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713267 No. 713267 ID: dd338c

Previous Threads/Wiki: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest
Inventory and References: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Fen_Quest_Statistics
Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/Lagotrope

"Are you ready to get up?" I ask Cheese.
>"Yee... no. I can't feel my legs I'm sorry I ran so far."
"As long as we make it back to the Fence safely today."

Her breathing is raspy, her voice is hoarse, and she's shaking. I believe it's just the effects of exhaustion, and she simply needs rest.

>"I should stop thinking."
>"Because I'm just coming up with more and more ways that I am soooo fucked."
"Are you alright like this, in the rain?"
>"Fen I have so many problems and the cold is none of them. The mud is actually really comfortable and almost... not cold. You should try it sometime."
"I've slept in dirt and mud for most of my life."
>"Oh yeah."

I wait in the silence between the sporadic rain, until her body calms down from the overexertion.

"Are you ready to go, now?"

Silence. She fell asleep. I'm unsure how long I want to wait like this, however, in the distance, I see a few kobolds approaching from where I came from. One small one, and two mountain kobolds.
Expand all images
No. 713270 ID: 67bda9

Hmm. If you've seen them then they've seen you. You wouldn't be able to outrun them if you carried Cheese, unless there's somewhere besides endless flat mud nearby, and you can't leave her behind.

Try wake her up. Shake her, give her a little slap if it doesn't work, and say "I think your guards are coming, Cheese". That should alert her a bit, and that probably is who they are. Maybe not, but probably.

If she can't wake up then uuuh she might actually be developing hypothermia. Pick her up and carry her towards those kobolds who are approaching.
No. 713271 ID: b412df

Try and wake her up, speak to her. Even if it doesn't work it should waylay any suspicions about you being a mugger or something. I mean, you're standing and she's lying in the mug, kinda suspicious looking in this light.
No. 713276 ID: dd338c
File 145961521121.png - (55.88KB , 800x800 , 338.png )

"Cheese. Cheese."

I give her a slight slap on her cheek. There's no place to hide her around here except in the mud, and they've already seen us.

>"ahh I'm sorry I won't tell anyone"


>"Er- uh Fen where are we?"
"In the middle of nowhere."
"Not anymore. Two mountain kobolds are approaching. I think they're your guards."
>"Fen please do not be joking."
"I do not joke."
>"Oh no no oh no... that's them. I ditched them. They um..."
"Are you in danger?"
>"Oh, no, they won't kill me! ... but I mean I wouldn't say I'm safe either? They just need me to be able to do my job, and, you know, some scrapes on my back never stopped me before, ha ha, you know?"

>"You. What are you doing with Cheese?" one of the mountain kobold yells at me as they approach. I notice that the crow from before is nowhere to be seen.
No. 713278 ID: b412df

"Helping her up" or something like that, then whisper ask what to do to Cheese. They may be her guards but do they belong to a noble or to her? If she ditched them I'm assuming it's the noble, so we may have to speak carefully here.
No. 713279 ID: 02422f

>her default response to someone trying to wake her is to start desperately apologizing in her sleep
>trying to joke about the fact her guards are probably going to beat her
Cheese sounds more and more like the victim of repeated trauma every time she opens her mouth.

...I'm really tempted to just kill them, but I don't know if that will only make things messier for her.

>I notice that the crow from before is nowhere to be seen.
They can't afford to be seen, and they did say Cheese is being watched at all times. Makes sense if that's her own guards.

This plan seems good enough. Cheese, do you need them?

(If she wants to go with the story that we pursued her closely and slew her guards, and then she got away or weaseled her way out, she can probably sell that. And it'll give anyone paying attention to her the idea we're not working together).
No. 713305 ID: 67bda9

Aw geeze Fen you should have stepped in front of her before leaning down to wake her up. This position must look bad.

Ok, so... if they're not close enough yet to see more than your silhouette, then quickly whisper to Cheese you are still going to give it to her again but she needs to give you the dragoncloth for a while, for now you need to pretend you're out here meeting secretly to make an exchange.

When she gives it to you, or if she doesn't, or if they're close enough to see, then whisper "sorry about this" to her, then say loudly: "We were supposed to be having a secret meeting, Cheese." Then you stand and pretend to kick her in the side as effectively as you can, maybe give her a little impact if need be. And you continue: "We were having a discussion about punctuality."

The idea is that if you make it seem like she came out here to do her job, and make them thing she's having a hard time of it already, they'll be a bit more sympathetic. The dragoncloth will hopefully be the "secret item" to exchange (if you have it you can refuse to show it), and if they get really inquisitive you can maybe flash the noble medallion.
No. 713310 ID: 211d83

Say the word and I will take them out for you.

Otherwise you can pretend you were out here to meet me and because you were running late you wore yourself out. You should give me the dragon cloth and I will carry it for you until you need to make the exchange later. It would be safer with me at the moment anyway.

Regardless I am not going to let them abuse you unless you insist on it to keep your cover.

If you don't give me some direction I am going to do this my way. Which might mess up your plans. Or help them.
No. 713312 ID: dd338c
File 145962169623.png - (91.34KB , 800x800 , 339.png )

>Aw geeze Fen you should have stepped in front of her before leaning down to wake her up.
I had to get an overview of her body temperature to make sure she does not have hypothermia.

"Talking to Cheese." I tell him, trying to keep my voice cold but neutral. I need to whisper for guidance from Cheese before I commit making it look like I'm helping or hurting her.

>"Is that them?" says the smaller kobold.
"Yeah. We can find our way back. Here's your coin." the guard says.

Once the small one, who must have been a tracker, receives the pay, he walks back the way he came while I speak.

"Cheese, are those guards with you or with the noble?"
>"They're under the noble, they're supposed to both guard me but also keep an eye on what I do at all times. So uh... they messed up bad so if I go back then I mean I won't die but they'll probably like chain me to them or something so I can't leave again. Um... take the dragoncloth though and don't let them see it obviously."
"Would killing them make things worse?"
>"Haha Fen I don't think things can get worse. Um... no... no I think if you killed them that... that might cause big problems later but it would sure solve other big problems right now. That and they're really tough, they're among Bardo's best but I mean you're tough too I guess but there's two of them."

If I don't kill them, I may be able to pretend to give Cheese a rough time so that the guards don't, but I am still reluctant to let the guards get to her at all.
No. 713316 ID: 211d83

I am leaning towards killing them. Just because I think they will insist on seeing whats in the package Cheese hands us shortly. Which would ruin the idea of just leaving and meeting her later.

"Ok if I kill them then you can claim you were out meeting a contact and there was a ambush and they died. Or you got kidnapped and they got killed trying to rescue you. But you escaped during the fight."

"So I will take them out if you think that plan is the best. But if you want to go the other route I will stand back."

"Honestly if you pass me the cloth they are probably going to ask questions. Ones we can not answer. And if I let them haul you back it will restrict your actions so much that the dragon cloth plan will be harder to pull off."

If you do decide to kill them then act like a stranger who found her and was seeing if she was still alive. Then let them help her up and surprise attack one of them to even the numbers. Make use of the rain and the mud to even the odds.

Oh and a witness to this meeting is walking away. So might have to deal with him now or later as well depending on what you do.
No. 713324 ID: 5ad4a7

The tracker saw you. Either you'd have to murder him, or take the blame for killing the guards. This is a no-go, and you felt bad about killing that bodyguard earlier anyway. Do you want more needless blood on your hands?

You'll have to help Cheese some other way.
No. 713325 ID: b412df

If Cheese gets chained to her guards then I don't see how she's going to get the freedom to sell the cloth and free herself of the debt.

I think either we kill them now, and skip town before the Noble finds out, or let her take some punishment, and stick around until we can give her the dragoncloth back. I'm leaning towards killing them.
No. 713328 ID: 02422f

>that might cause big problems later but it would sure solve other big problems right now.
Problems later can be mitigated with planning and Cheese's skill at manipulating people and information. Problems now can only be endured or cut off with a sword.

If Cheese is going to be any help with Fen's long term goals, we need to snap her out of her depressed, defeatist funk. We need to show her a way out, that victory is a possibility, that she can believe we're someone she can rely on.

Forcing her to endure another beating and being clapped in irons won't accomplish that. I think you need to cut them down. Personally, I'm not too sympathetic to anyone who beats and chains people up as part of their living anyways.

I'm sure there's some angle Cheese can use if her guards end up dead. It also means there's less suspicion we're working together, if it looks like you tried to attack her and in the process her guards ended up dead.

>how kill two of them
You'll have to surprise ambush one without warning when they get close, then you can deal with the other one without such bad odds.

>The tracker saw you.
The tracker saw some lizard with a hood in the rain. Not enough for a solid identification. And I'm pretty sure he stopped giving a damn about those guys after they paid him.

I'm pretty sure he didn't care if his clients where here to help Cheese, guard her, or hunt her down. His job is to track people, and I'm sure people do that for lots of unsavory reasons in this town.
No. 713329 ID: 91ee5f

What about Cheese's dragon cloth investment plan? I honestly think she has a good idea and I want to help her execute her plan. But I'm just questioning if her plan will be messed up if we kill these guys or not. Because she did say if we killed them there would be big problems later.
No. 713332 ID: 67bda9

If you think they still can't see you clearly through the rain, or if you can cover the exchange with your body/cloak, then take the dragoncloth for sure.

You just ran a long way to get here, and that tracker guy is probably about as fit as you are if he makes his living outdoors. If you can't catch up to him, I'd say don't try kill the guards. And that leaves the pretending plan. Whisper quick to Cheese that the letters she was getting were to meet with you, and you're going to pretend to be a rich asshole and you had a really good deal to offer but demanded secrecy and a meeting time that was too soon, so she had to run.

Then shout after the tracker guy to stop. Like: "You, tracker! If you want a few more coins, you'll stay right there! This was supposed to be a secret meeting, and I don't want anyone leaving until they've been convinced not to talk." You can give Cheese a pretend kick when you say "secret" to start playing up the persona. Or if you decide to kill the guards then he'll be nearby and you can kill him or bribe him more easily, too.
No. 713333 ID: 67bda9


I don't give much chance two professional guards will be acting easy around someone who's acting suspicious towards their charge. It also depends on how tired Fen is feeling after chasing Cheese; I'm not sure how long he left her resting in the mud, there. I guess these guys must have booked it here, too, if it wasn't a long wait, but still. We for sure can't assume these guys will be as easy as the last one we killed. "Among Bardo's best" means these guys are probably ex-military.
No. 713337 ID: 347803

Personally I think it would be better to look like you were after Cheese for a personal vendetta and kick her a little or something. It'd be better than getting in another fight to the death with a possible witness (the tracker). You have to remember not to get overconfident and overextend yourself.

Take the package and act like a barbarian if they want to see what's in it maybe?

You can claim it's a Savage heirloom or something and make up fake words or whatever about it.
No. 713371 ID: dd338c
File 145964058106.png - (61.00KB , 800x800 , 340.png )

I felt bad about killing the earlier bodyguard, but I knew nothing of his character.

Although I know little about these guards, what little I do hear is not going to haunt me at night over their deaths.

I don't like the idea of a witness, but I'm not going to hunt him down over this, especially since he may not care about what happens next. He's already leaving, and it won't be long until he's disappeared into the fog, so I only need to buy a little time. Plus, I am not particularly fatigued, especially not compared to those mountain kobolds that probably did not take a leisurely pace running here.

"Play along." I whisper to Cheese. "I assume you don't need them for the cloth sale."

I get up.

"This was supposed to be a secret meeting, Cheese." I say, pretending to kick Cheese while letting my cloak hide my foot stopping just short to push her instead. Cheese jerks and gasps while I turn to those guards. "We were having a discussion about punctuality."

I give Cheese another fake kick. She curls up into a ball, making a weird sobbing noise, and I forget myself for a second, as that noise nearly convinced me she was really hurt. Still, I bend low to get the pouch with the dragoncloth inside.
No. 713372 ID: dd338c
File 145964060813.png - (46.22KB , 800x800 , 341.png )

>"What's your business with her?" one asks. They are close, now, and I have to turn around in order to see them and what they're doing. At no point are they off their guard, though. He recognizes me. "Wait a sec. You? What are you doing here? Thought you were just getting friendly with her in that break town before Cheese steered us off course. Now it's related. What's your business with her?"

They ask the same question more threateningly the second time and begin to approach me, drawing their swords. But before they do and before I can come up with a response, Cheese coughs.

>"He's... Rasyan was on to us. This barbarian, he was sent by Rasyan to act like a new barbarian in this land, but then get with me for additional information. But, he's not loyal to Rasyan, he wanted him dead! That's why we're off course. We couldn't go in the same direction as Rasyan, because we would have been framed for his death."
>"... what?"


>"Rasyan is dead!" Cheese chokes out. "But don't blame Fen for the framing! He only told Krix about Rasyan's secret path, it was Krix who was going to try to frame us, not Fen! Fen is the one who told us - well, me, about the possible framing while we slept together, and even though we have no proof it was Krix, I owe Fen a big favor now! We had to get out and get known we were somewhere else, fast. Except for Fen, who I needed to help get out of this mess because he might be a suspect and who I owe a big favor now!"
>"You told us that the barbarian might be trying to kill you and have spent the last day fretting endlessly about Cati's agent showing up."
>"Well that's because I had to make a show to act like I never wanted to see him again, because he made me promise we wouldn't be seen together! That's why we're out here, and that's why he gave me such sudden notice to meet out here, and I'm sorry, so sorry, that I ran away, but he gave me no time or warning, and when he did he said it had to be in private, so I had to run by myself, and that's why I'm late, Fen, because this tail is so bad for running. But I gave you the alibi story and Cati's seal and guards that's why I'm meeting with Cati's agent because I need to tell her to vouch for Fen and tell her that she told him to investigate Rasyan under his nose and there isn't much time at all so we have to get back to the fence!"

I don't know if she thought about that at all or if she just spilled out a confusing, haphazard story to get the guards stop looking like they were about to try and kill me themselves.
No. 713374 ID: 211d83

"Figures your big butt would slow you down Cheese. How are you even going to get to the Fence quickly if the second you got here you just about passed out?"

Even if we are just going to kill them its worth going along with her little story just to get there guards down. Fighting them both at once is risky and even if you had way more practice the terrain is a mess right now.

Keep your guard up in case they do not buy it.

Ideally Cheese can distract them enough so you can take one out and even the odds. Just make sure it does not end up with Cheese in a situation where she can get killed in the scuffle. Maybe back off a bit and wait until they start dragging Cheese off and then back stab one.

Also remember to apologize for the big butt crack later.
No. 713375 ID: 91ee5f

Really? We're going to call her fat?

.....well, I can't think of anything better to say, so yeah, let's call her fat. And remember to apologize later.
No. 713377 ID: 87547f


Fen does not actually think she is fat its just playing the part of a asshole who would kick a lady while she is down for not getting here fast enough in a storm.

I mean she did say her lateness was due to her big tail so a crack about a giant butt would make sense. Just have to reassure her we like the way she looks later.

Anyways act the part and watch for the guards reaction. If Cheese's little story can get them to relax and ignore you then you might have a chance to get a surprise attack in on one of them.

Remember you are going to be fighting in mud so watch for thrown mud and sliding everywhere.
No. 713381 ID: bb78f2

Okay, well, as you can see here, guard, it's a confusing fucking situation between two information brokers -slash- noble agents. Even I don't fucking understand half the shit because the fucking nobles and info brokers and agents love this crazy ass half baked shit, I'm still really just a barbarian that got mixed in a few months ago and I'm not paid enough to care. Are you? I don't even KNOW what noble I'm working for now with Raysan dead, I just wanted him dead because of shit like this.

I'm in the same position as Cheese, it's just I'm in over my head and don't even understand a fraction. I was out here, ONCE, six months ago, and NOW I'm in the middle of this shit now because I wrapped up in Raysan's bullshit. I don't even know who Krix IS. I get hired to talk to her, give her some vague ass shit, Raysan tries to kill me after I complain about his bullshit and apparently I fucked up for some reason, so he's dead now because he doesn't know what to do with a barbarian, and then I get another goddamn message from somebody suggesting I find some way to contact Cheese privately to tell her about Raysan's death. She apparently knows WAY more than me.
No. 713384 ID: 91ee5f

I know he doesn't think that about her and I know he's just pretending. I'm just amazed that we couldn't think of anything better than fat insults.

But when we go reassure her of her looks, let's not say we like the way she looks. We're saving ourselves for Lily, remember? So let's not give Cheese the wrong idea.
No. 713394 ID: 02422f

Well Cheese sure is good at bullshitting, isn't she.

Act annoyed, distrustful. "And why should I trust your guards with sensitive information now?" But them on the defensive, make them sell Cheese's story to you instead of vice versa.

Be ready for a fight if they push it, but if Cheese's play works, well, she made that decision. Don't mess it up for her by attacking first.
No. 713421 ID: c87545

Fen hasn't called her fat yet, could just say "Tsk, of course that slowed you down."
No. 713449 ID: dd338c
File 145966088099.png - (43.53KB , 800x800 , 342.png )

"Of course it would be your big butt would slow you down. You were passing out just a moment ago, and you want to get back to the Fence quickly? And why should I trust your guards with information now?"
>"You don't have much of a choice, there." says the more yellow mountain kobold, approaching Cheese. "Alright, step back from the girl."
"Fine but after just a few months of this, I'm already lost and in the middle of this empire business."
"Get used to it. Alright, Big Butt, let's get out of - "

Cheese's tail sweeps forward, and the mountain kobold starts tripping over her and towards me.

That tail sweep was not accidental. Cheese intentionally tripped him.
No. 713450 ID: dd338c
File 145966092412.png - (64.22KB , 800x800 , 343.png )

I'm hoping that was my cue to kill him.
No. 713451 ID: dd338c
File 145966094276.png - (37.71KB , 800x800 , 344.png )

Despite supposedly being an elite guard, this mountain kobold is slow moving back and slow to unsheath his sword.

Still, he buys enough time to get his sword out by blocking my own slash with the backside of his scaled forearm.
No. 713453 ID: 5ad4a7

Slow opponent? Feint and punish. Don't get grabbed since he's stronger than you.

Also, since it's muddy here, his weight will screw him over. Take advantage of what will be the worst footwork you've ever seen.
No. 713455 ID: 211d83

Charge in and stab him in the chest. With a sword like that the worst he can do is hit you with the hilt if you are in close enough.

Takes awhile to get it out of a shoulder holster.
No. 713457 ID: 7bf2db

Ok, he's probably going to keep moving back, because it's hard to get a sword out of a sheathe carried on your back quickly. He might also try swing at you with the arm he just blocked with, to fend you off. Sidestep or duck that and come up inside his range to stab him. Aside from being hit with a swipe or punch, the next danger is that he'll try grapple with you, so just be sure your sword isn't in a position to slip to the side if he pulls you in. Be ready to quickly pull out your dagger if need be.
No. 713459 ID: 1862a8

Get out of the path of his swing. Opportunistic gut slash if you can manage it.
No. 713460 ID: 91ee5f

>"Alright, Big Butt, let's get out of - "
Well, it's a good thing we're going to kill them. Otherwise, we would've accidentally given Cheese a new nickname for the guards to make fun of her with. We should defiantly apologize for that.
No. 713462 ID: 91ee5f

Stupid autocorrect, I meant definitely! We should definitely apologize for that!
No. 713465 ID: 73c49c

your standing so close that he will not be able to hit you with the blade. if you press in he will not be able to get the arm he defended with out to bear hug you. if you have a dagger pull it and put it in is belly, he has a big sword so he will only be able to try and hit you with the hilt if your in kissing range. If you pull out he will have the reach on you with his sword length and arm length. With big dudes as long as they cant get the bear hug off your fine, so press his defending arm against him and stab away!
No. 713480 ID: a107fd

Go for the exposed armpit. No armor, lots of nerves and connective bits up in there which could cripple the dominant hand, and he'll be bleeding out through the brachial artery.
No. 713486 ID: 5ad4a7

I think "time to get his sword out" means that armpit is no longer exposed. The image shows Fen's attack but we're suggesting for a time period a little bit after that, I think.
No. 713609 ID: dd338c
File 145971668545.png - (26.88KB , 800x800 , 345.png )

I leap into his front, since trying to go at his side or his back will force me to try and cut through his scales again, which makes it difficult to make a decisive blow.

Although he almost manages to get his sword out, I'm too close for him to make use of it, and I stab through his stomach.

He must have let go of his sword, though, as his elbow drops on me, and my body completely shuts down on me as I fall to the mud. I drop my sword, leaving it lodged in his gut.
No. 713610 ID: dd338c
File 145971669528.png - (84.91KB , 800x800 , 346.png )

I don't know if I caught a glimpse of his foot moving and instinctively rolled or if I just rolled out of trying to get out from under him, but I sense the earth shake around me as he stomps his foot around where I was.

What is an attempt to get up just ends up being a few more rolls away from him. I'm struggling to not just pass out; his elbow hit me using its scales.

He tries to step forward, though, vomits up some blood, and falls to the mud.
No. 713617 ID: bb78f2

Cheese, if you value our partnership, please direct me to a way to fix my potential concussion.
No. 713620 ID: 211d83

Just lay there for a moment and take some deep breaths. Once you feel up to it get up and start bandaging your head.

Next time you try that sort of thing remember that you have a 3 foot sword at the end of your arms. Getting close does not mean go into wrestling distance. You could have gotten a good shot off that would have disabled his sword arm without getting into elbow range. Then you just would have had to wear him down for a bit until he bled out.

Your horns can heal up right? You have a bit of a chip there.
No. 713624 ID: b2db3f

There is a valuable lesson to be learned here Fen. Big guys have big reach. And you sir are not a big guy.

Your plan was good but you should have never gotten under the arc of his arm. And you don't have to stab someone halfway through the torso to kill them. A long slice along his belly or a disabling cut to his sword arm and you would have come out uninjured. The fight would have taken slightly longer but it would have been just a matter of time.

So fight to stay conscious and keep still until you can bandage yourself. Or call for cheese at least if you cant.
No. 713626 ID: 5ad4a7

Okay so again we learn a lesson to not get in close when fighting skilled mountain kobolds. Ask Cheese for help.

Fen was lucky in that he hit something immediately disabling. Kindof odd, actually. What could be down there that would cause an immediate collapse? Do mountain kobolds have lungs that far down?
No. 713629 ID: dd338c
File 145972008578.png - (71.72KB , 800x800 , 347.png )

>Next time you try that sort of thing remember that you have a 3 foot sword at the end of your arms. Getting close does not mean go into wrestling distance.
Perhaps it was a bad decision, but that mountain kobold's arm range seemed to extend almost as far as I could put my sword in deep enough for anything more than a bad gash. Perhaps my spacing wasn't good enough, but I don't have enough practice against mountain kobolds. It's been awhile since I fought Tevlis.

For now, I stay still and just talk to Cheese to stay conscious.

"Cheese... if we're partners, please direct me where to treat head injuries."
>"Oh uh uh cold! When I had a big head injury a doctor put a really cold towel around my head. I dunno what that did but that was a doctor so it probably was something! Ahhh geez should we bury the bodies! Can we? The mud here is soft and we can dig graves but it'll take awhile and I can help if you want. We should be able to get done before sunrise or fog lifts but ahhh the doctor also told me I had to rest and not move at all."

I feel my horn. There's a chip. It stings, hard.

I don't think horns regenerate without magic intervention.

>Fen was lucky in that he hit something immediately disabling.
I'm not sure. Perhaps my sword went deeper than I thought, or perhaps he simply wasn't that tough once getting stabbed and gave in to the wounds. They weren't lethal, however, I can still see him breathing, even if he's not conscious.
No. 713633 ID: 211d83

Well luckily you probably have enough spare money to get it healed up later. For now it will help remind you to keep getting better.

Slowly pull yourself up and once you are steady go help Cheese out from under the corpse. Finish off the big guy once you are able and ask Cheese what the plan is while you loot the bodies.

If we bury these two Cheese will have to explain where they went. If you leave them here you can claim that you were attacked and the guards died holding off the enemy while you and Cheese escaped. And now you have wounds to match the story.

If you do bury them check the surrounding area for a good out of the way spot. If not anywhere is good.
No. 713638 ID: bb78f2

Fuck burying them, not worth it.
You need that head wound taken care of as soon as possible, or this journey is going to end prematurely. So be careful.
No. 713639 ID: 91ee5f

When that guy fell over, he probably ended up falling on Fen's sword which shoved it even further into himself. I'm actually amazed the blade isn't sticking out of his back right now. I guess that just goes to show how big that guy was.

Also, we should tell Cheese that we're sorry for the big butt comment. Don't want her to feel self-conscious about herself.
No. 713640 ID: 5ad4a7

Well at the very least you need to retrieve your sword. Rest there for a couple minutes, maybe ask Cheese to take your dagger and go slit the throat of the one that's still alive. Or use her claws, whatever. Then what are we going to do when we go back to town? Two guards go missing, presumed dead, and you show up with a massive head wound. It'll look suspicious.

...should we wait on the road for the noble Cheese is going to sell the dragoncloth to? If we don't go back to town, that's the best option, I think.
No. 713642 ID: 02422f

Is Cheese pinned under the first one? Do you need to help her up?

>When I had a big head injury a doctor put a really cold towel around my head
Well, you're in the rain. No shortage of cold, or wet cloth. You can improvise a rain-wet cloth to wrap around the injury for now.

>Ahhh geez should we bury the bodies! Can we?
That... depends on what story you plan on telling. If I attacked you and killed your guards while you escaped, it wouldn't make sense for the running merchant or the assailant to stick around that long.

Other stories might work better if they just disappeared. You have to account for the tracker, too. I doubt he cares what happens to the guards, but it's possible someone looking into this would find out the guards found you here with some draco-bold.

He's also not dead yet.

But yes, I can dig if we need to. (Do you still have the pickaxes on you? That would help).

tl;dr- Cheese needs to start deciding on what plots we're using. You're not in the best state for being sneaky.
No. 713668 ID: 918f9c

>but ahhh the doctor also told me I had to rest and not move at all.
If you can get up, tell her you'll stop moving once it's safe. Help bury them, then maybe bandage up with a cold flattish (if possible) stone held over the first layer of bandages.
No. 713673 ID: dd338c
File 145972855379.png - (27.79KB , 800x800 , 348.png )

"That depends what story you want to give."
>"Let me think just a moment..."

I lay down. She is right, the mud here is comfortable and oddly warm. I think to slit the throat of the last one I killed, but my sword must have plunged in so far into him that there is no way to survive, so I don't bother asking Cheese to do anything when she gets out from underneath the other.

>"Hey, Fen.... do you really think my butt is too big?"
"I was hoping you were thinking about more pressing matters."
>"Er... right. Yeah."
"And no, I have not seen your butt, I only assume it is large due to your tail. I only threw it out because it is the first insult that came to mind. I'm sorry if you took real offense to it."
>"Oh, haha, no, I'm just, you know, a little self conscious, but usually people call me pink eye, or lumpy, or rotskin, or mutant, or... well, big butt or even just fat is a first, so it was a little funny to me and caught me off guard at how simple it was! Do savages think - er uh yeah nevermind sorry okay let me think another moment."


>"Okay, um first off, everything I just said can go right into the gutter since they're dead, sooo we don't need that story anymore! Anyways, um, oh, gosh, that darn tracker is going to... no, you know what, that's no problem, I can fix this. Okay, here's what's going to happen. We bury them, right? No one's going to be searching in the middle of the field for dead bodies, and with the dogs around, no predators are gonna dig up the shallow corpses, so it's just not feasible someone will happen upon by accident. And no one's going to look for these guards until Bardo or one of his guys sees me, and I'm gonna tell them they had to deal with Fence business and I never saw them again. If they don't believe me, they'll ask around, and find out they left town, and maybe even find the tracker that led them here. Let's say they get the tracker to lead them back here. That would be bad, but long before then - like 5 hours from now, let's say - I get a body disposer to make the bodies, you know, vanish. So, no bodies. The guards, they really did just disappear."
"Would they believe you, that you did not attempt to dispose of themself at first?"
>"They would! And that's why I'm actually a little glad that they had the tracker, because now the tracker can say what things looked like when he showed up, and it sounds like a really weird setup for me to do to off them, you know? I mean it's not perfect but I think it's gonna be okay. Do you have any better ideas? Um, really the only messy part of this is having to do the body disposal. I know good people who know good trustworthy body disposers, but, um, they don't charge cheap. Do you have like... 30 silver I could have for this, unless you can think up something better? I'm a little, uh... well, I didn't get get my head bashed in, which is really surprising in hindsight."
No. 713678 ID: 5ad4a7

Tell her you can easily cover the cost of body disposal, and that sounds like a safe plan. Ask if she can make change or just wants a whole gold piece for it. It also sounds like you won't be returning with her to The Fence, because returning wounded would look bad. Maybe you can go to the Crow Zone next and deliver the pickaxes, then recover there? If there's bandit activity on the roads out here you can just use that as your cover story.
No. 713679 ID: 1cebc8

Saw the bodies up so that they decompose faster. Be sure to open up wounds and slather their entrails all over to increase infestation.

Keep the bones until you can find a place to grind them into powder or dump them in an ocean, or just hide them across the area and make a few bone puppets.
No. 713683 ID: 02422f

You can cover the cost to close this, yes. Rasyan's money means little to you, and you'd been spending fairly liberally to catch up to her so quick.

Is it safe for you to return to Fence? Treating your wound and resting would be preferable, if being seen doesn't raise more complications. (Depends on if she knows a sneaky way back in, and/or a discreet sawbones).
No. 713687 ID: 211d83

Yeah I can lend you the money. Should I find my horn chip to remove any evidence? Also make sure that these two do not have any money or other items on them before we go.

As for your head getting bashed in I got that covered. They bashed mine in slightly because I wanted to take them out fast enough so that you would not get hurt in the crossfire.

Do you know how much it would cost to fix my horn? And who could even do such a thing?
No. 713688 ID: 02422f

Since people will be coming to collect the bodies, making a mess of them is actually counter productive, as it would be harder to gather them up.

>Do you have any better ideas?
We might be able to use your contacts, or the people I paid off to get to you, to sell a story better. It's also possible to collaborate with the crows, if you're willing to not cut ties with them, who are orchestrating something with Rasyan's documents.

...I also meant to discus with you what to do with his possessions. His badge, jewellery, and enchanted weapons might be too dangerous to keep, but they have value. (If there were a safe way to "launder" magic swords, that would be pretty convenient). That's less an immediate concern, though.
No. 713692 ID: 91ee5f

>Usually people call me pink eye, or lumpy, or rotskin, or mutant, or...well, big butt or even just fat is a first, so it was a little funny to me and caught me off guard at how simple it was!
Oh, that poor girl! I can't imagine how horrible it must be for her to have everyone say these things to her face on a daily basis! I feel so bad for her. :'-(

Also, any chance we can get Fen's sword back? His entire sword is probably buried deep inside that guy, so we're probably going to have to dig into the body to get it back.
No. 713698 ID: 87547f

Having not met any other cave kobolds I have nothing to compare your butt to. I don't really understand why people would be so mean to you. I think you look just fine.

Paying the body experts is a good idea. I have some money right now and all of the nobles possessions in the bank. If you can fence them we should have plenty of money to work with.

Maybe the crows can help with story ideas. I gave them the documents I found on the noble and made friends with them. I think they will understand what you were doing if you take the chance to explain.
No. 713730 ID: f7a64f

You know, no matter what Cheese says it always comes across as a self serving lie to me. The shit with the dragoncloth, 30 silver for corpse disposal, it all smells like a scam.
No. 713732 ID: dd338c
File 145973619754.png - (163.32KB , 800x800 , 349.png )

"I'll cover it. I can't see any flaws with the plan, but could your contacts in your area of the fence sell your story?"
>"Ehhh the questioners may know that they're buddies with me, so it may look a little suspicious if they really try and sell a story! I'll make sure they don't say anything contradictory though, yes."
"Could we talk to the crows about stories?"
>"Uh... I'll wanna have a good chat with them first! Since I can do that now! So... not now but that wasn't a bad idea."
"And if I'm wounded, I may be suspect to arrive shortly after the tracker found us, so I take it I will not be returning to the Fence."
>"Eh? Did the tracker actually see you?"
"Come to think of it, no."
>"Plus, I mean, Bardo would probably sooner admit to losing two guards to nothing than admit they lost to a single barbarian! So even if it does somehow come up, I can't imagine it being an issue. I mean if you hate the fence then... wait did you leave stuff in the bank? You gotta go back for those things anyway. So, uh, just clean yourself up a bit and it may just look like you got a chip in your horn, and your hood should cover with, uh, however bad the top of your head looks."
"How much would it cost to repair my horn?"
>"Uh... it really depends on how long it takes the wizard, but I think it might cost like a few gold."
"That much?"
>"Yeahhhh don't lose a limb till you're swimming in gold okay?"

>Begin body disposal first
It would take a great deal of time, and I'm unwilling to do something so gruesome myself, when burying them at the cost of 30 silver will do.

After a moment, I feel alright enough to at least sit in one spot and dig carefully. Cheese helps pull my sword out from underneath the mountain kobold, and, perhaps thanks to her namesake of cave kobold, seems particularly quick at digging a sizeable hole.

Before long, we have rather disrespectful graves, considering they're more hiding spots than places of rest. I spend some extra time matting them down, much like I used to have to hide my own tracks at times.

Cheese set aside the items that the guards had, excepting their two giant swords, which we buried with them since we can't take them back with us.

Aside from that, they each had a seal of Bardo, some food, which Cheese and I eat, some bandages which I use, a small length of rope, and between both of them, about 8 silver and 12 copper.
No. 713733 ID: dd338c
File 145973620559.png - (127.27KB , 800x800 , 350.png )

We begin walking back to the fence while cleaning up a little bit, using what little rain still comes down.

"By the way. If I go to the goldyard, will I see any cave kobolds?"
>"Oh, yes! As long as you don't just visit big fancy places. We kinda stay in the, uh, working areas. Why though?"
"You are the only cave kobold I have seen. I have no idea what they look like."
"Oh, welll, imagine me, but, uh, sharper looking, and thinner. Way thinner. Like, thinner than field kobolds."
"I've been seeing some field kobolds that don't look that thin."
>"That's mostly fluff! Field kobolds in this land get fluffy."
"Anyways, I have some items from Pocky I would like to sell."
>"Who's that?"
"Sorry. Rasyan. Someone called him Pocky since he came from pocktown."
>"Haha oh geez that's really funny except he's dead."
"I wasn't laughing."

I give her the list of items.

>"Oh my god, I can do most of that for a good amount, I mean the seal itself can probably be melted down into like 3 gold coins, the necklace could sell for a bunch, um, those swords... let's.. that's trickier. I can hold onto them but I can't fence them fast. I'll get to work, though! You should, um, if your head injury is getting better, it should be okay for you to sleep. You've been up all night!"
"So have you."
>"Yeah but that's okay. Um... what are you going to do though? I mean, I know your long plan, but I think I can take care of the rest of things if you want to, you know... go away and fight in the army. The next teleport is in about two days and chance in Graskin, which is probably a day's away or so from here to travel to. And if you miss that, you gotta wait another week."
No. 713736 ID: f7a64f

Considering how things have been going it almost seems like interfering with things outside the army/arena is a faster path to wealth and power than just joining and doing as were told.
No. 713737 ID: 5ad4a7

Today, rest up and buy that buckler. Maybe get medical treatement for your head. Not enough to fix your horn, just enough so you're at the top of your game tomorrow. Tomorrow, or just later today and have a stopover part of the way there, leave for Graskin and deliver the pickaxes along the way, avoiding Rumtown again.
No. 713738 ID: 02422f

>I mean the seal itself can probably be melted down into like 3 gold coins
Assuming there's no way to use it as a seal. Probably no safe way to exploit that. It's safer melted down.

>Um... what are you going to do though?
I'm not sure. One crisis solved.

I'll have to make my delivery to the crows. And I will have to take the teleport to the capital. I'm not sure it's important I rush to make this weeks instead of next weeks if there's things worth doing here...? (Check Cheese for possible leads).

What about you? Now that you've ditched your guards, what do you plan on doing beyond handing off the dragoncloth?
No. 713740 ID: 211d83

"First me and you need to have a long talk about our new partnership."

"So I understand why you did what you did. You definitely strained our new friendship but I can get past that. Next time you need something big just ask first. If you had just asked for my help that first night together we would not be up to our necks in dead people right now. "

"If I lend you my dragoncloth then we are going to be working together for a long time. You will use your new freedom to help me the best you can. And if I become a noble you will be my spymaster/adviser. We can work together to be the best sort of noble. If I die in the process then you make sure to take care of yourself and my family and friends if you can."

Then give her your exact timeline and what you were planning. You have until early winter to become a established noble so that Lily can be with you. You figured the tournament was the best way but as recent events have shown you need lots more fighting experience so was considering the army to have a trial by fire.

So being the expert that she is what does she think of the plan. If fen goes to the army will he get stuck there? Is there a better way of getting lots of fighting experience and making a name for himself? And once Shup realizes what I am trying will he interfere.

And we need more info about how to fight against magic. Who knows what might show up at the gladiator games or elsewhere.
No. 713745 ID: 252878

You should ask her how much it would cost to have your sword enchanted, you don't want it wearing away and you always need a good weapon.
No. 713747 ID: 29b28b

So together with the seals the guards had that's about 9 gold coins right?

Before you go to the army maybe you should see what preparations you need to make before you're stuck in it. Finding a bank that can accrue interest on your money while you are gone, maybe make contacts for the future Tournament. Also you still need good armor and possibly investigate any magical medical stuff you can get for future injuries.
No. 713748 ID: 29b28b

So together with the seals the guards had that's about 9 gold coins right?

Before you go to the army maybe you should see what preparations you need to make before you're stuck in it. Finding a bank that can accrue interest on your money while you are gone, maybe make contacts for the future Tournament. Also you still need good armor and possibly investigate any magical medical stuff you can get for future injuries.
No. 713750 ID: bb78f2

So really, my next goal is just get to the city, teleport, and sign up now? That's all I have to do with this complex plan of yours? Then just survive in the army until... I don't know.

Let's review, what's needs to happen on my end for your plan to work once I'm in the army? I had assumed my goal to become a noble would be achieved there, in addition to the gladiator stuff, but with your goal of freedom in the mix, complications to my plan may have been added, so beyond Dragon Army work and winning Gladiator matches, what else do I need to do?
No. 713752 ID: dd338c
File 145974056653.png - (89.22KB , 800x800 , 351.png )

"Given the last couple of days, I am almost rethinking joining the army."
>"You want to slow down?"
"No; the opposite. The last couple of days have shown that it is a faster path to wealth and power than simply joining and doing as I'm told."

Cheese is silent, then tries, and fails, to contain a laugh.

>"You... you don't know anything about the army, do you?"
>"If you need to make a name for yourself, the dragon army is probably the best way. I mean you couuuld do it by just wandering around the countryside and killing people here but, I mean, that's gonna make you a lot more enemies. Way too many enemies. And it's important to have more weight in friends than enemies."
"Regardless, for now I have to make my delivery to the crows. I will stay in the fence to purchase a couple more things before leaving. However, if there is something worthwhile doing for a week, then I see no reason why I shouldn't put off joining the army for one week." I go on to give her the full timeline that I am aiming for.
>"That is really not much time! Can't think of anything for you to do the next week that would really be worthwhile since you seem to have to make every hour count here."
"What about you? What will you do other than handing off the dragoncloth and my items?"
>"Well I mean, we're gonna see if... what did you do with Rasyan's corpse?"
"Stripped him, rolled him in the dirt, and otherwise made it look like a bandit attack."
>"Oh geez good. There's a chance they might find out actually. Um... the biggest thing I'm gonna do is try to set things up so that when people realize there is a huge power void in the north-western Turtle, things kind of come out okay for me hopefully. And, uh, you, too, because your dragoncloth... well, I gotta make sure to keep tabs on it and to set it up so you can get it back, right? So... leave that up to me. Oh, um, please give me Cati's seal."
>"It's in your pouch, like I told my guards."
"I thought that was a made up story."
>"Well yeah it was but I do actually have Cati's seal. It's okay, I can kinda use it a bit. Cati's... weird."
"How much does it cost to have a sword enchanted?"
>"Oh, a looooot like I know you might have almost 10 gold with your seals now, and so that sounds like you can buy the world but nooooo. We're gonna be in town soon so let's keep our voices low, I'll bring us to a spot where we can talk."

