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 No.736900[Last 50 Posts]

Last time, on PirateQuest…

Another dream haunted our crew the night before, wherein they and many kingdoms and races of the world stood side by side, trapped within a vortex of overlapping folds of reality, witnessing the opening of a great and towering Vault. From within, an army of giants, metal men like the one that the crew recovered last night, stepped forth, their hands outstretched to take away all that lay before them. But before the giants could snatch the people away, the obsidian machinations of Cuauhtemoc rose with a bloodcurdling frenzy of war-cries, attacking the giants in a guerrilla ambush, and made a mad dash for the Vault itself. But they were defeated and routed, and the giants continued their eternal march toward the world.

That morning, the party rose, groggy and disoriented from the strange dream. After they'd gotten their bearings and breakfast, they set out with a task from Bee Holder. The night before, Paraiba, Prisma and the five remaining mooks had been found by Kukulcan's crew, and had been taken back to his camp for medical attention. Bee Holder, however, distrusted Kukulcan, and wanted our crew to recover the wounded group during their exploration of the island today. With that in mind, they set out for the jungles of Cuauhtemoc. Although Kukulcan was not expecting to see them today, he had made arrangements yesterday, so perhaps the party could use those.

After heading west for a time (minus Cloud, who stayed behind because of his lame forearm), they reached a high plateau overlooking a canopy of a tree-village, and to the distance they saw the gnomon of a magnificent sundial many miles off. Before they could try to scope out more, they were approached from behind by pack of obsidian jaguars, unknown in number, who apparently had a strange taste for the island's fruit.


"That's enough out of you," Shadow Chiu says, bopping Shadow Cloud on the nose a little. "You're going to be a dad too, and I don't want our kid picking up any bad habits like pessimism."
"I never thought about that," Chiu says. "Will you and I… give birth simultaneously?"
"…Let's NOT find out," Shadow Chiu says.
Setting that aside, Chiu sits across from you on her own towel, starting to build the foundation of a sandcastle with her hooves. Granny, meanwhile, curls up like a cat and sits on the towel, keeping watch over the nearby sand for said golems and sea monsters.


It tastes quite sweet, and if anything, it's a little powerful, with a strong tang. Perhaps it is best experienced when mixed with something else that can balance out its forceful flavor.

>Thessaly, Cutlass, Cerulean, Alder

Colobok gasps and reaches toward Cutlass, but it is too late. From out of the shadows and the jungle behind you, there comes a shape, a smooth and dark shape which brushes up against Cutlass's side. It is an obsidian jaguar, with eyes of deep ruby glimmering as it inspects your party. Shapes stir in the foliage beyond, suggesting that more are approaching. Your backs are against the open sky over the plateau, and there look to be few places where you can go from here to get free of the creatures.

But, you notice something peculiar– the jaguar's eyes settle hungrily on the fruit that Thessaly plucked.



>"Yea, cause this is totally just pessimism."
Shadow Cloud grumbles.

"That's… yea."
Cloud mutters to the Chius little topic. He leans over, helping form up the sand castle, though with only one hoof he can't form up the sand too solidly, most of it crumbling back down unless he builds a large pile.


"P-Perhaps we should let it have the fruit, Miss Thessaly? I do not know if we should try our luck against such a beast…"


>Forgot to post my sheet!


She freezes, eyes narrowing as she stares down the jaguar. Her gaze drifts to the strange fruit she's holding. She doesn't really think twice, having little attachment to it, and tosses the fruit past the jaguar into the foliage to see if it'll go for it and leave them be.


"I'd rather not," she confirms as she yeets the fruit.



"Awww," Cutlass coos in response to seeing the big cat. "That would be downright adorable if it weren't so threatening. Feed it, Thessaly," Cutlass demands.


Cerulean looks at the odd creature, already worrying about having to fight somewhat smaller, more agile versions of these constructs. But seeing it eye the fruit Thess is holding, she relaxes somewhat and lets it be, watching and waiting first before just rushing in for once.


Shadow Chiu continuously assails Shadow Cloud with a rhythm of light bops to his nose, alternating her swings as if he were a punching bag. She bobs and weaves like a boxer to add to the annoyance.

Chiu leans to the left and scoops up some seawater, dampening the sand between you to make it easier to build. "So, have you been keeping track of all the money that Stone Cold Classic has been taxing off of you? Cause I think we've got reason to be excited; with all the gold you've been putting down, you should be close to getting your wings back!"

>Wait for the results of these rolls before responding

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


The jaguar at the front of the pack leaps up as Thessaly tosses the fruit, and catches it in mid-air. As it drops to the ground, it holds the fruit in both forepaws, and starts to gnaw at the juicy inside; the fruit proves tougher than first glance would have it.

Fortunately, the jaguars behind the lucky one in the front notice that you fed it the fruit, and now approach the party, sniffing around for more of the fruit. Or perhaps, rather, it is unfortunate, because you realize that there are a lot more of them than you initially thought, no fewer than a dozen, and they're all crawling toward you. There's not a lot of space to work with here upon the plateau, and as the jaguars get closer, you notice that there's less and less open space to go around as you are backed closer to the sheer cliff face behind you.

"Anyone see a way around 'em?" Droplet asks.
"Alder, let's back off," Bent Scales says, spreading her wings. She takes flight behind the party to give the rest of you some room.


Cerulean looks at all the emerging jaguars, seeing the space issue going on right now. Though an idea strikes her.
"Hey wait, anyone who can get fruits, help me get them!" She goes over to the tree and gives the tree a hard tail slap to knock fruits off of it.
"Maybe we can bait them somewhere else? Or maybe huddle up to one spot. They seem nice enough."

>Applebucking Cerulean style

>Slam, crit 8+, take better, no water generation

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4


"Ah, good thinking- perhaps we can carry another member of our group if needed." he suggests, unfurling his big, soft wings and lifting off of the plateau. "Also, perhaps, Bent Scales and I could carry the fruit further away from here? They may follow us."


She follows in Cerulean's footsteps, grabbing fruit off the tree and hurling it at them in an attempt to distract them.
[1d10+2] Telekinesis, using 1 TBP

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


Shadow Cloud gives Shadow Chiu a blank stare.

"…Not really. I felt some tingling on my back a few days ago, but I don't know how close that means."
He says, mushing the sand together to get a basic square formed.
"Oh, hey, there's an idea," He says, some life coming back to him, "I can just wish us back to Equestria, so we don't need to risk sailing or any of that!"



"Is that the fruit you just fed them?" Cutlass asks as she follows suit, with her own telekinesis.

[1d10] gib more fruit and sneak away

Roll #1 9 = 9


"But of course," Shadow Chiu answers flippantly. "Hi-yah!" she cries, clapping both of his cheeks (with, of course, a very mild and careful touch).

"NO," Chiu says suddenly, looking up from the castle. "No, no no no. That's… I don't want to do that. For a lot of reasons. First of all, it'd be a lot easier to deal with our parents' anger if we actually come back with the foal or foals in our arms rather than not. Plus, I really don't want to use any more of those wishes. If he took your wings for collateral on that one wish, just think of what it might cost for us to go home. Especially if he knows or might find out about this," she says, pointing to her stomach.

The jaguars approach the tree as Cerulean bucks some of the fruit off of it. The tree is to the east, on your left, as you currently face south. Thankfully, this frees up quite a bit of room on the right side for you to maneuver around them. However, as Colobok, Splendid and Make Believe prepare to move around, the jaguars turn to face them, holding onto the hard-shelled fruits in their mouths. It seems that the jaguars are having trouble opening the shells on their own.
Colobok and Droplet step forward, both drawing small utility knives, and they start to shuck the fruit for the jaguars. "You guys go ahead and move on," Droplet says. "It looks like they should be pacified if we just feed 'em."
"We will catch up," Colobok says. "You just find Kukulcan's camp."



"Aww, the cute little guys can't open them on their own," Cutlass gushes over the kitties. "Make Believe would you be able to tame one with your stickers?"


I don't think so, Make Believe says. I conceived of my ability as 'only working on living, thinking things'. The two conditions for a compatible target are that they have life force and at least some degree of sentience. Besides, if the sticker is on for more than a few minutes, it could genuinely hurt the thing. Animal cruelty is just wrong.
"I had heard you were feared as an unfeeling killer back on Kaco Island," Bent Scales says. "So which is it?"
I don't like hurting animals, Make Believe says. I never said anything about people.


She blinks in slight surprise as the jaguars start gnawing on the fruit. "Curious," she comments, before focusing on Droplet and Colobok. "Won't they eviscerate you once they lose interest in the fruit?" she points out. "Perhaps you should take advantage of their distraction and come with us."

"Cute until they decide we're a threat or a meal. We shouldn't linger any longer than we have to."


Alder nods a little and flutters over the group of jaguars. Once he reaches the other side (with a good bit of space) Alder drops to the ground, and waits patiently for the rest to get around them!


Colobok grins and chucks some shelled fruit into the jungle, where a couple of jaguars begin a spirited game of tug-of-war over it. "We are the quickest ones among you, I wager. Should things get ugly, I trust Droplet and I will have little trouble evading them. You, on the other hoof? Not so much. Be off with you, and be quick about it."


Shadow Cloud gives her a stare, and then wordlessly boops her nose in retaliation.

"No no, the money was to pay off for three wishes. When we met him everypony else made a wish, but I offered to pay him first to get them so I wouldn't have any of those tricky downsides, which is why he's holding onto my wings to make sure this deal is legit."
Cloud explains.



Roll #1 4 = 4



"Animals haven't done anything wrong," Cutlass nods in agreement with Make Believe. "Oh well. Let's keep going. You two had better be okay," Cutlass says to Colobok and Droplet before turning to leave.


"The same could be said of any pet," Cutlass says as she gives Sir Pent a loving tap on his perch in her hat.


She frowns in disapproval. "It's your funeral," she simply states, and makes to leave and join the others.

"Aye," she observes, "but most pets aren't the size of our resident shark and fitted with teeth and claws fit for sinking into a pony's neck."



Roll #1 3 = 3


[1d10] Navigation

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Aww, they kinda remind me of trying to eat my first clam when I was a filly," she says, looking fairly content with the reaction of them.
"Alright, sorry to leave you with them. But be safe," she says and starts to head out to their destination.



Roll #1 1 = 1



"The best pets are."


"I don't see Sir Pent having much of size, tooth or claw," she points out.


Shadow Chiu ducks back to dodge, but because she's sitting, she flops back onto her towel. Undeterred, she pushes herself back up, and counter-boops.

"Okay, but…" Chiu groans. "We've seen our share of demons on this trek, and I've heard more than enough about what happened in Mallea's manor with Auntzi and those other two… Regalaseab and Seravelum, I think? And then there's all that stuff with Alder and Miss Make it Right. Genies are Demons; their name is derived from the word 'jinn', a type of Demon. How do we know he'll hold to his bargain?"


In accordance with Droplet and Colobok's confidence, you leave from where the jaguars snack on the fruit, and begin looking for a path down from the cliffside to where you might be able to approach the gnomon on the distant mountain. Cerulean initially gets a little lost, but Alder spots a path as he glides above, taking point to guide the party along it. The path is dense and made by foliage, but you're able to feel it even when you can't see it, because it's made of various animal tracks that have cleared away the bottom layer of grass and moss below. The path leads west and north at various points as it squiggles along the mountain, occasionally splitting off one way or another in various directions, but Alder keeps a steady sense of direction for heading north in the direction of the gnomon.

Eventually, you find yourselves nearing another cliff wall, this one facing east. But rather than a steep drop, this one has a long and sturdy bridge connecting to it. The bridge is old and covered with layers of vines and moss many inches thick; the poles of the bridge are taller than even Bent Scales, and the obsidian cords that hold it all together are thicker than even Splendid's arms. It appears ancient, yet sturdy. It connects from this cliff face into the forest of massive trees that you saw before between the southern cliff and the gnomon's mountain. Now, you are on the southwestern side of the forest, and you can see the many tree-houses that fill the treelines. However, it seems uninhabited.

You hear a rustling in the grass behind you, and Colobok and Droplet step out, scratched slightly but not injured. They pause to catch their breath, both sharing a smirk.

Roll #1 9 = 9


She observes the empty treehouses with curiosity, keeping an eye out for movement among them.

She does a bit of a double take as they return. "Ah, so you weren't mauled. I suppose that's good."

Roll #1 2 = 2


"Actually, I recall a brief bit of horror in the manor with Sir Pent," Splendid says. "I don't know if you recall it, Cutlass, but he must have gotten separated from you in one of those cycles. Little fella actually held his own in one of those fights… but we eventually met our end in that cycle."



"You haven't seen him open his mouth all the way," Cutlass laughs.


"How odd," Cutlass comments. "I don't remember a cycle where he wasn't with me… Perhaps I died and he escaped."

"But, I do recall him saving at least one of my lives in the manor. He's a good boy," Cutlass says as she gives Sir Pent a boop.


"Finished already? I hope they didn't give you too much trouble," Cutlass says to Colobok and Droplet.

Then, she turns back to the bridge. "Ugh… I suppose this is the only way?" she asks with clear apprehension.


Shadow Cloud is boop square on the muzzle, unable to defend himself. He blinks, folding his good foreleg across his chest.
>"This is a stupid game…"
He grumbles pessimistically.

"Aren't they all about bargains though? I offered to pay him for consequence free wishes with my wings on hold until I pay what he wanted, and he agreed, so it should be all fine."


"Here we are- this… should be the right way!" the griffon chirps, leading the others onwards from the air. He lands next to the rest of the group by the bridge and tucks his wings back in, before saying "I suppose we wai- Oh! There they are. Are the two of you okay? I can mend your injuries, if the scratches are a pain."


"Oh hey, welcome back! I'm guessing they took off after their snacks?"


"I must not have been present for that," she answers. "I've never seen him do much more than sit and stare."

"I'll take your word for it." She stares at Sir Pent for a while before continuing on.


Sir Pent flicks your cheek with his tongue.

Sir Pent looks over at you, flicking out his tongue with a look of curiosity and innocence.

"You're just mad I'm the undefeated world champ," Shadow Chiu says, leaning in to brag, which leaves her wide open for a boop.

"I'm not taking that chance," Chiu says. "Maybe you didn't get to see it, because you were being treated in the surgeon's room, but Alder and Splendid were being run ragged last night agonizing over how they were going to get out of dealing with Miss Make-it-Right. I don't want to risk him going back on his word."

"Yeah, we had a little situation," Droplet says, rubbing the back of his neck with a smirk.
"He decided to try and put a harness and leash upon one," Colobok grumbles, glaring at Droplet.
"How are we supposed to take it easy around here unless we domesticate beasts of burden?" Droplet asks.
"A cat is a cat," Colobok says. "Few cats tolerate collars, and fewer still will deal with the dishonor of a harness."
"I'll take one for a walk before we leave this island, mark my words," Droplet says.
Colobok looks to Alder. "Just a bit of disinfectant, if you don't mind. No scratch broke the skin, but we do not want to take risks with unknown pathogens."

You cannot see if there's anything in hiding in the treehouse village beyond. Make Believe takes a few adventurous steps out onto the bridge, and Sparkler follows after him with an annoyed hiss. Finding it sturdy after an experimental stomp or two, Make Believe turns to wave you on. Looks good to me! Let's head on in. We may be able to get to the gnomon from here.


See the third to last line of >>736940 starting "Colobok looks to Alder"



Cutlass makes a high-pitched whining groan as she steps out onto the bridge. "I knew I should have stuck with my diet…" Cutlass groans as if she could possibly be heavy enough to break a plank while the others wouldn't.

She gingerly takes each step on each plank on the bridge. [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Yesyes. Let me see…" the griffon digs through his pack, and pulls out a small bottle. He hands it over to Colobok, and looks to Droplet before saying "Cats are not… good, for domestication. Maybe if it had been a canine, but wild animals are quite wild, typically."

Alder chirps a tad and follows after the rest along the bridge, keeping his wings slightly un-tucked in case he needs to hover!


"That's not how cats work," she says bluntly.

She takes a few steps onto the bridge, going one step at a time, not trusting the structure one bit even though it looks sturdy enough.
[1d10] Nav

Roll #1 9 = 9



"Why are you adding undo stress to the bridge!?" Cutlass shouts as if she just saw Alder committing murder.


>"Not fair when you have both your hooves."
Shadow Cloud retorts.

"So I gave up my wings for nothing then. I thought you wanted to be home with family when our foal is born."


"A-Ack! Right! Apologies!" he chirps, springing up from the bridge and flapping his wings a few times to get airborne. He lets out a flustered series of stammers, before saying "F-Foolish of me, apologies."


"Well, if they're like the other animals we've seen so far, the problem might be more they're more little robot things, like the my beetleband back on the ship," she says after hearing about the collar and harness bit. It was amusing to hear and picture in her head, though.

Cerulean looks at the bridge, feeling confident about it with all the supports and stuff on it. So she confidently steps onto it to walk across.



Cutlass yelps as he lifts off, presumably causing the bridge to sway slightly. "B-be careful!" she stammers in a panic.


"It's only going to get worse if you keep making a ruckus," she points out grimly.



Cutlass squeaks in terror.


"A-Ah! Sorry, sorry!"


Shadow Chiu sticks out her tongue and puts one hoof behind her back to make it even. "Come on then, I could beat you with both hooves tied too."

Chiu frowns, stopping all construction on the sandcastle, and folds her hooves. "Okay, don't turn this around on me like that. It's not so simple as that! Yes, I want to be home, but I am NOT taking any unnecessary risks. Remember what Thessaly told us about my demon? She'll only protect me if I avoid danger as much as I can. What if this backfires? What if that sea-goddess gets mad at us?"

"Maybe that could make it easier, if I can figure out their wiring and their construction," Droplet says. "Magical golem or mechanical construct, all automata get predictable if you can figure out how they perceive and process the world."

"Put some money on it, if you're so confident," Droplet says, hefting out a bag of coins with a confident smirk.

The others show similar levels of trepidation as they step out onto the bridge, especially Sparkler, who reaches out to grab Make Believe each time a light breeze so much as causes the bridge to waver or tremble. Splendid and Bent Scales fly along the sides, their claws at the ready to snatch up the nearest party member should anyone stumble or the bridge collapse. However, it holds steady, even when the wind picks up a little along the way.

When you get to the end of the bridge, you find that there are a number of platforms that have been carved into each tree's trunk, which constitutes the main roads and thoroughfares in this village. Special branches have been grown below the platforms, propping them up from beneath.

However, apart from the bridge which connected to the cliffside, there aren't a whole lot of proper bridges in this tree-village. Rather, as you saw earlier, there are massive tree-branches growing from platform to platform, albeit not directly. They're still fundamentally shaped like tree branches, so in order to get from platform to platform, you would need quite a bit of jumping and climbing, which would carry a decent amount of risk on its own for those who cannot fly.

As you observe all of this, the others peer around, keeping an eye out for any inhabitants in this tree-village.

>Roll perception


"Just take one step at a time and try not to look down. It's stood for untold centuries, and it will stand long after you return to the weeds. There's very little you could do to break it."

"I've owned cats before," she says obstinately. "They're independent beasts. You can't expect them to do anything you want. Domesticating one would be fruitless, especially if they're this size. This conversation is pointless anyway."

She pauses in her steps, looking up with a slight frown. "Surely there must be someone here," she muses, staring up into the trees for any signs of activity.

Roll #1 1 = 1


>"Yea you'd like that wouldn't you."
Shadow Cloud says, still being a sore loser.

"Well what am I supposed to do? I can't use these wishes to help, I can't get a fleet of ships to make you feel safe, and just look at me!"
Cloud says, flipping up his eyepatch.
"I have no wings, one eye, and a useless leg! I can't even get off the ship by myself, and who knows what else I can't do now! I can't keep you safe anymore, and you won't go for any possible alternative!"



"How do I know where to step if I don't look down?" Cutlass asks with a growing tone of dread.


Cutlass breathes a sigh of relief once they are off the bridge. Paradoxically, she finds the branches to be far more palatable.

She looks around for what would be considered the direction they should want to go in. [1d10] perception

Roll #1 8 = 8


"I…guess?" She says with a shrug.
"I'm just repeating whatever the fancy rifle tells me about stuff."

Cerulean looks around the place, keeping an eye out, but still mostly looking at this new sight.


Roll #1 1 = 1


>Perception [1d10]
"Hrm… we could carry people one by one, if needbe- I-I would rather not lose a companion to a fall." the griffon says, before huffing "How do any of you live without wings sometimes? It must be a pain."

Roll #1 9 = 9


"There's only one way to go," she says bluntly. She takes a few steps forward, leaving you to it; then, despite herself, turns around with an unreadable expression and extends her arm to you.



"Th-thank you, but I can do this," Cutlass says with shaky determination.


"Yes," Shadow Chiu says, growing concerned. "Please work with me here."

Hmm cowers beneath her wings as you yell, but Chiu is undaunted. "I get that you're scared, and I know that nothing I could say could make any of this easier on you, but… Look, I don't have any answers for you. I don't know what to do either, but I do know that trying to back down now isn't any less dangerous than persisting. But… if… if you want to try to send us home with that wish…"

Chiu blinks with inspiration, then looks at your eye. "Ask her. Ask her what might happen."

"I'll let you pick the name when I succeed," Droplet brags, persisting in his delusion, or dream, depending on one's perspective.

Cutlass and Alder are the first to pick up on the distant sounds of whooping coming from above and far-off ahead. They peer to the north, and see various groups of long-armed simians crawling and swinging from tree to tree. They appear to be some unfamiliar species of gibbon, as each whoop is made by the gibbon inflating and pressing onto an air sac upon its throat. They notice also that there are a few obsidian warriors inhabiting the village as well: Most appear to be in the shape of spiders, centipedes and other jungle insects. However, the obsidian warriors do nothing to the gibbons, even when the apes climb over them or poke them. Rather, the obsidian warriors seem more intent on watching out for exterior threats.

As Alder and Cutlass observe this strange relationship, Thessaly and Cerulean her a skittering sound above. One of the obsidian spiders, about the size of Splendid herself, is clinging to one of the branches higher up, examining the party. The assassins arm themselves as they catch sight of the spider, and look around to see if more might join it n attacking the party.


She sharply retracts the offer. "Then do so," she says rather coldly, and finishes crossing the bridge.

She gives Droplet a side eye. "Kevin," she states prematurely, and does not elaborate on why.

She freezes as she sees the spider, horn swirling with black magic prematurely. She simply watches and waits to see what happens for now.


Shadow Cloud rolls his eyes, reaching up his hoof to give Shadow Chiu a boop.

"Alright. Hmm, are those wishes from Stone Cold Classic safe to send us home?"
He says aloud.


"Heheheheh," Shadow Chiu says as she's booped. She returns the favor once more, then scoots over to resume construction on the sandcastle that Chiu and Cloud abandoned.

"Only if you agree to not yell at me," Hmm answers petulantly, peeking out between the tips of her wings.


"Perhaps, hmm… perhaps we simply wait? With how they and these… creatures, are acting, maybe they are not immediately aggressive, and more protective." the griffon says, waiting patiently.



"Huh…" Cutlass says as she looks up at the obsidian spider. "I just learned something. Apparently, spiders aren't nearly as scary when they're made out of rock…"

She looks back toward the monkeys then towards the spider again. The relationship here defies what she previously thought these obsidian beasts were for. Here eyes turn silver.

>Soul Sight on obsidian spider


Shadow Cloud glances down at the sandcastle, then turns in place.
>"Put some more water on there to mold it better."

Cloud pauses a moment, starting to feel awful.
"…I won't yell."


Cerulean looks up at the spider and blinks at it for a bit. Her first idea that comes to mind is to wave at it.
"Uhh…hi there," she greets, slightly wondering if one of these might be able to talk in some way.


Shadow Chiu scoops up some additional water onto the sand to solidify it some more. "C'mere, you can construct the shape and I'll add the details."

"Only if he doesn't find out that Chiu is pregnant," Hmm says. "But Demons can sense souls in the same way that you mortals can see rocks and trees: Plain as day. Even if you just tell him to fulfill your wish, he'll do everything he can to get at Chiu. It's not something you'll be able to hide."

When Cutlass examines the spider's soul, she finds that it too is maintained by some kind of magical construction, powered by a soul that was artificially put within. Its directives are simple, mechanical, inscribed upon the rubies and other gems that compose its heart and mind: To protect the inhabitants of this village, and those of the island more generally. However, when she tries to discern its concept of 'inhabitants,' she finds that there is no strict definition – only a hazy image of a being with a body structure vaguely similar to that of a centaur, or perhaps a drider of some kind…

The spider continues to gawk at you, examining your every motions with its beady eyes. Other nearby spiders turn in your direction, and it follows that the gibbons start to look at you as well. Some approach by swinging and leaping from the branches, but ultimately maintain a cautious distance.

"Any ideas?" Splendid asks the group.
"Well, if the jaguars were any indication, perhaps a gift may suffice?" Colobok hazards as a guess.


"Perhaps we ought to show them that we mean no harm. Somehow." She starts by dimming the magic swirling about her horn, continuing to watch them for any sudden moves.



"They're programmed to defend the citizens of this village," Cutlass explains to everyone as her eyes turn back to normal. "But, those monkeys are not the citizens of this village. Which means if we prove we aren't a threat, they won't attack us."

"So, first of all, put away your weapons," she orders her assassins.


Cerulean looks at the two, agreeing with them, but seems to be struggling with a thought. She seems to figure out a solution to whatever her problem was though: she tucks her tail in and keeps her mouth shut to not show off her teeth.


Shadow Cloud shifts over, pushing the sand together to form a basic castle shape, and trying to round out some towers on the side.

"Wait wait wait, I made a deal with him to pay off for those wishes. He can't just go back on that, can he? We shook on it, he's been taking money this whole time for that!"
Cloud says, growing worried.


"Well, what sort of gifts would a spider want, even?" he asks, cocking his head to the side in confusion.

"Oh! Well, that should not be hard. I think we can all look… unthreatening, yes? I have been told I tend to be rather innocent-looking."


"You look rather terrifying to me," she deadpans.


"He may have agreed to fulfill those wishes, but you need to understand how a Demon thinks," Hmm says. "If you don't pull out every stop to prohibit every last action of theirs that could turn bad for you, you can bet your bottom coin that they'll find some way to get one over on you in the end. That's why powers such as the Oath-Words are so vital to demonologists. Mallea failed to bind Auntzi because her ritual was interrupted. Alder failed to bind Miss Make-it-Right because he didn't know about the proper proceedings. The same applies to you, although you made a good try with your down payment. Stone Cold Classic will have to make good on the wish, but the second it's done, he's free to do as he likes."

"Bad news, I take it?" Chiu asks, unable to hear Hmm. Meanwhile, the shadow couple put together a lovely little castle. Shadow Chiu appropriates a nearby shell to serve as a banner.

The other members of your group put down their weapons, and Scales and Splendid add to it by putting up their hands in a show of peace. The gathered apes look to the obsidian spiders, and after a few more seconds of scanning, the spider that hangs most directly above you flashes a deep blue color from its eyes. The other spiders flash the same color from their own eyes. Several of the apes whoop in some sort of reply, having apparently taken the spiders' judgment as gospel. Quite a many of them disperse, going back to their business, while the spiders resume their duties. Only a couple of the monkeys remain to get a better look at you.

"Huh…" Colobok says. "Who'd have thought."
"Let's keep that gift idea in mind," Sparkler says. "Could help us get some help out of them if we need it, like information."



Cutlass laughs. "Anyone who spends more than five seconds with you would assume that you CAN'T hurt them."


"What do you mean free to do as he likes? There's nothing stopping him from doing that now to mess with me if he wanted."


"I… I do? Oh! I have never been called fearsome before- I always wished I could be as terrifying as my brother can get!" he chirps, smiling a little bit.

Alder responds by swishing his tail tuft just in front of Cutlass's snout.

"Ah… well, that is rather nice of them to disperse. Blue is the 'good' color, then." he says, landing on the ground on the other side of the bridge. He cocks his head to the side when a couple of the monkeys remain behind, and offers a friendly little bow.


"That went well," she comments. "Let's not stand around. The longer we do, the longer our allies are held by Kukulcan. Who knows what he's whispering to them."

She starts trying to navigate the tree village, nodding respectfully to the spiders and the gibbons, moving in the direction she feels the gnomon is in.

Roll #1 8 = 8


"You're more profitable to him right now, so long as you keep finding gold that he can siphon off," Hmm says. "But once those wings are purchased back, he'll have little use for keeping you around."



"I'm surprised," Cutlass contemplates out loud. "I had been working on a theory that the obsidian warriors were what killed off the population here. Or they work for whatever did. But, apparently they were made to defend the population. So… why did they fail so spectacularly?"


Cutlass smirks and swats her hoof at him.


"Ok but what about the others, he isn't bothering Cutlass or Cerulean and they didn't do any deal, so why isn't he messing with them?"


Cerulean has a relieved look and opens her mouth again, hoping that they'd know she wouldn't be trying to bite anyone, or anything.

"Maybe…this has something to do with that dream we all had," she wonder outloud after hearing Cutlass' theory.
"Cause stop me if I'm wrong, but you all saw guys like these getting in the face of those giant metal guys, right?"


"He can't get to them right now, but to you, he has a sympathetic connection through your wings. Once the wings come back to you, he'll come along for the ride."



"The metal man we found was surrounded by obsidian ants. The ants had seemed to be defending him. But, maybe they were trying to contain it? Either way, there's a relation here."


Cloud slumps as he hears the news.
"Great, so I got scammed like a new pony in the big city."


"Then…," she takes a look back in the direction she thinks their ships are back with a worried look. The kind of look someone has when they wonder if they remembered to turn the oven off before leaving the house.



"I doubt it's dangerous," Cutlass shrugs. "It's not like those obsidian ants could have actually stopped something dangerous. And, if the ants WERE stopping that thing, that just means it's not that dangerous."


"Now you get why everybody – including Demons – hates genies," Hmm says.

"Don't leave me in the dark!" Chiu insists. "What'd she say?"

"Yeah, I remember that," Droplet says to Cerulean. "And those dreams before that… I felt like I was really afraid that something big was about to come bearing down on me, and I was trying to make something out of stone."
"Let's have a peek around, if our gracious hosts will permit it," Colobok says. "As Sparkler said, an answer or at least a clue might be found here."

You move north from the village's outskirts, finding that hopping from branch to branch wherever they may intersect proves to be a winding and convoluted path through it. The monkeys who inhabit the village seem to agree, as they prefer to travel by jumping along and among a series of metal cables that run along the upper levels of the village. The cables seem to be of the same make and material that was used in the bridge to the southwest. A number of large rings, each with a gemstone slotted into its nadir, are hooked onto the metal cables, and whatever their original purpose was, the monkeys seem to be using it now like, well, monkey bars, hopping from ring to ring to facilitate travel. There are also cables and metal rings hanging vertically near certain houses.


Eventually, after an exhausting climb through what appeared to have been an outer residential district, you reach what appears to have been the center of town for whoever may have inhabited it before these gibbons. The trees and tree-houses in this area are all arranged in a great spiral around a magnificent bronze tower, extending all the way from the earth far below, up into the treeline. There are a number of platforms built into it, and doors in its outer wall, which lead further in. You can see that the outer platforms are part of some kind of network for going up and down the tower, as there are staircases and even what appears to be a non-functioning elevator visible.

Some gibbons are gathered near the top of the tower, where you can see an array of concentric bronze rings, fitted with gemstones of various kinds, all of the same school of metalwork as the obsidian warriors. This strange contraption connects to a bronze spire, shaped like the head of a spear. It is off-center, pointing off to the side. It appears to be tangled up in the tree-branches surrounding it. The gibbons fiddle with the rings and the gemstones, but to no avail.


"The wishes are fine, but after them it'd be free game for him to do whatever."
Cloud says disappointingly to Chiu. He thinks a moment, but his tone still has that of a defeated pony.
"What if I only make the second wish, but not the third? Would he be unable to do anything until I make that last one?"
He asks Hmm.


"Technically…" Hmm says. "But if you bring him here to make those wishes, he'll get sight of Chiu. He just might even try to get another Demon involved to help him. If there's anything that you can rely on to be true about genies, it's that they've always got five or six souls who owe them favors at any given time."

"Cloud, just forget about the whole thing!" Chiu pleads. "I don't think there's any hope in trying to out-finesse a genie of all things."


"Well, this is all rather… surprising! I wonder what this tower is, exactly? It seems like there might be more within it."


"He's going to show up eventually!"
Cloud shouts, before looking down from yet another outburst. He raises a hoof to his head.
"I'm sorry… But, whenever I touch bits or treasure or anything valuable, part of it disappears. So if he'll show up when it's all paid off, I have to figure out what to do. I thought I was smart back when I did this but I just screwed up again."

"Hmm, what if he shows up when I'm not near Chiu, he won't notice her then that way, right?"


"Intriguing. What do you suppose built all this? And for what purpose? It feels like the further we go, the deeper we fall into the reverie of some forgotten inventor." She watches the monkeys going about their business for a while contemplatively before pressing on.


"She'd have to be pretty far off to be safe," Hmm says. "I'd say at least a mile or two."
"I just want the Wetnurse to eat this genie alive so we can be done with this bullshit," Chiu grumbles.



Cutlass observes the monkeys playing with the wires. "Still very odd that there are no bodies here," Cutlass comments. "Where did they all go?"


"I'm sure you're right, but still…." She still looks a bit uneasy.

"Here's hoping. So far, this is completely different from what I thought I signed up for."

Cerulean looks oddly out of breath after all the traversing.
"How…do they…do this without…water to swim in?" She takes a moment to catch her breath, then looks at the odd spire and metal rings. Faced with something she doesn't know, she carefully takes out the information rifle and gives it a quick and harmless zap.



"How… DO you breathe?" Cutlass asks as Cerulean struggles to catch her breath.


"Gills and lungs?"


She frowns. "I don't think that's such a good idea."


"Why? It doesn't hurt anything," she responds somewhat cluelessly.


"How big is this island?"
He asks Hmm.


"Ah- m-maybe before anything else, we could take a chance to rest? You two look, uhm… quite exhausted." the griffon says, tucking his wings back in as he lands.


"They might not take kindly to being shot at, even if it doesn't do anything," she explains with the tone of a mother explaining to her child why they shouldn't stick a fork in the power point.


Cerulean blinks as the pieces come together, and two plus two equals four.
"Oh…well…guess I didn't think this idea through then…."



"How do you have both!?"


"I'm not tired… just a little… rattled," Cutlass responds, seeming uncomfortable.


When Cerulean pops the tower with her laser gun, her mind floods with a brief glimpse of information from a long-lost age.

>The Conduit of Night's Tapestry

>A masterwork tower of the _________ race, constructed in the year of ________ by the Princess _______, heir-apparent to don the Skin of the Sun and ascend to the throne of the sky as Sun-Serpent. It was the beginning of a magical relay network for facilitating ____________ between islands, but the project was terminated at the calamity that was the opening of the World-Serpent's Maw.

Shortly after the shot is fired, many gibbons shriek in alarm and whoop a warning cry, and the eyes of the obsidian spider sentries flash red as they turn their vision toward Cerulean. No fewer than five begin to skitter toward the party from all directions, their eyes fixated on Cerulean. Bent Scales and Make Believe gather around her protectively, while the assassins group up around Cutlass, looking around for a path of escape.

"Uh– uhh–" Splendid stammers in a panic. "Cerulean! Try it, try that song!"


"Well, it's too late now," she mutters tersely, turning her gaze treeward with trepidation. "With any luck they won't decide to disembowel us."


"No," Chiu firmly protests. "Hmm, if you can hear me, don't answer."
"…Pretty big," Hmm says, getting nervous.


"Ah. Is it, uhm, something I can help with? I would not like to see you so unsettled."

Alder squawks a little in surprise as the sentries skitter towards them, starting to box them in! He's not fully sure what all he can do, aside from scooting over next to Cerulean and raising his claws disarmingly.


"I just do. I'unno," she says with a hoof flail of one who clearly isn't a biology teacher.

Cerulean doesn't have much time to think on the information she just learned. Instead, she take's Splendid's advice and quickly clears her throat. She gives a hum to start before giving a few notes, trying to convey an apology in her music.

>Motherly Song: Recharge 2; Remembering warm and tender feelings, Cerulean's songs have a similar effect on those who hear it. The aura and song fills its listeners with general friendliness towards Cerulean. It might even be able to diffuse a fight.

>Spending 2 TBP

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10



Cutlass backs away from Cerulean as all the defenses focus on her.

"Don't expect me to be on your side after you make foolish decisions," Cutlass says, taking a non-threatening posture.

She looks around at the village, still pondering what happened here. She feels like if she just had more information about this place she could-

Then, Cutlass face-hoofs. She telekinetically takes her Snake Pendant that's been around her neck this entire time out from under her dress and looks at it. "Hey, Monty, do you know anything about this place?"


>[1d10+2] Innocent (Passive); Appear unimportant, uninteresting and generally like a forgettable bystander. Unless you are caught doing something illegal, you will at most be escorted outside, but more likely you'll just be ignored by guards and the like
>Spending 2 TBP

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


Cloud looks to Chiu, afraid, but he reaches out, grabbing one of her hooves with his remaining good one.
"You can't go much farther than the ship, but if this island is big enough, it's the only way I can protect you."
As he speaks, he squeezes her hoof tighter.
"I screwed up. We weren't even in the Ribcage and I made a big mistake. If there's treasure here like why we came down here to begin with, I can get this genie stuff over and done with without you getting affected."


"I could tell you about all of the gosssssssip and sssssssstreet talk that transssspiressss between the gibbonssss here, but even I do not know what happened to the original ressssidentssss of thissss village. The apesssss have their theoriesssss… some hold that this wassss a dwelling-place of the lassssst godssss, and that thesssse obssidian creaturessss are something like guardian angelssss, while other apessss worship the obsssssidian creaturessss assss like godssss themsssselvesss."

The obsidian warriors slow, and then pause as Cerulean sings to them, and the nearby gibbons cease their warning cries, and stop fleeing from where Cerulean shot the laser. They all gradually calm down as Cerulean serenades them, and although Alder may have been outshone by her performance, his corroboration certainly doesn't hurt. The alarm goes down once her song ends, and the spiders back away.

All but one obsidian spider, a rather small one, who holds out a claw to Cerulean. It seems he wants her to turn over the laser gun.

Chiu squeezes your hoof with care, but her aura radiates palpable fear. She holds your gaze a long while, then gulps and nods. "Go ahead, Hmm."
"Right now, it's a little under 500 square miles… I can tell that it used to be much larger, but then… something happened. It's another one of those things I just can't call to mind… like when you found that picture of the Puros. Something's hiding that information from me, or maybe it's been taken, or redacted somehow."


"So there's more than enough space to keep Chiu a safe distance away. …How far in did I get yesterday?"



"So, there's no dead bodies anywhere?" Cutlass asks Monty. "No evidence of any centaur-like people?"

"Hmm… Your knowledge is based on what the people who live here know, right? Is it like based on proximity? I mean, if I asked you about this place before even left on our expedition, would you have known about it? How far out is your range?"

