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You are Circe, an idiot who’s current riding off the high of a job well done, meeting a genuine princess, and getting paid enough money for you to laze around and forget about your job for an unhealthy amount of time. Walking down the marketplace of Ristella, you wear a stupid grin you can’t seem to wipe off. You’re getting some strange looks here and there but it doesn’t matter at all; you have money! Professor Mog has yet to return from wherever he is, but you don’t feel like opening the shop. Neither Touryn nor Syrup feel otherwise, as from a nagging feeling might tell you, shop-keeping is at the bottom of the list of things they want to do for a living.

While your attention dances from one store to the next, Syrup trails behind, caring less about what’s around her and opting to follow you instead. When you had told her to spend her own free time the way she wanted, she informed you that she had been doing that the entire time. Her excitement about the capital city has been shrinking by the second.

You ask her, “Where do you want to go?”

She shrugs. You wonder as to what kind of establishment she’d be interested in, but then you realize it wouldn’t be too hard to guess. She also doesn’t seem to care much at all about having received Princess Iorina’s divine gift of money.

Then, the answer is clear. “Anywhere it is!” you say.

Touryn isn’t with you, of course. He’s probably off buying swords or something, maybe exercising. The concept of “fun” doesn’t seem to mix well with the swordsman in your mind. They’re almost exclusive to each other, you conclude. He said he’ll meet back up late afternoon somehow, so you left him to his devices.

Past the flowing throng you can make out various places of interest.
>A small shop for witches, having all things related to faeries.
>A magic shop, one with wands and gemstones.
>A café with a wonderful aroma wafting out.
>A clothing store, as it’s a good time to expand your wardrobe as any.
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=Kaleidoscope+Quest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hopelessQM

Tripcodes are hard.
>>A clothing store, as it’s a good time to expand your wardrobe as any.

Wooh, Kscope Quest! I thought this would be running on Saturday though?
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It's Saturday somewhere in the world. Confuses the hell out of me too
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Shit, I can't into timezones
Clothing store it is


Every time I try to figure out the time to post on Twitter I get confused
That trip a few days ago did a number on your clothes. While you were too busy worrying about your wellbeing back then, it’s about now that it finally dawns that your wardrobe have shrunk thanks to the repeated exposure to the harsh elements and the terrible things that live in said elements. With that, you solidify your decision and begin marching to a dainty clothing store that’s close to the residential district.

“Where are we going?” Syrup asks.

“Shopping!” you say, practically humming and skipping. The whole city can catch fire for all you care and your mood will be all the same. It’s now that the thought of the herbalist’s minimalistic lifestyle crosses your mind. “That’s the only set of clothes you have, right? Let’s go buy something new!”

Whatever she’s thinking of, she doesn’t let it show on her face. She quietly says, “But I like these clothes.”

“That’s... not what I meant,” you reply, “You never know; you might even find something you like even more.”

She stays quiet as the two of you reach your destination. It’s on sight that it is clear that before the whole Iorina business, the place was firmly categorized as “strictly unaffordable”. You walk in without pause. After a short exchange of greetings to the person behind the counter, you wander down the aisles, admiring the variety of expensive fabrics and dyes.

You glance at the price tag for a dress, and you move away quickly, stricken with fear of even damaging it slightly.


Syrup joins you, glancing around. Taking off her hat, she tries another on, curious. It’s too big, and it slides past her eyes as soon as she moves her hands away. As she puts it back, she asks you, “Are you buying new pajamas?”

“...New what?” you repeat. Sure, you understood the words individually, but when combined, you are left puzzled.

“Pajamas,” she repeats. She then points at where you’re wearing right now.

“These aren’t pajamas! They’re casual clothes! It’s just a loose Ristellan dress, you know?!”

Syrup is wholly unconvinced. “Ristellans are smart. Comfort is important, after all. Wearing pajamas everywhere is a good idea.” She says this as she takes a step forward, and it should be known that every time she moves, her coat practically rattles and jingles as glass, wood, and metal things tap against each other in the vast inventory that are her unfathomable pockets.

“T-they’re not pajamas,” you try to say. You are completely unable to find any kind of confidence to back up your statement, however, as it begins to dawn on you that line that you toe is impressively thin and yet blurry at the same time. “Anyways, did that catch your eye?”

“Maybe I should get a new hat. It’s hotter up North,” she says. She tries another hat on, only for it to start falling and begin engulfing her entire head. In a muffled voice, she says, “I think this one is too big.”

When she takes it off again, she finds you holding a top up in front of you. It’s light, and its short sleeves widen in a flowing pattern to act as a certification of its breeziness. And it also couldn’t blow a hole in the royal coffers too. “How’s this?” you say.

She blinks. “It has no pockets.”

“Seems about right,” you say, peering down.

“It’s useless,” she says, sighing and looking away in disappointment. You’re not quite sure if it’s at you or at whoever designed it.

“I think you might just have a problem with fashion trends...” you say. Taking a look at Syrup, you realize that she’s been wearing what would be considered here as men’s clothing, for the most part. Putting the blouse back, you take a look around.

Something catches your eye.
>Something elegant.
>Something simple and easy to move around in.
>Something with a frightening number of pockets.
>>Something simple and easy to move around in.
>The centerpiece of the store, something so rediculously opulent you're afraid to even look at the price.
>Something Girly.
>>The centerpiece of the store, something so rediculously opulent you're afraid to even look at the price.
>Something Girly.