I give it to her, and that seems to get the guards to let Cheese in without asking any questions, and Cheese ducks into an alleyway where I follow. She pulls me to a side are where she claims it's safe to talk freely as long as we talk quietly.

"What do you think of my overall plan to become a noble, though?"
>"Joining the army is pretty solid honestly. I mean you will fight a lot no matter what, but not gonna lie, people who try to grab glory even beyond that in the army usuuuuually die, so grab for glory in smart ways! But the answer is yes you have a good idea on how to accomplish a terribly unrealistic goal."
"Do you know if Shup will interfere if he learns about my plans?"
>"M...maybe. I don't know him that well. I can try to find out about that. And... and I mean... I really do want you to succeed, and if we're going to be partners for the long term, then I better get started on preparing things for you since you're on such a tight deadline. You know, get connections and stuff for you. I can even help you out in the army, I think, depending what missions you get put on. I can get a lot of info. Let's get a room in a tavern. Do you... want seperate rooms this time? And either way, should I grab all of your stuff since I mean stealing from you was a hilariously awful idea as you showed, so I'd just be safekeeping and stuff and you can use the crows to get me to deliver your stuff to you if... um... if you want. And are you going to stay around for a week even though I have no idea what you'd do other than act like my bodyguard, or go off to join the army as soon as possible?"
"Is all I have to do, really, just join the army and survive while making a name for myself?"
>"Y... yes. That's... 'all' you have to do, yes. I can take care of the rest for your long term goals!"
No. 713753 ID: 211d83

One room is fine. Will be easier to chat that way. Let her know you are used to sleeping with your whole family in a pile.

Tell her how much gold you have and figure out what you should do with it. Find out how property in the army works and if she has any ideas for being smart about getting glory. If she can invest it well and keep it safe I see no problem with letting her keep a hold of most of your funds.

Most of all tell her that your brother is a derp and has not told you anything about life in the empire. Like at all. Everything you know is what you have guessed or learned the last few days.

Find out everything you can to prepare yourself and then decide what to do. I personally am leaning for going to the army as fast as possible. A week is a huge amount of time for your plan. It could make or break the whole thing. You need to get the most out of every single day for this to work.

And make sure you know how leaving and entering the army works. Do they have a set term for enlisting? Can you go join the gladiator tourney while enlisted? And how do we want to approach the army? Should we drop our brothers name or not. And so forth.
No. 713756 ID: 5ad4a7

Well I mean she can keep the stuff you have in the bank since you're going to lose everything once you join the army, but you're going to need enough money to use the warp, and you need to be armed for the trip there.
No. 713758 ID: 252878

Joining the army still seems best, then. I don't know about leaving absolutely everything when you go to them, I mean most of it to be sure but you want some spending money and to get there in one piece, and it might even be useful for them to not think you're an absolute rube when you join up? I mean, they'll be sending you on suicide missions, but presumably they'd still like those missions to succeed. Looking like you know what you're doing might push you up the army ladder that little bit quicker.

I know she said fencing the swords would be hard, but would doing that get enough money to enchant your own sword? I mean if they take literally all your possessions when you join you might be leaving your sword anyway since it has some sentimental value, but you'd kind of expect an army to be keen on their soldiers having weapons that the army doesn't have to pay for themselves. Or what about a direct trade, could those two enchanted weapons be bartered directly for one in return?
No. 713761 ID: 02422f

>And it's important to have more weight in friends than enemies.
Well, between you and the Crows and Moss, I believe that's three. And any enemies I've made are either dead or don't know it's me they have to be angry at, yet.

>Do you... want [separate] rooms this time?
I think I trust you're not going to backstab me a second time, Cheese. You were desperate before, and I'm hoping you see a way out, now. And if I couldn't trust you in a room with me, there's no way the longer plotting would work.

>are you going to stay around for a week even though I have no idea what you'd do other than act like my bodyguard
One thing the two of you might want to do is sit down for a longer conversation with the crows for plotting, before eyes find her again. That's probably half a day at the longest, though.

The other thing might be if there's any way the two of you can exploit Raysan's demise while you're here. I don't know if it's too late with the body double, but it's possible there's still an angle there, depending on what the crows did.

...the crows might also have things they could use your help doing. Spending a week doing favors for them so you have credit to cash in later when you need their service might be wise.
No. 713762 ID: 29b28b

One thing you need badly is knowledge. You have been pretty out of your depth so far and risked death about 3 times since you've come out here. Try to get a solid idea of what the army is like before you go.
No. 713767 ID: 5ad4a7

Err, separate rooms might keep people from talking. Unless you can get a single room with two beds.
No. 713768 ID: dd338c
File 145974439129.png - (32.09KB , 800x800 , 352.png )

"We'll stay in the same room."
>"Oh gosh, you... really?"
"I have lots to talk about."
>"You'd... oh my gosh. Okay! Okay. I'll talk as long as you like!"
"First I'll say that I do want to join the army right away, so I may want to leave after resting today, and receiving medical attention. I just want to make sure that I join properly, and have enough money for the warp, and all that."
>"Oh, yeah, I'll tell you all about that! And yeah you can just have like 10 silver and easily have a bit of spending money and then some before entering the army."
"If you manage to fence my sword, could that pay for enchantments on my own?"
>"Hmmmm tough to say but it would at least be a good step in that direction, yep! And with a little luck we could just trade the two for one enchantment. But keep in mind that enchantments take awhile. Lord Rasyan's probably took like a month to make."

We enter the tavern, I pay for a room, and Cheese leads me downstairs. Then downstairs again. We get privacy again in a dark, damp, and rather ominous looking room where it's difficult to tell where the wood has rotted and where it's just dirt.

>Err, separate rooms might keep people from talking.
Considering the rumors that could potentially circulate about me, this is the least worrisome of them.

"Even though I am used to underneath a tree, it does not mean that I enjoy poverty. We could have afforded a better room."
>"A-ah, I'm sorry. It's just, this tavern's bottom level, it's really calm, and there's all kinds of secret passages that I like. It's easy for me to feel almost comfortable here."
"It's fine. Should I be there to help you mend you friendship with the crows?"
>"Oh, no, no, they saw you say that I was okay, so I can settle it by myself!"
"Still, that's three friends I have including you, and any enemies I have, if things go well, will be dead or don't know I should be their enemy."
>"Yeah but uh... I've seen people who get a good break once and kinda.... have it all fall apart one way or the other, so just be careful about that.
"Alright. Does the army have a set term, or how does leaving and entering the army work?"
>"You just have to say you want to join the dragon army to a local recruiter. And you're in! That simple. Cept if you have no record - and it's better we pretend you don't - you'll get put in with the... uh.... people who joined the army cause there's no better option. And there isn't. Which means you'll be in the expendable troops that are sent in to soften up the defenses. Which is good! For you! Because then if you live, well, surviving in that will get you respect."
"Should I drop my brother's name?"
>"NooooOOOOoooooooooooooooooo no no that's like saying you're just as strong as him and they'll basically just see if you can take on an army yourself or something dumb. And get picked on. It's.. don't. Anyway, you can leave after any mission. If you only take on basic training, they won't expect much out of you, so you just have to see the mission accomplished or die trying, and once the mission is done, you can leave. So really the term is for however long the mission takes, so... try to find ones that get settled quickly enough."
"Do I get to keep any personal belongings at all?"
>"Only real usable wargear like swords and armor, so you can carry that stuff, but I mean, they'll say where you're going, you don't need stuff like money or jewelry or valuable stuff. Like dragoncloth."
"Do they not have a uniform?"
>"For the proper troops, yes, but the expendable troops are basically just a mob that is told where to mob it up. So with your fancy clothes there you're gonna look like their general. Which is both good and bad, so I'd say keep it since it actually will help protect your body unlike, you know, loinclothes and whatever."
"Can I join the gladiator tourney while enlisted?"
>"Oh yeah. Definitely. I mean... no, no, nevermind."
>"No, it just... if I can set it up right... you can commit a crime and if I can set things up right, your punishment will be being sentenced to the gladiator arena. So if you were gonna be a gladiator anyway... you might be able to steal the dragoncloth back that way, and keep it until you die even when you get caught, because the laws on it are funny like I said. But don't think on that too hard now I have to think on better ideas!"
"Okay. I know nothing of the empire. My brother is, unique, and told me nothing."
>"Haaaa wow he even acts like that to his own brother huh. Well anyway... I guess we'll be saying goodbyes before too long, since we both have a lot to do in different places! I'll tell you more about the army while we're still together, though."

Character Select:

Fen: Continue as normal. Cheese will act on her own, and contact with her will be sporadic while in the army.
Cheese: The subterfuge and spy route. Control of Fen will be regained after basic military training after approximately 2 weeks. Cheese will assist Fen's goals from the background, either by gathering intel on this year's contest, gaining information on known rebellions that the Dragon Army are likely to deploy to, and gaining contacts useful to a newly risen noble.

No. 713769 ID: 02422f

I think we all know /quest/ is better at sneaky spy scheming than behaving ourselves and actually following orders in boot camp.

Are we storing all our spare stuff at the bank here in Fence, or are we talking some to store at a capital bank, where we might be able to retrieve it easier? (But might be watched more, or be easier for our enemies to use official powers to search).
No. 713770 ID: 595d54

/quest/ isn't really good at anything, and Fen seems like he's competent on his own. Cheese just seems like she'd break down and start crying the first time some people got her into something stupid or tried pushing for sexual stuff. Basically I don't trust /quest/ with her mental health.
No. 713773 ID: 02422f

>/quest/ isn't really good at anything
There are pretty clear areas where we're better at certain kinds of things. (And even more clear areas at things we're terrible at).

>tried pushing for sexual stuff
That seems a non-issue? Every kobold sans Fen seems to have been culturally conditioned to consider her hideous, and it doesn't seem like a tactic she'd be willing to initiate herself.

Her current level of mental health is the direct result of us wanting to help / befriend / use her, anyways.
No. 713947 ID: dd338c
File 145982462871.png - (23.38KB , 800x800 , 353.png )

A couple of hours later...

Ooookay. Fen just transferred just about everything in his bank over to mine, after saving some spending money for himself and buying a few other things.

Then we came back, I told him the rundown and the details of what to do to get in the army, and he finally let himself fall asleep. Then again, if he's really even asleep right now, which I'm not even that sure about, he looks too stern to be relaxed!

I'm actually really, really tired, but I'd be afraid to fall asleep now while so much is going on.

Most of all, Rasyan was going to meet Bardo tonight. I don't know if I want to be up close for that or be as far away as possible, but I'm kind of locked until late-morning here, when I was going to meet Cati's agent to sell the dragoncloth. If I set things up, though, I might be able to get a speed wagon to take me to Graskin tonight! That's normally expensive but if the deal isn't a bust, it'll be nothing.

For now, uh, I guess I could start doing... something. Maybe just go to the spot where people start talking about the day's news, but most of the time it's nothing useful and just imperical propoganda.
No. 713949 ID: 5ad4a7

Go check on the news. See if Fen is in it.
No. 713950 ID: 1cebc8

Start talking to people, earn some favors, and keep going until you have enough connections to communicate with someone important.

Chop chop! You've got time to talk and you're good at talking.
No. 713951 ID: 4c4101

Do they have any coffee or caffeine somewhere. You could listen to the news and try to wake yourself up at the same time.
No. 713955 ID: 252878

Is there anyone you could earn a favour from by telling them about Rasyan's death in advance? And what sort of things are going to go down when it gets out, anyway?
No. 713958 ID: 02422f

>Then again, if he's really even asleep right now, which I'm not even that sure about, he looks too stern to be relaxed!
If you can't tell if he's sleeping, how ever did you work up the nerve to rob him in your sleep before?

>Rasyan was going to meet Bardo tonight
Where, here in Fence? Rasyan's map showed him heading north, and having already passed this way.

Whether or not you can use that meeting (or failed meeting) to your advantage depends on who already knows Rasyan is out of the picture, what the body double did, and what plays the crows have started with the information Fen gave them. I don't know how feasible talking to one of them by day is, but it would help.

Listing to the local scuttlebutt seems a decent first choice.
No. 713964 ID: dd338c
File 145982905896.png - (75.95KB , 800x800 , 354.png )

I'm still surprised I had the thought to rob him in the first place! It took a lot of nerve and I sweated over it for hours before going for it. Man I wonder if I did it right away if I woulda... no, no, I came out really well in the end. My nerves are still killed, though.

I'll go check the news for now. It'll at least give me priorities on who I should start talking to. It's possible that I could tell someone in advance about Rasyan's death, but there's no clean benefit for it. It's almost unbelievable I'd know about it, especially since Rasyan was never around here to begin with, he was travelling north and it's a pretty well known fact that he's going to be in Graskin tonight to meet with Bardo and others.

I'd like some coffee. This province is the best place for it, but I'll see if anyone's selling over at the information market. Probably not, cause I'm not going to where people have money for that sort of thing.

Fen would probably look at me weird if he saw me going through these tunnels. I mean, they're like a kids only zone because that's the only people who can fit through them.

And fat cockroaches like me. I really never want to see what I look like while doing this. Still, if this place wasn't literally crawling with kids, I'd probably live here.
No. 713965 ID: dd338c
File 145982907057.png - (68.75KB , 800x800 , 355.png )

One short trip later, I get myself presentable and hang out with the kids.

>"Who're you?"
"A friend."
>"Shush!" another whispers.
>"Ew, she's squishy."

We start listening in to the shouting above. People up top have to pay a copper to hear a newsman read out the paper, or a silver for a paper itself, but there's enough room down here that kids and I can listen in.

First up is the regular news! The mountain bandits at Poluputus have been getting brave, the dragonfall resistance is squashed, again, for probably like the 2nd time this week, western contintenal demand for kobold magic is up, so that's another step up for the people on the west coast. Locally, banditry is up but so is the army so that won't last too long, and, well, nothing about Rasyan, and if anyone knew about Rasyan within the last few minutes, that would be first up for sure. So Fen must've done a pretty good job disguising or hiding the body.

And I mean, it's not every day a noble goes incognito, so people don't look for it. If the people who found Rasyan's corpse looked at his perfect row of teeth, though, they might take a close look. There's a chance. Doesn't matter.

Anyway, not a big day for known news, so now the newsmen split up into the smaller news. I can go into a seperate room, and usually it takes them about half an hour per section. I think I have a couple hours to before I should be there for the agent meeting, cause if I'm late, that's the end of it, they won't wait around.

A) Royal Gossip
B) Specific resistance/bandit zones that are on the rise
C) Business and trade
D) More local details
E) Forget it, go begin setting up connections
No. 713967 ID: 5ad4a7

B would be useful info for Fen.
No. 713968 ID: 4c4101

Do you guys have stocks? Because since you know a Nobles dead you might be able to invest in opposition when they start to take over what he had.

If that's possible the Business and Trade Section would be best.

The only problem would be if someone was suspicious enough to connect someone profiting off his death with causing his death.
No. 713972 ID: 91ee5f

>Fat cockroaches like me.
No wonder you're so depressed! You keep calling yourself things like that! Seriously girl, we have got to get you some self-confidence!

And I choose whatever option that will benefit you and Fen.
No. 713974 ID: dd338c
File 145983597931.png - (84.08KB , 800x800 , 356.png )

I go over to the bandit zone news.

Okay, apparently those rumors about a necromancer in Erja Nokol have been spiking up to the point where it's gonna get investigated, and the Dragon Army is probably the only army that wants to touch the place. A necromancer in the Erja Nokol mausoleum is kind of an urban legend, but if it were true, the Dragon Army would descend on that place and fast.

Then there's a coastal pirate group that's been pinpointed to somehow work off of the mainland, implying they have a wizard to keep the kobold magic supply up so that they don't go insane from working off a dead land, which all islands more than slightly off the coast are.

And lastly, those bandits in poluputus are becoming more like an army. Supposedly it's hard to chase them due to the harsh climates that they call home base. If Fen goes there, I hope he knows how to fight mountain kobolds on lower ground in other people's home turf. I'm hearing a lot of big names among those bandits though, so if Fen kills one of them, big bonus.

Just knowing the history of this stuff, that's probably where the Dragon Army may intervene, since it's either on holy land, off the mainland, or in a place where apparently the poluputus army is having trouble fighting them off.
No. 713975 ID: dd338c
File 145983598874.png - (107.16KB , 800x800 , 357.png )

Each section reads their bit a few times so that people can go room to room and get the whole news if they want. I'll do one more. Next up is business and trade.

Most of it's boring stuff, but, I'm able to focus on what lines to read between.

Apparently Rasyan's land has been moving investments away from Bardo's area. It looks like Rasyan really did count on downing Bardo. Pocktown and the surrounding area's been muscling in on Bardo's area. Also Rasyan's doing. An area's market really is tied to a noble. If a noble dies, stocks and stability really take a big hit.

So Pocktown is going to have some turmoil pretty soon. If I manage to spill dirt on Bardo though, then it won't be as good as Rasyan himself doing it, but... that's a longer game and I don't have time.

So, one of two things before I meet the agent. I can get in contact with the merchant ring here and tell them about the impending turmoil in Pocktown. If I play it right, then I can get them to keep tabs on big stuff. Like tell them that Cati is going to get a dragoncloth, and I want tabs on where it goes, since Cati may not keep it herself. Once a noble has a dragoncloth, they don't just start trading it under the table.

The other option to start is to get people I know to start sending out underworld travellers to get information and maybe even spies on one or more of those locations. If I can get really good information for Fen, it'll help him when he gets sent off there. That'll cost real gold, but it's worth it.

I'm getting really nervous about this agent dealing.

Cati knows I have good info. It would be good business sense to keep me from spilling beans on her, but at the same time... it's very dangerous for a noble to let someone like me know that she got dragoncloth through illicit means, and I've never tried to fence dragoncloth before.

But there's just nothing I can do about that.
No. 713977 ID: 5ad4a7

Sounds like you might want to keep your trap shut about the dragoncloth, then. Cati knows that if anyone finds out about the deal, then it would have to be because you fucked up. That happens, you're dead meat.

If you just send out spies without specific instructions to look out for the dragoncloth, you may be able to keep tabs on it without spilling the beans and earning Cati's wrath. So that's the safer option.

Since you're nervous about the deal you'll want good bodyguards that can't just be bought out by the noble. Fen would be ideal but he's not going to be in good enough shape. On the other hand you would also have to close the deal without your bodyguards finding out what, exactly, you're selling, or for how much. I expect you have enough money now to buy bodyguards that can handle that restriction.

Hey, there's no chance Fen can use Rasyan's enchanted weapons without it being immediately obvious he stole them, is there?
No. 713978 ID: f562b1

Definitely contact the merchant ring. You promised Fen you'd be able to get it back for him, and you need to ensure you don't encounter unexpected difficulties.
No. 713982 ID: 211d83

I would be very careful about letting anyone know about the dragoncloth before the sale. If Cati hears any rumors that early it means that only you could have started them or that the original owner has put out feelers. Or that you have intentions of stealing it back.

But there is the opposite problem to consider. If no one knows about the dragoncloth that means that Cati could just kill you to keep the deal secret. So you will want to build yourself some insurance into the deal. Like the old write out a sealed letter and give it to a lawyer. If you do not get back to them they give it to the newspaper. Or whatever the equivalent is for you.

So avoid word getting out that might piss of Cati but also make sure that you have plenty of protections just to make Cati think twice if they were planning on backstabbing you.

You want to make sure that you have as many protections as possible for this deal. That much money sets off a lot of flags and would have people willing to kill there own mothers. So until you get it and pay off your debts you need to be very careful.

And then after you do pay off your debts you need to be extra careful. Because you will not be under anyone's thumb and that makes people nervous.

One big thing to remember is that this is not a illicit dragoncloth sale anymore. You are now legally fens agent and selling it under his orders. This is all perfectly legal now. (Until you get to the second part of the plan months later where he steals it back)
No. 713984 ID: 87547f

You know that is a good point. If Cati asks you can say that you are selling this dragoncloth for a powerful friend who needs to liquidate some assets. Its not fencing some really hot illegal goods anymore.

Before Fen came back this whole cloth deal was a big stolen mess. Now its just a very expensive and dangerous sale.

While Fen might be just some barbarian right now you saw how capable he is. Give him a year and he might be way more dangerous than his brother was. While his plan is a bit crazy if things work out you will be the new head agent of a powerful noble. One that likes and respects you this time.

Just don't let him down again. Betraying one of the few people in your life that you could consider a genuine friend was not your best moment.
No. 714002 ID: 91ee5f

Are there any coins down here? People sometimes are clumsy, so they might have dropped some coins and they fell through the cracks in the floorboards. Might be able to get some free money!
No. 714014 ID: 02422f

Oh my god, squishy inchworm Cheese squeezing through the tunnels is adorable.

>If the people who found Rasyan's corpse looked at his perfect row of teeth, though, they might take a close look
So... when dumping noble bodies, smash in their teeth first.

>what do
If your long term plans now hinge on Fen getting power quickly, and not ending up dead, setting up spies and contacts who can help with that is a priority.

Selling information to merchants so you and/or they can make a profit shorting Pocketown before its market crashes will make some coin, and some friends, so it could be useful if you have time for it but it's a secondary priority.

(In the long term, it might be worth a few hours or a day's delay sending out spies to help Fen, since there's a limited window where you can profit on what's going to happen in Pocketown).

Selling out Cati seems too risky right now. You'd be the obvious source of the leak if the information got out.
No. 714018 ID: db4177

You could make pay some of those kids to give you the quick skinny on what they were listening in on. I normally wouldn't trust kids to know what's important, but these ones look like they do it for a living and have probably been told the sorts of things to listen for.

If you're worried about the meeting with Cati, maybe you'd want to hire some guards to replace the ones you're missing? Though I guess the trouble would be finding trustworthy/decent ones, in a place like this.
No. 714112 ID: dd338c
File 145991428873.png - (104.19KB , 800x800 , 358.png )

I start crawling out.
"Hey, kid?" I ask nearby to a kid I saw go into the royal gossip zone, and just come out of the local detail zone.
"I'll pay you a copper to tell me the short story of the Royal Gossip and the local detail news."
>"Two copper."
"Two. Follow me while you tell me about it."

I keep my coins close. People who come down here are almost always broke or close to it, so it stands out too much to have any coins let alone ever expecting to, say, finding lost coins just laying about.

I pay him two copper when it's safe. He tells me about some marriages and little scandals, but it's all really minor. Well, except that the kid tells me Lily explained what she saw in Shup. Hearing it from the kid is a second hand source though, and I already can't trust an interview with Lily to really be honest, neither from her nor the interviewer, sooooo it's all worthless.

Local details, well, apparently Bardo is muscling back in on Pocktown, and the Mithril noble is raising the draft rates for the army for the next 6 months or so.

"Thanks." I say, and pay him once we get to around where my stop is.
No. 714113 ID: dd338c
File 145991431743.png - (44.44KB , 800x800 , 359.png )

It's a good thing the kids here are basically grown ups and know not to screw around with the construction under the town, so I can find my way to where I want to go.

I crawl up into a merchant's building. A knife gets put up on my throat, but that's basically normal.

"Cheese of Erja, here for Yortle." I ask, and after a call, Yortle comes out. He's trustworthy, and maybe it's mostly because he hates ever being seen as someone who would deal with the likes of me. So, if I hand business to him, it would take a really extreme circumstance for him to tie things back to me.

>"This better be good."
"Yyes, yes it is! I mean, I can pay up front here, so that's good, right?"
>"Expected, even."
"I need a few things. A quill and paper, and also some bodyguards."
>"How many, and how's the heat?" he asks, in reference to how big of a deal guarding me is going to be.
"Maybe 3 or 4 or 2 really good ones, and it's searing but by a bucket." I say, more fancy talk for saying that I'm going to use them for a really sensitive thing and they have to be extremely trustworthy, but I'm more using them for their presence more than expecting them to get into dangerous fights.
>"How much're you willing to pay?"

I've got a good idea how to set up everything else, and I'm going to try to set up tabs on the dragoncloth without explicitly giving away that there's dragoncloth involved.

But I've got to decide what kind of bodyguards I want. I need them trustworthy, but that's about it, and that's already the bulk and will run me like 10 silver just to get trustworthy people, since that's hard to come by around here.

If I go above 10 silver, I'll get trustworthy people who are also tough looking, which is important here. Getting that sort will cost me upwards of 30 to 40 silver.

If I start giving gold, and at least a few gold, I'll get merchant guards who are trustworthy, tough looking, and actually really tough and good.

It's not like the cost really matters for this. It's that I don't know what to expect out of Cati's agent. Cati is someone who does things that are insane by normal standards, but despite her extreme measures she somehow manages to do it in a professional way. But she's still easy to offend, and bringing elite bodyguards to a meeting might be seen as, uh, a sign that I don't trust Cati. At all.

Which I mean.

I don't.

Cati's normally actually pretty honest about deals and isn't much for backstabbing, normally. Normally. I'm not normally one to backstab people who are nice to me, but...

Now dragoncloth is involved.
No. 714123 ID: f562b1

If Cati is normally trustworthy, you just need to look like somebody's expecting you back--or if not you, your guards. Trustworthy guards is enough for that, especially if she's easily offended, since then tough looking guards would make her think you were trying something.
No. 714125 ID: 211d83

Who cares about offending Cati. If you show up with barely any guards she is going to question just how you got the dragoncloth to her safely. If she gives you any crap tell her that the person you are selling the dragoncloth for insisted.

I would spend 1-2 gold. You are about to go through with a deal for thousands and thousands of gold. Having crappy security would be silly.

Plus if you show up alone with some sickly thugs then it would be easy for Cati to try and change the terms of the deal. You want to get the most money you can for the cloth and to do that you need to bargain from a position of strength.
No. 714136 ID: 02422f

So... you need to balance bringing enough muscle to either discourage Cati from backstabbing you or keep you safe if Cati does backstab you, while not bringing so much that its perceived as an insult and spoils the deal anyways.

...I suppose you already know just how big a temptation dragoncloth is, huh? If you were willing to backstab the only person who'd been nice to you in forever, Cati would probably be willing to betray a spy. And if you're planning on stealing the cloth back with Fen later, it's not like you need to worry about keeping your long term relationship with Cati intact. It'll be burned in a year. Spend some gold.

What's the possibility of using Fen at all? You know he's trustworthy, and very good, if he beat Raysun. Only catch is if your later plans for getting the cloth back depend on Cati not knowing his face and/or if you want to make sure no nobles know you're working together, to help with plotting. (Although he could watch at a distance, with his bow).
No. 714137 ID: 5ad4a7

If you get backstabbed by the agent then you're super fucked even if you survive the fight and keep the dragoncloth too. Might as well just assume the exchange will go fine, and worry about what will happen BEFORE and AFTER the exchange. Take 30-silver bodyguards so that you don't get robbed on the way to the meeting or after it.
No. 714170 ID: 825b5d

A gold coin would probably be good. I'm not sure if the trade will be done there (they'll give you the bulk of the gold on the spot or put it in a bank account) so if you need to transport the gold somewhere safe good guards would be a priority.
No. 714214 ID: 8e8223

Well, if Cati knows you at all, or is knowledgeable, then she knows you normally get accompanied by guards everywhere anyway, right? So two, looking about the level of your previous ones, shouldn't set off her alarm bells or be taken personally. So that's a minimum.

Further than that depends on where your meeting is going to be, and whether you're going to be paid in literal bags of cash. You could easily explain your bonus guards as you just wanting to be safe on your way back from the deal, so long as you don't take so many that it'll be obvious to everyone on the streets that you have something valuable. So, you could take your standard two, maybe tell them to look like they're guarding you from running away as much as protecting you to fit your normal way of things, and bring another one or two and tell them to wait outside? I'd assume for something like this Cati will have someone outside watching the place where the deal is happening while it happens, so she'll know you brought them but also know they (look like) they're not there for her. If you're not being paid with actual cash but, like, a money transfer order for your debt, you could say the same thing for getting there, but it'd be a bit less believable.

You could also leave all your guards just outside where you'll be meeting, and hope that she has that watcher outside to tell her you have guards a shout away.
No. 714264 ID: 93244f

This seems like a good choice.
No. 714394 ID: dd338c
File 146000402533.png - (15.42KB , 800x800 , 360.png )

I'm going to either be carrying a lot of wealth from the meeting place to the bank, so when I think about it, it should be perfectly acceptable for me to bring guards. It's just... they might get held back in the meeting room itself. The meeting place is really kind of out of the way yet and can be reached virtually from the edge of town without ever stepping in public view, if you have the right connections to get through the needed buildings. So, it's the sort of place a noble would send agents to if they absolutely do not want the agent to be seen by anyone who isn't in their pocket.

"One gold."
>"Hm. That will get you some of the ones under the White Wing."
>"Those guys? That's like 30 silver."
"It's either that or you have to pay more."
"Two gold."
>"Really." he says flatly, like he didn't think this was something I was going to take as seriously as I am. "Alright. Deposit two copper for the pen and quill."
"Okay. And I want to leave a couple of things to the smelter."
>"10%." Yortle says, telling me I have to pay 10% of the resulting material that I want him to melt down for me, which comes down to about 1 gold in price probably. Which is not that bad really, and I absolutely do not want to haggle much with Yortle. His patience always looks full until it's not.
"Okay. Lastly... Cati is going - "
>"Lady Cati?"
"YES word down the grapevine says LADY Cati is going to get a really good, prestigious item soon. I want to know what it is, and where it ends up."
>"Anything more specific?"
>"And what are you paying for this?"
"Info. Pocktown is going take an economic hit, soon."
>"How trustworthy is this information?"
"Very. I can't tell you my source, but I want to know about Lady Cati's new item enough to bet on the info I just gave you."
>"Very well. Our relationship has had its turbulence, but your info has always been trustworthy. I hope that continues."
"It will."
>"Then I will gather your guards. You may be released, now, and clean yourself up before touching any of my supplies."

I've got to wait to sell Rasyan's swords. Showing them to anyone knowledgeable, including merchants in the Turtle, is saying Rasyan doesn't have his swords anymore. Yortle knows it's best not to ask someone like me too many questions if they want to keep my business, but just him having those questions is too much for me.

And that's why Fen can't use those weapons at all.

Then again... if he ends up in the gladiator ring as a criminal, that won't matter. Thoughts.
No. 714395 ID: dd338c
File 146000405463.png - (27.49KB , 800x800 , 361.png )

I use the pen and quill to make two copies of a letter. One for myself to show if I need to prove I thought of it in advance if need be, and the other to Yortle. It's a letter describing the dragoncloth scandal.

I stamp it enclosed with wax so that I know I can get it back without it getting read. I hear a knock at the door.

"Come in."
>"Cheese. These are three bodyguards."
"Okay, they look... tough. Yeah. Yeah you're good, Yortle." And by that I mean I'm pretty sure I've seen one or two of these guys bodyguarding one of the wood nobles around here.
>"The terms?"
"I just need them for at least a quarter day, no more than the full day. Otherwise, I'm just up for the normal bodyguard contract. I pay 1 gold for them now, 1 on my safe return. Another thing, Yortle... if I don't come back safely, I want this letter read by you." He'll be able to use it well without me telling him how. "And, uh... otherwise, when I'm back, I'll take it back."
>"Five silver."
"Okay..." I write him a bank note when I ask for one, to cover what I don't have on hand.

I kinda want to bring Fen, but I'd feel bad after all he's done for me so far. Like not kill me. Which is actually a lot all things considered. And I mean I really can't predict him and I sort of doubt he's ever bodyguarded before.

That and I don't want our two faces sharing room in anyone's vision at the same time.
No. 714397 ID: dd338c
File 146000409438.png - (20.28KB , 800x800 , 362.png )

I guide everyone to the meeting area. They don't say a word, not to me, and not to each other, but they cover like every angle I could ever imagine an assassin coming from and then some extra.

I'm not that familiar, personally, with this part of the Fence. It's kinda... well, usually even agents of nobles for these deals go to at least a decent if secluded place, but this is pretty sketchy. In fact the buildings are so packed here, that it really blurs the line between what counts as indoors and outdoors. But I know it's under good protection.

Once I knock on the door, the slide on it opens up, and someone from inside looks down at us, then stops on me.

>"Hi. You'll have to come in alone, please have your guards wait outside."
No. 714399 ID: 5ad4a7

That should be fine, assuming this really is where the deal is going down.
No. 714402 ID: 211d83

Pout at him. Whats the point of even having guards if you have to leave them here.

Haggle for guard coverage. Unless the final meeting spot is just behind that door. If so Cati does not want anyone but you knowing she is here. So have the guards wait for you.

Honestly is probably best the guards do not know who or what you are meeting. All they need to know is you came here and left pushing a heavy covered cart. But try to get paid in something a bit easier to carry than raw gold if you can.
No. 714412 ID: 02422f

>And that's why Fen can't use those weapons at all.
>Then again... if he ends up in the gladiator ring as a criminal, that won't matter. Thoughts.
How rare are enchanted weapons of that caliber? Would it be feasible to sell Raysun's weapons, and just buy him something not-hot and non-incriminating to use later?

>"Hi. You'll have to come in alone, please have your guards wait outside."
This is the point where high quality bodyguards are supposed to protest. We'll see if they do.

...will the dragoncloth be visible during the exchange? If so, you can't bring Yortle's people in with you, or he'll find out the item you paid him to snoop on is the one you're selling. Actually, if they'll recognize Cati's agents at all, they can't be allowed to see said agent.

"All right. *Shrug* If I don't make it back, light the place on fire." *toss guards a gold*

It's a valid threat- the way the buildings are packed in here, even someone with passages between them would be hard pressed to get out. And CO is denser than air, and would settle into any tunnels.
No. 714427 ID: 5ad4a7

...can't even take one guard in?
No. 714433 ID: dd338c
File 146001206363.png - (66.12KB , 800x800 , 363.png )

The guards look to me while I look to them. I mean, they are a little out of their element since this deal is hush hush and they know literally nothing about it, so they're going with my judgement here.

"I'd like my guards to be no more than one room behind me if I can't bring a single one in." This is a place where Cati likely didn't want her agent even seen, so it would be tough to bring in a bodyguard.
>"You can do business in the room I'm in, so your guards will be nearby."
"Okay. You three, please wait out here. It might be a couple hours, so don't mind if I'm quiet for a long time." I whisper a code phrase to them to come smashing in if I yell it or just scream or something like that. The mountain guy could probably burst right through the wall, even as solid as the wall looks. "If I don't come out, set... nevermind." Geez there are so many people living in here it would be the worst thing ever to light the place on fire just because I got murdered.

I go through, and the girl leaves me alone in this kind of barren room that looks like it might've been a shop at one point in time, with empty shelves and all.

I wait an hour, which I think about where would be best to fence stuff, since I may want to split the goods instead just just going to Yortle all the time.

Those enchantments on Rasyan's sword need the most care, since I could potentially exchange them for equal enchantments on other weapons. But that's tough, cause those enchantments are really powerful and Fen could only use them if he actually gets to a place of leadership in the army. I forgot that the yearly Dragonspire arena games don't allow magical items that the user didn't create themselves. So Fen can't use enchanted stuff unless he secretly is a wizard which would not surprise me at this point.

I hear the back door creak open.

>"Ah. It really is our little sister who came."

Oh geez.

It's my old childhood friend. And I say that in a similar way to how army people talk about their old war buddies. But we also consider each other siblings, along with the other brothers and sisters and siblings we grew up with. Not many of us are actually blood related, but we consider blood relation to be useless, and we were family in the sense of looking out for one another, between the most competent lord to the ones with mutations so unfortunate that they were immobilized and in steady pain.

This changes things. It's good that the bodyguards aren't in here, because, uh, it wouldn't go well.

Oh gosh I am so glad I did not bring Fen along.

>"How HAVE you been?" says Cabbage, with that familiar sound of her rows of teeth getting in the way of her talking, leading to a clicking noise between almost every syllable that drives just about anyone except Erja kids nuts.
Tomato makes that happy sound it makes that sounds like it's gargling mud.
"You two? I've been okay, but you two! Under... are these walls safe to talk in?"
>"Oh, yes, very, this is a very good spot."
"Under Cati?"
>"Why not? Nobles talk like they care about appearances, but like the rest of the empire, it comes down to strength and force."
"Um... because... we all promised each other we would never willingly help nobles."
>"Yes. And Lady Cati does so want your item, and that's why we were sent. Who knows what you were planning if it were a normal agent. Three elite bodyguards out there, we can tell, who knows what you told them? But if it's us. If it's us, she knows we're sisters, she knows we'd never hurt each other, no matter how angry we get at each other. She does so want that dragoncloth, and wanted us to be merry with each other, exchange our goods, and wish each other well, with us in Cati's good graces, Cati with dragoncloth, and you free from Bardo's palm."
No. 714434 ID: dd338c
File 146001208108.png - (57.17KB , 800x800 , 364.png )

>"Absolutely foolish."

Tomato laughs a laugh that sounds like a frog falling down the stairs. They're thinking. I know they're thinking.

They are not good at thinking, and now I'm worried.

They approach. I rest my hand on Cabbage's blunt, outstretched forearm, and wave to Tomato. He keeps his distance, knowing that after this long, I've lost my immunity towards his poison and will probably die if any of his barbs gets through my scales. Which probably will happen if I touch him.

>"She thinks she can threaten our home if we misbehave? Oh, every noble has cursed the day they thought that they could be the one to tame the mutants and abominations of Erja Nokol, and Cati is no different than the rest. We care, of course we care about our family, but she sent us to the one person who can undermine that. You. Cati will be mincemeat."

The family rules haven't really been in play for me in awhile since it's been so long since I've seen any family. But we do have rules. We look after ourselves and each other.

No one outside the family.

>"But first we have questions. Cati and us would love to know just how little Cheese, with her movements of ideas, concepts and information but never ever materials, got her hands on this?" she says, gesturing her sharpened limb to my bag.

Anyone outside of the family is to be used as a means to an end.

>"How? Cati has been in possession of so many plans for dragoncloth, but never the dragoncloth, but now, you get it? So many, many questions. Who knows about this dragoncloth? Who among them are alive? Who knows you have any deals with Cati? Are any alive? Who knows you have any business with Cati? Anyone alive? Who knows you have any anything with Cati? Anyone alive? Remember sister, the first in each pair of questions are informative but least unimportant. The second in each pair is the kicker, but don't worry, because we can change that."

But outsiders are enemies, always.

I absolutely cannot tell them about Fen.

The other rule, though, is that there are no secrets in the family. I've always kept that one, they know the most embarrasing stuff about me that I never want a non-sibling to know.

So in short at first I was relieved to see them but I'm actually a little fucked here ??
No. 714437 ID: 5ad4a7

Oh jeez every question is answered with "Fen"

Okay three choices here.
1) Lie. Say nobody knows anything about the deal with Cati, you made sure of that. The former owner of the dragoncloth is dead.
2) Lie, give them a name of someone you don't like, so they go kill them.
3) Tell the truth, then go warn Fen before they get to him. Tell him what they're capable of so he can be prepared when they come for him.

I'm leaning towards 1, honestly. If they go barrelling off to kill ANYONE because of this deal, the deal is also dead as a doornail.

...wait a minute, does the deal even matter anymore? Are they going to give you the gold and let you keep the dragoncloth too, then go try to kill Cati? In that case... well, if they succeed that's okay. If they fail you're fucked because Cati comes after you next.

