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/q/ - Quest

ADVENTURE!
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File: 1562027091356.jpg (697.08 KB, 2250x1174, 1554960155322.jpg)

 No.720713[Last 50 Posts]

Last time, on PirateQuest…

Despite Professor Shrimp's best attempts at bribery, making threats and pleading, the party turned him in to the Constable's Barracks. There, he would wait in a small aquarium unti he could stand trial and receive his punishment, which would be determined via majority vote by those whom he had conscripted into his would-be army. They collected their bounties, coming in at a whopping 900 gold per person.

With multiple jobs now under their belts, the exhaustion of their hard work, compounded by the heat and hunger, finally caught up with them. Many members of the Beesting started up a potluck, ordering takeout dishes from a variety of Manenhi's more popular eateries. They brought the dishes back to the Beesting, allowing everyone to pick and choose as they pleased and eat aboard the comfort of their ship.

There was, however, an unsettling matter at hand. Cutlass was still nowhere to be seen, and even the Hidden Dagger was missing. Not a single member of her crew was present at the docks, nor anywhere else in town. Things only got worse when Thessaly attempted to contact them via the Caller Conch. Not a single person picked up. But just as she was about to hang up on the final call, she found an answer. It was the voice of Philip the Gentlecolt, and though Alder was unaware of the conversation, he learned just that day of Philip's role: One of the dreaded fleet commanders of the Crimson King.

 No.720714

>Cerulean
Squatz raises his own mug to yours, toasting you. "To many MORE fights! I hope I never learn Aura!" he declares, before knocking back his drink.

You knock back yours, noting at first the crisp, tangy flavor of the blue fruit, mixed with the refreshing clarity in the diamond-colored pear, and then–

A sudden wave of floatiness washes over you, sublimating your senses in a dreamy sense of both weight and lightness, like being carried by the waves while half-asleep. Very quickly, your whole body relaxes, from snout to tail, awash in a pleasant totality of languid luxury. The last thing that you hear clearly is Paraiba telling Zerk to write your last will and testament and naming Paraiba as the sole inheritor of all your possessions and property.

>Cloud

Chiu reciprocates the hug, but it seems to do little for her anxiety. "What does it mean to adjust, though? I don't think it just means preparing ourselves mentally to run into something bizarre and Aura-filled every other week. If we don't want either of us to come home with all kinds of eyepatches and prosthetics and whatnot, we need to prepare ourselves physically."

She pokes your stomach in a soft, ticklish spot. "And that means hardening ourselves up."

>Alder

Splendid blinks a few times in confusion, looking at you as if she is confused by the very fact that you're asking it. She then blinks, sobering up a bit. "Oooooohhhhhhh. Nah, nah, I completely forgot you're not from here. It's a rhyme that I was taught when I was growin' up, yeah? You talking about those kids you helped out today brought it to mind for some reason. The Virtues were in charge of education where I… uh…"

She pauses, then has another long quaff of her drink. She pulls back a bit to keep from squishing you, but still leans on you pleasantly. "'Nuff said about them, then. All in the past, innit?"

>Thessaly

"Having impatience in a conversation is a very bestial quality," Philip says. "Akin to excessive cursing or saying a whole lot of words, but not stating anything of value. You have nothing to get worked up over, besides. I'm not the one who targeted them, but rather they, your Captain, who went off in pursuit of one of my underlings. This aggression is exactly what I'm talking about."

You hear the clattering of some porcelain game pieces before him, and the exchange of what sound like casino chips and coins. "Random attacks, violent outbursts have no place in a well-functioning, well-adjusted society. Such tendencies need to be ironed out, and antisocial individuals tending toward those impulses need to be socialized properly."

 No.720715

>>720714
She seethes quietly as she realizes he's not going to shut up and spill the beans any time soon. She changes her tone a little, still far from friendly with Philip but less aggressive. "…I see. So who are they after? Where are they now?" She tries not to show her fear for Cutlass' safety.

 No.720716

>>720714
There is a loud thud as Cerulean's face plants into the food she hasn't eaten yet. There is a slight rumbling from the food, likely her trying to speak, but its likely muffled and slurred to all hell and back.

 No.720717

>>720715
"By the last status report, there are whispers of a kind of spontaneous mutiny among the Hidden Dagger crew," Philip languidly continues. You hear dice rolling in the background, and he politely, curtly laughs. Chips pile in toward him. "To be honest, I'm disappointed to hear it. The latest rumors flowing in from Black Market information brokers suggested that yours was a crew that was truly making a name for itself, based on recent events. I was hoping the infamous Hidden Dagger would not be so prone to… imperfections."

The last word flicks out of his mouth like a serpent's tongue.

>>720716
A most pleasant feeling, like soaking in warm water, wells up from within you. It is as though you were resting on a warm wave both inside and out. Faintly, you are aware of muffled voices some distance above you, coming through as if you had a nice soft feather pillow on both ears, and you were tucked into bed. Someone rolls you onto your side, and you feel the soft pecking of Roger's mouth against your cheeks, cleaning off the food.

 No.720718

>>720717
Cerulean begins to fall asleep right there, idly chewing on whatever food manages to find its way into her mouth. She drunkenly pets Roger, which ends up as a pat on his body, then his head, then completely missing and splating into more food.
"Ngaaah……sho shleepy…."

 No.720719

>>720714
"Hrm… These 'Virtues' control education then? I suppose rhymes about them only make sense, then. But… All in the past, yes. I would like to learn more about life in the Ribcage sometime though, if you'd ever be inclined to share."

The griffon adjusts himself now that Splendid has taken some of her weight off of him, and takes a sip of his drink before asking "Though, a tad unrelated… what exactly does it mean to call someone a cunt? Is it an insult? I think I've heard it said as one, and I remember you saying it earlier…"

 No.720720

>>720717
She frowns. The thought of a mutiny against Cutlass had crossed her mind in the past, but she had not given the thought serious consideration. Then again it’s very possible he’s just trying to sow discord. “That does not answer either of my questions,” she states bluntly.

 No.720721

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>720714
"Well it means to not be thrown off by what we'd run into. Like when I moved to the city it was kinda like this, not as dangerous though. Once I adjusted and knew what to expect, there was nothing that could trip me up."

Cloud tries to stifle a chuckle, poorly, at the prod.
"Hey, no fair poking the stomach after I ate a bit. Try poking my legs, those are plenty hard."
He says in defense of his body.
"So you mean start training instead of relaxing. Greeeat idea," He grumbles in a droll, though Chiu can tell it's his typical sarcasm, "Alright, how about this. I'll start toning up more if we get a workout plan we do together."
He says, poking Chiu in the side the same she did to him.
"Can't have the future captain getting soft either."

 No.720722

>>720719
Splendid nods. "Yeah, they're part of this religious order, a kind of ecu– ecumen… er, whatever they calls it. Like a joint group between two religions, or some such. They did a lot of charity, took in the poor, clothed the widows and orphans and whatnot. Taught us our letters and our maths and everything. For a while I thought 'bout joinin' up. Lots of me friends were givin' it a go, but… well, it didn't work out."

As you ask the meaning of cunt, she begins to laugh, but a burp comes out instead. The burp gets caught, mid-laugh, in her throat and she's caught between the two states for a good few seconds. "Nah, nah, nah! Not when I use it at least. It's a right term of endearment comin' from me. B-but don't you go and repeat it to anyone, least of all to a girl."

>>720720
"Hmm? Oh, pardon me. I was distracted with a certain matter before me. It's rare I ever get to have a free moment to stop and think about less important affairs – so I distract easily."

In a strange turn, you hear muffled gunshots in the background. It's orderly, organized – not like the chaotic fire of a gunfight or skirmish at sea. It's hard to tell where they're coming from in the scene. The sounds of dice clicking across a velvet table indicate that the game is still going on in spite of the sudden violence. "Something about an old crew of hers, coming back to haunt her. As for where? I can't know everything, can I? I'm sure they're out at sea right now. I should hope Miss Cutlass will be able to find her way back – it'd be a shame if she lost her Accompass out there."

And that's the dreadful thing. Cutlass' crew does not have an Accompass, as they are rare; she's been relying on the Beesting's. Without it, she'll have to navigate by the positions of the stars, and there's no telling how far Agyl Island will have moved by then.

>>720718
>>720719
Alder is able to see that Cerulean has passed out from her heavy drinking, laying semiconscious on deck with a look of inebriated contentment. A few of the mooks have gathered around, laying her on her side and checking to see if she's alright. A few of them call out to him, calling for his aid.

>>720721
"Eeehehehe!" Chiu squeals, even after a light poke. A few heads turn nearby, but they just scoff and laugh it off. Chiu flashes pink with embarrassment. "Oh, jeez, I haven't worked out since my days in the military, but even that was a joke. I hardly remember much of my old routine, but maybe we can fish up something at that Library tomorrow?"

 No.720723

>>720722
"Didn't work out? I see… well, they sound like a good-intentioned enough group, at least. It is surprising that any group would get widespread in such a chaotic place as this Ribcage." He says, humming to himself a little. He cocks his head to the side, confused by her explanation of cunt, but offers a smile regardless and gives the larger griffon a short, soft hug. "W-Well… thank you then, Miss Splendid."


He goes to ask something else, but turns instead to look over at the source of the calling… and frowns a little. "G-Goodness. Just a moment, let me take a look. I will be right back if you'd excuse me, Miss Splendid- I was a little curious about you, but I should check on Cerulean first." he says, starting for the crowd around the sharkpony.

 No.720724

>>720722
Cloud snickers at Chiu's squeal. He puts a hoof around her, pulling her up close to his side.
"Haven't worked out in a while judging by that reaction," He jokes, "Alright then, first thing tomorrow let's check out the library for some exercise books. And some for aura too. Now that you got yours working, we'll need to train that up too."

 No.720725

>>720722
Cerulean is blissfully unaware of anything as she's in this heavy drunken stupor.

 No.720726

>>720722
She jumps a little at the gun shots. She has no idea what's going on on the other end, and something tells her she doesn't want to know. He'll probably give some vague cryptic answer anyway.

"If you don't know where they are," she presses, "how is it that you have Cutlass' number?" Her tone is slightly accusing.

 No.720727

>>720723
Splendid tenses with surprise at the hug, and looks down with shock at you. After a little while, she returns the gesture awkwardly, appearing to concentrate as if she has need to focus on the act to complete it.

>>720723
>>720725
Cutlass is being tended to by Paraiba and Zerk for the moment, while Squatz remains nearby. Each time Paraiba's hoof slips toward Cerulean's saddlebags or other belongings, Zerk and Squatz have to slap her hoof to keep her on the straight and narrow.
"Looks like she mixed a pretty killer drink," Squatz says. "Here I was just trying to put together a little margarita for myself and she goes and dies of alcohol poisoning!"
Cane Shuga rolls his eyes. "After all she's took down, you think a drink's gonna kill her?"
"It killed Alexsaddle the Great," says Etch, sitting nearby with a mug of ale.

>>720724
Chiu grins. "Sure! As long as we don't have any other business to attend to. I've been listening to what some of the others are talking about, and they keep bringing up that diving expedition. So we might want to check in on that before we let the day get away from us tomorrow.

Suddenly, at the mention of the expedition, your mind is forcibly drawn back into that dreadful vision you had during your surgery. The dream of the darkened temple, dripping seawater and sand from above, the ruins of a civilization buried in its depths… it floods back into your mind, just for a moment, then you're back at the ship.

>>720726
"Come now!" Philip chuckles lightly. "I can't share information like that. A Caller Conch is not a safe medium for sharing private details, like one's magical or Aura abilities. You never know who might be listening these days. This sea has become chaotic in recent years. The Haku of many islands are at war, and new rogue pirate crews have been making more moves as of late, all trying to knock out rival crews, consolidating power and coin to try to make a name for themselves. No, no, information about specific individuals' Aura abilities is a precious commodity. I don't go around asking you about your dark magic, do I, Miss Thessaly?"

 No.720728

>>720727
Cloud visibly shudders as Chiu mentions the expedition, remembering his surgery dream.
"That's not for while still, right? Not feeling too much in the mood to go diving anytime soon."

 No.720729

>>720727
She hangs up on him mid-sentence, not hearing him use her own name. She's sick and tired of hearing people blather today. Her mind racing, she heads back to the ship, tracking down her companions at dinner.

>>720728
>>720727
>>720725
>>720723
"Does the name Philip the Gentlecolt mean anything to you?" she asks, forgoing any sort of greetings and just sort of appearing at the dinner table out of the blue.

 No.720730

>>720727
Alder giggles a little bit, and waves as he steps away from Splendid


The griffon gives Cerulean a once-over, and shakes his head before fishing out some of his herbs and beginning to work together an 'antidote', of sorts. "Not dead, but she definitely drank enough to. I do not believe I have ever seen someone drink as much as some of you pirates do- It is astounding, in its own right." he says, mixing the mashed-up slurry of plant matter with water, shaking it up, and gently pouring it down Cerulean's throat.

 No.720731

>>720729
Cerulean does not respond as she's way out of it.

>>720727
>>720730
After Alder makes his weird slurry thing, she starts to cough from the unexpected taste and wakes up.
"Ugh…what happened," she asks holding her head.
"Did I go into a food coma?"

 No.720732

>>720731
"Liquor Coma, more like. Sorry for the foul taste, Miss Cerulean. I hope you feel a little better, at least."

 No.720733

>>720729
Cloud shrugs.
"I've never heard it before."

 No.720734

>>720728
"The newspaper we got last Sunday said the deadline to apply was in two weeks, so – today's Saturday, right? It should be in another week, then." Her expression then turns toward concern. "Oh, right. I'm not sure what the pressure might do to your new eye."

