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Welcome to Dynamic Kid Quest! You are Miles Clyde, an enthusiastic boy who dreams of being a hero.

Last time, you got roped into helping the local publican with a rodent problem, decided to drag your sporty and snide friend Collette with you, stopping for frozen treats beforehand, pulled off some barrel shenanigans, and ultimately discovered a plot that runs deeper than the bar's basement.

Now you must decide if you want to get directly involved in that plot, or if you'd rather leave it in someone else's hands for the time being.
As you make eye contact with the bartender, you thrust a finger towards the crevice, "what is *that*?" You're doing your best to contain your anger, but you yell just a little bit.

He breaks eye contact for a moment, then shakes his head, "the Rat Queen. I presume the three of you shared some words?"

"Yes. She told us she and the mayor have an... arrangement set up. Do you know anything about that?"

He doesn't answer for a moment.

"Sir," Collette interjects, "we're not mad at you, we just would like to know what's going on."

"All right," he sighs. "I know about it. The seamstress knows. The pizza chef, and the innkeeper know, too. All of us do."

"Why did you let us go in there?" You ask.

"Because I believe you could have handled it. That *thing* doesn't belong here, and we shouldn't parley with it! That mayor is lucky the monster isn't more ambitious."

"So, you want her dead." You nod, all your former suspicions about his part in this confirmed.

"It won't solve the mayor's greed, but it will take a dangerous effect out of our town. I have a feeling she's just biding her time for now."

"What do you mean?"

"Just think about how she came to be in the first place," he swirls a finger in the air. "Dynamic power. Humans aren't the only ones who can tap into it. The Rat Queen was granted her powers like the two of you, and began using them to ensure her survival."

"Do you know what her power is?"

"Rat in a Cage." He answers, with a decisive nod. "She is capable of *knighting* normal rats, giving them powers based on her own desires. She's building an army, and using the mayor as a security blanket so nobody rallies against her. We've tried letting the mayor know about this, but he doesn't seem interested in doing anything about it."

[What will you do?]
>Suggest a course of action involving you and your friends as the main force
>Suggest a course of action involving the shopkeepers as the main force; you'll supplement them
>Let it be, leave the bar
>Suggest a course of action involving the shopkeepers as the main force; you'll supplement them.

If they knew, they don't get to sit back and have us do everything. I'm running Pokemon Quest and Academagia Quest, btw.
(Will definitely look those up sometime soon. Do you use the same trip?)
(Writing for: Shopkeeper militia!)
Yep. Here's the link:
You take a moment to process what he told you, and think about your next course of action.

"So why not get everyone together to rally against her?" You offer, having collected yourself.

"I beg your pardon?" His eyes widen.

"I mean, you said it yourself," you continue, "the members of the commerce union all know about this problem, so it's only natural to help defend your businesses."

He grumbles something incomprehensible, but he seems more worried than irritated. It takes him a good moment before he's ready to respond. Collette is staying surprisingly quiet, with a small smile on her face.

"I see your point," he begins, "and I'd be lying if I said I disagree. But at the same time, we really need some sort of plan."

"Her *highness* said she has tunnels in everyone's basements, and by that right we should be able to use them against her."

"Miles," Collette sighs, shaking her head, "these shopkeepers can't fit in the tunnels though. As it is, it's a tight fit for us."

"I knew you'd say that," you nod, in almost a pitying way, "but I'm not having them get into the tunnels. We'll set a trap. Bartender, which shop gets ransacked the most?"

"That would be the pizza parlor."

"That's..." you blink, surprised at the answer, "shockingly good taste for mere vermin."

"Matter at hand, you dork," Collette interjects, snapping her fingers at you.

"Right, this is gonna take some coordination." You pause, looking at the hole in the wall. "But first, let's get back upstairs."

The three of you head out of the basement, climbing up the stairs and into the bar once more. The bartender locks the stairway door, and you all take a seat on the stools.

"Tell us about this amazing trap, big shot," Collette demands, still smiling.

"Two words," you hold up two fingers. "Pizza. Party." You see Collette about to say something, but it's your turn to interrupt her, "but before that, every shopkeeper except for this one, the seamstress, and the pizza chef will seal off their basement holes. Once that's done, you'll assemble in the parlor just before closing."

"I assume the chef should close down early." The bartender states.

"Indeed. Doors locked, windows shut, all that jazz. It'll take some extra work from the chef, but it'll be worth it. He'll have pizzas ready for everyone, and the rats will no doubt be attracted to the scent. They'll assume a bunch of pizza was made for some prank callers, being so close to closing time, then they'll flood in. With the rats all in the tunnels, the laundry lady can use her vacuum power to suck them in. The higher rank rat 'knights' will then march in to take care of the threat."

"Then one of us will collapse the tunnel," he states with a grin, "with all the shopkeepers in the room, those rats won't stand a chance."

"So why leave the seamstress' basement open?" Collette asks.

"Because we'll be there on a stake out. When we hear the marching, that will be our signal to move in."

"Wouldn't it be smarter to attack from this basement, being literally adjoined to the cavern?"