Leaning towards 3 now. They are going to ruin everything no matter what. You can also, as part of telling the truth, tell them that Fen is part of a long term plan to gain power. You will work under him only to use him against anyone who fucks with you. That means you keep only one secret- that you are really friends with Fen. If it works, and they back off, then everything is fine. Well, assuming they manage to kill Cati and you can keep track of the dragoncloth through them (or by putting it in the bank). If it doesn't work you can just make sure Fen wins the fight. He'll probably have to use Rasyan's swords against them and have some sort of antidote for the poison.
No. 714441 ID: 93244f

Relax. You'll probably need to lie; If they can't know about Fen, we'll need a story or something to get them off our backs. Remember that when lying, you need to make sure you don't look like you're lying: Don't fidget or move too much, don't avoid eye contact, and don't talk too fast. It may be a little dishonorable, but this is probably a lot more important than honor.
It might be possible to help our case with Rasyan's death, but that might lead to a whole world of other problems.
No. 714445 ID: 5ad4a7

...hah, wait a minute! What if you told them Rasyan knows about the dragoncloth? They don't know about the double, and will go kill the lookalike. Then "Rasyan" will die in a way that you won't get in trouble for.
No. 714451 ID: bb78f2

I stole it.
There is... an entire barbarian village that knows about it, and the entirety of Shup's house of whom it was a gift to said tribe.
They are all alive, at least so far as you know.
No. 714453 ID: 5ad4a7

...and then there's another fourth choice. Don't lie, but don't tell them about Fen. Tell them you have to ask them to do something difficult. To break the family rules. Because you've broken them yourself. You made a friend, and that friend is how you got the dragoncloth. So you're asking them not to consider your friend an enemy.

Cabbage just said she values you over her home, right? Maybe you should count on that.
No. 714458 ID: a063cf

Man, I love these guys. :(

Is this a real, loving family? Do they really care about your best interests? Maybe you could work something out. Do the dragoncloth trade, organize the Cati-mincemeat, take back the dragoncloth. If you say it's a long-term scheme for influence and they respect your intelligence, they might be okay with it. Setting up a puppet noble who you're good friends with from Day 1.

Otherwise, sell a good lie. Better to be your own kobold than be tied down to people who demand an... exclusive relationship.
No. 714464 ID: c3a42f

Tell them most of the truth, but downplay Fen's knowledge and your attachment to him, and play up your long-term plans to continue "taking advantage" of him.

So: There's this ignorant barbarian called Fen. His story is very romantic. He got the dragoncloth from Lord Shup's fiancee, who he met while Shup visited their village, and her and him had a little... encounter. He's infatuated with her and wants to become a noble, quickly, before the marriage to Shup goes through, so he can marry her himself. You convinced him to give you the dragoncloth, in exchange for helping him get where he's going. He has the fighting skill to make it as a noble, you've seen it with your own eyes, with just a few little pushes along the way. But he's an ignorant savage, and once he has his title, he'll be entirely reliant on you to keep him in power. So long as he has his lover, he'll swallow whatever you tell him and do whatever you say. A nice, handsome puppet for you to prop up and play with, while you take all the real power and profit.

And instead of nobles thinking they can tame Erja Nokol, the family will have their own tame noble right under their thumb, to make moves in the spheres of society that scorn them, to make plays against nobles that only another noble can, to keep any of them from messing with you any more, stopping you or anyone from the family going through what you did again. A fine face ready to take the fall, with no more loss to you than putting you back where you started... Without your debt.

So, he knows a little - much less than he thinks there is to know. A very good fighter, he is, ignorant and naive, but useful. There's also a merchant who knows you're meeting with Cati for a trade, no more, who has been useful before and will be again. No-one who would be worth less alive - and you can always change your mind about keeping someone alive. Not so easy the other way.

I don't think Cheese knows Fen told the guards about the dragoncloth, just after she stole it?
No. 714475 ID: 211d83


Leaning towards this direction.

But before you say anything make sure that Cati does not even know about this building. They are just going to lead you through the underground to the real meeting spot right? I do not trust magic or other spying methods if Cati is anywhere nearby.

Your family is very important to you and if you start down the path of lying to them it will make later plans much harder when they realized you lied to them.

Besides Fen seems like the sort who would honestly help your people. He is open minded and would not be trying to use or threaten your family once he got into power. Pretending to be planning on using him as a puppet noble will work just fine until your people actually get to know him down the road. Just make sure to go back and tell Fen about your puppet noble plan. So if he finds out from someone else he does not think you are playing him.

That being said you know these two better than anyone and if they are going to just ignore your advice and go try and murder Fen you should probably bend the truth. Its ok to lie to family if its for there own good. If need be tell them that you love them dearly but you have your own horse in this race now and you don't need them murdering it. So unless they promise to follow your lead on this one they are staying out of the loop for there own safety.
No. 714480 ID: b88e47

Don't tell them about Fen or anything connected to Fen.

"You've got me in a box, here. I have several conflicting promises."
No. 714482 ID: 738934

"We are meeting in a strange house and I have been here for a hour. Plenty of time for Cati or anyone to get ears in this room magically or otherwise. No info gets spoken unless you both are willing to stake our peoples future on it."

If you do go for the barbarian puppet noble story make sure to not mention Fen's name. Just keep referring to him as a ignorant barbarian. If his name gets out to anyone at all its going to make later plans a mess.

Here is what I would say.

"I have no intention of telling Cati anything. If she wants this dragoncloth she can stay in the dark about its origins. And I am not going to let her think that she can use my family to get the info out of me. As things stand the only one in any danger right now is me and I intend to keep it that way. The less you two know the safer you are right now. We can meet in private later and I can tell you what is going on then."

"Tell her if she wants this info she better be prepared to pay extra for it."
No. 714483 ID: 87547f

No matter what do not mention Fen's name or description.

Tell them you were not going to tell Cati anything about the cloth unless she paid a ton extra for the info. If you tell them right now they will be in danger and you are not going to assume that Cati will not have them tortured for the info.

After the deal is done and you know its safe then you can talk more. Make sure you let them know you are not doing this to protect your sources but them and you.

If they question that tell them you have a list of people that you would not mind disappearing for them later.
No. 714485 ID: f562b1

>Anyone outside of the family is to be used as a means to an end.
>The second in each pair is the kicker, but don't worry, because we can change that.
"There is nobody alive to talk." Since Fen was willing to keep Rasyan a secret, and succeeded in doing so so far, this is actually true. He won't talk.
"A couple of guards learned that I had a meeting, but I had them killed swiftly after. They never had the chance to talk."
Also true, the only ones who knew aside from Fen were those two guards, who you suggested Fen kill, and he did.

You could, alternatively, think of Fen as honor-family (He's looked out for you and you for him the same way) and leave the first answer as "Nobody outside the family is alive to talk." If they try to ask how many, three, or four including you, but if they ask who the other is, "I'm not going to betray who of the family knows a dangerous secret."
No. 714489 ID: daa0bb


Go even further. Tell them Fen is your husband and part of the family now. You slept together twice right? And you think he is cute right? Problem solved. You can be one of Fens wives and have lots of cute purple children together.
No. 714508 ID: 93244f

Not so sure about this. This might help our case right NOW, but the future for both Fen and us might get screwed over if this is the path we choose to take.
No. 714551 ID: 02422f

Huh. So Erja Nokol's mutations aren't consistent at all.

Do you have any super secret superpowers from yours, or do they just make you look weird?

...important question. Do you care about these members of your 'family' as people, or is this more like joining a gang for survival? Would you be willing to turn on them, or get rid of them, long term? Do you want to?

>I've lost my immunity towards his poison and will probably die if any of his barbs gets through my scales. Which probably will happen if I touch him.
How does one build up an immunity in the first place?

>The other rule, though, is that there are no secrets in the family.
Actually, if you're smart, you're remember that's double edged. You can find out what their plans are for Cati, and what Cati plans to do with the dragoncloth. In detail. This will aid you in reclaiming it / making plans later.

>"How? Cati has been in possession of so many plans for dragoncloth, but never the dragoncloth, but now, you get it?
Honestly? Pure luck. You came across it near the edge of barbarian territory, where you never expected to find it. So you did the only sensible thing and grabbed it and ran. (Technically a true account, though omitting details).

>Who knows about this dragoncloth? Who among them are alive?
Fen never actually told the crows his item was dragoncloth, and they didn't use that word in their note. Therefore, you have no confirmation they know. You can omit them without lying, technically.

Cheese doesn't know Fen told Moss, so she can omit him, and his friend.

Whoever brought the dragoncloth to where I found it must know (true, Fen and those who brought it to him know of it), but it they are alive, they know not where I am, nor where the dragoncloth is. (Technically true, Fen doesn't know exactly where you are). It was either lost, left there deliberately for a purpose I cannot fathom (true, you can't really understand how Lily did that), or it's part of a trap I do not yet understand (technically still possible).

>Who knows you have any deals with Cati? Are any alive?
Cati does, and to the best of my knowledge, she is still alive. Raysan knew, but I understand his holdings are going to fall into disorder relatively soon when his "mysterious disappearance" comes to light. (If Bardo knows, say so, and to the best of your knowledge, he is still alive). None of the other nobles know of these deals.

>Who knows you have any business with Cati? Anyone alive?
Ditto Cati, Bardo, Raysan, as above. Some of the other nobles are likely aware I've had contact with her. Bardo's guards may have been told or have suspected, but you disposed of them already.

Who knows you have any anything with Cati? Anyone alive?
Ditto above. The Crow Zone crows likely know or suspect, but they have been useful tools before and are outsiders of a different kind, in their own right. Orchestrating their deaths without allowing a single crow to potentially slip our net would be difficult, time, and resource consuming.

Some local contacts here, as well as my guards outside, have been misled to believe I am un-ivolved in this sale, by paying them to investigate what mysterious high value item Cati is purchasing. This gambit should be sufficient for its purposes without further effort.
No. 714596 ID: 7687fb

What? The point of saying "only family" was to hide Fen's status as someone who knows.
No. 714642 ID: dd338c
File 146008732902.png - (32.06KB , 800x800 , 365.png )

"... could Cati have ears on this place?"
>"Oh, no, we are to the side of her recommended meeting area. Cati is watching everywhere but this building, you see."
"So, there's this barbarian..."
>"Ohh, you always liked those."
"Yes. I have no idea how he managed it, but he got in good with a noble who gave it to him as a gift."
>"Mm? Did you woo this barbarian into gifting it over to you?"
"I stole it."

Tomato makes its laugh again, and Cabbage laughs in a way that just sounds like a dire sounding individual going 'haaa haaa haaa' slowly and loudly.

>"Cheese, Cheese! When was this? The barbarian could come back!"
"He did! Like, he caught up to me in less than a day, it was really scary."
>"Did you kill him?"
"No... you know I like savages."

I want to say I'm going to take advantage of him, but I just can't.

"I like him."
>"CheeeeEEESE. Do you remember what happened last time you liked a savage, and trusted him?"
"I know! I know. But I got over that."
>"Your backside." she says, pushing the back of my shirt down. It's not like I can see my old brand, but I know it's there as Cabbage puts emphasis on it. "Has not gotten over it."
"This one, though!"
>"Is soooo different, I'm sure."
"He proved it, though."
>"... oh?"
"And he gave me a second chance last night. Not just that, but he let me borrow the dragoncloth."
>"Unusual." Cabbage says, and Tomato makes a gurgle.
"I know right? His story is romantic and ambitious even by northern standards."
No. 714643 ID: dd338c
File 146008740666.png - (36.17KB , 800x800 , 366.png )

Maybe I could count on them. Our family isn't just some gang that calls itself family because we had some teenage rebellion against mediocre parents, we're family because our biological parents abandoned us to a mutant orphanage. I wasn't able to walk until adolescence, as I was mostly tail. But everyone took care of me from birth, and I took care of others when I became strong enough to walk. We use our strengths to cover our weaknesses as a team, even going so far as to drink watered down poison for those who get poisonous to build immunity. Tomato does get cold easily, and I feel bad I can't hug him.

Still, we care about each other because we
>"I still don't like it. Wait. Borrow?" she says.
"We aren't Cati's allies, right?" I ask, and she smiles. Quietly, so I continue. "I promise you I'll be careful this time. I won't let myself be vulnerable again. He was nice to me even when he only saw me as a lowly shopkeeper."
>"We are nice to you. Is that not enough?"
"It is when I'm at home, but I don't like to think that we're completely alone against the world."
>"But we are." Cabbage says. Tomato puts out a funny noise and some drool comes out. "Let's not have this conversation again, Cheese. We would like to meet this barbarian."
"Well, sometime, but now's not good! Continuing on, well, one person who knows I'm dealing with Cati is... Cati."

Silence, then they laugh.

"Um... there's a slight chance the crows know about this, but I'm not sure."
>"The crows of turtle are okay, yes?"
>"Hm. But then the raccoons of poluputus may know. The alligators of Fisher's Run. The penguins of Dra- haa haa haaa, well, the penguins were never of much use or consequence. I suppose they are all fine, anyways."
"Rasyan, as well. The barbarian, desperate to get the dragoncloth back, told him about it before chasing me down. But he has no proof the dragoncloth ever existed. Ah, and a merchant here, he knows that I'm asking him to track down a big item Cati is going to get soon, but he doesn't know it's a dragoncloth yet, and doesn't know I'm selling it."

Silence, then Cabbage frowns and leans close. They're almost scary again to me, as it's been awhile since I've really been up close to a mutant like me, let alone an abomination like them. Erja Nokol's air is enough to mutate kids like me into what I am, but it also bubbles with tar pits. Kobold children who bathe in those pits get extreme mutations to the point where they aren't even kobolds anymore. Like these two. Who are 'lucky', since most just die or are so impeded by bad mutations that they can't survive on their own.

She just stares at me. I can tell she's thinking hard. She's remembering the recent past. Our conversation, probably, given how much she's eyeing me?

>"Barbarian. Caught up less than a day. Caught up last night. Stole dragoncloth less than... two days ago?"
"... yes?"
>"Barbarian talked to Rasyan. About dragoncloth. Yesterday? Impossible. Cheese. Rasyan did not speak to any barbarians yesterday. Rasyan did not learn about any such dragoncloth yesterday. This, we know."
"... how?"
>"Two days ago. We killed Rasyan, Cheese. Why are you telling us this? You do not know he is dead. They are hiding this, they must be, because the towns have not erupted yet. But we know he is dead. Mustard informed us he died before reaching Greenfield, north of us. He died of a fever, after a brief dose from Tomato's barbs. Cheese. Are you lying to us?"
No. 714644 ID: 93244f

They killed his body double.
No. 714645 ID: f461c5

They do know rasyan had a double, right?
No. 714647 ID: bb78f2

You killed his double. I met with the real Rayson in the town I met Finn in. He sent a double up north in order to meet with me, about stuff aside from this whole cloth business, then my plans changed IMMEDIATELY as soon as I found Fen's cloth. Unless I met his double's-double, or you killed his double-double, never forget about Double-doubles with nobles. They think they're being orignal. Oh, and don't even get me started about Triple-Doubles. Fucking noble assholes and their Triple-Doubles.
No. 714649 ID: 211d83

Sorry I forgot to mention something about Rasyan. So after the barbarian told Rasyan about the cloth he tracked Rasyan down and Rasyan tried to set the dogs on him. So the barbarian killed him and his guards and found his plans for the next few days.

Turns out the documents showed that Rasyan had a body double and they were going to meet up north in a few days as part of there plans. So the real Rasyan is dead in a ditch somewhere south of Tool end and the body double got killed by you.

Which is going to make the chaos in Pocketown happen much faster now. I was hoping we had a few days before anyone realized Rasyan was dead.
No. 714651 ID: 5ad4a7

No, you're not lying. There was something you hadn't mentioned yet, that's all. The answer to the second question. Fen killed Rasyan. The real one. There was a decoy lookalike that followed the northern route, while the real one went south. Did they kill the lookalike, then? That's really great, that means the real one's death will be covered up! Fen is in the clear.
You have proof the real Rasyan is dead. Show them the seal. Also tell them that yes, Fen really is that skilled. He killed two elite guards to protect you, just this morning.

Hey who was the other barbarian? And whyyyyy do kobold kids bathe in the tar pits when they have such a high chance of dying? For the off chance that they become powerful?
No. 714654 ID: 4546ab

Sounds like you got his body double. Did Cati have you go after him?

I know exactly where the real Rasyan is right now. My barbarian friend left him naked with his throat ripped out in a ditch somewhere east of here. I am working on fencing his magical swords and just started melting down his seal.

He killed him the day after I secretly met him down in a labor camp. Then he rushed over here and saved me from getting beat up by Bardo's guards.
No. 714660 ID: 02422f

>Tomato does get cold easily, and I feel bad I can't hug him.
...isn't the dragoncloth like super-armor? If you draped it over him, could you hug him through the cloth safely, protected from his barbs? (Cabbage could test, assuming she kept up her immunity).

You know Cati would disprove, but hey, screw her. Secret deals means she never needs to know.

>>"We are nice to you. Is that not enough?"
Why wouldn't I want more people to be nice to me? I know you care, but it's nice when some outsiders aren't terrible.

>Two days ago. We killed Raysan, Cheese. Why are you telling us this?
Did the Raysan you killed have his custom enchanted magic swords with him? Or use any magic? I believe you got his body double. The barbarian brought back his sword. They're something only a powerful mage could have made. I can show them too you later, if you need proof.

>Cheese. Are you lying to us?
We don't lie to each other. I'd hope you'd consider that one of us was wrong, fist.

>borrowing the dragoncloth
The barbarian plans to join the army. He'll either end up dead, so we never have to give it back, or he'll end up with glory and power after, which is something we can use. (Putting working with / helping Fen in a language they understand- manipulating and using outsiders. It's okay if they think that about him, if you're still helping him by doing it).

They have to tell you the truth too, right?

Ask them why they even wanted to kill Raysan. Was that for Cati, or for one of your family's plans?

This is good, though. If the public thinks Raysan died in the north, that means they won't look for someone who killed him in the south. We covered up the barbarian's crimes- that's something he owes us. (Putting things in terms you family will like).

What is Cati plotting to do with the dragoncloth, anyways?
No. 714664 ID: 5ad4a7

I feel like Tomato's barbs could get stuck in the cloth and turn it into a hazard.
No. 714666 ID: 595d54

Yeah, let's not mess around with the irreplaceable super-valuable stuff. It's not even super-armor, iirc, just much more protective than actual cloth.
No. 714674 ID: dd338c
File 146009692984.png - (15.64KB , 800x800 , 367.png )

>Who was the other barbarian?
A mistake of mine. But just a short period of self inflicted slavery, really. He's dead, now. Cabbage isn't the one who killed him, but she would've given the chance.

"NO! Of course not. That was a body double."
>"A body double. Convenient?"
"Did you see his swords while you were there?"
>"He had no reason to draw them."
"I have them."
>"... where?"
"In the bank."

I wish I had his seal, but I already left it to be smelted. I pull out the dragoncloth, and that gets the both of them to be quiet. It's insanely valuable, and it feels and looks like something that doesn't quite belong in a place as dirty as the world. It's completely irreplaceable. A priceless artifact. An object so holy that nobles and the ones with noble's blessings are the only ones permitted to touch it.

And I really don't care so I drape it over Tomato and hug it lightly. The dragoncloth is kind of iffy as armor, but it is pierce resistant and thick, so even if I get nicked, none of the poison should be able to seep through the cloth. I'll make sure to pick out any barbs in it later, but Tomato only loses barbs if it really lets them go. It purrs like two logs grinding against each other.

"You know I wouldn't lie."
>"Mm... I'm sorry. You have grown distant, Cheese, and I did not like hearing that yet again you are opening yourself up to an outsider."
"The barbarian is joining the army anyway, but more on that later. Why would you kill Rasyan? Did Cati order it?"
>"Oh, no, not at all."
>"Because we could. Not many opportunites to assassinate a gold noble. Once in a lifetime event. We couldn't let that slip by, after all."

She's family, I care about her and Tomato, but I never fooled myself into thinking they were good people. I'm not sure how she became the murderhappy person she is. Maybe the tar pit changed her, maybe having the mutations alone was enough to change her, or maybe she was just going to grow up like this anyway.

I mean. I'm not a good person either, but that didn't stop people from cleaning my sorry hide when I just couldn't reach the back of my own tail.

Cabbage used to be a field kobold, but Erja turned her legs into weird fungal stump things, and she couldn't walk at all. Her paws were also stubby and more like a stuffed animal. I was able to pass information as a stationary agent while I couldn't move, but she was too forthright, and so she couldn't find any purpose except to be cared for by the rest of us.

She felt useless, and really, she was. All of us were too tired and bitter to pretend otherwise. It's just there's no shame in it. Still, she hated it. A lot of kids in her position do. Tomato was a draconian with such a cripplingly large mouth that he couldn't see well or speak or anything like that, and while he could move, he spent most of it just falling over from getting dizzy.

Their day was just get fed, get cleaned, get fed again, try to sleep, maybe even succeed. That day was the same day for their entire lives. So both of them and a few other kids with similar issues all got people to put air pipes into their mouths and dump them into into the tar pits together. And no one blamed them. I doubt any of one of them regretted the choice, even if Cabbage and Tomato were the only ones who made it out with beneficial mutations.

>"But it was not to be, it seems." Cabbage continues. "It did seem too easy, and so Rasyan lives."
"No, Rasyan is dead. You accidentally covered for us."
>"Oh? How? How did he die?"
"The barbarian killed him."
>"Ah? Poison? Is the barbarian not alone, but rather a warlord with his tribe who got the drop on Rasyan? He is not a cunning spy, is he?"
"No, he's alone. He fought Rasyan."
>"Hm? As in with swords?"
"Yeah! And you know, the dumbest part about it is that I don't think the savage even thought he was that tough!"
>"Ah. He is strong, he must be, even if Rasyan was a training room champion." Cabbage says, referring to the fact that there's always a difference between a noble that got their title by fighting, and one that got their fighting ability by buying training. "Strong enough to fight me?"
"He fought two of Bardo's best, but got the drop on one and took an injury from the other, so... probably not."
>"That is good. I do pref-"
No. 714675 ID: dd338c
File 146009693837.png - (29.87KB , 800x800 , 368.png )

Cabbage spins around and extends her scythe limb whatevers hard enough to go through the wall before the sound of her last word finishes being heard.

>"Mmmm. I was wrong." Cabbage says.

Something's coming through the wall. Red. Blood? It's blood. Blood is coming through the wall. There's something thumping against the wall.

>"There was a small hole? I thought I would have noticed. I should have seen this. Is it new? Did someone make this hole? I am sorry. Ah... " she lowers her voice. "I was so wrong. A terrible mistake of mine. Mm.. no, no other holes exist. That was it, but a terrible mistake. There are more people, though. Tomato, please come with me. Please stay here with the cloth, Cheese."
No. 714676 ID: 91ee5f

I really hope that wasn't one of our bodyguards she just stabbed by accident.
No. 714678 ID: 5ad4a7

Alright. Stay by the door so you can call for your bodyguards in case anyone comes in to try something.

If you can, grab the gold now. It sounds like there won't be an exchange since Cati is dead, but you need that gold.
No. 714679 ID: bb78f2

Ensure no screams are heard, or you'll end up having to kill my bodyguards as well. That would be... unfortunate. Also, potentially bad for business, and I'd feel bad emotionally.

Hmm, I can't imagine anyone we met on OUR end would have tried this, might be Cati's people, planning to betray all three of you at the same time. If it IS our fault, perhaps we flashed too much gold at that asshole you got the bodyguards from.
No. 714682 ID: 93244f

Someone was spying on you! That's seriously not good.
No. 714689 ID: a063cf

Being left alone with the cloth at a juncture when someone might be betraying you seems like a risky idea to me.

Whoever's watching knows you're with them already. If you can, maybe try to stay within safe distance of Cabbage and Tomato, a bit behind them so that you don't get any surprise arrows, watching your back for a flank.

Alternatively, you could leave the room for the time being, and stay with your guards. They might be with whoever's spying on you, though.

Meanwhile: Are those Cati's spies, or someone else's? If they're Cati's, then would killing them screw up our deal? It's not like we can let them live, but it might be worthwhile to try to save one for interrogation, maybe forge a report. Ensuring that no one who saw us escapes alive is the priority, though.
No. 714699 ID: 211d83

We told you to not say anything here Cheese. Now we have who knows how many people that heard way to much. I know they are family but you should have been more careful.

Staying alone with the cloth while they go murder everything in site seems dangerous. Ask if you should follow along for safety.
No. 714701 ID: f562b1

>Cati is dead
What makes you say that? Rasanyan and his double are dead, and Tomato killed an eavesdropper on the meeting. Cati didn't show up to the location, as far as we know.
>I don't know what to expect out of Cati's agent. Cati is someone who does things that are insane by normal standards, but despite her extreme measures she somehow manages to do it in a professional way.
Could be her agent was, or soon will be, killed, which will suck for the deal, but Cati herself is not dead.
No. 714702 ID: 738934

Get all your stuff back in your bag and ready to go. Then be prepared to follow them if need be.

Whoever is spying on you needs to die and fast. Those two are probably going to slaughter anyone nearby just in case. Let them know you have bodyguards outside. Don't try to protect your bodyguards cause they might be in on the spying.
No. 714752 ID: 5ad4a7

"Cati is mincemeat" sounded like dead to me- oh it was "will be mincemeat", nevermind. So they are going to take the dragoncloth back, then try to kill Cati.
No. 714784 ID: 02422f

D'aww. Best use of a Macguffin.

On the one hand, I feel bad for whoever just got killed (especially if it's kids snooping like under the news house), but at the same time, you really can't afford to let whoever overheard that live.

Keep it quiet, if you can. This will be a lot simpler for me if my guards don't get involved and end up dead as well.

>Please stay here with the cloth, Cheese.
Disengage carefully. No getting pricked pulling it off of him too fast or carelessly, or when you're trying to fold the cloth back up.
No. 714789 ID: dd338c
File 146015231801.png - (30.09KB , 800x800 , 369.png )

"I can't stay alone here! What if they're trying to lead you out?"
>"Hmm. Okay. Stay close to us."
"Where is the gold?"
>"On me. I will give it to you in a moment."
"Waitwait I have body guards, they may not be with the spy!"

Cabbage opens the door. Tomato scurries out while I stuff the dragoncloth back into my bag.

>"Hello to yoooou!" I hear Cabbage say. All I see is a glimpse of the field kobold bodyguard of mine lunge at Cabbage. Her sword is out, but is blocked and knocked out of her grasp with one of Cabbage's limbs, and other limb runs her through. Then the blocking limb runs her through a second time, this time through the bodyguard's throat before she can scream.
".... wait shit, shit shitshit! Hold on, that was my bodyguard!"
>"Hm? They allowed a spy to peer into our room? And then attacked me? But my, she was a fast one. So quick. So quick to be killed."
No. 714790 ID: dd338c
File 146015232831.png - (29.87KB , 800x800 , 370.png )

I look outside and around the corner. Damn it damn it damn it that mountain bodyguard was the one spying! I really screwed up here talking so openly, but it's not like I knew of a nearby place that would've been any more guaranteed to be safe to talk in, at least not one I could get Cabbage and Tomato in to without being seen.

Tomato comes back, dragging the draconian bodyguard. He's kicking and trying to scream at Tomato, but Tomato is dragging him by the neck into the empty shop room.

>"Ah. Tomato. Are you hurt? Mm. Just a scratch. You are okay. CheeEese. Who are these ones? Is the spy dead? These are not normal weakling kobolds."
No. 714799 ID: 5ad4a7

They were very expensive bodyguards that were SUPPOSED TO BE discreet. But you've been lied to. There will be consequences. Hmm, but who lied? The merchant you bought them from, or the company they're from? The merchant may have been unawares. How do we find this out, however? I doubt your two friends can walk around in public without being attacked.

...that definitely looks like the mountain kobold was the spy, and is dead. What's with the ceiling, though? I hope the mountain kobold wasn't relaying information to someone else through that crack.
No. 714800 ID: 738934

Damn it these were my bodyguards. Looks like Yortle might have sent along some of his own men instead of hiring people like normal. He probably decided to spy on me after seeing me flashing more gold than usual. We should probably go to his place after this and take care of him. If he has not melted down the stuff I gave him he has evidence we need to destroy.

Could you not kill that last one yet so we can question him? And make sure there is no one else that could have heard us talking.
No. 714806 ID: 5ad4a7

...hang on, what was causing the thumping noise, anyway? If he got stabbed through the head, could those have been death spasms?
No. 714808 ID: 211d83

Yeah that crack in the floorboards to the second floor means Cabbage should sweep the upstairs for more spies. Also track down the guy who let you in when you first got here. Your bodyguards got through him somehow or snuck in somewhere else.

So you have a potentially dead doorman somewhere or a hole in the building they snuck in through. Or the doorman was in on it somehow.

Yortle might be in on things or might not. But right now you need to treat him as a enemy until you can be sure he does not still have a bunch of hot seals on him.
No. 714816 ID: 02422f

>Is the spy dead?
Confirm it. Check for a pulse. He can't afford to survive, hearing what he did.

>Hole wasn't there before
Would any of you have heard if he bored a new hole to spy through?

>These are not normal weakling kobolds.
No, they were supposed to be strong enough if someone who wasn't you tried to kill me today. Their betrayal is problematic.

>what do
Interrogate the prisoner.

"I discover I have employed not guards, but spies. Who paid you three to spy on me? Was it Yortle or someone else? If you want to live, I suggest you start trading useful information for your life."

(We... probably can't let him live. The mountain bold was the one listening in, but he could have repeated anything to the other two).

Cheese, if you can't trust Yortle, he may have already read the letter. That would be... bad. The body count for your siblings to contain this grows to pretty much anyone in Yortle's group.
No. 714822 ID: dd338c
File 146015464734.png - (26.29KB , 800x800 , 371.png )

I confirm the mountain kobold is as dead as dead gets before going back into the room, where we look again to make sure no new holes were bored.

"They were supposed to be discreet! Trustworthy! That was like, the biggest, most important trait! I mean I could've gotten the shittiest bodyguards but as long as they were trustworthy it would've been okay! And yes the spy was dead, but what were those thumps?"
>"Mm, I did feel movement on my limb, I believe our dead peeper was having death spasms. Where where where did you get them from?"
"Urgh, some... some butt that I thought was trustworthy! He got me the guards though - wait, maybe Yortle was okay but the person he got from tried to pull us over."
>"Mm, perhaps they were working alone?"
"No, the field kobold attacked you right away, and they must've seen the mountain one burying - wait, there's no way that big guy could've made a hole that small. They were in on it together, and, well, bodyguards don't get a good reputation acting on their own. One - this one - this one works under a noble. I can't remember which one, but he definitely wasn't under Yortle's payroll!"
>"Ahh, if only we could... ask him."

The draconian remains silent and still on the wall of which he was pushed too, after we close the door again.

>"It's a good thing we have the antidote, hmm? Perhaps he isn't a talker, though. It's a shame, as Tomato's poison isn't nice. Oh, I didn't notice! Look, Cheese, yellow eyes. A friend of yours, perhaps?"
>"I tease! I'm sorry. Not sorry for the draconian. It must be feeling feverish already, but that's only the start. Soon, itches. The hide dries out and the scale feel like they are trying to escape, because, well, they are. It only gets worse from there. It just isn't a pretty way to go."


>"Keep your words to a minimum." Cabbage says. "We know how much it hurts to speak."
>"another kobold saw. Spoke" Tomato finishes, pointing at himself for the first phrase, then the draconian for the word 'spoke.'
"Ahhhhh Cabbage I need this placed sweeped for any people!"
>"Of couuuurse. Tomato, be a dear and protect Cheese from this draconian, as your poison does require minutes. And Cheese... you always were good at finding information, so do what you do best, yes?"
No. 714823 ID: 5ad4a7

Well, torture is very unreliable so let's try bribery and negotiation. Tell him if he tells us who ordered him to spy on you, you'll both save him from a gruesome death and pay him a handsome sum of money. But, of course, if he lies... you'll find him, he'll die from more than poison, and so will his tribe.
No. 714830 ID: 5ad4a7

Oh ask him who the last kobold was, just in case Cabbage doesn't find them.
No. 714832 ID: 02422f

>so do what you do best, yes?
Yes. Cabbage goes, you question.

Ask yes or no questions when you can, so he can nod / shake his head instead of wasting time and effort struggling to speak.

If you want the antidote, I need answers, fast. Were you spying at Yortle's behest? Yes or no.

The forth who was here. Field, mountain, draconian, sea, cave... (list types of kobolds, stop when he affirms one). Man? Woman? Name? (He can answer, or shake his head if he doesn't know).

Your employer? (If not Yortle).
No. 714834 ID: 5ad4a7

Oh right, we can straight up ask which noble he works under normally.
No. 714836 ID: 211d83

So you have two choices here guy. You tell me what your little plan was and if I like your answers you can get a antidote or at the very least a quick death.

Or you can stay silent and then a whole lot of extra people have to die. Not talking about just your partners in crime by the way. While you might just sit there and scowl at me I will find out who you are. And if we have to go that far I will find out about your friends and family and then they will get visits from my friends and family.

While I would not enjoy having your family tracked down and horribly murdered its sort of out of my hands now.

So make your choice. You have until my sister gets back and then the choice gets made for you.
No. 714842 ID: dd338c
File 146015657575.png - (33.65KB , 800x800 , 372.png )

"Okay, so, uh, my mantisy friend has the antidote, I don't, but let's make this quick anyway! So if you want to play with self preservation, and want a little coin on the side since you know I have since I paid for your services, then please tell me who you work for."

Stone silence.



".... Sir Tawns? Lord Rumu? Lord Vackles? Lord Bace?" I list off a few random nobles that might be suspect, but he just stares at me because I bought off bodyguards that were too goddamn good because all my proactive decisions always backfire on me!

Ugh, I hope no one finds the bodies soon because it's really not a good thing to have super good bodyguards just get killed without a good reason, but I guess it's not like they weren't spying on me! Geez, what am I gonna tell Yortle when I -

Oh fuck the world and me in it the damn letter! He has the letter!

"Wait a second, barbarian bodyguard! Oh duh you're under Lord Vackles and your name is Pak. Geez it's dumb. Okay you're tough and you're not going to speak, and I think that's not going to change even as your skin boils under your scales, and it's really not gonna change when your tongue falls off. And you know we can't let you live."

Yeah, this guy is a rock, he doesn't even change expression.

"So I'll cut the bullshit about letting you go. But... what you do have is a family."

Rocks can still be cracked.

>"They have nothing to do with this, mutant."
"Mmhmm, I know that. And if you answer my questions, you can keep it that way!"
>"My lord has kept us alive. We owe our livelihood to him, not just me."
"Well okay, if you wanna sacrifice them, but I can tell you're itching, now. Think your wife is gonna be as tough as you?"
>"My wife." he laughs at me. "Is of the strongest will."
"Just imagine her going through this, now, okay."

I wait a bit longer. He's showing signs of overheating and shaking.

"Now imagine your kids-"
>"The world calls you monsters for a reason."

That was supposed to sting me but I'm relieved he said that because I dunno if I could've finished my sentence without puking at myself. Even the murder glorifying side of the empire frowns on killing children, but he doesn't know that mutants feel the same, even moreso.

"How about information?"
>"Yortle. He told us you were up to something bigger than usual. He, through Lord Vackles' approval, paid us extra to spy on your meeting only if possible without risk. The mountain kobold got the idea for the hole. Clearly it was a mistake. By my tribe's honor, this is what I know. Is that enough, earth wretch, to kill me now?"
"Not yet. Who did you see, out there?"

He pauses.

"Then first, your wif-"
>"Lord Vackles' spy. I do not know the name, but it does not matter, as he was only tasked as a secret watcher to see if a poor fate befell us. Now he will report our demise to Lord Vackles'.
"By Yortle?"
>"Yortle is unaware of his existence."
"Tomato, you said this draconian spoke?"

Tomato nods.

"Pak, what did you say?"
"... really?"
>"What would I say? I never learned what this meeting was for."
"I don't suppose you can show me you're not lying?"
>"I have already told too much. I no longer have reason to hide anything more, after placing my family as my greatest priority."
"... oh wait Tomato did he say 'go'?"

I turn to look at Tomato who's been nodding this whole time. Whoops.
No. 714847 ID: 5ad4a7

Sounds like he's earned the antidote, if you even have it(and a quick death regardless), and you won't go after his family.

It sounds like Vackles will be a problem, and might come after you. Ask where Vackles is, how to contact him. Maybe we can buy him off instead of trying to kill his entire organization.

Afterwards we have to get back to Yortle and make absolutely sure he didn't read the letter. If he did, you'll have to kill him and anyone he could have given the information to.
No. 714848 ID: 211d83

Cheese it is perfectly fine to horribly threaten peoples families as long as you have no intention of doing it. All that matters is he thinks you are all horrible mutants that would.

As much as I would like to let him live honestly he has to die. Cati would have your family kill him just for knowing they were here. And even if the spy escapes I don't think the spy saw Cabbage or Tomato. But this guy did.

So give him the quick death he deserves. Tell him the family stuff was just a empty threat.

And then hope that Yortle did not touch your letter and that Cabbage can catch the spy. If the spy escapes its probably not to bad. He was just here to see if the bodyguards got eaten.

But that letter and those seals are a disaster waiting to happen. If he has not touched the letter and not hidden the seals you can tell him to start running. Cause Cati will have him dead for what he did. And if he did read the letter then you have to kill him on the spot.
No. 714851 ID: 1cebc8

Oh crap.

Before you hunt the agent, threaten Pak one more time, explaining that you intend to scream at his children until they become the town loonies and start a disease cult. Of course, you'll kill them before they start raking in serious casualties but by then the flamethrower to his family's PR will be so great that the next Shakespeare (or whoever passes for a poet in this empire) will create three ballads in honor of your exemplary disgrace.

The longer he talks, the less you'll consider ripping apart his children's minds. Also give him the antidote.
No. 714854 ID: bb78f2

It's good you know little, you would have been betrayed by your superiors had you known more. Who knows what your master would have done to your own family, had you known what this meeting was about. All to ensure secrecy. They would have been thorough.

Alright, make it quick.
No. 714862 ID: 02422f

Right then. We have two priorities. (1) Getting ahold of Yorlte before he decides to open your letter, and quite possibly killing him and everyone he could have told. (2) Getting to Lord Vackles' spy before he or she reaches anyone they could pass information to, or worse, leaves it concealed in a dead drop, bank, or other hiding spot. They need to die fast.

..it would help if you at least go the spy's description before he dies. Kobold type, at the very least.
No. 714879 ID: dd338c
File 146015990429.png - (34.22KB , 800x800 , 373.png )

"Okay. One more thing, what did the spy look like?"
>"A hood, as he is not to be known by anyone, but it was a draconian."
"Well that makes sense. Thank you. Um... hm... Tomato do you have a knife?"

It shakes its head.

>"Erg... my claws aren't.. like, may as well wait for the poison over using my claws. Uh... do you have any ideas on how to kill you, Pak?"
"Are you joking?"


"I will use my own knife, then. Leave my family be."
>"Oh, yeah, I was just threatening them, sorry about that."

I step back with Tomato, and Pak slits his own throat. Kind of, uh, weird. I think Cabbage really does have an antidote since sometimes accidents happen, but it doesn't matter.

>"So what now?" Cabbage comes downstairs. "This is clear. I do believe that there are no other witnesses, and I do hope I'm not mistaken once again."
"No, Cabbage, that was really my mistake, I shouldn't have spoken so open - "
>"No, I made a mistake. I am the noble's agent. I am better than this."
"No, it really was my mistake."
>"Enouuuugh, Cheese. It was mine."
>"mine" Tomato says, and we drop it at that just so that he doesn't talk more.

