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[Tracker] Molly TohvYesterday at 10:47 pmMolly Tohv[Episode] Mink-staken IdentityWed Feb 28, 2024 8:51 amYumiko[Claims] Face ClaimsTue Feb 27, 2024 11:15 amGray[World Event] A Fool's ErrandMon Feb 26, 2024 12:41 pmYumiko[Rolls] Start me up!Fri Feb 23, 2024 11:16 amRNGesus[Arc] Mountains and Plains: Part III - The Grand TourThu Feb 22, 2024 6:06 amYumiko[Bio] Molly TohvWed Feb 21, 2024 9:05 pmGray[Tracker] Hammerhead JoeFri Feb 16, 2024 9:04 amHammerhead Joe[Board] Quest Requests and Quest GradingsThu Feb 15, 2024 2:11 pmGray
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Gray
Gray
The Conqueror / Black Fist
[tracker=/t131-tracker-gray-starks#504]
Name : Gray
Epithet : "The Conqueror"; "Black Fist"
Age : 49
Height : 10'2" (310 cm)
Weight : 1043 lbs (473 kg)
Species : Cyborg Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Lurking Legend (Former Yonkou)
Crew : Black Fist Pirates (Destroyed)
Ship : Sangria's Vane (Destroyed)
Crew Role : Captain (Former)
Devil Fruit : Pressure-Pressure Fruit
Bounty : [ber=r] 5,000,000,000
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Income Bonus : +0.20
Shop Discount : -30%
Balance : [bel] 25,000,000,000
[[strollingdeath]][[baneoftheweak]][[riseandshine]][[childofdestiny]][[freakofnature]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 3841

[Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt? Empty [Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt?

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:42 pm

Quest Description:


A hair-raising crackle in the grey sky drew out a delighted squeak from a small voice. [npc=misc]"KYAAAAA~!!"[/npc] The source of the squeak—a pygmy lass—flung her arms out with her baby fingers spread wide. If it were not for the steady grip of her carrier, she surely would've tipped over backwards. She swiftly balanced herself with a possessive grip on her mount's ears.

[npc=misc]"Ish unna waaaiiiin, Gway-papa~~!!!!"[/npc] The girl exclaimed in a nasal sing-song voice. Her pitch was high as if infected by a cold, yet honeyed like a canary in spring.

Gray—the bear-like man serving as her vehicle—twisted his head up just enough to look at the straddler without knocking her off. His long orange-brown hair curtained down to his shoulders and had many poppy-red cherries tied to its strands like baubles on a festive tree. [plyr=pirt]"That's right~! You like rain, don't you, Merry-chan~?"[/plyr]

The chipmunk nodded like a bobblehead, making her short, sandy brown pigtail do a salsa dance. [npc=misc]"Buzz come aat aftuh wainsh! Cawwe catsh wain beetush at thish ailun?"[/npc]

[plyr=pirt]"You betcha, punchkin! We'll catch as many rain beetles as you can fill in your jar."[/plyr]

Gray hummed a cheerful ancient rhyme ambling along a soon-to-be-wet cobbled street. Showing off a billion-belly smile, Merry flailed her head side-to-side in rhythm and occasionally mumbled nonsensical words with the chorus.

After the umpteenth threat made by thunder, a woeful downpour cursed the dingy town of Port Artor. Many street vendors had prepared shelters; the quality of the awnings was no doubt a reflection of their wealth.

Activity in the market had slowed to a crawl. Stranded shoppers hurried to the eaves of the low buildings flanking the road to avoid soaking to the bone. Gray and his spirited ward were unfazed by the torrent. An inch above their skin, pellets of water struck an invisible shield and rolled off without touching a hair. Motherly bystanders murmured in judgment when they noticed the unkempt cyborg carry around his young pup through the rain with not a care in the world.

Merry plucked two cherries off of Gray's ginger hair locks. She mouthed one herself and reached around the giant's face to hold the other above his lips. Gray obediently accepted the offering like a dog eating off his owner's palm.

The odd pair wandered through the town until they found a park suited for a bug hunt. This piece of open green land was hidden away within a den of misery and depression. The buildings nearby were decrepit, and the roads were neglected. The few folks who lingered in the vicinity looked more suspicious than an elephant playing possum.

