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File 134832920483.png - (260.74KB , 700x700 , 57.png )
456798 No. 456798 ID: f3e45e

Previous thread: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/448327.html

Discussion thread: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/59466.html

It’s been morning for a while.

My stomach is getting antsy but I pretend to sleep for a while longer.

I guess McTrinkets has been rowing our coracle along all night. Even at this slow pace we have to be a decent distance away from House Aifix by now. I have no idea if Geofahn’s following us or not.

I mean, they have a dreambug dream-stalking my dream-future, I guess. That’s probably going to suck.

McTrinkets finally nudges me with her boot and wakes me up.

“Hey. Let’s pull off-stream for a while and have some breakfast.”
Expand all images
>>
No. 456799 ID: f3e45e
File 134832923217.png - (201.41KB , 700x700 , 58.png )
456799

I help McTrinkets get the coracle ashore and out of view of the river. She washed the black make-up from her neck over-night, I guess.

She said she did the same for me, while I was asleep.

I’m not even going to start having an opinion on how to feel about that.

We settle in. Iaxio’s ghost hangs out with us too.

McTrinkets starts cooking some sausage on a little fire. “The deal we had, was you provide your own food,” McTrinkets says. “But I haven’t even taken any money from you yet, so I think we’re in the middle of a new sort of deal.”

“I guess?” I’m sure she’s going somewhere with this. She said I owe her for getting me out of the town, and, I mean, I do, right? “Is this the part where I have to lick your boots?”

“Yes.” She gives me this look like I don’t even know what. “I’m not going to guess why you needed to sneak out of town, but I got you out of there all the same.” McTrinkets’ tone makes it clear she knows exactly why I needed to sneak out of town. She knows I’m the runaway House Geofahn is looking for. “I helped you save your life, would you say? So let’s make that the trade. You can help me save my life.”

That doesn’t sound like, dangerous or anything. Iaxio and I exchange looks.

McTrinkets leans back on her rock. “I owe a lot of money to some people in the Doxedn city. I have it, now, finally. You’ll be paying them back for me.”

“Me?”

“Yes! If I went into the city myself, they would kill me first, find the money on my corpse, and apologize to my ghost.”

So uh. I guess this is the price of McTrinkets’ help?
>>
No. 456802 ID: 6a5a08

Remember, the more sidequests you take the less chance the dream-stalker can find you.
>>
No. 456803 ID: dc4a44

go on.

I hope this doesn't involve gambling.
>>
No. 456805 ID: e3f578

>>456799
I don't suppose just switching our clothes would help at all?
She knows exactly who to give it to and what to say. She's obviously far more clever than us, and could probably use her own charisma, strengthened by her career, to get her our of most bad situations concerning the Geofahn situation. There's a good chance that you could screw up the delivery yourself as well, not mention other risks.
Show her your natural merchant smarts girl! She'll respect you more.
You understand the extra safety in making you go, but in the end, just as much risk to you as to her, if not more due to our previously described factors. We may require more convincing, and clarify your caution is in utmost respect for what she's already done for us. If these are some really bad people, they may take the messenger as extra payment too, turning you into a drug-addicted whore to sell on the streets quickly or to some other horrific fate. Hell, for all you know, YOU might actually be the payment in full and the box is actually empty or has a message describing yourself as the payment.
>>
No. 456811 ID: d3f29d

This sounds suspect. McTrinkets has already demonstrated her skill at disguising herself. If Doxedn would recognize her no matter her disguise, how can you be certain they won't be able to recognize you? How are Doxedn-Geofahn relations these days?

On the other hand, Maexiks warned you that McTrinkets would be "very unhappy" if you refuse. McTrinkets has been nice enough as long as you've cooperated, but she owes you nothing. I don't know that you have much of a choice.
>>
No. 456812 ID: 9c8e90

Help McTrinkets. Do not question it.
>>
No. 456814 ID: 05b8e6

Sounds like a quest to me! Have some eats.
>>
No. 456816 ID: 58e163

... what kind of people are these perfectly legitimate businessdogs? Just, trying to assess how not-dead we will want to be. And in whose name will we be making the payment?
>>
No. 456821 ID: fa3d37

Do it. It doesn't seem that bad. Get as many deets as you can first.

Translator's note: deets is short for details.
>>
No. 456822 ID: 2e5d9e

Indicate willingness to do it but be sure to get as much information about it as you can.
>>
No. 456829 ID: 6cc859

This does sound fair, and a sidequest would indeed keep things nice and confused. >>456811 has a point, though; ask why she can't disguise herself, and make sure that they won't snap you up as a favor for Geofahn.
>>
No. 456844 ID: f2c20c

>>456799
Ask her if, after this, you'll be even. Don't just assume that.

Also warn her that Geofahn probably knows she helped you... but do this only after she's given you the money. Consider going into town and just keeping the money, but don't actually do that.

For that matter, which way should we go to get into the city? Straight into the front gates, or around the side, or what.

Do we have any food?
>>
No. 456848 ID: f3e45e
File 134834730639.png - (163.37KB , 700x700 , 59.png )
456848

>Remember, the more sidequests you take the less chance the dream-stalker can find you.

That basically sounds about right, right? If I’m busy dealing with something stupid like this, my dream-stalker will just have dreams of me doing, uh…

>they may take the messenger as extra payment too, turning you into a drug-addicted whore to sell on the streets

… I should probably be entirely sure of what I’m getting into before I get into it.

>Do it. It doesn't seem that bad. Get as many deets as you can first.
>... what kind of people are these perfectly legitimate businessdogs?

“So what kind of people do you owe this money to? Like, what kind of dogs would actually kill you the moment you came into the city?”

McTrinkets runs her thumb around beneath her gums. Her fingerpad makes squeaky noises against her teeth. “It’s not House Doxedn. It’s just a small opposing family in the Doxedn city. They have three or four generations, and a few associated dogs to their colors. They have a lot of influence over the docks, but it’s really very spotty. Strong boat on unsure waters, you know?”

“And why do you owe them money? So much that uh, that they’ll kill you over it?”

“They loaned me some merchandise. I didn’t turn a good profit on all of it, and I lost some more of it.” McTrinkets looks up at me and giggles. I think she’s embarrassed. “I actually lost a lot of it. I owe them a lot of money. They’re really angry. This wouldn’t be problematic if I could avoid the Doxedn city and avoid them, but I think they’re losing patience. I think they might send someone after me.”

Iaxio speaks up. “So you’re a risk to a young house’s reputation if they let your insult go?”

“Basically.”

Well! I guess McTrinkets and I actually have something pretty big in common with one another.

>ask why she can't disguise herself

“So why can’t you do this yourself? Can’t you disguise yourself?”

McTrinkets looks uncomfortable. It’s kind of weird, seeing her not entirely in control of the conversation. “They’ll recognize me.” She just leaves it at that. Huh. Well then.

“So what exactly do I have to do?”

“You just have to go to the Doxedn city and find the Family Hefehxn residence. I’ll give you directions. Bring them the money I have for them, and tell them it’s from me. I’ll meet back up with you and we can keep going down south.”

Iaxio presses McTrinkets some more, though. “What merchandise did you lose that was so expensive?”

McTrinkets kicks her boots back and forth against the ground. “Special merchandise.”

Iaxio gives me a concerned look Look.

“Sausage is done!” McTrinkets plucks the stick out from its spot near the fire. “Crispy and hot, dripping in fat. If you pay off my debt, we’ll be even on escaping the town, debt-free. If you want one of the sausages, you need to make me a separate offer.”

The sausage looks super-delicious, but, I mean, I have a bunch of travel-rations left. If I don’t lick McTrinkets’ boots for a sausage, I’ll still have food of my own.

McTrinkets and I have been very good about not pressing one another on our respective secrets. Do I want to press her to tell me why they’ll recognize her, or what her merchandise was? Am I going to agree to go along with this?
>>
No. 456851 ID: 6a1ec2

Well, just ask if the merchandise is drugs. Because you can't become a drug addicted whore without drugs.
>>
No. 456853 ID: 0006f5

if things are this bad already, its a real possibility they will just take the money and keep their grudge up. agree anyway and see how hard it is to pick up cues they dont plan to keep their word, if at all
>>
No. 456855 ID: 296fe8

Don't press her, and lick her boot for a sausage, just to lightn the atmosphere. You and her are a lot alike, and building trust and friendship with another living dog could be a real benefit because you don't have that. Go along with the deal.
>>
No. 456857 ID: 886a4d

>>456848
Eat your own food, your already in debt, no need to go further into it just for a sausage.
>>
No. 456860 ID: 061a93

>>456855
Oh come on. Don't lick her boot. Especially not right in front of your uncle. That would just be insulting.

Besides, we should keep this relationship as equals.
>>
No. 456866 ID: 501c8d

we've been over this, Sabhaxlia. no boot licking!

even if either of you wants a relationship, that's not the way to go. it will cement you as submissive.
>>
No. 456868 ID: 31156a

Look, Sabby, there's nothing wrong with being a bit submissive and you might need those rations later. It'll be pretty hard to get more cash later, and you can play it off like a joke. Licking the boot is harmless.
>>
No. 456873 ID: 6e44d2

I wonder...

Does McTrinkets' white neck patterning look like makeup? Could "she" actually be a he, who was employing 0a double reach around confusion tactic?

... Probably not the case, but interesting to consider.

Anyway, accept the mission. When it comes time, hide the money someplace outside of town where no one will find it, cut off a tiny piece of Iaxio, then go to the house in question. Tell them you have McTrinkets' debt hidden someplace out of town, and that you won't tell them where if they violate your liberty in any way. Give them the piece of Iaxio, then leave. When you're a safe distance away, tell Iaxio to tell them where the money is. Boom. Job done.
>>
No. 456881 ID: 9c8e90

Eat your own food. You don't have to do EVERYTHING McTrinkets says.
>>
No. 456883 ID: 762100

why is everyone so against licking a boot? I mean, what has that boot ever done to you that's so bad? besides, that sausage looks tasty, it will take that boot taste right off your tongue
>>
No. 456895 ID: f2c20c

Do not lick a boot!
>>
No. 456903 ID: e3f578

Maybe just ask her if there's anything she needs you can get.
Or tell her that investing in your empty stomach now builds trust between you two, I mean, you're going to be handling a lot of money aren't you? That is a lot of trust to put on a person.
What makes her trust you so much? You're the one that could end up getting it in the butt from these unsavory folks selling special merchandise here today. You could bail with the cash, does she not see a problem with this plan? And then she could claim that you took and ran away with it, but what proof will she even have? Absolutely no disrespect in pointing this out, by the way. An offer of goodwill, such as nice sausages, is always crucial to a good business relationship.
>>
No. 456915 ID: b6edd6

What illegal things do you know of that they might be trading?
>>
No. 457058 ID: 816efd

>>456848

I'm sure the boots couldn't taste THAT bad, could they? Well... Maybe they could, who knows the last time McTrinkets cleaned them.

I mean, if it's recently... They actually taste better after a fresh coat of polish, or a fresh rub of oil.
>>
No. 457101 ID: d3f29d

Eat your own food.

"Do I want to press her to tell me why they’ll recognize her, or what her merchandise was?"

Forget about the merchandise; by not telling you she's probably told you too much already. However, you do have a pretty serious need to keep your own identity hidden. If they've got some kind of identification magic doohickey, that is something you need to know.
>>
No. 457114 ID: 6a80b6

Boots aren't the only thing you can lick...
>>
No. 457274 ID: 061a93

God dammit you guys what the fuck. Why are you even. I would expect this from Bite, but not you guys. Come on. No boots.
>>
No. 457282 ID: dadb30
File 134842700013.png - (146.60KB , 700x700 , 60.png )
457282

I decide not to lick her boot for a sausage. I mean, if I’m going to lick her boot, it should probably shouldn’t be during one of these little merchant-deal-things McTrinkets likes, right? Yeah. It should be a boot-licking between equals and friends and Iaxio probably shouldn’t be around when I actually do it and.

And I get some packaged travel-meat out of my pack and start eating that. McTrinkets teases the sausages over my face for a bit. Iaxio tries to bite it but McTrinkets just pulls the meat through his dumb ghost-face.

“You’ll have to make me a trade for a sausage, ghost,” McTrinkets warns.

Iaxio waggles his ears scandalously at her. “I’ll lick something for a bit of sausage.”

Great okay this is getting really embarrassing.

>What makes her trust you so much? You're the one that could end up getting it in the butt from these unsavory folks selling special merchandise here today. You could bail with the cash, does she not see a problem with this plan?

“So hey uh, why do you think it’s safe to give me the money? What if I ran off?”

“We both know better than to try and break our deal,” McTrinkets says. She’s all smiles still but yeah, I’m. I’m pretty sure she’s saying she’ll get back at me, somehow, if I screw her over on this.

She fishes a solid wooden box from the coracle. The box itself looks stupid expensive. “This has the money in it. The box is a gift for them too, make sure to impress that on them. You’ll need to take a road over to the city. You may be staying overnight, there. Come back here when you’re done.”

I guess McTrinkets doesn’t want to get closer to the city herself? Whatever, I’m not gonna argue about that. I also guess I’m not gonna press her for any more details. I think what little she’s said has… kind of been quite a lot, right? About how suspicious this all is? Yeah. Yeah.

McTrinkets sidles down to the soft silt-dirt and leans her back against the rock. “If it isn’t prying, did you exchange your money?”

“Oh, yeah. I traded it out for uh, what did I do it for. Butts. Where did I put it? Fauhredn stuff. Five coins, three pennies.”

McTrinkets closes her eyes. “I can tell you some things about the exchange rates, if you want. It wouldn’t be so great if someone conned you out of your own money!”

“Am I going to have to pay you for this advice too?”

“I’m sorry, I’ve been awake all night. You can lick my boots for it when you’re back.”

McTrinkets yawns and tells me all the money-advices. It’s uh, it’s actually all really good. I don’t think I’m gonna need to guess at prices or anything anymore. She helps me abstract the coins into points, like in a gambling game. The Fauhredn coins are worth 5, and the pennies are worth 3. My 5 Fauhredn coins and 3 Fauhredn pennies are worth 21 points in the Doxedn city—they’d probably be worth a little bit more in the Fauhredn territories themselves. A good lunch should cost 1 point; something complicated like a lantern should be 5 to 8 points. A cute piece of jewelry should go for 20 points.

McTrinkets ends up drifting off to sleep. I check my map.

I think I can take two ways to the Doxedn city. It’s hard to judge distances on the thing, but I can go west a bit and find this lazy-windy road to the city. I could just walk along the riverside, too, because that leads right there so long as, like, I don’t mind stomping my boots through reeds and frogs and buttwater.
>>
No. 457294 ID: f9ca52

Go by the windy road so you don't get all gross and wet and you look nice and professional.
>>
No. 457304 ID: 37aa84

Since we don't know the colors or anything else specific about the house we're going to hand the money to spend your travel time thinking of how many ways this deal can go wrong so that the dreambug's visions will mostly concern you getting killed by or escaping from unknown individuals making them absolutely useless.
>>
No. 457308 ID: f2c20c

>>457282
It occurs to me that your enemies know that she helped you, and will come down the river in pursuit of you. They will find her, and she could die. You should warn her.
>>
No. 457309 ID: 061a93

I'm pretty sure McTrinkets is bringing it up at this point just to tease you for thinking about it so long the first time.

I vote windy road.
>>
No. 457316 ID: fc5d95

> The box is a gift for them too, make sure to impress that on them.

I wonder if the box is trapped somehow. Might wanna ask McTrinkets to see her reaction.
>>
No. 457344 ID: d3f29d

I say take the road, but keep in mind if the road is windy, there's probably a reason for it, like hills or something. If the terrain were flat it would just be straight, unless tombdogs are in the habit of making unnecessarily convoluted roads. Which wouldn't surprise me. Butts.

Also, make sure you leave some kind of trail so you can actually find your way back to camp.
>>
No. 457348 ID: e3f578

The plan should be to appear to be a generic hired messenger carrier, not a friend of McTrinkets. Ask her the name of the sender you should say to the person you're delivering it to, be it her name or another alias. You may want to ask her how to best appear to not know you well at all and if hiring a generic delivery service would be realistic enough as a lie. This should be free advice, as it relates to the task she's given you and will be crucial in getting the favor done.
>>
No. 457356 ID: dc4a44

Which town is the one on the right with a direct waterway to Doxedn?
>>
No. 457385 ID: 9718f3

Lazy road, no need to look like butts. Be sure to confirm who you're actually delivering this to first, though.
>>
No. 457449 ID: b33427

Stick to the road. You'll be nothing but suspicious tromping about on the riverbank while not wearing the right gear for it. It'll also probably take as long as taking the long way by going to the road, and you won't end up wet, muddy, and miserable.

Halfway to the road, find a hiding spot, and pull out McTrinkets' coin box. Examine the entire exterior for anything that would give away you having opened it, then open it if it's clear. Do so with your knife at arm's length, in case there's a trap. Then count out the coins, noting which houses they're from and the denominations on them. Once you get to the city, you'll want to get them appraised to make sure they aren't counterfeits. They're probably large denomination coins, so it won't draw attention if you go around to a few money changers and have each one check a random coin from the lot, as long as they don't see you have a bag full of coins.

Bag the coins up separate in your pack, and take a closer look at the box. Measure the depth of the interior of the box, and the external dimensions of the body and the lid, to check for hidden compartments. If you find any irregularities, shake the box and listen for anything moving around in it, then start poking around for hidden latches.

>>457344
Or the road used to follow the river, before the river flooded and changed directions, or was dredged to make it straighter, or the road was built away from the river so it wouldn't be flooded all the time. Won't know until we get to the road.
>>
No. 457481 ID: 6e44d2

Hey guys, let's propose a bunch of other options, too, to throw off the dreambug.

Think you could continue by boat?
>>
No. 457500 ID: 6a1ec2

Steal her box of money and use it as a desperate attempt to bargain for your life running back home!

Go to Dodoxen and realize halfway there you forgot the money so you have to turn back.

Highly overestimate your progress on the map and instead of heading on the road south, get stuck on the east bank of that southeast flowing tributary. What a nightmare it'll take you days to get around it!

Beat her to death with her the box. Her death shall feed your bloodthirsty hunger for deadly death.

So you suddenly switch ears for some reason HOLY CRAP WHY IS EVERYONE SHOUTING. OH MY GOD IS THIS HOW YOU HEAR THINGS EVERY DAY MCTRINKETS? WE HAVE TO FIND A BIRDWITCH TO DISPEL THIS CURSE ON US.

On your way to Dodoxen you were hiding from some passerby when you fell in a crevice alongside the road and broke your leg, and now you're half dead, helpless and waiting for your end either by the elements or the vengeance of Geofahn. You're not sure which is worse.

Suddenly airships! A whole fleet of airships!
>>
No. 457518 ID: d3f29d

Do Hefehxn know Dude-McTrinkets or Chick-McTrinkets? It would probably be bad if you deliver the money and start using the wrong pronoun.
>>
No. 457604 ID: 4b5de2
File 134852415247.png - (132.10KB , 700x700 , 61.png )
457604

>Do Hefehxn know Dude-McTrinkets or Chick-McTrinkets? It would probably be bad if you deliver the money and start using the wrong pronoun.

I mean, she said they’d recognize her in any disguise, right? So I’m gonna guess, when I show up with this much money, to pay off a debt, they’ll know who I’m talking about.

>I wonder if the box is trapped somehow. Might wanna ask McTrinkets to see her reaction.
>It occurs to me that your enemies know that she helped you, and will come down the river in pursuit of you. They will find her, and she could die. You should warn her.

I try to do both of these things, but McTrinkets is out. I could lick her boots and she wouldn’t even know about it.

>Halfway to the road, find a hiding spot, and pull out McTrinkets' coin box. Examine the entire exterior for anything that would give away you having opened it, then open it if it's clear.

I’m actually really worried about the whole “maybe the box is a trap” thing. This sounds like a really smart idea. I get my stuff together, and let Iaxio go back into this reliquary. When I’m all set up, I walk into the soft, wet forest until McTrinkets is well out of view. I get in the shade of a tree and go for it.

The thing has a twist-lock on the front that you just turn sideways and it opens. I creak the lid open really, really carefully, in case it’s gonna explode or something stupid like that. The box is long and flat and it’s just full of coins. A lot of it is Geofahn, some Fauhredn, some other more local currencies. This uh. This is a lot of money. I’ll check in town if it’s counterfeit or what before I deliver it, I guess?

>Measure the depth of the interior of the box, and the external dimensions of the body and the lid, to check for hidden compartments.

Uhm. Okay. Okay, look. The box’s bottom is way more shallow than it should be. Like, the lid is thick, and the walls, sure, but the bottom of the box?

It definitely has room for something to be in there. But, I mean, maybe I’m being paranoid? I can’t find any sort of secret opening. Maybe it’s just a thick bottom for protection? I’m not sure. When I tap on the bottom, it doesn’t sound like it’s solid wood. This is really fishy.

I’m gonna have to decide for sure what I’m going to do about this box, I guess, huh?

There’s definitely more going on to this than McTrinkets is letting me know.
>>
No. 457605 ID: 4b5de2
File 134852417359.png - (188.90KB , 700x700 , 62.png )
457605

>Stick to the road.
>Lazy road, no need to look like butts.

And I guess I’m going to the road! It doesn’t take very long to find it. The forest kind of thins out near it, and the ground gets a bit more rocky, but I’m still in the shade of the leaves. The trees here are pepper-trees, too. The smell is amazing. The whole road just smells so bright and flavorful.

>Hey guys, let's propose a bunch of other options, too, to throw off the dreambug.

… actually, you know, Maexiks could only see me licking her face that time, right? And it was all I was thinking about. And Maexiks never really has any good advice when I don’t have a clue what’s really coming up either? Is… is the future thing based on what I know about my future?

>>457500

Screw it. It’s gonna be a long walk. I amuse myself with some excellent ideas. It keeps me entertained and my mind off the stupid trapped box for a good thirty minutes.

POF

And then uh. Then the ground in front of me just kind of bursts. There’s a hole in it now. I. Is someone shooting at me?

“We just shot at you!” It’s some gravely voice from off the road, somewhere. Awesome.

“Drop your spear and sack and don’t move!”

I think… I think I’m being robbed.

“You’re being robbed!” the helpful voice shouts.

Uhm. I have a LOT of money that isn’t mine. UHM.
>>
No. 457611 ID: 61e7f9

>>457605
Run like a motherfucker. Get into the treeline and weave between trees trying to keep one behind you at all times. Keep going the direction you were going before. It's going to be really hard for them to hit you between the trees and the movement. Don't stop until you literally can't walk anymore and fall over because you legs are not working.
>>
No. 457615 ID: 5d98c3

>>457605
"They'll kill me AND my family if I DON'T give them the money. What are YOU offering?"

Preferably while backflipping out of the road.
>>
No. 457616 ID: 58e163

I honestly doubt they're going to have pity for us if losing the money butts us up. Make a dash for it, lose them in the forest if you can.
>>
No. 457618 ID: f2c20c

>>457605
Tell them you're a deliveryman on the way to Family Hefehxn and they really do not want to take the delivery. Tell them you're willing to give them the money YOU have, but not the delivery. If they take the delivery, you will have to tell Hefehxn who stole it...
>>
No. 457620 ID: 886a4d

I think you should just run. Dodge amongst the trees to keep from getting shot.
>>
No. 457621 ID: 061a93

I think you should move. Backwards, where he won't be able to track you across that tree trunk without significant response time.
>>
No. 457622 ID: 061a93

Unless it's one of those single-shot rifles, in which case just start running into the treeline.
>>
No. 457623 ID: 6a5a08

Tell them you're carrying goods for somebody they really don't want to piss off. Like, somebody who would kill them for it.
>>
No. 457626 ID: e3f578

>>457605
Run fast and yell you owe some tough motherfuckers some good cash, after they're done killing you they'll go after THEM... did McTrinkets give a name? For god's sake, if she did, YELL IT OUT TO THEM!
>>
No. 457627 ID: 4fe7f9

Uhm. Guys?
THey have guns and want money.
We should not tell them that we have a butt-ton of money. That'll make things worse. Say we're extremely poor and can't afford to lose anything.
>>
No. 457629 ID: ca6daf

Fucking DO NOT tell them your hauling money! That is fucking retarded, what the fuck, people? Don't yell anything, just fucking run. Use iaxio to obfuscate their line of sight, use mantis power , and run into the trees in the direction that you were supposed to be running.
>>
No. 457633 ID: f2c20c

Actually you know what, we should probably get Iaxio out right now.

>>457627
They're telling her to drop her pack. Like, where we're keeping the buttload of money. There is no way to avoid giving it to them if we agree to their terms. Running? PROBABLY a bad idea unless we have some way of making sure they aren't just going to shoot us as we run or track us down then shoot us.
>>
No. 457749 ID: 6a5a08

>>457629
>>457627
I didn't say to say we had a butt-load of money. Just to say we had something very important to someone very dangerous, which these people do not want to be found carrying by said very dangerous people.
>>
No. 457788 ID: e3f578

Wait, I got an idea actually.
Run, get behind the trees. Summon Iaxio. Have him either distract the bandits or bluff them that he's informed the guards in the city and they're already on their way.
>>
No. 457791 ID: b33427

Sabby, you do not want those bandits to get near you. They could do a lot worse things to you than merely rob you. They could kidnap you for ransom, or rape you, or capture and sell you as a sex slave, or just kill you and bury your corpse so deep nobody will hear your ghost. So the long and short of it is: You've gotta get away.

You also can't count on them only having one shot. Even if they use single-shot muzzle loading muskets, they'd have at least one more loaded and ready to fire, in case a target decides to run for it.

Slowly take your pack off, and slowly kneel down like you're going to gently put it on the ground. If they get surly about that, say there's fragile valuables in it that you don't want broken. Glance around in the forest in front of you to check for other bandits. If there are any, you're just going to have to give them what they want, and hope for the best.

Once you're down in a crouch, dive to the side, and scramble over the edge of the road. Use your spear to steady yourself so you don't faceplant. Stay low so you have a smaller target profile, and dart from tree to tree for cover. Dig Iaxio's reliquary out when you're behind the second or third tree, wake him up, and get him to spot behind you around trees before you leave cover. Maybe they'll waste a shot or two on him.
>>
No. 457792 ID: e67c16

Can we say that the box IS Iaxio's reliquary?
>>
No. 457827 ID: 26a7c1

>>457605
I'd suggest rushing him while he reloads, but I'm not entirely sure you could survive an actual fight. And that's assuming he even has to reload.

Run like hell.
>>
No. 458018 ID: c8072d
File 134862673244.png - (175.20KB , 700x700 , 63.png )
458018

I’m not being butted over without at least trying to do something about it.

>Backwards, where he won't be able to track you across that tree trunk without significant response time.

I can see, by the smoke, where the gun-guy is, behind me, so I turn backwards and just. Just start running. I can see him fumble with his gun to get around the tree. I think this was a pretty smart plan?

I hear another CRACKWHEEPOP. The buttjerk is actually shooting at me! Still! I’m just.

>Run like a motherfucker.

Yes, that. My boots pound into the earth and it feels really weirdly hard right now. My backpack if bouncing against me and kind of leaving a painful oval around my lower back but I just keep running, okay? Between the pack and me just not being that, uh, physical, like, like, I’m not going as fast as I hope I could. I can hear shouting behind me.

“Stop shooting at him you dick!”

CRACKWEEPOP! “You do something!”

“Fuck! I will!”

> Get into the treeline and weave between trees trying to keep one behind you at all times.
> Make a dash for it, lose them in the forest if you can.
> run into the trees

Okay! Obviously just trying to outrun a bunch of bandits isn’t so smart but the trees! I jump off the rise of the road and down onto the rocks and sticks and moss of the ground and now I’m like, jumping off of roots and dodging behind trees! It’s real exciting and I’d appreciate more if I wasn’t sure I was like gonna die but like mostly I’m just thinking about the running and not how my side and back hurt okay?

> Sabby, you do not want those bandits to get near you. They could do a lot worse things to you than merely rob you. They could kidnap you for ransom, or rape you, or capture and sell you as a sex slave

No no look I’m just gonna run as hard as I can okay? Behind this tree and through this shrub and jump over this log and look I’m running okay?

But I swear I can hear someone behind me running too now and they sound a butt of a lot faster than I am. Like, oh man I don’t. I don’t think I’m gonna outrun this one.

> Summon Iaxio. Have him either distract the bandits or bluff them that he's informed the guards in the city
> Actually you know what, we should probably get Iaxio out right now.
> Use iaxio to obfuscate their line of sight

“Iaxio Iaxio wake up wake up!”

Iaxio appears running right next to me.

“What are we running from?”

“Look behind us!”

Iaxio does. “There’s a naked chick with a ghost about to tackle you.”

Wh—OUCH. Something hits my back and I’m rolling and there’s someone caught up in me and then suddenly we stop and oh. Oh there’s a woman on me and her knife is against my throat. She has a ghost bound to her. She isn’t actually naked, she’s just, like. Not wearing pants or a real mantle or anything. She's got like half a skirt. I don't even know.

“Dude! Calm down, okay?” she pants.

“That’s really hard to do with a knife in my throat and I’m out of breath and you’re kneeling on my bladder and I’m laying on my sack.”

“Right, damn, sorry.” She moves the knife away a bit. “We weren’t actually trying to shoot you, just shoot at you, yeah? Yeah?” She notices Iaxio and waves up at him. “Hi. Sorry about this. We’re just in a hard spot and need some money, yeah? Ugh.”

She brushes a twig off my mantle. “We’re just gonna take what money you got, nothing more, okay?” She pauses for a moment and uh. Feels up my chest. “Yeah you’re a girl, okay. I won’t let the guys do anything to ya, don’t worry.”

She seems… kind of reasonable and calm about all this. Like. Maybe if I come up with something really, really clever, I can keep McTrinkets’ money?
>>
No. 458019 ID: c8f1fa

Look, Ok, the only thing I can think of is to give her your personal money, but try to keep the box to yourself. If she doesn't seem convinced or asks you for that too, say that you'll be killed if you give it over, which may very well be true.
>>
No. 458021 ID: e67c16

Ask for her STORY. Then >>458019
>>
No. 458024 ID: c8f1fa

If you put the box up already that's even better, because you can just pull out your money sack and it's not remotely suspicious.
>>
No. 458025 ID: c8f1fa

Also kiss her on the mouth when you hand the money over. It might make her flustered and distracted, and maybe on your side more and less likely to search your junk.
>>
No. 458026 ID: e67c16

No, see, if we learn the story of her peoples, Geofahn dreambug will be confused.
>>
No. 458027 ID: c8f1fa

>>458026
I think we should toss her the cash first, just so we can seem to have completed the transaction before her buddies show up. They were trying to shoot us, so they might not be close to as friendly.
>>
No. 458028 ID: 61e7f9

Give her all of YOUR money. Ignore the box. If they search and ask, it's not yours, you are a courier, and you'd rather they not mess that up, and if it was yours, you would give it to them, but it's not, so you aren't going to hand it over freely.
>>
No. 458029 ID: e3f578

>>458018
Offer them a stay at a stranger's inn while you do some errands in the city. Or a meal instead or something.
It'll probably be cheaper than getting all of your personal money taken from you. Say you need your money because, well, shit you don't have much yourself. I mean, are we suppose to become a bandit now that we have no cash? I mean, jeez, this is dangerous and stupid. She just jumped some poor person, that's not a lot of profit for so much risk.

Please tell me that when the box moves it doesn't make a jingle sound?
>>
No. 458037 ID: f2c20c

>>458018
Just say okay and give her your money pouch, tell her that's all you have. You have a fairly decent amount. Considering how awkward about it this girl seems, she probably won't bother to search you.

If she asks you for what's in her pack, just tell her she's obviously new to this and give her a 'tip'- trying to sell stolen goods is risky and you don't have anything worth the risk. Technically true!
>>
No. 458070 ID: 6cc859

Whatever you do, bear in mind that cooperation reduces the chances of your being searched.
>>
No. 458071 ID: bbee3d

>>458037

I agree that you should give her at least some of your money, but don't give it all to her immediately. Try to haggle. Say you need SOME money to survive, say she'll be leaving you as badly off as herself - whatever comes to mind. If you try to hold on to your own money, they might think that's all you have. If you give it without a fight, they might wonder what you have that's more important.
>>
No. 458078 ID: 4a328b

Ask if they're hard up for money if they'd be ok doing some work for the money instead of straight up highway robbery. See if you can't get them to act as your bodyguards for the duration of this deal you're doing for McTrinkets so you don't get murdered or something
>>
No. 458079 ID: 061a93

>>458037
Yeah, this. It sucks that you got robbed but I guess they might need it more. You just need to get your job done... oh shit, we haven't paid McTrinkets yet, have we?

Well, show her what you have (that belongs to you!) anyway, and ask if you can keep some to pay back someone you owe money. And ask her story.
>>
No. 458080 ID: 061a93

>>458078
This might also work.
>>
No. 458110 ID: b33427

Okay, first try to hire her and her friends as bodyguards, or at least to group with you to the next town to discourage any other bandits. When the (likely) fails, attempt to bargain to keep some of your money, so you aren't reduced to begging for the rest of your journey. When that (probably) fails, hand over your money, and ask if you're free to go.

At this point, if she insists on searching your pack, and finds the box full of money, tell her she won't take it, and that she, nor her ghost buddy, will tell their friends about it. When she asks how you know, say your good friend is a dreambug, who you keep in contact with via - point to Iaxio - your great grand-uncle's ghost, and your friend said the bandit lady wouldn't take the box, and wouldn't mention it.

If the bandit lady is confused by this, ask her if she knows that dreambugs can predict events in their dreams. Say your dreambug friend dreamed of this, and told you to do what you did so as not to lose the box of money. Add that you wouldn't be walking about alone, with a box of cash in your pack, armed only with only a spear, unless you had utmost trust in your friend's prediction abilities.

Now, if she scoffs, and goes to take the cash-box, tell her that she'll never get away with it. That contact with you, and the physical description your great grand-uncle's ghost will give to your dreambug friend of her and her ghost buddy, will be enough for your friend to track her. And with that, your "business" partners will know where to send those who will extract it's value, one way or another.

If after spinning that yarn the bandit lady still takes the box, say you warned her, and that you'll be in Doxedn for a couple days if wishes to return the box. Get up, brush yourself off, and walk back to the road.

(It's probably too complex a bluff to pull off, but may as well try.)
>>
No. 458119 ID: 9718f3

Giving away all our money is stupid. With no source of income in the foreseeable future, we need all that we have. Giving up our money is as good as giving up our lives. I would rather risk our life fighting this girl than give up the money.
>>
No. 458142 ID: c8f1fa

>>458078
I think this isn't a silly idea at all. How you need to spin it is that yeah, it's the money they'd have gotten anyway by robbing you, but this way they'll be seen as legitimate people with jobs, and can go into the town without it being suspicious.

The facts of the matter are if they are just highwaymen, somebody is eventually going to get away, and then they're all going to get killed.

Some steps towards legitimacy, even though the pay won't be great for this job, will help them out in the long run.
>>
No. 458143 ID: c8f1fa

>>458142
And maybe there will be opportunities in the town that they wouldn't be aware of out here.
>>
No. 458249 ID: d3f29d

>>457604
Kind of off the current topic, but a thought occurs to me. If you held the box up to Iaxio's eyes so that it was half inside and half outside his head could he see inside the box?

As to our current predicament, ask her for her story. Tell her you like her ear piercings. You'll probably have to end up giving her a good chunk of your money, but do not give her the box. Don't even let her touch it. Don't tell her about it at all if you can avoid it.

You could hire her, but would having a half-naked bodyguard be more or less suspicious?
>>
No. 458415 ID: 6195c6
File 134879344278.png - (229.79KB , 700x700 , 64.png )
458415

I'm still pretty sick, so the update looks like a butt, sorry. This is probably the last of the fever-updates though!

>As to our current predicament, ask her for her story.
>Ask for her STORY.

I try to cross my arms behind my head all casual-like. It’s not really very comfortable. “So like, you’re pretty friendly for a bandit.” I look up at her ghost-friend. He’s wearing some pretty serious looking armor. “And like, your ghost-friend is all decked up in house-quality stuff. What’s your guys’ deal? You don’t really come off as uh, normal highwaymen?”

She sits back on my stomach and stretches. “We aren’t normally highwaymen but we aren’t normally anything. We’re just… between jobs. I’m sorry Laikadehn kept trying to shoot you, he’s a dick. They’re all kind of dicks. We don’t normally do this “armed robbery” thing enough for them to not be dicks about it.”

>Okay, first try to hire her and her friends as bodyguards, or at least to group with you to the next town to discourage any other bandits.
>How you need to spin it is that yeah, it's the money they'd have gotten anyway by robbing you, but this way they'll be seen as legitimate people with jobs, and can go into the town without it being suspicious.

I’m gonna try something really clever. “Hey, instead of robbing me, I could hire you guys, then? I’ll give you over all my money and…”

She tuts at me. “Let’s be fair, I think we’re the most dangerous things you’re going to meet on the road. Just give us up your money and you’re already guaranteed to be safe.”

I can hear other dogs making their way through the woods. This bandit is sitting on me and has a knife out but, like, she’s being super-reasonable, right? Okay. “Yeah, that’s fair, I guess.”

“It really isn’t,” she admits.

Iaxio chimes in his opinion. “It is pretty rude. I was a beggar for most of my life and I never tried robbing anyone.”

“If you did,” she says, “you probably wouldn’t have stayed a beggar.”

Ouch. I call up to Iaxio. “She has a point.”

“And I have more than half a skirt.”

She starts laughing. I mean, I still can’t get up and she’s still got the knife, but I think we’re doing all right. I can see the shapes of the other dogs approaching, though, and like, I have no idea if I also want to deal with them.

>Just say okay and give her your money pouch, tell her that's all you have.
>Look, Ok, the only thing I can think of is to give her your personal money, but try to keep the box to yourself.

I fish around in my mantle’s pocket for the money I’ve got. “So, okay, yeah, let’s just get the robbery thing out of the way, right?”

“Yeah, sure,” she agrees. I uh. I give her all my money. Okay. I guess I’m completely broke now. She gets off of me and helps me up.

The other dogs get here. The guy with a rifle has, like, turtle-claw boots and his mantle is embroidered and really expensive looking. Jeez. Yeah, these guys are not normal penniless-bandits. The other guy is a corpsebound and like, those are so not cheap to make or maintain.

The corpsebound talks. He’s got the gravely voice, I think he was the one yelling at me earlier. “Nice catch. You get it?”

The skirtless-dog gives the corpse my money. “Yeah. We’re all settled.”

The fancy dog with the gun nods at my backpack. “What’s in the pack?”

Ohboyohboy.

>do not give her the box. Don't even let her touch it. Don't tell her about it at all if you can avoid it.

“Food and bedding and stuff. You’re dressed like that and you need my travel rations too?”

Iaxio and I and the girl-bandit all laugh. I mean, maybe laughing at a guy with a rifle isn’t the best idea, but I think I basically got the girl-bandit on my side by now.

>Whatever you do, bear in mind that cooperation reduces the chances of your being searched.

Look, for sure. I think not freaking out at her but playing it calm and friendly was the best thing I could have done. The fancy-bandit gives me an angry look, though, and the corpse makes this weird sigh noise.

“Just open up the pack and let us see.”

Uhm. Uhm. Damnit. Fine. I just kneel down and unlatch the top and point it towards him. My tarp and bedroll and packaged meat are all squished together. The box is visible, but it’s on its side and nestled between the other stuff. Maybe he doesn’t notice it.

“Take everything out. Let me see what’s in there.”

The girl-bandit makes an exaggerated sigh of her own. “Suck your own dick, dude, just let her go. Gonna make her strip next?”

“If she’s hiding something in her clothes, yes.”

“Oooh, and what if she swallowed the key to a hidden treasure? Are we gonna gut her to get at it?”

“Wouldn’t you rather be chasing after treasure than travelers?”

“Maybe her ghost is the secret to unlocking an ancient Fauhredn vault! All we have to do is find it and we’ll be richer than the Merchant-Emperor!”

They’re just uh. They’re just really going at it right now. The fancy-dog with the gun just sort of stepped away and is leaning against a tree. He isn’t even paying attention anymore. It looks like this kind of thing is normal.

Should I say something? Do something? I think I might make it out of this with McTrinket’s box if I don’t butt something up.
>>
No. 458416 ID: 061a93

I think you should just stay silent. The girl is arguing your case and will probably get him to let you go free. Anything you could possibly say now would probably just make things worse for you; you are the stranger here completely at their mercy. Keep quiet and let the girldog handle it.
>>
No. 458418 ID: 061a93

>>458416
Oh, and he might lunge for your pack or something if he gets frustrated, so be ready for that. As long as you can keep it away from him it will probably be fine as it will make him look bad to the other banditdogs.
>>
No. 458419 ID: c8f1fa

Is your stuff still in your pack with the box relatively covered up? If so, show rifledog and ask if you can go now.
>>
No. 458420 ID: c8f1fa

Also don't look in the box if you get away with it. We are trying to pretend to be neutral hired couriers. We literally don't need to know if it's fishy or suspicious. All that will do is make us less able to lie convincingly. Learning anything special about what is in it does not benefit us at all in any way.
>>
No. 458422 ID: fae0c7

Just watch them fight and make it look like you're really confused and amused by the whole ordeal. Idly close your bag while they're at it, like you're not even paying attention. If they call you out for it, shrug and be like "Sorry, kinda spaced for a second. Im tired and kind of want to get to town."
>>
No. 458427 ID: e3f578

Maybe give them advice that they really should probably go if they don't want to get caught. Do they know the patrol schedule on the road? This could become a hostage situation quickly if some random patrolman happens across us now. You're just one traveler, it's not like they're robbing a caravan here, guaranteed a lot of nice sellable shit. The longer they linger searching everything, the higher chance that they have getting caught. And like I mentioned, you know that pretty much means a hostage situation, which suuuuuuuuuuuuucks for you.

They got the reward worth it for the risk, and each passing second is more risk than they should take. I mean, they are shooting loud firearms here, who's to say someone isn't all ready on their way to investigate?
>>
No. 458429 ID: f2c20c

Hey, I just noticed that her ghost is wearing different colors than she is. She's in disguise? I wonder if she has something to hide too. The ghost hasn't said anything? How come they're all wearing different colors?

What's with those things in her ears? It looks like she's pinned her ears back.

>>458420
It's a bit late for that. We looked in it earlier, and there's some sort of secret compartment in it, probably. That makes it even more important that we deliver it safely.
>>
No. 458435 ID: b33427

Sabby, haven't you figured out by now that clamming up is the best action you can take in situations like this? Just stay quiet, move as little as you can, don't close your pack, and don't draw more attention to yourself. Let them play out their own inter-personal drama, and see where it goes from there.

So, Sabby, what do you think this little group is? They aren't bandits; At least, not normally. They sound like they had money, judging by Mr. Fancy-Mantle with the rifle and the heavily armored ghost, but are down on their luck now. Maybe they're a band of adventurers or treasure hunters. There people in your world that make a living that way, Sabby?
>>
No. 458617 ID: 985d23
File 134887780517.png - (172.55KB , 700x700 , 65.png )
458617

>So, Sabby, what do you think this little group is? They aren't bandits; At least, not normally.

I really can’t even guess. I mean, sure, there are treasure hunters and adventurers and stuff in the remnant, I guess, but like, I always imagined them being these wild, dashing dogs who work for some house in secret and get up to really saucy and romantic adventures and they have secret marriages with spy-spouses and uh.

Look, they mostly only exist in romance novels. I don’t really know what these guys’ deal is. They’re just arguing really loud now. The bandit-girl’s ghost looked so bored he just disappeared and rifle-guy is smoking a freaking pipe.

>Idly close your bag while they're at it, like you're not even paying attention.

Doing it. Done. Iaxio gives me a little smile.

>Keep quiet and let the girldog handle it.

I don’t think their argument is going anywhere. They’re, uh, I think they’re fighting over the payment for a thing they did months ago? Like, the corpsebound guy is angry that she didn’t—something? I. I think the bandit-girl is actually trying to drag it out. She just gave me a wink.