>"What now? Is the other spy gone?"
"Yes... he saw you two slaughter these bodyguards. He's probably making a full sprint to Vackles right now."
>"Should we kill Yortle? As it is tough to kill a noble." she says, now keeping her voice down to a whisper. "No, rather, it is tough to kill a noble and not be caught. Ah. Is the entire town going to learn of the dragoncloth?"
"N-no, telling the whole town really doesn't benefit anyone. I think... I think Vackles is going to know about the dead bodyguards. I don't know what he's going to do, but it doesn't sound like the spy knows about the dragoncloth buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUHHHHHHHHt I may have written a.... incriminating letter. In case I died, Yortle was to read it saying I was selling dragoncloth."
>"Oh, Cheese, Cheese, you were usually so good at preventative measures, too."
"I thought Yortle was trustworthy! Man if I can't trust him then who...."


"Who outside the family?"
>"No one. Never trust anyone but the family. I do wish you would keep these lessons to heart."
"Well the letter was the right idea in like any circumstance but this one but it was this one so..."
>"Mm. Must you go back? I overheard. Yortle himself sent you untrustworthy bodyguards. And you intend to walk back to him? Where is Vackles?"
"Northeast corner."
>"Noooo, Tomato and I cannot get there without being seen. Not even Tomato can crawl, as there are so many young children in those tunnels, it is so bad."
"Still, I have to find that letter I left with Yortle and destroy it. I think.. I think I can get you there without being seen by any kids, there's some really old tunnels. They're kind of... unsafe to be in due to collapsing, but..."
>"We will tread carefully, wherever you lead us."

I don't see any other choice, other than go to Yortle as fast as possible and... do something. Except that fast as possible would be to just run out there and go through all the populated streets and stuff. Going through the tunnels would rely on kids being discreet. Going through the deep tunnels is safe as far as staying hidden goes, but, it'll take over twice as long to get there as if we were to casually stroll there.
No. 714887 ID: 211d83

Is Fen still in town? Can you get him to go with you?

How close is Vackles to Yortle? Say if you go there slowly in the old tunnels will he have time to get news of what happened after the spy delivers his news?

You should not go to Yortle alone. But you need to get there as fast as possible so you can beat anyone else there who might tell him what happened. We have to assume the worst and that he has already read the letter. You going alone is dangerous.

So am leaning for the old tunnels after looting the bodies here.
No. 714888 ID: bb78f2

As if the public doesn't already know that Cabbage and Tomato is part of Cati's crew for now. Who cares who knows. Anyone that gets in our way gets a whole lot of poison and mutant knives.

Tell me, who would FUCK with these two? You? Maybe, but not Cabbage. Let them all scream in fear, let them RUN. Let Yortle KNOW the pain he will feel. The largest danger will be from any ranged attackers, but they would need a reason to hurt potentially very dangerous mutants. And by the time we reach Yortles, it will be too late for that fool to get archers or arbalists.
No. 714891 ID: 5ad4a7

I imagine casually strolling there will cause guards to attack, right? Eventually they'll stop attacking, after a bunch of them die without civilian casualties. So, I suppose you have to decide if the lives of a bunch of innocent guards are worth the time and danger of the tunnels.
...wait, can you buy a guard escort? That could be optimal.

Another option is to leave all your valuables with them, and run to Yortle, destroy the letter making sure he hasn't read it, then go back to retrieve your gold.

...after which you just need to get to a bank without being robbed.
No. 714895 ID: 211d83

Get two sheets and cut eye holes. Then escort your two suspiciously lumpy friends quickly through back streets.

Maybe upgrade the sheets to burlap or something.
No. 714898 ID: 87547f

Ok run out and rent a big closed carriage and pay double for emergency speed service.

Then shove these two in the back and book it to the ally behind Yortles place. Or the closest underground entrance near his shop.

Ps. Don't actually shove them.
No. 714899 ID: 02422f

>Not even Tomato can crawl, as there are so many young children in those tunnels, it is so bad.
Well it's good to see Cabbage has some standards.

>Except that fast as possible would be to just run out there and go through all the populated streets and stuff. Going through the tunnels would rely on kids being discreet. Going through the deep tunnels is safe as far as staying hidden goes, but, it'll take over twice as long to get there as if we were to casually stroll there.
So fast an obvious, slower and having to trust kids, or slowest and trust no one.
Hey, are there any vehicles? Carriages, covered wagons, cargo delivery things? All you have to do is go out into the street and buy one off of someone for way more than it's worth and hide your siblings in the back. (Or hire someone to drive you and you all hide in the back). Even with traffic, that's gotta be quicker than crawling to Yortle, and you'll have a disguise.
No. 714921 ID: 8a6953

It's an idea but maybe you could pretend the deal went bad and try to get your letter back that way, acting ignorant the entire time to Yortle?

Anyway if you can destroy the letter and Yortle if he read it that would be the end of it. But if he told someone else you cant just go on a murder spree.

You should probably decide now at which point to cut your losses and minimize damage.

Maybe you can pretend that the letter is a lie and it's actually part of some deeper (fake?) game you were playing that got fucked up?

Like you could have your siblings chase you through the streets before 'getting away' and then make up a story about how the deal went bad but it was a different, fake deal, than the Dragoncloth one? After all if he reads your note then he will probably be skeptical as to you having dragoncloth, since it's so rare. you can pose the bodies like it was a fight, and then present this fake story to supplant the real one.
No. 714923 ID: dd338c
File 146016580220.png - (24.25KB , 800x800 , 374.png )

"Ahh I really just want to run through town with you two to get to Yortle."
>"Cati made it all too clear to us that we are not to be seen. While it is a secret we work for Cati, it is a secret known by too many people. I am sorry, but until we have Cati under our terms, we cannot afford to cross her."
"A... a wagon! I can get a wagon if you have some gold on you, and I can buy one, and then you two hide out while I lead the mountain kobolds of burden to Yortle's."

I think there's... yeah, there's a shitty building next door to Yortle's we can use to hop quickly into the tunnels and up into his place without much of a risk of kids.

I point on Cabbage's map where we'll meet up. I then run, as best as I can, to a local taxi service

>"Hmmmrr, a mutant. What can I do for you?"
"I would like to rent - er sorry buy a wagon today, uh, specifically that one - " I point to the one with a closed tent to hide the contents - with drivers for today, right now, no questions please."
>"... how much are you willing to offer?"
"1 gold piece it's an emergency!"

I don't really need to buy this thing but I don't have enough small change and 1 gold is too much for a rental and he'd probably think it was a trap.
No. 714924 ID: dd338c
File 146016580858.png - (25.44KB , 800x800 , 375.png )

He bites on the gold a bunch, and even still, seems reluctant to sell. He sells anyway. I'm able to get the mountain kobolds to back it up into a door where I go in through a window and motion Tomato and Cabbage inside. Then I get back into the driver's seat and lead them on to Yortle's.

By the time it's all said and done it still would've been faster to walk here but we probably did save time by not taking the deep tunnels.

There are multiple strong looking people at Yortle's place that I am pretty sure are not the usual sorts of guards, and there's a big commotion inside, like a bunch of people are fighting.

>"We should take another route." one of the mountain kobolds say. "Those are Lord Vackles' soldiers, and we shouldn't get in their way."
No. 714927 ID: 635f0e

... Are there eavesdropping tunnels under Yortle's place? I mean, he knows about at least one tunnel, the one you came up through to meet him, but are there maybe others? Does one of your friends maybe have very good hearing?
No. 714931 ID: 5ad4a7

Looks like Lord Vackle decided he wanted payback for the deaths of his guards. If he gets to the letter, or Yortle decides to open it due to things going south, then mission failure.

The obvious option is for them to stop the taxi in front of the door, tell the taxi drivers to leave, and then your friends leap out and kill everyone inside. However this will result in a lot of witnesses that might just run for it instead of trying to fight and dying. Too risky.

How about instead we take the taxi over to an entrance to whatever tunnels that will let us get close to the letter. Then Cheese can sneak in and steal the letter, then get the fuck out. The letter is the only concern here.
No. 714934 ID: 02422f

I assume Cabbage and Tomato could walk into the mess and kill anyone they wanted. Problem is, they'd be seen, and there's enough people that witnesses would escape.

We need a nearby building with tunnel access so we can make a surgical strike. Or we need to trail the soldiers after they've claimed the goods.
No. 714936 ID: 211d83

Looks like Yortle got in over his head and is being raided. You need to sneak in and retrieve your stuff unseen if possible.

Go around to your underground area and get in there. Then kill only who you need to silently.
No. 714937 ID: 8a6953

MAybe this is a stealth mission.

You might be able to mix this


With a new plan to get inside.

Unfortunately they probably know that you exist since your description is so unique so they might try to grab you. It's not likely foot soldiers would know about you, but it's possible.

Presumably Yortle would have a way out of there if shit hit the fan, which it seems like it did. Maybe Tunnels. Maybe you can intercept him that way? Or sneak inside that way?
No. 714969 ID: dd338c
File 146017041283.png - (13.78KB , 800x800 , 376.png )

"Okay, um, back away. Actually I need to, uh, rethink the route, this place is confusing."
>"If you tell us where to go, we'll probably know where to go. We've travelled these streets a lot of times, miss."
"Nono just uh park in this spot I'll be just a few moments! I need to think about something so please watch the street and do nooooot disturb me in the back okay?"

They look nervous to be left in such a suspicious looking cart so close to the noble's entourage, but we're a few bends away and Vackles' bunch seems contained where they are, so it shouldn't be a problem.
No. 714972 ID: dd338c
File 146017065891.png - (36.11KB , 800x800 , 377.png )

I can poke into the underside here and eavesdrop. Cabbage can't fit here, but I motion for Tomato to come with me and follow behind. By the time I get down in there, the fighting's stopped, although I'm hearing a lot of people move around and, by the sounds of it, turn the place upside down. I can hear the voices at least. I go to where the letter is just in case there's no one there and I can get to it, but no, there's someone in the room, it looks like.

"-is probably not dead. Despite the internal wars of Erja Nokol, the mutants don't head out of town to fight each other. A haughty voice bossing everyone around. This person is a noble, and it's a safe assumption it's Lord Vackles.
>"Shall we put wanted posters across town?"
"No, that's too risky. Dangerous contraband is involved. I have already sent a runner to investigate if they have left already and I will deal with it if so, but for now, you go and inform the town guard is to quadruple their staff and be put on the highest alert for mutants and abominations. I will deal with Lord Warfield's inquiries. The abominations are to be detained or killed, but, for everyone's safety, not searched without my presence. Once I confirm they have not yet left, we can take our time inside of the town. They can't hide from everyone, not forever. And Cheese. You." he says, turning to face someone else. "She'll come back here, so clear out the bodies and lay out a trap for her in the next several minutes."
>"Yes sir. And Yortle's?"
"His body with the rest, he's unimportant now."
No. 714973 ID: 1cebc8

I'd be more sympathetic to Yortle if he didn't get his mooks to knifehold every little girl that tried to do "play business with the funny toy man".

Maybe he's not dead yet? Whatever, can you and your sister assault them now while Tomato plays defense or should you leave? Yortle has a stash that includes all the gold you fed him.
No. 714974 ID: 5ad4a7

Shit, he knows. He's not telling anyone what it is though, so we just have to assassinate him. If he read the letter then he's likely destroyed it himself to prevent the (in his words) dangerous knowledge from spreading.

So go back to the taxi, tell the others what's going on, and... well, I don't know. We have to catch Vackles with his guard down, but not out in the open where people will see your friends.

Ooooor you could assassinate him yourself. Ever used a blowgun before? Put one of Tomato's quills on a dart and dart him, and he's done for. Or put a quill somewhere you know he'll step on it or poke his finger on.
No. 714976 ID: 211d83

Well Vackles found out and now you need to kill him.

He will not have told anyone and will have the letter on him if he has not destroyed it. He obviously wants that Cloth.

Will probably be best to ambush them while they are clearing out bodies for this trap. Maybe a two pronged assault where Cabbage comes through the back and you go in with Tomato to take out Vackles.

Get back to the carriage and let your more dangerous family members advise you.
No. 714982 ID: 5ad4a7

...wait, if you're under the building... can you get Tomato to poison him through the floorboards?
No. 714985 ID: b2db3f

Quickly get back to the cart and let Cabbage know that the noble knows about them and about the Dragoncloth.

They are cleaning out bodies now to prepare a trap for us so if we hit them quick they will be off there guard.

I wonder if Tomato could lurk down here and drag people through the floorboards once Cabbage attacks.

As for you do your best to help without getting in there way.
No. 714996 ID: 02422f

...either they didn't know how important the letter was and left it, or we have to assume the noble has it. That means he has to die, today.

Maybe you need Fen's help. Someone they can't make at a glance. They're expecting the three of you.
No. 715004 ID: 8a6953

So this whole thing sounds like a wash.

Cutting your losses now sounds like safest course of action. The Noble knows you have dragoncloth and actively searching for you. Getting a message to Fen that you're going out of town and retrieving your stuff from the bank sounds like the best options. After that skedaddle and get the deal done.

One way to do this may be to pretend you have already left the town or spread rumors like that and double back when the town is sparsely guarded.

Another idea is to have Fen act like he's still chasing you. If rumors get out that he was chasing you that could lead them to follow him, away from you.

Maybe you could also flip one of Tomatoes barbs up there, hope you get lucky and he steps on it.

Or, and this might be the best option, frame this Vackles guy for the murder of Pocky. Maybe let it slip to Warfield that he can get one over an opponent and stash his swords somewhere for him to find?

Building on that idea if you get the swords you may be able to pretend like the swords are the contraband he's looking for. It's more plausible than the dragoncloth, and you have proof (the swords to back it up). Maybe pretend you were an unfortunate bystander to the murder and coverup or something and he is trying to silence the final loose end (you).
No. 715045 ID: dd338c
File 146017479285.png - (23.45KB , 800x800 , 378.png )

I look back to Tomato, thinking maybe I could poison Vackles though the floorboards. I don't think so. They're loose enough to let light through, but thick enough that Tomato could only aim up, and it'll be difficult to get in position, and it's hard to tell where anyone is standing exactly and Vackles is already leaving, dangit.

Tomato isn't all that accurate with his quill shooting anyway. Uh well it's probably better than my aim with a blow dart if I tried that.

I go back to the wagon as fast as I can without making noise, but we can only go so fast.

If Vackles hasn't made it out yet, maybe I can send in... no, there's only two siblings of mine and a half dozen exits to the place.

>"What is the news?" Cabbage whispers once I get back, making sure to only speak while the roads are loud to prevent our drivers from hearing nearby.
"The news... is that we can't leave town."
"They're cleaning out bodies, and Vackles, probably only Vackles, knows about the dragoncloth."
>"Mm. Troublesome. Perhaps we have to murder him after all. Simply get him in private where we can reach, and we will kill."
"That's easier said than done! He probably never has less than like ten guards around him, I mean not just is he a noble, he owns the town guard!"
>"We are under Cati. Who is he to prevent us leaving?"
"It was... it is an illicit deal. If he manages to kill us and get the dragoncloth, he can say he just found illicit dragoncloth, and Cati can't do anything because she can't prove it's legitimately hers! He's probably in over his head, but, well... that doesn't make it easier for us."
>"Hrmmm, I do miss when I could kill our problems without these constraints."

Maybe I need Fen's help, but I don't want to keep him from joining the military. I don't know... I can think about it, it's still early.

I just can't think of anything I can do right now. It looks like I'm playing a longer game. Against a noble.

The Fence isn't the biggest town, but it's got a lot of illicit activity.

And if I don't know someone who can help, I know someone who knows someone.

And hopefully I can trust them this time, because I probably have to. I just need a plan. Something to get him out in the open. Something to kill him while he's surrounded by guards. Escaping town somehow. Some way to remove him from power, like framing him for Pocky's death by planting the swords -

Ack, the swords! The bank! I should probably pull all that stuff out of the bank before the town guard is crawling all over town and is watching that. I know of a room in the deep tunnels I can use as a hideaway. It takes a bit to get to, but I think I can get Cabbage and Tomato in there.

But I need to start thinking of ideas on how to deal with this. Vackles sounded patient enough to go at it carefully, but I doubt he's going to just wait for us to turn ourselves in.
No. 715054 ID: 5ad4a7

He will have to personally retrieve the dragoncloth. You can use it as bait. Maybe get a message sent to him that you'll exchange it for safe passage out of town, and make sure the meeting place is somewhere he can be killed without anyone but the guards he brings witnessing it. Also make sure the escape routes can be covered. Lastly, make sure you can leave the area without being seen, because he will absolutely leave guards outside the location to try to catch you.

A trap like this will most certainly provoke him into bringing the strongest possible force. Make sure that he cannot bring an army into the location, and also make sure you can see what's coming. If it's too much for your sisters to handle (and I doubt it will be, to be honest) you'll need to escape and try a different plan. Like luring him somewhere that you can just lace with poison or explosives.

Or set a pitfall or something lethal like that in the room.
No. 715057 ID: 211d83

Ok first you get off the streets and get everyone to a safe place.

Then you get everything out of the bank somehow. Probably do that first before they get your name circulated and you cant access your deposits anymore. Your description will be out around town soon enough.

Then you set a trap for him. You leak news of something and reverse the trap he was going to try and pull you into. It could be setting him up somehow or just luring his guards away and murdering him. Maybe we can blame Pocky's death on him and have Bardo go after him. Or maybe just have your siblings start picking off guards one at a time until they all get scared and abandon him.

For now get out of here without being found out unless you can see which way Vackles is leaving. It could be worth it to blitz him here and then scuttle back into the underground. Everyone is going to know you all are here soon enough. Might be worth it to cause some chaos.
No. 715060 ID: 635f0e

You need to make that deal with Cati soon. When she catches word of this, the amount she'll give for that dragoncloth will go way down.

... You might need to find someone else to track it.

Fen probably shouldn't get involved, but what you can do is give him your bank password and get him to deliver the stuff back for you, since he'll be able to move through the streets freely and you can trust him with your stuff. It won't take him long and then he can leave.

In general, after that, if it's a noble and the town guards who will be after you, you'd be best to go for help to people who don't like either.
No. 715064 ID: 87547f

You know maybe you can turn this all around. Say you could start dropping clues that this was not a mistake on your part but a plot to get rid of Vackles. Make him start acting paranoid and lashing out at everything.

Then get Bardo into things. He was going to meet up with Pocky in a day up north but now that's not going to happen. If you could get word out that Vackles killed him and has Pockeys swords you might be able to lure Bardo here. Get him here to try and figure out what you are up to and its a great chance to get rid of another thorn in your side.

Then kill both of them in a trap and suddenly your debt is gone and you still have all the money from the dragoncloth sale to help Fen.
No. 715081 ID: 8a6953

I think making Fen act like hes still chasing you as he leaves foe the army is a good idea. Get the guy off your trail. This might put Fen in danger though, so it needs workshopping. You might be able to spin it so that people will think you and Fen are still enemies and add an extra degree of seperation. What better way to know who Fens enemies are then be one?

Retrieving your stuff (especially swords) is the top priority. The question is whether its better to get them now before they are consfiscated ir try to intercept them. The swords would be neccessary for any decent frame job. The Lord he was talking about, do you know anything about him? Some angle to play them off one another?
No. 715086 ID: 211d83

Hey Cheese just to make sure what exactly did you say in that letter.

Need to know how bad the info leak was so you can deal with the repercussions.

Cause if its bad enough it might be worth it to charge in there and kill your way to him even with the chance of him escaping.
No. 715096 ID: 8a6953

The crows still have Pockys correspondance, right? If Vackles is mentioned in them thst could be another shred of evidence to an eventual frame job.
No. 715097 ID: 8a6953

The crows still have Pockys correspondance, right? If Vackles is mentioned in them thst could be another shred of evidence to an eventual frame job.
No. 715119 ID: dd338c
File 146018100256.png - (18.29KB , 800x800 , 379.png )

I give the drivers a tip and have them park the wagon at some place they tell me about but that I will probably never see.

Then I go to hide Cabbage and Tomato at my hideaway.

Then I go see Fen. He's practicing swinging swords around I guess.

"Heyyy Fen?"
>"Hello, Cheese."
"Uh... stuff happened. Could I get you to pull my stuff out of my bank?"
>"Alright. What is wrong?"
"Oh, noth.... well everything but nothing you have to be involved in!"
>"You want me to gather everything from the bank, but won't tell me why?"
"Just worry about going to join the army, okay? I really... don't want you to get involved with this one."
>"You're involving me now."
"Erk... Fen... come onnnn-"
>"Fine. Did you sell the cloth?"
"That's... a work in progress. I found Cati's agents, uh, we're having... issues. Finalizing the deal. And all that. I'm working on it."
>"I'll trust you to it."
"Thanks! And can you get me some writing supplies and food and just like... travelling gear?"
>"Alright, Cheese. I will wait until tonight before leaving."
No. 715120 ID: dd338c
File 146018101796.png - (20.62KB , 800x800 , 380.png )

He gets all the stuff, and seems to expect more of an answer, but I really don't want him worrying about this more than he has to! He seemed tired. I don't think he ever did get much sleep.

I grab my things and make the trek back down into the tunnels, then into the tunnel's tunnels, where the wood has rotted back into the dirt and the stone is flaky. It's practically pitch black here, but that's okay with me. I have candles, but I don't need them.

I start reviewing everything and write a few shorthand notes to keep my head straight.

Vackles has... the town guard, but he isn't telling them anything more than to watch out for mutants. I think he's the only one who knows about dragoncloth. He's also got all kinds of resources and probably spies all over for security reasons. All I wrote is detailing that I found dragoncloth and was going to sell it to Cati. It doesn't mention Fen or how I found it or anything like that.

I have... my family, food to last, and, well, a few contacts after Yortle.

The kids. They'll do damn near anything for a couple of copper, and I can get them to spy on a whole lot of places. If I want to spread a rumor or just get a lot of eyes on a lot of places at random, I'd start with them.

A tavern called the Lost Meal. It's where Lord Warfield's spies go the most to get the word on the town. Warfield is the stone noble who runs the entire Fence, with some wood nobles underneath him controlling various parts of it, either components of the town such as Vackles running the town guard, or nobles who watch over specific districts. So he would ask Vackles why the security is getting ramped up. If I can get to the Lost Meal and just pop up for a moment, I may be able to get information.

Sir Gauche is a wood noble in charge of the Yellow District. I could talk directly to him, as Gauche is the closest thing I have to a noble as a real, honest ally, but he may not like me dragging him into this. The people there are loyal to me and have let me hide under them, but they're, well, most of them are just town riff raff and heckle strangers. But they'd also do a lot for money.

The fourth place... is the merchant ring, higher up than I normally like to go. They'd turn me in for a copper shard and normally I'd sooner entertain the idea of just giving the dragoncloth right to Sir Gauche, but I feel like there might be something there. I mean, normally merchants can go in and out of the town if they look like they have wares, but if Vackles is going to upturn every wagon in and out, a lot of people are going to be upset.

That's basically it unless I want to make new contacts.

Oh and Fen, but I may just ask him to tell Bardo that Vackles killed Pocky or maybe ask the crows for help or something like that.
No. 715124 ID: 211d83

Lets start causing chaos.

First get word out to Bardo that Vackles killed Pocky but you don't know why yet. Mention he seems to be trying something big and you are trying to find out what. Say that you got some rock solid evidence that he did it but he found out you have it and is trying to close off the city and silence you. I would avoid getting Fen involved unless its just him dropping off a letter at the bank. Keep him out of everything if possible.

Then start spreading rumors to the merchant ring that Vackles is trying to destabilize trade with Pocktown to corner the market on whatever it is they do. Then start another rumor that he killed Pocky to short stock or whatever the equivalent is here. The rumors combined with him searching everything will get them up in arms.

Tell Sir Gauche that shit is going down and give him info on how to avoid the coming storm. This will make him like you more and be more willing to help you out later. If you can give him info on how to profit from this mess.

Finally start some rumors about Vackles attempting a power grab to destabilize Lord Warfield. You want him getting extra suspicious about what Vackles is up to.

Then sit back and fan the flames as the various factions begin to grind against each other. Wait for openings and find your opportunities to strike.
No. 715127 ID: 5ad4a7

You could cause a huge enough stir that Warfield asks Vackles to report to him about what's going on. Then pay some of Gauche's men to block off streets to make Vackles take a certain route, and ambush him at one or even multiple points along that route, wherever you can strike at him while not being seen. Narrow alleyways, projectile attacks from windows of abandoned buildings, undermining the very street he walks on...

Of course, you'd want to use kids as spies to keep tabs on Vackles' movement, to pull off the ambushes.
Actually I wonder, if with good enough information and a day's work digging, you could tunnel under his house and assassinate him in his own home?
No. 715169 ID: 87547f

If Bardo were to die would your debt disappear? Or would it transfer to his estate or something? Cause if you get the chance to take him out it would be icing on the cake.

I like the idea of getting the nobles in town fighting over rumors. Will make it easier for you to work if all the factions are on edge and fighting each other.

A good rumor to start about Vackles would be a story about how someone saw him showing off his new magical swords to his guard captain and laughing about it. And the swords just happened to be exactly the same as the ones pocky had on him at all times. Plus Fen had his clothes and jewelry right? Could probably use that as your evidence that you "stole" from Vackles.

Another rumor would be that he killed Yortles because he knew two much. You heard Yortles was helping him melt down some hot items but apparently things went south. Something about some noble seals and Yortle trying to blackmail him. And now he is trying to drum up a rumor about mutants to catch you and have a excuse to search all the merchants in and out of town.

Then get word to Bardo that Vackles went after you because you saw him with Pocky's swords. His guards killed the bodyguards that Bardo had with you and you barely escaped. Once he gets into town the rumors should already be flying so he will be more inclined to believe your story.
No. 715173 ID: 91ee5f

Ask Cabbage if she really does have the antidote to Tomato's poison. If she does, then start pulling out any of his barbs that might've gotten stuck in the Dragoncloth when you hugged him. You don't want to accidentally poison yourself when you touch it.
No. 715176 ID: e4df6f

You should probably give Fen a basic rundown of the situation. Details aren't necessary but some mutual trust needs to be involved.

Also you might want to set up some way to contact him while he's in the army.

I mentioned earlier about the plan to make people think you and Fen are enemies as an extra degree of separation. Do you think that's viable or complicated?

One possibility is you get Fen to go to the Lost Meal 'looking for you'. He can give info or allude as to you either being out of town or having contraband, and let the spies put two and two together to implicate Vackles.

You may be able to use Gauche to overthrow Vackles if you try the framing job, unless you think he would be too skittish about the dead Goldie. Convince him he can rise in status by taking him down somehow.
No. 715177 ID: e4df6f

Have you informed Fen about the different missions he might get sent on and given him advice about that? You should do that before he leaves.
No. 715204 ID: dd338c
File 146022539243.png - (24.77KB , 800x800 , 381.png )

"Say, Cabbage, did you really have antidote?"
"I'm going to make sure no barbs got into the dragoncloth."
>"Be safe and take this, then, but do be careful."

I clean up the dragoncloth, looking over my stash.

I had Fen break some gold for me, because to make things stretch,I've got to pay a lot of people in small amounts than in gold, so I took ten gold out for a huge bag of copper and silver. I'm afraid of who might've seen Fen with that kind of money, but he made it back to me okay, and I made it down here without being seen, so it's okay. But I have hundreds of copper and silver now for buying off kids with copper and more established folk with silver.

"Oh, Cabbage, what kind of money did you bring for the dragoncloth?"
>"Three mithril coins to cover the first three thousand gold, and then five stacks of one hundred gold towers."

Gosh. Plenty of gold. That gives about 100 gold I can spend without having to cut into Bardo's debt. I wonder, if I didn't have my debt to Bardo right now, would I be richer than Vackles?
No. 715205 ID: dd338c
File 146022540475.png - (23.43KB , 800x800 , 382.png )

I go back up. I need to talk to Fen.

I'm also thinking to make it sound to the public like I'm his enemy. Yeah. That might work. I don't have a choice because he's really the only one that can be seen in public, who might actually be able to get an audience with Bardo, that I feel I can fully trust and also get in contact with.

"Hi Fen."
>"Hello. How are you fitting through that hole?"
"Um... I'm squishy. I'll just... stay here on the floor. I do need your help, actually?"


>"I'm listening."
"Er, right. Uh, well..." I start explaining everything as fast as I can but as clearly as I can. I think I cover everything and I think he gets it. "When you leave town today, could you, um... I don't know how, but could you try to get a message to Bardo saying that Lord Vackles of the Fence killed Pocky? I'd like to frame him."
>"Very well. How would I convince him?"
"Um... I'm... working on that. Um... more on that later, but tell him that Vackles is going after me because I saw him with Rasyan's swords."
"That's a lie, Fen."
>"Oh. I understand."
"I didn't really want to involve you with that, but... I don't have anyone who I can really trust to deliver the message to someone like Bardo, so... thank you."

He really did bring up a point. I could say something vague like Vackles' is trying to steer more people to the fence by making unrest in Pocktown and the surrounding region, but that's kind of weak on its own and really a dumb reason to kill a noble. I should send out information gatherers to find out a good reason why Vackles really would try to kill a gold noble like that and succeed, because offhand, he doesn't really have much reason to off Rasyan.

"The other thing is... can we still pretend to be enemies?"
>"As long as it is really pretending."
"Yes yes! Um... there's a tavern called the Lost Meal. Could you go there, looking for me? Maybe say that I had some contraband and that I skipped town?"
"Uh... mostly to spread the idea that I have some bigtime contraband."
>"This sounds like the thing we would not want to spread."
"Okay okay I know it sounds bad and non-intuitive but I really need things to be a mess for Vackles and if I can make it out to sound like Vackles is trying to keep too much for himself I can make friction between him and the other nobles. That and we should have degrees of seperation between us for now as far as the public is concerned! But uh... hey you told me you stopped at the diner in the yellow district. You can leave messages for me there and vice versa okay? I have a bad feelings about staying in this inn."
"I'm going to get info on what missions in the army you might get sent off to and give you a recommendation so I know where abouts you are too."

Okay that was a lot of information, am I forgetting anything else to tell Fen?
No. 715206 ID: 91cfcf

give him the succ
No. 715208 ID: 211d83

Fen does not have anything on him anymore that could point anyone to anything right?

Now if Fen is going to pretend to be still after you he will need a reason why. If he gets interviewed by Vackles what is he going to say? It can't be about the dragoncloth cause that could get Fen killed.

He met Shup and Lily because they had gone south to get some glowbulbs right? Maybe his story is that he came north to sell stuff for his clan and met a friendly purple shopkeeper that scammed him. Say he had something special that he did not know was worth more up here that was worth like 2 gold or something. You gave him a silver for it and now he is after you for revenge because he found out the real value.

That would give him a good reason to be after you but not be enough money to tempt a noble.

How long should he stay in town? What is his time limit for reaching this weeks warp? Make sure to give him advice on how to get a message to Bardo. Also let him know about the noble you are sort of friends with. What contraband is "Big Time" enough without being dragoncloth. Fen has no idea what contraband is. It should probably be something from down south to fit his scammed story.
No. 715210 ID: bb78f2

Be careful Fen.
And be on the lookout for Shup's men anywhere. The more we think about how Lily gave you this dragoncloth, the more I think the idea was mostly Shup's to complicate all sorts of matters for you, as a very complicated and entertaining form of revenge. Lily didn't think about how many problems this item would bring you, but Shup knew. Oh, he knew.

You can be sure he's keeping tabs on you, from the shadows, to entertain himself. He'll be the biggest wildcard in this, so minimize your contact with him and keep him entertained until your ready to take him on. He'll make things more challenging for you, and some easy, just to see what will happen and how you take on the situation.
No. 715214 ID: e4df6f

If we are going with getting Bardo in on this thing maybe we can fix our dead bodyguard problem at the same time. Then again that may just complicate things too much.

The best way to get a message to Bardo would probably be through spies, so it doesn't implicate you or Fen directly. Do you know any Bardo informers Fen can 'bump' into on his way to the Army?

A way to do this would probably be to see if the Crows could plant the correspondence somewhere incriminating?

Actually Pocky was involved with the merchants in this area heavily, right? Maybe you could get some people to false flag Vackles trying to take up the merchant business in this area. Make it seem like he had knowledge of Rosyan's death and was trying to profit from it preemptively.

Maybe pay some fake guards to check the merchants and drop hints about them needing to get used to a change in leadership.

I think making it seem like he's overly ambitious would seem really easy since most Nobles seem ambitious, and everyone you try to sell the story to might do the same thing in his position.

Other than that maybe just thank Fen? Also tell him if there is anything you want him to avoid or whatever (like running afoul of your family).
No. 715215 ID: e4df6f

Adding to this, ask Fen if he knows anything about Rosyan's dealings, since he was trying to assassinate two merchants who had dirt on him. You might be able to recruit them into being allies since maybe you saved their lives (unless they are already dead)?
No. 715218 ID: dd338c
File 146023072882.png - (26.83KB , 800x800 , 383.png )

"Oh uh, keep an eye out for Shup's guys?"
>"What? Is Shup around?"
"Oh, no, just... thinking. And um just remember, don't ever mention the dragoncloth if you get asked for info about me. Just say you had stuff to sell in the empire from the savagelands and you got scammed by me because I dunno you had something that was worth over a gold piece but I gave you a silver for it and then you found out the real value and now you're out for blood or I dunno however dramatic savages would put it. Better to leave the contraband to imagination but if you gotta say it just say you got some special glowleaves that had like, a wizard came by and enchanted it with a ton of anti-rot. Oh and there's a noble here by Sir Gauche that I'm kinda sorta friends with. FYI. Oh um. Was there anything in Rasyan's paperwork that mentioned Vackles?"
>"I didn't read it. I gave it to the crows."
"Right... could you... could you ask a crow to keep an eye out, if there's fog, at the high broken bell on the old church just north of the center of town? I'm hoping I can get the crows in on this but I can't contact them while in town."
>"I'll see if I find any crows on my way out."

That would be great. If I can get crows in on this, then I'll have a lot of working range outside of town.

If he leaves tonight he'll be able to spend tomorrow in town, then leave the next day through the warp. I tell him about a diner where he can get into contact with someone who can help him meet Bardo, or better yet, have someone else meet Bardo other than Fen. Oh, man, if Bardo actually came down here, and I managed to kill him in chaos somehow, my debt would be gone, since I'm under his name, not his title.

>give him the succ
No. 715219 ID: dd338c
File 146023073575.png - (12.72KB , 800x800 , 384.png )

>give him the succ
he'd neverrrr
No. 715220 ID: dd338c
File 146023075875.png - (81.72KB , 800x800 , 385.png )

Oh no I just sort of slinked away after mentioning the diner instead of saying goodbye or being socially acceptable. It's too late though I can't just crawl back into the room, say, 'that was it, goodbye' and then slink back again that's even weirder.

After stopping at the hideout, I go to a kid's hideaway, where there are some young adults who grew up in the tunnels who can only fit in some of the initial, larger gaps.

I barely poke my head through before some kids approach me.

>"Oh ho, is that Cheese? I thought I smelled trouble."
"Heyyy Gravel. How've you been?"
>"Business as usual, and sounds like it's going to continue. Whatcha need, girl?... girl, right? Ha, I tease."
"Haha but really I need like... a lot. I need to gather information from the town and then give the town misinformation."
>"Hey, say, didn't you owe us money? I know you wouldn't show your face around here and try to repay us with more work, right?"
"Mmhmmm. Hold out your hand."
I empty my purse out to drop like 20 copper."
>"Nice! With interest."
"Yes, also an advance for what I'd like. Other than that, I'll pay good sums for just going out and doing work, and then pay good sums when I actually get information."

I wrote down a mental checklist for rumors, but maybe I forgot some.

The kids aren't that trustworthy, and I have to handle things delicately because they wouldn't be above selling me out if they felt it benefitted them. But for covering town-wide operations, these are the best I've got, and as long as I'm helpful to them, they'll be good to me.

Rumors to spread:
-Vackles has new swords like Pocky Rasyan's.
-Vackles got Yortle to melt down hot items, but things went south and Yortle got killed.
-Vackles is trying to destabilize trade in Pocktown to force more trade through the Fence.
-Vackles is attempting a power grab from Warfield

Information to gather:
-Anything on the potential army missions for Fen.
-Why Vackles might have a motive to specifically kill Rasyan.
-What Vackles is up to.

That last one is a double edged sword. I really want to know what Vackles is planning, but that may mean the kids will learn that I'm actually a wanted criminal, and, well, the kids are only so trustworthy.

Another iffy rumor I could add is that Vackles is trying to rule the merchants here, but I mean it's probably unbelievable if there's all these rumors floating around about how Vackles is trying to overthrow practically everyone. Then again, there's going to be rumors floating around that don't come from me either, so maybe diluting the rumor pool isn't gonna change anything.
No. 715228 ID: 02422f

Huh. Fen didn't have much commentary on you sharing some of your biggest secrets with him. Although I guess you sure showed him you're trusting him now.

Is the seeing in the dark a mutant thing, or a cave kobold thing?

>That last one is a double edged sword.
The other downside to it is if any of the kids are caught spying, he could become aware of the network you're using to spread misinformation against him. Potentially allows him to star trying to counter. I'm not sure you want them to get close.

Are there other resources you could use to keep tabs on him? (Man, if you do contact the crows again, that would be a big help).

>dilute the rumor pool further?
It'll do that on it's own. If you sew paranoia and fear, people will jump to their own conclusions. Better to have a few core ideas and then see what grows from that.

If you wanted to demonstrably sew fear resentment against Vackles, you could pay a person here and there to pick fights with his soldiers over things, or goad other people too. Yelling insults or accusations, or even a shove or thrown stone at the right time could set a crowd of people off. If you don't mind some people getting hurt, you could start stirring up the populace.

>other ideas
Poisoning someone might be a possibility while Tomato is around. If you could get him to bottle some liquid, or crush up some needles, that would be something that could be added to food.

Even if you don't get a chance to use it now, it could be useful in the future. (And if you get enough to share, it's something Fen might be able to use).
No. 715231 ID: 0e5695

Fen forgot this I guess.

Anyway I think the important thing here is that every rumor can be tied up into a sort of psuedo story that makes some sense. Like, Pocky got killed, accidentally or on purpose, and now Vackles is trying to use his death to increase his station. That sort of ties everything together. Now you just have to sell the bits and pieces of the story so that people can put the pieces together themselves. I think him trying to get one over on the merchants strengthens that story, but maybe I'm wrong.
No. 715234 ID: bb78f2

Spread Rumor 2 and 3
Gather info 1 and 2
2 is important, as it starts discussion and support of 3, and vice versa.
No. 715251 ID: 211d83

A good way of looking at your debt to Bardo is that he is not going to let his 3k investment get hurt if he can help it at all.

If you had a contact worth that much you would do most anything to make sure they stayed healthy. So he will be up to his neck in this stuff once he realizes that Vackles is out to kill you.

Just make sure they never meet unless its in a secret place where Cabbage and Tomato can go in and kill them together.
No. 715259 ID: 87547f

Remember to stagger your rumors for best affect.

So you want simple ones about Vackles to start and then a day or two later get the sword one started. Then people will have been hearing things about him destabilizing trade and will be more open to the idea that he killed Rasyan.

Avoid getting any of the kids to close to Vackles or his men because they will find out you are wanted and might turn you in. Assume they will find out eventually and be careful at all times. Keep moving your base of operations and never use the same route through the underground twice.

Here is a longer term trap to plan. Find a safe spot that you can eventually meet with Bardo if he comes to town. Make sure its out of the way and has two underground entrances and one of them is well hidden so only you know about it. Also has to be big enough to move Cabbage through. It should also have some hidden spots that Vackles men could use to spy on so they think its safe. Somewhere you can collapse the exit behind you in case something goes wrong.

Then send word to Bardo that you will use it as you meeting place with him. Possibly meet him there once before so he will let his guard down. Then leak the info about your next (and final) meeting with Bardo to Vackles before hand.