The pair's buggy enterprise blinded them to the dubious nature of their surroundings. Their one-track minds guided their hunt for the elusive rain beetles. Merry darted from one bush to another, shouting an off-key rain song. The rope belt tied like a butterfly behind her bounced like a tail with each step. She screeched whenever she mistook a cockroach, acorn, or human litter for a beetle.

Gray pursued her lazily until her bottomless energy drained him into resigning. A shoddy bench served as his temporary relief—even if it was ill-suited for ten feet and a thousand pounds of muscle and metal. He shuttered his weary eyelids and allowed the rain to cool them. He cleared his mind and let the distant sounds of the city fill the vacancy.

Port Artor was one of the more famous coastal cities of Ilisia. A stone's throw away (at least a stone's throw away for Gray) from this trade port was the 45th Marine Branch. Even after the recent alleged NRA assault on Lumina Bridge, the increased Marine presence could not polish (police?) the lawless face of the Ilisian coin. The disreputable denizens of the island leveraged the corrupt nature of the marine officers stationed there. And from what he had heard, even the kingdom's royal family could be counted among that lot.

Meanwhile, his charge had fled the confines of the park in search of one thing or another.




673 out of 673 words


Last edited by Gray on Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:04 pm; edited 28 times in total
Maxwell
Maxwell
[Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt? Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Bounty : [bel=r] 243,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Balance : [bel] 1,217,129,125
[[bookworm]][[firstaidkit]][[berryprinter]]
[[identitytheft]][[identitytheft]][[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 298

[Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt? Empty Re: [Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt?

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:16 am
Whistling winds pushed a modest passenger ship to the harbor, away from the roiling seas. Seasoned sailors went to welcome the vessel in the appropriate manner. The sails were rolled up, the ropes were secured and the walkway was plopped against the cold stone.

Soon a stream of colorful travelers stepped ashore. Their idle chatter filled the air. Young and old, odd and plain, fancy and subdued... It was a human rainbow in many ways. Between the so many new faces and outfits, one could easily get lost in the crowd.

Some preferred it that way.

Among the passengers strutted a dapper fellow in a chocolate-colored suit, lugging a bulky suitcase that looked comical next to his lanky frame. Sickly green eyes scanned the surroundings carefully. A deep breath filled his lungs with fresh air. Aah... Port Artor. The shining seaside jewel of the illustrious Ilisia Kingdom! ...Or something equally pretentious. He didn’t read the tourist pamphlet all that closely. Nor did he care, frankly. He didn’t come all the way here to sightsee, you know...

After narrowly escaping Las Camp, which was a story the rat would rather not reminisce, he had decided to take it easy for a while. Keep it simple. Stick to what he knew. Smuggling weapons and illicit substance was basically a vacation compared to... that other place... The mere thought made him shudder.

A sudden crackle snapped the crook out of his pondering. He directed a quizzical glance upwards. The gray curtain loomed over the city like a bad omen. Somewhere in the distance, a flash heralded a deep rumble. His gaze narrowed. “Don’t you dare...” He muttered under his breath, a tired plea to the heavens.

But, as any traveler knew, Mother Nature would and did dare.

As if out of pure spite, the heavens responded by opening the floodgates. Heavy downpour whipped the criminal as he scurried along the wet streets. Luckily there weren’t many people present, because the bitter things that he grumbled to himself were not appropriate for children.

After a mad dash through the city, the wet rat finally found some shelter at the edge of a particular park. He was naturally drawn to the decrepit and dubious scenery. This was the kind of places where nobody asked too many questions. If they knew what was good for them.

The sharp-dressed man rushed into an abandoned, little shack. Empty. Lonely. Barely four walls and a roof, slightly slanted to the side. Only once the rain stopped drumming his back he finally stopped running. Slouching against the wall, he wheezed weakly. His lungs protested against this foul torture called exercise. Shaky fingers dug out a pack of cancer in stick form. One was propped between his lips. A lighter was brought next to it. Click... Click, click click... His hand drooped with a heavy sigh.

Soaked to the core...

Silently, the suspicious silhouette set down his suitcase. With a pair of clicks, the twin locks opened. He rummaged around until he found his trusty burner. Gas needed but a spark... An orange flame flickered, filling the shack with wavering light. He set a tripod above the burner and continued rummaging. Usually his hot-headed companion was meant to heat up chemicals, but every now and then it got to pretend that it was a tiny stove.