But then she frowns, and you can tell she's getting one of those little moments of intuition whenever she can tell something's being hidden from her. "What's on your mind?"

>>720729
The Caller Conch is, of course, just an object, but after you lower it from your ear (hanging up, that is; it has no buttons) – a very peeved energy can be felt coming from it.

>>720730
>>720731
Alder's emergency concoction tastes like a fierce, brief fire, filling her whole body with a brief, hot wave radiating outward from her stomach, which quickly diminishes, leaving her mind with a vicious clarity. She's still a bit dazed, but no longer drunk. She awakes to Paraiba trying again to poke through her bags, her eyes glimmering at the sight of gold within.

>>720730
>>720729
>>720728
>>720731
A few of the other crewmembers gather 'round when Thessaly fast approaches. "P-Philip the Gentlecolt?" Kling Klang asks with disbelief.
"Vox Populi Philip, the Million-Follower Warlord," Etch says, after quaffing the last of his ale. "He's quite the celebrity. He began his career leading the Slaves' Revolution on the Isle of Baubles. Somehow, he fought off Haku Acibiades' Colonial Army that occupied the Isle. Outnumbered, outfunded, outsupplied, and outgunned, he took the whole island with a handful of slaves, forcing the Colonial Army to sign a treaty granting the Isle's independence."
Bee Holder pulls up her own chair. "Since then, he took to the seas as a pirate captain, striking out at other islands' colonial holdings, fighting as a mercenary on the side of freedom, or so they say. Any revolutionary group, no matter how small, he'd join up and help. Not a single revolution he joined ever failed. So naturally, he got quite a cult following after that. Haven't heard of him in a while, though."

 No.720735

>>720734
"Oh, didn't think about that part."
Cloud mutters in thought as Chiu brings up the pressure's effects.

He looks up at her as she questions what's up.
"I had a strange dream about some underwater ruin, and seeing one of those bee queens again. …It was pretty unsettling."
He says, a little off-put at remembering.


>>720734
Cloud turns as the others start to talk about this gentlecolt.
"Helps out revolutions? Sounds like a decent guy. Wonder where he was during that whole bee nonsense."
He scoffs.

 No.720736

>>720734
>>720729
"Wait a moment… Phillip the Gentlecolt? I have heard of him before… I-I did not hear anything good about him, though. I didn't know he was such a popular figure, though… why do you ask? Is something amiss?"

 No.720737

>>720732
"Yeah, a bit? At least I'm awake."

>>720734
Though still a bit dazed, Cerulean tries to smack her tail onto Paraiba like a mouse trap.
"Hey now, save that for when the not nice guys are drunk and out of it. Ugh…remind me never to do that again, though. Unless I drink more often, which I don't think I want to do…that wasn't all that fun."

>>720734
"Who?" She asks very simply and plainly.

 No.720738

>>720731
She frowns and gives Cerulean a little nudge to stir her out of it.

>>720736
>>720734
"Apparently he's in cahoots with the King now," she says grimly. "And our dear captain Cutlass has business with him. He would not elaborate, of course. He talks a lot, but does not say much. He did claim that he had heard whispers of mutiny among Cutlass' crew. But from speaking to him as briefly as I did, I can tell. Lying is as easy as breathing for him. Make of this what you will. I am unsure of how to progress from here, I must confess."

 No.720739

>>720735
"Sounds more like a nightmare," Chiu adds. "Sorry, I didn't mean to bring up that bad memory. But when was this? You didn't mention anything like this after we fled Kaco Island. Was it just recently?"

>>720735
"I know, right?" Kling Klang says. "Would've been a big help to have someone as powerful and influential as him on our side. We'd have certainly gotten a lot more of the common people taking up arms, I bet – especially the underclasses that were hit the worst when the Queens came and wrecked the island."
"As Thessaly said, they say he's joined up with the Crimson King, in recent years," Etch continues. "He probably had an interest in seeing things play out in his employer's favor."

>>720737
Paraiba zips away at the last second, pouting a little that her thievery was unsuccessful. She even tears up. "What a spoilsport. My thieving skills are going to rust away if I don't have any way to practice them!"
"You heard the shark, save the crocodile tears for the King," Zerk grunts.
Paraiba blinks, and all her tears are gone. "I guess I need acting practice too."

>>720736
>>720735
>>720737
>>720738
"So that's where Captain Cutlass went," Cane Shuga says.
"If there's a mutiny on her ship, and he's involved, my money's on the chances that he's helping out that mutiny," Bee Holder says. "It's pretty much his thing."
"We should go help her then, right!?" Paraiba asks.
"Do we though?" Chiu adds.
"Without some way of being able to track down Cutlass in a hurry, I'm not sure how we could," Bee Holder says. "Thess, you find out what direction she went?"

 No.720740

"Should we though?"*

 No.720741

>>720739
"It happened when I was under back at the doctor's. It was pretty vivid."
Cloud says, shivering again.
"Eugh, remind me never to get in that situation again."

>>720739
"Everything seems to revolve around that king guy. Didn't think his minions would be lazy too."
Cloud scoffs at Kling and Etch's comments.

>>720739
Despite how much he rags on Cutlass, Cloud looks a it worried at hearing she went off and rumors of mutiny were heard.
"I wonder what the news was that called her off our qurupeco mission. Do you think somepony stole her ship or tried to trap her?"

 No.720742

>>720738
>>720739
"I think we should do what we can to help her out, for sure. If what I've heard of him is true, he's not particularly… pleasant. Is there any way we could maybe have the accompass track her, somehow? I am not fully sure on the workings of ours, but…"

 No.720743

>>720738
"Bwah!" She snaps out of it a bit more, though she still seems a touch iffy.
"Oh, hey Thess."

>>720739
Cerulean can't help but laugh a bit at the banter.

"I am a bit worried for Cutlass. She may be prickly like an urchin, but she's still nice sometimes."

 No.720744

>>720739
Reluctantly, she shakes her head. "No clue which way, begorrah. It seems all we can do is hope she stays safe."

 No.720745

>>720744
>>720743
"Captain Cutlass is quite talented and resourceful- I am sure she will be fine… and, yes. she seemed rather prickly at first, but I think she is quite a good pony. Y-Younger than I had expected, though."

 No.720746

>>720741
"I don't think I can stop you from having a whole dream, but if you have it again, just think of me and I'll come get you," Chiu says.

>>720741
"I'd hoped we'd seen the last of them, but this reeks of something the Aristar Mafia Families would resort to," Bee Holder muses. "With how much of an embarrassment the massacre during the circus was, they'd be champing at the bit for revenge."

>>720741
>>720742
>>720743
>>720744
"An Accompass can only find the island where a person or an object is from," Bee Holder says, shaking her head. "They can't find their current location – at least, not with their inborn ability, that is."
"We'd need some kind of magical scrying if we don't know what her coordinates are," Cane Shuga muses. "Any of you capable of that?"
One by one, the crewmates shake their heads. Some seem more worried than others; it seems Cutlass has a mixed reputation on your ship.
"If we can't, and don't know anyone who can, then it's as Thessaly said," Bee Holder concludes. "And give Cutlass a little credit! She whipped up her own damn revolutionary army before we ran into her on Kaco. I doubt that this will prove to be too much for her."
"And if we can't change it by worrying about it, there's not much point in worrying, is there?" Kling Klang chimes in.

 No.720747

>>720746
Cloud smiles.
"Thanks. Any dream with you will certainly turn around quick."

>>720746
"Wonder why they didn't do anything to our boat then."
Cloud comments to Bee Holder's assumption.

>>720746
"Yea, you're right. Cutlass disappeared and showed up with a crew before we came into the Ribcage. She'll be back eventually again."

 No.720748

>>720746
"I suppose that is true. She is naive, and brash, but also clever and skilful. I dare say she will pull through." She sits down at the dinner table and helps herself to a serving of assorted fruits, cutting a slab of meat for Bran to chow down on. She also pours herself some wine.

 No.720749

>>720747
The moment you say that about the Beesting, Bee Holder stands up with sudden fear. She raises her arm to command the crew, but they're already on it, fanning out to inspect the ship for tampering, sabotage, bombs or any other kind of danger. They work quickly, checking both the deck, and the outside of the ship. But nothing comes of it – they discover no tampering. Mook teams move quickly down to the lower levels, continuing their search.

>>720747
>>720748
Though a general sense of unease fills the air, dinner resumes once it's been verified that the deck is safe. Bran enjoys his meat, sitting down and chewing with the side of his mouth while he holds the slab with his foreclaws. Thessaly's wine and fruit platter are ripe and flavorful, bought from the freshest stock with the earnings from the Lilliput's salvaged loot.

With the unease from earlier starting to fade, the rest of the crew who aren't searching the ship get back to their own meals, and idle chatter and banter resume.

 No.720750

>>720749
Cloud is shocked as the crew suddenly goes into high alert to check the ship, not in any condition to go help. At least they come back with news of nothing found, which helps relieve that shock.
"Maybe that totem we found is giving us some good luck."
Cloud comments as he goes back into his taco bowl.

 No.720751

>>720746
>>720749
"I… suppose not, no. The most we can do is hope she's well, I guess." the griffon says, sighing a little bit and rolling his shoulders out. He packs up his medical equipment and settles it away in his room, before heading back out to the deck to the rest of the crew, and his drink.

 No.720752

>>720749
She watches with uncharacteristic fondness as Bran eats, refilling her wine glass idly.

>>720750
"Totem? What totem?" she asks with casual curiosity.

 No.720753

>>720752
"There was this statue I found on that ship we looted. It's a mother goddess gryphon. Granny said as long as you treat it well she'll protect you. Which seeing the condition I cleaned it up from when we got it, I think it's paying off. It's down in my cabin if you want to see it."

 No.720754

>>720750
The inspection teams quickly scurry below deck, spending time on the second and third levels, but like before, they find nothing of note – just a few spots that might need to be repaired, which is pretty standard fare for a pirate ship.
"Ah!" Granny says. "Ye just reminded me o' her. Make sure you and your mare go down there and show your appreciation. Gods don't work thanklessly, ye know."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


>Time for a timeskip!


>>720750
>>720751
>>720752
Despite this disconcerting news about Philip the Gentlecolt and the danger that Cutlass may be in, you are able to relax for the evening, chasing away the exhaustion with good food, drink and company, as well as the option to wash off if desired. The sun finally sinks below the horizon, and the brilliance of the stars and the gleaming, waxing gibbous moon fills the night sky.

Bee Holder assigns extra lookouts for the night, patrolling both the ship's exterior and the docks for any signs of mafia agents and the like. Thessaly, with her room aboard the Hidden Dagger unavailable for the night, sleeps aboard the Beesting. Regrettably, there are no open rooms, as Splendid took the last "room" (a supply closet they cleared out just to give her a tiny space of her own). Thus she has to sleep on the floor in a spot of her choosing. At least she has Bran, and some blankets and pillows that other members of the crew donate for her.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt5R8ElvWPI

That night, your dreams are restless and furtive. For a time, you lay imprisoned in the hazy state between waking and sleeping, unable to sense anything but the uncomfortable stirring of your own bodies, tossed to and fro as if you were being tossed by the waves of the sea. This passes for a period, and though you are below deck, it is as though you can perceive the stars, so many brilliant stars, endless multitudes, glimmering and blinking and fluttering and swirling, beginning to stir, spinning about in the inky blackness like a dizzying storm cloud, whisked into a frenzy, swirling like a tornado.

So many stars.

So many stars.

So many stars.

The stars are getting closer.



The scene changes, and you are standing in a low stone courtyard. High sturdy architecture, wrought from stone, stretches above you, their silhouettes resembling thrashing monsters, serpents and hounds, bats and jaguars and terrible birds. You are waiting for something, anticipating it with great joy welling in your hearts. But you are not ready, you realize. There are preparatios to be made. People around you, priests of a sort, clothed in feathers and flowing garments, hand you tools for carving and excavating stone.

We must meet them.




You awake, this time to the world of the living. It takes you much longer than normal to wake up this time, your bodies groggy and weak, as if immense pressure were bearing down on you, the weight of the waves. Each of you lay in your rooms, or in Thessaly's case, in the hallway.

 No.720755

>>720754
Cerulean gives a bit of a groan, wanting to wake up to a new day, yet also just wanting to laze around. Roger floats over to poke her a few times, prompting her to try and turn over. She then falls out of her bed with a resounding thud and just lays there with a groggy groan as she silently vows to herself to never drink what she drank last night ever again.

 No.720756

>>720753
"How queer," she comments. "It seems all manner of mystical beings are out to play. First the demon Galutisons, then this totem. Do you suppose it means anything?"

>>720754
Thessaly awakes with an unhappy frown, finding herself curled around the Liber Animarum protectively. She instinctively moves to touch the amulet around her neck, assuring herself that it is still there, then proceeds to stretch her limbs. She looks around for Bran first, then her companions.

 No.720757

>>720754
Alder lets out an uneasy groan and half-rolls out of bed, deciding it'd probably be best if he took a little while longer to get up.

Ten or so minutes later he pulls himself out of bed, groaning a little and rubbing at his head.

 No.720758

>>720756
"Who knows. That demon king is a big name around here, the Ribcage probably attracts all of these strange things."
Cloud says with a shrug.


>>720754
"Right. Especially after today."
Cloud says with a nod to Granny. Once dinner and talk is finished, Cloud makes up one last taco bowl, going with the meat this time. While he's not sure what it tastes like, or what all the different options provide, he tries his best to make a nice dinner with it. He heads down to the cabin, Chiu helping lead him, and places the dinner in front of the statue for a nice offering.
"Thanks for keeping the homestead safe."
He says, bowing his head.



