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It was once again an early morning, a grey veil cast over the world as the orange light of the sun lingered just over the horizon. It was a time for birds, both the song birds heralding the dawn and the hard-working mail harpies soon to be off on a day of deliveries. However, it had also become a time for snakes and the women attached to them, Cici and her mother’s hands digging gently into the moist ground as soon as Vivi takes to her wings.

Soft soil, nutrition, and sunlight. Those are the three keys that Mama explains as she guides her little helper through planting her very first rose bush, gently instructing her here and there and sometimes guiding her implements as the miniscule gorgon carefully carves away a safe spot for her little plant to grow in the dew-laden grass.

It isn’t easy work for small hands and small arms, soft soil or no. As she tears away at the roots and weeds, sweat isn’t far behind, thick drops beading on her forehead long before she can even think about adding the mulch to the mix. Thankfully, the smell of raw earth and grass help tamp down the odor of the fertilizer by the time she goes about carefully infusing the earth with the key elements to make her flowers grow big and strong.

“Now to dig a hole,” Cassandra guides, “and gently seal the roots in nice and tight.”

Now that the dirt is soft, the task is easy. A few moments later and the work is done, an innocuous sprig of weedy plant matter standing defiantly from the earth where once only dandelions and clover had been, albeit with a little help from the comparatively large stick wedged in beside it.

“That will help it grow straight and tall,” Cassandra explains. “Otherwise, a storm might come along and knock it over, or a careless animal.”

A meaningful gaze is turned on Okku at that, the bear cub watching curiously from the sidelines with the rest of the household pets, all seemingly curious about these strange proceedings. Whatever his accomplice in previous events, however, he just pants excitedly at being noticed. Meanwhile, Cici gives her plant its first meal in the form of enriched water, a happy feeling bubbling up inside as she helps it along from these meager beginnings.

[“Guys, I did it! But we still have lots of time today for other stuff. What did you wanna do?”]

> Write--in
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For any new players:

Welcome to Gorgon Child Quest! Where-in you take up the role of a magical talking artifact being wielded by a young gorgon girl named Cici. Living out of the remains of a once great dungeon, the game will focus on exploration, character interaction, and learning as the voices of the players within the amulet help guide her along.

For news about quest updates, my twitter can be found here:

And the archive can presently be found here:
Aha, nice job! Just be sure to keep it well watered and fed, and maybe keep a lookout for weeds later on.

As for right now? There's a good few options. Try again with that whole magic deal, or maybe work on learning a bit more- you're got a lot of potential, kiddo, considering the stuff you've managed to pick up the basics of so quickly.

I'd love to make go exploring a bit, if only to see some new sights, but considering our new neighbors...

...actually, that might be a possibility, too. See what your mom might permit and not permit with those two. The lady DID seem to have a bit of a spot for you...

But if you have any other ideas, I daresay we're all ears. Well, inasmuch as we have ears, which we don't...you get what I mean.
Cute art, bananon, looks adorable. Love the snakeling resting his head on Din-Din's.

Anyway, I'm with >>1064783. It might also be a good idea to bring some plantable flowers as a housewarming gift.
Oh wait, I'm thinking of the bees, not the troll and the oni. Well, no matter. We should bring them something anyways, although maybe not flowers... maybe some pies from Guyus?
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“Mama, do bees like pies?” Cici asks, at which the older woman blanches.

“I’m not really certain, sweetling,” she admits. “I don’t see why they wouldn’t… but why do you ask?”

“The voices said we should bring them a present,” Cici explains. “An’ we could also plant them some flowers.”

“Hmm. Well, I’m sure they’d appreciate the latter, if nothing else,” Mama muses. “Tell you what, how about you get ready, and we’ll take a trip into town?”

“Okay!” Cici agrees enthusiastically, and that’s all it takes to send the young girl scrambling for her boots and cloak.


“Now, Jasmine, be good while we’re gone, okay?” she instructs the manticore kitten, getting a curious mewl and a soft purr as she pets her friend goodbye. “An’ don’t let Okku get into trouble.”

With that, the gorgon family was off on the dust laden trail to down, Din-Din hopping faithfully behind along the way. Unfortunately, as they pass Agatha’s farm, there’s neither hide nor hair of Katy to be seen, but the old woman waves regardless.

“Where’re ya’ll off to this morning’?” she asks, leaning against her fence.

“We’re gonna get a pie for the bees,” Cici explains, her mother’s gentle hand resting on her head a moment after.

“Well, reckon they like the sweet stuff. They can just be downright ornery about givin’ it up when it isn’t theirs. Meant to ask when ye came by for a couple of my boxes, but are ya’ll startin’ up a honey business back there?”

“Oh, um, well it’s a bit complicated to explain,” Mama admits. “You see they aren’t exactly normal bees…”

“So what, some kinda import or exotic species?”

“They can talk!” Cici explains with a grin.

“What in the-“ The woman stops short and just sighs. “Well, reckon at this point that ain’t really surprisin’, now is it? So long as they stay outta my property, we’ll be alright.”

“Thank you for understanding,” Mama says. “Though I certainly didn’t mean t-“

“Heh. Ye’ll give yerself wrinkles at this rate, hon. It’s yer land anyway, from here to the Great Lakes down south. Ye do with it whatever ye see fit.”

“I… but…”

“Only butt needs to be yers scootin’, lil missy,” the old woman laughs. “Come back soon, but especially if ye need an old hand at bee raisin’.”

Mama, being thoroughly flustered, does just that, wandering down the road with Cici and Din-Din in tow.

[“I don’t understand. How can Mama own land if it belongs to other people? Also, what kind of pie do bees like?”]

> Write-in
The pie idea was for the oni lady, for the bees, I'd go for fruit jams. Sweet stuff all the way.
As a baroness, she is part of the government, and the state, which is the land and the people on it.