"My thought is that if there is still someone in your range somewhere who knows something about how this place used to be, then you'd know it too, right?"


Cerulean sighs and gives out actual apologies once they were calmed down. She looks to the small spider holding the claw out. She nods and steps up to it.
"Alright, here you go," she says, handing the gun to it.
"Just make sure I get it back, okay? It doesn't hurt things, just helps me learn more about them, and I'm still learning how to read good," she explains the spider, not sure if it can understand her, but considering even these constructs were affected by her song, might be worth a shot.

"Well, sorry about that guys, but I did learn a small something. This thing is part of some kind of magic relay thing. There's more on other islands…or were? I mean, this island did sink, so…but yeah, it was missing some bits of information again like when I shoot the town, though."



"Did it say what it was for?" Cutlass asks, sounding a tad exasperated for Cerulean leaving out the most key piece of information.


"Fascinating!" she exclaims, sounding uncharacteristically passionate. "I'm sure we'll learn more once we explore further in. It's not much to go on, but it's a start. We're lucky to have you along!" She gives Cerulean an encouraging smile. The aura seems to have had a passing effect on her.


"The farthest you got from the ship was a little under seven miles," Hmm says.

"No bodiessss, and no evidenssse of centaurssss," Monty confirms. "At lest, none vissssible. There issss a graveyard to the north, kept under heavy guard, and itsssss exisssstensssse is ssssomething of a ssssscandal for the religiousssss convictionsssss of the apessss. Ssssome think that true godssss cannot die, while otherssss would sssseek to make pilgrimage to that graveyard, but the obssssidian guardssss do not allow it."

"I can remember many thingssss long after I have left a location, but my information will not be current. I musssst be within earshot of the people to get the current gosssssip, and I know nothing about placessss I have never been before."

The tiny spider takes the gun with a great degree of care, walking off to the north until it reaches the end of the branch. It leaps onto one of the metal cables and continues its northward journey.

The rest of the group looks at Thessaly, truly baffled that her change of tone seems sincere and not sarcastic. All except Make Believe and Splendid; the former claps Thessaly on the shoulder, though he nearly has to stand on tip-hoof to do it. Yeah, that's the spirit. Don't worry, we'll get to the bottom of this, and we'll get that gun back too.
Sparkler clicks her tongue with annoyance, while Splendid hums the last few bars of Cerulean's song over and over with enjoyment.
"This could be something that Kukulcan might know about," Droplet comments. "If nothing else, I bet he'd have an interest in the place. Maybe we could cool our heels here and get in touch with him while we recover. Could set up that ambush, too."



"Oh! Very good job, Miss Cerulean!" the griffon chirps, letting out a sigh of relief as the spiders seem to back off… after she hands over the gun, of course. "Just be more careful next time- no need for apologizing. Though, what you learned is quite interesting. It is… strange, though, that it was missing bits and pieces. I wonder if that is because it was stricken from the record, somehow. Regardless, we should see what we can discover about this relay."


Last time, on PirateQuest…

The crew placated the shadow of obsidian jaguars that had surrounded them by liberating a great quantity of fruit from the trees surrounding. Colobok and Droplet (who had inexplicably invited himself for the mission, despite Cutlass's request that only 3 of her crewmates come) stayed behind to peel fruit for the jaguars, while the party went off to find their missing crew. Their destination was a towering gnomon for a colossal sundial on a faraway mountain, which is where Kukulcan had wanted to meet yesterday, and could easily serve as another meeting destination.

In order to get there, the party first had to pass through a tree-house village in a stretch of jungle between the hill that they were just on, and the mountain on which the gnomon was built. They found that the village was not inhabited by those that built it, but by a troupe of gibbons. Strangely, the gibbons were being guarded by a group of obsidian insects and arthropods, who were peaceful to the party after an initial inspection.

The party traveled through the village, stopping briefly as they reached its center. In the center of the village was a great brass tower that stretched from the base of the jungle below, to the tops of the trees. It was some kind of magical crystalline construct, with strange machinery at the top, but neither the party nor the gibbons knew its purpose.

Cerulean attempted to glean information by using her laser gun, but like at the abandoned port town, the information contained within the brass tower was heavily redacted, teaching her something about a princess and some kind of relay network that was in the middle of construction, before it was stopped by an event called "the opening of the World-Serpent's Maw." Cerulean had come across that same term when she inspected one of the obsidian warriors that they defeated yesterday, but its meaning was unclear.

Another problem: When Cerulean fired her gun, she spooked the gibbons, who had no idea that her shot was harmless. Obsidian spiders confronted Cerulean, and though she was able to placate the gibbons and obsidian warriors both, one of the spiders confronted her gun.

During all of this, Cloud and Chiu remained on the beach with their shadow doppelgangers, discussing whether to stay with the crew or use one of Stone Cold Classic's wishes to send themselves home. Chiu was adamantly opposed to using the wish, and Hmm's insights into the nature of demons only served to underscore Chiu's trepidation. But Classic would appear once Cloud had paid off his debts, so they needed a plan to deal with him one way or another…


"The farthest you got from the ship was a little under seven miles," Hmm says.


"No bodiessss, and no evidenssse of centaurssss," Monty confirms. "At lest, none vissssible. There issss a graveyard to the north, kept under heavy guard, and itsssss exisssstensssse is ssssomething of a ssssscandal for the religiousssss convictionsssss of the apessss. Ssssome think that true godssss cannot die, while otherssss would sssseek to make pilgrimage to that graveyard, but the obssssidian guardssss do not allow it."

"I can remember many thingssss long after I have left a location, but my information will not be current. I musssst be within earshot of the people to get the current gosssssip, and I know nothing about placessss I have never been before."

>Cerulean, Thessaly

The tiny spider takes the gun with a great degree of care, walking off to the north until it reaches the end of the branch. It leaps onto one of the metal cables and continues its northward journey.

The rest of the group looks at Thessaly, truly baffled that her change of tone seems sincere and not sarcastic. All except Make Believe and Splendid; the former claps Thessaly on the shoulder, though he nearly has to stand on tip-hoof to do it. Yeah, that's the spirit. Don't worry, we'll get to the bottom of this, and we'll get that gun back too.
Sparkler clicks her tongue with annoyance, while Splendid hums the last few bars of Cerulean's song over and over with enjoyment.
"This could be something that Kukulcan might know about," Droplet comments. "If nothing else, I bet he'd have an interest in the place. Maybe we could cool our heels here and get in touch with him while we recover. Could set up that ambush, too."

>Alder, Cerulean

"Weren't things like that with the port town, too?" Splendid asks.
"From what I heard, yeah," Bent Scales says. "A bunch of things were missing from the town, right? But not ordinary things – more like… properties and information."



"Ok, that's plenty far. Whatever Kukulcan was looking for should be even farther then."


Chiu frowns as you continue your conversation with Hmm, and then sighs. "Okay… what's your plan, then? Because I'm not dealing with you coming back with fewer and fewer pieces. I need those pieces, you know."


"That is… curious. But, there are many strange things about these islands. Maybe… could someone's aura power cause something like that? Or, a peculiar part of the island's magic?"


Cerulean shrugs.
"Whatever a magic relay thingy is. It was suppose to help with something between islands, but some stuff was cut off again."

Cerulean sees Thessaly smiling for once and figures she might've found out something Thess actually likes.
"Well, if it helps, it was being made by a princess. Something about wearing the sun's skin and becoming a Sun Serpent?"


Black-Book Thessaly 6/6


"If it's an Aura Ability that's causing it, why would they be taking away information and properties from the island?" Bent Scales asks. "Hiding a secret?"
"The things that have been redacted so far don't seem to be of much importance at first glance," Colobok says. "With the possible exception of this tower, which strikes me as some kind of magical construct. But why take away little pieces here and there, instead of the whole thing – or just destroying it? When we spies redact something, we do a thorough job. This seems… sloppy. Or, perhaps, piecemeal would be a better word."


"Mmm… that is a good point, yes. Perhaps whatever is doing this is not fully aware, or not fully in control. Regardless… this magic relay-thing is quite interesting. Do you think trying to go inside the tower might bother the guardians?"


"I…I don't know. The others dealt with Mallea's demon, so right now I'm hoping they can deal with this genie when he appears."
Cloud says, not sounding too confident.
"I know, but…" Cloud sighs, "I really don't know if I can…"


The aura effect seems to quickly wear off. She blinks and frowns, regaining her usual composure. She looks a bit miffed at having been manipulated. "Hmm. Yes, well, we should hurry. Perhaps Kukulcan will be able to elucidate the nature of this place. I don't trust him for a second not to turn the tables on us, so let's be quick about it." She gathers herself and starts moving onward rather pointedly.


"Dunno. Kinda weird, but also kinda makes it more mysterious, ya know? I mean, doesn't exactly answer questions, but makes it interesting."

"Yeah, good point. Though…if we can't trust him with our friends, can we really trust anything he says about this place?" She had a troubled look as she tried to figure out this little quandary.


Cerulean seems to have placated them pretty well, so I think it should be safe, Make Believe says. Let's just not get too sidetracked from finding our friends.
"Maybe some of us could go on ahead for them, and the rest of us can poke around here to try to find out some more?" Sparkler asks.
Seeing Thessaly move on to go look for your allies, Bent Scales and Splendid follow after her. Scales looks back over her shoulder. "You guys can investigate the tower if you want, but we've got some allies to worry about first. I'm gonna call ahead to see about setting up that meeting at the gnomon that he wanted to do yesterday."

While Scales retrieves her conch, those who choose to venture onward to the sundial plaza will need to make a roll for navigation. Those who want to stay behind to investigate the brass tower, or the rest of the monkeys' village, can make investigation rolls.

Chiu clicks her tongue with thought. "…There's Mallea and Thessaly who have knowledge of demons, and all of you who defeated a couple of demons yourselves…"

She retrieves a large logbook from her bag, full of bookmarks, and starts flipping through it. "Hrm… do we know anyone else who might be good in this kind of situation?"

She eventually stops on a page. "Hey, what about Gullveig? And Magoja? They both seemed pretty powerful themselves."


"You've been writing everything down?"
Cloud questions as Chiu pulls out the large logbook.
"We'd need Thessaly to talk to Gullveig, and how would we even reach Magoja? He's way back two islands ago."


"A-Ah! Right. Apologies, some of this… threw me off, e-ehehe… let us keep going, then?"
[1d10] Navigation

Roll #1 5 = 5


She simply nods to Scales and waits for the others to gather before venturing forth.
[1d10] Nav

Roll #1 3 = 3


"Yeah, I've been having the crew fill me in on everything I've missed. I'm gonna publish it once we're out of here," Chiu says. "I'll omit certain pages of the more questionable content, of course. But, if we aren't millionaires from all our piracy, we can at least make a good bit of money off of an entertaining tale of adventure." She shrugs. "Yeah, and I doubt that our conches would be able to reach him from this far underwater. We could try our luck with Gullveig once Thessaly gets back. Mallea will be busy today with the last steps of preparing Splendid's magic potion."

She glances over at the shadow pair, who have made quite possibly the coolest sandcastle you have ever seen in your life. Two-tiered, with an inner courtyard and outer wall.



Rolling for navigation because everyone else is! [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


"At least we have a backup plan."
Cloud mutters when she brings up selling a book of their adventures.
"So we're stuck waiting until they get back then."

Cloud glances over, looking at the sandcastle their shadow copies made, a small smile coming to his face. Shadow Cloud finishes up a drawbridge for the outer wall, looking rather proud of his work.


"I'd love to check things out a bit more here, but yeah, gotta put our friends first right now." Cerulean gives a little wave to those staying behind before following along with the others, hopefully not getting them lost…again.



Roll #1 9 = 9


"And there we… go," Shadow Chiu says as she finishes fashioning a flag out of a twig and a small leaf, and sticks it into the roof of the sandcastle. "Quick, get a picture before the tide comes in!"
"Hell yeah," Chiu says, scooting in next to you. Shadow Chiu tugs Shadow Cloud in so they can be in the selfie as well.

Having gotten a bit of a second wind from your stop to examine the magical brass tower, you find yourselves getting accustomed to the winding branch paths and short hops that you need to make it through the village. Periodically, you'll see a gibbon swinging around on the hanging cables or the iron rings hanging overhead and around you. They seem to keep an eye on you from afar, and don't make any attempt to make contact with you.

A little before noontime, you reach the northern end of the village, where you see a bridge similar to the one far to the southwest, which you used to enter the village. The other end of the bridge connects to a plateau in the cliff wall to the north, at the top of which waits the sundial. After a brief inspection to ensure it's sound, you find that it's safe to cross, and so you do.

When you cross over to the other side, you find that the mountain here appears to have been sculpted quite a bit. Stairs and railings have been carved out of the rock, and several sets of staircases and even stone ladders have been made to criss-cross up the mountain's side. Many intricate carvings can be seen in the walls and on the railings, in scratchy, gouge-like letters, the exact same script that's on the potsherds. Perhaps these may be directions or messages of a sort, but indecipherable.

You're able to follow the stone steps all the way to the top of the mountain, and as you reach its peak, you find yourselves in a vast and round arena – a colossal sundial. Perhaps a quarter of a mile wide, one with many pathways radiating out from the center, and in the form of concentric rings, enabling one to walk around it without stepping upon the writings on the ground, again, in that scratchy script. Accompanying the script are diagrams of animals, as well as icons of the sun and moon and clouds… perhaps weather projections, or holiday markings, or simple decorations. In the center of the vast arena stretches the colossal gnomon. Upon its side, one can see that it has been bored through in a number of places, running from top to bottom, mostly circular in shape, for an unknown purpose.


As your eyes reach the base of the gnomon, you see two bizarre characters. One is a large and youthful griffon male, with a panther body and a seagull's head, carrying a rubber ball upon his withers, about the size of a soccer ball. The other one appears to be a crystal pony mare with a contradictory appearance. Though she wears a long dress and has a folding fan held up above her mouth, her short-cropped mane and her rounded eyes give you more of a tomboy impression.

The mare raises her hoof with a cheeky smile. "Wassup?"

The griffon says nothing, but rolls the ball back down along his back, bumps it with his hip toward Alder.

>Alder roll to dodge or deflect


Shadow Cloud scoots over at Shadow Chiu's tag, coming in for the beach pic. Cloud takes out the Picture-Box, handing it to Chiu to snap a picture of them and their castle since she can get a better angle with both of her hooves.


"Oh, hey there!" Cerulean greets happily.
"Are you the ones Kukulcan said to meet up with? Sorry if we're late."


She blinks as she sees the two youthful looking characters. She looks a bit stony; rambunctious teens are one of her pet peeves. She cannot sanction heir buffoonery. "Are you of Kukulcan's crew?" she states simply.


"Oi, you feckin' fergettin' someone?" Granny hollers before Chiu can take the photo.
"Of course not," Chiu says. "I just didn't say anything because I thought it was a given I wanted you in the picture. Now c'mere, scoot in right."
Granny joins the group photo, maintaining a stoic, judgmental glare among all the smiling faces. Chiu takes a few pictures of the sandcastle itself from different angles for posterity. She bumps her hip against yours as she takes the final picture. "How you feeling?" she asks in a whisper.



Roll #1 4 = 4


>sensing with electroception, I'm guessing?

Roll #1 5 = 5


Alder hurries along after the others, mumbling to himself about some of the things they see. He tries to look over the writings- while they're indecipherable, they do seem pretty interesting! The sundial even more so, and the griffon remains a little shocked on their entire approach to it!

He shakes himself out of his head when they encounter the bizarre characters, and lets out a shocked chirp as he tries to bounce the ball back!
>[1d10] Deflect?

Roll #1 4 = 4


"More worried than I was before, but… I am feeling a little better."
Cloud whispers, putting his good hoof around Chiu, the best he can do to hold her now.



"Well we got here," Cutlass comments as she approaches them. "Where did you all land that this was the closest place for us to meet up?"

As she speaks, her eyes subtly turn silver. Her gaze turns toward the griffon.

>Soul Sight on the griffon

>Soul Sight (Aura Level 2): Automatic; Cutlass can use her aura to look into the essence of a person to see what drives and motivates them.


"You know it," the mare says, waving some of the midday heat away with her fan. "I'm Juniper Yumeno; this here's Cycle Kick."

The ball comes in faster than one might think, but Alder manages to position his hip somewhat like Cycle, and bounces the ball off. He's immediately rewarded with a stinging pain, but nothing that can't be walked off.

>Alder 5/6

Cycle headbutts the ball as it comes down toward him, then rolls it down into his withers once more with his wings. "Good hit, you play before?" he asks Alder.

Juniper leaves the griffons to their talk. "Anyway, you must be the infamous Beesting and Hidden Dagger crew. I wish we coulda met in better circumstances, but I'll just get to the bad news quick – a couple of your crewmates are in bad shape. When Cycle and I came across them last night, one had suffered a nasty hit to the head, while two had suffered some damage to their windpipes because they'd passed through some poisonous bushes. Oh, and the chicken's laid up with a tear in her wing."

"We landed in the Dreamer's Moon," Juniper says. "That's one of the two big lakes on this island, it's just to the northwest of us."

You focus your eyes on Cycle Kick. You notice that it takes quite a bit longer to call up this vision than it had for any others so far. When it finally does come across, you see him playing a rather violent game with the ball. Two teams endeavor to bounce the ball into goalposts positioned on the east and west sides of the arena, narrow hoops not much larger than the ball's diameter. Cycle hip-bumps the ball into the goalpost, and the crowd cheers. The opposing team droops to the ground in disappointment, suggesting Cycle just won the game. The crowd tosses obsidian coins and flowers on Cycle and his teammates as they gather together, shouting with exhilaration.

"We'll figure it out, I know we will," Chiu says. "So, you wanna go for a walk while it's still nice out?"


"Yea, a nice, calm walk sounds good."
Cloud says in agreement, moving to stand up with a little difficulty in adjusting with his cane still.



"Well, my crew is called the Secret Assassins," Cutlass correct Juniper. "The ship is called the Hidden Dagger. And, yes, it's…" Cutlass sighs. "So stupid…"

Cutlass ponders her Soul Sight result upon once she's done with Cycle Kick. Not so much the result, that doesn't surprise her, but the fact that it was slightly harder to get. She shrugs it off and looks toward Juniper, her eyes still Silver.

>Soul Sight (Aura Level 2): Automatic; Cutlass can use her aura to look into the essence of a person to see what drives and motivates them.

"So, is there a plan to get back… up?" Cutlass asks, pointing up toward the 'sky'.


Chiu and her shadow pack up the blankets, and Granny follows behind, keeping a slight distance as you start to walk south along the shore. Chiu stands close to help keep your balance, but occasionally drifts away so that you can learn to get your balance on the cane.

>roll 1d50 for a random encounter


Alder lets out a little burst of chatter in his own language, more surprised than anything else that he actually deflected it! He offers a bit of a shrug, before saying "A little- most of the games in my homeland are a little different. Is this common around here, Mister… Cycle Kick? Oh- rude of me to not introduce myself. My name is Alder, of Tribe Frostcaw. Apologies for the surprise, but… I had not expected to find too many others out here."


Whenever Chiu drifts away, Cloud corrects the distance not too long after, preferring to keep her close, if not for physical support but emotional. Shadow Cloud joins at Shadow Chiu's side, following beside the two.

Roll #1 8 = 8


She doesn't give her own name. "The most important part is that they are safe," she says. "We've come to transport them back to our own ship, so lead the way, if it please you." She doesn't try to hide her mild irritation.

"It's a perfectly cromulent name," she remarks.



Cutlass stares at Thessaly for a moment, clearly digging into the back of her mind for memories of her education for the word 'cromulent'. Something seems to click.

"I prefer to think of it as ironic," she shrugs. "Not that I was intentionally going for ironic. Though, to be fair, I wasn't intentionally going for the name at all…"


As you focus on Juniper, you experience a similar delay in the vision's appearance. During that delay, she passes a glance over to Colobok, gives him an affectionate wink and a tilt of her head – and a brief flare of her Aura, a sunset-yellow color.

At last, you apprehend a vision of her soul, wherein you see her as an old mare, rocking in a wooden chair, made comfortable by decades of story-telling. A crowd of foals and their parents sit before her, the children and adults alike awestruck as grandmother Juniper spins them a tale of her adventures as a young mare.

As the vision ends, Colobok looks off to the side, a little red in the face. "I reckon we'll just go back the way we came," Juniper says. "Once the engines have had enough time to recharge their crystals, it wouldn't be hard to fly back up into the deep ocean."

"Oh, absolutely!" Cycle Kick says. "It was the kingdom's pastime back when the island was still populated. It's not so common these days, for obvious reasons of course, but me and Kukulcan are tryin' to bring it back."

"I better not hear you talking trash about my crew's name," Droplet says.

Bent Scales, Make Believe and Splendid offer introductions, but Droplet, Colobok and Sparkler maintain a professional and polite silence like Thessaly. Juniper shrugs at Thessaly's request. "It's more up to our crew's surgeon whether they can be moved, but I'll take you over there all the same."

Juniper turns about, then runs and jumps a few paces, bouncing instead of walking over to the western side of the sundial. "You guys just follow me, and I'll lead you to the Dreamer's Lake. You should watch your step though – the northern side of the mountain hasn't kept as well as the southern side."

The others follow after her.

As you walk along with Chiu, you find yourself getting slowly accustomed to the pace of walking with a cane. The sand doesn't help, and you stumble here and there, but you eventually get the hang of it after Chiu catches you a few times.


As you walk along the shore, you notice that there are no shells lining the waters. Eventually, you see why: Up ahead, on the grass, you see that a couple crabs have gathered a stockpile of the shells. They've got a few gold coins with them too, as well as some obsidian coins you've never seen before. As the crabs see you approach, one of them steps forward, clicking his claws to get your attention.


As they walk, Cloud relaxes more and more, the calming walk by the ocean side with no overt danger or stress is something he needed.
When they spot the crabs ahead with a stockpile of shells and coins, Cloud looks on in confusion until one starts to click towards them.
"Do you think they're building a castle too?"
He says to Chiu, walking over to the crab that's clicking at them.


As you draw near, the crab walks over to the collection of shells, turning a few over in his claws to show them off. They're clean and smooth, and quite a few have some rather pretty colors. They're also empty, and would be ill-suited to serve as shells for molluscs, so you wouldn't have any ethical worries about leaving a hermit crab homeless.

"I think they're running a business," Chiu says. "Should we buy a shell or try to earn some money toward your wings by finding something to sell them?"


"I don't want to risk getting any more bits around you, so let's get some souvenirs."
Cloud says. He looks down at the shells, a little surprised at how clean they are for being on the beach and collected by crabs. He picks out one to go well with Chiu's coat, something that'd look good being made into a necklace.
"How much for that one?"


""Ah, right- we have noticed rather, hrm… bizarre patterns with that. Bits and pieces almost seem missing. What exactly is the, hrm… the 'deal' with that, I think it is said? And, is it just the two of you, right now?"


You find a somewhat green-gold one that would match her mane and coat quite nicely. The crab holds up two of the golden coins in one claw, and one obsidian coin in the other.

"Two Bits per obsidian coin?" Chiu asks. "Dang, they've got quite the favorable exchange rate."

"Yeah, the rest of the crew is busy excavating some ruins near Skull Temple, so they sent us two," Cycle says.
"Oh!" Splendid says. "Inn't that what Cerulean mentioned?"
"Wait, lemme guess – you've encountered the protectors of this island?" Cycle asks.
"You could say that," Splendid says with a little wince.

Cycle turns back to you to address your other question. "Lemme ask you something, first. How have you been sleeping lately? Any strange dreams?"



"The ships can FLY?" Cutlass asks, sounding surprised.


"What do you mean YOUR crew?" Cutlass contests to Droplet.


Cutlass follows Juniper. "Out of curiosity," Cutlass asks her as she struggles to keep up while looking casual. "How old ARE you?"


"Can yours not?" Juniper asks. "The Chiccan-class engines we installed can do more than just dive and glide – they can fly too! It's useful for getting to the floating islands – and everything else beyond that."

"I named 'em, so they're my crew," Droplet says.
"Plague hasn't been dead so long you can steal his bit," Sparkler says.

"I'm old enough to drink, constable, honest, I am," Juniper says with a wink.


"Those obsidian coins must have been what this island used before. Wonder if they'd be good on the surface."
Cloud reaches back to fish out two bits, finding it a bit difficult with his pouch placement. Shadow Cloud helps in getting the bits out for him, which Cloud then passes to the crab.



"I definitely don't recall anyone mentioning that the engines allow us to fly. But, that WAS also a week ago…"

Cutlass looks to Droplet. "I'm the one who said the name first. Therefore, I named the crew," she argues.

Cutlass chuckles at Juniper's joke. "I'm not either. Not that that ever stops me. Like I said, I'm just curious."


The crab takes the Bits, adding them to the stack, and hands over the shell in exchange. Chiu can obviously tell what it's for, but pretends to be blissfully unaware, admiring the shell to let you have the fun of gift-giving. Granny looks over. "I've some twine in me toolkit if yer fixin' to make a necklace."


"The protectors are… g-good at their job, I suppose. I wish they could have been a little worse at it." he says, somewhat nervously. "Regardless- yes, very unsettling dreams. They have become more common, as of late."


"No, no, no," Droplet says. "See, it's like when you say a joke, but nobody laughs, but then the person next to you repeats the joke louder, or with a slightly different inflection, and everyone laughs. The crew didn't accept the name until I doubled down on it, so they accepted my naming of the crew, not yours."
Ooh, time for a mutiny? Make Believe asks.

"Well, you can remain curious," Juniper says. "I was being honest, though. Now, what I'm curious about is that Aura ability you used on me. I saw that hint of silver. So, what was it?"

"Then I can guess that you've seen the Vault as well," Cycle Kick says. His tone and face turn as he says that word – he wears a combination of tempered dread and excitement. "Every night, it opens… and every night, a little more of Cuauhtemoc is gone, pulled into the Vault."
"Gone? So… those giants…" Splendid murmurs.


Cloud takes the shell in his hoof, nodding to Granny.
"Thanks Granny."
He gestures Shadow Cloud over, needing the extra hoof to help string up the shell. The two mutter back and forth as they work with the difficulty of only having one hoof each to manipulate twine.
>How effective they are [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


You manage to tie a decent enough knot… but one wrong pull, and the whole thing comes apart to square one. "It's like being in a seven legged race," Chiu says. "You have to get a rhythm of working together without being conscious of being separate people."



"So, you mean it's like being a generally uncool person?" Cutlass responds to Droplet with a grin.


"You're the first person to actually notice it," Cutlass says with a shrug and a smirk. "I'm surprised more people haven't. Just consider it a method of appraising people. You can never be too careful, you know."

"Though, if we're going to talk about it, then I have to ask. Did one of you do something to me?"


>"You'd think that'd be easy since we're the same pony."
"This will be easy. You made a sand castle after all, this is simple compared to that."
>"Alright alright, just hold your end steady and I'll tie it around."
"No you should loop your end and I'll put mine through and then we tie it."
The two go back and forth to plan out their attack strategy, finally settling on one and getting to it.

Roll #1 10 = 10


"A-Ah. That is, uhm… concerning. Is there any ways that it could be returned somehow? I do not know quite as much about 'The Vault' as you, I think."


"I wouldn't know, I'm not you," Droplet says.
Make Believe starts to double over with laughter, and Sparkler, perhaps just catching the contagion, starts to snicker too.
Colobok grimaces. "So this is it… this is how our captain gets murdered.
You get the feeling that if Ossie weren't more suspicious of Kukulcan, she'd join in too.

"You mean you took my measurements!?" Juniper exclaims, aghast.

But she quickly recovers. "No, not that I remember. Why, you not feeling well? It is noon; we might as well stop for a rest and to get something to eat."

You make a beautiful and sturdy shell necklace for Chiu, and her eyes glimmer, but she waits for you to put it on her rather than snatch it up herself.

"That's what we aim to find out," Cycle says. "But I don't think it's impossible – in the last dream that we all had, we saw the obsidian creatures running past the 'giants,' as you called them to try to get at the Vault itself. As far as I know, they're just simple machines – so if they're coming up with a plan of action like that, it might be possible, and it might be simple… or am I just being a wishful thinker?"

"A little optimism never hurt anyone," Splendid offers.



"Gets murdered," Cutlass says with a devious expression on her face. "No, this is how I become a murderer. Droplet's about to meet his tragic end. Well- Not really TRAGIC in the sense that anyone will be sad about it."


"No, I'm feeling fine," Cutlass answers. "It's just my power didn't work on you as immediately as it usually does."


Both Clouds smile at the finished necklace, with both of them each taking and end of the necklace to loop it over Chiu's head to give her her new present.
"A perfect gift for the Queen of the beach."
>"Goes well with the castle too."



"So, to be clear," Cutlass steps into the conversation. "Your crew hasn't recovered any armor or some other technology from the ruins here and brought it back to your ship? We have an armor in our stash right now, and some people are under the impression that the nightmares are coming form that. But, if we would have the nightmares regardless, then there's no need for the superstition."


"Optimism cannot hurt, yes!" the griffon chirps, fluttering his wings a little. "If we can learn more, we can hopefully figure out a better idea of how to approach this Vault."

"I… hrm. I am not sure, actually. I have been a tad occupised the last day or so."


"Can't believe I'm about to get poked to death by the world's tiniest knives," Droplet says, standing a bit closer to you to demonstrate the absurd difference in your heights, absolutely mogging you.

"That sounds like a you problem," Juniper says with a shrug. "My abilities are more about fashion and looks."

After you put it on Chiu, a silhouette of the necklace appears on her shadow doppelganger. Both mares show their gratitude with a kiss to their respective special somepony.
"Now keep your eyes out for something I can get you," Chiu says. "We should really get into a habit of collecting souveniers on every island."
"Heheheh," Shadow Chiu laughs.
"I just realized that the two of them really do have two eyes between them!"
"Oh, we're horrible."

Cycle shakes his head. "No, not by the giants, in any case. In our case, the nightmares started one by one with the crew. At first, nobody took them seriously, until each mate learned that the rest of the crew was having them as well. We asked around, went to the Captain and his first mates… and it turned out that he and Two Reeds had been having them every day for years."



"Wait, you've been having the nightmares since before coming here?" Cutlass asks in confusion.


"I know this goes against everything every slut you've been with has ever told you," Cutlass responds to Droplet with a cocky smirk. "But, size does not matter."


"I think we've been good on that, if you count those outfits and jewelry we looted from Kaco Island as a souvenir."
Cloud comments.

Shadow Cloud deadpans at Shadow Chiu's joke, Cloud as well giving a momentary frown, but then thinks a moment.
"Huh, I wonder if you have a Shadow Hmm in your eye too."
>"Do you think there would be?"
"Chiu's aura copies pretty much everything so far, like how it just copied the necklace."
>"Couldn't hurt to check," Shadow Cloud comments, flipping up his eyepatch, "Is there anypony in there?"


"Years? That is, uhm… bizarre. They never spoke of them, or acted on them? Maybe they have a closer connection, somehow."


"I've never been with a mare and I'm disgusted by the insinuation that I would not protect my virginity," Droplet says.
"Did you really have to take it there?" Sparkler asks with a grimace.
Yeah, that was just gross, Make Believe says.
"I'm ashamed on your behalf and on your parents'," Colobok says.

Shadow Cloud can hear a tiny evil laugh from within his false eye. "Ask me a question," Shadow Hmm says. "If you dare…"
"Well?" Chiu asks. "I can see the shape of the gem, anyone home?"

"The Captain keeps a lot of things close to his chest," Cycle Kick says.
"We've gotten used to them," Juniper says. "Some of the crew have taken to trying to force themselves into lucidity as they dream, to try and figure out what's in the Vault, but none have succeeded. I think now that they would be unnerved by their absence. Something about the dreams… calls to them."



Cutlass rolls her eyes at her crew. "Worst pirate crew. Ever."


"But, what's causing the nightmares?" Cutlass muses. "If it's not proximity to something, then it must mean that something about ourselves has been… changed or cursed by something. What had the power to do that without our noticing?"


>"Yea, I hear the crow in there."
Shadow Cloud answers Chiu.
>"Sounds like a dramatic one too. Alright Shadow Hmm, know anything good here Chiu can get us?"
He asks.
"Hey Hmm, can you here your shadow clone?"
Cloud asks his own bird.


"Hrm… I do not know if answering that call would be the best idea, personally. Something about that feels… off? Wrong? I do not know."

"Well, these islands are quite strange, so it could be that… perhaps an enchantment upon the Vault?"


"Yeah, but I wouldn't take her too seriously," Hmm whispers back.

"Grilled cheeses back on the Beesting," Shadow Hmm says with a dramatic tone.

"He meant out here," Hmm says.

"Oh, I dunno," Shadow Hmm says. "Look around for it yourself, don't make me do all the work."

Cycle shrugs. "That's what we intend to find out. We wouldn't be adventurers if feelings like that drove us to give up."
Juniper ponders this a bit more, but does it in silence.



Last time, on PirateQuest…

Our crew left the village now inhabited by the gibbons, electing to discern the nature of the brass tower sometime after they'd found out what happened with their comrades. They crossed over to another mountain, but unlike the ones they've encountered so far, which had been wrought by nothing but the natural elements of the island, this one had been carved in every fashion. Stairs, ladders, walkways and ramps covered its surface, making their way to the top an easy trek.

Upon the top of the mountain was the gnomon they'd seen from afar, and it overlooked a carved sundial nearly a quarter-mile in diameter, its surface engraved with images of the seasons, of beasts, of holidays and ritual symbols unknown, indicating it was not only a sundial but a calendar. Waiting there were two of Kukulcan's crewmates: A griffon athlete by the name of Cycle Kick, and a crystal pony tomboy in an elaborate dress, by the name of Juniper Yumeno. Juniper explained that they had been the ones to find our crewmates, but that most of them had been laid up with some kind of severe injury, and were in no condition to be moved. Juniper then began to lead our crew over to the Dreamer's Moon, the lake where the Thunder Serpent had docked.


>Thessaly, Cutlass, Cerulean, Alder

During your talks with Juniper and Cycle, the two lead you down the mountain in a northeastern direction, via a series of steps, walkways and ramps. Despite the excellent construction of the stonework, it seems that earthquakes and rain have damaged it, for there are chasms to cross, gaps to leap and precarious drops to brave. One way or another, you manage to get past it without much trouble. The treeline envelops you the deeper and deeper you descend across the mountain's sides.

As you round the bend in search of your next staircase, you see man-sized parrots of brilliant sea-green plumage, bearing a certain reptilian quality to their physiognomy. The giant parrots pluck away great vines and branches to the north, presumably for nests some distance off. Their harvests have opened a picturesque gap in the treeline, through which you can see a vast and deep lake, and by its shore rests the Thunder Serpent. Even from here, the crystal surface of the lake is so pure and clear that you can see the reflection of the Sun Serpent, swimming high above through the clouds.

Some distance east of the lake, there can be seen a colossal gash in the earth, into which some of the lake's offshoot streams fall, creating magnificent waterfalls. A temple of brass and obsidian stone has sunken into the gash, with some remaining intact closer to the lake, and the majority of it having fallen into the chasm.

"That right there's the Skull Temple," Cycle Kick says. "It's what we've been busting our butts trying to excavate so far. Of course, the island's protectors have been giving us quite a bit of trouble."
"We're almost at the camp," Juniper adds. "We should be able to make it in time for the siesta."
"You have a scheduled naptime?" Colobok asks.
"When you feel how hot the afternoon gets around here, you'll understand," Juniper retorts.


"Yeah, but I wouldn't take her too seriously," Hmm whispers back.

"Grilled cheeses back on the Beesting," Shadow Hmm says with a dramatic tone.

"He meant out here," Hmm says.

"Oh, I dunno," Shadow Hmm says. "Look around for it yourself, don't make me do all the work."



>"Grilled cheese, now that sounds good."
"Ooh, that does sound good."

>"Yea, like talking is hard work."

Shadow Cloud mutters to Shadow Hmm.

Cloud looks back to Chiu.
"It does feel close to lunch time. Do you want to head back?"


"Grilled cheese?" Chiu asks, then sighs dramatically. "I'll bet she ordered grilled mushrooms and fresh tomatoes and sauce too, right? As if I'm not already slaving over a hot stove all day."

She sticks her tongue out with a smile. "Sure. You gonna be good to walk back?"


"Ah… does it get so hot that you need to rest? T-That sounds kind of… hrm." the griffon says, frowning a bit and tugging at his scarf.



Cutlass listens to Cycle Kick as some red flags go off in her head.

"So," she asks conversationally. "We're not the first group you've recruited for this. What happened to the others?"


"Yikes. That sounds…well…pretty hot," she comments as she follows them to the camp.
"Maybe we should wait a bit then. Not sure if our friends would be well enough to put up with this heat if they're as bad as we've heard."


"Keeps your blood pressure low, too," Juniper says.
"I would hope you guys keep a guard posted?" Bent Scales asks.
"A few around the camp's perimeter, but things tend to be peaceful around the lakeside," Juniper says.

"You're welcome to stay, if you don't wanna get grilled by the sun," Juniper says. "We've brought some spare hammocks."

"Some bailed, others have died," Cycle Kick answers. "We've gone on other underwater expeditions in the past, and the events of those have had their various… effects on our reputation."



"I suppose I see why your captain wouldn't give us details, then," Cutlass contemplates out loud. "It must be difficult to find people actually willing to help with this."


"Hrm… I suppose, if it helps, I see no reason not to. Is it reaching the 'hot' part of the day, then? We may have been spared by the foliage up until now."


"Well, about the whole underwater thing," Cerulean begins, "I'm noticing a very big lack of water. Like right now. Since I kinda have to walk and climb instead of, ya know, swimming around. What's up with all this?"


Despite their outwardly friendly nature, she does not trust Kukulcan or his servants one iota. She continues to hang near the back of the group and glower, following the rest of the party. She wants to fetch their companions and return to their ships as soon as possible.


"Yeah, we've got a lot of shade in the jungle here," Cycle says. "Once we're out in the Sun Serpent's light down by the lakeside, that's when you're gonna start to be feeling it. All that sun feels nice at first, but it'll start to cook ya before long."

"True," Cycle says. "But people with a pair of balls are rare in every era, this one included. Doesn't really matter whether you ask pirates or mariners, male or female. So far, you lot have held up pretty well."
"Thanks," Droplet says. "I'd like to think we've got plenty to spare."
"Please, no more," Sparkler says, squeezing her eyes shut against the mental image.

"Think of this as an interlude of sorts," Juniper says. "You had to do quite a lot of diving to get this far down with us – and some more diving is still in store before we'll be done here."
"We're going even further down?" Colobok asks. "Was Cuauhtemoc not our goal?"
"Oh, it's our goal alright," says Juniper with a laugh. "But we've got a ways to go before we've got what we've come for."


"Wow…gotta say: this gets weirder and weirder," she remarks, "but that's kinda what makes this really neat! Do you guys already know what is below us, then?"



"Are… are you really just now noticing?" Cutlass asks, flabbergasted.


"Putting aside the crassness of certain members of my crew," Cutlass sighs. "I hope we get ALL the information going forward. It will certainly result in less accidents like what has happened so far."