The opposite of simple

The centerpiece of the store, something so ridiculously opulent you’re afraid to even look at the price. Just enough are the rich, vibrant colors of the dyes that someone probably painfully gathered by hand, scraping up barely enough of the precious resource to color a handful of fabrics, and then they were told to squeeze it all into the beautifully detailed ball gown that’s now held up by a human-shaped steel frame. It’s flowing yet narrow in all the right places as to show off the wearer’s femininity. Gemstones are studded near the collar, forming an almost garish piece of jewelry. On the label that’s underneath it, it’s written that numerous layers of protective spell circles have been sewn in, doubling as a piece of armor fit for any arcanist. You’re sure that if a dragon had descended and began breathing fire down the streets, the dress could be thrown over anything and shield it perfectly.

You say, “I feel as though I have to pay just to look at it.”

“Wow,” Syrup says, gazing at it. “And it still has no pockets.”

It’s at that very moment, someone barges through the door. In a grating voice, the man shouts, “Who is the owner of this store?!”

A woman with a boyish haircut walks out of a door in the back of the store. Her clothes are sharp and fit for any Aldrosian dealings. She wears a smile, even though she doesn’t have to. She walks up to him and says, “Yes, how may I help you?

“I purchased something for my wife only a week ago and now it’s already falling apart! She is absolutely furious!” he says, his voice rising to a level that’s far past comfortable. “I demand a refund for this shoddy craftsmanship!”

This can’t go well.

Syrup: Herbalist, Taste-tester, Pocket Expert, Book Eater


The woman calmly replies, “As the one who designed and oversaw the manufacturing of most things in this store, I assure you, the piece that was sold to you was up to standard.”

“Then clearly your standard isn’t enough,” he replies, “You claim that it is of high quality, yet it could not last even a week!” Scoffing, he continues, “Why, I ought to start importing goods from Elphrath. At least their automatons don’t make as many mistakes.”

Even though the store owner’s expression betrays nothing, you feel as though she might pop a vein at any moment. As much as you’d like to leave seeing as you wouldn’t want to murder your savings, you, of course, find yourself frozen on the spot, Syrup having also been afflicted with the same crippling sensation. Whatever is happening, you’d rather not get caught up in it.

The woman very, extremely, and almost methodically so replies in a calm voice, “And what kind of abuse have she been subjecting the dress to?”

“A-abuse?!” the man stutters, “A handful of parties; it is nothing at all!”

“That doesn’t answer my question.”

“A little bit of wine, a little bit of fire,” he replies, “Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary! If you tell me your enchantments could not stand to even this slightest bit of strain, then you should not be allowed to advertise as such!”

“It’s true I’m no enchanter but I can hardly believe you. Do you have the garment with you?” she says, “I’d like to see it.”

“That’s a given,” he grumbles. From a bag he’s carrying, he places it on the store counter. At first, you weren’t sure what you were looking at from afar. It’s a mass of charred fabric, awkward stains ruining it beyond recognition. “I told my wife it was fireproof. I’ll never hear the end of this!”

Is that even a dress?

The woman frowns. “What did she do to it? Throw it into hellfire? I can hardly make heads or tails of this.”

“As if,” he says in a huff, “I’ll repeat myself again. I demand a refund!”

“I can’t exactly do that...” she replies, only to be met with more angry words.

>Step in.
>Step out. Of the store, that is.
>Do absolutely nothing and sheepishly watch on.
>>Step in.
>>Step in.
>>Do absolutely nothing and sheepishly watch on.
Step in

They can't see you if you don't move

You should...

No, that’s a terrible idea. Why are you butting your head into this? Nothing good can happen to you, but you feel good enough about life at this very moment that any sense of self-preservation is easily thrown out the window in favor of whatever this is.

Some twisted attempt at your version of “fun”, you suppose.

“What’s the commotion?” you say, stepping in. Yes, you aren’t being dragged into anything if you’re the one who makes the first move! Your mind quickly performs feats of mental acrobatics unlike anyone has ever seen before. Syrup does not follow. Instead, she watches sheepishly form a distance.

The man glances at you, and then briefly you see an expression as if he was saying, “Get lost; it’s none of your business,” which replaced by the current “Don’t get lost; this is definitely your business.” He says to you, “This is the commotion,” all the while pointing to the burnt clothing, “Don’t you think this is outrageous? I was promised—no, my wife was promised a fire-resistant dress, and this was what she received!”

It’s clear why he didn’t tell you to go away. You want to stop yourself from rolling your eyes, but you let it be. You ask, “Is that an enchanted dress?”

He nods. “With the finest spell circles, or so I was told.”

“If the circles were damaged by something other than fire, then they wouldn’t work as well.”

“Well that’s what separates a good enchanter from a poor one, am I correct?” he says.

You frown. You don’t particularly want to take a side right now, but...

The woman sighs. “If you can prove there was a fault on our side, then I’ll see what I can do. Otherwise, I can’t help you.”

The man groans. “Is this not enough proof?” He then says to you, “Surely you can see I’m in the right?”

His words barely register as you try to gather what little useful information you have. Recalling any form of Igni magic in the dusty corners of your mind, you try to assemble the idea of a working anti-fire spell circle.

Roll requires knowledge of the arcane.
Permanent penalty of 1 in effect.

DC: 23
Roll 1d30-1
Rolled 9 + 1 (1d30 + 1)

Rolled 12 + 1 (1d30 + 1)

Odd, could've sworn I had a minus in there.
You can subtract using +-. So it'd be dice+1d30+-1
Rolled 2 + 1 (1d2 + 1)

Right, I know. It's just I could've sworn I'd put a minus in instead of a plus.
Oh, wait! I see what you mean. It doesn't recognize the minus operator on it's own.
Rolled 29 - 1 (1d30 - 1)

28. Nice save!

Just because you don’t know how to make circles doesn’t mean you don’t remember any. There has to be some kind of faerie out there that spits out fire and is immune to heat.