Now, as for pies, probably the sweetest you can get.
She's basically an overseer of the town and surrounding lands, and has the authority (and responsibility) to make changes for the good of the people as a whole, though to what extent depends largely on the specific laws in your area.

Bees love sugar and pollen.
well, its like shes responsible for the land, AND ythe people who live on it.
Kind of like your house, your mom owns it, but you live their and its yours too. Does that make more sense?
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[“Oh, I get it, I think. So, it's like having a really big family, where Mama is everyone's Mama?"]

Cici shakes her head as she mulls it over.

["I understand the pie part, though. I wonder what kind of pie she likes… Maybe cherry?”]

“Mama, can we get a pie for the oni lady too?” Cici asks.

“Well,” Mama muses. “I think they’ll be busy for a while dealing with the bandits, sweetling. I’m not sure the pie would last until they were back.”

“Can we get preserves then?”

Mama gives Cici a very odd look on account of the very odd word.

“Uncle Guyus said that if you keep fruits in jars with sugar, they last a really long time. We could bring them some of that an’ some jam for the bees.”

“You’ve been learning so much lately,” Mama points out with a smile. “When’d you get so smart, huh?”

“It’s cuz lots of people have been around to teach me new things,” Cici replies happily.

But speaking of teachers, it isn’t long before mother and daughter stand outside of Guyus’ shop, the old baker humming softly to himself as he pulls a sheet of fresh, steaming bread from the oven.

“Well, I’ll be,” Guyus grunts, setting aside everything as the bell sounds out their arrival. “What’s got you two out and about today?”

“Hello Guyus,” Mama leads. “We were wondering if you could get us a couple of jars of jam and some preserves.”

“We’re gonna feed the bees,” Cici explains happily.

“Heh. Ya know, bees’ll do just fine with a little bit of sugar water, right? No need to get all fancy with the feed like ye did with the hives.”

“How did you know?” Mama investigates.

“Ha. You aren’t the only one who comes into my shop, ya know. Agatha’s got a sweet tooth or four to keep fed. Otherwise, word just gets around. A good thing too, Cici, because honey is a grand thing for baking.”

Cici beams.

“All the same, I think we’ll take the jam,” Cassandra says. “They’re a bit ‘particular’ about their diet.”

“And by that you mean they can talk,” Guyus finishes, and once again Mama seems stunned. “Workers gotta eat too, you know. Jared’s partial to the dinner rolls, and occasionally picks up a tart or two for his own little one. Mind you, I can understand why you’d like to keep that one under yer hat.”

“There seems to be a growing list,” Mama sighs helplessly, and the old man just laughs.

“Ye’ll get used to it. And something tells me you are smarter by half than half the people in your position. Just don’t forget to breathe, and get plenty of sleep.” Mama digs a few coins out of her purse and gives it to the baker for a brace of assorted jars. “Also, Cici, Kate and Hannah stopped by this morning looking for you.”


“Mhm. Maybe you should pay ‘em a visit before you leave town.”

[“Is there other stuff we needed to do as well while we’re here?”]

> Write-in
Not really. Let's go looking for your friends; maybe Guyus knows where they might have gone.
Yup. Pay the gals a visit.
Check with Mama about the cabin for the Oni lady (who's name I still cannot remember) and ask her about getting furniture as well.
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“Do you know where they are?” Cici asks.

“Probably near Hannah’s house if I had to guess,” Guyus muses, “but you’ll wanna leave quick if you’re going to catch ‘em.”

“’Kay. Thanks Uncle Guyus! I’ll be back to do more baking real soon!” Cici promises.

“See both of you when I see you. Just take care of yourselves in the meantime.”

With a few more swift goodbyes, the gorgon pair are back out into the sunshine and on their way to Hannah’s.

“Mama,” Cici thinks to ask along the way. “Does the oni lady have a name?”

“Hm? Oh! Well, now that you mention it… She never told me it…”

“Maybe she doesn’t have one…”

“I’m sure she just forgot, sweetling. After all, her brother has a name.”

“What’s that?” she questions.

“His name is Mishael.”

“Is he big and red, too?”

“Well, not red, but he’s very, very big. Apparently, he and Okku get along well.”

“I hope we get along too when we meet… But first they need a house, right? An’ furniture?”

“Of course, sweetling,” Mama confirms. “In fact, I’ve already talked to the workers from yesterday and convinced them to do the work.”

“That’s good. Sleeping outside is nice, but I’m sure they’ll be even happier sleeping in their own beds.”

“Hmm.” Mama simply hums in agreement as she reaches a hand down to pat Cici’s head, the little snakes embracing her arm as they continue down the street to where they’d previously had to bring Hannah home.

Fortunately, the old baker’s prediction proves true as Cici spies the pair playing a game in the dirt with a pair of sticks, lots of crisscrossing lines and symbols from pre-existing games having apparently been left before this one as the two compete in a battle of wits. However, that’s before Hannah spies Cici out of the corner of her eye.

“Hello Cici,” she calls excitedly, standing up from their game and dusting herself off as she moves to intercept the pair.

“W-wait, what’re you doing!?” Katy demands. “I was finally gonna win this one!”

Hugs are swiftly shared as that discussion falls by the wayside, the three finally back together again as a million questions buzz inside of Cici’s head. Where had they been? What were they up to? Did they still want to learn how to punch people? However, her words are failing her at the moment.

> Write-in
Ask what game they were playing, and what they want to do.
Tell them about your new bee neighbors, then we'll show them our new form. See if they want to visit them and offer them some jam.

Although, we should warn Hannah about how they don't keep honey harvesters in high regard, so she might want to be careful about mentioning that, lest Brienne zaps her. Itsy and Bitsy, though, they're probably cool.