"Too obvious. The queen may leave an elite detachment here for just the occasion. That's also why this basement won't be barricaded either. At any rate, with most if not all of the rat army in the pizza parlor, that will leave the queen vulnerable, so we'll hit her where it hurts!"

"Can we take her, just the two of us?" Collette shudders, no doubt recalling her memory of the monster.

[Choose another teammate?]
>Don't bring another along

(And then I realized that those choices have no context. Gaaah.)

Eli: 10 years old, very intelligent, but awkward in conversation. Has little combat ability, but is somehow able to "psyche up" Action Points. His Shock-based Dynamic can be used multiple times per go, too.

Isabel: 12 years old, quiet and reclusive. Doesn't have much issue speaking with you though. You know she has a fascination with knives, and her Dynamic is Ice-based.

Finn: 13 years old; while he's incredibly weird, he's been like an older brother to you. He can dance, and use martial arts for crippling, rather than straight up damage. His Dynamic is fire-based, and he has a number of methods to use it.

This is a combat mission, and burned rat probably smells extremely terrible. Not something you want in a pizza place.
(I'm on chapter 3 of Pokémon Quest, and I gotta say it's not what I was expecting. That's not a bad thing though; I really like your style.)
(Writing for: Choose Isabel.)

(There will be a time-skip, by the way.)
"It's not like you to worry," you say with a sobering demeanor, "but we should get a third, huh?"

After a moment of silence, it hits you, and your smile returns; "I'll call Isabel."

"I'm not sure we've..." she begins, then narrows her brows, "is she the one who always wears black and ignores everyone?"

"Yes. Her power is the least likely to stink up the tunnels with burning rat smoke. Nobody will want to eat anywhere in this district if that happens. Besides, you know how Eli is around girls, he becomes a gibbering mess. Plus," you then give her a partial glare, "I can't stand how you make fun of Finn."

She scoffs, suppressing a smirk, "whatever, he says he doesn't care what I think."

"Regardless, I still need to think about our group dynamic. No pun intended." You look at the bartender, "may I make a phone call?"

"Of course," he obliges.

You make your phone call to the quiet girl. You've never had much trouble getting along with her, so you never really understood why so many of the other kids have such a problem with her. It takes a little convincing when you bring up Collette's name, but you manage to get her in the end.

After your call, the bartender calls the other members of the commerce union, coordinating them as per your instructions. Holes are boarded up and barricaded, plots are formed, and before you know it, closing time has arrived.

>Current time: 9PM
>Lost 60 AP (10 per hour of stagnation)

Isabel is wearing unusual attire, not just for a girl her age, but in general. A sleeveless belly shirt, shoulder-high gloves, a skirt, and knee-high boots, all black. Any exposed skin below her neck is adorned with fishnets. Her shoulder-length raven hair has a streak of blue on the right side of her face, and her eyes and lips are painted a deep blue as well; contrasting her pale skin tone.

The three of you wait in the seamstress' basement; a relatively clean one. Boxes of string, yarn, assorted sewing tools and such are scattered around, but nothing is really disturbed insofar as claw/teeth marks.

Collette and Isabel seem to just be ignoring each other; it's a good sign believe it or not, Collette would be running her mouth if she didn't like the situation. Isabel, well, she would be more noticeably peeved rather than indifferent.

"So what's the plan boss--"

"How're we going to go a--"

The two questions start and cut off at the same time, both girls somewhat irritated. After some awkward silence, Collette looks at you again.

"We're not going to be able to change formation in the tunnel, so we need to know who's going where."

"I'm best at range," Isabel states in a flat tone.

So she'll be in back. That just leaves Collette's and your positions.

[Form up!]
>Collette takes point
>You take point

Do we have a ranged option? Because otherwise I'd say we take point while Collette reinforces as needed.
(Amidst the time-skip, I forgot to say you went home and grabbed the gun Mom lets you use for target practice, as well as an extra magazine. That would give you 20 shots.)
(Setting-equivalent of a 9mm. I'm not very /k/, but it's balanced.)
Right, still voting
>You take point
Her power seems more suited to range than us.
(Writing for: Be the leader!)
Rolled 95, 72 = 167 (2d100)

(Roll 2D100 for Miles please; Target: 41)

(This one is for Collette.)
Rolled 90, 1 = 91 (2d100)

(And this is for Isabel.)
Ouch. That has its highs and lows.
Rolled 10, 1 = 11 (2d100)

Oh shit.
My luck strikes again.
(Oh man. Well... it's not *super* bad. Writing!)
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"I'll go first this time," you decree, entering the crevice before either girl answers.

You hear the pitter-patter of feet, smell the pleasing scent of pizza as you traverse the cramped tunnel. Thinking about how you're going to perform your attack, warm cheese drips... no no no! Focus! Steeling your resolve, you and your friends creep through the dank, dim cavern. A steady pace, much like the steady rise of a perfect crust, not too doughy, not too crispy. Wait, no, that's not right.

As you see the opening of the cavern, you spot the Rat Queen, alone in her chamber, sitting atop her wooden throne. This is it, you think, you'll wreak saucy vengeance on this fiend!