You ask, “Can I see it for a second?”

“Erh, why?” the man says, hesitant, “Are you an enchanter?”

“No, but I’m curious about what’s on it,” you reply, “That isn’t a problem, is it?” You leverage your position. If he wants you on his side to win her over, then you’ll take the chance to force what you want a little.

“No, no, no,” he waves off, “Be careful to not damage it any more than it is now.”

“I won’t,” you reply. The woman crosses her arms but says nothing, and you examine the fabric. In what little of the undamaged hem and seams that remain, you ever so barely make out the runes drawn with string.

You frown, straining your mind.

Your eyes follow your fingers as you trail downward, trying to make something out. The word “IGNI” is spelled out crudely, and around it, you try to make sense of what it does.

Your brow furrows. “Wait, what’s this?”

The man says, “What is it?”

The woman tries to peer over, and now with her attention, you point out the out of place rune. “This is a container.”

“Sorry?” she says.

“It’s used to encapsulate and separate runes from one another, almost like the start and end of a sentence.” Witches use it to nullify large sections of a faerie’s runes or circles without wasting time destroying each symbol. You don’t say that last part, of course.

Frowning, the man says to you, “I thought you weren’t an enchanter.”

“I’m not, but I know this much,” you reply. You trace it along the length of the fabric, and then you tell them, “There’s nothing to end it. In fact, I don’t think any of this says anything. It’s just gargled nonsense! Did someone just sew on a bunch of random runes?!” That’s so dangerous you almost threw it away from you upon realization.

Stuttering, the man says, “T-that’s exactly what I’m talking about when I say shoddy craftsmanship! How can you let something like this slide?”

He’s met with a glare that could kill a gorgon. She replies, “Now why would my enchanter do something like this?”

“Too many hours working and they lost their mind?—”

“I’m not so sure this is the same dress in the first place,” she says, growing more furious.

“Of course it is! Just look at it!” he retorts.

Suddenly, all of her anger vanishes, and in its place is an unnerving tranquility. With a smile that one might offer a friendly customer, she says, “Get out before I throw you out.”


He walks out, cursing loudly. “You’re making a big mistake, you hear me? You’ll regret this! You and your fake goods!” When the woman starts to walk out the door after him, he takes off.

Syrup strolls up to you. She doesn’t say anything, but you can tell that she’s relieved thanks to the loudness of her surroundings dropping to a pleasant level. Always a plus. You, too, are thankful. Not because of just that, but also because you didn’t make a complete fool of yourself.

The store owner breathes out a sigh of relief as she says to you, “Thanks for your help. I’m Aria,” she says. You give her your name, and she continues, “He seemed like such a hassle that I was going to give him some store credit and get it over with.”

“That can’t be good for business,” you say, “And it’s not a problem; I’m glad to be of help. I hope that doesn’t happen often.”

“Swindlers?” she says, “I hope not. There are bigger places to aim for, surely.”

“I’ve seen worse options. I mean, you have that,” you reply, pointing at the extravagant ball gown.

She laughs, “That thing? Who’s going to buy something like that? That’s only for show. In any case, you’re welcome here at any time. I’ll even give you a discount, you and your friend.” Aria briefly motions at Syrup who remains silent.

You’ll meet up with Touryn soon.

Do you want to buy something?
>A hat, for Syrup.
>Maybe something for yourself.
>Not now, no.
>>A hat, for Syrup.
>>A hat, for Syrup.
>>Maybe something for yourself.
>>Something with pockets!


Wait, what the hell, my IP changed? How can I still use formatting?

You’ll get a hat for Syrup, and something your yourself, you guess. Something with pockets. After a short while of difficult searching, you leave the store with a bag in your hand. Aria gives you a short wave of goodbye and you return it.

You say to Syrup, “You were pretty quiet back then.”

“I don’t like being around people too much,” Syrup replies.

“Didn’t you start following me out of the blue a while ago?” you ask.

“But I watched you two first.”

“...” You can’t find quite the words to answer that with, so instead, you redirect the topic back to the important thing at hand. “How do you like your new hat?”

When you look at, you find that she’s stacked her old one on top of her new one, creating a miniature tower of hats. She takes the top one off, and then she faces you with her new beret. “Do you like it?”

“It looks good,” you say, “I can actually see your face now!”

“...Maybe the old one was better.”

“No, don’t!” you say, lightly laughing. “Do you hate it?”

She shakes her head. “No. I like it... I think.”

Resigning to the fact that it’ll be all you get out of her, you continue your walk to your destination: Mog’s shop.

He’s waiting there, dozing off by the door while standing up. He’s drawing a couple of stares from the people passing by, but no one says anything.

Taking a deep breath, you shout, “Hey, Touryn, wake up!”

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“I wasn’t sleeping, Captain!” he shouts, a hand on the hilt of his sword. He blinks once, then twice, and then looks at you with disappointment. “Oh. You two are late.”

“Who’s this Captain?” you ask.

“Ship?” Syrup chimes in.

“Wrong Captain, and forget you heard anything,” he replies, “I sold those roc feathers. You should’ve told me what I was getting myself into.” He groans as he rubs the bridge of his nose. “He was absolutely obsessed with those things. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he was building some sort of bird costume with all those feathers.”

