>>590833 Well, you've finished with that now. No doubt making jabs and giving input on which maternity bras you think would be most comfortable for when she feeds you. She surely countered with insisting you'll grow out of the lesbian phase soon enough and have a bun in the oven of your own. Exaggerated vomit miming ensues. In any case, you finish with that part of the shopping.
>>590855 I shrug and smile. "That is the problem, I have nothing to do. I've taken interest in minting Gold and Silver though that is why I approached Ms. Topaz so she can teach me, but then she is quite a busy mare that is why I am now here. It appears Ms. Topaz seems to trust your talent Ms. Vasiliza, that is good."
>>590865 I scratch my head and look down in embarrasment "She prefers to be called Empress, she is a good shiban and I like her. Even though I do see that the possibility of fathering a child is a bit of problem, trust me that I still have no plans for that… yet." I chuckle.
>>590880 She holds out a stretchy red turtleneck for you. "Rot, hmm?"
>>590882 "I don't know the meaning of the word!" He says amusedly.
>>590883 "Maybe! I don't know how much a talking gun costs."
>>590884 There are six major theaters here. The Theater an der Nea, Akademietheater, Burgtheater, International Theatre Anneiv, Anneiv State Opera, und Anneiv's Equestrian Theater. The most obviously Equestrian is the latter.
>>590892 The Burgtheater und Akademietheater are owned by the same company and both closed today. The State Opera is currently in the second opera of the classic The Ring of the Nibelung. The International Theatre Anneiv is performing selections from Grimm Tales. The Equestrian Theater is performing Falstaff.
>>591705 "Hmmm.. so how did you meet Ms. Topaz?" Follow her from behind as I lightly play with her floofy tail. "So let me guess about how you met Ms. Topaz, just when you signed up for the fleet to be the smith, you met Ms. Topaz and took you under her wing just like that, or is there more to it?"
>>591729 "Well, it doesn't have to be a gun, as long as it would bring in customers to a gun store."
>>591725 They are doing different stories all day, each starting on an even hour.
>>591726 You are near two toppled tables. One table is still standing, by virtue of having four supports versus the single support of the other two. On top of it is a checkers board, with bottlecaps being used for pieces. There are also two beer bottles there.
You smash down the next brawler with a quick side-swipe and uppercut before he can attack.
A tougher opponent approaches!
Brawler (Tough) [▓▓▓▓▓▓] Flowing Tree [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░]
Brawlers Defeated: 2 Longest Streak: 2 Most Defeated At Once: 1 Respect: 8 (Stranger)
>>591727 He's in his room studying the golden apple again. He glances up. "You smell like flowers."
>>591722 "Pretty close, she's the one who taught me how to smith before you came along. She helped me make this sword of mine not to mention she is a wise lady if you get pass her blank demenour" I grin as I play with her floof tail
>>591795 "At close range you don't need accuracy. Fact: essentially every home invasion that escalates to violence takes place at less than thirty feet. That's kill-range for a blunderbuss. Why spend time aiming when you can have a sure thing?"
>>591800 She took you to the mints, in Topaz's cabin.
"She's a bit old, but she's nice enough. I think she's too practical and doesn't give enough attention to form."
You take out the first guy, but the second guy gives you two low punches to the gut.
Brawler (Fists) [▓▓▓▓] Flowing Tree [▓░░░░░░░░░]
Brawlers Defeated: 4 Longest Streak: 4 Most Defeated At Once: 1 Respect: 18 (Newcomer)
>>591806 "The gun only replaced the crossbow because you can use it with less training. The crossbow replaced the longbow because it takes less training. Not learning is the future. In a century they'll all be firing off magic guns or something that aim for you."
>>591803 "Not letting yourself confined by concrete designs aye? You like designing things your own way if I may ask." I grin as I look and see if Topaz is home. "The hard part though is making it both pretty while also useful."
>>591813 "What, you mean in a war? Blunderbuss-users are mounted units. That distance will be closed and long-range units will collapse! But for private use, you're always fighting close up. Hunting. Defending your property. You don't need to shoot someone three hundred feet away to protect your house."
>>591895 Well, I suppose I've lollygagged enough. No one's around to get me on the crew, so I suppose I'll just kill time until Tree and Wark are available to vouch for me. Setting up near the mid-mast of the ship the Commodore was on, I'll start plinking out a tune on my lute, tuning it. Then, once in-tune, I'll start playing a nice, refreshing song. Give the dockworkers and the crew something nice to listen to while they work.
>>591810 Heading out for the Heap with Ciddir! "I tried finding information about the golden apple, but apparently the locals are… not very welcoming to goats. It's been hard to find much of anything."
>>592612 The crew go about their business, but begin to work to the beat of your music. It's infectious. You vaguely wonder if music could be incorporated into a command role somehow, as you watch the sun make the last stretch for the wall of the city, soon to set. To the south, the Nea gleams golden in its light.