Then acquire some rich red cloth that could be mistaken for dragoncloth at a distance. Use it to wrap the sword or seals or something and hand it off to Bardo while telling him that this is what Vackles is after. Vackles will see the exchange and try to kill Bardo for the "cloth". They fight and Cabbage finishes them both off and possibly there guards. Then you retrieve your stuff and leave in the chaos.

If you can pull it off then you will loose your debt and the people after you at the same time.
No. 715263 ID: dd338c
File 146024200485.png - (47.56KB , 1200x486 , 386.png )

>Fen didn't have much commentary on you sharing some of your biggest secrets with him.
I may have just not given him time since I kinda streamed out all my thoughts on him at once.

>Is the seeing in the dark a mutant thing, or a cave kobold thing?
Well mostly cave kobold thing but the mutations actually exaggerated it so I can operate in near pitch black.

I go ahead and spread all the rumors, and almost all the information except for trying to find out what Vackles is up to. That, and trying to pay these kids to heckle the guards, might backfire on me if they get caught and spill the beans. Or just... reminding Vackles that children and tunnels exist. Nobles here are surprisingly oblivious to the existence of this network.

One more rumor too. Vackles doesn't really have the capital and staff to be part of the merchant ring, but, he does accept kickbacks and taxes and all sorts of stuff from the merchants. So if he's able to get more merchants getting through the fence and forces a lot more illicit activity to come through, then he still benefits from taxes and the amount of kickbacks. In other words, by having more mercantile competition in town, he can find a lot more merchants willing to put up with a new level of town guard bullshit!

I'm going to start documenting this stuff in my hideout since there are a lot more moving parts now and my short term memory isn't always the best.

It'd be best to stagger the rumors out, but that would take days, and... he can probably find me by then. Maybe.

"That's a lot of stuff, and it takes more than a few jangles to get enough of us out there to be listened to."
>"I know. I'll be back in a moment."
No. 715264 ID: dd338c
File 146024203309.png - (67.45KB , 800x800 , 387.png )

I come back and dump a bag of 100 copper and 30 silver down on him.

"I need the town talking. I'm going to pay more for bit of information I get, and more for rumors that really sound like they're working."
>"Holy shit. Cheese, entering the big times?"
>"Is that..." someone else asks. "Silver?"
>"Yeah. No one's to touch Cheese, cause she's with us now. Let's get this started."
"One more thing... don't get near Vackles or his guys to get info on what he might have against Rasyan."
>"Why not?"
"I'm paying you guys enough not to ask questions, you know?"
>"What? That's bullshit, we - " I shoot him a glare. "Fine, okay, yeah, you're right."

Okay. Next up on the to-do... well, I could use a place to try and get Vackles and Bardo together to kill them, but that's down the line later on.

For now, I should talk to Sir Gauche.
No. 715265 ID: dd338c
File 146024208653.png - (37.94KB , 800x800 , 388.png )

I head to the diner.

"Psst." I say through the wall.
>"Hmph, damn stains never got out of this wood." the owner says through the wall.
"Rot cleans stains, at least." I say, giving the return pass phrase.
>"Cheese. Make it quick, the town guard's been up everyone in the Yellow District's asses. Asking if we've seen you. What in the emperor's name did you do?"
"Ohhhhhh not as much as you'd think actually. Um... I want to speak with Sir Gauche."
>"You'd better bring something good to him. He won't like seeing you under these circumstances."

Damn, a gift.

And not just like a lump of gold actually. Gauche is actually okay with his finances and he wants something more personal, but I know him like... not at all. Not as a person.

And I was never good at gifts anyway.
No. 715266 ID: 211d83

Well what sort of noble is he? What business does he run and do you remember him having any hobbies?

You want to think of something he would like after looking at what he gets up to all day.
No. 715267 ID: bb78f2

Ask wall dude if he knows what Gauche might like?
No. 715268 ID: 3a8567

Maybe the magic dagger? That's a lot less hot than the swords.
No. 715269 ID: 02422f

Your robe is showing tears. You might need a new one before meeting with a noble.

>a gift
Quick, tell us everything you know about him. Sketch us a character portrait, and we'll think of a gift based on that.
No. 715275 ID: 6b555a

A proper gift, or just "bring something good"? Because info on Rasyan's death is still something good, since Yortle's the only one you told and he got offed. You can bring Rasyan's dagger as proof, and as an extra gift if his reaction to just the info isn't good. If he asks you can say you know where the sword that goes with it is but you don't have it (but if he's interested, you could say you could get it for him, for a price).

Oh, or the medallion. Did you actually hand over Rasyan's medallion that time with him, or were you just arranging to do it later?
No. 715278 ID: dd338c
File 146024614245.png - (40.59KB , 800x800 , 389.png )

"Um... any ideas about a gift?"
>"Just something thoughtful. Sorry, I'm no good at gifts."

Wow that is not even a little help.

>Maybe the magic dagger? That's a lot less hot than the swords.
That's actually just a shorter sword, and the enchantment is the hot thing more than the material.

I mean I could show the dagger to Gauche and maybe even gift it but that is a hell of a dangerous thing, both for him and I mean I dunno if I can trust Gauche fully. More than the kids, less than Fen, at least until I can get a better idea from meeting him.

And his Seal... I handed all the seals over to Yortle to hand them to the Smelter. They're gone.

Gauche doesn't really run a normal business so much as is the district manager. He's kind of... one of the nicer nobles, actually, or at least the more patient ones, especially considering a lot of the townspeople blame him for Yellow District being one of the shittiest places around even though that really isn't the case. Others like him because he does personally step in before things get too bad.

Mostly he lives and let lives, and just keeps enough funds to himself for rainy days.

He likes... his family, seeing things go smoothly, and just chilling out. He's also one of the least ambitious nobles. So I'm not sure if information on big trouble is really a gift to him.

That's about all I know.

Ahh, even though I'm trying to protect my clothing, it's still getting ripped up through the tunnels.

For looks, um he's a field kobold, and, uh... well, kind of young looking considering his age but still kind of has a knowledgeable look about him. Has a few scars that he never got fixed up. Uh... hm. Nothing really notable lookswise other than that.
No. 715285 ID: 02422f

If he's not an ambitious troublemaker, giving him a hot magic dagger doesn't seem like a good gift.

>He likes... his family, seeing things go smoothly, and just chilling out.
If he's a family man, maybe something for his family would be a good gift? (Assuming your relationship is good enough he wouldn't take you referencing his family as an implicit threat).

Not sure what kind of luxury items medieval kobolds would bring home to their families though. A box of assorted treats? A nice chess board (or whatever this universe's equivalent would be), or some other game he can play with his kids, or his kids can use? Some kind of nice model? (Although you don't really have time to get something custom made).
No. 715291 ID: 3a8567

He seems sort of lackadaisical. Maybe something novel, like a food he's never eaten or some kind of novelty from a far off place?
No. 715292 ID: 211d83

So a Family man who is good with the locals and seems like he cares about his people then?

Bottle of wine is a standard gift. Something for his kids maybe. Box of candy or toys or something.

Field kobolds have fur right? So maybe a nice brush?
No. 715293 ID: bb78f2

You could give a toy for one of his kids. Strikes right for the father strings. Or maybe give him some trimmers for his field kobold fur. Engraved with a pun, like The UnGauchener, you know, because his name means messy and... you get it.
No. 715294 ID: dd338c
File 146024867770.png - (67.16KB , 800x800 , 390.png )

"How about a Kimankara set?"
>"Keep your voice down. I can hear you fine. That'll be fine, even if he's not a warlord."
"A lot of nobles play it, it's just a game."
>"Go for it."
"Okay... will I meet in the usual spot?"
>"Yeah. And Cheese... not to say you're not welcome here, but you shouldn't come back unless it's an emergency."
"I understand."

I go down and get the kids to buy a Kimankara set. A good one, since he probably already had like 10. Oh but I shouldn't like... compete with the predecessor gifts. Ahhh maybe it wasn't a good gift idea.

The kid comes up to me with a set, though. Ohh maybe I'll send them back out to get a bottle of wine and treats for the family and toys for the kids all from an exotic land I mean I have the money for all this now. A brush? Oh no that's like telling him he's gotta get his hygiene game up.

And my robe. I can get another robe. But there's no way they can find me a robe that's actually gonna fit. I should try to clean myself up at least, but I have to decide if I'm gonna show up to... a noble in either a ridiculously bad-fitting set of clean clothes or my torn up smelly dirty but fitting robe.
No. 715296 ID: 02422f

Aren't robes relatively easy to make?

How long would it take to just have a tailor make one that actually fit your measurements if you paid them to rush / do it immediately.
No. 715297 ID: 0a94cb

The Kimankara set is fine.

From what we know of the guy, he's fairly chill and oversees a shitty part of town, and given the ruckus surrounding Cheese and all, it's possible the ruined digs could serve as an asset in at least credibility terms. Oh, but maybe looking like you're in too much trouble will make him not want to stick his neck out even a little because he thinks Cheese is boned?

I can see it either way; dirty smelly clothe sell that Cheese is not just messing around while ill-fitting clothes might make her look like not quite taking the (presumed) severity of her situation serious enough, but the dirty clothes could make her seem like she doesn't take a meeting with a noble seriously enough that she's actually willing to put in the effort to keep good on whatever deal they work out!
No. 715298 ID: 6b555a

Maybe you can get a tailor to patch up your existing robe, but... disguise the patches? Like make them look like they're part of the design? Like if they used (faux) gold thread and balanced them out and added a couple of little things I think a sort of deliberate patchwork chic might actually suit you, maybe.
No. 715299 ID: 3a8567

It depends on the image you want to project. Do you want to be scared, on the run Cheese or In-control Cheese. Which would be more beneficial?
No. 715312 ID: 211d83

Get the kids your measurements and send them to a nice tailor to get a good set of clothes. Then have a nice bag to put them in so you don't ruin them crawling around.

This is the day you start working in the big leagues Cheese. A good good spy can deal with nobles and the lowest criminals alike.

Sometimes it will be best to be crawling around here in the dirt. And other times you want to dress up nice and be pretty.

Just think about showing it off to Fen later. All fancy in your cute dress with Fen at your side. That's what you have to look forward to if you pull this all off.
No. 715325 ID: dd338c
File 146025464105.png - (53.74KB , 800x800 , 391.png )

Ohh, there's a good side and bad side to each of the clothing issues, and...

"Um, hey, wait... you kids. You're probably pretty good at sewing up bad clothes, right?"
>"Yeah. We'll sew you up for a copper and clean you up for another."
"Yeah. Yeah, that'll work. Um, I have to go someplace else by crawling, so I've got to get clean there to not just stay dirty."

We crawl over, and a couple kids start sewing my robe together. It won't be a professional job, but it's better than nothing, and better than me trying. And I can clean myself mostly, but the kids want their copper so they're quick and aggressive to help me and then charge for it. I'm okay with that. It's kinda weird but I'm just so exhausted and could use a little rest.

Having kobolds sew up and patch my clothes and get me cleaned up down here lets me pretend to be the noble of the trash district off to a formal business meeting.

>"Ew geez I pushed too hard and her tail just made a weird squelch!" one of the kids on my tail says.
>"Shuuuut up Gin she's nice!" And has money, I know, I know.

Well there goes that illusion. At least they got that kink out of my tail.

Once they're done, I'll look like a on the run Cheese that isn't totally fucked and cared slightly about not getting dirt on his floorboards.

I really would like a good robe sometime. I almost wanted to just have the kids take my measurements and run off, but that's, uh, risky, cause it's already unusual to see kids like these making big purchases, and the measurements just scream 'weird body cave kobold.'
No. 715334 ID: dd338c
File 146025527334.png - (32.37KB , 800x800 , 392.png )

I crawl up through the tunnel where I'm expected, and I'm led to see Sir Gauche. He's sitting on his wooden throne. I look down, of course, while he looks right at me.

"Greetings, Sir Gauche."
>"You look more of a worm than the last time I saw you."
"S-sorry to put the sight of me in front of you, sir."
>"Oh, no, no. Worms feed the birds and keep the soil soft. Disgusting or not, they should be celebrated for what they can and do accomplish. And you are a particularly chubby worm that has a knack for upturning wagons and wagons of dirt. Watch where you track your dirt and what birds feed off of you, and you'll be welcome here. What is that in your hands?"
"It's, a K-Kimankara set. It's carved from Goldyard stone, and it's relatively new, sir."

A servant comes and takes it from me, opens it, inspects it for a long time, before handing it to Sir Gauche.

>"This a good gift." It just occurred to me that I didn't even say it was a gift and he just sort of assumed it was and took it right from me. Well I mean he was right so no harm there haha and it's not like I could stop him from taking it from me even if I said it was mine.

>"Thank you..."
"... Cheese."
>"Hm? What?"
"Oh, um, I thought you were asking for my name."
>"Your name was Cheese, wasn't it? That is a name from inner circles of Erja Nokol, that is to say, ones that operate without the emperor's blessing. In walls such as these," he says, gesturing to the tapestry of various empirical murals and designs, "You would be best to not go by that name. Here, you are the kobold that lives in the den of information. That's enough preaching from me to you. Dare I hope that this visit was simply to show your goodwill towards me, and my continued allowance for you to use my district as a local hideaway?"
"I wouldn't dream of wasting your time on my own frivolities, Sir."
>"Showing your respect and dedication is not a frivolity. Choose a good time, and you are welcome to simply express yourself. But, so be it, if it's business at hand, proceed to tell me."

Being nice is relative.

And calling me a worm helped me put on a serious face. A face that does not look at those feet and laugh. I will die if I laugh at his feet. They are so tiny compared to the rest of him.
No. 715337 ID: 211d83

When you look at him just remember that you have more money and more influence then he does. And you have several of the most dangerous people in the empire who would kill anyone you pointed at if you asked.

Next time you meet with a noble remember that most of them notice appearances above all else. So right now it would be best that they keep underestimating you. But one day soon you will want to start showing up dressed up nicely with your own guards and fancy things.

Anyways you don't want to give him any specifics because if you say Vackles is after you it would be bad. This is more of a social call to let him know that things could get messy soon so he does not get burned.

Tell him that you have recently come into some info that a mess is brewing in town. Several nobles are acting oddly and things will be coming to a head in the next few days. You want him to know about it in advance so he can keep clear of whatever might happen.

If he asks for more info give him a few of the rumors you started.
No. 715339 ID: 3a8567

So you want to control the flow of information here and try to decide what's best for him to know. From what I can tell from this small interaction this guy wants what's 'best' for the city and not necessarily himself. Not much ambition but he likes things to keep running smoothly. If you cast Vackles as a person who will impede this process in your story he may be more likely to be on your side.

You also have to decide what it is exactly you want out of this meeting. Someone who could put in a good word for you at the right time, a hiding spot, etc.
No. 715340 ID: 02422f

Man, he sure is effeminate looking. That face, the dress, the way he's sitting with crossed legs and one arm crocked up like that, and the dainty feet. All he's missing are the chesitcles, which as a field kobold, he could have actually had.

>what do
You're here, ostensibly, to pass on a warning. Gotta prime him against Vackles.
No. 715344 ID: dd338c
File 146025927064.png - (13.70KB , 800x800 , 293.png )

I be safe and stare at the ground.

Even if I'm technically richer then him, even if I know people stronger than his best soldiers and people with more influence than him, right now, he's the one who the empire teaches cannot be looked at by the likes of me. He's the one that can end me right here, right now, just by snapping his fingers to the guards and pointing at me.

"I wanted to warn you that the town, uh, it has a bit of a mess brewing at the moment. Some nobles are acting oddly - the town guard has been on high alert, for instance - and I wanted you to know so you could steer clear of it."
"Well... there's just rumors and gossip so far, but the ones that make sense together, it sounds like Lord Vackles is attempting to strengthen his rights and security measures on the merchants."
>"Hm? I've been informed that the town guard does appear to be on high alert, investigating wagons and all that extensively. There's even been town guard in this district, where they hardly ever stray."
"What for?"
>"Apparently, they feel that you may have information on someone they're looking for. A delicate matter, they say. Do you know anything about that, or anyone so dangerous to the town enough to be worth this activity?"
No. 715351 ID: 211d83

I am just a simple information merchant. It would depend on who they were looking for. If they sent word and asked I would gladly point them in the right direction if I knew anything.

But if someone insisted on trying to hunt me down directly I could only assume it was to try and get some dangerous information out of me. The sort of information that is so dangerous that saying it aloud would get the listeners killed.

I can honestly say that I know of no current events that might harm the people of the town. But there might be a influx of nobles over the next few days.
No. 715357 ID: bb78f2

It's a delicate matter because that THING they think I have is information. Information they don't want found out. Yackles personally killed Yortles for it, and he is terminating all of Yortles contacts and information buyers to ensure its secrecy.

It isn't just me he's after, Yortles has had contact and dealings with two other mutants in the area as well, though the specifics of them are unknown, so he is hunting for ALL mutants in the city. I had feared that perhaps Yortles may have had failsafes to spread this information upon his death, which means this info COULD have also come to you, due to your influence in the region. This means that, once the mutants in the town have been taken care of, he will begin work on clean up in the shadows.

I had only purchased simple investment advice from Yortles, but I will refrain from sharing what I have bought from the broker without your permission, since this advice appears to somehow be hot, despite its seeming innocence.
No. 715363 ID: dd338c
File 146026138374.png - (26.49KB , 800x800 , 394.png )

"I'm just an information merchant, so I know lots of people, but I'd have to know what they were looking for to be much else." Until I get a better idea of Gauche's wants and trustworthiness, the less people who know about my siblings, the better. "I'd gladly point the town guard in the right direction if I knew anything, but if someone insisted on trying to hunt me down directly, I'd assume it's to get dangerous information. And that kind of information, Sir, is too dangerous to say aloud here. Vackles killed Yortles just hours ago, and considering his own soldiers were outside, I doubt that's much of a rumor and more just fact. It might be speculation, but he might be trying to find one of Yortle's people."
>"Nothing so dramatic, girl. It doesn't sound like the guard is trying very hard, as it's just been a few guards asking around. Colleague Vackles is not so subtle, and if he felt you were a threat to him and wished you harm, I imagine the search would be far more intense. Yortle, I vaguely recall the name, and I've come to associate it with scum, and so I doubt Colleague Vackles was out of place in murdering him. In any case, you say you could point the guard in the right direction if you did know? One of those guards is just nearby. If you wait just a moment, I can have someone fetch them."
No. 715366 ID: 0a94cb

Interesting. So he's saying that the threat to Cheese isn't as big as she thinks, and is using the threat of a guard to get Cheese to be more forthright, which implies he knows she's holding a lot back.

Doesn't mean we should tell him everything, but it's pretty clear he wants SOMETHING more to keep this meeting rolling. I'm drawing a blank though.

I don't know if mentioning Fen at all is a good idea, given the context the direction of the conversation is going.
No. 715367 ID: 211d83

I would gladly answer there questions if you brought one over. That being said would I have your guarantee of safety? I do not believe that Vackles has my best interest at heart. If he really wanted info from me he could have easily contacted me personally. Sending out guards to rile the town seems excessive.

That and if you were seen with me and protected me then word would quickly get out that I was working with you. Which is fine with me but I would not want to tarnish your reputation.
No. 715368 ID: 02422f

The only way his bringing in the guard goes well for you is if you ask what they want to know from you and the guard can't or won't say, because Vackles wants to keep that secret. That will make Gauche suspicious.

One thing you could say, is that if Lord Vackles was aware of what you knew, or what you planned to say, his men searching for you in Lord Gauche's district could have been an attempt to intercept you before this meeting to take place. Which, if anything, lends credence to your warning.
No. 715371 ID: 4546ab

Well some minor info is what the guards might be publicly saying.

But having listened in on a conversation or two I know that they are trying to hunt me down personally. I may have witnessed Vackles doing something that he would rather keep quiet. So if the guards knew where I am I could not be sure of my safety.

I will tell you more but only if you want to get involved. If you want to stay out of this mess it would be easier if you stayed in the dark.

This might be a good place to set up the Vackles killing Rasyan rumor. You can admit to meeting Rasyan to exchange info and then say after leaving you saw Vackles ambush Rasyan and kill him. You escaped but not before he saw your big purple tail disappearing down a hole.
No. 715372 ID: dd338c
File 146026529718.png - (15.40KB , 800x800 , 395.png )

"Er, I'd gladly answer there questions, but they could have just found me in the streets or otherwise approached me, not bother your district. Since I don't know what exactly they're after, and since it sounds more like they're hunting me down... can you guarantee my safety?"
>"Bloodshed does not suit this room at all." Servant, bring in the guard.

Oh thanks Gauche for not promising to prevent them from dragging me out of this room to stab me.

"Sir Gauche, I apologize for the intrusion. I was hoping to speak to Cheese."
>"Go on, then, she can hear you just fine."
>"Cheese, please come with me." the guard says.
"Um I'd rather just answer stuff here."
>"By the rights of the guard, you must."
>"By what rights of the guard?" Gauche asks.
>"Erm. I apologize, Sir Gauche. The town guard would wish to speak to Cheese."
>"And? Have I not given you permission to do so, not one moment ago?"
>"I- I was hoping to do so in private, Sir! It's a delicate affair."
>"You intrude on our meeting, and wish to bring her away without so much as asking?!"
>"Sorry! I'm sorry, Sir Gauche!"
>"Go on, then! Speak to her! Ask her what you may!"
>"I...I - Cheese, after you speak to Sir Gauche, may I bring you back with us for questioning?"
"Um... no. Don't you trust Sir Gauche?"
>"It's, er, under Lord Vackles - "
>"Colleague Vackle's orders are superceded by me in my own home and district, Guard. If you're to pull her away against her will, show me by what law of the fence she is breaching, otherwise she is welcome to stay here.

There's a long pause.

>"We have reason to suspect she has contraband, sir."
No. 715374 ID: dd338c
File 146026548241.png - (16.66KB , 800x800 , 396.png )

>"Well go on then, guard, let us reap the benefits to the town's taxes and 'donations'. Search her, unless she has something to hide after all?"

My weird lumpy body's a pretty good thing to hide.
No. 715377 ID: 211d83

You just have some copper and silver on you right now. So put your arms up and look embarrassed. Make sure you look offended if they get to grabby like a proper lady would.

Ask what sort of contraband they are looking for exactly.

What would be contraband anyways? Drugs? Weapons?
No. 715379 ID: 02422f

Spread your arms and present yourself for a search. Use weird body to make the guard uncomfortable.

I'm not in the possession of any contraband, my Lord.

While he's searching you, try pressing the guard for more information. What are they looking for? Where did they get their information about it?

Every question that you ask, that the guard can't answer, will make Gauche more suspicious that Vackles is up to something, and had his guards looking for you, for reasons other than he was told.
No. 715381 ID: 92a560

Include sounds to add additional awkwardness

Plus if you somehow rip your clothes from the search you might be able to request something else to wear/compensation
No. 715388 ID: dd338c
File 146026778780.png - (30.83KB , 800x800 , 397.png )

I gotta look all embarrased and offended for this. Which is easy. Cause I am!

It's embarrasing! There's like 5 people here watching me get stripped down! And he's being thorough. He presses on my tail and it makes another weird squelch and everyone looks at me all funny!

"Wha - Wh- What are you looking for?!"
>"It's... I don't know."
>"I'm curious, guard." says Gauche. "You don't know what you're looking for and you can't tell why you're looking. Or perhaps you can say what tipped you off to the idea of this Cheese having contraband?"
>"I'm sorry, Sir Gauche, but I truly don't know! I've only been told to apprehend any Erja Nokol mutants, because they have dangerous contraband. I do doubt that she would carry such a thing on her, especially towards a meeting to one such as yourself."
>"So Lord Vackles himself is being vague to the guard? Hm. You may leave, guard. This cave kobold doesn't appear to hold anything but loose change, rags, and a pathetic appearance. And I don't blame her, for being heckled over nothing. And nothing is what you brought in here, aside from a waste of time and making a a girl uncomfortable."

The guard leaves.

>"Now, cave kobold." says Gauche. "As a useful information merchant, I'm sure you can tell me what contraband Lord Vackles thinks you have?"

If I'm going to pin the swords on Vackles, this is a good time, unless I can think up something else.
No. 715392 ID: f562b1

>I'm sure you can tell me what contraband Lord Vackles thinks you have?
Well, while you don't want to admit to it being dragoncloth, you can at least say it was given to you to sell in fair game and that Vackles is just trying to steal it, but you still need something to claim it is if you do say that, and anything you're trying to pin on him wouldn't fit that.

Claiming you located and confiscated enchanted swords after hearing the rumor about him killing Rasyan could both explain what the "contraband" is and why he isn't telling the guards, so I'd say go for that. "Plant" it by having it in your confiscation pockets.
No. 715396 ID: 6b555a

Rasyan's belongings are good. They're valuable, proof of his death, and an implication of serious wrongdoing to anyone who possesses them.

Here's a story we could weave: Vackles is, somehow, involved with Rasyan's death. His medallion and swords were being brought to him as evidence of the deed, but along the way, EITHER someone was careless and some casual thief, knowing only that they looked valuable, nabbed them and ran off, OR the assassin got scared of being disposed of after the job was done and tried to bug out. When they tried to fence the stuff they realized how hot it was and got scared. The medallion came to you and then went to Yortle to melt down, and Vackles tracked that to him, hence his death. Now he's looking for the swords.

Of course, you're not going to lay this out as a whole story. Rather, it's the string of fictional events you're going to base your deception on.

So you say something like: "Ok, but... it's a bit of a story, and I don't know everything, and most of what I do know is uncertain, but one bit I do know, because I held some of the evidence in my own hands, and saw more. Rasyan, the gold noble of Pocktown, is dead. Killed by assassins, I think, and his belongings came here as evidence of his death. But, some time after they were brought here, something happened, either a thief somehow got them or the assassin tried to get rid of them. That person, I don't know which they were, or maybe a proxy they hired, they got me to meet them. I took Rasyan's medallion but told them the swords were too hot, and then I gave the medallion to Yortle to send to the smelter. Then... I don't know, I came back later and Yortle was dead, and Vackles was telling the guards to look for a mutant with contraband but not telling them what it is. I... think Vackles thinks I have the swords, too, or maybe information on the person who had them. I don't! Though... well, if I had a way to get rid of them quickly, and some resources, I might be able to change that. Maybe."

Then, hopefully, Gauche will think for himself on why Vackles might want to secretly get rid of evidence of Rasyan's death, or track down the person selling it. And if he investigates and uncovers things like "Cheese left town recently and then came back", or "mutants were involved in Rasyan's death", it all links back to the story.

And if it turns out he wants the swords, you can sell them to him.
No. 715401 ID: 211d83

I might have material evidence that he killed another noble. If you want to know more it might be best to talk in private.

You could give him the story of you meeting Rasyan and Vackles ambushing him but then you snuck away with his swords but Vackles saw your tail as you crawled away.

Tell him that you have already lost several bodyguards to this and have only managed to escape with your life due to luck and there efforts. You have gotten word out to some of your other noble friends but are currently in hiding.

The problem with telling him this is it could interfere in any possible plans to pit Bardo against Vackles. Would have to figure out another plan to deal with Bardo then.
No. 715431 ID: 961fb9

Maybe you can pretend that Vackles was going to fence the swords through Yortle, and he also tried to melt the seals to cover his tracks. It went bad and you happened to be there and managed to escape with the swords.
No. 715449 ID: 2c695b

It's important to make it sound like you don't have all the information, and are out of your depth, which you are a bit. If you come off confused about some things it's less likely they will tie it back to you as the source.
No. 715538 ID: dd338c
File 146031698235.png - (34.55KB , 800x800 , 398.png )

"Oookay.... okay. You know Lord Rasyan?... I mean of course you know Lord Rasyan. Er, is it okay to speak here?"
>"I would trust my life to the nobles, worm. Go on."
"He's dead."

I wait for his expression to drop a bit. Then I give up, because it doesn't.

"I don't know who did it or where exactly, but his belongings came here as evidence of his death, right? So Lord Vackles went to Yortles to get rid of it all. The seal would have gone to the one known as the Smelter probably. Yortle, well... the swords may have been something he bit off that he couldn't chew. So Yortles wanted me to fence the swords instead. Maybe Lord Vackles realized that later and didn't like it, or maybe Yortles messed up in some other way, and, well, Lord Vackles killed him, I just don't know!"
>"...You have Rasyan's swords, if I gather that correctly?"
"Y-yes. I do. I think Vackles thought I was going to come back to Yortles, but, I found out about the mishap, and I don't think he knew I was going to be tough to find."
>"Hm... I take it not many know of Rasyan's swords, otherwise the town would be boiling over from word or rumors of his death. This explains why all those birds flying around out there are so reluctant to explain why they're interested in pecking at you. Why, and how, someone like Colleague Vackles would..."

He trails off and starts thinking for a long time. It's kind of an uncomfortable length of time to go without anyone saying anything, and the whole place is dead quiet until he finally breaks the silence again.

>"So if I understand this... you are supposed to fence swords, but Colleague Vackles did not approve you as someone to deal with this, and so you fear that you cannot simply return the swords without being killed."
"Yes... he probably thinks I did the same thing as stealing them or something!"
>"Is that really all, then? Give me the swords as well as a list of people who may know about the swords, and I will give them, discreetly, to Colleague Vackles in return for a finder's fee as well as a promise to let you leave town unscathed. You may also stay here for a time, if you feel too unsafe while I deal with this mess."
No. 715545 ID: 1cebc8

Give him HALF. If the paycheck is good enough he could simply kill you with one of Rasyan's blades and throw you in an alley somewhere.

He can then sell off the other half when he's proven himself trustworthy enough to give you the profits and an escort. In any case, increasing the number of transactions should increase the number of opportunists looking for the second transaction.
No. 715549 ID: b412df

Risky, but if Gauche gives the swords to Vackles, it makes one of the rumours true. At the same time it kinda reveals our plan to him, might not matter if the rumours have enough momentum though.
No. 715558 ID: 02422f

Hmm. Less than perfect. This gets the swords to Vackles (and he can't really deny searching for your contraband, and if he wants nothing to do with the swords, it'll make Gauche think he's lying out of guilt), but you're beholden to and vulnerable to Gauche in the meanwhile.

Also, if Gauche helps with this, he's less suspicious / upset about Vackle's potential involvement in a noble's death than complicit. Once Vackles has the swords, we need to make sure word reaches the local stone or gold noble who will be suitably displeased with Vackles. He needs to be caught red handed by someone who will care.

>what do
Agree to fetch the swords and deliver them to Gauche's men at a prepicked safe location.

>You may also stay here for a time, if you feel too unsafe while I deal with this mess.
Thank him for the consideration, but you don't wish to be a further imposition. With the resolution of the mess in good hands, you believe you will be adequately safe.

The real reason is you don't want to be in his hands if/when this goes sideways, and you need room to play other angles.

Also, we need to GTFO now that one of Vackle's men has your location. He's going to be rushing to report, getting reinforcements and/or setting an ambush right now. They're going to want to gnab you as soon as you leave Gauche, so you need to get clear.
No. 715591 ID: dd338c
File 146032501320.png - (14.35KB , 800x800 , 399.png )

"Oh, no no no, thank you for the offer, but I wouldn't want to impose! I'll, uh, I'll fetch the swords."

Geez I'd be nervous about giving him both swords since then Gauche could consider me useless and activate his murder-privileges, but I think I can bypass that by just dropping the swords off in a drop zone. And he really wouldn't like it if I only gave him a single sword.

But with that said, Sir Gauche may really like my display of trust if I personally deliver the swords rather than setting up drop zone to avoid a meeting like that. But I dunno if I should have that display of trust! And if I do a dead drop, I can either let Sir Gauche know right here where it's going to be or, if I'm really paranoid, I'd find someone trustworthy-ish to deliver the location to Sir Gauche after I'm long gone. Or something like that.
No. 715594 ID: 4ea8f6

Personally deliver the swords but see if you can set up a quick escape route through the tunnels. The problem is you want them to be ignorant of the tunnels, so...
No. 715616 ID: 02422f

Okay. If the dilemma is "should you risk a display of trust to try and gain favor" the real question is "what do you stand to gain from Gauche's favor?"

Our goal is to contain information on the dragoncloth by doing away with Vackles. Getting the swords to him is one step in a frame job leading to that. So long as Gauche handles that for you, what else do you need him for?

I'd go for the dead drop. Vackles will probably have his people watching Gacuhe's, now that he knows you're working with him. Even if Gauche doesn't betray you, a second meeting would likely lead them right to you.

A more worrisome problem, to my mind, is what's the next step after the swords. One the swords are planted on Vackles, that's only phase 1 of a frame up. Phase 2 is we need to arrange so someone who will be angry / upset about that catches him with the hot merchandise.
No. 715623 ID: 90f3c0

The town guard just witnessed your meeting with Gauche. Even if you think you can trust Gauche, chances are Vackles will be watching him now. Tell Gauche you fear an ambush from Vackles, and feel arranging a dead drop would be a smarter move.
No. 715625 ID: 211d83

Well this does make a mess of things because we originally did not want to get Gauche up to his neck in things. But having him involved does give a overlay of legitimacy to things as they unfold.

And while he seems ok for a noble he is still sort of a asshole. So if he ends up dead whatever. All making you get strip searched and having people poke your lumps.

It would have been nice to properly fence the swords and get a nice lump of gold but its probably for the best that we get them as far away from us as possible before Rayson's death goes public. If Fen can't use them then its better to be safe then sorry.

Vackles is going to be confused as hell though. Suddenly Gauche will come to him with swords he had never seen and try to force him to leave you alone. Vackles can not say anything about the dragoncloth because he will suddenly suspect that it might have been a code word or that he just fell into one of your schemes. But I doubt it will get him to give up on you. He knows there are other mutants around and who knows exactly what else about your meeting.

Honestly our biggest hope in all of this is that we might be able to get Bardo into town and make a chance at his life. At that point you could probably ignore Vackles because you would be debt free and sitting on a mountain of money.

Anyways why not tell Gauche how you usually do drop offs in spy land. Say that if the streets were not crawling with Vackles men you would just come back here and drop them off. But right now its hard for you to move in the open easily. And that guard will be running to Vackles right now to let him know that you are here. Which will make it very hard for you to get the swords and get back here safely. While it would be nice to show trust in Gauche if we cant even make it back here with the swords what is the point.
No. 715628 ID: b2db3f

For a frame job we are not going in a ideal direction but are at least laying a nice groundwork. We have put a seed into Gauches mind about Raysons murder and now he will somewhat confront Vackles about it. If you could get in good with Gauche you might be able to convince him to let you spy on the meeting with Vackles.

But for a frame job you need more. Who deals with noble on noble crime? Even if you could prove one of them killed another who would dispense justice?

Think we could get the bodies here somehow? Say tell the body people where Rayson and his double is and have them go see if he is still there and retrieve his corpse? Then maybe hide the body somewhere and leak the info so it looks like he died in town.

The smelter is a different entity than Yortle right? Think its worth a stop to check if the seals got smelted yet? You also have Raysons clothes. Might want to save those bits of evidence in case Bardo comes here.

Right now will have to just keep causing a mess and hoping that a opening emerges for you to use. Which will hopefully result in Vackles coming out into the open and Bardo running here with just his guards.

For the sword drop off I would go for better safe than sorry. Gauche can probably be trusted but with Vackles guard knowing you are here I am not sure you can get to Gauche to drop off the swords in a normal fashion. Let Gauche know that.
No. 715638 ID: 6b555a

I think giving them over personally is a good idea. You've been demonstrating to Gauche that you are a good information and goods dealer, and this deal is you forming a good relationship with him. If he's dumb enough to not see how you can continue being useful, he wouldn't have held on to his position. Showing trust will also help prevent him second-guessing you later, when Vackle starts acting weird.

Vackle is going to be in a tight spot, since if Gauche shows up going "here's your contraband buddy your problem's all solved", he'll sound like he's lying if he denies it, and if he accepts it he'll have to stop or look like he's insulting Gauche. But we want Gauche to have as little reason to think again about your motives as possible, Cheese, and you acting trusting will help with that. If you try to keep your distance then Gauche will wonder if there's a particular reason why.

... Though really I still think you should have gone with the "I don't have the swords but I could get them" version of the story.
No. 715644 ID: 5ad4a7

Trust no one outside the family.
No. 715728 ID: dd338c
File 146034629441.png - (64.10KB , 800x800 , 400.png )

"I'd like to deliver it to you directly, but that guard is, um, probably going to report this encounter to Lord Vackles, and I just don't think it'd be safe or reliable for me to try and come back."
>"Hrm." he sounds disappointed, but at least not mad. I hope I'm not making the bad choice, but even if Gauche was trustworthy, it's possible Vackles' guys know how to cut me off on the way back.
"I'll get a message to you telling where I dropped the swords off at. Um... if you want to contact me about anything, just talk to the usual diner."
>"Yes, yes."

I bow, and say my goodbyes, before going back to the tunnels.

I know of a good location for a dead drop, so I get those swords and wrap them up and put them in an abandoned building that probably won't fall over in the next few hours. The bigger decision.. I don't know who to entrust with the message. I guess there's a few choices.

A) Just start getting Fen to do everything for me forever
B) The kids. Maybe not the best decision, but they're so convenient and ubiquitous!
C) Chance going back to the diner

There's delivery services and stuff in town, but I can't just go up to some newspaper man and say 'yes I need this plopped on a noble's lap pronto'.
No. 715735 ID: 02422f

This seems way to sensitive to contract out. And there's delicious irony in having Fen deliver the swords to the drop.

...the biggest drawback is if any noble agents see him make the drop and make his face. If you and Fen are going to publicly pretend to be enemies, you can't be seen cooperating on something like this.

What have your siblings been up to while you've been doing this? They don't seem the type to stay still for long.

Who are you gonna try to have catch Vackles with the swords to set the frame up and ruin him? The local stone noble, or someone higher or...?
No. 715738 ID: 211d83

Fen is the best option for any messages that are vital to get delivered. He is your most trusted contact with the outside world. But would be best to only use him for the most important jobs.

Even with his fake feud with you it should not be a problem. That has not really gotten off the ground yet so people should not be confused to see him working with you.

So give the message to Fen to deliver and if they ask him why he is delivering it have him say some kids handed him a package and it had a note in it and a silver. And the note said if he dropped this off Cheese would make things right with him.

So if need be can still have the feud but make it look like you are trying to mend fences with him. And if they do not ask he can just be some guy who dropped off the message.
No. 715740 ID: 5ad4a7

A is right out. That would establish a clear connection between you and Fen.

B is... possible.

C is probably a bad idea, because you were outright told not to come back unless it was an emergency. Which it's not.

So we gotta go with B. Just have it be a sealed note and tell them if they peek the person who they deliver it to will probably kill them. If it's not delivered at all you'll find out and you'll probably kill them. Lastly, if it's delivered successfully you'll find out and pay them an additional amount.

What I'm saying is watch the dead drop location and make sure it's only approached by Gauche's men.
No. 715743 ID: 91ee5f

Can't rely on Fen to bail you out forever. And once he's in the army, he won't be able to bail you out. So you're going to have to think of something else to do and find someway to fend for yourself for awhile.
No. 715746 ID: 4546ab

As useful as Fen is you need to get him moving out of town soon. He has a message to deliver to Bardo and stuff to get done. Unless you are waiting for his army info before he leaves.

I would make a nice heavily sealed wax message and give it to the kids. Tell them where it is going and to not mess around cause its going to Gauche. Once you confirm safe delivery then they will get a small bonus. Make sure to keep the bonus's small so they do not get greedy.

If you are paranoid have it be a double dead drop. Have the first message point to another message with the swords location that you can watch over from a distance. If the wrong people show up to find it you move out and hide the swords.
No. 715750 ID: 02422f

If you're sending a message, can you at least use a code or cipher the messenger won't be able to read, but you can reasonably expect the recipient can?
No. 715754 ID: dd338c
File 146035119923.png - (68.19KB , 800x800 , 401.png )

Okay, I can't rely on Fen. In fact it was only recently that I even met him! I know I can do better than this, I've lasted this long and been in a lot of bad situations. Just gotta think of a good thing...