Yeah, I think I’m supposed to leave.

>show rifledog and ask if you can go now.

I shoulder my pack and walk up to him. The corpsebound shouts at me but the girl-bandit shouts back and now they’re not even screaming words anymore. I talk to the fancy rifle-dog. “So uh. Is this going to keep going? Can I leave?”

He bites his pipe. “Just go. They’ve been fighting all morning. We already robbed you, right?”

“Uh, yeah, you kind of have all of my money now.”

“Then we’re done. Go on, scamper off.”

>Maybe give them advice that they really should probably go if they don't want to get caught.

“And like, next time, maybe you guys uh, shouldn’t uhm. Be so bad at this?”

He gives me a long stare. “I’ll keep it in mind.”

Iaxio and I walk out of there with no more hassle, and with McTrinkets’ money still in my backpack. Uhm. Well. What the butt was all that.
>>
No. 458618 ID: 985d23
File 134887787972.png - (226.76KB , 700x700 , 66.png )
458618

I follow the road for a bunch of hours. I pass a small town, but like, it’s just a little thing on a rocky, uneven set of hills, and they’re just raising animals, so like, I don’t stop. It rains a few times and it’s actually getting late into the afternoon.

I see the Doxedn city well before I reach it. It sits on flat, heavy ground, and it’s huge. It’s a real city. Like, the House Aifix town was nice, right, but this place is huge. This is one of the Older Cities, okay? The House Aifix place has been around for centuries but I’m pretty sure the House Doxedn city is, like, a thousand years old. Maybe more. It’s way older than House Doxedn itself. Like, three or four houses have ruled here before them.

The river meets a big dock-town, and the actual city is on a huge raise of earth to its west. There’s a massive bridge going over this big lake that separates the docks and the city.

Iaxio and I take the road over the lake. The bridge takes like, several minutes to walk across. It’s full of dogs bustling about. There are carts and carriages and a few not-tombdogs too.

I can see the main entrance thing up ahead. Whoa. Whoa, those are corpses set into the thing. That is corpse-architecture. Those arches are huge. The hanging balls are just burning so much incense, I can smell it from over here. It drowns out the smell of everything else, even over the drizzling rain. It’s a thick, musky, purple kind of smell, really deep and woody. It’s really nice, though.

Now that I’m here, what am I actually going to do?
>>
No. 458619 ID: 26a7c1

>>458617
I get the feeling we're going to run into these guys again.
>>458618
She remembered to tell you where to drop it off, right? Head down there, drop it off, get the hell out before more bad things happen.

Remember to take the other route on the way back.
>>
No. 458620 ID: 6e44d2

Nice job, Sabby!

>>456873
>Anyway, accept the mission. When it comes time, hide the money someplace outside of town where no one will find it, cut off a tiny piece of Iaxio, then go to the house in question. Tell them you have McTrinkets' debt hidden someplace out of town, and that you won't tell them where if they violate your liberty in any way. Give them the piece of Iaxio, then leave. When you're a safe distance away, tell Iaxio to tell them where the money is. Boom. Job done.

This.

Also, see if you can find out what's in the secret compartment at some point before burying or hiding the treasure.
>>
No. 458621 ID: dc4a44

Cities don't have an entrance toll do they? If so, take some box cash before you reach the gates.
>>
No. 458624 ID: 6a1ec2

Oh hey. This is kind of totally unrelated but the next time one of your friends gets killed, completely incinerate the corpse then slowly scatter the ashes everywhere you go. That gives the ghost maximum freedom travel power!
>>
No. 458626 ID: eb6589

No, leave the box alone.

Okay, so what's the deal with corpse architecture?
>>
No. 458627 ID: f2c20c

>>458618
Before we do the dangerous delivery, take a short nap and speak to Maexiks. We could use some future prediction for that. She DID say that we should do that in the afternoon.

I'm surprised nobody from Geofahn is waiting here... Keep an eye out.
>>
No. 458628 ID: e3f578

Let's just do this and get it done.
We can't do anything or buy anything while we're here. I don't want to piss off the mysterious family that would kill McTrinkets with a complex plan or anything to keep us safe, this delivery job seems legit, just don't act like you have any personal attachments to McTrinkets and more like any ol' strange freelance messenger she could have hired. They're not going to abduct some person they aren't aware of, they don't know who would miss you or anything like investigate your disappearance. Otherwise they could just go to any random city and get a girl they don't know there.

With debts, it's all about getting family and friends of people who have fucked them in some way, getting rid of the fuckers so they can't do anything and then they get away with the abduction. If McTrinkets had a daughter, sister, brother, mother, father or husband they'd get them first.
>>
No. 458631 ID: 9718f3

>>458624
That would destroy the ghost!
>>
No. 458640 ID: 4f6f8a

Take a nap and think about everything we know about this situation first for Maexiks time.

Don't peek into the box. Leave the box alone. Don't take money out of the box. The less you know about the box the better. You are just a courier and this is just a delivery you are being paid to make.
>>
No. 458662 ID: 6e44d2

>>458628
What if we're part of the payment? I don't trust McTrinkets. Play it safe. Play it paranoid.
>>
No. 458670 ID: e3f578

>>458662
We've looked in the box and got a detailed description of the insides from Sabbs. It's just a lot of coins in an ornate box with a possible false bottom. I mean, it's not like she can send messages to this family of ill repute... barring the ghost she's wearing. But I doubt the ghost was used. And using the false bottom to pass the message is REALLY dumb. If we found a way to open it, well damn, we know that she's fucked us over then and we just walk off with a bunch of her money, because let's face it, whatever she's got planned for that outcome can't be worse than getting sold to these mysterious criminals.
McTrinkets has to SEND that message first, that let's them know we're part of the deal. They've got a lot of cash and a nice box coming their way. Why give them even more? Never giving more than you have to is one of the main points of being a merchant.
>>
No. 458710 ID: b33427

Better deliver this box of cash before you get mugged or something. Get over to whatever the house is the destination, hand it over to the highest member of that house you can get, so none of the money goes astray, say who it's from, then leave. That's it, nothing fancy.

Once that's done, is there a place you could go to report that you were robbed by bandits? Like, whoever is supposed to be patrolling the highways around here might want to know there's a group of weirdly acting bandits around. They might even know a bit more about them. You could also ask if there's a relatively safe place you could spread your sleeping bag for the night without being hassled by the city guard, since you have no money for the inn, what with being robbed and all.
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No. 458771 ID: e7bf51
File 134895829121.png - (171.58KB , 700x700 , 67.png )
458771

I consider just dropping it off and getting it over with, but I’m still way too uneasy about this whole thing to just. Wanna like. Go up there and like. Bleh.

Blehhhhh.

“Hey Iaxio?”

“Yeah?”

“Blehhhh.”

“Bluhhhh.”

>Take a nap and think about everything we know about this situation first for Maexiks time.
>Before we do the dangerous delivery, take a short nap and speak to Maexiks.

“But hey, I think I wanna talk to our dreambug friend and see if she has any future predictions. Uhm, she said I actually need to sleep for a bit, so like. We have no money for a stranger’s inn, so.”

“So?”

“So you’re a beggar. Where the hell do I take a nap and not get, like, murdered?”

“Haha. Do you want to peek under the bridge? It’ll be out of the rain. There might be a dozen beggars already napping under there.”

“Ugh, fine.”

“Wait a moment. Let’s not let anyone see us go under there.”

Iaxio and I make a detour around to the underside of the bridge. The ground rolls away slowly, into the dark lake it stretches over. But here, in the bridge’s armpit, we can nestle in the packed dirt and big moss-stones, out of the rain. It’s. It’s kind of cozy?

“I’m fortunate to be coming with you,” Iaxio says. “I’ve never slept under such an impressive bridge before. They were usually much smaller and uglier.”

“Oh shut up. You don’t get to sleep, you stay here and make sure no one touches my face while I’m sleeping.”

“Can I touch your face while you’re sleeping?”

“We’re related.”

“Very distantly, and I’m a ghost.”

“Ugh. You’re the butt of a ghost. I should’ve taken your butt as a relic. Okay, nap time.”

I sort of just sit on a stone and hunch over and like, uh. Try to sleep. My body is so sore. I mean, I have been walking all day, you know? My thoughts are just jumbles. I’m getting really nervous about what’s the deal with this box, you know? None of this really feels super legit. I mean maybe it’ll be okay but like seriously now that I’m here what if it isn’t and.

And Maexiks is here. We’re uh. We’re in her bedroom, I guess. I guess she has a bedroom, and a tombdog style open-bed. She’s kind of just splayed out on it.

“Hi,” I say. I plop myself down at the foot of her bed.

“Hello. I thought you might be here. I am taking a nap at the moment.”

“Oh neat. So uh. I have this package to deliver?”

“You do.”

“What’s going to happen when I do?”

“The dogs you deliver it to will not be happy with it. It is meant to satisfy them, but they will become angry.”

“Awesome. They gonna kill me?”

“No. Not immediately.”

“They might?”

“You will have to anger them for that. I have not dreamed of your death yet. I have dreamed of you leaving town with dogs following you. I am not sure if they are following you or hunting you.” Maexiks pauses. “… I do not think you will not leave town without someone following you.”

“Well that’s…” … not terribly useful. I don’t say that but I think Maexiks knows.

“I am sorry.”

“I was thinking of pretending I was just a paid courier? So they… wouldn’t take out their anger on McTrinkets at me?”

“The shorter dreams I have of you there, the less troubling the dreams feel. The sooner you leave them the less danger you are in.”

“So that’s a good plan?”

“I mean how I said it. I am very worried about you. You are walking into a dangerous situation. They are going to be angry. If their anger is not at you, it will be at your companion.”

Well. I guess I have a slightly better idea of what I’m getting into? So uh. What’s the plan? Do I wanna ask Maexiks anything else first, also? Where should I lick her? I mean. I think I’ve been enjoying doing that. Maybe that can wait until later?
>>
No. 458776 ID: 061a93

Really, come on. I know you're a dog but you shouldn't be licking things so much. Do you know how bad that is for you? Who knows where these things have been.

I guess we go ahead with the plan. McTrinkets is getting herself into this if they get angry at her, and we did exactly what she asked us to do. So just deliver it, politely, deflect questions, and leave as soon as possible.
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No. 458777 ID: 4f6f8a

Lick the underside of her face for being such a good friend, and tell her that you're really glad you've got her here to help her, and how good of a friend she is.

First, report the bandit fucks to the authorities, then go deliver the box and leave as quickly as possible. Give the authorities as much information ans possible on the bandits. Because fuck those guys. Seriously.
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No. 458779 ID: b3dd38

Would it be possible to go back, explain to McTrinkets that you have it on good authority that the people would not be satisfied, and figure out a new plan?
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No. 458781 ID: f2c20c

>>458771
I think the people that follow you will be trying to find McTrinkets. You should just keep going south after the delivery. Don't go back to McTrinkets- you'll have already repaid the debt you owe her by delivering the box. Going back to her will get her in trouble.

Ask her if you would meet the bandits again if you followed the road back the way you came. Perhaps we can get them to rob the guys following us? To shake them off your tail? There's a few ways that could go terribly wrong though. They could take it as a hostile act by you and actively hunt you down afterwards, or the bandits would consider you a more important person than they thought and take further interest in you, or the robbery could go sour and one of the bandits could get hurt, causing them to go after you... Okay, let's leave the bandits out of it. Deliver the goods, then just go south to the next town, rather than go back to McTrinkets.

As for where to lick her, uh... how about a quick lick on her face, since you should get going. You can hang out for longer tonight. ...wait, where are we going to sleep tonight? Ask Maexiks if she ever dreamed of you getting more money. You got robbed so you're totally broke and thus can't afford to stay at an inn.
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No. 458782 ID: 061a93

>>458781
We're sleeping right now! Under a bridge.
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No. 458792 ID: f2c20c

>>458782
It's just a nap though. And we'll need to sleep somehow tomorrow.
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No. 458805 ID: 6a5a08

>>458777
Personally, I'd leave the 'bandits' be. If we're being followed, we might be able to lead the pursuers back along that same road. We won't have anything else valuable to take, so we'll be let pass, then when the followers pass by the two groups will distract each other while we make good our escape.

Of course the bandits may have moved on, but it's still a decent shot at losing our pursuers.
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No. 458808 ID: 37aa84

The problem with not returning to McTrinkets is that when the family is unsatisfied with the pay off and are still after her and we don't return she may assume we ditched paying them and ran off with the money ourselves and she made it clear she would find a way to get back at us for that. It's an option but it could lead to trouble down the road if she gets us back without giving us the chance to plead our case at an inopportune moment.

What we may do instead is take the river path north this time but travel the east bank then when we spot the coracle turn around and pretend to spot our pursuers and start running along the river. McTrinket should know better than to call to us if she sees us running in a panic and the pursuers will probably be more focused on chasing us rather than checking the other bank of the river so she shouldn't find it too hard to not be spotted by them. If they ask why we ran we can tell them we were robbed on our way down and only saw them well enough to realize we were being followed and assumed they were bandits.
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No. 458827 ID: b33427

Alright, if you're going to play the courier ruse, you've gotta think how it would have gone down if McTrinkets actually did hire you as a courier for this box o' cash.

Now, McTrinkets definitely would not just hand that box and a handful of coins off to some stranger heading towards the Doxedn city. She'd send word ahead via ghost messenger, with your description, estimated time to arrival, what'll be delivered, and what you'd be paid on delivery. Except she wouldn't actually be able to do that. She would fake the message to dupe you, probably using that ghost friend of her dad. So the way you imagine it going is McTrinkets would have made her proposition to you in the Aifix town, you agreed to her terms, she made the fake ghost message, paid you the first half of the fee, and told you to not open the box or even think of stealing it, and you headed off.

That means when you arrive at destination, you should act like you're expected, then get confused when nobody is expecting you. Once it's apparent you were duped and you're not going to get paid the other half of the fee, get a little grumpy, but not enough to anger them. It's important that they only think you're a poor duped traveller, and don't have any other connection to McTrinkets, lest they try to "extract" her location out of you, or have people tail you to try and find her.
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No. 458837 ID: 4a328b

>>458827
Oh, good plan. This way we can get some money back if they don't decide to just threaten us for the box or something. What's a normal fee for a courier to receive on delivery, Sabby?
>>
No. 458843 ID: e3f578

>>458771
Ask her if she's seen anything to do with the bandits at all, or if she knows anything. Like, did one of the futures involve them or like what?
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No. 458956 ID: c7ebc0
File 134903380235.png - (152.67KB , 700x700 , 68.png )
458956

>Alright, if you're going to play the courier ruse, you've gotta think how it would have gone down if McTrinkets actually did hire you as a courier for this box o' cash.
>So just deliver it, politely, deflect questions, and leave as soon as possible.

I consider my options. I should probably just deliver the box, and pretend I’m a courier, I guess. That way, if they’re going to be pissed at anyone, it can be at McTrinkets and McTrinkets only. I’ll just go there, maybe tell them I was expecting some payment from them, and then skedaddle. I’m not sure if I even should return to McTrinkets after that. I mean, she has the coracle, and she’s been decent so far, but she’s a bit of trouble too, right? But maybe not returning to her would just make her think I took her money and ran? Jeez. I’ll figure that out when I get to it.

I lean my muzzle up and drag my tongue along the bottom of Maexiks’ mouth. Just beneath the finglet. “Any dreams about those bandits?”

“I have seen them shouting at you from the riverbank as you float away. That is all.”

“Neat. Okay, hey, I guess I should get going. Uhhhh. How do I wake up?”

Maexiks strokes her tarsus along my cheek a few times. I blink and I can feel the soft ground under me also hard, mossy rock. Maexiks’ tarsus is also Iaxio’s finger, pushing up against my muzzle.

“What are you doing?”

“Touching your face while you sleep.”

“Oh, why?”

“You said not to.”

“Oh seriously. C’mon, let’s just go find the place and deliver this dumb package.”

“Do we know where we’re delivering it to?”

“Hefehxn family? Let’s go ask one of the ghosts in the gate, they probably know all the deets.”

I go up to the gate and talk to one of the corpses set into the pillars. It’s kind of adorable, the pillar has like, a quarter of it cut out, and the corpse is posed like it’s holding up the thing. I mean, the pillars are huge and the walls of this city are like, two or three hundred feet tall, but it’s a cute effect. The ghost of the corpse gives me directions and I head on over there.

This entire town is huge, and confusing, and a mess. There are buildings of all kinds of different styles from the thousand-plus years this city’s been around. There are the standard dome houses and dome-cluster houses, and some of the older square-style things, and every now and then there’s just, like, this giant spire here or there. There aren’t any clear streets or planning; it’s like the houses were just spilled across the place at random.

I finally find the Family Hefehxn house. It’s a big, ornate thing. A lot of the painted façade is worn away and you can see the stonework beneath it. I uh. I think it’s actually intentionally been torn down. They’re trying to make it look older than it really is. That’s great. Seriously, I’m getting so sick of all these families and all these family games.

I’m just a courier, I’m just here to deliver a package. I tell Iaxio to clear out for a bit, to keep things simple, and pull on the door-bell. I can hear a distant, muffled series of notes being played inside the house. Classy. I think my family’s manor used to have something like that before it just rotted away.

The door opens and this doofer-dog in what I’m guessing are Hefehxn colors answers. He’s got the stripes, though, so he’s an outsider-under-license. Like, a servant, I guess. Super classy.

He gives me a judging look all across and kind of sneers. Awesome. “And you are?”

Look, that isn’t the polite way to play this, and like, I know how to do one single thing, okay? It’s how to play these stupid house games. Let’s play it. “Of-Hefehxn, stranger-greetings given. I am here under another’s coin to complete another’s debt.”

Hahahaha. The servant just kind of double-takes. He wasn’t expecting me to know how to actually talk all classy and properly but screw you buddy that is all my parents taught me. I am basically quoting from conduct manuals right now. He doesn’t have any choice but to be just as classy. “From Hefehxn, greetings offered. Whose debt is here to be repaid?”

Crap uhm. “I remain ignorant of all but my payment and destination.” I fish out McTrinkets’ box and show it to him. He reaches over and opens it up and blinks.

“Oh. There’s only one dog whose debt this could be. Please come in. The father of the family will want to talk about this with you personally.”

So, right, okay. Am I just gonna try and dump it off with the servant, or am I going to go into this place? He is kind of looking at me like I am kind of have to be going inside. If I’m trying to dump it off, how am I gonna manage that? And where am I gonna go next? It’s early evening, if it matters.
>>
No. 458964 ID: 4f6f8a

Maexiks told you not to hang around or you'd attract ire, so don't go in. Just say there is literally nothing to talk about, because all you know is the package and the destination. Like, there's nothing you know beyond what you just told him, so... You aren't even sure if the person who hired you is the person whose debt it is.

I think the circuitous route back to McTrinkets and tell her you finished the job is probably the decent thing to do.
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No. 458966 ID: 4f6f8a

Also seriously we should report the bandits to the authorities in the city. Even if they were "nice" or whatever, they took all our stuff and probably would have killed us if things hadn't gone the way they had. They're dangerous and they're fucking over other innocent dogs too. We have no real reason not to at least tell the city about them.
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No. 458967 ID: d3f29d

Go on in. Why are you assuming the worst?* Maybe they'll offer you hospitality of food and bed, maybe even a monetary tip. Don't squeal on McTrinkets, but that doesn't mean you can't deflect questions while getting a good meal out of it. Hired couriers who know nothing about their clients get hungry just like everyone else.

*Oh, right. The worst usually happens.
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No. 458969 ID: 886a4d

How common is it to shoot the messenger?

Simply state you see no reason to enter, your deed is done. And your job is paid for.
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No. 458970 ID: f2c20c

>>458956
Tell him you wish not to get personally involved with your deliveries. You would rather just collect your delivery fee and go.
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No. 458973 ID: 061a93

I agree that we should say that we know absolutely nothing besides what our destination was with the package. But if he insists on us going in, I think Sabhaxlia can handle it, considering how well she handled the butler there. But don't stay for long, just enough to answer their questions and get out (although making it overt that you want to leave could raise suspicions).
>>
No. 458984 ID: 58e163

If they ask us where McTrinkets is, we're in a bind.

If we say we don't know, and then return to her, that implicates us as accomplices.

If we say we do know, they may ask us to take them to her, which either means we raise their suspicion by saying no, or have them explicitly joining us on the return trip.

We're better off minimizing contact. Is there a, uh, remotely polite way out of this, Sabhaxlia? You are just a courier. Perhaps say you have another delivery to make before sundown?
>>
No. 458998 ID: c6ec33

>>458956
Maexiks said that there's a distinct risk of Sabby getting killed if she angers the family. How do you think they would respond if she dropped it off and left? Would that be considering angering? If so, you should follow all protocol and be as polite as possible. This will likely involve visiting them, confirming that it is McTrinkets, and telling them that the last place you saw her was in the House Aifix town. Beyond that, you know nothing, and would like to continue your journey, as you were robbed on the way here and do not have the money to stay in town, and would not want to impose upon their hospitality. In fact, you were hoping to report the bandits as soon as possible so that there might be some chance of retrieving your valuables if the town guard encounters them.

Make sure to mention that the box itself is a gift, and that there is something special about it.
>>
No. 458999 ID: c6ec33

Also, Maexiks noted that we will probably be followed out of the town no matter what we do, but it sounds like WHO is following is up in the air. Let's try to make it a member or two of the town guard, on the lookout for the bandits. :)
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No. 459002 ID: e3f578

>>458956
Does he have another package to give you?
Time is coin on a couriers path. You can only afford to go in if a delivery job is available.
>>
No. 459006 ID: 37aa84

It may also raise suspicions if we are overly nervous about talking to the head of the house hold. Tell them we can only stay a short while but accept their hospitality. When they begin asking about McTrinket tell them you meet him in the city up north but that he remained enigmatic and you never even got his name.
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No. 459051 ID: c7ebc0
File 134904498909.png - (137.33KB , 700x700 , 69.png )
459051

´I’m a bit worried about getting their anger all over my mantle by turning down their, uh, hospitality, but seriously, the desire to stay out of things just wins over. I try to come up with some nice and polite way to get the butt out of here.

>Simply state you see no reason to enter, your deed is done. And your job is paid for.
>Just say there is literally nothing to talk about, because all you know is the package and the destination. Like, there's nothing you know beyond what you just told him, so...

“With respect to your family’s father, I don’t want to waste his time. This is just a small job for me. My delivery is the box; I know no more than what I’ve said, and have no further clarification to deliver with it.”

He levels a glare at me but relents. “Very well. Good evening to you, stranger.”

“Good evening, of-Hefehxn.”

And the door is closed and I am done and safe! Whoa. I wasn’t expecting to get out of that so clearly! I’m so good at everything. I pull Iaxio back out and tell him how great it went.

“We should celebrate! Spend a bit of money for the occasion.”

“Funny.”

>Also seriously we should report the bandits to the authorities in the city. Even if they were "nice" or whatever, they took all our stuff and probably would have killed us if things hadn't gone the way they had.

“Bandit-girl wasn’t a major butt but seriously, screw those guys’ tombs. Let’s go to House Doxedn and tell them there’s a butt sitting on their road farting on visitors.”

Iaxio giggles. “Is that what happened when she was sitting on you?”

“Oh Iaxio jeez seriously shut up where’s the Doxedn place.”

The Doxedn place is not hard to find. There still aren’t any streets to follow—it’s just, like, the random spaces between buildings, but I just take those random spaces west, and just wander around until I find it. The Doxedn manor definitely was not originally the Doxedn manor. This place is kind of a palace, basically, and they probably inherited or conquered it from whatever house used to live here.

There are lots of dogs coming and going. There are a few housedogs in armor-dress chilling around outside the wall, and a few ghosts, too. I uh. I guess they are the dogs in charge, right? Screw it I’m gonna go up to them.

They’re playing some gambling game, and I have to cough to get their attention. “So uh, you are all House Doxedn?”

They give me a look like “duh.” I think they’re trying to be all intimidating the obnoxious stranger thing. I don’t let them play that.

“On the road here I was hit up by some bandits. It sounded like they’ve been on the road for a while.”

One of them blows his lips like “pfffft” but another at least acts interested. “Did you come in from the north?”

“Yeah.”

“And you were robbed today?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh dear. I thought they would have moved on by now. Can you describe them?”

I give them the deets.

“All right. We’ll go out around tomorrow and see if we can’t scare them out.”

“Not tonight? They could still be out there…”

“Are you traveling out again?”

“Well, maybe.”

“Then they’ve already robbed you, so I don’t think you have anything else to fear.”

Butts.

So, okay, the bandits are uh, reported to the “authorities” I guess. The package has been dropped off with whatever secrets it has still in-tact. Am I going back to McTrinkets now? Am I just… leaving? I don’t have any money at all. I’m not sure what to do. I can’t really afford a room, and I’m not sure if I want to spend all night out under the bridge. Uhm. Huh.
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No. 459067 ID: dc4a44

Just leave. You don't really want to leave too much of an impression on the city. You've potentially pissed off some more factions so just git.

Iaxio can teach you the wonders of sleeping on the road. (they aren't wonderful)
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No. 459071 ID: e3f578

>>459051
Well, you do have something to fear.
You're far from home and have no cash whatsoever.
Ask about the procedure of getting this stuff back or whatever so you can actually sleep and eat somewhere. This shit probably happens enough in your land so that your people have some sort of system in place to prevent mass homelessness, beggary, and a downward spiral of banditry from simply being robbed of all your shit.
Not everyone comes from a fancy family, they have to have SOMETHING for the common people that aren't beggars.
Maybe ask for a job board or something, anything a courier could do so they don't have to sleep with the beggars if this sort of shit happens.
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No. 459076 ID: eb6589

>>459071
You really can't afford to NOT be pushy here. You need money.
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No. 459090 ID: 4a328b

Just leave. Take the north road, even--if anyone's following you they'll get bugged by the bandits.
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No. 459098 ID: 26a7c1

>>459051
He has a point. You don't actually have anything left to steal.
>>
No. 459100 ID: 061a93

Yeah, you're kind of shit broke now. You don't even have other people's money. Get back to McTrinkets and let's move on.
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No. 459101 ID: 886a4d

What would be optimal is finding a real courier job, heading somewhere. Sounds like a good way to earn cash, and it can send you on unexpected tangents to throw off that dreambug. Lets ask around for that sort of thing. A travellers inn sounds like a good start.
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No. 459114 ID: 6e44d2

Leave now, don't dawdle. Every moment dawdled is dangerous. I guess go back to McTrinkets, 'cause we're square now.
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No. 459130 ID: f2c20c

We are almost certainly going to be followed when we leave. If we go back north to McTrinkets, we are DEFINITELY going to be exposed, because they will follow us right to her and go "Hey, you butt, you said you didn't know anything." Then possibly kill us and her.

Our best bet is to just continue south until we get to a safe town. One where Geofahn can't get to us. Then we can work our way up from Broke And Homeless to Established And Comfy.
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No. 459152 ID: 6a1ec2

OK uh, so Maexis is relatively sure you'll be followed when you leave. Obviously the guys McTrinkets paid off want you to lead them to her. So instead of returning to McTrinkets, I say you go join up with the bandits! Tell them you saw the Dodongo troupe heading this way armed and you haven't got anything else to lose so what the hell.

Seriously they're like the nicest people you've come across so far. Not that that's hard to do. They took your money yeah, but they let you keep your pack and your clothes, and didn't hassle you much at all. You totally got them back by turning them in, so now you're as much as a butt as they are and you can go join them for clandestine butt revelry.
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No. 459159 ID: b33427

Basically, you can't go directly, or even indirectly, back to McTrinkets, since you're almost certainly being followed. Best to head south, away from McTrinkets, and act like a normal traveler/courier. Then when you eventually do run into her again, one way or another, you can say you actually actively didn't lead her perusers to her.

Now, where to sleep tonight? Maybe if you found a stranger's inn with stables, they'd let you lay your sleeping bag out in one of the stalls for the night if laid out your tale of being robbed, and you did some chores for them. Stuff like washing dishes or laundry, if you're lucky, or mucking out the stables, if you're unlucky.

While at the stranger's inn, ask around about southbound caravans, traveling groups, or highway patrols that you might be able to walk with. After your run-in with the bandits, you'd like to travel with an armed group, or at least a group, to discourage highwaymen, since you feel you won't be as lucky the next time.
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No. 459189 ID: 249083
File 134906823083.png - (113.54KB , 700x700 , 70.png )
459189

>Ask about the procedure of getting this stuff back or whatever so you can actually sleep and eat somewhere. Not everyone comes from a fancy family, they have to have SOMETHING for the common people that aren't beggars.

Ahahahaha no. No I’m a stranger, I’m unrelated to this city’s crypts, and I’m unrelated to anyone who’s related to this city’s crypts. If I died in the streets they’d fine my ghost for leaving the mess of my corpse behind.

… but…

>Maybe ask for a job board or something, anything a courier could do
>What would be optimal is finding a real courier job, heading somewhere.
>We should see if there is any work that we can get going down the way we were going anyway.

… turning my cover-story into an actual job sounds like a super good idea.

“So like, they did kind of take everything I have. I was here on courier work, do you know any place I might get something like that? Maybe going south?”

The Doxedn dog chews her lip some. She’s actually at least trying to help. The other dogs and ghosts are back to gambling. “I don’t want to actually suggest it, because they’re… less than friendly, but you could check in with family Hefehxn. They might have things for strangers to do.”

Those are the guys I just dropped McTrinkets’ box off with. Well then.

I think she sees the reluctance on my face. “I’m not sure what else to suggest. You could head over to the docks and see if anyone wants to give you something, but I’d think most legitimate dogs would already have avenues for that.”

She stops short of telling me anything I would find down there would probably be “illegal.” Well, I mean, maybe more like shady. The kind of thing you get strangers to do. I’m not sure if I wanna do that?

I’d consider checking out the docks and scrounging around for jobs, but…

>Whether we find anything or not, we should go back to McTrinkets by a circuitous route and at least tell her what happened.
>Get back to McTrinkets and let's move on.
>You don't really want to leave too much of an impression on the city. You've potentially pissed off some more factions so just git.
>Every moment dawdled is dangerous. I guess go back to McTrinkets, 'cause we're square now.

Maexiks said family Hefehxn wouldn’t be very satisfied with my delivery, and I think it’s time to leave, maybe. And like, didn’t McTrinkets say Hefehxn has a lot of influence in the docks? Wurg. Maexiks also said I am probably going to be followed leaving town, but, like, what does that really mean? Is someone gonna come and kill me? I mean. That seems a bit excessive.

I thank the Doxedn dog politely and just make my way towards the city’s gate. My legs really hurt by now, okay? It’s been a lot of walking and coracle-sitting these past few days. I wish running away didn’t actually need me to use my legs this much.

“Hey, Sabby,” Iaxio whispers. We’re coming up on the big arched entrance by now. “We’re being followed.”

“Well Maexiks dream-told me it was gonna happen. What is he wearing?”

“Ahh, dead sea green with gray stripes.”

“Damnit that’s the Hefehxn servant isn’t it. You sure he’s following us?”

“He wandering and keeping his distance and becoming distracted and never actually looking at us. So, yes, he is absolutely following us.”

“Damnit. I guess wandering around a city we don’t know, the only dogs in these colors, it isn’t hard to pick us out of the crowd.”

“What do you think they want?”

“… for us to lead him to McTrinkets? To kill us? We could maybe lead him to the bandits…”

“If they’re still there, and willing to help.”

“Well I still technically paid them for protection. Jerks better deliver.”

“Hah!”

“We can confront him, maybe? Just… go back to McTrinkets anyway? Go south? McTrinkets said she’d uh. She might think we didn’t deliver the box, though, if Hefehxn is angry at her and she never sees us again. She might do something to us. Aah I’m so bad at knowing what to do.”

What do I do?
>>
No. 459192 ID: 85b0e2

Let's just ask him why he's following us.

Then do this:
>>459159
>>
No. 459196 ID: 4a328b

Go past the bandits, yes.
>>
No. 459201 ID: f2c20c

>>459159
I like this plan. Find someone else to travel with. If McTrinkets, errr... Ofrehkik sends someone after us, we can tell them exactly what happened, and that we made sure not to lead the pissed-off mafia straight to her.
>>
No. 459260 ID: f98806

making McTrinkets think we bolted means she will team up with house Geofahn, she'll tell them where we went. i think we should get the bandits to delay the guy and give him the slip.
>>
No. 459289 ID: 73a5a9

What if buttservant pays the bandits to Chase you?
>>
No. 459290 ID: bc1a6d

I'm not sure the bandits would touch anyone from any house that actually has influence just to keep a lower profile. You've made it clear young houses don't let slights go very easily the bandits would probably know that and keep track of the local houses so they don't insult one by robbing its members. How late is it getting? If we're only being followed by the one we may be able to move into the woods to rest a moderate distance from McTrinket wait for our pursuer to fall asleep then get to McTrinket and push off back into the river that night hopefully before he even sees we gave him the slip.
>>
No. 459293 ID: 58e163

If we don't show up, McTrinkets might take that to mean we backed off on our deal. We should try to lose the pursuer somehow.
>>
No. 459303 ID: d3f29d

>>459290

This plan has merit. Pretend to fall asleep, then wait for sevantdude to fall asleep for real, then ditch him.

How good's your nightvision?
>>
No. 459442 ID: 6a1ec2

Leave the city before you try to lose him. That way you won't have to fight both him and a dreambug's intuition. If you ditch him now they'll know to be more careful, so ditch him outside the city when they think you didn't even notice him.

If there's a meeting you're supposed to make with McTrinkets I guess you'll have to do it. You basically owe her your life. The only trick is how to get followed (and you WILL get followed) and not lead them to her.
>>
No. 459551 ID: 2f4b71

Just stand around immediately outside the gate, possible behind the pillar so he can't see you as he walks out. He'll have to either hang around suspiciously or turn back. If the former, you could try assuming that he followed you to get another courier job (and saying it in the most formal manner possible) so he's stuck trying to explain why else he might be trying to follow you out of the city gates. And there'd be enough witnesses around that he couldn't just threaten you back inside.
>>
No. 459640 ID: e81a07
File 134921297345.png - (230.85KB , 700x700 , 71.png )
459640

>Go past the bandits, yes.
>i think we should get the bandits to delay the guy and give him the slip.

I consider leading him back up, past the bandits. It’s on the way back to McTrinkets, anyway, and I need to meet up with her, or, like, seriously.

>If we don't show up, McTrinkets might take that to mean we backed off on our deal. We should try to lose the pursuer somehow.
>Pretend to fall asleep, then wait for sevantdude to fall asleep for real, then ditch him.
>ditch him outside the city when they think you didn't even notice him.

She’ll probably try to sell me out to Geofahn. I should probably warn her that her payment didn’t go over with Hefehxn very well, either.

“Let’s just… go north,” I tell Iaxio. “We can see if we can’t get the bandits to bother him, or just camp out in the woods and see how long he follows us. It’s a few hours away and maybe he won’t even keep after us once he sees we’re not going right to McTrinkets, ten minutes out of town, yeah?”

Iaxio shrugs. “If I worked in a mansion in a classy town like this, I don’t think I’d stay up all night watching two vagrants sleep in a ditch.”

“Hah! Yeah. We’re too boring to make good things to follow.”

I set out of town, heading north. I uh. Oh wow. We cross over the stone bridge, again. The lake below is growing dark black, and the stretch of river I can see is also basically the same. The sky is a darkening shade of foggy purple. The air is still really warm and wet, and it feels like it’s gonna be raining on and off all night.

But uh, wow. I’m already really tired. I mean, it was a several hour walk to the city, and it’s going to be a several hour walk, in the dark, back up along the road. I mean, I can use my walking-spear to make sure I keep to the path, and it’s a big, well-paved road, but this isn’t really going to be much fun. Oh well.

It’s safer than pissing off Hefehxn and McTrinkets.

I leave the big dock-town and the city itself behind me and stick to the wide, hard road. It’s raised off the ground with heavy stones like most good roads are around here, and there are a few lanterns along it, for the first few hundred feet or so. Then it’s just dark, although the cover of trees is still maybe twenty minutes away.

“Is he still following us?” I ask.

“I can’t tell. I thought he was, but he might have gone off the road. Is he watching us from the plains? In the reeds? I feel like I’m being watched.”

“Is that your super ghost-beggar sense?”

“I dunno. It’s my paranoia-sense.”

“So you can sense paranoia?”

“I don’t sense enough from you.”

“Ugh. My legs hurt so much. So much walking. Let him come and butt all over us I don’t even care anymore.”

We get to the forest with no real sign of anyone following us. The pepper-trees fill in around us with their spicy scent and I only remember now that the entire city was coated in the smell of incense. It was so easy to get used to! We keep walking.

Under the trees, in the growing night, it’s getting really hard to see right. I have to drag my walking-spear along the edge of the road to keep along. A water-guzzler-drawn-cart passes us by at one point, coming south from the city. It’s full of lanterns but I don’t see our pursuer on there. It just disappears up ahead, the driver doesn’t even really seem to notice us. I wonder if the bandits will catch it. I wonder how long it’ll take to get up to where they were.

There’s no one behind us, that I can see, but it’s getting so dark I can hardly see Iaxio—just the shadows of trees behind him. I’m getting really, really tired, too. I’m just sort of stumbling along. The night is this weird mix of cold and hot. Like, it’s humid, but it’s also cool? I don’t even know. I’m kind of hungry. I stop for a minute and get out something to chew on.

Up ahead I can see the guzzler-drawn cart again. It’s stopped, and there is a bunch of shouting and movement in the lantern-light. Okay, the bandits are still totally there, and still totally busy doing their thing, I guess. Uhm.

If the guy is still following me, I’ve lead him to the bandits. I guess. I look behind me, but I seriously can’t see or hear a thing. What do I do now? McTrinkets was only like, a short walk from here. I could probably go right to her, or do something with the bandits? I could just sleep off the road? I’m so tired but.
>>
No. 459653 ID: 2aa588

>>459640
you should go see the bandits, say hello.
tell them there's a rich guy following you around for some reason. tell it directly to the girl-bandit, make it sound like you're telling her because she was friendly earlier and not because you want to get rid of him.

only do so when they're not busy with the carriage, they won't listen in a friendly manner otherwise.

also don't go to McTrinkets until the bandits are free to harass the servant. they won't be looking for him while they're with the carriage.
>>
No. 459657 ID: dc4a44

or just go around them while they're distracted.
>>
No. 459661 ID: 2aa588

>>459657
we're not avoiding the bandits, they don't have anything left to steal from us. we're using the bandits to delay the guy who's tracking us.

and he IS still tracking us, don't doubt it. we have a bug friend who warned us about that.
>>
No. 459668 ID: 58e163

Ask them how business is going!

Okay, maybe not, it's none of our business.

I say we stick to the plan of resting off to the side of the road. Just... in your condition, you'll need to make sure that you don't zonk out for good. Have Iaxio wake you should it need to come to that.
>>
No. 459677 ID: f2c20c

Rest out of sight until they're done with the wagon. Don't bother them while they're working, that could piss them off, and they're already pissed off it seems!
>>
No. 459699 ID: 6cc859

>>459677
Yeah, leave them to their work for now. Is McTrinkets expecting you back tonight? If not, it wouldn't be a bad idea to just sleep for now and let any possible follower get bored; better still if you try not to be seen while going to sleep, so they might keep going on past in the dark.
>>
No. 459702 ID: f2c20c

>>459699
Well we're almost there. If we're not being followed it's a bit of a waste of time to sleep before getting to her.
>>
No. 459704 ID: 6cc859

>>459702
But we can't tell, and it'll be a pretty big deal if they follow us back, so it's worth playing safe.
>>
No. 459709 ID: 85b0e2

>>459653
This
>>
No. 459758 ID: e81a07
File 134923443874.png - (136.00KB , 700x700 , 72_3.png )
459758

>we're not avoiding the bandits, they don't have anything left to steal from us. we're using the bandits to delay the guy who's tracking us.
>Rest out of sight until they're done with the wagon. Don't bother them while they're working, that could piss them off, and they're already pissed off it seems!
>Yeah, leave them to their work for now. Is McTrinkets expecting you back tonight? If not, it wouldn't be a bad idea to just sleep for now and let any possible follower get bored

Now that I’m actually here, and the bandits are actually there, the temptation to just... avoid them is really strong. I guess I’ll take a compromise and wait out of sight until they’re done, uh, robbing this person.

They pull the driver-dog down from the carriage. The fancy-dog with the gun puts the rifle to his head and makes him kneel. Yeah. Yeah, these are great guys for sure. The girl-bandit that was kind of nice to me pulls open the side door and is shouting inside the thing. Cool. What was my plan here again?

The fancy-dog with the rifle—whoa whoa he’s aiming inside the car—there are a bunch of screams in there and—

POP

He just shot someone I bet. I uh. Oh. No, okay, I think he’s just scaring them.

Okay, I’m gonna go say hi as soon as they’re done here.

They’ve grabbed something from the carriage and uh—oh. Right. Of course.

They all immediately run off into the dark of the forest, out of sight. The people at the carriage stumble around themselves shouting but it looks like that’s over. Yeah. Yeah, of course they wouldn’t actually be hanging around, would they?

I could have gone up to them in the middle of it, but, like. Most of my thoughts really weren’t too enthusiastic about interrupting them, and I guess I missed that boat. Damn. Damnit. The people in the carriage are still shouting, but they get themselves together in a minute or two and the water-guzzler ambles off into the dark. Leaving me alone, on the road, with Iaxio’s ghost.

Maybe alone.

Maybe that guy is still behind me. I don’t know. I don’t hear anything but I can’t trust that, can I? McTrinkets is somewhere about thirty minutes away, along the river. I guess. The bandits disappeared to the west, maybe I could find them? They probably can’t see in the dark much better than I can, they’ll probably have a light at their camp if I wanna find them instead. I could just camp out here, on the side of the road, and hope the guy following me isn’t just gonna stab me. Maexiks said they’d only be angry at McTrinkets, though! Argh.
>>
No. 459761 ID: f2c20c

>>459758
I see him. He's still following you.

Go camp.
>>
No. 459766 ID: 85b0e2

Go a bit down the road and then go off road to the west a ways to make camp. Maybe the bandits will find you? Maybe they will find your shadow?
>>
No. 459772 ID: e3f578

>>459758
It might look suspicious to butler guy if you don't go assist the poor victims in some way. I mean, hell, someone in there can be in grave danger of dying!

Go! Be a saint! You need more allies and this is one of your opportunities!
>>
No. 459811 ID: 4a328b

>>459772
Or we can try not to get killed on the road--like a courier.

Go find somewhere to rest--get Iaxio to keep watch
>>
No. 459840 ID: b33427

Sabby, you're dead on your feet, and there's not much you can do in the dark. It's time to make camp.

The bandits actually gave you a chance to mask your trail by leaving a mess of footprints away from the road. If you jump down on that side, and head in the same general direction, and at the same general speed, your footprints will look like just another bandit's. Then the tracker following you might decide not to follow what looks like bandit tracks, if you're lucky. Remember, you'll have to wait for a bit after sunrise for the tracker to pass by, if there is a tracker.

Set up camp far enough into the forest that you wouldn't be visible from the road, even in broad daylight. Even so, either cover up that bright mantle you're wearing by pulling the tarp over you while you sleep, or take it off and stow it in your pack; It sticks out like a sore thumb against the browns out here. Put Iaxio on watch, and finally crawl into your bedroll for some deserved rest. You're going to need to talk to Maexiks to plan your next step.

Oh, and Sabby, you can pretty much guarantee that McTrinkets isn't where you last saw her. She's savvy, and she knows you're very much not, so she'll be expecting you to come back with someone tailing you, or with you, if you sold her out. As soon as she woke up, she probably moved to a hiding spot where she could watch the spot you two parted ways, to see who's with you, or who's following you, or if nobody is with or following you. That'll give her and idea how well things went with Hefehxn.
>>
No. 459844 ID: dc4a44

You know if he has a ghost he could just have the ghost keep watch on you while he sleeps.
>>
No. 459960 ID: 0b56b9
File 134929586852.png - (112.90KB , 700x700 , 73.png )
459960

>I see him. He's still following you.