>>592613 The sun is creeping toward the horizon. You head outside the city gates and around the perimeter to the heap.
"That is unfortunate. It is no matter though, we leave soon anyway."
Up ahead, the barren glory of the Heap awaits. Stacks of craggy, heaped up metal slag. Hoodoos of unwanted wastemetal.
>>592614 Bouncing about the deck. Cation is also nearby.
>>591892 Gray: " 'Kay." Red: "I reckon she'll put up with it if she don't want me to cut 'er red."
>>592616 "Only after dark, but I'd just as soon have you stick about."
>>592617 Back to the fleet it is. Cation is here, strumming. Selena exits the belowdecks.
>>592619 "That sounds pleasant. Do you know a place?"
>>592620 A city jenny like you hasn't much of the old culture, from the Highlands, hm? You wonder what your clan's kilt patterns are. Maybe you'll have one to bear proudly if you marry into a clan some day, or discover your own origins.
>>592623 Ah, but there's a life in the night, just as there is in the day. Some folk only truly feel right after the sun goes down and they can relax. >>592624 "Hm? Ach, no. Just thought the crew might like a little song to work to, since I doubt they've had the chance to head into town yet." I'll keep strumming my lute. "One of the city's main attractions are the songs, y'see. An' I figure that if they can't get in there to hear 'em, I can at least bring some out to them, little though it may be."
>>592650 "Izzat so? Then I guess they'll be a surprise to both of us." >>592651 Hmm. Let's take it to another key. Modulate, and then one, two, three… A few ad libs here and there… This might sound like a more jazzy affair.
>>592656 "None of them need the same purity, so don't bother. That was a good casting. I'm going to have to melt it down because it's not pure enough, but you seem to have an intuition for the right time to remove it.
>>592658 This street has big theaters and performance halls on it. The sweet sounds of music fill the streets. The sign reads Musikstrasse, and Light Heart is here.
>>592659 "NO IT WOULD GIVE YOU THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME BETTER AT ALCHEMY."
>>592664 I frown comically and kneel down to her height with a smug grin. "How brave of you, are you really mocking the first mate of the seaworthy hmmmm?" I pat her head with one hand while the other toys with the new coin.
>>592671 "I don't know, it's like carrots and sailing. Each are fine on their own, so I don't think they'd be any less good together, it's just I don't expect it would stand out as even better by being combined."
>>592676 "Whew, I didnt know it was a bit simple. The thing one has to worry about though is that it will cost a lot if one make a single mistake in the process aye? Not to mention all this heat makes me thirsty.""
>>600320 It is marked how different Anneiv is by night from daytime. There is no sound, and even your footsteps loudly reverberate across the water as you clop through the wharf district along Hauptstraße. It's too thick to see much here, and the proximity to the water isn't helping. Perception check.
>>600352 On top of the clouds, there is a ship moored. It is a fine barque with royal blue sails. Their rich, living color is a stark contrast to the dread gray of the fog below. The hull is flecked with gold leaf, and the hatrack begins to walk vertically up the hull toward the deck.
>>600356 The deck is entirely crewed by mares, who moan soundlessly as they labor. They are wearing a foreign sort of clothing – it appears to be glass, but it is so flexible that it conforms to every movement. The helm, perched upon the aftcastle, boasts a huge velvet couch. A figure lays there disinterestedly facing the wheel proper. The hatrack has come to a rest near the couch.
>>600360 There is a head as large as the entire ship looking down at you. A stallion's head. It looks cheerful, but stern, and it is possessed of an enormous white beard. It seems jovial, and the neck extends down, out of view. Its mouth opens, but instead of a booming wave of sound, you hear a pleasant voice inside your head. It has a thick Germane accent.
>>600366 I know you better than anyone else. I am an excellent judge. I know you define your reality by suffering – that being yours or others. And so you cannot comprehend reality without suffering. You will understand differently in time.
>>600372 You arrived by waking up. This place was always here, but only those awake can see it. You may return to the city, but you may see it differently now that you are awakened again. Indeed, I shall need you to return to the city, for there is work to be done.
The answer to that is more complex than you would think. The short answer is that he is steering – or rather, he's on helm's duty. If this place unnerves you, perhaps you should come belowdecks to continue our discussion.
>>600394 You head inside, and it's a very posh bar. Velvet walls and everything.
There's a pony at the counter, polishing a glass. He's wearing a fine suit - and it's the same bearded face you saw outside. He holds up a glass, as if inspecting it for smudge marks, then holds it out like a telescope and examines you through the bottom of it.
>>607246 >>607247 "That's interesting that you say that, and while I cannot possibly expect you to understand what I mean by this – your interpretation of my appearance reflects more upon you than upon me. I do wonder what it is you think you are seeing right now. Still, I suppose I am not blameless. You are malfunctioning. I couldn't see it from so far before, but now that you're here, I can repair the damage."
He begins pouring a few drinks into different mugs. "Tell me about your lust and love."