“Ha, sounds like you had fun,” you say, “Alright, we should get back to work. I don’t really want to, but I can’t ruin the professor’s good name by letting his business fall into ruin.”

“I’m glad to get back to work. I’ve never been so bored these past few days before,” he replies.

“Me too,” Syrup replies.

“Wha—seriously?!” you say, “Fine, let’s just get to Schwartz’s place already!” You storm off first, and then embarrassingly turning around first and dropping off your things inside the workshop first.

To the herbalist, Touryn says, “Is that a new hat?”

“It is,” she says, tilting her head down so he can see it clearly.

“I like it!” he tells her, “Did you get it just now?”

You awkwardly continue your stomping as you make your way past them, and they talk to each other while following you.

- - -

Schwartz answers the door after the first knock, to your surprise. “Hi! How are you all? I tried visiting the shop again, but it seems you all have been busy. Or that I have particularly bad timing on my part,” she greets you and the other two, “Please, come in.”

You accept her hospitality, taking seat in the exact same location on the sofa as from before. Little has changed inside her home, but you wouldn’t know if something small has been move or adjusted. The atmosphere is the warm as ever, however. As she sets a tea tray down, you take out the allegedly cursed book.

With an eager smile, she sits down on the chair opposing you and the table. She says, “Tell me, have you made any progress?” You can tell she’s trying not to leap out of her chair.

You say to her...
>”It’s probably better for you to see for yourself.”
>”Well, it’s definitely cursed.”
>”It’s a diary. That’s it.”
>”Prepare to be disappointed!”
>”It’s contents are... interesting.”
>”It was easy! Extremely easy, yup.”
>”It was easy! Extremely easy, yup.”
>”It’s contents are... interesting.”
These two

“It was easy! Extremely easy, yup,” Syrup and Touryn both look over at you, and you welcome their judgmental stares. You explain to her that all that it took to open the book was to drain it of aether. The method you used, of course, was to use it as a source for a spell.

She says, “I see! Now I know what to do in the event I come across another cursed tome. Speaking of, you have given it a look, I presume?”

With a nod, you say, “Its contents are... interesting.” Syrup frowns. Her judgmental stare now is dyed in disgust. Not that you can actually read it from her face, but you can tell.

“Oh, are they now?” Schwartz takes a sip of her tea. “I’m quite tempted to give it a look over myself.”

“It’s not actually cursed or anything,” you say. You’re not quite willing to explain why.

“If you keep speaking with such secrecy, then I must read it!” she says, and then as a formality, “May I?”

You hand it over to her, and she’s practically giddy in anticipation. She opens it, and then when she reads it, you watch as her expression is gradually replaced by one of disappointment. Touryn tries his best to not snort.

She closes the book, and she says to you, “You devil.”

“What did I do?” You try not to grin.

“Well, this is unfortunate on many accounts. Do you think keeping this would be in poor taste?”

Syrup says, “Very poor. It should be returned.”

You say, “I have no arguments.”

Touryn takes a sip of his tea. “What else are you going to do with it anyways?”

Schwartz visibly ponders. “Have an enchanter repair it and pass it off as a cursed book?” Before any protest can be made, she says, “I jest! No, but returning it is the only option, isn’t it? Circe, you’ve given it a read over, haven’t you?”

“Hahah...” You find it hard to look in her eyes. “Not all of it. Reading about someone’s everyday life is really dry.”

Touryn says, “So inconsiderate.”

Schwartz continues. “Do you have an idea as to who wrote it?”

“They’re probably not dead, for one. It’s written during the war, and the author seemed young. That said, there hasn’t been a single name in there except for someone’s who’s identity can’t help us at all.”

“Hmm, is that so?” She thoughtfully pauses. Then, she puts the book down on the table. “How about this? I have a new job: to return this diary to its original owner. I’ll pay for the trip to Winterbloom, and I’ll come with! You can give it a good, thorough read on the way there. What do you say?”

For the first time ever, Syrup seems to be visibly excited about something. “Circe, let’s go!”

Touryn shrugs, “I don’t think we’ll pass by Mitra... I’m fine with it. Circe?”

>Accept the job.
>Reject it.
>Accept the job.

What could go wrong.
>What could go wrong.

“We’ll accept it,” you say.

“Fantastic!” Schwartz claps her hands together and hands the book back to you.

“You don’t want to read it?”

“Goodness no, I might fall asleep,” she says, “I trust you enough. By the way, are you all busy? How soon can we start the vacation—I mean, trip?”

Touryn says, “We don’t have anything planned. In fact, we’re more of waiting on something.” Ah, yes, for Mitra and Mog to return so they can finally explain themselves. They’re gone with no signs of coming back. You can leave a note, you suppose.

“Great! How does tomorrow morning sound?” she asks.

Looks are exchanged, and with no complaints, the plan is set in stone. You’ll have to prepare for the trip ahead tonight, you guess. Syrup and Touryn seem to have little things to carry compared to you, but that won’t stop your determination.

You did buy something new...

- - -

The first thing you think is: “That’s a huge boat.”

Schwartz happily laughs. “Naturally. It’s a cruise ship. By the end of it, you’d wish you could stay on it forever. Now come on, you can’t stand there all day. Hurry up now, Circe.”

“I see...” you say, staring off. You’re going to dirty your new dress. The sea, oh Luna no. Nothing good happens in the waters.

Touryn walks by, “What were you expecting? Whitebloom is an island.”

Syrup tries to comfort you by patting your back. “It’s okay. I can’t swim either.”

It does little you assuage your fears of Tide’s children.