You step out silently, primed to strike, then... your stomach growls. Loudly. You freeze in place. The queen lets out a startled grunt, sniffing the air. She stands from her throne, turning her head towards you.

"You!" She yells in indignation.

Screw it, you're not letting this slip by. You dash ahead, hearing the girls gasp behind you, you leap in the air, primed to give this monster the haymaker of the century!

Aaaaand your fist doesn't even touch her as you fly by. To make matters worse, she lands a hard kick on your rear, causing you to lose control in the air. You tumble clear to the opposite end of the cavern, completely vulnerable as the queen begins hobbling towards you.

"So that happened," you hear Isabel's nonchalant tone, accompanied by the unsheathing of multiple small blades.

Two blades of light streak towards the queen, one hitting her in the back of the neck, the other sailing wide and bouncing off the rock wall. It was a great hit, the monster hissing in shocked pain, but still, she turns toward the source...

Just in time to see Collette and her scowling face, rushing in to deliver her own punishment; two precise thrusts, one to the throat, and the other to one of her eyes. While Collette is too short to shove her blade all the way in, that eye is completely destroyed.

The queen seizes up in agony, letting out the most shrill of screams.

"Gee..." you sigh, brushing yourself off and standing. "It's a good thing you girls are so awesome."

The Rat Queen has taken some great hits, but looks like she can go a few more rounds. Her attention is focused on Collette.

[What will you do?]
Your Condition: Severely bruised tailbone, severely bruised ego.
AP: 45

>Martial Arts: 1D100 (Target 23)
>Pistol: 1D100 (10/20 Ammo, Target 18)
>Attempt Dynamic Art (Target 48 + 55)

>Stealth: +1D100 (Target +18)
>Gymnastics: +1D100 (Target +13)

(Crap, forgot the malus to Martial Arts and Gymnastics due to hurt tailbone. +10 TN to either of these.)
Rolled 11 (1d100)

Oh, come on! I should swear off rolling dice forever. Well, at least it's not a critical this time.
Rolled 79, 15, 5, 86 = 185 (4d100)

(The good news is, I only do fumbles for Stealth and Gymnastics.)

(Rolling for the girls.)
(Oh, what the... Writing now.)
Collette, in impatience and opportunity, swipes her blade across the rat's neck as its head is reared back. It was an amazing strike, unfortunately this rat seems to have fairly thick skin. As the girl goes for another strike, she gets a backhand for her trouble. The hit sends her whirling around, stumbling backwards to regain composure; to her credit, she never actually falls over.

In haste, partly eager to regain some composure yourself, but mostly to try to save Collette, you reach into the inside pocket of your jacket for your gun. Pulling out the chromium clapper, you grip it in both hands, take aim at the rat, and...

...oh, you left the safety on. While you mess with that, Isabel looses another twin set of knives, one clattering to the ground by the queen's foot, the other finding its home just under the collar bone.

With the safety off, you take aim again, and fire a round towards the back of the rat's head, but her writhing put her in proper position for the bullet to graze her ear.

>1 GLANCING hit, +1 AP

With the knife she took, she's in no position to retaliate. You're glad that you've been able to keep her in a position where she can't really get a decent hit in. Your throbbing bottom reminds you she could definitely hit harder.

Your Condition: Severely bruised tailbone, moderately bruised ego.
AP: 46

>Martial Arts: 1D100 (Target 23 +10)
>Pistol: 1D100 (9/19 Ammo, Target 18)
>Attempt Dynamic Art (Target 48 + 54)

>Stealth: +1D100 (Target +18)
>Gymnastics: +1D100 (Target +13 +10)
Rolled 35 (1d100)


One more try!
Rolled 73, 67, 12, 10, 92 = 254 (5d100)

(Things are looking better with that roll.)

(And how do the girls do?)
(Writing again!)
"You want to play hard?" Collette growls, turning towards the monster with a rage you've never seen before. Her eyes glow with blindingly white light, as a pair of light wings appear on her back. "FREE BIRD!!"

The rat steps back, attempting in futility to predict Collette's next move. How could she have known, those wings would kick on like acetylene torches, launching her forward like a human projectile? With a sonic boom, the fencer and her victim are propelled, the monster pinned to the wall by a rapier; the rocks cracking and chipping apart. Leaving the weapon stuck in, Collette hops to the side.

"I gotta try harder..." Isabel's voice is barely audible, as she puts a hand over her face. Underneath, you can see her eyes give off a brilliant blue shine, and suddenly she holds that palm out, calling "COLD AS ICE!!"

A haze surrounds the Rat Queen, and just as she realizes the implications behind Isabel's actions, she's entombed in a mass of ice, flash frozen. Even pinned and frozen, she still struggles, evident by the harsh rattling and cracking of the ice. Gun still in hand, you take aim, focusing ill-intent against your target.


A resounding echo, a cathartic shatter, as the Rat Queen's head explodes. You flick the safety of the gun back on, twirl it around your finger, and holster it inside your jacket. For good measure, you spin on your heel, head down with a palm against your forehead, pointing at the melting ice with the other.

"You don't mess with the citizens of Torisburg," you say, calm yet grim, then punctuate the statement by fixing your collar and approaching the girls.