>>607249 "It is the source of your malfunction. You have a great deal of sexual frustration. It wasn't an issue in the original design. Typical short sighted thinking, I suppose. Tell me, do you feel warm?"
He pulls out a ruler and begins measuring the bar.
>>607251 "You misunderstand. Indeed, you were never designed to understand. It wasn't in your framework. The better question is whether or not you even want me to explain. It would be simpler if I just put you to sleep and perform the repairs. You've been away so long, I scarcely recognized you from the day I sent you away. You've gotten big, haven't you? Full maturation. As a proof of concept you certainly are admirable, bugs aside."
>>607253 He chuckles. "Believe me, I share your condescension for these mechanical nicknacks. In fact, you probably got your condescension from me. Flesh and blood – so much more potential than a machine, wouldn't you agree? Your gun – even after the catalyst modification, it was still only the filigree of your design. And it looks like my design was improved upon. Hm… a cannon, how quaint. They didn't do much with it, did they? Oh, what this? Interesting… multiple rounds? How do they prevent it from jamming? Very cleverly made. And the pistol. Hm, I would've thought that it would be overloaded by the heat from the catalyst. Apparently there's some sort of compensation. Well, aren't these nicknacks unto themselves? I'll need to remember to properly thank these interlopers for their contributions."
>>607255 "I have already told you. And now it is time to make the repairs, yes? Relax yourself, and when you wake up you will be good as new. If you are going to be operating in this city, you will want your old language back. That's right, ease up. Feeling relaxed now? The tension in your muscles must go. Perhaps a soporific?"
>>607257 He raises a brow. "Who can one trust if not their creator? In any case, the offer was for your benefit. I can disable you, but do not worry, once you are properly repaired you'll be back up and free to go about your business. Though you may not remember this conversation when that happens."
>>607259 He laughs an extremely hollow an unnerving laugh. "I can see how you might misinterpret it that way. No, what I have done is far greater and more directed than anything he ever did for you. You will remember once repairs are completed."
>>607263 "It seems counterintuitive to explain rather than to simply perform the repairs. You certainly have grown inquisitive. When I sent you away last you were quite the introvert. You do not need to know the details because you do not need to perform repairs. The general issue is that your body is being pumped full of hormones as a result of experiencing love and lust, which is not something you were designed for. Your original design was created when you were prepubescent. I believe the original identity I gave you was Prench, but this Bridon persona does seem to have the vigor of a good killer - and not even insane! Your personality is much more stable than any of my other adult subjects. I suspect it may have to do with your natural growth. In any case, it is a simple matter of chemical imbalance. I shall require a blood sample."
>>607265 "Your current life is only a disguise. Your assignment has been completed. The reason you find yourself frustrated in daily life is due to the fact that you were not built for it. Does it confound you that you must be polite to ponies, and that they demand you exhibit empathy? You were made with neither in mind! You were made to shoot with extreme precision and to have a natural talent for magic on a level of intuition, without even need for thought. This is your purpose. You will never be happy unless you embrace it. This… Tela? Things cannot work out with her unless your imbalance is repaired. Haven't you noticed that you have certain irreconcilable differences? You can be happy with her, but only if you are repaired."
>>607266 Furrow my brows when he mentions her. "Your repairs… would they benefit you or me? Do you want to repair me to have your perfect killing machine? A slave for you with no thoughts? Because I can be pissed at people, but you're wrong. I'm perfectly happy being a perfect killer who can think for herself."
>>607267 He frowns. "You do still fundamentally misunderstand. You will always have thoughts. This is what makes you different from a machine, which cannot think. But you do not really have a choice in any case, I am perfectly capable of rendering you inert with your conditioned neutralization phrase. Let me put things this way – how do you know that Tela ever existed? You are still under the belief that you made your gun by yourself, which is the memory I programmed into you. Yet tomorrow you might think you've been in love with a mare named Dahlia or Beatrice. It makes no difference. I don't think you can understand – not that it's important. Well – wait, I'll try one last method of explanation, purely as a show of good will. I am quite excited to see you back after all. What is it you're seeing right now? Some sort of bar, I gather from your mind. Focus on your surroundings. Describe it in great detail – for example, what is the floor made of? If it's tile or wood, how many units of plank or pile between you and I? Are there chairs? How many?"
>>607268 Look around for a while before sitting down on my flanks, defeated. Look up at him with teary eyes. "Allright… do whatever you're going to do… but please do not take her from me. She's the only thing I ever had. The only thing I had that matters."
You shake your head vigorously. You're on some kind of mattress, but your head is pounding. The pain is quickly receding but you feel nauseous. Instinctively, you lean over the adjacent trash bin. It recedes soon too.
Tela is here. It's a relief that you made up with her. She looks so peaceful as she sleeps. Probably best not to wake her. In the dim light of your apartment, you can see a note on your pantry door. Probably another job.