"Well of course I noticed before, silly. Kinda hard for me not to notice when I have to walk and climb and run instead of swimming around. But now we finally have someone who seems to know more about this place than us, so better ask, right?"


>"For a crow spirit she is pretty demanding of her meals."
Shadow Cloud plays along.

Cloud looks down at his cane, then nods lightly.
"I'm used to the sand now, but extra support wouldn't hurt."


"It's one thing to be handed an answer," Juniper says. "And it's something else entirely to discover it. Sometimes, when you're handed the truth, you may not accept it if you aren't ready or willing."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sparkler asks.
"Just an observation from past failed recruits," Juniper says. "We'll tell you what we know, but even we don't know everything."

You eventually arrive at the lakeside camp. There are far fewer trees around these parts, and the waters are nearly as bright as the surface of the sun as the afternoon and its heat start to bear down on everyone. The camp consists of the ship docked on the east side of the camp, casting a dwindling shadow over the hammock, tables, tents and desks that have been set up variously upon the deck and on the grasslands around the lake. Kukulcan's mooks are lounging about, while a few guards remain around the perimeters of the camp to keep watch for attackers. You do not see Two Reeds or Sir Diamantaire out here. Perhaps they are still exploring the Skull Temple, or are in one of the tents.

"Feel free to get something to eat," Juniper says, casting her hoof at some of the tables where dried rations have been set out. She heads up on deck. "Your crewmates will be in the surgeon's room."

You head back to the ship, and once the crew have helped you onto the deck, Chiu helps you down into the ship's galley so that she and her doppelganger can prepare some grilled cheeses. The ship is largely empty, save for the guards; it looks like most have gone out to explore the island today.


"A-Ah. I am from a… very cold place. I hope that it is not too bad." he says, somewhat worriedly

"Hrm… should we look around a little bit before settling in? I-I do not really know what to do with heat, I suppose."


"We could just shave ya," Splendid suggests.
Yeah, I have a few barber stickers in my box if you want to give it a try, Make Believe offers.


Alder responds with a panicked squawk, flapping his wings nervously.



"We're not being taught some moral lesson," Cutlass retorts. "We're just here to dig up treasure. Information can only help."


"Thank you," Cutlass says as she goes over to the table to see what kind of rations she can help herself to.


"Where are you from?" Cutlass asks curiously.


She passes on their offer, giving little but a brief nod of acknowledgement as she makes a beeline to find their missing crewmates.


Cloud follows down into the galley, sitting down as his clone sits a seat down, leaving room for each of them to be with their respective mare.

"…I'm kinda surprised everypony is off the ship."
Cloud says after a moment so it isn't so silent.


"Hmm? Oh- Far north of Griffonstone. Most of the towns and villages of my tribe are situated in a valley in the mountains north of Griffonstone- it is quite nice, though it is cold and snowy for a rather decent chunk of the year. It is actually a part of our culture to leave doors unlocked, in case someone is caught out in a storm- even if we do not interact with outsiders often, it is considered cruel to leave someone to the elements."


"Ooo, I like that answer. Alright then," she says as the answers plays into her shark-like curiosity.



"Ugh, sounds awful," Cutlass groans. "One of the best parts about being a pirate has been the always hot weather. When I was younger, I lived on the beach. The heat was basically synonymous with fun. Cold weather on the shore is just cold and miserable… and disappointing."


Splendid gives Alder a friendly sock on the arm to dispel the fears of her actually shaving the poor griffon. Upon the rations table are organized rows of dried fruits, fish, meats and vegetables, bottles of grog and waterskins, concealed from the heat by a prop-up canopy. There are also a few kits for purifying water gathered from lakes and rivers as well. It all looks fairly spartan, and tasteless, save for the noticeably large chunks of salt upon the meat and fish.

Sitting behind the rations table is a hairless diamond dog, about the size of a pony, dressed in a chef's grubby smock. Droplet takes some of the fruit from the table, and the dog begins to rapidly rearrange every other item on the table so that each item is perfectly spaced out from all the others. He does not stop until the job is done, and says nothing during or after it.

"You are?" Chiu asks. "I know a lot of them were spooked by the fact that an island is this far down, and by the metal giant, but we got hired to explore the island, so I think a lot of them wanted to get on that."

She and her clone come back with four grilled cheeses, with onion, tomato and pickles too.

Sparkler and Make Believe accompany you as you follow after Juniper. As she guides you through the floors of the Thunder Serpent, you can see many relics from past expeditions hanging upon the walls and situated within display cases: Masks, potsherds, tapestries, icons, symbols, even fossils of dinosaurs and the most unusual of weapons. The majority of it seems to originate from Cuauhtemoc, however.

Once you get to the surgeon's room, Juniper hands you each a face mask, and enters. The infirmary is long, and with many beds, most of which are empty, except for those in the middle of the room. There, you see Paraiba, Prisma, and the five mooks laid up in the beds, each having some kind of severe injury.

A bit of smoke wafts around the room's medic, occasionally curling into magical symbols. The medic turns about – and you can see that it's none other than Magoja.

"Hello hello," Magoja says. "I hope you're not coming here because you're injured as well."


She does a bit of a double take as Magoja greets her. "Magoja," she says, a bit dumbly. "It's been a while. I did not know you were involved with Kukulcan, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. How goes it?"



Cutlass observes the diamond dog with an amused smirk. She telekinetically takes a piece of dried fruit from the middle of the table with a devious little grin.

She eats the fruit with a sense of satisfied victory.


Again, quick as a flash– the contents of the table are completely recalibrated so as to be evenly spaced. The dog continues to fix you with his beady eyes.



Cutlass returns the look with a defiant, competitive glare. Without looking away from his eyes, she telekinetically moves a piece of fruit so that it is among the wrong fruit.


"But why?" the dog asks.


"That's what I mean. They were scared, we had that fall, plenty of us were injured, and I didn't make a great example of what's out there. But it feels like everypony went out regardless."
He says, almost muttering it in thought, baffled at the sight.

He looks down at the grilled cheese, him and his shadow licking their lips in unison. Cloud reaches for it, but stop, trying to figure how to pick up the sandwich with one hoof without it falling apart and ruining Chiu's hard work. His shadow approaches his from different angles, calculating the best way to hold it. After a moment, Cloud gets up and grabs a knife, coming back and cutting it into four triangles, tossing the knife to his shadow after. He picks up one of his new segments, biting it in half.
"Best thing I've had in days."
He says, giving his compliments to the chef.



Cutlass bursts out into childish laughter.

"I don't know. Something about you working so hard to keep everything in place just made me… want to change it."


Magoja removes the long pipe from his mouth with a flourish, spreading smoke all around him in a circle. "It's been a rough month; our little operation on Kaco Island set me back more than I thought it would have, and we all have bills to pay, especially those of us with bad habits, like myself. So, I am forced to take some of my oldest advice, and find a job. It's a good experience for my student Walah, however, to get herself some more diversified experiences. I see that you are doing well, and have gained some infamy yourself, Miss Sea-Witch."


"Hmm… maybe it is what you are accustomed to. My coat is rather thick, which definitely does not help with the heat." he says, letting out a soft giggle.

Alder squeaks a little when he's socked in the arm, but giggles a little bit more and socks Splendid back as well as he can manage. He'll watch as the Diamond Dog rearranges the food on the table… twice, with the addition of Cutlass, and try to take some dried meat and fruit for himself, along with a waterskin. "Should we find somewhere to relax, maybe?""

Alder gives Cutlass a somewhat blank stare.


Cerulean's stomach growls at the sight of the meat and fish, then grabs herself some as the idea of waiting gets to be too much. She grabs some extra for Roger and Tabasco, and especially takes some water.
"So, where's all the head honchos around here? Had some questions for Kukulcan and all."



"Yes, you definitely are… poofier than me," Cutlass giggles in return.

"Most of my family liked it colder, though. Nobles tend to wear a lot of clothes. It makes hot weather even hotter," Cutlass says as she looks down at her own outfit. "I guess you DO get used to it," she says with a shrug.


"What!?" she asks defensively.


"I will remember this," the dog responds.
Colobok tugs on Cutlass' sleeve. "I agree with Alder. Let's settle in somewhere we can do little harm."

As you speak, you can see several more mooks coming in from the east. The heat is only getting worse, and the mooks look tired, sweaty, and a few of them somewhat injured. Lots of them start to find places in the shade to plop down for a siesta, while a few hop into the Dreamer's Moon for a quick swim before their nap.

Once he's finished fixing the contents of the ration table, the dog barks once at Tabasco, who barks back in greeting. The dog then looks to you. "The Captain is still exploring the Skull Temple. He is one of the few in the crew who do not take siestas. You should be able to find him there."

"They've been pirates longer than we have," Chiu says grimly. "They've seen past crewmates come and go, mostly by dying. You gotta have gumption to be a pirate."

"For a moment I was afraid you were about to cut the crusts off," Shadow Chiu says. "I would have never forgiven you."
"I wouldn't have dated Cloud if he were that type," Chiu says. "The crusts build character."


She smiles a little. "Hm. I suppose I have. Normally I'd be keeping my head down, toiling on Kaco like I used to. Running deliveries, meeting people only in passing… it was a simple life. But these are extraordinary times we live in. I feel… changed," she muses. "For better or worse. We can't just sit around and pretend nothing is happening anymore, can we." She looks through him, reminiscing on everything that's happened for a moment.

She snaps out of it quickly, changing the subject. "How is Walah, anyhow?" she asks offhandedly, suddenly feeling a lot more comfortable seeing a familiar face. "I trust she's keeping well."


"Yes, more things are starting to move than I had initially realized. The more I learn about the Ribcage, the more I realize that I know nothing at all. I hadn't anticipated that the events of Kaco would set this many pieces into motion."

He takes a long drag on his pipe as you ask about Walah. "The young miss is having a somewhat more difficult time adjusting to the pirate life than I would have liked. She is somewhat more sedentary by nature, a homebody if you will. But she is young, and she can learn, unlike an old fogey like me. She's in the Skull Temple, at the moment; I believe she might find herself more at home in a place like that, than aboard a ship."


"I-I think it is maybe a little rude." he says, though he looks as if he's trying to avoid laughing.
"But, yes. I am an awful lot poofier- moreso than other griffons here as well, I've noticed."

Alder lets out a somewhat exhausted huff, and tries to find somewhere cooler. He'll remove his scarf for now, and tucks it away in his saddlebags. "Maybe… hrm. Maybe once I have rested a little, I can help the injured."


Cerulean gives Tabasco a pet on the head, just to make sure he's being nice to the dog chef.
"Oh! Thank you! Alright guys, let's take a breather then go to see him." After a brief moment of snacking and a drink, Cerulean and her posse will head to the Skull Temple.


Splendid yawns, setting her things down near you as she heads over to the lake's surface. She dips her head in to wash off after the journey so far, shaking water everywhere. "Give me a screech if you need some help."


"I guess so… They probably din't see themselves retiring from this lifestyle."

Cloud looks aghast as Shadow Chiu even considers the thought he'd cut off his crusts.
>"Did she just?"
Shadow Cloud mutters in equal shock.
"How little do you think of me, to think that I'd ever stoop so low."
Cloud says, popping one of the triangles whole into his mouth.



"I hope you do," Cutlass responds defiantly to the diamond dog.

Then, Colobok tugs on her sleeve. She rolls her eyes. "Fine. It's getting hot out here anyway."

She munches on the fruit as she goes with Colobok to some place more shady.


"Hmm. I wonder if it's a natural change in response to climate or if they… shave?"


"Rude!?" she parrots the word in defiant defense. "It's just a bit of harmless fun!"


"Likewise," she agrees. "I'm starting to think I got more than I bargained for taking this job. Things are in motion that cannot be undone now. We're going to have to weather this storm ourselves."

She nods and smiles again at the news of Walah. "This life is not for everyone. It took me long enough to adjust to it. For those not accustomed to travel, it can be exhausting. …Perhaps it would behove me to check in on her at the Temple." She lowers her voice a little. "Between us, I do not trust Kukulcan, and I do not like this place. He is on the Crimson King's payroll, after all. But you I can trust."

"And what of the crew, then?" She looks over to the patients. "I see they are being taken care of I had hoped we could spirit them away from here, but I see that's not happening any time soon.


"Well, it is sort of like dogs, I imagine- They might just adapt to the climate." he explains, humming a little. "I-I hope they do not shave, at least, t-that sounds strange."

Alder takes a little bit of time to eat the snacks he'd taken from the table, and downs the waterskin a little faster than he'd expected. He'll grab another one when he notices Thessaly and Cerulean heading off towards the temple. He'll stuff the waterskin into his saddlebags, and stop by Splendid long enough to give her a soft peck on the beak "I think it would be good for me to follow them. I do not know what they will find inside the temple, but… I-I suppose I am worried. See you later?"


Shadow Chiu shrugs. "What else am I supposed to represent, if not our dark side?"
"On Agyl Island, we did learn that the shadow holds onto every dark part of ourselves. Some people can only strengthen their Aura by confronting their own shadow," Chiu says.

Magoja smiles. "I am flattered. Most people I do business with come to regard me as a mere underworld broker, unworthy of trust. It leaves me so lonely."

After a laugh, he shakes his head. "No, it is as you presumably heard on the way over – they're in no condition to move."

Walking over to the patients to gesture at each one in turn, he goes over each one's injuries. Prisma's wing received an awful gash from falling through the treeline, as a result of her semi-successful attempt to grab Paraiba and the mooks to avoid a fatal crash landing. Paraiba suffered some bad whiplash as a result of the landing, while most of the mooks managed to get by with only some major cuts and bruises. In their rush to find shelter in this unknown island, a couple of the mooks had stepped into poisonous bushes during their scouting, and are suffering stinging rashes, with yellow welts boiling up upon their legs. Each of them is currently sedated on a concoction of drugs, and Magoja finished the morning's treatment a few hours ago.



Cutlass laughs. "Especially if they shave the feathered parts. Do those grow back?"


Cutlass notices that Cerulean intends to keep on going. "Ugh," she grumbles as she follows. "Can't we get a rest? We've been walking for houuuuurs!"


"We worked together for quite some time," she elaborates. "I have enough respect for you to trust you not to betray me or my companions. As I would not do the same to you."

She grimaces a little as she surveys their injuries. "A pity. If nothing else, this does put my mind at rest somewhat, knowing they are not awake to have their loyalties swayed by Kukulcan."

She is satisfied with her visit. "I suppose I shall go see about visiting Walah. I imagine at least some of my companions would be interested in exploring the temple as well. I'll take my leave for now, but I trust we shall meet again soon. And, thank you for caring for our crew."

Not one for more pleasantries, she proceeds to do just that, nodding goodbye to Magoja for now and trying to reunite with her companions.


Splendid nods and yawns. "I think I'll have meself one of them siesters," she says. "Be back soon, yeah?"

"Good luck and good venture," Magoja says. "I shall inform your captain of your crewmates' situation and work out a time when they might be transported safely."

>roll perception

>Cerulean, Thessaly, Alder, Cutlass

You join up with Droplet and Colobok, while Sparkler and Make Believe stay behind, partly to watch after Splendid while she's along among Kukulcan's crew, and partly to try a siesta themselves. The Sun Serpent's rays bear down upon you, but the Skull Temple is fortuitously not far off from Kukulcan's camp, and so it is not long before you reach its cool shadow.


The temple's exterior is quite tall, retaining some fallen magnificence despite its ruined condition. It was once a colossal ziggurat, but following what appears to have been some kind of earthquake, much of it has crumbled and fallen away. Staircases run up the western, northern and southern sides; each staircase is flanked by a stony, zig-zagging serpent, eerily lifelike in the carving of its scales, despite its aniconic face.

One such serpent's mouth constitutes the temple's western entrance. Inside, you can see that the walls are carved with hieroglyphs of monsters, illustrations of seasons and weather and holidays, and what may very well be heavenly bodies, represented by flying serpents which exude rays of light and are dressed with kingly garments.

There is a door to the north, a door to the east, and a door to the south, all of which are open. You can hear water rushing from the east.

"Don't suppose anyone mentioned where in the Temple he'd be?" Droplet asks.



"Our companions are stable," she reports to the others in lieu of a greeting. "Magoja is taking care of them. I don't know how he's doing so, or what he's doing here, but he is."

She examines each of the open doors, and with a bit of a shrug, starts moving east, towards the running water, driven by curiosity.

Roll #1 4 = 4


"I guess your dark side doesn't trust another's skills in food prep."
Cloud jokes.
>"So your skill is the best punching bag them."
Shadow Cloud muses.


You realize that Magoja said "your captain" despite these all being Beesting crewmates – suggesting he knows about your change of crews.


"Be positive or you're not getting dessert," Shadow Chiu threatens Shadow Cloud.
Chiu snorts, then finishes off her grilled cheese. "Well, I'm going to go take a nap. Want to join me or did you want to try building your strength with the cane some more?"



"Well that's good, at least."


"In the temple," Cutlass answers Droplet with a shrug. Cutlass heads toward the western entrance (unless someone else has a better idea).


"Hmm? Oh, of course- part of preening involves removing the older, damaged feathers. I have to do it a tad more often thanks to thicker plumage." he explains.

Alder chirps a little bit and nuzzles at Splendid, before hurrying off after the others.

"Alder stays close to the walls, hoping for a little bit of shade. It also gives him time to study the illustrations and reliefs. "This is all quite fascinating! A-A little intimidating, but still… and, ehm, I do not know. Maybe we can look for signs of them?"
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


"Nope!" She says as she looks about the place. She doesn't know what a lot of the stuff means, but its still nice to look at.
"But we'll just have to start looking for him. I mean, they said most of the temple is explored, right? So things should be pretty safe, right?"



"Huh…" Cutlass contemplates out loud. "I have difficulty imagining a feather… growing…"


She mulls this over, hoping Magoja read her implied threat for what it is.

"Who are we looking for?" she asks out of nowhere.





"Hopefully, but Cycle did say that they'd been given trouble by the obsidian machines," Colobok says.

You proceed down the long hallway to the east; it and the other hallways are about the width of six or seven ponies, so it's not too crampled, and it doesn't seem like you'll be attacked by anything on the level of the gigantic obsidian beetle, either. Eventually, the corridor ends, and you come face to face with the source of the rushing water sounds.

The corridor ends, and you are in a vast space; what was once another chamber of the temple, the walls flanked by stone statues of beasts, has now crumbled on its eastern side. You are now upon the cusp of the deep gash in the earth that you saw later. There is a great chasm below you, and parts of the temple have fallen in at various degrees. On the other side of the chasm is the mostly-intact eastern half of the temple. Connecting the western and eastern halves are a series of precarious makeshift bridges, made by the crumbling of the temple into the gash. Bridges have been made of fallen columns. Stone slabs serve now as ramps and slopes downward. Pipes of deep brass are now the closest thing you can find to stairs. Waterfalls descend from above, making some of the paths slick and treacherous to travel. There are seven floors to this underground section of temple, as you can now see via this cross-section, in addition to the three floors aboveground, for a total of ten floors.



"Well this is massive," Cutlass mutters as she looks around for any clue of Kukulcan.

[1d10] to for clues (Master Thief if applicable)

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Well, they have to come from somewhere. I promise, it actually happens."

"Kukulcan? Miss Cerulean wanted to, I believe. I felt… weird, leaving you all to go in alone. I-I do not want anyone to get hurt, in case things go wrong." he says, squirming a little bit.

"Hrm… this seems a tad precarious, but these makeshift bridges might be the best way to go from here. Should we, hmm… do you think it is safe to walk over? I could try helping you over a little."


"Well there's an eye opener," she muses, taking a moment to marvel at the sight. She joins Cutlass in looking around for traces of Kukulcan and/or his crew.

Roll #1 1 = 1


>"Hey, hey, I was being positive."
Shadow Cloud says, holding up his hooves in defense of this accusation.
>"I meant that in a good way. Using us will make them tougher then, right?"

Cloud pops the last bit in his mouth, savoring the taste.
"After spending last night alone in the ward, I could use a nap."
Cloud says.
"Should give the cane a little rest too after that walk."


"Kukulcan, the big, energetic guy who got our ships set up to go underwater."

"Well, nothing we haven't dealt with already, right? We'll just smash 'em up again."

"Woah…this place is waaaaay bigger." Cerulean takes a moment to try and look where the waterfalls lead to, or even see where the waterfalls are falling from exactly.


The waterfalls appear to have their source in the offshoot streams that flow from the Dreamer's Moon. They keep falling into the pit of the chasm, though you cannot see the bottom, for there is a deep mist at the base of the chasm, obfuscating everything below the temple.

Thessaly feels the heat of the day threatening to overwhelm her. The collar and straps of her dress cling uncomfortably to her shoulders and collarbone, made sticky and clingy by sweat. Indeed, more or less, the rest of you feel the same way. Cutlass, however, notices that there are traces of blood and feathers clinging to the stone slope on the floor below them. Scuff marks on the floor suggest that there was some kind of fight there. Given what Cycle Kick said earlier, it's likely these are Kukulcan's feathers. However, there are no traces of any obsidian automata nearby, or any of their pieces, from having been destroyed. Droplet and Colobok take a moment to knock back their waterskins.

Shadow Chiu narrows her eyes. "I've got my eyes and ears on you, buster."

"Sounds good," Chiu says. She takes the plates and sets them in the sink, grabs a bag from beside the stove, then helps you up the stairs to your room. There, Granny finishes tucking in the freshly-cleaned sheets onto the bed. When she sees you coming in, she heads out, but not before Chiu can thank her.

"Oh, I almost forgot," Chiu says, producing the bag she grabbed earlier. She pulls out another grilled cheese and sets it before the mother goddess statue.


Shadow Cloud rolls his eye in response.

Cloud walks along with Chiu to their cabin, He stops Granny as well, thanking her for being around.

Cloud feels a twinge of guilt as Chiu sets the spare grilled cheese before the mother goddess statue.
"I've been forgetting to give her thanks too with everything that's been going on. I'm slipping up all over."


"I'm sure she understands," Chiu says. "Moms usually do."


Cerulean stares intently down the chasm below, thinking slightly about doing something, but remembers she does have a reason for being here.
"Sorry guys, got distracted by something. You guys find anything about this place?"


She tugs at her dress and wipes her brow, seeing the signs of battle. She starts looking nearby for any sort of trail that would indicate where they went.

Roll #1 3 = 3



Cutlass sighs and points out the blood and feathers on the floor below them. "There was a fight. But, the only one who got hurt was a griffon. Which means he's probably been taken. Or… he at least wants us to think he has."

Cutlass lets out a longer sigh. "Do we take the bait?"


"Perhaps I could scout ahead," she suggests. "I can go unseen in the Astral Plane if I wish. Whatever he plans for us, we could anticipate it."



"Good idea," Cutlass nods.


"I hope so…"
Cloud says, looking over to the statue.
"I need to get fixed up before we send any more pictures home."


"Hrm… maybe? Let me look around a little." the griffon says, taking a moment to fill his own waterskins.
>[1d10+2] Master Thief: Thanks to years of training, picking locks, cracking safes, locating hidden loot, finding traps and smuggling items is a lot easier for you than an untrained novice. Every once in a while you can roll to see if your instincts might offer a hint about something important nearby.
>+1 from TBP

"Are you well? You could have my spare waterskin."

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


Without further ado, she nestles down in the loaf position and closes her eyes, trying to concentrate on departing her body.
[1d10+1] Astral Projection

She opens one eye as Alder gets her attention. "I… I should be fine. This tropical climate ill suits me. I will have to endure. But thank you."

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


"Oh, shit," Chiu says. "Once I start getting a baby bump, we can't send back any photos that show me from the neck down. We should make sure we're still sending a couple pictures each month just so that they don't get suspicious or worried."

"Maybe unseen by the physical," Droplet says. "But do we know if the obsidian guardians can see souls?"
"I am sure the expert will be able to sense if something is awry," Colobok says. "Am I correct, Thessaly?"

As they ask this, Alder flies down a little to get a better view of the floor below you (B1F, for the sake of convenience). Though the blood droplets seem to be limited to that spot where the feathers were, the scuff marks in the floor lead to a door on the south side of that room. The door leads to a hallway, which bends at a hard right angle to the west after a short distance. More blood and feathers can be seen within.

After answering Colobok and Droplet (or ignoring them) Thessaly projects her spirit. She will have DC - 1 on all physical perception rolls and DC-2 to spiritual perception rolls owing to her 10.


"I will," she confirms. "My aura allows me to detect such tamperings."

Passing into the plane of the immaterial, she projects herself down the hallway Alder sees, floating ahead and trying to get to the bottom of whatever happened to the company that came here before them. Her six senses are on full alert.
[1d10] Perception, physical
[1d10] Perception, spiritual

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


"Oh, yea, that too."
Cloud says, turning to her.
"We could get some of those poofy dresses for you to hide it for pictures."

>"She could make some with her shadows, should be good enough to cover up."


"Hrm… I think it might be down this way- I can see more blood and feathers, I think."



"The issue isn't where he went, but whether or not it's a trap. Let's let Thessaly scout ahead for us safely from the astral," Cutlass says to Alder.


"Mhmm- I was just, well, trying to figure out which way it would go from there."


"I could make one of those big imperial Chineighse gowns," Chiu says. "My parents would love that… but they might inspect it for historical inaccuracies, which would risk them noticing the bump."

Thessaly follows the trail through the winding and partly collapsed hallways and rooms. Though it was only a drop of blood at the first hint of the trail, there is a steady increase in the number, the volume, and finally, the freshness of the blood, soon making it effortless to follow it after a certain while, even though the rooms of this Temple are labyrinthine and coiling in every direction. The deeper she presses into the Temple's coils, the more that she becomes aware of a dreadful pressure from deep within the Temple's heart, a deep and numbing chill…

But before she can contemplate the nature of the numbing pressure, she at last finds her quarry, near the limits of her possible range with Astral Projection.

Kukulcan stands in a large room, like an indoor court for some kind of sport. Two Reeds and Sir Diamantaire stand back, near the room's entrance, looking displeased. Kukulcan is ahead of them, cut and bloodied by many wounds scattered across his body. Standing across from him are a group of obsidian machines, four in number. Not a single one of them has so much as a dent or a crack in its chassis; they are totally unharmed. Kukulcan's arms hang limply at his sides. His energy is completely different from what you've seen before; his eyes are dull and lightless, bagged and dark.


"Not one of you recognize me…?" Kukulcan asks the machines. His voice is dead, without hope.

As the machines leap toward him, Kukulcan's feet shift, and in an instant, he vanishes, flash-stepping between them and their attacks as they try to gouge, stab and crush him in a robotic onslaught. Lightning sparks from his finger-tips, dancing toward the machines' brass components.

[4d10+2] The Machines' attacks
[1d10+4] Kukulcan's lightning

Two Reeds and Sir Diamantaire tense as the battle continues, but do not interfere.

Roll #1 7, 10, 8, 8 + 2 = 35 / Roll #2 2 + 4 = 6


Cloud sits down on the bed, giving his shoulder a rest from the cane.
"Could make it anyways, just to wear here."
He suggests.
"We'll hit up a clothing store when we get back to the surface, see what they have."


He's… fighting them, she thinks to the group at large. The black machines. Two Reeds and Diamantaire are here. …They're not helping. …What is this?

She continues to watch and see what happens, ever keeping an eye out for any unexpected changes.
[2d10] Both types of Perception

Roll #1 8, 9 = 17


"Aaaaagh," Chiu groans as she flops onto the bed. "I'm gonna get so fat!"


Alder gently leans Thessaly's body against his side, wanting to prevent her from flopping over and hurting herself while her spirit is absent. "I wonder what she is going to find?"


Cloud rolls over, putting his good leg around Chiu's withers.
"There'll just be more of you to love."
He says genuinely.
"No matter what, you'll always be the most beautiful mare on the seas. And you'll have that glow too that mares always talk about when they're having a foal."



Cutlass furrows her brow at the strange bit of news. She fidgets with Sir Pent contemplatively.

If they aren't helping, then this isn't a fight for survival. Or to destroy them at all. In which case he's trying to get something out of the machines… Cutlass communicates back. That much isn't surprising. He clearly has an agenda here. But… what does he get out of fighting them at all? Surely, he hasn't had this many expeditions by being this reckless. What is his fighting like?


Okay, great, but where is he? I sorta lost track of which way you went. She thinks back to her.



Hold on. This is a valuable moment. We can get a lot of information out of this. Let's not interrupt with our presence just yet.


Past Alder. He is heading in the right direction.

Alder, pull back. These foes are beyond us. Let me wait and see what transpires.

He fights with lightning. …He's fast on his feet. A formidable opponent. He seems to be on death's door, but the machines are unscathed. He probably won't survive this.


>Ack, missed this somehow.

Maybe something is up with Kukulcan? Or, they have tried to double-cross?



That's obviously not a concern. They'd help him if it was. Either he can survive death, he has a quick escape, or he's not actually that hurt. The machines aren't hurt? Even WE could hurt the machines. He's not fighting them… Then, what is he doing?


Chiu gasps. "What if… that glow is actually Aura!?"

The machines scatter from his lightning, but manage to surround him, jumping in and out in even tandem with his flash-stepping, and spare no mercy as they set upon him. Blood oozes from his wounds, and chunks of flesh and feathers fall off to the cold stone floor. Kukulcan grimly endures the attacks, and touches the tip of one finger to one of the machines' brass inner workings. Light explodes from the impact, and the machine collapses, shutting down without any signs of damage. Kukulcan flips himself over the machine, hooking his fingers behind its head, and pops it open. There appear to be some strange and fine components within, but before he can mess with them, the remaining machines jump at him once more, and he's forced to leap away, coursing lightning attacks in retaliation.

[3d10+2] Remaining Machine attacks
[1d10+4] Kukulcan tries to shock the remaining machines (Cleave vs 2)

You can sense Two Reeds scattering small scales from her moth wings, via subtle, near-imperceptible flicks of the wing-tips. The scales seem to have some kind of magical medical properties…

[1d10+3] Heal

Seems like our treasure hunter's got an even bigger treasure in mind, Droplet adds. Otherwise he wouldn't be making such a foolish move.
Can you press on any farther? Colobok asks. Are the machines guarding something he wants?

Roll #1 1, 5, 8 + 2 = 16 / Roll #2 7 + 4 = 11 / Roll #3 10 + 3 = 13


Yeah, maybe, but it won't matter if he's dead. We gotta at least be there to bust in before that happens.

Alright, heading towards you, lil' buddy. She then hurries her way to where Alder went.


He's… he's disabling them, she informs the group. His death seems to concern him not. Curious. …It appears his allies are not entirely passive either. Two Reeds is helping him, at least. …Perhaps this is some sort of rite that must be endured, for some ulterior reward. Shall we intervene?


Uhm… perhaps? Could it be dangerous to intervene? Alder asks, frowning a bit.

"P-Please, take care of Thessaly's, ehm… body." he says, leaning it against Cutlass and heading back down.



"Again, he's not in any danger if his own crew is standing there watching!" Cutlass calls out in vain. She looks down at the ground as she's left behind, then groans.


Cerulean is already coming…


Cutlass looks to Droplet and Colobok. "In case it's not obvious, I don't trust Kukulcan. He's hiding too much information for reasons that aren't obvious. You two are supposed to be skilled at subterfuge. If you see a shot at getting some information or advantage over him, take it. But, only if you are absolutely 100% certain you won't be caught. Above all else, I need him on 'our side' for as long as possible."

"So, for now, we're going to play the part of unwitting saviors," she says as she turns to follow the others. "And, one of you carry Thessaly."


Ifreann na Fola… Should I return to my body then, or wait it out?



Up to you. I've got someone carrying you.


Perhaps simply wait until Cutlass is closer with your body, and then return to it? That way, we can be sure we know what is going on.


I'd say wait a bit until we get there. Keep giving us the play-by-play and all, ya know?


Colobok nods. "Just get me one of his books."
Droplet picks up Thessaly like a football to maintain her loaf position.

Cutlass and Alder reach the far end of the hall that connects to the room in which Kukulcan fights with the machines. They arrive in time to see two of the machines stab into Kukulcan from either side, only to stop dead in their tracks as he gently lays hands upon them. Lightning dances across the machines, disabling them in an instant. He nudges them away, blood flowing from the opened wounds, and dodges the final machine's strike, pinning it down to the ground in a submission hold, before disabling it with a final spark of lightning.

He stops and pants as Two Reeds' scales float onto his wounds. Though his physical injuries are healed, his expression is one of muted turmoil. As he stands unsteadily, Two Reeds and Diamantaire zip toward him, aiding his efforts to stand. He nods his gratitude, but does not slow. He goes to the machine whose head he popped open, and fiddles with the inner technology again. The machine's ruby eyes turn black and lifeless.

"How many times are you going to keep trying this?" Two Reeds asks.
"As many times as it takes," Kukulcan says. "Until they are saved."

>paused, respond for next week



"Well, that was impressive," Cutlass comments as she enters the room. "Here we are thinking we're going to have to save you based on all the blood we found on the way here. But, it looks like you had things handled. She looks down at his wounds. More or less."

"Do you need some help?"


It… seems to be over. For now. No telling when it'll start again though. It sounds like they've been at this for some time.

As there is a lull in the combat, she drifts over to one of the machines, examining it more closely.
[2d10] Perceptions

Roll #1 2, 7 = 9


"Huh, never thought of that. Maybe."
Cloud says in thought.
"Going through all that sounds like a big enough trial to get something. Maybe that's where all those motherly strength stories come from."


"That's good. I think I'm gonna need every superpower I can get to raise this kid right," Chiu says nervously.


Cerulean watches the display of speed and grace and lightning. She wants to clap, but now really isn't the time to do that.
"Hey, so…can anyone tell me what the heck is going on here? And I don't just mean here here, I mean this whole trip. …maybe when we're not in the middle of somewhere dangerous."



Make sure he doesn't see that you were projecting.


Cloud pulls Chiu in close as they lie on the bed.
"You don't need any special power to raise our foal right. Looking at your family, you're more than qualified. And I'll always be right there too, even if I'm all broken like I am now."
He says sweetly, speaking to reassure them both.


Alder pokes his head in and lets out an uncertain chirp, before staying "Uhm… w-what exactly is going on here? Do you think, uhm… we could be of assistance, somehow?"


Last time, on PirateQuest…

Our crew arrived at Kukulcan's camp, and Thessaly went with Juniper, Make Believe and Sparkler onto the Thunder Serpent to confirm that our crewmates really were in the surgeon's room, as Juniper claimed. Not only was that the case, they were also being cared for by Magoja himself, the mysterious unicorn whose only power, as he claimed, was to be where he is needed at any time.

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew stopped at the camp to unwind for a while and have some food. Splendid, Make Believe and Sparkler decided to stay at the camp for the mid-day siesta and wait out the heat of the afternoon. After Cutlass finished tormenting a diamond dog who had a compulsion toward keeping things tidy, she, Droplet, Colobok, Thessaly, Cerulean and Alder went east to the Skull Temple to find Kukulcan.

The Temple had partly collapsed into a chasm that had opened beneath it, which effectively divided it into seven layers, consisting of an east and west side connected by precarious stone bridges and brass pipes. They found evidence that Kukulcan had been injured, and Thessaly followed a trail leading to where Kukulcan fought with a group of obsidian machines. He was badly injured, but the machines had not been so much as scratched. Alone, with Two Reeds and Sir Diamantaire reluctantly watching from the sidelines, Kukulcan fought to disable the machines with lightning powers, and not destroy them.

Our crew arrived in the arena just as the fight ended, with Kukulcan bloody and bruised from all of his restraint.


Two Reeds steps between your group and theirs as you approach, but Kukulcan clicks his tongue. "Stand aside, Miss Reeds." Reluctantly she does so, and Kukulcan continues to fiddle with the gears and crystalline circuitry contained within the heads of the machines, heedless of the blood and the wounds he has sustained. "Yes, I would appreciate your assistance. Certain… projects have malfunctioned in the years since their creation. Having forbade my crew from destroying them, our progress through the Temple has been slow."

Chiu and Cloud had finished their sandcastle, and went for a walk down the beach to clear their heads from the heavy discussion they'd had about Stone Cold Classic and the dangers that awaited them once Cloud's debt was paid off. Cloud bought a shell from two crabs running a small business upon the shore, and used it to make a necklace for Chiu. Afterward, they retired to the Beesting, where Chiu and her shadowy doppelganger made grilled cheeses for them and for the mother goddess statue they had rescued. They then retired to their room for a nap.

You and Chiu fall asleep shortly afterward, the tail end of your conversation drifting away into the valleys of dreams.

When you awake, you find that Chiu has pilfered some, but not all of the blankets; you still have a sheet to yourself. The rest, she has rolled up around herself to make some kind of burrito shape with her at the center. She is still asleep. You notice also that the grilled cheese which had been placed before the goddess statue is gone, crumbs and all.


Cloud wakes, rolling over to see Chiu all bundled up in all the blankets. He smiles, seeing her safe and cozy. He is about to nudge her awake, but stops in thought. He rolls over the other way, facing away from her, and lifts his eye patch.
("Hey, Hmm.")
He whispers lowly, with a concerned tone.
("…I'm not a screw up, am I?")
He asks genuinely.


"In case you haven't been able to tell so far, there are… a few things that I don't know," Hmm says. "For some of those things, it's cuz of reasons that I don't know – like the picture of the Puros that you found on that ship, or what's going on with this island. For other things, it's because so many threads are weaving together that it blocks my vision. It's possible to screw things up, but a life can't be called screwed up until it's over. You've made mistakes; everyone has. I can't tell if you'll be able to fix those mistakes before the end… but the same goes for everyone else. Whether you'll be a screw up or a success depends on your choices from here on."


Alder winces a little bit as he looks Kukulcan over, before asking "Do you think you need some medical attention? You do not look particularly well off."


"Do as you wish, Mister Alder, I would welcome the assistance," Kukulcan says, barely glancing away from his work as he fiddles with the inert machine, moving from obsidian heap to obsidian heap. Two Reeds, her watchful compound eyes trained on you, steps forward, casting tiny scales from her wings onto his wounds to help.


>Natural Remedy [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Your potions and Two Reeds' wing-scales help to seal up some of the wounds that he has sustained, but his captain's coat, tailcoat and the vest and trousers he wears underneath are going to need a tailoring miracle before they are fixed. "Much appreciated, Mister Alder," he mumbles, not looking away from his work.

Eventually, he succeeds in dislodging the eyes of each machine, now gone dark after their defeat, without destroying the rest of the circuitry in their heads.


Cloud sits there silent a moment, looking not too entirely pleased with that answer.
"Well, I guess that kinda makes me feel better."
He mutters.

After another moment, he rolls over, giving the Chiu-burrito a nudge to gently wake her.


"For what it's worth," Hmm adds. "If someone told me they were from the future and told me it all ended up alright for you, I'd believe 'em without a doubt."
Chiu opens one eye with brief annoyance that her sleep is disrupted, but once she sees you, she smiles, wiggling over a little to peck you. "Wassup?" she murmurs.


"Thanks Hmm."
Cloud says.

"I should ask you," Cloud says after the wake-up peck, "Building up a cocoon there?"