>Congratulate them, focus entirely on what they did
>Thank them for the assistance
>Ask if you can learn from them
>Just be glad you made it out

[And also]
>Mostly focus on Collette
>Mostly focus on Isabel
>Equal attentions

>Congratulate, try to take the focus off any blunder.

And... well, we'll probably not be able to be completely equal, but let's not set out to praise only one of them.
(Writing now. This will be the last update for now, so thank you very much for sticking with this.)

(Part 1 isn't quite over yet, there's still a few things to do in the aftermath.)

(Also, you have one unspent "encounter" point you can use to either improve a mundane skill or devise a new one. Now you have a "boss" point you can use to upgrade your Dynamic or devise an alternate usage. Don't worry about coming up with it tonight, though, just know the options are available.)
"And you two..." you point an index finger on each hand at the girls. "Way to hold your own and pretty much steal the show."

Collette grins, in that smug, snarky way you know she's going to chide you with, "the *man* of the group seemed to be too busy getting kicked around, yeah? How's your butt?"

You know it's Collette, and this is what she does, but you can't seem to say anything.

"So, you want to kiss it better or something?" Isabel smiles, a soft yet cold smile, as the girl stammers and turns red. "We were in mortal danger, don't spoil the victory. Miles, you came through in the end, so don't sell yourself short."

"Having a weakened and vulnerable target helped." You tell her, as she begins retrieving her knives. Where does she store them, anyway? Then you turn to Collette. "You did spectacular too. I still can't believe you pushed such a heavy target that far, *and* pinned her to the wall."

"Look," Collette rejoins, having recovered herself, "we're all awesome. We know this. I don't see why we need thus Saturday morning hug-box stuff." She goes to remove her rapier from the corpse, and inspects it gingerly, "glad that ice didn't damage my blade."

"It's what teammates do, now let's get some pizza!"

"I'm game, if there's pesto." Isabel begins following you.

"Hey, wait, isn't it too late at night for that?" Collette protests.

"Sorry!" You shout, running out of the cavern, "can't hear you over HUNGRY!"

[1/2, will continue next time]
Thank you for running, despite my late arrival. And I'm glad you're enjoying my quest as well.
(I won't be able to run tonight, but here's the Upgrade menu. Sorry for my unavailability.)

[Upgrade What?]

Mundane Skills (1 point available)
>Level Up...
>>Martial Arts to 2 (1 Dice, TN: 22)
>>Pistols to 2 (1 Dice, TN: 17)
>>Stealth to 2 (1 Dice, TN: 17 in dim light)
>>Gymnastics to 2 (1 Dice, TN: 12)

>...or devise a new skill...
>>Smash Attack (doubles Martial Arts dice pool, reduces number of hits to 1, Dice results cumulative)
>>Throwing (Martial Arts skill pertaining to throwing enemies grappled, and also objects that can be thrown. Adds 1 Dice to Martial Arts when declaring a throw, but doubles TN.)
>>Suppressive Fire (Pistol skill; is always a GOOD hit or better, but consumes more ammo based on result, so a GLANCING result would consume 3 ammo instead of 1)
>>Shedding Cicada (Automatic: If attacked in melee when rendered vulnerable by a bad Stealth result, Miles can shed his jacket and cape and reappear nearby, avoiding damage completely. Clothes must be retrieved to use again.)
>>Tuck and Roll (Automatic: Negates "recoil" damage from fumbling Gymnastics. A fumble will still leave you open to enemy attack, however.)
>>Blast Potential (Prerequisite skill allowing future mundane points to be used to develop skills with the Blast aspect.)
Dynamic Skills (1 point available)
>Level Up "Dirty Deeds" to 4 (no immediate effect, lowers TN at Level 6, adds 1 Dice at Level 5. AP Cost: 100)
>Done Dirt Cheap (Lowers the required AP to activate Dirty Deeds by 10%)
>Remote Detonation (Pistol skill: if Miles shoots a dud bomb, it will explode as normal)
>Smoke Bomb (Costs 10 AP, may be declared alongside any non-Stealth action. If Miles would receive damage from a counterattack, the first one is ignored and he is displaced to a nearby location. If not, the spent AP is not refunded.)
>Break Missile (25 AP, 1 Dice, TN: 48) Leaves Miles vulnerable to melee attacks, to set up a point defense against projectiles. Reactively fires small missiles whenever he is targeted by projectiles, canceling them out. This defense effect fades on his next turn, or if taking damage.)
Does Shredding Cicada only work with Stealth fails? What about Break Missile, for example. Or is that reserved for higher tiers of the skill?
i, sol, suggest done dirt cheap for dynamic, and ask if strong emotion can be used to activate a dynamic
but i, sol, am too tired to continue/not suck
I say blast potential. Everybody loves EXPLOSIONS!
(The first iteration of the skill only works for failed Stealth, but having it will open up possibilities to make it better.)

(You could combo Stealth and Break Missile in the same action, combining Dice Pool and Target Number. That's the (hopefully) unique thing about this system, you can combine pretty much all your skills on a by-use basis.)