Well, if the vote is for manifesting, give me 1d100.
Rolled 2 (1d100)

Here goes.
Not really, no.

“So, what were you guys playing?”

It seems as good an opening question as any as she stares at the decorated ground.

“Tic-tac-toe,” Hannah explains. “It’s a game where you try to get three in a row by filling in a grid while your opponent takes turns trying to do the same.”

“So only one person can win?” Cici asks.

“Of course,” Katy answers. “There always has to be winners and losers. Otherwise, it’s not a game.”

“Hmm.” Come to think of it, Cici had never played many board games. “Did you want to do anything else, today?”

“Well, Mom finally said it was okay for us to go with you,” Hannah explains. “So long as we go together.”

“And I still wanna learn how to punch people,” Katy confirms.

“Your mom still didn’t want you getting hit…” Hannah corrects, getting a dirty look from the other girl.

“Neither did yours…” Katy grumps.

“Dad was okay with it… but, well, Dad is Dad. Mom has the final say…”

“Plus, it’s not like I’ll even get bruises if I punch other people and learn how to dodge.”


“Uncle Gal practices by punching a big bag filled with wood chips,” Cici explains, unconsciously bowling over the other girl’s leap in logic. “Maybe you could do that instead if you want to practice punching…”

“But bags don’t dodge,” Katy whines. “They also don’t hit back.”

“They do if you use rubber vines, though,” Cici points out.

“Bleh. Too much work. Anyway, what are you doing in town? Were you helping Guyus again?”

“Hm?” Cici questions. “Oh, me and Mama were getting food for the bees an’ flowers too if we can find them.”

“Bees!? Are you trying to get stung?” Katy demands.

[“Um, you guys know about bees, right?”]

But as the voices seek to manifest, a few sparse sparks from the bracer are all that come about.

> Write-in
Damnit. Cici, tell your friends to hold onto the bracer, we'll tell them about how we can speak with them, and that they're magical and sentient.
Tell them that these bees can talk, and are their own hive and people.
They are Free Bees, not one of the client hives that human farmers and apiaries cultivate, and they should be respected as such.
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[“I just got nervous! An’ don’t say bad words!”]

“It’s okay Katy, they’re magic bees. They-”

“Gah! That just makes it worse!” the terrified girl bleats.

“But they’re smart. They wouldn’t-“

“They’ll destroy us aaa-“

Katy is cut somewhat short by a slap to the face from Hannah, followed by a stiff shake.

“Ehen. Continue Cici,” Hannah prompts.

“Oh, right… They won’t sting anybody unless they try to hurt them, an’ they can even talk,” Cici finishes. “They seem nice an’… an’ I’d like it if you could meet them.”

“Well, we don’t have anything else to do to-“ Hannah grabs Katy by the collar as she starts to sneak away. “Day. Besides, who would be afraid of a few bees, anyway?”

That seems to shake Katy a bit more than the slap, her pride proving stronger than her fear as she rises to the challenge.

“I-I’m not scared of bees,” she declares. “I just don’t like them is all…”

[“I hope this isn’t a bad idea…”]

But at this point, the girls seem to be along for the ride, and Cici isn’t the one to turn them back on their convictions. Instead the girls and Cassandra just spend the next hour or so in town searching for likely seedlings.

> Write-in for suggestions
> Also, roll 1d10
Head over to the carpenter's place to see if there's someone who can make furniture that could fit Mishael's frame, then head back over to Guyus and buy some pastries for you, your friends, and your new neighbors.
Rolled 5 (1d10)

And of course I forget the roll...
Rolled 2 (1d10)

Just have some fun, I guess. What's been going on in their lives lately?
Rolled 3 (1d10)

Maybe there's a florist in town?
Or someone who sells seeds? Perhaps a general store or the market.
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[“We bought preserves for the onis an’ jam for the bees. I could ask Mama to buy Katy and Hannah something, but if we wait, I can let them try my sweet rolls.”]

With that train of thought in mind, the next mission becomes to find the town’s florist, a place not far from the bookstore, as it would turn out, perhaps owing to the fact that it’s proprietor is a dwarven woman. Beardless, but beautiful, she has a wide, almost dreamy smile on her face as she tends her greenhouse with a careful flare, carrying something on her back which Cici very slowly realizes is a child as her mother approaches to ask about flowers.

Cici, for her part, hangs back a little with her friends.

“So, what have you been up to lately?” Cici asks.

“Well, um… I did some sewing,” Hannah says. “And I tried to make another basket.”

“Chores,” Katy whines. “How about you?”

“I…” What exactly had happened since last they ran into each other? “Well, Uncle Lee buried all the skeletons with Grampa. Then, Okku drank a bunch of wine, and we had to catch him. Jasmine tried, but she couldn’t get the bottle open…”

“Who’s Jasmine?” Hannah asks.

“Oh, she’s a baby manticore,” Cici says, not really thinking about it as the other girls’ jaws drop. “I’ll be sure to introduce you when we get home, but be careful. She doesn’t like the word ‘cage’.”

Cici thinks a little more.

“Uncle Lee and Grampa had to go home. Then I helped Uncle Guyus make pies, met the bees, an’ then there was this big, red lady who showed up at the house. The voices said she was an oni.” Eyes grow wide. “I don’t know her name, but she seemed nice. After that, I helped build a fence, planted a rose bush, an’ after that we went shopping.”

“Sure you aren’t leaving anything out?” Katy asks, not incredulous in the least, but perhaps testing her luck.

“Umm…. I don’t think so,” Cici says.

[“There are lots of flowers here… Which ones do we want though?”]

> Write-in
I would say ones that don't smell TOO sweet, but have striking colors- something that stands out. Tiger lilies are what I imagine first; a strong orange color with long stamen and spots on the leaves. Just the first to come to mind, though.
Something bright and colorful. Look for ones that seem to have big beds with lots of pollen; bees love pollen.
Remember girls, unique people always seem to attract each other. It's how you get people who decide to become adventurers.