Like encrypting the letter.

I mean, I don't have an encryption that I know Gauche would understand, but what I can do is deliver two letters with different kids. One for explaining the encryption, one for the letter itself! It'll be a little awkward when he gets them one at a time, but I'll have them signed clearly, so it shouldn't mess things up.

I go back to my hideout.

"How are you two doing?" I ask Cabbage and Tomato.
>"Oh, patiently. Tomato is sleeping, so do let him have his rest. Can we cook down here?"
"Uehhh.. I wish, but smoke might rise up and... kids usually don't come down this far, but if they do, they might see the activity.
>"Mm... perhaps we'll cook in the night with a low flame, then, if we need to, but we will just eat those vegetables you brought. Ah, we are far from home, but this region does have the best food. Are you tired, Cheese? You sound sloggish."
"I am, but I have to keep going."

It won't take long at all to write up these two letters even with encryption.

Am I forgetting something? I think I might be playing a waiting game and seeing what happens after I deliver these letters, unless there was something pressing I have to do.

It feels like I can do better than wait around, but usually I know of safe contacts to go to. The Fence is... a lot more dangerous for me than it was a day ago.
No. 715761 ID: 5ad4a7

IIRC the army opportunity information gathering thing was for a later date, since you can just send him messages even when he's in the army.

Hmmm, you could start a rumor or rumors that one of the merchants is sheltering mutants. Have the guards kick in doors due to false information, and Lord Vackles will start to get negative attention. It'll also cause him to distrust rumors about mutants. Could slow him down at a crucial time.
No. 715768 ID: f562b1

>Are you tired, Cheese? You sound sloggish.
Oh, how I envy them. Yes, they are the sort to resort to fighting, but they don't have to worry about the troubles of subterfuge; it's easier for them to get their sleep.
By the way, is she placing emphasis onto words like "tired"?
>It feels like I can do better than wait around, but usually I know of safe contacts to go to. The Fence is... a lot more dangerous for me than it was a day ago.
You also usually aren't dealing in the kind of item that Nobles kill each other over. Dragoncloth is such a hot item that if you were to compare it to color heats in metaphor, you probably wouldn't even have a color to assign it it's so hot.
No. 715769 ID: 02422f

>Am I forgetting something? I think I might be playing a waiting game and seeing what happens after I deliver these letters, unless there was something pressing I have to do.
Do you need to lay the groundwork for the higher up noble who you're framing Vackles for? If no one discovers him with the swords and does something about it, you've given them to hi for nothing.

Didn't you tell Fen to have the crows meet you somewhere? Don't you need to show up yourself to see if a crow shows?
No. 715777 ID: 91ee5f

The only place to meet the crows is outside of town and Cheese can't leave town because the guards are looking for her. Unless it starts raining and/or there's fog in the city, Cheese can't go meet the crows.
No. 715792 ID: 5ad4a7

I just thought of something that might kick us in the ass later- Cabbage signing up for the arena.

Better ask her if she's planning on that. Try to persuade her not to, if so, because if that happens won't it likely result in either her or Fen dying? Oh speaking of her vs Fen, as her what she was going to say before the spy interrupted her.
No. 715814 ID: 91ee5f

When did Cabbage say that she signed up for the arena? I don't think she'd be allowed to anyways because everyone's racist to mutants.

But, yeah that's a good question. What was she going to say before we got interrupted?
No. 715834 ID: 5ad4a7

She didn't, I was saying she might, and to ask if she was going to.
No. 715867 ID: 02422f

Mutants not allowed in the arena? I doubt it. Now that mutants and abominations have been introduced you just know that at least of one Fen's opponents will end up being some kind of horrific combat-centric mutant.

One short short term goal might be Fen sparing with Cabbage. If we can convince her to have a fight where no one gets killed that might be real instructive for him, and maybe his first fight in a while against someone who outclasses him. (Although it looks like Fen might be leaving too soon for this to happen).
No. 715892 ID: 211d83

Give Cabbage a hug first.

Ok before you send Fen out make sure he has the money to pay back his bow and traveling money for the trip. Give him any messages you want to get to Bardo and the crows. Possibly set up a dead drop for the Crows to leave you a copy of Rayson's documents. Having those could help later.

In your message to Bardo or if you meet him do not let him know about your plan to repay him. Unless its vital keep that debt until the last minute. Honestly do not pay it off anytime soon unless needed. Would be better to have Fen or your family off him and have a pile of starter money for your new life. As long as you are in debt to him you are worth protecting. Once the debt is paid he no longer is invested in you nearly as much.

Find out from Cabbage where they left the body doubles corpse. And ask Fen for exactly where Raysons body was left. Might be a long shot but having the body guys go out and try to find them to bring them back here would give you more evidence. Make sure to be extra careful with this one if you try it.

Is the smelter a place or a individual? Might be worth it to check and see if the seals are melted yet. Is another loose end that should be closed up.

Get some kids or someone to buy you some fancy red cloth you can use as a long distance dragoncloth decoy just in case. Would make a excellent distraction for Vackles and can always be made into a cape for Fen later if you want.

Start finding abandoned houses that meet the requirements for assassination meetings. If you can get Vackles or Bardo to meet you at some point you need to plan in advance for killing them.

Find out how Cabbage and Tomato got involved with Cati. And what there plans are for after this current mess is finished. They more than anyone can help you track the dragoncloth later and would probably be fine helping Fen kill Cati for it.

Get yourself a nice dress. Might come in handy if you want to make a proper noble visit later on. You will get a much different reaction if you show up nicely dressed.
No. 715910 ID: 91ee5f

Cheese just finished saying that she can't rely on Fen, so she's not going to be sending him anywhere.
No. 715917 ID: 211d83


I meant when he was going to leave town to head to the army. On the way to the recruitment center he was going to drop off a letter to Bardo and tell the crows what is up.
No. 715934 ID: dd338c
File 146042980043.png - (17.73KB , 800x800 , 402.png )

>By the way, is she placing emphasis onto words like "tired"?
She does that.

"Hey. Cabbage." I give her a hug.
"Uh, random thought, but you're not planning on joining this year's tournament, are you?"
>"Of course not. I'm flattered you think so strongly of me, but I'm not invincible, dear sister. I doubt I would reach the last day. What brought this on?"
"Oh, just wondering, since Fen thought of joining that after getting more experience in the army."
>"Oh? You are investing a lot of energy into such a high risk. I thought we established I was stronger than him?"
"Well... wait, weren't you about to say something before that spy interrupted?"
>"Mm? Oh, yes, just that I do prefer to be stronger than the people around you, if worst comes to worst."
"Oh, haha. Well, the only time I want you fighting Fen is if it's for sparring practice!"
>"I've never done sparring before. I'd hate for an accident to happen."
"Well, I know some of the bigger abominations get into the tournaments now and then."
>"Yes, and they're all so different than me. I don't believe any abomination has ever actually won a yearly, though?"
"True. It's the only one they're allowed at where they're not there as slaves or something." Some arenas hold abominations as tourist attractions to see the brutality of abominations, which is lame, cause they're made to fight to the death, so of course they'd fight hard. The yearly dragon tournament allows anyone, though. Mutants, foreigners, non-kobolds, as long as it can fill out the entry form, it can participate.
>"How are things progressing for you?"
"I'm... as good as they can be, I guess. I've got to find a way to frame Vackles for Rasyan's death. It's a shame I lost those seals for no reason after I gave them to a smelter."
>"Can you not visit the smelter?"
"No, it... it's a secret place even from me. I only got it to the smelter through a contact, but I have no idea where, or who, the smelter is. By the way, how did you get involved with Cati?"
>"The same old reason as ever. Some nobles do appreciate a functional abomination like us, and we have little choice but to oblige when they request our services. It isn't as though our local nobles would care to keep us, after all."
"Yeah. So after this mess, or when you kill Cati, are you both going back home?"
"Hoooopefully, yes, alongside Mustard."
"Oh! Where'd you drop Rasyan's body double?"
>"Ahhh, that. Yes. He died of a fever. But his corpse appeared diseased after his death. They burned him."

Well there goes any possibility of bring it back here.

>"Ah... it's no harm to light a candle, is it? Tomato could use the warmth."
"Oh, sure, go ahead! - "


" - I mean - "

scythe hands

"I'll go and do it."
>"Thank you, sister."
No. 715935 ID: dd338c
File 146042981582.png - (58.25KB , 800x800 , 403.png )

Arg, I had Fen go away from the inn since our faces were seen together there.

I didn't have a good location off hand for him, so I said to leave messages at the diner. For all I know, he is at the diner until he leaves tonight if he's done at the Lost Meal. Only then can I get in contact with the crows, but it wouldn't matter. It's not foggy at all out there right now, so they couldn't come anywhere close to town. The church bell is a good dead drop zone, though, if they can get to me.

Even if it's just to give Fen the recommendation of which army mission to take so I can keep track of where he goes off to, I have to see him at least once more. Later on I may have to make another visit to the diner. I guess it's risky, but short of running into him somehow, that's how I've got to do it.

>Write letter to Bardo
I mean I could, but I told Fen that if Bardo asked about his relationship with me, to basically talk about how I scammed him and stuff. So it'd be weird to have Fen also deliver him a letter while talking trash. Shit I hope I have that right.

Okay, for now. For now, I should do a little shopping. Maybe a dress because I look really bad and awful and I hate looking that way in front of important people. Even if it's a little risky since my measurements scream fat cave kobold. And then... a fine red cloth that can pretend at being dragoncloth.

Getting good stuff like that will cost me like 50 silver off the bat especially if I have a tailor speed it up. And it's tough because I've got to find people to do my shopping.

Maybe if it's all in the same trip though, I should think up other items I might need so I don't have to make special trips later.

I'm hesitant to use the kids for that, but I don't have any good alternatives, and I can also gather any information they've collected so far.
No. 715936 ID: 5ad4a7

What if you had the dress ordered in a different size, then cut it to fit? Could you, for instance, pass for the top half of a mountain kobold? Or some other type? You can just cut the sleeves shorter, and the hem, and the neck can be cut bigger.

You might want to get a little sleep while things develop.
No. 715937 ID: 1cebc8

D'aw, Tomato looks cute when he's sleeping.

> Buy a fake Dragoncloth
Great idea, it won't fool most inspectors at close range, but at medium range almost any spy wouldn't really tell the difference! You might need a few materials for the extra shine though.

Bonus points if you look like you're spoiling it in front of them, then they'll panic.

> Trick Gauche
At this point, you don't have any evidence.

So just use what's left of Rasyan's hired thugs, lure them to cause chaos near his rivals. Use the decoy cloth for maximal effect.
No. 715971 ID: dd338c
File 146043957634.png - (94.98KB , 800x800 , 404.png )

There's a chance that Rasyan's people up north might try searching for the real Rasyan down south, actually, and if I can draw them into town... that might make things happen. They're expecting him up north around now at Graskin, but they may already be sending people south once he's not found.

I go up to the kids and start doing business. Geez I might have to somehow break some gold if I keep this spending up, but I hope it's going to slow down some.

First up is getting false-measurements off me! I know the basics of tailoring and it might not be perfect, but I can alter my measurements to make it look more like a mountain kobold, and then cut it when I get the real thing.

Then I send the kids out for the fake-dragoncloth and the dress. I hope they don't rip me off.

>"Hey, Cheese." Gravel comes scrambling under some tunnel to talk to me. "Shit. Wish I never grew up. I might need help getting back up."
"Are you okay?"
>"Yeah. Untie that coin pouch girl, 'cause we got info."

He starts describing the three different army campaigns that are most likely to occur soon.

>"First up is the necromancer. You might know of it. The Mausoleum of Erja Nokol."
"Haha well it's not like I'd ever be allowed anywhere close. I don't know much about it."
>"Well you know about the sinking dirt, right? You can't have structures for long cause everything there just sinks into the dirt. It's pretty rough at the mausoleum site. Like a foot sinks in a week. So they just keep building the mausoleum up higher and higher to constantly look like a two to three foot ceiling, and keep on throwing in corpses. By this point, people estimate that the whole system is nearly two miles deep if the bottom levels haven't collapsed."
"Is that a lot?"
>"For an underground tower? Goddamn right it is! And there's a shitton of creatures on each floor, and it's basically confirmed that there's been some unearthly moaning and screaming when builders go too low. Not a lot of mutants get buried in that place, but it's been said that undead can get mutated, too, and don't even suffer the same health issues a lot of live ones do. So if there's a team of necromancers down there, it might cause huge problems since the lower portions haven't been looked at in decades. Oh, and legend has it that the mausoleum was originally built by forest kobolds back before they all bit the dust, and the place was used to house first generation foresters."
"I thought the empire destroyed their corpses?" Shit this doesn't sound good for Fen at all. That's too easy to just throw him in to die. Plus, Erja Nokol used to be a forest, but when all the forest kobolds died off completely, the whole land got fucked up and that's why I'm fucked up.
>"A noble said they did. They probably didn't actually bother. Next up, Poluputus. They've been downplaying the problem of the bandits, making it look like they're just regular bandits. But they attacked the mithril noble of Poluputus and won, but of course the noble would never admit to it. Anyways, even if they aren't a huge force, they're like the wind. They descend from the upper mountains to attack people from overpasses, and then ascend back to the upper mountains practically as fast as they descended. Dunno what they want out of it, but apparently, it's not actually mountain kobolds. I mean, they're included, too, but apparently it's mostly a bunch of gnolls that wanted to pick on the little guys."

Okay gnolls aren't much better than weird dead mutant monsters from the depths, and might actually be as bad when they're fighting on their home turf.

>"Last up is the northern deadland island. Fishers that really go out there say that they can actually see some large structures that have started cropping up on the island. So actually, it's not just some pirate operation, it's actually a whole new kingdom that doesn't want anything to do with the empire."
"They gotta have wizards to live off dead land, though. Did you hear anything about that?"
>"Not directly, but I tell you what. A couple of the several archwizards have been somewhat outspoken about their disapproval of the empire lately. They haven't been seen in awhile. People thought maybe they were killed off, but now it looks like that new kingdom's been having a lot of magical support. Coincidence? Yeah probably, but you never know. Anyway, they're so close to the western continent, that they've been able to do a lot of trade with the outsiders there. So worst case, the dragon army has to deal with a very well funded, double-archwizard backed kingdom if the signs point right. Oh, and apparently southern crafted ships have been seen coming and going to that island too from the outer stretches of the known ocean."

That is also possibly bad. I'll talk it over with Fen, but one's gotta be chosen.

Choose one of the above campaigns for Fen to go on.
No. 715972 ID: f562b1

Okay, Fen managed to take out a magic-using Gold noble, but that's got nothing on archwizards or gnolls that can attack a Mythril and win. It sounds like his best odds are the necromancers; there, at least, he's got corners and walls to his advantage.
No. 715975 ID: 5ad4a7

What happened with the forest kobolds, anyway? Why were they hunted, and what did they look like? Are first-generation kobolds important?

I say go with the devil you know. You know about Erja Nokol, so send him there with advice on what it's like and what to expect in terms of mutations.
No. 715979 ID: 91ee5f

Yeah, so far Erja Nokol is sounding like Fen's best bet. Unfortunately, it also means he's risking picking up a few mutations of his own and from what we've heard, the odds of him getting a bad mutation are much higher than getting a good mutation. But this is Fen we're talking about here! He's beaten the odds before, so maybe he'll get lucky and get something good?

Anyways, let's pay like we promised we would and if Gravel is stuck, let's help him get unstuck.
No. 715980 ID: 91ee5f

Also, when we tell Fen, we should be honest and tell him he might mutate when he goes.
No. 715985 ID: bb78f2

I prefer the archwizard island campaign.

Sounds like standard warfare, much more manageable, and no risk of mutations for Fen. He's doing this for love, remember? Would SUCK if his mutations made him unpleasant to Lily. I dislike the idea of fighting in mountains. We're going to be on the front lines, which means we're NOT going to end up contributing to battle plans, so we can't play tactics to help us along, so Fen's at a higher risk.

This new country popping up sounds ALMOST like what Zizi pulled off, I mean, I guess archwizards aren't Dragon Knights, but ARCHWIZARDS.
No. 715992 ID: cd1ce0

Let's avoid the mutant campaign. Archwizards or gnolls sound safer.
No. 715996 ID: c4b7c5

All of these are dangerous, but danger was accepted as part of the mission briefing, as it were. Fen has accepted the danger. That given, what we should look for is the one that'll help him most if he does survive, and the archwizard island looks like that to me.

The bandits are just bandits even if they're a threat, and the necromancy sounds like something that'll be hushed up by the nobles whatever way it goes, but the island fiasco sounds like something that'll be big. High-profile, lots of glory and glamour, names being spoken far and wide. And it'll probably have the widest variety of opponents for Fen, with wizards and their underlings and foreigners added in, which will make him more survivable in the tournament afterwards.
No. 715999 ID: 825b5d

The Tower sounds like it would be the most impressive to solve. After that it would be the burgeoning Kingdom, even if it doesn't have a Dragon Knight. It depends on the information they let get out.

My vote is for the Necromancer personally. Thought the way that problem sounds we may be able to deal with it after one of the others.
No. 716006 ID: 738934

Hmm I am thinking the Necromancers or the Wizard island has the most potential for glory. Plus Fen needs experience fighting against magical opponents.

If he goes to the Necromancer tower you would have the home court advantage in advising him. While you have not personally been there you know the area and risks involved in adventuring in Erja Nokol.

A few questions though. What is the mutation chance for adults? Is Fen fine as long as he does not go rolling in mud? Also Fen's tribe seems to be resistant to the affects of greater beast mutations. Any idea how that happens? He gets a lot of looks for having white eyes when 99% of barbarians from down south have the yellow glow from the forest.

You mentioned the lowest layers of the grave are Forest Kobold relics. Is that good or bad? Would a undead forest Kobold be really bad news? Or might there be a chance at sweet ancient magical graverobbing?

As for the island wizards. So how do mages make due in deadlands? Do they just have to go around enchanting everything to keep the rot away? Also Cabbage said that the southern empire might be supporting the island. Is that the sort of thing that would get the mission hushed up after the fact? Or would Fen be paraded through the streets for having struck a blow against the horrible southerners?
No. 716008 ID: b6178d


Succeeding in Erja Nokol will garner Fen respect from anyone who has any actual clue what the place is like.

Success in the Poluputus campaign might earn us the gratitude of an actual mithril noble.

Northern deadland islands sounds like the most well-funded/organized threat of the three, so prestige in general is probably going to be the highest in performing well there... although I suspect Fen will have more competition overall for that particular campaign.

I'd say Erja Nokol, but that's mostly because it sounds the most interesting of the three.

Question, though. Is success in any of these three places liable to earn Fen a noble position within the local area, or is it randomly decided where those ennobled get their domain?
No. 716019 ID: 91ee5f

What's with this talk of earning glory and all that? Fen's not looking for any of that! He's looking for a mission that he can get done as fast as possible because he's trying to become a noble before Shup's wedding! We don't need to send him on a mission that'll get him famous, we need to send him on a mission that he can complete quickly!
No. 716037 ID: 595d54

Guess what lets you become a noble, mate?

Archwizard island sounds most useful.
No. 716050 ID: c4b7c5

... I guess if there's a limit on the number of nobles, or if the land needs X amount of nobles to function, then the mission that would get the most existing nobles killed would be the one that opens up slots for promotions. Presumably, the archwizards are all nobles who still technically hold their titles. If they all get killed, or exposed so that they get their titles taken, then a bunch of other loyalist nobles would get upwardly mobile, others would get moved up to replace them, and so on to create space for new nobles at the bottom, so more noble titles would be given out than normal. And if Fen was responsible for those promotions then he'd have their good will.

I'd wonder if killing a bunch of nobles would earn Fen some enmity from the rest, but, the way we've seen things going, nobles don't really care about each other that much, only to keep up appearances of their superiority. Once Fen demonstrated himself to be noble material they likely wouldn't care much more about him than they would any fresh-raised noble.
No. 716054 ID: 02422f

>pick a mission
Personally, I'd favor the necromancers. Getting into the mysteries of Erja Nokol sounds good, and it's maybe a chance to meet more mutants, or earn favor / respect from their faction.

The wizards on their island are interesting, but if Fen is going to come to power by opposing the status quo in the empire, I don't think we want to bump them off. Defected mages are useful leverage in politics, and long term we might even want them as allies!

>Are first-generation kobolds important?
Yes. The first generation of a new type of kobold to emerge after a great beast is slain are immortal. (Of the elf-style "live forever until slain" variety). The dragon knight Zizi killed was one.
No. 716058 ID: 91ee5f

Well, Fen's original plan was to buy his way into becoming a noble with the money he wins in the arena after he left the army. So to answer your question: money let's you become a noble. But I guess having a good reputation is another way of doing it. I still think we should get a mission that's quick to finish like Fen wanted.
No. 716061 ID: dd338c
File 146050046940.png - (12.07KB , 800x800 , 405.png )

Thinking it over...

>What happened with the forest kobolds, anyway?
During the formation of the empire, they got hunted down to extinction because they were enemies of the empire and because people are assholes like that.

>What did they look like
I dunno! I've seen murals of them. They looked lightweight and kinda wiry.

>Are first-generation kobolds important?
So, leading theory is that there's really only thing that differentiates 1st gen and every other generation. They got their soul directly from the greater beast. Everyone else got their soul from their parents making love or just sex. A soul from a great beast is regarded as "perfect" which gives them a couple benefits.

Like a lot better magic on average. I mean archwizards are better than most first generation kobolds sure, but just about every first generation kobold is a wizard to some degree.

And just better strength and health, supposedly because a kobold body is highly tied to the quality of the soul.

In fact that's why it's called a "perfect" soul, because first generation kobolds are immortal. That's why dragon knights are still alive. Well, that, and unlike the other kobolds, they're the wons who won the first generation war and killed every other first gen, as far as anyone knows. It's basically assumed there's a good chance there's a first gen oceanic kobold hanging out in the ocean or something.

>Is there a chance Fen would mutate?
Oh, no, the passive mutation is only while growing up. Sometimes adults get little signs of it but only over years of staying there. Er, unless he fell into a tar pit. Which there's a chance of if he goes so far underground with poorly maintained structures, but it takes more than a little splatter of tar to mutate. He'd have to dunk himself in and just stay there.

>Any idea how [Fen is resistant to greater beast mutations]?
Nope. There's enough variances that it's not like that's an amazing conundrum, it's just that white eyes stand out since people that aren't me like to make eye contact.

>You mentioned the lowest layers of the grave are Forest Kobold relics. Is that good or bad? Would a undead forest Kobold be really bad news?
A forest kobold normally isn't a big deal, but I don't know how nasty the undead versions would be, let alone if there's undead first gens.

>Or might there be a chance at sweet ancient magical graverobbing?
There'd be a chance but I mean even if there was, I wouldn't trust magic from something miles under Erja Nokol that's been sitting there for ages.

>So how do mages make due in deadlands? Do they just have to go around enchanting everything to keep the rot away?
Sorta. They actually enchant the air and the ground around them. It's easier to enchant big objects than small ones per pound - that is, it might take 2 times the work to enchant a big house than it might to enchant a tiny shack. As long as it's all one big connected item like the ground or the air. They'd still have trouble probably with individual foreign items though, but that's why they may get western armor and weapons. That stuff doesn't go bad for so many years it's ridiculous.

>Also Cabbage said that the southern empire might be supporting the island. Is that the sort of thing that would get the mission hushed up after the fact? Or would Fen be paraded through the streets for having struck a blow against the horrible southerners?
Oh, the latter. There's a small truce to not fight on the mainland, but in the ocean and lands beyond it's basically a full war, and the north empire will be happy to say that they beat up the southerners.

>Is success in any of these three places liable to earn Fen a noble position within the local area, or is it randomly decided where those ennobled get their domain?
As a wood noble, Fen can probably go wherever he wants. But he may want to choose a place where he has the most friends, so if he doesn't do bad things, it may be where he goes to fight with the army.

I mean even if a place was full of wood nobles, it's not like wood nobles usually last more than a couple years before they get killed. Sorta like what I hope happens here!

>Mission that's quick to finish
Really hard to tell even if I knew more about each area. Each one could be over in a few days, or it might be drawn out for months.

Anyways I'm still giving this decision some thought.
No. 716187 ID: 91ee5f

After you make your decision, whatever it is, you should pay the children for their services like you promised. And help Gravel get unstuck.
No. 716297 ID: dd338c
File 146058691703.png - (99.10KB , 800x800 , 406.png )

I'll tell Fen to go to Erja Nokol. I know how to get contacts and eyes on the place.

"Thanks, Gravel. Also, I need a letter delivered to Sir Gauche."
>"Hm? Directly to him?"
"Yes, he's expecting a letter from me. Have the delivery boy get a receipt confirming they got the letter. Then I'll pay 1 silver and 2 copper to you."
>"Then we've got a deal."

I hand him the first, encrypted letter to Gauche, with some writing at the bottom saying await further instruction. Which is just a way of holding onto it until I can get him the encrypted portion, since I don't want to hand them both over at the same time.

Gravel then explains how all the rumors are doing. It sounds like the rumor about Vackles' intent to give the merchants a tougher time isn't spreading like wildfire except where it counts - the merchant ring, which is visibly looking exasperated about this whole thing.
No. 716298 ID: dd338c
File 146058692530.png - (63.20KB , 1200x486 , 407.png )

>"We caught a couple big rumors too that cropped up. First, people are catching on that someone's got something of Lord Vackles. Some say it's a big item, some say it's someone who knows a big dirty secret of his. Another's that Lord Warfield is upset with Lord Vackles. That much is pretty obvious and taken as truth, but the things Warfield said and is gonna do about it is all rumor and hearsay so far.
>Another thing. Apparently Lord Vackles hired on a couple of bounty hunters to start looking for this 'someone'. That's not a rumor by the way, we found that out."
"What? I didn't think you were trying to find out what Vackles was doing."
>"Look, you want us digging up dirt on what he might have against Lord Rasyan? We're going to find some nuggets. Speaking of that, though. Looks like Rasyan's merchants had special, no-questions-asked privileges from the town guard. Supposedly Lord Vackles signed that agreement himself, but we dunno as much about that."

I keep shoving appropriate copper and silver at him for all this information anyway.
No. 716305 ID: 02422f

>swords rumor seen as heresy
You need to arrange for someone credible to see somehow see it when Vackles gets them.

The fact the "Warfiled is upset" rumor and the "someone has something important to Vackles" rumors are accepted mean they could hybridize if you provide proof.

>Looks like Rasyan's merchants had special, no-questions-asked privileges from the town guard.
This should make it easier to believe something went south between Vackles and Raysan. Goes to possible motive.

>bounty hunters
Might need to take preemptive action against them. Set a trap, use murder-siblings to take them out?
No. 716311 ID: 211d83

The bounty hunters sound like bad news. If Fen could find you quickly they can to. I can see two ways to deal with them. First you can set up a trap where they "find" you and then Cabbage and Tomato eat them. Or secondly you can try to lure them into a more complicated trap out in the open so people start talking about how Vackles is hiring assassins.

The sword rumor needs a push and having someone reputable around to witness some sword hand offs would help. Just have to be careful it does not hurt Gauche in the process.

The special merchant thing with Vackles and Rasyan makes a great motive. You can start a rumor that Rasyan was using his special merchant privileges to ship contraband through town. Once the sword rumor takes off with people will think that Vackles wanted a bigger cut of Rasyan's illegal business and when Rasyan said no they fought and Rasyan got killed. Now Vackles is scrambling to sweep the mess under the rug before Warfield gets evidence of his crimes.

Tell him you might have some info on the swords sighting if they can get a witness there.
No. 716348 ID: dd338c
File 146059881398.png - (54.49KB , 800x800 , 408.png )

"Okay, start a rumor that Rasyan was using his special merchant privileges to ship contraband through town."
>"Considering that he was, that'll be easy. Ah, we still want to get paid.

To pass some time to let things settle and information to flow, I head to check out some places I think may be good for things like traps, assassinations, and so on.

I think... that I could have someone reputable witnessing Gauche getting the swords. Or better rather, witness Gauche handing the swords to Vackles. I just don't know who I could get to do that and reliably not hurt Gauche at the same time since then, well, I don't know how that would get interpreted. But it wouldn't be good for Gauche. Uh, but it might be good for me. I'd have to, um... it would be kind of a light backstabbing to Gauche. I could though.

Then there's those bounty hunters... I can use a pretty good spot to get Tomato and Cabbage to get to and lay out an ambush. The tricky part though is to leak information that leads to just the bounty hunters going after me. If I just let it slip to the whole town that I'm hiding out under some building, I'd be more likely that the town guard would get wind of it first and hunt me themselves.

I can't think right because I keep feeling like I'm being followed.
No. 716354 ID: 5ad4a7

If you feel like you're being followed, and you know bounty hunters are active, then you probably ARE being followed. Which means they want to find the other mutants before making a move, and are hoping you'll lead them to them.

Is that light above and behind you? Don't look at the source. If the light follows you then that's your tail. You need to lead them into an ambush obviously but you have to do that without becoming the first one to die. Maybe... go back towards where Cabbage and Tomato are, then make a mad dash towards them once it gets really dark? Get some distance between you and whoever's following you, and you can alert Cabbage so she can take out the hunter without getting caught yourself.

I'm not sure how you can get someone to witness Gauche picking up the swords without them assuming that Gauche was responsible for the swords being around at all. I mean, how are you going to stick the blame on Vackles when Gauche is the only one seen with them?
No. 716355 ID: 211d83

The best way to leak your location would be to pay one of the more trustworthy kids to "betray" you. Have them approach the bounty hunters and offer to sell them your location. Tell the kids there will be some money in it for them and pick of some of the bounty hunters loot after you have taken care of them.

Make sure to imply that its you who will be taking care of them. Let the kids think you have some secret mutant powers or something instead of knowing your family is here.

I don't think we want someone to witness Gauche getting the swords without the right story. Maybe you want to start the story that someone saw Vackles hiding something and Gauche is tracking down the evidence.

The trick is that you want to connect the swords to Vackles not Gauche. Maybe spread the rumor that Gauche's men saw Vackles men hiding something in the slums and they found the swords?

If you feel like you are being followed go slither through some holes in random directions to throw off any trackers. If they follow you its some of your kids or another cavebold.
No. 716357 ID: 02422f

>light backstabbing of Gauche
That just kind of clouds the waters, though. Gauche being made suspect gives Vackles more reasonable doubt to weasel out of accusations thrown his way. What we really need is for someone to see Vackles with them. After. Which will be tricky, since he won't want that.

>The tricky part though is to leak information that leads to just the bounty hunters going after me.
The trick there is to either carefully give the bounty hunters the information, or put the information in the hands of someone disposable and steer them in front of the bounty hunters to be intercepted, interrogated, and give you up.

>I can't think right because I keep feeling like I'm being followed.
You probably are, then.

What are your options where you can lead them right now?
No. 716523 ID: dd338c
File 146067293787.png - (27.02KB , 800x800 , 409.png )

I'll get one of those kids to 'betray' me and sell the bounty hunters information to where I'm at, then have cabbage lie in wait.

For witnessing Gauche handing off the swords, I'll deal with that later, but gonna lean on no.

I slither down farther into some really tiny tunnels, but I'm definitely hearing some rustling behind me. It's got to be some kid, or less likely, a cave kobold. I can try scurrying faster, but I'm actually really kind of slow when I have to squish through tight spots. Especially since I gotta be careful since it wouldn't be the first time I've gotten stuck.
No. 716527 ID: 02422f

I think smart positioning is more important than haste. Lead them to someplace anyone following you is easy to ambush.
No. 716535 ID: 211d83

Slow and steady avoids getting stuck in a tunnel until you starve enough to move again.

Head for a area that opens up suddenly where you can find a rock to bash the head in of anyone following you.

Just don't start bashing until you are sure its not a kid with a message.
No. 716543 ID: dd338c
File 146067598504.png - (109.47KB , 800x800 , 410.png )

They're probably lingering far enough behind, so I climb into a larger spot where I can stand up and wait a minute for them to poke their heads out. Then ambush them.

I hear my follower coming closer.

Another kid startles me as he comes up from the direction I was heading in.

>"I'm taking your money. Don't try to resist, otherwise I'll be taking a dead body's money."
No. 716550 ID: 02422f

So this is either two kids working together to rob you (how long have you had this tail? How many routes could you have gone? The longer and the more branches you passed, the less likely they could have coordinated this), or an opportunistic robber and whoever's following you in worse.

How much of a threat to you is a kid with a knife, Cheese? With your weird, rubber skin, I wonder if that knife is even sharp enough or long enough to actually reach anywhere it could do any damage. Heck, you could sit on him.

Simplest solution (if they're not together) would be to bring his attention to the person coming up the other way. Best distraction is an actual interruption. "And will you be splitting the take with your partner, then?" *jerk thumb at the direction he's approaching*

Either distracts the kid long enough for an opening, or sets your two would-be assailants on each other. Or it does nothing, cause they are together. But you lose nothing trying.
No. 716551 ID: 211d83

So where is the bashing rock Cheese? I hope you were not going to take out someone with just your claws.

"Kid does it look like I carry a pile of money with me? I can barely fit through these passageways as it is. Plus if you try and stab me you will just die once you breath in my poison blood fumes so go ahead and try it. All I have to do is scratch you with my creepy purple claws or bleed on you and you die in the worst way possible."

"If you want money I pay good coin for jobs done. Like right now I am being followed by a nasty bounty hunter. If you help me take him out I will reward you."
No. 716552 ID: 825b5d

You don't have most of your money on you so it's not like you'll lose that big if you get robbed. But you also can't give the kid the money (without a plan to get it back quickly anyway) on basic principle.

You might be able to reason it out of the kid, but kids are dumb so that might not help. (If you do you might mention that if he
s/he robs you they themselves are just going to get robbed later)

You can't fight him at all because you are terrible at that.

You could also wait for whoever if following you. It'll either turn out good or bad, but you may be able to leverage that to scare the kid into running.
No. 716555 ID: 4546ab

Are you working with the assassin right behind me? How did you get ahead of me so fast?

Whatever he is paying you I will double it if you help me take him out. As soon as he kills me he will kill you to silence any witnesses.

Try something like this to make the kid worried. Who knows who is behind you but might as well put some doubt into the kids head.
No. 716556 ID: 3cc68c

Kid if you steal from me you get to be the one to explain to the rest of the kids why Cheese is not handing out money for easy work anymore. Because as soon as I tell them what happened you won't have a safe place here anymore.

And if you kill me here you get to explain how you came upon a small pile of blood money right after the nice lady Cheese died. You know the one who pays good money for simple errands and does her best to help out the poor kids in town?

You get to be the one trying to hide a pile of coppers while everyone you know is suddenly out of work. Is that how you want things? Do you think the other kids will not notice you spending that money?

Now the other option is you help me deal with whoever is following me. Then I will owe you a nice reward for the help.

So make your choice.
No. 716557 ID: 5ad4a7

How much money would you lose if you just gave it to him?
No. 716561 ID: 02422f

Cheese is only carrying 24 Copper and 12 Silver, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the funds she has available.

Losing the money isn't a problem, but if we let the kids think we're an easy mark, or we aren't willing to stand up to them, it will be a lot less convenient to do business down here.
No. 716563 ID: 5ad4a7

Well, we could just start carrying a crossbow, or something effective but nonlethal. Like, I don't know, pepper spray.
No. 716564 ID: 586c6e


Ok Cheese, I know you're not a fighter, but, I assume you know how to stand a bit of pain by now? So just swing your fat tail at him, he'll stab it reflexively, then you yank it away and there you go, now he has no knife.
No. 716578 ID: 211d83

You know what I changed my mind.

Don't bother talking to the little shit. Just maul him to death in horrible fashion with your teeth and claws in a berserk rage. Then wear his head like a hat and tell the other kids this is what happens when someone tries to mug you while you are having a bad day.

You might get some stab wounds but the scars will make you look tough.

Now if you cant muster up enough anger over how the world has been treating you recently to go berserk this plan might not work that well.
No. 716585 ID: dd338c
File 146068557964.png - (107.34KB , 800x800 , 411.png )

>How much of a threat to you is a kid with a knife, Cheese?
Um, somewhat. A lot of rural adults have to learn that kids from places like the Fence are not harmless. In fact, they try to make up for their inexperience and shortness by just being vicious. And not typically so inexperienced that they'd lose their knife in my tail if I take a swing.

Maybe if I were having a really bad day I'd go berserk and murder him, but... well, first, this isn't that bad of a day, just a kind of stressful one.

And my 'berserk rage' is more like a temper tantrum.

"What, are you taking the split with your partner?"
>"What's it to you?"
>"Uh, kid, you know I'm made of poison right? Like I just have to scratch you once or bleed on you." I don't bother sounding tough since it really sounds like I'm pretending, so my normal voice is best for lying about me being poisonous at all. "I don't even carry much on me, but I can get you some if you help me take care of the person behind me."
>"Hey, Gulls!"

Damnit, they're together. The person behind me pops through. I have my bashing rock but that will probably get me murdered.

>"She wants to 'take care of you!'" the original kid says.
>"U-uh, well, I already have parents."
>".... work on your comebacks, Gull. She says she's extremely poisonous."
>"Is she?"
>"I don't know. Maybe she's lying. Maybe you should go stab her hand a bit and see if her blood is poisonous?"
"Um, are you going to explain to Gravel how you stole or killed me?"

He laughs at me. I grip my bashing rock. Maybe fighting is more of an option by merit of being the only option.

>"If Gravel thinks his gang is better than mine, then he can come right to us!" he says. Apparently not all the kids are that united these days. "I think you're bluffing, anyway. You're not poisonous, that's just an Erja Nokol legend to keep us in bed after dark."
>"Are you going to test that?"
>"Gulls, go test that. Get scratched by her or get her to bleed on you. If you end up fine, she's a liar and we should just stab her. If she 'fesses up and says she's harmless, she can keep her life. Not her money though, that's leaving her no matter what."
>"Um... I don't like this plan." Gulls says.
>"You're out of the gang if you don't. If you don't like that, tell her to admit she's lying."
>"Er..." Gulls faces me. "Are you?"
No. 716590 ID: 02422f

>"Er..." Gulls faces me. "Are you?"
Start leaning towards him, making the goofiest face possible with your squishy skin. Say nothing. Let a tongue slip out, and dribble a little possibly poisonous spit. It's a game of chicken, and if you get weird enough, they're probably gonna crack first.

You're going to pull a pufferfish, here. (or at least, the bluff of one). Puff yourself up, freak them out.
No. 716591 ID: 5ad4a7

Intimidate Gulls by describing Tomato's poison.
No. 716596 ID: 825b5d

Risky plan: Stalk up to the leader kid and spit in his face. If you get him scared then the other kid will just follow his lead.

Blackmail him for an antidote back at your base in exchange for something later. If you act like you have the upper hand then they are more likely to believe it.
No. 716599 ID: 211d83

If there were any fake legends about the mutants of Erja Nokol they would be about us being harmless. Honestly being poisonous is the least of mutations you end up with.

Did you ever wonder why I have purple teeth? They started out white but got dyed that color over time by my venom. Which sucks by the way. It starts dissolving food before I can really enjoy the taste.

You know if I tickle my throat a bit and open my mouth really wide like this sometimes I can spray it a few feet. Then try to look as horrifying as possible while demonstrating.
No. 716612 ID: 18b15e

"Am I lying? Seems you want me to repeat myself. Let me give you some more detail, then. I've seen one guy dying of Erja Nokol poison today. I saw the agony building up behind his eyes, and I saw him slit his own throat rather than suffer the rest of what the poison would do to him. He was a wise man to do it, too, because it would have felt like he was burning from the inside out, and the death would come from him literally falling apart. I was the one who made that happen. Maybe you've even heard about that by now, because I had to leave that guy behind, with two dead buddies of his beside him, courtesy of a friend I had with me. I'd rather not see that happen to a kid, but, that's up to you. So, Gulls, the question you need to ask is: if you're in a gang who's happy to put you in line to an agonizing death anyway, what worse can they threaten you with? And what are you getting from them? Not any kind of protection, that's for sure."