I take a real smooth, sly glance behind me. I think I can see him, the faint impression of his colors. He’s pretty far away, but, like, yeah. Yeah, I guess he’s following me to see if I lead him to McTrinkets? The guy’s dedicated, at least, you know? I bet he gets paid crazy cash. I just wanna sleep.

>Go camp.
>Go a bit down the road and then go off road to the west a ways to make camp. Maybe the bandits will find you?
>Go find somewhere to rest--get Iaxio to keep watch
>Oh, and Sabby, you can pretty much guarantee that McTrinkets isn't where you last saw her. She's savvy, and she knows you're very much not, so she'll be expecting you to come back with someone tailing you, or with you, if you sold her out.

Actually, just sleeping sounds like the best plan. If this guy is watching me to see where I go, well. I’m gonna hop down the road, kind of in the direction of the bandits, and just start walking a bit. I get a real casual look of the spot I thought I saw him in but I don’t see anything else there any more.

“Where are we going?” Iaxio whispers. “Are we finding the bandits?”

“No, that can go under the butt,” I say. “We’re just gonna camp out here. McTrinkets probably isn’t even where she left us, and this guy is probably still following us, so, like, butts on everything. Let’s just sleep. You can keep your head up and make sure he doesn’t start poking me with a knife.”

“Is watching you sleep going to be my new thing?”

“Yeah sure.”

“Nice.”

I find a spot nestled between a few trees, where the roots and rocks aren’t as mossy or as wet, and wriggle my pack free. I pull out the tightly-packed bedroll and tarp and start thinking about how I can keep my colors free from the view of anyone passing by. I guess I can sleep under the tarp, like, totally hidden. Yeah, yeah that sound classy enough. I guess I shouldn’t light a fire. I still have my little firestarter, but being able to see past my hands means people well past my hands can see me.

I decide to use my backpack as a pillow, kind of, to keep my head off the ground. The bedroll isn’t really big enough to fit all of me snug inside it, but at least it fits snug inside my sack. I have to move the meats and the hook-blade and little rope-pile out of there so I don’t sleep on them. I pull the tarp over me but there’s still something in sack, like, a rock. I dig that out too and it’s.

It’s like, it’s wrapped, and stuffed into the bottom corner of the satchel, like, it was under everything else. It’s uhm. I unwrap it. It’s a finger.

McTrinkets’ ghost-friend appears right next to me.

“Hello,” he says.

She slipped a freaking finger into my backpack. I let out super-totally-friendly “Hi…”

“We went across the bank. We’ll come for you in the morning. The delivery went well?”

Well this isn’t creepy. I uh, I guess technically the delivery went well. I guess it also went terribly, since apparently they’re super angry about it, and have a guy who’s maybe still stalking me right now. I’m not sure how to explain it to him. I’m not sure what to explain to him.
>>
No. 459963 ID: 050585

One of them followed us out of town and we don't currently know if we lot them or not.
>>
No. 459964 ID: e3f578

>>459960
"Oh, hey, yeah, sorta I'm being followed for some reason. Go away you big butt, they might torture me now for your location."
>>
No. 459966 ID: 85b0e2

>>459963
This, really. I can't think of anything else to do.

Tell him what happened and all, and that there are bandits around.
>>
No. 459968 ID: 58e163

A dreambug predicted us being followed out of the city, and it seems to have come true. What can we do to avoid causing trouble for either of us?
>>
No. 459970 ID: dc4a44

talk tomorrow
>>
No. 459978 ID: 0e8280

>>459968
I wouldn't mention our dreambug friend to anyone. Just to play it safe.
>>
No. 459988 ID: 0b56b9
File 134930254450.png - (106.95KB , 700x700 , 74.png )
459988

>One of them followed us out of town and we don't currently know if we lot them or not.
>Tell him what happened and all, and that there are bandits around.
>I wouldn't mention our dreambug friend to anyone. Just to play it safe.

Yeah, I guess I’m just gonna upright give him the truth. Most of it.

“So, I dropped off the package, okay? But someone followed me out of town and is probably still following. Like, the Hefehxn door servant guy. He’s probably listening in.”

McTrinkets’ ghost-friend gives me a stare.

“We can talk tomorrow, right? It isn’t really safe. There are also bandits around.”

The ghost keeps staring at me. “I’ll contact you in the morning.”

He’s gone. I tell Iaxio to keep a watch on me and curl up under the tarp. It’s cold, and I’ve been wearing this mantle for a while, and I’m feeling kind of dirty and cold and oh my goodness do my legs hurt. Did I mention my legs hurt? My legs hurt from all the walking, all day long. My sides hurt from it, too. And I’m thirsty. And hungry for something more than dried meat chunks.

It takes a while for me to fall asleep.

My dreams are a confusing mess of walking and stuff. I’m not sure at what point Maexiks and I hook up in them, but she’s here, in some forest. Her forearms are held up close on her chest and she’s kind of a distance from me.

“Hi Maexiks. Well, you were right, they followed me out, but I guess since I didn’t really hang out around with them very long, I’m out of danger, right? What do I have to do next?”

Maexiks is still really quiet. She takes a long-legged step back, away from me. “Hello.”

Oh good I thought she might just be some nightmare or something. “So where are we now? Is this just some forest? Look, I mean. Look, I think there’s a guy watching me.”

“He is leaving. He will leave.”

“So I won’t be killed in my sleep? Cool. So uh. Predictions for tomorrow?”

Maexiks takes a few more steps back. Her thin legs make her whole body kind of list to this side and that as she walks. Uhm. “I am sorry. I told you what I told you. They will not be angry at you.”

“So we’re good?”

“You are safe.”

“So we’re safe?”

You are safe.”

“Well you said they’d be angry at McTrinkets instead but like…”

Maexiks slowly moves behind a tree.

“What did you dream?”

Maexiks just hides behind that tree. Uhm. Uhm. Huh.
>>
No. 459990 ID: 85b0e2

Go lick her face and give her a hug. Tell her she need to tell you what she saw.
>>
No. 459993 ID: f2c20c

Ask if they're going to hurt Iaxio. We don't even really care about the merchant!
>>
No. 459997 ID: 6a1ec2

Looks like she foretold you were totally going to rape her butt. Oh well no use denying destiny!
>>
No. 460003 ID: f2c20c

Oh, you should ask if SHE's the one in danger, first. Actually. I mean, she's hiding. Maybe a nightmare is following you? Check. Look around.
>>
No. 460005 ID: 4a328b

>>459989
turn around turn around turn around prepare to defend Maexis
>>
No. 460010 ID: 26a7c1

>>459988
Look around. I think she might be under duress.
>>
No. 460019 ID: 0b56b9
File 134930782357.png - (176.38KB , 700x700 , 75.png )
460019

>Oh, you should ask if SHE's the one in danger, first. Actually. I mean, she's hiding. Maybe a nightmare is following you? Check. Look around.

I look around, but like, it’s just the forest. I can see some of the dreambug sky past the thick branches. There’s nothing else out here. The air is warm and soft. I walk up towards Maexiks and, thankfully, she doesn’t try to run away or anything.

>Looks like she foretold you were totally going to rape her butt. Oh well no use denying destiny!

This really isn’t the time to start laughing so I bite my lip. I mean. I wonder how sex with her would even work. In a dream, too. Uhm.

>Go lick her face and give her a hug. Tell her she need to tell you what she saw.

“Maexiks, what’s wrong? What’s freaking you out?”

Maeixks lowers herself nearer to the ground. I lean against the tree down next to her and put a hand on her leg. She twists her head over to me, the dark spots of her eyes staying locked with mine. “Sabhaxlia, I think it is my fault.”

“What’s your fault?”

“I told you the less time you spent with the dogs in the city, the less danger you were in. But now your companion is in danger.”

>Ask if they're going to hurt Iaxio. We don't even really care about the merchant!

“McTrinkets? You mean? I mean, like, I don’t even really care about her.” I’m not sure if I really mean that. She’s been… kind of a confusing companion, for the little time I’ve spent with her. I’m not sure if I actually want her to be hurt.

Maexiks lists her whole thorax against me. Her hard parts smoosh up against my soft parts and I hold her. I run my hand down along her back-shield. I don’t even know if she can feel that.

I give her a little lick across the side of her face as she tells me her dream. “Dogs are going to find her and try to kill her. I have only been having dreams about her. It is my fault if she dies. I told you to avoid her debtors, but that advice has put death into her future.”

Huh. “Well, I mean, she’s a tombdog… death, like, isn’t that bad.”

“They will take their debt from her ghost.”

“Oh.” I think for a moment. “That doesn’t sound very good? What does that even mean?”

Maexiks shakes her head. Her antennae kind of flop around lifelessly. “I am not even myself sure. They will take her ghost and do something to it. The dream becomes timeless nightmare.”

“So, like, this just can’t be stopped?”

“You might be able to stop it. If you are with her. Maybe. I don’t know. I feel responsible for her death. It was my dreams that lead to your actions. I am making things worse. The future should not leave my dreams. I did not see this much danger in helping you.”

“So like. Am I in danger if I’m with her?”

“Yes.”

Great. So uh. I guess I can skip out on McTrinkets and let her get killed, for sure. Or I can go and be with her and maybe try and save her? I guess this is my fault for giving those Hefehxn guys only her to be angry at? I mean, I guess I still owe McTrinkets a debt? Does that matter much to me though? How much does it matter to me if her death is partly my fault?
>>
No. 460020 ID: 886a4d

I think... even if it puts you in danger you should save McTrinkets life. She did the same for you. First wake up. Warn McTrinkets ancestor's ghost that they are coming for her. Then go to her. I don't know what you can do really but you might be wetting that spear with blood tonight.
>>
No. 460021 ID: 6a1ec2

Well on one hand you don't owe McTrinkets much. On the other hand, she would never have gotten in trouble were it not for you. On the other hand it was her own damn fault in the first place. On the other hand you don't know the full story. On the other foot, they are going to trap her soul in some kind of unending shrieking torment that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. You have to help her! On the other foot you don't want the same thing to happen to you. On the other uh... crap.
>>
No. 460022 ID: 061a93

>>460021
On the other hand... you have five fingers.

Guess you'd better help out McTrinkets.
>>
No. 460024 ID: e3f578

>>460019
It's not just her death that's your fault, but whatever else the H house guys are planning to do with her ghost. There must be a way to profit from a ghost, perhaps some vague old ritual or something. Weird necromancy? I mean, look, you guys have undead, that's a fact. There's magic or some energy powering your ghosts and corpses, I speculate that, if one is able to harness that energy, well who knows what they can do with it. They need someone who has offended them, someone who doesn't really have a family or home, someone who they think no one will ever even blink at their disappearance, living, ghost, or animated corpse. Beggars don't qualify because of their unknown origins, someone out there may care of them or even just blink.

There's got to be some really bad mojo involved that like, would absolutely destroy them if anyone even got a sniff of the story, and that's why they need someone off the radar and with enough reason to be angry at like McTrinkets... or you. I figure the reason the head wanted to meet with you is to learn a bit about yourself, to interview you or judge you as a potential victim.
This is your real chance to get involved and distract the enemy dreambug with another problem. Plus, well, you might be getting rid of a horrible thing from the world. I mean, what if they're making a super ghost to rule this entire land or some crazy shit like that?
>>
No. 460025 ID: 86c3a7

I don't think you can in good conscience leave someone to what you know will be a fate worse than death.
>>
No. 460058 ID: f2c20c

>>460019
It's not just you that you have to worry about. It's Maexiks as well. You should help McTrinkets because otherwise she will feel horrible.
>>
No. 460063 ID: d3f29d

>>Iaxio speaks up. “So you’re a risk to a young house’s reputation if they let your insult go?”

>>“Basically.”

>>Well! I guess McTrinkets and I actually have something pretty big in common with one another.

I hardly consider your debt to McTrinkets filled. She saved your /life/. You think you can just drop off a box and it'll all be square? Especially since it seems your delivery may have made her situation worse.

Summon her ghostbro, tell him to wake McTrinkets, and come get you right now. Do not wait until morning. Get on the water and get gone.

*looks at the map* Is there any way you can keep going south and avoid the Doxedn city? How heavy is the coracle? Can you portage it and get to the water to the east?
>>
No. 460076 ID: 4a328b

You still owe her, and she's still going to help you--especially now that you have no money and no real talents.
>>
No. 460166 ID: 6e44d2

>>460076
>>460063
We don't owe her. She told us that we're square if we do this one thing. We did that one thing. We're square now. Anything we do beyond that is generosity. It's important that we keep that in mind. We will be doing her a favor, now.

I say we go. Just, definitely remember, this isn't us working off any more debt.
>>
No. 460170 ID: 0e8280

Wake up her ghost friend and tell him to wake her.
We're on the run, after all, with only one ally that can actively help us (Meaixks). We could use more friends.

Also, she's running from something too. We're united in that much, like with Iaxio.
Be a bro, not a butt.
>>
No. 460173 ID: 6cc859

Our debt to her is repaid. Help her anyway.
>>
No. 460175 ID: f2c20c

Okay here's the plan:

We tell McTrinkets to sell us out to House Geofahn. Seriously. She goes and tells them where we're heading next and gets some sort of reward, which lets her pay off the guys out for her head.
>>
No. 460182 ID: cad34a

>>460175
But.... why?
I mean, we could tell her a false place that we're going, but I dunno if we'd trust her that much. We hardly know her.
>>
No. 460191 ID: f2c20c

>>460182
Because we're going to be chased by Geofahn anyway. There's no avoiding it. Giving them an extra lead doesn't actually hurt us much.

We should NOT give her false information to report to them. If we do that she will get in even more trouble.
>>
No. 460192 ID: cad34a

>>460191
But why should we make things harder for ourselves?
They don't know for absolute sure where we're going. They're going on guesses and partial dreams. We should not, under any circumstances, give them an absolutely clear view of where we're going. That's just stupid.
>>
No. 460196 ID: b33427

Sabby, you're going to try and save McTrinkets, 'cause you're not a butt who leaves others to face death and eternal torment.

Get up right now, pack up, and start heading towards the river. Try and summon McTrinket's ghostbro to get him to wake McTrinkets up and moving now. Even if you can't get him to wake up, just keep going to the meeting spot.

Thinking on it, there's a very high probability that whatever terrible slight McTrinkets did to House Hefehxn will never be able to be paid back with mere coin. That they're out for revenge, and only her death and eternal suffering will repay the debt. Which leaves you to wonder what the heck McTrinkets actually did, or didn't, do to raise such ire, 'cause it must have been impressive.
>>
No. 460204 ID: 2aa588

you need to save her. you wouldn't be able to live with yourself if you cause her death.
>>
No. 460208 ID: 050585

Tell Maexiks this isn't her fault. She has done nothing but help us even when that put herself at risk. From what she's told us from the dreams we should have realized how malleable and unpredictable the future can be even with a way to see into it. We have to take responsibility for our mistakes, if what she told us caused us to do something stupid we have to fix it. Whatever help she can give us on what to expect will be appreciated and we'll make a better effort to be careful of how that knowledge influences us. For those thinking this isn't our responsibility remember the only punishment she would have received if she hadn't sent us would have been only death now it's worse because of actions we committed while trying to help her to repay her for helping us out of a sticky situation even if delivering the box didn't fix her problem we shouldn't have made her situation worse.
>>
No. 460224 ID: ffbccf

>Sabby, you're going to try and save McTrinkets, 'cause you're not a butt who leaves others to face death and eternal torment.

Except your family...
>>
No. 460254 ID: e3f578

>>460224
We know Mom and Ghost Dad are hostages at their house for now, but I don't think Mom will be sentenced to death for their daughter's crime.
Ghost Dad and the ghosts from the crypt will wither and die, but all things end anyway. We've justified the escape that marriage was just delaying the inevitable. The family name practically dies with Sabby when she passes anyway. Her children would have been Geofahn. Now if Sabby was male it would have been an entirely different story if the agreement was the same. The marriage will just prolong the lifespan of the ghosts, who are all butts and have done nothing for Sabbs really except essentially raise her to pimp her off to the Geofahns. Her Dad pretty much sold everything but the mansion, which honestly would have supported Sabbs for her entire life if he did sell it and could have afforded a better education to prepare her for an independent future. But that asshole, who isn't even a born Tashikox in the first place, declared it too sacred to sell even if the name will die in a generation. Dude must have HATED his previous family or something.

McTrinkets has actually done something for us, in exchange for a favor, but at least it was a reasonable favor. A favor that was a big mistake on her part since it's going to get her killed.
Sabbs, you're going to have to ask bugfriend if it's okay to tell McTrinkets about her and the future.

Oh and also could you tell us why your father forsake his name and completely integrated into your family?
>>
No. 460265 ID: afba61

I don't think the point is sabby's justification but the fact that she does leave people to die.
This is ghosts are people too land.
>>
No. 460291 ID: e3f578

>>460265
Rebuttal
>>/questdis/61702
>>
No. 460293 ID: 58e163

>>460224
McTrinkets has shown us kindness. It would behoove us to act like decent dogs and do what we can to prevent her grizzly demise.

Ask our dreambug friend about warning her. Oh, and there's no reason for her to worry; we know that she's trying and we appreciate that. We value her assistance, even if we accept that playing with the future can be difficult.
>>
No. 460382 ID: e9e3b5
File 134940158482.png - (97.37KB , 700x700 , 76.png )
460382

>Sabby, you're going to try and save McTrinkets, 'cause you're not a butt who leaves others to face death and eternal torment.

Yes, exactly. I’m not really the kind of person who can just walk away from that!

>Except your family...

No look I. But. No, but.

>We tell McTrinkets to sell us out to House Geofahn. Seriously. She goes and tells them where we're heading next and gets some sort of reward, which lets her pay off the guys out for her head.

See, I’ll do that. I’m the good guy here, okay?

I explain the plan to Maexiks. “What if I tell McTrinkets to sell me out to House Geofahn? Then she’ll get reward money and she can pay off her debt better!”

Maexiks doesn’t really seem that into it. “I have not seen it happen. I do not know if that will work. I think it may take too long. She will die if you are not there. She may still die if you are there.”

Butts. An entire row of ‘em. Well, I don’t know if I’ve paid off my debt to McTrinkets or not, but I’m still going to do what I can.

>Tell Maexiks this isn't her fault. She has done nothing but help us even when that put herself at risk. From what she's told us from the dreams we should have realized how malleable and unpredictable the future can be even with a way to see into it.

“Right, first off. Maexiks, like, you didn’t do anything wrong. You were trying to help, and you’ve been helping super-good for a long while. You’ve been the best, okay? I guess this is more my fault. Maybe if I hung around the guys they’d have gotten angry at me instead, so. Uh. Okay that still sounds kind of dumb. Even knowing the future, I’m not really sure what I’m doing, I guess, okay? But that makes it my fault, not yours?”

Maexiks makes a non-committal noise. It sounds like a few mantis words but like, I’m not that fluent I can figure out what it is. I uh. I suddenly realize I have no idea which language she and I have been speaking during our dreams. Huh.

I tap Maexiks on her backeplate. “Okay, look. I guess I need to be more careful taking your dreams at face-value, okay? Having ideas about the future doesn’t mean knowing the future, but, like. Do you know how bad things could have gone for me if I had gone inside with the box? I mean, you didn’t right? So we’re doing the best with what we got.”

>Ask our dreambug friend about warning her.

I should get Maexiks’ permission before telling McTrinkets how I know she’s going to be killed. “Can I tell McTrinkets about you?”

“If you are going to try to save her, yes, it would be good to tell her what you know.”

Okay, awesome.

>Wake up her ghost friend and tell him to wake her.

“Maexiks, I need to wake up now. I need to get in contact with McTrinkets.”

“You are very tired.”

“Yeah probably but—”

Oh damnit I’m freaking tired. I’m awake, and I’m freaking tired. Iaxio makes a shushing noise at me and pretends to pull the tarp back over my head but I brush his hand away. “No, no, they’re gonna kill McTrinkets, Maexiks just said so. We have to warn her. Are we being watched?”

“I haven’t seen the guy. You’ve only been asleep for an hour. Go back to sleep.”

>Summon her ghostbro, tell him to wake McTrinkets, and come get you right now. Do not wait until morning. Get on the water and get gone.

I growl through the tiredness and fumble for McTrinkets’ friend’s finger. I slap at it until his ghost appears.

“Hey, butt,” I yawn. It’s an angry yawn, though. “They’re gonna come for McTrinkets. They’re gonna murder her and eat her ghost or something.”

The ghost looks at me. “Did you have a nightmare?”

“It wasn’t a nightmare, I’m friends with a dreambug and she can dream up the future, okay?”

“Who is coming?”

“The, bluh, Hefehxn guys. They’re angry.”

“At what? Didn’t you deliver the box?”

“I did! They’re still angry! They’re angry because of the box!”

The ghost stares at me for a moment. “I’ll be right back.” He disappears. I guess he’s off chatting with McTrinkets or something.

Iaxio gives me a worried look. “So what is the problem?”

“I don’t really know. Damnit I feel dizzy. Maexiks said they’re gonna kill McTrinkets now unless I’m there with her and maybe even then.”

“So we’re putting ourselves in harm’s way for her?”

“Yeah.”

“All right then.”

McTrinkets’ ghost friend shows back up. “Well, she believes you. She at least believes it’s worth worrying about. We’ve relocated across the river, and brought the coracle up into hiding. What can you tell us?”

“They’re gonna kill her and might not if I’m there. I’m not even sure who “they” are. Dreambug future-telling is really unclear, okay?”

“So what should we do?”

“Let’s meet up now.”

“How do we find one another? We were going to contact you in the morning and arrange a meeting in the city itself.”

“Oh.”

“We’ll have trouble finding you in the dark like this.”

If I want to try and meet up with her uhm, how can we work this out? Or do we wanna do something else?
>>
No. 460388 ID: f2c20c

>>460382
The river is a landmark. We can wait on the bank while she goes downriver to us. Or whatever direction. Or we could just sit in the middle of the road.
>>
No. 460411 ID: 4a328b

>>460388
Yeah, go to the bank and walk slooooooooooooowly in the direction she is relative to you--up river or down river.
>>
No. 460440 ID: 6cc859

>>460382
You could go to the riverbank and light a fire, since it seems like they're going to find her anyway.
>>
No. 460442 ID: 3e297e
File 134942165811.png - (192.51KB , 700x700 , 77.png )
460442

“Look, okay. Are you up or down river from where you were before? Because, like, I think I’m still a bit downriver from where you guys had been. I can just walk along the river and you can float down close to it and we can maybe catch up like that…?”

McTrinkets’ ghost-friend seems skeptical but he shrugs. “Let me talk to her.”

He’s gone. I shrug at Iaxio. “I guess we better start packing?”

Iaxio shrugs too. Shrug. We just start shrugging and I just start packing. It’s hard to really get everything packed in tight, and the satchel bulges uncomfortably against my back when I work it on around my mantle, but oh well.

McTrinkets’ ghost-friend returns. “We’ll be along the river in a few minutes. We need time to get back into the water. We should be down-river from you, so head that way.”

“Gotcha.”

I get my walking-spear and stumble my way over to the road. I climb over it and go back down through the forest and reeds until I feel the dirt beneath my boots turn into hard, wet mud. I point myself in the direction the Doxedn city is and just get going.

I remind Iaxio in case he uh. In case he forgot. Wasn’t he there though? “Just keep your eyes on the water for a coracle coming up our way. Or going down. Uhm. Anything in the water.”

I use my walking-spear to keep my path steady along the riverbank. I think McTrinkets’ original plan was I come back to meet her up here, right? Then the ghost-friend said they were gonna meet in the city. I ask Iaxio if he thinks that’s weird.

“There’s a lot they’re probably not telling us,” he admits. “We should probably get them to stop doing that.”

“Yeah. I’m going to stuff a sausage in her nose.”

Maexiks like, snaps sideways when I say that. “Sabhaxlia?”

“I mean, you know, there was the uh. Uh. Maexiks?”

Maexiks is staring at me. I know enough mantis body-language to know she’s just. Staring. “What are you doing here?”

“Oh crap I fell asleep walking didn’t I.”

I wake up half in the river. I’m freezing. Iaxio is trying to pull me out but he can’t even really make a splash in the water. I manage to roll myself over into the reeds. I’m pretty awake, now, from the cold, so, like. I guess that’s okay. I think I’m awake.

McTrinkets’ ghost-friend takes that moment to show up again. “Oh. You fell in?”

“I’ve been walking all day non-stop you butt,” I manage to say. “How about McTrinkets just tries to find you?”

I huddle up against the reeds and nap while I wait for McTrinkets to find me. Maexiks fades in and out of my dreams. She tries to talk to me but the dreams are way too incoherent for her to actually manage to get any more words off. The night is still kind of warm, and the water isn’t that cold, but I still feel like I’m freezing as it dries on me. My whole body feels hollow. Wurgh.

I guess McTrinkets shows up eventually? She’s there in her coracle now. I guess she got here. I guess I’m gonna get in I guess?

“What’s this about people coming to kill me?” she calls over to the shore.

“Dreambug, future-seeing, people gonna kill you unless I’m there. They weren’t happy with the box or something.”

I’m gonna get in the coracle. I uh, I guess we need a plan. Escape plan. I guess I can ask McTrinkets questions. There’s things she’s not telling me, but, I mean, I have secrets too. But her secrets are kind of problems, I guess. Stick a sausage right in her nose.
>>
No. 460445 ID: 6a1ec2

Are you alright Sabby? You shouldn't be feeling cold if the night is warm. Hollow inside? How is your heart rate? Your breathing?
>>
No. 460447 ID: 9718f3

Start off by explaining that this was urgent enough to sacrifice sleep over. Asking questions is good. Ask what she isn't telling you, and how she thinks she might be able to escape.
>>
No. 460448 ID: f2c20c

>>460442
Tell her she'd better come straight with you. What was in the box aside from the money? Wanna bet it's something that's not worth anything to them now? She already knows who you are. What other secrets could you possibly have to tell her? That you looked in the box?

Also just tell her she'd better be grateful you're doing this to save her life because you're miserable and will probably catch a horrible disease.

An escape plan might be to just pass by the city along the river. She was going to walk right in there before we spoke to her. If we just keep going she might be able to escape notice.
>>
No. 460449 ID: f2c20c

Oh! I know. Have her hide under your tarp while you drive the coracle past the city. But uh, get some sleep first. Just fall asleep drifting in the coracle while she's under the tarp also maybe sleeping.

Or she could just wear your clothes to drive the coracle. Wait, do we have a change of clothes? We could have her wear that, and just proceed as normal. They won't inspect everyone that passes by!
>>
No. 460467 ID: 7e9ebc

Can you steer the boat? Hiding her in the tarp and just boating through in the middle of the night is not actually a terrible idea at all.

Have your feet under the tarp so she can bite your toes when you start to fall alseep, which you will almsot certainly do.

Also get the deets. You don't actually have any secrets she doesn't know.
>>
No. 460472 ID: dc4a44

Are we sure Doxedn is the way to go?

Hefehxn controls their docks.
>>
No. 460648 ID: b33427

You sound like you're sick, Sabby. You shouldn't be feeling "hollow" or the air and water feeling like they're freezing when they're actually somewhat warm. Can you even stand back up without falling over? Tell McTrinkets that you're feeling terrible, worse than just tired from sleep and walking, and that you need her help to get into the coracle without falling into the river. Ask her to feel your forehead, or nose, if that's what works for tombdogs, to check for a fever.

Once in, clumsily grab McTrinkets by the shoulders, blearily look her in the eye, and make her promise that if it turns out you save her life by catching a rifle shot, sword swing, or some other hit meant for her, that she'll do everything she can to save your life, and if that's not enough, that she'll never, ever turn your remains over to Geofahn. Let go, and slump into a heap.

Right now the best plan available is for you to pilot the coracle past the Doxeden city, preferably on the far bank from the docks, and while under the cover of darkness, with McTrinkets curled up and covered on the floor of the coracle. You'll wear McTrinket's mantle, but only if they don't know McTrinkets is wearing those mantle colors, since House Hefexen might have their people looking for your mantle pattern.

However, you can't execute this plan in your current exhausted, half-lucid state. You're going to need to get rest, and it'll have to be better than what you could get sleeping upright in the coracle. Have McTrinkets find a spot on the east bank of the river, land the coracle, drag it up into the reeds until it's out of easy sight of river traffic. You'll lay out your tarp and bedroll, and then McTrinkets can flip the coracle over them to make shelter, and so it isn't as hard to spot the coracle. Once again, Iaxio will keep watch by sitting in the reeds and listening. (Sorry, Iaxio.)
>>
No. 460683 ID: 162686
File 134952044513.png - (168.60KB , 700x700 , 78.png )
460683

>You sound like you're sick, Sabby. You shouldn't be feeling "hollow" or the air and water feeling like they're freezing when they're actually somewhat warm. Can you even stand back up without falling over?

I mean, I don’t know how long I’ve actually been waiting on the riverbank waiting for McTrinkets. I don’t really feel sick-sick, you know, just kind of wiped out. My legs feel tingly and it feels like I’m floating when I stand up but like. Okay maybe I am catching something, I don’t really know.

I get into the coracle without too much trouble, but of course McTrinkets helps. It’s kind of crowded in the coracle with the four of us, so the ghosts disappear for now. Iaxio says he can kind of half-listen in on his finger so he won’t really miss out on much, maybe. It’s something he’s been trying to learn to do apparently.

>Tell her she'd better come straight with you. What was in the box aside from the money?
>Also get the deets. You don't actually have any secrets she doesn't know.
>Ask what she isn't telling you

And since we’re in butt-river with only one paddle, it’s time McTrinkets tells me just, uh, why we’re going to be having to deal with people still trying to kill her.

“Okay, look," I start. "I dropped off the box like you wanted. This guy followed me out of town, until I camped out and started sleeping, and that’s a long freakin’ walk to follow some courier. My dreambug friend says you’re basically absolutely going to die now and I can maybe change that if we’re together, but, okay, look. Why are they this pissed? There was a hidden compartment in that box, wasn’t there?”

McTrinkets blinks at me. “There was. One of Kekahkik’s fingers is in the box, in the same way I slipped one into your backpack to keep track of you. If the box had gone off target…”

“… if I had stolen it,” I say.

“… if the box had been stolen by anyone, I could find it,” McTrinkets says. “And it would be no shame if Kekahkik’s ghost spied on the Hefehxns once it was delivered. They should not have found it, though. How did you find it?”

I pull my mantle off. It’s treated so water slides off of it, but it was sort of submerged and it’s still pretty wet and cold. I ignore how naked I feel with it off of me. I can’t really handle it being on me like that. I feel so trapped in this tiny coracle. “It felt like there was too much space at the bottom. So did they find the finger you put in there to spy on them?”

“When you warned Kekahkik, I had him check. Family Hefehxn doesn’t seem to have realized? Although if they were following you, and still want to kill me, I guess they know. And are simply keeping me from knowing they do. Hmm.” McTrinkets starts fingering her teeth again. She’s looking more and more worried under her merchant’s mask.

>Thinking on it, there's a very high probability that whatever terrible slight McTrinkets did to House Hefehxn will never be able to be paid back with mere coin. That they're out for revenge, and only her death and eternal suffering will repay the debt. Which leaves you to wonder what the heck McTrinkets actually did, or didn't, do to raise such ire, 'cause it must have been impressive.

What did she do to get them this angry at her? “So like, why are they this committed to being angry? Even if they found the finger, wasn’t the money enough?”

McTrinkets bites her thumb. “Half of the money was counterfeit.”

I freaking knew it. I was worried about that the moment she handed me the box. I just only barely didn’t find someone to confirm it for me. “Why would you do that? What do you owe them?”

“I may have cheated them out of a lot of merchandise. Runaway, you must have realized I’m not just a trinket merchant.”

I think back to our first meeting. When I said I wasn’t interested in McTrinkets’ trinkets, she asked me if I wanted what was in the boat. I guess that should have made my ears stand up a bit more than it did.

McTrinkets continues. “Family Hefehxn supplied me with a lot of illegal material. I happened to lose a lot of it, which is to say I told them I lost it and sold it for my exclusive profit.”

Wow. I kind of sink into the coracle a bit. “Real smart.”

McTrinkets giggles. “I felt real smart at the time! I can’t say I feel all that clever any more.”

This is so stupid. She isn’t really innocent in all this, is she? “What merchandise? What was it?” I mean, things aren’t really “legal” or “illegal” to sell, usually, you know? It’s like, a really short list of things I can think of that you’d actually be in trouble selling.

McTrinkets shuffles in her seat. It’s really weird seeing her this out of control of the situation. “Taxiholixif fhrefdemnm,” she whispers.

Holy crap okay that is the top of the list of things you probably shouldn’t be selling. It’s this paste you treat a relic with to make the ghost more powerful. It’s made by grinding up someone else’s corpse and that is seriously the worst thing you can do and is basically never consensual. Holy. Crap.

That’s what family Hefehxn was making? Is that what they’re gonna do to McTrinkets’ corpse if they catch her? Holy. Crap.

McTrinkets looks at me nervously. “I never made it myself. I only sold what they gave me. It really does work wonderfully; when I treated Kekahkik’s relics with it, his ghost became more clear and capable than it ever had been!”

I just like. Don’t even know what to think about McTrinkets. I’m tired and still feeling exhausted and floaty and maybe I’m getting sick, so like, whatever I think about McTrinkets, seriously, I don’t know. I’m still here to save her I guess.

>Can you steer the boat? Hiding her in the tarp and just boating through in the middle of the night is not actually a terrible idea at all.

I suggest it. “How about we just keep heading south? You can duck in the boat and I can put something over you and we can just sail on through. Paddle. Paddle on through.”

McTrinkets appraises me again. “Are you going to be able to hold the oar right?”

>But uh, get some sleep first. Just fall asleep drifting in the coracle while she's under the tarp also maybe sleeping.
>However, you can't execute this plan in your current exhausted, half-lucid state. You're going to need to get rest, and it'll have to be better than what you could get sleeping upright in the coracle. Have McTrinkets find a spot on the east bank of the river, land the coracle, drag it up into the reeds until it's out of easy sight of river traffic.

… yeah, I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to try and pilot the coracle along. Going through during day might make it easier to see us, but, like, they’ll probably be a bit more river-traffic during the day?

I ask McTrinkets about just pulling the boat back up to shore and sleeping the night through. She was planning on just hanging out until morning herself anyway.

She’s a bit uneasy about it, but like, I don’t know how much she’s believing my thing about the dream-prophecy death thing butt. Whatever. We pull over to the shore and we set stuff up. We don’t turn the coracle over, though, so we can push off faster if we need to. Settle in. McTrinkets just outright gives me a few cold sausages to eat and I’m super thankful for that. We kind of just. Sit around the coracle. I’ll get set up for sleep soon, I think. I guess I can still talk to her.
>>
No. 460684 ID: 162686
File 134952047048.png - (56.04KB , 500x500 , 79.png )
460684

When I’m more coherent, we’re going to need to know which direction we’re taking out of the Doxedn city. If we continue on straight south, the map says we’ll mostly be passing along small villages and stuff for a while. If we take a kind of easterly branch, though, we can get to another town that House Doxedn controls, that’s a lot bigger and stuff than the little things. McTrinkets doesn’t really seem to have any preference beyond getting clear and safe.
>>
No. 460687 ID: 5ef061

Which way do you think you'll see less people?
Like, comparatively. Will you see more people all together if you only go past the big city, or if you pass all the little ones?

I think we should go down the path with the fewest people, or the path with the fewest people on both sides of the river. That way, if someone on one side comes after us, we still have the other to retreat to.
>>
No. 460688 ID: 5fd94e

Big city will have more traffic making you harder to spot, if they manage to get folk to the smaller villages to observe river traffic you will be easier to spot, or the locals might take notice of dogs they haven't seen before. also rather likely they will suspect that if you are avoiding them you will avoid any of their ports. They may be less likely to take immediate hostile action against you in a smaller unalligned town so you may have a bit more breating room if you have to hide in a small village.......that may result in serious ghosttowering backfire though.
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No. 460695 ID: e3f578

So we've traded pissed off families now, for one that is even worse to have pissed off. Geofahn's aren't going to be able to do shit if far enough south but what about THIS family?
Sabbs, if you want to live in peace while helping McTrinkets your going to have to actually destroy that entire house.
Also, called it on the weird necromancy part, sort of.
Is there anyway we can use this information to make the house an enemy of the entire remnant? If that is some immoral shit that everyone hates, these fuckers are going to get killed and their corpses burned just like everyone who has joined an assassins' or thieves' guild, but even quicker and harder. McTrinkets couldn't tell anyone because of her own involvement, but you can! You can kill this house Sabbs!
>>
No. 460701 ID: b33427

Take the easterly branch, and head to the second Doxedn city. There'll be more river traffic to hide behind on the way there, and while there's bound to be some House Hefexen agents of one form or another in such a large neighboring city, as long as you two don't actually stop in the city, and McTrinkets is kept hidden while you're there, the chances they'll spot you are small. Just paddle right through, and if you two need supplies, land past the city, hide the coracle, and you go back to get them.

Ask McTrinkets if she knows of any barges or large watercraft that go directly from the Aifix city to the second Doxedn city without passing through the Hefexen controlled docks, or even bypass the first Doxedn city entirely. Such craft would make excellent cover to hide behind while passing by the first Doxedn city. They'd be craft too big to either navigate the channel into the artificial lake or fit under the lake bridge, so even if she doesn't know any specific craft, keep an eye out for those.

Now would also be the time to ask McTrinkets what other illicit goods she's carrying, mostly out of morbid curiosity. Since she's sold taxiholixif fhrefdemnm "ghost paste," you'd imagine she'd sell anything, no matter how horrible.

>>460695
The only way Sabby could pull that off is if she found an official of House Doxedn in the next Doxedn city over that has suspicions about House Hefexen, but needs proof, and would actually listen to a stranger. Then McTrinkets would have to agree to give testimony for protection, assuming she can give actual specifics, or knows of other hard evidence, such as where they store the "ghost paste," or where it's made. It just doesn't sound like something she has time for, as well as taking the risk.
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No. 460752 ID: d3f29d

Who would have more influence in the small towns? Are you likely to encounter Hefehxn or Geofahn there?

Do the branches join up again somewhere down south? Will either one get you to Fauhredn?
>>
No. 460767 ID: 4a328b

Take the eastern branch
>>
No. 460768 ID: 6a1ec2

If you keep alienating every possible refuge you're going to have to leave dog territory.
>>
No. 460805 ID: f2c20c

>>460695
I am partial to snitching out the house. Even if we have to abandon McTrinkets to do it. I mean holy shit.

We could even have McTrinkets set up as bait to reveal what they're doing. As in, we can talk to Doxedn, have them hand over a relic to monitor McTrinkets, and have her followed and when Hefexen comes calling, she can say something that reveals what they did. They don't dispute it, and they're caught. Then Doxedn can swoop in and save her/her corpse.
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No. 460837 ID: f2c20c

>>460805
Oooh ooh, or she could use her ghost-spy to feed information to Doxedn without risking herself, by like, telling Doxedn where the next corpsepaste deal is going down so they can bust in and expose it.
>>
No. 460885 ID: 6e44d2

>>460837
>>460805
So good. Dude, Sabby's gonna be a conquerer real soon, if she keeps killing houses like this.
>>
No. 460904 ID: e3f578

I have also just remembered that tombdogs use ghosts as weapons.
And this paste makes them more powerful.
If anyone from evil H-house does something as insane that one Geofahn did I would suspect that would be the equivalent as a fucking mini-nuke and blow apart an entire city block.
Okay, Sabbs, yeah it's either you become a conquerer and killer of houses for the good of your entire remnant. Your culture's moral boundaries with warfare are slipping, if you didn't notice. I theorize that your Remnant is or has been on the cusp of civil war for at least a while now, a big fat ghost superpower Cold War. The political ramifications are unfolding as we speak in front of your eyes.
War is coming. And I think you and McTrinkets are at the epicenter and you both are the shot that makes everything fall to shit. Your little runaway scheme is about to devolve into a legendary power struggle where alliances are killed and made. You have to make a choice, you can try and hide and let all this shit come to fruition of its own absolve or you can reveal this shit to the right people and kill the Hefehxn fast and quietly enough before they can act on whatever sick conspiracy they're obviously planning with this paste and an entire city with corpses and their ghosts built right into the city's walls.

A terrible engagement will be the source of either the shortest, quietest war or the worse war in the entire remnant's history, can you imagine it Sabbs?
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No. 460921 ID: b23cea

Uhh...
Do you think... it might be wise to, y'know, use some of that paste on Iaxio's finger? I mean, not if you're totally appalled by it, no, but it might be a good idea since he was such a weak ghost to begin with. Uh, if you're ok with it, maybe ask him first though.
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No. 461131 ID: 2dec3a
File 134970789739.png - (220.77KB , 700x700 , 80.png )
461131

I get out my sleeping stuff, for the second time tonight, and lay down on the ground, for the second time tonight, and fall asleep, for the third time tonight.

I dream of the dreambug remnant, but I can’t find Maexiks. I search for a while, just like, wandering around. Even in my dreams I’m just walking. I’m so tired I lay down and… uh… wake up. Jeez. The sky is slowly turning a foggy purple, so like, I slept a while, but, like. I am not terribly rested. I really do think I feel a tiny bit sick.

McTrinkets is already up, and already getting the coracle ready to go. I help her get it into the water and we start a slow paddle up towards the distant Doxedn city. Far back, further up the river, I can see the floating lanterns of some distant watercraft making their way towards us. The first of the morning traffic.

“So,” she says. Her voice is quiet and tired. “Do you have a plan?”

>Take the easterly branch, and head to the second Doxedn city. There'll be more river traffic to hide behind on the way there
>Big city will have more traffic making you harder to spot
>I think we should go down the path with the fewest people, or the path with the fewest people on both sides of the river.

“Let’s take the east junction at Doxedn city, to the Doxedn client-town-thing,” I suggest. “I mean, family Hefehxn is looking for us, not Doxedn, so they probably won’t go as nuts over us over there?”

“Did you dreambug friend tell you that last night?” she asks.

I huddle up. My water-proofed clothes are still seriously kind of damp, and it’s turning into a cool morning. “I uh, didn’t see her last night. In my dreams. I think it’s our best bet, though.”

“We’re gambling with my life, I guess,” McTrinkets says. “If this is real.”

“I’m really sorry,” I say. “I’m pretty sure you’re in super-bad danger.”

We just float on for now. McTrinkets keeps paddling at the water in strong, slow strokes.

>Sabbs, if you want to live in peace while helping McTrinkets your going to have to actually destroy that entire house.

“How big is family Hefehxn?” I ask.

“Only a few generations and associated dogs,” McTrinkets mumbles. “A few connections. They are powerful, but they aren’t very large.”

“Hmm.”

>I am partial to snitching out the house. Even if we have to abandon McTrinkets to do it. I mean holy shit.

McTrinkets continues speaking after a few more strokes. “They’ll still follow along on my tail anyway, even if we go far away. If they found the finger, and the counterfeit coins, they might just hire some strangers to come find me. It doesn’t matter how big they are, they have enough money to kill me.”

>So good. Dude, Sabby's gonna be a conquerer real soon, if she keeps killing houses like this.

I have… odd thoughts in my head. Thoughts that aren’t the kind of things I’d normally think.

Thoughts that kind of sound really, really good.

Behind me, I can see the brightening approach of lanterns. Turtle-drawn coracles and distant spin-barges are coming down the river, probably from the Aifix town. Traffic House Geofhan had held up being finally released? Does that mean Geofahn’s moved on?

I look at McTrinkets. “Uhm,” I start. “What if we destroy family Hefehxn?”

McTrinkets’ ears go up. She continues her slow paddling, her eyes stay locked with mine. “… go on.”

>Oooh ooh, or she could use her ghost-spy to feed information to Doxedn without risking herself, by like, telling Doxedn where the next corpsepaste deal is going down so they can bust in and expose it.

“You still have Kekahkik’s finger in the box still, right? With family Hefehxn? I mean, they don’t want to get rid of his finger, because then you’ll know that they know you put it there. So they’re keeping your spy in their house to make you think you’ve won.”

McTrinkets’ tired eyes open up a bit wider. “Go on.”

