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You’re STANLEY PARBLE: a girl with a weird name and an even weirder tale: after a centuries-old lich woke up during your graveyard shift at the GOOD BOY DOGGIE BONE factory, your simple life of janitorial work became a bit more… Complicated.

Sure, you became pals with your now-sentient skeleton (you named him LY) AND gained some nifty SUPER POWERS from eating MAGICAL BONE MARROW, but that doesn’t change the fact that your hometown of CLEARWATER, CALIFORNIA is overrun by HOMICIDAL SKELETONS Even worse, the guy in charge is dead-set on taking over the rest of the world while he’s at it! Not cool!

After taking several years ‘off’, you finally made the time to visit the local college: CLEARWATER UNIVERSITY. Before you could tour the campus, however, you and your pals came across the local survivors and a band of cutthroat SKELETON PIRATES-- the latter trying to kill you in a grandiose sporting event, the former having some history with a few of your pals. You didn’t just leave with a bitter taste in your mouth, however--a professor of the occult and the ringleader of the local SKELETON PIRATE cell pointed you in the direction of CLEARWATER’S FAVORITE TOURIST ATTRACTION: THE WAILING CAVERNS-- a network of sea caves purported to be the home of a fabled cure-all known as THE MERMAID’S TEAR.

Word on the street is that CAPTAIN ‘RED EYE’ MENDOZA, the pirate king and your next target, sent a team into the tunnels to retrieve the artifact. Normally you wouldn’t bother, but the bony buccaneer has grown paranoid from your successful hits on the other lieutenants--anyone trying to board his vessel will, according to your intel, be dragged into the depths by a SEA DEMON summoned by Mendoza’s devilishly-devious master. That tear, it seems, is your ticket.

Imagine your surprise, then, when your trip to the caves resulted in the discovery of an undersea civilization of MERMAIDS! Uncomfortably cheery and unquestionably subservient to an entity known only as THE DEEP MOTHER, an invitation to look around their city went sour when you were summoned to said Mother’s lair. The reason? Apparently you and your pals are ‘on trial’. It’s always something, isn’t it? Regardless of the outcome, THIS is where your story continues…

https://youtu.be/_wiwdlu-Zg0
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>>4984288
Welcome to BONES QUEST--family-run and operated until someone buys us out! Make sure to check out the following resources:

Archive Link to catch up with the story!
>http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Bones%20quest

Twitter account for updates!
>https://twitter.com/DemBonez3

Imgur Page for quest and FAN ART! You make it, we display it!
>https://imgur.com/a/dvF3SCN

A HANDY PASTEBIN for INVENTORY, SKILLS, and MORE:
>https://pastebin.com/u/DemBonez3/1/TvtRhtJK

Rolls are handled by a 1d100--I take the BEST OF THREE ROLLS! Certain boosts and maluses will be applied based on the situation and existing skills. Describing your actions, write-ins, FANART and GENERAL CREATIVITY are all APPRECIATED AND REWARDED--we like to keep things LIGHT and CHILL here, so come on in and have some fun!

>CONTD.
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“Shall we begin?”

Frozen in place on a stone platform bobbing in the wake provided by the row of waterfalls towering above you, you glance between the hordes of mermaids watching you and your team expectantly from platforms of their own as a gut-wrenching screech rips from behind the cascades of water!

It takes you a moment, but you think you’ve found the perfect response to the situation:

What the HELL are these freaks talking about!?

“I’d like the answer to that too!” Art shouts, white-knuckling his N4 RIFLE in his shaky, gloved hands. Syb, Mitzi, Tucker, Kiki, Eddie, and Gus nod in agreement--guess they aren’t too pleased about this either!

“It’s simple!” Replies Guppy as she runs a claw through her feathered magenta hair, “We’re here to determine your punishment, of course! THE DEEP MOTHER likes to run a tight ship down here, after all, and we’re not sharks!

The rest of the mermaids echo her last words filling the chamber with a booming echo. Man, imagine the acoustics if you brought a guitar down here!

“Not the time, Stan…” Sybil mutters, stuffing her glowing hands into her pockets as the guards sharing your platform lower their staves her way.

“So,” Guppy continues in a tone befitting the host of a kid’s educational program, “We’re going to ask some DEEP MOTHER-sanctioned questions and then we’ll be done!”

“And let me guess:” Tucker adds as his fellow student Kiki hefts her LIGHT MACHINE GUN, “If we’re guilty we get eaten.”

“Bubbling Barnacles, of course not!” Guppy shouts, seemingly appalled at the insinuation, “No, you’ll just be taken to the dungeon!”

You and the team let out a collective sigh of relief. After seeing how your acquaintance HADDOCK went in the last thread-

THE DEEP MOTHER is on a strict diet! If you’re guilty she’ll eat you all over the course of the next FEW HOURS! Starting wiiiiith….” Guppy pauses, appraising your group with her tongue stuck out in concentration, “Umm… You. You look juicy!”

Of course she’s pointing at you. Who else would it have been?

“Told ya’ we shoulda exercised more, cupcake.” Murmurs Ly from within the safety of your skin. You respond with an annoyed sigh--at least he’ll die with you!

>CONTD.
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>>4984295
“So uh,” Gus interjects while scratching his head, “Who’s gonna ask the questions, anyways?”

Guppy’s glowing eyes gleam brighter in response! “Glad you asked, human! I will have the honor of asking the questions! THE DEEP MOTHER will preside over the hearing, of course, but it would be rude to ask her to speak!”

“Yea,” Mitzi chuckles, “That would be barbaric.

“Don’t worry! I’ll be gentle!” Guppy giggles as she sends a wink your way! “Shall we begin, humans? Best to get started before Mother grows hungry--err… Hungrier!”

What say you?
>FINE, ASK AWAY!
>HOLD ON--I WANNA ASK YOU SOMETHING FIRST!
>JUST SCREAM FOR TALBOT--YOUR BODYGUARD WILL SURELY HEAR YOU!
>RUN FOR IT! YOU CAN PROBABLY SWIM AWAY IF YOU’RE QUICK!
>FIGHT! YOU DON’T HAVE STRENGTH IN NUMBERS, BUT…
>WRITE-IN
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>>4984299
>>FINE, ASK AWAY!

We should still find a way to subtly call for Talbot if we can. Also welcome back, Bones!
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>>4984321
>ASK ME THE QUESTIONS, I'M NOT AFRAID!

Writing! And thanks--it felt weird not updating for a few days, even if it was a short while! Glad you're back as well!
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The more the situation sinks in, the more you wish your KNIGHT-IN-SHINING TRENCHCOAT: TALBOT would swoop in and start busting heads! Part of you wants to shout his name a few times--lord knows the guy gets mixed up--but the eldritch horror currently debating whether or not to eat you causes you to reconsider. Besides, that big lug’s found you before--with luck he’s already burrowing downwards for a dramatic entrance!

Clinging to your hopeful fantasies for dear life, you finally respond to the fish girl in front of you with a shrug--sure, you grunt, you’ll answer the questions!

YAY!” She squeals, hopping up and down on her fishy tail a few times, “It’ll be quick--I swear!

“It’d better be.” Art hisses, shooting an uncertain glance towards the waterfalls. “Don’t wanna be around when mom gets the ‘munchies’...”

“Okay!” Guppy begins, prompting the other mermaids to shut the hell up, “These questions were provided by THE DEEP MOTHER, so please answer them as best you can! The way you answer might affect the results!”

Another cave-shaking shriek rips from behind the waterfalls, prompting Guppy to add one more shaky addendum: “R-right! Whatever you do, DON’T LIE! Mother knows when people lie--it’s the truth!”

Damn it, there goes your plan!

QUESTION 1: WHY ARE YOU HERE?

Oh boy… If you had to answer you’d probably say…

>YOU’RE CHASING SOME PIRATE SKELETONS!
>YOU WANT TO SAVE THE TOWN!
>YOU GOT LOST ON THE WAY TO THE BATHROOM!
>YOU DON’T REMEMBER! YOU HAVE BRAIN PROBLEMS--DERRR!
>WHY DOES SHE THINK YOU’RE HERE?
>STAY SILENT!
>WRITE-IN!
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>>4984427
>>YOU WANT TO SAVE THE TOWN!

Probably the most-guaranteed not to make us become a STAN-wich!
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>>4984434
>SAVE THE TOWN, DUH!

Writing!
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You answer the mermaid’s first question confidently--isn’t it obvious? You’re here to SAVE CLEARWATER! And maybe the world, while you’re at it! You certainly didn’t come down here for a social call!

Guppy’s smile falters a bit as another screech echoes from behind the waterfall. “I see… How is your town saved by your visit, though?”

Look, you’re not about to explain the whole plot again--all you can say is that you need to get to CAPTAIN MENDOZA, and your best chance is tracking down some skeletons that ran down here! Another shriek reverberates around the underground lake!

“... Whoops! You’re too late--Mother found and ate them all already! Yikes!”

In that case, you groan, why the hell are you still here?! You don’t have time to play TWENTY QUESTIONS-- you’ve got a town to save! You keep all your stuff there!

“Hmmm… So you’re trying to save the humans, huh?” Guppy pauses and lets whatever’s lying beyond the waterfalls groan for a solid minute. “Sorry, human, but Mother has really enjoyed the lack of boats and humans in the sea lately--less noise, more fish! It’s been great!”

Maybe for them, you snap! Your life has been complete and utter crap since this all happened! Granted, you received some cool super powers and met some people you don’t exactly hate, but STILL!

“Mother wishes you could see the big picture, human…” Guppy translates with a sheepish grin on her face. “In the grand scheme of things it’s really better for everyone if all the humans are wiped out--skeletons don’t eat fish, after all!”

Oh don’t start spewing that Liberal bullshi-

“Moving oooon~! QUESTION 2: WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON FISH?

The interruption earns a confused blink from you. Seriously?

“Seriously! Answer the question, human!”

Dang it. Fine… If you had to answer that you’d say…

>YOU HATE FISH! NO THANK YOU!
>YOU’RE CURRENTLY ON A LEGENDARY QUEST TO FIND ONE, ACTUALLY!
>YOU LOVE ‘EM! CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF ‘EM!
>IF SHE WAS IN YOUR SHOES, WHAT WOULD SHE SAY?
>STAY SILENT!
>WRITE-IN!
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>>4984488
>>YOU’RE CURRENTLY ON A LEGENDARY QUEST TO FIND ONE, ACTUALLY!
>IF SHE WAS IN YOUR SHOES, WHAT WOULD SHE SAY?
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>>4984490
>LUDWIIIIIIG
>BUT ALSO WHAT WOULD SHE SAY?

Writing!
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You’d say that it’s funny they bring that up, actually-

“Stan,” Syb hisses as she sends a look your way that could turn a lesser janitor to stone, “DON’T.

AS you were saying, you continue, you’re currently on a MYSTICAL QUEST to-

STAN!

In a JIFF! You were just telling THE DEEP MOTHER that you’re currently questing to find LUDWIG--THE LEGENDARY FUR-BEARIN’ CATFISH! She can check your QUEST LOG for more details! Holding your COMPANY-ISSUED BLACKBERRY out for the creature to see, it slowly dawns upon you that she isn’t going to look.

“Yes, well… Assuming you do find this fish, human, what exactly will you do with it?”

You open your mouth to respond, but nothing comes out--what will you do? Now that the mermaid mentions it, you feel like a dog chasing a car--who knows what you’d do if you caught the infamous LUDWIG!

If you had to respond, though--wait, is this another question?

The entity behind the waterfall gurgles menacingly.

“... Nope, just a follow-up!” Guppy reports with a renewed smile!

In that case…

>YOU’LL JUST TAKE A PICTURE, THEN RELEASE!
>YOU’RE STUFFIN’ THAT THING!
>MAYBE KEEP IT IN AN AQUARIUM OR SOMETHING? DOES YOUR APARTMENT ALLOW PETS?
>YOU AREN’T SURE YET, BUT YOU’LL KNOW!
>YOU’RE GONNA EAT HIM AND GAIN HIS POWER!
>WRITE-IN!
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>>4984566
>YOU’RE GONNA EAT HIM AND GAIN HIS POWER!
Mermaids eat fish
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>>4984566

>YOU’RE GONNA EAT HIM AND GAIN HIS POWER!
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>>4984566
>YOU’RE GONNA EAT HIM AND GAIN HIS POWER!
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>>4984571
>>4984576
>>4984591
>POWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRR

Writing!
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Duh! You’re gonna EAT him and gain his FISH POWER! It’s worked so far with the bones of those other lieutenants-

“Stan!”

A fish like that should work the same, right? Planting your hands on your hips with a smug grin plastered on your face, you await a response from your awestruck questioner!

“W-wow!” Guppy sputters, prompting the rest of the mermaids to follow suit, “Sorry, human, but I’m SHOCKED!

Yep, you chuckle, you know a thing or two about mermaids! Number 1: they eat FISH! Number 2… Well okay, you know a thing.

“Well yes, we do eat fish!” Guppy explains as the rest of the crowd giggles, “We eat them to eventually feed THE DEEP MOTHER with their energy! Can’t let it go to waste, can we?”

As if on cue, another TENTACLE emerges from the waterfalls and snags what amounts to a handful of mermaids! Retreating to its source with prey in tow, your conversation is interrupted by a series of loud crunches and smacks! Eeesh…

“... Just like that! Don’t worry about me, though--I’ll be able to stay around until at least a few minutes after your trial!” Guppy adds with a wink! “THE DEEP MOTHER promised she wouldn’t eat me until after! Nifty, huh?”

“Dese’ gals are messed up…” Ly mutters, earning a nod from you.

“In any case, that’s extremely generous of you, human! If Mother spares you, she’d love to try this ‘Lug Weegh’ of yours! Don’t worry--we’ll track you down later!”

“Does that mean we’re free?” Art asks, eyes cemented on the red cloud drifting from the base of the falls. Guppy shakes her head.

“Nope, but don’t worry--it’ll be over soon!”

ONE MORE THING, you interject! If she was in your position, how would she have answered that fish question? The fish girl responds by giving you a sly look.
Dohoho~, you wouldn’t happen to be trying to TELL MOTHER WHAT SHE WANTS TO HEAR, would you? That would be VERY dishonest indeed!”

No, you stammer as a drool-covered rib floats past your platform, you’re just uh… It’s a hypodermic question!

Hypothetical.” Syb adds helpfully.

“In that case, we would have said the same thing you did!” Guppy announces with a toothy grin! “Time for the next question! Ready? QUESTION 3: WHY DID YOU CLIMB THROUGH THE BARRICADE LEADING TO OUR CAVES?

D’OH! You KNEW this would come up! Turning to your pals, you find all of their eyes watching you expectantly! Damn it, what’s the point of running a gang when you have to do all the hard stuff?!

>ERR, IT WAS OPEN!
>IT WASN’T MARKED!
>YOU WERE LOOKING FOR THE BATHROOM!
>ART PRESSURED YOU INTO IT!
>STAY SILENT!
>WRITE-IN!
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>>4984615
>YOU WERE LOOKING FOR THE BATHROOM!
Mermaids ALSO pee in water! Checkmate!
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>>4984615
>>YOU WERE LOOKING FOR THE BATHROOM!
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>>4984619
>>4984624
>BATHROOM!

Writing!
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Wasn’t it obvious? You were looking for the BATHROOM! Perplexed at your answer, the chamber quickly fills with hushed chatter among the spectators.

“Th-the bathroom?” Guppy asks while the creature behind the falls remains silent.

DUH! They’ve clearly been upstairs before--did they see a sign up there that said ‘RESTROOM?’ Your questioner stares at you as if it will make you drop the subject. It doesn’t. Folding your arms across your chest, you lean in even closer! How the hell are you supposed to be blamed if there’s no proper directions to the nearest restroom? Art almost peed his pants!

The security guard sends a scowl your way before seeing where you’re going. “No I did-err, yea, actually! It was quite the emergency.”

SEE?! You ask, giving Guppy an incredulous look! They really need to work on things if they don’t want people coming down here--if they think this is bad, just wait until TOURIST SEASON-

“You’re absolutely right, human!” Guppy interrupts with renewed cheer in her voice! “If we had done a better job, all of you humans would have never stumbled down here!” A series of gurgles and groans emerges from behind the waterfall prompting the fish girl to nod in thought. “Yes.... Mother is right--this is a much better way than hunting at the beaches…”

“Come again?” Mitzi interjects, planting her hands on her hips angrily.

“Nothing! Nothing!” Guppy fires back! “In any case, was there anything else you wanted to add, Mother?”

A gutteral clicking noise reverberates around the cavern walls sending a chill down your bones. Nodding in agreement, the mermaid claps her claws together eagerly!

“All done! Mother is ready to make her decision, but she asks if YOU have any final statements to make!”

All eyes fall on you. Dang it, you were never really good at speeches! Clearing your throat, you whip up a quick list in your mind of possible closing statements. The question is, which one is best?

>YOU’RE GONNA REGRET THIS, FISH!
>WE’RE DOING THIS FOR EVERYONE!
>YOU’LL HAVE TO CATCH ME FIRST, FREAKS! (RUN FOR IT)
>ANY CHANCE YOU CAN EAT (INSERT PAL HERE) FIRST?
>STAY SILENT!
>WRITE-IN!
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>>4984770
>WE’RE DOING THIS FOR EVERYONE!
Ya think they are just gonna stop at land? They have two boss men working the oceans! Tim wants it all!
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>>4984770

>WE’RE DOING THIS FOR EVERYONE!
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>>4984773
>>4984789
>WE'RE DOING THIS FOR EVERYONE!
WRITING!
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Clearing your throat, you step forward a bit not to address Guppy, but the horrible creature dwelling behind the falls. You can kinda see where this is going, but you wouldn’t be a protagonist if you didn’t give a rallying speech every now and then!

“Oh no...” Ly mutters under his breath.

Oh YES! So listen up, Mom, because you’ve got a newsflash fresh off the news… Trees: does she really think the skeletons are gonna just leave her alone? More to the point, does she think those boneheads are gonna TASTE good!?

THE DEEP MOTHER gurgles a response. You see Guppy move to speak, but you cut her off--it’s YOUR turn, dang it! They may think they’re safe all the way down here, but look what’s happening now! YOU found this place and so did those boneheads--they aren’t going to call it quits just because a few guys went missing! Hell, they’ve got two people working the ocean, and one of them is apparently from Atlanta or something--point is, these skeletons aren’t messing around!

The whole chamber is silent save for your ranti-err, speech. Making a wide gesture to your listeners, you prepare to take things home: she may eat today, yes, but who can say what tomorrow brings? Or the day after that? Or the day after that? Or the day aft-

“Leapin’ lampreys, what a speech!” Guppy exclaims, rudely cutting you off! “Very nice job, human--let’s see what Mother has decided!”

You give Gus a fist-bump as you return to your spot in the middle of the platform. That oughta do ‘er! In response to your speech, the terror behind the falls fills the chamber with a low roar that sends ripples across the lake! Giving her master an understanding nod, Guppy turns to you with a cheerful, albeit still very toothy, smile!

“You’re something else, human--Mother can see that you glow with a powerful inner strength!”

You snort--was there ever any doubt?

“In honor of that, Mother has made her decision!” Guppy continues, clapping her claws together excitedly! “You will DEFINITELY be the first one eaten! Congratulations!”

D’OH!

>CONTD.
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>>4984845
A pit forms in your stomach and the color drains from your face as the mermaids around you erupt into cheers! Flabbergasted, Art cautiously raises his hand in the air.

“Erm, question--didn’t you say this was a trial to determine guilt? As weird as it feels to say it, I think Stan did a decent job of defending her actions…”

Thanks, Ar-HEY!

The mermaid shakes her head back and forth like a bobblehead! “Oh no-no-NO! Mother already knew you were guilty--we happen to have a very strict ‘All Visitors Are Eaten’ rule, that’s all! She just wanted to determine HOW guilty you are!”

“How the heck does THAT change things?!” Mitzi shouts as her hand hovers over that SCIENCEY GUN you gave her!

“Well if you were REALLY guilty you’d sit in the dungeon for a few days!” Guppy explains in a teacher’s voice. “You know… Just for enough time to think about your actions. You’re lucky though: you get to be eaten SOON! Ohhh, I’m so jealous!”

These guys are nuts. Absolutely NUTS.

“Mother will eat the skeletons too, of course, but she just can’t pass up on some good WILD MAGIC when she smells it! Mmm! Tasty!”

Before you can protest, you feel something tugging your platform lower into the water--the lake water slowly lapping at your feet. At the same time, the guards and mermaids draw their STORM STICKS and point the tips at the water.

“Well then, we’d best get you prepared--don’t want to get to the DUNGEONS only to have to come back immediately, right?” Guppy giggles, retrieving her own STORM STICK. “You’ll come quietly, right? It’s such a pain dragging unconscious humans over there!”

What say you?
>... *DIVE INTO THE WATER AND START SWIMMING!*
>SHOUT FOR TALBOT! HERE BOY!
>FIGHT YOUR WAY OUT! SOMEHOW!
>COOPERATE. YOU’LL MAKE A PLAN ONCE YOU’RE IN THE DUNGEON.
>ONE MORE QUESTION! (WRITE-IN!)
>WRITE-IN!
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>>4984846
That's all for this evening, folks--regardless of what happens I think I'm a bit too sleepy to write it tonight! Should be ready for more MONDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST! Hope to see you then!
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>>4984846
>COOPERATE. YOU’LL MAKE A PLAN ONCE YOU’RE IN THE DUNGEON.
I guess we gotta see what we can whip up from our bag of tricks to get outta here.
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>>4984846
>>COOPERATE. YOU’LL MAKE A PLAN ONCE YOU’RE IN THE DUNGEON.

AAAAAAAAHHHHH CRAPPPPP I HOPE TALBOT HAS SUPER HEARING
>>
...I'm completely in favor of destroying their magic coral now.
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>>4984846
>COOPERATE. YOU’LL MAKE A PLAN ONCE YOU’RE IN THE DUNGEON.
>>4984941
Let's not forget stealing their healing pearl and whatever else we think is useful
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>>4984867
>>4984874
>>4984979
>COOPERATE!

>>4984941
Who knows? You might get your chance!

Writing!
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As the figurative ‘walls’ close in around your rapidly-worsening situation, you look around the chamber and your teammates one more time before making your decision known with a resigned sigh--fine, you groan, but let the record show that this crap is FAR from over!

“Awwww, I wanted to zap you…” Grumbles one of the guards as you feel the platform rise to the water’s surface again. Time enough for that, you grunt.

“S-so what… We’re just going to be stuffed into a cell until snack time? Like leftovers?!” Eddie sputters, glaring at you in disbelief! “Come on, Stan--we can take ‘em!”

“No,” Syb replies in a measured tone, “We can’t. Not now, anyways…”

Relax, you add, this is all part of the PLAN! Giving your doubtful pals a knowing wink, your balance is challenged as the water below your ‘raft’ shifts and flows downwards! Like a leaf in a rain gutter, the platform glides towards a newly-unflooded tunnel!

“Next stop: JAIL!” Guppy giggles. “Please keep your arms and fins inside the vehicle at all times!”

The guards and a few other mermaid stowaways enforce the rule by keeping their STORM STICKS trained on your team. Standing like statues, Art shoots you a sideways look.

“Just wanna say, Stan: it’s really cool of you to take one for the team and get eaten first.”

Shut it, nerd!

The rest of the raft ride continues in silence save for the sound of water lapping at your heels and rushing down the tunnel. For a moment you consider punching a few holes with your LASER EYE, but then you remember you’re underwater--you don’t want your clothes getting wet again!

>CONTD.
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>>4985470
Just when the trip starts turning into a blur, you’re jerked from your daydreaming by your raft… rising?!

Emerging from the tunnel, you and the rest of the passengers brace yourselves as the passage floods once more. As a side effect, the platform rises upwards through a pipe of dizzying proportions lit only by a scant few crystals embedded in the metal!

“Pretty neat, right?” Guppy asks, gesturing at the walls. “Not even a mermaid can hold their breath long enough to escape through here, and believe me--they’ve tried!

The guards share a knowing laugh as your raft approaches a landing up above. Reaching the top of the pipe, your ride continues a bit further into what you assume to be the prison proper: smooth, yet solid stone walls box you in while a network of pipes litter the ceiling above! Now that you think about it-

“Don’t think about it! Those are full of water--try to creep through and you’ll be a bloated mess before dinner! Yuck!”

“Okay, gotta ask: why do you know so much about this prison?” Mitzi asks your guide, whose eyes light up at the question.

“I thought you’d never ask! Y’see, when a prisoner tries to escape, they send mermaids like me to hunt them down!” She explains excitedly. “Most escapees die here, but if they get out, well… I get to find them!”

“... And bring them back, huh?” Gus asks, raising an eyebrow her way. The mermaid responds with a giggle.

“Nope! Just their bodies! Mother hates when people run, so I have to rough ‘em up a bit first so they learn their lesson!” A sheepish look forms on the fish girl’s face. “Buuut I’m still pretty lousy at the whole ‘keeping them alive’ thing. It’s a lot of fun, though! Heeeey, you guys should try to escape! Then I could see you again before you return to Mother!”

“That’s alright, but thanks for the offer.” Mitzi shrugs, causing the mermaid to pout. As if on cue, your ride finally reaches what appears to be a docking area crowded with dozens of staff-wielding guards!

“Here we are!” Guppy chirps, gesturing to your welcoming committee! “My sisters will take your baggage and direct you to your rooms! Sorry, but we’ve only got SINGLE SUITES!

“Wait, so you’re splitting us up?” Art asks, shooting an uncertain glance towards Syb.

“Yep!” Guppy grins. “Can’t have all the humans in one cell block--wouldn’t want you all to plan, right?”

“No,” Sybil grumbles, “That wouldn’t be fair at all.”

“See? You get it!” the mermaid laughs! Before you can protest, the guards swarm your platform! Despite all the confusion, you spot ONE of your pals being dragged in the same direction as you:

>ART
>SYB
>MITZI
>TUCKER
>EDDIE
>KIKI
>GUS
>>
>>4985471
>SYB
With her Magic, and our.... Much less predictable magic. We'll have this in the bag. A mermaid might not be able to hold their breath long enough, BUT A FISH CAN! Hold... Their... breath...
>>
>>4985471
>SYB
Let's plan some magic cheese.
>>
>>4985476
>>4985484
>MAKIN' MAGIC!

WRITING!
>>
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“Get your claws off me! I can walk!” A part of you is relieved when you see your Goth pal being marched in the same direction as you, but not everyone’s pleased as punch…

“Are you kidding me?! You’re taking them together!?” Art shouts as he and Mitzi are taken the other way.

“Keep it up, Artie, and I’ll sell you for a cigarette or two.” Mitzi growls. Before anyone else can protest, you and Syb are ushered down a maze of rough-cut hallways and cells carved directly into the cavern walls--the later stuffed with haggard-looking mermaids. Sensing a spectacle, your new jailmates reach through the bars in an attempt to grasp at you, but their attempts are cut short by a few pokes from the guard’s staves!

“OH BOY, PAIN!”
“ZAP ME! ZAP ME!”

Despite the inmate’s requests, the guards don’t stop for anything. As a fork in the corridor approaches, Sybil shoots you a sideways glance.

“Stan, you don’t happen to have my DOLL, do you?”

Shrugging off a guard’s shove, you nod--that creepy one, right? You think you have it around somewh-

“Quit talking!” Commands one of your escorts as she smacks the back of your head with her staff! As you and your pal are taken down separate paths, however, you linger just long enough to see Syb give you a mischievous grin. That should be a good sign, right?

Passing through a series of raised stone gates, you grimace as your path is covered in ankle-deep brackish water! Soaking your shoes, you’re finally directed to what appears to be some kind of office filled with several tall CRYSTALS and walls lined withSTAFF RACKS. You can even see a few LEVERS on a nearby table, but your investigation is cut short by another love tap to the back of your head! Are they TRYING to give you brain problems?!

“Place your belongings in the BASKET, human, and don’t even think of hiding anything!” Commands one of your tour guides as she points her staff towards a nearby receptacle. Sloshing over through ankle-deep water, you send an uncertain glance in the direction of your captors--can you at least keep your CLOTHES?

FINE! Just hurry up!” Snaps a guard as she smacks the ground with her stick a few times! “We’ve got deadlines to keep, human!”

In that case…
>DEPOSIT EVERYTHING IN YOUR INVENTORY!
>DROP EVERYTHING BUT SYB’S DOLL!
>DROP IT ALL EXCEPT FOR YOUR MOP!
>REMOVE EVERYTHING BUT YOUR SNEAKY BOX!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4985532
>DEPOSIT EVERYTHING IN YOUR INVENTORY!
I think I know what Syb's planning.
>>
>>4985532
>DEPOSIT EVERYTHING IN YOUR INVENTORY!
>>
>>4985532
>>DEPOSIT EVERYTHING IN YOUR INVENTORY!
>>
>>4985532
>>DEPOSIT EVERYTHING IN YOUR INVENTORY
>>
>>4985562
>>4985566

Oh crap. 4chan voted twice again.
>>
>>4985538
>>4985543
>>4985562
>DROP IT ALL!

