goes back with a slight spring to her step to get some thirds…or fourths. She kind of lost track.

Cerulean grins and bumps some of her food with Cloud's, as if toasting to what he said.
"Same here. Who'dve thought hunting as a big school would be way more fun?"


(Ready, if everyone else is)


>ready to move on for now


"I know, right? To the Beesting!"
Cloud says in proper toast


"Maybe…" Droplet muses. "But I'm not convinced. Magoja didn't mention the mafia at all when we first encountered him. He was dealing arms in an abandoned shop that we just so happened to visit while trying to gather intelligence on the Bee Queens. He seemed to fixate on the Crimson King much in the same way that the King was obsessing over this obsidian jar. Even the Queens were an afterthought to him. He could be trying to stir up enemies against the King, but the King is his central focus, not a periphery concern. Him and Walah… I don't know who or what they are, but they're definitely not like you or me. Cutlass picked up on that fairly soon after we met him. If he's to be believed, he's had dealings with draconequii before too."

Splendid shrugs. "Look I'm not trying to hang you up about the past. Just trying to get a feel for whether I'll be welcomed 'round here. That's what I've been trying to do ever since I… left that old arrangement."

You start to feel in your gut that, for as prickly and insecure as she is right now, there's no malice directed at you or anyone else. You sense only a kind of self-protective defensiveness, the kind that an animal develops when it knows what it's liked to be cornered. But, she doesn't seem malevolent.

>Majority of players want to move on, but conversations can continue this week by request

You eat, drink, and talk for a little while longer, but the exhaustion of the night at last catches up with you. One by one, you retire to your rooms, perhaps a little drunk, perhaps half-asleep already, but certainly full from the food, and appreciative of a sense of great accomplishment… and even, in the dim half-awareness of your exhausted minds, a certain sense that something very big has been set into motion tonight, something which your crew will be tied up in – like a ship caught in a great and terrible hurricane.

During the evening, your ship met up with the crew of the Secret Assassins, and then docked at the nearby satellite island to rest for the night, while The Golden Vein, now in the Crimson King's possession, sailed off into the distance to the north.

One by one, you wake up in your small and largely undecorated rooms to the sound of people knocking on your doors. "Newspaper's here!" various crew members say as they go through the barracks to wake up the crew. You are well rested and warm, but hungry once more. "Breakfast on deck! Get your papers everyone!"


Cloud sleeps through the night easily. Despite the dread and guilt he felt earlier, his dreams are rather pleasant. The good words and reassurance from his friends helping calm his conscious.

As morning comes and a knock comes from the door, Cloud stirs in annotance. He pulls the blanket over his head, again back to his usual laziness.
"Chiu you get it…"
He sleepily grumbles.


She nods. "In that case, we shall have to be especially careful. Nothing good has ever come of dealing with draconequii. I would not trust Walah or Magoja or any of the others under his wing with the time of day."

She awakes the following morning, hastily fitting herself in her usual plain and unassuming attire. With a slightly unhappy look on her face from all the hubbub, she freshens up and steps outside, reaching for the newspaper.


Cerulean gives a loud yawn and almost goes back to sleep, but thankfully, Roger is more awake and able to bonk himself against her until she gets up.

She steps out on deck, rolling her shoulders and stretching her tail a bit.
"I'm all for food, but papers?"


Alder awakens with a lazy yawn, and stretches out like a cat before slowly getting to all fours. He looks around his room slowly, and takes a bit of time to tidy up what little he has before slipping out his door to get a copy of the paper, and some food.


Chiu, mane a mess, groans and sits up. She lightly whaps you with a pillow, but her strength is taxed from the previous night. She looks about the room with an impressed grunt. "Wow, we… you better have a look."

Needless to say, you two have left your room a complete wreck, as if a tornado had swept through it. In fact, comparing it to a tornado's work is an insult to the total destruction you have wrought. Clothes, furniture, boxes and books are in utter disarray, as is the bed.

You find that most of the crew is gathered up on deck, as is the crew of the Secret Assassins. Next to the two ships is a young seapony mare in a mailpony's uniform. She's riding on the back of a very large jellyfish that pokes its top out of the water. The mare is equipped with a hoof-held air cannon, and she uses it to launch the newspapers onto the deck of the two ships. Meanwhile, the cooks of the two ships are passing back and forth plates of food: mashed potatoes, eggs, haysh browns, porridge, crepes and fried vegetables of various kinds, and of course, coffee.

"Morning everyone," Bee Holder greets. "Back in Aristar, before all this madness started, I signed us up again for the Ribcage Informant. Will be good to keep up to date on the goings-on around us."
"And when you're done with the papers, give them to me. I recycle them," Etch says.

If you take a newspaper, you find that it is a very big bundle, as it is the Sunday issue. There are many sections, including:
>Ribcage Rattles (News)
>Friday Night Fractures (Sports)
>A Bone to Pick (Opinions)
>Gizbones (Magitech and Ship Tech)
>Crypt-Keeping (Real Estate)
>New Bones (Obituaries)
>Funny Bones (Comics)

However, your attention is caught by two special pull-out sections. The first is the Local Island Sea-Chart section, which seems to have a map of the islands nearest to your location. The second is the Mail-Order Section. Inside, you see many advertisements for products you can purchase by mail-order.





"I am sure they will be fine with you. If you would like, we could go see the captain." he suggests, offering a bit of a smile.


"Right, was about to suggest that meself, wouldn't want to get found out and thrown overboard as a stowaway now, would we? Lead the way," Splendid says, getting a bit of her confidence back as the Beesting sails in the cool night air over the placid waves.
The two of you make your way over to the stern, where Bee Holder sits with her circle of four vice-captains: Bent Scales, Kling Klang, Sickly Sweet and Cane Shuga. By the sounds of things, the four are deep in discussion over the battle the crew just fought, and over the potential fallout. You overhear talk of the mafia and the Bee Queens' remnant forces, and of the Crimson King. Splendid halts, as if on instinct, a good distance away from them, her breaths deepening somewhat.


Once she's finished with her dinner, Thessaly excuses herself from the table and heads to the top deck, looking for Granny.


Alder leads the larger griffon across the ship, and over to Bee Holder. Catching a few bits and pieces of what they're talking about as he walks closer, the griffon comes to a quick stop and waits patiently for them to finish. He gives Splendid a somewhat concerned look, and asks "Something wrong? You seem… more agitated, I suppose."


You find Granny still in the process of swabbing the deck. She has moved to the bow of the ship, and while she is obsessively attacking the deep-set grime in some parts of the deck, she periodically looks out to the stars above. The night sky above you is clear and brilliant with a multitude of stars, but clouds roll and gather on the horizon to the north. She gruffly puts her head down and gets back to her work, either not noticing or not acknowledging you.


She is hesitant to speak to the spirit. She's always been taught to stay away from the Aos Si, not to engage them, and to placate them if need be. Her curiosity, however, gets the better of her, and she approaches, speaking her native tongue. "Do you know me?" she asks the spirit tentatively.


"Nae, I dinnae know ye from Twilight Sparkle," Granny responds in kind. "But I've seen enough people like ya. People from yer island, and people who aren't from yer island, but walk the same path as ye, into those magics. Ahm no clairvoyant, but Ah have seen enough misfortune befall your type to know how this ends."


"I am Thessaly," she answers humbly, "of Tiernan Skerry. My kin tapped into old, secret magics, it is true, but many of them were careless. It is part of what led to our doom, I suppose." She is hesitant to keep talking, still a little wary of the spirit, but she steels herself. "I have resolved not to be like the others. I am prudent. Responsible. I never pick a fight, and I certainly do not risk life and limb when it comes to the old magics. It has kept me alive thus far." She subconsciously grasps at the crystal pendant she wears under her clothes, which keeps her youth.

"You mentioned my island. Do… do you know of its fate? I have been searching for clues to its whereabouts for the longest time…"


Splendid has a small start, and then looks down at herself with surprise and realization. She straightens herself out. "Nah, nah, it's nothin. Just a bit peckish myself, eager to get to the food already."

The five eventually finish their conversation, and then look to you two. "Well well, the new recruit," Bee Holder says, fixing Splendid with a scrutinizing gaze. "I'm Captain Bee Holder, in the flesh, and this is my vessel you're on. Who are you, girl?"
"The name's Splendid, captain!" Splendid says, stiffening up in a similar way to how she tensed earlier.
Bee Holder pauses, looking at Splendid's tension. "I saw you board with Alder just after the dust settled on the Queens. Alder – you two want her to join my ship, is that it?"
Splendid falls silent, apparently waiting for you to vouch for her.