You reply, “If I fell into the water, swimming would be the least of my worries.”

“It can’t be that bad,” she replies, “Just don’t look tasty.”

Solid advice.
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After a long and arduous journey, a courier finally makes it to the heart of Ristella. The streets aren’t too familiar, but he knows his way well enough to make it to his destination: a small shop that sells knick-knacks.

Upon arrival, he discovers a note stuck to the window of the door. Addressed to all that who are seeking its owners, the small piece of paper informs the courier that if they were to return, it would not be anytime soon. With a shrug, he slides it in a receptacle in the store, one for mail that people had begun using as a place to forward their requests.

As he walks away, satisfied with a job well done, an owl perches atop a building a short distance away.

It watches the courier leave, and after a brief second, it takes off in the opposite direction.
Thanks for playing. That'll be it for today. I'll be back in two days.
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The day of the ceremony approaches, and yet all that is on my mind is the war. Perhaps my fears are unfounded, but what will the paltry stretch of water that is the Herald Sea do to stop them from approaching us? The Aldrose Army strides over mountains as if they were nothing at all. Everyone around shuns the very thought, as if Basylen would never face real danger. Both families are too concerned about the union and alliance. But in the end, the most anyone can do is pray to the Gods.

Taking a mental note, you notice the first time any practical information of the owner of the diary is given. Basylen appears to be a name of a place, hopefully one that’s not too big.

Closing the damned book, you sigh as you sit on your bed in your cabin. It’s small as all hell and there’s barely a window, but you don’t mind it at all. You lean on your pillow propped up on the headboard.

There’s a knock on your door.

You shout, “What do you want? It’s unlocked.”

It slowly creaks open, and Touryn sticks his head in. “You can’t stay there forever.”

“Watch me.” You cross your arms, wordlessly reaffirming the fact that you will not budge from this very spot.

“Listen, there’s a pool on the boat. They put a small body of water on a boat, while being surrounded by water! What kind of madman thought of this?” he says, “It’s genius!”

Leave it to Pryport to invent something new to add to their mounting pile of tasteless extravagance. You say, “Okay, but I can’t swim.”

He frowns. “That’s a shame.”

Sighing, you open the diary to read some more.
>Be Circe.
>Be Touryn.
>Be Syrup.
>>Be Syrup.
>>Be Touryn.
Rolled 1 (1d2)


You are Syrup, a herbalist. You watch the trail of water left behind the back of boat, listening to the engines hum. Even away from Gaia, there are so much to see.

The gargantuan mass of steel and wood bent and shaped into this vessel is impressive, but not impressive as what’s underneath. Underneath the swimming, tumbling blue, you can make out seaweed being pushed by the underwater currents. Unmatched beauty.

You could stand here all day like this.

“What are you doing back here?” a familiar voice calls out. You turn your head, and you see that it’s that lady from before. The fancy one. “There’s a show going on, if you’re interested in opera.” You shake your head. Schwartz says, “How about a dip in the pool? You seem as if you’re about to leap into the water any moment.”

“I won’t,” you reply, “I think.”

“You think?” she laughs. She joins you, although standing a small distance away. “It’s quiet here, as quiet as it can get.” A long second passes. “It’ll be a shame if you don’t enjoy yourself. I would feel bad if I invited you and you stood there the entire time. Not for me, mind you, but you.”

It sure feels breezy with your new hat.
>You’ll take a walk around.
>Make her your guide.
>Find this alleged pool everyone’s talking about.
>Find this alleged pool everyone’s talking about.
It's not about being able to swim. It's about the effort.

It may also be about discovering the taste of pool water.
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Wordlessly, you start walking away.

Schwartz says, “Wait, where are you going?”

“Pool,” you reply. You no longer feel like talking and find yourself thankful when she doesn’t try to ask more questions.

She wanders off somewhere when you weren’t looking. Maybe to her room.

You’re not quite sure how this boat was built. It’s big, and it’s complicated, almost as complicated as Ristella when you tried walking to the library. You almost got lost, but you followed the smell of literature and you found your way easily. But this ship? Magic was used, definitely.

As you make your way down the ship, you see the Fungal Isles in the distance, far, far away. With access to the waters, that’s definitely a place you have to visit. You need a mask, of course, but it shouldn’t be an issue.

Eventually, you make it to the pool that seems to be on everyone’s mind. Or at least, everyone you seen on this ship, which is a number that’s far too high. Sure enough, it’s a small body of water encased in wood and steel. A rather large amount of people are in it or around it, lounging around on their chairs. You’re not sure what the big deal is.

You spot Touryn standing by, admiring... something. How well some of the people are swimming, maybe? Maybe how nice the rivets are. He sees you too, and he waves you over.

He sighs. “I almost wish I had clothes fit for swimming. Almost.”

You look at him. “Clothes are a pain.”

“They are, aren’t they? All you need is a single uniform and a good set of runes. No more wasted expenses.”


He looks at you. “Yeah, you know, to prevent it from getting dirty.” He stops, and then in a low voice, he asks, “You don’t have runes? You’ve been wearing that the entire time.”

“When I’m dirty, I walk into a river.”

With a worried expression, he tells you, “When we get off, I’m taking you to an enchanter.”

“I’m okay,” you say, walking up to the pool.

“No, really, I insist,” he says. You then dip a finger into the pool, take it out, and stick it in your mouth. It has a strange flavor, different from hot springs or baths. He stares at you, shocked. “...Why?”

You nod. “It’s better than seawater.”