>>607273 After pulling on your vest and abundance of belts, you gingerly slide on your left glove, which stows the spring blade mechanism. Your hatrack has a large number of choices. Probably the best option for stealth would be the black tricorne, given the hour, though you would have to go to the trouble of moving your lenses over to it from your tophat, which you were using yesterday.
The tea kettle begins to whistle and Tela shifts in her sleep.
>>607274 Shit, she'll get grumpy and won't have sex if I wake her. Take the kettle off and pour myself a cup, with some honey of course. I'll go with the tricone, and transport the lenses from the top hat while I sip my tea.
>>607275 It clicks on without much complaint. From your window you can see the local university, and more importantly, its clock tower. 4 AM. Mysteriously, you always seem to wake up on time for your jobs, no matter how early it is. Probably not worth reading into.
The nightsfog is still thick over the city, but your apartment is on a fourth floor - practically unheard of height, which affords you a somewhat better view over the clouds that tend to sink into the streets.
>>607277 Your pistol's compensator hums softly as you holster it. You mount the base of the rifle and pack the scope and barrel into your bags so they won't obstruct your flight or create an obvious silhouette.
It's a relief Tela doesn't want kids either. You can only imagine how complicated things would be if you disagreed about something like that - especially because you might have to deal with tiptoeing around your job.
Supposedly the mist are filled with strange gangsters, but for whatever reason they've never bothered you. Maybe it's your reputation that keeps them at bay. Or maybe that gang is where your job notes and reward deaddrops keep coming from. Who can say, really? The notes always seem to appear while you're asleep.
It's only a couple minutes flight to alight over at the stables. The docks aren't far. Still, now that you're only one level up from the ground, the fog engulfs everything. You'll definitely need to unpack your special scope for this.
>>607279 Your scope begins to heat up. The runic symbols for light and heat begin to glow, and your right eye twitches in anticipation. A conditioned response. Even before it touches the now hot metal of the scope, the blood vessels in the eye have begun to pronounce themselves. By the time you open your eye to look through the scope, they bulge so much that any examination of the eye would suggest that it has turned entirely white to red.
Now, through the fog, you see the illumination of body heat. But how to pick out the target…
>>607280 Start scanning my little targets. Let's see if there's any one of them who has a cold spot where an eye should be. The eye patch probably blocks some of the heat too, so it shouldn't be too hard.
You have an uneasy feeling when you gain consciousness. You hesitate before opening your eyes, lingering in the world of sleep. You don't want to face it, but you have to. You open your eyes.
It's just a pantry.
It has been almost a month now since your last note appeared. You live rather decadently and that money is important. Sure you've got a nestegg but you're in your thirties. It's too late to come up with some other job. And like where are you supposed to find hitman contracts? You had a sweet setup. Why did they stop sending jobs?
The city has been acting strange too. Riots. There was a lot of property damage a couple weeks ago in the night, and talk of zombies, but since then things have quieted down. Even the gangs have moved out of town. There has been a lot of pressure from that new organization… the Middle Seas League – apparently some big shots – to drive out crime. This place is turning into more of a hole every day. But where is there to go?
…Why aren't they sending new contracts? Ponies still want each other dead! And if that weren't enough… you feel sluggish lately too. You want to blame it on the odd conditions but Tela says… well, maybe you're just moving past your prime.
>>607293 The question is where to begin. You live a relatively isolated life. There is one certainty, though: if you're going to find illegitimate information, you will need to enter the Locus Inter, the ancient city-between-the-walls used by the thieves of Anneiv. There's an entrance nearby, on the Kamingasse. Your apartment is on Konigsstraße.
>>607310 You come down an isolated alley between two factories. You know the entrance is here somewhere. The alley itself is clogged with empty crates. On the surface of one, two ponies are gambling. There's another pack of three ponies posturing further back - they look like gangsters.
>>607320 Eventually you find one about chest high that pushes in. Like a handle, all of the rightmost bricks shift slightly back, leaving a very narrow crack for you to squeeze inside. There is no light in there…
>>607322 A scope? You pull your rifle scope out of your bag and walk in holding it out like a telescope. The near uniform coldness doesn't make it very useful and you probably look kinda dumb. You end up following a straight passage for a surprisingly long time. Walking is awful for a pegasus. Eventually, you exit into what you can only describe as a… hobo city. There's something resembling a market place here, and it's thrumming with activity. There are lights - all from lanterns and candles - no natural light. In the dark, you can even see buildings here, but mostly shacks and lean-tos.
>>607328 There are plenty of hobos to choose from, but it's questionable which will help you. Which one should you grab? >The addled one >The drunken one >The crazy one >The plagued one >The catatonic one
>>611527 There are some other ponies here you might question. >Whores at the entrance to a whore house – which is one of the few places lit up, in its case in red light. You wonder briefly how they're coloring the light. Probably some sort of fancy stained glass lantern or magic. >Some petty gangsters. They look armed. >More homeless >A cowled figure down an alleyway >A nearby merchant's stall. He appears to be selling Magic Dust, Special T, and Goofballs. In case it wasn't obvious: these are street names for drugs. >There are signs in Germane (which you can read) which point deeper in and read: Guild of Silver-Weavers
"Who are you supposed to be, some kind of cop? Just get out of here before you scare off the marks. Every time you come to a sign in the Hobo Market, take a left. But if you get your throat slit you ain't heard nothin' from us."