Granny nods. "And Ah am Grainne Ní Mháille, servant of the Juniper Crown, loyal state of the Cauldron of Dag, Dag the King of the Sidhe. Never cared for the mouthful of titles and names they attach to everythng out there, but if we're being formal…"

"Aye, Ah do know," she responds to your next question. "How could I not? Such a place was precious to us. Like Old Albion, yer island was the place that overlapped with the Sidhe the most out of any place in the mortal world. The Barrier was thin there, and those with the will and the know-how could jaunt between the worlds as easily as a young stallion hops a garden wall to see his special somepony."


"That would be right, Captain Bee Holder. She was looking to get off of the island due to, you know… everything that happened. She seems quite willing to help out where she can, and I do not get a bad feeling from her."


She nods respectfully, keeping her distance from the spirit.

"In truth, I cannot remember my homeland very well anymore," she muses. I haven't seen it in almost two centuries now. I have sought out clues to its whereabouts ever since my kin scattered to the four winds. Of late, I have heard it may be connected to the being known as the Hunger. Does the name mean anything to you, o spirit?"


Bee Holder smiles. "No need for further grilling then. Splendid, welcome to the ship. What're you good with?"
Splendid's eyes widen at the ease at which Bee Holder accepts her. "You don't need to see identification? Papers, tattoos?"
"Tattoos?" Bee Holder asks. "Ah, I see. No. I've got trust in my crew, even our most recent recruits. Our ship is one of free people, and anyone willing, under no compulsion but loyalty, to brave gunfire, stormy weather and sea monsters for her sake is welcome to come aboard."
Splendid seems confused by the concept. "Her?"
"The ship. We refer to the Beesting as a 'her'," Bee Holder responds. "Have you been on a ship before?"
"Of course! Just… never heard that before. Glad to be aboard, captain! I'll swab, do the washing and the barnacling."
The four vice-captains look skeptical, as the terminology of the ship as female is near universal among pirates.


She grows tense as you bring up the Hunger. "The Beast that Covets the Sun, Moon and Land," Granny says. "In yer world, it is a legendary sea monster, one that trawls the waves, devouring anyone and anything unlucky enough to cross its path. One of these was, as you may already suspect, was the Skerry. She, along with its other victims, has been taken to its cove, the Heart of Gold."


"Is referring to a ship by 'her' normal? I am afraid I have not been on many ships… rather, almost none." the griffon says, before looking to the rest of the room in confusion. "Regardless, thank you. It did not seem right to leave someone behind in a somewhat rough place."


She nods. "That is what I suspected. It seems all paths converge on the Heart. Mine, the Captain's, the Crimson King's, the Hunger's… To tell the truth, I do not know what I hope to find if I ever reach the Skerry again. I… I wish for affirmation, I suppose."

"…May I ask you something? …Why are you helping me? Or any of us? Why tell me this, or clean the ship? I was taught your kin were free spirits who answered to no one and had an alien will. Why do this for me? For us?"


"Of course," Sickly Sweet says. "Pirates consider their ship to be a kind of mother to them. She protects us, she carries us, she shows us the world and is with us through all the challenges we face while at sea. How could we not see her as more than a ship, as a living, breathing person, as one of us?"
"That's why we have our rituals," Bent Scales adds. "I sing a shanty each time we depart, the others play games with dice and cards, and set aside a portion of their winnings to put into the ship's treasury. Others light candles, others pour her some alcohol or make art for her, and some even pray for her."
Splendid smiles as she listens to all this, though it was foreign to her a moment ago. "I understand. I'll honor your ship as long as you'll have me aboard, captain."
"Good to hear, now go and scoot," Bee Holder says. "Introduce yourself, get something to drink. And for the gods' sake, relax, you're stiff as a board!"
Splendid's feathers ruffle, and she tries to slouch a little to overcompensate. "I'm relaxed, what're you on about?"
Bee Holder and the others laugh, and then start to head downstairs themselves for another round of drinks. "If you say so, girl."


Granny grimaces. "Better that ye don't chase old legends, girl. Ye think yer kind hasn't been tryin' and dyin' to find the Heart of Gold for ages upon ages now? If it could be found by mortals, it would have been already. Ah seen too many people throw away their youths and their potential to go chase after this island. Starvation, dismemberment by sea monsters, attacks by pirates, wreckage in a hurricane or a whirlpool… The same fate swallows them all."


As you ask about Granny's motivations, she looks up at the stars, clicking her tongue with exasperation. "Begorrah! Questioning why a mare likes to do a good deed or two! Have ye no manners? The bell called me here to clean. That's what I been doin' all me life, no matter the age, no matter the place. Cleaning up after young folks who are chasing dreams, tellin' 'em when they're bein' bloody fools, watching over them like they were ma k–"

She cuts herself off, looking off to the side, a bit of darkness in her gaze. "…it's just what old gals like me do with their lives, innit? Do Ah really need another reason?"


"Ah, I see. Well, thank you for the explanation." the griffon says, before looking to Splendid and giving her a curious, soft prod. "Y-You do seem rather stiff- no offense, Miss Splendid. Maybe you should take their advice?"


"Old habits," Splendid explains with reticence. "The ships I've been on were a lot more regimented than this. No speaking unless spoken to, no deviating from standard protocol or from your orders, no doing anything you hadn't been given explicit permission for, always having to have an armed guard watching you… and here, people are just walking around, chit-chatting like it's no big deal. You people just killed three bloodthirsty royals, and now you're all relaxing! Give me a break, will you? This ain't a thing like what I'm used to."

Her stomach gurgles, and she rubs it. "Can we cop some grub now, mate?"


She is quiet for a time as Granny tries to dissuade her from it. Her lip trembles a little, and she wipes her eyes. "Where else can I go but home?" she says quietly, more to herself. "I have traveled near and far for so long. I have had enough of it. If this journey will forfeit my life, then… then it is forfeit." She swallows and looks out to sea for a while, watching the waves roll.

"I suppose not," she answers. "I just would not have expected one of the Aos Si to be beholden to such worldly matters. If it pleases you to do this, well, who am I to question it. Your kind are hard to read. Even for an experienced magician like myself. If there is one thing I have learned in the past few days, it is that there is always more to learn."


Almost imperceptibly, Granny winces, appearing guilty for those tears. "Ach, girl, this is what I was talkin' about. Don't ye go and throw your life away like a fool, will ye? Some things just can't be got back, ye know? Ah mahself– Ah've had to leave behind… many, many things. And many, many places. We can do that. Someone can leave behind anything if it means her own survival. That's what she has to do if she herself is to survive."


"A-Ah. Apologies for hitting a sore spot, then." the griffon notes, before letting out a nervous little giggle. "I-I can understand where you would be coming from, though. I-I have had a difficult time adjusting to things, but I suppose enough things happened to make me, ehm… un-wind a little, I suppose?"

He shakes his head a little, and offers a smile "R-Regardless, we should get some food. Follow me!" he chirps, before scurrying off below deck, and leading her down to the mess hall.


"Then what can I do?" she contests. "Even if I do not go chasing the Skerry, the Crimson King is still out there. I have buried my head in the sand for far too long. I cannot sit by while he terrorizes the Ribcage. If he reaches the Heart, who knows what will happen. Believe you me, if I had it my way I would find a way to simply kill him and be done with it, but that isn't on the table. One way or another, it seems we're all headed to the Heart. Yourself included."


"Sounds like you've had a nice time on this ship so far," Splendid remarks. She studies the ship, twirling around in a bit of wonder. "All that talk about the ship as a girl, that stuck with me. No ship I've ever been on has thought about it in that way. Guess that demonstrates the good atmosphere around here, doesn't it? Whatever you folks have here… I'd like to earn my place among you."

Splendid smirks, socking your arm in a show of camraderie. You feel a good bit of strength in her swing, and though she didn't mean for it to be a heavy hit, you've got a bit of dead arm now. She brings her hand back. "Oh shit, that was harder than I meant it, strewth. You alright? Dunno why me first instinct is to hit yer arm, I just thought it'd be one of those, eh, pirate things."

The two of you head down to the third level, where the pirates are eating, drinking and singing still in celebration of their victory. No sooner than Splendid comes down does someone pass her a tankard and a place of buttered and grilled vegetables and a hearty side of fresh fish. She stops and gawks at the food. "What do I look like, an army? Th-this is what I get? That's way too much. How much do I owe the cook?"

It looks like a normal serving that you'd see on an average night in the mess hall.


Granny's lips purse, grinding against one another as you bring up the King and the Heart once more. "Agh, lass, this is what I was talking about…"

She sighs. "I've seen many spirits of misfortune in my day. They hang about people like an albatross, and their victims are none the wiser. There are three that follow you now. One, seeking after the Skerry when you know it's in the grasp of a legendary beast, two, delving into the magic that you harness, bending the elements themselves to your will, and three, being around a bunch of pirates like this lot you're with."