Next, the hungry runaway dug up a cold can. Zeff's Pork & Beans, the label proudly declared. He gagged a little as he got the lid open and the pungent smell stabbed his nose. Eugh... Well... At least it was quick, cheap and filling. Three out of four wasn’t bad, as far as meeting requirements went. The can was unceremoniously plopped onto the tripod. A real chef would’ve shaken their head at the arrangement.

Leaving the beans alone for the moment, the crook set aside his hat and removed his coat. Gently he started to squeeze the excess water out of his clothing. Couldn’t wring silk, you know. It left creases at best and tore the fibers at worst. Little by little the droplets pooled at his feet.

Keeping busy, the entrepreneur snatched a comb from his pocket. It was essential to look at least somewhat presentable for the upcoming meeting. First impressions could make or break a deal. His wandering eyes searched for any sort of mirror, until they found the cracked glass pane of a window. It would do.

While the rat groomed his whiskers and fur, the scent of warm food started drifting in the air.
Words: 744
Total: 744


Last edited by Maxwell on Thu Dec 14, 2023 2:21 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell

Gray appreciated this post

Gray
Gray
The Conqueror / Black Fist
[tracker=/t131-tracker-gray-starks#504]
Name : Gray
Epithet : "The Conqueror"; "Black Fist"
Age : 49
Height : 10'2" (310 cm)
Weight : 1043 lbs (473 kg)
Species : Cyborg Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Lurking Legend (Former Yonkou)
Crew : Black Fist Pirates (Destroyed)
Ship : Sangria's Vane (Destroyed)
Crew Role : Captain (Former)
Devil Fruit : Pressure-Pressure Fruit
Bounty : [ber=r] 5,000,000,000
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Income Bonus : +0.20
Shop Discount : -30%
Balance : [bel] 25,000,000,000
[[strollingdeath]][[baneoftheweak]][[riseandshine]][[childofdestiny]][[freakofnature]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 3841

[Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt? Empty Re: [Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt?

This post has in-line assessment comments.Mon Apr 04, 2022 3:21 pm

The pitter-patter of raindrops on a cobblestone street failed to drown the excited squeaks of a young adventurer.

[npc=misc]"Combackeer! Ahm unna catshu!"[/npc] She screeched as she clumsily dashed through a dingy alley after a wily rain beetle.

The beetle whizzed away as if its life depended on it. And maybe it did. The little huntress maintained pursuit. Wet roads and uncivilized quantities of litter were no obstacles to her. Every slip and trip on the path only made it a worthier challenge. She shrugged off each knee scrape and elbow bump with sprightly yelps.

After a satisfyingly long chase, the huntress finally cornered her prey. They had reached a narrow dead-end filled with dumpsters and trash cans. Glowing white eyes lurked in the dark corners of the blind alley.

[npc=misc]"Ahhve gotshu naw!"[/npc] She declared smugly and locked her fists to her waist to strike a victory pose.

The beetle panicked and flew in circles, no doubt looking for a way out. Streams of sweat rolled from its shiny black shell when it pivoted back to meet its impending doom.

The pygmy huntress revealed a glass jar. Where exactly she had been keeping it was a mystery for another day. An atlas and a rhinoceros beetle looked out from within the transparent prison. They shook their horned heads in sympathy and prepared to witness another abduction. They knew what fate awaited the rain beetle.

Or perhaps not.

A snarling beast leapt out of the shadows. It swatted the beetle down on a closed dumpster and pinned it under its mangled paw.

The huntress shrieked.

[npc=misc]"Whaddaya fink yer doin' on mah durf, li'l buddahfly?"[/npc] Asked the monster. One of his eyes glowed golden brown, while the other was missing entirely with a scabrous scar in its place. The rest of his body was no different. Faded stripes and numerous half-healed injuries and pustules covered his mangy grey coat. Even his skinny tail ended prematurely in a stub. If ugly had a description, it would be this.

The beast wrenched his paw left and right over the rain beetle to assert his ownership.

[npc=misc]"Ah woz jush catshin dat wain beetush. Ish maan! Gibbid bag!"[/npc] The huntress said, unfazed by the beast's display of dominance.