Cloud tosses and turns in his sleep. Normally the night sky is a comfortable sight for the bat pony, but the dream only feels stressful. It only goes worse as he finds himself in the courtyard, dread filling him.

He wakes up, staring up at the cabin's ceiling. A bit of mild panic sets in with a deep gasp as half his vision is gone, taking a second to recall his current state, and the blue field covering the right half of his vision. He rolls his head to look at Chiu beside him, hoof spread out wide across the bed as if he laid in bored torment all night.
"…I think I had that dream again."
He groans, looking beat.

 No.720759

>>720758
There is no response from the statue that evening as you and Chiu make your offerings. She bows as well.

The next morning, the taco bowl is gone, crumbs and all, leaving only the plate.

When you wake Chiu, she looks a mess, her eyes bloodshot and haunted, face pale and harried. "You too… did you see – what did you see?"

>>720757
>>720756
>>720755
>>720758
Once you get up, you hear the dull sounds of your crewmates getting up and ready. They are noticably much slower than normal, filled with grogginess and uncharacteristic lethargy. You notice, from the sunlight pouring in, that you and the rest of the crew have greatly overslept your usual waking time. It's about midmorning. From her position in the hall, Thessaly is first to notice the awful state that the rest of the crew is in. Baggy eyes, disheveled hair, and a general weakness in their movements. There is little talking among them.

Instead of heading for the deck, as is usual for breakfast, the crew starts heading downstairs toward the mess hall, a much less common choice for meals. Once down there, you see the cook mooks passing out bread and porridge and hunks of cheese and fish for the meat eaters – something quick that requires little preparation. Bee Holder and her first mate circle sit at the head of the table like usual. It takes only a look at them to confirm that they had an equally terrible time sleeping.

 No.720760

>>720758
She nods thoughtfully. "It is like a convergence. Entities from all manner of worlds, even other realities, all drawn to the same place. It cannot be coincidence."

>>720759
Once she sees how maudlin everyone seems, she begins to suspect something is the matter. Recalling the strange dream she had, she takes her breakfast and sits close to Bee Holder. "Bad dreams, captain?" she asks, with a slightly conspiratorial throne.

 No.720761

>>720760
Tone* idk where throne came from lmao

 No.720762

>>720759
"I was stuck staring at the sky, but that was new. And not really all that nice. But I saw a courtyard, and it felt like the last dream. Not quite the same, cause I wasn't stuck in a big stone labyrinth, but it felt close enough."
He says, yawning partway through.

After a considerable amount of effort, Cloud manages to sit up. He glances over at the dresser, seeing the food gone. He stares in silence, too tired to think about it. He grabs his eyepatch off the table, putting it over his eye now that it's daylight, gives Chiu a morning hug as they both get up, and then takes a shower to try and perk himself up (and since he was too worn to bathe the night before).

Cloud heads out into the hall, but at noticing everypony head downstairs, he turns and heads down for food. He grabs a bowl of porridge for him and Chiu, and a hunk of bread each, and sits down with her. He stares at his food for a bit, his body begging to be properly refreshed after his ordeals yesterday.

He slumps forward, resting his head on the table and starts to drift back into sleep.

 No.720763

>>720759
>>720760
"Y-You too, then? What sort of thing could cause some sort of… shared dream like that?" the griffon asks, shifting around uncomfortably and trying to straighten his feathers.

>>720762
"M-Mister Cloud, maybe you should go back to bed?"

 No.720764

>>720763
Cloud just mumbles unintelligibly as he hears his name.

 No.720765

>>720760
"What gave it away?" Bee Holder yawns, grinding her hoof against her forehead as if trying to push that miserable dream out of her memory. "I thought we were always this rowdy and ripsnortin' in the mornings."

Bent Scales yawns, then has a start with surprise as she looks out the window at the brilliant sunlight pouring in. "Oh, hell… what time is it?"

"Last I heard, the town bells chimed seven in the morning," Bee Holder says. "Why?"

"You'd forget your own tail if it wasn't connected to your ass, captain," Bent Scales says. "Sir Kukulcan's coming by at eight to meet the crews before the expedition!"

"…Ah, shit."

>>720762
>>720763
>>720760
Chiu fetches Cloud a small portion of coffee – not a lot, as coffee is a rare luxury at sea, and you're only afforded a small ration per week. When she hears that Alder had the same dream, her eyes shrink, unnerved. "That's right. A courtyard, and the night sky, that's what I fixated on. Then, at the end, they handed me a chisel, some rope, a pick, and pieces of sandpaper…"

"I-if you don't mind me chiming in, it looked like some kind of temple to me," says Splendid as she approaches. She sits down by Alder, and Granny serves her a plate of food, helping out the cook mooks by passing out breakfast to everyone. Granny, you notice, appears to be the only member of the crew to have not been affected by the dreams. She seems as alert as ever, but she still says little to anyone.

>Paused

 No.721029

Last time on PirateQuest…

The potluck dinner aboard the Beesting afforded the crew a well-deserved chance to rest and relax, rejuvenating themselves with food and drink. For Thessaly however, the dinner had a much more sinister element. In her attempts to reach Cutlass and the crew of the missing Hidden Dagger, she only managed to reach Philip the Gentlecolt, one of the Crimson King's fleet commanders.

Philip was highly reticent, preferring to teasingly speak in circles instead of answering Thessaly's questions directly. He did imply that Cutlass and her crew fought some of his underlings, but left their ultimate fate unknown. All the while, Thessaly could hear a dreadful kind of music from the sounds coming from the background. While porcelain dice rolled, and poker chips exchanged hooves, gunshots rang out in the distance. These were not the chaotic, frantic shots of a firefight, but slow, consistent, and orderly – almost rhythmic. Whoever was firing the guns was in control of that situation.

Later, the crew learned a little more about Philip from Etch, the Beesting's lead shipwright and carpenter. "Vox Populi" Philip made a name for himself as a youth when he led the Slave's Revolution on the Isle of Baubles, driving off the better-armed Colonial Army that held the island in the name of Haku Alcibiades. From there, he slowly rose to a legendary status by supporting several armed uprisings, aiding whatever revolutionaries he could find in throwing off their chains and defeating their masters. Among slaves and many pirates, he wasn't just a celebrity, but a near mythical figure, a revered champion of freedom.

During a conversation afterward, the Beesting crew concluded that they didn't have enough information to find where Cutlass had gone, even though many wanted to go and help her. Their one comfort, though, was that Cutlass had vanished from them before but had survived, and was a skilled captain in her own right. Wherever she was, she could probably handle herself, even up against Philip himself.



That night, the good cheer from dinner dissolved. Every member of the crew shared in an ominous fever dream, of a land steeped in shadows. By the light of countless, hypnotic stars, the silhouettes of dreadful monsters loomed in the sky, scowling beasts wrought from stone. A strange anticipation filled their hearts, excitement bordering on joy. But they did not feel ready for whatever mystery waited for them. There was something to be done. Priests clothed in feathers and flowing robes handed them tools for carving stone, and they resolved themselves to meet "them."

When they awoke, they were groggy, ill-rested, and hungry again. They met in the mess hall, instead of on deck where most meals are held when the weather permits.

 No.721030

>Cerulean
You thrash about, half-aware of the bed under you and sheets atop you. Though you murkily recall the shadowy dream of the stars, and the temple, and the priests, a new dream has risen up from the depths of your mind, wrapped in the night's black. You are fleeing from the site where the stone monsters lay, myriad stars your only source of light as you stumble and sprint through a miasmatic forest. Your body is not your ow; you feel half a dozen insect legs skittering beneath you, but the fear is true, whether yours or not. Something behind pursues you, announced by the monstrous crashing of bush and tree alike under its thundering footfalls.

An animal spike of fear drives into your spine, as you feel the monster's presence come within an inch of your back… but just as it nearly falls upon you, the rush of night terror flings you awake. The sound of the monster's footfalls blends into the sound of someone knocking on your door. The dizzying dream held you under its spell for a bit longer than the others. Sunlight is already pouring in through your window, leaving you unpleasantly hot. Sweat clings to the back of your neck.

>Cloud, Thessaly, Alder

Chiu fetches Cloud a small portion of coffee – not a lot, as coffee is a rare luxury at sea, and you're only afforded a small ration per week. When she hears that Alder had the same dream, her eyes shrink, unnerved. "That's right. A courtyard, and the night sky, that's what I fixated on. Then, at the end, they handed me a chisel, some rope, a pick, and pieces of sandpaper…"

"I-if you don't mind me chiming in, it looked like some kind of temple to me," says Splendid as she approaches. She sits down by Alder, and Granny serves her a plate of food, helping out the cook mooks by passing out breakfast to everyone. Granny, you notice, appears to be the only member of the crew to have not been affected by the dreams. She seems as alert as ever, but she still says little to anyone.

>Thessaly

"What gave it away?" Bee Holder yawns, grinding her hoof against her forehead as if trying to push that miserable dream out of her memory. "I thought we were always this rowdy and ripsnortin' in the mornings."

Bent Scales yawns, then has a start with surprise as she looks out the window at the brilliant sunlight pouring in. "Oh, hell… what time is it?"

"Last I heard, the town bells chimed seven in the morning," Bee Holder says. "Why?"

"You'd forget your own tail if it wasn't connected to your ass, captain," Bent Scales says. "Sir Kukulcan's coming by at eight to meet the crews before the expedition!"

"…Ah, shit."

 No.721031

Your body is not your own*

 No.721032

>>721030
Cerulean startles awake, falling out of her bed with a loud thud. She groans a bit when she wakes up, then answers the door as she hears it knocking.
"Mmmmwhat," she greets drowsily, not taking a moment to fix herself up and looking about as bad as she feels.

 No.721033

>>721030
>>720763
Cloud slowly opens his eyes as the scent of coffee wafts into his nostrils. He raises his head, and then plops his muzzle into the cup, slowly lapping away at the brew and letting the aroma fill him to try and perk him up enough to stay awake for the day.
"Temple, courtyard, whatever," Cloud grumbles, "Where's Princess Luna when you need her to clear out these bad dreams."

 No.721034

>>721029
>>721030
"A temple, hmm? Well… troubling. I do not remember many details, but are there any islands with a big structure of note like that nearby?" he asks, nodding semi-cheerfully to Splendid as she settles in.

 No.721035

>>721030
She listens in on the crew's griping. "It appears we have suffered a minor setback," she comments, stifling a yawn. "Some sort of oneiromancy at work, or I am not a sorceress. This is troubling, to say the least. I do not suppose you can think of any enemies we have that may possess such powers?"

At the mention of Kukulcan, her expression is vaguely puzzled. "Who?"

 No.721036

>>721032
It's Sickly Sweet at your door, and he looks as disheveled and tired as you are. He offers only a grunt in reply, and without waiting for a response or permission, he starts to examine your face, particularly your eyes. "Feeling ill…?" he yawns, rubbing an eye. "…Didn't see you in the mess hall. Thought you might've been hung over. Lot of crewmates sleeping in apparently."

>>721033
Chiu lazily starts to flip through the Sunday edition of the paper, her eyes unfocused as she tosses the pages about. The pages then droop as she looks up. "Wait… didn't you say something yesterday about a bad dream?"

>>721034
Splendid stretches, popping her back and neck with a satisfying ccccrrrriiick. "N-not that I know of off the top of my head," she says. "I didn't get a good look at the architecture, and I'm no historian or archaeologist."
"If we all had the same dream when we got to this island, do you think it might have something to do with the island itself?" Paraiba offers. "It's not like we've ever all had the same dream before now."
"Could be," Zerk adds as he waddles up to the long table. The bench creaks as he sits on it. "We've only been to this one town. For all we know, there's something like what we saw somewhere else. Deeper inland, maybe?"

>>721035
Bee Holder and Bent Scales think back. "…In all my years of sailing, I haven't come across any dream-manipulators. Plenty of folks with power over the mind, but not specifically dreams," Bee Holder says. "Those I've encountered who can manipulate minds can't use their powers on this scale, though. The mind is the hardest thing to touch, in both Aura and standard magic. You need some kind of whatchamacallit… a sympathetic connection to the person in order to even touch their mind. Their true name, or a part of their body."

Bent Scales chimes in as you ask about Kukulcan. "He's in charge of the sunken island expedition for which we came to this island. The Captain, Cerulean and I met up with him yesterday to check it out. Remember when we had Prisma check that vase you took off of Toko, and how she pointed under the water? Kukulcan has an artifact of his own, and when his Accompass, Two Reeds, examined it, she pointed under the water as well. It may be that this vase and his artifact are from the same sunken island."

 No.721037

>>721036
Cerulean doesn't resist the examination, and in facts talks during it. Even without brushing her teeth yet, they still look as white and razor sharp as ever.
"No. Just a really bad dream. Like I was on land and something chased me down and stuff." She shivers as she thinks back to it.
"Got that feeling of being chased by a bigger shark again. Haven't felt that in awhile."

 No.721038

>>721036
Cloud gives a muffled 'Mhm' from inside his coffee cup.
"Yea. Kinda the same thing as this one, sorta."

 No.721039

>>721036
She bites into an Apple thoughtfully. "If it is so, we are dealing with quite the magician. I only hope they are more benevolent than the dream would suggest."

"Intriguing," she comments. "Perhaps our shared dream and the sunken island are connected. The vase Toko carried seems rather sinister. I do not have high hopes the expedition will go smoothly." She pours herself a cup of pure black coffee, with no milk and no sugar, sipping it as she contemplates recent events, occasionally pulling away scraps of bacon and feeding Bran under the table.

