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/q/ - Quest

ADVENTURE!
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File: 1546304268118.jpg (183.81 KB, 960x539, 1523461769814.jpg)

 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.

 No.707691

Post sheets along with your reply.

>Cutlass

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.

>Thessaly

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.

>Cloud

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."

 No.707998

>>707691

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."

 No.707999

>>707691
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.

 No.708000

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>707691
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.

 No.708001

>>707691
"Of course. I shall be ready to fix any injuries that may arise." the griffon chirps, smiling a little.

 No.708003

>>707998
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).

>>708000
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."

>>707999
>>708001
>>708000
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.

 No.708004

>>707690
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.”

 No.708005


 No.708006

>>708003
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!"

>>708003
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.

 No.708007

>>708004
"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."

 No.708008

>>708003
Cerulean watches with rapt attention at Avalon's performance, looking to learn from a veteran performer how to perform like a pro.

 No.708009

>>708007
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.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.708010

>>708009
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.

 No.708011

>>708003

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

 No.708012

>>708003
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!

 No.708013

>>708011
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ELIRCmdH-I

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


>>708006
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.

>>708009
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.

>>708008
>>708010
>>708006
>>708012
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…

[1d5]
1 = Cloud
2 = Cerulean
3 = Alder
4 = Thessaly
4 = Toko

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.708014

>>708013
5 = Toko*

 No.708015

>>708013

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

 No.708016

>>708013
"A-Ah, oh dear… here goes nothing, I suppose!" he chirps to himself, trying to look like this was supposed to happen!

 No.708017

>>708013
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.

>>708013
As the sword flies no where near him, Cloud silently sighs in relief.

 No.708018

>>708013
Cerulean watches the performance, but doesn't do anything. Seeing what happened to Pattern, she figured Alder would be safe afterword.

 No.708019

>>708015
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?


>>708018
>>708016
>>708017
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!

 No.708021

>>708019
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.

 No.708022

>>708019

"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

 No.708023

>>708016
>>708019
"Wooo! Awesome!" She cheers out to both performers.

 No.708024

>>708013
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."

 No.708025

>>708019
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

 No.708026

>>708022
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEkI95MwlkE

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


>>708024
"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.

>>708021
>>708023
>>708025
>>708024
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

 No.708027

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

 No.708028

>>708026
"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

 No.708029

>>708026
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.

 No.708030

>>708026

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

 No.708031

>>708026
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."

 No.708034

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

>>708028
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?"

>>708030
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.

>>708029
>>708031
>>708023
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."

 No.708035

>>708034
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.

 No.708036

>>708034

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

 No.708037

>>708036
" 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!"

 No.708038

>>708034
"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.

 No.708039

>>708034
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.

 No.708040

>>708037

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

"Show me the way," Cutlass demands.

[1d10] if necessary

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.708041

>>708034
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?"

 No.708042

>>708040
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.

>>708038
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."

>>708035
>>708039
>>708041
"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!"

 No.708043

>>708042

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

 No.708044

>>708042
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.

>>708042
>>708043
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?"

 No.708045

>>708042
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.

 No.708046

>>708042
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!"

 No.708048

>>708043
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.

>>708044
Toko watches you as you leave, apparently still quite nervous.

>>708045
>>708046
>>708044
"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!"

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.708049

>>708044

"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!"

 No.708050

>>708048
takes a swing at Alder*

 No.708051

>>708049
"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.

>>708048
"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.

 No.708052

>>708048

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.

>>708051

"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."

*click*

 No.708053

>>708051
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

 No.708054

>>708048
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.

 No.708055

>>708048
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

 No.708056

>>708053
She subtly shifts to the right in an effort to eavesdrop on the conversation.
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.708057

>>708052
"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?"

>>708056
"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.

>>708055
>>708056
>>708054
>Cerulean
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.

 No.708059

>>708057
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

 No.708060

>>708057
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.

 No.708061

>>708057

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?"

 No.708062

>>708057
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!"