(Not calling a vote for the time being, I can't run tonight either. I'm really sorry guys.)
(In a way, emotional duress is already a factor in building AP. You do have a friend who can teach you how to psych yourself up for free AP, were you to let them.)
(All right, so as suspicious as it is for two more people to just show up and post as soon as an upgrade option is presented, here's the current tally:)

>1 in favor of Blast Potential
>1 in favor of Shedding Cicada (unless it was just a question and not a vote)
>1 in favor of Done Dirt Cheap
>1 in favor of Break Missile (again, unless it was just a question)

(I'll let this sit here for a couple hours, if there's still a tie, I'll do some "coin flips.")

(As a side note, none of these choices are out of Miles' character. While he prattles on about heroism, he can favor a rogue-ish set of abilities too.)
(Before I close out the part, I would like to state a few minor things.)

(The first is about the parts in general. I kinda want to run it in an episodic way, with the events spanning day-to-day usually.)

(There will be time-skips as needed, but I'll do my best to avoid them. The earlier one was necessary due to the preparations needed, but reading over it again, it seemed a bit railroady. I have to find a balance, because Miles is the type to do what he says he's going to do, but at the same time I would like to give more player agency.)
Rolled 2, 2 = 4 (2d2)

(Flipping dem coins.)
(All right then. Miles now knows the Shedding Cicada and Break Missile skills.)

(Continuing the final post of the part.)
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The three of you exit the tunnels, first going into the basement, then leaving the seamstresses building.

It's dark out, but the streetlights illuminate the walkways. It doesn't take long to reach the pizza parlor, but by the time you get there, the shopkeepers are sitting upstairs. When you open the doors, your group is met with resounding cheers of joy. You and your friends are dumbfounded at the scene.

"What's going on?" Isabel asks, in a hushed yet audible tone.

"We've already defeated the rodent army and cleaned up the corpses," the pizza chef states. "We even had time to change our clothes!"

"You killed them all?" Collette asks, tilting her head.

"A good number of them were killed by 'Hurricane,'" a short, middle-aged woman answers; the laundry lady. "After that, it was down to eliminating the elites."

"She overextended," the bartender chimes in, "her entire army was sent in this basement. We can't thank you enough for your ideas and efforts!"

"So these guys steamrolled their enemies..." Collette sighs, "and we almost got wrecked."

"Now let's not look at how bad it could have been," you step forward, then address the bartender. "It was an honor."

"Well, don't just stand there!" The pizza chef motions your group, "have a meal, on us!"

[2/3 I lied]
You all enjoy delicious pizza, and soda provided courtesy of the publican. While not piping hot, it's still nice and warm. As you enjoy your food, the three of you regale the commerce members of your battle; deciding to be honest over glorifying your performances. Some laughs are shared, apologies made, but overall it is a jovial time.

They tell you the parents of you and your friends have been notified, so they wouldn't worry; apparently once you defeated the Rat Queen, all the elites returned to normal, so that was a clear indicator of your victory. Of course, you all have the okay to have this party; sure it's late, but you risked your butts for the good of the town!

All in all, the pizza and drinks are provided on the house, and the floats you and Collette shared earlier were written off as free too. In addition to that, each shopkeeper gives your group a few gold pieces each; after splitting it up...

> Gained 8 Coins!

After the party, some shopkeepers offer to clean up, and the others give you and your friends get rides home.

Once you get inside your house, you hang your jacket and cape up, and kick your boots off into the closet. Your mom must be asleep already, as stated by a note on the table. As you stretch, you hear the phone ring. Thinking more about not wanting mom to wake up, you reach the phone in record time, answering in a hushed, yet disturbed tone.

"Hello Miles," an elderly male voice greets, "glad I could reach you. This is your Mayor speaking..."

Social Updates:
Because you included Collette on your first mission, you gained a bit of approval from her. Sure, some of the things you did annoyed her, but overall, she seemed happy with spending the afternoon with you.

>You can now coordinate combination skills with Collette!

Isabel remained cool about it, but you're certain she appreciated you calling on her for help. She was a little annoyed that Collette was there, and thought you could have done better in battle, but she understood.

>You have gained "Ice Potential," allowing you to develop mundane or Dynamic skills with the Ice aspect!

The bartender of Sodas and Schnapps was a little suspicious of you at first, but seeing you and Collette step up has changed hid opinion. He was especially impressed with how the two of you handled the Rat Queen situation.

>The bartender is now willing to impart rumors and advice, which can lead to missions or open paths to skill development!

The other shopkeepers, while happy with the turnout of the situation, still believe it would have been best to let the mayor handle it. Your reputation with them isn't bad by any stretch, but it'll take some doing to get their trust.

You also wonder how your other friends will react to the news.
(Thread archived. Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, and whatnot. I know I've been quite disorganized, and I hope that hasn't taken too much away from this Quest.)

(I'll be able to start Part 2 late Friday/early Saturday (depending on time zone). As always, thanks for joining in!)
>The current time is 6:30 AM
>You are feeling healthy, and rested enough. Your tailbone is still somewhat bruised.
>AP has been reset to 0!