 No.721040

>>721037
"You too, huh?" Sickly Sweet grumbles, holding up a hoof to keep spittle from getting on his face as you talk. "Sounds like everyone in the crew had the same dream, but ours was about… I don't even know. We were below deck, but we could see the stars anyway, somehow. And there were so many of them… then we were in some kind of stone courtyard, and there were all these stone monsters around us, but the stars were the same. Then this… priest looking guy, or maybe a warlock or a sorcerer of some sort, he handed us all these tools for carving."

This all matches what happened in your first dream, before the one about being pursued in the forest. "I don't recall being chased, though," Sweet continues. "Didn't hear anything like it from the others, either. You sure that you dreamed that?"

>>721038
"Then it has to be connected, doesn't it?" Chiu asks, frowning as she pieces things together. "You've never had dreams like that before now, haven't you? B-but where would we go to investigate this? I've never studied anything like this when I was learning magic."
"I can't, but my grandma could always interpret dreams pretty well," Paraiba comments. "She was the village's wise mare when she was still around. Everyone'd go to her to get their dreams figured out. Everyone always thought there'd be omens to be found in there."

>>721039
"But why show us all this, if it is a magician after all?" Bee Holder wonders aloud. "I don't see what he's got to gain by leaving us all with bad bedhead and black circles under our eyes."

"That may be the case, but it ain't like we got any other leads on this Heart of Gold that the Crimson King's after," Bent Scales replies. "Cerulean's little talk with the King at the Circus has put us on the path to hunting for the Heart ourselves. If he finds it before we do, he'll have all of the Ribcage under his control."

Bran snuffles and grunts as he chews the scraps of bacon beneath the table. Then, haughtily, he clambers up onto the bench, head held high as he sniffs the rest of the food on your plate. Seems he's too proud to be content with eating under the table.

 No.721041

>>721040
"Pretty sure, I mean," she looks down and inspects herself, "I'm very sure I don't have six legs right now……I don't have six legs right now and I'm seeing things right, right?"

 No.721042

>>721036
>>721040
"Hrm… maybe we could read up ok some islands, then? Look for some with a large structure, or a powerful wizard. At least, to narrow things a little… oh!"

The griffon looks to Paraiba, and asks "Is your grandmother still around? Maybe she could help."

 No.721043

>>721040
She shrugs. "It may just be a side effect of manipulating our dreams. I suppose only time will tell why this is happening. For now, I consider it more of a nuisance than something to worry over."

She nods. "And then what?" she wonders. "In the unlikely event of our failure, what does the Crimson King do if he gains dominion over this land? What is his endgame, do you suppose?"

She is a bit taken aback by Brian's forwardness, but shifts over a bit to make way for His Majesty, passing him what leftovers she has to offer; a few mandarin slices, an apple core, a few half eaten hash browns, and a slice of buttered toast.

 No.721044

>>721040
Cloud shrugs.
"My parents used to say reoccurring dreams and stuff was the Princess' way to make you realize something. Course, they wouldn't be nightmares, or this draining, or this terrible, and she'd usually show up in one way or another…"
Cloud prattles on, almost sounding like sleeptalking until he takes a drink of his coffee. He looks over at Paraiba.
"Got any way of contacting her?"
He asks, and then gets a second idea. He flips up his eyepatch.
"Hey Hmm, what do you know about shared dreams?"
He asks, starting to drift as he leans to the side, resting his head on Chiu's shoulder.

 No.721045

>>721042
"There is that library over by the bazaar and the town square," Squatz says. "I don't have any patience for books, but it may be our only option."
"No, no, she passed a little while before I left home," Paraiba says. "Must've been about eleven or twelve years now." She then gives it some thought. "This IS a modern, urbanized dock town, but I bet even a modern place like Manenhi has its share of old legends, superstitions, folk customs and all that. Surely there's a wise woman somewhere around here… perhaps a folk healer, or a witch."

 No.721046

>>721045
"The library seemed quite well-stocked, so it would be worth a look. And, hrm… I might be able to ask around and see if there's anyone that could help interpret dreams. I met with a group that seemed very well-connected, so maybe they could assist?"

 No.721047

>>721041
Sweet laughs, waving his hoof dismissively. "We might have had a rough night, but you definitely only got your four legs and your tail. Things didn't get THAT crazy… whatever it was that caused all this."

He pats your shoulder and heads further down the hall toward the other rooms. "Clean bill of health. Go get your grub while I check on all the others who overslept. Oh! Almost forgot: Get yourself presentable. When we're done here, that Kukulcan guy's apparently going to come and visit the ship. He wants to meet all of us prior to the expedition. Bee Holder also said something about showing him the artifact we got from Toko too."

>>721044
Hmm squawks sleepily, and judging from her ruffled feathers and sleepy posture, it seems she didn't have a good night's sleep either. "Traditionally, group dreams're considered a sign of a shared fate. If having one dream over and over again is a sign that there's something waiting in your future, and that you need to realize something in order to prepare for it, then a group dream means that all of your fates are heading toward the same point. It can be likened to dozens of strings being tied together in a kind of knot. A knotted rope can be either good or bad. It can save your life if you are flung overboard in a storm and someone tosses you a rope, or it can hang you from the gallows."

After a moment she yawns and adds, "Rawk…"

>>721046
"If we split up, we could cover both of those options," Paraiba says, but her interest grows when you bring up this group. "Who would that be? If we can meet with a wise mare directly, that'd be ideal."

 No.721048

>>721043
"After my lunch with Kukulcan yesterday, I decided to look up the library's newspaper archive to see what they had on the King in recent years," Bee Holder begins. "What I saw made me retch.

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

"What we saw on Kaco Island was but one of his ways of taking over an island. If an island is engulfed in war, he might pick a side and help them conquer, like with Kaco, or he might fund both sides and swoop in when both armies are too exhausted to keep fighting. If an island is at peace, he may move in by establishing businesses that can undercut the competition's prices. Then he'll buy out said competition once he's nearly bankrupted them. Once he has a secure grip on the economy, he leverages it, along with bribes, blackmail and coercion, to make the Haku, be they mayors, daimyo, kings, or even emperors, bend to his will.

"From there, once the island's power centers are at his beck and call, he puts production into overtime, using all of the business under his control to tap into the island's natural resources. Ores for making metal and jewelry, herbs for making medicines and drugs, rare monsters for selling on the black market, clean water, natural magic wellsprings… all of it is itemized, processed, and turned into economic units. He ruthlessly drains each island of every last drop of value he can squeeze out, leaving the Island Turtle a gray, cold hunk of dying flesh. The land and skies are left murky with soot and smog, the populations, too poor and dependent on his patronage to rebel, grow thin and sickly from the pollutants that fill their lands. Species go extinct, ecosystems and villages vanish.

"Then, once he has wrung out every last bloody penny, he simply leaves them, moving on to the next island. What has held him back the most was lack of funds. It's a high investment for him to take over an island like that, so if he were to acquire the Heart of Gold's limitless wealth… well, that's the endgame for us, then. We're nothing more than economic units to him, in the end."

"That's why his fleet commanders do so much to put down rogue pirates," Etch says. "Nothing throws off the economy like unaccountable variables."

 No.721049

>>721045
"Hmm, I was gonna meet those breezies again today. Maybe they'd know something, since they're all naturey and stuff."

>>721047
"Huh, didn't think you'd need to sleep, being a spirit. Thanks though."
Cloud responds to Hmm, pushing himself off of Chiu and sitting up straight.
"The crow said it's some sort of shared fate thing. So by that, something's gonna happen to our whole crew, or we're all going to the same place."

 No.721050

>>721048
She listens with an earnest expression. "How vile. I cannot comprehend what would drive someone to be so utterly consumed by their own greed. My question still lingers, though, but I cannot imagine you have an answer. To what end? He conquers the Ribcage and makes all the money in the world. Would that truly buy him happiness?"

"It seems to me a strange thing, is all. Mystifying. To lust for money and power to such a degree… it is unconscionable. The Crimson King is an animal. I daresay we shall have to put him down."

 No.721051

>>721047
"It would be the Guard's Guild. I believe they should know a thing or two, at least. I do not think they have any wise mares in their employ, but maybe they could direct us towards one." he says, before humming. "Splitting up could be good, yes."

 No.721052

>>721051
Get outta here ya horse

 No.721053

>>721047
"Oh? Okay then!" Cerulean goes back to her room really quick to get herself prim and proper…as prim and proper as Cerulean usually is, anyway. Once she's gotten herself cleaned up, she gives Roger a ride to the mess hall and get some food to start the day with a better note.

 No.721054

>>721053
>>721051
>>721049
"Now that the Eye is bound to your body, my life force is tied up with your own," Hmm explains. "So, if you're hurt, I'm hurt. If you're plagued with restless dreams, then so am I."

Your nearby crewmates look on with a combination of vague dread and confusion as Cloud shares the symbolism of a 'shared fate' inherent in a group dream. This is offset though, by what Alder says, which gives them some means of figuring out the puzzle laying before them. By now, this starts to shake off the sleepiness they had earlier. Paraiba in particular looks energized. "Alright, then let's get ourselves ready. Let's get that meeting out of the way so we can figure out what's going on. Hopefully I can find something worth pocketing with all this dream stuff."

Around this time, Cerulean comes out of her room, looking better cleaned up than most of the crew, though still sleepy. Without missing a beat, Granny struts forward with a tray of fish, dried meats, and a smidgen of coffee and a sugar bun, laying it on the table before Cerulean the moment her rump hits the table's bench. She then ties a little bib around Cerulean to allow her to dig in however much she wants. "Anything else Ah can get ye, girl?" Granny asks.

>>721050
"As you said, only the King himself will know the answer," Bee Holder says. "Maybe Alder and Cerulean have some kind of insight on it. After all, I heard they talked with the Pattern Juggler at length during the circus. I can understand it a little bit: Gold and treasure, I lust for it myself, but only when I can take it myself. I only want the treasure I've grabbed with my own two hooves, whether I've stolen it, conquered it, dug it up, or earned it by the sweat of my brow. Siphoning it out of someone else's work, or from some shady business, that's just slimy."

Bent Scales reaches into a tattered coat pocket, pulling out a beaten-up pocketwatch. "It's getting close to eight. Kukulcan should be getting here soon."

 No.721055

>>721054
"Oh! Good morning, Miss Cerulean! You look a tad better off than the rest of us. You may take as much time as you wish- the rest of us were planning on doing a bit of research in town." he explains, before looking back to the group he's talking with.

"Regardless of who goes where, we could start at the Guard's Guild- that way I could introduce you all."

 No.721056

>>721054
"I must aver I have never cared much for riches. Money is a necessity, but it should not be a luxury. The struggle for martial superiority is tiresome to me. Knowledge is power, not brute strength or wealth. …Though I wager that is not a popular opinion in present company." She gives a humorless smile.

She looks over to Scales. "I am interested to meet this Kukulcan," she comments. "What is he like?"

 No.721057

>>721054
"Hmm…" Cloud hums in thought, "Alright, I'm fine with that."
Cloud comments as Hmm says they're tied together now.
"Since you are, can you give me an idea of when I'll be healed up enough after getting you installed?"

"Do we have to do anything for this meeting, or is it just on the captain?"
Cloud questions as Paraiba mentions getting ready.

Cloud looks over as Granny sets everything up for Cerulean.
"Hey, how come you're waiting on her hoof and hoof?"
He complains in his typical laziness.

 No.721058

>>721054
Cerulean has a big grin on her face as Granny brings her the food.
"Ooo, a lot of my favorites! How'd you know?" She looks at the bib, but paid it little mind as she began to dig right in. Granny would quickly find the bib serving its purpose.
"Nah, ah'm goohd," she says with her mouthful.

>>721055
She swallows whats in her mouth as she hears Alder talk about things, looking curious.
"Researching what exactly?"

 No.721059

>>721056
Bee Holder and Bent Scales uproariously laugh. "You can say that again," Bee Holder says. "Not a whole lot of big thinkers around here. We're more inclined toward the little thinks. Little thinks are easier to get out of the way while we're fighting toward the next treasure chest or island or whatever it is we happen to be sailing out to find that week."

Bent Scales taps her chin. "…'Flashy' is the most generous word that comes to mind. I hope you like the color teal, and I hope you like bombastic types. Fortunately, he tends to get right to the point. He won't blab your ear off unless you request to hear it. A good quality for an employer and a captain."

Bee Holder nods. "Scales here is the one who keeps me in line. Otherwise I'd be rambling all day about this and that voyage and expedition from when I was a filly."

>>721057
Hmm just shrugs grouchily.

"All I heard was that he wanted to meet all of us," Paraiba says. "Bee Holder signed us up for the expedition, so there's probably just a little paperwork to go through too."

"Leave it to Paraiba to miss the important detail," Squatz teases. "Apparently, he wants to see that vase you took when you killed Queen Toko. Do you still have it?"

>>721058
>>721057
Granny clicks her tongue at Cloud's protests. "Cause Ah feel like it. Ye lost yer eyes, not yer fackin' hooves. Ye can get food just fahne, cahn't ye?"

>>721058
>>721055
>>721057
Alder's offer to introduce them to the members of the Guard's Guild causes Paraiba, Squatz, Zerk and Splendid to perk up, piquing their interest greatly. "That'd be a good place to start. I hear they're well connected," Squatz says. "…Though I hope none of them recognize me from the market yesterday." He laughs and taps his coat pockets, still fat with presumably stolen gold.

 No.721060

>>721059
She doesn't find it very funny. "Philistines," she mutters under her breath. "It seems I am out of my element," she says more conversationally, "getting entangled in this whole rigmarole. I can imagine worse fates, I suppose."