 No.708063

>>708057
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.

 No.708064

>>708061
"…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.

>>708063
Looking around the backstage area, you find the following:

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

Belters
-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.

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

>>708062
>>708063
>>708060
>>708059
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.
[1d10+1]
[1d10+1]

>Pause


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

 No.708083

>>708060
>>708064
[1d10] Knowledge check

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.708219

>>708083
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.

 No.708434

>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.

 No.708435

Post sheets with your response.

>Cutlass

"…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.

>Cerulean

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

Belters
-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.

Give-a-Hoots
-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]

 No.708436

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>708435
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.

 No.708437

>>708435

https://pastebin.com/QrzQj7pH

"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?"

 No.708438

>>708437
>>708435
>Soul Sight on Yellow Jester

 No.708439

[1d10+2]

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

 No.708440

>>708219
>>708434
>>708435
https://pastebin.com/FG7PKshS

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

 No.708441

>>708435
"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

 No.708442

>>708435
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.

 No.708443

>>708437
"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."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-0vHZlv94M
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.

>>708440
>>708436
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?"

>>708441
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

>>708442
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.

>>708441
>>708442
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!"

 No.708444

>>708443
Correction:
"Did I tell you you could touch the goods"*

 No.708446

>>708443
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.

 No.708447

>>708443
behavior unbefitting a King*

Proofread!

 No.708448

>>708443

"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

 No.708449

>>708443
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."

 No.708451

>>708443
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.

 No.708452

>>708443
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

 No.708453

>>708448
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jMFV55kTi8
"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.

>>708446
>>708451
Hurscurs looks satisfied, while the King is unamused, but accepting. "Then, do as you like."
"And they like to serve me," Hurscurs adds vindictively.

>>708449
>>708452
"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

 No.708454

>>708453
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.

 No.708455

>>708453
>>708452
Cerulean waves at Alder from backstage from where the owl flew from. He can see her cheering him on.

 No.708456

>>708453

"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."

 No.708457

>>708453
"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

 No.708458

>>708453
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

 No.708459

>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.


>>708454
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.

>>708455
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?"

>>708456
"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.

>>708457
"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.

(1/2)

 No.708460

>>708458
>>708454
>>708455
>>708457
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!"

 No.708461

>>708460
roses and money out onto the stage*

 No.708462

>>708460
>>708459
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.

 No.708463

>>708459
>>708458
Cerulean now more vocally joins the crowd in cheering on Alder and the other performers.

>>708459
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?"

 No.708464

>>708459

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

 No.708465

>>708459
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.

 No.708466

>>708462
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

>>708464
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.

>>708462
>>708461
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.

>>708463
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?"

 No.708467

>>708459
>>708460
>>708463

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!

 No.708468

>>708467
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?"

 No.708469

>>708465
Messed up the linking in replies. See the response that starts with "You see Toko heading out for the snack bar," in >>708466

 No.708470

>>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

 No.708471

>>708465
>>708462
-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

 No.708472

>>708466
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."

 No.708473

>>708466
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.

>>708466
Cloud takes no notice of Toko as she comes in, too enraptured in his food at the moment.

 No.708474

>>708466
>>708473
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.

 No.708475

>>708472
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!"

https://youtu.be/i6pUX9Szzz0

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.

 No.708476

>>708468
"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.

>>708472
"I-I hope your attempt goes well, Miss Cerulean! I am sure you will, what is it… knock it out of the park?"

 No.708477

>>708466
"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.

>>708473
>>708473
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."

 No.708478

>>708477
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?")

 No.708479

>>708470
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.

>>708473
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.

>>708476
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.

>>708477
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.

 No.708480

>>708475
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."

 No.708481

>>708479

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

 No.708482

>>708476
>>708480
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."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hefkIUCNr80

"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.

(1/2)

 No.708483

>>708479
"O-Oh, goodness. S-Strong stuff, ehehe…"

 No.708484

(2/2)
>>708476
>>708480
"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."

 No.708485

>>708479
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.