I'd go with some Dragon's Tongue, maybe a few poppies or lavender. Anything that pops out with color, really.
Red is a major signal color for most bee strains, so maybe picking red flowers would more obviously come across as a gift.
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Well, it's a little late in my corner of the world. So I think that I'll leave this open for the night. Suggestions thus far are great, but feel free to add more/do research/whichever. I'll try to pick up in the early afternoon tomorrow.
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Also, thanks anon! I went ahead and commissioned a new OP from an artist friend of mine. He does good work.
Oh no why is head snake sad :<
Bees in my experience like lavender and butterfly bushes.

It is scared of all the adventure they are about to have. Anyway, I'll be back to writing shortly.
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The voices are abuzz with ideas as Cici lets her eyes wander high and low over the shop, soaking in a rainbow of different colors. From large red roses to tiny purple blossoms, both the sight and scent of this place form a complex collage for her to search through.

“Well, I’ll be the first ta admit, I don’t know much about bees,” the woman admits to Cici’s mother. “Never paid ‘em much mind, meself. Just, et ‘em come and go at their leisure along with all other manner of bird and beast.”

“Is this lavender?” Cici wonders, picking at a pink tulip. “What about these?”

The girls give her a confused shrug as she turns to them, but fortunately the voices are there to begin her instruction into the world of flowers. From lilies to lilac and lavender, there’s a treasure trove of examples to be found and named, Cici passing her acquired knowledge on to the other girls as she goes, pinning a title to each.

“Oh my,” comes a voice from behind her. “Ne’er seen a young one take such a shine ta gardenin’ in all my years. Guess it ain’t too surprisin’ given yer Ma, though.”

“H-hello, I’m Cici,” Cici greets.

“And I’m Gretta,” the dwarven woman returns with a smile. “And the little one takin’ a snooze on me back’d be, Michael. Pleased ta meet ye.”

“Nice to meet you both.”

“So yer Ma tells me ye have bees to feed,” Gretta confirms.

“Mhm. My friends told me we should grow lavender an’ tiger lilies an’ poppies an’ lilacs.”

“Well,” Gretta chuckles. “Ambitious for a first timer, aren’t we, Lass? All exotic plants ‘cept the last. It’ll take quite a bit o’ work to get them goin’.”

“Maybe the bees can help,” Cici suggests.
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“Aye, they’ll help in time, I’ve no doubt,” the woman laughs, “but lavender especially is a tricky one. Ye’ll have to plant it near stone on a hill and mix the dirt with sand to keep it dry.”

“But I thought plants liked water…” Cici murmurs.

“Aye, so do you, I’d wager, but too much is fit to make a body drown. Tell ye what, though, if ye’ve got the spirit, I’ve got the saplings and a bit of paper to write some notes down on for ye. That sound good.” Cici nods. “I’ll get right on it, then.”

With a hum and a bounce in her step, she goes over to her work station, accepting a bit of coin from Mama as she scribbles out a few things and begins carefully sorting seeds into jars. It’s around this time that a certain red-bearded dwarf comes wandering in. Curiously, it isn’t Oscar, but another who could pass for his twin, albeit better groomed and with traces of white beginning to show through the red.

“Ack. Where’ve ye been, ye old codger?” Gretta questions. “Noon’s well-on passed by now.”

“Brother was a bit late for work,” he answers simply.

“Well, now the both of us’ll be a bit late for lunch and early for supper,” the woman scoffs.

“Ah, Mr. Martin, pleased to see you again,” Mama greets.

“Aye, and a pleasure on my part as well,” he says. “Trust my wife’s givin’ ya a fair shake.”

“Of course, of course,” Gretta laughs. “Got yer son here keeping an eye on her, doesn’t she?”

Seeds being sorted, she hands them to Mama and goes to kiss her husband, the two sharing an embrace before seeming to remember their guests.

“Best of luck on yer endeavors,” she cheers.

“Aye, happy planting,” Martin adds, and with that, they escort the group outside.

[“Hmm. I wonder if there is still time for planting.”]

> Write-in
Well, more importantly, it's time for lunch. You might want to ask your friends if they'd like to join you. As for food, check with them and Mama for a nice little restaurant for all of you to eat at.
You should have just enough time to go to the bees and ask them if they know a good place to plant the flowers.
Rolled 7 (1d100)


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“Mama, can we go to a restaurant?” Cici asks. “I’m hungry.”

“We’ll grab something as soon as we’re home, sweetling,” she promises. “Just bear with it until then, okay?”

Cici nods. She could wait a little while.

“Honestly, we don’t really have any good places to eat around here, anyway,” Hannah confides.

“The inn makes okay food,” Katy mentions, “but it’s not much better than at home.”

And so, the group let their bellies quicken their steps on the way back to the tower, grabbing a quick meal at its precipice, before heading further in.

“Jasmine,” Cici calls before they leave. “Okku.”

But it seems in the time that they’ve been gone, the two animals must have wandered elsewhere. That just left a mile or so of forest between them and their target, their boots crunching softly in the undergrowth but otherwise finding a path free of major obstacles as they head toward where the fence now prominently rises in all directions around the bees’ homestead.

“So, wait,” Katy begins. “You guys built a fence around the entire clearing for the bees? Why?”

“Okku kept stealing their honey,” Cici explains. “So the bees got mad.”

And judging by the scratch marks she spots off to the side, it seems Okku may have tried to pay them another visit today.

“Anyway, remain calm girls,” Cassandra cautions as she nears the gates. “The bees have no intention of harming you if you don’t threaten them.”

Nevertheless, Katy’s hand tightens almost painfully around Cici’s as they step inside where the great hive and several smaller box hives await.