“Of course it’s better!” he says. He looks around while hushing you away, presumably to see if someone else was watching you. You don’t care, but he seems to. “Syrup, please don’t drink the pool water. Are you thirsty? I’ll get you something to drink.”

You give him an angry expression. You move your eyebrows extra hard. “I’m not a kid. I can do it myself.”

“You just tasted the water everyone’s been swimming in,” he replies.

What’s he getting at?
>”I’m not thirsty. I was curious.”
>”What are you doing here?”
>”All water is water someone swam in.”
>”All water is water someone swam in.”
>”What are you doing here?”

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“All water is water someone swam in.”

He gives you a look as if he doesn’t know whether to laugh or to frown. It’s a laughrown. “Okay, but they weren’t just swimming in it. Nobody’s flavoring the water I drink like a teabag.”

That was a bad image. You frown. Very deeply. “I shouldn’t have talked to you.”

“I’m sorry, forget I said that,” he says, suppressing his amusement.

Shaking your head, you change the subject. You need to forget this immediately. “What are you doing here?”

“You know,” he says, “Admiring the pool. Do they have this where you’re from? If you were in Aldrose and you wanted a swim, you’d just jump right into the lake under the city.”

He’s asking questions about you, uh oh. Why isn’t he like this with Circe? “We have hot springs,” you say, “They were nice and sleepy.” You pause. “I want to go to one now.”

“I don’t think there are any nearby. No, I think Witbloom has a volcano.” He said something really off for a moment, but it doesn’t register until you’ve already forgotten, but not late enough that it doesn’t bother you. It bothers you a lot. It bothers you that you don’t know what’s bothering you.

“Touryn, a volcano is not a hot spring,” you say, “I’ll show you if I find a real one.”

“That’s not what I meant...” he starts to say.

“I’m back!” Schwartz walks back out, much more lascivious than before. “Since you all were headed here, I thought—” You wonder if she knows that wearing less is worse than wearing nothing at all. If it were you, you would’ve just thrown all of your clothes to the side and went in. People are weird. It’s okay. You won’t judge.

Wait, she stopped talking. No wait, she’s talking again. “Did you two come only to admire the artistry?”

Touryn says, “Yes.”

You say, “No.” Touryn looks at you, and then you say, “I mean yes.”

Schwartz gives the two of you a look of incredulity. “I see.” She tries really hard for a moment to find something to say, but nothing really comes out. “I was not expecting this sort of travelling company.”

That sentiment was ignored. Pointing to somewhere on the ship, Touryn says to her, “We’re going to get something to drink. Want to come?”

Deflated, she says, “Oh, why not?”

You follow Touryn as he heads inside, and Schwartz follows. Right as you’re about to slip away from direct sunlight, a crack of thunder fills the air.

You stop, and you look around. Everyone else around seems to have stopped what they were doing to see what had happened too.

Schwartz says, “What was that?”

Touryn says, “It’s not raining. The skies are clear. Strange.”

It came from the back of the ship.
>Forget about it.
>Investigate alone.
>Drag Touryn with you to check.
>>Drag Touryn with you to check.
>Drag Touryn with you to check.

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You take a step out. Taking a look around, you see nothing.

“Syrup,” Touryn calls out, “Are you coming?”

“Let’s go,” you say. Moving in the very opposite direction that he was headed. When he doesn’t follow, you walk backwards and stick your head past the corner to see him. “Touryn, come with me.”

“Huh?” You keep walking, and he hurriedly follows. “Where are you going?”

“I want to see what made that noise,” you say, letting him catch up. Actually, he should be in front of you in the event something like a kraken latched on board. You slow down for this very purpose, completely sure that he can handle one of those monsters if it came down to it.

“Why? What could it be?” he says, “I’m starting to remember that one time. With Circe and that snake-dog den thing. Great, now I’m worried. Hold on, let me get my sword.”

“Snake-dog...?” you repeat, watching him head to his cabin. He comes back out in no time, his weapon by his side.

“Sorry about that. People get nervous when I’m carrying it around.” He says that as if he had no idea why.

The two of you continue down, and Schwartz is following far, far behind. She has an exasperated look on her face. Maybe she’s tired from being dragged around.

There’s another shaking ripple of sound, and Touryn freezes. He stops you from continuing, and from above, you see something fall over a railing, blur past you, and crash into the waters below.

No, not something, someone.


In a swift motion, his blade slips out of the scabbard, ready for anything.

Schwartz hurries up to the edge, leaning over it to look downward. She says, “We have to help him! A rope, we need rope!”

“Forget it,” Touryn says, his expression darkening. Below, you can see red begin to dye the spot where the man fell, quickly left behind as the ship continues onward. A growing discomfort rises within you. “Stay back.” He warns you and Schwartz and proceeds onward.

You follow, giving him plenty of space. Schwartz looks worried. You ask her, “You can go back if you’re scared.”

“Well what about you?!” she says, “Why, you’re no good in a fight either, am I wrong?”

“It was my idea,” you reply. You don’t bother her about her resolve. If she wants to, then you can let her.

Eventually, Touryn makes it to the stairs, but instead of going up, he stops. Just barely, a conversation can be heard.

A man with a scratchy, raucous voice says, “Use yer fuckin sword. Even a deaf man could hear that.”

“Sword duels are for fools,” the other replies. His voice has a strange cadence to it, as if it was a melody instead of prose. “Get your men to work, okay Captain? Leave the rest to me.”

“Ye, ye,” the other man grumbles. “Ya heard him, boys. Get it under control.”

A dozen others respond. Maybe even more. It’s hard to count them by listening alone.