>>708478
"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?"

 No.708486

>>708484
"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.

 No.708487

>>708482
>>708484
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."

 No.708488

>>708479
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.

>>708485
"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.")

 No.708489

>>708481
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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K66tUTY6qgo

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.

>>708485
Droplet pokes your chest from within the pocket's disguise. "Any way I can be of service?" he whispers.

>>708486
"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."

>>708487
>>708486
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

 No.708490

>>708488
At the very least… it all tasted pretty good!

 No.708491

>>708489
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!"

 No.708492

>>708491
>>708489
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?"

 No.708493

>>708488
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…"

>>708489
"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.

 No.708494

>>708489

"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

 No.708495

>>708489
"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."

 No.708496

>>708493
"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."

 No.708497

>>708496
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?"

 No.708498

>>708495
>>708491
"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!"

>>708492
"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."

>>708493
"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."

>>708494
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

 No.708499

>>708498
"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.

>>708497
Cerulean uses the callerconch to try and ring up Thessaly.
"Hello? Hello, Thess?"

 No.708500

>>708498
"Understood. And… it is? Goodness, time flies… well, I am sure we will be ready for it!"

>>708499
"Oh, already contacting the others? Good!"

 No.708501

>>708498
is bound to an object aboard The Golden Vein*

Wew

 No.708502

>>708497
"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."

>>708498
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.

 No.708503

>>708497
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.

 No.708504

>>708498

"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

 No.708505

>>708504
>>708498

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

 No.708506

>>708502
Chiu is quick to answer. "What is it, Cloud? Everything okay?" she whispers. "I'm heading back inside now, the intermission's nearly over."

 No.708507

>>708498
>>708503
"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.

>>708502
"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.

>>708499
She hisses sharply as someone starts calling her, ducking into a nearby alcove to take the call. "Who is this?"

 No.708508

>>708506
"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.


>>708507
"Right."
Cloud says with a nod, and then confusion at her foreign phrase.
"…Uh, good luck Thessaly."

 No.708509

>>708507
"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."

 No.708510

>>708509
"…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)

 No.708511

>>708510
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!"

 No.708512

>>708511
>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."

 No.708513

>>708499
>>708500
>>708507
>>708502
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


>>708508
"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."

>>708505
>>708504
"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.

>Paused

 No.708514

>>708511
"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."

 No.708515

>>708514
"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."

 No.708962

>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.

 No.708963

>Cutlass
"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.

>Cloud

"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

 No.708964

>>708963
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.

 No.708965

>>708963

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

 No.708966

>>708515
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."

>>708963
https://pastebin.com/FG7PKshS

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

 No.708967

>>708966
Name fix

 No.708968


 No.708969

>>708963
>>708964
Alder giggles a little and flutters up to pat Cerulean on the shoulder, before saying "Good luck out there! I will be watching!"

 No.708970

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>708963
"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.

 No.708971

>>708964
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!"

>>708966
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.

>>708970
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.

>>708969
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.

>>708965
"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.

 No.708972

>>708971
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!

 No.708973

>>708971

"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?"

 No.708974

>>708971
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.708975

>>708971
"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.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.708976

>>708971
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."

 No.708977

>>708972
"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?"

>>708974
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.

>>708973
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.

>>708975
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHL_Bk60F_4

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

 No.708978


 No.708979

>>708976
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.

 No.708980

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

 No.708981

>>708977
[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

 No.708982

>>708977
"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.

 No.708983

>>708977

"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.

 No.708984

>>708979
"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

 No.708985

>>708977
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.

>Tough

>Earthly Affinity: When on chosen terrain, your rolls to recover from helplessness are DC4 and traversing on your home terrain is automatic.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.708986

>>708981
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.

>>708982
"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."

>>708983
"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."

>>708984
"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.

>>708985
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

 No.708987

these concerned people have too*

 No.708988

>>708986

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

 No.708989

>>708986
"A-Alright. I'll try to keep it cool as long as I can." the griffon remarks, tucking his conch away into his bags,

 No.708990

>>708986
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

>Tough
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.708991

>>708986
[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.