"My dad's a pegasus, so it's only natural I'm going to try to build a nest," Chiu says. "Looks like you're going to have to invest in more blankets if you don't want to be left out."


"If I get any more you'll just be making your shell bigger."
Cloud jests.
"Though with this technique, our kids will never worry about monsters getting at them."


"Yeah, but their brave pirate parents will be their first and best line of defense, not blankets," Chiu says with a yawn. "So, you ready to get in some more exercise with your cane?"


"First and best, yes, but you can't deny the comfort a nice wrapped blanket can give, especially to a bat foal."
Cloud looks at his leg, and nods.
"Yea, I could go for some more walking. Maybe we can stop by Maella, ask her opinion about this genie stuff."


"Maybe we oughta call ahead to the Hidden Dagger, make sure she's not too busy with Splendid's magic potion thingamajig," Chiu says. "I could see her giving us a real evil eye if she's disrupted."


"Oh, right, forgot she was working on that still. Let's give her a call in a minute then, see what's going on now outside first."


Chiu nods, getting dressed and cleaned up after her nap and helping you to do the same before slipping on the harness and cane. You go back up onto the top deck of the Beesting, finding that the afternoon's heat is in full swing. The remaining crew guarding the ships have made makeshift shelters with tarps and blankets to block out the oppressive heat of the Sun Serpent, and plenty of others are out swimming. Chiu makes an open dome of shadow above her, keeping her canteen close for her foal's sake. "Still not back, huh? Hope they're staying cool out there…"


Cloud walks up to the deck with Chiu's aid, already feeling the heat when they step into the light. He keeps close with Chiu as she forms a dome of shadow, looking at everypony forming their own covers.
"I hope so too, this heat is terrible from just a few seconds of it."
He looks up, eye glowing as he tries to pull some clouds together to get the boats some shade and protection.
>Climate Control [Cloudy Skies] [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


You gather and augment the clouds of the understorm above, blocking out the dreadful sizzling simmer of the Sun Serpent somewhat. Heat lingers upon the boat, but it should clear out after a while. Chiu shapes the shadows at her command, making you a matching pair of sunglasses.



"You… forbade them? From destroying these machines? Why? They've been a deadly nuisance since we got here."


"Because they are – or were – my creations," Kukulcan states plainly.


"Phew, that's a little better. can't imagine how the others are feeling now."
He looks around, easier now with a pair of shadowglasses from Chiu.
"Think we should ring Maella now?"


"You…made these?" She asks with a raised brow.
"So wait, you don't exactly look like those big, diver suit-looking guys."


"I am no tailor, so the rest of that is beyond my reach. Apologies." he says, bowing a little. "So, if you cannot destroy them, how are you to progress? Removing the eyes?"



Cutlass grimaces at Kukulcan for a moment as she lets her anger wash over her. Then, she lets out a sigh.

"Okay. We're going to have a very serious talk. Somewhere safer. Because the way you have lead this mission thus far has been UNACCEPTABLE."

>[1d10+1] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


Chiu nods, digging around for her Conch, and whispers in Mallea's Conch Code. After a few moments of delay, you are greeted by the background sounds of sizzling, popping, boiling and steaming. Mallea's voice barely rises to the surface of it all. "Is it urgent?" she asks, by way of greeting.
"It concerns a demon, so yeah," Chiu says. "We need some advice for dealing with one."
"Very well," Mallea says. "Best to speak in person for that. Meet me upon the deck of the Hidden Dagger. Godot! Keep your eyes on that mess and if anything crawls out, shoot it with silver!"
Chiu's eyebrows furrow as she tries to wonder what might be going on in there.

"I believe that it was miss Juniper Yumeno who advised you that being told a truth is not a guarantee that one will accept it," Kukulcan says to dismiss Cutlass's concerns.
Droplet frowns, stepping a bit in front of Cutlass. "Funny, I don't recall you being around to hear that."
Kukulcan smirks, tilting his head at Droplet, but does not acknowledge his comment.

"No, I am not with those things from the Vault," Kukulcan says to Cerulean. "Quite the opposite. They are the ones making off with my property… and in their attempts to stop the giants inside the suits, my creations here–" he gestures to the deactivated machines around him. "Have been driven mad in the centuries that they have fought against the forces of the Vault."

He turns to Alder next. "Yes. You have perhaps heard it said that the eyes are the windows to the soul; for these Watchkeepers, as their true name is, that is precisely where the soul is stored."


Let me just switch out my hats here…



"If you want to cast the widest net possible, fine. Withhold information. But, the wide net has obviously not been doing it for you, has it? How many missions have you run down here now? How successful have you been? From the looks of it, if anything, you're losing ground."

"So, obviously, you don't want the wide net. You want the lure that gets the best… fish - this metaphor is running away from me. POINT BEING, you need some people more capable, more willing to believe tall tales, and more willing to take grater risks. Congratulations, you found them. Honestly, if you're as up to date on the news as you claim to be, you should have known that going in with us. But, whatever. I'm willing to forgive your foolish mistakes. As long as they stop NOW."

"If you'd told us about the understorm before we were separated, we would have made it through without losing a chunk of the Beesting's crew. It would have saved on time and kept us safer. If you told us about these machines, then we could have been prepared for them. Cloud lost a limb because of you! We could have even fulfilled your wishes and disabled them instead of destroyed them."

"As it is, you withholding information is doing nothing but hurting all of us, yourself included," she gestures to his injuries. "If you want this to be a success, then do it right. Now, let's go somewhere safe so you can give us ALL the information. Regardless of how relevant you THINK it is. I want 100% of the truth, nothing withheld."

>Whisper in your Ear [1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


"Hrm, I see… I assume with how difficult it is to remove them, it can only really be done while they are incapacitated, yes?"


"You…really need to explain this a bit better to us. We're…not exactly in the know like you are."


"More or less," Kukulcan says. "If you have access to any lightning, a bolt to their metal skeletal systems is more than enough to deactivate them," he says, generating a small current between his forefinger and thumb.

"Very well," Kukulcan answers Cutlass and Cerulean. "But I figure that it will be quite an unforgiving heat that we shall be walking back out into," Kukulcan says, dusting himself off. "Shall we remain in the shade of the Skull Temple, or shall we adjourn back to the Thunder Serpent? I have a lovely canoe docked not far from the Temple's mouth that we may ride back."
"I am feeling like a bit of a siesta would be in order," Droplet says. "I'm good at sleeping with an eye open. Wanna see?"
"Your paranoia is adorable," Two Reeds growls at Droplet. "But unnecessary."


I think back at the Thunder Serpent might be better. I mean, we aren't exactly safe if these things aren't listening to you and all. Plus, you chef is really good at setting up a good table with good food," she says with a light-hearted grin.


"Oh- I do not have the ability to cast a bolt of lightning, but I have something that might be of use!" he says, pulling his pistol out and twirling it a little bit. "As for whether or not we should stay here… I do not know. It may be a little unwise to sleep within the temple."



"I see no reason to distrust them," Cutlass says to Droplet. "Thus far, Kukulcan has demonstrated himself to be foolish, not deceptive."

Then, Cutlass looks back to Kukulcan. "We are all tired. And, I think I speak for all of us when I say we'd prefer to rest and sleep on something more comfortable than the cold stone floor of an ancient temple."


"An enchanted gun?" Kukulcan says, dryly. "What marvelous technology."

"Let us be off, then," Kukulcan says. He takes a few unsteady, experimental steps ahead, and Two Reeds steps in to help him walk, but he is able to regain his balance, and soldiers on ahead. Two Reeds and the ever-stoic Sir Diamantaire follow after him. Despite the suspicious glares of Colobok and Droplet, neither Kukulcan nor his cohorts attempt to trick or bamboozle you on the way out of the Temple, instead taking their time to walk out and head for the surface once more.

Once outside, Kukulcan directs you south a small distance, to where a covered canoe remains docked by the lakeshore, tied by rope to a collection of sturdy rocks. He sits at the oars, and there is enough space for Alder, Thessaly, Cutlass, Colobok and Droplet to sit in – but Cerulean is a bit too big for the vessel.

In any case, Kukulcan rows back over the blinding-bright lake's surface, and he is surprisingly showing no signs of exertion or strain from having to row for a much larger group of guests. After some time, he makes it back to the camp beside the Thunder Serpent. There, you see Splendid, asleep in one hammock. Make Believe and Sparkler are asleep in another. Most of the Thunder Serpent's crew nap through the afternoon as well, with a few guards sticking to the shade to keep watch for attackers, but even they often lean on trees or on their guns and spears to prop themselves awake.

Once the boat reaches the shore, Kukulcan ties the rope to the Thunder Serpent's anchor, and he and his crew disembark, followed by your companions. The diamond dog that Cutlass tormented earlier is one of the few still fully awake, still standing behind the ration table. He glares daggers at Cutlass the moment she comes into view.


"I hope whatever that crawling thing is doesn't involve Splendid's potion."
Cloud says with concern.
"Well, let's head over. Best get this figured out sooner than later."
Cloud says, ready to stop by the Hidden Dagger.



Cutlass smirks at the diamond dog staring at her. She gives him a wink.


"So… is everyone here and ready to discuss this? I'd very much like to not run into more problems as a result of this irresponsibility."


Aided by your crew and Cutlass's, you make your way down to the port, and then climb back up onto the Hidden Dagger, your one good arm burning by the end of it all. If your other arm isn't fixed soon, you just might end up with unbalanced muscles from all of this rope-climbing.
After a minute or two, Mallea de Valle comes upstairs onto the deck, wiping herself off with a grubby towel that is stained with every color of the rainbow, and with various sweet and sour smells. "One-armed, one-eyed Cloud, the wingless Batpony," Mallea says. "What have you gotten yourself into this time?"


He just flips you off.


She gives a happy wave to the Diamond Dog, remembering the rations from before.

"Well, I am. But you think Kukulcan should maybe take a breather for a moment? He was looking pretty tired when we found him."



"He seems fine to me," Cutlass responds, looking at Kukulcan. "Of course, if he wishes to rest, he may."


Cutlass responds with a pouty face.


Cloud leans against the Hidden Dagger's railing to rest after climbing up, the heat having not made it much easier.

"Just Cloud, is fine."
He responds to Maella, a little annoyed by the list of his injuries and missing limbs.
"We came to the realization that the deal I have with a genie has a big possibility of going poorly once I get all the treasure I promised, and we wanted to know if you know any good ways of dealing with them, since we were able to fight off your demon the other day."


Alder lets out a somewhat annoyed huff as they step back out into the heat, and wastes little time in finding somewhere out of the direct sunlight to listen.

"Ready, yes."


Mallea scoffs. "You're asking the wrong person. I could not defeat Auntzi without your help. I failed perhaps hundreds of times – likely far more than I shall ever know. Some of those failed attempts have been visiting me in my own dreams, when I do not dream of those strange doors at the end of the tunnel…"

She sighs. "But I am in your debt for all of that. I know something of sealing circles, protective incantations and so forth, but as you saw plainly during your days in my manor, I can do little against demons that are not bound and gain mastery over a place. As much as I hate to admit it, Obstinance was right to castigate my inability."

"Do you think…" Chiu begins.

"Go on," Mallea says. "Complete that thought."

"Well, you're the one who brought him up."

The dog continues to flip off Cutlass, his eyes narrowing with malevolence…

[1d10+2] Despair

>Despair: once per combat or conversation; Using suggestion and dark intonations, you weaken the target’s resolve. The effects of rolling failures against this target are greatly reduced. Sure to leave anyone in a bad mood.

After a while, still holding up his middle finger, he nods in acknowledgement to Cerulean.

"Splendid, Make Believe and Sparkler are still asleep," Droplet observes. "And we'd better not wake up Sparkler if we would prefer to not have to test all of our food and drink for poison."
"We will just catch them up once they have awoken," Colobok says, sitting across from Kukulcan. "Please, begin if you are ready, sir."
"Very well," Kukulcan says. "I believe I shall start with a proper introduction, for you have received none from me."

He sits up straight, and something of his disposition changes. Gone is the levity, gone is the charm. He becomes stoic, grave. Power wells within his bruised and cut form, and the dried blood marring his clothing looks more like that of a sacrifice than of an injury.

"I am Kukulcan, the last god of this island, the Thunder Serpent."

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5



"Well that's…" Cutlass pauses for a moment. "Actually more believable than anything else I could have imagined."

"Though, you'll have to forgive my ignorance. What exactly is a 'god' in this context?"


"You're the expert here on demon types, I don't think there's anypony else I could ask."
Cloud says as Mallea says she's the wrong one to go to.
"Sealing circles might work. If we get him bound up, would he be easier to deal with?"

When Mallea mentions Obstinance, and Chiu carries on further, Cloud shakes his head.
"No, nuh-uh. It's bad enough we we need to figure out how to deal with a genie away from you, I'm not getting that cat involved so he can try something on you again."


Cerulean stares and blinks at the display and the introduction.
"Woah. Can't believe I'm saying this, but I think that was cooler than free sushi." Cerulean chuckles a bit, almost can't believing she said that herself.


"I, ahm… hmm. A-Are you really?" he asks, cocking his head to the side. "How did you come to be… gone from here? Banished? Exiled? I do not know the word. Why are you not as you should be?"

"Perhaps it is like the spirits of my home- very powerful beings?"



"Your home is a very interesting place," Cutlass comments.


"Well, I have never met one- that is just what the legends have said."



"I imagine this is a momentous occasion for you, then," Cutlass laughs.


"He would be," Mallea answers about the sealing circles. "But the tricky part is to ensure that he is summoned within the circle. There is a reason that 'sealing circle' is typically synonymous with 'summoning circle;' in most cases, the summoner builds the sealing circle on top of the summoning circle, to ensure that the demon is sealed at the moment that the summoning concludes. But, it sounds like this genie was already loose and roaming the world, if you were able to meet him, with your lack of experience in demonology. He presumably already has a connection to you as a result; thus, he will be able to reach you where he pleases. There is a good chance that he would be cognizant of the sealing circle from a mile away. We could put you inside the sealing circle for your protection, but that doesn't solve the problem of getting the genie wrangled."

Mallea then pauses as the talk turns to Obstinance. "…As much as I hate to admit it, it is not as unthinkable as I wish it were. You recall that he left soon after Auntzi was dealt with. Chiu informed me of how he did nothing to the Wetnurse besides test it, mad cat though he is. He did not even enter the manor until the three days I requested were up. He sticks to his agreements."

Chiu looks at you pleadingly. "Are you really sure? I won't press it if you can't accept it, but I can't accept you having to face another demon without all the help that you can get. You think we can bribe him, Mallea?"

"Easily, just pluck some mangoes."

"Not Cloud!" Chiu says. "Obstinance."

"Swap the mangoes for whisky, I imagine."


However, in just as sudden a change of tone as the one before, Kukulcan tilts his head, flicking out the top of his peacock's crest. "Hmmmm? I inform you all that I am a god, and this is the reaction I am afforded?"

"We've dealt with demons and spirits galore in the past few weeks," Droplet offers. "Sorry. If this is true, it's only somewhat of a step up."

Kukulcan hangs his head. "Drat. How fallen I must be that I no longer awe and impress. But it is, as I have attested, the truth. The gods' honest truth. I am a fallen god of this island. I am this island – or was. I was its soil, its winds, its waters, its people. Its sins, its virtues… but most of all, I was its storms. Its thunder.

"Though, it would be more accurate to say that I am now a 'stolen god', not a fallen god. My divinity has been stolen – by the Vault. I know your dreams, dreams of standing in a vortex, shoulder-to-shoulder with all the people of this world, watching as the Vault opens at the end of a long tunnel, its giants stepping forth… those giants began with this island, with Cuauhtemoc. Have you perhaps wondered why you have seen no living souls on this island, besides the beasts of the land, besides the flora and fauna? Why you have seen no corpses, no skeletons, despite all the evidence of carnage? Do you wonder, Cerulean, why your laser-knowledge gun does not return full information when you use it?"


"A-Ah! Apologies, Mister Kukulcan, I did not mean to offend you-" he says, bowing a little bit and folding his ears back "-It has been a very difficult week or so. We had heard the vault had taken… things. I am sorry that it took such things from you- is it, well… possible to remove things from this Vault?"


"Yeah! I have bee-" she stops suddenly, then looks at him.
"Wait, I haven't told you that yet." She pauses a moment to ponder it over.
"Wait, are you saying that everytime I zapped something here to find out, you knew?!"


"Our deal was I'd get two more wishes when I get the treasure worth enough for it, and it feels like I've been getting close," Cloud ponders a moment, "How big can they be? Do you think we could make it before i pick up treasure so there's no choice for him?"
He asks.
"Wait… Do you think my wings are giving him a connection to me?"

Cloud looks at Chiu, still standing hard on his position, but he pleads easily cut through him.
"I don't know. If he keeps to agreements maybe that could work, but I still don't trust him too much. And how could we even find him, let alone down here? What if I'm only one bit away from paying my dues?"



"You expected reverence from a pirate?" Cutlass laughs. "If there's something more to being a god than what can be accomplished with aura, I do not see it. Thus,I asked what exactly a god is."

"Though, if it's any consolation, you DO have my sympathy. And with it comes my respects. I definitely know how it feels to fall from a position of power. And, your fall certainly sounds far more… significant. I can only imagine a magnified version of the pain I've experienced. It sounds… heartbreaking."

"I HAVE been very confused by the lack of bodies anywhere on this island. What happened?"


Nearby, Splendid begins to stir, blinking groggily as she turns over in the hammock. When she notices you talking with Kukulcan, she nearly falls out of her hammock, which at this point you see is not one but two hammocks grafted together to hold her considerable frame. She sits up, and noticing the sober tone, focuses her attention quickly.

"It is as I have said," Kukulcan says. "Let me answer your questions in but one response. Cutlass, you wanted to know what being a god is, but your mistake was in comparing it to Aura, as 'more than' Aura, as though there were a hierarchy of sorts. Divine hierarchies, gods as being 'above' mortals, divine ascension… throw all of that out. Such are notions of your mortal perception of the world. A god is something utterly different. A god is more akin to…"

He turns, and dips his claw into the lake, stirring forth small ripples. "A wave in the waters. Each wave is just as much part of the lake, or the ocean, as it may be, as the rest of the waters. As I said, I am this island, and I am the world itself, for that is what it is to be a god. What you see now before you is merely a scrap of myself, incarnated as a contrivance, for convenience. Beyond this avatar, I am this island's waters. Its winds. Its earth. I am the faith of my people."

"So what am I now that my people are gone? Barely more than a husk."

"My people, as the rest of my island, have been taken by the nameless giants that have come from the Vault," Kukulcan continues. "Each night it opens, and each night, my Watchkeepers endeavor to drive them back. For a time, they were successful, but though they could close the Vault's doors, as the years have gone on, and the Vault has opened tirelessly, without fail, we have gradually lost more and more of our forces to it. Even this island's ability to stay afloat has been stolen. The Island-Turtle is not dead, for I am yet alive. But, the Island-Turtle's capacity to stay afloat has been stolen, just as my people, and my divinity, have been. Now, the Vault only closes during the Day, for during the Day, the Veil is drawn once more. Your kind intuitively knows this. You fear that dark forces prowl about at night, most strongly during the so-called 'Witching Hour.'"

"A sealing circle can be of considerable size," Mallea says. "But the larger it is, the harder it is to make it secure. Magic diffuses, and so it grows weaker."

"What if we went back using Gullveig's key?" Chiu asks. "We'd be able to get a signal via Conch to him then."


"Alright, so how strong would one the size of a room be? Would that be enough?"

"You have his conch code?"
Cloud questions in surprise, then thinks a moment.
"Can we get back here with that? And what about him getting to us? I don't think Gullveig would like us bringing him through her shop."


Alder offers Splendid a bit of a wave and scooches a little closer to her as he listens to Kukulcan explain. After a little he nods, and says "So… if we can find a way to return your people to you, then the island will… sort of come back, just as you do? Hmm… is there a way to get into the vault, or is that too dangerous?"



"Well then, I was mistaken," Cutlass nods. "Your current form sounds like a MASSIVE improvement."

"The giants we've seen in our dreams?" Cutlass asks more urgently. "What in the world are they? How are they able to steal concepts like godhood and the ability to float? What are they doing with everything they take?"


"One of the rooms on the ships?" Mallea asks. "That shouldn't be a problem at all."

"Obstinance gave Cerulean his business card," Chiu says, forcing a smirk. "Trust me, I wouldn't put a guy's conch code in my address book besides yours."

"It would have to be through Gullveig's shop," Mallea says. "I can't think of any other way to get this deep under the sea in a hurry."


Cerulean scratches her head and blinks, only slightly nodding along. She looked like all the grandeur and such was being lost on her.


"I meant a room size in general. Right now, my plan is to be as far as possible in this island if I grab any more treasure so he can't get to Chiu."

"He gave his number to Cerulean? How'd she get that."
Cloud says, still baffled anypony in the group kept contact.
"I know you would grab any other guy's number. I wasn't worried about that."

"Well, if he doesn't mind being shrunk down, I can send him down here with my messenger jar. That'd keep Gullveig safe and unseen at least."


"I do not know what they are," Kukulcan says. "Only that they take all that they can carry, which is not limited to the mere physical, and put it somewhere deep inside the Vault. And I have seen, in my brief glimpses inside the minds of my Watchkeepers that got close to the Vault, survived their battles with the giants, that mine is not the only island that has been stolen from. I have seen things from islands completely alien to mine, and those you have seen, things I do not have words to even describe. I have even seen islands themselves… including one that, in my research upon you and your crew, I think that one of you might have an interest in."

He looks at Thessaly, and her eyes widen. "I have seen, even, a piece of the Skerry."

"So, to put my plans as simply as possible, I plan to open the Vault, and take everything back – and everything else that I can get my claws on, as restitution for all the trouble that they have caused."

"A good old heist, huh?" Droplet asks. "What's your plan for it?"

"The only time that the Vault opens of its own accord is at night," Kukulcan says. "But that is when the unstoppable legions of giants step forth from it to claim the world for themselves, and if even the strongest of the Watchkeepers can hardly keep them at bay, let alone break through, after this war of attrition, that will be quite risky. The other option is to open it during the day, upon my own terms, when their power will be dwindled by the Sun. But that, if my research is correct, requires a considerable… sacrifice."

"A small bedroom is about as large as it can be made without compromising on strength," Mallea answers.

"Maybe he just wanted some sushi," Chiu says.

"If you weren't pregnant…" Mallea mutters, shaking her hoof at Chiu with murderous intent. "…But it is not impossible, I suppose. Just give me notice before you fetch him. I will be taking a boat up several miles along the coast to keep myself away from him."


"Doing it at their weakest might be the best option to keep everyone safe- though, that does make me curious… what is this sacrifice? And, how do you remove something from the Vault?" he asks, cocking his head to the side.


"A small bedroom? Guess I can figure out that size roughly. So how do I set one of those circles up?"

"Sounds like he wanted a little more than sushi."

"Hey, keep your hoof down," Cloud says defensively as she mutters at Chiu, "Even if she wasn't I'd be keeping her away from this."
He looks at Chiu, sighing.
"You think we should call him now? I really don't want anything to happen to you from this, but this is looking like the only way we can get rid of this problem aside from just trapping the genie down here forever."



"Interesting…" Cutlass says as she considers Kukulcan's proposal. "Before we go further, however, I think we need to go over a few other logistical matters."

"First of all, your own machines have been a deadly nuisance to us, ignoring the threat these giants pose. How do we deal with that?"

"Second, I'd like to remind you of our deal. Anything of historical significance is yours. But, everything else goes to us. I trust that a god can stay true to its word, yes?"


"So…where even is this Vault thing you're talking about anyway? I mean, I think I've seen everything you're saying in a dream we had the other night, so I get what you're saying for the most part. Kinda spooky how real that dream is becoming, though," she says with an unsure rubs of her head.
"But either way: just sounds like a big thing that needs breaking. And I like to think I'm a pretty good vault breaker with my tail."


"If you're as much of an expert at demon summoning as you are demon negotiation, I'd better take care of the circle," Mallea says.

"More like an all-you-can-eat shark tail platte–"

"Stop, stop, stop, stop," Mallea begs.

"Well, we'll need to get Gullveig's key from Thessaly before we can call him up. I don't think that even our magical conches can get a signal through however many leagues under the sea we are now," Chiu says.

"There are only two ways that I know of to deal with all the Watchkeepers at once," Kukulcan says. "The first is to plunge to the heart of the Skull Temple, where the Tomb of the High Mechpriest lays, and wrest his staff from him. The staff would enable the wielder to command the Watchkeepers en masse. Normally, I would be able to command them with a mere word, but they no longer recognize me, with my divine spirit stolen. But, the Temple now is home to a particularly strong members of the giants, who imprisoned himself there after my Watchkeepers split him off from the rest of his comrades during one of their nightly raids.

"The other option is to disable them by engineering a mass lightning storm upon the island. The only way to do that safely would be through the magical relays that remain intact at key points along the island's leylines. That tower of brass you happened upon in the jungle south of here was but one of them. If it and the other two can be reawoken and reconfigured, we can knock every Watchkeeper offline with the lightning that shall surge from them… but we wouldn't be able to count on their help against the giants."

"I wouldn't trust you as pirates if you weren't interested in the jewels and riches of the Vault," Kukulcan says. "But I think you'll find that many of my own crew will want their share as well."
"He's mostly talking about me," Cycle Kick says. "I'm pocketing all the gold I can grab once we bust it open, and I'm not afraid to take off a few fingers or hooves if you happen to try to grab the gold I'm after."
Kukulcan turns to Cerulean. "It lies now to the southwest, at the bottom of the Sea of the Heart, an inner sea contained within the confines of Cuauhtemoc. We will have to dive to reach it."

"A sacrifice of souls," Two Reeds answers bluntly. "Either that of the divine, or of sufficient number and quality of mortals."
Splendid tenses up, the feathers on her back and around her neck rising around.


"Ah. I… I-I do not much like that second option, no." he says, huffing a little bit. "I do not know many sources for the further, and I am not willing to give the latter."

"As for the vault… the riches would be nice, yes. I will try to be a little bit careful with what I choose to take and leave."



"Not my problem," Cutlass shrugs to Kukulcan and Cycle Kick. "A deal is a deal. And, I expect you to be able to control your crew well enough to honor that deal and not have it negatively impact MY people," she says as she looks toward Kukulcan and gestures toward Cycle Kick.

Then, she looks toward Cycle Kick. "Obviously, there's probably more treasure in there than my people can grab. So, it would be ridiculous of me to object to you taking anything. However, under NO circumstances will you be taking any treasure my people want, and you'll CERTAINLY not be attacking them for it. If you have a problem with that, take it up with YOUR captain. HE is the one who set up this deal."

>Using two TBP

>Whisper in your Ear to both of them. [1d10+4]

Roll #1 10 + 4 = 14


"You are sitting before a pair of gods," Two Reeds casually mentions. "Both myself and Kukulcan. Though our divine spirits have gone, we still retain fragments of godhood, such as our immortality in the face of aging. If you were concerned for the safety of your crew, perhaps you might use one of us, to open the Vault during the day. Of course, we would never agree to such a thing. You would have to use force."


>Whisper in your Ear (Aura) (+2 from BP): When Cutlass speaks, her aura is hidden in her words, causing people to be more open to what she has to say, regardless of their current mood or preconceptions of her.


A dive? Well that's no problem; diving is the main reason I signed up for this. Granted you didn't exactly mention there'd be this much air like…this," she says, semi-frantically waving her hooves around in the air to emphasize the lack of water.
"But a dive is no problem."

She then thinks to what he said of a staff.
"So a smash and grab? That seems easy enough, and the first part is my specialty!"


Cycle Kick's beak falls open, and he pauses there for a little while, holding your gaze with a curiosity in his own.

"Tell you what. My dream's not something I can compromise on, and I'll need a hell of a lot of gold to accomplish it… but I want to see something. I'll agree to your terms if you can call it."

He produces a single Bit. "Heads I win, tails you lose? Heheh. Just kidding. I'll flip it and you'll call it, alright?"


"Alright, we'll figure out a place to set one up when we get to that step."

Cloud snickers as Mallea begs for their gossip to stop, having lightened the mood a bit.
"Right, let's focus on on this genie first and worry about the cat going fishing later."
As Chiu mentions the conches likely not working, Cloud takes out his messenger bottle.
"I'll send this over. If it can reach home it'll reach them."
Cloud takes a scrap of paper, writing down a message, though scribbling is more apt as he struggles to write with his non-dominant hoof.

Hey, Thessaly, do you know when you guys will be heading back? I've… uh, there's a situation, and we'll need to borrow your key to Gullveig's… You know, this might be better to explain face to face. It's a long story. But if you want to send the key back, that'd be cool. Thanks.

When finished, Cloud sticks the paper into the bottle, puts the lid on, and tosses it into the waters.
He says to send it off to her, turning back to Chiu and Mallea.
"…So, Mallea. How would you compare a genie to how difficulty it was to deal with Auntzi?"


"O-Oh! I, uhm, I suppose I did not realize it would count if you were in… the current state the both of you are." he says, wincing a little bit. "I-I would not like to use people as sacrifice. It does not feel right." he says, before blinking.
"O-Oh! You too, then? Are you and Kukulcan both divines of this island, are you from elsewhere?" he asks, a tad surprised.



Cutlass raises an eyebrow at him when he mentions that he needs money for his dream. She pauses in thought for a moment at his proposal. "I'm not dumb enough to leave treasure to chance. But, I can do you one better. As long as you accept that you don't get first pick of the treasure, I'll personally help you get more treasure. Deal?"

>Whisper in your Ear [1d10+2]

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4


"Did you seriously write 'Uh' down?" Chiu asks as you toss the bottle into the water.

Mallea shakes her head. "It's not like it can be neatly put on a scale from one to ten. Every demon is a challenge in its own ways, requiring its own approach. But in general, the trouble with a genie is getting tied up into verbal knots and agreeing to things you do not want. If you simply try to plug your ears and sandbag him by not saying a thing, he is likely to simply go rogue and attack you outright. But if you put up a little sparring match of words, he will want to play along, just to get you to agree to something foolish… you must choose every single word like the skeeviest of lawyers."


"Call the coin toss or I'll spread a rumor that everyone in your crew will believe," Cycle Kick insists.
"I'm curious as to what that rumor might be…" Droplet muses.


"As Juniper and I have said, sometimes the truth is so absurd that there is no point in spelling it out. Some things can only be seen to be believed," Kukulcan continues. "And yes, in the end it is truly that simple. Did you have any other questions for me?"


"I am a goddess of this island," Two Reeds says. "Or, I would be if my divine spirit had not been stolen. I find it… sacrilegious to speak of such things overlong, however. Talking so plainly about godhood… I do not know how Kukulcan can stomach it. Some things are not meant to be put into words. Words are meant for deception; some things can only be seen, and done."


"I guess just: when can we start on all this? Cause honestly, finally being able to fill in all those gaps when I tried to learn about them is getting me super excited. Really, this whole trip has had me excited…until our friends got separated and hurt and all, then I was kinda bummed. But seeing them okay…well, alive okay, well, that's got me relieved enough to get excited for finding stuff again!"



"Well now, so am I," Cutlass agrees with Droplet. "Now you've left me with an interesting option. DO I allow you to spread a rumor in exchange for your cooperation - because this entire conversation is from the kindness of my heart. Regardless of all of this, you WILL cooperate. I don't need to help you. Your captain WILL reign you in or he's not a very good captain and isn't good on his word."

"Or, do I risk potential treasure on a coin toss for the sake of not having a rumor spread about me? I think the question depends strongly on what the rumor is."

"Of course, we could stop this entire silly discussion and you could accept my assistance. I assure you, I'm a pony you'll like having on your side."

>Whisper in your Ear either to get details on that rumor or get him to back down… or both [1d10+2]

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4


"I'm nervous right now! I just get out whatever possible when I'm like this."
Cloud defends himself.

"So try to lure him in but don't say anything that can be taken as an agreement or deal, until we are in a spot to do something. I'll try to do better on that this time."


"Ah- well, I apologize for making you do such a thing." he says, offering a bit of a bow. "But… how much harder will it be at night?" he asks. "Is lightning any less effective?"


Cycle Kick makes that facial expression that some eager and enthusiastic folk tend to make when dealing with someone who just doesn't want to play along in the slightest. He puffs out his cheeks, and fixes you with a hard, pleading, 'Work-with-me-here' kind of stare.

"How about we just do it for fun," he says, each word getting dragged out as if with a stage cane.

"If you are up for it, you may start right away," Kukulcan says. "I have laid out most of the preparatory work: Disable or take command of the Watchkeepers. Travel to the Sea of the Heart, and make ready to dive into it in search of the Vault. And finally: Decide whether to begin the raid during the day, when its powers are weakened, or during the night, when it shall be at its strongest."

He stretches, and looks down at his torn clothes and scarred body. "As for myself, I believe I will need that siesta after all… I'd been cracking at the Skull Temple for quite some time. Fighting with the objective of doing no harm is harder than one might think."

"The giants cannot exist in the sunlight," Two Reeds says. "And we do not currently have any means of controlling either the Sun or the Moon Serpent. To fight them during the day would almost assuredly mean that they could not step into the sunlight, meaning they would be unable to pursue us if we could get in, grab something and run back out into the safety of the sunlight. If we began the raid at noon, when the Sun Serpent is at her peak and covering all within sight, it is possible they could do very little against us, for the light would, if only briefly, penetrate into the Vault itself."

After a little while more of waiting, the bottle appears once more in the waters. Cutlass's crew fish it up and pass it along to you. Inside is the key, and a note from Thessaly: "Best of luck."

Chiu gulps, and gives you a peck on the cheek. "Don't be so nervous. We'll be able to make it through this. So, I guess I should hit the road with Granny, huh?"



Cutlass gives Cycle Kick a friendly smile. "I'll take that as acceptance of my assistance and your cooperation. Trust me, it's the best way."

"But, I'm also fascinated to see what trick you have in store. So, I call tails. Just for fun."


"Well now, on the subject of what to do next, I think our path is clear. We need to get control of the automata. So, we need to find the control staff in the temple. How exact is your knowledge of where it is?" Cutlass asks Kukulcan.


"Huh, I figured she would've been a little more questioning of this."
Cloud says as he reads the note.

He looks to Chiu, giving her a hug with his good foreleg.
"I hope so. Maybe by the end of this I can have a part or two back."
He looks down at the key and the bottle.
"Tell Bee Holder she'll get a bottle soon. I figure sending Obstinance to her would be the safest bet. I'll be back as quick as I can after that to pick him up."

He returns a peck of his own, to tide over this troubling time.
"Don't stray too far. My clouds only went so far to keep away the sun."
He says, putting on a smile that is genuine, but looks like he has trouble being optimistic right now. He walks over to the nearest door on the Hidden Dagger, holding up the key.
"So how did she use this? Just worked on any door, right?"
He mutters, realizing he forgot to ask on that part, poking the door a few times with the key to see if that works.


"Great! I'm all set to knock that staff out of…whatever they use to hold things," she says excitedly, then a question pops in her head.
"Oh yeah, Kukulcan, I just thought of one last question maybe: say we get into the Vault and all, right? Are we gonna be on a time limit to get out before some bad thing happens to us or anything?"

As she converses, Cerulean thinks she might've seen something….

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Hrm… if only there were a way to capture sunlight. That would be an incredibly handy thing, but… I can hardly shape a cloud myself." he says, huffing a little bit.

"Hmm? That sounds like an excellent idea, actually. Even if it only hinders them, it would be helpful."



"Exactly," Cutlass nods. "The more we hinder them, the more treasure we can grab."


"I'd take it to mean that she's got more confidence in you than before," Chiu suggests. "…Though she probably doesn't want to come within ten miles of Obstinance, either."

The key does nothing as you poke it against the door. "Perhaps you should try putting it in the hole," Mallea says. "And if you say a word, Chiu, I will wash my hooves of this and be off."

Chiu is all smiles.


"Yea, she wasn't all that favorable of him back on Kaco… Here's hoping I can work out a better deal with Obstinance than I can with a genie."

Cloud poorly tries to stifle his laughter to Mallea's comment, putting the key into the lock and turning it.
"Just pretend she's a genie and carefully watch your words next time."
He jests.


"If it is at night, we will have until just before the first rays of dawn arrive, for it is then that the doors shall shut," Kukulcan says. "Much less, if it takes place during the day. Perhaps no more than an hour."

"There may yet be some way of reaching the Sun and Moon Serpents, but we do not know it yet," Two Reeds says.

"It is at the bottom of the Temple, down seven floors," Kukulcan says. "There are two routes through the Temple; one for the Temple's normal daily operations, used by the Mechpriests, and another for those who challenge the Temple, as part of a coming-of-age rite for the young males of our people. The latter is more direct, but fraught with violence, and the former, more labyrinthine, for the Mechpriests had many places within the Temple that they needed for their work, most of which will be irrelevant to you."

As Cycle Kick flips the coin, Cerulean detects a very distinct mark of Magatsuhi upon it. Curiously, it seems to be concentrated on one side: Heads. She can sense another one not far off, as well, coming from Juniper Yumeno, who lays in the shade of the Thunder Serpent, her hind legs in the water. Actually, it is not from Yumeno, but from the fan that she holds, specifically, upon its inner fold, and not the outer side. Both objects are full of magatsuhi, but only upon one half, never crossing over onto the other half.

The coin lands heads-up, and Cycle Kick fiddles with it between his finger and thumb. "Whaddya know? I win. Looks like the treasure's all mine."

As you open the door to Gullveig's shop, Mallea drops her towel in horror.


Shattered glass.

Smashed wood.

The smell of oil and alcohol, stale from standing in the air, mingling with blood.

The shop has been smashed to pieces, laying in utter ruin, and Gullveig is nowhere to be seen.



Last time, on PirateQuest…

Our crew met Kukulcan in the Skull Temple, upon B-1F where he had just subdued a group of obsidian machines, taking care not to damage them. It was clear that he knew far more than he had ever let on to the party, and so they decided to confront him and demand that he share with them the whole truth. Kukulcan agreed, and they rode upon his canoe back to the Thunder Serpent.

It was there that Kukulcan made a most strange revelation: He and Two Reeds were gods of Cuauhtemoc. He referred to himself as "The Thunder Serpent," while Two Reeds' epithet was not yet known. The two asserted that their divine spirits had been stolen, along with everything else that was missing from the island, by the forces that came from the Vault every night. The Vault that haunted their every dream. It could only open at night, and each night, the obsidian machines rose up to attack the metal giants that came forth from the Vault, but the war was gradually being lost in a steady grind of attrition.

Kukulcan's true aim was to break into the Vault and steal back all that had been taken from the island, but two major issues complicated this. The primary issue was that, even though Kukulcan had made the machines when he was a young god so many centuries ago, they no longer recognized him or Two Reeds, and attacked them and their crew on sight. The secondary issue was the problem of when the Vault would open. If it opened at night, the metal giants would be able to come out freely and steal away all that they could grab. In order to open it during the day, they would need to offer a sacrifice to the Vault: Either a vast quantity of mortal souls, or higher-order souls, such as those of the divine or demonic.