"In short, you've found yerself into a right mess, girl. Yer doin' me no favors. Ah'm gonna have to stick real close to you to help clean it all up… starting with what Ah contributed to it."

She takes a handkerchief from her pocket and offers it to you. "If you'll accept my service, that is."


She is hesitant to accept. Is this a trick? The Aos Si are notorious for vexing mortals. Part of her wants to reject the spirit. Against her better judgment, however, she reaches out and takes it. "I… I accept it. What does this entail, exactly?" She feels like a child again.


"Well, I am glad you find it endearing. Even if they tend to be rather rowdy, I think they mean quite well." Alder says, before gesturing to the mess hall. He goes to say something further, but the griffoness's punch earns a little squawk out of him. He stumbles a little but quickly catches himself, and turns to look at her in surprise.
"I-It sort of is, I believe. T-There's no reason to apologize, really. I really appreciate the gesture." he says, with a nervous little smile. "Northern griffons are not always as forward, so it is something I have to get a little more used to. You are certainly quite strong, though!"

Alder takes his own plate and tankard happily, settling in to sit in the first place that seems good. Her question brings him a little more surprise, and he shakes his head eagerly "You do not owe anything, Splendid. It is fine if you do not want all of it, of course, but do not feel like you are taking too much. Just try and relax a little."


"It entails ye cleanin' yer face, first of all," Granny quips. "And cleanin' up after yerself. Wash yer plate when yer done eatin'. Brush yer teeth and floss. Don't leave yer clothes about, and if ye have a stallion over ye better keep it all above board or yer gettin' a smack from me broom upside yer head."


Before you head downstairs, Splendid flexes, bringing her arm closer to yours to compare. She indeed is muscular, but you see she's also a bit lean too. Part of her size seems not to be owed to strength, but of a naturally larger frame and body type than yours. You also notice that her feathers are somewhat dull – a sign of a lack of nutrition among griffons.

She sits beside you, seeming to be in shock from the amount of food, and a bit guilty that she's been given so much. Looking around at the others digging in, she cuts a small slice of the fish and takes a bite.


As she does, her eyes widen and begin to water, small tears dripping from the sides. She looks around at the crew all surrounding her, not one of them looking at her as a stranger or a foe, completely welcoming based on the trust they place in Alder. She looks at the dinner as if it were treasure, apparently astounded that it is before her. She puts her fork down and brings her hands together, smiling though she is lightly crying. "Th-thank you for your generosity, everyone, and thank you for this food."

Some of the nearby pirates look at her with confusion, but they raise their mugs in good cheer nonetheless, offering her smiles and friendly laughs.


Alder giggles a little bit, and flexes his own arm in response. "I-I am afraid I have always been rather frail, to be honest. I suppose I was never meant to be the particularly bulky warrior type." he says, a twinge of unease in his voice.

He shakes it off in short order, and gives Splendid a somewhat concerned look. After a short, cautious pause, he gives her a soft pat on the shoulder. "It is no trouble at all, Miss Splendid. Please, eat your fill. You look like you could do with a good meal or two."


Splendid, realizing that she is crying, raises her hand and starts to wipe her face, but then stops, deciding to let them linger, not looking ashamed or embarrassed by them. "If this is what a good meal looks like, then you could bet your bottom Bit that I could."

She begins to dig in to the meal, at first taking it in small bites but then quickly going for larger ones, gulping down ale and vegetables. Cane Shuga comes by, tossing rolls of fresh bread to the pirates, and she bites one out of the air with a wild squawk, much to her amusement and to that of the nearby pirates.

Etch comes over and puts a key onto the table beside Splendid. "That's the key to your temporary room. We've set up a bunk in one of the spare storage rooms since we're running out, what with all the recruits we've picked up in recent time. We'll build a new room just for you in the coming week. We'll be doing renovations to all the rooms, so if you want any modifications or furniture, just tell us. That goes for you too, Alder."

"Mm-hmm!" Splendid says through a mouthful of ale-soaked bread, her cheeks flush with good cheer. And alcohol. A light at last glimmers in her eyes. It is, unmistakably, a look of pure and simple gratitude.


Alder goes through his meal at slower pace, being more used to a proper meal than the large griffoness and a little less expressive. He watches her with a bit of relief as she seems to loosen up and calm down, hoping that the looseness sticks after the alcohol and initial excitement pass.

He gives Etch a friendly nod, before chirping out "Thank you! I have an idea or two in mind, but I will wait until tomorrow- I need to get a good idea of how to put it, yes?"

He looks to Splendid, and gives her a more eager smile before asking "Feeling better? You definitely seem to be enjoying yourself a lot, Miss Splendid. There is no rush to get to the room, so we can… hang out, as much as you wish." he says, taking a bit of a pause to find the right word.


"Sure, just swing by whenever you're ready to get those renovations started," Etch says.

Splendid pauses to catch her breath, having eaten just a bit too quickly and too much all at once. Holding her stomach, she holds her hand up to her mouth, and for a moment, it looks like she's about to be sick, when she suddenly hiccups instead. She giggles a little between each hiccup, and while her gladness is subdued, it is quite evident. The tension that gripped her earlier seems to be gone, and now she is only wide-eyed with wonder at this situation and welcome.

"I really, really am," she says. "To think I was about to shy away, back at the circus, and try to find some other ship! What a mistake that would've been."

Wiping her mouth, she sets her plate and fork down. "I'm interested to see where they've put me, but that can wait a moment more. I'd like to see the stars again, and the ocean, feel the breeze and all that. Will you come with me?"


Alder can't manage to stifle his laughter as she goes between giggle fits and hiccuping, accidentally spilling his own mug of ale in the process. He quickly mops it up with the nearest rag he can find, before speaking up with "I am glad you did not. You seem rather… Splendid, Splendid! It would be a shame for you to be stuck on that island… and, sure. Let us go above, then."
Alder hops out of his seat and stretches out like a cat, before heading back up to the deck.


"Did you workshop that beauty long?" Splendid jokes, but she seems truly happy about your corny compliment nonetheless.

The two of you head for the deck, quickly embraced by the cool evening air, contrasting with the warmth brought by the food and alcohol. A few other members are on deck, notably the thieving trio of Paraiba, Squatz and Zerk, who are playing cards with some mooks for little clockwork toys. Splendid watches them from afar with a small smile, but seems content to sit on a bench by the starboard rail. "What a day this has been, eh? Wasn't expecting all that to happen when I got me circus ticket. That sudden attack, the explosions, the mafia! Er, I never got a chance to ask, what was your crew's roll in all that? I saw that mare who started the attack get on this ship. You mercenaries?"




Alder folds his ears back and giggles, before chirping out "N-No, not very."

The griffon settles on to the bench next to Splendid (though, not close enough to be brushing up against her) and nods a little bit in agreement, taking a few moments to enjoy the cool, salty breeze, and look up at the stars idly before finally responding. "C-Certainly, yes. As far as our role… we were here to kill the Queens. There is a few reasons, and it is a bit of a story, but we intend to head deeper in, I believe. While it might take some time to explain, I would be fine giving you a… rundown, the word is? A rundown on what we intend to do, and what we have done. Only fair to keep a crew member in the loop, after all!" he chirps, giving her an eager smile.

"As far as what we did there, I served as… a distraction. Bait, if you will. T-Truth be told, I thought I was going to die of nervousness before I stepped on to the stage, even if I was not the one doing the dirty work."


"Let's hear it, then!" Splendid says. "I've got nothing but time to listen to ye now I'm aboard and committed. Been a long while since I heard a good, long yarn."

As you confess to nervousness, she raises her beak in intrigue. "Is that right? You could've told me the opposite, and I'd have believed you. Though maybe I was a bit distracted by that capybara and that silly costume the Vola was all wrapped up in!" she laughs. "But seriously now, I thought you was a highlight of the night out there. Fancy shooting and footwork, while you were getting shot at!"


"O-Oh goodness, thank you. I learned from a Saddle Arabian performer. I traveled with her for a few years, and she felt like I was a natural for it. I-I just get so nervous when I perform in front of others, I-I suppose." the griffon says, stroking at his scarf while he talks.

"And, as for the 'rundown'." he says, clearing his throat and letting the blush on his cheeks from the compliments fade. "We encountered two tribes of creatures- Gusties, and Windies- affected by a curse from someone called the Crimson King. We wanted to help break the curse, but the only way to do so was by forcing him. In an attempt to weaken him, we sought to take out the Queens. It ended up working in our favor, though- they took fragments of our Aura, and letting them keep that is… bad. Along with that, a companion of ours was already engaged with them."

He coughs a little, before saying "W-We seem to be making progress! We even have an Accompass Bird!"


Splendid listens with rapt attention as you begin your story. "Sounds like you and the King have been wrapped up in each other's business for a while then. First you stumble across his handiwork, then you crash his party and take out those rotten Queens, eh? What a story."