"Wonderful," she says without a trace of enthusiasm. "Another talker. I have had enough of jumped up windbags in the last few days to last a lifetime. At least he sounds more pleasant than the last two."

 No.721061

>>721059
"Ah. I am sure they will not mind too much… b-but, watch your belongings. They have faster fingers than mine."

 No.721062

>>721059
"Paperwork?"
Cloud groans.
"Ugh, alright when will this be."

"Uhh, yea, I think. Probably in my cabin, I'll check on it in a minute."
Cloud answers Squatz.

"She has her hooves too. Why does she get special treatment?!"
Cloud retorts to Granny.

>>721059
>>721055
"Guard's guild? Are they the adventurer type, or are they the cops around here?"

 No.721063

>>721059
Cerulean is quick to get her meal done, but she made sure to save a bit for Roger, who is happily floating and eating.
"Thanks again Granny. Just what I needed to start the day."

"The Guard's Guild? There's a whole guild for the guards here?"

 No.721064

>>721062
"Mmm, 'Guard' is short for 'Bodyguard', but they do many things. Not the guard though, no."

 No.721065

>>721060
Bent Scales and Bee Holder just shrug, like two peas in a pod. "You're just a little out of your element on a pirate crew like ours. We'll take good care of you until we can send you back over to Cutlass, so don't you fret."
"It'll be just like a sleepover," Bent Scales jokes dryly. "You'll braid the Captain's hair, I'll teach you how to turn someone's inside into mush with a saber, and then we'll all cut some coin purses and rob the town treasury. You know, the usual girl stuff."

>>721061
"They've got some fellow thieves there, eh?" Zerk asks. "Heh! They might feel threatened if we let them witness our superior skills."
"It'd be a good way for me to get that practice I've been craving," Paraiba says. "Now I'm looking forward to it even more."

>>721062
Granny just shrugs with a carefree grin. "Life is simply unfair, kiddo."
"I think she figures I'm your personal assistant," Chiu hazards. "…Which is not too far off the mark."

>>721062
>>721063
>>721064
"Like Alder said, it's a bit of a misnomer," Squatz explains. "The town guards are called Constables around these parts. The Guard's Guild is named after the bodyguards they train, but they have all kinds of mercenaries for hire there."

>>721060
>>721061
>>721062
>>721063
Your attention is caught when a few of the mooks come down from the deck, evidently the morning shift lookout. "Oi, look alive ye bilgerats! Up here!" the lead one shouts to get everyone's attention. "We got some posh lookin' tossers up on deck, one Sir Kukulcan an' his li'l entourage too! They wants to meet the crew before the dive next Sunday, so get yer arses up and meet shake 'is 'and, will you?"

The crew starts to get up, stacking their plates and bowls for the cooks and bussers to clean up later. Still a bit groggy, they start filing up the stairs so they can meet this Sir Kukulcan fellow as requested.

 No.721066

>>721064
>>721065
"Ah, so it's a for hire place. Gotcha."
Cloud surmises on the explanation of the guard's guild.


>>721065
Cloud grumbles to Granny's shrug, but his mood is cut to Chiu's remark.
"You're far more than just an assistant, future-captain."
Cloud says, a bit more awake now after all the chatter.

When the mooks bring alert of Kukulcan's arrival, Cloud stretches with a yawn.
"Let's get this over with."
He finishes off his breakfast and coffee, and then heads back to his cabin with Chiu. He makes a quick change into his newer pirate uniform rather than his general clothes, and then looks around for the vase, finding it in one of the dresser drawers. But when he spots it, he tenses up, the horrid vision of Hurscurs he saw in his coma dream flashing back through his mind, seeing her just after finding the jar in the dream. He feels ill at ease, picking up the jar after a moment of staring distantly through it.

He follows the others up to the deck, looking presentable now, but still with bags and a dimmed mood. He definitely looks like he doesn't want to be there to anypony who sees him.

 No.721067

>>721065
>>721066
"More than a few thieves, yes- I actually went there to train a pair of pickpockets yesterday. It was… quite fun, honestly. I believe Miss Chiu and Cloud saw me?" he suggests, before leading the group onwards

 No.721068

>>721065
"Oh neat. I wonder if he'll have more sushi." Despite having just eaten, she's got a look that just says she's ready to eat some more.
"Man, just remembering that was so tasty."

She quickly proceeds up on deck, looking a bit more awake than before and likely more chipper mood than most of the others present.

 No.721069

>>721067
"So that's what you were doing when we saw yo in the alley. Oh, hey, so how did that shadow clone work out for that? Great I assume?"

 No.721070

>>721069
"Very good, actually! I was amazed by how fantastic it worked- I need to give Chiu my thanks."

 No.721071

>>721065
"It is not like Cutlass' crew is much of an improvement," she says, smiling wryly again. "But I should not complain."

She blinks at Scales' joke, not entirely sure what to make of it. She is about to offer a snarky reply, but is distracted by the arrival of Kukulcan. "I suppose that is our cue," she shrugs, joining the rest of the group in trundling upstairs to meet the apparent team leader for the expedition.

 No.721072

>>721066
"Looking sharp!" Chiu says as you dawn your newer outfit. She pecks your cheek to try to lift your mood, but her efforts are thwarted when you come across the obsidian vase. It seems to look back at you, though it is simply an inanimate object. You recall the vase you saw during your first dream of the temple, the one you had during your surgery – the spitting image of this one, infinite sand pouring out of its broken body.

>>721067
"Oh yeah, I caught you zippin' all over the place yesterday while I was hawkin' the wares," Splendid says. "Blimey, but I didn't know you could fly that fast!"
"Yep! Medic, thief, sharpshooter, athlete, he's one talented bird," Chiu says to hype you up.

>>721066
>>721067
>>721068
>>721071
https://youtu.be/jygTQtYYWok

Your large crew gathers up on the deck, squinting and holding up their hooves to endure the sun's brilliant light, made worse by their sleepiness. Once you're up on deck again, you see three figures standing tall upon the bow of the ship.

The first, and central figure, standing tall above the others, is a bright teal Vola, a humanoid bird, resembling a cockatiel with brilliant and fluffy plumage of teal, red and yellow. He cuts an imposing figure, standing at six feet tall, and well dressed in a dapper padded gentleman's peacoat. His expression is bright, and his eyes sharp with discernment and experience. To his left stands a dazzling figure, a moth-tribe Krikral, about the size of a pony. Her body is a rich obsidian, and has spots of gold decorating her wings and body in a pattern like the spots of a jaguar. On the other side floats what appears to be a kind of living dust devil of sorts. It is a floating, spinning cloud of dust, rock, gems and metal, in a humanoid shape. He has a head, with two glowing eyes made of gemstones.

The central figure steps forward, then bows low to you all, flourishing his arm to the side. "At last, I get to meet the dreaded Beesting pirate crew! It is an honor, truly. I am Sir Kukulcan, and to my left and right here are my colleagues, Miss Two Reeds and Sir Diamantaire.

"Allow me to cut right to the point: I've come today because your captain, Bee Holder, signed up your crew for the deep sea diving expedition I am organizing, and I wished to meet you all and explain my aims. I am on the hunt for a sunken island, its name and history lost to time, but I know that it is out there, somewhere at the bottom of the sea. Agyl Island has finally moved into position where a dive toward the sunken island's coordinates is finally a viable option.

"In my possession, I have an artifact from that island, and Bee Holder told me that you may have an artifact which leads to that same island. Thus, this expedition shall benefit all of us. If the one who has the artifact in question will approach with your crew's Accompass, I shall have my own Accompass, Two Reeds, demonstrate why I believe they are from the same island."

 No.721073

>>721072
For once, a kiss seems to have no affect on Cloud in his thousand yard stare on the vase.
"… …Yea."
He says simply once he comes out of it. He glances up at the mother gryphon statue after taking the vase, internally praying that they do have a blessing over them.


Cloud stares at the trio once he comes up deck, the sight of the three odd, two overly flashy and the dust devil being an odd one out.
When he questions the artifact, Cloud takes out the vase, showing it to Kukulcan but still keeping an oddly tight grip on it.
"Yea, here."
He says flatly.

 No.721074

>>721072
She is not very impressed by Kukulcan's bravado, taking more interest in the living whirlwind, as he resemble one of her elementals.
[1d10] Knowledge? not sure if Thessaly's seen something like this before

She looks to Cloud, waiting for him to present the Accompass, having little else to contribute for the moment.

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.721075

>>721072
"A-Ah, goodness. You are all too kind… t-though, I have always been rather quick in the air, I suppose. It came in handy many times. Thank you for the kind words." he says, letting out a soft giggle. "A-Anywho, let us take a look inside

"Oh!" he says, stepping on to the deck to see the bizarre trio of figures. "Uhm… I see! Were we to do this right away, then?" he asks, cocking his head to the side "I-I'm afraid I lost track of time."

 No.721076

>>721072
Cerulean grins a bit at seeing him and silently waves happily in place of loudly saying 'hi again' as serious talks seemed to be going on.
"Everyone looks so flashy, huh Roger," she somewhat whispers to him. Roger, having no concept of flash and flare, simply floats idly.

 No.721077

>>721073
Now Chiu's own expression falls when she sees your mood interminably dampened by the sight of the vase. In a rare moment, she is at a loss for words.

Up on deck, Sir Kukulcan looks at you with similar concern, but lets the moment pass.

>>721074
Racking your memory, you recall faintly a note in an anthology of the fringe cultures of the Ribcage, about a race matching the description of what you see here. In their language, the name of their people means something like "Of the elements," and this has been haphazardly translated into Equish as "Elemen." They are a group of sapient and highly intelligent beings composed almost entirely of a powerful magical binding and a particular element of the world. Solitary, nomadic and slow to reproduce, the Elemen tribes have remained at the fringes of the world, holding no major territories apart from their limited tribal holdings in lands that are replete with magic, such as the Soulcrag Islands. Sadly, as their bodies tend to accumulate crystals (for their uncanny ability to hold magic energy and keep it pure), they are often hunted by Black Market gem merchants.

 No.721078


>>721073
>>721075
>>721076
As Cloud climbs up onto the bow to present Kukulcan with the obsidian vase, Prisma follows him. The brilliant peacock-chicken clambers up onto the bow and stands next to Two Reeds. Kukulcan nods eagerly, passing Two Reeds a blindfold. Then, Sir Diamantaire drags forward a small treasure chest. He opens it, and in it, you see a fragment of a stone statue, resembling the head of some strange monster. Momentarily, your blood runs cold as you recognize it faintly. The memory of the dream is hazy, but it seems to you to be either one of the stone statues you saw in your dream, or at least very similar in design and aesthetic. The statue fragment is faded, seeming to have been eroded over time, but the similarities are unmistakable.

"To demonstrate, I shall blindfold my own Accompass, Two Reeds, and have her identify the origin point of this statue fragment," Kukulcan explains. "If your captain and I are right, this shall be the same location as the obsidian vase that you recently came across. Miss Two Reeds, if you should be so kind?"

Two Reeds simply smiles, shutting her eyes and donning the blindfold. "And just to make it interesting…" she says, then raises onto one foot. She twirls about in a circle, spinning in place in order to make sure she is disoriented by the end. The crew gawks silently, and judging by their faces, they're not really sure if it's necessary to do all this.

Two Reeds eventually stops spinning, and Kukulcan puts a hand on her shoulder to steady her. He presents the statue fragment to her, and once she has a chance to touch it, she hums with thought. Eventually, she turns to the northwest, pointing with her finger down at the gray seas, steeply downward. "That direction, many fathoms below us," she says.

"And now, your crew's Accompass shall divine the location of your vase," Kukulcan says, gesturing to Prisma. Prisma squawks, then hops around in a little circle, imitating Two Reeds. In time, she comes to a stop, and then looks at the vase in Cloud's possession. After some thought, she turns toward the northwest, pointing with her beak down toward the gray sea, in roughly the same area and with the same angle that Two Reeds used.

"And there you have it!" Kukulcan says.

The crew murmurs with surprise and intrigue, fascinated now that they have an indication of where that strange vase may lead. Quiet murmurs about the Heart of Gold and its legendary wealth waft through the crowd.

 No.721079

>>721078
Cloud nearly lets the vase slip from his hooves as Kukulcan reveals his statue fragment, the dream similarities haunting him after all the discussion of it over the late breakfast.
He watches on as the moth twirls around and they make a big show over the reveal, reminded of various showy street vendors he'd see back in the day.
"…Did you really need to go through all that? I think we were already on board for the expedition."
Cloud says, a little grumpily.
"Do you know anything about this island, or what your little statue even is?"
He follows up, just a tad bit accusatory.

 No.721080

>>721078
"Ah. W-Well, I suppose that solves that- we may not need to worry about looking too much harder, then."

 No.721081

>>721078
Cerulean claps happily, as if she had just watched some kind of street performance. She even gave a few tail slaps, just to add to the volume, though she's likely the only one in the 'crowd'.
"So that means we were headed in the same way you all were going, right?"

 No.721082

>>721079
"It has taken me years to accumulate the evidence, but I know more than any other explorer in this field, I can assure you," Kukulcan says. "Much of what has been written about this fabled sunken island has been lost due to shipwrecks or fires at the research institutions which held the materials. I say without bragging that I am an expert in what little there is left. If you care to see it, I would be glad to sit down with you and share my copied notes."

>>721081
"That is indeed the case!" Kukucan says with joy and pride. "I am so glad to be with one of the up and coming pirate crews of the new era. After hearing what happened on Kaco, I was shocked to hear that Bee Holder herself wanted to sign up for my expedition!"