“This may take a bit of work, if I’m being honest,” Mama confides as she looks around at the partially scorched and scoured earth that defines the bear’s former domain. “We’ll need water, fertilizer, to remove the weeds and till the earth.”

“Bleh. That sounds like work…” Katy complains.

“But it’s also lots of fun,” Cici adds, though she’s not sure she’s convinced her as a fleeting form catches her eye.

{“What brings you into our domain so soon after your departure?”} Brienne calls in her buzzing voice. {“And what are these children you bring with you?”}

Cici offers her other hand for Brienne to land on.

> Write-in
We come bearing housewarming gifts for you to enjoy (offer her the jam). We've also thought to help by growing some flowers around your new home. We've brought lavender seeds, poppy seeds, tiger lilies and lilacs to grow for you.

As for the young ones, these are friends of Cici. They are good sorts, and we will be watching over them when they come over. The taller one is Hannah, the one with mousey hair is Katy. Katy's a bit nervous of bees, but she's a good child.

So few people tonight. Really, so few people tonight and last night. Is this a bad time?
I'll be available in a couple hours, but not right now.
I'm assuming that another quest is taking most of the normal players during the evenings, but that's just a guess.
We're bringing housewarming gifts! Or, Hivewarming gifts I guess! Also introducing you to our friends!
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Well, I can't speak to the popularity of other quests, or if that is inadvertently taking the steam out of this one, but I am curious as to what times prove favorable to the players.

Do some of you live in Europe or similar places across the globe?
I'm just at work. Central US, but I work evening/nights.
Unfortunately for me, this is usually the best time that I get to play.
I'm traveling, and normally my Friday nights are packed full until about midnight Eastern time.
Offer the jams, and let her know that you're here to plant flowers, and introduce your friends, but don't say anything about them keeping honeybees; that's a really sore point to Brienne.
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No worries, anons. I just wanted to check if there was an ideal time slot for you. Unfortunately, as an east coaster, I can't stay up too late, and I give late night lectures on Monday and Wednesday that'd make it hard to run during the middle of the week. Still, we'll figure something out. For now, writing.

I came to have you meet my friends and plant flowers as a gift.
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{“Hmm? Gifts?”} she questions, looking to Cici who at this very moment has both hands occupied.

“Mama, could you let Brienne try the jam?” Cici asks.

“Of course, sweetline.” After a moment of fishing around in her bag of treats, she finally pulls out a jar of blackberry jam, straining only slightly before the lid comes off with a satisfying pop. “Help yourself, Brienne.”

After a moment of hesitation, the small bee girl does just that, hovering over with a soft whirr to scoop a handful from the jar, sniffing it carefully before stuffing a glob straight into her mouth.

“Mmm~” The reaction is instantaneous as a shiver runs through seemingly her entire body, her hand darting down to scoop out another handful. “Thizzz izzz good!”

“Um, Cici, what is that?” Katy breathes nervously, pointing to Brienne.

“That’s Brienne,” Cici explains simply. “She’s a bee.”

“She looks more like a pixie,” Hannah mentions. “Are all of them like this?”

“Hm? Just a couple,” Cici assures them. “Her sisters and her mom help keep the other bees safe.”

“How, by stinging people?” Kate questions nervously, looking at Brienne’s excitedly waggling stinger as she leans into the jar.

“Probably,” Cici says, “but she isn’t mean or anything. An’ her sisters are-“
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“Lookit, Bitsy, they brought us presents!” comes an excited cry.

“Either that or Brienne is stealing their food,” Bitsy finishes.

You hear Brienne groan before she goes back to eating, just trying to ignore them.

“So, how are you, Cici?” Itsy asks.

“Are these your friends?”

“Mhm,” Cici confirms as the voices translate. “This is Katy and that’s Hannah. They came to help us plant flowers!”

“That sounds nice!”

“Less work that way, for sure!”

“But why is that one so nervous?”

“Is she scared Brienne will eat her after she’s done with the goo?”

“What is that goo, anyway?”

“It’s jam,” Cici explains. “It’s really sweet, and we brought lots to share. As for Katy, she just doesn’t wanna get stung.”

“Cici, do you understand what those things are saying?” Katy asks nervously. “Does that mean you speak bee?”

“The voices can translate,” Cici clarifies. “An’ they just wanted to know who you were.”

“Why would we want to sting her anyway?” Itsy questions.

“Doesn’t seem worth it, if you ask me,” Bitsy adds.

“I mean, even if we were regular bees, one sting and we die.” With the last word, Itsy crosses her arms and leans back in a dramatic through of death, only to be caught by Bitsy.

“Though we can sting people lots of times.”

“Lots and lots of times.”

“Lots and lots and lots of-“


“Man, she’s loud.”

“Super loud.”

“Kinda cute though~”

“They think you’re cute,” Cici translates.

“Anyway, we should get some jam too before Brienne eats it all.”

“Or else, she’ll get fat.”

“Really fat.”

“Too fat to fly, fat.”

“Hey!” Brienne shouts, turning around with berry stained lips.

“Hi,” they both say at once, completely ignoring the enraged bee otherwise as they grab a handful for themselves.

“Mmm~ This is good!” Itsy comments with jam in her cheeks.

“Really good!” Bitsy adds.

“I’ll go and get the hive,” Brienne sighs before flying off.

In the meantime, Mama goes about setting up a feast for the bees, opening each jar in turn before setting them gently down on the rock next to the hive. Naturally, before she is even finished, the dinner bell has long since rung, a swarm of happy bees all jumping down to fill their bellies with these unexpected gifts. Flora appears among them at some point in the entire process, organizing the swarm for maximum efficiency before heading over to join her siblings.

“So, I see you’re back,” she greets warmly.

“An’ we brought seeds to plant!” Cici adds.

“Well, that does sound lovely,” Flora acknowledges. “Is there any way that we can assist you?”