She then blinks a few times. "Accompass bird? Did I hear you right?"


"We have, yes. We intend to stifle him of some of his strength, to make the rest of this easier." he says, shrugging a little "I do not fully understand it, but… it works. And… yes! Out Accompass is a large peacock!" he chirps, before giggling "It makes even less sense to me! She can apparently direct us from island to island."


"So I guess I'll have to stand against him too, if your crew's all-in against him. I've heard of him before. Some islands here are owned by him. I've heard he undermined some island's economies – buying out businesses and foreclosing them, importing cheap goods and labor, scooping up all the resource-rich land he could get his hands on. Oh, and they also say that several of the Haku – the native leaders of each island, sort of like a king – I heard he's got them into some deep debt.

"I never cared much, even with all the rumors going around about him. People with that much money are in a world apart from people like me. I've just been drifting from place to place on that slaver ship, stretching out me pay for as long as I can just to get some food. Thinking about taking on a guy like that, entrenched as he is with more money than I've seen in me life – makes me head spin."

She looks skeptical as you bring up Prisma. "Oi, that now sounds like a trip. I've met Accompasses of all sorts of different races, but a bird? Can you introduce me?"

You remember last seeing Prisma in the crow's nest, directly above you in the mainmast – or rather, the chicken's nest, as it might be more accurately termed now.


>add this sentence after the one about debt

"That's how he's got them under his control. They had no choice but to turn themselves over to him. Some of those islands stubbornly insist that they're independent and self-governing, but in reality they're taking their orders from him now. He pays the piper, he calls the tune."


"He gets stronger through money, from what I know. So, by removing his influence, and stealing his money, we weaken him a bit. Though, it sounds like we have our work cut out for us, if what you say is true." the griffon says. At the mention of seeing the Accompass, Alder offers an eager little chirp, unfurls his wings, and takes to the air! He points up to the Crow's Nest and beckons to Splendid, before saying "Just this way!"


"Ah, so it's a bit like a thieving raid, eh? Sounds like nobody will be able to face him head-on with all that cash under his thumb. You'll have to hit him in his wallet before you can win. Least I know a thing or two about stealing. I was worried about what I'd contribute to the crew besides just pickin' up trash, and all."

The two of you fly up to the crow's nest, and it's there that you spy Prisma, keeping watch over the waters. She looks a bit tired, and pecks at a trough of chicken feed that someone brought up for her. Upon seeing Splendid, Prisma turns her head, giving her the sidelong glance of a suspicious chicken. Splendid blinks in amazement. "Er… good to meet you!"
Prisma clucks.
"Right… I'll be joining your ship."
Prisma clucks.
"If you need anything, just cluck for me, and I'll be of service in a jiffy."
Prisma clucks.
Splendid smiles and puts a hand on her hip. "Hmm… I think we're hitting it off pretty well… maybe. I dunno, am I getting through here?"


"Mhmm! The more we can take, the weaker he gets. Luckily enough, I have good experience in theft as well, even if I am somewhat ashamed to admit it. A-Anywho, uhm…" he trails off, and looks to change the subject.

"Y-Yes! Do not worry, Prisma does seem to understand common speak. She is quite nice once you get to know her." the griffon says, offering Prisma a portion of fish from below deck.


Prisma scarfs down the fish greedily, nearly taking off the tip of your finger as she snaps it up. The fish is gone in the blink of an eye, scales and all. Splendid whistles. "Remind me to invest in gloves, eh?"
Prisma clucks, this time with a bit of pride.
Splendid then looks down at the ship and its crew. "There's so many people I still have to formally meet, but if they're half as friendly as the ones I've met so far, I'm not worried."
She stretches and gives a big yawn. "I think I'll get a peek at that room they've set aside for me. I'll have to meet the rest tomorrow. You going to turn in for the night too?"


Alder giggles a little bit, and bobs his head in agreement. "She loves fish, so that is a definite way to get on her good side!" he suggests.

"Yes, they are all quite nice." he continues, looking down towards the crew. "I think you will feel more than welcome. Turning in for the night sounds rather good, though… should I show you to your room?" he asks.


Splendid slowly smiles, and you can tell she's trying to suppress her grin from becoming too big. "S-sure, I'd quite like that. Wouldn't want to get lost, would we? Lead the way, Alder."

You both float down to the ship, heading for the third level where the rooms are. At this point, most of the crew is returning to their rooms, the sounds of celebration and good eating dwindling from the exhaustion of the day. Things settle down by the time that you get to Splendid's room. She unlocks it and peeks inside, finding it to be a very small room. It looks like it was formally a closet that was hastily cleared out, with a hammock and a cot hung up in the place of whatever supplies were there. Splendid smiles at the small room. "A room to meself…" she remarks, as if this is a new experience for her. "I'm already feeling at home."

She turns to you, smiling, but a glimmer in her eyes tells you she doesn't want the night to end. "I-I guess this is where we part?"


"Ah. They did say it was a storage room, I suppose." the griffon says, humming a little and stroking at his beak. An idea comes up in his mind, but the most it gets out of him is a rather deep blush. He shakes it off and offers a somewhat nervous smile. "S-Sorry it is not the best room. Hopefully that will change, soon. I suppose it is the end for tonight, b-but..,. we mostly have open seas tomorrow, i think. If you would like, maybe we could talk some more? You are a rather nice person." he mumbles, shifting his weight around sheepishly.


"Not the best room?" Splendid asks. "What, have you got a larger room than this? I wouldn't know what to do with meself in a bigger room than this."

As you bring up your offer, Splendid blinks quickly, noticing your blush. A little bit of pink comes to her own face, but rather than make her nervous, the feeling seems to invigorate her. "Yes!" she exclaims, nearly cutting you off. "Er, sure, I'd quite like that. I'd get a little overwhelmed if I had to go it alone tomorrow while meeting all the crew. Would help me loads if I had ya with me to help with the introductions. And, of course, just to shoot the breeze once we're out on the open waves."

Splendid totters about for a moment, apparently wondering what would be an appropriate gesture to end the evening. At first she goes for a handshake, then nearly leans in for a peck, but backs down both times. Soon, she comes in for a tight hug, one where you can really feel her strength in spite of her apparent malnutrition. It's secure and snug, but not painful. She then releases you and backs away, a little ashamed. "Ah, sorry, didn't give you much warning on that. Shoulda said something. I didn't break anything did I?"


"I-I would be more than willing to help, yes. It will be really nice, I think!"

He lets out a surprised squawk when Splendid pulls him into a tight, warm hug. He hesitates for a few seconds, before loosening up a little and returning the hug in kind. His own grip is far less right, but warm nonetheless. When she releases him, be offers a friendly little smile and says "P-Please, do not apologize. I… I-I rather liked it. Strong is good. G-Good night, Miss Splendid." Alder chirps, before sheepishly scurrying off to his own room.


"Goodnight, Alder," she responds in kind, smiling wide, and after letting her gaze linger on you for a long while, she retires to her own room.


Meanwhile, while all this was going on between Thessaly and Granny, and between Splendid and Alder, Cutlass, sitting in the brig of her ship, across from her captive Crop, was in the middle of interrogations. So far, he'd seemed less than intimidated, even as he was chained up by her crew and rendered at their mercy.


"I don't know enough about you to give a definite answer, but you strike me as a petty pony, nonetheless," Crop says without much care. "You seem like the kind of person to ruminate on an argument while you're in the bath, fantasizing about all the things you could've said differently to make a fool out of the person you were arguing with. Given that, the things I just said could by themselves incline you to round me up and torture me."

He smiles the kind of childish smile that is used by children everywhere up to no good. "Am I right?"



Cutlass laughs a dainty laugh. "You're quite perceptive. Well spotted! I AM monumentally petty! I DO spend my bathing time going over previous arguments! I DO hate being treated rudely!"

"But, that didn't answer my question," Cutlass says with a significant tone shift. She looks Crop in the eyes with a deadpan expression. "I asked you: do you know why I chose YOU?"


Crop studies you. His gaze is comparable to a student poring over a textbook on a subject he doesn't care for, so that he can fill out homework he doesn't find challenging.

"Mmm… this is all a bit too much effort for me to have been a random choice, such as if you wanted to capture some high-level mafioso to send a message to the Families. I guess I must have some connection to you. Have we met before all this business with the Queens? I see a lot of mares in my job, but I don't tend to remember any but the pretty or the ugly ones." He chuckles casually, with a shrug. "Sorry, I meet a lot of people. Forgettable types tend to slip my mind."



Cutlass laughs again, though this time it is less dainty and more manic. "There it is!" she says dramatically. "Such effort to make others mad! Such condescension at all times! That smile! Your tone! I hate all of it!"