Kukulcan told them that a staff lay at the bottom of the Skull Temple, in the Tomb of the High Mechpriest. If it could be obtained, the obsidian machines could be commanded en masse. But now the Tomb was being guarded by a powerful metal giant who had retreated there to hide from the Sun Serpent's light. Otherwise, they would have to reconfigure the magical relays around the island – such as the brass tower in the gibbon village – to disable the obsidian machines instead, lest they perpetually attack the crews.

As for Cloud, Mallea and Chiu consulted him on what was the best course of action for dealing with Stone Cold Classic and his deceptive aims. Chiu floated the possibility of calling for the help of Obstinance, bringing him down underwater via Gullveig's magical key. Mallea reluctantly agreed, considering how she had been near-helpless against Auntzi until the entire crew had come to her aid. Cloud retrieved the key from Thessaly via the messenger bottle, and had just opened the door to her shop, when…


"If it is at night, we will have until just before the first rays of dawn arrive, for it is then that the doors shall shut," Kukulcan says. "Much less, if it takes place during the day. Perhaps no more than an hour."


"There may yet be some way of reaching the Sun and Moon Serpents, but we do not know it yet," Two Reeds says.


"It is at the bottom of the Temple, down seven floors," Kukulcan says. "There are two routes through the Temple; one for the Temple's normal daily operations, used by the Mechpriests, and another for those who challenge the Temple, as part of a coming-of-age rite for the young males of our people. The latter is more direct, but fraught with violence, and the former, more labyrinthine, for the Mechpriests had many places within the Temple that they needed for their work, most of which will be irrelevant to you."

>Cerulean, Cutlass

As Cycle Kick flips the coin, Cerulean detects a very distinct mark of Magatsuhi upon it. Curiously, it seems to be concentrated on one side: Heads. She can sense another one not far off, as well, coming from Juniper Yumeno, who lays in the shade of the Thunder Serpent, her hind legs in the water. Actually, it is not from Yumeno, but from the fan that she holds, specifically, upon its inner fold, and not the outer side. Both objects are full of magatsuhi, but only upon one half, never crossing over onto the other half.

The coin lands heads-up, and Cycle Kick fiddles with it between his finger and thumb. "Whaddya know? I win. Looks like the treasure's all mine."


As you open the door to Gullveig's shop, Mallea drops her towel in horror.


Shattered glass.

Smashed wood.

The smell of oil and alcohol, stale from standing in the air, mingling with blood.

The shop has been smashed to pieces, laying in utter ruin, and Gullveig is nowhere to be seen.



Cloud looks in horror at the warzone that used to be Gullveig's shop. He steps in, looking around for any sign of what might have happened. He flips up his eye patch as he does so.
"Hmm, do you know what happened here?"


"So not much if we go by day, then. Maybe night might be better," she says thinking about it a bit.
"And…if we don't get out in time? …what would happen?"

Cerulean looks over and gives a long stare at Cycle Kick, having the look of knowing something is up, but not too sure if she should speak up and say something.


"Even we don't know," Two Reeds confesses. "We believe it is possible for things to be taken out of the Vault, but we have not seen our people inside – the residents of the island. It is possible that they may be… changed by their time inside the Vault. Have you heard of Tartarus, the House of Death? They say that it changes those who are trapped inside of it. We fear the Vault may do the same."
"In short, we do not want to find out," Kukulcan grimly adds.


"After hearing that, I don't think I want to find out either. Though…what is it like inside?"


"From the closest we have glimpsed of it, and from records of Watchkeepers we have managed to salvage, it appears to resemble a grand and sprawling palace," Two Reeds says. "We know not its dimensions, nor its depths, but it seems almost to contain some sort of trophy room, from what we have seen."
"Yup," Sir Diamantaire, a cluster of sand swirling about a bronze crystal, adds. "Pretty bold of 'em. They got all kinds of whatsits and goodies put up on display in their front 'all."
"How will we know where to look for your people?" Splendid asks.
"We will have to penetrate the Vault, keep it open, and search," Sir Kukulcan says. "But stripped of divine spirits though we are, Two Reeds and I know what is ours. When we our close, we shall be able to sense it."


>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Aaaand…all the stuff inside is free game, right? I mean, aside from whatever you're after, but everything else is open for grabbing even if its nailed down, right? Don't wanna get divine zapped or something by you at the end all, ya know?" She gives a slightly nervous laugh.


There are scuff marks and gashes in the floor and counters and cabinets, suggesting that there was an attack with some kind of thin bladed weapon. Most of the broken vials, bottles and display cases are also cut in clean, straight lines, corroborating this notion. The door to the decoy front-room shop hangs ajar, as does the front door. There is no sign of the animals that Gullveig sold as familiars; they must have fled.

As you flip up your eyepatch, Hmm gasps. "Watch OU–!" she begins to cry, but…

…Nothing happens.

Hmm blinks, rubs her eyes, and tilts her head. "Huh… did I just imagine that?"


Cycle Kick turns your way, his feathers getting ruffled. "Hey, hey, I already got dibs on all the treasure with this here coin toss," he says, though he wears a joking grin.
"What you take is yours," Kukulcan says. "You are pirates, after all. We harbor no delusions about you agreeing to this for anything less."


Cloud instinctively ducks as Hmm shouts out.
"What?! What did you see?"
He says in alarm. When nothing happens, he slowly stands back up, stepping through the ruined shop, void of anything that used to be sold.
"Did somepony find out about this place? With how hidden it was I can imagine anypony could."


"I dunno. That coin seemed a little…weighted back there," she says, figuring might as well say it now that its being brought up. She gives a joking grin of her own.
"Kind of had a sort of…magatsuhi smell to it." She playfully giggles.

"Sweet! This is gonna be fun!"



Roll #1 10 = 10


"I suppose having some direction is better than no direction, at least. What do you think it would take to reach one of the serpents? I imagine it must be quite difficult, if you have not yet managed it already."


"It looked… like a raven, almost as big as a pony," Hmm says. "But… it's gone now. I swear, it was there just a moment ago…"

She stops and concentrates. "This place was attacked, not long after Thessaly asked Gullveig to look into look into something for her. Thessaly was suspicious about the things in the newspaper. Remember how the articles reported on a bunch of information that they shouldn't have been able to know? Thessaly began to suspect that someone was ratting us out or that there was scrying being done upon us, so she had Gullveig discreetly set up a magical trap to allow her to trace the scrying. But… she and her shop were attacked before she could reach any conclusions."

"Eh?" Cycle Kick asks. "Weird. I knew it was enchanted, but what's 'Magatsuhi'?"

You study his expression, but… it looks like he's telling the truth. He genuinely doesn't know what Magatsuhi is, but his confession about the coin being enchanted is genuine.

"I suppose you could… fly up to it?" Two Reeds offers. "Neither the Sun nor the Moon Serpent has responded to any of our attempts to communicate with them. Perhaps they will not deign to speak to us without our divine spirits, as is customary for gods to forego speaking to mortals without semidivine intercessors – shamans, or priests. Or perhaps there is another reason we do not yet know. In either case, you would be wise to bring them an offering, a sacrifice."
"Whatever it is you plan to do next, I wish you the best of luck," Kukulcan says, rising with a groan. "You may enlist the help of my crew, but I think I'll need a siesta to shake off the injuries I received earlier."


"Hrm… could I really fly all the way up there? I am not, hrm… I am not sure. Maybe I could." he says, more confused than anything else. "And, of course- we do not want to go off half-knocked. Half-cocked? I do not remember the phrase."



"We can worry about getting into the vault later. Right now, we need to focus on getting that control staff so we can have the robots on our side."

"Two questions for you," she looks to Kukulcan. "What does the staff look like? And, how much danger are we in at night in general? Should we be concerned over having our people taken?"


"Its kinda like…uhh…oh! Its demon energy! Which I guess means you've got a demonic coin or something, I guess." She gives a big smile.

Cerulean awaits the answers to Cutlass' questions.


"A raven? Think maybe Gullveig had some defenses left over for anypony coming in here?"
Cloud wonders as he walks towards the door.
"So she was looking in to see if anyone was spying on us. And from the looks of it, she might've found something…"
Cloud pauses for a moment.
"Do you think they're still here?"


"It resembles something of a dark bronze skeleton key," Kukulcan says. "As for its length and width, it adjusts for the ease of the one who holds it."
"So height won't be a problem," Droplet mumbles thoughtfully.
Kukulcan gives him a semi-confused glance, then back to you. "I am surprised that is not already apparent to you. Lock your doors, nail down everything you cannot bring inside. We possess a special, but exceptionally rare gem useful for storing the sunlight, called a godray crystal, so we are relatively safe. The giants have sought to capture those first, and deny us an asset, but there may yet be one hidden in a ruin or perhaps even in the Skull Temple, if you can find it."

"Even if we can't make it, our ships, or even just the Esper, should be able to make that flight, shouldn't they?" Splendid asks.
"Indeed," Two Reeds says. "The Chiccan engines are powerful enough to fly back up to the water that surrounds Cuauhtemoc right now."
"I think you mean half-baked," Droplet says.
"Half-mast?" Colobok offers.
"Never," Droplet says.

"Woah…" Cycle Kick says. "Neat! I'll have to make doubly sure I don't spend it, then."


Hmm pauses for another moment. "No. Nobody's around except some vermin from outside. There were a few people around here earlier, but… they didn't take anything. Street thugs, but Gullveig's little shop has a spooky reputation, so they ran off."

"I'm trying to picture the attacker, but…" Hmm says, starting to strain. "They're just a big… shape. I think… I see wings?"


Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7


"Wings… and a beak…" Hmm says, with a grunt. "But– that's all. They're like a silhouette at midnight on a cloudless night, standing in the shade."


"Yup! Just be careful who you flip it around next time," she says and gives a cheeky grin.


"So a gryphon of some kind then… Or maybe that raven you saw?"
Cloud ponders.
"Either way, I don't want to stick around here longer than we have to."
Cloud steps into the fake-front room, keeping the doors open so he can get back to the Hidden Dagger without issue, and then dials up Obstinance's number after a moment of hesitation on his Caller Conch.



Cutlass shoots an upset glare at Droplet for the height comment. Then, she resumes the conversation, seeming exponentially more concerned.

"What exactly do these giants look like… Do they wear something that looks sort of like scuba gear? If we found some of their armor and have it in our collection of treasure we have collected so far, should we be concerned?" Cutlass asks, her voice growing faster and more concerned across the course of her sentence.


Kukulcan suddenly stands, towering over Cutlass. Droplet and Colobok stand before her protectively, but Kukulcan disregards them.

"IS IT DEAD?" he demands, his pupils shrunk to mere dots.



Cutlass shrugs, her eyes shifting with concern. "It hasn't moved… to my knowledge… that I've seen…"

She stands there for a moment. "Shit, where's the conch?" she asks, looking to Droplet and Colobok.


"We…think? I didn't exactly move when we moved it, and a bunch of those little obsidian guys were all around it. Oh, and a bunch of black water spilled out of it, and one of our crewmates was inside." Cerulean explains, putting her bigger bulk closer to Cutlass just in case.


Cerulean holds up hers.
"I got one."


>Ignore that

"So a gryphon of some kind then… Or maybe that raven you saw?"
Cloud ponders.
"Either way, I don't want to stick around here longer than we have to."
Cloud steps out of the shop onto the street, leaving the door to the Hidden Dagger open so he can get back to the others without issue, assuming the rumors of Gullveig's shop will keep anypony from sneaking onto it. And if anypony does the crews should be able to deal with them.
He takes out his caller conch, ready to dial Obstinance's number, until he realizes he never got it.
"Aw man… I don't want to walk all the way back there."
Cloud grumbles. He peeks back into the shop, grabbing a scrap of paper from the mess. He scribbles down a message, then walks out to the shore on Agyl Island.
Hey, Cerulean. Can you give me Obstinance's conch code? Chiu said you had it. It's a long story, I'll explain later when you guys get back. Write it down on here then toss the bottle into some water and say my name ot send it back. Thanks.

Putting the note in his messenger bottle, he tosses it to the sea.
He says to send it along.


Alder lets out a somewhat frustrated huff as even more variations of the term are presented, even to the point where he doesn't really notice Droplet's comment.

"We could try doing that, yes. Likely after Captain Cutlass's plan first, though!"


Kukulcan steps back, spreading his arms out for balance as he sits back down, sighing with relief. "It is, so it is. It is dead; we are safe. Tell whoever has possession of the corpse to keep a circle of sunlight trained upon its chest at all times, and torchlight during the night. It cannot move when touched by the sun, and even at night, a day's worth of light trained upon it should be enough to keep it weak."
"If it's dead, why bother weakening it?" Colobok asks.
"There are some beings in this world, if they can truly be called 'beings,' for whom death is but a handicap. An inconvenience," Kukulcan says.

It is at this moment that Cerulean notices Cloud's messenger bottle float to the shore of the Dreamer's Moon.

"Definitely a griffon, but I couldn't get a read on what species, only that they were big," Hmm says.

The messenger bottle vanishes as you give it its directions.


"So we'll just keep a look out for anything big and bird-like."
Cloud says, sitting down and staring out across the ocean.
"…I really hope this all works out."



"Thanks," Cutlass says quickly, taking it to call her crew.


"What do you mean 'a circle of sunlight'? How does one accomplish that?" Cutlass asks quickly as the conch connects.


"Ah- so, it is more asleep, or incapacitated, than it is dead? I-If it is something of that power, then I think it would definitely be good to weaken it if possible."


"Dang. Something that can't die? That's-" her attention is taken away by the bottle arriving.
"Uhh…can you handle telling everyone that Cutlass? Gotta check out this bottle."

She goes over and reads it as best she can, then asks around for a pen or something. Once she gets one, she writes a message back:

>Woah! Nifty bottle Cloud! Okay, his code is [insert code here]. Dunno what you need with him, but know everything is good on our end. We're about to go steal stuff soon! Get well soon! ~Cerulean

With her message done, she heaves it as hard as she can.



"Already on it," Cutlass says distractedly as someone does when the phone is ringing.


"What, did you never learn your arts and crafts?" Droplet asks.
"We shall amplify the sunlight by creating a funnel of sorts," Colobok says.
Miss Sunshine picks up pretty quickly after you call. "This is the Hidden Dagger, please hold," she says in an imitation of a bored secretary.

"The only way to be truly rid of the danger it poses is to throw it back into the Vault," Kukulcan says. "But, we will need to find some way of permanently sealing and banishing it before we can do that. For if we put it back into the Vault, who's to say it will not simply come back?"
"Speaking of which," Droplet asks. "I was meaning to ask, what's your plan for dealing with the Vault after you take your people back?"
"There must be some manner of king or leader, or some other guiding force controlling the giants," Two Reeds says. "Defeating it or sealing it – whatever it will take, we must do."

Splendid looks over as Cerulean heaves the bottle back into the water. "Somthing happen with Cloud?" she asks.

Cloud sees the bottle reappear upon Agyl's shore.


Cloud pushes himself up when we sees the bottle float back. He walks over, taking out the note and tucking the bottle away.
"Look like they're going well down there."
Reading the code, he takes out his conch and dials Obstinance after a moment of hesitation.


"Uhhh…I'unno. Just said he needed Obstinance's conch code for something," she says with a shrug.
"Dunno why. We're dealing with weird robot things, not demons."



"Miss Sunshine!" Cutlass calls out quickly. "Is everything okay? Is that armor giving you any trouble? Apparently, it's not entirely dead. Kukulcan says to keep a circle of sunlight on it all night. Also, lock up all the treasure. Make sure no one is out at night. It's not safe. Protect everything with sunlight."

Cutlass speaks quickly, in a semi-panic.


You hear a long yawn, ending in a meow, coming from the other end of the line. "Gooooooooood afternoon. Obstinance speaking."


"Wh-wh-wh-wh–" Miss Sunshine stammers as you fire off your orders. You can hear her blinking with amazement once it's all over and she begins the long process of decoding it. "…Okay. The Beesting crew have a few guards posted around it. I'll have them cut some holes in the tarp we used to cover it. But how are we supposed to get sunlight on it at night? I don't think that the flying Moon Serpent up there is giving off reflected sunlight like on the surface."


"I see. Well, if you think it is best, then we will do what we can to help." he says, before flicking his ears and looking up to Splendid and Cerulean.

"Maybe he is dealing with a demon of sorts? I certainly hope not…"



"That's what I asked!" Cutlass responds, shooting Colobok and Droplet a look. "Colobok said something about creating a funnel. They made it sound easy."

"Any ideas, Kukulcan?"


Thessaly briefly fills you in: Cloud is currently trying to deal with Stone Cold Classic, the genie he traded his wings to, for the sake of protecting Chiu and her foal, whom the genie may target if he is allowed to roam freely after granting Cloud his third wish.

"As I said before," Kukulcan says. "Our island worshipped the Sun, the Moon, and the heavenly Thunder, above all other gods we held, and used godray crystals to capture the light of the skies and preserve it for later use. The giants made off with many of these crystals to weaken our defenses against their assault, but you may be able to find them in the Skull Temple and elsewhere."

"I recall that tower we saw having crystal components," Colobok says. "Shall we inspect it?"



"Yes, that's a good idea," Cutlass nods to Colobok. "And then, you can bring them back to the ship," Cutlass demands to Droplet.

"Since you WEREN'T INVITED on this trip! Yes, don't think I didn't notice that! Unless you think you'll be in danger going alone, you'll take the crystals back to ship."


"Maybe we can split up? Honestly, I'm not up for dealing with all that climbing and stuff again," she says with a slight groan as she remembers that, "but what I am in the mood for is a bit of smashing. Preferably smashing my way to get a neat-sounding staff."



"How long do you think it would take to get to the staff?" Cutlass asks Kukulcan. "Give me your most pessimistic estimate. I don't want to be caught in a worst-case-scenario."


"Ah… I see. He is being forced to make another deal for her sake. I hope that it goes well for him, but I honestly do not know what to expect for now." he says, squirming a little bit.

"Did the tower not have some guardians? It may be difficult to just take things from it, though I might be mistaken." he says, letting out a soft hum.


"Hello Ostinance," Cloud starts, unsure of how to go about this deal of business, "It's Cloud. The bat pony from the other week, remember all that? Yea… So, I'm having a bit of a genie problem…"


>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10



"It probably does," Cutlass nods. "Though, these giants sound more dangerous than the guardians. I'd rather have a defense against them for my - er our crews."


"Damn, I watch your back night and day and this is the thanks I get?" Droplet asks, mock-huffily. He puts one hoof on his hip and gives you a look of abject parental disappointment. "Your mother will hear about this, young lady."
"By which he means that he will comply," Colobok translates.

"At least until the morning, maybe even multiple days," Kukulcan says. "Depending on how ardent the fighting is in the seven basement floors of the Skull Temple, you may reach its depths by the wee small hours of the morning. But even the relatively short distance between the Skull Temple and our ship would be dangerous to cross at night, when the Vault shall open. You would be wise to rest between battles, and stay there until the Sun Serpent rises once more."

"It's either that or to try to find one in the Skull Temple," Splendid says. "Depends on whether we'd be able to convince the gibbons and their… Watchkeepers, I believed they call them? Right, we'd have to steal it or convince them to let us dismantle their machine…"

"We'd probably be able to get through the Skull Temple quicker if we don't bother combing it for a godray crystal," Colobok offers. "Just get the staff and go."

Make Believe gets up from the hammock he shared with Sparkler, stretching and yawning. I'm surprised Cloud didn't come to any of us for help.
"Probably didn't want to endanger any of us for something he considered his burden," Droplet says. "Add another debt to his pile."
"You know an awful amount about our crewmate," Sparkler says.
"Woah, woah, I thought we were all one big party," Droplet says. "Besides, I hear what I hear."

You hear him lean back and cup his paw over his mouth. "Shikigami, BGM," he whispers.
Mood-setting background music begins to play. You feel as though you stepped into a mystic's shop, where rare and unknown objects of magic are traded away from the eyes of the public, where incense and strange currencies exchange hands.
"And you want my help dealing with it? Isn't this an interesting turn. I thought you'd had enough of me when I decided to have a look at the demon your wife picked up. So what is this, a conch consultation?"



"In that case," Cutlass nods, we have a plan.

She puts the conch back up to her ear so Miss Sunshine can hear. "Listen up, everyone. Here's the plan. First, we go to that tower to get some of those suncrystals. We don't have enough time left in the day to get that control staff safely. But, if we have those suncrystals, we may even be able to stay safe if our raid on the skull temple runs a little long tomorrow. Once we get some, we'll send Droplet back to the ships to keep everyone there safe."

"Then, tomorrow, we get that control staff. From there, we use the obsidian robots to raid the vault. Any objections?"


Cloud rolls his eye as Obstinance turns around his calling, silently sighing.
"Yes, I did. I heard a lot about you then and I didn't want any funny business happening. But this genie problem is too big to let me put her in danger for this. I made a deal a while ago and a lot of things changed, so this is more of me wanting to hire you. I got a foal on the way, and I can't let this genie do anything to Chiu or my kid, so I'll do whatever it takes to stop him."
Cloud says, keeping his voice stoic and genuine to not sound like he's crawling to the cat to beg.


"It's a wise pony who turns to a professional when he's in trouble," Obstinance says. "I had to clear my schedule after that demon broke my arm, so I'm all clear. I just have two questions. The first: What are you offering me?"


Cerulean gives a slight groan.
"Ugh…I really don't wanna climb again…. Sure I can't just scout out the Temple a bit? I mean, with Roger with me, I can just go through the walls and floors if things get too dicey for me. That way, we'll have the place mapped out and things could go quicker."


"I… do not see an issue with this, as long as taking them is safe. We would not want to grievously wound anyone before heading back to the temple, yes?"


"The others are on an island right now, we're hunting for some lost relics and treasure under the sea. My deal with the genie is going to be fulfilled when I collect enough to pay off for my wishes he owes, so you can have all the treasure it takes to call him. And you can grab more too if you want since Kukulkan was making a big deal over all that we could find."



"Hmm, Alder has a point, Kukulcan," Cutlass says, looking to him. "There's a lot of your robots around there. Care to provide us with some assistance to assure that this venture is successful?"

>Whisper in your Ear [1d10+2]

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4



"Are you sure?" Cutlass asks, giving Cerulean a pouting face. "You're our muscle. We'd feel MUCH safer with you around."


"Me?" Kukulcan asks. "I'm taking a siesta, the time of which you're cutting into," he says, regaining some of his previous spice. "As I said, you may take from my crew. You have already met Cycle Kick and Juniper Yumeno, and others may be willing to go along if you need further aid."
"For a cut of the treasure of course," Cycle Kick says.

"Then, onto my second question," Obstinance says. "Where shall I meet you?"


"Well I mean, as long as you don't do anything big, the monkeys and spiders should protect you just fine," she says, giving Cutlass a head pat or two in response to her pouting, then laughs slightly.
"Besides: now you know how I feel every time you went off on your own."


"I'm on Agyl island right now. I can meet you at the docks."
Cloud says, starting to walk that way.
"How long will it take you to get here?"



"Okay, first of all," Cutlass says as she swats her hooves at Cerulean's head pat. "The monkeys and the spiders are the things that are likely to KILL us considering we're about to STEAL from them. You'd be VERY helpful in protecting us from that."

"Second, *I* went off on my own!?" she squeaks in outrage at the word 'I'. "You all abandoned me! I was arrested because of you! Everything that's happened after that - every instance of me 'going off on my own' - has been me trying to catch up! So, the least you can do is be there to protect me while we steal from some stupid monkeys!"


"I should be there within an hour. Go ahead and get me a shaved ice, I hear it's going to be hot today."

With that, he ends the call.



Cutlass rolls her eyes and groans dramatically at Cycle Kick's offer for assistance. "Whatever. I guess you two will do. Come on, we don't have a lot of daylight left. Let's get moving."


"W-Woah now, please- It might have not been the best thing to say. If Cerulean does not feel fit to come along, I am sure some of Kukulcan's crew would be willing to come in her stead. F-For what it is worth, I will try to protect you." he says, patting his firearm.


Cycle and Juniper eye Cutlass and Cerulean awkwardly, having walked in on some drama. Splendid and Colobok look embarrassed on everyone's behalf, while Droplet looks like he's used to it. Make Believe goes and wakes up Sparkler, helping her out of the hammock as you all prepare to head out for the village of the gibbons (or to the Skull Temple, by Cerulean's choice.

>If you're heading for the gibbon village, roll navigation, -1 penalty due to the heat of the afternoon.



"Thank you, Alder," Cutlass nods to him. "At least YOU are a good friends," she lays on the guilt.


"I really hope this doesn't end with me playing errand colt."
Cloud grumbles as he tucks away his conch. He flips down his eyepatch, covering his gem eye as he looks around for a shaved ice stand, deciding to buy two so he can have something to snack on as well while he waits.



*friend, singular


Cerulean can't help but find the little squeek adorable.
"Okay, okay, settle down. Like Alder said: ask with Kukulcan's crew. More than one body is a lot better at protecting than just me. And well, honestly, I'm not really feeling like I've been good at the whole protecting thing lately…." She looks a touch upset, evident she doesn't need Cutlass' words to feel some guilt.
"Or hey, maybe just try talking to them? Could always try asking first with a smile." She gives a smile to Cutlass and waits for them to head off before heading to the temple with Roger and Tabasco.



"Sorry about that," Cutlass says to everyone with a forced smile. "Sometimes people say things that make me a TEENY bit angry," she says, practically grinding her teeth by the end of the sentence.


"I don't really have a way to talk to monkeys…" Cutlass grumbles in response. "Whatever, do what you want," she waves a dismissive hoof.


Alder lets out a little warble, but just smiles and offers a quick nod.

>Navigation [1d10-1]
"P-Perhaps shedding my coat would not be the worst thing, if I knew how." the griffon says, somewhat exasperated.

Roll #1 3 - 1 = 2



Sorry, forgot to roll. [1d10-1]

Roll #1 2 - 1 = 1


You pay 4 Bits for the two shaved ices. They come in coconut halves.

After about an hour of waiting in a shaded area on the dock, you're approached by a very tall figure, wearing a dark red hooded poncho with golden trim, marked with woven illuminations of various herd animals. The crowds of merchants and sailors who fill the docks part ways to let him through. He sits down beside you and takes the partly-melted shaved ice, stirring it a bit before he takes a bite.

"Hrm… really should've asked you to get mango," Obstinance says. "But, your timing was perfect. You really have to let these sit, let the syrup sink down to the bottom of the bowl and concentrate, otherwise it's plain flavorless. What flavor did you get?"

Together with Cycle and Juniper, your half of the group bids Cerulean farewell, and sets off south from the campsite, into the harsh and unforgiving heat of the jungle once more. But unfortunately, even the dense and more heavily shaded areas of the jungle cannot protect you much from the harsh beams of the Sun Serpent. The tree canopy traps the heat low to the ground, and the wet and marshy earth below results in a steamy, humid climate that stick close to your coats. Insects buzz about you incessantly.

"I'm shaving you once we get back to the ship," Splendid mumbles to Alder. "Then you can shave me."
The others are too hot to really chime in. Juniper frantically fans herself nonstop as her mane sticks to the side of her head.

>I lied this was more of an endurance roll

By the time that you reach the Sundial Plaza, where you first met Juniper and Cycle, sweat has dampened your entire bodies, and every step upon the hot and dried rock stings your hooves and paws. It is as you reach the gnomon that Splendid and Cycle, having fur coats, gravitate toward the first patch of shade that they see and collapse there, reaching for their canteens.

>All lose 2 Hits from the heat

>roll perception

You reach the Temple by swimming across the Dreamer's Moon, with Tabasco riding safely upon your back. In time, you step into the Temple's cool shade, arriving in the first room. There is a door to the North and South and East, and you recall that it was East that you first went when you found Kukulcan and his crew.


Cerulean takes a deep breath as she gets ready for this.
"Alright Tabasco, might need you to help keep things lit up, okay?" She says and gives him a few pets before going to the North door.


Cloud answers as he drinks the remainder of his ice.
"So, what do we do?"
He asks after moment, letting Obstinance take time to enjoy his treat.



"Just so you know, you're generating more heat from the fanning motion than you are cooling yourself off. Unless you have some sort of mechanical advantage, you're actually better off just living with the heat," Cutlass uses her rich person education to provide some advice to Juniper.

"But seriously," Cutlass asks as she sits down for a rest. "Why is it getting HOTTER? What is wrong with this place?"

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 4 = 4


Alder manages a soft giggle, but not too much else- the griffon's too focused on seeking shade and drinking water. Alder will follow Cycle and Splendid to the shaded area and lets out a sigh of relief, and takes a minute or so to relax. Once he's feeling better, the griffon tries to spot out anything of note.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Why am I not surprised?" Obstinance asks, knocking back the bowl of shaved ice. He is so large that it vanishes fairly quickly. "Alright. We need a place to work – one we won't care about getting thrashed. I would suggest the wilderness, but not at this temperature. Somewhere close to the ocean, shaded, preferably. A cave, maybe… we'll want some people on standby in case this goes wrong, too."


Tabasco barks softly, extending his flames to give light to the surrounding lightless Temple grounds. You approach the north doorway, but the door has no handle for pushing or pulling. Tabasco experimentally touches his paw to it, and inscriptions on the door start to glow. The door slides to the left, allowing you to pass.

A brief hallway waits beyond the door, at the end of which is a staircase that leads down, curving around itself as it descends to the B-1F level, where you encountered Kukulcan. At the bottom of it, you see another hallway, bending at a 90 degree angle: One branch leads to the East (to your left) and the other to the South (ahead of you). You see the four obsidian machines that Kukulcan defeated laying there, in a large room that may have served as some kind of sporting court.

"Couldyoujustshutup," Juniper sighs, almost in a single slurred syllable, at Cutlass for the lecture.
"It's always like this, spring, summer, fall, winter," Cycle Kick sighs. "We should be having a siesta right now, not wandering around like madponies. This heat is meant to be slept through."

On her way toward the shade, Cutlass very nearly steps on something underhoof, but Alder is quick enough to point it out: It's the tiny obsidian spider that confiscated Cerulean's gun in the gibbon village. He's got the gun in his hands, and is pointing the business end at Cutlass…

>roll perception



"Alright, geez, just trying to help," Cutlass responds to Juniper.

Cutlass looks down at the spider with an amused smile. "That's… actually adorable."

"Of course, it also means they're upset with us. We haven't done anything yet, though…"

Cutlass looks around for what might be ticking off the obsidian guardians. [1d10] perception

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Thanks Tabasco."

Cerulean looks at the machines, eyeing them carefully as if they'd spring to life again at any moment. As she does, she keeps moving forward, following the South branch.


"The island is pretty much all abandoned, aside from some obsidian golems, so we can set up a place anywhere."
Cloud answers.
"But first, this whole deal is only for the genie. I don't want you going after anypony else on our crews."
He states, not wanting any witch-hunting or Chiu-studying to happen during this job.


Alder cocks his head to the side and lets out a somewhat exhasperated giggle, before saying "Funnily enough, it is much the reverse where I live. It is incredibly cold for a decent chunk of the year- in fact, we live far enough north that depending upon the time of year, we get days that last most of the 'day', or nights that last most of the 'day'.

He blinks a little bit, looking at the spider in concern. "Ehm… Captain Cutlass, the spider is apparently trying to use the knowledge-gun-thing that Cerulean had. I-Is it dangerous?"
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10



"As far as I'm aware, it doesn't hurt anyone," Cutlass responds. "Not that it knows that."


"Very well then; lead the way to this island of yours," Obstinance says. He heads to a nearby food stand and orders a couple of churros, handing you one on the way back.

You notice the gun inching forward and then back every few seconds or so… and after a little mental math, you piece it together: The spider is offering the gun to you. It seems that he recognizes you and wishes to give it back. You notice too that the spider exercises very wonderful trigger discipline… despite pointing the barrel at Cutlass.

The others just sit there in the shade, not reacting much to the spider with the gun.

Heading past the broken Watchkeepers, you proceed down the zig-zagging tunnel, which you entered on your first visit to the Temple, stained with Kukulcan's blood. Eventually you emerge in another room, one with the eastern half facing the open air. All around you, waterfalls pour down from the Dreamer's Moon and the streams that trail off from it.

To the East are the fallen-column bridges leading to the eastern half of the temple, and to the ground floor above you.

To the North and South are more doors.



"Oh my goodness. That is simply too precious," Cutlass says as she puts the pieces together in her head.

She crouches down and puts out a hoof so that the spider can give her the gun. Also so that she can make sure that's actually what is happening before she offends it and makes it think she's stealing from it.


Cloud says as he's handed the churro, taking a bite.
"So about that. The way I got back up here is sorta to be kept a secret. So… I can either send you down to the ship by shrinking you and sending you off in a bottle right away, or I can shrink and carry you in the bottle back down."
He says, leaving the offer up to Obstinance.


Cerulean continues to head South, though she does take a moment to watch the waterfalls and contemplate jumping down while fused with Roger.


"Ah! It is offering the gun back to us. How nice of it!" the griffon chirps, gently accepting the gun and tucking it away for safety.

"Now- maybe after a little bit of rest, we can continue with what we were doing?"


"If this is a trap, it's a clunky one," Obsidian comments as he snacks on his churro. "But, if I'm going to be entering a trap, I'd rather stick close to my captors. Put me in the bottle and carry me."

The spider hands over the gun and starts to head back home, undeterred much by the heat. This is a peculiar sight; machinery is always at danger of overheating, but the small Watchkeeper seems just fine. Perhaps something of this can be learned for your group's benefit.

When Alder suggests that you take a rest, the others heartily agree, reaching for canteens and anything in their bags that they can use to cover their heads. Before you can drink, Yumeno raises her hoof and pulls out a notebook-sized grimoire from her purse. It's covered with stickers, which Make Believe eyes with interest. "Here, let me see your drinks before you sip."

You head South for a while, until eventually the corridor bends to the West, and ends in another sliding door.

Beyond it is a wide room, empty save for four doors. As you enter the room, four images appear above each door. The first, the southernmost, is that of a jaguar. The second is that of an insect-like creature, almost resembling a kind of Krikral. The third is that of a wide-eyed screech owl. Finally, the fourth is that of a curving, curling serpent.



"Do you really think I'd be calling you up to trap you like this?"
Cloud says, giving a little shake of his cane.
"Alright, should only take a few minutes to get there then. Just hop on in after I shrink you."
Cloud sets the messenger bottle on the ground. His eye glows orange as he focuses on Obstinance, shrinking him down small enough to fit inside.


Last time, on PirateQuest…

Following our crew's discussion of the expedition's events and context with Kukulcan, Two Reeds and the laconic Sir Diamantaire, it was clear that there were three components of preparation they would need before they could take on the forces of the mysterious Vault that continually stole away fragments of Cuauhtemoc.

The first was the question of the Watchkeepers, the obsidian machines guarding the island from all intruders. Some were not aggressive, such as the ones in the village of gibbons. Others sought to kill on sight, like the ones that nearly slew Cloud and Splendid. They could be controlled with the Staff of the High Mechpriest, or disabled using the three magical relays built around Cuauhtemoc. Cerulean went to the Skull Temple alone to scope it out and see how easily the staff may be obtained with her land-swimming powers.

The second was to obtain a godray crystal, used in ancient times by the people of Cuauhtemoc to honor and worship their three highest gods, the Moon, Sun and Thunder Serpents. The giants from the Vault had stolen those away soon after stealing the people of Cuauhtemoc, but there were two places left that one could be obtained: Within the Skull Temple, though the location within would be unknown, and the gibbon village, hidden within the crystalline machinery at the top of the brass tower.

The third, and trickiest one, was to enlist the aid of the Sun and Moon Serpent as Kukulcan had sought to do, but to no avail. Neither he, Two Reeds or Diamantaire had any notion of how they could speak with the heavenly Serpents, for they had ignored their previous attempts at speaking with them. Two Reeds speculated that they would need either a sacrifice, as is customary when speaking with the gods, or an intermediary like a priest or a shaman.

Once that was taken care of, they would need to decide on the time of their attack: Night or Day. Night would give them more time but more dangerous fights, for the giants would be able to roam free, while Day would limit where the giants could go, but give them naught but an hour or two before the Vault closed itself against the Sun.

Meanwhile, Cloud investigated the ruins of Gullveig's destroyed shop. Hmm identified the perp as a "large griffon," but their appearance was hidden in shadows from the all-knowing crow spirit. Setting that aside for the more immediate issues of the day, Cloud enlisted the aid of Obstinance to help him exorcise Stone Cold Classic's influence over him.


>Alder, Cutlass
The spider hands over the gun and starts to head back home, undeterred much by the heat. This is a peculiar sight; machinery is always at danger of overheating, but the small Watchkeeper seems just fine. Perhaps something of this can be learned for your group's benefit.

When Alder suggests that you take a rest, the others heartily agree, reaching for canteens and anything in their bags that they can use to cover their heads. Before you can drink, Yumeno raises her hoof and pulls out a notebook-sized grimoire from her purse. It's covered with stickers, which Make Believe eyes with interest. "Here, let me see your drinks before you sip."


You head South for a while, until eventually the corridor bends to the West, and ends in another sliding door.

Beyond it is a wide room, empty save for four doors. As you enter the room, four images appear above each door. The first, the southernmost, is that of a jaguar. The second is that of an insect-like creature, almost resembling a kind of Krikral. The third is that of a wide-eyed screech owl. Finally, the fourth is that of a curving, curling serpent.


"It might be surprising to hear, but we Virtues are not universally loved," Obstinance says. "Shadow brokers have put bounties on me within underworld social circles before. I even cashed one in myself one time. Made a good bit of money. Unfortunately, it was because I killed everyone in the drug den, not because they paid me."

After you shrink him down, he lets out a high-pitched meow and hops into the bottle.



"I though you guys had a lockdown on all that stuff."
Cloud comments on the bounties.

After Obstinance hops into the bottle, Clock puts the bottle in his pocket so the cat can't see outside. He then takes as quick a walk as he can manage with a cane back to the shop, making his way through and back to the Hidden Dagger, closing the door and putting the key away in his other pocket before taking Obstinance back out.


"This is a vast and chaotic ocean, the Ribcage," Obstinance says before getting into the bottle. "Power hasn't consolidated in one set of hooves, and in fact it often changes hooves regularly. The world of crime and pirates – the Underworld – has its own network for putting money on heads than the world of the Haku and island governments."

Obstinance waits patiently until you are back aboard the Hidden Dagger, where Mallea and Chiu sit in the shade. Their hooves are dirty with ink and oil, and between them sits a pile of discarded cleaning rags and protective clothing. They, as you saw on your way back, had busied themselves with tidying up Gullveig's shop from the aftermath of the attack.

Once Obstinance is let out of the bottle, Chiu and Mallea immediately sneer, departing for the opposite corner of the deck without so much as a word. The guards left behind to keep watch draw their swords and guns, simply keeping them at the ready. Obstinance smiles back, but says nothing to them. "I'll let you vouch for me. Doubt they're interested in my testimony."


Cloud looks over at Mallea and Chiu as they keep their distance from Obstinance, hoping this task can be done quickly.
"He agreed to only deal with the genie, we won't have anything to worry about."
He says to the guards, then looking back to Obstinance.
"How much space do you need to work?"