You are sitting in a comfy seat, going on a smooth ride in a limousine. It's air conditioned and dehumidified, and hey, is the floor made of astroturf? The Mayor must like to play mini golf on long trips.

Beside you, a disgruntled Collette is seated. She's wearing a tank-top, sports bra, and sweatpants, with some plain sneakers. Her hair, which she usually keeps loose, is tied in a ponytail. The giant bruise on the entire left side of her face serves as a sore reminder of how she got backhanded last night. There's no swelling, but it still looks nasty.

Isabel is seated alone, across from the two of you, in pyjamas; colored indigo with bluish-white snowflake designs. Her feet are nestled in some slip-on shoes. Her hair dye still retains its previous vibrance, but she's not wearing any makeup; a rare sight.

"Unbelievable," Collette grumbles, breaking the awkward silence, "I can't believe we're being taken to the Mayor's office."

"We're not in trouble," you tell her, shaking your head.

"Yeah? Tell that to my mom. She had me running laps extra early today, just because I took *a* hit," she points to her bruise, "and imagine her expression when a limo rolls up, on behalf of the Mayor, asking for my presence!"

Ah, Collette's mom. Take every redeeming quality Collette has, strip it away, and add a bunch of other competitive skills. Sure, she's shapely, but she's a tremendous crab. You don't see why the adults are always gawking at her; don't they care about how bitter she is, or that she's already married?

You come out of your stupor to respond to Collette, concerned, "you're not grounded, are you?"

"Oh no, mom doesn't do grounding. If I were grounded, I'd at least get a break from the damned training."

You've never heard her speak negatively about training. Maybe her mom makes things more difficult as punishment? You look at Isabel, but before you can say anything, she glares at you.

"*Not* a morning person," she says, with equal parts flatness and malice.

You sit a moment, collecting yourself, then turn to Collette again; "we're *not* in trouble, the Mayor called me last night, and just said he wants to discuss a few things. And, before he hung up, he apologized. For what, he didn't say, he just wanted me to tell you girls."

"I don't give a fuck." Isabel broods.

"Honestly, I don't care either," Collette sighs, "mom just told me to apologize for my involvement and," she tilts her head up, imitating her mom, "not to stand up for that horrible *delinquent*."

You don't know what to say to that, you've always tried to do the right thing, and you've never caused the neighbors any real trouble. There were a few times when you first discovered your powers that you blew some things up by accident, but you've repaid those debts and then some.

As you reflect on this, you arrive at the town hall.

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As you are led through the building, you are scanned by a number of security guards for any dangerous objects.

On three different occassions, the group is halted, to relieve Isabel of some hidden knives.

Seriously, *where* does she keep those?

You are told to remove your boots, for the steel toes, and your gloves due to the metal knuckles. You and Isabel are promised your articles will be returned to you.

On your way in, two strangely dressed women halt you. Both are wearing fancy white dresses, both holding a scales, one with a blindfold, the other with a cloth around her mouth. Apparently, they have abilities that respectively detect and temporarily disable the usage of Dynamic Arts.

Once in the Mayor's office proper, you notice he's seated behind a large, polished mahogany desk. His room is decorated with family photos and palm trees, with a strange miniature tree sitting on his desk. Three chairs are arranged before the desk, and with a motion he commands you three to sit.

Once you sit...

[Say Something?]
>So, you make deals with demons. (Accusative, flippant)
>What's this about? (Innocent till proven guilty.)
>Greetings, sir. (Genuinely amicable.)
>Stay silent.

>>So, you make deals with demons. (Accusative, flippant)
(Writing for: Accusations.)
You're not sure what it is, if it's the early morning making you lose your ability to think clearly, or if you're resonating with the girls' negativity, or if it's just the situation in general. But, the moment you seat yourself down, you look the old Mayor straight in the eye, steepling your fingers.

"Care to explain why you had a partnership with a monster, mister Mayor?" You ask, calm yet cold.

The room is silent for but a moment; Collette's brows are raised, her expression unreadable, and Isabel remains decidedly unimpressed, but you do get a glance from her.

"Straight to the point," the portly Mayor clears his throat, "responsible, yet reckless. That was the main purpose for this meeting, but I would have liked to open with a few words of my own."

"We all know there was no choice in this matter," Isabel speaks up, however 'speaking up' applies to her.

"You aren't wrong, still, it's better to come on cordial terms, than to have me serve subpoenas."

"Can you do that?" You raise your eyebrows. "I mean, none of us are even teenagers."

"It's a matter of the town's safety, so yes," he nods pointedly, "I *can* do that. Anyway, let's get down to business. I made a deal with the Rat Queen. The short version is that I wanted to research her."

"Sorry, *what*?" Collette stares, completely thrown off-guard.

"It's not like I could just stick her in a lab and observe her, though." He continues undaunted. "I needed her to feel like I was a safe partner, so I could watch from a distance."

"What were you looking for?" You narrow your brows in suspicion.

"The effects of Dynamic power on wild animals, of course. A common side-effect of such a thing is the animal gaining a considerable level of both intelligence and sapience. This doesn't seem to happen often, you see it more in domestic pets than in the wild."

"So you seized the opportunity, having a convenient case literally under the city." Collette nods.