"Congratulations! Your mission was successful! You made me hate you! Well done!" she says with violent sarcasm.

Cutlass huffs in frustration, calming her tone again. "No, the first time we met was just the other day. I came to you with a proposal - a quite genuine one at the time, I assure you. It was a proposal to work together with the families to take down the Bee Queens. You were the first member of any of the families I had any interaction with. You were my first impression. And, despite my genuine desire to help and generally polite nature, you treated me with this same condescending, rude behavior. As if *I* was the insect."

"Well," Cutlass chuckles ominously. "First impressions are a powerful thing. And, you painted all the families in a poor light. It was at that exact moment, when you cast that condescending grin down upon me, that I decided I hated all of you. And I would, therefore, ensure all of your destruction. Not, of course, until after I used all of you."

"Oh, of course, I met many other members of your families who were good enough to me. Some of them, I might even venture to say I like. But, no. I would still rather make each and every one of the suffer and crush their entire way of life just for the hilariously petty revenge I desire on specifically you."

Cutlass begins to giggle like a manic child. "So," she says through her own giggling. "I believe I implied on at least one occasion during our negotiations that the climax of this whole ordeal has yet to come. I still have a trick up my sleeve. A trick so grand and righteous that this entire island will be turned figuratively on its head. Every member of every family - everyone you hate, everyone you love, everyone you're indifferent about - will all have their way of life torn away. Their livelihoods gone, their lives ruined, I'm sure many will die and be thrown into jail as well. It's going to be beautiful."

"Why did I choose you? Because I want you to watch. I want you to know that everything that is about to happen is entirely because of YOU."


Crop's expression had flattened out once he finished his previous line. Then, as you start your speech, it takes on a serpentine quality. His mouth twists as though he'd tasted something sour, while his eyes remain flat and dull. As you ramp up the rhetoric, laying out his wrongdoing and the plans you had in store for your revenge – especially the part about targeting the mafia members who had been good to you, just out of pure spite – his lips part and curl, turning into a feverish smirk.

When you bring up your hidden trick, his eyes widen, and he in turn begins his own mad laughter, beginning at first as a quiet crackling, like the scuttling of beetles and roaches in a cave, only for it to turn into a mad, high cackling. "Yes, YES! I'd hoped you'd said something like that – I'd hoped you had something cruel in you!"

Like a storm, his aura – a maddening shade of yellow – flares to life, though he shows no signs of using an ability on you. "Let's get it started. This generation of the Families has done so damn poorly, letting ourselves fall to the level where we'd need pirates like you to help take care of Kaco Island's problems! We could use a good purge, and I could use something to eat! So come on, I wanna see you do your worst, and I wanna watch it all by your side."

He looks up at you, and you swear you can see his irises trembling. "When do we get started?"

Within your shadow, you feel Ossie trembling, most likely out of a desire to shield you, but still Crop shows no signs of attacking or even using some other kind of ability.


I'd hoped you'd say*



Cutlass takes a step back in a combination of annoyance and concern. She studies Crop for a moment before coming to the conclusion that he's not actually going to attack.

"Tch," Cutlass clicks her tongue in annoyance. "I should have figured. Your aura power actually has something to do with making people hate you, doesn't it? Well, that just takes the fun out of it."

Cutlass sighs then lets out a bored huff. "Before we move on, I have a question of curiosity. You don't even care that there won't BE families anymore once I'm done? The Gates of Justice are coming," she says as if she's spoiling a movie's plot twist that she just doesn't care about anymore. "There's no way organized criminal activity will be able to continue here once they have their base set up on this island. You're fine with that?"


She can't help but crack a smile. "I am far beyond that phase of my life, I assure you. You shan't have to worry about me making a scene any time soon."


His aura starts to subside once he sees your enjoyment dwindle, giving way to annoyance. "Oh no, that's not my power, that's just me. You're right about me. I like to get under people's skin. That's how I make myself immortal. Nothing's more unforgettable than an annoyance, a slight you just can't pay back."

Scoffing, he flippantly tosses his mane back. "Oh, now that's where you're mistaken. The Three Families will always be around. Everyone in the Families remembers where our ancestors came from. We came together in the poorest slums and ghettos of Kaco Island, when places like Aristar were in the control of the old royal family. We're the descendants of gutter scum, plantation slaves, rail-thin beggars and mutilated veterans.

"We're not meant for the lives our current leaders are living, getting fat and happy off prosperous trading on the Black Market. Even with the tiny share of the Market that the mafia controls, we're living in more wealth than we could ever spend. What crap! This is no life for us. We're only made sharp by one thing: Hunger.

"But I don't want you to be bored by my lack of concern. A game isn't worth playing if both sides aren't having fun." His eyes narrow to slits, even as his irises bulge with perverse glee. "I would be infuriated if the Families actually were wiped out. I just don't think that you and the Gates of Justice will actually be able to take us out. You give it your best shot to wipe us all out, down to the last mare and child, and we'll give it ours to capture you, drag you back here, and hang you, still squirming and shouting, on the Hooks."

"So what's this 'Gates of Justice' group anyway? Mercenaries, I take it?"


Granny gives a small smile in turn, and you get the feeling she doesn't make that face lightly. She quickly goes back to her stern, default scowl, as if she were more comfortable that way. "Then Ahm at yer service and will do mah part dutifully. So… I don't suppose ye've got a lead to go by, eh? Ah imagine with all yer years of searchin', you've exhausted many clues that turned out to be dead ends."


"We do, as a matter of fact." With the moment passed, she's more back to her usual phlegmatic self. "One of our own procured an artifact. A jar, supposedly from the Heart of Gold. The King was slavering to get his claws on it. I plan on bringing it up with Captain Cutlass next we meet. I had planned on showing it to our Accompass; it seems we have one foothold over the King, at least."



"You don't-" Cutlass blurts out in surprise. She gathers herself. "You don't don't know who the Gates of Justice are?" she asks, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, I guess that makes sense. They haven't been in the Ribcage until now. Still, they're kind of a big deal… Like… THE biggest deal."

"I see where your confidence is coming from now," Cutlass says as if she's solving a math problem. "You don't understand the sheer scope of what we're talking about here. The Gates of Justice are well on their way to running to world. Their forces span most of the explored world. You've noticed a large influx of pirates heading into the Ribcage in recent years, yes? That's because of them. The Gates of Justice are on a crusade against crime - especially pirates. They've effectively reduced pirating to the point where we are constantly on the run from them. Hence we come here. It's quite annoying, to be honest. But, I've made a deal with them so I have that going for me, I guess."

"Let me repeat myself. The entire world's crime has gone down thanks to them. The Crimson King's own forces are minuscule by comparison. Imagine however many resources it would take to totally eradicate the families. I can guarantee the Gates of Justice would not even bat an eye at spending it. The first force they are bringing here is a single digit percentage of their total worldwide forces. And, I asked them to bring enough to wipe out the Queens and their armies. Luckily, that ended up being much easier than anticipated," Cutlass laughs. "So, they'll be able to focus entirely on your families."

Cutlass' tone is more one of respect and admiration for the absurdly dangerous Gates of Justice than it is a desire to make him angry. Still, she uses her Aura to get through to him. [1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 1 = 1


Granny whistles. "If that's the real deal, then that Accompass should be able to follow that jar all the way to the Heart of Gold itself. It's a golden ticket leading straight to yer goal… which is why Ah don't like the sound of it. Sounds too good to be true. If nobody's even found the Heart of Gold in all these years, Ah imagine there's got to be some kind of good reason for it. Maybe it's hidden or locked away. Even Ah'm not familiar with every plane and dimension out there… there's worlds and worlds beyond our own, and the Ribcage draws all manner of oddities into itself. Ah'd prepare for one long journey, but Ah guess you know a thing or two about that now, eh?"


"Too good to be true, begorrah. I cannot help but feel we are heading into a trap. It cannot be that easy. I will do my part to make sure I make it there. That we all do."

She nods at the last part. "I have been traveling since as long as I can remember. Aristar was just one in a long line of wretched hivesto call home for a while. My homeland is gone, so there is nowhere for me to stay. it is why the sea calls to me, I suppose."


Crop's eyebrow arches, and his grin widenas as you hype up the Gates of Justice and their incredible dominance of the outside world's oceans. "Of course. Skilled pirates have always tried to enter the Ribcage, and most end up splattered upon the walls of coral and bone that surround us. I have noticed a recent surge in successful entrants, though I just chalked it up to a wider spread of those enchanted maps that show its location. Supposedly, there were only a few of those magic maps out there, but apparently everyone's got their hooves on one these days. I wonder why that might be…" he muses.

"Ah, but I'm getting distracted. I could sit here all day and serenade me with news of how completely screwed we are. You're a good speaker, but a bad liar. Just how far you're stretchng the truth, I can't exactly tell, and good on you for that. But, assuming you're not stretching it that much, that puts us in one hell of a position. I'm getting thrills just thinking about it.