The beast cackled maniacally as its minions started to step out of the dark one after the other. The dirty creatures surrounded the girl as their boss spoke. [npc=misc]"Yew fought yew could hunt in Senior Wowder Meowkinses terr'durry wifoud hiss purrmission? Mewhahahaha! Yew fought wrong!! Git 'er lads!"[/npc]

The feral goons converged on the huntress in unison. Her brows crumpled. She would have her prize back come hell or high Wowder. She charged Senior Meowkins and threw a blind straight right into the beast's pompous face.

The creature rocketed away, almost leaving its one shocked eye behind. Its minions' nearly lost their eyes too when they popped out of their sockets to watch their boss fly. With a united "ehhhhh?!!!" coordinated better than an award-winning choir, the cats realized the depth of their inferiority. Some fled while others stayed behind to bow down to their new boss. But, the huntress was not interested.

Her glib smile returned when she pawed the feeble rain beetle and plopped it into its cell in the company of its atlas and rhinoceros cousins. [npc=misc]"All maan!"[/npc] She chirped before strolling out of Senior Meowkins' former territory.

[npc=misc]"Ahm hungee naw,"[/npc] The huntress admitted to her insect prisoners while searching for a way back to her human mount. As if on command, the faint scent of warm food managed to pierce through the smell of rain and piss. Her nose perked as she sniffed the air and started down another muddy street.

She traced the scent's origin to a derelict shack like a starving bloodhound tracking game. Rats skittered away from the structure when she approached the entrance. The door was battered and unhinged from the threshold.

The huntress dashed in and out of the rain only to find a business-looking fellow standing by fiddling with his moustache. Her gaze acknowledged a can on a stove with a mouth-watering pig painted on its side. But, she had not forgotten her manners.

She walked up to the gentleman holding her jar behind her back, stood on her toes, and pleaded puppy-eyed. [npc=misc]"Hi, missher! Mahname ish Mawy Byanka Dwagun. Cuda half sum food, peez?"[/npc]

Elsewhere, a few moments before, a cyborg opened his eyes to the heavens. A screaming cat flew over his head. [plyr=pirt]Weird dream,[/plyr] he thought as he shut his eyes again to resume the nap he did not know he had started.





761 out of 1,434 words



Last edited by Gray on Thu Nov 30, 2023 3:10 pm; edited 5 times in total
Maxwell
Maxwell
[Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt? Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Bounty : [bel=r] 243,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Balance : [bel] 1,217,129,125
[[bookworm]][[firstaidkit]][[berryprinter]]
[[identitytheft]][[identitytheft]][[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 298

[Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt? Empty Re: [Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt?

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Apr 09, 2022 6:52 am
Between the relentless rain and the squeaking colleagues, the rat had started tuning out the surrounding sounds. He was here for the shelter, not for the ambience. Lost in thought, he brushed his whiskers idly. Perhaps that’s why the sudden voice sent his little, black heart briefly up into his throat.

Richard recoiled with a startled squeak. The beady, green glare shot towards the stranger. He nearly tripped over his own feet with how quickly he spun around. Trembling fingers scrambled desperately for the lapels of his jacket, reaching for the holster hidden within.

Once the hammering heart came back down, the reality finally registered between the coward’s ears. J-just a kid, the relieved and confused echo confirmed. And to think he had almost shot her... A terrible mistake that would’ve been... Bullets were far too expensive to waste on a street urchin.

With a deep breath, the conman covered his surprise behind a friendly façade. “Ah, hello there. My name is Fwa-er Franky.” He corrected himself, almost getting caught up in her pace. “Nice to meet you, Mary.” Yet, like all masks, it was hollow. Something was missing. His smile didn’t quite reach his eyes...

The old doctor knew the value of human life. Often down to a Belly. Where others might see a lost child, he saw his next ticket to riches. His cold, calculative stare burrowed deep beneath her clothing, skin and flesh. Kidneys, liver, heart... Every single organ had a price tag tangling from it.

Brushing the numbers aside for now, the criminal stepped over to his makeshift stove. “Hungry, are we? Well, of course I’ll share some food with you.” He held up a finger. “In fact, your timing is excellent. It’ll be ready soon. I just need to season it first.” He lied with practiced ease.