WRITING!

>>4985572
Now you've done it, you freak shit: I've already notified Chan Police: /qst/ Division.
>>
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>>4985590

Too late-- they got me! I'm writing this from my cell right now, and I have not been given bail. Press F to pay a "samefagger" some respeccs.

real scoop: actually was a captcha glitch
>>
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You’ve known Syb for far too long to not suspect something from that smug look she gave you, and her mention of that creepy doll she used to talk and move through connects a few frayed wires inside your head. Ordinarily you’d try to hang on to a thing or two, but you opt to be a ‘Good Girl’ this time around--after all, you’ve got a few tricks up your sleeve even without the mountain of items shuffling around in your pockets!

It takes a few minutes, but with enough time and another bin helpfully provided by one of your guards, you manage to empty your inventory of everything! Finished, you give your captors a ‘ta-da’ gesture as they look on in mixed admiration and horror.

“Erm… Th-that will do, human!” Mutters one of the guards. “This way now--time to get you moved in!”

You look at the bins one last time, focusing for a moment on the ratty-looking doll with purple highlights in its hair. Yes, you muse to yourself, that will do just fine!

“Somethin’ tells me we ain’t stayin’ long.” Ly adds, punctuating his sentence with a menacing chuckle. You allow yourself a wry smirk as well as the guardmaids direct you towards your new abode.

And what an abode it IS! Situated at the end of a few scenic waterlogged corridors past several frightening-looking neighbors, your trip comes to a close in front of a flooded cell barely big enough for a person, much less someone of your importance! Yanking the barred door open, your guards gently coax you in by jabbing your back with their staves! Say what you will about the pain--electric shock is one hell of a motivator!

Splashing into your new home, you frown at the layer of water lapping at your knees as you get settled in--how the heck are you supposed to sleep in here?!

“You AREN’T!” Sneers one of the guards as she slams your door shut! “Don’t worry, human--we’ll be back later for your ’RECREATION’ SESSION!

Leaning against the wall, you direct your scowl at your welcoming committee. What’s that supposed to mean? All you get in response is a series of giggles. “You’ll see! PERIWINKLE, you’ll be collected soon too!”

It takes you a minute to realize they’re talking to the inmate in the adjacent cell. Before you can question your captors any further, they’re already slithering down the hall! Letting out a resigned sigh, you glance around your flooded, barren cell and contemplate your next move--do you even have one?

>TRY TO EMPTY THE WATER!
>CHAT UP THE OTHER PRISONER!
>EXERCISE? YOU’VE GOT TIME!
>TEST THE BARS ON THE DOOR!
>TALK TO LY!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4985656
>TALK TO LY!
Get to scouting Skeleton boy, we have work to do. I wonder what that guard is talking about?
>>
>>4985656
>TALK TO LY!
>>
>>4985667
>>4985672
>TALK TO LY!

Writing!
>>
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First thing’s first: peeking through the bars to make sure the coast is clear, you whisper Ly’s name a few times to get his attention. Is he there!?

“Never left, cupcake.” Your skeleton mutters. “And while we’re on da’ subject, what da’ heck are we gonna do now!?”

What does he think? Snapping your fingers a few times, you motion for him to get searchin’--the sooner you get the lay of the land, the faster you’re out of this hellhole! Ly groans in protest from the safe confines of your flesh.

“You kiddin’ me?! How many times do I gotta’ tell ya’?! There’s some kinda whinin’ out there an’ it hurts!”

Gee, you can totally relate! Speaking of pain, does he know what hurts more than some made-up noise? GETTING EATEN! Ly counters with an angry sigh!

“Cripes, fine! Just don’t get mad when yer’ head explodes like in dat’ one movie!”

If he spent as much effort in doing what you asked as he did complaining, you’d be back on the surface by now! Angrily tapping your foot on the flooded floor of your cell, you snap your fingers a few times to get Ly moving--your shoes are gonna be ruined at this rate!

With an irritated ‘yeah, yeah…’ Ly emerges from your body in his eerily-glowing ASTRAL PROJECTION FORM! Like the diva he is, your skeleton immediately grits his teeth and clutches the side of his skull! Oh boy, you sigh, here we go again…

“Yer’ sympathy is touching.” Ly spits as he glances around the cell. “I’m tellin’ ya, Stan--dis’ place an’ magic don’t go well together! You think it’s dat DEEP MOTHER or somethin’?”

You think that it won’t matter much when she has you for DINNER! Hurry up and scout!

If Ly has more to say, he doesn’t say it. Disappearing into the walls, he leaves you to muck about in your cell for a while before rushing back into your skin! Well?

“I’m fine, thanks fer’ askin’.” Ly reports with only a smidge of sarcasm. “Standard prison setup, Stan--we’ve got plenty of guards, even more inmates, an’ no sign of Syb--guess dat’ was on purpose.”

You frown at that last bit. Does he think they knew who she was? Ly borrows your shoulders to shrug. “Call me paranoid, but dat’ SECURITY STATION’S just outta my reach too--if they do know about our magic tricks, they’re bein’ just da’ right amount a’ subtle about it!”

Not eager to entertain that possibility, you ask Ly if he picked up anything else!

“Well,” he mutters, “It might just be me, but I thought I saw some BONES under da’ water in here… Looked piratey.

Well that’s something. What’s next?

>FIND THE BONES!
>CHAT WITH THE PRISONER!
>TELL LY TO POSSESS SOMEONE!
>TEST THE BARS ON THE DOOR!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4985902
>>TEST THE BARS ON THE DOOR!
>>
>>4985902
>CHAT WITH THE PRISONER!
>>
>>4986067
>>4985902

Changing to this to get things moving.

>>4985471
>Not even a mermaid can hold their breath long enough to escape through here

Remember when we threw that unconscious mermaid back into the water?
>tfw we're cold-blooded killers
>>
>>4986067
>>4986078
>CHAT WITH THE PRISONER!

WRITING!
>>
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>>4986078
Tunes related: https://youtu.be/Ag1o3koTLWM

Before you start messing around with anything else, you might as well get to know the person next to you, right? Giving the wall a few raps with your fist, you ask if anyone’s home!

“Well hi there! Yep, PERIWINKLE’S here!” A cheerful voice to your right reports! “You can just call me ’PERI’, though!”

Peri, huh? You’re Stan!

“Pleased to meetcha’! Kind of!” Peri giggles. “I heard you talking to yourself--do you have an imaginary friend or something?”

You respond with a shrug, then remember that you can’t see each other. Yep, you mutter, you tend to talk to yourself!

“That’s okay! We all do different things to keep sane, right? Especially in here!”

She can say that again… How long has she been in here, anyways? The voice pauses as if it were counting out the time on its fingers. “Hm… A few days now, probably! Easy to lose track! Guess that makes me a veteran prisoner, huh?”

“Considerin’ da’ turnover and da’ punishments, I guess it does.” Ly remarks, earning a nod from you. Yea, she must know a lot!

“I suppose! Hey Stan--you wanna chat with me before I get picked up by the guards?”

Sure, you reply! Do you have time for that?

“They should come back soon, but we can probably talk about THREE things!”

The question is, you mutter to yourself, what do you DISCUSS?

>HAS SHE SEEN SKELETONS AROUND HERE?
>ANY ESCAPE PLANS?
>WHAT’S SHE IN FOR, ANYWAYS?
>WHAT THIS ‘RECREATION’ THING?
>HOW HAS SHE NOT BEEN PUNISHED YET?
>WHAT DOES SHE KNOW ABOUT THE DEEP MOTHER?
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4986218
>WHAT THIS ‘RECREATION’ THING?
>>
>>4986218
>>WHAT’S SHE IN FOR, ANYWAYS?
>>WHAT THIS ‘RECREATION’ THING?
>ANY ESCAPE PLANS?

"Hypothetical" escape plans.
>>
>>4986224
>>4986240
>RECREATION, ESCAPE, AND WHAT SHE'S IN FOR!

Writing! This might be the last update of the evening, but we'll see!
>>
Something about that ’Recreation’ talk rubbed you the wrong way, so you start with that: what exactly does that entail? Even though you can’t see her face, you can practically taste the excitement in PERI’S voice!

“Oh, you’re gonna LOVE it! It’s really how everyone blows off steam down here--prisoners, guards, everyone!

Sounds magical, you remark, but what the hell is it? If they think they can make you do CHIN-UPS then they can think again!

“It’s even better than that!” Peri gushes! “First they take you out of your cell, right? Then they take you to to THE YARD! It sounds like it’s outside, but it isn’t--it’s just a big area for prisoners to run around in!”

You knew there’d be running involved. DAMN IT!

“Oh yea, there’s some running!” Explains the mermaid! “They give you a few seconds as a head start, then the guards all gang up and start zapping you! If you’re lucky they do it until you pass out!”

You know she can’t see you, but you blink anyways. Come again?

“Yep--it’s a blast! You can even attack some of the other inmates too, if you’re lucky--I stole a stick off of a guard once… Let’s just say they won’t be poking me again anytime soon! Or anyone, for that matter!”

“Oh good, dis’ one is kooky too.” Ly remarks. Ignoring him, you ask your new friend how often this happens.

“Oh, hard to tell when there’s no clocks! Lots, from what I’ve seen--apparently it makes Mother’s food more tender!”

You slump a little lower down the wall of your cell. Sounds great.

“Words don’t do it any justice, trust me!” The mermaid says with a laugh! “Just don’t get ganged-up on--don’t wanna pass out too early!”

Yep, you sigh, you wouldn’t want that…

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4986462
Now that you think about it, you’d rather not deal with that at all! That said, if you could somehow use this RECREATION TIME to your advantage…

“Say, you talkin’ to yourself again, Stan?” PERI asks. Quickly changing the subject, you ask the fish girl if, hypothermically-speaking, she had ever considered escaping.

“You’ll get it some day, cupcake.” Ly mutters.

Escape?PERI asks in a tone way too loud for quiet conversation, “Of course! They’re gonna feed me to Mother eventually, but I have sooo many important things to do before that! Hey--maybe you can help me!”

Focus, fishy--if she was gonna escape, how would she do it?

“Well the tunnels back to the PALACE are a no-go, trust me!” She explains. “They were designed for tricky folks, y’see--escapees think they can leave through the MAINTENANCE TUNNELS and such, but that’s how they get ya!”

“Dat’ is our usual M.O, Stan.” Ly adds, earning a nod from you as well. Is she seriously saying that the vents aren’t the best option?! It’s always worked for you!

“They’re too long, Stan! I’ve talked about it with other inmates before--if you don’t drown, you’ll cook--the water in there is way too hot!”

So the subtle routes are a no-go, gotcha. What’s the best way out, then?

“If it were me, I’d just start a RIOT and head out the front!” Explains your fellow inmate. “The entrance is submerged, but if you can swim back to the rest of FLOTSAM…

And what if you can’t swim that far? You growl!

“Well it’s easy for a mermaid! No idea how a human would do it!” PERI muses! “Maybe you could find a BUBBLE or something! There’s a DEPOT near the entrance that guards use!”

A grin creeps across your face. When she puts it like that, it sounds pretty easy!

“Well I guess there’s also the SECURITY GATES, DEAD ENDS, AND FLOOD CONTROLS... Aside from those and the angry guards, yea--it’s pretty simple!”

An uncomfortable silence forms between you two as you mull the idea over in your head. A riot, huh?

“Hey, I just had an idea--if you plan on breaking out, would you mind freeing me too?”

That depends!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4986465
You’re not 100% certain, but you’re pretty sure it’s considered impolite to not ask an inmate what they’re in for! In the interest of politeness, you extend the question to your neighbor! What’s she in here for anyways--Mom Food?

“Hahaha, close! You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, though!”

You respond with a friendly chuckle--guess you won’t know until she tells you, then!

“Well okay!” PERI relents. “I actually used to be one of Mother’s guards, if you can believe it! My job was to make sure her food didn’t run away!”

You nod--kinda like your old pal GUPPY, then.

“Sure! Anyways, I was bringing someone to the palace one day when out of the blue came an idea!”

You press your face closer to the dividing wall. Idea?

“Mhm! There I was escorting a mermaid to Mother knowing full well that maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day I’D be eaten too! That’s just how it is down here when Mother doesn’t have anything else to snack on!”

Kinda morbid, you grunt, but you kinda get it. So what happened?

“Well it got me thinkin’: Mother’s strong, beautiful, and smart, right?” The mermaid asks in earnest.

You’ll uh… You’ll take her word for it.

“It just doesn’t sound fair, does it? I wanted to be strong, beautiful, and smart too! So I did the only logical thing!”

A tiny, panicked voice in your head tells you not to ask, but you do it anyway: what ‘logical thing’ was that?

“Why, I ate my captive, of course!” PERI explains as if she was telling you 1 plus 1 equals 2! “Skin, organs, bones--all of it! It was weird at first, but once she stopped moving it was actually kinda tasty!”

The mermaid takes you stunned silence as an excuse to continue.

“I felt really strong after that! And why shouldn’t I? I had just proved that I was better than her, after all, and I did it all on my own! Why should Mother get all the meat when I’M the one doing all the work?”

You uh… That’s erm-

“I felt even better the next few times! Sometimes the meat fought back! Sometimes the meat told me how good the pain felt! One time some meat even stuck a claw in my eye--it felt like my whole body was being tickled by bubbles! I could finally see why Mother liked eating so much!”

PERI pauses to laugh at some joke you’re clearly not getting, then continues in a whimsical tone. “Eventually some guards told me I was doing something bad, so I ate them too. Long story short, Stan, here I am!”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4986468
If that’s the case, you stammer, why the heck is she still alive? You can’t see it, but you’re pretty sure the mermaid shrugs.

“Maybe I am becoming like Mother and the sea is on my side now! Or maybe they think feeding me to Mother would end my suffering too quickly! Anyways, that’s why I need to escape, Stan--I still have more meat to find if I’m going to become like Mother!”

The prisoner pauses to sniff the muggy air a few times. “Say… You’re a human, right, Stan?”

You uh… You’re not sure where she got that impression fro-

“Yep! I can smell it! I’ve got your SCENT now! Maybe I’ve been doing things wrong, huh?”

Another uncomfortable pause worms its way into the conversation.

“Maybe…” PERI thinks out loud, “Maybe I just need to eat some humans! What do you think?”

You don’t bother responding--something tells you this conversation has run its course. As if on cue, a group of five guards arrives from down the hallway approaching your new pal’s cell.

PERI! time for your RECREATION!” One shouts while the others train their staves on the door next to yours. “Say goodbye to your new friend, okay?”

“You bet~!” PERI giggles! A few noisy clangs later, a mermaid rippling with muscles and scars emerges bigger than the guard you met at the casino! Peering down at you with her one remaining eye, your new pal gives you a mischievous wink!

“Goodbye, Stan--I’ll come find you later, okay? Maybe during RECREATION!

As she’s ushered down the hall, you take a few moments to collect yourself before pondering your next move.

Why can’t you ever meet normal people?

>FIND THE BONES IN YOUR CELL!
>TELL LY TO POSSESS SOMEONE!
>TEST THE BARS ON THE DOOR!
>WAIT FOR RECREATION TIME!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
Aaaaand that's all for this evening! I'll check back in TUESDAY around 11-12PM PST! Thanks as always for playing along and hope to see you again next time! Otherwise I wish you a good beginning to your week!
>>
>>4986471
>>
>>4986471
>FIND THE BONES IN YOUR CELL!
>>
>>4986471
>>4986492
>>FIND THE BONES IN YOUR CELL!

Meant to vote this
>>
>>4986471
>FIND THE BONES IN YOUR CELL!
>>
>>4986552
>>4986560
>>4986640
>THE BOOOOONESSS

We're startin' a tad earlier today! Writing!
>>
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Taking Ly’s advice, you begin the unenviable task of rooting around in the tepid water lapping at your knees. It’s not the worst mess you’ve had to deal with before, but it’s definitely up there on the FUNKY SCALE! BLEEEH!

“Pretty sure they were near dat’ corner over there.” Ly suggests, causing you to shift your investigation a bit. After a few false alarms where you grabbed your own feet, your gloved hands finally clasp the unmistakable stiff surface of a skull! Delighted, you pull your prize out of the water only to have it LEAP AT YOUR FACE! Stumbling backwards into the muck, you avoid the skull’s gnashing teeth as it tumbles back into the water! Undeterred, the skeleton piece continues its onslaught and chomps towards you like a vicious clam, its mouth bubbling with words you can’t quite make out!

Snatching it up once more, you get a better look at your assailant, or at least what’s left of him! With one eye socket covered by a worn leather patch, a handful of gold teeth, and a roguishly-waxed mustache, there’s no doubt in your mind that this guy was a PIRATE!

EES a pirate, you overgrown ‘amster! Let eet’ be known zat you died at zee ‘ands of ANDRE ZE’ BUTCHER!

Keeping the head at bay, you give your cellmate a frown--great, another German!

“Err, wasn’t dat’ Marquis guy’s brother named Andre?” Ly asks, sending a few gears spinning in your head. “M-maybe we oughta mention that?”

Maybe, you grumble, but this guy’s gotta cool down first! The question is, how do you make that happen?

>TELL HIM HIS BROTHER SENT YOU!
>DUNK HIM IN THE WATER A FEW MORE TIMES!
>INTIMIDATE HIM BY TELLING HIM WHO YOU ARE!
>ASK HIM WHAT HIS DEAL IS!
>TELL HIM TO COOL IT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4987054
>TELL HIM HIS BROTHER SENT YOU!
>>
>>4987054
>TELL HIM HIS BROTHER SENT YOU!
>>
>>4987054
>>TELL HIM HIS BROTHER SENT YOU!
>>
>>4987056
>>4987057
>>4987089
>MENTION THE BRO!

Not sure what I expected... Writing!
>>
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As satisfying as it would be to dunk this kooky corsair a few times, Ly’s well-timed remainder saves your new pal from taking a drink or two! Keeping the skull as far away as your noodly arms can take him, you politely inform your cellmate that you were sent by his BROTHER-- pretty sure his name was MARKIE or something! Hearing what you hope are the right words, the pirate stops thrashing in your grasp for a moment to scowl at you!

“My brother? ‘Ow in blazes do you know I ‘ave a BROTHER?!

You don’t have time to share a link to the last thread, so instead you inform Andre that you met his brother at the COLLEGE when he tried to kill you in a contrived SEA MUTANT battle!

“Yes… Yes, zat DOES sound like Jean…” The skull muses to himself. “... I suppose zat’ means you killed him, non?”

He’s not gonna believe it, but non--you spared the guy! Took a lot of willpower too--say, if you could do that, maybe you could start going to the gym! Hearing the good news, Andre responds by trying once more to bite off your fingers! Wait, WHA?!

“‘ELL’S BELLS! I ‘ATE MY BROTHER!”

You frown--no, you’re pretty sure he didn’t. That would have made your conversation much harder-

“‘Zat slimy dog sends you to kill me and doesn’t ‘ave ze decency to die ‘imself!?! ‘Zat is so classic ’IM!

You shrug. You wouldn’t know--you and your brother got along pretty well before he cut all contact with you!

Damn it, now you’re getting sad again!

“Eef ‘e really did send you,” Andre continues in a more measured tone, “‘Ow can you prove ‘eet?”

Well you had an extremely convenient LETTER WRITTEN ON A MENU, but that’s currently sitting in a basket at one of the SECURITY CHECKPOINTS, so he’s just gonna have to trust you on this one! Searching your face for any hint of a lie, the skull lets out a resigned sigh.

“So be eet… I over’eard your conversation wit’ zee lunateec next door--you wish to escape, no?”

You nod--you’re not sure you’re up for some sort of Gaol Quest...

“Zen’ for zee moment we are mates.” The pirate states. “Tell me--what’s zee plan?”

Hold on for a moment, buddy--you’ll ask the questions around here! What’s the first step?

>SCREW QUESTIONS FOR NOW--LET’S DISCUSS AN ESCAPE!
>TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR BROTHER!
>WHAT ABOUT THAT PEARL HE WAS LOOKING FOR?
>WHAT CAN HE TELL YOU ABOUT MENDOZA?
>ARE THERE ANY OTHER SKELETONS DOWN HERE?
>HOW DID THEY GET IN HERE ANYWAYS?
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4987119
>SCREW QUESTIONS FOR NOW--LET’S DISCUSS AN ESCAPE!
>>WHAT ABOUT THAT PEARL HE WAS LOOKING FOR?
>>
>>4987137
>PEARL AND ESCAPE PLANS!

Writing!
>>
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Before you start talking about leaving, you need some more info on why you came here in the first place! Sensing your intent, a smug grin forms on the skeleton’s face!

“Ahh… The PEARL, non? Ze Captain’s ace in ze’ ‘ole…”

Sure, you huff as you lean against the wall, that. You know it’s supposed to cure stuff, but why does his boss need it?

“‘Boss!’ PAH!” Andre spits! “Ze Captain ‘as lost all ‘is flame ever since you’ve eliminated ze others! Now he hides on ‘is new vessel an’ marches us around like toy soldiers!”

Yea, sounds like a really raw deal… But why give up being all bony? Sounds like an improvement to you, sorta!

“Aye, it ‘as eet’s uses…” The pirate agrees, clacking his gold teeth together. “Rumor ‘as eet zat ee’s afraid of being controlled and wants to be free… But ‘ow does ee know ze pearl won’t just cure ‘im into dust?! ‘Tis a fool’s errand, eet be, and we’re zee fools doing eet!”

“Cliff said somethin’ about dat’, didn’t he?” Ly muses in a concerned tone. “About still fightin’ da’ urge ta’ hunt down humans…”

You nod. In a roundabout way Mendoza’s actions kinda make sense…

“To ‘ell wit ees actions! All I know ees zat ee won’t let me back on zee ship without zat’ pearl, so ‘ere we are trapped like RATS!”

Frowning, you ask the skull if he has any bright ideas on how to get it, earning a smug, shiny grin from the pirate!

“Let’s just say eet’s all in good ‘ands! Eet doesn’t matter if I’m stuck ‘ere, though…”

You raise an intrigued eyebrow his way. So he’s got a plan.

“For ze pearl? Aye.” The skull nods. “For getting back to the ship? Aye. For getting out of zis’ rat’s nest? Not as such...”

Well, you groan, it’s better than nothing…

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4987268
In that case, you redirect, let’s talk ESCAPES! You don’t wanna be here any more than he does!

“On zat we can agree… An’ our grand escape will be much easier wit’ more mates…” Andre thinks out loud. “I over’eard your chat wit’ zee other prisoner--if we be incitin’ a riot, I ‘ave a few mates ‘iding around zee jail… Zey’ll be ‘appy to raise ‘ell at a chance for freedom!”

Good to know, but you don’t want your pals getting killed in the crossfire either--what about a more subtle approach?

“Aye, eet could work!” Nods your new pal. “Zee water makes eet a mite ‘ard to sneak, but eet’ might be easier ‘zen fighting zee guards… Eef eet ‘elps, zee door bars are none too strong!”

You could also wait and see if Talbot or Syb try anything… Then again, they might be waiting for your move!

“Eef it gets me out, ami, I’ll do whatever you say!” The skeleton explains. “My mates an’ I will reassemble when zee powder ‘its zee flame!”

Time to get creative, then. The question is, what’s the best method here?
>SLICE YOUR CELL OPEN WITH BONE CLAWS!
>HAVE LY POSSESS A NEARBY GUARD!
>WAIT FOR RECREATION AND MOVE FROM THERE!
>GET A GUARD’S ATTENTION AND TRICK ‘EM SOMEHOW!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4987270
>WAIT FOR RECREATION AND MOVE FROM THERE!
I think Syb has her plan, what we gotta do is think about the best way to start a riot in mermaid prison. These people think being eaten by the Deep Mother is a privilege, so we gotta aim for a different angle than just pure freedom I think.
>>
>>4987270

>WAIT FOR RECREATION AND MOVE FROM THERE!
>>
>>4987272
>>4987295
>WAIT FOR REC!

Writing!
>>
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No matter how you slice it, you think you’ll have the best shot once the guards come to fetch you for that RECREATION TIME your neighbor was talking about! When you add up rampant violence, plenty of weapons, and a whole gaggle of other people in your head, you get a happy face--THAT’S gonna be where you’ll make your move!

“Aye, ‘tis good a time as any!” Andre agrees, voice dripping with anticipation! “Me an’ zee mateys will wait for your signal--eef there’s nothing else, drop me into zee water again!”

You give the skull a stern look as you lower him closer to the floor--he’d better not screw you on this!

“Wouldn’t dream of eet, mon ami!” Your cellmate reassures you! “Just be sure to show zees scaly-scallywags no quarter!”

Speaking of, you hear a few of them approaching just as you unceremoniously dunk Andre back into the water! Adopting a casual pose, you give the guards an innocent grin as they approach your cell!

“Stanley, right?” One of them asks, to which you nod politely. “Good news--it’s time for some EXERCISE!

The rest of the guards train their staves on you while one of them fiddles with the door mechanism. Standing your ground, you can’t help but ask where your neighbor went--did she bite the big one?

“Not yet!” Replies one of the guards! “That urchin brain ate another guard, so we’re keeping her in the yard to tire her out a bit! Maybe you can talk some sense into her!”

You doubt it, but it doesn’t sound like you have much choice… As the door to your cell swings open, the guards motion for you to step out into the hallway. Sloshing through the water, you’re politely shoved down the hall towards what you assume to be the YARD they keep talking about. Passing by the SECURITY BOOTH you emptied your inventory into earlier, you’re almost certain you see the SYB DOLL wink at you!

“Guess she’s ready when we are, huh?” Ly asks as you’re ushered forward. “What’s da’ plan?”

>SAME PLAN--HEAD TO THE YARD!
>A SECURITY BOOTH IS RIGHT HERE--MAKE A MOVE NOW!
>PRETEND TO BE SICK! GIVE SYB AN OPENING!
>ASK IF YOU CAN QUICKLY GRAB A DOLL!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4987339
>>SAME PLAN--HEAD TO THE YARD!

If we try any fuckery now, we're screwed. We can come back for our arsenal later (I hope).
>>
>>4987375
>TO THE YARD!

Guess we're following the plan! Writing!
>>
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You’re eager to get back to your lost stuff, especially ALLY THE ALLIGATOR AND CO, but there’s no use in poking the hornet’s nest just yet--you’ll have to wait for them to make the honey first!

“... Did you… Is that a human joke?” Asks one of the guards behind you. When you reply with a quick nod, she gives you a zap from her STORM STAFF for good measure! “No joking, human! Keep movin’!”

The shock didn’t knock you out, but damn if it didn’t HURT! Your eyes are still twitching by the time you’re herded in between two large portcullis’--the one ahead of you closed, the one behind you open! So, you muse aloud, this is the entrance to the YARD, ey?

“You betcha!” Replies one of the guards with pride! “This is where you’ll get all that excess energy out! Think of it like recess!”

With that, the gate behind you slams shut! Drawn by the noise, you can already hear the excited chattering of other inmates from the tunnel up ahead! Giving your captors an uncertain look, you ask them what the rules are for this ‘playtime’ of yours.

“You’ll find out!” The guards giggle, giving each other knowing glances! Cracking your knuckles, you give them all a shrug--fine by you!

“One more thing: we’ll give you a TEN SECOND HEAD START!” Explains the guard closest to you. “Don’t dawdle!”

With that, the gate separating you from the YARD rises into the ceiling with a series of creaks and groans! Even worse, the sound of approaching inmates grows even louder!

“Here’s a bet: you think they’re gonna RUSH us or AMBUSH us?” Ly asks. Trotting down the tunnel like you own the damn place, you blink your LASER EYE a few times as you confidently answer C: NONE OF THE ABOVE!

Leaving the guards behind you, a long, winding tunnel eventually deposits you into a massive, circular room caked with old spatters of scrapes, scorch marks, and copper-colored stains! Surrounding the play area is a network of massive pipes, many of which deposit brackish water into the deep moat running the perimeter of the yard! Similar to the one you entered from, several more entrances sit at the corners of the room, each leading into shadowy passages!

“Great...” Ly mutters under his breath, “They’re definitely gonna ambush us.”

And if PERI’S intel is correct, the guards will be coming after you soon, too! That means time is not on your side! You’ve got a plan to put in motion, but what’s the first step?

>CALL OUT SOME INMATES! START A FIGHT!
>ATTEMPT TO GET SOME INMATES ON YOUR SIDE!
>TRY TO FIND SOME HUMANS!
>HIDE! TURN THIS AMBUSH AROUND!
>LOOK FOR ESCAPE ROUTES!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4987519
>>TRY TO FIND SOME HUMANS!
>>HIDE! TURN THIS AMBUSH AROUND!
>>
>>4987527
>FIND YOUR HUMANS!
>BUT DO IT STEALTHILY, I GUESS?