[Hold on...]
>What about the invasion she was plotting?
>Why have her steal loose change?
>Let him continue.
>Let him continue.
(Writing for: Hold your peace.)

(Also, welcome back!)
"However," his countenance darkens, "in order to protect this town, I needed to sacrifice my reputation. Regardless of the fact that I was getting her to take money from people who owe on their taxes, and regardless of the fact that I had full control of the situation, I still made a deal with a dangerous element."

"Wait..." Collette's face loses some color, "did we make a big mistake?"

"No, not at all. She was simply a morbid curiosity, a study of the powers that be. I commend you for taking initiative, more young people should have a drive to help others."

"There's something you're not telling us," Isabel states.

"Right, my plan. You're aware of my secretaries, they checked you in. I planned to cajole the Rat Queen into working for me. It was a gamble, but if I could have controlled her, we could have defended the town from outside threats."

"Are you sure about that?" You ask in genuine innocence, "I mean, we're just three kids, and we still beat her. Not flawlessly mind you..."

"You divided her from her army, though. Your tactics were what decimated her. With her and the Rat King, and the fullest extent of her army behind them, it would be suicide to challenge them."

"There's a Rat *King*?" You growl, moderately annoyed.

"Not now, of course," he waves you off. "Remember, her power was to appoint abilities to other rats. With her dead, the power has long left his body, returning him to normal."

"Thank God for that," Collette sighs in elation, "that battle would have been more troublesome with him there."

"So," Isabel raises an eyebrow, "where *was* this Rat King during the fight?"

The Mayor smiles with such smugness, it's almost unnerving, "well, I took care of him. Lured him to the depths of my manor so he couldn't get involved. Gave me a good opportunity to study him closely too."

"We had it easy," Collette shakes her head, a little disappointed.

"Uh, hello, we could have fucking *died* in any other situation!" Isabel raises her voice, seeming more awake.

"Young miss, please," the Mayor holds up a hand. "Calm yourself."

"I'm not wrong." She huffs, crossing her arms.

"We're getting sidetracked," you rejoin, turning to the Mayor, "those 'outside threats' are more than just a possibility, aren't they?"

"Very astute. The raised taxes and the research on the Rat Queen are all a direct cause of bandits and highwaymen."

"God fuck..." Isabel pinches the bridge of her nose. "First rats, now bandits? Let me guess, there's also dire bears in the woods?"

"Genre savvy doesn't change the danger this town faces." He shakes his head.

"Does anybody know about these bandits?" Collette asks.

"No, I don't want to cause a panic. And," he leans forward. "I want to make this clear; you three alone aren't powerful enough to go against them. I don't care who you tell, or if you want to assist the officers on their missions, or what, I just want you to know and be ready for them to enter the town." He relaxes in his chair, sighing, "for now, they seem content patrolling their 'Highway to Hell' and extorting people there."

"That's heavy," Collette frowns, "to think all this time you were actually looking out for us."

"That be as it may, our time here is up. I have many important appointments today, so thank you for coming today. I can arrange a ride for you three back to the rural area."

"Good, I have a lot of training to catch up on."

"I'm going back to bed," Isabel says in the midst of a yawn.

[What will you do?]
>Go to the constabulary, see if they need volunteers.
>See if there are any jobs available on the bulletin board.
>Ride into the commerce district, you're going shopping.
>Ride into the rural district, you want to visit someone.
>>Pick one among; George, Eli, Finn, Moe (will answer questions about characters as needed.)

(It is fair to note that Collette and Isabel won't be available for today. You also have 10 Coins available for spending; 8 from the reward, plus 2 from weekly allowance.)
>>See if there are any jobs available on the bulletin board.
(Writing for: Be a good civilian!)
You look at the Mayor, and then tell him you're going to take a look at the bulletin board. You look at the girls, bidding them farewell.

"Yeah, I think mom will be placated when she finds out I'm not in legal trouble," Collette gives you a faint smile, "still, I hope her training doesn't kill me."

"You have fun, boy scout." Isabel says, also smiling. "Try not to blow up anything that'll be missed."

"That was only once," you protest, then think a moment, "okay, three times, but still!"

You three go your separate ways, and you check out the bulletin board in the lobby. People from all over town, rural and urban, post requests or mail them in, hoping that dashing young heroes will take them. Or, you know, anyone willing and able to help. They usually have a time limit; whether some opportunist gets to them first, or if the problem resolves itself, but it's a good way to raise your reputation and make some money on the side.

You see a few leaflets on the board now...

[Postings in the next post]
>Reignite the Thrill
"A cordial invitation to those with decent skills and some time on their hands. My dogs haven't been on any hunts for a while, so I'm proposing a competition! All participants will defend themselves against my lovable hounds (no lethal weapons please) as they make their way out of my hedge maze. You will be scored based on a number of parameters, the top score gets the listed prize, but runner-ups will be rewarded too."
The bill is signed by Collette's father, offering 10 Coins as the grand prize. By the sounds of it, it'll be an all-day event.