"Well, this choice seems easy, right guys," she says to Roger and Tabasco as she heads towards the door with the serpent on it.


"Hmm? Uhm… excuse me for asking, but why? I am merely drinking water." he asks, showing his canteen.


"Yes, but have you ever had flavored water?" Juniper asks with all the gravity and importance of a miracle-cure salespony.
Droplet and Colobok look on in bored disbelief, while Sparkler, Make Believe and Splendid are interested; Sparkler's interest seems to merely be spiteful and jealous.


"The more room we have, the less danger the others will be in," Obstinance says. "Let's get ourselves up the shore. Either direction, doesn't matter. I'll stop us when I see a good spot."

He heads towards the lifeboats, and the Hidden Dagger crew look to Vice-Captain Little Miss Sunshine for confirmation. "Right," she says. "Chiu filled me in on things. You can take the lifeboat, but we're sending some of our own to make sure you comply."
"I was actually just about to request as such. Just have them watch from a distance," Obstinance says.

Obstinance begins to stretch as the crew prepare a lifeboat. Chiu approaches and leans in to whisper, "Do you want your shadow up to guard you?"

As soon as you pass through the door, the door slides shut behind you. The room itself is a pastiche of a badlands environment, a vast space full of constructed crags, narrow, tunnel-like gaps in the walls, and plenty of tall rocks. It is utterly lightless, and the crags and valleys take up so much of the room that you cannot see if there are other doors on the other walls. Tabasco and Roger stick close, protectively.

>Make two perception rolls



"Forgive me for being paranoid, but when you get drugged once, you stop trusting people with your beverages," Cutlass responds to Yumeno, not giving away her canteen.

Anything of interest, or are you just admiring stickers? Cutlass asks Make Believe through her thoughts.


Those are some pretty nice stickers, Make Believe thinks.
I've seen way better, Sparkler comments.
Want me to taste-test for poison? Make Believe offers.
No! Sparkler insists.
Uh, I was asking the captain. Besides, you can cure me if it's poisoned, right?
That's beside the point!


"…Flavored Water? Do you mean, like, juice? Or putting fruit or spices in water?" the griffon asks, tilting his head to the side


"Hey, Tabasco, think you could give us some light?" As she awaits to see if he can, Cerulean will stay close to the two and look around, seeing if her electroception can pick up anything in this darkness.

>Cerulean is able to breathe underwater and can detect movement of living things via their electrical impulses, allowing her to see/target stealthed/hiding enemies.


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


"Magic water," Juniper says. "Tastes like a twist of fruit without being too overpowering or sugary. I can do orange, apple, lemon, papaya and watermelon."
The others seem reluctant after Cutlass's suggestion of poison, except Make Believe.


Tabasco focuses, his hair standing up on end as he increases the range of his flames. You notice, as more of the surrounding indoor rockscape is enlightened, that he's getting nervous. Your attention is drawn to two well-worn tunnels before you, hewing through the rock, one leading west and the other northwest. There are others, but these two are about twice your size, while the others are about the size of coins.

As you look about, you feel yourself stepping on something both hard and narrow below, and hear an alarmed hiss. Below you is an obsidian snake, a Watchkeeper no bigger than a coin in diameter. It flops over, exposing its mechanical underside. You cannot tell if it is dead.

>roll perception if checking


"There's a town up a little ways that's completely empty."
Cloud suggests, looking to Little Miss Sunshine as she says she'll be sending others.
"Oh, thanks… you."
He says, not entirely sure who the mare is.

("I'll be fine on my own. I don't want anything to tie back to you if anything does happen, if aura can even be tracked like that.")
Cloud whispers back to Chiu while the life boat gets ready.



"You all can do what you want," Cutlass shrugs when she sees other people being apprehensive. "I'm not saying I don't trust her. I just have my rules."


Cerulean backs up slightly from the snake, then simply observes the snake to make sure its not just playing dead.
"Careful guys…."


Roll #1 9 = 9


"Uhm… I do not know what a Papaya is. Is it fruit? Is it good?" the griffon asks, waiting to drink his water until he knows for sure.


Chiu nods, and Little Miss Sunshine rolls her eyes at your ignorance. "I'll do my intro later."
"A ghost town, huh?" Obstinance asks as the crew lower you and three mooks into the water. Obstinance takes up the oars and begins to row up the coast toward the bulk of the port town. "No… as much as I'd like to study it, in my professional opinion, I can't endorse performing the exorcism there. Too much risk of disturbing local souls. We'll find a good location further up."

>roll perception for good exorcism locations

Droplet holds out his canteen, as does Colobok. "Papaya? Sorry Alder, but I'm first in line if that's on tap," Droplet says.
Juniper pulls a pen out from the rings of the notebook, twirls it and taps the canteen with the tip. "Papaya!"
Droplet sniffs the water, then takes a cautious sip. After a few moments, he nods with approval. "Not bad. It's the real deal."

Colobok and the others line up shortly, while Sparkler touches her hoof-tip to Droplet's shadow, subtly pulling up a portion for study.

The snake is not a very good actor, for as you observe it, you catch a glimpse of it turning its head to check if you're still there. You are, so it flops limp once more. You can pick up a faint hint of it hissing at a low, steady volume… and in response, the earth subtly trembles. Most of it's coming from the northwestern tunnel.



"So, does anyone have any idea on how we are going to steal some suncrystals without getting the whole town mad at us?"


Cloud says simply to Little Miss Sunshine.

Cloud sits in the boat, unable to help rowing with a cripple foreleg.
"Wait, an exorcism? That's not gonna make me lose my wings forever, is it?"
He asks, looking around for other empty spots for the cat to work with.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Hey, you can knock that off now, I know you're faking," she says, looking at the snake as the trembling increases. She looks to the northwestern tunnel and clears her throat, then tries to sing into the tunnel to maybe calm down what seems to be something big.

>Motherly Song: Recharge 2; Remembering warm and tender feelings, Cerulean's songs have a similar effect on those who hear it. The aura and song fills its listeners with general friendliness towards Cerulean. It might even be able to diffuse a fight.


Roll #1 4 = 4


"Uhm… I will try some, then. This, uhm, Papaya?" he asks, offering his canteen.


"Not as long as you relax and follow my instructions," Obstinance says.

Some distance up from the town, you spy and call out a spot of little jungle foliage, where the landscape is naught but a quarry of high rocks, a rounded area with a path at the other end leading further into the rocky valley beyond.

Obstinance docks the ship and ties it secure, then leads the way further in. "You guys clear out a space here, about… fifteen meters in diameter. Cloud, get comfortable in the center of it, will you?"

He draws from his bag a censer, and begins pouring a mixture of fine-smelling wine and strong salts inside, stirring it with languid spins every few seconds.


From down the rumbling tunnel flows a deluge of black and glinting red that causes Tabasco to leap back and yelp in alarm. A vast and writhing mass of obsidian snakes emerges from the tunnel, slithering as a single entity like a school of fish. Each time one falls off, another joins its comrades in constituting a vast body of venom, stone scales and machinery. They gather as one singular head, but that head bisects, and bisects again, and a final time, resulting in a council of five heads. They eye you as one, wire-like tongues darting in and out of their mouths. They make no move to attack yet, but Tabasco won't stop yelping.

Sparkler looks at the others, nodding once. With her confirmation that it's safe, the others go ahead and get their water flavored, including Alder. True to Juniper's testimony, the water is safe, tasty and even quite cold, a side-effect of her magic it seems.

When Cutlass asks for suggestions, Colobok looks up. "We could steal it after distracting them. Simple enough work I imagine. Start a fire or a fight on the town's perimeter, move it further outward, while the others assail the tower and liberate the crystal."
"Or we could just bargain for it," Splendid says. "No need to go starting fires or picking fights."
"You have anything worth trading for it, though?" Cycle Kick asks. "I'm broke, sorry."
"When you spend all your pay on sporting equipment it's no wonder," Juniper says.
"Those are necessary expenses!"
"Any chance we could convince them of the danger the Vault presents?" Sparkler suggests.
Not unless any of us has a spell that lets us talk to animals.


Cerulean looks at the five heads a bit, and notices how Tabasco keeps yelping. She slowly picks him up and pets his head before fusing so she can hear his thoughts like those times before.
What's wrong? I know giant snakes and danger, but you're acting like there is more to these guys.

>Friends Not Food



"Bartering with them would be equally difficult without a way to talk to them," Cutlass contemplates.

"Make Believe, how does your power work? Could you convey meaning to the animals enough to communicate with them?"

"We could try the shadow disguises," Cutlass suggests. "We could sneak our way in that way. Though, it may not be particularly effective without being able to communicate with them…"

"The distraction plan sounds like the best plan. But, it still leaves us with relatively the same problem: a lot of those machines mad at us. Whoever does the distraction needs to be effective at escaping. At a moment's notice."


Cloud walks to the spot they finalize on, looking around with some nervousness.
"I'll try… but just to give you a heads up, this jungle is crawling with giant golems."
He says, sitting down, eye darting around with ears at the alert for anything that might approach.


"Hrm… I, uhm, I do not think I can talk to animals. I have things that would be worth trading, perhaps- some bits, and other things I have picked up."



"It would have to be something worth trading to animals. I mean… they're just monkeys. What conception of value could they possibly have."

"On the other hoof, they probably worship the suncrystals or something…"


As you meld your mind into his, your emotions blend too, and you inherit a great deal of his fear, beset by a terror of the dark, of serpentine shapes, and of deep water. Memories flash before you, from the time when he and his lantern had sunk along with the Lilliput, of having nowhere to escape in his cage of a lantern, watching helplessly as dark and sleek shapes set upon the drowning crew…

The snakes eye you, slithering close, their eyes flashing curiously.

Apes are fairly smart, Make Believe says. I could make a gibbon sticker to go along with Droplet's disguises, but we'd be bullshitting them at best. Sort of like when you know enough of a language to get by in public, but not enough to have an in-depth conversation.
"I'm in agreement," Droplet says. "But let's save the distraction for a backup. If things go wrong, we can lead them east out of the town, start a fight, and then Colobok can double back and get the crystal."
"Yeah it wouldn't do to have to destroy more Watchkeepers, not when we're trying to conscript them," Juniper says.


Once Obstinance is happy with the mixture, he takes several bags out of his satchel, handing them to the guards, and gestures toward you. The guards gather around you, and empty out their contents. Heaps of gold pour out around you, and they eye it greedily, but a sneer from Obstinance stops them. He motions for the crew to step out of the perimeter, and they do. Holding up one hoof in a gesture of prayer, he begins to circle about you in a fifteen meter radius about you, slowly muttering silent words as he pours the mixture of wine and salt out. It takes him nearly half an hour to complete, but by the time he is done, the circle is complete, and he and the crew step back.

"Whenever you're ready, grab up all the gold you can," Obstinance says with a smirk.


"What exactly would a monkey find worthwhile? Do we… have anything? A gem, maybe? Fruit? And, maybe 'bullshitting' them is better than no communication at all?"


Cloud looks down as Obstinance pours out all the gold, surprised by the sheer volume.
"Where were you holding all of that?"
He keeps silent when Obstinance starts praying, waiting until he finishes. It's a trial in itself to stay still during it, still fearful or more golems arriving. When it is done and Obstinance gives the the go ahead to pick up the gold, Cloud looks up to him.
"You sure?"
He questions, slowly getting up and walking to the gold. Trusting in the cat, despite everything else, he stoves shoveling his hoof into the piles of gold.


Yeah, what about those fruit that the Watchkeeper jaguars went crazy over? Make Believe asks.
"I wonder how those things could even digest that…" Colobok wonders aloud.


Tabasco can feel Cerulean's thoughts of feeling bad for him, but at the same time, she tries to keep his morale up.
I know you're scared, so hide in me for a bit, but we're going to have to face this. This time, you'll at least have some friends with you.

Firefox Cerulean sees that they're being curious and tries to sing to them. This time, she tries using Tabasco's fear as a sort of inspiration.

>Motherly Song with a Temp Point


Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5



"We'll just have to sneak our way in as monkeys then," Cutlass nods. "If they stop us, we can improvise."

"If we stay separated, then even if some of us are caught, that leaves the other ones in the clear."


"Invest in a good bag of holding and you'll never need to spend on saddlebags again," Obstinance explains. "Now, Shikigami…"


You heap gold toward you, piling and piling it up as much as you can grab. Every time you touch the pile, more and more of it vanishes, dissipating into the air. Still it is not enough, so you heap and heap, the sound of metal clinking drumming against your ears in an accelerating crescendo, until you're nearly buried up to your neck in the stuff–

There's a shuddering in the air before you. The guards LMS appointed brace themselves on reflex. Dark energy gathers in a vortex, before turning into incense that smells like a dark globule of too much foreign cologne. The incense becomes a mixture of dark fire, and from it rises a muscular, birdlike shape, stretching out his back and chest. A golden girdle and belt, gem-encrusted braclets and rings, chains of golden necklaces, and a crest to boot.

Stone Cold Classic rears back and grins, his red and green plumage brought out by the gold. "Well, well well! I never knew you were such a hustler!" he says, admiring his apparently new bling. What brings on this new wave of contributions? I almost don't want to say it, but I mean hey, you've paid off your debt, so that means I have to hand back your de…posit…"

His eyes turn toward the line of red salt surrounding the two of you, his pupils shrinking.

"…SFX," Obstinance completes.

All at once, a wall of flame erupts from the infused salt, an aurora-colored bonfire stretching high into the sky. SCC looks on dumbfounded, then back at you, grabbing you by the collar. "WHAT'S GOING ON!?"

The snake heads, curious of your tune, stay where they are, their heads bobbing and wiggling in time. You've got them transfixed… even if your Aura runs out, keeping the song going just might defuse this situation.

"Monkeys it is," Droplet says. He reluctantly steps out into the sunlight, and starts to pull up everyone's shadows, molding and twisting them every which way. Meanwhile, Make Believe sits and meditates, his sticker case open before him.

After about ten minutes of work, Droplet has produced a collection of monkey shaped-shadows, and Make Believe has sets of monkey stickers, which he hands to everyone, still on the plastic backing.

You can only wear my stickers for five minutes before the changes to your psyche start to deal damage, Make Believe says. If you wear them between six and ten minutes, the damage will be temporary. Longer than that, and it may be permanent. After taking off the sticker, you'll need ten minutes of recovery time. In short, you'll want to keep these off until you absolutely need to act like a gibbon.



"That's… horrifying…" Cutlass says as she takes one of the stickers.

"So, let's split off into three groups. If one of the groups is caught, they become the distraction group."

"Make Believe, come with Alder and me. We'll try and get in first. Colobok and Droplet go together after us. And, Kick and Juniper will be the last group. If just one our groups gets caught, it'll be your job to support them in the distraction. But, if we both get caught, you'll be the ones sneaking in."

"Any complaints?"


Cerulean tries to keep the song going, going up to the head closest to her and petting it on the head. When she's done, she tries speaking.
"See? We're both not here looking for trouble. If anything, I'm trying to help someone, but it involves me looking for something in here. You think you guys could lend a hoof…err, fangs and help?"


"I-I will… not overuse it then, yes. Let us go ahead and hurry." the griffon says, ruffling his wings a bit and corking his canteen to walk over to the rest of the group.


The others shake their heads, downing last sips of their flavored water as they prepare to move out. Make Believe passes Juniper and Cycle his Aura so that they can join the telepathic communications.
Just give us the signal when it's time to guise up, Droplet thinks.


Cloud feels his hoof grow sore from pushing so much gold, his cane digging into his shoulder as he has to rely on it to hold his weight mostly. When it feels like no amount of gold will ever be enough, Stone Cold Classic finally makes his appearance, giving Cloud some reprieve. Until the fire rises, and the genie grabbing Cloud up in a panic.
"…Added insurance to make sure I get what I'm owed."
Cloud says simply, trying to cover that he isn't sure what to do from here.



"Insurance!? What the f–"

Before he can complete that thought, a massive shape barrels through the wall of flames– Obstinance, having tossed his tunic aside, revealing his intricate armor, a metal suit without a helmet, prayer tags stuck all along the front. A circle of flame-red shikigami surround him in a vortex of flame. "DOWN!" he hisses at you.

SCC spins about, trying to use you as a body shield, but Obstinance drives his claw forward, aiming straight for the genie's head.

[1d10+4] Obstinance
[1d10+2] SCC

Your hoof involuntarily trembles as every part of Tabasco's consciousness begs you to stop touching the snakes, but the snakes do you no harm. They offer no response to your question, and many yawn, stretching out their surprisingly flexible stone mouths after that nice song.

Many snakes start to drop off of the hydra-like amalgam, finding other holes to slither into. The hydra remains relatively intact, but shrinks as it looks around for a place to chill.

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


"Ah-" the griffon stops and turns to Splendid, before setting a hand (up) on her shoulder. "S-Since she did not include you, perhaps, uhm… keep lookout? Be careful. N-Not that I think you are weak, or anything!"



"Is there a time limit on your disguises?"


Splendid frowns at having been left out of the plans, but seems to accept Alder's spin on the situation. "Right you are I'm not weak," she says, turning to Cutlass. She leans and leers judgmentally at how small Cutlass's arms are in comparison to hers, flexing not-so-subtly. "Right, I'll hang back and keep an eye out. I'll call out anything fishy I see too."

Droplet shakes his head at Cutlass's question. "No time limit, but they're fragile. Get hit too hard and you'll drop 'em."

>Droplet's disguises last until the user goes Helpless.


Cloud struggles in Stone Cold Classic's grip as he hears Obstinance shout, and then swing about to be used as a meat shield. He kicks his hind legs back, trying to break himself away from the genie.
>Kick Off [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10



"Then, there's no reason to not just put them on now," Cutlass concludes.

>Putting on disguise

"There's more ways to be strong than just muscle," Cutlass retorts to Splendid, sounding slightly defensive.


Alder smiles a little bit and gently pats Splendid's arm, before nodding.

"Correct- but, she is strong in a lot of ways, too!" he chirps out in a more sing-songy tone. "So- won your signal, the stickers go on."


SeeTabasco? They're not trouble. Don't worry, okay?
Time runs out and the two end up defusing.
"C'mon, while they're still friendly." Cerulean holds Tabasco to give him some comfort and let's Roger hitch a ride on her as she casually heads to the tunnel the snake came from to go into it.


You hit the deck just in time for Obstinance to sail overhead, and kick SCC in the gut, knocking his head forward into Obstinance's claw strike. Obstinance's gauntleted claws serrate his face, and SCC falls to the ground, shrieking in fury and pain as blood gushes from the wound.

"Shikigami, SFX!" Obstinance commands, sending his Shikigami onto the ground. They spread out from the landing site, making boiling, crackling and all other manner of burning sounds. A fire spreads out, leaving two clear circles around you and Obstinance, but engulfing the rest of the exorcist's circle.

[1d10+2] Fire arena change

>Stone Cold Classic

>??? H/W
>Weak: Salt

Stone Cold Classic sneers as he pushes himself back up, pointing a finger at Obstinance. Dark incense gathers around the tip…

[1d10+3] Storm Bolt

At once, everyone dons their disguises, becoming gibbons. The disguises are perfect; the only thing that distinguishes you are the subtle differences in eye shape, but the colors have all become a uniform brown. Make Believe tries opening his mouth, but no voice comes out, and he hangs his head sadly.
"Don't speak without the sticker," Droplet advises. "Now, let's move out."

The groups split up, bound for their respective destinations. It's a bit awkward to get used to your new bodies, but eventually you get into the rhythm and gait of walking like an ape, and head down over the south side of the mountain, descending the jagged stone steps until you reach the base of it, and reach the bridge that constitutes the northern entrance into the village. You can see a few gibbons waiting on the other side, keeping watch. Guards, most likely.

Tabasco grumbles, but Roger comforts him as you slink through the winding snake-tunnels, skin crawling as you see all the many smaller dens for individual snakes. Eventually, you come to a juncture. Ahead of you is one end of the tunnel, where you see another door. But below you, sloping at a steep angle, the tunnel continues into darkness. It's too deep to see the bottom of, but it seems to proceed deeper within, possibly even down a floor.

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


Cerulean gives a slight hum of thought and decides to head down into the tunnel leading lower. She keeps her senses out for anything hiding as she waits for Tabasco to gives some light again.



Cutlass is reminded of why she hates these disguises. Being a monkey is a disturbing experience that she'd prefer to not think about. Still, it's effective.

When they reach the guards, Cutlass just acts natural. No reason they should be stopped. I mean… why do these animals even have a guard force to begin with?

[1d10] to act natural, Master Thief?

Roll #1 2 = 2



Roll #1 7 = 7


Cloud tries to roll as he hits the ground, though it's clumsy with his cane, only ending with him landing on his side. He pushes himself up just in time to see the fire consume all but him and Obstinance. As Stone Cold Classic turns his attack to Obstinance, Cloud follows suit, eye glowing as he tries to grow Obstinance to make this fight go quicker.
>Wax/Wane [Grow Obstinance] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Alder nods a little bit, not saying anything for now. He's hoping his natural talent for passing under people's noses keeps him from being noticed quite as much. If all things go well, they should slip right past!
>Innocent: (Monkey) business as usual!


The town guards give Cutlass a few strange looks, but Alder, seeing their suspicion, nudges her along, helping her to keep up a natural enough pace that the guards, thinking better of things, go back to their watch, snacking on some fruit.

Make Believe straggles alongside you as you reach the town proper. Most of the gibbons are sitting or laying in the shade of the houses, staying cool by waiting out the brutal afternoon heat, kept safe under the eyes of the Watchkeepers. Many eat, while a few others sleep. None really look your way twice, but a few guards keep a wary eye on you, probably able to smell that you're not from around here.

From here, you can see the brass tower. The monkey "scientists" continue to try to decipher its mysteries at the peak.

You slide down the sloped tunnel, feeling a rush in your stomach as you descend into the darkness. Eventually your slide finishes as the tunnel evens out. Up ahead some distance, you can see that the tunnel eventually reaches an end; a great number of smaller tunnels are built into the wall, probably meant for the individual snakes to split up and wait until they are needed again.

Below you, just in front of all the coin-sized tunnels, is another sliding door; must be a secret entrance to B3F.

A dark and smoky blast of cursed magic slams against Obstinance, shoving him back, but he grows slightly larger, allowing him to dig in and stop his momentum.


>???/??? HP
>Weak: Dark

"You're gone!" SCC says, pointing at Obstinance and snapping his fingers. Dark smoke gathers around him.

+1 from Griffon's Glory
[1d10+4] Teleport, DC 8

Obstinance sprints forward, winding up for an open-palmed chest strike.

[1d10+5] Basic Salt + Fire attack

Roll #1 10 + 4 = 14 / Roll #2 9 + 5 = 14



As they approach the tower, Cutlass looks around to see if there's anything that might suggest that the tower is "off limits". And, if it is, what kind of defenses they have.

[1d10] Master Thief

Roll #1 3 = 3


Alder tries to scope things out as best he can after nudging the others past- hopefully, they stay folded into the crowd for now.
>Master Thief: [1d10+2]
>Spending 1 TBP

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


You can see that on some of the outer staircases, there's a guard or two posted, suggesting that you should take caution on your approach. However, most are nodding off right now. There appear also to be a few different ways of entering the tower.

The first and most conspicuous would be to try to swing via the vines and metal rings overhead onto the tower itself.

The second and most guard-heavy would be to descend to the ground level and ascend via the stairs.

The third would be to try to ask one of these spiders for assistance… but that may just blow the cover. Not that they seem to be much smarter than the gibbons.


"Hey, check it out guys. Think we might be getting closer," she says to Roger and Tabasco as she approaches the sliding door and attempts to open it to proceed on through.


Cloud looks up at Stone Cold Classic as he begins to conjure another spell around Obstinance. At first he opens his mouth, but then stops in a panic, remembering how his aura use lead to his current injuries, along with the realization this is a demon. He shuts his mouth tight, eye glowing instead as he turns to his traditional magic to shrink the genie.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink Stone Cold Classic] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


Pulling Cutlass aside, the griffon points out the areas in particular- the vines and the rings,k the guarded area, and then at the spiders!



"Do you have anything we could claim to be delivering to the scientists?" Cutlass asks Alder.



"If not, then I suggest we swing in."


Alder hums a little in thought- he presents the knowledge gun, but doesn't have too much else. "T-This seems wrong to offer, though."


Obstinance blasts SCC into the flame wall, and he shrieks with fury and agony as the fires engulf him, but at last his spell takes effect over Obstinance, and the cat vanishes, reappearing as a tiny dot high above the both of you. He spreads his limbs out in a star shape, trying desperately to slow his descent.

>Obstinance too far away to act this round.

SCC peels himself off of the flame wall, turning your way. "C'mon, let's reconcile our differences, what do you say?" he says, grabbing you up. Immediately, he presses you to the fires engulfing him, burning you all over as he uses you as flame retardant.

>Cloud 0/4

It opens at your touch, and you and the others drop down onto the next level.

Behind you now is another doorway, while to your left and right stretches another corridor. You can hear the distant click and grind of metal legs, but you cannot place where they're at.

An older female gibbon begins to walk your way, and starts to poke and prod at Cutlass's fur, parting it as she searches for fleas and other bugs to pick off and eat.

Act natural, Cutlass, Make Believe thinks. But try to get away, in case she picks at Droplet's disguise.



"We're not actually giving it," Cutlass responds. "We're just showing it to the guards and telling the guards that we're bringing it to the scientists."


Cutlass subtly uses her telekinesis to grab a tree branch behind the gibbon and pokes her with it. When the gibbon turns to look, she drops the branch and walks away before the gibbon turns back around to think much of it.

[1d10] subtle telekinsis, Master Thief?

Heading to the front entrance.

Roll #1 1 = 1


She ignores the branch, moving up to the back of your head now, unperturbed. Worse still… it's starting to feel really enjoyable.


"Alright, be ready for anything guys," she says to them and goes with her gut of taking the left path and seeing either where they end up or if those mechanical noises get louder or softer.



Cutlass snaps the branch using her telekinesis right behind the gibbon to cause a loud noise to frighten it.

[1d10] loud noises!

Roll #1 2 = 2


The gibbon reaches back and plucks a fruit off the branch, passing it your way as she continues to check you for fleas.


Cloud pauses as Obstinance is teleported far into the air, out of range of help. He looks up to the genie as he turns to him, trying to stand tall but failing as his legs shake.
"We still have our deal, so start with giving my wings back."
Cloud starts, before he's lifted up and pressed into the flames, screaming in pain as his body is burned, trying to struggle out of his grasp.
>Recover [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


Alder tries to help Cutlass act as natural as possibl;e- maybe there's something he can do to seem mundane and keep the gibbon from messing with Cutlass?
>Innocent: Can roll if needed for something like this!


"Fuck you and your wings and fuck your deal!" SCC snarls, slamming you onto the burning ground. The flames part way to avoid burning you, but the impact still knocks the breath from your gut. You see the subtle impressions of red chains forming around SCC. What this means is unclear, but… perhaps it has to do with his refusal to honor the deal. He is heedless of them, and punches at you, but you roll aside as he punches through the rock, scattering dust everywhere.

>Cloud 5/4

Meanwhile, Obstinance nears the end of his fall, bringing his fists together…

[1d10+5] Salt + Fire Attack

"And I am DONE with YOU!" SCC shouts, pointing up at Obstinance.

[1d10+3] Polymorph

You proceed down the left branch of the hallway, where it rounds a corner, and soon after, another corner, the sounds of the mechanical walking growing ever louder, more multifaceted. You peer about this second corner, and see a long Watchkeeper centipede patrolling a very long hallway ahead of you. Just on the other side of it is another path, and at the end of it, you can see another sealed doorway.

You see a couple of younger gibbons playing with some fallen branches nearby. They seem to be doing alright, but they have no supervision. Perhaps you might be able to substitute them and free Cutlass in the process…

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


Cloud stays on the ground after rolling away, his back burning still.
"I got you your gold, so hand them over!"
He shouts ans he pushes on his cane to stand. As Stone Cold Classic looks away to deal with Obtinance, Cloud's eye glows as he calls the earth to rise up, making rock break forth and close around Stone Cold's legs to hold him in place so Obstinance's hit lands true.
>Earthen Grasp [Crits 9+] [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


Alder hums a little to himseldf, before scampering over to the two children. Being a rather unsuspecting person, maybe he can pass off as a child? He'll clap his hands together a little and tug at one of the two children, trying to get them to play a (hopefully loud) game!


Cerulean looks at this Watchkeeper for a moment, then ducks back behind the corner before she gets seen. She thinks a moment, then looks to Roger.
"I think I have an idea," she says and picks up the magical remora, fusing with him and sinking slightly into the ground.
"Alright Tabasco, hang on tight and stop your fire for a moment." She grabs him and holds him in her hooves over her head. Then she sinks down enough to travel into the walls and ceiling, but still out enough for Tabasco to be carried. She then tries to 'swim' over the centipede and hopes it doesn't know how to look up.


The young gibbons get riled up, cheering and laughing at Alder's antics, and the older gibbon looks over, and releases Cutlass. She crawls over to the young'uns, trying to discern what's got them all hyper, but alas, they are already climbing around on nearby trees trying to play a two-monkey game of tag.

Because the centipede's body is naught but unliving matter, and its soul kept in the eyes, you are able to swim right over it as if it were nothing more than stone… which it is. Tabasco keeps himself balled up, not even breathing as you sneak your way over the centipede. He doesn't start breathing again until you're well away from its line of sight, near the far left door.

As the red chains tighten around SCC, he opens his beak to retort, but you bind him with physical chains, just as his nature as a genie attempts to bind him spiritually. In the next instant, Obstinance crash-lands atop him, slamming down both fists onto his chest. A deep crater opens in the ground, collapsing in on both Obstinance and SCC. The genie gasps and strains, the salt and flame burning his skin, and you can feel a faint snapping.

Dark incense gathers around you, coalescing into the shape of two dark bat wings. Obstinance, groaning with pain, raises his fist to strike, but SCC sneers and grins maniacally.

"Okay, okay… you preempted the deal I was about to propose. You got me. Now, dispel all this flame and these bindings… and we can put this all behind me. Cash in the third wish on something stupid to waste it. And you can both go back to your merry little lives. But you keep this up… keep this going… and I guarantee you'll WISH that the only thing I did was swindle you."



Last time, on PirateQuest…

Cutlass concocted a plan for getting the godray crystals away from the gibbon village, electing to use Droplet's Shadow Balloon Animal shadow technique and Make Believe's Sticker Star Aura Ability to pass her group off as gibbons. She, Alder and Make Believe would attempt to steal the crystals, with their assassin entourage acting as distant bodyguards, Splendid as a lookout, and Cycle Kick and Juniper Yumeno standing by to make a distraction if necessary.

Cerulean snuck through the Skull Temple with Roger and Tabasco, charming a Watchkeeper hydra with her song long enough for them to lose interest in her. She descended to the floor below her, B3F, and crept past a Watchkeeper centipede guard without issue.

Cloud recruited Obstinance for assistance in breaking Stone Cold Classic's influence over him. The two went up the coast until they found a fairly empty quarry, where Obstinance set up an exorcist's circle with blessed wine and salt. He then provided Cloud with enough gold to pay off his debt to SCC, at which point the genie manifested before him. Without a word, Obstinance began a fight with the genie, trapping him in a circle of flame. After a brief few exchanges of blows, SCC put Cloud's wings back where they belonged, and demanded an end to the battle. But whether the offer was genuine remained to be seen…


>Alder, Cutlass
The young gibbons get riled up, cheering and laughing at Alder's antics, and the older gibbon looks over, and releases Cutlass. She crawls over to the young'uns, trying to discern what's got them all hyper, but alas, they are already climbing around on nearby trees trying to play a two-monkey game of tag.


Because the centipede's body is naught but unliving matter, and its soul kept in the eyes, you are able to swim right over it as if it were nothing more than stone… which it is. Tabasco keeps himself balled up, not even breathing as you sneak your way over the centipede. He doesn't start breathing again until you're well away from its line of sight, near the far left door.


As the red chains tighten around SCC, he opens his beak to retort, but you bind him with physical chains, just as his nature as a genie attempts to bind him spiritually. In the next instant, Obstinance crash-lands atop him, slamming down both fists onto his chest. A deep crater opens in the ground, collapsing in on both Obstinance and SCC. The genie gasps and strains, the salt and flame burning his skin, and you can feel a faint snapping.

Dark incense gathers around you, coalescing into the shape of two dark bat wings. Obstinance, groaning with pain, raises his fist to strike, but SCC sneers and grins maniacally.

"Okay, okay… you preempted the deal I was about to propose. You got me. Now, dispel all this flame and these bindings… and we can put this all behind me. Cash in the third wish on something stupid to waste it. And you can both go back to your merry little lives. But you keep this up… keep this going… and I guarantee you'll WISH that the only thing I did was swindle you."



Cloud braces on the ground as Obstinance crashes into Stone Cold Classic, avoiding being knocked over by the force of the impact.
He pauses a second, feeling a familiar sensation on his back. He looks back, seeing his batty wings back in their rightful place. He would almost jump for joy, but the lingering threat keeps the celebration at bay.
"Hey, the deal was for three wishes total, I've only spent one! You're not going to get off this that easily!"


"Cloud," Obstinance strains, pressing down on SCC as hard as he can. "Don't say another word to him before you think about this very carefully. Think about how bad this one wish has gotten. You want to roll the dice on two more?"
"Obviously he does!" SCC says, laying still a moment underneath Obstinance. "He's owed what he paid for. So move and let me do my job."

>roll perception in addition to your other action this turn


"I… I don't know!"
Cloud says, doubts starting to surface through his plans.
"And you be quiet!"
He says to the genie, trying to figure out if he should continue on with this.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


Obstinance and SCC both fall silent as the fire burns around them. SCC lays there, his head wiggling from side to side in a skin-crawling, almost snakelike manner.


Cerulean gives Tabasco some head pats for a good job staying stealthy-like and goes to open the sealed door, not sure if she could bring Tabasco with her in a 'door dive', but this not being a very safe place to test that.


Beyond that door lies a strange sight indeed: A soft golden glow, against the dark. What appears to have once a vast and square room with many openings is now, humid, sticky-aired and cramped. Along the floor and walls grow many clusters of small golden mushrooms. Great cracks line the western and northern walls, and dark earth pours in from the gaps, now almost entirely covered in the mushrooms and their sprawling roots. It's a dense covering, and you are unable to see if there are any remaining exits in the room.


Cerulean looks at the mushrooms with a head tilt, then remembers she's got her information rifle.
"Alright, let's find out what this is before anyone gets any ideas of having a snack," she says and shoots one of the mushrooms, "hopefully nothing gets left out…."



"Thanks," Cutlass says with a nod to Alder. "Now, let's go."

Cutlass leads the way to the stairs where the guards are, looking natural. [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


Cerulean looks at the mushrooms with a head tilt, then gives a hum as she picks one of them.
"No idea about these," she says confused as she holds it, slightly wondering if it'll stay glowing. Cerulean looks to Tabasco.
"Hey, since we seem to be kinda safe right now, wanna help me test something really quick?" If he says yes, Cerulean will pick him up and try to see if she can phase through the earth carrying Tabasco to see if he can go with her to the other side.

>Phasing through the earth on the north wall


Alder giggles a little bit to himself and offers a bow in response to the mare's thanks.
>Innocent: Act natural~! (I can roll if needbe)
>Perception: [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


The mushroom continues glowing faintly, and your hoof feels quite warm as you touch it, as if they were cupped around a flame atop a candlewick. Its stalk is about an inch tall, and the cap is the size of a stopper on a barrel.

Tabasco nods in approval of your experiment, and follows you over to the far wall, or as far as you can get at least, given how soft, damp earth and ancient stone are piled up about it. You reach a hill of such debris, the crest of which meets the ceiling, and can go no further. At that point, you take hold of Tabasco and dive through the hill, but are stopped the moment that your hoof enters it. You're stuck inside the hill, and the part of your hoof that holds Tabasco is stuck outside – meaning he can't pass through with you.

You descend to the ground level of the jungle canopy via steps that have been carved into the massive trunks of the great trees in which the village has been built. The jungle floor is humid and thick with foliage, but your new bipedal bodies are more adept at navigating its tangle than your quadruped ones.

As you enter the first level of the great tower, you're approached by two gibbon guards, their movements languid from the afternoon heat. They hoot something unintelligible to you, but don't seem upset or on alert from your presence.



Cutlass uses Make Believe's sticker so that she can talk to the guards.

"We want to ask the researchers some questions. Can we go through?"

[1d10+2] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


Cloud between the two of them, eyes darting back and forth, unsure of his next step, the crackling of the fire around them ticking away like a clock in his ears.
He turns away from them, lifting up his eye patch slightly to talk to Hmm secretly.
("Hmm, what should I do? Can I really trust the deal I had to get fixed without an issue?")
He whispers, tone stressed and panicked.


Cerulean notices this and backs out, and just in time as her fusion with Roger comes to an end and the two separate.
"Okay, so can't do that. Good to know." She hums slightly in thought as she tries to think of something.
"Maybe we better get digging for a bit," she says and tries digging a tunnel to see how that goes.


Alder hums a little… the monkeys don't seem to be particularly aggressive, so he tries to handle it as smoothly as possible.
>Sticker to help understand them!
>[1d10+2] (+2 TBP) Try to help Cutlass's story!

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


>diggy hole
>Tough: They can also lift, carry and move heavier objects than unicorns and pegasi. If it applies to moving dirt/heavy rocks in the way.

Roll #1 2 = 2


As the sticker takes ahold of your mind, you feel… strange. Distant. As if you were no longer in control, but instead closely watching as someone else, someone standing right at your side and who resembles you greatly, operates your body. You can sense what they're about to do, and feel it, but you yourself are encased in a shroud of fog, a passive audience member. You start to feel a pressing need to swing from branches.

>"We've been instructed to not let visitors through unless it's a pressing matter," one gibbon says. "I'll need to know your business before you can enter."

"Cloud, don't take this as an insult," Hmm says. "But in these conditions I don't think you have much of a chance to negotiate a perfect deal on those last two wishes. If Obstinance goes down, this Heatwave will be out of his control, and you'll be trapped in here with a demon."

"Whenever you're ready…" SCC says in a sing-song tone.
Obstinance remains silent. You realize he's been motionless this whole time.

You attempt to dig a way through the hill toward where the door might be, but it seems that for every hoof-full of dirt that you dig through, another two slide down from the cracks in the wall, erasing your progress. Tabasco paws at your side. At first it looks like he might want to join in, being a burrowing creature, but he starts pushing you with his head, as if trying to get you out of the way altogether.


"Huh? What's up?" She takes the hint and casually moves away from the dirt pile with Tabasco, then looks to him.
"What's up? You find something?"


Tabasco spews a small, concentrated stream of fire from his mouth. Seems he's offering to burn a way through the hill of dirt as an alternative to digging. Perhaps more effective, but certainly more noisy, if you're willing to take that risk…



"The guardians found this strange thing. We want to know if it's safe."

Cutlass holds up the info gun.