“And like, what, what was it you said. Do House Doxedn and family Hefehxn get along?”

McTrinkets shakes her head. “Not at all. Family Hefehxn hopes to out-grow House Doxedn and take the city over some generation soon.”

“So Doxedn is probably just looking for an excuse to get at them! If you help take out their rivals they’ll maybe even protect you!” I say. My voice is getting a bit loud. I’m getting a bit excited.

McTrinkets actually looks excited too. She sits up in the coracle and stops rowing for a bit. “House Doxedn’s avoided pressing Hefehxn because they never had enough evidence. I have an entire box of corpse-paste in this coracle.”

“Exactly!”

McTrinkets basically starts sucking on her finger. “We’ll need to give House Doxedn more than just some anonymous box of corpse-paste…”

“Yeah, I guess so,” I agree. “Uhm, I mean, if we do this, we need to figure out what we’re gonna do with you, too. My dreambug friend said people will be coming to kill you, and it only wouldn’t happen, maybe, if I was there. But maybe this counts as me being there, if I’m working on it like this? Uhm. Hmm.” I don’t feel very convinced by that.

“I’m undecided, if we should go straight to House Doxedn, or try something less direct,” McTrinkets says. “If we’re going with this? I guess I need to tell you some personal things. This will be free, don’t worry! I’ve sold the corpse-paste for the Hefehxn family since a few years, now. Always impersonal, very professional. Only a tiny bit personal. They know me by now, of course. They know my disguises and habits. I know everyone who works for them, and how they work, but they all know me, too.”

“Okay how do they work,” I ask.

“They sometimes buy corpses from tomb raiders. They don’t need many corpses, not to make the paste, so it’s unlikely we can catch them with any of that. They have a few regular dealers, though, like me!”

I consider my options. I could do this, I think. I mean, I’m not entirely exactly sure what “this” really is, but I think we can maybe figure out a way to expose the Hefehxn family to House Doxedn and maybe save McTrinkets. Heck if I get on Doxedn’s good side they might keep Geofahn away from me too.

I guess going to the Doxedn city would be the best bet, but what do I do from there? Do I try to get more evidence before going to House Doxedn, or go straight to House Doxedn and say I can help them take out the Hefehxn family? I might need the house’s help coming up with ideas on how to really do this, I think, but maybe I can think of something real clever? If I go right to them, do I bring House Doxedn McTrinkets’ ghost-paste as evidence or not?

Where should McTrinkets go during all this? I mean, I guess she’s still in danger. I don’t think I can just leave her hanging around and hope nothing bad happens to her?

Or maybe this is a dumb idea that’s just gonna get everyone killed forever, and we should just put a lot of distance between us and the city. I mean, I seriously think I can do this if I wanted, though. It wouldn’t be easy, but screwing over McTrinkets’ debtors hard enough means they can’t come after her anymore.
>>
No. 461133 ID: f2c20c

>>461131
Is that a waterfall? It looks like the water ends rather abruptly. Don't get swept off a cliff.

I do think we should try to screw over her debtors. That is a pretty surefire way of keeping her alive. How about we just go into town, have McTrinkets stay in the inn or maybe out in public somewhere so nobody can just run up and stab her. You go talk to Doxedn and inform them that you are representing a black merchant who wants to turn against their former boss. Don't say it's Hefehxn off the bat, that will look suspicious. First of all we should make sure they won't burn McTrinket's corpse for her crimes. Second of all we should ask if they have some way of protecting her. Thirdly, THEY should be in charge of figuring out how to get evidence; they have most likely put more thought into it than we have.
>>
No. 461134 ID: dd980b

Who are these "connections?"
If hefehxn deals by proxy how will you tie the dealers to them?
>>
No. 461146 ID: 4a328b

I feel like you should dip Iaxio's finger in the paste but I can't think of a way to do that or ask to do that without sounding like a total butt

Instead, ask if she knows of any other dealers she can tell the House about to corroborate her story
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No. 461153 ID: c0e1ed

We should use our spyfinger to collect more information if we can. Since McTrinkets is helping us, maybe she'd be willing to front us some expenses to stay in the town a few days and see what info we can gather from our spy. Her knowledge will be very valuable, but we can't hide her very well because of all they know. However, she also said that they're basically not liked.

Would it be possible to tell Doxedn authority/guard/police/whatever dogs that some Hefehxn dogs or their hirelings are going to come try and cause trouble with McTrinkets. I mean, Hefehxn probably can't get us arrested or anything without getting themselves into trouble.

We also need McTrinkets to tell us about dogs we need to be on the lookout for, and see if she has sufficient info currently to give us some real evidence. But yeah basically wait and try to gather evidence, and maybe approach Doxedn dogs and tell them that some Hefehxn dogs are going to come cause trouble for now.
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No. 461154 ID: e3f578

I'm for destroying an entire house because of all the advantages we can gain
Here's the thing's you could win if you help Deoxeden,
1) Free protection in their lands from Geofahn
and
2) Deoxedon might educate you with skills to be more self reliant
and/or
3) A Deoxedon non-buttjerk husband (probably one of your choice to pursue), which can save your family from both extinction and your Mom from the wrath of the Geofahns. If you care about any of that anymore.
AND
4) We don't have to travel farther south into traditionalist buttjerkin' Faudren territory
So let's go to the city and get their help.

This situation is literally the only plan that assists your long-term goals of finding a home that we've come up with yet. If we don't do this, we have McTrinket's baggage on top of our own and have absolutely no direction. You might end up a lonely beggar with only McTrinkets as a real friend if we just keep going with the Faudren plan and then inevitably killed and made into paste by pissed off Hefehxns (unless we abandon the baggage early, but then you would be a buttjerk).
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No. 461174 ID: b33427

Sabby, there is not enough distance in the world for McTrinkets to run away. She knows too much, and for that House Hefexen will spare no expense in seeing her dead and ground into ghost-paste, and possibly you with her, at this point. Only way the both of you are getting out of for sure is taking them down first. So you're doing this, Sabby.

Get Iaxio out, and McTrinket's ghostbro Kekahkik, and get them up to speed on things. They need to be in on this.

Alright, if this is going to work, you're going to have to make contact with a high up in House Doxedn; One of the inner family. No associates, since they might be on the take from House Hefexen. And it has to be done without anyone seeing McTrinkets or you approaching them, 'cause it'll get back to Hefexen, and ruin the finger-spy-box part of the plan. Right now, the best way to do this is to get one of Kekahkik's fingers delivered to House Doxedn without Hefexen knowing, and the best way to do that at the moment is by getting one of the people on the approaching boats to do it.

Check that McTrinkets actually has enough coin on her to pay anyone to deliver this, then place Kekahkik's finger into a box or other container, seal it, and start scanning over the knot of boats coming down the river. Paddle against the current so they pass by. Look for another coracle or other small boat with non-Doxedn and non-Hefexen mantles, either full, half, or associates. Make sure to get the names of some high-ups in House Doxedn from McTrinkets before continuing. Approach the other craft, and ask if they'd do a small job for you in the Doxedn city, then make your offer: Deliver the container to whatever Doxedn high-up's name you got, in the Doxedn palace, with half payment up front, and half on delivery.

Keep trying until one takes, then continue on the river, sneak past the Hefexen docks, and take the west branch. Once nobody is in sight, land on the west bank, hide the coracle, and head inland, towards a spot south of the Doxedn city. Hide, and wait for Kekahkik to let you know his finger has arrived.
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No. 461195 ID: 2f4b71

Have McTrinkets write this stuff down, then courier it to Doxedn, with a (written) request for her to be allowed to turn Supergrass or whatever the local equivalent is (I'm guessing handling and sale of corpse powder is pretty stringently punished). Either Doxedn agree and McTrinkets gets protective custody, or they do not but still pursue house Hefexn on the back of the evidence (distracting them from pursuing McTrinkets).

Un an unrelated note, see if Iaxio can imitate McTrinket's ghost's colours. Though I can't think of an immediate use for it, being able to pull the ol' switcheroo might come in useful.
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No. 461379 ID: f2c20c

Oh right and if nobody else has said so yet, be quiet! You're still out in the open. Still hunted. You could be heard. Besides, this sort of subject is best spoken of in hushed tones.
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No. 462376 ID: 14f67b
File 135011843484.png - (117.35KB , 700x700 , 81.png )
462376

“Okay,” I say. “I think like, our best bet is to try and get Doxedn to want to protect you. How do we get our message to them? Do we wanna send them a mail with one of your ghost-friend’s fingers in it? Catch one of the river-boats and hire them as a courier and…”

McTrinkets chews on one of her own fingers. “That’s a clever idea, but I don’t know if House Doxedn would appreciate us being clever. Kekahkik doesn’t have either of our merchant’s tongues, either. No offense,” McTrinkets adds as the ghosts join in with us.

Kekahkik shrugs.

“How about we just send letters to Hefehxn while we hide out…?” I suggest.

McTrinkets shakes her head. “I think it’d be better if we went to House Doxedn face-to-face with it, instead of trying to do this business through proxy. Never make deals with someone whose face you can’t see. House Doxedn won’t trust us if we can’t put a face to our offer. Anyway, we don’t have time to send in a dozen letters and wait for responses.”

I reluctantly nod along with that. Dang, I thought those ideas were really good. “I mean, I guess we want House Doxedn to give you protection, and they can’t do that if we’re just hiding out in the woods talking to them by ghost. Okay. Do we have anything more than your corpse-paste to use as evidence?”

McTrinkets thinks. “I don’t want to sell out all the other sellers. They don’t deserve that. We could pretend that I think my debt is paid and I can go to Hefehxn, and use me as bait?” McTrinkets seems really unsure about it. “We can worry about the prices after we make House Doxedn aware there’s a deal to be made at all.

“Okay. So am I taking the corpse-paste along as proof there’s something shady going down? Uh, do you uhm, have any money I can use? Too? Because uhm. I sort of was robbed. Last morning.”

McTrinkets blinks at me. “Yes, take a little cap of corpse-paste along as proof. And here, I’ll loan you some money. If you save my life, you won’t have to pay me back. I’ll drop you off here and set myself in hiding on the other bank again. Use Kekahkik’s finger when you want to talk to me!”

She gives me 20 points of currency, and a tiny little thing of corpse-paste.
>>
No. 462377 ID: 14f67b
File 135011846977.png - (119.90KB , 700x700 , 82.png )
462377

An hour later, Iaxio and I are standing outside the House Doxedn manor again. I’m really still kind of tired and feeling a bit weak, and I kind of wish I could have a bath and comb out my fur at some point, but, eh, you know, I just look like some normal travel-weary stranger.

I didn’t see any family Hefehxn goons around town. I don’t think they kept an eye out for me after the dude saw me take a nap in the forest a few miles out of town, last night.

I’m gonna talk to the guard and ask for an audience. I had the idea to take this as high as I can, and I can do that, or I can see if someone lower in the family’s hierarchy wants to vet me first. I mean, I know all the protocol, I can, even as a stranger, finagle an audience with the family head if I want. I can take things slow, too. Should I tell the housedog at the gate I’m here about family Hefehxn, or leave it as more of a secret?
>>
No. 462408 ID: d3f29d

Don't drop the Hefehxn name with the guard; he's low on the totem pole, for all you know he's a double agent. Make it clear you have something important to discuss. Be polite. Use all your training. See how high up you can get before getting roadblocked.
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No. 462409 ID: 2f4b71

Time to diplomat the fuck up. Aim for the head of the house: if they're after taking down Hehexn, and you have the evidence needed for them to move, he's the one who'll be giving the go-ahead for that sort of high level decision. He also has the authority to pardon McTrinkets for trafficking.
>>
No. 462474 ID: dc4a44

Time to use your only marketable skill, knowing protocol! but seriously, try and keep a cool head.
>>
No. 462575 ID: b33427

There's no telling if or which of the guards, servants, or other manor-dogs may be on the take from Hefehxn, so until you get into a private audience with a Doxedn member, no mentioning anything about House Hefehxn, or corpse-paste. Also, is there the possibility that Hefehxn has snuck listening reliquaries into the manor? Best be on the safe side and assume the walls have Hefehxn ghost-ears.

You'd best shoot for a low to mid-level full member of House Doxedn. If Hefehxn has any agents in the Doxedn manor, or ghost "bugs," they'll likely be around the higher-ups. It'll also be much harder to get a private audience with a higher-up. If you convince a lower member of the house, they can bring it to the higher-ups without raising suspicion.

Now, in case the audience isn't in private, you'll need a way to convey why you're really here, and that you need a private audience, without speaking. Best write your reasons to be there, and why you can't speak openly, in a letter you could hand off to the Doxedn member. It shouldn't take long to buy the paper, ink and writing utensils, and find a quiet place to compose that.
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No. 462603 ID: 2f4b71

Could you use the Courier thing again (well, technically you ARE acting as a courier and a messenger in this case) in order to get to the head of house directly? Or is that sort of thing Not Done, or require some sort of seal of office or similar token?
>>
No. 462724 ID: f2c20c

>>462377
Do not speak audibly in a public place about your purpose here. Anyone could be listening. Also, I gotta ask- is it possible for a very low-tier member of the house to betray their house for money? Before you reveal your full purpose you should at least be speaking to someone who is very unlikely to have been bribed or be a spy.
>>
No. 466140 ID: e2f2fc
File 135119119527.png - (110.41KB , 800x800 , 83.png )
466140

I’m standing at the entrance to the House Doxedn manor. The realization of like, what I’m actually here to do twists around in my chest. I’m scared the housedog at the gate can see my mantle being tugged around by the grinding in my heart. Actually being here? This is really scary.

I’m going to try and get a political house to destroy a powerful family so I can save a person I hardly know.

I take a look at Iaxio.

“Why am I doing this?”

Iaxio gives me a cheeky shrug. “You want in McTrinkets’ skirt?”

Jeez. If it wouldn’t attract so much attention I’d slap him across the face with a whole building if I could.

>Be polite. Use all your training. See how high up you can get before getting roadblocked.
>Before you reveal your full purpose you should at least be speaking to someone who is very unlikely to have been bribed or be a spy.
>Aim for the head of the house: if they're after taking down Hehexn, and you have the evidence needed for them to move, he's the one who'll be giving the go-ahead

Let’s do it. I mean, I do know all the protocols and stuff. The worst that can happen is they tell me to leave, and, you know, at least I’d have tried at that point. You literally can’t kill the messenger, that’s not even a tombdog expression.

I approach the housedog guard and give him the formalities. I say I’m here on business that concerns the city and its masters, that I have reason to fear for myself in giving them this information. I look like a mess, my fur is going everywhere, I feel sort of sick, and I think my legs are shaking from a whole bunch of things, but I know all the polite and appropriate things to say, so he’s okay with me.

It’s early morning, and the heads of the house is already receiving general audiences. I said the right things to make sure get to talk to them directly, but that means I have to make sure I’m not wasting their time or this is going to be really embarrassing.

The Doxedn manor is huge. It’s way bigger than my family’s, and it’s a mix of styles. Some outlying buildings are clearly way older than the main thing. Holdovers from before House Doxedn was even a family. The two brown domes outside are crypts that might have changed occupants a few times by now.

The main building is in a more northernly style, still, with straight walls rimmed with solid iron decorations and stuff. Just spikes and bulges. I’m lead inside. It isn’t the first real, living manor I’ve ever been in, but the last time I was in a place like this that wasn’t my family’s butt-farm, I was like ten years old, okay.

I’m lead through the halls. The floor is made from huge solid sheets of brown stone, really smooth, and the walls are pretty close, vertical wood slats that feel really warm. There are doors leading off, and I hear lots of dogs moving around, but the housedog takes me a short walk to the back of the place.

The wooden walls stop and it opens up to a big door, like. It’s a single-bladed door, one-fourth a circle, and it’s way taller than me. It’s solid iron. No one can open this thing normally, but the door has bones worked in the whole surface. The housedog just gives it a tap and the thing shudders and the hidden ghosts of the door pull it open. Jeez. Like. Seriously. Jeez.

The room beyond is really dark, but I can get a feel for it. It’s round, domey, but I didn’t see any domes in the manor from the outside, so this thing probably is taking up more space than it needs, just to be impressive. The walls are iron, I think. I can smell it, dry and warm, curving up over me. There are little candles burning in recessed alcoves along the wall. There’s a skull behind each candle.

This isn’t a room, this is a crypt.

The heads of House Doxedn are seated on three thrones opposite me, immobile in the dim light. The two flanking the center sit low, but the middle seat is larger, and the figure in it is like, way not normal. None of them are alive. They’re all corpses. The two on the sides are corpsebounds, going by the look of them, how their posture is and all. I mean, you live here long enough, you learn to tell the corpses from the corpsebounds, you know?

I don’t know what the one in the center is. I mean, I do, but seriously. It’s a really old corpse. This thing has to predate House Doxedn. My best guess? It’s probably the ancestor of the founding members of the house, the ancestor of the dogs who eventually took the name Doxedn.

It’s a corpse, and it’s worked into the throne at the center like some weird statute. It has the same kind of metal securings as the corpsebounds, but they’re just kind of exaggerated everything. The whole thing kind of looms up into the middle of the room. Its skull is a tiny thing poking out of its massive robes, and I can see its arms, and they’re all the way back down on the throne’s arms, and they’re so far away it’s really kind of weird.

I’m expecting the center corpse’s ghost to manifest, but it just starts talking to me as it is. Seriously, I wish I had paid more attention to mom about how ancestor ghosts work. What is this thing? Is this normal?

“We receive you, guest,” the center corpse says. Its voice is an iron rumble the entire dome makes. I basically almost pee myself from the vibration. “What is your business?”

Okay. Okay, this was the easy part. Getting an audience with the head of a house isn’t that hard if you really know how to phrase it, but now I have to actually decide what I want to get out of them.

I know Family Hefehxn is basically taking up corpses and turning them into a paste to sell which is one of the few universal crimes in the remnant. I know Family Hefehxn and House Doxedn here don’t get along very well, but that House Doxedn hasn’t moved against Family Hefehxn openly, maybe because of lack of justification. I can maybe give them that justification.

Family Hefehxn wants McTrinkets dead, and she’ll be dead soon if I don’t do something. McTrinkets told me how Family Hefehxn gets their corpses from tomb raiders, that they sell the stuff through regular merchants like herself; Mctrinkets didn’t want to sell out any of the other merchants, though.

I might have enough to get them to move against Family Hefehxn. I have some of the corpse-paste, to prove it exists. I have McTrinket’s friend’s Kekahkik’s finger, if I want to call on him as a witness. How do I get them to actually move against Family Hefehxn? How do I get them to protect McTrinkets?
>>
No. 466158 ID: e3f578

>>466140
Play it using your innate merchant talent. Don't show all your inventory at first, ease it out and watch them give you more and more for that shit as they get desperate. Your turn.
>Desperate.
Desperate.
>Desperate
Desperate
>Desperate
>Dusty old men, running the world

Basically, show them nothing at first, no proof, just tell them you have reason to believe they would like to take down the Hefehxn's operation. Ask them if they're interested in any proof of the operation. Then entice them with the paste and explanation where you've acquired it, a witness willing to conspire against the Hefehxn in exchange for hers and your own protection. Never give McTrinket's name until they've said they'll protect her in exchange for her statement. Then you can give her name and your rendezvous.

This should work, but they'll probably get aggressive and snotty, this is where your going to have to use every polite political trick useful to this situation in combination with your merchant talent. You can do this, it's in you. Just remember to never back down and always remain confident that your offer will help their goals greatly, believe in it like it's the gospel truth. Don't let them make you nervous. They'll lose respect for you.
>>
No. 466193 ID: 6a1ec2

This is going to go so wonderfully when we discover every major house is grinding up corpses to preserve their ruling ghosts including Doxedn.
>>
No. 466208 ID: dc4a44

Present your grievance and goals.
explain why it is in mutual interest you work together.
when you have their compliance present evidence.
>>
No. 466210 ID: 2f4b71

>>466193
If they happen to even so much as hint that they may be doing so, don't even act like you heard it. Don't even acknowledge that it may be a possibility.
>>
No. 466212 ID: 2f4b71

Oh, and don't frame anything you say as indicating Doxedn has a beef with Hefexn and may want 'dirt' on them. You want to report a crime that is occuring in Doxedn's city, you are not trying to curry favour with them.
>>
No. 466215 ID: b33427

>>466158
Sabby, this is what you do. You hold the cards in your hand close, and make them give for every one revealed. Look the family head square in the face, don't back down, don't flinch, and don't waver. Know that everything in this room is designed to intimidate those who come before the head of the family; That it's all a trick to cow those before the family leaders, and steel yourself against it.

>>466193
Yes, there is that possibility, but even if House Doxedn is engaging in such things, they'd make it in-house, and if they did buy it, it'd never, ever, be from Hefexen. It doesn't change the value of what Sabby has one bit.
>>
No. 466294 ID: ad13ca

Listen, Sabby, these butts are like a million years old and they probably know every trick in the book. If you try to hold out on them, they'll probably just secretly kill you or something. Don't make them your enemies by trying to extract favors from them. If you do, they will tolerate you long enough to use you, then punish you for your insolence.

Their world is politics. You need to think in terms of being useful to them and acquiring legitimate gratitude rather than haggling. Except when it comes to getting McTrinkets off the hook - that's something that may have to be negotiated.

Odds are that these guys don't really like Geofandango either, so you might be able to use your own situation as a bargaining chip, but only in an emergency. These guys will do whatever gets them the largest long-term advantage, so selling you out to Geofahn might be a thing.

You need to tease out what they really want slowly, while always appearing to be on their side. I mean, for all you know, the animosity between Doxedn and Hefexn could be totally fake and be part of a smokescreen to draw attention away from Doxedn having a hand in it and reaping some of the profits.

This is what you do. You tell them with all correct politeness that you are a sinple courier and were considering doing business with house hefexn, but that you have heard some rumors that they are transporting and selling corpse paste. You'd like to know if there is any substance to these rumors, or if it is safe to do business with them. You would rather not risk carrying any illegal cargo.

They will of course ask where you found out about it, and you can tell them that you overheard someone mention it by the docks in House Aifix town. If they ask you to elaborate, you don't know who said it, because a commotion erupted when House G attacked house A and everyone disappeared before you got a good look.

If reactions are negative, thank them for their help and GTFO.

If reactions are positive, tell them that in addition, one of your merchant friends confessed to you that they were forced to sell some illicit cargo and want to come forward but are afraid. You put two and two together and think it's the corpse paste. If they can offer your friend some kind of pardon, you think you may be able to get them or someone else they know to cone forward with more information.
>>
No. 466297 ID: b6edd6

>>466193
Actually, I doubt that would make much of a difference. Politically useful outrage is rarely if ever stopped by things like complete hypocrisy.
>>
No. 472447 ID: 4b8c9e
File 135317670159.png - (102.78KB , 700x700 , 84.png )
472447

>Know that everything in this room is designed to intimidate those who come before the head of the family; That it's all a trick to cow those before the family leaders, and steel yourself against it.

Right, right. Although I mean. Being here, actually being here, in front of three really old corpses, my legs shaking and its voice vibrating my lungs, and I’m pretty sure a fever poking around in my head? I mean.

>Don't show all your inventory at first, ease it out and watch them give you more and more for that shit as they get desperate. Your turn.
>Listen, Sabby, these butts are like a million years old and they probably know every trick in the book. If you try to hold out on them, they'll probably just secretly kill you or something.

I’m gonna go with both of these thoughts at once, really. I’ll be careful to not act like I’m leading them on, but I won’t just dump everything in their laps at once. Honestly, though, I am here to try and take down family Hefehxn, so I can’t really beat around that bush too much. I mean, if I just play coy I don’t really get anywhere, so. Okay. Okay. Okay here we go.

>Oh, and don't frame anything you say as indicating Doxedn has a beef with Hefexn and may want 'dirt' on them. You want to report a crime that is occuring in Doxedn's city, you are not trying to curry favour with them.

“I am a stranger here, and was uninvolved with this town. You are its masters.” I give them a little pause to acknowledge that I acknowledge that they’re in charge. It’s, like, the classy thing to do, okay. And I’m going somewhere with this.

One of the corpsebounds on the sides speaks. Seriously I thought they might just be dead-dead. “We are.”

“I and my friend are threatened under your watch. I am a courier, and she is a merchant. Family Hefehxn has been using her to sell taxiholixif fhrefdemnm, and they’re now planning on killing her.”

The corpses are silent for a bit. The middle one speaks and the whole room shakes again. “Your friend has been an accomplice to a shameful trade.”

I was kind of actually hoping they’d say that. “Family Hefehxn has been operating a shameful trade under your stewardship, and they threaten my friend and I with it. If you would extend your protection and forgiveness to us, we can help you dismantle this shame that stains your city.”

The corpses are silent. I mean, I just kind of laid a big accusation on them sideways. I kind of implied it was their fault, but like, only through inaction, right?

Thronecorpse speaks again. I’m seriously just not getting used to its voice. It’s just this awful pressure on my stomach and I really wish I had gone to the bathroom earlier. “What aid or evidence could you give us?”

Okay, this is getting me somewhere? “Our lives are threatened, and we know the shame is on us. We only want safety. Will you grant it to us?”

“Tell us your evidence, and we will give you our offers.”

“My friend, the merchant, she knows how they work. She can tell you all the details. You can arrange to catch them, maybe. We have some corpse-paste to compare to what you might find in family Hefehxn’s hands. They want to kill us. We’ve enough of their ire to give to you as evidence.”

“You are new to our city, are you?” Thronecorpse sounds like it’s about to go into a thing so I just kind of nod and let it go where it wants. “Family Hefehxn is a young power. Their ambitions have lived a single decade. Our house has, in some form, ruled this town for centuries. Family Hefehxn hopes to take this city from us. They will fall on themselves, quietly, in their own time. We have outlasted many would-be successors. We will outlast them. Your business with them has been your own.”

Uhmm. “They’ll kill—”

“These risks are your own. Our house will endure in silence. You will pay for your crimes at your own pace. We are concluded.”

Crap. Crap!
>>
No. 472448 ID: 4b8c9e
File 135317672276.png - (58.26KB , 700x700 , 85.png )
472448

I don’t know where I went wrong with that. Maybe I didn’t really do anything wrong. Maybe this was just something I never had a chance at to begin with. I mean, really, some stranger showing up being all like “Hey, I got involved in something really illegal, if you’ll save me I’ll maybe help you catch these people?”

Just. Damnit. I don’t know. I thought I played it well. I teased them into it, I didn’t give them anything, I didn’t. I think I just got McTrinkets killed.

The housedog dog is outside, waiting for me. I’m lead out to the gate of the manor. He puts a sealed letter in my hand walks back to his post. Oh. Uh.

It has the House Doxedn seal on it, and the wax is still warm. What? I tell Iaxio to get his ghostbutt back out here and he’s next to me in an instant.

“I was listening in,” he says. “They didn’t really care, did they?”

“Yeah uh shut up that housedog just gave me this letter. That housedog, right there. I’m looking at him.” I am. He’s purposefully avoiding my eyes. “It’s got the House Doxedn seal.”

“Are they giving you your execution date?”

“Funny.”

I tear the seal and slip out the letter.

“Oh. What.”

“Are they?”

Things fall on their own
But are faster when pushed
We invite you to knock something over with us

There’s an address at the bottom. It’s in the docks. That’s where family Hefehxn’s influence is, but seeing as this thing was handed to me by a Doxedn dog with a Doxedn seal, I think this is a Doxedn invitation.

Am I attending?
>>
No. 472451 ID: e3f578

>>472448
While we just got barely our hooks into a deal through this last minute letter, hindsight affords me that if we also pointed out selfless benefits to the community, we could have gotten it most assuredly. I mean, with each paste made an innocent dog's ghost is killed, not only is it shameful to the living, but a horrible crime done to the innocent dead. I mean, what if some poor child ghosty got turned into paste?

I can only hope this isn't a Hefexn mole within the Doxedns. A seal and outfit can be faked. But let's attend, it is literally our only chance. We'd die otherwise for sure, save abandoning McTrinkets.
>>
No. 472452 ID: dc4a44

Let's tip some carts. It'd be rude to refuse an invitation.
>>
No. 472454 ID: 8c7474

Yep, this might be a trap but taking that chance is still probably less risky than just trying to outrun Hefehxn (especially if they do know we are trying to destroy them).
>>
No. 472459 ID: b33427

Well, it'd be rude to decline. Of course you will attend this little "knock over" party. It's pretty much your only option without abandoning McTrinkets, and even leaving her behind at this point may not save you.

Alright, figure that a Hefehxn agent is watching. Doesn't matter if there's nobody around, just be paranoid and assume they're watching. Put on a crestfallen look, and slowly fold and place the letter in your pack. That'll make it look like bad news. Then head towards the address on the docks via a rather aimless route and at a slow, sad pace.
>>
No. 472466 ID: 2f4b71

>>472451
>I can only hope this isn't a Hefexn mole within the Doxedns.
Alternatively, the Doxedn have (or suspect they have) a mole in their midst, who might overhear if they give you official blessing. Or that whole "sorry, you're up shit creek" speech was for the benefit of an eavesdropper to report back to Hefexn as misinformation.

Oh, and destroy that letter.
>>
No. 472478 ID: f2c20c

>>472448
Sounds like the big guy up top didn't care because he was too OLD. As in, he saw so many things die he was willing to just be patient and let time handle the problem. The younger members of the house are more likely to want to deal with it right now because it will get them prestige. It will help their future, and their future is not as foreseeable as that of the big honcho. I knew we should've gone to someone in the middle!

Definitely attend. Grasp at straws wherever you find them when the stakes are this high.
>>
No. 472507 ID: 58e163

>>472466
I'm suspecting ... -hoping- this is the case.

Let's go. Just, watch your back.

Also, yes, get to McTrinkets, show the letter, and destroy the letter.
>>
No. 472512 ID: 4a328b

>>472507
Agreement! You are not passing this opportunity up.
>>
No. 472689 ID: d3f29d

Use Kekahkik's finger to give McTrinkets an update. Swallow the letter. Go to this meeting; there's about a 50-50 chance it's a trap, so keep your weapon within easy reach in case things go pear-shaped.

How much time do we have? Is there enough time to seek Maexiks's insight?
>>
No. 472691 ID: f7050e
File 135324845001.png - (123.64KB , 800x800 , 86.png )
472691

>I can only hope this isn't a Hefexn mole within the Doxedns. A seal and outfit can be faked.
>Doxedn have (or suspect they have) a mole in their midst, who might overhear if they give you official blessing.

“So, this could be a trap,” I tell Iaxio.

“Yes. It could.”

“Or house Doxedn could just have been putting on a show for any spies in their house.”

“That works too. Are we going?”

“Yeah. Yeah, we’re taking this all the way.”

Iaxio gives me a long stare. “And you are feeling okay?”

Fuh. I haven’t gotten proper rest in a while and my clothes are still damp and itchy, but, like, yeah, look. Whenever you hear those awesome stories of heroes doing all sorts of great heroic things they probably always leave out that they were tired and delirious and hungry the whole time.

I mean this isn’t the most heroic quest ever but seriously, half the “quests” my family’s done have probably been secret sex scandals. Screw them I’m awesome.

“I’m feeling fine,” I tell him.

>Use Kekahkik's finger to give McTrinkets an update.

Oh that is smart. I get out of the way of everyone and get Kekahkik’s attention.

His ghost appears. “What is it?”

“How are things with you?”

“We’re hiding. Any progress?”

“I got a uh. Secret meeting with someone Doxedn-related. It might be a trap but maybe we’ll see some progress. Are you two gonna be okay hiding out for a while?”

Kekahkik shrugs. “You’re the one who had the prediction. Will we be?”

The prediction said she only had a chance if I was with her, and I’m not with her now, but, like. Maexiks’ been wrong before. And I’m “with” her figuratively? “Just… be careful.”

Kekahkik disappears. Okay. They’re fine for now, that’s good to know.

>Is there enough time to seek Maexiks's insight?

“Think I should take a nap and see if Maexiks has any thoughts?”

“Another alleyway nap?” Iaxio asks.

“I uh. I guess. Okay. I guess not?”

I leave the city and cross the great bridge. The docks are a little city of their own, with close, tight buildings that are all a mix of warehouses and houses strangling one another with their shoulders. There are all sorts of dogs in all sorts of colors moving around here. Maybe only half have colors that tie back into the cities. I don’t feel super entirely safe here. There are a lot of corners and a lot of shady looking dogs hanging around.

The address is for this burp of a blue home that’s squished between a warehouse and a busy coffee-bar. It’s kind of quaint.

There are bones set into the door, so I tap them with my knuckles. “Hey, anyone home?”

I feel a tingle pass through me. Iaxio feels it too. “I think that was a ghost.”

“Ghost door-bell,” I say. “It’s ringing.”

There’s footsteps and the door opens. A chubby middle-aged lady dressed way nicer than me is there. She holds the door no wider than she has to and she gives me this annoyed look. She’s keeping inside the doorway and looking past me, too, like she’s expecting a bunch of thugs to try and jump inside.

“What is it, yes?” she asks. “Who are you?”

Okay. This is like, maybe the only point where I decide if this feels safe or not to go in; and if I’m going in, how I’m going to be introducing and handling myself.
>>
No. 472696 ID: f2c20c

>>472691
Introduce yourself politely under your fake name, and say that you were given an invitation. Show it if pressed, but try to keep it a bit subtle. Don't go gabbing about the purpose of the invitation. Could be people listening.
>>
No. 472713 ID: 58e163

No big red flags yet. Go ahead and enter.
>>
No. 472718 ID: cedf82

>>472691
to be honest, this feels like one of the houses is planning to sacrifice you for some greater goal.

the guard could be a Hefehxn mole, giving you a fake Doxedn letter in order to get you alone in their influence - especially now that they know Hefehxn doesn't care.

or it could be an actual Doxedn letter, sending you to your doom just to see how it goes from there. what better proof of crime then catching Hefehxn officials with literal blood on their hands?

in there you will have no backup. if things get ugly you will die. and that's best case scenario. i don't like this, my instincts are yelling at me that we're going in blind without a planned exit.

what do you expect would happen, best case scenario? that Doxedn will show up and rescue you? that this is a Hefehxn hide out?
Hefehxn doesn't care about you, they will not show up - you might be of more use to them dead and you are definitely of no use to them alive. you have no reason to suspect this is a Hefehxn hide out, and Hefehxn would be foolish to show it to you if it were.

make an excuse and get away, sleep on it and plan with our bug and merchant friends. the letter didn't mention a date or a time.
>>
No. 472724 ID: f2c20c

>>472718
If Hefexn wanted to kill us they'd just wait outside of town and follow us to McTrinkets. They don't NEED to give us a fake letter.
>>
No. 472726 ID: cedf82

>>472724
true, unless they can gain something greater than just McTrinkets. they might turn this into a move against Doxedn somehow. we don't have enough information to rule that out.
even if it's not them, it being Doxedn doesn't make it any safer.
>>
No. 472730 ID: f7050e
File 135327060449.png - (159.59KB , 800x800 , 87.png )
472730

>Introduce yourself politely under your fake name, and say that you were given an invitation. Show it if pressed, but try to keep it a bit subtle.

“My name’s Taliaxix,” I tell her. She shakes her head in confusion and starts to close the door. “I was invited.

She pauses. “Oh! Oh are you—”

Oh good I was almost afraid I had the wrong house. “Yes.”

“You got here much faster than I thought! Come in, come in.”

Iaxio and I go inside. The house is cramped, very tight. There are small rooms with a narrow hallway squeezing through them. Everything looks pretty expensive and kind of old, but, like. Not the kind of old where she inherited it. The kind of old where she bought a bunch of stuff from a lot of dying families. The whole place smells warm, a cinnamony incense.

I have to kind of press against the wall to get past her, so she can even close the door behind me. “My name’s Meandraxix,” she says. “I’m sorry to say I expected something… different.”

I don’t really know what she means by that. I’m not sure if I should be offended or not. The three of us have to rearrange ourselves again so she can lead me into the house. I step back into a cozy sitting room to let her take the lead—you could barely fit three dogs in the room, and its bookstacks and chairs are all pressed in on top of one another.

She leads me around the twisting hallway and up some really, really steep stairs. I have to hike my skirt up a bit to even manage them. I feel like I’m going to fall over backwards any second and just die, but Iaxio’s behind me and I can feel his hand on my back, keeping me steady.

Meandraxix leads me into what had to be that round room with the windows I saw from outside. There’s a table here I can’t figure out how anyone could fit behind, but someone clearly has.

He’s a House Doxedn dog.

“That was fast,” he says.

Meandraxix wedges herself between the table and the round bench that’s set into the wall, and she takes a seat for herself. “This is Taliaxix,” she introduces me. “Taliaxix, this is Kehfn. He’s with House Doxedn.”

“Uhm, this is Iaxio,” I say. Iaxio can’t actually get past me, into the room, but he gets up on his toes and waves hello to everyone. “So uh, pushing things over, huh?”

Kehfn leans forward over the table. He looks really young, like, maybe my age, maybe even younger. His face is totally serious, though. “Thank you for coming.”

I’d take a seat, but that’d mean trapping one of them behind the table, and I’m getting claustrophobic in this place enough as it is. I lean against the wall, instead, being mindful of the little knick-knacks that are hanging everywhere. “Well, uh. It’s kind of the only choice I had, you know?”

Kehfn gets right into things. “My house’s internal stance on family Hefehxn is to let them be. To let them make their own mistakes. My house believes that, because we have lasted so long, no young ambition can present a threat to us. I believe my house has lasted so long because we did not ignore dangers and assume time an ally that would dismantle our foes for us.”

“Okay, okay,” I say. I still think I’m going to play it off like I didn’t know about the animosity between House Doxedn and family Hefehxn. Like, that I’m just here looking for protection, and to bring some bad dudes to justice. “The Hefehxns are kind of scary.”

Kehfn smiles. “They are kind of scary. I had a ghost listening to your audience. I’ll give you what help I can, in exchange for the return.”

Okay, so. I can tell them things. Do I want to be more forward than I was with the house heads? I could ask questions too, because, like, right now, I know butt nothing about them.
>>
No. 472733 ID: f2c20c

>>472730
Alright, definitely be more forward. He is offering help, and that's what we were looking for. Also ask about them. Like, how does he plan to use this information against Hefehxn if the family doesn't really agree with taking an active role in the conflict? How would he protect McTrinkets (and possibly you)?

Tell him what McTrinkets has been selling, and that she is willing to spill the beans on everything BUT what would get the other merchants like her in trouble. If he wants proof now, show him the corpsedust.
>>
No. 472750 ID: e3f578

>>472730
Mention that there's also a concern for the ghosts being made into the product. Do the Doxxy's even care about the victims being made into paste? You do, your best friend is a ghost for pete's sake. You just heard about the business from your friend after she tried to make those Heffers less angry at her. She's done you enough solids for you to want to help her. Plus, well, know the Heffers know your own face when you tried to make owe up that solid the first time, and it got worse from there. So that's how you got wrapped up in this crazy bullshit.

I don't think it's a trap anymore, your not dead or being tortured in a dungeon yet for McTrinket's location. So, I think we're past the point of danger. Because The Hefexsn don't seem to be the type to bullshit around with this much deception, only enough as necessary before they would brute force it.
>>
No. 472751 ID: 58e163

Right, so we need some specifics for this arrangement. What's he going to do to protect Sabhaxlia and you? How do we plan to take down House Hefehxn?

In the last encounter, we mentioned that House Hefehxn has it in for our friend, and what wares they're peddling. In this meeting, we can get into more specifics - present evidence, more specific information, etc - save for anything relating to your true identity, of course.

As for questions... I can't think of any that would be appropriate at this juncture. They might be evil butts too, for all we know, but they'd be evil butts taking out the evil butts who're actively trying to make paste out of McTrinkets.

Asking how he intends to help us when the heads of his house aren't interested is a good question. Ask that.
>>
No. 472781 ID: b33427

Summon up Kekahkik and have him take a seat at the table so he can hear the conversation and relay the important bits to McTrinkets later. It'll save you from having to recount it to him. Or have Iaxio take a seat, and Kekahkik stand behind you, if you want.

Lay out what McTrinkets is willing to hand over and do in exchange for protection. This includes putting herself in danger to go to House Hefexhn while wearing a "ghost wire," as long as there's a reasonable chance she'll get back out alive.

See if you can get the lowdown from Kehfn on the situation with House Hefexhn and House Doxedn. How quick has Hefexhn's rise to power been, and how stuck up their own asses has Doxedn become? How long has House Doxedn been skating along?

Is this how most houses that come to power die out? Their leadership becomes filled with corpsebound who believe that time will kill all their opposition, forgetting how their house rose to power 'cause the last house thought the same?
>>
No. 473105 ID: a4a438
File 135337635705.png - (171.30KB , 700x700 , 88.png )
473105

>Summon up Kekahkik and have him take a seat at the table so he can hear the conversation and relay the important bits to McTrinkets later.

“Okay, wait, before we get into all the stuff, I need to call up another ghost. He’s uh, in my backpack.” I put my backpack on the floor and kick it. “Hey, Kekahkik, get your butt up here. It’s important. C’mon.”

Kekahkik’s ghost appears in the room and Iaxio has to step back onto the stairs so that we can all fit. Me, Kekahkik, Iaxio, Kehfn, and Meandraxix, we’re five dogs crammed into a house that doesn’t look like it was meant to hold more than one.

“Right. Kekahkik’s a ghost with my merchant friend. He should probably be around to hear all this too.”

>See if you can get the lowdown from Kehfn on the situation with House Hefexhn and House Doxedn. How quick has Hefexhn's rise to power been, and how stuck up their own asses has Doxedn become? How long has House Doxedn been skating along?

Let’s get spices up here before we start working the meat. “How long has family Hefehxn been a problem? How powerful are they, how weak are you?”

Kehfn starts playing with the relic on his wrist. “Ten years ago family Hefehxn was unremarkable. Their trading in illicit goods, like the corpse-paste, got them money, and money got them friends. At their core, family Hefehxn is still only, maybe, fifteen dogs and as many ghosts.”

“And you guys?”

“House Doxedn? There’s fifty of us living, and over hundred ghosts. That’s spread out between this city and a few outlying towns, of course. Hefehxn has influence with merchants and shipping-families on the docks and along the river-road, but they’re still not powerful enough to challenge us.”

“So why doesn’t your family do something to stop them?”

“Because they’ve done nothing to justify actually taking action against them. They’ve insinuated themselves with the right people, and they’re clearly up to lots of schemes they don’t let on to, but my house doesn’t want to cause a scandal with so little to go on.”

>Like, how does he plan to use this information against Hefehxn if the family doesn't really agree with taking an active role in the conflict?

“So, okay.” I lean back against the doorframe and cross my arms. I can’t see myself from the outside, but I think I look like some cool word-weary traveler. I hope I don’t look as terrified as I actually am about all of this. “House Doxedn doesn’t want to move against family Hefehxn. What can you actually do for us when your house doesn’t really want to cause a fuss?”

Kehfn smiles. “I’m House Doxedn’s living heir. A wanderer like you may not know, but houses aren’t as uniform as our mantles show. There are other dogs with me who think family Hefehxn has to be opposed before their influence roots itself too deep to uh. To uproot.” He shifts around against the table like he wished he had thought of a better way to phrase that.

I nod at him. “I mean, I know how houses work. Even if you have dogs who support you, you’re under pressure to not like, just march in with an army, right? So what can you do to protect my friend and me?”

Kehfn agrees. “You’re right. We can’t risk actual conflict, and even I can’t drag my house into the scandal of revealing Hefehxn’s business publically. Family Hefehxn’s allies need to be persuaded that it would be safer to stop supporting them.”

“Okay, okay…”

“We need to convince their allies that we have enough evidence to cause a scandal. That we could, if we wanted, bring their shameful business into the public eye. Family Hefehxn will lose their power overnight. They’re a small family. Without their supporters, they don’t have enough blood members to even risk attacking anyone on their own. They wouldn’t have one of their heirs commit murder just for petty revenge.”

“Mm.” I look over at Kekahkik. He looks kind of disgruntled but, I mean, he always seems to look like that, so who knows what he thinks of this deal.