>>611545 The symbols on the signs seem totally arcane as you enter the market, and it's so sprawling that it's a relief you have a simple path to follow. The paths here are lit by dim lanterns and it's quite dark.
Finally you come to an enclosure of a sort built into a wall. It has glyphs over the entrance in hobo code.
>>611700 I should have brought some sort of light with me… go back up, and light a wooden board on fire with Fire Shot (take six, since a stationary board of wood can't be that hard to hit) and use it as a torch down there.
>>611702 This appears to be some sort of operating room. There is a lot of blood here, on a large table, and a lot of surgical equipment. There are also big keg-like containers. There's a trail of blood leading to a closed door.
>>611730 There is a very unusual corpse here. It appears to be an old, bearded pony, crumpled. The corpse is in an advanced state of decay. It is highly unusual because it seems to have mechanical extra limbs – four of them, for a total of eight. Additionally, there appear to be other strange mechanical replacements - internal organs notably. He appears to have been very, very old. The vision stirs uncertain memories in your mind… If interested, you must make medicine checks to identify information about it. For example, cause and date of death.
>>611732 The decay makes it difficult to tell, but you eventually determine there was a bullet wound. Based on the positioning of the body, it looks like he was attempting to cauterize the wound, but bled out in the process. He looks like a fucking hundred years old, so it's a shocker he didn't fall over dead the instant someone pulled out a gun in the first place.
>>613587 Your head feels hot. Like, really hot. Fever hot. BAD fever hot. You were fine seconds ago.
Your vision seems to split in a way that Emrille can't comprehend, having never experienced stereoscopic 3D. Colors and lines don't just blur – they separate entirely into a layered image.
Rallying what will you have, you begin to notice there are differences in the layers. The image is fundamentally the same, but details are changed between the red and blue. Looking at it makes your eyes ache, like trying to turn your eyes too far in the sockets.
>>613613 You back out of the room, which to be fair is kinda fume-y, and take a deep breath. Slowly, you calm down and cool off. Your vision doesn't "split" when you're not looking directly at the body.
>>613629 The tank as a foal in it, floating like the others. Its face is pointed down, so you'd need a light to examine it more closely. This area is very dim, supplied light only by the trapdoor from the other room.
You toss the tarp over the body without looking at it.
>>613664 The papers are full of medical jibberish.
The notes… Holy shit. That color. That hoofwriting. The ink. The text itself. This is one of your hit notes. Or rather… it's one that was never delivered to you. Did this guy steal or intercept it? Did he author it?
-You stopped receiving hit notes recently -You assumed that this was because of the MSL, and decided to find an information dealer to learn who's in charge around here -The information dealer agreed to tell you, in exchange for bringing "what's [at this address] here" -Once you reached the address you found a hidden room with a strange body. The body makes your head hurt when you look at it. -You also found all kinds of weird medical stuff and tanks (one of which contains a foal), plus medical notes -Among the medical notes are notes that look identical to hit notes that you have received in the past
>>615224 Yes, they were written by the same person. Whoever was performing these strange medical misdeeds down in this secret chamber was the same person who authored the hit notes you've been receiving.
>>615228 Your vision splits when you look upon it. One image is in red and one image is in blue, overlaid on one another. Even without whatever effect is hurting your head, it makes you go cross-eyed trying to discern the differences between the two. If you tough it out you might be able to figure out what the difference is. You will take ongoing Psychic damage until you stop.
You give in to your will and look at the corpse directly. The blue partition appears to be what you saw before – the corpse, dead. Decaying. Rotting. The red partition is an idealized version – a healthy stallion with a cheery, full white beard. It stirs memories deep inside you, and an entire lifetime of personality, purpose, and identity floods in at a moment's revelation. You were… other ponies. A Bridon pirate. A Prench spy. And this - a Germane assassin. This was… your abductor? Your creator? Your handler? Some kind of mad scientist… and now he's dead. What purpose is left for you? How long have you been in this daze, with no regard for time? What year is it? Where are your friends from other lifetimes? Were they even real? Your head begins to throb and you pass out.
Bookmark III - Last Job
You awaken in your bed. Tela isn't here. Was she ever here? You're sure she was. There's a dead hooker next to you. You feel tired. You ache. You need a mirror, so you consult one on the wall.
You look awful. You're wrinkled, and your mane has turned gray. Aged. But something hasn't changed. Your eyes are still firey and angry. There's an information dealer in the Locus Inter that owes you some answers, and you are going to get a resolution – one way or another.
Your name is Wilson, and you are 14 years old. You have a brown coat, and your best friend is the Captain's daughter. It's a good thing, too: you're very shy, and so most ponies just ignore you or walk all over you. It's easier if you stick with Grey, she's more assertive.