Let's ROLL 1d100+5 to see how successful you are in tracking people down! I'll take the BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 63 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4987594
>>
Rolled 83 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4987594
>>
>>4987618
>>4987635
Feel free to roll again for this third one!
>>
Rolled 57 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4987697
>>
>>4987618
>>4987635
>>4987704
>HIGHEST ROLL: 88

That'll do 'er! Writing!
>>
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You begin by climbing up the wall into a shadowy niche situated by a few pipes--it’s not much of a hiding place, but at least it isn’t at ground level! Perch secured, you take a moment to crane your ears around the yard for any sign of life!

“If dose’ other tunnels are like ours, den’ there’s not a lotta’ places ta’ hide…” Ly remarks. He’s right--if the rest of the gang was coming in, they’d be sitting ducks right now. The guards would have to be total MORONS to put all the humans together, tho-

AAAAAAAUUUUGH!

Your train of thought is expertly derailed by Art’s form shooting from the tunnel across from you like a bullet! Landing in a heap in the center of the YARD, he’s quickly joined by Eddie, Mitz, and even GUS! Tucker and Kiki scamper after them followed closely by a pack of MERMAIDS! Staggering to his feet, Art rubs the dirt from his face and glares in the pack’s direction.

“Let… Let her go, freak!

Bringing up the rear is an old acquaintance of yours--a towering mountain of sinew and scales with a spiked nautilus shell obscuring her one remaining eye wielding a STORM STICK! Your neighbor’s sudden reappearance isn’t what gets your attention, though--dangling from her other claw by a tall, buckled boot is a familiar, albeit unconscious Goth! Though she looks comatose, you can just barely make out a faint blue glow around her head!

“You guys don’t get it!” Periwinkle begins, shaking Syb around like a chew toy! “I just need to eat a teensy bit more before I can be like Mother!”

The pack of mermaids keep their distance from their bulky inmate, but you don’t have to be a FISHOLOGIST to see that they’re thinking something similar!

“That’s not how it works!” Tucker fires back as he and Kiki help the others back to their feet! “You’re making a mistake!”

DING DING DING~! The human’s right!”

As if the situation wasn’t tense enough, about ten MERMAID GUARDS emerge from the entrance below you, each one brandishing a sparking STORM STICK! and wearing heavy chitinous armor! The lead guard spins her staff as she and Periwinkle exchange toothy grins!

“Mother’s getting tired of you, Peri, and the humans belong to US! Put her down now or you’ll wish you could be eaten!”

Your neighbor leans in closer to Syb’s unconscious body and shakes it around like a cat! “Nope, can’t fool me! I know power when I smell it--she’s no Stan, but this human will definitely taste good!”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4987832
As the groups watch each other with growing unease, your pals form a perimeter in the center of the yard, each raising their dukes for a fight!

“If ANYONE takes so much as a nibble... They can consider that their last meal!” Art growls!

“Stan… LOOK!

Just when you feel like the tension can’t get any higher, Ly points your head in the direction of the moat. A handful of bony hands and skulls emerge from the fetid water, the former grasping blades, staves, and hooks!

A grin slowly forms on your face--circumstances aside, you couldn’t have asked for a better setup! They haven't noticed you yet, so what’s the plan?

>LIGHT PERI UP FROM AFAR!
>SCATTER THE INMATES WITH A LASER!
>BLAST THE GUARDS!
>HAVE LY POSSESS SOMEONE!
>MAKE AN ENTRANCE--YOU’VE GOT A FEW THINGS TO SAY!
>WAIT A LITTLE LONGER--LET THINGS PLAY OUT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
That's all for this evening, folks--back to the ole' 6-7PM PST SCHEDULE ON WEDNESDAY! Hope to see you then!
>>
>>4987834
>MAKE AN ENTRANCE--YOU’VE GOT A FEW THINGS TO SAY!
If she wants to play King of the Ring, then we got hands to throw. Let's ratchet up the drama
>>
>>4987834
>>MAKE AN ENTRANCE--YOU’VE GOT A FEW THINGS TO SAY!

Supporting this guy >>4987871
>>
>>4987834
>CUT OFF PERI'S HAND WITH A LASER!
>>
>>4987834
>MAKE AN ENTRANCE--YOU’VE GOT A FEW THINGS TO SAY!
>>
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>>4987871
>>4987878
>>4987983
>MAKE AN ENTRANCE!

>>4987915
>LASER SURGERY!

Looks like Stan's making herself KNOWN! The question is, HOW?! I've got TWO CHOICES for you guys:

>LEAP DOWN AND ADDRESS EVERYONE!
>SHOUT FROM ABOVE!
>CREEP UP FROM BEHIND NICE AND DRAMATICALLY!
>WRITE-IN!

AND we're gonna have to come up with something to say while we're at it too:

>TELL EVERYONE TO LEAVE YOUR PALS ALONE!
>ORDER THE GUARDS TO TAKE A HIKE!
>CALL PERIWINKLE OUT!
>TRY TO GET THE INMATES ON YOUR SIDE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4988945
>LEAP DOWN AND ADDRESS EVERYONE!
>CALL PERIWINKLE OUT!
We've got some tricks up our sleeves, more tricks than a passed out goth witch can pull at least.
>>
>>4988955
>LEAP DOWN AND CALL PERIWINKLE OUT!

Writing!
>>
>>4988955

+1
>>
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You think this pot’s boiled long enough! Leaving your hiding place with a MIGHTY BONEUS-FUELED LEAP, you toss a front flip in for free before landing deftly on the ground level! Before anyone can react, you quickly let loose with a snappy one-liner:

This uh…. This party’s of-FISH-ally over!

When neither the crowd nor your pals bother to clap, you take a few seconds to adopt a more heroic pose--there, that oughta do it!

“Hey, Stan.”

Not the most enthusiastic greeting you’ve ever received, but at least Gus is trying! Adjusting your hat to a more roguish angle, you take a few steps towards the gruff-looking mermaid holding Syb and jab a finger in her direction! That’s YOUR Goth, damn it! Go find your own!

STAN!” Periwinkle exclaims, eye widening in excitement! “I was hoping you’d come to the YARD!

She said she was hungry earlier, so you thought you’d serve her a few KNUCKLE SANDWICHES! On the HOUSE! Genuinely confused by your taunt, the mermaids nod in comprehension when you smack your fists together a few times! Licking her gore-speckled teeth, Periwinkle drops Syb’s comatose form to the ground like an empty soda can!

“Ooh, you’re the type of meat that likes to fight back, huh?” She giggles, slithering towards you while Art and Gus rush to collect Syb. “Great! I was getting tired of the same old food anyways!”

Guards, inmates, and your pals come together in beautiful camaraderie to form a circle around you and your neighbor!

“Fry ‘er up, Stan!” Art shouts!
“Yea! Show ‘em what humans can do!” Eddie adds while Kiki claps perched on his shoulders! As the mermaids crowd in closer, Mitzi pushes through with her PHONE in hand ready to take a vid!

Amidst the growing jeers from your audience, your opponent takes the opportunity to jab herself in the side a few times with her STORM STICK before twirling it in your direction! “I never tried human meat before!” She giggles, still jittering from the electric shock! “Whatever happens, I’ll cherish this memory forever!”

Spotting Andre’s SKELETON PALS lying low by the moat, you turn your attention back to your opponent.

“Watch out for dose’ guards, cupcake--” Ly warns, “Somethin’ tells me they’re just waitin’ ta’ pick up da’ scraps!”

In that case, you chuckle, you’ll just have to make this even more entertaining! A riot ain’t gonna start itself, after all!

Speaking of starts, now’s your chance to get the first move in! How do you kick things off?
>CUT TO THE CHASE: BONE CLAWS!
>FOLLOW ART’S ADVICE: BLAST HER WITH A LASER!
>BAIT PERI INTO ATTACKING YOU--MAYBE YOU CAN TRIP HER UP!
>FIRST THING’S FIRST--DISARM THIS PSYCHO!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
Gonna call it here for tonight--got a meeting early tomorrow. Might not be able to write another update until FRIDAY AROUND 6-7 because I'll be away from my main computer, but we'll see what happens. Thanks for your patience and hope to see you next time!
>>
>>4989098
>BAIT PERI INTO ATTACKING YOU--MAYBE YOU CAN TRIP HER UP!
From this, into a disarm. Then we Discombobulate. the laser we keep as a more hidden weapon
>>
>>4989098
>>BAIT PERI INTO ATTACKING YOU--MAYBE YOU CAN TRIP HER UP!
>>
>>4989124
This, best offense is a good defense
>>
>>4989098
>CUT TO THE CHASE: BONE CLAWS!
You can't trip up a fish tail you dolts.
>>
>>4989221

If this bitch is really top heavy and she's slithering around on her presumably-thinner tail, she'd probably be very easy to knock down if the water's not that deep. Unless, of course, that tail's a freaking tree-trunk like the rest of everything on her person.

Which brings me to my next change of topic...

>>4989098

How the hell have these mermaids been slithering around their half-land abodes without getting serious rub-wounds on their tails?

...wait.

...They like pain.

Crap.

Anyways, this is Bones Quest. We're not allowed to die, and, if those extra lives we get don't kick in, we'll switch to Boris-- the true Chad of the game!
>>
>>4989227
>switch to Boris
That's a loss condition if I've ever seen one.
>>
>>4989098
>FIRST THING’S FIRST--DISARM THIS PSYCHO!
>>
>>4989221
Can't make an update right now, but just to clarify I meant more along the lines of her bungling an attack--kinda like baiting a bull. Hope that makes more sense!

>>4989227
Boris: The True Protagonist
>>
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>>4989117
>>4989124
>TRIP HER UP AND MAKE HER FUMBLE!

>>4989221
>MAKE SUSHI!

>>4989295
>DISARM!

Hey all--not on my main computer tonight, so the best I can do is ask for some ROLLS! Going out of town this weekend too, but I'll get some actual writing in around 6-7PM PST on FRIDAY!

In the meantime, ROLL ME 1d100+5 TO MAKE PERIWINKLE STUMBLE! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!

One more thing: please WRITE IN how you plan on making her stumble too! I'll have to IMPROVISE if you don't! OOooOoOOH! SPOOKY!

>>4989227
Just realized that I've never drawn a full mermaid for you guys, so here's a quick sketch for reference. Their tails are somewhat thinner for less drag in the water, but Peri is also beefy as hell, so yea.

Thanks for your patience!
>>
Rolled 62 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4990617

>"Look over there! It's Mother!"

Distract not one but ALL the mermaids...
>>
Rolled 69 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4990617
>>
Rolled 93 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4990617
>>
>>4990629
>>4990640
>>4990655
>HIGHEST ROLL: 98!
Gonna post a quick update from my phone--get ready!
>>
Seeing you remain still, Periwinkle takes the opportunity to coil up and leap towards you like a toned, scaly JAVELIN! While the rest of the spectators hoot and holler at the promise of impending blood, your fans watch with silent excitement knowing all too well what you're capable of by now. As your opponent sails towards you with her mouth open and several rows of serrated teeth bared, you swiftly pivot to your right and jab a finger towards the corner of the yard! Holy COW--it's THE DEEP MOTHER!

Every fish girl takes the bait hook, line, and sinker! Turning in unison, they frantically scan the direction you pointed in for signs of Mommy!

"MOTHER?! TAKE ME!"
"NO, TAKE ME FIRST!"
"I'M DONE BEING A GUARD--TAKE ME!"

Even your assailant cranes her neck mid-leap to get a look, conveniently giving you the chance to reposition yourself out of her killzone!

"Mother!? Watch--I'm gonna be just like yo-"

Interrupting with a trio of BONE CLAWS to the hand grasping her STORM STICK, you're rewarded with a splash of steamy blood across your face and the clatter of a falling staff amidst a few severed talons! Sensing something amiss, Periwinkle investigates your handiwork and licks her lips excitedly!

"Wow, Stan, you're giving me Goosebump-"

Your neighbor is cut off once more as she crashes into the guards assembled behind you, scattering them and their weapons all over the yard! As they frantically squirm to regain their foot-er... TAILING, your gang springs into action and shoves their way over to the new armaments!

"HEY, THOSE HUMANS HAVE WEAPONS!" Shouts one of the inmates excitedly! "I WANT A WEAPON!"
"ME TOO!" Pouts another one! "I WANNA EAT TOO!"

And just like that, the situation spills over like a bowl of chowder left too close to the edge of the counter! Tearing the guards off of her, Periwinkle looks your way with a menacing giggle before snatching up an unlucky inmate! While she advances on you with her newfound FISH-FLAIL, your pals form a wall around Syb's twitching body in an attempt to drive off the bloodthirsty inmates!

"AAAAR!" Shouts a guttural voice from behind you, "SHOW THEM FISH NO QUARTERRRRR!!!"

"Uh, Stan?" Ly mutters as you watch a horde of bloodthirsty skeletons emerge from the moat, "Da' PIRATES are here..."

>CONTD.
>>
>>4991183
"HEAD'S UP!" Before you can react, Eddie, Tucker, and Kiki each toss a STORM STICK at the approaching skeletons, skewering their targets through their ribs! Vaulting over a nearby inmate and letting her take the FISH-FLAIL strike meant for you, you hastily update your gang on the current allegiances--those pirates are on YOUR SIDE!

"Wait, wha?" Art asks, looking at you as if you just turned purple.

"'Tis true for ze time being!" As if on cue, Andre shows up and pats you on the back with a hand clutching a nasty-looking cutlass! Wait, where's his other hand?

"Everyzeeng eez in good 'ands!" The skeleton repeats with a twinkle in his eye socket! Sinking his blade into a nearby guard, the buccaneer wades into the fray with a roaring laugh leaving you to fend for yourself against your original opponent!

"Staaaaaan~" Periwinkle laughs, claw still bleeding from your handiwork, "Come on, don't keep running away!"

She's right--more guards are probably already closing in, but your new pal doesn't seem like the type to do 'rainchecks'. How do you deal with her?

>DISARM HER NEW WEAPON!
>TRY TO SEND HER INTO THE OTHERS AGAIN!
>JUST CHOP HER HEAD-ON! BONE CLAWS!
>TIME TO FRY! LASER TIME!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4991188
>DISARM HER NEW WEAPON!
I think it might be a good idea to dis-'arm' her at this point
>>
>>4991188
>TRY TO SEND HER INTO THE OTHERS AGAIN!
>>
>>4991183
>>DISARM HER NEW WEAPON!
>>
>>4991193
>>4991234
>DISARM!

>>4991196
>MORE JUKING!

Back on the main rig! ROLL ME 1d100+5 TO DIS'ARM' THIS FREAKY FISH! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 80 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4991599
>>
Rolled 65 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4991599
>>
Waiting on one last roll--feel free to roll again!
>>
Rolled 21 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4991599
>>
>>4991603
>>4991620
>>4991665
>HIGHEST ROLL: 85!
Writing the last update of the night!
>>
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You opt to not take chances. These strong, violent types have a nasty habit of coming back to bite you in the ass later--Nico taught you that lesson not too long ago! In the interest of cutting both Peri and your fight short, you scamper and tumble forward through a gauntlet of pouncing mermaids before leaping towards the arm currently swinging another mermaid like a pool noodle!

The guard-turned-weapon gives you an amicable wave as you sail past her towards your assailant, and while your neighbor splatters her new weapon against the floor, you take the opportunity to sink your claws into her arm!

“Ooh, that was a good one~!”

Sensing your intent, the mermaid flexes her mighty biceps and stops your claws more or less dead in their tracks! As you struggle to pull free, the mermaid pins your other arm at your side with her bloody, yet still functional other claw and lunges maw agape for your head! Oh man--you’re not ready for a haircut yet!

Just when you’re about to warm up your LASER EYE, a red and white blur charges the beast’s side and knocks the wind out of her! As you wrench free from the beast’s grasp, you turn and give Gus an appreciative nod--now that’s what you call a SPECIAL DELIVERY!

The delivery man shoots you his signature ‘quarter of a grin’ before being launched across the yard by a well-placed strike from Periwinkle’s tail!

“Okay, where were we?”

Well, you growl, you were just at the part where you finished doing THIS! Pressing your BONE CLAWS deeper into the mermaid’s arm, you fight against protesting muscle and sinew and manage to carve deep into the limb’s connective tissue! Showered with a new coat of fish blood, you wait for your opponent to writhe in pain and maybe shake you off, but all you get is a dreamy, almost satisfied look!

“Stan~,” the fish giggles lazily, “I’m feeling SO floaty right now… Like kelp in a current...”

Swaying from side to side, the inmate swats a few other mermaids and skeletons away with her tail before jerking her dangling arm around like a whip! Riding it around in the most screwed-up rodeo you’ve ever seen, you lose your footing when you and the arm bowl through a group of charging inmates! Landing into a somersault, you regain your footing just in time to see Periwinkle’s rows of teeth heading straight for you!

What’s next? She won’t be carrying any more weapons, that’s for damn sure!
>DODGE! LET HER WEAR HERSELF OUT A BIT!
>TRICK HER INTO THE OTHER MERMAIDS!
>SCREW RUNNING--FINISH THIS FREAK. DIVE IN WITH BONE CLAWS!
>BLAST HER WITH THE LASER! IT’S TIME, DANG IT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4991717
That's all for tonight--gonna be going out of town for the weekend, but I should be back on SUNDAY-- can't entirely estimate what time!

Thanks again for playing and hope you have a great weekend! Get some rest!
>>
>>4991717
>BLAST HER WITH THE LASER! IT’S TIME, DANG IT!
>>
>>4991717
>>BLAST HER WITH THE LASER! IT’S TIME, DANG IT!
>>
>>4991717
>BLAST HER WITH THE LASER! IT’S TIME, DANG IT!

Shame she tried to eat Sybil, otherwise I wouldn't be opposed to letting her join us and eat Mother's corpse as long as she promises to let all of us leave alive.
>>
>>4991786
Stan might act erratically, but one thing is constant: DON'T FUCK WITH SYB.

>>4991745
>>4991773
>>4991786
>BLAST 'EM!

Looks like I have a little bit of time this morning before we hit the road!

ROLL ME 1d00+10 TO FRY THIS FISH! SHE'S CLOSE, SHE'S WOUNDED, IT'S ALL YOU, BABY!

I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS AS USUAL! Don't forget to call out SPECIFIC TARGETS if you have 'em!
>>
Rolled 67 (1d100)

>>4992097
>>
Rolled 79 (1d100)

>>4992097
>>
Rolled 52 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4992097
>>
>>4992130
>>4992182
>>4992208
>HIGHEST ROLL: 89!

Writing!
>>
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It’s a good thing you warmed up your eye a few moments earlier--standing your ground, you stare down Periwinkle’s approaching maw as you feel the tech in your new eye spark to life! Right when her rancid breath tickles your nostrils with the stale scent of blood, your eye bursts with a blast of energy that sends your attacker flying backwards into a crowd of inmates!

“Wow, did you see THA-”

The guard’s shock and awe is quite literally cut short by a skeleton pirate’s saber, and seeing one of their finest tumble to the ground like a bag of oranges, the remaining inmates scramble for the pipes! Observing their handiwork with grim laughter, the pirates get to work looting the corpses, prompting your pals to join in as well.

Just when you’re about to let out a sigh of relief, though, the YARD is rocked by the sound of grinding gears, moving gates, and an EXTREMELY obnoxious siren! The sound, that is, not another mermaid.

“Guess she did it…” Art remarks, twirling a STORM STICK in his hand. Did what?

“Secured our ticket out of here…” Turning towards the voice, you watch as Sybil slowly rises from the floor with a sleepy look on her face. Oh man, she used the DOLL, huh?

“It seemed like a good idea at the time, yes.” She replies sheepishly as the guys help her to her feet. Brushing the grime and viscera off of her sweater, the Goth briefly surveys the carnage you and the gang have wrought and smiles. “Efficient as usual.”

“Well we didn’t do it alone…” Tucker explains before gesturing to the pirates. Before Syb can react, Andre approaches with a fresh new necklace made out of MERMAID TEETH around his neck!

“Enough hemmin’ an’ hawin’--zere will be more where zat came from!”

No DUH!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4992311
Still missing an arm, the pirate motions for his mateys to approach. “Look alive, bilge rats--we’re not out of zis yet. No ‘armin’ ze humans for now, aye?”

Receiving a series of disappointed ‘ayes’ in response, the pirate turns to face you and shrugs. “We’ll kill each other later--for now we must make ‘aste before more guards arrive!”

“Where to, though?” Art asks, taking a position at Syb’s side. “We’re in the middle of a prison and all of our stuff is gone!”

“The guards took everyone’s things and took them to a checkpoint near the ENTRANCE.” Syb explains. “I erm… I saw them through the crystals.”

“Is that why that alarm’s going off?” Mitzi asks, poking a nearby mermaid corpse with her new spear.

“I uh… I didn’t quite understand the controls, so I might have pressed a few things I shouldn’t have.” Syb answers sheepishly.

Before you can investigate further, a series of explosions rocks the prison! As water begins to trickle in through cracks above, all eyes fall on Syb.

“... It seems one of those brightly-colored buttons was wired to all of the cell doors. Careless. Not my fault!”

As the air fills with the sounds of a rapidly-decaying situation, you ponder your next move.
>THE FRONT SOUNDS LIKE A TRAP--LET’S FIND A BACK EXIT!
>WE NEED OUR STUFF--LET’S HEAD FOR THE FRONT!
>HOLD ON--GOTTA MAKE SURE PERI’S DEAD!
>ANDRE, WHAT ABOUT THAT DAMN PEARL!?
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4992314
>>WE NEED OUR STUFF--LET’S HEAD FOR THE FRONT!
>ANDRE, WHAT ABOUT THAT DAMN PEARL!?
>>
>>4992314
>WE NEED OUR STUFF--LET’S HEAD FOR THE FRONT!
>>
>>4992335
>>4992368
>WE NEED OUR STUFF! FRONT IT IS!
>ANDRE, WHAT ABOUT THE PEARL?

Writing! Probably gonna be the last update of the day.
>>
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No time to waste, you bark, you’re heading out the FRONT like you own the damn place! No one takes your stuff and gets away with it!

As your team and new skeleton pals gear up with what little armor and staves remain, Eddie’s the first one to break the silence. “Uhh… Stan?”

Yes, Ed?

“Did uh… Did that laser blast of yours knock your pal into the MOAT? You already know what to expect, but you look anyway--extending from Peri’s landing zone is a long, bloody trail ending at the moat’s edge. Welp, that probably won’t bite you in the ass!

“Don’t worry, Stan--she’s basically sashimi at this point.” Mitzi reassures you with a slap on the back. “Now the other fish girls… They’re the ones we oughta’ be worrying about.”

“Mitz is right.” Art nods, taking a few steps ahead to scout the tunnels leading away from the YARD. “On that note, we should probably leave.”

You were getting to it! Leading the pack, you exit through the tunnel you came from, the portcullis’ both stuck in their ceiling recesses.

“It appears that smashing the control console didn’t reset anything.” Syb remarks as she runs a hand through her hair. “Lucky, that.”

As per the norm, however, your luck swiftly goes South as you continue down the hall. Wading through a sea of mutilated mermaid corpses, the tunnel ahead splits off into a fork!

The passage to the LEFT echoes with shouts, giggles, and clashing weapons.

The RIGHT passage sounds quieter, but a quick inspection reveals a steadily-rising pool of crimson-tinged water as the passage heads deeper into the facility.

“You uh… You don’t happen to remember the way out, do you?” Art asks. Nope, you shrug--what about Andre?

“I ‘ave no recollection--me ‘earties an’ I used zee pipes to make our grand entrance!”

What a bunch of morons, you growl! Can’t even provide a map of EMERGENCY EXITS!

“Pretty sure that defeats the purpose of a prison, Stan.” Art remarks.

If he’s such a smarty-pants then why doesn’t HE choose a direction, huh?

Silence.

Yea, that’s what you thought!

Where to?
>THE LEFT! THERE MIGHT BE MERMAIDS, BUT AT LEAST PEOPLE ARE ALIVE!
>THE RIGHT! WATER NEVER KILLED ANYONE!
>NOPE, HE’S NOT BACKING OUT OF THIS--ART CAN CHOOSE!
>SEND LY AHEAD--BABY HEADACHE BE DAMNED!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4992446
>SEND LY AHEAD--BABY HEADACHE BE DAMNED!
>>
>>4992446
>SEND LY AHEAD--BABY HEADACHE BE DAMNED!
>>
>>4992446
>SEND LY AHEAD--BABY HEADACHE BE DAMNED!
>>
>>4992446
>SEND LY AHEAD--BABY HEADACHE BE DAMNED!
>>
>>4992546
>>4992581
>>4993090
>>4993110
>SEND LY AHEAD!

Guess who's back? I'm gonna need a 1d100 ROLL, PLEASE--I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3!
>>
Rolled 56 (1d100)

>>4994287
Lets rrrrrrrrrrroooollll
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>4994287
>>
Rolled 49 (1d100)

>>4994287
>>
>>4994292
>>4994302
>>4994313
>HIGHEST ROLL: 68!

That'll do'er! Writing!
>>
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Muttering the beginning of ‘Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo” to yourself, a sudden realization causes you to stop--you don’t have to leave anything to randomness--you’ve got a MAGICAL SKELETON to do your dirty work!

“Dat’s me--always happy ta’ be of service…” Ly replies in a tone that totally didn’t sound sarcastic! Coaxing him out with a few polite snaps of your finger, the pained look on Ly’s face gets the attention of the other MAGICAL DORK on the team!

“Stan, are you sure this is a wise idea?” Syb asks, giving Ly’s ASTRAL PROJECTION a sympathetic look. “During my return to that doll I encountered quite a bit of MAGICAL RESISTANCE-- I’ve been feeling it since we’ve arrived…”

You try your best to slap your bony chum on his noncorporeal backbone. Ly’s FINE! Dude eats MAGICAL RESISTANCE for breakfast! As you talk-up your skeletal system, your new skeletal ally raises his non-patched eyebrow at you.

“Erm… Who are we talking about?”

“Her imaginary friend.” Art explains with a resigned shrug. “You’ve probably heard all about Stan’s, uh… Quirks.

As you open your mouth to shut Art down, you’re swiftly countered by Syb putting you into a headlock! UNCLE! UNCLE!

“Art speaks the truth--’Ly’ helps Stan make decisions, that’s all! Speaking of, are you ready to make one?”

Releasing you from the hold, Syb gives you and Andre’s mateys a hard look before backing up a bit. Yes, you huff, and your decision is for Ly to scope things out, so get to it!

“Rrngh… Back in…” Ly groans, gritting his spectral teeth, “A jiff…

As he disappears into the walls, a group of inmates arrives from the LEFT PASSAGE to help you out!

“Hey,” shouts the ringleader, “We’re rioting! Wanna see how hard we can bite?”
“It’s pretty hard!” Chirps another inmate with her left arm gnawed off at the shoulder! “C’mere, humans!”

Figures that Ly would take his sweet time! These clowns are in a narrow hallway, though, so what’s the plan?

>YOU’VE GOT STORM STICKS--MAKE A WALL AND FEND ‘EM OFF!
>TRY TO CONVINCE THEM TO PLAY NICE!
>LASER BLAST! YOU DON’T GOT TIME FOR THIS CRAP!
>HAVE SYB BLOW ‘EM AWAY!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4994360
>>HAVE SYB BLOW ‘EM AWAY!

Save the laser for when we need it.
>>
>>4994394
>LEAVE IT TO SYB!

ROLL ME 1d100 TO BLAST 'EM WITH SOME MAGIC! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!

It's been a while since we've directly commanded Syb, so if you have a SPECIFIC SPELL in mind (which you can find in the PASTEBIN UNDER THE SKILLS & INVENTORY SECTION) feel free to let me know what to use! Here's a few for you to peruse:

AT-WILL:
ARCANE BOLT
RADIANT BLADE

ENCOUNTER:
FIREBALL
ARCTIC BLAST
SHOCKING GRASP
>>
>>4994426
>ARCTIC BLAST

Syb's signature move
>>
Rolled 8 (1d100)

>>4994502
>>
Rolled 29 (1d100)

>>4994426
>ARCTIC BLAST
>>
Feel free to roll again--think I can do one more update for tonight.
>>
Rolled 7 (1d100)

>>4994565
>>
>>4994504
>>4994515
>>4994575
>HIGHEST ROLL: 29!

Writing!
>>
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Stepping to the side, you motion for Syb to step forward. Would she mind cooling down these psychos a bit? A smile forms on the Goth’s face as a blue light flashes from her eyes!

“It’d be my pleasure!”

The rest of the gang stands back as Sybil takes a few steps towards the charging inmates! Raising her hand towards the end of the corridor, you feel a chill rush past your cheeks as ice crystals form in the air around you!

Sensing something off, the mermaids pick up their pace, zig-zagging through the water like gators closing in for a kill! Just when frost begins to nip at your eyes and skin, you watch as Syb’s confident pose falters!

“Something’s wrong!” Art shouts, prompting both of you to run to her side! Grabbing her in the nick of time, you both recoil as sparks of energy fly from her fingertips like live wires!