Then turn it around on the other kid.

"How old is your gang, anyway? Gotta be pretty new, if I haven't heard of you yet. Not gonna last very long, you treat your members like this. You guys don't know anything about running a gang, do you? Sounds to me like there's lots you don't know. Maybe you want to think for a minute about how, maybe, the stuff you don't know includes why a mutant like me, who's been doing business around here for probably as long as you've been alive, goes crawling around like she doesn't have to worry about stuff like this? Maybe because anyone with any wits has actually paid attention to those "legends"?"
No. 716672 ID: f562b1

>"You're out of the gang if you don't. If you don't like that, tell her to admit she's lying."
Wow, why would anybody want to be in a gang that just tells them to commit suicide? If the "Boss" wants to test you for a bluff, he can test it himself.
No. 717296 ID: 5ad4a7

Wait a minute we're going about this all wrong! Instead of bluffing, let's make REAL threats.

Ask them what they think is going to happen after they rob you. Do they think they're going to get away with it? You're Cheese! You know people that could get at them, and the funds to pay for it. You could have their families robbed or killed, their entire gang of kids wiped out, pretty much anything you wanted to do to them in revenge. And no, you're not even cut off from your contacts right now with the town guard on high alert. They are not safe from your wrath. They should just cut their losses and leave.
No. 717298 ID: f461c5

But that just makes them stab you.
Really it might be better to leave that unsaid and put pressure on this gang later so that people know they cant just mug you.
No. 717329 ID: bb78f2

Gulls, are you going that? I'm sorry, but I don't like the thought of dead kids, but that's not going to give me reason enough to hand you my money. Stab me and die yourself, and this guy gets ALL the money, or B. Take over your "friends" gang because YOUR the one with the knife, not him.

Whatever I have, it's not enough to die for. He's asking you to die for him, what a shitty leader. You don't need this gang. Not if YOUR the one good with the knife. Make your OWN gang. A tougher gang. Better than his. Better than this SHIT deal, right? That makes sense.

Also, knives, not so good at killing targets bigger and more trained that you. I know self defense on TOP of the poison. You have to to be a good info broker.

While they're fighting, you could ALSO pull the kid behind you down by his head. He's not prepared to resist. You'll have a hostage, then you could EASILY get the knife from the other.
No. 717337 ID: 5ad4a7

Well Cheese can just say if they stab her, even worse things will happen to them. She's not working alone.
No. 717405 ID: 92a560

Give the biggest creepiest smile you can muster.
Nothing will unnerve fighting kids more than their opponent realizing that their opponents going to enjoy the fight
No. 717670 ID: dd338c
File 146102333647.png - (51.05KB , 800x800 , 412.png )

I've got to play it careful with the threats. If I really overdo it, which isn't hard, they'll just make sure I never make it back. Even if that's not a good idea in general, they're still kids and have really unpredictable judgement.

So I'll keep up the bluff.

"Poison's a pretty bad death, but nothing compared to what'll happen if you do stab me. Are you willing to die for your ringleader, kid?"
No. 717671 ID: dd338c
File 146102337568.png - (62.62KB , 800x800 , 413.png )

Oh my god what is wrong with these kids.

>"Uh... your teeth aren't even sharp." says Gulls, pushing his finger up into my tooth, which would be enough to draw blood if my teeth weren't made for lopsided, vegetarian wolves.
No. 717676 ID: 5ad4a7

You should probably just fork over the cash, then start carrying protection or travel with a bodyguard.
No. 717680 ID: 211d83

Yeah it makes it hurt more when I slowly chew you to death?

Come on guys why are you robbing me of all people? I am worth much more as a friend than a quick cash grab. Its like killing the goose that laid the golden egg. If you steal all my money I can't make more to pay you with for easy jobs.

I am right in the middle of a big mess right now so maybe cut me a break?

Plus I don't want to have to start dragging one of my bodyguards around with me down here.
No. 717681 ID: bb78f2

The thing about Erko Knoll muatations kids, they don't make sense. Except when they do, like mine, but this wouldn't make sense to you since you don't understand evolutionary theory because you don't have a noble's education or a barbarian's experience.

In nature, poisonous blooded herbivore creatures are colorful and don't NEED sharp teeth. Their exotic color, like purple or bright teal, is supposed to be a warning to any creature that would attack them that this animal is poisonous. The thing is, animals that DON'T eat these creatures, like fellow kobolds, would not have the instinct they gained from their ancestor's errors when they tried eating the colorful poisonous animal. Which is how instincts are programmed into speicies, according to evolutionary theory. When ancestors die because they failed at something. The more you know!

Ask your teacher or your local barbarian kids! Poisonous herbivores are colorful. I'm mostly a vegetarian, because my dull teeth really doesn't let me really bite into meat. It makes my canines actually more into molars, unfortunately. I could eat soft, processed meats, because I AM a kobold and still omnivorous, but I still reflect a lot of stuff from nature due to my mutations.
No. 717683 ID: bb78f2

Okay, kids, you're probably not into my science lesson, so tell you what, I will give you a economics lesson instead. I will give you each a few copper as a protection fee. Seriously, ask your parents or whatever father figure you have in the criminal world what a protection fee is, and you'll see what exactly I'm giving to you.

Now, that will prevent you from taking all of MY money, and it's a no risk prospect for the both of you, and NOW I've taught you how to make easy money extorting businesses like how ADULT gangs do it.

Now, when you take protection fees, what you seriously have to consider is TERRITORY control, which you'll need to talk with the other gangs with about. Each gang will have their territory, and each will have protection or transfersal fees. Whatever, call it what you want. This encourages trade AND cooperation, while reaping you all a BUNCH of steady profit.

Isn't that FUN? Money, en masse? FUN!
No. 717684 ID: d5cd65

Heeey, that's his left hand. And we saw his right hand was empty just a second ago... Gulls doesn't have a knife at all! Now I think of it, the other kid didn't talk like he had one, either. He only talked about "us" stabbing you, when he instructed Gulls it was just "get her to bleed on you".

You can grab him and pull him out to use as a shield. Then you can move backwards and slide yourself back into his hole, like you did to retreat from Fen earlier, and just... awkwardly pull him into the hole after you, in a misaligned way that will get him stuck for a few minutes. Or stuff him head-first into the other kid's hole the same way.

Without actual weapons, even you should be able to overpower a kid, right?
No. 717686 ID: a075ba

Gnaw gently on his hand. Slobber on it.

>"Uh... your teeth aren't even sharp."
Well yeah, if I had sharp teeth and claws for a defense, I wouldn't need poison. Nature's stingy. It specializes. It only gives out a few edges each.

>what else do
It's embarrassing, but they aren't buying your bluff. You might have to actually hand over the picante of coin you're carrying. (If you do so, claim it's to pay for the tooth-brushing you just received).
No. 717688 ID: 5ad4a7

This seems like a good plan. If they only have one knife then we can just run.
No. 717697 ID: a075ba

Oh wait.

If you really want to sell the poison bluff, start describing in graphic detail what Tomato's poison does. Then drop a mention of Yortle's dead bodyguards. The underground kids surely heard about the state those bodies, and how one looked *really* sick, and turned the knife on himself.
No. 717731 ID: 825b5d

Start laughing.

"Wow, that was really dumb, kid. The poisons in my fluids, including saliva. You're gonna die now."

Spit on the other kid if you can reach him.
No. 717781 ID: f461c5

Why have you not beaten the boss kid senseless with your moneybag and offered the other one a job yet?
No. 717785 ID: 93244f

A. Bite down. HARD. Large flat teeth are great for breaking bones. Might start an unwanted fight, though.

B. Retain your bluff. "Poison isn't the same as venom, you know. Don't need sharp teeth to poison someone."

C. Retain your bluff, but try to haggle your way out of the situation. Pretend like you are in a hurry and just want to avoid a couple of deaths (which in a way is kinda true).
No. 717797 ID: 91ee5f

Do this ( >>717731 ) while describing what Tomato's poison does as seen here ( >>717697 ).
No. 717859 ID: cd90cb

No. 717893 ID: 93244f

Might be a bad idea. We don't want them to think they have nothing to lose.
No. 717894 ID: 87547f

Break down crying. Even the most grizzled of thieves might hesitate when confronted with a sobbing pathetic woman.

Start sobbing while complaining about how now even kids want to rob and kill you and just when things were looking up and you made a new friend it all went wrong. And now you are going to be poor and die in a tunnel somewhere after getting raped and murdered by some kids.

Just be as pathetic as possible and see if you can get them to pity you. Imply they are going to do way worse stuff than just steal from you but why not cause your life is ruined anyway.
No. 717981 ID: 93244f

This won't work. Given what we've already done in this situation, they'd catch on that we're faking.
No. 717985 ID: e20159

You gotta play the role of the damsel in distress. Then Fen will swoop in, kill the villains/kids, and take you back to his castle to live happily ever after.

It's what a good boyfriend would do.
No. 718033 ID: 93244f

This gives me an idea, actually. What if we play it incredibly sarcastically? Start going "ohhh, look, I'm totally helpless against a couple of children!"
No. 718236 ID: dd338c
File 146128903338.png - (103.04KB , 800x800 , 414.png )

Maybe if the boss kid was in the position of Gulls I could beat him up, but Gulls is in the bad position and he looks weak enough that maybe I could overpower. The boss kid is in a better position and would kill me if I tried to fight him. He'd probably kill me if I made him think he got poisoned, too, so a bluff means I've got to make him try to avoid getting poisoned in the first place.

They're probably cruel enough to just start kicking me if I break down and act as pathetic as I did in front of Fen. And the boss kid obviously doesn't care about Gulls, so I can't use him has a shield.

Okay I'm gonna bluff. I bite down on Gulls' finger while I slobber a bit on it. He yanks back and punches my face with my other hand, and he gets free.
No. 718239 ID: dd338c
File 146128911267.png - (122.37KB , 800x800 , 415.png )

"Ahhhhgh! Damnit. You're thinking of venom, kid, administered through fangs! Poison seeps right through. Hey, did you hear what happened over in the blue district? A kobold slit his own throat when he realized what the poison was like!"
>"I dunno about that?" Gulls says.
"Oh. No wonder you don't just do protection fees like real gangs instead of mugging poor girls. Well don't you know that herbivorous wildlife is really colorful when poisonous?"
>"Um... oh yeah... But you didn't bite through my skin!"
"Doesn't matter. Nature doesn't give many edges, so all I got is slobber poison that goes right between scales!"
>"Uh... am I gonna die?"

I'm getting a little scared this isn't going to work at well but maybe I'm committed to the bluff now. If they get all aggressive on me I'm kinda screwed. Gulls looks concerned, but boss kid doesn't. If I'm gonna sell it, this would be a good time to start describing Tomato's poison.
No. 718242 ID: a075ba

>"Uh... am I gonna die?"
If I were you, I'd be running for the nearest place to scrub off and pray you make it in time. If you're quick, you might make it before it soaks through your skin.

Then start describing symptoms. (Start with obvious things that can be attributed to nerves / fear, which he's going to have, and let confirmation bias work for you. Then start describing how tomato's poison progresses and he'll run).
No. 718247 ID: bb78f2

Slobber poison has a chance of starting influenza like symptoms, which could be lethal over a matter of days or do nothing at all, depending on the strength of the immune system. It's not technically poison in the saliva, but instead overactive bacteria.

Blood poison creates a colorless, odorless gas on exposure to oxygen which results in Tomato's effects.
No. 718254 ID: dd338c
File 146129274185.png - (105.52KB , 800x800 , 416.png )

"If I were you, I'd be running to the nearest place to scrub it all off and pray you make it in time! If you're lucky, you'll get it all before it soaks through your skin. You'll know it's working when you start breathing heavier, and you'll feel like something's a little wrong in your gut. Before long, it'll start feeling like a bad flu. Headaches, coughing, all that. That's about all you'll feel and still be able to make it in time, because if your skin starts to itch under your scales, it may already be too late! After that, yo-"

Out of the corner of my eye, I see the leader throw a rock he picked up. I don't dodge it.
No. 718256 ID: dd338c
File 146129283056.png - (144.04KB , 800x800 , 417.png )

...... I'm awake.

And alive? Probably. The last thing I remember was something about Tomato. A rock tomato.

I'm pretty sure my money's gone. That's okay. At least that's over with. I think I'm okay.

I mean I can't feel my left leg and it kind of hurts to breathe but I mean I'm okay.

I think I'm going to have to have a talk with Gravel. About how shitty the kids here are.

Or just keep on moving along like always, and get back to whatever it was I was doing.
No. 718257 ID: 15a025

We should totally go rant about how shitty that was.
No. 718258 ID: 5ad4a7

Good job with the bluff guys. JUST FUCKING GIVE THEM THE MONEY NEXT TIME, OR START CARRYING A WEAPON. Even if the stupid-ass bluff worked they would have strongly suspected there was no poison because the kid wouldn't have ANY symptoms.

Seek medical attention.
No. 718259 ID: a075ba

>Or just keep on moving along like always, and get back to whatever it was I was doing.
You can't get back to doing what you were doing, since you don't know how long you were out.

You need to regroup, and see what how your plots have fared / fell apart in your absence.
No. 718270 ID: 825b5d

This basically, but if you got mugged once you're going to get mugged again. Where do you land on the whole "killing kids who try to kill you" moral quandary? Because trapping fake entrances to your lair would be a good way to to lure the bounty hunters into a trap (kids try to mug you again->Get caught by booby traps->Sell you out instead, hopefully giving them the wrong location.) (I'm assuming you would use Tomatoes Spikes as the booby traps, maybe with signs warning them. They definitely won't believe them now so they'll get caught)

In that case you could probably just write your mugging off as payment for that if you set it up properly.

Either way you need to stay somewhere safe (in your hideout) for a while until you heal. It's mostly a question of how much time you have and whether you have time to just let things play out.
No. 718271 ID: a075ba

Uh, Cheese, you lost the decryption letter. Can you rewrite that from scratch? If Gauche doesn't get that before it's too late (unless it is already too late) that's gonna mess up your plans.
No. 718283 ID: 211d83

You need to have them made a example of. Put out the word that they stole a bunch of money from you and you will reward anyone who brings them to you in chains.

Not because you want them dead but you need to send a message so this does not happen again. Everyone needs to know that messing with you will get them hurt or worse.

If you leave this alone you will have a target on your head. Everywhere you go down here you will have kids trying to earn a quick buck by beating you up.
No. 718288 ID: 825b5d

How long would it take you to build up an immunity to Tomatoes poison?
No. 718301 ID: 3cc68c

You need to talk to your gang of kids and let them know what happened.

Tell them that until those two are taken care of in public fashion you will not be handing out money for easy jobs. Because if you are not safe and getting robbed then they are getting robbed.

And by taken care of you mean brought to you so you can deal with them. Not to kill them necessarily. But you need to put the fear of god into them.

I would say prick them both with Tomatoes spines. Make it look like it was your spines all along and they just got lucky before. Tell them you tried to be nice seeing that they are kids and all but they would not take the hint.

Then let them suffer a bit before you give them the antidote. Just long enough so they take you seriously and spread the word you are not to be messed with.
No. 718302 ID: 4546ab

Teach them what happens to people who mess with you.

Because if you let yourself be walked on its never going to end. Every time you crawl out to do a job some kids will be waiting to try and mug you.

If killing them in public fashion is what it takes then harden your heart and do it. Cause if you go home and tell Cabbage and Tomato what happened they will start with or without your approval. And you can't lie to them about who did this to you.

So you better have a plan if you want to spare those kids. Otherwise your family will deal with them there way.
No. 718321 ID: bb78f2

I hate kids.
We're killing those bastards next time we see them, I don't care how young they are or what their story is, or if they got a cute wittle sister they're taking care of.
They're dead.
If ignorance and stupidity is all it takes to be innocent and pure, I'm a saint.
No. 718332 ID: 91ee5f

Well, those little shits just signed their own death sentence. All we have to do is tell Gravel that a rival gang of kids, with someone named Gulls as one of the members, just stole all of the money that Cheese was going to pay his gang. Then Gravel will go kill them to get back his money and that's the end of that.

Only problem is we don't have time for a gang war, so I'm kinda lost on if we should tell Gravel or not.
No. 718339 ID: 5ad4a7

Oh yeah sure direct your anger at the kids. Did you forget that they're KIDS? Child murder is not something we want to be responsible for! You should be angry at yourselves for being so goddamn stubborn.

When faced with a mugging, and you are unarmed, there isn't really anything you can do about it. Trying to do something about it will just make things worse 90% of the time.
No. 718421 ID: a0b0a1

If you're old enough to mug someone you're old enough to be punished for it.
No. 718422 ID: 5ad4a7

Punishment for a mugging is jail time, not the death sentence.
No. 718423 ID: 211d83


Kids that beat a unarmed lady half to death for a few coins. That would have killed Cheese if she had tried to defend herself.

If we don't deal with them in some fashion its going to be a mistake.
No. 718429 ID: 5ad4a7

I agree. Which means we should get them beaten up and/or thrown in jail, not killed.
No. 718528 ID: dd338c
File 146138155499.png - (114.34KB , 800x800 , 418.png )

>How long would it take you to build up an immunity to Tomatoes poison?
At least a week. Maybe. It's kind of just a best guess, for all I know I never did lose the immunity all that much.

Damnit, I lost my decryption letter! Those brats must've thought it might've been valuable or something, but as long as the first letter already got to Gauche, it doesn't matter. I can just make a new decryption letter.

Crawling back to Gravel feels like people are slowly kicking my entire body, but I can't just lay down. I have no idea how long I was out for! I don't think I have any really bad injuries, at least. I'm just sore and hurting, I'll heal.

I finally make it back, and a kid runs off to fetch him for me.

>"Whoa." Gravel says. "What happened to you?"
"I got mugged. By some kids."
>"Where at?"

I give him the general location and the description of the two kids.

>"That damn splinter gang."
"You guys aren't united anymore?"
>"No. We're the biggest still, but there's been a couple small time gangs cropping up by people who think they can do better."
"I want to make sure they don't mug me again."
>"Oh, you've been good to us. We'll be making sure of that."
"Er, uh... are you going to kill anyone?"
>"Gonna try not to. It's better if we get their street grunts back on our side and just humiliate the leaders so they're left with nothin'. By the way, we got the letter delivered to Sir Gauche."
"I have... had another. How long was I gone for?"
>"Hour or two." he says, to my relief. I lost some time, but not much.
"Could I get a pen and paper? Oh, and spreading the rumors and stuff is more important, so..."
>"Don't worry, we got more spare kids than those shitstains can deal with."
"And... a cloth. I'm really dirty."
No. 718529 ID: dd338c
File 146138156450.png - (82.40KB , 800x800 , 419.png )

Gravel gets me some stationary and cloth and I get to it. The cloth is dirty but it's better than nothing.

I guess a small gang war is... okay. And I hope no one dies, but I always have mixed feelings on it. I don't like killing kids, and the empire frowns on it too because they can still be steered in the right direction to be valuable people in society. The problem is, is that a lot of these kids have no direction or incentive to turn out that way. Especially not the gang leaders, who are accomplished by being tough sociopaths who aren't anything more than murderers, rapists and thieves. Those ones are fully engaged in their lifestyle, and I always see those monsters keep doing atrocities until they're killed whether they're fully grown up or not. And honestly, it makes me angry when I see such horrible people get spared by people who say they're just kids and can be redeemed, but then act like it'll happen on its own and let the kids go right back into the tunnels. Gravel isn't even that great, but he's one of the better ones, meaning that he probably wouldn't plot out how to get a copper for slitting the throats of someone who spared him the previous day.

Most kids are like Gulls, though, and are just trying to make ends meet. I wouldn't want him to come to much harm. I hope the person who was bossing him around loses some teeth though even though it probably won't change his outlook.

If I could I might've wanted to use Tomato's barbs and poison them to give them some fear before giving them the antidote, but they're not worth spending the antidote.
No. 718533 ID: 211d83

How about diluting Tomatoes poison so it will only make them horribly sick for awhile? Would get your message across without wasting antidote. That new kid seemed like he might turn out decent if he had the chance but the other one the world would not miss.

Life is hard when you are a kid living in the ghetto. Just remember this later on if you make it big with Fen. If these kids had something else other than gangs and hiding out in the underground and stealing to avoid starvation they would not end up this way.

But that is for another day. For now you need to get your messages out and go heal up with your family.
No. 718539 ID: a075ba

Let's consider your options, then.

In the short term, you need a non-lethal deterrent than can turn back hostile kids. Something that doesn't take great skill to use. I like >>718533 's idea of a diluted poison. Seems to me that would be a pretty good disabling weapon.

In the longer term, you would need to fix Imperial society. Scrape out the corrupt people and implement systems where this isn't what kids have to become to survive. For that, you need a position of power. Your plan towards making Fen a noble could serve this, among other things.
No. 718544 ID: f562b1

>How about diluting Tomatoes poison so it will only make them horribly sick for awhile?
Oh my god yes, I don't care if they're poor kids if they're going to be nasty at you, be nasty back at them.
No. 718560 ID: dd338c
File 146139385907.png - (19.54KB , 800x800 , 420.png )

I pass on the letter to Gravel to pass on towards Gauche and go back to my hideaway.

>"Cheese. Is that you coming back down to us? Yes, there you are. I was nervous. It sounded like a different approacher. You are movi - you are hurt.
"I'm - I'll be fine."
>"Who did this?"
"People who I'm already dealing with."
>"Can we not?"
"They were kids who hang out in small tunnels. Um... I do want to get back at them though. I think I'd like to give them diluted barbs from Tomato."
"They're... yes. Just to put fear into them."
>"You have become merciful, Cheese. Not many years ago, you would have beaten them until you bled from your own claws."
"I'm not as mad as I used to be."
>"Yet you still have plenty to be mad about. Are there any others who would harm you that we may fight?"
"There are, uhm.. two bounty hunters after me, apparently."
>"How may we assist?"
"I found a couple of good ambush spots that you two should be able to reach from here underground." I tell them of a couple I found before I think those kids started tailing me, away from any gang war. "If I can leak information that I'm hiding out there, the bounty hunters may look for me."
>"Then we will lay in wait there for as long as you like if you feel this is the best course of action."

I can probably get this done by having one of Gravel's better kids 'betray' me, but I don't know if I have anything more pressing to do.
No. 718568 ID: 5ad4a7

You might try getting some sleep?
No. 718592 ID: 211d83

Tell them its not about being merciful its about being smart. While it would make you feel better to personally beat them up it would not solve anything. All you would end up with is two dead kids and sore hands.

But if you poison them just a bit so they are miserable and crying and thinking they are going to die for a week it teaches a lesson. To them and to there friends. They get living proof that if they mess with Cheese bad stuff will happen. And of course if they are nice to me then I will be nice to.

That and if I spent all day hating people who wronged me it would not make my life any better. Maybe if things work out I will have the resources to try and help kids instead of making them fear me.

Anyways as for stuff that needs to get done.

1. Make sure the second message gets sent and that Gauche gets the swords.

2. Have the kids responsible brought to you so you can pretend to poison them yourself.

3. Get cleaned up and have plenty of sleep until you recover.

4. Figure out the best way to have Vackles seen with the swords. Possibly by bribing one of his guards or household that will see them once he brings them home. This one is the key point to making all the other rumors fall into place.
No. 718598 ID: 91ee5f

>Beaten them until you bled from your own claws.
Wait, seriously?! Cheese would've done that?! Holy shit, she has become soft! O_o
No. 718605 ID: f562b1

She'd bleed from her own claws, though, meaning she was hurting herself in fighting.
No. 718607 ID: a075ba

>outrage about kids hurting Cheese in a mugging, want to kill them
Hey guys, remember when we had Fen mug a barbarian from a rival tribe? We shot him with an arrow and ran off with the best part of his kill because it was easier than hunting for something ourselves.

>Not many years ago, you would have beaten them until you bled from your own claws.
I find Cheese having the endurance or the strength to beat someone effectively spurious. Although I certainly buy her bleeding from the claws if she hit something.

>You have become merciful, Cheese.
>explain to Cabbage
I can't bring myself to really hate kids doing bad things to survive, even if it hurt me. They don't have it as bad as we did in Erja Nokol but...

>I can probably get this done by having one of Gravel's better kids 'betray' me
You get the most control of the situation by having one of Gravel's kids to it. You might get more plausibility if one of Gravel's kids 'betrayed' you to the other side of the gang war, who would then be motivated to sell you out, plus there's a layer of protection for your allies. The risk is that you don't have any control over what they tell the bounty hunters- they might give more information that compromises the ambush, or sell your location to more than one interested party.

...yeah, it's better not to make it over-complicated.

>I don't know if I have anything more pressing to do.
Make sure the letter is delivered, make sure you have a way to defend yourself, start planning the next stage of the frame up. Do we need to make sure someone witnesses the sword hand off, and if so, who? What do we need to happen after Vackles has the sword? Who needs to find out he has them, to get him in trouble?
No. 718791 ID: dd338c
File 146152639644.png - (16.39KB , 800x800 , 421.png )

>Beating someone to death
It's not like I could beat most people up in a fair fight, but if they were subdued, a younger me might've. My claws - or rather, where my fingers meet the claws - don't suck as much as they used to though, so I'd have to hit them against stuff pretty hard to get them to bleed.

"Anyways..." I start telling Cabbage, "It's not about being merciful, it's about being smart. And I'm really trying to be smarter than being madder."

After I get a couple bottles with tomato's poison in it, I grab some coins and go back up to Gravel.

Maybe it's the bruises that make me slow down and let everything catch up, but I am getting really tired. Maybe I should sleep.

There's two big things to do.

One is to deal with the bounty hunters. It won't take long to just get one of Gravel's kids to 'betray' me and for me to lead Cabbage and Tomato up. I can do that and have them lie in wait while I sleep if I want, because this should be detached from the second thing.

The second thing being the sword handoff, and that's trickier. Once I hand Gravel the decryption letter, there's going to be a gap of stuff out of my hands. Gauche will get it soon after, and he'll then get the swords probably right away. Then he'll arrange to transfer them over to Vackles. That transfer is where I need something set up in time. Someone to witness the sword handoff. Buying off a guard or someone reputable for that is going to be kind of tricky and may take awhile. It might be good to get some sleep before I set things loose.

Or maybe everything will fall apart around me while I sleep who knows.

Bottom line... sleep right now so I can do things better, or set up the bounty hunter trap real quick then sleep, or just screw sleep because wasting time is really dangerous right now.
No. 718817 ID: 211d83

Sleep first after maybe setting up the trap. The sword hand off can wait until we have witnesses bribed and in place. Just remember that ideally we want witnesses to see Vackles with the swords but not that Gauche gave them to him. But if need be you can spread a rumor that you accidentally ended up with the swords and Vackles was trying to kill you for them so Gauche was nice and helped you.

Right now you are just going to make mistakes in your weakened condition and you have two people to guard you and snuggle with you while you sleep.

Just make sure your money and supplies are in a safe place just in case and figure out the trap before going to bed.

Or just go to bed for a bit if you are about to collapse.
No. 718829 ID: 093921

The problem with setting up the bounty hunter trap now is you won't have a bodyguard if someone ambushes you while you are asleep, unless Tomato is okay with staying back while Cabbage goes up.
No. 718857 ID: a075ba

>Bottom line... sleep right now so I can do things better, or set up the bounty hunter trap real quick then sleep, or just screw sleep because wasting time is really dangerous right now.
I don't think you can afford to set up political intrigue tired. The stuff with Gauche and Vackles has to wait till you sleep.

Whether or not you can wait with the bounty hunter thing comes down to how much you can trust your siblings to adapt and control the situation if problems evolve. Obviously, you can trust them to win a fight, but how smart are they about this kind of thing? (If you're going to leave it to them, be sure to fill them in on the scams you're running, so they don't trip them up).
No. 718885 ID: 91ee5f

Set up the ambush then sleep. In fact, why don't you sleep at the ambush location? You can use yourself as bait, the bounty hunters will see you sleeping and then will try to kill you in your sleep, and Cabbage and Tomato kill the bounty hunters.

Meh, who am I kidding? This is probably way too much of a risk.
No. 718895 ID: 5ad4a7

I doubt the bounty hunters have been instructed to kill Cheese. Vackles needs her alive in order to recover the dragoncloth without anyone else knowing about it.
No. 719119 ID: dd338c
File 146162730633.png - (12.68KB , 800x800 , 422.png )

"Okay. I'm going to have a kid betray me and lead the bounty hunters to a certain spot, and I'd like you to kill those two. I don't know what they look like, and the kids didn't seem to either, but you should be able to tell the difference between bounty hunters and the town guard, so only kill them if they look like they're from out of town. Otherwise... well, I think you can use your judgement, just be careful."
>"I understand."

I go up to Gravel and give him the money I owe him for the information. He's got nothing new for me in the short time I was gone, so I go back down to Cabbage and Tomato to show them the way to the meeting spot.

They've got a good spot to view from through a wall, so I leave them be after making sure they can find their way back.

There's almost no way I can sleep there even if I wanted to, so I finally slump in the dirt at the hideout and get some sleep. I'm almost afraid of if someone followed me down to the hideout, but it gets so quiet down here that I could hear if I was being followed past a point.

I do kinda wish they were around so I didn't have to sleep alone again.
No. 719120 ID: dd338c
File 146162732393.png - (20.22KB , 800x800 , 423.png )

>"Cheese. Cheese. Cheese. Cheese."
>"Hello, I'm back."

Oh, Cabbage is against me. Her fur always felt a little funny, but nice. Tomato gets close to me as well, but is careful not to make contact.

"Hello. Um, did you head back early?"
>"No, we waited and assaulted the bodyguards. It's been about four hours since we left."
"O-oh.... oh! How did it go?"
>"Mm... not well. They were strong, Cheese. We had to run."
"What?! Wait a second, did they - they could follow you!"
>"Ah, yes, but they did not. I laid in wait with Tomato for a while for a more suitable location for combat should they have followed. During our initial fight, Tomato managed to poison one, but the other wore a heavy cloak and had the reaction speed to cover his face and hands by turning his back. The poisoned one must be dead by now or close to it, and the cloak wearer was wise enough not to follow us. Wise, but not as strong, as it was the one who tomato killed who managed to slice through my scythe and throw a knife through the skin on my back as we ran. Nonetheless, I am sorry, Cheese, that we were not able to take care of both bounty hunters, and so I felt the need to wake you."
No. 719123 ID: 5ad4a7

Wh... help your sister! She's wounded! The knife is still stuck in her, even.
No. 719127 ID: 211d83

Ok get a candle lit and tend to her wounds. While doing so you need to get info about the hunters appearance and what made them so strong. You might need to get Fen in this if he has not left.

It sounds like they managed to possibly take out the stronger of the two but I am not betting on it. If you have a antidote someone else could have another way of dealing with it. Until you see his body you assume he is alive.

And tell them its ok and you are just glad they are safe.

Then you need to consider tracking them down and have them dealt with in less honorable combat. Like poisoning there drinks or taking them out while they sleep.

The one that was not poisoned is currently dragging his friend somewhere for healing or burial. You should probably try to find them before they disappear.
No. 719130 ID: b2db3f

Oh man she has a knife in her. Be really careful about moving that. Wait until you can cleanly take it out. And save the knife in case its a custom job that might point to its owner.

Whoever Vackles hired must have been expensive. And while Tomatoes poison might be nasty you need to double check on his status.
No. 719131 ID: 1cebc8

Remember, take the knife out slowly and wash thoroughly with antiseptics or she might die from an infection.

Does Tomato's poison have antiseptic properties? You could mix the poison with an antidote and pour it in the wound.

So how do we deal with the remaining hunter? Randomly poison a few mooks in the local mercenary camps and lead them to the hunter?
No. 719132 ID: 15a025

Tell it's alright as long as she gave it her best shot. We should probably help patch her up.
No. 719134 ID: a075ba

>Nonetheless, I am sorry, Cheese, that we were not able to take care of both bounty hunters, and so I felt the need to wake you.
You're sorry! I got you hurt! Let me see that!

See to her injuries. She's got a knife in her back, and her scythe is cut?! (What are her scythes made of, will that grow back?).

...aren't Cabbage and Tomato top-tier abominations? Aren't bounty hunters strong enough hold their own against them the rare and expensive sort? I would have thought they'd be more than Vackles could afford. That doesn't bode well.
No. 719136 ID: a075ba

Also, if Cabbage did damage her scythes, we're probably going to need to pay to get that regenerated. Bone probably doesn't grow back, and she can't afford to have one of her weapons cut off, or with a weak spot / notch in it that could break on later.
No. 719138 ID: 3cc68c

Cheese you are going to need to patch them up and figure out how to finish the job while they are weakened. They know your trick now and if you don't deal with them now its going to be much more dangerous.

So clean up and help Cabbage as much as you can and try to track them down. If they stayed in town you need to go after them even if its just you and Tomato while Cabbage heals.
No. 719152 ID: dd338c
File 146163099922.png - (25.48KB , 800x800 , 424.png )

That's information.

I gotta process it. Waking up is hard.

"Ack, the knife is still in your back!"
>"Mm, yes, I was about to ask for help about that, as tomato feared making it worse with his clumsiness, and the knife is certainly not doing much harm here.
"Okay, just a minute, I'll get this carefully... I think I got some bandages and good stuff for cuts in here! And I'll get a candle."

I do so. Fen thankfully picked me up stuff like that, so I should actually treat myself now that I think about it, but after Cabbage. There's a fair amount of dried blood that matted down her fur, but it seems to have stopped, so it should be okay.

"Oh and I'm the one who should be sorry! You two are so strong and it was my fault I didn't realize there'd be two bounty hunters who could fight you! Has there ever been anyone that could beat you and tomato in a fight?!"
>"Mm, yes, but with such an ambush, this is a first. That is concerning."
"Oh, gods, they actually got through your scythe!"
>"Mmmhm, but I can make do with my other. His blade must have been enchanted, as it seemed rather effortless."
"D-don't worry, we'll... someday we'll get a mage and regrow it! I'll get the money!"

I manage to the knife out alright. It has an inscription.

"Somehow, with Fen, I'll get the money to repair even your bones! - wait - oh gods. Oh no. Oh no no no no no."
>"What is wrong, sister? Do not worry if the knife is poisoned, as it will not affect me."
"No, the knife isn't bad, it's... the owner. We've gotta move! We can't stay here!"
>"Mm? Cheese, do not panic."
No. 719153 ID: dd338c
File 146163101521.png - (49.83KB , 800x800 , 425.png )

"This knife belongs to Croc!"
>"Ah, I have heard of him."
"We... we're dead. We're so deaaad!"
>"Ahh. Cheese. You always panic so much. But then after your panic dies out, you think clearly and come up with clever solutions. I do hope someday you will skip the first part."
"We - we can't trust the kids anymore! We've got to - there should be another hideaway around. But Croc knows we're in the tunnels, he must already be going to the kids, and the kids, he can buy them off, and... ahh...."
>"Be calm, Cheese. It will be fine."

I wish I could think of that! But, damn everything, Croc has assassinated nobles in their own home and walked out the front door! How the hell did Vackles afford him?!

"Did.. okay, first, let me ask... was the one tomato hit... was he a draconian? 2 large pairs of horns on each side of his head, wearing a cap?"
"Yes that's Croc."
>"Mm, yes, I have heard of his sharp senses, and that must have been why he was able to deflect my scythe despite shooting it directly through a wall. But, there is no reason for alarm. That is the one that tomato stru - '
"No! I - sorry, Cabbage, but there is no way that Croc can't counteract that. Okay, um, he definitely didn't somehow have antidote on him, so he must have ran back to deal with it - so he might be out of it for a few hours, and he might not be in great condition, but he's not dead! There's no way! The other bounty hunter... oh geez does Croc have a partner or something? What did he look like?"
>"Ah, yes... another draconian wearing green leather, with a heavy cloak and hood that he blocked Tomato's barbs with, and hopefully nicked himself with one while taking it off. What else, what else... I saw straps across his torso, and he appeared to wield a curved scimitar. Ah! He had a chipped horn. He only asked what we were during the battle, and he had a barbarian's accent despite having white eyes. Ah. Is he of Zizi's tribe? This would explain his battle, but he seemed largely unnerved by our existence, so he appears to have little experience to the 'horrors' that the empire can produce. If he did not already have his blade out, I expect he would have appeared harmless, as he made no attack on us."
No. 719154 ID: 211d83

Shit they hired Fen.

Ok you need to get Fen to help you kill Croc. Get to it fast.
No. 719156 ID: b2db3f

Ok this is great news.

So Vackles hired Fen somehow and did not tell them who they were after or Fen went along to protect you or keep up his story about hating you. If we are lucky he is with a wounded or dead Croc right now.

All you need to do is track him down and he will help you kill Croc. If he has not already.

But you have to explain and work fast. We need to hit Croc while he is weak if possible. Did they do any damage to him other than poison?
No. 719157 ID: 5ad4a7

Are you fucking serious?! That was Fen! Why is Fen with Croc?!

We desperately need information. Immediately go and hire some kids to find Fen, so he can be asked what the fuck. Actually, the kids can just ask Fen directly, give him something to write on (wait can he even write?) or a spoken message to give you explaining what just happened.
No. 719159 ID: 3cc68c

Tell them that it was Fen. And that it was your fault he was there. You told him to keep up the act that he hated you and he got dragged into this mess. He probably got hired by Vackles or Croc and went along with it to protect Cheese. God if we had told him about you two or had you meet Fen then Croc would be dead right now.

But its a good thing. You have a inside man now.
No. 719161 ID: add40f

Ah. Hm. Maybe Fen also heard that you had a bounty out on you, and tried to pretend to be a bounty hunter himself, in order to find out things that would help you. He might have "teamed up" with Croc in order to get info he planned to give to you, or to trip him up somehow. Ask them, were they sure the two were working together? They weren't just hanging around each other? You did get the "two bounty hunters" from rumors. It might have been just one bounty hunter with another dangerous-looking person hanging out with him, but not actually a bounty hunter themselves.

Well, if Fen's still in town, you could ask him directly. If you're sure Croc would at least have to be out for a few hours after being poisoned, then you can just contact him and ask for it. And, while you're at it, tell him that those two he saw were your friends.

... if you can manage that without anyone else knowing. Maybe... write a letter that sounds like you're threatening him/warning him off, that happens to contain the question and information? He knows you're not really his enemy, if you include a bunch of other stuff that he knows is fake as well, he should be able to figure it out.
No. 719162 ID: a075ba

Start to laugh. Damn it, you shouldn't have sent them in alone. That sounds like Fen. That's the draconian you told them about, the one you got the dragoncloth from, who wants to become a noble to win Lily.

You told them he was tough.

Okay, okay, this might be good. Assuming Fen wasn't hired blind of the target, that means he probably heard a bounty was on my head, and signed up to help me. Aaaaand I send you to kill him. But that means Croc is working with someone who plans to betray him, which helps us.
No. 719170 ID: 825b5d

You should probably check your and Fen's drop off thing, see if he left you a message. You should also find out if Fen and Croc are there as enemies or (secret) allies.
No. 719176 ID: bb78f2

Oh you can tell Cheese that bounty hunter is ACTUALLY one of your agents, so good thing you didn't kill him. He must be doing independent under cover stuff to gain info for us. He's our ace in the hole, which means HE knows where Croc is. It's also why he didn't attack you too.

He's acting independently for now, but he must be sabotaging the investigation on his own. If you come across him again, don't try and kill him, he's too useful... because he's Fen.