“You’ll also receive House Doxedn’s full pardon for anything you’ve done. We’ll keep you safe during all of this, too. Just, do not worry about how we can protect you. We can do that. Discrediting Hefehxn is the actual problem.”

“So how do we do that?”

“We have a merchant who’s dealt for them,” Kehfn says. “That’s one third of their business we have an insider to represent. Meandraxix has shipping ties throughout the river-road, and she’s dealt with family Hefehxn. That’s another third of their operation we have an insider on. It’s unfortunate we still don’t have anyone who’s supplied them corpses.”

“Yeah, I guess,” I say. “Where would we even have found that?”

“That is the problem. Their suppliers are likely roaming bandits and adventurers. I’m not friends with any riff-raff.” Kehfn gives me this sly look like he’s being really subtle but he so isn’t. “Would a wanderer like you know any?”

“I mean, you’re asking if I know anyone who might have supplied corpses to Hefehxn to turn into paste?” I’m about to say no when I wonder if maybe I have met some dogs like that. I mean, there’s a chance those bandits out on the road might have done that at some point? Do I actually wanna go through the trouble of trying to find them a third time on the hopes they’ll have had dealings with Hefehxn?

Kehfn taps his fingers on the table. “If you don’t know anyone who might have supplied them with corpses, we can still make this work with just your friend. We’ll have to put them at a bit more of a risk, but we can do that too. Speaking of your friend, where are they? We can go find them and bring them into safety, unless they’d rather hide out until we want them. Hmm?”

Kehfn looks up at Kekahkik.

Kekahkik just looks at me and shrugs. “You’re the one who had the prophecy.”

I guess those are the next things to decide, then. If I tell him about the bandits, and if so, how we’re gonna contact them; and if McTrinkets stays out in hiding where she is, or we try to get her under Doxedn protection now. I also have another chance to ask questions or come up with my own plans, if I want.
>>
No. 473109 ID: f2c20c

>>473105
Tell him you got robbed by a bandit who might have done that sort of thing. Ask him if he can get together a cart or something, to ride back along that road and impersonate being a merchant. Maybe bring some money along just so they don't get pissed that they robbed someone who didn't have anything. You'll probably want to rest in it, because holy crap you are dead tired.

I think you should get McTrinkets under protection immediately. The longer she is out in the open the more likely it is that she'll be found. This guy already said he was willing to try to make things work with just her helping out, so I don't think he will object to retrieving her. Plus I don't see any reason to have her hiding on her own instead of under this guy's protection.

You SHOULD try to time her retrieval to match finding the bandits, though. If Hefexn spots that McTrinkets is being brought in, they might try to cut the bandits out of the equation to remove them as evidence.
>>
No. 473116 ID: 62496e

>>473105
Tell him about the bandits on the road, but point out that they don't actually seem to be doing too much killing.
>>
No. 473126 ID: dc4a44

You don't need to kill to get corpses. They could be crypt raiders.
>>
No. 473262 ID: b33427

Mention to Kehfn that you were robbed on the north road by some eccentric "bandits" that did not act real bandit-y. Talked like this wasn't their usual gig. They might have worked for Hefexhn as corpse thieves. Also mention that you mentioned it to one of the Doxedn guards, and she seemed to know a bit about them, so Kehfn may want to talk to whoever is in charge of the guard about that, and possibly head off them being hunted down or something.

You could combine getting McTrinkets into Doxedn custody and baiting the "bandits" into meeting you. Here's what you and Kehfn do. You walk back out and wander around the city for a few hours, before heading out the north gate a ways and waiting in the forest near the road. Meanwhile Kehfn heads back to the Doxedn manor, and writes up the most official looking letter to the "bandits" he can, containing the deal he's offering. He then puts it in a Doxedn carriage, along with a Doxedn relic with a ghost he trusts that can communicate through, and instructs the driver to head out the north gate, pick up a person of your description on the north road, and follow their directions.

Once you're in the carriage, contact McTrinkets and tell her to make her way to the road, give her description to the driver and tell him to stop and let her in when he sees her. Continue on the road north to either the first or second village, whichever is nearer when night is about to fall, then turn around. Continue back to the city under nightfall, and hopefully the "bandits" will jump you at some point along this ride.

When the do, have McTrinkets do the talking, since she's the merchant here. Between the official letter and the Doxedn relic, they should believe that your offering is legit.
>>
No. 473291 ID: 2f4b71

The bandits went out of their way not to harm you. It'd be a hell of a coincidence if Hefexn's bandits just happened to be camping out right outside the city.
>>
No. 473464 ID: 4553a0
File 135351929378.png - (117.90KB , 700x700 , 89.png )
473464

>>473109
>>473262

I rub my eyes. I don’t feel that terribly tired, but I’m kind of balking at the plan I’m getting in my head. It’s a good one, but I'm gonna be in this for the long haul.

I start explaining it. “So, like. Okay. I have the ideas. I ran into some bandits on the road north of here. They took my money, but they weren’t very good at being bandits. Like, I mean, one of the bandits just outright told me that.”

Kehfn is listening so I just keep explaining.

“They’ve been around long enough that when I went to your house to report them, the housedog there had already heard of them. So I mean, maybe they’ve been selling corpses to Hefehxn? I don’t think they’re killing people but maybe they’re raiding crypts?”

Kehfn starts to smile. Like, really slowly. “Even if they haven’t been selling corpses to Hefehxn, we can have them say they did anyway.”

Huh. “Like, get them to lie? Isn’t the point that we want people who know how it works?”

Kehfn shrugs. “The threat that we have informants will suffice if we don’t actually have any.”

I mean, that sounds kind of shady, but they’re bandits, so I guess this is fine. “Yeah, okay. Look, I was thinking we don’t, like, capture the bandits. We make them want to work with us? We already don’t have as much support as we’d like, not having to coerce them, like, making them willing to work with us? Look, we get the bandits to want to help us, we don’t have to worry about family Hefehxn buying them out from under us.”

Kehfn seems kind of surprised by this but he looks over at Meandraxix and they nod. “I didn’t expect this kind of finesse from a wandering stranger. Do you have a plan to contact them?”

I do have a plan for that, actually! “We get a carriage set up, right? And we have it pick me up and we trundle down the road and try to get the bandit’s attention. They’ll surround it and yell at us, I saw them rob one before, okay? And then I step out and I’ll be like “Hey, want a job?” We can pick my friend up along the road, too, my merchant friend. She’s good at talking so maybe she can help convince them to go along with us?”

Kehfn gives me an even look. “That’s a bit risky, but I can’t think of any better idea. Meandraxix, can we use your carriage? A House Doxedn carriage might scare the bandits off. Especially if they’re aware they’re not very good bandits.”

Meandraxix is on board. “Of course. I’ll get you the key as you leave. It’s in the stables at the edge of the docks.”

Okay. Okay, this sounds like a plan. I look over at Iaxio and Kekahkik. “Okay guys. Any thoughts?”

Iaxio titters a bit. “We’re using ourselves as bait to hire bandits who’ve already robbed us. So we can use them as evidence against a criminal family. Sabby this plan is so dumb I can’t criticize it anymore.”

Kekahkik makes a really exaggerated shrug. He really goes all out with the damn thing. “I’ll contact McTrinkets and see what she says. Give me a moment.” He blinks. “I called her McTrinkets.”

“You totally did.”

Kekahkik’s gone, just, not there anymore. The four of us kind of sit around awkwardly, looking at the walls and stuff, until he’s back, standing right where he had been. “McTrinkets thinks you’re nuts, and she likes it. It’s uh. What she told me to say.”

Kehfn stands up and the table jumps when his knees smack into it. He sits back down immediately. “Damnit! Ouch. Taliaxix, I’m going to send one of my housedogs along with you for protection. If things with the bandits go poorly, we can at least take them off the roads. I’ll also be providing the driver and payments... I’ll need an hour to prepare all this.”

“All right! Cool. What uh.” I kind of look around. “What do I do until then?”

Meandraxix offers, “You can stay here with me. You look traveled-out. I can draw you up a bath and put some proper food in you.”

Kehfn clicks his wrist-reliquary. “If you go to the carriage and have it prepared, we can get this done more quickly.”

Iaxio snickers. “We could take a nap in an alleyway again.”
>>
No. 473499 ID: dc4a44

You should sleep. sleep is good.
>>
No. 473505 ID: 0fb4a1

Food and bath! You've earned it.
>>
No. 473506 ID: 6cc859

>>473464
Plus or minus half an hour isn't going to make much difference, and you really need some rest. Thank Meandraxix.
>>
No. 473525 ID: b33427

You're on the clock here, and you don't know how much time is left. So no side tracking, even for a much needed bath. That's for after you and McTrinkets are both safe.

Tell Meandraxix you'll take whatever she can whip up quick that's portable. Ask for a few coins so you can order up the biggest, strongest coffee that shop next door can make while she's fixing the food. You're going to be flying on caffeine like you've never been before. Get the food, then head on to the carriage.

Ask Kehfn why he keeps fiddling with that reliquary on his wrist. Just a nervous habit?
>>
No. 473611 ID: 1e9d01

>>473464
No sleeping. That will kill hours before you get any benefit and you don't ACTUALLY need it. You just need to sit down for a spell and maybe get something to eat and drink. Food is important, so we should get some of that, but we can actually eat while traveling, you know. A bath might not take long, I can't argue too much against that. It might even help make a better presentation.
>>
No. 473688 ID: 2bde6a
File 135359549070.png - (100.24KB , 700x700 , 90.png )
473688

I don’t really want to lazy around too much, but I seriously haven’t had a bath since I started my journey. How long as it even been? Four days? A week? I can’t even keep track anymore. It’s all been a blur and I haven’t even really had time to reflect on the whole thing.

I’m kind of sick of how my fur feels, unwashed and itchy. Jeez I bet I have fleas. “A bath? I mean, look, I can’t really turn that down, if you’re going to be kind enough.”

Kehfn scoots his way out from behind the table. “I’ll leave you ladies to it. I’ll prepare everything. Taliaxix, can you be at the north road out of the docks in an hour or so?”

“Yeah, that’s fine,” I agree.

Kekahkik prepares to leave, too. “I’ll get back to McTrinkets. Contact me when your carriage is in motion.”

Our little secret meeting is concluded. I collect my stuff and Meandraxix leads me downstairs to a tiny room nestled under the stairs. There’s a bath here, a round tubby bowl thing. She starts the water for me. “I’ll leave you to it,” she says. “I’ll fry up some food for you, too. We can’t really guess how long it’ll take you to find those bandits, can we?”

“That’s fair. Uhm. Jeez, thanks, okay? It’s been a long time on the road without any real rest.”

“Well, get some now,” she says. “You won’t have another chance to rest for a while.”

“Yeah, that’s for sure.”

Meandraxix leaves, and I close the door. Iaxio’s still around.

“So uh,” I say to him. “You’re going back to your shrine on the road for a while.”

Iaxio grins at me like a dope. “What? Why? All the excitement’s down here.”

Excitement is on hold while I’m naked in the bathtub, and you don’t need to share that adventure with me.”

Iaxio laughs. “We know we’re related now, though! I couldn’t possibly think of you like that.”

I give him the best death glare I can. “Lots of families marry relatives as distantly related as we are. I’m not buying it.”

Iaxio giggles some more. “I’m a ghost, and you’re a runaway. You don’t need to keep the mantle of proper behavior on. You don’t need to keep any mantle on.”

I mean, I’ve been carrying my stuff around with me, you know? My spear, my sack, I brought it into the bathing room with me. I grab my spear and bop Iaxio on the head with it. He actually flinches. Hitting him felt like slapping the surface of a lake or something. A little water tension feeling.

Iaxio gets all serious. “But no, I’m not leaving. We don’t know these people enough to let our guard down that far. If you fall asleep, I don’t want you to miss anything. I’m serious.” I can tell from his face he really is.

“Fine, but you’re looking the other way.”

“I’ll only occasionally glance back.”

“Ugh. Fine.”

I get undressed. Iaxio does peek now and then, and I give him a rude gesture each time. I’m not actually honestly sure how to feel about his interests. Is it creepy? Is he kind of cute? I mean. Maybe this isn’t the time to be wondering which of my companions I’d make out with or not.

The water is hot and it’s like my muscles just melt into it instantly. I lean back against the bowl and.

I consider sleeping, or not sleeping, and both sound good. Seriously, who knows how bad things are gonna get later on today. This is all so risky. I think, in the end, I deserve a nap.
>>
No. 473689 ID: 2bde6a
File 135359551673.png - (132.06KB , 700x700 , 91.png )
473689

Oh! I’m under the dreambug sky. I had nearly forgotten about this whole dream-friend thing when I decided to sleep. This landscape is something I haven’t seen before. It might be more of the dreambug world? It’s sharp and dangerous looking, flat and exposed, with a big cluster of rock stabbing up from the ground over there. I don’t actually see Maexiks around anywhere.

I head to the cluster of rocks. It’s the only landmark around, and the only way to go. I wouldn’t mind talking to her. The last time we talked, she was freaking out about me getting myself and McTrinkets killed and how it was all her fault for trying to follow her prophecies. I should probably tell her things are all right.

Once I get close to the rocks it isn’t hard to find her. Maexiks is in a little space beneath two massive slabs, her wings out and glowing. “Hey!” I call out to her. “What are you doing over here?”

She breaks out of her dream-trance or whatever and looks at me. In another second she’s pressed against me and gripping me in her arms.

“Whoa! Hi!” I say.

“Wake up!” Her voice has a panic in it I didn’t even know dreambugs could have.

“I just fell asleep like five minutes ago gimme a break,” I say.

She tugs me around and her spikes actually push into my skin. I can feel blood. “He’s already coming!”

My stomach starts to drop. “Who’s coming? Maexiks, what, what’s going on?” She’s freaking out still and she isn’t going to be any good until she’s calm. I grab her thorax and stroke her. “Calm down, c’mon, what’s up?”

She calms down. Her grip loosens. “The woman you are with has told your enemies where you are. Someone is coming to take you away. He will be there very soon.”

What. “What?” I can’t even start to believe this.

“There will be one dog. He will have a weapon and he will come and he will take you away into a dark place and I can’t dream of you once you’re in there. There is something that forces me to wake when I follow the dream there and I do not even know what can do that.”

Oh boy. Oh jeez. “That isn’t fair. This isn’t fair.” This is not fair at all. I’m trying to save McTrinkets and I trust these guys and it goes like this? “Maexiks, how was I supposed to know?”

“You couldn’t have known. I couldn’t know. Your enemies are trying to keep me from you. I do not even know which enemies. You must wake up and be ready.”

“Maexiks, I’m naked, in a tiny bathroom. What am I supposed to do about this guy? Did you dream a future where I don’t go to a dark and scary place that you can’t follow me into?”

She lets go of me. “Yes. I tried following you into the dark place so many times. I only followed the dream another direction once. I was trying too hard to see the dark place.”

“Okay, please. How do I get out of this?”

“My prophecies have already made things so terrible. I saw what you did to escape.”

“Right! What was it?”

“I already mislead your friend into trouble, and now I put you into trouble. Sabhaxlia, no. If I tell you what I saw you did, you will do it.”

“And I’ll escape?”

“And it will be my fault, and you will blame me. I won’t be responsible for that. You must decide your own life. Wake up.”
>>
No. 473690 ID: 2bde6a
File 135359553843.png - (103.97KB , 700x700 , 92.png )
473690

I wake up. Iaxio is staring at me slyly but I don’t have time for this. “Dumbutt, Hefehxn is coming. Like, now. Meandraxix sold us out. I don’t know if Kehfn is actually with House Doxedn or not and Maexiks won’t tell me what I need to do to get out of this.”

Iaxio takes it seriously, at least. “Crap.”

There’s a knock on the door a second later. It creaks open and a dog wearing the family Hefehxn mantle steps in. His sword is naked in his hand. “Hello,” he says. He notices me and I see his ears twitch and he looks over at Iaxio instead. “Oh. You’re, uh. Ah. Do you know who I am?”

I do not like being naked, in the water, sitting down, with this guy. I seriously don’t remember feeling this vulnerable ever before. “You’re from family Hefehxn,” I say.

“And you can guess why I’m here?”

“Because I’m trying to stop you guys from being butts all over the place?”

The Hefehxn goon nods. His eyes have wandered over to the floor now. I can see a blush in his ears. “How about you get dressed and come out? I have some people who want to talk to you.” He fumbles the door closed as he steps out into the hall.

I’m alone with Iaxio for the moment, and I don’t think I have much longer than a moment to do anything.

How do I get out of this pissgrave alive?
>>
No. 473691 ID: 6e2071

I feel like maybe you take your spear and stab him in the back with your spear.
>>
No. 473692 ID: e3f578

Go along with this first. Compliment him that we're at least being civil and get dressed. He'll drop his guard, men always do. That swords grip will be weakened, even if he tries his best not to. Maybe be a little forward actually. Flirt.

Grasp his balls in your hand through his pants. Gently first, THEN SQUEEEEEEESE.

I actually don't believe this man to be a professional. If he was, he would have waited for you to finish your damn bath, to get dressed first, and strangled you until you pass out from behind the door.

I get it seems demeaning to do this sort of stuff, but it's your only advantage right now. At least your a semi-attractive naked girl, which should give you all the advantage you need with most males.
>>
No. 473694 ID: e3f578

>>473692
Wait, I'm a dumbass, I forgot to tell you what to do after that. He'll likely drop his sword than manage to get you with it, so you can grab that. If he doesn't, push him from his chest backwards out into the other room, go for your spear and go for a quick kill.

Spear vs. Sword always wins, usually as long as you get the first strike. and he won't be as agile with his balls crushed. Just remember this important thing, follow instinct and flow. You see that sword drop or his grip loosen, you push him if the grip is looser, get that sword, slice him up. If it doesn't, let your adrenaline take over, push him anyways, and go for your spear and let instinct do the rest.
>>
No. 473697 ID: cf49fc

Okay, think. Do you see any small, concealable blunt instruments? Candlesticks, flat irons, particularly sharp brucks of soap? Take one with you, and act innocent. Have Iaxio distract him, then take the item out from underneath your mantle and hit him in the upper back of the skull with it. Don't let up, and when he's dead, BURN HIM. We cannot let him warn Hefehxen. Kill Meandraxix too. She's a traitor, she'll warn them. In fact, you might as well burn the whole damn building down. Eliminate the evidence...
>>
No. 473716 ID: f962e8

>>473697
But what if the guy who went to find McTrinkets and the bandits is a good guy after all? No point in burning his house down, which would also draw more attention to you as a whole. You dont want that.

He gave you time to get dressed. Do that. Is there a window? Go look out that. Examine your surroundings for any way out. You have to get to McTri-
CALL UP MCTRINKET'S GHOST BRO NOW AND INFORM HIM OF THIS.
>>
No. 473733 ID: dbd7ca

>>473690
tell McTrinkets to change hiding place as she may have company incoming. jump through a window if there is one. can you guys ghost tower or whatever was that thing that guys used to blow up that dog? can you use the corpse paste for a boost? you need every edge.

if you strike through Iaxio with the spear, sharp end first, would it hurt him? if not have him go out first then strike through him into the enemy to surprise him maybe.
>>
No. 473784 ID: b33427

You must let McTrinkets know the plan's been compromised. Get up out of the tub, pull the drain plug, and then rifle through your pack for Kekahkik's finger. The sound of the draining water will mask you digging through your bag, and your whispers to him. Whisper to his finger to be quiet when he manifests, and not be shocked you're naked. When he appears, whisper to him that the plump lady at the meeting sold you out to Hefexhn, the plan's screwed, and McTrinkets should get to Kehfn any way she can to inform him, and get his protection. She can't go deeper into hiding now, since at this point she'd just get tracked down and double-killed.

Throw on your boots, stuff your clothes into your pack and sling that onto your back. Yes, you're going to be naked. You won't like it one bit, but the shock to everyone of you breaking this taboo might just give you an edge. And if you get out into the street, you're going to make a huge scene, and everyone is going to stay back from you, which is just what you need to clear a path.

Try pulling the spearhead off your spear. If you can remove it, it can be used as an improvised dagger, which will work far better as a close quarters weapon than a spear. The spear shaft can still be used as a blunt weapon.

Now what you do next depends on which way the door opens, which way is towards the exit, which way goes up the stairs, and where whoever is in the hall is. Can Iaxio blink through the door to check if his reliquary is close to it?

Figure the front door is blocked, so you're going to have to go up the stairs into that turret room. Those steep stairs will be a good spot to knock any pursuers back with your spear, and once you get to the top, block the doorway with the table. Open or bust out one of the windows, knocking out the glass on the bottom edge, and drop onto the coffee shop roof.
>>
No. 473934 ID: 171de7
File 135369212714.png - (185.55KB , 700x700 , 93.png )
473934

Okay, I need a plan, now, and fast, and it has to be good.

>Another plan is we can use his bashfulness against him. Charge out stark naked and stab him.
>Throw on your boots, stuff your clothes into your pack and sling that onto your back. Yes, you're going to be naked. You won't like it one bit, but the shock to everyone of you breaking this taboo might just give you an edge.

This is the dumbest idea and I think it’s my best chance. He was embarrassed enough about seeing me naked that he gave me time to get dressed. If he hesitates for just a second, that’ll be enough. I kind of need every little advantage I can get right now, right? Because I’m not going with him.

>I feel like maybe you take your spear and stab him in the back with your spear.

I think I’m going to kill him.

First thing’s first.

>Get up out of the tub, pull the drain plug, and then rifle through your pack for Kekahkik's finger.

I pull myself out over the edge of the tub and start dripping everywhere. I pull out the drain and let the water start gurgling down the pipe’s throat. It makes really noisy gargle noises like it’s choking. Hopefully, if I keep things quiet, it’ll be enough that the goon outside won’t hear what I’m doing in here.

I pull open my pack and stuff my clothes into it, whispering for Kekahkik to show up like now. He does, and thankfully he seems to catch on that me panicking naked means something’s gone seriously wrong.

“What’s wrong?” he whispers.

“Meandraxix sold us out. Hefehxn outside the door. I think I’m going to kill him? You should tell McTrinkets she might be in danger.”

I pack my clothes into the backpack tight and pull it closed. Hopefully the guy outside just thinks the noise is like, me getting dressed. I have to stop for a second and open it back up to get Iaxio’s reliquary out of the pack. I put it around my neck. I don’t want to end up separated from him.

Kekahkik looks around and he’s looking nervous now. “Are you sure you can kill him?”

“No,” I admit.

>can you use the corpse paste for a boost?

I start puling my boots on. It feels weird having the leather slide up against my wet fur but I’ll freaking deal with it. “Hey, Kekahkik,” I ask. “How fast does the corpse-paste work?”

“Instantly? Are you going to—”

I fumble in my pack for the corpse-paste. It’s a tiny little clay jar thing with a cap I pop off. The paste inside looked like creamy spiderwebs and smells faintly of ash and bone. I pop open Iaxio’s reliquary and look up at him. He has his ear to the door but his eyes are on me.

“Iaxio,” I say. “You okay with this?”

“Do whatever you need,” he hisses. “Fast. You should have been dressed by now.”

Okay okay. I shake Iaxio’s finger out of the reliquary and into the jar. I smush it around in the paste. The paste is soft and it doesn’t stick to me at all, but it clings to Iaxio’s finger like glue. Once that’s done I pop his finger back in the reliquary and stuff the jar into my pack.

I look back up at Iaxio. “Feel any different?”

“It’s hard to tell,” Iaxio says. “We’re out of time, the water’s gone from the tub. Do this now.”

> can you guys ghost tower or whatever was that thing that guys used to blow up that dog?

I pull the backpack’s straps around my shoulders and stand up. It feels freaking weird to be wearing just boots and a backpack. I get Kekahkik’s attention. “Do you think you and Iaxio could bind yourselves to me? I think—I think I might need the help.”

Kekahkik nods. “Just keep the backpack on. I can stack onto you from there.”

I grab my spear. I grip Iaxio’s reliquary in my other hand and I make the ghost-bind request. Normally you need to make some kind of formal appeal and the ghost has to respond but at this point I just go, “Iaxio, Kekahkik, get on my butt now.”

They do. Their ghosts fold around me, their shapes matching mine. My hand, Iaxio’s hand, Kekahkik’s hand, they all grip the spear together. When I lift it I can feel the strength of their faded arms move it with me. Okay.

I pull open the door. The ghosts do, too, and the door slams, louder than I had meant to. Oops.

The family Hefehxn dog is there in the hallway. He was facing the other way, but the door slamming turns him around real fast. I can see the confusion in his eyes. He hesitates. He’s looking at my body, and then at the ghosts, and at the spear, and it’s clear the poor guy has just. No. Idea. What is happening.

And if I think about this for another second longer, I’m going to lose the nerve to do this.

I just. Rear back and throw my shoulders at him.

I can feel the ghosts move along with me. Their hands are on the spear, pushing it with mine. Kekahkik’s guiding it more than I am. I feel the shudder of the shaft as the blade pops between the guy’s ribs and into his chest. He looks at me in surprise. Just. The surprise in his face doesn’t go away.

He starts to fall and I have to put my boot on his shoulder to tug my spear out of him. His chest barfs blood onto the floor and he’s making these little noises that make me sick to hear.

But he’s down, on the floor, and if he isn’t dead I think he’s just about there. Okay, I killed a dude. That happened.
>>
No. 473935 ID: 171de7
File 135369215122.png - (103.42KB , 700x700 , 94.png )
473935

> And if you get out into the street, you're going to make a huge scene, and everyone is going to stay back from you, which is just what you need to clear a path.
> bust out one of the windows, knocking out the glass on the bottom edge, and drop onto the coffee shop roof.

That works, that works.

> Also, I'd like to note that running out into the streets *where Hefexn has influence* is a bad idea. It would be a better idea to use the cramped quarters here to your advantage. Pile up stuff to block the hallway after killing the one guy here so far.

But maybe I should just hold out here, and wait for Kehfn to get here.

> Kill Meandraxix too. She's a traitor, she'll warn them. In fact, you might as well burn the whole damn building down.

Damnit I. I have too many ideas of what to do next, and I can’t really come to any solid consensus in my head.

But I can hear Meandraxix moving around in the next room, so I should at least do something about her, first. I get myself in there. It’s a tiny reading room, and she’s just sort of fidgeting around. She puts herself back against a wall when she sees me and she looks like she’s a heartbeat away from freaking out.

I mean, I’m naked, holding a blood-covered spear, with two ghosts stacked onto me, and she just tried to sell me out. I’d be nervous if I were her too.

The room is small and I cover the distance in a single step. She tries to get past me but I slam her back into the wall with the shaft of the spear and hold her down against it. She pushes her arms at me but with the two ghosts in on this, she can’t do much for herself.

What do I do now? Do I kill her? Spare her? What do I do after I deal with Meandraxix? Do I go out into the street? If I do, where do I try to go? Do I hold up here and try to wait it out…?
>>
No. 473944 ID: dbd7ca

>>473935
you can't stay in this house, they know you're here. if that guy doesn't return more will come. hell, more can be waiting outside the door. the safe bet is to ask some questions, quietly, then kill her. you can't be merciful right now - it'll get you killed. survival first! just try not to get her cloths bloody, you'll need them later.

take with you some kind of proof that you were sold out. try to get it from her (maybe she has a letter on her?) or from the corpse. you need it to not be on another strong house's bad side. you need that proof and the woman, who can lie to Doxedn and say you betrayed HER, must die.

after that, make sure McTrinckets gets somewhere safe, we still don't know if that Doxedn guy is really a Doxedn guy at all, then put on Meandraxix's colors, set a big fire for a distraction and get out. you're aiming to mingle in the crowds and get out of our enemy's area of influence undetected. when you're out and unseen change back, burn Meandraxix's cloths and go to the meeting place.
do NOT just show yourself, check to see if it's an ambush first.
>>
No. 473947 ID: dbd7ca

before you kill her, ask what she told them, who else is coming, where were they taking you and whether or not Kehfn is in on it. you might want to let laxio talk, you're not very intimidating at the best of times. check to make sure the guy is dead, if not ask him too then end him. when you're done take her money and that guy's sword and whatever else you think might be useful and that you can take within a couple of minutes. have laxio listen at the front door while you search.

when you are safe, if you still have time before the meeting, go talk with Maexiks. both to calm her down and to see if the meeting is a trap.
>>
No. 473948 ID: ec2e47

Some of sword guy's Hefehxn colored stuff might help for evidence, at least of the fact that Hefehxn showed up at the house.
>>
No. 473969 ID: c6ec33

Look, Sabby, she may be a butt, but she's pretty defenseless, ok. Killing defenseless prisoners is taking you down a path that's pretty fucked up, ok. Killing people to ensure your own survival is the easy way out, and it's not something you want on your conscience, dragging you down when you need to focus on escape. If you lose your sense of honor and mercy, what have you gained?

Besides, she'll be in enough trouble with Doxedn when they find out. She's fucked up pretty bad, and she'll either have to go on the run (and you know how fun that is) or submit to punishment. And I can't imagine that Hefexn will be too happy with her after one of their dudes died in her house.

Threaten her, then get as much info from her as possible. Did she warn the Hefexn about the entire plan, or just that you were in the house? Why did she do this? How long has she been a Hefexn spy? Does she have a ghost around here that she uses to communicate with Kehfn?

If she gets uppity, smack her around a bit (at least it's better than killing her). Maybe cut her a little I guess?

You might be able to get her to follow along with the plan, still. Force her into the carriage, threaten to kill her if she blabs, etc. Maybe that's not a good idea though? If you can get a message to Kehfn, and ask for his thoughts, that's probably the best.
>>
No. 473970 ID: e3f578

>>473935
I think we should quickly ask why she betrayed you. For coin, obviously, but still. Then threaten her again, how much are we surrounded? Where are the windows to the rooftops?

Can the ghosts help you super jump and super land? We might have to do some crazy ghost parkour on the rooftops. I know they're helping with your strength right now, so you'll be able to mantle yourself up things real good. Are you faster too? Might want to get clothes on real fast, like really quick clothes. Wait, no, ask for HER clothes to and wear those as you run. Your pursuers will be very confused for little bits as you switch disguises. Hell, if you can, get the Hefiexn robes from the dead guy if you can as well.
>>
No. 474013 ID: ef8e6e

After you do whatever to her, get dressed. Now that you killed the dude there you've got time. If you leave her alive, keep an eye on her and keep the ghosts on you.
>>
No. 474015 ID: ef8e6e

OOoh, and you really ought to have grabbed that guy's nifty sword. That is, if you had a way to carry it.
>>
No. 474028 ID: 2f4b71

I don't think interrogating her will work. We're in the middle of hefexn Country, holding a bloody spear, with a dead Hefexn in the next room. All Meandraxix needs to do is shout for help, and you're up shit creek.

We're a little lacking in basic Dog biology: do blows to the head (e.g. with the haft/butt of your spear) typically knock you out without being fatal? Or can you press the haft into her throat to strangle/asphyxiate her? If you can knock her out, you can tie her up and gag her, and get away without killing her. If you can't then it's her or you, even if she hasn't threatened you directly.
>>
No. 474030 ID: ef8e6e

Uh, guys?
We did make sure that other dude wasnt carrying relics on him, right? Right? Cause like, he might use those and call up some help.
>>
No. 474049 ID: b33427

Make it plainly clear that if she tries to yell for help you will kill her where she stands, but if she cooperates she will live another day. Keep your spear pointed at her, back up to block the doorway and order her to remove her clothes and leave them on the chair; You'll need those for a disguise.

While she's stripping down, ask her why she is aiding Hefexhn, and if Kehfn was really the Doxedn living heir. Then ask her where she keeps her money in the house, and be truthful about it; You'll take that before you leave. Then tell her that if she wishes to live beyond tomorrow, when she wakes up she should start running and not look back.

Once she's naked, order her to turn around and close her eyes, then either knock her out or choke her unconscious, whichever you think you can do with less chance of killing her. Pull the rope out of your pack, cut off a few lengths, bind her so she can't move, gag her, and tie her muzzle shut so she can't speak. If you have no rope, cut strips from the Hefexhn guy's mantle and clothes to use.

Step out into the hall, lock the front door, and relieve the late Hefexhn swordsdog of his sword, its scabbard, his money, and his reliquaries. This is to stop his ghost from manifesting and getting the attention of any reliquary ghosts. Drop the reliquaries down the bathtub drain and wash them away. Be careful not to draw the attention of any ghosts attached to the reliquaries.

Put on Meandraxix's clothes. If her clothes don't fit well enough, you'll have to search the place for other clothes. Possibly ones she kept from when she was younger and thinner.

Start searching the house for other ways out, such as a back door, avoiding any windows that are uncovered. Get Meandraxix's money if she told you where it was earlier as well.

You can't hold up here. Hefexhn will send guys out to check on their missing swordsdog eventually, and you have no way to call for rescue before then. You'll have to head out, but not via the roofs from the turret window; That's way too obvious. No way to choose before checking if anyone is watching the place, so head to the turret, and look out onto the street for any dogs wearing Hefexhn colors, or any hanging around watching the front door. If you're lucky, you'll be able to slip out the front and away in the crowd.
>>
No. 474055 ID: 1e9d01

>>473935
First, we ask how many others there are. If there are no others, continue the questioning. How did he get in with the door having a ghost-lock? Can anyone else get in? Are there more coming? How soon, if so? If not, more questions. Who did she tell? What did she tell them? Where were they going to take you? Don't be surprised if she has no idea what the answers to most of these questions are. Honestly I only expect her to know if there was more than one dude, and what she did to contact someone and let them in.

If there are others here now or coming soon and they can get in on their own, we need to knock her out and continue questioning her later while we barricade and get dressed. If the door is secure now and she only let one person in then we might be okay and just need to keep her tied up or something until the other guy gets back. Might want to let the other guy decide what to do about her so you don't have to get more blood on your hands. Her being alive might even give him more leverage to get Hefexn in trouble.
>>
No. 474088 ID: ec2e47

Meandraxix probably has Doxedn reliquaries on her if she has been with them for any length of time. Have her give them to you (threatening stabbing or something if she gives you a Hexfhen relic), than call Kehfn with the relic. (I think you can tell if it is a Doxedn relic after activating it by seeing if the ghost is wearing their colors.)
>>
No. 474091 ID: 1e9d01

>>474088
Heyyy, there might even be some reliquaries in the house we can use.
>>
No. 474109 ID: 1e9d01

Hey, shouldn't the door be a reliquary? It's ghost-operated or something similar, and those ghosts would have to be at least somewhat lucid, right?
>>
No. 474112 ID: ef8e6e

I dont think using any of their relics are a good idea. The ghosts could have ties with our enemies, so theyd just alert them if that's the case.

I dont think we should kill this lady. Just hogtie and muzzle her.
>>
No. 474175 ID: a19870
File 135378289180.png - (151.22KB , 700x700 , 95.png )
474175

>Look, Sabby, she may be a butt, but she's pretty defenseless, ok. Killing defenseless prisoners is taking you down a path that's pretty fucked up, ok.

Okay. Yeah. Yeah. That other guy, who knew what he’d have done to me? Her face is right in front of mine and she’s almost crying. I don’t. I don’t think I can just start stabbing her to death.

>Threaten her, then get as much info from her as possible.

I especially can’t kill her when she’s more useful to me alive.

>Wait, no, ask for HER clothes to and wear those as you run.
>Keep your spear pointed at her, back up to block the doorway and order her to remove her clothes and leave them on the chair; You'll need those for a disguise.

First thing’s first, I don’t know what Hefehxn knows about my appearance, but I know they won’t be looking for someone in Meadraxix’s colors at first. If it helps me escape just a little bit, I’m taking the advantage.

I step away from Meandraxix but keep my spear at her. “All right. Get undressed.”

Meandraxix keeps herself against the wall and just stares at me and I don’t really have the time or patience to be playing around right now.

I tap my spear against her side. “I’m not joking. Naked. Now. I’m stealing your clothes.”

Meandraxix flinches like I just stabbed her. Her arms slowly come out of their hiding place under her mantle, and she starts pulling the necklaces off of herself. They clatter on the ground like water. Right now, it’s become the only noise in the house.

>First, we ask how many others there are. Are there more coming? How soon, if so?

I have time for questions. “You called that dog here? Is anyone else from family Hefehxn coming? How long do I have?”

Meandraxix pulls her mantle over her head and I have her toss it onto a nearby chair. “It’s just him. It was only him. They were only sending him.”

“Your door is ghost-locked? Can anyone else come inside?”

She nods her head. “The door will open for any Hefehxn.” I guess there’s no chance of holding up safely in here.

>ask what she told them

“What did you tell family Hefehxn? What was he here to do?”

Meandraxix adds her shirt to the chair. She’s topless now and she doesn’t seem to want to lose any more clothes. “I told them your plan. About you, and the bandits, and your friend. They sent someone here to take you away. They told me to tell Kehfn that you had gone to meet the carriage. To pretend that you had vanished on the streets after you left the house.”

“And what about the bandits? What about my merchant friend?”

“I don’t know what their plan for that was. They were going to make it appear that you vanished after leaving my house. That’s all they told me.”

>whether or not Kehfn is in on it
>if Kehfn was really the Doxedn living heir.

“So Kehfn is House Doxedn’s living heir?”

Meandraxix nods. She’s staring at a table, arms over her chest. I’m not really about to feel sorry for her. “He is. Since his father’s death, yes.”

“And you’re a Hefehxn spy.”

“I am.”

“Does Kehfn know you’re a spy?”

She shakes her head. “No.”

>Why did she do this? How long has she been a Hefexn spy?

This isn’t as informative as I’d have liked, and this is taking up too much time. I tap my spear on her belly. “Seriously, clothes, now. How long have you been a spy for Hefehxn? Why are you doing this? Money?”

She gets her skirt and stockings off. “They have family relics of mine,” she says. Her voice is a strained little whimper now. “I was working with Kehfn against family Hefehxn for a year. They tried to frame us as having an affair. When no one cared about their lie they stole family relics.” She looks at me and she’s basically outright crying now. “They’ll do things to my family’s ghosts if I didn’t help them. Family Hefehxn can do things. I don’t care who wins, I just don’t want anything to happen to my family.”

Jeez I don’t even know how to think about her. Especially since, like, I up and abandoned my whole family to oblivion and scandal. I guess it doesn’t matter right now if I have any sympathy for her or not, she sold me out and I could still be in danger right now.

>Uh, guys? We did make sure that other dude wasnt carrying relics on him, right? Right? Cause like, he might use those and call up some help.

IndangerjustlikethatCRAP.

I duck my head into the hall. The guy I killed, his ghost is there now. His ghost is leaning on the wall staring down at his body.

“Hey!” I call to him.

He looks up at me and stumbles back and trips over his own body. His ghost lands noiselessly on the floor.

“Do you have any Hefehxn relics on you?”

He nods. “Y-yes. Three.”

>Drop the reliquaries down the bathtub drain and wash them away. Be careful not to draw the attention of any ghosts attached to the reliquaries.

“If you contact them, if you tell any of your ghosts that you’re dead, I’ll drop their relics down the drain. Your family can have fun fishing the fingers out from the bottom of the river. Understand?”

The ghost nods and nods and nods at me. “Okay. Okay. Okay.”

I point my spear at him. His blood is still streaked across the blade. “I’ve already killed you once. Don’t make me burn your corpse in a box.” It’s the first threat I can think of, and it sounds corny, but like. I’m threatening him with the spear that killed him, and I’m naked and covered in ghosts.

I’m probably pretty freaking terrifying right now.

I step back into the room with Meandraxix. She’s still where I left her, naked, but she’s turned against the wall and she’s sobbing into it. I don’t have the time to decide if I feel bad for her or not. I put my backpack on the ground and dig my rope and hook-blade knife out from inside.

Taking the backpack off breaks the ghost-bind with Kekahkik. I tell him to go back to McTrinkets and tell her how bad things’ve gotten, and maybe be ready to help me again if things go terrible.

>Just hogtie and muzzle her.

I put my spear along the chair and get up behind her. I still don’t know much about tying knots, but between Iaxio and myself we figure something out. I tie her wrists behind her back, then make her kneel to tie her wrists to her ankles. She doesn’t resist. She doesn’t even cry very much as I’m doing it. I cut the rope with my knife and stuff the rest back into my pack.

>do blows to the head (e.g. with the haft/butt of your spear) typically knock you out without being fatal? Or can you press the haft into her throat to strangle/asphyxiate her?

I’ve read some cheesy novels where the hero knocks dudes out by giving them a pop on the head, but I’m pretty sure that’s just fiction. I seriously don’t know if I can bring myself to beat her unconscious now that I’ve tied her up, either. I might as well kill her if I’m going to be that violent.

>Does she have a ghost around here that she uses to communicate with Kehfn?

“Do you have any way of contacting Kehfn? A ghost?”

“No,” she says. “Yes. No. We each have a fingertip of a ghost in our bedrooms, but the ghost is weak. It can only get one another’s attention. The ghost can’t pass messages. He won’t be in his bedroom. I’m sorry.”

“Do you think Hefehxn will send another dog here, if the last one doesn’t show up?”

“Yes. Yes, probably.”

Okay I’m done with her. I grab her clothes and start pulling them on. She’s thicker than me, and the clothes are a bit loose, but I pull the drawstrings tight and they fit well enough to not be in the way.

>Then ask her where she keeps her money in the house, and be truthful about it; You'll take that before you leave.

I’m about to leave when I stop and turn to her. “Hey, where do you keep your money?”

I see her body shudder like I just kicked her. “The room across the hall has some.”

“Thanks.” I go in and grab a whole bunch of coins. I have, like, 60 points’ worth of currency right now.
>>
No. 474176 ID: a19870
File 135378294057.png - (129.25KB , 800x800 , 96.png )
474176

I pass back out into the hall again. The Hefehxn dog’s ghost is still there, still stuck staring at his own corpse.

“Hey,” I call to him. “What were you going to do to me?”

He shakes his head slowly. Really slowly. For a moment I thought he just saw something to the side or whatever. “I was going to take you to a warehouse. Chelcahxix was going to take you from there. He was going to find out what you knew.”

“So he’s wondering why we haven’t shown up yet.”

“I guess.”

Okay, I need to leave, now. Staying here is clearly too dangerous. I make the ghost give me the location of the warehouse I was supposed to be brought to, just in case I need to know it.

>No way to choose before checking if anyone is watching the place, so head to the turret, and look out onto the street for any dogs wearing Hefexhn colors, or any hanging around watching the front door. If you're lucky, you'll be able to slip out the front and away in the crowd.
>Can the ghosts help you super jump and super land? We might have to do some crazy ghost parkour on the rooftops.
>Open or bust out one of the windows, knocking out the glass on the bottom edge, and drop onto the coffee shop roof.

I can either jump out of the round turret-room onto the coffee shop, or just use the front door. But considering that…

>Hey, shouldn't the door be a reliquary? It's ghost-operated or something similar, and those ghosts would have to be at least somewhat lucid, right?

The door has ghosts in it, and since Hefehxn might be able to get them to say which direction I went, I might as well just hop out the window.

I grab the Hefehxn dog’s sword and strap, and secure it around my waist. His ghost watches me as I do it. “You killed me,” he says.

“Yeah and you were gonna do the same to me if I didn’t play along, right?”

“I wasn’t even married yet,” the ghost says. “You killed me.”

I press my boot onto his corpse’s back. He scrambles away from me, as far as his ghost can get from his body. “If you call your family for help, I’ll kill you again.” I don’t know if I really feel this mean-spirited or not. Maybe I do. Maybe I’m just acting. I don’t even know. I just really cannot let this guy call for help.

I go up the stairs, into the room we had our meeting in. There’s no glass. I just hop out, down onto the coffee house. The dogs inside are so loud none of them even notice. I slip down the back side of the building and onto the streets. There’s no one in the street for the moment, no one notices. I’m clear, for now.

Okay, so. Do I check out the stable where Meandraxix’s carriage was? Do I try to find Kehfn? Do I go up along the road, escaping the town, and hope to meet up with McTrinkets, or hope the carriage leaves and meets me on the road? Do I go to the warehouse the dog was going to lead me and force some more answers? Something else?
>>
No. 474178 ID: c6ec33

One question before you GTFO - how hard would it be for you to go back in there, steal that finger that she uses to alert Kehfn, and smear it up with corpse paste? That might be a thing.