"So you'd better be prepared for a fight down to the very last pony. If you think this will stop with just us, you're in for a sorry surprise. The Families might only be in control of a small part of the Ribcage's Black Market, but the Market is nothing but a series of connected networks. When one piece starts to fall out, so to do the pieces all connected to it. I hope these Gates of Justice have a lot of time on their hooves… because they're about to get an all-out war."

He returns to his childish smile. "I think I'm going to like you."


Granny points with her chin at the Beesting and its various crewmembers milling about on deck. "Ever consider calling a ship yer home? Saves a lot of heartache and sorrow, Ah think. Never have to worry about pullin' up yer roots and movin' away from a place ye found yerself gettin' attached to."


"I have," she answers softly. "But I can never stay for long, no matter where I go. Ships are all well and good, but the constant bustle, the noise, the people… I value my peace and quiet." She smirks dryly and looks away. "I apologize. I must sound rather petulant. I should act my age more. How about you, though? Have you not wanted to settle and retire? It must be a tiresome life, constantly cleaning and chasing others' coattails."



"Well, if you're not going to listen, then I'm just going to stop talking," Cutlass says with sarcastic offense. I've told the truth, but I admit I've not had a lot of experience dealing with people like you. It's hard to figure out how to impart the truth properly."

"Ah well," Cutlass shrugs. "I'm sure I'll get it right next time. You've really taken the fun out of this," she sighs.

Then, she raises an eyebrow. "What do you mean 'GOING' to like me?"

A second after asking that question, Cutlass unloads the entirety of her knife and dagger collection onto Crop. Even once she is out, she continues to telekinetically pull them out and stab them back in. She does it all one at a time. It's more satisfying that way. It wouldn't be any fun if she just stabbed with a wall of blades.

>Activating 3 Temporary Aura Bonus Points

>Dance of Blades

[1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4]

Roll #1 10 + 4 = 14 / Roll #2 8 + 4 = 12 / Roll #3 8 + 4 = 12 / Roll #4 1 + 4 = 5 / Roll #5 8 + 4 = 12 / Roll #6 5 + 4 = 9 /


Needs moar: [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4]

Roll #1 10 + 4 = 14 / Roll #2 7 + 4 = 11 / Roll #3 9 + 4 = 13 / Roll #4 8 + 4 = 12 / Roll #5 10 + 4 = 14 / Roll #6 2 + 4 = 6 /


I do believe there needs to be moar: [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4] [1d10+4]

Roll #1 6 + 4 = 10 / Roll #2 3 + 4 = 7 / Roll #3 6 + 4 = 10 / Roll #4 5 + 4 = 9 / Roll #5 1 + 4 = 5 / Roll #6 9 + 4 = 13




As Crop opens his mouth, probably to give off some other smart-assed quip, you unload into him in an indesribable flurry of blades, blood and guts that utterly decimates his body, breaking and snapping and crushing and slicing and stabbing until, after a long process, reduces him to a pile of bubbling flesh and bone.

A brief period of silence follows as the remains of Crop's body drip out all over the interrogation room. "Cutlass, we really need to talk about investing in some tarps–" Ossie begins, but she's cut off by a gargling voice.

"Before you try that, I would invest in a good Aura Master… one that will teach you to think before you attack," the voice says, mangled and twisted beyond recognition, but the sound comes from the puddle of gore before you, specifically from the blood. You recognize a yellow glow around it, the remnants of Crop's grotesque Aura. "That's the thing about Aura users," he continues. "You never know when it's safe to attack unless you know what bullshit they can pull with their abilities. Most Aura users design abilities meant to be bullshit, in case of situations like these."

The blood and gore spewed all around the room begins to congeal, turning into what looks and smells like paint. In fact, it looks totally like paint. "Though I'll admit, not used to seeing an attack like that. You've pushed my power pretty far, and you barely used any Aura there! Gotta give you props, and I do hate to steal your victory with my power, but… oh who am I kidding? I live to piss you off!" he cackles, though it sounds more like spitting and coughing up liquid.

"Retire? With mah immortality?" Granny scoffs. "Wouldn't know what to do with meself. Ah'd go mad if Ah settled down in some cottage, turning the whole place upside down just to find a speck to clean up. Nae, Ah'd rather be on a ship, if Ah had to choose any place Ah could be for eternity. Plenty of messes to clean, 'specially if they're led by the young and foolish."

She looks out at the crew again. "So what do ye think of this one?"



"Are you SERIOUS!?" Cutlass squeals in frustration and fear. "I am SO sick of these ridiculous Aura powers out of nowhere! You're a mid-level mook at best! Just die!"

Then, as she struggles to get back up to her hooves, she looks around the room and ponders. "On second thought, I suppose killing you in combat will at least be mildly more satisfying. I guess I can at least get something out of this."

"SPARKLER!" Cutlass shouts out to the nearby room. "Be a dear and find someone with freezing powers and someone with burning powers. I have tests to run!"

[1d10] to get up

Roll #1 2 = 2


>"Though I'll admit, not used to seeing an attack like that. You've pushed my power pretty far, and you barely used any Aura there!"

"Yes," Cutlass says conversationally. "Though it pains me to admit as a unicorn, I've never been particularly gifted at magic. I've been told I'm quite a telekinetic savant, however. That attack I just used was mostly just telekinesis."


"Then you're not cut out for combat in the Ribcage!" Crop mocks, his body twitching as it dissolves into yellow paint. "Keeping your power a secret, all while gathering info on your enemies' abilities, that's all part of the game! But if it's any comfort, I'll share this tidbit: It'll take me more than a while to get myself reconstituted. Until then, I'll be with the mafia, awaiting this 'Gates of Justice' you spoke so highly of!"

"Telekinesis? Well shit," Crop admits. "Then you've got an edge most Aura users here don't. Aura's fairly prevalent around here, so people often choose to favor Aura over magic. Hitting them with a surprise magic attack might just be what you need to take out someone who's expecting an Aura attack instead. But in any case, I'll leave you with a parting gift, a clue you can use to find out what my power's capable of – the name: I call this power Paintball. You should be able to discern something from that."

You hear several sets of hooves run about as you call for Sparkler, and the puddle of yellow paint starts to seep into the cracks and splits in the room, seeping through small spaces between the wood planks. "See you when I see you," Crop says, as he starts to escape the room.

The hoofsteps start to get closer, presumably from Sparkler getting the people you need. You are unable to get up, however, having overxtended yourself and bringing great strain to your body and mind.


She nods. "That is a wise answer," she muses. "We are fortunate to have you on our ship."

She thinks for a while before answering. "They are… competent. Some more than others. The Captain, for one. The strength of her youth may be waning, but it shines in her eyes. I can tell. The other captain, on the other hand. Cutlass. She is a child, and far too young and naive for this. If anyone needs guidance in this affair, it is her. A mare her age should not be leading a campaign. She is much too green for it."

"As for the others…" She thinks about the other main characters she's gotten to know. "Cloud and Alder deserve better than to be wrapped up in all this. Especially Cloud. The look on his face after he finished off Toko was not something I've seen in a long time. And Cerulean… she is… an oddity, to me. I cannot tell if she's really that dense or if she's putting on a mask. And then there is the little one. Make Believe. He speaks little, but there is something about him that makes me wonder…" She drifts off for a moment, but shakes it off. "Droplet has a good heart too. But a good heart will not save him."

She seems a little uncomfortable voicing her thoughts out loud so much.



"Oh, don't even bother," Cutlass says in annoyance. "If you're going to just run, then I have no interest in even fighting you anymore! I never intended to come back to your stupid island anyway. If you see me again, it's because you're as petty as me."

"I wouldn't suggest being my enemy twice."



[1d10] to get up

Roll #1 8 = 8


Granny nods sagely. "Aye, that's a description Ah've heard too frequently. Been on quite a few crews in mah time. Some full of ruffians and black-hearted murderers, others starry-eyed idealists, just seeking some coin and a hedonistic tour of the world. And sometimes I find meself among some people who have stepped into some stuff that's far too heavy for any of them to handle alone. Ah've realized… there's too many good people in the Ribcage. A place like this, you'd expect to be brimming with nothing but criminals and killers. But nae, for every hundred wretches that sail these waters, there's one good apple. And that's the trouble, innit? This place doesn't birth evil. It takes the good, and turns 'em rotten."

"Ah just hope Ah don't see it happen again." She scoffs again, and starts to straighten out some nearby barrels. There Ah go, ramblin' on like Ah don't got work to do."


"Petty as you? Well, that's the idea, sister," Crop mocks. "And if you're going to tell me to not do something, then guess what? You've started it now, and I'm going to finish it."