>Help My Kitty!
"My poor Kimba is stuck in a tree! He's an albino toy-lion, very lovable, but for some reason, everything I try won't get him down. Would someone please help him?"
The script is written in very neat cursive, hard to believe it was done by an 8 year old. You knew who it was when you saw the name "Kimba," it's George's little sister. She's offering a cool 3 Coins, but this implies that even George couldn't solve this issue.

>A Die-hard Fan's Request
"Celestine the Shooting Star is doing a signing today at the music shop, and I can't make it! If you go and get her 'Starstruck Bundle' for me, I'll double what you paid for it!"
Since you're in the city proper, it would be no trouble to stop by the music shop while you're here. The thing is, you'll be spending a good chunk of time in line, and of course the poster didn't list how much the bundle would cost.

>Breaking Ground
"We're digging out ground for a foundation in the rural residential area, but we've hit a rock, literally. We could send for our power tools, but we wanted to see if anyone with strange powers wanted to test their might. It'll be less costly for us, and it may even be fun for you!"
The bill is signed by four construction workers, offering 4 Coins as a reward. Your Dynamic is perfect for this sort of thing, and it's probably not going to take too long.
As you look at the board, you reflect that sometimes information is withheld or inaccurate, or the situation can change mid-job. The posters here seem credible enough, however.

[Select a Job]
>Reignite the Thrill
>Help My Kitty!
>A Die-hard Fan's Request
>Breaking Ground
>Breaking Ground
And if we still have time after, maybe speak to George and his sister.
(That's doable, it's still morning after all.)

(In a few hours, Writing for: Breaking Ground and wassaaaap George!)
You sign your name on the blank line beneath the construction worker's signatures, pausing for a second. You wonder why George hasn't solved that problem for his sister, then you promptly sign your name on that request too.

While you missed out on riding with the girls, the Mayor arranged for one of the lesser secretaries to give you a ride to the area of your first job. She's tall and skinny, but pretty old, as evidenced by her blackish-gray hairs. She greets you with a smile and a nod, holding the back door of the car open.

>The current time is 7 AM.

The secretary bids you farewell as you step out of the car. You stand at the side of the road, in a somewhat untamed part of the residential area. You see trees here and there, little flags sticking out of the ground; no doubt signifying where to clear cut and where new houses are being planned for.

Walking over to a clearing, you notice a hole; not quite deep enough to be a basement, with a wooden ladder on one end. Stacked neatly by the ladder are shovels and a pickaxe. The pickaxe is chipped on one end, while the other end looks completely broken off.

Near the center of the hole, you see a giant rock, probably as big as you are. You can see a crack in the middle, you imagine the pick broke during the attempt to crack into the rock.

That's when you spot the workers, one drinking coffee from a thermos, a skinnier one having a smoke, and two strong-looking ones sitting by the worn tools.

Each of the workers, donning sweat-stained white shirts and rugged blue overalls, looks over at you as you approach. One of the stronger guys saunters over to you, meeting you near the edge of the hole.

"Look out, boy," he says, crossing his arms, "this hole's dangerous."

"Actually, I'm here about the job." You state.

"You gotta be kidding me," the other strong guy slumps, "he's just a kid."

"Don't make a difference. He's got strange powers, who gives a darn how old he is?" The man looks at you, "I'm Paul. That other man is Jack. The skinny one is Nathan, and the ordinary looking one is Frank."

"Good to meet you," you nod, shaking his hand. You almost wince, his grip could easily break a lesser person's hand.

"Hey Paul," Frank calls over. "If he's a kid, doesn't that mean he needs to build up power first?"

"He's right," you sigh, maintaining eye contact with Paul. "My power is perfect for this, but I'll need to do something to get me going."

"Well, you could spar with Frank. I'd suggest Nathan, but you'd kick his ass too hard."

Nathan flips Paul the middle finger between drags of his cigarette.

"I've heard you types can rile yourselves up," Jack offers. "Couldn't you do that?"

"Or, we could do our little ritual that we do before a hard job," Nathan joins in.

"Would that work?" Frank asks. "We don't have powers, that's just something for a little motivation."

"We don't need those powers to fire this little guy up, his power should Kindle anyway!"

You know all of those things are possible, it's just a matter of which one to do.

>Spar with Frank (increases Martial Arts and Gymnastics depending on your resulting condition; roll 10d10 for a range of 10 to 100)
>Try to psych yourself up (Roll 1d100, result determines time elapsed, gain a random Mundane Skill)
>Try the "motivation ritual" (Roll 1d100, gain a random Dynamic Skill based on result)
>Set a dud bomb and ask for a light (ez pz lemon squeezy, no benefit)

(Not sure if I can continue tonight or tomorrow, will most likely start a new thread.)
Rolled 4, 6, 9, 3, 2, 2, 3, 5, 10, 9 = 53 (10d10)

>Spar with Frank (increases Martial Arts and Gymnastics depending on your resulting condition; roll 10d10 for a range of 10 to 100)
Rolled 2, 7, 3, 2, 4, 8, 10, 8, 4, 5 = 53 (10d10)

(Rolling for Frank, update will be in the next thread.)
(Okay, I knew the probability curve was going to favor the middle, but damn son.)
(Next Thread.)

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