“G-GET AWAY!” She hisses, her face twisted from pain! “M-MY HEAD..”

Before you can inquire further, the Goth’s hands explode with frigid energy! Painting the walls, floor, and ceiling with ice, Syb’s spell misses the approaching mermaids entirely, but roots your entire team to the floor by freezing the water at your feet!

"What manner of witchery be THIS!?" Shouts one of the pirates!

"Blast 'em, Stan!" Mitzi adds, struggling to yank her leg free!

Feeling icy daggers sink into your ankles, you grit your teeth as the mermaids lunge for the kill!

Whatever you’re going to do, you’d better do it fast!
>LASER BLAST! NO TIME TO AIM!
>YOU CAN’T MOVE YOUR LEGS, BUT YOU CAN STILL SLICE! BONE CLAWS!
>SOMEONE’S GOTTA BE ABLE TO TOSS A STAFF!
>BREAK FREE! IT’LL HURT, BUT MAYBE YOU CAN INTERCEPT THESE CREEPS!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
That's all for tonight--had a busy weekend and tomorrow's gonna be busy as well! Should have an update around the usual 6-7PM PST ON MONDAY! See ya then!
>>
>>4994595
>LASER BLAST! NO TIME TO AIM!
>>
>>4994595
>LASER BLAST! NO TIME TO AIM!
>>
>>4994595
>>LASER BLAST! NO TIME TO AIM!
>>
>>4994707
>>4994721
>>4994942
Looks like we're BLASTIN'! Can't write an update soon, but I CAN ask for a few ROLLS!

Roll me 1d100-5 to blow them away! The freezing doesn't help, but at least they're close! I'll take the BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 90 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>4994974
>>
Rolled 15 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>4994974
Lessgooo
>>
Rolled 53 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>4994974
>>
>>4994977
>>4995122
>>4995215
>HIGHEST ROLL: 85!
WRITING!
>>
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Figures it’d fall to you to save the day again. You don’t even bother to aim as the mechanisms in your eye warm up, and just when you feel teeth like steak knives sink into your arm, the laser does its job and reduces the mermaids to crispy piles of bone and torched scales!

“Holy CRAP.” Art mutters as your attackers slump to the frozen floor! “Too close!”

Steaming blood oozes out of the bottom halves of the rioters and slowly melts away the ice at your feet. As you and your teammates crunch free of your frozen prison, Andre and his men admire your handiwork with satisfied nods.

“Eet would seem zee tales about you ‘ave merit, non?” He asks, rubbing his mustache with intrigue. “I suppose eet would ‘ave been a bad idea to kill you all zen.”

Yes, you growl as Art helps Syb regain her balance, it WOULD. That said, what the heck just happened back there!?

“I… Ly’s right, Stan…” The Goth winces. “There’s something warping my magic here… Or someONE...

“Gee,” Mitz gasps with mock surprise, “Who ever do you think that could be?” You frown--BORIS! Dude probably put some kind of ‘Suck-At-Magic’ hex on everyone when he heard you were beating all of the skeletons before him--it was only a matter of time-

“Oh! I thought we were all thinking THE DEEP MOTHER!” Eddie interjects, prompting the caverns to shake around you! As you and your team exchange worried glances, Gus gives Syb a pat on the back.

“Guess magic’s no good, huh?”

“Nghh.. I can do it, but…” Syb pants, wiping some excess frost from her forehead, “But every time I concentrate, it feels like something’s-”

“Tryin’ ta’ claw its way in?”

A familiar glowing skeleton pops back in through the walls and settles into your body once more. You were worried SICK, young man!

“Had ta’ be sure these paths both worked.” Ly wheezes. “Either one will lead ta’ da’ front--they both got their problems, though.”

You frown. Do they ever NOT?

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4995738
“Da’ LEFT has more mermaids, but they’re fightin’ each other too! Da’ RIGHT is clearer, but for good reason: there was a cave-in an’ it went all da’ way to da’ lake below!”

A tiny bell jingles in your head. So you can escape that way? How is that BAD?!

“I didn’t see any close-by way ta’ da’ city.” Ly explains. “In any case, da’ cave-in can probably be navigated, but there’s DEBRIS in da’ way, so everyone had better be able ta’ hold their breath!”

“So the question is: do we take our chances with more inmates, or try to navigate a sunken passage?” Syb reiterates.

“Zee sunken passage eez nothing for zee likes of us!” Andre boasts with a slice of his cutlass! “Feel free to wait ‘ere or meet us up ahead--we can clear zee’ way, maybe!”

“And let you guys run ahead?” Art asks in a suspicious tone. “Let’s let Stan decide.”

Oh great, here you go AGAIN.
>TAKE THE LEFT--MERMAIDS ARE DOABLE!
>HEAD RIGHT--TIME FOR A SWIM!
>WAIT FOR ANDRE AND CREW TO CLEAR A PATH!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4995741
>>TAKE THE LEFT--MERMAIDS ARE DOABLE!

Feel like bashing some mermaid skulls
>>
>>4995741
>TAKE THE LEFT--MERMAIDS ARE DOABLE!
>>
>>4995741
>TAKE THE LEFT--MERMAIDS ARE DOABLE!
If it wasn't for the magic hampering the fish spell would be perfect but who know we might transform back at the worst time
>>
>>4995900
>>4995920
>>4995971
>TO THE LEFT!
Writing!
>>
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Art’s right, you snarl, jabbing a finger in the direction the now-charred mermaids came from! These boneheads are your ticket to your next mark--you’re not about to leave them unsupervised! Andre looks like he’s about to argue a point, but his aggressive posture quickly deflates!

“Aye, zat’s exactly what I would ‘ave said… In zat case, lead us, oh fearless leader.”

Ooh, why can’t the other jerks call you that? When you don’t receive an answer from your increasingly-agitated gang, you motion for everyone to follow you to the left--mermaids are much easier to fight than drowning!

“So long as we don’t require any more magic, ey, mademoiselle?” Andre quips, earning a middle finger from Syb and a round of laughter from his goons.

“Hate to be that guy, but what’s the plan once we get out of here?” Tucker asks, spear pointed ahead as you continue down the ash-flecked tunnel.

Is he dumb or what?! You plan to LEAVE, obviously!

“Think he’s asking how we’re gonna do that, Stan.” Mitzi replies in a measured tone. “Pretty sure we’re still surrounded by water.”

“Maybe we can find a BUBBLE or something.” Gus suggests in his typical disinterested voice. “That one fish girl did it, right?”

“Can we talk about bubbles after we escape the mermaid prison riot?” Art asks, covering your flank with a staff of his own.

“Heh. Mermaid Prison Riot. Sounds like a band name.” Mitzi chuckles. Hey, yea! You’re gonna have to hold on to that on-

Turning the corner, you and your entourage of humans and skeletons emerge into a charnel house: cell doors hang loose on bent hinges, their bars matching the floors with spots of blood and bile! Amidst the corpses strewn about the floor sits a circle of mermaids, each one crowded over something in the middle. Sensing your approach, one of them greets you with a mouth full of… Something.

“Hey there, humans! Want some WARDEN? She’s fresh!”

Before you or anyone can ask, another viscera-caked mermaid raises a severed fish girl arm as if she were offering it to you.

“Erm… No thanks?” Art volunteers, keeping his staff pointed in the diner’s direction.

“Suit yourself! Say, we do have some human back there too!” Replies the greeter as she pokes a claw in the direction of a cell behind them. “Even FRESHER!

As if on cue, a thin young man wearing a WRINKLED SUIT AND TIE peeks out from the inside of the cell and waves at you like you just met him out on the patio.

“Hey, Stan.”

Before you can be confused, Gus comes to the rescue!

“You remember my little bro, right, Stan? Hey, Jay.”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4996903
Eddie’s the first one to jump onto the greeting wagon. “Sup, man? Didn’t know Gus had a brother!”

Jay shrugs. Now that you’re on the subject, neither did you!

“Really, Stan?” Gus asks with a hint of disapproval on his face. “We’ve had you over for Thanksgiving Dinner like… Three times.”

Struggling to find an appropriate excuse, you opt to go with old reliable: you’ve got BRAIN PROBLEMS, remember?

“How could we forg-OOF!”

BLESS you, Art.” Syb interjects as Art clutches his side. “More importantly, what are you doing down here?”

Gus’ brother shrugs again. “Exploring.”

Sensing a connection, one of the mermaids slithers between your two parties and clasps a claw on the young man’s shoulder!

“Gosh, you guys know each other? Talk about a small world!” Shoving Jay back into the cell, the mermaid wags a talon at you with a mischievous chuckle! “Finder’s Keepers, though! You’d better run along if you aren’t gonna eat--I heard there’s a PRISON RIOT going on!”

“Yea!” Laughs another mermaid between bites of her WARDEN BURGER, “Especially for humans!

As you feel your eye warm up again, you feel a large hand grab you gently by the shoulder.

“Careful, Stan,” Gus whispers, “I don’t want Jay getting in the crossfire.”

Fine, you sulk--any OTHER requests? Gus responds with another shrug. “Save my bro?”

You’ll see!

What’s the plan?
>ARMOR UP AND CARVE THESE FREAKS! SURPRISE!
>TRICK ‘EM! TELL THEM THERE’S MORE MEAT WHERE YOU CAME FROM!
>INTIMIDATE! IF THEY KNEW WHO YOU WERE....
>GRAB JAY AND RUN!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4996906
>TRICK ‘EM! TELL THEM THERE’S MORE MEAT WHERE YOU CAME FROM!
>>
>>4996908
>TRICK 'EM!

Looks like we're going the non-violent way! ROLL ME 1d100+10 TO CONVINCE THE MERMAIDS TO TAKE THEIR FEAST ELSEWHERE--I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!

Most importantly, feel free to write your DEVIOUS LIE with your roll! It can only help your chances!
>>
Rolled 70 (1d100)

>>4997003
>>
Rolled 9 (1d100)

For the sake of plot, gonna roll another two

slow night, eh?

By the way, if mermaids get buff from eating other mermaids, what happens if a human eats one?
>>
>>4997003
>>
Rolled 53, 100 = 153 (2d100)

>>4997003

Ok, since the dude below me tried to roll, and it's been a while, I'm gonna roll 2d100.
>>
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>>4997149

HAH. HAHAHA.
>>
>4997149
>4996906
Funny thing, the deep mother actually sent us to investigate the prison conditions. And we are very disappointed at the accommodations we are seeing. That man is also already accounted for and needs to be escorted to a an important diplomatic meeting
>>
>>4997149
Yow, pretty sure that's the first 100 of the quest--only took 11 threads. If I had a drink I'd be toasting right now! That said, it was made in peculiar circumstances, so I have a question for everyone: would you like to apply that 100 to this roll, or should I bank it for a later date? I'm a bit on the 'meh' side since it was rolled by someone who already rolled, but it WAS quite a while since anyone else rolled.

If you bank it you'll still pass the skill-check thanks to roll 1, but the 100 might have an added benefit here if you use it. Otherwise I'll hold onto it for later. Let me know what you prefer--I can't make an update at the moment, but I'll take your ideas into consideration in the meantime!
>>
>>4997501
I'm feeling banking this one, we are probably reaaaaaally gonna want that hundo in a couple rolls.
>>
>>4997501

Bank. We’ll definitely need it and technically we already got a passing roll.
>>
>>4997631
>>4997639
>BANK THE ROLL!
BANKED!

>>4997005
>>4997149
HIGHEST ROLL: 80!

WRITING!
>>
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An annoyed, drawn-out sigh escapes your lips as you frown at the situation in front of you. You’d love to just charge in and make more sushi, but Gus is sorta right… These fish girls are wacky, and not in a fun way--if you make a move there’s no telling what they could do to Jay.

Okay, maybe you’re just lazy. Whatever the reason, you opt to take another route: one that begins with a smug look and an exaggerated ‘PSSH!’ Taking the bait, one of the inmates stares at you with interest.

“You okay, human? We’ll give you some if you want it!”

Tempting, you reply, but that won’t be necessary… Given that this is a SURPRISE INSPECTION!

A chorus of gasps tells you they bought it! “I-I-INSPECTION!?” Gasps one of the mermaids! “F-F-FOR WHAT?!”

You take your time responding as you strut over to the nearest cell door and wipe some grime onto your finger. Observing the muck, you raise an eyebrow in the direction of the prisoners. Isn’t it obvious? THE DEEP MOTHER sent you to investigate the prison! Who else?!

“Waiiiit a minute,” Mutters another clearly more skeptical fish, “This isn’t one of those HUMAN JOKES, is it? I’ve heard of those!”

Her pals agree with a round of ‘me too’s! Adjusting your hat, you give the doubters a disdainful ’tch!’ The only joke you see around here is this PRISON! This place makes COUNTY look like a five-star hotel!

Rapping your knuckles on the gore-covered walls for emphasis, you continue to ride whatever train you’ve hopped on here and make your way over to where Jay is. And then there’s this asshole! He was supposed to be fed to Mom ages ago--do they have any idea how quickly human meat spoils?!

The mermaids respond by counting out some numbers on their claws, but you interrupt them with a stomp: REALLY QUICKLY! If you and your uh… INSPECTION GANG don’t take him back to her pronto, she’s gonna FLIP!

“Oh NO!” Gasps the lead inmate! “Then she’ll NEVER take us back into the maw of rebirth!”

You blink. Um… Sure. Yea, she definitely mentioned that earlier. No eating uh…. Ever.

The fish girls practically SHOVE Jay into your grasp with apologetic looks on their obscured faces!

“Take him, please! And tell Mother that we only ate a few sisters! We’re still fresh!”

Leaving you with your prize, the mermaids slither away into the shadows as you and your pals stand in silent awe.

“Stan,” Art asks, “What the hell was THAT?

You wag your finger a few times in his dumbfounded face--every girl has her secrets!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4998093
“So,” Tucker begins as you all climb a spiral ramp leading upwards, “What do you do when you’re not getting jailed by fish girls, Jay?”

“Work at City Hall.” Jay mumbles, shielding his face as you and your crew carve through a horde of blood-flecked inmates! “Well… Worked.

“Right…” Syb mutters to herself as she sends a volley of ARCANE BOLTS into some guards shouting nearby, “That’s where the PORTAL is, isn’t it? To THE LICH’S CASTLE.

Jay nods, stumbling over a pair of mutilated mermaid bodies. “Yep. Nothin’ but skeletons there now.”

Sounds like an improvement, you laugh, earning a flick to the forehead! OW!

“Don’t be rude.” Gus grunts, giving you a stern look as he chokeslams a charging inmate. “Jay had a lot of friends there.”

“Yep,” Jay sighs. “I was pretty much the office clown.”

You doubt that, but it isn’t important right now! Sending another squad of guards over the side of the ramp, you find yourselves faced with a long entryway where the silhouette of countless guards waits beyond the flooded center!

“WE’RE FREE!” Shouts a group of inmates emerging from a path adjacent to yours! Charging at the entrance, the escape attempt is cut short when the guards on the other side dip their STORM STICKS into the water! After a few moments of twitching and giggling, the would-be escapees bob in the water smelling faintly of fish and chips.

“What a load of BARNACLE BRAINS!” Laughs a familiar voice from across the pond! “Sorry, humans, but you’re not allowed to leave yet! Play nice and maybe Mother will get to you soon!”

HADDOCK!

“Err.. Nope.” Eddie whispers. “That’s Guppy, Stan.”

Right, you mutter, that was your second guess! Clearing your throat, you step forward to address the guards--maybe they didn’t get the memo, but you’re LEAVING!

“Hmmm… NOPE!” Guppy replies, sending a giggle fit through the wall of guards! “We know your purple friend used MAGIC-- if she tries that again, Mother will cook her brains! And without these,” Guppy pauses, holding up a BAG OF INVENTORY SHIT, “All you humans can do is pout! And don’t even try to swim across or we’ll fry you all into tasty treats!”

You try to draw a bead on her with your eye, but the glare off of the water in the center makes it tricky! Straining your vision, your concentration is broken by the sound of gears shifting in the walls around you, followed by more water entering the tunnel!

“Looks like someone’s got control of the PRISON again!” Guppy gloats! “Better go back inside--we can hold our breath a LOT longer than humans can!”

They won't hold their breath very long when... When they're KILLED! By YOU!

"Nice, cupcake. Real intimidatin'."

>CONTD.
>>
>>4998095
The situation looks grim, but you’ve gotta think of something! The question is, what?!
>ARMOR UP AND RUSH! THAT SHOULD CLEAR THE WAY FOR THE OTHERS!
>TAKE A LASER SHOT ANYWAYS!
>CONVINCE THEM TO LET YOU THROUGH!
>CALL FOR TALBOT AGAIN! WHERE IS THAT JERK?!
>TRY TO FIND ANOTHER WAY!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4998100
>>CALL FOR TALBOT AGAIN! WHERE IS THAT JERK?!
>ARMOR UP AND RUSH! THAT SHOULD CLEAR THE WAY FOR THE OTHERS!
>>
>>4998108
>CALL FOR TALBOT!
>ARMOR AND CHARGE!

We're doin' this! ROLL 1d100+5 TO CHARGE THE GUARDS!

I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
>>4998100
>TRY TO FIND ANOTHER WAY!
Funny thing about the ground. We have high strength jumping legs, and claws that can get purchase in the wall. Its cute they think we need to touch the water though.
>>
Rolled 2 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4998139
Awww I guess I might have been a little late, can we combine tactics maybe?
>>
>>4998141
Whoops, sorry! We can definitely incorporate PARKOUR into the attack, though! I'm gonna be playing a game with some pals in a little bit, but I should have some time to update tomorrow!

>>4998142
Oof, close call, ey?
>>
Rolled 70 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4998139
>ROLL 1d100+5 TO CHARGE THE GUARDS!
>>
Rolled 14 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4998139
>>
>>4998142
>>4998144
>>4998261
>Highest Roll: 75!
Writing one more update!
>>
File: parkour.png (6 KB, 225x225)
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A faint tickle emerges in your stomach--one that slowly crawls upwards past your lungs and into your windpipe. Unable to contain it, you’re helpless as the sensation leaps from your mouth in the form of a hearty, manic laugh!

“Hey, laughing helps me too!” Guppy shouts, eliciting a round of smiles from her fellow guards across the water! “It always feels good to get it out of your syst-”

The sudden bout of levity makes you feel weightless, and even as you feel your BONE ARMOR form around you, each step you take is lighter than the last! Sensing your intent, half of the guards stick their staves into the water while the others prepare to meet you on the other side! Cute, you think to yourself, but not good enough!

“‘Tis the SEA MADNESS, it be!” Remarks one of Andre’s cronies!

“Nope,” Art replies, shaking his head, “She uh… She just does this stuff.”

“What IS so funny anyways, kiddo?” Ly asks as you scramble across the side of the tunnel like a lizard. Isn’t it obvious?! These idiots didn’t bet on PARKOUR!

Diving into the crowd like a bony cannon ball, your armored skull crashes into Guppy’s fish hood with a sound akin to a watermelon hitting a wall! As she stumbles backwards with a dazed look on her face, you don’t bother wasting any time--ducking through a gauntlet of STORM STICKS, you tear into the crowd like a runaway lawnmower!

Halfway through your frenzy, you overhear the sound of battlecries behind you! Chancing a look backwards, you watch with glee at the rare sight of skeletons rushing to your aid!

LEAVE ZEE GUTS WHERE ZE FALL!” Andre laughs, leading his men through the no longer jolted water! Your other pals aren’t far behind, and it’s not long before your whole team has entered the fray! Teeth, claws, and staves collide with your armor, but you shrug them all off as if they were pool noodles, chopping through the offenders with your BONE CLAWS!

“WOW! Is that MY blood?”
FINALLY…
“I see… Flames…

Somewhere between all the mermaid chatter, you feel something wrap around your neck and gnaw at your throat--oh, guess someone’s trying to strangle you.

“I’m really glad we met, Stan!” Guppy snarls in between gnawing on your shoulder! “It’s been a lot of fu-”

Her speech is cut off by the solid ‘THWACK!’ of a staff against her head! Falling off of you like a bra at the end of the day, the fish girl lies dazed amidst her comrades as Mitzi tosses you the INVENTORY BAG from the ground!

YOUR STUFF IS ALL BACK! SWEET!

>CONTD.
>>
File: bubble.jpeg-900x510.jpg (40 KB, 900x510)
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>>4998328
Dragging it all over towards the BUBBLE LANDING overlooking FLOTSAM, you hear a weak voice crawling towards you from behind!

“Y...You shouldn’t run… M..Mother always g-gets what she wants… ALWAYS…

Is this bitch STILL talking!? Before you can decide on what to do with her, Eddie’s hand clasps your shoulder! Come on, man--not NOW!

“Wha!? No I didn’t mean--err, LOOK!

Following his other hand, your eyes focus on a large, trenchcoated torpedo crashing through the top of one of the city’s bubbles and landing with a lake-shaking ‘THUD!

A smile forms on your armored face. NOW it’s a party!

The question is, what’s NEXT?

>FIND A BUBBLE! GOTTA GET BACK TO FLOTSAM!
>FINISH OFF GUPPY! NO LOOSE ENDS!
>BACKTRACK! MAYBE THERE’S SOME KIND OF BRIDGE CONTROL?
>TRY TO SIGNAL TALBOT! MAYBE HE CAN HELP YOU CROSS OVER!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
That's all tonight, folks--should tune back in THURSDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST! Thanks again for playing and hope to see you then!
>>
>>4998329
>>TRY TO SIGNAL TALBOT! MAYBE HE CAN HELP YOU CROSS OVER!
>FIND A BUBBLE! GOTTA GET BACK TO FLOTSAM!
>>
>>4998332

This was my vote. Forgot my wifi.
>>
>>4998329
>FINISH OFF GUPPY! NO LOOSE ENDS!
>TRY TO SIGNAL TALBOT! MAYBE HE CAN HELP YOU CROSS OVER!
>>
>>4998329
>FIND A BUBBLE! GOTTA GET BACK TO FLOTSAM!
>>
>>4998332
>>4998456
>FIND A BUBBLE!

>>4998332
>>4998402
>TRY TO SIGNAL TALBOT!

>>4998402
>FINISH OFF GUPPY!

Writing!
>>
File: bubblestation.jpg (26 KB, 340x270)
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You don’t relish the idea of searching pitch black water swarming with angry fish on the off-chance there’s a rideable bubble floating around, but when have you ever had an easy option?

“It’s a BUBBLE LANDING STATION, right?” Tucker asks, thoughtfully examining the bridge dipping into the colossal air bubble surrounding the PRISON ENTRANCE. “Maybe they just form nearby?”

“Well someone’s gonna have to find one.” Mitzi shrugs. “I guess I can give it a shot if you need a swimmer.”

“Well whoever’s gonna do something had better do it FAST.” Art mutters, raising his N4 RIFLE in the direction you came. Oh right, you have your STUFF again!

Your excitement is cut short by the sound of scales sliding against stone heralding the arrival of several fellow escapees!

“Look, everyone! Humans!” One shouts with a malicious grin!
“Dibs on the one with the stupid haircut!”

Crap, that could be ANYONE! As your mind races to find a solution, your gang and Andre’s people set up a defensive line near the flooded section of the tunnel while Jay waits politely next to his brother!

“Whatever you’re gonna do, Stan, do it FAST!” Art commands! You’ll have to talk about his insubordination later--right now you’ve gotta ACT!

First of all, HOW DO YOU FIND A SUITABLE BUBBLE?
>DIVE IN AND SEARCH!
>SEND MITZI! SHE’S A SWIMMER!
>FISH FOR IT!
>REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK: AQUATIC MISSION!
>WRITE-IN!

Secondly, HOW DO YOU SIGNAL TALBOT? MAYBE HE CAN FOREGO ALL THIS CRAP!
>FIRE YOUR GUNS! A LOT!
>LASER EYES INTO THE AIR!
>JUST KEEP SCREECHING AT HIM. HE’LL HEAR YOU!
>REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUUUUUUUUUUUCK!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4998670
>>REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK: AQUATIC MISSION!
>FIRE YOUR GUNS! A LOT!
Duck is always the correct answer.
And lets use guns to shred up them Mermaidens while hoping Talbot hears it
>>
>>4998670
>>REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK: AQUATIC MISSION!
>FIRE YOUR GUNS! A LOT!
>>
>>4998670
>REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK: AQUATIC MISSION!
>FIRE YOUR GUNS! A LOT!
>>
>>4998778
>>4998831
>>4998838
>REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK AQUATIC MISSION!

>FIRE LOTS OF GUNS!

Let's see how Commodore Quack does. Start us off by ROLLING 1d100--I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!

The duck has 'swimming' in its specs, so we'll see how things go.!
>>
Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>4998943
>>
Rolled 96 (1d100)

>>4998943
>>
>>4998950
>>4998977
Feel free to roll again if you have already!
>>
Rolled 12 (1d100)

>>4999015
>>
>>4998950
>>4998977
>>4999029
>HIGHEST ROLL: 96!

Writing!
>>
File: duckonline.png (161 KB, 800x600)
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Tossing your team’s armaments back to them, it’s not long before your hands close around and old, reliable friend: the REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK you used back during your NATURE EXCURSION FROM HELL! Lifting it out of the pile, you feel Ly leaning in for a closer look.

“Dis’ little guy certainly helped us out, didn’t he?” He remarks, earning an eager nod from you! Yep, and he’s about to help out some more, too! Tapping the tag on the side that reads ’HE SWIMS! you’re rewarded with a malicious laugh from your skeleton!

“Whaddaya’ waitin’ for? Let’s launch!”

And launch you do! While your team unloads on the horde of fish girls approaching from behind, you hock the plastic duck through the side of the air bubble encompassing the prison and whip out its REMOTE CONTROL!

“Wait a sec,” Ly mutters as you fiddle with the joysticks, “Didn’t dis’ thing have a problem da’ last time we-”

QUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACKKK-

Oh, now you remember: the DUCK CALL was messed up when you were trying to wake Syb up! Oops!

“What the HELL are you doing, Stan!?” Art asks with an incredulous shout!

“Getting us outta here, probably!” Eddie replies, his voice barely registering over the sound of bullets ripping from Kiki’s LIGHT MACHINE GUN and the sustained duck call! Sticking your tongue out in concentration, you turn your attention to the remote control’s viewscreen as the duck disappears into the water’s inky blackness! Flicking on the NIGHT VISION setting, you feel slight relief as the duck call softens as it swims further away from your position…

>CONTD.
>>
File: duckremote2.png (230 KB, 800x600)
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>>4999183
https://youtu.be/3QXsBeVMBkg
True to its name, your feathered friend swiftly finds several candidates for your escape!

BUBBLE 1 is big, so it won’t take long to pump it large enough for your team, but from where you’re drifting it’s pretty far away--even worse, there seems to be some coral formations that way too!

BUBBLE 2 is smaller, but a lot closer! It seems to be close to some crystals, however--several clusters of the glowing variety. Paranoia tells you that they look awfully familiar to mermaid eyes…

BUBBLE 3 is about the mid-range of size, but that’s not what captures your attention! Nope, not too far away is a glowing purple light, one that almost mesmerizes you as you look at it! Slapping your cheeks a few times, you momentarily return to reality--bubbles! RIGHT!

As you study your options, however, your duck also gets a glimpse of FLOTSAM across the black expanse, along with the unmistakable sights and sounds of explosions!

“Hang on, Stan--” Ly interrupts, “Dis’ thing can fly, yea? Why not track down TALBIE and help him out? There’s gotta be a control around here for a BRIDGE OR SOMETHIN’!

Your options neatly laid out in your head, you leave the inmates to your pals as you ponder your next move!

>BUBBLE 1! BIGGER IS BETTER!
>BUBBLE 2! SIZE AIN’T EVERYTHING!
>BUBBLE 3! MODERATION IS KEY!
>SCREW IT, PROVIDE TALBOT SUPPORT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4999187
>SCREW IT, PROVIDE TALBOT SUPPORT!
Tactical Talbie support
>>
>>4999187
>>SCREW IT, PROVIDE TALBOT SUPPORT!
>>
>>4999190
>>4999198
>SUPPORT TALBOT!

Writing!
>>
File: doomed.png (462 KB, 404x600)
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Foregoing the bubbles for now, you steer your duck-billed destroyer in the direction of FLOTSAM!

“Errr, Stan? Ya’ missed a whole buncha’ bubbles!” Ly helpfully reports. “We can play around wit’ da’ duck later when we’re, ya’ know… ALIVE?

You’re GONNA be alive, you howl! Talbot’s here and he’s coming to get you! You just need to watch his back while he finds a drawbridge or something! Ly pauses for a moment, not sure how to respond.

“Stan, dis’ setup is perfect for a prison--no bridges, plenty of guards, and a boat-load of water separatin’ it from da’ city! Do ya’ REALLY think these mermaids were dumb enough ta’ make an escape route like dat’?”

Your conversation is interrupted by a chorus of zaps behind you!