She's the same age as you, and more excitingly, she told you that you're her special somepony – but you can't tell anypony! It's a secret to everypony.
There is something a little less exciting, though. For the last two weeks, you've been tightly pursued by a fleet of law vessels, and the captain can't shake them, even with the speed of the Sirocco.
You open your eyes and stretch. It looks like you got away with sleeping in Grey's room last night – at her insistence, of course. Though, to be sure the captain wouldn't throw you overboard, you slept below the covers. Way below. Below the entire bed, actually. Grey is presumably on the mattress up above, unless she has already woken up. It's hard to tell from this vantage.
>>615239 You head out onto the stately decks of the Sirocco. They haven't changed much at all in the last four years. Indeed, while they take up considerable airspace, it's easy to see under them. Only a cursory search reveals Grey is staring off the stern – at pursuant ships on the horizon.
>>615245 "You know, it's the weight, and the maps…"
Part of the plan to outrun the law fleet was to start dumping chests of gold into the water, since gold was weighing you down most of all and it wouldn't do you any good in a fight (worse still, if you lost, it would reward the enemy). The idea was with perfect cartography, the gold could be retrieved later. Port Merlot, a complete weirdo by Grey's account (not far from the truth), is an expert in treasure hauling and devised the plan. Merlot is an eccentric dwarf, meaning that at fourteen, you tower over him in height – he's no bigger than a colt, really.
>>615500 "Well, there are cards downstairs, or… I dunno, we could find something to do."
>>615503 Not for love, not for honor, not for any nation. You sure as hell aren't crawling through any microwave tunnels.
You shove your way through the bead curtain into the lair of the information dealer. It's totally dark, as before, but you can feel her here. You may be aged, but for whatever reason, your senses feel sharper than ever.
>>615505 There is a dry husky coughing sound. Then, the hissing voice.
"You have paid the toll. The cost was truth. If it is still what you desire, I will give you those names. But choose wisely, you get only one question. Perhaps you'd like a moment to re-evaluate – gather your thoughts before you ask."
>>615522 Hm. No one's in here. This room is just full of toys.
Not sexual toys. Well, I mean, they're probably in a drawer or something, but the tables and stuff have mostly neat artifacts that Grey's mom found over the years. They're usually packed up… Why take them out now? Does she plan to dump them or…
"Oh… she plans to use them… She thinks we have to fight."
>>615524 "Your guess is as good as mine. I mean, she doesn't want me touching the magic stuff. And from that time that Red got turned into a Diamond Dog, well, you know that fur never comes out completely. I stayed away."
>>615526 She gives you a playful punch. "You're tough! But yeah, we oughta just go find Lilly… Where could they be? A captain can't hide on her own ship. Maybe Rosemary knows where she is?"
It strikes you as kinda inappropriate that she's calling Rosemary by her first name, and it must have shown on your face, because Grey looks embarrassed. "Well how would you know who I meant if I said 'mom'? And it's not like she's my real mom. I mean, mom isn't either, but she was there more. AAAA just drop it!"
>>615530 Ugh. The menials just ignore you, as is usual, but Grey looks like she turned up results.
"Hey, someone said she's on the launch deck. Maybe they're running a distraction sortie?"
The launch deck is one of the renovations the captain made over the years – it took some very cunning engineering to add it without compromising aerodynamics, but it acts as a floor between floors for the quick launch of ships.
>>615534 Grey reaffirms this, but with more confidence. "Yeah, Wilson's telling the truth. We just asked around! You're not that sneaky!"
Rosemary rolls her eyes. "What have I told you about spending time with Wilson?"
The captain looks exasperated. "Wilson is just about the furthest thing from our troubles right now. Rosemary, I love you, but we need to set some priorities. Come on, you and Jack need to make for the helm. I'll talk to Grey about what is to come."
You don't like her tone of voice, and by the looks of it, neither did Grey. The captain beckons you along, and returns deeper into the launch deck.
>>615536 "Listen, Grey. I've already sent Lilly away – with the luckiest person around, too. She's too young to hear this, but you're not. A battle is coming. Today. And I don't think we can win. That's why I want to send you away, too."
"What? No! Where would I go? Besides, if you're going to fight, I want to stay and fight too! I am pretty good with a gun, you can't argue."
"Your marksponyship is not the question at hand – it's my peace of mind."
>>615538 "Yeah, what about that? You need all the help you can get."
The captain kneads her brow. "Somehow… I knew this would be your answer. Otherwise I would have sent you with Lilly. Very well then… But I have a different job than shooting in mind, for you. Wilson can help."
>>615540 "I've pulled out all of my magic items in my cabin. During the battle, I'm going to need you to retrieve them for me when it's time for each. You can head back and start memorizing which does what now, and their names – so that you can bring them when I call for them. I don't trust anyone else enough to give them access to my room, other than Rosemary of course, but she'll be healing ponies."