Schwartz murmurs, “Pirates?”

Touryn backs away and scowls. “The bridge is too far upstairs. I can’t go up without getting past them.” He then whispers to Schwartz, “Who’s guarding this ship?”

“Don’t ask me, I only bought the tickets,” she replies. “I’m not one to put my life on the line, but if any of you are feeling foolish enough, then I have something in my cabin that might help: a wand with a stunning circle.”

“I’m not about to throw my life away, but the cabins are upstairs!” he hisses, “And they’re right next to the cabins!”

You haven’t said anything until now, but you mutter, “Circe.”

Touryn groans. “Her doors unlocked. Great.”

All three of you fall into silence as footsteps above pass by. When Touryn peeks and comes back, he says, “They’re gone. Hurry.”

Following him, you see that numerous men in white rags split up, some heading upstairs while others walking to where the cabins are. In the back of the boat, you can see two smaller boats being towed by the larger one you’re on, connected by vigorously-tied tope. Two large, anchor-like hooks lie on the ground on the floor below.

One of the men is there, presumably to be on the lookout. He spots the three of you, and he before he can even utter a word, Touryn unhooks his scabbard from his belt. It flies out of his hand and strikes the man in the face, and while he’s recoiling, Touryn swings his fist into his face, sending him sprawling onto the floor.

His adrenaline pumping, Touryn whispers, “I’m going to see what they’re up to.” You frown, and he says, “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything stupid.”


Schwartz looks wholly unconvinced.
>Head straight to Circe’s room.
>Go with Schwartz to her cabin, and then to Circe’s room.
>Find a way to alert everyone else on the ship.
>Stick with Touryn. He’s the one with the sword.
>Suggest Touryn cut the pirate's boats loose.
>Go with Schwartz to her cabin, and then to Circe’s room.

I'd like to warn the rest of the ship, but we should make sure we can defend ourselves in some capacity first.
Cut and Schwartz's cabin

You point to the ropes. “Touryn, maybe you should cut those.”

He walks over and takes a look at them. “You’re right. Can’t let them have an escape vehicle.” He grip on his sword shifts, and the runes inscribed on the steel glows. He cuts air, and the ripple flies forward and splits the ropes with two hacks.

Schwartz, under her breath, says, “What could they be here for? Are they stealing something? The only worth stealing is maybe the Loam engine...”

Touryn says, “They could just hold us hostage and demand a ransom. Whatever is the case, I need to find out.”

You nudge Schwartz. “Let’s go to your cabin. Then we can find Circe.”

“Oh, good idea,” she says, “Let us make haste! Stealthily!” She’s a bit too eager.

Touryn says, “Be careful.” Then, he slips away.

You head in a different direction, to the cabins. The floor is quite long. Its layout is such that it is split down the center with a single hall with each individual room branching to the left or right. After a handful of rooms, the hall itself branches out and extends so it reaches the very sides of the boat, connecting it to the walkway and railing outside.

You find yourself leading Schwartz at first, and as much as you hate engaging in combat, you have a feeling you’re better suited to roughhousing than her, even with all of your items carefully stored.

As you and Schwartz sneak down the hall and stop at a corner, you reach inside your coat. No more Peloperone extract, and you never had the chance to collect more. Then again, perhaps lethal toxins are not the way to go.

You have three options in the event of combat: a vial of Lightning Cloud, a solution that evaporates instantly to produce a lethal neurotoxin; a vial of a mysterious tree sap and a handful of sightweed, which when combined will create a blinding light; and the extract of a shockplant, which would make a concussive explosion upon contact with air. You only have one of each, as they’re all accidental experiments.

Schwartz says, “Four... five... no, six. Wait, no, I spot a seventh! Only three down the hall to my cabin. They’re all checking for unlocked doors?” Someone kicks open a half-opened door. There’s some shouting before it’s quickly muffled. “Now, quickly!”

You turn the corner and run to her room as she points where to go. The two of you make it to the door, and she fumbles with her key as she tries to open the lock. Two doors down, someone walks out.


Reeking of the sea, the man steps into the hall. His hair and long beard is slick with grease, and his clothes are tattered and torn. What used to be an elegant white dress shit is now ruined with cuts and stains. He freezes upon seeing you. Your eyes dart to Schwartz, who had swung open the door and leapt in.

The man says, “Hey kid...” He awkwardly tries to find words to say. “You lookin for someone? Ya look lost.” He takes a step at you, one that’s drenched in fake nonchalance.

Schwartz is digging through her luggage, sending her clothes all over the place. She mutely hisses. “Where is it, where is it?!”

The man is closing in. “You okay?” If you try to run, he’ll jump. And if he jumps, he’ll definitely grab you.

>Throw the vial of Lightning Cloud and cover your nose.
>Mix the sap and sightweed and shut your eyes.
>Smash the shockplant extract near him.
>Dive for the Schwartz’s door.
>Stall for time while Shwartz gets the stun wand.
>>Filibuster him. Explain the difference in taste between sea water, fresh water, and pool water in exacting detail.
>>Try backing up slowly so that his back will be to Schwarz when she opens the door.
The filibuster thing made me laugh. Thanks.


The door's already open, but Schwartz can hide herself
I try.
I'm curious how Syrup 'accidentally' discovered that Lightning Weed was a deadly neurotoxin.
You need to stall for time. She won’t get it in time, but he’s far too close to try anything. You can’t risk it.

You say, “I was just surprised. I haven’t seen you before.” Oh no, this is too much. You were never much of a talker and forcing yourself to talk is already pushing you to your limits. Yet, you have to. You have no other options. “I was headed to the pool. Have you seen it?” What riveting conversation.