“Hey, I wanna get shocked too!”
“Me too! ME TOO!”

As the shocks and gunfire continue, Ly borrows your shoulders for a shrug.

“... You know what? Nevermind--let’s find dis’ bridge control or whatever!”

THAT’S the spirit! Looking back at your remote control’s screen, you find your trusty duck flying high over a rapidly-decaying situation in what appears to be some kind of park!

“Hey pal, you’re not supposed to be h-” A mermaid is sent flying mid-sentence by one of Talbot’s beefy fists! Roaring in anger, the giant wades through a sea of mermaids in a flurry of punches and laser blasts, the latter cutting through fish, buildings, and into the abyss above the city! Weaving through the chaos, your duck draws a bead on a few targets!

First of all, there’s the REGULAR MERMAIDS. There’s quite a few. Swarming Talbot like ants on a cookie, the ones that aren’t immediately pulped by your bodyguard do their best to sink their teeth and claws into him! They don’t seem to be doing too much damage, but they’re certainly slowing him down!

Next there’s the MERMAID GUARDS: armored freaks wielding the ever-popular STORM STICK. Entering the park from every direction, it’s unclear what kind of effect those spears will have on Talbot, but you can guess that they aren’t gonna mix!

Last, but not least, you notice some kind of SWITCH MECHANISM sitting on an overlook facing the PRISON!

“Wow,” Ly remarks, “Yep, they ARE dat’ stupid.”

You could have told him THAT! The control looks pretty heavy, though, and that might make it difficult to manipulate with the duck. Still, if you could make a bridge appear…

Testing the duck’s FLASH attack a few times, you smile as a blinding light shines from the city across the way! Looks like all you need to do is pick a target!

>GET THE MERMAIDS OFF OF TALBOT! GET HIM MOVING!
>MESS WITH THE MERMAID GUARDS!
>TRY TO TRIGGER THE SWITCH!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>4999255
>>TRY TO TRIGGER THE SWITCH!

Not that I don't wanna help Talbot, but he's a capable deathmachine...
>>
>>4999255
>MESS WITH THE MERMAID GUARDS!
Lets get some fire support on the boy, I think those storm sticks are gonna give him a problem.
>>
>>4999323
>>4999255

Switching cause I just remembered Talbot's made of metal.
>>
>>4999323
>>4999328
>GUT THE GUARDS!

ROLL 1d100+5 TO DISORIENT THE GUARDS WITH STICKS! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 48 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4999360
>>
Sorry to leave this on a dice roll, but I've got to hit the sack! Still waiting on two more rolls, but I should be ready for another update around 6-7PM PST ON FRIDAY! Thanks again for playing!
>>
Rolled 42 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4999360
>>
Rolled 93 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>4999360
>>
>>4999461
>Commodore Quack has done it again
>>
>>4999364
>>4999455
>>4999461
>HIGHEST ROLL: 98!

DON'T FUCK WITH MCDUCK! Writing!

By the way, THE GREAT /qst/ WAIFU TOURNEY HAS BEGUN! Stan's a contestant, but there's tons of great quests, old and new, being represented in there! If you haven't already, go check it out--seems like fun!
>>
File: touchdown.png (823 KB, 1200x799)
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As you watch the guard’s spears spark with electricity, you feel Ly press against your insides to get a better look!

“Oh cripes-- dat’s no good!”

You reply with a chuckle--yep, those guards are gonna be in for a rude awakening when they find out Big T is made of GOO METAL! Ly adds a polite, if somewhat confused-sounding laugh.

“I uh… I think T’s gonna be the one in for a shock, kiddo.”

You frown at the controller screen as you take the duck around for another recon run. Did he trade his brains for a cigarette back in jail or something? He’s METAL. Electricity ain’t gonna do squat!

“... Cupcake, metal CONDUCTS electricity.”

Your frown deepens.

“... Dat’ uh… Dat means it sends it to other stuff. A lot.”

Speaking of conductivity, Ly’s explanation brings two frayed wires in your head together causing you to immediately send the duck on a bombing run towards the nearest guards! Why don’t they teach you this crap in SCHOOL?!

“They do, but… You know what? Fugeddaboutit--stick to what ya’ do best, kiddo.”

Swooping low over an approaching squad, your thumb itches over the RED BUTTON as one of the guards points at your toy!

“DUCK!”

The guard next to her hits the deck, prompting the other guards to pull her back upright!

“No, you barnacle head--it’s a DUCK!

“Oh!” Replies the artful dodger in a sheepish tone! “Do you think it tastes good? I’ve never had one!”

The guards level their spears in the duck’s direction with eager grins on their obscured faces!

“Only one way ta’ find out! It can be an appetizer before MR. MAIN COURSE over th-”

Pressing the button, the video feed on the controller screen is flooded with an eye-burning light thanks to the night vision option! Shielding your eyes, your pain is alleviated somewhat by the sound of staves and bodies tumbling to the ground!

“My EYES!” Shouts one of the fish girls, “They BUUUURRRN!

“I KNOWWW!” Shrieks another, “IT’S AMAZING!

Circling the park to another squad, you press the button before they can react, causing the troops to stagger into eachother with their STORM STICKS! As the reinforcements lie convulsing on the park grounds, Talbot takes a break from beating the snot out of fish girls for a moment to notice your duck’s presence.

Giving him a reassuring ’QUAAAAAAAAAAACK, you steer the duck towards the BRIDGE CONTROL as well as your position! As his remaining eye dutifully follows, you can see recognition form on his obscured face as he picks up your scent again! Charging for the switch covered in vicious mermaids, the giant lunges for the lever and dramatically yanks it downwards!

AND IT'S GOOOOOD!

>CONTD.
>>
>>5000495
Shifting with a dramatic ’CLUNK!’ You feel the ground rock beneath you as some sort of masonry rises from the depths below! SCORE!

The question is, what now?
>CONTINUE DUCK SUPPORT!
>HELP YOUR FRIENDS HOLD OFF THE INMATES!
>BE THE FIRST TO CROSS THE ‘BRIDGE!’
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5000496
>BE THE FIRST TO CROSS THE ‘BRIDGE!’
>>
>>5000502
>A BRIDGE TOO FAR
Writing the last update of the night!
>>
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Seeing what appears to be some kind of bridge appear at the edge of the PRISON ENTRANCE, you opt to be the first to scout it out!

“You just wanna be da’ first to escape, don’cha?” Ly chides, causing you to flick yourself in the forehead! He can stick around if he’s gonna have an attitude like that!

Relaying your plan to the others as you retrieve your REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK, you get a few hasty thumb’s ups as the gang continues to mow down inmates! “If it gets us outta here, then DO it!” Art shouts, prompting you to leave them to their devices. Turning around, you’re greeted by a long, glass tube of a tunnel spanning the gap between the PRISON and FLOTSAM grinding into place! On the opposite end you spot a familiar trenchcoat-wearing goon watching you like a dog seeing its master! That’s right, bitch--you’re BACK!

Making your way into the tunnel, you order your entourage to fall back as well--the sooner you’re back in town, the sooner you can find a way outta’ here! While your people keep on firing, the SKELETON PIRATES make haste for the tunnel.

“Make ‘aste, Parble!” Andre shouts! “Zee’ ‘ard part ‘as just begun!”

Andre’s heavily-accented warning is punctuated by the sound of something massive crashing through the water above! Glancing through the clear tube, you watch with horror as a cluster of building-sized rocks crash down from above and barely miss the park! What the HELL?!

“These caves weren’t very stable to begin with...” Syb mutters to herself as she and the others retreat through the tunnel. “Who knows what damage Talbot wrought getting down here…”

“Coulda’ been doze’ lasers he’s been firin’ off, too!” Ly remarks as the man in question sends an eye beam ripping through the attackers on his end along with a few unlucky buildings! “Dat’ guy was never one for subtlety, was he?”

Watching the stone rain increase in intensity, your pals continue to hold off the remaining inmates as they slowly retreat through the tunnel--Syb, Gus, and Jay remaining safely behind you as you make your way towards Talbot!

It’s around the center of the bridge that you hear a faint tapping noise over the rest of the commotion--one that’s way too close for comfort! Tracing the sound to its source, you peer through the glass and find yourself staring directly into a familiar glowing eye accompanied by a manic Cheshire grin!

Aw DANG it...

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5000605
Clinging onto the other side of the tube with what remains of her arms is your old neighbor, PERIWINKLE! The movement of her mouth and the muffled sound of her voice tells you that she’s trying to say something, but you just can’t quite hear it!

What gets your attention isn’t her talking, however, but the scraping she’s doing with the remainder of her working claws. Drawing a jagged ‘X’ on the side of the tube, the mermaid gives you one last wink before darting back into the shadows amidst a bloody cloud...

Something tells you she isn’t marking the location of buried treasure…

ROLL 1d100+5 FOR NO REASON IN PARTICULAR! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
That's it for tonight, folks--I'll check back in around 11-12PM PST ON SATURDAY!

Here's that Waifu Contest Thread Link, by the way. See ya around!
>>4999756
>>4999756
>>4999756
>>
Rolled 38 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5000607
>>
Rolled 60 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5000607
No reason at all......
>>
Rolled 45 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5000607
>>
>>5000616
>>5000632
>>5000659
>HIGHEST ROLL: 65!

WRITING! By the way, Stan's up to bat in the tourney--she needs your support!

>>4999756
>>4999756
>>4999756
>>
File: uhoooooooooh.jpg (17 KB, 615x378)
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You stare at the hasty X carved into the glass for a moment longer before you connect the dots--you’ve seen enough cartoons to know where this is going! Shouting for the rest of your pals to hurry, you usher them towards Talbot as you hear the water beyond the tunnel shift!

Firing off a few more salvos from her LIGHT MACHINE GUN, Kiki shifts into high gear after you give her a scowl that could turn someone to stone! Scurrying ahead, you take a cue from the film student and head for the exit yourself. Just as you turn around, however, a muscular silhouette races from the darkness and bodyslams the tunnel with the force of a missile! Cracks spider across the glass currently separating you from a lot of presumably VERY chilly water, and as you make your way towards Talbot and the others, you feel the passage groan around you from the pressure!

“Don’t wanna stress ya’ out, but ya’ definitely don’t wanna look back.” Ly reports, prompting you to quicken your pace! His advice proves to be pretty on the money--as you kick it into higher gear, the chorus of cracking glass and groaning masonry comes to a head. With one last massive creak, you feel a rush of air blow against your back as the passage behind you collapses under the water’s weight! Though your lungs burn and your thighs ache from the sudden jog, you feel a sense of relief wash over you as you approach your pals frantically motioning for you to keep going!

DON’T STOP!” Art shouts, stating the extreme obvious.
JUST A LITTLE MORE!” Tucker adds!

As you close the gap, you slowly realize that you’re not the only one they’re cheering on--you’ve never been the fastest runner around, especially before your BONE SPEED POWERS kicked in, but as you look back you realize that you’re currently holding second to last place--well… THIRD to last if you count that sonnovabitch PERIWINKLE riding the current towards you and Kiki!

She may be keeping a good pace even with her heavy artillery, but is that enough? Sensing your concern, the camera girl returns your gaze with a panicked look of her own!

What do?!
>CHUCK KIKI TOWARDS THE OTHERS!
>JUST KEEP RUNNING--SHE CAN HANDLE IT!
>YOU’RE SICK OF THIS FISH--ATTACK PERIWINKLE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5001139
>CHUCK KIKI TOWARDS THE OTHERS!
>>
>>5001139
>>CHUCK KIKI TOWARDS THE OTHERS!
>>
>>5001148
>>5001194
>I'M A CHUCKSTER!

Looks like we're giving Kiki a boost!

ROLL 1d100+5 TO GET HER TO SAFETY! Err... SAFerTY! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 80 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5001208
>>
Rolled 22 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5001208
>>
Rolled 25 (1d100)

>>5001208
>>
>>5001214
>>5001216
>>5001243
>HIGHEST ROLL: 85!

WRITING!
>>
File: chuckster.gif (1942 KB, 600x328)
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No time for second-guesses! Darting towards the machine gun-wielding student, you snatch her up like a fumbled ball and chuck her at your pals! As you prepare to make your own exit, a sudden realization freezes you in place! Oh CRAP!

“WHAT IS IT?!” Ly growls impatiently! “Get ta’ safety, ya’ maniac!”

You… You used a SPORTS SIMILE… A FOOTBALL one to boot!

“... AND?” Ly snarls as the sound of rushing water rapidly approaches from behind!

… That does it--you’re not spending any more time with Boris. That S.O.B has you talking like him now--next you’ll b-

Ly interrupts your crisis by taking manual control of your legs and marching you to safety! Sprinting until you hit grass, your skeleton lets go of your limbs, causing you to tumble unceremoniously to the mossy park grounds. Ever the gentleman, your falling carcass is deftly intercepted by a familiar humongous gloved hand. Saved from certain moss-stains, you give Talbot an appreciative grin as he stands you back up in the direction of the now-collapsed bridge.

“Well,” Art remarks as the debris disappears into the water outside of the park’s lifegiving air bubble, “That could have gone worse.”

As you nod, you feel your side being wrapped into a hug--looking down, you find yourself staring at a very thankful Kiki.

“Close call, Stan--but that’s why you’re the boss, huh?” Eddie chuckles while Tucker smiles.

Sensing a heartwarming moment, reality decides to disrupt things with the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. Not to be outdone by their earlier counterparts, several other building-sized chunks of cavern ceiling dip through the top of the city’s air bubbles and start the painstaking process of crushing everything underneath! As the very foundation of FLOTSAM quakes from the impacts, Andre approaches pointing his remaining arm in the direction away from the PRISON!

“No time for reunions--we ‘ave to jump ship before zis’ ‘ole place sinks!”

No DUH!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5001295
How?” Mitzi asks, poking a mermaid guard with a borrowed STORM STICK. “You guys might be able to walk out, but we might have a little trouble with that…”

“Not to mention we still haven’t retrieved that PEARL.” Syb adds. “Wasn’t that our entire purpose for coming here?”

Andre groans as if the Goth told him to take out the trash. “‘Ow many times do I ‘ave to tell you?! Eet ees in good ‘ANDS!

So he keeps saying, but uh… Art’s pretty slow, so could he be more clear, please?

“HEY!”

“Trust in the butcher, lubbers--French though he be, Andre be a witty devil, s’truth!” Chuckles one of Andre’s pals.

You respond with a blink. What the HELL did he say? Andre’s mustache twitches with irritation as he hastily tears his hand off and drops it to the floor.

“My arm isn’t lost, mademoiselle...” He explains as his discarded bones begin crawling around like a spider. “But if we are all crushed, our reunion will never ‘appen!”

“Oooohhh…” Ly mutters to himself. “I think I get it…”

You don’t, but you don’t have time to suss it out--right now you need to plan the next move!

The gang is reunited, so WHERE TO?
>THE PALACE! LET’S TAKE DOWN MOMMY DEAREST!
>THE PEARL CORAL! YOU CAN SPEED UP ANDRE’S PLAN!
>THE FISHING PARK! THERE WAS A CURRENT LEADING TO THE SEA, RIGHT?
>THE MOON POOLS! YOU’LL HEAD OUT THE WAY YOU CAME!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5001298
>>THE PEARL CORAL! YOU CAN SPEED UP ANDRE’S PLAN!
>>
>>5001298
>THE FISHING PARK! THERE WAS A CURRENT LEADING TO THE SEA, RIGHT?
>>
>>5001298
>THE FISHING PARK! THERE WAS A CURRENT LEADING TO THE SEA, RIGHT?
>>
>>5001325
>CAST PEARLS BEFORE SWINE!

>>5001334
>>5001343
>PARK AND RIDE!

Writing!
>>
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Motioning everyone to huddle together, you lay out the next step of your exciting plan!

“... This was planned?” Art asks, earning a stern look from Syb.

Naturally, you reply! And now that you’ve escaped from jail, it’s time for the GRAND FINALE! Letting your listeners stew for a few moments, your dramatic pause is shortened by a stalactite the size of an SUV crushing a nearby pile of unconscious mermaids. So much for a pacifist run!

“Focus, Stan--where are we headed?” Mitzi asks, wiping a smear of merblood off of her cheek. Well, you explain, you’re certainly not heading for the MOON POOLS-- that’s where they expect you to go!

“‘S what I’d do.” Gus mutters, earning an equally-emotive grunt from his brother. EXACTLY! And if what Andre says is true, you probably won’t even have to visit that PEARL CORAL!

“On my honor!” Andre reports with a graceful bow! “... Erm… Being what eet eez…”

Good enough for you. As for your uh… EMPLOYER, they’ll just have to settle for the whole town being flooded and crushed. Maybe the coral will catch fire somehow too?

“What are you talking about?” Tucker asks, prompting you to change tack. You’re just saying you aren’t gonna waste time if Andre’s got it covered!

“So where are we going?” Eddie asks, eyes lit up with interest! Leaning against Talbot, you give your goons a smug grin--where else offers a quick way out to the coast in this hellhole? Sensing your intent, Syb turns her disapproving stare your way.

“Oooohh no. If we die in a cave-in because of your inane FISHING obsession-”

“Stan might be onto something, actually--” Tucker interjects. “Didn’t that mermaid there mention it led out to sea? If we can find a bubble or something…”

The Goth’s glare melts somewhat.

“... I see. Alright, Stan--it sounds better when you put it that way.”

Art pops a fresh magazine into his rifle and dons his battle helmet. “What are we waiting for, then? Let’s go before-”

“Before they show up?” Gus asks, aiming his SAWN-OFF SHOTGUN at a horde of approaching mermaids!

“Yea… Them.” The security guard groans. “You remember the way to the park, Stan?”

“I think I can get us there!” Ly reassures you, prompting you to give everyone a confident thumb’s up! The question is, what ROUTE do you take?

>DIRECT! CUT THROUGH THE MERMAIDS!
>SCENIC! IT’LL BE SLOWER, BUT IT’LL KEEP YOU OUT OF SIGHT!
>RISKY--YOU CAN USE THE ROOFTOPS! SHORTCUT!
>ON SECOND THOUGHT, LET’S GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5001443
>DIRECT! CUT THROUGH THE MERMAIDS!
Anyone else hungry for Sashimi? Also I guess every mermaid we kill is a little bit of power robbed from the deep mother as well. Lets armor up and practice our sushi skills.
>>
>>5001443
>>DIRECT! CUT THROUGH THE MERMAIDS!
>>
>>5001446
>>5001460
>DIRECT!

FAST AND FURIOUS! Not SUPER difficult, but not the easiest way, either!

ROLL 1d100-5 TO FIGHT YOUR WAY THROUGH! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!

You've got backup, but that just means you're a bigger group of targets! Have some appropriate escape/dice-rolling music!


https://youtu.be/gH9bBamibRs
>>
Rolled 64 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5001508
RIP AND TEAR!!
>>
Rolled 58 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5001508
>>
Rolled 28 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5001508
>>
>>5001523
>>5001525
>>5001569
>HIGHEST ROLL: 59!

Writing!
>>
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Subtlety might have been your M.O in the first few days of THE SKELETON TROUBLES, but now that you’ve got a gang of unhinged misfits on your side and more powers than you can shake a very large stick at, somehow armoring up and charging at the approaching mermaids doesn’t seem as suicidal. The collapsing pieces of the cave ceiling far above don’t help your case, though. Sensing your intent, the fish girls descend upon your merry band wielding STORM STICKS, claws, and vicious serrated teeth!

“Look, friends! The humans escaped!”
“That’s incredible! Let’s chew their hamstrings a bit--then they can’t run away!”

Not wanting to appear unneighborly, you, Talbot, and Andre’s raiders descend upon THEM with BONE CLAWS, lasers, and vicious serrated pirate blades! Gotta keep it fair, you know? Carving into the vanguard like a birthday cake covered in a lot of red food coloring, you feel a familiar scalding heat behind you and instinctively duck a blast from Talbot’s eye! Reducing several aggressors to crispy treats, the rest of their host is quickly mowed down by your team’s bullets in an incredulous lack of firearm safety!

Keeping your armor up, you and your gang make your way down the street dodging chunks of ceiling and building debris!

“Is it just me,” Eddie shouts over Kiki’s machine gun, “or are they running out of mermaids!?”

“Perhaps...” Syb replies, filling an approaching fish girl full of lead with Art’s borrowed sidearm, “Perhaps they’re tending to their Mother?”

How VERY touching! Removing a mermaid latched onto your arm with a few quick stabs from your claws, a nearby storefront catches your eye! Pausing to look, you can barely make out what’s behind the counter, but you can tell it ain’t stuff you’ll find on the surface!

“Stan…” Art warns, “We don’t have time. The SKY is FALLING.”

R-right…You uh… You don’t have time, do you? You should just keep on going…

>WAIT! LET’S JUST LOOK REALLY QUICK!
>LET’S KEEP MOVING!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5001610
>>LET’S KEEP MOVING!
>>
>>5001610
>WAIT! LET’S JUST LOOK REALLY QUICK!
No force on earth can keep us from a gift shop
>>
>>5001610
>>5001613

>>WAIT! LET’S JUST LOOK REALLY QUICK!

Changing to this cause this is exactly what Stan would do in this sort of situation.
>>
>>5001616
>>5001629
>WAIIIIT!

Looks like we're stopping to loot! You're in a hurry though, so here's how it's gonna play out:

ROLL ME 3d12! THAT'LL DETERMINE WHAT YOU SNAG! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF <<ONE>> ROLL! AS FOR WHAT YOU GET, WELL...

THAT'S PART OF THE FUN!
>>
Rolled 10, 12, 6 = 28 (3d12)

>>5001664
>>
>>5001669
>10, 12, 6

Oooh, I bet you're itchin' like a hound to find out what you got! Writing!
>>
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>>5001677
You take a few more strides in the direction of what Ly assumes is the FISHING PARK before faking your trusting gang members out and DASHING for the store!

“Oh son of a-” Art groans as he moves to tackle you!

GET HER!” Syb shouts, prompting Tucker and Eddie to dive for you too! They’re too slow, though--you’re greased lightning, baby! Leaping over their pitifully slow attempts to stop you, you duck into the tiny store and sucker punch the nearest display case!

“Stan, you IDIOT--this whole damn cave is collapsing!” Art growls as he follows you into the store with Gus and the rest of the guys! “Focus!”

Hissing like a possum, you rummage through the smashed case and do your best to snatch up anything your hand can grab as the boys try to pull you away!

“She’s… She’s like a wild ANIMAL!” Eddie whines as you struggle against them! As the destruction outside shakes the building to its foundation, your gloved fingers close around a SMOOTH, COLD ITEM--one that almost feels like it’s made of some kind of marble! Hastily stuffing it into your pocket, a plume of dust and sand tumbles from the store ceiling onto your face! Shaking your head, you plumb deeper into the case and feel something SOFT AND FLUFFY! As you move to put it in your pocket, you feel the guys tug on your legs in a concentrated effort!

“PULL!” Tucker shouts, marshalling the forces of evil to take you away! Wrenching a leg free, you fend them off with a series of flailing kicks before reaching into the display case one more time! Just when your fingers grasp something HEAVY AND BOUND IN LEATHER, you and your would-be rescuers are sent tumbling to the dusty floor by a massive quake!

GET OUTTA’ THERE!” Calls Mitzi from outside! “IT’S COMING DOWN!

Scrambling to your feet, you help the others out the door just before the ceiling buckles under the weight of a colossal stalactite! Reducing the shop to rubble in mere seconds, you and your team shield your eyes as a gust of air peppers your faces with dust and debris! Stepping away from the building, you feel the eyes of your pals burning holes into you as the buildings around you slowly but surely suffer the same fate as the shop you were just in!

“Stan…” Syb growls, “you-”

No TIME, you bark! Rushing in the direction Ly gave you, you continue towards the FISHING PARK with renewed purpose!

“... Yer’ just tryin’ ta’ avoid gettin’ yelled at, aincha?” Ly asks in a smug tone.

N-no! Moron!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5001812
One awkward jog through a crumbling underwater city later leads you to the familiar gates of the FISHING PARK--or what’s left of it!

“This should be our ticket out…” Art muses, his voice still topped with a hint of frustration from the shop debacle.

“Yep,” Gus nods, keeping his SAWN-OFF SHOTGUN ready. “Just gotta find a BUBBLE...”

Walking into the park like you own the place, the first thing that strikes you is the silence--if there were mermaids here before, they must have left in a hurry! As you instruct your team to split up among the pools, you take the opportunity to look at your ill-gotten gains from before.

You start by retrieving the SMOOTH, COLD ITEM from your pockets revealing a GREEN STATUETTE--or is it a TOTEM? In any case, the figure carved into the sea-green statue isn’t someone you recognize--wearing a luxurious, flowing gown and lavish jewelry, the totem’s subject resembles a woman with human and fish-like features with a gentle smile on her polished face.

“Definitely not a mermaid.” Ly remarks as you return it to your pockets. Not by a long shot... Trading the cold marble totem for the SOFT AND FLUFFY ITEM, for a moment it almost feels like you grabbed your ALLY GATOR PLUSH. Instead your hand returns with a small doll in the likeness of the masochistic hellspawn you’ve been fighting for the last few hours: a MERMAID DOLL. Staring into its dead yellow eyes, you have to bite your lip a little bit when you find yourself thinking about how goddamn cute it looks.

Putting the plush back before you get the urge to snuggle with it, you make sure the rest of your team is okay before reaching for the last bit of loot from your impromptu B&E. From your pockets comes a heavily-bound tome, its cover engraved with alien letters! Skipping to a few pages in, you find yourself looking at a picture of a-

A...

Oh gosh...

“Cripes,” Ly whispers in a spellbound voice, “Is DIS’ what dose’ fish girls are uh… Into?

The images on the page go far beyond those in the EYECANDY SMUT RAG you saw during your escape from Syb’s apartment… This is… This…

Hoo mama.

INVENTORY PASTEBIN UPDATED!

ROLL 1d00-10 TO BANISH THE MERMAID SMUT MAG BACK TO YOUR INVENTORY! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
>>5001817
Calling it for tonight--should be ready for more SUNDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST! Thanks again to everyone who voted for Stan in the tourney--it means a lot to me that you guys like that neurotic gremlin so much! Thank you for your support and I hope that Stan and pals (and enemies) continue to be a source of entertainment for you! See ya next time!
>>
Rolled 52 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>5001817
>>
Rolled 54 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>5001817
>>
Rolled 61 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>5001828
>>
>>5001835
>>5001836
>>5001864
>HIGHEST ROLL: 51!

JUST MADE IT! Writing!
>>
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Your eyes sting and your vision swims as you wrench your gaze from the ELDRITCH TOME in your hands. Though your body fights you every step and every inch, you manage to slam the book shut and stuff it back into the deep recesses of your pockets where no mortal eyes can gaze upon it again!

… For NOW!

“Dat’....” Ly huffs, regaining his mental balance, “Dat’ was close, cupcake… Looks like we snagged some interestin’ stuff back there…”

Your conversation is cut short by the arrival of several new chunks of ceiling crashing into the park from above!

“Okay, I think I’m sufficiently motivated to get outta’ here now!” Mitzi shouts from across the park! “Stan, what’s the actual plan here?”

“No sign of bubbles yet!” Eddie reports as Kiki un-pokes her head from a nearby pool!

“Nada.” Add Gus and Jay from across the way.

“Ze’ boys an’ I could always take a walk along ze’ bottom…” Andre suggests, “... But eet might be ‘ard to bring ‘er ashore if we find a vessel…”

“Not to mention we need to bring this guy along now.” Art adds, jabbing a thumb towards a sheepish-looking Talbot. D’oh! He’s RIGHT!

“We gotta find a BUBBLE or SOMETHIN’...” Ly mutters to himself. “Da’ question is, HOW?

How INDEED?
>TRY FISH FORM AGAIN AND SEARCH!
>REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!
>SEND ANDRE AND HIS BOYS! CAN THEY BLOW AIR INTO IT, THOUGH?
>SEND TALBOT! HE SHOULD BE OKAY WITH THE PRESSURE, RIGHT?
>FISH FOR IT! YOU’VE BEEN WAITING YOUR WHOLE LIFE FOR THIS MOMENT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5002204
>FISH FOR IT! YOU’VE BEEN WAITING YOUR WHOLE LIFE FOR THIS MOMENT!
>>
>>5002204
>>FISH FOR IT! YOU’VE BEEN WAITING YOUR WHOLE LIFE FOR THIS MOMENT!
>>
>>5002204
>FISH FOR IT! YOU’VE BEEN WAITING YOUR WHOLE LIFE FOR THIS MOMENT!
>>
>>5002240
>>5002278
>>5002282
Ladies and gentlemen....

... It's TIME.

>FISH FOR IT!

WRITING
>>
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The answer calls to you faintly like a slight tug on a fishing line--the bobber dipping below your mental pond’s surface ever so slightly, then disappearing into the depths completely!
You know what must be done.

“Stan!” Eddie shouts as your hand subconsciously reaches into your pockets, “You find something!?”