> Write-in
Well, we do need to find a good place to plant this lavender. It's a harder sort of plant to grow. It's preferred growing spot is on a hill near stones, and planted in sandy soil. The sand can be brought in, but the hill and stones are a bit harder. Do you have any scouts that know any place like that?
Read the notes on where to plant the flowers and what they need, and ask if they know of any place that fits the description.
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Cici fumbles with the note the lady had given her, carefully unfolding it and struggling a little with the words as she slowly reads her way through. Fortunately, the print is neat and the sum of it seems to be clear. Lavender prefers to be high and dry and warm. On the other hand, lilies and poppies prefer the shade. Lilacs and lilies are thirsty plants. However, nothing does well in marshy soil. The rest is just information on spacing and the like, but Mama is quick enough to explain what all of the measures mean as she unpacks her seeds and saplings from her pack.

“We should have enough to cover a fair bit of ground,” she surmises. “We just need to find the right spots and prepare them beforehand.”

Fortunately, it seems the lavender is in for a very easy time, the large stone slab in the center of the clearing being just about the perfect location for them. And though most of the clearing lies in the sun, the fringes are neatly covered by the branches of the trees. As Mama explains, with the softness of the soil and the general bell shape of the ground, they won’t even need to go outside of the fence to situate everything nicely.

Unfortunately, that still left the hardest part, tilling the earth and mixing the sand and fertilizer.

“We’ll likely need to borrow an oxe,” Cassandra finally concedes as she looks more carefully at the land. “And a plow to till everything.”

“Does that mean no planting today?” Cici asks sadly.

“I’m afraid so, sweetling,” she sighs. “If we want the plants to be the best they can be, we’ll need to take steps.”

A hug and a kiss on the scalp at least makes her feel a little better, distracting her from the sad feelings until something new catches her eye. It starts as a vague rustling in the upper branches of some of the surrounding trees, leaves rocking back and forth as something scrabbles through them and bursts out through the other side.

For a moment, uncertainty abounds, the sun casting a shadow on whatever animal just emerged as it takes a decidedly clumsy leap from its perch, one that by all rights should have landed it on the outside of the fence. However, as it twists and wriggles in the air on its way down, a pair of too-small wings seem to explode from its back, the bat-like appendages fiercely flapping to keep its huge mass in the air long enough to reach the other side.

However, that’s about all they can manage before what Cici then realizes is multiple forms come crashing down into the grass, Okku on bottom, Jasmine spinning away from on top of them as the culmination of all of their limited genius comes to fruition.

[“I… Should I be mad at them?”]

> Write-in
Well. I'd start with being impressed with their enginuity, then angry that Okku's STILL trying to get to the bees.

Then, after that, let's try to buy honey from Hannah's family next door so the hive won't have to deal with him. Remember, if you put food in an easier place for animals to get to, they'll go for that instead of the harder options.

And finally, tell Uncle Yesh that apparently Okku is smart enough to form plans with Jasmine.
Yeah, that about sums up my thoughts on it, too. You might need to bap them on the nose once or twice to get it through their heads.

That said, don't worry about it all today. We've got plenty of time. Hang out with your friends, maybe have them get a bit more used to the place. I feel like there's still some concern from them about being here. Might be wrong.
Oh, yeah, introduce those two to Hannah and Kate.

My power died for the second time tonight. Expect delays.
It happens, don't worry about it.

And, yep, it ate the update.
Well, that figures, don't it?
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“Okku!” Cici chastises. “You know you should know better!”

However, all the little bear seems to know is that someone is calling his name. There’s no guilt in his happy smile as he stands up, shakes the dirt out of his fur, and trots up to the little gorgon. He pays absolutely no mind to her hands planted firmly on her hips. Jasmine likewise files in behind him, gliding up to Cici’s feet before happily wagging her scorpion-like tail with the expectation of head pats.

“I… You…” Cici is very bad at this, her resolve dissolving away like a block of sugar as she looks at those earnest, happy faces. “You shouldn’t be here…”

And now Jasmine is purring and rubbing against her leg as Okku wriggles around in the grass presumably waiting for a belly rub.

“Oh gods, you weren’t kidding!” Katy breathes, pulling away nervously when she sees the cat.

“Is she friendly?” Hannah asks timidly.

“Mhm. She likes new people,” Cici assures her, giving Jasmine a pat before picking her up and walking toward the girls. “Jasmine, this is Katy and Hannah.”

The tiny manticore mewls a hello as she purrs in Cici’s arms, tail twisting happily as the girls finally work up the courage to come in and pamper her.

“She’s so soft,” Katy compliments.

“And really cute,” Hannah agrees.

Okku, not to be ignored, presses his front paws against Hannah’s thigh to get attention after scarcely a minute.

“Hi Okku,” she greets. “You’re soft too.”

“Though he shouldn’t be here,” Cici reminds him. “The bees are gonna be mad.”

“Ugh. I’ll have to trim the branches closer to the fence, I guess,” Mama sighs, “or tie a bell around him.”

“Just put up chicken wire,” Katy suggests.

“Wait, wha-“

“Chicken wire,” she emphasizes. “It keeps foxes away from the chickens. It’ll probably keep Okku away from their nest, right?”

“Hmm… I guess you’re right,” Mama murmurs. “It would take care of birds, and they could come and go as they pleased… Thank you, Katy.”

“You’re welcome. We use it for lots of stuff on the farm, like growing tomatoes and flowers too.”

“I suppose I’ll be talking to the local blacksmith, then.”

“Until then, I’ll be watching you,” Brienne threatens, pointing from her eyes to Okku angrily but getting no response.

[“Hmm. Brienne’s mom knew magic, right?”]