>>721081
>>721079
>>721080
"After our talks, I decided it was necessary," Bee Holder says in response to Cloud's concerns. "I may have volunteered 'my crew' for the expedition, but that doesn't mean anyone has to go. You may be my crew, but you are all free people. I only lead those who follow me of their own free will. This will be a dangerous expedition, deep under the sea, so I wanted to make as sure as possible that it's going to produce results and get us… closer to what we're hunting for. So, a demonstration was in order, to convince anyone with lingering doubts about going deep underwater."

You realize that she usually doesn't talk this reticently about treasure. She may be trying to keep some things from Kukulcan.

"For those of you who are doubting, you may rest assured that I am a capable and accomplished diver," Sir Kukulcan says. "Training, suits and other necessary equipment will be provided so that you are all ready for the mission come next Sunday. I'll just need you to sign a little paperwork so that we can keep track of personnel, and record your skills so we can find the best role for you during the dive."

He nods to Two Reeds, and she produces stacks of simple paperwork from her bag, similar to what Cerulean filled out yesterday – basic paperwork for signing onto the diving expedition formally.

 No.721083

>>721082
"Hrm… I don't know. What does everyone else think? It could be worth the experience, and a sunken island sounds… interesting, at least."

 No.721084

>>721082
"Can you tell a little here so we know what we're getting into?"
Cloud asks.

Cloud looks over at Bee Hold as she explains.
"That's nice for you consider our choice," He glances back at Kukulcan, "But did they need to make a big show of it? In my experience, those that get all flashy usually aren't the best."

Cloud glances over the paperwork, reading it over a bit more intently that he normally would read something, checking to see what he's signing onto before even thinking of grabbing a pen.

 No.721085

>>721082
Cerulean gives a few giggles as she gets praises and such, clearly liking the compliments.
"Aww, it wasn't much. At least I don't think. There was A LOT going on that I couldn't keep track of, and even now I still dunno everything that happened. But what I do know: bees taste kinda weird."

 No.721086

>>721084
In response to your repeated questions and skepticism, Kukulcan only seems to grow more bold and enthusiastic. "I'll answer some simple questions now, and we can get more in depth later. My goal here was to get right to the point, as I know you are all very busy people, and I did not wish to take up much of your time. But, I can tell you one thing: The island's name, something no other scholar, nor archaeologist nor diver nor hack novelist speculating about this island has ever been able to discern. It is something I know for certain after my research into their pictographic script. It is Cuauhtémoc, the Roost of the Serpent-Devouring Eagle."

>>721083
>>721084
>>721085
As the paperwork gets passed out, murmurs from the Beesting crew seem to indicate that the crew is more than intrigued now. Some talk about the treasure to be had there, or on the Heart of Gold, while others talk with furtive obsession about getting to the bottom of the dreams you had last night. Still others seem to be interested in the very act of diving underwater, having gotten a taste of it from seeing you all dive for the Lilliput a week ago.

The paperwork is simple enough stuff, asking for your name, occupation on the ship, and relevant experience relating to sailing and diving. Some information has already been filled out, namely the section that asks you for your current ship affiliation (The Beesting) commanding officer (Bee Holder, Captain) and fleet affiliation (None). You recognize the handwriting as Bent Scales' chicken scratch. She looks at the paperwork with exhaustion. Seems like she had to fill out a lot of it in advance.

Seeing the others get in on it, Chiu, Squatz, Paraiba and Zerk all sign up. Splendid is more reticent, looking to see what Alder decides.

>Paused

 No.721268

Last time on PirateQuest…

During a groggy morning breakfast, the party sat together and discussed their strange dream, tossing around hypotheses and speculation with the rest of the crew about what the dream might mean.

Though they were still in the dark about its ultimate meaning, they had a few leads they could try. Hmm, the crow-spirit housed inside the Eye of Wisdom, suggested that a group-dream like that signified a shared fate or destiny. Paraiba suggested that they visit a wise mare or a witch for help interpreting the dream, as was tradition in her native village. Alder had the idea to ask at the Guard's Guild if they knew of anyone capable of guiding them, and if all else failed, the library might have its own entries on the dreams.

Afterward, they went up to the deck, where they finally met Sir Kukulcan, a colorful cockatiel Vola of considerable height. He was the organizer, sponsor and leader of the underwater expedition, which is what they had come to Agyl Island for. Kukulcan introduced himself and his two allies: Two Reeds, a moth-tribe Krikral, and Sir Diamantaire, a member of a race known as the Elemen, sapient entities composed of magical energy bound to the world's natural elements.

Sir Kukulcan then explained the purpose of the expedition. He intended to dive to an ancient sunken island at the bottom of the ocean, a great many fathoms below Agyl. The island's name was Cuauhtemoc, the Roost of the Serpent-Devouring Eagle, and it was Sir Kukulcan himself, through years of painstaking research, who discovered the island's very name after it had been lost to time.

Then, by Bee Holder's request, he demonstrated that he indeed knew the location of the fabled island. He produced a fragment of an old statue from his bag, which everyone in the crew recognized as a piece of the head of one of the stone monster statues from their dream. He presented it to Two Reeds, who was his crew's Accompass, and to Prisma, the Accompass of the Beesting. Both discerned that the artifact was from an island deep below the surface of the sea, substantiating Kukulcan's claim. Then, he requested to see the obsidian vase that Cloud took from the deceased Queen Toko. Both Two Reeds and Prisma pointed in the same direction, demonstrating that they were indeed from the same island. If Kukulcan was right, then it was not just any island, but the sunken island of Cuauhtemoc.

 No.721269

>Thessaly
Racking your memory, you recall faintly a note in an anthology of the fringe cultures of the Ribcage, about a race matching the description of what you see here. In their language, the name of their people means something like "Of the elements," and this has been haphazardly translated into Equish as "Elemen." They are a group of sapient and highly intelligent beings composed almost entirely of a powerful magical binding and a particular element of the world. Solitary, nomadic and slow to reproduce, the Elemen tribes have remained at the fringes of the world, holding no major territories apart from their limited tribal holdings in lands that are replete with magic, such as the Soulcrag Islands. Sadly, as their bodies tend to accumulate crystals (for their uncanny ability to hold magic energy and keep it pure), they are often hunted by Black Market gem merchants.

>Cloud

In response to your repeated questions and skepticism, Kukulcan only seems to grow more bold and enthusiastic. "I'll answer some simple questions now, and we can get more in depth later. My goal here was to get right to the point, as I know you are all very busy people, and I did not wish to take up much of your time. But, I can tell you one thing: The island's name, something no other scholar, nor archaeologist nor diver nor hack novelist speculating about this island has ever been able to discern. It is something I know for certain after my research into their pictographic script. It is Cuauhtémoc, the Roost of the Serpent-Devouring Eagle."

>Cloud, Alder, Cerulean

As the paperwork gets passed out, murmurs from the Beesting crew seem to indicate that the crew is more than intrigued now. Some talk about the treasure to be had there, or on the Heart of Gold, while others talk with furtive obsession about getting to the bottom of the dreams you had last night. Still others seem to be interested in the very act of diving underwater, having gotten a taste of it from seeing you all dive for the Lilliput a week ago.

The paperwork is simple enough stuff, asking for your name, occupation on the ship, and relevant experience relating to sailing and diving. Some information has already been filled out, namely the section that asks you for your current ship affiliation (The Beesting) commanding officer (Bee Holder, Captain) and fleet affiliation (None). You recognize the handwriting as Bent Scales' chicken scratch. She looks at the paperwork with exhaustion. Seems like she had to fill out a lot of it in advance.

Seeing the others get in on it, Chiu, Squatz, Paraiba and Zerk all sign up. Splendid is more reticent, looking to see what Alder decides.

 No.721270

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>721268
Cloud gives Kukulcan a flat look, both from being tired still and from being unimpressed.
"Yea, that doesn't help me any. What's a name supposed to do for me? Plus, you could be making that up. Tell me something to expect on this island at least, I know there's something more you gotta be looking for than just the thrill of discovery."


Cloud glance over the paperwork, a bit skeptical to sign. But seeing Chiu sign on board, Cloud signs his as well.

 No.721271

>>721269
>>721270
"Maybe he doesn't fully know," Cerulean explains once the wonder and amazement of the spectacle had worn off on her.
"Kinda hard to try and explore things underwater when you have a limit air supply. At least, I'd assume. I've never had that problem."

 No.721272

>>721271
>>721270
Kukulcan retrieves a heft of notes from his bag. "You must understand, first, that the island is completely submerged, as it has been deep underwater for countless years. We may have to deal with whatever species of bottom dwellers have taken up residence down there – Emperor Squids, Trawler Rays, Grappler Crabs, and Coral Castles, most likely. Not to mention the varieties of Understorms we may have to brave just to make it down there. That's why I've hired pirates as infamous as you are, after the Tragedy of Kaco Island! There will be plenty of battles to endure on this trip.

"As for me, my interest lies in…" he hesitates, rolling his hand about as if searching for words. "My chief focus is recovering what might remain of the island's religious practices. Their gods, rituals, sacred caves and temples, holy tools, sacred scriptures. I am afraid so much of it may be lost with the island's sinking, but if any can be recovered, it is my duty to reclaim it."

>>721270
He glances at your name on the paperwork, then takes your hoof and shakes it. "Good to meet you, good Cloud. Reach me anytime you have questions before or during our journey."

You note that he stops to shake the hooves of everyone who comes his way to turn in paperwork and call them by name. The crew seems to appreciate this.

>>721271
"Not to worry, good Cerulean!" Kukulcan beams. "We shall have technology on our side to ensure that our ships can endure the dive. The finest and latest underwater-capable magitech, courtesy of our sponsor, the Crimson King. Air supply shall be of no concern, and safety shall be our utmost priority."

 No.721273

>>721272
Cloud is a bit shaken at hearing the list of underwater creatures, the image of the twisted Hurscurs going by his head.
"…You better be supplying plenty for this mission then."
He says simply.

Cloud shakes Kukulcan's claw, a little unexpected at the sudden grasp.
"Right, yea…"

 No.721274

>>721269
Alder looks over all the papers, before going ahead and signing. The others seem to be!

"How… exactly does an island sink? Is it a lot of rain? Did something pull it downwards?"

 No.721275

>>721272
As the list of creatures to expect are listed off, Cerulean's stomach growls as if it were told a menu instead of a beastiary.
"Opps, hehe, guess I didn't eat big enough this morning."

"I hope so safety is a concern. I like going around with everyone on this ship." She smiles happily.

 No.721276

>>721269
>>721272
She stays quiet during Kukulcan's spiel, listening with interest as he elucidates the nature of the sunken island. She has no questions of her own, ruminating on the nature of the shared dream from last night. Surely not a coincidence. She doesn't hesitate to sign the paperwork, although she lists the Hidden Dagger and Cutlass as her ship and captain.

 No.721277

>>721275
>>721273
"Of course!" Kukulcan says. "Not to worry, we're taking every precaution before this trip. We will supply your ship with the additional armoring and weapons she will need to endure the trip down there and back, along with magitech and certain charms and spells that will more than last through the journey. We shall not be felled by mere wildlife."

>>721274
>>721276
With a final look of hesitation, Splendid joins you in writing down her name. Her handwriting is rather loopy and well-made. She passes in her paperwork with the other pirates, forming a stack which Kukulcan and Two Reeds take. Kukulcan doesn't let a single pirate go without a firm handshake, and you two and Splendid are no exceptions.

"Surprisingly, there is still much we do not know about Island Turtles," Two Reeds begins, with a far calmer and more reserved atmosphere than Kukulcan. "From what scholars know, Island Turtles never submerge their backs underneath the surface of the water, except in a few cases. One of the only known instances in which an Island Turtle may submerge is if it is sufficiently injured that it cannot continue to swim on the surface – or if it is killed.

"But no weapon known to mortalkind has ever been demonstrated as being capable of even scratching an Island Turtles. During the Century of Blood, when the dreaded pirate Zheng the Hurricane brought countless islands under his control, Zheng used every weapon at his disposal – cannons and bombs, spells that called forth firestorms and tornadoes, even Aura abilities that could level a town – but couldn't kill the Island Turtles, even when he attacked them directly. Only two things are known to be able to kill an Island Turtle: Total environmental desiccation… or a fatal attack from one of the legendary Ancients of the Sea. One of which, we believe, is a beast known as the Hunger."

Nearby pirates go quiet at the mention of the legendary monster.

 No.721278

>>721277
Cloud listens in silence as Two Reeds explains the durability of the Island Turtles, and the reasons they sink. His assumptions on this journey go a little darker at hearing what can take out a Turtle, especially after hearing hte Crimson King is sponsoring the expedition.

 No.721279

>>721277
"The Hunger? Oh, tell us more! This sounds cool!"

 No.721280

>>721277
Her ears prick up at the mention of the Hunger, looking at him with a curious expression. Her mind is on the vision she was shown by the Atlas not too long ago. "What do you know of the Hunger?" she asks plainly.

 No.721281

>>721277
Alder takes note of the other griffon's surprisngly neat and loopy handwriting, figuring it might be worth asking about later.

"I assume The Hunger is a more likely cause than Dessication, from the sound of it? What exactly is hunger?"

 No.721282

>>721281
*The Hunger

 No.721283

File: 1563246365297.jpg (72.44 KB, 450x281, example 1.jpg)

>>721281
>>721280
>>721278
>>721279
As some of the nearby pirates appear somewhat nervous at the talk of sinking islands and the Hunger, Kukulcan attempts to break the tension by laughing it off. "What a way to begin a story, miss Two Reeds!" he says, clapping her on the back. "Let me be clear before she continues: We have no reason to believe that we will encounter something as awful as the Hunger on our way underwater. If that monster was anywhere NEAR this Ring of the Ribcage, everyone and everything in a mile's radius would know it without a doubt."