You don’t answer. Your hand finding what it needs, you retrieve your TELESCOPING FISHING POLE AND TACKLEBOX from your pocket and extend it to its full length. Watching the tool glisten in the eerie light given off by the crumbling city’s crystals, you give the fishing pole a satisfied nod as Talbot joins you at your side, eye wide with interest! Yes, you mutter to no one in particular, this will do…

“Errr, hate ta’ ruin da’ fun, cupcake, but won’t dat’ POP a bubble?”

Tuning Ly out as well, you find yourself taking a seat on the rim of the pool in front of you. Though debris and quakes rock your surroundings, the pond remains still--tranquil, even. Setting your TACKLE BOX down on the ground next to you, you open it up to see what you’re working with.

Besides a handful of sinkers, replacement hooks, and a few spools of extra fishing line, the box also contains a sectioned-off space for various baits--at the moment the tiny cells remain bare. Probably for the best, you think--if you saw, like… Dead mealworms or something you’d probably RALPH.

The true stars of the show, however, are the LURES--despite the box’ size, it only holds three at the moment: ONE IN THE SHAPE OF A SLEEK, BUT SHINY FISH, ONE COVERED IN GAUDY-COLORED FEATHERS, AND ONE THAT IS THE SPITTING IMAGE OF A SLICE OF PEPPERONI PIZZA.

STAN!” The unmistakable sound of Syb’s ’Getting Tired of Your Shit’ voice hits your ear like an open-palm smack! “Son of a…” Heavy platform boots stomp towards you with murderous intent, but you stand your ground--you HAVE to! “We’re gonna DIE and you’re seriously going to FISH?! Have you lost your damn min-”

It’s not easy, but like someone turning down the volume on a TV, you feel the Goth’s increasingly-annoyed voice drift away leaving only the gentle sound of water lapping at the pool’s edge and the sound of crumbling buildings. You tune the latter out as well.

Like a true angler, your life depends on this catch--bringing your rod behind you, you set your lure and prepare to CAST!

ROLL 1d20 TO LEAVE LUCK TO THE FISH! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF <<ONE>> ROLL!

While we’re at it, WHICH LURE DO YOU CHOOSE?

>SLEEK & SHINY!
>FEATHERED & FEISTY!
>PIZZA
>>
Rolled 14 (1d20)

>>5002327
No one has ever seen fish bite on a piece of pizza, which leaves only one logical explanation - this is a lure especially for bubbles!
>PIZZA
>>
>>5002335
>ROLL: 14 outta 20
>PIZZA

WRITING!
>>
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Time slows to a crawl and the world around you fades away as you attach the PIZZA LURE onto your line. Humming a jaunty tune, you cast your line into the center of the pool at your feet. A lazy smile settles on your face as the lure dips below the water, and despite knowing that Syb will, with absolute certainty, suplex you for this, you’d be lying if you said you weren’t enjoying yourself! Fishing, you mutter excitedly to no one in particular, how about that?

Your uncle always used to tell you that fishing was a lot like bagging a beautiful woman--it took patience, the right tackle, and a whole lotta’ time. Granted, he only really talked to you about fishing when he was a few mixed-drinks deep, but all the same you still find yourself shocked when you feel a strong tug on the line mere moments after casting!

“What da’ HELL?!” Ly exclaims, tearing through your fishing-induced serenity like a dog eating a steak! “How da’ heck do you already have a bite!?”

You shrug. Sure, you could attribute it to the location, lure, and/or conditions around you, but let’s be real here:

It’s all skill. Always was.

“Dis’ is da’ first time you’ve ever fished, you knucklehe-”

SSSSSSH! He’ll scare the bubble away! Though you’re itching to set the hook in your prey’s mouth, or whatever the bubble equivalent is, you sit like a statue for a few moments longer--you can’t rush fish, your uncle always said. Just like a woman…

“While we’re on da’ subject,” Ly continues, “Why go wit’ da’ PIZZA lure? Besides da’ obvious reasons, dat’ is.”

You respond to your skeleton with a practiced eyeroll. Man, you could write a BOOK about all the stuff Ly doesn’t know! Has he ever seen a fish take a bite of pizza before? Of course he hasn’t--fish don’t eat that stuff! That only leaves one probable explanation: this lure is for BUBBLES!

Ly sighs like a father who has had enough. “Stan,” he groans, “fish’ll eat anything, especially pizza. Have you ever trie-”

Your skeleton’s futile argument is cut short by a harder tug on the line--one that bends the top end dramatically downwards! With a hasty ‘SSSSSH’, you yank the pole backwards to set the hook, then hop to your feet for better leverage!

“Must be a big one!” Ly remarks as you struggle to keep the fishing rod under control! Fighting the thrashing of whatever’s on the line, you nearly fall in before Talbot steadies you by the shoulders! Working in tandem, the two of you fight whatever whopper of a bubble is on the other end! The question is: CAN YOU LAND IT!?

ROLL 1d100+5 TO REEL ‘ER IN! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 34 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5002387
>>
Rolled 14 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5002387
>>
>>5002393
>>5002400
Feel free to roll again! Almost there!
>>
Rolled 27 (1d100)

>>5002387
>>
>>5002393
>>5002400
>>5002450
>HIGHEST ROLL: 39!

Good thing it's just a bubble, right? RIGHT? Writing!
>>
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The answer is ‘YES,’ dang it! Digging your heels into the ground and leaning into Talbot for support, you get to work reeling in what you assume to be a MASSIVE bubble!

“Stan, be careful--” Syb warns in a more sympathetic voice. “We don’t know what’s down th-”

Whatever’s down there clearly feels like introducing itself! With a sudden yank on the line, the roles of ‘fisherman’ and ‘fish’ are reversed: still hanging on to your FISHING ROD, you stumble out of Talbot’s grasp and into the cold, black water below!

Carried away from the muffled shouts of your teammates, you do your best to hang on to your pole and, by extension, whatever the heck it’s hooked onto! Buffeted around by several currents, you take care of your vision and oxygen problems by activating your BONE ARMOR! Though the transformation traps some seawater in with you, it only manages to slosh around your thighs--thankfully nowhere near drowning height!

As you regain your equilibrium, you follow your fishing line into the shadows where a singular glowing eye watches you hungrily! Sensing your stare, the eye is joined by a familiar toothy grin--one stained with blood and viscera!

https://youtu.be/JHQa1SA3EtI
“Staaaaaaaan…” It bubbles through the water, “I was right!”

Emerging from the shadows with two new arms, PERIWINKLE winks at you as she flexes her new and improved biceps!

“I just had to eat some more meat, Stan--now I’m even stronger than before!”

It’s hard to sigh through your BONE ARMOR,, but you give it a shot anyway. Of COURSE this bitch would grow her arms back…

“Maybe it’s all’a dat’ ‘Omega-4 Fish Oil’ dose’ health freaks always gab about…” Ly guesses as you sink to the rocky ocean floor. Grinning as she pushes your hook deeper into her scales, the fish girl swims a few circles around you before adopting a fighting stance!

“Come oooooOoOOn, Stan--all I need is a little human meat! Mother won’t know what hit ‘er!”

Looking upwards amidst the tall rock spires around you, you fail to see any of your pals. Maybe they just need to know where you are?

“Hold still this time, okay? I promise I’ll make it extra painful!”

Grinding her teeth together, the fish girl’s face twists with confusion.

“Wait… Do humans like pain? I can’t remember… Anyways...”

You let her make the first move last time, but what about now?!

>LASER BLAST! TIME TO SIMMER THIS FISH!
>SLICE HER UP! THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM, RIGHT?
>DISTRACT HER WITH SOME MEAT FROM YOUR INVENTORY!
>BAIT HER INTO THE ROCKS!
>HEAD FOR THE SURFACE--SHE’LL BE AT A DISADVANTAGE UP THERE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5002495
>>LASER BLAST! TIME TO SIMMER THIS FISH!
>>
>>5002495
>BAIT HER INTO THE ROCKS!
Matadore time
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>5002498
>LASERS! (1)

>>5002504
>ROCK AND ROLL! (2)

Rolling for the action--whatever the result I'm gonna need a 1d100-10 ROLL DUE TO BEING UNDERWATER IN A HEAVY ARMORED SUIT FIGHTING A PSYCHOTIC FISH GIRL! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 46 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>5002569
>>
Rolled 53 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>5002569
>>
>>5002574
>>5002575
Feel free to roll again--I've got a few more updates in me this evening!
>>
Rolled 37 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>5002699
>>
>>5002574
>>5002575
>>5002700
>HIGHEST ROLL: 43

Writing!
>>
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Taking a page from your last encounter, you scan the area for an appropriate obstacle to lure PERIWINKLE into and find a nifty stalagmite formation not too far away from you! As you get into position, the fish girl throws you a curveball and giggles menacingly as she retreats into the shadows surrounding you!

“Guess she’s learnin’, huh?” Ly remarks as you frantically search your surroundings for your neighbor! You certainly HOPE not--your whole plan hinged on her still being a moro-

In a stunning demonstration of intelligence, the mermaid bursts THROUGH the rock formations you took cover next to and scoops you up like a dinner roll at a buffet!

“Not this time!” She taunts, flashing her many rows of teeth at your armor’s viewports! Springing your BONE CLAWS, PERIWINKLE beats you to the punch by slamming you through another rock formation--d’oh MAN, she’s using your own trick against you!

That’s not all, though--as you recover from the shock of her last attack, your struggle to break free is hindered again as she shoves you into ANOTHER group of stalagmites! And ANOTHER! Dazed and sore, your vision swims as the fish girl takes you up towards the surface!

“Hey, maybe she’s goin’ up fer’ air!” Ly guesses with confidence in his voice! “Hang in there, Sta-”

Your skeleton’s hypothesis is quickly proven false--though a few bullets enter the water from the surface, all of them go wide and miss your opponent! Swimming away from your gang’s killzone, the mermaid darts downward as she holds you in front of her like a newspaper!

“Hold still, now!” She orders in a mock-commanding tone! “This will look neat--honest anemones!”

Turning your head as much as you can with BONE ARMOR on, you identify your landing zone almost immediately--an exceptionally-pointy set of stalagmites dead-set on impaling you!

“I uh… I dunno if dis’ armor is gonna shrug dat’ off…” Ly mutters as sweat starts dripping down your forehead! One thing’s for sure--you’ve gotta BREAK FREE!

ROLL 1d00-10 TO NOT GET THE POINT! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS--DON’T FORGET TO DESCRIBE A SPECIFIC STRATEGY FOR EXTRA FLAVOR AND POSSIBLE BONEUSES TO YOUR ROLL!
>>
Rolled 18 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>5002728

Let's claw her off of us!
>>
Rolled 65 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>5002728
>>
Alrighty all--it's getting late on my end and I don't feel like asking for rerolls again. Not now, at least! We'll call it here for tonight and will probably continue MONDAY AROUND 6-7PM PST! Have a good start to your week and thanks again for playing!
>>
Rolled 3 - 10 (1d100 - 10)

>>5002728
Tickle her!
>>
>>5002776
>>5002728
So about that crit we have banked.....
>>
>>5002786
The crit? It's still around! I'd need consensus to use it, though.

>>5002745
Looks like you guys passed the roll, though--
>>5002776
Isn't a crit-fail or anything, so you're good!

Can't write an update now, buuuuut...

>HIGHEST ROLL: 55

WRITING AROUND 6-7PM PST! Maybe earlier!
>>
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Rapidly heading towards pointy death, you struggle to free your arms from the fish girl’s titanium grip, but it’s no use--she’s latched on TIGHT! Mind racing like a rodent on a hamster wheel, your foot unconsciously darts towards her chiseled abs in a last ditch attempt to break free! Giving your leg a bemused grin, the fish continues to ferry you towards your final destination, but freezes when your foot begins tickling her side!

“What da’ hell are ya’ doin’, cupcake?”

What is HE doing?! You thought HE moved your leg!

Before you and Ly can figure out what happened, you feel PERIWINKLE’S vise-grip weaken around your arms! Seeing your chance, you wrench your hands free, pop your BONE CLAWS, and go to the proverbial ‘town’ on the mermaid!

Gasping in a mixture of pain, surprise, and sick pleasure, your opponent loses hold of you amidst a cloud of blood and viscera! You stab a claw at her eye’s last location, but it goes wide--in return, the mermaid grabs your arm again before delivering a bone-rattling punch to your ribs! The armor and your ROCKABILLY RIBS cushion the blow, but you’d be lying if you said you didn’t feel it! As she tries to take a bite out of your head, you stick your claws into the arm holding you before kicking off of her washboard abs!

Drifting away from fish girl, your momentum carries you into a cluster of stalagmites! Though the impact jars you, it’s a lot better than the pointy alternative! Speaking of, forgetting to change course in all the confusion, PERIWINKLE sails stomach-first into the stalagmites she was going to skewer YOU on! As more blood clouds the water, the fish girl giggles with delight as she examines the damage!

“You’re as slippery as an eel, aincha’, Stan?” Coughing up a hunk of something fleshy, she grips both sides of the rock impaled through her and SNAPS IT OFF ITS BASE!

Yanking it out of her belly, the fish swings the bloody geological feature around like a club sending the bloody water swirling around her like cherry blossoms in a crappy anime!

HM HM~I wonder how much air you have left?”

The real question is how much longer you can keep this darn armor on! Fighting through the growing pain all over your body, you ponder your next move--your neighbor doesn’t look too hot, but she doesn’t look like she’s about to give up yet, either! WHAT’S THE PLAN!?

>LASER BLAST!
>LURE HER TOWARDS THE SURFACE! YOUR PALS CAN BLAST HER!
>TRY TO TRICK HER INTO A ROCK AGAIN!
>SHE’S GOT ANOTHER WEAPON! TIME TO DISARM HER AGAIN!
>WAIT, IS THAT TALBOT?!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5003576
>LASER BLAST!
>>WAIT, IS THAT TALBOT?!
>>
>>5003577
>LASERS!
>AND TALBOT!

What a twist! ROLL ME 1d100 TO KICK THINGS INTO HIGH GEAR--I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 4 (1d100)

>>5003641
>>
Rolled 81 (1d100)

>>5003641
>>
Rolled 30 (1d100)

>>5003641
>>
>>5003690
>>5003699
>>5003754
>HIGHEST ROLL: 81

WRITING!
>>
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Before you can answer that question, the fish lunges your way swinging her new weapon as if it was a twig! Ducking and weaving as best as you can in this stupid WATER, you lure PERIWINKLE in a little closer with each missed swing! Just when you think her rock club can’t come any closer, you feel your LASER EYE warm up for a shot!

“D’ooohohoho~not THIS time!”

Crap--she probably saw the glow! Before you can draw a bead on her, the mermaid swims backwards, tossing her club at you mid-retreat! Limboing underneath, you frantically try to regain your target as your eye continues charging, but it’s too late--by the time you find her, she’s already disappearing into the darkness! Damn fish parts!

As your eye stings with power, your vision swims with the addition of a new light source! Crashing through the stone above comes Talbot, his massive form contorted into an ELBOW-DROP!

Before she can react, PERIWINKLE takes an elbow bigger than hers to the back of the head! As cracks form around the impact point on her helmet, you square your stance and LET ‘ER RIP! Slamming into the seafloor, your bodyguard deftly picks the fish up from the muck and chucks her dazed form into the path of your laser! Sailing into the blast with CRACKERJACK TIMING, the freakish inmate is still wearing a Cheshire smile as the light envelops her!

The impact blinds you for a moment, and after a few seconds of panic, you hear the familiar sound of heavy boots approaching you! Squinting through blurry eyes, your vision falls upon a shape amongst the rocky sea floor resembling a burnt chicken nugget--the water around it tinged a deep crimson hue!

As the adrenaline wears off, it takes you a moment to realize that it’s getting harder to breathe! What GIVES?!

“I’m no doc, but I’d wager we’re runnin’ outta’ air.” Ly remarks as Talbot prepares to pick you up! Snatching your FISHING ROD off of the ground, a thought occurs--HOLD IT! HOW DO YOU FINISH THAT FISH OFF?!

>SLICE AND DICE!
>ONE MORE LASER COULDN’T HURT, RIGHT?
>HEAD TO THE SURFACE FIRST!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5004838

>SLICE AND DICE!
>>
>>5004838
>SLICE AND DICE!
>>
Sorry, all--stuff came up tonight and I'm gonna have to hold off on posting until WEDNESDAY AROUND 6-7PM PST. Hopefully won't be as busy then!
>>
>>5004838
>SLICE AND DICE!
>>
>>5004838
>HEAD TO THE SURFACE FIRST!
>>
>>5004903
>>5004957
>>5004987
>CUT TO THE CHASE!

>>5004993
>TAKE A BREATHER!

Writing! Got some plans later tonight so I can't promise a bunch of posts, but we're gonna try, dang it!
>>
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Eluding Talbot's helpful embrace, you instead trudge through the murky water over to the golden brown form of your opponent. Ignoring the lingering clouds of blood and gore, your approach elicits a weak gurgle from the mermaid as she slowly turns her singed head in your direction!

"S-Stan..." She mutters, smiling at you weakly with blood stained teeth, "Th-that was... You're pretty tough..."

Yea, yea, you snap, impatiently popping and retracting your claws, you get that a lot lately. Before you can make sashimi, the fish girl interrupts with a raspy giggle!

"Heheh... I guess... I guess I'm not gonna be stronger than Mother now..." Periwinkle wheezes, each movement sending her blackened scales drifting away into the current. "But... But you know wh-what?"

The mermaid gives you her trademark smile.

"I think... I think you're my first real friend, Stan... D-did you have fun too?"

You blink.

Okay, you blink TWICE.

When she doesn't get the hint, you decide to lay it out further--is she out of her GODDAMN MIND?! This whole side-story sucked and you hated every minute of it except for the Casino! Now you're probably gonna DIE because she had to ruin your fishing plan! Extending your BONE CLAWS one last time, you bring them both over your head and shake your head at your 'new friend'--NO, you growl, you DIDN'T HAVE FUN! ZERO OUTTA TEN, WOULDN'T RECOMMEND!

You're pretty sure Periwinkle's about to say something, but your BONE CLAWS beat her to the punch--dicing her into chunks that you're all but certain WON'T come back as a recurring boss, you catch what little breath you have left in your armor as her remains drift away into the shadows.

"Well," Ly mutters, "Dat's one problem solved, huh?"

Sure, you shrug, but that little dance didn't save you from the COLLAPSING FISH CITY. Not to mention how smug Syb's gonna be when you die because you couldn't fish for a bubble!

Kicking a stone in frustration, you pause as it bounces away from you a few times, then starts to head back your way. Raising an eyebrow, it only takes a moment before your whole armored body feels it--a massive current heading in your direction!

Planting your feet firmly on the chum-covered ground, you peer through the growing storm of detritus towards its origin--though you can’t see it, something in your gut tells you to prepare…

SOMEthing is coming!

What’s the plan?!
>HEAD TO THE SURFACE!
>STAND YOUR GROUND AND LASER IT WHEN IT COMES NEAR!
>FLANK IT WITH TALBOT!
>CHAAAAAAARGE! SURPRISE IT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5005923
>>STAND YOUR GROUND AND LASER IT WHEN IT COMES NEAR!
>>
>>5005980
>STAND YOUR GROUND!
Writing one last quick update for the evening!
>>
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Your breathing slows as the current pushes past your armor with increasing strength! Coupled with the fatigue from your recent battle and the pain induced by your power, you feel like a twig caught in a storm just waiting to be blown away!

“Here it comes!” Ly grunts as you hear Talbot slowly approach from behind! Though your eye still stings from residual heat, you keep it warmed up just in case as two glowing spheres the size of golf carts appear!

You can’t tell if their owner is about to attack or not, but there’s no time to guess--as the orbs draw closer, you spy a snakelike appendage reaching at you from the darkness!

>ROLL 1d100--I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 35 (1d100)

>>5006071

IT'S TIME
>>
Rolled 93 (1d100)

>>5006071
>>
Rolled 77 (1d100)

>>5006071
>>
>>5006124
>>5006193
>>5006200
>HIGHEST ROLL: 93!!!!

Sorry folks, lots of drama at work today--thank you ALL for your support in the Tourney thus far! Hope we can take it all the way to the bank, but I get it if you vote for Elise--she's a classy gal!

Writing!
>>
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Not today, FREAK! Grinning through the growing searing pain in your eye, you and Talbot line your sights up with the beast lingering in the shadows! Try and eat ole’ Stan, huh? You’re about to make a WHOLE lotta’ FISH ORPHANS!

Lighting up the water with your respective LASER EYES, you give the shadowy figure one last ‘HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, BITCH!’ before blasting a double-order of BURNING DEATH at the hairy creature’s stupid fa-

Waitaminute…

Tackling Talbot like a secret service agent, you knock the giant off-balance and send the two of you tumbling to the silt below!

“No you didn’t, cupcake…” Ly sighs in exasperation.

Okay, maybe you didn’t. It DID do the trick and stop him from firing, though, so doesn’t that count? Looking at you like you just grew antlers, your bodyguard frantically glances between you and the shadowy creature ahead. You don’t speak “Freakish Metallic Skeleton Hitman,” but if you had to guess, you’re pretty sure he’s wondering what the HELL you’re doing!

“Wait a sec...” Ly whispers as he stoops your head forward for a better look, “Is… Is dat’ what I THINK it is?”

You rub the gunk from your BONE ARMOR’S viewports again just to be sure--Sensing your intent, the silhouette cautiously moves into the disk of light created by the pools above revealing a tangled mess of flowing chestnut-colored hair!

“GREETINGS, HUMAN,” rings a voice from inside your head, “YOU HAVE DONE WELL TO MAKE IT THIS FAR.”

You’re not sure if it’s fatigue, pain, or just plain AWE, but something sends a shiver up and down your spine as the fish’s massive glowing eyes look you and Talbot over. Picking your metaphorical jaw off of the ground, you stutter a simple clarifying question:

W-w-who the h-h-HELL is he?!

“I…” The voice continues, “AM P’NAKTOS: WANDERER OF THE DEEP.” A colossal tongue brushes a few locks of hair away from an equally-humongous maw.

“THOUGH YOUR PEOPLE CALL ME… LUDWIG...”

Your usual interrogation is put on hold for a moment as an earsplitting squeal escapes from your lips! HO. LY. SHIT!

“LANGUAGE!” Ly snaps in a wavering voice!

How do… How do you even BEGIN with this guy!?
>BRING HIM TOPSIDE--SYB’S GONNA FLIP!
>GIVE HIM A SNACK FROM YOUR INVENTORY (WHAT ITEM?)
>ASK HIM FOR HELP!
>ATTACK! THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5007101
Sorry folks, but that's probably the only update I can manage tonight--today was an absolute SLOG at work. I'll be back FRIDAY though--most likely around 6-7PM PST! Thanks for your patience and congrats on making it through the week--we're almost there!
>>
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>>5007101
>>GIVE HIM A SNACK FROM YOUR INVENTORY (WHAT ITEM?)

Give him the packs of mystery meat.

>>5007103
Not relevant to the quest at all but pic-related.


Also... is the Deep Mother actually a dad?!
>>
>>5007101
>ASK HIM FOR HELP!
>>
>>5007101
>GIVE HIM A SNACK FROM YOUR INVENTORY (WHAT ITEM?) mystery meat
>ASK HIM FOR HELP!
>>
>>5007101
>>GIVE HIM A SNACK FROM YOUR INVENTORY (WHAT ITEM?)
Either mystery meat, or a can of the infinimeat we have
>>
>>5007115
>>5007255
>>5007787
>>5007171
>OFFER SNACK FOR AID!

WRITING!
>>
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The stupefied look plastered on your face morphs into one of devious glee--wait until Syb sees THIS! Noticing you rubbing your hands together with malicious intent, the colossal catfish licks its lips before once again reaching into your mind!

"WHAT BRINGS YOU TO THESE DARK HAUNTS, HUMAN? THE REALMS OF THE DEEP ARE NOT OFT TREAD BY LANDWALKERS..."

You respond with a shrug--what can you say? You go where you're needed! Before Ludwig can reply, the caverns surrounding you quake once again, filling the water around you with dust and pebbles. Waving some debris away with one of his whiskers, the catfish shoots you an accusatory glance.

"... YOUR DOING, I PRESUME?"

No WAY, you sputter jabbing a thumb in Talbot's direction! Nothing was shaking until THIS oaf showed up! As Talbot responds with a surprisingly-human glare, you hear ANOTHER voice in your head--one that you're far more familiar with.

"Hate ta' interrupt, kiddo, but maybe dis' guy can help us out?"

You cock your head to the side. Elaborate.

"Well," Ly continues with a teacher's voice, "Do ya' think 'Catch-of-Da'-Day' over here wants ta' be buried in rubble?"

You relay Ly's question to Ludwig. Does he?

"IT IS NOT YET TIME TO PASS INTO DEEPER WATERS..." He intones. So that's a NO, right?

"IT IS A 'NO'."

Gotcha.

"DAT'S OUR 'IN'!" Ly exclaims, shaking your armored body with his excitement! "Ask him for some help!"

You suppose you can give it a shot, you reply, clearing your throat and adopting a more relaxed stance. Hey freak--you gonna get us outta' here our what?

"BE NICE!" Ly shrieks!

Sheesh, you're trying to get a lift, not BANG the guy... Changing your posture again, you rework your request: would he uh... Would it be AGREEABLE, perchance, to extend a uh... Helping hand in escorting you and your pals out of here? You're a lady, so he HAS to do it!

As Ly borrows your hand to flick your forehead, the monstrous catfish mulls over your negotiation.

"... THE PATH TO WARMER WATERS IS NOT WITHOUT ITS PERILS, LITTLE ONE, AND TO FERRY SO MAN-"

You interrupt the fish by holding a few baggies of MYSTERY MEAT from that serial killer's lair out for him to see. Maybe THESE will change his tune!

"... IT WILL SUFFICE." Ludwig nods. "GATHER YOUR ALLIES AND PREPARE FOR PASSAGE..."

Following his gaze towards the surface, you give the old fish a nod--you'll only need a minute! Giving him one last wave, you take position next to Talbot and snap your fingers a few times--you've got some GLOATING to do!

Gently grabbing you by the shoulders, your bodyguard hops from the silty seafloor up towards the ring of light above!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5008062
Bursting through the surface, you and Talbot are met with a volley of gunfire, magic, and pirate blades! Though the attacks glance off of your BONE ARMOR, you're powerless against the forces of GRAVITY when Talbot releases you to shield himself! Tumbling to the ground like a bag of groceries, you swiftly remove your armor and give your 'friends' a dirty look--what the hell's their problem!?

"Sorry, Stan," Art mutters as he stows his rifle, " You were down there for a while."
"Thought you were one of those fish girls." Mitzi adds, twirling her SCIENCY GUN a few times before holstering it. "... Shame we never picked up one of those hats of theirs... Or tops..."

"Yea," Eddie drools, eyes glazed over imagining it, "Damn shame..."

"So uh... Are we gonna die here or what?" Gus asks, earning a nod from his brother.

"Well,” Syb begins with a smug, yet grin smirk on her face, “unless Stan’s hooked a submarine, it might be best if we all just lay down and d-AAAUUUUUGH!

You couldn’t time Ludwigs’ entrance better if you tried--breaching the water’s edge, the fuzzy fish appears before your group with a cornucopia of reactions! Cupping your ear, you motion for Sybil to continue. What was she saying just now?

“BuhBUHBUhBUh-”

The Goth swoons, falling like a felled tree into Art’s outstretched arms.

“Well,” Tucker coughs, “That explains why you were down there for so long…”

“He’s on our side, right!? Tell me he’s on our side!” Eddie gushes, eyes flashing with delight!

THIS ONE HAS BOUGHT PASSAGE, BUT WE MUST MAKE HASTE.” Ludwig answers, pointing your way with one of his hairy barbs. Before everyone can react to the catfish’ baritone voice, it opens its mouth wide enough for, well, everyone to hop in!

“Ooh no…” Art mutters, struggling under what little Syb weighs, “I’m not walking into anything’s mouth without good reason!”

Art scarcely finishes his sentence before a chunk of ceiling the size of a ZOOMMART crashes through the floor next to him! Trembling from his latest near-death experience, the guard shifts his gaze and Syb’s comatose form in the direction of the fish’s mouth.

“On second thought…”

Laughing heartily, Andre and his pirate band are the first to saunter into Ludwig’s mouth! “Smart lad--you’ll come to zee’ zat’ life doesn’t offer many second chances!” Nudging Art in the ribs with his elbow, Andre gestures for everyone else to follow, prompting Gus, Jay, and Mitzi to follow suit!

“Ho-ly CRAP.” Eddie mutters under his breath as Tucker and Kiki drag him to safety. “My uncle’s gonna FLIP.

Helping Syb and Art inside, you wait for Talbot to duck inside too before rapping your knuckles on one of the fish’ slimy teeth! With a low groan akin to a glacier shifting, the fish’s mouth gently closes, shrouding everyone in a muggy darkness!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5008066
You and your crew sit in silence for a moment before you feel your ride shift beneath your feet!