‘Franky’ reached into the gaping maw of his huge suitcase. An arrangement of sharp instruments were lined like teeth, resting on a tongue of folded clothing. He rummaged carefully, before pulling out a tiny vial. It sloshed softly with pink liquid. He snatched a small spoon as well.

Kneeling down, the dubious chef popped the vial open. He stirred the bubbling bean sludge, while slowly tilting tiny drops of the concoction into the can. One... Two... Eh, three should be enough. No point in risking liver damage. The pungent, meaty scent grew slightly sweeter, almost resembling honey-glazed pork. Almost. If one pinched their nose shut and pretended really hard.

While stirring, the rat continued his idle chatter. “Quite the weather out there... Caught me off-guard, to be honest...” His venomous eyes drifted back onto the girl. Judging by her height and build, she was around four, perhaps five... Definitely no older than six. The dirt and mud were telltale signs of poverty. Rich kids didn’t look like they had been spelunking the alleyways.

That meant no one would miss her.

Still, it never hurt to check. Kidnapping some wealthy moron’s eccentric child was an amateur mistake the crook didn’t want to repeat. He had government hounds nipping at his heels even to this day... The mere memory made him shudder.

With that in mind, the criminal cocked his head curiously. “Say, young lady, aren’t your parents worried that you might catch a cold while playing in the rain?” He questioned casually, imagining himself as a viper slyly coiling around its prey.

---

Words: 563
Total: 1307


Last edited by Maxwell on Thu Dec 14, 2023 2:23 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell

Gray appreciated this post

Gray
Gray
The Conqueror / Black Fist
[tracker=/t131-tracker-gray-starks#504]
Name : Gray
Epithet : "The Conqueror"; "Black Fist"
Age : 49
Height : 10'2" (310 cm)
Weight : 1043 lbs (473 kg)
Species : Cyborg Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Lurking Legend (Former Yonkou)
Crew : Black Fist Pirates (Destroyed)
Ship : Sangria's Vane (Destroyed)
Crew Role : Captain (Former)
Devil Fruit : Pressure-Pressure Fruit
Bounty : [ber=r] 5,000,000,000
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Income Bonus : +0.20
Shop Discount : -30%
Balance : [bel] 25,000,000,000
[[strollingdeath]][[baneoftheweak]][[riseandshine]][[childofdestiny]][[freakofnature]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 3841

[Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt? Empty Re: [Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt?

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Dec 14, 2023 12:34 am

Merry eagerly spectated her new acquaintance as he revealed a vial full of fantastically pink liquid.

[npc=misc]"Izzat da spwing seezun?! Id rooks like chewy bossums!"[/npc] She chirped with stars in her eyes. Its colour was identical to the flowers that bloomed on her favourite trees near Yewshaw Village. Mama loved to set picnics underneath them every spring. Once she was gone, uma tried to also until she couldn't. Then Merry would do so alone.

[npc=misc]"Ah like momsoon seezun besd dough,"[/npc] she continued. [npc=misc]"Ah can catssh buzz when it wains. Do you wamma see mah beetush jar?"[/npc]

Without awaiting an expression of interest, she summoned her beetle jar from pockets unknown. She gripped the glass prison preciously from both sides and held it up so Franky could inspect the fine specimens inside. Surely he would never see the likes of them again. There was no beetle exhibit in the world that could match hers.

She placed a stubby finger on the glass to mark out the most anxious of her three prisoners. It panicked and flitted in circles, fighting against a fate called Merry Bianca Dragon.

[npc=misc]"Ah cott dis one juss now. Senior Wowduh Meowkinz waz gunna ead id, bud Ah punch-ed im so haad he fwoo away,"[/npc] she declared proudly while re-enacting the motion of her finishing move. Luckily, there was no cat—nor rat—at the end of that swing.

She was sure the man with the hat would be impressed by the saga of her great victory. It wouldn't surprise her if he begged to join her crew, prostrating himself before her just like Senior Wowder Meowkins' former feline associates.

Before the prospect of rejecting another potential subordinate consumed her, the aroma of a porcine delicacy tickled the olfactories of the hungry child. She inflated her nostrils three times their size to vacuum in the steam some more and fill her lungs before she filled her tummy.