“Seen it? Uh, yeah. You gonna swim... wearing that?” he asks. You don’t think he cares about that at all.

“Maybe,” you say, finding yourself unable to answer. You have no idea what to talk about. You take a step back awkwardly, and he matches that. Schwartz ducks underneath the cover of the bed as soon as she seeds you walking out of the way, still digging through her belongings.

Wait, that’s it. Master always said the best way to make yourself likeable is to not be a mute statue all of the time, and the best way to get yourself to talk is to talk about something you know! Or maybe it’s actually something the other person knows but it matters not.

“Have you ever tasted the water in the pool?” you ask.

“...What?” he stops, utterly confused.

“It has a very different flavor than fresh water and sea water. While you can taste minerals in both of those, the water in the pool has none of those,” you say, “It tastes very strange. There’s something mixed in, but I’m not sure what. Purifying agents, maybe.” Sweat begins to form on your brow, and you continue to back up. “I highly recommend trying it once in your life!”

“Tide’s sake, what the fuck are you doing?” Suddenly, a muscular arm reaches out from behind you. You cry out and squirm as you feel him almost crush your neck with just his forearm as he locks your head in place.

“Thought she was gonna run,” says the man who was accosting you, “Thanks for the backup—”

In the loudest, most ridiculous announcement, Schwartz shouts, “Take this, villain!”

There’s a bright flash of light behind the man, and then he drops like a rock. No, he was basically a rock with the way he fell and rocked on the ground as he laid there very still. Schwartz stands outside the doorway, holding a wand in her hand. It’s a slender stick with an intricate spell circle drawn with gold atop the dark brown wood. “Unhand her this second!”

The one who’s grabbing you by the neck takes out a knife and holds it to your face. Your eyes widen and you freeze. “Drop the wand, lady. I ain’t got time for games.”

Schwartz glowers when she sees your state.
>Smash a vial. (Write-in)
>Bite down. Hard.
>You can’t do anything, not with this knife there.
>Tell Schwartz to zap at him anyways.
>Bite down. Hard.

Can I get a 1d30 roll?
DC: 20
Rolled 3 (1d30)

Well shit, that's not good.
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Rolled 23 (1d30)

D-does it count? >>2462841
Welp. That's what I get for having shitty phone signal.
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Wow, okay.

I mean, I did make the DC for best of threes. Alright, I'm going to clarify the dice rules just this once. I won't let this happen again.

Dice are decided best of three, 1d30. You can roll again if no one else rolls in 5 minutes. This means generally one person can roll up to three times if they're the only one here, matching the 15-minute voting period I normally give. If you don't roll again, I'll assume you're satisfied with the roll and start writing.

I'll count the 23 this time only.
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Apologies. The thread hadn't refreshed, and I didn't see the writing post. I'll try not to let it happen again.
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Based Hopeless, the savior we need
You can’t just stand here, helpless. You need to do something.

Schwartz says, “You damned brute! You do have no shame?! Holding a child hostage!”

You are not a child. You are just small. You want to hit her.

“Shame ain’t got nothin to do with this. Drop the wand, or she gets it!” the man says, his voice growing louder.

She bites her lip. She’s going to do it.

Gritting your teeth, you prepare yourself. You’re not so weak as to let it all end here. You open your mouth, and then you bite down hard. The taste of iron sloshes around, and you only sink your teeth deeper. He screams out, and his grip releases ever so slightly. Out of the corner of your eye, you see him swinging his knife. With both arms pushing against him, you pull back just in time, your hat falling off. A couple of cut hairs fall, and you crash backwards into the carpeted floor. Rapidly scrambling up, you see Schwartz use her wand again. A flash of light, and the man drops down.

She says, “Hurry, to Circe’s!”

You glance behind you, where four more men seem to have seen the commotion. They all begin running your way. You sprint to Schwartz and follow her, spitting on the ground the blood you almost swallowed.


Reaching near the end of the hall, you and Schwartz instantly see that the door is wide open. Careful, Schwartz begins to enter the room, only to suddenly jump back as someone staggers out of the room. With a bloody hand, he’s clutches an eye as he stumbles, eventually falling on the floor. Numerous cuts cover his arms and face. No, not quite cuts—they almost resemble runes.

You say, “Behind us!” You walk ahead of her. “I’ll check on her.”

She nods, turns around, and activates her wand. “The stone’s running low on aether, so do hurry up.”

You step through the doorway.

A threshold, without a doubt.

There, red splatters trail from floor to wall to ceiling, and in the center of the room, her clothes and hair in a wild mess, Circe stands, panting heavily. Her carving pen is in her hand, and there’s a wild frenzy in her eyes.

When she sees you, she sudden brightens up. “Syrup! Thank Luna you’re safe.”

You question your choice of companionship.
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Thank you for playing! Next thread next week, same time and everything.
I'm here for any comments, questions, or concerns. Criticism is appreciated, too.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hopelessQM

It wasn't your fault, really. More of mine than anyone else's.
Thanks for running Hopeless!

Did Circe just fight off a grown ass man by literally carving up his flesh?
She took him by surprise by putting a sharp pointy thing near his eye when he got close, quickly followed up by a kick to the groin. And then while he was in confusion, surprise, and pain, she proceeded to do the stabby thing.
Does this look like the face of mercy?

Depicted: Circe when having to walk
She had to walk really far, anon!
Cardio isn't the same as sticking something in someone else's face!
Thanks for running as always.

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