“So…” Mitzi asks from your left side, “Anyone gonna turn on their flashlights, or are we gonna keep grabbing eachother’s asses?”

“Whoops, sorry!” Eddie yelps!

Whipping out your FLASHLIGHT, three beams illuminate the inside of Ludwig’s mouth--one from you, the other two from Gus and Tucker. Taking a moment to examine your damp surroundings, Eddie’s once again the first to break the silence.

“Shame we can’t see outside--bet we’d have one heck of a view by now!”

“You could just stick your head out between the lips.” Mitz suggests as she gets comfortable against a nearby cheek, prompting a disapproving look from both Tucker and Kiki. “... What?”

“Errr, not that I’m ungrateful or anything, but where exactly are we headed?” Art asks, fanning Syb’s blank face with his glove.

YOU WILL BE RETURNED TO THE SHORE.” Booms the catfish’s voice. “THE SEA IS NO PLACE FOR LANDWALKERS.

You respond with a frown--wait a minute, can’t he drop you off at Rodrigo’s Ship or whatever? Or what about Atlanta? He ever hear of that?

A series of clicks bounces around the inside of the mouth. “THE CITY OF ATLANTIS IS BETTER LEFT BURIED, EVEN WITHOUT ITS NEW TENANTS.

“Aye,” Andre nods, idly trimming the edge of his whiskers with his cutlass, “Zee feesh speaks true--Zee lair of ze SEA WITCH can only be reached wit’ ze gift of WATER-WALKING!

This time it’s Art’s turn to frown. “Is that supposed to be a riddle or something?”

The skeleton shrugs. “I couldn’t say… ‘eard eet from a mate before we were sent on zis’ suicide mission!”

“I ‘eard thar be MAGES what be livin’ thar!” Grunts one of Andre’s pals with a wild look in his eye sockets! “They walk like ghosts on the seafloor wit’ runes of old!”

Runes, huh? You look to your resident RUNE AND OCCULT SPECIALIST for guidance, but she’s still in La-La Land.

“At any rate, zee captain still ‘as ‘is PET DEMON at ‘is beck an’ call.” Andre adds with a shudder. “Eef we signal ‘im from ze’ shore, ‘ell send a skiff to bring us aboard…”

THE TRAVELER IS UNWELCOME IN THESE WATERS,” Ludwig agrees. “BUT WE LACK THE STRENGTH TO BANISH IT OURSELVES…

Great, you groan--you’ll add it to your to-do list! Leaning against Talbot, you ponder your next move--guess you’re stuck with these jerks for a little while! WHAT’S FIRST?

>TALK TO ANDRE!
>CHAT WITH LUDWIG!
>CHECK ON SYB!
>TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
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Hate to say it, all, but that's the last update for tonight--this week's been wild and it's having me update late and tired... I'll definitely be game for more writing SATURDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST, but right now I feel like I'm running on half a tank and would rather wait to write better dialogue and such.

Before I go, though, thanks for supporting Stan in the Waifu Tourney--I wasn't expecting her to get as far as she did and I have YOU guys to thank! Thanks again for all of your support and patience--I know it's getting annoying by this point, but it really means a lot!

Thanks for playing along both in and out of this thread--hopefully I'll see you all on Saturday. There's been a lot of art posted in the tourney thread, so I'll leave you with one whipped up by BATHIC OF DROWNED QUEST REDUX before I sign off. Happy Weekend!
>>
>>5008069
>>CHAT WITH LUDWIG!

So... is Ludwig technically the father of all the mermaids?
>>
>>5008069
>CHAT WITH LUDWIG!
Elder fish god might be able to give us advice on the fairy godbitch we acquired
>>
>>5008069
>CHAT WITH LUDWIG!
>>
>>5008082
>>5008123
>>5008222
>CHAT WITH THE CAT!

Writing! Bit early today, but why not?
>>
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Unwrapping and chucking some MYSTERY MEAT into your ride’s gullet, you shake some residual slime off of your hand and sigh--you know, as far as great escapes go, this one is pretty boring!

“Don’t jinx it, idiot.” Art growls, putting a sour look on your face. Fine then, you huff, you’ll just have to make it interesting! Clearing your throat, you try to find an appropriate place to look when addressing the catfish, but you ultimately end up just staring at that weird dangly thing above his throat… The ‘uterus’, right?

THAT IS NOT WHAT IT’S CALLED.” Replies the fish’ deep, ringing voice.

Oh cool, you’ve got his attention! The question is, what do you talk to a fish about anyways?

>TELL US ABOUT ATLANTIS!
>WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT FAIRIES?
>SO WHAT’S HIS RELATION TO THOSE MERMAIDS?
>DOES HE HAVE ANY TIPS FOR DEALING WITH LICHES?
>YOU WANNA KNOW MORE ABOUT HIM!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5008544
>>WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT FAIRIES?
>>SO WHAT’S HIS RELATION TO THOSE MERMAIDS?
>>DOES HE HAVE ANY TIPS FOR DEALING WITH LICHES?
>>
>>5008544
>TELL US ABOUT ATLANTIS!
>WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT FAIRIES?
>SO WHAT’S HIS RELATION TO THOSE MERMAIDS?
>DOES HE HAVE ANY TIPS FOR DEALING WITH LICHES?
>>
>>5008544
>WHAT DOES HE KNOW ABOUT FAIRIES?
>SO WHAT’S HIS RELATION TO THOSE MERMAIDS?
>DOES HE HAVE ANY TIPS FOR DEALING WITH LICHES?
>>
>>5008548
>>5008554
>FAIRIES, MERMAIDS, AND LICHES, OH MY!

>>5008550
>THE WHOLE KIT AND CABOODLE

Looks like we're sticking with three questions for now--writing!
>>
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Doing your best to ignore the unidentifiable chunk of… Something... Floating by your feet, you open up the conversation by addressing the elephant in the room: is he, like… The DEEP DAD or something? Seems like he and Mommy would get along. You’re not sure how he does it, but Ludwig perfectly mimics the sound of spitting in disgust!

THE DEEP MOTHER AND HER BROOD ARE SAVAGE SCAVENGERS--BOTTOM FEEDERS IN A SHALLOW POND. LANDWALKERS AND SEA-DWELLERS ALIKE TELL TALES OF THEIR ENTICING SONGS, BUT THEIR OUTWARD BEAUTY HIDES THEIR CRUEL NATURE. MONSTERS MIMICKING THE VOICES OF ANGELS…

“... So that means you’re not the father, then?” Tucker asks, raising an eyebrow.

THE DEEP MOTHER AND HER BROOD ARE FAR MORE OLDER THAN I, BUT WHERE I SEEK KNOWLEDGE AND BEAUTY, THEY SEEK ONLY TO SATE THEIR UNYIELDING HUNGER. I SEE NO NEED TO MINGLE WITH ZEALOTS OR THEIR BLOODTHIRSTY QUEEN.

“Guess you won’t have to anymore,” Mitzi quips over the sound of collapsing rock and tunnels outside. “Queen Bitch and her remaining freaks are probably flattened by now, right?”

A low rumble vaguely resembling a chuckle rings throughout the fish’s mouth! “YOU WOULD BE WISE NOT TO UNDERESTIMATE THE DWELLERS OF THE DEEP--A CITY MAY FALL, HER BROOD MAY DIE, BUT THE DEEP MOTHER IS RESOURCEFUL… AND PATIENT.” Ludwig pauses to let his words settle into your heads. “... SHE WILL WAIT… AND PLAN... AND ONE DAY HER SMILING THRALLS WILL TEMPT LANDWALKERS AND SEA-DWELLERS INTO HER LAIR AGAIN… THUS SPINS THE WHEEL.

You clench your fist in frustration--damn it, if you had known she was a SECRET BOSS-

THAT BATTLE IS NOT FOR YOU, LITTLE ONE,” The voice interrupts, “NOR WILL IT BE FOUGHT TODAY. YOU ALREADY STAND AGAINST A GIANT--DO NOT RUSH BLINDLY INTO ANOTHER.

You roll your eyes. Whatever you say, DAD.

Eddie, Tucker, and Kiki visibly deflate. “So no climactic brawl with a sea monster, huh?” Eddie sighs. “Guess that’s not going in the movie…”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5008665
“Don’t be forgettin’ zee DEMON zee captain ‘as on a leash!” Andre interjects! “Ye be fools if you think eet won’t make an appearance!”

Yea, yea, you’ll deal with it when you see it! Besides, you’ve got bigger fish to fry-

A confused rumble escapes from Ludwig’s throat. Whoops. You mean, uh… You’ve got BIGGER problems! Speaking of… This fish seems to know a thing or two about creeps--what’s he got on FAIRIES?

“Cripes, Stan, not ‘DIS again…” Ly mutters.

“What, you mean that episode you had back at the High School?” Art asks, leaning Syb against the side of Ludwig’s mouth like a ladder. “Are you still thinking about that?”

Of COURSE you are, you shout! Ly’s been getting all sorts of neat powers because of all the weird tasks you’ve been doing!

“Hate ta’ burst your bubble, kiddo, but dat’s just talent.” Ly explains in a smug tone. “MY talent.”

He’s only talented at PISSING YOU OFF! Stomping your foot in the pool of… Whatever it is at your feet, you reiterate your question: FAIRIES! What’s the scoop?!

TRAVELERS FROM DISTANT WATERS PEDDLING MISERY AND PAIN. PLAYFUL SPRITES TO SOME, WRETCHED TORMENTORS TO OTHERS...” Explains the fish. “THEY ENSNARE THE WEAK WITH PROMISES AND BAUBLES, BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE: THEY ALONE BENEFIT IN THE END…

“So how do you get rid of ‘em?” Gus asks, raising a bushy eyebrow with interest.

LIKE OTHER TRAVELERS, THEY HIDE THEIR TRUE NATURE BEHIND ‘RULES’ AND ‘CONTRACTS’.” Ludwig continues in a measured tone. “WHEN THEIR PREY VIOLATES THEIR TERMS THE FACADE FALLS, BUT THE FAE WOULD NOT DARE BREAK THEM THEMSELVES…

“... Because then they’d look like hypocrites, right?” Mitzi asks, idly twirling her SCIENCY GUN.

PRECISELY. A PREDATOR WITH NO CAMOUFLAGE IS JUST THAT--A HUNTER. A THREAT.” A series of gurgles bounce around the fish’s mouth. “TO OPPOSE THE FAE IS TO SWIM AGAINST THE STORM--THEY ARE LEGION.

No, you growl, they’re ’FAIRIES!’ Speak ENGLISH!

... THEY MUST BE BEATEN ON THEIR OWN TERMS.” Ludwig continues. “USE THEIR RULES AGAINST THEM, BUT SWIM SOFTLY--LIKE THE DEEP MOTHER THEY ARE PATIENT PREDATORS…

You nod impatiently and utter a few ‘I see’s to imply that you get the picture. Words are nice and all, but you’d be pleased as punch if someone could just give you a DEMON-SLAYING GUN or something!

“Don’t be rude.” Ly growls. You’re NOT!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5008666
“Since we’re on the subject,” Art adds, “Do you know anything about LICHES? It’s kinda on the top of our docket right now…”

LANDWALKER SORCERY.” Ludwig growls with a hint of disdain. “POWER-HUNGRY FOOLS GRIPPING TO LIFE LIKE A CHILD REFUSING TO PART WITH A TOY. THOUGH SOME SHOW MORE TALENT THAN OTHERS, ALL LICHES MEET THE SAME END.

You frown. That sounds like a bummer.

IT IS INDEED ‘A BUMMER.’” Replies your ride. “NECROMANCY IS A PECULIAR ART--THOUGH INGESTING THE LIFEBLOOD OF OTHERS GIVES ONE POWER, THE PRACTITIONER MUST BE WILLING TO PUT THEIR OWN ENERGY INTO THEIR THRALLS…

“Syb mentioned dat’, didn’t she?” Ly remarks with interest. “Alla’ TIM’S LIEUTENANTS hold a bit of his power!” You nod--seems like the other boneheads do as well.

“‘Tis true…” Andre nods. “Zee liche’s will ees always there… Like a ‘eadache after drinking too much rum, non?”

“I’ve been thinking: what would happen if you uh… Ate the big guy’s marrow, Stan?” Art asks, looking at you with uncertainty. “You’ve been getting powers that way, right?”

You shrug. Maybe you’ll get LICH POWERS!

“Or he’ll get yours.” Gus suggests, causing a blanket of unease to settle over your pals. You uh… You never considered that.

POWER IS FLEETING...” Ludwig concludes, “AND FOR LANDWALKERS AND SEA-DWELLERS ALIKE, DEATH IS INEVITABLE. DO NOT WASTE WHAT LITTLE TIME YOU HAVE CHASING DOWN GRAINS OF SAND FOR YOUR HOURGLASS--LIVE A GOOD LIFE AND SHARE IT WITH OTHERS--TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE.

Sheesh, you mutter, did he ever consider doing like… Motivational Speeches or something?

NO.

Shame. Shifting to a more comfortable spot against Talbot, it finally occurs to you that the giant’s hands have been resting on your shoulders this whole time! Spinning around to face him, you feel them both swiftly return to his side as he makes a vague attempt at whistling a familiar tune! HEY!

WE DRAW CLOSE TO OUR DESTINATION.” Ludwig interrupts as you feel your ears pop. “DO NOT DAWDLE--THESE WATERS ARE FAR MORE TREACHEROUS THAN BEFORE…

Furrowing your brow at your bodyguard, you let out a resigned sigh as you look around the mouth--guess you’ve got time for ONE MORE THING, if any!

>ASK ANDRE SOMETHING!
>ASK LUDWIG ONE MORE THING!
>CHECK ON SYB!
>EXAMINE SOMETHING FROM YOUR INVENTORY!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5008668
>>CHECK ON SYB!
>>
>>5008668
>ASK LUDWIG ONE MORE THING!
Does he have anything on this demon that got summoned? Might be good to start reconning now.
>>
>>5008800
>>5008668
>>5008789

Support. Changing my vote.
>>
>>5008800
>>5008802
>THE DOWNLOW ON DEMONS!

Writing!
>>
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For a moment you briefly consider checking up on Syb, but you reconsider when she slowly regains consciousness. She’s always so dramatic, that one...

“Wh-where are-” The Goth’s eyes widen as the realization kicks in. “Oh… Oh my...” Shaking off the residual daze, Sybil notices Art watching her with concern and gives him a smile, then sees you staring and goes pale again. Well… PaleER.

“... Oh NO…

You give your purple-haired pal a malicious grin--oh YES. The dead look in her eyes says it all: she knows you’re never gonna let her live this down!

“Stan…” She mumbles in an uncertain voice, “Stan, yo-”

One moment, Syb, you reply with a wider grin, you’ve got some more questions for LUDWIG: THE LEGENDARY FUR-BEARIN’ CATFISH. Who YOU found. While FISHING!

A defeated whimper escapes the Goth’s lips as you turn your attention back to the fish’s Urethra-

“WRONG PART!” Ly shouts, sending you off-balance! Jesus, FINE, whatever the dangly thing is called! You’re not a FISHINARIAN or whatever!

Shaking off your skeleton’s rude interruption, you attempt to get one more question in before your trip ends--he seems like a pretty-informed fish--does he know anything about where this SEA DEMON came from? Or how you can send it back?

NO MATTER THEIR ORIGIN, NO TRAVELER CAN EXIST IN THESE WATERS INDEFINITELY.” Ludwig answers, causing Syb to jump in surprise! “THEIR MATERIAL FORMS ARE TRANSITORY--AND LIKE SEAFOAM ON THE SHORE THEY ALL FADE AWAY IN TIME…

Cool, cool… Suppose you DON’T want to wait for it to become bored--how the heck do you get rid of it? The walls of the catfish’s massive mouth shift as Ludwig thinks of an answer.

TO SUSTAIN THEIR PRESENCE IN THESE WATERS, TRAVELERS REQUIRE VAST AMOUNTS OF ENERGY--AMOUNTS THAT ONLY MASTER DEMONOLOGISTS CAN PREPARE…

“Guessing that means ATLANTIS....” Art mutters, earning a nod from Syb.

A POSSIBILITY INDEED. WITHOUT THIS ENERGY, THE TRAVELER WILL RETURN TO WHENCE IT CAME… THOUGH REACHING THE SUNKEN CITY IS NO SIMPLE FEAT FOR LANDWALKERS…

“An’ zee demon is sure to be nearby when not guarding zee captain!” Andre adds! “No inch of sea ees’ safe!”

You frown--how tough is this thing, anyways? Sounds much easier to just kick it’s ass until it runs away!

STRONG THOUGH YOU MAY BE, YOU WOULD FIGHT THE DEMON ON ITS TERMS.” Ludwig replies. “KNOW THIS: THE TRAVELER IS NO SIMPLE MERMAID…

“Eef we are lucky, zee captain an’ ‘is mateys won’t ‘ave time to summon zee beast…” Andre explains, earning a few ‘aye’s from his pals. “An’ eet will be easier to deal a decisive blow!”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5008874
You and your team members turn to face your temporary allies.

“Why are you so eager to kill your boss anyways?” Mitzi asks, raising an eyebrow the skeleton’s way. “Besides the obvious, of course.”

Andre’s eye socket narrows. “I live by a simple code: don’t kill me, I don’t kill you. Zee captain ‘as violated zat code more zen enough times--zis’ TREASURE ‘UNT being zee newest!”

Understandable, you nod. As per usual, stealth seems to be the best way to go here. If it comes to an all-out fight, though, well…

“Then we do what we always do.” Art shrugs. “Haven’t died yet…”

As the rest of your crew shares their support, you feel your ride slow down a bit!

WE HAVE ARRIVED. PREPARE YOURSELVES.” Seconds after his warning, Ludwig opens his mouth revealing a secluded beach illuminated only by your flashlights! As a refreshing wave of cool air washes over you, you lead the charge onto the sandy shore ahead and are the first to step back onto good ole’ Terra Firma!

“Oh thank GOD!” Eddie gushes, kissing the nearest pile of sand he can find! “Never thought I’d see CLEARWATER again!”

“Yea,” Tucker replies as he takes a deep breath of the smoky air, “Feels like we’ve been underground for ages!”

“Pretty sure the van and the caves are just down the street.” Mitzi reports as she airs her hair out. “Not bad, fish.”

“Zere ees no feeling quite like returning to shore!” Andre laughs as he and his mateys take a moment to feel the sand between their boney toes! As Gus takes Jay aside to talk and Ludwig stops for a quick breather on the shore, you ponder your next move!

>CHECK IN WITH GUS! WHAT’S HAPPENING?
>ASK ANDRE ABOUT THAT DAMN PEARL!
>TAKE A PICTURE WITH LUDWIG!
>HEAD TO THE VAN!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5008876
>ASK ANDRE ABOUT THAT DAMN PEARL!
>>
>>5008876
>>ASK ANDRE ABOUT THAT DAMN PEARL!
>>
>>5009024
>>5009035
>THE PEAAAARRRRL

Writing!
>>
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As the breeze caresses your sweat-speckled hair and your shoes sink into the cigarette butt-laden sand, your moment of respite is shattered by a sudden realization! Whipping around to face Andre and his cronies, you can barely sputter out your next sentence: the PEARL! You forgot all about it!

“Aye, zat’ would be quite zee problem…” The pirate nods, running a bony hand through his whiskers! Wait a minute--which arm was he missing before?

“Come, Stanley--did I ever tell ye zee story of ZEE SACK OF MERLAIS?” The name elicits a round of laughs from Andre’s pals, but you fail to see the point--err, no, you reply.

“Magnifique!” The pirate laughs. “Gather around, lubbers, an’ I will tell you one of zee MANY tales of my daring adventures!”

“Sounds like he’s gettin’ ready ta’ sell us somethin’.” Ly mutters as the rest of your crew scoots in. Clearing his nonexistent throat, the pirate begins his tale…

BANG!” The sudden shout causes you to leap into the air! “Zee explosion was ‘eard across zee colonies zat night, mon amis… For it ‘eralded zee defeat of zee greedy GOVERNOR DELEMUE an’ ‘is IRON GUARD!

“How?!” Mitzi exclaims with uncharacteristic enthusiasm!

“All in good time, ma cherie!” Andre answers with a roguish wink! “For you zee, before ‘ell boiled over, zee town of MERLAIS was zee gem of zee Atlantic--a thrivin’ sugar plantation an’ port, it was said zat’ ALL sailors, old or new, would drift into eet’s docks!”

Nice story, but not what you asked for, you growl!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5009089
“Very well, very well… Zee port ‘ad a reputation for two things: first, eet’ ‘eld zee treasure of countless ships an’ seamen--a right fortune, it was! Second, eet’s vaults were IMPENETRABLE!”

The skeleton leans close with a conspiratorial grin. “Eet was said zat’ zee’ men guarding zat’ post were ‘and-picked by God ‘imself--zat’ each one was worth ten gentlemen of fortune such as meself! An’ you didn’t ‘ave to take anyone’s affadavy--pulling into port yee’d be greeted by zee rotting corpses of would-be thieves ‘angin’ from zee fortress walls!”

“So what happened?” Gus asks, reentering the circle with his brother in tow.

“What do you think? We attacked, we did!” Replies a stocky member of Andre’s gang with a laugh! The butcher gives his man a long, hard look, but it swiftly subsides!

“Aye, zat we did! Wit’ nary but a sloop an’ a ‘andful of men, we pounded zee walls wit’ cannons an’ kegs! Zey thought us mad, zey did, but those guards, tough as zey come… Zey couldn’t ‘it us!”

“But you couldn’t do anything either, right?” Syb asks, leaning in with interest.

“Aye, eet was a stalemate, eet was.” Andre nods knowingly. “An’ just when zee bombs an’ bullets grew to a din zat’ would rival ‘ell itself, zee sloop left!”

“Wait, just like that?” Eddie asks, exchanging confused glances with Kiki and Tucker.

“Just like zat.” Andre replies with a mischievous smile. “An’ when zee guards returned to zee vault, zey found eet’ RANSACKED! Nothing was left, not even zee’ Governor’s prized portrait!” Stifling a chuckle, the pirate sweeps his gaze across his audience. “Now, my dears--’ow do you suppose ‘zat ‘appened?”

Oh man, how DID it ‘appen? If you had to guess…
>THEY HAD AN INSIDE MAN!
>THE EXPLOSIONS MADE A PASSAGE!
>THE BATTLE WAS A DISTRACTION!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5009090
>>THEY HAD AN INSIDE MAN!
>>
>>5009093
>INSIDE MAN!

Writing!
>>
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You blurt the answer out before anyone else can look smart--isn’t it obvious? They had an INSIDE MAN! Check please!

The pirate quietly stares at you for a moment or two, then bursts into laughter along with his friends!

“‘Inside Man?’ Non, ye’ blige head--zat’s not eet at all!”

“Nice one, Stan.” Mitzi jokes, prompting everyone to point and laugh! Oh no, even Talbot and Ludwig are doing it!

MORALE -1!

Regaining his composure, Andre takes a few more deep breaths before continuing his tale! “Ahhh… Non, zee truth ees zat we left only a scant few men aboard zee sloop--a right ‘SKELETON CREW,’ ey, maties?!”

The pirates erupt into another round of patella-slapping laughter, but you don’t care--you’re still mad! AND he never told you about the damn pearl!

“Aye, aye…” The pirate nods, clearly pleased with himself. “So while zee men on zee sloop fired upon zee walls, zee OTHERS took a skiff ‘round zee back an’ scaled zee cliffs!”

“And you took everything while they were distracted.” Tucker guesses, earning a round of ‘YAR’s from the pirates!

“Zat was just one of my many tales, but eet’ ‘olds a special significance in my ‘art!” Andre explains. “You see, Stanley, eet doesn’t matter ‘ow many mates you ‘ave, nor does eet matter ‘ow well trained zey are!” As Andre explains himself, his previously-missing arm skitters around his chest like a manic tarantula! “As long as you ‘ave zee right distraction, you could steal zee beard ‘airs off of God ‘imself!”

Pausing to rest on his head, Andre’s hand on his missing arm opens up revealing a SHIMMERING ORB sitting daintily between his fingers! Barely bigger than a marble, the MERMAID’S TEAR shines with an unnatural hue, bathing you, your friends, and the beach sands in a soft multicolored hue!

“You may applaud now.”

Blinking a few times just to be sure, a goofy grin emerges across your face!

“Holy crap, he actually DID it!” Eddie gushes, earning a theatrical bow from the pirate. He sure DID!

>CONTD.
>>
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“Eeh, eet was much easier wit’ our new… Gifts...” Andre explains, rattling his ribcage for emphasis. “But zee prison riot made eet far easier. For zat, Stanley, you ‘ave my thanks!”

With a flourish of his hand, the pirate holds the pearl out for you to take. Wait, you mutter under your breath, is… Is he seriously-

“You aim to send zee captain to Davey Jones...” Andre remarks. “An’ you bested my RAT of a brother--I could KISS you for zat!”

A creeping, uncomfortable feeling worms its way up your stomach and onto your face.

“... But erm... I won’t.” The pirate quickly adds. “My men and I will ‘elp, zo… Our blades are yours!” Shoving the TEAR closer to your face, the pirate looks at you expectantly. “Come now, do you REALLY believe I ‘ad a care for zis’ pearl? We merely wished to ESCAPE! I know ow’ to signal zee MANATEE-- zee only question now ees what to do wit’ zee good captain’s treasure!”

“A cure-all, huh?” Art remarks, drawing closer to get a better look. “Think it could cure T’s baldness?”

Laughing at his own joke, Art quickly regains his composure when no one else laughs. “Err… Seriously though, do you think it could fix him?”

Looking at your bodyguard, you shrug--this thing didn’t exactly come with an instruction manual, did it? Didn’t everyone talk about how it might turn skeletons into dust or something?

“It certainly MIGHT.” Syb replies, approaching as well. “But it might NOT either… My biggest concern is whether or not we’ll need this later… I can sense some powerful magic inside…”

“Wonder what human Talbot would be like, anyways?” Mitzi muses to herself. “Think he’d be a talker? I bet he’d be a talker.”

“Woah there--even if it DOES work, what if all of his powers go away?” Eddie adds! “What if he doesn’t remember anything?”

“What if we leave him the way he is, though?” Tucker counters. “Who’s to say the lich won’t regain control over him or something?”

“Could always just save it.” Gus grunts, nodding in Syb’s direction. “Would suck if we needed one later.”

“Zee choice is yours, mon ami.” Andre concludes as he places the PEARL in your hand. “And quite a choice it is!”

“We’ve only got ONE, Stan…” Art warns. “Don’t drop it…”

Examining the shining bauble, you feel unease settle into your chest--you’re usually good at these choices, but man… This is a STUMPER! What should you DO?

>KEEP IT FOR LATER!
>GIVE IT TO ANDRE! MAYBE HE CAN USE IT IN A PLAN!
>HOLD ON TO IT--YOU’VE GOT A SKELETON PAL OR TWO TO TRY IT ON!
>GIVE IT TO TALBOT!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>5009171
And I hate to say it, but that's all, folks--falling asleep at the keyboard! I'll check in SUNDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST, though, so think hard until then!

See you next time!
>>
>>5009171
>>KEEP IT FOR LATER!

Let’s nerf Talbot when we have more info on the pearl
>>
>>5009171
>KEEP IT FOR LATER!
>>
>>5009171
>KEEP IT FOR LATER!
>>
>>5009171
>>GIVE IT TO TALBOT!
Just voting for this because its not gonna happen, but I'm here for Talbot husbando
>>
>>5009213
>>5009171

Switching to this cause, if I remember correctly, all there is standing between Talbot murdering Stan is some sciencey patch or something. Someone confirm this.

Also Stan needs a man.
>>
>>5009202
changing vote to
>GIVE IT TO TALBOT!
>>
>>5009199
>SAVE IT FOR A RAINY DAY!

>>5009213
>>5009225
>>5009231
>GIVE TO TALBOT!

Writing!
>>
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Rolling the pearl between your fingers, your eyes lock with Talbot’s as he watches you with an indecipherable expression.

STAAAAAAAN….” He grunts, not bothering to elaborate further. Biting your lip as you try in vain to read his expression, you find yourself unable to come to any other conclusion.

Let’s do it.

“Wh-really?” Art stammers, clearly surprised! “You’d… You’d really do that?”

Of course you would, you snap! The only thing keeping him from murdering you is some weird sciencey crap that dweeb DENISE whipped up--she’s probably playing the long con to steal your SWEET BATHTUB back at THE LODGE!

“Hang on,” Mitz interrupts, “What kind of tub are we talking about here?”

“Who cares about the tub?!” Eddie exclaims! “What if it kills him? What if he loses all of his superpowers? You really wanna’ take that chance?”

Frowning at the ground, you search your head for an answer--your pals have some good points, but-

“... But you still want to try.” Looking up from the sand, your gaze meets Syb’s, who gives you an uncharacteristically warm smile. “If anything you’d like to pay him back, right, Stan? That’s what you were going to say.”