>Whisper in your Ear [1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


Cerulean hums slightly in thought.
"Well, we don't have much else to lose, right? Lemme just…," she walks over to the door she entered from and makes sure to close it, then looks to Tabasco.
"Alright Tabasco. Let it rip!"


"One of the spiders outside had it, and we needed to find out what it did.
>(Innocent, if it helps any!) Corroborating the story! [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


>The lead gibbon nods. "I see… It's that flashing light-maker the four-legged folk carried with them. But I thought I saw one of the guardians take it away already."
>"It may not be one of a kind," the other guard says. "Just as there were many of the four-legged folk, so too may be the number of their strange tools."
>"Likely true," the first guard says. "Go on up. Tell the other guards that we allowed you to pass."


Tabasco backs up from the hill, takes a low and sturdy stance, and concentrates a tiny flame before his mouth…


Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


Tabasco spews a thin and concentrated stream of fire out at the hill, making short work of the upper layer of dirt and mushrooms, the latter burning away quite easily under the pressure of fire. The trouble, however, comes when Tabasco starts to burn through the dirt that holds up many slabs of stone before the doorway. The slabs slide down the hill, cracking and sending deep rumblings out as they hit the ground. Tabasco backs up, but keeps trying to burn through the easy dirt as best he can… but from outside the room, you can hear the approaching skitterings of metal legs.


Cerulean's ears perk at the noise, and slight panic sets in.
"Okay, hold off a sec Tabasco. Gonna have to hurry this along a bit faster," she says and runs to the dirt pile and proceeds to swing her tail as hard as her aura-enhanced might can.

>Slam, crit 8+, take better result


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


"Thank you!" Alder says, scooting past the guards alongside Cutlass. He'll try to play it as cool as possible!


Cloud looks down at the ground, a hundred thoughts running through his head each slow, agonizing second. He's trying to think of the best way to go through this, how to best deal with this situation and how to avoid any further trouble. He lowers his eyepatch, turning back around.
"F-For my second wish, of the three," He starts, "From our original deal, so no drawbacks on this, I wish that… my body can heal any injury, and as long as any part of me gets reattached to my body, it will recover too."
He says, speaking slowly as he tries to cover his wish well enough.



"Thanks," Cutlass says with a nod as she passes.

Cutlass leaves the sticker on for now until they're clear of guards. She heads up the tower, assuming that's where the suncrystals will be.

[1d10] Master Thief to find suncrystals

Roll #1 5 = 5


>Master Thief to help get an idea for where might be best to look! [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


You hear another snap, but don't feel any different. "It is done," SCC says.

Still, nothing from Obstinance.

"You know, it's usually the first and the third wishes that give most people trouble," SCC says. "The first one is impulsive, and typically, the second one is borderline careless. The thought that it's not the last wish makes people treat it as though it were some long-forgotten pocket money, just enough to cover a lunch. But the third wish… the realization that after it, that's that, now that makes people start to shake. If you need any consultation, just let me know."

At as brisk a pace that you can manage without breaking your veneer of natural behavior, you ascend the tower, circling up through the staircases and platforms that wind about it in a clockwise fashion. Two more sets of guards stop you, but are quick to allow you through after hearing that the first guards granted you passage.

Three minutes left, Make Believe warns you, just as you reach the top level of the tower.

The top of the brass tower is a rounded, almost ampitheater-like space, surrounded above by a network of criss-crossing beams and crystalline pathways, hanging above. Near the center of the amphitheater shape, where the actors would be, is a complex lattice of brass machinery and crystal gauges, hanging from above. A group of gibbons, about four in all, stands before them, discussing their machinations and purpose at a low volume.

Your tail is briefly scalded as you break through a heap of stone and superheated dirt, but you manage to endure as you break through the upper layer, exposing a thin path to another doorway to the north. Just as you do, the door to the south opens, and a trio of scorpion-like Watchkeepers enters the mushroom chamber, eyes flashing red as they spot you.


Cloud let's out a breath, though his body still feels tense from the pressure of this all. He looks at Stone Cold Classic as he speaks about the weight of wishes. He then looks to Obstinance, taking a slow step closer.
"Obstinance, are you alright?"



Cutlass takes off her sticker. She doesn't need to talk to the scientists. She just needs suncrystals. But, before that she needs a way out.

She looks around for the best escape route. Preferably a window or something through which she can jump and grab vines.

[1d10] Master Thief

Roll #1 8 = 8



Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


"Okay guys, hold tight!" She scoops up Roger and Tabasco and quickly puts them on her back and then proceeds to run out of the room, through the exit she and Tabasco just made.


"N-Not so quickly, maybe- we may want to be careful." he says, following after the mare worriedly. "If needbe, I can pick you up and fly you out- or, glide at least."
>Master Thief: [1d20+2] (+1 TBP) Are the crystals in the latticework of brass machinery.

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


Obstinance doesn't turn about, but you can hear him seething through gritted teeth, straining and groaning, his body subtly twitching and spasming in violent shudders. Suddenly he pulls his leg forward–

"DODGE!" he commands–

–And kicks backward, square at your chest.

[1d10+4] Fire damage

As you run into the next room, you are immediately hit with an air of magic, so palpable that it's nearly tangible. The room is rectangular like most others you've entered thus far, but its floor is covered entirely with concentric hexagonal grooves, with scratch-like inscriptions etched within each ring, magical formulae of a sort, perhaps. There exist pathways between the formulae, following along in the spaces between each hexagon. The room is sparse, devoid of any furniture or anything else that might get in the way of these unusual sigils.

There is a door to the North, and a door to the East. You can hear the skitterings of the scorpions not far behind you…

>roll running, instant, if attempting to escape

Cutlass spies a gap in the machinery, seemingly built deliberately, and outside there hang brass rings, easy enough to reach with a quick hop from the gap. The rings connect to the network of cables between the trees, allowing much lateral movement from there.

But it's as Alder attempts to get a better look at the lattice of controls that one of the gibbon scientists notices him, and walks over.

>"Unless it's of vital importance, we're going to have to ask you to leave," the scientist says. "We're in the middle of a discussion here."

Roll #1 5 + 4 = 9


Cloud stumbles backwards as Obstinance shouts, only dodging by virtue of tripping backwards from his cane.
>Dodge [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10



Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8



Cutlass sees the gibbons approach and puts her sticker back on.

"Huge question!" she asks as if she's desperate. "Where are the sun crystals!" She hopes she can fluster and confuse him enough to get him to answer without thinking.

>Whisper in your Ear [1d10+2]

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


"Ah! Apologies- the guards said we could pass. One of the guardians found a strange device we wanted to get looked at."

Alder almost lets out a surprised squawk when Cutlass pops back up behind him, but he holds it in!


>Roll, if I need to! [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


Cerulean doesn't know much of anything about magic, so mostly ignores this for right now. She instead opts to run at the east door, sprinting as hard as she can to try and outspeed these things.

Sprinter: Once per combat you can perform feat of great speed as part of an escape or charge. If used to escape combat only fast fliers are able to catch up with you as long as there is open terrain. If used as part of a charging attack your attack will hit on a DC -1


A stream of flame flies overhead as you narrowly dodge Obstinance's kick, and land flat on your back from your efforts. Obstinance stands and turns, and you can see him biting down as hard as he can, his jaw set as he apparently tries to keep his mouth from moving. The rest of his body struggles with similar restraint, but despite that, he takes slow steps toward you.

SCC rises from the crater in the ground, dusting himself off with a smile. "As I was saying, I'm ready to grant your third wish as soon as you're ready to give it."

"On your left!" Obstinance says, before stepping forward and taking a swing at you with his right hand.

[1d10+4] Fire Damage

The scientist blinks at your sudden outburst.
>"The crystals of which you speak are behind the lattice here," the gibbon says, gesturing behind the metal bars and control rigs. Behind them you can see a single pure and clear crystal, its surface a translucent sheen, floating in the midst of the machinery. It is cut in various ways to have many small flat ends, all hexagonal in shape.

>"I'm having a hard time believing they let you pass for such a trivial matter," the lead scientist grumbles.
>"Oh, come now," another, older scientist says. "It's a slow day; perhaps a productive distraction may aid in the breakthrough we need right now. Hand it over, son, I'll have a look at it."

Once through the eastern door, you find yourself in a long hallway once more, finding yourself at a T-intersection, with one branch to your right, one to your south, and another to your north. Down the south end, you can see that long centipede that you snuck past earlier, but it is looking to the south, probably investigating the commotion that the scorpions made when they spotted you.

As for the East and North branches of the hall, they're empty of enemies. The eastern one bends to the South after some distance… probably leading back to where you entered this floor, as you recall. The north one is longer, and you cannot see the end of it.

Roll #1 9 + 4 = 13



Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


"Obstinance, what's going on?"
Cloud says with a panic from the ground as he looks up at the cat. He quickly flips up his eyepatch.
"Hmm, any idea?"
Cloud asks, before quickly rolling to the side as Obstinance swings at him again.
>Dodge [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


Cerulean doesn't tries not to slow down as she takes the Northern branch to try and avoid any further commotion.
"Its okay! We're fine! We got this!"


Alder nods a little bit and passes them the knowledge gun to look over, and takes a moment to try and sneak a glance around the room.
>[1d10] Perception!

Roll #1 3 = 3



"Thank you," Cutlass says to the gibbon. She then walks right toward the suncrystal, taking off the sticker on the way.

"Keep them off of me," Cutlass says to her own shadow.

She telekinetically snatches the suncrystal to see how hard it will be to carry.

[1d10] telekinesis

Roll #1 5 = 5


"It's the Genie, he got Obstinance just after the crash-landing!"

You roll with the punch, your momentum managing to mitigate some of the damage of Obstinance's strike, but your flesh burns and muscles cry out as he blow lands, knocking you across the stone.

>Cloud 1/4

SCC, pretending he has nothing to do with all this, leans back in the air, admiring all his new bling. Meanwhile, Obstinance gets low to the ground. "Fly!" he shouts, before sweeping his leg at yours in a breakdance spin.

[1d10+4] Fire damage

You run and run, with Tabasco's heart pounding in your ears every step of the way. It's after a little while that you realize that the only steps you can hear now are your own, and you are able to stop.

Ahead of you, that is, North, is a staircase leading downward, while to your West is a short hall branch, leading to a set of four doors not far from one another. To the East is another branch, and there is only one door at the end of that one.

You look about, but you cannot make much sense of the complex technology that hangs all about you. The gibbons seem to have set up some rudimentary mathematical and magical formulas nearby, etched onto pieces of tree bark peeled from nearby. Meanwhile, as the older scientist examines the gun, he eventually manages to get it upside down, accidentally points it at the lattice, and pulls the trigger after seeing it can move…

[1d2] 1 = knowledge, 2 = violence

The crystal does not budge, held fast by a magical glow that surrounds it and connects it to the lattice and to the machinery overhead.

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


The gibbon scientists shriek and dive for cover as the gun fires, tuned to the "Violence" setting, which melts part of the control schema upon the metal lattice. The brass tower groans, an almost musical humming ringing out from all the crystals and brass overhead, as various parts start to move on their own. The godray crystal floating behind the lattice turns in languid movements, its reflections of the glow surrounding it seemingly causing these moves.

The gibbon scientists shout over each other as they mess with the controls to try to get it all to stop.



Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5



With everything in utter chaos, Cutlass continues to tug on the crystal to see if she can get it to move. And, if so, try to get it through the defense grid.



[1d10] telekinesis

Roll #1 8 = 8


Alder lets out a panicked little shriek, and tries to help the two gibbons! This has made for a nice distraction, but he doesn't want anyone getting hurt!
>Master Thief [1d10+3] (+2 TBP) Does this even help here? I want to see if I can spot anything I can do to help disable things! If Master Thief isn't applicable, then it's just a +2!

Roll #1 1 + 3 = 4


Cerulean takes a moment to catch her breath, then look to her two companions and share a bit of a laugh.
"Hahah, whew, that was kinda fun, right? We keep going down, so I think we're going the right way," she remarks as she takes the staircase down.


"Wha? H-How?"
Cloud asks Hmm, before he is hit by the punch. He tumbles across the arena, groaning in pain. When Obstinance shots to fly, at first Cloud hesitates, having been wingless for so long. But the fight or flight instinct kicks in, spreading his leathery wings as they flap to make the bat airborne once again.
>Using 2 TBP
>Flight [1d10+2]
Against his better judgement, Cloud opens his mouth to try to leech away the extra size he gave Obstinance to make this a little easier on himself.
>Leech [1d10+1]
>Instant, Maso; Drains life from a target, dealing damage and healing Cloud's hits by an equal amount.

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


The crystal is slow to move, for the magical light surrounding it holds it in place fairly well. You manage to lift it about halfway out of the position in which it floats, feeling a strain in your mind, much like a heavy weight.

A scientist points at you and hoots and screeches, but you cannot understand him without the sticker.

You and Make Believe run for the controls, but in the commotion of the crystals turning and moving all about you, the gun falls to the ground, and you trip over it, falling onto Make Believe. As the two of you slam against the ground, Make Believe suddenly grabs onto you before you can get back up.

Don't move… I think I just felt our disguises tearing.

Indeed, from the corner of your eye, you can see that your left side, and his right side, are turning back to normal, the shadows hanging off of your bodies like torn garments.

Tabasco laughs back at you, his ears wiggling with amusement.

After you head down the stairs, you find yourself at an unusual junction. Ahead of you is a short hall; immediately to your left, that is, to the South, there is another branch of hallway, which slithers left and right but ultimately keeps heading South. About 15 meters ahead of you is another branch of hallway. It also bends to the South, but from here you can't tell its ultimate trajectory.

"Magic, idiot!"

You dodge over the sweep, taking to the sky after so long without wings. The feelings of elation from flight are ultimately short lived, poisoned by the dread of battle.

SCC turns as you're distracted with the fight, smiling to himself. He raises his fingers at the Heatwave surrounding you all, dark lightning crackling at his finger-tips…

[1d10+3] Storm Bolt, 3 attacks

But as he readies that, Obstinance stumbles forward, his spasms stopping. At that same instant, he tenses, puts down all fours onto the ground, and leaps backward, spins in mid-air toward SCC, and drops the elbow.

>Soul Punch, Auto Instant, spending 3 Hits

[1d10+8] Fire Damage (forgot additional +1 earlier from size increase)

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9 / Roll #2 6 + 8 = 14



"Ossie, you have your orders. Make Believe, help me with this," Cutlass says as she continues to strain with it.

[1d10] telekinesis

Roll #1 10 = 10


Cerulean continues on ahead, heading to the path with the unknown trajectory.


(2/4 TBP)(4 Rounds left on 2!)
Alder winces a little bit, trying to hide his left side to the best of his ability. He'll snag the rifle, and try to slip out of sight
>[1d10+1] Stealth (+1 TBP)

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3


The path you take is narrow and cramped, and there are no other side doors along this trajectory. It bends to the south, to the east, south, and finally to the west once more. Before you now waits a door with a snake icon upon it, the same as the one you saw before.


Cerulean blinks at the door, then gives a bit of a sigh of relief.
"I think…this might be it?" She attempts to open the door and see what is in this room.


"Don't call me an idiot there's a lot of stuff going on!"
Cloud retorts.

The weightlessness of flying again lifts Cloud's spirit, almost making him forget the cane and limp foreleg of his. He looks back as he hears Obstinance leap through the air, seeing him target Stone Cold Classic again. He also see's the genie raise his fingers at the heatwave, trying to blast through it no doubt. Cloud fumbles, reaching for his knife, and swoops down to intercept the attack.
>Block [DC 5] [1d10]
>Yearning Knife: Attacks from this knife can cut through magic, enabling them to counter magical attacks and damage lingering magical effects, as well as Amnis-type Aura Abilities. Countering a magical attack reduces its damage, or negates it completely if you match or beat the roll on the attack. Damaging and dispelling lingering magical effects may be more complex, and generally requires striking at the source of the effect.

Roll #1 8 = 8


>Block [DC 5] [1d10]
>Block [DC 5] [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 9 = 9


Make Believe slowly nods from where he lays, trying to subtly extend his magic onto the crystal, and between the two of you, with a great tug, you wrench the crystal free of where it floats. All at once, the machinery surrounding you comes to a halt, the other crystals darkening without the godray crystal to function as their core.

The gibbon who confronted you takes a step toward you, his arm outstretched, and a black shape darts from your shadow. The next thing you know, the gibbon is screeching with surprise as he sails out from the gap between the machinery.

Alder and Make Believe see the aforementioned happen, and hear the scientist cry out, "This is most uncouth behavior…!" as he falls through the treeline, tossed aside by Ossie.

All is silent for an instant, before the remaining scientists scatter, running every which direction, shouting for help.

All at once, you both feel a distinct magical pulsing in the air. Your blood runs cold as dozens of gemstone eyes settle upon you.

The Watchkeepers are coming.

You enter a square arena, one with a lowered inner square. Elevated stone seats line the walls, and the only other exit in the room is to the South. You do not see your opponent, until you at last look up, and spy a number of small circular openings in the ceiling. You feel a rumbling from above…

And at last, a single Watchkeeper snake head pokes out of the ceiling, and looks at you.

You manage to dive in front of SCC's attack and dispel the first two of his bolts, but the third hits you square in the chest, and you bounce off of the hard flame of the Heatwave, both your front and back badly singed for your efforts.

>Cloud 0/3

Obstinance manages to slam SCC down once more with his elbow drop, before grabbing him by the smoky, tail-like lower half to throw him against the Heatwave.


"You made this worse when you hesitated!" Obstinance roars. "Waste your last wish and be done with this!"


SCC looks back at Obstinance, pulls himself up, and pushes his claws right onto his face.

[1d10+3] Magic Bolt

Roll #1 7 + 5 = 12 / Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #3 4 + 3 = 7


Cloud crumples to the ground after the last shot knocks him into the wall. He groans, dropping his dagger as he tries to push himself up.
>Recover [1d10]
"I… I thought I wasn't suppose to…"
He wheezes to Obstinance.

Roll #1 1 = 1



"Well, let's hope those distractions come through," Cutlass mutters.

"Time to leave."

Cutlass takes the crystal with her telekinetically and jumps out the window. She grabs one of the brass rings.

[1d10] for daring escape! Master Thief if applicable

Roll #1 9 = 9


(1/4 TBP) (+2 in 3 rounds, +1 in 4 rounds)
Alder sheds his disguise and flies off after Cutlass. Hopefully this part won't be too hard!
>Flight [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


Cerulean looks at the snake, then to the door on the other side, then back up at the snake. She wonders if she can do the same thing as before and tries singing to it.
"Children of the land do you hear,
Echoes of truths that once rang clear?
Two souls intertwined
One true love they did find
Bringing land and heavens near"

>Motherly Song: Recharge 2; Remembering warm and tender feelings, Cerulean's songs have a similar effect on those who hear it. The aura and song fills its listeners with general friendliness towards Cerulean. It might even be able to diffuse a fight.


Roll #1 2 = 2


"You should have thought about that before you spent the second one!" Obstinance says. He spins, and SCC's head gets mashed against the Heatwave, scraping against the solid fire as he's dragged, skin and feathers tearing off. "With each wish, his power grows, the quickest way is to waste the thir–"

With a sudden exertion, SCC clamps his claw right onto Obstinance's head, surrounding it in dark incense. A cacophony of explosions eclipses his head, and the giant Puros falls to the ground, his head still hidden by the incense.

The flames of the battlefield exacerbate your wounds as you lay there, bleeding out.

>Cloud 0/2

SCC rises, his head crooked at a near-90 degree angle from getting so brutally dragged against the solid surface. He reaches up, and breaks his own neck, setting it right. He turns your way, and you can see that the right half of his face is naught but a gory streak of twisted skin, muscle and blood. He floats toward you, unperturbed by this wound, and leans down to let you get a close glimpse at his horrid wounds.

"He was right, you know," SCC says. "So what's it going to be?"

You make a break for the brass rings, Make Believe tearing off his sticker as he follows after you.


But though Cutlass manages to get ahold of the ropes, Alder feels himself burdened with a sudden weight. He looks back, and sees a Watchkeeper spider land on his back. Then another. And another, and more and more. Dozens of small obsidian spiders drop down from above, each one adding its weight, causing him to sink through the air, unable to keep his flight up.

>Roll DC 9 to shake them off or DC 6 for a crash landing

As you try to sing to the snake, many more poke their heads out through the holes in the ceiling, and then drop down from above, collecting in a great pile at the center of the room. Like before, they start gathering together in the shape of a hydra, and as they start to split, their eyes fixated upon you, hungrily.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7


(1/4 TBP) (+2 in 2 rounds, +1 in 3 rounds)
"A-Ack! No! Get off!" the griffon shouts, squirming a little bit. He'll try to shake off as many of them as he can!

>Flight roll! [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cloud looks in horror as Stone Cold Classic strikes Obstinance's head, collpasing the Virture to the ground, shrouded and hidden. He can't pull his eyes away from the horrid visage of the genie, worse than the demons they faced before.
"I-Is that true?"
He mutters weakly, sounding as if he's confirming what Obstinance said to SCC, but in actuality he is asking Hmm, fearing that Obstinance might've been controlled again.


Hmm takes a while before she responds, and all you can hear is her nervous, tiny heartbeat. "…At this point, it's your best bet."

SCC awaits your answer.


Cloud stares up at Stone Cold Classic, feeling his own heartbeat, fearing what might come next.
"I-I… wish for you to stop, Stone Cold Classic."



"Shit," Cutlass mutters as Alder falls away. His landing is a foregone conclusion. She can't stop that while holding the crystal. She looks around for a way down so she can help him.

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 6 = 6


Seeing her singing not work, she suddenly breaks song and decides to go up and hit it as hard as she can with her tail on its main body.
"Alright, fine! No friendship it is, then! Tabasco! Watch yourself. Hop up on me!"

>Slam, +1, Crit 8+, take better

>Tide Pool: Upon using Slam, Cerulean causes water to burst forth from the impact site, allowing her to flood the area and make the terrain more watery and favorable for her.

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10


>adding Hits/Wounds


SCC sighs, and leans back. "You really need to get better at phrasing these," he says, and snaps a third time. He then floats over to where Obstinance lies, and taps the inert giant. "…Well, you're going to have to do something about this guy. I'm trapped in here until he dispels his little exorcist circle."

Alder, weighed down by dozens, indeed now even hundreds, of tiny black spiders, plummets to the ground, crash-landing in a thicket of sticky, spiny brambles, as spiders crawl all over him.

>Alder goes helpless

Cutlass spots some vines nearby that she could descend to go to his aid, but she can feel eyes on the back of her head, and she needs no other indication to know she's next.

>roll dodge

But in that instant, you hear a thunderous crashing from the east, and many shouts of terrified gibbons, as a great tree, just outside the outskirts of the village, falls to the ground, creating a small earthquake with its landing.

The distraction! Make Believe communicates. Splendid called it in!

Tabasco hops aboard as you flood the small arena. Your slam sends small snakes flying, but they seem little perturbed by this development, for as they land in the new water surrounding you, they start to ride its waves, following the current back onto your very body, and latch onto you. You feel your movements becoming slow and heavy as they, and the hydra, try to constrict you.

[1d10+2] Suppress

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


After Stone Cold Classic stops, Cloud tries to push himself back up.
>Recover [1d10]

"Obstinance? Are you there still?"
He asks warily to the cat, concern growing.

Roll #1 2 = 2


Alder manages to at least tuck his wings in before he crashes to avoid any unfortunate angles, and quickly tries to squirm out of the mass of spiders and get back to his feet.

>Recover: [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


"He's unconscious, but it looks like his Aura Ability is autonomous enough to remain in effect while he's out," SCC says, picking you up and unceremoniously dropping you on your hooves.


>Using 2 TBP


Cutlass swings the vine to dodge the incoming pouncing.

[1d10+2] dodge

She then swings down, the whole time maneuvering crystal with her telekinesis.

[1d10+2] to reach Alder safely

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


Cerulean gnashes her jaws and tries to rip and tear her way through a bunch of snake heads at once.

>Cleave 5!

>Critfail 5-

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


Cloud shudders a bit after Stone Cold Classic picks him up. It hurts to move, with how much he's been burned. He moves and picks up his dagger, walking over to Obstinance as he taps the dark incense clouding him with his knife, using the flat side to be safe.
>Dispel [DC 5] [1d10]
>Attacks from this knife can cut through magic, enabling them to counter magical attacks and damage lingering magical effects, as well as Amnis-type Aura Abilities. Countering a magical attack reduces its damage, or negates it completely if you match or beat the roll on the attack. Damaging and dispelling lingering magical effects may be more complex, and generally requires striking at the source of the effect.

Roll #1 8 = 8


In a single clean blow, you decapitate the Hydra, scattering Watchkeeper snakes everywhere. Much of the body crumbles without the heads, but the individual snakes that can still fight toss themselves onto you, burying you under their weight.

>Cerulean 0/6

Tabasco runs for the stands with a terrified yelp.

With you now pinned, the individual snakes, each no more than a few inches long, lay down the smackdown.


Mechanical spiders flee in every direction as you shake them off, but existential horror knocks from the back of your amygdala as you wonder if any of them may still be lurking where you least expect them.

Cutlass and Make Believe land beside Alder as chaos unfolds above them. Many of the Watchkeepers run for the east, where you hear a second great tree shake the earth in the distance. Dozens of Watchkeepers descend from above onto your position, but shadows dart from nearby, swift as darkness, and smack the Watchkeepers away.

Colobok, Droplet and Sparkler touch down before you, Droplet holding out his hoof for the godray crystal. "Northwest. Watch the skies for Splendid. We'll cover your escape."

You clear the smoke away from Obstinance's face, and the cat, his face badly burned and mostly without fur now – without skin in some places – opens one eye at you, saying nothing.

"Well, uh, your friend Cloud here says he'd like to stop," SCC says. "Third wish gone too. So why don't we call this one a draw?"

Obstinance groans, looks blankly up at the sky.

At once, the Heatwave dissipates.


Roll #1 2, 4, 9, 4, 5 - 1 = 23 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8




Last time, on PirateQuest…

Alder, Make Believe and Cutlass successfully infiltrated the brass and crystal tower by convincing the guards that they had found something interesting that they needed the scientists at the top to investigate. Once there, they found that the crystal's central mechanism for controlling its arcane machinery was the godray crystal they sought. One of the gibbons accidentally tuned Cerulean's info gun to the "Violence" setting and fired it, causing chaos and panic among the scientists. During the confusion, Cutlass managed to swipe the crystal, and they made their escape just as Watchkeepers descended upon their location.

Cerulean explored more of the Skull Temple by herself, successfully outrunning many guards after tunneling through to a blocked doorway. She found the staircase and descended to B3F, nearly halfway through the Temple. It was in B3F's labyrinths that she encountered the door marked by an image of a snake once more. Behind that door, she confronted the Watchkeeper Hydra once more in a more standard arena setting.

Cloud and Obstinance's battle with SCC was thrown off when the genie managed to take control of Obstinance's body, manipulating the massive Puros as though he were nothing more than a marionette. Obstinance briefly broke through the control and scored grisly damage against SCC, but the genie stopped him in his tracks once more with a bolt of magical energy directly to the head, leaving him badly burned and scarred. Cloud spent his last two wishes, gaining significant regenerative powers with one wish and an end to the battle with the second.


In a single clean blow, you decapitate the Hydra, scattering Watchkeeper snakes everywhere. Much of the body crumbles without the heads, but the individual snakes that can still fight toss themselves onto you, burying you under their weight.

>Cerulean 0/6

Tabasco runs for the stands with a terrified yelp.

With you now pinned, the individual snakes, each no more than a few inches long, lay down the smackdown.

>1, 3, 8, 3, 4


Mechanical spiders flee in every direction as you shake them off, but existential horror knocks from the back of your amygdala as you wonder if any of them may still be lurking where you least expect them.

>Cutlass, Alder

Cutlass and Make Believe land beside Alder as chaos unfolds above them. Many of the Watchkeepers run for the east, where you hear a second great tree shake the earth in the distance. Dozens of Watchkeepers descend from above onto your position, but shadows dart from nearby, swift as darkness, and smack the Watchkeepers away.

Colobok, Droplet and Sparkler touch down before you, Droplet holding out his hoof for the godray crystal. "Northwest. Watch the skies for Splendid. We'll cover your escape."


You clear the smoke away from Obstinance's face, and the cat, his face badly burned and mostly without fur now – without skin in some places – opens one eye at you, saying nothing.

"Well, uh, your friend Cloud here says he'd like to stop," SCC says. "Third wish gone too. So why don't we call this one a draw?"

Obstinance groans, looks blankly up at the sky.

At once, the Heatwave dissipates.

>8 (Mystery roll)



Cloud's face pales as he sees Obstinance after clearing the smoke away, deep regret casting over himself.
"I… I'm so sorry…"


Obstinance says nothing, and continues to lay there. You can see heavy damage to his armor, most likely an impact of the fall. Who knows what might be under the surface.

Stone Cold Classic looks about, stretching his arms and generally looking lackadaisical despite the grisly damage to his face. "Well colts and cats, if our business here is done, I'm out."


He looks about at the crew surrounding him. "I see you're not alone here. Yeah… there's all kinds of souls on this strange island…"

SCC's grisly, bloody mess of a face scans the eastern and southern boundaries, looking not at the quarry in which you're contained, but beyond it. "Whole ships worth of pirates, all kinds of people. Yeah, I could make a killing here."

Suddenly, his head snaps to the southwest, and a deep chill stabs into your heart, a feeling of pure and total animal dread. You do not know how, and you wouldn't be able to explain if you tried, but you can sense that he is looking in Chiu's exact direction.

Stone Cold Classic smirks.


Cloud steps in front of Stone Cold Classic, trying to keep the genie's attention on him.
"Hey! I said for you to stop, so you can just go on back to wherever you were before I brought you here."
Cloud says, not mentioning anything of Chiu to prevent any word trickery being used against him in the worst of cases.
"Your business is done, so get."


"You told me to 'stop' but didn't specify what," SCC says in retort. "Out of generosity to the spirit of your wish, I decided to interpret your wish as 'Stop fighting'. So I did. Thus, your wish was granted, and so I'm free to do as I please. As a matter of fact, I was just about to 'get' myself. There's someone who clearly wants a wish of her own granted, I can tell…"

As SCC begins to float around you, you hear a strained voice.
"Wait," Obstinance says, rising to his feet with obvious pain, though his face is stony. "Ignore him. I've got wishes of my own I want granted."

"Oh yeah, dickhead?" SCC sneers. "And why should I grant yours? Even if I'm beholden to the wishes once I agree to them, I still get to decide who I do and don't grant wishes to, and I don't want to see your ugly burn of a face again."

"Because I'll swear by the Oath-Words," Obstinance says.

"Oh-ho…" SCC says, his tone turning quickly. "How interesting. An exorcist like you would obviously have a lot to offer…"



Cloud steps in front of Stone Cold Classic as he goes to move around him, then stops in place as Obstinance speaks up.
"Obstinance you don't need to do this! You don't need to throw yourself into the same trap I was in!"
Cloud says in protest when the cat speaks of making his own wishes. When they start speaking of Oath-Words, he is a little lost, but doesn't budge from his blocking position, eyes darting between the two rapidly.


With the area flooded, Cerulean tries her best to thrash and splash about to free herself from the dogpile of snakes.

>Earthly Affinity: Earth ponies have a special connection to the land. Pick one land type, e.g plains, island, swamp, mountain, forest. When on chosen terrain, your rolls to recover from helplessness are DC4 and traversing on your home terrain is automatic.


Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11



Obstinance, true to his moniker, disregards your protests, staring down SCC for a drawn-out period, his glare unwavering.

"Very well, if you're resolute," SCC says. "As the challenger, to you goes the first condition."

Obstinance points to the ground. "Until my three wishes are all used up, you cannot be more than seven feet away from me, regardless of available space. Is this acceptable?"

"Huh…?" SCC asks. "…Hmph. Alright, I accept. Now, for my condition. You can't hurt me or bring me into any dangerous situation in any way shape or form. You agree?"

"I cannot," Obstinance says. "That's far too open-ended. If I'm near a body of water, you could throw yourself into it, and drown or be attacked by something swimming within. If I'm assigned to a dangerous landscape, or facing down an enemy, you'd be in harm's way no matter what. It has to be more tied to my intentions to be a proper condition. You should know such things."

"Argh, fine, fine," SCC grumbles. "…You cannot deliberately take any action that would directly harm me, or, to the best of your knowledge, put me in harm's way without any possibility of me being able to avoid said danger given your aforementioned seven-feet-of-distance rule."

Obstinance pauses, rubbing his chin in thought.

>roll perception

Though the snakes wrassle and dogpile you, you eventually break free, scattering them across the floor after sustaining only minor injuries.

>Cerulean 13/5

Obsidian snakes fly everywhere, making small hissing sounds. Many are stunned, but those that can still move slither back toward the back half of the arena, taking this turn to recuperate their damages…

>Watchkeeper Hydra stunned this turn!



"A-Ah, right!" the griffon chirps, continuing to frantically brush himself off- it still feels like there's a few more on top of him. He'll try to watch for Splendid.
>Master Thief: [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Cerulean makes sure Tabasco and Roger are okay, then runs up to the gathering mass to give it another slam of her tail.

>Crit 8+, DC-1, take better result


This close, and with Tabasco on her head, Cerulean looks up to him.
"Hey Tabasco, why not light these guys up," she says, asking if he'd contribute some fire to the fight.

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


Channeling a bowling ball, you strike the Watchkeeper snakes away from their gathering-place, scattering them like so many pins. Tabasco yelps, and though his paws and tail are trembling with anxiety, he manages to come down from his hiding-place in the stands. His tongue hangs out, and his ears are back with fear, he manages to muster a small stream of fire at the snakes.

[1d10+1] reduced bonus due to fear; basic Fire attack

Scattered once more, the snakes have no choice but to swarm you once more, crawling upon you with fangs bared.

[1d10-1] Revolving Blade
[1d10-1] Slam
[3d10-1] Basic attacks

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 7 - 1 = 6 / Roll #3 3 - 1 = 2 / Roll #4 9, 4, 7 - 1 = 19


Cerulean notices his fear, but hopes he can fight past it. In an attempt to motivate him, perhaps, she tries to go on a rampage with her jaws on the snakes to show Tabasco that there is nothing to fear from the dark nor the snakes.

>cleaving three snakes, critfail 3-


Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


Tabasco's stream is weak, and fails to so much as scorch the snakes, which largely slither past them in their endeavors to get to you. You swat many away, but many more sink their fangs into you, hungry for shark, it seems.

>Cerulean 7/5

The snakes keep up the offensive, and it seems as though for every one you swat away, two more inch up to crush you.

[1d10-1] Tackle
[1d10] Basic Grapple
[3d10-1] Basic Attacks

Tabasco struggles, freezing in place…


Roll #1 2 - 1 = 1 / Roll #2 9 = 9 / Roll #3 4, 5, 3 - 1 = 11 / Roll #4 2 = 2


Cerulean may be getting swarmed, but she lets them go for her tail. All so she can slam it back down into the biggest clump of snakes she can.



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


You endure bites and snares as long as you can, just lining them all up just right for the final swing, and then swat them all down, crushing them like so many flies. Dozens, maybe even a hundred little cuts sting you all over, and the inside of your armor starts to feel slick with fresh blood.

>Cerulean 1/5

Many of the snakes lie inert, and it seems at first glance that you have won…

But with an audible gleam, the snakes' eyes flash a deeper and brighter shade of red! The hairs on the back of your neck rise to full attention as you sense an oncoming danger…

>roll two dodges, taking the lower of the two


Cloud mutters, silent at him binding the genie to himself until his wishes are up, giving himself up to keep the genie from getting to anypony else as Cloud tried but failed in doing.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cerulean tenses up from this danger sense going off, and makes a quick motion to grab Tabasco and keep him safe in case fear is keeping him from moving. She also scoops Roger and try to stay on her hooves.

>Earthly Effinity: traversing automatic, not sure if battlefield advantage might be a bit helpful for this.


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


Obstinance closes his fist and lets it drop once he's done rubbing his chin. His expression is completely unreadable. He holds up his other hand to SCC, motioning for him to hold on, and then looks at you.

"Cloud, I'm going to need you to hold onto something for me. Can you make sure it gets back to me the next time we run across one another?"

With horrifying speed, the snakes underneath you wriggle; those that have been defeated rise once more, despite their injuries, and as a single unit, they swarm, gathering in a great heap around your four hooves. At once, they all look up at you, a sea of brilliant ruby eyes in a mass of darkness.


The swarm of snakes, propelled by a sudden momentum, flood upward, and shove you straight into the ceiling. Your head, slammed by the crown into the stone, begins to spin, and nausea and dizziness overtake you as you fall back down.

>Cerulean 0/3

By the time you can see straight again, you see that the snakes have congealed once more, not as a hydra, but as a single great cobra. Many of the snakes making up its body are broken, but it shows no signs of caring, staring you down as it wavers in its hypnotic dance, awaiting your next move.


Cerulean coughs a bit as she takes the hard impacts, panting a bit as fatigue was beginning to show on her just like the broken snakes on the cobra. She tries to push herself up and power through the dizziness as she stares down the cobra as well.

>Earthly Affinity


Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


"Y-Yea, you can count on it."
Cloud says as Obstinance adresses him, feeling increasingly worried with the deal Obstinance is making. He steps forward a few steps, ready to take whatever it is that Obstinance wants him to hold onto.


You rise on unsteady legs, but the broken and damaged cobra, hissing with fury, swings its tail out and scoops you, Roger and Tabasco up, squeezing the three of you in its grasp. Tabasco squeals and yelps in panic, and Roger squeaks in pain, little tears forming at the corners of his eyes. Blood pours from your open wounds, staining the floor red.

>Cerulean 0/2

Suddenly, upon hearing Roger's agony, and seeing and smelling the blood dripping from you, Tabasco suddenly snarls, his face sharpening with a swelling of fury. A flash of sudden terrible heat engulfs, but does not harm you; Tabasco frees himself by turning into a current of flame. With a deep and furious bark, he leaps, spinning into a fireball as he hurtles straight for the cobra.

[1d10+3] Unknown skill

"Very well. I accept the condition you propose," Obstinance then says to the genie. "And now, my second one. You must grant my wishes based on the intent of my wish, not the literal meaning of the words I use to express them."

SCC rolls his eyes. "How drab! The risk is the fun part! But, alright… I'll agree to that, if you agree to pay me 10,000 Bits per wish."

"And you say that I'm drab…" Obstinance says. He reaches into his bag and draws a sheet of papyrus and a quill pen out. You notice that he slips the papyrus into the hand that he has held balled into a fist this whole time, and starts to write.

"What're you up to?" SCC snaps. "What's the holdup?"

"Just some calculations," Obstinance says. After a little while, he stops writing, and balls his fist up again, keeping the papyrus inside. "I have no further conditions. I seal my end of the Oath-Words."

"Tch. That's all?" SCC complains. "Then, I have no further conditions either. I seal my end of the Oath-Words."

There is a palpable, but invisible pulsing in the air. The pirates gathered nearby start a bit with surprise as they feel the Contract bound.