She looked up at the gracious cook, ready to be served a well-earned lunch. Perhaps it would only have been fair for her to let him hold her treasure while she ate. Gray-papa had taught her several times, [plyr=pirt]"If your feeder's rich, you can dine and ditch; but if your feeder's a bum, you must give them some rum."[/plyr]

She never understood what rum was since Gray-papa said she wasn't ready to try it. But, by the reverence he showed whenever it was mentioned, rum could only have been some great treasure.

When Franky asked after her parents, she said, [npc=misc]"Mah mama and uma wen to papa. Dey said Ah couldun go to dem yed. So now Ah go wid Gway-papa insed. He'z a reely big an srong piyate. He waz de cappun of de srongest kroo in de wuruld. Papa waz his bess fren. He ebun haz a wobod ahm. Id can shood wazers!"[/npc] More stars twinkled in her round amber eyes as she mimicked her mount's guardian's robotic arm, firing imaginary laser beams out of her fleshy palm.

As the savoury essence grew stronger, a wriggling leg betrayed her impatience. A drop of saliva leaked from the corner of her parched mouth as she ogled the can of pork and beans.

[npc=misc]"Can I haf da food now, peez, Misser Fwanky?"[/npc]

Near the dingy shack, a clowder of scabrous cats meowed over each other in hopes of reaching their new boss through the rain.



562 out of 1,996 words
Maxwell
Maxwell
[Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt? Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Bounty : [bel=r] 243,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Balance : [bel] 1,217,129,125
[[bookworm]][[firstaidkit]][[berryprinter]]
[[identitytheft]][[identitytheft]][[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 298

[Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt? Empty Re: [Episode] Is that man salty cause he's made of salt?

This post has in-line assessment comments.Fri Dec 15, 2023 9:01 am
When it came to bedside manner, the old doctor's well of experience was decades deep. He could listen to anyone with all the attention they deserved. A well-placed “Is that right?” or “Wow, that’s quite impressive.” went a long way in appeasing chatty patients.

Beneath the oft-worn mask, the polite man was simply jotting down mental notes. The imaginary pencil danced. It scratched line upon line on the page of the mind. Temper, mental state, behavioral peculiarities and more. Every detail was useful. A good salesman knew the specs product he was selling.

The polite question was met with a warm smile. “You sure can.” Richard handed over the modest meal, alongside a spoon. His smile sharpened ever so slightly. “Knock yourself out, kiddo.” He resisted the urge to laugh.

Oh, if only all kidnappings could be this easy...

Letting the kid eat, the rat went for the second best thing besides a meal... A cigarette. Placing it between his lips, he grabbed the burner and fished out his lighter. Carefully he let the flame perform a little mouth to mouth. With a weak flicker, the lighter returned to life.

Meanwhile, the doctor’s mind finally took a moment to read all those notes he had been engraving to memory. Well, not really read. It was more like skimming, really, while he was busy trying to get the soaked cancer stick to catch a flame.

Still, it was funny, in a way, how kids were prone to exaggeration... Punched a critter so hard it flew away? Mmhm, a likely story. Father from the strongest crew in the world? Sure, sure... Every pirate considered their crew to be the strongest -and any number of other superlative lies- in the world. And now accompanied by a really big and strong pirate?

With a robotic arm...

Named...

Gray.

It was at this exact moment the viper realized he wasn’t coiling around a defenseless tiger cub. Rather, he found himself around the thick leg of an elephant carrying said cub... Worse yet, this particular elephant had a robotic trunk poised to smack some sense into a careless predator.

Richard recoiled to reality so sharply, so violently, that he accidentally inhaled his cigarette. Airflow stopped. Felt like the thing lodged itself sideways in his windpipe. And somehow that was still only the second worst sensation he suffered at the moment.

Coughing and gagging, the rat staggered. One hand clawed at his throat. The other pounded his chest. Life flashed before his eyes. He was going to die. ...Whether by asphyxiation or something far worse remained to be seen.

Fighting against the creeping loss of consciousness, the desperate man turned his focus on the girl. He prayed to every deity he could imagine -and several demons- that it wasn’t too late. Aiming a firm finger at her, he wobbled closer and loudly demanded...

-Wheeze...!!!-

Absolutely nothing, because his throat was still clogged.

---

Words: 485
Total: 1791

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
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