 No.708992

>>708986
"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.

 No.708993

>>708988
"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."

>>708989
"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?"

>>708992
>>708991
>>708990
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

 No.708994

>>708993

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."

 No.708995

>>708993
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

 No.708996

>>708993
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
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

 No.708997

>>708993
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.

 No.708998

>>708993
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."

 No.708999

>>708994
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.

>>708998
"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."

>>708995
>>708996
>>708997
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.

 No.709000

>>708999
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.

 No.709001

>>708999
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.

 No.709002

>>709001
[1d10] dabbing

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.709003

>>708999
"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?"

 No.709004

>>708999
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."

 No.709005

>>708999

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."

 No.709006

>>709003
>>708999
"If it makes sense, I am a little… eh, underwhelming for my tribe. I want to be seen as something greater."

 No.709007

>>709001
>>709000
"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.

>>709003
>>709006
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."

>>709004
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.

>>709005
"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.

(1/2)

 No.709008

>>709004
>>709003
>>709002
>>709000
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!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dlwCNecbn0

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

 No.709009

>>709007
"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!

 No.709010

>>709007

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

 No.709011

>>709007
Cloud considers chiming in, but decides to keep facing forward as guard.

>>709008
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

 No.709012

>>709007
Cerulean gives a giggle.
"Careful, or I might make you eat my bubbles," she says with a playful grin.

>>709008
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.

 No.709013

>>709007
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.

 No.709014

>>709010
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."

Maid-to-Order
-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.

(1/2)

 No.709015


>>709013
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."

>>709009
>>709011
>>709012
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.

 No.709016

>>709015
Cerulean continues to watch the performance, still giggling at the simple, slapstick humor.

 No.709017

>>709014

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."

 No.709018

>>709015
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

 No.709019

>>709015
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!

 No.709020

>>709015
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.

 No.709021

>>709017
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.

>>709020
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.

>>709017
>>709018
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.

>>709016
>>709019
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?"

>>709019
>>709018
>>709016
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.

 No.709022

>>709021
"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?"

 No.709023

>>709021
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

 No.709024

>>709021

"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.

 No.709025

>>709021
"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."

 No.709026

>>709021
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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV8i-pSVMaQ
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.
"Rawr!"

 No.709027

>>709022
"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."

>>709024
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?"

>>709023
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.

>>709025
>>709023
>>709026
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!"

 No.709028

>>709027
"A mere twenty minutes."*

Apparentlt that font doesn't have numbers.

 No.709029

>>709027

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

 No.709030

>>709027
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.

 No.709031

>>709027
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!

 No.709032

>>709027
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."

 No.709033

>>709027
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.

 No.709034

>>709033
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.709035

>>709030
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."

>>709032
"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.

>>709033
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.

>>709031
>>709030
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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xnHJI89PcE

>>709029
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q2Fk6F-q-M

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]
[1d10+2] Cannon fire

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

 No.709036

>Paused

 No.709168

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.

 No.709169

>H/W unchanged from last session

>Cerulean

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."

>Thessaly

"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.

>Cloud

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xnHJI89PcE

>Cutlass

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q2Fk6F-q-M

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

 No.709170

>>709169

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.

 No.709171

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>709169
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.

 No.709176

>>709169
"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.

 No.709182

>>709169
https://pastebin.com/FG7PKshS

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.

 No.709184

>>709169
Alder squawks nervously to himself, getting his tap-dancing routine started! Here goes!
>Dance! [1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.709187

>>709170
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

>>709182
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?"

>>709176
"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.

>>709171
>>709176
>>709184
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

 No.709190

>>709187
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.

 No.709191

>>709187
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

 No.709193

>>709187
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.

 No.709194

>>709187
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?"

 No.709196

>>709187

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.