>>615806 It's very, very important to remember the specific locations of each item.
"Wilson, I need you to help me remember where things are, and I'll ferry them to the crew as needed. First, we have to figure out where everything is, and what each thing does. Go ahead and look through whatever you want." >A Stack of Clothing on the Bed >A Case of Foreign Alcohol >A Steel-Bound Treasure Chest >The Leaky Box Under the Bed >That Cargo Net Over in the Corner >The Closet
>>615814 You don't need to roll for any of this. Remembering the order is very important, though.
The first item below that topples to the ground, so you see the Fabulous Pants of Incredible Speed first – but the item on top of them was the Chilling Brooch of Flame Protection. The two starting two below it are the Great Cloak of Detect Barnacles and Cunning Seaweed Vest of Underwater Breath. You pick the bottom two up to check them and put them back in this order, stacking them: Rare Blouse of Protection from Cannonballs, Incomprehensible Cufflinks of Brow Parching.
>>615818 You find a bunch of weird potions in here! Don't forget which has which effect. You see a smoking potion, a golden potion, an obscene potion, one potion labeled vinegar, one potion shaped like a mare, and one potion which shifts between red and orange. These are the names required to retrieve proper potions!
The lewdest of the bunch is a Daring Potable of Breathing Fire. The most pony-like is the Unholy Elixir of Limb Regeneration. That one that changes color is Ackerly's Cordial of Giant's Grip. The most valuable looking is the True Liquor of Bravery. The one that might ruin your clothes just by being near them is the Accursed Philter of Shark Command. The one that is clearly mislabeled is the Secret Ink of Betraying Fog.
Red Cloak of Courage Chilling Brooch of Flame Protection Fabulous Pants of Incredible Speed Great Cloak of Detect Barnacles Cunning Seaweed Vest of Underwater Breath Incomprehensible Cufflinks of Brow Parching Rare Blouse of Protection from Cannonballs
That's the order the items should be in unless the wording rused me.
>>615820 smoking potion: Accursed Philter of Shark Command a golden potion: True Liquor of Bravery an obscene potion: Daring Potable of Breathing Fire one potion labeled vinegar: Secret Ink of Betraying Fog one potion shaped like a mare: Unholy Elixir of Limb Regeneration and one potion which shifts between red and orange: Ackerly's Cordial of Giant's Grip
>>615822 This stuff is all jumbled up. Don't forget how much you had to dig to find each thing.
On top you find rope, a fishing rod, a gold coin, and a kitty statue!
If you dig a bit, you find a trophy, a long-loved locket, and a rogue's toolkit
If you dig a lot, you find a big box that seems magic (but is empty), a magic staff, and an angel statue.
Grey helps you identify the Precious Memento of Spook-Talking, the Heroic Box of Obscuring Mists, the Brave Gold Coin of Emergency Leaping, the Lock-Picking Kit of Unbreakable Lockpicks, the Honest Staff of Lightning Bolt, the Appropriately-Sized Trophy of Small Boulder Throwing, the Devious Angel Statuette of Sail Patching, and Yawning Cat Statuette of War Fog. Then she remembers the rope is Endless Rope. She asks you if you want anything else identified before you move on to the Leaky Box.
>>615827 There are a bunch of jars, a toolbox, and a very creepy mirror.
You check the jars. You find three hearts and three eyes in different jars. One heart is crusty. One heart is lean. One heart is normal. One eye glares at you. One eye is normal. One eye looks through you.
There's a sheet of paper listing the contents of this box: Eye of Hate, Emergency Heart Ration of Courage, Eye of True Sight, Replacement Heart, Replacement Eye, Exotic Voodoo Heart.
Grey adds that mean hearts are high in cholesterol, but healthy hearts are lithe and lean.
The toolbox contains a sealed bottle with tubing, some pills, and surgical tools. A document lists the contents as including chloral hydrate and anesthetic. Grey remarks that the anesthetic is administered in gaseous form.
The mirror makes you uncomfortable to look at it. You see scenes in it that make you want to shut your eyes. The first depicts a single peak fortress defending against an army. The second depicts a battle near a volcano. The third depicts a battle at sea near cliffs.
Grey informs you that these are the Memory of the Battle of Blood Mountain, the Memory of the Battle at Thrash-Wave Pass, and the Memory of the Battle of Barrier Tor.
>>615830 It's the Lengthy Fishing Rod of Lordly Might!
You check that cargo net in the corner next. You could try to pull stuff through the net or just grab it off the top.
Through the bottom you see some long wood, a little net, and a dangerous sword!
On the top you see a plush, a valuable container, something that makes you doubtful of its origins, and something that can fix everything!
Grey asks whether you think you'll find a use for the Butterfly Net of Harmless Catching, Stuffed Gorilla of Hiding, Jewelry Box of Spyglass Storage, Useful Stilts of Climbing, or Suspicious Toolbox. Even without asking, she knows you'll find a use for the Emergency Ducttape.