Two Reeds looks a little embarrassed when she notices how your crewmates grow nervous about talk of the legendary monster. You notice that a few make superstitious-looking gestures, or fiddle with various whalebone charms – most likely rituals for warding off evil or bad luck. She clears her throat, then reaches into her bag. She withdraws a long scroll, and Sir Diamantaire floats over to help her unravel it. What lays before you upon the scroll is a charcoal etching of an ancient mural, flowing with runes and abstract art, resembling what you may have seen in museums, the relics of old and long-dead societies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elj9ijUBiV8

Almost the entirety of the scroll depicts a dreadful monster's body. Serpentine and sprawling, the body seems to be made of countless serpents, mouths unhinged horrifically wide, eyes sharp slits, teeth so real that they seem ready to tear right through the page. Its head is an inky black mass, rendered here as somewhere between a dragon's and a monstrous bird's, sleek and predatory, with countless scales jutting off like a kind of mane. The monster tears through the waves on the page, and with a real chill, you see that it appears to be attacking dozens of island turtles all around it. From each of the islands, a boat rides forth, packed with dozens of warriors armed to the teeth, sailing out to fight it head on. Upon the other side of the mural is a massive boat, a true ark, and at its head stands a singular warrior, a pirate, he seems, wielding a golden harpoon.

"We have reason to believe that the Hunger's attack is what sank Cuauhtemoc," Two Reeds begins. "Legends and ancient murals dated from around the same time as the last historical mentions of Cuauhtemoc all share the same story. One day, a colossal sea-serpent rises from the depths, its mouths stretched so wide as to swallow the sun and moon and every star. It is a being of pure desire, of unquenchable ravenous hunger. Everything and anything it covets, no matter how small or insignificant, devouring everything in its path, leaving naught but a void. Thousands upon thousands of souls are lost to it as it rampages through the waves, roaring and tearing through the world. Only when the people of the islands can build a worthy vessel and face it can it ever be stopped. Otherwise, the Hunger would tear through the world eternally."

"Call it a fable, folktale, legend, myth, whatever," Kukulcan says. "It is the most likely reason that Cuauhtemoc vanished, and if anything can be recovered from that island, we intend to salvage it. I hope that you will also find whatever it is you're looking for, as well," he adds with a gesture at the obsidian vase.

 No.721284

>>721283
Cloud looks at the scroll, reminding him of told historical writings and tidbits of history he'd see in a museum.
"If the Hunger's leaves nothing, then it couldn't have been the cause here if there's still an island left."
Cloud scoffs to lessen the overbearing threat the crew feels over that name being mentioned.

He clutches the vase as Kukulcan gestures to it.
"That's something I wouldn't mind missing. So are we done here? I believe you enough now."

 No.721285

>>721284
>>721283
Alder is a little stunned by the story, and by the idea that something that size could even exist. He starts to wind himself up worrying about what someone could even do if they ran into something like that, before flicking his ears and listening to Cloud.
"E-Ehm… he is right, I suppose. If the island was merely sunk, the beast had certainly been run off- we should have nothing to worry about." He offers, trying to chime in in the batpony's favor.

"Out of curiosity, sir- how does the Total Dessication occur? Does the plant life on the island keep the island turtle alive? I am confused how an entire island would dessicate…"

 No.721286

>>721283
She listens carefully, recalling the vision once again. She shoots a side glance at Granny, assuming she's around, trying to gauge her reaction. "So where is this Hunger now?" she asks, feigning a mere scholarly interest. "Surely it has not been slain yet, according to the legend."

 No.721287

>>721283
Cerulean listens intently to the tale, enjoying the tale and the description of the great beast.
"Woah. Sounds like me when I get extra hungry. Sounds dangerous, but I kinda wouldn't mind going tooth to tooth against that."

 No.721288

>>721285
"Every Island Turtle has a symbiotic relationship with the plants and animals that live on its surface," Two Reeds explains. "Even the soil, the rocks, the very air all around the island, the Island Turtle is symbiotic with that too. But like any other part of the world, it is possible for the balance of nature to be disrupted. Plagues and environmental disasters can seriously damage an Island Turtle's health by killing off the life on its back en masse, but it can usually recover from that. Actually, in modern times, the most common way for an Island Turtle to undergo total desiccation is as a result of uncontrolled resource harvesting."

Her expression grows disgusted. "Black Market investors often buy up unclaimed Island Turtles whose backs are home to high-value natural resources. Mines full of gold and other jewels, fields full of rare plants and animals, forests and valleys home to natural magic wellsprings and sites – if a Turtle has any resource that can turn a profit, then Black Market investors will try to establish a colony on it as soon as they can. Then, they harvest and harvest until the Turtle has no more to give, and it simply falls beneath the waves, a hollow and dead shell."

>>721286
Granny is nearby, within earshot definitely, but she doesn't look at Kukulcan or his entourage, and is stubbornly grinding away at the deck with her mop. She seems to be cleaning an area that doesn't have any blemish or messes on it.
"Nobody knows," Kukulcan says. "But, popular legend and pirate lore holds that it jealously guards the mythical Heart of Gold, circling around the island eternally, biting its own tail to sate its own insatiable cravings."

>>721287
Kukulcan and a few of the nearby pirates can't help but laugh at your self-description. "We'll have to add your name to the legendary Ancients of the Sea, then. Perhaps you shall be the one to make a meal of the beast and leave the Ribcage's inhabitants with one less thing to worry about."

>>721284
"That is what you might think upon first examination," Kukulcan says, helping his companions to roll up the scroll carefully. "But I am more than certain that the island still exists in some capacity. It *must*. There is no other explanation. Nothing I have found in my years of research have ever suggested that Cuauhtemoc suffered any symptoms of environmental desiccation, and both your crew's Accompass and mine were able to sense the island's presence when presented with artifacts taken from it. There is no other explanation: Cuauhtemoc still exists, and I shall be the one to find it."

>>721287
>>721286
>>721285
>>721284
Kukulcan then bows as Cloud implies he should hit the road. "Yes, if you are satisfied, I shall take my leave. Excuse me if I have stayed overlong, good Cloud. As I said, if I may answer other questions you have, then you have but to ask. We shall be finishing our preparations aboard the Thunder Serpent until the expedition this coming Sunday."

He turns to Captain Bee Holder, who nods. "Dismissed, Kukulcan. We'll surely be in touch."
Kukulcan turns and offers you a brief, pleasant wave, and starts to make his way off the Beesting with his entourage.

 No.721289

>>721288
"Right, I'll track ya down if I have anything else I want answered."
Cloud responds to the farewells.

>>721288
>>721287
>>721286
>>721285
Cloud waits until Kukulcan and his entourage heads off the docks, then turns to the party and crew.
"Did anypony else get a bad feeling off that guy and his story?"

 No.721290

>>721288
"Until then," she nods, waiting for him to leave.

>>721289
She nods. "I have little reason to trust most people on this island. But showy, talkative types I trust the least of all. I very much doubt his interest in the island is purely academic as he claims. He is up to something. We will have to be extra careful on this expedition."

 No.721291

>>721288
Cerulean waves back to them, then gives a relaxed sigh.
"Well, that was fun. But I gotta go pick up my beetleband from the repair shop, then maybe explore around the city a bit." Cerulean then heads into the city.

 No.721292

>>721290
"I feel the exact same way. I think we should be careful of what we point out to him down there."

 No.721293

>>721288
"O-Oh… t-that is tragic, honestly. Is it commonly done? Is it frowned upon?" he asks, before blinking "O-Oh! No, no more questions. Thank you for answering mine." the griffon says, bowing his head.

>>721290
>>721289
"Something seems very… off. I also do not like the sound of this serpent business."

 No.721294

>>721291
She looks over to her as she prepares to leave. "What of the arrangement we had struck?" she asks, with a slightly icy tone.

>>721292
>>721293
She nods. "It would be wise to keep that jar away from him. I feel he may covet it, for reasons beyond us. Best to keep it secret and safe."

 No.721295

>>721294
"We could stow it in my room- I have an eye for hiding things where a thief wouldn't look."

 No.721296


 No.721297

>>721293
>>721289
>>721290
"He seemed very…" Paraiba begins, struggling to process all the information Kukulcan and his entourage shared. "You know, it was like he was getting really emotionally invested into all this talk at Cuauh– Cua… that island."
"I'm not the only one who felt that, then?" Chiu asks.
"Academic types do tend to get pretty obsessive about their work, don't they?" Kling Klang says, shaking his head dismissively. "He's just an egghead with a lot of money to burn. I wouldn't overthink it. We can clean out his wallet if we play this right. Request supplies here, or armaments there… there's real profit to be made here if you think like a pirate."
Zerk shrugs. "Well, we've got a week until the expedition. Plenty of time to try to figure out what he may or may not be up to, and all this stuff about our dreams."

>>721291
Leaving the Beesting, you head back through the city's streets, retracing your steps from yesterday evening until you reach the multi-story adobe stone house with the workshop on the second floor. You enter and head up the creaky old stairs, and find the workshop in the back. At the counter, the spider sits, reading the day's newspaper and smoking a long pipe in his rocking chair. On the desk before him, your Beetlebands hang out, good as new and freshly repaired. They appear to be practicing their music.

Kahuan is also there, looking at various tiny clockwork instruments. As you enter, he looks your way, and grins with a glint in his eyes.

 No.721298

>>721294
>>721293
"…Should I just keep it with me then? He can't steal it if somepony is always watching it."
Cloud asks for the group's opinion, looking down at the vase.


>>721297
"I don't know if he has a connection to the place or not, and I might just be feeling paranoid from my dreams, but… You all heard him say the Crimson King is behind this, right? What if they want to find out how the island sank for a better way to do it themselves. Toko was going to use this jar against us, what if this island is some sort of weapon stash?"
Cloud says, genuinely worried.

 No.721299

>>721294
"No worries, I'll be quick about it," she says, trying to reassure her with a smile, "just tell me where we can meet up and I'll meet you there, but with music this time."

>>721297
As Cerulean enters, she waves happily to the spider shopkeeper.
"Hi again," she then glances to Kahuan and greets him as well, though with less enthusiasm.
"Oh, hey again." She looks back to the spider.
"I'm just here to pick up my little guys."

 No.721300

>>721298
"That could work too, yes! If you want to, at least. As far as what it could hold… maybe something to do with money? What if it was a wealthy island? The money gives him power, right?"

>>721297
"I thought I pirate would just take his wallet… but, yes! I suppose we can just be wary and think of what we can do to benefit more."

 No.721301

>>721295
"If everyone else is in assent, it is a viable option. I could also carry it, if there are no objections."

>>721297
"He does not seem the scholarly type. I am not the greatest judge of character, granted, but I can confidently say at this point I know a pirate when I see one. And then there is his mention of the Crimson King… We should expect the worst when it comes to him. I feel we are almost certainly walking into a trap."

>>721298
"Do not take this personally, but given your recent ailment, perhaps you are not in the best condition to safeguard it. I would take it myself, if you are in agreement."

>>721299
"Very well. I will be waiting here."

>>721298
>>721297
>>721295
"Another matter. Cerulean and I have arranged to go on a trip into the nearby vale to investigate some matters. A small commune of farmers is being raided by local Kalphites, and in addition, I have been tasked with investigating some magical anomalies present there in the evenings. Are there any among you that would join us in this venture?"

 No.721302

>>721301
"I would like to go, yes- just in case something goes wrong, I would much rather be there during rather than after… is there anyone else you would like to bring?"

 No.721303

>>721299
Kahuan looks crushed as you greet him with little enthusiasm. His shades slide off his snout, and he has to wriggle his nose to get them back up on the bridge of his nose. The spider repairman, meanwhile, folds up his newspaper. "Morning! These little guys seemed to miss you, and I was getting a little worried myself, but I suppose you pirates are always busy, mmm?"

The spider helps your Beetlebands pack up their instruments securely in their cases. One by one, the four of them hop onto your back, apparently eager to get back on tour. They then turn toward Kahuan with a vindictive glare. He simply smirks back at them. "You should let me get your Conch code, by the way," he says. "Then we can plan a Battle of the Beetlebands whenever we want."

>>721300
"I used to do that, but then I ended up with too many wallets," Kling Klang says. "I was always misplacing my money, my papers and all that. The Captain even yelled at me for misplacing everything! It was a real hassle. So now I just con people into buying me shit. It's not as effective as when Bent Scales or the Captain does it, though."

>>721298
>>721300
>>721301
Chiu and Paraiba perk up as Thessaly asks for companions on the trip. "Sounds a heck of a lot more fun than bartering for goods," Paraiba says. "What kind of anomalies are happening out there?"
"I'm just here to make sure Cloud doesn't become a quadruple amputee by day's end," Chiu says with exasperation.
"Ooh! It's my turn for a mission, too!" Zerk says. "Squatz, you gotta stay here this time. Behave yourself."
"I adamantly refuse," Squatz says. "Buuuut I got my share of fun last time. Monster hunting's not my thing."
"Oi, if you got room for one more, might I tag along, gents and ladies?" Splendid chimes in.

 No.721304

>>721300
"I don't know if there's money in this thing, but that island would definitely have valuables with how old it is."

>>721301
Cloud looks back down at the jar for a moment.
"…I think I'll keep hold of it. I can hear if anypony tries to get close to take it, I'll just make sure I stick around you guys if things get rough."