> Write-in
We shouldn't ask the queen to teach you magic just yet, Cici, she might be too busy taking care of her subjects to help you with your magic. Once Grandpa Brad comes back to visit, we'll have a talk about learning magic from her, and if it's a good idea.

Although I am curious about meeting the queen... Brienne? Sorry to bother you, but might we be allowed the chance to pay respects to the queen? It would also be nice to see about letting her partake in the jam as well.
I wouldn't mind getting my own viewpoint again, if we can pull if off. Besides, the bees seem cool.
The queen's magic may be very unique compared to what you could learn from Grandpa Brad.
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If you want to roll to manifest, you can try to do so again. Give me 1d100
I just want to ask Brienne if we can meet the queen and learn something about their magic, not manifest again.
Don't need to manifest yet, boss. Just wanting to meet the queen.

Unless you're saying that she can't leave the hive...

Cici calls Brienne over and lets the voices explain the situation to her.

“You guys want to meet Mom?” she asks. “Well, err… She doesn’t usually leave the hive. No, no. Not because she can’t. She’s just… Well, I can ask.”

With a flutter of her wings, Brienne is off into the tree, spending a long moment inside before reappearing.

“Unless you feel up to projecting again, she says that Cici is welcome to come inside.”

> Write-in
Oh yes! This is a golden opportunity to meet more royalty.
You are a noblewoman now, Cici, so you should start learning a little of regal bearing.
Sorry OP, but I need a bit of clarification on "Come inside". Is this a story thing, like she'll magic us and Cici to bee girl size? Or are you saying we can talk to the queen by opening up the hive?

She's presumably saying she will magic Cici inside of the hive somehow. The Queen's Subsection of the hive is basically a knothole in the tree.
Ah, okay. Thank you for the clarification, OP.

We should probably bring Cassandra inside, for further introductions. Katy and Hannah could stay outside and watch Okku and Jasmine, or join us inside if they'd like.

Also, we should ask how exactly we should bring the jam to the queen.

“Can Mama, Katy, and Hannah come too?” Cici asks, but Brienne shakes her head.

“It takes a lot of magic for her to do this sort of thing,” the bee girl explains. “Doing that many people who be hard on her.”

“I understand,” Cici says, “but I don’t want to leave my friends and Mama either. Could I say hi from outside instead?”

“Well, I suppose that would work,” she admits. “Follow me then.”

Cici does just that as she wanders after the bee, scaling the rocky outcrop with care and paying no mind to the buzzing bees all around her as she climbs up the tree to eye level with the knot hole.

“Hello?” Cici calls curiously within, hearing her voice echo back.

{“Hmm. Not quite the meeting I had in mind…”} murmurs a small voice from within, and as Cici’s eyes adjusts, she is a diminuitive figure sitting on a wooden throne.

More mature than her daughters, whatever years she has, she bears them well as her insectoid eyes gleam in the dark.

“But I suppose that I’ll bid you welcome all the same,” she finally acknowledges, her voice coming through without the bracer’s influence. “Cici, wasn’t it?”

[“And the council of voices that guide her.”]

> Write-in
It is an honor and a pleasure to meet you, your majesty (have Cici curtsy). We wished to bring you a tribute, as both recompense for your hive's trouble with our pet, and to help solidify an ongoing friendship between our liege and you. We hope this will help bring both our houses together in partnership.
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Well, I'm dead at this point. I'll probably just leave this one open until tomorrow. Questions for the bee lady and other such things are welcome.
No problem, I was just about to pass out as well. See you around tomorrow. I'll figure out what we should ask after I get some rest.

G'night, boss.
Hello, do you like flowers?
It is an honor to meet you, your majesty.
May we ask, how did your hive-kingdom come to be? Bees able to talk and use magic is not common.

“I’m sorry I can’t curtsy!” Cici apologizes, as she balances her foot on a knothole, “but I think I’d fall, if I did.”

“Safety before courtesy, dear,” the queen agrees warmly. “And my apologies for not coming out to greet you properly myself. However, I’m afraid my legs have grown rather stiff.”

“It’s okay!” Cici assures her. “I’m just happy to meet you.”

{[“She’s darling.”]}

“Likewise, dear. Truth be told, I’ve been anxious to meet you and your mother face-to-face to offer thanks for your assistance and now, apparently, several gifts.”

“It’s a hive-warming present!” Cici says happily. “An’ the voices said bees liked sweet things. What do bees usually eat though?”

“Well, my dear, we eat pollen mostly and nectar from the flowers we visit.”

“We brought lots of flowers.”

“And then in the winter, when the flowers are all gone, we eat honey.”

“But how do bees make honey?” Cici asks.

“I’d very much like to show you one day,” she says with a smile.

{[“Along with a great many other things.”]}

“But for now, just know that we make the honey from the pollen and nectar we don’t need. Then, we store it in our hive until it’s ready to eat.”

“Like preserves?”

“Like preserves.”

“Uncle Yesh and Mama say that too much sugar is bad for you though. So be sure to brush your teeth.”

“Hm?” The queen’s composure breaks slightly as she giggles on her throne. “We’ll keep that in mind, dear, I assure you, but what else did you want to ask while we’re having this meeting?”

“Oh! Umm… The voices wanted to know how come you can talk,” Cici mentions. “An’ how you built your hive, I think.”
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“Well, we build our hives from wax,” the queen says. “There’s nothing unusual there. However, as for where we come from, that history started long ago.

“You see, there are many worlds beyond the one we call our own, dear. Worlds of light and darkness, worlds of spirits and splendor beyond imagining. And in those worlds, there dwell creatures not quite like the ones you know, for better or for worse.

“Such worlds have their own heroes and villains as well, princes and princesses, and it came to pass that one day, a man was stumbling through the forest: wounded, lost, and afraid. He had been sent to hunt a great beast, but the task had proved too great for him. And so, nearing life’s end, he resigned himself to his fate, collapsing against a tree and praying for a swift and painless end.