I wouldn't bullshit your "siblings" too much, you should be honest at this point. It's something you HAVE to do.
No. 719220 ID: f562b1

>This would explain his battle, but he seemed largely unnerved by our existence, so he appears to have little experience to the 'horrors' that the empire can produce. If he did not already have his blade out, I expect he would have appeared harmless, as he made no attack on us.
"That was... Oh my gosh I can't believe he got on Croc's good side. That's amazing. He's not a bounty hunter, he's just on the watch for me! I guess he heard about the bounty and wanted to know what happened. I haven't really told him anything.
Um, but shoot! He's a wildcard, too. He might help Croc. He's strong, but he only kills people he can't befriend, and since I wasn't there he'll have to reason to kill Croc either!"
No. 719221 ID: 5ad4a7

Eh, I wouldn't say Fen only kills those he can't befriend. He's a BIT more willing to kill than that.

If he's smart he's already killed Croc, since Croc would have been weakened by the poison eventually. The main problem would have been doing so without it being obvious Fen killed him, since we can expect Croc left the tunnels before the poison weakened him enough for Fen to be able to take him out.

...is it possible for that to have happened?
No. 719593 ID: 93244f

"Hopefully" nicked himself?
I beg to differ!
No. 719603 ID: 91ee5f

We should probably bring Fen the antidote, just in case he did nick himself.
No. 719718 ID: dd338c
File 146189950857.png - (39.69KB , 800x800 , 426.png )

"Oh my god you two know about the barbarian I told you about who I want to become a noble?"
"That was him! Not Croc, but the other one! Oh my god that's almost funny except Tomato you almost killed him?! Ahhh I might want to bring him the antidote in case he did nick himself!"
>"Then let him! Is he not our enemy?"
"No! I mean... of course not. He's... this is good! I've got someone inside Vackles' pay!"
>"How can you be so certain? Does he know, this barbarian? Does he know of the cloth? Yes, yesssss you did say he did. And he knows. This dragoncloth has brought nobles and legendary bounty hunters to do battle. How can you say a barbarian is above this?"
"Because, I... I.... remember, he could have killed me?! And I'm willing to bet my life he's not - "
>"Cheeese. So quick to trust. So eager to get hurt more. But very well, you may have the antidote. Do you know where he stays?"
"First, I need to work on covering your tracks in the tunnel before Croc can follow us! Then hide even deeper down. Then... I'll find him. And please, don't kill him even if you get the choice."
>"I do hope he took advantage of the chaos and killed Croc." Cabbage says, which Tomato grunts in approval towards.
"I hope so too but geeeez I told him to stay out of this!" I say. I put the candle out. I'm really afraid someone may see the light even from a ways away, now.

I can try to get the kids to find him, but there's no telling how long that would take! The diner is the only place I can think of where he might be. They only said to come back if it were an emergency, but it might be!

Especially if Croc is with him.

Then again I did blurt out I'd bet my life on him?
No. 719719 ID: 5ad4a7

This does sound like an emergency, yes. Go back to the diner and somehow get the antidote through to your contact, instructing him to give it to Fen (via your description), along with a brief message:

"Say nothing of what you saw."
No. 719720 ID: 211d83

Fen could have ended this cloth mess awhile back by killing you or just taking it back and letting your life fall apart. But he picked you up out of the mud and asked for your help. You know your appearance matters nothing to him. He would snuggle up with you for warmth any day. If there is any outsider you can trust with your life its him.

That being said you still need to be very careful. Fen might be smart but he is still brand new to civilized lands and even more so to a life of intrigue. He might have gotten caught up in things and need your help. He might be being manipulated by Croc or being used against you without him knowing it.

If we are lucky he might have dealt with Croc already. But who knows what happened. He probably figured out you are working with Cabbage and Tomato but that does not mean he would instantly turn on Croc. For all he knows if he killed Croc it might ruin one of your plans.

So for the moment treat Fen like he was captured by the enemy and needs our help (while hoping otherwise). Also stop crushing on him so hard. But continue to fantasize about being his second wife after he marries Lily.

Get to the dinner. This is a emergency if I ever saw one. You need info on Croc as fast as possible. If you can get Fen to deal with him before he recovers it could save your life. Also bring some Tomato poison to give to Fen along with the antidote. So he can reapply things if Croc is healing already.
No. 719721 ID: 5ad4a7

...is there a way to CONCENTRATE Tomato's poison? So that, for instance, Fen could slip it into Croc's drink to finish him off?
No. 719722 ID: a075ba

>"Cheeese. So quick to trust.
Cabbage, I know you're saying this stuff because you care about me. But when I say I trust him, it isn't because I want it so badly. It's because he's the first person since Erja Nokol to earn it. You didn't see how bad I was the other night. I was ready to give up. He pulled me back from the edge.

>This dragoncloth has brought nobles and legendary bounty hunters to do battle. How can you say a barbarian is above this?
Because he already hunted me down to get it back once. And then, laying in the mud, expecting to die, he gave it back to me and FORGAVE me.

>Then again I did blurt out I'd bet my life on him?
You have to. If this episode proved anything, it's how dangerous a lack of communication is. You can't afford to be at odds, or cross purposes. You're both too dangerous not to coordinate- you're getting in each others way.
No. 719762 ID: 738934

I know it looks silly but you don't know him.

He was nice to me from the very start. He never thought I looked odd or made fun of my voice or how I looked. He treated me fairly and even wanted to travel with me on his way to the capitol. He thought I was a nice merchant and just wanted to be friends.

And then he asked if he could stay the night and we even shared a tent together. He never thought my body was creepy and even let me snuggle up with him for warmth.

And then after I stole his dragoncloth and he tracked me down he was still nice to me. He was angry with me but just wanted his cloth back and to know why I did it. And after I told him my sad story while crying in the mud he refused to kill me and figured out a way we could help each other. He gave me the cloth so that I could get out of my mess and help him get through his mess.

He treated me like a normal person Cabbage. He doesn't care if I am a mutant or what I look like. He just saw a sad girl who had horrible problems who needed a friend. He gave me a chance to make my crazy dream a reality so I am going to do anything I can to help him with his crazy dreams.
No. 719766 ID: 4d7c27

You should tell these two that he already had a chance to take the dragoncloth from you, and didn't. It was even his in the first place! You stole it and he chased you down, killed the guards who kept you imprisoned, and had you totally at his mercy. He could have killed you, or just taken the cloth or anything else he wanted from you and left. He didn't! There probably isn't any better way to be sure you can trust someone, and he's already trusted you with a bunch of stuff. And in any case, they know you're not a super huge political schemer but he wants to be a noble so he can marry a specific noble lady and if you get him to trust you and to take your advice on politics then once he becomes a noble he probably won't have much agenda of his own and he'll probably be a really huge help for all sorts of things!

So, really, no killing him.

In fact he might end up in Erja Nokol soonish and if anything maybe he should meet them so he's more ready to meet more mutants and get on well with them.

Anyway, it really shouldn't be that hard to find Fen and/or Croc if they had to drag themselves away from a fight with huge weird mutants! There can't be too many medics/apothecaries/et cetera for hire in this city so send kids to those places. If either of them were dying of poison they would show up near someone like that pretty damn quick.

I wouldn't get Fen to try kill Croc now, though. I think Fen is fine killing someone in a fight or with finishing someone off after a fight if he has to, but I don't think he's up to straight-on assassination. Plus, once we get info from him, maybe it'll be possible to dissuade or buy off Croc somehow?
No. 719796 ID: dd338c
File 146196305457.png - (97.68KB , 800x800 , 427.png )

>Also stop crushing on him so hard. But continue to fantasize about being his second wife after he marries Lily.

"Cabbage I told you by the way! He could have gotten the dragon cloth back. He had me face down in the dirt! I even tried to fight him and wasn't any match! But he trusted me. He doesn't even care about my weird mutant body!"
>"Mmm, don't be so defensive, as I am not forcing you one way or the other. I only worry."
"I know, I... I know. Let's just go to a new hiding spot."

I lead them on, and just go to the diner since it's more convenient than going to the kids. I kind of want to only have kids look for them as a worse resort, because if they get caught, well... bad. But the apothecaries are a good fallback if I can't find anyone at the diner.

I go to the diner. There's someone leaning against the wood planks that I usually spy and talk through. Which is weird, because it's kind of a spot that the owner himself takes, but never actually leans on.
No. 719797 ID: 5ad4a7

Say nothing. Hope you haven't been heard.

...actually you should probably take cover, because that could be anyone. Tempting to just outright leave.
No. 719799 ID: a075ba

>There's someone leaning against the wood planks that I usually spy and talk through. Which is weird, because it's kind of a spot that the owner himself takes, but never actually leans on.
Which would suggest someone who's not normally there, but is comfortable displacing the owner, is leaning against the wall.

Either Fen or Croc might fit that description.

Do you hear anything, smell anything, that might give away who's here?

...is this the hole you used to talk to Fen before? Could he be deliberately blocking it, to prevent you from being seen?
No. 719800 ID: 738934

That's suspicious. It could be someone waiting for you with bad intentions. Or it could be someone waiting to give you a important message. Maybe its the owner trying to hide the spot by leaning on it. Who knows but be careful.

Play it safe and make sure to not reveal yourself without being able to see who is leaning. Is there anywhere else you can get a view of the room? If you have to knock on the wall use a stick or something so you can be ready to book it at a moments notice.

And make sure you stay and arms length from the wall to avoid any swords getting jammed through the wood into your face. Cabbage showed us that trick.
No. 719802 ID: dd338c
File 146196510408.png - (72.67KB , 800x800 , 428.png )

I move back a ways and listen. I don't hear anything, so I get a stick and lightly tap it to the wood. So lightly I doubt I even -


Ahh it's Fen.
No. 719803 ID: 738934

Whisper to him and ask if its safe to talk.

If it is have him meet you somewhere more private to chat.

Or if this is a good spot let him know that the mutants that attacked Croc are your family and they are helping you. Then find out what happened and what Croc's condition is.

Depending on his answer we can change the plan as needed.
No. 719804 ID: 595d54

No. 719805 ID: a075ba

Cheese continues to make the best faces.

Yeah, this seems good.
No. 719806 ID: 5ad4a7

Ask if he's okay. Then ask if Croc is alive. If Croc is alive, ask if Fen can make Croc not alive.
No. 719808 ID: b412df

Did we tell Fen about this meeting spot or use it to contact him directly before? If not then either Fen discovered it on his own, or more worryingly Croc did, and he's there with Fen.
No. 719813 ID: dd338c
File 146196744323.png - (64.24KB , 800x800 , 429.png )

>Did we tell Fen about this meeting spot or use it to contact him directly before?
Um... I did tell him he could leave messages for me there, but he managed to find it before he even caught up to me with the dragon cloth.

Did I show him this spot? I don't know.

"Hello?" I whisper to him. There's a silence and it's weird.


"Can we talk?"
"Um... those mutants you saw earlier... they were with me."
>"They attacked us."
"Yes that was my mistake! I didn't think you'd have gotten hired with Vackles to hunt us with Croc."
>"I wasn't hired by Vackles."
"Er, what?"
>"Croc was. He only got my help. I think."
"You think?"
>"I thought he was friends with you."
"Wha- how did you think that? You believed him?"
>"No, but I thought I should follow him in case you weren't. He doesn't know that I'm with you, but he said he wanted to straighten things out between the three of us."
"He said he was friends with me, though?"
>"..... maybe."
>"I cannot understand a word he says."

Oh haha that makes sense, Croc grew up in a lot of areas so he probably has a heavy northwestern accent mixed with a mid-eastern one. I guess a savage would have trouble understanding him?

>"He still doesn't suspect I'm with you. He thought you would show up here, and has me waiting here in case you show up through here. He's going to be here any moment."
"Is he... uh, sick?"
>"No. He developed a slight cough, but seems to be recovering. He had an antidote on him he said can negate nearly every poison from Erja Nokol. What were those things, Cheese?"
"Thi... Fen, that's my family."
>"They aren't animals?"
"Wha!! No - "
>"Keep your voice down. I have not seen any kobolds that look anywhere like that."
"That... I'm really not very mutated compared to them, no."
>"Then tell them I'm sorry."
"What for?"
>"For calling them things."
"O-oh. Well I told them you're with me, so.. they won't attack you again."
>"Alright. Croc is staying here. I've thought about killing him, but his awareness to his surroundings is among the best, and he's stronger than me, so I can't promise much."

Right, I thought as much. Ah, did - right, just before I left Cabbage and Tomato, without thinking about it, I asked them to make a vial of Tomato's poison. A couple drops should be enough to kill someone, and a whole vial may overpower an antidote even if they live long enough to take the antidote.

>"He seems to like this diner, and will probably eat here, if you have a spot under the floorboards you can eavesdrop on us from. And maybe tell me what he is saying after we meet. By the way, I forgot to pay someone a while ago while I still had money. I would like 40 silver."
"Okay, um... I can get you that, but... I'll leave it at a place." I tell him a place where I can drop it off for him at.

For now, listening in on the meeting is doable. I can be really quiet and still, but it's always a risk if I'm anywhere close to Croc.
No. 719817 ID: 738934

I think you need to listen in despite the risk. We badly need more info on whats going on. Just be perfectly still and be ready to pretend you are a rat or something if he hears you move.

Some things we need to figure out.

1. Was Croc hired by Vackles or someone else?

2. Is he trying to capture or kill you?

3. Does he know or suspect about the dragoncloth?

4. Why did he pick up Fen and how can we use the situation to our advantage.

Maybe we can figure out a way to poison Croc or maybe we can figure out a way to use him in our plot against Vackles and Bardo. But right now we need to get more info before acting.
No. 719818 ID: a075ba

>"Then tell them I'm sorry." [...] "For calling them things."
Huh. I wonder how they'll react to that.

>Croc, friends
I take it Croc isn't your friend? Have you even met?

>Croc and Fen
I'm really wondering how Croc met Fen in the first place, or why he asked for his help. Because Fen was looking for Cheese yesterday?

>what do
Okay, it seems to me we have two options. We either stick around and try to learn from this (how the heck Vackles can afford someone as good as Croc, if there's more going on), or you / Fen can poison Croc's food and try to kill him. (...we could even pull the trick of poisoning both meals, to be sure, if you're willing to spend the antidote on Fen). Information or attack. (Or withdraw, obviously).

I'm leaning towards information, mostly because I don't know if Fen will want to murder him without even knowing what he wants. That, and Cheese can't afford to keep acting blind.
No. 719819 ID: 5ad4a7

Being anywhere near Croc with his senses that sharp is really a serious problem. So you should be there BEFORE the meeting, and be just within earshot, and not move an inch while he's there.

...or you could pay a kid to eavesdrop for you. If a kid gets caught, that's a problem, but won't be the end of the world. If you get caught it's fucking OVER.
No. 719821 ID: 211d83

If Fen could hear you barely tapping on the wood you have to assume Croc has senses just as sharp. But Fen did manage to avoid Tomato's poison while Croc did not so maybe Fen has better reflexes.

If you spy you have to be in place beforehand and make no noise. How loud is your breathing?

Spying on the meeting would be great because info on Croc is vital. Fen is confused so who knows what Croc is up to.

From what you know of Croc what is he like? Is he a amoral monster? Or just a really good bounty hunter? Could you hire him to kill Bardo or is he the type to always finish a mission? And did he get hired by Vackles or whoever and for how much?

Maybe hand off the poison to Fen for later use. You can always get more.
No. 719839 ID: a075ba

Is putting ambient noise in the room to make picking up on your breathing harder possible?

Can't just turn on a fan in kobold times, but a lit fire? An open window? A wind chime? Pay a street musician to set up shop nearby? Or encourage some kinds to play street soccer? (Or whatever game kobold kids play).
No. 719840 ID: 4d7c27

Better give him a little more than 40 silver, so he has some pocket money of his own.
No. 719847 ID: dd338c
File 146197495183.png - (21.85KB , 800x800 , 430.png )

>Better give him a little more than 40 silver, so he has some pocket money of his own.
I think he does have spending money, just... enough to get by to Graskin, not big spending like 40 silver! 40 silver is way more than pocket money!

>Is putting ambient noise in the room to make picking up on your breathing harder possible?
Not without trying to find the owner or something, and that's more risk than it's worth, or at least not with such short notice.

Still, I slip him the vial of Tomato's poison.

"That's some extract of Tomato's poison, the smaller, four footed one. Uh, use it how you want."
>"Thank you."
"How'd you and Croc even meet? You two aren't friends, right?"
>"I don't think so. He came to me. I think he called me a tracker. He spoke a lot of words."
"Okay. I'm going to eavesdrop. Do you know if he likes a certain table?"
>"He moves from table to table, but they're usually all in the same area. The opposite corner from here."
"Okay, thank you!"

I go and wait. I can hear okay and just barely see through the cracks, where I know no one can see back to me. Just no way.

Eventually, I hear someone murmur something at the front and walks into the dining area slowly and with purpose. That person being Croc, who goes and stands up by Fen's table.

>How loud is your breathing?
When I sleep it looks like I'm dead! And sounds like.

Quiet, basically.

They're in silence for awhile. Kind of weird. Like, they're just not talking to each other at all. I hope that Croc says some good stuff.

>From what you know of Croc what is he like? Is he a amoral monster? Or just a really good bounty hunter?
Even though he leaves stuff like calling cards and isn't known to be a ghost, there's a lot of baseless rumors about how he is. Some say he has a code of honor, some say he has one but he breaks it all the time. I haven't seen a trend of him being an amoral monster, in fact, they say he can be really professional and keep things non-personal to targets. But that he still goes to a lot of really nasty lengths to get those targets killed or captured, whether or not he's professional about it.

So I guess all I can really say about him right now is that's he's a really good bounty hunter.

>Could you hire him to kill Bardo or is he the type to always finish a mission? And did he get hired by Vackles or whoever and for how much?
Supposedly he got hired by Vackles, but I didn't actually see anything credible saying so!

Maybe I could buy him off, though? He is in this for the coin, judging by his prices.

Fen breaks the silence, finally.

"Are you feeling better?"

Croc makes a long, whistling sigh before he goes to sit down across from Fen.
No. 719849 ID: dd338c
File 146197499185.png - (20.25KB , 800x800 , 431.png )

>"OY them slimmies sure put a light on the jellies. Real nice turn of you usin' that green to keep them points out cause let me tell ya ya'd be ground matter if yer hide didn't hide with yer hide. Granted this ol' fishbone's taken a keen to the chipped bit, and may've kept its pedestal upright."


>"Naw let's 'ave a tongue party on the rime I told that right slimmy to play fetch with. Damn fishy wood they yep. Take it nothin squished its way up the woodcracks eh?"

Fen stares at Croc. Just an unblinking stare that he maintains for a long, long silence.

>"What?" Fen asks.
>"Akakakakak ya didn' lose the marble did yah? Been turnin' the barn for them hips all day but by the white if that curdled purple Cheese ain't the most hide an' seek pinner I've seen in my rings."
"She hasn't shown up, no."
>"Diddan think by that pinner she'd point an arrow notch to the sky. Oi where's that ear flicker with our teeth ticklers?"

What kind of accent is this? This isn't even an accent it's just... like... words!
No. 719851 ID: 211d83

Keep listening? Not much else you can do.
No. 719852 ID: 4546ab

Ok so he is saying that the poison was nasty and Fen was smart to block the spine with his cloak.

He wants to get drinks and asked if you crawled up to the secret hiding spot where Fen was standing.

He has been searching for your big butt all day but you are really good at hiding. (Also might think you are cute?)

And he did not think you would be stupid enough to come here for Fen to find so where are the drinks he ordered.

Yeah he has a rather interesting regional dialect.
No. 719853 ID: a075ba

It's not so much an accent as ridiculous word choices.

"teeth ticklers" for food, "rings" (like a tree) for years, "jellies" for mutants, "ground matter" for dead / in the ground, "points" for needles, "green" for a green cloak, "tongue party" for talk, etc.

And using the verb "to hide" the leather "hide" of Fen's cloack and Fen's own skin / "hide" all at once.

You / someone he's hunting is a "pinner" (don't see the logic behind that one yet).

Either he had the weirdest upbringing ever, or he's too smart for his own good, maybe? Picking confusing word choices on purpose to see who can keep up with him?

>by the white
Is he alluding to some kind of patron or deity, there? That's the first time we've heard a kobold do that, I think.

>>"Naw let's 'ave a tongue party on the rime I told that right slimmy to play fetch with.
...that sounds like he's saying he sent your siblings to go find you. Like he expected them to go to you, and you to show up. Not good.

>what do
You can't do anything. Stay silent, don't move, don't change the rhythm of your breathing. No changes.
No. 719854 ID: 5ad4a7

No idea what the first sentence is.
Second sentence is him saying Fen's lucky he blocked the spines(points) with his cloak (green), because he'd be dead otherwise. Croc's also saying he's taking a liking to Fen (chipped bit is referring to his horn, and the pedestal is everything below it) so he might have shared the antidote.

>"Naw let's 'ave a tongue party on the rime I told that right slimmy to play fetch with. Damn fishy wood they yep. Take it nothin squished its way up the woodcracks eh?"
Hmmmm, tongue party is a talk, right slimmy must refer to a kid, not sure what rime is. Squish up the woodcracks... probably something like keeping your ear to the wall. It's almost like Croc told Fen to stand by that wall, because Croc thinks it's suspicious. He can probably HEAR that it's got empty space behind it.

>"Akakakakak ya didn' lose the marble did yah? Been turnin' the barn for them hips all day but by the white if that curdled purple Cheese ain't the most hide an' seek pinner I've seen in my rings."
"lost your marbles", "turnin' the barn for them hips" probably refers to looking for Cheese's big butt. So he knows what Cheese looks like, at least. "hide an seek pinner" must be referring to a hard to find bounty. You pin up bounties. Rings is like years, because rings on a tree stump.

>"Diddan think by that pinner she'd point an arrow notch to the sky. Oi where's that ear flicker with our teeth ticklers?"
He's saying he didn't expect Cheese to just show up, I think. Shooting an arrow to the sky is like displaying your position. Then he's wondering where the waiter is.

This dialect he's speaking is FULL of metaphor and slang. Anyway, it really does sound like he's hunting Cheese as a bounty. So we do want to kill him.
No. 719855 ID: bb78f2

You can't POSSIBLY even know if he'd be willing to betray Vackles or not, or if he's hiding up his sleeve.

His personality and way of speaking is an art form that has made him the PERFECT bounty hunter and spy. You'll never understand him and how many games he's playing, he's a genius! I will be sad if we create a world without him in it now.

He's just too... beautiful of a creature. Like killing a Mockingbird... that is also a bounty hunter. How could Cabbage take pride in almost assuredly killing him?

Give up on killing him, you have to kill Vackles before he even gets a wiff of you or you're DONE.
No. 719856 ID: 5ad4a7

Oh, drinks... rime is ice, so slimmy must refer to the waitress or something.
No. 719859 ID: 5ad4a7

...hang on, if Croc goes to nasty lengths to kill/capture his targets... why isn't he doing that now? He seems to be taking it easy, and focusing on trying to FIND Cheese. If he wanted to go to nasty lengths he'd try to smoke her out or something.

Man. We need some kind of solid evidence either way. I suppose if we got some money to him and he killed Vackles that'd prove he's on our side.
No. 719898 ID: 972c3c

>"OY them slimmies sure put a light on the jellies. Real nice turn of you usin' that green to keep them points out cause let me tell ya ya'd be ground matter if yer hide didn't hide with yer hide. Granted this ol' fishbone's taken a keen to the chipped bit, and may've kept its pedestal upright."
"Those mutants really [melted] the plan. Was a good move on your part blocking the quills with your cape, you'd be pushing up daisies if the leather wasn't protecting your skin. Granted, this old man has taken a liking to your chipped horn (might mean Fen in general), and might have kept you alive."
>"Naw let's 'ave a tongue party on the rime I told that right slimmy to play fetch with. Damn fishy wood they yep. Take it nothin squished its way up the woodcracks eh?"
"Now let's have a talk about the [knife?] I threw into that mutant's back. Damn [quirky] they are. [Didn't phase you a bit, eh?]"
>"Akakakakak ya didn' lose the marble did yah? Been turnin' the barn for them hips all day but by the white if that curdled purple Cheese ain't the most hide an' seek pinner I've seen in my rings."
(I'm trying to figure out if he's complimenting Cheese or insulting her here)
>"Diddan think by that pinner she'd point an arrow notch to the sky. Oi where's that ear flicker with our teeth ticklers?"
"Didn't think she'd actually show herself when it's dangerous. Oi, where's your ears when we talk?"

I... wonder if what Fen thought he said before was right and true. Maybe he's impressed with you and wants to help. Of course, it could be a trap, too.
No. 719913 ID: 91ee5f

I honestly wasn't expecting anyone to have a weird anime laugh in this quest!

>"Been turnin' the barn for them hips all day but by the white if that curdled purple Cheese ain't the most hide an' seek pinner I've seen in my rings."
Hips? A woman? Um.....oh! I think he's saying he's looking for Cheese's big butt! Wait, really? Again with the big butt comments? Well, I guess it's better than being called a freak. But still, can't they a focus on something other than her butt?!

Also, for some reason I can't help but imagine Croc with a voice that sounds like Crocodile Dundee.
No. 719958 ID: dd338c
File 146203016171.png - (45.74KB , 800x800 , 432.png )

Well at least I can see why he's named 'croc.'

>Is 'the white' a patron or deity?
Maybe ?? Wait yeah, I think a lot of southern dieties have colors attributed to them, so... probably. For some reason, I wouldn't think Croc would really, uh, engage in dieties.

So I keep on listening. The waiter returns to serve some drinks and food. I guess I can actually mostly find out what he's saying if I have time to think about it? It's just so open to interpretation.

>"The chicken for you, sir," the waiter says, putting it in front of Fen, "And the mutton for you, sir." She puts the mutton down in front of Croc, and I can't help but notice that she said she got mutton with a big amount of hope behind those words.

>"THERE'S the tongue party I was waggin' on about. Naw see this is the fishy I was for, I go get the slimmy to fetch me a tooth pecker' an' I get a woolly instead, but bless their bones they fire up a filler that tells me I was a bird choosin' to chase the nutrition out of a cat's licker."

They eat for awhile, while Croc keeps talking with mouthfuls of food.

>"Now don't you throttle your antlers little dragon, you'll be feelin' that dragon blood on your scales before ya have the inkling to say 'fetch a stoney bask'. All I say is that wood boy with 'is head fulla silver lining better be as deep gold as he says, cause this fishbone doesn't prance with what the pits leak out just for fun an' sport yep?"
"How much did Vackles hire you for?"
>"Ahhhka ya really like to set the cave pidgeon out for a flyin' don'tcha?"
"Yes." Fen says.
>"Real flat tongue wagglin' I like. Now the sun's shining on every wood in town an' there isn't but a purple slimmy to show for it, an' with that last light on the jelly we had and with our slimmy bein' a ground sort, it's a real barker hiden' behind a tooth nipper. The hips ain't above ground."

My butt isn't even that big! Wait, he's talking about my hips though, not my butt I guess?

"We can't fit in the tunnels."
>"Oy yer talkin' dumb plain. But those two-ringed shorties? The open rocks got a special place in their instincts. And by my maker they'd pop their buddies for a price down there."
"Are you saying we're going to hire kids to hunt for Cheese?"
>"Bah hardly, that ain't the sport I love. Plus those stubby tongues wouldn't hold down a hushy if their own maker got on their caps and begged an' pleaded for 'em to just keep a tooth on it. Naw once they hear clinks and blessed cries for our slimmy they'll be scrabblin and rabblin for that squishy neck so we gotta have our chickens in the coop. Now we get those shorties, still, ya follow? Been havin' my senses pointin' to those two-rings gallavanting about the grounds doin' things that only 20-rings do. Our sport's already got the clinks to motivate those tunnelers, an the hips ain't jus' lookin' for moss an' rime. If you waggle for my waggles, my jellies point that those hips fully wrap 'emselves around the nature that those shorties are a wolf on a delicacy, but slimmy's gotta munch on more than the moss on the rocks, an' so you waggle for my waggles, then I'd waggle that she's gettin hugs from the sun. So we don't get the sprouts to hunt our milk, we get the sprouts to tell us where the milk's flowin'. Then we jog our crowns for where the milk's flowin' next, put a right glass at the bottom, and let it run right in an' have ourselves a good tongue party. Naw let's whap our feet." Croc says, and the two of them start getting up to leave.
No. 719965 ID: a075ba

>Croc speech
First line is him commenting on getting the mutton instead of what he ordered, but being approving of it.

Next line is talking about Fen getting to see some action, and wondering if Vackles actually has the funds to pay what he promised. (If Vackles knows about the dragoncloth, he might be gambling on recovering that to cover costs)?

One crazy plan to get rid of Vackles might be to go after his money behind his back, let Croc catch you, then watch as Croc kills Vackles when he can't pay up. Lot to gamble on there, and the biggest problem is not knowing Croc well enough to predict his actions in a situation we set up.

That last part is his plan to catch Cheese. Seems more verbose than it needs to be, but the short version is he intends to offer a financial incentive for the kids to turn on you, which will drive you above ground.

You might be safe from Croc's senses, for the moment, since he claimed he has them tuned listening for young people acting like adults?

>what do
You still can't do anything. No moving, no talking, no changing the pattern of your breathing. You can't get up till Croc has left.
No. 719967 ID: 211d83

That's good news. Looks like Vackles has only promised him money. So if he catches you and Vackles can't pay up then Croc will probably kill him.

He is not planning on using the kids to hunt you but knows that you cant rely on them for everything so you have to do your own work above ground sometimes. So he is going to bribe them to track you so he can set a trap for you above ground when you have something you can't trust to kids.

And once he catches you he plans to have a long talk with you about whats going on because he is curious about why Vackles hired him.

It might not be best to just try and kill Croc. All we have to do is stay out of his reach long enough for our rumors to fuck up Vackles position and Croc will start getting mad about the prospect of not getting paid. Then all we have to do is give him some incentive to go take revenge via some gold and he might deal with our Vackles problem.

That and if we can give Croc a good impression we might be able to hire him to kill Bardo. Would be worth spending a bit if you could get rid of your 3k debt.

Anyways don't move for a long while before leaving.
No. 719973 ID: 4546ab

So his plan is not to hire the kids to hunt you but to have them spy on you so he knows when you are going to be above ground next time. And he is watching for kids that act like adults because that shows him who belongs to the gangs and who is just a kid.

He knows you cant fully trust the kids so is going to use that against you.

The Rings comment is about counting tree rings for age.

So you could ambush him again buy letting the kids know you will be making a trade somewhere topside and letting the info get to Croc. Then scoping out where Croc would most likely sit to ambush the meeting and setting a ambush there for him.

He is distrustful of Vackles because he is not sure Vackles has the gold to pay him once he captures you. And how he does not fight mutants for pleasure.

Long story short I think it would be better to try and use Croc rather than try to kill him right off. Killing him is dangerous work and might end up with friends dead or badly injured. But he is in this for money and manipulating that could get him to do some of your work for you.

So we need to get those swords to Vackles and a witness set up fast. That will spur the rumor mill and then it might be a good idea to throw a rumor out there that Vackles killed Rayson because he lost a ton in a business deal and is hurting financially.

If you can keep away from Croc long enough to get Vackles in a bad spot Croc might be open to you paying him to deal with Vackles.
No. 719999 ID: 5ad4a7

> So we don't get the sprouts to hunt our milk, we get the sprouts to tell us where the milk's flowin'.
He's going to use the kids for information, so feed the kids false information to lure him into another trap. We already know Cabbage and Tomato won't be able to beat him though...

...I wonder if you could make him stumble upon Vackles receiving the swords. If Vackles and Croc fight, we win.

An alternative is to beat Vackle's price, and communicate that to Croc. Problem with that is that I expect we'll have to hire him to kill Cheese's debtor in order to afford the transaction at all.
No. 720013 ID: dd338c
File 146204868497.png - (79.20KB , 800x800 , 433.png )

From what I'm gathering, I've got to be even more careful about kids, now, if Croc is going to start hiring them, too.

>I wonder if you could make him stumble upon Vackles receiving the swords. If Vackles and Croc fight, we win.
Haha I have no idea how I'd -

Fen! What if I got Fen to look at the swords? What if he got Croc to look at the sword trade? That might work, but the trouble is that I'd have to get Fen or Croc to spread the rumor.

I have no idea who else I could get, though, especially not if I want to get this thing going as soon as possible.
No. 720022 ID: 5ad4a7

Well I mean getting Fen to do something is appropriate since he's already involved, but I have no idea how to get any messages to him without Croc knowing, except through the wall.
No. 720034 ID: 211d83

Ok we need to rethink our main plan now that Croc is around. Here is why.

1. Vackles has hired Croc but has only promised him a big payout. If we hand Vackles two expensive magic swords that's like giving him money to pay Croc. We need to frame Vackles but handing him money is a bad idea right now. Unless Vackles can't give Croc the swords for whatever reason or Croc would not take them because of how hot they are.

2. Croc is a good witness but I doubt he cares about Rayson's death. If he sees the swords change hands he is smart enough to guess that Vackles killed Rayson due to our rumors. But the question is would he care? Only if there was say a reward out for Rayson's killer or something. Having him see the meeting and hear Gauche tell Vackles about ending the hunt for Cheese might get him to demand payment then and there.

3. No idea why Fen would need to look at the swords. He carried them for a day and we could just tell him whats up if need be. But he might make a great witness/messenger if we need him. Might be able to use his "feud" with us to have a excuse to send him messages.

Whatever we do we need to make sure we do not piss of Gauche. Right now he is waiting for the swords to do whatever political thing he is going to do. We need to let Gauche know about Croc and that you are scared to let Vackles have anything that might help him pay Croc to silence you. This would explain the wait between messages.
No. 720204 ID: f562b1

>Now the sun's shining on every wood in town
Wait is he talking about wood nobles?
> If you waggle for my waggles, my jellies point that those hips fully wrap 'emselves around the nature that those shorties are a wolf on a delicacy,
Can't figure out what the Waggler is, but I think the jellies are his eyes.
>slimmy's gotta munch on more than the moss on the rocks, an' so you waggle for my waggles, then I'd waggle that she's gettin hugs from the sun.
Is Slimmy his way of referring to targets? Seems he's suggesting staking out where "in broad sunlight" you're getting your food.
No. 720716 ID: dd338c
File 146231703256.png - (117.79KB , 800x800 , 434.png )

>How to get a message to Fen?
Well, I've got to drop off some silver for him anyways, so I can just leave a message there, too!

But maybe even more pressing is Croc going towards the kids. I think. Ergh, if only he spoke... normal. Right. Croc changes things, but I know I should use the kids as much as possible while I can still trust.... most of them.

I pick up the silver for Fen and a bit more of Tomato's poison. The safer routes kind of place Gravel's place between the new hideout and the dropzone for Fen, so I go to gravel before dropping anything new for Fen.

>"Well if it isn't our favorite spender, Cheese. We got worried about you!"
"Yeah yeah I'm fine! Anything new?"
>"Hey, hey, don't give me that 'yeah yeah', we wouldn't be feigning concern about someone we're doing a little gang war for, you know?"
"Erm... yeah, I'm sorry, Gravel."
>"Accepted! And you bet your glassy eyes we've got progress. First up, here's your grocery bag. One fancy dress that might just fit your form given a little work - which we'll do for a little metal of course - and one cloth that the merchant says could fool someone into thinking it were dragoncloth!"
"Wha - oh, right! Yes, thank you!"
>"Progress on the rumor mill is going on ahead like normal, but nothing worth talking about, other than a merchant ring getting uppity. What is worth talking about is that we found those two kids who beat you up. We've got 'em tied up just a minute away if you want to have a word with them. Just a warning though, their gang is up in arms now about it, so even though they can't do shit to us, you'd better be careful wandering around their turf."
"I'd like detailed information on their turf."
>"Sure. I'll bring someone over. Oh, and I got a couple good scrapper kids for you. Definitely trustworthy and tough. They can protect you in the tunnels just in case you gotta go places. Anyway, want to talk to those kids?"

I kind of have a lot to do like maybe let Gauche know that the next letter is coming despite the long pause, but those kids are right there.
No. 720717 ID: 5ad4a7

We can do this quick. Take the diluted poison out and administer it. Tell them you may have been bluffing about you being poisonous yourself, but you do have access to poison, and they sure as hell are going to get poisoned now that they've hurt you.

If you want to get really personal, put the poison on your claws and scratch them to poison them.
No. 720719 ID: b412df

What do we have to gain from them? Aside from being cruel to scare them, only thing I can see is finding out if it was random mugging or if they were hired.
No. 720724 ID: 211d83

Head over to meet your muggers and have a chat with them.

"So here we are again. What do you think I should do with you two? Back in the day I would have beaten you to death myself. But I have been thinking that maybe you deserve another chance."

Then depending on how they react you can poison them or whatever. If they go and swear certain revenge after they are free you should probably kill them. If not make them sick with the poison to teach them a lesson.

Then get your dress and fabric bundled up so they stay clean. And get other stuff done that you were going to do.
No. 720743 ID: a075ba

Just go up to the prisoners, no talking. (That makes it freakier). Then one by one, grab their faces and administer a does of diluted poison. (Hold nose until mouth open , pour in, hold mouth shut until forced to swallow, repeat. Get one of the kids to be your assistant, if necessary).

...maaaaaybe punch the leader in the face so he looses a fang. You know, eye for an eye and all that.

Walk away, don't look back.
No. 720745 ID: 3cc68c

Get your second letter to Gauche ready first. Make sure you can figure out where Gauche is planning on handing off the swords so we can get Croc or whoever to witness things.

To many things could change so avoid planning to far ahead. Just try to get Vackles out of the way however you can and Croc off your trail. And maybe pay him to kill Bardo if opportunity arises.

Also let Fen know whats going on. Once you find the place the swords will be handed off get him a letter saying so. Make it look like you are still trying to get him off your back and how you are giving the stuff back so Vackles will call off his hounds. Just to make sure and keep Fen's cover with Croc.

Then go put the fear of god into the kids who mugged you. Just so they spread the story that its better to be your friend then try to make a quick buck.
No. 720750 ID: dd338c
File 146232191896.png - (137.39KB , 800x800 , 435.png )

>What do we have to gain from them? Aside from being cruel to scare them, only thing I can see is finding out if it was random mugging or if they were hired.
That and to make sure this doesn't happen again! To show people that bad stuff happens to people who mug me.

>Then get your dress and fabric bundled up so they stay clean.
They're in a bag right now, and they'll stay that way until I can get them cleaned up. I only open up the bag just to make sure they are all there.

"Yeah... yeah, but first, I have that second letter to get to Gauche. Deliver it in, uh, three hours from now, about sundown." Knowing Fen... I guess... kinda... he'll pick up the silver by then and my message. Croc and Fen being the witnesses is a big wildcard, but they're the best possibility I have.

Especially since I just realized I don't think I have any way to tell where exactly Gauche was going to hand the swords over to Vackles. If Croc and Fen know about this, then depending on how I write the letter, they'll almost definitely find out where it is themselves. It's introducing more If's and As-Long-As's in my plan, but the variables getting involved are just too many and too volatile for me to try to find a 'perfect' option anywhere anymore.

Nobles usually like to do business like this sword handoff after dark, too. Once I set things up for delivering the letter to Gauche, I talk about the kids again.

>"Bring me over to them!"
>"Right this way. We'll stay close." says Gravel.

I'm lead to an open alcove, where the two of them are sitting tight to chairs facing the wall. I've got just a little to say, but I step closer and make sure my tail is making noise dragging along the ground. I start walking around to their front.

Awww hell they already have the fear of gods in them. They really don't look like heartless thugs anymore even if they're on their way to becoming that. The leader's trying to put on a tough face too but he's shaking and sweating while glaring at the wall. Gulls is avoiding my look, and before I even put a hand on anyone's head, Gulls starts squealing and screaming into his gag.