 No.709197

>>709194
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.709199

>>709193
After a while, Veda returns with a teaset, with mint tea, biscuits and fancy porcelain cups. "'Ere you are, love. Cream, sugar?"

>>709193
>>709191
>>709190
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

>>709196
"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

>>709194
"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

 No.709202

>>709199
"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."

 No.709205

>>709196
>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.

 No.709206

>>709199
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.

 No.709207

>>709199

"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

 No.709209

>>709199
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

 No.709210

>>709199
"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.

 No.709213

>>709202
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.

>>709210
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."

>>709210
>>709209
>>709206
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.

>>709207
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.
[1d10+2]

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

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.709216

>>709207
>>709213
>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.

 No.709217

>>709213
Cloud leans forward, entranced by the performance and waiting in baited breath as the buffalo unloads all his shots on Alder.

 No.709221

>>709213
"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.

 No.709222

>>709213
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

 No.709223

>>709216

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!"

 No.709224

>>709213
"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."

 No.709227

>>709223
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.

>>709221
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?"

>>709224
>>709217
>>709222
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!"

 No.709229

>>709227
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.

 No.709230

>>709227
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.

 No.709232

>>709227

"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

 No.709233

>>709227
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."

 No.709234

>>709232
"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."

>>709230
"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."

>>709229
>>709230
>>709233
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.

>>709232
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."

 No.709235

>>709227
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.

>>709233
"M-Mhmm! Might be a tad safer, as well." he says, sidling in alongside Cerulean and walking outside with the rest of the group.

 No.709236

>>709235
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."

 No.709237

>>709234

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

>>709234
>>709229

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

 No.709238

>>709234
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.

>>709229
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.

 No.709239

>>709234
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.

 No.709240

>>709234
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.

>>709238
Cloud feels a bit of relief as he sees the disguised Thessaly rejoin the group.

>>709237
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.

 No.709241

>>709240

"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?"

 No.709242

>>709236
"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."

 No.709243

>>709241
("What? Why? And what about me and Thessaly?")

 No.709244

>>709243

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

 No.709245

>>709244
("…Is that an insult, or a warning? There's a lot I'm already worrying about so I just want to be clear.")

 No.709246

>>709245

"Both."

 No.709247

[1d10-2]

>>709237
Ossie mockingly makes a kissing sound. "Shadows are always listening."

>>709240
>>709238
"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.

>>709242
"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."

>>709237
>>709238
>>709239
>>709240
>>709242
"Best of three laps! By my mark!" the Pattern Juggler cries. "One, two, a skiddly-diddly-doo!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK5_neaYnd4

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

 No.709248

>>709247
"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

 No.709249

>>709247
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.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.709250

>>709246
("Alright then.")
Cloud hangs up.

>>709247
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.

 No.709251

>>709247
"That would be wonderful, mister!" the griffon chirps, bouncing up and down eagerly. He settles in next to Isaachar, waiting for the demonstration!

 No.709252

>>709247

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

 No.709253

>>709252
"…What's it like to kill someone?" Miss Sunshine asks bluntly as you wait.

>>709251
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.

>>709248
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.

>>709250
"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.

>>709249
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

 No.709254

>>709253
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.
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6

 No.709255

>>709253
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

>>709250
She shoots Cloud a questioning look, noticing something's up.

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.709256

>>709253

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

 No.709257

>>709253
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.

 No.709258

>>709255
Cloud's eyes glance back to not make it too obvious. His expression has a clear "worried for life" look to them.

 No.709259

>>709253
"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!"

 No.709260

>>709259
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.

>>709254
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

>>709256
"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…"

>>709257
>>709255
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

 No.709261

>>709260
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

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.709262

>>709258
Her own face goes stony, but she nods and swallows nervously.

>>709260
"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.
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.709263

>>709260
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!

 No.709264

>>709260
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.

>>709262
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.

 No.709265

>>709260

"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."

 No.709266

>>709261
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

>>709262
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.

>>709263
>>709264
>>709265
>>709262
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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T6oBCiIWeY

>Paused


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



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