Next:
-Clean off that bloody spear. That's probably going to draw attention.
-Try to find Kehfn. He said be at "north road out of the docks in an hour". That means that either he'll be there, or someone loyal to him will be there. Skip the carriage; that plan will have to be on hold.

Once Kehfn knows about this, he'll have to send people to investigate. This spy, alone, might be enough to convince the higher-ups among Doxedn to take more action... if not, it'll just prove to Kehfn that he's on the right path, and that he needs to work even harder to take down Hefexn.

How long has it been? Do you think you have time to dally, or should you go right there right now?

IF you have time to spend, it looks like a cloudy day. Is there anywhere near the docks that you could exchange your current colors (I'm sure you know the protocols for what to say to do so without being suspicious), or buy something not-too-suspicious that would go over your new colors, like a traveler's poncho? Eventually, the Hefexn ghost is going to get brave enough to contact his allies, and they are going to be pissed... AND looking for your *new* colors. If they're bold enough, they might even try to take out Kehfn in an "accident", so you two need to get out of Hefexn territory as soon as you meet up.
>>
No. 474180 ID: e3f578

>>474176
Finding Kefn's our best bet in my eyes. We don't know where anything is except for I think the carriage and the warehouse, but the carriage will be ambushed very soon if it hasn't already been made a trap for you. The warehouse is stupid, information isn't that valuable, unless it's close and not out of the way. You'd have to surprise them. And it's very likely the interrogator will lie as he'd actually be a Hefexn, may even not care if you destroy his body.

McTrinkets is fine, she's been hiding for a while now. And she'll hide some more. Kefn's your best bet. As for something else, maybe try and knock a lone Hefesn unconscious by strangling him until he passes out, only if he's alone. Tie him up and steal HIS disguise. Then until that guard is found, no one will know who you'd be for a while. Just that you're Hefexn at long distance. It's preferable if you find a girl, but whatever, find a lonely Hefexn.
>>
No. 474181 ID: dbd7ca

>>474176
get cleaned up, no more blood on you!
it was fun while it lasted but break the ghost tower, it'll draw attention.
don't go to the meeting, Hefehxn knows about it now. the bandits are a no-go as well. you need to find Kehfn somehow, it's kind of your best option right now. if Meandraxix talks with him first you're fucked.
>>
No. 474210 ID: 07c0bb

>>474178
But the other finger is in his bedroom. He's not in his bedroom, it wouldn't be any good to use and we've already left.

Id suggest poking your head back in and giving him a quick apology, a little "I'm not married yet either, I was terrified for my life. It was either you or me, sorry."
>>
No. 474273 ID: b33427

Dang it! Shoulda taken the reliquaries off the dead Hefexhn guy and dropped them in the turret on the way out. That would have kept his ghost from using them. Ah, well. Too late now.

Clean the blood off your spear or it'll draw attention. A puddle will do, even if it ends up muddy.

You have a little bit of time before that Hefexhn guy's ghost pings his reliquaries and informs the rest of his house of what happened, and your disguise. Use them to get word to Kehfn that the plan has gone sour.

Kehfn said he was going to get one of his housedogs to ride in the carriage, so that means he most likely went back to the Doxedn manor to get one. He couldn't just contact them by reliquaries, since he'd have to hand off the carriage key. This means there's going to be a Doxedn housedog, with Doxedn communication reliquaries, at Meandraxix's carriage soon. If you get there before he leaves, he can get word to Kehfn via Doxedn ghost that things have gone bad. You'd go find Kehfn, but by now you have no idea where he'd be in the city.
>>
No. 474283 ID: 1e9d01

>>474176
Get the blood off your spear unless you want to attract attention, like the police.

Don't waste time talking to that guy you killed. You killed him for a good reason, and he should've known he was getting into a dangerous situation. Besides, he's still got a ghost life. It's not THAT bad.

I say we try to get to Kefn via Doxedn relic, so let's find another Doxedn. Any Doxedn, really, but the guard that gave us the note would work most reliably.
>>
No. 474467 ID: 58e163

Get down, break the ghost tower, and clean up. We don't want to stand out.

Our next objective should be to find Kehfn. Tell him that Meandraxix was extorted into working for Hefehxn and that the secrecy of the plan has been compromised. Get him up to speed on events.
>>
No. 474531 ID: 6c3b85

Run to the carriage house.
>>
No. 474784 ID: 056536
File 135399834058.png - (152.96KB , 700x700 , 97.png )
474784

>That would have kept his ghost from using them. Ah, well. Too late now.

Rummaging through his body for his relics might have honestly gotten the ghosts’ attention? Maybe? I think I scared the poor dude’s ghost into submission with my down-the-drain threat so I only really have to worry about when family Hefehxn sends someone in to check out the place.

>Id suggest poking your head back in and giving him a quick apology, a little "I'm not married yet either, I was terrified for my life. It was either you or me, sorry."

I really can’t afford to start being super sympathetic with him, but yeah. Yeah I mean. I mean I guess I do feel kind of bad about killing him. I mean, just because he can live a normal life as a ghost doesn’t mean I didn’t just kill him. He [i]was[.i] gonna give me over to “questioned” in a warehouse, so I’m gonna hold off dwelling on this whole thing until I have time to have emotions.

Seriously. My heart is beating so hard I’m still not really calmed down enough to be thinking stuff like that.

>He couldn't just contact them by reliquaries, since he'd have to hand off the carriage key. This means there's going to be a Doxedn housedog, with Doxedn communication reliquaries, at Meandraxix's carriage soon. If you get there before he leaves, he can get word to Kehfn via Doxedn ghost that things have gone bad. You'd go find Kehfn, but by now you have no idea where he'd be in the city.

This is the best plan.

>Get the blood off your spear unless you want to attract attention
>it was fun while it lasted but break the ghost tower, it'll draw attention.

These are the best plan’s two best friends that I’m having over for dinner.

I have Iaxio go back to following alongside me and I use a puddle and my fingers to scrub most of the blood off the spearhead. It looks dirty now but what it doesn’t look like is “recently used.”

It’s not hard to find the carriage-house. The place has to be by the exit of town because, with how random the buildings of the dock are placed, there’s no way a carriage is navigating its way through this mess regularly.

When I get there it’s started to rain a bit. The carriage house smells like animals and it’s really like, two buildings. There’s a long building with huge doors that probably all have carriages in them. Just across from that, there’s a deeper building that’s full of noisy, smelly animals.

There’s a tombdog in local colors with a pole, that’s got this flat plane of metal on the bottom, and he’s flattening out the dirt lane that goes between the buildings. I’m guessing he works here.

So am I gonna just find a spot to hang around and wait? Am I hiding myself or not? Do I try to talk to this guy? I’m wearing Meandraxix’s colors, so maybe he’ll recognize them, but maybe that could be a good thing?
>>
No. 474792 ID: e3f578

>>474784
It's gonna be weird with a ghost dog in red clothes with you though. Get Iaxio to poof away before we butt up this entire operation.

I don't like yourself parading around with those colors for too long, or even being noticed. It's just convenient for giving you a few extra seconds of being recognized. Hiding is also bad because your just waiting around and wasting valuable time. Just look around, if the man wants to talk to you while you do this, he will. If you find yourself alone, maybe have Iaxio peer around too. Just as long as you don't associate the fact that he's with you very easily. Keep looking for more notable people, real quick, then we can make a decision on who to approach. Unless he's literally the only person here, than take the risk. But he could be as much of a Hefexn plant as he could be a Doxedn worker, or both just like the girl you just stole clothes from.
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No. 474795 ID: f2c20c

>>474784
Ask him to direct you to your cousin Meandraxix's carriage. TOTALLY believable.
>>
No. 474805 ID: b33427

Is Iaxio still wearing your made-up family colors? 'Cause if he is, that's going to give you away to anyone looking for you. Better ask him to vanish if he's still wearing those colors. However, if his mantle changed to match Meandraxix's colors, then he can stick around for now.

What you need to do here is find out if the Doxedn housedog has already left. That means finding out if Meandraxix's carriage is still here. And that means finding out which garage Meandraxix uses, and getting a look inside. If there's windows in the doors, then you only need to know which one it is. Otherwise you're going to have to ask the carriage house owner to unlock the door and take a look.

Look for the carriage house office. If there is one, go in and ask either which garage Meandraxix's rents, or for them to check if her carriage is here, depending on if there are windows in the garage doors or not. If there isn't an office, head back to the guy with the tamper, and ask if he works here. If so, ask him to help, and if not then ask where whoever in charge of this place is.

Something to keep in mind: If you can find a spot where you can change without being seen, you could pull Meandraxix's mantle top off, and put your own on, or put your mantle bottom on instead. That'd make a new color combination that may throw watchers off enough they don't register you.
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No. 474911 ID: 58e163

Agreeing that we have to find out if Meandraxix's carriage is still here.

Also, Iaxio needs to either change his apparent wardrobe or disappear for a while.
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No. 475158 ID: 9fb822
File 135411501104.png - (115.06KB , 700x700 , 99.png )
475158

> Is Iaxio still wearing your made-up family colors? 'Cause if he is, that's going to give you away to anyone looking for you. Better ask him to vanish if he's still wearing those colors. However, if his mantle changed to match Meandraxix's colors, then he can stick around for now.

I turn to Iaxio. “Hey, do you think you can change your colors to match mine?”

Iaxio looks at me with a face like “what.” Then he actually says “What? I wasn’t even in control of getting the colors I’m wearing now. I wouldn’t know how to try.”

“Well. Can you. Try. Anyway?”

Iaxio sighs and shrugs and relaxes. He closes his eyes and makes an exaggeration of his breathing. I dig my spearbutt into the ground and look around. Waterdrops tickle my eyelids and inner-ears. I try not to distract him, but standing around isn’t making me feel any comfortable. I killed a dude. They’re coming. It’s hard to not fidgit, okay?

Then Iaxio’s wearing Meandraxix’s colors. Whoa. “Hey, you actually did it!”

Iaxio looks at him self like “what.” Then he actually says “What! I guess that corpse-paste my finger is soaking in actually helped. This doesn’t feel safe, though. I don’t know how long I can keep my colors like this. It’s digging at my brain. My ghost-brain.”

“Okay, that’s fine,” I say. “If you feel yourself slipping, just excuse yourself and go back to your reliquary. That’s fine. Let’s go uh.”

> What you need to do here is find out if the Doxedn housedog has already left. That means finding out if Meandraxix's carriage is still here.
> Ask him to direct you to your cousin Meandraxix's carriage. TOTALLY believable.

Yeah. I nod to Iaxio. “Let’s go ask that guy where my cousin’s carriage is. We’re meeting a House Doxedn dog here who’s picking up the carriage. Right?”

Iaxio blinks. “Oh! Right. Yes. Yes, we are. Do you know her family name, by the way?”

I blink. “Crap. Craaaaaaaaaaaaaap.”

Iaxio laughs at me. “I’m sure the dog working here knows it. That’s all that matters. Just ask him where Meandraxix’s carriage is and assume he knows her last name. Be, I don’t know, offended if he doesn’t. If he has to ask.”

“Yeah okay.”

We walk over to him. He looks up at me, catches my colors, and nods cautiously. “G’day, of-Taifrax,” he says. Oh! Well. There’s my last name.

“Hi,” I say. “Is my cousin’s carriage still here? Meandraxix said some House Doxedn dogs needed to use it and I wanted to catch up with them before they left?”

The dog shrugs. “Haven’t had anyone around yet. Guess they haven’t arrived yet? I can unlock the carriage booth if you want to wait out of the rain.”

“Oh, thank you!”

Just like that the dog leads us to Meandraxix’s door and opens it up. Iaxio and I duck in out of the drizzling rain and lean against her carriage. We wait.

Iaxio looks over to me. “Our adventure has a lot of sitting around in bad weather, wating for stuff.”

“Yeah.”

Soon we can hear bootsteps on the wet dirt. There’s some talking going on outside. I’m pretty sure that’s the Doxedn housedog and driver Kehfn was sending over. I better get ready to greet them properly so they uh. Huh. So they uhm.

I take a peep outside. The housedog is the one I reported the bandits to, yesterday. The driver is some House Doxedn servant. How do I wanna talk to them? I might have enough time to change into my normal clothing. What do I say to them? What do I tell them? Do I have a plan we should be doing now? The dog outside is probably telling them about my being here, so, like. Uh.
>>
No. 475159 ID: e3f578

>>475158
I'd say go out casual, bear your Red colors as well as Meandrix's, we have some splainin' to do. Get out as soon as possible. Have Iaxio go back to normal.
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No. 475223 ID: f2c20c

>>475158
They weren't expecting someone, so they will be suspicious of you. Hmm. What can we say here to smooth things over? How about you walk up to them and say hi, and say that you recognize the housedog from yesterday. Ask if the bandits you reported are still on the road. This should signal to them that you're the informant, and you can talk to them in private once the local dog goes away. Try to hurry that along by thanking him and saying he can go now. After he's gone you can explain that you need to contact the heir because his servant was a spy and you almost got kidnapped.
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No. 475250 ID: b33427

Stay where you are and wait for them to come over. They're going to be on edge so leave your walking spear, sword, and pack out of your reach. Don't want any misunderstandings to escalate 'cause you're armed. Also shuffle your mantle around in your pack so both of its colors are visible from the top, and leave it open, and ask Iaxio to change his mantle back. Those together might jog the guard dog's memory from yesterday.

When they enter, make sure you're standing in the open, away from the door, and with your hands in plain sight. Quickly say you're the one that met with Kehfn an hour ago, the plan has gone wrong, and you need to get a message to him right away. Mention to the guard dog that she might remember you from yesterday, when you reported the bandits.

If they agree, send along the message that Meandraxix is being coerced by Hefehxn into aiding them. That she reported your meeting with Kehfn, and Hefehxn sent a guy around to bring you in for "questioning" after Kehfn left. Say you barely got away, but the plan is wrecked, and you need protection right now.
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No. 475631 ID: b92da0
File 135428088028.png - (78.30KB , 700x700 , 99s.png )
475631

Okay, it’s clear they weren’t expecting anyone to be in here. It’d be dangerous if I just let them come in and get surprised by my being here. I mean, they might already be expecting something terrible happened if someone claiming to be Meandraxix’s nonexistent cousin showed up and asked to use the carriage they were about to use.

I know I have to get the dog that works here out of the way fast and soon, and get the housedog to realize I’m on her side, and that things’ve gone super, super bad, and that I’m not even sure how to get it fixed yet.

I step into the open of the doorway and get their attention.

“Uh, hey, I remember you,” I say to her. “You were the one I told about the bandits on the road.”

A flicker of recognition goes across her face that overtakes the look of surprise that was building up on it. It all just kind of collapses into a scrunched confusion though. Okay I can go with that.

“Do you think they’re still there? The bandits? Cousin was worried so she wanted me to come along.” I give her a look that I hope means “Send that guy away so we can talk safely.”

The housedog blinks and then nods vigorously. “Oh hey, yeah.” She turns to the workerdog and thanks him and basically just shoos him off into the barn to get the animal that pulls the thing. I’m left alone with her and the driver.

“Sorry, Kehfn didn’t say you’d be in Meandraxix’s colors,” the housedog says. “I’m Akilfhren Doxedn. I’m Kehfn’s sister.”

She’s way too calm. Let’s get the panic going up in here. “Meandraxix is a traitor and called a family Hefehxn goon over to her place the moment Kehfn left. I killed the Hefehxn guy and had to tie Meandraxix up and steal her clothes. I have no idea what is going on right now with them.”

Akilfhren takes this way better than I expected. She just turns to the driver-dog she brought along and says, “Go into the barn and keep the other dog busy. I need time out here.”

The driver-dog shrugs and jogs off into the barn across from us.

Akilfhren turns back to me. “Okay, let’s go over this to make sure I got it. Meandraxix is in with family Hefehxn?”

“Yes.”

“She called a Hefehxn dog over? What did he want?”

“He wanted to bring me to some warehouse so someone named Chelcahxix could “question” me.”

Akilfhren shudders. “Oh gross. Chelcahxix is their creepy butler.”

Creepy butler? Oh jeez that was the guy who spent an entire night following me just to see where I was going. Okay, I think it’s really good I did not end up in that warehouse.

Akilfhren finishes catching up with me. “So family Hefehxn’s probably caught on to you killing their dog by now? Oh dear. This might be a bit over my head. I need to get dad over here.”

If Akilfhren and Kehfn are siblings, that means her dad is the former living heir before he stopped living.

A tall ghost in House Doxedn armor appears, and Akilfhren explains everything to him. I’m guessing he’s probably the one actually leading the whole secret anti-Hefehxn thing that’s going on in the house? That’s the kind of vibe that comes across. He seems like he knew about the whole plan with me and McTrinkets and the bandits and he doesn’t look happy about how things just went with it all.

Akilfhren’s father’s ghost finally pays attention to me. “I don’t know if this plan can work anymore. You’re a stranger in town, and you’ve killed a member of a prominent family. Publically, we’d be forced to give you up to family Hefehxn. The plan’s dead and its ghost is gone. I can at least arrange to smuggle you out to the next city down the river road, but that’s all.”

Well. Damn. Seriously? Damn. Crap!

Akilfhren is fidgeting like she isn’t happy about this conclusion either. “Actually,” she starts. “Actually you could go and recruit the bandits yourself, still. And pick up your friend. If you all manage to work together and force Hefehxn out into the open, we can pounce on them and finish them off. We won’t be able to help you until you have something we can hold over family Hefehxn’s head, though. I don’t know if, uh. If you really want to risk it. I don’t think I can come with you. You can “steal” the cart, though? You tricked us into letting you have it, all right? If you pull this all off, we can come out and support you after the fact.”

Great. House politics suck.

What am I going to do? How dedicated am I to saving McTrinkets by destroying this family? Should we just take our chances running? What are we even doing.
>>
No. 475645 ID: e3f578

>>475631
Well, we already have the Hefehxn on our ass. Might as well right? Just to get them off ours? Ask what exactly she entails by forcing them out into the open? Get most of their cloak and dagger operation onto you guys and then lead them into a trap? Without Doxedn backing, how are you supposed to get the bandits onto your side? What can they gain from aiding you?
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No. 475672 ID: f2c20c

Ask McTrinkets about it. Where we go from here will involve her heavily so we can't decide on our own.
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No. 475857 ID: b33427

Tell 'em that you still want to help your friend, but you need to ask a request or two of them. However it's not safe to stand out here and talk of your plan; A Hefehxn goon walking by might see us. Ask them to step back into the carriage garage with you and close the door. Summon Kekahkik, so he can relay to McTrinkets, and Iaxio, just in case he has any ideas.

First thing, you need new colors so you can leave out the north gate without being spotted. You'll need Akilfhren to get them, since you have no idea where to go in this city to get mantles. Either city colors or the colors of a random traveler will do. You'll also need a bigger pack and a rain hat to match those colors as well.

Okay, here's the plan: Akilfhren leaves to get the clothes for you. You'll get into the carriage with the Doxedn driver, he'll drive it slowly halfway to the north gate and then stop there. Akilfhren will deliver the clothes to you there. You'll change into them while in the carriage, pack away the Taifrax colored clothes, and get out. You'll head out the north gate and keep going north on the road, with the carriage about ten minutes behind you. Meanwhile McTrinkets will make her way north, to near the first village on the road, and hide in it where she can watch the road.

Now, one of a few things might happen: You might get jumped by the odd bandits again, which will give you a chance to speak to them. The empty carriage is jumped by them on the way out, in which case you and McTrinkets get in at the first village and head north to wait a day and then come back for another shot. The empty carriage is jumped by Hefehxn goons, in which case there's nobody in it and they'll hopefully think it's a decoy.

Once you're done laying the plan out, ask what they think of it.
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No. 475983 ID: b33427

>>475857
I retract my suggestion that you go north in disguise. It is a stupid idea. You have no idea how to convince the bandits to help, and have nothing to offer without Doxedn's backing. And if they are working for Hefehxn, they might just capture you to hand over. And even if they do agree, you'd still have Hefehxn on your tail who might attack you all. So it is a bad, bad idea to go north now.

Take the out from Akilfhren's father, but ask them to still send the carriage northward, all the way to the Aifix town, and to get the clothes in city colors and hide them in the carriage. Then McTrinkets heads to the Aifix town through the forest, meets the carriage there, and gets the clothes for disguise. Then she can shadow the carriage on its way back south again, and possibly contact the bandits if they jump it, or they jump her. And if they don't, she can still return to this city. Oh, and give them Kekahkik's finger so they can keep in contact with McTrinkets.

I'm sorry that it has to be this way, but the window of probability that both you and McTrinkets can pull this off together has shrunk down to the eye of a needle. It will almost certainly go bad, and in that case there's no sense in giving you both a fate worse than death.
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No. 476099 ID: f2c20c

Hang on, I have a great idea. You're the one who killed the Hefexn guy, not McTrinkets. Can't they continue with the plan but not involve you directly in it anymore? Just deal with McTrinkets and the bandits themselves? We could give them a description of the bandits or we could go recruit them on our own and just direct them back to town to be picked up by Doxedn.
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No. 476118 ID: d3f29d

We've come too far and invested too much to just abandon McTrinkets now. Stick to the plan, or what remains of it.

If necessary, imply to the bandits that you have Doxedn support, though don't state it explicitly.
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No. 476817 ID: 507b31
File 135481711243.png - (145.21KB , 600x600 , 100.png )
476817

>the window of probability that both you and McTrinkets can pull this off together has shrunk down to the eye of a needle.

I know I can’t do this anymore. It’s time to just take the out and flee.

What was I thinking getting involved in this? This is stupid. Without Doxedn’s help we can’t do anything.

I give them the news. “I mean. Like, if you can’t help at all, then I guess I’m out. It’s too dangerous to be here.”

Akilfhren fidgets about. “Uh, we can’t help you openly, no. Uhm.”

I shake my head. “Like, how can I even convince the bandits to work for us?”

Akilfrhen looks at her father’s ghost, then at me. “With my money. It’s only that we can’t protect you until you put Hefehxn into the open.”

>Ask what exactly she entails by forcing them out into the open? Get most of their cloak and dagger operation onto you guys and then lead them into a trap?

I really can’t figure out what I’m even supposed to be doing. “What does that even mean?”

Akilfhren bites her lip.

>You're the one who killed the Hefexn guy, not McTrinkets. Can't they continue with the plan but not involve you directly in it anymore? Just deal with McTrinkets and the bandits themselves? We could give them a description of the bandits or we could go recruit them on our own and just direct them back to town to be picked up by Doxedn.

“Hey, uh,” I start. “So the big problem is I killed the Hefehxn dog? My merchant friend, she’s still in the same situation she was earlier. I don’t know what’s the deal with Meandraxix, but she said she was helping them because they had ghosts of her family hostage?”

Akilfhren and her father’s ghost flinch. “That’s…”

“The plan never involved me being one of the dogs you were using as evidence against Hefehxn anyway, right? You needed McTrinkets and the bandits and Meandraxix.”

Akilfhren seems to be getting ideas herself. “If Meandraxix is only helping them out of fear, we can promise her our help. She’s in an even better position to help us than we thought.”

“So,” I say. “The only real issue is…”

Akilfhren finishes my thought. “If Hefehxn sees you, they’ll be in their right to kill you on sight.”

>We've come too far and invested too much to just abandon McTrinkets now. Stick to the plan, or what remains of it.

I already murdered a dude over this. It’s too late to give up now.

“Okay. Okay, we can work with this.”


Half-an-hour later I’m in the back of Meandraxix’s carriage, in my usual family colors. I’ve filled McTrinkets in on the deets and she’s planning on meeting me up further along the road, past the first village. We’re going to try and recruit the bandits, then head back to the city, keep our heads really low, and see what kind of. Plan. See what happens.

I watch the distant shape of the Doxedn city disappear out the back window of the carriage. The slow, lumbering steps of the water-guzzler drawing the thing puts us at a steady but boring pace.

We slow down a bit to pass some travelers on the road who are the bandits just walking right up to the town oh butt.

That’s them, right outside, walking away from me, to the town.

I have a bunch of money Akilfhren gave me to help buy them, but, like. What do I do? Do I just jump out? What do I say to them?
>>
No. 476836 ID: e3f578

>>476817
Tell the driver to stop. Crap. If the Heffers already got to them, we're fucked. If not, this could work but the lure of the carriage isn't going to. Our best bet is just to have a conversation with them. Just use your polite tongue and ask them if the want a job!
or just go, HEY! You three! Wanna to get paid for a favor?!
Because honestly I have no idea how we'd get them on our side otherwise.
>>
No. 476842 ID: f2c20c

>>476817
Tell them you may have found them a job. Ask them if they're friends with Hefexn, first off. If they're not then tell them we can pay them some money to pose as people who stole corpses for Hefexn. That if they do this, they can help take down their entire nasty-butt house! Don't actually accuse them of stealing corpses. If they ask how you found this job in the first place, tell them that you got caught up in a bunch of inter-house drama and this is how you're getting out of it. If they say they ARE friends with hefexn, ask them how much money it would take for them to not be friends with hefexn. Then just work with that.

We still need to pick up McTrinkets though. They can wait by the side of the road for a bit while we go pick her up, or they can come with us if they want.
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No. 477480 ID: d3f29d

You have to stop the carriage and get their attention, their cooperation is key.

f2c20c has a decent plan. If they don't want to cooperate at first, would veiled threats work? You can threaten to turn them in to Doxedn for banditry. Imply that you have a way of contacting the authorities if they try to kill you to keep you silent.

Offer them a ride.
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No. 477503 ID: 2f4b71

>>476817
"You guys are the worst bandits ever!".
>>
No. 477511 ID: b33427

>>477480
Don't make threats, it'll just make them uncooperative, and if they don't want to cooperate they'll just make a break for the woods and disappear.

Do say that in addition to monetary payment there'll also be a full pardon from Doxedn for any crimes perpetrated in their lands, if this works out.
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No. 514686 ID: 8fb35b
File 137046349574.png - (74.73KB , 500x500 , 00sabby recaps.png )
514686

And we're back!

If you need a refresher on the quest you can just read this

http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/59466.html#71204

Instead of re-reading the whole darn thing!

Now let's get to it!

When we last left off, I was trying to get these bandits to help out in our schemes!
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No. 514687 ID: 8fb35b
File 137046353131.png - (175.10KB , 600x600 , 101-for real.png )
514687

>You have to stop the carriage and get their attention, their cooperation is key.

I slam the front of the carriage and shout at the driver. “Hey! Hey those are them!”

The driver tugs the water-guzzler to a slow stop.

Okay, that’s part one done! I feel way better about all this already.

>"You guys are the worst bandits ever!"

… yes.

I stick my head out the window and shout. I need something that will get their attention fast and hard, and this is the first thing I can think of.

“Hey! Hey you guys are the worst bandits ever!”

They turn around instantly. The dead guy starts walking over to me and I can see his featureless face twist up and stare.

“Isthat? What?” He looks back at the rest of the bandits and they shrug. I wave out the window at the girl bandit and she starts laughing.

>Tell them you may have found them a job. Ask them if they're friends with Hefexn, first off. If they're not then tell them we can pay them some money to pose as people who stole corpses for Hefexn.

I start laughing too. “You guys are really bad bandits. Do you want to try something other than banditry?”

The corpsebound tugs out his sword. “I’m willing to give banditry one more try.”

I open the carriage door and hop out. Iaxio tries to hold me back in but, you know? Everything, this whole situation, is so huge, and so crazy, and so stupid, I can’t care anymore. I just killed a guy and forced a lady to strip naked and tied her up. Now I’m plotting to destroy an entire family. These guys aren’t even bandits. They’re jokes. I’m laughing.

“Look,” I ask. “Are you guys friends with family Hefehxn?”

The corpsebound points his sword at me. The ladybandit jogs up to him and puts her hand on his shoulder, but he keeps brandishing it around.

“What do you want with Hefehxn?” he growls.

“I wanna take the entire family down. Did you guys ever sell corpses to them? Because, like, if you did? Or if you just pretend that you did? House Doxedn can use that to scare Family Hefehxn’s friends away. With no friends, Family Hefehxn gets ground up into corpse-paste, and we all end up with the metaphorical remains all over our metaphorical corpses. In the good way.”

The corpsebound and the lady stare at me. The guy in the fancy outfit, with the rifle, is already lighting up his pipe.

The corpsebound and the lady turn in towards one another. They whisper in some kind of bandit short-hand I can’t figure out, but when they turn to me, the lady bandit looks like she’s into this.

“So,” she says. “What’s the deal here?”

I explain basically everything to them. McTrinkets, the corpse-paste, the dreambug prediction, killing the Hefehxn dog, escaping Meandraxix house, and how we have to get them, Meandraxix, and McTrinkets all together so Doxedn can use them against Hefehxn…

Like, ten minutes later we’re all in the carriage together.

It turns out they have raided some tombs before and sold corpses to family Hefehxn’s creepy servant. The guy that stalked me, the guy that was going to interrogate me. They are actually the exact right people to have along for this for sure.
>>
No. 514688 ID: 8fb35b
File 137046355881.png - (140.72KB , 600x600 , 102.png )
514688

I have a nice long nap in the carriage and I’m pretty sure none of the bandits even stole anything from me! I don’t uh. I don’t find Maexiks anywhere in my dreams. I’m not sure why not. It was hard to find her last time, too. I don’t know if I should be worried or not.

We meet up with McTrinkets around late evening, along the shore.

McTrinkets already has her coracle stowed and hidden when our carriage rolls along the road near her. She climbs up out of the reeds and we all have a little reunion together on the riverbank. We fill McTrinkets in on anything she doesn’t know. She nods along with the plan.

“Like, I guess we should all know one another’s names,” I finish. “It seems important.”

The ladybandit introduces herself as Lairehfsis.

The corpsebound bandit introduces himself as Madohkikil.

The fancy-dressed bandit with the rifle introduces himself as Laikadehn.

McTrinkets introduces herself as Sanbaksis of Telofhredmn-em-a, which is definitely not the name she had been using before.

I introduce myself as Taliaxix of Iaxkholfrehdn-em.

We all look around at one another.

“So, like,” I say. “Not a single one of us is using a real name, are we?”

The corpsebound Madohkikil laughs. Even though corpsebounds generally have the same voices they did in life, his voice is still a rotten crackle. “I wouldn’t be going along with this if I thought anyone here was dumb enough to use a real name.”

The ladybandit Lairehfsis raises her hand. “Uhm. I’m using my real name. That’s really what I was given at birth.”

Okay. We have our team assembled.
>>
No. 514689 ID: 8fb35b
File 137046358901.png - (119.12KB , 600x600 , 103.png )
514689

McTrinkets takes me to the side for a moment. She leaves Kekahkik’s ghost a short bit away to talk with the bandits and keep them busy for the time.

“You look really out of it,” McTrinkets says.

“Well,” I say. I can feel it. My entire body is so tired and empty. “I spent the last two days walking back and forth, and then, when I finally got to take a bath for the first time since I left? Someone tried to kidnap me and I killed him. Now we’re plotting to destroy a powerful family. I’m. A bit drained. Yeah.”

McTrinkets rubs her finger under her gums. Her claw clicks on her teeth. “So! From what you’ve given me of the situation: House Doxedn will use me, Meandraxix, and these bandits, to force Family Hefehxn’s allies into turning on them.”

“Basically, yeah.”

“But Family Hefehxn can also kill you and House Doxedn can’t stop them from doing that for now.”

“Yeah.”

McTrinkets scrunches her brow like she’s thinking really hard. She’s got that merchant face on always, though, so I don’t know if it’s just an act for me or what. “Runaway, maybe it’s time you moved on.”

“What?”

“You can’t help out much here anymore. You’ve done a lot. You’re running from someone, to somewhere, aren’t you? I’m going to be tied up here cleaning this mess for a while! And you’ve gone and made yourself a blood fugitive for me! I think you’ve paid me back. I think you’ve more than paid this all back.”

“Wait, so like. What do you want me to do?”

“If House Doxedn can’t protect you, what do you think you’re going to do if you stay?”

… huh. I’ve been running on crumbs for so long now I haven’t really been thinking beyond how to deal with this situation. Is it already dealt with?

McTrinkets, the bandits, Kehfn and Akilfhren, together, they can probably get Meandraxix back on their side. With me out of the way, they can just focus on taking Family Hefehxn down.

I don’t know if I really have a good reason to keep myself involved in this. House Geofahn is probably dealing with the fallout from killing House Aifix’s heir while looking for me, sure. And we’re getting too far south for them to reach. But they really just need their dreambug to find me, and one dog to sneak in and grab me, for them to catch me. House Doxedn couldn’t even publically stop them. It’s an arranged marriage. House Doxedn can’t legally keep House Geofahn from taking me. The sooner I get to House Fauhredn lands the safer I’ll be.

Except the more stuff I get involved in, the harder it is for House Geofahn’s dreambug to find me, I guess. And maybe I still want to make sure McTrinkets is safe. Maybe I’m already in this too deep that I can just walk away and not worry anymore. And maybe I want to see this through to the end.

I’d have to try and arrange something with House Doxedn for them to hide me unofficially, maybe. Maybe ask the bandits if they can sneak me away somewhere. But I mean, maybe I could help out. I could talk to Meandraxix, or maybe even use myself as bait or something!

I stare at McTrinkets, really hard.

What do I actually want to do? Keep helping McTrinkets, even if it’s risky? Or move on, and leave her to handle things?
>>
No. 514690 ID: e1c569

>>514689
are you kidding? we are in a position to topple a HOUSE. a house full of jerks, even. and you want to let that go? how could you live with yourself?

you have to finish this.
>>
No. 514691 ID: 3e4b6e

Hmm... , maybe you're moving out of your stalker oracle's range.

On one hand, Maexiks said you need to be with Mctrinkets but we don't know for how long you need to be with her, you may have already done your duty. In addition, you probably don't want the irrepressible, lying, drug-dealer as a constant companion. That seems to invite its own problems.

On the other hand, you are now a liability to Doxedn and Hefehxn. You no longer can help/hurt them without endangering yourself. The goal is to get somewhere safe and this is not it.

My vote is leave.
>>
No. 514692 ID: c23ab0

Say you have a dreambug trying to track your position, and it (he?) gets confused when you're doing stuff besides moving on. So in the interest of everyone's safety you had better get out of here right away and go directly to your destination, but not to worry if you show up again in a day or so to throw off its trail.

Then head out at a leisurely pace in a direction you have no intention of going, taking a break resting up, and when noon comes around turn around and go back. Once you reach this mess again and deal with whatever smorgasboard of conflicts they are sure to be immersed in, you can go towards Fauhredn. With luck the dreambug will still think you're going in the direction that is the wrong direction.
>>
No. 514694 ID: ca1c58

Kiss her you fool! Right now, in this moment, isn't for thinking about schemes and plans and futures. This moment is for lovers.
>>
No. 514696 ID: d3f29d

Hooray! Like a corpsebound waking up in the tomb, the quest revives! Huzzah!

Now onto the question at hand. The longer you stick around, the more danger you are in. Even if they lose all their allies, even if only a couple dogs are left, Hefehxn can still kill you without repercussion if I'm understanding this correctly. McTrinkets says your debt is paid. The logical thing for you to do is get out while the getting's good.

But it's not finished yet. I feel like you need to see this through. Screw logic and make sure it's DONE.
>>
No. 514701 ID: 57a559

>>514689
Hmm, if you decide to leave you should ask for food and supplies, maybe some tips for the road and how to lay down low, and if McTrinkets has any trustworthy contacts down south or knows anything about Geofahn politics or suggestions to do about it. She was able to guess that you're the Sabhaxlia runaway bride right? She's probably already figured that out. If she has ANY suggestions on how to handle this clusterfuck, maybe even a way to save your own family without selling your ass to the Geofahns (though that time has long passed), that would be a great help.

You could also try to hang out for a bit more and ask the Doxy heir for tips and contacts too, but I'm not entirely sure if I trust them either. I mean, look, what if the heir is actually helping the Hefehxn's for a better alliance or for money? I mean, the bandits actually did work for them, so if you deliver them to the heir and he is plotting with the Hefehxn's, then you've given them ALL the loose ends ever. The heir just went with it since the original plan was to get you and reveal just where McTrinckets was, that fucked up, but you gave them and even BETTER plan that gives ALL the loose ends like I said.

Whatever you do, just tell McTrinkets to be careful. Look at this gift horse in the mouth and all that. It's so close for her, which is why should be really careful at anything suspicious and use her ghost buddy to eavesdrop and keep an extra eye out, and prepare to use the super paste power ghost form to bust the fuck out of the carriage at any time. Just keep her paranoia on the down low though, so to make sure the heir's people are off guard and so they don't drop your asses off and leave her where she started in case her paranoia insults them.
>>
No. 514704 ID: f2c20c

>>514689
The fact that this is a hard decision means the dreambug will have difficulty tracking you. Also, keep in mind that they will be less and less occupied by Aifix as time goes on. So yeah, we shouldn't hang around. Besides, what else can we really DO here?

However, we need an exit now! Also, maybe some supplies. Food, water and spending money. Transport too- I think you're too exhausted to walk now. After we've figured out how we're leaving, give her a big hug and tell her you'll send her a letter once you're safe.
>>
No. 514757 ID: 7e8516

>>474030
Stay and see this through. It's awesome.
>>
No. 514774 ID: b8481c

Whether you go or stay, the most important thing would be to tell McTrinkets that you like her, like, as more than a friend. And that if you have to go now or later, she should come find you.

I think you should stick it out for now, though. You can always scarper if things start to get too hairy. I'm sure Kefn can't help you directly if you get caught or attacked in the open, but I'm sure he can at least help smuggle you out of there after everything you did.

So a cautious sticking around I think is warranted. You aren't deciding to stay the whole time or anything, just a cautious for-now staying around. You could leave at any minute, really.

Also, I am worried about Maexiks. It's been increasingly longer between meetups and she hasn't been around for the last two sleeps. I think something is going on with her and you should try to do something about it.

As you need rest, ask McTrinkets if she has a relatively safe hiding spot where you can actually get some real sleep. When you go to sleep, decide, think to yourself, that you're going to go find Maexiks. That your plan is to locate her, as in, it's a single focused goal you have. Try that when you go to sleep and see if it helps. The last few times you've also been really distracted and kind of unsure about what was going on.

Also to be safe, maybe McTrinkets should be close. Like, really close. Like your head in her lap maybe close.
>>
No. 514776 ID: 57a559

>>514774
She's seen too many futures where Sab's has died and/or where Sabs does McTrinkets. Not to mention the times where Sab's has gone into a dark place never to be seen again or has become a vicious ghost-powered superdog destroying houses left and right.
The poor girl is traumatized and jealous. We should stop and minimize this dangerous shit we're doing for her own sake.

I mean, seriously, the futures the dreamy bug is witnessing has to be all horrible for her, she can't take it. Imagine seeing a friend die over and over again, or being raped by Hefehxn's then getting murdered. Or your friend has fallen so deeply into madness for various reasons, be it said rape or from all the killings. Now imagine all the futures we've spawned by how this house-killing has made, imagine seeing a future where a house genocide happens or war is fought and it's all because you helped a scared little bride escape from a relatively safer and peaceful existence if only a little unhappy. What if she somehow saw a future where Sabhaxlia did marry the buttjerk and somehow she was happy there? Do you know how awful that would be for the bug? I bet she's gone nuts.
>>
No. 514778 ID: f2c20c

>>514776
Personally I think that Maexiks has been kidnapped or something, and is being blocked from helping us.
>>
No. 514794 ID: be1de0

Does the driver have any Doxedn relics he could use to relay a message to Kehfn? He was sent by Kehfn, so hopefully Kehfn was smart enough to give you a way to communicate the status of the plan to him. If not, ask the driver if there are any nearby Doxedn contacts that you could talk to before heading back to the city.

Let's have a recap of who knows what now:
- Meandraxix has already informed Hefexn of the plan to use McTrinkets and the bandits.
- It's been a while, so Hefexn has probably figured out that you killed their dude and escaped by now.
- Kehfn's sister Akilfhren and her father have been informed of your plan and know about the fact that you've killed the Hefexn dude.

The biggest problem here is that McTrinkets and the bandits may not be safe. Right now, there's a better-than-zero possibility that Hefexn will try to ambush everyone outside of town and wipe them out so that they can't be used to testify against them. They might even use mercenaries to do it. Doxedn would definitely be *on* to them at that point, but they wouldn't have any solid evidence, so it could buy Hefexn some time. That might be enough to make them do it.

What you need to do is contact Doxedn somehow and get them to both keep an eye on the Hefexn guys (who might also try to skip town) and send out an escort party with a few extra carriages to retrieve the bandits and provide enough additional firepower to deter an ambush. Perhaps under the guile of 'arresting' the bandits.

If Kehfn is okay with trying to hide you for a little bit, Hefexn won't really be paying attention to you once shit hits the fan. He really owes her you this - he got you into this whole "oops I killed a Hefexn dude" mess AND you exposed a traitor on top of it. If you can get them to send a back-up carriage or two, have them send along a disguise for you, and have McTrinkets paint you up as a dude. You can pretend to be a couple. It'll be cute.

(But really, you should just pass out in the back of the carriage and get some sleep.)
>>
No. 514805 ID: b8481c

>>514776
I really don't think that's it. It's been harder for us to find her even when she was trying to tell us stuff. And she talked about stuff she just couldn't see. I think something is actually wrong
>>
No. 514811 ID: 01531c

>>514689
Sabhaxlia, you should give her a hug and then GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.
>>
No. 514844 ID: 8fb35b
File 137054932009.png - (115.69KB , 600x600 , 104.png )
514844

>Stay and see this through. It's awesome.
>I think you should stick it out for now, though. You can always scarper if things start to get too hairy.
>But it's not finished yet. I feel like you need to see this through. Screw logic and make sure it's DONE.

I give McTrinkets a good, long look. “Look,” I say. “When am I ever, like, not in danger? I’m too involved to just walk out now and hope things go okay. Besides.”

>I mean, look, what if the heir is actually helping the Hefehxn's for a better alliance or for money?
>The biggest problem here is that McTrinkets and the bandits may not be safe. Right now, there's a better-than-zero possibility that Hefexn will try to ambush everyone outside of town and wipe them out so that they can't be used to testify against them.

“… there’s a really good chance this is just going to bad. Kehfn might be working for Hefehxn. I mean, there’s his sister, Akilfhren, and I talked to her father, so if they’re in on it too we’re screwed. But I don’t think she and her dad would put on that big an act for us. But I never saw Kehfn and Akilfhren and their dad together, so I’m honestly not sure he’s safe.”

McTrinkets gives me a worried nod. I take it and keep going.

“The bandits are too dumb to be part of a big plot, maybe, I guess, but like. We might get to the city and find Kehfn waiting to just hand us all over to Family Hefehxn. Or maybe Hefehxn is just going to ambush us on the road and kill us all and say the bandits did it.”

McTrinkets smiles. “You’re getting pretty paranoid. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

“Right, so I was thinking…”

>Kiss her you fool! Right now, in this moment, isn't for thinking about schemes and plans and futures. This moment is for lovers.

“… right,” I say. A bit more firmly. “So I was thinking.”

>Whether you go or stay, the most important thing would be to tell McTrinkets that you like her, like, as more than a friend.

I. This. Later. I can tell her that later. I mean. No. Look wait. I’m mumbling to myself and McTrinkets is staring at me.

>What you need to do is contact Doxedn somehow and get them to both keep an eye on the Hefexn guys (who might also try to skip town) and send out an escort party with a few extra carriages to retrieve the bandits and provide enough additional firepower to deter an ambush. Perhaps under the guile of 'arresting' the bandits.

“Let’s not go back to the city right away. We either get the carriage guy to send back a message through a ghost, or in person, and have some House Doxedn show up. Have Akilfhren come along to ‘arrest’ the bandits. Maybe ‘arrest’ you for trading corpse-paste or just being a sneaky merchant, whatever. I’m not sure. While we still are in control, we need to make sure things are set up in our favor when House Doxedn takes over.”