"For my first wish," Obstinance begins. "I want you to transfer my memories and knowledge of Sepulchre Island to Cloud. Transfer my memories, perfectly preserved, into his mind, and erase them from my own."

SCC's eyes widen with shock, then he visibly sweats. "Holy shit… you're from Sepulchre Island? No wonder you'd want to get rid of those memories. But transfer them? I could just undo your brainwashing instead."

"You heard me, genie. You cannot change or overrule my wish once I've said it."

"Very well. Cloud, brace yourself!"

>roll endurance and perception, separate rolls

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12


Add a line to this post stating that Obstinance agreed to pay the 10,000 per wish. He would've had to agree to this condition to seal the Oath-Words.


>second correction:
"Transfer my memories and knowledge, perfectly preserved…"*


Hearing everyone's pained yells, Cerulean tries her hardest to break free from the snake, thrashing about to try and break herself and Roger free.

>DC 4


Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


Cloud listens on to the exchange of conditions, far better put together than his own was way back at the start of his journey. He watches curiosly as Obstinance starts to write, wondering if that's what Obstinance wants him to hold onto. When Obstinance makes his first wish to transfer his memories, Cloud perks up in alarm.
"Wait what? What's Sepulchre Island?"
He asks in the short seconds before the wish starts.
>Endurance [1d10]
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 4 = 4


Taking advantage of the blood staining your armor inside and out, you manage to slip through the cobra's grip, dropping into a puddle of your own blood in a heap, and rise to your hooves.

>Cerulean 13/2

A snarling from the cobra catches your attention, and you look up just in time to see a thin fireball, followed by a tail-like streak in its wake, fly straight through the cobra, scattering snakes left and right. The fireball hits the wall, but bounces off, leaping again through it. Again and again it bounces off of nearby surfaces, scoring more and more hits each time it bounces, until the cobra is, at last, reduced to nothing more than a heap of snakes.

Tabasco lands upon the arena's floor, then collapses, panting with exhaustion.

Obstinance and SCC both point at you, and your mind is suddenly awash, flooded with a life in microcosm. Scenes and knowledge flash before you, like a film being played at more than triple its normal speed. All you are able to grasp is brief glimpses – many hard and bloody battles, punctuated by periods of hard and austere training, meditation, long fasting… but interspersed in there are glimpses of peace, small diversions… even the warmth of friendship.

Your mind briefly goes blank, unable to keep up with the stream. When you come to once more, you are laying upon the dirt. Across from you, Obstinance has also fallen, barely keeping himself up with his one hand. Weakly, he groans and pushes himself up, and his hand, which had been clenched this whole time, opens.

Out falls the wadded piece of papyrus, and a single shikigami.

Obstinance clenches his head, wobbles for a moment, then notices the papyrus. He retrieves, opens and reads it. Both he and SCC look with confusion at the shikigami.

"Shikigami," Obstinance says. "Maximum volume SFX."

The shikigami floats out between him and SCC.

"For my second wish," the shikigami begins. It produces the sound of Obstinance's voice at a low whisper, amplified many times over. A strange echo effect reveals that it was recorded surrounded by Obstinance's hand. "I want you to teleport yourself and myself to Sepulchre Island, in the central chamber of the Maze of Mirrors."


SCC's face drops. He becomes pale as bone, his pupils shrinking. Nausea twists his mouth, and every part of him visibly trembles and sweats. "Th… that… can't count. That's not you. That's just a recording!"

Red chains start to manifest about him. "It was still my voice," Obstinance says. "As such, I've stated my second wish, apparently. Your own limits as a genie attest to that. What's the holdup? Grant it."

"Th-that violates our agreement!" SCC protests, his voice breaking with terror. "I won't grant it! I don't have to! You know what's going to happen to me there!!"

Obstinance raises his eyebrow, then after a moment, the most gut-wrenchingly cruel smile that you have ever seen spreads across his face.

"I don't know anything about that. This is the first time I've ever heard of Sepulchre Island."

The red chains darken, squeezing SCC. His arms are forced to rise, and the chains twist his fingers into a snapping position.

"aaaahhh… aaahahhhh… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" SCC screams as he snaps.

In an instant, he and Obstinance are gone.


Cerulean huffs and looks to Roger.
"Roger, make sure Tabasco is okay for me, okay? There is still some clean-up to do." Cerulean steps up to the snakes, dragging her tail as she does so from how tired she's getting, but still musters up strength and aura to bring it down upon the snakes, both to crush them and hopefully scare off the remaining ones from trying that group-up trick again.



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


Cloud tries to focus on the playing memories, a fool's errand as there is far too many for his already weakened and distracted mind to comb through.
He finds himself on the ground, momentarily panicking over blacking out, quickly standing as quick as he can (which is still pretty slow) before noticing Obstinance and Stone Cold Classic still there. He opens his mouth to speak, but the shikigami starts up, Cloud staying silent as it does when it starts with a second wish. Cloud watches the genie turn into somepony facing horror, making Cloud fearful as well as what could scare a demon?

He watches as Stone Cold Classic is forced to make the wish, both of them disappearing before his sight, leaving him standing there alone with the crewmates that came along for added protection.
He falls to his flanks, both from exhaustion from the fight and utter befuddlement over the exchange that unfolded.
He looks to the mooks, holding his head as he tries to think through some of the memories given to figure out what happened.
"What's Sepulchre Island?"
>Memory [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


You smack away a few more snakes, but it seems that it may be unnecessary. Nearby, every one of the snakes flip over, playing dead in an apparent mass show of surrender. The ones that can still move all do the same. And the ones that are broken just remain where they are, their eyes still flashing.

The mooks look to one another, and those who came from the Gates of Justice are without a clue about it. It's not until one who came from Agyl Island speaks up that you get an answer. At first, the scruffy pony makes a superstitious gesture, grimacing with a look of fear. "Don't say it aloud if you can help it. Nothing but murderers and zealots come from that cursed place. Best you forget everything that genie gave you."

In your mind's eye you can see the island perfectly. A vast and pale island, white as bone. Upon its surface can be seen many temples and monasteries, planted between the major towns. Your visions focus mostly on a most isolated monastery, settled atop a plain overlooking much of the island below itself. You see through the eyes of a body not your own, of a young Puros. An austere and grim-looking dragon, his features and scales all white and sharp, looks over a group of young initiates as they train in a yard, practicing attacks upon training dummies in the image of demons. Obstinance, in the memories, fights alongside a small group of others, but he's having much trouble. The other initiates are taught to use stealth and trickery and guerilla tactics, but all he can manage are the most simple of head-on attacks. The dragon castigates him severely, scolding him about the danger this puts himself in. Obstinance, discouraged, slinks off toward the benches where others sit drinking water.

And, at the end, a young griffoness comes over to offer him encouragement.

A griffoness with blue feathers.

A spotted jaguar's body.

A a cassowary's crest atop her head.

And a slave tattoo on the back of her neck, beneath her feathers.



Cutlass nods and runs northwest with the crystal in her telekinetic grasp.


Roll #1 10 = 10


Cloud sits in silence as he plays through the memory, motionless.
"…I don't think I can," He mutters to the pony that spoke up, "I'm gonna need to talk to Splendid when they all get back."
Cloud looks up to the mooks.
"Can somepony help me back to the boat?"
He asks, the burns starting to take their toll on his body.


Cerulean looks around at the snakes, making sure they were staying still, but not liking the looks of their eyes flashing. But she had more important things to do than figure something out she knows nothing about. She trudges her way over to Tabasco, picking him up and gently and hugging him just as gently.
"Thank you, Tabasco. You were so brave back there, I knew you could do it," she says, trying her best not to drip on him as she hugs him.
"Are you okay, too, Roger," she asks, looking to him with a concerned, but relieved, smile and gently stroking his head.



You and Make Believe make a break for the northwest, running along the jungle floor for lack of an easy way to get back into the treeline. Monkey guards swing by overhead, but mostly go for the far east, in search of what made that incredible earth-shaking sound. Shadows criss-cross overhead, and you can see that the assassins are doing their best to knock out Watchkeepers who chase after you. But the Watchkeepers are many, and the shadows few. More and more keep up with you, and are even starting to close the gap. High above, Splendid keeps flying in a straight arc to the northwest.

>Cutlass's 10 bought you one turn to prepare for battle!

Roger gives you a quick peck on the cheek. He's slightly bruised from the squeeze of the cobra, but he should probably be fine with a big meal. It's Tabasco who looks more worse for wear. Although his injuries aren't as severe as yours, he appears totally exhausted, probably a combination of fear, stress and that incredible attack he just dropped.

Meanwhile, the snakes below you start to slink away, helping up the broken ones as they head for the holes in the arena to try to get away.

As the mooks help you rise, you stumble, and involuntarily move out your hooves to steady yourself – both hooves. You look down at your hoof in the sling, and realize now that you have control and feeling in it once more. The mooks, apparently not noticing you, start to load you into the boat, and make ready to sail back to the Hidden Dagger.


"Hrm… perhaps I should take this time to inure you, as you have suggested in the past? That way you will not be as at-risk as you normally are when you do your 'thing'."


Cerulean gives a sigh of relief as everyone seems to be fairly okay.
"Alright then guys, then how about we leave this room…then maybe take a small break," she says as she rests Tabasco gently on her back and steps as carefully as her battle-tired body can to not disturb him. She leaves the snakes to gather their injured as well as she tries the door to the south, hoping there isn't another nasty surprise waiting for them.



No preparation, only running.


Roll #1 5 = 5


"A-Ah! Or, running."

Roll #1 1 = 1


"That was fast…"
Cloud mutters under his breath, feeling himself able to move his previously severed foreleg. He sits in the boat in silence, turning to look at his reflection on the sea as he reflects on the day so far.



"Yeah, it's not really something I can do against a bunch of enemies. It's sort of concentrated on one person," Cutlass says in a panic as she continues to run.



As you run, the assassins get left behind, tangled up with their own group of Watchkeepers. Alder's hind paw gets caught on an oversized tree root, and he falls, faceplanting into the humid earth and dense, scratchy grass.

>Alder 2/4

Before he can rise, a swarm of mosquito-like Watchkeepers surround him, grabbing him up and pulling him back the way he came. Alder! Make Believe gasps, stopping to swat the swarm.


As he does, two more Watchkeepers, a small dragonfly and a massive capybara, descend upon you. The capybara bites down on Make Believe, while the dragonfly darts around Cutlass, peppering her with beams from its eyes.

[1d10+1] Marksman Shot vs Cutlass

[1d10+1] Suppress vs Make Believe

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


The room to the south is small, with another door that leads east. It looks to have been a resting area for champions following the arena battles. There are a few benches for you to sit upon, and a raised table in the center for you to eat. Tabasco sprawls out on your back, panting softly in your ear as he very quickly drifts into rest.

In time, you get back to where the two ships are anchored in the waters just outside of the port town. The massive tarps which cover the body of the giant laying in the center of the port town have been moved slightly so that sunlight can hit the giant's body.

The lifeboat is pulled up onto the deck of the Hidden Dagger, and as the other mooks get out, assisted by the crew, Mallea and Chiu run to you, the latter squeezing you tight. She looks to have been worried.

"Wh-what was that feeling? Did you feel it too?" Chiu asks. "I'm not just going crazy, right?"
"The cat… where is he?" Mallea asks. "…Did the battle go as poorly as I thought?"



"I immediately take it back! Give me that potion!" Cutlass shouts as they are cut off.


>Shadow Guardian roll


Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


Alder lets out a panicked squawk as he trips over a gnarled root, and yanks his foot free quickly. He doesn't have the time to break his fall though, and faceplants pretty hard. He'll turn and lash out at the dragonfly with his aura, attempting to mend his own injuries.

>Spectral Claws: [1d10+2] (Spending 2 TBP) Targeting the Dragonfly, and healing self

"A-Ah! Yes, understood!" he shouts out, rolling the mare a potion.
>Natural Remedy: [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10



Cutlass grabs the potion and chugs it down. She grins and says, "Thanks, Alder."

Then, daggers explodes from her dress, eviscerating the capybara watcher in a barrage of slices.

>Soul Slicer on

>Dance of Blades

>taking half damage

[1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1]

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


"I did. And don't worry, I won't let it happen again."
He says to Chiu, taking her into an embrace, both with his injured foreleg and a long, long overdue wing hug.

"The fight went… evenly. But Obstinance took himself and the genie to Sepulcher Island."
He answers to Mallea, not looking away or releasing Chiu as he cherishes this moment of safe embrace.



[1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1]

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


"Ohh…thank goodness. C'mon guys."
Cerulean makes her way to a bench, taking up an entire one as she lays down on it much like Tabasco is resting on her currently.
"Now, let's take a nap first, then we'll get something to eat, okay," she says, patting a spot for Roger to come down and cuddle up with her before drifting off for a hard-earned nap.


Chiu makes a high-pitched gasp as you touch her with your wings. "They're… they're back! And they're real!"
Awash with joy, Chiu wraps herself up in your wing and kisses them both. "Wait– did you just move your arm? How badly did you swindle that genie?"

"Oh," Mallea says, gulping. "…I do not imagine anyone shall be seeing much of that genie anymore, then."

Alder restores two Hits to himself after slicing at the Dragonfly, who skitters in and out of combat range. As for Alder, the Mosquitoes drop him, losing their grip after his squirming.
>Alder 4/4

Make Believe gets himself chomped on by the capybara, but manages to get free after the initial bite.

>Make Believe 1/6

Cutlass carves up much of the Capybara Watchkeeper, causing it to fall back, circuitry exposed all over its body as it struggles to get back up once more. But her rampage is cut short when the Dragonfly pops her with its laser-eyes.

>Cutlass 0/4

But as Cutlass falls, Ossie leaps from her shadow, breakdancing in the air. She swipes the Dragonfly with her long neck, knocking it off-course.

In the confusion, the Mosquitoes descend upon the godray crystal, picking it up to steal it back.

No you don't! Make Believe thinks, trying again to cut them down.


The Capybara, growing weak, leaps into the air.

[1d10+1] Jumping Attack, Autocrit vs Make Believe
>Supreme Survivor: passive; Automatically passes all spot checks. Autocrits on jump, climb and other traversing checks
>Yes I know Attack != Check. This skill is rarely used.

Enraged, the Dragonfly comes back, trying to shoot Cutlass once more.


The cool stone works wonders for your weary body, still burning with the tension of battle. Your pets need little encouragement to join you, themselves in need of all the rest they can get.

>roll 2d3 for healing via nap

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #3 10 + 1 = 11


>sleep a restful sleep

Roll #1 3, 3 = 6


[1d10+2] Shadow Guardian

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10



"Don't let them take it!" Cutlass shouts as they start getting away with the crystal.

"Some distraction…" she mutters in annoyance as she gets up.

[1d10] to get up

Roll #1 9 = 9


>TBP: 2/4 (+2 in 4 Rounds)
Alder lets out a panicked screech, and pulls his gun from his holster to try and take a shot at the Capybara

>Spellslinger (Lightning): [1d10]

>Rallying Cry: [1d10+1]

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


"I used one of the wishes so that I can heal up from anything, and my limbs too if I get them back on, so this doesn't happen again in the future."
Cloud says, the slightest bit of his old bragging tone finding it's way back to his voice.
"The wings are far more important though. I missed holding you like this."

Cloud looks over to Mallea.
"Why is that? Obstinance used a wish to give all his memories and knowledge of that place to me, but there's a lot to go through."


You have a most fantastical dream of fighting alongside a grand company of warriors and mages on some far-off battlefield, slaying countless demons summoned from dark realms, armed with a stylish axe. Inexplicably, the rescuing of princesses comes in via that fuzzy dream logic, and just as you're about to be buried under their kisses, the call of the waking world summons you back. You are being kissed, you find, but by Roger, who's tending to your injuries. Wherever his mouth touches, there a cut or puncture wound vanishes.

You're practically starving, and your tongue is drier than it's ever been. Though you may have recovered from your wounds, you will need much nourishment to recover the lost blood.

Cutlass is badly burned by a shot of laser directly against her neck, leaving her with an ugly burn and stinging red skin. Ossie leaps from her shadow again and crushes the Dragonfly, causing it to fly back in an attempt to escape.

>Cutlass 8/2

Make Believe swats away the Mosquitoes and grabs the godray crystal, but the second he does, the Capybara drops from above, crushing the colt from above. He vomits up blood and the crystal skids into the underbrush, then Alder's bullet electrifies the Capybara, disabling it as the current reaches its exposed circuitry.

The Mosquitoes and the Dragonfly retreat, but you get the feeling they won't be gone for long.

The crystal has vanished under the foliage, and you cannot see its path.

"Fly with me," Chiu immediately demands. "If your arm's all healed up, that's the first thing we gotta do. Oh, but not too high… and not too fast. You've been out of practice flying."

"That island is the home of the Virtues," Mallea says. "And a land of… well… entities that only become angry if you destroy them. There is a reason that only few dare to say its name. You would be wise to not be one of them."


>Make Believe 0/5


"Gave you his memories?" Chiu then asks. "Wait, why would he do that?"



"Good job, Make Believe," Cutlass says as he stops the enemies from taking the Godray Crystal. She rushes after it where she last saw it in the brush.

>[1d10] to chase down treasure, Master Thief because it's tracking down treasure

"Alder, help Make Believe," she orders as she disappears from sight into the brush.

Roll #1 5 = 5



Health fix.


Alder folds his ears back and pulls himself back up to all fours, and runs over to try and help Make Believe up. "P-Please be still. I can help you too, Captain, but I need to help Make Believe, first."

>Natural Remedy: [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Cerulean watches with a level of amazement as Roger appears to be healing her. She smacks her mouth a bit as she waits for Roger to do his thing, and makes sure to not let Tabasco slide off her when she gets up.
"Huh…finally, a good dream," she remarks as she goes over to the table. She spills out some rations from the camp to let Tabasco and Roger take their pick of what they want.
"Alright, a bite or two to eat, and we'll get back to exploring," she says, moving a piece of food to bump with Roger's and Tabasco's as a sort of toast.


"That's where the Virtues live?! So I guess that Maze of Mirrors place isn't the best either, since he wished them to the center of that."
Cloud says in shock as Mallea reveals the identity of the island.

"The genie made a deal using something called Oath-Words that Obstinance couldn't harm him willingly or thoughtfully, after Obstinance said they're have to be stuck together until all his wishes were made. He asked me to hold onto something until I see him again, so… he gave up all his memories of his home so he could get rid of the demon."
As Cloud says that, he looks down in thought, silent a moment. His wing tightens snugly around Chiu for a second, before he wraps a hoof around her, spreading his wings for a proper first flight. Beginning by slowly lifting off the ground his Chiu in his hooves for them to fly together again.


Between the food (some water with a hint of alcohol, hunks of salted cheese and all manner of fish, and a slew of crackers) and your nap, your health is eventually restored from the great losses you took earlier.

>Cerulean at full H/W

Tabasco, munching on meat of their own, are also looking healthy. Tabasco especially has relaxed at last.

Cutlass grabs ahold of the heavy crystal, and Ossie comes out of her shadow just enough to grab onto and lug it out as well. Make Believe, silently crying, gets up with Alder's help.

>Make Believe 6/6

From the south, you can hear sounds of escalating violence – presumably, the assassins have intercepted your retreating attackers. You can't tell how the battle's going just from the sounds… but you're hearing more flesh hit than stone.

Do we help them? Make Believe asks, spitting up a bit more blood.
Ossie grits her teeth, holding back her words as she grabs the crystal.

"Well, I don't know much more than anyone else does about the place," Mallea says. "Only that the less we discuss it by name, the safer I think we'll all be."
"He tricked the demon by giving up his memories of home, knowing how dangerous a place it is…" Chiu mumbles to herself, her mood dampened. "…You and I need to write down everything he gave you… it'll be good to have a reference of his knowledge in case we ever fight him or any other Virtues in the future."

Chiu then gulps and squeezes your shoulders tightly. The air is swift, and cools as you get to flying. An exhilaration that you once had as a colt, during your first flight, at last comes back to you, and Chiu can't help but giggle with glee and just a hint of exciting fear.


"I-I would not feel right just leaving them behind… perhaps even just going to pick one or two off to help them escape?"



Cutlass looks from the Godray crystal to Make Believe to the sounds of fighting. "Damnit, damnit, damnit. Ossie! They're professionals at escaping, right? What do you think of their odds?"


Cerulean looks quite glad to see Tabasco back to his usual self of being full of energy and relaxed. Once everyone finished up, she packed up the rest and got the two together for more ruin exploration.
"Alright guys, time to keep on going," she says as she opens the east door to proceed onward to whatever else may be in store for them.


Ossie stammers and even begins to hyperventilate for a moment, before gulping. "We need to leave. They won't disengage until we're out of the hot zone! We're the ones they're concerned about, so we can't stay here!"



"My thoughts exactly," Cutlass nods. "Let's go."

[1d10] to escape with Godray crystal

Roll #1 7 = 7


Beyond the East door is another long corridor, bending to the south after some distance, and then to the West. At the end of it is a door with an image of a pig upon it.


"We can do that tomorrow. I got everything in full stored away for his safe keeping so there's no rush. I have more important things to focus on now."
Cloud says before they take off.

Feeling the wind through his mane, over his wings and coat, something he had all his life but never took appreciation for until these past weeks of grounded life. Chiu by his side makes it all the more special that his gift has finally returned to him. He soars through the air, keeping the speed thrilling enough without going too fast for any real danger of exhaustion.
After a few minutes, he stops, and begins to climb in the air, going higher and higher until he finds a low cloud. His eye glows orange, his body growing as he turns over in the air. He reclines in the cloud, another comfort he will never take for granted again, settling Chiu on top of himself, now big enough that there's no risk of her slipping or falling off.


TBP: 0/4 (+2 in 2 Rounds, +2 in 5 Rounds)
Alder lets out a frustrated huff, but relents and follows along.

The griffon does, however, take the time to yank the unicorn aside and try to mend her injuries.
>Medic's Knife (Heal), +2 TBP: [1d10+2]

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11


Cerulean gives a big sigh as she looks at the door.
"Okay guys, if this is what I think it is, I think we're gonna be fighting something big again," she says as she notes this door also has an image on it like before the snake room.
"Welp, here we go." She then proceeds to open and proceed through the door, awaiting what she thinks to be a fight with an obsidian pig this time.


"Oh, good," Chiu pretend-groans. "Now that you've got your wings back you're gonna get all lazy on me."

As you lay upon the cloud, Chiu scoots up and kisses you upon the cheek, then scoots back down and makes a hammock out of you, pulling your wings up around her like an oversized blanket. She lays her head in the crook of your neck, getting absolutely cozy. "We'd better fly back soon. If I'm here too long I won't want to get up and go back to all that insanity down there with the giants and demons."

After a while, she smiles. "So… you still wanna quit the crew?"

Alder quite violently stabs Cutlass repeatedly… in each of her existing wounds, which gradually vanish, going back to their normal, healthy state with each stab of the medic's knife.

On Ossie's advice, you run and run to the northwest, following the trace silhouette of Splendid in the sky. Soon your lungs feel as though they may collapse, your coats are drenched in sweat, and your legs are burning both from cuts made by the foliage and by the flow of blood. But by the time that you need to stop and take a breather, you see that you are on the outside of the jungle, in a clear and unobstructed plain punctuated by puddles of water, a kind of mild marshland. Far to the East, you can see the top mast of the Thunder Serpent, peering over the horizon.

You enter another large arena, like the last one, and like before, you see that it is empty. There is a door to the South, much like the previous one; the two must have been designed with symmetry in mind.

As you look about for your opponent, the doors to the South (for it is a double-wide door this time) slide open. Out steps, as you predicted, a magnificently large obsidian pig, practically a small blimp, he's so large. But instead of the snakes, the pig takes little notice of you. Instead, it sits square in front of the door as it seals again. You sense magic taking hold of the door and the surrounding area. Although you haven't identified the specific spell, you have a good feeling you know what it is…



"Fucking fuck," Cutlass gasps for air as she breaks down at the edge of the jungle.

"It sure would have been nice if we had a huge sharkpony to help us in that fight…" she uses what precious little energy she has to make a spiteful comment at an individual who isn't even here.

She slowly stumbles the rest of the way to the Thunder Serpent.


"So, its another one of these beat them up to open the door deals. Hey! This is the next fight, right? Then here we go!" Hopefully with the pig's attention, Cerulean charges towards the pig and to hopefully start the fight strong with a slam of her tail and aura to flood the room.

>Slam with Tidepool


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


"I have a lot of recovery to do now. Two whole new limbs to adjust back to having."
Cloud jokes.

Cloud gives Chiu a kiss on the forehead as she gets herself comfortable in her new bat hammock.
"No… I think I'll stick on a little longer. Gotta pay Obstinance back for this job somehow."
Cloud says with a light tone.
"…I screwed up a while back, and he took most of the consequence for it. For a moment, it felt like you were going to pay for it too."
He starts after a second, more somber in tone.
"I was ready to fight that genie for a split moment. But I didn't stand a chance when we got into a tussle before that… I felt powerless, and I don't want that to happen again."
He puts a hoof over Chiu, resting on her stomach to hold both her and their foal close.
"I can't let something like that happen again. I won't let anything like that happen again."


Alder lets out a nervous huff and tucks the knife away, bowing a little bit before hurrying off after the others. While the griffon's more durable than he looks, his heavy coat doesn't do him any favors.

He's managed to do little more than stop his own bleeding- he hasn't had time to do much else- but between that, the heat, and the exertion, the slender griffon's had enough. He flops on to the ground with a pained chirp, before muttering something unintelligible to himself.


The blistering afternoon heat has only reached its apex, and between your sprint and your injuries, trying to trudge back to the Thunder Serpent in this horrid light is no easy task. Splendid dives from above, and picks up Alder without a word, positioning herself and himself so as to provide him a little shade with her head. She extends her wings as well, to provide cover for Cutlass and Make Believe as well. The colt keeps casting worried glances to the southeast.

>roll endurance

[1d10+1] MB
[1d10+1] Splendid

A puddle of water splashes off from your tail, and you slam down onto the pig, but… he doesn't even stir. He lays there languidly, eyes a placid shade of blue as he simply relaxes in front of the door.

Perhaps this is a different kind of test…

"So you could sense it too," Chiu mutters. "Mallea was afraid I'd gotten heatstroke, when in fact it was the opposite. I felt the worst chill that I'd ever had, and I knew that something was staring right at me… and that, somehow, you were in danger as well."

With a shudder, she pulls your wings more securely around her. "We'll have to save up and get him something really strong to drink for taking that danger for us."

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


Last time, on PirateQuest…

Obstinance pulled a convoluted trick on Stone Cold Classic, luring the genie into a false sense of security by pledging, via the binding magic of the Oath-Words, that he would not harm him nor put him into harm's way to the best of his knowledge. He then used his first wish to transfer his memories of his home, Sepulchre Island, to Cloud, erasing them from his own mind. He delivered his second wish via a covertly-made shikigami recording. With it, he forced a terrified SCC to teleport the both of them to Sepulchre Island, circumventing his pledge by now being completely unaware of the dangers the island held. Cloud and Cutlass' crewmates went back to their ships to recover from the unconventional exorcism.

Cerulean, Tabasco and Roger continued to explore the Skull Temple, descending to B3F after escaping from a pack of Watchkeepers. B3F seemed to consist of a series of small, linked arena rooms; a space for a ritual gauntlet. Cerulean came perilously close to death in her battle against a Watchkeeper Hydra, but Tabasco, who had spent most of the battle paralyzed with fear of the snakes, managed to pull it together, and won with a powerful last-ditch attack. The trio stopped to rest in the next room, a designated recovery area for challengers, before moving on to the next arena. This time, the door was guarded by a large Watchkeeper Pig, who did nothing but sleep, and was unfazed by Cerulean's initial attack.

Alder, Cutlass and Make Believe managed to fend off and escape from their pursuers, at the cost of leaving behind Colobok, Sparkler and Droplet. Not that they had much of a choice; sworn to protect Cutlass, they would not have stopped fighting until she was out of the hot zone. Splendid descended from above once they were clear of the jungle, and helped them as they prepared for the long walk back to the campsite of the Thunder Serpent, godray crystal in tow.


>Alder, Cutlass
The blistering afternoon heat has only reached its apex, and between your sprint and your injuries, trying to trudge back to the Thunder Serpent in this horrid light is no easy task. Splendid dives from above, and picks up Alder without a word, positioning herself and himself so as to provide him a little shade with her head. She extends her wings as well, to provide cover for Cutlass and Make Believe as well. The colt keeps casting worried glances to the southeast.

>roll endurance

[1d10+1: 10] MB
[1d10+1: 5] Splendid


A puddle of water splashes off from your tail, and you slam down onto the pig, but… he doesn't even stir. He lays there languidly, eyes a placid shade of blue as he simply relaxes in front of the door.

Perhaps this is a different kind of test…


"So you could sense it too," Chiu mutters. "Mallea was afraid I'd gotten heatstroke, when in fact it was the opposite. I felt the worst chill that I'd ever had, and I knew that something was staring right at me… and that, somehow, you were in danger as well."

With a shudder, she pulls your wings more securely around her. "We'll have to save up and get him something really strong to drink for taking that danger for us."



"Even through the circle Obstinance set, I could feel the genie noticed you… It was the worst feeling I've ever felt in my life."
Cloud says, nearly feeling the dread again just from remembering.
"I owe him a whole bar for this," He jokes, lightening the mood back up, "I really hope he's okay."


"If it were anyone else, I'd say that they wouldn't do something that drastic if they weren't sure they'd be alright in the end, but this is Obstinance. He let his own arm be broken just to satisfy his own curiosity. But, at the same time, he apparently goes overkill on any old exorcism just to make sure the job's done."

She shrugs. "We'll see him again, I think. But back onto that feeling… you think it might have been the world's biggest coincidence, or something new about Aura?"


"Right, Mallea was worried just having him near the town before. He should be okay."

Cloud shakes his head.
"That wasn't a coincidence. It couldn't have been. …The Wetnurse did warn me to get you out of Mallea's before we started that whole time loop thing, maybe it's linked to me too when there's a big enough danger threatening you."


[1d10] Endurance
Alder lets out a soft huff as he's lifted up and tucked in close, but doesn't- or can't- do much to resist. "Are, ehm… d-did you get out alright, Splendid?"

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cerulean notices the different behavior and relaxes her stance, raising a brow suspiciously at it.
"Uhh…huh. Well, this is unexpected." Seeing as how the pig seems non-hostile, she decides to look over the pig a bit more closely.


"That sounds just as plausible…" Chiu muses. "We should investigate before we move on. Oh, and I want Mallea to inspect you over for any lingering traces of the genie's power. You might have paid him off, and he might be gone, but I don't want to take any chances with your safety."

The Watchkeeper Pig dozes, not quite asleep, not quite awake. Mechanical grunts and snufflings come from its snout. As you approach to investigate, one of its eyes faintly glows a little brighter, almost the equivalent of a dreamer opening an eye at a disturbance. The pig snorts, then the glow diminishes. You sense that you have been insulted, somehow.

"Right as," Splendid says. "So much commotion on the jungle floor that I didn't see much action up there; they weren't interested in me much with you all raisin' hell down there."

During the long walk back, your head begins to swim. Sounds and sight become distant, and your face begins to feel quite cold. You drift into a liminal state, vaguely aware of Splendid's voice, filled with alarm, and her hurried wingbeats. Before long (or maybe not, you're having a hard time telling) you feel yourself being shaken down, robbed of your possessions, before being dropped into a pool of cool water. The sky above you has turned bright, and somehow… wooden? You can't tell; it's all a hazy blur. The only thing that feels real is the nausea drilling into your stomach, and the darkness clutching at the peripheries of your vision.


"If there was any danger left, the Wetnurse would've picked up on it when I snatched you up here," Cloud says, giving Chiu a little squeeze, "But a check is the smart thing to do. I don't ever want to see that genie again."


Chiu squeaks like a bat as you squeeze her. "Oh, hey! Let's get your shadow half in here and see what he's got to say about all this."

Teal aura surrounds her, and she raises your shadow doppelganger.



Alder tries to keep himself focused on the road ahead, but finds it increasingly difficult to do so. He only vaguely remembers what happens afterwards, and mostly focuses on gripping his stomach and squirming around in discomfort.


Cloud snickers as Chiu squeaks.
"Always nice to have a little squeak to when I'm big."

Shadow Cloud forms up, doing a double loop de loop as he is risen, circling around the cloud as Cloud takes up all the space on it.
"Feels great having all my limbs back in working order. I'm never giving these babies up for anything again."
Shadow Cloud says joyously as he enjoys the gift of flight once more.


Cerulean raises a brow, not quite sure she's understanding this one too well. She thinks for a brief moment, then attempts to try and sing gently to see if some friendly music might rouse some sort of reaction from the pig, perhaps even have him dance away from the door.

>Motherly Song: Recharge 2; Remembering warm and tender feelings, Cerulean's songs have a similar effect on those who hear it. The aura and song fills its listeners with general friendliness towards Cerulean. It might even be able to diffuse a fight.


Roll #1 5 = 5


The two of you drift in and out of consciousness, surrounded by murky sights and muffled voices. The darkness lurking at the peripheries of your vision eventually recedes as your senses come back to you. The two of you find yourselves in bathtubs, located in a bathing area; it's a long room, filled with no small amount of pipes and tubs, secured to the floor by sturdy metal cross-beams. The two of you have been stripped of your possessions, which lay folded neatly to the side atop a pair of soft towels. The bathwater is quite cool, but not cold.

Beside you, sitting on a stool, is Splendid. She's the only other person here. She's got some ladles with her, which she uses to scoop out the water and douse your heads now and again, always making sure you're propped up.

"You'd better not!" Chiu says. "I'm not having you turn into Mister Potato Pony on me after all of this. Now, are you two feeling up for finding the rest of the crew or what? I think we've spent long enough lazing about while they're risking their lives out there."

The pig looks up at your singing, his eyes gaining some brightness. But soon he puts his head back down, losing interest fast.

Tabasco and Roger poke at your sides. Perhaps they're looking for some stage direction here, whether violent or entertaining (or entertainingly violent).


Cerulean hums in thoughts, then looks to the poking. She hums some more as she thinks.
"Hmm…think you guys can give it a go? It seemed to like nice things compared to violence……oh! Maybe a little dance? I give you guys music and you guys just have a good time."


Tabasco howls, and Roger does a little loop in the air; the two seem to be really keen on this idea.


>"Relax babe."
Shadow Cloud says, hovering in to give her a little poke to elicit another squeak.
>"I don't plan on losing anything else, and the only thing that's staying off me is the eye, since that's gonna take a lot more effort to fix."

"Do we have to? After being without them for so long I don't want you leaving my wings for the rest of the day."
>"Yea, they all have themselves covered. They're capable."



Cutlass slowly comes to. She looks down at the soothing cool water she's soaking in. She is about to drift back to sleep when she suddenly double takes back down to her body. She realizes her dress is off.

She quickly looks around the room and sees her dress folded up nearby. Then, she notices Splendid. And, more importantly, she notices Alder. She quickly scrunches up into a ball to cover herself. Her face turns bright red, even brighter red than it surely was when she was suffering from heat exhaustion.

"Wh-wha? H-how? Wh-why?" she stammers in a confused, embarrassed fluster.



This is also for Alder. >>741319


Alder lets out an uneasy groan and sits up a little bit more, muttering something in his native language and rubbing at his head. It takes him a few moments to come to his senses, but when he does he lets out a startled chirp before flapping his wings a little "A-Ah! I, uhm… I apologize, I seem to have lost my senses. W-What happened? Where are we, Splendid?"

Alder blinks a couple of times, before folding his ears back and looking away, since it seems like Cutlass needs the privacy.


"Alright then, get ready," she says, giving the two 'center stage' as she began a little acapella tune while tapping her hoof, watching her two boys.

>Motherly Song to back them up


Roll #1 1 = 1


Chiu obliges, squeaking again. "If there's anyone who's gonna take your wings, it's gonna be me. Then I can be a baticorn princess."

"Hey, wait a second… you're not gonna grow back another eye, are you!?" she exclaims, suddenly alarmed. "Are we gonna have to excavate the Eye of Wisdom?"

"The crew didn't want your dress to get fucked by the water, but they weren't sure how to get it off without losing a hoof or more," Splendid says. "Relax, though. Juniper managed to coax it off with some of her dress-up magic when she was in here earlier. Nobody got an eyeful of your girly bits."

She reaches over and hands you a mug of cold water, with a little lemon stuck on the rim. "Or would it be dress-down magic in this case?" she jokes.

"Aboard the Thunder Serpent, in the ladies' bathing area," Splendid says. "Sorry Alder, but nobody saw your bits either, so don't worry. You two passed out of heatstroke pretty soon after I landed. Make Believe got an earful of me losin' me shit as we sprinted back to the ship. I don't think he's gonna wanna venture with me anytime soon."

She laughs bashfully, and hands Alder a mug of water. His has a slice of lime instead of lemon. "Oh, and the others made it back as well. Thessaly's keeping an eye on the ship's medic as he looks over their injuries. She wanted me to tell you that Magoja's here. Friend of yours?"

Your calming song doesn't really harmonize with what Tabasco and Roger seemed to have in mind, as the two are jivin' to a completely different rhythm, discordant from your song in tempo and vibe both. The pig, apparently displeased, grunts, leans forward, and shoves you with his snout. However, at his size, what seems like a little shove at first glance, proves to be a powerful blow; you're tossed across the room, skidding to a halt halfway across the arena.

>Cerulean 8/7

The pig sits back down and resumes his nap. Tabasco growls, but contains his displeasure and looks to you first.



Cutlass's face turns even more red when she realizes she's looking at Alder. She similarly looks away from him.

"W-was there seriously nowhere else to put us?" she asks in a fluster to no on in particular.


>"I'll then to you for Nightmare Night, but that's as far as I'll go."
Shadow Cloud jests.

"It shouldn't. I wished that my body could recover from any injury, and so could any piece the was removed and reattached. So, I shouldn't be growing back a new eye unless we put the old one back in. But… since it's all, you know, it'll need to be solidified before we do that."


"Okay…if being polite and all isn't working, I guess we'll just have to be mean. Tabasco," she says and takes out his pipe and a pouch of tobacco.
"Feel up for a smoke? Maybe close by to get him to move away from you?"



"For the record," Cutlass says, calming down a bit. "My dress literally can't be 'fucked up'. A genie made sure of that. I AM curious how she got it off, though. I haven't been able to since I put it on."

She drinks some of the water then puts it down. "Now, everyone look away. I'm getting out to put my clothes back on," she announces to everyone before climbing out. "And, you better not sneak a peak!" she adds dramatically.

She stumbles a bit as she stands - a result of still being dizzy from her heat-induced stupor. But, she rights herself and slowly puts the dress on. Though, there's a bit of a frantic pace to it, not wanting anyone to see her without it on. She doesn't bother to dry herself. The dress will do that for her.

"Okay, you can look again," Cutlass announces once everything is in place. She gets to work putting the large collection of knives back into place within the pleats of her dress.

"Magoja is here? That's odd. But, that can wait. I have other business and not a lot of time to do it."

"Now, where are the others? We need to find some place not on the Thunder Serpent to have a serious discussion."