He starts to go on, when Sparkler and some of the unicorns of the crew bust down the door. "There!" Sparkler shouts, pointing at the yellow paint. The unicorns begin to unload magic onto it, launching streams of ice and fire, and Crop starts to howl, cursing and snarling as the rest of the paint. Some of the paint sinks into the cracks, but a good portion of it is burned or frozen, filling the room with strong-smelling fumes. You get up, and Sparkler quickly yanks you out of the room, as she and the crew cough and cover their mouths.

"Paint… and a corpse?" Sparkler asks, surveying the room. "The hell was that?"


"In my experience, it can go either way," she contests. "This place either brings out the best in people or the absolute worst. Like that horrid queen. I do believe she was the worst I have met so far, though I have met quite a few wretches. The truly vile do stand out from the rabble…"

Seeing Granny get back to work, she moves over to her. She hesitates for a moment, but at this point she's just going with her gut. "Would you like me to help you?" she offers.



"What do you think?" Cutlass responds in frustration. "More aura bullshit. We lost our prisoner. Etc etc. Whatever."

Cutlass dusts herself off and sighs. "Let's just wait until the Gates of Justice arrive. I can't wait to be rid of this island."


"Even the worst of people had the potential to be good once, far as Ah can tell," Granny says. "The Ribcage might bring out their evil, but in the end, it's them that choose to throw that away. They don't get an iota of mercy from me."

As you offer to do her work, Granny offers another rare smirk, passing a mop and bucket to you, as well as a handkerchief and apron. "Ach! Finally someone asks. All these scoundrels, takin' Granny's help fer granted. At last Ah've found someone with some decency and respect in 'er! Go on lass, get to work."

Granny gets to work dilligently, energized by your offer.

"We'll keep an eye out for him and skewer him at first chance," Sparkler groans. "And believe me, I can't wait either. I'm pissed. Something's wrong with Colobok."



"That's vague," Cutlass responds to Sparkler tersely.


She is not above honest work, and without another word, gets to mopping the deck as best she can, holding the bucket in her hoof and moving behind the mop, controlling the latter via telekinesis.

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Better that you see it yourself," Sparkler says, taking you by the hoof. She quickly drags you to the medical ward, throwing open the door. The room is packed with your injured crewmates. Most of the injured are among the rebels whom you recruited from Kaco Island itself, but many of the Gates of Justice soldiers have severe injuries of their own as well.

"We'll have counts of the total casualties tomorrow, but…" Sparkler begins as she drags you through the ward toward a curtained-off bed in the back. "See for yourself."

She throws back the curtain, and there you see Colobok, sitting upright in bed. He's coated in stitches and scars, but most of his injuries seem to have been treated by her healing potions, leaving him with only the permanent marks. He's also wearing an eyepatch, and sipping at a cup of tea.

"Captain!" he exclaims, giving a salute. "It's been far too long. I've not gotten a chance to see you in a while," he says with a smirk, and pulls up his eyepatch. Sparkler grimaces as Colobok reveals a large, metal apparatus that has been implanted in his head: a clockwork eyeball, and a good portion of the skull around it is now made of brass. It looks remarkably like the machinations that made up the left half of the Yellow Jester's body.

"Don't be stupid!" Sparkler shouts. "We don't know what else she's done to you."
"She left me alive, I know that much," Colobok says with good cheer.

By the time that you and Granny retire for the night, you've gotten the deck into a much better condition than it was in before. The floor is clean, the wood is polished, the walkways are clear, and the whole thing smells pleasantly like oranges. You're able to get to sleep that night with the extra satisfaction of having made a pirate ship clean and presentable – a rare feat.



Cutlass grows tense at the physical contact, but she allows herself to be dragged along. Upon reaching their destination, she quickly pulls her hoof away and mutters, "Don't touch me," under her breath, though still audible enough to be heard by people nearby. PROGRESS!

Cutlass looks to Colobok with a frown. "Leave the eyepatch on," she orders conclusively. "It's almost certainly a spying mechanism."


Colobok slides down the eyepatch. "Let's just be glad she didn't replace anything else. Eh? Eh?"
"I'm going to put you back on the Crimson King's boat the first chance I get," Sparkler grumbles. "I want to go to sleep already…"
Ossie snorts. "We all need it, for sure, after today."



"Haha," Cutlass sarcastically 'laughs'. "Yes, yes. Pirate genitalia humor," Cutlass groans.

"As a female captain, you MUST realize I've heard it all, right?" Cutlass says, looking away uncomfortably. Her face turns slightly red. "I-it's really not funny."


Some of the pirates in the med bay laugh, but Sparkler and Ossie aren't amused. "I'm just trying to see the bright side of things!" Colobok says in his defense, gesturing to his eyepatch.
"I'm going to bed," Sparkler groans, whapping Colobok with a towel. "You and Droplet are just the worst best teammates I've ever worked with."
Ossie snickers a little at that one. "…Perhaps we should follow suit? Or at least I want to."



Cutlass's face turns a little more red at the laughter. But, she also can't help but join them. Maybe it's the fatigue, or maybe it's the relief, but she is somehow able to find humor in the situation.

"Yes, we appear to be safe for now. You're all dismissed. That includes you, Ossie. Thank you for being such a fine bodyguard… a-and companion."

Her face's redness reaches a tipping point, and she quickly rushes out of the room, lest she lose her captainly appearance. She heads to her private quarters for some well-earned rest.


"Companion?" Ossie asks, her own face a little pink as she pops out of your shadow, but you are too fast in returning to your own cabin. In the peace of your room, you are accompanied only by Sir Pent, who crawls onto your pillow, and quickly begins to sleep, making very very very faint snoring noises as he does.


Last time on PirateQuest…

Relishing their victory over the Bee Queens and the Crimson King, the party returned to their ships for the night, having dinner and counting over their loot. Cerulean ended up being the winner of the Beesting pirates' game to see who could steal the most treasure from the island before they left. As a reward, she was given a special pistol from Bee Holder, called the Captain's Orders. Firing the pistol and giving an order to the crew would compel them all to obey said order, no matter what, and fill them with a great power until the effect wore off. Surely, this was something to be saved for an emergency situation, and not to be invoked lightly.

Several important conversations took place as well, between Alder and Splendid, Thessaly and Granny, and Cutlass and Crop. Alder helped Splendid get acclimated to the ship, Thessaly and Granny connected over their connections to the Skerry, and Cutlass threatened Crop with the destruction of Kaco Island's mafia families by the invasion of the Gates of Justice into the Ribcage, which only drove him into a perverse excitement – he apparently thought the Families had fallen from their former glory, and needed a good deal of pressure and purging before they could rise again.

In addition, the Crimson King recovered his ship from Cutlass, and departed to the north, leaving without inflicting any harm on Cutlass or her crew, holding true to his word.


The next day came around, and the party woke to the smell of breakfast and fresh-off-the-press newspapers. Their ships were docked at the baby island turtle which orbited Kaco Island. The business of the day would be to determine where to sail next. Their business on Kaco Island was done. The Bee Queens' remnant forces, as well as the mafia's, would surely come after them once they regrouped. Many people on both ships felt it would be wise to get out of town for a little while to shake off any would-be assassins seeking revenge on behalf of either faction.


Chiu, mane a mess, groans and sits up. She lightly whaps you with a pillow, but her strength is taxed from the previous night. She looks about the room with an impressed grunt. "Wow, we… you better have a look."

Needless to say, you two have left your room a complete wreck, as if a tornado had swept through it. In fact, comparing it to a tornado's work is an insult to the total destruction you have wrought. Clothes, furniture, boxes and books are in utter disarray, as is the bed.

>Thessaly, Alder, Cerulean

You find that most of the crew is gathered up on deck, as is the crew of the Secret Assassins. Next to the two ships is a young seapony mare in a mailpony's uniform. She's riding on the back of a very large jellyfish that pokes its top out of the water. The mare is equipped with a hoof-held air cannon, and she uses it to launch the newspapers onto the deck of the two ships. Meanwhile, the cooks of the two ships are passing back and forth plates of food: mashed potatoes, eggs, haysh browns, porridge, crepes and fried vegetables of various kinds, and of course, coffee.

"Morning everyone," Bee Holder greets. "Back in Aristar, before all this madness started, I signed us up again for the Ribcage Informant. Will be good to keep up to date on the goings-on around us."
"And when you're done with the papers, give them to me. I recycle them," Etch says.

If you take a newspaper, you find that it is a very big bundle, as it is the Sunday issue. There are many sections, including:
>Ribcage Rattles (News)
>Friday Night Fractures (Sports)
>A Bone to Pick (Opinions)
>Gizbones (Magitech and Ship Tech)
>Crypt-Keeping (Real Estate)
>New Bones (Obituaries)
>Funny Bones (Comics)

However, your attention is caught by two special pull-out sections. The first is the Local Island Sea-Chart section, which seems to have a map of the islands nearest to your location. The second is the Mail-Order Section. Inside, you see many advertisements for products you can purchase by mail-order.