McTrinkets nearly applauds. “You really are a natural born merchant! We’re the product and we’ll drive a hard bargain for ourselves.”
>>
No. 514845 ID: 8fb35b
File 137054934202.png - (139.58KB , 600x600 , 105.png )
514845

The carriage is Meandraxix’s, too, but we’re using Akilfhren’s driver. Looking at the guy’s mantle—House Doxedn, striped, on the right, the rest in town colors—he isn’t even a part of House Doxedn. He’s just working under a contract of employment, so there’s no chance at all he has any House Doxedn ghosts on him normally.

But it’s worth a shot.

“Hey, driver,” I call up to him.

“Yeah?” he calls back down.

“So like, what do you even know about what’s going on right now?”

The carriage-driver chews on his lip. “Lady, I know better than to get my nose in house politics. I’m driving this carriage, wherever you want me to send it.”

“Cool. Do you have any ghosts you can use to contact Akilfhren?”

“Nope.”

That makes sense. Akilfhren was supposed to come with me until she learned I killed the Family Hefehxn guy. A housedog isn’t going to just toss an irreplaceable part of her ancestor to some carriage driver to use for messages. If House Doxedn is forced to comment they’ll probably just say I stole the carriage and forced the driver to work it for me.

I turn back to McTrinkets and the bandits. “Well, Akilfhren could probably have someone noticing our carriage returning, but this is Meandraxix’s carriage that we ‘stole’ from her. We have no idea if Meandraxix is on our side or not right now.”

Madohkikil, the corpsebound bandit, laughs. “A plan where no one knows what’s happening. You fit right in with the rest of the team here.”

“Yeah, well, all of us heading back into town, together, might be a really dumb idea. If Family Hefehxn or even parts of House Doxedn who aren’t on our side are waiting for us, we’d be delivering ourselves in a nice wooden basket.” I smack the carriage with my hand to make my point.

“So what are you suggestin’?” the ladybandit Lairehfsis asks.

Well, that’s the thing.

We could send the carriage back empty, and have the driver get Akilfhren to send some dogs up to meet us out here, and sneak us in safely. Or maybe just contact us out somewhere here in the forest, and we don’t go in the city until it’s time to get stuff done.

Or we can send it back empty, and have the bandits, or even me, sneak into town and contact Akilfhren. Then we can have her send someone or even just herself as an escort so we know we’re safe getting into town, and into hiding.

Maybe we can just hide the carriage off the road, and sneak into town without it, so we’re less obvious.

What do we do with the carriage? Who camps out here tonight (if anyone), and who goes back to town (if anyone)?

For the record, I’m still not feeling that great. I don’t think I have the energy in me to do much more adventuring myself right now.
>>
No. 514851 ID: 762100

>>514845

Send it back empty and sneak back in yourself. This will give you a better chance to monitor Akilfhren in lieu of the persisting trust issues before you make your move.
>>
No. 514853 ID: ca1c58

Send the carriage back empty with instructions for the driver to contact Akilfhren herself to come out and meet you guys. Everybody camp out tonight. If Hefehxn sends people out to kill you all (at least somewhat likely) then you will all be together in a defensible position outside of prying eyes. Which is good. The bandits are reasonably skilled at fighting and have a gun, so really, the best thing is to stick with them.

Having Akilfhren come out to meet the whole party together is a good plan, and by then she should know what is up with Kehfn and Madohkikil, so you can make an actual informed decision on what to do next. Give a meeting spot for tomorrow morning, and everyone EXCEPT for you will go meet her then. You stay out of sight and have Kekahkik relay what's going on, because you're the only one who Hefexn has an actual right to do anything to.

Also ask him if he has any spy deets. But for now, everybody should camp out together because it's the safest possible option. Ask McTrinkets or the bandits if they have a good hidy place to camp.

Also, cuddle up next to McTrinkets tonight for warmth. You need an actual good night's sleep and a dog is much more comfortable than a bedroll. If there's wandering hands (or tongues) then so be it. As a matter of fact, it's encouraged...

Also yeah, I'm really worried about Maexiks too. Think about her sensual curves and delicate limbs and how awesome they felt under your tongue when you sleep. Maybe it will help you find her.

OH, also pay the guy a decent amount of cash (maybe 10 or 20 points worth) to make sure he actually you know, does what you said. Tell him to tell anybody that you stole the carriage and then when you got outside of town you jumped out and ran off somewhere in the woods (which is basically true anyway.)
>>
No. 514854 ID: ca1c58

>>514853
Because Hefehxn knows who you, McTrinkets, AND the bandits are, and know you planned on using all of them in the plan. If the carriage driver gets killed on the way back to town, actually. Have him just drive close to town, leave the carraige, and then walk in through a different way. But anyway, if people don't show up in about an hour after you set the meeting time, then you'll have to pick somebody/ies to sneak in to town and try to contact Akilfhren.

Also you should probably kiss McTrinkets for being a good friend (on the mouth, with tongue.)
>>
No. 514855 ID: 3e4b6e

Yes we should totally keep hitting on McTrinkets what with our clingy bug girlfriend living in our brain and all that.
>>
No. 514859 ID: 2f4b71

Sending a message by the driver is risky; you have no way to guarantee that the message gets to the right dog without the wrong dogs reading it.

If you can figure out another way to sneak into the city, then send the carriage in empty just a bit before. That should bring enough attention to make it easier to slip in while everyone looks the wrong way.
>>
No. 514869 ID: 57a559

>>514845
Tell/joke with the corpsebandit that there's no such thing as a good plan. Just one's that work and one's that don't.

I worry about insulting the Dox's if we show up empty or camp out somewhere. I like sneaking into town, we're going to need a LOT of different clothes for it to work best... give McTrinket's your old clothes if you can. Or have McTrinkets use any dyes she has on her. If your using your old clothes if you still have them at all make sure the bandits never see them. So, I suppose if we'd be separated from them it's okay to use those clothes.

One of the living bandits can use Meandraxix's clothes to help them through. Maybe ask the driver to switch clothes with McTrinkets too, if he consents.
>>
No. 514902 ID: b8481c

There is like, literally no reason for sabby to go into town at all. We won't make Doxedn mad because they KNOW the plan is blown. The bad guys are probably watching for the carriage. We have literally nothing to gain by trying to sneak into town. It's a really horrible idea with no benefit. We have very little information about what has happened in town while we've been out here, but we KNOW that the bad guys saw us come out this way. The new plan was for us to stay on the DOWNLOW and not get directly involved because they can KILL US ON SIGHT.

Why would we ever be alone sneaking into town? Especially when we're exhausted and not feeling too good? This is just. Really not a good idea. If somebody absolutely MUST sneak into town (and I think it can wait till tomorrow) then it should be McTrinkets. Nobody can, you know, kill her on sight with no reprecussions like they can with sabby, and she can report to us easily and directly through her ghost buddy.

But there is really no reason to do anything tonight except hole up and wait. And get some actual fucking sleep.

Once again, we are exhausted and have literally nothing at all to gain from trying to sneak in tonight, and can easily be killed. We have basically a horrible track record for stealth.
>>
No. 514911 ID: b8481c

I would also like to point out that switching clothes only worked on dogs who didn't know what we look like. Switching clothes will not work to hide McTrinkets or the bandits. She said that her genderswap disguise would not have fooled them, so clothes DEFINITELY wont.
>>
No. 514947 ID: be1de0

>>514853
>>514854
All of my upvotes.
>>
No. 514951 ID: be1de0

>>514947
Actually, if we're going to split up the group and have anyone sneak into town (like the driver, or more peeps), you should probably give them one of kekahkik's bits??? We know there are at least a couple floating around (Both McTrinkets and Sabby have one). You could use him to let you know if shit happens to the driver, and if they make it back safely, use him as a relay.
>>
No. 514954 ID: cf49fc

>>514947
This plan seems good. Minus the slutting it up with McTrinkets. HAVE SOME CLASS. You don't even know her name.
>>
No. 514961 ID: 762100

>>514853
I'm rescinding my suggestion to go sneak back because all this is a superbetter idea
>>
No. 515015 ID: fa70e5

What this guy said. Sneaking back is dumb, you need sleep. And that means no lesbianism. Go to sleep.
>>
No. 515035 ID: 8fb35b
File 137063430176.png - (161.27KB , 600x600 , 106.png )
515035

>Send it back empty and sneak back in yourself.
>I worry about insulting the Dox's if we show up empty or camp out somewhere. I like sneaking into town, we're going to need a LOT of different clothes for it to work best...

I got my plan.

“So, okay,” I start. “First, we all have to go back, to let Doxedn know we’re all together. But since Hefehxn is probably going to be looking out for us, we’ll need disguises.”

Everyone gives me looks.

> give McTrinket's your old clothes if you can. Or have McTrinkets use any dyes she has on her. If your using your old clothes if you still have them at all make sure the bandits never see them. So, I suppose if we'd be separated from them it's okay to use those clothes. One of the living bandits can use Meandraxix's clothes to help them through. Maybe ask the driver to switch clothes with McTrinkets too, if he consents.

“Look, we can all rotate our clothes. Someone else can put on the driver’s outfit, and someone can wear Meandraxix’s clothes, and someone can wear my outfit, and then when we’re all dressed like one another we can ride the carriage back in and they’ll never know! Then we sneak in and spy on Akilfhren!”

Everyone’s staring at me.

I don’t even remember when Iaxio appeared, but he puts a hand on my shoulder. “Sabby, when was the last time you really slept?”

Oh. I blink at Iaxio. “Uhm. I slept for a few hours this morning. I think. I did, right?” I look at McTrinkets for confirmation.

She’s just looking at me with worry. Uh.

I step back and lean against the carriage. My eyes feel like they’re fighting with me to close and my legs feel—even after the short bath, even after the carriage ride—so burnt out. I feel the hard road under my butt. I think I just sat down? I don’t remember doing it.

> Once again, we are exhausted and have literally nothing at all to gain from trying to sneak in tonight, and can easily be killed.

“… I might be really tired,” I admit. “Let’s not… do that plan.”

Madohkikil, the corpsebound bandit, laughs.

> There is like, literally no reason for sabby to go into town at all. We won't make Doxedn mad because they KNOW the plan is blown. The bad guys are probably watching for the carriage.

I rub my eyes. “Meandraxix already told them the plan was to take the carriage out here to meet the bandits. And… and, right. Right. That Family Hefehxn butler followed me out into the woods and saw me see the bandits last night. So he.” I yawn. “Hefehxn knows what road we’re all on right now. They’re probably waiting to ambush us.”

Madohkikil interrupts. “How much were we getting paid for this again?”

I wave my arm at him. “A lot. House Doxedn is gonna handle it. Akilfhren was gonna pay you. Plenty. She never told me. Big risk big reward right.”

The bandits look a bit uneasy but I mean. I wouldn’t have much confidence in following my plans right now either. If I were them. I’m not them but if I were. I look up at Iaxio.

> Having Akilfhren come out to meet the whole party together is a good plan, and by then she should know what is up with Kehfn and Madohkikil, so you can make an actual informed decision on what to do next. Give a meeting spot for tomorrow morning, and everyone EXCEPT for you will go meet her then.

“We can send the driver back and tell Akilfrhen to meet us somewhere out in the forest. ‘Trinkets, if you’d like. Spare one of Kekahkik’s fingers. She can get in touch with us like that right?”

My eyes close. After a pause I hear everyone else talking out the specifics of the plan. Carriage is going back empty. Driver abandons the carriage outside of town. Driver will go right to Akilfhren and arrange a meeting in the morning. We all camp out in the woods quietly. That’s the plan. That’s ok then.
>>
No. 515036 ID: 8fb35b
File 137063433317.png - (158.06KB , 600x600 , 107.png )
515036

> get some sleep
> get some real sleep
> too exhausted
> taking a break resting up
> get some actual fucking sleep
> you need sleep

I take all my stuff out of the carriage—my backpack, my spear, my new sword, my hookblade, my rain-hat—and we send it on its way.

We all get a bit of a way into the forest. It gets dark really fast. McTrinkets and Iaxio help me walk straight. I’m really so tired I’m basically stumbling around. After a while we get to a place. The bandits already have some stuff set up here. A little camp they were hiding. There’s some dried logs to sit on and cleared, dry ground underneath.

I put my tarp down and get into my sleeping roll. I don’t even notice what the bandits do.

McTrinkets sits next to me on the tarp.

> Also you should probably kiss McTrinkets for being a good friend (on the mouth, with tongue.)

I tug at McTrinkets’ mantle. “Hey,” I say. “We’re going to make this all work.”

McTrinkets smiles at me. “I think I’ll be in debt to you again if I survive this.”

> Also, cuddle up next to McTrinkets tonight for warmth. You need an actual good night's sleep and a dog is much more comfortable than a bedroll. If there's wandering hands (or tongues) then so be it. As a matter of fact, it's encouraged...

“There’s still some things I wanna talk about,” I say. I have to fight a yawn to get the words out. “Stuff about you.”

McTrinkets cocks an eyebrow at me. “Oh?”

> Yes we should totally keep hitting on McTrinkets what with our clingy bug girlfriend living in our brain and all that.

My lips hesistate.

> Also, I am worried about Maexiks. It's been increasingly longer between meetups and she hasn't been around for the last two sleeps. I think something is going on with her and you should try to do something about it.

I blink. “I haven’t. Been able to contact my dreambug friend very reliably, lately.”

> Personally I think that Maexiks has been kidnapped or something, and is being blocked from helping us.

My ears fold back. “I think. Something might be wrong. With my dreambug friend. I think I might need to save her too.”

McTrinkets pets my head. “You’re very tired. Go to sleep. We can talk in the morning, when you’re awake enough to talk.”

I fall asleep.
>>
No. 515037 ID: 8fb35b
File 137063437254.png - (143.43KB , 600x600 , 108.png )
515037

I’m in the dreambug remnant instantly.

It’s like the last time I was there with Maexiks. The ground is open and flat and exposed again, but there’s no jut of rocks for Maexiks to be hiding in now.

It’s just. Empty. The open sky and--

--oh come on.
>>
No. 515040 ID: e1c569

>>515037
ROUND 1!

FIGHT!!
>>
No. 515042 ID: f2c20c

>>515037
Ask them who the hell they are and why they're in your dream.

Basically, play dumb. Don't let him know Maexiks has been helping you.
>>
No. 515048 ID: 762100

>>515037
Trying to wake up to get out of this situation is a non-option since you are going to basically drive yourself insane if you keep avoiding sleep. And unless you've been hiding something from us, you know basically nil about defending yourself in dreamscape, especially against dreambugs.

So see what the geofahn dreambug wants to tell you. If it doesn't want to tell you anything but instead perforate your dream self, then defend yourself as best as you can. Maybe it knows why you haven't been able to see Maexiks recently.
>>
No. 515049 ID: 3e4b6e

>>515048
We probably shouldn't bring up Maexiks. If she ain't in trouble that'd get her in trouble.

This is also why we shouldn't of stayed in one place too long.

If there's nothing of maexik's dream there, why not begin bringing your dreams into the dreamscape?
>>
No. 515050 ID: 19b3c3

Aw dang. Dreambug's seen your new colors. That'll make it easier for the people searching for you.
>>
No. 515051 ID: 735f4f

Maul its face. Maul it so hard.
>>
No. 515057 ID: 8fb35b
File 137064171323.png - (106.92KB , 600x600 , 109.png )
515057

> ROUND 1!
>FIGHT!!

I don’t think I stand a chance against him, unarmed, in an open fight. Like, he’s been hired by one of the most powerful political factions in the world to mess around in dreams. I’m a runaway.

> Trying to wake up to get out of this situation is a non-option since you are going to basically drive yourself insane if you keep avoiding sleep. And unless you've been hiding something from us, you know basically nil about defending yourself in dreamscape, especially against dreambugs.

Although I don’t know what other options I have at this point.

> So see what the geofahn dreambug wants to tell you.
> Ask them who the hell they are and why they're in your dream. Basically, play dumb.

I try to act calm but like, surprised. Act like I wasn’t expecting this dude to show up. I mean, I really wasn’t.

The Geofahn dreambug lands in front of me and his magic glowing wings stop glowing. His mantle falls back around his chest. I just. Put my hand on my hip.

“Uh. This is a messed up dream,” I say.

“You are very hard to find,” the dreambug says.

“I’m so tired I’m dreaming about dreambugs,” I groan.

“Sabhaxlia.”

My fur stands up a bit at him saying my name but I try to hide it. “So like, you show up all flashy and now you’re just sitting here talking? This is a dumb dream.”

“Sabhaxlia Tashikoxix.”

… and now I’m wearing my old family colors. I don’t think I’m fooling him.

> We probably shouldn't bring up Maexiks. If she ain't in trouble that'd get her in trouble.

I guess there’s no point pretending I’m not me, but I still don’t need to let him know about Maexiks helping me. “Yeah, so, what. Did Geofahn send a dreambug after me now? Is that what this is? What do you want?”

“I want to know where you are.”

I almost laugh. “What?”

“You have been very hard to find. I have been tracing you through your possible futures. I found you in the House Aifix town. That is where I lost you. I was wondering why you were so hard to find. You have another dreambug hiding you.”

“I do?” I keep trying to play dumb.

“Sabhaxlia. Do you know what language you are speaking right now?”

… uhm.

“You have been speaking to me in the dreambug language. Where did you learn it so well?”

Was I? I mean. But this isn’t even going to give away Maexiks if I tell the truth. “My family hired a tutor when I was little. I learned some of the dreambug language from him. That’s. What tutors do. They teach you stuff.”

“What other languages do you know?”

“Uh.”

“You must know the prayerman language too.”

“A little bit. Enough to get by. I can read it better than I can speak it.”

“The birddemon?”

“Not really…”

“The lifelizard, then.”

“…no.”

The mantis just stands there like he’s been the whole time, but I can tell he feels like he’s won. “Your ailing family hired a tutor to teach you the language of a remnantless race. And only that one language.”

I rub my neck. “Uh.”

“Describe your dreambug language tutor to me.”

“He was… tall? Or like. A bit short. I can’t really remember. I was really young, okay?”

“You were very young,” the dreambug agrees. “It is almost impossible to guess where you are by seeing your futures. However, I did notice a well-worn path into your dreams. A dreambug has been visiting you in your sleep.”

This isn’t going well.

> If there's nothing of maexik's dream there, why not begin bringing your dreams into the dreamscape?

I don’t even know. I’m gonna like. Try and imagine and dream up. Something. A weapon. A river to keep this guy away. A tombdog to beat him up. C’mon. C’mon!

The dreambug extends one of his arms past his mantle. “Is this her?”
>>
No. 515058 ID: 8fb35b
File 137064173701.png - (114.80KB , 600x600 , 110.png )
515058

Aaaand Maexiks appears. Crap.

Maexiks looks as confused as you’d think she’d be. She sees me, then the Geofahn dreambug, and starts backing away.

“There,” the Geofahn bug says. “That is your language tutor.”

“What?” Like. What. I didn’t even really know Maexiks until like, two years ago.

“I was not sure until I heard you speak. You have confirmed it. This dreambug has been invading your dreams since childhood. You have learned our language through her invasions.”

I look at Maexiks. She looks at me. That. Can’t. Be in any way true.

Right?

“I do not know why she has done this,” the Geofahn bug says. “But she is collaborating in your escape from my house. I believe she may have even masterminded it. Through your dreams, she may be controlling you.”

“What.” That’s entirely stupid.

Suddenly I feel a knife in my hand. I don’t think it was me that put it there. I look over at Maexiks. She tilts her head very, very slightly at the Geofahn bug.

“I am here because I read your future,” the Geofahn bug says. “I have read it well enough to know you will come under attack some time this night. I am tasked with returning you to my house. I will have failed if you die before then. Tell me where you are, and I will see your futures clearly enough to advise your escape.”

Maexiks pokes the ground with her raptorial claw and tilts her head at the Geofahn bug again.
>>
No. 515060 ID: e1c569

>>515058
next time when you're being questioned by a guy that knows more than you, shut the butt up. everything you said helped him and didn't help you.

well Maexiks did kinda help you way more than you'd expect. she might have been a stalker or something. who knows.

right now stab the guy, he is your enemy and he will get you killed one day if he lives. also it'll probably just burst his dream bubble or something and he'll wake up so no worries about actually killing him - if they could die from a dream dreambugs would have been wiped out a long time ago.
>>
No. 515061 ID: 735f4f

Well we got some interesting info from him and gave away way to much of our own. We cant trust him whatsoever so we can ask questions from our possible stalker girlfriend later.

For now we knew there was a strong possibility of being attacked tonight anyway. And he does not know we are sleeping in the middle of a camp of armed friendly's. Plus if we can scare him off Maexiks can help look into our future and give us some advice.

So act like you are going to to up to him and tell him everything. Maybe start by asking some random questions about whats going on. And when you are in range stab him in the forehead or something. Hopefully that will drive him off and you wont end up with a bug corpse in your dreams forever.
>>
No. 515062 ID: 3e4b6e

I think the dreambug and the physical bug are separate entities.
>>
No. 515063 ID: f2c20c

>>515058
I think the Geofahn dreambug is telling the truth about Maexiks. I mean, think about the guy you were supposed to marry. Why exactly was he a huge butt? Can you think of a specific reason why you wouldn't marry him? Maexiks may indeed have implanted the irrational desire to ditch him. However, the question is, WHY?

Demand she tell you why she has been doing this, before we make any move at all. Then ask the Geofahn dreambug what would happen if you came back, knowing that you were being influenced by this other dreambug. Could we just pretend you never ran away?

Don't give the Geofahn dreambug her name unless you lose all faith in her as a friend due to her explanation. Also, consider that we'll never be free of her manipulations unless she's forced out of your dreams for good. Which might mean killing her dreamself. On the other hand if there is some other way to ward off dreambugs we can just do that. Considering that Maexiks was worried about that exact thing happening, I expect that it is possible.
>>
No. 515065 ID: 19b3c3

Obviously, you can't tell this guy where you are. I say for now, we trust Maexiks. She's your friend, this butt is trying to get you caught.

You'll need to get closer before you can stab him though. Distract him as you approach, keep talking. Like, I don't believe that. If dreambugs could control me through my dreams, why are you even bothering to talk to me? You could just control me to do what you want.

When you get the chance, make with the stabby-stabby.

Collapse, complain about being sick of stabbing people. Ask Maexiks if it's true, has she really been in your dreams since childhood? And see if she knows anything about the attack coming, or if she's going to be okay now that that butt has seen her.

...oh, and ask if the bug you stabbed is dead-dead or if that just made him wake up.
>>
No. 515067 ID: 735f4f

Oh also ask why she would be controlling you through your dreams and how. Gives you a plausible topic to bring up as you approach.

It might just be something he is making up so the house has a excuse to retrieve you and blame Maexiks for the whole thing. Then they can say oh she didn't run away it was all that horrible dreambugs fault and their honor is restored.
>>
No. 515068 ID: 57a559

>>515035
Yeah, yeah I think I need more sleep more often too. Great, yeah.
>>515058
Regardless of whatever Maexiks was doing, we will not be ordered around by strangers. We have new loyalties and responsibilities at the moment and won't stray from them.
But I don't want to kill him either. He's just too polite at the moment.
Maybe ask why she would trust him, or do anything he should say. Ever.
>>
No. 515069 ID: d30532

(Huh, I checked and Sabby actually does mention earlier about learning the dreambug language from a tutor. This guys still seems fairly untrustworthy though and has a lot of motive to lie to us.)
>>
No. 515074 ID: d3f29d

He knows too much already! Don't tell him anything!

Wait, what if you lie? Tell him you're at the Faurehdn border, miles from the river? Would that throw him off?

Yeah yeah. Keep him talking without giving up anything true. Act like you're going along with him and then when he gets close enough stab him in the gooblie bits.

But once he's out of the way, you and Maexiks need to have a heart-to-heart.
>>
No. 515076 ID: f2c20c

I'd like to note that Maexiks said that killing the dreambug would get us in a load of trouble. I believe that if we do that, we would never be able to go home. At most we'd want to threaten him to make him leave.
>>
No. 515109 ID: 3de109

We also didn't put the knife in our hand, and don't know if maexiks did or if he did, so for ow I saw we basically do nothing at all and just sit down on the ground and be completely uncooperative. Ask him why he's such a buttjerk and how cool of a jerk he thinks his butt is. Act like a three year old, run around waving your arms. I think he's lying and trying to get us to do soething. I don't think trying to attack is a good idea.
>>
No. 515114 ID: 735f4f

Yeah only try to attack him if we know it will just drive him off. Actually murdering a dreambug would make our problems much worse. I hope you cant kill one here. But it is technically there Remanent so who knows.
>>
No. 515117 ID: c23ab0

Stupid dreambugs! Maexis has been your friend but didn't even visit your dreams until you left town. How's she supposed to control you through dreams if she's not visiting them at all?

You don't have to be asleep for that buttjerk to be a nightmare. You left more because your family was being gigantous shits about it than because of him anyway. Do you remember having any nightmares about mister buttjerk, or about your family being extra evil?
>>
No. 515151 ID: 8fb35b
File 137065973805.png - (102.54KB , 600x600 , 111.png )
515151

>Maexiks may indeed have implanted the irrational desire to ditch him. However, the question is, WHY?
>well Maexiks did kinda help you way more than you'd expect. she might have been a stalker or something. who kno

But… but that doesn’t…

>I say for now, we trust Maexiks. She's your friend, this butt is trying to get you caught.
>Stupid dreambugs! Maexis has been your friend but didn't even visit your dreams until you left town. How's she supposed to control you through dreams if she's not visiting them at all?

… even if that is true, it doesn’t make sense. I can’t believe some butt who’s saying that just to trick me into giving myself up to him. I mean. I’m not. That dumb.

>We also didn't put the knife in our hand, and don't know if maexiks did or if he did, so for ow I saw we basically do nothing at all and just sit down on the ground and be completely uncooperative.

On one hand, this might not be as straightforward as it appears, but…

>right now stab the guy, he is your enemy and he will get you killed one day if he lives.
>Distract him as you approach, keep talking.
>Act like you're going along with him and then when he gets close enough stab him in the gooblie bits.
>And when you are in range stab him in the forehead or something.

… on the other hand, it’s entirely within reason Maexiks gave me the knife and wants me to stab the dude.

“I’m not in any danger right now,” I say. I start walking towards the guy, slowly, like I’m pacing more than approaching. “I’m with people. You aren’t going to trick me into giving myself up.”

“A stranger to everyone will come to claim you,” the Geofahn dreambug says. “I have seen futures where you are killed. I have seen others die with you. If I know where you are, I can save you. We can speak then of the other issues. Your safety comes first.”

I walk back and forth in front of him for a moment, hiding the knife. “Yeah but no, wait. If she was controlling me, wouldn’t I’ve noticed it? Why don’t you just do it?”

“It takes too long to insinuate inclinations,” the Geofahn bug says. “You do not notice them because she wove her commands into your dreams throughout the years.”

I’m in range. I look over at Maexiks. She’s watching, completely still. Whatever she’s been up to, I know she’s on my side.

I look back at the Geofahn bug. “Well but look—” I jump forward and jam the knife into the guy’s face. The blade pops right through his carapace with a crunch.

A token amount of fluids squirt out. The dreambug skitters back but just collapses. He’s. Wow. He died easy.

Maexiks scrambles up behind me. “You did it! I was so worried. Being a thing inside the dream, I had no way of knowing if that would have worked at all. But I have looked at the future, and he was right about the danger. Someone is coming to kill you.”

I turn back to Maexiks. “Damnit, really? Like, for real? Do I never get to sleep?”

“Someone very dangerous is coming,” Maexiks says. “I am not sure how to navigate you to safety. I do not have time to gaze into the stars all night. Tell me where you are, and who you are with, and who might be seeking you. We have to get you to safety.”
>>
No. 515152 ID: 3de109

This is super a trick and that's super not Maexiks and she super knows where you are anyway so super don't fucking tell her anything. Just say you just want to sit around and not worry about that and that you know you're fine.
>>
No. 515153 ID: 3de109

Maexiks appeared when the bad dreambug "summoned" her more or less. He'd been slowly whittling down her hiding places in the past and making things more flat and exposed, and Keeping Her From Showing Up at all. He doesn't know where you are and he is trying to find out, not kill you, which gives you a lot of leverage.

So for now just like, Stall so he doesn't know the jig is up just yet. You need to get as much sleep as you can. So just be like "oh my god Maexiks I missed you so much!" but don't like, actually you know, tell anything.
>>
No. 515154 ID: 19b3c3

>>515152
...yeah, I think this is a trick. That was too easy. The dreambug had you kill a fake, and he's making himself look like Maexiks.

Easy way to test: ask her a question only she should know the answer to. Ask her to tell you something one of you said to the other at a specific time.
>>
No. 515155 ID: 37aa84

Yeah, isn't Maexis supposed to be able to see your future because she knows you relatively well, plus she would know our general area already from previous conversations too.
>>
No. 515161 ID: eaa372

>>515154
Throw in some fake questions about your childhood, our only concern is to buy enough time for sleep.
>>
No. 515165 ID: 19b3c3

If it is him, call his bluff.

Look, you're not going to tell him where you are. You don't want to be caught, and frankly, you can't trust a thing he says. If he really thinks you're in danger, and it's not just a gambit to get you to talk, and wants you to help, all he can do is tell you everything he knows and then go away. Because you aren't helping him sharpen his dreams with more details.
>>
No. 515168 ID: f2c20c

>>515151
Well first, ask what happens to a dreambug if they die in a dream. I mean, that's the second person you've killed and you'd feel better if he was actually still alive in the waking world. Then ask her if you did anything weird during your first dream together. (you licked her eye) Or, you could ask her what you two spoke about in your last dream together.

I doubt she will pass that test, because she doesn't need to know who we are with to tell our future, and should know our general location anyway. She is suspicious. Also the last time we brought up the subject of killing the Geofahn dreambug, she was quite against it. She also doesn't sound right. She isn't speaking like I would expect. She keeps saying "we". Which would make sense if she was the Geofahn bug in disguise, of course, because "we" would be House Geofahn. Maexiks is acting alone, as far as we know. Retrieve the knife while you speak to her. You may have to use it again.

Lastly, she told us once, "The closer the future is, the more clear dreams I can have of it." If we are getting attacked tonight, she should NOT have any problems telling our future.

If she checks out completely and totally, tell her what she wants to know.
>>
No. 515176 ID: f2c20c

Oh yeah, another thing. When Maexiks appeared just now, she didn't appear with the flashiness she normally does, and he entered with flashiness too. That's a surefire way to tell when a dreambug enters your dream, isn't it? So, a very straightforward conclusion is that this Maexiks is fake. Hey wait a minute, Maexiks should know that we're being chased by Hefexn anyway! Good grief there are so many holes to poke in this guy's act.

Oh. I just realized... attacking him won't even work. He alluded to that just now. So... I think we should ask him where Maexiks is.
>>
No. 515180 ID: 3de109

We're better off if he doesn't know we're on to him. We just really need to buy time so we can get real sleep. We should have lesbian sex with fake mctrinkets and slip in deets about having gone in a totally different direction. This guy's ruses have been REALLY transparent so far, so he might not be that sharp socially.
>>
No. 515181 ID: 3de109

>>515180
Fake Maexiks. Freudian slip there
>>
No. 515182 ID: c23ab0

Seduce Maexiks.
>>
No. 515183 ID: b3dd38

Seduce the new guy/gal.
>>
No. 515184 ID: 735f4f

Yes lick the bug. Make it all weird for the faker.
>>
No. 515186 ID: e3aff6

Yeah, this is definitely the other dreambug in disguise. Recall the bathtub incident, which was basically exactly the scenario 'Maexiks' is trying to convince you of now, and notice how different she acts then. (The real Maexiks might be having a lot of interference now, but she would at least talk about it like she did then.)

>>515161
This. Seeing through his trick this early is an opportunity, and while we definitely want to feed him misinformation about our location if we can (maybe by assuring 'her' we are safe at [place we are not at]), right now we are really more in need of getting some sleep by buying time with him.
>>
No. 515191 ID: 35edd4

>>515184
Best plan. Nobody will want to keep trying to find you if you make them really uncomfortable and insecure about their sexuality!
>>
No. 515192 ID: 19b3c3

>Best plan.
...unless the dreambug is willing to play along to try and get information out of us. Then we just weird ourself out making out with a doppelganger for nothing. More humiliation, that's what we need.
>>
No. 515193 ID: f2c20c

Oh, and I just realized this guy never used Maexiks' name. I wonder if he even knows it?
>>
No. 515197 ID: cf49fc

>>515151
FOOL! IT IS A TRAP. STAB IT. STAB THE LIES.
>>
No. 515201 ID: 762100

>>515151
probably the biggest tell of Maexiks not being all there was the fact that this possible fake Maexiks was completely silent until you stabbed geofahn bug, and then she was excited even though she admonished you before, as another suggester pointed out. I think you should question her about why she was silent and why she doesn't already know where you are, and where she's been the past few times you've dreamed. Also ask her to tell you her name for clarification. Remain completely suspicious, there are several things suspect about all this.
>>
No. 515202 ID: 57a559

Don't want to stab her
Real Maexiks says stabbing the dreambug under Geofahn couldn't go in our favor like others have said and pointed out, so stabbing this fake Maexiks will probably not go well. God forbid it's the actual Maexiks and we stab our only ally that could tell the future and we were just too fucking jumpy and her forgetful. It's totally not the real Maexiks, but even though it's totally not, I don't even wan to risk it.
>>
No. 515209 ID: be1de0

>>515151
Try to get him (because it's totally him) to spill the deets on when this thing is going to come after you. Get as much info as possible.

And, of course, totally seduce him. :V
>>
No. 515254 ID: e3aff6

>>515193
That is a good point. We shouldn't make a big deal of it to 'her', but we should also avoid saying 'her' name as well.
>>
No. 515383 ID: 8fb35b
File 137073015904.png - (104.52KB , 600x600 , 112.png )
515383

I’m not falling for this. It’s pretty clear, for a lot of reasons, that this isn’t Maexiks. This probably never was Maexiks.

>Maexiks appeared when the bad dreambug "summoned" her more or less.
>The dreambug had you kill a fake, and he's making himself look like Maexiks.
>Yeah, isn't Maexis supposed to be able to see your future because she knows you relatively well
>This is super a trick and that's super not Maexiks and she super knows where you are anyway

But that doesn’t tell me how to deal with it. I mean, I could just stab him in the face too and see if that gets me anywhere, but I really need my sleep. I don’t know how rested I’m actually getting, but I do know I’m asleep, and I need as much sleep as I can get. I’m sick of dealing with things while half-awake or passing out or feeling horrible.

> our only concern is to buy enough time for sleep.
>We just really need to buy time so we can get real sleep.

That’s the best goal. If he doesn’t know I’m on to him, we can just. Get me as much rest as I can get. I think about asking him leading questions, to expose him as a fake, but there’s no way this isn’t a fake. As long as he doesn’t know I know that, I have the advantage.

>Well first, ask what happens to a dreambug if they die in a dream.

I pretend like it’s Maexiks. “Look, calm down, we have time for that in a minute. I just like, killed this guy? I guess?” I look back at the Geofahn bug’s corpse. “Is he dead? What happens if you kill a dreambug in a dream?”

“He isn’t really dead,” fake-Maexiks says. “But he is dead in this dream and so he is now dead for us. That is enough to have won. But you are not safe yet. Something terrible is going to happen. Please, Sabhaxlia. There is so little time.”

I sit down. “You know, I haven’t gotten a good night’s rest in like, forever. Whatever’s coming, I’m not going to be able to deal with it if I’m still half asleep.”

“You can sleep after this is over. Sabhaxlia, please.”

>Seduce Maexiks.
>Seduce the new guy/gal.
>Yes lick the bug. Make it all weird for the faker.
>And, of course, totally seduce him. :V

I think at this point I can’t really deny to myself I have some kind of weird attraction to Maexiks. I mean, it’s weird because she’s a girl and not even a tombdog, and it’s even weirder because this is totally not actually Maexiks.

>We should have lesbian sex with fake mctrinkets and slip in deets about having gone in a totally different direction.

But if making out with fake McTrinkets is going to get me in control of the situation, then I have no problem at all with it.

>Fake Maexiks. Freudian slip there

Right. Right. Maexiks. Not McTrinkets.

I put my hands along her claws and slowly kneel up. My nose goes up towards her mouth, from underneath. “It’s really nice that you’re worried about me so much,” I say. “But I’ll be fine, you know that. We’re already outside House Gehfrex’s walls.” That’s a house that’s a long, long way west of where we are right now. “And it’s been so long since we were able to be together, can’t we just. Enjoy it? For once? And not make it about telling the future?”

Fake-Maexiks shifts back. I stand up and grab her face with my hands. “Let’s celebrate our little victory here first, before we move on to our next battle.” That’s a line from a romance novel I read. It was translated from the birddemon remnant. It was pretty hot, I’m not gonna lie.

I kiss fake-Maexiks.

It’s.

Pretty hot.

I’m not gonna lie.

I wish it were the real Maexiks.
>>
No. 515384 ID: 8fb35b
File 137073018611.png - (115.61KB , 600x600 , 113.png )
515384

I don’t even know how things changed. I’m in my new colors. We’re in what absolutely has to be the seat of House Geofahn. We’re on a balcony of a tall manor, looking over the great sea. The Geofahn dreambug is here. It’s just us. The sky is the dreambug remnant, though, and the entire city beneath us is dark and dead.

“I was unaware your relationship with the other dreambug was like that. I believe I understand why you are fleeing our house.”

Uh. I fidget a little.

“You are not what I had expected. I had expected you to be a foolish runaway. You have evaded me well. You have seen through my attempts to mislead you. You are clever. You would be an asset to our house.”

Well, that’s great, but I don’t want to be a part of this stupid house. I lean on the railing and look out at the sea, at the quiet city beneath us. I could see myself living here, but not because of some obligation to the few remaining ghosts of the family. I mean. Iaxio and his mom’s lives and afterlives were ruined because of my great-grandfather being a supreme jerkbutt.

And Iaxio is my family. I am fulfilling a family obligation. It’s just to a ghost who was actually nice to me my whole life. An obligation I wanted to do. And helping McTrinkets, I’m helping a friend that I want to help. It’s not like I don’t know what loyalty is. I just chose to be loyal to the people I actually care about.

I don’t know if this bug will ever understand that.

“I can convince you another night,” he says, “but I was not lying. You are in danger. If you do not help me see your futures, you may die before morning.”

“Is that so?”

The dreambug is staring up at the sky. “Your enemies hold one of your party prisoner. The prisoner does not know they are held captive. You can change the situation. I can help you survive this if you let me. I need you to tell me as much as you are comfortable saying.”
>>
No. 515386 ID: c23ab0

>>515384

Oh crap they got Iaxio's corpse. Now what?
>>
No. 515389 ID: 3f0c72

Ask him for information instead. Which party member is captured but doesn't know it? Who has them captured? this is probably just a less transparent way of pumping us for information.

Tell him that if he really wants to help, then just to tell you everything he knows, but dont tell him anything at all. You really DO need to sleep to be worth anything. You can't really trust a thing this guy says, for real.

And he's smart. Giving him any information is bad. Ask him if he's been spying on you and maexiks. Ask him why she can't find you in your dreams anymore.
>>
No. 515391 ID: f2c20c

>>515384
Well shit.

Tell him that Hefexn is probably after you right now because you're basically about to destroy their house, and tell him who is with you. Don't tell him your location.
>>
No. 515392 ID: 37aa84

Holds one of them hostage but they don't know they're a captive. Could they have part McTrinkets ghost's corpse, or perhaps part of the Corpsbound? What would they be able to do if they did have that? Wait didn't the box we hand over include part of McTrinket's Ghost's corpse?
>>
No. 515394 ID: 19b3c3

Well, great. I get to trade danger from what's nearby for danger from you guys.

Captive but doesn't know it... so it's someone dead, right? They have a piece of someone.

>Giving him any information is bad.
Which is why we shouldn't use Maexiks' name, or let him know we haven't been able to contact her, in case he's not the cause.

>>515386
But his corpse should be way back, at home. The house that's chasing us might have gotten it if they made the connection. Our local enemies shouldn't know where we came from, or had time to go back and grab it.
>>
No. 515395 ID: f2c20c

>>515389
Yeah we should probably ask why we can't find Maexiks anymore, but don't say her name, because he doesn't seem to know it.
>>
No. 515401 ID: 57a559

>>515384
Do the Geofahn's know much of the dreambug abilities? Does he hide his powers from them, but merely assists them? And you wouldn't be very useful to the house at all besides the Geofahn's getting to claim relation to your family's old legacy because you'd just end up being some Mom to Geofahn kids and wife to an asshole. How is a clever housewife at all useful for the Geofahns?

I highly doubt Iaxio is the one captured, if the Geofahn's got him he'd tell us by now and would totally know, McTrinkets is with you. Now maybe one or two of the bandits plan to betray the others, or Akilfhren or the Dox heir is within Hef's grasp. Those are the mose probable possibilities.

If it comes out we agree to give him information, we can tell him about people in our party. The bandits is our safest bet, I don't want to bring McTrinkets hostage to Geofahn's if we describe her to the bug.

I'd much prefer him to stop blocking the real Maexiks from helping though. Don't give him her name. Why can't we just have her tell us our future? If he's interested in keeping us alive. Obviously that would be the easiest way for him to at least accomplish that objective.
>>
No. 515475 ID: 35edd4

>>515401
This is the best plan. If he truly wishes to keep us alive, then he should help us regain contact with our trusted dreambug, and then depart. Of course, don't tell him her name.
>>
No. 515495 ID: d3f29d

He has given you no reason at all to trust him. He's keeping you from your ally, and already has a record of lying to you.

If you must tell him something, don't use names and don't use locations. You're with two chicks, one dude, one corpse, and three ghosts (the bandits have one, right?).
>>
No. 515500 ID: f29aa1

>>515392
>perhaps part of the Corpsbound? What would they be able to do if they did have that?
In QuestDis thread, Corpsebound ghosts are stuck inside themselves, and the bones are lifeless until reattached to the main body, so we're safe from that possibility.
>>
No. 515502 ID: f29aa1

>>515401
>How is a clever housewife at all useful for the Geofahns?
It's a legal issue. Sabhaxlia is a Criminal/Felon for running away from an arranged marriage, but the Geofahn are the legally obligated party to dispense justice/judgment. Legal obligations are a Big Thing.
>>
No. 515503 ID: f29aa1

>>515384
>>515384
>Your enemies hold one of your party prisoner. The prisoner does not know they are held captive. You can change the situation.
Yes, she damn well can change things!
Master Dreambug needs to tell you WHO is 'prisoner' so you can stop being in danger!

If he refuses, assume that 'the enemy' he speaks of is House Geofahn, since how else would he know this prisoner existed without the House warden telling him?!
>>
No. 515504 ID: 19b3c3

>>515502
Also, they're a new-ish house establishing a name for themselves. Getting an older house's ghosts to take care of is kind of like getting a lot of cred at once. They need her to seal that deal.

Plus, as the bug just now noticed, she's actually clever. That's always useful.

...although yeah, saying you give in, she saw through all the deception, and flattering her could be another layer of trick to get us to talk.

But given our circumstances, I'm kind of inclined to believe that someone is out to kill us again.

>>515475
Which we need to ask without giving away information. Maybe: she kept you out of my dreams, you're keeping her out now, right? If you're really concerned about my survival, why don't you just back off and let me consult a dreambug I trust?

...although I expect that's not gonna happen. We're gonna be forced to give him something, I think.
>>
No. 515508 ID: 57a559

>>515502
>>515503
I understand it's a legal issue and why she's getting married for the first place and why the Geofahn's are initially interested. What I want to know how could Geofahn's use her cleverness? As an advisor or something? She was nothing but old family pride meat for the house to eat up. Now this bug is going like "Whoooooa, you can actually be pretty useful to the family in other ways because of your cleverness"
>>
No. 515518 ID: f29aa1

>>515508
This bug is very stupid. Notice he continues to press for information about her location, and with very little social finesse.

The first time he asked, he did so with threats.
The second time he asked, he did so with urgency.
The third time he is asking, he is doing so with flattery.

Each fucking time, he forgot to fucking hide his goal, and allowed us to run fucking circles around him.