“However, to his amazement, he awoke to find that death had not taken him, his stomach full and his wounds bound closed with wax from the bees of a nearby tree. Seeing him in danger, they had cared for him and concealed him from harm. And thus, revitalized, he then found the beast once again and engaged it, finally emerging victorious.

“The bees meanwhile continued their simple lives, expecting no reward nor gratitude for the things they had done. However, what they had no way of knowing was that the man was a prince of his people, ones great and powerful in the ways of magic. And in gratitude for saving his life and helping him through his trials, he came back with their mightiest wizard in his employ.

“They made our ancestors much as you see us now, and though the winding roads of fate may have carried us far from that home, still we remain as shepherds of our lesser kin.”

“Wow!” Cici breathes. “That’s amazing!”

“Sweetling!” comes a call from behind the young girl. “I think we’ll be leaving soon. Be careful coming down, okay?”

“Yes, Mama!” Cici calls back. “Um, but was there other stuff we needed to ask?”

> Write-in
Ask if she wants the existence of her people kept secret, or if she'd like to have her claim on this portion of the land recognized.

I don't think they have enough clout to petition the king to get their own noble title and land, but as baroness I think Cassandra can at least give them a deed to this portion of the forest so that they have some legal protection, as flimsy as it would be.

So you are dimensional travelers? Have you meet a crazy phoenix harpy?

“Do you want Mama to make the land yours?” Cici asks. “I don’t know how that works, but the voices think it’s important.”

“Well, it would certainly make for an amusing sight to have my daughters brandishing an official writ like a banner,” she jokes. “However, in the grand scheme of things, I think your mother’s authority and good graces will be enough.”

“’Kay. Also, are you from one of those other worlds, then? What about the other bees?”

“I am the only one among my kindred to have seen the lands that lie beyond the veils of these lands. A few years past, when I was with child, I came to this world to start anew, bringing with me a few eggs with which to build a new flock and a few scarce supplies that have long since been spent.

“Our beginnings were humble at first, but since then, we seem to have made it somewhat of a habit to adopt lost swarms into our fold, the blood of our subjects mixing with theirs, over and over, until even I could no longer draw lines between them. Still, it is far better that way to keep them from the ravages of diseases native to this world.”

“That’s neat. Also, have you seen a crazy phoenix harpy?” Cici asks.

“I’m afraid I haven’t had the pleasure,” she admits, “or perhaps it’s for the best if she’s truly lost her mind… In any case, it seems you have much to do before the sun passes over the horizon, and I won’t detain you. Take care, dear, and do visit again if ever you have the time.”

{[“There is much that I would teach her, given the opportunity.”]}

Any last words for the queen of bees?

> Write-in
Just thank you, and we look forward to seeing you again, your highness.
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The voices don’t say anything. So Cici just waves goodbye and goes on her way, carefully scaling back down the tree and deftly avoiding the cloud of feeding bees as she makes her way over to where Mama, the pets, and her friends are gathered.

“If you girls want, we can come back to do the planting tomorrow,” Cassandra offers, as she opens the gate with one hand and holds a squirming Okku in the other.

“That might be fun,” Hannah agrees.

“I think I might be busy…” Katy murmurs.

That was just how life went sometimes with unexpected complications. It makes the hugs no less sincere as they part near Agatha’s farm, nor the promises of seeing each other again soon any less sincere. There would always be tomorrow and the day after.
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I'm not gonna lie folks. This thread has been very hard on me. I'm feeling drained, grouchy, and confused at how things panned out. And I have no idea whether the time, my writing, or something else is to blame.

Feel free to pitch your ideas for resolutions down below, and I'll look at them when I have time, but for now, I think I just need to spend the rest of the evening on myself.
Honestly, the writing has been great. I really do think it's just bad timing for some, is all.
Rolled 3 (1d100)


Is qst, take a break since the thread will still be around for a while.

Well, we could bake that pie for the oni. Besides that I have no idea.
Yeah, sorry. I had a 12 hour drive and then a weekend seminar, then I have a 12 hour drive back.
Your writing is as good as ever, it just conflicted with my schedule, so there's really not much you or I could have done about it.

As for resolution, planting flowers and having some magic lessons from the queen bee are enough.
Yeah, sorry bananon, I have been elsewhere.
A lot of people I know enjoy reading the quest, but since we live in England, run times are often an issue (the run before this started at three in the morning, for example). Other than that, the writing is honestly brilliant - its just that lots of people have moved away from /qst/, so the userbase isn't exactly very active.
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Thanks for the feedback folks. To be clear, this one thread is over now as of the last update, but I'll be starting another one probably next week after running the Cat and Canary shop keeper quest this week.

The real question remains as to what time I should set aside for actually running future threads, though. As a university student who also lectures late in the evenings, Mondays and Wednesdays would be a nightmare for me. Tuesdays and Thursdays could be viable, but to catch the European group within a reasonable time frame, I'd need to start (as an east coast American) around 2:00 to 3:00pm my time to account for the five hour advance. While this might prove easier on the weekends, I'm also seeing strong indications that this is also a busy time that people don't necessarily have time for questing.

Would Tuesday and Thursday given a reasonably early start time work for most people? If I can get sufficient yes or no feedback on that, it might save me the trouble of setting up a straw poll.
I am normally able to do so at work, provided we aren't as murderously busy as we have been this last week.

I am online every day but I might be late because qst is a tad slow and I don't check quests every 30 minutes like I used to do in tg.
Tuesday and Thursday would work for me, assuming that work isn't crazy busy.
I can usually pop in once every half hour or so on my phone; I'll have a gap of two hours when I commute home, but that's about it.

So Cici, what are you most interested in, cooking or magic?
Tues/Thurs seems doable, yeah!

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