Comfortably lying in bed, you wake to the sound of knocking at your door, as well as the smell of freshly-cooked breakfast. "Rise and shine, captain!" Colobok calls out from the deck, just outside the door. Next to you, Sir Pent rolls over, stretching and yawning.




Cutlass grumbles when someone knocks on the door. She's about to yell at them when she realizes it's morning. She actually got a full night's sleep! The feeling elates her so much that she wakes up fully. She sits up in bed and rubs her eyes with her hooves.

However, she quickly notices with a start that Sir Pent is wrapped around her right hoof, now yawning in her face. She nearly throws the little snake across the room before she realizes what she's doing, resulting in just a quick shake for the poor reptile.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Sir Pent," Cutlass says, booping the snake on the nose with her other hoof. "Return to the safety of my hat, you'll be okay," she says as she lifts her hoof up to her hat for him to make the return trip.

Cutlass then climbs out of bed and adjusts her dress, ensuring her knives are all in place. Then, she finally swings the door open with her telekinesis.

"Good morning, Colobok," Cutlass says with uncharacteristic joviality. "I smell breakfast. What are we having?"


Cloud grumbles as he's bonked with the pillow, reluctantly popping up from under the covers. He whistles in amazement as he sees the mess.
"Yea… looks like a shipwreck in here."
Cloud says, leaning over to give Chiu a good morning kiss on the cheek.

He pauses for a moment in thought, then climbs out of bed.
"Think it'll be better if we clean up here. I don't want to listen to that granny go on for hours if she has to do it, or go through our things."
He decides, starting to go on the undertaking of cleaning this destruction.

Once that is finished and a quick shower, Cloud heads up to the deck.


Alder stops by the storeroom long enough to wake Splendid up, and beckoning her above deck to get food, and to get some introductions out of the way. He happily snatches up one of the newspapers, taking a few minutes to glance over the various sections. His eyes catch on the mail-order section, and after looking through it a little more, he picks out two items in particular; The Duplicoins(™), and the Clockwork Orange. He looks to Splendid, and asks "Anything you would like, by chance? Some of these might be rather useful, if it is something you need."


Cerulean has Roger be her alarm. The smell of food helps stir her to full wakeness and she quickly makes her way up, still with bedhead.
"Huh, that does sound neat, I guess," Cerulean comments with a mouthful of eggs. She looks at the newspaper with not much interest and ends up in the comics section.


Chiu returns the kiss and assists you in cleaning up the room. Between the two of you, and the small size of the room, you have it looking presentable in short order. "Hmm. This bed's making me realize just how small this room is. Why don't we get those renovations scheduled after breakfast?" she asks before you head up.

Later, after having gotten cleaned and dressed, Chiu accompanies you to the deck, wearing some of the jewelry you took from Toko. Most of the crew is gathered upon deck, sitting wherever they please with their plates of food as they look over the morning paper. Seeing you come up, the seapony delivery girl launches another paper your way. Cane Shuga also trots over, carrying a few trays of breakfast on his shoulder like a waiter, and quickly passes them to you and Chiu. "Did you two get lost down there? It's been 'good morning' up here for a while!" he jokes with a smile.
"We overslept," Chiu explains.

Sir Pent slithers into his usual space upon your big hat, not seeming all that upset by your shaking. Outside, Colobok hands you a breakfast platter on a wooden tray, bearing a wide sampling of the aforementioned dishes, and a side of gravy for the potatoes and haysh browns. On the tray beside the platter is a mug of black coffee and a newspaper. "A celebration, that's what we're having. Plague and the Beesting's cooks went all out this morning. The crew wanted something nice and heavy to make up for all the work we did yesterday."

Splendid looks to be a bit of a mess that morning – all of her feathers are fluffed up fully, as well as the fur on her tiger body. She doesn't seem to notice, or to be bothered by it. Bidding you good morning as if nothing were odd, she comes with you to the deck and takes a modest plate of breakfast for herself. Though she only takes smaller portions, she seems to be having a much easier time with this meal than last night's dinner. Looking over the flashy advertisements in the catalogue, she turns her head. "Well… right now, I'd fancy me some new clothes. Nothin' flashy, just practical stuff. Trousers, shirts, knickers… er, you better let me order those things meself, elsewise that Granny character will grill you and me for immodesty, I reckon!"

The comics section is full of mostly silly little strips, full of colorful illustrations poking fun at various aspects of life in the Ribcage, like language barriers, fights between aura users, attacks by pirates, the lives of poor sailors, and the like. Your eye is caught by one that seems to be satirizing, of all things, the slave trade in the Black Market. With a disturbing level of macabre humor, the comic displays two merchants from a place called Horshuu Island, as they argue over the appropriate way to determine prices for slaves. In the end, they take the advice of a slave, who advises them to set the price low, all while thinking of what a relief it'd be to get away from them.
There's a disclaimer running below this comic, signed by the newspaper's editorial board, saying they don't endorse the comic's message and distancing themselves from any political commentary, especially as it relates to the current situation on Horshuu Island and the allegations against the island's current Haku. Perhaps there's more to this story in the rest of the paper.



Cutlass looks down at the tray in front of her and takes it with her telekinesis. She smiles broadly. "Gravy!? It's like an actual meal! So few pirates appreciate the finer foods."

Cutlass takes the tray to edge of the ship so that she can enjoy the view of the horizon as she eats.


With how soon the room is tidied up, Cloud feels proud at the good job done.
"Good idea, and we'll need more room if we pick up any more souvenirs."
He says.

"You look great with those."
Cloud comments to Chiu as they head up on deck after getting cleaned. Cloud snatches the paper as it's launched at him, a little surprised at the delivery.
"A little warning next time, jeez."
He comments, taking the comics section for himself and handing the rest to Chiu. Noticing the pull-out section, Cloud pulls it out and looks over the mail-order section. He marks off a new outfit for himself, something more pirate-y feeling than casual clothes. Then, for decoration, he orders the crate of ship tools, a cabinet along with a clothes rack an table for their room, and a rug as well.
"You want anything?"
He asks Chiu while he picks his order.

"After yesterday I could've gone with another few hours of sleep."
Cloud responds to Cane Shuga with a smile as well.


Cerulean starts laughing at the joke to the point eggs kinda shotgun out from her mouth due to laughing.
"Hahahaha! Hahaha…haaaah…I don't get it." Wanting to get it, she tries to find out about said slave trade in the paper hopefully. All the while, Roger goes about cleaning up her egg-based mess.


"Hrm… do you need a comb, by chance? You look a little ruffled." Alder suggests, giving her a once over as she gets her meal. "And, do you have some money? I think they might need the payment upfront, from the look of it… I think? I have never done a mail-order… thing, before."


"W-Wait, wh would this 'Granny' grill us?" the griffon asks, nervously gripping at his scarf.


As you take your food off to the side to enjoy the view, someone comes toward you from behind. "Sugar for your coffee?" the person asks, and it's a voice you immediately recognize. Magoja stands beside you, with a tray of sugar and cream. He's wearing an apron and a suit underneath, as though he were a fancy waiter.

Chiu squints at you teasingly as you take the comics section. "Aren't you a bit old for those?"
However, her interest grows as she gets looking at the mail-order catalog. "Wow, there's a lot here… hmm, I'd spring for some more outfits, myself. Something with more color to match my coat, rather than these duds they've got us in now. Oh, what about this?" she asks, pointing to the picture box.

As you poke about elsewhere in the paper, you find a column calling for the kidnappings of Aura-users on Horshuu island to end. The writer alleges that Horshuu Island, ruled by a mage by the name of Nachman, is kidnapping Aura-users in the dead of night, as part of a policy of discrimination and a general attitude of mage supremacy over Aura-users. Nachman, you learn, has denied all allegations fiercely, attributing the disappearances of Aura-users to the workings of pirates who are trying to capture people for the Black Market's slave trade. The writer also demands for the Shaka mage's guild, where Nachman studied magic, to officially denounce, if not exile Nachman.

Splendid tilts her head, then looks down at her feathers. "Oh! Didn't even notice." She laughs and smooths out her feathers. "Suppose I must've been a bit too comfortable in that hammock, eh?"

She picks through her pockets, counting out a small pile of coins. "Should be enough for a couple spare outfits, but not much else, I'm afraid."

"Well if she saw you buyin' undies for me, she'd get some bad ideas about what we were up to. Would probably whip us with a ruler and make us study religion to get the dirty thoughts out!"



Thessaly browses the newspaper, putting away the island charts for later reference, and examines the items for sale. The S