His only advantage is that he is a Master Dreambug, who can directly hack other dreambuggy dream-channels.
>>
No. 515519 ID: 735f4f

Tell him if anything can be prevented he had better tell you everything he knows because he is not getting any info out of you.
>>
No. 515532 ID: c23ab0

>>515519

Don't let him know that. Keep him guessing. You want to distract him into talking about his stuff, and the last way to do it is to remind him that you aren't going to give him any info.
>>
No. 515582 ID: 8fb35b
File 137079614654.png - (160.69KB , 600x600 , 114.png )
515582

> And you wouldn't be very useful to the house at all besides the Geofahn's getting to claim relation to your family's old legacy because you'd just end up being some Mom to Geofahn kids and wife to an asshole. How is a clever housewife at all useful for the Geofahns?

“Clever. Clever. What does it matter if you think I’m clever? What does being a clever mom mean? You want me to go back and be a clever ornament for House Geofahn to brag about marrying.”

The dreambug leans in at me. “Is that what you think? Is that why you are running away? Is this what you think your future is, if you come back with me?”

He gestures at the city below.

Suddenly it’s me, down there. I’m a chubby, miserable looking housewife in Geofahn colors, being harassed by children. I look miserable.

“Uh, yeah,” I say. “That’s basically what this marriage is.”

“Sabhaxlia, House Geofahn is a young house. It is a powerful house. You are clever. If you could be an asset beyond your womb and tomb, we will encourage it. Look how far you’ve come on your own. Imagine what you could be with our house behind you.”

Another dream-image-thing appears over the city. It’s me in Geofahn colors again, but I’m tall and powerful looking. I’m making deals with members of House Fauhredn. They’re nodding along and agreeing to whatever I say.

“Only House Geofahn has the chance to overcome House Fauhredn. If you continue being clever, this remnant can be yours.”

> The third time he is asking, he is doing so with flattery.

Threats and trickery won’t work so now he’s trying to bribe me. I mean, he’s not actually wrong. Like, that isn’t. Really a lie. If I really applied myself and made myself useful to House Geofahn I could do pretty okay. And House Geofahn really could be the most powerful house on the remnant someday. It’s just. I don’t think that’s the life I wanted. Right? …right?

> Tell him that if he really wants to help, then just to tell you everything he knows, but dont tell him anything at all.
> Tell him if anything can be prevented he had better tell you everything he knows

“Look, you can tempt me later,” I say. “If I’m in danger, now, and you really want to save me, you’ll help me.”

“I do not know enough to see the future clearly.”

> Giving him any information is bad.
> His only advantage is that he is a Master Dreambug, who can directly hack other dreambuggy dream-channels.

Yeah, that. I could tell him generalizations, but even if I’ve seen through all his tricks so far, I don’t know if this is just another one. A trick, I mean. Even if I am in danger, and even if he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, he’s still a powerful dreambug. For all I know, just giving him the number of people with me could be enough to focus his dreams on my exact location.

> I'd much prefer him to stop blocking the real Maexiks from helping though. Don't give him her name. Why can't we just have her tell us our future?
> If you're really concerned about my survival, why don't you just back off and let me consult a dreambug I trust?
> If he truly wishes to keep us alive, then he should help us regain contact with our trusted dreambug, and then depart.

“Look, if I’m really in danger, let me talk to my dreambug friend. Stop blocking her from my dreams or whatever and let her tell me how to survive. I know you can just barge into my dreams any night you want, so you’ll have more chances to persuade me later.”

He doesn’t say anything.

“If you don’t let me talk to her, alone, without you messing anything up, then I’m just gonna assume I’m not actually in danger and stay asleep. And then if I die, it’s your fault, and you can see how much your house wants you to keep wearing those colors after a screw-up that bad.”

“You are very clever, Sabhaxlia Tashikoxix. To hold yourself for ransom against me. You are wasted as a mere stranger. I will retreat from your dreams for tonight. I hope your dreambug friend is powerful enough to guide you half as well as I could have.”

“Just. Do. It.”

“Until tomorrow night, of-Tashikoxix.”
>>
No. 515583 ID: 8fb35b
File 137079619096.png - (136.25KB , 600x600 , 115.png )
515583

The dreambug’s light wings burst out of his body and then he’s gone.

And then I’m alone, in my own dreams. I’m back home, in the manor’s front courtyard. It’s night, but it’s a tombdog night. It. It feels really weird being back home. It feels really weird still calling this place home when I’m running away from it so hard.

I take a seat on the steps and wait.

Soon the overcast black of the tombdog sky burns away and the dreambug sky takes over. Millions of little stars and giant, swooping planets. Maexiks appears in front of me, wings glowing.

“Sabhaxlia!” she shouts. She folds her wings in and rushes up to me. She practically pins me to the stairs. “Are you okay!”

“Yeah, yeah,” I say. “The Geofahn dreambug broke into my dreams.”

“He picked a horrible time! You are not safe!”

“Yeah, he said so. What did you see? What’s going to happen?”

“Three dogs are coming to kill you and everyone you are with. They are following one of your ghosts. They have a part of it captive and are drawn to it.”

>Could they have part McTrinkets ghost's corpse? Wait didn't the box we hand over include part of McTrinket's Ghost's corpse?

I guess that’s what the Geofahn bug meant by a prisoner who didn’t know he was prisoner. “You’re sure it’s a ghost they’re following?”

“All futures that include your survival involve tricking them with a ghost. Yes. I think so.”

“So what do I gotta do?” I sigh. I just kissed a fake-Maexiks and now that the real one’s here, all we have time to talk about is how much danger I’m in again. And the Geofahn dreambug could invade the next dream I have, too. I just want some time to talk to Maexiks like a friend again.

“I’m… not sure entirely,” Maexiks says. “There are three enemies, and they are well equipped. I cannot see who you are with as well. They appear to me as blurs of unknowing. Who are you with?”

I hesitate a moment. There’s. There’s no way this is another trick, right?

> don't say her name, because he doesn't seem to know it.
> Which is why we shouldn't use Maexiks' name

If this is the Geofahn bug, it didn’t seem like he knew Maexiks’ name. Let's try that, at least.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

Maexiks looks at me. “Maexiks. Why?”

I don’t even know if I’m being too paranoid now or not.
>>
No. 515586 ID: 3f0c72

Ask if dreambugs can spy on other dreams or not. Ask how all that works. If he could have been watching before, then he could actually know her name. The problem is that there is no way to make sure that you're alone. I mean, theoretically right now you know enough to do something. It makes sense that they could have that finger.

Say some mercenaries. That's clear enough without giving names.

Also kiss her to see if she kisses like the fake one. that pretty much broke the illusion last time too, so it could be a good way to see if it's a fake or not.
>>
No. 515588 ID: 735f4f

Tell her the other dreambug tried to trick you with a image of her so you are being careful so you don't let them know anything. Ask her to do something only she would do.
>>
No. 515598 ID: 6d4a47

Oooooh! Tell her about the rival dreambug's offer!
Considering fleeing from Geofahn's wrath was the reason for all these shenanigans, she might approve of us going back- maybe she could come along for the ride! It'd even make your parents happy, especially since instead of basically giving away the last thing you guys have, in your case it'd be more of an acquisition of power, and a position to wield it!
You WOULD need to deal with the house axika gaff and the thing in your hometown, but that can't nearly be as hard as all this! And hey, you might even get out of marrying that Buttjerk from before, and have your pick of husbands!
Ah, we should run offer by Iaxio when we wake, see what he thinks...He might be worried we're just getting suckered onto an executioner's block with honeyed words though...
If a tombdog goes and does awesome things, would that enable a house to take that dog in?
>>
No. 515600 ID: 57a559

>>515583
Just been playing a game back and forth for far too long with the other bug. You would not believe the hoops we've jumped through with his wilyness. The merchant, and the bandits we were with before, remember them? We have no names because we assume giving names out to each other is stupid. The ghost we have as a friend with it's impossible for the Hef's to have, so it's obviously the merchant's.
>>
No. 515606 ID: 57a559

>>515582
Oh, and another thing, at least your kids in that false future look cute. But when we talk to him again we have GOT to talk about that awful collar in the decent future, just awful. Who can take a woman serious wearing THAT?
>>
No. 515632 ID: f2c20c

>>515583
She arrived with glowing wings. It's her- I really doubt that can be faked. If you want to be absolutely sure, ask her if you did something weird during your first dream together.

She'll check out though. Tell her who you are with. Note that she is not asking where you are. She probably already knows THAT.
>>
No. 515646 ID: b14973

before you tell her stuff ask if the other dreambug can listen in.
>>
No. 515686 ID: c23ab0

To be quite honest it wouldn't be entirely bad to join House Geofahn. They are powerful, they respect you, but there is one thing you should keep in mind. They are hunting you. They hunt people. They're not seeking you out. They're hunting you. What kind of people do that? Not good people that's for sure.

You've gone to great effort simply to be left alone, and it still isn't good enough. Why would a house be so involved in tracking down a potential member, unless they were already batshit looney insane? Any house that wouldn't be a nightmare to live with would have given up by now, at least not actively hunting you. A house that does shows clear signs of egomania and psychosis, so no matter what they tell you things are going to be like, even if they really do wish it was so, your life among them is going to suck. Assuming they even want you to live anymore, now that you've sullied their delusions of superiority.
>>
No. 515878 ID: 19b3c3

>I don’t think that’s the life I wanted. Right?
Well, it wasn't before. The bug's right, it could be a life, if you went that way. But you don't know what life you'll find on your own path, yet. Well, assuming you don't get killed first.

>Maexiks. Why?
Sorry. Paranoia. The other bug wanted me to give details so he could save me... and so he could catch me. He even tried to pretend to be you. Kept trying different ways to get information out of me. Trying to be careful.

Who do you remember me being with? I'll fill in from there (if she doesn't know who you were with before, faker. I think this is real, though).

Might also want to make sure she's okay on her end of things.

Before we wake up to deal with the people coming to kill you, could we ask. Um. Is it true that you've been visiting my dreams since I was a kid? Just... something the other bug said. Not sure if that was a trick or not, or really what that would mean even if it's true.
>>
No. 516014 ID: 8fb35b
File 137089104926.png - (83.38KB , 600x600 , 116.png )
516014

I try to stop thinking about the life with House Geofahn the dreambug had shown me. If I’m going to reconsider… if I might actually stop running away, now isn’t the time to decide it. It’s. It’s just something I’ll be sure to think about, later.

>before you tell her stuff ask if the other dreambug can listen in.
>Ask if dreambugs can spy on other dreams or not. Ask how all that works. If he could have been watching before, then he could actually know her name.

I can’t not be paranoid, being in the situation I am.

“Maexiks,” I say. “Can dreambugs spy other dreambugs, in dreams?”

“We went together and saw the Geofahn dreambug a few nights ago,” Maexiks says. “We spied on him then.”

Right, we did do that. “So could he have spied on our dreams and learned your name?”

Maexiks steps back, out from over me. “I am not sure. I do not know when he would have had the opportunity to do that. If you would think it safer to assume he knows my name, we should.”

“Could he be listening in right now?”

“We saw him in the dream last time we saw him, didn’t we? In the small clearing, looking up at the sky. We would see him again, if he were here.”

>Tell her the other dreambug tried to trick you with a image of her so you are being careful so you don't let them know anything.

“Well, he made a fake-dream-Maexiks to try and trick me, but he didn’t seem like he knew your name. I need to be sure it’s really you before like, I can. Uh. Celebrate. Tell you anything.”

“I understand,” Maexiks says. “But please hurry. After you tell me what you can, I still need time to look at the new futures the insight will give me. And then you need time to do what must be done to survive.”

Before I interrogate her, and decide to trust her, though, there’s something that’s bugging me about what the other dreambug said.

>Before we wake up to deal with the people coming to kill you, could we ask. Um. Is it true that you've been visiting my dreams since I was a kid? Just... something the other bug said.

“Maexiks, wait. The uh. Geofahn dreambug. He said he could find me because he followed your path into my dreams.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t think—”

“No but he also said that. Like. You’ve. Been. Visiting my dreams since I was a child.”

Maexiks doesn’t say anything for a while. “We really do not have time for that right now, Sabhaxlia.”

I feel my stomach sink. That isn’t the sort of answer I was hoping for.

>ask her if you did something weird during your first dream together.

“Okay, we can get back to that another night. But I need to know it’s you. Did I do something weird during our first dream together?”

“Weird?”

“Something weird, yeah.”

“Sabhaxlia, that is too hard to answer. I cannot answer small details of the dreams a dream of me has appeared in. I am right now my dream of my dream, not your dream of my dream.”

I don’t know if she’s dodging the question or if dreambug magic is just that weird.

>Who do you remember me being with?

“Who do you remember me being with?”

“A ghost and a friend with a ghost. Your enemies are following your friend’s ghost.”

>Ask her to do something only she would do.

“So. Do something only you would know to do! And not that bug, just from spying on us a few times.”

“What would he have seen? What does he know?”

Like. Like.
>>
No. 516015 ID: 8fb35b
File 137089108233.png - (72.18KB , 600x600 , 117.png )
516015

>Also kiss her to see if she kisses like the fake one. that pretty much broke the illusion last time too, so it could be a good way to see if it's a fake or not.

I pull her into another kiss. Her finglets part around my mouth and my lips are sucking on her hard, smooth mandibles.

She doesn’t pull away or disappear. I think this is the real her, right? Right?

What do I do?
>>
No. 516036 ID: b14973

one last question. something you never talked about in a dream but still only the two of you know, that means something you did while really face to face before you left. but not something they're likely to have found out by interrogating Maexiks.

how about: "where did i sleep that last night before we left?"

make sure to raise your eyebrows suggestively, insinuating that something lewd happened. the natural instinct of the enemy should be "in my bed" when the true answer should be "under the table for some reason"
>>
No. 516037 ID: 735f4f

Continue making out I guess.
>>
No. 516047 ID: aaf692

Ask her about what she thinks of the idea that House Geofahn might have found out about your adventures and wants to recruit you.
Seriously, if she just waves it off it's probably a trick, but if she reacts with a measure of shock or worry, it's definitely her you're dealing with.
But if she doesn't really respond, it's a trick.
Maaaaybe save this idea for next time you go to sleep?
>>
No. 516051 ID: ca1c58

>>516036
This is actually a good suggestion.
>>
No. 516053 ID: ca1c58

>>516037
Also this
>>
No. 516055 ID: f2c20c

>>516036
Great idea. Simple question, something she was awake for, and there's no chance of just guessing it.

But that's it. No more making out, we don't have time. Tell her what she needs to know after we confirm it's her.
>>
No. 516060 ID: b14973

>>516015
also, if she checks out, and if she's 100% sure that he's not listening in, make a code phrase that only the two of you will know for identification.
>>
No. 516061 ID: f2c20c

>>516060
But she won't remember it! She can't remember details of these dreams.
>>
No. 516065 ID: ca1c58

>>516015
I see a weird symmetrical pattern in the star field up there, (top left of the first image of the update) and I do sort of remember maybe other weird patterns in the stars in the remnant in prior dreams. Is she sure that we would see him as a mantis to have to "see him" if he's spying on us? Could his presence be manifested in weird patterns in the star field?
>>
No. 516066 ID: ca1c58

>>516065
I meant the second image. The kissing picture.
>>
No. 516068 ID: ca1c58

>>516066
Going through and checking, it's definitely a pattern and it hasn't appeared in any frame where the Geofahn bug has been present before now, as in, the star field has not previously contained this pattern when the image contained the Geofahn bug.
>>
No. 516096 ID: 8f762a

Does she even know what a kiss is, I keep wondering that.
So hard to read, that bug.
>>
No. 516114 ID: cf49fc

>>516096
Possibly because she doesn't have a face, and lacks external muscular structure to have body language with.
>>
No. 516226 ID: be1de0

Sabby, there's something weird going on in the sky over there. I don't think that constellation is a natural part of the dreambug remnant. The Geofahn bug has already shown to be capable of totally reshaping your dream world, disguising himself as other things, etc.

You should whisper into her ear that you're pretty sure he's hiding in the sky. Make it look like you're just being romantic. Ask if there's any way to ensure privacy.

Tell her that she should only assume he's seen what's in your dreams, and not what happened to you in real life. >>516036 is probably good for this.

If you can verify it's really her, and you can get privacy, continue asking questions. Ask what happens if you hurt the Geofahn bug in the dream world, and even if that's possible at all (he seems super stronk here). If you can't fight him directly, ask if there's any way you can block him out / close off your mind from him without blocking her at the same time.

If she's really her, and you can get rid of him/find privacy, let her know some deets in vague terms.

If she's really her and you CAN'T find privacy, she should already know where you were in general, right? Just tell her where you are in relative terms from there, how many more people are with you than before, etc. Make it all relative to what she already knows instead of exact. If done correctly, only Maexiks will know Sabby's true location and number of companions (though it's possible he's already listened in on the earlier info and could figure it out too).

Alternatively (I love all these conditionals), if you both know some uncommon language that he might not know, you could try talking in that.

Whatever you do, it's safest to assume that Geofahn will know where you are no matter what after this, so need to get your shit done and GTFO as fast as possible.
>>
No. 516232 ID: b14973

>>516226
also make sure she knows it's likely that he'll intercept your dreams for the foreseeable future so any plans you're gonna make now is the last time to make them. that means identification and information about how to remove the other dreambug. maybe even a plan for it.
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No. 516301 ID: 8fb35b
File 137098610106.png - (70.88KB , 600x600 , 118_1.png )
516301

>Continue making out I guess.

Just. Another minute, yeah. I keep trying to kiss but she starts pushing me away.

“There isn’t time,” she urges.

>I see a weird symmetrical pattern in the star field up there
>Sabby, there's something weird going on in the sky over there. I don't think that constellation is a natural part of the dreambug remnant.

… I notice it. Just over Maexiks’ head, there’s a pattern that looks a lot like the Geofahn dreambug’s wing pattern.

“Maexiks,” I whisper. I’m not actually sure what she hears with. “I think I can see a constellation that looks like the Geofahn bug’s thing.”

Maexiks looks behind her. “I can see it. That is the door he has left into your dreams.” She looks back at me. “There is nothing of him here except for that footprint. Do not worry.”

I’m not decided if I should be worried or not.

>one last question. something you never talked about in a dream but still only the two of you know, that means something you did while really face to face before you left. but not something they're likely to have found out by interrogating Maexiks. how about: "where did i sleep that last night before we left?"

“One more test,” I say. “Where did I sleep that last night, before we left?”

“The night before you left where?” she asks. “Sabhaxlia, there isn’t much time.”

“It’s just. One more question okay. That last night, when I ran away, and I stayed at your house. Where did I sleep?”

Maexiks stares at me. “Sabhaxlia, every moment we waste is a moment death comes closer.”

I grip at her arms. “But you have to remember something like that. That wasn’t even in a dream. Just. Where did I sleep?”

“We have to hurry—”

“Just tell me!”
>>
No. 516302 ID: 8fb35b
File 137098613318.png - (147.23KB , 600x600 , 118_5.png )
516302

For a moment everything’s pink, and then the Geofahn bug is back. I’m gripping him like I was Maexiks. His wings are glowing all around us now.

“Unfortunate,” he says. “You seem to be beyond trickery. That is fine.”

I scramble back. “Wait! Wait! Was that fake too?”

“You almost believed me, that time,” the dreambug says. “I did not enjoy allowing you to kiss even a figment of my dream. You are betrothed to my house. I do not feel proud.”

I just stammer at this crypt-sized buttjerk.

“At least my shame was useful. I cannot trick you into thinking I am Maexiks, but you have told me you spent the night with her before you left. Her collaboration was physical.”

“No, that—”

“I have no more time, Sabhaxlia. I cannot trick you into helping me, so you must make do with what incoherent futures I have seen. There are three enemies. They ambush you some time before the sun rises. They are following a ghost that travels with you. If you leave the ghost’s relics in a chosen spot, you lead them into any trap you can arrange.”

“But—”

“Two of them are simple tombdogs. The other is a stranger with a foreign weapon. If your companions cannot kill all of them, I encourage you to run and hide.”

“Wait so, do I fight too or what?”

“You are too important to risk. If your companions fail to protect you, go to sleep, and tell me your location. I will have Geofahn housedogs in the area re-directed to your rescue. Your survival is all that matters.”
>>
No. 516303 ID: 8fb35b

Wake up
>>
No. 516304 ID: 8fb35b
File 137098619267.png - (74.81KB , 600x600 , 119.png )
516304

>Wake up

I wake up. My head is swimming. I didn’t even talk to Maexiks at any point? I don’t know how much of what he said at all was a lie or not then. About her invading my dreams my whole life, about… anything about how dreambug stuff works. Everything could have been a lie.

I don’t know if I can just let his warning drop, though.

The lady bandit is stretched out on a sleeping mat they had left here. The guy with the rifle and the fancy mantle is sitting on a log near the “campfire” (it’s just a bunch of quiet, smoldering cinders) but he looks asleep. The corpsebound is just a shadow out at the perimeter, watching.

McTrinkets is asleep right next to me.

What do I do?
>>
No. 516305 ID: 3e4b6e

Well it seems unlikely considering his location but see if Iaxio can warn Maexiks she's in danger using a passerby. She's probably screwed anyways.
>>
No. 516307 ID: ca1c58

First, I think that you should assume almost everything he said is wrong, including how dreambug "magic" works. I mean, Maexiks seemed to remember details from one dream to the next, and you now know for sure that the symbol wasn't just a "footprint." So yeah, you didn't talk to her at all. Also, his stuff about you being an asset to the house and all is probably also bullshit. They want you alive so they can kill you and then do bad things to your corpse. You have absolutely no reason to think that the Geofahn dreambug has any motive other than that, and you have really, really no reason to believe that the other Geofahn members want to do anything but kill you.

Buuuut, there is sort of no reason not to assume that the bad guys aren't following McTrinket's relic to kill you all. Wake her up first and ask her if she can confirm that in any way. Maybe ask bandit lady too. You know nothing about corpse magic so like, maybe somebody else does? Maybe the intractable corpsebound? I would get bandit lady to ask him though. He's like, not friendly. If it even seems possible, then you might as well leave both/all of your relics for McTrinket's ghost. Put them in a relatively open spot and then set up a good ambush. I think you should be there with everybody else. If you have to run, then ok, but you should be ok if it's 5 on 3.

Gun guy needs to shoot anybody that's not a dog that's in the group. We can probably handle 2 other dogs. The bandits might not be great bandits, but they seem to be competent in a fight. You can also ask their advice on setting up an ambush. If nothing happens for a bit after dawn, then we'll go with our original plan.
>>
No. 516308 ID: f2c20c

>>516304
Great, we made him think Maexiks was our girlfriend BEFORE we left. Which may be to our advantage, I'm not sure. At least we know that he is a huge liar and we can just discard everything he said. Except, I still wonder why you were only taught the dreambug language. Perhaps your family hired Maexiks to be your tutor in your dreams, because that was a very efficient way to be taught and she wasn't asking much money for it? That would explain both the well-worn path, you only knowing dreambug language, AND why she is such a great friend.

>ghost's relics
It's a ghost with more than one relic with us. We just need to find out which one that is.

Wake up everyone, quietly. Make sure they stay quiet too. I'm guessing that the fancy guy is carrying the relics of importance, but it could be the lady bandit. We don't know the area so ask the bandits about good ambush spots.
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No. 516312 ID: 5a5dd4

Wake everyone up, quietly.

Get the corpsebound to keep the perimeter, explain the situation to everyone else. Ask the bandits about how to set up an ambush, they probably know more about it than you or McTrinkets.

The bug wants you to run, so obviously, you're going to fight. Prepare your spear, prepare yourself, and see if you and Iaxio can do the ghost tower thing again.

Hell, tell everyone to ghost tower if it will help them.

Oh, and it'd probably be a good idea to capture one of the guys instead of killing them all. Interrogation for information, and all that. So, prepare some way to tie a guy up, and sort out which will be the best to capture.
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No. 516313 ID: e3aff6

>>516305
I don't think we can rely on some random passerby to not just tell house Geofahn about the message, and then we would have two friends with bodies endangered in Geofahn territory.
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No. 516317 ID: ca1c58

>>516313
The sucky fact is that we aren't in a position to do anything about our girlfriend Maexiks at present. We will have to consider those kisses as practice for the real thing. We can also practice with McTrinkets, who is our other girlfriend.
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No. 516319 ID: 735f4f

Well we know what to watch for in dreams now. While you did give a little info away it was not much. Hopefully it will not hurt Maexiks much. With any luck she has left the area already.

We need to find out which corpse has been compromised and set up a trap for the people coming. And you need to work fast.
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No. 516331 ID: 222cd3

Wait, that was fake too? What a jerk! And I think he implied you were a bad kisser. If you ever even remotely consider again giving up and marrying into Geofahn, remember this moment. You absolutely want nothing to do with them.

Rouse McTrinkets. Have her rouse Kekahkik. If your enemies have one of his relics, would he be able to sense it? Maybe listen in and figure out how much time you have.

Bugjerk McButt wants you to set an ambush. I am loathe to accept his advice but I can't think of a better idea. It's not worth getting killed just to spite him.
>>
No. 516333 ID: 01531c

I GOT IT

The bandits have a ghost! The bandits did secret work for Hefexn!

2+2 = Hefexn has got one of the bandit-ghost relics!!!
>>
No. 516335 ID: b14973

>>516302
whoa i did not think this through, did i. sorry sabby, i messed up and got Maexiks in trouble. but at least they don't know where you are.

well, what are you waiting for, wake everybody up!
>>
No. 516361 ID: c23ab0

>>516335

Well Maexiks is sort of dead physically, so there's not much more trouble she can get into, physically. Might be a worry if she was a tombdog, but instead she's got some weird dream afterlife thing going on. Troubling that she didn't actually contact you during all that subterfuge though. Perhaps the constellation was her doing, a warning?
>>
No. 516366 ID: 57a559

Sabs, under any circumstance do not allow your party to do any killing because then the Heffers are allowed to kill them on sight.

If death is absolutely necessary, ask McTrinckets for 2 sized ghost tower on yourself. And if the bandits have a ghost, a three ghost tower.
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No. 516371 ID: 405647

>>516361
I thought Maexiks specifically didn't die yet?
>>
No. 516418 ID: be1de0

>>516366
The only reason Hefexn has a reason to go after Sabby legitimately is because she just up and killed someone and there aren't really any outside witnesses to say she was defending herself. :V

Also, tombdog laws are complex law-things and I think it's better to get clarification directly from CB rather than extrapolating and guessing that any deaths count as murder. This can probably be played off as self-defense with good reason.

>>516307
>>516312

These are mostly good plans, but I think A) there's basically no way Iaxio could be the problem ghost and B) we'll probably need him.

Wake up everyone and tell them the deets.
1) See if anyone else is carrying around ghosts that could fit the bill.
2) Get a plan formed. They're the pros so they should come up with a lot of the deets. If may help if you set up fake-looking camp somewhere so that it appears everyone is asleep.
3) Anticipate that the tombdogs in the enemy group are ghost-stacked. We're talking about a small hit-squad sent out to kill a party that's known to have a lot more people than the squad they sent out, so they're probably rocking at least 2-3 ghosts each that are turbo'd up with corpse-paste. Getting the element of surprise here and taking them out before they can react is important. In a drawn-out head-on fight, the odds are that they'll outmatch anyone here.
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No. 516434 ID: 71e184

>>516361
Where are you getting that Maexiks is dead? She's alive as far as we know.

Also we are gonna have to kill these guys. We can corpse paste up the relics of any of the bandits if they have ghosts to stack.
>>
No. 516435 ID: 762100

>>516307
Basically the best course of action. There is no real doubt that they are using Kekahkik to zero in and try and take you guys by surprise.
>>
No. 516577 ID: 1766db
File 137111138569.png - (185.99KB , 800x600 , Rulesofengagement.png )
516577

So they found the corpse piece in McTrinket's box. Great.

There is one thing we can trust: There are three tombdogs coming to kill us. He has no reason to lie about that. It is absolutely true that he needs us to remain alive. So let's use that tiny tidbit of information to our best advantage. After all, we gained more from our little diplomatic tussle with him than he did. Which is pretty damn impressive! Way to go, Sabby!

Wake up, tell everyone about your dream. Spend a little time scouting the immediate area for the best place to stage an ambush (preferably somewhere where the ground slopes downward), then have McTrinkets put the corpse there. Get gunbandit up into a high place where he can see the paths into the ambush spot and draw a steady bead on anybody coming in. He's going to act as our spotter and sniper.

Use the remains of camp to set ourselves up as fake-sleeping in the aforementioned recess. Everyone needs to be hiding some place they can't be seen uphill. Since we don't know where they're coming from, the most important thing is that they don't see us, not that we see them; that is what our spotter is for.

Wait until they come across the camp and start to search it. Before they realize the jig is up, sniper needs to take out the foreigner, who will probably look the fanciest. That's the signal for everyone else to break from cover and run towards the shouting and/or screaming (not towards the gunshot! that's where the sniper is!), which is probably what will occur when one of their members is downed. Since you'll have the uphill advantage and numerical superiority, it should be short work of the two remaining, or two and a half if the foreigner is only injured.

Good luck.
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No. 516584 ID: f2c20c

>>516577
>found the corpse piece
Oh. Of course. That WOULD be the most likely cause of this. Except, wasn't he supposed to be listening in on them? Did he stop listening or what? Oh well, regardless, it seems like they figured out that you and McTrinkets (what's her real name again?) got tipped off somehow that they weren't pleased by the 'payment' and the logical conclusion is that the box contained a ghost relic. So without even searching inside the box, they arranged to track the connection, somehow.
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No. 516630 ID: 8fb35b
File 137114556782.png - (200.23KB , 600x600 , 120.png )
516630

>First, I think that you should assume almost everything he said is wrong, including how dreambug "magic" works.

Until I can learn otherwise, I might as well.

>Wake up everyone, quietly. Make sure they stay quiet too.
>We need to find out which corpse has been compromised and set up a trap for the people coming. And you need to work fast.

I nudge McTrinkets. “Hey. Wake up. Now.”

McTrinkets’ eyes slip open. “Mm. What is it?”

“Family Hefehxn is following one of our ghosts here. They’re going to ambush us soon.”

“Dream prophecy again?”

“… yeah.” Let’s leave off the stuff about the House Geofahn bug for now. I don’t need them doubting if it’s really going to happen or not.

“All right. Let’s get this going.”

We get all the bandits up together and I give them a rundown on the situation. Three Hefehxn guys, one of them a “stranger with a foreign weapon,” following one of our ghosts that they’re holding prisoner without us knowing.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take any effort to convince them about it.

“A dreambug told me how I was going to die,” Madohkikil, the corpsebound, says. “The bug was right. That’s good enough for me.”

Lairehfsis, the lady bandit, asks, “Okay so, what does the prisoner who doesn’t know he’s a prisoner mean? You said they’re what, using our ghosts, so who is it?”

“I’m a ghost,” Iaxio volunteers. “I don’t know how they could have me prisoner, though. Maybe it’s metaphorical. They could have blackmail on one of us ghosts? And we’re… betraying the others, and leading them to us?”

We shrug.

“I have my boyfriend’s ghost,” Lairehfsis says. “The rest of his corpse is divided up among his house. His ghost is usually doing stuff over there with ‘em, so uh, if they got his ghost captive, someone woulda known about it. I don’t even get to see him enough.” She hesitates. “My dagger has a relic in it. But, I mean, that isn’t a ghost. It’s just a ghost that’s like, you know.” She twiddles her thumbs. “Captured. But it knows its captured.

“Two ghosts,” the fancy-bandit Laikadehn says. “Grandfather and brother.”

“No ghosts,” Madohkikil, the corpsebound, says.

“Three ghosts,” McTrinkets says. “Kekahkik here, and my half-brother and aunt. We don’t get along much anymore.”

> Wait didn't the box we hand over include part of McTrinket's Ghost's corpse?

But… I think I already know which ghost it is.

“I mean,” I say. “It’s probably Kekahkik, though. McTrinkets had me sneak one of his fingers into Family Hefexhn’s manor so she could spy on them.”

“I haven’t noticed anything,” Kekahkik says. “They don’t know my finger is there.”

“Well,” McTrinkets says. “It’s Family Hefehxn. They don’t turn away weird corpse-magic at the docks. They might have done something to your finger that lets them follow you without you knowing. They could be spying on us right now.”

We all stare at McTrinkets.

“Well I wasn’t thinking they’d find the finger.”

It has to be Kekahkik’s ghost. Family Hefehxn has a relic of his in their possession, and they’re probably following his trail here.

> If it even seems possible, then you might as well leave both/all of your relics for McTrinket's ghost. Put them in a relatively open spot and then set up a good ambush.

We decide to bury Kekahkik’s fingers in the middle of camp, to lure them in. The bandits set up the sleeping bags and some leaves to look like we’re all asleep, still camped out.
>>
No. 516631 ID: 8fb35b
File 137114560222.png - (83.25KB , 600x600 , 121.png )
516631

> think you should be there with everybody else. If you have to run, then ok, but you should be ok if it's 5 on 3.

And I decide I’m going to try and fight. I’ve already killed one of this family trying to defend myself, and I’m not going to let everyone die trying to protect me. I have my spear, and the sword I took from the Hefehxn guy. Iaxio can stack onto me and give me enough strength to fight evenly with like. A normal guy. At least.

Since the bandits actually like, are bandits or adventurers or whatever, they’re the ones who are gonna come up with the plan. I don’t think I can really make them listen to anything I think of anyway.

>>516577

But this is basically what we end up with.

Madohkikil and Lairehfsis are going to hide separately, behind trees, while Laikadehn and his rifle set up further back. The relics should lure them into the middle of our camp. Laikadehn is supposed to fire first, that’s the signal for the other two to attack. McTrinkets is going to hang back with Laikadehn because she can’t really put up a big fight. The clearing is roughly rounded and about like, I dunno. Maybe a hundred feet at the widest. It’s enough that we can circle around wherever they come in from, so we can be at the right angles. We can be on them in a few seconds after the first shot if we’re fast.

The question now is who do I hang out with? I can stay back with Laikadehn and McTrinkets, where it might be safest. But that leaves just two of us up in the fight with three of them, so maybe I should join in with one of them?

Laikadehn has his rifle, which he says has three shots before it needs to be all reloaded. He also has like, a bunch of different heavy, blunt weapons in this bag he had left at camp. So I guess he can do okay in beating up people too. He also has two ghosts!

Madohkikil has a hook-sword and he’s a corpsebound so he isn’t going to die easily. Even if he doesn’t have any ghosts to help him, he’s probably got two lifetimes’ worth of fighting in him anyway. Also corpsebounds are supposed to be really hard to keep down in combat.

Lairehfsis has little javelins and a knife and she’s pretty fast, and she’s got a ghost and a ghost-powered knife. She says her ghost-boyfriend is pretty powerful, too—he spends most of his time as a housedog ghost, so he knows lots of combat ghost power things. She says he’s worth at least two or three “civilian” ghosts.

I could stick close to one of them, or try to ambush the guys from a third point with the rest of them, or stay with Laikadehn.

I have my spear, and the hook-sword I stole, and Iaxio’s ghost to give me what little strength boost he can. We’re leaving Kekahkik’s fingers in the middle of camp so they focus right on that, so I can’t take him along for the extra skill.

I have to decide where I’ll be, and try not to think too hard that I’m going to be trying to kill a bunch of dogs soon.
>>
No. 516632 ID: 57a559

Work with Mado, he looks like the one that might need a little extra backup while also being very capable of keeping you safe... but...
I totally want the deets on Lai's ghost relationships and get into some girl talk. Wait, you might get in Mado's way, you should ask if you'll get in his way because he's probably the powerhouse of this group and is going to be hella vicious.

The meanest guy of the group you can trust more than the nice one, that was my initial logic, but then again girl talk.
>>
No. 516633 ID: 762100

>>516631
Get in between jet and commando on the outer edge of the circle you guys are forming. Once you guys lure them in and the bandits engage them, you should probably concentrate on trying to disable the foreign weapon enemy while they are distracted by the bandits attacking them. Hopefully you all can take them down without any injuries on your side!
>>
No. 516634 ID: ca1c58

Lairehfsis is the cutest and you kinda have the hots for her, plus she has ranged weapons and a dagger, and your spear is useful with that kind of getup, if you can kinda keep people away from her while she throws javelins through their faces.
>>
No. 516635 ID: 5a5dd4

Ask Madoh and Laireh if either of them would prefer you fight along side them.

If they don't care or they both want you, stick with Madoh. Our targets will probably see him as the biggest threat, so hopefully he can keep them distracted enough that you can get a few stabs in.

Wait.

We don't have to keep anyone alive to interrogate them! We can interrogate their ghosts!
>>
No. 516637 ID: cf49fc

>>516635
And if they piss us off, THROW THEM IN THE FIRE.
>>
No. 516638 ID: 1766db
File 137115137278.png - (115.41KB , 557x1344 , targetpriority.png )
516638

>>516634
I'd like to note that picking who to stay by on the basis of their cuteness is a terrible terrible idea and you will die.

>>516632
Don't go with Mado because he seems like kind of a creep and probably wouldn't care about you too much in a fight. You might even get hurt inadvertently. The meanest of the group is just that... the meanest. He's a jerk.

Keep in mind that for this ambush to be successful you must stay out of sight until the Hefexhn enemies are in position. Unfortunately Laikadehn's colors are not exactly ideal for this, so smear him with mud. Lots of mud. He's going to be directly in front of the people we're trying to kill and also the only one out of cover because he has to give the signal (by shooting the foreigner, who is probably the highest priority target), so he needs to be camouflaged.

Lairehfsis and Madohkikil will be the ones who lead the charge into the ambush zone, but let's change the plans a bit: Laikadehn should try and pop all three in the most accurate possible location before the two bandits attack. That way, even if he doesn't kill them all, they will be able to distract them while he reloads, and he may at least injure all of them which will make the fight much easier to finish. In fact, since he may not want to fire at all while his friends are engaged in combat, lest he hit them, this is his most efficient usage.

There's a possibility that this will devolve into a 3-on-2 if Laikadehn has really bad aim, so you and McTrinkets need to be there to back up your teammates in the safest possible manner. I recommend you move around to the left side and engage with Lairehfsis, because Madohkikil is less likely to need the advantage of numerical superiority, whereas Lairehfsis may end up fighting 2-on-1 because she may be seen as the physically weakest target.

If there is a straggler that needs to be taken care of, Laikadehn can do it after he reloads because it's less likely that they'll be too close to you to fire upon. Worst comes to worst, he can give a signal that he's ready to fire and someone can shove whomever they're fighting away from them to let him get a clear shot.

Remember that you're the VIP here so don't get too much in the way of fighting. If I recall correctly, you have a spear, so that should let you get behind Lairehfsis and poke dudes without putting yourself too much in harm's way. McTrinkets, on the other hand, is kind of screwed so she should really just keep her head down and only engage if there's a distracted enemy or an ally that needs help.

There's five of you plus three ghosts and only three of them (plus however many ghosts they brought) so this shouldn't be a hard fight for you to win if you play it right. Maintain the element of surprise until the right moment to turn it into a combat advantage, and then swoop down from your higher position to quickly finish off dying and wounded enemies. Even if the worst happens and you're forced to fight against three uninjured combatants, you should still have the numerical superiority necessary to take them down. But under no circumstances should you put yourself in harm's way. It's no time to be a hero.

McTrinkets can be, though.
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No. 516639 ID: 1766db
File 137115148559.png - (70.18KB , 960x570 , ooda.png )
516639

>>516638
Oh yeah; and if Lairehfsis has javelins she may want to throw as many of them as she can before she engages, because the best part of the fight is when you're far enough away from them that you can hit them but they can't hit you.
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No. 516645 ID: cf49fc

>>516639
When in down, set everything on fire.

If only we had more ranged weapons. You can ALWAYS have more ranged weapons.
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No. 516646 ID: 1766db

>>516645
Contrary to popular belief, setting arrows and javelins on fire does not make them more damaging and probably makes them significantly harder to throw.
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No. 516647 ID: f2c20c

>>516631
Let's stick with the corpsehound. He can tank hits, while we stick people with the spear from out of range of who he's fighting.
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No. 516667 ID: 57a559

I forgot to suggest that McTrinket's isn't allowed to kill anyone because of her importance. The bandits can kill because they're bandits, people will want to hurt and kill them on sight already, same deal as Sabbs is because she's accused of murder. McTrinkets hasn't been publicly announced as a murderer yet (I suspect she won't because her kill was out of town, out of the way, and can more easily be argued as self defense way out here), AND she holds the entire plan together. The bandits and you rely so much on her testimony for a proper city pardon from the Dox's and we cannot risk the value of the testimony. True, we needed the bandits bonus testimony to make her accusation stick and they're supposed to be arrested/killed on sight, that's fine. But that's just it, they're simply the addition, the reinforcement of McTrinket's testimony. If she does end up killed Hef's out here, I guess that's fine, but it's VERY risky for the plan to free her.

So... I guess it's slightly okay for McTrinkets to kill here. Very slightly, very risky. Maybe get her opinion on that.
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No. 516671 ID: d3f29d

Stick with McTrinkets. She has the least combat ability and no real ghost stacking, so she's the most likely to need your help. I'm not sure we can trust Laikadehn to not turn on her if it suddenly becomes more profitable.

Lairehfsis is our second choice, but you don't need another girlfriend. Yet.
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No. 516695 ID: 8fb35b

>>516366

>>516667

Don't worry about that. This is outside of city walls, defending themselves against dogs who are clearly coming for a fight. Everyone is totally within their rights to defend the camp against dogs looking for a fight.

It was different when Sabby up and killed a dude in a woman's house and then stole her clothes and tied her up. Hefehxn can make a good enough argument that Sabby, as a stranger, was acting way out of bounds and any feeling of "threat" she had was just because of a ~dream~ she had in a bathtub.

Out here, it looks like there's going to be tombdogs coming with the intent to kill, fully armed, and it'd be very hard for Hefehxn to justify saying "Uh they started it for no reason we're allowed to just kill them when they walk into the city."

Besides that, the plan is to meet Akilfhren outside of town in the morning, so the next step isn't going to be putting anyone in danger anyway.

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No. 516860 ID: 8fb35b
File 137124163734.png - (58.33KB , 600x600 , 122.png )
516860

It’s a tough choice, but I go along with Madohkikil, even though he was kind of an ass during the robbery. We all split up and circle our way through the woods.

“I see you picked up a sword since we robbed you,” he says

“I killed the guy who had it,” I say.

“Oh good,” he rasps. “So you have done this before.”

“Uh, yeah,” I say. “Not very much.”

“Well, don’t be nervous. We don’t lose if you die. We only lose if all of us die.”

“Great.”

We settle low to the ground, behind trees and thick roots.

“If they come from another angle, we rotate slowly to keep on their side,” Madohkikil says.

“Yeah,” I agree.

And then we wait. The ground is wet here, but it’s the tombdog remnant. Everything’s always wet. The air is hot and humid and it feels like it’s going to rain any minute, just like usual. It’s basically a normal night, except I’m waiting around to kill someone.

I’m waiting to kill someone. Iaxio’s a mantle I’m wearing so I can’t even talk to him to keep my confidence up. At least I stalled the dreambug long enough that I feel awake and recharged for this.

But when this is all over? Killing like, four people, Maexiks maybe invading my dreams since I was a kid, political battles between houses and families and… I’m going to have a lot to sit down and think about, when I can sit down and think.

Now isn’t that time.

I didn’t even hear them walking, but they’re here.
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No. 516861 ID: 8fb35b
File 137124167066.png - (116.57KB , 600x600 , 123.png )
516861

Two Family Hefehxn dogs step into the clearing. They have normal clothing on, high skirts for off-road walking, but no armor or anything. One of them has a walking-spear like I do. The other has a hook-sword. They both have two ghosts on them. They’re wearing them differently, like. I think the ones like mantles are empowering their strength and skills directly, like Iaxio is with me. The ones hovering above are more like, some other kind of indirect magic. I never paid enough attention to ancestor rituals, but I think they might be helping the dogs see in the dark. Or maybe that’s why they’re so quiet I can’t hear them walk. I know a ghost has to train at being a ghost to be able to do things like that.

They sneak up on our leaf-stuffed sleeping bags.
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