Blinking a few times, you respond with a nod--y-yea! You figure he’s earned it, that’s all! Dude gave you his eye, for crying out loud--why wouldn’t you try to make him human again?

“Humanity be overrated, but aye--t’would be far better suited for one who not been dead a spell.” Andre nods knowingly. “Better to be dyin’ a man than living a slave, non?”

“Anyone check if he wants it?” Gus grunts, causing the conversation to fall silent. Taking his words into consideration, you look to Talbot’s hood-obscured face for a response. Studying you with his remaining eye for a few moments, he finally gives you a small, but firm, nod.

“That’s that, then.” Gus shrugs.

“Guess so.” Eddie sighs with a shrug. “What do you think, Lud?”

I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU PEOPLE. CAN I LEAVE NOW?” Replies the voice in your head with a pinch of impatience. As you prepare to hand over the MERMAID’S TEAR, Kiki tugs on Tucker’s sleeve and whispers a few words in his ear.

“Good point, K.” Turning your way, Tucker gestures down the shore in what you assume to be the direction of the CAVE PARKING LOT. “Kiki thinks we should do this by the VAN in case, uh… In case of complications.

You nod. Talbot’s been patient--he can wait another minute or two, right?

“And it’ll give us a chance ta’ think it over.” Ly adds. Yea, that too.

In the meantime though, what’s next?

>CHECK IN WITH GUS! WHAT’S HAPPENING?
>TAKE A PICTURE WITH LUDWIG!
>HEAD TO THE VAN!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5009573
>>TAKE A PICTURE WITH LUDWIG!
>>HEAD TO THE VAN!

We need supreme proof that we caught the catfish
>>
>>5009573
>TAKE A PICTURE WITH LUDWIG!
>HEAD TO THE VAN!
>>
>>5009585
>>5009604
>ONE QUICK PIC AND WE'RE GONE!

Writing!
>>
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No doubt about it--after the last few hours you’ve all but had enough of the beach! Stowing the MERMAID’S TEAR in your inventory for now, you nod to your friends--time to relieve the captain of his duties!

“About time!” Art says with a smirk! “Feels like I’m gonna fall asleep on my feet…”

“Ditto.” Eddie adds, wiping some sweat from his forehead. “Can’t believe I’m saying it, but I think I’ve had my fill of THE WAILING CAVERNS…

“Don’t say that, man,” Tucker interrupts in a concerned voice, “Give it a few days--you’ll be taking girls on crappy dates again before you know it!”

“Definitely puts all of my SCUBA trips in a new light…” Mitzi sulks, ignoring Tucker and Eddie’s shove-fight growing in intensity. “Still gonna do it, of course, but still.”

“Shall we, then?” Syb asks in almost TOO eager tone! Nice try, jerk, but there’s ONE more thing you wanna do!

Stuffing your CELLPHONE into the Goth’s pale hands, you stride over to Ludwig’s side and grin--what’s she waiting for? You’re ready for your close-up!

“O-Oh, of c-course!” Syb stammers, your phone shaking in her trembling hands! “H-how could I forget…”

How indeed? Turning to look at the massive fish, you raise an eyebrow expectantly. He uh… He doesn’t mind if you take a picture, does he?

ONLY IF YOU SHOW ME IT WHEN WE’RE DONE.” He replies. “I DON’T WANT TO LOOK FAT.

No sweat! Motioning for Syb to let ‘er rip, you strike an appropriate pose as your pale reluctantly takes a few photos! Depositing the phone in your outstretched hand, Syb plants her hands on her hips and looks at you expectantly.

“Well?”

Well, you reply, they look pretty convincing! Holding your device out for Ludwig to examine, the fish responds with a low, rumbling gurgle.

NOT MY BEST, BUT IT IS ACCEPTABLE.

Good enough for you! Patting the fish’s damp fur, you give him a nod of thanks--he really helped you out back there!

WE COME FROM DIFFERENT WORLDS, LANDWALKERS AND SEA-DWELLERS, BUT ALL CREATURES FOLLOW THE SAME CURRENT… FARE WELL IN YOUR CRUSADE, STANLEY, AND TELL YOUR PEOPLE TO PICK UP THEIR PLASTIC--IT PISSES US OFF.

Your team waves goodbye as Ludwig sinks back into the waves, vanishing into the seafoam like he was never there at all… Looking through your pics one more time, you nod to your comrades--time to hit the road!

>CONTD.
>>
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The trek along the coastline is quiet, save for the rhythmic roar of the waves against the sand. Aside from the sound of distant gunfire in the city, a part of you finds it… Well… Peaceful.

“Looks a lot different than it does during the day.” Mitzi remarks as she sidesteps a cluster of seaweed. “... And when all of the streetlights are out.”

“It’s certainly nicer without all of the tourists.” Art mutters, kicking a used needle out of his path. “And there’s plenty of parking, too.”

“We oughta’ come back and have a beach day!” Eddie suggests, earning a round of perplexed looks. “Y-you know… AFTER all of this is over.”

“I’m not much of a beach bum,” Syb explains, holding out a pale arm for emphasis, “... But I suppose I could make an exception.”

NOOOO SWEEEAAAAAAT…” Talbot adds, earning some well-deserved laughs from the others! You’re imagining what kind of swimwear Talbot would wear when you spot it--far behind you lies the CLEARWATER PIER-- a relic of simpler times before skeletons walked the earth and you had to make all the tough decisions. Following your gaze, Syb gently wraps her arm around your shoulder.

“You’ll have quite a few people to talk to once this is all over, huh?” She asks in a soft voice. You nod--you’ve got one hell of an excuse, that’s for damn sure.

“One step atta’ time, right?” Ly remarks in a good-natured tone! “Focus on da’ now, cupcake!”

Shaking the nostalgia off, you nod--he’s right. You’ve still got a few more skeletons to stomp!

“Speaking of,” Gus interjects, “Guess this is our stop.”

A flight of sand-caked stairs leads upwards into a familiar parking area--the rusty fence surrounding it labeled ‘CAVE PARKING ONLY!’ Ascending to the top, you’re met with a distressing sight--though your van and Gus’ bike remain unscathed, the WAILING CAVERNS BUILDING resembles a Victorian-Era factory! Though the structure remains intact, thick plumes of dust and debris escape from every door, window, and crack they can find, and as you draw closer your nostrils are met with the acrid smell of ozone and burning metal!

“Wow.” Mitzi remarks as she sends a sympathetic look in Eddie’s direction. “Guess they’re gonna be closed for renovations, huh?”

As Eddie watches in abject horror, you’re distracted by Gus and his brother Jay heading for the bike--holy cow, you totally forgot he was with you!

“Where are you guys off to?” Art asks, glancing between you and the brothers.

“Takin’ Jay to the Pizza Shop.” The delivery man replies, prompting a friendly wave from his sibling.

“Err… Okay?” Art replies with a confused look on his face. “You uh… You cool with that, Stan?”

Are you?
>YEP! CATCH YA LATER, GUS!
>YOU CAN’T WAIT UNTIL AFTER WE USE THE PEARL?
>WE NEED YOU FOR THE PIRATE SHIP!
>SOMEONE ELSE CAN TAKE JAY! (WHO?)
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5009680
>>YOU CAN’T WAIT UNTIL AFTER WE USE THE PEARL?
>>
>>5009680
>YOU CAN’T WAIT UNTIL AFTER WE USE THE PEARL?
>>
>>5009687
>>5009756
>CAN IT WAIT?!

Whoops, got distracted by a TV show--we're still here! Writing!
>>
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No, you reply with a stomp of your foot, you AREN’T! Charging over to Gus and his brother, you jab a finger into his chest--is he INSANE?!

“Probably not.”

That’s not what it sounds like to you! Jabbing a finger towards Talbot, you raise an eyebrow as you continue your rant. Is he seriously considering running off before you give the pearl to Talbot? Without even saying ‘Get Well Soon’?

“I uh…”

Look at what you’re doing to Big T, Gus! LOOK! Standing on your tiptoes, you grab Gus by the cheeks and tilt his head in the direction of your bodyguard, his obscured face somehow resembling a dog’s when their master’s about to leave the house! Seeing his horrible mistake, Gus looks at you with as much embarrassment as his face can conjure!

“My bad.”

Taking the closest thing you’re going to get to a heartfelt apology, you release the delivery man’s face from your vise-grip and nod--apology accepted… For NOW!

“Oh yea, before I forget.”

Before you can proceed, Jay reaches into his seawater-soaked suit and fishes out a laminated card with his face and a few other details printed on it. It even comes with a lanyard! Sweet!

“You guys rescued me, so I guess you can have this.”

Taking it from his outstretched hand, you examine the card a bit further and spot a magnetic strip on the back. Must be a KEYCARD or something!

“Yep, for CITY HALL.” Jay nods. “Figure you could use it, or something.”

Stuffing it into your inventory, you give Gus’ brother a smile--it certainly couldn’t hurt! That settled, you and the others approach your vehicles and settle in for… Well, whatever’s about to happen.

INVENTORY PASTEBIN UPDATED! AND THE IMGUR!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5009869
“Alright,” Eddie begins, trying to fend off the growing sense of unease in the air, “Do we uh… Should we lay out a rug or something? How does this even work?”

“Now that you mention it,” Tucker mutters to himself, “We don’t really have instructions, do we?”

Feeling Talbot burn an uneasy stare into the back of your head, you take charge and ask the foremost authority on your team--Andre, did the captain mention anything about how to use it?

The pirate idly scratches his whiskers. “He didn’t mince words about zee details, non… But zee mermaids WERE rather fond of eating things, so…” Ending his sentence with a vague hand gesture, you shift your gaze to Syb. She’s up!

“I’m at a loss as well, I’m afraid...” She explains with a sheepish grin on her face. “But if the pearl’s container is weak enough then Andre might be correct--it IS small enough to be ingested, after all…”

“Well gee, I’M convinced.” Mitzi quips as she leans against the van. “It’s magic, right? It’s bound to do something as long as we give it to the big guy.”

“Still,” Art mutters as a troubled look forms on his face, “We’re not really sure what the outcome of this is gonna be, are we?”

Unease forms in your chest. What’s that supposed to mean?

“I…” Art begins, words trailing off into the night air, “Look, I don’t wanna sound grim here, but before we try this out, shouldn’t we er…” The guard lets out a deep breath before turning your way. “Do… Should we uh… Say anything? Just in case something goes wrong?”

You respond with a frown--is he stupid or something? Nothing’s gonna go wrong--it’s a CURE-ALL, not a KILL-ALL!

“Right, sorry…” Art stammers, looking down at his boots. “I just thought… You know what, never mind.”

An uncomfortable silence falls over the group as you consider his words--YOU’RE never wrong, of course, but… You know… In the off-chance that you ARE wrong for once…

What would you like to say to Talbot?
>TELL HIM HE’S BEEN A HUGE HELP!
>TELL HIM HE’S YOUR FRIEND!
>TELL HIM, UH… TH-THAT… YOU’D BE REALLY ANNOYED IF HE DIED!
>TELL HIM THAT HE’S GONNA BE FINE NO MATTER WHAT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5009872
>TELL HIM, UH… TH-THAT… YOU’D BE REALLY ANNOYED IF HE DIED!
>>
>>5009872
>>TELL HIM, UH… TH-THAT… YOU’D BE REALLY ANNOYED IF HE DIED!
>>
>>5009872
>TELL HIM, UH… TH-THAT… YOU’D BE REALLY ANNOYED IF HE DIED!
>>
>>5009883
>>5009893
>>5009935
>I-IT'S NOT LIKE I'M WORRIED ABOUT YOU OR ANYTHING!

Writing! Sorry again for the wait--Sundays are just packed, man!
>>
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Turning your attention to your killer-turned-bodyguard, the uneasiness in your chest grows tenfold as he regards you with an almost pleading look. Sure, you wouldn’t want to lose anyone on your team, but after that close call with Art, well…

Suddenly your friends don’t seem as invincible.

And then there’s Talbot. Your first impression was strained, to say the least--ambushing you at school after a particularly-draining battle with Cliff’s old pal Rocky, the tenacious bastard must have followed you halfway across town TWICE in a dogged attempt to put you in the ground. If he was any other skeleton that might have been the end of it, but not him--no siree.

Sure, you had a bit of a rough start where he gouged out your eyeball, but once Denise’s science crap started working, well… Things changed. Helping you escape from the lab, the standoff at the dam, hell, he even gave you a replacement eyeball! When you and your friends were fighting for your lives in a fish girl-infested hellhole, he tore a natural wonder of the world apart just to get you out safely!

In brief, Talbot’s okay in your book. Maybe more than okay. Okay, VERY okay. All of those reasons should make it easier to say something reassuring, right? So why can’t you SAY SOMETHING?!

Approaching the giant like a hangman approaching the execution block, you feel a faint tremble in your extremities as you draw closer--one that only grows in intensity as you stop in front of him. Digging the MERMAID’S TEAR out from your pockets, you unconsciously avert your eyes from his gaze as the others wait for you to act.

So you do. Tackling him like a football practice dummy, you hold him in a close embrace as every possible bad outcome races through your head. Feeling a massive, yet gentle hand pat your back, you recoil quickly to save face, then sputter out some words as best as you can! You don’t know what’s gonna happen, you explain, idly fussing with your hair, but you know one thing for certain: you are gonna be REALLY peeved if he dies or something bad happens! It’s gonna be BIBLICAL!

Briefly glancing at the giant’s face, you swiftly avert your eyes one more time as you feel his bearing down upon you. With an exaggerated sigh, you extend the pearl towards Talbot and do your best not to react when you feel him take it.

“Whatever happens, T, you’re one hell of a guy.” Art remarks.

“You heard Stan--don’t piss her off.” Mitzi adds.

NOOO…. SWEAAAAAAT…

Talbot’s catchphrase is punctuated by the sound of something being swallowed. Looking back at your bodyguard, he almost looks at peace as the magical orb settles into his stomach.

That is, until it starts to glow...

>CONTD.
>>
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You’re pretty sure he isn’t going to explode, but that doesn’t stop you from diving to the ground as a rainbow of lights escape from Talbot’s coat!

“STAN!”

Pulled to a safe distance by Eddie and Art, you watch helplessly as the giant roars in agony! Convulsing as if he were being electrocuted, your bodyguard slams against the side of the van and sends it rocking back and forth like a cradle!

“He’s gonna wreck the van!” Art shouts, moving to pull him away! Before the guard can get close, however, he’s intercepted by Mitzi and Gus whose combined effort manages to pull him back! Watching from what you hope is a safe distance, Talbot’s jerky dance culminates in a storm of lights akin to the end of a fireworks show! Engulfed in the display, your bodyguard gives you one last look before disappearing into a blinding light that sends you and your friends reeling to the parking lot pavement!

You’re not sure how long you lay there--you spend at least a minute or five trying to blink back your vision and another three or eight getting rid of the blur. The fuzz is only half-gone when you hear a faint hiss in the direction of the van--one that slowly morphs into recognizable words in an unrecognizable voice!

OoOouugh…. What…. What the hell?

Scrambling to your feet, you fight through the nausea and double-vision and rush over to what you assume is the van--though you have a bit of a close call with Gus’ bike, it doesn’t take long for you to locate the source of the voice!

“W-who… Who’s there?”

Lying at your feet is a messy-haired boy who can’t be much older than you. As your sight slowly returns, you find yourself looking at a pair of dazed eyes--one brown, one red--the latter matching your replacement eye and his mahogany-colored hair. Sensing your presence, the human shifts weakly in his baggy clothes and addresses you as if he just woke up.

“Is… Is that you, Stan?”

You unconsciously bite your nip as you nod a response--yea, you whisper, it’s you.

“Come..” He whispers, “Come closer… So I can… So I can see…”

With a hasty ‘sure’, you lean in close to give him a better look. Pursing his lips, the boy studies you for a moment as if trying to solve a puzzle.

“It is you…” He mutters, a smile creeping onto his lips.

Yep, you reply with a smile of your own.

With a faint chuckle, Talbot lets out a sigh of relief.

Then promptly FLICKS you in the forehead!

>CONTD.
>>
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https://youtu.be/9fAwnyBD5lw
Whether it’s due to surprise or the force behind his finger, you stumble backwards while uttering a pained ‘OWWWW!’ prompting the others to emerge from their hiding spots! Regaining your balance, you rub the spot where Talbot flicked you and spit a response: what the HELL was that for!?

“You’ll be PEEVED if I die? PEEVED?!” Rising from the ground with a look of disdain on his face, Talbot, or at least the human desperately trying to move in Talbot’s baggy clothes, stumbles towards you with one hand holding his pants up, the other readying another flick!

“Christ, GUS could have come up with something better!” He exclaims, jabbing his thumb at the two brothers idling next to the delivery bike! “Kiki too--at least she woulda’ rhymed it or something!”

Is this guy serious?! Stomping over to your fellow Evening Sanitation Coordinator, you do your best to close the gap between the two of you while also keeping out of flicking range! You just saved his life and the first thing he does is RAG on you? Who does he think he is?!

“TALBOT-FRIGGIN-SCHUMER!” He replies as if he were spelling it on a whiteboard! “And you must be Stan, the most ungrateful gremlin on the West Coast!”

A faint ‘ooooOoOOoohh!’ rises up from where your pals are hiding, but you let it slide. This guy’s got quite the chip on his shoulder for someone who was feeling up your shoulders half an hour ago! Talbot responds with a derisive snort!

“Consider it another good deed of mine!” He laughs! “And carrying your butt around the whole town while sprinting?! That was charity too, seein’ as I barely got a ‘thank you’ for it!”

What the heck does he call that then, you bark, poking his bowtie with your finger!

“Th-that?” He stammers, pulling away from your assault, “It’s a start! Drop in the bucket!”

HE can drop in a bucket! Darting forward, you deliver a masterful flick to his forehead and send the chump reeling backwards!

At least, that’s what you planned… The minute your finger connects with his forehead, pain rushes through your finger as it connects with a patch of metallic skin that swiftly sinks back into his flesh! Howling in pain, you clutch your finger close as a look of excitement forms on the red-haired janitor’s face!

“I… I’ve still got them! My POWERS!

Laughing maniacally as he practices hitting himself, you stumble over to where Mitzi, Art, and Syb lie hidden.

“Wow,” Mitzi muses to herself, “There’s two of ‘em now…”

The hell is she talking about?! He’s a complete JERK!

>CONTD.
>>
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When the others fail to respond save for a few uncomfortable coughs, you abandon your cowardly friends and approach Talbot again with fierce determination! He thinks he’s so cool, huh? You’ll see about that!

“Woah, easy there, princess. Don’t want to hurt yourself, right?”

Well Stan, you’ve done it. You’ve made what will probably be the WORST POSSIBLE DECISION of this whole damn quest.

"Come on, cupcake, he's probably not THAT bad..."

ANYWAYS, you might as well make the most of it… He might be tough, but you’re still the boss, damn it! How do you TAKE CHARGE OF THE SITUATION?

>DEMAND AN APOLOGY!
>GIVE HIM THE SILENT TREATMENT! THAT’LL MAKE HIM FEEL BAD!
>REMIND HIM OF ALL THE GREAT THINGS YOU’VE DONE!
>QUICKLY AND QUIETLY APOLOGIZE--HE’D BETTER NOT MISS IT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
And that's all for this evening, folks--back to work on Monday! Should be ready to update MONDAY AROUND 6-7PM PST, though, so I hope to see you then! Have a good start to your week!
>>
>>5010133
>>WRITE-IN!
Lets just fucking deck him, I get a feeling its gonna really hurt our hand though.
>>
>>5010135
>>5010133

Support, and make him apologize too. He DID try to kill us, and we gotta let him know who’s boss.

ngl I fucking ship it. Only person who can handle stan is another stan
>>
>>5010133
>GIVE HIM THE SILENT TREATMENT! THAT’LL MAKE HIM FEEL BAD!
>>
>>5010135
+1ing this
>>
>>5010135
>>5010146
>>5010687
>Lay this punk out and make HIM apologize!

>>5010178
>Silence is golden!

Looks like we're laying him out! Roll me 1d100-5 to clock him--your hand still hurts and he's tough, but you're fast!

I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS! Don't forget to include what Stan should say, if anything!
>>
Rolled 68 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5010694
I liked you a lot more when you couldn't talk!
>>
Rolled 99 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5010694
I'll give you a damn hurting!
>>
Rolled 2 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5010694

This is for trying to kill us!
>>
>>5010719
>>5010713
>>5010694
I think the dice bot is playing funny tricks on us today.
>>
>>5010722

Ok. Fine. I rolled that -3.

Did we cash in our 100 yet? Feel like this would be worth it.
>>
>>5010726
don't worry, its not a crit-fail. Wasn't a natural one.
>>
>>5010727

Nice. We win then.
>>
>>5010706
>>5010713
>HIGHEST ROLL: 94!

>>5010726
Please don't delete rolls in the future--some of the best twists happen when there's a poor roll or two and while I keep things pretty chill I'd also prefer to keep things honest!

>>5010727
This guy's absolutely right, though--a crit-fail is only on a nat-1, so you're good!

In any case, we WRITIN'!
>>
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Rolling up your already short sleeves, you grit your teeth as you approach your now painfully-human bodyguard! Oh you’re not worried about hurting YOURSELF! You’ll give HIM a damn hurtin’, though!

“Come on, Stan, you’re just gonna bruise your whittle fingies agai-”

Fine by you! Bringing your fist forward like a missile powered by BONE SPEED, your gloved knuckles connect with a surprisingly tight abdomen… Or is that just the GOODBOYNIUM?

The bug-eyed look on Talbot’s face tells you that it’s probably a bit of column A, a bit of column B. With a weak ‘Oof’, the janitor keels over like a sack of potatoes! “Ooooh boy,” he wheezes as you shake the pain off of your fist, “That one got through… Yep… Good punch...”

As your bodyguard struggles to regain his breath, you give his prone form a toothy grin! You’re glad his powers are still around--when he isn’t talking he almost resembles the old Talbot!

“Yea well…” The Evening Sanitation Coordinator mutters under his still-recovering breath, “Y-you almost resemble a… A raccoon..

Yea, yea, you reply, planting your hands on your hips, you’ve heard it all before! You’re still waiting to hear something ELSE, though! The janitor raises an eyebrow your way as the rest of your pals watch in earnest! “Uugh… Remind me what that is, again?”

You kick a bit of dirt at his face--how about an APOLOGY!? Shielding his eyes from your attack, Talbot glares at you through his fingers! “For WHAT?!

Well, you huff as you count out the reasons on outstretched fingers, there was that time he fried Cliff’s guards near the school! Then he ruined your beauty sleep by attacking at night--

“Shame, you coulda’ used i-AAACK!”

Kicking another clump of dust at him, you continue counting! He almost killed you with a poster, nearly blew you up, and that doesn’t even get into all of the crap he pulled in the redwoods!

“Christ, I KNEW you were gonna bring that stuff up!” He groans, shifting from a face-down to a sitting position on the ground. “I was being CONTROLLED, damn it--I didn’t get to do my own thing until you put that PATCH on!”

Well, you pout, it still hurt your feelings! How can he expect you to apologize for anything when he can’t even do that? With an exaggerated ‘UUUUUUGH’ that impresses even you, Talbot shrugs and looks at you impatiently. “Fine, I’m sorry I almost killed you… Even though I was MIND-CONTROLLED! Happy?”

As the janitor moves to get up, you contemplate his words--ARE you happy?

>NOPE, HE CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT!
>FINE, BUT HE’S ON THIN ICE!
>YEA, YOU’RE SORRY TOO. HELP HIM TO HIS FEET!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5010862
>YEA, YOU’RE SORRY TOO. HELP HIM TO HIS FEET!
>>
>>5010862
>>YEA, YOU’RE SORRY TOO. HELP HIM TO HIS FEET!
>>
>>5010862
>YEA, YOU’RE SORRY TOO. HELP HIM TO HIS FEET!
>>
>>5010873
>>5010883
>>5010885
>D'awww, ya love to see it, folks

Writing!
>>
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Giving him an eyeroll to match his ‘ugh’, you hold your hand out for Talbot to grab. Yea, you huff, you’re happy. And, you continue as if you were getting a tooth pulled, for what it’s worth... You’re kinda sorry too. You could have been a bit more vocal with the whole ‘thank you’ thing. Probably. Taking your outstretched hand and rising in his oversized boots, Talbot replies with a noncommittal shrug.

“Gee, guess that’s the best I’m gonna get, huh?”

Well yea, you frown, that and the most expensive bowtie EVER.

“You mean the FLASHIEST-”

“Riveting as this is,” Mitzi interrupts in an exceptionally bored tone, “and believe me, it’s been educational, don’t we have a skeleton to take down?”

“Aye,” Andre nods, “an’ our tide be rollin’ in--night be zee time for revelry an’ boozin’, it be! Those swabs on zee MANATEE will be right pickled by the time we be boardin’!”

“So if we’re gonna hit this guy, we oughta do it soon.” Art adds. “Do we have a destination?”

MAD DOG BLUFF.” Andre answers, pointing down the road past the CAVE ENTRANCE. “We be signalin’ zee’ ship from zere, zen’ boarding a skiff!”

You frown--isn’t that the place where all the WILD DOGS hang out? You coulda’ swore you saw a news story about it.

“Nope, they just hang out everywhere.” Tucker corrects before adopting a contemplative look on his face. “Wonder where all of those dogs ran off to, anyways?”

“Hold on a sec, guys.” Talbot interjects, “Really happy to be back and all, but we’re not signalling JACK until we handle the situation right here!”

You respond with your eighth frown in the last few minutes. What’s the deal NOW? Talbot replies by gesturing to the now extremely baggy clothes hanging limply from his lithe form. “Can’t take this guy down without some better-fitting duds, genius.”

Who said he was coming along, GENIUS?

“Zee skiff will be a, ‘ow you say… Tight fit, non?” Andre agrees. “T’would be fool’ardy to take zee lot of ye…”

Sensing another spat in the making, Syb slides between you two with the grace of a Goth Ballerina.

“We should have some extra clothing in the van, Talbot!” She explains with a diabetes-inducing smile! “Care to take a look?” Before he can protest, The Goth shoves the janitor in the direction of the van! Watching him go, you spot Eddie approaching from behind!

“Wow.” He mutters, scratching his head. “He’s uh… Different in person, that’s for sure.”

He can say THAT again, you shout! And what was all that about apologies? Total PSYCHO!

“I CAN STILL HEAR YOU!”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5010981
Letting out another angry breath, you fold your arms as you lean against the side of the vehicle. A few minutes later, your bodyguard returns with a smug look on his face and some new duds to match! Looks like he went with…

>A CLEARWATER DAM TRACKSUIT!
>A WETSUIT! YOU GUESS IT MAKES SENSE!
>SOME SORT OF STUPID CAPE AND TOGA COMBO FROM HIS OLD CLOTHES!
>SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! WHERE’D HE GET THOSE? (WRITE-IN!)
>>
>>5010982
>A CLEARWATER DAM TRACKSUIT!
>>
>>5010982
>>A CLEARWATER DAM TRACKSUIT!
>>
>>5010991
>>5010999
>SLEEK, SNUG, AND SLICK!

Writing the last update of the evening!
>>
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...Some kind of TRACKSUIT-- one of those jacket and sweatpants combos you’d see a student wear in an anime... You know--if you watched them!

“Reminds me of dat’ old guy down da’ hall from us at da’ apartments.” Ly mutters, earning a stifled laugh from you. You’re not sure about the grey and black color at first, but once you see the ‘DAM GOOD’ patch on the jacket’s breast it all comes together--of course: THE DAM....

“So?” Talbot asks, catching you staring, “What’cha think?”

You respond with a shrug--it looks pretty comfy! Chuckling at your answer, the janitor does a few quick stretches before tightening the laces on his spiffy new tennis shoes--their white exterior cleaner than a fresh layer of snow!

“Lookin’ good, man.” Art says with a nod of approval. “Very ‘Hirayama Hideji.’”

“S’what I was aiming for!” Talbot replies in a confident tone! “Scrambled Fantasy” is underrated as hell!”

“I hear that!” Art grins, lips quivering at the opportunity to talk about NERD CRAP. “What did you think about Season-”

“Well then, we appear to be covered!” Syb interjects with perfect timing!

BLESS her.

>CONTD.
>>
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...Some kind of TRACKSUIT-- one of those jacket and sweatpants combos you’d see a student wear in an anime... You know--if you watched them!

“Reminds me of dat’ old guy down da’ hall from us at da’ apartments.” Ly mutters, earning a stifled laugh from you. You’re not sure about the grey and black color at first, but once you see the ‘DAM GOOD’ patch on the jacket’s breast it all comes together--of course: THE DAM....

“So?” Talbot asks, catching you staring, “What’cha think?”

You respond with a shrug--it looks pretty comfy! Chuckling at your answer, the janitor does a few quick stretches