As she offers an invitation on a venture, Cloud eases up a bit.
"Anything to get my mind off last night, and this stuff just now. Though I did promise to meet those breezies again to help them wit ha few things… This won't be like that Qurupeco job again, will it?"

 No.721305

>>721303
"Hey, I don't plan on losing anything else for the rest of this trip."
Cloud retorts to Chiu.

After the mention of heading out, Cloud remembers the little bag that Sparrow gave him for saving her tortoise. He pulls it out, and works his magic to size up the contents inside, as he never bothered to check it before as he focused more on the cookies.

 No.721306

>>721303
>>721302
"I am not partial to any of you coming along," she replies aloofly. "Whoever wishes to may come. I will not stop anyone."

>>721304
"I cannot say. Apart from Kalphite raiders, there could be anything out there."

>>721303
"Details are limited," she answers Paraiba. "But from what I know, there have been lights in the skies, townsfolk disappearing, travelers finding themselves suddenly in different locations, all sorts of strange occurrences. It seems like a magical experiment gone wrong. We should be prepared for anything."

>>721304
>>721303
>>721302
"Which brings me to another point. Because the events only happen during the evening, we may have to remain in the desert overnight. It would be best to notify Bee Holder of our absence, and prepare for having to camp. The alternative is hiking through the desert back here in the dead of night, which I am sure we would all rather not do. I cannot blame anyone for not wanting to do this. Before we depart, we will have to acquire camping gear."

 No.721307

>>721303
"Yeah, sorry about that. Had a run in with a crazy qurupeco," she briefly explains, and grins brightly to the beetleband.
"Sorry to make you all wait a bit longer, but no worries. Back to adventures and stuff again."

At the offer of exchanging Conch code, Cerulean shakes her head.
"Thanks, but I don't think I really want these guys getting hurt again. Nothing against you," she says to the shopkeeper, "but I just wanna have fun with them without them getting all dinged and bent and stuff."

"Anyway, you guys ready?" She asks, looking to the beetleband members, "we got ourselves a bit of a walk today, I think, and I got a friend who I think will love to hear you all play."

 No.721308

>>721303
"Ah, I suppose that makes sense. I will

>>721304
>>721306
"We can pass through the market on our way over, and grab some camping gear there."

>>721303
"I would not be opposed to others coming along- if you would like to, feel free!"

 No.721309

>>721306
"Ok, so what's a kalphite then so I can know what to expect?"
Cloud asks.
"Camping out at night? I'm fine with that, night time is where I thrive."

 No.721310

>>721305
Chiu slaps your arm – though not too hard. "Don't jinx it! Your wings are on loan and you're down an eye. I'd prefer not to bring you home as a brain in a jar. Your parents would kill me."
Inside, you find 200 Bits, just as Sparrow promised for the job's completion yesterday. Seems that even they use Bits as their currency, just shrunken down for their convenience.

>>721306
>>721308
Paraiba and Zerk look truly wounded at Thessaly's indifference, but Chiu and, surprisingly, Splendid seem unfazed. Paraiba shakes it off as you start explaining what Gullveig shared. "That does sound par for the course. Escaped familiars, or spellbooks and staves taking on a life of their own and deciding to cause some mischief, perhaps," she says.
Splendid's eyes glimmer at all the talk and speculation on magic. Bran, meanwhile, sniffs at Thessaly's outfit, apparently looking for a snack even though he just had breakfast. It's easy to surmise Gullveig spoiled him.

>>721307
The guitarist, who didn't put his guitar away earlier, plays a quick riff, and the rest of your Beetlebands nod in enthusiasm. Kahuan clicks his tongue in annoyance, then wheels to the other side of the shop, where other instruments lie. "Well, it's your loss. See you soon, either way."
The spider repairman shakes his head. "No offense taken, young ma'am. As long as you use your beats for good, and not for evil, my soul will be at peace."

>>721309
>>721307
>>721308
>>721306
After Thessaly's group leaves the ship, and Cerulean leaves the workshop, you both head toward the bazaar, as the marketplace is roughly midway between the docks and the workshop. Merchants are setting up for the morning, but things are already picking up steam it seems. Traders flag down passing customers to make a sale, and town criers pass out newspapers and belt out the day's affairs, stock trading prices, and so forth. Alder even notices the jittery insurance salesman he saw yesterday, talking a mile a minute.
"Camping equipment, camping equipment, where might we find some of that?" Zerk wonders aloud.
"It's gotta be at a good price, too! Don't forget!" Paraiba insists.
[1d10] they search for a good bargain

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.721311

>>721309
"Some sort of lesser life form native to these lands, from what I understand. A mindless rabble of insectoid wretches. Not too threatening to seasoned travelers, save perhaps in hordes."

>>721310
She rolls her eyes at Bran looking for second breakfast, swiping an apple off the main breakfast bench on the way out and feeding it to him.

Reunited with Cerulean, she starts scouring the bazaar for outdoors gear, looking for something for desert traveling.
[1d10] if needed

>>721307
"Cerulean," she nods as they reunite in the marketplace. "Are your affairs in order? I have assembled a rather large contingent for this expedition, as you can see. We will be leaving as soon as we have secured the necessary equipment for the night."

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.721312

>>721310
>>721311
"Yup, got the band back together," she says, letting the beetleband greet Thessaly.
"So looking for camping stuff, right? Hmm…lemme see…." She begins to look around a bit for some good deals.

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.721313

>>721311
"Bug seem to be a big thing on this island."
Cloud comments on the description.

>>721310
Cloud nudges Chiu in the shoulder.
"Now look who's jinxing it. I already got three jars on me, let's not mention anymore."
He pours the bits out onto his hoof, letting the 10% portion vanish away as his part of the deal, and tossing the remainder into his own coin bag. To keep the obsidian vase secure, Cloud puts it in the now empty breezie bag to help hide it, and then tucks it away.


>>721310
Cloud walks with the group, now awake as they start to move, though still wishing he could rest just a bit more. He gazes around the market now setting up, usually a good time to grab stuff when they're not too desperate to make a sale or trying to gouge you at closing time.
"Don't forget food. Gotta have the good stuff if you're camping."
Cloud looks around the bazaar for the usual camping supplies. A tent for two, a pair of sleeping bags, and seeing if the food stalls have any good supplies, hoping they might have the materials for smores all the way out here in the ribcage.
>Quality Hunting [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.721314

>>721310
[1d10] Deal Hunting
"Do you like Magic, Miss Splendid? I do not know a lot about it myself."

>>721311
"Is it a horde of them, or just a small infestation?"

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.721315

>>721312
She looks at the beetleband with a slight frown, tilting her head to the side. "What are they? Some sort of magical construct?" She goes to pick one up and examine it more closely.

>>721314
"From the little I know, Kalphites are a native species like any other, living in small groups. It so happens that one such group has taken to looting the ostrich farms."

 No.721316

>>721311
With the demeanor of a spoiled royal, Bran arrogantly takes the apple, chewing it as he walks along with you to the bazaar, demonstrating skill in how he manages to eat it with only his mouth.

>>721312
>>721311
The lead guitarist of Cerulean's beetleband greets Thessaly with a sick guitar riff. She can see that they are clockwork beetles, rhinoceros beetles to be exact. Though they are small, about the size of Alder's fist, they are elaborately made, a skillful work of clockwork engineering. A simple magical examination shows that they are animated by magic too.

>>721313
"Oh yeah…" Chiu says, apparently only thinking of it just now. "Never took you for such a jarhead."

>>721314
"I fancied it as a career choice, once," Splendid says. "Though, when I tried to learn it as a wee chick, all the tutors available on the island had a very systematic, very scientific kind of approach to it. They put all the theory and calculations and paradigmism first and foremost in our lessons. Never got the hang of it, and they lost patience with me shortly into the lessons. Really, I just wanted to learn to make me some fireworks, and maybe some simple spells or two to help some of the servants around the monastery."

>>721311
>>721312
>>721314
>>721313
You comb the marketplace, comparing prices and quality on the various options that are out for sale. Eventually, you find what appears to be a good median. One of the vendors, who appears to be a humanoid ferret, about four feet in height, is offering camping sets for about 150 Bits apiece. Each set includes cable, poles, pegs, twine, a tarp and canopy, and a bedroll. Though other vendors offer for cheaper, theirs appear to be of lesser quality. A feeling in your head seems to tell you it'd be a bad idea to skimp on the tent.

"We can pick up some food and water rations from the ship on our way to the northern gate," Paraiba says.
"I'm sure Bee Holder will give you some too even though you're not on our crew, Thessaly," Chiu offers.
"This should be everything, then," Splendid says. "Unless there's something we're forgetting? We probably should make triple sure we ain't lackin' anythin'."

 No.721317

>>721316
She is more impressed by their handiwork than amused by their antics, gently setting the guitarist down and letting the beetles do their thing. "Curious."

"It would not hurt to ask. I will return to the ship after this, and see about procuring rations. We should not need too much; it is only for the day, after all." She buys a tent for herself, pledges to reunite with the rest of the team in a minute, and goes back to the ship, asking Bee Holder about rations.

 No.721318

>>721316
"Hrm… have you ever considered giving it another go? There are some talented mages aboard our ship- perhaps one could teach you? Failing that, we could find you some books on it. I would not have expected calculations involved in magic, though… is all magic like that?"

>>721316
"Perhaps a tent or two could be a good choice? We could split the cost." he suggests, before looking to Thessaly.

>>721315
"What is an ostrich? Some form of cattle or livestock?"

 No.721319

>>721318
"No idea. It is what I was told, nothing more."

 No.721320

>>721316
Cerulean buys herself a full kit and tent, just to make sure she's nice and prepared or the trip ahead.

>>721317
"I know, right? And they're so small its cute!" Cerulean seems to be almost gushing with happiness at the fact they're so small.

 No.721321

>>721316
Cloud snickers.
"Gotta have some hobby when we're on a boat for days on end."


Cloud picks up two camping sets, one each for him and Chiu.
"Camping set, food and water, think we're covered on everything."
Cloud comments as the others check on what they have. Though, to be truly sure they have camping supplies, Cloud does do one more sweep for smore materials.
>Market Search if needed [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.721322

>>721318
Splendid seems to get a bit flustered at first, but her excitement quickly pushes that hesitancy away. "Ya think I could ask 'em for it? Was only just a week and some change that I invited meself onto the crew, but hell, I'd certainly like to take another crack at it. Don't have anything I could offer in exchange, though. Oh! I could barnacle the ship for a whole month in exchange for a lesson! Or I could clean and de-bone all the fish we catch out at sea for the rest of the year."

Chiu shakes her head. "I've never heard of magic as being so rigorous and systematic. There's always a sort of mystery to it, something you just have to feel when you use it. Overthinking magic always makes me screw it up."

>>721317
Taking a detour back to the ship, you find Bee Holder standing on top of Bent Scales' shoulders and dictating the chores and tasks of the day to the various crewmates. It seems now that there's going to be quite a lot of work done on the ship itself. Not just the usual cleaning and repairs, but a more thorough kind of renovation, probably in accordance with whatever Kukulcan was talking about earlier with the magitech and armor he would provide as part of the expedition's agreements.

Once that's done, you get her attention and explain briefly your plans for the day. Bee Holder nods, sending a couple of mooks to rustle you up a canteen and a light set of rations – nuts, dried seaweed, some seed cakes, hay, and of course water. It's a bit light, so if you want something with more flavor and substance, you'll probably need to find it yourself.

>>721321
>>721320
>>721318
>>721317
After you get your tents purchased and hooked up to your saddlebags for convenient carrying, Cloud spies what he was looking for, but not quite, either. A sweets shop on the corner of the bazaar seems to be selling marshmallows, chocolate and sweet crackers, but they are a tad expensive, coming out to a total of 90 Bits altogether – pure robbery.

Aside from that, though, it looks like you're all set in terms of supplies. When Thessaly comes back from the Beesting with her supplies, Paraiba flags her down. "Alright, I think we're set. Do you have a map to this village, or directions?"

 No.721323

>>721322
Cloud grumbles at the price of these simple treats, but he tosses down the bits anyways, not in the mood to start arguing with a street vendor at this hour. Smores will be a private treat on this trip it seems.

"Yea,where is this place. I didn't see a desert when we were heading out yesterday. This better not be on the entire other side of the island or something."

 No.721324

>>721322
"Please, I do not think you will need to work so hard to repay them. It will be nice to have more mages, too!"

The griffon looks to Chiu and cocks his head to the side, before shrugging. "I suppose there are different variants of magic? I wouldn't know much, though."

 No.721325

>>721324
"Yes and no, in a manner of speaking," Chiu says. "There's different ways of using the energy we call capital-M Magic, and we call all those different ways 'magic systems,' or just different kinds of lowercase-M 'magic.'"
Splendid looks totally lost.
"…We'll just have to test out what you might be good at," Chiu says. "I did a little teaching in the use of magic scrolls and items for the military, but not so much for using magic as such. You'd be better off with someone else, sorry."
Splendid looks like her hopes just sank a little, but nods and smiles anyway.

>>721323
>>721323
>>721320
While you get the last of your supplies together and make your preparations for the long trek out to the desert ostrich farmers, Zerk and Chiu split off from the group slightly, flagging down passerby to ask directions and what they might know about the situation as Thessaly described it earlier. They hear rumors now and then about some of the strange anomalies reported out in the desert, but not so much any new information about it besides what Thessaly shared before.

Mixed in there, though, is an interesting rumor you have not heard til now. Only a few people mention this, but you hear tell that someone reliable has been hired to stamp out whatever magical anomalies have been happening out there.

>Paused



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