She quickly moves on to the closet without dallying. Clearly she wanted to start there.
>>615843 Right! You are now courageous enough to check under the jackets. You find a stone altar, a box of sex toys, some silk, a riding crop, and a bridle/saddle set. Grey points out that only the Unbreakable Silk Rope is magic, but acts brave about it like you.
>>615850 Grey asks: "Okay, are you ready? Remember, once we start things will be different. At first, we'll have plenty of time, but then we might be pressed for time - if that happens, you have to get what we need fast. Also, it's possible that I might come back with a problem instead of a name, and I'll need you to help me figure out which item will fix it. It's the worst when both happen at the same time."
>>615889 "They smashed the main mast! Mister Wanderin' Eye thinks he can fix it, but we'd need some unbreakable nails and unbreakable rope. Do we have anything like that?? Something similar to each would do."
>>615915 The fishing rod skips a level and falls all the way to the bottom.
"They're having trouble aiming at the ships with the magic items because aiming at things in water is hard. Is there some trick to aiming at sea-bound targets beyond what you learn from aiming a cannon? If only we knew! Oh, and at the same time, Mister Whirlpool Slim is having trouble keeping the sweat out of his eyes. Any ideas on that? We need both."
You feel the tension of a fast item building… the next item after this will have to be fast!
>>615927 "Mom needs to be creative… how can we win a battle where numbers are matched? Also, Rosemary needs an extra heart AND anesthetic now – and if that's not enough, they're trying to batter us aside – we need to enhance someone's strength to push away their ship, to stop the boarding."
>>615929 "Mom wants to sneak attack from below the ship with the tactics we got her. Use the sea against them. We need something to help a pony approach in that way – then something to get them up to the deck in a flash. And she wouldn't tell me straight away why we need it, but she said to bring the suspicious toolbox."
>>615935 "Mister Wanderin' Eye is too panicked and keeps smashing the repairs because he's too strong. Is there something that could make him temporarily weaker? Also, we need that tape. Actually, if you have something to make him stop panicking, too, bring that as well."
You feel the tension of a fast item building… the next item after this will have to be fast!
>>615955 You abandoned the letter, portrait, hateful eye, and those things below the jacket. The aftcastle explodes with impact three seconds after you depart it.
The maindeck is a cacophony of noise and battle. Ponies are still fighting, but it's turning into a rout – and not a good one.
You flee to the launch deck. Grey is here, as are Rosemary, Who, HP, the Third Mate, and three ponies you don't know. They don't acknowledge you as they work on preparing vessels for launch, except for Grey, who gives you a quick hug. "They said we have to go… We're losing. They're not sure if we'll make it, but we have to try…"
>>615960 Grey doesn't answer. You may or may not have noticed that of the five ponies heading up, HP hasn't left. She hesitates, and says, "Hey, you weren't ordered to stay behind, like me. Go with them, Nano."
A breezie friend of HP's floats out of her mane and lands on Rosemary. There are some weird looks between Who and Nano that you don't have time to interpret. Then, HP disappears in a puff of smoke.
Bookmark Unlocked: Nano
Rosemary ushers Grey into one boat and prepares it for launch. She doesn't even wait for you to get in! How inconsiderate.
Your nickname is Nano. Your friend HP gave it to you so that foreigners wouldn't butcher your name. You've been sailing with her on this pirate ship for four years now. Her hair smells nice, like fresh fruit.
You're armed with a blowgun, and you have these skills: Breezie Luck: passive; If you critfail, reroll once and take the new result, even if it's another critfail. Breezie Aim: passive; +2 to hit with blowguns
There's a battle coming… soon a battle will break out. Your collective employer, the captain, is waiting for her daughter to finish cataloging the magic items in her room before they engage.
>>615984 The first fuse is one inch long, and burns for three seconds. The second fuse is twice as long and burns for four and a half seconds. The third fuse is three times the length of the first.
Using a mixed fraction of one inch (the length of the first fuse), where do you cut the third fuse before lighting it? If you can't calculate it, give a rough number. You won't be penalized as long as you're within one second of accuracy (easy).
>>618858 "Okay, you fly up and cut the ropes. I'll fight the crew. Cover me if they draw near."
Each turn, make a roll to slice rope (1d10) or snipe (1d10+2). Make sure your ride isn't compromised – but the longer you spend giving support fire, the longer it will take to get done here, and the main ships need you!
HP rushes forward and jams her sword through the helmspony's neck.
>>618916 "Okay… I can't scale the ship very quickly with these wounds. Check in my bag and apply medicine while I work my way up." >Medical Book >Vial of Ethyl-Oxylaxophine >Vial of Nico-Mathazomine >Vial of Amprolaximine >Vial of Procetano proxitin >Vial of Benzophetarin >Vial of Ethyl-Ibuchlorozine >Scalpel >Retractor >Bone Saw >Hemostat >Stethoscope >Pallet and swabs